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eMail is dead?


95% of online consumers use email

91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day

eMarketer estimates the US adult email audience will reach 188.3 million in 2013 and will continue to climb to 203.8 million by 2017

58% of people spend more time per week in their email inbox than any other digital activity— including Facebook and texting

For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

*statistics reported by SalesForce

7 Common Marketing Mistakes

When marketing your product or service, you need to have a firm understanding of your audience, the message you want to deliver, the offer youíre willing to make, and the optimal timing for your marketing campaign.

Too often novice marketers, even marketing veterans, make costly mistakes that result in poor performance of their marketing campaign. Common marketing mistakes can be avoided with adequate planning, attention to detail, and ongoing measurement and evaluation.

If you are considering a traditional marketing campaign, an Internet marketing campaign, or something thatís never been tried before, be sure to avoid these common marketing mistakes.

  1. Timing. You may have a great list, a fantastic offer, and even a well designed marketing piece, but if your timing is off, so too will be your results. As an experienced marketer, I have seen some very expensive marketing campaigns that were very compelling but failed to produce results. This is because the campaign reached consumers at a time in which they had no interest in buying the product. For example, trying to sell snow shovels in July would not be considered good timing.
  2. Failure to Test Your Headline. As the first thing your prospect usually reads, the headline is essential for luring your prospective buyer into the message, your offer, and the action you want them to take. The headline is vital. Regardless of the medium, you should continually test your headlines (or subject lines) by running split tests and evaluating response. This ensures that your marketing message attracts the largest number of prospective buyers.
  3. Failure to Test Your Offer. In direct marketing, the offer is directly correlated to 40% of your response. If you have the right offer, people respond. There are other factors to consider as well, but providing a compelling offer is required in most instances. Offers can range from discounts to hurry while supplies last, but the commonality remains. Test your offers for optimizing response.
  4. Having a Good List. Having the best offer and award-winning design is not enough. For many types of marketing campaigns, success is directly tied to having a targeted list. With today’s sophisticated list generation tools, you can acquire lists that are highly segmented based on demographics, psychographics, buying behavior, and many other characteristics. The key here is not to be penny wise and pound foolish. If you’re wondering where to invest your marketing dollars, spend them on developing a good house list (names you acquire on your own) or by renting/purchasing a well segmented marketing list.
  5. Relying on a Single Communication. On average, consumers are hit with over 2,000 marketing messages everyday. In fact, recent studies have indicated that consumers need to see your marketing message an average of 12 times before they take notice. If there is any truth to the claim in part or in whole, it means that you must communicate to prospects on a regular basis. Placing a single ad in the newspaper or sending a single email cannot deliver effective results. Determine the media that prospects use to gather information and develop an ongoing campaign that works within your budget.
  6. Not Measuring Campaign Effectiveness. Over time, your business is going to do a lot of marketing. Even if you are a small business wondering how you’re going to communicate to a prospective audience, you’re going to eventually have some type of communication. Regardless of the marketing campaign size or expense, you need to track your results. This can be done with a simple spreadsheet or a multi-million dollar CRM system. The bottom line is you need to record what works and what doesn’t so that you can improve your results in the future.
  7. Failure to Continue the Dialogue. After consulting for a number of large & small companies, I’m still amazed at how many fail to communicate to customers on an ongoing basis. Often times, consumers or businesses only hear from the seller when its time to buy again. If you have an established customer base, chances are you’ve worked hard to acquire them. You should be spending some of your marketing budget to retain them. Be sure to open a dialogue with customers, solicit their feedback, and communicate with them regularly. This will help to build your business over the long-term.

If you’re new to marketing, have experience as a marketing professional, or simply want to improve your current marketing results, be sure to learn from the mistakes of others. To be successful, continually work towards improving your marketing effectiveness. Avoid the 7 most common marketing mistakes, and you’re on your way to delivering tangible results.

Postcard Marketing

Creating and mailing business post cards is a logical choice when your small business has a small advertising budget.

Here are five factors to consider:

1. Your data base list of customers might well be under 500 names.

The traditional method is that you can manage this list yourself on your computer and print out mailing labels. And since there are so few names, you won’t have to hire a mailing company to affix the labels, sort by zip code and take it to the post office for you. There is a way around licking stamps, keep reading.

2. Our advantage as small businesses is in cultivating a personal relationship with our customers. This holds true whether your business is entirely local or operates in a special business niche market on the national or international level.

A post card is intimate and immediate. Emotionally, who can resist reading a colorful post card? Especially those with a nice glossy front side with a compelling message. It’s almost impossible NOT to read at least part of it. Merging the name field from your database can personalize the message, creating an increased level of intimacy.

3. Postcards are a private communication between you and your client so your competition has no idea of what you are doing.

