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Tips For Creating E-Newsletters for Mobile Phones #enewsletter October 18, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 4:30 pm
Tags: , , , ,

If you send emails and e-newsletters out to a large list, you are most likely going to get readers who are viewing it on their mobile phone. There is nothing more frustrating that trying to upload or read a file that is too large and  jumbled. You are most likely going to give up after a few tries. Here are some tips to make your emails “mobile phone friendly”.

 

1. Simple is better

When you are designing for a cell phone sized screen, keep to the point and try not to have distractions. Organize it well, break it up evenly, and try to avoid animated gifts. (I know the latter is hard, especially when people are so “visual friendly”, but they don’t work very well from a cell phone).

 

2. Subject Line and Header are CRUCIAL

Most people scroll through their messages on their cell phone and either immediately delete, or mark it to read later. Front load your subject line by saying what’s most important first, keep it short, and use the preheader to give a short communication to the reader.

 

3. Use Fewer, Smaller Images

A logo and three small images are the perfect combination for a mobile phone email. Many people will block the images on their cell phones, so remember to tag your images with a descriptive label; at least that will show up. Also make sure that the images you use are the smallest ones you can find and will download easily.

 

4. Links are Important

Since the point is to design a simpler email, cutting down on as much text as you can, the best way to do this is to link to the full article rather than posting it. Try not to crowd the links since there is not much space on the readers screen and always link to the important pages, such as a landing or website.

 

5. Use A Call-To-Action

Your reader is typically going to be on the go, so have a clear call to action and place it at the very beginning or somewhere that it will stand out. Keep in mind that fingers press about 45 pixels so keep your button size around that size and leave about 10 pixels of space around them in case your reader misses the button.

 

6. Scrolling

Try to slim down every way you can. Having to scroll around the screen, up and down, back and forth, gets to be troublesome and your reader may give up. Try to keep your email body 500-600 pixels. An iPhone screen is 320 pixels wide, so if your email is around 600 pixels it can zoom easily and will look great.

 

7. And Finally…Some Holiday Email Tips!

During the holiday season, there is some additional info that you will want to include in your email. Don’t make them go to your site to find it! These include your holiday hours, specials sales and services, and most importantly your contact info. Make sure your phone number is easy to find as well as your address and a link to get quick directions!

These tips were pulled from verticalresponse.com blog

 

I hope these tips will be useful for you when sending out emails. Since most people have a smart phone and use them for everything, I mean EVERYTHING, its important to always keep these tips in mind when sending them out. Thanks for reading everyone!

Anna

 

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What to do when you have writer’s blog block #engage365 August 1, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 9:23 pm

Here are 90 things to jump start the creative juices and get you back to the keyboard, and if these don’t work there is always Angry Birds!

 

1. Write about industry News – whats happening this week, this month

2. Read and develop content on industry Trends – where is the industry going, what are the emerging hot segments

3. Find out about your customers Pain Points – Write posts that provide solutions for your customers problems

4. Write about customers successes – Write up a case study about a clients successful project, they will often let you publish their name

5. Publish content on what not to do! – highlighting where something hasn’t worked (the names shall remain anonymous of course)

6. Create a video blog post by interviewing a successful client – this can a powerful providing authentic evidence of authority and credibility for both you and the client

7. Write articles for the different types of customers that are relevant for each of  your vertical markets

8. Brainstorm blog post topics with colleagues and management and create a list for future reference and planning

9. Subscribe to the top industry blogs in your market, both company blogs and personal blogs for ideas

10. Look through your latest news releases for ideas

11. Sign up other staff to write on topics in your industry or market that they are passionate about

12. Develop a series of how to blog posts

13. Turn the “how to” blog posts into short videos

14. When you have a great idea, go straight to your “add new” button and write the headline and save it as a draft or write it down before you forget it.

15. Include a great iconic image at the start of the blog that catches the eye

16. Case Studies are always popular to write about and not just your own

17. Place Powerpoint presentations on your blog by posting  and then embedding links from Slideshare

18.  Run polls and surveys on your blog

19. Create great headlines that catch people attention and makes them want to read the rest of the article

20. Add credbility banners such as how many subscribers, number of hits, blog grade and any awards

21. Provide “share this” buttons to Facebook and Twitter as a minimum

22. Implement “subscribe” buttons via RSS and Email

23. Write in bite size chunks and use bullet points so readers can quickly and easy consumption

24. Break up large blocks of text with iconic and interesting images

25. Take screen shots to place in your post using Software like Snagit to highlight points .. a picture is worth a 1000 words

