27 May 2015

Just Because You can Google It...

Just because you can Google something doesn’t make you an expert. (I just love those Realtor ads!) That line is so true of anything that involves skill and talent.

Recently I learned how true it is of audio recording and voice overs when I had the pleasure of a coaching session with voice actor Natasha Marchewka. I didn't think it would be too hard to make my little recording, but I was a bit nervous when I arrived at Natasha's place.

We started by making a recording to use as a baseline. Then Natasha coached me about how to improve my delivery - posture, breathing, intonation and so on. Finally I did 3 more recordings. Those last recordings were so much more difficult than the first one. I was hyper aware of all the things I needed to be doing as I spoke, sounding ‘natural’ being one of them.

Here are a few things I learned:
  • Talking in person is way easier than talking into a microphone, at least for me. It’s hard to use my hands and get expressive when my mouth is against a microphone and paper in my hand.
  • Appropriate word emphasis is critical.
  • My natural cadence is repetitive and boring. Changing up my cadence is tough; I’m a creature of habit.
  • Breathing into my stomach is harder than it sounds.
  • It’s so important to edit my script to insert pauses, to indicate where to slow down or speed up, to group words together, to emphasize certain words, to go high or low with tone, and more.
Not only do I have an audio recording for my About page, but I can continue to practice and apply the skills I learned from Natasha whenever I’m speaking, not just into a microphone. (Read Natasha's side of the story here along with my recordings.)

A reminder for all of us: Things that seem simple are that way because of all the expertise that went into making them that way.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder May 27, 2015
photo by loudestnoise / Flickr

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Adding Audio to Your Content - Part 3

*** Click to listen in rather than read

Are you confident about your voice? Even an experienced and articulate business person can use help with their presentation skills and could be speaking and communicating in a way that may be hindering their professional image.

As a follow-up to my “Adding Audio to Your Content” blogs, Part 1 and Part 2, I had the privilege of offering Presentation Skills Coaching to Linda Daley of Daley Progress. We took our blog theme of producing audio content one step further to help Linda add audio to her own webpage.

What needed to happen before recording her audio was coaching on the presentation of the script she had provided. To Linda’s credit, she easefully recorded the first take of her script as a starting point. You can hear in her opening attempt, that she is reading from a page and that she doesn’t sound as passionate about her script as she probably feels. Listen to the take without any voice coaching.

During the initial recording, I created notes based on where I thought Linda could use some work to elevate her presentation. We addressed her breathing style and posture, as well as, phrasing, tempo, and intonation, word emphasis, and her overall intention.

Through the coaching process, Linda learned that she needed to take a couple of deep breaths before speaking and even felt a shake - that is, physically shaking off nervousness - was helpful in preparing her to deliver her script. Further, being clear about whom she was speaking to and what she was really intending to communicate helped her focus on delivering the words naturally and with dynamics.

Working through her script together, highlighting words and phrases, and indicating pauses and timing, we took the script to the next level. Though Linda felt she could use a few more coaching sessions, she became aware of where she had already improved and how this learning opportunity would benefit her overall communicating style for the telephone, workshops, and public speeches.

Listen to the recording of Linda after a 1-½ hour coaching session.

This piece of audio is now something she can use on her website to further engage potential clients, as well as, a marketing element that she can share on social media. Coaching a professional like Linda is greatly rewarding as it demonstrates how someone, already skilled in their own right, can quickly improve their vocal abilities to express themselves proficiently in keeping with their professional image, sounding like themselves, but better.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder May 27, 2015

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19 May 2015

Dear Subscriber

The reason for adding a subscriber's name as a form field to your messages is to make a closer connection with them. So what happens when you get something like "Dear {Subscriber}"? The exact opposite, right?

Unless you're prepared to spend time maintaining your mailing list, I usually recommend not to use form fields to insert subscribers' names into emails.

First you have to get the name. Asking for a subscriber's name on your sign-up form is possible, but also not a good practice because the more info you ask for at sign-up, the less likely people will be to sign up.

You could, instead, use another tactic to get the name of your subscriber. This is an example that came at the top of an email from Swiss Chalet:

The only thing wrong with this is it arrived 5 days after Mother's Day.

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15 May 2015

5 Inspired Ways to Develop Content Ideas

Inspiring quotes about getting inspired – no better place to start when stumped. You can simply read this article, but I'd like you to grab a pen now and start a running list of content ideas for your blog or newsletter. Each of these suggestions can be accomplished in just minutes!

