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Email Mistakes: How to Avoid Looking Like an Idiot (Volume 1)

Email Mistakes: How to Avoid Looking Like an Idiot (Volume 1)

Email is convenient, easy-to-use, and allows us unlimited communication. But it?s also filled with risk. If your wording isn?t just so; if your spelling misses out; if you really say what you?re thinking, you might end up in court or ultimately in jail. Why? Because nothing in email is private or confidential. Every word you type on behalf of your company must stand up to significant scrutiny. Trade secrets, any sort of contract language, inappropriate or lewd language can all land you in a heap of trouble And how many times have you sent an email and forgotten the attachment? Or maybe you?ve sent an email to the wrong person ? and paid the price for it? What nightmares have you heard or read about when people actually lose their job because of a misguided email? Are you willing to have all your emails paraded in front of a jury and/or on the front of local or national newspapers? Email is a reflection of you and your company. It needs to be treated like any hard copy letter or formal report. In business, keep email more formal and you will be viewed as a savvy professional. Treat it too casually and you may be labeled ?one of those kids? and your respect factor might drop significantly. Email seems so easy but there are far too many opportunities to screw it up through a mine field of grammatical, ethical, professional and legal potholes. If you approach email with a consistent system, you can avoid some of those potholes. I?m going to give you a logical process that, if you apply it regularly, will keep you out of a heap of trouble. We?ve all laughingly read about email errors, but what?s really scary is how often we make the very same mistakes as the poor slob who it the subject of our laughter. This book offers an easy-t- follow process to avoid those horrible mistakes. Use this four-step process every time and you?ll significantly increase your batting average for professional emails.

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Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks)

Likeable Social Media: How to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (And Other Social Networks)

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLER!

The secret to successful word-of-mouth marketing on the social web is easy: BE LIKEABLE.

A friend’s recommendation is more powerful than any advertisement. In the world of Facebook, Twitter, and beyond, that recommendation can travel farther and faster than ever before.

Likeable Social Media helps you harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing to transform your business. Listen to your customers and prospects. Deliver value, excitement, and surprise. And most important, learn how to truly engage your customers and help them spread the word.

Praise for Likeable Social Media:

Dave Kerpen’s insights and clear, how-to instructions on building brand popularity by truly engaging with customers on Facebook, Twitter, and the many other social media platforms are nothing short of brilliant.
Jim McCann, founder of 1-800-FLOWERS.COM and Celebrations.com

Alas, common sense is not so common. Dave takes you on a (sadly, much needed) guided tour of how to be human in a digital world.
Seth Godin, author of Poke the Box

Likeable Social Media cuts through the marketing jargon and technical detail to give you what you really need to make sense of this rapidly changing world of digital marketing and communications. Being human — being likeable — will get you far.
Scott Monty, Global Digital Communications, Ford Motor Company

Dave gives you what you need: Practical, specific how-to advice to get people talking about you.
Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking

List price: $22.00

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Invasion of the Rotten Emails

Email folklore may not be as popular as the campy stories and urban legends you heard in your younger days, but it’s the kind of stuff that will raise the hair on the neck of any marketer. Unlike some of the typical ghostly tales, however, these grim accounts are based on true experiences that will chill any witch or warlock to the bone.

Don’t believe it?

We’ve summoned a few forbidding tales, so read ahead if you dare…

The Never-Ending Email

The biggest benefit of email is having a guaranteed way to communicate with your customers. But what happens when you own multiple storefronts and have customers from all over?

According to a pet shop retail chain that has store locations along the entire east coast, the answer is to cater to all customers in one shot. The result? The lengthiest email I have ever read. The events section alone listed 43 events in the tri-state area. That’s right, 43 events — each containing a one to two sentence description of what it entailed. Talk about overkill.

The Lesson

While it can be difficult to determine what you should share with customers in an email, it’s imperative that you do so to avoid overwhelming your readers. It also makes it easier for them to consume your content in the short period of time that they’ll actually spend reading your email.

In this particular case, the pet store could have taken a couple of different approaches. For one, they might want to consider segmenting their email lists based on geographical location, such as city and state, to ensure that subscribers only receive information about events in their home towns.

They might also want to feature a few main events and include links to an events web page that lists every occasion in greater detail.

The Email With No Purpose

There are certain fundamental elements that one would expect to see in any given email. Actual content, for example, being one of them. Content that provides value, being another.

