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- Alex@Broadband Forum on Make your email newsletter templates mobile-ready
- Willow on Email Newsletter Best Practices
- Email Newsletter Best Practices 2011 | Email Newsletter Resource Center Blog on Email Newsletter Best Practices
- Quora on Email Newsletter Best Practices for 2011
- Editor on Creating Email Newsletters Using WordPress
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To developed this list of the best email marketing blogs on the Web, we:
- Reviewed the quality of the blog’s information
- Determined the number and quality of sites linking to the blog
- Analyzed how well the blog ranks in the search engines for important keywords
Many of the best blogs also provide email-marketing software. To make our list, the software companies’ blogs also provided useful information on a range of email-marketing issues. If you have a blogs to add to the list, please let us know.
The Aweber blog covers a range of topics from how to set-up email marketing campaigns, to tips for autoresponders and email marketing through Facebook. This blog is not solely focused on Aweber’s product offerings. The blog includes links to helpful Aweber (product-oriented) YouTube videos. Aweber produces an excellent auto-responder service to help company’s build email marketing lists.
While the blog offers extensive information on using MailChimp’s tools, it also provides solid information on how to improve your email marketing efforts. The blog offers useful tips on current trends, such as insuring that your email message is mobile-ready.
MailChimp is an email service provider widely used by such top brands as TED, The Economist and Smashing Magazine.
3. Get Response
The GetResponse includes guest hosts/Webinar presenters on a variety of useful email marketing topics. Some recent topics included Email Follow-ups 101, How to Engage Your Audience, and Smart Tips from a leading SEO experts. The blog also includes top tips for effectively using the Get Response email software, which is used by companies such as Men’s Health, istockphoto and Intercontinental Hotels.
ProBlogger is geared to writing, promoting and making money from a blog. Email marketers will find very useful information on topics related to developing and promoting content. The information on content is top-notch, which is why we included this blog on our list. One recent post discusses how to use email to post to your wordpress blog.
CopyBlogger provides very practical tips on how to do effective content marketing. We included this site because content development is often an ongoing struggle for email marketers, especially email newsletter publishers. Advertising Age listed CopyBlogger in its Power150 list. A recent post included How to Build Your Email Marketing List with a WordPress Web site. The blog also offers email-marketing tutorials.
The VerticalResponse blog is a true treasure trove of information. Unlike many email-marketing providers, this blog provides an extensive amount of basic (non-software-related) information. The category of topics listed covers more than 40 categories, including building email lists, email and the law, and email marketing analysis. When the blog covers the VerticalResponse product (a very small subset of its posts), it lets you know with a charming label “VR Shameless Promotion.” Janine Popick, CEO of Vertical Response, is a regular columnist with Inc Magazine and Huffington Post on email marketing.
7. Benchmark Email Marketing
Benchmark’s blog covers a range of topics from email marketing news to tips for growing your business. The blog includes specific email marketing tips for 10+ industries (such as associations/non-profits, wineries, real estate, etc.). The blog also hosts guest blogs from top industry leaders as well as a fair amount of product specific posts. Benchmark is an email marketing service provider.
Silverpop is a digital marketing technology provider that unifies marketing automation, email, mobile, and social. The Silverpop blog is very deep with excellent information on a wide range of email marketing topics including email marketing creative, metrics, b2b marketing, social, and more. The site hosts well-known industry leaders as guest bloggers. This blog gears its information toward larger email marketing campaigns, inline Silverpop’s target market.
9. MarketingTech Blog
This blog provides top tips on a range of marketing subjects, including email. Other subjects covered are analytics, automation, content, mobile, search, social, and wordpress. Recent posts in this popular blog included how to engage subscribers, combining email and social media, and more. The blog covers many aspects on online marketing in addition to email.
10. SimplyCast Email Marketing Blog
This blog is produced by SimplyCast, an email service and multi-channel communications provider. The blog provides some tips for improving email-marketing results. Recent topics covered email optimization, best practices, list creation and metrics. The blog also covers many topics related to using the simplycast system. The system has some big name clients including FedEx, Intuit and KimberlyClark.
11. Email Market Reports
Email Marketing Reports is one of the best independent email marketing blogs on the Web. This blog provides a wealth of information in every aspect of email marketing, from list acquisition, to campaign design. Recent blog posts covered how to write a shorter tweet, an overview of being CAN-SPAM compliant, and email fun facts. The website also lists a large list of useful resources for email marketing efforts. The blog is published by a single writer and can go through spells of inactivity; but the information is top-notch and resource section is very useful
12. Listrak Blog
This is a very informative blog by market leader Listrak, a provider of high-end email marketing services. The information is very useful for all levels of email marketing expertise, though Listrak’s services are most appropriate for the larger mailer. Topics covered include a full-breadth of subjects, including analytics, acquisition, engagement, layout, sweepstakes, and more. The information is top-notch and updated many times per month. Each blog post typically includes a graphic of a good email message and analysis of why it works.
