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Fri, Dec 19th - 4:47PM

Communication Mastery - Life is a Series of Presentations
Communication MASTERY
by Tony Jeary

Life is a series of presentations. Everyperson you meet, every email, voicemail, or letter you send, and every conversation you have is either a communication or a presentation. The choice is yours, but the results are incomparable. To marshal customers, partners, investors, employees, friends, and family toward your success, you must move beyond communicating and make your life a series of presentations!

How effective are your communications? It's a question you may never have considered before, but one that is absolutely crucial to your success. Most people are unintentional about the way they communicate. They communicate verbally and through their body language without preparing and without honing the skills required to make each encounter an extraordinary one. But what if there were a better way? Look at your own communication skills. How many prospects do you have to tap in order to make a profitable connection? Are you able to successfully make contact with everyone you want, or do you play the numbers game, making dozens of calls and sending out dozens of mailings and messages in the hopes of getting just one or two responses?

Is it easy for you to get "in," either over the phone, through email, or in person, to someone you want to pitch your products, services, or ideas to, or do you often find yourself faced with impenetrable barriers (or simply ignored by not getting a call back)?

Do you get things done faster and more easily with email and voicemail, or have they added yet another layer of complication and frustration to your life?

Most people rate their communication effectiveness at about 20 percent to 30 percent, which means only two or three out of every 10 communications accomplishes the desired result. The other seven or eight are wasted effort or worse ... missed opportunities.

But then there are the rare few who are able to maximize virtually all of the communication opportunities they engage in. When they make a call, it gets returned fast. When they share an idea, people respond to it immediately. When they set their sights on a client, they get the client on the first try. When they make a speech, the audience is captivated. Their communications get results, and people take their desired action.

Life Is a Series of Presentations

There have been thousands of entrepreneurs over the years with incredible products, ideas, and services that never realized success. The difference between them and the greats — people like Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Sam Walton, Warren Buffett, and Steve Jobs — is that the greats know how to effectively convince people to do what they want. They can marshal customers, partners, investors, employees, friends, family, and often entire markets to work collectively toward their success.

They are Communication Masters, and even though their individual communication styles may vary, they have one common trait: Their communications are presentations!

That word may conjure up an image of a conference room full of people, a slide projector, coffee, and bagels. But a presentation encompasses much more than just speechmaking. A presentation is, at its essence, the act of working to impact, change, or reinforce the content and state of another person's mind and actions. When you "present" instead of just communicate, you make a deep, nuanced, profound connection with people — whether it's through an email, on the phone, in a mailing or marketing piece, at a meeting, or in front of an audience. You present your message with intentionality, power, and clarity, and get a completely different outcome.

The difference between merely communicating and presenting is the difference between trying to get through to a prospective client or customer and having that person ringing your phone to set up a meeting.

It's the difference between sending an email, letter, or voicemail that gets misinterpreted, ignored, or deleted and one that makes the recipient get back to you quickly, with exactly the response you want.

Communication Mastery is the difference that makes all the difference in the world toward achieving your goals — in just about every situation you can think of.

The 3 Secrets to Communication Mastery

Communication Mastery is a level few people operate at. Yet it's something that's actually quite easy to achieve. The difference is in the way the message is prepared and received, and it can be achieved by integrating three simple principles into your daily communications:

1. Get Clear on Your Objectives

Ordinary communicators whip off an email, leave a quick voicemail, or rush into a meeting with their minds on something else.

Communication Masters, on the other hand, imagine each and every communication event down the line to its ideal conclusion before they ever start typing, talking, or walking into a conference room. And they do it by asking — and answering — four questions:

What specific desired outcomes do I personally want from this communication?

What action do I want the recipient(s) to take as a result of my presentation?

What must the recipient(s) know, say, or do differently when my presentation is over?

When are these actions required?

Let's say, for example, that you're leaving someone a voice message. Do you want the recipient to call you back with a certain piece of information, write you a letter, tell his or her assistant to schedule a meeting, buy your product immediately, or simply get his or her mind turning in preparation for a follow-up presentation?

