Showing posts from 2013

Stop Saying "Feel Free"

The next time you start to type “Feel free to phone or email me” -- Stop.

If you’re in business, shouldn't it be obvious that you want calls and emails? "Feel free..." is a little wishy-washy, like using the word “just”.

Instead, use a more direct call to action. Assume that people will have questions, concerns or feedback.
“Call or email with your questions and concerns.”
“Questions? Call or email – I’ll be happy to answer them.”
“Tell me what you think of this. By phone or email is fine, at your convenience.”
Even better, be specific about the type of response you desire.
“Call me Friday morning so I can answer your questions and we can discuss the next steps.”
“Send me your questions by email so I can give you detailed answers.”
Create your own unique version of this call to action, use it, make it a habit -- make it part of your brand. Not only does “feel free” send the wrong message, it’s overused. This is an opportunity for you to stand out.

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Content Creation (Wrap-Up #3)

Our first content creation wrap-up contains articles prior to May 2012. If you are looking for writing ideas, how to manage your content, or just a bit of inspiration, you just may find what you are looking for in this list of links.

Our second wrap-up included articles from June 2012 through May 2013. If you're stuck for content, these links will give you inspiration and ideas with a smattering of thought provoking strategies to consider.

This is our third installment of content creation wrap-up posts and is a library of links to all of our articles about content creation from June through December 2013:

Thinking content strategy? Want to know why you need to keep it updated? This Deserves your Attention.

You can take vacation without putting your email marketing on hiatus too. Here are 4 Tips for Summer Newsletter Success.

Now that you are back from vacation... ready to supercharge your marketing efforts with these 5 New Strategies?

Don't forget those winter holidays! Gift g…

How to Find the RIGHT Image

A friend asked me to help her out by finding images of people talking on the phone to be used to market a new service. I like for images (because they’re reasonably priced and easy to buy from) so I logged in and started searching for ‘manager on phone’. Great – 3030 images in the search results. I started scrolling through and saving images to a collection for later review. Good images, but none of them were really ‘speaking’ to me. Then I came across this one.

It spoke to me – it stopped me and made me laugh. It reminded me of similar circumstances that I’d been in. Who hasn't goofed around at work now and then? The headline I imagined was: “Are your sales people avoiding the phone?”

If I had known the headline first, I could have zeroed in on images that resonated it, rather than wading through hundreds of bland images of people talking on the phone.

If you’re going to search for images, develop a few headlines first. When you have more than a broad subject, the re…

The Best Reading of 2013

The best reading from our newsletter contributors during 2013...

Does your writing pass the $1-a-word Test?
by Neil Everton, Podium Media & Communications Coaching
If you are looking for a quick and certain way of giving your words more impact, look no further than your purse or wallet. Take a look at the last thing you wrote. It doesn't matter if it's a letter, email, report, newsletter, web content or promo script... read more

Marketing to Your Tribe
by Stephanie Holmes-Winton, The Money Finder
This just in: some people don’t like what I have to say. They might unsubscribe from my newsletter, or they might make a snide comment on social media... read more

Anyone Can Find Business on Twitter
by Anita Hovey, Twirp Communications
That’s right... ANYONE. The next time someone says “Twitter is just a bunch of nonsense” I want you to share a link to this post... read more

6 Ways to Become Part of Your Customer's Story
by Bernadette Jiwa, The Story of Telling
Think about the…

4 Ways to Constantly Grow Your List [Infographic]


The Serial Newsletter

TV folks realized a long time ago that ongoing stories keep people coming back. Everyone (my age) will remember General Hospital and the Nescafe ads. Using ongoing story telling as the basis of your newsletter can create that same thirst to know “What’s going to happen next?”

This is not a strategy for the uncommitted. It requires planning and writing skill. Your continuing saga may be a real life story or it may be fictional. For either approach you’ll want to sit down and plan your storyline several issues in advance, while creating a vision of where it will go beyond that.

If your story is fictional, you can make it exaggerated and funny, or serious and believable... or whatever you can dream up. Perhaps your main character will be your ideal client. Your story could be about the types of problems that you help your clients overcome. Corinne Boudreau, a lawyer, uses a continuing story in this way to illustrate her expertise. She uses realistic circumstances but without the potentia…

How Long should a Newsletter be?

