Zee2A's Marketing Edge Blog

February 3, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 5 of 5

Today we address the 5th in our series of the Five Top Ezine Publishing Guidelines. If you’ve missed any of the previous posts, please pick up the links from our archive in the sidebar on the right of the screen.

5. Communicate with a frequency your readers expect

How often you send your email newsletter depends on how much content you include. Perhaps you send a ‘daily tip’ that is short and to the point, or you send a longer article only once a month. Either way it is best to set the expectations of your readers upfront and then stick to it.

Why? So that you keep on the radar of your prospects (which your readers ultimately are), and so that they can look forward to receiving your emails and are more likely to read them. Whatever you do, be sure not to send emails so frequently that you get on their nerves, or so infrequently that they forget who you are!

There you have it.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts on this series – even adding any top tips that you follow as an email marketer.  And if you’ve enjoyed this series of short articles and would enjoy reading more like them, please sign up for our e-zine The Marketing Edge.  We practice what we preach – promise!

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February 2, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 4

Yesterday we discussed the third golden rule of email marketing. So far we have addressed ethical vs unethical ways of adding names to your mailing list, making it as easy as one click to be taken off a list (no haggling), and not using your own email programme or mail-merge to send your broadcasts.  Today, ethical list building tip number four is:

4. Only send relevant, useful information

Why? If the articles and information you send out are not directly related to your core business, it will do nothing other than damage your credibility rather than position you as an expert in your field. Sending information on dress and grooming are appropriate if you are an image consultant, not an accountant.

Also, if you make a habit of sending low value gumpf you will quickly irritate your readers, see your unsubscribe rates soar, and risk being marked as a spammer.

Not exactly rocket science, is it?

Tomorrow we’ll look at the 5th and final ‘top tip’ in this series.

February 1, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 3

Last week we began our series of top tips for being a responsible, ethical, reputable email marketer. If you aren’t bothered about your reputation, or getting marked as a spammer, then stop reading – this is not for you (or perhaps you REALLY ought to be reading on….).

3. Use an automated ethical list-management service

What does that mean? It means that you don’t send your newsletter out via a distribution list in Outlook. Internet Service Providers are clamping down on this form of mass mailing, and if this is how you operate you will quickly find yourself being blacklisted as a spammer.

It also means that you don’t give your email marketing business to list managers that allow (and even encourage) dodgy list-building techniques or flout the previous two rules.

Personally we use – and highly recommend – Aweber for this very reason. They are very strict about adhering to email marketing best practices. They also refuse to do business with clients that don’t.

I Heart AWeber.com
Check back tomorrow for tip number 4.

January 29, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 2

Yesterday we addressed the first and foremost rule that responsible e-marketers follow. If you do any form of email marketing (newsletters, ezines, mailshots – call them what you like) then you are in the right place: Read on!

2. Make unsubscribing easy!

Why? Because your subscribers are entitled to change their minds about receiving your messages, and should have their wishes respected. They should not need to explain why, nor have to beg or plead to have you honour their request.

How do you make the process quick and painless? By having a simple, one-click unsubscribe link in your message – that removes the email address completely from your database.

Dishonest e-marketers make it virtually impossible for subscribers to remove themselves. They do things like creating separate lists for each individual broadcast so that when a reader clicks the unsubscribe link they are only removed from the current mailing and not future ones. Or they insist that you log in to their system to change your preferences, but you have never created an account to log in to!

E-marketers with integrity will never employ such cowboy tactics.

Check back on Monday for our third tip.

January 28, 2010

Ethical list building: Tip 1

Over the next few days we’ll be exploring the top 5 ezine publishing guidelines that you need to follow as a reputable, ethical e-marketer. If you missed our previous post/s you can read them here. Today we look at tip number 1:

1. Only add subscribers with their permission!

Why? Well, a major reason for having an ezine or email newsletter at all is to position you as an expert in your field, to demonstrate your services, and enhance your credibility. You ruin it all by growing your subscriber base without their consent.

Additionally, people who actually want (and have asked) to hear from you are qualified prospects and are more likely to buy from you eventually. It is a complete sham to have a database of hundreds or even thousands of recipients that don’t want what you have to offer, never read your newsletters, and possibly even have your messages land straight in a junkmail folder.

