The Restaurateur’s Zen Guide to Email List Building. Why your Restaurant Must Have Email Marketing

Unique restaurant ingredient known as GalangalLook, I understand. You're a restaurateur and the last thing you have time for is to send out email marketing messages to your customers. You've got an entire restaurant to run. In fact, you don't even have time to read this article. But just bare with me for a moment. And even if you did have time to send emails to your subscribers, you'd say, "why do I need an email list anyway? I use Facebook to promote my restaurant." So let me make this perfectly clear. No matter how much social media you use to promote your business, nothing, I mean nothing, is as effective as email.ExactTarget's … [Read more...]

The next best thing to a guest blog post – Expert Quotes

Adding new eyes to your blog shouldn't be this complicatedAll of us who spend our time in the depths of social media have been told ad infinitum that writing guest posts is the missing magic that will catapult us to stardom and wealth beyond the realms of Taylor Swift. Taylor secretly wants to write a guest post on my site, but I won't let her. Anyway, there is another way to add significant traffic to your blog that is rarely discussed. Whether you are writing an article that will serve as a guest post or one that is going to be posted directly to your blog, you can use expert quotes in your article to help significantly drive new … [Read more...]

The Noob’s Zen Guide to Email Marketing and Social Media Speak

Are you new to email marketing and social media? (Oh no, a noobie, a noob!) Sick of all the marketing mumbo jumbo double speak? Not sure what all these terms mean? This article will help clear up some of that. Or possibly make you more confused, I'm not sure which. If you are a seasoned email marketer, however, for God's sake, don't read this article. It will bore you so badly that you'll read to the end and say "that's 6 minutes of my life I'll never get back." Social stuff: Klout - This is kind of a cool one. Klout is a company and a score. This score measures your "importance" in terms of how much influence you have across the internet. … [Read more...]

Why email marketers should avoid the coming wave of mosaics in email and what to do instead

Email mosaics by Email on Acid

by Nate Goodman This article was originally published on Business2CommunityToday, ISPs block a lot of the images in your email marketing campaigns. That's not anything new. But what is new is the soon-to-be realistic use of mosaics in your emails. What are mosaics? Mosaics are complex HTML tables that impersonate images. How can a table impersonate an image? The HTML table has so many rows and columns, each cell having a background color, that it can really look like an image. And above when I say "what is new", I don't mean brand new like the new baby ficus tree that Loraine in the cube next to me bought to replace the last one that she … [Read more...]

Lose All Your Twitter Followers with One Mistake

Despicable Me Minion at work stealing your Twitter loginThis article was originally published on Business2CommunitySome of you readers have made it clear that you are small business owners and don't have time for all that "security" balderdash where some guy like me is telling you to watch out for this scam or that scam. Well too bad, pal.If you have a Twitter following, you might want to read this. Otherwise you could lose all your followers. TweetScammers want access to your Twitter account There are scammers out there looking to gain access to your Twitter account so they can spam your followers by schlepping products … [Read more...]

Part 2: Flush your email marketing job down the toilet with this one big mistake

This is Part 2 in the series about emailing a spamtrap email address. In this part, we discuss what to do now that you've made this big mistake. Read part 1And so does Google, if you email to a spam trapSo, you've emailed a spamtrap email address to Gmail? There are some things you need to do to get out of this mess and to avoid having your job flushed down a toilet by your boss. Follow these steps closely:Step 1: Stand straight up, point your finger at Loraine in the cube next to you and shout, "it's her fault, boss. She's the one that emailed the spam trap, not me. She must have hacked my password into our email … [Read more...]

Email Marketers: Say Goodbye to Images not Displaying

Email marketers have always struggled with image display in their emails.Are my images going to show up? Do my recipients have to click the stupid "Download Images" link? Do my recipients really have to add me to the safe senders list just to get images displayed? Well, all of that may change very soon with the introduction of a product called Mozify by Email on Acid.Mozify leverages a previously known trick to get images to display in an email message even when images are turned off. Huh? Let me explain. The trick is to use what's called a mosaic in place of an image (temporarily). In the email marketing world, a mosaic is simply an … [Read more...]