@DaleyProgress How long should a newsletter be in this day and age?
— Lino (@LinosVersion) December 5, 2013
The ideal answer is: as long as it needs to be to give value. The real answer is: it depends. Here are some of the things it depends on:

Typically, the more often you send your newsletter, the shorter it will be. In my experience, though, that tends to be a function of the work involved with preparing it. Is there such a thing as providing too much value? Goals
If one of your goals is to build your reputation as an expert, your newsletters will need to include a fair bit of content in the form of original articles (or images).If you have well-defined goals, these will always help you decide what to include and what to leave out. When in doubt, ask yourself if any of your goals are being met by the content you’re considering. Your commitment
The perfect strategy is to put out as much amazing content as you can. Your actual strategy will depend on many things that are not p…

Typos Tell a Deeper Story

If you don't think spelling mistakes matter, consider this:

The headline was: "Kathleen Wynne’s ‘open government’ launch marred by spelling mistake."

So, while she was talking about important stuff, eyes were on the spelling error, mouths were snickering, and fingers were tweeting. Her message was lost in the distraction.

Do you think someone got reprimanded or even fired over this mistake? Who goofed?

Was it the person who requisitioned the sign? The person who ordered the sign? The person who approved the proof? The person at the printer who processed the order? The person who printed it? The person who packaged and shipped it? The person who received and unwrapped it? The person who placed it on the podium? The camera and sound crew who set up and tested, looking right at it? Kathleen herself as she walked to the podium?

This wasn't just one person's mistake. There were a lot of people going through the motions and not using their brains. This is a sign of com…

When Perfect is the Goal

Perfect is an impossible goal. Some would say that if you strive for perfection, you are setting yourself up for failure. I agree. To the point that I don't think you should beat yourself up when you miss the mark. Because you will. We all do.

But if perfection is not the goal, what is? I don't think there is anything wrong in shooting for perfection. What else do you shoot for? A little less than perfect?

I think ignoring perfection is a worse trap to fall into. We see it all the time in error filled newsletters. Spelling mistakes, broken links, old or incorrect information can be avoided for the most part. Nothing will lose readers faster than links that take them nowhere, or that take another 10 clicks to get somewhere, or worse - a map that takes them nowhere!

We harp on proof reading all the time. A second, fresh set of eyes is what we talk about. Even then, the odd mistake will slip through. The odd mistake can be forgiven. But if your newsletter is mistake-ridden, eve…

It's ALL About You

When it comes to marketing, the experts say, “It’s not about you!” It’s something we always emphasize with our new clients, too, when discussing their newsletter content strategy.

While your content may not be about you, how you execute your strategy is ALL about you.

With all the tools we have at our disposal, there is no excuse for spelling errors, broken links or crappy clip-art.

You wouldn't go meet with a potential new client without brushing your hair and teeth. Your marketing content needs hygiene, too.

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The Make-Believe Newsletter

We all love a good story. The kinds of stories we use in newsletters tend to be real life experiences. It’s a good strategy to share experiences that illustrate a point and teach readers a lesson.

For some professions, real life success stories can present a challenge.
Confidentiality:  Not just names but also circumstances can be difficult to share without compromising a client’s privacy.Professional liability:  Providing advice can be risky for some if it’s taken out of context. Unfortunately, this limits some professionals in using these very effective content strategies. A new client of ours has found an alternative and, based on feedback, it’s working great.

Corinne is a lawyer so confidentiality and liability are valid concerns when it comes to her newsletter. When one of your goals is to build your reputation, sharing experience and advice are pretty important to achieving that. So, Corinne invented Karen, a fictional character who represents her ideal client. By telling Karen’…

It's Raining Content!

I had planned on calling this article ‘Feeding the Content Monster’ but when I checked Google, there were already many articles titled that. Conveniently, that conundrum leads right to the topic I want to discuss.

There are a lot of us now - content marketers, that is. According to an article titled ‘Content marketing goes mainstream’ (link is broken, sorry!), a whole heck of a lot more now than at this time last year.

Where is all that content coming from? Well, many of the ideas come from reading others’ content. In fact, that’s one of the top tips you’ll find content marketers sharing: search the web and see what other people are writing about.

When you think about it that way, doesn't it start to seem like a big machine feeding on itself? Much of the content we create is being read by other content creators, especially in the B2B world, and used for inspiration to create more content.

Surely the frenzy has to end somewhere. I find it hard to look forward and imagine the futur…

Secret Sauce

As a teenager, I can remember resolving not to nag my kids like I felt my mother did to me. Now, I’m pretty sure my stepson would say I’m a master at it. Funny how that happens.

