Posts

Showing posts from 2012

Best Reading of 2012

Image
We took a vote to pick the best article from our newsletters for each month of the past year. Since there are two of us, it's a good thing that we agree a lot. We also decided to disqualify our own articles because the voting got awkward. Here it is:

The Best Ideas and Tips for Busy Business Owners 2012
from the archives of Work Better, Not Harder

January
9 Reasons to Blog by Janet Slack

February
Stabilize an Unstable Income by Stephanie Holmes-Winton

March
Don't Let Technology Stifle Your Message by Halina St. James

April
Why You Need to Monitor Social Media by Anita Hovey

May
Are You Trusted? by Lea Brovedani

June
4 Tips to Enhance Your Next Presentation by Neil Everton

July
The Medium is the Message by Cara Lynn Garvock

August
Vacation Messages - It's Ugly Out There! by Mary Jane Copps

September
50 Shades of Grey by Melanie Orr

October
Optimize Your Financial Relationships by Wendy Brookhouse

November
Take Your Lunch Break! by Brenda Klarer

December
Secret Formula for Crafting Your …

Show Off Your Blog Post Dates!

Image
This recent tweet by Scott Stratten provoked an immediate reaction from me.
I get totally annoyed with blog posts that have no published date. I'm reading away merrily and then a reference to something outdated comes up, seemingly out of context. I look for a date - none to be found. So now I'm thinking, "Why doesn't this person want me to know when they wrote it?" Is it because they hardly ever blog? Is this the one and only article they've ever published? You get it... I'm immediately questioning their credibility.
Scott seems to be alluding to this same credibility issue in his humourous way. I feel that pressure, too, when a couple of weeks slide by without writing anything.
I think that blog post dates are important for 2 reasons: Credibility Context These are kind of important reasons - many a misunderstanding has occurred over a missing date.

Click to Tweet this Article

Stick with the Plan

12/12/12 marked 7 years since I incorporated Daley Progress. If I only knew then what I know now!

The last couple of years have been very different from the previous ones. I finally stuck to a realistic plan.

Now, I know all about plans and how to implement them. I’ve been a planner of some type throughout my whole career. As a business owner, I’ve attended Debi Hartlen MacDonald's bootcamp and updated my business plan every January.

For the first few years I created pretty much the same plan. It became quite elegant. The plans were getting better but I wasn’t getting better at achieving them.

The secret, I discovered, is that you have to plan the right thing. I didn’t want to do the action items needed to make that plan successful.

What I needed was to plan the type of business where I didn’t need to prospect, since that is what was holding me back. It took a while but now that I have the right plan, sticking to it is easy (well, easier).

As you’re making plans for the New Year, …

How are Email Marketers like Santa?

Image
Santa can reach every person in the world all in one night. Email can do that too... as long as every person has a computer.
Santa has a hard and fast deadline. Email marketers have hard and fast deadlines maintaining consistency to keep their audience engaged.

Santa keeps meticulous lists: who’s naughty and who’s nice. Email marketers keep meticulous lists: unsubscribers and subscribers... again naughty and nice.

Santa relies on having a good reputation in order to get into people’s homes. Email marketers rely on having a good reputation in order to get into people’s inboxes.

It takes a lot of skill for Santa and his elves to create wonderful gifts for everyone. It takes a lot of skill to create wonderful emails... the kind that feel like a gift.

Merry Christmas, everyone!
Ho! Ho! Ho!



Click to Tweet this Article

The Devil is in the Details

Image
Mistakes happen – appointments get missed, deadlines slide by, and that phone call doesn’t get returned. These things happen to everyone sooner or later. Sometimes these are things that can be avoided next time, sometimes they’re unavoidable, and sometimes they’re just plain old stupid mistakes.

I get so stuck on details sometimes. I know that’s because I make snap judgments and any kind of mistake distracts me. This isn’t the case for everyone though. I value flawless execution… sometimes at the expense of showing up at all. Many of my friends would say that showing up is most important, even if imperfectly.

In my world, imperfect might mean a subject line with a spelling error, a hyperlink that doesn’t work, or a bunch of weird html code showing up in a newsletter. These are all little nitpicky details that can have an immediate and negative impact.

