March 29, 2017

Colour Palettes for Spring Marketing

As I post this article, it's snowing heavily here in Nova Scotia. I'm very optimistic that spring will arrive... sometime. My husband and I are itching to get outside in the garden so, when I think of spring, I think of outdoors.

Here are some colour schemes that make me think of spring. All photos are free from

I saw this photo and immediately thought, "Fresh start!"

Looks like a great place for a walk. The lime green is so bright and optimistic.

The Easter Bunny outlined in buttercup yellow. All shades of green are reminiscent of spring.

It wouldn't be spring without red tulips. Great contrast here.

Spring travel to the tropics makes me think of soft pastel ocean scenes. Pass the wine.

What does your spring marketing campaign look like?

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March 26, 2017

Favourite Free Image Sources and Graphics Tools for Small Business Marketing

Wondering where to find free images for your newsletter or blog? These are the most common sources we use for free images:

FREE with Attribution:
Here are some graphics tools we use often:
Of course, snapping your own photos is always a great choice!

photo by Live to Create Photography / Flickr

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March 21, 2017

17 Reasons to eMail Your Contacts Before Your Next Newsletter Goes Out

NOTE! Don't jump directly to the list below. There's a caveat and it's an important one.

While these are your reasons for emailing your list, you need to create value or point it out to readers. Frame all your messaging around the thought, "What's in it for my readers?" If you make it valuable to them, you'll feel the love in return.

Here are 17 reasons to email your list, independent of your regular newsletter schedule:
  1. A new or improved product or service - highlight the benefits, not the features
  2. A demonstration of one way to use your product... and the fantastic results!
  3. A new article, video or audio file published online
  4. A customer success story - and how subscribers can enjoy the same success
  5. A customer question and your answer - useful information
  6. A cool tool you just tried - how your contacts can benefit
  7. Comment on a common myth about your industry - why your subscribers need to know
  8. Announce a contest
  9. Request information (feedback, research, and so on) - be very cautious with this 'ask'
  10. A summary of information - this could be results of the feedback/research or a summary of a process you use
  11. You learned something recently that you're now implementing - focus on why your subscribers need to know this, what's in it for them
  12. Special offers for your email subscribers only
  13. Changes to your business - only things that will benefit/affect subscribers
  14. A follow-up to something you sent before, such as that contest
  15. A report that combines a blog post series and becomes a great resource.
  16. Hot-off-the-press news affecting your target market
  17. A special date or event, such as Mother's Day or International Ideas Month (March).
Wondering where to start? Pick the one that seems the easiest and get a quick success under your belt. Then come back to this list and pick another item. Here's a challenge: can you do one a month for the next 12 months?

March 17, 2017

Eliminating Waste and Ageism from My Writing

In today's society... in today's busy world... our current technological society... and so on. I've written phrases like that more than once. And I've stopped because:

1. These phrases don't add any value to my writing. If I'm writing about the past, I'll say, "In the past..." or some such thing. Similarly if I'm writing about the future. Otherwise isn't the perception it's current?

2. Lots of people don't know a different society, don't remember a time before computers. Technology is hardly new. Anyone over 50 like me has actually been using it longer than anyone younger.

Reserve space in your writing for words that really count, that add meaning to your writing. Eliminate what's left. Make sure every word works. Your readers will thank you for it and show you by coming back to read more.

photo by Street matt / Flickr

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March 12, 2017

How to Improve Your eNewsletter Results

Would you want me to be nagging you about your newsletter campaign? Making sure you keep to your schedule, aren't stuck for writing ideas, and regularly check your statistics? I've been told nagging can be very helpful.

Here are some pieces of advice I dish out to clients on a regular basis - not because I like nagging but because I know these things can make a difference.

Plan your content ahead of time. Planning gets you thinking, even if those plans are bound to be broken.

Use a 2-step writing process. Draft and write your content; edit and polish it on another day, or later the same day.

Finalize your copy before it gets inserted into your newsletter. Last minute changes, while not always avoidable, are most prone to mistakes. Your final check should be proofing, not editing.

Try using a Word template to assemble your content. Create one with the appropriate sections and it will operate like a checklist so you won’t forget anything.

Take care with your subject line. Nothing else on this list will matter if no one notices your email.

Send when the conditions are right. Ideally you want your newsletter to arrive when your subscribers are using their email.

All of these seemingly nit picky little things do make a difference. Have you been nagged yet today?

photo by Andrew Hefter / Flickr

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March 6, 2017

Quick Update on the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation

It's been 3 years since CASL came into effect in Canada and the grace period ends on July 1, 2017. I know, it's an icky subject but I want to keep you informed. There's a lot to know but I'll keep this really brief.

Here are the two most important things you need to know about CASL right now.

First, if you own a business and use email for business, every email sent is governed by CASL. It has nothing to do with the application you use, or how many people you send to at a time. Many business people seem to think CASL doesn't apply to them. It definitely does!

Second, the good news. Even though CASL applies to your email communication, unless you have many thousands of subscribers, you're unlikely to ever garner enough attention to warrant an investigation by the CRTC. There is possibly some new legislation coming that will allow civil cases although I have a hard time imagining the grounds for any such cases.

For some businesses, such as mine, it's still important to be compliant with the regulations. If that is also the case for your business, here's a quick and dirty run-down of what most small businesses are missing.

photo by ThoroughlyReviewed / Flickr

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