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How To Build An Email List

Category : email marketing, Uncategorized


I’ve found summer is tougher on email response than other seasons. People are breezing through their email while their mind is more captivated with outdoor activities and afternoons at the beach. But, the summer months can be a great time to build or add to your email subscriber list.

Clint Smith, the co-founder of Emma Email Marketing, had a nice, quick article about reaching a decent sized audience right away if you don’t already have a large list. His three tips are:

  1. Sponsorships: The easiest way to get access to an e-mail list is to find someone already sending to it and become a sponsor. Just make sure the landing page people hit when they click on your banner ad or link prompts them to join your e-mail list.
  2. Co-registration: Find an organization you like—and whose audience might also be interested in what you’re up to—and see if they’ll let you piggyback on their e-mail signup form either as a favor (if they really like you) or for a fee (if they really like you but also like making a living). There are also co-reg firms that help simplify the entire process.
  3. Customers: Remember that often the best way to grow your e-mail list quickly is to start with your existing customer base. Make sure your cash register, signup forms, front desk, event booth and Web site all encourage people to join your list. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how many actually do.

To add on to what Clint says, you can also use this time of year to grow your list for a targeted campaign in the Fall or Winter. Let’s review two key SPAM laws that should be taken into consideration when using email marketing:

  • The recipient must have given consent to receive information from your company
  • The recipient must have done business with your company in the last two years

Here are some quick tactics you can implement right now to grow your list:

  • Website Form: Make sure every page on your website has a link to a form or an actual form giving visitors the option to receive your email newsletter.
  • Trade Shows: Summer is big for trade shows. If your company does trade shows, put a signup sheet in your booth and give show attendees the option to sign up. Also, make sure the people working your booth know to direct attention to the sign-up.
  • Calling Campaign: Dig into your vast contact database and find customer who your company has NOT does business with in the last two years. Hand this list off to your sales team and kick-off a “re-introduction” calling campaign. As part of the call, have your sales people ask about receiving an email newsletter. A campaign such as this not only grows your subscriber list, but also might revive a few customer relationships.

Anything you might add to the list?

6 Tips for a Different Type of Email Marketing

Category : email marketing


signature.jpgLike all of us, I receive a ton of emails on a daily basis. I have three email addresses and each receives plenty of emails needing attention and/or follow-up. One aspect of email that I’ve come to appreciate is the signature. My inbox also becomes my to-do list at times because I don’t always have the time to put contact information in Outlook or the to-do in my Palm Pilot.

The email signature is becoming a form of marketing in itself – especially for small business. I almost expect a large corporation to have either a complete branded email signature that is mandatory for all employees or no cohesiveness at all. Small businesses can take advantage of that and use that to their competitive advantage. Try something unique, yet professional that may help you stick out in the world of cluttered inboxes. But, don’t go overboard!

Here are some quick tips on email signatures:

  • Contact Information: Obviously, right? Well, some people don’t get it. The goal of the signature is to provide contact information. Make the information simple and in plain view. I don’t want 50 options – give me one or two options to contact you.
  • URL: Many times I like to visit a website prior to talking with someone so I can become more familiar with why they may want to speak with me.
  • Be Clean: I don’t want to have to scroll through a signature or read full paragraphs. Be clean and simple. Remember, the signature is a reflection of your business and your potential first impression. I also think one font type and one or two font sizes is plenty. Too much and you’re taking away from your contact information any maybe even the body of the email.
  • Be Consistent: I recently worked with a company from which I communicated with three different individuals. Each had a very different signature. Coincidentally (or maybe not) they also worked like they didn’t know what the other was doing. Again, a reflection of your business.
  • Tagline/Value Proposition: I may be in the minority on this, but I don’t mind a tagline or value proposition with a URL. Sometimes knowing why a company thinks they’re unique helps in forming an image.
  • Keep Offers to a Minimum: I’d rather not have to think about 10 free offers when you write me. I would however, take a look at look at one or two or maybe a link to an email newsletter sign-up. But, I think this should be secondary to the contact information. The offer should not dwarf the main reason for the signature.

For more technical HTML advice on email signatures, check out Scott Hanselman’s post which I found via one of Douglas Karr‘s daily links posts.

How do you use email signatures? Any other advice?

Email Marketing Ranks High and Blogs Rank Low?

Category : blogging, email marketing


Email marketing has been on my mind lately as I look to make improvements on my various email campaigns. With new products being released we’ll look to compliment paid search, print advertising, and press releases with email campaigns. I’m still a believer in email marketing. Yes, deliverability issues and overloaded in-boxes continue to be concern, but when used in conjunction with other mediums, email marketing provides a low-cost way to spread your message and drive customers to your website.

I typically always open up my BtoB Online Email Marketing newsletter that I get weekly because there is always great information. I was encouraged to see an article called E-mail newsletters important information source for small and midsize businesses. The article, also listed below, talks about survey results that say small businesses consider email newsletters a valuable source for information. At the bottom of the survey results were mediums such as blogs and RSS feeds.

“E-mail newsletters are one of the most important sources for business information and advice for small and midsize businesses, according to survey results published by Bredin Business Information.

