Postcards Through The Mail Slot As Effective As 10 Instagram Posts


Giddy to receive this postcard from the Beacon, NY based artist, Anna West, who is such a diligent promoter of her artwork. Anna was a guest expert on a Tin Shingle TineUp talking about how she uses Instagram to sell her artwork using the good old fashion conversation way, not even using the formal Instagram ad tool way.

Anna pays very close attention to the beauty around her and how she wants to paint it. She also pays attention to how her audience responds to which of her paintings, and paints more of what they love. Anna lives in a lot in hashtags to get in front of the right person who would be interested in a type of painting.

Pictured here is the ever-effective postcard that came through our mail door here at the Tin Shingle Office. Anna is a participating artist in Beacon’s Open Studios on May 18-19. One of the best interactive art events of the year in Beacon! While Anna’s painterly face has crossed my eyes many times in Instagram, it is this postcard that left the deepest impression on me. The behind the scenes thoughts of my brain when I received it was: “Oh my gosh, Beacon Open Studios is just around the corner, and Anna has opened her studio!”

Our sister media company A Little Beacon Blog is a proud sponsor of Beacon Open Studios.

This is the actual door of Tin Shingle’s office. We do have a mail slot!

This is the actual door of Tin Shingle’s office. We do have a mail slot!

Private Training Workshop In Motion

Conducted a Private Training Workshop for these ladies yesterday, who have varying degrees of comfort online and with social media. This session covered a lots of Technical. A next session can indulge in Strategy.

Are you in need of Strategy and clever ideas? You can go pro with Tin Shingle with our Private Training Sessions. Booking on Monday’s only right now. Save your spot! This session was hosted in person in our Beacon, NY office, but can be condicted remotely via video conferencing. We make it easy.


Taming The ADD That Is Your Phone - Killing Notifications


Ever since I deleted Facebook from my phone this past Spring, I've been thinking about distractions, and how nice it is to not be distracted by all of the inner mumblings of all of the people out there that I have access to in that platform.

Scratch that. Ever since I read the feature piece in Variety magazine last Spring about children and addiction to devices, I've been more aware of how much time I've been staring at my phone. Or of my kids staring at the phone.

Finally, when I was enjoying the latest new feature from Instagram - creating Instastories by picking stickers and writing words in different fonts to be placed onto the image - I was getting constantly interrupted by Text messages and News notifications. So much so, that when they'd pop in at the top of my screen, I'd accidentally click on them because I was already going to click on the Font selection tool in Instastory, or to research more gif stickers of sparkly stars.

Killing the Text and News Notification PopUps Saved Me

And that's when I killed my Notifications for Text and News. Entirely. Not set on Temporary mode, where it blips up there for a few seconds and then disappears rather than waiting until you physically pay attention to it and swipe it away. It's just gone now.

Don't worry - they show up on my Lock screen, and my phone vibrates when a text comes in. Oh yeah - over a decade ago, I silenced all notifications on my desktop and mobile device. If you really want to drive yourself crazy, keep all of the sound alerts on. Someone who texts me for the first time (aka not a text-versation I know I'm in) might need to wait an hour or 15 minutes for me to reply to text if I don't feel it in my purse. And you know what? That's OK! We cannot be available on-demand all the time!

Convenience is getting in the way of our brains. Notifications like this are definitely triggering anyone with a hint of ADD tendencies to not focus or stay in their creative zone of a thought to complete a task with any amount of satisfaction. Want to know why you're never done in Facebook? Because there are constantly new notifications popping up in there telling you about who said what and which event they are going to.

Turn it all of, and Facebook will start emailing you about it, even though you've unsubscribed from that new type email marketing they just created.  Literally yesterday I got an email from Facebook: "Katie: Did you know that Susie just commented on Abby's post?" I've unsubscribed from this type of new email notification several times, to obviously no avail.

Help Yourself Market Better

You can be a great marketer in this age of distractions, but relying on tech companies to solve your problems of distraction won't work. They designed the distractions. If they design more tools to curb the distractions, you can see how that doesn't work. So. Turn them off.

It's nice of Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, to speak out as a PSA about the over-use of devices, how people are using the device they produce way more than they think they are (how can they not? it's a phone, a computer, a camera, a mailbox, a video game, a TV remote) while Cook was on a media tour promoting Apple's new feature, Screen Time, that tracks everything you do on the phone, including when you physically pick it up (no thanks!). As tech reporter Seth Fiegerman put it in his article for CNN Tech: "Welcome to 2018, when tech companies hold major press events to introduce innovative ways to use their products less."

