ass liquid

When you’ve eaten something that has totally fucked up your stomach.

Then when you shit its a liquidy substance called ass liquid

Yo I have no fucking idea what I ate but I’ve been pushing ass liquid for 3 days straight

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FailWin: Brownie Cups

Pin Reaper: Kitkat

Original Inspiration:

Pinterest Fail Brownie Cups inspiration

What I Did: The kids wanted to make brownie cups for an ice-cream treat. We mixed all the ingredients, covered the pans in Crisco, placed it on top, and waited. Well, the outcome was disappointing. Still, it was yummy, just different than expected.

My Result:

Pinterest Fail Brownie Cups result

Next Time I Will: 
Maybe not try it again.

Pinterest Fail Brownie Cups storyboard

The post FailWin: Brownie Cups appeared first on Pinterest Fail.

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Use Case: for Tourism & Travel — Hands-on Tips for Promoting Your Destination with a Social Media Hub

Holidays. Vacation. Travelling. In most people, these words evoke strong emotions. They think about experiencing different cultures,  sightseeing, being active or just relaxing. Time off is often time spent with friends, family, the people we love, and should be an overall good feeling. It’s also something we all enjoy sharing on social media.

Tourists posing with the tower of Pisa
Whether it’s a selfie or a posed fun photo — people just love to share their holiday shenanigans on social media. (Photo: Barnimages)

Travel and tourism also make up a massive part of the global economy. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the industry contributed 7.2 trillion US Dollars to the global economy in 2015. With that much money at stake, tourism marketers are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to put what they are selling front and center in consumers’ minds.

Marketing a Destination via Social Media

Unsurprisingly, the competition is fierce. To make their businesses or destinations stand out and succeed, tourism marketers are getting creative. Instead of relying solely on travel agencies to send tourists their way, many regions are now reaching out into the social media realm to hook travellers way before they even glance at a brochure.

One way to do this are hashtag marketing campaigns. Social media hubs can create a sense of connection and community among visitors. Everyone loves taking selfies, and a wall full of happy holiday images is nice to look at for tourists considering the destination.

Screenshot of the Saalbach social hub
A bunch of happy faces on the Saalbach social wall.

By encouraging visitors to use a certain hashtag with their social media posts, the hashtag spreads, showcases the destination, and evokes all those nice emotions we were talking about before.

Hashtags are an easy way to bring social media users together, across communities and interests. Many winter sports destinations in Austria are now using hashtag campaigns and dedicated social media walls to show off their regions. We talked with four of them about their efforts and summed up some nice and actionable tourism hashtag marketing tips for you.

Start with an Event Campaign

Many of the tourist destinations using started out with a social media hashtag campaign for a specific event before expanding and setting up permanent social walls.

Zell am See-Kaprun, a winter sport region in Salzburg that spans several villages and has a glacier to call their own as well, set up their first social media wall for the Ironman 70.3.

“We set up a social wall, because the target audience of Ironman loves to use hashtags. It was a cool use case. Throughout the weekend, we had great content on our wall.” – Patrick Riedlsperger, Zell am See-Kaprun

Tannheimer Tal, a winter sports valley in Tyrol, also started out with an event before going with a permanent social hub. They first used a social wall for the Ski-Trail Tannheimer Tal, an event with more than 1,200 participants.

The first hashtag campaign run by the region Saalbach Hinterglemm in Salzburg, for the Ski World Cup 2015, was covered on our blog last year. Today, Saalbach runs 6 social walls, both general and event-focused ones.

But even if you can’t set up separate walls for all your events, you can easily update your hashtags and channels in the settings. For example, the social media team at Zell am See-Kaprun temporarily adds hashtags für particular events, e.g. for the ski opening at the beginning of the season. Tip:

Starting with a specific event allows you to figure out and test how you can use hashtags and social walls to interact with your visitors and target audience. Once you get the hang of it you’ll know better how to set up the permanent wall for your region.

Pick the Right Hashtags and Go with the Flow

Most of the time running a hashtag campaign means coming up with a unique and memorable hashtag. But when you’re setting up a wall for an existing tourist destination, you have to consider which hashtags are already in use.

Likely, visitors are already posting great content featuring your region to social media but they might be using a variety of hashtags that seem natural to them.

“The most-used hashtags are those that are intuitive, like town names, and we don’t even have to promote those hashtags, apart from consistently using them on our own channels, of course.” – Paul Kubalek, Tourism Association Saalbach

The official Zell am See-Kaprun hashtag is #zellkaprun, but the wall also collects posts with a variety of hashtags that don’t include the town name, among them the names of the two main mountains, #Schmittenhöhe and the glacier #Kitzsteinhorn. Tip:

When you’re setting up a social media wall for a destination, do your research about hashtags that are already being naturally used by your visitors. Use hashtag analytics tools like RiteTag, Tweetchup and Hashtagify to research connected hashtags. Having a look at Google Trends can’t hurt either.

And even if you don’t actively promote your town’s name as a hashtag, make sure you include all variations, including common misspellings of it, in your keyword settings.

Consistently Use Your Own Hashtags

Ski Amadé, named after Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, is a network of 28 ski areas and towns that together make up the second largest ski area in Europe. When posting to social media, Ski Amadé always uses their hashtags:

“We don’t necessarily say, ‘use #skiamade to upload pictures to our social wall!’ But we always use the hashtag when we post on our channels. That way we also make sure that our latest content from social media is always shown on our website as well.” – Marietta Weißofner, Ski Amadé

Saalbach is taking a different tack:

“We regularly point out our Window to Saalbach on our social media channels, linking to our URL.” – Paul Kubalek, Tourism Association Saalbach Tip:

If you want others to use your hashtags then you have to lead the way. Remember to use your main hashtag when posting on your own social media channels. You don’t necessarily have to urge people to use the hashtag (you still can, of course) — when they see you using it, they’ll catch on quickly.

