Saturday, 28 November 2009

20 Tips for Great Newsletter Design

1. Opt-In Page Expectations — An effective content strategy starts with your opt-in process. Be certain you manage subscriber expectations at the start. Describe in a sentence or two the type of content your newsletter contains and the value it will deliver readers. Also provide a link to back issues so that prospective subscribers can see exactly what to expect.

2. Identify and Stick to an Editorial Focus — Your recipients only have room for a limited number of newsletters on their list of “must read” newsletters. Identify the core focus of your newsletter, establish an editorial approach and then stick to it.

3. Establish Regular Columns and Features — A key to sustaining ongoing value is to institute recurring columns and topic features. Subscribers will know what to expect and it also allows you to plan and focus the content and develop a real position and expectation in recipients' minds.

4. Table of Contents — If you have more than two articles include an “In This Issue” section at the top of your newsletter. Give them a quick sense of what the articles are about and provide a link down to each article within the newsletter.

5. Use Short Teaser Articles — For articles longer than three or four paragraphs, use short “teaser” introductions that whet your reader’s appetite and motivate them to click through to the entire article posted on your Web site. This makes it easy for readers to determine their interest in the topic and enables you to track which articles and topics are of most interest.

6. Sidebars — Use sidebar boxes and columns for promotional and supporting information that is not the primary focus of the newsletter. This includes company and new product information, news, events, resource links, brochure links, etc. This enables the reader to easily find this information while clearly separating it in their mind from the primary editorial value of the newsletter articles.

7. Have a Personality — Just because you are producing a corporate newsletter doesn’t mean it can’t have a personality. You want the reader to have a sense that there are humans on the other end of the newsletter. Establish someone as the editorial face of the newsletter and don’t be afraid to have them interject some humor and personal flavor. Humor can be great, but be careful not to offend.

8. Tips and Best Practices — In our experience B2B readers love “tips” and can’t get enough of them. No matter what profession, workers are always interested in practical ideas and best practices they can put to use. Consider including a Quick Tip feature and focusing some of your articles around actionable tips.

9. Benchmarking and Statistics — Your customers and prospects are keenly interested in how they are doing compared to other companies. Providing benchmarking information and industry statistics will keep readers coming back for more each month.

10. FAQ/Ask The Expert — Columns devoted to answering questions are a great way to generate reader interest and feedback, while simultaneously enabling your company to establish its expertise in particular areas.

11. Case Studies — Customer case studies are always of interest to readers. They provide practical examples of success stories and strategies, and enable you to convey your company’s value proposition.

12. Use Click-Through Stats to Refine Editorial Focus — Continuously monitor which columns and type of articles are driving the most clicks. Use this information to refine both topics and editorial style.

13. Monitor Web Analytics — Check your Web site log files on occasion to determine which articles and content on your site are most visited. Use this information as key input into your editorial focus.

14. Reader Surveys — Consider conducting reader surveys a few times a year. An annual survey can uncover changing needs and interests among your readers. Additional reader surveys can be conducted on specific topics on which the results form the basis of future articles.

15. Ask Sales and Support — Other employees are great sources of ideas for content. Sales and support staff in particular can have great insights as they are dealing directly with customers and prospects on a daily basis.

16. Competitor and Industry Newsletters — Read industry and competitor newsletters and make a list of future story ideas based on interesting topics in these newsletters.

17. Subject Line is Key — Tie your subject line to a specific article in your newsletter that will generate the most opens. Don’t feel limited to use the same words used in an article title. Think newspaper headline style and craft a subject line that will stand out in your recipients’ inboxes.

18. Subtle Self Promotion — While educating your readers with tips and best practices, insert subtle, but supporting, references to your company, product or service. Done well it won’t seem out of place for your readers and helps achieve your overall goals for the newsletter.

19. Feedback — Provide a “Feedback” link after each article so that readers can easily send you feedback and suggestions for other articles.

