TIPS TO HELP YOU CREATE A SUCCESSFUL MAILCHIMP EMAIL CAMPAIGN
Recent studies have shown that for every dollar spent on your email marketing, you will receive a return of over 30 dollars on your investment. Translation: email is one of the most cost-effective methods available today. One of the biggest challenges to using email marketing, is that everyone uses it, and your customers are already inundated with this kind of communication every single day.
So how do you create an email campaign that will stand out from the crowd? Here at Piccolo Marketing, we recommend MailChimp. Here are a few tips to help you build a successful email campaign using MailChimp.
BUILD AN EMAIL LIST AND GO! You will get the best ROI as you build and maintain an engaged subscriber list composed of potential customers who have opted in to receive messages from your business, and MailChimp has built-in tools created expressly for this purpose. Create a signup form on your website, and drive those signups through your social media. You will be able to create compelling messages with your MailChimp account, and share them using their share button and social media post building features. Build your landing page with MailChimp, as well, using your best imagery and content. (NOTE: Never buy an email list! Your emails will be treated like Spam.)
COST EFFECTIVE. The Forever Free option from MailChimp allows you to experiment with all their tools and options, so if you are starting out, this is one less cost you will have to worry about. As long as you have less than 2,000 followers you can stay on this free plan. MailChimp will give you free support, 24/7, as a new user, and as you grow that assistance is still available at a very low cost.
FIELD GUIDE. Using the MailChimp field guide will provide you with everything you need to know to make the best use of the platform. Here you can learn how to create an email marketing plan, design the most effective emails, and even test them. You can move forward with automation and measuring the success of your campaigns.
DESIGN HELP. The MailChimp design guides will help with every facet of this area, including content, templates, color, images, layout, and more. Design is both science and art, and using MailChimp tools will take all the guesswork out of it.
TEST YOUR CAMPAIGN. You can create a test campaign, first choosing the factor that you believe defines that success, whether that is clicks, opens, or earnings. MailChimp collects the results and shows you the most successful factor.
Once you have tested your campaign and its potential success, it’s time to get busy!
With Mailchimp’s campaign builder, you will find it easy to discover the perfect templates for all your messaging, whether you are welcoming new subscribers, notifying your customers of a great value, or wishing someone a happy birthday.
Here at Piccolo Marketing, we are here to help you get the word out. Let’s get started!
CREATING THE NEXT GENERATION OF SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS
The opportunities for making some quick money are right around the corner with the coming of summer. If you are recently graduated, or taking time off from classes, you will be facing a few months with nothing really to do. Now is a great time to start a business of your own! You can start up with just a little cash, some hard work and a great idea, and start making a profit right away.
Here are a few ways you can be your own boss for the summer:
Beat the heat. Lots of places in the public out of doors don’t have snack bars, and when it gets hot people want water and sports drinks, and will definitely feel the lack of sunglasses and hats. And who doesn’t love those hand-held fans that spray water and cool air on you? Your business will be a welcome sight on a beach, at a park, or an outdoor sporting event. A busy street corner would also be a great spot for you to offer your wares. The startup cost here would be approximately $100, especially if you buy your stock at dollar stores. You can grow your business by reordering what sells the best.
Cut the grass. During the summer, a beautiful yard is a huge responsibility, and many people will be willing to pay someone else to do it. The average lawn should be mowed every 1-2 weeks, and then there is the additional landscaping to care for. Distribute flyers around subdivisions, and offer a decent price; people who are going on a long vacation will jump at the chance to avoid the huge job that will await them when they return, for example. The startup costs here, due to machinery needs, will be between $500-$1000, depending on whether you buy or rent new or used. Owning your equipment will help you grow more quickly and allow you to profit sooner. You can then store it over the cooler months, and start up again next May or June, already ahead of the game.
Watch the dog. Pet-sitting is an easy and low cost business startup – all you need is transportation! Many people who are leaving their pets to go on a trip really don’t want to pay the doggy day care, and there are many pets who hate those places, anyway. Letting Rover stay home and sleep in his own bed will be an important factor for your clients as they enjoy their own summer vacations. These clients will remember you and may use you again during the holidays, too – and then there’s word of mouth advertising. Your dog-sitting service could end up being a long-term small business quite easily!
