Browsed by
Category: Small Business Marketing

Marketing Techniques for Small Business

Social Styles 5-Learning About the Amiable

Social Styles 5-Learning About the Amiable

Why are Social styles important?

 

In my previous posts on Social Styles, I have stressed the importance of understanding these styles.  Your ability to communicate with these different styles of people will make a huge difference in the profits at your bottom line.

Today, I want to discuss the last of the 4 Social Styles, the Amiable.

 

What is the Amiable Social Style?

 

Amiable are, well…amiable.  They are very people and question oriented. They are easy to get along with.  They are friendly listeners who enjoy personal contact.  They place a high priority on getting along with others.

 

Amiable have soft, pleasant voices.  Their speech is slow.  They have open and eager facial expressions.

 

They take time to establish relationships. They believe progress comes from people working together.  They like to make progress at a slow, steady pace.

 

Their natural tendencies are coaching and counseling.

 

Their motivators are seeking approval, being included as part of a group or team, and having a positive impact on others.

 

Amiables have much in common with Analyticals and Expressives, but are diametrically opposed to Drivers.

 

What does the dialogue of an Amiable sound like?

 

Remember that Amiables are ask directed.  This means you will need to ask a lot of questions.  You have to be patient.  Amiables want to build relationships first. They may not seem concerned with the time spent or deadlines.

 

Here are some other things you can expect:

  1. They want you to show them personal support.
  2. Give plenty of verbal and non-verbal feedback.
  3. They are interested in questions relating to long-term goals.
  4. They may suggest you talk to others. If they do, follow up. Not doing so may kill the relationship
  5. They want assurance as to who you are and what you believe
  6. You are expected to be open and honest
  7. You will need to sell yourself to an Amiable before they make any decision

 

How do you approach an Amiable?

 

The good news here is Amiables are easy to approach.  They are very open and friendly.

Here are several ways to approach an Amiable:

  1. Be relaxed and patient
  2. Make small talk
  3. Ask questions about their personal goals.
  4. Keep a slow, steady pace. Remember people come first.
  5. Don’t try to promote your agenda as revolutionary. Amiables like things with a proven foundation.
  6. Don’t rush your close. Let them come to their own conclusion.

 

In Conclusion.

 

The main take away from this brief outline of the 4 social styles is the need for you to learn to be flexible.  Remember Stephen Covey.  “First seek to understand, then be understood.”  Seek to understand the way your prospect communicates with the world. You will then open the door to show your prospect how you can fulfill his needs.

 

What I have presented in these posts has been the barest of outlines of these Social Styles.  To learn much, much more, I strongly urge you to click on the link below to buy Larry Wilson’s terrific book.

(Full disclosure.  I am a Powell’s Affiliate)

 

 

 

The Social Styles Handbook: Adapt Your Style to Win Trust
by Wilson Learning LibraryTrade Paperback
Powells.com
Stunning Simple Secret Improves Your Productivity!

Stunning Simple Secret Improves Your Productivity!

Getting it all done when you’re the only one there can be frightening. How can you improve your productivity?  Using Pareto’s simple 80/20 rule can cut your work week in half

You wanted freedom.  You wanted to do something you loved. And…you wanted to get paid for it.  So you went into business for yourself.

Now you have this huge list of stuff that needs to be accomplished to get your business off the ground.  How are you going to do it?

Is one of the reasons you went into business for yourself is you were tired of 50 to 60+ hour weeks working for someone else?  Are you now worried all you’ve done is buy yourself another job?

The ugly truth is unless you take control, you’ll never get it all done.

What is The 80/20 Rule?

The 80/20 rule was originally proposed by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto in 1896.  It simply states 20% of the causes generate 80% of the effects.

I’m sure you’ve heard this in one form or another.  For instance, “80% of your profits come from 20% of your customers.”

What this means to you is 20% of your effort will generate 80% of your results.  Now you have to figure out which tasks constitute the 20%

Pretty straightforward, right?

But Wait…There’s More

It turns out there’s one additional thing you need to know.  It’s called the law of diminishing returns.  Here’s what it means.

If 20% of your actions deliver 80% of your results, you are getting a 4 to 1 return on your effort.

If you increase your effort (more tasks) to 23% you should drive your result to 92%, right?Chances are it won’t.

The law of diminishing returns states for every added effort, you will receive an ever decreasing result.

So, increasing your effort by 3% might only yield a 5% increase in results.  Another 3% on top of that might yield another 3%.  Keep on that path and you will get to the point where no matter what you add in effort, you won’t get any better results. And…you may never get to 100%

A Radical New Concept

Here’s a radical new concept for you.  Choose how many hours a week you want to work.

Yup, you heard me.  Instead of attacking the entire pile of stuff you think you have to do and whacking away until it’s done, choose how many hours a week you want to work.

Got it?

Here’s your new goal.  Look at your huge pile of stuff to be done.  Remember 20% of the stuff in that pile will generate 80% of results.  Look at each task in the pile and ask if it is part of the 20%. Estimate how long it will take to complete it.  Put it on the list for this week.   

Keep this up, until your weekly hours are filled.

Then resort the tasks in order of importance and put them on your calendar.  Be aware, you don’t want more than 2 mission critical items on the calendar in any one day.

Now focus on each task in order.  Work on it and it alone until it is done or your progress is halted by some outside event.

What Happens to All the Rest?

Everything else in your gigantic to do pile can either be Delayed, Delegated, or Dumped.

This will be the subject of the next blog in the series.

In Conclusion

You will be amazed at how productive you become.  You have to be brutal in your application of the sorting process. Knowing you have only so much time to complete mission critical items forces you to work on those items most important to your success.  Plus you will have the added benefit of creating more free time to do stuff you enjoy.

PS.  This concept and many others are more fully discussed in Tim Ferris’ wonderful book “The 4 Hour Work Week”  I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is running a small business.  You can order a copy of this book by clicking on the link below.  (Full disclosure, I am a Powell’s affiliate)

Here’s 6 Tips to Make Your Business Writing More Effective!

Here’s 6 Tips to Make Your Business Writing More Effective!

Like it or not Small Business Owners are required to do a lot of writing.  It’s not as hard as you think.  Here’s 6 tips to help you along.

EFFECTIVE BUSINESS WRITING: THE IMPORTANCE OF PLAIN LANGUAGE

MARKETING & SALES

When running a business, it is important to be aware of how you communicate with your customers, your staff, your investors, and your suppliers. Your written materials, from your business plan to your marketing, are often the first encounter a person has with your company.  It is therefore important to make sure that your writing is clear, and that it is relatable.

As is the nature of small business, one of the essentials skills you must learn is the speed factor. You need to get your message across quickly and in a way that is easy to understand. This is where the principles of plain language come into play.

What Does Plain Language Mean?

