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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!

By |2013-11-24T14:02:41+00:00November 24th, 2013|Newsletters|0 Comments

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.

By |2013-11-23T15:09:35+00:00November 23rd, 2013|Newsletters|0 Comments

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!

By |2011-10-10T15:29:41+00:00October 4th, 2011|Newsletters, Writing|0 Comments

What You Learn from Dog Poopbags Can Grow Your Business

Poop Bags from Poopbags.comThis weekend as I was buying dental chews for our dogs, I had a revelation. Poopbags.com had, without my intention, made me a loyal customer.

Here’s how it happened…

When I shop online for things like dental chews, I go to Google, type in the product I’m looking for, and shop by price. That’s what I was doing Saturday.

In the past I have bought chews and toys from many different online vendors.  Each seller has been reliable and has delivered the purchases quickly and without a problem.

Despite my good experiences, I feel no loyalty to the different sites. Each time when I want a specific product, I Google it, and buy from the least expensive store.

Googling, comparing, and buying is what I do.

And, then I went to purchase more disposal bags for the dogs.  I just typed in www.poopbags.com and bought a three-month supply.

Why do I act differently when I need to restock biodegradable “plastic” bags for our dogs?  I know that there are many sites that sell them — when I first decided to buy them online I sorted through a raft of competing sites. But, I don’t Google and price shop for refills.  I just go to Poopbags.com.

I mulled my inconsistent behavior. I figured out that the reason I go to Poopbags.com is that they send me regular newsy updates about what they’re stocking, what canine charities they’re supporting, how their own dogs are doing, and other chatty stuff.  I feel like I know the owner, even though we’ve never met.

Not only that, but their monthly (or so) email newsletter keeps their name in my mind. Okay, their in-your-face name makes it unlikely that I am going to forget their name. But, the point is I think of them as “my” supplier because they send me fun information frequently. Their communications are not really sales tools, but marketing. That is, I don’t think I’ve immediately bought more bags when I’ve gotten one of their emails, but I am sure that a few of the messages have gotten me to review the supply downstairs to see if was time to order more.

If you’re not making clients think of you as their supplier, take a lesson from Poopbags.com. Start sending them bits of fun facts, specials, and information on a regular basis. Start up — and maintain — an electronic newsletter.

Yes, an electronic newsletter will work in your industry. I mean, is there any more unlikely field of commerce for an electronic newsletter than Poopbags.com’s?

I use Constant Contact as the newsletter service for most of my clients. They have excellent, US-based telephone support and have been reliable and mostly trouble-free for years. Constant Contact allows you to send unlimited email to people on your mailing list. They charge by the size of your list, and most of my clients are paying $30 a month.

Grow your business with email marketing!VerticalResponse is another good emailing service.
They charge for each individual email message sent out, and they are much more economical if you send to a lot of email addresses infrequently.

Either Constant Contact or VerticalResponse are fine choices to get you started becoming your clients’ favorite business. You won’t go wrong with either… the only mistake you can make is to poop out and fail to set up regular email communications to clients.

Really, if Poopbags.com can disrupt my Googling pattern and get me to go directly to them, imagine how your newsletter will help you with your clients.

By |2010-11-09T08:32:58+00:00November 9th, 2010|Marketing, Newsletters|3 Comments

How to Get Results Like an Advertising Professional

  • If anyone in San Bruno reported smelling gas to Pacific Gas & Electric Company before the explosion last week, please contact the NTSB.
  • Anyone who sees the man suspected of kidnapping a child from Oakland is asked to call the Oakland Police Department.
  • Call us for your business’ financial needs.
  • For more information about the church picnic, contact the Hospitality Chair.

All of these public-service/small business/non-profit announcements obviously were not created by an advertising person.  They leave the listener without clear instructions. None have a phone number, email, or other immediate contact information.

Just watch, listen or read communications written by big-business marketers.  They all say “Call 1-800….” or visit “www.ozdachs.biz”.  The contact information is repeated one, two, three or more times.  You know what you’re supposed to do and how to do it!

Some corporations even name themselves with the way to reach them. You’ve heard of “1-800-FLOWERS” and Kars for Kids, with its ear-worm jingle to “call 877-Kars-4-Kids.”  That’s how professional ad people craft their call to action!  [By the way, before you consider donating to Kars4Kids, check out the fraud investigations and Charity Navigator report showing that they spend 33% of their money for “fundraising expenses”.]

In the commercial world, businesses spoon feed potential customers.  They make it pig-brain-dead simple to do what the business wants you to do.  There’s nothing for you to look up or even think about.  Just go over in your commerical-induced trance and call, type, or click.

The examples we started with are all well meaning notices, but they require the listener to do research.  Some people are both very motivated and skilled at figuring out what to do.  They’ll will work to become involved.  But,  why make it so hard.

Let’s rewrite our first examples… and make sure that our future calls to action make it easy for people to do what we want.

  • If you reported smelling gas to Pacific Gas & Electric Company before the explosion last week, please call the National Transportation Safety Board at (202) 314-6000. Again, please report your call to the NTSB at (202) 314-6000. [Note: the NTSB web site is truly user hostile and there may be a better number. The site has no notice about San Bruno on its home page and no separate contact information for its pipeline safety work.]
  • If you see this kidnapping suspect, call 9-1-1 immediately.
  • Call 800 860-9660 and talk to a Sterck Kulik O’Neill accountant to solve your business’ financial issues. That’s 800 860-9660.
  • For more information about the church picnic, call Bob Smith at 415.776.4580.
By |2010-11-22T08:30:40+00:00September 15th, 2010|Newsletters|0 Comments