Shoestring Marketing University http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com marketing Training for Small Business Owners on a Shoestring Budget Wed, 22 Oct 2014 19:34:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 10 Email Marketing Best Practices http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/10-email-marketing-best-practices/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/10-email-marketing-best-practices/#comments Mon, 13 Oct 2014 10:00:38 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=8280 Our inboxes are filled to the brim with spammy, non-rel […]

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Our inboxes are filled to the brim with spammy, non-relevant emails.

So, when it’s your turn to hit “send” you want to make sure that your email gets noticed. Especially when 68% of marketers say that email marketing is core to their business.

Madison Logic’s infographic features 10 best email practices that will help your emails stand out from the 122,500,453,020 emails sent every hour.

Madison Logic lets us know that:

1. Users are 22% more likely to open when addressed by their first name.

2. Keep your subject lines to a minimum – ideally 50 characters or less.

3. Ask questions in the body of your email to engage your readers.

Find out more email best practices including content tips, testing, and mobile design in the infographic below:

10 Email Best Practices

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Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing: What’s Best? http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/inbound-marketing-vs-outbound-marketing/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/inbound-marketing-vs-outbound-marketing/#comments Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com?p=7902&preview_id=7902 It’s important to understand the difference betwe […]

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It’s important to understand the difference between inbound marketing and outbound marketing in order to create a marketing strategy that works for your small business.

In a nutshell, outbound marketing is when the marketer goes after prospects, while inbound marketing is when prospects come to the marketer.

Think about the story of Muhammad and the mountain, “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, Muhammad will go to the mountain.” Muhammad was perhaps the very first inbound marketer!

Here’s a little more detail.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is the more traditional of the two. It’s all about sending your marketing message out to as many people as possible.

It uses big-media platforms to reach masses of people:

  • Television
  • Radio
  • Billboards
  • Cold calling
  • Print ads

Outbound marketing is obviously much more expensive because these big-media platforms are so pricey.

But, they can be effective if you have loads of money and brand recognition. That’s why companies like Coca-cola and Target are still using them.

There are two main problems with outbound marketing:

  1. You’re marketing to people who are not necessarily interested in your product or services.
  2. Consumers are getting really good at dodging, skipping, and ignoring these kinds of marketing tactics.

Outbound marketing values the number of people seeing the message over the number of people actively looking for services like yours.

Inbound Marketing

“Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is all about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.” – David Meerman Scott

As an inbound marketer, you are going to identify prospects who are already looking for your particular products and services.  You then identify specific problems that your prospects face and offer customized solutions to solve those problems.

HubSpot put together a list of quotes from inbound marketing experts to illustrate how any small business owner can become a stellar inbound marketer.

This kind of marketing is much cheaper because it relies on practices such as content creation, incentives, and free offers.

Because it is significantly less inexpensive, inbound marketing is often utilized by micro-business owners and small business owners.

Mashable published a great infographic detailing the difference between outbound and inbound marketing strategies.

Inbound marketing is here to stay and getting more effective each and every day.

If you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, then you need to take a closer look at inbound marketing.

Here are various components of inbound marketing:

Content Creation

As a small business owner, you have to constantly create content.

Pick your strength and focus primarily on creating written, audio, or visual content. But, at the same time, have a variety so your business appeals to all types of learners.

Written Content:

  • Blogs
  • Interview with an expert in the field
  • Ebooks
  • White papers
  • Press releases
  • Special reports
  • Ezines
  • Newsletters
  • Articles
  • Written presentations (Powerpoint, Prezi, Keynote, Slideshow…)

Audio content:

  • Podcasts
  • Interviews with an expert in the field
  • Teleseminars
  • Jingles

Graphic Content:

  • Infographics
  • Mind maps
  • Charts
  • Graphs
  • Cartoons

Video content:

  • How-to videos
  • Video interviews with an expert in the field
  • Screen-capture videos
  • Movies
  • Webinars

Incentives and Free Offers

Inbound marketing is all about getting your prospects to come to you. And, once they visit your storefront or website, you need to offer them some kind of incentive in order to move them through the marketing funnel.

But first, decide what you would like in return.

Don’t focus on making a sale just yet. Instead think about creating a new prospect or lead so that you can continue to market great content to them.

