Further to my previous posts about setting up and managing a Facebook Business Page, this video demonstrates the steps to add another person to help manage that page. This might be someone such as a staff member, web designer, social media or marketing consultant.
I recently started making a series of brief videos about Facebook Business Pages for my clients.
In this video I give an overview of how I think a small business owner should work their Facebook Business Page, strategy wise. It discusses the idea that the business website is the central repository for all information about the business, and Facebook Posts can be created to link to and share information that is already on the website.
I recently started making a series of brief videos about Facebook Business Pages for my clients.
In this video I give an overview of Advertising on Facebook Business Pages. It discusses the idea of where clients can choose to have their Facebook Business Posts exposed to a larger audience than their followers, potentially creating sales, bookings and more Facebook Page Likes.
I recently made a video about How To Setup A Facebook Business Page. Once your Business Page is setup, you want to invite your Friends to Like the page to gain some followers on Facebook. This is the next video in the series – how to do that.
Eight weeks ago, I caught a sight of myself in the mirror and I got a huge shock. I knew that I’d gained a fair bit of weight over the last years, but this time, I saw another big increase in my weight and this shocked me into thinking about what to do about it.
I have been saying to myself ever since I gained weight (I used to have a perfect body shape) that I would start working out again. Quite often, when having these big shocks, I would start working out again. I’d feel a rush of energy and enthusiasm and I’d do a workout.
But this would last only a short duration and then I wouldn’t think about working out again until the next time I asked myself why I haven’t been working out? Often weeks and months would pass before the thought of working out entered my head.
This time around though, I didn’t even want to exercise or work out. I was tired, fat and less than enthusiastic, but deep down I knew I must do it, no matter what, because I had hit my ultimate fat limit where I knew if I gained more weight after this it would be quite difficult to turn back.
I realised then and there that I had to trick myself into this. Since I didn’t want to work out at all, I knew that at the very least I could force myself to do ten minutes even though I didn’t want to do ten minutes. We can all do anything we don’t like for ten minutes right?
The 5 X 10 idea
Then I had the idea that even if I couldn’t do a 50 minute workout straight away, I could force myself to do 5 X 10 minute workout sessions in a day, at least three times a week, just to get me back into the habit of working out again. And even if those 10 minute sessions were not consecutive, I could spread them over a day. For example 2 X 10 minutes in morning, 2 X 10 mins in afternoon, 1 X 10 minutes in the evening.
This idea was to just force myself to do it – no matter how much mental resistance I experienced.
Then I realised that if I don’t have something in front of me that reminds me to do it daily or every other day, I won’t do it. I’ll get easily distracted with some other thing, and forget.
For this reason I didn’t go with anything like a Fitbit, or a computer app. I wanted something visual on my desk that would act as a reminder.
It then occurred to me that I love checklists and measuring results, so I came up with the idea of creating a form that I had to print out and fill out weekly to demonstrate that I had done my “workouts”.
I created a form with 7 columns at the top – each one representing the day of the week starting Monday and ending Sunday.
Under each day was 10 rows – so each row represents a 10 minute segment. I realised that I might actually start to enjoy working out again, and days where I felt full of energy I might want to work out a bit longer than 5 X 10 minute segments, so I left extra room to fill in more spaces if I did more.
I decided that at the beginning of each week I would print this form out and write at the top Week 1, Week 2 etc.
I also decided to leave the printed form on top of my filing cabinet which sits to the right of my desk. In this way I would see the Workout Form several times a day and this would prompt me to do it.
As for rules, I didn’t want to hold myself to working out every day, but I wanted to work out 3 – 5 times per week, at least.
Three to five times a week means a serious change in health and exercise.
I also didn’t want to injure myself so decided I would just go easy until I noticed my strength and fitness increasing.
I also did this because I wanted to look back in eight weeks time and see if I stuck to it.
So this is what happened during those eight weeks:
Week 1 – I did 1 X 40 minute workout, and 3 X 50 minute workouts.
Week 2 – I did only 1 X 50 minute workout – see notes below.
Week 3 – I did 2 X 50 minute workouts, and 2 X 60 minute workouts.
