Finding the right email frequency can be a delicate balance.
You know you need to be reaching out to the people on your email list regularly, but you also need to make sure that they aren’t feeling overwhelmed.
And of course, you have your own schedule to worry about. How much time can you invest into creating and sending emails each month?
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question “How often should I email my customers?” there are steps you can take to determine a frequency that will work for you and your audience.
Let’s look at four steps you should follow:
Step 1: Learn from what you’ve already done
If you’ve already been sending emails to your customers and supporters, you have plenty of information to help you decide on the right frequency for your business.
Consider the following questions:
•How often are you sending?
•Has this been consistent or has it changed over time?
•Have your open rates been impacted?
•Have the number of unsubscribes changed over time?
Use the information you have available to create a benchmark for your business. Your open rates will let you know if people are looking forward to receiving your emails. Unsubscribes will indicate whether your messages are having the opposite effect.
While frequency won’t be the only factor that influences these metrics, these numbers do provide insight into how receptive your audience is to receiving your emails.
Step 2: Understand your goals
Looking at the past performance of your emails will help you determine what’s working and can also bring up any problem areas that exist. The next step is to put a schedule together that will help you reach your business goals.
Consider the following questions:
•What is the goal of your email marketing?
•What information do people need to take action?
•What is the best way to deliver this information?
It’s important to have a regular scheduled mailing that readers can depend on. For most businesses, this will be an email newsletter with updates and relevant news from your organization.
But you’ll likely need to reach out to your audience with more timely messages to help you reach your goals.
A restaurant that wants to fill tables each week may need to communicate on a weekly basis to share information about specials and let customers know about any special events or entertainment.
A marketing consultant that wants to increase traffic to their website may have a weekly update, where they link people back to their company blog.
A service business that provides seasonal offerings — but wants to keep clients engaged throughout the year — may only send a monthly newsletter during the slower seasons and increase the frequency as they head into a busier time of the year.
Step 3: Focus on your audience
Before you can make any final decisions, you’ll need to make sure you truly understand the people you’re trying to reach.
Consider the following questions:
•Who are the people on your list?
•Why did they sign up?
•Do their needs/interests vary?
While you may start off by making a decision about how often you reach out to your audience as a whole, the next step will be to identify the groups of people on your list and create a plan that’s specific to them.
You can learn a lot about your audience by looking at your email reports.
To take a deeper look into the makeup of your audience, consider sending an online survey to check in with your readers and learn more about what they’re interested in.
Ask them what they want from your business and even how often they’d like to hear from you. This can help you create a plan that’s tailored for them.
Step 4: Put it all together
When you start to answer these important questions, you may have some concerns about the amount of time it will take to keep up with your email sending schedule.
If you’re a Constant Contact customer, there are a number of tools you can use to help make the most of your time. For regularly scheduled messages — like monthly newsletters or weekly updates — create a master email template to avoid having to start from scratch.
If you have a particular time or day that you dedicate to getting your marketing done, you can create your emails ahead of time and schedule them to send in advance.
For new subscribers or people who may need more information about your business, use a tool like Autoresponder to set up a series of automated emails that you can set up to send on their own.
As you experiment with different sending frequencies, make sure to track your results by monitoring your email reports.
Put these tips to work.
Finding the right email frequency can result in higher opens, less unsubscribes, and more opportunities to do more business with email marketing.
Start out by looking at your email reports. They’ll let you know how your current email frequency is working for your business.
Too many people succumb to the mistaken belief that being likeable comes from natural, unteachable traits that belong only to a lucky few—the good looking, the fiercely social, and the incredibly talented. It’s easy to fall prey to this misconception. In reality, being likeable is under your control, and it’s a matter of emotional intelligence (EQ).
In a study conducted at UCLA, subjects rated over 500 adjectives based on their perceived significance to likeability. The top-rated adjectives had nothing to do with being gregarious, intelligent, or attractive (innate characteristics). Instead, the top adjectives were sincerity, transparency, and capacity for understanding (another person).
These adjectives, and others like them, describe people who are skilled in the social side of emotional intelligence. TalentSmart research data from more than a million people shows that people who possess these skills aren’t just highly likeable, they outperform those who don’t by a large margin.
We did some digging to uncover the key behaviors that emotionally intelligent people engage in that make them so likeable. Here are 13 of the best:
They Ask Questions
The biggest mistake people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost.
A simple way to avoid this is to ask a lot of questions. People like to know you’re listening, and something as simple as a clarification question shows that not only are you listening, you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking questions.
They Put Away Their Phones
Nothing will turn someone off to you like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all of your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.
They Are Genuine
Being genuine and honest is essential to being likeable. No one likes a fake. People gravitate toward those who are genuine because they know they can trust them. It is difficult to like someone when you don’t know who they really are and how they really feel.
