Thursday, June 23, 2011

About Us!



Every family has a story to tell, and every close family needs a way to stay connected.  From phone calls to those much anticipated Christmas card family update letters, we're always looking for ways to bridge the miles between us.  This very idea is how Email Contact started.


“We built Email Contact from
the ground up with no corporate
structure, no unnecessary features.
The result? The world's easiest
email marketing tool. Enjoy!”
In 2002, Jason Holladay was approached by none other than Jimmy Osmond, the youngest member of one of the most famous and successful performing families in recent history.  The Osmonds, at that time, were nearing 50 years in show business, and Jimmy's mother was looking for an easy way to stay in touch with their legions of fans.  Jimmy asked Jason to create an online email newsletter so that Olive would be able to keep the fans up to date on anything newsworthy happening within the Osmond family.  Of course, Jason was happy to oblige Mrs. Osmond and created his first newsletter template.

When Jason realized what a fantastic and useful tool this would be, he couldn't wait to share it with everyone around him.   He first approached a business-owner friend and told him that he should start collecting emails from his customers.  This particular friend was extremely business savvy, and mentioned to Jason that he should create a website from which other business owners could choose different templates and create their own email newsletters.  Jason loved this idea and decided to approach another friend, Brian Cressall, who was a computer programmer.  "His first thought", said Jason, "was that no one would pay to use email".  After all, email marketing - even such a short time ago - was not considered a viable option.  After weighing the benefits of a paid email service, Brian decided to take a leap of faith and partnered with Jason to form what is now know as Email Contact.

The early years of Email Contact were very "grassroots".  Jason literally walked mile after mile - talking to business owners, using a flip chart, trying to convince them of the benefits of email marketing.  He talked about cost effectiveness and time efficiency.  But it didn't seem like anyone was interested.   Giving up was not an option.  Jason just knew that he had an excellent product and that eventually people would catch on.  And finally they did.  When the local Chamber of Commerce expressed their desire to go paperless, he jumped at the chance to tell them about his service.  The Chamber wholeheartedly agreed that they could use Email Contact to their advantage, and soon other Chambers around the state and then around the country started signing up.

Soon, there was a map of the United States on Jason's office wall, complete with pushpins to mark the locations of each of his customers.  One of the very first Email Contact success stories was a local scrapbooking company.  The owner had been attempting to use email to reach his customers for some time, but with very little success.  Jason asked him to try using some of the templates from Email Contact.  Within days, the owner of the scrapbooking store reported that he had received an incredible response to the new newsletter.  The interesting thing was that the content was exactly the same as the emails he had previously sent.  The only difference was that, with the templates, his email now had a polished and professional look that appealed to his customer base.  Through word of mouth, the service began to spread like wildfire.  Other scrapbooking companies signed up, and then crafting companies.  The clientele started to become more and more diverse, with hotels, resorts, non-profit and religious organizations realizing the benefits of email marketing.  Through the years, restaurants, retail stores, fitness facilities and spas have also joined the Email Contact family.  There really isn't a market that Email Contact hasn't touched.

The United States map has long been replaced with a World Map, as Email Contact has made its way overseas and into various foreign countries.  With a staff of designers, writers and programmers, Jason is past his days of door-knocking and flip-charts.   Email Contact continues to grow exponentially each year, and we look forward to playing a small part in the success story of each of our customers' businesses.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Just Grow With It

You work hard to advertise your business.  You send out flyers.  You might use radio or even television.  Maybe you even hit the pavement and do some good old-fashioned door-knocking.  Perhaps the most taken for granted form of marketing, however, is your email newsletter.  There are a few reasons that email marketing is so effective, and some great ways to make it even more so.

Ease of use is one of the many things that sets email marketing apart from all other forms of marketing.  If you have a thought in the middle of the night, you can create a newsletter and, should you wish, send it immediately to your subscribers.  Contrast this to direct mail marketing which takes weeks or even months from the inception of the idea until it hits your customers' mailboxes.  TV and radio advertising have a similar start to finish timeframe, and that good old-fashioned pavement pounding - well, that just makes me tired to think about.

Another quality that sets email marketing apart from the other forms mentioned above is the out of pocket cost.  Direct mail, on average, costs nearly 20 times more than email marketing services (based on a side-by-side comparison of Email Contact prices versus those of a leading direct mail marketing company).  That cost increases significantly with the number of direct mail recipients.

