Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing – What Is Your Voice?

Public Speaking, Blogging and Email Marketing - What Is Your Voice?When you are public figure (and I am feeling like everyone in business is moving in that direction with the advent of blogging and social media), you have to be interesting. Your blogs, emails and speeches have to convey something that ads to the conversations that are happening online and in the real world.

Back in the old days, like 10 years ago, everything that a company produced marketing-wise was “corporate”, whether that company was a tiny little entrepreneur based enterprise or a massive conglomerate that was snapping up the competition left and right. The “brochure” was created, agonized over, re-worked and then stood proudly as a testament to THE COMPANY, a perfect piece to give a prospective buyer or client.

Then in about 2008 blogging started. At first people were confused…who cares if you had oatmeal for breakfast and NO business would ever be caught dead having a blog. Blogs were stupid.

Fast forward another couple of years and now blogging isn’t looking so stupid anymore. Some really big name companies are utilizing the power of the RSS feed and the fact that they can build an email list to market to and all of a sudden blogging is cool.

Here we are today. Social media means that you need to be, well, social. Posting internal company pictures, showing the process of your business and communicating with prospects and customers in a very “UN-Corporate” way. The masses have risen and there is no barrier to them. They want to see more than what you have so carefully crafted on your brochure. In fact, they are so busy with all their online stuff, they don’t have time to even look at your brochure!

Why Does All This Matter?

So this history lesson is nice, but what is the point? The point is that in years past, you could present whatever kind of front to the world that you liked. You could have a glamour shot taken and use that as your business card picture for 10 years, who would know?

Today, you are on the Facebook with a million pictures from events and other things you are doing. If you are a speaker, you are taking pics of the airport, posting stuff from the front of the room and generally documenting everything AROUND your speaking events on Instagram.

The world wants to see behind the mask and know all about you…and if they like what they see, they will sign up for your email lists, speaking events and read your blog voraciously.

The one thing about all this access is that it makes being fake impossible. You may WANT to be cool and polished, prim and proper, but then someone will post a picture of you on Facebook making silly faces and jumping around in your jammies.

We meet A LOT of people who want to avoid that happening by hiding behind their business Facebook page, cutting their “real” life off from the social media world. Seriously, this is just not going to happen today. Even if you are not on there, people are posting and commenting and sharing abut you all day long and it is better to be part of that conversation than to not have a voice!

Stop Worrying and Stay Real

So a number of years ago I had a great client who was super fun to work with. She was friendly and bubbly in person and her email messages reflected that in her writing style. A single missive could contain 10 exclamation points, two smiley faces and portrayed her joy of life.

Then came “the day”. I assumed she was ready to fire me as the tone of her messages turned dour. There was no life in them anymore, just the facts ma’am. After a couple of weeks of this, I had to call her and ask what was up (it was driving me crazy). Well, come to find out, she had hired a coach and the coach said she needed to clean up her emails and make them more “professional”. Gone were the smileys and exclamation points, and they never came back…sigh.

What is your voice?

From being interested in people and watching them A LOT, I have found a number of different types of writers and speakers. Here are a few that I notice…

Effusive and caring – This is the message I got when I joined Chris Brogan‘s affiliate program…”I’m SOOOOO excited you decided to help with being an affiliate marketer for all my various offerings.” It felt personal and that he really was talking to me because it was not boilerplate, perfect and proper. Chris is a very open communicator and that shows in his public speaking, email messages and his blog.

Vulnerable and openBrendon Burchard is a public speaker who really shares a lot about himself personally. He is caring and really interested in the people who belong to his tribe. His email message for Christmas was, “love you Happy Holidays!!” Now I would NEVER send that because it would not be congruent with who they meet when I speak or talk on my blog, but for Brendon, it was COMPLETELY understandable!

Grouchy and to the pointGary Vaynerchuk is one of my favorites! He is blunt and cusses a lot when he speaks. There is no mincing words here, he is very passionate that there IS time to do everything you want for your business if you will just, “Stop watching fucking Lost.”

Now, I am sure that Gary V. offends some of the people in his audience. They are not motivated in the same way I am so the message starts to sound like yelling or nagging instead of as inspiring and “get off the couch and do something”. Brendon is not one of my favorites. He IS high energy (which I like) but a little too touchy feely for me. That said, his message is so good that I stay on his list so I can still consume it when I am in the mood.

Stop rounding off the corners!

There are a million ways you can present yourself. You CAN be incredibly cultured and demure. You CAN cuss like a sailor and drink beers during your talks. You CAN be sincere and open, spilling your guts out for everyone to see.

What you HAVE to be is honest. If you are not a sliced-white-bread Yankee who wears alligator shirts and drives a “beemer”, don’t try to play one online. Today we have to make sure that our online life matches who shows up when we speak or make videos or blog.

If you have not found your voice yet, ask your 5 closest people what they think of you. Ask them to pick 5 words that describe you and your style and then run with it. I will tell you, being “real” means that half of the people will love you and half will hate you, but the ones that love will do so completely, signing up for your newsletters, watching your videos and attending any talks you give.

I KNOW, being yourself seems scary but honestly, it is the only way to go!

Poopourri – Awesome Commercial But A HORRIFIC Email Autoreponders

So I am not sure people outside of marketing are as focused on the brilliance of the Poopourri product’s video marketing. The video that was made as an advertising piece was awesome and compelled me to give them my email address and check out their free sample (turns out that was a seriously bad move on my part!)

While the Poopourri video was AWESOME, their email autoresponders have definitely not achieved the same high level of interaction and cleverness. In fact, it is looking like bad email marketing from the late 2000′s instead of current, up-to-date cleverness to match the video.

 

So what have they sent me?

Poopourri Email HeaderDay 1

Your poo still smells, do something about it. You had me in your cart, but I can only stop poo stink if I am in your toilet. Click on “View Cart” to take me home this time.

Okay, I get this one. I abandoned the cart and in the moment might have just gotten distracted. As an ecommerce site, their goal is to sell something and get that sale. Gave them a pass on this one.

Day 2

Stop embarrassing bathroom odor right now for free. Try a free bottle of Poo-Pourri today.* No strings attached. Simply click the button below to redeeem your bottle.

Okay I got the message, you want me to order a free bottle, but are you just going to keep saying the same thing? I even commented to my marketing besty that the poopourri people were stalking me like the paperboy in Better Off Dead, “my two dollars”.

Day 3

What The Crap? Something Doesn’t Smell Right. We reached out a couple days ago and never heard back from you. That stinks. Click on “return to cart” to take me home this time.

Now this feels like it is getting personal. I understand that they have sent me some emails and (obviously) I did not buy. At this point I am just wondering how long the autoresponder series is and if I was a normal person (and not secretly obsessed with seeing bad marketing in action) I would either unsubscribe or mark it spam.

What should Pooporri do to improve their email marketing campaign?

Okay guys and gals, we can take away some really good pointers here from a national campaign and help improve our stuff!

I showed a predilection for watching videos, why no videos in the email series?

First off, I got there because of a video of a funny lady talking about poo. I actually watched the whole thing from a YouTube commercial and was interested enough to give them my email. Where did the videos go? This series of autoresponders does have a picture of that lady, but no videos in the emails.

Where did that lady go, she was charming, the emails aren’t!

If that lady had told me I stink in email #3 (it may be #4, I think I hard deleted one before I knew they would keep coming) it would be charming. An email that tells me I stink is just insulting. What about a video with that lady?

One trick pony

That said, I do not have the same connection to the picture of her sitting in the toilet as I once did. I have now received 3 spam emails and get it, it was funny, now not so much. I know about branding and applaud the consistency, but seriously, how many are in the series?

How could they keep the magic alive?

Honestly, I was really interested in the product but not willing to pay the shipping with the information that I have at this point. So what could they do to change my mind?

Tell me where to get it locally

Okay, I admit it, I would pay $4 in gas to go get this at the store rather than paying a couple of bucks in shipping. While I would like to know where in Denver I could buy it, I would be willing to click a map and search for my area (with no personalization they don’t know where I live).

More facts

What about sending me some of the details about the product. Supposedly I have only seen the commercial once and may not have observed the actual features of it.

Real people

What about videos of real people using it? I would love to know if it really works or has solved a problem for someone.

Who is it for?

What came to mind for me was my college days in the dorm when I snuck off at midnight so I could have the toilets for myself. Did they check with anyone to see where this is good for? Most people have no imagination and aren’t chatting about embarrassing poo experiences. Why not give me some good ideas about who and where this could work.

Personalization

I wouldn’t have even minded answering some questions from an email (not these emails) to help figure out more about me. I have a daughter who will be going to college in a couple of years and could have had my heartstrings tugged. I think this one bothers me the most. This product is ABSOLUTELY a woman centered product and I am getting bold, aggressive man emails that say I stink…sigh.

Okay, I have to get back to work now and stop obsessing about Poopourri and their horrific email autoresponder campaign…:) I will update if I get anymore of their “awesome” emails!

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9 Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

9 Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog ContentContent is KING…if I hear that one more time I am going to puke. Writing great email and blog content is NOT about churning and burning words on a page but writing great stuff that matters!

Basic Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

These are general, a refresher for those who are in the trenches everyday and should really help those who are just getting started.

Tip #1 – Would You Guest Post It

I am a little weird because I have not guest posted all that often and when I do I get rejected A LOT because they like my writing on my blog but when I am ready to put it on someone else’s they would like it to be more, well normal, like their blog. Fair point BUT my writing is my writing and I am not actually capable of changing it (I have tried to check my spelling more, cuss less and generally dumb it down so the content optimizers are happy…doesn’t work so screw it!)

That said, you should NEVER post anything on your blog that you would not consider good enough to send to someone else. BELIEVE ME, there have been crappy posts on this blog and I have been horrified to read them later. Good enough is no longer good enough!

Tip #2 – Is your blog post interesting? and do you care?

If you take a peek at my blog I have a nice mix of stuff that I know people want (like this post) and information that is a little out there and probably only interesting me and about three other marketing nerds in the world (my ongoing obsession with Twitter and the mechanics of it comes to mind!)

If you try to write only “link bait” articles and never show your personality or interests, people are going to see through that fast, use your current article to link bait their own social media and then move on. Having a blog with personality will get more email signups, more returning visitors and just generally more bang for your buck.

Tip #3 – Your Emails better be AMAZING

Now for the opposite…email marketing. I can tell you that every post you write will not appeal to everyone BUT when it comes to your email list, you darn well better make sure that something in it appeals to everyone you send it to! There is almost no wiggle room at this point for the content of your emails. Now, your main content can come from your blog BUT if your list is expecting to read about Finance and you start blasting out the latest celebrity news, you will get unsubscribed FAST! Keep your content relevant and AMAZING.

Medium Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

I have spent A LOT of time collecting online headlines for my post 100 Great Free Report Titles, Best Headlines and Free Optin Offers. In addition, I wrote a post about 100 Great Email Subject Lines – Email Newsletters and what I found was shocking (to me at least). I thought these two things would be similar but they couldn’t be more different.

Tip #4 – How to title your blog posts so they will read your content

First off, a blog post has to have keywords that someone is going to be searching for! I KNOW, you will read that you can title it anything and your loyal followers are going to love you. I would rather title it something that people are looking for and dazzle them with my brilliance after they find the darn thing…:)

Blog posts are NOT mini sales letters. They are ENTIRELY meant to get someone to your blog to read what you wrote (and sign up for your mailing list). You need to have a great headline with great content that matches the promise of the title.

Having looked at thousands of blog posts titles across myriad industries, I can tell you that the ones that are popular target some part of the human condition…helping you make money, stay young, feel better, make your kids happy, save time, find love, get respect, do something better. The ones that scream, “I am going to give you a huge sales pitch” don’t even show up on my subconscious at this point…I just skim over them (more about this later!)

Tip #5 – How to title your emails so your content gets read

Okay, so you have them on your email list and you think, awesome, the factually correct thing worked to get them here, now let’s keep that ball rolling. NOPE! For people to see your email content and click your links you have to start with a great subject line that will cut through the inbox clutter AND let them know about your great content inside!

You need teasers of what they will get, PLUS to make sure your title is congruent with the content. In the days when you didn’t have to worry about bening labeled as spam or having a ton of unsubscribes you could play this a little fast and loose, but today you need to get real and offer real help or solutions to their problems!

So am I saying you can’t send an email that sells something? NOPE again! Chris Brogan does a great job with his newsletter. Normal newsletter, catch title and great content. Sales newsletter and he lets you know that there is a selly-sell in there…funny thing is I read them both! Letting them know that it is something that you might want to buy can frame them to, well, buy!

Advanced Tips For Writing Great Email and Blog Content

These are some of my observations and reflections on writing.

Tip #6 – Last title tip… Use descriptive titles that are easy to share on social media

You have a great post, you want everyone to share it so it can “go viral” but the title is too darn long. What will happen when they hit the share button is that the program will cut off the end of your title or they will pick the parts that you DIDN’T want them to. Titles should be no longer than about 100 characters which will leave room for them to put the source (for example @taradactyl takes up 14 characters of a tweet). They may also want to add their own words so leaving a little room is never a bad idea!

if you want to check out what a 100 character tweet looks like, please feel free to share this article with your twitter friends! click to tweet

Tip #7 – Remember their worldview

This is the most powerful thing I have started paying attention to (see more about it in my post Seth Godin Q&A)

Basically Seth said that you need to make sure that you take their worldview into consideration when you are writing content. In his example he said that ladies who buy $1,000 shoes are not considering that luxury footwear, just a reasonable fashion choice. The fellow who was asking the question really wanted the women to recognize that $1,000 shoes are luxury but to them they were just normal footwear and luxury footwear was probably in the $10,000 range.

I though also of how we write for people who are interested in green cleaning or green cleaning products. Their world view already says that having healthy, safe products is more important than strong degreasing so there are two camps to address when selling these types of products. One is to people who already drank the Koolaid and who want their world view reinforced. We can also extrapolate that they might be interested in other health and environmental issues and can talk to them in a way that lets them know we are like them!

The other people are ones who are at least considering buying green cleaning products but who we have to convince that it is the right thing to do. These folks need different kind of content to move them down the sales funnel and into a decision. Neither is right (although the quicker sales come from Koolaid drinkers) but the thing to watch out for is how we talk to each and how we frame the message for them!

Tip #8 – What’s in it for them

Whether it is an email or a blog post, NO ONE has time to read something that benefits you and not them. They don’t care how many sales people you have on staff to take care of them (that is a feature), they care that if they call there is a zero wait time to order (a benefit). They don’t care your company has been in business for 20 years, they care that because of your experience you know how to help THEM.

I see A LOT of marketing that is boilerplate and self serving. If you are sending out an email or a blog post, stop right now and see if more than 10 percent of it is anything other than pure bliss for your reader. Think about this post you are reading. It is not 9 Tips For Why Tara Jacobsen Is So Amazingly Awesome (not sure even my Daddy would read that), it is a post to help you, my reader, to understand how to write great content.

Tip #9 – Puffery is dead

Best free email marketing course everIf you have been in marketing any length of time you know what puffery is…functionally the fact that you can’t get sued for saying that you have the “Best darn free email marketing course EVER” even if you can’t prove that it is the best EVER.

