When is the Right Time to Send Your Article?

{3:50 minutes to read} What time is the right time to send your email newsletter to promote your blog? At phoneBlogger.net we have a set of best practices that maximize your audience and your impact. Many sources, including Constant Contact, have determined what times are best to post to social media or send email newsletters.

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Does Business Feel Like a Roller Coaster? 5 Tips to Leverage the Ups & Downs

{3:00 minutes to read} Any number of things can affect the ebb and flow of business. Acknowledge that there will be cycles, and use the downtime wisely.

I often see clients in professional services experience being busy one month, but not the next. The workflow gets crazy busy for a while, and then it’s like someone pulled the plug, business slows down, and it doesn’t make any sense why.

Here are some tips to get the most out of the inevitable “slow times:”

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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

Consistency, Frequency and Value: The 3 Elements of Getting & Maintaining Your Audience’s Attention

In the world of marketing, whatever it is that you choose to do, unless you are doing it consistently, you can’t know whether or not it will work.

Many people I’ve spoken with over the years have said they have tried multiple marketing approaches – newsletters, advertising, social media, etc. – and that none of them produced the results they expected. Upon further digging, it is often the case something was tried once, or twice, without really considering:

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Networking Best Practices, for Mediators

On Feb 5th, 2013, the Academy of Professional Family Mediators (APFM) had us back to present more marketing insights. Mark Bullock keynoted at their inaugural conference in Cape Cod in 2012. Now, in the first of a series of 4 webinars, Mark asked me (Vik Rajan) a series of questions about “physical networking.” Here’s a 15 minute excerpt of the full 60-minute webinar (to be available by the APFM shortly).

Upcoming APFM Marketing Webinars include:

– Direct Reach out to COI (Referral Sources)
– Your Online / Web Presence (as a Mediator)
– Social Media (Online Networking), for MediatorsWebinars are available at no-cost for members. Please email me for more information, or stay tuned!

Newsletter Design, or no design?

The word ‘newsletter’ is charged with many preconceptions: Highly-designed (hopefully, “well-designed”) templates, graphical & “boxy” as my partner, Mark puts it, i.e., with tables and sections, creatively arranged, with sidebars, call-outs, icons, and other buttons. But does all this help with results? E.g., open rates, click-through rates, and forwards? The numbers cause concern & debate.

Headers, logos, colors, fonts, headshots, and signatures (aka, brand assets) help to unify & integrate emails (newsletters, blasts, etc.) with the websites (and other marketing collaterals). But much of it quickly becomes too much of it, clogging the tiny screens of iPhones, Androids, and Blackberrys. It’s quite frankly annoying to not only have to scroll down, but scroll all around, zooming in and/or zooming out to get to the relevant parts of the email. Many of our clients enjoy this design, but we are looking to change their minds.

A few bells & whistles are needed: To be recognizable (and to brand), we want some of the above brand assets. While I can’t find any specific studies, we have anecdotal evidence that headshots help us remember contacts, and even endear us to the newsletter (or business card, for that matter). We also want to keep it short, with links back to the full article. This helps readers quickly skim the email (and get to other ones), and helps us track click-through rates (CTR). By tracking who clicks, we enable our clients to follow-up only with those interested in the articles.

We are slowly moving our clients to appreciating the value of linear simplicity & white space. Soon we may even publish actual statistics: Emails that are more personal, natural, linear, clean, and simple tend to be clicked through and even forward to others.

Why then have elaborate template designs flourished?
I look forward to your opinions.

Do you prefer to get a magazine-like newsletters from contacts, or do you prefer a simple, natural-looking emails highlighting blog & event updates?
I look forward to your comments.

Consistency is the key to blogging, networking & newsletters

Over the summer, my partner (Mark Bullock) and I finally became frustrated!

We would show our clients what to do, how to do it, and even schedule marketing activities into our clients’ calendar. Inevitably, some exigent client or staff matter would arise. Our clients simply could not take time away from clients, practice management, or family to do what they knew they must: Consistent blogging, Linkedin activity, and deploying their monthly newsletter. Many also lacked the patience and tech skill often required.

So Mark had a simple idea which we turned into an efficient process – phoneBlogger. Click the image bellow for a short video on how phoneBlogger works.
phoneBlogger - Introduction: Word of Mouth Marketing for Professional Practices

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Has Your Marketing Plan Failed You?

How using a dashboard can make all the difference.

A marketing plan is typically a bound document, predicting the right actions for growth. It usually covers more than a few months, often a year and sometimes longer. It includes your vision, interim goals and other purpose statements of why you’re doing what you intend on doing. Writing a marketing plan sounds great. Actually finishing a comprehensive market analysis can feel even better.

A marketing plan, by itself, can be pretty ineffective. Rather, for our clients, we implement “Marketing Action Plan (MAP) Dashboards.” An actively-managed Dashboard can help your marketing team stay nimble, pro-active, strategic and focused on the most time- and cost-effective marketing efforts.

Originally published in the AICPA ‘CPA Insider’ newsletter. Please click here to go to their site and read more to read more.