3 Ways to Increase Email Open Rates

Email opening rates have remained stubbornly low for several years now. Various studies over the past three or four years have shown that only around 21% of all email marketing messages get opened. That means that eight out of ten of your customers are ignoring you. That’s not good.

The top sector – religion – is being ignored by over half its email congregation even with a whopping open rate of 48%. It seems that religious emails cannot preach to the converted as much as they would like.

So why is it that so many email marketing messages are ignored – and what can you do about it? Here are three things which will increase your open rate.

1. Have something interesting, useful and relevant to say

Email marketing messages that are just that – marketing – are frankly a waste of your time and money. Your emails are interrupting the day of your customers and potential clients. Put yourself in their shoes. Imagine you are sitting in a restaurant, having a nice time with friends, when suddenly someone rushes up to your table brandishing some product and says “would you like to buy this?” You would no-doubt politely – perhaps not so politely – ignore them or tell them to go away. Yet, when you are sitting working or doing interesting stuff online some email marketing oik does exactly the same, interrupting you saying “hey, how about buying this?” However, go back to that imaginary restaurant. What if your conversation is interrupted by the person on the table next to you with some really interesting and useful information? The chances are you are more likely to listen. The same is true with emails – if they are interesting and give useful information we can use then we are more ready to accept that interruption. The reason so few marketing emails get opened is because they are marketing emails. Make them information emails and you increase your chances of being opened greatly. Think “how can I help my customers” and not “what can I sell to my customers”.

2. Use your recipient’s name and other details

If someone talks to you and never once mentions you by name you distance yourself from them psychologically. Your name is one of the most important aspects of your self-identity and when other people use it you attach to them more easily. Similarly, when they ask you “how are your children” or “is your decorating finished” they are demonstrating they are interested in you. Emails get few open rates because they largely show interest in the company sending out the message, rather than the recipient. Email marketing software, of course, allows you to use the person’s first name – but personalisation is more than that. You could collect other personal details such as location, job title, interests and so on which you use in your emails. The more you personalise the better – indeed research shows that if you use the person’s name in the subject line of the email you dramatically increase the open rate. Showing people you like them as an individual will gain higher open rates.

3. Make your subject lines like newspaper headlines

Newspaper headline writers have spent years discovering how to craft the perfect group of words to make people want to read something. Studies show that the headlines which get the most readers are those which are active, not passive. They also contain emotion and are not just flat statements. Furthermore they include human interest. If you use the recipient’s name in your subject line, there’s your human interest. So that only leaves you with two other considerations – active emotion. Instead of saying things like “Update on employment prospects” say “George, here’s how to get a pay rise” – it is on the same topic, but it has emotion and suggests action. Also, notice the word count has increased. Headlines in newspapers and email subject lines that contain around 6-11 words tend to get the most readers. Avoid short subject lines in emails – aim for 10 words, that will get you more opens too.

So, there you have it, three key ways to get your emails opened. You might have noticed a theme – focus on your customer, put yourself in their shoes and you will increase your chances of your emails being opened.

Twitter Marketing Your Business to Increase Sales – The Right Way

You’ve hear it before-adjust your message to your audience. It’s a trite saying, but what does it mean and how do you do it? Furthermore, if you have that part down pat and are not adjusting your marketing to capture your target audience’s eyes and ears you have missed the boat entirely.

There’s nothing worse than giving a talk to a group of ten-year-olds that was written for the scientific community. In effect, that is exactly what you are doing if you fail to target your message to your audience. The result of your speech falls on cement and the bottom line-you wasted a ton of time and energy, both yours and your audience’s to boot. While adjusting your message is vital to the success of any business, without adjusting your marketing as well your business will flounder and fail.

First, sit down and figure out who your target audience is. Where do they hang out? Do they still search the Yellow Pages or are they adept at using the online search engines? Do they get their news from the newspaper or TV, or do they get their news online? Do they read digital information products or in-hand books and magazines? What about Twitter, Facebook and the like? Once you have this information you will better understand the makeup of your target market. This will enable you to create a marketing campaign that will result in increased recognition and sales.

Now that you know where they hang out the next step is to use the mediums they prefer to market to them in a way that is compelling and clearly demonstrates how to take advantage of your product or service. Just knowing where to find them is a help but using these mediums incorrectly can be just as damaging as not using them at all-maybe even more so.