20. Partner/Customer/Expert Articles — Solicit articles from your clients, partners and industry experts. Using these external sources will help position your newsletter in readers’ minds as having greater interest and value beyond your company’s self promotion.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Mind your own Business - FREE Seminar

"Winner" European Seminar Coach of the Year 2009 presents ...
Mind your own Business!
Knowledge + Mindset + Action
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  • Venue: Innlodge, Eastern road, Portsmouth, P03 6HH
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Ask yourself three simple questions -

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The BIG Plan

The magic of the business plan is not the “plan” itself, but the process that the business goes through in putting it together, and then using it as a living document to guide and direct the business. Here are 5 Steps necessary to begin the Planning Process:

1. Know where your business is going. Do you have a vision of what you want your business to look like in 5 years? 10 years? It’s impossible to put together a realistic plan if you don’t have a destination in mind.

2. Break the plan down into realistic chunks. Rather than just do an annual plan, break it down into Quarterly Plans so that you can focus on short-term accomplishments while working towards long-range goals.

3. Assign tasks to team members. Do not think you can do everything yourself. Make sure you get your team involved in fulfilling the plan.

4. Dedicate a block of time to do the plan. Once a quarter spend an entire day away from your business putting the plan together. This will get you away from all of your day-to-day distractions and help you focus on completing the plan.

5. Have a Business Coach assist you. Having an outsider’s perspective to give you ideas and guidance keeps you from developing unrealistic expectations, and going down a direction that doesn’t make sense for you and your business.

Having a solid and realistic business plan can help you overcome the pitfalls that every business owner will encounter. Start today, and make your future happen.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Be careful what you wish for!

The Subconscious Mind – 6 Basic Functions
The subconscious refers to that part of the brain which directs behaviour performed reflexively or without conscious awareness. There is now considerable evidence to suggest that the subconscious forms the sum total of all our past experiences and guides the majority of our daily thinking, information processing and behaviour. Taken in concert, research suggests that the subconscious performs a number of functions:

1. Recording and storing: The first function of the subconscious is to record and store our interpretation of reality, much like a computer hard drive. It has been estimated that the human brain contains 10–14 billion neuron cells and that each of these cells can store one to two million bits of information. This automatic recording process begins operating before birth and stores all our experiences, including what we think about and feel in response to those experiences. We might think of the subconscious starting life as a blank canvas, each experience then adds a brush stroke to our picture of reality, which we then call the ‘truth’. This picture or reality stored in the neuron structure of the brain may not be the absolute truth, however, it is only the truth as seen and remembered by us.

2. Habits: A second function of the subconscious is to handle automatic functions (heart-beat, breathing, circulation, digestion, blinking) and learned automatic functions (tying shoes, walking, driving, playing a guitar, multiplication tables). All of these learned functions begin on the conscious level then, through repetition, are turned over to the subconscious and become habits. Most of the time habits are helpful and assist with greater efficiency. Sometimes however, habits stored on the subconscious level can also be barriers to change, adjusting to new situations and to safety.

3. Auto-pilot personality: The third function of the subconscious is to maintain our perception of reality by making us act as the person we believe ourselves to be. This picture is based upon our current dominant image of the ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ as recorded from our subjective interpretation of the world. For example, if an individual believes that they are a poor public speaker, this will drive their approach to a public speaking engagement, creating feelings of anxiety and nervousness, which impact negatively on the individual’s performance during the speech. This effectively reinforces the original belief that they are a poor public speaker. In a similar fashion, the subconscious also drives the commonly cited ‘risk-taking’ personality. In this case, a ‘risk taker’ will approach a potentially risky situation believing that they ‘enjoy taking risks, it is a part of their personality, and that they will survive the experience’. These thoughts cause a release of chemicals that the individual interprets as heightened arousal and excitement, which in turn, confirms their belief that they enjoy taking risks.

4. Creative problem-solver: The fourth function of the subconscious is to solve problems creatively. Just like a researcher, the creative subconscious scans one’s memory banks for information in order to piece together bits of information into a possible solution. Effectively, problems can be solved without conscious effort and daily challenges and new experiences are more likely to be accepted.

5. Energy source: The fifth function of the subconscious is to provide drive and energy to resolve conflicts and accomplish goals. If an activity is not DIPI (dangerous, important, pleasurable, and interesting) the subconscious mind will release no energy to complete the activity. This is the science behind procrastination, whereby people avoid tasks and experience little drive to complete them until shortly before the due date. As the deadline approaches, the potential danger and importance of the task increases, and the subconscious releases more energy to complete the task. The challenge therefore, is to work with this function rather than against it. What this means is that instead of considering the negative, hard, or mundane aspects of important activities, emphasise the important, interesting and potentially pleasurable aspects of completing such activities.

