Effective Messaging
No. 94
January, 2014

Wishing you a healthy 2014 full of the perfect mix of work and play, friends and family, challenge and relaxation.

My year ended with a bang. More about that in the first article, where I also share my 2014 offer of free consulting.

The second article provides a vivid example of bad writing--and how costly it can be. You'll find some interesting links there as well.

Last month I asked readers to check out my articles in Berkshire Magazine and use social media to share their positive comments. I didn't get a big response, but what I received was not only appreciated by me, but also noted by the editor. Many thanks.

I'm on Facebook and Twitter. Follow me.

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In This Issue
Three Biggies - How I ended the year
Outlandish - Bad writing has a price
Web Tips - How to say it
Three Biggies
The year ended with three big accomplishments.

Six New Customers

I met my 2013 quota of new customers for Constant Contact. Thanks to all who signed up. They include:
  • A membership organization in New Mexico and a not-for-profit in Massachusetts for distributing their newsletters   

  • One coach and two consultants who will be using the system on a regular basis to stay in touch with their prospects and customers (See one profile here)  

  • Ecosystem educators who will use Social Campaigns
    to promote their work.
By the end of June, I need another six new customers or existing customers who buy a new Constant Contact service.

Here's the 2014 offer: The first six who qualify will get an hour's free consulting. That's after the set up for which, of course, there's no charge. And, if someone needs additional assistance, I'm discounting the rest of the consulting to make sure they get their first mailing out successfully. Though not quite the great deal of last year, it's still enticing. But don't dawdle. I have several carry overs from last year, and I expect to be done well before summer.

An Ipad Air

It's been years since I had the latest and greatest technology. I'm having a lot of fun with my new tablet, but it's sort of like having a second child. I need to care for both appliances and am challenged to figure out which one is best for the task at hand.

I realized in a nanosecond that everything needs to be on my phone, iPad and computer. This is an interesting challenge since my computer, a PC, is quite the senior citizen. This situation sent me to Evernote, which, so far, is working pretty well. More about that in a future issue.

EventSpot Success

We had a big family birthday party last weekend, and I used Constant Contact's email invitation system to gather a crowd. It was hugely successful--both the campaign and the party. Most gratifying was that the family loved the invite design. Being of an artistic bent, they have high standards.  

Several of the guests commented on how easy it was to respond. And they appreciated the reminder I sent a few days before the big birthday bash. The guest of honor has a nice list of all the invitees, and I honed my skills with the product. If you do a lot of events, you might want to speak with me. You can cash in on the free hour's consulting and get help while my new knowledge is still fresh.
A long, long time ago when I was a textbook editor, my colleagues and I kept a file marked "Outlandish." It contained examples of truly awful writing.

Flash forward to last week. I got an emergency call from a friend in New York City who owns a small business. (I don't get a lot of emergency calls!) He is changing his professional focus and hired a PR firm to broadcast his consulting offerings.

He sent me the article they drafted for him. And I remembered the "Outlandish" file. Here's one example of why:

"Adding the price of an independent flooring consultant to a development project isn't something that would be in anyone's first-round list of team members, but the reality is that it is a crucial component to a residential building." 

I swear to you, I didn't make this up.

So What?

The author is a professional writer and this writing got her fired, but you don't care about that. What you should care about is how your writing reflects on you as a professional business person. In today's world, typos and careless writing are more the rule than the exception. I find mistakes in much of what I read. OK, so I'm a trained proofreader. But really, this stuff does matter.  

I'm not the only one who thinks so. Checkout "Top 10 Grammatical and Spelling Errors of 2013," The Essay Expert's year-end blog.

You'll note her #1 is the number of spaces between sentences. This may seem a trivial matter, but I have writer friends who have spent hours trying to get rid of one little tap on the space bar. You can read more about that topic from Ragan.com here. Now you have a new 2014 resolution. Drop the extra space between sentences if you haven't already done so.
Web Tips


Every so often there's a perfectly wonderful website you have to love for its elegance even if you almost never use it. That would be howjsay.com

The next time you get into a tussle with someone about the correct pronunciation of a word, check it out on this site. Just type the word in and press submit and you'll hear the correct way to say it.

I tested it with "tomato" and it gave both the British and American pronunciation. It has a lot of foreign phrases, too, which can be handy if you don't speak the language. For $2.99 you can download the app to your phone or tablet. 

And Finally . . .

Shawenon Communications collaborates with small businesses, solopreneurs, professionals and not-for-profits to get their messages across in the written word.

We specialize in electronic communications, including e-zines and other forms of email marketing, Web sites and social media.  We also ghostwrite articles and other business communications. As a solution provider, we resell www.shawenon.com



First name
Susanna Opper
Shawenon Communications

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.
SO turtleneck cropped
Check out this article from Constant Contact about 5 Resolutions to Improve Your Email Marketing in 2014. Whether or not you're a believer in New Year's resolutions, it's always good to build good habits.

My resolution is to help my customers and prospects create and maintain effective email marketing campaigns.

Let me know how I can help you with Constant Contact.

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