Articulate to yourself exactly what the goal of your presentation is, and exactly what the recipient has to do in order for that goal to be achieved. You may even want to write down the objective in either a short sentence or short list of bullets and then keep that list handy and top of mind during the presentation.

2. Apply the Presentation Platinum Rule

We all know The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you. This is good advice, but those who communicate effectively use the Platinum Rule: Do unto others as they want to be done unto. Communicate the way others want to receive your message — not the way you like to be communicated to!

Everyone receives and processes information differently. Once you realize this distinction about human nature, your power and communication effectiveness will be enhanced. Master Communicators are flexible. They rarely make the same presentation twice because they know each recipient is different. They learn the composition of the person or people they're presenting to before the presentation begins, then adjust accordingly.

The best way to determine how people want to receive your message is to take a look at how they communicate their own messages to you. The more your communications are able to mirror back to the recipients their own likes and preferences, the more likely they are to respond quickly and positively to your message. If they use email, you use email. If they always call you, use the phone.

You can utilize the Platinum Rule even if you've never met the person you are making a presentation to. Imagine, for example, that your goal is to create a joint venture between your organization and XYZ Industries, and in order to do it, you need to get your proposal to the president—someone you've never met. What does XYZ Industries' website look like? Do they have a public persona, a "vibe" they want to convey? How does the president dress — conservatively, casually, or with an edge? Are there any articles about him or her or interviews that you can read? Does the corporate literature contain any letters-from-the-president — type content that might offer some insights into his or her personality, likes, and dislikes, or do you have any shared acquaintances who may be able to give you insight?

All of this information will enable you to shape your presentation in a way that will resonate with your prospect on a deep personal level. For example, if the president is young and the XYZ is a web company, you might send an audio postcard via email. If the company is a manufacturing company without a website, you might infer that a personal letter is best.

3. Address the 'So What?' Factor

The difference between communicators and Communication Masters is that masters constantly and continuously target the recipient(s) pains, needs, and objectives with every presentation opportunity. They can imagine their recipient saying, "So what?" to each and every idea, bullet point, or sentence. And they make sure that their presentation delivers the response to that "So what?"

Most people, excited about the opportunity to sell their idea, product, or service, spend so much time talking about what excites them about the opportunity and the need they think it solves for their prospect, they never take the time to truly dig into the recipient's pains or objectives. And, this is why most presentations fail. It has nothing to do with the opportunity; the failure is in the delivery because the "So what?" factor was never addressed, and the recipient never made the connection between the needs in his life and the opportunity presented.

Your first communication should be entirely exploratory, whether by email or in person. Ask leading questions. Take detailed notes. Resist the urge to offer solutions or answers. This is difficult at first, because you are naturally excited about the opportunity you have to offer. But, it is only an "opportunity" if the recipient recognizes it as an opportunity — if it satisfies their "So what?" Once you have identified the needs, weave those into every communication. Make sure that every presentation — every email, voicemail, or face-to-face meeting — recognizes those pains and addresses them. Make constant and continuous connection with your recipients, and you will have overcome the "So what?" factor.

Achieving Communication Mastery

You're already doing the work of communicating: You're having the conversations, writing the emails, making the phone calls, giving the speeches. Simply by integrating these three principles into all of those efforts, you will transform them from mere communications into presentations ... and in so doing, multiply their effectiveness exponentially. You will accomplish more through your communications than you ever knew you could, and you'll do it in less time and with less effort than you will believe.

Presentation Power Tips
Here are four tips to turn everyday communication into effective presentations:

Email Presentation Power Tip
Establish the purpose of your email for the recipient upfront, in one clear, concise sentence. Use concise phrases, not verbose sentences, in the body of the email. If you know your recipient's style (slow or fast, task-oriented, or social connector), tailor the length and meat of the phrases accordingly. But remember, everyone wants email to be efficient.

Phone Presentation Power Tip
If you expect to reach someone live on the phone, be sure to plan for what you will say if you get voicemail. People often get caught off-guard by voicemail and leave a jumbled less-than-ideal communication. Before picking up the phone, briefly plan a concise message in the event that you get voicemail.

