Archive for 'e-mail'

I’m in the process of working out an outline for an Internet Marketing Teleseminar Series that I’d appreciate getting some feedback.  Included with this particular entry today is a 3 minute podcast that goes over the program.  If you don’t have three minutes to listen in on the podcast, here’s an overview of some of the topics we’re kicking around:

  1. Article writing / content generation
  2. PPC advertising
  3. Affiliate programs
  4. Blogging / Podcasting
  5. Search Engine Optimization
  6. Social Media Optimization
  7. E-mail marketing
  8. Direct / personalized marketing
  9. List building
  10. Live event marketing
  11. Co-registration techniques
  12. Researching and segmenting your market

If you can, listen in on the podcast as it goes into a little more.  It’s quicker to speak than to type. 😉

I’d really appreciate your feedback and input on this – is it a good idea?  What would you pay for something like this?  Have any guests you’d recommend to include in the mix?  Let me hear from you.

Cincinnati Social Media Breakfast Review

This morning (April 29, 2008), I (Roger) attended a social media breakfast in Cincinnati at the Holiday Inn in Newport that was “headlined” or “emceed” (whatever term you’d prefer to toss in here works for me) by Albert Maruggi. One of the primary reasons I decided to attend was that I’ve listened to Albert’s podcast, The Marketing Edge, for quite some time and have enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s always nice to meet the human behind all of it in person versus text in an e-mail, blog posting, or Twitter exchange. Additionally, there are a few people that I’ve interacted with on-line that I thought would be nice to meet in person so this was a great opportunity to do that although early mornings are extremely rough on me and always have been.

Early morning whining aside, here’s a rundown from my perspective of the event:

Attendees in Cincinnati:

The group that made it out for the event wasn’t large in numbers, but it was obvious that there were a lot of talented folks that had opinions about social media and its place within business. WIth apologies ahead of time to anyone I neglect to mention, here is a list of people in attendance along with links to their business , primary content outlet (such as a blog or podcast site) or Twitter profile (in case you wish to follow them).

Twitter Implications for Business

The conversation began with Jason Falls sharing his experience about Twittering about Robby Gordon for Jim Beam for the Baja 1000 and how this took Jim Beam to a new level of marketing and created a unique following. Other drivers’ crews got wind of what Jason was doing and sent him updates to Twitter about them as well. This spurred on further conversation about Twitter and how it can be used for business in addition to getting to know someone better.

The recent earthquake in the Ohio Valley that shook Louisville and the Ohio Valley a bit was discussed. It was mostly agreed that all of the information the media, local and national, was begging for was readily available on Twitter if anyone elected to look there, but they seemed to request information and personal stories through more traditional mechanisms such as the telephone and e-mail. Jason estimated that it took something like 37 minutes from the time he first noticed something on Twitter about the earthquake to when a media outlet reported something.

Albert offered up the Next Newsroom initiative and how that may impact journalism as we know it today which sparked a good portion of our friendly debates this morning.

Citizen Journalism – The Future?

There was a lengthier debate about citizen journalism and how that can be effectively managed and embraced by traditional media. The suggestion was made that print media HAS to get their story right the first time whereas on-line media (blogs in particular) can go back and edit their story should there be inaccuracies. In print, this can be very damaging so traditional media errs heavily on the side of caution and verifiable sources before running with a story. Things will likely remain this way for print because of the ramifications of erroneous reporting.

It was also suggested that it’s nearly impossible for traditional media to open up the publication gates to allow herds of citizen journalists into the fray because the average reader won’t automatically get the fact that it’s not a trained writer and that the facts may not be 100% verified versus someone expressing their thoughts and opinions like they can with blogs and social media.

Albert stated that the Next Newsroom Project is offering training for citizen journalists so that they are more responsible with their reporting and can become a valued resource to the community they aim to serve. Something to keep an eye on.