Flush your email marketing job down the toilet with this one big mistake

This is Part 1 in the series about emailing a spamtrap email address. Read part 2This is where your job is headed if you email a spam trapIf you want to lose your job as an email marketer, just send a few emails to a spam trap email address What's a spam trap (or honeypot)? It's an email address used as a trap by the ISPs. You didn't need me to tell you that, did you? You kind of figured that one out on your own? So, Miss SmartyMcKnowEverythingPants, you may know what a spam trap is, but do you know how they are formed, what happens if you send to email to one, and what to do if your sending reputation is in the toilet … [Read more...]

Really sneaky HTML problems in your email marketing campaigns and how to fix them [INFOGRAPHIC]

Click to viewLitmus* created a really swell infographic to describe common problems that marketers have with the HTML in their mass emails. If you fall into one of these HTML traps, your email may end up in the crapper, or in the spam folder at least. I've taken it upon myself to "liberate" the content from their infographic and discuss it for you here below. Those guys at Litmus love me, so I don't expect any backlash or gnashing of teeth. Tweet Embedded media that doesn't play well with others Litmus Marketing Director Justine Jordan says, "one of the most common problems we see is the inclusion of certain types of media within … [Read more...]

Disaster awaits retailers who aren’t planning Christmas email marketing campaigns right now

Retailers will face email deliverability nightmares if they aren't planning their Christmas marketing campaigns earlyTrashing your deliverability: Might as well pour BBQ on your keyboardAlthough August is too early to see any Christmas decorations in Macy's in Manhattan or Schwegman's in New Orleans or Kimbell's department store in the movie Miracle on 49th Street, it isn't too early for those retailers to begin planning their Christmas email marketing campaigns.Why bother to plan this far in advance? Why not wait till the last minute, slap together your creative and punch it out to your list? Because if you don't … [Read more...]

Post to multiple social networks quickly using one simple tool

Employee morale

What you need is to be able to post to multiple social networks easily and quickly, right? Are you overwhelmed with the notion of all these social networks that you are supposed to share your blog articles on?Your boss says "our new corporate mission statement indicates we need to post to multiple social networks in order to stay competitive in the current business landscape". Whatever. It can be daunting. Especially if you are just getting started which means you don't really know which social networks are going to be the important ones for you to post. Some experts advise that you just focus on the top couple of really big social … [Read more...]

Gmail gives email marketers a second chance

Amit Singhal, SVP of Google Search announced that Gmail  is testing a new feature in which users who go to Google to do a search, may see their own received emails displayed on the search results page. How would this work? Well Google will simply take the search query, use it to query the web as usual, but then also query your gmail inbox. If a marketer sent you an opt-in email newsletter on the topic of "social media marketing tools", and you then go to Google to search something similar to "social media marketing tools", you'll see on the right side of the Google search results page are displayed some search results from your own … [Read more...]

Your Twitter feed is too full. How to calm it down with one easy app.

Do you find yourself overwhelmed with a Twitter stream full of people you followed-back just to be nice because they followed you (and not because they were so awesome)? If so, that might mean you aren't getting anything of value out of Twitter because there's just too much noise in your Twitter stream. If you read this blog you have interest in the topic of "email marketing" but your Twitter stream is packed with so many links to cat videos, that you can't find the posts about email marketing.If this sounds like you, there's an easy way to regain control of Twitter so it can be the really useful tool that it was when you first started using … [Read more...]

The phrase "the customer is always right" is dead wrong

Rule #1:  The customer is always rightRule #2:  If the customer is wrong, re-read Rule #1Rule #3:  When making decisions about your business, ignore the above two rulesOld Bitty Doyle is not a customer you can pleaseAs a small business owner, how many times have you heard the first two rules above? You probably originally heard them from the same place I did, Tom Peters. Peters talked about it way back in the day with his book, "In Search of Excellence" in which one example he used showed how a simple grocery store became wildly successful by following the first two rules.Now don't get me wrong. If you run a B2C business like a restaurant, a … [Read more...]

32 White Hat Ways to Build Inbound Links – Expanded

This article expands on Hubspot's "32 White Hat Ways to Build Inbound Links" written by Corey Northcutt by adding a few more ideas to what Corey discussed. Oh, and, if you don't mind, please tweet a few snippets from this blog post. If you do that, we may then be able to afford to buy Loraine in the cube next to me a new ficus tree since she killed yet another one .....sorry, long story. : )Building inbound links to your blog or website is the most important way to bring more visitors to your site and to influence search engines to rank your page higher.  If you can add inbound links without trying to pull the wool over Google's eyes, then … [Read more...]