A few options might include:

  • Signing up for your email list
  • Following you on a social media account
  • Signing up for your mailing list

Don’t ask them to do anything that will take a lot of time or cost money. You just want to start a relationship with your prospects.

But it’s not enough to simply ask your prospects to sign up for your email list, you need to give them a FREE incentive as well.

You can offer any of the above pieces of content for free.

Of course, even if it’s free, it needs to be something that your visitor would actually pay money to receive. Your free offering is a glimpse into your small business, so take the time to ensure that it’s a top quality representation.

Outbound marketing is moving toward complete extinction mainly due to its cost and non-personal connection with prospects.

In its place, inbound marketing promises a low-cost, highly effective solution for small business owners on a shoestring budget.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to jump on the inbound marketing train. It’s sure to bring you much closer to your overall marketing goals.

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What is Marketing and Why Should You Care? http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/what-is-marketing/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/what-is-marketing/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 10:00:46 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7893 What in the world is the actual definition of marketing […]

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What in the world is the actual definition of marketing?

Here are three excellent places to get started:

  1. Head on over to Google and you’ll find 128 million results to answer that question.
    HERE
  2. Stop by Common Language in Marketing, a website devoted to providing marketing defintions.
    HERE
  3. Heidi Cohen has put together a fantastic list of 72 definitions of marketing from various marketing experts.

The American Marketing Association recently approved this definition: Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.

These resources and pages of definitions are all well and good. But, at the same time they assume that you are a marketing professional as opposed to a small business owner.

As you know, we like to make things as simple as possible here at Shoestring Marketing University. So, let’s define marketing so that the small business owner can relate and understand all that it entails.

Here’s a quick slideshow that answers that important question, “What is Marketing?”


Why We Need Marketing – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

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How to Use Hootsuite to Manage Your Social Media http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-use-hootsuite/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-use-hootsuite/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 10:00:45 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7870 We all know how important social media is to our small […]

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We all know how important social media is to our small business marketing strategy. We know that it’s a powerful and essential way to connect and engage with our audiences.

However, we also know that finding the time to invest in social media is difficult.

What’s more, there are small businesses that seem to live on their social media platforms tweeting and posting updates every few minutes. It may seem impossible that anyone involved with running a small business would have enough time to update their social media accounts a dozen times an hour.

But, with a service like Hootsuite, it’s entirely possible.

Hootsuite allows you to update and pre-schedule posts and tweets for all your social media accounts in one central location.

Best of all, it’s free and includes three different social networks. (Of course, you can upgrade to their advanced plan with more features for a small monthly fee).

Here’s how to get started with Hootsuite

Sign-up for a free account.

Once inside the application, you will use a different tab for each of your social media accounts.

Different social media tabs

Within each social media tab, you can add different streams.

For example, for your Twitter account you can have streams that show:

  • Your general Twitter feed
  • When you are mentioned in a tweet
  • Your follower’s tweets
  • Tweets from a custom-made list
  • Your scheduled updates

Different streams

And, for your Facebook tab, you can have:

  • Private messages
  • Wall posts
  • Scheduled updates

Facebook streams

One of the most useful features of Hootsuite is that you can schedule all of your daily updates in one sitting.

At the top of the Hootsuite home page, there is a Compose Message box. Write your message and use the pins to the left to post the message to different social media accounts.

Create message

If you are posting to a social media account other than Twitter, Hootsuite previews your message so you can preview if the correct image is included.

Click Send Now to immediately post to any social networks you choose.

Send now

Or, select Schedule to pick a specific time for your message to post. You can schedule a post to go live in 5 minutes or several weeks later.

Schedule

Hootsuite ensures that you aren’t wasting time on your social media platforms. In fact, you can schedule all of your upcoming Tweets and status updates for the upcoming week in under an hour flat.

Now that you are equipped with how to post more effectively, make sure that you know what type of content to post on Facebook and Twitter.

What platform do you use for social media?

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50 Powerful Small Business Guarantees http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/50-small-business-guarantees/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/50-small-business-guarantees/#comments Tue, 07 Oct 2014 10:00:00 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com?p=8169&preview_id=8169 If you want to deliver an amazing customer experience t […]

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If you want to deliver an amazing customer experience then you need to guarantee your products and services.

