Sunday, February 27, 2005

Are your newsletters reaching anyone?

Do you send out newsletters or eZines to your customers and contacts? If not you should. But at the same time to you need to be aware that there are significant growing problems with using newsletters. It’s all down to SPAM, the scourge of modern day business. There are now laws in most countries making the sending or unsolicited electronic mail illegal and it is absolutely essential that you make sure that everyone on your email list has "opted in" to it and that you honour any requests for removal immediately. If you don’t you will most likely find yourself at the very least on an email black list which means that email from your address will be filtered without every reaching its destination. Of course you also may find yourself facing a hefty fine.

Unfortunately despite the legislation and most businesses now mailing only to op in lists, Spam is still a major problem. Because of the global nature of the internet, if any country fails to implement and enforce Anti Spam legislation, the world’s serial spammers simply start trading from there. As a result most internet service providers (ISPs) have installed software to filter out the spam and in addition you may be using a software product or service yourself to clean your mail. And here lies the problem.

Anti Spam software looks for features, words formatting, etc., common to most unsolicited mail, but in the process is lets some spam through but filters out some important mail that you wanted to keep. I have lost count of the number of requests for quotations I have rescued, and almost all of the newsletters I subscribe to have now had to be added to my "White List". All anti spam software and services offer a feature to "Black List" or "White List" email addresses. Each has its own procedure but essentially you list the portion of the email address after the @ symbol, and specify that email from that address either "is Spam", your Black List, of "is not Spam", your White List. It is very important that you do this or you will be losing important email.

It is also increasingly important if you are sending out email newsletters, or even standard sales letters and responses, that you check the content to make sure that the email is not likely to be filtered out. There are a number of free and commercial services available to help you check your content – there is a free service you can use at and I will be listing others on my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site as I test them out. If you use a list manager for managing you email newsletter you may find that they have a service for customers.

More and more web sites are providing information about white listing and there are also a few products around to help deliver the newsletter to the desktop without using the email system. Blogs like this are one particular popular option, but there is still a long way to go before everyone is able to understand this new technology and easily set up a means of reading and accessing them. You will find a few ideas in my new eBook How to Get Customers queuing up to Buy, and you can download a free copy from my Speaking and Marketing Tips Web site.

If your have registered for my newsletter please also add to your White List.

How to Get Customers Quening up to Buy

I attended a networking lunch recently and the speaker, a well respected and very influential figure in the Yorkshire business community, talked a lot about overseas competition and the threat it posed. Most of the women business owners I spoke to were not worried. Many of them are already buying stock from China and India anyway. What they wanted to know was how to get more customers. And that’s what this Blog is all about.

I have recently published an eBook entitled How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy, worth $27, but I am giving a copy free to all new subscribers to my Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter. Just click on the title to go to the web site. In this Blog and the newsletter I will be expanding on the book and providing a wealth of further low cost/no cost ideas for getting more customers. However before I talk about getting more customers I am aware of the possibility, especially if you have come here following an invitation from me, that you have absolutely no idea what a blog is.

A few months ago I was in the same happy state of blissful ignorance, however since spending a day in the company if one of the world’s most successful internet millionaires I have realised that, in this instance, ignorance is how to lose customers. BLOG is short for WebLog, and it is essentially an online diary. There are literally millions of people now using them, mostly as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family, and the entry of Google into the market with this service I am using, has started to make blogs the "latest big thing" on the internet.

But why are Blogs important to you as a Small Business Marketing Strategy. Well because this site is owned by Google, they index it in their search engine very quickly. So if you create a blog and post interesting content related to the needs of your customers, you are going to get listed in Google very quickly. In addition if you post links to your web site here the search engines prefer to find links than have them submitted.

However here is a very important tip on linking to your web site. The domain name is not very useful in search engine placement unless it contains important keywords, and most don't. My Speaking and Marketing Tips web site contains lots of further tips, but I am listing it here to demonstrate how to list links, and this applies wherever you list your web site. My site domain name is so you can see that it does contain keywords, but not easy to read. The site is all about Small Business Marketing Strategies.

Now in both instances in that previous paragraph I have listed a descriptive phrase, and turned it into a hypertext link. You can do this easily when you make a post by selecting the text you want to link, clicking on the Hypertext symbol (a chain link + globe symbol) and adding the web address. Why is this important? Well now when the search engine checks out this entry in my blog it will find a link to a web site and a "keyword phrase" to index it under. I happen to know that "Small Business Marketing Strategies" is a quite popular phrase people use to search the internet, but that not many web sites use it, so my chances of getting a good listing on Google and therefore of having customers visiting my web site are greatly enhanced.

I know it's possible that this Blog may have prompted more questions than it provides answers to. Don't worry - that’s why you should visit regularly. I will be providing a regular flow of ideas to demystify speaking and marketing and help you to get more customers without spending a fortune on advertising. I strongly recommend that you register with this blog now - please feel free to post any comments - I will respond and if your comment is appropriate make the answer a feature in a future blog. And take a little time to check out the help pages for more information on blogging.

And finally a reminder that if you register for my free Speaking and Marketing Tips Newsletter, I'll give you a copy of my new eBook, How to Get Customers Queuing up to Buy worth $27 absolutely free. Simply click on the link above and sign up to access the download page.

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