5 questions with Christy Farr of Seeds & Weeds Coaching

How email marketing gave her small business a boost at just the right time

Christy Farr shares her story with us.

I talk to customers every day who run their own businesses and rely on Emma to share their story and connect with their customers. I recently had the opportunity to connect with Christy Farr, a life coach here in Nashville, and I learned how she used Emma to take her one-woman company, Seeds & Weeds Coaching, from maintenance mode into a period of high growth.

With a little planning and a lot of heart, Christy created a community of clients with a 30-day Sick of Being Stuck email series and breathed new life into her own business. Read on to hear Christy's story, in her own words.

1. Tell us a little bit about a day-in-the-life of a life coach.

My day is an ever-evolving balance between empowering others and managing "the business" of empowering others. Every day starts with writing – blogs, class materials and newsletters – then it's to the phone for coaching sessions with clients, group coaching with students or a book study. Throw in networking over vegetarian Indian food; collaborating with other coaches, healers and teachers on new projects; and looking for more powerful ways to serve my community, and you can piece together any given day in my world.

2. How has Emma helped you grow?

Emma helps me grow by meeting me wherever I am, no matter what. And every single time I get stuck, Emma has what I need to keep moving forward. When I needed to maintain my contact list and mail a monthly newsletter (aka, lick my wounds from the violent experience I accidentally had with the dark side of virtual marketing for life coaches ... only a touch of exaggeration here), Emma was there. And believe it or not, last summer when I faced the possibility of closing Seeds & Weeds Coaching (essentially for lack of engagement from the community I was trying to serve), it was Emma that helped me bring the business back to life.

I know how that sounds, but it's actually true. After two and a half years, the business still wasn't sustainable. Even more disheartening than the poverty (literally), was knowing that I wasn't doing what I was born to do. If I was reaching "enough" people, I'd be making "enough" money. If working for someone else could could solve both of those problems, it was time to consider the possibility. The decision felt impossible, and every time I would meditate or write or talk about it with someone else, I heard the same lesson in my head again and again. Maddeningly, it's something I always use to cultivate ideas in other people: You already have everything you need to take the next perfect step in this journey.

Rather begrudgingly, I agreed, "Fine, I have everything I need." A quick inventory revealed that I had only three things I could use to give this business one more chance: Me, Emma and the idea that when any of the gardens of our lives are unwell – body, relationships, money, creativity, spirituality, etc. – we can radically transform the situation by releasing that which no longer serves us from our physical environment. That was all I had, so I went for it, and "Sick of Being Stuck September" (SOBSS) changed, well, everything.

3. Creating a 30-day email series requires a lot of planning and content. What's your secret to success?

The program included daily clutter-clearing challenges, articles, group calls and community support, and I managed the entire thing through Emma. Now, I wish I could tell you that it was premeditated and smooth, but that would be a lie. This was, after all, my Hail Mary pass, and it took everything in me to get those emails crafted and sent every day with everything else that SOBSS stirred up.

There were times that I was writing emails at 1 a.m., climbing up the stairs and crashing for a few hours before I was up again getting the children off to school. Toward the end of the month, some of them were even written the morning they went out. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. Six hundred people signed up for that program, more than doubling the size of my newsletter list. And when I say everything changed, I mean the "now I have coaching clients, a monthly class with students actually paying to come, and the book is on the editor's desk" kind of everything changed.

I suppose that the secret to my success really boils down to integrity. I did everything in my power to keep promises that I made to myself (pursuing my dream), my family and the wild and wonderful people who said and continue to say yes to the Sick of Being Stuck invitation (crafting and sending the emails). To be clear, it's not perfect, but it's my best, and my students can affirm that my perfectly imperfect is enough to rock their collective worlds.

4. Where do you draw inspiration?

That one is easy. I'm inspired by what's not working. I believe that our struggles and challenges are a direct result of living out of alignment with the truth of who we are as individuals. The coaching, writing and teaching allow me to address the needs that my clients, readers and students bring to the table. When something stinks, they bring it to Seeds & Weeds, and we work together to craft a new way of being for them, a shift into thoughts and actions that will cultivate better results. I've found that when we are willing to accept lessons from the natural world, our lives can begin to bloom.

