What Can You Do with an Email Service


What Email Service Is Right for You

Have you thought about using an email service to stay in touch with your customers and prospects? I’m sure you have, if for no other reason than the intensive marketing being done by Constant Contact.

Before You Select a Service; Know What You Want to Do

The truth is that all email services are not created equal. Some have features that others do not. Some charge based upon the number of emails sent and others charge based upon the number of subscribers you have.

How Many Subscribers Do You Expect?

Knowing how many subscribers you will have and how often you plan on contacting those subscribers can make a huge difference in the cost.

How Many Email Lists Will You Have?

Another factor is how many email lists will you have? Will you have both a list of active customers and prospects? Will it be a single list? Will you have a list for customers of each type or category of product or service you offer?

Are You Going to Do Email Campaigns?

Maybe you are asking what is an email campaign, so I will give you a brief overview. A campaign is typically a series of emails sent to subscribers.

The campaign starts with a letter of invitation to join the list (usually an opt-in or double opt-in) process to make sure you have the correct person.

Following the opt-in there is an immediate follow-up with the additional promised information. A few (7-10) days later there is another follow-up to ensure that they received the information and provide a second promotion. 12-14 days later there is another follow-up typically with some type of incentive to sign up. That may be it or 60 days later there could be one last follow up. It’s really up to you.

Some email services support email campaigns, some do not, and others only limited email campaigns or a limited number of campaigns.

To Opt-In or Not; or Will You Spam

Opt-In basically says do you want to participate and lets the reader know that they can opt-out at any time.

Do you want an opt-in or double opt-in process where the people signing up must go to a sight or respond to an email and confirm that they want to be on your list. If you don’t have an opt-in some, maybe many will report you as spam and can get you blacklisted; opt-ins are preferable to blacklists. Unless you are closely monitoring the service you won’t know that your emails have been blocked.

If the service isn’t offering an opt-in option that can be a problem. Maybe you don’t irritate the users but that doesn’t mean that someone else using the service won’t irritate their recipients and the backlash can hit you!

Opt-ins protect you as much or even more than they protect your recipients.

Will You Have Mini-Memberships?

A Mini-Membership has people sign-up typically paying a fee for a limited-term-membership (compare it to a four – 12 week class and sometimes up to one-year). Each week or month they will have the next part of their course delivered to their email box.

Some email services support this and some do not. Some will support several limited-term-memberships and others will support only one.

Before you select a service know what you services you are expecting them to provide.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Social Media/Social Networking topics helping businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Putting Power into Your Reviews and Testimonials


Negating the Negatives

Negative Internet Reviews

If you are like many businesses today you have experienced the negative review on Google, CitySearch, Yelp, or a plethora of other sites. In the process you have most likely noticed that these reviews hide behind an alias. The reality is that they, the reviewers, are cowards or even worse competitors.

To top it off Google, CitySearch, and the others make it difficult and costly to respond. This may be a good thing, because your immediate response would be a “knee-jerk” reaction and probably end up hurting your more than helping. You must remember that you are in the age of the Internet and the person who wrote the review will NOT be the only one reading your response. In your attempt to respond you may end up hurting future business from the eves droppers.

What Do You Do

One of the best ways to counteract a negative review is to get a good review; but not just any good review. Get one where the individual writing the review is willing to give their name and their city and state. You want credibility behind the review!

Get Credible Reviews

When you have credible reviews and someone points to Google, CitySearch, or whomever and it is a review that hides behind an alias; you can point to your reviews (good, just okay, or even bad) and say that YOUR reviews have quality. You can say that these are people you can talk to and they will answer your questions honestly. These are people that have nothing to hide.

You can, with the writer’s permission, use these reviews in your marketing and sales materials as testimonials of the work that you do and they way your customers/clients/patients feel about you, your business, your products, and your services.

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Tom Staskiewicz speaks and coaches on Social Media/Social Networking topics helping businesses, organizations, and individuals establish and manage their Social Media presence. Your Social Media presence doesn’t just happen and will not take care of itself. Tom helps you with those processes so your Social Media efforts will work for you.

Your Circle of Communities Are Your Key to Going Viral


The Key to Going Viral

Everyone wants their Fan Page or business for that matter to go viral, but for most it is a huge challenge to make that happen. This is especially true for local businesses. How do you get your word out?

