How to Pay More Money and Be Happy about It!

Nobody likes price increases, and I’m certainly no different there. But there is one time when paying more *does* put a smile on my face.

I don’t know about you – but whenever I get that notification saying that I have to pay more this month than last because my list has grown – I get a warm happy feeling inside. It’s one of the few times that paying more is *good* news, because it means my list has grown – more people are interested in what I have to say, and I have more people I can market to directly and repeatedly (and with ActiveCampaign – intelligently using marketing automation flows). (more…)

Taking the “Creepy” Out of Social Data

There’s a lot of talk these days about data. And there should be. We’re dumping more and more of it onto the open Internet every  single day. Each day that dawns, consumers should be more interested in the use of that data than the day before. The “creepy  line” keeps getting nudged forward.

Img: Jeremy Keith via Flickr

But we’re all better off because of it. (more…)

How to optimize email campaign content when relying on marketing automation software.

Today’s era of business is exceptionally fast-paced. Modern marketers have become spread thin due to historically recent advances in technology and online community. To say that time is of the essence would be an understatement, but with so many web publications and news feeds updating us with the same information all at once, it seems competition is less about the source and more about the content. (more…)

12 Contest Ideas for 2014 That Can Grow Your Email List

When you offer a downloadable pdf or a redeemable coupon in exchange for subscriber data, you are in effect bribing potential subscribers, in order to grab their attention.

The next level of bribing is running contests and sweepstakes! As co-founder of Antavo, a lead-generation platform I have seen a lot of good examples.Consider these the Big Bribing Brothers of pdf-s and coupons. (more…)

3 Lessons We Learned From Our Clients about “Design vs Content”

This is a guest post from our Friends over at PadiAct

It seems that people love the debate of “design vs content”, they love to argue about which one is more important than the other. Is it design because it delivers the overall first impression? Is it content because it delivers the message? By now, I’m sure you realize this is a chicken – egg problem, and it has no possible outcome that will make anyone happy. So, instead of debating whichever trumps the other, what if we look at how a balanced approach between design and content can make everything better and help us capture more leads? Sounds cool to you? Great, let’s dive in…

So far, Padiact collected over 2,456,085 leads for our customers (we have a real-time counter on our website), so we have a few insights that we want to share with you. We’ve seen thousands of subscription forms, and we learned a lot from all of these, and today we are sharing 3 of these lessons with you.

1. When in doubt, A/B Test your assumptions

“Web design and content are like the yin and the yang, perfectly balancing one another. Or, if you prefer to think of it in terms of form vs. function, great website design is the Form that creates the vital first impression. Content is the Function, the device that attracts search engines, intrigues your audience, and drives measurable results.” – Jeff Kline, Accrinet 

Cool quote, right? Well, we also have a great experiment to back it up.

A big apparel company has used PadiAct to capture more subscribers for their email lists, and they ran an A/B test, to see if they can further tweak their results. These are the 2 Subscriptions Forms they created for the A/B Test.


Subscription form no. 1 looks simple and cool. It inspires action, courage and initiative, Subscription form no. 2 looks kinda “boring”, compared to the first one. No image, but it’s more straight to the point. The copy is exactly the same. So, which one do you think captured more emails? The first one, or the second one?

………………………………………………………………………drum rolls………………………………………………………………………

Here are the results:

The A Variant is the “boring one”. Somehow, it provided 30% more subscribers than the first one. WHY? We can speculate a lot, but most of the people would assume that the more stylish subscription form would’ve delivered betters results, just because it looks better. But as you can see, that wasn’t the case. Better looking doesn’t equal better results. If the guys from the apparel company would have cared only about the design of the subscription box, they would have earned 30% less subscriptions. Considering that 30% translates into 1431 less potential customers, that bias towards choosing more stylish/pretty forms would have costed them a lot of money. Good thing they used PadiAct and A/B tested their assumption, right? This is what you should do too. You should A/B test your assumption every time you have the chance to do that.

2. Context is key

People say they have a problem with pop-ups, but I don’t really believe that. What I do believe, is that people have a problem with a bad selling propositions. Let’s say I’m browsing a big electronics ecommerce website, and I’m mainly focused on the laptop, desktops and tablets section of the website. I’m there for more than 10 minutes, and I think I checked out a dozen products. I even added a few to my wishlist and compared two products against each other. Then, out of the sudden, the website is showing me a subscription form, and it’s asking me if I want to subscribe to get their newsletter. I gracefully hit the “X” mark on their subscription form. Why? Because they didn’t adapted to the context. They didn’t targeted me in the right way.

How could they improve their copy? Easy as 1-2-3. I only visited a section from their website. They could’ve analyzed my browsing behavior and displayed a customized subscription form, asking me for my email and giving me a discount or free shipping or something else if I would have ordered in the next 30 days. Target me like that and you will earn a sale from me. Why?Because is specific, personal & based on my needs. You are showing me that you care about the context. You are analyzing my behavior to give me a better deal. That effort matters to potential customers.

Here’s a great example from a sports apparel customer.

They realized they had 2 types of visitors: men and women, so they used this in their targeting and showed this form.

It makes sense, because men don’t want offers designed especially for women, and viceversa. So, next time you design a subscription form and make sure you also think a lot about the copy, and put it in context, so that it makes sense for the potential client. You can use Padiact to target people based on their browsing behavior, and you can show them the right copy, at the right time.

3. Stick to the essentials & get permission, and then ask for more

The tendency for marketers is to (try to) capture as much information from the user is possible, in order to personalize the newsletter, whenever they send out a email marketing campaign. The initiative for more personalized emails is great, but you must remember that people are usually reluctant to share information with marketers. Why? Because marketers either abuse the trust or they simply forget to personalize the offers in any way. That’s why you have to be clever and have a more common sense approach when asking for personal information. First of all, to capture that lead, only ask for the essentials. If you can work only with an email address, just ask for that. Make everything else optional.

