email – Meta Baeldung Marketing experiences growing Baeldung Fri, 15 Mar 2019 16:08:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The 8 Types of Optins on Baeldung Mon, 25 May 2015 22:29:35 +0000 1. Overview

There’s no shortage of ways you can opt into my email list over on Baeldung.

And make no mistake about it – nudging a random reader to raise their hand and opt in is the best way to connect that reader to your brand. Not social media and not anything else – email.

Here’s a quick rundown of the various optins that you might see on the site at any point in time.

The sidebar optin is probably the most visible one.

It’s reasonably effective as well, and that’s because I’m using 3 of them – contextually. Depending on where you are on the site, you might the optin offer one of the following lead magnets:

  • REST Services with Spring eBook
  • Get the Most out of HttpClient eBook
  • Persistence with Spring eBook

Overall I would say that, if you can – contextual is the way to go – if you can create multiple lead magnets for different areas of your site, your conversion rates will definitely improve.

3. Bottom of Every Post Optin

The “Bottom of Every Post” optin is exactly what the name says – it appears under all articles on the site.

This one usually has a better conversion rate than the sidebar optin – simply because by the time a reader sees it, they already received value out of an article. The flip side of that is – as you would expect – this optin has a lot less impressions than the sitebar optin, because not everybody reads through the whole article.

4. Exit Intent Optin

The “Exit Intent” optin is an interesting variation to the standard popup optin – it only appears when the reader signals their intent to leave the site. Usually that means that the mouse cursor goes out of the page and towards the Back button. It’s at that point that this popup appears and asks the user if they’d like to opt in.

Now – popups are a tricky one to get right. First – you need to be able to easily close a popup – none of that “the close button is almost invisible and not where you’d expect”.

Next – popups need to only pop up once. If the reader opts in – great. If they don’t – don’t bother them again.

5. What Would Seth Godin Do? Optin

This is a fun one. WWSGD is a WordPress plugin that I’ve been using for a few years now. It’s dead simple but has good results.

What it does is – it shows new visitors a message. After you visit the site for a few times (configurable) – you don’t see the message any longer.

With that in mind, the message could be something like: Welcome to my site – start here…

But it can also be something along the lines of: If you’re new here, you may want to get the {insert lead magnet here}

6. Content Upgrade Optins

The Content Upgrade is a super-powerful way to boost the conversion rates on a page. The simple idea is to use a lead magnet that is custom, valuable and highly relevant for that particular page.

Easier said than done though.

On Baeldung – I picked a few of the most visited pages on the site – and went for it with Leadpages. The lead magnet I’m using is the code sample itself – which checks all the boxes – it’s valuable and highly relevant for the page. And for the most part – it works great.

The one big downside is Leadpages doesn’t check if the user actually confirms their subscription and sends out the lead magnet immediately. What that means is that there’s a decent chance that they’ll simply forget to confirm their subscription into the email list (or choose not to).

7. Custom Optin Pages

Finally, I also have a few individual, custom optin pages on the site. These server very specific purposes and overall represent a very small percentage of my total new subscribers.

8. Conclusion

As you can see, implementing a mature, diverse optin strategy does take some work. These optins need to be checked monthly (by a VA), A/B tested and generally maintained.

But – it’s also very much worth it, as email is really the only good way I found to keep in contact with my readers and continue providing value.

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Why you really shouldn’t do RSS to Email Tue, 21 Jan 2014 13:58:40 +0000 1. Overview

It’s a crying shame that I didn’t collect emails from the readers of up until a few months ago – email is a powerful tool, and one that I’m starting to appreciate more and more.

Once I did start to collect them, I figured that the logical course of action was to set up an RSS to Email campaign in Mailchimp – and I was done.

I didn’t pay to much attention to the fact that, most of the emails I was receiving from various blogs were not a word for word reproduction of the article. No, instead these were custom written emails talking about the article, giving the reader some context and only linking to the full article, not reproducing it.

What’s more – these emails were part of a narrative – they had a regular schedule / cadence – and most importantly – they were linking to evergreen content, not stuff written 4 hours ago.

