Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Top 5 Email Message Formats

Email marketing should be a part of your inbound marketing strategy. It’s one of the best ways to reach and connect with subscribers, customers, readers, and so on.

Email marketing is a direct marketing through digital means. It’s better than other direct marketing because it’s permission-based. This means the individual on your list willingly gave you his email address so you can send him messages.

Just like writing articles and blog posts, emails have different formats to use.

We’ll start with the top 5 email message formats.

1. The Welcome Email

This is the first email you will send your new subscriber . . . and it should be sent automatically upon signup.

The Welcome email sets the tone for what’s to follow. It’s the place to let the subscriber know what to expect and how often he can expect it.

Keep it short and sweet and conversational. You might also include one or two testimonials in it as social proof.

2. The Information (Educational) Email

To me, this is the most important email you send. The reason is because it’s your information emails that will cement your relationship with your subscribers. This is how you’ll distinguish yourself as an authority in your field and as the ‘go to’ person for help and guidance.

This type of email will build trust. Your subscriber will associate you with reliable, helpful, and updated information.

Some marketers consider the ‘information’ and ‘educational emails separate, but I think they’re too similar. Their purpose is to inform, to help.

Note: The Newsletter Email may also be considered a separate email and that may be the case, but I incorporate these three formats into one.

If you want to make a distinction between your information emails and newsletters, the newsletter may be more about telling your subscribers about updates to your business and/or add some personal tidbits here and there.

3. The Promotional Email

This is an email that every business, big, small, or home, should be taking advantage of. It’s purpose is to let subscribers know about what you have to offer. It should be short and sweet, and motivational enough to entice subscribers to make a purchase.

Important points to this type of email are to include some kind of urgency in the message. You might let the subscriber know that it’s time sensitive. Or, it may be a one-time-only offer.

4. The Lead-to Emails

These emails are similar to the Promotional email, but it’s more focused. It’s designed to lead your subscribers to your site to take a particular action.

Maybe you’re offering a webinar or workshop and want to bring your subscribers to an information and signup page.

These emails should be on the short side and be motivating, starting the CTA process before the subscribers get to the site. This is to help with conversion once they get on the site.

You might also use the lead-to email may to lead the subscriber to an About page to remind everyone what you and your business is about.

5. New Product Email       

This is as the name implies, it’s to introduce a new product or service that you’ve added to your business.

An important feature to this email is a ‘good’ image’ and powerful description.

You want to make the product or service look and sound enticing enough or helpful enough that it will prompt the subscriber to take action.

Along with these five top email formats, there are also:

Testimonial – reinforces your value to your community.
Product Advice – gives tips on how to use a produce.
Survey – lets you find out what your subscriber is thinking about – what they want/need.
Reorder – reminds the customer that it’s time to reorder.

If you haven’t used all these email message formats yet, get started today.

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More on Marketing

10 Must-Know Tips to Creating a Search Engine Optimized Website
The Google Panda Algorithm, Your Website, and Duplicate Content
Blogging with External Links - More Value to the Reader and More Ranking Power


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

News and Updates

NEWS

Today is Monday, January 26th. There's a wicked snow storm just getting started here and it's predicted we're going to get 2-3 feet.

Along with the snow and winds, there will most probably be power outages. Since I'm not sure how long we might be without power, I'm letting you know that if I'm not responding on social media or elsewhere online, that's the reason.

I'm scheduling this to post tomorrow.

Tuesday: It wasn't as bad as they expected. I think we got around 14 inches. So, all is well!


UPDATE on WOW! eClasses

I'm an instructor for two e-classes through WOW! Women on Writing:

Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing
Become an SEO Writer in Just 4 Weeks

Unfortunately, the WOW website had been down since Saturday, the 24th. So, if you've tried to enroll in one of the classes and got a "Cannot find the server" error message, please keep trying.

OR, SEND ME AN EMAIL AND I'LL LET YOU KNOW WHEN THE SITE IS BACK UP!

I'm not sure why a website should be down for four days, but so it is.

The classes are jammed-packed with information that will definitely help you move forward.


Karen





Monday, January 26, 2015

Video Marketing – Hosted or Self-Hosted

Video marketing is a must today. It should be a part of your content marketing strategy. Using video is a great way to generate visibility and motivate visitors to take action. And, almost just as important, video keeps visitors on your site longer.

Why does this matter?
Google and other search engines keep tract of this website metric. The longer a visitor stays on your site, the better.

But, although using video as part of your marketing is now a must, how the video is hosted matters in the equation.

There are two ways you can host video:

1. Hosted

Hosting video is done through social networks like YouTube.

First, if you don’t already have a YouTube channel, create one.

Then simply upload your video to YouTube. Fill in all the blanks by creating effective keywords and a description. Then publish it.

