New blog location

I’m now blogging at my AnitaAshland.com site and have transferred the archives of this blog to that site.

Please head over there and subscribe to the RSS feed. Feel free to sign up for my list too.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you over there!

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How the health care bill can improve your marketing

Today I’m mixing marketing and politics.

Oh oh.

But here goes…

Yesterday I came across an article with the headline,
“White House, Dems, Planning Massive Re-Sell Of Health Care After It Passes.”

My first reaction was to roll my eyes.

I mean, from a marketing standpoint, isn’t it pretty lousy
to have to do massive re-selling AFTER the purchase?

But then I thought about it some more and have to admit
that they are on to something…

After a customer makes a purchase you SHOULD keep
talking to them about what they purchased.

But not in a sales-y way.

You see, most marketers, after a customer makes a purchase, start sending pitches for new products.

On to the next shiny thing.

But imagine how that makes your customer feel about what they just purchased from you.

That’s why a series of consumption emails is so important.

These emails help the customer understand what they
just purchased and help them use the product.

There’s no selling in these emails, although there is a subtle
tone of re-selling of what they just purchased, to affirm that they made the right decision.

Yes, I’ve written about this before. I obviously need to keep harping on it because I still don’t see many marketers doing this.

If you don’t have any consumption emails, it’s probably
because you don’t have the time to do it yourself or can’t write scintillating, relationship-building copy.

So I’ll give you a 20% discount off my regular rate if you place your order for consumption emails before the health care bill goes to vote, sometime later this month or in February.

I’ll dig into your product and write about in a way that will make your customers want to start using it right away

Even better, the thought of asking for a refund won’t
even cross their minds.

And the best part?

They will be more likely to buy from you again.

I believe so strongly in consumption emails that I’m willing
to give you a discount.

So what are you waiting for?

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Marketing lesson from a December rose

As the new year began, I thought about the rose bush in my flower garden that still had many pink blooms.

Here’s a photo:

I live in Wisconsin so this is quite a feat. All the other flowers had died and were pruned back, bracing for the winter that was to arrive in full force a few days later in the form of a blizzard.

I confess that in the summer I hardly paid attention to the rose bush, except for the times the thorns scratched my hands, even when I was wearing gloves.

There were so many other flowers that captured my attention: the hibiscus, petunias, irises, morning glories, day lilies…and my favorite… the peony bushes. It’s always something of a tragedy when June begins and the peonies begin to die.

But this past December I think I may have taken more pleasure in those pink roses than I did in the rest of the flower garden in the summer.

You see, those pink roses remind me of a copywriter/marketer/entrepreneur (or anyone in any field) who perseveres.

Maybe these people aren’t standouts or #1 in their field.

Perhaps they screw up kind of a lot and are even “prickly” at times, like the December rose.

Put them in a room with other marketers, especially those who are newbies full of enthusiasm and hype, and maybe you wouldn’t notice the quietly confident “December rose” marketer.

But as the months and years pass, and the other marketers give up and fall by the wayside, the December rose is still standing, even after several frosts and bitterly cold weather.

Don’t give up.

As Yoda said, there is no try. Do or don’t do.

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Is marketing for the birds?

When I look out at my bird feeder the scene out there often
reminds me of an online business in action.

You see, when I started feeding the birds a few months ago, everything was peaceful for a few weeks.

Only the best kind of birds showed up at the feeder.

The cardinals, chickadees, finches, nuthatches, flickers,
etc.

Then the house sparrows discovered the feeders and emptied an entire feeder in one day.

Argh!

The house sparrows are the rodents of the bird population.

In fact, it’s even permissible to shoot them because they
are considered an “invasive species” and are a threat to native birds.

But I’m no Emma Peel and don’t know how to use a gun (and my neighbors would take issue with that anyway).

So I did some research and figured out how to scare away
the house sparrows while still attracting the desirable birds.

All you have to do is hang a few strands of fishing line
from your feeders.

But before I could feel smug about my success the squirrels found my feeders.

The squirrels knocked down the feeders and made my life
miserable for a while as I tried to outwit them.

They weren’t baffled by the “baffle” on my feeder.

Duct tape with the sticky side facing out didn’t work
either.

Putting vaseline on the post has seemed to do the trick
so far.

It’s fun to watch the squirrels hop in a flower pot
after they get vaseline on their paws and furiously roll around in the dirt in a desperate attempt to wipe it off.

It reminds me of prospects who find out my rates (which are
pretty modest) and run away. :-)

Feeding the birds and outwitting squirrels is a good metaphor
for any online business.