So – I decided to learn how to do it intelligently, and I stopped my RSS to Email campaign for good.

2. Results of RSS to Email

First – let’s look over some early results of my RSS to Email campaign running for about 3 months:

  • Average Open Rate: 25 %
  • Average Click Rate: 6 %

This is the raw data for exactly 30 emails campaigns.

3. The New Way = The Old Fashioned Way

A few weeks ago I decided to experiment – put aside the mental unease of writing these custom emails and jump straight in.

Mailchimp - Metrics of a Campaign

Mailchimp – Metrics of a Campaign

I’ll share the numbers here about how my last few email campaigns are converting – how my open rates and more importantly my click rate has improved:

  • Average Open Rate: 40 %
  • Average Click Rate: 13.5 %

This is still early on – so I will keep updating this article as data comes in, but based on these last few campaigns – this is HUGE – the jump I’m seeing in clicks alone is 125%!

4. Conclusion

Growing your email list is the first step of better engaging with your readers.

However – that is really a first step – nothing more, and without crafting and thinking through your message and how you can help your regular readers – there’s little point to having an email list in the first place.

As I learn how to do email better – I can clearly see how the big jumps in conversions – the low hanging fruit (like this one) are going to be harder and harder to come by, but that doesn’t mean they’re not there!

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Asking you to UNSUBSCRIBE Sat, 18 Jan 2014 17:08:38 +0000 respectfully Unsubscribe!]]> 1. Why ask?

As my email list has rapidly grown to over 1000 subscribers, I am working on keeping the list clean, engaged and full of subscribers that are actually getting value from the stuff I put out. The goal of the list is to help developers – pure and simple – however, the fact of the matter is that the stuff I send out is not for everyone – nor do I intend it to be. A big part of that is segmentation – sending the content only to the subscribers who is genuinely interested in that content – and part is setting expectations – being more explicit about why someone should take the time to be on the list in the first place. With all of that in mind, I am putting into practice a simple idea – with the goal of keeping my list clean and providing people that may not be getting the value they should from it – with a WAY OFF – you guessed it:

I am asking people to unsubscribe from my list!

2. Who to ask?

Let me be clear – asking someone to unsubscribe from your email list is not an email you want to send to your engaged subscribers. These are the readers that are actually reading your content regularly, replying to your emails and generally getting some level of value from the stuff you send them. What you want to do – and what I did in both instances I sent out this email – was to identify a segment of the list that is not engaging with your content. Since I am using Mailchimp – I did this by creating a low engagement segment of:

  • readers who have under 3 stars (which – in Mailchimp – represents the level of engagement with your content – meaning opens and clicks)
  • readers who have been on the list for at least one month

This represents about 250 subscribers – so about 25% of my list.

3. How to ask?

Let’s not look at how exactly to ask readers to unsubscribe – this can be a tricky proposition – you don’t want to be vague and undecided, but you don’t want to be to forceful either. What I did was I crafter two emails – one with softer language and another that used some harder language to get the point across. Email 1: subject = “Please unsubscribe!”

Do You Find My Articles Useful?

Don’t worry if you don’t – I’m writing to let you know is perfectly fine to unsubscribe (see the BIG LINK below)

As you may already know, I’m sending you programming tutorials – once or twice a week. I am mainly writing about Java, Spring, Security and REST, and general web development. If that’s not your cup of team – I understand. So I just want to let you know it’s okay to unsubscribe. If you’re having trouble keeping up with my emails, or you’re just sick of getting them, I’d actually prefer you to unsubscribe — which you can do simply by clicking here:

The Big Unsubscribe Here Link!

P.S. If you’d rather continue to get my articles – you can check out my more recent one – the Big Kahuna of Java 8 Resources (I like to call it that). I am going to continue writing about these topics in 2014 – if you want to make a suggestion about how to improve my content, go ahead and reply to this email. Cheers, Eugen.

As you can see – the language of this first email is softer – while still having the clear purpose of providing readers with an easy one-client way to unsubscribe from my email list. Email 2: subject = “Yes, I’m really asking you to UNSUBSCRIBE!”

