5 Ways to Organize Email Marketing to Achieve Higher ROI

5 Ways to Organize Email Marketing To Achieve Higher ROI - Duct Tape MarketingI like to say that email marketing is like a headed cabbage. It might seem like a simple concept, but it has many layers.

In fact, the deeper you go into the email rabbit hole, the more you realize that there are more things you need to pay attention to and optimize than you had thought.

Before you know it, you can get overwhelmed with ESP features, analytical metrics, and dozens of option forms. This can result in a disease that I call email confusion; companies that suffer from it show symptoms such as low open rate, low click-through rate, and unengaged subscribers.

Luckily, there is a very effective cure for that. If you organize your email marketing effectively, you’ll see the results right away: improved open rates, engaged subscribers, better conversion rate and higher ROI.

In this post, I’m going to share 5 things you can do to organize your email marketing. There is a special bonus for overachievers at the end of the post, so be sure to check it out.


Segmentation is the cornerstone of email marketing because it informs smarter campaigns. By grouping your subscribers based on a set of characteristics, or triggers, you ensure that you send relevant information to a highly targeted audience.

Many email service providers (ESPs) let you tag each subscriber based on the actions they performed, such as buying your product, visiting sales page, or dropping out of the webinar half-way.

To make sure you have good data on hand to segment your subscribers, make sure you set up tagging for every kind of event that’s relevant for your business.

Even if your ESP doesn’t allow tagging, there is a number of ways you can segment your list simply based on campaign activity. Look at the following groups and see how you can serve them differently:

  • subscribers who open most of your emails but don’t click
  • subscribers who click but don’t convert (send them a new campaign with more reasons to purchase your product)
  • subscribers who didn’t open the last email (if it was an important email, re-send it with a new subject line)
  • subscribers who have consistently replied to your emails (they are your biggest fans, so treat them accordingly)


If you’ve been building your email list for a while, you probably have dozens of opt-in forms floating around your website, landing pages, and affiliate web properties.

Many of them probably use similar language or offer the same opt-in freebies.

If you don’t keep those forms organized, you might end up doing double work and wasting time that could be better spent on email analytics or A/B tests.

A big step towards organizing your opt-ins is creating them in one platform, whether that’s your ESP or another tool, such as LeadPages.

Being able to look at a single page with a list of all opt-in forms you own will allow you to save time on creating new ones, analyze and compare their performance and reuse the most effective ones.


You need to have a thought-out strategy and schedule for your email marketing so that the emails you send feel like a coordinated campaign (vs. a series of one-off messages).

While developing a content calendar takes time, it will save you more time down the road, because your marketing team won’t have to go through the same strategizing process for each of the emails they send.

Here are a few details to include in your email planner (you can download an Excel template for this planner at the end of the post):

  1. Email send date.
  2. Email topic.
  3. Owner. (Who on your team is crafting this email?)
  4. Subject line.
  5. Goal. (Examples: lead generation, purchase, event signups, etc)
  6. Target segment / persona.
  7. Send list.


A/B testing is one of the most powerful tactics you can use for developing best-performing email campaigns. You can learn powerful insights about your audience and rely on hard data (instead of your gut) when crafting your next email campaign.

However, the bigger your team is and the more tests you run, the easier it is to get lost in results if you don’t keep them organized.

This is why you need to keep a ledger with all tests that you’re running. If you’re using a tool that helps you organize this — great! If you’re not ready to invest in a tool yet, build out an Excel spreadsheet with the following columns:

  • Test start and end date
  • Hypothesis
  • Success metrics
  • Confidence level
  • Key takeaways

If you want to download a pre-made testing ledger template, there is a link at the end of this post.


Finally, any email marketing manager should always keep a pulse on what other players are doing with email. Which means… they need to subscribe to dozens of newsletters and regularly check them.

I can immediately see this becoming an inbox nightmare very quickly.

Here are a few steps you can take to keep spying on others’ email marketing efforts and keep that business tidy:

  • Create filters in Gmail that would sort different newsletters in respective labeled “folders” (make sure to check off “Skip the inbox” so that these messages don’t distract you in your main inbox)
  • Schedule an hour every week where you go through all newsletters to check for cool campaign and design ideas and examples of excellent copywriting
  • Export the best examples to a shared Evernote folder


Keeping email marketing organized pays off in many ways, the most important one of which is higher return on your investment.