26. Be yourself even if it is a company blog.. be authentic.

27. Optimize your blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

28. Promote and distribute your posts on to other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

29. Make the blog easy to find on your company’s web page with a large bannner or button

30. Have fun, mix up the types of posts and add some humour occasionally.

(Gini Dietrich from Spinsucks.com contributed to the list with the following eleven additional tips)

31. Ask your readers what they want you to write about

32. Let your readers pimp their own blogs in your comments section (we’re going to do this on Thursday of this week)

33. Ask questions

34. Create contests (which goes along with your poll/survey idea)

35. Install the SEO All In One pack on your WordPress blog

36. Use StumbleUpon to increase your readership

37. Create content for “Associated Content” by republishing your blog posts there (it helps with readership and news outlets will republish your content on their sites)

38.Comment on other blogs and news articles to show your thinking/expertise, but also link people back to your blog

39. Make sure, when you use Twitter to promote your blog post, that you’re tweeting about it more than once a day

40. Subscribe to SmartBrief newsletters, RSS feeds, and Google alerts in order to find ideas for new content (that’s how I found this blog!)

41. Post and link your content on the Delicious social bookmarking site. (This will again help spread your content by placing it on a highly trafficked site)

42. Try your hat at a guest blogger or two, this could add credibility to your site , especially if the person is influential in his or her space. Courtney Wiley of  iNgage Networks also made this suggestion

43.In the meta tags for your photos, make sure the labels/words are what you want them to be – search engines can’t “read” photos, only the labels/meta tags. Dave Heinrich from WebTechUniverse.com also contributed with this tip which is vital and I do this with every image in my posts

44. When people write a comment actually take the time to email them directly and thank them for the comment and if they ask a question, then answer it. You will find that this will create a WOW factor and spread the word about the blog. If you took 10-15 minutes a day to respond to 5 comments via email you would make great impact on over 1,500 people during a year who would each spread the word to potentially 1000′s more. This could be the making of a tribe!

45. Comment appropriately on the top blogs ranked by Google on the major key word or phrase you are trying to optimize for SEO. This will create a a link back to your site and linking is key to increasing your own rankings with search engines

46. Write a blog post listing some important bloggers in your industry (such as the top 5) and point out how they make their blogs successful and you might find they return the love!

47 Interlink to other posts in your blog when writing a post especially those that are relevant and have been successful (this again is great for SEO)

48. Outsource content development for sections of your blog that are appropriate such as ‘resource’ sections.

49. Update an original post that provides more value to your readers (this post is an example)

50. Take readers comments and include and promote them in your blog  (like we have just done)

51. Take a selection of your best blog posts and make an ebook out of it. Then distribute the ebook on the Amazon Kindle Store and Apple iBookStore. This will find you new readers for your blog. And you can monetize it in a whole new way by charging a dollar or two for your ebook. (Thanks to Vikram Narayam )

52. Collaborate with other Twitter users within your niche to promote each others content

53. Make sure that everyone within your company has their own Twitter account and promotes the blog and company social media accounts on that account

54. When speaking or presenting, record it on video and upload it to company YouTube channel. It will be a constant resource for clients as well as adding to your websites SEO.

55.  Make excerpts of  key points on the video and turn them into short blog posts.

56. On your YouTube channel make sure you have optimized the video for search engines through tags, key phrase in the description as well as the link to your blog in the  description section.

57. The SlideShare account where you have uploaded your PowerPoint presentation should also be optimized for search with your blog or website URL in your public profile

58. The Slideshare account should also have your top keywords and phrases in the  ”Public Profile” about section so that search is optimized.

59. Keep most blogs short with no more than 400-500 words as most people don’t have much time and will be only spending a minute or two on your blog (average time on this site according to Google Analytics is 1 minute and 39 seconds)

60. If embedding a video in the post again brevity rules with the rule of thumb now at a 1-2 minute video

61.  Take each post and post it on the New Digg (20 million visitors a month), it is quick and easy to do and will take you only a minute or two (it involves copying the URL and pasting it to Digg, add the headline and choose the section then hit

62. Take the results of your polls or survey and turn them into a blog post. A lot of people want know the results as over time the blog post is buried in the archives

63. Use a twitter app such as SocialOomph.com (Professional edition) to schedule tweets your posts on a regular basis. Another software application you can use is MarketMesuite.com which allows you to personally brand your scheduled tweets.

