Wednesday, May 28, 2008

E- Newsletters: A Business MUST!

By Thomas Ossa
Rockland Web Design
May 28, 2008

There are plenty of reasons to not create a newsletter for your clients on a consistent basis. I hear plenty of excuses: "I don't have the time", "It takes too long to compose", "My customers will get annoyed", "I don't have a good list", etc. etc.

While I readily admit that many of the above concerns are valid points, the negatives in this case most certainly do not outweigh the positives. I can think of no other targeted message that can legitimately reach a mass number of people in a short span of time for the price. In other words, taking 1 hour to compose and send a newsletter to your clients once a week, bi-weekly, or even once a month is quite a valuable practice. In order for it to be effective, however, it needs to be done right.

Here are some tips for reaching your client base in a more effective way through newsletters:
  • Have a message, not a sales pitch: When you send out a correspondence, make sure your intent is not solely to sell. Your job is to educate. Rewards come later as a result, but they are quite beneficial.
  • Keep it short and sweet: If you are spending more than a half hour composing, editing and sending your newsletter, you've lost half your audience. Ask yourself this question as you write: "Is anyone really going to read this much?" Keep asking until you reach the answer "no", and then wrap it up. Use bullet points, like I am. They are much easier to read.
  • Don't oversend or undersend: There is no set standard for newsletter frequency. Each client list is different and unique, and each writer needs to feel out what is an acceptable and useful rate. A good rule of thumb is "no more than once a week, no less than once a month."
  • Get permission and feedback: Probably the most overlooked aspect of newsletters is finding out what your clients want to hear about. If they are interested in skin care products, and you are sending them tips on auto repair, you might see your client base shrink over time. A good opening newsletter would be "Welcome...what do you want to hear about?"
  • Create a call to action: Simply put, a call to action is an incentive for your readers to do something. It could be answering a survey, singing up for an event, or purchasing a product. While you don't want to sell stuff in the body of the newsletter, you certainly want to offer something that might be of value to the client. So add a little incentive, offer or otherwise, to generate interactivity between you and your people.
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Monday, May 12, 2008

5 Reasons to Watch Google during the Recession

There are many benefits to having one company in charge of all that is good online, and that one company is the juggernaut known as Google. While advantages are evident, there are obvious detriments that should also be considered as the public and private sectors increasingly favor Google and its wealth of valuable services.

Rockland Web Design has been monitoring the success of the search giant since their inception, and notes that there are some great reasons for businesses to embrace Google, especially in the apparent recession that exists today, but it will be interesting to note what position the company will be in as we emerge from the recession.

Below are 5 reasons to watch Google during the recession. They're not all bad, but there are some concerns:

1. Philosophy: Most people know Google's stated mission to "organize the world's information. On the way, Google's internal directive is, in my opinion, a great way to stay on the right track in order to meet that objective: "Don't be Evil". Apparently this is the company's way of stating that ethics and morals still hold true in our society. While I applaud this effort, I believe that in order for Google to remain faithful to this effort, the general public, as well as shareholders should monitor the company to ensure that top management creates policies that further embrace the "Don't be Evil" philosophy.

2. Ownership: Google is scarily purchasing everything that is vulnerable on the online landscape. A perfect example occurred 5 minutes ago, when I contacted what I thought was the number for a mobile web development company, and recieved a message that I reached a phone number for Google. How many more companies will be assimilated?

3. New applications: Google's home page is just the beginning of it's online world. Take a moment and click on "more". In there you will find Google earth, docs, research, hundreds of applications that make business and personal life more streamlined. Most cost nothing, just the favor of displaying tasteful advertising. More on that in a minute. But one particular application I'd like to mention: the Google Apps suite allows companies to collaborate through e-mail, run an Intranet, share documents and much more! Check it out at

4. Terms of Use: a while ago I sat down and read some of the terms of use for Google Apps. While it is a great suite, my concern is a little clause that states that google can essentially assume control of a domain, and make it their own. While the statement was somewhat vague and likely unenforcible, I would hate to think that one day the only way to get a website up and running is to go is to contact one almighty company.

5. Staying Power: Finally, the fact that Google has maintained a great degree of resilience during both the recession scare and the threat of a Yahoo / Microsoft merger speaks volumes to its staying power. I believe that this is a result of its multi-faceted strategy of creating more and more web applications in the interest of further its core competency...effective search advertising.

In short, buy the stock, use the services, and keep both eyes on Google for the foreseeable future.

Tom Ossa
Rockland Web Design
(914) 584 - 6882
Sent from my iPhone