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Tuesday, October 15 2013

Recently I've received a spate of email newsletters sent through a regular email client such as Outlook. The emails of the recipients were simply pasted into the To: or Bcc: fields.

Mostly they were from people I'd met at networking meetings (who had added me to their lists without my permission).

I hope that they were from people who are fairly new in business and are still learning how to behave online.

I also hope they learn quickly that doing it this way does not create a professional image in the minds of their recipients.

There are many services that distribute email newsletters and other information to a list: Constant Contact, Mail Chimp, iContact, aweber and lots of others.

Here's why you should use one of them rather than sending out bulk email through your regular email account.

1. You'll look professional

Most of these services have ready-to-go designed templates. Or you can have your designer match your newsletter to your business logo and colors so that your image is consistent across all media.

2. It's easy to subscribe

Put a sign-up box on your website and people can sign themselves up, without any action from you. This leads to permission-based marketing: by signing up they are giving you permission to contact them.

2. It's easy to unsubscribe

And yes, people WILL unsubscribe. It's automated and they can unsubscribe themselves so you don't have to be involved. It's all registered as well, so if there are any disputes, it's easy to track who did what.

3. You can track results

You can see who's doing what with your emails: opening, forwarding, clicking on links. With this information you'll know what's working well and what not so well so you can make decisions about what to include in future editions.

4. Low cost

You can send an email to many people at once without cutting, pasting or sorting email addresses. Your investment of time and energy is small.

5. Easy list management

You can segment your lists and customize your emails to the recipient. For example, you can send an email only to people who signed up for a teleclass, or only to current clients, or only to past clients. Your marketing will be more targeted and your emails more relevant to the recipients.

6. Keep your email list private

Only the recipient's name appears at the top of the email. Other email addresses are not visible so you can't unintentionally broadcast everyone's information.

7. Comply with the CAN-SPAM regulations.

That's the law that went into effect in 2004 in the USA to make spam illegal and protect consumers from unwanted emails.

Reputable providers have the legal requirements of CAN-SPAM build into their systems so you don't have to worry about compliance.

There's an old saying 'how you do anything is how you do everything.' Whether you like it or not, people will draw general conclusions about you based on how you act in specific situations. Using an email distribution service is one easy way to create a positive, professional impression. And that's what you want.

Copyright 2013 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.

Maggie Dennison helps independent professionals and owners of small businesses speak and write so that their ideal clients know why they need them.  

More info on her website at http://www.MyMarketingMessage.com
 

Posted by: AT 11:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 15 2013

When someone comes to your website and likes what they see on the home page, the chances are they'll go on to check out the "About" page to learn about the person behind the service. This is even more likely if you're offering a very personal service such as anything in the health-related, personal growth, financial planning or another field where your clients bare their souls or details of their personal lives and finances to you.

Prospects want to know who they're dealing with. But many websites don't identify the person. And you're left with an odd feeling that you're doing business with a faceless entity.

I'm not talking about huge corporations here. Most people probably don't care who's behind amazon.com or Staples or Best Buy or other online retailers. They're at those sites to find a product and carry out a transaction with a company they already know.

I'm talking here about small businesses or sole proprietors where your business is inextricably linked to you.

Do your prospects know who you are?

People want to know who YOU are, not just the name of the company. It helps them to connect with you on a personal level. It's an easy way to begin to establish rapport with them.

If your website doesn't identify you but hides behind a company name, you've already lost an opportunity to build trust with visitors to your site. If that happens to me, unless I have an urgent need that trumps the lack of information I'll usually leave the site because there's a gap in what I need to know in order to consider opening a dialogue with you.

The truth is that people do business with people, not with the name of a company, no matter how cute or creative it is.

Let me know who you are and what qualifies you to do what you're trying to sell me. Otherwise why should I care? Take us behind the scenes of your life. Is there something in your background that makes you an ideal person to do what you're doing? Give us a glimpse into the person behind the service. This doesn't mean that you tell us every detail of your life: it's tempting to ramble and go off on tangents but your prospects don't need to know everything.

If you believe they need to know a lot more details about the company background, you can split your information into two parts - one part about the company and one about you personally, as the founder of the company. If you have several employees, you can have a section about each member of your team. There are many ways to organize your information: this is one.

Putting a photo on your "About" page gives your site visitors a sense of your energy and how you present yourself. It doesn't have to be a formal, buttoned-up, corporate-looking headshot. But it also doesn't mean showing a picture of you lounging on the beach - unless that's relevant to what you do. There's a happy middle ground where you can look informal but well put together and professional.

All these aspects will help you build a professional "About" page that connects with your ideal clients. It plays a huge role in building the 'know, like and trust' factor, so they are inspired to take the next step in your sales process.

If you need help with your professional bio, please get in touch. My contact details are at the bottom of this email.

Copyright 2013 Maggie Dennison. All rights reserved.

Maggie Dennison helps independent professionals and owners of small businesses speak and write so that their ideal clients know why they need them.  

More info on her website at http://www.MyMarketingMessage.com

Posted by: AT 09:48 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
 

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Maggie Dennison, M.A

My Marketing Message
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