TODO: The most important thing you can do this month!

I’m a bit embarrassed to say this, but even as a techie guy I need to be reminded to check a few important things every month. It’s easy to put off because it seems so boring, but it can really hurt you in the end if you don’t do these things, regularly:

Check that Backups are Running

Backup software is great, but the set it and forget it software of today leaves us trusting that it’s still working. It’s important to actually verify that once a month. Nothing is worse than going to get a backup and finding out it wasn’t working properly. I’ve had that happen.

Check that Tracking is Working

Similar to Backups, Tracking just works. But over time you can make changes that break your tracking. Then when it’s time to use that information you can’t, because it’s broken. Over the years I’ve done this many times. Every time I change my WordPress theme I forget to put Google Analytics back on it. And nothing is more annoying then trying to view your stats and compare dates and finding a blank space.

Review your Sales for the Month

It’s really easy to get fixated on the day to day. But every new month means you’ve got last month to analyze. We track what items people buy across all our sites on a monthly basis, and we’ve been surprised at some of the items that have skyrocketed in sales or died away. In fact, we almost removed some items that were top sellers just because we didn’t notice them selling, but looking at the monthly stats it would have been a huge deal to remove them!

Now it’s your turn.. What do you do at the start of every month?

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What having 5 kids have taught me about business

One of my favorite comedians Jim Gaffigan has a catchphrase on what it’s like having 5 kids, he says it’s like you’re drowning and someone hands you a baby. Sometimes running your own business can feel the same way. Ok maybe all the time!

The biggest hurdle I have with business is staying focused. Now obviously having 5 kids makes this even harder, but even on days like today when they are all outside playing happily I have trouble focusing on one task.

People always say the way to fix that is to use todo lists. Well that gets me to my next problem. I get overwhelmed, easily. Ask anyone who works with me and they’ll tell you that my todo list is always long. In fact, I’ve got multiple todo lists – some that only I know about, but it doesn’t really help when I sit down and wonder what I should do next.

Having 5 kids also gets you crazy opinions, just like starting your own business. Everyone will try to tell you their opinion too. Sometimes it will come in direct form, like being handed a classified ad for a job or a business card for a urologist.

The thing is, having 5 kids and running a business really is a blessing. It just has a learning curve, sometimes pretty steep, but worth it in the end. The key seems to be learning what your weaknesses are, and how to handle them. That first part is easy by the way!

 

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Increase your opens by 50% with this one trick

I was visiting a local store whose business owner I know, and we got to talking about email. They use email at their store to drum up more business when new products come in or when business is slow.

One of the really cool things was they showed me their stats. And they did something interesting. Every time they emailed their customers, they sent up a follow up email to everyone that didn’t open the first email.

For most people that sounds really cool, but they don’t know how to do that. So obviously I added it to RocketResponder right away! When you go to send your broadcast, you’ll now see this option:

Resend your email

Now, this comes with a warning. If you already send emails daily, I wouldn’t use it. But if you send a monthly newsletter or have a really important email, definitely go for it. We don’t place internal limits on how often you can use it, but you don’t want to upset your customers!

This type of feature is available at other email providers, so don’t think I’m trying to say we invented something awesome. But I can say we charge way less than other email providers, while providing big deal features like this. In fact, we only charge $20 per month! How much are you paying?

 

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How to unsubscribe RocketResponder subscribers using Gmail Labels

You might be thinkings..  Whaaat!? Why would I unsubscribe someone!? Well there are two reasons: 1) they asked to be removed or 2) they have an annoying vacation or auto reply message that floods your inbox every time you send an email.

Now with Zapier you can create an Unsubscribe label withing Gmail. Anytime you label an email Unsubscribe, it will automatically remove the person from your list! I am using it for my blog notifications list, and it’s great. For some reason people like to reply and ask to unsubscribe rather than click the link. So now in one click I can honor that request!

BONUS: Now that Zapier has published our RocketResponder apps as public, I can setup shared Zaps. So if you click here you can setup your label in easy steps, rather than manually doing it ;-)

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How to connect WordPress to RocketResponder!

OK so I need your help. I literally coded this last night, and I think it’s amazing. But Justin isn’t so sure about it. So I want you guys to try it and give me feedback below.

Step 1: Create a Zapier account. Think of Zapier as the brain of everything. It takes information from one site and “Zaps” it to another.

Step 2: Accept my invite. Because we are new to Zapier they make your app hidden until a bunch of users have used it. Clicking that link and accepting allows you to use RocketResponder

Step 3: Click “Make a Zap!” on the top of any page. On the left side, type in WordPress and select “New Comment”. On the right side, type in RocketResponder and select “Subscribe Subscriber”

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Step 4: Add your WordPress blog. You’ll have to put your blog URL and login information into Zapier.

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Step 5: Add your RocketResponder account. Rather than using your login info, we use API Keys. The prompt has a link to the page you can copy and paste your keys into.

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Step 6: Select a Trigger. I chose Approved simply because I don’t want spammers added to my list. You could leave it empty if you want.

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Step 7: Connect the two together. Select which list to subscribe them to, then put Author Email for the email field and Author for the subscriber name field.

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Step 8: Click the test button. I’ll be honest, not sure what could go wrong here, but hey click it. Then click the continue button.

Step 9: Give your Zap a name.

5-1-2015 8-14-45 AMThen click Turn Zap on!! That’s the fun part. Now Zapier will automatically check your blog and if it finds new comments, will send them over to your RocketResponder list. Wahoo!

 

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How to get more from your membership sites

One of the most powerful ways to get more out of your membership sites is to utilize email. Whether it’s a traffic exchange, a service, or any kind of website where people can pay or upgrade, email is a crazy awesome tool.

Now some people do this really great, and others are missing the power behind using an autoresponder like RocketResponder. Almost everyone understands that sending out email newsletters is powerful. That one is easy, but here’s the super cool thing you should be doing..

Use the followups feature! Now you’re gonna read this and think wow it’s so simple yet I get it. But we use this with Trck.me and RocketResponder heavily.

When people join we give them a 30 day free trial, so we immediately start sending them a follow up series. And the whole point is to get them to convert over to a paid customer. Now we don’t email them every day, but often enough to remind them that we still exist and they still aren’t a paid customer.

The end result is more people convert from being a paid member to being an upgraded member. What’s even better is we use the RocketResponder API to automatically unsubscribe them from that list the moment they upgrade. Then we use it to subscribe them to our paying members list, where we can give them tips on how to use their membership to get the most out of it.

This can be used in any kind of membership site, especially when there is a free trial or a free tier. If you want to get really fancy, we also move them over to a list if their account expires, to remind them that they need to update billing.

It works great..  In fact services I’ve used that use the same tactic have gotten me to pay because I tend to miss emails. Sometimes I even see the email but it just takes a few reminders before I have the time to get to it. The key is the emails kept coming until I did it.

The fun part..  We charge $20/mo for unlimited subscribers. So as you come up with creative ways to make new series, you don’t have to worry about your costs going up. Other services charge based on list size, and every new list – even if there are duplicates – counts towards your total fee. But not with us ;-)

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