For your Fan Page or business to be successful it must go viral to your target market. So what is your target market? Have you defined it? Do you know your target market?

Local Businesses

For the brick and mortar business – which includes businesses like restaurants, salons, medical practitioners, etc. – your target is your local community. The people that will be using your service are local and therefore you need to reach out to people within your community.

When I talk about your community; it is actually your collection of communities. You have many communities where you participate. There is the community at large where there may be some relative awareness of who you are; within that community, however, there are many smaller communities where you are well known.

Your Circle of Communities

These are the areas you must penetrate to be successful. These communities include your church or synagogue, your school where you or your children attend, your sports activities where you or your children participate, your work and volunteer efforts, etc.

All of these communities are important to your business objectives when it comes to a brick and mortar entity. This is where, as Malcolm Gladwell says in “The Tipping Point“, your connectors, mavens, and salespeople exist.

Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople

Your connectors, called that because they have lots of connections, put you in touch with the people you need or want to know. The mavens are those that spread your word far and wide. Your salespeople are those that promote your product or service to others.

As you successfully reach into your Circle of Communities and they become your fans; you need these contacts to be promoting you to the friends in their Circle of Communities.

The Power of the Ask

This is where the “power of the ask” comes in. You need to ask these friends to “like”, comment, or share what you have shared with them. You need them to be reaching out to others if you want your message to go viral!

Here is my power of the ask… If you like this Blog; please share it with your friends and others that you believe would benefit. Thank you.

Check us out on our Facebook Fan Page the UPPROACH Support Center and take a look at our Fan Page How Tos and Webinar schedule while you are there. Whether you are looking for the basics or advanced features we have or can have the webinar for you! Let us know what you would like to see.

You are welcome to use this information in your newsletters or Blogs, but please extend the professional courtesy of referencing UPPROACH as the source. Thank you.

Copyright © 2010, UPPROACH

Social Media Does Not Provide Instantaneous Results


Going Viral Takes Time

I was talking with one of my clients recently about their Social Media efforts. The owners had been questioning whether the Social Media effort, which they had started about 5 months ago, was producing anything tangible. She told them that it was and was able to give one or two examples. That provided a little bit of satisfaction, but not too much.

Ironically I had been thinking about that same thing with this client and had done a couple of Google searches to see how we were doing. I was pleasantly surprised at the results. This client had two pages of Google results and upon review I saw that some of the results were from reposts of our Blog articles.

I forwarded the search criteria so they could perform the same search and see for themselves what was happening. No, it is not bringing droves of people into their office thus far, but it is starting to take effect.

You Must Have Patience

The reality is that there are billions of businesses, articles, blogs, and everything else on the Internet and taking or making your place in that thriving world takes time and patience. Even when you are attempting to make a dent in a small segment of the Internet it still does not happen overnight.

You Must Create Your Own Following

To be successful you must be able to create a following and you do that by having interesting and informational posts. The fact that you post something is of little consequence; the fact that you post something that interests and attracts an audience makes all the difference.

Identify Your Target and Then Focus Your Efforts

Creating a following takes time and effort. Here are some key questions that you need to answer before you proceed:

  1. What is your target market?
  2. Is your target market…
    1. Local?
    2. Regional?
    3. National?
    4. Worldwide?
  3. Who is in your target market?
    1. Male?
    2. Female?
    3. Young?
    4. Old?
    5. Metropolitan?
    6. Suburban?
    7. Rural?

Obviously there is much more to the process than these few questions, but the ability to answer these questions will make your process much more successful and targeted. There are many people pushing the idea of building your list by the thousands every day, the question is whether you are adding valuable names or simply adding names. Be focused in your efforts so you create an audience that is interested in your message.

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Tom Staskiewicz consults with individuals and businesses on the use of Social Media to help you build your brand and your business. Don’t waste time where there is no value. You must have a strategy so you don’t throw your money away on wasted efforts.

Social Media.. What Site or Sites Are Best for My Business?


Few Companies Take the Time to Select the Social Media Sites that Will Be Best for Them

I don’t know how many times I have read purported experts telling organizations that they should have a presence on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Plaxo, Friendster, MySpace, etc. I have heard them specify up to 10 sites that they state are critical to your business. Do they really know? What is their proof?

