Archive | April, 2011

4 Tips for Writing a Proper Email

29 Apr

We’ve all experienced the feeling of dread upon opening an email and discovering a huge brick of text.

Don't be the source of this!

Here are 4 tips to make sure your emails aren’t met with dismay:

1.  Use an Appropriate Subject Line

Your subject line should be an ultra-short summary of the content of your email.  Add signposts like URGENT, RESPONSE REQUIRED, FYI, etc. when applicable.  Never use signposts like “URGENT” unless the email actually warrants such a headline.  Doing so makes you seem overly dramatic, and may cause people to skip reading your emails altogether.

2. Be Concise

Always begin your email with a summary paragraph no longer than 2-3 sentences.  No matter how complex the subject is, you should always be able to summarize. Like Albert Einstein said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

…And he was talking about theoretical physics.

3.  Use Bullet Points

Bullet points are a double-whammy of good practice for composing emails:  First, using bullet points will force you to organize your thoughts, ensuring your emails are word-vomit free.  Second, bullet points are easily “scannable.”  Recipients will understand your message with significantly reduced time and effort.

4.  Leave White Space   

Reading text on a screen is more difficult for human eyes than reading on paper, and consequently your readers will appreciate white space left between paragraphs.

Which email would you rather read?

Who Is My Target Audience?

22 Apr

We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” The problem is that spending money doesn’t always equate to making money.  Sometimes despite valiant efforts, promotions fall short and fail to garner the response you expected.

So how can you avoid wasting money on ineffective marketing?  Know your target audience!  If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, your chances of finding, interesting, and motivating specific responses from anyone are slim.

So how do you find your target audience?

Look at Your Current Customer Base

The easiest and most straightforward method of learning about your target market is to learn about your current customers.  Invest some time in recording and analyzing information about them.

  • Do they all live in the same or similar geographic areas?
  • How old are they?
  • Are the majority of your customers male or female?
  • Which customers buy the most?

Do your best to approach this research objectively. Avoid guessing whenever possible, even if you think you already know the answer to a question. You might be surprised by what you find.

Use Government Data

You probably remember the national census that took place last year, but did you know that all the results are publicly available?  As with anything that comes out of the government, the website isn’t the easiest to navigate – but the data available is so good it’s more than worth it.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you sort through the incredible amount of data available.   Click here to see a list of tools, tutorials, and information on how to get the data you need.

Read Blogs

“The blogosphere” is a wonderful thing.  Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered that blogs are excellent for learning new skills, gathering information, and problem solving.  If it exists, someone has written a blog about it.

Follow blogs about your industry, and pay close attention to the comments– sometimes comments are more insightful than the blog posts they are responding to.

Read Trade Publications

If you don’t subscribe to any trade publications, you’re missing out.  These articles may hold useful information designed to benefit businesses just like yours.  The comments may offer a chance for you to connect with other people in your industry and form mutually beneficial relationships.

If you’re not sure what publications are relevant to you, or simply want to get some secondary research, Google Scholar is a great place to start looking.  It’s like a regular Google search, but only returns scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Use Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to quickly and cheaply conduct informal market research.  Simply ask your followers whatever questions you want to know the answers to.  As long as you’ve spent the time developing rapport with them, chances are they’ll be happy to help you out.

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And We’re Back!

18 Apr

As you may have noticed, our blog has been on hiatus over the past few months.

Mediascope, Inc's new Canon C6010 Digital Press

Our New Press!

We’ve been hard at work! Since we last posted, Mediascope has made some huge additions to our services and abilities:

  • We’ve installed a brand new Canon ImagePress C6010 digital printing press, giving Mediascope the ability to handle short runs of premium quality color prints.  The digital press is integrated with leading-edge production software, and handles complex variable data printing with ease.
  • We’ve also made additions to our staff, hiring a full-time professional graphic design team.  These hires ensure that your next piece stands out from the rest.  Design samples are coming to the blog soon, and are available upon request now.
  • Mediascope has recently placed a sales rep in Texas!  This helps Mediascope to better serve our interstate customers, and we look forward to continued partnerships in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

These are just a few of the improvements we’ve made recently, and now we’re back to blogging!  Come back every Friday for insights and tips on running a business in the modern era.