December 28, 2017

10 Most Read Blog Posts from 2017

It's always a good idea to review your stats, so you know what people are interested in reading. You might want to spend more effort promoting your top posts - use your best value to attract new readers (something like this article).

#1. Is Your Canadian Small Business Compliant with CASL Yet?
The Canadian Anti Spam Legislation came fully info effect on July 1, 2017. Here are the 4 most obvious ways businesses aren't yet fully compliant.

#2. 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.

#3. LinkedIn is a Resource, Not a Mailing List
"Can I add my LinkedIn contacts to my email list?" I get asked this a lot with regard to the Canadian Anti Spam Legislation (CASL). Find out if you can, if you should, and if it's legal.

#4. No Love from your Newsletter? Here's Why
A newsletter does not make a marketing plan. And sending out a newsletter is only a small part of a content marketing strategy. Here's a checklist to help you identify what actions to take to improve your results.

#5. Complex to Simple: Images for Social Media Posts
The sizing of images for the various social marketing platforms, post types, and headers is becoming a bit complex. This post has everything you need to know.

#6. Are You Ready to Start a Newsletter for Your Small Business?
If you're going to invest time and money in email marketing, you'll need to step out strong. Here's a checklist to help you gauge your readiness.

#7. How to Get People to Open Your Emails
We can all make our subject lines more useful. And we have easy tools to help us do that. This will mean less time spent in our inboxes and less of the accompanying stress.

#8. Have a Party on Your Website
Spending time and money to promote your business online is a bit like sending invitations to a party on your website. You want your place to be ready when the doorbell rings.

#9. Jumping Up and Down, Waving for Attention
It's not easy to get people's attention. In fact, it's darn hard work trying to stand out in a sea of other people trying to stand out in a sea of other people. Remember why you're doing it.

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.

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December 23, 2017

Sometimes You Need a Boring Subject Line

This email message below arrived in my inbox shortly after sending out my weekly small business event listing (for Halifax, Nova Scotia). I love it when instant blog posts arrive by email.
Hello Linda
I've been getting emails from you for a couple of years and, sorry to say, I've always ignored them. Here are two reasons:
1— your subject line is boring. I get lots of emails like these but only open the ones with an interesting subject, e.g. "How to fight your phone fear" or "Learn web design in our latest WordPress meet-up."
2— There is no website that collects these items in an easy to scan format. As a WordPress developer I can set you up with a terrific visual calendar that can easily talk to your personal appointment book.
We can talk about improving your business any time.
It was a well-intentioned message; here was my response:
The subject line is boring on purpose - you can easily ignore it if you're not interested in knowing about events. I'm not into getting people to open something they don't want to read. It's a strategy that's quite different from the one I use for my blog and monthly newsletter. Three times in 4 years I've experimented with the subject line of the event listing, and every time the open rate dropped. People who want the listing are used to the title and might miss it otherwise.
Every type of email campaign needs its own strategy, which comes from your goals and intentions. There is very little advice about email marketing that applies to every situation.

It's also nice to get emails like this, which followed the one above:
Hi Linda,
Dropping a note to say "thank you" for your Small Business Event List. It's great having all the goings-on sent to me every week, and very much appreciated.
Meeting expectations means people know what to, well, expect. Exceeding them has the potential to confuse. Sometimes boring is better.

December 18, 2017

End the Year with a Blog

If you're buried in holiday preparations - at home or for your business - perhaps blogging is low on your to-do list. What if you knew exactly what to write about for the rest of the year?

Here are a few no-fail ideas to wrap up the year with a bang.

#1. Top selling products or services
Check your sales reports and make a list. You might include additional items like photos, detailed descriptions, tips for use, and customer testimonials.

#2. Most read blog posts (or newsletter articles) of the year
Check your stats and make a list. Include a short preamble for each and a link to read more.

#3. News and trends that impact your target market
Do a summary timeline of this past year, or write your predictions for the coming year. This one can be serious or fun.

#4. Best of... lists
You can do a best of... lots of things: videos, books, trends, apps, tips, resources, infographs, others' articles, music, products, services, customers, suppliers, dates, events, celebrities, and so on.

Any of these types of articles are popular because they're useful and interesting. They can be fairly quick to assemble (or delegate) and are a great way to end the year on a high note.

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December 6, 2017

Colour of the Year for 2018 is No Shrinking Violet

Purple is my favourite colour so I couldn't be happier about Pantone's latest announcement. Pantone says, "Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come."

Purple is an emotional colour and has always been considered a little tricky for marketing, tending toward the sentimental and feminine. I'm looking forward to finding ways to use it in my own marketing. How about you? Will you use more purple in 2018?

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