February 29, 2016

Content Strategy: A Formula for Success [Infographic]

It's not secret, magic or special but it IS important. If you don't start your content strategy with these steps, you'll be thinking about them later... perhaps too late.

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February 25, 2016

Action Plan for Creating Marketing Collateral for Events

You know that a killer marketing campaign is critical to your event's success. But, wow, it's a lot of work!

While every event marketing project I take on is a little different, there is a general process I follow to create the marketing collateral. Creating the various items in an overlapping sequence allows me to save time...  and my clients to save money.

Perhaps my process can give you some ideas to improve your productivity, too.

#1. Assemble, create and edit all the components of the marketing message.
This includes things like logos, graphics and images, taglines and text, biographies, PayPal button code, and ALL the logistics, such as date, location and price.

#2. Create and edit images.
Canva for Work doesn’t give you all the power of Photoshop but it pulls its weight when it comes to productivity. I can quickly make a whole raft of sizes and versions to suit every online or print need.

#3. Create the email message in a bulk email program.
I usually start here because it’s my thing. I can design from scratch to my heart’s content.

#4. Create the printable flyer.
Copy and paste the body of the email message into Word, adjust the formatting, and send to the printer.

#5. Create the landing page.
There are a couple of quick options for this, especially if building custom landing pages on your own website is onerous.
  • Use the online version of the email message as a landing page. Buy a custom domain and point it to the 'read online' link.
  • Copy and paste the html version of your email message into a website builder, adjust the formatting, and publish.
Step #1 is the most important for ANY event marketing. If you don't do that well, the rest will suffer. Granted this is a simple description of the steps, not a how-to, but I hope you'll identify opportunities to be more productive with your event marketing.

PS: Here's a planner you might find useful, too.

originally published in Work Better, Not Harder February 26, 2016

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February 21, 2016

Online Presentation Skills of Utmost Importance

A recent iContact webinar listed "lack of presentation skills" among the top content marketing challenges. The others are no time, fear, and lack of imagination.

The term "presentation skills" makes me think of PowerPoint, not online marketing. It's certainly an apt description but what does it mean specifically?

  • Technical skills related to using software applications
  • Technical skills related to graphic design
  • Creativity and an eye for design
  • Hyper-attention to detail

If you don't excel at these things, you should be delegating them to someone who does... and spend your time doing what you do best. An expert will help you overcome those other challenges, too!

photo by alexander.lissa / Flickr

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February 17, 2016

Too Much Personal Information?

You know that awkward feeling when someone you don't know very well blurts out something really personal? Too much information, you think.

Email marketing can be like that, too.

I received this message on Facebook from Earl Smith - TMG The Mortgage Group:
What do you think of personal life content within a professional newsletter? I've been told by an enewsletter service provider that it's a "necessity" They believe that, by having a little bit of personal content in each newsletter, it connects with your clients better. Examples they give are photos of you with your kids briefly describing an activity you did. Photo of your dog playing in the snow with a caption. Describing a trip you recently took. I understand the theory but wanted to get another perspective on this method.
I disagree that it's a necessity and here's why.

It all depends on your marketing strategy. Your strategy should reflect your personality but that doesn't mean it has to be personal stuff. In fact, personal stories may be totally inappropriate - or not - depending on your strategy. There are no rules that suit every situation.

What I know is this: If you aren't comfortable with your marketing, it won't work for you.

Your newsletter is about giving value to your readers. Perhaps that can include personal stories and photos but it sure doesn't have to.

photo by scribblesteve / Flickr

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February 8, 2016

A Planner for Marketing your Events

The devil is in the details when it comes to planning an event. There's so much that can go wrong just in the marketing of it.

For instance, there's nothing like a wrong date for generating a flurry of emails. Wednesday, April 19th... oops, April 19th is a Tuesday!

It helps to have a planner so I made one - download fillable PDF here. It really has 2 purposes:
  1. To ensure all the details are captured in one place and can be easily referenced.
  2. To communicate the details to others who will help market the event.

  • Once you identify your marketing platforms, you can create a more detailed campaign plan which includes messaging and frequency.
  • Don't forget the visual! It's so important to have an image that connects with your ideal customer. The platforms you identify will also determine your image requirements (different sizes).
  • Double-check the details and proof all the text, especially if you'll be sharing your planner with others. The information will be frequently copied so you don't want any mistakes.

Event marketing is one of the most fun things I do but it's also the ripest for mistakes. Lock down the details in this planner before you start.

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February 3, 2016

Uncommon eMail Marketing Advice

When it comes to email marketing, the most important lessons aren't necessarily common sense. I've had a few a-ha moments along the way. If you are struggling to get results from your efforts, perhaps you'll find the reason and solution here.

#1. While you might say you can sell to anyone, you can't create an email campaign that will appeal to everyone. Don't waste your time trying - diluted content is boring. Identify the best niche within your overall target market and create your newsletter for them.

#2. Give subscribers what THEY want, not what you want to give them. Start with what would be useful or interesting for your target market, then compare that to your goals to find a sweet spot.

#3. What can you give your subscribers that they can't get anywhere else? Identify that, find a way to deliver it, and you've got it made.

#4. Don't hide your unsubscribe link. You want your readers to know they can signal their lack of interest at any time. Let them manage their own subscription so you don't have to.

#5. Your newsletter doesn't have to be about you or what you do. You read right. It's more important to give value and be seen as the business giving it. (Our own newsletter is not about doing newsletters even though that's what we do.)

#6. Short and simple can be hard to do. What if you paid $1 for every word you use?

#7. Less choice gets more action. If you want your readers to take a very specific action, focus your calls to action around that... and nothing else. Too much choice will often lead to no choice.

#8. The execution of your strategy is ALL about you. Mistakes are fodder for gossip - you will be judged.

#9. The most important thing you can do when you meet a potential customer is to get them added to your contact list. Then you will always have the opportunity to grow the relationship.

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