For quite sometime I’ve wanted to create an HTML signature file that included the links to my key social media channels. I’d done this before at work, where we used Windows machines and Outlook.Figuring it out for the Mac Apple .mail app was bit more challenging… at least for me. Then I came across this VERY detailed, step-by-step explanation by Matt Coneybeare in his post, “How to Make an HTML Signature in Apple Mail for Mavericks OS X 10.9“. He really does a great job of explaining the process.The only addition I’d offer to his post relates to the code section. If you’re like me, and your not a code ninja, another great tool I came across is Free Online HTM Editor: http://www.online-html-editor.org/. This simple tool allows you to add your text, make adjustments to the font style, color, etc. Adding images with a related link – it’s a snap. Then just copy the HTML that it generates and add it to your signature file code as Matt describes. Once I was done, this is what I ended up with: I take no credit for the post. Matt did a fabulous job of presenting, what could be considered difficult information, and sharing it in a very simply way. I hope you find Matt’s post and this information as helpful as I did.
How to Make an HTML Signature in Apple Mail for Mavericks OS X 10.9 by Matt Coneybeare
There are plenty of tutorials online to create an HTML signature in Apple Mail with older versions of OS X, and you have probably already seen my tutorial on how to add HTML Signatures in Lion or Mountain Lion, but the process has changed slightly for OS X Mavericks (10.9). Here is how to do it:
1. In Mail.app, go to Preferences > Signatures and create a signature with any random content. Name it something meaningful. You will be swapping this out later.
2. Write an html page inside of your favorite text editor. I use TextMate 2. The page should not have html,head or body tags, should include only inline css, and should only consist of basic html elements (div, span, img, a, etc…). Here is some example code to get you started.
Open the folder containing the placeholder signature. This step differs if you are using iCloud or not. You can determine if you are using iCloud for Mail.app by checking System Preferences > iCloud
3. Using iCloud: ~/Library/Mobile Documents/com~apple~mail/Data/MailData/Signatures/
Not using iCloud: ~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Signatures/
Open the folder to show your email signatures in Finder by holding down the Option key and clicking the “Go” menu in Finder. Check here for more tips if you are having trouble opening the ~/Library folder.
4. When you created a temporary placeholder signature in step 1, Mail automatically created a ubiquitout_XXXXXXX.mailsignature file that represents it in this folder. Locate the .mailsignature file in the ~/Library folder. It will have a random name. If it is not there, you may still be in “edit” mode on the signature. Try closing the Mail > Preferences Window. If you need help, it helps to sort the folder by “Date Modified” and look for the most recently updated one.
5. When you have located the placeholder .mailsignature file, open it with your html editor. You will see a few metadata lines on the top of the file and some html code below it.
6. Keep the top metadata lines, but replace the html in the file with your own from step 2.
7. Save the file.
8. If you are using iCloud, skip this step and proceed to Step 9. You can determine if you are using iCloud for Mail.app by checking System Preferences > iCloud. Still unsure? Skip this step — you can redo the steps and include this one if your signature is not working correctly at the end.
Even though you save this file, Mail.app may use the original version and overwrite your new signature unless you lock the file. With your text editor now closed and the file saved, find it again in Finder and press command-i to bring up the info pane for the file. On this info pane, mark the “Locked” checkbox.
9. Restart Mail.app and go to Preferences > Signatures. If you have images in your signature, they will not show here in the preview, but they will show in the real signature if the image source location is valid.
10. To test that it is working correctly, simply compose a new email and set the signature to be the one with the name you created in step 1. If the images show, and everything looks as it should, you have succeeded!
If you need additional help with html signature design or implementation, I have founded a company called GiantUser (it’s an anagram of “signature”) to do just that with very reasonable prices. Check it out!
Jessica Torres offered a great tip on tracking the source of your Bit.ly link clicks. Post a link on Twitter with a Bit.ly AND LinkedIn and Google Plus and you want to know where your traffic comes from? Jessica has the answer for you.
Check it out.
Let’s say you have a link that you want to promote. Many companies will run the link through a link shortening service like bit.ly in order to track the number of clicks that link gets.
