Archive - June 15, 2018

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Building Strong Healthy Mailers: An Interview With Clare Bowen

Building Strong Healthy Mailers: An Interview With Clare Bowen

Strong healthy mailers that do a good job delivering conversion to their members don’t just happen. They take work, effort, and dedicated owners. Owners like Clare Bowen co-owner of The Pro Trend Marketing Group, who have a passion for their members and their Mailer.

I am pleased an honored to be able to bring you an interview with Clare Bowen of Harmony Mail and Trend Mails fame.

Clare Bowen

Clare Bowen

I first met Clare when she responded to one of my emails sent out to my list. Clare took the time to write to me about my email and post and website.  In that email, she drew my attention to Harmony Mail. Since then we have chatted back and forth occasionally. She mentioned that she was working on Trend Mails which became my number one converting mailer for May. (See report and top converting)

I wanted to find out why Clare and her business partner, Brenton Senegal, were so successful in a vast field of mailers where only a scant few really deliver strong healthy mailers with quality traffic for their members.

The idea of an interview naturally followed.

 

Meet Clare Bowen 

Nick: Clare, can you give us a little background about you, a short bio if you like?

Cape Town

The city of Cape Town with Table Mountain

Clare: I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but for most of my life, I’ve lived where I do now, in Cape Town.

I own part of our family business which covers the bills and because I am able to do my work for that, mostly remotely from home, I’m lucky enough to be able to also work on my online interests and be a stay-at-home mother to my 9-year-old twins.

I first started online just over 10 years ago.

I’m really fascinated by how different advertising site owners run their businesses and how it works out (or doesn’t work out) for members, and promoting advertising sites that I found to be good and productive became my primary business online.

Like many of us who have used safelists for years, I’ve seen some strange irregularities and learned to judge a site by the motives of the owner behind it.

Nick: This is a great tip, Clare. We need to pay attention to the owners of the safelists and mailers. Not all of them are focused on building strong healthy mailers. Sometimes it’s even hard to determine who the owners are. Quite often you never hear from the owners or see them actively working at their site. 

Learning to Build a Team Using Zubee Zone

Nick: You mention Zubee Zone in one of your emails to me. Can you elaborate on this period of your career?

Clare: I became involved with Zubee Zone in 2015 when a friend started a team there.

Zubee ZoneWhen he stopped working online, I took over leadership of the team (then 8 members strong :-)) and grew it to a team of 600 over the course of two years.

During these two years, I was dedicated to the success of my team members and this was not a time for earning online, but for helping, supporting and often teaching.

When Zubee Zone’s admin lost interest in maintaining the program, it became time to start getting back into marketing for myself, even though I was still deeply involved with my team on a daily basis (and many are very good friends still, and dedicated members of our sites).

 

Nick: Clare you make another great point about the importance of building relationships. First building a team from 8 members to 600 is no easy feat. Obviously, those people became valuable members of your next online adventure. Those relationships help build strong healthy mailers.

Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

The Advent of Harmony Mailers

Harmony MailerClare: Constance Harrison, a member of my team, asked me to join her in partnership in a new traffic exchange.

I told her that I’d agree to open a mailer instead, and Harmony Mails was launched at the end of July 2017.

In the meantime, my business partner Brenton Senegal and I launched BasicHits4U, our traffic exchange in September 2017, and though we’d been working side by side for months already, this was the official start of our partnership.