I read a super good post today about Millennials (Gen Y) and why hype is no longer working. Marketing To Millennials And Other Skeptical Customers? Make Will Ferrell Your Gen-Y Consultant

Basically it is about been there, done that. If you bought one course that said you could make a million dollars with no website and no list and made even $10,000 you would feel cheated. The next time you see a course like that you are going to take it with a grain of salt and the 400th course like that you just reject out of hand.

There has been too much puffery in the marketplace to make anyone notice anymore and it may actually count against you. The people that I like and respect are not trying to shove miracles down my throat but are providing practical solutions to real problems I have at an affordable price. Now, your job is to figure out how to find people who want what you are selling and to make sure that your pricing is attracting the right crowd!

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Infusionsoft versus Office Autopilot – Email Newsletters and CRM Databases

Infusionsoft Versus Office AutopilotI get a lot of clients who ask about the difference of Infusionsoft versus Office Autopilot and passions run high on both sides!

Just this last week I had a client come to me and say that her business partner was insisting on using Office Auto Pilot for the email newsletters and internet marketing. While I DO think that Office Autopilot is a great system, I DO NOT think that it is a good fit for her! She is a smart woman with a pretty good grasp of technology (much like I am) BUT….

The one major difference between Infusionsoft and Office Auto Pilot for me is ease of use. I signed up for OAP about 3 years ago and they were talking about putting a new user interface on it so that setting up campaigns, autoresponders and lead capture would be easier. I logged in today and there was no interface yet (at least 3 years later) so I am not thinking making the system easier to use is a priority for them!

With Infusionsoft there is a Campaign Builder that is made especially for small business owners to make the steps easy to set up and see what you are doing! Check out the difference here…

With this in mind, we have suggested Infusionsoft to all of our clients without reservation! Some of the reasons we love them include:

  • Setting up autoresponders and web forms is easy peasy (see the example from the video here – The Best Darn Free Email Marketing Course EVER)
  • Doing events is super easy too – we just made one event with all the followup emails and can copy it for each new event we have!
  • The ability to target people and know what they are interested in using tags is invaluable
  • Our open rates shot up when we switched over to Infusionsoft (I don’t know about deliverability rates for each but I do know more people are opening our emails now)
  • OH THE TRAINING – when we started with AOP they had unlimited training but that changed over to a paid version shortly before we switched. Infusionsoft has a setup fee BUT…gasp…they helped us set up everything and got us up to speed fast PLUS my assistant talks to them all the time and their help desk is super helpful

Okay, you get the idea that we love the Infusionsoft….want to find out more and see more behind the scenes? Check out our Why Infusionsoft page!

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The Trouble With Email Marketing – A Shoutout To Jay Baer and Chris Brogan

What IS the trouble with Email Marketing? It is the same trouble we have with everything else! People have to make choices about what they pay attention to and if your “stuff” is not amazing no one will notice (even if it is amazing people might not notice if you don’t promote it, but that is a post for another day!)

The trouble with email marketingLet’s start with what is wrong with the world…

In my emails after attending a conference for three days and the weekend, I had over TEN THOUSAND unread emails. Sigh. Now, some of those do not hit my inbox because they get sorted into folders so I can read them when it is convenient (it has not been convenient for over 6 months at least). Others have fancy smanchy tags that make them show up as special (these I have a better chance of getting at!) and a few come from people whose stuff I never miss (like Chris Brogan).

EVERY OTHER EMAIL is a hassle right now. They could be offering me the solution to my exact problem for free but I am on overwhelm so this is the

FIRST RULE OF EMAIL MARKETING.

Do not just send your message once. No matter how amazing something is today, if it is not a client, my spouse or my assistant, it is not getting any attention. That is just my own personal hell today, but as it is the end of a holiday weekend, I have a feeling that many peeps might be in the same boat. Which leads me to…the

SECOND RULE OF EMAIL MARKETING

Send your message when your people are paying attention! I know from my Google Analytics that my small biz peeps do not read my blog on Saturday or Sunday. I know that some “gurus” say to send when other people aren’t BUT I have a much better chance of getting them opened if I send them during times my people are actually consuming small business marketing information.

The FINAL EMAIL MARKETING TIP

today is Youtility. I was at a conference last week and heard Jay Baer speak about this. Functionally, what he says is that your marketing has to be more about THEM and what THEY need than it is about selling yourself or your products. I was already all over this, BUT did not think about who my competition is.

Youtility means that your competition on Social Media and marketing in general is their wife, son, daughter or besty, NOT your competitors. I had heard Jay say this before but when I hit my inbox today and started deleting with reckless abandon, I knew it was true!

A lifehacker article from my husband who thinks I would like it trumps ANY marketing message out there. A message from my assistant about what is important to do today trumps ANY offer that comes in!

So who did make the cut for my time and attention? Chris Brogan! Let’s break down why:

  • His message comes every Sunday so I know to look for it
  • He only sends amazing stuff (if he is sending marketing he labels it as such right up front)
  • He answers his emails
  • He gave me a great quote one time

Are any of those things by themselves amazing enough to put him on a level playing field with my hubby? Nope, but cumulatively he has shown me that he is a great source for information AND that he is a real person who values my time and attention.

So as I head back into my super full email, I will be thinking of two great marketers who make a difference!

Email Marketing – How To Use Video In Your Email Newsletters

Email Marketing - How To Use Video In Your Email NewslettersOkay, I have a confession! I call them email newsletters because many of my small business peeps think of them as email newsletters, but they are actually little individual marketing pieces that head out into the universe and drive traffic PLUS make you more money if you do them right!

So, email marketing is dead right? No one wants your emails anymore and the best way to market is using that new fangled social media stuff…ummmm nope. In fact, I have to say that the MOST requested service we have at our social media marketing company is email marketing (including having a web signup form, some autoresponders and a rocking monthly newletter). Yep that is right, email marketing.

So why video in your email newsletters and exactly HOW does that drive traffic and sales?

First let’s start with the video. You need to make some videos that are going to slot into your email messages like:

  • One on one followup – Thanks for the meeting, look forward to working with you
  • Networking followup – Nice to meet you, love your business
  • Sales message – This is “What we do” (more about this below)
  • Training – Showing what to do NOT how to do something in your business, if you show them what to do and it is hard, they may hire you
  • Products – Demo your product (I bought a cleaning stick from one of our clients because I saw her video of how it takes stains off of whiteboards!)
  • Unpack your products – If you have a retail store, show all the new things you just got in

So now you have your gears turning about what you could send…why send it in an email? Well, imagine this…you want to learn more about our social media marketing services and send in a request for quote. I send you out a 5 page document that details how many times we will post, how wonderful our company is and standard boilerplate info that you need to “fluff up” your sales pages. What if instead I sent you a video like this embedded in an email?

I used Screencast-o-matic.com to record that, uploaded it to YouTube so it would be available to share, and then added it to a follow series of autoresponders (also called a drip campaign) for when someone requests a quote for services.

I published it publicly on YouTube so that I can get even more leads, but YouTube does have the option of only letting people you choose see it so it could be semi private and not on your video channel but only going out in your emails.

As a customer, you are WAY more likely to watch a 5 minute video about our services than you are to 1.) get my email message with the attachments, 2.) save those to your desktop, 3.) open them and read through five pages of information.

There are additional followup emails that walk you through the process of discover to purchase…all on autopilot!

Video Email Newsletters

Let’s just talk about email newsletters now! Say you have a list of people who like to get your email newsletters and read them monthly. Having a video in there will make them like you more, can help sell your products, PLUS give them great information.

Your customers are busy. They may not have time to read a whole long email, but if they watch your video and like the content, they are much more likely to read through the whole thing.

We use Infusionsoft for our email marketing because they have a handy dandy video embedder gizmo (that is the technical term for “I don’t have to know how to make a video show up, it just does!) PLUS they help with getting our campaigns setup and are a very stable and secure platform. There are other ones out there like Mail Chimp which can do some of these things if you are not ready to dive head first into internet and email newsletter marketing.

Some suggestions for next steps:

1. Make at least one video – if you haven’t made any start there, if you are pro make a new one just to use in an email marketing campaign
2. Need help with email marketing? – check out our Best Darn Email Marketing Course EVER
3. Get started with some kind of email marketing database like Infusionsoft or Mail Chimp

Start today while you still have excited ideas in your mind for how to take your email newsletters to the next level!

My #1 Tip For Writing Great Email Newsletters, Blog Posts, Recording Videos and More!

Number one tip for writing great email newslettersI never talk about my number one tip for anything because things change, I learn something new, and generally marketing is moving target so I have to stay nimble like a tiger.

But today, I am throwing down with my #1, all time, most important, never goes out of style tip for writing great email newsletters, crafting amazing blog posts, recording stunning videos and every other sort of marketing that you do. In fact, it is one of the main, evergreen tenants of good marketing theory and I don’t we are talking about it enough!

You are only talking to one person.

There, for you High D’s who are worried that this is going to take too long, I have just blurted it out, for the rest of you, follow along!

When we are crafting blog posts or email newsletters, oftentimes we are thinking about all the people who are reading, listening or generally going to consume our info. We use terms like, “you all”, “you guys” or “everybody”. But think about it for a minute. Almost EVERY piece of content is being seen by just one person sitting at their computer or looking at it on their smart phone.

How To Go About Writing Great Email Newsletters, Articles or Blog Posts and Record Amazing Videos

Unlike “the news” which really is made for mass consumption, your written words are going to be sent out via email or over the internet. There will not be a gang of people sitting in a room waiting to read your pearls of wisdom, there will only be one person clicking that link and reading your words.

The easiest way to write for one person is to get a real person (or two) in your head and write as if you are talking to them. In another post I did for our Marketing and Media Monsters site I wrote today about new age marketing, I was thinking of two gals, Andye Murphy and Regina Sisco. Some of the ideas were specific to each of their businesses and I got double the great tips out because each has a little different business.

Another thing to check when you are producing content is are you saying YOU more than you are saying I or WE. If you are saying “we do this”, “I am” or “our tools” too much, your reader or listener will get grouchy and abandon all hope of you helping them! Howie Jacobson has my favorite saying, “are you we’ing all over them?” (read it out loud, it is really funny!) This is a SUPER easy way to tell if you content is great.

Last but not least, my besty the Colorado Connector talks A LOT about the WIFM (what’s in it for me) Channel that people are always playing in their heads. If your content is all about me, what I do or how I can help them, they will go away. Every person wants to know that you like them, that you care about their problems and that you have the solution for solving those problems.

Seriously, just making sure that you are talking to one person will make a tremendous difference in how your marketing is received! Now, go look at your web pages, listen to your videos and check out your last couple of email newsletters. Do not beat yourself up, just start a list of what you need to fix and grind through it. Then, start writing as if you are talking to your friends or best clients. Write as if you are telling them something and watch the accolades roll in!

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  • Great Email Newsletters

Growing A Big Email Newsletter List By Breaking All The Rules

Growing Big Email Lists By Breaking All The RulesI am all about small business marketing, I spend almost all my time reading about, watching videos about and producing content about small business marketing. I have put in 10,000 hours many times over and KNOW what my passion is.

What I have come to find out is, that is not so easy for everyone. They have families and lives and hobbies and spend time NOT obsessing about their business. Weird.

So what the heck does all this marketing love have to do with growing a big email newsletter list?

There are many technical things you can do to grow a big email list, and you can find those all over the interwebs in much more detail than I would ever dream of including, but today’s post is about making people WANT to join your email list, making them search it out and find it no matter what it takes and consuming your stuff because it is so awesome!

In this post, we are going to shatter two or three of the most basic email newsletter tenants and show you how some two ladies are rocking the world by doing “everything wrong”.

Join my list calls to action and positioning

Dyan Reaveley Newsletter SignupWhat is to the left is one of the absolutely most deplorable, ridiculous email newsletter signup campaigns I have ever seen. When you visit artist and scrapbooking supplies rep Dyan Reaveley’s website, which is a free blogger blog by the by, you have to scroll a significant way down to find her newsletter signup tucked away among about a million other links.

Common sense tells you that she would get so many more visitors to sign up if she just rearranged her website a little and put the signup top right where it belongs. Oh, and don’t get me started on her “join my newsletter” verbiage, in today’s day and age, who wants to join a newsletter?…..except…um…I joined this weekend!

If you are just cruising around looking for scrapbooking supplies, you probably won’t find Dyan’s site at the top of the Google. Trying to figure out a technical bit about scrapbooking, you are still out of luck. BUT…

Looking for some great ideas, good solid stamps and products to use? Dyan is your gal. She is from England and talks funny. She calls paper towels, kitchen towels. She is admittedly lost in her work on airplanes and ignores the other passengers and she LOVES making scrapbooking journals.

Seriously? This chick makes a living doodling and coloring? YEP! As far as I can see, she has a business in England where she sells scrapbooking supplies, she reps for at least two different manufacturers who product supplies for journalling, she travels to trade shows and does demonstrations, she gets paid to do workshops around Europe and the US PLUS she does videos and blogs.

So back to building a big email list. BECAUSE of all the other things that Dyan does, she can have a tiny email list signup and still get people to click. Imagine if she had her empire PLUS a plan to communicate? I would LOVE to buy online classes from her, see her if she comes to Denver, hell invite her to come stay with me if she comes to Denver and generally consume anything this chick produces. Does your following feel that way?

Frequency of Email Marketing Newsletters

Flylady LogoSo conventional wisdom says you should be sending out a message a week, maybe even a couple a week, but every day? Multiple times a day? What about 10 times per day?

So there is this website about cleaning. The mascot is the Flylady and she is a little cleaning lady with fairy wings.

They send out, no lie, ten emails a day! They nag you about shining your sink and wearing tie up shoes. They tell you to eat vegetables and exercise and people LOVE them!

I have followed this gang off and on as I am organizationally challenged. Their no nonsense methods of getting your house clean and developing systems is right in my wheelhouse.

So here is another gal or group of gals that is making money online using email marketing. Not only do you hear about ways to clean, testimonials and purple puddles from the Flylady, but they try to sell you stuff every time!

That is right, they are selling purple scrubbers, purple mops, purple calendars and all other manner of purple cleaning products. And they get away with it because they have built and continue to feed a community of cleaning challenged people (mostly women) who want to hear from them on a REALLY regular basis as a support system for getting their homes in order.

Their message is GREAT (you are never behind and you can do anything for 15 minutes) and they have a friendly girlfriend tone to their messages.

So, ladies who clean and can write emails….hmmm who knew that could be a business model!

What is your passion and can you email it out?

So, what are you passionate about. What could you do 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week forever. No crying about a work-life balance, no whining about how you don’t know the technology what would you do all day, every day for the rest of your life if you could.

Find that one thing and start building a following around it using your email newsletters to get them signed up! Be amazing and passionate about what you are talking about and you can’t fail!

Contact Management Software Reviews – Infusionsoft, Ace of Sales and Office Auto Pilot

Going way beyond email newsletters, contact management or relationship management software is a tool that companies use to prospect, track and communicate with their prospects, suspects and customers. It is sometimes called your database and is VITAL to your success!

First off, I have a confession to make, my name is Tara and I am a database addict. I feel that I have some good knowledge about databases because I have used so darn many of them over the years (5 in 7 years). These are just my impressions from using them and you will be happy to know that I have (finally) found the database love of my life and have settled down happily with Infusionsoft!

If you would like the basics about contact or relationship management software, please see below the reviews for additional information!

