7 Strategies to Choosing an Effective Domain Name

A friend of mine calls me the “Domain King”, since at one time I owned around 50 domains. I’ve let many of them go (I own only 22 now) as my business has changed and developed, or I’ve just simply lost interest in the project. I’m often asked how I go about picking effective domain names, so as the “Domain King”, I’ll share my thought process with you.

What’s the purpose of the domain name?

Are you planning on using this name as the main website for your company, as a one page sales letter site, or squeeze page site? If the domain name will be your primary company website, try and find the closest version to your company name that you can. If you’re just starting out, choose your business name and domain name with care. When I started my virtual assistant practice, I chose the name SOHO Business Solutions, as I thought everyone knew that SOHO stood for Small Office, Home Office. I think I’ve run into 2 people in my 7 years in business who knew what that acronym stood for. If I had it to do over again for this business, I would choose a business name and domain name with virtual assistant in the title, like InternetMarketingVirtualAssistant.com, a name I just recently purchased.

If the purpose of a domain is for a one-page sales letter site or a squeeze page, think ahead as to how you might promote this site. Because content is king in today’s internet marketing world, there’s little chance that either of these types of sites would be picked up by the search engines on key words. Therefore, your best promotion strategy is PPC, or “pay per click”, where you’re buying keywords for placement in search engines. If you’re buying keywords from Google, for example, the paid listings appear at the top of a search in a blue box, or down the right-hand side of your screen. You want to be sure that the info displayed there is compelling enough to get someone to click and visit your site. So, for example, I’ve created a squeeze page, GetMoreClientsOnline.com, which has a compelling solution to a common problem that my clients have, as a side door gateway to my OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com coaching website.

Brainstorm a list of ideas of the problem you’re trying to solve or the solution that you have. 

A domain name that clearly indicates what you do, or a problem that you solve, or a solution that you have to a problem will give a visitor a fairly clear picture of what s/he’ll find on your website. What I typically do is go to my domain registrar, www.UltraNetDomains.com, and just start plugging in the names I’m brainstorming until I come up with 3 or 4 that are available. If the domain name that you type in isn’t available, the service will come up with 10 or so alternates for you to consider. I found this alternate listing quite helpful recently in picking the name of an article directory site that I want to create.

For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes, 

It helps to have your keywords in your domain name. Marla Regan, who’s a professional organizer, has put two keywords in her domain name, OrganizedTime.com. Retirement Coach Lin Schreiber has her keyword niche in her domain, RevolutionizeRetirement.com. Consultant John Reddish has the desired outcome keywords in his domain, GetResults.com. I own a domain that I haven’t yet developed for house sitters, BecomeAHouseSitter.com. Before buying your domain, make a list of keywords that someone might use to find you online. This list could include your industry, your target market or niche, a problem your target market has, or a solution that you can offer.

Shorter is better, if it’s to be your primary domain. 

I haven’t always followed my own rules here, as I tend to have business names that are quite lengthy. If the domain name is going to be your primary domain where your primary email address will be housed, you want your domain name to be as short, catchy, and memorable as possible. After a few times of spelling out your lengthy email address, you’ll come to appreciate the beauty of a short domain name. Your domain name can contain up to 67 letters and numbers, although I would encourage you not to have one of this length, and can contain no special characters other than hyphens.

Purchase your your given name as a domain name. 

I typically tell my clients not to try and brand their given name as their business name, as that takes many years, much money, and lots of hard work to have the name recognition of Oprah, for example. However, it still pays to purchase your given name as a domain name, as well as any common misspellings of your name. Many people think my name is Donna Gunther, with an “h” in the last name, but I’ve been unable to register that common misspelling of my name, as a photographer in Venice, CA, has owned in since 2000. Once you’ve purchased your name as a domain, you can redirect it to your primary website. This means that when someone types in a domain, they land at the website to which you pointed that domain. So, currently DonnaGunter.com redirects to OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com because I don’t want to use my name as a website, although that might change in the future.

Buy the .COM version of the name if it is available. 