Some random thoughts and out-takes:

  • Newsvine is good at weeding out quality content
  • Digg is not so good for community based stuff yet is good for articles and content discovery
  • Cinplify.com was mentioned as a local (Cincinnati) resource that is similar to Digg
  • Albert mentioned how StumbleUpon is driving a lot of traffic to his sites while others mentioned how Twitter is doing the same for theirs (personal note: I’ve seen about 1/4 of our recent referral traffic from Twitter to Zing’s main site)
  • Archive.org keeps track of the history of sites and its content
  • Think about how you’re going to brand yourself before you enter into the social media sphere; if you’re to use your full name, consider the implications down the road should you wish to “re-invent” yourself–that history isn’t going to disappear quickly
  • Any site based on an algorithm can be gamed because it generally takes just one element of the algorithm to exploit it; once that element is figured out, the game is on!

Overall, this was a top notch meeting and a lot of healthy debate took place. I’m glad I made the trek and met more interesting people that I can socialize with on and off-line. I am looking forward to interacting more with those in attendance this morning and learning various perspectives on social media as they pertain to business. Thanks to all of you!

If you were in attendance, what was your take? Did I miss something major? Did I spell your name wrong? 😉 Please let me hear from you.

Twitter Ignorance to Twitter Love

For the longest time, I’d hear others opine about how much they loved Twitter and how it has enabled them to get to know others relatively quickly, but I’ve been on the outside looking in because I just didn’t “get it.”  I’d curl my lip and say “what’s the point with that service?” or “who would want to share what they’re doing all the time so stalkers could easily stalk them?”

That all changed about two weeks ago when I decided to really invest of myself into Twitter to see what all the buzz was about and try to figure out how business clients could benefit from the service.  It was as much self-education and mind expansion as it was figuring out the why behind all the buzz.  It’s not like I HAD to like the experience, but I wanted to give it a shot instead of dismissing it at every turn out of ignorance.

Well, my education has grown into great affection for the service, and I’m regularly “tweeting” to those that follow me and vice versa.  It really is a great way to get a glimpse into someone’s life without being nosy or prying into their space.  Since you can control what you share with others, it’s not like you’re opening your diary for the whole world to see or compromising your own safety by sharing what you’re up to.  Sharing just enough doesn’t equate to sharing intricate details.  For instance, let’s say I’m heading to eat at Jersey Mike’s (one of my favorites)–I could share that I’m heading there, but I don’t have to share which Jersey Mike’s that might be.

On the flip side, I could see how this might benefit those interested in developing stronger relationships with their local following, and that has business implications worth pursuing.  A lot of today’s business is conducted across great distances so this represents an opportunity to deepen relationships with people you may never physically encounter yet you can know as much about their lives, if not more, than their friends at home.  It works equally well for local contacts, too.  It’s much easier to “tweet” the entire following and encourage them to join you somewhere than it is to call or e-mail each person.  If they’re open to meeting with you, they have the option of showing up without having to make a big to do about it.  Hooray for that!  As someone who hates the telephone, this is a very easy way for me to spread a brief message without requiring a lot of legwork and coordination.  I’m all for minimizing hand holding opportunities.

You can also ask quick questions of your following and get short responses in fairly quick fashion.  This can be especially helpful if your group is a particularly savvy one–good advice for free is never a bad thing.

Anyway, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter if you’re so inclined and jump into the fun when the mood hits you.  The more you involve yourself, the more the service may appeal to you.  Then again, you may be like me a month ago and think it’s a gigantic waste of time.  I’ve been transformed since and see several benefits of being involved, but that doesn’t mean everyone will follow the same path as me.

The Makings of a Bad Client

I neglected to elaborate on the “bad client” story as mentioned earlier in the week so here are some of the things I learned from a recent client relationship that went bad in a hurry in spite of my gut telling me to avoid it all costs at the outset. Oh well, live and learn right?

Follow Your Gut
Often times on “The Big Idea” Donny Deutsch talks about “when all else fails, follow your gut.” I’ve had a couple of experiences like this since starting my own firm back in 2005, but none was greater than the recent “bad client” I’m referring to.

First off, I’m not a high pressure individual when it comes to doing things for others. I generally figure if you don’t get the value of what it is I’m offering, it’s not up to me to pressure you into a decision you’re not comfortable with. The same can be said in reverse–I don’t respond well to high stress individuals because they’ve got problems well beyond my capabilities and patience so it’s best to avoid these types of people if the project is going to be successful. Every successful relationship I have built in my business has had a few things in common, and clients that trust me/us to deliver is at the top of that list. Unnecessary stress isn’t going to accelerate a thing.