Contact Management Software Reviews – Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft Product ReviewAs you can probably tell, I am a little biased about Infusionsoft! After having gone through the pain of exporting my list, cleaning it up, importing it, getting people to re-opt in over and over and over, I have finally found a system that works for me!

Here are my pros and cons of Infusionsoft…

Pros

  • AMAZING campaign builder. Basically it allows you to visualize exactly what steps of a marketing campaign you have, combined with a drag and drop interface that makes getting your marketing going a breeze! If you would like to see the Infusionsoft campaign builder in action, click the link and forward to 38 seconds.
  • Incredible support. Infusionsoft has a setup cost and at first I balked at paying it. Seriously? You are going to charge ME for setting up YOUR software? Well come to find out it was actually to pay for get MY STUFF set up! They teach and hold your hand through creating good business practices and marketing funnels until you know how to do them yourself. To this day, I get an answer to my questions within 24 from my coach, even after we are done!
  • Business tasks. This is where some of the others fall down. Because IS is a contact management software (instead of just a database), we can schedule tasks and trigger events based off of what my team is doing. For example, my assistant calls emails everyone who signs up for my list. She doesn’t have to scrape around in her email to find them, she just goes to her tasks, finds them and then either calls them with a pre written script or emails them with a pre written email! I have specific tasks that I remind myself of (like sending a thank you note when someone comes to meet with me!) Overall, Infusionsoft keeps things that need to get done from falling through the cracks!
  • Ease of use. Of the ones that we are going to talk to about today, IS is far and away the easiest one to use! I can create a web form, set up some emails and assign tags and tasks in minutes (my record is 10 minutes soup to nuts). The thing I like the most is that they can create web form pages that you can use instead of having to call your website company every time you want to test something out. I do our website stuff but know this is a prohibitive cost for many of our small business owners.
  • AMAZING integration with PayPal. They made it really plug and play to use your PayPal account for receiving payments. AND your contacts are loaded into the system at the same time…no double entry!
  • Easy video emails. Adding a video to your email is as simple as dragging over a box and entering the number of the YouTube video.

Cons

  • Dashboard. The only con I have is setting up the front page when I log in. I like to see what is going with my signups and other assorted stats and getting them on there is a little kerfuffly. Also, I would like to see my tasks instead of having to click through. update – tasks on the front page now!

Get a free infusionsoft demoif you are considering Infusionsoft and this review helped, I would appreciate it if you would use this link to find out more…it is the only affiliate link in this whole article because I believe in my heart of hearts that Infusionsoft is the best (and my last) solution! check out Infusionsoft…

Contact Management Software Reviews – Ace of Sales

CRM Reviews - Ace of SalesSo I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jeffery Gitomer and so when I saw he had a database coming out I was SUPER excited. Him being a sales guy, I figured that it would be all about sales and marketing, an internet database for the ages…sadly, it was way less than that!

Here is my review of Ace of Sales…

Pros

  • Direct mail pieces right from your database. This was a real feature for me. I could customize and send postcards and thank you notes right from the database. This seemed much more efficient than having to download your people into Send Out Cards before sending greetings. That said, the selection was okay at best and they didn’t update them very often.
  • Newsletters Part 1. They are very focused on helping you get newsletter signups. There are web form interfaces that you can use to get people into your database pretty easily.
  • Training. While they did not have a hand holder, I thought that the self-teaching training videos were well done and made it easy to learn the system.

Cons

  • Newsletters Part 2. So I get the Sales Caffeine newsletter from Jeffery every week and I thought, WOW, I am going to be able to crank those out looking beautiful like he does. If you click through the link, you can see how amazing it is and why you would want that. Sad to say, the newsletter templates that come in the system are FAR less than that. They are downright plain and not something that I felt good about sending to my people (and I am a graphic artist!)
  • Web forms. As I said, knowing that Jeffery is a sales guy, I thought he would rock out the internet leads. Not so much. Basically signing up for a newsletter was their big deal. I didn’t have any functionality to make huge web forms that would capture data into different fields which leads me too…
  • It is just a database. Ace of Sales is not meant to be a CRM. It is a database that you can use to track your prospects and communicate with them but it does not have all the task management and the ability to sift and sort like the true CRM databases do. It felt a little like SalesForce which was one of my least favorite databases of all time!

Contact Management Software Reviews – Office Auto Pilot

Office Auto Pilot Product ReviewsSo I used Office Auto Pilot for a year and a half and have a current client who is still using it. Overall, I found it to be an okay database without some of the drawbacks that a couple of the ones had. That said, I joined under the premise that they were building out a new interface and were going to be making things easier to use. Never happened and most of the reason I left.

Pros

  • Was a powerful database with if/then capabilities! Much of what I love about Infusionsoft is in here
  • Had a good interface with a plugin that built a membership sites (more about that below). Designating posts as protected was MUCH easier than any other membership software that I have used!

Cons

  • The NUMBER ONE reason I disliked it was having no central interface. Adding a product and putting up a web page literally meant going to one tab for adding sequences, hitting another area for forms, going into admin to do another function, and about 2 other things I can’t remember off the top of my head. It was very obvious that no though had gone into making the process easy to accomplish and the tech guys sort of had a, “well we can do, why can’t you” attitude.
  • Membership site plugin. The membership site plugin was not updated very often and broke frequently when WordPress updated their systems. I am not techy so don’t know more than that, but it was not a nice problem to continually have.
  • No email templates. Now, I AM a graphic designer and I CAN write HTML code to emails, BUT in this day and age, why do I have to? There were no built in formats for emails or web forms which was a real pain when it came to making sure that I was sending out properly formatted email messages.

Well that is the end of the contact management software reviews, BUT I have had a number of questions come in that I thought were vital to making a decision so I thought I would shoot them out here!

Aren’t Contact Management Software (CRMs) just databases?

Yep but with added functionality like web forms, shopping cart features, autoresponders, email capabilities, etc.

Shouldn’t I use a service for video emails like Talk Fusion or My Video Talk?

These services are sold by direct sales or networking people who you meet at your referral groups. I have a number of them in my sphere and am always sad when they talk about things that their company has said which aren’t true. You DON’T want your videos on their own channel, you want them on YouTube, the second largest search engine in the world. You DON’T want a video company, you want an email company whose sole goal is to keep up their approval rating with the email providers like AOL, gmail, Brighthouse and Comcast. I do not get any video emails except Eyejots because they are on a blacklist and they never come to my Gmail inbox.

Can’t I just use something like Constant Contact?

Oh my gosh, don’t get me started on Constant Contact. They are AMAZING if you are dabbling in a business and have a couple hundred people on your email list. They are HORRENDOUS for adding people online through their forms. When you use one of their web forms, the people sign up and then come to a page that has what looks like a confirmation that you signed up BUT which actually has to be clicked to get someone into their system. We had a client that we drove THOUSANDS of hits to and he got a handfull of signups because they actually entered the info into the form and hit submit but did not know about the stupid extra step they had to do. (I try to stay factual and impartial but as you can see this one makes me crazy! I got slammed by my client because it was almost functionally impossible for people to use the web form to sign up and that just makes me mad!)

Why do I need such a big system?

I have been a database kid for years so I have a hard time answering this. OF COURSE you need more than a rinky dink email list. I will tell you what I tell my friends. 1) you need the ability to sort people – no longer is it okay to send one message out to everyone. 2.) you need to be able to do video emails effortlessly – one email with your shiney face in it is worth a thousand words. 3) you need to be able to make one system that works and then copy it over and over. 4) you need to be able to make web forms that funnel people into your database and get them on an autoresponder.

Just off the top of my head, the cost to cobble something like that together is about $50 for a regular email newsletter service, $50 or so for the video email service, $50 or so for send out cards so you can remember to mail stuff, a couple hundred to your web guy to set up forms for you, a couple hundred to your graphic artist to do your email template, etc. For me, having all this in one easy place is a godsend!

Can’t I just use a button from PayPal to do the same thing?

First off, yes, you can generate a buy now button in PayPal. The problem with not hooking that to your database or CRM is that you will have to take those orders and then transfer them into your database so you don’t miss repeat sales or upsells. So let’s take my $3 Facebook ebook. I sell it cheap to get people into my system and then send them a series of autoresponders that get them to purchase other, more valuable information or content. I just made an order form and hooked it to a tag in Infusionsoft and the process runs seamlessly. They take the order, process the payment, send them the digital file, add the tag and then send out the emails for a predetermined time.

The End

Okay, if you made it to the bottom you are probably not just sending out email newsletters, you are probably thinking that you are getting ready to put together a comprehensive system and marketing plan. With that in mind, I would like to offer you something that I don’t do often…a free 15 minute call to talk about what you are trying to accomplish and which system would serve you best. I promise this is not a 15 minute sales call but a super honest opinion about what you should do. The cool thing is that we do have access to some specials that are not available to everyone so if you do decide to check out Infusionsoft, we can hook you up right!

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Email Newsletters and Messages – How Long Should They Be?

Email newsletters and messages are supposed to be going the way of the dinosaurs, but we have found lately that with more and more people dropping out of the marketplace, our message is actually being read and received even more than ever! Last month, we did a Marketing and Media Monsters (our niche based marketing site) taping on Email Newsletters and marketing ideas. Here is the answer to one of our viewer questions, how long should email newsletters or messages be?

Some of the things to note from this video….

Email Newsletters & Messages - How Long Should They Be?If you are going to write LONG emails or blog posts, you have to earn the right. They SHOULD be 300 words, with longish ones going 500-700 words. While I can write really long ones, it took a couple of years to grow a readership (you guys!) who would want to have that kind of detailed marketing information available.

Emails should not be complex. Cover one topic per email and do not have all different kinds of options or actions that you want your reader to take. Having too many different ideas in one email dilutes the whole thing!

Emails should not be too detailed, when creating an email blast, it should be short, sweet and to the point! People do not have the time or attention span to read long emails. If you need to provide further information, give them a link to go to your blog post to get more information. Great idea to drive people to your blog or website.

Add some humor to keep people interested!

It is fine to include HTML or text based ads in your emails as long as the content you provide is amazing! You are not sending emails to be nice, you need to them to DO something such as visiting your blog, liking you on Facebook or narrowing themselves down on your list.

BEFORE you hit send, is it relevant to your list and are you providing value added content EVERY TIME? You can ruin all of your built up store of good will with just one badly timed email or one entirely self serving message.

Email marketing and newsletters are not dead, BAD email marketing and newsletters are dead! Every message has to be interesting and informative for your readers.

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How Long Should Your Marketing Be? | Emails, Blog Posts, etc.

I get this question A LOT and it is DEFINITELY a do as I say, not as I do kind of thing, “How long should my emails (blog posts) be?” Here are some words of wisdom from the interwebs and my experience.

How Long Should Marketing Be - Email Blog PostsWe need to look at a number of factors when considering the length of your messages:

First off, are you an established entity? I started writing seriously in 2008, have rarely had a post that was under 500 words and have a following that reads what I write. I would LOVE to take the advice of people who say that shorter is better, but I have long thoughts and I am not sure my audience would be happy with short, fluffy posts (not to say short is always fluffy, sometimes I should break my thoughts up into small ideas instead of having many concepts in one post or email!)

Second off, do you LIKE writing long posts? Gary Vaynerchuk, a two time best selling author is not a writer. His message comes to us via video and books with nothing in between. I tell you this because sometimes small biz owners are put off thinking that they have to write war and peace when actually, they could just use their cell phone to grow a following!

Thirdly, is your information technical or common sense based. While it would be nice to learn about how to do SEO (search engine marketing) a tiny piece at a time, not having the big picture could lead you do individual pieces that wound up angering the Google gods because you never got the big picture.

Lastly, is your learning style (and communication style) designed to do one piece at a time or are you a dive right in kind of kid? When I am learning, I get SO wicked mad when they parcel things out over 6 or 8 weeks. I have the attention span of a gnat for that kind of thing, but can immerse myself in a topic for hours and come out with a good understanding of the content so that is how I tend to roll. LONG posts and emails that are full of info work for my peeps, but may not work for you.

Alright Already, I Came Here To Find Out How Long Should Emails and Blog Posts Be?

Easy, about 300 words (that would have taken up to part way through my 4th introductory point of learning style). In fact, I was reading a 1,000 plus email from that nice Chris Brogan this weekend and he said so too..:) I have heard that as conventional wisdom for years from all kinds of sources.

But why 300 words?

Well, I did a BUNCH of research and it does not seem to be a read-a-bility factor but more so to satisfy the Google and make it a minimally sharable link.

BUT….SOOO happy about this…while 300 words seems to be a minimum, it does not seem to be optimal! That nice Matt Cutts is the Google guy who tells us what is okay to do SEO-wise and what is verboten!

So, what I take from this is that 300 words is acceptable, but not necessarily well thought out or informative.

So, your emails or blog posts should be in excess of 300 words long, informative and helpful to the reader. THAT is how long your marketing should be!

100 Great Email Subject Lines – Email Newsletters

100 Great Email Subject Lines - Email NewslettersWriting great email subject lines for your marketing and email newsletters is a breeze, you just have to study copywriting for years, sales for decades, psychology and everything else that goes along with crafting a message that gets opened and read! Or you can have something like a “swipe file” of great email subject lines you have collected, ones that make you respond and want to click through to open. With that in mind, I have “swiped” some of my very favorite email subject lines and will continue to build upon this list as I go!

They are in no particular order and if you have written or read a great email subject line yourself, please leave me a comment and I will add it with a submitted by. Just know they have to be GREAT, compelling, striking or otherwise interesting to management (me!)

Some New Ones I Love

  • Great teaser from @jeniiferscot- 12 Pinterest Boards You Can’t Live Without, #3 is my bible! – sp
  • If You Like Us, You’ll Love This (GREAT affiliate partner verbiage!)
  • The Brain-Dead Simple but Astonishingly Effective Way to Become a Better Writer – Jon Morrow – Boost Blog Traffic

Requested Items? – Not always really requested but definitely an eye grabber!

I am not all that sure how I feel about some of these email subject lines…if someone ACTUALLY requested info I am fine, BUT the ones where they use the reply sign to deceive is not so great for permission based marketing!

As promised, the scoop on the additional material … – You want to know something Chris Garrett and
Teaching Sells

RE: 1k System – Did You Apply?
The Retired Millionaire

REPLAY! Here’s that link as promised – Hey! Sorry for not getting this back to you sooner. I’ve put the
Nick Peall. Webinar Replay

Free Offers

With all the talk of moving the free line, many of your email newsletters and offers MUST include a free component to opens. We are moving towards providing MUCH more free content for our peeps!

Tube Fool upggrade – Check out this DEMO video
Mark Dulisse

Check out these essential videos – Hi Tara, We provide many…
Infusionsoft

How to DOUBLE your YouTube Views (and a giveaway!)
James Wedmore

(VIP Early Notice) Early Warning About Amazing Mobile Product (Plus – Free Software from
Brian Anderson

My New Email Marketing Course (free) – Excitement doesn’t begin to describe how I feel today…
Leslie Samuel

Ignite Your Growth in 2013 With Kauffman FastTrac: FREE Courtesy of NYC
Ventureneer Vcourse

[Breaking News] Grab Your Free Guide to Pinterest’s Brand New Business Accounts
HubSpot

[FREE VIDEO] 1 Week of Work Done in 4 Hours…Watch this video to see how you can do an ENTIRE week’s worth of work in as little as 4…
Mike Filsaime

your free Tube Traffic Secrets Cheat Sheets are ready [PDF] – I shot over a youtube training video Saturday, but I just wanted to
make sure
Todd [Spontent]

How to get unlimited customers from Twitter! - Last night’s webinar, “How to Instantly Attract Customers in ANY Niche Anywhere in the World
Bill Crosby

Amazing free bundle from ByPeople.com
Webdesigner Depot

Tara, check out this cool free tool I found: – Tara, check out this cool free tool I found:
James J Jones

Did You Miss Your Bonus Training… Make $100k by GIVING stuff away!
Aaron (Spin Rewriter)

AMAZINGLY interesting calls to action from Bryan Ellis

(I am not a huge investing kind of kid, but always open his emails to see how he is going to frame some of his links!)

