MailChimp For Sending Your Blog Posts Via EmailSomething we’ve been working on lately is our own email marketing, including email that stems from our blog.  While Feedburner has been a reliable (AND free) application for generating blog subscription via email, here are the 10 reasons we’ve decided to switch to MailChimp… and why maybe you should too.

 

 

10 Reasons To Use MailChimp For Email Marketing!

      1. MailChimp can be used for direct email campaigns, client newsletters AND it can be set up for blog posts via email;
      2. MailChimp is free (up to a fixed number of email sent per month), which (until you go over) affords you lots of time for the learning curve;  
      3. MailChimp allows you to control the message, never embedding distracting or competitive ads;
      4. MailChimp offers a series of easily customized email templates so that your message reflects only your brand;
      5. Mailchimp email templates allow you to embed your own ads, for instance to ride along with a blog post;  
      6. Mailchimp offers analytics including who’s opening your email, who’s clicking on what links… to clue you in on who may be interested in what AND on what drives the most interest for future efforts;
      7. Mailchimp offers a series of simple social network integration options;
      8. Mailchimp is mobile friendly;
      9. Feedburner just doesn’t seem to be in Google’s future plans, nor does it offer most of these options AND 
      10. Once you go over the MailChimp limit for free use it’s still very affordable for such a terrific email platform! 

 

If you feel MailChimp is a solution you might want to pursue, get in touch! We’d love to discuss what you’re trying to accomplish and how this might work for you. We can certainly help you set up MailChimp today! 

 

Disintermediation: Brand Direct To Target Audiencedisintermediation | kinetic knowledge

Note: this post originally written November 2007, updated today – August 21st 2012!

Consider the value of a website, including its’ blog, as a powerful marketing & advertising tool VERSUS what existed as options in the past. Nowadays the distribution of a brand via content (advertorial in nature) to a targeted audience is no longer cost prohibitive AND no longer solely in the control of large traditional media companies. A recent phenomena, sometimes referred to as disintermediation, allows a business to reach its’ audience immediately! Inexpensively!! 

Whatis.com defines disintermediation as ‘giving the consumer direct access to information that otherwise would require a mediator, such as a salesperson, a librarian, or a lawyer.’ For the purposes of this post “mediator” means Newspapers, TV Broadcasters, Magazines & large web- based media… all of whom were once a necessity to distribute your message, but NOW you can go direct!

In fact because of reliable search and social networks there’s nothing stopping a business from distributing useful advertorial information to its’ target market.

Blogs As FREE Marketing

Blogs make publishing content cheap and simple. In addition to a ‘rapid publish to the web capability’, it can call to search engines for rapid indexing. Nowadays content is free to go wherever it’s needed. Any consumer has the choice to search, socialize and, in some cases, subscribe. By taking advantage of the opportunity the business is no longer forced to depend upon large media intermediaries. That’s right, a business may actually reduce marketing and advertising cost while reaching prospective clients direct.

Not to say traditional advertising is dead by any stretch. CBS, the New York Times or even a local newspapers’ audience remain loyal, but to invade that connection requires an ad’ and it costs a lot of money. Now with a little effort a business can reach customers direct and without traditional media intermediaries; they can repeatedly touch clients & prospects with great new information – direct! We’re saying it’s a leveled playing field for the distribution of information! Consumers no longer need to stumble upon your ad in order to be informed about what you have to offer. 

 

Jersey Shore Website Design | Kinetic KnowledgeAs a modern day marketer, the bevy of tools and opportunities available to you in that online bag of tricks is astounding. Your biggest challenge is likely, “what tools do I focus on and how do I find time to manage them?” Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogging have emerged as the standouts. If any of you have dabbled in these tools, you know by now that you can easily dip one toe in the water and soon find yourself floating in a lake of self induced social media disorder.

 

What is the time value of your money?

Are these social media tools valuable? If you throw the right saddle on them, without a doubt. So how do you effectively manage these interfaces? With a plan of course! That plan should always start with a brainstorming session about your target online audience. You’ll find some good tips about that in this article on creating effective online business content. Once you’ve gotten a handle on who you are targeting then you’ll need to think about the connectivity potential of each tool. Here’s a brief overview of the idea:

Blogging – Managing a customized business blog is by far the biggest bang for your time buck. Why? As you’ll read below, this is the foundation for all of your content and the main push vehicle for all your other networks. Not to mention, you control everything about this environment – how your brand is displayed, whether or not ads are served, who you connect with, and exactly what kinds of messages you want to communicate. In a nutshell the value of your business blog is centered around organic search engine optimization, growth of direct site subscribers, brand/reputation management and niche marketing if you so choose.

Facebook – If you haven’t created a business fan page in Facebook yet, you should. This is the place where all your worlds collide – business, family, friends, teachers, old love interests – they are all there! It’s your extended personal sphere and it’s a great place to publish your message. Facebook makes life a little easier for you by providing many privacy settings that allow you to segment this mixed up sphere. But they also ask you keep business separate from personal and create fan pages for these types of messages.

Twitter – This is a space you grow into understanding the more you use it. Upon first glimpse it seems there would be little value. However, it’s one of the most viral environments and the value of it grows exponentially with tech advances, time and followers (soon we’ll see Twitter playing a large role in geo located messaging!). It’s also a great place for learning – follow those that add the valuable tips you need.

LinkedIn – This is a professional network of your peers. It’s a great way to stay connected to your historical colleagues and peers. It also allows for messaging within this realm – great as it’s a different and more focused group than Facebook.