Week 4 – I did 2 X 40 minute, 1 X 60 minute, 1 X 50 minute workouts.
Week 5 – I did 1 X 30 minute, 1 X 70 minute, and 1 X 80 minute workouts.
Week 6 – I did 1 X 50 minute, 1 X 40 minute, 1 X 80 minute workouts.
Week 7 – I did 2 X 60, and 1 X 50 minute workouts.
Week 8 – I did 1 X 40, and 1 X 50 minute workouts.
Notes: In the second week, I had so much energy from working out in Week 1, I couldn’t sleep! I had a whole week of disrupted sleep and was very tired during the day.
In week 8 I had some conflicting Family things to deal with that sort of mucked up my planning.
The main thing I want to share is this: I feel happier. Working out a few times a week has given me a dramatic improvement in my mood. I feel more upbeat and I haven’t had many bouts of feeling down. I feel more optimistic about the future.
I have a lot more energy. I am still having trouble sleeping as it seems I’ve got a lot of energy that wants to be burned off, but I am managing to sleep a lot better than what I did in Week 2.
I got off pain killers – for the last few years I’ve had chronic pain in my back, shoulders and neck from working at the computer all day. I’ve had no chronic pain since I started forcing myself to exercise.
I look forward to exercising now.
I also found, I never had to do the 5 X 10 minute exercise segments spread out over a day. Once I started I felt like I just wanted to get them out of the way so I did them in succession. Early on I did sit down for a few minutes between some 10 minute sessions just to regather my energy.
However, the point is, I really did trick myself into exercising.
In the first four to five weeks, a lot of those 10 minute sessions felt horribly difficult. I didn’t want to do them. But as I kept going my body would warm up and once I warmed up it was easier. Still I want to emphasize how often I experienced not wanting to do it when I started. But I love working out now. I look forward to it.
The biggest blast came when at the beginning of Week 8, I hadn’t worked out for about 5 days, and I discovered I had developed amazing muscular strength in my legs – this blew me away. Where everything hurt before, this was now almost effortless. The strength was finally there, even after a lot of days break in between.
By the end of week 4 I had barely lost any weight. I started researching a new eating plan which suits my lifestyle, I implemented it and I’ve now lost some weight and still have more to loose.
I will continue with this method now permanently to make sure I do work out as often as I need to.
The thing is even if you don’t really want to do something but you know you should do it, you can trick yourself into doing it like I did.
And you can use this 5 X 10 minute method to achieve any type of change or goal.
This morning I thought of four more things I want to do in life, and so I made up sheets for those.
Those are now sitting on top of my filing cabinet with the exercise worksheets.
Not only did I discover how to get myself fit and healthy again, I also discovered an easy new way to achieve any goal.
Just create a worksheet for that goal,
decide how many times per week you’re going to make yourself do it, and break it down into smaller segments to get over the mental resistance;
A while ago I found this awesome website online called Penzu. Penzu is a site where you can create a private online diary and setup multiple journals. It has a similar basic editor to WordPress where you can just write.
In addition, the cost of having a Penzu Pro account is extremely reasonable, so if you are looking for somewhere away from WordPress to draft your Blog Posts to publishing stage, consider setting up a Penzu paid account, and creating a Blog Post Journal just for your WordPress Posts.
Once you have an archive of entries that are ready to publish, you can just copy and paste from Penzu straight into WordPress, add your images and videos and hit the publish button.
Creating your WordPress Posts in Penzu will also solve the problem of where to find them when you want to publish.
I don’t know about you but I’ve had Blog Posts stored all over the place – in Microsoft Word, Google Docs and Scrivener. Sometimes a distraction comes up and I don’t get back to finishing off the post. And then when I do want to finish it, I have trouble finding it on my computer.
As search engines like sites with lots of good quality and unique content, you can churn out your Blog Posts in Penzu and create a good archive of future posts to publish in WordPress.
You can even use it to as ideas come to you, and finish them off later. Just do a journal entry with a title and enough text to remind you about what you want to write about and write it up properly when you find the time.
