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Showing posts from December, 2014

The Best Reading of 2014

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Continuing our annual tradition, here are our top 10 picks of the best articles from the Work Better, Not Harder newsletter during 2014, not in any particular order.

You need to Bite-size your Content
by Brandi Good, BLG Business Solutions
Your new website just went live - it looks amazing and it's chock-full of great information. You spent hours crafting the perfect blog post. You put together a newsletter with a beautiful layout and great content. You've been sharing these links all over your social media networks. And then...
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The Problem with Gratitude
by Steve Foran, Performance Quest
Can’t believe it took 7 years to figure this out! Although I was unaware of the problem, I’ve known all about the benefits of being grateful - a list which continues to grow.
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Have you been Asked yet Today?

by Brenda Fay, BrenDaniel Productions Corp.
I had a conversation with a potential client the other day and they asked me question after question. Probably thin…

Encourage your Readers to Tweet

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Blog posts, newsletters, web pages and documents - these are all things we want our readers to share with others. In fact, getting people to share these things is just as important as getting them read.

Getting our fans to share might not be so difficult but everyone else is busy, and sharing our content isn't top of mind. That’s why it’s so important to make it easy - really easy - to share.

Sharing buttons work great and are easy to install into blog posts, newsletters and web pages. Many templated applications have widgets you can embed and Share This is also a popular option.

My favourite sharing tool by far is Clicktotweet, which Anita at Twirp Communications turned me onto during one of our Team Twirp meetings. “Clicktotweet is the best, easiest and simplest way to promote and advertise your blog, website, business and stuff on Twitter.” What is a ‘click to tweet’? Here’s a simple example:

Giving readers an easy way to share content will ensure it gets shared more often. (cl…

The Scoop on Open and Click Rates

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Your open rate is an indication of brand recognition. Your click rate is one indication of whether your newsletter actually gets read. (How many newsletters do you open without reading?) Getting read is what raises your reputation and prompts interaction.

I dislike generalizing about the relationships between list size, content type, length, frequency, and open rates. Among our clients, we have lists of 200 subscribers to over 10,000, and frequencies that vary from weekly to quarterly. This means we see a wide variation in statistics, too.

Industry averages (graph in this post):
open rate - 20%click rate - 4% Please don't judge your own newsletter's success based on a comparison with these. (Who wants to be average anyway?) There are many things that impact your open and click rates. I encourage you to also look at the number of contacts who opened/clicked, and what they clicked on.

The easiest of these measures to improve is your click rate. There's a clear correlation bet…

Free is Free for a Reason

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At a recent workshop I was asked about free email marketing applications. My answer provoked a lively discussion and not everyone agreed with my position.

You have many choices of bulk email service providers and each has good points and bad points. Turning out a good looking newsletter depends on using suitable software and on being quite proficient with it - whether it’s a free app or not. Free apps (or free versions) will have some or all of these drawbacks:
limit on the number of subscriberslimit on the number of emails you can sendlimit on image storage spacelimited options for layout and designlimited or no available statisticsno archive of past issuesno RSS-to-email functionalitylimited or no auto responder functionalitylimited or no segmenting functionalityinability to manage subscribers on multiple listspoor functionality of social media sharing buttonsno auto posting to social media accountsYOU ARE ADVERTISING FOR THE APPLICATION
Most of these points impact your own use of t…

Using Lessons from Work at Home

I've always been one to say that my work life and my family life are intertwined. Many small business owners would also say the same. I like it and I wouldn't try to separate them.

Recently I was a bit taken aback to realize that I’m not using some of my business skills at home, and should be.

My stepson has bipolar affective disorder and our family has been participating in weekly meetings with social workers to help us overcome the many challenges associated with the disease. When they started presenting us with skills, such as a problem solving process and active listening techniques, I immediately thought, “I know all this. It’s old hat.”

The first goal setting exercise was fairly easy for me. I privately committed to three goals related to our family life and I immediately went to work to make them happen. My husband and stepson were going through the same process, also privately.

About a month later, when we reviewed our goals and progress, I had completed two goals and …

Image Insights [Wrap-up]

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Sometimes the image choice for your newsletter or blog post is obvious, but often not so much. This post wraps up our previous articles about graphic ideas and advice.

Finding just the right image for your newsletter or blog can be time consuming and frustrating, whether you're creating it yourself or buying someone else's. Read How to Find the RIGHT Image for tips to help shorten the process.

Once you get started looking for images, you will find a wealth of copyright free or free photos you can use with credit attribution. Read Graphic Solutions for places to find images and more.

Sometimes you want a look that is less staged than a purchased stock photo. Read Searching for Creative Commons Images for directions to search images via Flickr.

Infographics are a great way to represent information differently than you have in the past with words. Read Repurpose Articles into Infographics for tools and tips to create your own infographics.

Create your own word cloud graphic. Rea…