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.

Can Your Organization Afford to Ignore Social Media?


Is Social Media a Phenomena?

Some people think that Social Media is just a passing fad; many are the same people that thought the Internet was a passing fad in the mid-late ’90s. Whether Social Media is a passing fad or not; you cannot afford to ignore it, because it will not ignore you!

You Cannot Ignore the Power of Social Media

Companies large and small are learning the lessons of Social Media. What they are finding is that Social Media provides happy and unhappy customers, clients, and patients with an opportunity to comment about products and services.

Participating in Social Media provides organizations the opportunity to respond to customers, correct misinformation, clear up confusion, and resolve issues. Left to its own device; Social Media can create major problems. Organizations must have a presence and monitor the information on the Internet that pertains to them.

I just read a Blog article by Augie Ray, a researcher for Forrester Seven Things Your Organization Must Do Because of Social Media. The article starts with the statement that when the Internet started businesses asked the question: What can the Internet do for my business? The question they should have been asking is: What can the Internet do TO my business? That second question must be asked today in regards to Social Media: What can Social Media do TO my business?

What is YOUR attitude toward Social Media? Do YOU look at it as a waste of time and a passing fad?

Passing Fad or Not Social Media Cannot Be Ignored

The reality is that Social Media cannot be ignored. Organizations whether they like it or not, have a Social Media presence. That presence can be created by the organization or the organization can leave it to be created by someone else.

If left to someone else the presence may or may not be what the organization wants. If it is not what the organization wants, they must take action to counter the negativity or correct the situation. Being on the defense does not allow an organization to work from its strengths; it is now playing by someone else’s rules.

An intelligent organization wants to play from its strengths and therefore must be proactive in the Social Media arena. Organizations cannot wait until they must respond, they must be building their presence from the beginning.

The world is changing rapidly and organizations must be changing along with the world. Look at the situation with Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video or Blockbuster. These are example organizations that have not changed with the times and have either lost the battle as in the case of Movie Gallery/Hollywood Video or are losing the battle as in the case of Blockbuster. Although these failures are not directly related to Social Media, they are the result of the Internet and new technologies.

Current failures related to Social Media include BP with the Oil Disaster in the Gulf; Nestle/Greenpeace over Palm Oil; or the potential disaster for Toys ‘r Us and the fact they ignore customer comments on their Facebook Page. The cost to these organizations in actual dollars, publicity, and public relations is huge; can you and your organization afford those problems?

LinkedIn Recommendations


Are You Giving and Receiving LinkedIn Recommendations?

Recommendations on LinkedIn are important additions to your profile and completing your story and the stories of your connections. We can say all kinds of great things about ourselves but when we have others giving a testimony about us and what we have accomplished; it is far more valuable.

Recommendations from former managers and supervisors, co-workers, and even subordinates add significantly to your story. Hiring managers and recruiters like to see recommendations because it adds to your credibility and increases the recruiter’s and hiring manager’s confidence in the choice they are making.

Where Some Go Wrong with Recommendations

There are three primary areas where people go wrong with recommendations.

  1. Inviting someone to LinkedIn, solely for the purpose of a recommendation.
  2. Giving and receiving a recommendation simultaneously.
  3. Giving and receiving gratuitous recommendations.

Inviting someone into LinkedIn for the purpose of a recommendation is easy to spot. The person giving the recommendation has only one connection: YOU! Obviously if the recommendation is important you want to get it, but help the person establish themselves on LinkedIn in the process. Provide them with suggestions as to with whom they should connect. Help them through the process and follow their progress.

Simultaneous recommendations look staged and in many cases they are. It is the old adage of you scratch my back and I will scratch yours. You give me a recommendation and I will give you a recommendation. Realize that when you do that it will show up as part of the current status with your connections and the connections of the other person.

I do not know how many times I have seen the so and so was recommended by this person and the next entry is this person was recommended by so and so. Do you get my drift? It looks staged from beginning to end. Yes, you may want each other’s recommendation, but at least separate the process a little bit.

You can even do the reciprocating process, but one of the two should hold off on approving the recommendation until a few days have lapsed.

The last issue is the recommendations that say “He is really a great guy and if I had the chance I would hire him again immediately.” That may be the case, but as a reader of the recommendation I want to know why he is a great guy and what he accomplished to earn my accolades.

Be like Julius Caesar; use the Veni, Vidi, Vici approach…

  1. He or she came.
  2. He or she saw.
  3. He or she conquered.

Tell the reader the situation the person encountered, the actions that were taken, and the results achieved.

Recommendations must have meat to them!

If you have written the meatless recommendations in the past, go back and do the person a favor by writing a meaningful recommendation. Show them that you care and they WILL reciprocate with a meat filled recommendation for you. (Just do not do it the same day.)

Are You Managing Your Internet Reputation?


Are You Or Is Your Business On the Social Networks?

