Other Software

Modern Tools to Write and Publish a Book: ScreenSteps, Google Adwords, SurveyMonkey, PoD

After Ed Rivis wrote his second book "Email Marketing Dynamite" he published a post about his preferred method of writing books: Become a published author in less than 7 days...

As you can read in the comment I left there: a great method for those who are verbally attuned, but that's not me I'm afraid. I've always (and still) preferred to write the "old-fashioned" way: keyboard (starting with a very old real typewriter, since 1988 in front of a pc or on the occasional laptop)

Writing made easy

Whenever you write about something you are really passionate about the words just seem to flow out of your fingers, through the keyboard onto the screen in any format the program you're writing in provides you with. Word, notepad, online editor or in many of my cases: ScreenSteps Desktop.

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The benefit - and I've mentioned this often - of using ScreenSteps to write articles, blog-post, marketing messages, and complete books is the "library" of lessons/articles. Once written they are there, ready to be exported as stand-alone in multiple ways plus ready to be added to a "manual" where you can combine one article with others (already in the library or written a new) to be published in again multiple ways.

That's why writing our extended "Wooden Floor Installation Manual" took not that much time - most of the articles/chapters were already in the ScreenSteps library, so "all" I had to do was to create a new manual, add chapter titles and where needed write additional articles - with or without images using the image capture tool.

Using ScreenSteps Live for the editing process

Another great benefit of writing a book with ScreenSteps is when you combine it with ScreenSteps Live where the manual can be uploaded to for others, in this case our editor Trevor, to download into their own ScreenSteps Desktop program to do their job. In this case our editor's brief was to translate out double Dutch English into proper English without losing the essence of the article.
(We "found" Trevor using LinkedIn where we opened a "discussion" in one of the groups I'm a member of.)

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In ScreenSteps Live we used a simple colour coding to tell each other what the progress on every article was: for instance: red meant Trevor to edit the content and green meant: article edited by Trevor and approved by me = a finished article.

The whole editing process is now finished and the E-version of the Installation Manual was launched end of last week, replacing the older Installation Guide we launched beginning 2009.

Which brings me nicely to why we decided to write a "new" Installation Manual and how we went about it.

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The Guide was more a compilation of various questions from DIY-ers that had arrived in our inbox over the years and our answers. Some of these Q&A's had been already transformed into blogpost on our FAQ & News blog, and in order to make it easier for our prospects and clients we grouped the most Frequently Asked Questions (and answers of course) into a ScreenSteps Desktop manual which was then exported first as PDF file and later also as a ScreenSteps Live space (password protected). Our most successful "digital product" in 2009!

Once in a while we would add a new article to it and in the end it became a rather loose collection of articles, not so much a practical guide any longer. Spurred on by the success of the Guide we decided it was time to turn it into a new manual, this time not only as an E-book or online version but into a proper paperback using PoD (Printing on Demand). After a little bit of research and tips from Debbie Jenkins (The Publishing Academy) we opened an account with Lightning Source UK for printing and part distribution. The needed digitising of the content of our new manual and the cover is now in hands of Greenwood Graphics (a contact we knew from our BNI-Ashford time).

Getting our reader, prospects and clients involved

A lesson learned/copied from Ed Rivis - involve your prospects as soon as possible in a new project, especially when the content/features should solve their problems.

In one of our monthly newsletters we mentioned our intention to write a new manual and asked for participation in a survey: what would you expect in a Wooden Floor Installation Manual?

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The participation IMHO was overwhelming, 62 prospects, clients and even suppliers (yes, our suppliers do read our newsletter) took part and prompted us to focus on the right chapters.

Using SurveyMonkey (even the free version) is also great to ask for "other subjects we should include or not overlook":

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Valuable information to have and very simple to gather. We also included some marketing research in the same survey: what would the participant regard a fair price for the most comprehensive manual on this subject. Again, very valuable information. And, of course, we gave all participants the option to be added to our "pre-launch" list. A whopping 68% of participants wanted to be added to this list.

The result of this survey was two-fold: we now knew even better which subject to elaborate on and the retail price we would be able to demand for it, once the paperback was printed.

In search of a title

The first Guide had the title Comprehensive Installation Guide (floorboards). We needed a better one to front the manual. A few ideas where tossed around, but no final decision was made. So I decided to use a Google Adwords campaign for this sole purpose: which title would get the most clicks, i.e. would be most attractive for potential DIY-clients looking to install their own floor but in need of some guidance.
A special domain name was registered and a special landing page - including webform to subscribe to updates on the imminent launch of the manual - was created in no time at all and the campaign started.

