Yahoo Small Business launches improved Localworks for small businesses

By Dilip Deshpande
Yahoo Small Business, Product Manager

We’ve updated our Localworks
product that allows businesses to build and control their local online
digital presence. Localworks is not just a paid business listing service
– it also comes with pack of features to help you gain a competitive
edge in the current market.

With
three different plans, users can choose the package that fits their
business needs. Updating listings information in the Yahoo Local website
directory has never been this easy. With Localworks Starter packages
that include Yahoo Local and six other essential directory listing
sites, your business information will be updated in real-time. As
a business owner, you will have full control of your business
information, and you will be able to upload enhanced listing content
such as a photo gallery, videos, calendar of special events, and
promotions. You will also get access to our “Digital Assistant”, a text
bot that will assist you in updating your hours of operation, adding
photos, and many other items using your mobile phone. The starter
package also offers robust analytics to track your business performance,
all at a very affordable cost.

With nearly 60% of searches
happening on mobile devices, millions of users are looking for business
addresses and phone numbers, hours of operation, driving directions,
menus, photo galleries, and reviews before they make a visit to the
physical location of a business. As a business, if your listing
information does not include this enhanced content, or if you are not
monitoring your business reputation, you might be losing customers.

For
businesses that want to control their business information across most
of the local directories on the Internet and closely monitor user
reviews, understand user sentiment and how they compete in local search,
Localworks by Yahoo Small Business is a comprehensive solution.

With our higher end packages, in a single dashboard, businesses can

  • Publish business listings in 60+ directories (Including maps, GPS, social media sites)
  • Eliminate duplicate business records appearing in the Local Search ecosystem
  • Connect to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter
  • Monitor and reply to user reviews from all major review sources
  • Compare with 5 other competitors (local or national)
  • Generate reviews through our website widgets
  • Understand customer reviews with Sentiment Analysis
  • Receive In-depth analytics

Yahoo Small Business also offers a free business listing scan tool,
where businesses can easily find out how their information is listed
across 60+ directories and clearly identify errors in location data
across local listing networks before signing up for a premium Localworks service.

About Yahoo Small Business
For
the past 20 years, Yahoo Small Business has helped millions of
businesses get online and grow their presence on the Internet. Whether
you hope to start a side business or are currently running a
multi-million dollar venture, you can trust Yahoo’s proven online
business experience, powerful yet easy-to-use solutions, and broad
community support to help your business succeed online. Learn more at: https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com

7 tips for using email to grow your side hustle

Are you ready to take your side hustle to the next level? Email marketing is a powerful and affordable way to expand your customer base, keep customers coming back and grow your side hustle into a full-fledged business. Liberate yourself from the 9-to-5 doldrums and take one step closer to achieving your dreams with these tips for growing your side hustle with email marketing.

1. Create an attractive subscribe incentive

There’s a lot of spam out there, and the last thing anyone wants is to endure another inbox full of stuff they don’t want. That’s why the best way to encourage subscribers is to give them something they do want by creating an attractive opt-in incentive.

Ideas include:

  • How-to eBooks and whitepapers
  • Instant discount coupons or coupon codes
  • Cheat sheets
  • Case studies
  • Online course access
  • Freebies

Think about what drives your audience. What will they find so useful and valuable that they can’t resist subscribing to your email list? Create that, and they’ll be more than happy to opt in.

Of course, you’ll need to make sure your incentive is gated so it can’t be accessed by non-subscribers. An easy way to do that is with email automation that automatically sends the attachment or download link to every new subscriber.

opt-in incentive

2. Create a value statement

We’ve already covered the opt-in incentive, but you also need to deliver a value statement that creates desire. What benefits will your subscribers receive beyond your initial incentive?

For example, you might promise:

  • Useful, free tips delivered to their inboxes daily
  • Early access to special VIP discounts and sales
  • Unique resources no one else gets
  • Engagement with a community of like-minded, passionate people who help one another

It’s also a good idea (and legally sound) to mention that you do not spam and they can unsubscribe at any time — a strategy that lessens the risk of subscribing.

Consider giving your email list a name that implies the benefits of subscribing. For example, “Christie’s Creative Cooking Tips” is more attractive than “Christie’s Email List.”