When people hear a domain name, they “hear” .COM whether it’s .NET or .BIZ or .ORG or whatever. So, it pays to find a domain name that you like that is part of the .COM family. If you just can’t get the name you want, try a hyphenated version of the .COM name. For example, when I was seeking a domain name for my Self-Employment Coaching Gym, I really wanted SelfEmploymentSuccess.com, but it wasn’t available. However, Self-Employment-Success.com was available, so I grabbed that. Many SEO specialists state that search engines like hyphenated names, and many online business owners use hyphenated keywords in their domain names to be more attractive to search engines. I don’t have a clear answer as to the validity of this theory, so I just advocate going this route before having to resort to the .NET or .BIZ of the name you desire. Some domain name holders may be willing to sell you the domain name that you want. You can find out who owns a domain name by checking the WhoIs Registry at Internic, http://www.internic.net/whois.html. For info about country codes (two-letter) top-level domains (.UK or .CA, for example) visit http://www.uwhois.com/cgi/domains.cgi?User=NoAds

Consider owning other versions of your primary domain name. 

If you are registering the .COM version of a domain for your business, you may also want to secure variations of the name, alternate spellings, common misspellings, and the .NET and .ORG versions of your domain and repoint them to your main site to keep them out of the hands of your competitors. You can also go broke very quickly by purchasing all of these variations, so exercise some restraint in your purchases and don’t go crazy with purchasing every single variation of your domain name. For my coaching company site, I own both the OnlineBizCoachingCompany.com and OnlineBusinessCoachingCompany.com and decided that was good enough.

Your domain name is the beginning of the establishment of your presence online, Take some time and put some thought into the process so that the domain name serves you well in the years to come, and is an effective tool for helping you get more clients online.

5 Ways To Think Up A Great Domain Name That’s Still Available

I’d be a zillionaire if I earned a dollar each time someone complains that all the great domain names are already taken. It’s just not true, however. Even in a highly competitive industry, you can think up original, appealing domain names for businesses by using naming tactics that few people use, such as these:

1. Focus on results. What is the outcome or end result that people want to have from buying a certain product or service? How do they feel when they have finished the transaction? My own company name, Named At Last, falls into this category.

2. Look for puns.Make a list of relevant keywords, say each out loud and play around with the sounds. Puns are much less likely than other kinds of names to have been registered because their component parts are not actual words. For instance, the name Sitesfaction, for a web design company, was a finalist in our first naming contest – and an available domain at that time despite tens of thousands of web design firms in the English-speaking world.

3. Think sl Let your imagination and memory fly around for pleasing-to-the-ear expressions. As of today, the domain BoyOhBoyToys.com for an online toy store is unregistered, as is a domain for its sister store AttaGirlToys.com.

4. Go symbolic. Suppose you’re an expert on the horror genre and want to start a paid online community for horror fans. Horrorific.com, horrorgate.com and Horrornet.com are all taken, but as of today, the less obvious and more vivid FrightOwl.com is not.

5. Vary real words. “Google’s name is a play on the word googol, which refers to the number 1 followed by one hundred zeroes,” says the Press Center of the world’s most successful search engine. “The word was coined by the nine-year-old nephew of mathematician Edward Kasner,” it continues – providing another hint for creative naming: consult a kid.

10 Tips For Accurate Domain Registration

You should think about registering a domain name before you actually do it. Many people come up with a catchy name, or feel the need to lock in their name, and rush out to buy a domain name. But there are several things to consider in your domain name. After all, your domain name is an extension of your business and your image—don’t you want to project the right one?

These ten tips will help you to pick just the right domain name for you and/or your business.

1. The extension you select makes a statement to user about where you are and who you are aiming to attract. For example, .co.uk tells people you are operating out of the United Kingdom, and .ca tells them you are operating out of Canada. If that is important to you, then register accordingly. If you would rather give them impression of being a global company, or based in the US, then pick a .com name.

2. Use a reputable registration service. Unfortunately, some domain registration services are little more than a scam. They are only middlemen. You tell them the domain name you want, and they register it, for a fee higher than you would pay! In the worst case, they actually register the domain name using their information, so it becomes very difficult for you to do anything with your domain name.
Do some background research into the company before you register a domain with them.

3. Use keywords in your domain name. These will sometimes help search engines in ranking your website. For example, if you sell gourmet dog treats online and from your own store, but your business name is “Laura’s Homemade Snacks,” you might consider two domain names: one for your business name, and one for keywords. In this case you might select “gourmetdogtreats.com” as your domain name to represent to the search engines and searchers what you are about.

