Email Marketing: How to create a Mailchimp Campaign if you are stuck at square one

Are you stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing?

Don’t even have an email marketing account set up, let alone a list to send your e-shots to?

From a workshop session we ran at Her Business Brew Norwich, it became evident that many seem to be stuck at square one when it comes to email marketing.

There seems so much information about what to write in your email marketing, or how to build your mailing list, however, this can put many people off who don’t even know where to start!

So, if you are stuck at the starting blocks when it comes to email marketing, this blog will give you the basics to creating a campaign in the most used email marketing programme, MailChimp.

How to simply create a mailout campaign on MailChimp

Once you have set up a MailChimp account and imported your mailing list (which is very easy by using my MailChimp Masterclass – How to Guide) you can create a campaign using the following steps:

  1. Navigate to the campaigns page and click Create Campaign in the upper-right corner of the screen to create a Regular Campaign.  To create a Plain-Text Campaign, A/B Testing Campaign, or RSS campaign, click the drop-down menu and select that option.
  2. On the Recipients step, choose a list from the drop-down menu, and click Entire list, or pick a segmentation option. Click Next or Setup in the progress bar.
  3. On the Setup step, input your Email subject, From name, and From email address and click Next in the progress bar.
  4. On the Template step, the easiest option is to click on Themes to select from Mailchimp’s predesigned layouts.
  5. In the Design step, you then input and customize your campaign content.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with your design, click Next or Confirm in the progress bar.
  7. Review the Pre-Delivery Checklist on the Confirm step. Click Resolve to navigate directly to the step to fix any errors that may appear.  To make other changes, click the Edit button to return to a step.
  8. When you’ve finished testing your campaign, you can either send the campaign immediately or schedule it to go out at another time.
  9. If you’re ready to send the campaign to your subscribers, click the Send button. The Prepare for launch modal will appear, and when you confirm your send by clicking Send Now your campaign will be on its way to your mailing list!

Things to consider

When using Mailchimp to send your Campaign it is important to consider the following:

  • Each recipient on your MailChimp list is hidden from all the other recipients.
  • Test your campaign before you send to your entire list. You can use the preview and test function in Mailchimp to do this.
  • MailChimp automatically includes both an HTML version and a plain-text alternative version for each of your subscribers. This ensures your subscribers view your content as expected, regardless of the email client or program they use.
  • MailChimp is designed to send email campaigns that contain HTML code and plain-text content. Due to this Mailchimp advises against using other code to create campaigns.

Your campaign content

Once you have mastered ‘how to’ send a Mailchimp campaign, then it is then important to write your campaigns in a way that appeals to your audience and ensures that they actually open and read your email once it hits their inbox!

Some advice and guidance on creating amazing email campaign content can be found here…



How to Network Like a Pro!

In the last three years networking seems to have been the most successful activity in growing Glow’s contact list and building a solid client base, therefore we’re sharing with you our advice on ‘networking like a pro!’

To make the most out of networking for yourself and your business it would be wise to:

  1. Start by attending lots of different groups, of different sizes, locations, single/mixed gender, and corporate/self-employed.  However, always make sure that all or some of the delegates are in your relevant target market.
  2. Once you have narrowed down what sort of networking groups and activities most suit you and your business then be sure to find as many of these types of group to explore.  E.g. If a single-sex networking group has gained you lots of useful contacts, and seems to be more suited to your product/service, then find similar groups in your target location/s and attend these!
  3. Once you have attended groups that suit you (from exercises 1 and 2 above) on a regular basis you will begin to know which of these groups/meetings are the most successful, therefore these are the ones to carry on attending on a regular basis.
  4. Now you know what groups and events to attend, make sure you check out the delegate list of each meeting or event in advance, and highlight those you would like to build a business relationship with.
  5. Try and chat to as many people as possible at each meeting/event, however make sure you focus on those you have previously highlighted.
  6. Always introduce yourself with a smile, handshake and a business card. Even if you have briefly met a person before it is a good idea to remain professional, therefore a hug is not likely to be appropriate.
  7. Don’t introduce yourself with a robot-like sales pitch. Try to mix it up a bit, and even include some personal details if you feel comfortable.
  8. In conversation don’t focus on the sale. It is more important to focus on building meaningful business relationships, making useful contacts, and seeking new opportunities.
  9. Look for things in common during your conversation (both business experiences and personal attributes) as this helps to build relationships and makes you more memorable.  E.g. If the person you are speaking with has children like yourself, then this is a subject you can connect with and chat about.
  10. As well as using networking to gain contacts, build relationships, and eventually make sales, also use groups to build your confidence by offering to be a speaker, and share your business story, or give an insight into your business/products/services.
  11. Never slag off your competitors – EVER!
  12. A great thing about networking is that, as well as meeting new people, it also encourages referrals, which in turn encourages sales.  By building trust with other business delegates, this means they are more likely to recommend you to others (both who attend the relevant networking group and who don’t).
  13. Always leave a meeting/event by saying goodbye to as many people as possible who you have spoken with. This, along with a beaming smile, leaves a lasting impression and makes you memorable!