5. You can invite any four people to happy hour. Who'd be there?

Oriah Mountain Dreamer, Anne Lamott, Dolly Parton and Ellen DeGeneres.

Learn more about Seeds & Weeds Coaching >>

Sign up for Christy's newsletter >>

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A spotlight of three restaurants in NYC

How these Emma customers use email to keep & attract customers

In July 2010, Emma established a presence in the Big Apple. I opened our New York City office, and I lead up our business development efforts here. In 2011, I was joined by my colleague, Claire Burns, who helps our largest clients with some personalized email strategy. Claire and I are located in SoHo, which puts us in an excellent location for some of the (many) culinary delights that NYC has to offer.

Choosing a restaurant in NYC is both exciting and overwhelming. In Manhattan alone, which is only 23 square miles, there are over 4,000 Zagat-rated restaurants, and in all five boroughs, there are nearly 26,000 restaurants. As a patron, you almost have too many options.

I generally decide where I'm going to eat based on what's at the top of my mind on any given day, and guess what I think is the best way for a restaurant to stay top of mind? Why, by sending emails, of course.

What makes email marketing so successful for restaurants?

First, it allows you to trigger a customers's vicarious experience. They're looking at well-placed images of your food, hearing about your specials-of-the-week and picturing themselves sitting down to happy hour on your porch. (It's such a lovely porch, after all.)

Now, let's imagine someone's already been to your restaurant. A few times, even. In that case, your emails have the opportunity to strengthen your fan base. Use personal stories to let them know more about your brand and your beginnings. Profile particular waiters, waitresses or chefs, so visitors have a feeling of getting to know them.

In the end, you've created an experience that's more than just about the food. And that helps encourage repeat business – and word-of-mouth recommendations.

Three restaurants who do email well

I love signing up to receive emails from Emma customers in NYC, and some of my favorite restaurants have recently caught my eye.

Monument Lane, a favorite new restaurant in the West Village, does a great job of gathering email addresses with a card placed in the bill. (Folks are most likely to sign up for your emails right after they've had a great experience with you.)

Their email stationery mimicks the styling of their menu – that continuity of branding is a fabulous idea, as it triggers customers' memories of the place. 

See the online version of the email >>

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I'm also a big fan of Mario Batali. May I go ahead and call him a genius in the kitchen?

He's also got talented folks in his marketing department, and they share recipes, videos and more with their email audience.

Their new Monthly Molto! newsletter is a great example of how to make email content relevent, timely and replicable.

See the online version of the email >>

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Finally, Danny Meyer uses Emma to keep folks up to date – and announce new locations – of one of my favorite burger joints, Shake Shack.

He's also using email to promote his newest restaurant, Maialino. Email is one of the quickest and most affordable ways to leverage your existing customer base when you've got a new announcement to make.

See the online version of the email >>

What can email do for your brand?

Of course, in these three examples, I'm talking about established restaurants, but the nice thing about email is that it's cost effective and equally easy to implement whether you're running a large brand or just getting started. Emma's tools are simple to use, so they work well for businesses with marketing and graphic design teams, as well as one-person shops.

We want to help you by ...

  • Finding the design option that works. Whether you choose one of the templates from our template gallery or order a customized email design, your email will look like it's coming from your brand.
  • Giving you creative control. Our drag & drop content editor allows you to flexibly build your email layout, any way you'd like. Add a text box here, an image box there, then drag and drop to reorder and rearrange your content.
  • Working with you one-on-one. Have you chatted with our support team yet? They're real people, ready to answer the phone and solve your email marketing quanderies. (Unless those quanderies involve superstring theory. In which case, you're on your own.)

Know of other brands doing email marketing well? We'd love to hear of them. Comment here to keep the conversation going.

New to Emma? Learn how to get started for free.

 

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When life gives you iPads & Kindles, make an email marketing strategy

How authors and publishers use email to increase reader engagement

I'm a sucker for a hardbound novel that's way too heavy to carry, but looks like a piece of artwork on my shelf. Even though iPads and Kindles make buying, consuming and transporting reading material incredibly easy, I'll never stop collecting gorgeous physical copies of books.

