Don’t waste your time writing that newsletter!

Chantal

I’ve just spent an hour catching up on reading newsletters. I often don’t have time to read them as they arrive, so put them somewhere safe and then read them when I have time. I copied a bunch of these newsletters onto my laptop, so that I could read them, while I sat in a coffee shop, between meetings. After a while I wondered why I bothered.

There were ‘newsletters’ that were pure sales pitch, telling me how great the company was. There was one that just said ‘you might like to read this’ with a link to someone else’s website. One of them was a list of articles that the sender had written over the last few months.

If you’re going to take the time to research and write an email newsletter and build a list of interested people to send it to, the least you can do is send something of use to your readers. Don’t patronise them and don’t waste their time, or they will delete what you send the next time!

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Not another email newsletter!

Chantal

Is that what you think when yet another email newsletter drops into your inbox?

There are far too many bad email newsletters out there – ones that you haven’t asked to receive, that are full of sales pitch, or that don’t share anything useful with you. They are giving email newsletters a bad name!

However, newsletters are still a really cost effective way to promote your business. I’ve been writing this one for many years and it still brings me business, while helping to grow my reputation.

Because so many dreadful newsletters are still published, I’ve decided to help all the people who would still like to use a newsletter to promote their business – and who want to know how to do it properly.

I’ve crammed all my experience into my brand new 40+ page ebook. Whether you run your own business or work in the marketing department of a large organisation, this book will help you create a newsletter that gets responses like this one:

“I must say out of all the marketing emails I receive I feel yours are the best; this one is particularly good as it’s not a hard sell and it’s good to get some interesting advice.”

To find out how you too can create an email newsletter that people enjoy reading and that will help build your reputation and grow your business, click here to buy the ebook directly from my website for only £9.99 + VAT.

Is being the fastest the best?

Alice

It is commonplace to hear that an event had received a large audience because it has been publicised on Twitter. This does, of course, depend on how many followers the Twitterer had, what time of day the tweet was sent, how many times, and what it said. And the viral element: how many times it was retweeted, which, in turn, depends on the Twitter accounts it was retweeted by, and who read it…

Social networking is notoriously fast. To those who aren’t old fogies like me, it seems incomprehensible how slow we were 20 years ago, without email, mobile phones or even the internet. Publicising an event would have taken planning, forethought and a considerable amount of legwork: getting flyers printed, distributed and posted up on show; invites sent out to likely friends, relying on the Word of Mouth (a factor now replaced by Word of Mouse); booking done via telephone, in person at a box office or even by post (heavens, not snail mail!).

Of course there are (slightly) slower versions today: texting and status updates on social media do require a bit of a time delay before you get an answer, which should allow you plenty of time to think of something suitable say (if possible). Go a step slower and blogging encourages comments on its posts which, depending on whether they are moderated or not, can become flowing conversations where necessary.

Email newsletters and similar campaigns are maybe the slowest, but booking online via clicking on a link that will direct you immediately to a Paypal or similar shopping cart certainly cuts down the lengthy procedure of finding a box office, and stimulates a more immediate response that eliminates the chance of being forgotten, overlooked or displaced by another event.

But then these slower options do allow more room for information about the event, a phenomenon that is certainly more difficult if restricted to 140 characters (SMS as well as Twitter) or the quick-fire responses on status updates on Facebook, (certainly, as in the case of my daughter, with several open all at once!). Posting up details of the event on a blog, forum, Facebook fanpage or as a discussion on a LinkedIn group will allow a bit more perpetuity than the ‘here, now gone’ scenario of Twitter, so subject to a continuous timeline forever superseding what has gone before.

The sales matrix – a simple way sell more

Chantal

Do you know exactly what you sell to all your clients? Do you know what you don’t sell to some of your clients? Do you know where the gaps and the opportunities are?

