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Category: Business

Rackspace Fanatically Supports Start – Up Business Toddle.com Business

Rackspace fanatically supports start up business toddle.comRackspace recently completed a whitepaper about Toddle.com and the support they provide us with as our Cloud Hosting company and also as a participant on their Rackspace Start-Up Programme.

Recently we migrated both the toddle.com and toddlesms.com web applications to the Rackspace Cloud. We selected Rackspace for its unique up-time guarantee but also we wanted to give our customers a solution that is backed by Rackspace’s uptime SLA. This gives Toddle much greater credibility, particularly with larger clients and those running high profile campaigns.

We would like to thank Rackspace with their help during this migration process and especially their Fanatical Support – We look forward to working with them for years to come.

You can download a copy of the whitepaper here

Toddle accepted onto the Rackspace Startup Programme Business

Rackspace Startup Program

Rackspace Startup Program

Toddle is delighted today to receive confirmation that we have been accepted onto the Rackspace Startup Programme. The Rackspace Startup Programme offers startups world-class hosting on the world’s first open cloud. Rackspace is one of the most respected Cloud hosting companies in the world and Toddle is delighted to be associated and powered by Rackspace.

About Rackspace
Rackspace was started 14 years ago by three college kids looking to build a company that many could rely on. A couple iterations later and Rackspace has grown into an international, publicly traded company powering more than 200,000 customers worldwide. Rackspace provides its renowned Fanatical Support® across a portfolio of products including Public and Private Cloud, Dedicated Hosting and Hybrid. Rackspace ‘Open Cloud’ is built on the open-source OpenStack framework, founded by Rackspace and NASA in 2010, and today including over 800 organizations and 6,000 developers around the world. Rackspace haven’t forgotten their roots and remain committed to helping entrepreneurs drive the next generation of businesses.

What this means for Toddle
Been accepted onto this program means that we are now able to offer our customers a world class server setup which should speed up or web page load time considerably. On top of this, Rackspace will offer Toddle mentorship to help grow our business. They will also work on our brand to help Toddle get up to speed on the latest ad greatest ways to get us noticed on the market. The best thing Rackspace can offer us though is the promise to keep all our servers online so we can focus on building the Toddle Application

Landing Page Optimization: Sell more by spending less Advanced, Business, Conversion, Increasing Response, Landing Page Optimization, Tips & Tricks

I had great fun talking about Landing Page Optimisation at Bizcamp Newry. It was a great event and well done to the crew for organising it. Below, is part one of my presentation. Part two can be found here.

What is a landing page?

A landing page is the webpage you direct traffic to from a specific email, ad or piece of marketing. Its goal is to convert that traffic into sales or sign ups.

Landing page 2On the right is a landing page:

If I asked you right now to hand over your credit card would you do it?
Feeling nervous? Why? What do you mean you need more information?

Some information you are looking may include:

  • Who are you?
  • What am I buying from you?
  • Is the service/product good?
  • Do I want it?
  • Do I want it now?
  • Can I trust you?
  • Who else thinks this is a good deal?

The tricky bit is to get the balance right; giving just enough information to get the conversion. Include too little or too much information, or add unclear messaging and you start loosing sales.

Typical components of a landing page are:
rudderThe typical components of a Landing Page are:

  • The Primary offer
    • The primary offer
    • The total solution being offered
    • Headline
    • Sales copy
    • Image(s)
    • Pricing
    • Call-to-action
    • And anything to indicate a limit (number, time) to the offer.

    Here is an example of a landing page for the site Rudder.com. It comes from a case study by WiderFunnel.

    In this case study Rudder redesigned their landing page to try and increase conversion.
    The resulting page managed an amazing 45% increase in conversion.
    So how did they manage it?

    ruder 2Here is the new landing page. Can you spot a few differences?

    An article over on I am a landing page designer offers a good explanation why this new page converts so well.

    • The redesigned page swapped the main header copy and image positions – copy on the right, image on the left.
    • The value statements are in bullets along with check marks. An image of a lock is placed next to the security statement.
    • Lots of white space is used above the button to draw in the eye.
    • Button size is increased and the call-to-action text is much more descriptive.
    • A testimonial is placed directly underneath the button, as it gives that extra push.
    • 2009 Webby Awards nominee icon is included along with an iPhone App notice and iPhone image.
    • As Featured in the Press, icons of CNBC, TechCrunch and Cnet, logos added to the bottom of the page.
    • The Truste icon was removed.
    • McAffee and Verisign logos are also added.

