8 Pieces of Email Marketing Advice to Live By

launchEmail is so embedded in our life, most people have at least one account. Many have two – if not more! It’s a foundational tool for online marketing. Here are eight things to remember to launch your email marketing campaigns.

One – just send it.

I laid out this argument in my last blog, but just in case you missed it – that list of email addresses doesn’t do you any good if they’re just sitting there so send it already.

Two – don’t spam me.

The CAN-Spam law of 2003 requires you to have permission from the addressee and an opt-out option on any business emails you send. Law or not, don’t get a reputation as “one of those” businesses. You know the ones – they fill up your inbox with useless emails. You’ve probably opted out from at least one of them. Or cursed them under your breath.

Three – send it regularly and consistently.

Email marketing is like a relationship. It needs to be nurtured. Send me information that’s helpful to me. If you are sending them regularly and you stop, I’ll start wondering if maybe you’re out of business. Once the doubt is planted, it doesn’t take much for me to stop coming by and stop telling people about you.

Four – make it simple.

People get emails every day. I’d say I average about 100 and I rarely read any that don’t make it simple (and obvious) why I should look further. They don’t have to be Shakespeare worthy but your subject line and first sentence are key.

Five – just send it.

Your customers can’t learn about you if you’re not sharing.

Six – “What’s in it for me”.

Your big sale will benefit me but it’s not really for me and if that’s all you send me, I’ll stop reading them. Include something to make my life easier or better. A tip. A joke even. Anything to show you care about me.

Seven – don’t send it three times a day.

Really. Once a month is sufficient. IF (and that’s a big if) you have some really valuable info to share send it every other week (aka twice a month). Your big sale isn’t real valuable. Not unless you’re literally giving it away or offering a 75% discount.

Eight – just send it already.

I hope you’ve gotten this point. But seriously, I talk to small business owners all the time who lament how their customers seem to forget they exist. Remind your customers you’re still around without breaking the bank – send an email.

These eight tips may not be rocket science but following them will generate more income and increase your customer engagement. Win-Win.

The One Email Marketing Behavior That Guarantees Success

email marketingThere is one thing you can do to ensure your email marketing will succeed – every single time. You’ll probably roll your eyes after I share the secret because it’s so obvious. And so true. If you want your email marketing to be successful you need to do one thing: send it. Yes. It is as easy as that. If you’re not sending it, your customers aren’t receiving it.

Excuses

A lot of small businesses collect email addresses because they know they’re supposed to. I  spoke with one owner who had over 500 names on a list! He collected but did absolutely nothing with this direct connection to his customers. He had excuses (don’t we all) but whether you’re simply unsure or don’t have the ‘extra’ money, email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

Email Marketing Choices

There are companies who specialize in small business email marketing. Two I recommend with regularity are Constant Contact or MailChimp. Each has pros and cons but both are simple to navigate and use a drop and drag formula. So pick a template and drop or drag your info to where it needs to go. And if you have any questions, both have good customer support.

Don’t wait

How many times do you get people asking to hear about what’s going on in your business? And how many times do you get to deliver your message right to them? No waiting for them to stumble across it on social media. Don’t let those email addresses languish anymore. Put them to work by sending an email directly to your customers and potential customers.

One Thing to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

headshotDo you want to get more from your LinkedIn profile? The one thing you can do to make your profile 100% better … have a profile picture. LinkedIn is a business network and at its core networking is about people. Just like any networking event, first impressions are important. What do you want your first impression on LinkedIn to be? Shouldn’t it show you as professional, competent, and trustworthy? Does your current profile picture say that?

It’s well worth the money and time investment to hire a professional photographer for a headshot. But if you have to, use a photo from another event. As long as it’s not a shot of you in your bathing suit lounging on the beach. Or holding your adorable puppy. As a very last resort (and temporary fix) use a selfie. Be sure it’s at least semi-professional looking. Don’t use your business logo. Even if you own the business. People do business with people, not logos.

Bonus: The second most important (and easy) thing to do to get improve your LinkedIn profile is fill it out completely. Include your volunteer work. Make sure any awards and recognitions are listed. Are you a board member? Or part of the local Chamber of Commerce? They may seem minor pieces but they serve to show the larger picture of who you are and what you believe in. Consider them like small talk at a networking event.

