Friday, 28 September 2001

Newsletter Issue 32, September 2001


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 32, September 2001
Hi guys,
If you are thinking of a foray into journalism and writing a customer information sheet yourself, it may pay you to check out Fancy Yourself as a Rupert Murdoch? below. This is the first in a three part series about setting up your own newsletter.
Our second topic this time is a breakdown of the results of an internet newsletter survey; see how people choose to read their newsletters in  Successful Internet Strategies Survey
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Fancy Yourself as Rupert Murdoch? Part 1

Starting and building a business takes a lot of commitment.  To build trust - and therefore your business - among your clients, you must promote both your business and your reputation. 
One way of doing this is by developing an ezine or newsletter. Then, in a very low-key way, you can stay in touch with your customers , target issues that are important to your clients, notify them all of specials in a timely manner, and add value to your service. 
In this, part one of a three part article on developing a newsletter, we will look at why you would want to add "journalist" to your list of duties, about customer service, looking at clean, sharp design and how to inject personality.

Why a Newsletter?
Why have an ezine?  To retain, educate and improve your client base.
So why would you want to improve and educate your client base? Because if your clients are getting better, then you are as well to ensure that you always keep one step ahead. You will change, grow and develop along with your customers... and you will both enjoy the ride.
A electronic newsletter is an easy way to get information across to your clients. They can refer back to it. They can search it on their PCs. They can copy bits into manuals.
Providing you keep the information useful, of course.
Customer Service
An ezine will improve your customer service delivery. Keep reminding yourself of this throughout the development and delivery of your publication. Remember; 
  • You are building relationships with your customers
  • Don't send them out too often or they won't get read (!)
  • Do not descend into personal agendas
  • Stay aligned with your business services
  • Remain focused on improving customer service delivery.
Design 
Of course, good ezine design is critical. Keep the design and format of your ezine consistent with your branding. 
Take a look at other successful ezines to get an idea of what good design consists of, go webtrawling and see what sites you like. Make a list of what annoys you (and remember not to do it!);
  • Keep your ezine simply designed so that it is easy to read. Don't have lots of decorations or too many dividers
  • Flow, flow, flow. Keep your text flow smooth. Don't have lots of unnecessary changes of direction for the reader
  • Don't send lots of graphics with your newsletter. Keep it simple
  • Keep to just a couple of fonts only; of medium size
  • Only use capitals, italics, underlining and bold for emphasis (just as you would speak). Remember your netiquette
  • If you have a background graphic, keep it simple so that people can clearly read the text over top of it. Check that if the screen pixels are set at the top end, your graphic width is wide enough so as not to "tile" (repeat again at the right)
  • Make it easy to print. 9% of your readers will print your newsletter
  • Have it completely downloadable from the net, or email it, as 50% or more of your customers are likely to read your ezine offline
  • To make your ezine easier to read, and to look more professional, leave plenty of "white space" (ie non-filled space) between sections, sub-sections and in the margins
Remember to be consistent with your branding AND your personality.
Injecting Personality 
As there are hundreds of quality ezines available on the internet, to ensure that YOUR ezine gets read, you must make it unique. One of the best ways of doing this is to show your personality in your publication. 
Let your readers know who you are. Don't keep your articles dry and fusty, but speak TO your clients as you would when face to face. Create a relationship based on mutual respect and trust; let them know more about you and how you run your business. 
Talk to your readers and involve them in the ezine. Ask them what they like and what they dislike, and work those suggestions in by changing and evolving your structure and content. And then let them know what you have changed and why.
Catch you next time when we look at content and how you get it, creating consistency, professionalism and how to create a newsletter in html and what programmes you can use.