“I think I'm a born storyteller. Inspiration is all around me. I can read a newspaper article and come up with an idea for a book.”  - Jackie Collins
#1. Grab a newspaper, or find one online, and start reading. Scan the headlines for inspiration – a topic, concept or how-to that you can adapt to suit your target market.

"Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas."  - Paula Poundstone
#2. Look at what you do from the perspective of today's children. What is the future - of your industry, products/services, target market - that they can look forward to in 10 years, or 20 years? Use your imagination and have fun!

“Most creative work is a process of people passing ideas and inspirations from the past into the future and adding their own creativity along the way.”  - Joichi Ito
#3. What is the history of what you do? Has it been around a long time or is it new? How has it evolved? Do a little research online now. Or pick up the phone and interview someone who’s been doing it longer than you.

"If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."  - George Bernard Shaw
#4. Exchange ideas with a friend. Take a moment now to think of an idea for a colleague. Sometimes it's easier to come up with content ideas for other businesses. Phone your friend, share your idea, and ask for an idea in exchange. Email works, too. You'll be surprised at how easy it is to inspire each other.

“The popularity of the Internet and using it as an available resource has really changed the way chefs kind of gather information and look for inspiration. To me, a food trend is potentially a lot of people following an idea.”  - Grant Achatz
#5. What’s trending in your industry? Or what’s trending that affects your target market? Check "What’s Trending" on Google, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

You'll find that sitting down to write is not as stressful when you already have a list of ideas to start with.

11 May 2015

Adding LinkedIn Contacts to your Subscriber List

Are you still confused about what ‘consent’ means under the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation (CASL)? There are mixed messages as to whether it’s OK to add your LinkedIn contacts to your mailing list. And there’s a reason for that – it’s only OK in certain circumstances.

First, if you sell only to consumers, stop now. You need express consent, so the rest of this article doesn’t apply to you.

Implied consent is relevant for businesses that sell to other businesses. There are three key requirements for implied consent:
  1. The contact’s email address has been 'published conspicuously' and has no disclaimer that they do not accept commercial electronic messages.
  2. The message you are sending is relevant to their job at the company they work for. (Example: You can email a university professor to sell her textbooks, but not clothes.)
  3. There is an unsubscribe mechanism, so the recipient can signal lack of interest or relevancy.
Even if you are compliant with these requirements, you will want to carefully review your LinkedIn contact list and remove contacts for whom your information isn't relevant.

How to add LinkedIn contacts to your subscriber list:
  1. Export your LinkedIn contacts into a .csv file. Search LinkedIn Help for “export contacts” and you'll find clear instructions.
  2. Open your .csv file in Excel.
  3. Carefully review the list and delete contacts for whom your information will be irrelevant.
  4. Save the list and upload it to your bulk email application. (If you are my client, send your list to me instead.)
Note! Contacts often use different email addresses on LinkedIn than their primary business email. Be alert so you don’t add current subscribers under new email addresses.

This might not be a popular recommendation for some people. I get that. But we now have a legal definition of spam in Canada and it may be different than your personal opinions. I encourage you to make your email marketing decisions as a business owner, not as a consumer.

06 May 2015

How to Start Writing when you Feel Stuck

Are you struggling when you sit down to write? Do those first couple of sentences elude you? Recently I learned a powerful technique for dealing with this dilemma.

During a coaching session on writing with Neil Everton, I was asking him for help with closing my articles. Neil directed me back to the top of the examples I had brought and suggested we start at the beginning.

You want your reader to nod and think “yes”, Neil told me. That first sentence needs to connect with the reader and bring them along for the rest of the article. One way to do this is to ask a question, as I did at the start of this article. Whether it’s a question or a statement, try to elicit feelings about the topic and empathize with the reader’s situation.

Did I also figure out my endings? I learned that getting the beginning right made writing the closing so much easier. I simply need to answer that opening question.

When you're stumped at the start, write out the question or problem that you will answer. Even if you eventually edit it, you’ll be over the hump and onto the rest of your article.

photo by becca.peterson26 / Flickr 
originally published in Work Better, Not Harder May 6, 2015

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How to Pay an Invoice through PayPal WITHOUT Using a PayPal Account

This isn't really a social media tutorial, but I do get asked frequently how to pay my online invoices from FreshBooks if one doesn't have a PayPal account, or if one prefers to not go through PayPal. It’s really pretty simple and I used a recent invoice to make this quick video tutorial for you.

