Friday, June 28, 2013

E-newsletters – How to Increase Your Open Rate

by Kim Tarasiewicz

Does your company send an e-newsletter? It’s a great way to touch a large audience and keep your brand in front of them in a positive, valuable way. The trick is how to get your audience to open your newsletter with so much “In-Box” clutter.

Your readers are more likely to respond, repost or take action on an event in the newsletter if they feel it is meant for them personally. Providing the recipient with a useful tip, guide or item of interest makes them more likely to share your newsletter with friends and expand your company brand. Industry tips can be useful and relevant, especially when they include a “Secrets of…,” “How to…,” or “Trends in…,”section. Trivia, interesting images and humor will keep your reader engaged while providing them a break from strictly business communications.

Keep a spreadsheet of topic ideas during the month and ask employees for input. Has one of your employees won an award or completed a community service project? –Share the link and alert that organization, which will boost their presence and show another side of your business. And be sure to keep the articles timely.

10 Best Practices When Creating E-Newsletters:
  • Make the design consistent with your website and collateral materials. This maintains your branding and awareness.
  • Add an opt-in subscription tool on the website and social media sites.
  • Host all newsletter content on your website and only provide teaser copy with links in the e-newsletters.
  • Be sure to review open rates, evaluate trends and readers’ habits over time, and adjust your newsletter content to meet the needs of the readers.
  • Send at regular intervals.
  • Send at optimal times.
  • Use a “from” address that is identifiable with your company.
  • Include engagement tools: surveys, polls, forums, ways to provide feedback, links to social media.
  • Test everything before sending your newsletter. Once it’s gone, you cannot get it back. 
  • Be sure to include an opt-out link. Familiarize yourself with the CAN-SPAM Act.
And remember, if you keep it interesting, your clients will look forward to opening your newsletter first when they check their emails.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Can We Turn Off The Spigot?

By Rose Strong

Did you ever have one of those days when you feel like you’re speaking a foreign language to everyone around you? Nobody seems to be listening or a simple email is misconstrued? It happens; days go by when no matter what we say or how we say it we just can’t get through. Or people are blasted at from every direction these days, they just don’t take time out to listen to what their co-workers, kids or significant others are saying.

When I was a youngster in grade school, I discovered Helen Keller. Through books, I devoured anything I could get my hands on about the life of this woman who overcame incredible adversity. I was riveted to the movie The Miracle Worker and had my heart set on becoming a teacher for the deaf and blind.

I took to learning new forms of communication: using finger spelling and even sought out how to learn Braille. I could spell rather well using my hands, but never learned much more about American Sign Language.

I found Keller’s life deeply fascinating. She was able to surmount such dire circumstances as blindness and deafness that could have kept her locked in the dark. Her pathway out was her teacher who became her life-long companion, Anne Sullivan. Sullivan brought Keller out of her dark and silent place by commanding her attention to non-verbal indicators that helped her to understand the world she was living in. From this moment at the water pump, Helen Keller’s life changed forever, through simple signals Sullivan pressed into her hand to converse and inform her.

Throughout people’s time on earth, there have been so many ways we have invented to communicate with one another.

Ancient man used hieroglyphics and cave paintings, Native Americans and the Chinese utilized smoke signals and in the 19th century,  Morse code  and the telegraph was developed as means for humans to communicate with one another over the miles by sending telegrams, which, interestingly will be ending forever, next month.

No longer using primitive methods, there are still numerous forms of communication in our shared world; from the verbal to the non-verbal; writing; music and art to Twitter; Facebook and texts. This blog post link, although lengthy, gives details on our collective non-verbal communications known as body language.

Many of these methods require us to focus, sit still and pay attention, something we seemed to have lost in the age of electronic communication. It’s as if the information we pass along and that which is coming at us is pouring out a spigot. We can’t get enough, but we don’t always take time to turn the flow off and soak it in like a sponge.

A recent blog post came to my inbox from The Purpose Fairy that helped spurn my thoughts about communication in its vast forms throughout history.  Alla Berdnikova from the village of Odessa in the Ukraine wrote 7 Important Lessons Deaf People Can Teach You About Communication.  The link is an eye-opener and takes us back to Helen Keller. Once she learned about water, she wanted to learn about everything else, but she had to slow down and focus to take in the information.  Some days, I really need to turn off the spigot and soak it in.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Search, Social and Content Marketing Webinar Hosted by Arnie Kuenn

by Liz Jenei

I recently participated in a webinar hosted by Target Marketing Group:  “How to Win at Search, Social and Content Marketing” by Arnie Kuenn, CEO of Vertical Measures. Kuenn shared details regarding how to achieve success through search, social and content marketing in today’s Google-driven world.

The most important point I took away from the webinar is that people using the Internet are mostly online for one reason: to find the answer to a question.

Of the people using Google as a search engine, 46 percent are searching for answers to a question and 26 percent are looking to be educated on a particular topic. Combined, there is an average of 72 percent of the people using online search engines to seek an answer to a question —so when you think about how to create content that will populate at the top of Google searches, draft your content in the form of questions people ask and the answers people are seeking.

Kuenn says one of the easiest ways to come up with good search worthy content is to start within your own company by asking your employees the simple question: What do you get asked most about our company or the services we offer? This is something our CEO, Gina Rubel, has been saying for years. In fact, she tells staff and clients to keep a notepad next to the telephone to record the questions that are most frequently asked. The answers to those questions will almost always serve as excellent blog content or content for website FAQs.

Those same questions are inevitably the questions that qualified and interested parties are going to search on Google, Yahoo! and Bing to seek answers.

Another great tip is to use Google-suggested search to find top industry keywords. You can do this by going to the Google Adwords Keyword Tool under “Tools and Analysis” and conducting a search for keywords relevant to your topic. I should also note that you need a Google account to access Google Adwords – a simple and free Gmail account will suffice.

For example, if I was the marketing manager for a law firm in center city Philadelphia, I would most certainly have the key phrases “Law Firms Located in Center City” in either a blog on my website or on the company website itself after seeing that it’s one of the first phrases to populate on Google.

Another important point Kuenn makes is that spending most of your efforts in compiling effective, smart and compelling content can be even more successful than social media tactics. While social media is effective and can drive viewers to your website, well thought out, searchable content statistically drives more views than social media.

New content is also important. Kuenn highly suggests having a company blog and updating it as much as possible. Companies that blog (or create new content) 15 times or more a month have five times the amount of traffic than those which do not have new content. 

So when it comes to having a search worthy site, the key point to remember is to have great, searchable content which is updated regularly and incorporates keywords.

Kuenn’s full PowerPoint presentation of How to Win at Search, Social and Content Marketing is available on Slideshare.