Tag Archives: email

Web Marketing For Dummies

Web Marketing For DummiesWeb Marketing is more than just having a website – it’s the strategy of using a website in conjunction with e-mail, e-commerce, chat rooms, blogs, etc. to attract customers. If you are just starting out marketing online or even if you already have a professional website, it’s worth your time to review this book.

The book starts (Part I: Getting Going With Online Marketing) by helping you to develop your online strategy: Who is your target market (by market segmentation), The 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, placement, and promotion), and domain names.

Part II: Building a Marketing-Effective Website focuses on making your website work: marketing copy, graphics, testimonials, and an online store.

Part III: Exploring Online Marketing Basics focuses on strategies for increasing traffic to your website: email marketing, viral marketing, and search engine optimization.

Part IV: Spending Online Marketing Dollars gives you ideas for how to spend your advertising dollars to build traffic: Pay Per Click Ads, Banner Ads, Classified Ads, and Podcasts.

Part V: Maximizing Your Web Success describes using web analytics to measure your ROI, avoiding legal nightmares, and planning for the future.

Part VI: The Part of Tens gives 3 quick checklists for your online marketing: 10 Free Ways To Market Your Website, 10 Most Common Mistakes of Web Marketing, and 10 Tips for Tired Sites.

Reading this book won’t make you a web marketing guru. But it will help you to understand how to improve your own online marketing and how to work with marketing professionals.

How Can I Improve My B2B E-Newsletter?

I work for a B2B software company, and I am about to send out the second issue of our quarterly e-newsletter. I would like to send out issues more frequently, but since I am the only one developing content, I am limited in what I can do.

My question involves what to do about new subscribers – is it advisable to send out back issues to new subscribers, and then follow up with the next issue in a week or so? I’m also putting back issue articles on our website, so it may not be fresh content for some.

Or, if I cannot produce a 5-article newsletter every month, should I start breaking the newsletters into smaller chunks? Maybe offer monthly news briefs? I don’t want to spread the content thin, but I don’t want to wait 4 months to touch base with subscribers again, either.


Since the ultimate purpose of your e-newsletter is to generate more sales, the more frequent your name is in front of your prospects/clients, the better. One well-written article a month is much better than 3-5 every quarter.

Don’t forget to ask your clients what articles they would be interested in seeing – you might be surprised.

As for back issues, archive them online, and send new ones at the next cycle, making sure each of your newsletters have a link to your previous issues as well.

How To Disaster-Proof Your Business

ambulanceHow much pain would your business feel if suddenly you couldn’t email your clients? What if you lost your correspondence file or your phone lost its dial tone? We tend to avoid thinking about a business catastrophe until it hits close to home. And when problems hit, we need them fixed yesterday and are willing to pay a lot to make them go away.

Anticipate Common Problems

How you solve them will depend upon your business model, budget, and risk tolerance.

Fire/Earthquake/Hurricane. Imagine that everything in your office is destroyed. What are the steps you’d take to get things up-and-running?

Theft. Your important information is gone, and in the hands of who-knows? Have you safeguarded your passwords, financial, and contact information (especially of your clients)?

No Internet connection. How could you get/send emails?

No dial tone. How could you call (and get calls from) your clients?

Web host offline. How can people find you online?

Emails bounce/blocked. Recently I found that my domain has been “spoofed” (someone sent a bunch of spam to people, making it look like I emailed it). The result is that I couldn’t send emails to some of my existing clients. My work-around was to create a (free) gmail account (which isn’t blocked) to send outgoing messages to these clients.

Crashed hard disk/virus. Your files aren’t accessible. Now what?

Deleted/Lost/Trashed file(s). One (or more) of the files on your computer (or website) suddenly is unusable. How can you get it back?

Illness/Death/Leave. What if you or your employees, couldn’t do your job?

Wrong contact information. An important advertisement (including Yellow Pages or 411 information listing) has the wrong contact information (worst case: your competitor’s contact information).

Money. What if you bounced a check to one of your suppliers? What if your credit cards are denied? What if your merchant account stops processing your client’s payments?

Don’t Forget To Test

Too often people find that their computer backups are incomplete or unusable. Restore your backup to another computer. Use that computer for a day.

It’s not a matter of IF you’ll have a problem, it’s just WHEN.

Spending time (and money) to avoid a problem may feel like it’s a distraction from growing (or doing) your business. But it’s the key for making clients feel like you’re there when they need you.

How Can I Create An E-Mail Marketing Plan?

We sell software by Internet


I’m assuming that your website is up, and keyword-targeted for your audience. That will help people who need you to find you.

For an email campaign the #1 thing you need is to avoid spamming your prospects. Ideally, you have a list of people who want to be contacted about your type of software (that’s the purpose of a sign up form on your website).

If you don’t have such a list, then you’ll need to avoid getting your emails blocked. Follow the ICANN guidelines (http://www.icann.org/faq/) to ensure you don’t get yourself in trouble.

Post relevant information on your software on the various blogs that your audience reads. That will help to generate some targeted traffic (and hopefully get people to opt-in to your email list).

