Posts Tagged Email

foursquare Social Media Ignorance


Image representing Foursquare as depicted in C...

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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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Social Media Tool: NutshellMail.com – account aggregation


I’ve been noticing a theme in some of the posts/news feeds/articles I’ve been reading about social media.  There seems to be a question about what is coming up next in the realm of technology now that we’ve got Twitter and Facebook clearly entrenched as leaders in the social media space.  MySpace seems to be loosing ground.  Linked is specialized for business use.  Twitter is creating so much content volume you begin to ask a the question, if I tweet and no one replies or retweets did I really tweet?  Facebook users will probably keep the psychiatric industry funded for year because more and more people are feeling inadequate when friends don’t ‘like’ their status updates, links, and notes.

Small Business Owner Problem

So how does a small business owner, or maybe a person on their staff, try to keep up with all this volume of data flying past their eyes and still do their day job.  You could literally be connected 24 hours a day and still miss something.  How do you find out what people are saying about you on Twitter.  Maybe you are a company that has several fan pages and you are having a hard time keeping up with all that is going on.  What you really need is a tool that aggregates the content into a simple email that helps you review all this material in one sitting.

That tool is NutshellMail by Constant Contact.

In a nutshell …

Earlier this year Constant Contact acquired  NutshellMailConstant Contact is a service provider that I recomend to my client for email marketing activities.  In the past they added Survey, Event Marketing tools,  and continue to improve their primary email marketing tool.  Now with the addition of NutshellMail they continue to improve their offering.

Here are some reasons why you might want to give NutshellMail a try:

  • If you have or help manage multiple Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn accounts
  • You want a better way to communicate with and manage all your messaging accounts
  • You can save time by only logging into the accounts that had any activity
  • Keep track of what people are saying about your company with saved searches being delivered to you email in-basket
  • You can’t access personal messages while at work
  • With your smart phone you can see all activity from one email while away from your computer
  • You want to monitor your children’s incoming messages
  • It’s Free, Easy, and Secure

Oh did I mention it was FREE!

Good Hunting.

Sample Email

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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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Google Groups: Team Collaboration Tool


Note: Page and File capabilities are no longer supported by Google within Google Groups.  I am currently creating a post to compare other tools that provide similar capabilities. If you have a team collaboration tool you would like included in my analysis, please leave a comment with tools name and URL.

I am working with a team of five students chartered with the task of creating a new product for the marketplace. I recommended and have created a private Google Groups site for us to collaborate in. I personally have used this tool in the past for social media experiments, all private, so I am completely aware of the tools limitations and strengths. This seemed to be a perfect fit for the diverse team we find ourselves on. Each person in the team has a demanding schedule and other responsibilities to attend to.

I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about Google Groups and how this tool can help groups or communities work together and avoid the need to hold traditional meetings or conference calls.

Google Groups Functionality

Home Page

This is the main page with provide a summary of activity and the main navigation points to the rest of the stie.

Discussions

A place where your team can create thought streams which other teammates can reply to, brainstorm, or refine their ideas. If the team can remain disciplined to keep the thought streams together, it becomes a very strong tool in collecting and refining team ideas.

Note: Page and File capabilities are no longer supported by Google within Google Groups.  I am currently creating a post to compare other tools that provide similar capabilities.

Pages

Comparable to web pages, these are places to store content rich knowledge. It is a collection point of information that would normally be stored in a document or single piece of work. Discussions can be generated from pages.

Files

Files that are externally created can be imported into a common storage area for the entire team to review. Discussions cannot be generated from files.

Administration

Tools needed to manage subscriber lists, the site’s look and feel, and pending discussions or posts if moderation is turned on.

Email Integration

You can create/response to discussions via a team email address. The system can notifiy you each time a new message is created. You can set the frequency based on your personal or group requirements. I nice feature I love is “Subject Prefix”. This allows me to have the team set filters in their email clients to help organize and manage team activities.

Several Google Groups Concerns

Tool Usefulness

This is not really an issue of Google Groups but rather the people you invite into your group. This tool only works if people use it. The quality of the work generated in this environment is only as good as the participation of its members. This tool does not completely remove meetings from the project but it does allow a diverse set of teammates to work on their assignments, any hour of the day, request and provide feedback on their work and others, and be productive beyond the normal meeting driven project.

Page – Content Rich

By this, Google means words and pictures. They draw the line with anything the Google Development team deems as a security risk. So trying to embed a JAVA applet of your team Google Calendar is not allowed. I’m sure the Google Calendar integration issue will be resolved at some time in the future. Yet, if your team desires to store examples of dynamic content rich code on your Google Groups site, you will need to find another creative way to do this.

Email Overload

The notification system default is to alert you each time a new message is placed on the site. With very active members or projects, you could return to their desk and find hundreds, if not thousands, of emails in their in-box notifying you of all the changes the team had made.

Poor SMS Support

Considering the SMS support built into other Google Tools, like Calendar, I found this omission a bit strange. It could be they simply expect you to rely on email, but most phones can send SMS to email now. A work around is to use the filter features of your mail client to then forward a copy to your cell phone as a SMS. With a real active group, you could set your phone on vibrate and rent it out as a personal massage device because it’s going to be going off a lot. You might want to change the notification settings to digest or abridged at that point.

Conclusion

The ROI Hunters find this tool to be very productive. We would love to hear how your team has used it. What you believe it’s strengths and weaknesses are. Please leave a comment.

Good Hunting!

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