If you don’t know where to start, begin by following your competition around. Look at what they are using to market their businesses and how they present their case. This will tell you much about what works and what doesn’t. Try to glean from their advertising tidbits to help you better create your marketing message.

One such online medium that is gaining popularity among the 20 plus crowd is Twitter. Stacy DeBroff, founder and CEO of Mom Central puts it this way, “Social media offers new opportunities to activate…brand enthusiasm.” So, if your audience hangs out on Twitter, then you too should be twittering. However, don’t just post inane messages and thus waste your time and theirs. Don’t just shout your message out, you could ultimately damage your reputation and repel your target audience all together.

Begin by listening to what your target audience is saying about your company or industry. Listen carefully and they will tell you what they want and need. Then gear your marketing message towards fulfilling those gaps. You may find that just offering direction or advice will cause them to sit up and take notice of you so that they are prepared to listen when you tell them how to fill their needs. My advice to you, be truthful, timely and most importantly, fun.

Once you have their trust you may be surprised how quickly they help you spread the word with what is known as re-tweets. Now you have a whole new set of avid fans who will take your message even further than you could dream of doing by yourself. Remember, it’s all about creating a ‘buzz’.

Use your knowledge to enlighten your audience and then offer an easily accessible solution. Be direct and clear as to how to obtain the help you are offering. Don’t take them down a path to your product or service. Rather, tell them exactly where to go to obtain it, not more information about it. Yes, you may also want to include a link to more information, but for those who don’t need it, don’t waste their time-you risk losing them along the way.

Sales Training and Prospecting Tips to Increase Sales With Actions I Learned From My Window Fitter

Sales training and prospecting tips from the unbelievable sites I witnessed while watching window fitters working on my house. I recently had new windows fitted and while watching what happened I saw some fantastic sales prospecting techniques that just naturally happened because of how prospects think and act. Forget classroom sales prospecting skills you learn on courses, I saw a steady flow of sales prospects that would fill any sales person’s diary and make their target for the month. I’m now adapting these techniques with my working sales teams and you can fill your diary or grow your small business sales by doing the same.

The front of my house is on a busy lane that leads to the local shops and throughout the day many people passed by and saw the two guys installing my new windows. I saw people slowing down and stopping to look towards the house and the work being done. Some took the contact details from the side of the window fitter’s truck, and many others stopped to ask the guys questions about windows and for prices for repairs or renewals. I have to admit I cringed as I listened to the window guys responding to these passing sales prospects. They were excellent window fitters but not salesmen.

What I learned was the marketing power this situation created. This was far more effective than expensive T.V. or newspaper advertising. It triggered a reaction from anyone passing that had the slightest need for the guy’s services. This was a sales person’s dream, prospects queuing up to talk to someone. It got to the point where it was stopping the guys from working and they didn’t have the time to deal with all these people. What a waste of sales opportunities, I bet there are home improvement direct sales people that work all month to get that many prospects, more on that later.

There are several reasons why these prospects stopped and talked to the working window fitters, and within these reasons we can find valuable sales training and prospecting ideas.

The main reason people felt comfortable was that someone else has taken the first action and decided these professionals were the ones to contact and employ. So the prospects follow some one else’s first action.

Another reason is that these were working tradesmen not salesmen. When a windows salesman knocks on your door they are doing it for their benefit. When you stop a working guy in the street you are doing it for your benefit. Imagine what a sales person could have done with all those leads.

Buyers will always take the easiest actions. Which is easiest, searching through adverts, directories, and the internet and having to make a decision on which company to contact. Then speaking to someone on a sales line and waiting to be ambushed into agreeing to a sales appointment or even a sale. Or, stopping for a casual chat with a working guy that you can see actually knows what he’s talking about? If you wanted information and advice about having new windows fitted who would you talk to. A guy in overalls that fits windows everyday or a smart suited salesperson that knows more about the credit agreement than the windows? So what sales training lessons can we learn from the actions of the passing sales prospects and my window fitters? Without knowing your line of business it’s difficult to give precise sales tips. But consider the following ideas and think how you could adapt them for your sales role.

If you were a sales person for the company my window fitters worked for how about getting your hands dirty and spending some time with the guys fitting the windows. Put on some overalls and talk to all the passing prospects that want information. From what I saw outside my home I guarantee you will fill your sales diary.

Small business sales can be boosted by making all your front line people sales motivated. Put a reward scheme in place and supply every one of your staff with sales and information literature. Give them a prospect pad to take details of any potential sales opportunities, and reward them for every sale that they generate.

