How to design a good looking Mailchimp

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Where to start?

You’ve got the information you want to use, the images and now you are ready to tell the people on your mailing list about your news. You’ve created a mailing list with permission from your subscribers, uploaded it to Mailchimp, have had a look around the website so you think you know what you’re doing (No? Check out these guides). But how do you prevent your email from looking and sounding like your local community newsletter? Let me show you a few tricks to up your game and professionalise your Mailchimp emails!


Choose a good subject line

Want people to actually open your email and read it? Only 30% of all email newsletter get opened on average (yes!) so it is vital to have a good email subject standing out in people’s inbox. Urgency, Curiosity, Offers, Personalisation, Relevance and Timeliness, Name recognition and Cool stories are all ideas to keep in mind when thinking up an email subject.


Pick the right template

Regular campaigns are the most common type of HTML email. They can be formatted and customized with images, colors, and other design elements to fit the needs of your business. There are a variety of customizable layouts and pre-built themes that can be used as starting points for your campaign, along with a selection of intent-based featured templates that can help you create the perfect campaign for showcasing products, sharing news or stories, following up with customers, or helping folks get acquainted with your business. And you can always import a template or use our template language to create your own custom-coded solution.

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Once you have created a newsletter you like, it is easy to replicate the email. You simply go tour your list of ‘campaigns’ and click on ‘replicate’ in the drop down menu next to your latest email. Replace text, images and links and you have yourself a brand new newsletter.


Create a good looking header image + logo

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In my job at multi-arts centre the Barn, I created consistency in email marketing by always placing the logo in the bottom right, but changing the background image depending on the subject of the email.

Do you have a logo? Or an image that represents your business? Then use these in your header, EVERY time. Consistency means people instantly see who the newsletter is from and this way you build brand recognition. Use free design programme Canva to create beautiful email headers.


Who will be reading it?

Adjust your tone of voice depending on who will be receiving the email. The more people know you and your business, the more familiar you can be with them, referring to previous emails, articles and projects perhaps, because they will know what you are talking about. If your audience is new to you or still getting to know you, make sure to make them feel welcome and include plenty of informative articles, images and links to make them want to read your emails every time. But this is true for everyone, because with so many emails arriving in people’s inboxes you’ve got to make your worthwhile. I would always choose to make an email easy to read, informative, avoiding jargon or  complicated language, no matter what the subject is. (Just because you are talking about art, doesn’t mean you have to revert to abstract highbrow language that nobody gets!)

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Break up your text

That brings me to my next point: don’t talk non-stop in long sentences and endless paragraphs. Most people have the attention span of a goldfish, so in order to keep them awake and with you, break up the blurb! Start a new paragraph after a space every few sentences, adding bold sub titles, to make the text airy and make it easy to read.


Use good quality visuals

A picture tells more than a thousand words, so choose your images wisely. Use images on their own or create attention grabbing visuals on canvas with overlaying text to encourage people to click or take action. Video is also a great way to enhance your newsletter and can simply be dragged and dropped into your Mailchimp newsletter as long as you have a Youtube or Vimeo url link to copy and paste. Use trailers if you are promoting film nights, a walk through if you are showcasing a home, shop or restaurant or a create a tutorial showing people how to do or make something. All these media can of course be used on your social media and websites too.


Include real links to drive traffic

A newsletter’s main objective is to tell people about whatever you are offering – and make them take action. Whether that is to buy tickets, buy products, read your full article or call you to make an appointment, you want to make those links as clear and straightforward as possible. Mailchimp has a very helpful ‘button’ function you can simply drag and drop into your email, which you can link to a web link or email address. Use words such as ‘Buy Now’, ‘Browse Collection’, ‘Call Us’ or ‘Book Tickets’ to encourage readers to take action.

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The footer

With data protection becoming a lot stricter from May 2018, you have to make sure your footer (and privacy policy) are up to date. make it clear to people why they receive this email and that they can simply unsubscribe if they want to. Also put your contact details in the footer if people want to get in touch.


Still feeling out of your depth or jut not got enough time? I am an old hand at Mailchimp and am used to creating weekly newsletters. Let me do it for you! Contact

Basic copywriting tips to improve your SEO

You have a beautiful website, a great business and now you want people to find you. How do you get Google to take notice? It is important to get that web copy up to scratch in order to have better SEO ratings. In this post I am sharing some basic SEO tips that have helped me improve my websites.