3. Promote your list like crazy

Once you’ve laid the foundation for your email marketing — that is to say, the reasons people should subscribe and stay subscribed — you should promote it everywhere. After all, no one will subscribe if they don’t know about it!

You can promote your email newsletter via:

  • Your website (sign-up forms are perfect and easy to implement)
  • Social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • Your YouTube channel
  • Mobile marketing
  • Print marketing (business cards, brochures, etc.)
  • Word of mouth

Be sure to mention the initial incentive they’ll receive, plus the ongoing benefits of subscribing to motivate the best subscribe rate. Want more ideas? Check out these 40 easy ways to build your email list.

email sign-up form

4. Deliver valuable content

You’ve identified the reasons why people should subscribe; now, you need to follow through by delivering on your promises. When you develop valuable content, you can truly engage your audience, foster long-term customer loyalty and influence sales that help grow your side hustle into a full-time business.

Again, think about your customers. What problems do they have? How can you make their lives easier and better? Now, how can you leverage email marketing to do that?

Email content ideas include:

  • How-to tips and advice
  • Solving problems and answering common questions
  • Introducing new and useful resources
  • Delivering news your customers are interested in
  • Product comparisons
  • Customer spotlights and case studies
  • Freebies

As you create your content, strive to make it personal. Find a way to relate to your customers and create a sense of solidarity. Tell your story, speak to your audience and be a part of their shared community. Once you’ve developed compelling content that resonates with your customers, you can then promote offers and products that fuel profits:

  • Exclusive discount offers
  • Product showcases and catalogs
  • Buy-one-get-one deals
  • Early bird pricing

Email marketing isn’t just about marketing. Your emails shouldn’t be purely promotional. First, establish value. Then, you can leverage the trust you’ve built into happy customers who are thrilled to make their next purchase.

email content ideas

5. Motivate opens with strong subject lines

People receive 80 to 120 emails per day, so it’s easy to gloss over even the most valuable content if it doesn’t stand out in a sea of spam. That’s why you need compelling subject lines so your emails stand out and get opened.

Strong subject line ideas include:

  • Pop culture references
  • Hashtags
  • Descriptive headlines
  • Humor
  • Benefit statements

It’s a good idea to A/B test your email subject lines, which means trying two different subject lines on a limited number of subscribers to see which performs best, then using the winning subject line for the rest of your list.

email subject line a/b test

6. Send regularly

It’s no secret that repetition is crucial to marketing success. That’s why you need to email your list regularly to remain relevant and to increase the chances of getting in front of customers when they’re ready to buy.

Some marketers email daily; others, twice each week. Some only email weekly. Of course, you want to avoid being viewed as spam, so a good rule of thumb is to email as often as you have something valuable to share.

That doesn’t mean waiting months between emails. Create an email marketing calendar and stick to it. If you’re struggling to come up with compelling content on a regular basis, check out these 50 unique ideas for your next email.

7. Track your results

The more you know about how your emails perform, the easier it will be to create future emails that yield predictably positive results. At minimum, you should track open rates and clicks for every email you send. It’s also a good idea to cross-reference those email KPIs with website visits, incentive downloads, new leads and, of course, sales.

You can take advantage of advanced email reports to gain even deeper insights into your subscribers’ behavior, including:

  • Which devices, email clients and browsers your subscribers use
  • Geographic data – where your subscribers live
  • Heat maps – where clicks occur in your emails
  • Comparisons such as subject line word count vs. open rate and click rates by date and time

These are powerful insights that will help you replicate your best emails time and again.

advanced email reporting

Armed with these tips, you can create a large list of subscribers who are eager to read your next email and click through to take advantage of your next offer. Get the most out of your email marketing by crafting emails that are attractive, deliverable and comply with CAN-SPAM rules — and your side hustle will be booming in no time.

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© 2019, Brian Morris. All rights reserved.

Email Verification and List Hygiene: Why is it so Important?

