power of email marketing
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July Content Ideas

While finding new customers is important, it is even more important to foster long-lasting relationships with customers you gained in the first half of the year. However, if summer is a slow time for your business, it is equally important for you to engage with your audience so they are ready for the fall.

power of email marketing
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The Power of Email

Email marketing is a smart, affordable way for you to stay connected with your contacts so you can grow your business.

ask me about digital marketing
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Ask Me Another: Why Use A Branded Email Address?

This month’s installment of:
“Ask Me Another – Your Digital Marketing Questions Answered”

I don’t have all the answers – but I do have some of the answers.

Do I Have to “Brand” My Email Address?

branded email address, digital marketing

Well, technically, no – you don’t HAVE to have an email address which includes your domain, BUT – it is really a good idea to use one.

Think about it – If you were interested in hiring an attorney and you were given a choice between jsmith@smithlawllp.com or wesueforyou@yahoo.com – –  which would you be drawn to contact first? Most consumers would say that a company branded email gives the appearance of being more credible than one using a free email account.

I think that it’s really more than simply email address. In my opinion, it is part and parcel of building credibility and branding, helping to create the impression your business intends to promote to the outside world. In today’s super-competitive marketplace, branding gives you that leg-up to help your small business stand out from others.

Here are 3 Great Reasons to Brand Your Email.

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Build Momentum for the Holiday Season

holiday digital marketingThe good folks over at Constant Contact, champions for the small business owners, remind us that while you may not have a million dollar TV budget or a Grammy-worthy holiday jingle to do it, you do have the tools you need to connect with your audience and deliver content and offers that will get them excited to shop small this holiday season.
Here are some the actionable tips to help build momentum as you head into the holiday season. Read more

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When Email Marketing is Like a Plate of Spaghetti

I just read a fantastic post on Inc.com, which tells us that structuring your presentation as a story makes you sound brilliant.  This is interesting to me, because I just love bullet points.  I usually post my content with lots of bullets in order to keep my ideas in some sort of order.

Well, I actually do have a story to tell about email marketing /newsletters.  I suppose it will be more interesting as a story, so here goes:

Let me tell you a story about two small businesses.

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Suggested Reads – Email Marketing

Seriously, in your experience, does anyone really actually look forward to receiving email newsletters?  Probably most people do not. ( Well, I sometimes do because I love to see what my clients and networks are up to. ) But, don’t despair.  Armed with a supply of knowledge, tips and tools, you can keep your own email newsletters from becoming cyber-trash.

email-marketing

It’s been reported that over 42% of subscribers are more likely to purchase or use services from a company after they’ve subscribed to their emails. Also, email newsletters are a great touch-point to remind your contacts about your mere existence! There’s no real downside to sending out newsletters.  BUT – be sure that when you do, that you use common sense, be careful with your language and avoid being spammy.  Even this alone should help keep your subscription results positive.

This month, I have collected some of my favorite articles on the topic of email marketing. I hope that you will find them a useful resource for your business.

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10 Tips to Building a Strong Email Marketing Plan.

email marketingAs I mentioned in another recent blog article, Email marketing can be a very key activity for many small businesses. An Email newsletter effectively packages up the best content generated by the business into an easily-digestible, relevant and useful resource for their audience. Often, an email newsletter may be the company’s main mode of engaging customers, building loyalty and driving sales. There’s no special skills needed to create an email newsletter, but email marketing the right way does require basic know-how.

Here are 10 small business marketing tips to help you create an effective email newsletter to help build your business.

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Suggested Reads – Online Presence

read about increasing online presence

Here are this month’s pick of 4 helpful articles to help you learn more about increasing the online presence of your business.

1. The Art of Social Media: LinkedIn Edition

art-of-social-media“LinkedIn is the unsung hero of social-media platforms because it added social features long after places such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. ” Guy Kawasaki shares his best tips tapping the social-media power of LinkedIn.
Find this article on SlideShare.

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Organize Files into Folders- Constant Contact

file folderI couldn’t be more excited  today.   Many of my followers know how much I enjoy working on the Constant Contact platform for third-party emails.   I enjoy many things about their tools, but today I want to shout out to everyone how excited I am about a brand new feature they just announced:

Creating Folders  – Yippeee!

Physical vs. Virtual Organization:   One thing you can know about me is that in my physical life, I am not very neat and tidy.  Projects, files, books, mementos surround me.   (note: no photo posted here !)   However – on the computer, I am a stickler for organization.  I insist that every file go in to the proper folder.  Loose, lonely documents make me uneasy.  I think this is a direct result of my physical surroundings……Often, in “real” life, I spend way too much time looking for something. ( keys, for instance – wallet, for another)  However, in my work life, I want to know exactly where something is immediately.  I enjoy categorizing my work into nice neat folder icons.

