Archive for 'example'

The Winner’s Curse is a term used to describe auctions whereby the winner will overpay because he/she overestimates the item’s actual market value. This tendency to overbid is due to factors like incomplete information or other market participants. Recent research show that people also overbid because of the fear of losing in a social competition. 

A team of NYU neuroscientists and economists conducted brain imaging studies and discovered that the striatum, a part of the brain’s reward circuitry showed an exaggerated response to losses during an auction game. When a group was told that they would lose $15 if they failed to win an auction, they consistently bid higher than others who were told they would win $15.

The difference lies in way the auction was framed. When simply reminded of what they had to lose instead of what they stand to gain, participants responded with higher bids.

While there have been investigations of overbidding which have attributed the phenomenon to either risk aversion or the ‘joy of winning,’ it was the use of imaging data which allowed us to distinguish between these conflicting explanations and actually arrive at a new and different one, the ‘fear of losing.’…We were able to use neuroimaging results to highlight the importance of framing, and specifically the contemplated loss, as an explanation for overbidding during experimental auctions.”

This ‘fear of losing’ seems to be triggered by competition with others and perhaps, attachment to the value of the item. A interesting takeaway point: instead of only highlighting the benefits or promise for a product/service, it would be beneficial to indicate what the buyer might potentially lose by not making a purchase or taking action.

People implicitly understand that they’re  dealing with other consumers because of factors like exclusivity and scarcity. The one who acts swiftly will get to purchase and enjoy the benefits of the product, while others may not. The call-to-action is much intense in an auction, because the actions of others occur in noticeable real-time. Competition is in the forefront of the mind.

This study reminds me of how much competition is almost intrinsic to human society. You see competition between individuals, groups and countries in business or sports. It is perhaps, both an evolutionary necessity and a learned behavior that one develops in order to survive or thrive within a social environment.

We are all familiar with the pleasure of competition. Many of you have bought items from Ebay, an online auction marketplace.  Often, your decision to make or abandon a purchase is rushed along on a subtle but tangible undercurrent of excitement during the process and a feeling of minor elation for having won an item at a favorable price.

Could there be a way to transplant the fear of losing and the pleasure of winning into a non-auction scenario? Perhaps the use of a competition as a backdrop where each consumer’s individual drive can play out against others. Make them interact and challenge one another within a superstructure that helps YOU fulfill specific end goals.

Let the Competitive Instinct Flourish Within a Social Environment

CompetitionImage Credit: Swamibu

Businesses or marketers should think about how to create a social environment which encourages the natural competitive instincts of their audience. Interaction within this sphere motivates each individual consumer/participant. This helps to increase the level of audience engagement and automatically enhances the value of the product/service/site.

Social news sites like Mixx.com proudly highlight their top users by displaying them on a leaderboard or giving them specific awards/badges. This symbolic segregation of a group of users from others and the conferring of exclusive emblems of acknowledgment enhances the visibility/reputation of these individuals. This becomes something others can strive towards.

Not everyone will lust after awards or a higher user ranking. In fact, most casual users won’t care or bother to go after greater recognition. But owners of these communities know that there will always be a segment of hardcore users (the more competitive or goal-oriented ones) that will work extra hard so they can improve their score or rank higher on the leaderboard.

This addicted 1% of users enjoy a sense of achievement and are often enough to generate enough activity to make your site grow. This effect is even more prominent when the community itself is the main attraction. Take the example of video games with online features: players will gladly pay for a monthly Xbox Live subscription or WOW account so they virtually cooperate or compete with other individuals. Inter-user competition becomes an value add-on.

Such a social environment is not very difficult to create: there are a few fundamental elements involved. For starters, users should be able to interact freely with one another, through the site’s main features or separately in an standalone environment. Also, bind user profiles and on-site activity to awards, rankings, points, recognition, rewards and achievements.

Allow people to form sub-groups to pursue a diverse level of interests. Facilitate inter-user contact and interaction by organizing open competitions or one-off events that everyone can join. These special events can be plotted on an established calendar of regular activities which involve the community or its sub-groups.

The general theory is simple enough: Think about creating social environments that are conducive for your overall business objectives. Apart from simply marketing your site, we should look at giving our audience the ability to connect (and compete) with each other.

