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…)

Boost your email list with viral Facebook contests

As a marketer, you rely on email. And it works! But how can you reach more people with your  campaigns? Grow your list (which is exactly what Antavo means)!

According to the recent research published on Marketing Sherpa 4 out of the 7 possible ways to grow email lists are about giving incentives to your customers: a coupon, a sweepstakes or a gift.

ActiveCampaign has made it easy for you to boost your email list by partnering up with Antavo, a simple to use social lead generation tool.

With Antavo you can easily put together viral sweepstakes (draws, quizzes, polls), contests (photos, videos, essays) and deals (group offers, coupons, giveaways) without the help of a developer. In a campaign spanning 2 to 3 weeks, you can collect thousands of new email subscribers (and new Facebook Page Likes) and also collect quality data about those subscribers. (See case studies on Antavo’s page.)

Learn more about how this integration can grow your lists in the ActiveCampaign app store.

Once you have signed up to Antavo, you should connect it with your ActiveCampaign account. In case of any difficulties, we’ve prepared a great help article to help you .

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

ExecutiveJobspro.com — Email Marketing within the job search industry

This week, I was able to speak with Rob Mason, founder of ExecutiveJobspro.com. He provided several tips for marketers who are entering (or in) saturated markets and explains why email marketing is essential for success.

What is Executive Jobs Pro, where are you located, and how did you get your start.

We are a career matching service (10 different sites for different job categories), helping job seekers take control of their search and shorten the time it takes to finding a great new job or career path. Our HQ is in Newport Beach, CA. However, we have Account Managers throughout the country. I am the only member of our services group that doesn’t come from staffing. I was an out of work producer that decided to do a documentary on the job market. I was so frustrated with my search. What I was doing felt like I was handing control of my future to someone else. I went for it and after meeting a ton of corporate recruiters I realized that what they look for in winning candidates was not information I had as a job seeker. A business was born. I built a team of insiders with connections and knowledge that I believed job seekers didn’t have.

Your business seems to focus on two groups: employers and employees. What are some of the unique ways you approach marketing for each individual group?

The key to a successful job search is an actual job search strategy. Most employ the least effective tools to land a job (job boards, waiting for headhunters to call). Our marketing is designed to spark a conversation, a personal and informed interaction. Once a prospective member has a chat or phone conversation with us there is an “aha” moment. This is typically followed by the realization that they have been using the worst practices to find a job. But, this feeling is tempered by the realization that now they have an effective partner for their search. We drive all marketing to this one-on-one interaction. After all, our service is not a software system. For us, it’s about a deep personal connection with our members.

Has email marketing always been apart of your marketing model or is it something that was added in to the mix over time? What made you decide email marketing was a useful tool for your business?

Email marketing is the most effective marketing for us behind word-of-mouth marketing/referrals. It’s about delivering a message to your audience in a specific moment, when they are ready for us. If we relied on ad marketing we would not be able to deliver messages over an extended period of time with consistency. Email marketing is about being consistent and showing your audience that you have what they need. It’s also an excellent conversation starter. We have been using email marketing for 9 years.

It seems the job website market is fairly saturated. What are some of the things you have done to set yourself apart?

We provide a service that we believe no other company can, actual contact with former Fortune 1000 recruiters. Our Account Managers have corporate recruitment contacts that they leverage to find the right jobs for each of our members, while these jobs are in the all important network and referral phase. Additionally, these talented staffing vets are available to guide our members and non-members with job search strategies, resume help and, most often, a boost of confidence for their search. From the time you arrive on our site and chat with an account manager (again, an actual former Fortune 1000 corporate recruiter) through the sign up process where you are writing to us about your search (we don’t use pull down windows or automation) there is a human being receiving your information and working for you at every step. Again, it’s a very personal and human experience. By the way, you guys provide the same level of personal experience which is unlike the other email services we have worked with. It makes a big difference.

What are 3 tips you can offer to ActiveCampaign users who are either getting ready to or have recently entered into a market which has a lot of competition?