Cross-Promotion Is Important

Using your own hashtags is imperative but that alone doesn’t guarantee that the hashtags will spread. Make sure to grab your visitors attention right in your own domain. Unlike a lot of other online content, hashtags do translate well from offline promotion.

Zell am See-Kaprun promotes their hashtags in the newsletter, as well as on posters and other print materials.

Tannheimer Tal even prints their hashtags on business cards and other print forms, promoting not just their general hashtag but also their two events, #skitrailtt and the bike marathon #radmarathontt.

“We’ll also provide information about the social wall in the next issue of our guest magazine, which has a circulation of 35,000.” – Markus Wagner, Tannheimer Tal.

Tannheimer Tal business cards feature their hashtags as well
Tannheimer Tal is putting their hashtags front and center on print materials. (Photo: TVB Tannheimer Tal/Achim Meurer) Tip:

Promoting hashtags cross-media is essential for a successful hashtag campaign. Consider printing flyers and posters that will draw attention to your hashtags right at the spots where visitors are likely to take photos and post to social media.

Offer Incentives

Sometimes, as with all online campaigns, incentives are the way to the users’ hearts.

Instagram Photo

Saalbach recently ran a new campaign called #homeoflässig. To quote the explanation of the word “lässig” from their website: “Cool and laid-back — or ‘lässig’ as the Austrians say.”

“Our new campaign hashtag #homeoflässig has taken off, even without any big promotional push. An Instagram raffle based on the hashtag worked out really well for us. I guess we just happen to have a really cool community.” – Paul Kubalek, Tourism Association Saalbach Tip:

A raffle, or any other incentive campaign, can really do wonders for a hashtag campaign. Especially when kicking off a brand new hashtag that isn’t established yet or doesn’t explicitly use the name of the town or region, incentives are a great way to motivate people to adopt the new hashtag.

Show off the Best Content Using Post Moderation

Sometimes, you’re lucky and all of the content on your social wall is naturally amazing. Other times, you need to help it a little bit along.

Initially, Zell am See-Kaprun had some issues keeping their wall on topic:

“In the beginning, we had a bit of a hard time trying to keep up with post moderation, removing inappropriate content from our wall, but then we set up a blacklist. We still have to filter out some content manually, but it’s a lot easier now.” – Patrick Riedlsperger, Zell am See-Kaprun

Not everything can be filtered out automatically. In the case of Zell am See-Kaprun, posts mentioning the chocolate brand Schmitten keep showing up on the wall.

“We can’t very well filter out the hashtag #schmitten, because one of our main mountains here is called Schmittenhöhe, but now 90 percent of our content is great and doesn’t need to be moderated.” – Patrick Riedlsperger, Zell am See-Kaprun Tip:

Use the setting to set up a blacklist. That way you can immediately keep inappropriate content off your wall. Observe your social wall for a while and then adjust your settings accordingly to make sure everything stays on topic. Any outliers that still make it through the blacklist you can remove manually on a per-post basis.

Show off Your Wall

What’s the point of having a beautiful social media wall if you’re not showing it off? The most straightforward way to show off your social wall and make sure that visitors notice your hashtags is to embed on your website or microsite the way Saalbach and Ski Amadé are doing.

Zell am See-Kaprun currently doesn’t have the wall embedded on the website, but is using a teaser on their landing page to link to their URL.

Screenshot of the social hub teaser on the Zell am See-Kaprun website
Zell am See-Kaprun uses a teaser on their website to link to their unique URL.

Some regions also make use of the option to embed their social wall in a tab on their Facebook page, providing yet another way for users to discover the hashtags.

Another effective option is to take the social wall into the “real” world, just like you are doing when you’re promoting a hashtag on print materials. By showing your wall on screens in your info centres, lift stations, etc. you’re grabbing visitors’ attention at the perfect moment — they’re about to take a selfie or shot of the landscape, when they see your hashtag and posts displayed on a real screen.

Saalbach is already showing off their wall on a screen in their tourism service centre, and Tannheimer Tal is planning to set up their wall on a TV in their lobby as well. Zell am See-Kaprun has set up 45’ video walls in both of their info centres in Zell am See and Kaprun.

The Saalbach visitor centre displays the social hub on a screen
The social wall displayed on a screen at the tourism service centre in Saalbach. (Photo: Saalbach)

Don’t underestimate how much people enjoy posting something and then seeing their post appear on a screen right there. Screens are a great way to draw attention to your hashtags and motivate people to use them. Tip: pro and premium account holders can embed the social wall on their website by grabbing the iframe code for the embed widget in the “Embed & Display” settings. For those with basic accounts, linking to the wall in a teaser from the landing page is a good alternative.

Installing your wall in a Facebook tab is also pretty easy. Pro and premium accounts will find this in their “Embed & Display” settings. Just click on the button that says “Install as Facebook Tab” and follow the instructions.

Keep Analysing and Adjusting

Research and analytics shouldn’t be underestimated. You’ve already done your hashtag keyword research before setting up your campaign. Equally, you can now use hashtag analytics tools to analyse how your hashtags are performing and adjust your campaigns accordingly.

I hope you enjoyed our first use case post. I’d love to hear from other tourist regions and businesses using social walls in their marketing efforts. I’m especially interested in adding some areas that are a little less snowy. 😉

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Social Media Easter Eggs — Good Hunting!

While children are excitedly searching their homes and gardens (and some lucky tots even the White House lawn) for easter eggs only once per year, digital easter eggs can be had all year round. Another upside is that they can be consumed with much less guilt than Cadbury eggs as well.

GIF of a Cadbury creme egg being opened

In honour of Easter, we’ve attempted to find easter eggs for each of the social media platforms currently supports. As you will quickly see, that’s easier with some of them than others.