4. Short names are easier to spell correctly. What’s easier to remember and type in: gourmetdogtreats.com, or laurashomemadeandgourmetdogsnacks.com?

5. Avoid trademarks from other companies. Companies have been known to sue website owners for copyright and trademark infringement, so be very careful if you try to play off an existing business. Make sure that you register a domain name in good faith, and think about the possibilities and connections that might exist between you and another business.

6. Avoid hyphens. Sometimes you must use hyphens because the straightforward name is gone. In that case, a better idea is to come up with a completely different name. The problem with hyphens is that users may end up visiting the wrong site. If you try to register gourmetdogtreats.com but it is already taken, you might choose to register gourmet-dog-treats.com instead. But you run the risk of someone trying to find you typing in the first address. This means you lose business. Better to try and register a name like homemadedogtreats.com instead.

7. Consider buying several different extensions so no one else can infringe on your success by registering a similar name. For example, if you register homemadedogtreats.com, you might also take .net and .org (with the same name), since these are the most popular extensions after .com. That way, no one can register homemadedogtreats.net and try to piggyback of your success.

8. Look for companies that offer telephone support. If you have trouble with your domain name, you need to be able to contact the company and talk to someone. If there is no phone contact, that may be a sign that you are not dealing with a reputable company.

9. Look for accreditations (i.e., ICANN). Reputable companies will seek out accreditations because they know it boosts their business image to be part of a group that enforces good business ethics and practices. Failure to have an accreditation does not necessarily mean the company is bad, but it could mean that. If the company you are looking at does not have an accreditation, make sure you check for other things like phone support, payment procedures, etc.

10. After you find a company you like, do a search on Google for “domain registration.” Does your company of choice appear in the first couple of pages of results, or just via Adwords? If the latter, they may not have been around for a long time and may not be reputable. A legitimate company with a solid track record will be ranked in Google’s search engine, especially within the first couple of pages. Beware of registration companies that you can only find in Adwords.

These ten tips will help you as you seek to register your domain name.

Choosing A Domain Name For My Business

The domain name for your business is your online identity. You should be very careful about choosing a domain name that is memorable, scores quite well with search engine listings, has a trust factor attached to it, and commands a brand value. A domain name is quite important for your business correspondences and emails. A long one can cause problems in communication, especially if the domain name seems complex. Here are some tips in choosing a well-meaning domain name that captures the essence of your brand image or business:

1. Keyword oriented or a unique domain name?
If your website is going to have a crucial role to play in your business, then it is important to have an adequately researched keyword incorporated within the brand name. Use the most searched-for term in search engine queries, within your domain name. Prior to launching your online business, you should do some research through website tools to find out which keywords register the most number of traffic during a month. For example, if you want to make a website based on advising people, you will find that the keyword help is normally typed in the search engine query window a lot more frequently than the word aid. If your domain name includes targeted keywords, than you will get higher rankings in the search engines like Google and Yahoo. You should bear in mind that, apart from having the targeted keyword in your domain name, you should also have keywords in other parts of your site as well.

2. Use a company name only if you are famous:
That is right. If your company name overwhelms the basic product name, then by all means go for the company name as your domain name. For example, people normally use the term Xerox rather than photocopy and if you are Xerox, then you should go for Xerox as a domain name because of the sheer popularity of the brand name. This is usually not the case, so using a keyword-rich domain name is a better move for most people. To be on the right side of balancing your business well, you should buy a set of two domain names, one that represents your business/brand name, and another that represents keywords or key phrases.
3. Keep your domain name short:
The shorter your domain name, the more memorable it is. If your domain name has an every-day lingo, the better it is! More often than not, you may find that a simple two-word domain name is already taken. The alternative in this case, is to put a hyphen (-) to your targeted keyword and then add the other word. SEO experts are of the belief that hyphenating two or more words makes a long domain name more search engine friendly. The flip side is that people do not tend to write words with hyphens naturally, and there is a chance that if someone has recommended your site to a friend, the friend may find himself going to a competitor’s site. So one has to understand and undergo a lot of study while choosing a domain name. After all, it is one prominent thing that can dictate the flow of your business. Also, you should avoid putting numbers like 4 instead of for in your domain name. It will only lead to confusion.

4. Dot.com only:
If you intend to have a website for commercial or business reasons, then by all means go for a website which ends in extension .com. The domain name companies will market other options like .org, .us, .net, etc. However, by all means try stick to .com for better mass appeal.