However, there are those that completely skip out on both of these:

While I appreciate the well wishes, I have trouble justifying the purpose of this email (something every small business owner and marketer should consider before sending a message to subscribers). If the intention was to encourage engagement with the sender, they failed at providing me with a good reason to do so. There are no coupons, no compelling information for me to mentally chew on, nothing.

While they did include a call to action (“Have a health question? See a doctor now”), they failed at sparking my curiosity and getting me to at least think of something health related that I might want to know more about.

After clicking the call to action button to potentially shed some light on this confusing email, I’m brought to a landing page to sign up for a paid version of the company’s services. Lightbulb. Unfortunately, not many readers are going to even make it this far based on the email content alone.

The Lesson

If the goal of the email was to promote the paid version of the company’s services, they failed to do so because it was unclear in their email message. If you want your subscribers to take a specific action, whether it’s to download a white paper, read your latest blog post, or shop new discounts at your online store, then you must explicitly tell them.

This company also missed a huge opportunity to reconnect with a subscriber who has not engaged with their site in over a year. If they had shared common user questions and answers, for example, that might have prompted me to click to find out more. To re-engage your subscribers, include valuable content such as tips, questions, or even recent news that readers might want to learn more about.

The best way to make yourself relevant again to your inactive subscribers is by bringing value to them — end of story!

The Chaotic Email

When it comes to email content, less is more (unless you’re like our friends in the previous example who included nothing at all). But that isn’t always easy to do when you have a lot to say and not enough email space to say it.

I recently received an email that contained 10 hyperlinks and had information in both the middle and sidebar sections of the email. Needless to say, there was too much information and no visual direction on how to consume it.

The Lesson

To make things a little less cluttered and a little more clear, the email sender might want to focus more on layout. If you want to include a message, feature past events, and showcase upcoming ones, keep it visually organized. Email content should flow in a logical manner. It should not compete with other content.

Visual images and line dividers can also help organize your emails so they’re easier on the eyes. And as far as the sidebar goes, it’s probably best to eliminate placing content there altogether.

The Deja Vu Email

Email and consistency go hand in hand. People love knowing when they can expect messages from different businesses, which ultimately builds a level of trust and dependency on your brand. Sticking with the same template is also a good habit to get into, as it makes it easy for your subscribers to know where to find specific information.

However, sending the same email template and the same email contents are two totally different things.

One e-commerce site regularly sends emails with 20 or so pictures of a variety of products, from women’s fashion and accessories to home decor items. While we encourage the use of visuals in your email marketing efforts, there is a balance that’s important to maintain. For one, don’t rely on images alone.

While the pictures are visually intriguing, there are no product descriptions, no mention of whether or not these products are popular, or if people are?buying them. After a while, all emails begin to blend together.

The Lesson

To make their emails stand out from one another, they might want to start featuring less products with more details. By including product descriptions, designer names, and items that are customer favorites, readers might be more encouraged to check out an item.

Organizing product images by category would also help visually organize the email, so loyal readers can easily find what they’re looking for, or simply browse with little confusion.

If you don’t have any products to feature or sell, you can freshen up your emails with new published content (e.g. blog post, white paper), curated industry-related content, or even a ‘tip from the pros’ to provide exclusive actionable advice for your readers. As long as you keep your message from going stale, you’ll be golden.

Do you have any tips for creating great emails? Share with us in the comments below!

Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work

Never Check E-Mail In the Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies for Making Your Work Life Work


Named one of the five best business books by Cathie Black, president of Hearst Magazines, in The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times bestselling author, Oprah’s favorite organizing expert, and America’s number one problem solver presents a revolutionary book. It will help readers achieve the seemingly impossible: boost value and job security without sacrificing personal life. Morgenstern teaches innovative “grab and go” solutions that can be processed in as few as fifteen minutes to dramatically improve performance and efficiency, including:

  • Beware of multitasking. Scattering your efforts makes for a longer day.
  • Dance near the revenue line. Making or saving money is where your greatest
  • value lies.
  • Crunch your container. Shorten your workday by thirty minutes and you will
  • get more done.
  • Trust your truth. Never undervalue your unique self, skills, and point of view.

  • If you’ve ever wondered, Is it me or is it them? Julie Morgenstern’s practical “inside out” approach will help you diagnose the source of each workplace problem and solve it quickly.