  • Cold, Hard Numbers: Housing markets in how many? states now have THIS in common
  • Lies in Lending: Why THIS bank will have to pay millions thanks to a 75-percent FAIL rate on rating loans
  • Foreclosure Double Dip: Why federal INTERFERENCE likely will cause another foreclosure wave (the deal that created the double dip)
  • Business Notes: Lobbyists hope to extend TERRORISM insurance options for another 7 years (is your property covered?)
  • Financial Markets: The INSIDER INFORMATION that shows a bearish secret in the markets
  • Personal Finance: Why THIS investment vehicle is pulling in record amounts of cash

Interesting titles

Okay, this is sort of a miscellaneous category, but I thought that it was great for when I will be brainstorming email subject lines. Much like using the Cosmo magazine to jump off from, using these ones to get the gears going may be a great idea!

Top Story: Re/Max Trademark Bullying Goes too Far – e-Brief for Sunday, November 18
NewsGeni.us

even a “Newbie” can use this Affiliate system – Yeah even a Newbie can use this new…
Howie Schwartz

The Electronic Signature Market is Poised to Take Off
Sales & Marketing Update

The secrets behind Black Friday ad copy
SpyFu

Essential Touch-Up Tools for Stamped Concrete
Concrete Network

Downloads that Make a $50,000 Difference
iStockPhoto

Finally, SEO Expert Reveals Easy Way to Make Your Sites More Visible & Attractive
SocialMonkee

SALES FUNNEL MAGIC! create yours and triple your sales in an hour!!!
Fire Your Self Marketing

If I had to start again, this is what I would do. – to what these current students are saying…Badly Needed A Source
Ed Dale

How to get ALL of your copy READ – does is check out the headline. They kind of linger there for a few moments, thinking about it. THEN, if they stay on the page..
Andy Jenkins

please don’t call this a “bonus package” (time sensitive details enclosed) - freak you out but this is the largest and most comprehensive package we’ve ever put together.
Greg Clement

Become A Traffic Mogul With This “Game Changing” Software/System
WarriorPlus

BII REPORT: How To Solve Mobile Advertising’s “Monetization Problem”
SAI Select

Listen to this… (URGENT) – It’s not often you get a chance to access a proven system that’s banking over $10k
Frank Dang

Marketing: Marketing Trumps Special Effects on YouTube | YouTube Nation 31
Laura Ciampa

you have my permission to copy this [VERY PROFITABLE] – Your about to see one of my most profitable business models I’ve used in my business
Mike Filsaime

Have Customers Begging for Your Help! <<<< That's Cool! – Do you struggle getting new customers? If so, then you can’t miss this webinar!
Bill Crosby

How to win the $2.2 trillion war for your living room
The Motley Fool

What’s your mind-body type (quick quiz) – Here’s a fun way to start your…
Chris and Janet Attwood, The Passion Test

[OFFLINE] Real Estate Agents Will Write You 5K Checks With This
WarriorPlus

Announcing! The End of Writer’s Block (The Easy Way)
Psychotactics

[SocialMediaExaminer] Nov. 20, 2012, 9 Tips for Integrating Your Facebook Page With Your Facebook Profile
Michael Stelzner – Social Media Examiner

mThink Blue Blook Survey: Help Us Stay #1!
Rakuten LinkShare

Here’s EXACTLY how you MAXIMIZE your profits using the LEAST effort + huge bonus revealed!
Brian Tracy

Irish woman goes nuts – Tracey Meagher is a former JV partner of mine, we released…
Martin Crumlish

how many in dog beers?
Kevin Larson

What a great pleasure to have a startup rock star like you…
LinkedIn Group: Startup Specialists

Invitation: Exclusive Partner Program from LinkSmart
Kevin Weiss | LinkSmart

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out top suggest next step resources

Product Sales

I found that many of the email subject lines were related to sales, free shipping and less about marketing. I don’t think that just discounting your product is an effective long term strategy. Will keep my peepers open for more good ones!

Glam Chandeliers Up to 73% Off Ship Free! Plus, Foyer Furnishings, Small Space Decor, M…
55 Downing Street

New themes and fonts are here!
Weebly

Events

Getting butts in seats can be a real challenge. There are some great email subject lines here, designed to make people stand up and notice your event!

BIG webinar tomorrow with a special guest! – We love to give you access to the top experts in the world
Lewis Howes

[Webinar TODAY] Fighter pilot secrets for profit and passion… – It’s been less than 1 month after the launch of..
Mike Koenigs

My Tim Ferriss Interview (And It’s Fresh!) - You can download my latest podcast, a brand new…
Yaro

Connecting the digital dots before 2013 starts – free Inman webinar
Inman News

[Live] Ron Douglas Rare Training – Don’t know who Ron Douglas is? He’s a guy like you and me. Had a job
– Bill Guthrie —

Today: Tim Ferriss on book writing + promotion – Join me for a free telephone seminar today with one of the sharpest authors I know…
Steve Harrison

-UPDATED-You’re invited to an Lindt Chocolate R.S.V.P. Party!
Emily Patten

…we’re going live in 3, 2, 1…
Mari Smith

Crazy Invitation, I am Going to Buy You Lunch… – I’m not sure if you are checking your e-mail today, but I thought I would try..
James Malinchak, Big Money Speaker

My “Gift of Thanks” to you. A complimentary “Seat” in my Your Corporate Success Program!
Quantum Endeavors, Inc. / Ann Farrell

Holiday Emails

Okay, this one WILL get bigger as we surf the seasons but all 100 could have been about holiday email subject lines. I love a corny topic so these are right up my alley!

What a Turkey! Mastering Conflict – November’s Small Step #3 for Your Corporate Success
Quantum Endeavors, Inc.

Why Daily Learning Beats Gobble-Gobble Learning
Psychotactics

Gobble Up These Great Deals Before They Are All Gone! Book Now
Southwest

✓ Vote for Working Less and Making More HERE – It’s Election Day here in the US. Whether you live in the US or abroad…
Rich Schefren

Fearing the Turkey-pocolypse, Watch How to Survive Thanksgiving on YouTube
YouTube Broadcast Newsletter

Additional Characters

Using snazzy html characters can really set yourself apart. While making this list I looked at THOUSANDS of emails and the ones with a little something-something in the titles REALLY jumped off the page!

FR|E|E Women’s Networking Event and Holiday Kick-Off
Colorado Connector

Get your message across now [gift]
Brian Tracy

[NO B.S. E-ZINE] Long Form Copy vs. Short Form Copy - can make these connections without the stress of uncomfortable situations and consuming all of your time.
Mara Glazer

[ - HOT FSO - ] Steal From Google In 5 Stupidly Simple Steps? – Just a few moments ago a new product launched
Bobby Walker

★ $19+ Last Minute Hotel Deals! ★
Priceline

[Mari's Top5] Aug 10 – Perfecting Pinterest plus your hot social media tips
Mari Smith

What A Friggin Mess…. {SCS Video #5} - This property was a friggen mess when I took it down and bought it……No bank, No Hard Money
Josh Cantwell

[BREAKTHROUGH] How it IS possible to work 90% less, but make 3X more… – Once, Australian entrepreneur, Pete Williams was right where you may be now. He was spinning…
Mike Filsaime

A “normal” Monday? YES, PLEASE :-) – I’m SO happy to be having a…
David Risley

Future Trend Report :: Creating a Global Language Archive
Thomas Frey

#1 WSO Copywriter Spills Her Best Secret To Selling More Of ANYTHING
WarriorPlus

Scarcity and Urgency

Okay, this was a stretch for me. I KNOW that scarcity and urgency work in email subject lines, just have gotten fooled too many times myself BUT will be willing to try some and see if they work out!

[Uh Oh!] Gone for good at midnight…
Stephen Pierce

Hurry, 4 Days Only: Add a Second Large Pizza for $9.99! Order Now
Papa Johns

Personalization

With all the talk about using personalization in emails these days, hardly anyone is doing it. I think this will be an area I can make a big difference!

Suggested Travel Resource For marketingartfully.com – My name is Laura and I’m a freelance writer…
Laura Chapman

Questions

A question begs an answer. Using a question in your email subject lines is a great way to get them opened…in almost every case I stopped reading and opened these…

“How long do I have to wait until I can get a loan?”
Brian P. Forrester

How Have You Progressed Since the Third Grade?
Jerrery Gitomer

Want Even More Wiki Links for Your Press Releases?
Bill & Jason | Opportunity Marketers

“What’s the 2nd most popular search engine?” - You know what the #1 search engine is, right? But do you know what the SECOND most popular search engine…
Eben Pagen

[FREE?] 8 giant step-by-step advanced training courses?
Stephen Pierce

Health and Beauty

Because we are so focused on industry based marketing (we have a whole site dedicated to that – www.MandMMonsters.com), I am cognizant of how different industries need to target specific niches. Will be filling this out more as we go along!

The Best No-Equipment Workout for Weight Loss
Women’s Health Magazine

Is Back Pain Preventing Your Business Success
Jeff Vacek

Negative Offers

I don’t like scare tactics or putting people in harms way (like the ASPCA showing pictures of dying dogs), BUT there is a segment of email marketing that does this very effectively!

DON’T buy Simple Main Street Control (Video inside shows HUGE Glitch — Open Now)
James J Jones

9 Disgusting Facts about Thanksgiving
Eat This Not That

Risks, Red Flags, and Things to Watch For When Accepting Credit Cards
TradePub Finance Publications

Lists Emails

The lists have been overused and are no longer important (hehehehe – this post is a list post and I assure you it does very well). Lists let people know how long the message might be! If you say 100, you know you are going to be reading for a while, if you say 3 then you can probably blow through it.

Six Ways to Rank #1 in Google Results
SocialMediadd

21 Inspiring Examples of White Space in Web Design
Web Design Ledger

50 Things I Know About Women Now That I’m 50
HuffPost Post 50

18 SEO Killers You Must Clean Up and Avoid for 2013
Emily Roth

6 Freaky Fast Food Creations – Defend your waistline against these fearsome menu items
Eat this not that

Real Estate

Back to industry based marketing. Great email subject lines target your industry and will increase open rates.

Top Story: Top Ten Most Expensive Areas for Buyers
NewsGeni.us eBrief

Top Broker: “How I Rescued My Stalling Practice To Average $17,238 GCI Every Month”
Vangie Berry

7 Ways to Meet Buyers This Season
Trulia

People that wrote great email subject lines…If you have an affiliate program, I would love to join it and make your link “hot” so that you can get new signups. If you don’t I will still be happy to ad a keyword targeted link. Don’t want your name on this list, just let me know and I will delete your subject line asap. That having been said, I will be promoting this pretty heavily and you could get some traffic from it…just sayin!

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Email Newsletters – How To Get Them Opened With Great Subject Lines

The clutter in today’s email inboxes means that more often than not, not only are they not reading your email newsletters, but they aren’t even OPENING your message. So how can you up the chances that someone will be willing to invest their hard earned time to look at your message?

These are my favorite posts to write and I do them about once a year because styles and times change! Here I go…some ways to make your email marketing efforts shine!

Email Subject Line – Tagliney Thing

Email Newsletters – How To Get Them Opened With Great Subject LinesOkay, what we are talking about here is the EXTRA words that come after the actual subject line (ie – Your entire Custom Framing Coupon is one click away! Custom frames make great gifts. Save 60% off – the part AFTER the actual subject line).

This is a great place to put a call to action or add additional marketing copy. Leaving it as the default, “please do not reply to this message” or “if you have trouble reading this” is a tremendous waste of marketing real estate and can mean the difference between your email getting opened or deleted immediately!

Email Subject Lines – About Them Not You

Email Newsletters - InfusionSoft RecommendationAs I see it, there are only two ways to make your email newsletter about them. One is to offer discounts and coupons that they can use to benefit their lives. I am not so hot on discounting goods or services, so this is not my favorite way.

My favorite way is to use a segmented list so that I know the messages I send out are going to enrich their lives!

What the heck does that mean? I make a point to know if my readers like real estate marketing or entrepreneur marketing. I check and see if their small business is direct sales or an independent owner. One of my predictions is that in two to three years, everyone will have sorted themselves out into categories and industries that matter to them and marketers will be able to target messages with meaning to them. The way these lists grow is by making sure you take cues from your customers and note them in a database

(I use InfusionSoft for my email database and they make it REALLY easy to segment my list!!! I like them so much I let them sponsor my blog…first sponsor in over 5 years! – aff)

Email Subject Lines – NOT Repetitive And Gimmicky

One of my favorite affilate marketers sends out her blog feed about once a week. It ALWAYS says the same thing, her name and the name of her newsletter. Now, I am pretty busy like the rest of you so if it happens to be a day that I am a little light on work, I will pop it open and see what kind of surprise is waiting (her stuff is always KICK ASS). BUT, if I am busy, it floats down the email unopens into obscurity. If she would just let me know a little bit about what is inside, there is a good chance I would open it much more often.

The first time I got the email from Referral Key with the email subject line, Are you taking new customers?, I thought, hummmm maybe a referral from a friend. Now I know though, it is just the way they tell me someone has followed me on their social media service. Gotta say, it makes me cranky. They are NOT sending me a lead, they are just notifying me of something that is happening in their system, feels a little bait and switch.

Wanna to find out more about Email Subject Lines and Email Newsletters? I am getting ready to post a killer one about actual great and not so great subject line examples over on our sister site, Marketing and Media Monsters….make sure to sign up for the free marketing club to make sure you get them delivered right to your inbox about once every couple of weeks!

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Email Marketing – How To Grow Relationships In Your Database

Email marketing is taking a really bad rap. Supposedly open rates are in the toilet, no one has time to read and the sky is falling. I am not sure I that I believe email marketing is dying, I think CRAPPY email newsletters are dying!

Email Marketing - How To Grow Relationships In Your Database | NewslettersSo, I went to an InfusionSoft (a really AMAZING email database company) workshop and they had a super-de-duper workbook that showed how to do lifecycle marketing (going from leads, through the sales funnel, to customer retention, etc.) So I started filling the pages out and was doing great with the marketing parts, free give-aways and all….then…started petering out. Sigh. get the workbook here!

I am INCREDIBLY bad at nurturing prospects and moving them through to a purchase. Now don’t get me wrong, I have LOTS of clients who LOVE working with me, the problem is that they practically have to beg me to let them hire me and even then, HORRIBLE at follow-up am I. I cannot tell you how many people have said to me, “please let me know when you are having your next class”, to which I reply, of course and THEN never tell them about it.

Staying In Integrity

So what holds me back from keeping in touch with my peeps? 100% it is the worry that I will be out of integrity. I KNOW my peeps need what I talk about, I KNOW that there are bad social media marketing companies out there hurting businesses and not doing half the job we do, I KNOW there are coaches out there spouting BS and not serving their clients, yet still I worry about sending out emails.