Which Digital Easter Egg Came First?

The very first digital easter egg was found in 1979 in the Atari game Adventure. Since Atari didn’t publicly credit their game designers Adventure’s programmer Warren Robinett hid the message “Created by Warren Robinett” in the game.

One year earlier, in 1978, another game designer had similarly hidden his name in the game Video Whizball. Unfortunately, he might have hidden it a little too well because that one was only discovered in 2004.

Nowadays, any software, video game, DVD, and recently even SaaS provider and social media network worth their salt will attempt to hide some easter eggs in their products. In 2008, on-demand print company even ran an actual virtual easter egg hunt competition.

One company that has mastered the digital easter egg is undeniably Google. The Google search bar alone can provide you with ample fun. Just type the following search terms in and see for yourself:

  • Askew
  • Do a barrel roll
  • The loneliest number
  • Anagram
  • Answer to life the universe and everything

Plus, there’s always Google Mirror to play around with.

Of course, easter eggs aren’t a completely altruistic concept, meant only to make customers happy. They are also an eggc… — Must! Not! Go there! — an excellent marketing opportunity for companies. It makes them stand out and gets their brand noticed. For example, look at Dutch retailer Hema, go to their trick product page, and have a closer look at that blue mug. I’m sure you won’t forget about that store anytime soon, even if you never make it to the Netherlands to actually buy something there.

The Konami Code

The Konami Code is a combination of keystrokes that triggers the cheat mode in many Konami video games. It was first used in 1986 and has since become a part of popular culture. The code has been implemented into many non-Konami games and is often used to trigger easter eggs on websites as well.

To enter the Konami Code press the following keystroke combination on your keyboard: up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a (sometimes you’ll have to press the enter key as well).

Konami Code: up-up-down-down-left-right-left-right-b-a enter

Try it out on Gamespot and Digg!

Facebook Easter Eggs

Facebook used to have a Konami Code easter egg but, sadly, it doesn’t exist anymore. Instead, Facebook has hidden some nifty games in Messenger, though.

To play chess with a friend in Facebook Messenger enter “@fbchess play” (without the quotation marks), and a chess board will magically appear.

You select pieces using K for king, Q for queen, B for bishop, N for knight, R for rook, and P for pawn and move them by adding the letter and number representing the square you want to move it to. For example: “@fbchess Pd4” (again, without the quotes).

Screenshot of hidden chess game in Facebook Messenger
“I can’t play chess so whatevs lol”

If you, like me, can’t actually play chess, there’s always Messenger basketball. On Messenger mobile (it only works on mobile) post the basketball emoji — not the sticker — and then click on the ball and have fun wasting some precious time.

YouTube Easter Eggs

YouTube has lots of easter eggs that come and go. You can search YouTube for “doge meme” or for “do the harlem shake” for instance.

Instagram Easter Eggs

I couldn’t unearth any fun easter eggs that currently live in Instagram, so you’ll have to make do with this piece about how Instagram filters got their names.

Twitter Easter Eggs

Also not technically an easter egg, but Twitter is definitely keeping everyone entertained throughout the year by programming hashtags to automatically trigger a fitting emoji to be added to the tweet. This is now commonly called hashflags, named after the national flags triggered by hashtags with three letter country codes.

Twitter keeps changing their hashflags according to current events. During the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 they were little national flags in heart form. During the US Presidential Elections #iVoted and #iCaucused will trigger a checkmark emoji.

Then we have a bucketload of emoji for Captain America: Civil War hashtags.

Captain America civil war hashflags for #TeamCap
Are you #TeamCap?
Captain America civil war hashflags for #TeamIronMan
Or are you #TeamIronMan?

Another favourite were, of course, the cute Star Wars hashflags when Episode VII came out. To check up on currently active as well as archived hashflags check out

Google+ Easter Eggs

These Google+ easter eggs are super adorable but, sadly, some of them will only be visible to the sender. Go into Google Hangouts and try the following commands in the chat window:

  • /ponies
  • /ponystream
  • /pitchforks
  • /bikeshed
  • /shy dino
  • Konami Code
Google Hangouts hidden easter egg ponies
Ponies! All the ponies!

Not Quite The Easter Eggs I Was Looking For

I tried to find out if there are any easter eggs hidden in Pinterest which, as it turns out, is pretty much an impossible quest and just about the most frustrating Google search ever.

Easter eggs on Pinterest
Halp! Drowning in actual easter eggs over here!

FYI: Tumblr, Vine, Vimeo, Foursquare, Swarm, Flickr, Reddit and were a complete bust as well but, just so you know, still supports those platforms — we don’t discriminate based on the fun factor.

Know any cool social media easter eggs that I have missed? Have you managed to figure out if Pinterest has anything awesome hidden without feeling completely egg-rolled?

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How to Get Started With Mad Mimi

March 25, 2016

If you read my post Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Email List, you may be wondering what the next steps are to getting started. As I mentioned, there are countless ESP options, many of which are excellent, but if you want a simple, easy-to-use service and you don’t need a lot of bells & whistles, I highly recommend Mad Mimi, the ESP I currently use.

How to get started with Mad Mimi

Step 1: Sign up for a Mad Mimi account

Click here to sign up for a free Mad Mimi account. They don’t make their free option super obvious but it’s linked at the bottom like so:

Mad Mimi free account

Step 2: Configure your account settings

Once your account is open, I recommend editing some settings. This makes it smoother sailing once you’re ready to write your first email.

Edit your account settings by clicking the “Account” link at the top of the page:

Mad Mimi account and add-ons

This will give you a place to enter or edit contact information, password, time zone, etc. It’s also the place where you will enter your physical mailing address. (Read more about that here.) Don’t forget to click the “Save Account Info” tab.

