Showing posts from February, 2015

A Different Name for Conversation

I've had people look at me a little oddly when I say that a newsletter (or blog) is a great way to build relationships and start conversations. That's because a newsletter is often thought of as one-way communication - a broadcast, like a newspaper.

I find myself at a bit of a loss when it comes to describing what I mean, even though I've seen it happen countless times. This quote I found recently on Twitter sums it up nicely:

Writing, when properly managed, is but a different name for conversation. - Laurence Sterne
There is a way of writing that connects with your readers and draws them in. You can tell when you're achieving this by the replies you get after your newsletter goes out. That is the start of the conversation and then it's up to you to keep it going.

photo by Ed Yourdon / Flickr

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Guest Post: Designed for Success

The thought of designing a newsletter for a designer was a little daunting, but I jumped at the opportunity when Melanie Orr of Interiors by Melanie first approached me. I recently asked her to tell me how it's helping her small business and this is what she wrote...
My newsletter guru, Linda Daley, recently pointed out that I've passed my three year anniversary of sending out my online newsletter. I hardly believed it, yet I know why I have been successful with this strategy: it has been such an easy and enjoyable monthly endeavour. It is also a very effective way to stay in touch with clients and reach out to new potential clients. My newsletter is the one strategy I am consistent with and do without fail. Linda schedules my issues for the year in advance and, because I have promised someone other than myself, I meet this schedule. This in turn ensures regular posting on media platforms, on my own blog, and updates to my website, as I share the newsletter. I’m always busy, an…

Can't Write? Try Research

I've heard a lot of small business owners say they can’t publish a blog or newsletter because they can’t write. I think you don’t know till you try, but let’s say that’s a valid reason. There are still ways to create content on a regular basis without writing articles. One of those is researching and compiling information that’s valuable to your target market.

Valuable compilations need not be lengthy or onerous to assemble. BUT they should be two things: interesting and useful. Plus funny - funny is good, but humour in email can be tricky. Use it with care. These compilations can be factual, but don’t need to be. Instead they can represent your opinion.

Here are some examples, in this case for a target market of small business owners in Nova Scotia. You can use these ideas as a jumping off point for creating your own lists of valuable content for your target market.

Top 10 Coffee Shops for Business Meetings in Halifax15 Most Useful Apps for Small Business OwnersNetworking Groups …

Think About Your Reader

I advocate reading what you share but, to save time, I have a short list of experts that I share without reading first. They are experts I have vetted and trust. For the most part, they have the same philosophy that I do. One of the experts on my list was a bulk email software company that shares great statistics, infographics and a few good tips.

I received an email from them that had an awesome download full of updated email statistics. I was immediately excited to have something to share quickly. Ooops. No sharing buttons in the email - which meant I did not share it. I went on to the next email. I can't afford to get distracted from my inbox. I went from excitement about sharing their content, to not sharing it at all. In 10 seconds.

Later, I came back to that email and clicked through to their website. My intent was to follow them on social media to easily share their content that way. It took me far too long to find their buried social media links and when I did, there were…

eMail Marketing for Business Networking Associations

Business networking groups are in a unique position to grow their subscriber list exponentially faster than many other organizations. This also means they're in a fine position to benefit from providing useful and interesting content to their subscribers. Unfortunately this opportunity is often wasted.

A networking group will benefit from building a mailing list and sending out a regular newsletter because:
It reminds subscribers of upcoming meetings and agendas.It encourages non-members to attend as guests.It can market the benefits of membership to non-members.It’s a way of staying top-of-mind within the association’s community.It provides a way to promote and seek sponsors for big events, like annual fundraisers.Creating valuable content is relatively easy. On top of all this, associations can make use of a private list to communicate with members about members-only information.
Photo by JodiWomack / Flickr

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What's best when... Phone vs. eMail

Over coffee at Starbucks last summer, Mary Jane Copps, The Phone Lady, and I were chatting about the benefits of using the phone versus email for business communication. We decided to take our debate to the public.

In September, we announced that comedian Lianne Perry would be our MC for the live debate scheduled for November 5, 2014, at the Westin Hotel in Halifax. We launched a website, online votes started to tally, and ticket sales began.

Mary Jane and I took the debate online with articles on our blogs. Mary Jane started with her blog post When You Say "Hmmmm". "When reading an email, if at any point you go “Hmmm, I wonder what they mean by that?” ...pick up the phone!" (Click to Tweet this!)

I continued the debate with 7 Tips for Communicating Details by eMail, one of the big benefits of email over the phone. Next I wrote about The Speed of eMail. "If you need to reach a lot of people fast and at the same time, email is definitely the medium of choice.&q…

Selling your Newsletter on Social Media

Once you've started your mailing list and are working to turn subscribers into fans, don't stop selling your newsletter. You'll lose about 30% of your subscribers over a year, so continuing to build your list is important.

One way to encourage sign-ups is on your social media accounts and profiles. "Please sign up!" doesn't cut it. You need a compelling call to action. Here's a great example I found on Twitter from my friend and organizing guru Jane Veldhoven.

Dare you to Go Ahead and Get #Organized by signing up for my monthly #newsletter
— Jane Veldhoven (@organizerjane) February 2, 2015

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