5. Register similar domain names:
If you believe that in the future you are going to have a huge amount of people visiting your website through word-of-mouth advertising, then you should consider registering similar domain names that direct to your main URL (e.g. www.datinginformation.com and www.datinginfo.com). There are cyber-squatters who register domain names in the hope that they will be selling them for a profit to someone who really needs that domain name. Before they do this, you should register the domain names if you think that such a possibility can occur.

6. Be patient:
You should not choose a domain name in minutes merely just to get it done and over with. A hasty decision may cost you a lot. It is better to invest time in research and arrive at the right kind of domain name. You should also discuss the comprehensibility and usage of the domain name with friends, neighbors and well wishers to find how simple and commonplace it really is.

Big Considerations For Domain Name Owners

As domain names continue to surface, the numbers of people who engaged into getting, purchasing, and owning a domain names rises. This event therefore leads to an increase in number of the domain name owners. Given such fact, the International Corporation of Assigned Names and Numbers or the ICANN with its Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) and the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) recently presents serious dangers to the innocent domain name owners.

So, there surfaced a number of considerations for the domain name owners to avoid loss of their domain names. One of the considerations that the domain name owners should give attention to lessen the danger of losing their domain names is to get a trademark registration that match their respective domain name. This process is not too difficult for the fact that some of the countries today cater to this service and this is not really required by the law to employ a trademark company.

Following such consideration for the innocent domain names owners’ sake is the act of keeping the Whois information up to date. This is considered to be very important since there are some cases where a court or the UDRP tribunal ruling against particular domain name owners based its judgment in line on incomplete or out of date Whois information. And after doing such move, the domain name owners should also check their Whois and Domain Name System information not just once but always.

Since it is a common case where most of the domain name owners fail to pay their registration fees and therefore lose their domain names, it is therefore necessary for the domain names owners to pay for such registration fees to keep their domain names in function and up to date. One major support for this fact is that Whois information of certain domain name owners that is out of date will only lead to the situation where their domain name registration fee never reached them.

And finally, in cases where someone contacts the domain name owners regarding their domain names, it is important that they are aware that regardless of how folksy or friendly a letter could be from someone asking their domain names, any answers by the domain name owners that makes of the possible blunders may probably cause a lawsuit or UDRP complaint taking advantage of the domain name owners’ blunder. But, if the domain name owners really receive a UDRP complaint, then it is a right time to respond the complaint, since the majority of UDRP decisions against the domain name owners are default decisions that is where the domain name owner failed to respond to the complaint.

Are Free Domain Names Worth The Cost?

Everyone likes a bargain. It’s even wise to keep one’s costs down. On the other hand, you can be so cheap that you cut your own throat.

Here are two ways to register a domain name for free and some reasons why you might not want to.

1. You Must Have Your Own Top Level Domain (TLD) Name

Your business website should definitely have its own top level domain (TLD) name. This means a name like yourcompany.com. It doesn’t mean a subdomain of someone else’s domain name, such as yourcompany.someisp.net.

Sometimes persons hesitate to register a proper domain name because of cost, lack of knowledge, or indecision. However, paying the nominal fee charged by the domain registrar for your own domain name can reap rich dividends.

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or Internet address like (ignoring the http part) someisp.net/hosting-accounts/yourco/, or yourcompany.someisp.net, just doesn’t look as professional as yourcompany.com. It might be free (as in included with your web space) but it just doesn’t cut it.

Consider: If you put your URL on your letterheads, business cards, signs, et cetera, which Internet address looks more professional?

If you mention your URL on your radio advertising or to a customer over the phone, which one will be easier to remember?

As well, what if your web host goes out of business or you decide that you want to change to another provider. Now, you need to notify everyone that you have now changed to

yourcompany.someotherisp.net. You will also need to change all your stationery, signs, and advertising to reflect the change. On the other hand, the domain name yourcompany.com, could be transferred from one web host to another simply by informing your domain name registrar of the change.

So, to avoid losing business and incurring unnecessary additional costs, be sure you have your own top level domain name.

2. Should You Get a Free Top Level Domain?

It is possible to get a free top level domain from Dot TK (@www.dot.tk). (You may also get paid dot tk (.tk) domains from them.) However, there can be disadvantages to using a free top level domain name.

