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Creating your own email campaign

Rusty Mango Design recently sent out the very first issue of our e-newsletter (issue #2 is currently under production) and the response to it has been very positive. Some customers have asked how mailing lists and e-newsletters all work, so in this post, I will detail how you can build a mailing list of your own and export it before switching to MailChimp and creating your newsletter campaign.

Spam Laws

Before we look at how to create a mailing list and use it to promote your business, let’s take a quick look at the Australian SPAM act.

It is vitally important to know that the SPAM Act of 2003 explicitly defines SPAM as any commercial electronic information (emails, SMS, etc.) that are sent to individuals without their consent. If you fail to comply with the Acts stringent rules, there are very hefty fines and penalties. Your business must only send messages to people that have given you their expressed or inferred consent.

Expressed consent means that you have clearly explained to the owner of an email address why you are collecting it before they give it to you. This can be done quite simply as shown in the example below. People who sign up for Rusty Mango’s free e-book are also made aware they are signing for the RMD newsletter as well.

Create your own email campaign

Inferred consent revolves around having an ongoing business relationship with a person who has previously provided their contact details.

For more information about the SPAM ACT 2003, visit http://bit.ly/1AzSCB5

Collect Email Addresses

Create your own email campaignAs shown above, collecting email addresses can be as simple as creating a sign-up form on your website (for Rusty Mango websites, the CONTACT FORM plugin is built into your CMS). On your sign-up form, be sure to also explain how often the emails will be received. Make sure it is enticing without being overloading. Advice – don’t send out an email newsletter every single day – you will scare off your prospects before they even sign up.

As the email addresses come in, collect them with your email program of choice – The procedure for Outlook 365 is shown below – but most programs are fairly similar. 

Click on the PEOPLE tab (in older versions, this was called CONTACTS).

Right-click on the side panel and create a new folder for your Mailing List contacts.

Add all emails for your mailing list to this folder.

Create a mailing list from your contacts

To create a mailing list to export to MailChimp, you must gather all those email addresses into a CSV file (CSV – comma separated values).

Outlook Instructions:

Click on the FILE menu button at the top of screen.

From the next screen, choose OPEN & EXPORT

Select Import / Export

In the pop-up window, choose EXPORT TO A FILE. Click NEXT.

Choose Comma Separated Values. Click NEXT.

In the next screen you will need to look through and find the Mailing List Contacts folder that you created to collect all your addresses. Click NEXT.

Choose the location where you want to save these files. Click NEXT.

Click NEXT again and FINISH.

Create your own email campaign Create your own email campaign Create your own email campaign

Sign up for Mail Chimp

MailChimpFinally, to create and send out your newsletter to your mailing list, I can highly recommend MailChimp (with no bias or commission).

MailChimp is completely free for list with less than 2000 subscribers, it uses a very simple wizard to guide you through the whole process and it also has dozens of templates that you can use to make your newsletter look professional. Every email that is sent has a small clickable link to let viewers see the email in plain text too.

When planning my email newsletter, I draft it out on Microsoft Word first then copy and paste it across to the MailChimp template.

An email newsletter is a great way to send out special offers, news and information to your customer base. For prospective customers, it can really help to establish the sender as an industry leader who is worthy of their business.

If you would like to become part of the Rusty Mango Design mailing list and receive our free e-book and bi-monthly newsletter, visit the home page of our website and sign-up.

 

Five reasons to evolve your business and get it online

Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web DesignIn small towns, such as my hometown of Innisfail, small business owners have relied for years purely on local customers for their income. And this has worked just fine for the most part as these businesses have built up loyal trade and trust with good service.

But times have changed. Businesses right through to the early 90’s never had to compete against anything like the internet and the changes it has brought. Nowadays, a huge amount of business is conducted online and, as a small business owner, you are no longer just competing against other local businesses. In fact, for most professional services and especially those selling products, there is no concept of a local business anymore.

Whether you like it or not, you are a state-wide, national or even an international business. Your customers are very aware that if they don’t receive the service they expect to get along with the product they want AND at a price that they like, they are going online to get it somewhere else!

So if your business is unwilling to get online to be competitive in 2015, then you are going to lose a huge chunk of your potential market.

Here’s five good reasons why getting a website is essential to the evolution of a modern small business.

Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web Design#1 – A website is available to your customers 24/7

With online trading, a customer can choose when they are going to visit you. They are no longer dependant on when you open your physical store. A website allows a business owner to keep products and services moving all day, every day. A mobile-responsive site takes this to the next level with customers accessing businesses on-the-go with tablets and smartphones.