Publish original content

It is very tempting to copy and paste text from another website if you have found a business online that is offering a similar service. Many people do this. However, apart from the fact that is not good practice (you are basically stealing someone’s else’s copy), Google also does not like this. When the Google machine does its job and crawls across the net looking for new websites and content to rank, it will detect copy that is duplicated from another site. This is not good news if this applies to your website as Google will prevent your site from showing up higher in the search results. The solution? Be original. It is OK to get inspiration from similar sites, but make sure you rewrite the content and put it into your own words. Not just a little bit, but enough to make it read as a completely new article.

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Pay attention to readability

What does this mean? Readability is another thing that search engines look for in a website. A well written blog post or web page gets ranked higher. This means it is a good idea to avoid using very long sentences. It it also recommended to write in an active rather that passive way, i.e. “I am sharing some tips today” instead of “Some tips are shared by me today”. Another way to improve readability is to keep the paragraphs concise and separate them with a sub header.

Paragraphs longer than 300 words are not recommended. You can choose to include your keyword in one or more of your sub headers too. It’s common sense really: what would keep your attention when reading web content? Probably a text that has plenty of space, bite-size paragraphs, sentences that are not too long and interesting sub headers to keep you reading. Always read and re-read your copy and try and place yourself in the shoes of your web visitor: is he/she still with me?

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Use keywords (and be niche)

What is your blog post, article or web page about? What would people type into Google in order to find it? Testing your keywords or key phrases by typing them into Google is a good idea to see what people are looking for and what kind of pages rank high. If the top pages are all big high street stores or large international companies, then your website will probably not show up using that particular keyword. Try and be more niche, but not too obscure either. Add another word to be more specific and see what comes up instead.

Having a niche makes it easier for people to find you than when you are trying to be too generic. Zoom in on what your business is really about. Use your location, a specific target audience or description of your product/service in your key phrase. When you choose a keyword, make sure to use it in the title and several times in the body of the text. Using Keyword planner is a useful tool in choosing keywords.

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Don’t forget your image descriptions

Google not only scans text, it also looks at your images. Don’t forget to give your images descriptions that will help rank your page higher in web searches. Use keywords in the title, the ALT description and even captions to improve your SEO.

Install YOAST on WordPress

If you are on WordPress like me, YOAST is a helpful plugin that highlights any improvements you can make in your web copy. It will give you a green light when your SEO and readability are good, an amber light if it is OK and a red light if it needs some work. It tells you exactly what to do and where the errors are in your content. The plugin is free on WordPress Pro packages.

 

Why your business should be on Pinterest

Most businesses are on social media these days – and if you’re not – where have you been? Facebook being the most popular, followed by Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and of course, Youtube. Today I am talking about Pinterest.

Pinterest is a very powerful visual tool to draw customers in, speak to them through great images and get them engaged with your brand. Why do people love Pinterest so much? Pinterest is a very strong visual tool and we all know an image speaks more than a thousand words. How many of you have been on Pinterest to find inspiration for a room makeover, travel destinations, ideas for the garden, recipes, choosing a theme for your wedding or party or looking at DIY craft tutorials? Pinterest is easy to use and you can create beautiful visual ‘boards’ to refer to and remind you of your ideas.

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Let’s continue with some statistics that are pretty impressive.

Pinterest statistics

Pinterest was born in 2010, currently has over 500 employees and has 175 million users worldwide. Compared to Facebook this is nothing (2.20 billion monthly active users! Wowzers), but with it being more ‘niche’ it has the potential to reach many more of your ideal clients. There are 50+ billion Pins saved by users, on a total number of 1+ billion boards. The total number of shopping pins saved daily to boards by Pinterest users is 2 million. Although the following statistics are based on the US, it is save to say that Pinterest is growing in popularity worldwide.

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Pinterest Demographics

  • 81% of Pinterest users are actually Females.
  • 40% of New Signups are Men; 60% New Signups are Women.
  • Men account for only 7% of total pins on Pinterest.
  • Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
  • Median age of a Pinterest user is 40, however majority of active pinners are below 40.
  • Half of Pinterest users’ household income is $50K or greater per year, with 10 percent of Pinteresting households earning more than $125K.
  • 30% of all US social media users are Pinterest users.
  • 60% of Pinterest users are from US.