If you go looking for sites on your own you will see that Wikipedia lists over 190 different Social Media sites. On top of selecting your Social Media sites; businesses are told they must be blogging and oh, by the way, you should do podcasts in your spare time.

The reality is that there are way too many options and no business, regardless of how well staffed they are, can effectively participate in all these sites or even 10 sites. To make it worse many so-called Social Media consultants or experts spend little or no time understanding your business or helping you develop a strategy. My experience is that their interest is to get you involved in Social Media Sites far more than helping you achieve Social Media success.

What Do You Hope to Accomplish with Social Media and Why?

Before you jump into any site you must first understand or determine what you are attempting to accomplish. You must be able to answer these questions:

  • Who do you want to talk to?
  • Where do members of your audience spend their time?
  • What Social Media sites serve your audience?
  • What is interests your audience?
  • What information can you contribute to meet their interests?
  • How often do you want to talk?
  • What of quality or value do you have to say?
  • What action do you want your audience to take?

I am sure you can come up with other questions that will help to narrow your focus and evolve your strategy.

When you can answer these questions you are then prepared to start evaluating which Social Media sites will best serve your purposes. Certain sites lend themselves better to one objective or another and none are a one-size fits all solution.

The mistake that you do not want to make is to spend time in places where you will not find your customers and prospects or where you have nothing to add to the conversation. My friend, Neal Shaffer, wrote the blog post 5 Reasons Why Your Social Media Strategy Isn’t Really a Social Media Strategy.

Your Social Media Strategy Must Be Evolving

Your Social Media strategy must be evolving. Social Media sites will come and go, customers will redefine their interests, and/or you will change your strategies. You must be prepared to adapt and change as your needs change.

The reality is that businesses must pick and choose their Social Media sites with care. Just like you take care in selecting your product or service lines you must be using the same care in selecting your Social Media sites.

Social Media Has Much to Offer Businesses, but They Must Do Their Homework First

If you take the time to do your homework; your chances of success will increase geometrically.

Facebook “Like” and Comment


Interpreting the Use of the Facebook “Like” Button and Comment Features Is Not Intuitive

Do you pay attention to “Likes” and Comments to the posts on your profile or Fan Page? If the Viral Nature of Social Networking is important to you; understanding these features is critical.

My interest in how things happen causes me to focus on what I am seeing and as I pay more attention; more things come to light.

What I Have Seen

What I have noticed is when I see a post that originated with someone that is not a Friend or Fan; it does not always show up the same. Sometimes the comments have a familiar name attached, other times one or more Friend’s name are said to “Like” the post, and other times I will see names I recognize with both the “Like” and the comment. Does that sound familiar or ring a bell with you?

You May Say So What; If So, Read On

Before I go further I will remind you that “Like”, Comment, and Share are critical to going viral. If you are going to be successful with your Social Networking you must be going viral; which means your Friends and Fans must be “Liking” and Commenting!

Why the Differences in What We See

Facebook is all about the Viral effect and that is the reason for the differences in what you see. If you have a friend or friends that comment; you will see the post plus those comments. If your friend or friends only click “Like” then you will see the post and only that those Friends “Like” the post. If you see both, then you have Friends that are both “Liking” and Commenting. If you do not see the post, then that means your Friends did not feel it was worth “Liking” or making a comment.

Facebook is not going to bother you with information from people that you do not know. That is called spam and Facebook does not want to be a party to spam or claims of spam. The same goes for your posts; if your Friends and Fans do not feel your post deserves an action; it dies with them!

Is There Anything Else That Needs To Be Understood About Likes and Comments?

For you to see any post; it must originate, be “liked”, commented on, or shared by a connection of yours. This connection can be either a Fan Page or a Friend or be a paid advertisement where you meet the target market criteria. If one or more of these criteria is not met, you will not see the post.

I Have a Facebook Fan Page; You Mean I Need Facebook Friends Too?


I Have Fans; Do I Need Facebook Friends Too?

The answer is a resounding YES!

But I Already Have a Fan Page, So Don’t I Just Need to Get More Fans?

The answer to this question is a resounding NO! It is true that you need to be getting more Fans, but that is not enough.

Before going any further let’s get a definition of Facebook Friends versus Facebook Fans. It is important that you have a good understanding of this difference because it is incredibly important to the “going viral” process.

