Monthly Archives: March 2010

Establish an Ezine Publishing Schedule that Works

I hope you’ve included email marketing as part of your plan to promote your business (a  previous post lists resources). One of the decisions you’ll have to make is how often you should publish. Carrie Drybrough of VicadeaConcepts.com says, “You’ll have to consider your own time constraints and your audience’s tolerance for regular communication.” She suggests the following when trying to decide on a publishing schedule that works for you. We are definitely on the same page.

Daily: Too much work. Your publications will becoming annoying to your subscribers and will overload already bulging InBoxes.

Weekly: Incredibly time-consuming. Entering your subscribers’ mailbox four times a month is cause for overload.

Bi-weekly: The right mix for many. Keeps you fresh in your subscribers’ minds but less likely to cause them to click “unsubscribe.”

Monthly: May not be often enough. Mailing once a month may cause a subscriber to forget who you are and when and why they signed up. Monthly is often the preferred option for information and educational communications.

Quarterly: Least amount of work but the content needs to be A-One and you’d better be hard to forget. Best for seasonal updates and significant changes.

Remember: Newsletters should be 80% content and 20% promotion. And to boost your search engine rankings, this same information needs to be online (such as in a blog).

To subscribe to my bi-weekly enewsletter, click here.

PEACE.


Three Resources for Creating Marketing Videos for Your Website

I made a business commitment to add more videos to my Websites and also to create more marketing videos this year. For non-marketing videos, I’ll use my Flip MinoHD camcorder (or the Webcam built into my laptop). I’ll use Camtasia to edit them, add music, slides, etc. For a slick marketing piece, I’ll need to get more creative (and spend some money). I’ve explored various options and thought you might find this helpful.

Update: Cisco has ended the Flip portable camcorder business. My next purchase will be the Kodak PlayTouch. It includes a mic jack so the sound will be so much better.

animoto.com (free version). Animoto automatically produces TV quality video pieces using your photos, video clips, and music. You submit everything online, click a view buttons, and taa daa!, you have your video. If you use their free version, your video will include their logo and URL. They also have a limited annual plan ($30/year) where you have to pay a small fee to add video within the finished product. The other annual license that’s $249.00 comes with unlimited, full-length videos with no branding.

Here is a sample video I created in minutes, just using photos (photos by Phil at mccphoto.com). All the animation was created on their end. I could have added video clips too. The music is my company’s official theme song.

Pixability.com ($595.00). They’ll loan you a portable camcorder if you don’t have one. You’ll shoot your own video such as customer testimonials while they’re in the store, an employee interview, product demos, etc. Once you’re done, send the camera back in their pre-addressed envelope, and they’ll create your video with music, transitions, titles, your logo, etc.

Note: Their Website has a great article with tips for creating better videos.

Turnhere.com (free for first three months). Turnhere sends a video crew from your area to your business. A filmmaker will assemble the footage and add music, etc. You’ll be able to view the video online and make up to three edits. After approval, they’ll email you the code so you can post the video online. You can post the video online for free for three months. After that, you’ll have to pay a year’s subscription for $199.00 or you can buy the Web-quality video for $599.00. Visit Turnhere’s Website for more details.

If you’ve heard of or used something different, please leave a comment and let us know.

PEACE.

Update: What will you do with all the great videos you create? Why not showcase them on your own TV channel and at the same time boost your organic search engine rankings? I’ve published a new booklet titled, A Complete Guide: Create, Build, and Manage a YouTube Channel. It’s a 24-page, step-by-step guide that’s written with a logical workflow in mind. I’ll guide you through features I wish I’d known about in the beginning.

Already have a channel? How about taking it to another level? Click the YouTube logo above to visit my channel. I created the customized skin using PowerPoint. Here’s a video series I recorded that’ll teach you how to do that.

You can purchase the booklet on my Website and create a first-class YouTube channel. And also check out my booklet, Shameless Self-Promotion: DIY SEO for more help getting found online.

Use Copy2Contact to Turn Text on a Page to an Outlook Contact

One of the tips I demo in my Outlook class is how I turn text on a Web page, inside an email message, or a document into a contact with all the information popping into the right place. If I can select the text, I can grab it.