Study after study shows that powerful guarantees allow your prospects to feel more confident about making a purchase (which leads to more sales). And, don’t be afraid that your customers are going to “cash-in” on that guarantee and demand their money back, only about 1% ever invoke the guarantee.

A strong guarantee clearly shows your customers that you stand behind your products and services.

You can communicate your guarantee in a variety of ways. You can hang a sign in your waiting room or publish it on your website. It doesn’t matter how you choose to communicate your guarantee just as long as it is obvious and in writing so that your customers are more comfortable making a purchase.

A strong guarantee is one factor of your overall marketing strategy. In fact, an exceptional guarantee can generate more sales for small business owners in virtually every imaginable industry.

So, don’t be afraid to stand behind your products and services 100%.

Here are 50 Exceptional Small Business Guarantees:

1.    Our lifetime money back guarantee.

2.    Double your money back guarantee.

3.    Unconditionally guaranteed. Always.

4.    100% satisfaction guaranteed.

5.    Prompt refund.

6.    Cancel at any time.

7.    I personally guarantee.

8.    You have my promise.

9.    You have my word on it.

10.    You can try the product without any risk.

11.    Send no money now!

12.    No risk! No obligation.

13.    Return the product, keep the bonuses.

14.    Say “yes” now and decide later.

15.    No questions asked money back guarantee.

16.    You must be 100% satisfied or you pay nothing.

17.    If _______ isn’t as powerful as we say it is, return it for a full refund.

18.    I’ll personally see that your money is returned to you.

19.    I stake my reputation on it.

20.    Return the product if you’re not satisfied.

21.    Use the product for 30 days before you pay.

22.    Better than risk free.

23.    Keep only the _____________you want.

24.    If you decide to keep it, pay just $_____.

25.    We’re so sure that you will love ______, we’re willing to extend you this ____ guarantee.

26.    No risk now, no risk later.

27.    Ordering from us is totally risk-free.

28.    No hassle refund.

29.    Iron clad money back guarantee.

30.    If you don’t ___________, we will promptly refund your money.

31.    We promise that you will __________, or you pay absolutely nothing.

32.    See results in ____-days, or your money back.

33.    Unconditional guarantee.

34.    You may cancel at any time.

35.    You can always change your mind later.

36.    We’re not satisfied unless you are.

37.    If you’re not thrilled, then we’ll refund your money. No questions asked.

38.    No questions asked.

39.    You don’t pay for it unless you like it. Period.

40.    If you’re not 100% satisfied, you can return it for a full refund.

41.    We back all of our products with a ____-day guarantee.

42.    You have my word on it.

43.    You don’t risk a cent.

44.    Lifetime replacement guarantee.

45.    Price protection guarantee.

46.    Full-year guarantee.

47.    A full refund, exchange or credit.

48.    You won’t find this guarantee anywhere else.

49.    You must be 100% satisfied with your purchase. If not, simply return it for a full refund.

50.    If you decide that you don’t like it, pay nothing and keep the _____ with our compliments.

Do you have a guarantee in your small business? Why or why not…

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13 SEO Copywriting Tips http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/13-seo-copywriting-tips/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/13-seo-copywriting-tips/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:00:50 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=8226 If you’re trying to boost your search rankings or […]

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If you’re trying to boost your search rankings organically, then you need to know a few tricks of the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) trade.

But, there’s so much information out there about SEO, that it’s almost impossible to even know where to begin. There are ALT tags, metadata, and inbound links. Not to mention anchor text, page titles, and sitemaps. It’s enough to make your head spin!

But not to worry. Here’s a simple infographic from ContentVerve.com that ensures your optimization efforts are working.

13 tips that will help you write content that ranks in 2014:

  1. Write for humans – optimize for robots.
  2. Forget about keyword density – once and for all.
  3. Use related keywords, synonyms and grammatical variations.
  4. Write long, in-depth quality content.
  5. Take advantage of the long tail.
  6. Answer your prospects’ questions.
  7. Get your content noticed and shared.
  8. Get down with Google Plus.
  9. Title tags and snippets are still king.
  10. Avoid keyword stuffing.
  11. Don’t over optimize your link text.
  12. Remember the alt text in your images.
  13. Use Ubersuggest, and Google Trends for inspiration.

