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Helpful tips and ideas to make you more successful.

How to Write Better Headlines

By Blog

“The purpose of a headline is to summarize a piece of content in the fewest words possible.” Robert Cole

Whether it’s the subject of an email, the headline of a blog or article or the name of your latest YouTube video, the name (or headline) needs to grab attention. Most people browse their information and only click on things they find really interesting. In fact, this blog post states “Data gathered by the American Press Institute found that up to 60% of Americans simply read headlines to get a sense of what’s going on rather than investigate topics further.”

How do you write a headline that will attract readers?

In addition to offering guidelines, Robert Cole’s blog post expounds on 8 tips for writing marketing headlines that convert:

  1. Write in the active voice, not passive
  2. Be concise
  3. Make sense
  4. Spark curiosity
  5. Use numbers
  6. Include a reason to read
  7. Write for your reader
  8. Include power words

For seasonal topics, use the monthly tips I include in each issue of my email newsletter (sign up when the pop up form appears here).

6 Steps for Hosting a Run or Walk for Charity

By Blog

This article caught my eye as my charity of choice, Tri-County Humane Society, just hosted another successful Companion Walk. I’ve served on this committee in the past and I can agree that these 6 steps aren’t just valuable, they’re required.

I would add another tip – especially if you have been hosting your event for a while:  find great ways to attract new people to your event.

Let’s face it, none of us are getting any younger and a physical event like a walk or run may become too much for some of your supporters over time. It’s good to continually add to your base of participants, especially with young people who are looking for a cause to support!

1-2-3 Guide to Announcement Emails

By Blog

You’re having a sale. You have a special offer. You have a new property listing. There are many reasons why you may want to send a short announcement to your subscribers, but how do you do it effectively?

We’ve all received announcements that left us asking “what exactly are they promoting here?” Or those that are so long and involved you stop reading before you get to the point.

To avoid these pitfalls, your announcement should have three components – no more, no less:

  1. What’s new?
  2. Why should the reader care (what’s in it for them)?
  3. What do you want them to do about it (their call to action)?

Constant Contact has several excellent examples of announcement emails in this blog post.

September Ideas and Celebrations

It’s hard to believe it’s back-to-school time already, but here it is!

This issue includes:

  • September holidays — 2022
  • September Newsletter ideas for community and wildlife appreciation
  • September email subject lines
  • September planning infographic

15 Event Details to Include on Your Event Website

By Blog

Constant Contact has had an event management tool for some time, it was a little cumbersome but it worked well. They are now updating the entire product and it’s going to make event management fun again!

Whether you use the Constant Contact tool or some other method, hosting events (free or paid) can have huge payoffs. But it’s important to provide prospective attendees with the right event details, and that’s where your website comes in. People will come to your website to find your coming events, so be sure they are correct, up-to-date, and thorough.

The article at this link covers how to get started posting must-have information on your event website:

  1. Virtual Event tips
  2. Event landing pages
  3. Clear information like the event schedule
  4. Creating a great description
  5. About you and your company
  6. Social media links
  7. Easy registration
  8. Ticket purchasing
  9. Make it eye-catching
  10. Clear call to action
  11. Testimonials and photos
  12. Sponsors
  13. A place for news and updates
  14. Subscription offer
  15. FAQ’s

And as always, if you need help – I’m here.

How to Use SMS and Email Marketing to Boost Engagement

By Blog

I was a latecomer to the texting world. We started with one of those plans where you paid for each text. Every time my iPhone would ping I would hear a cash register “ka-ching” (that dates me, I know). But once we moved to unlimited texting and I started using it more often, I was hooked. Now I’m signed up on SMS lists at local restaurants and receive coupons and more. Now, unless the message is long or complicated, I will text before I call someone. And I’m old – if you have kids you know texting is their main method of communicating. It’s definitely time to think about how to use SMS to promote your business and services.

Although email and text marketing both have their places, it’s only when you merge the two into one content marketing strategy that you see their full benefits. In fact, customers prefer it when brands use omnichannel engagement strategies rather than relying on any one marketing strategy alone. Learn more about adding SMS to your marketing plan, and stay tuned for great news about managing SMS with Constant Contact!

How healthy is your contact list?

By Blog

I’ve been spending a lot of time updating contact lists for clients. Like hosta collecting, data cleansing is a type of obsession for me, I love it!

Unfortunately, people do not tell us when their email addresses change, when they change jobs, or when they retire. And these things happen at a very rapid pace nowadays. The “shelf life” of an email address is about 18 months! And don’t get me started about those lists you can buy from a broker. If your list needs some attention, we should talk.  Questions? Ask me.

Let’s Talk More About Lead Generation

By Blog, Constant Contact

In the last issue of my e-newsletter I wrote about the landing page functionality Constant Contact offers. Today I want to talk about sign-up forms. 

