Email Marketing 101

14 Essentials to Maximize Your ROI

Email marketing is a direct marketing approach that uses electronic mail as a means of communicating commercial or fundraising messages to an audience. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. However, the term is usually used to refer to (1) sending emails with the purpose of enhancing the relationship of a merchant with its current or previous customers, and (2) sending emails with the purpose of acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately.

The main difference between email marketing and other types of direct marketing is that with email marketing, businesses can communicate one-to-one, as opposed to one-to-many. This allows for more personalized attention that can result in better conversion rates.

While the statistics are overwhelmingly in favor of email marketing as the best method for converting leads, but you can’t expect those kinds of returns without putting a lot of thought and effort into your campaigns.

Having your own email list is obviously ideal, but if you don't have one you can utilize other lead-generation methods to help you get started. Either way, you're going to want to capitalize on the 50% of people who say they buy from marketing emails at least once per month or the 59% of people who say that marketing emails have influenced their purchases.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. How many bad marketing emails have you received for everyone that’s converted you? Nearly 1 in 5 email campaigns aren’t optimized for mobile devices, and 41% of marketing emails are viewed on smartphones (59% of millennials, and 67% of Gen Z).

Email marketing isn't just about sending out mass emails to everyone on your list. The success of your email marketing campaigns depends on three things: the quality of your list, the quality of your content, and the frequency with which you send emails. Keep these things in mind as we go over some tips for successful email marketing.

Keep your list clean and up-to-date. 

Remove any inactive subscribers, bounced addresses, and duplicates on a regular basis. Not only will this keep your list manageable, but it will also improve your deliverability rate (the percentage of messages that are successfully delivered to subscribers' inboxes).

Make sure you have permission to send emails. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important to make sure that everyone on your list has opted in to receive emails from you. Otherwise, you risk being marked as a spammer.

A larger list does not mean a larger ROI.

‍There is a point of diminishing returns when it comes to large email lists. Instead of blasting one giant list with the same content, consider segmenting those lists and personalizing your content as much as possible.

Too few or too many emails per month hurts email ROI.

‍Daily is too much, and monthly is not enough. Based on studies, the sweet spot seems to be between 9-16 emails per month. While slightly more or less still generate significant returns, we're going for outstanding, not pretty good results.

Testing your emails leads to higher ROI.

‍Companies that test their email campaigns enjoyed 28% higher ROI than their counterparts. Keep it simple at first by testing different subject lines. Definitely make sure you're testing for spam filters and deliverability, and preview before sending for formatting issues. Once you're comfortable, you can start testing different content and even the landing pages where you're directing traffic.

Personalized content leads to higher returns.

‍Dynamic content is essential to add a personalized touch to your email campaigns, and companies that do experience ROIs 4x higher than companies that don’t.

Make sure you have permission to send emails. 

This seems like a no-brainer, but it's important to make sure that everyone on your list has opted in to receive emails from you. Otherwise, you risk being marked as a spammer.

Know your audience.

Segmenting your list allows you to send targeted content that is relevant to each group of subscribers. This increases engagement and makes people more likely to open and click through your emails.

Write great subject lines. 

Your subject line is what gets people to open your email, so it's important to make it compelling and interesting. Avoid using ALL CAPS or excessive exclamation points, and try to keep it under 50 characters if possible.

Keep your content concise and focused. 

No one wants to read a long novel in their inbox—they'll just delete it without reading it! Get straight to the point and make sure each email has one call-to-action (CTA).

Use engaging visuals whenever possible. 

People are visual creatures, so adding images, videos, or infographics can really help get your message across—and make people more likely to share it with others! Just make sure that any visuals you use are high quality and have relevant ALT text for accessibility purposes.

Pay attention to the technical stuff. 

Make sure your HTML is error-free and renders correctly across different devices and email clients (Gmail, Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.). Test everything before you hit "send"!

Timing is everything—choose wisely! 

Studies show that Tuesday mornings tend to be when people are most engaged with their inboxes, so try sending your emails then for optimal results. Just be careful not to bombard people with too many messages; once or twice a week should suffice for most purposes.

Always include an unsubscribe link. 

It may seem counterintuitive, but giving people the option to unsubscribe from your emails shows that you respect their time and their inboxes. If someone doesn't want to receive your emails anymore, there's no point in forcing them to stay on your list. Plus, having an unsubscribe link helps you avoid getting marked as spam!