Sales people are perceived as doing their job and contacting people for their own benefit. Working people in non sales roles are viewed as being able to offer information that will benefit the buyer. If you’re a sales person how do your prospects perceive you? What can you do to be seen as someone that can benefit the buyer, and how will you get a queue of prospects wanting to talk to you.

How Can Microsoft Office 365 Help You to Increase the Profitability of Your Business?

Microsoft Office 365 offers a robust solution to enterprises enabling them to build a truly modern workplace. Tailor-made for your business needs, it enhances your business’s productivity by helping you virtually communicate and collaborate with your people at all times. From email to web apps to communication services, Office 365 brings together all of Microsoft’s productivity tools, and provides an easy and cost-effective platform for enterprises to move to the cloud.

Let us now do a detailed analysis on how Microsoft Office 365 can help enterprises in achieving optimized productivity and increased profitability for their business:

Intelligent Security

Security is an integral part of cloud services. With a 128-bit SSL/TSL encryption, no unauthorized personnel can read Office 365 applications. Microsoft continuously monitors for suspicious activity in your system and takes immediate action with a robust incident protocol in place. Office 365 has an intelligent security management system, threat protection, information protection, and identity & access management which can help enterprises save on huge additional costs arising due to data theft.

Microsoft SharePoint Online – Portal Collaboration

SharePoint Online facilitates better collaboration between your people. Employees can easily collaborate on projects, share documents, and organize all their information. Enterprises can benefit from SharePoint Online and save on costs associated with managing their own infrastructure and servers as it runs in the cloud.

Exchange Online

Exchange Online helps enterprises effectively manage their email and calendar, and provides benefits of Exchange Server 2010 with no cost and overhead expenses of deploying it in-house. The Single Item Recovery can be enabled to recover any file which has been permanently deleted from the system. Attachments up to 25 MB can be easily shared while user mailboxes up to 25 GB are supported.

Instant Messaging and Skype Connectivity

Let people know you’re available and effectively communicate with them through messages, voice and video calls. Office 365 is tailor-made for enhanced connectivity between your people. This results in optimized business productivity.


With a Service Level Agreement (SLA) offering a 99.9% scheduled uptime, Office 365 helps enterprises with enhanced worker productivity and ultimately saves big on costs. Backup data centers are available which transfer customers hosted by one data center to another with minimal interruption.


Upgrading all desktop systems to the latest operating system is not a feasible solutions for all enterprises. Microsoft Office 365 supports Mac, iOS, PC and android platforms, and has a comprehensive workforce management helping enterprises achieve reduced TCO across management, servicing and deployment.

Web and Mobile App Development

With Microsoft Office 365, it is possible for enterprises to build customized business apps suited for web and mobile. This can help them achieve their business goals and increase profitability.

Being a one-stop solution for numerable business concerns of enterprises, Microsoft Office 365 is an idea choice for enterprises looking to increase the profitability of their business. However, it is important for enterprises to choose only a certified Office 365 cloud solution provider having globally recognized certified consultants.

7 Ways to Increase Your Website Ranking

1) Select the right domain name- Research using Google AdWords and identify a niche market from the broad market to sell your products (the niche market should have at least 50,000 searches monthly to ensure that is sufficient interest for your products). You should focus on the niche market rather than targeting at the broad market. It is easier to be a leader in a niche market compared to dominate the entire market. Next, include the keyword with the highest search frequency for the identified niche market into your domain name. You may want to create 2 domain names for your online business- (i) one that matches the search terms of your target audience for leads generation and (ii) another domain name with your business name for branding purpose. You can always link your leads generating domain to your main business domain. This will help to guide your viewers to your main website and generate sales for your online business.

2) Ensure quick loading time – Search engines give page ranking priority to faster loading websites. Thus, a quick loading website has a higher likelihood of being ranked in the first few search pages. Furthermore, lagging websites will reduce visitors’ interest and they will choose to leave even before your website has finished loading. Thus, it is important to choose a hosting provider that provides quick loading speed and avoid uploading too many pictures on your home page.

3) Useful content – Provide valued and useful information to your targeted viewers. Throughout your articles, you should include high frequency keywords that are used by your target viewers. This is to ensure that these keywords will be captured by search engines and will increase your website ranking when these search terms are being entered by your target audience.