You don't need a PayPal account to pay an invoice via the PayPal system. (Click to Tweet This)

So, now you don’t have to put invoices through your PayPal account if you don't want to. And you don't have to ask if the person will accept another method of payment, or wait until the event occurs to pay. It’s simple and quick to pay online through PayPal, even if you don't want to log in to your account (or if you don’t have one). This also means, there’s really no reason why small business owners should be afraid to have PayPal buttons on their website... because anyone can pay with a credit card, without having an account. And now you have a video to send them to!

originally published twirp.ca/2015/04/how-to-pay-an-online-invoice-through-paypal-without-using-a-paypal-account/

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01 May 2015

Blogging Tip: Link to your Best Content

Want to get people to read more than one post when they get to your blog? There's one tactic that's worked great for me and it's really pretty simple.

After you write your article and before you publish it, review it looking for opportunities to add links to past posts. You will see at least one example in this article once I've finished it.

Ideally, you'll have several go-to articles for important topics in your industry. You may even want to save these links in a Word doc or Evernote, or use them as a resource page on your website. Once you have written a few hundred posts, it'll be harder to keep track of in the back of your mind. These go-to articles should themselves have more links to other posts. And so you encourage deeper reading.

This really doesn't take very long and you will see the impact on your statistics very quickly.

Aside from starting to use this tactic now, you can benefit by:
  1. making a list of your go-to posts for easy reference
  2. reviewing and adding links to published posts, especially those go-to posts

photo by Ed Yourdon / Flickr

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27 April 2015

Content Creation (Wrap-Up #4)

This is our fourth installment of content creation wrap-up posts - a library of links to all of our articles about creating interesting and useful content from January 2014 through April 2015.

Planning is an important process because it forces you to think, to research, to consider, to brainstorm - to be creative. Our Yearly Content Planning Worksheet will help get you organized.

I'm a big fan of repurposing content and infographics will appeal to a different audience than text. Read Repurpose Articles into Infographics to get tips on how to do this.

Your content strategy wouldn't be complete without having a look at what others are doing. Read Research to Develop your Content Strategy for activities you can engage in regularly, perhaps quarterly, to keep current.

We all get stuck for ideas now and then. I've found some tools to help me get past that. You can get links to them in Idea Challenged? Here's 3 Tools.

When looking for images to go with my articles, usually I want a look that is less staged than a purchased stock photo. As an alternative I go Searching for Creative Commons Images.

Craft your message so that negative emotions, like guilt and helplessness, are overcome by positive, empathetic ones. Read Does your Content make your Readers feel Guilty? for some tips on how to do this.

If one of your newsletter goals is to make a personal connection with your readers, A Personal Introductory Message from you is a nice touch. This message should contain your personality, but it shouldn't be all about you.

Even if you don't like writing, a newsletter is still possible. Find out How to Publish a Newsletter without Writing and get some great suggestions.

In Newsletter Ideas for Real Estate Professionals find lots of ideas to incorporate into your newsletter strategy if your goal is to provide useful and interesting info which will make you a trusted resource.

The next time you're feeling that what-am-I-going-to-write-about stress, check out this list of Reusable Content Ideas to get you Unstuck. All of these triggers can give you topics to write about immediately.

Aside from possibly saving you time, there's a strategic reason to recycle your ideas, too. Not everyone has read everything you've written. Read How to Recycle your Ideas for ways to expand on your past content.

In Newsletter Ideas for Business Networking Associations you'll find relevant, useful and interesting ideas to engage your members and potential members.

There are ways to create content on a regular basis without writing articles. One of those is researching and compiling information that’s valuable to your target market. Can't Write? Try Research.

When you want your potential customer to feel more of a personal connection with you, offering more of yourself via an audio greeting is another step closer to making your way into their hearts and minds. In Adding Audio to your Content, Part 1 and Part 2, voice actor Natasha Marchewka explains how even novices can create audio content.

Whether it's an article title, a blog post title, a subject line or a call to action, there is no doubt that crafting a good one takes a little art and a little science. Crafting a Title to Get Read means using keywords and phrases that people might search for.

Looking for past content creation wrap-ups? Wrap-up #1 - Wrap-up #2 - Wrap-up #3

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22 April 2015

The Difference Between Lists and Segments

You should understand the difference between lists and segments in iContact in order to make informed decisions about how you manage your contacts in the software. Here are what I consider the most important differences when decision making:

A segment is based on a variable you would use to send segment specific messages.