Analyze, analyze, analyze! 

Make sure you track your email open rates and link click-through rates to see what works and what doesn't. Try A/B testing different subject lines or content formats to see what gets your readers engaged. The more data you have, the better equipped you'll be to fine-tune your email marketing strategy for maximum impact!

Now that you know the basics of email marketing, you're ready to start planning your own campaigns! Keep these key points in mind for successful emails, and don't forget to test, test, test! With a little bit of effort and some trial and error, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this powerful form of direct marketing!

Email Marketing FAQs

What are the best email marketing tools to use?

There are A LOT of options out there. Ultimately, you’ll want to base your decision on what works best for your company (i.e. do you already have a list, is it cold, how many emails do you plan on sending out, how much time do you have to babysit it, are they key automations you can easily set up, does it integrate with your CRM, pricing, etc.)

For the most part, you can’t go wrong with MailChimp, HubSpot, and Active Campaign. If you want a more complete list, check out this Forbes article here.

How do I build an email marketing list?

You should start by establishing a sign-up form for customers to fill out, making sure you acquire their full name and email address. From there, think about what incentives you can offer to entice customers to join your list. Additionally, creating landing pages with forms or calls to action is a great way to grab leads and add them to the list. Finally, use your blog content and social media posts to drive people back to the form, furthering the size of your email list.

The other option would be to buy an existing list, of which there are many options. I typically don’t recommend this, because it is really only a B2B option. However, it has been done with varying degrees of success depending on how you use it.

How do I track the results of my email marketing campaign?

A key element to keep in mind is that not all tracking takes place in the same space or way. Digital platforms like Google Analytics offer invaluable insights into general metrics such as website visits and clicks generated from email campaigns, while marketing automation tools such as Mailchimp allow for more refined analytics related to user interactions with specific emails sent out. Careful analysis and combination of this data allow for customized actions to be taken in order to refine your campaign towards reaching its goals.

What are some common email marketing mistakes?

Many businesses make the mistake of sending out generic emails or not utilizing personalization capabilities to ensure a successful email marketing campaign. They also often neglect to A/B test their messages before launching, thus missing out on valuable insights that could make all the difference in engagement. Additionally, businesses sometimes end up not segmenting their audience sufficiently in order to craft targeted messaging, causing the message to fall flat with subscribers. Finally, businesses need to remember that email campaigns should always include an obvious call-to-action (CTA) so that customers are driven to take the desired action. Without a clear CTA and relevant content, there’s no incentive provided for customers to act. 

What is cold email marketing?

Cold email marketing is an excellent way to reach potential customers who may have never heard of your company before. It involves sending emails that do not require a previous relationship or offer a specific incentive in exchange for grabbing the recipient's attention. As a promotional tool, it has been proven to be one of the most cost-effective methods for engaging with customers, as well as generating leads, and driving sales. By personalizing each message and crafting its content carefully, businesses can make sure their cold emails cut through the clutter and stand out from the masses to maximize response rates.

Why is cold email marketing effective?

Cold emails are an efficient way for targeting people who might be difficult -- if not impossible -- to connect with through other channels. It allows organizations to make personal connections with their target audience and tailor their messages according to each individual's needs.

How do I write a cold email?

To ensure your email stands out, take the time to personalize it with details that are relevant to the recipient. An effective cold email should also contain a clear headline and a concise summary of why you are getting in touch. Take the time to make sure all of your details, from spelling and grammar to formatting, are correct before sending. 

How do I find email addresses for cold emailing?

To start, do some research to find the names and email addresses of your ideal prospects and decision-makers. Search multiple platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter, and job listing sites for contact information. Consider subscribing to a database that conveniently compiles and stores contact information for various industries. While you may also use online directories or search engines like Google to locate email addresses, it takes a bit more effort to find accurate details without the help of a database. Finally, use an email verification tool before sending any emails out just to make sure you’re reaching real people with valid addresses.

What are some best practices for cold emailing?

First and foremost, always research the recipient before you write your email - this way you can personalize your message and increase your chances of success. Secondly, keep emails as succinct as possible while maintaining a professional tone of voice and never send generic emails, but craft each one meticulously. You should also use A/B testing to determine what content generates the best results. Lastly, make sure to keep track of responses so that you can follow up effectively with those who replied positively. 

