The Best Email Marketing Providers for Bloggers

email marketing for bloggers

RSS is great. It will always be some people’s preferred method of reading content. It also makes a lot of awesome things possible. I mean, just look at how many Zapier zaps use RSS.

But from a marketing standpoint, RSS ain’t so hot. We’re in an age where tracking and analytics are going crazy, but the data available for RSS subscribers is stuck in the past.

Email marketing isn’t just for businesses promoting themselves anymore. We’re all obsessed with our inboxes, and anyone in it is at an advantage. Email marketing is for bloggers, too.

It doesn’t matter what kind of blog you have – personal, professional, or otherwise. It doesn’t matter if you’re blogging on behalf of a company or not. If you have marketing metrics to track, email is more useful to you than RSS.

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HelloFlo Gets Periods – And Marketing – Right

helloflo marketing winHow often does a marketing video make you laugh out loud? How often do you watch it several times in a row because you laughed through some of the jokes the first few times around? For me, who can laugh at almost anything, it’s still not often.

But that’s just what happened with HelloFlo‘s latest viral video. And that humor extends throughout their entire marketing strategy. I. Love. It.

You may have seen their two videos that have gone viral – one last summer, and one a few days ago. But have you taken the time to really check them out? I did, and their branding matches the tone of the videos. I have to say that it’s perfect, especially when you consider what they’re selling.

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I Demanded Success. It Was Awesome. (Part 3)

avinash demand success quotePhew. Part 1 and Part 2: done. More work than I thought they would be. Demand Success withdrawals are here in full force and today’s Vocus webinar didn’t help as much as I needed it to.

So this post will hopefully knock out two things: finish my series on my time at Vocus’s Demand Success PR and marketing conference (you got me, it will definitely do that), and fulfill some of my “I miss Vocus” sadness. Ready, set, go!

Introducing Avinash Kaushik, Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist

AKA the best speaker at Demand Success. First off, his energy and enthusiasm for digital marketing was exactly what we all needed to wake up first thing in the morning (especially for the hung over folks, who he definitely called out as he took the stage). It was contagious, my friends! Secondly, he said some really, really smart stuff about analytics and “precision decisions.”

Sure, as marketers, we constantly hear and talk about the need for content. But sometimes, a blunt slap in the face is necessary. That’s what Avinash gave us. After that moment of shouting, he actually said something you wouldn’t expect from a Google employee: analytics aren’t everything. (That’s one of the things I loved the most about Avinash’s keynote. He spoke the truth and said what he thought was true, even if it wasn’t in his or his company’s favor. He even admitted that for certain goals, Bing Ads may be your best choice!) Companies focus too much on the sale. But, as Avinash put it, the sales department tends to focus on one-off closes, one night stands if you will. But, just like with romantic relationships, long-term connections are better in the long run. That’s why marketing needs to swoop in and draw more attention to the customer journey.

Marketers are a customer’s tour guide through the buying journey. (Tweet this) And because of how the buyer’s journey has changed, we need a new marketing model to accommodate it. Here is how Avinash sees it:

See how customer-centric that is? It doesn’t just consider emotion, like AIDA does. It one-ups that. It looks at what actions are driven by those emotions.

  • When they’re in the awareness stage, they see your company. But that’s about it.
  • When they’re considering your company, they’re thinking about their problems, if you can solve them, and if so, how effectively. They may desire your services at this point.
  • Then they take action. They become a customer, or they don’t.
  • But the journey doesn’t end there, unless it’s a one night stand. You have to satisfy them. Don’t let them regret their action. Make them care.

I love that this model takes customer loyalty into account, because it’s something that I feel like a lot of sales reps may not consider enough.

He didn’t just lay out a customer-centric marketing model. He also talked bout which marketing channels were best for different stages of the journey, and how to measure them. I doubt anyone walked away from this session unsatisfied.

A Marketer’s Guide to Being Too Big for Your Niches

The first regular session I attended was by the wonderful Ann Handley of MarketingProfs. She’s also pocket-sized and adorable, even though I’m pretty sure she’s still taller than me. But, I digress…

As I touched on in my Day 1 recap, there is a lot wrong with content marketing. We’re all creating content, or at least trying. One of my favorite quotes came from this session: “Content marketing is like sex in high school. Everyone says they’re doing it, but few are doing it well.”

And on top of poor content marketing, actual content strategies are as hard to find as a missing unicorn (don’t you love it?).

So, as you’ve heard before, we want to think like publishers…

  • Publishers have a mission. They know what content needs to accomplish.
  • Have pathological empathy for your audience.
  • Build a subscriber model, where readers come to depend on you.