Do You Find My Articles Useful – if not you should probably UNSUBSCRIBE!

If you’re like me, and you get to many emails you don’t really care about, then you’ll find this email usefull. YES I’M REALLY ASKING YOU TO UNSUBSCRIBE!

As you may already know, I’m sending you programming tutorials – about twice a week. I am mainly writing about Java, Spring, Security and REST, and general web development. If that’s not your cup of team – I fully understand. So I just want to let you know it’s perfectly OK to unsubscribe. If you’re having trouble keeping up with my emails, or you’re just sick of getting them, I’d actually prefer you to unsubscribe — which you can do simply by clicking here:

The Big Unsubscribe Here Link!

P.S. If you’d rather continue to get my articles – you can check out my more recent one – the Big Kahuna of Java 8 Resources (I like to call it that). I am going to continue writing about these topics in 2014 – if you want to make a suggestion about how to improve my content, go ahead and reply to this email. Cheers, Eugen.

This second email, sent about 2 weeks after the first to the same segment of unengaged readers – is more forceful, and follows the same goal as the first email – getting people who are not interested in my list off of it.

4. Results – Conclusion

Keep in mind that I sent these emails to a targeted segment of unengaged subscribers – who have not opened or clicked through my emails, and who weren’t getting real value out of my content. However, with that in mind – the results were not surprising – the open rates were low for these emails, just as for the rest. First Email:

  • open rate: 12.8%
  • unsubscribes: 1

Second Email:

  • open rate: 12.0%
  • unsubscribers: 3

So – the results are not encouraging, but I am not giving up. In the next “Please Unsubscribe” email I will send, I will ask for feedback about what kind of content they would like to receive. On the upside, I did receive some personal (and positive) replies to these emails from readers who don’t want to unsubscribe from the list.

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Signing up for the Mailing List – the Success Email Sun, 20 Oct 2013 13:44:19 +0000 1. A Generic Success Email

In a previous article, I talked about the standard elements of an email subscription flow:

In this article, I will illustrate how I improved the generic Success Email template provided by default by Mailchimp.

First, let’s analyze the default email:

Original Success Email

Original Success Email

With the subject line:

The Baleldung Posts: Subscription Confirmed

1.1. What’s wrong with the default email?

Let’s start putting this email into context – the immediate value that the user is getting out of signing up for my email list is the free eBook. This is what they’re getting right now.

Of course my goal is to keep providing value to the reader with regular and useful content, but that’s going to come much later, so the eBook is important because it is available NOW.

With this in mind – this email is clearly inconsistent – it mentions nothing about the eBook or why the reader signed up for emails in the first place.

It is also a little redundant – since it doesn’t give the reader any new information – other than the fact that the subscription worked.

2. A Better Success Email

Let’s look at each element of the original email and see how we can improve it.

2.1. The Subject Line and the Title

The default subject line reads:

The Baleldung Posts: Subscription Confirmed

It is exactly the same as the previously discussed Subject of the first Confirmation email – so I’m going to skip to the end on this one:

Here’s your eBook link & thanks for signing up for the mail list!

The default title reads generically:

The Baeldung Posts

Similarly, the title has been already discussed also, so I’m going to skip to the end on this one as well – the final copy for the title:

Tips on Building Web Applications.

2.3. The Main Copy

On to the main copy of this email – by default, it reads:

Your subscription to our list has been confirmed.

So once again we are loosing the opportunity to communicate any useful information to our reader.

What we want to do here is to, first – reward the user for trusting us with their email address. We do this by providing the link to the free eBook.

We can also take this opportunity to set future expectations about the type of communication they can expect:

Thanks for confirming your email address!
Here’s that eBook I promised you about building REST APIs with Spring. I’ll send you an email about something you’ll find interesting every week or two.
Get the eBook (pdf)!

So here we are – the final version of the Successful Registration email:

Final Success Email

Final Success Email

3. Conclusion

This email is an easy one to miss – the logic goes that the reader has already signed up for the email list, so why put in the extra effort.