To help you organize your efforts well, I prepared an Excel template that you can use to plan your emails, build an effective email strategy and keep track of all experimentation you’re doing.

It’s completely free, and you can download it right here.5 Ways to Organize Email Marketing To Achieve Higher ROI - Duct Tape Marketing

I’d love to hear how YOU are organizing your email marketing: the tools, the tricks, the smart hacks — please share them in the comments!

Kasey LuckKasey Luck runs Bold & Zesty, a free newsletter about email marketing & productivity. Previously she did marketing at the most active venture fund in the world, 500 Startups, where she grew email list by 25,000 subscribers in 1 year. Connect with Kasey here.

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape MarketingCan you hear it?

Bounce, bounce, bounce.

No, that’s not the distant sound of the discotheque down the street. That’s the sound of visitors leaving your landing page. Visitors you’ll never see again.

Something on your landing page is throwing your visitors off and making them turn around.

Your landing page may be hiding a conversion killer.

Can you sleep peacefully, knowing that you might be driving potential customers away?

Let’s put those fears to rest today. Let me show you how to find those conversion killers and turn them into conversion boosters!

Designed (not) to Convert

Your landing page is one of the most important pages on your site. It’s where a majority of your leads and sales will come from.

As a result, if you make a mistake designing your landing page the effect is much more detrimental to your business than if you made the same mistake elsewhere.

At Thrive Themes, we’re all about conversions. In a recent case study, we asked our audience to send us their landing pages for review and optimization. Entries came in all shapes and sizes, but a few specific and fundamental mistakes kept cropping up over and over again.

Conversion Killer 1 – Why Should I Care About Your Offer?

 Harvard Business School professor Theodore Levitt: “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill, they want to buy a quarter-inch hole!”

One of the biggest mistakes you can make designing your landing page is to focus entirely on describing your product or offer.

Feature: What is it?

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape Marketing

When your reader first finds your content, they’re not interested in a detailed description of your offer. All they want to know is why they should stay. That’s why your landing page must illustrate the benefit of your offer.

Presenting the DTM podcast in a very blunt, feature-oriented fashion. Doesn’t sound too interesting, does it?

Benefit-oriented: Why should you care?

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape Marketing

Here’s the same podcast, presented in a different light. Suddenly you feel engaged as if part of a story.

These examples are, of course, deliberately exaggerated. Everyone who does marketing stuff has heard of features vs. benefits, and most of us think we’re doing it right. What we’ve found is that a lot of people still make this mistake, even if to a lesser degree.

In other words: Just because you’ve heard of emphasizing benefits over features doesn’t mean you aren’t making this mistake right now.

How do you fix it?

  • Think about the questions “Why should I care” and “What is it.” With this in mind, read every paragraph and line of your landing page.
  • Make sure every line is an answer to “Why should I care.”

Conversion killer 2: Drowning Your Conversion Goal in Distractions

Have you ever landed on a page looking like this:

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape Marketing

See how many objects stand out on the page? You don’t know where to click. So many bright objects demanding your attention that you’ll be forced to click yourself out of there before decision paralysis kicks in.

Your navigation bar, your social share buttons, and your popular content links are great elements to have on your homepage or blog page. Visitors to these pages are generally the ones who have already decided to stay and look at your content more closely.

New visitors, though, they might not know who you are or what you can offer them. Your new visitor needs one single benefit to give them a reason to stay and subscribe.

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape Marketing

That’s why we design a landing page leading the visitor toward a single goal, usually a subscribe button or buy-button.

How do you fix it?

  • Design your page with only one attractive element, brightly colored to contrast with the rest of the content.
  • Remove any other distractions. Anything that isn’t explicitly helping your conversion goal needs to go.

Conversion killer 3: Failing to Keep the Scent

Your sales funnel isn’t so much a collection of different elements linked together, but a solid pipeline with a single thought and purpose.

If you’re designing your ads or writing your guest posts separately from your landing pages, it might lead to a disconnect in your funnel.