How to double your Gmail inbox placement rates

We all talk about the little tweaks we can do to help increase our inbox placement rates at the major ISPs like Gmail. But what if you are having trouble getting into the inbox at Gmail at all? What if we asked the question "how can I DOUBLE my inbox placement rates at Gmail"? AND, what if I further asked "why can't Loraine at our office not keep a simple Ficus tree alive?" Well it is possible to answer the first two questions, anyway. If you are willing to incorporate some personalization tactics that specifically target Gmail subscribers with their own campaign (and yes, this means doing some extra work), then you may be successful. If you … [Read more...]

Why can’t I do email marketing with Outlook?

Why can't I just use outlook to send bulk emails? Let's start out this article on the right foot, shall we? Outlook sucks for sending marketing emails. Why? Because you are missing so many components that will make you successful.Outlook is fine for communicating with your customers and co-workers, but don't expect it to double as a "free" email marketing tool. Here's a list of some of the reasons Outlook won't work for sending bulk marketing email:Poor HTML! Outlook uses Microsoft Word to create the html necessary to send out a nice looking email. The problem is that Word's creation of html is so bad that your email can get … [Read more...]

Your email open rate may not mean what you think. What the Silverpop Benchmark study can teach marketers.

Email service provider Silverpop conducted a benchmark study which reveals some interesting email marketing information that impacts senders of bulk email. Below is the recap which may open your eyes.Your open rate may not mean what you think:Email recipients are now commonly using their mobile device to scan their email messages. Many emails are deleted, but some are opened on a mobile device and then saved for later viewing on a laptop. This could register two opens for the same subscriber. It might seem that this subscriber is really interested in your email message and was so darned excited about it, she had to reopen it later just to … [Read more...]

How retailers can use social to drive customer loyalty

Brick and mortar retailers (and online retailers) do a rather poor job in using social to help grow their own businesses. Several years ago, when you first started your retail store selling dried lima-beans, or used lawn-mower blades, or defunct Suzanne Summers flab-o-blaster-cisers or whatever it is that you sell, none of this social-schmocial stuff mattered.  Times have changed!  And so should your approach to building customer relationships.  Here are some quick ideas that you should incorporate into the retail experience you are providing for your customers.For Brick and Mortar stores - ideas to grow your socialUse in-store … [Read more...]

Why frequent marketing touches will fail every time

It's so common that we small business marketers believe that frequently interacting with our customers is what grows relationships with them. Send them a lot of emails and tweets, touch them on a Facebook business page, respond to every comment on our blog posts, repin their pins on Pinterest, blah blah blah. Sounds good right? The more you interact the closer your relationship is with your customers, right? I mean, that's what a relationship is right? It's about interacting a bunch of times? Well, let me ask you a question. Was it the number of times you went on a date with your future husband when you were "courting" (sorry, it's an old … [Read more...]

Aunt Bea says to not post to Facebook more than once a day

With all this talk, caterwauling, and fluff about how important it is to use social media to build your small business, it's important to talk about what NOT to do as well.  As it turns out, when it comes to posting on social media sites, too much is not a good thing.  You've worked hard to obtain a social following, so don't abuse your relationship with your followers.Take a look at the graph below.  For businesses that have a Facebook business page (and you should), posting more than once a day showed diminishing returns.  In fact, if you compare the number of Likes and clicks of the first post of the day to the later posts of the day, … [Read more...]

The Black Dog runs circles around your small business advertising strategy

In your small business have you developed a following?  Not just a following on your Twitter account but I mean a following of loyal customers who love what you do? The easiest example of what I'm talking about are those little businesses you find at your favorite beach or vacation area. These are those great little mom and pop restaurants, ice cream shops, or doughnut stands. But, this theory of small business advertising that I'll outline can apply to your small business as well. Small Business Advertising the Wrong Way Lets use the example of The Sugar Shak, a little ice cream shop that you and your kids love to visit while at Rosemary … [Read more...]

