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‘First Impressions Count’: Advice from

Today, when so many are working in the so-called ‘gig economy’ (myself included), a good grasp of new technology, marketing, sound bites and so on are needed. Often frightening, worried about putting a foot wrong, these can become obstacles to progress. I believe that practice makes perfect, and in time, one can master the challenges ahead.

However, as well as repetition – which instils confidence – one should look out for shortcuts to quicken progress. My first port of call tends to be godchildren and willing teenagers (not that easy to find) to set up telephony and explain icons. Oiling the wheels of progress can certainly be improved at this time of year with cash.

The next step is to take a close look at the competition. Here I’m thinking of other newsletters – technical analysis based or otherwise – looking for ideas on layout, font, illustrations and what not. Then, try to keep half a step ahead of the competition. Here it helps to venture outside the comfort-zone and look at non-conventional sites. Maybe fashion (tend to be super-slick), banks and investment houses, online magazines have clever links.

Then think of newsletters, often the first port-of-call for a sales pitch. I know these only too well because, as a media professional, I am bombarded by missives from public relations bods retained on behalf of major (and minor0 institutions. The website has lots of good ideas on maximising hits, though is aimed primarily at those in marketing.

They believe that the subject line in an email is key; ‘capture your audience with killer subject lines’; for years newspapers have had whole teams who only write headlines. Research shows that most marketing professionals receive 41 unsolicited emails per week – one third of which will go straight to trash once the subject line has been read (or even partially scanned).

To help improve this key feature they suggest one groups mailshots into categories: Acquisition/opt-in; information/content; retention and welcome campaigns; sales/promotional ones. Then tailor both style and tone to match, while keeping the overall theme of the brand consistent.

You might want to use humour – a smile or a giggle can go a long way. Tugging at emotional strings is an oft-used method, especially at celebratory events (Father’s Day) or when raising money for charity. Relevancy and personalised mail shots are more likely to get attention, so include the recipient’s name if you know it. Highlighting discounts and vouchers available also get clicks. And finally, the functional email, say confirming an order, an invoice, postal address and contact number. Stick these details at the very top because they are likely to be needed later.

Now, go for it!

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The views and opinions expressed on the STA’s blog do not necessarily represent those of the Society of Technical Analysts (the “STA”), or of any officer, director or member of the STA. The STA makes no representations as to the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of any information on the blog or found by following any link on blog, and none of the STA, STA Administrative Services or any current or past executive board members are liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. None of the information on the STA’s blog constitutes investment advice.

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