3 Great Reasons to have a Personal Newsletter for Friends and Family

Start a Friends and Family Newsletter

friendsandfamilyI’ve been using email to send out a newsletter to my friends and family for the past 14 years. The response has been fantastic and it’s made me a believer in taking the time to send word to your personal network on a regular basis. Here are my three top reasons that I think this makes sense.

1. You have a personal life and telling people that care about you what is going on for you leads to their having a greater understanding of your life, hopes and dreams.  Once friends and family know more about what you’re up to – they can get behind any effort you’re making.  For instance, I had an idea a couple of years ago called Farm My Yard. It’s an effort to match up homeowners and urban farmers who live nearby. I’ve been mentioning this idea and dreaming it into existence for the past couple of years, and now that it’s starting to take off the people I’ve told are some of the effort’s greatest boosters.  And, of course, Farm My Yard has a newsletter sign-up form on the website 🙂

2. The feedback. We all want to know how we’re doing. When I send my newsletter out, I always ask for feedback. Over the years it feels like people take turns writing back with their thoughts, suggestions, and mentions of how they might be facing the same challenges and their solutions for making their way through.  Sometimes it’s just an “atta boy”, but some friends have deepened our relationship by sharing their thinking and real offers of help.

3. Referrals.  By telling my friends and family what I’m up to in my business life, they then know something about how I make a living – teaching email marketing, social media, and helping small businesses boost their marketing efforts. I have become known in my personal world as THE guy who does that. This has led to friends referring their friends who need business support. I generally don’t ask my friends and family directly for support, but their knowledge of my business helps me in various ways. For instance, when we come together for various gatherings, the conversations often start at a greater depth because they’ve been following my life and are somewhat caught up with my progress. Instead of “what’s new“, the conversations more often start with “hey, I remember you mentioning that you lead street tree planting efforts” – any idea of how we can get that going in my neck of the woods?”

As with any email newsletter, you want to follow the basic rules of thumb – keeping the newsletter brief; having a great subject line; putting the call to action towards the top, and using graphics and links sparingly.  If you invite your friends and family to write back about what has moved them about what you’ve written, they often will – and, I promise, this feedback will be interesting and possibly useful.

If you ever need encouragement on trying this out, feel free to get in touch. If you’d like to receive my friends & family monthly email (The Eleven), you can sign up for it here.

You can do this, and I truly believe it will lead to great things!

The Eleven Archives

Social Media is Many Things to Many People

The many faces of social media

The more I use social media over the years the more convinced I am that it is very hard to say exactly what it is. There are various platforms and these are often hard to explain simply. I’ve been training people on how to use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others for about 11 years (in 2019).

I first started out by teaching classes in my living room – mainly – how does one use Facebook – personal pages vs. business pages + netiquette – how to be in those places and look like you have a cleu. As the various platforms have expanded their feature sets and made things a bit more difficult for businesses to reach their fans how people use them has changed.  Here are some of the new uses that I am experiencing and seeing in the field.

1. Some people are just using the systems as a messaging system – an example would be FB messenger. I note that I am having more and more personal “email-like” interactions via FB messenger than in the past. FB messenger seems to be replacing email in terms of personal connections/conversations in my world.

2. People pick their platforms and stick with them. I know a number of people who are mainly on one platform and that’s it. My next-door neighbor runs an Instagram page for his crystal business.  He’s up to 142K followers. I encouraged him to get going with email marketing – and he has, but really, he’s having so much success and fun with Instagram.. that he’s pretty happy with that one platform. Personally, I don’t recommend having all your eggs in one basket (ie, make sure to be list-building – that’s yours…) – but I see this across the board. People who are mainly on Twitter or FB – find a home and stay there.

3. Then, there’s how one spends their time on FB. I used to spend much more time on the newsfeed – and I’m sure many still do. But ever since I discovered Friends’ Lists and how to segment my friends + see all the posts of those who I most want to follow/learn from.. that has changed my FB experience dramatically. I also am using FB much more to network with others and connect around business topics in relevant groups. Active business or interest groups have changed my thinking about how a small, dedicated group of people can come together for a common purpose and really elevate everyone’s experience.

I’ve been looking for more insight into where people delve into how these prominent tools/platforms are being used – in non-obvious ways, but have not really found what I’m looking for. So, I’ll try putting out my own thinking on the topic and see how that goes.

Do you use social media in a way that you think was not intended by the creators?  Please share below!

Have a great Summer – Albert Kaufman, Albertideation, Portland, Oregon, The United States

PS – Please join my email list. I have a few different projects I’m working on and I’d love you along for the ride!