Eighty-three percent of respondents said e-mail newsletters were either very important or important sources of information, rivaling print media, which garnered 84%. Corporate and media Web sites came in third at 71%.

So-called new media distribution methods came in last. Webcasts and podcasts were cited by 40% of respondents, RSS feeds by 39%, and blogs and wikis by 34%.

More than 300 SMB executives were surveyed online in January and February for the report, “Optimizing Email Newsletters for Small/Medium Businesses.”

How long do you think webcasts, podcasts, RSS feeds, and blogs will be at the bottom of a survey like this?

Tips For Quick Email Marketing Responses

Category : email marketing


I usually try to sneak in an email every week or two talking about email marketing. Although the debate rolls on as to whether email marketing is dead or not, I still think it has a very legitimate place in any marketing plan. I had a post planned, but came across this short and sweet set of tips in a BtoB Online newsletter I receive. The author was Clint Smith, co-founder of Emma – a web-based email marketing and communications service.

The content caught my eye because I’m sometimes at fault for cramming too much product information into email creative and forgetting to give the reader a call to action or a reason to click-through and come to the site. Many times less content and a strong, visual call to action is the best plan. Here is what I found from Clint:

“There’s nothing like the cha-ching of clicks, orders and activity on your latest campaign. But how do you inspire your readers to act now instead of relegating your e-mail to the dreaded When-I-Get-Around-to-It bin? Here are four quick tips:

  1. Send when they’re ready. It’s 9 p.m. and your big campaign is finally ready. But are your readers in a position to respond if you send now? Think carefully about your timing and aim for a window when recipients are likely to be ready, willing and, well, awake.
  2. Give them a sense of urgency. Subject lines are king these days, so craft one that gives your readers a deadline. Do I need to respond today? Is this my last chance? Will someone turn into a pumpkin at midnight? Let e-mail procrastinators know the buck (or at least the offer) stops here.
  3. Tell them what you want them to do. Senders sometimes lament the fact that no one clicked but, looking at the e-mail, it’s not clear they ever wanted anyone to click. Whatever your goal is—pushing people to the site, encouraging event signups or selling your latest tropical-themed sweater collection—make sure your e-mail makes its intentions clear to everyone who reads it.
  4. Let them do it near the top. In newspaper circles, they call it burying the lead. In e-mail circles, let’s call it burying the link. If there’s something you want your readers to do, have them do it near the top of your e-mail. Wait until the end of the story to invite them over and you may end up being the only one at the party. Please don’t drink all the punch.”

Remember, you don’t have to give away everything in the email – just enough to wet the appetite of the reader and entice them to come to your site where you start to close the conversion.

Time To Buy An Email List? Could Be A Bargain

Category : email marketing


Some good news for small businesses who purchase permission-based email lists for use in their email marketing campaigns – the prices are dropping! A BtoB Online article by Carol Krol talks about the trend:

“E-mail list pricing for both b-to-b and consumer lists continue to decrease, according to list manager Worldata in its Worldata List Price Index.

B-to-b permission-based e-mail lists commanded an average price of $273/M this month, a 1.4% decrease compared with January 2006.

Worldata said the decreased pricing in the b-to-b e-mail category reflects growth in the number of lists available.

B-to-b e-mail lists were the highest-priced category among all lists, including business catalogs, business magazines, databases and attendee/membership lists, with newsletter lists a distant second. Newsletter lists commanded an average $172/M, a decrease of 3.4% from last year.”

The main reason I’m writing about this news tid-bit is because I find that sellers of permission-based email lists are always willing to negotiate pricing. Some of the price points in this article will give you leverage when talking about how much you’re willing to pay.

No eCommerce? Email Marketing Still Works!

Category : email marketing, online marketing


I was in the process of planning a post discussing email marketing for companies who do not sell their products or services on the web. I had read a couple articles and posts in the last month which focused on email marketing as a tool only to drive eCommerce transactions. Sure, emails are great for that, but I think there are many more uses to email marketing – especially in a B to B environment.

Well, Karen Talavera of Synchronicity Marketing stole my thunder. I was researching some content for the post and came across an excellent article written by her for BtoB’s eMail Marketing Insight. She outlined my main points! So, let’s read what SHE has to say:

“Many organizations can’t or don’t sell products and services online. For them, the concept of driving sales conversions via e-mail to an e-commerce-enabled Web site makes about as much sense as leading a horse to a well instead of a river. These companies instead rely on their Web sites to educate interested prospects, cultivate inquiries and accelerate leads—and their best application of e-mail marketing is to do the same. Here’s how:

  • Answer inquiries. A non-e-commerce Web site is ideal for gathering and fielding inquiries. E-mail is used to respond to those inquiries with customized information, answer specific questions or, better yet, the all-important invitation to begin the sales process in the company’s channels of choice. For b-to-b marketers, that may mean setting phone appointments or initial meetings, or referring to a distributor or reseller.
  • Educate. What are the steps prospects must take in order to buy from you? Do they know what those steps are? What are the typical objections to a purchase decision? In the often complex and lengthy b-to-b buying cycles that involve group consensus-building or decision-making, it pays to address and overcome known objections early through proactive e-mail campaigns.
  • Accelerate. Once a prospect (or even a returning customer) is well into the sales funnel, there’s a special role for e-mail marketing and the premise is simple: Multiple communications channels increase response. E-mail regularly scheduled in conjunction with individual account exec or sales team contact will accelerate qualified prospects into customers. E-mail is also a route for conveying exclusive offers, incentives or limited-time deadlines that prompt open opportunities to close rather than linger indefinitely.
  • Build and sustain customer communication. Do you proactively reach out to customers to share news, announcements, and information of interest to them rather than you? E-mail is ideal for distributing information, yet too often that information is irrelevant to the audience; either it isn’t customized enough or is manufactured simply to fill yet another e-newsletter. Don’t push content solely for the sake of maintaining a particular contact frequency once a prospect converts to a customer if it isn’t useful, relevant, and engaging.”

Email marketing is a powerful way to educate, drive traffic, and generate leads even if you don’t sell through your website. The harder you work to refine your email strategy, the bigger the pay-off.

Using Transactional Email for Cross-Selling

Category : email marketing


I hadn’t come across this topic in awhile, but transactional email can be an effective – and low cost – method for cross-selling and gaining valuable customer insight. A transaction email is, for instance, a confirmation email sent from you to a customer after a purchase or download of some sort. Many times, transactional emails are plain text generated from a customer database. Why not make them more?

A quick article written by Dave Lewis of StrongMail Systems (www.strongmail.com) in a recent BtoB Email Marketing Insight newsletter offered a few tips on developing a program to take advantage of transactional emails.

“Compliance. While marketing messages are allowed in transactional e-mails, you do need to follow the provisions set out in CAN-SPAM. It comes down to keeping the focus on the transaction in your subject line and placement of content. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your legal adviser for the exact parameters before implementing your program.

Relevancy. Any messages or offers inserted into a transactional e-mail need to be relevant. Relevancy is even more important with transactional e-mail, as you risk losing an active customer with indiscriminate marketing offers that don’t reflect previously established interests and preferences. Helpful information related to the transaction can go a long way in establishing brand loyalty and inducing follow-up sales.

Branding. Take full advantage of HTML to reinforce your brand. Without taking focus away from the transaction itself, HTML also allows you to insert marketing messages and offers in a much more prominent, visually appealing way. Text-based offers too easily get lost at the bottom of a transactional e-mail.

Technology. Sending out relevant, highly branded e-mails requires the right technology to enable HTML and integrate with your customer databases. As a supplemental marketing channel, you’ll also want to make sure that you have the e-mail management systems in place to properly track delivery, open and conversion rates. Whether you use an in-house solution or outsource to an ESP, make sure it provides the required integration and management capabilities.”

If a quality email tracking program is in place, a small business could track what a customer may also be interested in by where they click in the confirmation email. That information could be used by the sales team for the follow-up thank you call or for future marketing efforts. Promotions on related products or services purchased could also be communicated via the email.

Yes, building a back-end program generated from a database for this program could be costly and/or challenging, but the benefits and the upside could easily offset that.

Online Ad Prices on the Rise?

Category : email marketing, online marketing, print advertising


I found a quick stat about online advertising revenues and 2007 prices written on the iMedia Connection website by Roger Park. The article states that rates will be on the rise for 2007. I’ve planned and signed orders for most of my online media for 2007 and I really haven’t seen much of an increase. I buy primarily in the tech arena and most of my pricing has carried over from this year.

One trick I live by is to ask for better pricing based on quantity and other media being purchased. For instance, if I’m buying print ads, I’ll hint to the vendor that I want to do something online (email marketing, banner ads, etc.) and flat out ask for better pricing since I’m purchasing print ads. Most vendors are willing to negotiate and the good ones get me to spend more in the end. But, the bundling seems to help lower costs.

Valuable Small Business Email Marketing Information

Category : email marketing, online marketing


John Jantsch at Duct Tap Marketing Blog has a post talking about an Email Marketing service called MailChimp that he likes. He also has a link to a free guide being offered by the service that includes tips and tricks to getting your emails read and acted on more often. John has a great, long-standing blog that I make a daily read so I trust his judgement.

I downloaded and have started to read the 50-page guidebook. I can tell already that its a great resource for small businesses who would like some information to improve email marketing delivery.

Interestingly enough, you can download the guide without registering to receive it. Possibly a great lead generation opportunity missed for MailChimp?

Marketing in 2007: Selecting the Right Marketing Mix

Category : email marketing, online marketing, print advertising


I’ve written in previous posts about selecting the right marketing mix – online advertising, email marketing, print advertising, search marketing, etc. The selection is purely based on how many times you can touch your target audience in the shortest period of time.

This article in Entrepreneur magazine by Kim Gordon of www.smallbusinessnow.com talks about “All Over the Place” marketing. She gives a great overview of how many times people come in contact with media per day. This media contact frequency gives all of us small business marketers a chance to touch our target audience by selecting the right media.