What’s the real (effective) way to send email campaigns?

OK.  So lately, I’ve had some real questions about email marketing.  There is so much out there, and so much to learn, that many of my clients (and potential clients) are just getting frustrated with how unpredictable email marketing seems to be.

Well, let me start by saying this…It is a very slow process!!  You will have to do these things, and do them correctly, for email marketing to work:

  1. Pick an email marketing program that will work for your budget and your needs (I recommend Constant Contact because of all the tools it has to offer).
  2. Create web forms for your website, your blog, and social media.  These forms help get sign-ups for your email campaigns.
  3. Create an email that has value, is not too long, is not too short, has the right colors, and is mobile friendly.
  4. Load an organic, nurtured list of individuals into your program (and then learn how to segment them as your list grows).
  5. Follow-up with your contacts, based on their interests, their wants, and their needs.
  6. As your list grows and the demands get higher for your valuable content, create automated emails, or even put together a “product” using email marketing.

Oh goodness…so much to think about.

Let’s first start with FINDING INDIVIDUALS TO EMAIL. Where are you getting your contacts from?  Do you have a well-nurtured list of people just sitting in your folders in your Gmail or Outlook accounts?

Did you purchase a list that you’re hoping to use (I really hope you didn’t waste your money)?

Are you in the process of networking, collecting business cards, handing out flyers, speaking at events, etc?

AND what do you do with all those NEW contacts?

First, you have to decide who is who, where each contact came from, how you know them, what relationship you’ve nurtured through them.  Then, you need to segment them based on your answers.  The idea is to create SPECIFIC lists so you can send them SPECIFIC valuable content through your email marketing efforts.  If you don’t have contacts, well, then you need to get some. You can do this by using a web form through your email marketing program, through networking in person, or through prospecting on LinkedIn.

Is all this too much to process?  I know, it can be overwhelming.  And that’s JUST finding contacts.

Now, the first email you send to your contacts SHOULD always be an introductory email.  You should include who you are, how you know them, why you’re emailing them, what you have to offer, and how often you plan to email them.  AND always include a way for them to opt-out or unsubscribe…always!!!

Listen, don’t beat your head against the wall trying to figure all this out. Let me help you with ALL of this and more.  Email marketing is often times trial and error.  It’s can be a very long process…it takes time.  Don’t get lost in the email marketing world.  Contact me today so I can help!

Think of it this way.  Even if it takes you months to actually get it all right, just ONE of those contacts actually making the right move at the right time can pay for all your hard work and then some.  But in order to get that contact (and hopefully more) to purchase from you, you have to nurture them the right way…through segmented email marketing!

So, get help and do it all the correct way.  Don’t settle for a purchased list or a $10/hour admin to help you.  Remember, you ALWAYS get what you pay for…ALWAYS!!

Have a question about your email marketing needs?  Contact me! I will walk you through what needs to be done first, we will set a plan in motion together, and I will work with your budget and your business needs!

Elizabeth
Virtual Marketing Assistant
Business Virtual Services, LLC
www.BusinessVirtualServices.com

 

RETHINKING ONLINE FUNDRAISING from the donor’s perspective (Guest Post)

fundraising_inspirationIn the midst of all the Christmas noise, dozens of emails requesting a donation begin to flood my inbox. Suddenly I find myself sifting through the requests and deciding which ones I have the most affinity with. Many end up in the delete folder. Some because they point only to my wallet and never established a relationship with me, others because they extend in endless litanies, others because they do not clearly show how those who serve the organization benefit, and the vast majority because there is no evidence to understand that the online channel implies visual, participatory, and emotional components that separate them from a letter in the mail.

I know many organizations that want to expand their reach to the online channel. But not many have understood that a donate button is by far the thrill of touching any human being. If a nonprofit wants to cultivate a new audience it should not involve a request for money, but rather first start a relationship with the prospect. In this search, many nonprofits have chosen to chase “likes” across every social media platform. However, many might agree with me that social media is primarily for entertainment and communication. Let’s face it, people do not look in social media for organizations they want to donate to; it simply is not entertaining. Proof of this is the amount of “likes” that nonprofits convert into donations.

