Business Operations

How to Troubleshoot Email Deliverability Issues

A common problem all email marketers face is email deliverability.  There’s nothing more frustrating to find out that the reason your leads and prospects are not responding to your email is because they don’t see them in their inbox.  Ugh.

There are some best practices you can employ to help improve your chances of hitting the inbox. The options will vary, depending on the email service provider you’re using, and some ESPs have a better track record than others when it comes to deliverability.

While they don’t like to talk about it, all email service providers tend to have trouble with certain email domains.  I have found yahoo, hotmail and sbglobal email addresses to be particularly troublesome in many of my clients’ businesses.

What you can do to increase email deliverability:
  1. Do not buy your email list.  Full stop.  don’t. do. it.
  2. Employ health cleanliness best practices.  This  includes scrubbing your list to:  (this can be done manually, or automated through your ESP or as a 3rd party tool)
    • Remove duplicate addresses.
    • Remove addresses with typos.
    • Fix addresses with typos.
    • Update invalid addresses.
    • Remove invalid addresses.
    • Delete emails from hard or soft bounces.
    • Remove old/inactive customers
  3. Implement re-engagement campaigns and remove prospects that do not re-engage.
  4. Encourage your leads to whitelist your domain.  Here’s a handy tool to create your own branded instructions:
  5. Set up your SPF and DKIM records with your email service provider. (Check with your specific email service provider for instructions.)
  6. Don’t use a free email to send marketing emails (like Gmail). You will get higher deliverability from emails with your business domain (ie:  I recommend GSuite for email hosting.
  7. Enable confirmed opt-ins for your list.  Depending on your ESP, this may also be referred to as double opt-in.

If you’re certain there’s an issue, try this free tool: from Adrian Savage.  He’s an expert in email deliverability and a trusted resource in the Infusionsoft and Memberium communities.

Not sure where to start or how to deploy and manage a list hygiene strategy for your online business?  I can help!

Business Operations Systems & Tools

The Essential Cornerstone of Your Virtual Office…

At any given point, there are a number of activities that are occurring in your online business. And the bigger your business gets, the busier the day to day operations.

A snapshot of activity in one of my clients’ coaching businesses might show the following concurrent and overlapping activities:

  • coaching and training programs are being delivered or accessed,
  • product launches are being planned or are in progress,
  • marketing campaigns and activities are being planned or executed online and in print,
  • live and virtual events are being planned or are happening
  • content is being planned, curated, and delivered (articles, speaking events, marketing pieces

… the list goes on

Without a properly set up project management system in place, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s actually going on in any given project or activity. Balls get dropped. Clients get frustrated. Revenue is lost.

You Need a Project Management System

As an Online Business Manager (OBM), I use a project management system to manage all the projects, milestones and tasks associated with the activities in the business on a daily basis. It is the center point of the virtual office for my clients’ businesses.

The PM System gives me a bird’s-eye view of what team members are working on and where they’re at on tasks. I use the system to plan ahead and make sure everyone (including the business owner) has what they need coming up tomorrow, this week and beyond. I check it at the start of each day, and it stays open in my browser all day long. It’s that essential.

For any project management system to work, you need to follow two very important rules:
  • The system must be managed and updated regularly. I recommend daily.
  • Everyone on your team must use the system, including you, the business owner!

To be clear: that doesn’t mean that you (the biz owner) should be the one in there setting up projects, managing milestones or following up on tasks. Your team lead, or in many cases, your Online Business Manager, should be doing this for you. But you need to know where to go (how to log in) so that you can see what’s going on at any given time.

You’ll need to be able to have a high-level sense of the activities that are going on so that you can make educated decisions in your business planning on an ongoing basis.

What Tool or System Should I Use?

There are a number of different systems and combinations that I’ve seen clients use for managing their business and virtual office.

There are options that are free or have free plans (which are great to try out a new tool), but for robust features that support your business as you scale, you’ll need to plan on paying for a project management system.  Budget will vary, but plan on $15-50/mo.

Here are a couple of my favorite project management systems:
(learn more about each here)

  • Teamwork
  • Clickup

While not my personal preference, I would be negligent if I didn’t mention the other platforms for project management.  There are features in each that I love, but they just don’t make the cut for me to replace my top two picks above for business-wide project management.

  • Basecamp
  • Airtable
  • Asana
  • Trello

Every business is different and is going to have different needs. It’s okay to take some time in choosing and testing out different systems until you find the one that works best for you. And quite honestly, nothing will be absolutely perfect – meaning –  you’re not likely to find one thing that has every feature that you want.

Bottom line: Don’t let the fear of choosing the wrong Project Management tool hold you back from using anything at all.

Ready to implement a project management system into your business but not sure where to start?  I can help!  Learn more about my systems set-up packages here.

Business Operations Team Building & Management

What Is a Certified Online Business Manager?

A question I hear often is “what exactly IS a Certified Online Business Manager?”  It’s one of my favorite questions to answer!

First, a quick history lesson: The book that started it all:  “Becoming an Online Business Manager” was written by Tina Forsyth in 2008.

Soon after, Tina launched the International Association of Online Business Managers and created a training & certification program to meet the growing need and interest from service providers and business owners alike.

The official definition of an Online Business Manager (OBM) is:

A virtually based support professional who manages online based businesses, including the day-to-day management of projects, operations, metrics and team.

The role of an OBM is to make sure the right THINGS, get done at the right TIME, in the right WAY and by the right PEOPLE.

An Online Business Manager is responsible for:

  • Project Management – laying out plans and managing projects through to completion, including launches, managing programs, creation of new revenue streams, updating websites, etc.
  • Operations Management – automating systems and creating processes for all day-to-day activities in the business to streamline and simplify how things are run
  • Metrics Management – tracking stats for key business activities to see what is working and what is not working so that decisions can be made for ongoing growth
  • People Management – outsourcing, managing, and leading the efforts of the team to meet business goals

The investment I made in Tina’s program (in 2011), hands down, was the best decision I’ve ever made for my business.

Over the past 12 years, our industry has naturally changed and evolved. Tina and her team are no longer leading the training, and instead, she has selected amazing trainers who run their own programs.

The Certification remains under control by Tina and her team at the International Association of Online Business Managers.

So what sets Certified OBMs apart?

Certified Online Business Manager

A Certified Online Business Manager…

This certification represents a commitment I made to continually invest in myself and my business so that I can better serve my clients’ needs.

As a Certified Online Business Manager, I am part of the community at International Association of Online Business Managers.  Ongoing training and professional development, support, and community for and by my colleagues is an invaluable asset.

Virtual Assistants are NOT Online Business Managers

As our industry has grown, particularly in the past few years, I’ve noticed more and more virtual assistants and other online service providers using the term OBM or Online Business Manager in their marketing.  While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, let’s be clear – only Certified Online Business Managers have been through the program.

Great virtual assistants are my favorite service providers.  I depend on them for the teams that I manage and are integral to the work I do as an OBM.  But a great VA is NOT an OBM.

Not sure what the difference is?
Download the Comparison Chart  (free download, no optin required from Tina Forsyth’s site)

Click here to learn more about how I can help you reach your business goals as a Certified Online Business Manager!  Or comment below with your questions and comments!