3 Landing Page Blunders That Can Kill Your Conversions - Duct Tape Marketing

Logistical disconnect:

Your ad promotes one specific offer with a specific benefit but links to your homepage. Your visitor needs to click through your navigation or look through several other offers to find the correct one. At that point, they’ll feel quite confused.

Disconnect in look and feel:

Your ad is bright and colorful but leads to a landing page that’s dull and clinical. Your visitor feels they ended up in the wrong place.

Value proposition disconnect:

Your promotional ad says “Get Your Free Business Coaching Session!”, but leads to a landing page with a business coaching video. Great video, but your visitor might feel lost after expecting to sign up for a live coaching session.

These sorts of things make your visitor think “Hang on, am I supposed to be here?” When you look at this from a visitor’s perspective, the problem is obvious. But how can you design your pages so that they surely keep the scent?

How do you fix it?

  • Run through your own sales funnel. For every step, try looking at it from the perspective of someone who knows absolutely nothing about your website or business.

Pro Tip: If you feel unsure about a part of your funnel, you can pinpoint the problem with tools like Hotjar. Surveys and heat mapping can be the key to reading your visitor’s mind.

Silence the Bounce and Boost Your Conversion

If you found yourself guilty of the above mishaps, you know what you need to start changing to bring in results.

Remember to measure results before and after every change you make, so you know what’s working and what’s not.

Let’s be honest, though. Going back to eliminate conversion killers can be exhausting. It’s much easier to design the page from the ground up with no such flaws. Check out how you can do it with our free RAPID landing page course!

Silence the bounce. Sleep like a baby, knowing that your leads are safely clicking through, as they should.

Jay PitkänenJay Pitkänen is passionate about copywriting, inbound marketing and turning marketing jargon into something humans can understand. When he isn’t waxing lyrical about conversion optimization on the Thrive Themes blog, you can find him roaming the streets of major European cities looking for business opportunities.

15 Cause Marketing Ideas to Supercharge Your Referral Marketing Efforts


It’s no secret that gaining new customers by way of referral is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow a business. Not only is it cheaper to acquire new customers this way than through advertising or other methods, but referred customers also tend to be a better fit for your style of doing business. However, beyond simply asking their customers for referrals or offering financial incentives to customers who give referrals, many local businesses are at a loss as to how to get more referrals.

One less utilized but potentially very effective method for getting people to talk about your business and refer new customers to you is cause marketing. Cause marketing is any type of marketing that involves the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for their mutual benefit. More and more local businesses are jumping on the cause marketing bandwagon, and for good reason. Consider the following:

  • 87% of consumers say they would switch from one brand to another if the other brand were associated with a good cause, according to Cone Cause Evolution.
  • 72% of Americans want their employers to do more to support a cause or social issue.
  • A whopping 93% of Americans say that it is important for their employers to give them opportunities to become involved in social issues
  • 95% of college students say they are less likely to ignore an ad that promotes a company’s partnership with a cause

In short, if done correctly cause marketing can be a great way to not only make your customers more loyal to your brand and get more referrals, but also give your employees opportunities for personal growth and development. This will reduce employee turnover and help you attract higher-quality employees, which will allow you to deliver higher-quality service (which of course leads to more referrals).

How to make cause marketing effective

In order for your cause marketing efforts to be the most effective, it’s important that you partner with the right non-profit organization. Here’s a few tips to help you decide what organization to partner with:

  • For local businesses, it’s probably best to partner with a non-profit that is active in supporting the local community, vs one that has an international focus.
  • Avoid politically charged causes or organizations, unless you are ok with alienating 50% of the population.
  • If possible, pick an organization related to your industry, your products, or your services. For example, a lawn care company might decide to partner with their local parks department.
  • Get input from your customers and employees about what organizations they would like to support or already do support.
  • Make it clear to the organization that you are interested in a partnership for your mutual benefit, not simply a one-way deal where they benefit and you don’t get anything in return.

