May Deal – Pay What You Think Is Fair

A couple of weeks ago maybe, as I was sitting in my office staring out the window, I was overcome with how much my life has changed and how overwhelmingly grateful I am for so much.

A couple of years ago life was upended. All at once. As is life’s prerogative. Initially, this was not o.k.

Not. O.k. At. All.

I was fond of saying “It’s fine if my work life is chaos as long as my home life isn’t.” And vice versa. This was not that. This was all chaos all the time.

A couple of months ago, the last of that chaos worked it’s way out of the picture.

And that’s how I came to be looking out my office window a couple of weeks ago. That office, that window, that view, are the end result of all that chaos. And the view feels good.

HeyAmyLou came to be during all that chaos. And now is the time to celebrate.

So, HeyAmyLou is making May Pay What You Think Is Fair Pricing Month for our newsletter production and design services, mailing list development and maintenance, or website development services.

You tell us what you think is fair pricing. HeyAmyLou will  give you the same great service, product and attention you always get.

HeyAmyLou is a company built around ethics, respect, family, and fun. We take pride in the ability to meet our client’s needs. Pay What You Think Is Fair Month is our virtual cake and candles celebration. A big WHOO-HOO! We MADE it!

We want you and your business to make it, too.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

*image created with Canva.

Newsletters Are The Backbone Of Any Good Business

We just spent more time than most people would consider reasonable researching award-winning newsletters.

And after we write this post, we’re probably going to hide the rest of today’s to-do list in a drawer and conduct even more research (research should probably be in quotes here, because this certainly doesn’t feel like work).

Want to see some award-winners?

Webby has you covered.  Here’s 2016 and 2015, for starters.

There’s more inspiration here and here, as well as here and here.  Mailchimp makes inspiration a part of their routine. Constant Contact does, too, although their inspiration isn’t really that inspiring, ioho.

Let’s back up, though. There’s a lot of work that goes into actually designing an award winning newsletter. And, even if you’re not out to win any awards, designing and managing a newsletter is lots of work.

Here at HeyAmyLou, these are some of the tools we use:

Mailchimp is our email marketing platform. It’s user-friendly, fairly robust and cost-effective for most small businesses.

Canva for creating graphics, either with our own photography, or images supplied by Canva.

Creative Market and Death to Stock Photo for images.* When we don’t have our own and Canva’s just aren’t doing it for us, we’ll reach out to one of these three for commercial-use photos. Creative Market is priced by the image. Death to Stock Photo has a basic pack that’s $15 a month and has a sizeable library.

Pictaculous and Paletton for color schemes.

We like Easel.ly for infographics, although Canva is a good option, too. We recently completed an infographic for a client’s annual report depicting the different countries where her subscribers live.

From there, it’s all about the marketing. That’s what a newsletter is, right? Email marketing. It’s all about branding, design responsiveness, effective communication, and compliance.

Newsletter design isn’t for everyone and there’s no shame in that. Chances are you went into business to do anything but design newsletters, right? And it’s probably taking up more of your time than you want it to. Or worse yet, you’ve put off doing it simply because you know it’s not something you want to spend time on.

Here’s the thing, though. We wrote a post on the very fact that email is not dead. In fact, it’s one of the best methods of generating revenue for your business when used correctly (as in, no spamming, quality call-to-action when applicable). Plus, unlike social, email marketing is still controlled by the user, not the platform. In other words, online friendships (Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, all those platforms we’re told will revolutionize our marketing) do not change the fundamentals of friendship. Or loyalty. Email marketing can, when used correctly, foster loyalty to a brand.

Hiring someone to design and manage your newsletter doesn’t mean hiring someone to do the fun stuff:  picking colors, making infographics and writing the content for your newsletter, although a quality newsletter designer also works with your brand color scheme, designs infographics based on your content, and formats your content to fit the chosen design.

Hiring someone to design and manage your newsletter means  hiring someone to manage compliance, DMARC, mailing list maintenance (bounces, duplicates and unsubscribes) and deal with every glitchy design platform that never puts the text box/photo/headline/video were you want it, no matter how much time you spend trying.