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Fear of Losing: Using Competitive Instincts to Your Advantage

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Search engines are an excellent source of high quality web traffic. They don’t send visitors who ’stumble upon’ your website or accidently clicked on an ad banner. Instead, they send you interested visitors who type in a query while fully expecting to find what they need. They are engaged right from the start and ready to buy, browse or read.

If their desire is well fulfilled by your webpage, you may end up getting a bookmark, customer or repeat reader. Added bonus: search engine traffic is consistent and usually cost-free. Ranking well for several relevant keywords or phrases could get you a steady stream of visitors everyday. That’s why some businesses choose to hire SEO firms/consultants.

There are many factors involved in the actual ranking of a site on a search engine results page, one of them being the use of keywords in the domain name. While the use of a keyword or key phrase does not alone promise a high ranking, it does seem to be a factor to some extent, partially because the domain name is often used as the anchor text for links.

Why do I talk about this? Because one way to get more search engine traffic is to build many of what I call ‘mini-funnel’ websites for specific keyword phrase/search queries. All of these slave websites could be designed as pointers to funnel traffic to your master site. Alternatively, they could be used as a stand-alone site to build exposure/accumulate leads.

Let’s do an example. I recently came across ’Is Barack Obama a Muslim‘ a one-page website created by someone to answer that one specific search query. The domain name and title tag consists of the keyword phrase (isbarackobamaamuslim) and the word ‘No’ links to the U.S democratic presidential nominee, Barack Obama’s campaign website. Screenshot:

is barack obama a muslim

Just in case the user misspells his/her query there’s also ‘Is Barack Obama Muslin‘, a one-page website created specifically for possible incorrect search terms (the usefulness of this is offset by search engine auto-correction). In any case, this page contains 3 links, one to the Wikipedia page for ‘Muslin’, one to Obama’s campaign site and the other to the site mentioned above.

is barack obama muslin

And then there’s the ‘Is Barack Obama Muslim‘ version of the site with the ‘a’ alphabet dropped. This particular one ranks the highest on both Yahoo and Google for the ‘is barack obama muslim‘ phrase, taking the no. 1 spot and even outranking Obama’s own official website. This appears to be the most established version of the three; Yahoo site explorer shows that it has 10,762 incoming links compared to the hundreds for the two other sites.

is barack obama muslim

These mini-sites were created to provide answers to a specific question, one that is rather popular because rumors of Barack Obama being a Muslim have been circulating through viral emails or blogs. The goal of these two sites is to debunk the rumors by funneling traffic to Obama’s official site, which provides a clear explanation on the topic.

So the strategy is pretty clear-cut here. Create websites to answer specific search queries or deal with specific topics. Then use them to generate leads or send traffic to your home base.

Here are some elements which I think would really make these mini-sites work:

  1. Single-issue. Deal with too many topics or questions and your webpage will lose its immediacy. It also makes sense, especially if you’re using a keyphrase domain name.

  2. Reference-friendly. People link to Wikipedia pages because they provide an overview or in-depth info on a specific topic. A way to make your site more linkable is to make sure that it covers the issue in full, through original content and external links.

  3. Novelty/Simplicity. A single-page website is easily digestible. Two or three more pages may be fine. Use up too many pages and you’ll end up losing the novelty factor and becoming a full site. You don’t have to just use black text on a white background. Clean, unique and topically relevant site designs will always help.

  4. Viral components. To make people spread the word, encourage them by providing sharing options like an email-a-friend feature or link-to-me banners. Favorite tools that marketers have used include quizzes, videos and polls. Anything interactive.

  5. Sell elsewhere. The funnel-site is not the place to make money. The injection of a commercial motive might make it less linkable, novel and appealing. Remove or obscure commercial intent by not putting up ads and selling elsewhere (email list or master site).

The Obama examples given above use the exact keyword search query as the domain name/title tag, which encourages people to link using the same words. You don’t have to stick to keyphrases; brandable non-keyword domain names are OK too, although I think its best to at least have some keywords in the title tag, since you’re going after visitors from search.

But then again, search engine algorithms can be unpredictable. Such a site might fall out of favor for some reason and lose its rankings. That’s why its important to give it a good push at the start by promoting it on social media channels to make sure that it serves its purpose as a lead generator/traffic funnel. The resulting links might also help your site develop trust.

