Blissful Thinking

DC Bound

It’s a beautiful day here in Northern Virginia, and the perfect day to head into the city.  And by city, I mean Washington DC, of course.  Having grown less than ten miles from DC, I have spent a lot of time there.  Since becoming a grown up, I’ve grown to love the city in a whole new way.  I got married at beautiful Dahlgren Chapel on the campus of Georgetown University and my children were baptized in the heart of Georgetown.  Since moving a bit further out from DC (35 miles) we don’t get into the city as often as we used to.  Part of that is living a bit further out, but the biggest reason is that our kids are getting older and are busy people too.  Regardless, we are heading into the city today – and I can’t wait!

We don’t have an agenda – which I like.  We have talked about seeing the Cherry  Blossoms and about hitting a museum or two.  Luckily my husband has crazy parking skills and luck, so I don’t need to worry about that.

If you ever have a chance to visit our great city, here is some good information to help you start planning your trip.  And of course, we’d welcome you with open arms.  We are pretty friendly folk here in the nation’s capital.

 

The Case for Outsourcing

Outsourcing is an excellent option for businesses of all size.  Allowing an expert to handle the areas in your office that aren’t your expertise will save you money, save you time and ensure that the work is done well and efficiently.

Clearly there is a strong financial reason to outsource .  Outsourcing allows a company to save a tremendous amount of money in the areas of human resources – specifically hiring, training, payroll, taxes and insurance. Additionally, outsourcing saves a company money through limiting the amount of materials and equipment it need to purchase.

What isn’t as obvious is the tremendous amount of savings a company will incur in less tangible ways.  Allowing a professional to handle the behind the scenes work will save time.  Additionally, knowing that this work is being done to industry standards best practices will give peace of mind.

The bottom line with outsourcing is that it allows management to focus on the the tasks in which they excel.  This, in turn, increases profitability, increases efficiency and allows the business to grow steadily and wisely.

6 Questions to Ask Before You Hit Send

 

Stop!  Don't hit Send! Ask yourself these six questions before hitting Send!

Stop! Don’t hit Send! Ask yourself these six questions before hitting Send!

Hygiene – It’s Not Just For Bodies!

A very critical component of email marketing success is list hygiene.  Yes, we know it’s a very strange term, but go with it…  Before you even consider hitting that send button, you must perform some basic list hygiene. You absolutely must:

  • Remove duplicate, invalid & non-responsive email addresses
  • Remove role accounts
  • Remove bounced email addresses
  • Segment email addresses in as many ways as possible. Categorize by industry, role, interests, buying habits, demographics, geography etc.

We recommend ongoing list cleansing activities with a thorough list hygiene scrub every six months. Proper list cleansing and list segmentation will allow you to reach recipients and provide them with relevant information.  This translates into increased open rate, click through rate & conversion rate and decreased bounce rate and unsubscribes – all of which translates into increased customers.

 

Developing A Cohesive Email Marketing Plan – A Fundamental Process

So, you have discovered email marketing.  You’re exactly right to think that it’s a great way to stay in touch with your existing customers and develop relationships with prospective customers.  A good email marketing plan will reach its intended recipients, engage them and encourage them to act based on a specific call to action in the document.

Before you begin sending emails, you must develop a cohesive email marketing plan that supports and enhances your brand image.  This is a critical step in the design process.  So critical, in fact, that opting out of a careful, measured approach can actually damage your brand identity.

Specifically, you should answer the following five questions:

  1. How does email fit into your existing overall marketing plans? Email marketing should not stand alone as a sole marketing activity.  Instead, email marketing needs to be an integral part of your overall marketing strategy and business plan.
  2. What are the objectives for your email marketing plan? Email should support and facilitate current marketing objectives and ultimately should be designed to convert recipients to purchasing customers.
  3. What look and feel will your emails have? Consistency is key when designing emails for marketing purposes.  A template should be designed that looks and feels professional.  Fonts, colors and graphics should match the organization’s website and marketing materials.
  4. What will the conversational tone be of your emails? The conversational tone of your email is very important.  It can either grab a recipient’s attention or alienate them immediately. Develop a tone which reflects the nature of your organization and the information being conveyed.  Make sure to avoid a strong sales tone.
  5. How can you ensure that your emails conform to your organization’s aesthetic and content requirements? Again, another critical component.  In this insta age where your brand can be damaged in literally an instant, it is crucial to ensure that you are complying with the publishing criteria your organization has established.

Answering these questions and developing a cohesive email marketing plan with a thoughtful, measured approach will ultimately lead to more success with your email campaigns – more opens, more click-throughs, more conversions, more customers.

None of My Business

So how much does your opinion really matter anyway?

I recently encountered this question when I was working on a website redesign for a client.  The client came with some pretty strong ideas in mind. In this case, the aesthetic included flash along with a number of non-search engine friendly components.  Additionally, the design they had in mind did not incorporate industry best practices and, as a result, looked quite outdated.

But who was I to tell them that?  Did my expertise in the marketing realm override their expertise in their field and their strong opinions as to what they wanted?

Initial attempts at gentle persuasion didn’t work.  A frank conversation didn’t work.

Here is what did work.  A bit of self examination.  I thought about what mattered in this case.  I could live with a design that wasn’t my favorite.  We all know that taste is very subjective.  What I couldn’t live with was a design that didn’t meet basic search criteria, a design that incorporated outdated practices.  I couldn’t disavow my professional ethics and agree to a design that could actually damage their brand.

With this in mind, a second frank conversation was had.  With an emphasis on the structural aspect of the site and no mention of the aesthetic of the site, we found a great middle point.  They are thrilled with their new website and I am thrilled with their search rankings.  My job here is done.

 

What’s In a Name Anyway?

I often get asked how I came up with the name of my company.  And here’s how it happened…

I had just decided to go for it and open my own company and I was ecstatic.I was so overcome with an intense feeling of happiness that I googled the word “happy” and there it was – Bliss: An extreme state of happiness.  I grabbed it and never looked back.

I love the name because it always reminds me of the essence of why I decided to open my own business.  It’s a great reminder in the middle of the night when I’m pulling an all nighter that, actually, I am blissfully happy with the way my life has turned out.  It also serves as a reminder of what I want my clients to feel – utterly happy with the services we provide.

So, that’s the story of Bliss.  Bliss: A state of extreme happiness.  Got that right!

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