But what if you’re interested in knowing not only the number of clicks your link got, but also the source of those clicks? Bit.ly will show you where those clicks came from when you view the stats for your bitmark (ie., bit.ly link), but only to a limited degree.
In the example above, I posted a link to an article I wrote on 3 different LinkedIn groups, two questions on Quora, and a few other places. It’s great to know that LinkedIn.com was a major driver of traffic for my link, but this doesn’t tell me specifically which of those three LinkedIn groups gave me the most traffic.
If you’re posting the same link to multiple locations within a domain (like on multiple LinkedIn groups, or on multiple Twitter accounts) and you’d like to know which places are getting the most clicks, there’s an easy trick to to figuring that out.
First, create a separate bitmark for each place you want to promote it. You have to do this by creating a unique URL for each place you want to post it. For example, let’s say I wanted to promote this blog post http://getstuckintraffic.com/tumblr-for-brands/ to a number of different places. I would tag the link by adding ?src=location after the end of the link like this:
Then, check out the analytics by adding a + to the end of each bit.ly link. Adding a plus sign to the end of shortened links will show you the analytics for that link (works for Google ‘s link shortner, goo.gl, too!)
Now you can see exactly how many clicks each source produced for you!
I’m big on stories and storytelling – both personally and in business. In addition to this quick reminder about the importance and value of stories, I’m currently reading, “The Robert Collier Letter Book“. In chapter 4, referring to the value of word pictures (which is really just a story), Collier says,
“Your sale must be read in the readers mind. Before you can get his order, it is necessary to register a sequence of impressions in his mind, the combined result of which will be to make him want the thing you are offering more than the trouble or money it cost him.” p. 31
What is the story you want to tell? As an aside, are you telling it clearly?
Seth Godin’s recent blog post called, Broken English highlighting the importance of clarity.
All the nuance disappears. When talking to someone in a languge that’s not easy for them, you discover that idioms and other forms of communication disappear. You need to be extremely direct and specific in order to make yourself understood.
The thing is, just about everyone speaks some form of broken English. It’s “broken” because it doesn’t match our version. Their language and our language isn’t the same one—the other person may think your English is broken too.
Our ability to communicate with one another isn’t nearly as sophisticated or error free as we think it is.
You will be misunderstood. If it’s critical that we understand you, say it more clearly. Say it twice. Better yet, act it out, live it, make it an action, not merely a concept.
Godin’s point is an important one in business, however, I think it has greater implications in marriage, parenting, faith and friendships.
What makes marketing compelling? Stories. The story a brand tells may be implicit: “Coke Adds Life.” The customer fills in what that means to them. Or a brand’s story may be explicit, like Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty. When brands use storytelling well it can capture customers’ attention, spark their imagination, and build the kind of engagement that leads to advocacy and sales.
But storytelling isn’t a phenomenon for B2C alone. B2B marketers can use storytelling to engage current customers and attract new ones. One of the most persuasive types of storytelling in B2B is customer case studies. Executives are hungry for insight on how to succeed in their job, solve problems, and harness opportunities. B2B brands can use storytelling to share insights with prospects into how customers successfully use their product or services to accomplish those outcomes.
It’s no wonder that content marketing continues to grow in popularity. Content marketing in part is about communicating a brand’s promise through storytelling. Customer success stories are an integral element of that approach. Whether it’s a two-sentence testimonial or a 2,000-word case study, the story of a customer success can motivate prospects to become customers and inspire customers to stay engaged.
Why all this harping on storytelling? An insightful campaign or customer success story can help make the case for marketing investments as surely as they move prospects and customers through their company’s funnel. Learning about and keeping up on strategies and trends is important, but they’re made concrete when exemplified by a related real-life experience—when the “What’s in it for me?” is clear. Storytelling can provide that clarity.
At Direct Marketing News, we’re always looking for compelling customer success stories to share with readers. And we know you have them. So, what’s your story?
Your company’s growth can feel like a complex equation. Add a consultant here, subtract a client there, divide up this budget and hope for the best. The numbing reality is that the choices we make, more often than not, lead us to unanticipated outcomes.