  • Read customer reviews on competitors.
  • Have folks you know sign up with competitors and let you know what they loved and what they loathed.
  • And, the biggest treasure, ask potential customers what they want from a service. Every change we have made that has worked for us came from what the customer told us they needed vs. what we wanted them to experience. My biggest lesson, take my ego out of the equation. The customers make the service.

In regards to email marketing, what are a couple of your favorite features and why?

  • Live stats are huge. I know what we are going to do in a day in terms of revenue within two hours of the launch of our morning campaigns. ActiveCampaign offers a really cool interface that allows me to see what’s happening with the campaigns. This sets up my day and has made us more efficient as a company.
  • My favorite feature is your online chat. When we have questions or hit a snag with campaign performance you guys are ready and I don’t have to sit on hold forever.
  • Lastly, the deliverability of your service has the others we have used beat by at least 20%, that adds up. Thanks!!!

Why do you consider email marketing to be value adding to the job finder industry?

Yes, all of the services out there use it. We know because we are signed up with most of them…gotta know what your competitors are doing.

Use PadiAct’s behavior targeting to build lists

Have you ever wished there was a platform out there purely dedicated to helping you build quality contact lists? However, you wanted something bigger and better than simply adding another subscription form to your website? Instead you desired forms which can help you get the right contacts at the right time. Wish no longer! I proudly introduce the latest addition to the ActiveCampaign APPS page. PadiAct.

PadiAct noticed a problem with typical subscription forms. By default, subscription forms just sit there. So the questions was asked; what if you were actually able to create smart forms? Forms that know which customers to target and when to present them with the option to provide an email address. This is exactly what the Padiact platform allows you to do. Through the use of behavior targeting, PadiAct allows their users to define the criteria of when a subscription form is presented and of course be in total control of what the form says / offers. The video below provides insight into how PadiAct will help you build a list of contacts worth having.

If you need details on setting up the integration within ActiveCampaign, we’ve prepared a beautiful help article for reference.

“Social Platform” uses email marketing + social media to grow businesses


For this week’s “Marketer’s Spotlight” I had the privilege to ask Tim Mayneord, CEO of socialplatform.co.uk a few questions about his views on social media and email marketing.

What is Socialplatform.co.uk, where is it located, and how did it get its start?

Social Platform is an inbound marketing agency based in central UK – It all started with a tweet! Social Platform has evolved as a “purely social” marketing and contact design agency all as a result of a Twitter conversation which took place in the summer of 2011.

With social media taking over the world how does Social Platform help businesses build the right strategy for them? What are some of the basic steps for a strong social strategy?

We work closely with our clients to understand who their target market is. We are surprised by the amount of business’s who overlook the basics and actually forget their “target avatar”, all too often they seem to be chasing their competitors clients. If we ignore basic principles of marketing, social media or any other for of lead generation for that matter will have little or no effect, it is really important to define a strategy through a process which really forces our clients to consider all elements of their business so we look at existing customer base profiling in addition to desired prospects, brand positioning, product propositioning in addition to competitor analysis. Remember the 3Ms Market, Message, Media -and its always in that order!

On your website it seems you focus on finding a real balance. What are mistakes you see your customer making before they come to you that throw off the balance?

Have you ever traded a car into a garage and 2 days later seen it on the forecourt, so clean you want to buy it back? The point is, you can clean a car but you are not able to valet it, you just don’t have the expertise or equipment to achieve a super deep clean and an “as new” paint shine. Most business leaders think they are able to achieve reach beyond their dreams, winning new fans, followers and ultimately build their list with quality leads, now to be fair to them, they probably could IF they had the right tools, resource and time – fact is they don’t! So the majority of our clients are those who have either tried a DIY approach and quickly realized that, if they are going to get serious, Social Media is well beyond “Billy in the bedroom” or they have realized that there is a world out there and that social channels are not full of kids.

With social media having many different channels, do you think people need to use all of them?

We’re back the to the 3Ms again. When you know your market and the message you want to broadcast we can then and not until then concentrate on the media, we use a hashtag to promote how and why we do what we do – #notonesizefitsall. One of the reasons we have adopted this is because we don’t believe that business need to necessarily use every channel, if your target market [sector] is not consuming information through Facebook for example then don’t waste your time using it, there is just no point, its a waste of energy, enthusiasm and money.