One problem with this strategy is the traffic goes to YouTube.

You can embed the video on your own site, but it’s still connected to YouTube. What this means is after your video plays, the visitor will get promo for other YouTube videos, leading the visitor back to YouTube. This may motivate the visitor to leave your site and go to YouTube.

Again, the longer a visitor stays on YOUR site, the better. You don’t want to give them any reason to leave.

2. Self-hosted

On the flip side of ‘hosted’ is ‘self-hosted.’

Self-hosting is the process of uploading the video onto your own website (your own domain) and adding it into your blog posts or webpages.

One primary benefit: no distractions or prompts to leave your site. This is a BIGGIE.

Another benefit of self-hosting is when Google uses your video as the result of a search query, it’s your website link that will be displayed. This means the searcher will be clicking to your site, not to YouTube. Another BIGGIE.

YouTube statistics states that there are 72 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute. That’s a lot of video. That’s a lot of competition.

If you self-host, you avoid that competition.

Granted, you’ll have to promote that video through social networks and possibly press releases and any other promotional strategy available, but the traffic will go to your site without any distractions to leave.

There is also the link building benefits. All those who click on your video link will be going to your site, not YouTube’s. If you’re garnering quality links, it will boost your ranking.

A combination of both

According to Conductor.com, “A full video SEO campaign should feature videos on your site, and sites such as YouTube. After all, YouTube gets over 1 billion unique visitors a month which is a huge bus to throw your content in front of.”

Based on the amount of visitors YouTube gets every month, it’d be a good idea to include this social media giant in your video marketing strategy.

There’s no guarantee that your traffic will jump, but you just never know.

So, there you have it, while hosting your videos on networks like YouTube has its benefits, it’s important to use self-hosting as your primary strategy.

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NEED HELP WITH YOUR ONLINE PLATFORM?

Get Website Traffic with Inbound Marketing is just what you need.

 It's a 4-week e-class through WOW! Women on Writing and covers: optimizing your website, blogging smart, email marketing, and social media marketing.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Click on the link above for all the details.





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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Email Marketing and the Evergreen System (it has to do with autoresponders)
Don't Make These Landing Page Mistakes and What to do If You Have
Content Marketing – Just How Fast Can You Write an Article? (8 tips)

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Graphics and Social Media Marketing

Graphics are an essential part of your marketing. This is especially true of social media marketing.

As you scroll through your accounts, have you noticed that attractive and grabbing images catch your eye? That’s what you want – the ‘grabbing’ factor.

Maximize Social Business posted an interesting article on the top tools to use to create great images. There are seven that will get your posts noticed.

Here’s a quick list of what’s on their list:

1. Canva (canva.com) is a program you can use even if you don't have 'design' skills. And, even if you don't know Photoshop you’ll be able to handle this tool.

I actually signed up for Canva a couple of months ago, but haven't really gotten into it. While it seemed easy enough, you have to pay for each image you want to include in your design. When I get some time, I’ll go back and give it a try.

2. Over (madewithover.com) is an app for Android and iPhone. It allows you to design right on your mobile device. Their landing page describes the tool as “Add text and artwork to photos.”

3. PiktoChart (piktochart.com) is a tool to make infographics. It's free and has lots of customizable themes to choose from. This is something I'll be looking into. While I'm not crazy about infographics, they are popular.

Why I'm not a fan of the infograph is because sometimes they can be more time-consuming to find the information you want compared to reading a 'properly formatted' article. But, again, this is a popular content format.

4. Skitch (evernote.com/skitch/) is an app for digital devices that allows you to markup a photo and more. This is another tool that looks useful.

5. Quotes Cover (quotescover.com) allows you to design great Memes or graphic quotes. I use memes in my blogging, but I've been using Logo Creator to design them.

I think though that I'll check out Quotes Cover. It looks similar to Logo Creator in that you can size your design to social medial headers if you want. This is a great marketing feature. With a tool like this, you can change your headers as often as you want. Special promotion, holiday season, a sale . . . throw up a new header.

When I look into it, I'll do a comparison between the two tools.

6. PicMonkey (picmonkey.com) allows you to edit images and create collages. Logo Creator has the same capabilities.

7. Pixlr is similar to PhotoShop, it's a desktop tool. According to Wikipedia, "Pixlr is a cloud-based set of image tools and utilities, including a number of phot editors, a screen grabber browser extension, and a photo sharing service."

Not sure which is easier though. This type of tool allows you to be as creative as you want to be. I have PhotoShop, but since I started using Logo Creator, I haven't used Photoshop. While Photoshop has more features, it's a little difficult to learn.

To find out more about these seven graphic tools, go to Top Tools to Create Stunning Social Media Graphics.

