… received a friendly email from an online vendor.


It included several exclamation points.

It thanked me for making their success possible.

It was written in a light, conversational tone.

One problem: the purpose of the email was to tell me that their support team was really busy and they had no idea when they’d get back to me, much less fix the problem I had contacted them about.

Friendly conversational enthusiasm is nice; I’m a big fan. But that’s extra – your clients aren’t paying for that.

If you can’t provide the fundamental service I hired you to provide, cheerfulness won’t move the needle.


… got an email from a new client.


It came from gmail:

Even though she owns the URL of her business name (, she’s using gmail.

I suggested she stop doing that and instead use

Using a gmail address – or Hotmail or Yahoo or Outlook – screams “I’m an amateur. I’m not in this for real.”

If you have a web site domain, you have email addresses along with it. Use those in all your business-related communications!


… read a useful article about e-newsletters.


It had some good nuggets, but it also had one big mistake:

“Mix up how information is formatted to keep it fresh and engaging.”

Instead, you want to develop a consistent approach. Consistency in formatting helps people find what they care about – and disregard what they don’t.

If you subscribe to a particular magazine, or newspaper, or even watch the same television show regularly, you’ve already learned the format. If I change it every time, in the interest of keeping things fresh, you need to keep relearning it.

Standardize your publishing layout and stick with it as best you can.


… mailed three birthday cards.


Are they going to lead to more business?

Not today.

Can I track the return on my $2.00 investment?


So why bother?

Because they are personal, they are different, and people seem to appreciate them.

Most of all, because the people you already know are way more likely to bring you business than the strangers we all seem to keep chasing. So maybe it’s worth staying in touch with them.


… reread the newsletter I published last Friday.


It could have been sharper.

It could have been funnier.

I’m noticing all kinds of places where it could have been better had I waited a few more days.

Of course, that tends to be true about most things. More prep, more planning, more tweaking … just to make things a little bit better.

But … small company marketing is about showing up. Over and over and over again.

It’s not about perfection, it’s about participation.  

(What have you been delaying?)