Once you decide which organization to partner with, brainstorm ideas about how you can get both your employees and your customers involved. Simply donating money every moth to a non-profit will certainly benefit the non-profit, but probably won’t do a whole lot to boost your referrals or increase loyalty to your brand. However, with a little bit of creativity, you can really make your cause marketing efforts much more effective. Here are 15 ideas about how local businesses can use cause marketing to grow their business, along with suggestions about what types of businesses might benefit the most from each idea:

  1. Sponsor a Habitat for Humanity build (contractors, tradespeople, real estate professionals)

Get your employees and customers to sign up to volunteer together at a Habitat for Humanity build site for a day. Offer customers who bring a friend with them who is not a customer a coupon or discount on your products or services.


  1. Host or sponsor an event for Big Brothers Big Sisters (restaurants, event venues, movie theaters, entertainment venues)

Invite your local chapter of Big Brothers Big Sisters to hold an event at your facility, either for free or for a drastically reduced price. Hand out coupons to those who attend that can be redeemed at a later date.


  1. Volunteer at the Humane Society (veterinarian, dog groomer, kennel, pet store)

Offer your employees paid time off to volunteer at the local Humane Society, where they’ll interact with other volunteers who are not your customers. Offer discounts to people who volunteer as an incentive to become your customers (this strategy could be used with any organization that uses volunteers).


  1. Sponsor a water stop in a running race (fitness clubs, personal trainers, fitness clothing retailers, health food store, outdoor recreation businesses).

Get your employees to volunteer to hand out water to people running the race. Offer discounts to your customers who register for the race and give them stacks of coupons to hand out to other participants.


  1. Support your local Meals on Wheels chapter (restaurants, catering companies, any business with a fleet of vehicles, car dealers, auto repair shops, home health care businesses, doctors, medical or long term care insurance providers).

Incentivize your employees to volunteer to deliver meals, and offer discounts to customers who deliver meals. Give your employees who volunteer branded magnets to put on their personal vehicles while they are delivering meals.


  1. Collect donations for Goodwill (retail shops with high volumes of foot traffic)

Put a collection box for your local Goodwill Store in your location, and offer people who come in to drop off a donation a discount or coupon.


  1. Help support your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore (moving companies, realtors, water and damage restoration contractors, remodeling contractors, home builders)

Help facilitate donations of used furniture and building supplies to your local ReStore, and encourage your employees to volunteer there. Give the ReStore coupons or flyers promoting your services to hand out to people who shop there.


  1. Support a local theater, symphony orchestra, or performing arts venue (CPAs, financial planners, insurance agents, realtors).

Volunteer and encourage your employees to volunteer at the venue in question. Give your best clients tickets to events at the venue as a thank-you.

  1. Support a local medical clinic or health wagon (medical professionals, insurance agents, attorneys, counselors)

Volunteer your time or professional expertise. Match donations made by your clients to the organization in question. Ask the organization to give you free advertising space in their newsletter.


  1. Support your local zoo (veterinarian, pet store, kennel, entertainment venues)

Offer discounts to people who support the zoo via donations or volunteering time. Put a “donate” button on your website that links to the zoo’s website. Encourage your employees and customers to volunteer at the zoo.


  1. Partner with a museum (financial services professionals, attorneys, B2B service companies)

Sponsor events at the museum or volunteer at the museum. Purchase tickets to give to your customers as a thank-you.


  1. Support your local volunteer fire department (restaurants, entertainment venues, golf courses, event venues)

Offer to donate a certain percentage of proceeds from an event at your business to the fire department. Get the fire department to help promote the event to their mailing list.


  1. Volunteer or support your local library (hobby shops, coffee shops, movie theaters, entertainment venues, pediatricians, dentists, health clubs)

Collect books to donate to the library, or offer to sponsor educational events at the library. Sponsor the summer reading program in exchange for the opportunity to advertise on materials promoting the program.


  1. Participate in a clean-up day at a local park (lawn care companies, outdoor recreation retailers, landscaping contractors).

Get your customers and employees to volunteer together to clean up a local park. Offer coupons to anyone who participates in the event or who just happens to come by the park that day.


  1. Be a booster for a local high school sports team or marching band (any business that caters to families with school-age children).

Help financially support a local high school sports team or music program, and show up to volunteer at their events. Be careful with this one, though—high school sports rivalries can get pretty intense, and you may lose some customers who are fans of a rival team.