Make your subject line short and to the point. Make your first sentence on who you’re targeting and why (Here are more tips)

Ideally, use contact manager software to measure your email bounce and open rates. Don’t send out all your emails all at once. Split test your emails to make the offer get more results.

How Can I Market A Fishing Program?

My client runs a fishing program – where people get pins, hats, certificates for catching the biggest fish in the State. … What can be done to spruce this thing up to the public: what other types of promotional things could we do with the email lists received from the program? What else can be done to earn cash from these fishermen? What innovative things can be put in place to make this program huge across the Country?


  1. To get more of the public interested: Interview current record holders. How did they catch their winner? What was special that day? Any special techniques that could share? Have the videos available for online viewing (as well as YouTube, Google Video, etc.). Make sure that online videos feature your program’s website prominently.
  2. To get more $ from people registered in the program: Offer a workshop by the current record holders, where they’ll teach some of their secrets. Use the above videos as a teaser for the workshops.
  3. To get more people fishing in the state: Another video, this time focused on the places people fish. Not just the water, the facilities nearby, the great community of support companies. The Weather. The Hotels. The Campsites. Show how easy it is to get to some of the great spots (time from fly-in to drop hook, etc.).
  4. To attract existing fisherman to a new fishing context: Make all-in-one packages. Meet people at airport, drive to/from campsite/hotel, boat rental, drive to/from boat, rod rental, guide, packed meals, etc. Guarantee you’ll catch a fish or else… Have a program for the non-fishing people in the family: teach fishing, tour of town, art museums, live music shows, shopping trips, kid camp, etc.

I’m Sorry

Last month I got a personal lesson about making a public mistake. While emailing the September issue of this newsletter, I had a technology meltdown resulting in an email containing my address book being sent to everyone. I got a number of emails from people who were understandably angry/annoyed. A number of people requested to be opted-out from future emails. I responded to each email personally. It was a personal disaster for me, since I’m quite tech-savvy and such things should “never” happen to me.

When I realized the mistake, I had a couple of options: 1) ignore it and hope that if I didn’t bring someone’s attention to it then perhaps no one would notice or 2) email everyone and tell them what happened, why, and why it should never happen again. I chose #2 (but some part of me wanted to close my eyes and simply pretend it never happened) believing that if I honestly apologized people would realize that mistakes do happen and forgive me.

It seems that technology continues to be a double-edged sword in business. On one hand you can send one email to hundreds of people with a single button press, which is very efficient. However, with this power comes a responsibility to ensure care. Years ago I used an email program that allowed you to un-send emails (if they weren’t yet read) – it was a feature that allowed me to “save face” on occasion. It’s a feature sorely missing in “modern” email programs.

As a business owner, you’re very busy answering the phone, correspondence, email, etc. Your attention is split between the job at hand and the 10 more you need to do by days’ end. You’re trying to do it all, do it perfectly, and …. something slips. Perhaps it’s a small goof. Now what?

With the acceleration of modern life and prevalence of multi-tasking, the creep of imperfection increases. You can’t help it – there’s simply no way to do more in less time and still get perfect results (whatever that means).

What I’ve learned is I need to do less, not more. If you do less, you can focus better on the fewer things that need doing. But it comes at a trade-off, fewer clients, fewer phone calls, less time reading emails.

Life is about balance. So is work.

Top 10 Rules: Corresponding With Clients

Here are my rules for corresponding with clients (these rules work for either email or postal letters). If I choose to read a letter (from a company) I’ve made a decision how to spend my time. If I find that the letter wasn’t valuable, then I’ll gradually learn to ignore (or worse, distrust) other letters from that company. Once someone ignores (or distrusts) you it’s very hard to regain their trust. Think before you write!

  1. Make it obvious who it’s from – Do you read all your mail in your mailbox or do you automatically eliminate the junk mail? Let people know the letter is from you.
  2. Keep the letter to one page – When I see a multiple page letter, my first thought is how much time do I have to read it. If I’m busy, I might lose it in my “to-read” pile.
  3. Say the important thing in the first paragraph – When I’m busy, I’m not willing to invest a lot of time to find out what this letter is about.
  4. Make the letter personal – In all your correspondence, you need to build people’s trust in you. Tell a (true) anecdote to illustrate the point if possible. People remember stories.
  5. Make it sharp – Keep it easy to read, even without glasses on! Lots of white space helps. Check your spelling and grammar. Minimize words.
  6. Clarify what you are asking – My rule: one letter = one request.
  7. Specify the time frame – Those “you must respond by midnight to receive your free gift” letters work. If there’s no urgency, why should I read this letter now (if at all)?
  8. Motivate the reader – How does (what you’re writing about) affect them? Does it save them money? Save them time? If you’re unclear about it, so will they. If you don’t know what the reader needs, ask them!
  9. Gain their trust in you – Every communication from you builds on previous messages from you. It takes a while to build trust and a very short time to violate it.
  10. Respect the reader’s intelligence – Don’t repeat the same message many times. Start your letter with your message, give details, and wrap up highlighting the message.