The Small Business Series: How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 2

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Me, Jason Bourne (and you)Solution Provider

Email marketing is the Jason Bourne of online marketing: somebody’s always trying to kill it. It can’t be done.

Well, Jason Bourne and I have something in common.  I’m a killer too, just with email marketing strategy as a Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert.

No, it doesn’t mean I have guns and knives and physical combat experience!  That’s not what an email marketing strategist is all about. It’s about using the right tools and techniques to craft and deliver your email marketing campaigns.

When I was first introduced to Constant Contact I was simply overwhelmed and struggled trying to use the tool. It was difficult.  I didn’t know where to start and so I didn’t use it, even though I was paying for it.

So, what about you? Have you ever had a tool that could be very useful in growing your business but it was too complicated to use? Well Constant Contact is not that complicated, especially when you have an expert like Lisa Ann Landry to hold your hand. Lisa Laundry

Despite various innovative ways of marketing including social media, mobile apps, digital marketing and so much more, email marketing still remains the number one way for businesses, organizations, & marketers to keep in touch with their consumers, members and clients.

Yet, we know that not everyone is a marketer and that not everyone has experience with email marketing. Would you like to learn How to Create Stand-Out Subject Lines and Creative Content in the Small Business Series: How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 2

– Create engaging subject lines

– Research subject lines with an online tool to increase engagement

– Create calls to action to drive action

– Designing the body of your message

– Using video, pictures, and buttons

– Sharing on your social site

We will go through a series of discussions, activities and demonstration. Lisa Ann will show you exactly how easy it is to use your new account to help you produce engaging and effective emails, in less time but that produce actual results for your organization.

On July 22, 2017 Connecting in Atlanta and Paradigm Shifts Training and Development are hosting the Business Series: How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 2. It is a few hours of immersion for you to focus on your business. Would you like to join me?

If so, please click the register button and I’ll send you all the information! Part 2

Can’t wait!

Lisa Ann Landry
Social Media Strategist
Lisa Ann Landry headshot1

15 Inspirational Twitter Accounts Every Entrepreneur Should Follow

Come by June 10th and find out How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1. This is a small business series.

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There are approximately 317 million active Twitter users worldwide as of January. With such a large number, it can be tough to figure out the right people to follow. But don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve pulled together a list of 15 inspiring Twitter accounts for any aspiring entrepreneur.

From Richard Branson to Randi Zuckerberg, these 15 successful people share everything from motivational quotes to business ideas to some of their favorite books, podcasts and tech gadgets.

Check out 15 inspirational Twitter accounts every entrepreneur should follow here.

Rose Leadem
Rose Leadem is an online editorial assistant at Entrepreneur Media Inc.

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The Small Business Series: How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1

Join Connecting Atlanta on LinkedIn and Facebook.

Man funeral - cartoon

Email marketing is dead, right?

If that’s true why are there over 2.586 billion email users worldwide, including both business and consumer users?

You’re probably like me and check your emails several times a day on your smartphone. We’re not the only ones. At least weekly 72% of U.S. online adults send or receive personal emails via smartphone.

No e-mail marketing is not dead. Are you convinced yet? Maybe this is more persuasive. Marketers consistently rank email as the single-most-effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention. Likely that’s because email is almost 40x better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter.

E-mail Marketing’s ROI  Pig with money - cartoon

Maybe you’re thinking you can’t afford an email marketing service. The ROI of email marketing is that for every dollar spent in 2014 was $24.93 and today its $41. Additionally, the ROI is almost double that of search advertising and better than any other direct marketing channel.

Why don’t you come learn how to put e-mail marketing to use? You’re invited to join Lisa Ann Landry so that you can Learn How to be Unstoppable with Email Marketing. I’ll be demonstrating using the Constant Contact email service provider but the strategies you learn can be applied to any of your e-mail campaigns.

A Live Demonstration 

In the presentation you see a live, guided demonstration on the tools and features inside Constant Contact. In this time-efficient, highly practical 2-hour session, you will learn the basics so you can get going with your own marketing campaigns.

It’s a relaxed, friendly educational session – bring your questions!

Wondering if this is right for you?

Question mark - cartoon

This 2- hour seminar is suitable for anyone new to Email Marketing, new to Constant Contact, or who just wants a hand learning how to use our products.

On June 10, 2017, I am delivering training hosted by Paradigm Shifts Training and Development and Connecting Atlanta. It’s The Small Business Series: How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1 a two-hour program for you to focus on your business and how email marketing fits in. It’s a few hours of immersion for you to focus on your business. Bring your laptop! Here’s a Constant Contact link to get signed up with your account.

Due to the deep nature of the work, there are only 20 spaces available. (They’ll fill up fast.)

Would you like to join me?

If so, please click the register button and I’ll send you all the information!

Can’t wait!

P.S. If you know a friend who has been confiding in you that they are ready to get clarity about email marketing tools such as Constant Contact – then you have my full permission to forward this email to them. I’ll take great care of them!

Lisa Ann Landry
Social Media Strategist

Lisa Ann Landry headshot1

The Shocking Reality of Scaling an Online Business

Come by June 10th and find out How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1. This is a small business series.

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It’s two-thirty in the morning, and you’ve woken up from your sleep to feel the bedside table vibrating ever so slightly. A notification on your phone is making a white shadow dance across the wall next to your bed. You know you should go back to sleep, but on impulse, you grab your phone and flick your groggy fingers across the touch screen.

It’s a Gmail notification bubble. Normally this could wait until later — who the hell has time to respond to emails at two-thirty? Then, you read the subject line of the email:

Subject: You just received $1,297

You realize this is not spam; it’s real. Holy shit! You just made almost $1,300 without lifting a finger.

What would it be like to have this happen every single night? How would it change your life to know that you have a business that pays you automatically every single day, whether or not you decide to “clock in” for work that day, no matter what country you’re in, for the rest of your life?

How would your life change if you had the ultimate security of knowing that you had an army of salespeople working around the clock to make you money and you didn’t have to pay them a dime?

To some people, this might sound like science fiction – or worse yet, a sleazy late-night infomercial. If you’re rolling your eyes all the way to the back of your head right now, I get it. Trust me, I do. I thought the same thing. Then I discovered the power of starting an online business. And I can tell you one thing: All this, and much more, is possible.

Want to learn how I created the life of my dreams (and nearly unlimited income) building online products? Of course you do.

I’ll admit, the above description of online business is a bit “hypey.” Full disclosure: I took it straight from one of the sales emails for my premium training on building an online business, Startup from the Bottom. But despite being a bit over the top in its approach and copywriting, for the most part it’s true. Online business is where it’s at.

For the rest of the article, click here.

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Daniel DiPiazza is the founder of Rich20Something, where he teaches young people how to start businesses that they care about and live happier lives.

Read Jeff Bezos’s Inspiring Letter to Shareholders on Why He Keeps Amazon at ‘Day 1’

Come by June 10th and find out How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1. This is a small business series.

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‘Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.’

The following is the latest letter to shareholders from Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.

“Jeff, what does Day 2 look like?”

That’s a question I just got at our most recent all-hands meeting. I’ve been reminding people that it’s Day 1 for a couple of decades. I work in an Amazon building named Day 1, and when I moved buildings, I took the name with me. I spend time thinking about this topic.

“Day 2 is stasis. Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day 1.”

To be sure, this kind of decline would happen in extreme slow motion. An established company might harvest Day 2 for decades, but the final result would still come.

I’m interested in the question, how do you fend off Day 2? What are the techniques and tactics? How do you keep the vitality of Day 1, even inside a large organization?

Such a question can’t have a simple answer. There will be many elements, multiple paths, and many traps. I don’t know the whole answer, but I may know bits of it. Here’s a starter pack of essentials for Day 1 defense: customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision-making.

True Customer Obsession

There are many ways to center a business. You can be competitor focused, you can be product focused, you can be technology focused, you can be business model focused, and there are more. But in my view, obsessive customer focus is by far the most protective of Day 1 vitality.

For the rest of the article you can view it here.

The Founder of LinkedIn Says Too Many of Us Are Using the Site All Wrong

Come by June 10th and find out How to Conquer Email Marketing a Crash Course – Part 1. This is a small business series.

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While it could seem natural to decline a Facebook friend request from a stranger, the dynamic on LinkedIn is much different.

If you use LinkedIn, you’ve undoubtedly received invitations to connect with people you’ve never met or may never meet in your life.

The more you stay on the site and the more you gain prominence in your field, the more requests from strangers you’ll get.

And while it could seem natural to decline a Facebook friend request from a stranger because you don’t want to give them access to your personal information and photos, the dynamic on LinkedIn is much different.

You may think that because it’s a social network for professionals, you should accept all invitations and see which of them stick.

It’s the approach that Keith Ferrazzi, the author of Never Eat Alone and a management consultant to Fortune 100 companies, took for years. Not long ago, Ferrazzi wrote in the 2014 updated edition of his best-selling career guide that he had the privilege of meeting LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, and discussing the site with him.

“‘You’re doing it all wrong, Keith!’ That is, in essence, what Reid Hoffman told me when I told him how I was using LinkedIn,” Ferrazzi writes.

Here’s the gist of what Hoffman told him, as written in Never Eat Alone (emphasis ours):

“LinkedIn is a closed network, and for a very simple reason: For the network to have value as an introduction tool, the connections need to have meaning. It’s up to you to vet each and every request so that if someone comes to you and says, ‘Would you introduce me?’ you’re in a position to evaluate whether the connection would be of mutual benefit.”

You can read the rest of the article here.

RICHARD FELONI
Richard Feloni is a strategy reporter at Business Insider. Richard joined BI in Oct. 2013 and covered the ad industry up through the Super Bowl. He previously reported in Brooklyn and wrote for alt-weeklys and newspapers in Boston, his home… Read more.

10 Marketing Lessons from Hollywood’s Biggest Box Office Successes – By Sujan Patel

Come by April 29th and find out How to Turn your Contacts into Contracts, write up your own personalized sales script that fits your company and how to drive business from social media.

A “box office success” doesn’t earn that accolade by pure luck or merit. The main reason people flock to see a new release in such big numbers is largely due to marketing – a lot of it.
A heap of cash goes into driving awareness of a Hollywood release and securing its success – nearly as much, if not more, than goes into producing the film itself.

It should follow, then, that there are lots of lessons to be learned from how the studios choose to spend that money.

Here are 10 marketing lessons you can take away from some of Hollywood’s biggest box office successes.

1. Monsters University (and Swiffer)

In the run up to the release of the second installment in the Monsters Inc. franchise, Monsters University, Pixar was responsible for some pretty awesome marketing strategies: The “Monsters University” website, for one. The film is close to four years old, but the site’s still well worth checking out.

Designed to replicate the style and features of a genuine American university website, it’s an excellent example of movie marketing that merges the fantasy of the film into reality (something we’ll see another example of and discuss in more detail later).

What I wanted to talk about right now however, is this 30-second ad.

It’s a collaboration between Pixar and Swiffer – a household cleaning brand owned by P&G.

Now, you might wonder what a cleaning product brand has to do with Monsters University. That would be a fair question. And the answer would be… absolutely nothing.

And that’s the key.

By thinking a little outside the box, Pixar and Swiffer found a way to collaborate that promoted both brands equally. The concept is simple – the Monsters make a mess and a Swiffer product comes to the rescue – but the execution ensures the ad succeeds in driving awareness of and excitement about both products (as much as anyone can get excited about a cleaning product, at least…)

The Lesson
To check out the lesson and the rest of the article click here.

Sujan Patel owner of #Mailshake

FINANCIAL FOCUS – Don’t Get Swayed by These Investment “Myths”

Come by April 29th and find out How to Turn your Contacts into Contracts, write up your own personalized sales script that fits your company and how to drive business from social media.

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Over time, you will run into various suggestions for investing successfully. Yet upon closer inspection, many of these ideas turn out to be “myths” – which could cause you trouble if you treat them as solid advice. Here are five of these myths, along with some reasons for ignoring them:

You can find the next “big thing.” All of us probably wish we could have “gotten in on the ground floor” of Apple or Microsoft or some other tremendously profitable company. And who knows? There may indeed be a similar other business out there, waiting to take off. But it’s almost impossible for anyone to identify these potential “blockbusters.” There’s really no shortcut to investment success – you need the patience and discipline to invest for the long term, and you need to build a portfolio that’s appropriate for your goals and risk tolerance.

Investors should always seek to “buy low and sell high.” This is actually good advice – or it would be, if were possible to consistently follow it. But how can you know when the market is “high enough” to sell or “low enough” to buy? You can’t – and neither can anyone else. Trying to time the market rarely works. A more appropriate strategy is to invest regularly and to diversify your holdings among stocks, bonds, government securities and other vehicles, based on your goals and risk tolerance. Diversification can help protect you against market downturns that primarily affect just one asset class. Keep in mind, though, that diversification can’t guarantee profits or protect against all losses.

It’s always smart to buy investments that have performed well recently. You may have read, in investment prospectuses, that “past performance is no guarantee of future results.” These words are certainly true; just because an investment has had a good run recently, it doesn’t mean its success will continue indefinitely. You need to evaluate each investment on its own merits and on how well it fits into your overall portfolio.

International investing is too risky. In today’s global economy, it may be more risky not to invest some of your portfolio internationally. U.S. stocks represent less than half of global stock market capitalization – so by stopping at our borders, you are depriving yourself of a world of opportunities. It’s true that foreign investments carry some special risks relating to currency fluctuations and political and economic events, but you can help contain this risk by confining your international holdings to a relatively small percentage of your portfolio. A financial professional can suggest the best ways for you to add a global element to your investments.

You need a lot of money to make a lot of money. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a sizable amount of money to invest right away. But the world is full of people who started investing with small sums and ended up having enough money to enjoy the retirement lifestyle they had envisioned. If you’re just beginning to invest, put in as much as you can afford each month; as your income goes up, increase your investments. As an investor, time is your greatest ally.

Sticking to a consistent investment strategy can help you write your own investment tale – and you can leave the myths to the storybooks.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Marques Young
Edward Jones Investments
8001 Centerview Parkway, Suite 112
Cordova, TN 38018
Office: (901) 751-0634
Email: marques.young@edwardjones.com
Member SIPC

marques-young

CLAIMING THE SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH CARE TAX CREDIT

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If you’re a small business owner with fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees you may be eligible for the small business health care credit.

WHAT IS THE SMALL BUSINESS HEALTH CARE CREDIT?

The small business health care tax credit, part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in 2010, is specifically targeted to help small businesses and tax-exempt organizations provide health insurance for their employees. Small employers that pay at least half of the premiums for employee health insurance coverage under a qualifying arrangement may be eligible for this credit. Household employers not engaged in a trade or business also qualify.

HOW DOES THE CREDIT SAVE ME MONEY?

The tax credit is worth up to 50 percent of your contribution toward employees’ premium costs (up to 35 percent for tax-exempt employers). The tax credit is highest for companies with fewer than 10 employees who are paid an average of $25,900 or less in 2016 ($26,200 in 2017). The smaller the business, the bigger the credit is. For example, if you have more than 10 FTEs or if the average wage is more than $25,900, the amount of the credit you receive will be less. For tax years 2010 through 2013, the maximum credit was 35 percent for small business employers and 25 percent for small tax-exempt employers such as charities.

Note: The credit is available only if you get coverage through the SHOP Marketplace.

If you pay $50,000 a year toward workers’ health care premiums–and you qualify for a 15 percent credit–you’ll save $7,500. If you save $7,500 a year from tax year 2013 through 2016, that’s a total saving of $30,000. And, if in 2017 you qualify for a slightly larger credit, say 20 percent, your savings go from $7,500 a year to $12,000 a year.

IS MY BUSINESS ELIGIBLE FOR THE CREDIT?

To be eligible for the credit, you must cover at least 50 percent of the cost of single (not family) health care coverage for each of your employees. You must also have fewer than 25 full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) and those employees must have average wages of less than $50,000 a year. This amount is adjusted for inflation annually and in 2016 was $52,000.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means. A full-time equivalent employee is defined as either one full-time employee or two half-time employees. In other words, two half-time workers count as one full-timer or one full-time equivalent. Here is another example: 20 half-time employees are equivalent to 10 full-time workers. That makes the number of FTEs 10, not 20.

Now let’s talk about average wages. Say you pay total wages of $200,000 and have 10 FTEs. To figure average wages you divide $200,000 by 10–the number of FTEs–and the result is your average wage. In this example, the average wage would be $20,000.

CAN TAX-EXEMPT EMPLOYERS CLAIM THE CREDIT?

Yes. The credit is refundable for small tax-exempt employers too, so even if you have no taxable income, you may be eligible to receive the credit as a refund as long as it does not exceed your income tax withholding and Medicare tax liability.

CAN I STILL CLAIM THE CREDIT EVEN IF I DON’T OWE ANY TAX THIS YEAR?

If you are a small business employer who did not owe tax during the year, you can carry the credit back or forward to other tax years. Also, since the amount of the health insurance premium payments are more than the total credit, eligible small businesses can still claim a business expense deduction for the premiums in excess of the credit. That’s both a credit and a deduction for employee premium payments.

CAN I FILE AN AMENDED RETURN AND CLAIM THE CREDIT FOR PREVIOUS TAX YEARS?

If you can benefit from the credit this year but forgot to claim it on your tax return there’s still time to file an amended return.

Businesses that have already filed and later find that they qualified in 2014 or 2015 can still claim the credit by filing an amended return for one or both years.

Don’t hesitate to call if you have any questions about the small business health care credit. And, if you need more time to determine eligibility this year we’ll help you file an automatic tax-filing extension.

ESTIMATED TAX PAYMENTS: Q&A

Estimated tax is the method used to pay tax on income that is not subject to withholding. This includes income from self-employment, interest, dividends, alimony, and rent, as well as gains from the sale of assets, prizes and awards. You also may have to pay estimated tax if the amount of income tax being withheld from your salary, pension, or other income is not enough. If you do not pay enough by the due date of each payment period you may be charged a penalty even if you are due a refund when you file your tax return.

How do I know if I need to file quarterly individual estimated tax payments?

If you owed additional tax for the prior tax year, you may have to make estimated tax payments for the current tax year. The first estimated payment for 2017 is due April 18, 2017.

If you are filing as a sole proprietor, partner, S corporation shareholder, and/or a self-employed individual, you generally have to make estimated tax payments if you expect to owe tax of $1,000 or more when you file your return.

To see the rest of the article please visit VAAS Professionals.

Written by Steve Julal of VAAS Professionals

Steve

VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312
www.vaasprofessionals.com
(404)223-1058

SHOULD YOU FILE AN EXTENSION ON YOUR TAX RETURN?

Come by April 29th and find out How to Turn your Contacts into Contracts, write up your own personalized sales script that fits your company and how to drive business from social media.

If you’ve been procrastinating when it comes to preparing and filing your tax return this year you might be considering filing an extension. While obtaining a 6-month extension to file is relatively easy–and there are legitimate reasons for doing so–there are also some downsides. If you need more time to file your tax return this year, here’s what you need to know about filing an extension.

WHAT IS AN EXTENSION?

An extension of time to file is a formal way to request additional time from the IRS to file your tax return, which in 2017, is due on April 18. Anyone can request an extension, and you don’t have to explain why you are asking for more time.

  • Note: Special rules may apply if you are serving in a combat zone or a qualified hazardous duty area or living outside the United States. Please call the office if you need more information.

Individuals are automatically granted an additional six months to file their tax returns. In 2017, the extended due date is October 16. Businesses can also request an extension. In 2017, the deadline for most businesses (whose tax returns were due March 15) is September 15th (October 16 for C-corporations).

  • Caution: Taxpayers should be aware that an extension of time to file your return does not grant you any extension of time to pay your taxes. In 2017, April 18 is the deadline for most to pay taxes owed and avoid penalty and interest charges.

WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF FILING AN EXTENSION?

As with most things, there are pros and cons to filing an extension. Let’s take a look at the pros of getting an extension to file first.

Pros

1. You can avoid a late-filing penalty if you file an extension. The late-filing penalty is equal to 5 percent per month on any tax due plus a late-payment penalty of half a percent per month.

Tip: If you are owed a refund and file late, there is no penalty for late filing.

To check out the rest of the tips go to VAAS Professionals.

Written by Steve Julal of VAAS Professionals

Steve

VAAS Professionals, LLC
325 Edgewood Avenue, S.E
Atlanta, GA 30312
www.vaasprofessionals.com