Here are some tips to help you make sure those little details are right:
Haste makes waste. Slow down and concentrate.Avoid distraction…

The Outrageously Simple Formula for eNewsletter Success

Image
GOALS + VALUE = SUCCESS
Simple, right? As small business owners, our email marketing goals can be quite different and varied. Whatever your GOALS are, you won’t reach them if you don’t seriously consider the other side of the equation: giving VALUE to your subscribers.
If you don’t give value, you will lose your audience - whether you’re standing at the front of a room or sending out your newsletter.
What’s in it for your audience? Who are your readers and what would be useful to them? What can you give them that they can’t get anywhere else? Why would they take the time to read (and share!) your newsletter? You need to answer those questions very succinctly during the planning stage. Valuable content doesn’t happen by fluke.
You can execute flawlessly and put together a newsletter that looks awesome - and that no one wants to read. A good looking newsletter on its own won’t keep your subscribers engaged – give VALUE!


Click to Tweet this Article

Be the Customer You Want to Have

Image
We all have those favourite customers - the ones we’d bend over backwards for when they really need our help.

Think about those things you most appreciate about your best customers and make a list. Draw a ‘picture’ of what your ideal customer ‘looks’ like. My friend and marketing guru Debi Hartlen MacDonald says that we should even ‘name’ our ideal customer. Get to know who they are and we will recognize them when we meet them.

As small business owners, we tend to work a lot with other small business owners. If I can be an ideal customer to my suppliers, it’s beneficial to both of us.

Best customer characteristics will vary depending on what you do. Here are some suggestions for how you can be an ideal customer:

Make your requirements clear. Right from the start establish what your expectations are and develop a plan to work together to achieve them.

Give specific and timely feedback. Be honest early on. And be as exact as possible. Use words that allow your supplier to act on your fee…

Amazing Statistics

Image
When I first met the ladies of Transitions Estate Services, they had a simple problem. They needed a way to get their sale notices to their customers by email. We set them up with a bulk email system and template and decided to use Pinterest as a way for them to show off the items at each sale. Updating their website frequently was not practical for them.

Pinterest turned out to be a great option for images of the sale items and their click-through and open rates have been amazing since the very first issue.

Average open rate is 43% with a high of 46%. Compare this to a 20% industry standard and you can see how successful it has been.

Average click-through rate is 27% with a high of 33%. For each and every send, the most clicked link is their Pinterest board and the second is the map to location. Just what they were looking for... to show customers the items for sale and have them show up at the sale!

Their customers can see the sale notice and list of items in the local paper but wh…

Warm Up those Cold Calls

Image
Many organizations are engaging in email marketing these days – informational newsletters, promotional emails, or both. Some of these organizations have even done a great job of integrating email marketing with their social media efforts as part of a comprehensive online marketing strategy. But few have made the connection between email marketing and sales. This is an opportunity that deserves your attention.

Make the most of your email marketing activities by taking advantage of all the ‘intelligence’ you can gather about your subscribers. Email service providers (ESPs) have functionality that enables you to review your overall statistics (opens, clicks, etc.). They also have the functionality to take your sales prospecting to a whole new level – you can actually see who clicked on what link. Yes, dear public, marketers have been collecting this info for years.

For example, if you offer two product lines, let’s say Brand A and Brand B, and you include links to more information about …

Call to Action [Wrap Up]

Image
No matter what your topic or type of email, you will have a call to action for your readers. It can be a secondary point to your main message, such as signing up for your newsletter. It can be the main point to the whole message, such as register for this workshop. Chances are, each email you send will even have more than one call to action.

Calls to action are everywhere for the readers, each one beckoning louder than the last. So when you craft yours, you want to make your message clear as to what you want the reader to do. Once it is clear to you, you need to make sure it is clear to them. Here are few past posts that will help you create your call to action.