So I was on a coaching call the other day (YES! I have a coach), and they suggested that I send out a “did you get a chance to read my email” email. Are you freaking kidding me? You want me to send out an email asking if someone read an email? I immediately wanted to turn turtle and say that email marketing is NOT for me. What I decided to do instead is to make sure that I have my database set up so that I can send GREAT and AMAZING information to people who are actually interested in hearing it….so there stupid email idea!

How To Grow Relationships In Your Database

Because the universe is conspiring to help me, the next thing that happened is a friend called and told me the best ideas she got from her coach about how to find the key people to focus on, LOVE when everyone shows up to help all at once. I swear that I have to hear the same thing, over and over from different people until I understand it fully! So here is a mix of how to stay in integrity AND do email marketing at the same time.

New People In Your Database

So one of the things I always assume is that when someone comes into my database they know all the cool things I do (social media marketing, coaching, webinars and seminars). I figure that they will visit my website again, see me on social media and read my blog posts to know what is going on that will benefit them…probably not so. What actually happens is that they get my initial free item, think how cool it is (ALL my stuff is AMAZING or it doesn’t go out) and then never hear from me again.

With that in mind, I am working on ways to follow-up with people that provide actual value and DON’T make me feel creepy and salesy! One of these is to set up a series of autoresponders that let them know the OTHER cool free things they can get if they are interested. Also, they will from time to time get stuff that is appropriate for their industry (I have them separated into real estate, retail, restaurants, etc.) By making sure I send stuff that will interest them, I can sleep at night.

Past Clients

So one of the neatest things I do is one hour marketing consults with business owners who are just starting out or who need a bump in their business. I LOVE these peeps and it is my favorite part of my business. So what do I do with them. Send them their notes, say thank you and ignore them until they might possibly ask for another meeting. What about this, how about if I send them their notes, a nice thank you and then a couple weeks later ask if they have any quick followup questions. Then a couple of months later, send them a message and see if they would like to meet again. BRILLIANT…sigh. I KNOW that I provide value on these calls and in meetings, I KNOW their business grows when I talk to them and still I fall down by not being proactive about following up with them.

That all changes right now!

Neat People

Something that came from talking with my friend today was figuring out who the “neat people” I meet are. I speak A LOT so I meet a ton of great people who I would like to be more than just a name in my database. They may never be dear friends (I only have a handful of dear friends), but I would love to make sure they don’t get lost in the shuffle!

I am going to make a tag that are the neat people. Now, who are the neat people you ask? I like REALLY interesting people, people who like their business or who like marketing. I like people who are a little quirky, like pets and who like marketing (okay, I admit, most of the people I like, like marketing!) Your neat people might be ones who have kids or who are home chefs or who watch American Idol and can dish on the latest people sent home. They may be republicans, home schoolers, hamster owners or people who love the Jets.

Figure out who your neat people are and make sure to love up on them with information and emails about what THEY love!

Connectors

One final bit for this post before it gets too long (too late I know)! You need to know who are the connectors in your database. The ones who love you, refer you out and who talk a lot to other people. Connectors are the types who, when they hear your car broke down and you need a mechanic don’t just tell you who to call, they throw you in their car and drive you there! These people LOVE to share ideas, great services and most of all, stories of what a great job you did for them.

Love up on these guys too! Take them to lunch. Send them a little card. Email them something you know they will like…oh, oh, oh share something of THEIRS on YOUR social media, helping them for no reason other than they are wonderful.

I am going to be working on my database until the end of the year. If you would like to be in on the lovely-ness, shoot me an email tara (at) marketingartfully.com and I will add you in. If you tell me a little bit about yourself, I can make sure what you get from me is AMAZING and helpful…:)

PS – Just so you know, I loved the InfusionSoft “Stuff” so much, I signed up AND had them as my first ever blog sponsor (LOTS of people ask, never said yes before). That is an affilate link to the workbook, if you would like to skip that you can do a search for InfusionSoft Lifecycle Marketing and find it.

PPS – If you have any great ways to segment your database, please leave a comment!!! I am all over this right now…:)

Small Business Marketing – Writing Good Subject Lines And Content

Small business marketing is ALL about making a connection with the person you hope buys your product. Email marketing is brilliant when done right and great subject lines and content are VITAL to getting someone to even take a peek at your message!

Email marketing is so “old” that we forget it takes effort to make it successful. From the second that email started as a text based only message in the 1970′s to when AOL launched the infamous, “you’ve got mail” campaign, marketers were coming up with plans on how to use this technology to sell stuff.

Remember the bliss you felt when you heard that ping and knew someone was talking to you on that computer thing in the corner? Today email is competing with more than just online chat rooms and those new fangled website thingys. Today you have to compete with giants like smartphone apps, social media, videos, TV and dare I say it, real life humans that people may want to interact with more than your email!

So what is a poor marketer supposed to do? You have spent all this time building a list, you have grown a following, how the heck do you go about writing good email subject lines that will get people to read your message?

Writing Good Email Subject Lines

While it is good for a giggle to go through my emails and find bad subject lines…I did that before in my post Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines. Written just two years ago, the open rates for media (read marketing and advertising) were in the 13% range, today the email open rates have plummeted even further to 7.5% with a high average across the board of 15%-ish.

Seriously, the high is 15% of people opening your emails on average. What if you had a GREAT subject line that could move the needle a little bit and get you more readers (ie more sales).

A Bad Email Subject Line

Bad email subject line - writing good email subject lines post

This is what the subject line of this email is:
Launching a new product….Come check it out! – Having trouble viewing this email?

Can you figure out what is wrong before reading more?

First off, glad you are launching a new product…NOT! I don’t need a new product. If it was something specific like a new product to help with productivity or a new product that could make me look younger or a new product that was for dogs, maybe you would have a chance to get my attention….just a generic new product….FAIL!

Second bad part is the words after the official subject line shows, “having trouble viewing this email” instead of a teaser that lets me know a little about what is coming.

A Good Email Subject Line

Good email subject line

This is what the subject line of this email is:
Use This WordPress Theme To Spice Up Your Facebook Business Page – 25% Until

Can you figure out why this is good?

Because you are not me, you may not know that I am interested in WordPress and Facebook Business Pages. Those are both keywords that make me go UMMMM. Also, the teaser looks like there might be a discount!

The Little Teaser

So to me, the little teaser is often why I will open an email. Having that short little blub gives me a little more info in order to make a decision as to whether or not to open a message. Just so you know, I have over 29,000 UNREAD emails in my inbox, which does not count the ones I have read! I do not have time to read emails that are not going to enrich my life!

Social Media Emails

Small Business Marketing - Writing Good Email Subject LinesSo the reason for today’s post is that a connection on LinkedIn sent me an email today. Now, I get A LOT of social media emails (heck, today I even got a message through Stumble Upon). These messages come fast and furious all day long and I disregard most, if not all of them!

Today’s subject line was “My Wife”. This seemed like a less self serving message than most so I took a peek. In it, the husband was talking about a Kickstarter project to let his wife publish a book of drawings she did while battling cancer. HMMMMM. Went over to the kickstarter page, Draw It Out – An Intimate Breast Cancer Journey, and thought…well, could definitely get behind this lady and her dream for a book….donated a couple of bucks!

So what made this work? First off, the guy was helping his wife (I checked a little and his name matched hers and he didn’t seem like a total creep). Second off, Kickstarter was taking my money so no way to lose my credit card number to a Nigerian scammer. (For those of you who don’t know, kickstarter is a site where people can request funding for an upcoming project!)

Overall, thought this was the best social media email I have ever gotten and taken action on.

So why does writing a good email subject line matter so much to small business marketing? You only get one chance to make a pitch and have a great response. I KNOW you can send email after email, losing subscriber after subscriber, but we are about long term marketing plans, not get rich quick, turn em and burn em tactics. So, take some time and think about what the person the receiving end will see when they get your email! Maybe we can get these open rates up a little higher!!!

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Email Marketing – How Often Should You Send Your Newsletter?

Email marketing is much less effective then it once was. I hate to say that, but it is true! Think about your inbox…when email first came out you got that message that “you’ve got mail” and bam, you were ready to open it right away.

Email Newsletters - How Often To Send ThemToday you have a million messages, 20 texts, voicemails and SO many other things to distract you from your work or your family that emails seem like they are just another imposition on your time. When was the last time you got an email and thought, “great! I was hoping for this!”

Well I can tell you I do that with some emails. A few that come to mind are Geoffrey Gitomer’s Sales Caffeine and Chuck Green’s Ideabook. So why do I like these so much more than the rest of the “stuff” that I get in my inbox?

How Often Should You Send Your Email Newsletter?

Gitomer’s comes out once a week and I tend to read about half of them, depending on how crazy busy my day is when they show up. Chuck’s comes once a month and I KNOW I have to budget a couple of hours to go through all of the information that he packs into them.

Another fellow sends almost daily messages BUT he has writers on staff who scour the web for useful information and I generally find great tidbits in them, I read about 1 in 7 of these.

I have heard NUMEROUS theories about how often you should send your newsletters:

  • If you don’t send them every day, your list will forget you!
  • If you don’t send them every day, your list will buy something from someone else
  • Weekly is perfect, your list won’t forget you and they will still open your messages
  • Monthly is too long between them and your list will not pay attention

So does this mean you should send a weekly newsletter? Um, maybe! Do you have relevant, AMAZING information to send to your list on a weekly basis? Do you have time to prepare great stuff? Is sending your newsletter stressful or fun. Do you have a plan for why you are sending so many emails? Can you sell to your list or will they get fatigued and unsubscribe?

Email Open Rates In 2012

So I did a search for email open rates for 2012 to write this article and found A LOT of data from a 2010 study (SERIOUSLY? That was 2 YEARS ago and there is a whole lot more distraction now so that data is irrelevant as far as I am concerned). What I did find was this great info from The 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report:

Across all industries the average results for UK SME email marketing campaigns were:

  • Open rate: 18.35% – last year 18.21%
  • Click-through rate: 2.95% - last year 3.29%
  • Unsubscription rate: 0.15% – last year 0.22%

This seems to show that the open rates (how many people receive the message and actually opened it) is pretty stable. Now, there are some REALLY big mitigating factors to this number as some email readers show as an open even if it just popped up in the preview screen before hitting the delete button. It also shows that click through rates (clicking on something in the newsletter and going to an outside link are declining pretty drastically. In the good news department, unsubscribe rates are dropping, but I have a theory that is because fewer people are signing up in the first place, being TOTALLY gun shy about adding themselves to an email list!

Email Marketing From The Trenches!

So how often should your messages go out (for heaven’s sake woman, get to already!)

  • If you are a internet marketer, networker, event promoter, daily deal site, etc. you can send a message out anytime you have something interesting to send. Your list is going to know that this is the kind of thing they signed up for and, though you might have a higher than average unsubscribe rate, you will get results!
  • If you are a prolific writer and enjoy sending out great content (NOT SALES MESSAGES) every week, you could probably get away with it. I have noticed that the ones who send weekly GREAT emails tend to have a staff.
  • If you are the normal small biz owner who is on my list, you can fudge a weekly newsletter pretty easily by sending out a synopsis of your blog posts to your list. For example, I publish 3 blog posts a week so I could send out a newsletter with a paragraph about the article and then a link to my website to finish reading it. This is a nice way to re-use your content and get people from email to your website.
  • A monthly newsletter seems to be the most appreciated kind. It keeps you in the mind of your clients or list and is not onerously hard for most small biz owners to produce.

The Best Free Email Marketing Course EVERSo what got me to thinking about email marketing and how often you should send your newsletter? Somehow I got on a list for a lady in the next town over. I noticed she sent 2 marketing emails to me Monday and went to unsubscribe from her list but saw that she had the option to pick only Colorado related information and I though, GREAT! Maybe I was just getting everything and I would now get relevant information. Sigh… The next day, two or three more emails and I had to opt out entirely. Seriously, I get THOUSANDS of emails a day and even if she is selling gold bricks for a dollar, I do not have time to read 3 marketing messages a day!

So what are my numbers? After I got done writing this, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my last mailing and see what my numbers looked like!

  • Average Open rate: 18.35% – mine 26%
  • Click-through rate: 2.95% - mine .9%
  • Unsubscription rate: 0.15% – mine .7%

Sooooo…that tells me that the people like to read my emails but that I did not give them a compelling reason to continue the story by clicking through! In case you are looking for a great email database and CRM, I use and recommend Office Autopilot if you are going to be doing professional work or Constant Contact if you are going to be a monthly sender!

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Small Business Marketing – Layering Your Marketing Message

Small business marketing is all about getting prospective customers to notice you. I KNOW, you think that small business marketing is about getting them to BUY from you, but first they have to know you exist!

Small Business Marketing - LayeringThe easiest way to get people to notice you is to show up everywhere they go, from in person, to their mailbox, online at social media and in their email inbox. This process of being everywhere is officially called layering and should be part of a planned structured marketing campaign.

LL Bean is stalking me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the LL Bean gang! They have American made clothes (I am from the rust belt near Pittsburgh so this has always mattered to me). Their clothing is unbelievably high quality and they have a no questions asked return policy. Seriously, you can wear your shoes, clothes or coats for YEARS and if something goes wrong, they will make it right, no questions asked.

Years ago I got on their mailing list and they have continued to send me catalogs, even though I have not ordered in quite some time. Sort of nice, but did not compel me to buy.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing LL BeanSo today I opened my Facebook and they had posted a message about extreme weather clips on the LL Bean Facebook page. Not a picture of their product with a link (although they have them too!), a video from the weather channel about terrible cold weather.

Small Business Marketing Tip – So NOW I am thinking about cold weather in conjuction with LL Bean! They have snuggly warm coats and slippers in case it snows like that here.

 

Email Marketing

Email marketing LL BeanAfter cruising the Social Media and noticing the LL Bean clip (I didn’t watch the video but got the gist and the association stuck). I popped open my inbox to delete messages (I mean read my email…hehehe). What showed up there? An email from LL Bean!

Now I am in marketing so I tend to notice when things happen like this, but I am also human and the urge to buy something from LL Bean is getting greater and greater!

 

Direct Mail Marketing

Direct mail marketing LL BeanSo, as most of you know I am an internetty kind of gal. I get leads from the internet, teach internet marketing classes and have every whiz-bangy kind of appliance needed to access the internet at my disposal.

That having been said, I rarely BUY things on the internet. I go to stores and look at catalogs (doh, I just happen to have an LL Bean catalog handy!). Sending me a catalog will definitely make this layering marketing work better for the Bean!

 

How To Do Layering For Small Business Marketing

So you are a small business owner or entrepreneur and you are thinking to your self (in a really snarky tone, I can hear you) that you do not have the millions of dollar advertising budget that LL Bean has! That figuring out all that technology is going to take time and money you don’t have.

Here are some easy ways for small business owners to capitalize on what we have seen here today!

