Archive for category email marketing

foursquare Social Media Ignorance


Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...

Image via CrunchBase

So tell me what’s wrong with this picture.  I got this email today:

Hi Tim,

If you’ve opened up foursquare in the last couple weeks you’ve probably noticed that we made a ton of changes. We re-imagined the entire app, Extreme Makeover style, to make it even easier for you and your friends to share and save your experiences and find new places to go. We also gave it plenty of design love and under-the-hood tweaks, so it’s not only prettier but faster than ever – hurrah!

Usage Ignorance

Anyone who has me as a friend in foursquare or see’s my Facebook stream knows I use foursquare a lot.  The question is, why doesn’t foursquare know this?  How can I get an email making it seem like I need to be reminded that the screens have changed, the navigation is different, more map features added, and more?  So why is a social media company incapable of using their own data to enhance my relationship?  Why not make me feel special rather then a member of their junk mail list?

Lessons for  Small Business

Even the big boys don’t get it right.  So don’t ever think that you should not try because some major player in your space can always do it better and faster then you.  Often, small business has more chances to beat the larger players at their own game because small business can be more nimble.

So my advice, don’t count out social media in your marketing plan!

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Destroying the Trust: The Top 50 Mailers


I don’t know if it’s just my cynical nature or that I haven’t got enough sleep lately but the article “The Top 50 Mailers” in Target Marketing got my attention.   I was struck that only 9 of the top 50 do not rent lists.  Now I’m happy that someone is making some money in this economy, but I’m beginning to see why so many people are keeping the free email market alive by using bogus or SPAM avoiding  gmail, hotmail, and yahoo accounts when giving out their email addresses to organization they don’t trust or think they will sell their information.

Anyways, just wanted to send a shout out to the companies that took the time to create their own lists and making money with them: (in order of sales/revenue) Citigroup, Procter & Gamble, Mutual of Omaha, The Salvation Army, ALSAC/St.Jude Hospital, AARP,  AAA, Gerber Life Insurance Co., Suarez Corp.

Good Hunting.

Top 50 Mailers measured by volume

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5 Reasons Why Online Marketing Rules


One of the blog authors I read frequently is Matt Hames at his blog “People like to share“.  Recently he threw out a blog post that seemed to challenge my chosen profession of Internet Marketing.  The post was “5 reason why online marketing sucks“.  Now besides the title catching my eyes, some of the content was equally abrasive.  Now let me say this, if you come from the print world, his thoughts might be exactly what your are thinking and seem normal.  For someone like me that has come up the ranks in the internet only path I found his items lacking.

So rather then attack Matt’s prejudiced and bias post towards those of us in the internet space I thought I would spend some time explaining why I love the online marketing realm and why I think it is the future of our industry called marketing.

Reason 1: Speed of Feedback = Reaction Speed

I love the fact that I can put out an internet ad on Google or Yahoo and within a day I can start making adjustments.  I can test titles, graphics, copy, landing pages.  I know based on impression rates how many eyes have seen the ad.  Once they land on my ad landing page I can track what they do and where they went on my site by telling a story and adding action items at different points of the story, thus giving me valuable information about what engages the visitor.  I know how many people have clicked on the ad.  I know what phrases they used to search the internet that introduced them to my ad and land on my page for that ad.  I love the speed of feedback.  I can make changes to my world while my print counterparts are still wondering how bad their campaign was with some 0.000000000000003 conversion rate.

Reason 2: Pay Per Click

Most of my clients are small and thus are trying to compete in the world of the big boys, mostly national or regional players.  Yes, 75% of my time is building guerrilla marketing campaigns for these small businesses using internet advertising that the larger competitors don’t see as relevant or worth much to them.  I have very little buying power when it comes to the print world for my clients to compete against the larger companies.  The pay-per-click (PPC) tools provided by Google, Yahoo, and the likes, provide a low cost to entry model that when coupled with geo-targeting allows for many local and small companies to gain market share in their realm of influence.

Reason 3: Measurements mean Change

I laugh at some of the dollars spent in the print world as well as the deadlines they must meet to get in a publication’s print run.  In the non-online marketing world you have to spend a lot of money up front to generate your campaigns for print, TV, radio, billboard, wrap-around vehicle ads, etc.  Because these contracts are written for multi-year commitments you can have a real campaign STINKER like McDonald’s “I’m Love’n it” last much longer then it ever should.  You would have to find a large number of bad web sites on the internet ether floating around to compare to just that one example of a complete embarrassment of a marketing campaign built around a bad tag line.

In the online marketing space, owners of web sites can change agencies quickly and adjust at speeds the non-online marketers fear with all their souls.  Is it any wonder you see the attacks on the on-line marketing world coming from those that would love to see the status quo remain the same?