These two things will increase your LinkedIn profile views and boost your business.

3 Easy Things to Improve Your New LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn

If you don’t have the new LinkedIn User Interface (UI) yet you will soon. And you’ll love it. Or you’ll hate it. I won’t go so far to say I love it but I do like it. Both the home page and the profile look cleaner. I’m not a big fan of the inability to rearrange my profile or losing control of deciding what posts I want to see (current vs. what LinkedIn feels is relevant) but still I’d give it a passing grade. There are many articles available listing all the differences between old and new but here are three simple things you can do right now to help your new profile stand out.

Summary!

You have a summary, right? The summary has moved up and because the first two lines show, it is vital they lure the reader in. You can do this in a number of ways. Start with a question. Draw me in so I want to find the answer. Or if you can do it succinctly, tell the viewer what problem you solve. Not what you sell but the issue you’ll help them conquer.

Contact and Personal Info

This section moved from just above your summary to the left column. It lists all the same info; website, phone, email and Twitter as well as your LinkedIn URL. The biggest alteration (besides the general appearance) is the way the websites show up. The old version hid the actual URL and showed a title. You created the title yourself or chose one of the defaults. Now the actual URL is displayed followed by the title in parentheses. If your business URL is clear, i.e., widgetsellingbusiness.com, then you can remove the title. If the URL isn’t well-defined, make sure the title is clear. For example, “Widget Selling Business” or even simply “Business Info.” Don’t make people have to think about it.

LinkedIn Background Photo

The new size of the background photo is 1536×768 pixels. I’d recommend using canva.com to design a few different versions. Canva.com is a graphic design site for non-graphic designers. Sign up for the personal (free) account and play around. Start with a solid colored background. Easy to do and it really gives your profile added zing. When you’re more comfortable, add a few simple words or pictures to it. Tada!

These three things are easy to do and will make your profile stand out from the rest. You’re ready to go forth and connect!

LinkedIn’s Most Overused Words of 2016

LinkedInEvery year LinkedIn publishes its list of the Ten Most Overused Words. And every year, I’m both appalled and fascinated by it. Fascinated that someone at LinkedIn thought we needed one. Appalled by so many of the 450 million people with profiles using the same words over and over again. I do understand how it happens, these are all words that make sense on a resume. And I’ll give most people the benefit of the doubt and kudos for trying but I do still shake my head when I see any of these words in a profile. This list has been in existence since at least 2009 so it shouldn’t be news.

The Ten Most Overused Words on LinkedIn for 2016

Specialized
Leadership
Experienced
Passionate
Strategic
Excellent
Focused
Creative
Enthusiastic
Successful

Breaking it down

The 2016 list included four new words: Specialized; Focused; Certified; and Excellent. Technically one could include Experienced on the ‘new’ list but Extensive Experience made the list in both 2015 and 2014 and I’d say just dropping “Extensive” doesn’t make it better.

Expert could be considered a ‘new’ word because it wasn’t on the 2015 list. But it appeared in both the 2014 and 2013 versions.

Leadership was included on both 2016 and 2015 lists. Passionate and Strategic has been on the overused words list for three years: 2016, 2015 and 2014.

The winner for longevity is the word Creative, which has been on the list since at least 2013. I don’t lay claim to being creative but there has to be some other way to say it. The synonyms option in Word gives me a multitude of options for creative. Hmmm, interesting. Or should I say thought-provoking? The top five synonyms for creative are original; imaginative; inspired; artistic and inventive. All of which are, dare I say, more creative.

I love words, which may be why I find this list so fascinating. And disturbing. With all the technology and the tools at our fingertips (literally), it’s not difficult to take a few extra minutes for a simple search. It is possible that Passionate is the best word in which case you should use it. But maybe Fervent, Ardent or Zealous would work better.

Make your profile stand out for all the right reasons and be noticed for something more than your specialized, passionate and strategic leadership. Or your certified, focused, excellent, expert, creative and experienced track record (overused word of 2015). Take a few minutes to keep your profile off the Top Ten Most Overused Words list of 2017.