While I hope book buying never fades away completely, a relentless technological tide and shifting economy have forced even the most traditional denizens of the literary world to go with the online flow. Since more people are reading online, it makes sense for publishers and authors to focus their marketing efforts there as well.

Here are a few examples from folks in the publishing industry who are successfully utilizing email marketing to stay in touch with readers and broaden their audience. Hopefully, these will inspire you to put pen to paper, er, fingers to keyboard.

Janet Evanovich's newsletter

Keep up with your favorite characters with Janet Evanovich's newsletter.

Janet Evanovich | Living beyond the page

Ever put down a book and find yourself immediately missing your favorite character? Me, too. Janet Evanovich builds excitement for her next novel by sending email updates written in the voice of Mooner from her bestselling Plum series.

Have a little fun and let your imagination do the heavy lifting. Consider using Emma's trigger feature to send a clever (and automatic) hello from you or one of your favorite characters when someone subscribes to your newsletter.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Follow @janetevanovich on Twitter
+ Sign up for Janet's newsletters

Patti Digh

Want to know where Patti will be next? Sign up to receive her emails.

Patti Digh | Making an appearance

Self-help author Patti Digh would like to read to you. And more importantly, inspire you! After all, musicians aren't the only ones who get to travel the country spreading their talent to lucky listeners.

Send an email letting fans know when you're doing a reading in a town near them. Ask for subscribers to provide their zip codes, then use Emma's search and segment tool to easily follow up with them when you're pulling into their city.

+ See a recent newsletter
+ Follow @pattidigh on Twitter
+ Read Patti's blog

Oxford American previews what's coming up next.

Oxford American | Featuring offline content

Wondering what to expect in the next issue of Oxford American Magazine? Here, the team at OA does a great job of touching on topics to look forward to, as well as encouraging email subscribers to purchase hard copy versions.

Sending an issue synopsis is the perfect way to pique your reader's interest. Don't forget to create links that easily direct traffic so folks can dig into your content back at your website. Then, check out Emma's response section to see who's clicking to read more and which topics resonate.

+ See a recent newsletter
+ Follow @oxfordamerican on Twitter
+ Connect with Oxford American on Facebook

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Want more ideas? Check out the slide show below for additional examples from authors.

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Emma City Guide: New York, NY

Tour NYC this Valentine's Day and meet some of our favorite Big Apple customers

I'm back for another stop in our tour of Emma cities, and today I'm highlighting some of our New York City customers. And since it's Valentine's Day, I've added a bit of a romantic twist to my lineup of Big Apple destinations. February 14th means different things to different people — that is, not everyone expects to meet their soulmate at the top of the Empire State Building today — but the magical thing about New York City is that there's enough romance for everyone.

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Catbird

219 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn

 

Catbird
Were you that kid in 2nd grade who distributed handmade Valentines while your classmates settled for assembling the boxed variety? Do you gravitate toward great design, appreciate a well-curated shop and just love love? Then you'll want to pop into Catbird this month to get in on the Valentine goodies. Or if you're admiring NYC from afar, visit their website and ogle collections of jewelry, stationery and treasures for the home. Oh, and while you're there, sign up for their emails to get a heads-up about free shipping offers, new products and maybe even a little special surprise on your birthday.

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Kiki de Montparnasse

79 Greene Street, Manhattan

 

Kiki de Montparnasse
If you've moved past conversation hearts and Bee Mine cards (buzz), New York City has got you covered. After all, it's home to Kiki de Montparnasse, which boasts a luxury lingerie line sure to make your Valentine's Day special. Every product in their flagship boutique is ensconced in romance, and their online shop lets you get in on the fun even if a trip to SoHo isn't on your agenda. Kiki de Montparnasse uses Emma to promote new products and invite subscribers to exclusive events.

