Why I Finally Dumped Aweber For Emailing My List

After contemplating it for the past year, I finally bit the bullet and changed my autoresponder. This is not something you do lightly. It required transferring, make that copy and pasting, all of the email messages I had setup in my system to automatically go out. Not a fun or income generating task.

It meant learning yet another new tool. No matter how easy it is to use it takes time to learn a new tool such as this one. It meant recreating the opt-in forms on my sites in the autoresponder and then putting the newly generated code in my sites.

Aweber had served me well for years. It has a great reputation, it is well established, and has one of the best if not the best email deliverability rate. It is easy to use and all my sites were humming along with it as my email engine.

So why did I finally dump Aweber in favor or iContact?  Several reasons. I had noticed all the top, and I mean the elite, internet marketers were switching to iContact.   Hmmmm, I would say every time I saw another one switch.

Email MarketingI always “eat my own dog food” as we would say when I was in software development. What does that mean? It means you use the same tools you expect your clients to buy from you and use.  Well, it got to the point where I could no longer recommend Aweber to most of my clients, and in good conscience I couldn’t recommend another tool that I don’t personally use. Call me crazy but that’s just one of my business rules.

People are either starting out fresh with no existing list, in which case price is important and iContact is only half the cost of Aweber when you are getting started. That’s a significant difference when you’re just starting out. Even for large lists, iContact has better pricing except for a few corner cases and then it isn’t much of a difference.  So iContact wins on price. But that alone was not enough to make me switch if everything else were equal.

The real bone of contention I had with Aweber was their rigid stance on importing existing contacts from other systems or from physical sign-up sheets at live events.  Or should I say lack of import because Aweber doesn’t allow it unless the email recipient does a brand new opt-in via Aweber. Now this is just crazy. If they have opted-in or double opted-in and there is reasonable proof of such, there is no need to make them opt-in again just because you are moving from another autoresponder to aweber. This results in a large number of people dropping off the list because they don’t redo their opt-in.

So this was the final straw for me and finally made the big switch last week. I am happy as can be with the functionality, ease of use, support, and price of  iContact.  Don’t just take my word for it, give iContact a try for yourself.

Karen

PS – iContact has a 60 day free trial so there is absolutely no risk.

By |January 26th, 2011|Featured, Online Lead Generation, Tools|1 Comment

Exposed: 3 Popular Myths About Generating Online Leads

There are numerous methods for generating online leads and growing your business online. Before you decide on an approach you should consider these 3 popular myths.

Online Lead Generation Myth #1: There really aren’t any free online lead generation strategies. You’re probably thinking “But Karen, there are lots of ways to generate free leads on the internet like article writing, forum postings, press releases, safelists, blogging, online videos, classified ads, social networking, etc.”

Let me explain. While it is true there are methods for generating online leads that do not cost any money, there are hidden costs most people do not consider.

The hidden costs are time, leverage, effectiveness, and lost opportunity.  When selecting your online marketing strategies, it is crucial to look at more than just the dollar cost of the method. You need to take into account your marketing budget and net profit of each strategy.

Online Lead Generation Myths Busted

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. If you start online advertising with solo ads in ezines, it could easily cost you hundreds of dollars a month of advertising. But you could get hundreds of leads or more and lots of sales.

Assume you spend $500 on solo ads in a month and you get 800 opt-ins from those ads. You make 16 sales and you have a profit of $50 per sale. In this scenario you would have a net profit of $300 (16 x 50 = $800 – $500 for ads). You spent about 6 hours researching which ezines to run ads in and writing your solo ad.

Now in scenario 2 you initiate a “free” article marketing campaign. You write 20 articles in a month and submit them to a top article marketing directory, sending readers to an opt-in page. You have no out of pocket costs since you write the article yourself. You get 100 leads and 2 sales with the same $50 profit per sale.

You spent 30 minutes writing each article and 10 minutes submitting it to an article directory. Overall you spent 13 hours on this approach for the month. In this scenario you have a net profit of $100 (2 x $50 = $100 – $0 cost). This scenario is free but you have spent more time and have less net profit at the end of the month.

Now this is a hypothetical example and there are additional factors to consider. In no way should you assume solo ads are better than article marketing. The point is to show you that while some methods have 0 dollar cost, they may cost more in time, produce less profit, and have less residual income.

Bottom line, don’t just look at the initial cost of your online advertising.

Online Lead Generation Myth #2:
Relationship businesses can’t be done on the internet.

This is absolutely false. There are many ways to build online relationships. Online video is extremely effective for online relationship building. When done correctly, email can be effective as well. And of course, social networking is growing at an unprecedented pace.