Plain language means keeping your writing clear and succinct. It means removing the content that detracts the reader from your message.

For example:

“His report outlined three issues: a lack of high paying clients, conversions, and return customers.”

Is much more effective than:

“His report to upper management delineated that the issues of the day were threefold. These included observations about the influx of low level prospects, a lack of effective conversions, and an inability to attract return patronage”

6 Ways to Simplify your Business Writing

Here are three simple ways to simplify your language:

  1. Remember Your Audience. Does your audience know as much as you do about your area of expertise? Probably not, so remember to keep things simple. With this in mind, you should:
    • Drop the jargon. Remove phrases like “burn rate”, “touch base”, and “paradigm shifters”
    • Replace inflated language with simple words. For example “transpired” means “happened”, “paradigm” means “ideal”, and “conundrum” is just a fancy word for “problem”.
  2. Organization. Your message should always be presented in a sequential, logical, step-by-step manner to make it is easy to follow.
  3. Use Active Voice. Make it clear who is doing what. Sentences should be “we will do this to achieve X” rather than “the company will achieve X by doing Y”
  4. Use Clean Design.The presentation of your message is just as important as the words you use. Effective use of white space, headlines, subheadings, colour, font, images – are all elements that can either support your message, or distract from it.
  5. Minimize Long Blocks of Text. Help your reader digest the information you are presenting in small chunks whenever possible. Break long paragraphs into shorter ones with subheadings, and make sentences no longer than 20 words.
  6. Use Tables, Charts, and Examples. For information that is complex or data that needs to be analyzed, remember to include helpful visual aids or examples.

By keeping these tips in mind, your business writing will become more clear, readable, and easy to understand. The result? Customers who flock to your business because they want to utilize use your services.

TAGGED → CONTENT MARKETING

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

Here’s Why Blogging is Important for Small Business

As small business owners we hear a lot about things like blogging and social media.  Our first reaction usually is “I don’t have time for that.”  I encourage you to think again.  Here’s a great post explaining why blogging is very important for small business.

September 30, 2015 // 8:00 AM

Why Blog? The Benefits of Blogging for Business and Marketing

Written by Corey Wainwright | @Corey_bos

SHARE

1,297
inShare

 

blog-benefits

I had a co-worker email me the other day asking for a blog post about the benefits of business blogging.

“It’s for a friend,” she said.

Sure it was.

I told her I’d shoot over one of our up-to-date blog posts about why businesses should blog and … I couldn’t find one. Whoops. Quite the meta mistake.

Download our free guide to business blogging here for even more reasons why you should blog, and how to get started.

So I’m doing it now. If you’re trying to explain one of the core tenets of inbound — business blogging — to your boss, a coworker, your mom at Thanksgiving, whomever, then send them this post. I hope it helps.

The Benefits of Business Blogs for Marketing

First, if you don’t know what a business blog is, this post, “What Is Business Blogging? [FAQs]” should get you up-to-date.

On the same page? Cool. Let’s move on to why you should use blogging as a marketing tactic.

1) It helps drive traffic to your website.

Raise your hand if you want more website visitors. Yeah, me too.

Now think about the ways people find your website:

  • They could type your name right in to their browser, but that’s an audience you already have. They know who you are, you’re on their radar, and that doesn’t help you get more traffic on top of what you’re already getting.
  • You could pay for traffic by buying an email list (don’t you dare!), blasting them, and hoping some people open and click through on the emails. But that’s expensive and, you know, illegal.
  • You could pay for traffic by placing tons of paid ads, which isn’t illegal, but still quite expensive. And the second you run out of money, your traffic stops coming, too.

So, how can you drive any traffic? In short: bloggingsocial media, and search engines. Here’s how it works.

Think about how many pages there are on your website. Probably not a ton, right? And think about how often you update those pages. Probably not that often, right? (How often can you really update your About Us page, you know?)

Well, blogging helps solve both of those problems.

Every time you write a blog post, it’s one more indexed page on your website, which means it’s one more opportunity for you to show up in search engines and drive traffic to your website in organic search. We’ll get into more of the benefits of blogging on your SEO a bit later, but it’s also one more cue to Google and other search engines that your website is active and they should be checking in frequently to see what new content to surface.

Blogging also helps you get discovered via social media. Every time you write a blog post, you’re creating content that people can share on social networks — Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest — which helps expose your business to a new audience that may not know you yet.

Blog content also helps keep your social media presence going — instead of asking your social media manager to come up with brand new original content for social media (or creating that content yourself), your blog can serve as that repository of content. You’re strengthening your social reach with blog content and driving new website visitors to your blog via your social channels. Quite a symbiotic relationship, if I do say so myself.

So, the first benefit of blogging? It helps drive new traffic to your website and works closely with search engines and social media to do that.

blogging-inbound

2) It helps convert that traffic into leads.

Now that you have traffic coming to your website through your blog, you have an opportunity to convert that traffic into leads.

Just like every blog post you write is another indexed page, each post is a new opportunity to generate new leads. The way this works is really simple: Just add a lead-generating call-to-action to every blog post.

Often, these calls-to-action lead to things like free ebooks, free whitepapers, free fact sheets, free webinars, free trials … basically, any content asset for which someone would be willing to exchange their information. To be super clear for anyone unfamiliar with how traffic-to-lead conversions work, it’s as simple as this:

  • Visitor comes to website
  • Visitor sees call-to-action for a free offer
  • Visitor clicks call-to-action and gets to a landing page, which contains a form for them to fill in with their information
  • Visitor fills out form, submits information, and receives the free offer

If you scroll down in this blog post, you’ll see a call-to-action button. In fact, 99.9% of the blog posts we publish have call-to-action buttons … and yours should, too. That is how you turn that traffic coming to your blog into leads for your sales team.

blogging-inbound-image

Note: Not every reader of your blog will become a lead. That’s okay. No one converts 100% of the people who read their blog into leads. Just get blogging, put calls-to-action on every blog post, set a visitor-to-lead conversion rate benchmark for yourselfand strive to improve that each month.

3) It helps establish authority.

The best business blogs answer common questions their leads and customers have. If you’re consistently creating content that’s helpful for your target customer, it’ll help establish you as an authority in their eyes. This is a particularly handy tool for Sales and Service professionals.

Can you imagine the impact of sending an educational blog post you wrote to clear things up for a confused customer? Or how many more deals a salesperson could close if their leads discovered blog content written by their salesperson?