#2 – Your website opens you up to the international marketplace.

A website means that you don’t have to just sell your products and services to locals in your immediate area. If you have a great product and it is easily found online (with search engine optimisation), you are able to sell to anyone, anywhere in the world. You are no longer geographically locked in.
If someone two thousand kilometres away wants your products – with a website, they can get them.

#3 – Window Shopping has evolved too

Walking down the main street in your town or city is no longer the only way to go window shopping (though some may disagree). Online, your potential customers are always looking and planning where they are going to make their next purchases. They are comparing prices, checking out services and calculating delivery costs. Even if they may not be making an immediate purchase, when they do, those online businesses who have made an impact on their searches will definitely come to the forefront.

#4. Online, you can build your position as a Key Person of Influence in your industry.

Your website and your online presence have become key factors when customers are searching for a new business to deal with. A strong presence is a great way to demonstrate that you are a modern business with its finger on the pulse of your industry. Customers testimonials are also a great way of showing your prospects that you are capable of delivering the products and services that your offer. Social Media interaction (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) will help to build a community of loyal followers that your business can use to develop, research and sell new products. Each one of these components is essential to build your authority as a KPI (Key Person of Influence).

Evolve your Business with Rusty Mango Web Design#5 – On the internet, size does not matter.

A website is a great leveller. Whether you’re a one-man show or a 20,000-employee corporate giant; if you offer prompt and friendly service backed up by a quality product, you can compete head-to-head with the “big guys”. On the other hand, if you don’t have a website, you’ll be losing business to other companies that do.

Despite all the reasons that are spruiked daily about the benefits of an online business, it is estimated that more than half (52%) of Australian small business owners do not have a website. This is astounding considering that 82% of small business owners get new business through referrals. If you don’t have a website, how do these referrals find out more about you?

If you want to evolve your small business and access a greater share of your industry’s market, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design today and we will examine an online strategy that will work for you.

Website Imagery – More important than ever!

Imagery can make or break your siteWeb design has come a long way since 1991 when a man called Tim Berners-Lee created the first text-only pages of the World Wide Web. In those days, web pages were drab and boring as the technology and slow download speeds didn’t allow for anything else.

There is no such excuse in 2015. A majority of the world has access to high-speed broadband and with that, multimedia websites with video, images and sound are common place. Browsing the web has become a total sensory experience in many ways and text is taking a back seat. The imagery that we see on a website can often determines the success or failure of our interactions with that site. “A picture is worth a 1000 words” has never been a truer statement.

Why are images so powerful for a website?

  • Hot spot analysis shows that images are the very first thing a visitor sees on a website. Text is a distant second!
  • One solitary image can determine the emotion and tone of the website, even before the visitor reads a single word.
  • Visitors like to click on image links more than simple text links. For example, a user will more likely click on a product image to make a purchase rather than the words underneath.
  • Visitors like to share what they find on the web with their friends and it is much more likely that they will LIKE an image to share on Facebook or PIN onto Pinterest.

Pointing with images drives attention to the textUsing images has distinct benefit to a website:

  • Site analysis has shown that images increase the average number of pages visited within a site, reducing bounce time and keep visitors longer.
  • 60% of consumers are more willing to consider local businesses that include images on their websites.
  • ALT tags (the labels that pop-up when you float your mouse over an image) help to improve the general SEO on your site. Google scans these each time it visits your website.
  • Online store products with effective imagery have a much improved chance of product sale than those without.

Message: Don’t Skimp on the Imagery

It’s always evident when a business skimps on images for its website. Even if the text content is compelling and the “call to action” actually works, the whole site can be let down by poor quality imagery. Conveying an emotion is one of the most important parts of a business web design – you want the site visitor to “feel” something towards your brand. You may want to generate excitement through action shots, warmth through family images or compassion for emotional situations around the world.

Creating this emotion is the hardest part. Only well-framed and purposeful imagery has the strength to convey emotion which will affect nearly everything else on the page.

Now to get on my soapbox: Only a professional photographer (or at the very least an experienced amateur) has the experience to capture these images. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that a couple of shots taken on a smart phone will have the same effect. Shots taken by your employees often won’t meet the bill either.

If you have contracted a web designer to build your small business site, than you have made a serious dollar investment that will ultimately benefit your business. Don’t hamper that investment by reverting to using poor quality images on your site. Outlay a few extra dollars (do a little research, it’s often cheaper than you think) and hire a professional photographer to create the emotions that your site needs for its success.

Your site will be better for it!

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design