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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

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

A Constant Contact Software Anomaly

I recommend Constant Contact to my clients for creating and mailing out electronic newsletters.  I edit four newsletters,  and another couple of clients write and send out their newsletters themselves.

Yesterday (June 4) Constant Contact updated their system with code that is suddenly incompatible with Firefox browsers running the AdBlock Plus extension.  (Or, possibly, AdBlock Plus updated its logic rules.)

The symptom:

I logged into one Constant Contact account and searched for a user contact.  The search returned no matches.  I knew the contact was good, so I reentered the contact information and re-searched.  This time, the contact came back.  When I clicked on the link for the contact’s “Bounce History” I was dumped to a logon screen.  I could re-login and repeat the process over and over, but I could never get the bounce  information I was looking for.

I later found a problem with logging into Constant Contact and then clicking on “My account”.  Instead of seeing subscription information, I received a “unknown error” message.

The trauma:

Constant Contact tech support and I spend a lot of time on the phone together.  The problem occurred on all of my different machines using Firefox, but not when I used Internet Explorer.  The problem did not occur on Constant Contact’s tech’s machine when she tried using Firefox.  I was later told that Constant Contact was getting a number of calls from other Firefox users, but they could not reproduce the problem themselves.

The Work-Around:

Click on the down-arrow to the right of the Adblock Plus logo. Click on “Preferences” and then on the “Add Filter” tab. Add these three exceptions:

  1. @@||ui.constantcontact.com^$document
  2. @@||constantcontact.com^$document
  3. @@||ccprod.roving.com^$document

These lines keep Adblock from interfering with the information contained in the Constant Contact pages.

Through trial and error, I discovered that green listing the Constant Contact URLs (by clicking on the Adblock option to “Disable” ad blocking) “fixed” the problem I was having.  This disabling produced the exception lines I posted above.

I called Constant Contact back and told them what I discovered — the tech I was thankful. Now, of course, Constant Contact may take my information and change their latest update so as not to run afoul of the Adblock add-on. Or, they may have their  users disable Adblock checking.  Either way will keep me happy with Constant Contact!

By |2010-06-05T12:46:01+00:00June 5th, 2010|Product Recommendations, Tips and Resources|2 Comments

So You Think You Need an Electronic Newsletter?

Yesterday one of my clients said he wanted to send out email newsletters  (like The Common Sense Internet Gazette) and wanted to know how I could help him.

I assist four organizations send out newsletters using the Constant Contact email service. Another two clients use Constant Contact to write and send out their newsletters without any assistance from me.

The Common Sense Internet GazetteElectronic announcements of sales, new products, and specials is a cost-effective way of getting your existing clients to buy from you more often. Attractive and timely correspondence helps you both serve your clients and sell more! At the very least, a regular newsletter puts your name in front of your clients without being pushy.

But, before I launched into what I could do for my inquiring client, I first wanted to do some reality checking. Just as I cautioned a client about starting her own blog, I warned the client yesterday about spending money before he knew if he was really able to get a return from his newsletter.

Electronic newsletters requires both:

  1. an audience — there is no point in spending hours to write and produce a newsletter if  no one is going to read it
  2. some valuable information to share with its subscribers.  This information can be general tips for their life or business, or it can be coupons or updates on your services.

So, before my client used energy signing up for an email tool and learning how to use it, I suggested that in the next month he test himself to see if he’s ready to take on the task.  I asked him to:

  1. Create of a list of at least 50 email addresses of either current clients or prospects to be his first subscribers. 
    He has to know these people somehow so that they won’t consider his messages spam. (The best emailing services make you swear that you haven’t bought the addresses you’re sending to and that you haven’t used other spammy techniques.) This client provides a physical service and communicates via phone.  He doesn’t collect customer email addresses so I want to verify that he has a critical mass of potential readers before he goes further.
  2. Write the content of the first two newsletters he wants to send out.All marketing efforts require repetition for success.
    A single mailing won’t generate much notice, much less business.  To prove that he was serious about starting an on-going newsletter, I said he should write two of them so he understood the work involved in regular production of his ‘zine. Even if he eventually decides to hire me to write and send out future newsletters, I want to make sure that there is a range of topics for those newsletters that will reflect well on his business.  If there’s nothing to say other than, “Buy from me!” the newsletter will be a failure.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think small businesses should send out MORE electronic newsletters.  B&B’s should send out off-season newsletters telling about local festivals and special room rates.  CPA’s should send out tips on how to improve your business’s profits or personal wealth.  Apartment owners should highlight the benefits of renters’ insurance along with bragging about the latest painting job.

Still, “should send out MORE electronic newsletters” is not the same as having the time to take away from your core business.  A B&B owner runs the inn, the CPA handles your finances, and the apartment owner rents, renovates, and referees.  After handling the core responsibilities, there may be no time or energy left to create and distribute a good newsletter.

I like to recommend “try before you buy” whenever possible.  For electronic newsletters I recommend “try before you promise”.  Before you have a launch party for your electronic newsletter, make sure that you have an audience and that you have something worth communicating.

There are so many good ideas about promoting your business!  A electronic newsletter is one of the great marketing tools.  But, my business mantra is that coming up with good ideas is not where businesses fail.  They fail in execution.

Take my two-step test before you decide to start your own business newsletter.  This test is free, private, and, too often, revealing!

By |2009-08-25T14:12:19+00:00August 25th, 2009|Marketing|0 Comments