Articles tagged as ‘Marketing’

Common Reasons a Website is Unsuccessful

If you are planning or building a new website, you are obviously hoping for some type of success. Of course, success can mean any number of things, and each website’s success should be determined by the needs and desires of its owners and creators. Some websites exist strictly to provide information to visitors. Others aim […]

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23 Brilliant Double Sided Business Cards

Designers love creative business cards, and they can have a big impact on potential clients as well. One technique for an impressive card is to use both sides for creative design potential.

In this post we’ll showcase more than 20 examples of brilliant double sided business cards for your design inspiration. There are a wide variety of ways that these cards use both sides, and it should provide you with some ideas for your own cards, or for those of your clients…

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Make Your Website Linkable

One of the most important aspects of marketing and promoting a website or blog is attracting inbound links. A great deal of effort goes into creating quality links. But before these link building attempts can truly be successful, your site or blog will need to be ready. Here are some tips to making your website more linkable…

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25+ Excellent Business Card Templates for Your Own Use

Business cards are a great resource for anyone looking to market or promote their business. While social media, blogging, and online marketing get most of the attention these days, some old-school in-person networking can also do wonders, and business cards are an essential resource for effective networking.

If you need to save some time or don’t have the experience to design your own cards, these free business card templates can be a great option. Many printing companies offer templates to choose from (although the quality will vary greatly), and you can also find others available from different sources. In this post we’ll feature both free and premium business card templates. The premium templates generally cost less than $10 and can be well worth the expense…

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The Double Opt-in: Can it Save Your Email List?

Email marketing: The crown jewel of selling content online.

The only thing better in terms of delivery rates is a text message straight to a reader or customer’s phone.

Businesses and online marketers collect email addresses using various tactics, including giving out free content, revealing popup boxes when users land on sites and posting killer blog posts that visitors want to hear about without having to type in a domain name every day.

The point is to accumulate as many valuable email addresses as you can, with a well-designed, well-placed email opt-in form.

With that, you have a choice to make. Are you more interested in using the single or double opt-in email acquisition technique? If you keep reading below, we’re going to explain how these two methods differ, why the single opt-in has seen better days and even some stats on how a double opt-in strategy can save your website…

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Essential Tips to Cold Calling Your Design Services Like a Pro

Many sales people believe that cold calling is dead. However, done the right way and a cold call still works, even for designers. You just have to know how to cold call your design services like a pro.

Before we move on to the all-important tips below, let’s clarify a few things. A cold call traditionally refers to a phone call, although modern cold calling could also include initial face-to-face or digital contact, such as with an email or social media message. While many of the tips below refer specifically to cold calls over the phone, you can also use the points for other types of cold calling with just a few adjustments.

Another point to remember is that cold calls take time and energy to prepare and follow through to that final point of closing the sale. So if you have plenty of momentum going with the clients you already have with several projects looming ahead, you shouldn’t cold call. Your time is much better spent on the work you have and saving energy for upcoming projects.

If, however, your client list has run dry with no projects in the near future, you probably have plenty of time to cold call your design services. So if this is you, make sure to read through the following pointers before jumping in. Your cold calling will only be as successful as your professional, strategic approach. Let’s get started…

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30+ Beautiful New Responsive Email Newsletter Templates

Email newsletters are an important marketing and communications tool for many businesses. You can stay in touch with past customers, market your products to those who have expressed interest but haven’t yet purchased, and get extra exposure for your sales and promotions. Email is an extremely cost effective marketing method and it is likely to produce a higher return on investment than any other type of marketing or advertising…

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Are Your Web Design Clients Hopelessly Trapped in Old Designs?

If you’ve been a web designer for over five years, it’s probably time for some of your early web design clients to upgrade their websites. Or you may be contacted by a prospect who already has a website, but wants to update it.

The question is, how do you get them to upgrade?

Unfortunately, it is often much harder to convince a web design client of the need to upgrade a website than it was to convince them of the need for a website in the first place.