“Establishing authority” is a fluffy metric — certainly not as concrete as traffic and leads, but it’s pretty powerful stuff. And if you need to tie the impact of blogging to a less fluffy metric, consider measuring it the same way you measure sales enablement. Because at the end of the day, that’s what many of your blog posts are. Think about the sales enablement opportunities blogging presents:

  • If prospects find answers to their common questions via blog posts written by people at your company, they’re much more likely to come into the sales process trusting what you have to say because you’ve helped them in the past — even before they were interested in purchasing anything from you.
  • Prospects that have been reading your blog posts will typically enter the sales process more educated on your place in the market, your industry, and what you have to offer. That makes for a far more productive sales conversation than one held between two relative strangers.
  • Salespeople who encounter specific questions that require in-depth explanation or a documented answer can pull from an archive of blog posts. Not only do these blog posts help move the sales process along more swiftly than if a sales rep had to create the assets from scratch, but the salesperson is further positioned as a helpful resource to their prospect.

4) It drives long-term results.

You know what would be cool? If any of the following things helped you drive site traffic and generate new leads:

  • Trip to Hawaii
  • Going to the gym
  • Sleeping

Good news, though! That’s what blogging does — largely through search engines. Here’s what I mean:

Let’s say you sit down for an hour and write and publish a blog post today. Let’s say that blog post gets you 100 views and 10 leads. You get another 50 views and 5 leads tomorrow as a few more people find it on social media and some of your subscribers get caught up on their email and RSS. But after a couple days, most of the fanfare from that post dies down and you’ve netted 150 views and 15 leads.

It’s not done.

That blog post is now ranking in search engines. That means for days, weeks, months, and years to come, you can continue to get traffic and leads from that blog post. So while it may feel like day one or bust, in reality, blogging acts more like this:

blogging_compounding_returns-1-1

So while you’re hitting your snooze alarm, surfing in Hawaii, and pumping iron, you’re also driving traffic and leads. The effort you put in yesterday can turn into hundreds of thousands of views and leads in the future.

In fact, about 70% of the traffic each month on this very blog comes from posts that weren’t published in the current month. They come from old posts. Same goes for the leads generated in a current month — about 90% of the leads we generate every month come from blog posts that were published in previous months. Sometimes years ago.

We call these types of blog posts “compounding” posts. Not every blog post will fit into this category, but the more evergreen blog posts you write, the more likely it is that you’ll land on one of those compounding blog posts. In our own research, we’ve found that about 1 in every 10 blog posts end up being compounding blog posts.

Screen_Shot_2015-09-22_at_11.57.42_AM

To me (and hopefully to you), this demonstrates the scalability of business blogging. While you might not see immediate results, over time, you’ll be able to count on a predictable amount of traffic and leads for your business without any additional resource investment — the work to generate that traffic and those leads is already done.

If you’d like to learn more about the long-term impact of blogging and how to reap even more benefits from the blog posts that are ranking in organic search for your business, check out this blog post, “The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past”.

Secondary Benefits of Business Blogging

There are other reasons businesses might want to blog, but I think they’re smaller and stray from the core benefits of blogging.

For instance, I love to use our blog to test out big campaigns on the cheap — before we invest a lot of money and time into their creation. I also love to use our blog to help understand our persona better. And while this shouldn’t be their primary use, blogs also become great outlets through with marketers can communicate other PR-type important information — things like product releases or event information. It’s certainly easier to get attention for more company-focused initiatives if you’ve built up your own audience on your own property, as opposed to pitching your story to journalists and hoping one of them bites.

These are all great side effects or uses of a business blog, but they’re secondary benefits to me.

If you’re looking to start a business blog or get more investment for one you’ve already started, the reasons above are a great place to start arguing your case.

Are you already well underway when it comes to business blogging? Just starting out? Share your thoughts on business blogging below and what you’re looking to get out of it.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

4 Elements of a Successful Blog Post

4 Elements of a Successful Blog Post

As small business owners, we are told we need to blog if we are going to be successful.  But, no one tells us how to go about it.  Today I thought I’d post some quick guidelines outlining just how to construct a successful blog post.

There are 4 Elements to a good blog post:

  • Headline
  • Lead
  • Body
  • Call to action

These elements combine to form “the upside down pyramid.”  This is a style of writing common to newspapers today.

Let’s look at each of these elements in detail.

How Important Are Headlines?

The answer is…very.  Studies show 80% of internet readers never click past the headline.  The headline’s function is to spark the reader’s curiosity enough to get them to click through to the body of the article.

You don’t have to write the headline first.  Many bloggers write the body of the blog, then go back to create a compelling headline.

Here are some of the things a good headline does.  Your headline should do at least one or two of the things on this list.

  • It’s short. The best ones are 8 words or less.
  • It grabs your reader’s attention.
  • It asks a question.
  • It makes a promise.
  • It stirs curiosity.
  • It makes an offer.
  • It challenges the reader.
  • It introduces a compelling idea.

Here’s a few other suggestions to help make your headline compelling:

Use “how”, “what”, “why”, and “who” in the headline.  How to get a college degree online. 

Use numbers.  10 Reasons Small Business Owners Need a Blog.  Studies show readers prefer headlines using numbers.

Be careful with superlatives.   Studies show 51% of readers prefer headlines with one or fewer superlatives

Make it simple…and powerful.  Click Here to Save Money!

Remember, your goal is to get the reader to open the blog post.  The headline is the bait.

The Lead

If the headline is the bait, the lead sets the hook.

The lead is usually short.  It contains the whole point of your blog post right up front for the reader to see.  It should contain the one thing you want your reader to take away from your post.  But, it shouldn’t tell them everything.  Leave something out the reader can only get by going to the body.

The Body

The body of the blog post contains the information supporting your headline and your lead.

It’s important to note, most people scan internet content, they don’t read it.  You need to break up your content to fit this pattern.  Your paragraphs should be short.  No more than 3 or 4 sentences at the most.  Studies show internet readers skip long paragraphs.

Your sentences should be short.  No more than 8 to 12 words. Avoid compound sentences.  Use the active voice.  Avoid adverbs as much as possible.  You can use italics, bold, or underlined text for emphasis.  Be careful though, too much of this can be distracting.  Use numbers in your text.

Write in plain English.  Avoid jargon or buzzwords.  Make your tone conversational.  Imagine you are sitting down with your best friend over a cup of coffee, telling about the story of your post.

Lists are easy to scan.  You should use them where possible.  You can use bulleted lists or numbered lists or both depending on the length of the post.

If your content is long, break it up with sub-heads.  This helps the reader skim the post and find what interests them.

Speaking of length, how long should the post be?  The answer is: As long as necessary to tell your story.  You should make the post at least 300 words.  Why?  Because, posts less than 300 words are not ranked by Google.   Google indexing and ranking are important. You want to build an archive of posts for your readers to find.

When you’re done, read the post out loud to yourself.  Doing this will reveal clumsy structure or natural breaking points. If it doesn’t flow as you read it, your reader won’t get it either.

Call to Action

Your post should always end with a “Call to Action”.

Ask your reader to do something.  Click here to:

  • Sign up for my course
  • Join our email list.
  • Contact me for more information

And so…?