What are some common cold emailing mistakes?

Making assumptions about the recipient, using language that is too jargony or too informal, overwhelming the recipient with information, being unclear about your goals or intentions, and not following up are some of the most common mistakes people make when crafting cold emails. Humanizing your message by addressing the recipient directly and providing helpful content plus an actionable item are two key elements to ensure a successful cold emailing experience both for you and your reader.

Further Cold Email Reading

I highly recommend “The Cold Email Manifesto” by Alex Berman for anyone who wants to learn more about cold emailing or if you’re trying to do it on your own. Cold email can be daunting and requires a lot of time and effort. Don’t go into it “cold”, and start by reading this book to warm yourself up a bit.

Presentation Download | Online Marketing

Below is a link to the presentation I gave at the Reel Women's Film Festival.  I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dianna Means at the Reel Women's Film Festival for asking me to be a speaker. I would also like to thank Michelle Lee and Karen Stein at Hair and Makeup Artist's Network for coordinating my presentation. I also have to give a huge thanks to who acted as a great resource for much of the material; they are truly on top of their game.DOWNLOAD | Reel Women's Film Fest Presentation

7 Creative Uses For QR Codes

What are QR Codes? Although not yet fully adopted by the mainstream world yet, QR (or quick response) codes have seen a dramatic rise in usage and very well may be the new way that companies decide to give customers information on products. For those uninitiated, QR codes are those big squares you may have seen in the bottom corners of movie posters, under your drink on a coaster at your favorite restaurant or possibly next to various products at your local supermarket. With any smartphone armed with a QR code scanner (which are a free download on any app store). In the future, an advertisement may not be just a message and a picture, but an interactive environment with unlimited possibilities. What you can do with these handy bar codes may surprise you. What can I do with QR codes?Now that I’ve (hopefully) piqued your interest into QR codes, what kind of information can a QR code hold? In the end, it all depends on how powerful your end-users reader is. Below is a list of things any QR reader can do and some notions on how your business may be able to utilize QR codes:You can open URLs in a browserProbably the most common way to use a QR code, using it as a link to your company’s website or blog is one method, but think harder; what about a specially tailored site or campaign customized to the demographic of people that is likely to scan your code? Be creative with your site (and maybe poach a few other ideas from this blog) to make something truly unique that will give your target market a memorable experience. Use QR codes to display hidden/secret textThe simplest of tasks you could ask of a QR code may seem like the type of command you may want to skip over, but it could have a few uses if you think creatively. Perhaps hiding your code with a special password on it that when given provides a special deal at your establishment.  Help people in setting up system alertsDo you have a weekly special or special event coming up? Why not create a QR code that will automatically set up a reminder in your clients calender on their phone?Collecting contact information (including vCards)Having a networking event or party? A QR code would be a simple way to have guests register or sign in to an event. Do you want to grab everybodies contact info to send thank-you cards or a newsletter?Reconsider the whole “business-card-in-a-fish-bowl” raffle contest with a digital QR code version that can easily be imported right into your company’s mailing list. Create a QR code for sending email or text messages (SMS)Give customers a great way to let their friends know where they are, possibly with daily specials or a password for special deals or promotions.Create a fun E-card that guests and clients can share with their friends.Use QR codes as a means of making geolocation easierIs your customer lost? Help them out by pinning your address into their phone’s GPS with a QR code. From there, give them directions to your other locations, affiliates, or just the quickest route home.Use a QR code as a simple way for customers to check-in to your establishment or to show proof that they went to a secondary location.Easily Connect to WiFi using a QR codeUse an easy-to-find QR code to grant WiFi access to mobile users in a quick, interactive way that can makes remembering clunky passwords a thing of the past.Where can I get a QR code? By googling “QR codes” you can find a litany of sites that can generate you a QR code free of charge. If you plan on using your QR code for a larger, more focused campaign, you can pay to have a QR code generated that will record statistics and demographic information. However, if you are too lazy to Google the aforementioned keywords, here are two sites of merit: for programming codes to do the previous functions should be able to be found on the above sites, if not a great resource I used for this article can also help you with some of the programming as well: are some creative ways you can (or have) thought of to use QR codes in the ways mentioned above? We would love to see some examples.Find this article useful? Check out these blogs:Creating Relationships With Your Customers On The Mobile Web.What Is NFC? NFC And The New Google Wallet.