Once you’ve determined WHO you are connecting too and the potential of each tool you are using then it’s time to choose a saddle.  What is each tool good for, how often do you need to use it to make and grow good connections?  The answer to this question is probably different for each of you.  But just so I don’t leave you disappointed, here are a few good general tips:

  • With blogging the more you put in, the more you get out.  And more will always be more.  Try to shoot for article release 2-3 times per week.  Make sure you focus that content!
  • Twitter can easily overwhelm you – make sure you use a tool like TweetDeck to monitor your traffic flow.  Turn off notifications and check in at regular intervals 2-3 times per day for a pre-determined period of time until you get the hang of it.  This is truly a “real-time” tool.
  • Facebook can be a major time suck.  Set your blogs to auto populate your pages and check in as often as you need to keep the flow of conversation going with your friends and peers.  Just have the discipline to get out of there too!
  • LinkedIn is a little less interactive – you can set your blogs and your Twitter account to populate your profile pages.  Put in the time upfront to get everything dialed in and perhaps make a plan to research and request connections every few weeks or so.

When FREE is really not FREE
While I advocate using the thrid party tools listed above, it’s important you use them for what they are worth. Be aware that their models could change at any time – you are not in control. In fact, they are changing as we speak. LinkedIn introduced a new advertising model about a month ago, Twitter Places may start serving geo located ads via that network, and Facebook, having served ads from day 1, is continually improving upon their model. These people are in the business of making money, just like you and me.  While you are a very important part of their models, don’t forget you are also really pawns in the big game.  Use them for what they are worth.

The Value of Managing Your Brand
And so finally I’m coming around to the point of this whole article – managing your brand. While third party tools do add value, be smart in utilizing them. It’s becoming more and more obvious these players are in the game to monitize business models, don’t forget you are in the same game.  Should you create a free facebook business fan page or a free blog on WordPress.com – sure, and why not! But beware of the potential these entities have to change up models, start serving ads, pass on your information, or god forbid even shut you down. Not that they will, but they do have the power to do anything they want – they own your platforms and even sometimes the rights to your content.

One way to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck (or your time) is to use a custom blogsite as your foundation for messaging and brand.

The best thing about doing this is that not only do you control your interface and message for all time, but you can also push this message out to all those other social networks automatically. If you have a blog you can ensure that your posts will show up on your Facebook business page, as Tweets in your Twitter account and even on your profile page in Linked in. Once these things are setup, they work on their own. It’s the best of all worlds, working together.

 

 

 

Not Enough Traffic!?

Recently a client complained that, while they were getting sales, they had only reached an average of 23 new website visitors per day. That’s not page views, but new & possibly ‘ready to buy’ visitors. So we looked at how long this particular business had been online [6 months = not long]. Then we looked at how much effort they were putting into their blogging [7- 8 posts per month = good]. We looked at their blog writing techniques [= good] and at the competitive nature of the target market [= highly competitive farm area.] We also looked at what was attracting visitors [=combination of highly specific searches and Twitter]. Twitter was strictly being auto- populated by the site’s blog feed, so folks were finding them & coming over for a depth of information that 140 characters just can’t support. We identified some improvements that could be made, but ultimately that they had to get over ‘how much’ and start thinking about the traffic metric more strategically. Traffic growth takes time and effort. Traffic volume may offer some conversion, but this is the web AND most visitors come because they’re already looking for something you’ve written up. They have intent, you have offered answers. The media and so many online marketing coaches often confuse business people with talk of quantity, rather than quality traffic. And I repeat, there were sales!

  Online, what makes most people visit and then buy? These days most transactions relate to a buyer who identifies your content somewhere, likes it enough to visit and then decides to trust & contact you.

Looking At Traffic Metrics Strategically

  Are you looking at your traffic strategically enough to understand what’s happening and how to leverage that information for improvement. Information that can easily drive more lead capture and sales. An average of 23 new visitors a day from highly qualified searchers & subscribers may actually be great depending upon market potential, competitive activity and also realistic sales goals.

  690 ‘qualified’ unique new visitors per month versus traditional advertising methods, which are often wasted on uninterested individuals. And why? Empowered visitors mostly visit via a 1) specific search, 2) an interesting back link from another site, a 3) bookmark they’ve kept, a 4) direct RSS or email subscription or a 5) a social network account they visit that links back to you. All things, by the way, your site can generate … so long as you’re blogging well.

Traffic Data Points We Watch Month Over Month:

  • Bounce rate – what percentage looked at one page and left
  • Total unique new visitors – the key metric/ do we have new user growth
  • Avg unique new visitors per day – mostly to see if we are sustaining or have growth
  • Return visitors – do our visitors come back/ are subscriptions working
  • Total page views – are we improving engagement with our brand
  • Avg page views per day – mostly to see if we are sustaining or have growth
  • Avg page views per visitor – to think about architecture & content presentation
  • Referral websites – who brings traffic to us [Twitter, Facebook or other sites]?
  • Most popular pages – can we expand on those popular subjects?
  • Searches that bring us traffic – can we target similar phrases?
  • Conversions via contact forms or direct subscriptions

Web Visisbility | Kinetic Knowledge

  Folks, get over how much and start thinking about the traffic metric much more strategically! And remember the pipeline for qualified leads and sales is useful content!

Good consistent blogging is a primary business asset because it will help you accumulate keyword indexing, back links, RSS subscriptions, email subscriptions, bookmarks, feed connections and social network visibility = quality!