Helping businesses develop with managed outsourcing

What do I mean by ‘managed outsourcing’?

Think about any time you stopped and thought, “there must be a better way of doing this” or “I’m spending too much on this, surely there’s a cheaper option”.

You’re right about those things and in an ideal world the goal is to increase your business’ efficiency, but to what end?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • do you know what a potential solution would look like?
  • can you afford to spend time finding the solution yourself?
  • can you create the solution yourself?
  • do you know how much the solution is worth paying someone else?

 

Essentially, if you conclude that your business needs development expertise but you’re not sure how, where or at what cost; this is where I step in.

After learning about your business and the specific task, I’ll help to diagnose a unique solution.

I can then research, hire and manage a specialist who will provide the work needed within budget and on time.

A wide range of business solutions are possible to help increase efficiency, save money and support growth of your business.

Here’s a brief case study to highlight an example of the type of work I can do for you.

CASE STUDY

PA Studio is a music rehearsal studio in Brighton and they have 4 rooms available to book throughout the week.

Previously they’ve used a physical diary, google calendar and a basic spreadsheet to manage their bookings. I think it’s fair to say none of these produced acceptable results.

I researched some third party software and website integrations but they were either to expensive, too rigid or not native enough to the operating systems that the team were used to.

It’s all well finding a tool that works but I also like to make sure that it can be adopted effectively by users and it transpired that I could probably use Google Apps to create the best solution.

My idea was to use Forms in order to validate the input data and then transpose the resulting data from Sheets to a simple calendar view.

At this point I decided to investigate how it might be possible to leverage the Google Apps Script in order to automate this last process and began talking with developers.

After some testing we decided that Google Calendar would present the bookings in a user friendly way and also provide sufficient administrative flexibility.

I hired a developer who wrote the code and we worked together to tie any loose ends and finalise the job.

Finally we deployed the solution in the business.

The result from this small project far outweighed the cost and the business now experiences less data error, a more organised database, faster booking UI and higher customer satisfaction.


 

If you think I can help develop a solution for your business, please get in touch.

Mail Chimp Snap – The ultimate tool for improving your email quality, frequency and conversion

I’ve counted on MailChimp to deliver my emails for some time now.

Sometimes though, for long periods of time my subscribers wouldn’t hear a peep out of me.

Of course, it wasn’t MailChimps fault – I only had myself to blame.

I’d end up swerving the task of constructing an email for lots of daft reasons. Laziness, prioritising other jobs, worrying about the content.

I worried about my content a lot.

Often times when I eventually sat down to craft an email I’d get so frustrated, feeling like I’m forcing something on to the page.

All this is to say, writing and designing emails for your list can be damn hard which is why many of us prefer to bury our heads in the sand. Am I right?

If you do have a similar resentment toward your email campaigns, bear this in mind:

Email marketing is one of the cheapest, quickest and often most successful ways to grow your business

Therefore, you simply can’t afford to ignore your list.

Surely there’s a tool that helps people like us send better email …Yes! It’s called Mail Chimp Snap.

MC Snap

So easy you can create campaigns on your lunch break

I hadn’t realised until I saw someone talking about it on twitter one day, MailChimp have actually developed specific apps to handle individual parts of the functionality that encompasses their full web platform.

One of those apps is called MC Snap and like many great things, it’s simple but effective.

It allows you to add an image, some text and a url link to one of several different basic templates and send it to your email subscribers.

The reason this app works so well is because there are so few distractions.

You won’t end up wasting time thumbing through previous campaigns, checking reports or suddenly getting a creative spurt and fiddling about with your email template designs.

The apps slick UI draws your attention solely toward completing four simple sections:

  • Image
  • Subject
  • Main copy
  • URL link / button (optional)

 

If you have several accounts then you can choose one when you log in. And if you’ve set them up, you can also choose to send email to specific list segments.

To utilise MC Snap you’ll need to be using Mailchimp as your email list provider (free or paid account).

New users can click my referral link to get $30 free credit when signing up for a paid subscription. Just click here!

Well now you know about this brilliant little app, let me show you how to make the most of it and progress to Jedi status.

Supercharging your email success with MC Snap

Whilst the intention of MC Snap is simplicity, there are still plenty of opportunities to max out the effectiveness of your campaign with some advanced techniques.

Experiment with a few or all of the following tips and you’ll be guaranteed to see your email success rate soar in no time.

1. Keep it snappy

Don’t be tempted to drivel on about all your companies latest and greatest news. This isn’t the time or the place.

Centre your email around a striking image and back it up with around 2 – 4 sentences of copy which cuts to the point.

If you’ve developed a great relationship with your list, many people will still be happy to spend a few minutes reading longer form messages. However 15 – 20 seconds of reading is far more digestible and much more likely to encourage a call-to-action, especially if it’s the only one on the page.

Don’t ask too much, nobody likes being confronted with multiple decisions; we just don’t have time these days!

Simplify the choices and provide a call to action that ensures the reader knows what to expect when clicking through.

Product Hunt do this really well with their digest emails.

Product Hunt Digest Emails Example

Example: Product Hunt Digest Emails

2. Subject lines: bring your A game

In the app you need to enter a title and this acts as your subject line. The one thing we know about a subject line is, it can mean the difference between your email being read or not.

It’s a good idea to have a quick read up on subject lines so I’d suggest going to none other than MailChimp (of course). Also, for the data-hungry out there, Ungapped produced this great article.

My personal recommendation is to craft an email line that ties in with the rest of your email.

It should associate well with the image and the body text.

You could try starting a sentence but finishing it in the first line of the body e.g. “If you want to stay hydrated… / …try our brand new super drink!”.

Make sure the full sentence reads well and is enticing enough for the recipient to want to open.