Before you know it you’ll have an arsenal of posts to publish on your WordPress site and keep your website visitors happy with new and regular content.
In my previous posts I wrote about RSS and how to automatically push out your Blog Posts to an email subscriber list.
In this article, I want to tell you about the MailPoet Plugin for WordPress and how awesome it is – particularly for small businesses looking for a way to either mass email their existing client base; or create various email lists for various email marketing campaigns – all done directly through the WordPress Dashboard.
Watch The Video
Emailing Existing Clients
In my business, I had a problem to solve and this was how to mass email my client base when I wanted to communicate something that affected all clients, or just a segment of clients.
In that case I had two alternatives:
(a) Mass email them from my normal email account which meant going through the client list and adding each client to the BCC line in the email;
(b) Adding their email addresses into MailChimp and sending out a campaign via the Mailchimp Dashboard.
With Option (a) and (b) above, I found both scenarios too time consuming and clunky. I wanted a simpler and easier option as this is something I have wanted to streamline for a long time.
Around the time that I was thinking about how to solve this problem, Elegant Themes published a terrific blog post about Email Plugins for WordPress. I tried one and didn’t like it. The next one I tried was MailPoet and I have to say I just love it.
Here is what you can do with MailPoet:
1. Create a custom email template
You can use the Basic Template to create a half decent looking email template to go out to your client base by inserting a nice header image into the first email you send out.
Once you’ve created one email to be sent out, you can then copy this email, delete the content and add the new content for your next email. What this really means is that once you’ve created an email you are happy with – that can be your template for all future emails, as you can duplicate any sent email in MailPoet, and then modify the content.
2. Create all the Lists You Need
I suggest you setup your first list name as something like “Clients” and then add more lists if you need them.
In my case, I made a few more lists such as “Divi Theme Users” and “New Clients”.
Once you have setup your List Names, you can then start adding subscribers.
Below is a screen shot of how to add a List name. You can add as many lists as you need. You can add more lists later if you only need one to start with. Subscribers can belong to multiple lists with MailPoet as well.
3. Add Subscribers To Your List
No doubt you already have a list of clients you want to email so you can add them directly into MailPoet.
You can add them manually or import them from a .CSV file.
If you only have a small amount of email addresses you can add them one at a time. In the image below you can see how easy it is to add subscribers to your list.
As you add subscribers, you can also select which Lists you would like them to be on.
My First List is a default list in MailPoet.
If you have a lot of email address to import, you can use the Import List feature and either:
Add the email addresses into the text box as shown in the example below; or
Import a list from a .csv file.
A .csv file is similar to an Excel or database file, but it’s extension ends in .csv, not .xls or other Excel formats.
However it looks similar to an Excel file in that you can create and open a .csv file in Excel.
A .csv file would have a Table of Columns such as First Name, Last Name and Email Address and any other Fields you would like included in your list.
If you don’t have any experience exporting and importing .csv files it’s probably easier to copy and paste all the email addresses you want to add into the Text Box.
Use the format exactly as shown in the example below.
4. Configure MailPoet Settings
Before you can mass email your clients, you need to configure some settings, such as:
Your Company Name
The Name and Email Address you want to send from
In the screenshot below you can see that there are various fields under Settings that need to be completed before you can send out email via WordPress.
5. Send With Options
There are two ways to Send email with MailPoet.
The first is to send it out via your Hosting Account’s email server. As most Hosts place a limit on how many emails you can send per hour, Mailpoet will calculate how many emails you can send using your Hosting email service.
If you use your Host’s email servers, and you need to send more than the host allows, MailPoet will send your emails in batches each hour until they are all sent.
If you want to use your Hosting Email Server to send your emails, configure the email settings on the Send With screen (see screenshot below).
The second way, and probably more efficient for reliable delivery is to use SendGrid.
In order to mass email any list, you need to have the person’s permission to email them. In the case of my clients, I do believe they expect to hear from me periodically about such things as:
(a) WordPress Upgrades
(b) Plugin and Theme Updates
(c) Anything that can make their website better than it is.
In this case, I only use MailPoet to communicate with REAL clients – not prospective clients or people I know.