Reason 4:  Multiple Tools in the Toolbox

I can agree with Matt that certain online tools are used for the wrong reasons.  I for one don’ t use email marketing for prospecting new leads.  I use email marketing for retention marketing and increasing the “share of wallet”.  I explain to my clients that all the different things you can do on the internet are but tools in the toolbox.  We listen to the desires of the client, build the measurement expectations, then implement the plan based on the best tools for the job.

I often explain that a client demanding a web site as the solution to all their problem is the same as demanding that your home builder only use a hammer to build your entire home.  No tape measures, no ladders, no saws, no plumb lines.  Just a hammer.  They quickly realize that they would never demand this limitation on their builder and often then come to the conclusion that they should allow me to quote the job based on the tools I think I’ll need to complete their request.

Reason 5: Competition for Customers drive Innovation

Matt brings up a great ‘one click away’ discussion but online marketers tend to look at it differently.  We understand that we only have a few seconds (most will say 3 seconds) to engage with a prospect or client or they are ‘one click away’ from going to a competitor site.  This often drives more ‘creative’ tactics to come to the marketplace at faster rates then some would like.  It does tend to cause us to look at impulse and emotions more then someone who has the time to tell a story. We assume our web site landing pages will continue the interaction and tell the story.  It does also allow for some poor choices to be made but go back to Reason 1 to understand why I don’t care.  If I’m not making the numbers I expect within the first 48 hours of a new text or banner ad, I’m already working on an A/B test to see what I can do differently.  The next 48 hours will be better then the first 48 hours, I guarantee.    Let’s see … how long does it take to change a billboard, magazine ad, TV commercial, etc?

In conclusion

With all the advancements on the internet, I’m surprised the print marketing world is even around.  As more and more people drop their magazine, newspaper, and newsletter subscriptions and reduce their TV consumption, they begin to use their electronic readers  and on-demand viewing devices.   I would think that the print and TV world would be worried about their business models ….. oh, wait, THEY ARE!

Good Hunting.

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Holiday On-Line Shopping Best Practices


We know the Holidays are just around the corner when Direct Marketing magazines start their year end tradition of telling the retailers how to improve their sites for the up-coming on-line shopping season. (Forget the fact that Christmas displays are going up, retailers need the magazines to tell them) I recently read a great article by Ken Burke in Target Marketing. He provides a great example (knowing or unknowingly I don’t know) of how the Direct Marketing crowds look at web sites versus how Internet Marketing Specialists look at web sites.

All kidding aside for the moment, this is a critical question or concern for many starting out in the ecommerce realm. It seems that every year we are asked by smaller companies venturing into on-line shopping what do do to capitalize on the opportunity. In the past we wrote about this in Favorable News in On-Line Spending and Be Proactive – React Now!

Five Best Practices for the Holidays

All of Mr Burke’s recommendations are dead on. I think he writes a compelling reason for each and provides language that matches his audience. Below are the five key points of his article. You can read the entire article at TargetMarketingMag.com

  1. Improve Internal Site Search Performances
  2. Improve Product Page Conversion
  3. Reduce “One-and-Outs”
  4. For the Holidays, Give Shipping and Delivery Center Stage
  5. Promote Worry-Free Shopping

As I stated above, Mr Burke has sound advice. I like the Target Marketing magazine. It’s one of the few magazines I refuse to let me wife throw away before I get a chance to read it. (The USPS has a special truck just for magazine deliveries to my home office …. just kidding)

Think TAX Day (US April 15)

Now let’s assume I’m your tax accountant. Every small business in the US files quarterly, and the really lucky ones get to file monthly! (Sarcasm intended) Two months before our nation’s citizens begin to spend billions of dollars on tax services for that fateful day, I send you an email stating it’s time to start thinking about your taxes. I layout a well thought out plan of attack on what you need to do in the next two months to capitalize on the tax credits and new filling regulations for the April 15th deadline. So how long would I be your tax accountant?

Enhanced Advice

OK, let’s say we were to follow Mr. Burke’s advice ALL YEAR LONG! (Which is what I’m recommending you do!) Your organization could focus it attention on the true benefit of all your hard work ….. increase reach. With the knowledge you have a very well designed web site and a web site with great conversion potential, this is the time of year you should be kicking up the Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising. You would be finding email newsletters and purchasing ad space. Increase your spending in tower and banner ads. These items would increase the holiday profits for more.

Oh, and for those of you who find yourself in November and are beginning to ask these questions, do the best you can for this holiday season but really start thinking about 2009.

Good Hunting!

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