September 26, 2016

Even Good Advice Expires


One of the questions I get asked the most is, "When is the best time to send out my newsletter?" It's a great question because the timing really is important.

During a lunch and learn workshop a few years ago, I suggested that Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays were best, at about 9:45am. At the time that tended to be the rough schedule I followed for myself and some of my customers. I even said that I felt Wednesdays were the better than Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Two weeks later on Wednesday morning at exactly 9:45am, I received 3 newsletters - one I sent on behalf of a client, and two others from workshop attendees. Suddenly 9:45am on Wednesdays seemed not quite as stellar.

It's a paradox that the more a piece of advice becomes popular, and the more it's implemented, the less effective it may become.

There are many other reasons for good advice to expire, mostly to do with changing conditions or specific situations. Check that your source of advice is reliable, then check some other sources - just like a good reporter would.

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September 18, 2016

Dates Add Context


Using a date in your newsletter sends a signal to your reader about how often they can expect to hear from you. Not everyone will realize your newsletter is biweekly or monthly or quarterly, even if you've said it somewhere inside.

Inside, near the top, the format of the date sends a message.
  • Using month-year signals it's monthly but might also be used for less frequent, too.
  • Using the specific date tends to signal a more frequent distribution. But not always because I also recommend this date format if you want to simulate the feel of a personal letter.
  • Using season-year signals quarterly or less frequent. (e.g. Summer 2016)
Your date could also be in your subject line, where it's purpose is to make life easy for your subscribers (or at least make sorting their email easier).
  • Using month-year sends a clear message that it's a monthly newsletter as it sits in an inbox.
  • Using a specific date in a more frequent mailing helps your subscribers easily trash out of date issues.
Dates add context, online or off. I usually check the copyright date of a book before buying it. Likewise, a date on a blog post tells me how current the information is.

photo by abalagotphotography / Flickr

September 13, 2016

Colour Palettes for Fall Marketing

An image might be worth a thousand words but it's actually worth more in colours, likely several hundred thousand. No doubt a photo will first catch your eye because of the overall composition, and the foremost colours play a role. Not only do each of us see colours differently, we feel about them differently, too.

We think of autumn colours as vibrant reds, golds and oranges, or muted browns and greens. But they can also be cool shades, like frost on the morning grass or the pale blue sky.

What does your fall marketing campaign look and feel like?

Here are some traditional colour schemes, plus a couple of not so common themes to spice up your fall marketing. All of these images are free to use and can be found at pexels.com.

These are the colours of October and Thanksgiving - bright, warm colours.

For Halloween, add some purple for a sense of the mysterious.

Muted shades, these colours feel outdoorsy and healthy.

This scheme feels serene and comfortable, yet polished, Great colours for a coach.

This last one is my favourite of the bunch. Fall doesn't have to be all about the warm colours.

September 6, 2016

Content Plans were Made to be Broken


You might be very successful if you're working on your content once a week for a couple of hours, independent of your other business activities. You're working to a plan and that's great.

Break away from your routine this week and be spontaneous. (The planner in me loves making plans and the rebel in me loves to find creative ways to break them.) You'll find the content you develop is more inspired if you can take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

Here are some examples of short pieces of content you can write in the moment.
  • You have a phone discussion or meeting with a customer. Write a success story, answer a question, describe a service, describe something that makes you unique.
  • You receive an inquiry by email, or on Facebook or LinkedIn. Answer the inquiry on your blog and include the link when you reply.
  • You learn something new. Perhaps you took a course or maybe you read an article. Learning anything translates into great content. Check out the 'What I Learned' template for tips on writing this article fast.
  • You receive a testimonial. Get it up on your website, include it in the footer of your next newsletter, write a success story.
  • You have to troubleshoot or fix a mistake. Write a 'What Not to Do' or 'Wrong Way, Right Way' article.
  • You disagree with someone else's advice. Write the wrong, including a link to the original article.

You'll quickly find this type of content also reflects your personality more, helping you make a personal connection with your readers.

You may not want to get distracted by writing content every day but taking a break from your plan now and then will pay off.