Recently, I was reminding a client to send me the article for her newsletter. A few minutes later, I received an article titled “Nagging, Tracking, Monitoring and Control”. Once I stopped laughing, it got me thinking about the conversations I've had with other clients. One had said that she likes that we never back off from a deadline. Others have said they appreciate the accountability that our reminder process provides. It seems that one of my professional success factors is, in fact, nagging.

Our website says nothing about nagging. I never mention it when I’m talking to potential new clients; I’m quick to dazzle them with our expertise and to reassure them about our quality assurance process. It turns out that nagging is really what many of our clients want and need. Mom will be proud to find out that …

Content to Wrap Up the Year

December and January are good months to publish articles that sum up the past year and preface the new one. If your newsletters (or blog posts) are informational, this can be a good strategy for several reasons:
Website traffic is increased by directing your readers to past newsletter issues or blog posts.Readers are reminded of what they’ve learned which strengthens the learning process. It also reminds them of the value you’ve provided.You are reminded of what you’ve already covered. A review of your past articles will always prompt more ideas for future articles - I guarantee it!It also gives you the chance to critique your work. You’re more objective after time has passed.You can use it as an opportunity to update recommendations or opinions based on new learning or changes to your strategy.You get a sense of accomplishment! Here are 5 ideas for ending the year:
Top 5, Top 10, Best of... your own 'stuff': You can be the jury or report based on statistics.Top 5, Top 10, Best…

Guest Post: 7 Steps to Integrating eNewsletters with Social Media

Anita Hovey, Head Twirp at Twirp Communications, was kind enough to do a lunch and learn workshop with me to show people how social media and enewsletters work so well together. Here's the article she wrote to sum it up.
Does your newsletter help your social media? Or is social media helping your newsletter? Whether you’re sharing, connecting or promoting, the two go together like milk and cookies. Integrating enewsletters with social media is really quite simple and there are many ways to do it. How does your newsletter help your social media? According to a recent study published by eMarketer, 48% of marketers include “forward to a friend” features in their e-mails, but only 13% include features that make it easy to share content on social networks. If you’re still sending out your email newsletter as a PDF attachment, or heaven forbid, a picture within the body of the email, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities for social media posts.  A good enewsletter will
Give links…

Picking and Choosing

I am often talking about the value of networking and the importance of online strategy and social media engagement. The most common problem people express to me in these conversations is... "How do I engage without being a bother?"

This question used to confuse me. I would talk a LOT about value in what you offer, when I answered. In other words, if you are offering value, how could you be a bother?
What I have come to realize is that this questions is not always driven by the content or volume of an individual poster. It is often about the volume of content online in general. People are feeling overwhelmed. The solution?
Approach online the same way you do any other network development. Find the posters that are putting out consistent value. The ones that are wrapping up the best of the week, vetting content and connecting with their readers. If they are answering, participating and putting out real value, you have found a literal goldmine.
Choose who you follow as if you were …

Gift Certificates, Holiday Specials, and Stocking Stuffers

If your business sells to consumers, you definitely should consider doing some extra promotional emails leading up to the holidays. This is something you need to plan now and start executing soon.

You could simply add more targeted promotional messages to your regular newsletter. BUT you've worked hard all year to build your reputation and gain the attention of your readers. Now is the time to capitalize on that a bit. I'm not suggesting that you start blasting your readers with advertising. I am suggesting that a well-planned campaign can be very effective at this time of year.

Here are some ideas to consider:
If you sell gift certificates, you'll definitely want to promote them. Recommend who they will be suitable for. Insert Buy Now buttons directly into your newsletter with an immediate call to action.Do a holiday countdown with number of shopping days left.Create special offers or promotions only for your email subscribers. This can also help to get you new subscriber…

Permission Marketing for Membership Lists

Any of the reputable bulk email service providers (ESPs) will expect you to have received permission to email your subscribers. In many cases, this requirement can be satisfied by having a public sign-up form. Of course, this isn't an option for organizations sending private messages to a membership list.

Just because someone has agreed to become a member, paying or free, doesn't mean you have permission to email them - unless you have asked for it during the membership process.