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The first 4 adds run for 3 weeks, then during a discussion with our digitiser Peter Greenwood to add something memorable to the title or subtitle, 2 others where added, both with the "series" name "Q&A's on wood flooring" (in the event we do manage to write more manuals).

Once again we turned to our existing clients and asked their opinion again with help from SurveyMonkey. And again with the option to submit their own 2p for the best title.

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(Hope no one is offended that I left the second suggestion in - sure you have a sense of humour but rest assured, that suggestion will not be printed on our book!).

The third suggestion was a tiny little tweak on one of the original titles and with another tiny tweak (due to the number of characters Google Adwords allows you) it was added to the campaign. To become the best performing add in no time at all! Within 2 days it'd beaten all other titles and it continues to do so.

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Although it received fewer clicks - because it's not running from the same moment as the others - the CTR is the most important value in the above statistics: Click Through Rate = number of impressions divide by the number of clicks.

That's where we're stand at the moment: title decided on (and we'll gift the client who tweaked our title to make it better with a signed copy the minute the first paperback comes from the printers), E-version launched (and already sold, plus those clients who'd bought the earlier "guide" were offered an upgrade to the new manual for a very low price, already 10% has taken us up on that offer) and ETA of the paperback: end of this month/beginning next month.

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We started this project 3 months ago, it did take more than 7 days (although if I would count the hours I spent writing the content it would make less than that, thanks to the existing material already in ScreenSteps). All in all there are plenty of modern tools out and about to assist everyone becoming a published author. And most are very cost-effective too.

So,what's keeping you?


Feedburner switch to Google Account: take note

Feedburner - bought by Google a while ago - is asking every account holder to move all the feeds to a Google Account. The switch is easy, a few clicks on a few buttons to an existing Google Account or you can create a new Google account for this.

On the Feedburner-Google account you can only check feed statistics and no longer site statistcis (Feedburner thinks Google Analytics has the same features - it doesn't IMHO).

My feeds were switched this morning and I'm experiencing loads of "new" old blog-alerts in various AWeber lists that have a connection with Feedburner. Fortunately all my blog-alerts are not on 'Send Automatic' otherwise all my blog readers would have had an avalanche of old alerts!

If you have both a feedburner account and are using AWeber for blog-alerts you better edit the 'blog-broadcast' settings to none automatic sending before you switch Feedburner to Google.


7 Key Reasons to use a blog-platform for your business website

Blogs (short for weblog) are mostly know for their ability to 'produce' articles (also called blog posts). It is a misconception that blogs are only used by freelancers in the service business - mainly in the marketing or finance sector - geeks dissecting software packages, teens fantasizing about their 'heroes' in tv-series, movies or about boy-bands, social media pioneers about the latest social media communities.
Nothing could be further from the truth than this. Of course there are many of the above mentioned blogs around, but there is an increasing trend for small business to use a blog to increase 'brand-awareness', to give advice on various subjects and much more. Many multi-nationals use blogs to keep in contact with their clients/users all over the world. It's simple, straight-forward and effective. And not to mention: profitable.

Every business - small, medium or large - should consider creating a weblog. If done properly (and consistently) it has a tremendous positive effect on a business' turnover, nett profit and brand awareness. Subscribe to the Blogging and Webmarketing Tips below to discover more. A Report "7 Reasons to use a blog-platform for your business website is just one of the tips you will receive. Just pop in your name and email address in the form you can find in the right top corner of this blog.



Automated 'snail-mail'

Email marketing, when done ethical and effectively, is a great way to turn qualified leads into prospects into clients. It gives you the ultimate chance to build up trust with your leads and prospects who will - if you do your job correctly - start to recognise your as the 'expert', as the only business that can solve their problems.

A mistake made by many businesses is dropping the conversation once the prospect turns into a client. The only message then received by your valued client are invoices. Strange not? You've put so much effort into converting your prospect into a paying client, written interesting messages to him/her, promised high quality products and/or services, answered all the questions they might have had and took away any remaining doubt. And then, when they hand over their first cheque most businesses just simply ignore them further.
Or if the client is lucky he will receive a monthly general newsletter or leaflet with offers (still better than nothing at all).

It is proven that regular contact between your business and existing clients improves the relationship, extends the time they are your clients and hence extends/improves their life-time value to your business. Email is easy and can be very cost-effective but don't forget the normal, sometimes disrespectful named 'snail-mail'. Receiving a real letter through the letter-box is in the eyes of most of your clients regarded as a great, personalised way to hear from you.

You've got Mail!

And regular contact with your highly valued clients can, like email marketing, be automated very simple. As with automated email marketing your dedicated existing client messages can be a logical sequence of interesting and worthwhile additions (the follow-up messages through AWeber come to mind, where with every message you tell and explain more to your prospect).