But thinking like a publisher isn’t enough:

  • Don’t build one-off content campaigns. Build a content ecosystem within your organization.
  • Don’t just tell stories. Tell them well.
  • Place lots of small wagers on experiments. It’s the only way to reach your goal of innovation.


Next up was a session that brought out the space geek in me, which I didn’t realize was so geeky. Do you know why and how the flag waves in the footage of the moon landing? I do now!

So, NASA 360 talked about taking news and stuff from NASA and turning it into captivating social content for a new audience: millenials. NASA 360 produces an award-winning broadcast 30-minute television show, vodcast, and related online resources.

They take space stuff and “fun” it up through short video, content bites, and interesting visuals. What makes this content so successful? It creates engagement.

NASA 360 knows what their audience likes, gives it to them, and acknowledges audience members that react. Remember, social is about creating relationships and being…social. Their biggest takeaways:

  • However you measure success at your organization, realize it’s your fans that got you there.
  • Use visuals whenever possible – and I’m not talking about clip art.
  • Celebrate milestones.
  • Ask open-ended questions – they create more meaningful conversation than something that can be answered with just “yes” or “no.”
  • Don’t be afraid to use humor. If you’re having fun with the content, there’s a good chance your audience is, as well.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail (and don’t anger the cat lovers)

I just had to find a way to include that. Moving on…

Olivia Pope Really Exists (Kind Of)

As other sessions appealed to my space geek, numbers nerd, and more, the closing keynote brought out my inner Gladiator. The speaker was Judy Smith, the inspiration for the (amazing) TV show Scandal and the character Olivia Pope. Yay!

Time for a crash course in crisis communications from one of the biggest experts out there. The majority of the keynote was a Q&A, so there is way too much info for this post, but here are a few crisis management and public relations tips:

  • Create a pre-crisis plan in addition to a crisis plan. Companies that do this have a 90% success rate.
  • Don’t try to spin things. The truth will always come out eventually and if you try to hide it, it just makes you look worse in the end.
  • “No comment” sucks. There are at least 20 ways to say you’re not going to comment without using the words “no comment.” Before communicating with press, make a list of possible responses.

So, finally, I’m done recapping Demand Success and can finally start catching up on the sleep I lost during it! Thank you to Vocus for putting on such a great conference!

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I Demanded Success. It Was Awesome. (Part 2)

Randi Zuckerberg Demand Success QuoteLike I said Saturday, I recently returned from Vocus’s Demand Success conference. It was a pretty big moment for me career-wise (read my little reflection thingie here), but it was also really, really fun.

Yes, it was exhausting. Yes, the hotel mattress would have been comfortable if I hadn’t had a hip injury and been skipping physical therapy to be there.

But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Some of the key highlights of Demand Success:

  • Finally meeting in person people who I’ve been talking to online for years (I’m looking at you Ben, Stacey, Bree, and Brindisi!)
  • Going to see Phillies play the Nationals with other VIP attendees – it was the first time I witnessed a grand slam in person! And look at this view!
  • Meeting Chris Brogan and getting my book signed by him – if I get a big ego, blame him!
  • Making new friends! I couldn’t possibly list all of the wonderful people I met, but some deserve a shout out. Like the people I feel I spent the most time with: Katherine, Jason, my co-presenters, Abby and David, and my amazing speaking coach, Diane Court.
  • Adrian. Grenier. I’ve had a crush on him for literally 15 years. Not exaggerating.
  • Goofing around on the National Harbor with new friends at the reception. Once again, look at that view.

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I Demanded Success. It Was Awesome. (Part 1)

demand success from yourselfSo, where to begin? Maybe with Friday afternoon. Around 6, I crawled into bed for a quick nap to recharge for University of Delaware’s Alumni Weekend. I woke up at 11…a.m.

That’s right, I slept for about 17 hours. Anytime I sleep for more than 12 hours in a row, I consider whatever came before the semi-coma to be a big success.

So what was I doing before this epic nap Sleeping Beauty would be jealous of? I was at Vocus’s PR and marketing conference, Demand Success. It will always be one of the highlights of my career, for many reasons.

Most importantly, I was a speaker at the conference. That’s right, a freaking speaker. Wanna know who else was a speaker? Randi Zuckerberg (if you haven’t heard of her, maybe you know her brother, Mark). Judy Smith, the inspiration for the (amazeballs) TV show Scandal. Chris friggin Brogan, whom I’ve looked up to as a blogger since I first started reading Problogger years and years ago. And finally, Adrian Grenier, who stole my preteen heart when he was the awkward and adorable bad boy in Drive Me Crazy way back in 1999.

