Archive for the ‘Email’ Category

Best Email Closing to Get a Response

Best Email Closing to Get a Response

Came across this article on Lifehacker that says (among other things) the most effective way to end an email so that you get a response is with “Thanks in advance.”

Very interesting! I wouldn’t have thought that. I always have written simply “thank you.” Will have to experiment with this.

PS: Be sure to follow our Biz: Communication board on Pinterest where I stockpile all kinds of useful best practices articles like this on the topic of communication.

What’s your experience been with your closings? Add your thoughts to the rest of the comments below.

A Little Bit of Mailing List Etiquette

A Little Bit of Mailing List Etiquette

This situation has happened enough times that I thought it would be a public service and good mentoring to address it for everyone…

Every once in awhile out of the blue I will receive an ezine email from a colleague. And I immediately unsubscribe.

Why? Because I never signed up for it.

And how do I know that? Because I intentionally do not ever subscribe to the ezines and mailing lists of colleagues.

In response to my unsubscription, it’s also not been uncommon that the colleague whose mailing list/ezine I have unsubscribed from will send me a nastygram.

These have run the gamut from making personal attacks to the childishness of a five year old: Well, if you don’t want to be on my mail list, then I don’t want to be on yours.

(I have news for them, if that’s their level of business maturity, I will unsubscribe them myself.)

Here’s the difference: They subscribed to my list. I didn’t subscribe to theirs.

This is nothing personal either. Let me tell you why I don’t subscribe to the mailing lists of colleagues AND why you don’t need me on your mailing list:

  1. I’m not your target market. I am not a client or a prospect.
  2. As mentioned, you signed up for my mailing list; I didn’t sign up for yours. Signing up to someone’s mailing list does not grant you automatic permission to sign them up to yours.
  3. As an industry mentor, I am dealing with far more people than you. If I subscribed to everyone’s mailing lists “just to be nice” and avoid the morons getting bent out of shape if I don’t, my inbox would be inundated, and I’d never get anything done.
  4. You are not my target market. When I’m wearing my industry mentor hat, granted, the things I have to teach and share do apply to you. But that’s why you signed up to my list, not the other way around. When I’m wearing the hat of business owner in my own administrative practice, I’m only interested in being on the mailing lists of my target market and my own mentors, not colleagues.

So, as a rule, I do not sign up to any colleague’s mailing lists or ezines. As I’ve said, this is nothing personal.

It’s also not something to get upset about. That’s just silly. If you think about it, those people who get upset are only thinking of themselves; they certainly aren’t considering the other person’s needs and wishes. And that’s the complete opposite of good marketing and business.

What IS important here is that you understand the dynamics and etiquette of mailing lists when it comes to your business, target market and potential clients.

You’re going to annoy a whole lot of people by signing them up to your list without their permission. That is bad marketing/mailing list/ezine practice all the way around. Just don’t do it!

Mailing lists are not about you adding people to your list yourself simply because you know them or had a conversation with them.

And just because you signed up for someone else’s mailing list or ezine doesn’t give you the right to add them to yours.

Mailing lists are about letting people self-subscribe… providing information and resources that are of value and interest to them so that they opt-in to your mailing list of their own accord.

It’s okay to connect with people on social media: follow them on Twitter; friend them on Facebook; connect on LinkedIn and so forth.

But never, ever add someone to your mailing list without asking. Instead, give people a reason to join your list and then invite them to your website where they can opt-in themselves.

And remember who your real audience is. You don’t need anyone and everyone on your list. You don’t even need a huge list. You just need the right people on there which includes those who want to be there and made the choice to be.

That’s how it works, folks. 😉

Picking an Email Name: Personal vs. Generic

Picking an Email Name: Personal vs Generic

I saw that someone asked about picking an email name, and I thought it was a great question.

Here’s my advice:

When choosing between your name (e.g., firstname@yourdomain.com or first.last@yourdomain.com) or something generic (e.g., admin@yourdomain.com or service@yourdomain.com), go with your name.

First, it’s more personable.

People do business with people. An email address with your name will create far more personal connection and rapport than something generic.

Those sending a message will feel more warm and fuzzy about you because they know they are reaching a real, live human being with name, not a cold, nameless, faceless entity.

Who wants to shake hands with a robot after all? (Wait, nerds, don’t answer that, lol.)

Second, generic emails (e.g., admin@yourdomain.com) are spam triggers. Many spam filtering algorithms see these as being sent by robots and will often sort them into the spam/junk mail folder.