Here’s the inbox preview and the full email:

mc snap test subject

mc test full email

Or the subject could relate to the email image e.g.

Subject line: "And here's what happened next..."

Subject: “And here’s what happened next…”

The image and subject should go hand in hand to make for a compelling reason to open.

You might do well with the Buzzfeed style, ‘I never thought that [….] until I saw this..’ title.

Or you might find that your audience responds better to a less NLP-esque and straight forward subject line like, ‘Here’s the best [….] that money can buy right now’.

It depends on your field or industry as to the best way to word your subject and you’ll only find your groove after a few testers so don’t expect to nail it right straight away.

Wherever your research takes you, just remember the obvious: a subject line should describe the subject of your email.

3. Let it flow

Along the same lines to what I discuss above, try to craft your email so that it flows as one whole.

This bitesized format means that when a recipient opens your email, they’re likely to be able to see the whole of it on the screen; or with just one short scroll on mobile.

Use the opportunity to construct an email that keeps the eye moving across the page, all the way toward your CTA.

Short sentences are better than paragraphs but bear in mind they’ll move content down the page and cause viewers the need to scroll on mobile.

Refrain from adding too many details. Instead, move this information to your landing page and try making this the CTA.

e.g. Last sentence: “Want to see the secret ingredient of our super drink?” Button: “Tell me more!”.

4. Amazing Artwork

There’s a so much you can do with your image and what you decide on will determine the feel of your email.

For this reason, I think it’s important to choose your image type well. Here are some examples of different image types you could choose:

  • Quick snap shot – great for unique spur of the moment communications where the image does the talking. Use an interesting angle and experiment with filters.
  • Quality photo – a striking image with more time taken to achieve quality lighting, framing, focus etc might be all it takes to encourage your recipient to read further. You can take great photos with most mobile phones today. Here’s some tips for iPhone.
  • Stock image – you can get some really great stock images but be careful not to choose something too cheesy or overused. Great results can be achieved by cropping or re-framing the image and also using filters and a touch of gaussian blur.

 

Pro Tip – Overlay text on the image

Carefully placing some nice typography on your image can further extend its impact.

Plus it can be used to expand on the message within your subject line.

I use Word Swag for quick renditions and Canva for some more design intensive variations.

Text over image design made with Canva

Text over image design made with Canva

Final thoughts

There we have it, my best advice to give your email marketing a kick up the butt!

I’ve demonstrated how you can use MC Snap to create quality emails fast, it’s up to you now to get to work.

I know that once you’ve sent a few, the process will become neater and easier and you’ll even begin to look forward to your next correspondence.

Don’t forget:

A/B test your emails to see what’s working best with your audience.

Maybe even begin to think about segmenting those that respond best to this format and targeting them with similar content.

 

I hope this guide helps you create better content for your email list and that you’re able to find a rhythm.

Let me know how you get on, I’d love to hear the results!

Example Content Framework

If you’re flying solo and trying desperately to keep a handle on all your daily marketing responsibilities then this one’s for you.

I’ve been working with a creative client. A maker that enjoys fettling, testing and perfecting as they bring their ideas and concepts to life in the form of a bespoke, one-of-kind product.

It’s been an interesting road I have to say.

The client had clear views about their brand vision and had actually established something quite strong within the marketplace.

I really loved what they’d produced so developing it and implementing an effective marketing plan should have been easy…

Despite their world class creations and the fact that proportionately, there are very few people around the globe making these items to such a standard, we struggled to gain traction.

I battled to find a middle ground with my ideas and opinions for media content and story telling. I wanted to bring customers in to the inner circle and show them the magic and potential of what this unique little business creates.

My client however, preferred to keep a low profile and operate in an almost secretive manor. Because of this, social media has been a constant struggle due to the transparency, consistency and speed required to do it well.

It took a lot of time and effort to help my client overcome their reservations about creative content and social media. But with every small win, I gained more trust and we started getting more enquiries and sales.

As a consultant you need to be looking at the end game. What happens when you leave your client to continue with the strategy you’ve put in place?

Well, the most important thing for my client was to have a framework they could refer to that would help them focus and understand how to continue creating great marketing content.

They needed something that would easily show them actionable steps, in sequence and set against the bigger picture.

The result was their own content framework.

Content types and sharing


the-content-framework

We opted to create blog posts, share rich imagery and produce a monthly newsletter. The newsletter would give an insight to the goings on throughout the previous weeks and share news of any new promotions.

Before sending newsletters, we’d make sure to optimise our landing pages to encourage specific actions, add value or share any important information.

The antenna is a visual reminder to KEEP SHARING! It’s so important to always be thinking about what your audience might like to see and keep them entertained.

Customer development


jabjabjab-right-hook

I’m in awe of Gary Vee’s incredible ability to get up close and personal with you. He delivers and delivers, entertains and provides value and then… he asks you to take action.

This part of the framework is based on his ‘jab jab jab right hook’ principle and helps my client to see how this might look across three stages of customer development.

Targeted customers in the peripheral stage and those that show general interest require jabs; a barrage of media, valuable information and entertainment.

Some of these customers will hopefully move toward the last column where a call to action (‘right hook’) will demonstrate which are qualified prospects.

At this last step it’s important to maintain good communication, support and show personal and public appreciation.

Utilising the data


utilise-the-data

This last step is really important and often overlooked by businesses so I wanted my client to be aware of it.

After achieving success from the first steps, many businesses just stop there, go back and do more of it. Leaving behind a stack of valuable data.

Data that could be used to:

  1. repurpose as highly targeted content
  2. inform and improve various areas of the business
  3. highlight areas of potential growth or
  4. uncover underperforming initiatives

I hope this framework serves as a helpful tool in your business. Let me know how you might adapt it to better suit your needs.

[download the PDF]

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