6. Goal-seeker: The sixth function of the subconscious is to ensure human beings are goal oriented and achievement striving. This function operates in conjunction with that described above, in that goals ensure that an activity remains ‘DIPI’, ensuring energy is released to complete the activity and achieve the goal. With the conscious mind having such a limited processing capacity, it is the subconscious that drives almost all of our daily processes. Indeed, given that the conscious is limited to processing seven units of information at any one time, the subconscious drives more than 99.7 per cent of daily functioning. This means that we essentially are our subconscious. As the subconscious is comprised of memory and habits, and memory and habits are basically types of thinking patterns (attitudes), it is therefore also true to say that we are our thinking patterns. Hence, an understanding of thinking patterns is crucial for effective leadership and improving safety performance.


The GIGO principle originates from the computer industry and stands for ‘Garbage In, Garbage Out’. That’s what computer experts refer to when a computer is programmed with the wrong information and hence gives the wrong result. The computer is an incredible machine that can only work with the information you give it. GIGO is true of the human mind too, with the relationship between the subconscious and conscious often likened to that between a computer and its programmer. That is, garbage thinking patterns in: garbage results out and good thinking patterns in: good results out.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

10 Basic Skills Every Salesman Should Have

Basic Skills Every Sales Person Should Have

In my experience, I am convinced that techniques and methods of sales are teachable to anyone who has the desire to learn. However, there are a few natural skills that are of great benefit if they already exist within those that want to be successful in sales. Without these, success will take a longer time but it can still be achieved. If there is no desire and dedication to learning or developing these skills, then the selling will be much more difficult and often very stressful.

Effective Communicator
Communication covers a lot of territory. I am not talking about superb orator skills here, but the ability to speak clearly and in a manner that is easy to understand. Sales is all about talking to people and getting them to understand what you are trying to communicate.

Ability to Listen
Along with speaking, a great salesperson knows when to stop talking and listen. They never cut someone off while they are talking, because in doing so they would fail to hear a key element in identifying what that person's needs might be.

Asks Great Questions
Salespeople are naturally inquisitive and know that in order to isolate what the real need or desire is in the buyer, they need to ask questions that will lead them to the answer. They naturally ask questions because they have a desire to help solve their problem.

Problem Solver
Another natural skill is the desire and ability to solve problems. Great salespeople are always solving problems. The ability to hone in on what the buyer's problem is and offering suggestions that will effectively solve the problem with respect to what products or services you sell, generally results with a sale.

Well Organized
I am not necessarily speaking of your personal surroundings, but more with your thoughts and methods of planning. Sales people have a keen ability to break things down into smaller steps and organize a plan of action. They know how to analyze what their goal is and in what order the steps need to be in in order to reach that goal.

Self-Starter and Self-Finisher
A successful sales person moves forward on their own. They never need anyone to tell them when it is time to go to work because they know that if they do not work they will not earn. They are also very persistent to finish what they start. They achieve their goals, even if they are small ones.

Positive Self Image
Having the attitude that they can do just about anything that they put their mind to is usually very common among sales people. They do not cower from meeting or talking to people or trying something new. They rarely allow negatives that are either spoken to them or about them to effect what they are trying to accomplish because they know who they are and what they are capable of doing.

Well Mannered and Courteous

The best sales people are very well mannered. You may not realize it, but good manners is a way of showing respect for others. People are attracted to those that respect them and mutual respect is fundamental in building lasting relationships with people..including buyers.

Naturally Persuasive
Another very common inherent skill with great salespeople is that they are very persuasive or know how to get what they want. They focus on what they want and they are persistent to keep chipping away until they get what they want. They almost never give up or give in.

Person of Integrity
A salesperson without integrity will have many struggles which will often include hopping from job to job. Honesty in sales is so important and it is almost impossible for this skill to be taught. You or the person you are looking to hire is either a person of integrity or are not. Be as analytical as possible on the evaluation of this skill.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Keeping Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

Keeping the Cash Flowing in a Down Economy

1. Get your mind focused on what you can control, and the opportunities that exist. Look for positive influences and people who take this climate as a welcome challenge.

2. Trim the fat. It’s easy for expenses to creep in over time; now is the time to examine each one. Re-negotiate payment terms if possible. Each employee must make a tangible contribution to profit, with numbers you can measure.

