I've written before about a couple mistakes to avoid when working with a Pay Per Click (PPC) agency / manager. This article especially noted that:
1) PPC managers are usually financially incentivized (by their contract with you) to spend more. And while they do want to keep you as a client (incentive to get a good return on your investment), often they can do so without maximizing your results (incentive to spend more and make more). So I gave some ideas on managing this.
(When I run PPC for someone, I may suggest an alternative to % based payment in order to encourage better spend AND expansion testing while helping with budgeting.)
2) Keywords for your brand should be expected to get different results (usually a much higher click through rate and return on investment), so you should make sure your PPC company manages them in a separate campaign. This can let you set different return on investment standards for all other keywords.
Today I wanted to point out a couple other important ways to manage your PPC manager:
1) Make sure they're making good use of negative keywords. You don't have to know how this is done, but in your regular review of your account, ask to see the search terms that are driving traffic.
If you're a barber, you may be bidding on the keyword "haircut" and you want to show up for searches like "where can I get a haircut" (and your ads should be limited to showing up for people in the area you serve). But you don't want to show up when someone searches for "how can I give a haircut," because this isn't the audience you want to pay for. Your PPC manager should be including "how to give" and "how can I give" as negative keywords, along with any other terms you see that aren't appropriate for your ads.
Don't have them show this in a report; have them show you in your actual account so that nothing's being left out.
2) Make sure they're testing different ads for high-volume groups. Truly valuable A/B testing is actually tough to do because it involves a lot of volume to be statistically valid. And if that volume takes too long to occur, then things like seasonality, competition, and changing needs / desires can alter how and why people click on ads. But if you have a lot of volume for certain ads, make sure variations are tested against one another so you can attract more visitors.
3) Consider adding prices to text ads. Contrary to the former point (going for a high click through rate, or CTR), adding prices to ads may purposely dissuade certain people from clicking. That's a good thing. It helps to pre-qualify your visitors. You don't want to pay for visits from people who won't buy at your price point. This may lower CTR while increasing your conversion rate and ROI (or ROAS - return on ad spend).
It's not reasonable to expect a PPC manager to continually change prices in ads. But if prices change on occasion, I believe they should be willing because it can help you to spend more efficiently. However, it is then YOUR responsibility to communicate all price changes. You may also choose to just do this for your most popular products or services.
4) See if they need to adjust for your business schedule. You may choose to take in account orders that come in by phone when setting your bids. Sometimes these can be tracked, but not always, so your ROI or ROAS may look worse than it really is when your call center is operating. But if you do this, make sure your bids are being reduced after hours. You campaigns can be set up to do this automatically.
Likewise, your business might do better or worse on weekends depending on your audience and what you sell. Again, make sure bids are adjusted accordingly. These adjustments can be broken down by day or even to the specific hour, so pre-business, during business, and post-business hours so you can see when conversions are taking place and adjust accordingly.
5) See if they need to adjust by device type. You can have them break down any campaigns results by desktop, tablet, and mobile device to see where your clicks are coming from and where you get your conversions. Be careful on this: people often move between devices before making a purchase, and sometimes use mobile phones (for example) to do research before making a purchase on a desktop. But be aware that you can make decisions from this data.
6) If you're running Shopping Ads, make sure bids are being adjusted on individual SKUs. Shopping ads are those ads with product pictures and prices automatically in the ad, often at the top of search results for products (not services). They are based on a feed provided by your company. These are run differently than text ads -- your PPC manager does not get to choose the keywords that your products show up for. However, they can and should still be using negative keywords and should break the feed out to individual product SKUs, at least for higher volume products. They can then get more or less aggressive bidding on that product, depending on how well it's converting over time.
A good PPC manager knows all of this and the question often boils down to care and attention to detail. If they want your business long term, they should care, and should be happy to have you ask questions about any of this.
If you're concerned that you're not getting transparency from your PPC company, I would be happy to review your Adwords and Bing Ads accounts. You will simply need to provide me with a user name and password to look at them and then review them with you through a screen sharing session. (You can change your password after our review.)