    List price: $15.99

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    Internet Marketing: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies

    Internet Marketing: Integrating Online and Offline Strategies

    INTERNET MARKETING, 3RD EDITION provides comprehensive coverage of the rapidly changing field of Internet marketing that is timely and relevant. It relies on extant marketing theory where appropriate and introduces many conceptual frameworks to structure student understanding of Internet marketing issues. Above all, it works on the premise that the Internet–whether used as a medium of communication or as a channel of distribution–is only one component of the contemporary marketer’s arsenal. The key issue facing marketers today is how to best integrate this powerful new component, continuing developments in Internet marketing into their strategies and media plans. That ongoing challenge represents the essential theme of this text.

    List price: $107.95

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    Holiday Email Marketing for Small Businesses

    With 2014 coming to a close, we asked some of our customers about their holiday email marketing plans. We wanted to know more about how they run small businesses so that we could better support them in the future. Our survey got 1,067 responses, and we learned a whole lot in the process. You can take a gander at the results here, but there were a few things that stood out to us.

    holiday_graph

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, 100% of the survey’s respondents (73% e-commerce, 27% brick-and-mortar) said they planned to use email marketing to promote or increase their holiday sales in 2014. The vast majority handle their own email marketing strategy and execution. Most send weekly, monthly, or irregularly, and consider email marketing overall to be “very important” to their business, with email among the top 3 reported sources of revenue for both e-commerce and traditional retail. In both those worlds, a majority of respondents said they planned to use email more in their holiday marketing this year than in 2013. (Y’all really know how to make us blush!)

    We were also interested to see what other marketing tactics our customers planned to use this holiday season. Paid advertising (like Facebook ads and Google PPC) is trending downward, but it looks like Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook will be more popular in 2014 than 2013.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 12.56.15 PM

    Instagram will also be a popular tool—41% of e-commerce and 42% of retail users said they’ll be using it more this year. We were thrilled to see this because—well, have you met our new buddy, MailChimp Snap? It’s never been easier to send simple, photo-based email campaigns right from your iPhone, and you can pull the shots straight from your Instagram account.

    One survey question we didn’t include is, “How insanely busy are you during the holidays!?” But we all know the answer. Whether you do retail or e-commerce, MailChimp Snap can save you time. When you get in a shipment of some exciting new product, take a photo and send it to your best customers. You could even have people sign up to be notified when a popular item is in stock, then send off a photo with details as soon as it’s ready for them. It’s a super-simple way to offer that extra level of personal, knowledgeable service you know your customers value. And your reports will show up in your MailChimp account, so you can see what works best for you.

    There’s a lot more survey information to dig into, so check it out. And happy holidaying!

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing: Violate Them at Your Own Risk!

    The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing:  Violate Them at Your Own Risk!

    There are laws of nature, so why shouldn’t there be laws of marketing?

    As Al Ries and Jack Trout—the world-renowned marketing consultants and bestselling authors of Positioning—note, you can build an impressive airplane, but it will never leave the ground if you ignore the laws of physics, especially gravity. Why then, they ask, shouldn’t there also be laws of marketing that must be followed to launch and maintain winning brands? In The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, Ries and Trout offer a compendium of twenty-two innovative rules for understanding and succeeding in the international marketplace. From the Law of Leadership, to The Law of the Category, to The Law of the Mind, these valuable insights stand the test of time and present a clear path to successful products. Violate them at your own risk.

    List price: $15.99

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    Five Indispensable Ways to Connect with Key Influencers on Google+

    Screen Shot 2014-10-29 at 5.21.29 PM

    Marketers often neglect Google+ and choose to focus their efforts elsewhere, In fact, when Google+ first launched it was largely derided by many marketers and businesspeople. At the time, an overcrowded social media market was certainly going to be tough to penetrate, but Google+ has made rapid progress.

    Twitter can feel like being lost on the highway, while over on Facebook a fan or customer must initiate the first contact. Google+ is different — information isn’t hidden amongst a swamp of social noise, and it’s easier for marketers to make pro-active steps to engage customers.

    What follows are some tips on how you can find key influencers on Google+ and how to use the platform to grow your business.

    Build Relationships by Taking a Human Approach

    Taking a human approach to your marketing efforts will pay dividends. Interacting with highly influential individuals within your niche is obviously preferable. Searching out these people can be laborious and time consuming, but fortunately there are a few handy tools at your disposal.