You can use a segment to differentiate contacts on the list by any variable, such as geographical location (City, Province) or relationship status (member/non-member). You can send a message just to that segment by excluding/including it when you send. These segments would allow you to send event information only to those local to the event or special promotions to past members only. Segments serve to split your list when sending.

Contacts subscribe to lists but are assigned to segments.

Contacts cannot unsubscribe from segments. It is your choice if they are in a segment, their choice if they are on a list. You cannot send to a contact that is in a segment but not on a list.

Lists are managed by the software, segments are manually managed.
The software is designed to keep you CASL compliant by managing your contacts and their subscriptions - your lists. It does not track segments in any automatic way. Be careful,  managing segments is labour intensive!

You pay for subscribers.
Contacts count as a subscriber for each list they are on. They do not count as a subscriber when assigned to a segment. A single contact that is subscribed to 3 lists, will be charged as 3 subscribers. A single contact that is subscribed to one list but assigned to 3 segments, will be charged as 1 subscriber.

I see the benefit of segments, but why would I want a second list?
To give your subscribers options. If you are running multiple campaigns that together generate email volume, or if you know there are significant contacts on your list that would not be interested in specific content, you will want to create a second list. Your subscribers can then unsubscribe from one campaign but remain subscribed to the other. Your subscriber could subscribe to your newsletter but unsubscribe from your event campaign. Giving them choices helps you retain them as a reader for the content they are interested in, without feeling overwhelmed with content they are not interested in.

Always remember that unsubscribes are not personal. Perhaps they value the information in your newsletter but are not local to attend your events. You never know why someone unsubscribes but you can always know that it is never personal. Trust me. It isn't.

Originally published on DanielleCarrier.com

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18 April 2015

Design Colour Trends for Fall 2015

Digital colour trends will often follow the fashion industry. Here are the colours for Fall 2015 from Pantone.

click to enlarge

"An Evolving Colour Landscape: This season displays an umbrella of accord that weaves earthy neutrals with a range of bold colour statements and patterns to reflect a landscape of hope, fun, fantasy and all things natural."

Missed the Spring 2015 colours? See them here.

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14 April 2015

Adding Audio to your Content - Part 2

Natasha working in her studio
*** Click to listen in rather than read

Creating and sharing audio content makes good business sense for me as a voice actor. In Adding Audio to your Content, Part 1, I mentioned that ALL business owners and sales people could benefit from adding the element of audio, not just those of us who are selling our voice.

What to say?
  • Introduce your business, or yourself, with a recorded greeting. (Here’s an example.)
  • An elevator pitch - a compelling 30-60 second story of what you do...
  • A call to action - something you would like the listener/reader to do – sign up for your blog, call you, order your product...
  • A summary, or explanation, of your services.

But where and how do you add audio content?

Your blog site will (likely) allow you to add an audio file anywhere in the body. Sharing your blog will then share your audio, too.

Want to share it in your newsletter or on social media?

Upload your audio to SoundCloud. You can share it directly from there OR you can paste link to anything, anywhere. While Facebook and LinkedIn don’t attach audio files, sharing it through SoundCloud resolves that, or embed a link right into your newsletter or website.

Adding audio content can be very easy. It doesn't have to be highly produced with music or sound effects. A dry audio file (one with no production behind it) is perfectly acceptable. And, recording a professional sounding piece isn't difficult, if you have the right equipment... a microphone, a free download of Audacity or other recording software, and off you go.

Be sure to receive feedback from others as to whether or not your voice and your finished product hold up to your own high standards. You don’t want a shoddy recording or a weak sounding voice representing you.

Alternatively, a voice talent can help you record your own voice at a low cost. Consider hiring a Presentation Skills coach to improve your delivery OR hiring a voice talent to record an audio clip that would represent your business professionally.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder April 14, 2015

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Sharing as a Strategy

I advocate sharing your best with your audience if your goal is to be seen as an expert. Give them your best advice, express your opinions, share your top tips and tricks, tell them about great tools you have found and share the benefits you gained by using them. I regularly encounter resistance to this strategy. The worry seems to be that if you share your best, they won't need you. This is a false worry.

When you are expert at anything, you will lose a layman pretty quickly - always before the point where they could accomplish the same results they would get if they hired and worked with you. It is usually beginners that sharing your opinions will help... to a point. There will be a certain number of followers that will read everything and use your advice to follow your plan. Content is published in very small packets so it would take a lot for someone to be able to piece a whole plan together. Those people will find someone else to follow if you are not publishing the content. You would rather they follow you because then you are the expert they refer.