Step 3: Add add-ons

Click the “Add Things” link to select which add-ons you’d like to add to your account. Add-ons in Mad Mimi are a bit like plugins in WordPress.

Select from “Feature Add-ons” and “3rd Party Integrations” to start. Browse through each list and see if any apply to your situation.

Mad Mimi add ons

Most add-ons are free, some cost money (indicated). Some are not available on the free plan. Turn any add-on on or off simply by clicking the toggle button:

Mad Mimi toggle add on button

Once you turn on an add-on, you may see a link to go set that feature up, like so:

Mad Mimi go set it up add on

If a particular add-on doesn’t have further settings, you’ll see an indication that it’s on and you’re good to go, like this:

Mad Mimi you're all set add on

The “Feature Add-ons” I currently use

Webforms – These allow me to put sign up forms on my site.

Mad Mimi web forms

Affiliate Program – This allows me to earn money when others sign up for Mad Mimi. For more about affiliate marketing, read this post.

Mad Mimi affiliate program

Drip Campaigns – These are the same as autoresponders. They allow you to send out a series of emails to new subscribers. You can connect drip campaigns to certain lists. You don’t have to use drip campaigns at all.

Mad Mimi Drip Campaigns add on

Signup IPs – This add-on gives me more data about the people who sign up.

Mad Mimi Signup IPs add on

Promotion Tweaks – Turning this on gives you a number of extra options for your individual emails like location of the unsubscribe, social links & “view on web” links, copyright indicators, etc.

Mad Mimi Promotion Tweaks add on

Tip: You can easily access your Tweaks in the link at the top of your screen:

Mad Mimi tweaks

Link to List – This is a handy feature that will automatically add a subscriber to a specific list when they click a certain link. This is Mad Mimi’s way allowing you to tag or segment your list. For example, In one of my Useletters, I added a button

Mad Mimi Link to List Add on

The “3rd Party Integrations” I currently use

Google Analytics – This allows me to see the traffic my emails are sending to my site.

Mad Mimi Google Analytics integration

Facebook Signup – This puts an extra tab on my Facebook Page under my cover image. Honestly, I might turn this off as there is already a Sign Up button on the cover image. You can see it in action here.

Mad Mimi Facebook signup integration

facebook mad mimi tab

One add-on I don’t use but you might

If you want to send your subscribers your blog posts, turn on the RSS to Email feature:

Mad Mimi RSS to email

Turn it on and then follow the “Go set it up” link to add your feed.

If you use WordPress and you haven’t done anything to change your feed address, it’s likely your feed URL is:

Make sure you change “” to your domain, of course. :)

Check it first by pasting that URL it into your browser window. If you see a bunch of code, you’re good. If you get an error page, it’s not working and you’ll need to get your feed URL via the service you’ve used to change the URL.

Step 4: Add a list

Now that your account is set up, you can get ready to receive your first subscribers. Login and select the Audience tab and click the “Add a list” button:

Mad Mimi add a list

Name your list. Your audience won’t see this name, so name it what you’d like. This is the list new subscribers will be added to when they sign up.

Keep in mind you can add more lists later if you like. Additional lists come in handy for organizing your contacts into various groups or interests. For example, I have a Flash Deals Notifications list I made specifically for those who want to be informed of time-sensitive deals.

Step 5: Set up a webform

A webform is the signup form people will use to subscribe to a list or lists. This must be configured so the email addresses of those who sign up with get deposited into the correct list.

You might think of a webform as a doorway. On one side, it’s seen by potential subscribers as a place to enter their email address (and name if applicable). On the other, it’s connected to your list(s) on Mad Mimi. So, whenever someone enters their email address into the form and hits the submit button, the webform knows which list to add that email address to.

You can create multiple webforms depending on the different signup forms you have. I recommend you check them from time to time to make sure they are accurate and working properly.

To create your first webform, click the Webform link and the “Add a Webform” button:

Add a webform mad mimi

The webform setup page on Mad Mimi looks like this (we’ll be working with the 3 circled tabs to start):

Webform window mad mimi

1. The Details tab should be open by default:

Webform details mad mimi

On this tab, you will enter:

  • The name of the webform. It might be helpful to name it according to where you’ll use it. For example, maybe it’s the form in your sidebar so you could call it “Sidebar Top.”
  • The list or lists people are added to when they sign up via this particular form. Again, this is one way Mad Mimi allows you to tag or segment your subscribers. Choose the list or lists you want email addresses to be added to. Click on one and then repeat the process to add another list.
  • The amount of information you want to collect from the subscriber. Do you want only their email address? Do you want their name too? I opt for email address only but some people like a first name so they can personalize emails down the road.

2. The Theme tab:

webform theme tab mad mimi

On this tab you can customize:

  • The design of the standard webform. This is what the standard form looks like. Of course, your name will be at the top.Mad Mimi theme tab default design and sharing or htmlYou could, for example, link directly to this signup form and it will open a new browser window with the form. You could also embed this form directly into a post or page on your site.
  • Note, you do not have to use this default design. Instead, you can get the HTML code to paste this form into your site, so it will blend into your site design or a service like Lead Pages or OptinMonster. More on placement of your form in a minute.

3. The Advanced tab:

Mad Mimi advanced webform tab

On this tab you can customize:

  • The activation message. This is the email message sent to a new subscriber that contains the confirmation link. Include your “from” email address and name. Make sure these are recognizable to your readers. I use the email address on my contact page and “Amy Lynn Andrews.” Use a catchy subject line like “Confirm Your Useletter signup! Do this now…” Here’s example text from one of my activation messages:

    To activate your Useletter signup (and get the sample Useletter I promised), click the confirmation link below. (You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of any email you receive.)

    (Questions? Contact me at, reply to this email or send me snail mail here: P.O. Box 180841, Arlington, TX 76096.)

