Email Marketing: Build or Buy an Email List?

Email marketing has become a staple in today’s marketing world, especially with internet-based businesses. It involves personal communication with customers through email. You craft newsletters, articles and sales pitches and send them to targeted recipients through email. This of course requires that you have a mailing list that contains the contact information of potential customers. There are many ways to do this: You can build one yourself or you can buy it from an email list-broker or another company. This article looks at the pros and cons of each to help you determine which way is best for you.

Advantages of buying an email list

  1. It’s quick. Assuming that you have found a well-built email list for your particular purposes, you need not spend any more time determining how to find your targeted customers and convince them to share their contacts with you.
  2. You benefit from experts. Again, presuming that you’ve done your homework on finding good providers, one advantage of buying a list is that you benefit from the expertise of a marketing expert. You don’t need to go through trial and error in order to find out which strategies work best to target your niche customers. Someone more qualified already did it for you.
  3. It is less labour intensive than building your own list.

Risks involved in buying an email list

  1. The biggest risk involves scams. It’s difficult to know whether the list you’re buying is a real one. Considering that email lists can be quite expensive, it’s possible to experience real substantial loss through having someone take advantage of you and sell you rubbish.
  2. You might get a list that is completely irrelevant to your business purposes. Imagine getting the list of a business that sells dating and relationship products when you’re targeting customers in the food industry. A total waste of time and money.
  3. Sometimes you can get a list that targets the right audience, but which has not been updated for quite sometime. You try sending emails to these people only to discover that most of the emails do not work.
  4. Buying a list comes with the risk of associating your business with some bad history. Perhaps the company you’re working with sends too much spam or otherwise mishandles its subscribers and you are unaware of it. You buy the list only to have the account closed soon after and ruin your reputation to your customers.
  5. If you send mail to customers who have not been acquainted with you, they are likely to treat it as spam. This means that your money and efforts will be wasted.

Possible Solutions?

You can avoid these potential problems by:

  1. Paying only for actual subscribers, rather than a whole list. Have an arrangement in which you provide an option to the subscribers of that list to sign up for your own list. Undertake to pay for only those subscribers who end up signing up for your list. This way, whatever you pay will be worth it.
  2. Use reputable companies and list brokers to avoid getting scammed or paying for worthless lists. This in itself requires quite some effort. To save time and effort, use the same companies that are trusted to provide direct mailing lists for your email lists as well.

Advantages of building an email list

  1. If you build your own list, you will be certain that only those customers who are interested in your product will sign up. Your emails will always go to people who already know you and are interested in your product.
  2. There is also no risk of a bad history because you’re building your own list from nothing.
  3. You control all your dealings with your customers and you can be certain about the status of your account and your reputation at any point in time.

Problems involved in building an email list

  1. Clearly, it takes time, effort, technique and expertise to find your targeted audience and to convince them to subscribe to your list.
  2. Lack of marketing expertise poses a real challenge for a person who is completely new to both technology and marketing strategies. It can take too many trials to get it right.
  3. If you decide to hire an expert, it can also be expensive to plan and implement marketing strategies that will get the relevant audience to sign up for your list.

Possible solutions?

  1. You can hire experts to help you create an effective email marketing strategy. The investment may prove well worth it in terms of saving time and effort.
  2. Research quick and effective strategies. There are many resources readily available on the internet. Educate yourself sufficiently before you undertake the project.
  3. Make use of software to make work easier.

Conclusion

If you are more interested in maintaining control of your list and do not mind the slower but safer process of gradually building up your own list, then this may be the option for you. The sense of accomplishment, peace of mind and the community you build, of customers who willingly sign up for your emails will be well worth it. However, if you are interested in a quicker process and prefer to buy a list, be sure to do your homework first. Find reputable companies and list brokers and stick to them for all your business once you find them. They certainly are not easy to come by. As in most marketing strategies, an integrated approach is always best. Both options are effective for their intended purposes if approached with due care and preparation.

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Google Bounce Rate: Why Your Brand Should Care

The bounce rate of your website is potentially one of the most valuable pieces of information that you can take from website analytics, especially when spending a sizable budget on search engine optimisation (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing.

Overall the website analytics provide vital information in relation to your websites usage, number of visitors to your site, page views, visitor clicks, countries visitors are from, how the visitors got to your page, the list goes on.

The task of studying the website analytics can also provide some confusing reading to most.

While examining the website statistics, you may have noticed a bounce rate (as a percentage of all visits) to pages on a website. Firstly what is a bounce rate and why should you care about this statistic? Secondly how can you reduce the bounce rate and increase time spent on the website?

What is a bounce rate and why should you care?

To answer why you should care about the bounce rate, first we must answer what it is. In simple terms, it is whether users bounce onto your site and off again (without visiting any other pages), spending none or a very little amount of time reading or interacting with your website’s content.

The bounce rate (without visiting any other pages), is difference to the exit rate.  Some seem to use the terms interchangeably, however to clear up any confusion the exit rate refers to users who have previously visited other pages and then leave the website.

So why should you care, does this percentage actually matter? Yes, it matters a great deal (especially in the post penguin era). It signals to Google that the users needs were not met by your website, this matters to your visitors and to your crucial SERP (Search Engine Ranking Position). It signals and provides Google with two vital pieces of information, the ‘relevancy of search query’ and ‘quality of content’.