It’s almost as though they are trapped by those old web designs and can’t break free…

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13 Key E-Commerce Features To Create Exponential Growth

Running a successful and profitable e-commerce website involves a lot more than just setting up a website and adding some products. Of course you will need to have products that customers want to buy at prices they are willing to pay, and you’ll need to be able to get your site and products in front of the right audience.

While it is possible to generate revenue with just the basic e-commerce functionality, there are some additional features and functions you should be adding to your site if you really want to cause exponential growth on your website. In this article we’ll take a look at 13 different features that you can add to your e-commerce site to help you grow you site by leaps and bounds. These features will cover all different aspects of your site including marketing and customer service.

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Should You Run Holiday Sales as a Designer?

It’s that time of year again when nearly every business is offering holiday sales and specials as consumer activity increases by leaps and bounds. You may even know of fellow freelancers who offer discounts for the holidays, but is this something that you should do as a freelance designer? Do holiday sales hurt or help graphic design freelancers?

The first thing to realize in order to answer the above questions and ultimately decide whether or not to extend discounts is that every freelancer is different. You have different goals than the freelancer just down the street from you. And not just because you are a graphic or web designer. Discounts may work for the web designer across town but not for you – it all depends on your unique situation…

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Be Unforgettable. Build Your Web Design Online Presence Even When You’re Busy

How do you get more clients? Build a strong online presence, of course.

If clients and prospects see you online, they are more likely to contact you about web design projects. An easy and cost-effective way to build a strong online presence is through social media.

The only problem with building an online presence through social media is that most freelancers tend to slack off when they are busy. It’s easy to participate in social media activities when your schedule is slow. It’s not so easy to participate when you are rushing to meet deadlines.

Unfortunately, when it comes to your online presence the old saying “out of sight, out of mind” often holds true. If your potential clients don’t see your name mentioned for a while, they are likely to forget about you and hire someone else.

You need a plan.

In this post, I share an easy plan for maintaining your social media presence when you are busy. Best of all, it only takes 40 minutes a day.

online-presence
Image Source: Remember me this way by basibanget CC by 2.0

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Best Twitter Practices for Improving Visibility

One of the best ways for freelance graphic designers and web developers to gain exposure online is with social media. Twitter is an especially successful avenue simply because it is such a common platform. Freelancers, big and small businesses, non-profit organizations, retailers, individuals – Twitter is full of world-wide activity, across every industry.

Photo Credit: mkhmarketing via Compfight cc

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4 Ways to Wow Your Clients And Make Them Addicted To Your Services

Getting a return client can seem somewhat like finding the Fountain of Youth for most freelancers. Every freelancer wants to have them, but most freelancers have trouble getting them.

Freelance web design clients are particularly fickle. Once you’ve finished your web design work, many clients see no further need for your services. If you don’t do anything about it, they promptly forget you. When it comes time to hire a web designer again, they’ll probably use someone else.

Fortunately, It doesn’t have to be this way. You can take some steps to improve your chances of getting repeat business.

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In this post, I’ll share four steps that will keep your name in front of your clients and help them to remember you for their next web design project.

If you liked this post, you may also like 6 Very Effective Principles to Improve Your Customer Service & Make Your Clients Happy.

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Web Designers, Are You Missing Out on Crucial Face-to-Face Networking?

When was the last time you met in person with a client or prospect? That long, huh?

Like many freelancers, web designers understand the importance of networking. And in this digital age, most of us tend to do our networking online. It’s faster. It’s easier. But it’s not always the best choice.

The Internet is filled with advice on how to network online. There’s a good reason for that. There are at least half a dozen excellent social media tools available that can help you with networking. Each social site has its own set of rules and standards, so there’s room for plenty of articles offering advice.

In the rush to join the social networking crowd, many of us have neglected an old school networking technique that still works–face-to-face networking. If you rely only on virtual networking, you may be missing out on some great opportunities.

face-to-face

This post is for those freelance web designers who want more from networking. I’ll discuss the importance of face-to-face networking. I’ll even provide a few tips on how (and where) to get started with face-to-face networking.