    First, there could be people who mention you, but don’t necessarily plus mention you (similar to tagging). So how do you find these people? Google+ has a useful feature: Google Ripples. Simply click the drop down arrow and choose ‘View Ripples.’

    img1 

    In the example image below – from a great Google+ resource Gplus Expertise – you can see that all the circles near ‘Will Humphries’ without names are people that haven’t plus mentioned the post. Without selecting ‘Ripples’ these accounts would have gone unnoticed.

    img2

     

    Another great tool is NOD3x, which is a fantastic piece of web-based software that allows you to find out who is posting about the phrases and terms that are relevant to you. A basic account is free, but there is a limit to the number of projects, and you can only search Google+ and YouTube. The software also allows you to search Twitter, Facebook, etc. if you invest in the paid version.

    The first step is to do some hashtag research on Google+. Simply enter your desired hashtag in Google+ (#conversion for example) and it will return associated hashtags.

    img3

    You can then use these to set up projects in NOD3x, you can also define your demographic by selecting countries, languages, etc. You have to wait about 24hrs for a project to return some data, but once it’s up and running it will be really useful, and you will be able to identify the key influencers in your niche.

    img4

    Join Google+ Communities to Connect with Thought-Leaders

    The community groups within Google+ allow you to participate using your business profile, a unique feature among the large social media platforms. The advantages of this should be immediately obvious, you can target relevant groups and showcase your brand alongside your expertise.

    You might want to consider starting your own community, especially if you feel that your brand is strong enough to warrant a community based around it or one of its main products. This community will then be listed on your ‘About’ tab. Your business will also be listed at the top of the community page, which can be great for driving traffic towards your site. Fox Business is the first visible finance community on the listings home page. Obviously most communities are highly unlikely to ever achieve a placing this high, but it does shows the potential.

    img5

     

    If you’re posting links in a community that you haven’t started, be aware that they will not be posted until they’ve been moderated by the administrators, and will only be posted if they offer value to the community. So spend some time building the trust of the community and interacting, before simply trying to fill the community with links.

    Careful and considered interaction with Google+ communities will grow your network. After a period of interaction, a relevant post with a link could drive traffic to your site

    Use Hangouts on Air to Build Awareness

    Hangouts were initially just solely a video chat/conferencing tool, but the addition of ‘on Air’ has allowed businesses to easily produce their own video shows or vlogs. For the uninitiated, ‘on Air’ is a recorded video that can also be easily published to YouTube. Barack Obama famously participated in his own hangout, so it’s certainly a trend that has caught on quickly.

    So what is the benefit for your business? In simple terms it’s mainly brand awareness and an increase of YouTube and Google+ subscriptions. Which is great for growing your network and credibility. Another benefit is that if you involve an influential peer in your hangout, then those in their circle are also going to be exposed to your business. It’s a good idea to share some of their content as a follow-up, and hopefully they’ll reciprocate.

    The Bottom Line

    Many marketers are missing out on a great opportunity by ignoring Google+ and its communities. The methods outlined above will enable you target key influencers and interact with them. If you portray your brand in the right manner, then Google+ can be a great tool for conveying your brand’s ethos to a wider audience.

    About the Author: This article was written by John Philips from SSLs.com. SLLs.com resells SSL certificates from the likes of Comodo, GeoTrust, and VeriSign.

     

    MobileResearchDownload.001

    The post Five Indispensable Ways to Connect with Key Influencers on Google+ appeared first on @AskJamieTurner.

    Guerilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business

    Guerilla Marketing: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business

    When Guerrilla Marketing was first published in 1983, Jay Levinson revolutionized marketing strategies for the small-business owner with his take-no-prisoners approach to finding clients. Based on hundreds of solid ideas that really work, Levinson’s philosophy has given birth to a new way of learning about market share and how to gain it. In this completely updated and expanded fourth edition, Levinson offers a new arsenal of weaponry for small-business success including

    * strategies for marketing on the Internet (explaining when and precisely how to use it)

    * tips for using new technology, such as podcasting and automated marketing

    * programs for targeting prospects and cultivating repeat and referral business

    * management lessons in the age of telecommuting and freelance employees

    Guerrilla Marketing is the entrepreneur’s marketing bible — and the book every small-business owner should have on his or her shelf.

    List price: $14.95

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    10 Rules For Mind-Blowing Brainstorming Sessions

    Brainstorming new ideas is something that everyone that writes content, especially for business, strives to keep fresh. The problem is work and life get in the way and generating new ideas can seem forced if not given the proper time and framework. So how do you take the time and make new ideas? According to Garrison Wynn and Brian Carter, co-authors of the new book “The Cowbell Principle: Career Advice On How To Get Your Dream Job And Make More Money,” there are ten rules you should adhere to in order to get those creative ideas flowing and stay on track.

