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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 |2013-11-24T14:02:41-08:00November 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 |2013-11-23T15:09:35-08:00November 23rd, 2013|Newsletters|0 Comments

Ban These 2 Words to Create Successful Events

There are two words which you should never use if you want other sane, busy people to join your activity. They are the two words I keep trying to remove from the weekly church newsletter I edit, The Flame.  Yet, they are part of almost every article submitted for that organization and for other non-profits and businesses.

Man gagged and censoredBanned Word #1: Meeting

Face it, no one wants to go some place, sit in a chair, and “meet”.  Meetings conjure up the image of school classrooms where you sit and squirm until you’re released to do something more fun.

Except “meetings” are worse than going to class because it’s not just the qualified teacher who is going to lecture you. Meetings carry with them the likelihood that some other member of the audience is going to let loose and share some tangential tidbit from their store of personal biases. Meetings you’ve gone to have lasted twice as long because someone is always going off under the guise of asking a clarifying question or, worse, tagging in with a long story that’s supposed to validate the presenter’s point. Right?

Whatever the details, you know that you don’t want to go to a “meeting.”  The vibrant people you want joining your activity don’t want to go to a meeting, either.

So, don’t use the word.

There are a lot of fine, more action-sounding terms to use instead of meeting.  These phrases may even better describe what you’re doing. For extra credit, see if you can use a verb instead of a noun when you invite people to join you. Ask them to  Rally, March, Gather, Plan, Plot, and Talk!

You can have discussions, seminars, and votes if you need to name the activity with a noun rather than to do it.  Just don’t do a “meeting”.

Banned Word #2: Committee

No one wants to join a committee.  No one.

Why?  Because all that committees do … wait for it… is have meetings. We already know that no one wants to go to a meeting, and sane folk certainly don’t want to belong to a group whose purpose is to hold them.

Committees are even set up by governments to kill interest in a public issue by holding meetings.

(Oddly, when you find yourself inexplicably trapped on a committee, your first reaction is to recruit other bright and energetic people just like you to join the committee.  It’s a tough sell, because the other intelligent people feel just like you about committees.  They run when they see you coming with your committee sign-up clipboard.)

There may be some bylaw or structural reason that your group has a formal name of The XXX Committee.  Just, don’t ever admit to your legal name in public!

Here’s what you do. Advertise your group by its true active purpose.  In fact, I love the word “activist” as a replacement for most “committees”.

  • The Art Committee becomes the Artists or Art Curators or Art Activists…
  • The Ecology Committee becomes the Eco Theorists or Green Activists…
  • The Education Committee becomes the Education Explorers or Education Advocates, or Education Activists…
  • The Justice Committee becomes the Justice Witnesses or Justice Creators or Justice Activists…

Try Out Your New Words

I know that making light of the words “meeting” and “committee” is  fun.  The need to avoid these deadening words is too obvious to any adult who has ever gone to church, joined a community group, or gone to work in a company.

However, changing the terminology for your group and its events is more than simply amusing.  Use different phrasing and you will get more volunteers eager to come to your events and to join your band of lively activists.

Try it out.  Get your most recent “Committee Meeting Announcement”.  Re-write it without once employing the banned words.  Don’t tell people about the committee meeting as if you were daring them to attend.  Invite them to join with other activists saving the world.

By |2011-10-10T15:32:03-07:00September 12th, 2011|Writing|6 Comments

Don’t Tell Them — Invite Them!

Does your electronic newsletter read like the bulletin board at the laundromat? Do titles and dates of events fill up the space, but a passerby would have summon the courage to make a cold call to you to get more information?

Posting event announcements with the basic “who, what, where, when, and why”– for either for-profit or not-for-profit businesses — is not enough!  Customers (or “participants” or “members”) don’t automatically make the connection between a fact that something is happening and that you would like them to attend.  The implied invitation to “join in” is simply not heard or seen by a lot of people.