  • Direct mail marketing – There are two ways to do direct mail marketing on a shoestring. Print dinky postcards on colored paper, 4 to a sheet or buy them from Vistaprint for pennies on the dollar. I checked yesterday and the cost for a postcard stamp is 29 cents so the cost to do a 100 piece mailing should be less than 50 bucks total. I am getting ready to send a 100 piece dinky postcard mailing this week and will let you know what the response rate is!
  • Email marketing – if you are not using an online database like Constant Contact or Office Auto Pilot (the one I use) yet, start today. Figure it out and start building a list! Send them informative emails. I KNOW, you are all clamoring about what to send, send something that is related to your business!
  • Pick up the phone – Call them to see if they got what you sent! Your mailing made this a much warmer call.
  • Social Media Marketing – Post something about this on your social media like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or LinkedIn. Be careful not to be too salesy, just something good and interesting for them to enjoy that is related to your business.

With my coaching clients, I recommend that we have “theme months” where we pick a theme and market to that using multiple sales channels. I can’t stress enough that you should pick a theme for this month RIGHT NOW, set up some of these layered sales outlets and get started bringing in more prospects and sales!

– — –

If you would like to find out more about my Small Business Marketing coaching programs today, give me a call 727-415-9165.

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How To Send Free Video Email – Eyejot

Lots of my customers ask how to send free video email. Because my peeps know they can email me anything marketing related to review, I have been getting a glut of “should I buy this video email program?” questions. The ones that are the current MLM (multi level marketing) darlings are quite pricey, with setup fees up to 500 bucks and hefty monthly payments.

How To Send Free Video EmailSo what if I told you there is a FREE VIDEO EMAIL?

Well, I was teaching my 100 Free Marketing Ideas class the other day and did a whole bit about how to use video email for sales and the attendees were astounded that there was a way to send video emails for free using a safe, reliable service! Eyejot.com – a free video email service! aff link

What Is Video Email?

So, one of my favorite friends and clients, Brian P. Forrester of the Mortgage Communication Spot, does video email better than anyone I have seen. He has compiled a list of Realtors who have an interest in changes in the banking industry and when something happens, he sends a translation email of what those changes actually mean in English! He also uses them to promote his events (as you will see at the end of this email).

How To Send Video Email That Works

So, as with any “new” technology, video email has some great applications and the ability to be used as a spamming machine. Make sure you are using your video email for good, not evil!

  • Follow up to an interview or sales call – image if your salesman from yesterday “remembered” just one more thing to tell you and sent a little video email over with a message that he or she would be calling later in the day to see if you have any questions. I guarantee that you would probably get a pretty warm reception from that prospect!
  • Keep in touch with past clients – one of my bestys is an Irish Realtor and don’t you know she sends out a video email to her entire database for every St. Patricks Day. Why stop at that? I would do something every couple of months at a minimum! Note – unless you are going to have VERY entertaining video emails, if you send out a happy Valentines, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Groundhog, the effectiveness will drop off dramatically.
  • The video DOES NOT need to be embedded in the email to be effective. I know of people who pay exorbitant rates for video email because they believe having it play from inside the email client matters. Technology rarely matters! I check out Brian’s messages because I know, like and trust him, and am not bothered by the fact that it does not automatically play when I open it!
  • Branding and the ability to post on a blog or website – one thing I DO like about Brian’s emails is that they are branded with his information. As the “premium” cost for the branding upgrade is between $29.95 and $99.95 A YEAR, this is a great price point for being able to snazzy them up a bit AND I like the fact that you can try it for free first to make sure you will actually use the service!
  • It doesn’t have to be perfect! Seriously, none of us like to see ourselves on camera and if you wait for a perfect moment, take, hair day, you will never send anything. Just jump in and do some!

Seriously, if you are willing to learn how to send free video email, you will SO set yourself apart from the crowd!

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Small Business Marketing

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Small Business Marketing – Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Small business marketing has MANY shiney objects to chase and it may seem like the latest and greatest new gizmo is the most important. Today we are we are going to talk about what may seem a little antiquated (smile) email marketing and some common email marketing mistakes!

Small business marketing - email marketingI see A LOT of mistakes out there with small business owners who are using email incorrectly or who have not even thought about how or why to set up their email marketing in the correct manner. This post is going to go over common mistakes and what to do to fix them. Sorry to my friends who, as always, know that they are loved and who will be my goats for anything that makes me crazy!

Common Email Marketing Mistakes

Not having a professional email address

If you are still putting a gmail, aol, road runner, comcast or other free or obviously system emails on your business cards or handouts, people notice and assume that you are not professional (at the very least they will assume that you are WAY behind technology-wise, which in this day and age is not cute or funny, it is a red flag to potential customers!)

Using your company email address

While I understand there are some situations that you need to use a corporate email address, this is a SMALL BUSINESS BLOG. Most of us do not work for IBM or Lucent, we have a little more flexibility with our personal branding. So, why SHOULDN’T you use your company email?

One of my friends, who shall remained unnamed, Brian P, has changed his email address no less than 4 times since I have known him. It started with BrianP(at)homebank.com and went to BrianP(at)countrywide.com and then BrianP(at)tricountyfl.com and finally today, BrianP(at)VanDyke.com. The worst part of it is, he had a website about mortgage banking and could have used BrianP(at)mortgagecommunicationspot.com the WHOLE TIME!

I will tell you, most people are not hiring the company you work for, they are hiring YOU and Brian has to have lost some people who would have worked with him again but they are two or three email addresses back and don’t know how to get a hold of him.

Not Having An Email Marketing List

This is a biggie. I talk to many people who network often who have said they have stacks and stacks of business cards on their desk and have not put them in a list yet. Arggg. This means that all that networking is for naught. You HAVE to follow up with an email newsletter or some other followup method you are missing the boat.

If you are not using a service like Constant Contact or Aweber, you CAN email easily by just having an excel spreadsheet with First Name, Last Name and Email. You can then cut and paste the addresses into most email clients and send your message (NO MORE THAN 50 at a time so it is kerfuffly BUT it WILL work). The nice thing about doing it this way is that when you ARE ready to do your real email newsletter, you will already have your list ready!

Free Resources From Past Posts

Email Newsletters – Email Marketing – Good Email Subject Lines and Super Duds
Email Marketing – Email Newsletter Marketing Topics and Ideas

Marketing Artfully University Resources

NEW – Setting Up Your Email Addresses Effectively
How should you grow your contact list
Secret Email Marketing Strategies

find out more about small business marketing help at MAU! The cost is low, there are over 82 posts with videos and there is a small one time fee to join!

Email Marketing – Good Email Subject Lines and Super Duds

Email subject lines seem to be the one topic everyone is interested in, and rightly so! You can write the best email, newsletter or online communication ever, but if no one opens it because it does not have a good subject line, the time was wasted!

If you want to know more about my obsession with email subject lines, check out my previous post, Email Marketing, Writing Great Subject Lines.

Email Marketing - Good Email Subject LinesI receive about 600 emails a day during the week and about 400 a day on the weekends. I spend A LOT of time deleting emails without having ever looked at their content. One of the best things that happened to me recently was that Gmail set up a priority inbox so I can usually see Clients, Friends and Families at a glance. I assume other email programs have this same kind of feature.

So what effect does sorting have on your email open rates? When you are laboring over your newsletter, auto-responder or followup emails, it is easy to anticipate that the person at the other end will be happy to open it! I think that is EXACTLY wrong, I think they are looking for a reason to be able to skip it and hit the delete key. A strong, compelling subject line makes it impossible for them to hit delete without at least taking a peek!

One More Thing To Consider – The First Line

There is one more thing to consider when you are crafting your emails – the first line of text. Most email programs allow the user to see at least part of that first line. If you have a strong subject line and a compelling first line – BAM, you are sure of an open!

Good Email Subject Lines

  • Alert. All-Inclusive Beach Escapes w/Air from $549* – If I was in the mood to get away, this would get me to look. I have to say that I am in conflict about the “Alert.” but have to feel that it did help catch my eye as a human being!
  • Save 63% on Our New Personalized Products & Get 10 Free! – From entertainment direct, a great discount and free stuff, okay!
  • Mind bending Facebook stats, and a dirty little secret – OF COURSE the emails from Perry Marshall have great subject lines, he is a master!
  • Apple’s Market Cap in 1997 was 2.2 Billion today it’s….. - Really big numbers are interesting and there is a cliffhanger!
  • Can I Send You Tons of New Prospects for Your Business?New Media PR Expert, Rebekah Welch, sent this one! Just tempting enough without being come-onny.

Sorta-Kinda Good Email Subject Lines

  • Pissed Off? – Not so sure that this would have drawn me but the start of the email (which I see about a half a line of in Gmail) was compelling! “Gurus, bad actors and even lap dancers all trying to sell you the…
  • Homes.com Newsletter: Optimize your social media strategy – Did they really have to take up some of the subject line with their URL?
  • Please Join Us – Tampa Exadata & Exalogic Seminar – May 25 – Does have the Date and the name of Oracles product in it so that people in the know would recognize it, BUT what is it to me? Their email list is not great if I, a lowely marketer, are getting hard core programming information.
  • [HubSpot] New Webinar: Science of Analytics – Not sure about this new trend of putting your company name in the subject line – the sender is HubSpot anyways. This webinar is free, I would for sure have put that in the title (may use “complimentary” to help avoid some of the spam filters).

Super Duds

  • “NEW – Viral Facebook™ Traffic-Getting Software!!” from Gabor and NEW – Viral Facebook™ Traffic-Getting Software!!” from Pat – notice anything strange about these two emails? It is the same damn thing!!! If you are going to spam people with affiliate links, at least take two seconds to change the subject line a little! This is also a problem with Avon ladies and the Scentsy gals, because they use the automated systems within their company, I get multiple copies of the same email. Now, you would think that would compel me to open at least one of them BUT it just annoys me so I don’t open any of them. Delete, delete, delete.
  • Tara, From the Desk of Stephen Pierce – Are you kidding me? Unless this guy is my lawyer or accountant, this is a total non-starter. I SO do not care about Stephen’s desk or what is on it!
  • Auction – REALLY?!?!?! Date, time, location, land, antiques? Honestly, would it take 15 seconds to write a little bit more to tell me why I should open it?
  • Activate your Tipmeet widget (first line – We are happy to announce our new widget feature for personal websites.) – I did not request this AND it is totally self serving.
  • Re: Notification Of Payment Received – I HATE this little “trick” of putting “Re:” like he is responding to something I sent to him. If you learned any email marketing “tricks” from so-called gurus and you are a real business, forget them now and start acting like a grownup. These guys BURN through email lists and don’t care if you come or go. Your clients will not think these “tricks” are cute and will ask to be removed from your lists!
  • Tara, Big News on May 8, 2011! – Big news about what? It may be big news for them but I am busy and this is not tempting.
  • Get Your Gift Card Today! – this was a teaser to visit a webinar, for which, they would give me a gift card. My time is worth more than they can give me on a gift card so I would rather have great content and no gift card! PLUS I don’t know what I am getting a gift card for.
  • Charlie Sheen said what??? – are you kidding me? This was a webinar notification for making money online. Are these guys brain-dead or what. The “cute” thing is really not effective with me!

So there you have it! Another round of email marketing, the bad, ugly and good email subject lines. If you have some that ABSOLUTELY rocked the open rate, please feel free to post as a comment!!! Tara

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Burning Your List – Mobile, Email, Twitter or Facebook

Burning your list means that you oversaturate your message to a group of people. I am here to tell you that a list of people who have said you can contact them on a regular basis is a beautiful thing to waste.

burning your list mobile email social mediaYears ago we all had a rolodex of people we could call or send a holiday card to. Today we have MANY different types of lists, phone numbers, email, Facebook, Twitter, even people who follow us on Digg or other bookmarking sites. When you have a list, your responsibility is to treat it with respect.

Mobile List Burning

When I saw that the internet marketers were pushing mobile marketing I thought, OH NO, here we go again! I worked in the telemarketing industry in the early 1990′s and saw what constant phone calls where doing to people who were eating dinner or getting their family ready to head out the door. Marketers could buy a list of phone numbers and incessantly call until legislation stopped that practice.

Now mobile marketers are using my cell phone to call, text, send push notifications and perform other horrific things that I did not specifically say they could. For example, Gowalla asked me when I downloaded a geotargeting app if I would accept push notifications AND that I could turn them off in the settings. What they did not tell me what there is no GLOBAL turn off, I have to go into each and every person and turn it off manually. I feel lied to and have decided to stop using the service.

Now my stopping using Gowalla is not going to be their death knell BUT I do teach many classes on marketing and I will be promoting FourSquare instead. A blip on the radar, but you get enough blips and you are out of business!

Email List Burning

When you set up your “real” email list, you should have explicit permission to send them out through asking the person when you take their card or having a double opt in feature on your list. So what about all these “new” list building techniques where you have multiple lists and feel that you have more permission to spam some of them than others (I KNOW – you got them through a free offer but that DOES NOT give you permission to send them content every day for the rest of their lives).

I LOVE the internet marketers. These are the guys and gals who are making things happen and who portend new online marketing trends. Those of you who are internet marketers email lists are probably aware of their “launches” where they send out a dozen emails and their friends all send you a dozen of the same emails. Well these marketers have hit a wall called “launch fatigue“. Their list members have basically said that they are not going to keep buying $1,000 products every week, no matter how many emails they get about it.

On a smaller level small business owners and entrepreneurs can burn their own lists. By changing the frequency of your mailings from 1 per day to 3 per week to 1 per month back to 1 a day, you will confuse your readers. They will not know what to expect and will become disenchanted with your marketing. Keep it consistent and try to avoid sending totally self serving messages more than a couple times a year.

Social Media List Burning

Your friends and followers are on lists too! Now these lists are the property of Twitter and Facebook BUT you have access to talk with these people on a regular basis. The worst thing you can do to these lists is burn them out with a repetitive marketing message.

On Twitter you can be more marketing-y since no one sits there and reads all of your posts BUT if your feed is nothing but affiliate links or sales messages, you will have to spend lots of time getting new followers to replace the ones that drop off. If nothing else, make sure to “feed” your feed with lots of great content from blogs to offset your marketing messages.

On Facebook I try and make sure that my profile is mostly real info about me – NOW know that I don’t do much but marketing so there is a lot of talk about that but selling is done on my business pages. Occasionally I will post an event or something else on my profile but for the most part it is a sell free zone. As this is in line with Facebook’s terms of service I SHOULD be okay but have to tell you, you do not own this list and cannot export it so be careful to stay on Facebooks good side!!!

SOCIAL MEDIA TIP!

Try and get your Facebook and Twitter peeps into your email list! If you ever lose your account you don’t want to lose touch with those people!!!!

Email Marketing Writing Great Subject Lines

Writing Great Subject Lines - Email MarketingEmail marketing seems like a breeze. All the top people are telling you to just grow a list, send out emails to it and watch checks start rolling in. Well, writing great email headlines or subject lines will add to your success.

The industry standard for email open rates in the third quarter of 2009 is about 22% according to Marketing Firm Epsilon, meaning that 22% of the people who receive your message actually open it. This is a little disingenuous as there are email systems which allow you to see the message without ever actually “opening” it and also programs which show as an open without the user having actually read it. But let us start there.

My last three mass emails have had an open rate of between 21.2% and 70.3% with the industry standard being 13.5% for both the open and click through rate for marketing companies (according to Constant Contact FAQ open rate chart). The best click through and open rates seem to be for Craft emails with a 27.1% open rate and 22.1% click rate.

So what do all those number mean for your company’s email marketing campaigns. Having more people open your messages means that you have more of an opportunity to engage them, sell your products or services or just let them know you are thinking of them. BUT, you will never get that opportunity if they never open up your message.

