Tag Archives: MailChimp

How to Take a Vacation From Your Marketing

CHuntly

As a business owner, the most important thing you can do for yourself is take a break. It also happens to be the hardest thing to do if you are trying to run your business because the moment you go silent on the marketing front you will lose audience interest.

With the holidays right around the corner, it is the perfect time to take a breather from 24/7 entrepreneur brain. Taking both a physical and a mental break from your business (even if it’s a staycation) will help you avoid burn out.

If you’re looking to take some time off this holiday season, don’t let your marketing efforts suffer. Here are a few things to consider to keep that momentum going throughout your time away.

  1. Blog early: You should have a regular posting schedule for your blogs so your audience can come to expect content at a certain time. Keep that schedule going while you are away by writing your blogs ahead of time. Most blogging platforms will allow you to schedule each blog to go live at a specific day or time.
  2. Automation is your best friend: This requires a bit of planning, but if you work ahead of time, you can schedule content to go out while you are away. Work with a program like Hootsuite, Buffer, Mailchimp, etc. Try to stay away from the bots that automatically like and comment on posts as those can seem too contrived.
  3. Delegate tasks: If you already have a team in place, make sure you put someone in charge while you are away. Empower them to make decisions without you, but let them know that you are available for emergencies. If you are a solopreneur, hire someone you trust to look after things while you are gone. Start working with them at least a few weeks in advance so they are fully comfortable while you are away.
  4. Prioritize tasks: Not everything has to be done right now. Have a look through your to do list and rank everything by due dates. If there are things that need to get done before you leave, then get them done. If you have tasks with no due date or ones with later due dates, leave those to get done when you get back.

After taking some time for yourself, you will find that you return more refreshed, which usually leads to more energy to put into your business. Taking time away from your business will allow you to approach your business from a new perspective. It will make you a better business owner – and your marketing strategy doesn’t have to suffer.

Candace Huntly is the Founder and Principal at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.

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Spam Compliance from a Tech Perspective

Laura Bungarz

I’m sure you’ve been hearing a lot about the change in Canada’s anti-spam laws that is taking place on July 1st.  It’s been on my mind and I’ve been seeing a lot of meetings and blog posts about it.  I wanted to come at it from a different angle though, the techy side.  What does all this mean for your mailing list in terms of the software you’re using to manage it?  Do you have to change anything?  Do you need to switch providers?

In terms of providers, if you’re using one of the major ones such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Mad Mimi or Infusionsoft (plus many others), the short answer is no, you don’t have to change.  All major providers are already compliant with these new laws.

They will all offer at least the option of the unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email or newsletter.  Now would be a good time to make sure that the option is actually on and working properly.  Send yourself a fake newsletter to test this if you’re worried.

They will all give you the ability to add a checkbox to your web form that basically asks the user to agree to be signed up to said newsletter.  Turn the default checkmark off.  This option should be unchecked when the newsletter goes out.  This might require making changes to your forms, but it certainly won’t require a change in providers.

I have seen some Canadian companies going as far as to send out a newsletter asking existing subscribers to re-subscribe and anybody that is not interested to use the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.  Again, this is no harder than sending out a newsletter linking to a form that the user fills in and having that form add the user to a separate list that you would begin using on July 1st.  There is nothing really technical about this process.  All major providers will allow multiple lists.  Simply create a new form and a new list and off you go.

The other piece you need to do is make sure that your business contact information is visible somewhere in the newsletter, for most of us that will either be in the header or in the footer.  You should include your business name, an email address and some other method of contact either via snail mail or phone.  There should be a clear form of contact for your subscribers.  From a technical perspective, this might mean editing your header or footer to display the new information.  It should be easy to modify your newsletter template to include this information if it’s not already there.

Your newsletter provider will automatically be tracking the exact time and date of the sign up to your list.  You will also be able to see the IP address from which they signed up.  It will be important from now on to keep that information and export it with your list information any time you switch providers or make changes.  This information is generally exported in CSV format which is easily opened and edited in Excel.

If you’re adding people to your list from your storefront and they aren’t necessarily signing up electronically, make sure you keep that information as well.  The form they fill in needs to clearly state they are agreeing to receive your newsletter and it will also need to show the date and time the form was filled in.  Either file the form away or scan it and store it electronically and then manually add the person to your list.