If you want to make sure your message gets through while also nurturing personal connection with your prospects and clients, use your name: you@yourdomain.com or you.lastname@yourdomain.com.

(By the way, in the email account settings, be sure you enter your first and last name in the user information so when your email lands in someone’s in-box, they know exactly who it’s from and that it’s a real person, namely YOU.)

And since we’re on the topic, always use an email on your own domain.

Burner account emails (i.e., Outlook.com, Yahoo, Gmail) do nothing to help market your business.

For example, let’s say a contact refers your email to a potential client. Without your domain name on there, they have no clue what your website is (where they may want to go to find out more about you).

In this day and age, a service or provider without a website is one that gets dismissed out of hand. They might try to Google your name to see if something comes up.

On the other hand, they might not, especially when they have other service providers using emails on their own domain where they can instantly see where to go to learn more.

Make it easier for your prospects, because you never know when, where or how they might learn of you simply because they came across your email address.

How to Set Up Your Email for Marketability

Email Setup: Do This, Not This

I get a lot of emails from people in our industry. And I can’t help but notice some of the things they do in their email that is costing them trust, credibility, connection and ultimately business.

Some don’t use an email address on their own domain. Or, they have an email on their own business domain, but don’t have an email signature and just sign off with their name.

Here are some recent examples of the problems that are caused by ineffective email set-up:

  1. I had someone sign up for class with a hotmail address. This was someone I didn’t already know so I emailed her hoping to get to know each other a bit. I didn’t hear from her for over two months until three or four days before the class was to begin! And even then, she didn’t even know I had emailed her because the email account she signed up with wasn’t one that she checked. Lesson: This is just one reason you want to stick with one email address and use it consistently across all channels and accounts. If you are going to use an email in any kind of business dealing, it had better be one you keep on top of if you expect anyone to do business with you.
  2. I had someone email me with only her first name (for the purposes she was emailing me, her full name was needed). Her name wasn’t in her email address. She had no email signature block. It wasn’t displayed in the from field. And she used a burner email account instead of an email on her own domain. Lesson: If I’m a potential client, I am gone. I’m not going to waste a second of my time hunting around for these details.
  3. Same issue with another email. This one at least was on her own domain, but she had no signature block and when I went to her website, she had no last name anywhere on her site! Lesson: Your clients and business associates are not mind readers. How on earth are they suppposed to figure out who you are? They won’t. Because neither I nor your prospective clients are going to waste their time. And they’re going to wonder what is wrong with you that you are being evasive about your last name in the first place. You’ve just generated ill will and mistrust in your dealings with them.

Your email is an extension of you and your business. You should be taking as much care with the details and the image you are presenting in your email as you do your website, and you should be using your business email with EVERYONE and EVERYTHING.

Your email is a marketing and networking tool and generates traffic to your website. If someone, be it colleague or client, forwards one of your messages to someone else, you want it on your own domain and with a proper set-up and signature.

Worst case scenario, when they have no other information about you, an email on your own domain can lead people to your site whereas a burner email account tells them nothing and leads them nowhere.

Think about how your email and email address appears to your recipients. Take an inventory of your email set-up and if you’re missing anything in the list below, fix it pronto.

1. Set up your primary business email in your domain’s admin panel. I’m here to tell you that if you are stuck here, it’s stopping you up in other places in your business as well. I guarantee it. So get it sorted and figured out first thing so you can move forward with the rest of your business.

2. Be sure the enter your FIRST then LAST NAME where it asks for your name in the user account info when setting up your account up in your email client (e.g., Outlook). NOT your last name first and NOT your business name. This is what your recipients will see in the from field when they receive your emails.

From Field

This is super important for many reasons. First and foremost, when you are emailing, you are dealing with people, not machines. When you introduce yourself to someone in person, you tell them “My name is Jane Doe.” You don’t say, “My name is Doe, Jane.” When your email comes across their INbox, you want it to read like a human being, not a machine. This makes makes it more personable as well as easier for people to remember you. Second, you don’t want to use your company name first for the same reason. People do business with people, not nameless, faceless organizations. Having your email display your name makes it personal and facilitates rapport. And if you’re using your business domain, they will easily be able to see what your business and website are.