Fun Facts

  • There are over 75 billion ideas on Pinterest.
  • 87% of Pinners have purchased a product because of Pinterest.
  • 72% of Pinners use Pinterest to decide what to buy offline.
  • 67% of Pinners are under 40-years-old.
  • Over 5% of all referral traffic to websites comes from Pinterest.
  • Pinterest said 80% of its users access Pinterest through a mobile device.
  • 93% of active pinners said they use Pinterest to plan for purchases and 87% said they’ve purchased something because of Pinterest.
  • Two-thirds of pins represent brands and products.
  • Food & Drink & Technology are the most popular categories for men.
  • An average Pins made by an Active Female User is 158.
  • Recipes: There are more than 1.7 billion recipe Pins.
  • Shopping: Every day nearly 2M people Pin product rich Pins.
  • Articles: More than 14 million articles are Pinned each day.
  • Average time spent on Pinterest per visit is 14.2 minutes.

(source: www.omnicoreagency.com/pinterest-statistics)


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Image: Nina’s Apartment


If you sell beautiful products, get on Pinterest!

The following graphics show evidence of how much Pinterest is used as a source of inspiration – and eventually decision-making – when it comes to shopping for products. This can be for the home, for clothes, for weddings, parties, etc. If your business is all about selling products that fall into those categories, Pinterest is an essential tool to get exposure.

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Whereas Facebook Business pages and groups are useful tools for storytelling and posting links to articles, websites and other related online pages for your business, statistics say these media don’t necessarily turn viewers into buyers. The storytelling is still important to create loyalty around your brand and build relationships, but the actual visual impact of great images of your products will be much better on Pinterest, where users save the image to a board and most likely look at it again in future.

Imagine you are planning a bathroom. You have a certain style in mind, but would like to have some inspiration. I know that most women, and I am one of them, will turn to Pinterest to start a board (collection), pinning images of rooms and products that fit in with the style you are after. These images will be pictures of nice bathrooms, but most likely include shopping pins of sinks, tiles and taps as well. Then, once you have gathered enough ideas, look at your board again. If there are certain products that really take your fancy, you will probably click on the source link to find out more and see where to buy the products you pinned.

How to get people to make that journey to your website? It is up to you as a business to make that happen! Good images, good descriptions with keywords used in searches – and ultimately a great landing page for your business are essential in this process. Make it as attractive and easy as possible. Rich Pins and Product Pins are more advanced types of images you or your developer could create to offer a more in-depth experience and direct links to shop your product.

Read and learn more about Pinterest and Business

Want to read more about how to become a Pinterest wizard? Here are some useful links to learn more:

How to Use Keywords on Pinterest

Etsy Hack: How to Make a Sale a Day using Pinterest

9 pinterest tips to increase blog traffic

The 100 best web design tools ever


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Who loves a list with amazingly helpful tools you can find and use online to improve your marketing and build your business?

This infographic starts with typography. The favorite tool here is Frontface Ninja, a web plug in that lets you identify the font of the page you are browsing.

Then it goes to Stock Photos, with Pixabay being one of my favourites too. In this section Stocksy is also worth mentioning, which allows users to download distinctive and qualitative stock pictures.

Finally the inspiration slide provides us with 10 beautiful tools to get daily doses of inspiration. There is the famous Dribbble, but also great discoveries such as Material up.

Plenty to browse through and use in your work. Book mark it, save it and share it with your friends!

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Building a website: the best free website builders available

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Where to start?

Building websites can be a bit daunting, especially if you have never done anything like this before and expect having to deal with HTML coding and other stuff that basically makes your eyes go funny. Luckily we have come along way and there are now a number of ways to DIY a website for free (well, it takes time of course) and get a pretty good professional looking end result. All of these systems are free to a certain extent and offer different payment plans to add more functions to the site if you require this.

You can make website as simple or as complicated as you like, depending on what you want to site to be and do. If it is simply a place on the web telling clients what your business is about, how to contact you and show off some of your skills and products, then things don’t need to be daunting at all. The key is to have clear written copy (don’t forget a fabulous About Us page!) and a handful of striking images to make your site stand out and keep people’s attention. Today I am talking about a few options to check out if you want to it a go. There are tons of tutorials on Youtube, so if you have a small budget, you can really brush up on your skills and learn how to to it all yourself. If you still feel overwhelmed….you know where I am! Services


WordPress

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I have built my blogs on WordPress and so far I am happy with its functions, from a blogger’s point of view. Because that is what WordPress.com is best at: Blogs. WordPress is by far the largest one available, with thousands of users worldwide. You can pick from lots of beautiful free templates, or if you don’t want your site to look like everybody else’s, pay to select something a little different. It is not a drag and drop kind of site like Wix, Weebly or Squarespace, which people may find a bit more tricky, but once you understand what you’re doing, it is all doable. Wordpress.com is separated into two parts: My Site and WP Admin. My Site is beautiful but simple— it’s the part that feels like a website builder. WP Admin is complex but more powerful— it’s the part that feels like a CMS (Content Management System). The WP Admin is more complex to navigate.