You can contact me here about this.
Please note that I don't take on many client accounts, so I'm not in the business of shooting down other PPC managers -- I will be delighted to tell you that your manager's doing a great job and to leave you with a few questions to pursue with them. But if we find that your account is being badly managed, I'd also be happy to talk about running your account whenever your current contract is up. But no obligation -- I'd just love to know that I helped you improve your company's ventures online.
A new software called VideoPal launches tomorrow, and you could win a free account ... or $100. And whether you get the free account or buy this software, if you do so through my link below, I'm including a special bonus: a 30-second script for your VideoPal, specifically for your business!
VideoPal allows you to put an animated or human spokesperson on your website to connect more directly with your website visitors. (You can see it in action if you visit my VideoPal review.) And with its text-to-speech option, you can have a VideoPal up and running in just minutes.
But there is much more to know about with this software. For instance, the ability to:
And here's the cool thing: if you get on tonight's webinar (February 16, 2017 at 7 pm EST), you could win a FREE account. They're giving away 10 accounts as well as $100 to 3 people on this webinar. And again, even if you win the free account, I'll include my FREE script writing for your first 30-second script.
If you missed the webinar, you can still buy it by clicking on the button. Through February 24, 2017 at 11:59 pm EST you can still get its rocket bottom launch pricing. After that, the price will go up and may become a monthly fee.
Woke up to zeroed out data on Google Analytics today (February 9, 2017). Last night traffic and conversions were showing up just fine, but today the conversions and revenue all showed zero. The rest of the data was still there:
To be clear ... I already have a transaction and revenue showing up for today's sales. But the transactions and revenue from yesterday all disappeared. Data that had been there last night.
So I looked online to see if others were talking about it. No one was ... BUT ... the fascinating thing is that the same type of thing happened on February 9, 2015, as seen in this article (with their image showing below). In other words ... what's up with February 9 and Google Analytics?
Last time, Google had people's data back in place by the end of the day and I presume the same thing will happen this time. Did you experience any problem with Google Analytics dropping your data today? (Update below image.)
UPDATE: And there it is ... 8 am and the data has returned. Strange to have it disappear at all, but everything seems in order!
If you use Adwords and you haven't yet rewritten your ads to take advantage of their expanded text ads, you might end up kicking yourself if you put it off any longer.
Expanded text ads launched in the summer of 2016 on the Adwords platform. I immediately put them into use on a high-volume account and had a massive increase in CTR (Click Through Rate) across the board. Sometimes I had twice the CTR with expanded text ads. Sometimes I had more. I don't think we had one campaign that didn't see a lift when using them.
And they seem to convert at least as well. I've said before that you want to pre-qualify visitors as much as possible with your ad so you can actually avoid clicks from those who aren't a good match for what you offer. With expanded text ads, you're both more visible AND able to better qualify visitors because you can tell them more about what you offer.
As you can see in the image here, I tested several expanded text ads vs. older ads, both with plenty of impressions; both over the same period of time; all falling very close to the same average position on the page. The CTRs on the expanded ads blew the rest away in every case.
So get onto those ads. And if you're a small business who needs a hand with your Adwords account, I welcome you to get in touch. Most agencies won't work with small accounts, but I enjoy working with small businesses and can lend a hand whether you need one-time setup help or ongoing management of your account.
I remember a teacher pointing out when I was just a kid that using "xmas" to stand for Christmas pretty much removed the whole point of Christmas. It removed "Christ." So when I shorten it, I've always had the habit of using "Cmas" instead. Makes a lot more sense to me.
So when I tried running some Google Adwords ads related to Christmas products, I wanted to use Cmas ... but knew that most people would probably better recognize Xmas. So I decided to try both and see which one got a better click through rate, or CTR.
I ran two ads that used Xmas in the headline, and two identical ads that used Cmas in the headline. Of course you cannot perfectly control all other variables in an outside setting like Google Adwords. The position of the ad is one such factor; the other ads or organic listings running nearby could also alter someone's actions; etc.