And practicing what I preach: Does my newsletter come out too often? Click here to reply

Successful Internet Strategies Survey

The readers of "Successful Internet Strategies" online newsletter were surveyed. Following are the results; 
  • 900 readers of the 1800 readership were surveyed. 20% responded
  • 90% can receive HTML emails
  • 0.5% can only receive plain text
  • 48% download email, then shut off their email connection
  • 51% of respondents read email when it arrives
  • 40% go back to it later
  • 31% of people only read articles they are interested in
  • 69% read every article
  • 9% print their emails off & read the hardcopy
Interesting statistics. The biggie, if you are thinking about setting up an online newsletter, is the whopping 48% who download the newsletter then shut off the internet connection.
Those readers who do read off line, are in general very impatient with graphics which load from an internet site (aren't sent with the newsletter) and keep popping up the "Connect to the Internet" message box.  Message to developers: if you are losing your readership, limit graphics and include them in the newsletter.

Creating Duplicate Entries in Excel

You all know how I like to minimise key strokes when working: well here's a tip for you. When you have data entered on one worksheet in Excel that you want to copy to other worksheets, you can do it using a single step... and without using Copy.
Begin by selecting both the sheet that is complete and the sheets you want to copy the entries to. To do this;
  • Hold down the Control key AND
  • Click the sheet tabs of all the sheets to select them.. or 
  • Click the tab of the first sheet AND
  • Hold the Shift key as you click the last in the series (will select all sheets between)
To copy;
  • Select the actual cells which contain what you want to copy to each sheet
  • Go to Edit | Fill | Across Worksheets
  • Select your copy requirements (fill All, Contents or Formats as required)
To return to work on just one worksheet, click on a worksheet tab to select it or right click a worksheet tab and choose Ungroup Sheets. 
If you know ahead of time (Ooo, planning!) that you'll be wanting to enter the same data on a number of worksheets you can select the worksheets BEFORE you begin and then enter the data into one of them. It will then be automatically entered in all the others you have selected. 
Another data shortcut is when you want to enter the same value into a number of cells. Select all the cells, key your data into one of them and press Control + Enter to enter it into them all. You can do this for cells which are adjacent and those which aren't (hold the Control key to select non-adjacent cells).

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • OCR, Optical Character Recognition. Scanning conversion software that picks up images from the scanner, recognises each graphic letter as a character, turning images into editable text
  • VRS, Voice Recognition Software. Word processing conversion software changing speech to text. Olympus do a very nice package with this...
  • CIS, Contact Image Sensor. Technology in scanners which converts analogue information into digital information... and the main reason why scanners are getting thinner
  • TWB, Temporary Work Businesses. These use temporary employees to fill client requirements for projects, to avoid getting embroiled in employment legislative hassles

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
Another Function key for you - this time it's all you can do in MS programmes with a straight F6. F6 has a pretty unique function in panes of the active window. It has a use in nearly EVERY Windows application;
  • Access "To switch between the upper and lower portions of a window (Design view of tables, macros, and queries and the Advanced Filter/Sort window only)" or to "Move between the navigation pane and topic pane"
  • Excel "Move to the next pane in a workbook that has been split"
  • Explorer "Switch between left and right panes " 
  • IE "Move forward between frames " 
  • Outlook "Switch between the Folder List and the information viewer to the right." or to "Move to the next pane." 
  • PowerPoint "Switch to the next window pane in the clockwise direction" or to "Move between the navigation pane and topic pane"
  • Publisher "Move between the Navigation pane and the Help pane" or to "Bring to front"
  • Word "Other Pane"
Hot Linx
"Dad" Rarey's WWII sketchbook features the sketchbook journals of George Rarey, a cartoonist and commercial artist who was drafted during World War II into the US Army Air Corps 379th Fighter Squadron. And yes, this is where the saying "Rareybird" comes from. Check it out at http://www.rareybird.com/ 
If your computer starts to do strange things after you've installed that freeware, or worse, your system crashes, GoBack allows you to return to when your Windows 9.x configuration worked OK. Price: Free trial; $70 US to keep. Download at http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,6694,tk,hs091201x,00.asp 
Worried about business tax under the current changes to income tax? You can find out all about what (if anything) affects you at http://www.ird.govt.nz/incometaxbusiness/ 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here