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Edition 12

Icecream man's cone of terror (and) Are you committing this common crime?

My daughter is terrified of the icecream man!

I know, sounds like a pretty strange phobia for a three-year-old sugar freak to have but I swear, it's true.

It all started more than 18 months ago now when Ashlyn was having her usual afternoon sleep.

She was dead to the world until she was startled awake to the sounds of my mad cocker spaniel Holly, howling.

The only time Holly ever howls is when she can hear the music that comes from the icecream man's truck as he makes his way around Binningup.

Anyways, Ashlyn was startled awake and I think she must have been in such a deep sleep that she woke up all upset and disorientated. Poor darlin'!

More than 18 months later, it's still like hearing Holly howl takes her right back to that moment and she becomes frightened and upset again.

Every Saturday at about lunchtime I have to calmly (with patience of saint!) and quietly explain to Ashlyn that there is no need to be upset.

"Holly's just howling because she can hear the icecream man coming. She probably wants an icecream too," I tell her.

"Let's have a look at the icecream man's truck out the window. I promise, it's almost as exciting as when the rubbish bin man goes past!"

I know what you're thinking. Buy the girl an icecream, that will soon settle her fears.

Tried that!

Sure she enjoyed the icecream but the next weekend it was back to the same routine.

On Saturday just gone, Holly (having been roared at by us many times to stop howling because she was frightening Ashlyn) was really only making a low whimpering sound under her breath when the icecream man's tunes reached our ears.

Sure enough, Ashlyn who had been outside helping her Dad in the shed dressed in full dancing fairy attire, burst into tears and came running inside for a cuddle with mum.

Again I placed her on a chair at the kitchen sink and gave her my well rehearsed "Don't be afraid of the icecream man" speech.

Well, I thought you might like to know I have another very well rehearsed speech.

I like to call it my: "Why the hell are you using Outlook to send out your E-newsletter, haven't you ever heard of Email Marketing software?" speech.

I mean, that's what I'd like to call it but in front of a prospective new client you might be surprised to know I can actually sound a lot more professional than that.

Here's my point. Every week, without fail, I meet someone else who I'm absolutely staggered to find, doesn't realise there's very cheap software available for creating and sending out E-newsletters that will actually tell you who's reading.

That's right, not just how many people on your email list read your E-newsletter but exactly who.

One marketing client of mine, for example, was very excited after the launch of her E-newsletter to find out that a competitor on her email list had opened her newsletter, spent quite a bit of time reading it and clicked on almost every link.

Another real estate client creates a second list out of all those people who demonstrate an interest in her latest listing when they click on the link for "more information" by emailing them an e-brochure with even more details and an invitation to view.

Imagine the possibilities for your business!

During a phone chat with a prospect last Thursday, he admitted that he was sending monthly emails to a client database of more than 2000 with Outlook.

Let me be clear, that's like telling me you washed out the mice-traps with boiling water in the kitchen sink (Jayson!!).

Don't do it, I scream.

Email viewing programs like Outlook simply were not designed for email marketing and its limitations can really undermine what you're trying to achieve.

Using a service designed for email marketing prevents a lot of mistakes.

One of the most common problems I see in my inbox is people who display their entire contact list and their email addresses for everyone to see in the To: line.

This is a big breach of privacy and a real No-No.

Email service providers also assist with Spam compliance, best practice education and actual delivery through their strong relationships with ISPs.

My E-newsletter might tell you in the From: line that you've got mail from Kristy Hitchens, but it was my provider's server who actually sent it so it's their name the ISPs see and recognise as an approved bulk mailer attached to

Mouse Mail on its way to you.

There's literally hundreds of companies offering this service around the world and prices usually depend on the size of your email list and can start from around $15 or $20 per month.

If you like, check out the one I use. Constant Contact.

Brown Mouse Communications helps small business owners build trust and win sales through high quality, individualised email newsletters.

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Check out our previous editions

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