If you liked this post, you may also like Are You Overlooking These 5 Proven Methods for Networking Online?.

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Does Your Design Blog Need a Podcast? Plus, 8 Free Podcasting Software Tools

Blog content is important, right? If you have a web design blog for your freelance web design business, you already know how having a blog can help you attract traffic and establish yourself as an expert. (If you don’t have a blog on your freelancing website, why don’t you?)

Blogs need content, but not all content is writing. Podcasts are an important type of content that is often overlooked. Consider adding a podcast to your freelancing blog to give it more variety.

Podcasts are audio or video files that you add to your blog. You can also submit your audio file podcasts to iTunes. While some podcasts contain music, many successful bloggers present informative material with podcasts and you can too. For the purposes of this post, we’ll be discussing audio podcasts.

Podcasting is not for everyone. But adding a podcast to your blog may be just the thing you need to set your web design business apart from the rest.

In this in this introduction to podcasting, I’ll explain how podcasting can help you promote your web design business. I’ll also identify some tools to help you to get started with podcasting. Finally, I’ll include some tips and tutorials so that you can learn more about podcasting.
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Image Source: ON THE AIR by Rochelle Hartman CC by 2.0

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5 Quick Marketing Tips to Keep the Client Pipeline Flowing

Does this sound familiar?

You’re busy with web design work, so busy that you don’t have time to market your freelancing business. You have multiple projects going on at the same time,so many that you can barely get them done.

Then, when you’ve finished your last project, there’s a deadening silence. Projects aren’t coming in. You aren’t hearing from potential clients. And you’re starting to panic.

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What’s happened is simple. Your web design client pipeline has simply dried up. Seasoned freelancers refer to this as the feast or famine cycle.

The fact is that your slowdown happened because you stopped marketing your business while you were busy.

You may think that you don’t have time to market your freelancing business, but you can continue to market your business when you are busy without spending a lot of time. In this post, I’ll share five mostly quick marketing tips that you can use even when you’re very busy. By using one or several of these tips, you can keep your client pipeline flowing.

If you liked this post, you may also like Facts About Marketing for Freelance Designers.

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What You Need to Know Before You Expose That Bad Client

If you’ve had a bad experience with a client, you may have thought about using your blog or social media to shame them.

The practice of client shaming seems to be growing. Just in the past month, I’ve seen at least four blog posts and social media complaints about companies who did everything from not paying the freelancer to using the freelancer’s work without permission. And let’s face it, it some cases making a client’s transgressions public can feel pretty good to a frustrated freelance web designer.

Of course, there’s the popular Clients from Hell website that could also be fueling the trend. While the clients are not identified on Clients from Hell and the stories are posted anonymously, I always wonder if clients ever read it and recognize themselves.

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While the decision to publicly expose a bad freelance client is a personal one, you should be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of doing so before you decide to do it yourself.

In this post, I share three reasons why some freelancers choose to expose a bad client publicly and three reasons why you might not want to do it yourself. I also list five alternative to going public with your client problems.

If you liked this post, you may like How to Evaluate Prospective Clients and Choose the Best Ones.

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How to Rock Your Business Phone Calls

As a web designer, how do you feel about business phone calls?

Your answer probably depends on your personality. Some people love to talk on the phone. Others dread phone calls.

If you’re busy, an unexpected phone call can disrupt your day. If you’re a bit on the shy side, talking to a client on the phone may make you nervous.

Love them or hate them–business phone calls are an important part of running your web design business. That’s not going to change any time soon.

business-phone-calls

Fortunately, regardless of whether you love business phone calls or hate them, there are some steps you can take to make your business phone calls go more smoothly. In this post, I share five of those steps. If you liked this post, you’ll probably also like 5 Communication Tips for Freelancers and Designers.

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Should You Use a Job Board to Find Your Next Web Design Gig, Yes or No?

Nearly every freelance web designer knows that the best jobs are those you find yourself through networking and marketing your web design business. The best jobs are never advertised.

