Your Monthly Newsletter for Only $299 a Month for Six Months

Internet marketing newsletter for October, 2013
Example Newsletter

Need a hand sending out a meaningful message to your clients each month?

Ozdachs will help!

We will develop with you a topic for each email, write the copy, find appropriate graphics, and schedule the newsletter.  We will also set up your account with Constant Contact, the email service we recommend, and we will select the template and lay out the newsletter.

Ozdachs has been providing these services for clients for 10 years.  We look forward to creating for you a professional newsletter of 5 to 10 paragraphs (click on the picture at right for an example newsletter edition).

We can do a lot of the work, but you will still need to provide:

  • A subscription list of clients, friends, and others who have given you permission to send them email.
  • A hour of your time at start up when we work out the broad messages you want to deliver over the next six-months.  Of course, we can substitute a blast about a new product or other news when appropriate.
  • A review of the draft newsletter we send you each month.
  • Feedback!

The cost for this service is just $299 a month for six months.  Production, writing, graphics, and Constant Contact mailing services for up to 5,000 contacts is included. In addition, if we maintain your HTML-based website, we will also post the newsletter to an online archive that will organically grow your site.

Sending your newsletter is easy and this package gets you started with low risk. For less than a traditional Yellow Pages display ad or Internet ad pay-per-click campaign, you can contact people who already know about you and are the mostly like to buy from you.

Of course, if you want to do more of the work yourself and have the time and tools to edit your copy and pictures, go for it!  Ozdachs is always happy provide ad hoc support.  Take your first step by checking out Constant Contact .  You can sign up for a free 60-day trial (with limits on the number of email addresses), and browse the templates and test the formatting tools.

Ask Ozdachs to help or DIY.  Either way, get your newsletter published!

The 4 Steps to Create an E-Newsletter

Constant Contact(R)

Trusted Email Marketing

Everytime I send out an e-newsletter for my business, I hear from a dormant customer or inactive lead asking me about my services.  Usually the email or call is from someone who doesn’t care at all about the subject in my newsletter. Just seeing “Ozdachs” in their inbox, reminded them that I exist and can help them with a web design or marketing problem.

Many of my clients send their own e-newsletters, and all of them but one say that they have the same reaction from their subscribers.  E-newsletters get them remembered, result in calls and emails, and earn them business.

On the other hand, my clients who don’t have newsletters yet say that sending out a regular communication to their clients sounds too complicated.  They don’t know how to start a newsletter and are too busy working in their business to spend the time to figure it out.

Here’s what I tell them: creating a newsletter to send to your customers is essential and doable.  

You need:

  1. Email addresses of your clients and of prospects who have asked you to keep in touch.  Your list should include friends,  people you know from professional networks, and anyone else who wants to hear from you about your work.
  2. An newsletter email service.  Normal email accounts limit you to some number — 10, 25, 100 — people at one time.  But, a mailing service will:
    • let you send to any number of addresses
    • provide you with professional-looking templates to improve your message’s impact
    • track bounced messsages, people who read the messsage, and clicks on the links in your e-newsletter
    • help you prevent your messages from being blocked as spam

    For most of my clients’ e-newsletters I use Constant Contact. In my opinion their templates are the most straight-forward to use, and their service has been excellent.

  3. Something to say. Something interesting. Your message doesn’t have to sell anything, but rather should inform your readers and remind them that you are available to help them. You probably have a few Frequently Asked Questions you can address in the first few editions of your e-newsletter.  Maybe you have a new product, a new service, a special to offer, too.  Each newsletter needs a call to action, and these can vary from “call us for more information” to “buy now”!
  4. Time to write the copy, layout the newsletter, and send it.  This is the most difficult step for my clients! Newsletter services let you create online, but all the products take time to learn and manipulate. And, although you need to write only a few paragraphs,  what you send should be grammatical! Your first newsletter can easily take 8 hours to produce, but as you get used to the tools and the process, a normal newsletter can be done in less than four.

