Do You Know the Value of a Blog Excerpt?

I recommend using excerpts for one purpose: To drive everyone back to the blog itself.

Excerpts enable visitors to skim through for articles of interest. If we didn’t use the “excerpt” method on the blog listing page (where blogs are displayed sequentially), visitors would be scrolling down the page for days, which they simply won’t do.

Continue reading Do You Know the Value of a Blog Excerpt?

Blogging Social Media Power Trick

You can use this “power trick” to grow VIP relationships – with referral relationships, media contacts, program directors, and even potential clients. It can also be used to drive targeted traffic back to your website. It works best after you’ve been blogging consistently & active on social media for a while (that’s how phoneBlogger.net gives you a springboard for this “power trick”).

Unfortunately – like most effective marketing techniques – this takes time, consistency, deliberation & thus strategy. While phoneBlogger can’t do this “power trick” for you, we can help you in some ways – over and above your current pB service. With a little bit of time management (read: an appointment in your calendar), you can do a little bit each week. This will snowball into a powerful habit for you, with cumulative results.

Continue reading Blogging Social Media Power Trick

Are Your Event Invitations Being Ignored?

I recently received an invitation to an event which – due to its lack of information, polish and professionalism – made me question if I was the intended recipient. While many mistakes were obvious to me as the reader, essential yet missing components may not have been so obvious to the sender.

Keep these tips in mind to construct an informative, professional and compelling event invitation:

  • Start with a solid subject line.
    Your subject needs to be clear and distinctive as to what the invite is in reference to. While “Free Seminar” may seem enticing, it doesn’t give the recipient any idea as to what the seminar is about, or any incentive to open it. The subject needs to compel the recipient to open the invite in the first place. 
  • Be professional.
    A professionally-designed invitation helps to build the necessary trust to get a person to attend the event.

    • When delivering the invitation, never email a large list of recipients from your regular email program. Displaying everyone’s CC’d email addresses to each other will not win any favors.
    • Featuring unlicensed images snagged off the Internet could get you in hot water.
    • Be sure to use a professional email marketing program to manage everything – from the mailing list to design layout. They are quite inexpensive, easy-to-use, and have a lot of built-in professional templates, which will guard against your invite being perceived as junk mail. If you don’t have a program, Constant Contact is good one to try for free.
  • Ignite your audience’s curiosity.There is essential information that should be provided on any invite. Be sure to give the reader an idea about:
    • The topics to be covered
    • The problems to be solved
    • And most importantly – the value they will receive by attending

Additionally, be thorough in providing when the event takes place, where it is, and how to get there. In the end, the invite should leave potential attendees knowing that the seminar, meeting or event will be valuable for them to attend.

  • Let the reader “learn more.”Even if your invite includes everything the reader would need to know to make an informed decision of whether or not to attend, give them more. Consider setting up a landing page on your website or blog with further information, which should include things like:
    • What the venue is like
    • Whether beverages, refreshments, or a meal will be served; and if so, any cost involved and payment methods accepted
    • A map with directions
    • Parking information
    • Local points of interest
  • Make it personal. There may be an assumption that the recipient – because he or she is on your mailing list – knows or is familiar with you. That may or may not be the case – don’t forget your invite may be forwarded to someone who doesn’t know you at all. Headshots accompanied by mini bios or links to the bio pages of event speakers, presenters and/or VIPs will make the invite more engaging. Let them see your smiling face.
  • Call to action. Your reader should know what he or she should do next. If you do not adequately engage the reader, they won’t be invested in attending and the event is likely to be put on the back burner and possibly forgotten. That is why requiring registration is highly recommended – preferably in the form of a link to register online. If registration isn’t requested, consider providing a downloadable handout, accessed before the event, to entice and engage them ahead of time.
  • Contact. Help make registering for your event as easy as possible by providing a landing page with all the pertinent information for the event. Simply providing a phone number and email address will set up hurdles that some people may not be willing to jump. Online information and registration pages allow your invitees the chance to explore on their own with no pressure. Making your landing page on a blog is also a great way to showcase your expertise.

