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Email Marketing: Information For Beginners

September 16th, 2010

Effective email marketing nowadays is notoriously hard to achieve.   Spam saturates our inbox to such an extent that most of us will delete the majority of our emails without even opening them.  However, with patience and proper research, email marketing can still bring good publicity and profits to your business.

The first step towards setting up an email marketing campaign is figuring out if it’s even worth it in the first place.  Gathering opt-in email addresses and keeping up a regular publication takes time and effort.  However, every possible way to generate leads is worth a look.  The main benefits of email marketing are:

  1. Keeping a dialog going on between you and your current and potential clients.
  2. Build rapport and trust between you and your clients.
  3. Pass on important news, offers, and deals to your client base.
  4. Create an easy mean of gathering referrals and repeat jobs.

A common mistake I see happening amongst those new to email marketing is inundating their subscribers list with information which is not important to their clients.  Remember, each publication should someway benefit them; if the emails become bothersome and uninteresting, they’ll unsubscribe.  Refrain from telling your clients every single bit of information, and instead consider talking about:

  1. New services or products that you have released.
  2. Current deals and coupons you’re offering.
  3. New, completed projects you’ve done.  They can get a look at your newest work and maybe trigger some ideas of their own they’ll come to you with.
  4. Occasional surveys or feedback requests.
  5. Links to any relevant articles you’ve written, your Facebook or Twitter page, etc..

Once you’ve determined to launch an email list and have a good idea of the content you’ll include in it, the next step is to start building your subscribers base.  Check back for my next article, which will address just that.

10 Mistakes To Avoid Making

September 1st, 2010

If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are that you have failed in at least a couple of business ventures.  This can range from trying to sell a product to just running a blog.  Failing is part of the learning process – it is said that you learn more from failure than from success – but there are some common mistakes which we can avoid.  Rosalind Resnick details the 10 Mistakes That Start-Up Entrepreneurs Make, an article for the Wall Street Journal that we could all benefit from reading.

For the full analysis of the mistakes, follow the link, but here is the summary.

  1. Working Alone.  It’s tempting to want to be a one-person company and take 100% of the earnings, but many times this is just too much to do.  Consider putting together a small team of partners whose skills compliment each other.
  2. Seeking Advice From Too Many People.  You need a core group of advisors to help you brainstorm issues, but having too many of them will produce indecision.
  3. Focusing Too Much on the Product and Not Sales.  It doesn’t matter how great your product is, if people don’t know about it, it won’t sell.
  4. Focusing On Too Small of a Niche.  One of the first things we learn is to target a specific niche to be more successful, however there is such a thing as over-targeting.  Don’t cut your potential customer base short.
  5. Entering a Market With No Distribution Partner.  Resnick says “It’s easier to break into a market if there’s already a network of agents, brokers, manufacturers’ reps and other third-party resellers ready, willing and able to sell your product into existing distribution channels.”
  6. Overpaying For Advertisements.  Advertising brings in customers, but at what cost?  Closely follow your promotional efforts and make sure that when you break down the numbers your cost per customer is still earning you an acceptable profit.
  7. Insufficient Capital.  Besides needing money for rent, equipment, advertising, and product development, remember to calculate costs for salaries, insurance, utilities, and other overhead costs.
  8. Over-funding.  Having too much capital can lead to inefficiency and wasting money – you need to be lean and crafty, so know when you have enough investment to start working.
  9. Not Developing a Business Plan.  This one seems obvious, but before you start to develop a product or market it, you need to have your plan of action – it’s tempting to breeze past this, but you’ll appreciate the knowledge you gain from actually researching the market and writing a plan beforehand.  It can save you time and money.
  10. Over Developing a Business Plan.  The Military has a saying – a 70% solution now is better than a 100% solution later, because “later” always changes, which means you’ll constantly be changing your plan.  At some point you have to take a leap of faith and actually implement your plan, or it will never become reality.

For those of you who have started businesses, what mistakes have you learned from?

Windows 7 Promotion

November 6th, 2009

With the recent release of Windows 7, it has been interesting to see Microsoft’s promotional efforts.  Prior to the release, they were strangely quiet.  Perhaps, it has been said, this was an effort not to repeat the mistakes they witnessed with the release of Windows Vista – hyping it up big time, and then having everyone let down.  Windows 7 is flying more under the radar, leading me to believe that Microsoft wants the product to speak for itself.

That being said, Apple is taking a very aggressive marketing effort against Windows 7.  Do you think they feel threatened by the new, “easier” Windows?  Maybe winning back some of the users who switched to a Mac because it “just works”?  I’ve only been running Windows 7 for about a day now, and I can definitely say it’s better than my experience with Vista, but whether or not I’ll go back to my Ubuntu Linux installation is yet to be seen.

Have you tried Windows 7 yet?  What are your impressions of the recent advertising campaigns by both Microsoft and Apple?


Namecheap November 2009 Coupon Code

November 3rd, 2009

There are many different domain registrars, however Namecheap, being my favorite, is the one I follow.  Their November 2009 coupon code, offering $8.81 domain names, is AUTUMNLEAVES.

I’ve been away for quite a while

August 19th, 2009

I’m sad to admit that I have ignored this blog for quite some time, which is a shame because it was just starting to get some real use.  I won’t go into the reasons why it’s been over a year since my last blog post, instead I will look into the future.  I thought for a while about selling Abstract Promotion and walking away, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.  So instead I started cleaning it up (all the spam comments) and am looking to start becoming active again.

Over the next few weeks I will be upgrading AP’s WordPress version, making some minor modifications, and getting it back on track again.  For anyone who still reads this blog, thanks for sticking around, and I’ve got some good new ideas that I am looking forward to implementing.