However, networking and marketing can take a lot of time. It can take months, or even years, before your efforts pay off and results in new business. What’s a web designer to do in the meantime?

The truth is that most freelance web designers, like many other freelancers, start out looking for freelance work on the job boards. A job board is an online site dedicated to listing freelance and sometimes full-time openings.

Job boards aren’t always the best place to find work, but they are an obvious place to start looking for work and a search there can sometimes yield quick results. Some freelancers enjoy quite a bit of success in finding work through a job board. Others prefer not to use them at all.

job-board

In this post, I’ll list some positives of jobs boards and some things you should watch out for. I’ll also provide some tips for getting the most from your freelance job hunt on the job boards.

If you liked this post, you may be interested in our list of 23 Design and Development Job Boards.

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Social Media: Finding the Balance Between a Waste of Time and Necessary Networking

Ah yes, the all too constant struggle of networking with social media. It’s one of those necessary evils that everyone, from job seekers to freelancers to name brand companies, have to rethink constantly. This is why it is one of the most commonly discussed topics across multiple industries. We all know just how important social media is, and most of us continue to struggle between making it a successful marketing avenue and a waste of time.

As a freelancer who has struggled with wasting hours on social media and completely ignoring it for a month (or more) at a time, I have learned a few ways to help me narrow this gap between the two extremes. Now, have learned how to better focus my efforts with social media. It’s still not perfect, but I am on the road to tightening down my efforts and am already seeing results. And for those of you social media skeptics, even when I was only flailing along with social media, I gained enough clients through my exposure via Twitter and Google+ that I haven’t had to search for clients since I became active in several social platforms.

If you are a business owner, freelancer, or even an individual simply looking to build up a strong network in your search for a career, you may find the following tips to help you better take advantage of the benefits that social media has to offer. Hopefully, some of the resources below will help you greatly reduce the time-suck trap many fall into with social media. Use your own experience in combination with these tips, and like me you may find clients knocking down your proverbial door.

So, take a look at the following 10 tips and resources and get ready to re-adjust your social networking plan into one that will waste less time and build more positive results for you and your business ventures.

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Should I Charge for That? Don’t Forget About These 7 Crucial Project Tasks

The client snarled, “there’s no way I’m paying extra for that.” He was referring to the time I would need to research his rather complicated project.

Have you ever been challenged by a client for including certain tasks on your invoice?

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Pricing services is one of the most difficult tasks most freelance web designers face. Not only are there many different schools of thought on how to price web design services, clients sometimes fuss about work we bill them for.

Most freelancer web designers realize that they shouldn’t work for free or on spec. But many have questions about what activities they should bill to clients.

In this post, I list seven common project-related tasks that clients often question. For each task, I discuss whether a freelancer should bill the client.

If you liked this post, you may also like 12 Realities of Pricing Design Services or 5 Tips for Handling Pricing Objections.

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13 New Social Tools for Your Web Design Business

Is bigger always better?

Nearly every web designer knows about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. And it’s not a bad idea to have a presence on those sites.
woman in office pointing at plasma panel with social media

When it comes to social networks, the newest players are smaller and more exclusive. Some are invitation only. Others are niched–available only to members of a specified group. Most of them are mobile-friendly. They may even leverage other social media platforms.

Today’s new social media sites may become the giants of tomorrow. Witness the rise of Pinterest. For that reason alone, it’s worth checking these new tools out. But I think that you’ll agree with me that your web design business will benefit right now from the use of some of these tools.

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How to Handle Your Unhappy Client in 5 Easy Steps

Most freelance web designers dread the unhappy client. Yet, eventually most of us will have to face one. Maybe that’s why there are so many posts out there about bad clients.

After all of your hard work and attempts to meet your client’s demands, the last thing you want to hear is that the client isn’t happy with the fruit of your hard work. You may even fear that the client won’t pay you.

unhappy-client1

Is there anything you can do about an unhappy client?

Yes, as a matter of fact, there are some steps you should take when your client is unhappy. In this post, I share five steps that you can go through to find out whether you can “fix” your relationship with an unhappy client.