To start conquering the online channel, nonprofits should remember that the main hub for their digital marketing efforts should be their own website. Why? Because it is in the digital home where organizations can initiate a relationship with their audience without mercantile shades. It is where they can share their vision and mission, and enrich the visitor experience with visual content, testimonials, videos & text, and show the impact of their work. Though it is hard to engage people with dull web pages, poor visual content, and no chances for the visitors to participate online and somehow become part of the cause.

There are 7 core principles to captivate an online audience: easy, short, fun, visual, modest contributions, participatory, and togetherness. Few nonprofits have implemented them. Everything that screams fun and puts a smile on someone’s face drives us to share it. Any easy process motivates us to take action. Everything that makes us participate in togetherness gives us a sense of belonging. And everything that is visual contributes to our memories.

It’s time for nonprofits to change the input to get a different output. It’s time to start creating online events that help build a relationship with supporters. It’s time to consider that online fundraising takes as much, if not more, effort than face-to-face initiatives and that today’s efforts might not bear fruits immediately but they will in a short time when the online channel will become the main stream of income.

During the year-end campaign, I suggest nonprofits to use two pledge themes: one for advocacy, one for advocacy and donation. And if you are looking to rise above the noise, put your website to work by cultivating an audience and making donating online fun!

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Adriana Granados
Visionary Entrepreneur
www.PixGift.com

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Are You Using Your Website for Generating Leads and Revenues? (Guest Post)

Learn the 5 principles of social media platforms that can be applied to your business to gain growth.

When I was invited to write something essential for businesses I thought it would be of great value to show you how you can apply the core principles of Social Media phenomenon to put your website at work for your marketing efforts, lead generation, or use it as an income stream.

The internet brought us many challenges: short attention spans, a faster live style, building virtual relationships instead of physical to name just a few. But the Internet also brought unimaginable ways to do businesses such as the Social Media platforms which found the way to create wealth by bringing together five principles: delivering visual content, building communities, creating user-generated content, rally collective participation, and monetize websites. And even when it might sound hypothetical for your businesses you can apply the same core elements to boost your own company to grow.

This is for example the story of Adele. She is the owner of a small beauty studio who saw the potential of our image-driven platform to increase her clientele by tipping into people’s fascination with selfies and images to build a community around her business, and monetize her website.

Adele came to us looking for a strategic plan to attract new prospects. She had a well-designed website though it was not offering her any other benefit than having an online presence. So we started to sketch a tailored marketing strategy for her including the same elements of Social Media platforms. To accomplish her plan Adele bought access to our platform that allows to capture photos, emails, names, phone numbers, along with other affinity and demographic information in one single tool that we call Virtual Photo Booth.

To create visual content generated by users we asked prospects to share a “Before Selfie” to be part of a Collage of Beauty. To build a community we asked existing customers to participate and share with three other friends. To drive people to participate we created a perk system offering a free 7 point skin analysis and entering to win a free facial for booking and appointment through the Collage of Beauty. Surprisingly, after a couple of weeks Adele reached her goal of booking 30 new prospects who ended up buying care products and many of them became regular clients.

Every day more than 1.8 billion of images are shared or posted on the Internet. Visual user generated content is everywhere and it is so powerful that marketers, brands, and nonprofits have been using it to grow businesses or raise funds. What enjoy us the most is that this recourse has not stopped us to find ways to present the stories of our clients: a nonprofit which increased four times its fundraising goal and was able to provide additional scholarships, help abused cats and dogs, support victims of an earthquake, engage students in an annual campaign, a coffee shop developing a treat-a-friend board to buy a coffee for a friend, two students collecting money for a trip, pool funds for a honeymoon and so much more stories. All of them without exception were completed using users’ images as the resource to facilitate content efforts, create marketing visuals, generate leads, monetize websites, and raise funds while bringing together communities where every person is a part of a whole.

I always say that building a business does not take millions. It only takes imagination… and leadership. Regardless if you are a business, a nonprofit, or an individual there are always opportunities to harness the power of images and the crowd to set you apart from the competition and create memorable experiences for the people you serve.

You can do it on your own or by stepping up to our Virtual Photo Booth and get ignited by our ideas. It doesn’t matter how you replicate the same concepts of social media but for sure you will be able to deliver surprising results. Remember, building a business does not take millions.