Professionals — like Ozdachs! — can help with steps 3 and 4.   We can help develop your message, write it, format it, and send it.  Generally the cost is less than a traditional Yellow Pages ad and less than the cost of what our clients are simulatenously spending for Yelp and Google ads.

But, whether you do it all yourself or get production assistance, sending out an e-newsletter is no mystery.  You can do it in just 4 steps.

PostRocket to Shut Down

PostRocket LogoAnother company that has tried to help automate posting to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms announced today that it’s quitting.

Postrocket is shutting down on August 15th.  This leaves HootSuite, Buffer, Sprout Social, Social Bro, and others in the field.  So, it’s not exactly like social media players won’t have any options.

But,  I had picked a favorite tool, learned it, and used it.  And, now it’s gone!

I found PostRocket affordable — something like $15/month for my purposes — and straight forward.  I had tried HootSuite on a free trial and found it very, very, very flexible. That translates to “A lot of work to learn and set up.”

But, I guess I am going back.  HootSuite is $10/month and other options for my size of business are several times more.

BTW, a good comparison of tools I found was this May, 2013 WordStream posting.

Finally, here’s the announcement from PostRocket <sniff>… notice how responsible they are to return any part of the monthly $10 that will be unused:

Hi Galen,

 

This is really disappointing to say, but I must inform you that PostRocket will be shutting down its products and services next Thursday, August 15th. Right off the bat, I’d like to ensure you that you will be refunded any remaining credits by filling this form out.

 

When we first started PostRocket, we wanted to not only help marketers like you succeed in Facebook marketing, but do so with an exceptional product and service to back it. We were never able to reach the high bar we set for ourselves. Our product had many issues and even through the down-time and bugs, you stuck with us and even became paying customers. We thank you for that.

 

We should and could have done much better in bringing you a reliable product that expanded as quickly as the landscape of Facebook marketing changed. You will be refunded any of your remaining prorated credits as of today 8/6/13 and will be able to continue using PostRocket to migrate your data or find another provider until 11:59PM PST 8/14/13, at which point all data will be erased and removed.

 

If you’re looking for an alternative service to migrate to after PostRocket, I *strongly* recommend using Facebook’s all new native Insights product. I would have never recommended using native with FB marketing, but their new product blows any other service out the water. They are rolling out this Insights product and you should expect to receive it in the next few weeks, if you don’t already have it.

 

Here’s the full link to the refund form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1g19Qb2P1DOb-_-X7Dl9fAy9570YGPsV252gkM3vs7A0/viewform

 

Again, thank you so much for being a PostRocket customer. We really do appreciate you believing in us. We wish we could have done better for you.

 

 

On behalf of the PostRocket team,

 

Tim

 

Run this Again, … It’s Important!

“But, it’s important!” I get told by the author of an article we ran in the organization’s last electronic newsletter.  “Nothing has changed this week. Can’t you just run the story again?”

I understand that it takes a lot of time to create even a two- or three-paragraph invitation asking people to join in your event.  When you’re the organizer of a class and have to worry about the content and the petty organization details, writing a fresh press release can be just one thing too many. I sympathize because I’ve been there!  But, the answer to “Can’t you just run the story again?” is “No.”

Repeating a story is unwanted by readers, bad for the publication, and also bad for the activity being promoted.

Readers  know when they’ve seen something, and they will keep checking the newsletter — or listening to in-person announcements — only when they are being exposed to new information. Repeating the same words week-in and week-out because it is “important” is unlikely to get more participation.  People tune out old news, and if there is a lot of old news in the publication, they’ll stop reading it completely.  Moreover, repeating the same words another time has a diminishing impact on the reader.  They have already seen that come-on one time, made their decision not to join in, and repeating the same “come on down” message is not a good way to get them to change their mind.

Your invitation to participate has to be fresh each time you give it!

Here’s What to Do

If you are working on a major or ongoing event you can tell people about what you’re doing repeatedly.  Just give a different focus for each of your stories.