    In summary, adding these visual references and clarifying the layout of the page gives the user confidence in signing-up for this service. Benefits are clearly outlined and, most importantly, we know that Rudder is free and secure; a vital element, not to be ignored when dealing with issues of personal finance. Rudder has since redesigned again.

    Redesigning order pages for maximum conversion

    Catalog 1Catalogue 2
    Here is an example of an order page for a free Audiobooks Catalogue featured over on Which Test Won. The old version is on the right, new redesign is below.

    As you can see, in the redesign, an image of what you are signing up for is added. The most interesting thing about this new page is what’s been taken away. Sometimes simplifying things is the best course of action. In this case, the new Landing Page is much better off for this decision, as users know exactly what this form is for. You must be absolutely sure that every item, piece of text or image you add to the order page, adds to a visitor’s knowledge about why they’re signing-up.

    In the first page version, the left and right column had no relevance to the purpose of the page. At the very least, they distracted a visitor or at worst, led a visitor to click away from the order page without taking any action. The result? The new order page resulted in 42% more visitors registering for a free catalogue, a dramatic increase.

    Clarity Trumps Persuasion

    The answer then, lies in not making a form ask for fewer details but just enough to secure the sign-up. Shorter pages are not the goal either. They need to be long enough to make a sale. See how SEOMoz added $1million to their revenue with a longer sign-up page. What converts best, on any landing page, is clarity above all else.

    Part two can be found here.

    Give us a shout on info@toddle.com if you would like to discuss improvements to your landing pages.

Announcing Toddle for Outlook – test our new plug-in! Business, Email Marketing, feedback

fool gets an electric shockWe are very excited to announce our new Toddle plug-in for Outlook today, as part of our strategy to integrate Toddle as close as possible to your business needs. We are thrilled to incorporate Toddle into one of the most popular business tools on the planet!

Before launching it to the world, we are entering a testing phase and this is where we need your help. We are looking for fifty Toddle users to give the new plug-in a whirl; try it out, break it and offer your feedback on how to make it more useful to you.

To get a first sneak peek at the new system sign up here with your email address. Looking forward to your feedback and thanks for helping us make Toddle even more awesome!

No place for dogs Business, Content, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, design

dogs welcome children not

We all know the importance of a good welcome. A great example we came accross this week, is our local bistro. Lots of families walk their dogs along the strand each day but it is pretty difficult to have dinner with doggie in toe.

The bistro owner has created a beautiful outdoor area where dogs can accompany their owners. Bowls are provided for water and food and doggie do do is taken care of with the placement of special bins located far away from the tables. Other diners along the strand actively discourage dogs (and their owners). What other café’s view as a problem, this bistro has turned into a selling point. Smart, effective and makes perfect business sense.

Are you making it easy for your customers to come back to you?

Image leelefever

Easy is hard to do Business, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Toddle, design, feedback

Toddle wordle cloud

A few months back we ran a survey to track how Toddle.com is performing for our customers. From the results of the survey, we created a Wordle cloud of terms most used to describe Toddle’s benefits.

As you can see, the words easy, use, newsletters and professional jump from the graphic. This got me thinking – easy is hard to do. We built Toddle to ease the pain of newsletter design and sending for small business. And to make sure your message looks great, we test it in over 30 email clients. We take the pain you get the gain. We are really thrilled that Toddle is benefiting our clients every day and thank you all sincerely for your feedback and referrals.

What’s next then?
We are working on new template designs to add to the template gallery and new payment pathways to make payments easier. Find our two newest template designs here. Exciting times indeed!

Save $180,000 on your next tradeshow Business, Email Newsletter Templates, Inspiration, PR

Paul Hayes

The Trinity Enterprise Network invited Marketing Consultant Paul Hayes from Beachhut PR to give a talk on building an international brand. And they very nicely agreed to let me come along.

Paul was previously Marketing and Communications Director at Havok and currently works with JoltOnline among others.

Paul had some brilliant advice and war stories from his time in Havok, Pirtomedia, Demonware and Plastinum on how they, as a start up, had go out and sell to the leading companies in games and film. Image it seams is vital but not that difficult… or expensive.