Hiring someone to design and manage your newsletter means hiring someone who gives you back the time to do what it was you wanted to do when you went into business in the first place. The thing you do that doesn’t feel like work. The thing you’d do for free if money weren’t an option. Is that thing producing newsletters? For HeyAmyLou, it is

So, why not hire someone to design and manage your newsletter? What’s stopping you?

*As with all content, always, always, always abide by the terms of service, and credit the work.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

 

I Like Newsletters

I do. It’s true.

As A reader, I look forward to seeing them in my inbox. I have complete control over what lands in my inbox, unlike Facebook, Twitter and other platforms that want to “curate a user experience” for me. I can read them on my time as opposed to having to drop everything and read it right now or run the risk of watching is swallowed up by the increasingly unmanageable “timeline”.

As someone who not only reads them but creates them, I believe they are one of the most cost effective, efficient and client-centric ways to communicate. I wrote a post here discussing the benefits of newsletters. Short answer: developing and sharing content of importance to your clients is one of the best ways to illustrate loyalty and commitment to your clients, as well as showcasing your expertise. Newsletters, done correctly, are personal.

As a reader, some of my favorite newsletters are: Austin Kleon, DO Lectures, and HeyAmyLou.

As a creator, I find inspiration from Really Good Emails, CreativeMornings curated list, and Mailchimp’s Look What You Can Do.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

Email Is Not Dead

“newsletter” by dacian dorca-street photographie is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Have I mentioned HeyAmyLou is going online? Well, HeyAmyLou trainings are going online. We’re taking the leap and offering our training workshops online.  If you’re interested in knowing more, sign up here and you’ll be the first to know when our curriculum is set and our trainings are live. (In-person still exists. We’re putting more emphasis on those starting in July).

Anyway. Online training is an entirely different ballgame in some ways. Some things  don’t change, though, regardless of how the audience consumes the knowledge.

For instance, compiling and maintaining a quality mailing list. Critical. Online or in-person.  And communication. Also critical. Facebook? Maybe. Twitter, maybe. Email marketing, definitely.

Facebook runs off of algorithms. Seemingly feeding each of us a “curated” experience based upon our “likes”.  Twitter operates much the same. At some point, these platforms decide they know us and it all becomes very passive.

Email, however, requires each of us to engage. Do I want this? Will I read this? We’re required to think about what we are signing up for (no pun intended).

And email is still the most effective communication channel. It defines the phrase “customized experience” simply because we are each in control of what comes into and what goes out of our inboxes.

Some statistics:

  • Email marketing works 40 times better at getting customers than Facebook and Twitter. McKinsey
  • You are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.- Campaign Monitor
  • Email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. – McKinsey
  • 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media. – MarketingSherpa

So, as we move forward with online trainings, we’re over here working on our mailing lists and our email marketing strategies to reach those who would benefit most.

What are you doing with your email marketing?

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

This Is Your Year

Are you ready to make your small business the best it can be? Have you decided that the best use of your time doesn’t include website maintenance or social media marketing? Or maybe this is the year to turn your part-time dream into a full-time gig (congratulations you!). HeyAmyLou wants to help and we’ve got just the right tools and services to strengthen you and your business.

During the month of January many of our services are specially priced because we believe in you and want to be there when you succeed.

  • Website Design and Maintenance
  • Newsletter Production and Design
  • Mailing List Development and Maintenance
  • Marketing Audits
  • Client Scheduling Software Setup and Support
  • One-on-One Collaboration
  • Training – We’re expanding our trainings this year, including how to create the perfect social media plan for your clients / customers and emergency preparedness for small businesses. Trainings can be conducted in small groups or one-on-one.

And, you can receive 20% off any service Feb-Dec. 2017 when your friends hire HeyAmyLou.

Contact us today to bring your small business dream to life.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross-posted to IrishYogaChick

Weekly Wrap-Up 5-14-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.  Previous newsletters are are here and hereThis is a multi-week wrap up.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

The Essential Guide To Social Media Marketing

The Feed Is Dying I disagree that most users are unable to curate their own feeds.

The Struggle Against Internet Overload Is Real “Frankly, when people are looking for an escape from the Internet, they usually search the Internet for answers.” Don’t stop there. The very next paragraph is pretty sobering.

