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Tuesday, 16 June 2020

The Ultimate Step by Step Email Marketing Guide (for SMEs)


Email marketing is still the most effective channel to direct your digital marketing efforts. It's direct and effective with lead nurturing and is one of the highest converting marketing channels. Mailchimp covers some great industry statistics on email marketing here.

The biggest benefit of investing in an email marketing funnel is the ability for you to sell once but to many. In this guide, we'll take you step by step in setting up your email marketing funnel so that you can acquire leads and generate sales.

What is email marketing?


Email marketing is a strategy which uses email as a way to promote your products and services to prospective customers or to keep in touch with purchasing customers. 


Email marketing keeps the conversation going as converted customers are consistently kept in touch with key marketing topics to nurture and drive interest in your business.

Who is this guide for?



This guide is for you if you have the intention to implement email marketing as part of your digital marketing strategy. Also, this guide is for you if you intend to learn about the time and effort required as you plan to implement an email marketing strategy.

Disclaimer


This guide is long and detailed. You'll walk away with results if you implement and consistently apply the teachings here. To ease your ability to reference, this guide is segmented according to different sections.

What you will gain from this guide?


  1. How to build an email list full of targeted customers.
  2. How to optimise your emails for the highest open rates and click-through rates (CTR).
  3. How to automate the process of nurturing your leads and turning your prospects into customers.

Why choose Email Marketing?



Despite the rise of social media and the negative connotation with email and spam. Email still remains the most effective way to nurture leads and to turn them into customers.

Why Email is great for Sales?


  1. Email is still the world's #1 communication channel. 
  2. You own your customer database. Your Social Media Platform can be suspended at any time without notice.
  3. Email converts better. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers.

How to Start?


Although email marketing may seem complicated, in essence, but it just covers a few major sections which can be easily broken down into 2 major sections.

  1. Start with your list. 
  2. Add an email service provider.

How to grow your email list?


Growing your list does generally involve an opt-in form on your website. However, just placing an opt-in form on your website and hoping for people to sign-up is a strategy that is sure to fail.


To entice people to sign-up for your email list, you need to attract people with a compelling offer. This can be done through a Lead Magnet. A Lead Magnet is something free that you give away in exchange for someone's email address. Some common examples of Lead Magnets include PDFs, MP3 Audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost.

Some ideas of Lead Magnets are:

  • eBooks
  • Cheat Sheet with Tips and/or Resources
  • White Papers or Case Studies
  • A Webinar
  • Free Trials or Samples
  • A Free Quote or Consultation
  • Quizzes or a Self-Assessment
  • A Coupon

How to create an Opt-in Form which converts?


An opt-in form isn't just any boring old form. Its main purpose is to convey the big benefit of your Lead Magnet.

Here's how you can create an opt-in form which converts:

  1. Enticing Headline: Make sure your headline is attractive and clearly describes the big benefit of your Lead Magnet. 
  2. Write a helpful description: A short and brief description is clear and to the point. Use bullet points to help the reader's eye quickly scan what they will get.
  3. Attractive visuals.
  4. Construct a simple opt-in form.
  5. An easy to understand button.

Some places where you can place your opt-in form for maximum results are:

  • Floating bar
  • Your website's header
  • Blog archive page
  • Within your blog posts
  • Your sidebar
  • In a scroll box
  • Your footer
  • Your about page
  • Resource Pages
  • Email Signature

Choosing an Email Marketing Service


To email anyone you need their permission. If you started with an opt-in, usually this includes a permission intent. This is what makes opt-in email marketing great. 

OptinMonster


Constant Contact


sendinblue


Drip


AWeber


ConvertKit


Mailchimp


Personalise your marketing with Email List Segmentation


This is done by all marketing experts and is a process of identifying groups of your subscribers based on smaller interest or criteria for the purposes of sending them more personalised and relevant emails. For example, you wouldn't send father's day promotions to a teenager.

Segmenting your email list is proven to increase your email open rates, and decrease your unsubscribe rates. There are many ways to segment your email list into segments, and to get you started here are a few ways you can organise your segments for your email list:

  • New subscribers: You can send a welcome email series
  • Preferences: Based on what type of content they are interested to receive (eg.: marketing, promotions, etc.)
  • Interests: Based on interests (eg.: pop music vs. rock music)
  • Location: based on where your subscribers are located to share a local event happening near them.
  • Open Rate: Reward customers who are more engaged with a special offer
  • Inactivity: A reminder or a new promotion to entice further engagement.
  • Lead Magnet: Send targeted emails depending on which Lead Magnet has attracted them.