Be prepared to reach your prospect's assistant. Executive assistants are the front line of executive communication, and your entire opportunity could be lost or hindered by an ineffective or disorganized communication. Prepare for this presentation as you would for any other, utilizing the three principles of Communication Mastery.

Group Presentation Power Tip
If you are presenting to a small group, get the members involved early. For example, you might try asking each member of the group to share one personal objective for your meeting. In this way, you generate a sense of shared purpose and get the group members engaged in a personal way with what you are discussing.

Public Speaking Presentation Power Tip
Before presenting to a group, mingle with some of the participants beforehand. Ask them what they are interested in hearing and pre-sell some of your ideas. This will give you a connection with the audience and also give you a chance to adjust or target your speech, depending on the feedback you received.

If possible, learn the environment before you have to present. Walk the room, sit in some of the chairs, walk the stage. This will give you a mental "ownership" of the space, which will translate into a greater sense of comfort, confidence, and authority.

Match Your Recipient's Communication Style
Master Communicators know how their recipients want to receive information and adjust their communication styles to match.

The Slow Talker
If the recipient talks slowly and methodically, and exhibits a thorough approach to meetings, emails, and discussions, you must do the same. Break your ideas into highly structured communications that cover all details.

The Fast Talker
If the recipient is fast talking and extroversive, has high energy, and moves quickly from one idea to the next, you will need to stay dynamic. Cover multiple ideas and maintain high energy and passion in your communications.

Be Task-Oriented
If your recipient has a "bottom line" mentality, gets to the point, and doesn't linger in conversations, your communications need to be task-oriented. Keep your emails efficient; use short concise phrases. Connect highly action-oriented tasks to clear benefits.

Achieve Social Connection
If your recipient is very conversational and talks about off-topic experiences, this person needs to make a social connection in his or her communications. Build more emotion into your presentations and maintain fluidity. This person needs to know you connect and emphasize with them.

Practice all these tips, put them in your presentation arsenal and you've got a great start to becoming a communication master! And remember, life is a series of presentations.

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Wed, Dec 3rd - 1:01PM

How to Write a Killer List Article in 10 Easy Steps
by Steve Amundsen, other links can be found in his blog.

From a reader's perspective, list articles are very attractive–there is something about a good list that just draws readers in.

A list is basically like providing a built in road map for your readers to navigate your article (and it's true that we usually skim content that we read on the web, isn't it?).

A list makes it easier for a reader to grab the basic facts and to take away a few points of value, so if you haven't tried this article writing technique, I encourage you to give it a go!

But how do you write a great list article?

It's actually not that hard, but it may have more elements to keep in mind than you imagined.

When you're writing a list to use in article marketing, here are some key steps to follow:

1) Choose your topic.

As always, the topic of your article should be related to the topic of your website, but what should the specific topic of your list article be?

Since you're providing a list of items you can choose a broader topic.

Think in the realm of related tips you can offer on a certain subject, or a How To article that offers an instructional guide for how to do something.

You can also offer a list of interesting facts about a certain aspect of your niche that people always ask you about. Or you can think in terms of a list of common misconceptions people might have about a certain aspect of your niche.

The idea is to choose an over-arching topic under which you can have a list of several elements that expound on your overall topic. (I'll give you some examples of good list articles below, so that may also help you brainstorm some ideas.)

Decide beforehand–

Will this be a How To list article?

Will this be an article that lists a series of Top Tips?

Will this be an article that lists facts about your topic?  

2) Start your brainstorming session.

After you've decided what your article topic will be, brainstorm some possible list items that could fall under that topic.

If you're doing a HowTo article, then list out all your steps. If it's a Top Tips article, then list out all your tips. If it's a list of facts, then list out your best facts about the topic you're writing about.

Come up with more items that you need–you will weed things down later on.

Don't bother trying to write eloquent paragraphs now–this is your brainstorming session and you're just trying to decide what items will be in your list.  

Oh, and remember–All items must be on the same topic (duh, right?)

3) Choose how many items will be in your list (5, 7, 10, 20, 25, etc)

Remember, there are word count restrictions on article submissions–most publishers will accept a maximum of 1500 words in an article, and you know I recommend trying to stick in the word count sweet spot of 700-800 words.