Pair the above with this and then schedule time to go outside.

7 Reasons Introverts Now Rule The World They aren’t ball hogs.

Apple Destroyed My Will To Collect Music One of those moments when I found myself reading this article and thinking, “wow, me too”, and becoming rather sad.

TV Of The Week
The Night Manager
, on AMC. Throwback to a a time when tv was suspenseful with being hit over the head, beautifully shot, and all-around fun.

And, I must confess, I’m one of the few (10 ,tops?) who thoroughly enjoyed the finale of The Good Wife. I thought it so nuanced that Alicia standing alone in (the very same?) hallway 7 seasons later was simultaneously a comment on how far she’d come and a comment on how much she’d become like those who hurt her in Season 1. Brilliant.

Video Of The Week

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

  • Sweet: Ballroom Blitz
  • Michael Franti: The Sound of Sunshine
  • Stevie Nicks: Beauty and the Beast
  • Billy Paul: Me and Mrs. Jones
  • The Jeff Healey Band: While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  • Earth Wind & Fire: September
  • No One Will Ever Love You: Connie Britton & Charles Esten

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 04-16-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

The Dark Side Of Guardian Comments
It takes courage to commission such thorough, necessary research. As human beings, we must do better when speaking to each other online.

About DMARC
DMARC, or Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance, takes effect if an email fails certain types of authentication. And now they are targeting free email providers. So,  if you send an email using Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc, and your “from” address includes @gmail.com, @yahoo.com, or any other free email provider it may now get bounced and never make it into the inbox of those on your mailing list.

Google’s $150 Photo Editing Software Is Now Free For Everyone
It’s call Nik, and can be downloaded here. Note, it’s not a stand alone product.

New Yorker’s Tribute To Susan B. Anthony Says Everything About Why Voting Matters
Presented without comment because the accompanying photo says it all.

Cookie Monster Apple iPhone Commercial Outtakes Are Hilarious and Heartwarming
Ah, Sesame Street.

Book(s) of the Week
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic 

Rebecca Traister’s All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women And The Rise Of An Independent Nation
Speaking of  Susan B. Anthony . . .

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. This week, though, it’s all Prince, who wasn’t a big fan of streaming services. So head on over to iTunes or Amazon or better yet your local music store and pick up copies of anything of The Artist’s you don’t already own. His latest album is on his website here. 

Some of my favorites:

  • Delirious – Prince (1982)
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince (1983)
  • I Would Die 4 U – Prince and The Revolution (1984)
  • Let’s Go Crazy – Prince And The Revolution (1984)
  • Shockadelica – Prince (1987)
  • Cream – Prince And The New Power Generation (1991)

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Planning A Blog Planner

Blogging makes me happy. I like writing, I’m proud of 90% of what I’ve written here and when I know what I’m doing I look forward to writing in this space.

Did you catch that little admission right there? The one where I admitted I don’t know what I’m doing? Yep. Most of the time I’m winging it. I have no set schedule for blogging. What? When? Why? I don’t know. I rarely know.

I’ve tried it all: blocking off time in my planner, developing long lists of topics, drawing nifty diagrams and pinning them to the wall opposite my monitor. And the only thing I do with any consistency is blow by all of it. Not because I don’t like writing, I truly do. My “planning” doesn’t have a consistency to it.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was developing a blog planner. When I hit on that idea I had an ulterior motive: it was really because I wanted to learn how to design printables. And a blog planner designed using those new-found skills seemed like a useful thing for folks.

Publishing said blog planner has taken me longer than I originally thought it would. That’s not because of any deign learning curve. It’s because I’ve become my own best customer. I am the person for whom I’m designing a blog planner. For real. The one who needs a consistent plan for getting it done.

It’s getting there. It’s almost a blog planner I see my self using. Consistently. Watch this space for more on when it will be available. And an “insider” series on how it came to be. Because now I know what I’m doing. 🙂

___________

If you’re curious about what’s going on elsewhere in the land of me, head on over to Irish Yoga Chick later today where I’ll be talking meditation.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 3-18-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

There’s always stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

People are unhappy about Instagram’s proposed changes. #keepinstagramchronological had 19,967 posts the last time I checked. And there’s a movement for 24 hours of #InstagramSilence that’s currently running at more than 1,500 posts.