So to some degree, I have to consider this lack of control in the results, but I'll point out that the best performing ad in terms of CTR was only in the second best Average Position (4.8), and was nearly in the same position as two other ads (5.1). The worst performing ad Averaged a Position of 4.3. On that factor alone, you would expect it to have more visibility and therefore more clicks.
In fact I found what you might have predicted: Xmas performed 92% better than Cmas in terms of CTR (if you combine the two ads for Xmas and the two for Cmas). And this was verified as statistically significant through this handy calculator, which I recommend you use if you are running your own tests like this, lest you assume valid results too soon.
Now this isn't to say that Cmas wouldn't outperform Xmas in another setting, for a different audience or whatever. But this is just a simple Christmastime example of why it's important to run different ads in your campaigns and see where you get better results ... as long as you have enough search volume to legitimately test them.
One caution: remember that CTR isn't always your test subject. If I offer a "Free Science Fiction Book" in my ad, I might get a lot more clicks than if I tell people the book costs $12.95. But if the book does in fact cost $12.95, all the "free book" clicks (a high CTR) would be useless and a wasted investment; those clicking on the $12.95 ad (a low CTR) would be much more targeted to actually coughing up money for that book. In short, not a bad idea to weed out the wrong audience with your ad; save money on those clicks for a better audience!
When I first took over a large Pay Per Click account (managing both Google Adwords and Bing Ads), the goals were fairly modest in terms of Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) -- how much revenue was generated for every dollar spent. And the agency managing the account successfully ran things at or above that goal each month.
At first blush, that sounds like a happy situation for the client, but hidden behind that story are two mistakes that you can avoid by knowing about them and what to do about them:
Most PPC agencies charge based on a percentage of what you're spending each month. That means they have an incentive to build as much volume as possible. Since you're setting the goals, and you WANT to ramp up while meeting those goals, this can be a good thing.
But unless you're overseeing things closely, they could be throwing a lot of money out the window simply because they have no incentive (unless you've built one in!) to exceed your basic goals. This almost certainly isn't malicious, but it sure doesn't help you out. Some examples I saw included:
* Product-specific keywords sending visitors not to the product page, but to the home page.
* Keywords / ads sending visitors to pages that no longer existed.
* Keywords / ads that had run for a long time and were proven not to convert well, so every click averaged a financial loss. Yes, you have to continually test ads and keywords, and there are often short-term losses; that is part of marketing. But these weren't getting bid down or turned off.
What to do #1: At least spot check product-specific keywords and make sure you can see that they're pointing to product pages. (If your account is small enough, check them all.) Then as new keywords are added into new groups, review them before they go live. If you don't know how to do these things, have your PPC agency walk you through the process. They should gladly be transparent, and if they're not, this is a red flag.
What to do #2: There are complex methods for seeing which specific ads are sending people to dead pages, but you can easily check to see if this is happening in general. 1) Go to a made up page on your site and get an error response. Copy the name of that PAGE (not the entire URL, just the page) from your browser address bar. 2) Go to Google Analytics for your site and click on Behavior --> Site Content --> Landing Pages and look for the search box. Search for the page name you copied. 3) See if there is any traffic to that page from your "Paid Traffic" channel. If so, you know your PPC agency has some cleanup work to do. Ask them to do so, then run this simple test from time to time.
What to do #3: Ask your PPC agency for all campaigns, groups, and keywords that have had enough exposure (time, impressions, clicks, or costs -- something that makes sense in your business) at or below a goal threshold that you would consider to be a concern. Review this with them, and do this on a regular basis (again, whatever makes sense for your business) so you can make sure they're bidding down or turning off non-performers. This helps the overall ROAS of the account, and gives you more money to focus on the best performing Campaigns, Groups, and Keywords. Or if everything else has already been pushed to its best performance, it allows you to keep that money in the business for other things.