Here’s are some creative ways people have made second and third and fourth stories sound fresh and new:

  • The  organizers of the annual pledge drive ask a different person in the organization to write what the group means to them and to explain why they are giving generously.  The message of (“GIVE!”) is consistent, but each story is interesting because of the personalities of the folks writing in.
  • Weekly articles advertising a multi-session religious education course offered glimpses into the specific content for that week’s class.  While people were welcome to sign up for the whole series, the weekly focus on the topic of the next class gave people new insight each week.
  • A major fundraising silent auction wanted to build up excitement among donors and bidders, so the auctioneers sent in new stories over six weeks. Each story highlighted a different aspect of the event:  one week the article solicited donations for vacation rentals, another week’s article talked about donating  restaurant and home-cooked meals, and then the spotlight shifted to the fun of an auction reception with a preview of bidding.  The overall theme of “silent auction” ran through each episode, but the new ideas in each story made you want to read it and find out more!

Repeated articles are not nearly as fun to read as new ones on the same topic.  In addition, stories that are repeated are often inaccurate!  Plans and details change, and if your press information distribution system is on autopilot, you probably propagating outdated news.  Cutting and pasting from past releases is kosher, but you have to sit down at the keyboard and create every time blast out a story.

Finally, if you have completely run out of ideas and cannot think of a way to flog the event and make it sound interesting, maybe it’s time to stop.  If you’re tired of writing about the event, people are surely tired of reading about it!

Commercializing 9-11

Well Fargo ATM with 9-11 Message
Wells Fargo ATM 9-11 Memorial Message

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corporate Person:

I seriously do not need any commerical mention of September 11th. Really.

Try as you might, I don’t think there is any way you can  tastefully sneak in a reference to 9-11 in your business messages and not seem like you’re jumping aboard an emotional bandwagon for your crass commerical purpose.

Businesses large and small:  I want you to leave 9-11 out of your sales and client communications, okay?

I have first-hand evidence that you’re having trouble steering clear of tying your business with the 9-11 anniversary. You’ve made me personally witness your weakness for cheap group hugs.

As I was rushing around yesterday morning between two appointments I hustled up to a Wells Fargo ATM for a quick hit of cash.  It was a normal take-the-money-and-run transaction until I’d made my selection and started the 10-second wait for the system to validate my account and spit the $20 bills at me.

The ATM screen displayed a special “holiday” message as I waited for the money.  It told me it was a time for reflection and wanted me to know that Wells Fargo honors the people who died on 9-11.  The bank has apparently decided that it is perfectly appropriate to use the 9-11 anniversary as a way to show their corporate good-guy Americanism.

The ATM message struck me as simply wrong. On so many levels.  Stop it!

First, the 10-second interval while I wait for the cash to dispense is not enough time to reflect on anything serious. Certainly it’s not enough time to consider something as deep and complex as 9-11. Besides, I don’t really think that Wells wanted me to start a 9-11 reflection right then.  Wells was really bragging about their own reflections on 9-11, when, frankly, they can reflect to their hearts content in private.

My ATM mind is not in reflective mode, anyway.  I am rushing around in my petty little errand mode.  Shoving 9-11 in my face is an unwelcome intrusion.  I cannot do the topic justice, and I don’t expect my ATM to be my meditation guide in any event.

At best, Wells is playing on my emotions and somehow getting me to bond with Wells, as if the company were a fellow 9-11 trauma victim. Or, something more complex, subtle, or whatever. But, it boils down to Wells using 9-11 for its commerical purpose.  I don’t like it.

True, the message was simple and about as low-key as it could get. There was no direct attempt to monetize the 9-11 anniversary with a commemorative purchase.

But, I am not ready for 9-11 to be transformed into a seasonal slogan on an ATM screen.  I am not ready for it to be used by any business for any purpose.  Sometimes in marketing events are too raw to try to employ them for your business.  September 11th is still one of those un-commercializable  events.

On the 10th anniversary of the attacks, businesses do not need to tell us to reflect. Nor should they tout how much they themselves honor the dead.  Some activities are best left to flesh-and-blood humans.