月份:2018年10月

6 Uncommon Tips to Have Your Most Productive Day Ever

Don’t have enough time to write emails every week? Too busy to regularly clean your subscriber list? You’re not alone. In our 2018 subscriber survey, our audience cited a lack of time as their biggest challenge. So we searched far and wide for uncommon productivity tips to help you take back your time. With these 6 unique tips from experts across the world, you’ll have your most productive day ever.

6 uncommon productivity tips

Productivity tip #1: Write a “not-to-do” list.

Financial expert and investor Warren Buffett swears by the “not-to-do” list. He says that this exercise helps separate extraordinarily successful people from the average person. First, start off with a list of 25 goals you want to achieve and circle the 5 tasks that are most important to you. Tackle these first 5 items on your list, avoiding numbers 6 to 25. These uncircled goals are the distractions that stop you from making the most of your time. They now become your “not-to-do” list! Don’t give any attention to these tasks until you complete your first 5. Related: 8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

Productivity tip #2. Take a break.

In order to get more done, you might log out of Facebook or Twitter. But according to Ron Friedman, Ph.D. and award-winning psychologist, it’s important to incorporate 15-minute breaks into your busy workload. They’ll refresh you so you’re ready to get down to business. Instead, budget a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon break for amusing distractions like social media or television. It’s actually proven that social media can decrease stress throughout your day. Microsoft conducted a study which found that employees were more productive after being allowed to check their Facebook feeds while at work. Related: 12 Questions with the Social Media Experts at Sendible

Productivity tip #3. Work in sprints, not marathons.

Time management expert, Francesco Cirillo, both created and uses the Pomodoro Technique on a daily basis. The Pomodoro Technique lets you reward your hard work with timed breaks. Rather than working against the clock to meet deadlines, you work with the clock to get things done. The technique suggests working in 25-minute stretches or “sprints,” each followed by a short 5-minute break. After 4 of those 25-minute stretches, you get to take one long 15-minute break. It allows you to come back to your work after each break refreshed and ready to tackle the next task at hand. So it looks like this: 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 5-minute break. 25-minute work sprint, followed by a 15-minute break. Repeat. Know when it’s time to give it a rest by using the Tomato Timer, which helps you apply the Pomodoro technique. It’s a stopwatch that will track your 25-minute work increments as well as your 5-minute and 15-minute breaks.

Productivity tip #4. Accomplish your least favorite task, first.

Mark Twain once said “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day.” Everyone has their daily dreaded task (a.k.a their “frog”). Maybe it’s the email you don’t feel like drafting or research you’re not in the mood to do. Top-selling author Brian Tracy used Mark Twain’s quote as the basis for his productivity book, Eat That Frog. In the book, Tracy argues that you should do your most difficult task first every single day because it’s easier to avoid procrastination if you complete your most difficult task first.

Productivity tip #5. Don’t multitask.

Cramming your schedule full of too many tasks can leave you overwhelmed. And trying to multitask to get everything done can lead to mistakes and wasted time. Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that multitasking decreases your productivity.?The human mind can only hold small amounts of information at a time. When you rapidly switch from one task to another, your brain uses up a lot of mental energy trying to keep up. This can cause you to lose time since you’re more likely to make mistakes. Instead of multitasking, focus on one task at a time. Once you complete it, move on to your next one.

Productivity tip #6. Think like a millionaire.

Bestselling author Thomas Corley conducted a 5-year study of 177 self-made millionaires. His findings? That 50% of those within the study all woke up 3 hours before the start of their workday. Since most people are not awake yet, these early morning hours are rarely disrupted by distractions. Try it for yourself: You can use that additional time for many things — like working out, creating your goals for the day, or finally starting that email campaign you’ve been putting off. Start tomorrow, maybe you’ll be included in Corley’s next study of self-made millionaires. Related: Overwhelmed by Automation? Wait Until You Try This Simple Tool

Put these tips to the test.