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Daniel Boulud Restaurants

 

Boulud Sud
For some, Valentine's Day is all about candlelight, good wine and just about the best meal you could possibly imagine. Look no further than the restaurants of renowned Chef Daniel Boulud. Whether you're catching a quick pre-theater meal at DBGB Kitchen and Bar (try the burger!) or spending the whole evening lingering over a four-course prix fixe menu at Boulud Sud, it'll be a night to remember. Subscribers to Boulud's emails were recently enticed with a sneak peek of the Valentine's Day menus and a link to online reservations. They had me at Chocolate Macadamia Almond Cream Cake …

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Brooklyn Public Library

10 Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn

 

The Brooklyn Public Library is an unexpected Valentine's Day destination, but it's a lovely place to spend an afternoon with someone you love. With an impressive permanent collection highlighting Brooklyn's rich history and ever-changing events calendar, BPL sends the highlights to more than 100,000 subscribers so they'll know to check out cool exhibits like Building Stories. Go yourself, and you won't only get to be cute and couply with your Valentine, but you'll learn about city architecture and start seeing your surroundings in new ways.

 

+ See a recent email campaign
+ Visit their website

Whole Foods Culinary Center

95 East Houston, Manhattan

 

Whole Foods Culinary Center
Rather than go out for a Valentine's Day meal with all the other couples, surprise your sweetie with a cooking class at Whole Foods Market. The Bowery Culinary Center is offering up a menu of intriguing classes this February — who wouldn't be delighted to attend Beer & Southeast Asian Cuisine or The Winter Herbal Kitchen? The Culinary Center uses smartly placed signup forms to keep website visitors in the know, and their campaigns contain clear calls to action with class registration links.

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Physique 57

 

Physique 57
Maybe you're not in a romantic relationship right now. Maybe you're still going to have the best-ever Valentine's Day, thanks to your best-ever friends. If you're looking for ideas to gather the gals for an outing, consider a group fitness class at Physique 57. In one hour, you'll stretch, strengthen and tone by performing a variety of exercises to energizing music that's always changing to keep things fresh. You might even catch their Love Songs playlist in an upcoming class, which was cleverly promoted in a recent email campaign. It's the kind of exercise experience that always puts a smile on my face and makes me feel a little less guilty about indulging in a Valentine's Day pastry later in the day.

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Canal Room

285 West Broadway at Canal, Manhattan

 

Canal Room
Perhaps a night on the town is in order, too. Why not meet up at Canal Room, a music and event venue that has some pretty irresistible shows on its February calendar. Make plans to dance the night away to your favorite guilty pleasures, courtesy of 80s cover band Rubix Kube. The Back to the Eighties show runs Saturdays in February and March, and it's guaranteed to be one of those dance-in-a-circle-you've-tossed-your-purses-in-the-center-of kind of nights. Canal Room fans learn about upcoming events through regular email updates, and since the email stationery matches the look of the Canal Room website, it's a seamless experience to hop from one to the other.

 

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Whatever your plans are, we wish you a lovely Valentine's Day! And if you want to catch up on our other city guides in the places Emma calls home, click to read about Austin, Portland and Denver.

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Emma powers the emails of more than 30,000 businesses, nonprofits and agencies. Try Emma. For free. Inquire now.


Are you ready for some email?

A peek at the New York Giants' email marketing strategy

This Sunday, millions of people will gather to watch the Super Bowl. For some, it's all about the commercials. For others, it's about critiquing Madonna's half-time performance. And for the sports fans among us, it's about the matchup of two football teams who had very different, and equally exciting, seasons. Regardless of which side you're rooting for, Emma is proud to power the emails of this year's NFC Champions, the New York Giants. The folks that handle the Giants' premium ticket holder relations have knocked their email strategy out of the park, er, into the end zone. Take a look at a few of the ways Rachel Wohl and her team tackle email marketing.

The right message to the right people

The Giants' marketing team understands the art of audience segmentation. With various levels of ticket holder, messaging has to be specific. By segmenting smaller groups based on ticketing level, the Giants ensure the relevancy of every message that hits the inbox. In turn, recipients trust that their time is not being wasted with unnecessary information. The Giants average open rate is a whopping 55% — that's more than twice the industry average!