3. Create an email signature block that is automatically inserted whenever you create a message in your business email account. This should include your name, your company name and your address, contact information and links to your website and/or social networking accounts. This is important. People like at-a-glance information. They don’t like to have to hunt around. So even if your contact information is on your website (which it should be), you want to always be thinking about the convenience of your recipients by putting that info right in front of them. Likewise, do not rely on a VCF card. Lots of people don’t like them or use them, and they often get your emails caught in spam filters.

4. OPTIONAL: For double points, include a headshot and/or your company logo image hosted on your own domain servers. Email signatures with an image included can really bring life to your messages. Images create visual interest, rapport and increase memorability, all of which makes your messages stand out. You don’t want an embedded image because those often get stripped from your messages at the recipient’s end or can get your email caught in spam filters. Better to link to an image hosted on your own servers so that it displays properly and your messages reach your recipients without unnecessary difficulty. If you aren’t sure how to do this, refer to this article on “how to insert an Internet image in my signature.”

5. Include a call-to-action. A call to action is not a tagline or slogan. It’s an instruction that tells people specifically what to do next. If you currently have a free report, giveaway, ezine, blog or something that people can sign up for, put that call-to-action in your signature block (e.g., “Visit {YOUR SITE] to get your copy of my free report [TITLE]”). If you don’t have any lead generation mechanisms (which is what those free offers are), then your call-to-action should be telling them to visit your website. So you could say something like “Visit [YOUR WEBSITE WITH ACTIVE LINK] to learn how you can have/get more [BENEFIT] with my administrative support.”

That should get your creative juices flowing. Can’t wait to see your improved emails!

Gmail Just Took More Control Over Your INbox; Here’s How to Fix That

So I guess Gmail rolled out some significant changes to their email system that affect whether or not you are receiving YOUR email.

Apparently they have added new automatic “Primary,” “Social” and “Promotions” category tabs.

This means they are arbitrarily deciding how your email gets sorted and what email you get based on their protocols, not yours.

Not only are their efforts overzealous and big-brotherish, but there is going to be lots of legitimate mail—mail you WANT, including from clients and prospective clients—being blocked and rerouted.

Not good business.

To remedy this and make sure you get all your business email, here are two options…

OPTION 1

  1. Click the little X at the top right of your INbox next to the tabs and uncheck the “Social” and “Promotions” box, and click save. This will revert things back to the traditional Gmail INbox.

OPTION 2

Alternatively, if for some reason you want to keep the new tabs (though, God knows why you would, lol), you can do this instead:

  1. Go into one of the tabs and find a message from someone you WANT to continue seeing and hearing from.
  2. Drag that message over to the Primary tab.
  3. You’ll get an alert that asks:  “This conversation has been moved to ‘Primary.’ Do this for future messages from X?” Click YES.

And that oughta take care of things!

How to Fix It: Outlook Email Signature Image Won’t Display

Has this ever happened to you?

You set up an email signature in Outlook that includes an image.

Everything is working fine. Then one day you notice your image is no longer appearing. Instead, all you see is that familiar red “x” where the image is supposed to be.

You have images enabled so that’s not the problem. And you checked with your email recipients and they all see your signature image at their end just fine. What gives?!

This used to drive me nuts and I finally found the culprit!

It has to do with the Outlook Temporary folder and and here’s how to fix it if you’re on Outlook 2003/Microsoft XP (that’s the only place I’ve ever had this problem):

  1. Close Outlook
  2. On your computer, click on START — RUN|
  3. Type REGEDIT in the Run box that appears.|
  4. The Registry Editor will appear with a list of files. Double-click on the OutlookSecureTempFolder.|
  5. An Edit String box will appear. Select and copy the link that appears in the Value Data field.|
  6. Open Windows Explore and paste in the link. This will take you to your Outlook Temporary folder. Select all the files in this folder and delete.|
  7. Now, open Outlook and your signature image will “magically” be displayed again!

PS: My famous consultation guide (Breaking the Ice, GDE-03) is on sale now through Friday for only $47. This latest version is my best work yet! Just heard from a colleague who purchased it this week who says:  “I just had a consultation this a.m. that resulted in a retainer client signing on. I reviewed most of the video last night as well as the Guide, so I’m giving some credit there!” Check it out here >>

How to Select All in Microsoft Outlook 2010

I’m really not a fan of the 2010 Microsoft product “improvements.”

There are a few significant irritations I have, one of which it that whole ribbon thing.

It was a pointless reinvention that didn’t improve anything.