Ready to see how productive you can be? Follow these 6 simple steps to take back your day,and make the most of your time. To save even more time, download our FREE “What to Write in Your Emails” course. You’ll get 45+ fill-in-the-blank email templates to write emails in minutes.?

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Should You Capitalize Your Subject Lines? This Marketing Expert Found Out

Have you ever wondered if you’re using the right tactics to market your business? John Oszajca did. He’s the founder of Music Marketing Manifesto, an online consulting business that teaches musicians how to sell and promote their music. Oszajca has been capitalizing the first letter of his email subject lines for years. Yet, he wondered whether this was giving him the highest opens and clicks possible. So he used a simple tactic to find out.

The simple subject line split test Oszajca used to get more people to open and click his emails.

To test his assumptions about subject lines, Oszajca set up an email split test. He created two identical versions of a promotional email for his upcoming “Copywriting for Musicians Workshop.” Both versions warn subscribers that this is their last chance to register for the workshop. In his first email, he followed his typical formula of capitalizing the first letter of his subject line. He also capitalized the first letter in the second clause. Subject line #1: Last chance – This ends tonight In his second email, he didn’t capitalize any letters. Subject line #2: last chance – this ends tonight He sent each email to a different 10% of his subscriber list.

To capitalize a subject line or not? The answer is below.

After waiting 4 hours, Oszajca’s split test results revealed that the subject line with lowercase letters got 35% more opens and clicks! So he sent the winning email to the remaining 80% of the subscribers on his list. “It was fun to test certain things that I have been doing for years based on gut,” ?Oszajca says. But now he has data to back up his process, he says, and a deeper understanding of his subscribers’ behavior. Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute

Now, find out what your own audience prefers!

Want to know what kind of emails lead to the best performance with your own subscribers? Use AWeber’s split testing feature to find out. (Don’t have AWeber? Claim a 30-day free trial here.) And if you’d like to learn more about split testing, download our FREE guide to split testing.

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This Subject Line Split Test Increased Website Traffic by 83%

You can set up an email split test in 1 minute that could nearly double your click-through rates and website traffic. Sound too good to be true? It’s not. Because that’s?exactly what happened when Light Stalking, a photography sharing community, split test their subject lines. In this post, discover the simple change that increased their website traffic from an email by 83%.

The subject line split test

Every weekend, Light Stalking hosts a photography challenge around a particular theme. People can post a photograph that aligns with the theme and share their feedback on other’s photos. Rob Wood, the founder of Light Stalking, relies on email to drive traffic to these weekend challenges. That’s why Wood decided to run an email split test on the subject line of his recent weekly challenge email, which asked people to submit a photo of a silhouette. “I was trying to get more opens, more reads, and potentially more traffic,” he said. Related:?How to Create Amazing Photos for Your Emails on Zero Budget For his split test, he created two emails in AWeber. Each message used the same email content but with different subject lines. Wood wanted to find out whether a short subject line that mentioned the topic of the challenge would win against a subject line that was longer and announced that the next weekly challenge was live. For email 1, Wood used a descriptive, straightforward subject line: “Weekly Challenge is Live!” For email 2, he wrote a short subject line that hinted at the topic of the challenge: “Silhouettes.” Related: 6 Email Split Tests You Can Set Up in 1 Minute Wood set up his split test so that 5% of the subscribers on his email list received email 1. And 5% of his subscribers received email 2. He waited a day to see which email performed better. Then, he sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his subscribers. Wood hoped this would maximize his engagement. Pro tip: In AWeber, you can customize what percentage of your list receives each email in your split test. You can also test up to 3 emails at a time! (Want to try AWeber’s split test feature? Create a free trial account now.)

The split test results

The subject line “Silhouettes” won! It got 10% more opens than the email with the subject line “Weekly Challenge is Live!” It also earned an 83% higher click-through rate. This drove nearly double the number of website visitors compared to the email with a longer, more descriptive subject line. When Wood sent the winning email to the remaining 90% of his email list, he was able to get an above average click-through rate. This drove more people to the Light Stalking community and increased forum engagement. “This split testing feature is great. It will have a noticeable impact on traffic to my site from newsletters,” Wood said.