The reason – mentioned several times throughout this article – is a consistent signup experience – we want to keep all emails that reach our readers consistent and relevant to our own site and our own voice – instead of the generic copy that comes by default.

My next article will discuss the “Almost There” and “Thank You” signup pages – their purpose and their copy.

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Signing up for the Mailing List – the Confirmation Email Tue, 15 Oct 2013 13:13:18 +0000 1. A Generic Confirmation Email

I am on a mission to improve my mailing list – starting with the copy of the main subscription form and now, moving on to the actual emails send to potential new subscribers.

I am using Mailchimp as my email service – but any of the main service providers out there have the same exact options to configure the signup flow.

First – let’s take a look at the main elements of an email subscription flow:

  • the Signup Form
  • the Confirmation Email
  • the Success Email
  • the “Almost There” and the “Thank You” pages
  • tracking the events of the flow (Google Analytics)

In this article, I’m going to be looking at the Confirmation Email specifically. This is the email that a potential subscriber will get when they first put their email into my signup form and hit “Subscribe”.

By default, this email is already configured with some generic copy – and Mailchimp does a decent job of it – but this is the first email your potential subscribe gets from you – generic copy is not going to cut it.

Here’s the email in all it’s generic glory:

Original Confirmation Email

Original Confirmation Email

Finally – the subject line of the email is:

The Baleldung Posts: Please Confirm Subscription

2. A Better Confirmation Email

So what’s wrong with this email?

First – it doesn’t really say anything. This is a chance to impress upon the user why in the world they would like to subscribe to my mailing list – what’s in it for them. Instead all a user can get from this email is what they already know – a moment ago they wanted to subscribe.

So let’s break the email down into parts and see how we can carefully craft and improve each of these parts.

2.1. The Subject

Let’s start with the Subject of the email – currently it reads:

The Baleldung Posts: Please Confirm Subscription

This is because in Mailchimp – it’s set up as follows: *|LIST:NAME|*: Please Confirm Subscription

Instead, let’s take this opportunity to be more personal and add put this email into context:

Please confirm that you want that free eBook and other emails from me.

First – this is consistent with my main signup copy – where I specifically the reader than – if they trust me enough to give me their email address, I will give them a free eBook. So why not remind them of that: Remember that book I mentioned – you’re going to get access to it just as soon as you confirm.

Next – it sets clear expectations – always a good idea – it tells the reader that they are indeed going to receive other emails from me.

And finally – I like being personal – so this is just a bit more personal than the original “Please Confirm Subscription” bit.

2.2. The Title

On to the title – right now, it simply says: “The Baeldung Posts“.

Why? Because that’s what I originally named my email list – not knowing that this name is going to end up in the first email I send to subscribers.

But that’s easily fixed – Mailchimp is nothing if not configurable, so instead let’s actually give the reader some valuable information:

Tips on Building Web Applications.

Nice and simple – and exactly what they’re going to get from my blog – articles about building Web Applications – not Posts.

2.3. The Main Copy

This is the final act – the main copy of the email; by default, it reads:

Please Confirm Subscription

Again – this is a lost opportunity. The reader already knows this is a subscription confirmation email – they know how this work, as it’s highly unlikely that this is the first one they see.

So instead of this generic and redundant text, let’s go for something more contextual, and friendly:

Want the eBook and an occasional email from me?
Click below.

And we are done – the email is short and to the point, and hopefully the user will actually read it now, instead of just glossing over it.

2.4. Finally – the improved Confirmation Email

Here we go – after all the careful tuning – this is what the user is going to get now:

Final Confirmation Email

Final Confirmation Email

3. Conclusion

It’s important to keep one thing in mind – when reading any of these elements – the reader needs to be able to answer – “Why am I signing up to this?

If it’s some generic copy that has nothing to do with why they’re actually signing up – then they simply wont.

On the other hand, if it’s clear what the win is for them – if one quick action can lead them to immediate gratification – then maybe they will and you will have gained a new subscriber.

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