    ——

    The Cowbell PrincipleHave you seen the More Cowbell sketch from Saturday Night Live? It’s more than just funny. Believe it or not, it’s a powerful metaphor for a successful work life. And it provides insight into the kind of people you need on your team, and what makes an effective team.

    Everyone has at least one cowbell — it’s your unique, profitable talent people pay you for or your company’s unique offering. It’s something people have a fever for. When you discover it and give those people a ton of it, you gain success and happiness for both yourself and others. It’s a win-win.

    A cowbell is simultaneously something you love doing and something other people really want as well (although, as we’ll see, you still will have detractors and critics). A cowbell creates joy for you and other people. It makes them yell for more. They can’t get enough.

    Some Creativity Required, Batteries Not Included

    Creativity is a big deal these days, because content marketing is the hottest digital marketing trend. More and more content is posted every day, but we each only have so much time for consuming content each day. We’re picky about what we read and we have more choices. That supply and demand equation means your free content has to be even more valuable!

    As a marketer you want your content to stand out, you need to get even more creative- and that means you need an effective brainstorming process. Brainstorming can give you fresh and exciting ideas for many content types, including blog posts, ebooks, infographics, emails and headlines.

    I sometimes mentor first-time writers or coordinate corporate brainstorming sessions. Both activities have similar pitfalls and teach similar lessons. From those experiences, I’ve created?

    10 Rules For A Mind-Blowing Brainstorming Session

    1. No negativity. Ironically, I have to be negative about negativity here. No analysis or criticism or comparing or editing of other people’s ideas. Be positive about every contribution.
    2. All ideas are valid at this stage. Think about what’s good or bad later.
    3. Everyone contributes. Non-contributors should leave, because otherwise they make the contributors self-conscious and can lower the energy level.
    4. No computers or tablets or cell phones. Phones need to be completely silent. Buzzing phones are not acceptable. Have someone assigned to writing the ideas on a whiteboard. This person has no extra power in the brainstorming session and must contribute ideas too. You can switch up who’s writing them down every 10 minutes or so if you want. Another approach is to give everybody post-its and as they come up with ideas they just post their own post-its on one communal wall.
    5. Every idea is welcome, even dumb or crazy ones. Especially dumb and crazy ones! Purposely trying to think of stupid ideas can break through your internal judgment, which otherwise holds you back.
    6. Build on other people’s ideas. You may combine ideas during the brainstorm, or save idea combinations for a second brainstorming session. At times, that combining approach can be too analytical and may slow you down.
    7. Come up with as many ideas as you can. Strive for quantity not quality. It’s a good idea to have individuals brainstorm by themselves both before and after the group brainstorm session.
    8. Take turns talking. Listen when you’re not talking.
    9. Forget the past and think about the future instead. Figure out if ideas fit with your corporate values and traditions later, not while you’re brainstorming.
    10. Resist tangents like storytelling and joking. Too much talking by any one person can drain the group’s energy.

    When you’re writing or brainstorming, you must have the attitude that every idea is good. You must separate the creating part of yourself from the criticizing part, or you’ll get writer’s block, and everybody in a brainstorming meeting is too afraid to vocalize ideas for fear of looking stupid. Everyone who’s going to brainstorm has to agree to support everybody’s ideas and vocalize all of theirs. Later you can judge those ideas. You’re not making a commitment to the ideas yet – you’re just sharing them.

    Similarly, when you write blog posts or articles, you should not be editing. Do creation and editing at separate times. Just get everything typed out. Fix problems and polish it up later.

    A brainstorming session is not the time to try to look good. If there’s someone in the room everyone’s trying to impress or who they’re afraid to anger or look bad in front of, even if (especially if) that’s the boss, you need to get that person out of the room, or that person needs to affirm all the brainstorming rules we’re talking about here. A quiet person of great authority in a brainstorming room is intimidating. If you aren’t going to contribute ideas, don’t go into the brainstorming room. There really is an argument for NOT having executives in the room, unless the room is only executives.

    ——

    This post is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The Cowbell Principle: Career Advice On How To Get Your Dream Job And Make More Money, by Garrison Wynn and Brian Carter. Brian and Garrison will be giving away a limited number of digital copies at launch time. To get notified when they’re available, sign up at The Cowbell Principle.

    Garrison and Brian are using AWeber to keep everyone updated the release of the book and deliver bonus materials – just another great example of how you can use AWeber to grow your audience!