3 Keys to Creating a Call-to-Action - 3 characteristics of any effective call to action
So Many Choices - helps you define the importance of your various calls to action
Up Your Readership - helps you increase your subscribers through calls to action
Ask For Action - helps you craft your message

Click to Tweet this Article

Make the Most of Masterminding

Image
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you’ve probably been a member of a mastermind group (although you might not have called it that). If you’re new to self-employment, start or find a mastermind group... fast!

I’ve written about mastermind groups before as a way to get your own ‘board of directors’. They can take many forms. I’ve been fortunate to have been a member of several during my years as a small business owner. I’ve started and ended groups, joined and left groups.

Some groups have been short term with a specific purpose. A few years ago I studied an internet marketing course with a small group over a 6 month period. It was fun and educational to learn together.

Some groups have been more long-term and general purpose. I currently meet with two other women business owners monthly to discuss ideas, learn from and motivate each other.

Whether short term or long term, specific or general, big or small, I’ve learned a few things from my experiences. The members mus…

It doesn't have to be About You

Image
Let’s face it: some businesses are in a better position to provide valuable information through newsletters (blogs, social media) than others.

Take our own newsletter as an example. We could easily publish a newsletter about publishing newsletters. (Stay with me here.) It would have lots of tips and suggestions and advice. We could really show off our expertise and share our opinions. Now, who would that appeal to? People who are publishing their own newsletters. Perhaps even people who are publishing newsletters for others. These people aren’t our target market - not even close.

Our newsletter has nothing to do with our area of specialty. But of course we have to have one. What’s an 'enewsletter boutique' without its own newsletter?

So we found something else of use to our target market:  ideas and tips for small business owners shared by other small business owners. And (big bonus here) members of our target market are the authors of our newsletter!

Giving value doesn’t have…

The Moral of the Story

Image
Aesop's Fables have a clear moral lesson backed up by a little story. The story makes it more interesting than just passing out advice. It demonstrates the results of heeding or not heeding the advice.

Advice delivered as a 'fable' appeals to both our emotions and our intellect.

Fast-forward 2600 years to the present. Technology has made it easier than ever before to tell fables and share advice. We don't even have to know each other.

Our fables today are perhaps more fleeting than Aesop's, but are made more real by the use of photos and videos. A photo can tell a whole story, including the moral, sometimes without words at all.

Social media, blogs and newsletters are excellent venues for sharing fables. If you're looking for some 'content creation' inspiration, try this long list of morals for stories.

The moral of this story? "Lessons are not given, they are taken."

Click to Tweet this Article
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder Oct…

Do You Want 1,000,000 Subscribers?

Image
Tasting Table (www.tastingtable.com) grew its contact list to 1,000,000 subscribers in just 3 years. That’s pretty amazing on its own but here’s the kicker - it’s a daily newsletter. (I only have to get 998,000 more subscribers to catch up.)


Would I want a mailing list of 1,000,000 subscribers? Most definitely ... if I owned a marketing company that sells advertising. I don’t, and most of you don’t either. (If you do, you know this stuff better than I do.)

If Daley Progress had 1,000,000 subscribers, we’d never keep up with all the work generated. Because our capacity is limited, the time and effort spent to get that many subscribers would be wasted. We try to match our efforts to our desired results.

As small business owners, our email marketing goals can be quite different and distinct. Not all of us want 1,000,000 subscribers. But we do need to continually get new subscribers because, over time, our lists can drop by as much as 30% over a year through attrition (called ‘churn’). We …

Un-credible Words

Image
Just because you say it's so, doesn't make it true. Take this email disclaimer below as an example. Please, read the small print.


The first line sounds pretty good... ethical and all that. And hey, they respect me. I might believe it if I had actually subscribed. I know I didn't because I never subscribe to anything using the particular email address this came to. I'm already questioning their sincerity.

Next they tell me that removal is automatic and "enforced" (whatever that means). Apparently "automatic" means 2-3 business days in this case.

The link to click to start the "process for email deletion" opens an email with their address filled in, nothing else. Decidedly NOT automatic.

The other way I know I didn't subscribe to this email list is that I would never sign up for anything that "may be a newsletter, press release, solicitation or advertisement."

The "best practices in responsible email marketing" line i…

Sh*t Happens!