So, odds are you won't be able to have a really extensive number of items in your list. If you feel like the items in your list need to a lot of explanation, that will mean that you need to choose a fewer number of list items. Obviously the more items you have in your list, the less explanation you can give for each item.

I've picked out a few examples for you from our article directory–

20 Amazing Honey Bee Facts! Here's a great list article that contains 20 items (notice that each item is short and does not need elaboration.

15 Reasons why Small Businesses Need a Brand Identity System

Barbie Dolls–10 Facts About Barbie Doll Collecting

7 Tips to Prepare You For Your Job Interview This list is of a moderate size, which allows the author to give 2 or 3 sentences of elaboration for each item in the list

5 Dramatically Different Reasons Why You Should Submit Your Articles to Ezine Editors This is an article of mine that contains a shorter list with 5 items in it. Notice that a list of this size allows me room to elaborate a bit on each item.

You can make your list as low as 3 items, but if you do that I would be really certain that you have some meat in the elaboration of those items. If you only have 3 items, and you don't provide the in-depth explanation to back it up, then it can convey a lack of knowledge on the subject, which is not what we're going for! :-)  

I think that 3 is as low as you can go and still call it a list :-) , but when you're choosing how many items to include in your list, keep in mind that 5, 7, 9, 10, 15, 20, and 25 are more eye-catching than say 4, 6, 8, 14, etc. Don't ask me why–this is just the way it is! If you want to go with odd numbers, such as 13, 17, 21–those can be attractive too.

I just know I've never seen a "Top 4" list that really got me excited. If you've got 4 items, stretch it to 5. If you have 6 items, then come up with an extra one to make it 7 or scale it down to 5.

4) Pick your strongest brainstorming items to be included in the list.

If you have "over-brainstormed" and have too many items to include in your article, that is not a bad thing–you can use those items in another article.

5) Arrange your list items.

If it's a HowTo article, arrange your list in a logical order (you knew that already, didn't you? ;-) ).

If you're doing a list that does not have a logical sequence of events, then arrange your list items so that your first 2 items and your final item are your strongest.

There is a bit of strategy here–Remember, you must rope a reader's attention and then keep their attention until the end of your article.

Start strong: If your first two tips are really strong, then it will lead the reader further into your article, and they'll be more likely to read all of your tips.  

Close strong: You also want to close strong–the last item in your list will be the last thing the reader sees before deciding to read your resource box. A first impression counts, but so does a last impression, especially when there is a specific action you'd like a reader to take after reading your article.

So, remember–if your tips don't have to be in any certain order to make sense, then strategically choose your strongest tips to appear in spots 1 & 2, and then also as your final list item.  

6) Flesh your chosen items out, and remember your word count restrictions.

If it turns out that you're going beyond your word count restrictions, then consider either pairing down your list, or keeping all of your list items and pairing down your explanations of each item.

If you take the latter route and have a longer list with brief explanations of each item, you could pull this trick I told you about before, where you start with a list post and then bounce an entire article series off of your list.

7) Write your introductory paragraph and a conclusion.

I would definitely advise using an intro and conclusion rather than just launching straight into your list and having an abrupt cut-off when your list is complete.

I've even heard of some publishers who will decline list articles that don't have at least a brief intro and conclusion. For  an example of a good (and brief) intro and conclusion, check out this article.

8)  Craft your Title.

To get the optimum benefits of having a list article, you would craft a title that tells the reader how many items are in the list and what the list is about.

See the examples of list articles mentioned above for some inspiration, and please also check out these references for crafting great titles:

The #1 Very Simple Tweak You Can Make To Your Articles To Produce Maximum Results!

How To Give Your Article Curb Appeal

Slap On A Lackluster Title: How To Sabotage Your Article Marketing #7

9) Be sure your list items are numbered.

This may seem obvious, but when you're writing a list article, it does help to number each item in your list.

While there's nothing terrible about saying "Firstly, you would do this" and "Secondly, you would do this", or "Number one", "Number two" and not having an actual number beside each item (such as 1, 2, etc) , I think it just makes it easier for a reader to navigate a list if each item in the list is clearly marked by a real number (such as the list items in this article, 7 Brainstorming Ideas For Creating Attention Grabbing Articles!)