The first time I selected text on a page and hit my hotkey, I couldn’t believe what Copy2Contact™ (formerly anagram) did. I had been cutting and pasting or dragging information onto an Outlook contact page and always dreaded it.

If you prefer working smart and don’t hesitate to invest in affordable technologies that work and will save you time, you’ll love it. You’ll use this technology every day to turn text on an electronic page into a digital contact (or calendar item, task, or note).

It’s easy.
Download a free trial today! and stop dragging, copying, pasting, typing.
You will love this software.
PEACE.
Peggy Duncan Personal Productivity Expert

Eliminate Duplicate Contacts in Outlook

If you’re experiencing a lot of duplicate contacts in Outlook caused by syncing your PDA, it’s easy to get rid of them with the right software. I found a free download on CNET, Outlook Duplicate Item Remover (ODIR) and so far, it’s working.

Once the software is loaded, you’ll see a new menu item in Outlook, ODIR. Click it, click Remove Duplicate Items,  choose the folder you want to check and go from there (in my case, the Contacts folder). I have thousands of contacts so it takes about 10 minutes to process the folder.

The duplicate items get moved to a new personal folder in Contacts view (named ODIR Duplicate Items). I open that folder, Ctrl+A to select all the items, Delete, then reselect your main contact folder to reopen.

Simple as that and I’m done.

PEACE.

Email Marketing Solutions to Promote Your Business or Cause

When I started my first business way back in 1997, email as we know and use today was in its infancy in the small business community. I started collecting as many addresses as possible as a way to promote my business by promoting my tips and tricks. Back then, I used Outlook and cleaned up all the bouncebacks manually. When that got to be time-consuming, I purchased some software that automated the process. Soon after that, I stepped it up a few notches and made my life easier by investing in the Web-based technology, iContact.

I chose iContact because of its high delivery rate and solid autoresponder technology. When someone signs up for my email list, I have it set up to automatically send them a computer tip for a few weeks. They also receive a link to some free reports, documents that make it easier to get organized, and more.

iContact also connects my email list to my blog so that every time I write a new blog post, my list automatically (or not if you choose) receives a link to the new post.

The only thing I still don’t like about their technology is the awkwardness of some of the site’s navigation and its clunky templates.

Carrie Drybrough of VicadeaConcepts.com has provided a great summary of various email marketing resources you could use to promote what you know.

  • AWeber Communications — Featuring pre-designed templates, unlimited autoresponders, easy opt-in forms and unlimited customer support, AWeber must be a consideration if autoresponders are a part of your overall online strategy in addition to newsletters. The cost is $1 for the first month and plans start at $19/month thereafter.
  • Constant Contact — With a point-and-click interface, Constant Contact has the ability to create high-impact email newsletters and promotions in minutes. One of the best in template designs. Limited autoresponder capabilities. Free 60-day trial with plans starting at $15/month.
  • EZezine — Limited to 200 free messages a month. A good way to get your feet wet without the cash outlay.
  • Get Response — Over 300 templates, unlimited follow-up messages and email analytics. Supports audio and video recording capabilities. Plans starting from $18/month. Free version limited to 10 subscribers.
  • iContact — Intuitive features, simple interface and comprehensive reports. Impressive survey elements and autoresponder capabilities. SPAMCheck is included. iContact has over 300 templates but has limited image hosting. Plans start at $9.95/month and there is a 15-day free trial.
  • MailChimp — Targeted to the Google generation, MailChimp is a fun email marketing service. Offers flexible plans for every budget and is free for lists below 500 subscribers.
  • Vertical Response — Offers email design tools, free image hosting, customizable sign-up forms, open and click tracking, and customer support. Easy-to-use interface. Monthly and Pay-as-you-go pricing with plans starting at $10/month. Available for a 30-day free trial.
  • 1Shoppingcart — An inclusive service with shopping cart, autoresponders, affiliate manager and click-tracker. The integrated solution for eCommerce. Plans starting at $29/month. Test drive the PRO package platform for $3.95.

Regardless of the service you choose for email marketing, you have to deliver value and give people a reason to hand over their email address to you. It’s also important that you do more than email marketing because only the people you send it to will see it. I also add information to my blog, online press releases, and the iContact newsletter community.

Have you found a great service that works for you? Leave a comment to let us know.

PEACE.