Here are some of the restrictions noted on the Dot TK website.

You may register no more than three free domain names.

The ownership of the free domain remains with Dot TK. This means that you can’t sell it. (Of course, if you pay for the domain you do own it and can transfer it to a new owner.)

Also, if you don’t have 25 visitors come to your home page within a ninety day period, your free domain name registration is cancelled.

You need to have existing web content somewhere so that your dot tk name can be forwarded to it.

There may well be other disadvantages.

Apparently, Dot TK uses frames to show your website. This being the case, you may have issues with navigation (bookmarking or finding specific pages) and search engine friendliness.

Therefore, for serious business use, consider carefully the true cost of free domain names.

All About The DNS Domain Name System

We all know that in the world of domain names today, the presence of the DNS domain name system is very much significant. It is interesting to know that the acronym DNS actually stands for Domain Name System/Service/Server. However, I will be using the term DNS domain name system here to provide you with a clear knowledge about the meaning of this particular thing.

The DNS domain name system is actually a powerful tool that contributes a great part in the domain name process. It is often described as an internet service that translates or transforms the domain names into an IP or Internet Protocol address.

Aside from knowing such basic function of the DNS domain name system, it is also interesting to learn that a basic possession of the DNS domain name system is caching. This property takes place in situations when a server welcomes information about a mapping, it caches that information. Therefore, with such function, a later question for similar mapping can use the cached output, and will not result to additional questions to other servers. And generally, the DNS domain name system applies the caching to optimize the cost of the search. But how does the DNS domain name system caching works?

In terms of caching, it is very nice to know that every server has a cache for currently applied names along with records of where the mapping data for a particular name was taken. So when a particular client is asking the server to determine a certain domain name, the DNS domain name system then does check if it has the power for a domain name, and if it does, the system doesn’t need to cache the information. However, if it has no authority for a domain name, the DNS domain name system then checks its cache whether the domain name has been resolved currently, and if yes, the DNS domain name system reports the caching data to its clients.

There are some instances that the DNS domain name system cache can be examined when the system cached the data once, but didn’t adjust it. Due to the reason that the information about a certain domain name can be changed, the server may have inaccurate data in its caching table. There is a certain value known as the Time to Live or known as TTL which is applied when to age the information. So whenever an authority responds to a request for a domain name, it then involves a Time to Live value in the answer which indicates how long it assures the binding to linger.

How important is Responsive Web Design?

How important is Responsive Web Design, you ask. Very important, we say. As smartphone and tablet adoption rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile-friendly websites. Also, these devices are being used not just for surfing, but for online shopping as well. There is ample data to support this fast growing trend. According to the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) and KPMG report the number of mobile internet users in India grew from 173 million in December 2014 to 213 million users by end of June 2015. This number is expected to reach 314 million by 2017. The average mobile app usage in India has grown by at least 131%, far outpacing the global growth rate. The shift from e-commerce to m-commerce and more engagement with mobile shopping, news and personalized apps are factors responsible for the growth.

One cannot ignore these numbers and lose out in an already competitive market. It would be a shame to get visitors to your site, and then lose them to poor website design.

While we are stressing on the importance, some of you may be wondering what it is exactly. Responsive Web Design is a collection of techniques that allow a website to flex and adapt to the size of screen it’s being viewed on. Someone opening your site on a small smartphone will be shown the same site as the person opening it on their laptop but the site will have noticed the constraints and automatically reformatted to give the user an experience better suited to their device.

It simply means a website that has been constructed so that all of the content, images and structure of the site remain the same on any device. No more loading a huge website and having to zoom in and out to find the content you’re looking for. Responsive web design takes into account interaction too and makes your site easier to use by acknowledging and integrating things like touch screens to aid navigation. With a responsive website design, you don’t have to have worry about having different websites for various devices or making sure that your site runs properly on a mobile device.

There are certain misconceptions when it comes to Responsive Web Design, that prevent people from adopting it.

1.There’s no rush to switch now – The world is quickly changing how it accesses the web and as mobile usage rapidly increases, the more important it is to make the switch. You don’t want to be left behind.

2.It’s too expensive – In reality, the cost is no different from other website types, and in the long run you may find that the reduced maintenance costs far outweigh any other site.

3.It won’t look as good on desktops – Actually, responsive web design looks great on mobile devices, but it looks just as good on desktops.