From a technical perspective for a small business owner that’s using something like Mailchimp, this shouldn’t be a difficult process.  The tools for compliance are readily available and the changes that are required are fairly minor.  Certainly for a major company with a huge marketing department, this may prove to be a challenge.  But I suspect most of the rest of us can handle this without any major difficulties.
Still need help?  Contact me using the information below.

Laura Bungarz Computer Training
212-207 Fort Street
Winnipeg, MB R3C 1E2
(204) 421-6679
Laura@Laurabungarz.ca
http://www.LauraBungarz.ca

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Marketing Your Business On-Line: Take It From The Pros!

MVR_profile-pic.2_Nov2012_-_Copy

One of the biggest challenges for most new, and even many established businesses, is reaching and maintaining positive cash-flow. Start-ups are reminded at every step of the way that, “the first two years are the hardest”. And indeed they are. Naturally, then, we use as many free systems, services, and templates as we can and apply our own self-taught skills.

Because of that, I deeply value affordable, local workshops and seminars from experts. This summer, I attended several that focused on online marketing skills. Since each of them emphasised their information was non-proprietary and we should share it, I thought I would.

E-mail Marketing

Callan Rush (www.callanrush.com), an American sales and marketing expert, whose 3-hour seminar was like a motivational speech, has three keywords for business owners on how to get and keep customers: Magnetise, Mesmerise, and Monetise.

Rush advises to use social media and ads etc. to magnetise your audience with interesting headlines, desirable content, and using the medium best suited for your intended audience. People want to be wowed, so you need to provide them with something interesting (mesmerise) that will draw them to your business (monetise).

According to a survey by Communicare, 70% of respondents say that poorly written communications make them less productive. (http://bit.ly/13LCxoq)

Rush suggests 5 key steps avoid falling in that category:

  1. Make It Into Their Inbox. Use an Internet service provider with good deliverability to avoid ending up in spam folders.
  2. Get Readers To Open Your Message. Write a hot subject line by using an:

a)      Enrolling question: “Do you want to double your client base overnight?”. Who would say no to that?

b)      Incomplete sentence:  Our brain hates them! E.g. “Did you know 70% of biz owners don’t know ….?”.

c)      Curiosity statement: Something that creates intrigue.

d)      Numbered Sequenced Subject Line: e.g. “The Top 5 Marketing Mistakes”.

        3. Check Your “From” Line. Your e-mail address should contain your personal name.

        4. Read. Keep your message short, conversational, and to the point. Don’t write “Dear All” – make the reader feel addressed personally.

        5. Clicks. Include a ‘click-through’ button that leads to your registration/purchase site, or website.

 

Various free software programs allow you to create slick e-mails and newsletters, with click-through buttons, and can track statistics, e.g. Aweber, MailChimp, and Constant Contact to name a few.

Social Media Marketing

According to Javed S. Khan of Empression (http://empression.ca), who presented at an (incredibly early!) breakfast networking meeting of the BNI Success Network in Scarborough, you need to make use of other free marketing tools as well. Khan says that good marketing is about eliciting a measurable response, e.g. a reader “Liking” your social media page, registering for something, or phoning you. Set measurable goals for your social media marketing, for example to reach X number of new clients, or to fill your next workshop. Additional tips for saving you time, while magnetising and mesmerising your audience:

  • Include “social share buttons” so readers can directly reach your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn page etc.
  • Repurpose campaigns: Use the longer version of your writ for a blog or an article, then a shorter version for your Facebook post, and a 140 character tease as your next tweet.
  • Use photos.
  • Don’t feel you need to be an expert on everything you share, just surround yourself with, or read and learn from experts. That’s what Oprah does!
  • Use your e-campaigns not only to share content but also for thank you and happy holiday notes.

 

In case you were wondering how to even build a list of recipients for your e-campaigns, Lisa Kember, (gethyperactive.com) who spoke about Constant Contact at the big Summer Networking Bash at Ontario Place, recommends offering a prize draw or a free service to your existing network and through social media to obtain more names for your list.

She also suggests not hard-selling your business but yourself and your story. Kember points out that it is your attitude and your credibility that leads to your prospects’ confidence in you, your product or service. It is about showing you’re authentic. We are all human after all.

 

 Martina Rowley is the founder and operator of Beach Business Hub – THE coworking space east of the Don Valley. She combined her passion and experience in the environmental sector with her community engagement side to create a local work environment where space and resources are shared. She fosters and facilitates collaboration, networking, and learning for and with small business owners and new startups.  Contact her at:http://www.beachbusinesshub.ca, on Facebook and on Twitter

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