Email is a remarkably powerful platform that enables one-on-one communication with the subscribers. It is undergoing constant transformation and the modus operandi that worked a year ago might not be effective today. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) strive to keep out unsolicited emails and spam and have set up alerts on which marketing emails should be delivered to the subscribers. On the other hand, marketers have to be doubly sure that their emails do not land in the spam folder. Hence, marketers have  to maintain a clean email list to ensure there is no deliverability issue. If you want your email campaigns to be effective and bring you greater ROI, you must verify your email addresses and establish a good email hygiene.

First of all, let’s understand what email verification is.

Email Verification

It is the process by which you make sure the emails on your list are connected to a user’s inbox. This implies that your messages have a valid destination to reach.

Why is Email Verification and List Hygiene so Crucial?

Having a poor-quality email list can hamper your email reputation. Unless the subscribers receive your email in their inbox, your email strategy will be futile. A bad reputation can deter your engagement with subscribers and affect the conversion rate as well.

As the size of your email list grows, it considerably increases the cost of email marketing. Removal of inactive or invalid email addresses and maintaining email list hygiene can help you cut down on the marketing expenses. Obviously, it makes no sense to pay for emails that are not getting delivered.

What do you mean by a clean email list?

A clean email list refers to a list that has only valid email addresses and subscribers who have engaged with one of your emails within the last six months.

How can a dirty list affect your reputation?

ISPs keep a close eye on email senders who use spam traps to reach the subscribers. These spam traps are, in fact, email addresses owned by ISPs and the blacklist providers in order to check that the email marketers are abiding by the best practices.

Numerous spam traps exist on the Internet like Pristine, Typo Domain Traps, and Recycled to name a few.

  1. Pristine spam traps include email addresses that did not opt for receiving any email communications. Most likely, the sender acquired the email addresses from a third party or other questionable methods.
  2. Typo domain traps are email accounts that match the conventional domain names with a minor difference. Gmail becomes gnail, Hotmail becomes hotnail or hotmale. Although this seems quite amusing at first look, it can be a huge setback for your email reputation.
  3. Recycled spam traps consist of email addresses that were used by an individual in the past, but not used any more. If you are unable to access your email address from your teen life, it is quite likely that it has become a spam trap.

It is important to note that ISPs are continuously monitoring whether the email deserves to land in the subscriber’s inbox. Sending emails that do not get opened indicates that people are not interested in receiving them, as a result of which your emails might get land in the spam folder. Consequently, your email bounce rate will increase and your delivery rate will fall drastically.

Do you know ISPs, spam monitors, and email security services have set thresholds for undelivered messages, unsubscribes, and spam complaints?

In case you cross this number by sending emails to stale lists, your account might get suspended. You could be basking in the glory of sending emails to hundreds of subscribers, but if the email addresses are invalid, it will not only burn a hole in your pocket but also will not lead anywhere. This, ultimately, hinders your email marketing performance as a whole.

How to Maintain a Clean Email List?

  1. The most obvious tactic to maintaining a healthy email list is implementing email validation during the sign up. Sometimes, subscribers make a mistake in providing their email address. You can prompt them regarding the error in the sign up form.
  2. With the implementation of anti-spam laws like GDPR, it has become all the more important that you have explicit permission to send marketing emails. We strongly recommend you ask the users whether they want to receive marketing communications. Additionally, you can send a verification email and ask the subscribers to confirm their email address by clicking on the email link.
  3. If you have users who have not opened an email in the past six months, send a re-engagement email series as a part of the ‘email marketing ritual’. However, if they still do not respond or engage with you, bid a goodbye by removing the email address from your list. This process is known as sunsetting the disengaged users. While this can be quite difficult for marketers, it is in their best interest.
  4. Use different tools like BriteVerify, DataValidation, eHygienics, FreshAddress, Impressionwise, LeadSpend, StrikeIron, etc. that will mitigate the risk of getting blocked by the ISPs or ESPs. It is worth using these list hygiene services to ensure a good email deliverability rate.

Wrapping Up

The biggest temptation for any email marketing professional is a H U G E email list. However, please understand that quality matters more than quantity. Keep your email list free from invalid addresses and validate the subscribers at regular intervals – That’s the key to a healthy email list and a successful email marketing strategy.

Why We Bought Herman Miller Aeron Chairs For All Our Employees

We spent one-third of our lives at work. Some of us spend more time in an office chair than a bed.