Given just those two qualities - ease of use and cost - it would seem that email marketing would be a top choice among businesses as a form of advertising.  And it is.  A recent study showed that nearly three-quarters of all companies rate their email campaign's return on investment (ROI) as excellent or good.  Sixty percent of those companies reported sending 50,000 or more emails per month, up from forty percent of companies just four years ago.  While 50,000 may seem like a staggering amount of emails to a small-business owner, it is not out of reach.  There are a few things that any business owner can do to increase the size of their subscriber list:

  • Pay attention to where you are most likely to come into contact with customers or potential customers. If your main point of contact is your website, be sure to add a link in a prominent spot asking visitors to sign up for your newsletter.  If you mainly converse with customers face-to-face, i.e. at your store, a sign-up sheet may be a good idea.
  • Hold a contest.  Referrals and word of mouth advertising are some of the best ways to get new customers - and they're free!  Reward existing customers for the referrals they send your way.
  • Ask, ask, ask!  During regular conversations with your customers, whether it be over the phone or during a sales presentation, ask if they would like to receive your email newsletter. 
  • During a point of sale transaction, simply ask for the customer's email address and enter it into your database.
  • Collect email addresses at trade shows or conventions.  Hold a drawing, if you think that will attract more interest.
Once you've collected and added new email addresses to your subscriber list, it's important to do everything in your power to keep them there.  Make sure that you're offering something of value - your newsletter should contain information that will be useful to the reader, and not just "fluff".  Be approachable.  Perhaps your attempts at increasing subscribership are turning off potential customers (think pop ups).  Maybe your notifications are coming too often or are too "in your face", or subscribers are worried about you selling their information.  Whatever the concerns are, be sure to address them in a timely and professional manner.  Don't take things too personally.  After all, the way in which you respond to these concerns could be the deciding factor in the subscriber's decision to stay or not to stay.

When it comes to subscriber lists, the sky really is the limit.  Any company, small or large, can have a dream-size list with a little effort.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spotlight on Rock County Humane Society


As heartbreaking as it is for any animal lover to see a pet without a loving home and family,  Rock County Humane Society knows that homeless pets are, unfortunately, a reality.  Since 1910, RCHS has been making the transition from homelessness to loving home easier on both the animals and the selfless families willing to take them in.

Rock County Humane Society is not just a boarding facility for needy animals.  Everything from education to microchipping to spaying and neutering are part of the services that RCHS provides.  Their website contains a plethora of information and some pretty handy tools.  The Lost Pet Search links families who have lost a pet to a database covering most municipalities in Rock County.  Simply enter your pet's vital information to see if  he or she has been entered into the database.  The Lost Pet Search is not to be confused with another outstanding tool provided by RCHS, the Adoptable Animal Search.  By simply entering the type of animal you're looking to adopt, along with things like breed and gender, you'll quickly be on the way to giving the pet of your choice a forever home.

Just some of the friends listed on the RCHS Website

Rock County Humane Society is completely funded using donations and without government assistance.   A popular fundraiser, the Photo Calendar, is currently taking place.  To find out more, or to upload a photo of your pet to the Photo Contest, visit the 1st Annual "Make Your Pet a PIN-UP" Contest Page.   RCHS has also offered a discounted rate of $12 to Email Contact Spotlight readers who would like to pre-order the 2012 Pet Photo Calendar.  All proceeds benefit RCHS, and further the cause of finding a safe and loving home for every adoptable animal and humane treatment for all.

RCHS uses Email Contact to send monthly newsletters to their supporters, keeping them informed of important dates - shelter events, fundraisers and promotions - and new adoptable animals.  A separate newsletter goes out to volunteers.  RCHS also utilizes postcards to send out quick updates between newsletters if something special is happening.

To learn more about RCHS and to stay up to date on new adoptable animals, visit their website or "like" them on Facebook.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Spotlight on Whispering Pines Retreat

Off the beaten path (but not too far off), in the hills of Southwestern Montana and nestled amongst swaying trees, a crafter's paradise can be found.  An old fashioned homestead in Anaconda is the location of Whispering Pines Retreat.  A pond, complete with large trout and even a turtle, is just one of the beautiful amenities that crafters and scrapbookers - maybe even a book club or two - will find upon their arrival at this gorgeous location.