Before I figured out how to keep the squirrels and house
sparrows away, my feeders had a ton of traffic.

There were more birds in my yard than any other yard near my house.

But traffic is overrated, as I soon discovered. If you aren’t
attracting the right prospects, all the traffic in the world doesn’t mean much.

So how do you attract them? With copy, of course.

Good copy will filter out the wrong prospects as effectively
as fishing line and vaseline.

And it will attract the right ones like the Nut ‘N Berry
seed blend the birds around here love.

See, marketing really is for the birds.

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Putting together the email jigsaw puzzle

While at the mall today I saw a crossword puzzle that is a cover
of the Beatles White album.

In other words, the puzzle is almost entirely white.

This reminded me of how I loved putting together jigsaw puzzles when I was a kid. I was almost tempted to buy this puzzle because my daughter is a huge Beatles fan.

But then I remembered the time I put together a puzzle that was all black and white. It was a crossword puzzle. After putting it together one could then turn around and complete the crossword
puzzle.

It sure was frustrating working with only two colors. When I first bought it, I thought the puzzle would be a breeze because it didn’t seem to be complex. It was a bunch of crossword puzzle squares, how hard could that be?

Ha!

I should have known better.

It reminds me of a lot of internet marketing products.

The sales pages make it sound so easy.

But then you study the product and realize it will be months before you see any results from your work.

And just like with putting together jigsaw puzzles, nothing is more maddening than finding out some of the pieces are missing and you have to buy another product or figure it out on your own through much trial and error.

With my Money Making Email packs, there are no missing pieces.

You just copy and paste the pre-written emails into your autoresponder and you’re done.

We’ve added some new packages this month:

* Ewen Chia’s Opt In Profits
* Cell Phone Cash
* Keyword Elite 2
* Clickbank Pirate
* How to Play Tennis by Tomaz Mencinger

Now, only Opt In Profits is listed on the website. To purchase any of the four other packs, just send me an email and I’ll let you know how you can buy one.

Have a great Thanksgiving!

P. S. My Money Making Email site is on Clickbank. If you’re so inclined pleased feel free to promote my email packs as an affiliate.

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Email Copywriting Inspiration From Direct Mail

If you need some copywriting inspiration I highly recommend copywriter Richard Armstrong’s free ebook My First 40 Years in Junk Mail, which is the story of his career as an A-list copywriter.

It also includes samples of some of the letters he wrote over the years, including teasers and lift notes. I typed out the ten teasers that he shares throughout the book so I can refer to them whenever I need headline and subject line inspiration. By the way, this is the first time I’ve ever taken notes while reading a free ebook.

As I read these samples it occurred to me that the letters read like emails. Just like a typical plain text email, many of the letters don’t have bullets, subheads or headlines and were written in a friendly tone. So there’s a lot an email copywriter can learn from reading these letters. Enjoy!

[Hat tip to Ben Settle for bringing this free ebook to my attention on his blog.]

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Affiliate emails: another overlooked part of email marketing

If you have affiliates, it will help your bottom line if you provide your affiliates with several emails that they can use to promote your product.

I’ve written a ton of affiliate emails for clients and they usually ask me to write 3-7 emails for their affiliates to use.

The more emails you provide, the less likely it will be that your affiliates will all send out the same email. This is especially important in the internet marketing niche.

With several emails to choose from, it makes it easier for affiliates to craft their own email more easily by taking pieces from the various emails and putting them into one email.

The most ideal situation would be to provide a custom email for each affiliate - especially the high volume affiliates.

It’s always a challenge to make affiliate emails as personal and engaging as regular email copy but I try to follow the basic structure I follow for most emails:

* Begin with a story or interesting description and make the first paragraph very short, if possible.
* The email should have a setting - a time and a place. For example, “The other day I was sitting in Starbucks…”
* Include three links in the body of the email.
* Precede each link with a question or at least a short sentence.
* Include a P.S. that mentions one bonus or benefit that wasn’t mentioned in the body and also include a link to the website in the P.S.

So if you have affiliates, it’s more than likely that your affiliate emails could be improved upon, or that you could provide more of them.

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This is the part that’s like junior high

Remember that slightly nervous stomach feeling you’d
get while walking through the junior high parking lot where
everyone congregates before the bell rings?

You’re nervous because you’re wondering if anyone will
notice your new jeans and Chuck Taylors…

Or if instead they’ll think you chose the wrong shoelace color and.
give you a Bershon stare (you know, that teenage look of disdain).

