Recent Blog Posts

Why Your Business NEEDS a Newsletter

Posted By on March 22, 2011

Regularly, I can be heard “pitching” newsletters to audiences: when I give my 30-second commercial or talk to people in one-on-one meetings. I’m sure they think it’s because I will make money off their business, and while that’s part of it, the benefit to the client is HUGE!

If you’re not familiar with Constant Contact, you should be. They were one of the first online newsletter services. One of their best speakers is Ron Cates, based here in Phoenix. Ron speaks to audiences around the country on social media and email marketing, and he always shares amazing success stories using the medium. Businesses that do this right can drastically improve their profits, sometimes with just one email.

Each time I send out an email, I see nearly immediate results. Because I include a number of links (to blogs, social media, and my websites), I can track my click-throughs on Constant Contact. My website hits spike for a couple of days after I send a newsletter. I also get responses to them, usually about the monthly picture of Patrick or something personal I’ve shared. For instance, my January newsletter went out as Patrick and I were driving to Disneyland for my 40th birthday, and I received a number of birthday wishes from my clients and prospects.

Newsletters don’t always turn into immediate business, but because people are hearing from me regularly, I remain top of mind. In January, two prospective clients who had been receiving the newsletter for a year or more called and became clients. Then, in March, the newsletter was shared by a prospect—and the person who received it became a client.

If you’re not putting out a monthly e-newsletter, you’re missing an amazing opportunity to connect with your client database. I see results monthly in the form of new business, repeat business, and referrals. It’s a cost-effective method of marketing, and you can create a number of lists with unique content and calls to action. If you’re confused on how to get started, let me know! A monthly newsletter written, designed, edited, and sent is just $99 (plus the cost of your Constant Contact subscription).

Grammar Education: How to Use Commas

Posted By on March 9, 2011

how to use commasI love Facebook. I’m on it all day long when I’m on my computer, and I check it when I’m on my iPhone outside of the office. However, the quick updates sometimes make for lazy typing. But wait…is that laziness or ignorance? I’m starting to think it’s the latter. I’m talking about how commas are just ignored on Facebook. Perhaps people just don’t know how to use commas.

Poor commas. They used to be one of the most OVERused punctuation marks with people using them way too often. These days, though, it seems as if people are forgetting these little hooks that add clarity to your sentences and make reading easier. Nowhere on Facebook is this more evident than on the wall of your friend who’s celebrating a birthday.

One of the best things about Facebook is its ability to connect us with friends far and wide. With that, we get these great reminders of upcoming birthdays. This is where I see the biggest evidence that people don’t know how to use commas. Here are two examples where the comma is MIA:

Happy birthday Joe!
Thanks Amy!

In each instance, there should be a comma prior to the name. Why? These are fragments, meaning they’re lacking a subject, verb, and object—which add up to a complete sentence. If you read them as if the missing part is replaced, you may get:

I say happy birthday, Joe! (correct comma)
Joe thanks Amy! (still no comma and correct)

Unless you’re speaking in third person (“George is getting angry!”), you probably won’t speak the way the second is written. Instead, you’ll say “Thanks, Amy!” which is correct.

Grammar is confusing; there’s no doubt about it. But if you just remember that a name in a fragment like this typically requires a comma, you’re more likely to remember how to use commas. One way to do that is to put the name first, which is pretty clear (kind of as in a letter):

Joe, happy birthday!
Amy, thanks!