3 Ways for Startups to Master the Art of Emailing

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Chances are, your business needs something: more clients, members, customers, partners or publicity.: Whether you have an in-house team or hire a marketing company, you’ll want to create original, high-value content for those inevitable email campaigns.

After launching our own company, we used the vast amount of data that powers our iSeeCars car search-engine to create interesting and useful studies, like the “10 Longest-Lasting Cars” and “New Cars Owners Get Rid of the Fastest.” We hired two PR firms to help us get media coverage, but the effort ended up being an expensive mistake when both studies flopped. Reporters didn’t bite.

That’s when we decided to try emailing reporters ourselves. Through trial and error, we started having some successes that we were been able to build on. Today, our research has been featured in more than 1,200 stories by major news outlets, including ABC News, CNBC, Consumer Reports, USA Today, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Reuters.

Here are the three main things I’ve learned that can help your startup get great results, no matter whom you’re emailing.

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6 Common Mistakes of DIY Public Relations

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As a public relations expert, I’ll let you in on a little secret — you can do it yourself.

I can, naturally, also explain why you should not do it on your own. Frankly, there are many, many good reasons not to. Like most things you may be able to pay for, carpentry or air travel for examples, it’s usually best to pay a pro.

Still some people chose to go it alone. And whether by bravado or lack of funds – let’s face it, entrepreneurs can’t always afford even entry-level PR support – I’ve seen plenty of people try. That means I’ve seen the DIYers make some pretty basic mistakes too. Here are six frequent mistakes entrepreneurs and others make when doing their own PR that you’ll want to avoid if you try to do it yourself:

1. Not understanding news value.

This could also be called “having the right expectations” — it’s essentially the same thing. As you start a PR journey, understand that it’s a virtual certainty that what you have to say and what you’re doing is simply not newsworthy.

I am sure you think it is. But, trust me when I tell you it’s probably not. Unless you’re literally curing cancer or your company is on a path to hit uber-type revenue numbers, your story simply isn’t news. The New York Times isn’t going to profile you and asking for that, or expecting it, is only going to unmask you as an amateur who does not understand what news is.

To even be considered as news, what you want covered has to be of broad general interest and truly unique. It can’t be just of interest to your market or to your customers.  If that’s the case, find and pitch a trade publication in your market — not a general news outlet. Even then, expect that what you have to say may not be news.

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5 Steps to Creating a Loyalty Building Strategy for Your Business

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Building customer loyalty is the most efficient way of creating consistent source of traffic and sales no one can take from you. There are a lot of benefits of having loyal community to back your business.

Building loyalty takes lots of time and patience. It will not happen overnight and it will require a serious strategy behind it. Here are a few ways to build customer loyalty that should work for almost any type of business.

1. Put employees to work on social networks.

All of your employees should be speaking about your brand. Set one or two of them as community leaders who put in more effort. But otherwise encourage your workforce to post about products, share giveaways and news and take part in popular trends that could bring focus back to your brand.

It doesn’t have to be an official campaign (save that for the experts), but it can really boost online visibility. Those companies that give their workforce a real stake in the company can find this especially beneficial.

The more connected your employees are, the further they will be able to bring your message. Educate your team on basic, yet effective ways to build their social media following:

  • Encourage them to participate in the industry Tweet chats (besides building their following, that will also keep them updated on industry trends)
  • Let them connect to your company on LinkedIn
  • Educate them on how to use hashtags on Twitter and Instagram

Try Drumup employee advocacy program in order to give your team easy tools to share your company updates on multiple social media accounts.

 

2. Get visual.

The best way to get people create content around your brand is to set a perfect example: Have your brand create and spread awesome content of its own.

One of my favorite all time corporate social media pages on any network is the Starbucks Instagram page. They have more than 8 million followers at the time of this writing, and it isn’t because people love their coffee that much. It is because they have created a visual image online that is chic, trendy, and people want to take part in.

They have crushed the visual game so hard that people will post their OWN Starbucks pics, share them, and they will get thousands of likes. That wouldn’t have been possible if they hadn’t created a very specific visual style that is repeated all over the Web.

3. Create digital assets.

Create downloadable assets, something that your customers can take home, for free. These could be well-branded white papers, checklists, cheat sheets, ebooks, audio books, etc.

As more and more people are accessing your website from mobiles, consider building a smartphone-friendly version of your content assets to get more people. For example, you can turn your audiobook into an iTunes podcast. Here’s how to do it.

You can also turn your PDF guides, checklists, ebooks, catalogs and whitepapers into flipbooks that are a pleasure to use on on tablet computers and smart phones. Flipsnack is the easiest way to do it. It’s also free for 15-page books.

4. Give real gifts.

There will never be a cooler campaign than when Kotex created custom gift boxes
for influencers on Pinterest. It shows how effective having a physical item can be, and how it spreads online.

Consider creating some gifts and sending them to influencers who can share them socially with their many followers. Sweatshirts with logos, fun gag gifts, whatever you can think of. It is worth the investment for the rewards.

5. Encourage feedback from customers.

People love sharing negative experience but they need to be asked to share a positive one. On the other hand, seeing your previous customers’ raving genuine reviews more visitors feel like subscribing and sticking around. Open experience sharing breeds community and builds loyalty.

Encourage your customers to share their feedback and upload their visual reviews. In case you are running a SaaS company, educate your customers to create detailed case studies and do your best to promote everything they create. Here’s a good guide on writing a genuine case study for you to use when inviting your clients to create one.

Loyalty building is a long process but if you make it part of your overall marketing strategy, you’ll notice its long-lasting positive effect on your business in form of better customer retention, higher direct traffic and better conversions.