What used to be simple, straightforward and all in one place that you could easily use out-of-the-box, now is needlessly convoluted and requires more time and effort to get set up. What you could get to in one, possibly two, quick clicks, has now become a Rubik’s cube of a maze with all kinds of twists and turns and clicks needed to do what you want.

It’s a pain in the ass, if you ask me.

Anyhoo, when I got a new laptop, I was forced more or less to install/upgrade to the 2010 Office Suite.

One of the things that would drive me crazy was that I couldn’t find any of my usual, frequently-used commands anymore, one of which was “Select All” (formerly under the Edit drop-down list).

And before you tell me about CTRL + A, let me just say… um, duh.

However, there are times when I don’t have a keyboard in front of me—like when I’m laying in bed and checking messages on the big screen tv with only my mouse.

After pulling my hair out for a few months, I finally figured out where Microsoft had hidden it.

If this has been driving you, too, batty, here are the steps to add it back into your command options:

  1. In the top left of Outlook is the Quick Access Toolbar. Select the little arrow icon to “Customize Quick Access Toolbar.”
  2. Click on “More Commands” in the drop-down menu.
  3. From the list that appears, select “Commands Not in the Ribbon.”
  4. Scroll down until you find “Select All,” highlight it and click “Add.”
  5. Click “Okay.”
  6. You will now see a new option up in your Quick Access Toolbar to “Select All.”

Now, whenever you need to do a select all (such as selecting all the spam messages that accumulate in your email inbox so you can move them over to the junk mail folder in one fell swoop), just click on that “Select All” command button.

Hope this helps restore some mental health for someone!

Another Reason Why Sending Emails to Your List and Customers is Helpful to Them

One of the technology vendors I use, I actually detest.

I have tolerated this particular vendor’s absolute lack of good customer support for far too long.

It’s been a thorn in my side that I’ve put up with only because it was too much of an ordeal to move to another platform.

But at my first opportunity (which is now finally arriving) I will be ditching them so fast anyone standing in the way will have their heads spun around like a top.

One of the reasons our relationship has deteriorated so much is poor/lack of communication.

Tech companies (which is what this one is) are often the ones that fail miserably in this department.

As in this case, they tend to think everyone’s world revolves around their product. As if the first thing everyone does in the morning is open up their program to check for messages and notifications from them.

I hate to break it to them, but almost no one does this. Ever.

Most people’s business lives still revolve around and rely on email communication.

So when a new version upgrade is out or there are bug patches to be fixed, for example, we’re expecting to be notified by email… to get some kind of message alerting us to go to their website or open up their product to place the order or download the upgrade or what-have-you.

Without that prompt, you never, ever know.

And what ends up happening is you completely miss any inkling of new developments and only find out by accident, sometimes months later, of something you would have liked to have known or really needed to know at the time.

Yet that’s what this company and thousands of others do–they never send any kind of email and instead expect customers to go open the product and find out that way.

And so those customers don’t ever find out.

I’ll learn about some important security release in some completely random accidental way months after the fact and call up only to be told, “Well, we posted a notice inside the admin panel.”

I am almost never in the admin panel and the place and the way they post this information, you’d never see it unless you were specifically looking for it.

It’s completely maddening—and an absolute trust and relationship killer.

So next time you worry about whether your emailing is too much, don’t.

Chances are it is completely helpful. Even expected.

Better to over-deliver than under-communicate.

Are You Dripping with Friends?

The term “drip marketing” comes from the direct mail industry.

Studies indicate it takes at least 7 to 10 points of contact before a prospect even remembers a business, much less buys from it.

So, the idea is to mail a series of printed promotional pieces (drip) to current and potential customers, and thereby keep the company in front of their eyeballs long enough to establish brand awareness and develop them into leads.

That sure doesn’t sound very warm and fuzzy, though, does it? In fact, it sounds pretty impersonal and a little too cold and calculating.

People want to be cared about.

They want to connect with other human beings, not be a cog in someone’s marketing machinations.

That said, you’re still a business. You have to somehow find a way to get in front of your would-be clients or customers. Marketing is a necessary evil.