  • Confirmation landing page. This is a page you’ll need to create on your site that the subscriber is automatically sent to as soon as they submit their email address into your form. I call this my “Almost Done” page because, as a double opt-in process, they still have to confirm the link in the activation message email before they are added. Here is my confirmation landing page.
  • Activation landing page. This is a page you’ll need to create on your site that a subscriber is automatically sent to as soon as they click the confirmation link in their activation message. Here is my activation landing page.
  • Signup form page. If you add a signup link in your emails, this is where people are taken. This might be used, for example, by someone who was forwarded your email from one of your subscribers. Here is my signup form page.
  • Button text. What do you want your button to say?
  • Resubscribe policy. If someone wants to resubscribe, do you want them to go through the confirmation process again? I don’t require this as they have done so once.
  • Confirmation policy. Is your list double opt-in or single opt-in. In general, double opt-in is recommended and requires the confirmation process. If this box is checked, it means as soon as someone types in their email address into the form and hits the submit button, their email address is immediately added to your list. I’m using double opt-in myself.

Once your webform is created, you’ll need to make it available online so others can sign up.

You have a few options here. You can share the link, embed the Mad Mimi form on your site or embed the HTML of the form on your site to match the design of your site. Use the buttons above the form like so:

Mad Mimi theme tab default design and sharing or html

  • Share. Clicking the “Share” button will allow you to copy a simple URL that will open this form up in any browser. Go ahead and try it by clicking “Share” and copying the URL and pasting it into your browser to see what I mean.
  • Embed. There are three options behind this button. The first option allows you to use an iframe to embed the form directly into a post or page on your site. The second option allows you to copy the HTML from the HTML tab and paste it into, say, your sidebar or into the appropriate place in Lead Pages or OptinMonster. The third option allows you to insert a side tab into your site. The way this is done varies depending on your preference and where you choose to place it. Read here for help with embedding.

Step 6: Set up a new Drip Campaign

As I’ve mentioned, Mad Mimi’s “Drip Campaigns” are autoresponders.

Here’s how it works: as soon as a person signs up and confirms their subscription to one of your lists, the first email in a drip campaign is triggered and sent to the new subscriber. Any additional emails in the same drip campaign get sent, or “dripped,” at intervals of your choosing thereafter.

Note that emails are called “promotions” in Mad Mimi speak.

Of course once a drip campaign is set up, it all runs automatically.

You do not have to create a multi-email drip campaign to new subscribers on your lists, but I do recommend at least sending one welcome email.

How to create a new drip campaign in Mad Mimi

To create a new drip campaign, click the “Drips” link at the top of the page and click the “New Drip Campaign” button:

And new drip campaign in Mad Mimi

Enter a name for your drip campaign and choose the list it is attached to. When someone gets added to this specific list, this drip campaign will begin sending the emails in the campaign.

Drip Campaign in Mad Mimi

Choose how often you want the emails to be sent. Leave this as is if you don’t have a sequence of emails.

To send a welcome email which a new subscriber will receive right away, check the box beside “Send the first promotion immediately after a user signs up.” I highly recommend you do this. Like I mentioned before, you do not have to send out a series of emails to new list subscribers, but sending out one welcome email is a good way to make immediate contact. It’s also a good way to deliver any lead magnets you promised.

If you don’t want to send emails on weekends, check the last box and then click the “Create my Drip Campaign!” button. Doing so does not start the campaign, it just gives you a chance to set it up.

Step 7: Set up your individual drips

Now it’s time to create the individual email(s) to include in your new Drip Campaign created above.

You can add multiple emails to your drip campaign to create a robust autoresponder sequence. For this tutorial, we will create only one which will become our welcome email.

You can choose to create a Custom HTML email from the dropdown menu, but unless you have specific experience doing so, I recommend you use the much easier “Compose new” option. Again, emails are called “promotions” in Mad Mimi.

Adding drips in Mad Mimi

This is the main creation window where you will compose emails:

Promotion creator in Mad Mimi

You can upload images in the right column. Once they are loaded, you can click and drag them into the main window on the left. I encourage you to watch the video which will provide a quick tutorial about the Composer. There are also tons of help topics about the Composer here, answering any questions you may have.

Here is an example of the welcome email I send to Useletter subscribers who sign up via my How to Make Money Blogging post:

how to make money blogging welcome email example

Important things to include in your first “drip” which in our case, is our welcome email:

  • Header image – I recommend you take some time creating this image and use it consistently in your promotions. Note that you can add a link to your header to take people to your site. Here’s how.
  • Greeting – welcome your new subscribers. I recommend you explicitly state what it is they signed up for. This way, if they open the email later and don’t remember, they are less likely to mark it as spam.
  • Lead magnet(s) – Depending on the lead magnet you offer, this could be many things. In my case, I offer two downloadable content upgrades. I created my PDFs in Google Drive (created them as a document and saved them as a PDF), uploaded them to Dropbox, grabbed the sharing link to each in Dropbox and linked the text here in the welcome email. Pro tip: As I shared in the Useletter (sign up if you aren’t subscribed!), if you change the “www” to “dl” in your Dropbox URL, the link will automatically download when it is clicked, as opposed to opening up the document in Dropbox.

I recommend you keep this email short and sweet.

Don’t forget to name your promotion (email) before saving.

Then click the Continue button at the bottom of the page. On the next screen you’ll see something like this:

edit the details of your drip campaign

If this is your welcome email, make sure the box is checked so new subscribers get it right away. This is important, especially if you’ve promised a lead magnet.

Edit your subject line and check the boxes for link tracking (if available with your plan) and social media sharing if you want. In this case, I do not enable social media sharing, because I want to make sure only subscribers have access to my bonuses.

Click Continue again to find this:

starting a drip campaign

At this point, your drip campaign and welcome email are set up. You have the option to add additional drips to this campaign if you’d like. The number of drips will depend on how many emails you want in your autoresponder series.