Take time to spring clean your email list


It is important to email your subscribers on a consistent basis, so your list doesn't go stale. Even then, over time, email subscribers will go stale. This can be for various reasons but the most common reasons are a change of email accounts or they are generally not interested in your brand anymore. To keep your list fresh and active, it is advised to remove inactive subscribers periodically.

Write to Just One Person


When you draft your email subject line and message content, it's natural to think of the many thousands if not millions of people who are about to receive it. However, remember the recipient is only receiving an email from you. Thus, it is far more effective to write as though you are writing to one person with a highly personal subject line and a personalised message. To write this way you'll have to really know your buyer persona. You need to understand their problems, their desires, their values, their likes and their dislikes.

Inject some humour



Humour has a way of making a strong, instant connection with people. It's personal, entertaining and stands out in people's minds. It isn't really that hard, all you need to think outside the box.

Conclusion


You should absolutely be sending emails. Even if it is just an email newsletter. More than 83% of business-to-business marketers send email newsletters as part of their content marketing strategy. Email marketing is a very cost-effective way for brands to communicate with their customers and email is an essential piece in any marketing strategy.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

8 Ways to Increase Website Traffic


With a global pandemic upon us all, it is even more essential for businesses to implement digital-first initiatives. There have been some great highlights during these difficult times, like restaurants and grocery businesses have led the way for online orders and distanced fulfilment. 

Yes, that means it is more important now than ever to have an online website that can allow you to receive, make and deliver your products or services to your customers.


A website is essentially space for your business on the Internet allowing visitors to learn more about your business and solutions which you can offer to them.

Having a website solves one-half of the puzzle of a digital-first initiative. The other more important half is focusing on obtaining a higher conversion rate.

Let's take a step back here. A higher conversion rate just means new visitors who are looking for your product or service which would be more likely to find your website first and for them to purchase what you have on offer.

You've likely heard that growing a website takes time. Requires consistent sharing of great content for months and months on end. And usually, it takes around 2 years of disciplined committed work for your website to get big.

It's slow. Not very thrilling.

This article isn't about to be boring. It'll cover some great ways to help your website gain spikes in traffic as and when you carry out any of the following suggestions. Read on.

Here's 8 ways you can increase your website traffic:


1. Make use of your email list


There are so many content marketing strategies available today, and it can be confusing. However, email marketing is the simplest, most cost-effective, and effective way to advertise your website.


As it is generally inexpensive email is more likely to drive a favourable ROI while being versatile. Create campaigns which encourage your email subscribers to share your content with their friends and family.

2. Build a presence on social media


Social media is the future. Don't take this lightly, as many businesses are already monetising from their social profiles. Social media worldwide is increasing at a rapid rate, and there hasn't been any sign of a slowdown yet.


Think outside the box. Don't just rely on Facebook. There are plenty of other alternatives such as Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

Do more than just create a profile. Make sure you spend time to curate valuable and useful information or content that encourage engagement as these actions will make it much easier for you to generate new sales opportunities.

3. Start blogging


Make sure you create a blog and treat this as a priority because it doesn't matter what type of business you are in, blogging is one of the best ways to increase your website's traffic and generate new sales opportunities.

When you blog, you're taking steps to improve your SEO. As you continue to consistently add new content to your page, your SEO factor is improved. Yes, the success of this is directly related to the frequency of your posts. Stronger results came from more frequent blog posts.

4. Use influencer marketing to establish digital credibility



A website is only as credible as other people say it is. A fast way to hack this is to leverage your relationships with influencers. There are 2 ways to this (1) established celebrities (2) micro-influencers. 

5. Improve your backend infrastructure for more streamlined search engine optimisation


One of the key elements to discoverability on any search engine is website speed. Make sure you are with a reliable hosting partner to ensure your website loads fast, and is optimised for key target regions. You can find more information about this here.

6. Leverage long-tail SEO


You might have heard a big emphasis on including key search phrases in your SEO strategy. Who doesn't want to rank for terms like "web hosting" and "Kuala Lumpur's Best Web Hosting Company". Although those terms are lucrative they are also very difficult to rank for. Because of a large competitive base tussling for those keywords.


On the other hand, long-tail keywords are much less competitive and could drive the majority of website traffic to your website.

7. Writing a high-quality guest post


One of the hottest and easiest ways to give your traffic a significant bump is to write a guest article for an already popular blog.

Here's how you can do this:

  1. Establish and build a relationship with the blog's owner. 
  2. Contact them via Twitter, and comment on their postings.
  3. Leave high-quality comments on their website.
  4. Get introduced by another guest writer.
  5. Meet them face-to-face.