Or, if you don't want to put numbers next to each list item, at least make each item be clearly delineated in the article, as in this article: 5 Deadly Sleeping Sins

10) Consider your line spacing to make your list easier to read.

This is true of any article, but especially if you are doing a list article.

Be sure that each item in your list is clearly delineated–you do have a word count, but there is nothing that says you can't space things out to be more readable!

Look at this article for an example of what I'm talking about.  Notice how everything isn't scrunched together–each item in the list is clearly visible at a glance.

So, as a wrap up–your list article can follow a template like this:

    Introductory paragraph

    1) [first list item here]

    2) [second list item here]

    3) [third list item here]

    4) [fourth list item here]

    5) [fifth list item here]

    (you get the idea–go through each item on your list)

    Concluding paragraph

I think it's actually easier to write a list article than any other kind of article–in the same way it's easier for a reader to read, it's also easier to write (at least it is for me :-) )!

Comment (1)


Wed, Dec 3rd - 12:58PM

Search Engines Trump Yellow Pages
Local is As Local Does

It looks like search engines have officially trumped the Yellow Pages when it comes to customers looking for local businesses. Data from comScore and TMP Directional Marketing shows that this year more people are turning to search engines after last year's showed that Yellow Pages were on top.

Editor's Note: Increasingly, people are using the Internet to find local businesses. If you're MIA in local search, or if the information doesn't reflect the image you want to portray, you may have a little work to do. What steps are you taking to get found?

What the Data Shows

While most people still use a variety of different methods to find a local business, the study found what people seem to prefer as their first choice for doing so:

1.  Search Engines (31%)

2.  Print Yellow Pages or White Pages (30%)

3.  Internet Yellow Pages Sites (19%)

4.  Local Search Sites (11%)


Last year's numbers had Print Yellow Pages at 33% and search engines at 30%. When it comes to online habits of consumers, the study shows that more people turn to the Internet Yellow Pages sites than the Local search sites like Google Maps and Yahoo Local, but I suspect the reason for this is that they don't have to go to the actual local search sites to get the same results. If you search Google for a local business, you are likely to get the Google Maps results right at the top. The same goes for Yahoo.

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Wed, Nov 5th - 11:30AM

7 Reasons Why You Need a Funded Proposal Campaign
On January 24, 1848, gold was discovered at Sutters Mill, near San Francisco California.  Within a year the Gold Rush was on, and San Frnacisco became a boom town.  Many people became rich.

But it's interesting to note that the very first millionaire wasn't a miner.  The first millionaire from the California Gold Rush was a man by the name of Samuel Brannan.  Mr. Brannan set up a store to sell gold prospecting supplies, and within a year had revenue of $150,000 a month.  And in 1850 $150,000 was a LOT of money!

The wealth wasn't just in the gold, it was in the shovels, picks and gold pans the miners needed.  Since then, marketers have adopted this as an analogy, and we still talk about selling "shovels to miners", but how can that help YOU build an online network marketing business?

The best way I know of to take advantage of this powerful marketing strategy is through a Funded Proposal.  Simply put, a funded proposal is a  method of selling an inexpensive item to people in your target market, like an e-book, course, or DVD.  When they buy the product, you then know that you have a very serious prospect.

One way I do this is by marketing an e-book that has something they want- in my case a 181 page e-book about how to stop chasing people and start ATTRACTING them into their business.  This is information network marketers crave.  So they go to my capture page, enter their info, and about 5% buy the book.  So for every thousand leads I sell fifty books at $37, a total of $1,850 in extra income.

But the money isn't the best part, the free leads is what's important.  So the best part of the equation for me isn't the money (although that's nice!), it's the fact that I'm generating extremely high quality, targeted leads of people who are experienced network marketers, and now I have a chance to get to know them and eventually show them my business.