Be glad Twitter broke up with LinkedIn

You date a girl for all that time, you give her all that great stuff, take her on dates to see those sappy girl movies, and then she dumps you for Steve McStud-o-bicepts because he has the really cool hair that has the swooshie thing at the front.  Well that's the situation with Twitter giving the old heave-ho to LinkedIn this week.  What does this mean to you as a small business owner?  In the past, if you created a Twitter post thingey (called a tweet), you could add "#li" in your tweet and that little code gizmo told Twitter to also post your tweet as an update to your LinkedIn profile.  This was looked at as a time saving measure whereby … [Read more...]

5 steps to create your first Pinterest board

Are you a simpleton?  Do you read a lot of "Dummies Guide to...." books?  If so, you've come to the right place.  So, your wife told you to "set up a Pinterest board to help drive traffic" to your small business (eg- restaurant, fishing supply store, online junk seller, used tire salesman, ficus tree repair shop, or whatever).  But you don't know what Pinterest is, why your wife is on such a rant about it, or how your business could use Pinterest.  And after all you'd rather be applying suntan lotion whilst sipping iced cafe-o-laite.  And anyway, even if you knew how to set up a Pinterest account, you wouldn't know what to do with it. Let's … [Read more...]

The boring-business guide to using Pinterest to drive traffic

If your business is as boring as watching paint dry on a painting depicting grass growing in a drought, then you need to read this articleIs your business as boring as paint drying?I'm still not surprised that a business owner isn't yet familiar with Pinterest.  What is Pinterest?  It's the #3 social network in the world, that's what it is!  It's the underdog.  It's the Cinderella story.  It's the bronze medal winner at the Olympics.  It's the (something else that I can't think of right now).  Anyway, the thing that makes it different from the Facebook and Google+'s of the world is that Pinterest is a visual social network.  It is based … [Read more...]

Imagine your small business if you had a blog that didn’t suck – 8 tips to avoid oblivion

Elaine needs your helpYou own a small business, and business is down, revenue is down, profit is down, cash bribes under the table are down..... And what's that I hear you saying?,  "Oh, it's the economy, that's the problem".  Yeah, yeah. Cry me a river. Listen, if  your business is off, then you need to write a blog.  And not a blog like your current blog, but a serious blog that actually elevates you into the position of being looked at as an expert in your field. A person that people turn to when they have questions. A person willing to help by providing expert advice in your field. And no one is more adept at providing that type of advice … [Read more...]

5 easy steps to build your small business using LinkedIn

Pizza box math humorSearch engines love LinkedIn, just not necessarily YOUR page If you run a pizza joint that gets most of it's business from passers-by on the corner of 8th & University Place in Greenwich Village, NY (no, there's not really one there, I already checked so stop looking), then your business might not need LinkedIn. But the rest of us, that are made or broken by the connections we make with business people, do need it.Many business people have a presence on LinkedIn but they aren't really maximizing it.  There are several hidden things that will make your time spent on this great social network well worth … [Read more...]

Why arsonists wish they had a Google+ business page

OK, lets say you're an arsonist, hell-bent on angst, and thinking it would be cheaper to burn stuff down if you would go to the neighborhood Costco store and buy napalm in volume.  Then, the more you think about it, this whole "sneak in and burn down buildings for no reason" is actually a lot of hard work.  I mean, it's hot in there, and you got burned that one time.  It was a big owee.  Then it dawns on you....instead of doing all this hard work yourself, why not sell napalm to other arsonists and have them do the work for you!  You could buy a pallet of napalm at Costco, and then open an online business selling it!  "But wait, who would … [Read more...]

3 Steps to Newsjack your small business that Would Make Gordon Ramsay Jealous

Newsjacking!  Chef Gordon Ramsay might be angry, but he actually wants your restaurant to succeed.  What the heck is newsjacking and how can I grow my restaurant (or any small business) using it?  Well, it's like Joe Cocker said, "I try with a little help from my friends...."  I'm not sure why I need a Joe Cocker reference in here. Anyway, in this case, you'll use your "friends" in the media business.  You don't have any?  Well we'll borrow them.  Newsjacking is a simple concept.  When a big news story breaks that relates to or affects your industry, you write a blog article that relates to, or incorporates that news story.  Newsjacking a … [Read more...]