Posts Tagged ‘Enewsletter Issues’
Need a kick-start to get blogging? Or have you been blogging for a while and need fresh ideas and perspectives to post about?
Got a whiteboard? Big paper? Gather a few friends and create a mindmap! It’s actually fun and so helpful to find new ideas from outsider’s points of view. We do this in the 1st workshop of our 3-part blogging workshop. This not only gets us comfortable in the group, but we get to know about each other which helps with class 2 where we critique and edit each other’s blogs.
What you have in mind as a subject for your blog might not even be recognizable from an outsider’s perspective. It’s good to start off by describing what your blog is about. As an example, one student wrote ‘Farm Vacation’ as her blog topic. One of the other students had no clue what that was and, truly, it needed to be defined. So, as a blogger, you do not want to assume anything in the beginning.
From that first title on the whiteboard, have the group think of different audiences and write those down around the main title. Then, for each audience start thinking about the What, Where, Why, When and How from the audience point of view.
Don’t be rigid, this isn’t a spreadsheet, this is easy brainstorming. Whatever the group comes up with write it on the board or paper. You’ll find that each item often inspires more ideas.
The next step is to write all these topics down and think about how they can be divided or elaborated even further. Could you do a series on one particular item? For example, from Senior Photography Portraits, we went to boys and girls and from girls we went to hair and make-up which led us to types of make-up and jewelry to classic and trendy type shot and different types of props and locations. It could go on and on to very fine details, each of which could be a blog post!
Fun productive exercise! So, grab a few friends and start mindmapping!
Here are three recent examples of spinning negativity into optimism for your business and a special thank you to a former FB Smarty student.
1. Facebook and Customer Service
The largest sounding board for happy or unhappy customers is Facebook! By using Facebook’s Ad Configurator, you can easily see how many people are in your target audience without spending a penny. Your customers and prospects are on Facebook! How do you manage that?
People are going to say what they want to say and, as businesses, we need to stay on top of this. Two quick things to note: (1) Facebook now notifies us when someone comments on our Wall or tags us on Facebook, giving us a real opportunity to quickly address their concerns or delete their spam. Use deleting wisely. If it’s a valid concern it’s better to address it right on the wall or recognize the person and then take it off-line. (2) Setting up Google Alerts will often alert you whenever someone mentions your business name.
2. Bring your own situations to Facebook… spin them!
Mrs. Bridges Pantry
Facebook is your very own PR network and those tentacles can spread far. We’ve just had an unsatisfactory radio experience and we’re spinning it!
Our very first 30 second radio commercial ran on WORC-FM last week. Although we were happy with the ad, and happy with our choice of an English accent, we were surprised and unhappy that WORC-FM chose to run it adjacent to another English ad, thus watering down the effect of our ad (we believe). So, what did we do?
Well, we went to visit Mrs. Bridges Pantry. We enjoyed a delightful lunch, browsed their very British gift store and got to know owner Pam a bit. By ‘liking’ each other’s Facebook Page and by posting this picture, we might well reach people who heard the concurrent English ads and get them to think about them a bit more! In case you missed it here is our commercial. And here is where you can visit Mrs. Bridges Pantry.
3. Enews Issues – In case you missed it - Converting Personal Profiles to Business Pages
Last week, we had email issues with our own email system. In addition, last week’s enewsletter which is sent out by MailChimp through their own ISPs and has nothing to do with ours, experienced a 75% less than usual open rate! They could not explain it. Odd. I’m contemplating moving to Constant Contact or another service. But, maybe that gremlin will go away this week. We’ll see.
We uncovered a new migration tool to convert Personal Pages to Business Pages. If you’re in the situation where you have built a personal profile for business use, you should really read this blog. It allows you to convert all those friends over to fans and then you can take advantage of many additional business tools which personal profiles cannot. Here’s the blog you might have missed last week.
Finally, a big Thank You to Paul S. Robertson Photography
Lyn Garlett, of Paul S. Robertson Photography, is a former student of the FB Smarty Facebook for Business Course. Here Lyn and Paul explain how they’ve implemented some of the new tactics they learned.
Remember, your Facebook presence, just as your website presence, can be either an efficient strength or a time-sucker. Make yours a strength! The next 6-week Facebook for Business course starts April 12th.
You just read about a conference on Gizmos that is clearly exciting to you. You investigated the agenda, the workshops, the speakers, the costs. Yup, you’re still interested and thinking about how you can afford to go and also the benefits you’ll get out of the conference. Because you want to be sure to get the latest info on the Conference, you opt-into their email list. A few minutes later an email pops into your email box. Since you expected to get a confirmation email about being a new subscriber for the Gizmo list, you open the email.