That’s it. I hope these guidelines will help you as you create your posts.  Blogging can be a lot of work.  It can also be a lot of fun.  You’ll get a lot more responses if your blog is structured so it’s easy to read.

If you’d like to join my email list, just click on this link:
http://forms.aweber.com/form/84/2070603084.htm

 

 

 

Why am I Doing This?

Why am I Doing This?

Why am I doing this?

Because of all the things I love in this life, helping others succeed is what I love the most.

Today I thought I’d post a short entry on why I started this blog.

How I got here.

If you’ve read my “about” page, you know I spent 20 years coaching and mentoring mortgage loan officers.  What most people don’t know is Mortgage Loan Officers are essentially self employed sub-contractors.  Yes, technically they are employees of the company they work for.  Yet,  they are almost always compensated by commissions on the loans they originate.  Their business comes from Realtors, home builders, and personal referrals from satisfied clients.  In reality they are running a small business within a business.  It was my job to help them succeed.  I became passionate about it.

When I became a Commercial Realtor, once again I specialized in small businesses.  For most small businesses, location has a great deal to do with their success.  I had to learn about the industry my clients were in, who their clients were, what types of space fit their business model.  Then I was tasked with finding just the right space for them to lease or buy.

All during this time, I was writing as a hobby.  I wrote short stories, a magazine article, even a full length novel.  The novel was never published, and didn’t deserve to be.  I also wrote training programs, business plans, white papers, and case studies.

When I retired for the second time, I decided to take courses in copywriting.  I figured using my talents writing for businesses was something I was used to doing, and I could get paid for it.   

The “Aha” Moment

When I started to set up my own website, it hit me!

I built two websites with “Popular Domain Name Seller”.  You know who they are. They’re the ones who say. “Buy a domain name from us for just $9.95 and we’ll give you a free website.”  Both of my previous ones were duds.  Why?  Sure, you get a free website, but no one tells you how to promote it.

This time I found a domain seller and host that provided a ton of training on the proper way to build and promote a website.  Now I had good tools and some guidance on how to use them.

While I was building my new website I made some startling discoveries.  Here they are:

  • People have changed the way they buy.  According to a Google survey from 2012, 97% of consumers search online for products and services.
  • Approximately 87% of the U.S. Population is on the internet.
  • There are roughly 28 million small businesses in the United States.  These comprise 60% of all businesses.
  • 52% of small businesses don’t even have a website.

This last one just blew my mind.  People start their search on the internet. That’s where the potential customers are.  Why wouldn’t  a small business owner want to be there?

The answer?  I think they do. But, there are two major obstacles.

  1. Hiring someone to do it for you can be expensive.
  2. When you try to do it yourself, you run into this wall of techno-babble that is almost impossible to understand.

That’s when I decided to devote my efforts to explaining in plain English how small business owners could use the internet to be successful.

So…That’s It!

I want this website to be a source of ideas, techniques, and methods small business owners can use.

I know first hand running a small business can be both a difficult and joyous experience at the same time.  I hope to present a wide range of topics you can use to be more successful.    

If there are topics you would like to see discussed, please let me know by emailing me in the comments section.

If you would like to sign up for future emails from me, please click here:   

http://forms.aweber.com/form/84/2070603084.htm

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Duct Tape Marketing-A Book Review

Duct Tape Marketing-A Book Review

Today I am reviewing Duct Tape Marketing, The Worlds Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, by John Jantsch.  (© 2006 by John Jantsch All rights reserved. Published in Nashville, Tennessee, by Thomas Nelson. Thomas Nelson is a registered trademark of Thomas Nelson, Inc.)

As small business owners, we must recognize, like it or not, we are in the marketing business.  When you’re starting out, it’s hard to know what to do or when to do it.  In Duct Tape Marketing, author John Jantsch gives solid advice on building marketing plans that work.

In Part 1 of the book, Jantsch describes in detail how to build a sticky marketing system designed to help your prospects know you better and like you more.  There is sound practical advice on building a core message, creating marketing materials, and building a web site without breaking the bank.

In Part 2 there is sound advice on using various types of media, from ordinary print and direct mail, up to and including the internet. Here you can find ways to generate leads, turn leads into prospects, prospects into client, and clients into partners.

Part 3 concludes the book describing how to take what works for you and then do more of it.

The only fault I could find this book, was that it left me with the impression that you needed to do it all in order to succeed.  I feel, in reality, you should pick one or two things most suited to your situation, and pound away at those for a while before moving on.

That said, I still found this book to be an excellent guide for anyone who is a small business owner and particularly anyone who is considering starting a small business.

If you want to order this book now, just click on the link below the book jacket image to get it from Powell’s Book Store in Portland.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Powell’s Affiliate.)

Click here to purchase this great book from Powell’s

How to Create Engaging Content

How to Create Engaging Content

If you are using your blog to promote your business, what is your biggest challenge?  Writing content people want to read.  

It’s not easy.  Here is a post giving some great tips on engaging content creation.  

HOW TO WRITE ENGAGING CONTENT THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO READ
avatar

December 24, 2013

Categories: Publications

With the state of search in the content basket, we have to provide well-written, engaging content for people in our niche. Think about The Huffington Post or Wired, or even Seth Godin’s blog. What is it about them that makes people go there, day after day, to read the content?

Does the thought scare you? It shouldn’t. You don’t have to be Seth or Arianna to have a willing audience. You just have to write more than pap. You need to teach people, entertain them, or give them something important to think about. There’s news, events, and even other blog posts to help you figure out something to write.

Writing or deciding what I’m going to write about has never been a problem for me because there is just so much information out there to pull from! You just have to know where to find it.

In this article, I’d like to give you some of my tactics and then, some resources where you can find ideas for creating content and making it sing!

Build Your Arsenal of Info

I use Outlook for email, but I’m sure you can set up folders in your mail program, no matter what you’re using to receive and read your email.  I have subscribed to a number of blogs and newsletters in the SEO niche, and every time one of those emails come in, it automatically goes into a folder I call “Grist.” Yes, for my mill. When I need to write an article and an idea doesn’t just pop into my head, I have a TON of information to fall back on.

I also start reading blogs, which I do anyway, to keep up with SEO changes. Reading alone has always given me something to write. Have you heard about AllTop.com? It’s a content aggregator, and with it, you can designate blogs you read regularly and have them all on one page at the same time, along with recent posts. If you click the link, you’ll come to my personal AllTop page, which has lots of tech, SEO and other stuff that will interest anyone who’s doing business online. Try it!

Make Your Content Worth Reading

content1We’ve already established that not all content is created equally, and I further discussed that in an article I wrote last month in “7 Content Marketing Mistakes to Avoid.”  You need to craft each article with care and enough engaging information to make readers read through to the end. If you don’t do that and just writing for search engines, you won’t succeed. If you’re not writing content that people want to share, don’t bother.