5 Easy Ways To Increase Traffic To Your Website in Less Than An Hour.

This article is meant to be an elementary glimpse into the world of digital marketing; there are many avenues to explore in the realm of marketing on the Internet, but one of the biggies is SEO. Below you will find some of the basic tactics and tricks anyone can do to immediately help with their site's Page Rank (the placement of your site in Google searches). SEO, or Search Engine Optimization is the practice of sprinkling specific commonly used words (or “keywords”) into your websites in order to (hopefully) have your page rank higher in Google’s search engine. To find what words you need to use you can use the Google Adwords Keyword Tool. Begin by punching in words you think people will use when searching for your company’s trade in Google.Take note of the most commonly used words or phrases, these are your “keywords”.

1) Plug-In Your Keywords!
The trick here is to not use them too much, Google can spot these and will consider your website spam and not post it at all; which is definitely not what you want. Be crafty and use multiple different keywords to plug into your website copy. Think of it as a game of Sudoku, but with words.

2) Write A Blog!
A blog is a great place to show your company culture, its work, and interests. It is also a page on your website that can be updated constantly, which makes it like steroids for SEO. Keep your keywords in mind when writing your articles and do a keyword search for each blog submission.

3) Have Title Tags (H1) Tags!
See how this article is written in numbered/bullet points? Do the same. Google loves numbered/bulleted content with heavy SEO keywords. Not to mention it will help you layout and format your blogs and articles.

4) Share Links!
Network on Facebook and Twitter, share links with your clients and partners. The more sites that link with your page, the higher your website will appear in Google’s listings. Possibly adding a widget to your page to add a Twitter feed to your main page will also generate links and expand your traffic and page rank much in the same way I mentioned having a blog would.

5) The "Secret Image Tag"
Also known as an “alt tag”, this nifty little SEO trick is a quite simple one that will generate links and traffic to your site based on the Google Image Search function. These are the tags that tell what a .gif or .jpg is. By going into your website's code and finding your images (marked with an image description, likely .jpg or .gif), you can add what's called an alt tag to give the image a description. You don't have to do any complex HTML coding. Here is an example of what your ALT tag should look like:<img src="images/services-pic.jpg" alt="XYZ company's website optimization services" width="100" height="78" />It is a good idea to add alt text for every image that a visitor to your site will see. Not only will alt tags increase your image SEO on the image search, but it will also produce some SEO for your overall site; granted you used those keywords we talked about earlier, but once again, don’t overdo it with the keywords. Google will know and flog your site by dropping it into the depths of its page ranks.

Was this helpful?

What other tricks or techniques would your small business like to learn about? Marketing? Design? Social Media?

Whatever it is, drop me a line.

4 Ways Pinterest Can Reach Out To Small Businesses

As I am sure you are aware, Pinterest is being talked about in every coffee shop, hair salon and boutique from here to the Tatooine. But for those uninitiated, think of Pinterest as like twitter for photos and videos, but with a fun layout. Not only does your Pinterest wall show pictures and video from all your friends and followers in a scrolling box, Pinterest creates a captivating interface that posts pictures and video everywhere; up, down, left, right, all over your screen. Upon creation of your account, Pinterest will ask you your hobbies and interests and automatically connect you with relevant and frequent posters of content that fits your tastes. You can filter these posts (or pins) by topics or fans, thus allowing you to find things you are looking for instantaneously or just browse around and see who’s looking at what. Pinterest welcomes new content and is a viral hotbed for interesting and fresh content. The current profile of the average Pinterest user tends to skew toward women of all ages, but primarily those in the oh-so-precious 17-27 range, making it a hot new proving ground when marketing to those Millennials we’ve been hearing so much about. However don’t forget about those guys out there. Men, who are typically later adopters of social media, are sure to jump in the game however as soon Pinterest picks up more steam and goes into the forefront of the social media world.

Unlike Twitter, Pinterest isn’t about noise. However, it is about viral content. No need to post every photo from your last party here, save that for a Facebook album. Pinterest wants content that is fun to share, consider it visual bubble gum. Something that consumers can take in quickly, sweetly and be done with soon after. Using Pinterest in your everyday browsing is easy as all getout too. After registering your account, Pinterest will prompt you on how to install a “Pin It” button to your task bar which makes sharing the things you find across the web a simple and painless process.    Let’s explore some ways you can harness Pinterest now to expose yourself to whoever your target market is:

Creative Use of Your Brand In Action
What are some fun or avant-garde ways to use your product? Show off the secondary and tertiary modes of use for your product or that special feature that your brand has that others don’t. Consumers of your brand/product will either find it clever or relate to it a way they have or thought to use it; either way, people are likely to share this content.