Here are some great tips for your guest post:

  1. Use simple words
  2. Write advanced how-to blog posts
  3. Links
  4. Create conversations
  5. Prove you are the authority
  6. Create powerful headlines

8. Create a giveaway worth wanting



There are many free giveaways, but very few take the time to craft a great giveaway that people actually want. Remember people are not signing up to your list because they like you, they're signing up because they believe you can help them with their problem. 

Conclusion


We get really excited just talking about all of these tactics because these are tactics that anybody can use, and some of the tactics that we also use. If you have any other findings that work for you do share them in the comments below.

Monday, 30 September 2019

6 Great Ways on How to Find Leads Quickly (Optimised for Malaysia)


The hardest thing in sales is finding leads. And this is even harder when the leads are qualified and ready to purchase.

However difficult this is, it's a task that sales representatives can't avoid.

This doesn't have to be all doom and gloom and it can be made easier on them, by having a go-to list of places to find prospects and a specific procedure for each platform. That way finding prospects wouldn't be much of a rocket science, but a predictable practice.

Having spoken to a few salespeople in Malaysia, below are 6 great ways you can find prospects fast and keep filling up your pipelines every month.

Start here.


1. Job Boards


Job listings are windows to understanding a person's needs. For instance, if you notice that a company is hiring for an HR person and you provide the services to help with this, you might learn that this would be a great organisation to reach out to.

It's likely that they are struggling with HR related matters and would be interested in hearing from someone who can help you.

2. Twitter


The key to making the most out of Twitter is to have a list of the top 3 or 4 keywords your target people care about. You can search up keywords through Twitter searches, Google Trends, etc.

There might be people searching and asking questions, and others might be complaining about how difficult something maybe. In any case, you can jump into the conversation and add value.

The key point is not to push your product, but be someone genuine that is helpful.

3. Business Journals


This is a great way to keep in touch with the local community and to learn what are the latest news and big events happening at companies within this area.

This can be a great way for you to reach out as a point of reference when you send your first email or make the first call to your new prospect.

4. Industry Forums


You should subscribe to newsletters like that are relevant to your industry. A great place to start is to stay in touch with your target customers email newsletters.

3 benefits of doing this you can:


  • Find out what's new
  • Learn what successes are happening
  • Stay up to date on industry trends and strategies


If they're not active through email, you can always follow them on any social platform that the organisation is actively participating in.

5.  LinkedIn


When used correctly, LinkedIn can be a gold mine for prospects.

Join relevant groups, and add to the conversation and be of help to the general community. Keep engaging and don't sell off the bat.

People generally don't like being sold to, but they like to purchase with a friend. That's the big call.

6. Local Chamber of Commerce


This might not be the most obvious but there are ways to connect. You'd be surprised how many businesses are actively looking for products and services but can't seem to find the right fit.




This may be a goldmine if you know your ideal customer persona.

---

When looking for qualified leads, there isn't a way for fast prospecting. Take your time to build a mutually beneficial relationship or make a friend and the necessary rapport that you earn will be great in the long-run.

Thursday, 26 September 2019

How to Import or Export Your MySQL Database?



Usually MySQL is imported for the following reasons:

  • Switching from a web hosting provider to another
  • Implementing a new third-party database
  • Backing up your database

This article explores how you can switch, implement or backup a MySQL database.

To start, briefly we'll rediscover reasons to choose MySQL, challenges MySQL faces, and how we manage these challenges.

What is MySQL Database?


MySQL is an open-source software system that enables users to define, create, maintain and control access to the database (Connolly and Begg, 2014).

The best 5 reasons to choose MySQL database:


  1. Safe money transactions
    • Transactions in MySQL work as a grouped unit, and unless every operational function is successfully completed, a transaction will not clear. Meaning, if an operation fails at any stage, an entire transaction occurring within that group collapses.
  2. Scale on-demand
    • MySQL has complete customisation enabled. Everything from big data centers to an E-commerce business, MySQL is able to match the database needs.
  3. High availability
    • A reliable feature of MySQL is its consistent availability through its wide variety of configurations enabling instant failover or uninterrupted access.
  4. Reliable
    • MySQL supports SSH and SSL encryptions to ensure safer connections. Combined with restricted user access (even at the machine level) and a backup feature facilitating point-in-time recovery.
  5. Quick-start capable
    • From download to installation within 15 minutes. Implementation of this robust, free database is exceptionally quick, regardless of the underlying platform.