Every time we - supply and installation of wooden flooring - finish a particular job the end-date of that job is noted in our CRM-system (customer relationship management, part of our accounting package Mamut Enterprice3). This system allows you to design/create 'templates' you can mail-merge with address details of a selected group of clients. Again, like with AWeber, you create the content once but the CRM-system merges it time after time into a interesting, worthwhile and personalised message from you to your client.
We inform our clients regularly this way: 4 weeks after the wood floor is delivered to remind them of the maintenance care they should give their new floor-covering, 6 months later again etc. Automated, all we have to do is select the group of clients (sometimes just one client) to receive the next message in the predetermined sequence.
We do sell an awful lot of maintenance products and even maintenance services this way: simple add-ons so easily forgotten by many other businesses.

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


Using a blog platform to create a webiste

Since Typepad - Six Apart (aff)  introduced pages as new feature to their blog platform I used it frequently to create/design a normal, what I like to call static, website. It is quite simple really to do this, just a matter of changing some of the preferences on the 'weblog'.

My latest project (web design for a fellow trade person) is an example of it too - and still a work in progress, specially on the copy-writing part.
As part of 'the deal' I'm writing a manual on how to add and edit pages in the Typepad program - which made me think of a next project here on 1 plus 1 makes 3: creating a whole manual on:
"How to use Typepad (blog platform) to grow your business"

And one of the lessons I've just finished - hurray for ScreenSteps: lesson written and exported as PDF-file within 25 minutes - "How to turn Typepad into a static website".

I'm now gifting this first lesson/guide to every reader who subscribes to the blog-alerts (= receive email notifications when a new post is published) of the 1 plus 1 makes 3 blog (see top right corner for the webform).

Greetings from the 1 plus 1 makes 3 experts

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)


Keep in touch with AWeber

Keeping touch with your prospect, clients is essential for any business that wants/needs to grow. How else are they going to remember the products/services you have to offer them? You don't need to bombard them with your marketing messages, but regular contact between you and them is a proven profitable way to grow any business - as long as your messages are interesting enough for them.

AWeber (aff) makes "keeping in touch" not only easy but versatile too: you can choose to send your prospects follow-up messages at regular intervals (automated!) and/or broadcast special offers, product release, trade-news at a pre-determined time.

Message menu in AWeber
(screen-snapshot made with MWSnap3 - a great, simple and free tool)

(Blog-broadcasts are another option, in fact a combination of the two but that's for another article)

Follow-up versus broadcast - when which?

Say you're offering a free report, product leaflets or interesting article to your website visitors. All they have to do to receive it immediately is to pop-in their name and email address in the web form you provided for it and your AWeber campaign takes over, automating the delivery of your message for you. Your website visitor turns into a prospect by confirming his/her wish to receive your report, leaflet, article etc. Your first AWeber follow-up message contains the promised 'product'.

After two days you like to tell your new prospect more about your product, service. In AWeber you create your second follow-up message. And a third 4 days later in which you tell them even more, point them towards a specific webpage on your site etc. The options are plentiful.

Any new prospect receives your 3 messages at the interval you've set in your follow-up messages, no matter when they requested your free report or anything else you've offered. In the example above your messages will be send out to them over a period of 7 days (1 on day 1, 2 on day 3, 3 on day 7)
(This is an ideal method when you're offering/selling weekly or regular tips that don't have a 'sell-by' date or even courses.)

Broadcast is a message you create to be send out to your total list of verified opt-in email addresses at a specific pre-determined time. And only once.
For instance a Monthly news-letter. We email our newsletter every first Monday of the month. Any new subscriber to our newsletter after the first Monday of the month will not receive our latest newsletter (and of course there's a solution for that too, but that's for another article).
You can imagine all the options these broadcasts can give you: special offers with a time limit, 'breaking news', daily updates of share prices or one-off announcements.
You determine when the broadcast is emailed (day and time) and all your prospects/clients on your specific campaign list will receive it at the same time.

So, to re-cap:
Follow-ups
are the messages your prospect/client receives at pre-determined intervals from the moment they subscribe to your AWeber campaign.
Broadcasts are the messages your prospect/clients receives at the pre-determined specific day and time you decide.
(And of course you can combine both methods for any of your campaigns!)

Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

3dAWST1
(image for illustration purpose only)

192 pages (download online)

"E-book" £ 7.97

(After payment is accepted, please wait until you are redirected to our 'download' instruction page - if you don't receive a confirmation email within 10 minutes, please email me for support: karinh@1plus1makes3.co.uk)

Instant access to put your ethical email marketing into hyperdrive with tested and tried successful Strategies and Tactics used by small businesses.