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10 Engaging Ways B2B Marketers Can Use Instagram

B2B Instagram marketingThere are 55 million photos shared each day on Instagram. Believe it or not, not all of these are #throwbacks, #CatsOfInstagram, and foodie pics with “nom nom nom” in the caption. This is good news for me, and not just because I was a really awkward kid and am more of a dog person. I’m also a B2B marketer, and B2B companies and Instagram are better suited for each other than you may think.

But as I’m sure you’ve heard before, people do business with people, not businesses. Developing a B2B Instagram presence can help you stand out on a network that not enough brands are utilizing to its fullest power, and give your company a little bit more of a human touch. Here are a few ideas to fuel your new Instagram strategy:

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5 Personal Branding Tools for PR Professionals

PR personal branding quoteLast week, I had the awesome opportunity to speak at a meeting of PRSSA-UD (Public Relations Student Society of America – University of Delaware chapter). It felt a lot like coming full circle.

My junior year, when I was trying to figure out what exactly I wanted to do with my Communication major, I enrolled in a public relations class with Professor Bartoo. She encouraged all her students to check out PRSSA, for which she was the faculty advisor. Always eager to get more involved on campus, I went to a meeting. And I don’t want to think of where I would be today if I hadn’t.

As I only took two other public relations courses in my time at UD, most of what I learned about public relations and social media came from PRSSA meetings. I think it’s also where I first heard the term “personal branding,” a principle that I believe I owe much of my career success to!

Some of my highlights include how much I admired then-president Abby Ecker for accomplishing so much while still a student, hearing Jessica Lawlor speak at one of our meetings, and being able to blog about Charlie Sheen while still learning about PR. I remember figuring out what I wanted to do out in the scary, scary real world.

So, anyway…being asked to speak at one of those meetings that helped me figure my own life out? Being one of those people confused students looked at and thought “they seem to have their life together and seem so smart?” It’s definitely going to go down as a huge milestone in my career, regardless of how much I eventually accomplish.

I spoke about personal branding, but I knew that such savvy PR students were already familiar with the concept. So instead on focusing on what personal branding is and how to do it, I focused on a few tools that will help anyone take control of their personal brand. Take a look at the presentation:

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13 Things Social Media Community Managers Love

things community managers loveThis past Monday, if you weren’t aware, was Community Manager Appreciation Day (CMAD). The day where the people who are normally hidden behind avatars, brand handles, and admin tags are recognized as the individuals they are, holding together much of a company’s online presence.

Every community manager celebrates “our holiday” differently. A lot of companies and agencies provide goodies or lunches for their community managers. There are a lot of meetups, parties, and networking events, and even more blog posts about every facet of community management.

Me? I’m the only community manager at my company. I don’t live in an area where I’ve been able to find many other people working in social media and community management. But I did come up with an idea for a blog post. A GIF-tacular blog post.

It was pretty easy to write (and not just because it was mostly images!), I just thought about what I loved and hated about my job:

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Best Practices for Sharing Infographics on Social Media

sharing infographicsI love infographics. I know some people think they’re “out,” “so last year/two years ago/whatever,” etc. but I don’t think they’re going anywhere. They make conveying information easier (and prettier, and I love pretty!), are a strong tools in any content marketing strategy, and, let’s face it, pretty fun sometimes.

But, as with most things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to share an infographic.

Sharing is caring, but when it comes to infographics, be sure to share with care (Tweet this).

Of course, the “right” way to share an infographic depends on the platform on which you’re sharing it.

Sometime’s I’ll see someone share someone else’s infographic, or even their own, on a blog or social media and just want to go “yuck.”

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It’s My Birthday – A Marketer’s Delight

birthday marketing

It was my birthday last week (10/10!), and in addition to birthday cards and texts, and Facebook posts, I found myself drowning in birthday marketing.

So many stores, brands, and websites took time out of their busy schedules to email me, text me, or send me a message through their app wishing me a happy birthday.

Just kidding.

I know they were automated marketing messages sent out because I had provided them with my birthday. And why wouldn’t I? I love hearing ‘happy birthday,’ I love studying marketing messages, and I love free and discounted stuff.

Since I’m much more immersed in the world of marketing than I’ve ever been before, I found myself enjoying dissecting the different ways brands handle birthday marketing messages just as much as I enjoyed spending my 10% discounts (Yes, I’m a quite a geek).

As I was reading the emails (and yes, even a few physical cards), I could smell a great blog post in the works. I just couldn’t wait to share what I thought of these messages. Here’s a breakdown of a few of my favorites:

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