Users Showing off Your Product
Brand advocacy and personal sponsorship is all the rage in social media these days. After all, it is free advertisement. When you show off a brand ambassadors allegiance to your product, you make them feel closer to your brand. Support those people taking cool pictures of themselves with your project by posting them across Pinterest, be sure to give their page a link too!

Fun Modifications/Prototypes of Your Product  
Has anyone added their own custom paint job to your product or modded it in their own special way? That is definitely viral, Pin it! What about a fun prototype version of whatever you sell that you’ve been tinkering with for fun? Like the idea I mentioned above in showing off creative uses of your product, show off these fun tweaks to your brand is sure may create a viral buzz.  

Striking and Creative Advertisement
Has your ad team come up with a crafty or clever marketing campaign or print ad? If they have, Pinterest is a great place to show it off. A striking image with compelling copy can send your brand spinning across the site. Shoot to inspire, motivate, lead, or simply stand out from the rest.  There are many other ways to use Pinterest to your advantage. Frequent and compelling posting will prompt Pinterest to automatically make new users follow your account (just like it did for you when you first registered). By organizing your photos and pins on different boards and categorizing them by what your target audience wants to view, you will increase the virality of your content and make it easier for Pinterest to sort through and match you with random users. Make sure however that what you share is fun enough for anyone in your target market would want to share. And of course, like any social media campaign, don’t forget to reciprocate. What fun ways is your company using Pinterest? We would love to see it, comment below and put your Pinterest URL to follow.

Happy Pinning!

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Crowdsourcing 101: How To Gather Consumer Data and Feedback and Still Be Their Friend.

Sam Walton of Sam’s Club and Wal-Mart is noted for saying to his executives “If you need any question answered, go to a store and ask our customers.” The idea of crowdsourcing is quite similar; bringing your clients, experts and fans of your company into the fold to assist your company in creating something palatable for your target audience. Many companies have used this method to gather ideas for their marketing and branding campaigns for a few years now. Doritos has become notorious for their crowdsourcing techniques to create their Super Bowl commercials. Recently, Harley Davidson has shifted almost their entire marketing campaign to their fans who they now rely upon to create the ideas behind their marketing campaigns.Crowdsourcing is a great way to tackle a project or problem that you may not have the talent pool or skill set to accomplish. It can also be good as a form of surveying tool to see what your target audiences or markets like and dislike. Before your company dives head first into the crowdsourcing game however, lets go over a few basic parameters on how crowdsourcing works:Focus on InclusionAt the heart of crowdsourcing lies inclusion. Find your core audience of those willing to take a look at your problem, this could be anyone from the ambassadors of your product to experts in the field of whatever problem you need solving. To find these people, harness your social media platforms, particularly the ones where people are talking the most about what you would like crowdsourced. Another option is to look toward crowdsourcing websites like, which can provide resources and forums to get your project off the ground. Another tactic to find qualified members for your crowdsourcing project would be through your LinkedIn network and the forums that lie therein. The LinkedIn forums provide a trove of focused specialists eager to help answer questions and possibly even join in on your project if they feel a passion towards it (or find it a good resume booster). The website Open Innovators has compiled a great list of crowdsourcing sites that will help you find your desired team.   Promote TransparencyCrowdsourcing is all about sharing your project with a community, leave few secrets between you and your team. Start by creating a project brief and identifying your primary audience. Then, list your goals and desired outcomes succinctly enough that every member of your group understands your project in the same light you intended. Set parameters and guidelines for your project along with a deadline. Remember, you are the coach of your crowdsource project, so make your management available for questions and to provide feedback on your project. Make sure to stay in contact and stay on the pulse of your project. Having a transparent and straightforward attitude with your crowdsource will create a better, more actualized product.Create IncentiveThere is an inherent reward of completion built into crowdsourcing, particularly if your project was crowdsourced by those who are fans and advocate your product. It is always nice however to sweeten the pot with other incentives. Websites like offer cash rewards for those who can help companies solve their problems. Incentives do not have to be in just cash form (although in many cases, it can be the biggest motivator); it can be in product samples, discounts, swag, and about anything that is worth the work put in. Remember that most people work for an incentive, so the sweeter the reward, the better work you are likely to get. Don’t forget to show your appreciation to those who helped you finish your project either, give them credit and laud them when and where it is due.Encourage FeedbackOnce your project is completed, make sure you tell the world that your project was crowdsourced. Not only is it great PR for your company, but it is also a great way to gather more people to crowdsource your next project. If your target audience is within your crowdsource, you may consider allowing them to choose a winning campaign/project by a vote while in the research phase. Gather feedback about the project from your audience and make sure to send it back to your crowdsource so they know what went right and what they could do better on their next project. Following through in this way will keep your crowdsource pool active and happy to work with you again.Have you ever used crowdsourcing before? How did it work for you? Let’s talk about it! We would love to hear your feedback. Comment below or send me an email at: Clauser is the Social Media Strategist for Media Contour. Daniel is eager to connect with all and answer any questions and may be reached @mediacontour on Twitter and Facebook or via email at