Absolutely nowhere on this generic confirmation email does it indicate that you signed up to be on the Gizmo list, nor does it mention the conference, the industry, nothing! If it weren’t for the timing, there is no way to know what that email was about. And, in fact, it would be easy to click on the ‘unsubscribe’ link. Sloppy!!! From your perspective, the trust you had in the event probably went down a notch.
Every single tactical step of your marketing strategy should be consistent and branded correctly. Every detail rolls up into a picture of you and your business. Small businesses are especially challenged to be meticulous with the details, but they do make a difference in how your company is perceived.
So, here are some tips to make your enewsletter look polished. I have used MailChimp for the last 2 years. It allows an amazing 12,000 emails to 2000 subscribers a month for no cost! Great reporting and other tools as well.
BONUS: Here is a short video excerpt of our Advanced Social Media Strategy virtual class on enewsletters. It was just such a great fit with this blog, I decided to include it. You can learn more about our 3 virtual 6-week courses here.
1. Start with one of the designed templates and then modify it
Use your graphics, fonts and colors. Send out tests to a small group of friends so they can critique it in their browsers just to be sure it renders correctly.
2. Don’t use a dark background
If someone wants to forward the enewsletter or reply back to you, they are typing on a dark background, very annoying and difficult to read their typing.
3. Create a great subject line
MailChimp offers a way to send out samplings to your list with two different subjects. The winning subject, based on your choice of criteria such as the Open Rate, get sent the winning enewsletter. The testing method is called A/B testing.
4. Your email should reflect your domain name
Michelle@fbsmarty.com is much better than email@example.com. If you don’t have one, you can create forwarded emails through your website host provider. It does not mean you need to maintain multiple email accounts, they can all funnel into the one you maintain.
5. The ‘from’ line should be instantly recognizable
You’ve got a second or two of exposure in the inbox before the email is opened, ignored, or deleted. Use your name or your business name or whatever indicator your audience would recognize.
6. Always use spell-check
I can’t believe how many typos I catch in otherwise excellent quality enewsletters or blogs. And it is so easy to use the tools available to avoid it. I just read a blog from a social media colleague on a great analytical Google subject. In the second sentence, she spelled ‘this’ as ‘thix’. Granted, small thing, but easy to fix! Typos may not be as important now as they used to be but they still matter to many people.
7. Check your enewsletter confirmation email (autoresponder)
Be sure it is branded correctly. It should resemble the enewsletter formatting for recognizability. Remind people why they chose to opt-into this list. Don’t take the risk that people might not remember and opt-out, or think it looks amateurish. The example above is one I personally experienced from a customer point-of-view.
8. Think clean list- quality over quantity
Be careful of your email list, especially if you have imported other emails into it. If your email is unwanted, you stand the chance of having it called spam. It only takes a small percentage of receivers to click on the spam link for you to get black-listed by your host provider. This is serious stuff and involves what is called the Can-Spam law.
One thing that MailChimp has is a rating system using 0 to 5 stars. Anything rated 2 stars or under are people who have never opened your enewletter. After you’ve sent out a number of enewsletters to your list, you can review those with 2 stars and under. If I know them, I might send a personal email asking if they are still interested in remaining on the list. If I don’t know them, I might go ahead and delete their name. I believe in quality lists of interested people over quantity.
9. Make them sharable
You certainly want your enewsletters to be easily shared on social networks, right? Well, don’t forget to add, at a minimum, Facebook and Twitter Share links, and Like buttons too.
Just recently, a lovely enewsletter from a non-profit organization about ways one could remember Valentine’s Day and, at the same time, donate to a worthy cause, came into my email box. The newsletter was professional looking and enticing. My first thought was this is worth sharing on my Facebook profile so my friends can see it. I looked for the share button and it was not there! I even clicked through and viewed it on their web page, no share link! There was a button to connect on Facebook, but that’s not as easy as one-click, share with friends, and move onto the next task.
That’s it for this list, 9 easy-to-fix enewsletter mistakes. I mentioned MailChimp. Their free plan allows 12,000 emails each month to go out to 2000 subscribers. That is a fantastic deal for a small business. They also offer automated A/B comparison such as the subject line comparisons. Would you like to know how to figure out the worth of your enewsletter list? On the other hand if you want a registration/event type of add-on to your enewsletter vendor, then Constant Contact might be a better fit. Do you have a favorite enews vendor that you’d like to tell us about here?