The number of people that can follow through on their education, without hiring you, will be very marginal. People will need to hire you for motivation, inspiration, support, accountability and understanding. As an expert, it would be difficult to accomplish what you teach - without a you in the equation.

You will gain clients who:
  • realize they cannot be successful without your help
  • simply do not understand the more complex parts of what you teach
  • succeed on their own, attribute that to your help and refer to you
All of those are positive outcomes.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder April 14, 2015

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Once You're Hooked...

I came across what seemed like an amazing deal on web hosting. Because I'm very familiar with the company making the offer, I paused to have a better look.

Wow, I was thinking, they're really cutting prices to get business. Because I'm familiar, it also seemed a little out of character. So, I went hunting for the small print and there it was in tiny light grey at the bottom. Only 99 cents a month but it only applies to the first month.

How many people are going to feel a little ripped off or a little stuck when they realize what they signed up for? Quite a way to deflate a new website experience.

Now I know there are all sorts of businesses that use a prepaid subscription model. It's easy to to say all the info is there, but what if your customers don't understand it? It's a business model that relies on uneducated consumers.

Wouldn't it be better to have a business model where people know exactly what they're signing up for and exactly what the costs will be? That would actually be a bit novel, perhaps even a bit unexpected.

Having customers who want to work with you rather than customers who feel trapped is going to be much more effective for business growth.

photo by SomeDriftwood / Flickr
originally published in Work Better, Not Harder April 14, 2015

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10 April 2015

Crafting a Title to Get Read

Whether it's an article title, a blog post title, a subject line or a call to action, there is no doubt that crafting a good one takes a little art and a little science.
"The job of the headline is to get the first line of your copy read."
For every article, I could write 4 titles:
  1. the simple straightforward one that says what it's all about - it's useful and truthful
  2. the catchy or clever one - the content adds context to the title once you start reading
  3. the teaser that hints at the content, but is meant to garner opens rather than be useful
  4. the version for SEO using keywords and phrases that people might search for
I tend to start with #1 because it's often the idea that I jotted down to write about. After I finish writing, I might come up with a couple of choices that are more like #2. I tend to avoid #3 except in certain circumstances. Then a friend started talking about #4.

I resisted because it kind of felt like selling out. Giving up a #2 for a #4 just didn't feel right. After all, keyword phrases are commonly used and not unique. Then I decided to experiment. Just one at first. Then another a few weeks later. And now I do it more frequently but certainly not always.

sample of keyword searches that led readers to my blog
Now there's no doubt that using keyword phrases in subject lines has increased traffic to my blog. I know this three ways:
  1. traffic arriving through Google search has increased significantly and it's now the highest referrer
  2. readership of those posts tends to be higher than others that aren't as SEO-ish
  3. I can often find myself on page 1 when searching relevant keyword phrases
I'm not really sure why I didn't start sooner. Kind of silly when I'm obviously writing in the hope that others like you will read and find value!

06 April 2015

The Myth of Double Opt-in

One day, not so many years ago, an email marketer with big glasses and a funky haircut decided to add a bunch of people he didn't know to his email list. When he got complaints, instead of owning up and politely offering to remove them, he said, “I didn't do that. Someone else must have signed you up.” This geeky guy was the first of many.

And so, the myth of the mysterious newsletter signer-upper was born.

The email marketing industry somehow had to address this strange phenomenon. How could they keep these signer-uppers from signing other people up?

And so, the double opt-in process was born.

Of course, this made it really difficult for the signer-uppers to cause mayhem. No longer did signer-uppers gather on Friday nights over beer to wreak havoc on the email marketing world.

Now the experts, who not so many years ago were preaching that having a double opt-in process was a must, are saying that maybe it’s not so necessary anymore.

I have yet to meet anyone that is or ever was a signer-upper and I've never been the brunt of signer-upper trickery. Now really, who does that?

Double opt-in:
  • is not required by any law in Canada or the U.S.
  • is for you (mitigating risk), not your subscriber (a pain in the ...)
  • has only a 40% chance of being completed and, because you asked once, you don't have permission to ask again (CASL), so the contact is lost to you
  • means you're sending your subscriber an email that has NO VALUE for them

When someone expresses an interest by subscribing, don’t turn it into work for them by making them do it twice.

31 March 2015

Adding Audio to your Content - Part 1

Natasha in her studio

Have you considered adding audio to your blog or eNewsletter?

