Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Email Marketing 101

I recently attended the High Rock Marketing Summit, which focused on new media marketing, such as social networking and email marketing, as well as ways to incorporate all with your website. It was a great 1-day conference! The next Kalico eNews will breakdown how to use the most popular social networking sites, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, with your business marketing plan.

But, for this post I will give a quick list of Email Marketing basics. Whether you've already started an email marketing campaign, or you're just getting started, here are some of the basic points to think about to ensure you get the most out of your email newsletters.

1. Design: Keep the look and feel of your emails consistent with the design of your website. This helps to keep your business identity in tact.

2. Delivery:
Be consistent with the delivery and timing of your email newsletter, such as on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. The key is to send your emails often enough so they are expected, but not so often that they become a nuisance to your recipients.

3. Information: Make sure to include valuable and useful information in your eNews. Think about what your target audience wants to hear. Also, be sure to keep your information concise, short and to the point.

4. Measurement:
Find a good Email Management Provider (we recommend MailChimp) that will offer you measurement or analytics for each message you send. Some important measurement tools, including percentage of emails delivered, bounced, or unopened as well as click rates for links, will give you insights to how your email was received.

5. List Management:
The first important step to starting your email campaign is to import a list of existing clients and prospects (a service like MailChimp can help you build and manage your list). You will also want to include a subscription form on your website to allow users to subscribe automatically.

6. Know the Rules: There are laws concerning commercial emailing. The United States federal CAN-SPAM Act became law on January 1, 2004, protecting consumers from unwanted emails, or spam. Many details are included in the law, but some of the basic points are:
• Emails must be requested and not unsolicited
• The user must be given a visible and operating "Unsubscribe" option
• Content of subject and form field must be relevant

And so concludes our quick and easy breakdown of Email Marketing 101 tips. For more information, or help starting or redesigning your email newsletters, please contact us!

If you'd like more information Social Media Marketing, feel free to sign up for our upcoming eNewsletter!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Proactive Productivity

I recently attended a GFAF roundtable session for freelancers and solopreneurs on the topic of "Gears, Gadgets & Stuff". One thing we discussed was task management software. I'll admit, my task management "software" consists of a pen and a pad of paper, with an overflowing list of hand-written to-dos! For the most part, it works for me. However, there are a few occasions when a task gets overlooked (usually due to sloppy handwriting or a flip of the page!). So, I've researched a few other options for task management. Below is a list of the three best ones I've found:

1. Things: This application is strictly for Macs (yay!). It's basically a glorified to-do list, with easy scheduling, categorizing, and tracking, as well as the ability to include file links, emails and web links with your to-do item. The interface is simple and straight-forward, so you just focus on the action items. You can download a free trial, but for a full version the cost is $49.95. Not a bad price for easy organization!

2. Bento 3: This application is a little more involved than the above. You can track your tasks and projects, but also organize contacts and mailing lists, plan special events, catalog inventory, record billable hours and payments due, and much more! Bento also offers templated backdrops, to make each project have a unique visual look. You can download a free trial, but for a full version the cost is $49.00. While this program seems to offer a ton of possibilities, for me, it was a little overwhelming—almost too much organization!

3. Basecamp: Basecamp is a web-based task management and project collaboration tool. With basecamp, you can share files, meet deadlines, assign tasks, centralize feedback directly with your clients, co-workers or your mom if you wanted. You also have the ability to upload files for sharing as well. When you've finished a task, simply mark it completed, and then everyone associated with that task is notified. Basecamp is offered at different pricing plans, starting with a basic plan for $24/month for small groups.

After researching all of these, I am leaning toward Things for Mac. It just seems the most simplified and straight-forward which is what I am looking for. But, before I purchase, does anyone have any other suggestions or any programs they are currently using?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Years Resolutions!

Happy New Year to everyone! I hope you had a great holiday season! I am very grateful to have been able to take off last week for a little rest, relaxation and refreshing! But, my time off wasn't all tv watching and lounging—I did manage to revamp and update the Kalico website. It now features new works and a more user-friendly portfolio section, as well as highlights some of my social media efforts (such as this blog!) Be sure to check it out!

During my time off, I also created a set of 2010 business and professional resolutions for Kalico Design. I am curious if anyone else did the same—I'd love to hear some of them!

My goals are listed below. I am hoping that over the course of the year, I can use this blog (and your support!) to help me update the status of some of these resolutions, as well as catalog any successes and/or obstacles I may approach along the way.

Kalico Resolutions:

1. Purchase new computer system (Check! My new IMAC just arrived today!)
2. Update Software System (Adobe CS4 & Microsoft Office already ordered!)
3. Research, Explore and Create Twitter account (any advice on this is greatly appreciated)
4. Create Self Promotion campaign (mail 4x throughout year)
5. Send out quarterly newsletter and stay on schedule
6. Participate as exhibitor in 1 tradeshow
7. Hire summer intern (yikes!)
8. Increase Blog traffic by 20% (help me, help me, help me!)
9. Create monthly marketing calendar and stick to it (this is the hardest part!)
10. Set aside at least 2-3 hours per week to focus on Kalico business needs, organization and growth
11. Join another networking group, while continuing existing networking efforts
12. Acquire at least 3-4 new clients in the health/wellness, organic or women-oriented industries

Sheesh! When they're listed like that, it seems like a lot! But, I am committed to putting forth my best efforts to complete these goals, which will improve my business, and, ultimately, improve business for my clients! I am excited for the new year! What are some of your business/professional goals for 2010?