3. Stay liquid. If you know your business will cyclically have a negative cash flow, line up financing now - before you need it.

4. Your current clients are worth pure gold. Go the extra mile to retain them.

5. Go where the recession is not. Many industries do just fine in a recession, and the folks who are employed there make good target clients

Saturday, 11 July 2009

21 ways to increase your cash flow

Cash flow is essential during a downturn. Here are 21 ways to make sure you are maximizing your cash flow opportunities.....

1. Test & Measuring System - for everything
2. Improve Conversion, Use Phone Scripts – Incoming and Sales
3. Put Prices Up
4. Add on Sale – Cross sell & Up sell
5. Public Relations Article
6. Direct Mail to existing Clients with telemarketing backup
7. Cold Phone Call – Use script
8. Extend Supplier Credit – or any other creditors
9. Pre paid sales
10. Use Debt Collection Agency
11. Closed Door Sales – bring a friend
12. Packaged offer – Quick moving line with slow moving line
13. Product Range add on sale – limited campaign (this week only)
14. Reverse Host Beneficiary (sell other peoples product for % )
15. Increase stock turns – stock rationalisation (slow stock out )
16. Events – novelty events to generate publicity
17. Sell excess assets
18. Small ads – classified – spot ads - for lead generation
19. Sales Team Incentives
20. Split level Pricing
21. Referrals – Have a referral or non referral price & ask for a referral after sale

Friday, 10 July 2009

TRUST is the key to any sale

Here are some simple elements of trust that you must MASTER in order to make it possible for a relationship to blossom:

  1. Tell the truth. This is the number one element of trust AND relationships. Once truth has been violated, trust evaporates and may never return.
  2. Deliver what you promise. People hope and expect you to deliver on promises.
  3. Do what you say you will do. This is a test for being reliable and trustworthy.
  4. Communicate in a timely manner. Rapid response shows you are responsible, on top of it, and that you care.
  5. Bring value beyond your product or service. What you do to help others be more successful will be a true reflection of your character.
  6. Be on time. Being on time shows you respect the other person’s time. It also proves your reliability.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Brainstorming Ideas - Seeing the wood for the trees!

Sometimes you’re so close to a problem you can’t see how it will ever be solved. This situation is so common, it even has it’s own cliché – “you can’t see the wood for the trees”. Here’s a brainstorming game to help you see things differently, and aid the problem solving process.

Show these shapes to your team, and ask them to individually write down what they can see. You may find descriptions such as; three coloured shapes, or a green circle with a diagonal line, a red hexagon and a yellow thought bubble etc.

Some may have made a small creative leap and seen the top left figure as a green “forbidden” road sign. Others may have taken bigger creative leaps and see a winking, bearded face or an imminent solar eclipse on a cloudy day. It doesn’t matter if you can or can’t see these more outlandish images – there’s no right or wrong answer.

Looking at things in a fresh, new way can trigger a whole train-load of thoughts, and that’s the essence of effective brainstorming.

Get the team to look at the shapes again and see how they describe them differently, second time round.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Knowledge v's Learning

We all have knowledge.. With so much information available to us today via so many different mediums we would struggle not to gain knowledge every day.

So, I challenge Dunn and Bradstreets comments and say nearly all the business owners I meet and work with do indeed have KNOWLEDGE. The difference is they don't have the LEARNING.

So what's the difference?

For me the difference is in what we do with the knowledge.
Knowing is not enough, we must DO. Doing turns our knowledge into learning. Once we learn something it then becomes cemented or locked in and is far more likely to stay with us. A habit if you prefer...

A good example of this is driving. I can read books on the theory of driving and I can watch videos of how to drive. This is KNOWLEDGE, I become knowledgeable of driving.
In order to LEARN to drive I need to get into the drivers seat and DO driving.. Now I am learning. This ensures I generate the habit and as a consequence retain the information.

So read, watch, listen, observe... Great KNOWLEDGE providers...
But you need the DO to get the learning..

I meet many business owners who ask for my help to keep them accountable on the DO... They have some the knowledge but have not learnt from it and so don't DO it..

The best way to get both KNOWLEDGE and LEARNING is to get a great coach or a mentor to help you They will give you information/skills (knowledge) and help to keep you accountable by setting goals and planning and doing (learning)