Easy, Simple and Free Image Resizing Tool

Every now and then you may need to re-size an image. You may need to change the dimensions to fit a specific area of your blog or maybe the file size is too large. Either way, you need to edit an image to fit your needs. Recently I came across Image Optimized which is a free service that gives you the ability to re-size, compress and optimize your image files.

Check it out and let me know what you think.

Email Me Maybe

Today I received my first email from a company that I signed up to receive emails from more than two years ago. What??

Not only was it their first communication to me after two years but they were asking me to help them – really? They asked me to vote for them in a contest that would help them win a grant for their small business. I’m all about helping but I’d at least like to cast my vote and help out someone that I know something about or have kind of relationship with.

If someone gives you their email address they are raising their hand and saying, to some extent, they like you and would like to hear from you. Even though they just met you, they’ve given you something personal – their email address. It’s up to you to take that and begin to cultivate the relationship, engage with them – talk to them.

Reach our to your new subscribers with a simple welcome message campaign immediately after they opt-in. I have found success with welcome campaigns that contain three separate emails that are sent out over a seven week period. Here’s an idea of the some the content I’ve used in each of the emails.

Image courtesy of webseoanalytics.com

First email sent immediately upon opting in: Thank you for signing up and we are glad you have joined, stating our privacy policy to instill trust in our subscribers and then outlining how often to expect emails from us so that they know we won’t take advantage of the email.

Second email: Sharing the story of our organization to connect with people on emotional level and emphasizing the experience they had or will have when they interact with our brand.

Third email: Inviting our subscribers to connect with us through our social media connection points and then providing them with a coupon to shop with us.

Don’t miss the opportunity to make a great first impression with your first email.

What’s your standard practice when someone subscribes to your email list?


Is Social Media the Center of Your Online Presence?

The Internet freaked out today as Twitter experienced multiple outages throughout the day. Mashable reported that it was Twitter’s biggest outage in the last 18 months. People were frantic because of the outage. No one knows how many scheduled tweets never made it, how many retweets were missed or the number of customers who didn’t get a reply to their questions tweeted to a company.

Image courtesy of TechCrunch

The lesson to be learned from today’s outage is that no one can afford to put all or even most of their eggs in one basket. If you are totally relying on an embassy (a place you don’t own, but where you have a registered profile) as Michael Hyatt defines it, you put yourself at significant risk.

Having a home base whether its a traditional website or blog is a must have for anyone doing business. This is your home online, its the place you own and control. You don’t rely on a third party, you own your customer information and if a social media network goes down or disappears you aren’t left out in the cold without a connection to your customers.

Did Twitter impact you or your business in a major way today?

Insurance Agent – Good Example of Relevant Content Marketing

Last week tornadoes rumbled through northern Alabama and for those who lived in the area this time last year, the memory of destruction and loss is still all too fresh. During April of 2011 hundreds of lives were lost and millions of dollars in damage occurred in just a couple of days. So, when the threat of storms show up on the local news emotions are on edge and anxiety runs high.

When our family moved to the area last year I was considering switching insurance providers and connected with a local Allstate insurance agent, Blake Wright.  In the end I chose not to make the switch but have kept in touch with Blake through his Facebook page and his email newsletter. He continually shares great content that educates and helps me. Last Friday as tornado warnings covered Northern Alabama Blake sent out a timely and relevant email to help prepare for the potential storms.

His email was brief and began with a call to find a safe and secure place in your home. He then presented ten action items in the event that your house or property was impacted by the storms. His closing was another call to be prepared along with his contact information. Blake is doing a great job of providing content I can use (even though I’m not his customer) and if I ever decide to make a switch with my insurance provider you can be sure Blake will be at the top of the list.