Relevancy of search query

When you appear in the results for a search term, for instance “Best Nike Football Boots”, if a user clicks through to your site and what they see is an article regarding something unrelated, they simply click their back button.

What does this mean to Google? Well firstly Google presented its search results of which they deemed relevant, a user clicked a link, then clicked back (Google knows they are back), hence the content was not of relevance or interest. The user then clicks more results (below yours) and spends 10 minutes reading a page, before Google detects they are back searching again. If this is repeated multiple times by multiple searchers, which website will start to be deemed more relevant?

Quality of content as time spent on site

If the bounce rate for your page is high or time on page low, it indicates two possibilities. Low quality content or non relevant article to the search query, this being the case ensure that the page is targeting the correct audience for its relevance.

If the bounce rate is high from multiple search queries, it then leaves low quality content as the biggest contender, indicating that the query may be relevant, but the content of the page is not worth reading. This being the case, you are seriously risking the integrity of your online brand, potentially creating negative brand equity in that consumers may associate your website with a waste of their time.

So if your bounce rate is high, it it matters to you from the perspective of consumers, SERP, future visits, ultimately brand equity.

How can I increase my time on site and decrease my bounce rate?

Brands need to ensure that their first impression reels in the user to engage with their content, as high time on site and low bounce rate, will provide increased Google authority and in turn, SERP for terms relating to your niche.

This is because Goggles main purpose (as a search engine) is to provide users with pages that are relevant, if users click your website and consistently spend a significant amount of time browsing they have achieved their goal. The visitor is also indicating that they have found what they are looking for and satisfied with the website. The likelihood of their return to the website also increases.

In order to achieve this, firstly ensure that your website follows the basics (a user friendly design). No matter how good the content and relevance, if the user can’t read or find it then it doesn’t matter. This includes ensuring that the website is both simple and clean, having a clear navigation and the content is immediately obvious to the user while the website layout is also responsive to the device being used.

Once the basics have been satisfied, your content must be relevant and of the highest quality, something of value that your users will want to read it. It must be informative and insightful about a topic, while also ensuring that it is relevant and consistent with your site, brand and other articles. If your site is about Apples ensure that you stick to them (don’t talk about Oranges).

Getting this mix correct, greatly increases the likelihood of user participation in terms of discussion and social mentions. Remember that if you are an authority site in your field, others will want to associate themselves with you,  building authority for themselves.  This results in increased non Google traffic and more users visiting (not bouncing) and reading your pages (increased time on site).

In conclusion, post penguin, content quality is of vital importance to your search engine strategy and to ensure brand consistency, should be at the heart of your brand communication strategy.

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Top Tips to a More Successful Blog

The success of your blog is determined by the number of visits that it receives from your target audience. Your content needs to appeal to their interests, and they should know where to find you in the first place. Without your readers, you will end up wasting the information that you are posting. Being at the top takes a lot of hard work and creativity, and you should know how to maximise the tools that are available at your disposal.

Here are some tips on how to attract more readers and increase your website traffic:

1. Know Your Audience

You must have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. Learn about the things that they desire and the type of information that they want to know about. Using surveys is a good way of gathering information about your target market. You can create an online questionnaire and ask for feedback. You can also consolidate comments from previous customers and readers and assess the types of posts that they are more inclined to comment on. Knowing what your readers want will make it so much easier for you to decide what kind of content should be posted on your site.

2. Use Social Media Tools

You need to utilise social media tools to reach a wider audience no matter how good your content may be. Having great content does not automatically gain you a wide readership or audience. Fans need to be able to share your content with their own followers and subscribers using social media plug-ins and share buttons. Most of the major social media tools including Twitter, Facebook and Google+ provide options for sharing.  All you need to do is to make these buttons available and visible on your web page.

3. Capitalise on Hot Topics

Once you have identified the general topics that interest your readers the most, you need to create multiple content revolving around these hot topics. Find different angles or points of discussion that pertain to the same basic concept or idea. If your audience is interested in planting corn, for example, then you can write different articles on how to plant corn, the challenges faced by corn farmers, the biggest misconceptions about corn farming, suggestions on how to maximise corn harvest, and earning from corn farming. The key is writing multiple articles on the same topic without being repetitive.

4. Harness the Power of Emails

It is a known fact that most readers who visit your site will no longer come back for a second glance. There is a big possibility of them losing the original link that they clicked on or simply forgetting about the name of your website. It will be your responsibility to attract these readers to be returning customers. Having them sign up or subscribe to your page using their email address is a great way of encouraging them to come back to your site.  Once they sign up, you will be able to email them links to your latest blog posts on a regular basis.

5. Guest Blogging

Take a look at the most popular blogs in your industry and you will notice that there are multiple writers providing content. There are a lot of advantages to having guest bloggers write for your website. First, it provides variety and fresh ideas for your site. You will also have other people promoting your website as they promote the content that they provide to you. You will also forge strong alliances and friendships with other bloggers and authors in the industry. Lastly, you do not have to provide articles and content all by yourself.

Applying these tips to your blog will improve the chances of increasing and maintaining a healthy traffic of loyal readers. Building your presence online using social media tools and tactics is a great way of boosting your business and gaining more customers.