Build Your List

Here’s how to Create Your Great Email List(s)

If you’ve decided that you’d like to do a better job of marketing your business/cause/non-profit/self/project – Great! Here are your first steps to get started! This can be hard for some people – but it’s worthwhile to go through this process.

    1. Gather your email addresses into a spreadsheet – Feel free to download this example in Excel.  If you are already using an Email Service Provider such as Constant Contact you may already have this step covered. If not, you’ll want to download your email contacts from wherever they live. Some typical places might be Outlook (Constant Contact has an app that allows you to sync your Outlook contacts!); Gmail; LinkedIn; Hotmail; MSN; Yahoo or your Mac’s address book if you’re using MacMail. Do a little sleuthing and you’ll find instructions on how to download from any of these platforms into a spreadsheet that you can work with.
    2. Segment Your Lists. Once you have your emails in a spreadsheet you’ll want to create some columns to segment (categorize) your list.  The more columns, the better. Typical things people often segment people by zip code; relationship (friend, family, business associate, customer); age; or birthday; anything that makes a contact different from another one is a reason to create a column. Once you have your columns set up – run through your list and put an “X” in every box that makes sense – ie, a person can be part of more than one list – you may want to reach out to someone for multiple reasons.

      Why to segment your lists - working together

      Why segment your lists – Thanks, Sumo!

    3. Learn Best Practices. At this point, if you want to get an idea of my thinking have a look at one or more of my training videos.
    4. Join My List. If you’re not already receiving my business newsletter – sign up. This will help you see the process I use in my business and it’s something similar to what I’ll advise you to create if you don’t already have something like this setup.

    5. Extra credit – if you don’t already have a Constant Contact account – let me know and I will sign you up for a trial. I’d be happy to do this and you can learn the program and start using it in minutes.
    6. Buffer.com has a great article on how to build your list via your website, here.

If you’ve made it to this point, it’s time to get in touch and we can get started.  Thanks for reading this.  I’m always open to feedback – so feel free to let me know if this has been helpful or not. I look forward to working together.

 

Albert Kaufman
February 7, 2017

Albert Kaufman December 2016 Working Together

Digital Marketing Training Videos by Albert Kaufman

Videos by Albert Kaufman

I have been offering digital marketing training for the past 15 years. Each training offers a unique collection of insights and a lot of personal commentaries! I recommend looking at all of the topics first before picking one to watch. You’ll probably find one that is perfect for your needs right now. I also have presentations on Prezi. Here’s one on Facebook from 2015 that’s chock full of great stuff.

Thanks to Constant Contact for much of the educational content and the opportunity to hone my skills as a public speaker.  As always, I appreciate your feedback – please comment below.

Latest Video – Email Marketing 102 – 11.8.2020

Getting Started with Email Marketing

Getting Started with Email Marketing with Albert Kaufman – March 2017 from Albert Kaufman on Vimeo.

Digital Trends for 2017 – February 23, 2017

Digital Marketing Trends in 2017 with Albert Kaufman

    1. Learn Constant Contact’s new 3rd Generation Editor

2. Power of the Inbox – part Constant Contact’s One in a Million Celebration – Constant Contact has educated over a million small businesses as of January 2016!

3. Ways to Automate Your Marketing: Save Time, Drive Results, Earn Loyalty 

4. The Power of Email Marketing with Albert Kaufman | DIY Digital Ep. 17 – with David Baer of Baer on Marketing and Sarah Sunshine Garrison of Garrison MarketingJun 15, 2015 

5. Social Media Timesavers – July 2015

6. Getting Started with Email Marketing + Facebook and LinkedIn Tips & Tricks – January 2014 – but still super relevant in 2019!

7. Everything You Want to Know about Facebook But Are Afraid to Ask – February 2015 (still very relevant in Jan. 2019, and probably beyond!)

8. Measuring Your Marketing How to use reports and analytics to evaluate your marketing campaigns with Albert Kaufman – September 29th, 2015.

9. Standout Subject Lines – October 2015

10. Watch me work – December 2016 – a 40 minute session where I demo some of the tools I use – live!

11. How to set up a Birthday Autoresponder. You can also sign up for mine, here.

Thanks for watching. If you have any questions about anything I’ve written – feel free to contact me!

Happy marketing, Albert Kaufman

Albert at #OneCon2015 - training videos

Tools

Tools I Recommend

Everyone benefits from a great set of tools. Here are the ones I like the most. Some of these are affiliate links – ie, if you end up buying from them, I will receive some compensation. Thanks for checking them out.