In any other case, you need to get their permission, or have them sign up on a form on your website to comply with International Anti Spam Laws.
You can also configure Forms and Lists within MailPoet to email your website visitors and people who say they want to hear from you by filling out a subscription form on your website. Setting that up is not part of the scope of this article, but you can go onto the MailPoet website and refer to the help section for more information about this.
Now that we understand that RSS is a feature of most blogging platforms that can send your Blog posts to subscribers, in addition to people subscribing via a Feed Reader such as Feedly, you can also give your subscribers the option of subscribing to your Blog Posts via email using RSS.
This means that whenever you publish a new Blog Post on your WordPress site, your subscribers will receive an email with the content of that post in an email. In this post I will discuss the two external services that I have used for clients.
FeedBurner was bought by Google many years ago and so if you already have a Google Account you can do a search for FeedBurner and log in with your Google Account. If you don’t have a Google Account you will need to create one.
The first thing you need to do in FeedBurner is burn a feed. This means locating your WordPress Website’s RSS Feed Address and inserting that on the the FeedBurner setup page. Google will then redirect that feed address to a new feed address that they create for you.
In FeedBurner you need to go through all the setup steps to configure your feed, activate some services, and then locate the code to embed on your Blog page for subscribers to sign up. Typically this sign up form is placed somewhere on your Blog page’s sidebar. Simply use the Text Widget in WordPress and paste the sign up form embed code into it. You can also edit that code if you need to adjust the width of the form and make any other changes you wish.
Inside FeedBurner you can also edit the colors and fonts used on the email although it’s more difficult to give it a really professional polish. That said, it’s the Content your subscribers are looking for so FeedBurner handles the job nicely.
MailChimp is an email newsletter service, but it also has the added advantage where users can setup an RSS Driven campaign. MailChimp also gives users a very generous free plan, so check it out. You can gather a lot of subscribers before you start paying.
The other advantage of using MailChimp over Feedburner is that design wise, you can design your email template to look like your website. FeedBurner’s design options are not as pretty as MailChimp.
After you’ve created your MailChimp account you need to create a new RSS Campaign. There are about five or six setup steps to setup the campaign, so you will again need to locate your RSS Feed Address. During the setup phase you will also need to design the email template so for example you may need to create a new header image for your template, and get hold of the color codes your site uses.
When you choose an email template to design from, make sure it’s an RSS Template. This will insert most of the code you will need into the Email template so all you need to do design wise is choose your colors, fonts, and insert your header image. The design phase of your email template is the longest part. If you don’t have time to finish it, you can save your work and come back and finish it at a later time.
Also during the setup phase you can send yourself a test email. In the test email MailChimp will grab the last Blog post published on your site and send it to you. Once you receive that email you can make any last minute layout or design changes.
The final phase of setting up an RSS campaign is to confirm the campaign and then hit the Start RSS button. Now, every time you publish a new Blog post, that Blog post will be emailed out to your subscribers on the professional looking template you designed.
Now that your RSS campaign has been created you need to also find the embed code for a sign up form and embed it in a Text widget on your WordPress site. MailChimp will generate a fairly large form so what you also need to do is reduce the width of the form so that it fits nicely in your sidebar.
You add the embed code exactly as I described above. Drag a new Text Widget into your sidebar and paste the sign up form code there. If you’re not sure how wide your sign up form should be, just experiment until you get the dimensions right. MailChimp has options at the side of the form setup to change the form dimensions. Start with say 300 px wide and reduce or increase as needed.
Why use RSS instead of an ordinary email Newsletter?
This is a great question. If you’ve read any of my other posts on here you’ll know that Google loves websites with lots of great content. So one strategy for business is to make your website and it’s Blog the main source of all your business content. You need to Blog for SEO reasons so why not make this your newsletter as well? It saves having to come up with two different sources of content – i.e. one for your Blog and one for your newsletter.
Yes there are cases where you want to send newsletter type information to only your customers. In that case you can always create a Regular Campaign in MailChimp and send that out to your Customer List.