Your subject line is HUGE in email marketing. It is what is going to intrigue your reader enough to open your message and read what you have written. You would read a message from a friend who said big news, but would you read one from your phone company that said big news? I would assume that they are talking about big news for them, not so much for me. WIFM (whats in it for me) is what every email reader thinks when considering whether or not to spend their precious time opening your email.

Email Marketing Subject Line Case Study

I was talking with a client the other day and she said that she was GREAT at sending follow-up emails to people who had visited her trade show booth and requested a free product sample, but that she didn’t have a great response rate. REALLY? They met her in person, gave her their email address, SAID they wanted a free product sample and then would not even hit reply with their mailing address. HUM. I was confused until she told me her subject line, “Trade show follow up”. DOH!

Picture that potential client sitting at home or at work, going through the hundreds of emails they get a day and seeing trade show follow up. I would assume that someone was trying to sell me something or that I would be getting a “nice to meet you” kind of thing which I do not have time for! Now picture that same person sitting there and an email comes in saying “How to get your complimentary green cleaning product” or “Here is your free cleaning product sample”. There is a lot more in it for them that way! One note, having free in your headline may cause some of the spam filters to block your email so use it judiciously!

Email Subject Lines Examples

Here are some poor subject lines pulled right from my email inbox. There is NO way that I would ever open them in the mass of emails I get in a day.

  • Your daily dose from DSN news – this one comes every day and I generally NEVER read it. I do not know specifically what it is about today and have no compulsion to read it. Many emails come like this, it is easier for the sender but I have to think that their open rates would increase if they told me a little about what I would be reading.
  • One in a lifetime (open now) – this is WAY over the top! I would not open this as the claim is too ambiguous.
  • Discovering the keys to social media marketing – Too fluffy, would rather see 5 ways to increase your twitter followers.
  • Urgent, Last Chance, Heads Up or any other “tickler” subject lines with no indication of what it is about – If the sender can’t spend the time to tell me a little bit about why I should be so motivated I am not going to waste my energy.
  • Affiliate marketing “launch” emails – I get a ton of emails from internet marketers and I can always tell when they are launching a new product, my email box fills up with duplicate subject lines. If you are going to do affiliate marketing, PLEASE cut and paste the subject line and then do a twist to make me open yours instead of the 30 others I get in a day!

Here are some GOOD subject line examples from people who I read frequently. Most of them are marketing related so translate them into your industry!

  • Tara Did You Get This Free Google Tool? – it has my name (not all that necessary but some people like that) AND it talks about a free tool. Additionally this guy sends out great content that I always enjoy reading.
  • Great tools for business marketing – I obviously have a tool thing, but I like to know what is out there that can help grow my business.
  • Proven way to higher summer sales - Relevant time wise AND says they have empirical data to back it up, what is not to like?
  • Extended this weekend Free Shipping At… – If it is a product or company that I buy from, free shipping always hooks me and they get bonus points for the timeline call to action.
  • Networking Lead Gen Tips & Tricks – this is my last headline which had a great open rate, click through rate and I generated sales with it! It works because I send great content AND have a focus on marketing so they know there will not be cooking tips or extra “fluff” in there.

We use InfusionSoft for our newsletters because of the reporting, ease of use and back office systems they have! If you would like to get great marketing information from me, please make sure to sign up on the right for our free offer (this gets you into the database!)

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Email Subject Lines Headlines

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Email Marketing – Hiding your list

Super secret email newslettersI like email marketing as much as the next gal! I have numerous lists of people who have subscribed to receive my message and I email them twice a month with great marketing information in my newsletter. Do you know something funny I noticed recently? You can’t subscribe to my “real” email newsletter! HA!

Over time I have noticed that people who signed up online to receive my newsletter unsubscribed faster than everyone else. They sent me nasty emails and said “take me off your list” – just so you know, I send out about 1,200 emails and get only one or two unsubscribers per mailing so it is not a common occurrence to me. And it makes me sad. I spend a A LOT of time writing my newsletters and make sure to only send out great information so when someone sends me a mean email it really does hurt my feelings.

So how do I get new people on my list you ask? I meet them! I go to networking and ask them very politely if they mind if I send them out a marketing newsletter twice a month. BRILLIANT! I also teach them. I teach classes on marketing and ask THOSE people if they would like to hear from me too!!!

Sometimes I “meet” fun people online who I don’t really know but it feels like I do – I ask and add them too!

So how do you get on my super cool, very informative small business marketing email list? Wouldn’t you like to know!

PS – I have been working really hard on my membership site and may be a little punch drunk BUT I had SO much fun writing this I don’t care!!!! Happy New Year…:)

How To Use Email For Marketing from Top 10 Internet Tools

How to do email marketing

How to do email marketing

How to use email for marketing is simple. It is not easy but the benefits you get FAR outweigh the time it takes to become proficient! In Learn Use the Top 10 Internet Tools for Small Business, I talked about 10 things that I thought were super vital for your internet success. Here you will find out about how to make the most of email marketing.

For each of these items I am going to start with advanced ideas and work back to beginner basics. The reason for this is that there is A LOT of information out there about basic email marketing and I have found that if I tell my readers hard concepts they get them (after a while..:)

EMAIL MARKETING – THE MONEY IS IN THE LIST

When you have a list of people who have agreed to receive emails from you, you hold great responsibility. They have said that you can take their time in exchange for providing them with good information.

What software should you use for keeping track of your lists?

Email Marketing Software Programs – If you have over about 250 people in your database I highly recommend that you start having your people in a “real” email program.

  • Aweber – This is the one that I recommend to all my non-realtor clients considering starting with a “real” email marketing program. Aweber has great email and autoresponder capabilities, meaning that if you are targeting different types of prospects you can do it from one place. The one drawback is that you cannot manually add people individually after your initial upload so be careful if you are wanting to use this as a general contact database (you can have them signup via a web form). Sign up for their FREE trial and see if it will work for you.
  • Constant Contact – This is a friendly email program that is great for beginners but it really makes me mad that they do not have multiple autoresponders so you can not target multiple types of clients (although you can set up multiple types of lists). That being said, it is SUPER easy to use and has really pretty email newsletter templates if you have only one type of client.
  • Brokers Helper – BEST Email marketing program for Realtors with lots of templates and ease of use. They have a FREE trial also!
  • My Red Tools – Brokers Helper program for KW Realtors (you get a little discount) They have a FREE trial also!

Almost every small business owner I speak with wants to know what database they can use for everything. Their shopping cart and email marketing and direct mail and the list goes on and on. I wish that there was one UBER program that could handle all of these things well that was affordable for everyone but I have yet to find it. Once you know that you will be managing multiple lists you can get to the business of marketing and stop complaining about how hard it is!

Here are some things you can do to monetize your emails:

  1. Send out information about your product or service. This can be done in a non-spammy way by providing great information and then adding a link to find out more about your offering. This is number one because generally your highest ROI is from selling your own products or service. For example – a garage door guy could send out an email about how to winterize your garage door and then put a link to his page or post that offers that service on a paid basis.
  2. Send out emails with affiliate offers in them. This requires that you sign up to be an affiliate with a company or to have a referral agreement with a partner. Almost any business has affiliate programs that are relevant to them and it is easier than ever to get information about available offers. I like to use www.offervault.com to find great offers easily.
  3. Email information about your industry. This is the most passive kind of email as there is no call to action to buy anything. That having been said, Lori Crawford of Trinity Eastlake Real Estate gets a lead almost every time she sends out a newsletter about local real estate information to her list. You would be surprised at how just contacting your list on a regular basis will get you more business!

ADVANCED EMAIL MARKETING

So now you have a regular email marketing program set up..what’s next? Autoresponders! Autoresponders work by sending out a series of emails once someone has signed up for your email list online. All of the email marketing software programs that I recommended you use have some sort of autoresponder built in.

Top Autoresponder Mistakes – Here is my take on the top autoresponder mistakes people make once they get people on their list

  • Sending out too many messages – I KNOW, everyone says you should send out messages to your list daily or at the very least weekly. I think that people can get overwhelmed when you send out too many messages and that the impact can get diluted. I like to send out two messages a month and have had great feedback on that amount.
  • Numbering their messages – I have one list I am signed up to that tells me I am on message number 235, etc. I think that they did it for ease of use in setting up their autoresponder series BUT it just reminds me that they have sent me LOTS of messages.
  • Not adding their blog posts to their autoresponder series. I know that I am a prime offender for this one. DO NOT assume that everyone who signs up for your lists reads your blog posts regularly. This is a great place to get extra content for your autoresponders.

This post is a part of my ongoing posts Top 10 Internet Tools! If you would like to learn more please visit…

Top 10 Internet Tools Writing Great Headlines | How To Use Social Networking

Writing Great Headlines from Top 10 Internet Tools

Writing Great Headlines

Writing Great Headlines

In my last post Learn Use the Top 10 Internet Tools for Small Business, I talked about 10 things that I thought were super vital for your internet success. Here you will find out about writing great headlines for email, blog posts, article and website marketing. Get the dos and do nots for all your headline writing!

HOT TIP FOR HEADLINE HELP!
One of the recent resources that I found helpful for writing great headlines was Master Wordsmith (which offers a FREE 7 part email course on how to write an effective sales letter). Good stuff there! PS – I also ordered the $9.95 Ebook and it was WELL worth the price! It has great ideas for headlines, copy and ads.

WRITING GREAT EMAIL HEADLINES

I personally think that a great headline is one that compels me to read an article or open an email. That having been said, there are a number of different reasons for writing blog posts or emails so be careful to know your motivation up front!

Great Headlines for Emails – DO NOTs

  • I have found that fantasmagoric headlines like “make a million dollars today” or get “5,000 twitter followers in a minute” make me think something is up and hit delete without even opening them
  • If your email vendor doesn’t allow you to write individual headlines and every time you send something out it says “a message from…”, get a new vendor! I do not have time to click your email to find out if it might be something I might find interesting and neither does anyone else. I recommend AWeber for my clients AND they have a FREE trial!

Great Headlines for Emails – DOs

  • I track my emails to see which have the best open rates and the ones that do the best are honest about what the content is (duh) because if someone happens to be interested in that topic right then they will open it and read it!
  • This was my highest open headline “My BEST Email Newsletter Marketing Tips EVER!” Now I spent A LOT of time writing that email because I wanted to be truthful, and I don’t often claim to be sending my best stuff out so it was a compelling offer to my readers.
  • Know your audience! If I was marketing soap, then the best email newsletter tips headline would have flopped. Make sure your topic is relevant to your list.
  • You can be MUCH more creative with your email headlines because they are not intended to be seen by search engines.
  • Bonus tip – Once you have sent your email newsletter to your list, make sure you post it to your blog a couple of weeks or months later. Because this is unique content that has not been posted on the internet yet, it is silly not to get it out there!

WRITING GREAT BLOG POST, WEB PAGE AND ARTICLE HEADLINES

Writing great headlines for the internet is different than writing great headlines for humans. When you are writing headlines to be published on the internet, you need to make sure that they are words that the search engines can index and then direct other people to.

Great Headlines for Blog Posts, Pages and Articles – DO NOTs

  • Search engines do not have funny bones so cute headlines won’t work, neither will plays on words or catchy phrases. When I started blogging I used to write headlines like “what is the difference” which did NOTHING for increasing my SEO because there was nothing there to index. It was a GREAT post but no one got to see it because the title was bad.
  • Don’t make stupid claims in your blog post or article headlines. If you do get something indexed and then no humans will read it because the title is obviously bogus (like lose 35 pounds in 2 minutes) then what have you gained?

Great Headlines for Blog Posts, Pages and Articles – DOs

  • Do KNOW YOUR KEYWORDS – can you tell I am yelling? Each post, page or article should have separate keywords intended to rank well in the search engines. This post is intended to rank well for “writing great headlines” and should do that within a couple of days. You should have multiple levels of keywords you are targeting (overall blog, individual channel, parts of the channel) and use them when writing headlines. If you do not know your keywords we have a keyword analysis report that you can get over at www.websiteandblogdesign.com!
  • My top post this year (view-wise) is Twitter Tools – How To Use Twitter Effectively! with almost 300 page views over a one month period right after it was written. It ranked well in numerous places because “twitter tools” is a hot topic with everyone right now. Find things of interest to your audience and write about them!
  • Notice in the last one there was a one month period I talked about? Very few of your blog posts or articles are going to be “evergreen” – meaning that they will rank well forever. Make sure to write multiple articles and posts that have similar titles when you find something that ranks well.
  • Here is a link to the Top 100 Headlines of All Time from Jay Abraham – use it when you are stuck for a great headline. BUT make sure that you SEO it in addition to using the “CUTE” version. You could use WHO ELSE WANTS A SCREEN STAR FIGURE? if you added “lose weight the easy way” after it!

HOT TIP FOR HEADLINE HELP!
Dan Kennedy and Bill Glazer are a powerhouse marketing team. Bill’s newest book Outrageous Advertising That’s Outrageously Successful: Created for the 99% of Small Business Owners Who Are Dissatisfied with the Results They Get has great sound marketing advice AND examples of every suggestion that he makes. PS – I get a little weary of the “outrageous” theme BUT the content is STUPENDOUS

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How To Write a GREAT Sales Letter!

You know I never re-post stuff from other people but Gabor Olah of PLRwholesaler sent out one of the more informative emails that I have gotten recently. His email about how to write a great small business marketing sales letter was very informative and easy to understand. PLR is Private Label Rights and this guy offers a bunch of great content (make sure you get on his mailing list)!

Many people have asked what’s the secret to writing a compelling sales letter that sells. Every communication you send to customers or prospects should have a clear purpose – and your sales letter is no different.

Now there’s simply not enough space to go into detail about every aspect of your sales letter, but below is a
brief summary of some of the major points you need to address.

Before sitting down to write a sales letter make sure you are clear about the product or service you are offering, the price, any bonus offers, whether there is a time limit, etc.

Think from the point of view of the customer. What will make them interested in your product or service?

Do not make the letter about you or your company. You will not make sales by telling customers about the latest events in your office or the history of your company’s expansion. The letter should be about the customer, their problems, and how you can solve them.

Headlines are the most important part of a sales letter. So it’s important that you try to come up with at least twenty different headlines and then select the best.

Generally headlines should be longer than 3 or 4 words, but less than 17 words. Take a look at newspaper headlines and other sales headlines for inspiration. Be specific. If you have a figure of 37% then use it, do not say ‘over 30%’. Do not exaggerate in your headline to get attention. If it cannot be believed readers will not bother to look further.

When you first begin writing the main body of the letter do not edit it as you write. Just write what you think is the main, important message and do not stop to correct spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. If necessary stare determinedly at the keyboard as you write, or better still turn the monitor off on your PC.

The reason for this is that if you continually stop to make corrections the words will not flow and the message may become confused. Don’t get me wrong, it’s vitally important to make sure that your final copy contains no spelling mistakes. But this should be done once your first draft is completed.

Avoid long sentences and paragraphs in your sales letter. You want to make the letter as easy to read as possible and the most effective way to do this to “trick the eye” by creating whitespace.

You can do this by breaking the letter up into subheadings that refer to the contents of the next section. Your subheadings should give enough information for someone skimming down the page to understand your offer.

Once you feel your letter is complete put it aside for a while before reading through it again. You may spot
mistakes or areas of confusion that you didn’t initially notice.