If you’re looking for fun & friendly women’s networking come and check out Her Business Brew – there are several meeting locations to choose from, as well as a Facebook group and regular events.

If you’re in Norfolk and like to support local businesses, then Buy Local Norfolk meet at different locations across the county.


Launch of An Hour or So

‘An Hour or So’ is a Norfolk-based initiative where local businesses give an hour of their services in exchange for a charitable donation.

Local entrepreneur, business owner, and Director of Glow VA, Serena Fordham, has launched the scheme to help local businesses connect, communicate and grow while donating to local worthy causes.

This is a great way for businesses to raise their profile, or for you to give back if you want to use one of the services being offered.

How it works

The Giver

– Many service businesses offer a one-hour free consultation anyway, therefore this hour will now benefit from gaining a charitable donation.  Plus, this assists the CSR of the business.

– The giver will hopefully gain more clients from this scheme (however this cannot be guaranteed).

The Receiver

– The receiver will be able to ‘try before they buy’ without a service costing its full value, which they might not otherwise be able to afford.

– The receiver can try out the service to see if it works for them before they commit.

The Charities

– The local charities benefit from a cash donation to help fund their valuable work within the local community.

The project is supporting a range of charities in Norfolk including Break, Age UK Norfolk, West Norfolk Mind, Nelson’s Journey and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

A full list of the Norfolk-based charities the scheme supports can be found on Just Giving

Take part

In order to take part please visit the new An Hour or So website

Referral arrangements between Estate Agents and The Legal Profession

Have you heard the expression “There is no such thing as a free lunch”?

These days there are increasing arrangements between estate agents and the  legal profession when people are selling and buying homes.

There are dangers with this type of arrangement which are not beneficial to the public:

1.  The job of the Lawyer is to protect the interests of their clients and observe client confidentiality. With referral arrangements one has to be careful that protocol is not disregarded to secure another introduction from the agent.

2.  Take care when signing agency agreements as there is the risk they may contain small print whereby, if you do not use the agents recommended Lawyer, that an amount of money  is taken off the offer you get for the property you are selling. This happens because the agents lose out on referral fees.  Remember you own the product being sold not the estate agent.

3.  Lawyers fees are competitive therefore when a fee is paid to the estate agent for the referral the work could be carried out by unqualified personnel or within a team meaning the file gets passed around.

4.  Work can be sent to large organisations some of which are not local and there is no element of personal service.  Furthermore,  you do not build up a relationship with your Lawyer and may not ever meet them. Most people prefer to establish a working relationship with their lawyer for the future years to come.

5. You can end up paying much more for the work as the referral fee to the estate agent has to be built in somewhere. Therefore, small print can include  lots of add-ons in addition to the basic fee e.g. further charges for dealing with the mortgage work (which is all part of the purchase process),  further fees for dealing with mortgage redemptions (which is part of a sale process), very enhanced bank charges, file opening fees etc.

Renata Thornber – Renata Steggles Ltd. Licensed Conveyancer

50 Unthank Road Norwich NR2 2RF

Tel 01603 616760

How to Become a More Organised Entrepreneur

Do you ever feel that you are overloaded with work, and don’t know how to go about reducing that big pile of stuff; which has been building up for days, weeks, or even months?

Maybe it’s about time that you conquered that ‘Mount Everest’ of tasks and paperwork with my top 10 tips on how to become a more organised (and hopefully a less stressed) entrepreneur:

1 Braindump your ideas

Create a mind-map of all the ideas that are crowding your headspace. Use this to clear your mind and focus on each task in hand.

2 Write a ‘to-do’ list

Use headings and subheadings to narrow down exactly what needs to be achieved within each task.

3 Diarise everything

Use a scheduling or diary system to organise your time. Plan tasks ahead of schedule to allow you to dedicate suitable time for each one.

4 Outsource

Outsource anything you can to free up your time to run and grow your business. E.g. by using Virtual Assistants, Marketing Experts, Accountants, etc.

5 Plan often

Set aside designated planning time. Spend one evening (usually a Sunday works best) to plan and prepare your week ahead.

6 Don’t check email in the morning

Check emails at the end of every day rather than at the beginning. Use a small amount of time at the end of the day to plan and prepare for the next day.

7 Cut distraction

Turn off your phone and stay logged out of your email while completing each task. Fewer distractions mean you will complete tasks quicker, and you can reply to urgent calls and emails during coffee breaks in between tasks.

8 Schedule

Schedule email mail-outs and social media posts in advance so they happen automatically. Set aside time to schedule as this will save you time in the long-run (you can also use a social media management tool to be even more efficient at this!)

9 Tidy your desk

Clear your workspace so it is free from loose papers and clutter. After all, an organised space creates an organised mind!

10 Constantly review your progress

Assess what is working well for you at keeping you organised, and focus on doing these things (and remember that what might be working for another person won’t necessarily work for you – and vice versa).