Don't underestimate the importance of these steps. I was able to save my client many thousands of dollars per month and more than double their ROAS by refining the account and now they would never consider going back to their old approach.
If no one knows your brand and will never search for it, this won't be an issue for you. But if people know and trust your brand, and they search for it before buying, then brand keywords could have an extremely high ROAS. This is partly because your cost per click is likely to be very low, and your conversion rate very high. Those familiar with your brand may also spend more with you than a first-time buyer.
This is the result of branding work done by your company and has nothing to do with the success of your PPC management agency. Yet the agency can use that high ROAS to skew the overall ROAS of the account. So if you wanted to make $4 for every $1 spent (a 4.0 ROAS), but 25% of your sales come from people searching for your brand (only 5% of your spend), then an overall ROAS of 4.0 isn't really 4.0 -- it might be a really high number for your brand keywords and a lower number -- like 3.0 -- for your non-brand keywords.
Again, this wouldn't necessarily be an intentional deception or anything, but if your agency doesn't think to point this out and break these numbers out separately for you, you may not get the return you're really looking for on your non-branded keywords. (And you'll be missing an opportunity to measure some of the value of your brand.)
What to do: Make sure your PPC agency runs branded keywords in their own campaign so you can look at their ROAS separately and set separate goals for your agency to pursue. This doesn't mean you won't pay the agency for the cost of those branded keywords, and it doesn't mean you're dissuading them from expanding the account. It just means you have more meaningful information to make decisions from as you work together as a team.
Of course it's a separate topic as to whether you should pay to run ads for your brand if you're already the #1 organic search result for that term. But most brands seem to have found that it's more profitable for them to do so -- especially given the low cost and high ROAS -- and this is only truer as search engines place more ads ahead of organic search results. (You don't want your competition stealing your brand searches!)
In any case, now you're armed for better overseeing those who oversee your PPC ads. May this save you cash and headaches while leading to more of the sales you're looking for.
Did I miss something important on this topic? Do you have insights to add or questions to ask? Feel free to comment below!
You have to love this online generation where you can use so many things for free because they're digital. No exception in the world of digital marketing where some of the best tools are free, or at least have free options. Hotjar is one of those tools.
(And their free account is so generous, it will be adequate for most small businesses. So if you have a website, sign up for free! My links are referral links but they don't pay me anything. I might get a t-shirt or something. ;)
Coming out of beta on April 1, 2015, Hotjar has pretty much exploded onto the scene of website UX analysis and feedback because of the quality and depth of what it offers. For short, I'll refer to this sort of system as "UX analytics," and if that sounds technical and snooze worthy, it just means "understanding user experience." How are people using your website? Where are they getting stuck? What are they looking for? Are they getting confused by part of a form you've asked them to fill out? Etc.
If you only get three people a month to your site, this kind of feedback won't have a lot of meaning and you'd better focus on building traffic. But once you have traffic, it's important to know what's working for real-world users and what is not. And that's where UX analytics help out.
Frankly, there are two basic levels of this sort of software. One takes a ton more data and is "enterprise expensive." And while that level may have its use, systems like Hotjar can still be used on websites of any traffic levels. In fact, Hotjar's proprietary algorithm provides extrapolated data to keep costs low despite high traffic levels. This is one of the ways they set themselves apart, and also why they can offer so much for free.
In fact, at this price level, the only real competition I see to Hotjar is Lucky Orange, which doesn't offer a free account. (So if you like free, you know where to go.) Honestly, the two services offer almost the same service suite with two big differences:
So while Lucky Orange is popular and offers a nice UX of its own, Hotjar will actually offer the better value for many businesses. Let's take a look.
Hotjar Heat Maps
Heat maps gather information from many visitors to a single web page and show you the hot and cold areas of that page. They can show you how far people are typically scrolling down on the page (do you need to get some critical points higher up so people will see them?). They can show you where people tend to hover their cursors, which gives you an idea of the content they're focusing on. And it can show you where people are clicking the most.
