So often we all get busy, and our once monthly newsletter goes the way of quarterly, then yearly. It’s okay. Admitting you have done this is the first step to recovery. No judgment from us, we have the same issues. But lets talk about why email newsletters are important, and how you can best manage your newsletters.
So why should you send an email to your customers / supporters / members?
In the world of social media, its easy to see email as outdated or obsolete. Email, especially HTML email, receives a bad rap in general, especially from web designers. For some, it has become a synonym for spam, thanks to the very real problem of mass unsolicited sending. Email done right, on the other hand, is a powerful tool that can produce real value for both the sender and recipient.
Grumpy, scared people miss out on the best marketing opportunities.
Down the street from my house is a delicious little bakery; fresh doughnuts, pastries and breads every morning. Across the street from this bustling little place are two nameless businesses and a therapeutic massage clinic. During the busy mornings you can’t find parking in front of the bakery. The clinic and nameless business are not yet hitting their stride so they have ample parking. BUT these 3 businesses have a huge NO PARKING sign in their lot for any patrons of businesses other than theirs. If you dare park there as I do, you risk a tongue lashing and a possible tow. The only thing I every remember about their businesses is their hostility towards the parking space thieves. If I needed the service I would easily drive 30 minutes or more before getting my clinical massages at that business. We have all experienced this before. Hopefully, we are not those kinds of organizational leaders.
Think creatively with me for a moment —
What if those 3 businesses saw their parking spaces as a potential audience?
What if they put kind notes on my car? Placed a coupon my windshield? (I can’t prevent them, I am in their spaces after all.) What if they invited me in to look around as part of a parking space trade? What if they had a doughnut morning in their lot in cooperation with the bakery? What if they did advertising over at the bakery in cooperation for opening up morning parking spaces? The ideas could just keep flowing but you get the point. The 3 grumpy businesses are missing a positive marketing opportunity.
Unfortunately, we may also be missing these same kinds of opportunities. So, who is around you that is successful? How can you intertwine their success with yours? What positive marketing opportunities exist for you that you are missing out on that may very well be right in front of your face? Who is coming by your business but leaving with a sour impression before they even purchase? How do you reach them?
Creative questions and identifying opportunities make for thriving businesses.
There is a lot of debate about the value of Facebook & Twitter. Here are two things that can make them worth some of your time.
1. Follow people, businesses or organizations that matter to you. Identify those who are in your field or in your area of interests. People are watching who you follow.
2. Add value to the people who follow you. If you run a business or lead an organization make sure that you are adding value when you contribute something on twitter. Don’t say things here that you wouldn’t say in a relevant business meeting. Please, don’t tell everyone about your morning breakfast from your work account.
It’s really easy to lose sight of WHO your website is for. We all know it is for our customers. In fact, I would argue it is for the people who aren’t our customers yet but who we really want to be our customers. TRUTH is that we are all guilty, us included, of designing our sites (and other marketing materials) and writing our content the way we know how to. Worse yet we are all are guilty of designing and writing for our personal tastes and styles not for what would be most effective in reaching new costumers.
We all need to stop doing that and we need to start zeroing in on our target audiences.
I read this article about a business owner who has over 2 million monthly subscription customers. He spends a majority of his time writing, editing, re-writing and fine-tuning their website and marketing content. The E-myth (great classic book about small business) teaches us that we need work on our businesses not just in our businesses.
So here are some simple challenges to all of us:
- Study your front page / landing page – Is it geared for new customers?
- Look at your language – Is it clear? Is it proper? Does it have your customer in mind? Are you too wordy?
- Does your website navigate easily for the most important information?
- Do you have a clear call to action?
- Have you any idea how much traffic your site is getting and other important statistics? (Link it up with Google analytics)
- Spend 1-5 hours EVERY WEEK fine-tuning your messaging on your site – Learn how to make it the powerful tool that it can be for placing you first in your market category.
[Ryan also writes for RedBikeLeader.com - engaging & developing young leaders]
In this hyper-connected era people come to your web page long before they come to your restaurant, your store, your church, your meeting or employ your services. What does your web site say about you? Does it connect with your current followers or is it aimed at reaching people who aren’t yet in your loop of influence? Does your site clearly and quickly convey your core message? Does your site reflect your style, your values or your unique position? These are all very important factors to consider because whether or not you have intentionally designed your site with these things in mind, these are the types of things that people are inferring about you based on the experience on your web site.
Huge reminder = People DO make decisions based on your web presence, fair or not.
