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Showing posts from June, 2018

Is Your Website Working for You or Against You?

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Every time I do online research, I find broken things. I'm curious; I like to see how things work. And it's quite amazing how many times I find things that don't work, or don't work well. I'm not just talking about small business websites - even big brands fail sometimes. The thing is, big brands usually have a reputation which leads people to forgive or ignore more easily.

I've written before about how important it is to audit your website at least quarterly. (I pay someone to do it for me and it's well worth it.) If you haven't done a website audit recently, now is a great time.

Here are a handful of specific things to check. Is your website doing these things well?

Be really clear about the benefits to potential customers and put that front and centre. More money and more time are great - but how much?Read and test everything yourself. Don't rely on what others tell you. I've seen a lot of non-functional website forms and such that business o…

6 Lessons Learned from Prepping for the Social Media Day Halifax Conference

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If you attended Social Media Day Halifax 2018 on Friday, I sure hope you enjoyed yourself and learned lots. I know I did! And not all my learning was from the presenters and sessions. Here are a few examples from the event organizing side of things.

1. It doesn't matter how many lists you make or how prepared you are, tech will give you a tummy ache at some point. Anything last minute that needs tech, also needs a backup plan. (Big thanks to my sister for helping me print conference nametags at 11pm the night before!) Note: If you buy labels or cardstock items at a Staples store, don't expect that their Copy & Print shop will print them for you.

2. Test things that can be tested. And not just tech things. When a vendor's website says one item goes with another, that doesn't mean it's so. For example, 4"x3" nametags do not fit into 4"x3" nametag holders.

3. Automate as much as humanly possible ;)

4. Communicate really well on the things that…

How to Build an Audience (Almost) Instantly

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Don't you love it when you try something new and it turns out super successful? How about something like getting 41 new subscribers in an hour? Yes, that is possible for small businesses - I watched it happen this morning.

East Coast Scares, aka Carnival of Terror, is ramping up for Halloween 2018. This team has been hosting haunted houses in the Halifax area since 1994 and has a loyal fanbase. It makes sense that most of their fans are using Facebook - their Facebook page has almost 2000 likes! But for 24 years they've never had a way to communicate directly with their fans, to give them info about their schedule, location changes, and even ask for volunteers. Until now.

Now Carnival of Terror can send messages directly to subscribed fans via Facebook Messenger. No MailChimp or iContact, no complicated subscription forms - just a simple chatbot. When they're ready to start scaring people in October, their fans will know when and where to find them. (And they're talkin…

Your Marketing Images Represent Your Business

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If you were holding a dinner where each plate sold for $150, would you buy the invitations at the dollar store? No? So don't promote anything important for your business with a free overused 5-year-old Pixabay image.

There are options - lots of options - rather than intimating your business is a bargain brand.

If you don't spend a bunch of time searching Pixabay or other free sites, you may not know what's been overused and common - here's an app for that. And you can also check the upload date, although that doesn't mean the photo was taken then. If you're going to use free photos, pick more recent releases.

Unique and eye-catching is your goal. But you don't want to pay $20 for a stock photo for each new blog post or newsletter article. What are other wallet-friendly options?

#1. Snap your own photos. This ensures uniqueness and the price is the best you'll get. Of course, the eye-catching part will be up to you.

#2. Engage a friend or family member who…

There's a New Way to Think About List-building

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Having a discussion with a friend recently about Messenger chatbots for delivering newsletters, she was perturbed there would be no way to download a list of subscribers. My response was, "Why would you want to?" These contacts have only opted in to receive communication via Messenger. By downloading them, all you'd have is a spreadsheet. (Which is OK, if you like spreadsheets.)

As a small business owner, how many times have you been chided to have a database, a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) app, even a spreadsheet, with all of your contacts in one place?

Now, imagine the colossal task of putting all of your contacts into one place. I'm talking ALL of your contacts - email contacts, phone contacts, Twitter fans, LinkedIn contacts, Messenger subscribers, and so on. And what would you do with them when they're all nicely entered? I sure won't be adding my 4500 Twitter followers to my email list. (Can you imagine the response?!)

Engage people where they…

9 Reasons to Deliver Your Newsletter Using Chatbot Technology

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Nine hundred million people use Facebook Messenger as a primary messaging tool. Do you think a few of those would rather receive your newsletter that way - on their phone instead of in their inbox? And wouldn't it be great to give them the option?

Now you can build a contact list and distribute your newsletter by Messenger. Here are nine reasons to do that:

#1. People tend to have a Messenger account longer than they have an email address. When people change jobs, they will likely get a new email address but will continue to use the same Messenger account throughout their lives.

#2. Give your readers a choice of how they want to receive your information. Some of those 900,000,000 people are your customers and fans.

#3. Higher open rates - industry leaders are saying 80% is typical.

#4. The timing of delivering your newsletter becomes a little less important than with email newsletters. (e.g. it's less important to deliver during working hours)

#5. Segment by gender, location, …