How to make the switch to AWeber simple for your readers

When we started using AWeber (aff) we already had a long list of prospects and clients who we emailed our monthly newsletter. Before we switched to AWeber this Newsletter was created with Groupmail5. A handy program (the simple version free) but not with all the features AWeber possesses. Whenever we managed to receive an email address from a prospect or client we added it manually to the Groupmail program, whoever indicated he/she didn't want to receive our newsletter anymore we had to remove manually from the list.

AWeber works completely different with many more options. Automation for one thing. Our website has various AWeber webforms: some inline, some hoover over, some with multiple options for leaflets and some with multiple tick boxes. Whenever someone fills in one of the 'webforms' his/her name and email address is automagically added to the list - but only after he/she confirmes the wish to be added (verified opt-in method). The odd person who wants to unsubscribe from the list can do so by clicking a specific link that is always (automagically) added in every message sent with the AWeber system.

This however meant that we had to add our existing newsletter readers to our new automated system, asking them to opt-in for this list if they still wanted to receive this. We've tried out 2 methods for this, both on a group of 100 readers.

Method 1: with the Groupmail5 program we wrote a special message to this group of 100 readers, explaining we were switching to a new delivery system for the newsletter and giving them a weblink to click, which brought them on our "Subscribe to our Newsletter" webpage. On there they had to fill in name and email address in a webform, click submit, receive the Confirm Subscription email and in there click the confirmation link. Many steps to take to re-register their interest in our monthly news. 5 did take all the steps, 95 didn't.

Method 2: in AWeber we wrote a special Confirm Subscription message, explaining we were switching to a new delivery system for the newsletter. We imported the email addresses of our second group of 100 readers in AWeber, which once uploaded (this can take up to 4 hours) would all receive the special Confirm Subscription message in their inbox. All they had to do was click the confirmation link in that message to re-register their interest in our monthly news. 1 step in all.
53 did, 42 didn't and another 5 of the emails were undeliverable.

Shortening the decision cycle: make it very simple for someone to make that decision you like them to make - eliminate all unnecessary steps. And our trial proved this again.

After this trial in best methods we simply imported all email addresses (including the 95 from method 1 who hadn't re-registered yet) and sat back.
Of course we lost a number of subscribers this way, but that is not as bad as it sounds. Who would you rather email? Someone who took (how ever tiny) steps to indicate they would like to receive your news and/or information (qualified prospects) or someone you think might be interest (unqualified prospects)?

After the switch operation we were left with 60% qualified prospects from the original newsletter list. And this list has grown ever since, all with readers really interested in our news - not just because we think they would like to hear from us. They opted-in especially.

So if you are switching from one email 'bulk' messaging program to AWeber make it as simple as possible for your existing subscribers to switch with you and in the same time end up with only qualified prospects. 

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Supplier or communicator?

We - Wood You Like Ltd - sell stuff, so we are suppliers. We buy stuff too, so we have suppliers

I've just counted the number of suppliers we have: 44 - and we're only a small two-wo/man-band.
How many do you have and how many of them keep in regular contact with you, not meaning the times they send you a new invoice of course!
I can count the suppliers who regularly keep in contact with us on one hand: 10%

Envelop My Insurance company sends me their newsletter 3 or 4 times a year, my printer emails me their monthly special offers, my Accounting and Customer Relation Management software company emails me tips and practical advice on how to use the program more effective once or twice a month, the Dutch company where we bought some specialised floor-fitting tools from last year emails me their workshops and celebration offers, and my accountant slash business consultant - well, that's a completely different story.

The company where I buy our office requirements doesn't - the alternative stationery company we had to use for a specific product not available from our regular supplier does.

We - as supplier/retailer - keep in regular contact with all our clients and prospects.
Do you?
Our existing clients keep coming back to our showroom - or buy online - for maintenance products and sometimes even for additional wooden floors for other rooms. And our clients keep referring friends and family to us. Do yours?
Our prospects who turn client tell us it is because our letters and messages keep reminding them of our products and/or service and now they are ready to buy it is a logical decision to come to us. Do yours?

EmailSince November last year we use AWeber (aff) email marketing online software to keep in contact with prospects and clients.

Since November last year every visitor to our website/blog who requests a leaflet (we have 7 informative brochures or PDF-files to choose from) receive this in their inbox straight away. A day later they receive a personalised automated message with more info we think they might find useful too. Two days later more information follows in again a personalised automated message and on the first Monday following the first message they will find our latest Monthly newsletter in their inbox so they can too profit from our Newsletter Readers Only Monthly offer.

Since November last year 40% of our new clients were newsletter readers first.

Since November last year we use AWeber (aff) - personalised automated email messages and broadcasts - to establish this. Simple, straight forward and ethical. Do you?