Website Hosting: BlueHost

  • or, the one I’m using now is HostPapa

Email Marketing: My various email newsletters wouldn’t look so good and my whole setup wouldn’t be so fantastic without Constant Contact and their incredible support system. Get a free 2-month trial, here. I’ve been able to build lists for my various projects over the years – The Eleven: my monthly email to friends and family – Albertideation newsletterall about email marketing and social media. Then, there’s Song a Day where I share my love of music. Finally, Farm My Yard is a project I’ve had going on for a few years to connect urban farmers with nearby homeowners who have yards to farm.  Sign up for one or more lists and see what you think. I’ve added my other email service provider links here.

If you want to take your email marketing to the next level you might give SharpSpring a try. 

I’ve been using Republic Wireless for my cell phone for years. I pay $20/mo. for unlimited everything.

Car Insurance. Metromile. I know it might seem strange to see this here – but I signed up for Metromile a while back and that has lowered my car insurance considerably. You pay a base rate and then for every mile. Thus, if you’re not driving a lot (which is the case for many people right now) your rates plummet. 

Scheduling: I’ve used vCita in the past as a scheduler. If you need help setting this up, let me know. There’s more to this platform than meets the eye and it’s a great way to offer various packages.

Webinars: For webinars I use Gotowebinar.  I’ve also heard good things about Zoom and I’ve used a couple of other platforms, but so far, GotoWebinar has them all beat.

WordPress plug-in for Social Sharing: Sumome

WordPress plugin for pop-up boxes to collect email addresses: Privy. This brings you the pop-up sign-up form for my sites.  It’s probably led to more email list sign-ups than all of my social media efforts combined.

I use Wisestamp to create a professional-looking signature on my outgoing emails. It makes things look like this

Wisestamp in Action - tools

I use Canva for editing images and creating memes, for instance. I’ll add more to this post as I recall what’s missing.  I hope this is useful to you – I really couldn’t do what I do without the aid of these (mostly free) tools.

I also love Fiverr to get images/designs created quickly. Here’s a code for $10 off your first order.

For business travel – AirBnB

If you have any questions about a tool that’s not on the list, feel free to run it by me – I may have tried it in the past.  If you’d like to work together, check out my new guide to getting started.

Save your ears and be styling at the same time – Hearrings!
Hearrings

Here are my 11 Life Tips – tools for living a happier/healthier life. Like how to get a great night’s sleep.


6.26.18 Tools I learned about at this year’s Digital Summit in Portland, Oregon

https://emailclientmarketshare.com/

Single column emails only from now on

Postmaster tools in Gmail

Microsoft also has a version of this.

senderscore.org – blacklist lookup

Fixed width emails – 375 pixels – look into this

https://www.bestcssbuttongenerator.com/

Note to Chambers – I can offer your chamber training – virtually $ or in person $$

https://reallygoodemails.com/ – a way to learn what well-designed emails look like + they have a really awesome sign-up process.

Tools for ubiquity – Litmus, targeted.io, email on acid

Subject Line Matters a Lot! – the simpler the better – superlatives matter a lot

Always include Easter Eggs in an email.

Always say hello.

Keynote speaker mentioned: Countable page – Chelsea Handler mentioned it.  Emily’s List.

Viewing in a Browser is not a thing.  Social Links at the top -= not a thing, either.

MOZ – https://moz.com/local/categories – to do category research if you’re using MOZ.  Hard to find this page on their site…

Tumblr seems to be a thing.  I didn’t realize that.

Google Lighthouse: https://developers.google.com/web/tools/lighthouse/

– for a tech review of your website

– key to have a robot.txt file on your site for this to work and for better searchability

Google Search Console – worth signing up with

Screaming Frog – a way to check your website

https://www.redirect-checker.org/

Siteliner – https://www.siteliner.com/ checks for duplicate content

URL Profiler – link checker – https://urlprofiler.com/

GTMetrix – check page speed – https://gtmetrix.com/

https://www.metaforensics.io – full test of the website.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions.

Now that that’s over

Are you feeling that “get back to work” feeling, now that Summer’s ending? I’ve been reading some fun articles* on strategies to make the transition easier.  It’s still not making it any easier, and the last couple days of amazing weather definitely didn’t help my productivity any!  That said, I have been focusing on learning about how to adjust to the constant changes that are affecting the business world. 

Recently, I watched a webinar featuring Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding. He’s been writing a lot about “ disruption “, lately. One of the take-aways from his writing is something he shared that Jeff Bezos of Amazon focuses on – the Constants:
  • Bezos:  “I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two, because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time.”
There is so much great business writing coming out these days – it’s a pleasure to wade through it all – and once in a while I  add in my own thoughts . These are also ideas and strategies I’m happy to help you apply to your own marketing efforts. Get in touch and let’s see if what I know can help your bottom line.
Get some tips on holiday marketing, here
Have a great Day!
Sincerely,
Albert Kaufman, Albertideation
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