There are a few remaining edits you can make. Notice the “Send at” option on the right. This is the time of day your drips will be sent out. If you clicked the box “Send immediately after a member signs up” on the previous screen, this only applies to the emails sent out after the first one.

Tip: If you are adding multiple drips to a campaign, you do not have to create a new email / promotion from scratch. You can “clone” the first one and simply edit the text in the subsequent drips. It’s a great time saver. To clone, hover over the title of the drip you want to clone and click the Clone link like so:

clone tool in drip campaigns

Once you’ve added all the drips you want to include, this drip campaign needs to be turned on in order for it to start working. That is, until it is running, it won’t send your emails (promotions) out to new list subscribers.

Simply click the “Start” button to turn it on.

Important note: Editing a drip campaign (such as adding a drip) once it has already been started may cause that new email to be sent to everyone on your list immediately. This is not always ideal and one of the few glitches I’ve found with Mad Mimi. You are given a warning when this is about to happen, so be sure to always pay attention to the little popups Mad Mimi sends you. Also, contact their support if you have more questions about your drip campaigns.

How to see all of your drip campaigns at once

You can always see which drip campaigns are running and which are paused on your drip campaigns page. To get there, click “Drips” at the top of your screen.

A paused drip campaign looks like this:

Paused drip campaign

It can be turned on here as well. Just click the Start button on the bottom left.

A running drip campaign looks like this:

drip campaign running

It can be paused by clicking the Pause button.

Hovering over a drip campaign gives you the option to view its stats or delete it.

The black toggle button the the right of the promotion name turns individual emails on and off in a drip campaign. For example, let’s say I had 10 emails (promotions) in my drip campaign, but I decided I wanted to turn one of them off. I would just toggle its button to “Draft” mode, effectively taking it out of the running but not deleting it entirely.

Step 8: Test your drip campaigns

As soon as you turn on a drip campaign, I recommend you test it.

Always, always subscribe to your own lists so you are aware of what your subscribers experience. It is especially important to do so in this case.

Pretend you are a visitor on your site. Recall where you set up your webform (Step 5) for this specific list. Go through the signup process as a reader would. If you are already on your list, delete your email (Audience > Search for your email address > hover and delete) and sign up again. Or, use a different email address to walk through the process.

Make sure the process is smooth and you aren’t getting hung up anywhere.

You might also consider recruiting a family member or close friend to go through the process too, noting any hangups.

What next?

You should be set up and ready to go, especially for your automatic mailings.

You do have the option to send one-off or “broadcast” email messages to any of your lists if you choose. Doing so is quite simple. Once you’re logged in, click the Dashboard tab at the top of the screen and click the Compose button. Create your email and send immediately, draft it or schedule it to send at a later time. This is the process I go through each week to send out the Useletter.

As I’ve mentioned a few times, Mad Mimi support is superb and their help documentation is also easy to follow so take advantage of both.

If you’re ready to sign up, click here to get started.

The post How to Get Started With Mad Mimi appeared first on Amy Lynn Andrews.

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Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Email List

March 26, 2016

People everywhere are talking about the importance of building an email list. But why exactly? How does it work? Where should you go to start building your own email list? In this guide, I’ll answer the most common questions I get about list building.

Email marketing 101, a beginner's guid to list building

my story

I started this blog in 2010 after encountering a lot of people who wanted to start blogs or websites, but were confused by the vast amounts of tech speak used by those explaining the process.

The online landscape has changed drastically since then and now information about starting a blog or website is everywhere. But for years, I faithfully published posts on this blog (you can see them on my Contents page) with the goal of explaining everything in plain English.

Then I took a hard right turn in 2013.

I decided to stop writing so much on my blog and start sharing most of my quick tips in a weekly email instead. The Useletter® was born. It was my first foray into email marketing and the beginning of my quest to build my own email list.

Now, years later, there are tens of thousands on my email list and my open rate hovers just below 40%. In 2013, the shift to email marketing felt very risky, but now, I’m so glad I took the plunge.

why email marketing

If you’ve spent any time reading about online marketing or making money online, you’ve probably heard some of the following comments or phrases:

  • “The biggest mistake I made was not building an email list from the beginning.”
  • “The majority of my income comes from my list.”
  • “Are you building a list? If not, don’t wait. Start now.”
  • “The money’s in the list.”

My goal is to explain why you should build an email list and how to get started. Let’s take it from the very top and do it FAQ style.

Please note there are affiliate links in this post for products I pay for myself. This means, at no cost to you, I may get a commission if you make a purchase through one of them. Thank you!

What exactly is an email list?

Your email list is a collection of email addresses of people interested in what you have to say or sell.

Why would I want an email list?

An email list allows you to connect directly with those who are interested in you, your product or what you have to say.

Should everyone have an email list?

No. If your goal online is to simply express yourself and you don’t have interest in gaining followers or customers, I think you can safely forgo an email list. However, if you would like followers or customers, or you think you may one day, building an email list is highly recommended.

Why email? Why not just connect with people on social media?

There are many reasons, but the most important is, you own your list.

Your Facebook Page is not owned by you.

Your Twitter account is not owned by you.

Your YouTube account is not owned by you.

Your Pinterest followers aren’t owned by you.

Your Instagram followers aren’t owned by you.

You get the point.

Audiences on other social media platforms are not ones you ultimately have control over. The social media networks own those. You are basically renting them. If those networks go out of business or change their terms, you could lose.

For example, remember MySpace? It’s not hard to find stories about people who were making a lot of money on MySpace at its peak. But then they watched it slide into oblivion…along with their customers and their income.

A less dramatic example is Facebook. Changes in algorithms and their push to make advertising dollars have resulted in losses of organic traffic (and income) for many online business owners who relied on Facebook traffic to fuel their blogs.