4.I pay for my ads, organic ranking isn’t important – 70-80% of users ignores the paid ads and only click organic. It’s also a waste of money if your paid ad gets a click on a mobile device, but your page is not optimized for it.

If you’re still not convinced, here is a list of major advantages that come with going with Responsive Web Design:

1.Gearing up for the future – Responsive sites work well across the multitude of existing devices on the market. As internet traffic originating from mobile devices is rising exponentially each day, and as people increasingly get used to browsing the web through their smartphones and tablets, the “One Site Fits All Devices” approach will soon be the norm.

2.Enhanced user experience – Designing your site for optimal viewing experience, no matter the device makes the user’s life easier. Thus, responsive web design is about providing the best user experience irrespective of whether they use a desktop computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a smart-TV.

3.Cost Effective – While the cost to make a responsive website is somewhat more than making a conventional website, the expenses to duplicate a website for mobile and other devices gets completely eliminated, as a result total development costs come down, significantly. Also, they survive longer and the unified approach means management, support and upgrades need to be applied to one place only, instead of multiple sites for multiple devices, thus saving time and money in the long run.

4.Optimised for Google – Google states that Responsive Web Design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even refers to Responsive Web Design as the industry best practice. This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Additionally, Google is now focussing on the user experience and wants to return search results that will enhance that irrespective of the device used. Websites that do provide a better user experience through well written content and a well-designed user interface across multiple devices including mobile phones and tablets will take priority in searches, thereby improving their Google ranking.

5.Higher conversion rates – An optimised and consistent site, no matter which platform it’s viewed on, provides a better experience for the user which is more likely to lead to them engaging with you than going elsewhere. These direct results can be seen on Google Analytics as well.

6.Flexible – Responsive Web Design sites are fluid, meaning the content moves freely across all screen resolutions and all devices. Both the grids and the images are fluid. This flexibility makes it agnostic to devices and their operating systems. As a result website owners and content publishers don’t have to build versions of their website for every popular device platform that they expect their audience might be using.

7.Easy to manage – Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having separate SEO campaigns. Managing one site and one SEO campaign is far easier than managing multiple SEO campaigns. This is a key advantage a responsive website has over a separate mobile site. Also, a separate mobile site is not a requirement for a mobile-specific SEO strategy, as mobile-specific keywords can be incorporated into a responsive design site as well.

8.Staying ahead of competition – Outpacing your competition is the key to surviving and thriving in the highly competitive business world. You have to grab every opportunity you get, however small it may seem. Having a Responsive Website that offers a great user experience across multiple devices could be what sets you apart from your competitors.

If you want to be where your customers are, then Responsive Web Design is the way ahead, as it is fast evolving from being a trend to being the norm.

E-mail Marketing Tips`

An often over looked marketing strategy is e-mail marketing. Researchers predict e-mail promotions can boost customer acquisition by 7 percent a year and increase sales. E-mail campaigns are almost as effective as organic searches for driving audiences to brands.

E-mail marketing is a cost-effective and powerful tool for small businesses to win more clients, and keep in touch with existing customers. Anyone who has ever shared an e-mail address with you at some point is much more likely to convert into a customer (if he or she hasn’t already) than someone who has never had an interaction with your business at all. Having an established mailing list and consistent frequency allows businesses to gauge what strategy and messaging works best.

Before creating an e-mail marketing campaign, here are some valuable tips that will help you make optimum use of this strategy:

1.Creating and managing the list – The first step in this process is to create a list of existing or potential clients to mail. The easiest way is to have a form on your website/at your physical establishment where people can enter their e-mail addresses and some additional basic information. Use every opportunity possible to build your list: events, web pages, blogs, conferences, point of sale—whatever is most relevant and available. To get people to provide you with their e-mail addresses, you have to offer something that they find beneficial – tips, sales discounts etc.

It may seem that having a large number of subscribers and e-mailing all of them is a good strategy, but not necessarily. It’s far more effective to contact the right people, i.e. those would be interested in hearing what you have to say.

Segment your list to be relevant and effective. Different people may have signed up to receive your newsletters for different reasons. For instance, existing customers and potential clients, the communication to both groups will differ. Edit your content accordingly to ensure that it is customised to meet the requirements of the various segments.