When I grew up in Los Angeles, one incessant TV advertiser was Cal Worthington Ford.  Their commercials featured a sung earworm chant, “Go see Cal! Go see Cal! Go see Cal!”  The repetition might have been been tiresome to hear, but it was great marketing.  Not only were you told about the week’s special deals in the commercial, there was a clear, unambiguous call to action: Go see Cal!

Your newsletters should be as clear as Cal’s advertisements.   When you write about your organization’s activities, tell the reader exactly what you want them to do and how to do it. Buy, participate, donate by clicking, register, or just show up.  Bring a form, fulfill a prerequisite, or be a newbie off the street.  Say who’s welcome and where they should go.

When I edit my church’s weekly newsletter, I spend a fair amount of time translating laundromat bulletins into invitations to join in.  Notices about  classes, ceremonies, and concerts contain information about exciting happenings, but unless you’re one of the organizers or have attended similar events in the past, it’s not always obvious that visitors or new people are welcome.

“Why would we tell people about the [name the event], if we didn’t want people to show up?” I get asked.  It’s a good question, but a simple statement of what you want people to reduces the emotional risk for newcomers.

You know that the artist reception is a way to get publicity for the unknown photographer exhibiting. But, I may think I need to be a critic or an established art buyer to be welcome to the gallery show.

You know that the monthly hikes around San Francisco are purely social affairs where no business is conducted.  But, I may think that I have to already be a member of the sponsoring committee to be accepted on the trails.

You know that the choir is always searching for talented singers.  But, I may think that I have to already know a specific repertoire before showing up for the auditions.

The solution is simple.  Write your newsletters like you are talking to a friend.  When you tell a friend, “I am going to see the 11 am Saturday matinee at the iMax” you add, “Would you like to come with me? I’ll pick you up at your house at 10:15.”

Add the same invitation to your newsletter.

By |2010-08-02T07:25:18-07:00August 2nd, 2010|Newsletters|0 Comments

Get More Newsletter Readers: Answer the Spam Challenge

Spam challengeMore and more people are trying to cut down on the spam that floods their in-boxes. Some Internet Service Providers like Earthlink and Web Hosting Services like offer built-in spam challenging logic to their email accounts. Because I have several active email accounts I use Spamarrest to limit what gets passed along to my inbox.

These spam-limiting features all work by finding out who sent the email to you and then doing one of three things.

  • If the sender is someone you know of and approve, the message will be forwarded to your inbox.
  • If the sender is someone you know of and have blocked, the message is deleted.
  • If the sender is someone you don’t know, the sender is sent a request to verify that they are a human and not an automated spammer (see example at the right). If the sender responds to the challenge within 7 days, I get their original message and they are put on my list of approved correspondents. If the sender does not respond, their message is deleted in 7 days.

A huge majority of my email, over 95%, is in this third category. And, a huge majority of those messages are from automated spammers who never answer the spam challenge and whose messages are deleted in a week.
Spam statistics

Occasionally I look through the hundreds of messages from unknown senders. Whenever I do, I usually see a newsletter or group mailing from someone I wouldn’t mind hearing from.

But, they didn’t answer the spam challenge.

This failure to respond is a wonky waste of time. Their business has spent hours of time — and therefore lots of money — preparing the mailing to me. But, after they mail their message, they don’t go through the replies to the newsletter to see that my automated service didn’t recognize the newsletter’s email address and wanted to verify that there were people behind the message.

All the newsletter writer would have to do would be to click on the link in the challenge email and then fill in a CAPTCHA or answer a question. They would only have to do it one time, because the the email address would be added to the approved list and future editions of their newsletter would be delivered automatically.

Worse, in my experience sending newsletters, a fair number of clients and prospects will reply to the newsletter itself with questions or even orders. If the sending business hasn’t assigned anyone to read the replies, then it is missing business in addition to readers.

It’s simple. If you send out an electronic newsletter, give someone in your organization the task of reading replies sent to the newsletter address. Have them answer the spam challenges. Tell them to answer the messages placing new orders, too!

By |2009-09-22T07:01:57-07:00September 22nd, 2009|Marketing|0 Comments
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