Posts on April 2017

My Essential MailChimp Tips

Email marketing has evolved into an essential tool for all types of modern businesses. There are a number of tools and services out there, however, Classic City Consulting chooses the popular Atlanta-based MailChimp. Not only are we supporting a local service, but it also happens to kick-butt in function and ease-of use. The interface, variety of options, and the analytics tools create a powerful user friendly experience. Since I use MailChimp frequently (just about daily) here’s a list of my top 3 favorite (and essential to survival) tips for

Automation
“Welcome to our email list!” When a new customer wants to join your community a simple “Thanks!” is a great welcome. The key to email success is being well received by your customers. Send them too many emails, they unsubscribe; Too few, and they forget about you. With automatic emails, you can touch your customer when they are thinking about you. If they left an item in their shopping cart, and there is a great coupon that they can use on it, let them know! It is always appreciated, and, with automation, it’s easy! And lets be honest, who doesn’t like saving a few bucks on an item you were going to buy anyway?

RSS Sends
You have information to share and your customers want to hear it! Make sure that they don’t miss out just because they don’t visit your page weekly. With MailChimps’s RSS Campaigns, you can update your blog and make sure it gets seen. These are easy to set-up with client lists, content templates, and your only real problem is making sure you keep coming up with interesting things to share.

Segmented Email Sends
Not everyone needs every message. By segmenting your email list, you can get a higher open rate with people who are more likely to take action. Within MailChimp you can use criteria like demographics, email engagement, interest groups, and location to choose the right audience for your email.

The key with any email marketing is for it to feel like a natural engagement. You aren’t asking people to do something for you. Those who have signed up for your list are interested in your company and your brand. Keep them engaged and give them the information that they came to you for in the first place. Make sure email marketing is reinforcing your message and brand by helping the customer, and not ending up in the Spam folder.

My Leap From Status Quo

The status quo is the simplest thing to do.  Being content somewhere you’re not meant to be is not a challenge.  It’s like waiting for Publisher’s Clearing House to come knocking on the door rather than trying to find your niche to make your unique mark on the world.  Good things happen to those that live in the status quo.  Great things happen to those who try.

The Beginning

It freaked me out when I left my first job right after I finished college.  I was moving on to another position at another company, but it was a startup and I didn’t know how long it would last.  The people at my former gig pushed me to start pursuing consulting.  They all were running their own web consulting businesses on the side and were older than I was. I definitely felt like I wasn’t cut out for that lifestyle.  I was just out of college – there was no way I could start up a business and provide jobs for other people later down the road.  That path was for people who had “an idea for an app” and could go out there and pitch to the wealthy investors of Shark Tank. Definitely not me.

The Leap

But I took the leap.  Within three months of leaving that job, I went ahead and registered for my first LLC – Christopher LaFay Consulting (genius name, I know).  Even though I felt like I was biting off more than I could chew, I knew I was exactly where I was meant to be.  After some time past, one new project every couple of months turned into a new project each month (and so on).

The Reason

And it was because I surrounded myself with people who pushed me over boundaries of my comfort zone.  If I didn’t listen to my friends and family who told me to go after the prize of being an entrepreneur, I would have never registered for an LLC, never signed on a contractor to help get a project done, never gotten that first testimonial on Google, never had a “First Employee” and the list goes on.  Now I get to live the dream of an entrepreneur – I get to work with people I call my friends on a daily basis – and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

4 Tips to Optimize Social Media

Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. LinkedIn. Reddit. YouTube. Pinterest. Anyone with access to the internet in the last decade knows, some if not all, this list of the most popular social media sites to date. These platforms have completely revolutionized how people interact and communicate with each other. Social media has risen to be one the prominent avenue that we use to express our ideas, keep in touch with our friends and family – and further our business ventures. Many of these social media accounts allow companies to set up special “business accounts” that allow the social media site to essentially become a website platform to advertise to, inform, and communicate with its current and potential customers. However, without the proper approach, it is very easy for business to let their social media accounts become disadvantageous or even dormant. So, what are the best tips? What will allow your social media campaign to become the most successful and visible? The core idea is based on what social media platforms are built to do – keep you connected with the community around you. Staying active and involved with your friends, followers, subscribers, etc. is what will give your social media campaign the foundation necessary for success. Here are 4 ways to optimize your social media presence:

1. Share what you love.

Share what interests you, what you’re passionate about. It means sharing ideas, highlights, and successes of others that hit home for you. Expressing your interests is an opportunity that others can use to see inside your world and get to know the kinds of things you value. When they are given access to know about you or your business on a deeper level, it builds loyalty and connection with clientele.

2. Share what you know.

They key to sharing what you know is to make sure you are sharing things from your own expertise. Be sure that they are things that interest your friends and followers. This is your chance to show off what your business is all about and your expertise. Show your audience you deserve that Subscribe, Followed, and Like. This strategy reinforces within your social media following that you are reputable and dedicated. (A critical side note: when re-posting articles from external sources TRIPLE check the source and the information. With the rise of ‘fake new’ has become the scourge of the internet and your reputation of providing accurate information can be damaged by perpetuating the problem)

3. Don’t take it too seriously.

All of us have that one subscription or business that we follow that we can never seem to get them to stop sending us too much information or spam that we cannot seem keep up with it all. This is where we can all learn a valuable, if not painful lesson: to not take social media postings too seriously. By that, I mean, post when you can. Perfectionism will kill the purposefully light-hearted, fun culture of social media. Now, there is a very fine line between posting when you can and neglecting your social media accounts. Remember, we don’t want it to become dormant. It is imperative to be consistent with your postings, but be careful not to dog down your following with countless posts. There is a certain genius about posting enough information at the right times that leaves your audience looking forward to, or begging for, more.

4. Stay Positive.

We all know that one person who is a drag at parties, and we typically try to stay away from them. This is also true of social media culture – and followers can have the same response… avoidance and un-subscribing. Keep posts positive in tone and also when responding to comments left on your own posts. Often your responses can make it into timelines of your followers and subscribers… so a comment left for a particularly nasty user might display as an update to EVERYONE who follows you. If you wouldn’t want it heard by your customers, don’t say it at all (even if they might deserve a clever rebuttal.)

These are best and core examples of social media best practices. The goal is to keep you connected with the community around you: but is also can double as public relations – creating new and positive experiences with your clientele through mutual engagement. Staying active, passionate, and current are what make these platforms so exciting and rewarding for creators and followers alike.