2.Quality and effective content – Your e-mail campaign is only as good as the content. Publish content that is of value to the recipient or else your e-mails are bound to get ignored. If people have signed up for your newsletters, they are looking for information that is of use to them, and not to be spammed. You don’t want your frequent e-mails with irrelevant content to be ignored and finally unsubscribed to. Also, make sure your e-mails are well written and have a personal touch. E-mails that sound automated are bound to be considered as spam.

What are the best possible elements of an effective e-mail promotion?
According to research, there are optimal numbers of images and lines of text small businesses should include in e-mail marketing campaigns to optimize their click-through rates. The numbers vary by industry, but on an average 20 lines and three images per e-mail are recommended as a good standard for optimal click-through rates in an e-mail promotion.

3.Timing and Consistency – Research reveals that not all times are good to send an e-mail blast. Get an idea of the appropriate time to send out e-mails, depending on whether it is work related or personal. This small step could make all the difference and lead to higher conversion rates. Usually, people check their work e-mails first thing in the morning and/or around lunch time on weekdays. For business to consumer e-mails, post 5 pm on weekdays and over the weekends are the best times.

Once you have a schedule in place, stick to it and be consistent. You don’t want to come across as irregular and unreliable.

4.Mobile responsive e-mails – As mentioned in our previous blog post, being mobile friendly in your online communication is extremely important. You should be able to reach people when they are on the go, so you can stay top of mind. Mobile responsive e-mails ensure that despite the device, your e-mails are being viewed properly. Test your e-mail in different e-mail clients and devices because you want to make sure it looks good in a variety of clients, browsers, and mobile devices, and the message is not distorted or lost.
Email marketing is extremely powerful, when done right. It is a great way to increase your productivity and efficiency when communicating with your leads and clients. Follow the simple rules mentioned above and you are bound to see success.

How to effectively manage change in a Small Business

To survive in the fast-changing business environment, and keep ahead of competition, every company – big or small needs be constantly evolving. It has to adapt to the changing market, customer tastes, technologies and a host of other things. Bigger organisations tend to have specific teams or departments dedicated to handling change and enforcing it, or hire external consultants. In the case of small businesses there in so scope for a dedicated team, or the resources to hire consultants from outside. It all comes down to the owner or at best a few senior level managers to strategise and implement change.

If you have to implement changes in your small business—be it big or small changes—it can be quite stressful for you and your team. By understanding the process of managing change you can be prepared and even avoid the typical issues from cropping up. This will greatly help in making the transition a lot smoother. According to the Change Management Learning Centre, the process for managing change is a three-stage process: preparation, managing and reinforcing.
The following should serve as a guide in managing change:
1. Purpose – What is the purpose of implementing change? What are you trying to accomplish and what are the benefits for your business? These questions need to be answered and understood thoroughly. This first step is fundamental as it provides a foundation for further action.

2.Time Frame – Managing change is an ongoing process. It is not as simple as planning the change, implementing it and then enforcing the change with yourself and your employees. It is human nature to be slightly afraid of change, so you need to prepare yourself and your employees as far in advance as possible. Once you start to implement the change, you need to continue to monitor that the employees are abiding by the new company policies and the effectiveness of the change. As you assess the change, you also need to be flexible in knowing that you may have to refine the changes to make it better continually.

3.Buy-in From All Levels – Once you are convinced of the need for change, you then have to get buy-in from all levels of your business. Typically, buy-in starts at the top and trickles down to the bottom of the organization, or across the organization, depending on the hierarchy of your business. This is why understanding the reason for the change and how it benefits the business is imperative. Convincing other people in your business to accept the change is so much easier when you believe in it and can persuade other people to see the benefits.

4.Expert Insight – Peter Drucker is a change management expert and the author of “The New Society of Organizations.” Drucker states that knowledge is the key to running a competitive business. Acquiring knowledge requires the employees in the business to constantly upgrade their skills. He also says managing the change process requires all workers to be on board to make the changes that can bring the business to a more productive level and ultimately give the company a competitive edge.

5.Training and Inclusion – It’s important that appropriate training be given to employees to ensure the implementation of change is effective. If necessary professionals from outside should be hired to impart the requisite skills. Your employees can evolve and be an effective part of the change only if they have the required knowledge, tools and skills.
The whole process of change – planning, implementing, enforcing and monitoring; can be managed efficiently when done right.