I recently watched a great short video on Entrepreneur.com from blogger Chris Brogan. The video offered a few great tips for small business engaging in email. You can watch the video here but below is a summary of what he had to say.
Chris quoted a survey from 2011 that said 4% of potential buyers over 18 can be reached via Twitter; 15% can be reached on Facebook; but 91% are willing to receive regular email communication from a brand they use. It’s safe to say that effective email marketing is far from dead. The important question is what makes it effective. Below are a couple of tips to hold up against your email marketing, particularly as more people read them on 3-inch devices.
- Simple and brief emails are best. 300-400 words max with one simple call to action.
- Do not send from “do not reply” email addresses. You are telling your customers you have no interest in speaking with them, which does NOT foster a good relationship. Instead use a real address and encourage your recipients to respond to you.
- Simple text is best. Large images won’t necessarily work on that 3-inch Blackberry, Andriod or iPhone screen.
- How often you send emails depends upon your business and what you are sending. Obviously daily deal sites send daily emails but that isn’t necessarily the best for everyone.
If you are like me you think of LinkedIn as a place to keep your resumes and maintain contact with past employers and co-workers. In recent months though LinkedIn has transformed their site into a full-blown business-networking site SMBs should really invest time in. As a member of the site you can join groups and get involved in discussions. I am a member of the Small Business Network, Social Media Boot Camp, and HP Business Answers to name a few.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great but LinkedIn may be the best time use for a business owner no matter what the size of your business. LinkedIn claims over 135 million members in 200 countries and one of the largest Internet marketing research companies listed them as the #2 social networking site online.
I found a great article on Small Business Trends offering a few tips to get started.
If you want a simple introduction as to how and why to use LinkedIn check out this user-friendly, 8-minute video by Jim Kukral on SmallBizTrends. Even if you have used the site before this video provides great reminders about how to participant in the site.
The New User Starter Guide is really simple to use and explains setting up your account in getting started in 3 easy steps. The site also provides a short video on Small Business use on the site. Additionally, as small business entrepreneurs, you may find the section explaining benefits to your group particularly helpful. Some of the items covered on this section are making important personnel decisions, filling hard-to-fill positions, and generating awareness for your business.
Recommendations are an amazing tool LinkedIn provides. Check out Elements of a Good LinkedIn Recommendation for tips on what to say and how to ask.
I thought these resolutions from Mashable.com were too good not to share. If you come up with any others please let me know!
- Support Small Business. If you want your neighbors to support your small business, begin by supporting their small business. Look through your list of vendors and service providers and see if it’s possible to downsize and support a small business instead.
- Go Mobile. By 2015 more US Internet users will connect to the web through mobile devices than computers. As this community increases are you ready? Something simple such as making sure your business address and phone number are text on your website as opposed to an image. Text can be clicked on by a mobile phone to automatically call the number or find the location on a map.
- Go local. Mobile users constantly interact with things in their physical vicinity. According to Bing 53% of searches are local-based. Don’t miss out! Make sure you are listed with local search engines and directories. If you are a member of the NALA and an eListing customer you are!
- Learn how to delegate and do more of it. When economic times are tough it’s tempting to tighten the purse strings and take on more yourself. Unfortunately, that means you will have less time to grow your business. Hand over administrative tasks so you can focus your attention on bringing in revenue.
- Invest in one new customer touch point. Where do your customers spend their time? Facebook, Twitter, blogs, email? Try asking where and how they would like to connect with you and spend some time this year making it happen.
- Refresh your website. Keep your site current and interesting.
- Protect your assets with an LLC or corporation. Forming an LLC or corporation can be critical to protect your business and personal financial health. To learn more about the difference. Check out Why Should I Incorporate for more information on the two options and why one might choose one over the other.
- Get your books ready for tax time early. If you are like me this is always a last minute, stressful experience. It doesn’t have to be. Start organizing your 2012 books from day one and it won’t be.
- Social network in the real world. In 2012 try networking offline by attending industry specific conferences or seeking out local meet up groups. Developing relationships with fellow entrepreneurs can be an invaluable resource for business owners.
- Put time on your calendar for you. As a business owner, you don’t have a boss giving you pats on the back and rewards for meeting milestones. Bosses do this to keep their employees motivated and prevent burnout. Do the same for yourself. Reward yourself for specific milestones and keep yourself motivated too.