All posts by Cory Skeates


Marketing Mondays – Seth Godin on Email

Seth Godin, author of “Permission Marketing,” Small is the New Big,” and “Tribes,” is an expert at using the internet to deepen human connections.  In a recent post to his blog, Seth outlines several simple principles for creating more personal, meaningful interactions with the people we email.  Terry and I were discussing these principals and how there was a time (pre-email, pre-SMS) when this type of courtesy was common sense, but in the era of facebook and mass email, it’s good to be reminded on occasion.  While these guidelines may require additional time and forethought, your clients and co-workers will greatly appreciate the effort:

Here are some easy to follow tips that will help you avoid being seen as a spammer, or having your emails trashed or ignored. The thing is this: email reduces friction. Greedy, lazy organizations have embraced this and tried to figure out how to blast as many emails as they can as cheaply as they can, relying on the law of large numbers. The real law of large numbers is, “using large numbers is against the law.”

I want you to add friction back in. If you want to be seen as being personal, the best strategy is to be personal, which is slow and expensive.

  1. Don’t send the same email to large numbers of people.
  2. If you have more than a few people to contact, you’ll be tempted to copy and paste or mail merge. Don’t. You’ll get caught. It shows. If it’s important enough for someone to read, it’s important enough for you to rewrite.
  3. Careful with the salutation. Don’t write, “Dear Claudia,” if you don’t usually write “Dear” at the beginning of all your emails.
  4. Don’t mush the salutation together with the rest of the note. If I had a dollar for every email that started, “Joe, When experts come together…” That’s not personal. That’s lazy merging. See rule 1.
  5. Don’t send HTML or pictures. Personal email doesn’t, why are you?
  6. Don’t talk like a press release. Talk like a person. A person is reading this, so why are you talking like that?
  7. Be short. The purpose of an email is not to sell the person on anything other than writing back. If you don’t have a personal, interesting way to start a conversation, don’t write.
  8. Don’t send an email only when you really need something. That’s not personal, that’s selfish.
  9. Do you have a sig with a phone number in it? Your phone number? If you don’t trust me enough to give me your real phone number, I don’t trust you enough to read your mail.
  10. Don’t mark your email urgent. Urgent to you is not urgent to me.
  11. Don’t lie in your subject line, and don’t be cute. You’re not clever enough to be cute. Just be honest.
  12. Following up on an impersonal spam email is twice as dumb as sending the first one. Invest the time to do it right the first time.
  13. Anticipated, personal and relevant permission mail will always dramatically outperform greedy short-term spam. I promise.
  14. Just because you have someone’s email address doesn’t mean you have the right to email them.

Marketing Mondays is a weekly feature of the Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce’s blog, offering insights and guidance from some of today’s leading marketers, adapted to meet the needs of our member businesses.


Retail aCCess – Creating Customer Communities

“Creating Customer Communities” 
How can you keep your small business growing in today’s economy? Relationships!

Join fellow retailers as we discover new ideas that keep customers engaged
& coming through your doors.
Monday, January 12, 2009
8:00-9:30 a.m.
Bramble Ridge Golf Course
2505 Bramble Ridge Drive
$10, includes full breakfast

RSVP today!
· At Click on Chamber Store
· Email
· Call Mary Stevenson at 863-688-8551 Ext. 232


Retail aCCess is a new, hands-on tool for retailers! Created with you in mind, this series of workshops will offer attendees the opportunity to hear new ideas and take home ways to build a better business. From HR issues to grassroots marketing to embracing technology, you won’t want to miss out!



10 Things Small Business Owners should be doing in 2009

The OPEN Forum by American Express is an excellent resource for all small business owners.  The OPEN Forum blog recently posted a great list titled Ten Tiny Things Every Small Business Owner Should Do in 2009.  

  1. Act like a prospective customer and call your company to see how the phone system and receptionist treat you.
  2. See if your website has a “Contact Us” section. If it doesn’t, add one.   Ensure that it has a street address.
  3. Send your company an email asking for customer support and see if someone responds to it.
  4. Answer customer support calls or emails (not the one you sent in) for a day.
  5. Go out on a sales call with your salespeople and a service call with your service people.
  6. Read the documentation or manual that your company provides.   Extra credit: See if you can do this without reading glasses.
  7. Pretend that you lost the documentation or manual that came with your product or service and try to find it on your website.
  8. Register your product or service including finding and reading the serial number of your product.   Extra credit: See if you can read your serial number without reading glasses.   Extra extra credit: If you use a Captcha system for registration, see how many times it takes to get the word right.
  9. Add a signature to your email. A “signature” is a block of text at the end of your emails that contain all your contact information. It saves your recipients the hassle of asking for your address and phone number or searching for them on your website.
  10. Join Twitter and then search for your company name, your product, your competition’s name or product name, or market sector terms from your business.   For example, let’s say you’re in the web designbusiness.   Extra credit: Use Twitter as a twool.

From your brick-and-mortar operation to your social media presence, this list provides a simple way to gain insight into what you’re doing well and what you need to improve.  Why not take a week to complete this checklist?  You will probably  find little- to no-cost ways to improve your customers’ experiences.


December Business & Breakfast Welcomes Local Bloggers

Thursday, bloggers (and local celebrities) Chuck Welch and Lorrie Delk Walker joined Chamber members for a discussion about new media trends for small businesses.


Hosted by GLT Total Office in their Combee Road showroom, the breakfast provided a perfect platform for local companies to learn a bit more about blogging, twittering and maximizing search engine results. Even with Chuck’s “techy” language, the entire room was intrigued at the possibilities that exist beyond the traditional company web site.


Lorrie took center stage to speak for just a minute about how search engines find web sites- the more your site changes, the more appealing it is to the spider-bots that comb for information! Who knew?

The open invitation from Chuck still stands… anyone with a specific question should feel free to contact him via by commenting on his posts.

Thanks to GLT Total Office &  Regions Bank our presenting sponsor for the 2008 Business & Breakfast Series.


Make Plans To Attend 2009 Super Bowl Breakfast

clip_image002The day before Super Bowl XLIII fans will join sports legends in Tampa for the 22nd annual Athletes in Action Super Bowl Breakfast. The NFL sanctioned Breakfast is expected to bring out nearly 7,000 guests in attendance to hear from distinguished NFL athletes and coaches and to see the awarding of the prestigious Bart Starr Award.

The Bart Starr Award is voted on by the NFL players and honors one player who best exemplifies outstanding character and leadership in the home, on the field and in the community. The award, bearing the name of NFL Hall of Famer Bart Starr, honors Starr’s lifelong commitment to serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates and community. Past winners include NFL Greats LaDainian Tomlinson, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch, Aeneas Williams and Reggie White.

The 2009 breakfast program features NFL athletes and coaches, including Indianapolis Colts Head Coach Tony Dungy, NFL Hall of Famers Bart Starr and Anthony Munoz, Tampa Bay Buccaneer Derrick Brooks and former San Francisco 49er Brent Jones as emcee. There will be NFL Films highlights, interviews, humor and personal stories of success and failure, family and faith.

The Super Bowl Breakfast is Saturday, January 31, 2009 at 8:00 a.m. at the USF Sun Dome. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased on or by calling 1-866-448-7849. For more information, visit