I got a lot of great points to take away from the day and here they are in no particular order.

PR

  • Start your PR locally. Use it as your training ground to hone and practice your message before you move international.
  • With everything showing up on Google do not underestimate local press. A Wired journalist rang up Paul after a story in the Tipperary Star popped up in his alerts.
  • Develop relationships with three key Journalists and publications.
    • THE trade publication of the industry.
    • A national publication
    • One international publication.
  • Wired Magazine

  • Wired is THE publication for a technology company and it took Havok a year from initial contact to getting covered in the magazine.
  • The easiest way to get international PR is to get on a plane and go have a drink with a Journalist and start a relationship.
  • Journalists do not write for their readers first. they write for other Journalists and their editor. Remember this when pitching a story.
  • It’s easier to get coverage if you ‘promise’ to take out advertising in the future. Most trade magazines are run at a loss to maintain an audience for other business activities, events for example. So do not stress too much if you are unable to take out advertising for a long while.
  • Third paragraph PR is better for credibility. The public are very media savvy. They recognise a PR piece about a company for what it is.However if your opinion is mentioned in an overall industry piece it lends more credibility to you being an industry expert.
  • You are the best person to tell your story. Do not use a PR firm to be the middle man. It annoys Journalists.

Business

  • The first sale was for $1 to get past the ‘First Customer’ credibility problem.It was a marketing deal in return for using the customer in PR, Marketing and Case studies.
  • There is value in everything you produce. Watch out for opportunities. Havok had an artwork tool to help users of their main product. 3dStudio Max wanted this for their application and it generated a nice bit of money for Havok over 3 years.
  • Paul believes Tradeshow stands are a waste of money. Think smarter or of a ‘Meta Stand’.Instead of a stand Havok would organise wacky transport (with a bar) carrying VIPs from a tradeshow to the afters party and again at the end of the night back to their hotels. A fraction of the cost, and more memorable.

    Microsoft Trade Show Stand

  • One horror story in the early days of Havok involved 250k on a stand, intending to make a splash. They ended up wedged between Microsoft and Sony who each spent about $10 million to launch their next gen consoles. It almost broke them.
  • At a tradeshow in Calais they rented a $20k Yacht and moored it outside the event instead of spending the $200k cost of a stand inside. They also got to save costs by sleeping 8 people and eating on it as well.
  • For a tradeshow all you need is you and a laptop walking around. Just as effective.
  • In most cases you are not selling your features. What you are selling is reduced risk.Customers assume that your product works. They want to know you will be around in 3 years and will not make them look bad to their piers and boss.
  • And last was a question from the audience asking if the Trinity name helped them abroad when making contacts and selling. He said at the time no but after the very successful companies that have emerged over the years including Havok and Jolt Online it can open doors now.

Customer survey results Business, Email Newsletter Templates, Toddle

On the day we hit over 10,000 user mark, a big milestone for us, we bring you the results off our recent survey. You have spoken and we have listened. Thank you all for taking the time to take our survey. The information is invaluable to us as we plan on how we can become (and stay) the best darn email marketing service for you.
The survey we used is called Survey.io from the brilliant Sean Ellis and KissMetrics. I really recommend you try it yourself with your own customers. So for the curious and nosey (me usually) among you I have some results below.

How did you discover Toddle?

Great, relevant content is still the best source of traffic online. Looking at the results above, the Blog and Search Engines results can be combined together, as most search traffic lands on the Blog. I will dig a little deeper into Google analytics and see which source converts better  and get back to you. Thank you all  for reading and commenting. Expect more great tips, advice and research from the team this year and more often.

How would you feel if you could no longer use Toddle?

Of all the questions on the survey this is the most important result to us. According to the research behind this survey a result of 45% and up indicates something special. So thank you for making Toddle something special. It is only from your constant  feedback and input that we are on this path.

Caelen King gave a great talk last year on online business and subscription models. He explained that a churn rate of 20-30% of your customers is to be expected each year. (In his words, “people die” and their focus and circumstances change). A must see talk if you have a few minutes. I remark on this because the number of users above who nolonger use Toddle back up his point. I am just happy to see that we are on the low end of the churn rate.