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10 Ways to Say “No” to Bad Clients (How to Refuse Bad Projects)

We freelancers are well aware that there are bad clients out there. There have been plenty of posts describing how to identify a bad web design client or a bad web design project. We’ve even mentioned bad projects on this blog in this post for new freelancers. There are also plenty of posts encouraging freelancers to say “no” to bad clients.

However, there aren’t too many posts that explain how to turn bad work offers down. And turning work down is harder than you might think (as any freelancer who has ever accepted a bad project will tell you).

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For one thing, we’re not used to turning work down. Everything about our business is geared towards finding clients and bringing them on board. Also, if you are accustomed to working in a traditional corporate environment, you’re probably not used to having the freedom to say “no” to a client or a project.

In this post, I provide ten ready (and truthful) responses you can give when you’re asked to do a project that’s not right for you. (Because, after all, you don’t want to spend too much time on projects you aren’t going to work on.)

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15+ Step-By-Step Public Speaking Tips for Web Designers and Freelancers

You may think that as a freelance web designer you don’t need to worry about public speaking. What you don’t know is that there are plenty of speaking opportunities for web designers. Here are just a few of them:

  • Meetups
  • Professional organizations
  • Client presentations

With all of these opportunities, public speaking is great addition to your marketing arsenal. It’s also a good way to establish yourself as an expert in your field.

Beautiful business woman is speaking on conference.

The fact is that giving a talk in public is good for business. Yet many web designers have no idea how to make a presentation.

In this post, I’ll take you through the public speaking process and give you tips to get you through each step–a total of 16 tips in all.

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A Comprehensive Guide to Effective Portfolio Websites

The web/graphic design industry is highly competitive. With so many designers out there competing for clients it can be difficult for freelancers and independent designers to find enough work to stay busy and to pay the bills. The level of design ability and experience doesn’t always correspond with the amount of success in running a freelance business in the industry. There are plenty of talented designers that struggle to find enough clients. Likewise, there are plenty of freelancers with lesser design skills that are more effective at running their business.

One of the keys to success for most freelancers is their portfolio website. Most potential clients will visit the website of a designer before hiring him or her, and often times the portfolio site is actually how the client finds the designer in the first place. Essentially, the online portfolio acts as a salesperson for the freelancer. An effective portfolio site can be invaluable to a freelancer, so it’s important enough to warrant plenty of time and attention for designers who are looking to be able to land more clients.

In this article we’ll take an in-depth look into the topic of portfolio websites. We’ll start by looking at keys to effective portfolio sites. Then we’ll move on to look at the options for creating your own portfolio site. And we’ll finish by providing some tips for getting more exposure to your portfolio site. If you’re interested in getting more out of your own existing portfolio site, or if you’re planning to create your first one, the details covered in this article should be able to help.

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Tips and Tools to Help You Protect Your Online Reputation

Your clients talk. They talk about all kinds of things. They talk about their business. They talk about their likes and dislikes. And sometimes, they talk about you and the work you did for them.

Word-of-mouth can be a powerful marketing force if it’s positive. Unfortunately, sometimes word-of-mouth is less than helpful. Sometimes information about your design business that is incorrect or misleading gets spread around.

The Internet has transformed word-of-mouth into a major force that can reach around the globe. Clients from halfway around the world can post comments and share information that influences clients right in your own town.

online-reputation

What are your clients and prospects saying about your design business? It could be important to know. Online reputation management is one way to manage and monitor what is said about your design business brand. In this post, I’ll share seven tips for monitoring your online reputation. I’ll also share seven tools to help you monitor your online reputation.

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4 New Free and Low Cost Ways to Measure Social Media Results

Do you use social media to market your design business? Are your social media efforts working? How can you find out?

Six or seven years ago, these were very difficult questions to answer.

After all, back then social media was a relatively new phenomenon. Facebook wasn’t available until 2004. LinkedIn was founded in 2003. Twitter was just getting started and Google+ didn’t yet exist.