Hang out with the kids. Summer care for children is a huge concern for every working couple, and this can be a great way to make some money during the summer. Build trust with parents by providing a background check before they ask, and references from teachers, pastors, and people they may know will help a lot. If you have your own transportation the parents may be comfortable with you taking the children to the pool or the library; that’s something to work out in a way that will provide the best safety for their kids. You can offer tutoring as well, for an additional fee. The startup cost here would be small, limited to mainly marketing.
These summer business ideas are great for people who have to get back to school in the fall, as they can easily be stepped away from for the season. If you maintain your contacts you can get right back to work next year!
Here at Piccolo Marketing, we are available to help the next generation of small business owners. Call us today!
A FEW BOOKS TO HELP YOU “SPRING CLEAN” YOUR LIFE
Some say reading books is a thing of the past. We disagree.
The in-depth journey that a book takes us on can be invaluable, revealing whole new worlds of thought and opinion. Like Lucy opening the wardrobe door in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”, we emerge into new landscapes that enable us to step out onto completely new paths of adventure that we may never have considered before.
As we head into Spring, a time when cleaning up clutter and refreshing our environments is often top-of-mind, let’s consider uncluttering our minds and hearts as well. A good book can do that!
Here are a few suggestions for books that can help “Spring clean” your life:
Steve Jobs. (Walter Isaacson, Oct. 2011)
- “Based on more than forty interviews with Jobs conducted over two years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Walter Isaacson has written a riveting story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing. Driven by demons, Jobs could drive those around him to fury and despair. But his personality and products were interrelated, just as Apple’s hardware and software tend to be, as if part of an integrated system. His tale is instructive and cautionary, filled with lessons about innovation, character, leadership, and values.” – (Amazon review)
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. (Brad Stone, Aug. 2014)
- “Amazon.com’s visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn’t content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that’s never been cracked, until now. Author Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, and his book is the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. The Everything Store is the book that the business world can’t stop talking about, the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.” -(Amazon review)
The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F**k: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life. (Mark Manson, Sept. 2016)
- “In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. For decades, we’ve been told that positive thinking is the key to a happy, rich life. “F**k positivity,” Mark Manson says. “Let’s be honest, s**t is f**ked and we have to live with it.” In his wildly popular Internet blog, Manson doesn’t sugarcoat or equivocate. He tells it like it is—a dose of raw, refreshing, honest truth that is sorely lacking today. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is his antidote to the coddling, let’s-all-feel-good mindset that has infected modern society and spoiled a generation, rewarding them with gold medals just for showing up. Human beings are flawed and limited—”not everybody can be extraordinary, there are winners and losers in society, and some of it is not fair or your fault.” Manson advises us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek. Author Manson makes it clear that there are only so many things we can give a f**k about so we need to figure out which ones really matter. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humor, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.” – (Amazon review)
Happy reading, and happy Spring Cleaning!
Piccolo Marketing – Marketing Built For Your Small Business.
IS YOUR COMPANY CULTURE CRAP?
The culture of any company has always been important to everyone involved, from owners and the workforce to the clients and customers. However, it was never really named or discussed until fairly recently. While some people may dismiss the concept as simply a buzzword, since it’s such a hot topic and probably over-discussed, we would argue that it is actually an extremely powerful concept that has always affected people in business, and that it is becoming even more important as the modern workplace continues to evolve.
The benefits of a strong, unified company culture are clear. It contributes to the identity and values of your company (think Disney or Tom’s) and will attract and retain top talent as it has for companies like Google or Starbucks. Strong company culture will save a business owner money that would otherwise be spent on recruiting, hiring, and training– and every business owner knows (or should know) that happy, content workers are far more productive. Your corporate culture also adds to your brand identity; when your clients see you as a fun-loving, generous brand, it creates brand loyalty.
So, let’s be real. Is your company culture crap? Do you often dread walking in the door of your own organization because of the atmosphere? Is your staff uncomfortable, unpleasant, and stiff with one another? Take an honest, hard look at your workforce: how many of them have been with you for more than a year or two? Do they seem content and committed? Are they kind to one another, or do they spend too much time snarking and backbiting? Do you find yourself short staff members at crucial times due to call-outs, no-shows, or illness?