Marketing Quote Madness #1

July 1st, 2008

Renaming my Sunday’s Marketing quote to something a little more appropriate, since I rarely hit my target of Sunday, I now introduce you to Marketing Quote Madness – same thing, different name.  As always, I post a quote to do with marketing or advertising and some thoughts on how it applies to us internet marketers.  So without further ado:

In the factory we make cosmetics; in the drugstore we sell hope. 

This quote, by Charles Revson, is an oldie but a goodie.  Now drugstores and factories have little to do with us, but the concept is something that many webmasters forget I believe.  To us, whatever we’re selling (or pushing) is just an item – ebay products, free samples for zip/email submits, scripts and programs, online services, information – but to the customer, they’re buying it because it fits their lifestyle.  Their lifestyle is what makes them, them – their habits, attitudes, standards, hopes, etc..  And so while a lot of webmasters couldn’t care less about what they are actually selling as long as it sells, to the buyer it is something far more personal.  Try reflecting that in your attitude and your website – I bet you’ll become more successful.

Takeaway: appeal to your user’s personal lifestyle

Introducing eFlowerGrams.com

June 2nd, 2008

It’s with pleasure that I unveil my newest site, which I have been working on for the past two weeks. The site is eflowergrams.com, where you can send free virtual flower grams. It’s simple in concept, but I think it works best that way. Although there are some other sites on the web where you can send flower greeting cards, I found all of them messy and hard to use, which is why I believe that eflowergrams.com can become the premier flower greeting card / egram resource.


Sending a virtual flower is a quick way to let someone know you care – and eflowergrams.com makes it easy as 1-2-3. Best of all, it’s free, and currently you can choose from over twenty flowers. Pick a flower, add a message, provide a recipient, and viola! In a matter of seconds a lucky person will have a beautiful flower gram waiting in their inbox. Also, as always, no email addresses will be given out or sold – they are used strictly for sending flower grams.

So check it out and tell me what you think – any feedback is welcome. Try sending a flower gram or two and see if you can brighten someone’s day ;)

Make Link Exchanges More Effective

May 27th, 2008

We all have done link exchanges before. Swap a couple of links here for a couple of links there. But how effective have they really been for us? Chances are not as much as they could be. We’re so concerned with getting the SEO benefits of the incoming link that a lot of the time we forget about keeping the users in mind. Everyone knows that you want links from relevant sites, but why not link to relevant parts of your site?

I believe that the most common mistake made in link building is linking to your homepage. Sometimes this may be the best landing page, but nine times out of ten it’s not. Think about the subject of the site you’re getting that inbound link from and what their users are interested in. Is a generic home page link going to be the most helpful to them? Maybe not. Maybe you should have that link pointing to a specific page, category, or post.

For example, say I solicited a link from a webmaster blog that catered to the new and inexperienced. In this case, I think that it would not only be more beneficial but more enticing for those users to visit my site through a link pointing to my “Promotion 101: The Basics” article or my “Usability and Accessibility” category which contains many easy advice posts for new webmasters, instead of a standard front page link.

Basically, just spend a moment thinking about which part of your site would be most likely to keep users engaged and on your site. If I’m getting a link from a blog dedicated to forum owners, then it would make a lot more sense for the link to point to my “Forum Promotion” category, because I know that that is what my audience for that link is interested in. The point is to make the least amount of work for them. If they land on my homepage and have to look around for what they’re interested in, they might leave. But if I give it to them right off the bat, they’re more likely stay, read, and become repeat visitors. Keep it simple and straightforward for your users!

The Power of Thinking Small

April 18th, 2008

Throughout life we are told over and over again to “dream big” and “reach for the horizon”. Our aspirations are as boundless as our imagination. Yet, hardly anyone is actually able to achieve these sorts of goals. And you know why? They’re thinking too big. I’m going to give you a piece of advice that I bet you’ve never heard before.

Think Small

Think small.

Pause – not something you’d expect to read in a blog that is all about growing and profiting from your business. Let me explain a little more. A week ago I purchased a book, which has nothing at all to do with marketing, but one particular quote inside of it jumped out at me as a perfect lesson that a lot of would-be business men and women could benefit from. The quote goes as follows:

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.

Digest that for a moment and think about how it could be applied to a business setting. Many entrepreneurs go about creating a business plan backwards. They think, what could make me the most money? And then they set off in that direction. But, nine times out of ten, they know very little about the subject matter they chose, and ultimately end in failure.

They way a successful entrepreneur should think is what am I good at? What do I know a lot about? What are my strengths and assets? Then you build a business around that, and since you are now working in an environment where you’re knowledgeable and talented, instead of inexperienced and ignorant, your chances at being successful are much higher.

Also, we all know that 99% of businesses aren’t over-night hits. They take potentially years of hard work and sweat to build, so wouldn’t you rather be spending that time and energy working on something you at least enjoy and are familiar with, instead of something where you are out of your element and stumbling along blindly in the dark?

So, back to the quote. The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. Think, the naive business man seeks success in what others have found success in, distant from his own skills. The wise grows it under his feet. Think, the wise business man grows success out of his own talents and strengths, not others.

Thinking about starting a new website? Or a brick-and-mortar business? Doesn’t it make sense, then, to build it around what you’re knowledgeable and good at? Sadly, this does not seem to be the common attitude. So next time you’re thinking about starting a new venture, try taking this advice to heart – I bet you’ll be amazed by what you accomplish.

HostGator 20% Spring Coupon

April 3rd, 2008

Just a quick note to let everyone know that HostGator is having a 20% special until May 1st if you use the coupon code “spring” when purchasing hosting. It’s a great deal and I strongly recommend them as a host.