Getting Started with Email Marketing

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Email is one of the cheapest and the easiest tools you have in your marketing arsenal.

Taking advantage of it can help you raise brand awareness and put you on the right track to boosting your profits.

This step-by-step guide gives you all the information you need to start a successful email marketing campaign today (and yes we have a podcast on more tips and tricks).

Read on…

Step 1: Outline Your Goals
Before spending your time and money on the campaign, you have to jot down the goals you want email marketing to achieve for your business. The obvious “get more conversion” goal is often just the first step.

The goals of your campaign depend on the size and the nature of your business. Here are the examples:

  • Let your potential customers know that your company exists.
  • Send dedicated clients special promotions/rewards.
  • Remind your existing customers about your business.
  • Encourage referrals.
  • Communicate with your existing/potential customers to raise brand awareness.
  • Nurture the relationship with your clients.
  • Increase the number of visitors to your website.
  • Create a desire to explore your business further even after a client has made a purchase.

Choose one main and several secondary goals for your campaign and use it to proceed with the rest of the steps. Keeping the goal in mind can help you stay on the right track.

Step 2: Find a Good Email Marketing Service
A proper email marketing service can make a difference between a fast and easy campaign and long nights in front of the computer display.  Here are a few to choose from:

  1. Constant Contact – Largest email marketing service available. Good choice for beginners.
  2. AWeber – One of the most popular email marketing services for small and mid-size businesses.
  3. GetResponse – A great choice for beginner’s email marketing campaign if you have a small business.
  4. MailChimp – A service with a simple interface and a great online support. The cost is rather low too.
  5. Mad Mimi – A simple approach to email marketing. Can be a great choice for beginners, who never have time for anything.
  6. SendinBlue – A great choice for newbies, who have no designing experience. Offers an impressive template gallery.

Step 3: Build Your Email List

Building an email list is one of the toughest and most important steps in your email marketing campaign. In order to reduce the bounce and spam rate, you need to find the right target audience.

  1. List Existing Contacts

Make a list of the existing emails and see which one of these people can help you with email marketing. You can pump this list up by networking.

  1. Use Your Website

Your website can generate contacts for your email list if you manage to post the right content. In order to get people on your mailing list, encourage them to fill out a subscription form.

The subscription form should be readily available on your website.

  1. Take Advantage of Forwarding

Forwarding is similar to word of mouth. The best help you can get during your email marketing campaign is from people, who already use your services.

Encourage your existing clients to forward your messages by creating catchy titles and informative content.

  1. Don’t Forget Social Media

Social media is a perfect email list-building tool. Become active on all the popular platforms and attract good contacts. In short, socialize.

  1. Don’t Buy Ready-to-Use Lists

The temptation to purchase a perfect email list may be high. However, you must remember that no successful business owner is ready to share such a priceless possession as a good mailing list.

By using this shortcut, you may end up getting a low-quality product that can lead to unfortunate consequences, such as a high spam rate.

Step 4:  Spend Time on Subject Lines
The subject lines are the front man of your email marketing campaign. More than half of your audience won’t get past reading the subject line and send the email to the trash.

A compelling subject line is a key to your campaign. It makes sense to spend more time on them than on anything else in this guide.

Creating an attention-grabbing subject line is a tough job. It may be smart to hire a professional writer to deal with them.

Step 5:  Write Amazing Content

The right content is another key to a high conversion rate. There are a few rules you should be following when writing an email.

  1. Keep the email short. Wandering attention of average internet users won’t allow them to start reading a long email.
  2. Be personal. Ask your audience questions. Try to interact inside the email. Always use “you”. Forget about passive voice.
  3. Don’t use standard greetings such as “dear ma’am” or “good day”. Come up with something catchy like “happy sunny afternoon from Greenland”.

Be passionate about writing an email. If there is no passion in your words, the conversion rate is likely to be low.

Step 6: Edit and Preview
Editing your email a thousand times is the key to success. The best way to check if it truly rocks is to give it to some of your friends to read.

Always send the email to yourself first to check the format, typos, and other problems. Check the way it looks from mobile gadgets as well.

Step 7: Analyze Your Efforts
Most email services offer an analytics option that you should take advantage of in order to see if the campaign is working.

