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.

Website Hosting & Domain Registration: This site and many of my clients’ sites are being hosted by local wind-powered Canvas Host. I’m excited to have great service and they are really progressively minded! Their tech support is quick and effective.

Canvas Host - Web Hosting

Email Marketing: My various email newsletters wouldn’t look so good and my whole set up 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 for a few years to connect urban farmers with nearby homeowners who have yards to farm.  Sign up for one or more list and see what you think. I’ve added my other email service provider links here.

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

Direct Mail: Check out SendOutCards – a great way to keep in touch with friends, family and business relationships! I’ve been using SendOutCards for about 2 years now. You can drop a picture of your recent experience into the card and personalize it, as well. We all need something like this to keep in touch with important friends and clients.

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 other platforms, but so far, GotoWebinar has them all beat.

Headline Analyzer: I couldn’t do it without the AM Institute’s free tool.

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!

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

Single column emails only from now on

Postmaster tools in gmail

Microsoft also has a version of this.. – blacklist lookup

Fixed width emails – 375 pixels – look into this

Note to Chambers – I can offer your chamber training – virtually $ or in person $$ – a way to learn what well-designed emails look like + they have a really awesome sign-up process.

Tools for ubiquity – Litmus,, email on acid

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

Always include Easter Eggs in email..

Always say hello.

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

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

MOZ – – 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:

– 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

Siteliner – checks for duplicate content

URL Profiler – link checker –

GTMetrix – check page speed – – full test of website.

Enjoy, 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!
Albert Kaufman, Albertideation
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Click here for more about my upcoming classes and webinars

A Day in the Life of a Constant Contact Solution Provider Partner

Solution Provider Partner

I love helping small businesses grow and succeed as a partner with Constant Contact.

Since email marketing has been shown to work best, I encourage small businesses that I work with to sign up for a Constant Contact account. For those who are already using Constant Contact– we work together to make the best use of their account – figuring out ways to build lists; improving and tightening branding; working on shortening messages and making sure everything sent out is mobile-friendly.

As technology is constantly changing, part of the challenge we all face is to keep up with it. That’s why I spent the time, money and effort to become Master Certified in Constant Contact. That assures the people I work with that my skills are top notch and through frequent trainings, I keep them there!

I love working with my clients. I’ve learned more about new kinds of businesses in the last couple of years than in the rest of my life combined. From people who take dogs on hikes to all sorts of alternative healing modalities, real estate agents, home inspectors, universities and the list goes on and on! I especially love networking – and bringing businesses that can help one another, together.

The most exciting part of being a solution provider for me is the wide variety of work that I do for clients. Sometimes it’s answering a simple question about how to align an image. Other times, the conversations are longer and have more to do with strategy.  Every day brings me new questions and I continue to grow my own knowledge base.  What’s really interesting is how everything is constantly in motion, as well.  I also teach classes on how and why to use email marketing and social media. Sometimes in the middle of a class I’ll be demo’ing something and a new feature pops up that I’ve never seen before – Facebook is particularly prone to new changes that roll out, suddenly!  So, one learns how to surf – and get comfortable saying “you know what, I don’t know! – I’ll have to look into that for you”.

Being a Solution Provider is probably not for everyone, but it’s worked well for me. I like receiving the training that’s offered – it’s like being enrolled in a grad school course on small business marketing that never ends. The core certification process is pretty straightforward – and through the master certification process I actually learned some things I didn’t know about Constant Contact.

If you’d like to know more about the Constant Contact Solution Provider program or have questions about how I run my business, please get in touch. One way to see me in action is via my newsletter where I share business marketing tips.  I hope things are thriving with your business.

Sincerely, Albert Kaufman, Albertideation

Me at Constant Contact's OneCon convention in 2015 in Las Vegas

At Constant Contact’s OneCon convention in 2015 in Las Vegas


Reasons not to use Mailchimp

Here’s Why Not Mailchimpmailchimp

Assume for a moment that you want to use email marketing for your business or project. Email marketing brings $44.25 ROI – it’s the best way to reach your customers/clients/friends & family and keep connected – here’s why I suggest you don’t choose Mailchimp. If you do – great – it’s important to use an email service provider.

Full disclosure – I am a Constant Contact solution provider, so that is what I use 100% of the time and I encourage others to, as well. For more on why I like Constant Contact, you can read elsewhere on this site, or join my e-list, and I’ll keep you posted.

This one is for anyone considering Mailchimp or using it currently – and why I recommend against that choice. I have used Mailchimp, and I’ve signed up for my share of newsletters – here’s what I think.

  1. Mailchimp makes you look bad. Unless you do a significant amount of customization of the on-boarding process you tend to look like everyone else. From the sign-up form to the series of emails confirming that I want to receive your newsletter – to the newsletter itself – most peoples’ efforts look similar and that’s not a good thing.
  2. Gray – there’s a lot of gray in everything that Mailchimp does, and which in turn, you’re doing. From the sign-up process to the templates – gray. Do you like gray? It’s the color of the Portland sky much of the time – but there’s a wider color spectrum out there. If you want to improve your use of Mailchimp, find places to replace the gray 🙂
  3. The sign-up process. I join your email list and I’m put through a process that has me sign up; I receive a confirmation email; send that back in and get another email. This is a double-confirm. This wouldn’t be so bad except all along the way I’m receiving things from you which are lackluster. So, if you’re going with this process – get in there and customize the experience – brand it – push back against the gray. My first experience of your business shouldn’t be lackluster. Given that the first email you send a customer is the one with the highest open rate – you really want that to count. In this area, your first 3 emails are generally all a waste of the person’s time if you use Mailchimp. 
  4. Within Mailchimp things can be difficult. Manipulating lists is one area I’ve felt can use a lot of help. If you’ll be doing much segmenting or data wrangling, this is an area to be wary of and hopefully avoid.
  5. Mailchimp Support? Like many online companies you don’t get what you don’t pay for. This is one spot where you really want support. Your email marketing efforts are going to be key to your success – you want the best support possible. This is not Mailchimp’s strong suit (it is Constant Contact’s strong suit).
  6. Constant upsell.  List getting bigger – time to pay – want that feature? time to upgrade. Since getting used to a program takes time (esp. as they continually change) – get into something you’re going to want to stick with for a while. I find navigating a Mailchimp account cumbersome and so I will not work it and tend to unsubscribe from mailing lists that use it.
  7. All of the above should be enough to give one pause before going down the Mailchimp road. – and, all of this said – I do advise using Mailchimp over using nothing – it’s key to use an email service provider in this day and age.
  8. 6.12.18Podcast comparison: “Today email marketing guru Liz goes over the differences between the email marketing heavyweights: MailChimp and Constant Contact. What she found surprised her. She also lets you know if either can take the place of a full Customer Relationship Management system (CRM)

2.26.16 – This infographic just in from Insiderhub. Here’s another comparison from May 2017 Constant Contact and MailChimp Comparison Chart.


2018 January comparison article.

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