13. Boomerang Blog
Published by email service provider, Boomerang, this blog also covers very helpful information. Recent posts covered email layout tips, combining email and social, improving metrics and an interesting discussion of the difference between measuring activity and analyzing results. Additionally, the blog covers tips for users of the Boomerang system.
14. BeRelevant Email Marketing Blog
This blog focuses on B2B email marketers and is published by an email-marketing consultant in Belgium. The publisher provides great “from the trenches” information. Recent topics included “Why recipients don’t open your email”, “Why email list segmentation matters”, and “Five insights to improve your clickthrough rates”.
15. Retail email blog
This blog tracks the email marketing campaigns of the top online retailers. The site displays some recent email campaigns for the big-brand, top retailers, along with a critique of the campaign. Responsys, a global provider of on-demand marketing solutions, publishes the blog. The blog also covers a range of topics, relevant to retail email marketers, including frameless email design, using animated gifs, opt-in forms and more.
Gamifying involves applying gaming techniques and concepts to a non-game interaction. Companies use gamifying when they want to encourage a desired audience behavior.
While the idea of making email marketing more engaging is not new, gamifying takes the fun factor to a completely new level. This new approach adds reward-based incentives to elicit the desired visitor or subscriber outcome.
You can use games to build visitor loyalty under the guise of play. To design a winning game strategy, you should:
- Define the behavior you want to encourage (sign up for a enewsletter, visit the site more often, browse a web page, view a Webinar at length, refer friends, “like you” on Facebook, etc.)
- Decide the value of the behavior. Think about your sales funnel. What leads a visitor to make the final purchase? Place a higher-value on the activities closer to the bottom of the funnel. A visitor signing up for a demo is probably worth more than a visitor downloading a PDF.
If you want to get more engagement for your email newsletter, you could encourage user-generated content. Ask readers to submit a case study or event based on your industry. Post the submissions on your website and ask visitors to rate each entry. If you sell customer service software, for example, you could ask folks to submit the oddest customer support question they ever received. You could ask viewers to vote on the best “odd” story.
- Think about the potential prize. What will you give for the desired behavior? Example: encourage people to refer friends to signup for demo and offer the folks with the most referrals a coupon, credits toward purchase, a free (valuable) ebook.
- Determine the games mechanics. The best gaming tactics allow players to see their game progress and score. For example, award points for properly taking a short quiz at the end of a Webinar. Post top scores on the game page and send reminder emails to keep players in the game. If you run a game for several months, you can publish updates in each weekly or monthly e newsletter.
A Gamifying Example:
A local TV station in Washington, DC continuously promotes a “like us on Facebook” contest. Each week the station announces a new contest. Last Sunday they offered to give away an iPad in a random drawing of viewers who newly “liked them” by Friday. During the 6pm broadcast, they announced the winner on the air.
While you may not have the reach of a metro-market TV station, you do have regular touches with your market place. Once you launch your game, announce the contest and awards in multiple places (your email signature line, website pages, blog, twitter account, etc.)
Keep it simple and make it fun.
If you link to a blog from your email campaign or e-newsletters, here is a new tool to enhance visitor engagement.
A soon-to-launch service called Highlighter, from Unique Blog Designs, allows visitors to comment on specific sections, highlight those sections, and share the highlighted section with friends.
The tool works on a variety of blog platforms WordPress, Blogspot, Tumblr, etc. Users sign-up by linking to their Facebook or Twitter account.
Once the blog publisher adds Highlighter, visitors can share content (or a specific passage or image) by highlighting the content. After the visitors highlighted a section of content, they select the channel to use for sharing (Twitter, Facebook, email, etc.).
Visitors can also comment on your blog about the highlighted section, if they too have a highlight account.
Blog publishers can customize how the highlight appears on their blog.
This tool is still in beta; but looks very interesting. You can read more about it at this link.
Vertical Response (VR) announced yesterday that its system now enables customers to include social sharing icons in their email messages and email newsletters.
If you use VR, you can use these tools to allow email newsletter recipients to spread your message easily to their Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn networks.
I think this integration is a great step forward in merging two valuable communication channels. If you want to build a robust communications program with your customers and prospects, you must use both email marketing and social media.
Email marketing gives you more control of the message channel and social gives your message an amplifying effect. Similar to the ripples in a pond after throwing a stone.
VR’s system will also allow customers to track which recipients share an email message with their social networks. By watching the number of Facebook Likes, Twitter Tweets (and Retweets) and LinkIn Shares, you can measure how far your “ripple effect goes”.
If you have not yet added social media to your customer outreach, consider this as an easy first step. Set-up your corporate accounts for FaceBook , Twitter and LinkedIn.
Ask your current email service provider how they integrate with social media. If they do not have a robust integration package, you should take a trial run of Vertical Response.