  • Low open rate – emails are deleted upon receipt.
  • Low click through rate – messages are not catching the attention.
  • High unsubscribe rate – the campaign needs an overhaul.

These three indicators can give you an idea of how you can improve your campaign.

Final Thoughts
When you have the right tools at hand, you can create a solid email marketing campaign that can bring impressive results.
If you learn how to build the right email list, the rest of the steps become much easier. Hiring help to help you with the campaign is a good idea if you are running out of time.

Analyzing your campaign in full or each email individually can help you avoid most of the mistakes that newbies make.

The Most Accurate (and Free) Way to Track Google Rankings

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Organic rankings on Google are widely misunderstood, and ranking data is often obtained improperly and misinterpreted as a result.

Naturally, if you are conducting an SEO campaign, you will want to review ranking data; otherwise, you will not have an easy time evaluating whether your efforts are having a positive or negative result. The good news is, there is an accurate way to track rankings — and the even better news is, this method is free.

How Do Google Results Work Today?

The first point to understand is this: There is no longer any such thing as a single, consistent and universal keyword ranking. Google results are personalized based on your IP address, device type, search history, web history and other factors. Thus, when different people search Google for the same keyword, they see different results. In addition, a website rarely appears in the same position for the same keyword for searches during the span of even one day.

How Do Third-Party Google Ranking Tools Get Their Results?

Third-party tools used to check rankings commonly connect to Google through proxy networks. A proxy network provides the ability to make requests from a large pool of IP addresses (from locations throughout the world). These third-party ranking tools send huge numbers of automated requests to Google, which violates Google’s Terms of Service and Webmaster Guidelines, as they scrape the results and store the websites that are returned in each position.

Why Are Third-Party Google Ranking Tools Inaccurate?

With Google personalizing results for each searcher, a website will rank in different positions for the same keyword during the same day. The problem is that third-party ranking tools provide only a snapshot of where a website ranked at the exact moment in time when the automated query was sent to Google. Furthermore, the ranking that is returned may be personalized based on the IP address that the tool used to run the query. If you compare ranking results from two different tools for the same keyword, you are likely to see two different sets of results.

Some tools make use of the UULE Google parameter in an attempt to bypass localization and present “National” search results. The issue here is that a searcher will rarely see these “National” search results because their searches are being personalized. So, these results have little, if any, value in the real world of SEO.

Where Can I Get Accurate Google Ranking Data?

Google Search Console is the only place to get accurate ranking data: Google tracks all keywords that resulted in a searcher seeing your website in the results. Since your website is shown in different positions for the same keyword each day, Google provides an average ranking down to the hundredth decimal.

How Can I Use Google Search Console To Track My Rankings?

Using Search Console to track rankings is a matter of following a few fairly simple steps. Below are instructions, along with a few screenshots of the type of data you will see.
1. Make sure you have set up and verified Google Search Console for your website.
2. Log in to your Google Search Console account.
3. Once logged in, click on “Search Analytics” from the “Search Traffic” nav dropdown on the lefthand side of the page.
4. Once you are on the “Search Analytics” page, make sure the “Position” box is checked.
5. Next, click the “Queries” dropdown and select “Filter Queries”.
6. Once the “Filter Queries” overlay pops up, select “Query is exactly” and type the keyword you want to see rankings for in the “keyword” form field:

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7. Next, click on the “Pages” dropdown and select “Filter Pages”.

8. Once the “Filter Pages” overlay pops up, select “URL is exactly” and enter the URL that the keyword you filtered is targeting:

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9. You should see the average position for that keyword and target page:

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Continuously Improve

Reviewing Google Search Console data regularly will help you identify where your SEO is working, and where it isn’t. At Straight North, we look at this data constantly, for our marketing as well as for each client. Whenever results change significantly — up or down — the next step is to probe deeper to understand why. This process, repeated over time, is a sure way to continuously improve your keyword focus and execution.

My Start to Finish Review of the React Nanondegree at Udacity

I decided to enroll in the React Nanodegree because I have been trying to learn React for a while with little success. I have not found it easy to pick up because it is a significant shift from the traditional way of building web applications. It also uses a lot of ES2015 which requires a lot of new JavaScript topics to learn and get used to like classes and arrow functions. I have had success learning to code with mentor-based online programs previously. I completed a 36-week 1 on 1 online mentorship through the Bloc.io front-end web development program and was able to significantly level-up my skills in JavaScript and build an interactive web application that a few people use (RankedBlogs.com).