Image
I recently had to take a week off work unexpectedly and dash off to Ontario when my step-son went into the hospital. An hour before we hit the road, I was emailing clients and friends with promises of finishing up projects as soon as I arrived at the hotel room.

Silly me! After a 20 hour road trip, all I wanted to do was get to the hospital. That remained my priority for the next 4 days and thoughts of newsletters and websites were long gone.

On the day I left, my friend said all my clients would surely understand if their newsletters were late going out. After all, they have families too. There is no doubt in my mind that all of my clients would have been supportive and accepted my apologies... if that had happened.

But that didn't happen. The newsletters went out. The emails got answered. New sales were made. It was an unplanned test and we passed. Yay!

Last year I was smart enough to bring on a superwoman (Danielle) to work with me. Because we’ve been getting so busy this year…

9 Ways to Personalize Your Newsletter

Image
We tell our new clients that the newsletters we design for them will be completely unique. Part of being unique is making a personal connection with your reader. Here’s our best advice about how to make your newsletter more personal and distinct.

1. Write a personal introductory note. Share news and give teasers for the content to follow. Inject your personality. Your writing may be more informal here.

2. Insert your signature as a graphic. Sign a blank piece of white paper and scan it - first name only. Use a pen or marker that matches your branding.

3. Use a good photo of yourself. You want this photo to look like you now, not 5 years ago. Dress as you would when you meet contacts in person. Incorporate your brand colours into your clothing if possible. Keep in mind that the direction you are facing in your photo will determine where it goes in your newsletter, you don’t want to be facing off screen.

4. Use your own photos. Instead of common, often overused, internet photos, create you…

Why NOT Buy Mailing Lists?

Image
There are many reasons why it's not a good idea to buy mailing lists. In fact, it's quite clearly a bad idea. Aside from being a potential nuisance, somewhat unethical, and risking having your bulk email account shut down, there is another downside you may not even consider...


If you were to open each of these emails, you'd see that they are addressed to different names @daleyprogress.com. In fact, I apparently have 17 employees I don't know about. None of these were actually addressed to me. So how did they all end up in my inbox? I have a catch-all set up so that if someone spells linda wrong, I'll still get the email. If you don't have a catch-all, you probably wouldn't even know it was happening to you.

This has been a bother to me now for well over a year. The first time it happened, I phoned the company that sent the emails and was told they bought their list from http://www.profilecanada.com/.

I suggested they get their money back. That's the big…

3 C's and the Strategy Solution

Image
The 3 C's of enewsletter execution are contacts, consistency and content. All three can cause issues, some of which can stop you in your tracks. The good news is that all of them can be managed with a well-planned strategy.

Vet your initial contact list and then work to grow it with subscribers within your target market, friends, family and fans. A high bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, or complaint rate on your first send will be a red flag to your bulk email service provider and may cause them to lock your account. Do not start your contact list with every email you have collected since the dawn of the computer! Subscribers outside your target market are costing you money and bringing you little value. Identify your target market and fill your contact list with subscribers within that market. Don't forget your fans!

Consistency is important to your subscribers. Over time, they will come to expect certain types of content on an established schedule. Your sign up form should also a…

eNewsletter Design and Formatting Mistakes

Image
Mistakes stand out and they can be fodder for others’ discussions. Aside from obvious spelling, grammatical and hyperlink errors, formatting and design can also be a big turn-off.

You can have awesome content that delivers value to your readers – but it’s no good if they don’t read. First impressions count! Your design does not need to be WOW! but it does need to meet at least a minimum standard. Keep in mind that expectations will vary. For example, if you are a designer of any kind, your newsletter design should be top notch. If your message is supposed to be a quick read, then it better be easy to navigate.

Here are some of the characteristics that immediately turn me off when I open a newsletter:

Lack of white space:
The worst case is when text is jammed up against borders and graphics.

Too many colours: This distracts your reader rather than drawing attention to your content.

Too many fonts:I know, there are so many to choose from! But several different fonts, of varying sizesand c…

How I Emptied My Inbox!