Seriously.

So, you need some stuff to pump it up. Here are some tactics that I use to make my articles more readable:

Statistics

Statistics are great! People love to see stats about things they’re interested in and (at least, I think so) that’s partly why infographics have become so popular. Think about the last one you saw, and I guarantee there’s at least one interesting statistic in it.

Where can you get stats?

Easy.

HubSpot gave us All the Marketing Statistics You Need. This compilation of stats from data sites around the Web is amazing. Did you know that worldwide, we conduct 131 billion searches per month on the Web? According to ComScore in 2010, we did. I’m betting it’s a much larger figure now that tablets and smartphones are so available. Be sure the statistic you want to use reflects the current situation.

But notice two things about the statistic. First, I told you where to find it, and second, I told you where it came from and when. These are important for your credibility. You could make up any old statistic, so until you prove where it came from and assure yourself and your readers that it’s a solid stat, why include it at all?

If you click through to the page above, you’ll notice that Hubspot gathered statistics, not just from ComScore, but from Marketing Sherpa, eMarketer, and other known and respected sites, as well. Just don’t forget to tell readers that though you got the stat from one site, that it was provided by another.  Don’t trust sources that aren’t solid, either.  Known and trusted sites are the only ones you should pull statistics from.

Quotations

Quotes from people who are respected in your niche are great. Just be really sure they said what you’re quoting. I wrote a biography of Gloria Steinem several years ago, and she’s still quoted as saying, “A woman needs a man a like fish needs a bicycle,” but she never said it. Don’t put words into other people’s mouths! Not everything you read online is true, either. Remember that.

So, how do you prove things that people say?

Get at least two reliable sources. And sometimes, if the quote is controversial for example, get three. You can be sued for liable, even if you think nobody is reading your stuff. Famous people have searches done on their brand all the time. Just be sure you’re giving credit where credit is due.

content2Where to find quotes?

I’d suggest finding quote in articles written by the person you want to quote, since there are so many online now.  Just about every famous person who has ever existed has something you can quote from. Seriously. You’d be amazed at how many primary source documents there are online these days. That means, diaries, government records, papal bulls, letters, and so much, much more. Find those things and you know you’re golden. If you’re using primary source documentation, you don’t need to look for another source. Just as you won’t, if you’re quoting an article on a very reliable website.

For example, if I quoted Richard Branson from an article he wrote (or had ghost written) on LinkedIn, I wouldn’t worry about finding corroboration. But if I’m reading a biography on a personal blog about Richard Branson, I’d have to find other information that matches what I found to assure its veracity.

And please, please, please, don’t trust Wikipedia. It’s a great place for general research, but for honest-to-goodness journalistic purpose, not so much.

You can pick up a bunch of early American history primary source documents at Constitution.org, for example. You never know when a quote from George Washington or Patrick Henry might suit your needs, even if you’re writing about doing business online.

Try Google books, too. I just found an old book with a bunch of Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s letters in it. (You’ll see why I was looking for those in a minute.)

Anecdotes

content3Anecdotes are always engaging. I used one above to tell you about Gloria Steinem. But an anecdote can be about anyone, known or unknown. It can be you or someone other than you that you tell a short story about. People love stories and that’s why copywriting embraces storytelling. It’s engaging, and if you tell a great story, people will want to keep reading your work until the end.

There are stories abound online. You can find a good collection at Listverse.com, but just type “famous anecdotes” into a search query box and you’ll find tons of them. Or read TextsFromLastNight.com and quote someone anonymously. Like this, “You’re right. I woke up today with my ugly sweater still on and no pants. I’d say it was a successful night.”  This doesn’t need corroboration because it was entered by the person who wrote it. Not an academic anecdote, but pretty funny.

Another story I found while researching a book about famous composers years back related to Tchaikovsky, one of the greatest. Apparently, he tried to drown himself because of an unhappy marriage to a woman, when he was more drawn to men. He was also prone to “nerves,” as he called them. So, he waded into the Volga River, which he hoped would give him pneumonia and cause him to die. His plan didn’t work, though he did suffer a nervous breakdown. Poor dude. If only he knew how beloved his music would become. Not a funny story, but I’m guessing you didn’t know that about the man. Am I right?

So, there: a sentence, one paragraph, a little story… and people feel happy they read your stuff.

Don’t Hit Submit Right Away

Now, you have a killer article that teaches people something, right? It helps them solve a problem in their niche, and it’s engaging because you took the time to fill in some really solid details.

But wait! Don’t hit the submit button yet!

Allow your work to percolate for at least a few hours (a whole day is better). Then, go back and see if what you wrote makes sense, if you might have used some better word choices or your phrases could be more fluid, and try to look at it like a stranger. With the world moving so fast and with all there is to do, see if you’d spend the time. Then, read the article aloud and see how it will “sound” in someone else’s head.

When you do this, you will have a MUCH better article.

Throwing things out there willy-nilly with bad grammar and spelling, and that’s not very readable won’t help you. Spiders are watching.

Give them a great show. They’ll not only read what you’ve written… they’ll come back for more!

Author bio:

Pat Marcello is the President of MagnaSites.com, a full service digital marketing company. She also taught writing for five years for the Institute of Children’s Literature and has had 10 books published in four languages. Read her last article “How to Be an SEO in 2014” here.

Need to Write Engaging Content? Here’s 12 Tips

Need to Write Engaging Content? Here’s 12 Tips

So, you’re a small business owner.  And, you’ve got a blog (or an E newsletter).  Congratulations. 

Then you wake up and realize you have just added content writer to your job description.  How are you going to add fresh content in every post? 

Here’s a post with 12 tips to get you started. 

12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers

Are you not getting any readership?

Why?

Because your content is not engaging!

In this post I’ll tell you 12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers. So read from top to toe! 😉

12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers

After reading your posts, your audience should feel like hanging around to ask questions, agree, disagree and see what else you’ve got to say. After all, we’re talking potential long term relationships here. Try these 12 Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers and you’re halfway towards bagging that customer.

Tips For Writing Engaging Content For Readers!

1. Pose Engaging Questions

At the end of a post, pose a brain-stimulating question. Make them ponder, make them wonder and churn those grey cells to figure out what you want. The idea is to put your site and business fully into your reader’s head so that they come back for more. One of the best ways to achieve this is by stimulating their thought process.

2. Put Out An Ethical Conundrum

Do you feel celebrities are doing good by adopting children from poor African countries? Should those children be taken away from their families just because they can have a better quality of life in the US? That’s an ethical conundrum right there. Put something like that out there in your post and motivate your readers to comment and argue amongst themselves.

3. Get Them To Offer Tips To Solve Something

It could be a problem that you’re facing, or something your customer is facing. It doesn’t matter. Write a post about it and open the door to your readers to contribute 5 unique tips each to combat the issue. In fact, make it a contest; publicly credit the reader with the best tips on your blog so that everyone can see.