Granted, this may seem like overkill. Generally, when someone becomes a member, they'll expect to receive some email communication. But the problem likely won't arise from your members. It'll come when you (wisely) decide to use a bulk ESP to communicate with them. That is when it will be important to be able to demonstrate that you have permission. While you might be asked to provide proof of permission for all subscribers, being able to show a process that gathers this permission will of…

25 eNewsletter No-No’s

No matter who's reading it or the nature of the subject matter, these are things about your newsletter that you just shouldn't muck up:
Sending it as a file attachment.Sending it out in the middle of the night.Using a misleading subject line.Pleading for anything – in the subject line or the body.No value within – neither interesting nor useful.Using plagiarized content.Using ‘canned’ content.Using copyrighted images without permission.Poor formatting.Spelling mistakes and other typos.Misleading links that don’t go to where the text leads the reader to believe they are going.Links to automatic downloads without identifying them as such.Links that are broken or take forever to load.Pictures that don’t load or take forever to load.Including tacky clipart or poor quality images.Including over-used common free images.No unsubscribe link.No subscribe link.Missing contact info.Not mobile-friendly.Not including some call to action.Leaving out links to your social media accounts – mis…

Prove by Deeds, not Reasons

Intentions don’t make a bit of difference. It’s perceptions that matter.

Intentions can get us motivated and keep us honest. But those things are about us, not the other person. The other person often doesn’t know or care about our intentions.

My intention might be to do an excellent job. If there’s a spelling error, that intention won’t mean a thing. The perception will be of a sloppy job.

Having good intentions is, well, good. But they only point us in the right direction. Intentions need to be translated into actions that ‘walk the talk’. Demonstrating our intentions is the only way to influence others’ perceptions.
“In art, intentions are not sufficient and, as we say in Spanish, love must be proved by deeds and not by reasons. What one does is what counts and not what one had the intention of doing.” - Pablo Picasso - Intentions might pave the way but success in business is all about perception.

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Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder, October 23…


There is nothing like a beginning. New friend, new job, new idea - all of them bring the excitement of beginnings. Better still, that excitement breeds motivation. Never do you have a better opportunity for rapid growth and change than in the beginning.

So the question is, how do you maintain that excitement? As entrepreneurs, how do we turn that new idea seed into a plan we can implement?

Share the idea. Spread the word. Brainstorm.

Choose a method that works for you: find a like-minded colleague you trust and book some coffee dates, join or start a mastermind group, have an employee meeting, share with an online business community. Reach out. Turn that idea spark into a real strategy.

Once you share your excitement, it is easy to harness that energy to implement that strategy. Just be open to change and adjustments based on your collaboration.

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originally published in Work Better, Not Harder, October 23, 2013

Guest Post: 10 Ways to Figure out What to Write on Your Blog When You Don’t Know What to Write on Your Blog

When I saw this blog post by Frances Leary, I immediately asked her if I could share it with you. Frances is owner of Wired Flare, specializing in SEO, Internet Marketing & Social Media for franchises and organizations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. While she's blogging about blogging, all of these tips below work for newsletters as well...
We've all been there. Complete brain freeze.  The only problem? You need, need, need to get this blog article out STAT. You've already pushed it to the last minute, and you’re down to the wire. It simply can’t wait.  So you’re in a predicament. What do you do?  Truth be told, we often find ourselves in this predicament, and when we’re in it, these are some of the things we do…hopefully they can be a starting place for you, too.
Tell a success story – Think of moments big or small that have happened in your business recently that can be a celebration. Did a client give you a pat on the back? Can you give an employee a pat on the bac…

Building Relationships by Being Thankful

All of our new clients get a little lecture about responding to emails they receive after their newsletter goes out. Aside from triggering business transactions, responses might vary from requests to reconnect over coffee to lengthy catch-up messages. You don’t want to let these sit in your inbox – make that coffee date, take advantage of the opportunity to connect.

Then there are the short messages, like “Thanks!” or “Great issue!” Don’t just pat yourself on the back and delete them. Make sure you respond to these too. At the minimum, reply and say something like “Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it.” You might also take advantage of this opportunity to ask what in particular the reader liked, or some other useful feedback. If the reader expressed an interest in something specific, you might provide links to more resources.

Publishing a regular newsletter can definitely be a relationship-building tool but you have to work to make it that way.

OK, yes, I used cute animals again!

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There's a Solution for every Problem

That’s a pretty bold statement for me to make, I know. I’ll qualify that by saying that sometimes the solution is tougher than the original problem, so isn't viable.

When someone says, “There’s no way to do that,” my ears perk up. It’s like throwing down a gauntlet and I immediately want to prove them wrong. It’s the ultimate challenge to my intelligence.