You spend a huge amount of time building relationships, creating content and making connections online. Don’t put them in the hands of someone else.

What about my blog or website? Don’t I have control over that?

Assuming you have a self-hosted site (the best option), well then yes, you do have control.

However, it’s not unheard of for your site to crash. Even for days at a time.

Let’s assume you are regularly backing up your email list (important). Even if your blog goes down, social media explodes or your feed goes haywire, you’ll have your email list.

Having an email list means you will never be totally out of contact with your core audience.

Having an email list means you will never be totally out of contact with your core audience.Click To Tweet

Well, unless email disappears I suppose. Possible, but unlikely. :)

Why not just send people to my site to see my stuff?

Well, because trying to get people to see your stuff on your site or on social media is no easy feat.

You publish a post, promote it and then you…wait.

You wait for readers to find you. You wait for them to click through your links. You wait for them to visit your site.

Email, on the other hand, is different.

When someone gives you their email address, they give you permission to go to them instead of having to wait for them to come to you.

An email list allows you to go to them instead of waiting for them to come to you.Click To Tweet

If you have something you really want them to see, you can send it right to their inbox. On your terms.

When someone willingly gives me their email address, they are essentially saying, “Hey Amy, I believe in what you offer so I give you permission to tell me about those things.”

But there are other benefits to email.

  • It’s more intimate and personal. It’s like you’re talking to a friend. And a note from a friend landing in your inbox is a much more lovely way of communicating than an update shared across social media, right?
  • It’s more permanent. Someone remains on your list until they decide to get off (or you kick them off which I do regularly). This is unlike social media or search where algorithmic changes often determine whether or not your content is seen.
  • It’s popular. How many people have email addresses? Pretty much anyone who does anything online.
  • It’s highly integrated into our daily lives. How many people go a day without checking their email? Not many. Now, how many people go a day without checking blogs? Lots. For most of us, checking email is just part of daily life.
  • It’s familiar. Email is no longer a difficult concept to explain. Most people have already been introduced. It’s got a low barrier to entry.
  • It’s shareable. It’s a cinch to forward an email to someone you think will benefit.
  • It’s top of mind. Email puts you in front of people so you’re not out of sight, out of mind.
  • It’s trackable. If you use an email service provider like Mad Mimi (my top recommendation for beginners), you can track your growth and progress. This is infinitely better than, say, RSS subscribers whom you can’t track at all.

Alright I’m convinced. So how do I get email addresses?

You collect them, one by one.

Isn’t there a faster way to collect them?

Well, you could buy them or steal them, but that’s spammy and in some cases, probably illegal. I don’t recommend it. You’ll make people mad, they’ll remove themselves from your list, mark your emails as spam and you’ll be right back where you started with no list, except it’ll be worse because now people won’t like you either.

So how do I get people to want to subscribe to my email list?

Provide really valuable information people don’t want to miss. Invite them to give you their email address so you can send that valuable information directly to them.

Do you mean give them valuable content so they sign up (like a freebie)? Or do you mean give them valuable content after they sign up?


Alright, so what kind of freebie should I offer?

A freebie, or “lead magnet” as many call it, can be lots of things. I recommend something short but packed with helpful (or entertaining) information. This could be a printable, a worksheet, a tip sheet, a cheat sheet, images or anything that’s a quick win for your subscriber.

Potential subscribers are asking this question: What’s in it for me? Make sure you have an answer.

Make your lead magnet related to the kind of content you’ll provide going forward, otherwise you’ll get people who sign up for your lead magnet and be totally uninterested in the rest of your emails. And that defeats the purpose of having an email list.

In my case, I offer a couple different lead magnets. For example, I offer new Useletter subscribers a sample of my weekly emails so they know what to look forward to. As another example, on my post How to Make Money Blogging, I offer some bonus material (a.k.a. content upgrade)—a cheat sheet outlining the 5 different ways to make money online and an in-depth explanation of what I call my 4-legged stool as it applies to making money online.

After I have subscribers, what should I put in my emails?

It depends on what works for you. You basically have 3 choices:

  1. Blog posts. Typically these are automatically sent to your email subscribers whenever you publish something new on your blog. Pros: It’s mostly “set it and forget it.” Also, you don’t have to think about producing content in addition to what you’re already writing on your blog. Lastly, you can get this done for free. Cons: These types of lists often grow stale. I think of it like letting a garden go. You may still get some produce, but you’d get more if you paid attention and tended to it regularly. Still, it’s better than nothing. Also, the free solution isn’t ideal (more below).
  2. Stand-alone content. This type of email content is created outside of your blog posts. They might be newsletters, autoresponders (sometimes called drip campaigns), one-off or broadcast emails. My Useletter is an example of this. In fact, I do not make my blog posts available to my email list at all. Pros: Because you’re (hopefully) paying attention to what your readers are responding to, you can make tweaks and changes to keep them engaged. Also, you have control. You can highlight content or products you might not otherwise in blog posts, and you can decide when and when not to send them. Cons: It’s extra work for you. Subscribers may have to sign up separately for this list which can lead to confusion or frustration (“Am I signing up for your blog posts or something different?”). This option costs money.
  3. Hybrid. You could also send your list a combination of the two listed above. Some people send their blog posts as well as additional content to their list.

Related & helpful: What is RSS? What is a feed?

Is a “newsletter” the same as an email list?

Not exactly, however sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. To me, an email list is a broad term and a newsletter is a type of mailing you would send to your email list. I would categorize a “newsletter” as something other than your blog posts.

OK wait, so do I need a newsletter like so many people suggest?

That’s the wrong question.

Do you need an email newsletter? That’s the wrong question…Click To Tweet

What you need are email addresses. So, whether people sign up for a newsletter, blog posts or something else, it doesn’t really matter. Once you have an email address, you have an asset.