Most businesses and individuals are becoming increasingly involved in Social Networking; whether you like it or not. You may have created your Social Networking presence or it may have been created for you (read Coca Cola). Regardless it is out there and you must be paying attention.

Reputations Can Be Brought Down Quickly

You and/or your business have a reputation that has been developed over a long period of time with a great deal of effort and energy; are you ready to give that up? Definitely not, yet there are many companies and individuals that spend no time monitoring and tracking their Internet presence.

This is a huge mistake! It does not take much effort to malign an individual or organization and if you are not monitoring; you lose your ability to respond.

All it takes is one customer, patient, client, etc. to misunderstand a part of the agreement and become incensed enough to write something and you are into react mode.

You Must Be Proactive

You must be proactive in the defense of your reputation and brand. You cannot afford to let your guard down for a minute or you may pay a steep price. This is not the time to think that playing ostrich is an option; you cannot bury your head and hope that the negatives do not come your way. Unfortunately they will; right, wrong, or indifferent and you must be prepared to respond.

One way to monitor is to create Google alerts that are sent whenever something related to you or your company hits the Internet. You can receive alerts daily or weekly; obviously you should choose daily, you cannot afford to wait to learn about a negative comment.

Another way to monitor is to periodically perform your own Google, Yahoo, and Bing searches to see how much of the search results front page you own (how many of the entries pertain to you?).

Proactive efforts on your part will help stop the negatives before they have time to become huge issues. You must be vigilante in your efforts to protect your good name.

Do Not Delete Negative Posts

The response of some individuals and organizations is to delete anything that is negative. This is a mistake! If the complaint is legitimate let the individual and the world know what you are doing to resolve the complaint. Even if you have the ability to delete posts; you must have the determination to leave it and respond positively and effectively.

Remember these are conversations not just dialogs between you and the complainer. There can be tens, hundreds, or even thousands of people that will read this information the issue and watch for your response. A solid, thoughtful, complete acknowledgement, followed by an explanation or a meas culpa must be forthcoming and must absolutely be sincere.

Do not allow someone else to create or destroy your reputation and brand. Stay on top of it and be one of the informed!

Summer Jobs Will Be There for the Prepared


Summer Jobs Will Be There for Those That Are Prepared

Are you looking to get a summer job when you return from college for your summer break or when you graduate from high school? What if you are still in high school and want to earn money over the summer, have you started the process?

In my role helping people with employment I receive numerous requests from students that want summer jobs. My question is what are you doing to prepare yourself? Answer these questions:

      What would you like to do?
      What are you willing to do?
      Is your motivation money or experience?
      Which is more important money or experience?
      Do you need to work or do you want to work?
      Are you excited about working?
      How many hours per week are you willing to work?
      How flexible are you with your working hours?
      How committed are you to working?

What would you like to do?

Knowing what you would like to do helps you and others narrow the target as you look for that summer job. There is nothing more difficult than someone that simply says “I will do anything.” Most of the time that is not the case and it leads to frustration on all parts.

What are you willing to do?

Even though it may not be what you “want” to do; what are you willing to do? There are a lot of jobs that will go unfilled because no one is willing to do the work. Some of these can pay very well, because they must be done and more pay is often what it takes. Look outside the box and you will find opportunities.

Is Your Motivation Money or Experience?

Most people will answer both, but which is truly the more important?

Which Is More Important Money Or Experience?

If you cannot go back to school in the fall if you do not have a certain amount of savings, then money is the motivator. If that is not the case and you are looking to the future, experience then becomes the key motivator.

Do You Need To Work Or Do You Want To Work?

The need to work is a strong motivator, but cannot compare to the desire to work. If you “want” to work you will be a far more motivated and productive employee than the person that needs a job. Having an attitude of “I want to work” will reflect in your interviews, resumes, and work ethic. Employers want the person that wants to work; not those that need to work; or do not care if they work.

How Many Hours Per Week Are You Willing To Work?

Be realistic in how many hours you are willing to work. If you want or need full-time work; will you settle for part-time and what will you do to satisfy your want or need? Are you willing to take a second job or will you “jump ship” as soon as something with more hours comes along? Know your expectations and if you are willing to “jump ship” remember that starts to create a reputation that you may not want.

How Flexible Are You With Your Working Hours?

Along the same lines as the last question; what is your flexibility? Are you willing to work any hours that you are given or are you restrictive. If there are restrictions, be honest. Do not tell the employer one thing and then do another or gripe about not being satisfied.

How Committed Are You To Working?

When you are hired are you going to be committed or will you be looking for ways to get off this day and that day? Will you always be looking to have someone cover your shift so you can go play? Be committed and dependable; you may want to work there next year as well.

Are You Excited About Working?

Excitement counts for a lot. You need to show the hiring manager or prospective employer that you are excited about what they have to offer. You can demonstrate that by being knowledgeable and doing some research before approaching for a job. Talk to current and former employees, do some Internet research on the company, talk to customers if you can, and spend some time observing how the business operates.