Constant Contact offers a variety of forms and form functions. So whether you want a form to pop up on your web page, fly in/out, appear as a banner on a web page or simply be embedded on a web page, you can make it right in Constant Contact. And the data collected on that form goes where you want it in the Constant Contact database. 

On my website I am using a pop-up form on the Constant Contact page. It appears after a few moments and the information collected goes to a specific list in my account. When a new person signs up, that action triggers an automated email. If someone clicks on a link in that automated email, I’m using list segmentation to add them to a different list based on their interests. Those actions may also trigger automated emails. 

You can have as many forms as you wish, as well as automations. If you want to learn more about this process, let me know. It does take a little planning and you will want to update it from time to time. 

Time vs. Money

By Blog

I filled up the gas tank in my vehicle yesterday. I can honestly say I have never spent that much money on gasoline in my life. I guess I will need to look for cost-savings measures to balance that extra expense.

This blog post from Constant Contact made me think of the cost-saving measures I have employed in my own business marketing over the years, usually at the expense of my time. Although I’ve worked with Constant Contact for many years as well as many other email/marketing tools, there was a day when those tools didn’t have the “bells and whistles” to do a lot of the things they do today to ensure your success – and save your time.

Now that I’m older and more established, I value my time more. (And I don’t want to stay up until 3am finishing an email newsletter and cleaning a mailing list!) If you value your time but still want creative, informative, and successful email campaigns, take a look at these tips.

And, as always, if you want help please let me know.

How to Design a Landing Page That Converts

By Blog

Your Constant Contact account includes several methods for collecting contact information – how many are you using?

  • Lead Generation Landing Page
  • Sign-Up Forms
  • Text to Join

Lead Generation Landing Pages are designed to collect visitor information in exchange for a promotion or incentive – nothing more. With Constant Contact Landing Pages, you can customize the form to capture information such as name, email, phone number, birthday, and more.

This article is a good tutorial on creating a landing page that will convert – that will make people want to sign up. It sounds easy, but it isn’t!

Let’s Talk More About Creating Landing Page Content

Your website may have Landing Page options, or if you’re using WordPress, there are several Landing Page plugins. There are companies that do nothing but build Landing Pages, or offer them as a product you can design yourself. So having this feature within your Constant Contact account is a real bonus. 

It can’t be stressed enough that Landing Pages need to be simple, with one clear Call to Action. 

My personal example of simplifying writing is creating a lesson plan to teach 4th graders to play the recorder during my student teaching experience. Yes, I went to college to become a music teacher. Why? Who knows. Anyway, an elementary music class might have 20 minutes of instructional time after getting everyone in the room and in their seats and then getting them back out again at the end of the lesson. So teaching them to play the recorder, where instruments have to be distributed and then cleaned after use, cuts instructional time to about 10 minutes. You won’t teach them a whole lot in that time. Many short lessons make up the “recorder unit” of lesson plan writing. You learn to be concise. 

My supervising teacher returned my plans over and over – “you will never have time for all of this”. I hear her voice every time I’m writing content. 

The biggest key to a successful landing page is to make it clean, simple and have only one objective – one Call to Action (CTA). If you find yourself creating content that says “and…” then you’ve gone too far. Back up and start over. 

So when you design your Landing Page, pretend you have only one chance – just a few seconds – to convince your audience to commit.

What you give your sign-ups is up to you – it may be a free download, RSVP for an event, subscription, a coupon or discount – just keep it to one call to action.

What if you have more than one offer? Then make more than one landing page. Mix it up. Use one for a while, then another. Or test market, send some people to one and others to the second one.

I’ll say it again – your Landing Page should be simple and clean. I would recommend going with one of the templates you will find under the Custom section when you create your Landing Page.

Once your Landing Page is complete, be sure to: 

  • Promote your landing page on social channels.
  • Set up an automated email series so new sign-ons receive at least one follow-up email in a timely manner. Talk with me about this if you have questions. 

I’ll talk about Sign Up Forms and Text to Join in future issues.

Let’s Talk (More) About Content

By Blog

20+ years ago Jerry Seinfeld threw out all of his standup routines and started over fresh with new material. I have no idea how many times he had performed his past routines, but I can imagine it was a lot. And I’m sure there are people who went to see him more than one time. I know I did.

The Rolling Stones have been performing “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” since 1965.

Like a standup routine (or your favorite song), people need to hear things more than once. If you have good material, use it over again.

As much as we hope people would come to our websites and read through all of our blog posts (or archived emails – ask me about that!), it’s just not going to happen. So there’s no reason why you can’t recycle your older blogs or write more on your most popular topics. Again, your analytics will tell you which topics or articles are the most popular. Be sure to give it a “light dusting”, a review for outdated content. If you want to be straightforward and say this is a repeat, you might add a short blurb at the beginning or end to add any reflections from a new perspective.