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April showers bring May flowers...unfortunately, they also bring flooding, tornados and other nasty surprises.  In the last several weeks we have seen many examples of the wrath that Mother Nature brings in the spring.

Here in Atlanta, the most dramatic spring assault was the tornado that hit downtown Atlanta on Friday, March 14 at 9:45 PM.  The SEC Basketball tournament and a professional basketball game were being played in adjoining venues, which took direct hits from the storm. Thankfully, the college game went into overtime keeping many fans in the arena during the storm.  Although Atlanta lost windows in many high rises and homes in neighborhoods near downtown were destroyed, there was only one fatality--which was not discovered until a week after the storm.  Atlanta was very fortunate.
I was out of town during the storm.  Where could I find information about the effects of the storm in MY neighborhood?  Web 2.0 tools to the rescue!!  On Saturday morning, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution opened a blog for people needing information about the storm.  Someone had already requested information about my neighborhood, which was just north of the path of the tornado.  Everything was fine!!
Don't be intimidated by the new Web 2.0 tools -- just jump in and learn to use them--for inspiration read this month's Tech Tip.  At the same time, don't neglect the tried and true tools, either. This month's RoadMap is part 2 of our discussion about electronic newsletters, which are an easy and cost effective way to stay in touch with your clients.
Electronic Newsletter RoadMap
Part 2 -- Create an eNewsletter That People Want to Read
You have so much to do every day,  why take the time to write a newsletter?  Aren't there a lot of things that will bring you a better return on your investment?  I don't think so.  I believe that writing and regularly publishing a newsletter is one of the best uses of your time whether you represent a non-profit or a commercial organization.
Make sure that your personality and individuality come through in your newsletter.
A newsletter is your chance to communicate with your clients, customers, and stakeholders in a very personal way. Your readers want to know who you are and what you stand for.  They want to get to know YOU and your organization.  Once they know you, they can decide whether or not they like you and want to do business with you.
Make your newsletter interesting and easy to read.
Your readers' time is valuable and they have many conflicting priorities. 
  • Use stories to make your point
  • Present your message in novel ways
  • Do the unexpected 
  • Use bullets and lists to make your newsletter easy to scan
  • Make sure that your newsletter is short and focused
Through your newsletter, your readers learn to trust you. 
If you tell your readers that you publish a monthly newsletter, and then they don't get another newsletter from you for 3 months, they begin to question whether they can count on you to do what you promise.  Do not set a publishing schedule that is too ambitious, but make sure that you publish often enough -- a monthly newsletter seems to be best for most organizations. Above all, stick to the schedule.  Let your readers know that you are trustworthy.
Make sure that your newsletter brings value to your reader.
A newsletter should offer something of value to your reader.  It should not be used to sell, sell, sell.  Your readers are aware that you would like them to do business with you, but they want to know that you are concerned about them and their problems.  Offering advice and answering frequently asked questions helps your reader, lets them know that you care about them and their problems, and helps to build a mutually satisfying relationship that MAY lead to a profitable business relationship one day. 
Learn from the best.
I'm hooked on Michael Katz of Blue Penguin Development.  Michael writes an insightful and entertaining  bi-weekly eNewsletter. I wish I could be as creative and interesting as Michael is!!  He's an expert in writing effective newsletters. I recommend that you subscribe.  You will not be disappointed!!
SmartSite Technology is the virtual IT Department for small and medium sized businesses and non-profit organizations.  We provide all of the information technology services that a business needs to compete in today's marketplace.
Our goal at SmartSite Technology is to help each of our clients to be a success!! We know that technology is not a core competency for many small business owners and non-profit professionals. We believe that every organization benefits when they automate their business processes. We work closely with all of our clients, even those who are uncomfortable with computers and technology, to help them introduce automated processes into their operations. 
Contact us today to discuss your technology needs.
Tech Tutor
SmartSite Technology 
April, 2008
In This Issue
Electronic Newsletter RoadMap
Your Tech Tutor Says...
Have You Ever Googled Your Own Name?
tutor pic number 1
Do you Google people applying for a job in your organization?  Every college student is aware that this is a common practice used by hiring managers.
Before they graduate and begin looking for their first job, college students have learned to Google their own names. Why do they do this? 
  • They want to know what information about them is available on the Internet
  • They want to make sure that they are prepared to address anything negative about them that shows up on their search
  • They create profiles on social networking sites to post information that they want employers to know about them
What about you--Have you ever put your own name into a Google search engine?  If so, what did you find.  If not, do it now!!
Are you happy with the information about you on the World Wide Web?  You may not be able to change what is out on the Internet, but at least you are now aware of what is out there.
You can also join a social networking site, like Linkedin, and create a profile to ensure that the things you want people to know about you are available when they Google your name.
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