SEO-copywriting

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How to Find Your Niche Market http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-find-your-niche-market/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-find-your-niche-market/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2014 15:45:39 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7863 So, you have a great product or service. If you’r […]

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So, you have a great product or service.

If you’re like most small business owners, you just want to get your product or service in front of as many people as possible. 

In fact, you’re probably ready to sell it to anyone and everyone. Right?

Wrong.

If you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, you don’t have the means or the manpower to engage in mass marketing practices.

The problem with mass marketing

As the name suggests, mass marketing is a strategy used to get your message out to as many people as possible. At first glance, this may sound pretty darn good.

But, mass marketing is no more sophisticated than standing on a street corner yelling at passersby hoping to attract their attention. It’s a crude shotgun approach that just isn’t effective.

Couple that with the fact that in order to get your message out to the masses, you’ll need to tap into traditional marketing platforms such as television, radio, and newspapers.

We all know that these traditional marketing platforms are incredibly expensive and beyond the scope of the shoestring marketer.

The final problem is that if your marketing message is going to appeal to the masses, then it needs to be very general and speak to everyone including: children, grandparents, moms, and teenagers.

And consumers today aren’t big fans of being lumped together with the masses.

They want to feel like you know them, understand them, and can connect with them.

Basically, they want to feel special.

You need to find your niche market

A niche market is a much smaller segment of your “entire market.”

Instead of trying to figure out how to connect to everyone and anyone, you communicate to a very specific segment of your market.

Let’s imagine that you want to start a dog food company.

Your problem is crystal clear. Your company will be competing against the big brands like Purina, Iams, and Nature’s Recipe. For a small business owner on a shoestring budget, it’s almost impossible to play at the same level as the multi-million dollar companies.

So, what in the world can you do?

First of foremost, don’t try to compete.

Instead, find a gap in the marketplace that the big brands aren’t addressing and fill it.

This is exactly what Karla Haas did with her dog food company Rudy Green.

Meet Rudy Green

Rudy Green

Karla Haas had a big, brown dog named Rudy Green who developed a bleeding ulcer at age 14.  In order for Rudy to get better, his normal diet of dry dog food needed to be changed to a special diet of beef liver and brown rice. But, Karla couldn’t find this special “doggie-diet” anywhere.

So, every day Karla cooked Rudy a home-made meal from scratch. Not only did Rudy devour his meal with happiness, his ulcer was cured as well.

Karla began cooking for other dogs and found that her “people food for dogs” was a huge hit!

Karla sought the counsel of successful business people and performed a  “market study” by giving samples of her dog food to various dogs. Then Karla had the owners respond anonymously to a SASE questionnaire.

Karla’s hunch was confirmed by objective consumers who wanted only the best for their canine family members.

In Karla’s own words, her small business stands apart because,“We make a 100% HUMAN EDIBLE food for dogs.” 

You’ll notice that Karla didn’t try to compete against Purina by creating another dry-dog food. Instead, she noticed a gap in the marketplace that the big companies weren’t addressing and she filled it.

And Karla isn’t marketing to the masses. She’s not interested in the average dog owner looking for the cheapest deal on dry dog food.

She’s laser-focused her marketing message to appeal to discriminating dog owners who treat their dogs like a member of their family.

Rudy Green’s has grown into a very successful small business with nine employees.

How’s that for finding your niche?

Why niche it?

Niche marketing is the best way for a new small business to enter an existing market dominated by big brands.

But, niche marketing is also appropriate for established small businesses that need to stand apart from their competitors.

Niche marketing allows you to narrowly concentrate your time and resources to maximize your effectiveness.

But, always remember that niches don’t exist – they are created.

They are created by carefully identifying your customers’ wants and needs that are not being addressed by other businesses.

Your ultimate goal is to be the biggest fish in a small pond as opposed to a small fish in a big pond.

What’s missing in your industry and how can you fill it?

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How to Build An Unforgettable Business Identity http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-build-an-unforgettable-business-identity/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/how-to-build-an-unforgettable-business-identity/#comments Fri, 25 Jul 2014 10:00:34 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7748 Your small business has her very own personality. And h […]

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Your small business has her very own personality.

And her personality certainly isn’t set in stone and beyond your control.

In fact, it’s completely up to you how you present your small business personality to your prospects, customers, and clients.