What role do you see email marketing playing along side of email marketing? What are a couple of ways you see them use successfully together?

Email marketing is a key component for our clients, why wouldn’t it be? We need to get one thing straight, Social Media has not replaced anything else its just something that needs to be done as well as traditional techniques, we also need to keep firmly in mind the consumption of information through segmented email. Everyone knows that people buy from businesses they know, like and trust. Think of your social media activity as being a tool to [really] segment your client and prospect base. You see through deep analytics and profiling you can really understand more about the people you engage and interact with, which then mean your list can be segmented with pin point accuracy, then, you can communicate to your audience with information of products or offers you know they will be interested in – your audience will open read and share the email you send just as long as it relevant. Use social media to promote offers and free downloads/white papers etc to build your list.

Within ActiveCampaign, what of the functions do you see as value adding to your customer and why?

All of our clients are reaping benefits from automated campaigns, most of which feature multi-level segmentation and CTA (call to action) triggers through to their linked CRM solutions. Most of our customers considered email marketing as being simply a bunch of sales letters which were sent out on mass and simply did not understand how powerful and dynamic a structured and complete clients ownership program can be and importantly how easy it is to maintain!

Can you please share with me 3 tips or strategies for being successful with social media and email within a business?

Sure, we actually have an 11 tip strategy plan which focuses on the formula to help maximize lead generation though social media for any business, So 3 key tips we would recommend
  • Know your market, make sure you sync’ your data too
  • Grow your list & grow your engagement.
  • Create compelling content – remember, we believe people like share and comment on anything as log as its relevant and in context.

If you would like contribute to ActiveCampaign’s “Marketer’s Spotlight”, please
let us know!

New DocumentLeads integration

One of the largest goals of serious email marketers is to grow and engage your contact list. As ActiveCampaign users know, we’re always looking for new ways to help accomplish this and once again another powerful tool has been added to the arsenal.  DocumentLeads is a fantastic service who recently approached ActiveCampaign  about building an integration for our users. They did not fail to impress! DocumentLeads allows you to  to capture contact information while presenting white papers and other digital marketing solutions.

A huge reason an integration like this can be so valuable to ActiveCampaign users, is it allows you to gather a great deal of contact information from a unique source (white papers) instead of simply the traditional website subscription form. People want to access the white paper or other document types and you now have the ability to create a incredibly strong subscription form in order for them to access it. Its the proverbial carrot on the end of the stick. Overall, the DocumentLeads user interface is very easy to navigate and use. Managing the documents, and the forms for each document is very simple to do and can often be setup within a matter of minutes. Lastly, with a built in CRM and many 3rd Party CRM integrations, DocumentLeads makes the process of not only obtaining contacts, but managing them as well very simple.

If you want to learn more, you can go to our DocumentLeads app page

How to handle the new Gmail tabs feature

Many of you have recently received an email from Google named “Welcome to the new Gmail inbox” where they explained how new tabs feature works. Google has decided to create preset tabs (it starts with Primary, Social and Promotions, but you can add new ones and edit these as well). The logic behind it is that Google will figure out what tab to put it in based on if it is a 1-on-1 correspondence, notification emails from your social networks, or the newsletters you are signed up for. For this purpose, we will, of course, discuss the latter.

When you send an email to your list, Google may classify your email as a “promotion”, and thus will not show it on the main (primary) tab.

Initially there was a lot of fear of what this meant for open rates, conversions, and whether your email would be ignored. For that reason, a lot of companies started to send out campaigns to their Gmail users with a message instructing them what to do. They would send you an email saying something like “Hey we are in your Promotions tab now”, and ask you to “fix it” by moving the message to the Primary view.  This is something you can do as well (will discuss that later in this post) but before we get to that, let’s see if its really the right move.

Is the promotions tab the end of email & newsletter marketing?

AdAge is reporting that despite the original panic, this is hardly the end of email marketing:

“Despite reports suggesting otherwise, Gmail’s redesign has not ushered in email marketing’s apocalypse, according to marketers and email vendors canvassed by Ad Age.”