So, what do you think of these mini-funnel websites?

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How ‘Mini-Funnel’ Websites Can Help You Increase Traffic, Generate Leads and Build Exposure

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Hey Everyone,

Well, I am snowed in down at my lakehouse in Branson, we are getting absolutely pummeled with snow right now, not even sure how much longer I will have an Internet Connection. Anyway, just a few minutes ago, I came across a perfect example of using your list of customers to generate business and even a better example of what I like to call “current event” marketing.

I get asked all the time how often should you e-mail your list of customers. The answer to this is as often as you have something seriously relevant to say and no less than once a month

I want to illustrate a perfect example of contacting your list with relevant information, although it isn’t real estate specific, it is a perfect example. So, I am sitting here snowed in thinking there is no way I am getting out of the house today, but I am getting hungry and there is nothing to eat.

All of the sudden I get an e-mail from a local Pizza place here in Branson called Luigi’s. Now, without commenting further I am just going to post it below and let you guys comment on it:

Subject Line: WE DELIVER…EVEN IN THE SNOW!

Hey friends!

Just wanted to let you know that even in the snow, we’re still delivering.
If you don’t want to leave the house, let us bring you lunch!

Also, four quick updates:

1. WE WON!!!
Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen was voted BEST PIZZA IN BRANSON & NIXA
by 417 Magazine’s 2008 Reader’s Poll! Thanks to everyone who voted!
Not only do we have the best pizza, but we also have the BEST CUSTOMERS!

2. KIDS EAT FREE on FRIDAY!
We’re glad to see so many of our loyal customers taking advantage of this!
Visit our website for more details: www.LuigisPizzaKitchen.com

3. SUPER BOWL SPECIAL!
Spice-up your Super Bowl Party with some Luigi’s Pizza!
All day, Sunday, Feb. 3rd, get Large (14”) 2-Topping pizzas for $9.99 each, no limit!

4. MONDAY MADNESS!
$5 Thin-Crust Pepperoni Pizzas…every Monday in Jan. & Feb.!
Plus, this week, after 4pm, get FREE FOUNTAIN DRINKS when you dine-in!

For locations, menu and more, visit us online at www.LuigisPizzaKitchen.com

LPK, Hwy 248 in Branson: 339-4544
LPK, Hwy 165 in Branson: 334-3344
LPK, Main Street Plaza in Nixa: 725-3336

-Mandy Jordan
Director of Marketing
Luigi’s Pizza Kitchen
417/294-2642 cell
mjordan@luigispizzakitchen.com

****So what did you learn from this everyone? I want to hear your comments as I sit here watching the snow come down and enjoy my piping hot Luigi’s pizza, even though I am supposed to be on a diet!

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If you have been around Direct Marketing or Internet Marketing for any time at all you have probably already heard how personalizing your sales message can increase your response rates and conversion rates.

One simple way to personalize your sales message is to use your prospect’s name. Just check your snail mail and see how often Your Name is used in the sales letters directed to you. There is a reason direct mail companies do this… it works!

It is a common and well known technique in email marketing to personalize the subject line and the body of the message with your prospect’s name. This technique is easy to implement with most list servers, such as AWeber and GetResponse, and results in increased open and response rates when marketing via email. It offers a more personalized experience allowing the sender to connect on a more personal level using what can be a very impersonal “one size fits all” medium.

Personalization and interactivity are not new things on the Internet. In fact, it started very early and has increased rapidly. You can hardly visit a site anymore where they don’t have some sort of feature that is meant to personalize the experience for you.

A more recent example is Web 2.0 such as Blogging, Social Bookmarking, and Social Networking. It is all about making the experience even more personalized for the users.

In the end that personalization is meant to increase that site’s stickiness or improve the delivery of the sales message and ultimately increase the bottom-line profits.

However, there is one area of personalization that some players in Internet Marketing totally miss the boat on when promoting their products… Personalized Sales Letters.

Personalized sales letters can come in many forms. One form is advanced personalization based on a squeeze page form where several data fields are gathered and then used to personalize the resulting sales letter. Another form, which is a much simpler and easier to implement technique, is personalization using the prospect’s name.