WordPress is especially suitable for Bloggers, with plenty of fexibility, but less great for online stores as you are dependant on third party plugins, rather than being able to build a shop page on the website itself.  Experienced bloggers who want full and deep control over their sites need look no further. It’s also the right tool for new bloggers who plan to invest in their blogs long term—you’ll learn more as you go, while still being able lay your foundation immediately.

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Squarespace

Squarespace is a good match for you if your website or business is very design oriented and you want to take an active role in crafting the look and feel of your website (as Squarespace gives you the ability to make a lot of design tweaks without using codes).If you prefer minimalistic, clean, chic designs and that your website is more graphics / imagery-oriented, definitely consider Squarespace. Squarespace provides you with beautiful, rich imagery, designer templates that undeniably command your attention right off the bat. Clean, minimalistic templates that give off a sophisticated vibe. They definitely project a highly finished quality, as if a designer has invested months in polishing them. I love the clean lines which is a nice contrast to other website builders’ templates which could be a bit noisy. A nice feature is that you can adjust the fonts, colors, image opacity, sidebar width, background images, sizes, spacing / padding, etc of just about anything on a Squarespace website.


All Squarespace templates are responsive, meaning that you can resize your browser and the content (including the images, slideshows) will also automatically resize to help give you and your visitors optimized viewing experiences.  This is especially helpful if your visitors tend to use mobile devices (certainly an upward trend for most users).

Squarespace is especially suited for designers with portfolios, photographers, boutique businesses/online shops, bloggers, restaurants, musicians and weddings/occasions.

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Wix

If building a beautiful and interactive website is a priority for you (without having to know how to code), based on our Wix review, Wix is a good website builder candidate for you to consider. If you have a look at some of the website examples that are created by Wix, they’re beautiful and professional. It’s pleasantly surprising that these websites are created by non-professional web designers – which is why Wix is a builder that you may want to test. Their designs are also very up-to-date with the latest design trends. For example, you can build 1-page parallax designs, insert background videos, create different background sections, all without touching any codes (just drag & drop).

If you want to build an online shop, Wix’s e-commerce tools are not advanced enough to help you fully manage your store.  Therefore Wix is perhaps less of a go-to system if that is what you’re after. Small businesses, restaurants and hotels, musicians and designers however will find Wix probably great for their use.

Although Wix has a lot of pre-made designer templates for you to choose from, one of the drawbacks is that once you’ve picked a template to use, you can’t switch to another template without re-inserting your content. Once you change to another template, you will need to re-create your pages (or copy and paste your content into the new template). One of the things that is helpful in Wix however is that they have help / support buttons everywhere, and they have phone support. This can save you a lot of time.

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Weebly

Weebly is a very user-friendly, robust and reliable website builder.  It’s one of the easiest drag and drop, code free website builders available in the market today. They enable you to build a great looking website without having to write a single line of code.  You literally just use your mouse and drag in pictures, slideshows, products, without the need to deal with any codes. Historically, Weebly’s templates are “basic” at best.  That was one of their biggest weaknesses. However, they’ve been making big strides in improving their template collection. Currently, they have a good selection of designs that are on-trend with the latest designs. They are all mobile responsive as well so your website will look professional across desktop and mobile devices. Further, Weebly gives you the option to change templates with a click of a button. Very easy to do if you want to change up your design once in a while.  All your content will be automatically transferred into the new template you pick. Not all the website builders give you this capability.

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Weebly also gives you access to the templates’ HTML / CSS codes. So if you know a bit of code (or if you hire someone who does), this gives you the flexibility to customize your design extensively. However, Weebly only allows you to change font styles and overall color scheme for each template.

When it comes to designing your pages, if you don’t know where to start, Weebly has over 40 pre-set page layouts for you to choose from to get you started. They’ve compiled popular page layouts for home, about, services, contact, restaurant menu and portfolio pages. You can pick any one of them and start customizing or altering the layouts to make it your own.

www.weeby.com