Return Path has also seen some interesting affects this has had on inbox vs spam placement:

“Return Path measured a 17% read rate for July 2012 versus 15.6% for July 2013, but saw that placement rates — marketing emails making it into users’ inboxes instead of their spam folders — actually improved, said the company’s senior director of email research Tom Sather.”

Some are also thinking (and seeing results) that newsletter, updates, etc.. are beneficial to being in a tab.  The thought process being that people are using the primary inbox for non-stop email interaction and are more likely to discard, archive, or skim over content while when reviewing another tab they are in a different mode of email discovery.

Perhaps most importantly you should determine whether you need to focus your time and energy on Gmail Tabs or if you could improve your marketing by simply devoting that time & resources on creating engaging content that your contacts will love, interact with, and naturally be eager to open.

How to ask your contacts to move you to the primary tab

You can do the same using our system. It is easy to create a segment; you would create one that has a condition “email contains @gmail.com” to send only to people that use Gmail. Once you have a segment in place, you can create a message that invites your recipients to handle your emails differently. The email should contain a short instruction on what should they do:

  1. Click to open Promotions tab
  2. Drag and drop the message over to the Primary tab
  3. When prompted whether to do it for future messages as well, the recipient should select Yes.

Examples of companies asking to be moved to the primary tab

Form Mule – providing subscription forms,surveys, and much much more…

Whenever ActiveCampaign is approached by a 3rd party about a new integration we get excited. Why? There are so many amazing platforms which can help make our system stronger through a simple integration, and why not give our customers the best! So, with that being said, I proudly present FormMule! As their name implies, they specialize in subscription forms. However, FormMule is much more than a simple subscription form provider. With it you are able to “ build any type of form or survey and can even accept payments“.

When partnered with ActiveCampaign, tools like FormMule take your marketing and sales to the next level due to the simplicity of use and high level of quality in which they help connect you to  your customers, website visitors, etc. FormMule went above and beyond to create an easy to use, yet powerful form building tool that can be used by people of all technical skill sets. FormMule specializes in being a well rounded application which can meet many of the needs ActiveCampaign users might have that go beyond the basic subscription forms. If you have ever wanted greater diversity from the forms ActiveCampaign currently offers, be sure check out FormMule.

To learn more about this integration CLICK HERE or watch the video below.

Contactus.com provides new WordPress plugin

Many of our ActiveCampaign users operate their websites through WordPress. With that being said, we are always excited to find new ways to help the ActiveCampaign users build a deeper integration between WordPress and ActiveCampaign.

In early June, ActiveCampaign met another Chicago based company some called Contactus.com at a local trade show. It was obvious that our platforms would work very and together, and after meeting they built a brand new  lead capturing WordPress plugin with many customization options. ActiveCampaign  wanted to share this awesome tool with our users in order to let you know about the integration.  We also wanted to let our users know what ContactUs.com can do to help you be more successful with your email marketing. Below are a few points about the ContactUs.com worth mentioning.

  • ContactUs.com user account gives you a powerful online contact management system that is linked to your website forms.  This user account manages your form configurations, provides advanced contacting tools to help you track and manage your signups, captures web analytic data (including traffic source, pages visited, new/existing visitor), and allows you to manually add notes and missing information to individual subscriber profiles.
  • ContactUs.com’s plugin introduces a proactive approach to capturing more signups from your page.  Instead of a form placed in the margins of your site, you can place a “tab” callout that floats on top of your page margins.  Their research shows that this approach can be more than 200% more effective in getting signups.  (Note: the more traditional “inline” placement is also available in the plugin).
  •  Once you have your form configured, ContactUs.com makes is really simple to add a newsletter signup to your business’ Facebook page using the ContactUs.com app. In less than a minute, you can connect your ContactUs.com form with your Facebook account, and then you have a new place to generate newsletter signups.

Additionally, ContactUs.com has provided a how-to-video showing how easy it is to integrate and set up a form through their ActiveCampaign WordPress plugin.

To learn more about this integration, please CLICK HERE.