New York Giants' response numbers
Taking time to target your messages can make a huge difference in your response metrics.
In short: While the Giants have built-in segments to work with, any business can find ways to get more focused with messaging. If you're a nonprofit, consider creating unique audience groups for donors versus volunteers. Retail shops and restaurants can group by recipient preferences. And businesses with multiple locations can use zip codes to divide their database. Find what groupings make sense for your business and industry, and use Emma's search and segment feature to make it happen. Then, test to see if segment-specific messages make a difference in your response rates.

Having fun with the brand

With a legacy that goes back to 1925, the Giants have established themselves as one of the most recognizable brands in the NFL. The block-style "NY" logo is as instantly familiar as their blue and red uniforms. In keeping with that tradition, the Giants' email stationery boldly conveys the brand. And once you've got brand recognition, it's easy to loosen up and have a little fun. The Giants call on Emma's design team to occasionally adjust their existing stationery by adding subtle nods to various seasons. From hints of pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month to leaves for fall and snowflakes for winter, the stationery stays true to the brand while delivering a little surprise and delight along the way.

New York Giants' email stationery
Adding new elements to existing stationery is a fun way to change things up.
In short: If you're getting bored of your newsletter's look, chances are your audience is a little bored too. Why not get creative? Adding holiday elements for an end-of -year push is an obvious place to start, but any season or special event in your business or industry can inform a slight variation on your existing template. Send a design request to our team, and we'll walk through the details with you.

Keeping the party going

The Super Bowl is a time to party, and that's especially true for the Giants and their fans this year. As a special thank you for continued support, the Giants planned a party for their premium ticket holders. They worked with our design team to create a custom email that has the feel of an exclusive invitation, while incorporating brand familiarity. To manage the response, the Giants linked the invitation to an Emma-powered survey, which acts as an RSVP form. When recipients fill out the survey, all the information goes right into the response section in the Giants' account, making it easy to track and follow up.

New York Giants' invitation and RSVP survey
Pairing a survey with an email invitation makes tracking and follow-up a breeze.
In short: Consider managing your next event right within your Emma account. Create an email invitation, link it to a survey that collects all of your RSVP details, and then set up triggered emails to remind attendees about the event in advance. You could even create a follow-up survey after the event to gather feedback. Need help geting started? Our support team would be happy to show you how it all works together.

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As you watch on Sunday and get swept up in the gameday antics, take a moment to marvel at all the behind-the-scenes work that boosts fan engagement and participation. We're thrilled to be partnered with the Giants, and we're excited to see how their marketing team continues to smartly reach their fans.

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Ready to freshen up your email stationery? Request revisions from Emma's design team.


Emma City Guide: Denver, CO

Tour Denver and get to know some of Emma's mile-high customers

This crisp fall weather is signaling me to spend some time in the great outdoors. And what better place to enjoy autumn's offerings than Denver, Colorado? Home to one of Emma's satellite offices, the mile high city is a fine place to spend a day shopping, eating and soaking up some of its downtown culture, and it's the perfect setting for our next Emma City Guide.

I'm actually headed to Denver next month, so I'm putting together my short list of must-visit local attractions, and I found some noteworthy Emma customers along the way. Here's my rundown of a perfect day in Denver, Emma-style.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science - Emma Email Marketing Blog
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science uses Emma to promote exhibits and special programs and to stay in touch with museum members.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science

2001 Colorado Blvd

For me, exploring a new city means visiting a museum or two. It's a chance to feed my brain in a unique setting, chat with a docent and find a proper souvenir in the gift shop. I'll begin my day in Denver with a visit to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. This museum has been a city fixture since 1900 and provides the community with exhibitions and programs that teach visitors about the history of Colorado and beyond. I'll hit up the permanent exhibit of Egyptian mummies first, then wander through the lifelike wildlife dioramas. Oh, and I can't forget the planetarium. There's so much to see, I'm planning on making a morning out of it. And when I get a little peckish, I'll grab a sandwich from the snack bar and head outside for a leisurely lunch in City Park. It's just outside the museum door.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Fleur de Lis - Emma Email Marketing Blog
Fleur de Lis uses Emma to let customers know about upcoming sales and to notify them of changes to their website and blog.

