Ana’s back, back again…she is back, with the Mailchimp tutorial Part 2 ! Yeah

Welcome, welcome !

Today, it will be a pretty straight forward post of to do and having done list. The last two days have come and gone and even if I’m at home, I’ve been busy ! Applying to jobs, cooking, figuring out which type of coding I’ll have to learn to run this blog, discovering what is a domain and how it’s different from hosting and how in any case all these things cost money. I’ve downloaded gimp to start learning how to edit photos and create cool thumbnails for youtube, I was at a presentation of how a company should run a youtube channel to make money (tubereach was presenting). I’ve realised that yes, for every question that I have, I go to youtube and it is in fact very clear to me why it is the second search engine in the world (right after google) and why “help” videos will explode in 2018. Help videos are how to videos or tutorials. I’ve in fact youtube-ed (is this gonna become a word ?) how to cook an egg to make it soft boiled (I failed but the video of how to was there) and how to use this (apparently awesome) computer that I have, specifically the application iMovies for cropping, trimming, cutting and yes, uploading to youtube.

I would say, I’ve done some stuff and I therefore prepared for you Mailchimp tutorial Part 2 : How to send a Campaign (just click on the title and you will be transported to youtubeland) with sweat and tears (or cold sweat, I’m slightly cold this morning); and no tears, more like frustration (so much to learn in such a short time and make it till the deadline, make itttt) and here we are.

I’m glad you are here and I am glad I am here.

There is still SO MUCH to learn ! I will definitely continue with my Mailchimp tutorial sessions – be tuned in for that every Thursday (we got about half of the “workout” done) and I’ll let you know anyways ! Next up, I will be re-defining what to do with this section here – the Thursday section dedicated to Mailchimping. As I’m not currently using Mailchimp on a daily basis, I’m not learning, and how can I share if there’s nothing that I have learnt ? Therefore, I have a few ways to go and I will for shizzy (for sure) think it over during the next few weeks so that 1. this section stays cause I ❤️ Mailchimp and 2. I  learn the max and share with you max as well. Awesome, awesome.

I leave you with :

Colored Freddie, the mascot of my beloved Mailchimp e-mail marketing automation tool (who is winking at me - and you; so cheeky!)

cute Freddie – Mailchimp’s mascot.

Until next time, be good, safe and healthy (there is a bug going around and I heard it’s called influenza) ! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to check, comment and like (yes, do it all) my  supa cool Mailchimp tutorial Part 2 : How to send a Campaign. See ya 👋 !

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A (not so) comprehensive side-to-side comparison of visme and venngage lead magnets

Let me tell you a thing or two about the lead magnets of visme and vennvage. How do they compare ? Which one is worth downloading and giving your e-mail ?

This post is destined to compare side by side positive and negative sides of visme’s and venngage’s free book or lead magnet. Their respective names are :

  • A Non-Designer s Guide to Creating Memorable Visual Slides (by Visme)
  • Social-Media-Venngage (by Venngage)

Get them here and here.

Let’s go into the comparison right away :

Visme Venngage
  • sources for everything (direct links)
  • different templates to try (direct links)
  • helpful icons to understand you need to click somewhere
  • some good tips
  • before & afters *
  • some information on the target public
  • immaculate consistent design
  • fun feel to it – but not so professional
  • appropriately placed seamless CTAs
  • the post discussing product-centric posts is very clear and is good quality, informative as it should be
  • well organized content
  • well organised content
  • e-book adapted to computer screen (facilitates reading)
  • basic tips on ‘commenting and liking on Insta’ (short for Instagram)
  • mentioned mailchimp (I like Mailchimp)

* before & afters allow you to see the faux pas (what shouldn’t be done) and the difference after you modify the design → general design guidelines were well represented on concrete examples


If you read my previous post, you know which e-book I preferred. By far. However, in order to be as objective as possible, I prepared the table above which includes only positives, only the plus points of each books. I found plenty.

TRasH talK ing the lead magnets of visme and venngage

Now would be the time to trash them. But, as I am in a particular situation in my life, I understand trashing someone will VERY rarely make them feel better and willing to improve. Rather, I will use advice by Brian Tracy, my all time favourite personal development speaker (I will also include one of his best videos in this post that I cannot praise enough). He says, whenever you finish a phone call, write down all you think you did/said well (the advantages above) and give tips on how you could improve for the future. So now I will discuss the overall feel of each e-book as I’ve finished them, as a comparison and what they could have done better. I think I really like reviewing.

I suggest Visme to :

Stay awesome !

I have zero complaints ! I love it !

I suggest Venngage to :

  • optimise (adapt) the e-book to computer screens
  • choose a more professional design and fonts – it felt like a child made/chose them
  • ensure clear background – it is blurry – for a design tool and author who is a designer it is disappointing
  • increase the length of segments, give more information as a total
  • be more careful about the CTA (call-to-action) and where you place it ; trying to sell me something (the business plan of the tool) on the page 10 is way too soon ! Rather explain all that I could potentially be doing, THEN try to sell your tool so I can do all these cool things you just taught me about.
  • be quite careful about the content ; to point out two instances :
  1. extract : “As a social media marketer, what are you supposed to do? How can you possibly compete?” – the main question of the whole document to which the answer given is : “I’ll be honest: I’m not a marketer.” Hum, why ask this question is you are not qualified to answer it?
  2. phrase “Everything comes out from experimenting and testing.” Hum, I’d say this is a VERY general statement. Almost as if it changes nothing if it’s not there.

Similarly, the ending doesn’t speak to me :

“Follow this guide and you will have a stronger presence in social media. Then perhaps someone, on one of their sleepless nights, will find your account and be inspired.” – “perhaps” ? If this guide was written for a perhaps, then I could have also not read it, right ? If you are not sure of the value you are giving, why should I be ?

Through the content, I also noticed mentions of photo sizes in each of the books. It is clearly useful information and it would be even better if it were either a separate downloadable file or an annexe at the end to have all sizes in one place.

As a total, I learnt a BUNCH !

  1. If the design is good, it doesn’t mean the content is good! It can be shitty

Content : base
Design : the yummy spread that makes all calories worth consummating and the base unboring, enhances it.

2. The importance of fonts!

A fun looks comes from a certain font and a more serious or professional from another. I learnt about how to pair them and use them for presentation purposes. As a conclusion, a type of font gives out a vibe.

 

There you go, all I could think of, I put out. In the past week, I also tried to make an infographic (not as easy as it looks) and applied to work with visme.

#tuesdayinfographictalkdone

I’m late! A post about the future, patience, expectations, and a Mailchimp surprise

I’m late! A post about the future, patience, expectations, and a Mailchimp surprise.

Late for school, late for work, late for life! Have you ever asked yourself what you should have done by now? All the accolades you should have received, awards, job positions, internships, education, degrees, goals, perfect partner, body, a baby, a house? I know I have. I know I have spent time shaming myself and putting myself down. I am not good enough, I cannot do this, and any other reason to avoid real work. I must be honest though, the reason behind not doing what you know you should be doing may be different for each person. However, putting yourself out there requires courage. It requires courage you may not have, going against your family, yourself and even if you are afraid!

So there you go, all of this to say that I recognise my one month hiatus. Sometimes life just comes and washes over you like a huge wave. This is not to say I have not been working on other areas during this time but I was not here. I was not here to create and voyage on this journey of blogging with you, my dear readers. I’m sorry because I care about you, all the future you and I care for this blog. To improve my “image” therefore, I rolled out a banging visme e-book review on Tuesday and I am promising to do better for the future.

Future, represented by a calming depiction of nature and a tree, a slight breeze. What will the future bring?
Photo by Johann Siemens on Unsplash

 

Soooo… I have an extra surprise for you ! The link is here ! Oh, but what is it ? It is… my Mailchimp tutorial session ! I’ve prepared a Mailchimp tutorial after cca. two to four months of experimenting with Mailchimp. It is really for those that want to understand the platform, how it can serve them and operational : how to send a campaign, how to schedule it, design it, how to choose the target audience and more and more. I loved learning about it and I am loving sharing this knowledge with you ! Again, the link to the Tutorial is herrrrre.

Please let me know what you think of it, I wold love to have your feedback (do not hesitate to comment below) and improve my teaching skills as a consequence. Also, I want to showcase how much I’ve learnt and how good I am at it as a result! No shame in being a little self-promotional :). Anyways, it was super cool working on it and I’d do it again, more, for me or for others.

I know this post was not necessarily about Mailchimp all the way but I am really proud of my tutorial :). I put all my best into it. There is great quality and I really believe in it. And so to finish up with coming back to the start – it is not always easy ! To be consistent and just be here.

Cheer up ! It was raining yesterday so it was the perfect time for some cider and fromageee (cheese in French).

 

 

 

#tuesdayinfographics back in the house ! Visme review Part 2

An exciting Part 2 of the review of the free visme e-book !

Spoiler alert : I don’t give it to you. You’re just going to have to read the whoooole long post. Hold on, I’ll include some photos too.

Welcome back for a special edition (after a hiatus of a full month) of infographics talk! I’ve got today a great dish prepared for you. For your extra insight, I am comparing two lead magnets which are free e-books produced by two infographics making websites, Visme and Venngage.

This is part 2 of my evaluation of the A Non-Designer s Guide to Creating Memorable Visual Slides by Visme. Read part 1 by clicking here. For those wishing to get the e-book right now it is here.

So these were my impressions when I finished the Non-Designer Guide for infographics by visme :

Honestly, there is nothing better than this e-book. It is pure gold, start-to-finish, filled with useful, versatile information on preparing stunning presentations. I cannot praise it enough.

Three Legs of a Stunning Presentation : content, visual design and delivery

Not only is the e-book itself beautifully designed and adapted to a computer screen (big +) but it is also comprehensive and well-organized.  With every interesting topic we get links to additional research or reading. This is what I call quality lead magnet. For those new to the term, lead magnet is a free document that a company or a website offers in exchange for your e-mail address. Nowadays, e-mail addresses are hard to get and are a very valuable, if not the most valuable, piece of information about a potential customer. People do not want to give away their address if they are not a little reassured that the information they are getting is useful.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All photos are screenshots from the e-book (which I do not own but highly admire)

In the case of visme, the website itself inspires trust and guarantees – if IBM works with you, then I can also trust you. But I am not a company, I am an individual. So I know that you have something to sell me, every online business has. You give me this free e-book in exchange of my personal information and the hope that after an e-mail marketing campaign I will become and remain your loyal customer. Not all companies are at this point and cannot afford to invest in all channels to effectively communicate with the audience.

Visme is one of the companies that has invested in these tools.

Their e-book reflects professionalism and quality. There was clearly great research done in order to produce the free e-book and time was put into making it.

One of the things that I’ve noticed is that they do not try to promote themselves. The book is clearly destined to me (a non-designer). I am as far of being a designer as possible. And so the e-book really promotes making a great presentation not pushing the product. Only two times in the book do they include a seamless CTA (call to action) which works without coercion. The end is marked by the visme logo (last photo of the slideshow) and that is it. No annoying ad-like lead magnet.

My half-way impression (first CTA) was, I want this. At second CTA I was already convinced. Honestly, no matter what I read after, I highly doubt it is possible to surpass this quality and therefore the indication of how good the tool visme is. I will not withhold the fact that I went on linkedin to check out Payman Taei, the founder. He clicked on my profile and that made me feel cool. Then I realised he just had a baby this year and he is not on the market anymore (lol, joke time over). Anyways, I really admire him and believe he’s created a great company. And I must admit, it was pretty cute to read in one of the newsletters about his baby. It felt so nice that he talked about it as one of his big accomplishments of the year. Really nice.

#amnotpaidbyvisme #willprobablysoonpaythemtocreateawesomeinfographics #goodvalues #professionalism #qualityaboveall #visme

That Mailchimp craze (Episode #3)

From the Ode to Bouncing Around to today…it’s been a week and a great weekend has passed. I’ve been able to do some shopping for gifts. Weekends are nice.

Now back to business. Today’s topic did not come directly to my mind but I want to be consistent and make your Thursdays valuable. And so, I’ve been rehashing it in my mind and I’ve realized that the most valuable information that I can share with you is my own experience. You can tell from the title that learning to use Mailchimp is not necessarily a straight road to knowledge.

A straight road/highway that represents the unrealistic view on the learning curve of Mailchimp.
A straight road to knowledge.

It is more or less a bumpy ride. What I mean to say is that at a moment in time you will believe you “got it”. Soon, you will find something you missed out on. It is the course of life and by reading more you always realise there is something more you could have done. On a personal level, it’s frustrating.

There are highs and lows and there are feelings involved. As soon as you start sending emails to real email addresses, you get nervous. Will they open the email? Will they click on the link I wanted them to? Because it seems that all that matters are the results. How are we performing compared to the industry? Successful businesses and solopreneurs? How am I doing? Do they like me? It is personal as it is professional. Because liking on the personal level translates to client satisfaction.

However, in my opinion, it calls for dissociation. Results are merely feedback on your output. If there is a bad open or click rate, did I do a bad job? No. It just means that you and in this case, me; we, haven’t figured out yet how to do this email marketing thing well. How to propose the right kind of content to the right type of audience at the right time? Deliver the value they want when they want it. There is a huge amount of criteria that is used, researched and tested in order to get to the point that the professionals call the “industry average”.

Beautiful green hills representing the experience of using Mailchimp, email automatisation tool, which often times feels like a bumpy ride.
Using Mailchimp is like a bumpy ride over beautiful green hills ! Photo by Roman Bozhko on Unsplash.

The test and learn phase in never ending and it is uncomfortable. Making endless modifications and tests sucks! Can’t I just have a template and send it over and over again? Unfortunately, the answer is no. We need to tailor our communication to the audience we are addressing, at the time they wish to be addressed, to the type of industry we are in. I wish I had a course that would teach me how to do this. I think I’ve told you before though, I’ve done my research and there are no tutorials that I found more than half useful. My plan is to prepare my own little course. First, I’d like to organise the knowledge I’ve acquired and secondly, I’d like to create a manual for others that are struggling just like me who may find it useful.

I’m starting to finish this post slowly. Maybe this one isn’t as organized as it could’ve been but it actually conveys my point exactly. Learning is chaos.

So…what to learn from all this? From writing (and rewriting) this post I’ve come to the conclusion that this sort of discomfort and change means than you are doing something. You are moving. Maybe you don’t know exactly where you are going but the ride is bumpy because you are moving forward. And that is good.

So believe in yourself, even if it is a bumpy ride!

P.s. Here are two links that I found useful when preparing Campaigns (emails).

What I learnt from Visme’s amazing lead magnet 150 pages introductory e-book?

Visme, what is that already? Skip right to next paragraph if my internal thoughts bore you. (I’ve decided to go for no spaces before question marks. Just feels more natural. Well, for all my loyal readers out there, two so far and I am number two, last week I announced how I will test three sites to learn infographics. I even surprised myself, I didn’t actually think I would do it but I did! I’ve started loving being able to give my opinion, to share what I’m interested in and the idea of having a real blog. You know, the one you keep up with and make money off. Some sort of proof that I am doing things and they matter. Or at least proving to myself that I am doing something. So, here we are one week from my first post on infographics and today is the amazing(ly) boring Tuesday, and so it’s time for episode #2 of #Tuesdayinfographics. Eps obsession. Like I’m having a show or something.)

Following last Tuesday, I’ve tried out three infographic making sites; venngage, vismo and google charts respectively. Just as I promised. Verdict?

Beginners :

→ go for vismo

  • venngage is hard to understand
  • google charts is incredibly complex
  • vismo is coooooool

I always go for the ‘coolest’ ones, right? Well, the fact is that for google charts…you kind of need to understand coding. Which I don’t. Plainly, before I could actually “create” something, I need to read a whole manual and go step by step by step by another step before I have the faintest idea of what I’m doing. For all the haters of this thought out there, I believe in google’s capabilites…but charts is not exactly user-friendly. I don’t plan to give up though, I will get to it, I promise.

Next, but actually first, Venngage is the first one I tried out. As I told you, I have these nostalgic feelings for venngage and as it turns out, they do still have my old account active there. But, dreams are short-lived. It’s not really free anymore. You can create 5 infographics a month for free which is very little and you can’t even download them. I’m not entirely sure what you can do with them once you create them but I’m afraid not much. The site itself has great credibility partners that use it like google or etc but I am definitely not at that level yet. I cannot afford to pay for the subscription going from 20 eur on if I can’t use the heck out of it to drive traffic to my page to make literal money off of it. Still, if I make 5 infographics a month that will be an amazing achievement already! So I am sticking with it for sure. 

Another reason, and we are staying with venngage here, is the fact that it is very easy to use. I like the tutorial kind of things but I like to “wander around” – clicking on whatever and seeing what happens before I go into step by step thingies. There is this cool feature where you make a form (like a rectangle) over different objects and then with one clicky movement you can move them all at once. 

It is like holding control and clicking on things so you can move them at once in Powerpoint for example. 

Now what you’ve been waiting for. Vismo. So, the fact is, I haven’t really used their tool yet (except a photo and a phrase on it, super basic) but I have downloaded their free e-book called A Non-Designer’s Guide to Creating Memorable Visual Slides by Visme. This is GOLD. Golden information. I am on page 55, where the first call to action (CTA) is situated and honestly, I am in! Want it, need it, whatever they do, it seems good. To be clear, the e-book is not about their tool, not so far at least but it shows you very clearly what you could do with it! And this is what we want – see what is possible in comparison to where we are now. It is a pleasure reading it. I will include some screenshots, maybe some notes and will soon leave you for this episode that I will call “I’ve already learnt a lot!”

 

An Ode to Bouncing Around or What are bounces in Mailchimp and what to do about them

Spoiler alert : there is not so much you can do about bounces. Still, there are measures you may take and things you can learn from your bounces.

Welcome back to the show  “I use Mailchimp but I’m still not sure of what I’m doing”. Episode 2 is on ! I’ve decided to talk about learning about Mailchimp on Thursdays. Why ? Check out my Instagram post to find out !

Bounce
Bounce, bounce, bounce 

I will first start by telling you what we’ll discuss in this post and why it’s important. First, the requirement for a better understanding of this episode (and making it more useful for you at the same time) is to have already sent a Campaign through Mailchimp. If you don’t know what a Campaign is, do not worry, this topic will be covered in detail in one of my future posts. In short though, it is an email you sent through Mailchimp. So if you already did, you may have had a certain problem occur. Your Report (or results) shows a number of people (and more specifically and correctly, e-mail addresses) under the Bounce segment. Bounces may be found in your Mailchimp account if you go to Dashboard –> Reports –> View Report –> Activity –> Bounced (this is 2017 version, it may change in the future).

steps bounce
Steps to find your bouncers

What is a bounce ? Bounce is a way of defining what happened to the e-mail you sent. Let’s say you sent it to Maja, Nina, Nika and Ana. Maja has received the e-mail and opened it, Nina also received it but has not opened it and Nika’s and Ana’s addresses bounced. Nika’s address bounced softly and Ana’s bounced hard. What happened ? There are two possibilities :

  • Soft bounces (you can do something about them)
  • Hard bounces (you cannot do anything about them)

In the first case, the e-mail address was found to be valid but it has not been delivered into the recipient’s mailbox due to different reasons. The reasons to this may be that the mailbox of your receiver is full (over quota), the recipient email server is down or offline or the email message is too large (Courtesy of Mailchimp official page Knowledge Base). Honestly, I don’t know why someone would try to send bulk email that is large in size but just so you know.

  • To fix (decrease) the number of your soft bounces, you may try to resend another campaign to the e-mail address that has bounced softly – that is, Nika’s address

This means that you have a temporary hiccup, you need to see if there’s a way to sort of “unbounce” the address, make it go to regular subscribers list (this may take some time, three to five campaigns I remember reading somewhere).

Now with your newly acquired hard bounces list, I do not have good news. These are e-mails that are invalid. Either the address doesn’t exist, domain doesn’t exist or the email server has blocked delivery. What to do ?

  • Remove the e-mail addresses that have hard bounced – that is Ana; she’s a lost cause to you

You need to remove them from your list. I would hate to tell you that I do not know how to do that but I don’t so here is a link that may help you : About Bounces. My thinking is to directly delete from the list but what if I mistakenly add them again later on ? The double opt-in should prevent this from happening – people subscribe to your list by themselves so there should be no problem. I am not 100% though. If anyone has an idea, do leave a comment down below. I may be missing something in my reasoning.

Inspiration for this post (besides my own experience) was this post : Sendgrid’s Bounce Management

P.s. When your emails bounce, you may manually check the writing. Sometimes a person will write the email with a space and or forget a letter (anabanana @gmail.cm). Mailchimp will not correct this by itself, you need to do it. Would anyone be interested in a post on importing to Mailchimp ? I plan to write it soon for those interested. I may send you a link on mail if you want to subscribe.

#MailchimpThursday done