Hopefully, something on the list above gave you an idea about how you can use cause marketing to grow your business. Perhaps you have already used one of these ideas or something similar and have benefited as a result. If so, please share your experience by leaving a comment below so other readers can be inspired by your example.


About Kevin Jordan

Kevin JordanKevin Jordan is a small business marketing consultant and member of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. He’s also co-author of the award-winning book The Small Business Owner’s Guide to Local Lead Generation and the host of the top-rated video podcast The Small Business Marketing Minute Show. You can connect with Kevin on Twitter @RMCVirginia.

113 of the Best Lead Generation Tools and Resources


I know, monster list posts are so last year, but I wanted to put together a resource that could be a bit of a guide as you navigate all of the various platforms, networks, and channels available today.

As I’ve written in the past, I currently point to sixteen distinct growth channels and have grouped the tools and resources by channel to make it easier to navigate.

Now, before you go into a click-induced coma, understand that my belief is you should be going as deep as possible in one or two channels and looking towards new channels as a way to amplify where most of your awareness and customers come from today.

If most of your clients are generated by way of referral, then by golly start there, build multiple referral programs and look to use channels such as partnering and content to amplify how you get referrals. Teach referrals to your customers and offer to teach referral generation to their customers in B2B settings.

In each of the channels below I’ve listed some of my favorite tools and then linked to article and resources where you can learn more about the topic in general.

So, don’t think of this post simply as a list, look at it as a table of contents to your education on the subject of Lead Generation and Conversion.

Have fun!

1. Referral Marketing– This includes intentional word of mouth activities, viral tactics as well as intentional referral generation.


  • Ambassador   – Online referral program, starts at $200/mo.
  • Extole  – SaaS platform w/optimized sharing & custom codes.
  • Referral Candy – Easiest way to add refer-a-friend to your store.

Further Reading

2. Public Relations– This includes activities aimed at receiving coverage in traditional media outlets.


  • Prezly – Create your own press room in minutes, with a chosen url and embedding features. Enhance your brand’s identity with color options and logo/photo uploads.
  • TrendKite – Easily measure the impact of news on your brand with custom dashboards.
  • HARO – Help a Reporter Out is a great way to get linked to reporters looking for sources
  • Instant Press Release – Tool that helps you write and format your press release.
  • PRNewswire – Press release distribution service.

Further Reading

3. Online Advertising– This includes the use of pay-per-click platforms, social networks, display ads and retargeting


  • AdEspresso – The easiest online tool to manage and optimize your Facebook Advertising Campaigns.
  • Marin Software – Optimize your Search, Social & Display ads across channels and devices.
  • GoogleAdWords  – Advertising service for businesses wanting to display ads on Google and its advertising network. The AdWords program enables businesses to set a budget for advertising and only pay when people click the ads. The ad service is largely focused on keywords.
  • AdRoll – Retargeting platform, making retargeting simple and profitable for companies and agencies of all sizes.
  • WordStream – Service that manages PPC campaigns, but great info too.

Further Reading

4. Offline Advertising– This includes advertising in offline print and broadcast outlets such as magazine, TV and radio


  • Postcard Mania – Great online tool to create offline direct main campaigns.
  • Vista Print – The leading online printing and promotional products provider.
  • Canva – Easy & free do-it-yourself creation of flyers, business cards, etc.
  • Jelli – Self-service platform specifically designed for broadcast audio advertising; the easiest and fastest way to buy radio ads.

Further Reading

5. Content Marketing– This includes publishing, optimizing and sharing educational content that draws search traffic, links and subscribers


  • BuzzSumo –  Search tool that tracks content on all social networking sites and ranks them based on the number of shares on various social media platforms.
  • Quora –  Identify trends from consistently asked questions to inform your content creation efforts.
  • Buffer –  Use Buffer to schedule your content across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for posting at the best times optimized for your account or at the times of your choosing.
  • CoSchedule – Editorial calendar that plugs in to WordPress.
  • DivvyHQ – Full featured editorial calendar for managing all content and content teams.