Now the fact is, many websites already have Google Analytics installed and, with a Chrome extension called "Page Analytics," to somewhat see what people are clicking on in your websites. (The site needs GA installed and you need to be logged in.) I say you can somewhat see where they're clicking because it will show you clickable elements that have been clicked, but it won't show you (for example) if people are clicking elsewhere on the page, which might indicate that they're confused and think something's clickable when it isn't.
The latter type of insight is something you can get from a true heat map like the one from Hotjar. And Google's tool doesn't give you the extras of cursor hovers and scrolling depth, which tells you a whole lot more about how you may want to restructure your site.
In my work with Lighting Supply, we used a heat map to test an element on the web page that a former marketing vendor had recommended. In the image below, you can see the "3 simple ways to search!" box -- we wanted to know if people were using it, since we were considering design alternatives. As it turned out, almost all of visitors used the search bar at the top or the navigation bar near the top. Almost no one touched the tested element. So we removed that and the ads next to it in favor of a rotating banner that could showcase the company's most important deals.
While a lot of marketers make decisions from guesses and assumptions, professionals test those assumptions. That's where heat maps (and the other tools discussed here) come into play. They help you see what you need to keep and what you need to change in order to boost conversions.
Everything you could want in an email marketing service, even for power users. As a result, a little more complex to use.
Integrates with basically all software that integrates with email marketing providers.
Easily customized forms, plus many quality designs already available, some with animations; the ability to A/B split test.
Forms can collect tons of information on subscribers; this can be used to segment them into groups (like by city, buyer vs. seller, etc.) This kind of information can be harder to work with though, and many people will not provide all that information, leaving you with undefined subscribers.
* No integration with postcards.
$19/month for your first 500 subscribers. After that, prices increase. But if you will use its advanced features, costs should be negligible compared to what you're able to earn from email marketing.
Everything most real estate agents would need in an email marketing service. Lacking some of the more advanced features.
Can be integrated with other software, but isn't integrated with as many by default.
Easily customized forms, but no other designs available, no animations, and no ability to A/B split test.
Keeps things simple by just collecting email addresses and, optionally, people's names. Understands that more people will sign up when they're asked to provide less information. As a result, no segmenting available for more targeted emailing.
* Awaiting details, but it sounds like they are also going to integrate with a postcard system, which could be very powerful for real estate agents.
$20/month for unlimited lists and unlimited subscribers. A great value if you think you'll build a large list.
The best choice for you is whatever you will USE. If you need something simple, RocketResponder is a great solution. If you want something more advanced, you may opt for AWeber. They're about the same price up to 500 contacts, and then AWeber becomes more expensive.
BONUS: if you choose to join one of the services above through my link, I will sign up for your first mailing list to provide you with feedback on the signup experience from a user's perspective. This may help you to improve the onboarding process and ultimately get more people onto your list. These are affiliate links, so I earn a little something from you using them, which covers my time in helping you like this. These links do NOT increase your costs.
Please share! I hope you've found this information on email marketing useful and that you'll share it with other real estate agents! No, of course not your competition. That would be crazy talk. But share it with your friends in real estate who you want to see succeed. Thanks!
This review will also include details on when you might not want to use RocketResponder, because I want to make sure you're getting the best system for your needs.
On a final note, my links to RocketResponder are affiliate links. This doesn't increase your cost of the system, and if you choose to sign up through my link, I will be happy to test out your first sign-up process (I will sign up to see what a subscriber sees) and give you feedback on any area I think could be improved. This is input from someone who does writing and digital marketing for a living, so I hope you'll find this to be a great value!
What is a Newsletter / Autoresponder Service?
Since I see autoresponders as critical to most marketing efforts, I'll only discuss services that include that feature. But if you only want to build a list you can e-mail from time to time, and you don't want any bells or whistles, and you don't expect to build a large list over time, you could check out TinyLetter, which is a free service by MailChimp (so it's reputable). Please note that TinyLetter has a list of things you cannot do with its service, including sharing any sort of work from home, MLM, or affiliate marketing information.