If you cannot leave it for a period of time give it to someone else to read. Ask them to skim through it to see if they get the main points of the message. If they do they can then read each sentence and give you their impression of the letter.

Now as I mentioned at the start, this is only a very brief summary on the steps you need to follow to create a sales letter. While it’s by no means a full-blown explanation, it gives you a place to start.

Sincerely,
-Gabor

Find out more about PLRwholesaler!

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The Power of Your Lists – List Building for Businesses

There is power in having lists of people who are interested in what you have to say! It used to be that you had to spend thousands of dollars to have access (one time) to a list that someone like infousa.com had, and the people on the list didn’t even know you. That is SERIOUS cold calling and is SO not for me!

Today’s small business owner can build their own list super easily and for VERY little money!

BUT you are going to have to give up the feeling that you can can control your list(s). It used to be that I had one list – my newsletter subscribers. I DO have control of that list. I send out bi-monthly newsletters with marketing information and have a VERY low unsubscribe ratio because I deliver EXACTLY what I promised when they signed up! That list comes from having a blog and a newsletter signup (if you are brand new to blogging and want some help setting one up we have small business blogs for sale!) The newsletter signup is done through my database and is a little more convoluted, although Constant Contact does make it much easier to grow a email newsletter list.

Super Easy Ways to Grow Other Contact Lists

Nowadays, it is easy to grow lists all over the internet. I consider these to be my micro-lists and point them all back this blog with almost everything I do. Now that micro-list moniker doesn’t mean that they have fewer people than my “real” email marketing list – in fact my Twitter list has over 1,300 people on it today. What I do mean is that my influence on that list is smaller. They do not anticipate contact from me the way my email list does. They come and go more easily than my email list does. That doesn’t make them less important to me, just different.

Here are some of my list places:

  • Twitter – ABSOLUTELY the easiest place to grow a list. There is LOTS of following over there and now that I am driving people from Twitter to Facebook, I feel like I am accomplishing something! Find out more about How To Use Twitter For Small Businesses
  • Facebook – It is easy to grow your list on Facebook too! They are called “friends” and to start get your real friends, then their friends, then people who share your interests. Want another friend? Add me on Facebook!
  • LinkedIn – I think the hardest place to grow a list BUT worth it! You can join groups that allow “open networking” where you can add people.
  • Meetup – These are people who like to meetup with me in person (I like that!), you can email these people ONLY about the meetup that you are involved with, nothing else!
  • Individual Groups and Communities – I belong to Iwomanlife.com and freeenterprisewarriors.com and activerain.com where I have communication opportunities with other people. I will say that I have not had the success with these media that I have had with the big three (Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook)
  • Smaller Sites – I have people that follow my youtube.com updates and who are on mybloglog.com. Some people follow my digg.com updates. All these things are bonuses that come from things I do anyways and are never going to set the world on fire but it all adds up!!!
  • Feedburner - Last but not least, Feedburner sends many of you updates when I post to this blog. Some of you get them on a reader and some get them via email. However you get them, thank you for reading!

Absolutely Free Ebook – How To Pack An Event

Here is the link to a totally free ebook on how to get people to attend your event. Whether you are holding a seminar, workshop, party, open house or anything else, you will find some gems here to help get people in the door! I cover using meetup.com, facebook, linkedin, email marketing and some other really great ways to get your message out.

http://marketingartfully.com/How_to_pack_an_event.pdf

How come it is free?

Well, I moved to the Denver area 2 months ago and I was having my first big event (my internet mastermind in Denver) and wanted people to come. I also wanted people to sign up to say they would come to the event, even if they never showed – WHY!?!??! Because people like to go to things that other people are doing – genius I know…:) So anyways, I was in the process of writing a Ebook on how to get people to come to your events and I thought to myself, “how can I get people to sign up even if they aren’t coming?” Then cam a flash of brilliance – bribe them!!!

So, long story short, (too late I know), I am giving this book away, no questions asked, no email required, share it with anyone you want (Seth Godin would be SO proud!). If you like, please comment. If you hate it, don’t bother to complain, it is free…:)

Happy speaking…Tara

PS – I had 10 people who were very interested in internet marketing show up (thanks guys!!), two people who called to say that would have come but heard about it too late, one person on facebook who said the same thing and all the people at the mastermind said they would share the goodness with their friends and colleagues. Can’t ask for any more than that!!!

Eyejot – a free email marketing tool!

There are SO many free tools on the internet to get your marketing message out – Eyejot is a winner! One of my absolute favorite marketers – Brian P. Forrester of Mortgage Communication Spot sends out an eyejot most Mondays to tell his sphere important information about the mortgage industry. It takes him less than a minute to record and he reaches many realtors and home buyers with his message!

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If you want to get great updates from Brian, email him to get on his eyejot list…:)

Building A Community – How it helps your social networking, email list and life!

How can you build a community, online and offline? According to Miriam Webster a community is “the people with common interests living in a particular area”. In the past your community was limited by proximity and by who you could meet face-to-face. If you wanted to meet someone new you had to ask a friend for an invitation or hope for a chance meeting.

The internet has changed the definition of community! With social networking, blogs and email we are able to have a MUCH bigger community that is not limited by proximity. That having been said, meeting humans face to face is still a great way to build community and your online influence!

Ways to build an in-person community

  1. Your family and friends - when you are thinking of community you sometimes forget your closest connections. During the days when I was a (successful) realtor, my husband generated many of my leads through his work friends. I asked him to find out who would let me send them info about the real estate market in Clearwater and then contacted them through email, direct mail and popbys (fun treats I sent into work).
  2. Networking with humans - I recently moved to the Denver and Boulder area and had zero friends or contacts. I checked on meetup.com for local networking events that were related to business and have been able to add close to one hundred new contacts to my database and found a few really great contacts that may turn into friends. In the past this process would have taken YEARS instead of about 8 weeks. One note – don’t jump on new networking friends with your message…meet them, show them you will continue to come back and then ease into your message. No one likes to be SOLD HARD when they are networking!
  3. Teach classes - I teach social networking classes to anyone who will listen. I am setting up an internet mastermind group that will teach all kinds of online money making skills. I teach realtors how to service their listings. Basically if I can get 5 people to hold still I will start up a class…:) So how does that help? I add them to my database, I am an authority in whatever I am teaching, AND I stay in contact with them through my bi-monthly newsletters.

Ways to build an online community

  1. Join social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter! These allow you to add people from your real-life networking AND will let you connect with new people that are not geographically desirable but who are interesting and a potential client or referral source for your business.
  2. Start a blog – A blog pushes information about your business to potential clients. NO ONE will read repetitive sales ads but LOTS of people may be interested in learning more about your specialty. You are reading this post (I assume) because you are a small business owner who is interested in growing their business. If you are looking for cooking tips sign up to read updates from a cooking site, if you are selling mortgages, health care products or lawn furniture start an informative blog and find people who are interested in that!
  3. Start an email list. These are people who expect regular communication from you. Again, I cannot stress this enough, they expect information that is helpful to them or interesting NOT sales ads! It doesn’t matter how often you communicate with them, some do once a day, some do twice a month like I do. Make sure you send them relevant info AND include a call to action – sell something, grow your facebook page fans, ask for an appointment, whatever as long as you have a REASON for communicating with them in addition to the info!

Well that is it! Do that and you WILL succeed. People will be in your corner and will want to help you grow your business AND you can help grow theirs!!!

Autoresponders (8X8s) for Realtors – Buyers and Sellers

Using Auto-responders to Grow Your Real Estate Business

Auto-responders are one of the most innovative tools a Realtor can use to grow their real estate business. However, most Realtors fail to utilize them to their full business potential. 

The ease of use of auto-responders is astounding once you have them set up! If you have signed up for our email newsletter, you have gotten our auto-responders. They are a series of emails that go out on a periodic basis determined by you. If you are using them in an 8X8 program, that means that you are sending out eight in eight weeks, which I think is a really good frequency!

If you are using a database program, it is very easy to set up an auto-responder (or action plan).  If you are not able to use your database program for this or if you use outlook or another email program, I HIGHLY recommend that you use an email newsletter service like AWeber or Constant Contact which give you all of that functionality, a great look and both of which cost about $20/month!

We have been getting a bumch of requests for Autoresponders for Realtors – we have answered! Thus far we have developed two versions – one for sellers and one for buyers. In the coming weeks we will be adding Autoresponders for FSBOs, Expireds and Short Sales. We are offering $10 off until Tax Day (April, 15th 2009) so that everyone who want to get going right away can afford to!!!

  generic_thrive-buttons   Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Sellers Edition
Auto-responders are email or 8X8 campaigns that you can set up to auto-generate emails for your prospects and leads. Basically they are a “set it and forget it” kind of system that will allow you to contact your prospects and suspects on a consistent basis when you first enter them into your database.
Price $19.97 - Use coupon code AUTOS-TAXDAY for $10.00 off until April 15, 2009!      


Find out more about Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Sellers Edition

 
 

 
  generic_thrive-buttons   Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Buyers Edition
Auto-responders are email or 8X8 campaigns that you can set up to auto-generate emails for your prospects and leads. Basically they are a “set it and forget it” kind of system that will allow you to contact your prospects and suspects on a consistent basis when you first enter them into your database.
Price $19.97 - Use coupon code AUTOS-TAXDAY for $10.00 off until April 15, 2009!      


Find out more about Autoresponders (8X8s) For Realtors – Buyers Edition

 
 

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What is database marketing? Solving small business marketing problems!

According to Wikipedia, database marketing is “a form of direct marketing using databases of customers or potential customers to generate personalized communications in order to promote a product or service for marketing purposes”.

Wow is that not helpful! My definition of database marketing is to have all your clients, potential clients, prospects, vendors, friends and family all in one place that you can use to send out direct mail, email marketing and generate call lists. Currently on my “marketing TV tray” I have a post-it note with a name of someone who I need to add to my database, two business cards and a sign in sheet from a class that I taught. If I do not add them to my database today I will

  • lose their name entirely
  • find them in three months and forget why I had their card
  • find them in six months and be too embarrassed to send anything because they won’t remember me (I KNOW I won’t remember them!)

So how do you use your database for marketing?

Send out emails to your database – This is FREE! You can start a bi-monthly newsletter and send your marketing message out WITH a nice piece of information that will be of value to your readers. For home service people that might be tips on how to winterize their home, ways to clean their grout or even a list of associated vendors they recommend. For real estate professionals it might be market stats, information about first time homebuyers or how to prepare their home for staging. Whatever you send, make sure that you think – “would I be interested in reading this”. If not – write something better! (if you are stuck on what to send, check out our Small Business Marketing Solution –  Thrive Client Contact System)

Make phone calls – Each month pick a couple of letters (A-C, S and T) and print out your database people whose last name starts with that letter. Carry your list around and when you have a couple of extra minutes call your people!

Send direct mail marketing pieces to your database – You can mail your clients a monthly piece of newsletter marketing, marketing postcards or even your personal brochure. Please note – if you are going to judge the effectiveness of your direct mail campaign by 1 sent message don’t bother. You need to send out your direct mail message for at least 3 months in order to be able to find out if will work! If you can’t afford to send out to your entire database, cut it in half and send half of your people a letter, newsletter or postcard each month, rotating the names so EVERYONE gets something at least every other month!

Some other things you can do with your database:

  • Collect Birthdays and send a nice card out a couple of days before (I am BAD at this – you WILL NOT get a card!)
  • Make notes about what you talked about – your people will think you are brilliant when they realize you remember all their personal info! Just pop in and take a peek at their notes BEFORE you call them!
  • Upload relevant documentation and attach it to their record. You can attach their invoice, sales receipts, contracts etc. by scanning them into a PDF and then uploading them to your database.

If you will commit to using your database, adding EVERYONE you meet the day you meet them, you WILL get more business and make more money!!!

Your Favorite Medium

No this is NOT about psychics or charlatans! This is about what YOU think works and how that affects what you DO.

Now to give you some background on where I am coming from, before returning to marketing, I built my highly successful real estate business in Clearwater by using direct mail marketing pieces and networking. I am more than willing to drive across town to visit someone in person rather than call them on the phone and I hardly ever send marketing or informational emails to my clients.

I was sitting in a meeting this week with a realtor who ONLY sends email, no direct mail and who also networks very well. She is adamant that direct mail does not work, she has tried it before and got nothing for her effort. I told her that I had tried email before and it didn’t work AT ALL. Come to find out that both of us had sent ONE or TWO pieces, MONTHS apart and then decided that it didn’t work.

I hate to talk on the phone so I assume that everyone hates to talk on the phone. She LOVES email, the internet and all things technology related and so she thinks she has the best chance of getting her message across by doing what makes the most sense to her.

What we found out is that one way doesn’t provide a whole message. Some people who you communicate with will get the most from your emails, some from direct mail and you can never go wrong talking with someone on the phone or face to face. The key is to talk to them EVERY month in EVERY medium to remind them that you are still in business and still want to serve them!

Constant Contact – Let’s Play Hide and Seek!

While I was an active realtor I was VERY good at keeping in touch with my clients and prospects. It was my favorite part of the job (which is why I am now helping agents and small business owners with their marketing instead of actively working with clients)!

Lead generating is like a really neat game of hide and seek with the prize being someone calling or emailing you with an opportunity! There is nothing more fulfilling than preparing a well thought out marketing piece, generating the content, doing the sticky-sticky of the labels and stamps, then sending it out into the world and having someone notice it and contact you! (I KNOW – I really need help with this, like a marketing 12-step program)

What I have found is that not everyone loves this part of owning a business. It can sometimes seem overwhelming and can fall by the wayside while you are busy doing your “real” job. It can seem really pointless to get MORE business when you are feeling swamped by the business you already have BUT… if you wait until you are less busy then you have lulls in your work (and income).

Some tips to make your marketing less intimidating:

  • Do what you like to do (Part 1)! If you like to talk to people then do it more – join a small business networking group, go out for dinner at the same place and get to know the clients and staff (tell them what you do and they WILL refer you!), visit businesses and tell them about your service and how it can help them.
  • Do what you like to do (Part 2)! If you like to talk on the phone do it more – call your friends and remind them that you give great service, call your prospects, call your past clients. Make it a part of your daily routine and it will get easier – I promise!
  • Do what you like to do (Part 3)! If you are an online guru do that more – send emails with a signature line from your business, have a great website to capture leads, comment on blogs with a link to your site. Internet marketing is a VERY affordable way to go!
  • Mail stuff out – Don’t wait until you have the “best” direct mail piece or the most extensive marketing plan finalized, send something. Send just listed or just sold postcards, send your brochure, send a market snapshot or a great article you found, send out helpful tips for your industry, just do it!
  • Start an email list – Find out how to set up an email list subscription on your site (I use www.feedburner.com) OR call everyone you know and tell them you are setting up a GREAT mailing and need their email address. DO NOT SPAM them! Make sure you send relevant content and not too often.

Marketing is fun and anyone can do it (remember that at the end of it you will have new clients to work with!) I have one realtor friend who gets a new client EVERY time she sends out her newsletter! It takes her a little money and a while to send them, BUT knowing that it gets her results makes it all worthwhile. While you may never be a marketing nut like me, think of it like a game of hide and seek or an Easter egg hunt and it may seem easier!

PS – If you are a realtor and would like to hand off some of the work to us visit our 33 Touch page for more info!