How do you ensure you have their permission? By using what is known as ‘confirmed (or verified) opt-in’. This not only makes certain that every name on your mailing list has given you permission to send them your newsletters, serves to validate the email addresses you hold, and also prevents third parties from adding subscribers without their knowledge.

By definition then you would not add people to your mailing list simply because you picked up their card while networking. Neither would you mine the Yellow Pages or Chamber of Commerce member list to increase your subscriber numbers.

Responsible e-marketers regard this as standard practice.

Check back tomorrow for tip number 2.

January 5, 2009

You Ought To Know!

Today we’re sharing a video from You Tube that (so far) has had over 44000 views.  In a very creative way it makes the serious point about why cold calling sucks and doesn’t work – and offers some ideas of what marketing activities get better results.

 

Once you’re done watching the video you’d be smart to refresh your memory on two previous articles in The Marketing Edge:  Never Cold Call Again! And Get More Clients into the Bargain… And Don’t Place Another Ad Before You Read This!

 

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts

July 23, 2008

Spam: Where it Came From, and How to Escape It

Spam: Where it Came From, and How to Escape It

Written by Tom Kulzer (AWeber CEO)

  • Who Cooked This!? (How did it all start?)
  • Why Does Bad Spam Happen to Good People?
  • Stop The Flood to Your Inbox
  • Stay Off Spammed Lists in the Future
  • Think You’re Not a Spammer? Be Sure.
  • The Final Blow (more…)

July 22, 2008

Grow Your eZine List The Honest Way!

You may recall my recent article, published here on June 3rd and in my eZine The Marketing Edge entitled: Right vs Wrong: How To Build an Email List wherein I outlined some of the dishonest, and soon to be illegal ways that many businesses and email marketers grow their email subscriber lists.

Many so-called marketing experts and self-proclaimed gurus are the worst offenders – adding every email address they’ve ever collected onto their unauthorised s*p*a*m*m*i*n*g lists.

I also outlined a number of best-practices for building an eZine (or email newsletter) subscriber database with people who have chosen to subscribe, by opting-in to receive emails from you. 

Few other email marketers would be prepared to share their statistics or inside information, but I would like my clients, subscribers, and readers to feel comfortable that I not only ‘walk the talk’ but can substantiate advice I give them, based on my own experiences. (more…)

July 14, 2008

The Seven Deadly Sins of Networking

Regular readers of The Marketing Edge will recall my previous articles about how to network (Networking That Produces Results) and where to network (Are You Fishing in the Wrong Pond?). This third article in the series uncovers the mistakes to be avoided if our networking is to produce outstanding results.

Now that you have the how and where all nicely in hand, the last thing you want to do is allow your investment in time, money, and credibility go down the drain by committing any of the following Seven Deadly Sins of networking:

Sin #7: Data dumping

This involves ‘dumping’ the data from all the business cards you’ve collected onto your newsletter distribution list or other marketing list without that person’s consent. I don’t know about you, but I get really annoyed when I suddenly find myself receiving a host of different e-zines that I didn’t ask for, after attending a networking lunch. Just don’t do it!

Sin #6: Trying to sell before building a relationship

Networking is first and foremost about building relationships. We talk a lot about the ‘know, like, and trust’ factor with good reason, so offering your sales-pitch prematurely is pushy and off-putting. Focus on getting to know people first. Play ‘Marketing Relay’ (Principle 1 in The Seven Principles of Professional Services Marketing) by going around the ‘track’ systematically. Remember that if you launch into a selling conversation too soon, you drop the ‘baton’ and have to start again.

Sin #5: Being the centre of attention

We all enjoy talking about ourselves, especially when we have a captive audience, but I can’t stress this point enough: You have to share the attention. No one likes a blabber-mouth who never shuts up or lets others have a word in. Allow others enough opportunity to talk, and really really listen to them. As Toby Keith states so well: Sometimes I wanna talk about ME! (you’ve got to watch this vid!)