There is no “waste” circulation since only those on your mailing list are included. This will produce better results for the post card, especially when compared to those you get from the “mass media” of newspapers, magazines, etc.

4. We are all receive flyers, circulars and advertising mail whose print runs are measured in the millions. By default, they set creative standards that we feel we should equal or exceed in our own efforts.

Since you have so few names to spread across paying for high-level creative services and long-run printing, these services become prohibitive on a cost per address basis. But thanks to digital technology, the creative, printing and mailing costs have been reduced to where they are well within reach of almost anyone.

5. Postcards are a wonderfully fast and efficient way of getting specific messages delivered in a permanent format to your own mailing list and other specific mailing lists you have purchased.

Your postcard can generate immediate response or can be easily set side as a reminder for future action.

These are just five of many factors you will want to consider as part of placing business post card mailings on your list of advertising tactics for your small business.



Passwords explained in one comic.

This is a must read and it will take about 90 seconds, maybe 5 minutes if you are a slow reader and get interrupted, or think about it a lot. Passwords are easy and you’ve been doing it all wrong. It’s not your fault, you were taught to do it wrong.

Click XKCD


Bonus lesson is even shorter. It’s about computer security.

Click XKCD2

About those Pop-Ups

Nothing causes more irritation that website pop ups, apparently. It seems everyone hates them and everyone blocks them. But is this really the case? Do people really hate pop ups?

You see, when we look into it in more detail, and ask people about the circumstances of their intense hatred of these tiresome little creatures, we find out two very interesting truths.

The first truth is :

- People hate irrelevant pop ups

The hate is derived from websites that spawn irrelevant non-targeted advertising pop ups. You may be on a news magazine website, and you’re hit with a pop-up trying to sell vacations. Were you looking for a vacation? Chances are… no. Because the pop up is non-targeted, it is not relevant to you and is therefore annoying.

And the second truth is:

-People hate multiple, spawning pop ups

The type you sometimes find on porn or gambling websites (so I’m reliably informed!) The pop-ups keep coming like a swarm of locusts, as quick as you can swat them or close the window, another appears! So what does all this mean to website and business owners? Well, let’s turn it on it’s head . . .

If people hate irrelevant pop ups, will they like targeted pop ups?  -yes.

Think about it. Pretend you’re a fanatical golfer, Googling away for some ideas on how to improve your game so you can trim your handicap down a bit and beat the annoying district manager at the golf course on his next visit. You find a site in the search results that offers tips on improving your game. When you visit the site, you find a little pop up that announces their new report “Slash your handicap in 30 days” has just been released and is subject to a special 25% discount this week only. Now would you be interested in that?

You bet. It highlights a special offer that is targeted to the visitor. It’s not about dogs, vacations or anything else. It is about the subject of the website.

So how should we use pop ups:

  1. Use them responsibly – no multiple pop ups allowed. Just one pop up per visit maximum. Don’t put them on every page of your website.
  2. Make sure any pops ups are targeted to the content of that webpage. If the site/page is about deep sea diving, the pop up must convey something of vital interest to the visitor.
  3. Make sure they emphasise something different – a special offer, or new piece of news, that the average visitor will be interested in.
  4. Use the new type of “unblock able” pop up code on your page.

That last point is vital, as a massive percentage of internet users have browsers or software that will block the old type of pop up. The new type use layers and javascript to create a pop up that is part of the webpage itself. It is a layer, rather than a new window and so is therefore extremely difficult if not impossible to block.

The easiest way to make a smart, eye-catching pop up (such as a virtual post it note) is to use pop up software. You literally select a template, select the size and type in your message and the program generates the code to insert in your website.

Pop ups have had bad press over the years. But use them responsibly, and they can have a massive positive impact on your website sales or subscriber opt-ins, without alienating your visitors.


What Readers Really Want!

Blogging has become a very popular as more people turn to writing online journals to express their thoughts and interests. Most blog writers have some sort of following by readers, a few choose to keep their blogs private. Even if the blog is designed just for your family or a group of friends, it is important to understand your readers and what they want.

A blog, or weblog, is an online journal or diary where people of all ages and from all over the world can express their thoughts, opinions, interests and maybe just random thoughts. Businesses also use blogs to communicate with their customers and it has proven to be an effective form of communication and marketing. Whether you write a blog for your company or just for other readers, you readers rely on you for updating your blog on a regular basis. Regular posting is a must. Always have content prepared ahead of scheduled publishing date. Something where the content is what we call, “evergreen.” Content that will not grow old with time and always applies to your topic.

“But I can’t write.” You can talk, can’t you? Most modern computers, Mac and Windows have an option where you can dictate into a text document. You can also purchase Dragon Dictation. It’s perhaps the best and there are even mobile versions so you can just talk into your mobile and easily create blog posts on the go! Talk to your readers! What a concept. What you produce will likely be even better than what someone might write!