In October 2017, Connie offered her share of Harmony Mails to me, which I accepted, and after paying her out, Brenton and I decided to bring Harmony Mails Basic Hits 4U, and his traffic exchange Trend Trax Pro into one group, The Pro Trend Marketing Group.
Nick: I started using Harmony Mails about 3 months ago. Right away it became one of my top converting mailers and one I use every day to help build my list. As a strong healthy mailer Harmony has some unique touches which I’ve started to look for in mailers. One is a great reward program that rewards members for their activity. It’s something you used in Harmony Mails and enhanced when you created Trend Mails.
Personal Touches at Harmony Mails build strong healthy mailers.
Clare and Brenton add some nice personal touches that I for one really appreciate.  I’m going to brag about two of those features on Clare’s behalf.
Since pictures are worth a thousand words here is a screenshot from inside Harmony Mails.
OTO's for Harmony Mails
I don’t recall seeing this is any other mail. Therefore, when you click the link you get a look at what your referral will be seeing. Then you can use that info to give your potential new referral a tip on what to look for or even a suggestion of which OTO to grab.
The other item, moreover, really needs to be emphasized. It’s just a little link that says Preview Pane Instructions. 
This takes you to a series of screenshots on how to set up a preview pane in Gmail that speeds up the reading of emails for credits.
That inspired me to record a video showing how to set up and use the preview pane feature of Gmail. (Click here to see the video remember to like, subscribe and share. )
Sorry, Clare for such a long digression.
 Partnership
Nick: Can you tell me a little more about your partnership with Brenton Senegal?
Clare: My partner is Brenton Senegal from California, USA.
The power of the internet Brenton and I have been friends for a long time, and we’ve been in daily communication for over a year. Because we both have this deep interest in what works in advertising, this is always a topic for us.
This is for me the ideal business partnership. We’re always “on the same page” and share the same values.
Not only that,  he is excellent with the technical side of things too and that helps a lot because it isn’t my strength.
At the end of my day of online work, I can sleep easily knowing that Brenton is there. He’s looking after our sites well, because he is online every day, even during his offline work hours.
Moreover, we are on almost opposite sides of the world, so his night is my day, and we can work in shifts.
Nick: I love examples like this Clare. They demonstrate the changes the internet is bringing to how we all show up in our modern world. The global village is becoming a reality. 
Trend Mails

Nick: Finally Clare we come to Trend Mails. Can you tell me about your thinking during the process of creating Trend Mails?

Clare: First of all, Trend Mails is a product of a lot of thinking and planning over several months.
We discussed the available scripts and decided that in order to get what we would consider the “ideal” mailer for our members, we would need to go the custom route.

We actually made Trend Mails for the members of our existing sites first and foremost, because we were limited in what we could do for them on our other sites.

Trend Mails was created on a Bootstrap theme. (Click here to go to the Bootstrap site.)
Trend Mails Dashboard

Note the beautiful clean and simple dashboard

The Script For Trend Mails
We were able to select one that we thought was really cool. Due to Barry, the coder made it look good with all the functions he created for us inside. The landing page was developed by yours truly with the help of a code editor and some bootstrap snippets. Linda Hoang put her magic touch to the image.
The logo was professionally designed, but we rejected the landing page that the designer did for us (which is why I ended up doing it).
Nick: I know you know this Clare, but for readers who haven’t read my May List Building report Trend Mails was my #1 best converting site. (Read May’s List Building Report here.)  (See also, My Top 20 Best Converting Safelist and Mailers)
Nick: Clare why do you think you’ve been able to launch two very strong healthy mailers that convert well for your membership?
Why Our Mailers Convert
Clare: Our mailers convert because that’s exactly what they’re designed to do.
This is the first and most important thing on our mind, not only through the creation of the sites but day to day too.
We believe that if people are able to enjoy using a site, they become productive members and the most likely to join the programs of fellow members.
This creates results, which brings more satisfaction, more productivity and its a cycle.
How members earn credits, and how their ads are displayed is very important to us. You will never find us making it hard or tedious for free members so as to pressure them to upgrade.
We’re not foolish. We know that just because someone is not spending money on advertising, does not mean that they are not spending money online at all.
Making Sure Customers Are Happy
It starts by making sure that members are happy and understand how things work, and can advertise to the best of their potential to an active list that has fresh members coming in daily. We actively promote the growth of all our sites. Though our mailers are indeed “feature rich”, our focus is on benefits for our members.
As we continue into the future, the focus remains the same. We have policies in both our sites that set members on vacation when they are inactive after a period, so its vital that we keep up the pace so that our sites remain good and active for our members who continue to use them regularly.
Nick: Thanks Clare you give us great insights into what makes strong healthy mailers. And you give us the things to look for when we are looking for new mailers to add to our tools for list building. 
Can you tell us what you have coming up in the future?
Clare: Future plans for the Pro Trend Marketing Group? We do have another new site planned for this year, however, it will be quite different from both Harmony Mails and Trend Mails
Nick: Thanks Clare for leaving us with that little tease. I’m sure we will all be looking forward to what you plan for the future.
Moreover, I want to express a big thank you for doing this and giving our readers a great insight into what makes for strong healthy mailers.
Thanks, Clare.
© Nick Grimshawe 2018
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