Personalizing your sales letters with your prospect’s name, which is easily passed from your list server or a form submission (opt-in, contact, etc), will get you the most bang for your buck compared to trying to implement more complex techniques. You can even take it a step further and personalize other important pages on your sites such as squeeze pages, order pages, thank you pages, and OTO pages.

So, why aren’t more Internet marketers using this technique yet?

They probably just don’t realize the surprising effectiveness of this simple technique or how simple an easy it can be to implement. Regardless, it is effective and will result in increased response rates, conversion rates, and profits.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some big names in Internet Marketing that know this technique works… they just aren’t yelling it from the roof-tops!

Implementing personalization is just like improving your headline, sub-headlines, copywriting, bullet points, testimonials, opt-in process… it is just another tool in your arsenal to plug in your sales process and raise your conversions up as high as possible.

It is simple to decide if this technique is for you by asking yourself just one question…

How much more money will you leave on the table by not personalizing your sales letters?

About the Author

Michael Chris has been marketing on the Internet for 10 years and has experience in many areas of Internet Marketing. To discover how to Personalize Your Sales Letters, please visit Personalized Sales Letters. For the most up to date version of this article, please visit Increased Response & Conversion Rates

Copyright © – Michael Chris – Personalized-Sales-Letters.com – All Rights Reserved Worldwide!

For more information on direct response personalization:

Please visit http://personalizationprecept.com to register to download our complementary special report entitled “The Personalization Precept” that is jam packed with personalization tips and statistics to help you improve your marketing ROI.

EMarketing Tips – Personalization

Personalizing your emarketing items, such as newsletters, broadcasts, etc. is not new; most people who use email regularly are used to seeing their first names in email subject lines or within an email newsletter. And, if you regularly send out emails to your subscribers, you probably have remembered the “first name” merge code by heart.

But many of you may be wondering, “What is the effectiveness of personalizing my emails?” “Does it really work?” “What else can I do besides add a name to the subject line?”

According to emailstatcenter.com, “Inserting a person’s name into an email increases open rates by as much as 10%. – Jupiter Research (2006).” So it does seem that personalizing emails does have an impact, even just a little bit. But the trick is to personalize correctly.

I would bet that you have received at least one or two emails that read like the following: “For , free ebook covers this weekend only.”

Um, there should be something before that comma. Yuck.

There are a couple of instances when I recommend NOT personalizing the subject line. 1) You DO NOT require that the name field is a “required” field on your sign-up box on your website, and 2) you already have a cramped subject line slot and adding a first and/or last name or two would just be a bit too much (stick to a subject line of 56 characters or less).

By default, most programs require an email address, but you normally have to manually define other fields, including the name field, as being a “required” field in which a subscriber must enter information or they will get a reminder to input something into that particular field.

If you feel like getting fancy with personalization, there are many personalization fields to choose from and many ways to liven up your broadcasts. You can add merge codes that contain names, dates, geographic location, email address, ad categories, URL where subscriber signed up, to name a few.

Here is one example of one way you can personalize your newsletters:

One of my clients asked that I attach a subscription management reminder at the bottom of her newsletter. Basically it reads something like, “[name], you subscribed to this publication on this [date] using this [email address].” Great idea – lends credibility and reminds your readers that you aren’t spamming them. In fact, I really liked this idea so I tried it out on my own newsletter!

Check with your shopping cart or list management program to see what other merge fields or variables you can add to liven up your publications. You can search the FAQ or support pages or do a search on their site for keywords such as “personalization” or “merge fields.” I bet you’ll get a lot of ideas just by looking!

Copyright 2008 Lisa Wells

Lisa Wells is a Certified eMarketing Associate who partners with coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners, managing their many online marketing needs. Move your business to the next level and up your e-marketing game – sign up for her FREE e-course “e-Marketing Toolbox Essentials” at http://www.emarketingtoolboxessentials.com, where she shares ideas, tips, do’s and don’ts, as well as programs and strategies you need to avoid!

For more information on direct response personalization:

Please visit http://personalizationprecept.com to register to download our complementary special report entitled “The Personalization Precept” that is jam packed with personalization tips and statistics to help you improve your marketing ROI.

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