Showing posts from October, 2013

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…