Showing posts from April, 2013

Audit your Reputation

I know, I know! Doesn't it sound dreadful? The Audit. Conjuring up images of spreadsheets, accountants and bad hair days. But wait... this isn't about that kind of audit. This is much less stressful, yet just as important.

We have talked about auditing your website before. But if you are online, you need to be auditing your entire online presence. It should be done on a schedule. We suggest quarterly.

Review all online content related to your business, testing all links and reading every word. Broken or irrelevant links are an annoyance to readers. Make sure there are none when they visit you. When testing links, stop long enough to ensure the referenced content is still there.

Some places to check in addition to your website are:

Profiles. Remember when we found out that online profiles helped search engine ranking? Suddenly, we had more profiles than was manageable. Check them. Find your log-in or request a new one and keep the profiles current. If they are of no value to yo…

Collaboration Works

Neil Everton specializes in teaching writing skills. Of course, good writing is important to a successful newsletter, so he’s a useful person for me to know.

For 3 years I've been sharing what I've learned from Neil with my newsletter clients. That led me to ask Neil if he would collaborate with me on a lunch and learn workshop. My purpose was to give additional value to my local clients and share my enthusiasm about newsletters with whoever else might want to attend. Of course, Neil and I both wanted to increase our brand exposure and build our reputations too.

Our collaboration made the work easy. Here’s why:
Neil and I share a common philosophy when it comes to newsletter writing.We shared the workload and each did the work we’re good at.We were able to maximize our exposure through our combined mailing lists and social media contacts. Within a few days of announcing the workshop, we were full up with a dozen people on the waitlist. Neil prepared and delivered a “precise and …

Content Strategies: Curating vs. Creating

I read a great article recently called Content Curation vs. Content Creation: Finding the Right Combination which discusses the goals of these two different strategies. It’s a detailed article and well worth reading. I’ll summarize a little here.
Curating content is all about becoming a trustworthy, reliable resource of high-quality, cutting-edge information that your readers and customers can depend on. This strategy is reactive, depending on others’ content and schedules. This blog post is an example of curated content.
Creating content is about becoming a thought leader and demonstrating your expertise and authority. This strategy is proactive - you set the trend.

Which strategy is right for you? It will likely be some combination of both. For us here at Daley Progress it’s about 70% curating and 30% creating. Our target market is interested in a heck of a lot more than just what we have to say.

Take a few minutes to read the article. It’ll help you decide what’s right for your busi…

Everyone I Meet Should Do This

I want everyone I meet to take one key action. Whether you meet me at a networking breakfast or on Facebook, browsing our website or reading our blog, there's one simple thing I want you to do.

You want every person you meet to take that same action. It doesn't matter if you sell insurance or shoes, advice or lunch, workshops or ideas. That action can mean the difference between never seeing someone again or becoming their favourite stop.

Calls to action beg you to phone or email, download this file or fill out that form, click here or read this, watch a video or follow on Twitter. So many choices, so little time... and so many distractions.

Everyone I meet should subscribe to my newsletter mailing list. A bit of an anticlimax? Consider that if I can get them to do that, I'll have more chances to do all of that other stuff, like get someone as a fan or on the phone, sell them an idea or a service, get a referral or a testimonial.

All of that is possible because I'll h…

4 Ways to Constantly Grow your List

Over a year, your mailing list will decrease by 30%. That’s an industry average but we've seen it with our own and clients’ lists. You’ll lose contacts in several ways, not just through unsubscribes. People change their email addresses, for example, or have other difficulties which cause your newsletters to bounce.

If you start the year with 1000 subscribers and don't do anything to grow your list, you’ll be down to 700 by the end of the year. Please believe me. Don't try this at home.

A newsletter set-up is not a one-time event. Your strategy, design and content will get stale unless you’re paying attention to keep them fresh. Likewise you need to continue to grow your list.
Use your social media accounts to actively promote your newsletter. Use a compelling call to action.Take advantage of your place of business or point of sale, whether online or off. Collect email addresses as part of your sales process.Recruit subscribers when networking. Offer to sign them up - don’t l…

Fiasco in the Fields

There's nothing like getting an email addressed to 'fname' or 'subscriber' for making you feel valued. Yes, I'm being sarcastic. This is definitely not the message you want to send to your readers.

You want to make a personal connection with your readers but using form fields is not the way to do it, even if you use them correctly. A form field is simply another automation. People know.

Am I blown away when I get a newsletter addressed to 'Linda'? Not usually. Sure it takes a little more time to set up and maintain. Various experts will tell us that using a person's name will have a subconscious impact. Is the sender suddenly my trusted advisor? No.

Let me start at the beginning. What do I mean by a form field? They're places in an HTML document used to insert specific data from a database. As an example, [fname] will insert the person's first name from the database. You can type "Hi [fname]" and it will look like "Hi Linda&q…

SPAM is a Dirty Word

I really hate the word SPAM. For me, it usually means a sudden sick feeling in my stomach that has nothing to do with the unwanted visual of canned luncheon meat.

Clicking that SEND button on a newsletter is the last step in a meticulous process. It’s like that little high we get from checking an action item off our to-do list. One thing done and onto the next.

So when that SPAM checker pops up flashing ‘FAILED’ with a BIG RED X, I start feeling sick because I know I've got extra work ahead of me. (It doesn't actually flash and it’s not really so big, but that’s the way it seems to me when it happens.)

My first reaction is "D*mn!" But of course, the SPAM checker is there to help us, not hinder us. It helps to make sure our newsletters get delivered and don't end up in SPAM folders. Still, I feel like shooting the messenger.

There is a multitude of reasons that a newsletter can fail a SPAM check. The combinations and frequency of certain words and phrases will be…

Your Business Personality

I discovered that my business has a personality! It had never occurred to me to think about my business this way until I attended a presentation by Frances Leary recently.

As an exercise, Frances had us describe our businesses with characteristics like describing a person. I came up with newsletter expert, problem solver, and trusted advisor to describe Daley Progress.

Why does my business need a personality? Because that will help me build my brand.

It'll be like a measurement tool to help me decide what to post (or not post) on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, among many other things.

I thought this was great because it gave me another way of looking at my business, another perspective. Sometimes we can get so hung up on details and action items that the big picture eludes us. My business personality will guide me in making the right choices about my brand, both online and off.

Take a few minutes and jot down the personal characteristics of your business. I'd love to hear wh…

10 Signs this is Your First Newsletter

I'm such a newsletter critic. I think it makes me better at what I do - learning from others' good and bad examples. Here are the things that often stand out during my critiques: You didn't use a bulk email application.
This is such a big mistake, it deserves its own post to list all the reasons why!You didn't include a link to subscribe.
If your newsletter is good, your readers will share it with their friends. Don’t make those friends have to hunt for your sign-up form. Not everyone is tenacious.You used a misleading subject line.
Perhaps you felt that you had to trick people into opening your newsletter. Don’t do this! Readers will feel like they've been duped if you don’t deliver on the promise in your subject line.I see obvious errors.
There are spelling errors and, oops, a hyperlink doesn't work. Always get another set of eyes to check your newsletter. Don’t forget to click on all the hyperlinks. Don’t get complacent about this over time. Mistakes stand out!Y…