These are all good and well, but are you still wondering where on earth to start with becoming more organised and tackling that mammoth of a mountain?

Here are some useful tangible items you might want to use to help you get started:

  • Mind-mapping software, such as MindGenius or imindmap (or just an old-fashioned pen and paper – and one or two highlighters).
  • A paper diary – electronic ones are great but sometimes it’s good to have everything there in front of you in black and white!
  • A list of useful contacts to lend a hand with your outsourceable tasks when needed.
  • Social media management programmes (e.g. Hootsuite, Buffer, etc).
  • Email scheduling software (e.g. Mailchimp, CRM database, etc).
  • A quiet and clutter free space to work and focus (even a desk in a library might be suitable!).


Basically, all of the above boils down to the fact that: “to fail to prepare, is preparing to fail.”

This mantra is very true both in life and business.  Setting aside a little time to prepare your diary, and plan your time in advance, will be extremely worthwhile in helping to organise your life, work, and most importantly your mind.

So, don’t wait until tomorrow to start planning your strategy to become more organised.  Give yourself that ‘phew’ feeling, and start taking action now!  (You might even get a better night’s sleep, and thank yourself for it!)

Still struggling?

Maybe you need some help, take a look at how we could support your business to shine


Once upon a time…

There was a young woman who graduated from the UEA with a Business Management Degree in 2009.  She had trouble finding work in the unstable job market, and after many interviews and rejection letters, she settled for a job in the cruel competitive world of Estate Agency.

Working her way to a management position within a few years meant that she was able to use her skills gained from her studies and put her practical experience to good use. However, the career ladder was cut short for her, when she was made redundant after having her daughter in 2013.

At this time, with a mortgage to pay and an extra mouth to feed, her and her partner desperately needed money in order to keep their heads above water, therefore she had to find a job, and quickly.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, so one day she decided enough was enough with being turned down for roles in which she was perfectly experienced and educated for, that she chose to create her own job.  Thus in 2013 she set up her own virtual assistant business as a sole trader called Serena Fordham’s PA Services.

With her first client being an Estate Agent needing assistance with setting up and growing their business and property portfolio, she was in her element and soon found that networking and referrals grew her client base steadily, and ensured all her bills were covered, while keeping the new addition to the family in clothes, food and nappies!

All was well, however, the new addition was gradually growing meaning the family was outgrowing their tiny two-bed terraced house with postage stamp sized garden. They needed to move to allow their family to grow and to do that the young woman needed to secure employment as didn’t have enough years of accounts to secure a new and bigger mortgage.

Luckily, she knew her Mum’s neighbour who advised her of a job share position at NPS Norwich which suited her property related experience and was part-time to fit around caring for her daughter.  Within months of starting in January 2014, a larger home was found, mortgage accepted and the family were on the move.  All while she was still growing her business and working for clients around her employment in evenings and weekends.

After another few months, this wasn’t sustainable as the business was becoming too big to juggle with employment and a child too so NPS Norwich lost her as an employee in 2015.

Fast forwarding to 2016, the virtual assistant business was booming, with 30 regular clients, and various projects and events under her belt too, all looked promising for the future.  At that point, a bombshell hit, as after trying for a second child for several years and facing various situations of extreme heartbreak and failure, the young woman fell pregnant and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in the same year.

Even though this bombshell was an incredible miracle, this mean that the growing business had to put on its breaks, and the young women asked a few of her close business friends, who she met through a woman’s network she runs called Her Business Brew, to help her by covering her client work while she took some time out with her new bundle of joy.

But this didn’t put on the breaks of the business at all, instead, it allowed for even further growth as when the young woman returned from her short maternity leave, even more clients, events and projects were taken on, now being undertaken by the small team of incredible women.

At the same time two dormant ideas came to life to raise money for amazing causes – An Hour or So, which is an initiative to bring together businesses in aid of charities, and Stories of She, a book about the real-life experiences faced by women to raise awareness and give support to others.  Also, at this time the brainchild that is the Her True Colours Calendar 2018, that empowers and inspires other women to be proud of who they are, was in its planning stages.

Fast forwarding to today, the young woman has just registered her business as Serena Fordham Enterprises Limited, trading as Glow Virtual Assistants, and now has a team of 9 experienced and qualified individuals to ‘support your business to shine’!

So, we arrive at our current destination, in September 2017, and the young woman from my story is right here in front of you, to tell you not to give up on your dreams, change plans to reach your goals, and never underestimate what you can achieve.

Life throws us curve balls at times, but with the support of incredible people around you, you can always dodge them, and even become stronger and grow because of them!

Glow Virtual Assistants will continue to grow to support even more entrepreneurs to achieve their business dreams, however the values of the young women working at her old laptop at her small kitchen table back at the start of it all, will never be compromised, with helping others and raising funds for charity always being at heart.

And as they say in fairy tales;

“The young women lived happily ever after…

…The End”

(well not quite yet!!!)


By Serena Fordham, Founder and CEO of Glow Virtual Assistants

Taken from her speech at the Inspired Women BIG Conversation, Sept 2017