At Jacob Tyler, we’ve been down the rabbit hole and been forced to choose between the proverbial “red and green pill.” We know what it’s like to be a small business craving a growth spurt. Now that we’ve experienced the growth, through our success and failures, we’ve stumbled upon fundamental lessons on what not to do. These lessons, as luck would have it, have played a crucial role in building our company. Avoid these five pitfalls for stress-free, steady, and successful growth.
1. DO NOT RUSH THE HIRING PROCESS.
Small businesses often suffer from the “chicken/egg” syndrome. You don’t have the money to hire until you have the project set and when you finally have the project and money, you don’t have the staff to support the client. What do you do?
You may consider making a quick hiring decision. I won’t say this never works out, but many times, the person you hire, because you’re in a rush, isn’t the right fit for the position you’re trying to fill. Then you’ll spend extra time nurturing this employee to “fit” the required position. Save yourself the headache and repeat after me: slow to hire, fast to fire.
Instead of solving your problem with a quick hire, develop a hiring process that builds your pipeline of qualified applicants. Keep position descriptions up on your website and have a system in place for when you’re ready to push for new applicants. Then follow a vetting process. Know what you’re looking for, interview and interview again.
Taking this time upfront will save you time later. When you’re looking for that next hire, look for the qualities the previous employee (that quick hire we all regret) was lacking and be patient for the right person to come through your door.
2. DO NOT SURROUND YOURSELF WITH JUNIORS.
The common denominator with most small businesses is lack of cash flow. Sometimes this can be a recipe for a hiring disaster because your inclination is to bring on a junior level person with little experience because you can get them at the perfect price. Well, you get what you pay for.
At Jacob Tyler, we’ve found that a senior level employee who makes roughly $75,000 a year can do almost six to eight times the work of a junior level employee making $20,000 a year and with less supervision. It’s important to consider the cost savings not only for the cost of work, but the cost of time from management, revisions, and mistakes. In order to grow your business, you need to be doing what you do best and that does not mean spending the majority of the day teaching or fixing unnecessary issues.
Instead, invest in your talent. Why? Because investing in your talent is an investment in your brand. As a brand communications agency, we know the value of a brand and advise our clients to think of their brand positioning as the key element to ongoing success and growth. Your people not only represent your company, but they produce for your company. Simply put, your people are your brand. You wouldn’t want to devalue your brand, so don’t skimp on the quality of the employees you hire.
3. DO NOT ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL.
Handling and allocating expenses is really tough for small business owners. It’s very easy to lose track of where your money is going. Why? Clients don’t always deliver according to your cash flow plans.
As a result, sometimes funds are moved from where they should be allocated to perhaps your credit card debt. Over time, this can spiral out of control making it difficult to recover. As time goes by, you realize you’ve potentially racked up more debt and the money you’re making never seems to make it to the right place including your pocket. Instead of falling into this vicious cycle, focus your attention on developing a budget.
In order to budget properly, ensure a controller has an eye on your bottom line and prepares monthly financial reports for your review. This type of administrative and financial work won’t necessarily improve your bottom line, but it will help you anticipate financial bottlenecks and pinches ahead of time.
4. DO NOT TAKE A PROJECT JUST TO MAKE A PAYCHECK.
Oftentimes, as small business owners, whether you work alone or have employees, we stress about payroll, vendor payments, bills, and more. Then, the perfect client prospect walks through the door. Why perfect? Because he has money. I can tell you from firsthand experience that just because he can pay, does not mean the business will be profitable. In fact, the wrong client can cost you much more time than money. When meeting with new clients, it’s important to look for the warning signs such as:
Do they appear high maintenance or require a lot of handholding?
Do they really understand your business or need too much education?
Did they have issues with another vendor that is making them switch to you?
Are they asking for something beyond your core competencies?
While taking on a client will get you the quick pay day, it may cost you far more in time and in the long run, a major loss in profits. Not to mention, this client can waste your valuable time that you should be spending on searching for ideal clients.
Take the time to interview your potential clients in depth and make sure they know what it will be like to work with you. Once they understand, make sure your contracts are iron clad complete with expectations for rounds of revisions, changes in scope and additional requests. Otherwise, these issues will lead to unnecessary additional meetings that distract you from your daily goals.
5. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR CORE STRENGTHS.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to be everything to everyone. It makes sense, right? The more services you offer, the more money you can make. The problem is that you better be good at everything you do. The saying about being a “jack of all trades, master of none” is not a compliment.
Whether you’re a web designer or a tax attorney, make sure you’re the master of your core strength. This will enable you to be recognized as an expert in your field and help you to build your business brand. Be the best at a few concentrated activities and stay focused on investing in those strengths.
Furthermore, a core strength of your company can and should be innovation. How are you providing your clients with new value? How are you pursuing the next big thing? Stay connected with your clients and continue to listen to what they want and learn how to better serve them through innovation. Discover a blue ocean and you will make the competition irrelevant.
While these five lessons are great examples of lessons that we’ve learned at Jacob Tyler that have allowed us to get to where we are today, part two will provide five additional lessons for CEOs to keep in mind as they strive to grow their businesses.
—Les Kollegian is the CEO at Jacob Tyler, an award-winning, full-service, brand communications agency specializing in brand development, print collateral, web design, web development, product design and online marketing. Contact Les firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, I came across a blog post by Seth Godin called Trust Brand. In the post, Godin asks the question, “When you have a choice in what to buy, you will first and foremost (and second and third, in fact) base your choice on a simple question, ‘who do I trust to keep the promise that the marketers are making?’”
At Quantum we work to build our Trust Brand on the platform of knowledge. Between the hands-on skills of our Tech department, the scientific strength of our Process group, and, of course, the years of experience of Norm Kester, knowledge is a resource where we believe we have a competitive advantage. However, being the “David” in an industry of “Goliaths”, perhaps like your lab, we must deal with the challenge of getting the information out about our knowledge, experience or strengths to an audience beyond our existing customers.
The following is a brief summary of how some of the pieces of our marketing strategy have come together and have proven to be successful. The tools are here for you to consider how they might work to benefit your business.
Know Who You Are
In his book, The 8th Habit, Steven Covey says that finding your voice (knowing who you are) is the first step in leading. Practically, this means knowing what your strengths are, and what they are not. Knowing what your core values are and how they will influence how you treat your customers, your employees – even your competition. Without knowing who you are and being true to that fact, each and every effort will be built on shaky ground. I once visited a lab that had a seemingly rich heritage of quality with their existing customers. However, they felt like they needed to compete on the basis of price, thus turning their service into a commodity. This “personality conflict” was contributing to a steady loss of business. To repeat: You must know who you are and be true to your core values.
Know Who Your Customer Is
Another one that sounds overly simplistic, but is so easily overlooked. This requires time and interaction. A distillation of demographics, while helpful, can never tell the whole story. Real and frequent interaction will help you know not only “who” your customers are, but…
Know Where Your Customers Are
When people get excited about the idea of marketing that uses “new media”, one of the first ideas that is discussed is, “…let’s make (or update) our website”, or, “…we need to engage our customers on Facebook”. However, what if your customers aren’t on Facebook? Just because you create a digital footprint, doesn’t mean your customers will come, or know or respond.
While it’s true that these are all points that were discussed during your first lessons in marketing, they can easily be overlooked and not given the due diligence that they require.
As discussed, our brand is being built around the strength of the knowledge we have available to share. This is a daily task that is being worked out in every single conversation that everyone in our office has with every one of our customers and vendors. No one is NOT in sales. Everyone is in sales. Everyone always represents our brand of knowledge. In addition to these daily conversations, we start our knowledge presentation with this blog.
Every other Tuesday, we launch a new blog post. Typically, we’ll have two “technical” posts that speak to current trends, common problems or new solutions for labs or the ophthalmic industry. The value that Norm brings to the conversation has been found to be incredibly helpful to many labs (and frankly, makes producing this blog much easier, too). After two technical posts, we’ll feature a “cultural” post that focuses on leadership, family… the things that make us, us. Not just what we do, but the character elements that help us do it better.
Action: What do you have to share with your customers? What do you wish every one of your customers knew that you know would help them be successful? This is where you can start your blog. The frequency of your posts is less important than quality of the content.