The lady I’m speaking of is extremely stressed out about everything, and she wasn’t having any part of me explaining that it takes 3-6 months for an SEO campaign to produce the results she was looking for. She wanted to be #1 yesterday and wanted to get off of PPC before that. My gut told me “no,” but my mind and ego told me “this shouldn’t be that difficult so let’s give it a whirl.” Bad decision!

High Stress Clients = Low Probabilities of Success
Whenever someone pushes you or your firm to do something outside of the normal deliverables, that’s a recipe for disaster, and it doesn’t matter how well you perform at the outset. The client is always going to think you didn’t do enough or that things could have been done faster or more thoroughly. It doesn’t matter if you can demonstrate documented progress–they expect the moon regardless of how many conversations you have to the contrary. Their subconscious expectations exceed those of their conscious so that manifests itself in the way of complaints, regular daily phone calls, a blown up e-mail inbox, and demands for additional services without additional compensation or, worse, unwarranted refunds. In other words, their high stress contributes to your escalating levels of stress to which no one wins.

Expectations Get Ignored
Regardless of how many times the client agrees that your timeline or milestones are in line with their expectations of the moment, bad clients will turn the tables at the first sign of things not exceeding elevated expectations. The “rules” don’t apply to them because they are “special” (in their mind).

Your Other Clients Suffer
Bad clients sap the energy of your organization to the point your good clients end up paying the price. Bad clients will hound you like a bad date that calls every day and won’t take a hint. Eventually they wear you down, and you consequently ignore your better accounts to oil the squeaky wheel. Again, not a good decision.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone out there. It’s ok to say “no” to a prospect, and you’re probably better off saying that if you sense any inconsistencies with the way you do business and you’re uneasy about the decision maker you are dealing with. After-all, it’s like a dating relationship–you have to deal with this person on a regular basis. More so if they’re a high stress and/or bad client. Breaking up can be ugly and take longer than expected with a bad date, and a bad client is no different.

How to Get More Website Visitors

If you’ve read much about Zing and some of the work we do, it goes without saying that we’re a marketing firm.  What we’re going to touch upon today is three of the better ways to increase website visitors.  Two of them are ways that you can begin immediately, and the other takes a little time to reap the benefits.

Search engine marketing (SEM) and an e-mail signature can be implemented within the next five minutes whereas organic search engine optimization takes a little while and is more of a drawn out process.   Let’s talk about each briefly.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Organic search engine optimization is a process of elevating a website within the search rankings of the major search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and MSN by determining which keywords are searched for most then “optimizing” sections of a website for those keywords to attract more qualified visitors.  Part of the optimization process includes link building (external sites that link to your site), content generation and improvements (mixing in targeted keywords in an intelligent fashion within online content), developing a sitemap for your site, and focusing meta tag data on a solid mixture of profitable keywords.  A reputable search optimization firm will openly share their practices with you so be leery of those that refuse to do that along with those that guarantee top rankings—search engines are dynamic by nature so it’s nearly impossible for an external source to promise a certain ranking unless that source is the search engine itself (no search engine provides SEO).   

Online Advertising (SEM)

Search engine marketing (SEM) is frequently referred to as pay-per-click (PPC), and many organizations utilize paid ads on search engines to attract the type of traffic to their websites to fuel business growth.  Pay-per-click ads are generally the ads (sponsored listings) you see on the right side and sometimes at the very top of search results pages (SERPs).

E-mail Signature

An e-mail signature at the bottom of every piece of e-mail you generate or reply to can boost traffic to your site with little to no management on your behalf.  People are naturally curious, and you never know which piece of e-mail generated may become “viral” and spread through people forwarding it and having their friends forward it.  It’s a simple addition to your marketing efforts that can pay tremendous dividends.  Try not to abuse it by being long winded—keep your e-mail signature short and sweet for easy consumption. 

There you have three ways to draw more visitors to your website.  Do you utilize each in your current marketing mix?

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