4) Increase external links – Search engine will give you a good page ranking if you have many unique viewers (differentiated by unique IP address) visiting your website. Thus, it is beneficial to get external links from other websites to boost your link popularity. You can exchanging links with complimentary websites (note: not advisable to approach your direct competitors as they are more likely to see you as a threat rather than an assistance to their business). It is also likely that your viewers will link to your website if they find your content relevant and value-adding.

5) Increase website popularity – Page ranking determines your popularity index that calculates how many external links you have. A website with many external links will have a high page ranking. You can search for complimentary websites with high ranking and email to them to request for a link back to your website. It is extremely useful to be affirmed by these ‘big players’ and will help you in getting backlinks from other websites.

6) Social networking- Social networks are superb marketing tools due to its global reach and instant uploading of information. You can create a new networking account to promote your online business and serves as a gathering point for your customers to share their testimonials and give their feedback regarding your products. It is a good platform to engage customers at a personal level to build up relationship and trust. You can also utilise the platform to provide useful information and up-to-date promotions for your new products.

7) Advertising on newsletter, magazines and flyers – Look out for newsletters, magazines and flyers whose readers are actually your target market. Write to these publishers and offer to submit your articles to be published for free. Avoid direct selling of your products in these articles. Instead, provide valuable information that your readers are looking for and leave your website link at the end of the article. If your content provides the solutions to the problems that they are looking for, it is highly likely that they will visit your website in search of the products and services that you are providing. These publications can be a very useful form of free advertising for your online business.

Legitimate Home Business Marketing – Increase Website Traffic with Forum Marketing

SO, you created your website for whatever purpose, to sell a product or service, to show off your photographic genius… whatever its YOUR pride and joy!! But you have no visitors to see your wonders in design or your legitimate home business opportunities?

The VERY FIRST STEP in driving traffic to your website is through what is commonly referred to as Online Forum Marketing. Online Forums are very interactive web pages that allow you as a registered user to read, interact and participate in discussions about a certain topic of interest. You would do everything you can to participate in as many discussions as you can about your favorite topic, wouldn’t you?

The reason is because with these ‘discussion groups’, you realize that this is your opportunity to learn as much as you can from these people in the shortest amount of time! and more importantly, you can establish your credibility as an authority on your chosen topic!

Forum Etiquette – Every forum has its own set of rules. It is your duty as a member to find out what is acceptable and what is not. This can include how to set up your signature. Do they allow links? If so how many? How long can your signature be? Some forums do not allow you to post links that are of certain type of nature. This can include links to adult sites, gambling sites or even affiliate links. What is the general subject matter of the forum? If using a Homeworker Ideas forum for instance, don’t post things that are off topic unless they have a specific thread for that. There are forums that do not allow discussions of a political nature or discussion of religious topics. Even others discourage talking about specific products and companies.

The bottom line is that each forum is different and if you are to be an outstanding member, you have to play by the rules. If you don’t, you might get slapped and even publicly humiliated. That doesn’t amount to good marketing.

In conclusion, the best way to market yourself in a forum is to not really market yourself at all but rather to be a consistent member that contributes quality and substance to the community. When your motive is to help others, contribute good content and become an integral part of a community, you end up marketing yourself without even trying.

When you start participating in various forums, you will notice the various Signature Boxes on the bottom of the majority of the comments posted by forum members. You will also notice that after you read a member posting that intrigues you, you will find yourself clicking on the link of that particular member’s signature.

Just like that, you just created a click through to that particular member’s website!

When you simply register for your first online forum, the VERY FIRST THING you should do is create your ‘Signature’. As mentioned in the section above, a Signature is basically what is used at the end of email messages to give your recipient that ‘feeling of credibility’ about you. However the SAME THING could be accomplished by adding that signature at the end of EVERY SINGLE ONE of your forum posts.

This is one of MANY times you are going to hear me teach you about the importance of your CREDIBILITY when marketing your product or service online.

Your first major accomplishment as an Internet Marketer is to first ESTABLISH your credibility. As you are well aware, the Internet is enormous – and being able to establish even a small amount of credibility is a major achievement, and COMPLETELY doable! Do everything you can to use Online Forums as your first step in establishing your online credibility! Why not, it’s free! Warning!

Forums are VERY interactive in nature, with back-and-forth replying from just ONE particular post lasting for weeks and months at a time! You should post as frequently as possible: 2-3 times a week in as many as 5 different forums.