Start by defining the exact experience you want to give your customers. In other words, what’s the personality behind your small business?

Your small business can be:

  • Rustic
  • Sporty
  • Sleek
  • Happy
  • Funky
  • Homey
  • Cute
  • Old-fashioned
  • Etc.

For example, Sports Clips does a great job of maintaining their sporty character.

When you purchase the MVP experience, the stylists are dressed in referee shirts and customers watch a sports game during their haircut.

Wild Fire restaurants bring you into a different decade. The lighting and music are reminiscent of a 40’s jazz club and each room is renamed after a 40’s celebrity.

Finally, the Apple store is all about sleekness including glass, straight lines, and brushed metal. It’s a bit like stepping into the future.

Although these aren’t small businesses, they’ve each created solid business identities that the small business owner can replicate.

Once you decide on your small business personality, you want to make it painfully obvious to everyone who comes in contact with you.

This is your business identity – the visual elements of your small business that identify your brand.

This includes marketing materials such as your:

  • Logo
  • Business cards
  • Online newsletter
  • Email software

Many small business owners mistakenly believe that creating a small business identity needs to be an incredibly costly endeavor.

However, it’s entirely possible to create a strong identity for FREE.

Here are a few free shoestring marketing tools and platforms to get you started on building your small business identity.

Small business logo:

Believe it or not, you don’t need to hire a graphic designer.

However, if you do want to hire, visit  Fiverr.com to search for inexpensive, high-quality graphic designers.

Many will create a quality logo for under $5.

But, there are also websites that allow you to design and download a free business logo in exchange for signing up for a free account.

Zillion Designs

On the homepage choose a category to describe your small business.

Next, select an icon for your logo.

Edit the logo by:

  • Adding text
  • Adding an outline
  • Adding effects to the logo
  • Changing the color

Download your logo.

LogoTypeMaker

On the homepage, type your logo title and click on Create Logo Now.

Select an icon and adjust the color.

Edit your logo by:

  • Adding clipart
  • Removing, rotating, or moving parts of the icon
  • Changing color
  • Resizing

Save your logo.

LogoMaker 

On the homepage, click on Try It Now.

Choose between a:

  • Symbol based icon
  • Letter based icon
  • Abstract icon

Edit your logo by:

  • Changing the color
  • Moving the icon
  • Adding text

Once you create a free account, you can save your logo for future use.

Business cards

Business cards are essential for giving your small business a professional presence.

When designing your business cards, make sure to incorporate your company name, tagline, logo, business colors, and contact information.

Vistaprint

Vistaprint allows you to design and print 250 cards for free.

Go to the homepage and place your cursor on All Products.

Next, select Business Cards > Free Business Cards.

Select a design from the top of the screen and fill in your information in the left-hand side bar.

Click Next, skip past all the recommended pages, and place your order.

Business Card Maker 

Another option is to choose a design from the templates VistaPrint’s Business Card Maker homepage.

Fill in your information on the virtual card.

Choose Download Files below the virtual card.

If you download the card as a picture, you can share it on social media accounts, your blog, or your website.

If you download the file, you’ll be able to take the PDF to a local printer, or print the cards yourself.

Printing at home

To print professional looking business cards at home, print on high-quality card stock paper.

Card stock paper is available at Staples or Office Depot at inexpensive prices.

Online newsletters

Lucid Press is a powerful, online platform that allows you to create professional newsletters for your small business.

Begin by creating a free account to access all of the available features.

Next, create a new document. You can either start from scratch with a blank template, or you can work from an existing template.

Fill your newsletter with as many pages as you like and use the add text buttons to add your own information.

You can also change the color scheme, add images, or videos.

Once you create your newsletter, send it out to your email list, post it to your social media accounts, or post it on your website.

Email marketing software

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing platforms for small business owners.

A wonderful component of email marketing is that you can personalize it.

Choose the color scheme, font, and graphics to infuse your emails with your small business identity.

MailChimp is an email service that allows you to send 12,000 emails/month  to up to 2,000 subscribers completely free.

Here are a few tips on how to use MailChimp effectively for your own small business.

Finishing up

Don’t leave the details of your small business identity up to chance.

Instead, decide on the overall experience that you want to give your prospects and infuse that personality into your marketing materials.