4. Open The Door To Sharing

Share a personal problem you’ve experienced in a post and explain how you handled it. Then ask your readers to share how they would handle a similar situation. If you can get them to submit their thoughts in about 400 words or so, that’s a blog post you can use. With just one move, you manage to engage your readers plus get blog posts out of it.

Read : Top 10 Best Social Sharing Plugins For WordPress

5. Share Half A Story And Ask For Projected Outcomes

This is a spin-off from the old college game of spin the tale. Write a post detailing a problematic business or personal situation without detailing the final outcome. Ask your readers to contribute ideas for possible outcomes.  You can suggest some ideas from your side to motivate them along.

6. Start With An Engaging Opener

Your post opening should engage the reader from the word go. Remember, your readers can get all kinds of facts online. They don’t want another fact-spewing post. They want something that’ll ignite their curiosity, motivate their thought process and get them engaged. Make your opener funny, insightful, poky, witty and outrageous if need be.

 7. Make The Content Graphically Vivid

Paint a picture with your words, and draw people into the scene you’re painting. You don’t need to have Pulitzer-worthy authoring skills to do this. Just write in your speaking voice, as though you’re chatting up to your mates at the bar. Throw some adjectives and invectives in (watch out – no profanity!). Throw in some cultural flavor that reflects your background.

Read :  Short Length Post Vs Length Posts – What’s Best?

8. Use The Active Voice

Long, droning passive voice sentences are okay for legal docs and long procedural guides. When it comes to your blog post, keep the voice active. Your reader must be able to relate to the information you’re presenting in a live sense. The purpose will be totally defeated if your blog reads like old prose.

9. Use The First And Second Grammatical Person

It’s your blog; you’re talking to your readers – what’s with the third person? No more ‘they’ and ‘them’ and stuff. Write directly to your audience using first and second person only. This makes your reader feel closer to you and creates a virtual bond of familiarity.

10. Be Direct

Use active verbs instead of inactive verbs to deliver a direct, immediate and energetic impact. Instead of, “I was thinking how to address your issue”, write, “I am thinking about how to address your issue”. The difference is the directness of the tone and also the direct action mode.

11. Play With Words

There are many ways of writing what you want to say and it’s in your hands. For example, instead of saying, “I cannot put up with their holier than thou attitude anymore”, say “If I put up with their holier-than-thou attitude anymore, I’ll just call me a cow and be done with it”. I am sure you can come up with something funnier and more engaging.

12. Provide A Conclusion

Let’s face it; no one has tons of time to read every line of every post. Encapsulate the essence of your article in a short conclusion to help out these busy people. Your conclusion should ideally tie up your points together and provide a short glimpse of what the article is all about.

Read : 4 Reasons Your Blog Will Never Grow!

Over To you!

29 Reasons Email Should Be Your Top Marketing Tool

29 Reasons Email Should Be Your Top Marketing Tool

The biggest challenge we face as Small Business Owners is attracting new clients and customers.  How can we do this without breaking the bank?  

The surprising, simple answer is email.  

Done the right way, email can be a high touch way to build a list of people who are interested in you and your business. 

Here is a post listing 29 excellent reasons you should be using email as your top marketing tool. 

29 Reasons to Use Email Marketing (As Told by Small Business Owners)

 

 

16

 

137

 

0

Deciding where to invest your marketing dollars isn’t a decision you take lightly.

You know you need to attract new customers and keep your existing clients coming back, but you can’t afford to invest time or resources into something that isn’t going to deliver the results you expect.

Email marketing is a cost-effective solution that gives you the power to reach customers in a place most people visit every day — their inbox.

There’s plenty of data to back up the benefits of email marketing. For example:

  • 91 percent of US adults like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with (MarketingSherpa, 2015)
  • Email is almost 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping your business acquire new customers. (McKinsey, 2014)

But if you really want to find out how email can work for your business, why not ask other small business owners and see how it worked for them?

We’re constantly on the lookout for the exciting and innovative ways our customers are using email marketing to build customer relationships and do more business.

Here are 29 of our favorite examples of how small businesses and organizations have benefited from email marketing:

1. Build credibility

People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email gives you the ability to build credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative content.

“For years, in large part to the newsletter I think, I’ve never had trouble attracting new clients and the right kinds of clients. People will read my newsletter and be able to tell if I’m the right person for the project before they even call me.”

Tom Ahern, founder of Ahern Donor Communications

Constant Contact customer since 2006

Learn more: How to Create a Newsletter that Builds Credibility and Shows Off Your Expertise

2. Generate calls

When done right, email marketing lets you reach the right person, with the right offer, at the right time. For a business like Rejuvenate Therapeutic Massage, a well-timed email results in a flood of calls each time they hit send.

“Email is our prime mode of communication. We rely really heavily on it because whenever I send something out, I’ll get a flood of telephone calls.”

Victor Terrazas, owner of Rejuvenate Therapeutic Massage

Constant Contact customer since 2013

Learn more: How One Wellness Center Uses Constant Contact and MINDBODY to Connect with Clients and Drive Business

3. Increase donations

As fundraising efforts continue to move online, nonprofits need to adapt their outreach efforts as well. Texas-based nonprofit, Rescued Pets Movement, saw the benefit of using email to increase donations when they sent an email to raise emergency funds for a dog in need in March 2013.

“We sent a plea out to our database, explaining the situation and asking for help. Our audience knows that we only send these types of emails when we really need to, which is why these always get the most clicks and shares. The response was amazing; we raised over $10,000 from individual donors and were able to get her the help she needed.”

Laura Carlock, founder of Rescued Pets Movement

Constant Contact customer since 2013

Learn more: 4 Steps to Creating an Email Strategy that Drives Action

4. Strengthen relationships

If you want to build strong customer relationships, it’s important to have an effective tool to communicate with the people who matter most to your business. Email gives you the ability to stay top-of-mind and keep people engaged with your business during your busy season and the slower times of the year.

“Being able to get our message out there is important to us. It gives the members a feeling of being included. They know what’s going on with the gym and know that they aren’t just a number on a list.”

Nicole Sanders, founder of Ladimax Sports and Fitness

Constant Contact customer since 2014

Learn more: How to Choose the Perfect Email Template

5. Improve communication

If your business depends on having a reliable way to communicate with your members and clients, you need to have a communication channel you can trust. For real estate management company, Buccini/Pollin Group, email has provided a reliable solution to keep tenants informed and up-to-date.

“We’ve had people say that they’ve really noticed that there’s more communication going on. It can be something small – maybe the garage doors aren’t going up or down – we try to send out an email right away letting our residents know that’s happening, and sometimes get an email right back saying thank you and that they appreciate it.”