Try not to spend a tremendous amount of time on the forums. Just simply log in, locate your prior posts to check out any possible responses, respond if necessary, then go ahead submit your NEW POST, maybe read a few other members’ posts, then LOG OUT!

Forums could be VERY ADDICTIVE if you let them effect you in that way. Millions of other forum members around the world find themselves investing TOO MUCH TIME in forums. So don’t forget the reason why you are a forum member – that is to learn as much as you can, and DRIVE TARGETED TRAFFIC to YOUR WEBSITE! Another reason why you want to be careful in forums is because, depending on the forum, it may be a case of the blind leading the blind. You will notice that the MOST SUCCESSFUL internet marketers may not even exist in the forums anymore because of this.

Just to remind you, When you are just starting your internet marketing career, establishing your positive professional credibility is your first and main concern. Forums are one of the most PERFECT places to accomplish this goal. However, as your credibility starts to rise and you start to brand yourself, you may make the decision whether or not you still want to invest your valuable time in the forums. This is completely up to you and your business.

Your Action Step for driving massive amounts of targeted traffic to your website using Forum Marketing TODAY! Simply sign up and register for as many RELEVANT forums as you can, insert your Signature Box, and publish your first posts! Don’t hesitate to involve yourself with 3-5 separate forums – of course the more the merrier! The first step is to modify your profile to include your Signature Box. When you create your first post, make sure you can ‘preview’ your post to make sure your Signature Box appears. Don’t forget to make sure your website link is WORKING, then post away my friend!

The Small Business Success Secret to Marketing With Ease and to Increase Your Sales

So many entrepreneurs struggle to create a successful home-based business – going through times of plenty, and times of drought. Only about 18% of entrepreneurs are extremely successful. Want to know a small business success secret? Successful entrepreneurs make the best use of resources to accomplish more with less effort – they use the principle of leverage.

Small business resources that entrepreneurs can leverage include knowledge, expertise, time, human resources, systems and technology. The result of leverage is a turn-key business that can “run itself”, generate more profits with less stress, and allow for the freedom to enjoy prosperity.

A great way to leverage technology is to automate and simplify your sales and marketing with an online professional shopping cart. This small business success secret allows you to put your small home-based business on autopilot, exposing hidden profit sources. Using an online shopping cart is the fastest and most flexible way to do business online, without expensive and complicated software.

The shopping cart small business success secret will grow your online business by leaps and bounds when you:

o Use custom forms and opt-in boxes to collect names and email addresses of website visitors

o Keep in touch with your customers 24/7

o Maintain accurate contact information of your clients and prospects

o Automate product sales and purchases

o Send personal automatic email responses (auto responders) to inquiries, registrations, purchases, and to follow up with prospects

o Deliver scheduled, informative emails, newsletters and promotional messages to your mailing list

o Set up multiple affiliate programs for others to market your business

o Track the success of your ads and emails

o Test and track your website links

o Use questionnaires to discover customer needs

Statistics show that you need to contact a prospective customer 7-9 times, before they remember your business. Many entrepreneurs stop at only 2-3 follow-ups and are losing 70-80% of their sales! The online shopping cart will help you follow-up easily and effortlessly with autoresponders.

It is easy to believe that doing already contracted work is more important than marketing, but you must have marketing systems in place to generate sales consistently. You want a successful home-based business, not the feast-or-famine roller coaster that many home-based business entrepreneurs experience. Even if you are doing well now, keep looking toward the future and how to further take advantage of this small business success secret.

Several online shopping cart companies offer similar services, but at the very minimum, you want to ensure the program you choose:

o Offers support services

o Offers free tools

o Is easy and accessible

o Is simple to setup, even for a novice

o Offers multiple packages

o Offers a NO RISK trial period

Here’s how to get started with an online shopping cart:

1) Identify your marketing and sales goals.

2) Determine what products and services to sell on the internet.

3) Sign up for an online shopping cart and discover how you can easily use its internet marketing tools to achieve your goals.

4) Get the help of an e-Commerce Virtual Assistant or Shopping Cart Strategist who has the technical cart skills and strategic expertise to effectively market your business online

The online shopping cart technology and its small business resources are essential to any successful home-based business. Implement this small business success secret to develop a consistently thriving business that is easy to manage, achieve your marketing goals with ease and skyrocket your sales.

Copyright 2009, Michele Hanson-O’Reggio. All rights reserved.

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