Image
This is what an empty inbox looks like! It's the first time I've seen mine like this in at least a couple of years, maybe longer. It looks kind of strange, doesn't it? Even a little hard to get used to. What a boost of self-gratification I got from accomplishing this (been patting myself on the back ever since). So much so that I'm now determined and motivated to keep it this way.

Does this mean that I have nothing to do? That all my action items are completed? Not by a long shot - but now they're not staring me in the face all the time distracting me.
My inbox will no longer be used as an ineffective to-do list.
Now I realize this is a bit of psychological manipulation - it's all about my state of mind. But I've learned that my state of mind is about the most important consideration to accomplishing anything.
What brought about this most awesome accomplishment? A handy little online app called Follow Up Then. It is by far the most useful app I've found…

Content Creation (Wrap-up)

Image
If you are looking for writing ideas, how to manage your content, or just a bit of inspiration, you've found the right post. Here is a library of links to all of our articles about content creation (up to May 2012).

You may not think of testimonials as part of your content strategy, but they certainly are. Ask anyone who's had to rush to gather a bunch in a hurry to put on a new website. Requesting a Testimonial gives you suggestions about how to manage that.

What to Write About has lots of general tips and suggestions to help you get started plus some info specific to enewsletters.

Don't Forget Your Fans gives you ways to get your 3 F’s - friends, family and fans - to help extend the reach of your messages.

If you're wondering about newsletter content strategies, How Much is Too Much? gives you some ideas to answer that question for yourself.

If one of your goals is to build your reputation, then Content that Builds Trust is an essential read.

Being an expert means tha…

Awesome Inspiration!

Image
I always recommend having an idea catcher. Somewhere that you record all of your content ideas as they come up. Finding an idea that inspires you can sometimes be the hardest part of getting started when sitting down to write. But ideas can be found in any situation. They can be:
Problems you solve Something new you have learned Questions you get asked Concerns in your market Trends and news Real experiences and examples Your opinions Once you have the idea, you need to start writing. The suggestion that I give to clients, friends and anyone else who will listen is this: introduce and explain an idea and then give practical advice about how to implement it. Of course that’s fairly simplistic but not a bad place to start.

My reason for this suggestion came from my previous Insights training about different personalities. Some people have a preference for ideas and the big picture. Other people prefer detail and the practical application of concepts. If you write as I’ve suggested abov…

Graphic Solutions

Image
Copyright and graphics are topics that come up in our business all the time. When you are using images on your website, blog or in your newsletter, you need to ensure they are copyright free or you have paid the copyright owner for use. You should not search Google images and take any image that pops up. Google searches for all images and does not filter out any by copyright status.

There are several free sites for images and several more that are reasonably priced under $10. I recommend that you take some time to search for images that are not overused on the internet. You will come to recognize those that are most popular.

Some of the places you can find free images are:
Morguefile - a lot of free images, some very artsy, some not great quality but lots of quality there for those who are willing to browse Microsoft Office clipart - images that come up in that search are copyright free Unprofound - created and run by designers, this site has the very cool feature of searching for ima…

Introducing Your Very First Issue

Image
Update November 9, 2015 - Find a newer version of this topic here: How to Write the Introduction to Your First Newsletter.

When writing the introduction for your first newsletter issue, here are some things you might want to include:
Acknowledge that this is your first issue and that you appreciate your readers' attention.Tell readers what they'll be getting and how often - think about value/benefits to your readers.Tell readers that it's easy to unsubscribe via the footer in every email.Ask for feedback and suggestions.Ask readers to share with colleagues and friends.
Here are some examples of first issues - perhaps you'll find some inspiration: http://www.icontact-archive.com/ax046v6l6BLsGlxk-7GW8wG0EdaP-YyH?w=4http://www.icontact-archive.com/C2H8dddLntULMUHekZbVzk8qRVP-1vlS?w=3http://www.icontact-archive.com/2ekDGgCLjYbRhOtBivO1LmR222Ffd3UH?w=4http://www.icontact-archive.com/2ekDGgCLjYZ4WdN6E4LBwShggACepfxr?w=4http://www.icontact-archive.com/PtfzIxd9pZV6wietKwaW2yWbJw…

I'm Being Used

Image
To the 'person' who has hijacked my domain:

For 3 weeks now you have been making up email addresses that end with my domain name and sending spam emails on my behalf.