 If you need more info, follow-up with an email survey that your subscriber can fill in for a prize or a discount, an incentive can help drive better results. Once the subscriber has done that initial step, he will be more willing to give you more info, especially if he’s incentivised. Because the subscriber made that first step, he basically, gave you permission to send him marketing offers, and he wants those offers to be top notch (that means personalized).

MEGATIP & TRICK: if you are a smart marketer, like most of our clients, you can design a sequence of forms like the one bellow:

Firstly, our client asked for the email, which was essential for him, and then, in order to further segment his list, he provides the user with some options to select from, so that he can afterwards, use them for more targeted campaigns. He’s already using PadiAct to collect emails for a specific segment of his traffic, and he is very smart in going further with the segmentation.  Clever right? We love our clients.

I hope the examples we gave you based on our clients’ experiments, offered you at least the same amount of insights we got from them. Instead of preaching about design vs content, we showed you that it makes more sense to search for the middleground. Use the right amount of design, with a cleverly written copy. Don’t just stick to one solution, but A/B test a few against each other, so that you make sure you don’t miss out, just because you went with your first idea. Use PadiAct, not just because it’s easy to use and to integrate with Active Campaign, use it because it’s going to help you get targeted email leads, and that can help you drive more revenue, short-term and long-term.

 “Not enough designers are working in that vast middle ground between eye candy and usability where most of the web must be built.Jeffrey Zeldman

Your focus shouldn’t be on the eye candy, but on what drives better results for your business. So, don’t waste more time on stuff you shouldn’t, it won’t make you happy, and it won’t make your customers’ life better.

What other tips & tricks can you share with us, that are closely related to the “design vs content” debate, that can translate into better results when you choose middleground between the two?

How to Collect Contact Data and Use It to Improve Your Email Marketing

This was a guest post provided by Bradford Shimp, the content manager at Batchbook

 Please join ActiveCampaign and Batchbook for our upcoming joint webinar

Email is a simple and effective way to communicate with your contacts. But, is it doing the job well enough for you? On your end, email is quick, easy, and cost effective. But what about your readers? Are you sending them the emails that they want to read? Do you even know anything about them, other than their email address?

It used to be that businesses knew a lot about customers and leads just by interacting with them. My dad, a classic salesman, could always remember the names of a contact’s spouse and children. Everyone in sales knows that learning this kind of personal information can help build rapport and make interactions much more friendly and meaningful.

But does this kind of rapport building have any place in modern email sales and marketing? Of course it does! When you have details about your email contacts, you can craft more personal messages to them. This will increase your success rate while helping your contacts feel more connected to you.

So, how do you collect the contact data that will help you do this?

Ask for more information

If you want to build out better profiles for your contacts, ask them to tell you a bit more about themselves. Maybe right now you only collect email addresses. If so, try adding a few more fields to your form. Name, of course, is essential. But what other information can you find out that will help you be more personal in your approach?

At Batchbook, we recently sent out a survey to get more details on customers, like their job title and the primary use they have for a CRM. This data helps us craft emails that will be relevant to them. A sales manager has different needs than a customer support manager.

You don’t need to collect all of your data up front. In fact, a long form on your website may just turn away potential leads. But once you have a little back and forth with a contact, don’t be afraid to ask for more details about who they are.

Take notes from your conversations

Not every piece of contact data can be (or should be) collected in a web form. A lot of tidbits can be picked up as you converse with a contact.

If you are on the phone with a lead, they might mention all kinds of interesting things about themselves that will help you email them more effectively later on. People will share information about their kids, their favorite sports teams, as well as nuanced details about their specific customer needs.

You can let these little details go in one ear and out the other and continue to just send generic emails. Or, if you’re smart, you can start to write this information down so you can use it later for more effective emails.

Aggregate contact data from multiple sources

Besides asking for information directly and picking it up from conversations, you can get a lot of data on your contacts on this beautiful thing we call the world wide web. Your contacts may be sharing info on social networks, blogs, and their business websites.

Doing a quick Google search for a person should turn up some interesting information. In a business to business setting, be sure to search LinkedIn, which will often reward you with a bunch of useful details on your contact.

There are also two great tools that can help you aggregate social data. Rapportive, which lives right in your Gmail inbox, shows you social details for your email contact. And Batchbook (shameless plug!) is a social CRM that lets you look up your contacts’ Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles and bring that social information right into their contact profile.

Where to Store and How to Use All That Data

Getting all that contact data is great, if you have a place where you can store it and use it. This is where CRM software comes in handy. With a tool like Batchbook, you can build out full contact profiles with every bit of information you collect on your contacts.

It’s important to choose a CRM that not only helps you store the info, but makes it easy for you to use it. In the case of email marketing, you want to be able to pull together groups of people who match certain criteria. For instance, “every lead who is living in LA who likes ice cream sandwiches.”

This is where the data you collect on your contacts becomes useful. By creating smaller groups of people who share similarities, you can move away from generic emails toward relevant emails that connect more personally with your readers.

Build these groups by first collecting useful data on your contacts in your CRM, then by sorting your contacts and moving the information you have on them into ActiveCampaign. Once you have that useful data in ActiveCampaign, you can really get specific with your emails, using things like personalization tags, conditional content, and segments, which will help you be more successful with each campaign.

Check our ActiveCampaign’s continuation of this post on the Batchbook blog called “How to turn your contact data into marketing opportunities