TinyLetter: Email Marketing for Everybody

TinyLetter: Email Marketing for Everybody

The big, professional email platforms can be daunting, and most cost $30/month and up. MailChimp has a free option, but it can be more juice than some people want. Now, there’s a solution: TinyLetter, owned by MailChimp. It’s a very simple, easy-to-use email platform that turns out a professional look and keeps the sender from being marked as spam by blasting dozens of emails out of his or her own inbox. Now, there’s just no reason not to do some email marketing for your business. Features of TinyLetter sign up in seconds simple, elegant navigation add links easily upload your list quickly send yourself a preview off it goes! shares well with social media, like this: Limitations of TinyLetter TinyLetter doesn’t offer the analytics that platforms like Emma and MailChimp do, but let’s face it: most folks aren’t going to spend a tone of time analyzing the stats. If you have a good list of people with whom you have a relationship, and you give a clear and easy way to respond, you’ll know if it’s working. I got an order for my little art business within two minutes of sending out a TinyLetter flight, so the 15 minutes it took me to sign up, write it, and upload my list was certainly worth it. Those are all the stats I needed. A bigger limitation is that TinyLetter doesn’t host images. That means you can’t just insert an image directly into the post; you have to host it elsewhere online. If you don’t have a website where you can park images, you can upload them to TinyPic, Photobucket, or Flickr. That creates a URL you can copy into the image box in TinyLetter. If you keep all your images on Facebook (not a great idea, but it happens), you can right-click on an image and grab the URL to put into TinyLetter. Last but probably least, TinyLetter doesn’t have a scheduling feature, so you’ll need to sit down to your computer to send off an email at the best time for your readers. Try it, and paste the link to your first flight in the comments, and we’ll give you a free critique. Go tiny or go home. If you found this post useful, share it your audience. Kim Phillips is a marketer, artist and teacher who helps companies of all sizes reach their audiences with creative branding, social media, websites, content management, email marketing, and direct mail. She is based in Nashville, Tennessee. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post Lucid Marketing can help you make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site...

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The 5 dumbest email unsubscribes ever.

The 5 dumbest email unsubscribes ever.

“Sniff sniff we hate to see you go…” Okay, that could be considered clever, but not enough to make me think, “You know, those guys are so cute, I’d like to keep getting their emails after all.” But at least they didn’t completely piss me off on the way out the door. Here’s how to create the dumbest email unsubscribes ever. 1. Make me answer a dozen questions before the unsubscribe is registered, particularly a multiple-choice list of reasons for unsubscribing including this one: I don’t want to get these emails any more. Well, duh. 2. Require a bunch of personal information before unsubscribing. 3. Make me log into some account I forgot I had and don’t remember the password to, in order to unsubscribe. 4. Present me with a huge list of possible types of emails to “manage” so I don’t get one kind but get about 15 other kinds. This just guarantees I’ll unsubscribe from every one of them. 5. Send me an email after I’ve unsubscribed, telling me I’ve unsubscribed. Don’t create one of these dumbest email unsubscribes. Create one like this: one click, with confirmation of the unsubscribe right there. No emails after. If this post was helpful, you can subscribe at the top of the page; please share with a colleague. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn  | Google+     this post With over 30 years of experience in financial services marketing, Lucid Marketing has the skills to make your marketing the best it can be. Call us today at 615.829.0772 or click here to send an email. Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

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Tutorial Tuesday: How to Get Your Emails Opened

Tutorial Tuesday: How to Get Your Emails Opened

The most important factor in whether someone opens an email is the subject line. People will even open emails from people they don’t know – inadvisable as that is – if the subject line is compelling enough. Effective subject lines… Are relevant. When a reader sees your email’s subject, the first thought is “what’s in it for me?” (True of any communication.) If the word we, us or our appears in the subject line, rewrite it. Give an idea of what the content is. Sounds simple but often doesn’t happen. Make the reader curious. What does that depends on the audience, but it might be something like, “The wine you ever tasted.” Ask questions. “Is your inbox too full?” Make an offer. “Big savings on (whatever the recipient actually uses).” Use numbers. People give credibility to them, like “The 12 Most Striking Tendencies of Creative People.” Solve a problem. “24/7 tech support for your home office.” Stir emotion. “How Hannah escaped domestic violence.” Since the subject line is such valuable real estate, don’t waste it with these all-too-common mistakes: Repeating the date. Every email program puts a date on the email. Repeating the organization’s name. The email program tells us that. Telling us it’s a newsletter. Why not tell us what it’s about? Jamming in your web address. That should be in the email somewhere. Using a cryptic “from” name. You probably don’t want to have a relationship with “no reply.” Not testing personalization. We get emails with “Hi, Lucid!” in the subject line. Feeling spammy. Lots of exclamation points, overuse of the word “free,” all caps, etc. add to the yucky feeling (and are actually filtered out by some email servers). Below are examples of all of the above, along with examples of good and excellent subject lines – timely, relevant, action-oriented, and informative – as all subject lines should be.  (Click on image to view larger.) Take a look at your last email marketing message.  How does it stack up? If this post was helpful, please share it with a colleague.  Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn | Google+ Copyright Notice: The contents of this site are copyrighted by Lucid Marketing, all rights reserved. Republication by permission only, with a link back and the source of the republication clearly noted. Excerpts, commentary, and fair use applications should be accompanied by a link back to the original content on this...