A Brief Review of Other Services
- Avoid free services. Most will have quality problems and may not deliver e-mails well. One that looks really promising removes people from your list if they're not active enough on it, which can include whether you're sending enough e-mails. They do this to keep your list clean and delivery rates high, but it's hard enough to build a list without your newsletter provider shooting you in the foot.
- Traffic Wave is a very old looking system that is good for two reasons, and if this is why you want a newsletter service, then you should go with them. 1) They offer unlimited lists and subscribers for $17.95/month. 2) They have a multi-level referral program so you can earn money when you use it and share it. I avoid it because it feels ugly, it's odd to use, it's missing features I want, and it integrates with nothing.
- MailChimp is one of the most popular options, and it integrates with tons of third-party software, like various marketing tools. I just don't like it because the user interface isn't fun and it's difficult to add nice looking forms to your site to capture e-mail addresses without using outside software or knowing how to program the design. Also, make sure you know that their free service does NOT include autoresponders. Current cost is $10/month for up to 500 subscribers.
- AWeber is another of the most popular options. This and MailChimp seem to integrate with every other software that automatically integrates with mailing list providers. So if integration is critical to you, these are the best two. (But read this review to learn about how Rocket Responder also integrates with other software.)
AWeber and MailChimp both also offer list segmentation based on user actions, which is mainly useful for more advanced users. Between these two services, I feel you can't go wrong with AWeber. It has a much nicer user interface and makes it easy to put good looking forms on your site for capturing e-mail addresses. So this is my recommended option for power users who are willing to pay more and find that Rocket Responder's features aren't enough.
Current cost is $19/month for up to 500 subscribers, and costs are similar to MailChimp costs as your list grows ... sometimes less. Click here to try out AWeber for $1.
- Other Top-Tier Providers. There are many others on par with MailChimp and AWeber. Some are very nice to use. But since they don't offer much more than the first two, the deciding factor to me is integration with other software, and the first two are more often integrated with things. Integration, by the way, is for use of your autoresponders with other marketing software. It's not important for many users. But for those who need this, I'd stick with AWeber.
Some services in this category are iContact, Constant Contact, GetResponse, Benchmark E-mail, and Campaign Monitor. The latter, by the way, lets you build single opt-in lists, which means someone does not have to confirm their e-mail address to get added to your list. This makes it far easier to build a list, but much easier to end up with spam complaints and to see your delivery rates fall. So be very careful with ever using that option. Most services only allow you to build double opt-in lists to make sure people want to hear from you.
RocketResponder's Claim to Fame
- RocketResponder is easy to use. It was developed for this purpose, to reduce the complexity that people face with other services. You'll see how easy it is in this review. That's why, for the average business that just needs to grab e-mail subscriptions from its website, RocketResponder is so powerful.
Because of its simplicity, I feel it's an excellent choice for independent restaurants, local retailers, real estate agents, independent service providers (chiropractors, masseuses, plumbers, HVAC, etc.), and anyone who doesn't have a marketing department to run more complicated systems.
- RocketResponder costs just $20/month for unlimited lists and unlimited subscribers. Yes, that's it. For lists up to 500 or 1000 people, its price is on par with other services. But if you can build a large list, you will save a lot of money here.
As an example, built a list of 5500 people and your costs at AWeber and MailChimp are $69/month and $65/month respectively. Build a list of 13,000 people and your monthly costs are $149/month and $150/month respectively. Granted, you should be making plenty of money from large lists like those and it may not matter to you. But RocketResponder would continue to be just $20/month.
Now onto the details. Let me show you what RocketResponder includes and how easy it is to use.
Creating a RocketResponder List
Below I will show you ways to get people to join your list, but notice that as soon as you've filled this out, you already have a page where a form will be hosted and can technically get people to sign up immediately.
This page just means you can choose where to send someone after they first sign up for your list and after they confirm their e-mail address. How might you use these (with RocketResponder or any service)?