Quantum Social Media Channels
We use many of the familiar channels: LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. However, we don’t use all of them in the same way or speak to the same audience. This all goes back to the points of knowing who and where your customers are..
LinkedIn: Here we reach out to upper management and owners of labs. We generally limit LinkedIn to product or service announcements and Press Releases on our page. Also, when a blog post is created or a new edition of our monthly newsletter, QMail, we share the information on LinkedIn. This creates an easy way for folks to share this information with others who could benefit from the knowledge.
Twitter: Is used more for general information, interesting facts or articles. Generally, we’ll send two “Tweets” a day – one in the morning (between 7:00-8:00am Eastern time) and one in the (between 3:00-4:00pm Eastern time). These can be industry announcements, news stories you read or that are shared with you by colleagues. Another tool we use is Google Alerts. Google Alerts allow you to create a search phrase that Google will use to search the internet and find new stories related to that topic and then email the results to you. You can then review the 10-15 stories found and determine if they are consistent with the message you want to communicate (Know Who You Are) to your customers (Know Who Your Customer Is). Many experts will say that we don’t have enough tweets per day. While that may be true statistically, we’d rather focus on the quality rather than quantity. We believe that better represents who we are as a company.
Facebook: The name that everyone associates with “social media”, we use Facebook for lighter announcements or quotes we find motivational. It’s more of a “fun” interaction. Also, photos have great success on Facebook for us.
Instagram: Recently purchased by Facebook, Instagram makes it easy to post and share photos. We use Instagram to highlight product photos, new product releases, or when our latest Fusion ships out the door.
Beyond sending out your message, another advantage of social media is the ability to cross promote between each channel. This can be done manually by going to each channel that works for your lab, or you can use a tool called Hootsuite that helps you manage all your channels from one interface to help save time and effort.
While this is just a cursory review of these tools, and how we use them, the bigger questions are where we started.
Action: Answer the following questions for you, your lab and your customers.
Who are you? What are you uniquely equipped to communicate to your customers?
Who are your customers? What information do they need to know, even if they don’t KNOW they need to know it?
Where are your customers? You may find, by answering the first two questions, only one of the tools listed above will work with your customers, or it may require something else that isn’t listed here. By correctly answering the first two questions, you are guaranteed to find the correct answer to the third.
Knowledge is the brand that we want to further develop and promote. We believe that when we do it well, we help to make “Quantum” be a compelling answer to your question, “Who do I trust when it comes to helping my lab perform better?”
If you’re managing social media for your business, it might be useful to know about some of the most surprising social media statistics this year. Here are 10 that might make you rethink the way you’re approaching social media.
1. THE FASTEST GROWING DEMOGRAPHIC ON TWITTER IS THE 55–64 YEAR AGE BRACKET.
This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.
The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+.
For Facebook, this group has jumped 46%.
For Google+, 56%.
Those are impressive numbers against the prevailing idea that social media is “just for teenagers.” It certainly points to the importance of having a solid social media strategy if these age brackets fit into your target demographic.
Rethink it: Keep older users in mind when using social media, particularly on these three platforms. Our age makes a difference to our taste and interests, so if you’re focusing on younger users with the content you post, you could be missing an important demographic.
2. 189 MILLION OF FACEBOOK’S USERS ARE “MOBILE ONLY”
Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. This is a 7% increase from the end of 2012 already.
Rethink it: There are probably more users accessing Facebook from mobile devices than you thought. It’s worth considering how your content displays on mobile devices and smaller screens before posting it, particularly if your target market is full of mobile users. Of course, make sure to make sharing to social media from mobilemore straightforward.
3. YOUTUBE REACHES MORE U.S. ADULTS AGED 18–34 THAN ANY CABLE NETWORK
Did you think TV was the best way to reach the masses? Well if you’re after 18–34 year olds in the U.S., you’ll have more luck reaching them through YouTube. Of course, one video won’t necessarily reach more viewers than a cable network could, but utilizing a platform with such a wide user base makes a lot of sense.
Rethink it: If you’ve been putting off adding video to your strategy, now’s the time to give it a go. You could start small with simple five-minute videos explaining what your company does or introducing your team.