I mentioned that I use Logo Creator and I love it. This tool allows me to make social media headers, memes, images, book covers, logos, opt-ins, and so much more. I make all my blog post images with it also.

It’s a tool I highly recommend and it’s only $17 (last time I looked). And, you get lots and lots of images and designs you can customize to make unique. To check it out, go to LogoCreator.

Below are a couple of images I made with Logo Creator:

The image above is two images combined for a creative look.

This image was created using special font features.

This image uses two images and text tweaks





The image at the top of this post is also an example of what Logo Creator can do.

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MORE ON SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING

The Shotgun Social Media Strategy
Social Media Marketing and Time Management
Basic Twitter Terms and Definitions

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

10 Must-Know Security Tips to Protect Your Content, Websites, Social Media Accounts, Email Accounts, and More

With the New Year here, it's important to know some safety tips for your online accounts.

It seems more and more businesses and people are getting hacked. The most recent I heard of was a savvy pro-marketer. All his computer files, programs, and other data was actually held ransom. He paid the hackers $500 to get everything back.

Sounds crazy, right?

Well, unfortunately, this is a way of life today. These hackers have sophisticated programs and techniques that can hack almost anything.

And, once in your computer they will have access to your banking information, your credit card information, all you data, all your clients data, and so on, and so on.

Introducing a cyber attack to your computer can be as simple as downloading software on the internet or clicking on a link within an email.

In fact, with home automation (another online ‘convenience’) these hackers can get into a lot more than your computer and online accounts. The can virtually enter your home.

According to an article at DailyMail on cyber attacks, the criminals don’t “have to use sophisticated techniques to break into home appliances, including your front door.” (If  it’s on the system.)

But, I digress. Let’s get back to protecting your online accounts, including your email.

10 Safety Tips to Protect Your Online Accounts and More

1. This is critical – make sure your password is at the very least 10 characters. And, be sure to mix them up. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about: use capital and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. And, super important, don’t use any kind of sequences, like abc or 123.

2. Another critical measure – change your passwords on a regular basis. Don’t wait until you get a warning or you’ve been hacked. Cyber criminals are smart . . . and clever. Given enough time, they can figure out your password.

3. Don’t make your security answers obvious. If the question is “Who is Batman’s sidekick?” You can be sure a hacker will guess Robin. If the question is “Who is Donald Duck’s girlfriend?” Don’t answer with Daisy. If it’s common knowledge . . . it’s common knowledge.

4. Keep your passwords unique. This means don’t use the same password for two or more accounts and don’t reuse passwords. If you have trouble coming up with unique passwords, you check out a tool that PC Tools offers: https://identitysafe.norton.com/password-generator/

5. Check with your email service provider to see if they offer a login activity feature. Both Gmail and Yahoo do. This tool will give you recent login activity. Knowing if unauthorized users are in your accounts is a huge deal. It allows you to take immediate security measures.

6. A BIGGIE – Always, always, always sign out of your internet accounts. Whether it’s your email, your social media accounts, you’re websites, online groups, or other, be sure to log out when you’re done. A number of online services, like Google and Yahoo, allow you to stay logged on, even after you move on. This is an unsafe practice. Log out when you’re done.

7. Keep all your passwords safe. It may be convenient to list them on your computer, but don’t do it. Keep a ‘hard copy’ list or keep it on a zip drive (see below for a warning).

8. Don’t open emails you’re not sure of. If it looks suspicious, delete it. And, don’t respond to any emails that request personal information or request you change your password.

9. Secure your computer with antivirus software. It may not prevent a high-tech attack, but it should prevent low-end stuff from happening.

10. Protect your mobile device too. It’s a wise move to use a password on your device and you might want to lock it also.

Note: When using a zip or external drive, if you keep it plugged into your computer and you’re attacked, the hacker will take over your zip drive also. This is what happened to the pro-marketer I mentioned earlier. So, if you do use an external drive be sure to backup your work and then remove the device.

A couple of extra tips or at least my thoughts.

Don’t use cyber automation for your home.  Referencing the DailyMail article again, General Manager of Proofpoint’s Information Security division David Knight says, ‘Many of these devices are poorly protected at best and consumers have virtually no way to detect or fix infections when they do occur.”

Use the cloud. There are a number of offsite services you can use to keep your data safe from loss. Services like Carbonite.com and Dropbox.com backup your data on a regular basis. This way if you get hacked or something goes wrong with your computer, you won’t lose vital data.

I hope these tips help keep you ‘cybersafe.’ Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, or maybe lots, lots more.