Rookies to online network marketing wonder why they should use a Funded Proposal system to market their business.  They can't understand why they shouldn't just market their business to people directly.  Part of the answer lies in the shovel story.  What I'm doing is called double dipping.  I not only sell shovels to the miners, but I also own a mine (my network marketing company).  I sell them a book that teaches them something they need: how to attract people into their network marketing business.  But I know that many of them have a lousy mine.  So then I get a chance to say, "Hey, I sold you a great shovel, but are you digging in a profitable mine?  If the answer is no, I can show them my business.

Lighthouse Marketing Ebook


So here are the seven reasons why you need to have a funded proposal system in your marketing efforts.

1.  It is a source of extra cash flow.  My funded proposal makes enough money to cover ALL of my marketing expenses and my company auto-ship.  This is HUGE, because most people quit the business after just a few months, usually due to lack of success and lack of money.  (Or maybe their spouse just told them to stop buying "stuff!").  This problem goes away when you are making money whether people join your business or not!

2.  It frees you from corporate compliance!  Very few companies really allow you to agressively market their business.  And rightfully so.  They have to protect their good name and products, and giving too much freedom to the sales force can land them in a lot of legal hot water.  So as a marketer, you are limited in the advertising you can do for your company.  It's kind of a catch twenty two, because in network marketing, we as distributors are supposed to be the marketers, yet our marketing hands are tied.  But not so with the funded proposal!  I can sell an e-book however, wherever and as often as I like!  The sky's the limit!  Then, once I have a qualified prospect, I can show them my business after I already have some rapport and credibility with my prospect, and in whatever way my company approves of.

3.  The leads are qualified prospects who are interested in Network Marketing.  The book I sell is called "Lighthouse Marketing, The Art And Science Of Attracting People Into your Network Marketing Business."  The only person that would ever be interested in that is a network marketer, right?  I mean, it has the words "network marketing" right in the sub-title!  So if they enter their name on my capture page I know I hve a great prospect, not some generic "work from home" lead like I'd find at the lead store.  Those lousy generic leads can be anything from wanting to make money assembling furniture to people who just want to do data entry.  I don't want to weed through those types of leads!  And with a funded proposal system I don't have to, I just work directly with high quality prospects.

4.  Leads are real time!  The minute they enter their name at your site, as you see here to the right, their info is up-dated in your back office instantly! No more "30 day old" leads!

5.  It builds credibility with people.  They perceive you as an expert when you are successfully marketing products online.  That is often what they are looking to do also.

6.  It allows you to market in places where others aren't successful.  For example, social networking is crammed with people marketing their opportunities to each other, with very little success, because they're all just interested in their OWN company.  But a marketing system or valuable e-book is something they can ALL use, no matter what business they are in.  After they submit their name as a lead on your site, you get a chance to market to them and build the relationship.  Over time you have a chance to bring some of these people into your business.

7.  It gives you control over your marketing efforts.  Most network marketing professionals are dependent on somebody for leads.  Very few are good cold market prospectors.  Most need a lead source of some kind.  When you have a system that you control 100% you no longer worry about bad "batches" of leads, or price and quantity fluctuations.  You OWN your marketing 100% and generate your own leads on demand!

The bottom line is this: if you are in online network marketing and you aren't using a funded proposal system, you're working too hard!

Try out our funded proposal system here:
Xooma Direct System also
Lighthouse Marketing System


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Tue, Nov 4th - 8:58AM

An Email List that Sparkles: 10 Tips
An Email List That Sparkles

10 tips for building and maintaining a quality email list

by Ellen Siegel, Constant Contact Director of Technology and Standards

Your email list is one of the most important assets you have, and a high-quality list is worth its weight in gold. What exactly is a quality list? It's made up of valid email addresses to which you have clear permission to send specific content.

Why does the quality of your list matter? For starters, it can have a direct impact on the deliverability of your emails. When you continue to mail to addresses that have bounced, ISPs take notice. They take even more notice when you get spam complaints from your recipients (their customers). Remember that these days, most ISPs define spam as any email their customers have indicated they don't want to receive.

A low-quality list can also have a direct impact on the success of your emails. You're sending emails because you want to communicate with your contacts. If they don't receive your email because it is either blocked or delivered to their spam folder, you aren't reaching them. And if they are annoyed at your content or your frequency, they are likely to delete your message or file a spam complaint. Either way, you won't get the opens, click-throughs, and other results you are seeking.