64. Collaborate and communicate with other successful bloggers in your niche especially those that enhance and add to your skill set (they will encourage and support you)

65. Implement an email acquisition strategy that includes a pop over form that hovers over the screen for first time visitors (offer free eBook or video tutorial as an incentive and a gift for people giving you their name and email address) . One platform that provides this is Aweber.

66. Another email subscriber tactic includes a suggestion to refer a friend to join the email list

67. Place a video on your Facebook fan page inviting visitors to subscribe.

68. Link to your blog on your Facebook fan page

69. On your email subscriber form don’t ask people for their life history keep it short and only ask for name and email address

70. On LinkedIn  Make sure your Profile is public with Your Blog, Website and Facebook pages entered in your Settings (Profile Section) where you are allowed 3 website URLs

71. On LinkedIn make sure you have blog widget loaded (this is at the bottom of your LinkedIn Home page by clicking on the +Add an Application Button) this will then display your blog and the 3 latest posts in a window on your home page for all visitors to your profile

72. Add the Twitter feeds application using the Tweets add on in the same section this will promote your blog posts when you tweet them

73. Promote your Slideshare presentations on LinkedIn using the Slideshare Presentations again in the +Add an Application button (remember your optimized Slideshare account will have your blog URL which will drivetraffic to your blog)

74. Get the latest information and ideas by creating alerts using Google Alerts on your favourite topics. For me that might be something like “Social Media Case Studies” so that any new content on the Web that fits that phrase will be fed to you by Google, either as it happens or daily. (Suggestion maybe create a separate dedicated email account eg alert@jeffbullas.com so that it doesn’t overwhelm your personal or business account

75. Hire a copy writer to hone your content for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) so that your key words and phrases that are important when potential readers and clients go looking online find “you” and not your competitor on Google’s search engine results page

76. Video interview successful people in your industry and then make it easy for them to share the interview with their network (this will surprise you as to how powerful this is in leveraging and spreading your content)

77. Run Ads in the sidebar such as  Deck ads.  ( you can make a few thousand a month off  ”The Deck” ads.if the traffic volumes are significant)

78. Bundle up the best blog posts about about your niche and turn it into a PDF book. You could sell the PDF for lets say $19. (37signals who took its own experiences as a web startup and published them on their corporate blog and monetized that over 2 years into a $750,000  revenue stream by publishing and then repackaging it)

79. Take the PDF and turn it into a paperback at a print on demand publisher Lulu.com. You can sell the paperback for $25 and they make a few more thousand a month on royalties. (37 signals book “Getting Real” was published from the PDF source material  and the paperback is currently ranked the 2nd best seller on Lulu)

80.Take the content from the book and produce a conference series. You could hold a few conferences a year and make about $50,000 per conference. (37signals has produced about 5 of these conferences) So if you add this all up:

  • $100,000 on The Deck ads
  • $350,000 on the “Getting Real” PDF
  • $65,000 on the “Getting Real” paperback
  • $250,000 on the “Getting Real” conferences (before that they were called Building of Basecamp).

Total $765,000 over a few years off the same content repackaged in a variety of ways.

This content was simply about insight and ideas about how they run their business.

So there it is, over $750,000 from Blog entries, PDF, paperback, and conferences.

How could you adapt this model to your industry?

81. Take the content, expertise and network contacts that you have developed from your blog and produce a Webinar. Social Media Examiner have done this successfully twice and  have registered up to 2,000 people online and made over $900,000

82. Mount a video camera in your car if you are in an industry that involves getting out and about such as real estate and make a video blog while you are “on the job” (but not driving of course). Ian Watt from Vancouver does this and creates short video blog posts talking about the industry he is obviously passionate about.

83. Turn your blog content into an online course and publish it and sell it using applications such as wiziq.comodijoo.comlitmos.com

84. Offer a premium paid newsletter for a low cost of $1.99. An example here is that a restaurant could offer a monthly newsletter with recipes for seasonal foods or a Gym could offer a weekly newsletter with keeping fit and staying healthy.

85. Use Alltop to promote your content.

86. Put a big button on your blog that invites and makes it easier for people to do “business” with you such as investing in your blog or collaborating in joint ventures..

87. Join as many Facebook active Facebook fan pages or groups relating to your blog topic as possible

88. Monitor your brand with Google Alerts or Tweetdeck so that you can thank people that publish your content and protect your brand from misconceptions.

89. Offer consulting services in your area of expertise that are highlighted and prominent on your blog.

90. Finally don’t give up “Persist” and your blogging journey may surprise you!

Written by Jeff Bullas from jeffbullas.com

I love that there are 90 points here. It does not leave me with much to add, but I am happy to share them via Jeff!