Etsy is changing the way shop owners do things.

And, there’s also this: Etsy’s New Paid Parental Leave Policy Is Designed To Counteract Gender Bias
and, they have a director of culture and environment. Maybe things really are changing.

Productivity and the Workplace of the Future
Or not. Seems as though a lot of these articles say the same thing, and it’s always “in the future”.

Fascinating Photos from the Secret Trash Collection in a New York Sanitation Garage
Gotta say, this is better than some antique stores I’ve been in. The stuff people throw out.

The mass market edition of To Kill A Mockingbird is going out of print. That feels weird.

This is how you play the game. And of course, he plays for the San Antonio Spurs, team of my beloved David Robinson.

Speaking of which, how ’bout your bracket? Hello Yale!

Can Tiny Homes Solve Homelessness? 
I wrote my first term paper on the mass deinstitutionalization initiated in the 1970’s (and I still have my index cards). I like that this gentleman calls his program “a relationship model”.

The Negative Effects of Daylight Savings Time
Not good, I know. However, I still equate daylight savings time with the yearly reminder from my parents during the summer months to “be home when the streetlights come on” and how much perceived freedom that extra hour of daylight gave us kids.

Podcast Of The Week
Sean McCabe’s seanwes podcast, offering “tangible insights on creativity and business”. Also? A lot of thought went into those five words.

I recommend this one. Also, Jonathan Fields Good Life Radio Project. This one is particularly good.

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

Cat Stevens: Wild World

Winger: Madalaine

Dire Straits: Walk of Life

George Lynch: All Night Long

Judas Priest: Living After Midnight

Megadeath: These Boots Are Made For Walking (EXPLICITT)

Mr. Big: Wild World

 

Also, this is cool.

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved

Weekly Wrap-Up 3-14-2016

This week’s newsletter is here.

You’re noticing that it’s very late, aren’t you? That’s because I spent Friday being certified as a Mental Health First Aid Responder. And forgot to post this.

Speaking of Mental Health First Aid, the course was fantastic and I highly recommend placing it on your “to do” list. You won’t regret it.

Onward.

As always, there’s stuff that doesn’t make it into the newsletter. Here’s this week’s list:

Instagram Captions: Mastering A Massive Engagement-Driver
Does anyone else “see” the caption before snapping the photo? Just me?

Olivia Wilde Directed The Latest Edward Sharpe Video With An iPhone
as it says in the article, “go out and make something cool” (iPhone not required). 

How a Hacker Protects His Kids Against Other Hackers
First of all, Chief Human Hacker is actually a thing. Plus, he discusses really good stuff.

Director Alex Winter Launched A Kickstarter To Make The Definitive Frank Zappa Doc
You know, Alex Winter, “Bill” from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure He’s also directed Deep Web, which is worth a watch.

The Quitter’s Mindset Could Be The Secret To Success
Interesting read. Disappointing that ‘quitting’ is always seen as a negative.

What Is Your Average Speed In Your Life, Your Health, And Your Work
Speaking as a forever recovering “maximum speed, no-off-switch” type, it’s not sustainable. And it wreaks havoc when that mindset inevitably fails. “Average” isn’t bad at all.

Photo of the Week
Mind Blowing? 
Claustrophobia inducing is more accurate, I think.  Wow, wow, wow. And, no.

This Week’s Music*:
I have weekly playlists over on Spotify*. I ‘m not convinced it’s possible to share them. Therefore, it’s highly unlikely this link will work unless you have a Spotify account.  So, here’s what’s on it this week.

Hank Williams Sr.: I Saw The Light

Extreme: King of the Ladies

Poco: Call it Love

Blondie: Call Me

The Kinks: Come Dancing

A Flock Of Seagulls: I Ran

The Beatles: I Saw Her Standing There

*I believe in paying all artists for their work. Streaming music services allow for the discovery of new music, or reminders of great music I haven’t thought about in a while. I hope that if you hear something you like you’ll consider purchasing the song (or album) for your own collection.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2016 – All rights reserved