Julia Mason, residential marketing manager for Buccini/Pollin Group

Constant Contact customer since 2014

Learn more: How a Business Transformed Its Marketing to Meet the Needs of Its Customers

6. Build your brand

With email, you can strengthen brand recognition with new and potential clients, and extend your reach when people forward or share your message with a friend.

“The emails are an important reinforcement of brand. I get calls from people I’ve never met all the time. They get the newsletter, or a friend of theirs gets the newsletter, and they know I’m the person to call. It really helps establish credibility upfront.”

Brandon Stewart, realtor at David Griffin & Company Realtors

Constant Contact customer since 2009

Learn more: How to Turn Your Email Newsletters into Prime Real Estate

7. Boost sales

When you have an audience of people who are interested in receiving updates from your business, you’ll be able to think differently about how you boost sales throughout the year. This has been especially valuable for a business like Colorado-based Allegria Spa, which communicates with local residents and visitors from around the country.

“It has definitely been the easiest way to reach people. If we have a slower day and know that we want to reach local people, we can create a quick email and will get at least a few calls right away. The response is immediate.”

Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: From Snail Mail to Email: How One Spa Made the Switch to Digital and Saw Great Results

8. Learn what works

Email marketing gives you the metrics you need to see how your emails are performing. These insights help you market smarter, and also give you the advantage of better understanding the needs and interests of your customer base.

“Email has definitely helped us with web traffic and attendance at our events. I like that after I send an email out, I can go back and see how many people clicked through on which links. That way I can tell people are interacting with our content and click through to our website.”

Ally Whittaker, public relations manager for The Local Good

Constant Contact customer since 2009

Learn more: 5 Steps to Grow an Email Audience that Looks Forward to Hearing from You

9. Get started quickly

With email marketing software like Constant Contact, you’ll have the tools and training you need to get started quickly — regardless of your level of marketing experience or expertise. When you do get stuck, we have a team of people who are dedicated to your success. Just pick up the phone and give us a call.

“When we first started, I really wasn’t sure how it would work for us. I’m not a professional marketer, and thought I would need a lot of training. But I decided to give it a try and was able to teach myself everything I needed to know.”

Anca Bala, gallery and event coordinator for Gallery Above Penn Square

Constant Contact customer since 2014

Learn more: How to Promote Your Organization Like an Expert (Even if You’re Just Getting Started)

10. Reach people on any device

With nearly two-thirds of all emails being opened on a mobile device, email marketing is one of the best tools you can use to take advantage of the growing popularity of mobile technology.

“We are definitely focused on mobile devices now. I want to know that if someone gets our email, no matter where they are, they can look at it. In fact, when I sent our last flyer I got three phone calls! That’s big! And I am almost positive that all of those people were on their phones, not in an office.”

Carol Singer, owner of Arlington Promotional Products

Constant Contact customer since 2009

Learn more: Making the Switch to Mobile: 3 Small Business Success Stories

11. Get more from doing less

One of the benefits of using an email marketing provider is that you have access to professionally-designed email templates. These templates are designed to make it quick and easy to get your message out to your audience, and ensure you look professional when it lands in the inbox.

 “Email marketing is great, because it doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to have a big effect.”

Terri Jasen, national program director, Pajama Program

Learn more: How a Nonprofit Raises $1,000 per Email

12. Look professional

Email templates aren’t just easy to use; they’re also designed to make sure you look professional when you reach your audience member’s inbox. You can insert your own content and customize each template with your logo and colors to make sure it matches your brand.

“We get really good feedback from the newsletters and the new templates have been working great for us, we’re getting a lot of opens.” 

Todd Starnes, president, Bicycle Adventures

Learn more: 10 Small Businesses & Nonprofits with Great-Looking Email Templates that Drive Action

13. Increase website traffic

Whether you’re an e-commerce business that sells products online, or a retail store that wants to increase traffic to your website so that you can bring more people into your store — email marketing can help.

“Email definitely works. We see people clicking through to our website and we have people coming into the shop telling us that they saw our newsletter.”

Dawn Noble, owner, La Provence

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: 10 Ways You Can Use Images to Bring Your Emails to Life

14. Market with a personal touch

Unlike other marketing channels that often limit your ability to customize your message for the different audiences you communicate with, email marketing gives you the ability to organize your audience into lists and communicate with people based on interest, purchase behavior, location, and more.

This has proven especially useful for someone like Courtney Hendricson, who manages the communication between the local government and business community of Enfield, Connecticut.

“I do the best I can to put all my contacts in separate lists so I can email just the development community, or just businesses, or elected officials, depending on what kind of event announcement or email I’m sending.”

Courtney Hendricson, assistant town manager, Town of Enflield, Connecticut

Constant Contact customer since 2013

Learn more: 4 Tips for Using Email and Events to Strengthen Your Community

15. Get immediate results

When you run a small business, every sale, order, or appointment can have a significant impact. With email, you’re able to get the results you’re looking for right away and easily track how your different campaigns are performing.

“It’s rewarding because we always get an immediate response through orders. Whenever we need to trigger sales, we’ll think of a great special to put out there.”

Karen Kowal, founder, Mother Earth Pillows

Constant Contact customer since 2010

Learn more: A Pain-Free Approach for Reaching the Right People with Email

16. Generate leads

Not everyone who joins your email list will be ready to make a purchase or sign up for a service. Email gives you the opportunity to capture new visitor’s attention and nurture the relationship with helpful and informative content.

“It’s been great for generating leads. People that are thinking about using our service will usually sign up for the newsletter. I’ll see them pop up for a couple of weeks in my reader-base, and then they’ll call and make an appointment. It’s not long until we pull them in as a customer.”

Meghan Blair-Valero, owner, Fogged in Bookkeeping, Inc.

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: [Q&A] How to Create an All Star Newsletter for Your Small Business

17. Build excitement

You want your marketing message to be something that people look forward to seeing. Email lets you keep track of which messages are generating the most opens and clicks, so you know which messages will get people excited to hear from your business.

“It’s always nice to hear someone tell us how much they enjoyed reading our newsletter and thanking us for reminding them to come visit the store or give us a call. The personal touch really makes the difference.”

Sue Bedell, owner, Second Bloom Design

Constant Contact customer since 2010

Learn more: 3 Steps to Building Better Relationships with Email and Social Media

18. Start a conversation

Email marketing lets you start a two-way conversation that will benefit you and your readers. Don’t just push your message out to them; encourage them to share their feedback and ideas. This approach has worked well for a company like WH Cornerstone Investments, which relies on email to share helpful advice, news, and education with clients.

“After each email, I get three to five calls. Some people see my email and get reminded they want a consultation, others will just want to talk about a news article.”