Anna

 

How To Really Get To Know Your Social Media Circle #eventprofs #engage365 #assnchat July 25, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 6:34 pm

If you want to really be engaged with your audience, you need to know who you are talking to. Why not send them a “Getting to Know You” survey?  Social media has allowed us to get up close and personal with our customers,  and the public in general,  that it is important to understand your audience for the most effective communication with them.  Here are some general questions you can ask your audience that might help maximize your results in online communication:

 

1. Describe your professional occupation.

2. What sort of Social Media platforms do you use most professionally?

3. What traditional marketing tactics do you like to use?

4. Are you interested in learning more about how to integrate different marketing tactics?

5. About how much do you rely on your Social Media circles for helpful tips, relevant information, guidance and all around professional help?

 

It’s good to make it short and sweet. It’s not about building a contact list so you can blast them with emails, so dont ask for any contact information. View it as a simple “getting to know you” questionnaire.

 

Here is a good example of how a survey was used effectively, and how to understand the results:

http://bit.ly/rm00pJ

 

If you want to come up with other questions, think about the networking experiences you have had at other events and draw on the conversations you have had with your colleagues. Ask them professional questions that you would really like to know and are interested in, just as you were sitting with them face to face, chatting over the danish cart they just brought out for he mid- morning break. Thanks for reading!

 

Anna

 

 

 

 

Best Practices for an Excellent Board of Directors #nonprofit #assnchat July 21, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 5:18 pm

The Board of Directors is everything. It should be where the buck stops. It should be where important decisions are made. It should be strong, willing, and able. If you don’t have a strong Board, these years may prove to be rocky for your association, and in fact could begin the unraveling of the whole nonprofit if you are not careful.

“In successfully-run associations, members of the board of directors possess good communication skills, carefully plan ahead, make good judgments based on sound decision-making practices, delegate work to qualified committee or advisors, exercise initiative and independent thinking and work well together as a team.”

“While there are leadership success stories, there are also leadership failure stories. If a board members cannot work together and do not abide by the governing documents, state statutes and their moral obligation of fiduciary duties, these board members can send their associations into political turmoil, financial collapse and physical deterioration. It is in the breakdown of good management practices and the lack of skilled leadership that give rise to claims of breach of fiduciary duty.”

Fiduciary duty is “the relationship of trust and confidence between one in a position or power, dominance or authority and another who is dependant on that person’s decision making, or exercise of authority”

Summarizing important fiduciary duties:

  • Utmost care: board members are bound to a higher standard.
  • Integrity: board directors must act with fidelity and honesty.
  • Duty of full disclosure: of all material facts which influence a director’s decision.
  • Loyalty: no “personal agendas” or conflicts of interest.
  • Duty of good faith: means total truthfulness, absolute integrity, and total fidelity to the association. The duty of good faith requires board members to always act in the best interests of the association.
This information was pulled from hoamanagement.com via Joanne L. Willoughby.

Below, you will find a list of best practices for all board of directors. If the board can follow this guide, that set term of directors will flourish the association immensely and leave a positive impact for other directors in the years to come.

1. Recruiting New Members.

They are thoughtful about their new members – and select them carefully. They don’t add people just because slots are open. They vet their new members carefully

2. Orientation.

They orient their new members carefully – to help them get up to speed on strategic issues and also to help them feel a member of the group.

3. Clear Expectations.

They lay out clear expectations for board members. My friend Sandy Rees (who’s sitting here with me over coffee this am) says “If they don’t have clear expectations, they are setting themselves up for problems either now or later.”

4. Enforced Expectations.

They discuss expectations often as a group. That way they stay alive, and get recognized and accepted.

5. Annual Planning Retreat.

And they have an annual retreat to discuss strategic issues and to forge closer working relationships among board members. The planning retreat helps them establish and know what their goals are.

6. Social Time.

They make social time among board members a priority. Because they know this helps create closer personal relationships among board members, which in turn, engenders trust and a sense of team.

7. Meetings.

They make sure board meetings are interesting. That board meetings focus on important issues. That meetings don’t waste members’ time.

“Every board member needs to leave feeling jazzed and excited about the organization,” says Sandy on her second cup of coffee.

8. Term Limits.

They enforce term limits, no discussion, no question. Rotating new board members keeps the board fresh, and open to new ideas. Everybody knows and accepts this.

No term limits means that the board evolves into more of a social club – and this is clearly not in the organization’s best interest!

9. Consent Agendas.

They use consent agendas to save meeting time so they can focus on what’s really important – following up on their strategic decisions.