So today’s topic? Chairs.

They are one of the most overlooked, undervalued elements of a workplace.

Take our startup company for an example. Our first office chairs were a Black Friday deal from Office Max (retail: $119). These chairs were purchased out of necessity (we needed seats for 4 employees), timeliness (Black Friday), and budget (#startuplife).

Our second chairs were the highest rated, most economically priced chairs on Amazon (retail: $85). These task chairs were selected out of necessity (we needed seats for 17 employees), because they were aesthetically pleasing to match our office vibe (all white), and budget (#startuplife).

While these chairs met our aesthetic expectations, they fell well short of fulfilling basic human ergonomic needs.

Which leads us to our recent decision to purchase Herman Miller Aeron chairs (Retail: $1,495) for all of our employees (currently a team of 9).

The reasoning is pretty simple and straightforward. We invest thousands of dollars in top-of-the-line computer equipment. Why not invest thousands of dollars in a piece of furniture that has severe implications on personal health and wellness?

herman miller office chairs

To be clear: there’s a lot of subsequent questions I’ve had to ask myself since this purchase.

1. Purchasing these chairs is our largest one-time expense we’ve had in our business. By no means is buying a $1,500 chair an easy decision. Was it the right one?

2. I’ve conducted hundreds of job interviews. I’ve never been asked what kind of chair we sit in. Will any candidate ever ask that question? (I believe candidates should!)

3. What’s next?

It’s the last question of “what’s next” that induces some feelings of buyer’s remorse. Wellness doesn’t stop with chairs. Sitting on clouds isn’t the end solution. The remorse stems from how much more work we have to do to make our workplace an acceptable setting for health.

Standing desks. Walking meetings. Minimizing sedentary nature. The list goes on beyond chairs.

Chairs are an important workplace element. That’s why we invested in them. But the real reason we made the investment was to commit to creating a healthy workplace.

That’s worth the investment in itself.

Other notes, and FAQs about the journey.

We selected the Herman Miller Aeron chair for a few reasons, without any research into other chairs on the market. Those reasons included:

1. The Aeron chair holds it’s value very well. Check out OfferUp. If we ever decided to go in a different direction, we could recoup a chunk of our investment by reselling them.

2. The Aeron chair is universally known. I’ve never sat in one (none of our employees have…they arrive tomorrow), but yet, the Herman Miller and the Aeron brands are so strong that the majority of us know about the existence of both. It’s America’s best selling chair for a reason.

3. The Aeron is featured in the Museum of Modern Art permanent collection recognize it’s design. That says something. Most office chairs are not on display for their contribution to society.

Office chairs say a lot about a company culture.

More so than I realized. Here’s what I found when I asked several friends and colleagues about the chair they sit in at work…

1. One family member said the chair he sits in at work has a ripped hole in it. Ironically, his company is one of the cheapest, stingiest companies I know of (based on what I’ve heard from my family member). That ripped chair is very symbolic.

2. Some people I spoke to fell in the category of “we went to Office Max, sat in chairs, found a deal, and purchased a few. I have no idea what kind of chair they are.” I find that these company cultures are conscious of budget and value comfort – but don’t obsessively prioritize ergonomics. That’s fine, and that’s the majority of companies out there.

3. Everyone knows someone with a nice chair. When I would ask people what chair they would sit in, they would inevitably bring up someone with nice chairs. “Oh, the architects have sweet chairs.” I find that most of the time, the companies have sweet chairs also have sweet company cultures. At least in the examples presented to me.

A few resources that helped rationalize the investment.

1. The book, “The Office: a facility based on change” – written in 1968 by Robert Propst. The book discusses issues in the workplace in detail. The key realization: the workplace has a short history. It’s up to us to write the next chapter in what the workplace looks like.

2. The article, “Killer Chairs: How Desk Jobs Ruin Your Health” published by the Scientific Journal in 2014. This article helps you realize that there is so much more to workplace wellness than chairs.

3. Goodmans. They’re who we purchased our chairs from. They’re a wealth of knowledge, and have an excellent staff.

The Herman Miller Aeron chairs arrive tomorrow. We still have not sat in one. We shall see how this plays out.