So your deliverability and your reputation with your subscribers are deeply intertwined... and building and maintaining a clean list is critical to keeping both on the right track!

7 Tips for Building a Quality List

Now that we've covered why it's essential to have a quality list, let's look at 7 techniques for how to build one.

    1. Ask permission - Remember that an effective email list is one composed of people who know and want to hear from your organization. Always make sure you have explicit permission to mail to your contacts. This is not only an industry best practice; it's also a very practical way to reduce your complaints and improve your deliverability. (A bigger list is not better if your recipients are ignoring your email and filing spam complaints.) If you haven't been asking permission, now is the time to start.

    2. Confirm your online sign ups - To avoid problems with online sign-ups, such as typographical errors or attacks in which a malicious person or program inputs bogus addresses, it's a good idea to require confirmation before you add them to your list. This is usually done by having the sign-up trigger a confirmation email requiring the new list member to click on a link to confirm their subscription before they are added to your list.

    3. Set expectations - Set clear expectations next to your sign-up box about what you will do with the address, including what kind of content you plan to send and how frequently you plan to send it.

    4. Collect subscriber preferences - If it's feasible, give your subscribers some control over what content types they're interested in receiving and how often they'd like to hear from you. Many people unsubscribe from lists because they feel that the content isn't relevant or they are getting mailings too frequently.

    5. Start communicating right away - To help people remember that they opted in to your list, it's a good idea to follow up promptly with a confirmation. Best practice is to respond with a welcome email that acknowledges that you've received their confirmed sign-up, introduces your organization, and reminds them of what content you'll be sending to them.

    6. Be consistent with your "from" name and address - To be easily recognizable, use the same "from" name and email address in all your mailings and make sure it clearly identifies your organization. Avoid using a personal name or email address that people may not associate with your organization.

    7. Ask to be added to their "Contact" list - This quick step can help to ensure delivery and will see to it that images and links are enabled in your future messages. It also sends a signal to the ISP that your mail is wanted.

3 Tips for Maintaining a Quality List

Here are 3 tips on how to maintain your list quality over time.

    1. Monitor your bounces - A "bounce" is a message from a receiver, such as an ISP, telling you there is a problem delivering your message. For example, the address you are sending to may be invalid because of a typographical error or because someone has moved to a new company or ISP. "Non-existent" addresses should be removed promptly, and even notifications of temporary failures like "mailbox full" are worth monitoring. If you continue to see the same bounce message for very long, consider removing that address from your list. Continuing to mail to addresses that you've been notified are invalid hurts your sending reputation and deliverability at those ISPs.

    2. Monitor your recipients' activity - If you have open or click-through statistics, use them to understand what your contacts strongest interests are, then follow through by tuning the content of future mailings to reflect those interests. Also, respond promptly to complaints and opt-outs and treat them as valuable feedback.

    3. Consider an opt-in campaign - If some of the people on your list haven't opened or clicked on your emails for a significant amount of time, they may no longer find your emails relevant. One option is the industry best practice of a confirmed opt-in (COI) campaign, where you send an email whose express purpose is to re-establish permission.

In this case, if the person you email does not explicitly confirm that they want to continue to receive your emails, their address must be handled as an opt-out as defined by CAN-SPAM. Many Email Service Providers (ESPs) provide tools for COI campaigns that manage the confirmations and the implied opt-outs for you. However, if your existing list was purchased, rented, or scraped, even sending a COI campaign is a permission violation: you should start fresh and build a new list with permission-based techniques.

Establishing a solid relationship with the people on your email list is the best way to build their trust in your organization's products and services. By following the tips laid out in this article and respecting your subscribers' preferences, you can keep your list golden. And as an added bonus, you will also likely see improved deliverability and better success with your email campaigns.

If you need recommendations for an email campaign company, I recommend Constant Contact for professional quality and for effectiveness with email campaigns and spam limitations I recommend an autoresponder with automateyourlist.com by AWeber.  Use this link  FREE Email Copywriting Videos... Click here!


Emails for Small Business with Constant Contact

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