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The Lessons Learned from the Experiment

I am honored, touched, humbled, and so appreciative of the feedback you gave me earlier this week when I sent out my “I Need Your Help!” email.  I heard from many of you whom I never even knew were on my list, and ironically, had the highest open rate I’d seen in awhile on an email broadcast! LOL

Since I didn’t ask for a name (however, some of you did provide yours, and I’ll be getting back to you individually), I can’t thank you personally for your great feedback, suggestions, resources and insight that you provided. So, I’d like to thank you here for that.  Often this ezine publication business gets lonely, with me providing information and not hearing back from the members of my list as to how I’m doing, how useful the info is, and whether you’re finding it helpful.  The fact that so many of you expressed appreciation for the content I provide was very rewarding to hear — just the “shot in the arm” inspiration that I needed to move forward!

This time, I asked, and you let me have it (it a good way!).  BTW, I do also want to note my appreciation that NO ONE checked “I don’t want to hear from Donna at all” — whew! LOL

In a nutshell: this is what I heard from you:

–65% wanted individual topic-focused emails vs 25% weekly ezine
–81% wanted how-to articles; 59% business tools and resources; 39% information-packed teleclasses

I get the message loud and clear — you want timely, focused, short and sweet information that gives you implementation instructions that you can use today — got it!

So, here are my initial thoughts for my new plan.  I’ll be emailing short broadcasts 3 times per week (for those of you who only want a weekly mailing, don’t despair — hear me out) that are very focused — a what’s working now, a business tool, and a Friday Finds (great resource that you might want to purchase).  Each broadcast will have its own subject line marker, like (WWN) perhaps, for “What’s Working Now” so that you can easily sort the emails by subject line and read just those emails, if you like, or just the biz tool ones.

For those of you who told me that 3 times a week was too much, I’ll give you the option of opting in to my new weekly blog broadcast, where all three of these broadcasts will be combined in one email.

Hopefully, these options will serve everyone well.  And, this will be a new challenge for me to keep myself entertained.  I often get bored in my business and have to come up with new challenges for myself to keep myself interested in what I’m doing.  Quite a pain I am, right? LOL

So, this week’s ezine is going to be topic-focused with what I’ve learned from this little experiment.  Here’s what I’ve learned:

1.  Look at your numbers and evaluate.  I hate numbers and I hate evaluation.  OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way <g>, they are necessary evils in business.  My open rates for my ezine had plummeted in the last year from 30%+ to around 18%.  I’m not sure why, but my guess has to do with so much “noise” in the online world — text messages, social networking, mobile phone notifications, email overload, etc.  Frankly, it’s a great reason to take another look at direct mail.  I ALWAYS read the big postcards I receive from colleagues who are promoting new programs.  I got a big envelope of a multiple page sales letter yesterday with a $1 bill stapled to the front sheet and a “handwritten” (used a handwriting font) note on torn notebook paper to greet and engage me.  It worked — very effective.  I didn’t buy, but I was tempted.

2. See what others are doing.  I’ve noticed many of my colleagues are doing away with email newsletter and going to the solo-broadcast method.  Great minds think alike, eh?

3. Create conversation.  That’s why social networking is so popular — because it encourages people to interact.  I need to speak regularly with those of you on my list rather than talking to you (the difference between having a conversation and holding a lecture).  So, keep that feedback and those questions coming! 🙂

4. Make the mundane interesting.  My mother-in-law remarked to my husband that I have a great ability to make boring topics (like marketing) interesting with my writing style. It’s important to keep your readers entertained and interested so that they come back for more.

5. Great headlines sell.  In the same way that a book title (or cover) will make me open it to read more, the headlines of your emails can mean the difference between an immediate reading of an email and a “I’ll file it away and read it later” death knell of the email, where “later” never arrives and it languishes away forever, forgotten in a seldom-used email folder.

6. Hype is out.  I think we’ve all become savvy to hype, from the infomercials touting the latest gadget we need to buy to the false scarcity or hard-sell tactics that so many business owners employ in their marketing. I hate hype and appreciate genuineness and authenticity, and I think that’s what people are seeking these days — freedom from the hype and the hard sell.

7. Less is more — focused is better.  Ever wonder how we survived without computers, cell phones, texting, emails, and 24-hour connectivity?  Frankly, I think we were all happier in the “good ole’ days,” but unfortunately, those days are long gone. People are seeking useful and relevant information delivered in a way that they can use today.  We all seem to have less time because so many things are vying for our attention — you need to keep your message short, sweet, and to the point so that you aren’t lost in the crowd.

I’m looking forward to taking my communications with you to a whole new level!

About the Author Donna Gunter

Best-selling author Donna Gunter works with successful business owners who are experts in their fields and established in their industry and are seeking a way to stand out from their competitors. Using her Ideal Clients on Autopilot System©, she helps them determine the exact strategies to generate more qualified leads and better-paying clients with automated systems. This proven system makes all their marketing easier and more effective and they find themselves positioned as the only choice for their clients.

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