This post makes me feel that same queasiness.

You see, as a copywriter, it’s a lot easier to talk about
a client’s product than one’s own stuff.

In fact, I’d probably rather wear 1980s Jordache jeans
and Dexter topsider shoes in public…the clothes that were
popular back when I was a teen…than yak about myself.

So I’ll make this quick.

I’ve teamed up with copywriter Suzanne Ryan and we
put together a website called Money Making Email where
we sell packages of pre-written emails for Clickbank products:

You have 3 options:

1. Buy an email pack and copy and paste the emails into your
autoresponder, add your affiliate link, and you’re good to go.

The emails read like real emails, they aren’t lame templates.

Also, you won’t have to do much tweaking if you want to take,
say, the Fat Loss 4 Idiots emails, and use them to promote a
different weight loss product.

2. Promote Money Making Email as an affiliate and earn commissions
(get your Clickbank affiliate link here). We’ll even write a custom email for you at no charge if you want to promote it. Just ask.

3. Purchase resale rights to any of the packs (contact me for a complete list of packs) and use them as content for your membership sites or as an upsell, bonus, etc.

We’re adding 5 packs per month, so this is a perfect option if you need constant content for a membership site.

We have 15 packs available right now, so just drop me a line if you
want to see the complete list and find out more about the resale
rights option.

OK, the bell is ringing, so I’m outta here. :-)

Drop me a line if you’d like to get the ball rolling or have any
questions.

P. S. While at the website be sure to sign up so that you’ll receive our monthly annoucements about the 5 email packs we’re adding
each month.

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How to add a second subject line to your emails

Now that so many people use Gmail, copywriters should take advantage of the opportunity this gives you to essentially insert a second subject line in your emails.

A Gmail inbox shows the first sentence or so of the email before the person opens it.

If the subject line is the headline, the opening line would be the subhead and the two flow together. In the emails I write for clients I now try to cut down on the clutter in the opening line so that there’s more flow.

Let’s look at how some other marketers have used that space:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Look at the opening sentence: “Do not reply to this email.”

When you write a sales letter would you include “Do not respond to this message” as a subhead?

I don’t think so.

Excuse me while I indulge in a customer service rant: is it that hard to send an autoresponder message from an email address that your customers can reply to?

This particular company has several people on staff. Surely there is someone that can respond to their emails.

If yours is a one-person business you have no excuse either. Email is a personal medium and is a form of two-way conversation. To have a “do not reply to this email” line anywhere in your email is yet another example of broken customer service.

OK, let’s look at this one:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This was an affiliate email sent out during someone’s product launch. I opened that one right away because I was all, “What??? I didn’t order $197 DVDs!”

Of course the email ultimately was about getting free DVDs but I had to open it to make sure it wasn’t really an erroneous order.

I bet that email had a great open rate because it used a scare tactic. Would you use a tactic like that if you knew it would get the email opened?

I will say this: it used the second subject line space in an efficient manner and got right to the point.

Below is an example of something I see regularly - the subject line and first line of the email say basically the same thing:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

A first line that said something like, “Here’s a coupon for 15% off your next visit” or “We hope you come back. Here’s a coupon…” would be less redundant.

So what do you think? Please feel free to chime in with a comment.

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The most overlooked part of email marketing

When’s the last time you ordered a product and received a series of emails that were NOT sales pitches but instead held you by the hand and guided you through the use of that product?

I can’t think of a single time I’ve received emails like that beyond a “thank you for your purchase” email.

Emails like these are called consumption (or “stick”) emails.

About a year ago a client of mine ordered a series of consumption emails for a product and ever since I’ve encouraged my other clients to consider using consumption emails as well.

Most marketers usually think in terms of a 7 part emails series for prospects when creating email copy for a new product and that’s it.

But if you follow up with your customers after the sale with 7 more emails that help them use your product, you will reduce refund rates, deepen your bond with them, and build trust.

It will also encourage your customers to communicate with you, and it’s through that communication that you get opportunities to improve your product and even come up with new product ideas.

Consumption emails are also a great way to distinguish yourself from your competition.

So what’s the best way to write these emails?

First of all, it’s imperative that these consumptions emails do NOT sell anything. They should not be upsells in disguise.

If you have a user’s guide for your product you could take 7 topics from there to use in the consumption emails.

Or if you have a sales letter with bullets - especially bullets that refer to page numbers - just take seven of these and build seven emails out of them.

I can’t think of a better or faster way to improve your customer service… and increase the chances that a customer will buy from you again.. than to start sending consumption emails.

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