Remember a time when you just had a phone. A land line, that might have been mounted to your kitchen wall. What did you do when you weren't on the phone? You took pictures outside with your camera. You drew. You kicked a soccer ball with your foot instead of flicking it across the screen with a random person maybe you are connected to in a soccer app.

Your brain will thank you. You will stay informed. You will still be able to check the news headlines, or see them on your "Lock" screen when your phone is sitting idle next to you at all times. You'll just be calmer, less frazzled, and you may complete a task. With satisfaction.

The Takeaway for Marketers - Headlines Are More Important Than Ever

If you remove several touch-points for notifications, you'll rely more than ever on short-form writing. The headline for a news story. The subject line in the email. Don't worry - this doesn't mean we are reading less. In fact, we may start reading more because we aren't getting interrupted. But - the trigger to get us into an article will be the headline, tweet, or email subject line.

Tin Shingle has a Training TuneUp for that. It's called "The Art of the Subject Line" and you'll want to follow the guidance presented in order to write spot-on email subjects that keep your open rates high, and your audience keeping up with what your business is doing.

The Art of the Email Subject Line

The most important part of your entire e-newsletter is the subject line. How you write the subject line will dictate the chances of your subscribers opening the newsletter you worked so hard on. In this Training TuneUp, find out what kind of subject lines worked from real-life examples, and why. There is a method to the madness, and when done right, your sales could increase with the subject line alone.

So About Those Privacy Policy and GDPR Emails...


What Is This GDPR All About?

As a regular person, you are probably getting lots of email from companies you know - or don't know - telling you they updated their Privacy Policy, or are asking you to opt-in to continue following their newsletters.

As a business owner, you are probably getting email alerts from companies you pay services for or use to run your business, such as MailChimp, Squarespace, Typepad, Google Analytics, Recurly, PayPal, MindBody, and many others.

A huge law was created in the EU back in 2016 that demands major protections for people from companies who collect their personal information on the Internet and use it in some way. That law gave everyone 2 years to comply, and the Big Day of Compliance starts tomorrow, Friday, May 25, 2018. Even though it was created for people in the EU, it applies to businesses everywhere who may have clients or readers in the EU. Plus, laws like this tend to be mimicked later on by other countries years later, like the US.

Where Should You Start?

Maybe you have started complying already. If you work at a large company with a legal department and IT team, you have probably been at this for two years. If you're an attorney, you're probably well versed in what different companies need to do to be in compliance.

If you're neither of those, you're going to need to start reading, and we have a few recommendations for you. Businesses who need to pay close attention to this are those who do things like:

  • Accept money over the internet.
  • Collect email addresses into a list or lists and then email those lists.
  • Move an email list from one place to another, like from a shopping cart to a newsletter program.
  • Target people by using a 3rd party Internet program that "profiles" people by watching their behavior on your website or newsletters, and reporting back on what readers or customers did or didn't do, and how you can market to them in a most exact way.
  • Use marketing tools like "pixels" from other websites like Facebook or Google Analytics to better understand what people are doing on your website, or to re-market to them.
  • And lots of other things. These are only a few.

Start at the Very Beginning

We like to start at the very beginning. With the actual law. You can find that here (thanks goes to my cousin Will Hellmuth who is an attorney with Davis Write and Tremaine LLP who sent this link:

That firm wrote a great guide that gives a helpful overview of GDPR prep:
"Time To Update Your Privacy Policy for GDPR"

MailChimp, who many of you use for sending newsletters, has also provided helpful information from their legal counsel:
"New MailChimp Tools to Help With GDPR"

Listen to the Articles!

This is all a lot to read. So we recommend listening! Have your Firefox browser read it to you. Install this new plug-in from Firefox, and with the click of a button, a lady will read a web page to you. Wash dishes. Fold laundry. Go fishing. Knit something. So helpful!

Bring your membership beyond this article, and subscribe to our Community Membership Level 1. You'll be able to connect with other Tin Shingle Members in our Private Facebook Group and forums we call "The Boards."

You can upgrade or downgrade at any time, so if you're ramping up your PR efforts and want Media Contacts, or if you want to stream all of the TuneUps for free, you can do these things - on your terms.