When designing an event invitation, take a step back to look at it through the eyes of your recipient, of your target audience, of a person who may want to participate. Realize that your audience is busy. Asking them to attend an event – or to even read an invitation in the first place – takes up their valuable time, so make it worth their while.

We’ve written several articles about using blogging and social media to foster referrals.

Feel free to check them out at phoneBlogger.net/Blog.

We’d love to hear your feedback –

you can comment or ask questions in the “Leave a Reply” section below!

Boost Newsletter Results in 1 Minute: Constant Contact QuickSend

How many times do you check your LinkedIn or Facebook during the day? And how often do you check your email? Despite all the social media hype, studies continue to show the greater efficacy of email newsletters. Sent via platforms like Constant Contact, you can track the results like:

  1. Who opens your email
  2. Who clicks on which link
  3. Who forwards your email
  4. And at what time/day they did any of the above.

Sending through Constant Contact is also important in order to stay compliant with the anti-spam laws, like the U.S. CAN-SPAM Act & the July 2014 Canadian Anti-Spam Law (CASL). Basically, sending a mass blast through your Outlook or Gmail may be in violation of those systems’ terms of use; it may be in violation of the law; plus, you can’t automatically track your results!

However, tracking results is just the beginning: As my earlier blog article emphasized, marketing is all about the follow-through. This is where a handy feature of Constant Contact really shines: It’s called QuickSend. Once you send your newsletter, go into its Reports & keep on clicking the Number of Click-throughs until you can see the actual email addresses of those who clicked that particular link.

You can then select whom you want to follow-up with (ignoring those who may already be clients; who you’re already in constant contact with; or maybe… your mother). You can also quickly Select All by checking off the box to the left of ‘Name.’

Boost Newsletter Results in 1 Minute By Vikram RajanAfter you select addresses, an option in the dark gray bar (see image) will appear that says “More Actions.” Click that to select: QuickSend. Doing so will bring up previous emails to quickly send to those selected.

To use this feature as a 1-minute Follow-up tool, you should FIRST set up a simple (generic) follow-up email stating something to the effect of, “Did you get my latest Newsletter? Did you find any of the articles useful? Any questions? Know of anyone else that would like it?”

Of course, you could be more forthright, “I see that you clicked into my newsletter. Thank you, did you have any questions?” But admitting such tracking can seem creepy & invasive! 🙂

Once you’ve set up this Follow-up email (keep it short & simple), you can then Quickly Send. After a few days, this is a great reminder for those who clicked but didn’t contact you (yet). This (semi) personal touch can spark referrals & invitations.

What do you think? Let me know (& others) how it works for you.

I am one of the Top 3 “Authorized Local Experts” for Constant Contact in NYC. I’ve been asked by them to teach the business community such hidden bells & whistles. Email me (vik@phoneBlogger.net), if you’d like to spend 30 minutes by Phone reviewing your use of Constant Contact (Reports, QuickSend, design best practices). I get rewarded by them; thus, no cost to you.

Speaking of such rewards, I am regularly invited by Constant Contact to train on how to maximize their newsletter results. So much so, that I have been invited to record 6 radio commercials for them. You can listen to 5 of the Small Business Marketing Tips that I offered over the airwaves of 1010 News, WCBS, WFAN, Fresh102.7 & other radio stations in the Greater New York metro area via the videos below:

Click the videos below to listen to each of the 1-minute “marketing tips” via YouTube:

Coming up with New Topics

2 Ways to Use Photos 

Growing Email Lists

Subject Lines

Email Links

The 3 Benefits of a Strong Opening Sentence

One of phoneBlogger.net’s best practices when editing your articles is to begin with a strong opening sentence (just like this one).

Doing so meets 3 key objectives:

1. To give the reader an immediate and more in-depth idea of what the article will be discussing, beyond what the title provides.

Articles typically conclude with one or two sentences that succinctly summarize all of the information the reader was just given. By taking one or both of those sentences and moving them to the top, or by restating them, readers know up front what to expect.  

Continue reading The 3 Benefits of a Strong Opening Sentence