Is it working for you? Are you making lots of money? Or just having a thrill?

Please go find something more useful to do. Earn an honest living. Volunteer those techie skills for a good cause.

Leave me alone. I don't want to get blacklisted again!

Click to Tweet this Article

You Reap What You Sow

Image
My garden was on the Gardens Galore tour in support of the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of Canada last weekend, so I have been spending a lot of time getting it ready for company. It was all very exciting and, while preparing, I decided my garden is a lot like my business. How did I come to that conclusion? Here's a bit of fun...
Planning and Design
This is all about figuring out what I want my garden to look like in the end and then figuring out what I need to do to get there. It means pulling out a pencil and paper, roughing out ideas, and firming them up.

Tools and Supplies
Pruners, shovels and rakes: investing in good tools makes a difference. Twist ties, stakes and mulch: there are some supplies I always need to have handy to keep my momentum going.

Landscaping (the Hard Work)
I need energy and perseverance (and my husband) to move all the rocks, dig all the holes, and plant all the plants. Some of the work is tedious and some of it is fun - but it all needs to get done in…

5 Ways to Grow Your List this Summer

Image
Your contact list doesn’t grow on its own and summer is when we all tend to slow down. Here are some practical, yet easy ways to grow your contact list over the summer months and still enjoy some time off.

eMail Auto Responder
When you set up your ‘out of office’ vacation notification, include a call to action and link to your newsletter sign-up form.

Scheduled social media posts
Set up a series of posts using Hootsuite or similar to encourage sign-ups. You can direct people to your sign-up form, to your archive, or to specific past issues that still make good reading.

Review your current and prospective client list
When you’re preparing for your fall sales activities, also note those that aren’t already receiving your newsletter and encourage them to sign up by sending a personal note. Review not only the contacts in your CRM system, but also those you’ve connected with on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. You could also consider mailing a copy of your most recent newsletter.

Networking events

T…

A Different Kind of Feedback

Image
Most of us would agree that feedback is generally a desirable thing and necessary for continuous improvement. Yet there seems to be a whole area of performance that gets ignored due to little or no feedback: internet marketing.

If you are ignoring your feedback (in the form of statistics), you’re missing two important things:

Without a baseline to measure ongoing performance against, how will you know if you’re getting better or worse?Without feedback about your performance and information about people’s interests, how will you know what to do to improve?
Below are some suggestions to help you get the feedback you need. They can all be applied to an enewsletter campaign but certainly have broader applications.

Tracking codes
Online bulk email applications will have this built in. You can also use services like Bit.ly and other URL shorteners. Within the application you will be able to view overall statistics and trends. Plus you’ll get more useful things, like how many people clicked o…

Avoiding False Assumptions

I am not my own ideal client. Certainly I fit within the target market I have so clearly defined. Being a small business owner, I can identify with all of my ideal clients - we share many of the same needs and desires. But there is a distinction: I don’t need the services that I offer. Because I have skills and expertise that my clients lack, I also have different preferences and perspectives.

Sometimes it’s easy to forget this... too easy. When making decisions or coming up with new ideas, I clearly wear the shoes of my ideal client, but not quite. So when I think, “I wouldn’t like that” or “that wouldn’t work for me”, I’m really limiting my options based on false assumptions.

False assumptions can lead to painful lessons and lost opportunities. I’m trying to be more careful about the assumptions I make and the results I predict. I’ve written this across the top of the whiteboard in my office: “I’m NOT my ideal client!” It’s a constant reminder to consider options fully and not make a…

Resources Online (Wrap Up)

Image
Here are some of my favourite online tools all wrapped up in one place:

Colours and other shiny things:

Color Scheme Designer - Play around to find a scheme you like or enter an html# and it'll give you complementary matches. This is one of my most used online apps!

COLOURlovers - Very useful for determining colour schemes and for seamless backgrounds.

Flickr - If there is anything visual about what you do, you should be using Flickr, another social media tool and a whole other community.