Think about it like building a savings account. Every time you get another dollar, you put it in your savings account. It doesn’t really matter where you get those dollars or how you get them (assuming you get them legally of course). What matters is that you get them.

It’s the same thing with email marketing. Just like every dollar in your account is precious, every email on your list is precious.

And should be treated as such.

Alright, so what do I need to collect and manage these email addresses?

First, you should definitely not build your email list in your regular email client. In other words, don’t start collecting email addresses in your Gmail or Yahoo or Outlook contacts.

Companies who specialize in this type of thing are called Email Service Providers (ESP). Sign up with an ESP for all your email marketing. Their systems are set up to manage and automate the process of signups, sending, stat taking and more.

Sounds expensive. How much does an ESP cost?

I completely understand what it’s like to be starting out without a budget. That was certainly my story.

FeedBurner is the only free service I might recommend in a pinch, but with lots of hesitation. It will sort of handle your email marketing tasks for you. (Read this post to find out my thoughts on FeedBurner.)

I say “sort of” because they aren’t a true ESP. They will just collect email addresses and send your blog posts to those subscribers. You cannot easily or practically send one-off emails to your list via FeedBurner. In other words, you’re pretty limited with FeedBurner. Plus, they haven’t updated the service in years and that’s never a good sign.

On the other hand, many ESPs allow you to sign up and won’t start charging you until you reach a certain number of subscribers. This is my preference, by about 10 million.

What ESP do you recommend?

You have tons of options and a lot of good ones.

The ESP I currently use and pay for is called Mad Mimi. I use them to manage and send my Useletter every week.

Update: I have since written an extensive tutorial about getting started with Mad Mimi.

I found them after trying a handful of other ESPs. I like them because they make things simple. The system is easy and fun and they have amazing support. You can have a free account until you hit 100 subscribers.

There are two things about Mad Mimi I’m not crazy about, neither of which have caused me to switch, but things I wish were different nonetheless:

  1. Limited stats. While I can get a lot of information in my Dashboard like open rates, click rates, unsubscribe numbers, quick comparisons of multiple mailings at once, and more, one stat I wish I had access to was how many people subscribe on a daily or hourly basis. At this point, I can only see how many signed up in a week.
  2. No easy way to clean up my list. I like to delete unengaged subscribers on a regular basis and I wish there was a way to go into my list of subscribers and easily see who hasn’t opened any of my emails in a set period of time so I could delete them in bulk. This isn’t all bad though, because instead, I simply live chat with support, tell them what I want and they’ll isolate the group for me. Like I said, their support is fantastic.

MailChimp and Aweber are also popular starter ESPs. If I had to choose between them, I’d go with MailChimp, mainly because I think it’s more user friendly and it’s integrated in so many apps and services. (I’m also a MailChimp customer for another list I keep.)

Another intriguing, new-to-the scene option I have my eye on is ConvertKit. They are more expensive ($29 per month to start as of this writing), but they excel at autoresponders (called drip campaigns in Mad Mimi) and they have some great tagging features for segmenting your list (organizing subscribers into interest or behavior groups).

Can I ever switch ESPs?

Yes. I have switched ESPs multiple times. It’s a little stressful because you want to make sure it goes smoothly, but it can definitely be done. Doing so mainly involves exporting your list from your old ESP and importing it into your new ESP.

Tip: ESPs want your money and therefore try to make the switch as easy as possible for you. Most at least have tutorials for switching, and many provide email support or have live chat.

What do I need in order to start building my list?

  1. An ESP. Technically this is all you need to build an email list, but there are other things I recommend. Again, here’s my Mad Mimi tutorial.
  2. A lead magnet. This is the freebie we talked about earlier. While not absolutely necessary, a lead magnet is often effective because it’s hard to get people to give up their email addresses if they don’t get something in return.
  3. A website or blog. Technically this is optional too. However, your own site is a really great place to put signup forms for your list. Also, you don’t want to inundate your list with all your communication. Save email for the things you really want subscribers to see. Your site, or social media, is a good place to make less urgent or complimentary information available. You can start your own website or blog (the steps are the same) by following these instructions.
  4. A physical address. This is important if you don’t want your personal contact information sent out in every email. Read more about this here.
  5. An idea of the type of content you’ll provide. Blog posts? Stand-alone content? Hybrid? To decide, what is your main goal online? To make money? To raise support? To keep your followers informed? I call this your ONE thing. Have a specific plan for using your email list to lead subscribers to your ONE thing.

Keep in mind…

Email marketing is about trust. Don’t start an email list without a solid plan to use it consistently, in a way that benefits your subscribers. They may have given you permission to contact them, but they also have the power to mark your email as spam which hurts your email marketing overall.

next steps

If you want to dive deeper into this subject, I go into much more depth in my Knowtbook. Just type “email marketing” into the search bar and click the gray bullet.

If you’re ready to start your own list, read my Mad Mimi tutorial.

Lastly, I regularly share email marketing tips in the Useletter so subscribe to that if you aren’t already. It’s free.

The post Email Marketing 101: A Beginner’s Guide to Building an Email List appeared first on Amy Lynn Andrews.

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sock marks

The indentations left on the calves or ankles as a result of wearing tight socks;

I’m heading to the gym after work today and I only brought shorts. Damn, I guess I won’t be able to conceal my sock marks.

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Fresh Air Break

A way to say “ciggarette break” without your boss knowing that you’re going to have a smoke. Especially useful in non-smoking environments. The term “fresh air” can also be used to mean “ciggarette” but is not typically necessary and doesn’t sound right in most contexts.

Employee 1: I’m going out for a fresh air break

Boss: Ok, just be back in 15

Employee 2: (whisper) He doesn’t know you mean you’re going for a smoke?

Employee 1: (whisper) No! That’s the point!

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