- After they sign up, send them to a page that thanks them and reminds them they need to finish opting in. Ask them to go immediately to their e-mail and confirm their address. If you've offered them something for joining, remind them that they need to finish signing up to get it.
- After they confirm, you can send them to a page with any downloadable goodies or other benefits you've promised them.
In both cases, these would be pages on your own website or another page online. It's not something that's built into RocketResponder.
Automation is a feature that let's you add or remove people from your other lists when they subscribe to a particular list. So they might be on a list of prospects, and when they're added to a list of actual customers, you would want to automatically remove them from the prospects list so you don't keep pitching them as if they're not already a customer.
Another use might be this: you might want to try different giveaways to get people onto your mailing list. So different forms on different landing pages would send people to different welcome pages after they confirm their e-mail address. This way you can automate all these people getting their unique giveaways. But in the end, you want ALL of them being added to your main mailing list, so you use Automation to add them to your main list when they join any of these other lists.
Adding People to Your E-mail List
- Manually add them.
- Have them send an e-mail to a particular e-mail address. This will opt them in.
- Have them visit the form on a page whose URL you chose when you first set up the list.
- Collect addresses through other software, explained later in this review.
Maybe the most obvious option, though, is to add a form to your website, and I just wanted to show you how easy it is to customize a form.
Once you're done with design, you're set to take their code (notice the "Get Code" tab?) and paste it into your web page. Hopefully you know how to do that, but if you need a hand and you've purchased RocketResponder through my link, contact me and I can help out.
However, there are some useful options if you click on the "Options" tab. I talked already about landing pages -- where you send someone after they first subscribe and where you send them after they confirm their e-mail address. The form lets you override those options and it does something else: it lets you hide those landing pages. This way someone can't look at the form code and figure out where to get your "thank you" gift (an e-book or something else you might be giving away) without subscribing.
In the image below, you'll also see a couple of options for more advanced users. They'll know what those are for. If you don't understand them, you don't need them for now. (But just so you know ... the "Conversion Image" area is great for tracking the results of advertising efforts so you know where to continue investing your ad dollars. This is something I help with for those who need a hand running digital ads.)
Automatically Sending Your Blog Posts
All you do to set this up:
- Provide your blog URL or the URL for your blog feed.
- Tell RocketResponder how often to check for new blogs and how often it should send a new e-mail (assuming there is new material to send).
- Choose a title for the e-mail (could be your blog title automatically added in).
- Optionally choose if you want to say anything before or after the blog content. I usually just remind someone why they're receiving the e-mail.
That's it. Hit save and every time you blog, RocketResponder will do the work of sending your writing to your list. (It shows someone the beginning of your blog content and then they have to link to your blog to read the rest. This way it encourages traffic back to your blog.)
Building Your RocketResponder E-mails
Below, watch a video showing how easy it is to send a text e-mail. Then see the gif that follows, showing how simple it is to build a beautiful e-mail with drag-and-drop.
Notice the option for automatically sending an e-mail TWICE if someone doesn't open it the first time. They also let you manually resend someone's confirmation e-mail to get them on your list. You can only resend one time so they aren't getting spammed, but it helps them if they missed the first confirmation message.
Tracking Results of Your E-mails
Sharing Your Autoresponders with Team Members
Not all services offer this, so if it's important to you (for instance, you have a sales team you want to support), make sure the software you're looking at includes it. RocketResponder offers this, so you can include it in your list of options.
Integration with Other Software
So let me be clear about RocketResponder's flexibility. RocketResponder can probably integrate with ANY of the software out there if the developers of the software take time to connect to RocketResponder's API. Don't let the term scare you -- it just means they can do so as easily as they set up AWeber or anything else.
It's just that RocketResponder is a hidden gem, and until more people know about it, they don't typically integrate with it unless they're asked. However, I've asked and had a company integrate with RocketResponder without a problem.
Also, sometimes you don't need a direct integration. I use marketing software that simply asks you to add the HTML from your lead capture form. (Which I showed you earlier.) It then figures out how to add someone to your list.