As you can see, it’s entirely possible to accomplish this on a shoestring marketing budget.

What are other low-cost marketing platforms that you have used to build your small business identity?

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How to Use MailChimp to Enhance Your Email Marketing http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/mailchimp/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/mailchimp/#comments Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:00:56 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7566 Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient and h […]

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Email marketing is one of the most cost-efficient and highly effective marketing platforms out there for small business owners.

So, is there an email marketing platform designed for the small business owner on a shoestring budget?

Absolutely!

It’s called MailChimp and it’s a fantastic email marketing platform.

Through MailChimp, you can send up to 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free as well as evaluate various statistics about your emails.

Sign up for MailChimp

Sign up for a MailChimp account by visiting their website.

Fill in some basic information about yourself and your company.

Finally, upload a profile picture at least 300 x 300 pixels.  You may have to adjust the pixel size of your picture in a photo editor.

Create a list

Your “list” is a list of contacts that you have acquired within your MailChimp account. You can divide up your list into segments, make multiple lists, or make groups of lists.

Go to the MailChimp homepage and “Create a list”

Fill out the various information fields such as:

  • List name
  • Default “from” name and email
  • How subscribers got on your list
  • Contact information
  • How often you’d like to be notified of subscription activity

 

List details

Next, add subscribers to your list.

Add an individual subscriber by clicking on “Add subscribers” and filling out the form.

Import a list by clicking on “Add Subscribers” and then “Import subscribers”.  You can select from a variety of ways to import your list, which are detailed on that page.

MailChimp also allows you to create sign-up forms for a variety of different platforms and devices including:

Create a sign up form

A sign-up form is a form that you place on your website or blog. When visitors fill out your form, they are automatically added to your email list.

Click on “Sign Up Forms” and select the method you’d like for creating your  form.

Sign-Up Forms

Manage subscribers

Under “Manage subscribers” you are able to:

  • View your subscribers
  • Unsubscribe people
  • View your groups
  • View your segments
  • View your subscriber exports
  • Delete all your subscribers

List statistics

Click “Stats” using the top of the screen menu.

The overview feature will allow you to see:

  • Average open rate
  • Average click rate
  • How much your list has grown
  • How your campaign performed
  • Top email clients
  • Top locations

When you analyze your email stats, you can determine which emails are most successful, and can adjust your marketing accordingly.

Create a campaign

A campaign is a fancy name for sending emails to your prospects.

To get started, click on the “Campaigns” tab on the left-hand side bar, and then click on “Create Campaigns” in the top-right part of the screen.

Although there are four campaigns to choose from, only focus on the top two.

1. Regular ol’ Campaign:

This is a basic HTML (uses images and formatting) email as well as a plain-text version.

2. Plain-Text Campaign:

This is an email without any pictures or HTML formatting.

After you select a campaign, choose which list you want to send your email to.

Under “Campaign Info” fill out:

  • Name of the campaign (your recipients won’t see this)
  • Subject line
  • Who it’s from
  • Your email address

Campaign Info

Subject lines

Subject lines are incredibly important in email marketing. In fact, the amount of prospects who actually open your emails depends largely on your subject line.

So, MailChimp has subject line research to find the best terms to use.

Click “How do I write a good subject line?” and continue to the “Subject line researcher”.

Then, enter terms that you want to use in your subject line. MailChimp will rate your terms and suggest related terms.

It will show you the best terms to use by ranking them with stars.

Email subject terms

Tracking

Next, in campaign settings, check the “Personalize the ‘To:’ field” box so the email reads “To: the recipient’s name” rather than “To: the recipients email address.”

Scroll down to the “Tracking” section.

By checking the “Track opens” box, you’ll be able to see who opens your emails.

Check the “Track clicks” box to find out which links were clicked, how many times, and by whom.

Tracking

Social media

Under the “Social Media” section, check if you want to automatically tweet or post your email to Facebook after sending it.

Finally, scroll to  “More Options”.

You can choose to “Auto-convert videos” which ensures that any videos are embedded properly.

Or, you can choose to “Authenticate campaign” which gives you more credibility by making your emails trackable.

Click “Next” at the bottom-right part of the screen.