Sometimes I discover that there is no way to do it... that makes sense, is reasonable and viable. But at least I know and I learned something.

In my past corporate career, I attended days and days of training in problem solving - different philosophies, different techniques. I've even written and delivered my own problem solving workshops. As a society, we've been conditioned to embrace problem solving as a key skill. We identify a problem and then we initiate a flurry of activity to try to solve it.

When we compile our lists of alternatives, there’s often a key choice that’s left off: the option to do nothing. Oh yes, i…

Finding more than Money in the Mail

“I’m not sure that I can picture the success I've had without the newsletter being part of it,” said Stephanie Holmes-Winton, The Money Finder. This was her response to my query about the ROI of her email campaigns during a recent chat.

Stephanie’s strategy is very precise and all her own. Our role is to help her execute it and we've been working together for close to 3 years. A whole lot has changed with Stephanie’s business during that time. She’s become an international speaker, author, TV personality and software developer - and a strong voice for change in her industry.

When Stephanie and I first met over lattes at Starbucks to strategize, she had recently sold her financial services business and was embarking on a mission to change the way that industry deals with debt (or rather, doesn't deal with it, according to Stephanie). She had tried using an online newsletter service for advisors but found that it had an unimaginative, templated look. As well, the pre-select…

Consistent and Repetitive

Keeping a consistent schedule is something we coach our newsletter clients about. Over time, consistency will show up as loyalty - from both sides of the equation. You are demonstrating your loyalty to your readers by creating and meeting expectations. Your readers become more loyal when you do that.
Being repetitive is also important. Sales gurus say it takes 7 tries to get someone’s attention. Of course, I don’t mean that you should do the same thing 7 times. Be creative and try 7 different approaches. Over time, repetition will show up as diligence and tenacity.
The key words to note are 'over time' because neither of these strategies is instant.
photo by an untrained eye

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13 Small Business Lessons I Learned the Hard Way

Assuming that I could sell. And then assuming that I would sell. Two completely different things!The real meaning of niche. I had an inner resistance to reducing the size of my target market. Until I started to go down that road, I really didn’t ‘get it’.Logic doesn't sell; emotion does. This is a hard lesson for someone like me who values logic and reason.A great network is EVERYTHING. Building staunch relationships with inspiring, talented people that I know, like and trust has strengthened EVERY part of my business.I don’t have to work with anyone I don’t want to. I was a customer service manager for years and the thought of turning away a potential customer was completely foreign. Now I've done it, glad I did it, and will likely do it again.Too many choices can lead to inaction. I prefer to know what ALL my options are, then decide for myself. I expected that everyone else felt that way too. Not so!People buy the benefit, not the product or the feature. It’s easy to unders…

What is a Gift?

Although there is a generally accepted definition, a gift means different things to everyone. And there are many different kinds of gifts. There are gifts for the occasion, gifts of time and attention and unexpected little twist of fate gifts that fall from the sky in a moment where everything comes together for your benefit. Those are my favourite gifts, I call them Karma candy.

In business, gifts typically have a marketing intent. Whether a free service or sample product, the purpose is to connect with a new customer. Gifts can be a great marketing strategy and if you have a great product, getting it into the hands of potential customers to try, is a sure recipe for success.

I caution you to think about the gifts you give. Because a marketing gift gone wrong can be a source of entertainment for a wider audience than you expect. Here's a story such as that...

We received a gift from our web hosting provider today. It arrived in the form of an email invoice for a new domain nam…

Do what Feels Right to You

I had what I thought were a couple of smashing ideas for the newsletter design for a new client. She politely declined.

Of course, I asked, "Why?" (I must have been a real challenge at age 4.)

The discussion that ensued was insightful and interesting and helped me to understand my client's brand, image and personality so much better. Sometimes 'bad' ideas lead to great things.

The lesson here? When someone you're working with throws out an idea that they're obviously excited about, don't jump on the bandwagon if it doesn't feel right. Stand up for what's authentic to you, right there, on the spot.

