April is National Home Inventory Month: Find out more
14 Aug 2019

Tips for a Successful Newsletter

This Marketing Minute is provided by NICA Associate Member Mary GillenMary Gillen

Following up on the great suggestions from our members (in the article above) to promote your inventory business, this month’s Marketing Minute from Mary Gillen gives some great advice to create a successful email newsletter – a key item many use to market their home and business inventory services.

Use Responsive HTML for Your Email Templates

Is your email newsletter mobile-friendly? Be sure to use a template that is “responsive design.” This means that your email template will serve easily across a wide range of devices: desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Keep Your Email Newsletter Layout to One Column for Mobile Viewing

More and more folks are using their smartphones to view and respond to email. To accommodate mobile viewers, a single column layout for your newsletter works best. Layout column width: a range between 320 pixels (vertical viewing) and 550 pixels (horizontal viewing).

Include Social Media Icons in Your Email Newsletter

You will gain more traffic when you include email and social media sharing buttons within your email newsletter. This reminds readers to share your content via email and the social media platforms you use.

Always Include a Link to the Web Version of Your Newsletter

Provide a link at the top of your email newsletter to the HTML version that is archived on your server, or the server of your email service provider. It will be easy for subscribers to click through to read your content in case they cannot read the email version.

Be Sure to Use Different Email Subject Headers

Are you using the exact same subject header for each newsletter you mail out? Not a good idea. This can decrease open rates. Be sure to use different subject headers for each issue. Also, research has shown that using numbers in your headers can help your newsletter get opened.

25 Apr 2018

Do You Distribute An Electronic Newsletter? This Is A Must Read!

E-newslettersNICA’s Associate Member Mary Gillen is an exceptional web developer and internet “go-to professional.” She always stays up to date with the ever-changing landscape of the internet. If you send out electronic newsletters, this article, written by Mary, is full of important and time-sensitive information.

New European Privacy Rules – The General Data Protection Regulation – take effect May 25, 2018.

These regulations were passed by the European Union in 2016, setting new rules for how companies manage and share personal data. In theory, the GDPR only applies to EU citizens’ data, but the global nature of the internet means that nearly every online service is affected, and the regulation has already resulted in significant changes for US users as companies scramble to adapt.

The GDPR sets a higher bar for obtaining personal data than we’ve ever seen on the internet before. These requirements include:

  1. Any time a company collects personal data on an EU citizen, it will need explicit and informed consent from that person.
  2. Users also need a way to revoke that consent, and they can request all the data a company has from them as a way to verify that consent. It’s a lot stronger than existing requirements, and it explicitly extends to companies based outside the EU. For an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how user info is collected online and stored.

Most importantly, the GDPR gives companies a hard deadline: the new rules go into effect on May 25th, 2018 – so if you’re not following the rules by then, you’re in trouble. The result has been a mad dash to adapt current practices to the new rules and avoid one of those crushing fines. 

You are probably thinking, “I just do local home inventories, so this doesn’t apply to me.” This is addressing what happens to information when someone signs up for your newsletter. Since there is no control over who subscribes (or from where), it is imperative to abide by these rules.

What You Need to Do Now If You Have an Email Newsletter Subscription Form on Your Website

Email consent needs to be separate. Never bundle consent with your terms and conditions, privacy notices, or any of your services, unless email consent is necessary to complete that service. A solution is to add an (unticked) checkbox to the bottom of your subscription form just before the Submit button. The explanation needs to be simple and understandable. The checkbox needs to be a required element on the form, which means the user will not be allowed to submit the information on the form unless the checkbox is selected.

What You Need to Do If You Have Contact Forms on Your Website

Add an (unticked) checkbox to the bottom of your Contact Form just before the Submit button with a consent message to collect and store the data.

GDPR not only sets the rules for how to collect consent but also requires companies to keep a record of these consents. It is important to know that this does not only apply to signups that happen after May 25th, it applies to all existing subscribers on your email list as well.

If your existing subscribers have given consent in a way that’s already compliant with GDPR—and if you kept a record of those consents—there’s no need for you to re-collect consent from those subscribers. If your existing records don’t meet GDPR requirements, however, you have to take action.

What to do:
  1. Audit your existing email list. Figure out who on your email list already provided GDPR-compliant consent, and ensure that you have a clear record of those consents.
  2. Implement a re-permission program. If for any of your contacts you don’t have GDPR-proof of consent—or if you are unsure about whether or not their consent is compliant—you’ll have to run a re-permission campaign to refresh that consent or remove the subscriber from your mailing list.

This is a lot to digest. Please feel free to contact Mary with your questions. Also, please pass this information on to other website owners you may know. It is important that they receive this information as well.

If you need help implementing these changes on your website, Mary can help you, and can also assist you in creating a mailing for a re-permission program. Please don’t ignore this. Make these changes before the May 25th deadline.

11 May 2016

New Schedule For Newsletter

quillAs most associations do, we periodically review our processes and see how we can be more efficient, more helpful, and provide more or better service to our members. We also consider those who are not members, but are professionals in the home inventory industry.

Communication is one of the most important elements of any organization. With this in mind, we have chosen to increase the distribution pattern of the NICA News newsletter from bi-monthly to monthly. As we continue to grow, and have more information to share, we felt it was time to communicate on a more frequent basis.

Therefore, beginning in April, we began this new distribution frequency. Our intent is not to fill your mailbox with a plethora of emails just to send emails. However, the board felt that more frequent communication would benefit you and NICA.

At this time we also want to notify members and non-members alike that if you have news that you would like included in a future issue, we will be happy to share your news. What would be appropriate information for the NICA News?

  • Opening a home inventory business
  • Adding a service to your home inventory business
  • Adding a staff member
  • Receiving certification in an ancillary industry
  • Any other industry-related news

Please send an email with the information and a contact email and phone number. The last Tuesday of the month will continue to be our distribution date, so we would need your content by the 20th of the month to be included in that month’s issue.

To sign up for the NICA News, click here.