Send a Regular Ol’ Campaign:

When sending a “Regular Ol’ Campaign”, you’ll need to create a “Template” or edit a preexisting templates called a “Theme”. 

If making a template for later, go to the dashboard of your MailChimp account and click on “Templates”.

If sending a “Regular Ol’ Campaign” you’ll be prompted to pick a template after filling out “Campaign Info”.

Select from the available templates/themes.

After that, you are able to edit both the content and the design of the template by choosing either category on the right-hand side bar.

“Content” includes either inserting or editing the following:

  • Text/Boxed Text
  • Dividers
  • Image/Image Group
  • Image Card
  • Image Caption
  • Social Share/Follow
  • Button/Footer

To edit the content, select one of the above subcategories and drag and drop it where you want it on the template.

An edit box appears on the right-hand side where you can make adjustments.

Templates

“Design” includes editing or inserting the following:

  • Page
  • Preheader
  • Header
  • Body
  • Footer
  • Mobile Styles
  • Monkey Rewards

To make the edit, click on the appropriate subcategory and a menu for that specific subcategory will appear.

You can make edits accordingly.

design templates

When you are finished, save your template and use it in future email campaigns.

Or, send your campaign to your predetermined list.

Send a Plain-Text Campaign:

If you are not going to use any images, this may be the best option for you, because it isn’t as likely to get caught in spam folders. But,  it is a bit more difficult.

When selecting from the types of Campaigns, select “Plain Text”. 

Select which list you would like to send to, or if you would like to send to yourself and click “Next” at the bottom right hand side of the screen.

Then you’ll be asked to enter in your content.

Make sure to delete “Enter Your Content Here” and fill the space with your own content.

Plain Text Message

After that, you can preview your email.

Click Send when you are finished.

Reports

One of the greatest features of using MailChimp are the reports. If you specify that you want MailChimp to track your email in the campaign settings, it can report back to you the open and click-through rates.

After you send out an email campaign, go back to your dashboard and click “Reports”.

There you are able to see stats on your emails and how well they did against other business people in your field.

Reports

That’s all there is to it!

So, if you’re a small business owner on a shoestring budget, MailChimp is the way to go.

Without doubt, it’s a high-impact, low-cost marketing tool with powerful results.

Have you used MailChimp before? How do you like it?

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Why We Need Great Marketing http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/why-we-need-great-marketing/ http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/why-we-need-great-marketing/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.shoestringmarketinguniversity.com/?p=7366 “Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer valu […]

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“Marketing is the art of creating genuine customer value. It is the art of helping your customer become better off. The marketer’s watchwords are quality, service, and value.” -Phillip Kotler

Marketing has developed a bad reputation.

It’s a term associated with greed, dishonesty, and insincerity.

Urban Dictionary, a comical online dictionary that offers more connotations than direct definitions, defines advertising as “the tool of the devil.”

Clearly, it’s a joke.

But, as with all jokes, it wouldn’t be funny unless some people believed there was truth to it.

The fact of the matter is that many people think of marketing as deceitful and a even a little bit slimy.

Unfortunately, there are hundreds of companies out there that contribute to the undesirable reputation that surrounds marketing.

Let’s look at just a few of the high profile cases that have engaged in dishonest marketing practices:

Airborne:

airborne

Airborne claimed for years that it could help prevent a cold or the flu.

I believed it; I just bought a pack of Airborne a few months ago when I felt a cold coming on.

As it turns out, there are no proven health benefits to using Airborne, and the company was forced to pay a $30 million settlement in response to lawsuits.

Olay:

Twiggy-in-Olay Ad

A few years ago, Olay used an air-brushed model to demonstrate the results of using their eye cream.

Twiggy, the model in the advertisement, is about 60 years old though it certainly doesn’t seem that way.

Their advertisement tricked prospects into believing that Olay eye cream could make a customer look drastically and significantly younger.

That just wasn’t the case.

Listerine:

listerine

This may be one of the most ridiculous false advertising scandals out there.

Starting in the early 20th century, Listerine was advertised as a cure all for colds, sore throats, and a way to protect yourself from cuts and bruises.

Needless to say, the public eventually caught on and forced Listerine to change their advertising campaign in the 1970’s.

What’s the deal?

These companies, and hundreds of others like them, have given marketing a bad rap.