The takeaway?

Boosting your open rates by even a small amount can have a huge impact on your click-through rates and website traffic. To see how your own subscribers respond, try testing a short subject line that’s less descriptive against a longer, more descriptive subject line. Not sure how to set up your own email split test? Download our free guide to email split tests. You’ll learn everything you need to know to run successful split tests.

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Your Small Business or Nonprofit Could Win $20,000! Here’s How

Small Business Big Impact Award

In your life, there are big, defining moments that you never forget. Weddings. Heartbreaks. Vacations. Graduations. Homeruns. Births. Funerals. But then there are smaller, defining moments that stay with you, too. The experiences that transcend your everyday “normal,” and bring delight and surprise into your life. They suddenly transform your ordinary into extraordinary. They’re memorable, unexpected, and impactful. It’s these smaller moments that AWeber has strived to create daily for our customers over the past 20 years. It’s why we provide an award-winning 24/7 Customer Solutions team at our headquarters in Pennsylvania. They’re here to help you succeed around-the-clock. It’s why we send socks, T-shirts, stickers, and hand-written notes to a new group of customers every single month. It’s why our Chief Operating Officer, Sean Cohen (who started as a Customer Solutions Manager at AWeber 17 years ago) still communicates with customers through email or on the phone on a weekly basis. It’s why every new feature we release on our platform is based on extensive, one-on-one customer feedback. It’s why our spam-fighting space explorer mascot, Commander AJ, makes impromptu appearances at conferences to meet up with customers. (Heck, it’s why we built a lifesize space explorer mascot to begin with!) And it’s why, after a customer tweeted us saying, “I love AWeber. If you guys made a cereal, I’d eat it every morning,” we actually made a brand-new cereal and sent it to him. “Everything we do has an impact on our customers,” says Cohen. “So we shoot for remarkable. Not good. Not great. But remarkable.” Now, to celebrate 20 years of creating remarkable experiences for more than 1 million small businesses, AWeber wants to reward one small business or nonprofit that goes above and beyond for its customers. That’s why we’re launching the Small Business, Big Impact! Award. Small Business Big Impact Award The Small Business, Big Impact! Award contest begins on October 15, 2018, and all entries must be submitted by January 4, 2019 at 11:59 p.m. ET. To enter, click here. Tell us how you already create remarkable experiences for your customers — and how you’d use the $20,000 to make an even bigger impact.

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8 Top Brainstorming Techniques to Help You Write Killer Emails

brainstorming techniques

I can’t think of anything to write. That’s one of the top reasons we hear from customers about why their email marketing went stagnate. They just run out of ideas or topics to write about. So instead of sending a lackluster email, they don’t send any at all. Even pro writers come up with major email block. Ann Handley, co-founder of Marketing Profs and the popular book “Everybody Writes,” only sent two emails to her subscribers in 2017. (In fact, the lack of communication was her catalyst behind revamping her entire newsletter strategy this year.) We never want your email list to go dormant. After all, you put in a ton of work to gather subscribers. Don’t leave them hanging. That’s why we’ve gathered 8 brainstorming techniques that will help you create a list of topics for future emails. Never waste time trying to think of a topic when you should be writing!

Quick Notes on Brainstorming

First things first: Let’s go over a few quick notes re: brainstorming.

  1. Coming up with ideas for your content is serious, but don’t get too caught up on producing the perfect idea right away. If you’re too critical, you won’t get anything written down. You never know what a random word now could make you think of later. Keep a positive mindset and be open to any and all ideas.
  2. Don’t worry too much about following the rules. Brainstorming is all about creativity and finding whatever method works best for you. While one person might do well with a structured brainstorming process, another might thrive with a loose, free-flowing idea session.

The important thing to remember about brainstorming ideas for your email campaigns is that you’ll want to stay open-minded throughout your process . . . regardless of what that looks like. Next, let’s start looking at a few specific brainstorming techniques you can try to get the ideas flowing.