4. EVERY SECOND TWO NEW MEMBERS JOIN LINKEDIN
LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, continues to grow every second. From groups to blogs to job listings, this platform is a rich source of information and conversation for professionals who want to connect to others in their industry.
Rethink it: LinkedIn is definitely worth paying attention to. In particular, this is a place where you may want to focus more on new users. Making your group or community a great source of information and a newbie-friendly space can help you to make the most out of the growing userbase.
Make sure you share consistently to your LinkedIn company page and profile by, for example, scheduling your posts.
5. SOCIAL MEDIA HAS OVERTAKEN PORN AS THE NO. 1 ACTIVITY ON THE WEB
We all knew social media was popular, but this popular? Apparently it’s the most common thing we do online. So next time you find yourself watching Kitten vs. Watermelon videos on Facebook, you can at least console yourself with the fact that the majority of people online right now are doing something similar.
Social media carries more weight than ever. It’s clearly not a fad, or a phase. It continues to grow as a habit, and new platforms continue to appear and develop.
Rethink it: Putting time and effort into your social media strategy clearly makes sense in light of these stats. If you weren’t already serious about social media, you might want to give it a bit more of your time now.
6. LINKEDIN HAS A LOWER PERCENTAGE OF ACTIVE USERS THAN PINTEREST, GOOGLE+, TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
Rethink it: If you’re hoping to get people involved, think about which platforms are best for that. Looking at the latest Twitter statistics and Facebook statistics, these platforms might be a better place for your contest or survey, while passive content like blog posts or slide decks might be just right for your LinkedIn audience.
7. 93% OF MARKETERS USE SOCIAL MEDIA FOR BUSINESS
Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for their business. That means there are lots of people out there getting involved and managing a social media strategy. It’s becoming more common to include social media as part of an overall marketing budget or strategy, as opposed to when it was the outlier that no one wanted to spend time or money on.
Rethink it: If you’re struggling to make your strategy work, or you just want some advice, you don’t have to go it alone. If 93% of marketers are using social media for business, you can probably find someone to give you a hand. Plus, there are lots of blogs, videos and slide decks around to help you out. Be sure to find the right social media management tool for you to stay on top of everything.
8. 25% OF SMARTPHONE OWNERS AGES 18–44 SAY THEY CAN’T RECALL THE LAST TIME THEIR SMARTPHONE WASN’T NEXT TO THEM
It’s pretty clear that mobile is a growing space that we need to pay attention to. And we’ve all heard the cliché of smartphone owners who don’t want to let go of their phones, even for five minutes. Well, apparently that’s not too far from the truth. If 25% of people aged 18–44 can’t remember not having their phone with them, there are probably very few times when they’re not connected to the web in some way.
Rethink it: While you can reach people almost anytime, since they have their smartphones with them almost always, this also means you can interrupt pretty much any part of their lives. Don’t forget that having a phone in your pocket all the time isn’t the same as being available all the time.
9. EVEN THOUGH 62% OF MARKETERS BLOG OR PLAN TO BLOG IN 2013, ONLY 9% OF US MARKETING COMPANIES EMPLOY A FULL-TIME BLOGGER
(Of course, not all marketers work at marketing companies, but the stats are still interesting–how many companies in any industry can afford to hire–or already have–a full-time blogger?)
Rethink it: If you don’t have (or can’t afford) a full-time blogger for your business, be aware that having a content strategy that requires consistently posting on your blog will mean a lot of work for your marketing team and/or other team members in your company to keep up that volume. This can work, it’s just important to realize how big a task it is to run with a full-time content strategy without a full-time content creator.
10. 25% OF FACEBOOK USERS DON’T BOTHER WITH PRIVACY SETTINGS
But despite these high-profile cases of security-conscious users pushing back against social networks and web services, Velocity Digital reports that 25% of Facebook users don’t even look at their privacy settings.
Rethink it: Assuming that all of your customers are thinking along the same lines could be a big mistake. Especially if you’re basing that on what you’ve heard or read in the tech news. Remember that your customers might have very different priorities than what you expect.
Your social media strategy really comes down to what your goals are, and who your target customers are, but it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the trends happening across the web. Hopefully these stats will help you to identify trends that will affect your strategy and adjust accordingly.