Paula Harris, co-owner, WH Cornerstone Investments

Constant Contact customer since 2003

Learn more: How to Build a Content-Rich Email

19. Promote services

Service businesses face the difficult challenge of keeping clients interested in their business, even when they aren’t looking for services at different times of the year. Email gives you the opportunity to keep your client’s attention without overwhelming them with unwanted information.

“Our email marketing started off as an experiment. But our open rates are usually higher than 50 percent and we get service calls every time we send a newsletter out, so I think it’s working.”

Matthew Taylor, co-owner, Green Solutions Lawn Care & Pest Control

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: 5 Ways to Market Your Now-And-Again Service with Email Content

20. Grow your audience

As a small business, it’s not always easy to stand out in a crowded market. Email marketing allows you to build an audience that is interested in hearing from you, without having to pay for other advertising channels.

“Five years ago, we started with about zero contacts, but we have a great database now – we have 7,000 email addresses. That means I can push out a social event or a holiday and let 7,000 people know instead of advertising  it for $500 in a newspaper.”

Grant Galuppi, owner, Galuppi’s Restaurant

Constant Contact customer since 2010

Learn more: [Q&A] 4 Restaurants Share Their Email Marketing Secrets

21. Stay organized

Reaching out to clients on an individual basis can be a costly and time consuming process. Email helps you save time by reaching out to your wider audience, while still delivering a message that’s personal and relevant to them.

“Before Constant Contact, we were manually keeping track of everyone we had reached out to — it was crazy, the amount of time it took. Now, I can send out an email to about 300 people in less than five minutes.”

Ruth Weening, catering manager, Basil Tree Catering

Constant Contact customer since 2008

Learn more: Help, My Contacts Aren’t Opening My Emails!

22. Increase your value

When you adopt a communication strategy that fits your audience’s needs, you’ll have more people paying attention to your message and get a higher return overall.

For a business like Cotton Clouds, making the switch from print to email newsletters doubled the amount of sales they were able to generate each time they reached out to clients.

“Every time I send out an email, I get a sale in 15 minutes. Overall, I get up to four times as many sales with these newsletters than I did with my old ones, and they’ve gone from about $50 per order to $100.”

Irene Schmoller, founder Cotton Clouds

Constant Contact customer since 2010

Learn more: 5 Email Strategies for Quadrupling Sales

23. Attract new clients

In addition to connecting with the people on your email list, you can also share your newsletters and announcements on your own social networks to bring new people to your business.

“People get to see my work, which is great, and these are often people who I never get to meet with one-on-one. The timing of each newsletter is going to be right for somebody, and having the opportunity to show people what I’m doing has just been a great way to grow my business and my reach.”

Jill Singer, owner Jill Singer Graphics

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: Email Marketing: The New Networking for Entrepreneurs

24. Save time

Once you learn the basics, you’ll be able to put together a plan to get your emails out to your audience in less time.

“The biggest benefit of email marketing, from a staff perspective, is efficiency. I have a template made so it’s easy to pull together an email quickly. I think the rest of my staff thinks it takes me a lot longer to create an email than it actually does!”

Kayla Peck, FAO Schwarz foundation fellow at Strong Women, Strong Girls

Constant Contact customer since 2005

Learn more: How to Make a Big Ask Even if You’re a Small Nonprofit

25. You’re not alone

If you’ve tried other marketing activities, it can sometimes feel like you’re completely on your own. Here at Constant Contact,we believe you shouldn’t have to do it alone. You’ll have the support you need to get things done, and tools and training to become an expert marketer.

“I recently had some white space in a newsletter I couldn’t get rid of. So I called customer support and they explained the image needed to be resized and the issue was cleared up immediately. A great thing about Constant Contact is if you’re having a problem, you can just pick up the phone and someone will solve your problem in a matter of minutes.”

Dan Plouffe, co-founder, MyCollingwood.com

Constant Contact customer since 2012

Learn more: How One Small Business Became the Talk of Their Town with Email and Social Media

26. Stay top-of-mind

By sharing relevant content with your audience throughout the year, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind and build credibility. While they may not be ready to act right away, when your audience knows you have something that can help them solve a problem they’ll be more likely to take action when the time is right.

“Almost all of our donations, around 95%, come through our email newsletters. Using email marketing to maintain relationships and build personal connections has been a key to our success. And the biggest part of that has been staying in touch and top of mind throughout the year.”

Julie Taulman, executive director, Steamboat Adaptive Recreational Sports (STARS)

Constant Contact customer since 2009

Learn more: 4 Nonprofits Share Their Email Marketing Stories

27. Improve visibility

As much as you’d like to think customers know about all of the different products and services you have to offer, there’s a good chance that many of them don’t. This was a problem the McDonald Wildlife Photography faced when they first got started with email marketing for their travel business.

Taking a more pro-active approach to their marketing proved to be exactly what they needed to improve exposure of the services they offer.

“Our problem in the past would be when people were not aware of all the trips we had available. Up until we started using Constant Contact we just had everything on our website. From a marketing sense, that’s the wrong approach because it puts the burden on our customers.”

Joe McDonald, co-founder, McDonald Wildlife Photography

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: All Star Conversations: 4 of Our Favorite Stories from this Year’s All Star Awards

28. Book more classes

Whether you need to get the word out about a class weeks in advance or want to make up for some last-minute cancellations, email marketing can help you get the word out about all of your activities in a way that’s convenient for you.

This is especially important for a yoga studio like extendYoga, which hosts a full schedule of classes every day.

“We make it easy for our customers to book classes right online through our emails. Once an email goes out, we see the sign-ups come in shortly after.”

Arlet Koseian, founder of extendYoga

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: Don’t Let These 4 Email Marketing Fears Hold Your Business Back

29. Maintain vendor relationships

You’re probably already investing time and resources into marketing to potential customers. But are you also thinking carefully about how you build relationships with vendors and partnering businesses? Email gives you the ability to maintain communication with all of your different audiences so that you can build the relationships you need to be successful.

“If you don’t have a plan for reaching out to vendors on a regular basis, it’s easy to let some people fall through the cracks. You want to make sure you’re maintaining relationships with both your core vendors and any of the smaller ones you may be working with.”

Lee Klacher, founder of Octane Press

Constant Contact customer since 2011

Learn more: How to Build Vendor Relationships and Increase Sales with Email Marketing

Start your success story

As you can tell, we love to hear the stories of businesses that have used email marketing to grow their business. If you’re already using email marketing and have seen great results, we’d love to hear your story in the comments below!

If you’re not using email marketing, and are interested in seeing how it could work for your small business, you can try it for free. Start your free 60-day trial of Constant Contact today!

Want to learn more? Download our guide, Get Started with Email Marketing: 10 Ideas that Really Work

Is email marketing right for you?

See why smart small businesses use email marketing to drive more business. We’ll show you exactly what it can do for you, and ten tips to get started.

Get your Guide!

By entering your information, you permit us to reach out to you in the 

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons