Friday, March 4, 2011

My eLetter

As a direct result of the excellent talk by Promod Sharma at a recent AIC meeting, I am prompted to set aside serious time to get me long-promised eLetter off the ground.

You’ll probably learn of my experiences in the days/weeks to come, but for starters, here is a list of about 30 ideas I gleaned from my head and from reading the PDF files at MailChimp. You can see that I’ve left a few blank for quick fill-ins as they come to me.

Nothing is perfect, but having some sort of checklist steers me away from the worst mistakes.

My eLetter

My eLetter is sent on a regular basis by request only to senior executives in my target market, in particular, only those who I have met face to face.

The digestible format delivers at least one original article written by me, a few selected references to subsidiary articles written by me, and my pick-of-the-month links to other articles.

My written articles are available in podcast and video format.

I maintain a searchable online archive of past eLetters

Point 1: Template should be attractive to CEOs

Keep my most recent meetings in mind, e.g. D Mason, J Vanderkooy, S Yutzpe et al.

Point 2: Content (4 in pipeline)

I ought to be able to maintain a reservoir of 4; that takes pressure of creation and leaves me free for perfection.

Point 3: Content should be aimed at CEOs

Keep my most recent meetings in mind, e.g. D Mason, J Vanderkooy, Steve Yutzpe et al.

Point 4: The initial membership list is probably small

I am allowing a select membership, and only those CEOs I have et face-to-face.

In theory I could hold an annual get-together …

Point 5: This is a single long-term campaign

For the rest of my career, however long that is.

Point 6: Reports from ??

Point 7: Inbox Inspector

This appeared to be a pay-per-use feature.

Point 8: Check Rick & Promod’s formats and content of their first issues.

I lean more towards RS because I am thinking that the primary content is from my mind, rather than passing on links to useful stuff.

Point 9: Double opt-in

As recommended

Point 10: Opt-out link at TOP as well as bottom

Check this after the first issue

Point 11: Send a “scheduled next issue” message when they opt in AND SEND the current month’s issue

Point 12: Why does this audience want to hear from me?

They have opted in, so initially they were fascinated by me at our lunch meeting and now want to learn more about (a) how I think and (b) what benefits I can offer to them.

Point 13: What useful information can I provide to this audience?

A cold-blooded insight into the relationship between consultants and client executives.

Point 14: What do I want to accomplish with my email marketing?

I want to (a) improve circulation and (b) receive invitations to submit proposals.

Point 15: Each issue should have a benefit up front and immediate.

The lead article will be practical in addressing a real day-to-day concern of executives.

Point 16: For a long article, publish it in the blog and provide a link and summary in the eLetter

I am considering a new blog “TheCEOsConsultant”.

I maintain

I am considering resurrecting (38 posts). I would drive this with Windows-7 related tips.

I am considering resurrecting (22 posts) or (21 posts) and merging them, then post-loading them from ( 143 posts)

The CEO_Blogger would be of direct and immediate interest to CEOs; the Clear Thinking blog would be of high-interest to anyone wanting to know more about my way of thinking.

Point 17: Six-month goal: Your goal; How you’ll achieve your goal; How you’ll measure your goal

My subscription goal, assuming I meet a new contact each week, is to add one out of every two I meet, thus 13 by the end of six months. This represents 50% of the new VPs I meet, and is separate from any existing contacts who opt-in

I will achieve my goal by asking EVERY VP contact, over the phone or towards the end of our meeting, if they would like to subscribe; if they do NOT offer a flat-out No, I’ll offer to send them an email with a link to my opt-in page, and I’ll follow that up with a phone call.

My opt-in page and/or my CEOBlog should guide people into subscribing.

I’ll measure my goal by tracking who I’ve dined and whether they have subscribed.

Point 18: Frequency:

Every month is too regimental, every two months might be better. Every 6 weeks? I probably have loads of material, but my purpose in the eLetter is to … There again, if I schedule a training course I want to give them plenty of notice.



March 2011



April 2011



May 2011



June 2011



July 2011


Acceptance Tests

August 2011



September 2011



October 2011


Proof Of Concept

November 2011


The Written Goal

December 2011


Definition of Business for the Techies

January 2012


Where Did the Time Go?

February 2012



Point 19: Timeline for production

The material will be pre-composed, so Day1 Build and Preview in printed form, Day2 Emit for comments, Day3 Final Revision, Day4 Publish at 9:00 a.m,.,

Point 20: Include a short “Who am I?” text and a link to the web site each issue.

Done in the first issue; let’s see how well spread it is after that issue.

Point 21: When is the best time to check reports? Hours? Days? After emission?

Since my “market” is essentially GTA, if I issue the eLetter at 9:00 a.m. I might expect to see results at 10, noon, 5:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. that same day.

Point 22: “This is why open tracking only works in HTML email—not plain-text—and why the new email applications that block images by default (to protect your privacy) can screw up your open-rate stats.”

Seems like a good reason not to include, or at least not to rely on images in my eLetter.

Point 23: You can use MailChimp’s Inbox Inspector to get screenshots of your work in all the major email programs and webmail clients, to see if your CSS is breaking.

This appeared to be a pay-per-use feature.

Point 24: Why not include my phone number in the address block?

I have asked RS/PS about this.

Point 25: Don’t put all your energy into the HTML version of your email. Save some love for your plain-text message too.

Best bet seems to be

Step 1: Write the source in Word (for spell-check etc)

Step 2: Paste it into Notepad

Step 3: Save as text

Point 26: How do I phrase “add me to white list”? Is the address MailChimp or

Point 27: RATES of Open, Click, Unsubscribe, Bounce back; traffic to web site; New signups

Allocate serious time for mastering the reports after the first 3 issues.

Point 28: Set up an abuse@ email account. Register that abuse@ address online (go to

Point 29: Bear in mind that after issue #1, CEO’s will be jumping on mid-stream.

It is important therefore to include in any item which is not #1 in a series, a link back to the first item in the series.

Point 30: The name?

Some months ago I dreamed up “Simply Brilliant CEO Newsletter”; I wanted it to be written in simple terms, I wanted it to reveal brilliant ideas, and I want it aimed at the CEO level.

Point 31:

Point 32:

Point 33:

Point 34:

Talk to Me !

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