But guess what? It doesn’t have to be evil. Let me tell you how you can create authentic drip campaigns driven by heart (you might even be doing one of these already):

  1. First, shift your perception. Instead of “marketing,” look at these efforts simply as a way to make new friends (prospective clients/customers), help those you are already friends with (past and current clients/customers) and continue to nurture and solidify those relationships. People do business with and refer those they get to know, like and trust. So what you’re really doing in all your reaching-out efforts is simply allowing people to get to know the real you and leaving a door open for them to enter a little further.
  2. One way you can do this is to publish an ezine for your target market. An ezine (electronic newsletter) is a form of drip marketing because it allows you to keep a line of conversation going with your audience on a regular basis. It’s a heck of lot cheaper and easier to publish than a print newsletter, and there’s a much greater return for the effort. The keys to a successful ezine are:

    a) make it about your target market (what do they want to read about? What are their challenges and obstacles? What advice, tips and solutions will be of value and interest to them? How can you make it fun?), and
    b) publish regularly—weekly, every other week or at least once a month. You know you’re doing something right when readers email you when an issue is missing or late!

  3. Publish a blog. Like an ezine, frequency is key. It doesn’t have to be on the same kind of schedule as an ezine, but you should post regularly to maintain a momentum of interest. Posting twice a year just isn’t going to cut it. If you do blog, you can be more personal and less formal, the content less structured. It’s another avenue for allowing prospective clients/customers to connect with you as a person, which makes you much more relatable and approachable.
  4. Offer a free e-course via a series of autoresponders. Say you have some sort of how-to guide that you’ve been offering as a single download. Divide each step/section/bullet into separate messages to be sent out one at a time each week. If you have 10 messages, that’s 10 weeks you can be helping those on your list and keeping in touch with them. Encourage questions and feedback, which will help you better understand their needs and challenges and develop further useful content and information for them.
  5. Continue to consistently keep in touch with your list subscribers. Send out a message whenever you come across news and information you think will be helpful to your target market. Send a message linking to an article you think is of interest to them. Tell them about happenings or products you recommend. Let them know whenever you have a special event or offering for them. Periodically spotlight one of your skills or services they might not be aware of and how it might help them in their business. Make a list of all the reasons you could contact those on your list. The possibilities are endless. Continue to add to it as you come up with ideas. There’s nothing wrong with letting folks know what you do and what you have to offer them. Just try to strike a balance. Remember that the point is to be helpful, not spam them with constant marketing and self-interested promotion. The simple act of being a helpful, knowledgeable resource for them promotes you in all the best ways possible.

All of this is about creating rapport and trust. When you show people who you are and what you are passionate about, you instill rapport. When you demonstrate that you understand their business problems, needs and interests, you demonstrate your competence and authority and show that they can trust you. Nothing evil about that! It’s simple consideration. Commit to more of that.

RESOURCE: Aweber is the most versatile autoresponder service out there in my book. Not only can you use it to deliver your ezine, it can be used for all kinds of other purposes including capturing subscribers, managing unlimited lists, communicating with those lists (separately or together) via sequential and scheduled broadcasts, setting up automated message campaigns, distributing blog post notifications and even incorporating those messages with social media. The reporting features are phenomenal and it integrates nicely with shoppingcart systems. Its double opt-in policy makes it one of the very top rated services for email delivery and open rates.

Who Are You?

You would not believe the amount of email I get from colleagues and others (or maybe you would).

As I was cleaning out my inbox, I realized that the colleagues whose email accounts clearly identified who they are, were the folks who generally got my attention first.

Alternatively, it’s often the folks who haven’t configured their email identification clearly or personally whose messages get deleted or end up in the spam/junk mail folders most frequently.

Are you setting up your email accounts in a way that clearly identifies who you are?

I would also make the case that identifying yourself as a person first and business second is the way to go in this day and age of social networking and personal connection.

I still remember with chagrin the uproar my own email address caused on a listserv one time.

I was new to the list and there were only one or two people I already knew.

Folks on the list were very suspicious of new members and there was a bit of an uproar over my email address.

At first I had no idea what on earth they were talking about. I’d had my email address for years and years. It wasn’t something I ever thought about and not something that anyone had ever had a problem with before.

But then it was pointed out to me what all the furor was about — I was using my business name instead of my personal name. So when my emails showed up, it said “The Relief” instead of “Danielle Keister.”

The list was used to people using their personal name in their email account rather than a business name. They didn’t like it when someone used a business name rather then their personal name. To them it felt impersonal and like they were being instantly marketed to by sheer virtue of the name on the account.

So maybe you have set your email address long ago, too, and not given it a second thought since then. Perhaps now is a good time to do a little email housekeeping.

Remember, people do business with people. They connect with people, not anonymous, impersonal entities.

If you want to be more personable in your online networking, set your email address up so it shows your personal name (first and last) rather than your business name.

I willing to bet you’ll make way more friends that way. :)