As a voice actor, someone who uses and sells their voice for a living, showcasing my voice and having an archive of recorded blogs is an obvious choice for me. Adding audio to marketing adds to the multimedia dimension, offering readers more engagement. Lucky for me, Linda Daley of Daley Progress has embraced my audio blogs as she is able to listen to it weekly while completing other tasks!

But adding the element of an audio file isn't limited to voice actors. Including a voice in your content, be it a blog, newsletter, website, or social media is just smart.  When you want your client or customer to have the perception of a personal connection with you, offering more of yourself, like a photo, audio greeting, or even video is another step closer to making your way into their hearts and minds.

Who might consider adding the audio element to content?

Business owners of any kind in ANY business can benefit from adding audio. Contractors to health professionals to website designers, dog groomers and more can all do with a personal and professional presentation to attract more clients.

Real estate agents are also at the top of my list for adding a voice to marketing materials. Like the inclusion of a professional headshot, adding a voice to their website, blog, or property videos takes them to the next level in terms of personalizing their content.

Sales people and account managers could also benefit - putting a face, and voice, to their name would offer an elevated representation of themselves.

But, what if your voice isn't amazing?

You don't need to sound like Rick Dees to sell yourself. “Real people” voices are what you hear on the radio all the time. However, if your voice is not a good professional representation of yourself, consider hiring a Presentation Skills coach to improve your delivery OR a Voice Talent to record an attractive audio clip that would represent your business professionally.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder March 31, 2015

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Resetting Expectations and Owning a Moment

I recently had the pleasure once again of hearing Toni Newman speak about innovation and being different. If you haven't attended an event featuring Toni, you won't hear the energy and conviction behind her message, but an important message it is. Below is my attempt to share it with you – quotes are from Toni.

Each of us has a default set of expectations around just about everything we do, even things we haven’t done. My default will be different than yours, but we both have one. Toni’s example was about tipping in a restaurant and a delightful experience with a waiter named Stefan. My default might be to give a 15% tip before taxes; yours might be different. For me to tip more or less, the experience has to break my expectations, either better or worse.

“The unexpected moves people beyond their default mindset.”

Toni says that in order to be better, we also have to be different, because being different is what breaks those default mindsets. And ‘different’ doesn't look like anyone else, while ‘better’ can.

“Innovation = a value based change that resets expectations.”

We don't have to be different at everything – that’s hard work and even harder to maintain. But we can strive to own a moment. An example that Toni gave was about a pizza joint in Dubai and how it chose to own one moment – the ordering of pizza. Click here to read about what they did.

This, of course, led me to wonder what moment I own. Among the people that know about me, I think one moment is when they open a crappy newsletter and think, “Linda would be aghast at this.” Or they forward it to me saying, “This company needs your help.” Should I try to craft a different moment to own? Toni certainly has me thinking hard about it.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder March 31, 2015

27 March 2015

People DO Sign Up for Newsletters

“Nobody signs up for newsletters anymore.” I heard as I sat in the audience during an Infusionsoft presentation. I gritted my teeth. The presenter went on to say that newsletters are all about what’s happening with the company and have no value. A filling popped out. I kept my mouth shut till I could get home to my keyboard. Here's why...

I was chatting with a new client recently and asked her if she had a chance to look at the newsletter examples in my online gallery. She told me she had actually signed up for several of them. This is just one example that shows people still want interesting and useful information delivered to their inbox.

People say YES to value. When they know you deliver value on a regular basis, they'll sign up because they won't want to miss it. In fact, stats say that 1 in 5 people actively seek out and sign up for newsletters to get the information they want.

Creating that perception of value happens over time as you consistently meet readers’ expectations. And that presenter was right about one thing: it doesn't happen when all you talk about is yourself and your company news. So don't do that.

23 March 2015

Using that 3-Letter Word in eMail

If you've ever tried to send a newsletter with the word 'sex' in it, you'll know that spam checkers don't like it. Likewise they don't like 'ass'. Or 'financial' and 'freedom' anywhere near each other. Or many swear words.

Sometimes this can be a challenge when talking about certain topics. For example, I've had to change the word 'sex' to 'gender', and another time to 'sexual'.

But what do you do when 'kick ass' is exactly the right message you want to send? It doesn't have to be a show stopper. Find some creative way around it.

Here's an example. Debi at New Life Business Solutions sent me her content with the subject line filled in as "Need a kick in the ass?" It had to change. The alternative was "Need a kick in the posterior area?" Hardly catchy, but maybe intriguing. I tried to make up for it inside.

view full email message

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