Friends

A Friend is someone that either you invited to join you on Facebook, someone that invited you to join them on Facebook, or a third party that recommended that the two of you become Friends.

What this means is that there was an overt act on the part of someone to extend the invite or recommendation. There was also an overt act to accept the invitation or react to the recommendation. You can only be a Friend of another individual if they accept the offer of friendship.

Fans

A Fan is someone connected to your Facebook Fan (business) Page. They may have had your Page suggested by a Friend of theirs or maybe even you as that Friend. In the latter instance the Friend may become a Fan out of loyalty to you or even loyalty to the person that made the suggestion.

However, as easily as they became a Fan they can stop being a Fan. It only takes a click of the mouse to “Unlike” a page and Fans can disappear and leave no trace. Unless you have a very small Fan base, it is difficult to know who has joined or left your Fan base.

In addition to being suggested as a prospective Fan; a potential fan may join because they have seen something about your Fan Page that created an interest on their part. In either case the Fan has taken an overt action to a Page suggestion or a Page ad, or an overt response to something they have seen or found in a search on Facebook or even the Internet to become a Fan.

Fans can only become a Fan by clicking the “Like” button for a Fan Page. That “Like” button can be one on your Fan Page or one that has been placed on one or more pages of your or other’s websites. Friends can suggest that you become a Fan, but no one can force you to become a Fan.

So, there we have it. Friends belong to people and Fans belong to Pages.

Getting Back to Why I Need Friends

There are two reasons why you must have many Friends on Facebook. First, so you can suggest your Page to those that you believe will be interested in your Fan Page and second, even though they may not be Fans, your friends may still be interested in your message or know people that are interested and be willing to propagate your message through their Friend Base.

Although we like to think that our message has broad reader appeal, that is seldom the case. From my observations although your message may resonate with many Fans and Friends; only a few will be motivated to act on your message. Obviously the more Friends and Fans that you have; the greater more chances that you have for people to repeat your message.

Repeating your message over and over is critical to your going viral; Fans and Friends are critical to getting the repetition. You cannot afford to not be increasing your Fans and Friends at every opportunity. Successful people have large networks; that means lots of Fans, Friends, Followers, Connections, etc. Do not let your efforts of creating messages go to waste by not having and continually building an audience!

Should I Add People to My Network That I Do Not Know?


I Think People That Limit Their Networks to Only Those They Know Are Making a Huge Mistake

Did you know that statistics show that out of every 100 connections; only 2 or 3 will ever play an important role for you? The question is which 2 or 3 per 100 are the important connections and are you willing to take the chance?

So Why Would You Only Network with Those You Know?

There are many so called networkers that will only connect with people they know. If someone wants to network with one of these people and it is someone that they do not know, the offer to become a Facebook Friend or LinkedIn Connection is rejected. There is no real reason, other than the individual is an unknown.

Interestingly, virtually everyone we know was an “unknown” at one time or another. The exceptions are family members and if we go back far enough, even they were an unknown.

Surprisingly Even LinkedIn Subscribes To This Philosophy

Even LinkedIn encourages this behavior with the “I Don’t Know” or IDK option as it is commonly known. Why would LinkedIn do this? Although I do not know for sure, I do have a hypothesis.

From a LinkedIn perspective, I believe, it is simply to get you to spend money with them. My reasoning here is that if you spend money with a premium membership you have access to In-Mails, which are used to connect with someone that you do not know; only you now have LinkedIn’s blessing in exchange for your money.

According to Webster’s Dictionary networking is: 1 : the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

As I read Webster’s definition I do not see anything that limits your network simply to those you know. In fact it says the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.

Why Should I Network with People that I Do Not Know?

My answer to this question is an unequivocal YES! I believe in adding anyone until they give you valid reasons for rejecting them. I do not consider the fact that I do not know them to be a valid reason.

Adding people that you do not know to your network expands your sphere of influence and increases your power to develop better answers and solutions to your questions.

Do All Your Opportunities Exist Within Your Current Communities?

If you are in business the question is: Do all of your future customers exist within your current communities or among the people you currently know? Obviously the answer is no. So the next question is if you are not willing to add people that you do not know to your network; how will you reach your new customers? How are you going to make the necessary connections?

Another question is how do you convert a non-customer to being a customer? Most businesses do it through communications. If that is the case, doesn’t it make sense to have these prospects in your network to make the communication process easier?