Also, embrace the opportunity to explain your position so that everyone can get on the same page. That is how relationships are built.
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Your Brand is more than Your Logo

I’m a visual person yet I find it hard to describe our own branding concisely: lots of white space, clean, bright spots of colour, fun but professional.
If you came to me and said that, how would I design a newsletter (or website or blog) for you?
Being able to describe your visual branding is important when you’re working with professionals such as designers and other consultants. How can they help you best if they don’t ‘get’ your brand?
How do you describe your own visual branding? Write it out right now and be concise. Use lots of descriptive words - make up words if you have to. Can you get what’s in your head onto paper?
Looking at examples is very helpful. Look at others’ websites and newsletters. Identify what you like and don’t like and put it into words on paper. Do you like curves or straight lines? Bold or subtle? Professional or whimsical? White space or lots of colour? Simple or busy? Keep going... don't stop here.
It’s not easy to do but it’s important. If you can’t…

Get Social with your Newsletter

Social media and email marketing go together like Batman and Robin. I got that line from The Rebel's Guide to Email Marketing and it's so very appropriate. There are tactics you can use to cross-promote and grow both communities.

Social Sharing is all about encouraging your newsletter readers to share your newsletter with their friends. This encourages new people to subscribe. You always want to include social sharing buttons in your newsletter whether you use social media yourself or not. In fact, I suggest putting at least 2 sets of social sharing buttons if your newsletter is lengthy - near the top and bottom.

Social Connecting means asking your readers to connect with your social media accounts - to Like you and to Follow you. This grows your online network.

Social Promoting means using your social media platforms to promote your newsletter and get new subscribers. You can do this by:
periodically posting a link to your sign-up form with a compelling call to actionposting tea…

Perceptions of Value

Someone recently asked me if a newsletter is still a good marketing tool for small business. After all, we’re inundated with newsletters and stuff that people call newsletters. The person who asked me this has been actively unsubscribing from newsletters to reduce her inbox noise. I asked if she’ll stay subscribed to some newsletters and, of course, the answer was yes.

What’s so good about those particular newsletters that you and I stay subscribed to, even when we’re purging? The answer is simple: we are getting some perceived value. It’s likely to be interesting, useful or timely information in some form or other.

I used the word ‘perceived’ above because what is valuable to one is not valuable to everyone. It’s your target market’s perceptions that you need to be concerned about - not your best friend’s, not your mother’s, not even your own. A successful newsletter is about what your readers want, not what you want to give them.

While the simple answer is give value, the execution…

The Best Mailing List Ever

Do you have subscribers who jump on every email you send? Do they open and read immediately, eagerly anticipating interesting and useful information?

The best kind of mailing list is full of responsive subscribers. These are people who have:
asked for your newsletterreplied with positive feedbackclicked on links in your newslettershared your newsletter via email and social media How many of those people do you have on your mailing list? The answer should always be: not as many as I want to have.

Once you have the basics in place, you can work to build your list into the best list. Concentrate on those areas of interaction listed above and think about tactics that will improve on your current performance in each. Take little steps and work steadily at improvement. A blitz approach will be surprising, and perhaps unnerving, to your regular readers.

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Spam is coming off the Menu in Canada

Did you hear the one about the guy who protested the new Canadian anti-spam regulations? He started an email campaign and spammed thousands. No word of lie.

Spamhaus responded via their Block Listing for the fellow’s IP address:
IP is sending spam to scraped email addresses or purchased list. Spam asks recipient to sign petition against Canadian antispam law FISA. Is OK to protest law--even law we at Spamhaus think is good law. Is not OK to spam to protest law, or for any other reason.Spamhaus is an international non-profit that tracks the Internet's spam sources, provides real time anti-spam protection for Internet networks, works with Law Enforcement Agencies to identify and pursue spam and malware gangs, and lobbies governments for effective anti-spam legislation.

Those of us who are doing legitimate business by email in Canada have no need to be concerned at all about the new regulations. If you have been following email marketing best practices, and using a bulk email service …

Here's How to Get Inspired

I often say, “Write when you’re inspired... and take the time to get inspired.” This week I’m taking my own medicine because inspiration has been lacking. Thinking about getting inspired, with my newsletter deadline looming, led me to create this list of things that I sometimes do when I'm stumped. I can even do most of them without leaving my desk!
Read other people’s articles. I may learn something new that I can share. I may agree or disagree with the author. Either way, I've got something to write about.Call a friend or client. You may want to prepare a couple of questions in advance, such as “What puzzles you most about what I do?” or “What’s the biggest benefit you get from working with us?” Or you might just wing it.Think about processes. Write step-by-step instructions that are simple and easy to follow. Use screenshots or images if it makes sense.Review old blog posts and articles. I often find ideas that I can expand on or tangents I haven’t explored.Recall recent ex…