Back then, an accurate method for measuring the effectiveness of social media participation was hard to find. If you were able to find a tool that worked, you could expect to pay a lot for such information.

Fortunately, things have changed. Social media has matured. And along with that maturity comes the ability to measure your social media results. While you can still pay good money for high quality social media analytics, there are now a lot of tools available to measure results at very little cost to you.

In this post, I profile four new tools designed to help you measure your social media results. If you like this post, you may also like 6 Ways to Use Social Media Successfully as a Designer.

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Image Source: Skakerman

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How to Get Client Testimonials for Your Design Website

You have a great design portfolio. Your About page is wonderful. Your call to action is fabulous. But something is missing from your website and because it’s missing you aren’t getting as many new clients as you should be getting.

That missing element is testimonials from your clients.

You see, prospective clients love to hear from others who have used your services. Even in the wake of numerous fake reviews scandals, legitimate client testimonials still make a difference.

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes for just a minute.

Your prospect plans to invest in your web design or web development services. They have a budget, but they need to get the best services they can for their money. And they can’t afford to buy the same service twice if things don’t work out. Naturally, they’re cautious.

Finding out that someone else has successfully used your services is often just what they need to finally make up their mind and hire you.

In this post, we’ll talk about client testimonials. I’ll explain how and when to ask for them, introduce some testimonial gathering tools that may help, and describe some testimonial pitfalls to avoid.

If you liked this post, you may also like Foundations of Customer Service for Freelance Designers, a post which explains how to keep your clients satisfied.

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The Best WordPress Plugins for Growing Your Mailing List

If you’re looking to build any top of business online, growing a mailing list should be a priority. However, with so much spam and unwanted email in most inboxes it can be a challenge to convince your website visitors to subscribe to your list. Fortunately, there are some really effective tools that can make your list building efforts exponentially more effective.

If you’re a WordPress user there are a number of quality plugins available that have been created specifically to help with building a mailing list. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the best plugins that can turn your list building frustrations into success.

PopUp Domination

PopUp Domination

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35 Outstanding HTML Email Newsletter Templates

Email marketing and newsletters are a critical part of the marketing plan of many businesses large and small. If you’re not already using email marketing for your own business or offering services for your clients, this is certainly an area to explore.

One of the aspects of email marketing is the design of the email itself. While text-based emails can be effective in certain industries, most businesses prefer to have a newsletter or email template that will present the message in an attractive way.

While most email list managers will offer some free templates and/or a WYSIWYG editor for designing your own email, there may be times when these options don’t meet your needs. In these situations your options will be to design and code a custom template on your own, outsource the work, or purchase a template that does meet your needs. Custom designs are often preferred, and for good reason, but they don’t always fit within the budget.

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Analyzing Your Conversion Funnel

So you’re a great designer, right? You create amazing sites that your clients fall in love with. But let me ask you something…what’s the conversion rate of the last website you created? I’m sure not many designers would be able to answer that question.

“We’re designers. That’s not a part of our job,” some of you might be thinking. Okay. But you do understand that people do not make websites just for the heck of it. Right? I mean, except for the reputation management clients who care no more than aesthetic appeal of the site, almost every website has a purpose. They want profits.

This purpose or conversion goal of the website can be anything from lead generation through form-filling, free-trial signups, and download brochure to direct sales from a website, like in the case of eCommerce websites.

The point is – if your design is in any way not doing a good job of helping people accomplish this conversion goal, no matter how beautifully designed your website might be, its value to your client decreases.

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13 Keyword Tools for Effective Research

Keyword research is a big part of online marketing and search engine optimization. For some types of websites, niche sites in particular, effective keyword research can be one of the biggest factors in the success of the site. In order to be effective and efficient with keyword research you will need to have access to the right tools. Depending on your needs you may be able to get what you need from a free tool, or you may need to look at the features of some of the many premium tools that are available.

In this article we’ll take a look at 13 of the leading tools specifically related to keyword research. Many of the pro tools listed here also include a variety of tools for other aspects of SEO (such as link building).

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

Google AdWords Keyword Tool

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