Here a few takeaways when it comes to content marketing, especially when done through email or social media:

  1. Consider the events and timing related to the release of your content. In the example above tornadoes were headed to town so the content needed to be brief and to the point. People who were worried their house may be flattened were not going to take time to read an e-book on tornado preparation.
  2. Always be relevant. Word count and page length don’t necessarily equal huge value – think Seth Godin’s daily blog, a load of wisdom shared in a few sentences.
  3. Keep planting seeds. As you continue to provide valuable content you will keep the attention of your prospects, stay on their mind and when they need what you have you will be first on their list.

How are you connecting with your prospect through content marketing?


This Week on the Rainey Radar

Radar ImageHere’s my weekly round-up of people, places and resources that inspired and energized me. In one way or another they each relate to integrated marketing, customer experience or leadership.

John Wall and Christopher Penn are the hosts of the Marketing Over Coffee podcast. Each podcast features their commentary on current trends and happenings within marketing, business, social media and more. They also interview some today’s leading voices.

Michael Hyatt launched his This is Your Life podcast this week. In the first episode he outlines the ten steps he’s developed in creating his highly trafficked and subscribed to blog. It’s an excellent primer for those new to blogging and a great reminder of some of the basics that need to happen with every blog post.

Great leaders are always learning – as the saying goes, “leaders are readers”. Today leaders aren’t just readers but they are listeners and watchers as well – continually soaking up great information to help them become even better at leading. Chris LoCurto has some great teaching on his blog and the Entreleadership podcast. Chris is a Vice President with Dave Ramsey’s company and provides some great insight and encouragement. He even retweeted a tweet of mine earlier this week!

Enjoy – let me know what you found that inspired you this week.

Setting Goals Are Really Cool (quote from my 8 year old)

I’m sure you have heard this quote multiple times throughout your life – “from the mouths of babes”. Earlier tonight I was talking with my 8 year old, Judah. He was discussing with me his goals that he filled out in Seth Godin’s Pick Four book (I purchased a copy for each of my kids). As we were talking he said, “I bet a lot of people’s lives have been changed because of this book – because they set goals.” He said, “It’s very cool to set goals and then if you achieve your goals your life will be a lot better.”

I couldn’t have said it better!


Reflections on Life, Death and Time from Godin and Brogan

Seth Godin and Chris Brogan have great posts this morning that not only give perspective on Steve Jobs but give perspective on life, death and the here and now. Take some time to read each of them and then take time to reflect.

Seth’s Blog: A eulogy of action.

Chris Brogan: The Time Were Losing

15 Point Checklist for Ads – Part 2

8. Did you draft your entire ad to fulfill your own ad objective?

9. Is your objective a direct sale?

10. Is your guarantee visible?

11. Is your phone number apparent from 3 feet away?

12. Is your logo small enough?

13. If it’s a direct-selling ad, do you have a dashed box or some call-out around your order coupon?

14. Does your ad show immediate benefits to the reader?

15. Do you have room, can you show several benefits in a bulleted list?

What would you add to this list?

I'm the Star of HP's Latest Banner Ad!

As I was looking at who was looking at my profile on LinkedIn, Doubleclick was “looking” at me and serving up a very personalized ad. The ad was about me and my network of trusted professionals. It even included my LinkedIn profile picture rising off of their latest printer.

Chris Rainey stars in latest HP Banner Ad

Chris Rainey stars in latest HP Banner Ad

Personalized targeting and re-targeting are continuing to gain ground. More companies are targeting consumers based on their online behavior. 24% of online marketers used behavioral targeting in 2009, up 50% from a year earlier, according to a Forrester Research Inc. poll.

I recently purchased a Droid X and I’m beginning to see some personalized targeting efforts within some of the games and apps I’ve downloaded.

So, will this cause banner ads to increase in their importance for marketing folk? Will the end consumer/target find them “creepy”? Will the be perceived as a violation of privacy?

Bump in the Blog Road

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on putting together a new theme for my blog. I gave Thesis a run along with some other architectures and themes. Earlier today I decided to transfer everything back to WordPress – hosting, storing my content, etc…-unfortunately it all didn’t work out as smoothly as I had hoped.

I think most of my posts are here but if not, well….

So – back on track and pushing forward