Some quick and easy things tim make improvements:
- Determine your audience – Identify your target audience and always have them in mind when doing anything on your website.
- Clean up your content - Keep it straight forward and easy to understand. Most people say to much and don’t get to the facts and basics fast enough.
- Less is more – If you don’t have high level of graphic design abilities or insights then certainly error on the side of ‘less’. Keep your site clean, fresh and under control. Don’t over use graphics (especially ones you copied & pasted), fonts, font colors and amateur photos.
We like to make sweet apps that help you out.
So today we made up some Bacon. Wait. What? Bacon?
We are excited to publicly launch our new email marketing service called Bacon. Why Bacon you ask? Because Bacon is always good. and it makes everything better.
Let’s think about it:
Burgers = good; bacon burgers = better.
Lettuce tomato Sandwich = boring; BLT = tasty.
Eggs and pancakes = good breakfast; Bacon, Eggs and Pancakes = now we’re talkin’.
pigs = ehh; Bacon = yes!
see. I told you.
So go, check out Bacon
We are super excited to launch this site. It’s the all new site for our local Maricopa Chamber of Commerce. Factor 1 (specifically I, Matt Adams), have been heavily involved with the chamber marketing board for a number of years now. We have aided in the planning, creation, and execution of several programs, events, and marketing pieces. All aimed at increasing local business exposure.
This new site will tie in all our past work, and goals. We have found that the user experience of a large site is key to the sites success. With the user in mind, we created this site.
It was an amazing site to plan out, and work on. We spent the last few months really refining the user flow, menus, and having fun with great photography.
Terri Kingery, Chamber Director had this to say:
Matt Adams and his staff have done a wonderful job in ensuring the transition process from our old website to our new one was seamless and error free. Their knowledge of social media and the incorporation of Twitter on our home page has, in my opinion, helped increase our traffic by 30%. I would recommend them without hesitation to any Chamber, or business looking to redesign their website.
Visit the Chamber website:
This is what trying too hard looks like.
So clearly Chevy is trying their hand at social media integration. Lets count up all the “apps” shall we.
- facebook link
- ohh i can create my chevy account
- a foum
- a blog
- photo feed
- twitter tweets
- and a site share stuff at the bottom
Wow. all on the home page. This site does NOTHING to promote what the volt is, why its cool, or why i should care. Instead it blasts me with its attempts to get me to engage. Unfortunately I dont really want to subscribe to the blog, be their friend on twitter, because I dont yet care about the car, or the site.
For me, the home page is overwhelming, and over the top. I appreciate the video, i think videos are cool. And a blog / news updates are good. The layout and presentation is so far behind the times. We used to see sites like this in the late 90′s.
The volt is a cool car, and should really be impressive for chevy to launch. this site is more in the way of other marketing efforts than anything.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll offer my solution. What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh here?
What do you think of the new Microsoft Zune ad? They say it costs $30,000 to fill an ipod. Check it out.
Do you believe this doom and gloom story? Are you now thinking that an ipod is a bad idea and you should “rent” your music for $15 a month?
Here is my issue. Nothing to do with the apple fanboy in me, but I tend to call shenanigans on any advertising that is unrealistic and confusing (yes, I sit at home and call out these ads for the new windows laptop hunter ads, most ads for beauty products, ads for hyundai saying its better than BMW, etc. Just ask my wife.)
- most people own cds, already completing some of their library.
- once you buy a song, you own it. for life. until you delete it or toss out that CD.
- who really ever fills up an ipod?
- the people who CAN fill up an ipod, usually “borrow” (read: steal) music.
- renting with the Zune pass is really throwing $15 a month away. Stop paying, and your music is gone. All of it.
So really, this ad is comparing apples to oranges. well, apples to microsofts if you want to be funny like I do.
This ad is like saying it costs $30,000 to buy a small car, and drive it for 3 years. but instead you can rent one for $350 a month. Ohh wait, that’s a lease. So maybe, just maybe, this Zune ad is genius?
Any thoughts? Does this ad make you want to toss your ipod and use a Zune pass?
Yep. Hyundai is paying people to drive their cars
Now I am not really a big fan of these cars. I usually hear about the loans outlasting the car. It can’t feel good to be paying $250 – $350 a month on a car that is falling apart.
But is this the new way to sell cars? Or is this just the little guy trying to make some waves in the pond?
Personally, and I dont want to sound like a snob here, but they would need to pay me double that, for a longer period of time to drive one. Otherwise I’ll stick to my used 03 and 04 toyotas with 80k+ miles each.