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7 ways to ruin email marketing for everyone.

7 ways to ruin email marketing for everyone.

We all love to complain about how much we have in our inboxes. Truth is, most of it we invite in. We willingly give out our email addresses to e-commerce sites, newsletter sign-ups, sort-of friends, blog feeds, contests, service providers. But certain folks are ruining email marketing for legitimate marketers. If you’d like to know how to do that, here goes… 1. Blast your message to a couple hundred people at a time out of your own email box. Never mind the fact that company email systems and other email servers will label not just you but everyone in your domain a spammer. And you won’t even know. Don’t use a professional email service. 2. Be sure to put all the recipients’ names in the “To” or “CC” field. That way, other slimeballs can scrape out the email addresses to create their own spam. 3. Have no real relationship with the recipients. In fact, buy a list. 4. Hard sell every chance you get. Make it all about you. 5. Violate the CAN SPAM Act every way you can: no physical address, no opt-out path, and a subject line that in no way relates to the body of the email. 6. Play dumb. When a professional marketer points out that you’re not only not using best practices, you’re also annoying the crap out of people, say “Really? Are you kidding?” 7. When you’re asked to stop, keep it up. After all, one actual opportunity at a piece of business is worth alienating hundreds of contacts. Now, everybody you have an email address for deletes your emails, blocks your domain, and/or reports you as a spammer to the FTC by forwarding your junk to spam@uce.gov. Excellent work. What advice would you add, and what remedies would you recommend? Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter @LucidKim | LinkedIn | Google+  ...

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4 ways to get extraordinary email open rates.

4 ways to get extraordinary email open rates.

In spite of rumors to the contrary, email is alive and well and is still your most accessible marketing tool. Look at the “open” rate on your last email campaign: was it 20% or more? If so, that’s good. And 25% is great. (Just in case your boss asks why not everybody is opening the company’s emails.) One of our businesses gets an email open rate of around 50%, with a similar click-thru rate. Why? 1. The List. The three most important things in email marketing are the list, the list, and the list. The email addresses in your marketing database and your customer database are gold. Don’t buy email lists. Ever. 2. The Affinity. How interested your audience is in your category, or in the sender, is deeply related to the list. If your target is, say, mommies, take men off the list. 3. The Subject. A great subject line, without a spammy feel, can make or break your campaign. Make it tantalizing, and avoid restating the obvious; use best email marketing practices. 4. The Platform. We use Emma, for its user-friendliness, it’s elegant look, and most importantly, it’s metrics. For every campaign, Emma gives stats on every single click, and not just what happened but who did it. Still not sure whether email marketing can work for you? In what form of advertising can you get half of everybody who sees it to do something? Or even 25% of them? If you’re ready to start, or to take your email marketing to the next level, look at your database. Do you have email addresses for all your customers? Do you have a naturally developed marketing database with the email addresses of prospects? Let’s get started on getting you extraordinary email open rates. Contact Me | Facebook | Twitter...

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12 most ingenious ways to generate online content.

12 most ingenious ways to generate online content.

If it’s your job to update your organization’s website, issue the e-newsletters, write the blog, and keep the Facebook page going, you need content, and you need it now. The internet chews up a lot of copy, and feeding it is hard sometimes. Here are 12 ways you can round up ideas, copy and images for online content that your readers — and the search engines — will love. 1. Make a plan. Write down five or six types of topics that will engage people and help them connect with your brand… technical, how-to, gossip, social action, self-improvement… whatever your audience is interested in. 2. Ask questions. In your blog posts and social media circles, throw out topics for discussion. 3. Set up Google Alerts. This is the easiest content-generation thing you’ll ever do. It’s free, and you can get Google to serve up everything that has recently appeared on the internet on any subject you’re researching. 4. Subscribe to blogs. Read what’s going on in your industry and related activities. See what people are concerned with. 5. Repost, and add some value. Don’t just grab articles and regurgitate them; think about what the other author said and expand on it. Always cite sources, with links. 6. Use guest authors. They obviously like to write and will appreciate the search engine love that comes their way. 7. Do surveys. In your next e-newsletter, poll your readers on a topic, then write about what you learn. 8. Give lessons. You are an expert at something, so help others learn about that. Do tutorials, screencasts, e-books, and videos. 9. Get worked up. Find something you’re passionate about that relates to your subject, and do a little sermon about it. A bit of righteous indignation can be interesting. 10. Do reviews. New products, recent brand makeovers, books, other websites — these are all good subjects for critiques. Be thoughtful, respectful, helpful and fair. 11. Use image searches. If you have a vague idea for something you’d like to write about, go to your favorite stock photo site. Start searching on any words that relate to the concept you’re trying to flesh out. The images that pop up will give you ideas. The good stock photo sites are well-indexed for concepts and metaphors. Window-shopping is free. 12. Create mini-versions. If you have a long article, blog post, or website copy, break it down into bite-size chunks and feed it to the audience a little at a time. The snacks can lead them to the main meal. What are your favorite idea-starters? If you found this helpful, please subscribe, and share so your colleagues can generate online content of their own.   This post...

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