Brainstorming Techniques for Stellar Email Ideas

Brainstorming Technique #1: Word Association

Start with one or two words related to a broad topic, and write down anything they make you think of. Let your inner editor rest for a bit and just jot down whatever ideas and words come to mind. If you need help, try a tool like Visuwords to get the process going. Don’t overthink things or worry about explaining how the words are related (at least right now.) Instead, let the ideas flow and see what interesting concepts naturally arise. Word Association Brainstorming Techniques Image source:

Brainstorming Technique #2: Mind Mapping

This is a similar concept to the word association technique. Start with a word in the middle and draw lines outward to the ideas that word sparks. Mapping helps you visually process your ideas and decide which ones are the strongest. Mind Mapping Brainstorm Techniques Image source: CoSchedule?

Brainstorming Technique #3:?The Medici Effect

If we can figure out how things are connected, sometimes we can borrow solutions or ideas from another field to solve our own problems. Look for parallels around the issues you’re facing in different areas — like your personal life or at work. For example: Did you recently overcome a challenge at work that taught you a lesson or provided some new perspective on an issue? How can you share that experience as a story that may help your audience with their biggest pain point? You might have come to a solution that would make for a brilliant email campaign.

Brainstorming Technique #4: Blind Writing

Just. Don’t. Stop. You don’t need a plan of attack or an outline for this — just put words on a blank page, no matter what they are. You never know what will spark an idea, and writing anything is the first step to writing something good.

Brainstorming Technique #5: Challenger

Make a list of your assumptions (about your customers, your content, your format, etc.) and then challenge them one by one. You might think you already know the best way to do something, but we don’t make progress by never questioning things. Related: FREE Course: Learn How to Write Better Emails

Brainstorming Technique #6: SWOT Analysis

Create a table to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) to your current approach to email content. This helps you see your process in a more analytic way and logically decide if there is a more effective way to write, share, and educate. As you complete your SWOT analysis, be sure to see what your main competitors are doing and make notes on how you may (or may not) be measuring up with your current approach. SWOT brainstorming techniques Image source: Brainstorming Technique #7: Turn to Your Readers Conversations with your subscribers can lead to a treasure trove of email ideas. Ask your subscribers questions and try to find out as much information about them as possible. What do they actually want or need from you? What are their biggest obstacles, goals, or main pain points? Your subscribers feedback will be immensely valuable to your business. You can use it to write your next email, and other types of content like blog posts, videos, and social media posts. You can also take it a step further by using the feedback to?correctly position your product, inspire loyalty, and/or develop all-new products. Brainstorming Technique #8: Start with the Subject Line Set a timer for 5 minutes. Then, come up with a list of subject lines that you would absolutely open if they hit your inbox. These subject lines may spark some all-new content ideas. We use this technique at the start of many of our content planning meetings at AWeber. In fact, some of our most popular stories have come out of this exercise. We keep an updated swipe file of the subject lines — some of which are practical, some of which are outrageous — and browse the list for new blog post or email ideas whenever we need some inspiration. Related:?Your Guide to Writing the World’s Best Email Subject Lines

Brilliant Email Ideas, Time After Time

Consistently sending emails is a wonderful way to keep subscribers engaged, but try not to forget that no one wants to open an email that doesn’t actually have any new or useful information. Having a constant supply of fresh email ideas keeps you from getting marked as spam and sent to the junk mailbox, never to be opened again. On a regular basis, brainstorm new topics through these different approaches and keep a swipe file of your best and brightest ideas. You’ll never hit a bottleneck in ideas for email campaigns again. Ready to start sending killer emails to your list? Then sign up for your free 30-day trial of AWeber today.

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After 4 Years, We Rebranded Our Email Newsletter. Here’s Why.

