July 30, 2014

What do Strippers and List Building have in Common?


The answer is... Guns N’ Roses.

In his book “It’s So Easy (And Other Lies)", bassist Duff McKagan revealed that email marketing was a key component of building the band’s fan base:
“As soon as Guns began to play regularly in LA, we started up a phone and mailing list. We obsessively made sure people who came to shows signed up – well, actually, what we did was send stripper friends out into the audience and have them convince people to sign up.”
There are 2 important takeaways from this story.

#1. You can build your list anywhere and anytime. Not just on your website, not just at your cash register. Where else can you get subscribers who really want what you’re offering?

#2. You need a compelling call to action. This is where you offer value to your target market. This could be a giveaway or the promise of great content to come.

Perhaps you won't use strippers to compel subscriptions, but if you're a veterinarian cute kitties might work.

photo by F de Falso / Flickr

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July 25, 2014

Is your Sign-up Form CASL Compliant?


You already know about the identification requirements that need to be in the footer of commercial electronic messages (CEMs) to be compliant with CASL: name, mailing address, plus either phone # or email address. Do you know that this information must also be near, or "easily accessible" from, your sign-up form if you want to gain express consent?

Take a moment and check your website to see if this contact information is there. Perhaps you have a contact page with this info on it, or have it in your page footer - that's good. You might also put it on your redirect page if you have one. (That's your web page where a new subscriber ends up after clicking 'sign up'.)

Also note: "An individual must take action to opt-in to a stated purpose." Is there a description of what people are signing up for? (It's also a good time to test your form by signing up to make sure it works.)

While you're there looking, think about how you can make your sign-up form more enticing. Have you got a call to action? Here are some tips to make the most of your sign-up form.

photo by hfabulous / Flickr

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July 20, 2014

List Size Matters

While enjoying coffee with a client last week, we talked about the challenges of selling training programs strictly by email advertising. Doing some quick mental math, we figured we'd need a list of 100,000 minimum to have any small chance of success.

Building a large list is no easy task and to do it fast would require buying or renting email lists, or scraping email addresses off the web. I'm not very comfortable with either of these list building tactics, however, "quantity" email marketing is extremely successful for a lot of organizations. Take note: big list campaigns require a big budget - not just at the start, but continuously.

On the other hand, you can accomplish a lot with a small list - quality instead of quantity. A different strategy, this is all about information (or content) marketing - giving something of value to your target market. It requires having a good reputation to be successful AND it also helps build your reputation. If you own the type of business where having a good reputation is a success factor, informational marketing is just right for you.


Don't dream of having a big mailing list - that's a lot of money and work. Dream about what you can do with the list you have! (Tweet this)


July 15, 2014

Prospecting Perils

For the first time in 4 years, I've been working to build a list of prospective clients. Mary Jane Copps, aka The Phone Lady, asked me to describe my target market for her. That was easy to do when we were sitting in Starbucks enjoying lattes. I have a pretty clear picture of my ideal client – I’m fortunate to have several of them already.

Translating that description into a prospecting list has turned out to be more of a challenge than I anticipated.

First, I decided to take my own advice and check out who’s been reading my newsletter. Because my own newsletter isn’t about what I do though, it isn't easy to identify readers who might be interested in starting a newsletter just by looking at who’s opening it.

On to LinkedIn... After a little grunting and groaning about the search process, I was able to make some progress, but not as much or as easy as I had imagined.

There are 2 lessons I've re-learned through this venture:
  1. It’s easy to give out and read advice about prospecting – less easy to translate it into action steps that get results.
  2. I have to be focused because I get attracted to ‘shiny things’. For me, that’s those types of businesses that have a visual brand, like veterinarians with photos of cute kitties, or art galleries with wonderful creative pieces to share, or clothing and accessories I’d like to own. None of these fit nicely into my defined ideal client profile, but what fun! And I would certainly not turn them away.
I've decided to start being on the lookout for prospective clients more actively on a daily basis, and to keep a running list. I suspect that it will be a higher quality list if I make it part of my daily routine.

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originally published in Work Better, Not Harder July 15, 2014

July 10, 2014

7 Reasons you need a Content Strategy

Wondering why you might need a content strategy?
  1. To stay current, sharp, and develop opinions
  2. To build your reputation by demonstrating your expertise
  3. To inform about your products and services
  4. To get found when people are looking for the services and products you provide
  5. To have consistent messaging everywhere that people may run into your brand and where they expect to find your brand
  6. To provide direction to your team, such as your social media manager or email marketing campaign manager
  7. To have a reason to connect with potential clients

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July 4, 2014

A Reason to Reconnect


Your newsletter has just gone out and your inbox is filling up with out-of-office auto-responder messages. Are you deleting them unopened? They might be worth a closer look.

Other than vacation notices, you might also find that some of your contacts have changed their email addresses due to new jobs or other reasons. You’ll want to search them in your list and replace their email address. (If you delete them and add them as a new contact, you’ll lose the electronic trail of your contact history.)

The Phone Lady told me a nice story about reconnecting with someone as a result of following up on a change notice. The lesson is that you can use this as an opportunity to reach out and touch someone that you haven’t talked to in a while.

photo by rich115 / Flickr

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