And, that’s why the general public generally mistrusts advertising.

According to the results of a research study conducted by YouGov, only 3% of Americans trust advertisements, while 11% don’t trust them at all.

This means that whenever you market your small business, you have a big job in front of you. You need to overcome the incredibly negative perception that exists in the minds of your prospects.

And, that’s a tall order to fill.

The good news is that deceptive and manipulative advertisements don’t work and the general public sees through these types of dishonest tactics immediately.

So, luckily you don’t have to resort to a “used-car salesman” approach to market your product or service.

Instead, you need to view marketing in a whole new light.

Marketing is not about tricking your customers. It’s not about making false claims. And it’s certainly not about lying so that you can make a sale.

Great marketing is interested in providing solutions to your customer’s problems.

Great marketing is about being:

  • Truthful
  • Transparent
  • Engaging
  • Conversational
  • Educational
  • Helpful

And great marketing is the only way to gain loyal followers and fans who will spread the word about your product or service.

Nowadays, great marketing is the only way to stay in business.

Let’s look at a few marketing campaigns that exemplify characteristics of great marketing:

Truthful:

Internet Explorer was well aware that they didn’t have many fans of their previous browser when they launched Internet Explorer 9.

But, instead of pretending that the problem didn’t exist, they embraced their past failures with a campaign entitled, “The Browser You Loved to Hate”  and worked hard to change consumers’ minds.

The campaign was incredibly effective and helped create an active fan base around Internet Explorer 9.

Transparent:

Several years ago, Domino’s Pizza wanted to change their public perception that their pizzas didn’t taste good.

Dominos decided that complete transparency was the best way to change this perception.

So, Dominos gathered feedback from their customers and shared the results.

Then, they freely revealed how how they were going to change their recipe.

After viewing the campaign, you feel like you know this corporation just a little better. More importantly, you root for them and want to see them succeed.

Engaging:

Dove’s 2013 campaign ,”Real Beauty Sketches”, was one of the most memorable ads of the year and encouraged woman to believe that they are more beautiful than they realize.

Dove had real women describe themselves to a sketch artist. Then, those same women described each other to the sketch artist.

The sketch described by someone else was almost always more beautiful, indicating a problem with body image.

The advertising campaign encouraged women to discuss body image and expectations.

It engaged their audience and made them rethink their definition of beauty.

Conversational:

human rights campaign

Conversational marketing has taken on a whole new meaning since the explosion of social media.

Companies and businesses that take advantage of social media are able to engage with their prospects at a higher rate than ever before possible.

One of the most visible, recent social media campaigns was when the Human Rights Campaign posted the marriage equality symbol on its Facebook page.

The symbol exploded and began to appear everywhere on Facebook: in groups, on pages, and as profile pictures.

The Human Rights Campaign succeeded in gaining massive visibility for their campaign.

More importantly, they got people involved in their conversation and spreading the word about their cause.

Educational:

Screen Shot 2014-07-13 at 9.08.10 AM

Many different companies are incorporating education into their marketing efforts.

Indium, a company that manufactures products for the electronic assembly industry, launched a blog filled with educational resources called “From One Engineer to Another.”

And, since the creation of their blog, Indium’s leads have skyrocketed.

Offering educational material established Indium as experts in their field and convinced their prospects that they had answers to their most pressing problems.

Helpful:

Car Seat App

Phoenix Children’s Hospital created an app called the Car Seat Helper that helps parents determine which car seat is best for their child based on height, weight, and any special needs.

The app was extremely popular and undoubtedly gave the hospital more visibility and credibility.

Helpful campaigns establish a trusting relationship with prospects and make it much more likely that they will become long-term customers.

So, why do we need great marketing?

There’s already enough deceitful and misleading marketing practices out there.

And it’s not always the big corporations that engage in false advertising.

Small business owners can fall prey to making empty promises in order to get the sale.

But, the truth remains that the general public recognizes false advertising immediately. And, once you’ve mislead them, it’s almost impossible to get them back.

What next?

As small business owners, it’s our job to change the negative perceptions that surround false advertising.

The only way to accomplish this is by constantly striving to solve our customer’s problems by being truthful, transparent, engaging, conversational, educational, and helpful.

How have you encountered false or deceptive advertising and how did it make you feel?

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