So, although I have enjoyed using Constant Contact for over 8 years, and although I had developed my own system of naming email campaigns for easier sorting, it still made me a bit uneasy to open up the “My Emails” folder and just view one long list which could date back 8 years!

Ta Dahhhh –    Today, Constant Contact announced the Folder Feature for My Emails.

Not only do now have the capability of arranging emails any way that works best for my client, we can also toggle between list views for a quick visual take on open rate as well as a thumbnail preview of the campaign.

All I can say about that is….. Yippppeeeee     I just can’t wait to get in to all of the Constant Contact accounts I administer and start foldering!

If you are a Constant Contact user – Read this recent announcement: Email Marketing Product Update:

 This is Great Stuff !

making online connectionsView past issues of “Making Connections”

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Other related articles:
When Email Marketing is Like a Plate of Spaghetti

Know, Like, Trust

Consider Outsourcing

More on Email Marketing

constant contact email marketing  Let Me Help You Build Your Email Marketing

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No Holiday Blah-Blah Content

no blahHere’s some very helpful advice from Constant Contact:

 How do you create share-worthy content? 

1. REMIND YOUR AUDIENCE OF YOUR SHARED VALUES   ~~  People like to support and spend money with businesses that share the same values and support the same causes. They also like to share information regarding those values and causes. If there’s a particular cause your business supports or values you stand behind, the holidays are a great time to remind your audience.

2. PROVIDE ADDED VALUE ~~  Content that people find valuable will get more use and more shares.   ~~~   According to a recent study: Nearly 75% of those polled said they prefer information from companies in the form of articles over ads.

3. ENGAGE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH SOCIAL CAMPAIGNS AND SPECIAL OFFERS ~ As you might imagine, people still love to get a great deal. And they love to share those savings with their friends. Especially when email and social media are used together

  • An offer of a free item increased open rates by 47.3%
  • Coupons increased click rates by 52.7%
  • A percent off increased revenue per email by 95.4%

BE SMART WITH YOUR HOLIDAY CONTENT —  As you put together your plans for the holiday season, look for ways you can create share-worthy content in the form of shared values, added value, and social campaigns and special offers to make this your most successful holiday yet.

This is Great Stuff.

Read more from Constant Contact.

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5 Reasons to Use a Third-Party EMail Provider

Email marketing helps us create attractive email communications with a professional appearance.  It allows us to stay in touch and help build strong  relationships with customers.  In many ways it is better and much more effective than regular email.

1: Send personalized emails to as many contacts at one time as you would like:     Email providers such as Gmail, Yahoo and others may restrict how many emails we can send out at one time.  Most services do not have the capability of personalizing individual emails.  ( I know its automated, but I do still enjoy when the email I open starts with “Hi Susan” )

2: Boost customer communication:   Email newsletters are fast, inexpensive and attractive.  You can send them more regularly than paper ones.  Third party email marketing puts you in in-boxes more accurately than regular email. You will be able to avoid spam filters so that your message is seen by more people, allowing you to stay top-of-mind with folks who enjoy hearing from you.

3: Get more referrals, more easily.  Third party providers make it easy to forward your emails to other people. This way, your engaged customers get to give their friends a risk-free introduction to your organization.  Then it’s easy for those new friends to sign up for your mailing list from a button on your website.  With regular and meaningful communications from you, these new prospects become your new loyal customers.

4: Track your open and click-through rates:   I love this part.  You get to see who opened your emails and who shared them with their friends and colleagues. I get a kick out of checking out who clicked which links in the emails.  That part helps me to understand what folks are really interested in reading about.  It helps me to tailor my content in order to get the best response.

5. Easy database management.  Most third-party email services offer tools to help you easily manage your contact database.  Their service automatically process opt-ins and opt-outs.  Your list can easily be segmented to allow for more targeted marketing.

Email is the lowest cost way to stay top-of-mind with clients, prospects and candidates.  Besides being cost-effective, it delivers immediate response and is highly trackable.

I have had experience with a number of email service providers: MailChimp, Constant Contact, iContact, Swiftpage.  Each has its pros and cons.  Which one to use?  Well, that’s a topic for another day.

If you are ready to get all of those business cards out of the boxes, drawers or Rolodex files and into an easy-to-use contact management system to send targeted emails, I will be happy to help !    Email ME !

This is Great Stuff!

Read more articles about Email Marketing.

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constant contact email marketing  Let Me Help You Build Your Email Marketing