January 30, 2018

Combine Networking with Research for Killer Content

Looking for a unique and easy content idea for your blog or newsletter? It will even improve your networking at the next event you attend.

Think of a survey question where the answers of many people will give you market insight. Make sure:
  • The results will be useful to you in understanding your market.
  • The results will be interesting to your readers, and perhaps be useful to them, as well.
  • The question is simple and can be articulated easily in a networking setting.
  • The possible answers are easy to record so you can tally them up later.
Here are some examples:

I might ask, "How often do you send out a regular email newsletter?" My article might be something like: 45% of Small Business Owners Surveyed Don't Send Out Newsletters, with the results of the research (and how it was gathered) within.

A health coach might ask, "How many times during a week do you skip breakfast?" His article might be something like: Skipping Breakfast is Rampant Among Small Business Owners. (I hope not!)

A clothing store owner might ask, "How often do you order clothes online?" Her article might be: More People are Ordering Clothes Online But Are They Happy About It?

Of course, these are also segues into engaging conversations at a networking event!

This piece of content will be completely unique to you and will also start interesting conversations online. Let's have a chat and do a little research together at the next networking event!

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January 25, 2018

Protect Your Copyright in Your Creations

(guest post by Corinne Boudreau)

The reason you as a business owner or leader should care about copyright is that it protects your intellectual assets, which are an important piece of growing and scaling your business. Think licensing, franchising and creating an online brand.

The points below summarize the main things to understand on copyright:
  1. What is copyright? - Copyright is the legal ownership and right to copy and reproduce "works" as these are defined in the Copyright Act, a Canada wide piece of legislation. Works include literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and products of digital technology. Literary works include books but also websites, blog posts, presentations and proposals.
  2. Fixed and Original - The creation must be in a fixed, tangible format to be protected (not an idea), and must be original and not copied.
  3. Timeframe - A work is protected on its creation in a fixed, tangible format and lasts for the life of the author plus 50 years. After that period, the work goes into the public domain and can be used or copied by anyone.
  4. Registration  - You can register your copyright in your work (and this is evidence of creation and ownership), but it is not required. You can use the (c) symbol without registering and should do so to provide a reminder to others that you own the work. The copyright notice should include the symbol, the legal business name, and the year of first publication - i.e. (c) Legal Essentials Inc. 2018.
  5. Employees versus Contractors - If an employee of a business creates a work in the course of their employment, the default rule is that copyright ownership belongs to the employer. If you hire a contractor, the default rule is that the contractor owns the work created. The ownership rights can be overridden by contract provisions which are particularly important if you hire a contractor to create a work for your business, like a website, logo or photos.
  6. Permission - If someone uses your copyright protected work without your permission, this is copyright infringement. There are some exceptions for fair use for research, education, parody and news, but if you are relying on one of these exceptions, you need to know the rules to follow.
  7. Notices - If you find someone who is using your work without permission, you should start enforcing your rights by sending them a notice and telling them to stop. There can be additional enforcement, including fines and penalties, if this does not work.
  8. CIPO Resources - There is a federal agency, the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) which has lots of helpful resources about copyright, as well as other IP assets, such as trade-marks, patents and trade secrets. You can find their website here.
I hope that the points above and the related video gets you thinking more about which works you create that are protected by copyright.

Get Corinne's Free Report that reveals 5 Legal Bits to Have on Your Website in Canada here.

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January 21, 2018

This is Why People Who Subscribe Don't Get Your Stuff

You work hard to attract new subscribers who find value in what you're offering. Someone makes a decision to sign up to your mailing list expecting to receive that great value and... they don't hear a thing from you. I'm not talking about businesses who have sign up forms yet never send a thing - that's a different blog post (and hopefully that's not you).

Delivering your precious content to your fans has always been a challenge - what with spam filters, corporate gateways, and then trying to stand out in the inbox. What you may not have realized is that Google has become society's censor, whether you use it yourself or not.

Google decides what gmail users see in their inbox, and what gets (sometimes arbitrarily) moved to the promotions folder - out of sight, out of mind. Even if you want to receive newsletters from your clients, or get this week's sales at the mall, Google may decide you don't.

This is interfering with:
  • satisfying your subscribers
  • whether your marketing efforts are time/cost effective
  • how you manage your email and your efficiency doing it
Seth Godin brought this subject glaringly to my attention last week in his article Please don't kill the blogs - an open note to Google. He ended with, "My readers want to get the stuff they asked to get. You probably do too." I encourage you to read the article.

This is not just a marketing concern; it affects everyone. Go, Seth!

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January 15, 2018

Your Not-for-Profit Should Mimic this Newsletter Strategy

There are many bad newsletters out there... I'm sure you'll agree. In particular, many not-for-profit and charitable organizations lack the time and skills to craft exciting newsletter content. Sometimes it's from lack of strategy - not knowing what they can and want to achieve with a regular newsletter - and how to implement their strategy.

I get a little thrill when I hit SEND on a particularly good newsletter, one that I know will deliver value to its readers. I like being a small part of that success. That's why I love working with Dartmouth Learning Network on their quarterly newsletter. Executive Director Alison O'Handley knows exactly what she wants to achieve:
Our newsletter helps us to remind our community about the good work we do, and the knowledge and expertise we have to share. It is an extension of our brand and, as such, it is a tool to foster existing and build new relationships.
DLN's email newsletter is a communications tool, chock full of news, success stories, photos and even updates for funders. Their most recent issue is the best one yet - read it here and read past issues here. If you pay attention to both the individual pieces of content and the overall 'feel' of this newsletter, you can't help but learn how to improve your own organization's newsletter.

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PS: Here's some great advice about WordPress sites for non-profits from my friend, Alison Knott.

January 10, 2018

List Building Using Social Media

Wouldn't you like to be getting a dozen new subscribers every day?

I've been doing small business email marketing for a lot of years and have a pretty good idea of what will work and won't. I'm rarely surprised but this week has been the exception - building a list from zero to 68 in five days using social media almost exclusively (no paid advertising). This is even more surprising because the Facebook and Twitter accounts started at zero, too.

Now I didn't do this on my own; in fact my part was quite small. I've got two partners, Anita of Twirp Communications and Tina of Lift Communication, and we're launching the Social Media Day Halifax 2018 marketing conference.

Here are the success factors that have gained us this great momentum:
  • Synergy: The social media networks that each of us have been building for our businesses and ourselves have paid off in spades when we all started promoting at once. 
  • Messaging and Visual: Taking time to craft compelling calls to action and striking graphics to drive people to our sign-up form is critical.
  • Consistency and Repetition: People have to see something more than once to pay attention - you already know this.
  • Website Pop-up: They absolutely work. People who are interested in our message will sign up. People who aren't interested in our message may be annoyed but, well, who cares?
Now I need to make time to apply some of this learning to my own Daley Progress marketing!

January 5, 2018

Social Media Day Halifax 2018 Marketing Conference

For the first time, Halifax will be celebrating Social Media Day in grand style this year. I'm proud to be one of the organizers of the first Social Media Day Halifax 2018 conference taking place on June 22nd.

The conference is for entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals working in social media roles for companies and organizations. Sessions and workshops are for anyone and everyone who wants and needs to improve their social media communications and marketing.

Since Social Media Day Halifax is all about increasing marketing expertise on the east coast, recruiting presenters who are both subject matter experts AND excellent training facilitators is key to the success of the conference. Ideally, we’ll find social media professionals who want to help encourage, inspire, train and motivate colleagues in the local marketing community.

If you're on the east coast of Canada and do social media marketing, you don't want to miss this conference and the chance to build community with your colleagues.

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