Every Thursday at 2:00 p.m. ET, we email our weekly newsletter to more than 30,000 subscribers. It contains our most recent educational blog posts, videos, and webinars. This email earns a high open and click-through rate every week. And the majority of our audience regularly shares positive feedback with us about it. But we started to wonder: Could we do even better? Were we missing anything??So we went to the experts?— you, and all our subscribers — to find out. This year, we asked more extensive questions in our annual survey. We questioned subscribers about what they liked and what they didn’t. We asked them what changes would improve the email. When we began analyzing the results, we learned some surprising things. Here’s what you told us and what we did about it.

You said we should stand out more. We took that pretty seriously.

When we asked readers what they thought of our newsletter, one said, “OK, but just ordinary.” And another said, “The simplicity is great. But your branding needs to be stronger.” Great emails stand out. They stop readers in their tracks. They’re valuable and beautiful. And they have strong branding. That’s why we’ve rebranded our email with bright colors, a new name, and a new logo. Introducing FWD: Thinking — our updated and improved newsletter. After running a split test of this updated newsletter against our standard newsletter, we saw positive results. We got great email engagement and happy feedback from subscribers. One subscriber even messaged us to say, “Love this new layout!” But this newsletter isn’t simply rebranded. Using your feedback, we’ve revamped the content, too.

You asked for quick, easy-to-digest advice. We added it.

As we were reading through the survey results, themes quickly appeared. Time was the most common one. You said you don’t have a lot of it, so you need information you can digest in minutes. “Give me quick wins,” one reader said. Another said, “I’d like more content with small, easy steps.” That’s why we added a quick tip section to our newsletter. This section highlights inspirational quotes, actionable advice, and pro tips. You can read it in seconds and apply it quickly. Related: The 4 Survey Emails That’ll Give You Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions

You’re busy. Now, you can instantly find out how much time it’ll take to read a post.

Many subscribers told us that they’re not sure if they have the time to read an article when they receive our email. So they archive the message to read later. Then, they never get to it. That’s why we added read times to our posts within the email. Now, you know what your time commitment is before reading and can plan accordingly. Related: How to Craft Irresistible Newsletter Content

You said our newsletter was overwhelming. We made it easier to focus on what’s important.

You can’t have too much value in an email, right? That’s what we thought. So we pack each of our newsletters with tons of valuable content. But some of our readers said this was actually overwhelming. “I think maybe fewer items per newsletter would make me more likely to read it. It’s kind of overwhelming when there are so many articles to read,” said one subscriber. This feedback was a challenge for us. Although some readers were overwhelmed, others appreciated how much content we included in each email. Instead of cutting content from the email, we decided to make it easier for readers to focus on what’s new. In our newsletter, we originally had 3 sections with educational content. The design of each section was identical. While this format was simple and easy to digest, it could also overwhelm time-strapped subscribers by giving them too many choices. In our updated newsletter, we’ve made it simple for readers to tell which post is the most important — with design hierarchy. Instead of 3 identically-weighted content sections, we now have 1 featured post and 2 supporting posts. We placed more emphasis on the featured post by using a larger image, describing the post in more detail, and centering it. We decreased focus for the 2 supporting posts by making them smaller and decreasing the explainer text. This use of hierarchy makes it easy for busy readers to pick the one post they should read. And for those who want to read every post, we still have the same amount of value in each email. Related: The Top Email Design Trends You Must Know

You have questions. Now you can ask them directly from our newsletter.

This reader comment had a big impact on our redesign: “I don’t know how to start, and I don’t know how to make the time to do [email marketing]. I work long hours, and I get back home very tired.” We wanted to help. After brainstorming how we could better serve this reader, we came up with an idea: What if we asked our readers to submit questions directly from our weekly newsletter? Our team of email experts could answer these questions by creating a detailed blog post or video. So we added a new question submission section to our newsletter. Now, readers can submit their questions. And we can write content to answer those questions in the near future. Related: The Simple Question You Should ALWAYS Include in Your Emails

What do you think?

We’re excited to see how you like the improvements. Have questions or feedback? Tell us in the comments section below.

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