Challenges of MySQL and how to manage these challenges


Some of the challenges faced by MySQL:


  • Development time
  • Replication
  • Database logging costs
  • Query caches
  • High connection churn

How to manage these challenges?

Implementation of database load balancing software. Enabled automatic read / write split so you can a host of advantages (includes: readable replicas, augment failover, analytical visibility, and one-click caching).

The benefit of implementing a database load balancing software is the ability to upgrade your apps quickly and remain up all year round.

How to export your MySQL database?


To export your MySQL database, use:


  1. phpMyAdmin, or
  2. 'mysqldump' database command line program.

Here's a quick note on how I've organised this guide:


  • green highlight = an action you need to take
  • blue highlight = location reference

If your choice to export your database is to use phpMyAdmin


This can be done through the phpMyAdmin web interface, and can be accomplished following the steps below:

  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. Under the DATABASES section of the cPanel home screen, select phpMyAdmin.
  3. At the left pane of your phpMyAdmin page, select the database that you want to export.
  4. When you have selected the database you wish to export, click on the Export tab to begin the exporting process.
  5. A prompt for you to choose an Export method will appear, confirm that Quick is selected.
  6. Under Format, confirm that SQL is selected.
  7. Select Go.
  8. In the Save File dialog box, choose where on your computer you would like to save your exported database to.
  9. Select Save, and the export process will start.

If your choice to export your database is to use the 'mysqldump database program'



  1. Transfer the dbexport.sql file to your hosting account using SCP, SFTP, or FTP.
  2. Login to your hosting account using SSH.
  3. Change to the directory where you uploaded the dbexport.sql file.
  4. Type the following command, and press Enter.
    • mysql -u username -p dbname > dbexport.sql ]
  5. Enter your password.
  6. The dbexport.sql file now contains the data for the dbname database 
    • (if your dbexport.sql file was saved on your servers download the file to your local computer).
  7. Your export is complete.

How to import your MySQL Database


After you have created a new database in cPanel, and similar to importing your MySQL database you can import the contents of your exported database by using either:

  1. phpMyAdmin, or
  2. 'mysqldump' database command line program.

If your choice to import your database is to use phpMyAdmin


  1. Login to your cPanel.
  2. Under the DATABASES section of the cPanel home screen, select phpMyAdmin.
  3. At the left pane of your phpMyAdmin page, select the database that you want to export.
  4. When you have selected the database you wish to export, click on the Import tab to begin the exporting process.
  5. Under File to Importselect Browse.
  6. Choose your exported dbexport.sql file.
  7. Select Go.
  8. The import process has started and should show in your database.

If your choice to export your database is to use the 'mysqldump database program'


  1. Transfer the dbexport.sql file to your hosting account using SCP, SFTP, or FTP.
  2. Login to your hosting account using SSH.
  3. Change to the directory where you uploaded the dbexport.sql file.
  4. Type the following command, and press Enter.
    • mysql -u username -p dbname < dbexport.sql ]
  5. Enter your password.
  6. The dbexport.sql file now contains the data for the dbname database 
    • (if your dbexport.sql file was saved on your servers download the file to your local computer).

Further reading 





Find attractive packages on Malaysia's leading hosting provider here.

Thursday, 19 September 2019

How to Access Your Webmail through cPanel


Webmail applications enable you to check your e-mail accounts by using your web browser. You can compose and read e-mail messages, maintain an address book, and perform other common tasks.

When and why would you want to use Webmail to access your email accounts?


Common email services like Yahoo Mail and Gmail are accessed through webmail. Every major hosting company provides web-based access to their email accounts, webmail. It is a convenient way to access your email account from any computer anywhere in the world so long it is connected to the internet.

Common reasons to why webmail is useful:
  1. All it takes is for your primary computer to face a problem that hinders you from using your email application effectively.
  2. When you are on holiday and traveling without a computer or laptop with you.

What are the two common webmail applications cPanel uses?


Usually there are two webmail applications that you can used to help you access your webmail using your web browser:

  1. Horde 
  2. Roundcube

Steps to How You Can Access Your Webmail through cPanel


To access your e-mail account using webmail from within cPanel, follow these steps:

  1. Log in to cPanel. 
  2. In the EMAIL section of the cPanel home screen, click Email Accounts. 
  3. Under Email Accounts, locate the e-mail account that you want to access and click the CHECK EMAIL button. 
  4. If this is the first time you are accessing webmail for the account, select the webmail application that you want to use. 
  5. Now you can access your email through the Webmail interface through cPanel.

How to access webmail without cPanel?