Likeable people know who they are. They are confident enough to be comfortable in their own skin. By concentrating on what drives you and makes you happy as an individual, you become a much more interesting person than if you attempt to win people over by making choices that you think will make them like you.
If you want to be likeable you must be open-minded. Being open-minded makes you approachable and interesting to others. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen.
Having an open mind is crucial in the workplace where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require you believe what they believe or condone their behavior, it simply means you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what makes them tick. Only then can you let them be who they are.
They Don’t Seek Seek Attention
People are averse to those who are desperate for attention. You don’t need to develop a big, extroverted personality to be likeable. Simply being friendly and considerate is all you need to win people over. When you speak in a friendly, confident, and concise manner, you will notice that people are much more attentive and persuadable than if you try to show them you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what—or how many people—you know.
When you’re being given attention, such as when you’re being recognized for an accomplishment, shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help you get there. This may sound cliché, but if it’s genuine, the fact that you pay attention to others and appreciate their help will show that you’re appreciative and humble—two adjectives that are closely tied to likeability.
They Are Consistent
Few things make you more unlikeable than when you’re all over the place. When people approach you, they like to know whom they’re dealing with and what sort of response they can expect. To be consistent you must be reliable, and you must ensure that even when your mood goes up and down it doesn’t affect how you treat other people.
If you have ever been looking for a job I’m sure asked yourself: “What can I do to make my resume stand out and get an employer to seriously consider me for a job”? If you Googled the term “resume”, you know that there’s a dizzying array of information and advice out there about what works best in putting something together that presents you best. How do you make sense of it all? I’m going to make it easy for you – I have looked at well over 50,000 resumes and talk daily with Recruiters and HR Directors who are often the ones making the first pass at your resume. No matter your experience level or what kind of job you’re looking for, these are the most important “insider tips” you will need to know and do:
1.The “one-size fits all” approach won’t cut it in a marketplace of increasingly specialized needs. So plan on having several versions of your resume adjusted for the different jobs you are applying for. Include ways you can make an immediate contribution to the organization that reflects the homework you should be doing about the organization you’re applying to. Make sure that you – and at least one other person you trust – carefully review your resume and adjust it to contain the “key words” that recruiters will be searching for.
2.Don’t worry about an objective – employers will skip over this, or worse, will screen your resume out based on an objective that is not a perfect match for the job they are hiring for. Instead let your experience, skills and results-driven descriptions make the case for you.
3.“Space equals importance”, so put the most critical information first and spend more time and space talking about the skills, experiences, and results that are directly related to the job you are applying for.
4.Avoid all complicated fonts or design elements. To be considered an applicant, you will likely be uploading your resume to an applicant tracking system (ATS) on a company or third-party web site. These systems have a difficult time deciphering elaborate fonts or design elements and if your resume can’t be read easily, it won’t be read at all.
5.Quantify whenever possible. We live in a metrics driven work culture and it’s no longer enough to state that you increased sales or productivity, you need to back it up with quantifiable data whenever possible.
6.Check your resumes for errors of fact, typos, formatting woes or omissions. After you checked it and before you send it to an employer, let a trusted person in your network review it as well. One inaccuracy or misspelling could cost you a second look.
7.Omit any unnecessary, or potentially controversial, information, including sexual orientation, religious or political affiliations. It’s illegal for employers to ask for this information and irrelevant to whether you are a strong candidate for the job.
8.“Size matters” and no one has the time to spend a long time reviewing a resume. Keep the resume to one or two pages depending on your experience. If your resume is more than a page, be sure to include your name and email contact on subsequent pages and do your best early on to make sure the recruiter will want to read more!
This article was cowritten by Joseph Grenny, the New York Times bestselling author of Crucial Conversations and the cofounder of VitalSmarts.
Between the two of us, we’ve spent 50 years studying what makes people successful at work. A persistent finding in both of our research is that your ability to handle moments of conflict has a massive impact on your success.
How you handle conflict determines the amount of trust, respect and connection you have with your colleagues.
Conflict typically boils down to crucial conversations—moments when the stakes are high, emotions run strong and opinions differ. And you cannot master crucial conversations without a high degree of emotional intelligence (EQ).
With a mastery of conflict being so critical to your success, it’s no wonder that, among the million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested, more than 90% of top performers have high EQs.
So how can you use emotional intelligence to master crucial conversations? There are five common mistakes you must avoid, and five alternative strategies you can follow that will take you down the right path.
Mistake #1: Being Brutally Honest
You’ve suffered in silence long enough. Your colleague continues to park so close to your car that you have to enter through the passenger door. You’ve asked her before to stop. After a dozen more violations of your request, you decide you’ve suffered long enough. Clearly, she needs to know what you think of her intentional disrespect. So you let her have it. You get right in her face and tell her what an inconsiderate jerk she is.