The honest answers to these questions will give you a pretty good idea of the condition of your company culture. If you think that culture needs to be improved upon, you are probably asking yourself where to start.
Here are a few ideas that might help to get you going in the right direction.
- Research. Study the companies that are continually listed as the “best companies in the world to work for”. What are some of their hallmarks and commitments? It’s not always about money and benefits. Sometimes it’s about appreciation and celebration.
- Poll. Conduct a poll of your workforce. Allow answers to be given anonymously, and ensure that they know there will be no retaliation (that’s illegal, anyway). Study their responses, and take them to heart. Make changes where you can, and as soon as you can. When they see that you hear them and you care, the payoff will be tremendous.
- Protection. Do you have a strong, viable bullying policy? If not, it may be time to create one, and you can use the philosophies of other companies that are known for their awesome company culture as a guide. Most employee policy handbooks for large companies are available online, so this information will be pretty easy to find. If you have a bullying policy, it is vital that you enforce it. Nothing destroys a company from within like a bully (or two).
- Benefits. These can be costly, we know. But an employee who gets a paid holiday on their birthday will feel so special! Or maybe a company potluck for special celebration days, which is not so expensive. People who feel special do special things, and your company will benefit.
- Awards. Is work done well rewarded in your company? If not, you know you could do better. Lunch on the boss, an early release on Fridays, a special pin, a merit raise – there are so many things you can do to let your employees know that you appreciate their hard work.
- Fun. Incorporate fun into your workaday world. Loosen up your dress code, brighten the office environment with fresh paint, whimsical art, new ergonomic chairs or standing desks. Allow dogs or children to come to hang out on certain days, or maybe have a catered lunch party for your team. Make some investments to lighten, brighten, and cheer up the atmosphere of your work-world for yourself and your staff.
Otherwise, it could be said that your company culture is, well…. crap.
When it comes to your small business, Piccolo Marketing is here to work with you to make it better.
Four Important Marketing Items to Tighten Up in The New Year
Now that you have developed your marketing strategy, there are a few items you may need to refine for the coming calendar year. We all know that products, markets, and customers and their needs change almost constantly, so as a business owner you’ll need to revisit and tighten up a few marketing items to make sure you are on track to achieving the best results possible for your business in the current marketplace.
- Product. Look at your product as an outsider. Ask yourself the hard questions, such as whether or not your products or services are right for the current market and its consumers. If your business is experiencing difficulty in sales, you’ll need to develop a habit of assessing your business honestly, and compare yourself and your offerings to your competitors. If your products or services are not superior, ask yourself how you could make that happen. Make sure that all of your products or services are those you have confidence in, rethinking the offerings of previous seasons. You may decide it’s time for a change.
- Price. As a small business owner, pricing is key. Develop the habit of examining your prices to ensure they remain appropriate in the current market; sometimes it’s necessary to lower those prices to remain competitive, while at other times you may need to raise them. Combination packaging, special promotions, or free additional items will often help to boost sales at minimal cost to you as the seller. Your pricing structure and strategy can always be revised to align with the market as it stands today, and your openness to change will help you remain competitive and thrive in the ever-changing marketplace tomorrow.
- Promotion. Promoting your products and services should always be top of mind for any business owner. Even a small change in the way you promote and sell your products can bring about a dramatic change in your results. Marketing methods eventually stop working, so experimenting with different methods will help you stay ahead of the game in the new year.
- Positioning. How your customers view your business is critical to your success in the coming year. Determine the single most important attribute of your business, and take the necessary steps to ensure that it becomes deeply entrenched in the minds of your customers and prospective buyers. The position of your product or service in your customers’ perceptions is the determining factor when it comes to how readily they will purchase and what price they are willing to pay. Think about ways to improve your positioning in the coming year, creating the ideal impression in the hearts and minds of customers and continually supporting that ideal. Next, make the necessary changes that will enable your business to achieve resounding success in the new year.
When it comes to strategizing, we know our stuff! Piccolo Marketing Nashville is here to help you tighten up your business so that you can hit the ground running in the new year.