10. Fun.

They have fun together, which establishes camaraderie. They take time for fun and for getting to know each other. You want your board members to enjoy their time on the board.

11. Group Process.

They pay attention to the intangible issue of group process – how the board members work together as a group. They do not engage in negativity, handwringing or naysaying.

They make sure that one group (usually the long time board members) does not dominate. So nobody ever says “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

12. CEO.

They have a strong CEO who the board members like and trust. They stand by their CEO. They are in a partnership relationship with the CEO.

13. Focus.

They are willing to stay focused on what’s best for the organization -NOT their personal agendas or preferences.

14. Conflict.

They welcome strong discussion at board meetings, but they keep it cordial. Warm personal relationships developed through social time help create a comfortable environment for rich discussions.

They are willing to challenge each other, and willing to ask questions.

15. Respect.

They never embarrass a fellow board member in front of the other board members.

16. Adhere to Structure.

They never go around the CEO to individual staff unless they are working on a specific project directly with staff.

17. Giving.

Board Members All Give.

They all make a proud personal gift individually each year, putting their money where their mouth is. They encourage all other board members to give.

18.Messaging.

They know why their organization needs and deserves financial support. They are clear on what the message is.

19. Self Evaluation Process.

They have a board self-evaluation each year and they discuss it frankly.

20. Monitoring Progress.

High performing boards have a way to measure how well they are doing. They measure themselves against goals, both as individuals and as a group.

21. Bias Towards Action.

They are action-oriented. Board members understand that their job is not just to come to meetings and pontificate.

22. Individual Action.

Each board member knows what his or her job is.

23. Decision Making.

They establish who is supposed to make what decision, and they are clear about it. They have clear ground rules on how decisions are made.

24. Communication.

They are clear on how communication is supposed to flow.

25. Committees.

Committees all have a specific reason for being, specific deliverables and action items. There are not endless committee assignments.

26. Team Spirit.

Your board works together as a team. There is a team spirit energy that pervades everything they do.

Creating a high performing board is just like creating a team. Everybody has to be clear on their purpose and what their job is.

This list was taken from Gail Perry’s blog.

Thanks for reading! I work with four sets of Board of Directors from different associations. Some are more hands on than others, some are more domineering than others, some appreciate my input more than others. But the one thing they cannot deny is that they signed up for this position and therefore should be aware of their responsibilities. Sometimes they need a little reminding and nudging, but in the end, with these ideas in mind the Board will will be active and the association will benefit IMMENSELY! #leadership

Anna

 

Crash Course on #Google+ #eventprofs #engage365 July 13, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 7:11 pm

If you are not a web programmer or don’t have those innate skills on understanding and operating new social media websites like myself,  this “Google+ 101” slideshow might be beneficial to you.

 

As the Google+ site is still in the “testing” phase and you need an invite to join, the author of this slideshow will send you an invite for sharing the link, like I have done.

 

I am still determining if I want to use Google+ as a personal or professional page, I am beginning to lean towards professional as I have had much success with my new Twitter page and my professional blogging.  If you do end up joining, let’s get together and be in each others professional “Circle”. as I am guessing the new phrase is going to be….“GOOGLE+ ME!”

 

Here is what you will learn in the slideshow:

Google+ is the latest in social media innovation offering a series of tools to help you stay connected with the people/ things you care about.

Step 1: Set up a Google+ profile

Step 2: Integrating your Picasa photo album(s) (if you have one)

Step 3: Establishing your “Circles”

Step 4: Checking your privacy settings

Step 5: Adding your contacts

Step 6: Organizing a “Huddle”

Step 7: Mastering the “Hangout”

 

There is additional information on +Streams, +Circles, and +Sparks. Also, you will learn how to get started chatting, hooking up to your mobile phone, and sending a private message. At the end, there is a great Google+ Cheat sheet for fast learning.

Please click the link below to start the slideshow:

http://slidesha.re/pk2rhY

 

Thanks for reading! I hope you will have a great experience on Google+ with an easy transition into it thanks to the slideshow.

Anna

 

A place to store my mind… June 29, 2011

Filed under: The Personal Appeal — attract2engage @ 8:51 pm

As I continue venturing out in my career, expanding my thoughts (and my resume!) I have found that I need a place to keep all the wonderful information I learn online, and in day to day life. We all know there is just too much information out there to store it all in one place (the brain!). Therefore, I am introducing you to my WordPress blog; a place where I will be storing relevant information and tracking my professional career – for your pleasure and for my memory! I hope you enjoy!