If you can't remember your cPanel login alternatively you can access your webmail through:

  • [ example.com:2096 ]
Host your business email with reliable, scalable, email hosting from Malaysia.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

10 Important Best Practices to Include in Your Email (for 2019)


All of us receive plenty of emails during the day, and to help your emails stand out and grab attention there's small nuances in email that you should be paying attention to.

Start here: What is email design?


Email design is strategic placement and creation of an email that appeals to your reader, or customer. Typically, you would want your design to be attention-grabbing, aesthetically-pleasing, and focused on your brand image to promote recognition with the receiver.

Why is email design important?


Your potential customer only spares your email 1.1 seconds before deciding if your message is worth their time or not.

Design has never been as important to successful marketing efforts, and it's key to keep recipients reading and interacting with your email.

Below you'll discover the 12 important best practices in include in your email for 2019


1. Craft a strong subject line


The subject of your email is the first piece of information your reader sees. Although the statement is brief it holds importance to pique the interest of your readers. The objective is to grab their attention to motivate them to open and read your email.

Here's a checklist of what your subject line should do:


  1. Grab attention in as few words as possible
  2. Provide value to encourage them to open your email
  3. A good summary of what they should expect to read

2. Write a pre-header


This is the second thing your reader sees. This has equal weight to crafting a strong subject line. Don't repeat the strong subject line.

3. Be concise


The point of email is being straight to the point. Here's a great read on how to write short emails.

4. Maintain your brand through email


Impression is everything in today's age. This means your email should be branded to the point that they do not need to look at who's sending the message to know it's from you.

Tips on keeping your brand consistent through email:




5. Keep your layout clean for a better user experience.


Manage the layout of your email. If you bunch together words in a single paragraph, nobody is going to read your email. More on user experience design here.

6. Personalise email


This works great to enhance your brand and at the same time improves email retention.

7. Incorporate unique content


Include unique images, videos, GIFs, and animations to break up the written content.

Here's great resources for free photos:


  1. Pexels
  2. Unsplash


8. Don't be afraid to use emojis


You can get emojis to use here.

9. Use responsive design


Users today are sophisticated and have various ways of accessing their emails (desktop, laptop, mobile device, etc.) Ensure their experience of reading your email is flawless regardless of the platform they choose to view through.

10. Optimise with CTAs


We often neglect this but a good call to action (CTA) helps you to convert your email readers to take action.

Where to get enterprise email hosting in Malaysia? 


Try our web hosting solution.

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

4 Follow-Up Secrets to Avalanche Sales


There's a myth that there exists a magic formula for any sales efforts, a silver bullet, subject line, or time to write or call your prospect.

The promise of a magic formula engulfs almost all sales professionals, in their constant search for this elixir. However, we noticed that it wasn't a magic formula that lead to more sales, but a proven system with some guidance the secrets to unlocking an avalanche of sales is possible.

The secret is in discovering a follow-up strategy that works best for you.

Here's how you can create an avalanche of sales with these 4 follow-up secrets:



  • The amount of touchpoints
  • The varying outreach channels
  • Time between touchpoints
  • Content of touchpoints

1. The amount of touchpoints


Realise that every sale requires time. The sales process hinges on where your prospect is in their buying journey, and there's no real way to know with 100% certainty.

The first key is to be persistent, because it matters in sales. Although reaching out to your prospects often helps to improve your odds for sales, however, keep in mind that reaching out at the wrong intervals, wrong channels and with the wrong message would ruin your efforts.

2. The varying outreach channels


There's a tendency to only use email as a means in your communication piece. With the world even more connected than what it used to be, pairing email with phone calls and social media outreach usually leads to a winning strategy.

A good practice is to immediately follow up your call with an email.

Add social media into the mix. A great way to achieve this is by favoriting your prospect's tweet and following them an hour later. When they follow you back, you can then send a direct message.

This similar approach can be replicated across suitable social channels. Hidden tip here is to avoid personal social networks such as Facebook / Instagram.

3. Time between touchpoints


Let's cut to the chase, here's the best time we've found that works well:


  • Day 1: Call and email
  • Day 2: Email and Twitter
  • Day 3: Twitter
  • Day 5: Email and LinkedIn
  • Day 7: Email
  • Day 10: Call and Email
  • Day 17: Email and Twitter
  • Day 21: LinkedIn
  • Day 28: Call and email

4. Content of Touchpoints


Content largely determines how you come across as over your communication efforts. Whether you are annoying or just a persistent businessperson.


  • Reemphasize business value
  • Offer insights
  • Educate
  • Share news


Preparing your sales strategy can be time consuming and requires effort. Don't lose your email to non-reliability. Learn more about reliable business email here.