How to beat this? Honesty without brutality. From a young age, we’re taught to believe that we have to choose between telling the truth and keeping a friend—that the only options are brutality or harmony. With emotional intelligence, you can speak the truth without burning a bridge.
Have you ever noticed how some conversations—even ones about very risky subjects—go very well? And others, even ones about trivial things, can degenerate into combat? The antidote to conflict is not diluting your message. It’s creating safety. Many people think the content of the conversation is what makes people defensive, so they assume it’s best to just go for it and be brutally honest. It isn’t. People don’t get defensive because of the content—they get defensive because of the intent they perceive behind it. It isn’t the truth that hurts—it’s the malice used to deliver the truth.
Mistake #2: Robotically Sharing Your Feelings
Some well-intentioned “communication” professionals suggest that when it’s time to speak up, the diplomatic way to do so is to start by sharing your feelings. For example, you tell your parking-impaired colleague, “I feel rage and disgust.” Somehow that’s supposed to help. It doesn’t. People don’t work this way. Robotically sharing your feeling only alienates, annoys and confuses them.
How to beat this? Start with the facts. Our brains often serve us poorly during crucial conversations. In order to maximize cognitive efficiency, our minds store feelings and conclusions, but not the facts that created them. That’s why, when you give your colleague negative feedback and he asks for an example, you often hem and haw. You truly can’t remember. So you repeat your feelings or conclusions, but offer few helpful facts. Gathering the facts beforehand is the homework required to master crucial conversations. Before opening your mouth, think through the basic information that helped you think or feel the way you do—and prepare to share it first.
Mistake #3: Defending Your Position
When someone takes an opposing view on a topic you care deeply about, the natural human response is “defense.” Our brains are hard-wired to assess for threats, but when we let feelings of being threatened hijack our behavior, things never end well. In a crucial conversation, getting defensive is a surefire path to failure.
How to beat this? Get curious. A great way to inoculate yourself against defensiveness is to develop a healthy doubt about your own certainty. Then, enter the conversation with intense curiosity about the other person’s world. Give yourself a detective’s task of discovering why a reasonable, rational and decent person would think the way he or she does. As former Secretary of State Dean Rusk said, “The best way to persuade others is with your ears, by listening.” When others feel deeply understood, they become far more open to hearing you.
Mistake #4: Blaming Others for Your Situation
Your boss tells you she’ll go to bat for you for a promotion. You hear later that in the HR review she advocated for your colleague instead. You feel betrayed and angry. Certainly, your boss is the one responsible for your pain—right? Truth is, she’s not the only one.
How to beat this? Challenge your perspective. When we feel threatened, we amplify our negative emotions by blaming other people for our problems. You cannot master conflict until you recognize the role you’ve played in creating your circumstances. Your boss may have passed you over, but she did so for a reason. Half your pain is the result of her betrayal; the other half is due to your disappointment over not performing well enough to win the promotion.
Mistake #5: Worrying About the Risks of Speaking Up
It’s easy for crucial conversations to fill you with dread. Under the influence of such stress, your negative self-talk takes over and you obsess over all the bad things that might happen if you speak up. You conjure images of conflict, retribution, isolation and pain until you retreat into silence.
How to beat this? Consider the risks of not speaking up. The fastest way to motivate yourself to step up to difficult conversations is to simply articulate the costs of not speaking up. VitalSmarts‘ research shows that those who consistently speak up aren’t necessarily more courageous; they’re simply more accurate. First, they scrupulously review what is likely to happen if they fail to speak up. Second, they ponder what might happen if they speak up and things go well. And finally (the order is important) they consider what may happen if the conversation goes poorly. Once they have an accurate understanding of the possibilities, saying something is their typical choice.
Bringing It All Together
The only way to win an argument is to never have one in the first place. Successful people know this. They don’t avoid conflict because they know they can do something productive with it before things get out of hand. Apply these strategies the next time you’re facing a challenging situation and you’ll be amazed by the results.
I recently came across a fantastic article by the sales consultant and trainer Colleen Francis about common presentation mistakes that salespeople make in front of customers. As I read it, I realized that much of her advice applied to ALL presentations.
In particular, she identified in the article a set of very common bad habits that can turn even the best presentations into total disasters. Here’s my take:
1. Starting with an apology.
The bad habit: You’re late, your equipment malfunctions, you don’t have your materials, or whatever. You apologize in advance for how this might affect your presentation.
Why it’s a mistake: An apology sets a negative tone that may affect the entire meeting and makes you seem like a victim. Nobody wants to do business with a victim.
What to do instead: Start on an upbeat note, as if nothing is wrong. This communicates that you’re cool under pressure–the opposite of being a victim.