Wordle - A fun little online 'toy' for generating 'word clouds' from text that you provide.

Prezi - A very different kind of presentation software. It's not likely I'll ever use Powerpoint again.

Research and productivity:

Google Insights for Search - Compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.

Google Alerts - An easy way to monitor your online reputation and a whole bunch of other things. Another one I make a lot of use of.

Dood…

3 Keys to Creating a Call-to-Action

Image
We all use calls to action but we often don’t think of them that way. Writing an email to a friend asking for feedback, emailing to arrange a coffee date, sending a follow up note – these all contain calls to action whether obvious or implied.

A call to action should be crafted to suit the situation but here are 3 characteristics of any effective call to action:

SIMPLE

Uncomplicated and straightforward is what you’re aiming for. Convey the essence with just a few words. Don’t use jargon and don’t mislead or try to trick your reader into action.

NATURAL

Minimize the options. It may seem like a good idea to give options but, in fact, it causes indecision. If possible, have only one choice and make it the natural next step with little thought required.

EASY

A simple 1-2-3 process is easy. A 1-step process is even easier. In some situations you may need another call to action to get through steps 2 and 3. Keep to baby steps and few of them.

None of these factors will be effective without the othe…

Plan to Give Your Best

Image
If what you have to share, show or write about isn’t great, don’t put it out there. That was one takeaway from Scott Stratten. I had a double dose of him a couple of weeks ago - read his book, UnMarketing, and attended his webinar. (Highly recommend!)

I have to agree with Scott, but can’t let it rest there. It’s too easy to let that become an excuse for not showing up at all. We can plan to have 'great' to share.

I feel strongly that keeping to a consistent 'content creation' routine has big benefits.
A newsletter in particular becomes successful by establishing expectations over time - about the content, look and delivery. There is benefit in working hard to establish those expectations. A regular delivery schedule is an easy expectation to master. This holds true for other forms of content sharing as well. Slip once and it’s easier to slip again. Having a routine and deadlines keeps us focused. It’s easy to indefinitely put aside those things that don’t have deadlines…

Up your Readership

Image
You can promote your enewsletter by using a call-to-action sending people to: your sign-up pageyour last issueyour archive
Here are 10 places you can and should promote your newsletter:
WebsiteEmail signature BlogBusiness cardOnline profiles - Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.Social media postsAt point-of-sale - paper sample of newsletter, card with link to sign-upFeedback formsWorkshop hand-outsBrochures
PS: Make sure your newsletter has a subscribe link in each issue.

Click to Tweet this Article

Original Content Makes YOU Unique!

Image
Do you really need any more information than what you’re already getting? Do your readers? How do you compete with ALL that content that’s readily available?
You give them something they can’t get anywhere else!
A list is easy - here’s one way to think about it: Static resources: original writing, photos, videos, slide shows, presentations, and more Live resources: webinars, teleseminars, lunch and learns, other events, and more The execution is maybe not so easy. Developing original content requires energy and inspiration. Plan your content in advance - even if only in your head. Take advantage of inspiration when it comes because it often won’t at midnight when facing a deadline.

So, what if you can’t write, sing or dance? (That I strongly doubt, but let’s pretend.) Does it mean you have nothing to share? Not by a long shot.

Think context. It may not be original content pieces - it might be the way you arrange them, the context in which you present them, or your opinions about them. ‘…

Company News is No News

Image
"Signup for our newsletter to keep up to date with us." "Sign up to get company news and other info."
Does that make you want to invite yet another email into your inbox? I think not.
I did a search on Twitter for #enewsletter. One thing stood out: companies luring people to sign up with the promise of company news. Now, there aren't many instances where I'd be interested in hearing about new employees and new client projects and new branch offices. Here are those instances: you are my friend, you are my client, or you are my supplier. And if you are any of those, it won't be long before I'm telling you what you're doing wrong.
If I don't know you, your company news won't interest me or anyone else who doesn't know you. You need to lure me with something useful or interesting first. (And it seems especially lame when those posts are lined up all in a row in Hootsuite.)

I'm not saying not to include some company news in your newslet…