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MORE ON CONTENT MARKETING

Content Marketing – Tim Ferriss on Blogging
Take Blogging Up a Notch (It’s more than just writing text)
Email Marketing – The Number One Step to Powerful Email Messages That Really Lead to Opens and Conversions (The Welcome Message)



Monday, January 19, 2015

Businesses Need Content Writers - You can be One

It's true. No matter what the business. No matter what the size. All business runs on content. This means all businesses need writers.

And, you know what?

If you can write content that is optimized and formatted properly, you can be one of those writers.

Here are a few statistics from Social Media Today:

  • CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing.
  • Nearly 50% of companies have content marketing strategies.
  • B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads than those that don't.
  • Inbound marketing delivers 54% more leads than traditional outbound marketing.

This ‘all’ means one thing for you, the freelance writer: OPPORTUNITY.

Just so you really ‘get’ how much opportunity is in SEO (content) writing, this type of writing is in all marketing content. And, that content covers:

  • Text
  • Webpages
  • Landing pages
  • Email marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Newsletters
  • Blog posts
  • Articles
  • Reports
  • Books
  • Presentations
  • Speeches
  • Videos
  • Animation
  • Podcasts
  • Product guides
  • Product descriptions

This list can go on and on.

If you’re wondering what SEO writing is about, it’s about generating and increasing:

  • Visibility
  • Website traffic
  • Readership
  • Shares
  • Authority
  • Ranking
  • Conversion (sales and clicks on your client’s call-to-actions)

If you’re new to the freelance writing arena or you want to add a new profitable skill to your portfolio, Become an SEO Writer in Just 4 Weeks is just what you need.

It’s an in-depth e-class that will show you how to:

  • Create properly formatted and search engine optimized content
  • Create content that’s readable and shareable
  • Use graphics to further optimize content
  • Use anchor text, deep linking, and external links
  • Optimize blog post images and videos
  • And, so much more

This is a class that every writer can benefit from. But, the freelance writer can take it a step further. She can make herself an asset to potential clients and even existing clients.

The class is interactive and student friendly. To find out ALL this WOW! Women on Writing e-class offers, CLICK HERE!

NOTE: the WOW! site is having some problems. If you can't get through to signup, just send me an email at kcioffiventrice@gmail.com (please put WOW SEO Class). I'll get you set.

OR, you can signup NOW for the February 3rd class right here:






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Reference:
http://socialmediatoday.com/brianna5mith/2039861/20-marketing-statistics-will-influence-decisions-2014



Friday, January 16, 2015

Self-Talking Yourself Into Being a Better Writer, A Better Marketer

I’ve long believed the benefits of positive thinking and positive projection. Now, in line with these philosophies, there is positive self-talk.

In an article at NPR.com, “Why Saying is Believing,” it explains the importance of not only talking to yourself, but how you talk to yourself.

Researchers delved into the influence that referring to the ‘self’ has on how the individual thinks, feels, and even behaves.

Interestingly, the studies are finding that talking to yourself as ‘I’ or ‘me’ can create stress.

Why does this matter?

According to “psychologist Ethan Kross of the University of Michigan led the work, studying the pronouns people use when they talk to themselves silently, inside their minds.” Kross went on to explain that the subtle linguistic shift from ‘I’ to your name can have “powerful self-regulatory effects.” (1)

As an example, suppose I say every morning: “I’m going to take actions to get 50 new subscribers to my mailing list this month.” According to the studies, this is creating subconscious stress on fulfilling my goal.

If instead I said, “Karen, you’re going to take actions to get 50 new subscribers to your mailing list this month,” I’m reducing the stress by kind of making myself someone else who’s being talked to. Kind of like being coached or advised. And, the ‘talking’ tends to be done in a milder, less demanding way when done this way.

So, how will this help you with your writing and marketing?

Well, why not give it a try. Even if its only benefit is to reduce some stress in your life, it’s powerful. On the other hand, if it reduces stress and helps motivate you to take action to work toward building a successful business, then it’s super-powerful.

I'll be giving it a try.

References

1. http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/10/07/353292408/why-saying-is-believing-the-science-of-self-talk

2. http://selfcontrol.psych.lsa.umich.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/KrossJ_Pers_Soc_Psychol2014Self-talk_as_a_regulatory_mechanism_How_you_do_it_matters.pdf 

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Want someone other than yourself helping your writing career?

Then you should check out Become an SEO Writer in Just 4 Weeks.

This e-class through WOW! Women on Writing will show you how to write super-charged articles and content that will be reader and SEO friendly, shareable, engaging, and will increase conversion. And, it’ll show you how to find prospects and work. Make it an income boosting part of your resume.

It's interactive, in-depth, and priced right. Check it out today. Just click on the link above for the details.

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MORE ON WRITING

Don’t Overspice Your Copy
Freelance Writing Work: The Possibilities
3 Reasons You Must Use Subheads

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