Consumer Intent Data and Social Media

It’s a hard job trying to convince 750 million people to change their day-to-day habits. Just ask anyone from The American Cancer Society, or the people at Google+.If you’ve been catching up with social media news recently, you would know that Google+ is beginning to roll out business and corporate pages for its new social media platform. Facebook has long since used this as lucrative means for businesses to interact with their customers. Naturally Google+ is going to jump in too, but is this how they can catch up with Facebook. If you read our previous blog, you would know that Google+ is going to have a hard time catching up with Facebook’s 750 million active users, which in itself makes it hard for the new platform to get up and running. How will it try and get you to switch? Three words:Consumer Intent DataConsumer Intent Data is the driving force behind Google’s advertising system. In layman’s terms, when you search Avatar on Blu-Ray and an HDTV, Google knows to advertise you a Blu-Ray player or HD cables. You search for razors; they try and sell you shaving cream. While Facebook has this information in some ways, Google has this type of info; in spades.How both companies use this information is regarded as a well-kept company secret. However, from a marketing standpoint, Facebook’s data is more based on less sturdy footing. On Facebook people usually post on things like their needs and wants or their current actions. This data has relative value to any Joe Marketeer, but when compared to what Google has consumer-datawise, it’s just a drop in the bucket. Any form of research, analysis, or shopping is tracked and kept for its own marketing purposes, along with its knowledge of what keywords consumers use when shopping for products.This is how I believe Google will keep up. A finer interaction between it's marketing team and big brands and corporations to bring a greater service of customized advertisement to each user. Even better, it’s circles tool will achieve a greater idea of who else would potentially like what a user is being advertised and market to them as well.Turns out Google may have something here after all...What do you think about the future of marketing on social media?

Blogging For Your Business. Should You Outsource Your Blog?

The average Joe-Businessman is sure to find blogging to be another thing to do in an already busy work week. Blogs are a great way to build content and add weight to your site, especially for search engine page rankings. They can also act as a human face to a big corporation, thus building a rapport with clients who may have thought otherwise about your company. If you’re just as busy as the aforementioned businessman, this is where hiring a blogger would come in; or someone from HR steps in and handles the legwork. But who is qualified for writing what? Are you getting what you’re paying for? Ahead are some answers and tips about blogging for your business.What is your company blogging about?Who reads your blogs? Is it clients? Potential clients? Employees? Depending on who reads your blog you may have different strategies of what to post. Should you have a lot of potential clients viewing your blog, your blog would likely be more geared to selling your wares. Blogging about the positive notes and reviews your company has received will show your brand quality. Typically, employees would like to see more about company news and events, or even about themselves. Should people currently doing business with you be reading your blog it should have information to help product users and content that bolsters their decision to choose and stay with your company/product.Who should write your blog?At its best, a great company blog is written by as top level of an employee as possible. Granted they can write of course, and have the time. Typically one or both of these factors are not something higher-ups have, and the task is matriculated down the chain until it is so far down the chain, the product won’t even be worth the time, and hiring a blogger would just make more sense. Cheap blogging services are available but typically yield a poor product with few facts and essentially just words on a page with little research behind them. Not to say that good bloggers are terribly expensive either, usually not for much more than any.It is usually best to hire a blogger who is either:

  1. a skilled writer, preferably with a background in journalism or English
  2. a specialist in your field, should your blog/product have a specific/technical nature
  3. both

A skilled blogger can create content that your target reader will love to enjoy, but just posting worthless items does nobody any good. Truly good blogging is a situation in the old adage that “you get what you pay for.” Poorly written pieces do nothing but take up space and fill up your server with junk no one will ever read. However a well-written blog will lead to more readers, people linking your articles and sharing them across social media platforms. Thus spreading your name (and stretching your marketing buck) farther than you could imagine.For blog writing tips check out these related posts: Here and Here.

What are your thoughts about outsourcing your companies blog?

4 Quick and Easy Ways To Build Your Online Presence

My dad runs a successful business, and he has done so without stepping foot on the Internet. How has he done that? By having a presence within his field. You call his company, you get his cell phone. You want to talk to the head of sales, you talk to him. You want to have a meeting with the production manager, he can pencil you in some time between two other meetings. Not that he doesn’t have dozens of qualified workers handling those jobs, but rather he cannot stand the idea of someone else representing his brand other than him. I mean his name is on every box that’s shipped for crying out loud. To call this micromanaging is as gross an understatement as saying Robin Williams has “a little stubble,” but it proves a point; my dad has a presence. He’s everywhere, and on the Internet, building your online presence is just as important. If you’re like my dad however, you don’t have the time to be everywhere in the real world and the virtual world, but there are a few things (besides having a website) you can set up to make sure you at least have some sort of online presence and manage communication with your customers:

Email Marketing. No, this isn’t spam, nor is it junk mail. It is a means of getting your word out to all of your clients about whatever sales, promotions, news, or events you may have going on. There are many programs available to ease this process and help non tech-savvy professionals manage mailing lists, create newsletters, and configure deals tailored to particular sets of clients and build a greater online presence. Great products to try include: Constant Contact, MailChimp, and iContact.

Social MediaI know you’ve heard it before but really, you need to have a presence here. No matter what widget you sell, every company should have some sort of presence within the major social media portals. Those sites would be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media is how you keep a more interactive contact with your customers and clients and grants you access to a makeshift focus group of your customers and clients. Your social media accounts will create a space for feedback (both good and bad) on your company, thus creating a means to measure customer sentiment, an invaluable marketing tool for any company. Other social networking sites may be relevant for your company (tumblr or flickr for pictures or slideshare for sharing PowerPoint presentations and seminars) and should be considered as needed. Social media is a great and way to lend your company a voice in the online world and further build your online presence.

BloggingTo those uninitiated, a blog is a means of posting your ideas, thoughts, photos, and whatever else you have kicking around your brain. Actually, you’re reading a blog right now! Think of it as an online bulletin board that is an arm of your website (A blog on how any Joe Schmo can add a Wordpress account to their site to come soon). Blogs are a great way to show the world your company’s ethos, philosophy and lifestyle. Share your blogs across your social media platform and watch the traffic to your websites grow and have your online presence be felt. Add found and created videos from YouTube (see below) and gather even more traffic. If you’re really looking to kick up your web-traffic, look into hiring a search-engine-optimization or SEO professional to optimize your web-presence.

YouTubeThe Internet is a whole lot more than texts and images anymore; it’s all that plus conversation and video. I know what your thinking: “making a video is a time-consuming, difficult process that requires hours of dedication and focus.” Well step out of your Black Maria, Thomas Edison; my $99 smartphone can create decent, watchable footage and can be edited with free software that’s as fun and as simple to use as PowerPoint (if you have a Mac, you already have iMovie and are ready to go). Make video of your company’s special work environment, or how you create a superior product. What about a video tutorial on how to troubleshoot some of your clients biggest problems? What about a video on the last work outing/event you and the crew went on? Once you’ve shot and edited your great footage, just post it on your social media sites and share it through your mailing list! Don’t have the time to make a video? What about taking a photo album and making a simple slideshow with music to showcase your work for a client? You’ve just created viral publicity.

Now wasn’t that quick and easy?

Got anything else to add?

What simple things do you do to help out your online presence?

Like this article? check out these blogs as well: 5 Ways To Optimize Your Blog For Your Customers Blogging For Your Business. Should You Outsource Your Blog?