Finally, there is a service called Zapier that connects all sorts of software, including RocketResponder. This opens up tons of opportunities for your creativity. You could, for instance, automatically have RocketResponder e-mail you every time a team member added a new line to a shared spreadsheet of business ideas. There are hundreds of apps that can trigger or be triggered by RocketResponder.
RocketResponder Review Summary
But what you're looking at with RocketResponder is something that's super easy to set up. And at just $20/month no matter how many subscribers you get, this should never be a financial barrier. Power users may prefer something like AWeber, but for your average business that just needs to capture e-mail addresses and send a monthly newsletter, or broadcast its blogs on autopilot, RocketResponder will do the trick.
Remember, if you choose to subscribe through my link (click the banner below for a free 30-day trial), you can get in touch and ask me to review the first signup process you set up. This will let you hear from someone else's perspective how smoothly it went, and I will give you feedback about anything I think could be improved.
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On October 6, McDonald's rolled out "All Day Breakfast." While there are some limitations, this was overall something that McDonald's fans had requested for years. Now there are a lot of pundits talking about whether or not this will be enough to save McDonald's, and only time will prove anyone right or wrong.
But the point with McDonald's is that they've been falling from their once great heights, and they have to do something to adjust to today's market. So kudos to them for trying something. They're also working on some healthier food options, and I suspect that both will be good moves for them. I personally wonder, though, whether the brand itself is what consumers are looking for. In an apparent effort to create a different feel to the business, McDonald's launched a new creepy Hamburglar, as you can see from this Google search result.
In any case, when business is NOT going well for a long period of time, some sort of change is needed, and McDonald's is responding. We'll see if they responded in the right way.
Meanwhile, though, this brings up the question of whether you ought to change your business model when things are going exceptionally well. Or at least appear to be going well.
Jet.com emerged from beta in July of this year with a goal of having millions of members by the end of the year. They are touted as an Amazon competitor, but they had a different business model. They would make most of their money from annual memberships of $50 and then provide prices close to wholesale. Which would be highly valuable to the consumer, if they truly gave wholesale prices, which are often 40% or more below retail. In this model, if you shifted just $500 per year in groceries and home essential shopping to jet, you might save $150 or $200 per year. And I think many people would do much more shopping than that.
Since their launch, Jet has become one of the leading online retailers, is approaching 20,000 orders a day, and has garnered all sorts of media attention. Seems like the kind of results you'd want to have.
But even as I've shopped at Jet, I couldn't help but feel I wasn't really getting wholesale prices. In fact, I would compare with Amazon and a couple other low price stores; Jet was often the lowest. But not always by a ton, and not to the tune of making me think I was buying at wholesale. In fact, prices seemed to be creeping upward since launch.
Then yesterday (October 7) just 3 months after their public launch, they announced that they would offer memberships for free. This only confirms the fact that they're not offering wholesale prices, because they have to make profit somewhere. And what this says to me is that they don't want to beat Amazon by being different. They want to beat Amazon by being the same. Sure they have tricks like choosing smart cart items to save even more. But in short, they're trying to get people to sign up and shop regularly for low prices.
Amazon's already doing that, Jet. You had me at "wholesale," and sure ... you'll continue to have me with low prices. When I can find what I want. But Amazon has a big jump on Jet in terms of functionality, features, infrastructure, selection, a marketplace where others can sell items, a powerful affiliate force, and so much more. It makes me wonder how long Jet can compete by being another version of Amazon. Or for how long they can lose money trying to beat Amazon prices while ramping up. Or really ... why they changed their business model.
This isn't to say the new approach won't work better. But they must have thought long and hard about a membership site that offered wholesale pricing. Why would they so quickly abandon something they knew would take several years to turn profitable?
I'll love to see where this goes, and more competition at this scale is generally good for the consumer. But it makes me think on business models and when it makes sense to change. And I'd love your insights on McDonald's, Jet.com, or anything related to this topic of changing business to stay on top.