Sin #4: Spreading yourself too thinly

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: focus on Quality vs Quantity. To make a genuine success of your networking efforts and get tangible value out of it, you simply have to be an active, visible member of the group/s to which you belong. If you are attending too many different events too frequently, you will have no option but to compensate in other areas. Either by working longer hours than necessary to catch up on your work backlogs, or by committing the #1 Sin …

Sin #3: Being unprepared

This is another major contributor to committing the #1 Networking Sin. Being prepared has many guises: You must ensure that you have sufficient supplies of business cards, a pen, notebook and your diary (or PDA). How embarrassing if the opportunity to set up an appointment arises and you don’t have your diary, or you have run out of business cards before a conversation with the CEO of one of your major targets.

You must also be prepared with something interesting to talk about. Do you know how to make small talk? Have you read something in the business news or an industry journal that you could use?

Another area where being unprepared, or badly prepared, can wreck your credibility and opportunities for networking success – is not having a decent Verbal Signature. You may call it an elevator pitch, a cocktail speech, or simply your 60 second intro. If your message is garbled, too fussy, overly creative, boring, or simply unclear then you will have to work so much harder to achieve your goals. We make an impression within that first sixty seconds, so ensure that it’s a good one.

An exercise that many of our subscribers, and all of our clients have gained tremendous value from is working through the audio programme Transform Your Networking With a Verbal Signature™ and its accompanying workbook. If you haven’t done so yet I suggest you make it your number one priority after reading this article. Download it from the private subscriber’s area on our website. If you aren’t a subscriber yet, then go to our homepage, input your details into the signup box, and you will receive a link to that download page.

Sin #2: Poor information gathering

This doesn’t mean that you didn’t collect enough business cards – it means you failed in gathering relevant information to support what is printed on those cards. Who is the person behind the name? What do they do (that the card doesn’t tell you)? How will you remember what they look like when you bump into them again? What information have you obtained to help you in building a relationship with them? What did you talk about? This is one place where your pen and notebook become more than unused props at the event. In fact never mind the notebook even – scribble some info right on the back of the business card. As an example, if I just met David at an event, the notes on the back of his card might be something along these lines: ‘Bald. Handsome 😉 South African. Sat next to me at lunch. Planning huge business expansion.’ – get the idea?

If your information gathering is deficient you have also undoubtedly committed other ‘sins’ too and will almost certainly go on to commit THE NUMBER ONE DEADLY SIN of networking:

Sin #1: No Follow Up!

There are a number of ways to follow up with a networking contact (which I’ll address in a future article and in great detail at our seminar next month) but a simple idea is to send an email or a postcard with a ‘nice to meet you’ type message. Or pick up the phone and say the same. These are such easy, well mannered, gestures that it’s a real pity that less than 1% of networkers actually do this. But I assure you that those that do reap the rewards.

©Vanessa Deakin and Zee2A Limited 2008. Would you like to reprint this article? You may do so as long as you include the copyright notice and the following paragraph: Vanessa Deakin, Operations Director at Zee2A, is a Marketing Coach who works with Professional Service Executives frustrated and disappointed with their current growth rates, marketing efforts, and business profitability. Through one-on-one and group mentoring programmes she helps them to skyrocket their results and break their own best records. To learn more, sign up for her e-zine, or make an enquiry please visit our website at www.zee2a.com.

Do you attend a lot of networking events? Are you disappointed by the low ROI of your time and money? Wish you were getting more (or better quality) referrals and business from this medium? You need to attend our Performance-Tuned Networking seminar on 5th August in Basingstoke! Book one of the 20 remaining seats today!
 

 

June 26, 2008

What Are the “NO-NO’s” of Networking?

In your opinion: what really rubs you up the wrong way when networking?

Perhaps you have comitted the ‘unforgiveable s i n/s’ yourself and learned your lesson; OR you have been on the receiving end of someone else’s unacceptable or inappropriate actions / activity / behaviour.

It could relate to online or in-person networking.
It could be at or during an event
It could be what happens (or doesn’t happen) afterwards.

I’m looking forward to your comments!

I asked the same question on LinkedIn. Here are excerpts of some of the replies so far: (more…)

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