email Archives - Steven's Homestead

Contact Page – Goodbye!

So I used to have a contact page on my website. I thought it would be a simple way for people to contact me instead of needing to rely on having my resume or social media channels (Twitter or LinkedIn) to reach out.  You may be asking yourself why I decided to remove the Contact Page from my site. I hope after reading this post, you will agree that it was something that needed to happen.

Why I got rid of my Contact Page

A few months ago, okay about a year ago really, I decided to update my website to run on this slick new theme. I wanted to showcase my photography and work experience. In addition, I wanted to have a place to blog when the need to write even more got under my skin. When I built this site, I decided to have a contact page so that people interested in one or the other could drop me a message. So, I installed a contact form and had it send those messages to my email. I was pretty happy with the way the site turned out and I still find myself tinkering with various pages when the bug hits.

What I got instead

After installing the Contact Page plugin and activating the page, I started getting about one message every few months. When I got the first message, I was excited that someone other than me was looking at my site. I opened the email to find it was spam  from a company offering to help with SEO on the site. What a let down and a waste or resources for that company, randomly finding personal websites and offering SEO fixes through the contact page. I totally understand this type of selling and why it may seem important but really? It is not like I am a trying to sell anything so was it really worth the effort? I mean, if someone happened to see my photography and wanted to buy it I would probably sell it provided I knew what it would be used for but that is not the intent of this site; after all, there is a shopping cart feature which I have turned off. Lately, these messages have been more frequent about one a day. Really? One a day, you must be getting desperate for business!

I do know about SEO, quite a bit really and I know all of the pages on my site are not optimized for SEO purposes. It gives me something to do when I just want to tinker with my site; update old pages and posts for SEO. When I add new pages and posts, they are all search engine optimized.

As you can see, I needed to remove my Contact Page because I hate to get spam email. Oh and by the way, this blog is SEO ready!

HTML “Button” for Emails

HTML “Button” for Emails

Have you ever been frustrated creating HTML emails with buttons only to see that little red X when you review the email? I have and it is frustrating. With just a little bit of Photoshop and HTML / CSS code you can create a functional button like the one in the email below.

The “View the Digital Edition Here” button is created with a table that has three columns and one row. The first and last cell have images with a link attached and the middle cell is all coded with html and css.

Here is the HTML code:

<table border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″>

<tr>

<td><a href=”http://www.canontradeshows.com/expo/medevice12/media/DigitalProspectus.pdf” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://canontradeshows.com/expo/email/tssales/allshows13/media/images/prospectus/left.png” width=”35″ height=”42″ hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ border=”0″ alt=”” /></a></td>

<td style=”font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-weight:bold; color:#000; text-align: center;” bgcolor=”#feb703″><a href=”http://www.canontradeshows.com/expo/medevice12/media/DigitalProspectus.pdf” target=”_blank” style=”text-decoration:none; color:#000;”>View the Digital Edition Here</a></td>

<td><a href=”http://www.canontradeshows.com/expo/medevice12/media/DigitalProspectus.pdf” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://canontradeshows.com/expo/email/tssales/allshows13/media/images/prospectus/right.png” width=”35″ height=”42″ hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ border=”0″ alt=”” /></a></td>

</tr>

</table>

How to make it work

You first need to develop the ends of your button.  I created the ends by making a small square image with a transparent background.  Then I made a filled circle of yellow and moved half if that off of the square to make the half moon shapes.  After that you insert those into the first to cells and link them to your URL.  Then in the middle cell, insert a URL with the text you want to include as the name of the link.  In the link cell, you want to make sure the background color is the same as your two ends.  When the email renders with images you get the image of the button.  If you are like me and images do not always render with emails you would have the middle cell still showing.

 

Guru’s Guide to Email Marketing

Guru’s Guide to Email Marketing

I receive emails every now and then with things like Download this White Paper NOW or Here is your free white paper.  I always fall for those emails IF the content sounds even a little bit interesting.  I got the little gem attached below in an email a week on 7/19/12; and I found some of it interesting.  I have posted those points below and attached the document so you can get more detail.

Email Marketing Today – Statistics, Facts and Survey Results

  • Email marketing outperforms every other channel on ROI and averages an impressive $44.25 for every dollar spent.
  • Investment in email marketing is estimates to grow from $1.3 billion in 2012 to $2 billion by 2014.
  • 88% of people check their email daily via mobile phone
  • Email newsletters that include social sharing buttons have a 115% higher average click-through rate

Conducting an Email Marketing Review

  • Get a good picture of where your campaigns are today by conducting an email marketing review
  • Develop a spreadsheet containing email results for the last 6-12 months
  • Base priority on the important metrics for your industry.
  • Varying results could be from many things…subject lines, from lines, etc.
  • Compare your data with others in your organization to see what differences there are
  • Pull together samples to see if you can figure out what drove the best results: subject line, format, content, segmentation
  • Pull together competitive messages to see what you could get inspired from

Building Your Email Opt-in List

  • There are three layers to building the list: foundational, auto pilot, and supplemental and the three layers work together to grow your list (see the document for more details)

Subject Lines that Get Results

  • 50 characters
    • look through the newspaper
    • focus on the objective
    • use the from field correctly
    • most important info first
    • personalize
    • test

The Truth about Email Deliverability

  • manage email reputation
  • honest identity
  • manage feedback loops
  • follow the law

Okay, so the document attached is 37 pages and I am not going to take up more of your time…please download the document and take a gander.

Gurus Guide to Email Marketing 2012 US

Email + Twitter + Facebook: 22 Tips to Cross-Channel Success

I attended a webinar about the merging of Email, Twitter and Facebook and the information contained below is a short recap of the document.

Today, one in every nine people on earth is a Facebook user and Twitter manages an average of 190 million tweets per day. This is according to a September 2011 post by social media blogger Jeff Bullas, aptly titled, Stunning Social Media Statistics. And just as stunning, the New York Times reported in January that over 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010.

The important take-away for marketers is this:

If you’re not communicating with your customers via social channels as well as through email, you’re not reaching your audience where it lives, works and plays.

Email and social are alike in a very significant way: they are the only two permission-based channels

Opt-in drivers

  • Facebook: use as a driver to increase email opt-in
  • Twitter: Link the tweet to the campaign and offer people a way to opt-in

Social Media increases word of mouth or reach due to sharing of content.

You can use conversations in Social Media to improve your email messages and other content messaging.

Know where your customers are in the Social Media world…there are so many providers you don’t have to use all of them.

Monitor blogs and other conversations to see what is being said; this will enable you to have more relevant communications of which your audience will have an interest.

Integrate “Like” and “Register with Facebook” or add the ability to share on Twitter.

Take your email and turn it into a Twitter and/or Facebook message.

Have solid performance metrics and goals set.

As always check out the document for more details.

Email Facebook Twitter: 22 Cross Channel Tips and Takeaways

MarketingSherpa’s Dirty Dozen

I got the attached document from the Online Marketing Summit produced by UBM TechWeb in San Diego.  I can’t remember who sent it to me or even if I requested it but I wanted to share a few interesting nuggets from the 12 “Newsletter Mistakes Nearly Everyone Makes”.

  1. Email sign up should have a verification process where the person has to verify the signed up for your message.
  2. The more you can segment the better results you will have.
  3. Make the welcome message inviting and engaging…tell them what the future holds.
  4. Know how often to send….
  5. Add some personalization
  6. Use proper HTML and CSS…I personally run my HTML through the W3C Validator Service.

MarketingSherpa Dirty Dozen Email Newsletter Mistakes