Instead of focusing on the quantity of your online connections, focus on quality and non-spammy marketing approaches. You can have 10,000 friends but if you come across as a spammy marketer you will not get any sales. On the other hand, if you have 100 connections and work to build relationships and add value to those 100 people you could have many sales.

Online Lead Generation Myth #3: It is not possible to generate high quality, low cost leads online. Fortunately, this is not true. There are many ways to build a responsive list of prospects without spending a fortune.

Actively participating in forums focused on your industry or niche is one great way to build a list of hyper responsive prospects. There are many others. It does not have to cost an arm and a leg to generate high-quality online leads.

Bonus Tip: Get FREE step-by-step instructions on generating hyper-responsive online leads. Just enter your name and email address below and you’ll get immediate access.

Yours In Online Success,
Karen_Sielski_Sig

By |January 12th, 2010|Featured, Grow Your Business Online, Online Lead Generation|1 Comment

5 Step Formula For Generating Real-Time Leads Via Social Marketing

There are numerous ways to effectively grow your business using social marketing. Social networks like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, MySpace, Tagged, and the professionally oriented LinkedIn are all the rage today.

When used properly, social networking sites can provide massive leverage to grow your business. But for many people, social networking can also be a huge time sink if you don’t know how to connect the dots and have people in your social networks buying from you.

You need to present your business in an appropriate way, without spamming or turning off your online friends, and potentially damaging your relationship with them forever. You’ve got to get them to know, like, and trust you before they will buy what you are selling, especially online. Your online success depends on this more than anything else.

social media

Now I’m going to give you a 5 step formula for getting massive amounts of targeted, free real-time leads. I assume you’ve already chosen the appropriate social networks for your industry or business, opened your accounts, and established some friends.

What’s the next step?  One of the best ways to form a solid business relationship with your network and get more sales is to host an event. It can be a webinar, teleseminar, or even an in-person event.

If you live in a remote geographic area, it will be more difficult to get a big turnout for an in-person event, but if you live in a populated area you can get a good turnout by following this formula. The potential is obviously huge for online events, especially if you do a webinar format.

Let’s dive into the details of the online success 5 step formula.

Step 1. A few weeks before the event write an online press release and submit it to a few free online press release sites like PressAbout and PRLog. Setup a google alert on the keywords you used in the press release. The keyword alert will automatically tell you when your press release gets published.

When the free online press release gets picked up, then go to paid online services like PRWeb and WebWire. You should start getting free, targeted web traffic from the press releases immediately.

Step 2. If you have a website or blog, write about the event on your website.  Take the blog entry and turn it into an article and post it on social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Post your event on EventBrite.com.

Step 3. Tell all of your social marketing friends about the event, and ask them to share it with their friends.

Step 4. Create a short Powerpoint presentation about the content of your event and yourself. Post the slides at SlideShare.net with a transcript.

Step 5. Turn the Powerpoint presentation into a video and submit the video on YouTube and TubeMogul.

Make sure to send people to your social marketing site or blog page that tells a little bit about yourself.  Have people register for the event and send them an email reminder the day before the event and the day of the event.

Follow these 5 steps to generate free real-time leads, then provide valuable content at your event and you will be leveraging your time on social marketing sites into business sales, not just hanging out and having a good time.

To Your Massive Online Success,

Karen_Sielski_Sig

PS – To learn more about how to generate tidal waves of traffic to your blog or website, get FREE Instant Access to the 15 Ways To Generate Endless Leads Training Series when you fill in the quick form at the top right. It will only take a few seconds, go do it now!

How To Use Twitter Marketing To Promote Your Blog or Website

If you are trying to figure out how to correctly use Twitter marketing to promote your blog or website, watch this video. You’ll learn step-by-step how to get started, what tools to use, and what not to do. Enjoy!

To Your Twitter Marketing Success,
Karen
Karen_Sielski_Sig

Video: How Important Is Social Media?

In this mind-boggling video, you’re going to learn

1. The tool 80% of companies are using as their primary tool to find employees.

2. What celebrities have more twitter followers than Ireland, Norway, and Panama

3. The type of recommendation 78% of consumers trust

4. What successful companies in social media do differently

And much, much more. You’ll hear some cool music too. But before you watch the video, I want you to answer the following 2 questions:

1. Do you think social media is a fad?

2. On a scale of 1-10, with 10 the highest score, how important do you think it is to grow your business using social media?

Now click play to watch the video…

Now answer the 2 questions again. Are you answers different than the first time?

This is a very thought provoking video, and one that can have a profound impact on your marketing. I would love to have you share your thoughts and comments on what you have just watched…

Success!
Karen_Sielski_Sig