Email Rules, Regulations and Legalities
All Bloggers and website owners should understand that generally speaking, you just can’t add people to your email list unless you obtain their permission first.
Most countries have laws to fight against SPAM. SPAM is considered unsolicited email – email you did not sign up for.
Therefore, with either FeedBurner or MailChimp your subscribers need to validate their email address before they are added to your list.
When people fill out the subscribe form on your website they are sent a confirmation email which asks them to click on a link. This confirms to the email service that yes, this person does want to subscribe to this content.
The email also says if you did not sign up to this list, to ignore it.
In this way, anyone subscribing from your website becomes a genuine subscriber.
If you have an existing client base, it’s probably okay to add their email addresses to your list, especially customers that you communicate regularly with. I should also explain, you can manually add subscribers to your list, or import them from a spreadsheet directly into MailChimp. (I don’t think you can manually add subscribers into Feedburner).
What I would do though, where you are adding email addresses yourself, is just send them an email and say something like “Hey Bob, I am just letting you know I’ve put you on our company’s email newsletter list, if you do not wish to receive these emails there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email”. Alternatively just email them and ask them for their permission.
In this way you protect yourself from customers becoming cranky at you. Or, the first time you send out an email Newsletter to existing customers, make sure you tell them you added them to the list and if they don’t want further emails they can unsubscribe. In fact you could make the first email purely about that. That way you start with clean and happy existing customer list.
It’s important to understand that some people get stressed out from Inbox overload and I don’t blame them. As much as they may love your Company, they may not want email newsletters from you so be open and transparent with them and save yourself the grief of complaints.
Strategies to build a subscriber list
Your website visitors need a reason to subscribe to your email newsletters. A lot of sites use enticements such as a free give away for signing up or they hold a competition. On the competition angle, if you are at a Trade show or exhibition this is a great place to get subscribers. Offer a competition to be in the draw for [a prize] which entices people to get onto your list. Or if you are speaking somewhere do the same thing. Have someone other than yourself signing people up to your list after your talk. People love incentives.
On the website itself, you could offer something like “each month, quarter, half year, year all email subscribers go into a draw to win [a prize] ” and make it something pretty enticing or valuable.
So many sites are doing the free eBook thing now and whilst it does work in some circumstances it may not generate great results. In this regard the Content of the eBook must be really valuable to the subscriber and not just some recycled information that your visitors have read before.
Pop Up Forms
Unless you have a really high ranking site with lots of visitors daily, you will most probably find that not a lot of people sign up. A lot of websites use Pop Up forms to encourage people to sign up and from what people say they can and do achieve results in some situations.
However personally I am not a fan them. To me there is nothing worse than landing on a site for the first time and finding this big pop up form in my face. I haven’t even read their content yet. How can I possibly know if I want to sign up?
If you are going to use Pop Up forms I suggest using something so that it’s not so intrusive. There are lots of WordPress Plugins that handle Pop Up forms. I would be inclined to find one that only popped up once a visitor was leaving the site.
A final word of encouragement
If you are going to go through all the loops to set this up, or you hire someone like myself to do it for you, make sure you are prepared to or are in the habit of Blogging regularly. Yes I am guilty of not Blogging very often, particularly in the early years of my business. I was so busy building sites I didn’t have time or energy to Blog. This year I made myself a new year’s resolution that no matter how busy I get, I will make time for Blogging. If I don’t lead by example, how can I expect my clients to do the same?
Lastly setting this up involves a lot of time. If you are going to do this yourself, do it when you are mentally prepared. There’s a lot to learn and it’s easy to become distracted or give up when it all gets too hard.
It takes a lot of time and testing the first time around. I put off learning MailChimp’s RSS campaigns because I knew it involved a lot of time and effort. I had to wait until I was clear before I could focus on it properly. Even now, setting this up for a client is no small job.
For this reason I encourage clients to get into the habit of Blogging regularly first. What is the point of spending all that money setting this up when you do not Blog regularly? Yes, time is something we all wish we had more of. However, you really do need to make the time to get familiar with how to Blog and get into the habit of Blogging regularly for your RSS campaigns to be effective and to build a good size subscriber list.