Further Reading:

6. Sales Playbooks– This includes the creation of specific actions aimed at mining, generating, nurturing and converting leads


  • Nimble – One of the best social selling CRM tools.
  • Pipedrive – Visualize your sales pipeline and keep the line moving.
  • Contactually – Tool that helps you stay in contact with your most important relationships.
  • Kite Desk – Describe your ideal prospect and get leads.
  • AeroLeads – Prospect Generation Service provides you a processed list of prospects with valid email IDs.

Further Reading:

7. Email Marketing– This includes the use of targeted and automated email campaigns based on conversion actions


  • Aweber – Features auto-responders and allows you to broadcast messages, run reports and manage subscribers.
  • MailChimp – Probably the easies and most widely integrated email provider.
  • ConvertKit – Provides InfusionSoft like automation capabilities without the InfusionSoft price.
  • ActiveCampaign – Fully integrated solution for intelligence-driven marketing and sales.
  • Wishpond – Lead generation platform with variety of tools from contest management to drip email campaigns, pop-ups, etc.

Further Reading:

8. Utility Marketing– This includes the creation of useful tools that stimulate traffic, sharing and brand awareness


Further Reading:

9. Influencer Marketing– This includes the practice of building relationships with individuals and outlets that can influence pre-established communities


  • Followerwonk – Tool that allows you to target Twitter followers by topic.
  • BuzzSumo – I use this to find people writing great content that gets shared and who shares it.

Further Reading:

10. Search Engine Optimization– This includes on page and off page optimization activities aimed at generating organic search engine traffic


  • Moz –  Inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions.
  • SEM Rush – Find profitable key words.
  • SpyFu – Download competitors’ profitable key words.
  • Ahrefs – Combination tool that allows you to work on your own SEO and spy on competitors.
  • Raven Tools – Suite of SEO and online marketing tools.

Further Reading:

11. Partner Marketing– This includes co-marketing activities run in collaboration with strategic marketing partners


  • BNI – World’s leading referral and networking organization.
  • Co-marketing agreement – Tool for creating agreements with partners from Rocket Lawyer.
  • Zift Solutions – Empower Channel Partners with Through Partner Marketing Automation.
  • Impartner – Impartner PRM is the industry’s only turnkey PRM solution which can help companies have a new system up and running in 30 days.

Further Reading:

12. Social Media Marketing– This includes the act of building engagement on established platforms and networks such Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn as well as targeted industry platforms


  • Buffer – Great for sharing across platforms and my daughter works here so go buy this!
  • Social Mention – Real-time social media search and analysis.
  • AgoraPulse – Full social media management tool.
  • Socedo – Socedo discovers the social prospects that match your custom criteria then further qualifies them via predefined engagement workflow.
  • Follower Wonk – Dig deeper into Twitter analytics to see who your followers are, where they are located and how often they tweet. Find and connect with new influencers in your niche.

Further Reading:

13. Online Events– This includes events such as webinars, demonstrations, and workshops conducted using online tools


  • Zoom – Lightweight online video chat platform for hosting meeting.
  • GotoWebinar – The tool for online meetings and webinars for big audiences.

Further Reading:

14. Offline Events– This includes events such as workshops, demonstrations, seminars, trade shows, showcases and customer appreciation events


  • Eventzilla – Lets you setup a custom event registration page and sell tickets or accept registrations online in less than 5 minutes.
  • MeetUp – World’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face.
  • Eventbrite – Makes it easy for event organizers to sell tickets and manage registrations.

Further Reading:

15. Speaking Engagements– This includes the appearance of company representatives in sponsored speaking engagements at events such as industry conferences


  • MindTools – Course on public speaking.
  • TED – Some of the best examples of short, impactful talks.
  • Toastmasters – Local groups that meet to practice public speaking.
  • SlideShare – Online portal for slide presentations.
  • Lanyrd – Tool for discovering professional events.

Further Reading:

16. Community Building – This includes the intentional act of building and facilitating a community around a shared interest or topic related to the organization’s industry.


  • Intercom.io – Tool that lets customers communicate from your website.
  • Delighted – Great tool for gathering feedback from your customers.
  • Ning – Build your own community platform.
  • Facebook Groups – A Facebook feature that makes it easy to build a community on Facebook.

Further Reading