Week 1

The program just started and Udacity emailed me to let me know that the course is open. The first step is to read their student handbook which explains how the program will work. The program will hold our hand to guide us to build three React projects and then we will build three more React projects on our own.

I checked the program’s Slack community for the program where students can interact with other students and instructors. I also learned that there are mentors that you can contact anytime when you get stuck and code reviewers who review your code submissions and provide feedback.

The first project is building MyReads, a book tracking application.

The course starts with viewing and reading through an introduction to React concepts like declarative programming. Lesson 1 contains some short videos followed by a text explanation and quiz questions. There are also some in-browser code exercises.

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I learned how to bootstrap a React app and serve it locally. It is pretty quick and easy with Create React App. You just need to install Create React App with NPM.

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Week 2

I have four more weeks to turn in the first project, a book tracking application.

Previous to starting this program, I read through Learning React by @kirupa https://www.kirupa.com/react/. It was a really good intro to React and I feel a little more comfortable with all the weird syntax and conventions of React.

I was able to clone the starter files branch at https://github.com/udacity/reactnd-contacts-complete/tree/starter-files-added and then serve it locally with npm start.

starter-files

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ju5mbCEFe9Q

I like Udacity’s approach of breaking up the lessons into small bite sized videos.

This 2 minute video really helped clarify the idea of props in React. In JavaScript you can pass arguments to a function. In React you can pass “props” into a component and then it can be accessed with this.props.nameoftheprop. So props are basically similar to an argument in JavaScript.

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Week 3

The videos helped clarify the differences between props and state. Props are like arguments that are passed to a function, but the argument is passed to a component from the attribute value, e.g. name=“Earl.” Props are immutable, however state is different because it is intended to change (it’s mutable). You can set state by creating an object at the top of the component, e.g. state: {health: 100, power: 55, food: 44}.

We created a method to remove a contact in the App component which took me more than a couple times to wrap my head around.

It is essential to have the React Developer Tools extension added to Chrome so you can inspect React components on any webpage using React. It also shows the state and props of the component.

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Week 4

I’ve finished the first three sections of React Fundamentals and started the fourth section which covers external data.

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I feel like I have a better grasp of some of the important concepts of React like component lifecycle, state, props, and React Router. There are still some parts that are still a bit cloudy but I’m pretty comfortable that I have a good grasp of the foundational concepts and can start learning by building things.

I’m starting the MyReads application which is the first project of the course. The first step is to clone the starter template: https://github.com/udacity/reactnd-project-myreads-starter

After cloning the repo to my desktop and running “npm install” I can use “npm start” to view the app before the JavaScript is added.

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I was able to create a Book component and render the Book component in the BooksApp component.

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Week 5

I’m currently working on getting data back from the Google Books API. I imported BooksAPI into my Book component and am using ComponentDidMount to make the API call.

I found a YouTuber named Ricky Garcia who is documenting his journey through the React Nanodegree. It is interesting to see his progress at the same point in the course that I am currently at.

I’m currently trying to render the book information to the Search Results page after getting it from the BooksAPI.

I’m having some trouble using setState to change the state to the object returned from the call to the BooksAPI. I decided to try out the Live Help feature in Udacity which is a chat. Someone responded within a couple minutes.

The Udacity person offered some suggestions and then cloned my repo to troubleshoot and came up with a solution that worked. It seems like a good way to get help quicker than on the Slack channel.

It’s also great to read the conversations other students are having about the MyReads project in the Slack channel. I’m learning a lot by reading about problems other students are discussing and how they are solved.

Week 6

I was able to pass the input value with Props to the child component BookResults which is making the API request (with the help of someone on the Slack channel).

I can now render the images from the BooksAPI based on the input value entered.

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I also change the state when one of the select menu options below a book is selected. I need to pass the state of the book to the main BooksApp component.

I tried to get live help on a Saturday night at 8:20pm PST and wasn’t able to get help after 30 minutes. I also posted my question Saturday morning on the Slack, but there was no response today.