When you get ready to keep a blog, think about what your readers want from a blog. One important part of keeping readers interested in blogs is to update frequently. If blogs are not updated on a regular basis, they will find another blog to read. It is important to keep your blog current and to provide the updates to your reader. We suggest including a subscription or email option to your blog. When a reader subscribes to your blog, they will automatically receive updates when you add a new entry to your blog. This helps them know when you have new material on your blog and reminds them to visit your blog and hopefully interact, leaving a comment or making a purchase.

Another way to keep your readers coming back to your blog is to target your audience. If you are a pet lover and write about your life with your five dogs, then you need to find others with similar interest. Some groups will not be interested in your story, for instance, parakeet lovers. Find your audience by visiting web groups or communities that have to do with your main subject. Tell everyone you know about what you blog about and provide a link to your writing. If a reader is interested in the subject you are writing about, it is more likely that they will come back and visit often. It is important to remember that there are literally thousands of blogs on the Internet on virtually any topic. You want to grab your reader and keep them coming back.

You are also enticing your readers by coming back for more if you use your blog wisely. If you want to write private thoughts, then do not share your writing with others. If you do want to share, be careful about what you write about. If you embarrass people you know through your writing, then you are not using your blog wisely. Protect the people around you and do not try to get even with people through your blog. Readers that do not know you are not interested in reading your nasty posts to your enemies. Keep your blogs fun and entertaining for anyone who wants to read them.

Also, when you blog, keep your readers interested by having an easy to use blog. Sometimes large pictures or downloads can take up a lot of time and your reader may not want to open large files. If you want to include pictures, links, or downloads make sure they work and will not slow a computer down. You can also make your blog easy to use by using a blog-hosting site that cuts down on advertising and pop-ups. Most of the time, those types of advertising will annoy your reader. When you choose a blog site, check into the types of features that the site can offer. Some of these sites that avoid ads and pop ups may cost, but are worth it if you want your readers to have a good blog experience on your site. WordPress is very common and thought of as easy to use.

You can also ensure that your readers will come back to your blog if you treat your readers with respect. They may not like something you write about and if they leave a negative comment, do not flame your readers. Also, you readers will appreciate your writing more if you leave nice comments to them or even send them a quick email thanking them for visiting your blog. This is a great way to build communication with your readers and will keep them coming back for your blog.


#1 on Google – Search Engine Optimization

The internet business is full of buzzwords. Words like “targeted traffic” and “search engine optimization” and “affiliate income.” Many of them have a lot to do with the internet search engines, because after all if you can figure out how they operate than you have 90% of the game figured out.

Basically if you are selling something then you need buyers, and the portal that the buyers come to your sales page through is almost without exception the search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo….). The higher your site’s search rankings for a given search phrase, the more people will come to your site and the more sales you will make. Easy, right? Buyer types “boat” in Google and the first link that appears is the link to your Marina Sales Office webpage. Unfortunately, there are likely 178 million other great answers to “boat” that Google can choose and odds are that your site is not in that top ten.

We are going to pretend for a minute here. Pretend that most websites are on a level playing field, they are not, as far as desirability for the customer, it really is the search rankings that separate those who have to work another job because they are barely making enough to pay for lunch, and those who work very little and own several houses that they rotate through on a month to month basis. It’s simple math really, the higher the rank the more customers, the more customers the more sales, the more sales the greater the profits, the greater the profits.

So how do you achieve these valuable high search rankings? A great question and one that doesn’t really have a good answer because no one really knows exactly how. (But oh, there is a LOT of “snake oil” out there and promises from companies that will take your money and drop your site down the well of “banned” and “delisted” sites.) Why is that? Well, thats because the search engines don’t post a month-to-month bulletin detailing the criteria they are using to grade topic relevancy. Why not? If they did someone would exploit the system so that they could get preferred high rankings (and therefore more traffic) even if their relevancy sucks and does not apply to the search. It’s been proven that at that point, quality of the search engine drops. Well don’t people try and trick the engines anyway? Of course it does it is constant escalating war and the search engine engineers are getting real good at spotting fakers.

There are many different ligitimate ways that we can help you promote your site to the search engines in such a way as to get good search rankings. A lot of it has to do with keyword research, and diversity of page forms, amount of information, and the amount of information on related topics, and the number of links that the page has, and on and on. This is valuable knowledge and the guys that have it are willing to give it and the tools that they have made to automate these procedures away for a price. Let me tell you if you haven’t been doing this for the last 10 years than you have no choice but to bite the bullet and purchase your knowledge. I will also tell you though that when you finally start to get it and understand the potential for income generation that you have you will be so glad you threw the cash down.

A recent example, we suggested a few changes and other techniques for Backroads Photography at and she instantly shot up to the top of the page. Next day, her phone starting ringing with requests for new business.

Maybe it’s time you call us. 618.364.8012