Fleur de Lis
8000 E Belleview Ave, Ste B40
Greenwood Village

After a picnic lunch, I'll scout out a couple local shops. Fleur de Lis (a paperie) will make a delightful first stop, just south of the downtown Denver Tech Center. It's a luxury paper boutique, the kind of place that instantly inspires you to dedicate more time to old fashioned correspondence. But they also stock beautiful gifts and accessories, like picture frames, portfolios, pens and personalized stamps. If you're planning a wedding or special event, this is a one-stop shop for custom save-the-dates, invitations and gifts for the wedding party or guests of honor. Treat yourself to something nice, too.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website and blog

CLP Jewelry - Emma Email Marketing Blog
CLP Jewelry uses Emma to showcase products and announce trunk shoe events to retail partners and fans.

CLP Jewelry

Carried by multiple retailers

While meandering back to downtown Denver, I'll likely embrace my inner cowgirl and pick up some locally crafted jewelry from Emma customer CLP Jewelry. Christy Lea Payne's designs are decidedly western, made with soft worn leather and natural stones and metals, and they reflect Christy's signature rustic style.

Her pieces are carried in a number of local Denver boutiques, but she does wholesale business with shops all over the country. You can visit the CLP Jewelry website to find a retail location. Yeehaw.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

Denver Philharmonic - Emma Email Marketing Blog
The Denver Philharmonic Orchestra uses Emma to share its season schedule and promote ticket sales.

Denver Philharmonic Orchestra

KPOF Hall, 1340 Sherman St

Time to take in the local music scene. I'm going to skip the bars and rock venues and class things up a bit by attending a concert by the Denver Philharmonic Orchestra. The Denver Philharmonic is one of the longest standing — and best — community orchestras in the western United States. Now in its 64th season, the DPO is led by conductor Adam Flatt and calls KPOF Hall its home. The DPO's repertoire proves to be a mix of familiar and new-to-my-ears pieces, and the concert will cap off a lovely day in the Front Range.

+ See a recent campaign
+ Visit their website

And there you have Denver in a day. I hope your fall promises a travel adventure or two. Don't forget to check our our previous city guides for Austin and Portland, and happy trails!

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Emma takes you back to school

A roundup of school-related email campaigns

The smell of dry erase markers and school bus exhaust. Suddenly re-acclimating the entire family to 6:00 am morning alarms. Fall leaf motifs now that it's finally cooler than 90 degrees in the shade. Yes, for the students among us, summer is officially over, and school is back in session.

Luckily, a lot of schools and businesses help parents and students get back in the loop by sending regular email communications in preparation of the first day of school — and all through the school year.

Take a gander at some campaign examples that get an A+ from us …

Percy Priest Elementary

Percy Priest Elementary sends a weekly newsletter to parents to keep them up-to-date on everything from where to buy official Percy Priest Elementary Tigers gear to quick links for important information on bus routes and lunch menus. Also, I love that the focal point is a personal note from the school principal. In the end, they're delivering timely and relevant information that's also visually appealing. Oh, and they have a knitting club? If only I could go back to school (and back in time) …

+ View the online version of the campaign
+ Visit Percy Priest on Facebook

The ScrapKins

The ScrapKins is a Brooklyn-based organization that aims to get children excited about recycling and teaches them fun ways to incorporate social consciousness via cute-as-can-be little monsters. This particular email is announcing a new game for iPhones that is both educational and, well, pretty fun too. So, as your little ones in the backseat get restless in the carpool lane, they can learn some valuable life lessons while you jam out to your favorite Jon Secada compilation CD.

+ View the online version of the campaign
+ Visit their blog

The City of Orange City

Schools aren't the only Emma customers getting in on the back-to-school spirit. This example from one of my favorite Emma customers, The City of Orange City, IA, is chock-full of great goings-on, but specifically seeks to highlight some kid-friendly activities around town. Recorder Lessons for only 50 cents? Preschool Story Hour at the library? Don't mind if we do, Orange City. And it's lovely to see that they've incorporated social media links at the bottom — it's a great way to keep their audience clicking for more.

+ View the online version of the campaign
+ Follow them on Twitter

Want to see a few more examples? Take a look at the slideshow below.

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Meet Rocky Mountain MicroFinance Institute


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