There’s a very simple tool you can use to identify the gaps and see what else you could sell to your clients. Create a matrix (using a spreadsheet is a good way to do it) so you can list all your clients down the side and your different products or services along the top. Next, mark up which clients buy which of your products or services. Then all you have to do is look at the gaps to see which clients don’t buy particular things from you – these are the gaps that you can fill with a bit of thought and sales planning.

I’ve constructed a simple sales matrix for our business and all our current clients. The result was very interesting to see. We write a lot of email newsletters for a lot of clients; we also write blogs and tweets for many clients. However, there are some newsletter clients who don’t have a blog or use Twitter; there are also blogging and tweeting clients who don’t have a newsletter. Why not? We have clients for whom we’re developing websites; yet they don’t have tools like newsletters, or blogs. How come? It’s all part of integrated online marketing, so it makes sense to use more of the tools available.

Now, before I have a regular meeting with any of my clients, I can do a bit of planning. I look at my sales matrix to remind myself of what we do – and don’t do – for that client. I can then speak to them about how we could provide that service for them and the benefit they will get from having an extra marketing tool working for them.

I shared this idea with a client who provides HR support to client in a range of forms. It helped her see exactly where there are gaps that she can fill, with some carefully planned sales. It will help her to help her clients to buy more of what she has on offer.

How do you go about selling more to your existing clients? Do you use a sales matrix or do you have other tools you use?

5 ways to promote your blog

Alice

I keep an eye on many LinkedIn Groups, especially ones about blogging, and one question was asked ‘What are your 5 favourite ways to promote a blog?’.

Well, I couldn’t resist! So here they are:

1. Writing great content with excellent SEO through carefully chosen keywords.

2. Adding your blog to blogging directories to encourage a larger audience and therefore inviting comments and sharing your posts to other social networking sites.

3. Encouraging subscriptions through RSS and asking fellow bloggers to add your blog to their blogroll.

4. Telling everybody you know about your blog through your newsletter, leaving its URL everywhere like your email signature, on your merchandise, links from your website and other online profiles.

5. RSS feeds to social media profiles like LinkedIn where you can see the latest permalinks when they are published.

For me, the most important one of all is writing great content, because without that the other points won’t work successfully. And, of course, this needs to be consistent – set yourself a goal of contributing to your blog at least 3 times a week, say, if that is practical for you.

Some prolific bloggers publish several times a day (!), and I know of highly successful and accomplished marketers who unfailingly produce a mind-blowing post every morning. But you shouldn’t consider this a chore, it should become part of your business routine to think of subject matter that your readers might be interested in and that you can share with them. When you’re out and about, have your sixth sense switched on to watch out for blogging fodder, and have somewhere to jot down an idea when it comes to you for future reference. You’d be surprised what information can be transformed into a blog post!

3 more tips from my book

Chantal

Having just sent out a press release about the fact that I’m writing a book, to celebrate ten successful years in business, we had a request from a local journalist for more information. She wanted to know some of the lessons I’ve learnt and the mistakes I’ve made over the last ten years. Here’s some of the more positive things I told her!

  • Let go of clients if they’re not ideal. I had a client who wanted to send email newsletters to people he hadn’t met at networking events. I advised against it and he went ahead and did it anyway, doing damage to his business reputation. He was paying for my advice and didn’t take it, so I decided I couldn’t work with him anymore and let him go. This gave me room to take on more ideal clients who value my expertise.
  • Always be positive and generous in business. When you go to a networking meeting and you’re not feeling 100% or business is a bit slow, look for the positive aspects to talk about. No one wants to hear you complain about business. Offer as much help as you can to people you meet, without trying to sell to them and they will come back to you when they are ready to pay for your advice and expertise.
  • Keep going! I go networking all round this area and often meet the same people in different places. The more times you meet someone, the more they will get to know about what you do. It’s also important to use the same message and branding, so that no matter where people meet you, they recognise you and your business.

What are the key lessons you’ve learnt from being in business?