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Adriana Granados
Visionary Entrepreneur
www.PixGift.com

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Why you should ask for help…

When you own your own business and try to wear many hats, it’s only in due time that you will realize you are falling behind and need HELP.

Look at me…I am a Virtual Assistant.  I work with business owners taking those tedious tasks off their hands so they have more time to focus on their business and don’t have to work 70 hours a week catching up. Here’s the kicker…now I am looking for help.  I work at least 40-50 hours a week now because I am constantly getting emails from past clients and referrals who need help.

Yes, even a professional like myself needs help so I don’t fall behind and get bogged down in tedious work.  There are projects and tasks (HERE is a quick article to explain the difference) that I am very skilled at and need to handle myself.  And there are some that I can hand off to an assistant of my own…either because my skill set is not up to par in that area or because it’s time-consuming and I need to focus on bigger/specific skilled projects.

OH Lord…I have to hire an assistant!!!  This is new to me!!

Sound familiar?  If you have an assistant (or are thinking of getting one) then you understand what I am going through.

Asking for help can be in the form of hiring an assistant to work for you (or with you) or it can be in the form of a Mentor or Coach to help guide you to make better business decisions and reach important goals.  I work with a lot of Business Coaches.  Perhaps I should ask a few of them for advice?!?

Below is a really great article from Entrepreneur explaining why asking for help is good for business: Asking For Help Is Good For You and Your Business

Want to know more about hiring a VA?  Here is a really awesome article that may help you with the process:  7 REASONS YOU SHOULD HIRE A VIRTUAL ASSISTANT

Don’t work alone all the time and try to do everything on your own.  It’s good to get help, ask for assistance, collaborate with other business owners, network, and hand over small tasks (or large projects) if it means you get peace of mind and become less stressed.

Hey…if I can do it, you can too!  Here is a great article explaining what a VA does:  How Virtual Office Assistants Work

If you have any questions about how a VA can help you stay organized and get more accomplished, please contact me!

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Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it!:)

Consider filling out this short multiple-choice evaluation to see if you might need some business re-organizing!!   Click HERE.

The Essentials

First of all, I want to thank you for visiting this BRAND NEW blog.  It’s going to be a work in progress, but I believe it’s going to be a great motivational tool for business owners.

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The Essentials…what is essentially necessary for you to run your business?

I speak with many small business owners.  I might talk to some for 5 minutes, and I might talk to some for over an hour.  What they all tell me is that they are overwhelmed with the amount of work that goes into running a business.  They want to learn ways to be more productive, work more efficiently, and run their business smoother.  They essentially want to work smarter, not harder.

As a “type A” personality, and a left AND right brain thinker, I am constantly motivating myself, creating high expectations, achieving goals, setting more goals, learning new things, taking on many tasks, etc.


 

Type A

Image from:
http://www.slideshare.net/lehnent/health-psychology-31087337


 

Brain

Image from:
https://sites.google.com/site/winchestercpd/left-brain-right-brain-thinking


 

For me…GOALS and EDUCATION are my essentials.  I love to learn.  I love to create new things.  I love to make lists!!  I love to be organized.  I love to set goals.  I love to achieve those goals.

Even in my own personal life, I have set goals and stuck to them.  This isn’t to say there weren’t any ups or downs, bumps or bruises, tosses or turns.  But if you want something bad enough, and if you want your business to work, then you need to find your essentials. 

My CHALLENGE to YOU:  Find your essentials this week.  Figure out what motivates you. Learn what really gets you moving, and then make changes to assure you stay moving (in the right direction, of course)!

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Elizabeth Debol
Virtual Assistant
Business Virtual Services
elizabethdebol@live.com
http://www.businessvirtualservices.com/


My Weekly Knowledge Log (a list of things I’ve learned from or about this week):
1.  How to use Profile Hopper
2.  That spending an hour going through old emails really does pay off
3.  Lists really are my best friends

THANKS FOR READING!!  🙂

Feel free to use my post on your blog.  Just please make sure to include the link to my blog in your post.  I would greatly appreciate it! 🙂

Consider filling out this short multiple-choice evaluation to see if you might need some business re-organizing!!   Click HERE.