What is the primary benefit that you have received from Toddle?
Primary benefits

Survey.io has a great feature where they create a word cloud of the most repeated words across all answers. It gives a great visual snapshot of how your product or business is viewed.
“NONE” in this case is due to the number of people who skipped this question as opposed to them getting no benefits from Toddle :)
“Easy”, “Design” and “Good” are great responses to the key benefits of Toddle. From the beginning we sought to make email marketing easy, simple and fun with great looking professional newsletters that signals you out from the competition. We are more than delighted that you our user agrees with our vision.

Have you recommended Toddle to others?

Half of you have recommended Toddle. WOW! Sincerely once again, thank you so much. We are honoured and humbeled that so may of you love Toddle so much to refer it to friends and colleagues. We will do our utmost this year to continue to make Toddle a must have business resource that you will be glad to recommend!

What type of person do you think would benefit most from Toddle?
What type of person do you think would benefit most from Toddle?

Once again your feeedback to this question was music to our ears. We built Toddle to ease the pain point of email marketing for SME’s, Consultansy professionals, small organisations, individual business owners and anyone who wanted to DIY their own marketing material. We are delighted that Toddle has gained such an amazing foothold in this our target market thanks to all of you. The best, most creative response we got to this question  was: “A Breathing one.”

How can we improve Toddle to better meet your needs?
How can we improve Toddle to better meet your needs?

Well this was pretty clear, you want more and it is coming.
Right now we are preparing to move Toddle to new, bigger, faster servers for the next phase of development. Expect a speed boost in about two weeks when the move is complete.
We have more newsletter designs coming out, better integration with your other services, more marketing advice and a few killer features to make your life much much easier.
However,  we are being very careful about what features we are adding to Toddle. As our goal is to make Toddle the simplest, fastest email newsletter application on the planet! The results above show that you guys agree with us. Each additional feature we add to Toddle makes it a little more complicated, so please be patient with us as we test and refine each one to make it the best experience possible for you.

I know I have said it previously, but 2010 is going to be a great year and I am so happy you are taking Toddle on the ride with you.

Kind regards,

Alan and the Toddle team.

Your 2010 online marketing plan Business, Checklist, Content, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Inspiration, Minute Marketing Tips & Ideas, Seasonal Email Newsletters, Tips & Tricks

Happy new year. I hope you are well rested from the break and that Christmas was good to you. Welcome to 2010. A new year, a new opportunity to try new things and I can feel it in my water, it is going to be a good one.

To jump start your marketing I have put together a wonderfully simple online marketing plan for you for the year. It is put together as a checklist and it has the basics filled in with space for you to add your own twist and cross them off each month. It also includes few tips on what holidays and events you can use each month. It is based on one I have been using last year and I can tell you it helped me focused and on track.

Go ahead and download, print it off and hang it over your desk. This year you are going to be ahead with your marketing!

If you think you could do with some more information on how to get started or improve your email marketing campaigns sign up to our free email marketing course. More useful tips and tricks are found on our monthly newsletter so feel free to sign up below.

Keep us posted and let us know how the plan helped your business and let us know how we can improve it. We will showcase replies right here on the blog.

I’m starting out in Email Marketing. Should I buy an email list? 9 Happy users, Avoiding Spam, Business, Content, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter Templates, Ezine, Sending Newsletters, Tips & Tricks

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I was catching up on some reading this morning and the question of buying email lsits came up again. Here is what I think about it. If we are talking about ‘opt-in’ marketing I don’t believe buying lists is of benefit to your business. Firstly, where did the list originate from, are those on the list in your target market and did they give permission for their emails to be disseminated to third parties. Can you be completely sure that they have given permission at all?

In my experience bought lists can cause headaches, namely receivers hitting the spam button and not appreciating the unsolicited mail. If losts of people hit the spam button often enough your messages will not get through. It is far better and far more sustainable to grow your contact lists through opt-ins like sign up forms on your website, from connections made in your business and by simply asking in the first place.

To my mind bought lists are not worth the financial outlay and are in fact a danger to your business. Why take the chance of destroying your goodwill by sending emails to people you don’t know and have no connection with. After all email marketing is about relationships built over time, advice and support given to your user that is valued and appreciated by people who want to read about what you have to say.

It is tempting to try to fast track to thousands of connections but in reality it may turn out to be a very backward step. Makle connections honestly and help your user. Give them information they need and look forward to receiving. So instead of blacklisting you they send your insigntful content to their frienda and family thereby growing your connections organically as a trusted expert and friend!