2. Asking for extra time.
The bad habit: You feel you don’t have sufficient time to communicate your important information, so you request extra time to communicate it.
Why it’s a mistake: If there’s less time because you’re late, you’re adding injury to insult. If it’s because your presentation is too long, well, your presentation is too long.
What to do instead: Adapt your presentation down so that it fits the allotted time. If you’re late, end your presentation when it’s scheduled to end.
3. Shooting slide barrages.
The bad habit: “I have 15 minutes left, and I’m through only 20 of my 58 PowerPoint slides, so I’m going to be going through this last bit a little fast.”
Why it’s a mistake: This usually happens when initial slides spark discussion so you lay a “guilt trip” on your audience members to keep them quiet while you finish up.
What to do instead: Adapt the remainder of your presentation so that it addresses what was discussed, because that’s clearly what’s important to your audience.
4. Making personal excuses.
The bad habit: You downgrade the audience’s expectations by offering an excuse in advance for your poor performance. (E.g., “I’m so tired”; “I got in late last night.”)
Why it’s a mistake: You’re giving yourself an excuse so you won’t feel so bad if you fail. Plus, nobody wants to hear you whine about your problems.
What to do instead: Regardless of how you’re feeling, show enthusiasm for being there and make your best effort.
5. Reading from your slides.
The bad habit: Your slides reflect your thinking on a subject, so you read your slides aloud to the audience in order to replicate your thought process.
Why it’s a mistake: Presumably everyone in your audience can read, so you’re not just being boring, you’re insulting them.
What to do instead: Use slides as visual signposts for the points you’re making rather than a written version or summary of those points.
6. Turning your back.
The bad habit: You keep turning around to read from your slides or staring down to read from your notes.
Why it’s a mistake: You’re compounding the mistake of reading by being rude and unprofessional.
What to do instead: Face your audience members and look at them while you’re presenting. If necessary, take a quick glance, but keep your focus on where it belongs: them.
7. Talking too fast.
The bad habit: You’ve got a lot of material to cover, so you talk fast to get through all of it.
Why it’s a mistake: If you need to talk fast, your presentation is too long. Plus, fast talk makes you sound either nervous or like a stereotypical “fast talkin'” salesperson.
What to do instead: Cut your presentation down so fast talk isn’t necessary. If you’re talking fast because you’re nervous, write “SLOW DOWN!” on each page of your notes.
The bad habit: You keep fiddling with your papers, fingering your jewelry, scratching yourself, etc.
Why it’s a mistake: Anything that distracts your audience from your message is making that message less effective.
What to do instead: As you rehearse your presentation, rehearse how you’ll stand and where you’ll put your hands. Rehearse enough, and your tics will disappear.
More on giving better presentations:
•8 Ways Neuroscience Can Improve Your Presentations
•5 Essential Rules for Great Presentations
•7 Simple Secrets of the Best Presentations
I have watched more salespeople and companies pitch their ideas over the years than I care to count. And during thousands of interviews with consumers about how they use different products and services and respond to marketing messages, I have honed the craft of ferreting out telltale signs of lies and omissions.
From that experience, I am going to let you in on a little secret about a word you should stop using immediately.
It is “actually.”
For the experienced listener, “actually” is a dead giveaway of an area that at the least needs to be further investigated, and may point at a deception.
Let me explain. When you use the word “actually” properly, you are comparing two thoughts and providing clarification.
Question: “Did you go to the store for milk?”
Answer: “Actually, I stopped at a gas station.”
In this example, it is easy to see RRwhy someone might use the word. The original question suggested that you went to the store, but you might not think that a gas station is really a store. In your mind, you are comparing and justifying the decision to stop at a gas station rather than a grocery store.
Back to the business setting: Extra words used in a sales presentation or investor pitch are unnecessary. They subconsciously point listeners to question if there’s more unspoken information. The word “actually” serves as a spoken pause, giving the presenter’s brain time to catch up and decide how to resolve the conflict in his or her mind between the question asked and reality.
A common example of how this plays out in a sales presentation or investor pitch:
Question: “How many customers are using the platform?”
Answer: “We actually have over 100 companies.”
The word “actually” isn’t important to the answer. It’s extra information that makes the listener curious as to why the word was added. An astute investor or customer will follow up with a request to see a customer list or to get a customer referral.
In a customer interview, the customer may use the word as a way to please the person asking the question:
Question: “Do you use this product?”
Answer: “Actually, I have.”
To the experienced listener, this answer actually (get it?) means, “No, I have never used it” or “I used it once and it didn’t do what I expected or needed.” An appropriate follow-up is to ask for a specific example or time that the function was used.
Perfecting your pitch requires attention to what you say and removing anything that distracts them from your primary message. As a listener, keying in on the word “actually” can clue you in to the subconscious and give you a competitive edge.