Adding to the charm and authenticity of the homestead acreage is the presence of one of the original log homes, left untouched through generations, as well as antique and modern farming equipment.


Though the beauty of its surroundings certainly draws people to Whispering Pines, it is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  The peaceful atmosphere and the friendly service have provided many a crafter with a haven away from the hustle and bustle that is every day life.  Whereas many scrapbooking or crafting retreats host large groups of people, true to the feeling of serenity and peace that it advertises, Whispering Pines proudly hosts groups of eight at a time.  This allows for exceptional personalized service and a more relaxed overall feeling.

The crop room is stocked with the latest in crafting equipment, including a Cricut, a Cuttlebug and many containers full of Close to My Heart stamps and ink.  There is also a computer loaded with software and a printer.  No need to lug all that equipment around...just bring your paper supplies!



From the beautifully decorated rooms....


to the care and preparation that goes into each meal (all of which are included in the cost of the retreat)...


it's easy to see why groups of all kinds - be it a birthday weekend or just a girls' escape - choose Whispering Pines Retreat.

Whispering Pines has been open for just over two years, and was started by partners Bonnie Peterson and Sheryl Driver.  Bonnie and Sheryl had attended many scrapbooking retreats and decided that there was a need for one closer to their homes.  Six months later, Whispering Pines Retreat was open for business.

Sheryl and Bonnie use Email Contact to send several newsletters to their customers each month, with details about weekend retreat openings and other information.  Soon, general scrapbooking ideas will also be included in these emails.

Whispering Pines would love to host you and your group!  To learn more about them, visit their website, like them on Facebook, or give them a call at the number below.

Whispering Pines Retreat
P O Box 1402
Anaconda, Montana 59711 
Phone:406-560-0043
E-mail: sd112246@earthlink.net
Close To My Heart shopping site: http://sheryldriver.myctmh.com
www.sherylsclosetomyheartblog.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spotlight on Hydron


Throughout the ages, many an explorer has gone in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth - a spring that reputedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks from its waters.  One of the earliest recorded accounts was written by Herodotus, an ancient Greek historian, in 5th Century B.C.  From Herodotus to Ponce de Leon to Walt Disney, the quest for eternal youth has (and probably always will be) the subject of great interest and curiosity.

While Hydron does not claim to have found the secret that the Fountain of Youth holds, it can say that the science behind its products goes a long way to restoring skin's youthful beauty.  The difference between Hydron products and regular skin care products is the Aclimé Self-Adjusting Technology.  This patented emulsion technology self-adjusts to each individual pH, allowing maximum absorption of key ingredients and ensuring better results all day - without reapplication.

How is Hydron different?  It quickly absorbs into the skin, and has a non-greasy after feel.  It also creates a protective barrier, blocking out everyday toxins, and at the same time allowing skin to breathe.  Hydron retains its moisture, so no reapplying is necessary.  The most important difference between Hydron moisturizers and other brands are the results.  Hydron will make your skin look and feel younger, with a radiance and glow that you've always wanted.  And all of their products come with a money-back guarantee. That's the Hydron difference.

Since 1986, Hydron has been engaged in the development of various consumer products using Hydron polymers.  This breakthrough in skin care technology not only restores moisture to the skin, it also helps prevent future moisture loss.  Most importantly, the Hydron Polymer moisturizing system has been formulated to significantly improve the overall health of the skin and to improve the way it looks and feels - helping to keep it soft, supple, smooth and more radiant.  Once sold on QVC, Hydron products are designed to address concerns about aging, and include Hydron skin care, hair care, and bath and body products.  Each product can be purchased individually, but the deepest discounts are given when purchased as part of a collection.  All products can be found at www.hydron.com.

Hydron uses Email Contact to stay in touch with their customers, frequently alerting them to special offers and promotions.  "We love that Email Contact has a great variety of templates to choose from for any occasion!  Email Contact has made it easy to promote our products to our customers, and increase awareness of our company with the "forward to a friend" link."

**Special offer for Email Contact Customers!**

Save $10 off any purchase of $50 or more at www.hydron.com.  Enter coupon code emailcontact at checkout.
Call us at 1-800-449-3766 for a free skin care consultation & the promotion above. Make sure to mention Email Contact to you skin care advisor.