Archive for the ‘Advertising and Marketing’ Category

Email marketing the easy way

What is email marketing?

Basically, in plain English, email marketing is a targeted mass mailing done via email. The purpose of email marketing could be advertising in order to recruit new clients, introducing a new set of products or services to an existing client base, keeping your clients informed by means of a newsletter, etc. All of the before mentioned activities are very legitimate business efforts, as long as you respect some unwritten rules and as long as the list of emails you use is what is called 'targeted', in other words the names came from a database generated by your marketing division and represents your existing client base, a carefully selected list of potential prospects or a list of people who opted in to receive your messages.

If instead of the above you use a list that you bought (you know, "25 million guaranteed AOL email addresses for only 19.95 - plus shipping"), or are doing it without warning the people on your list, or using other shady methods, then you are considered a spammer and what you are sending is spam, bulk mail, unsolicited email, basically, the main enemy of all things virtue and life in general. Yes folks, it is that easy to be labeled as a spammer, and very hard to get out of it.
Once your message is considered unsolicited, you will immediately be put on zillions of black lists, side by side with those who promise inches and inches of extra extremities and hours and hours of ecstatic pleasures (for only 3 easy payments and some handling fees).

Sound pretty risky, so why bother?

Obviously, opt-in email advertising is far more cost effective than direct marketing via regular mail, door-to-door sales, or telemarketing. Paper, printing, envelopes, and postage can add up quickly. Door to door sales require paying out commissions. Telemarketing results in high long distance bills, often without great results, as people become more and more blood thirsty toward the people on the other end of the so called cold call.

So why not just use my personal email or my company's mail server and some mailing software?

In the early days of email marketing. They would gather all their emails into some primitive version of a spreadsheet, fire up some mail merging program, hook it up to their corporate mail system and voila, thousands of emails were flying away.

Today, the scenario is certainly possible, but let me tell you in a simple set of scenarios what can happen:

One of the many not-for-profit groups that decided to police the internet will intercept that a large number of emails were generated and sent by a server near you (yep, they can do that). In order to protect the civilized world from those who spread spam, viruses and other vermin, they will put you on a list of threats to humanity. Those other nice corporate folks who were your indented recipients, have an IT department that gets constantly yelled at by angry users who get emails with naked people. Well - Mel, their IT guy decides to put up an anti-spam system that links to that not-for-profit's database of known spammers (oh yeah, did I mention you are now a 'known spammer'?) and block your emails. Your emails might actually be blocked so well that your company will have a real trouble communicating via email and your IT folks will all go nuts and/or get fired.

Basically, not so good. Other things that can happen are: you'll have to build some opt-in / opt-out system, in some states there are laws that require that you make it very easy for your audience to unsubscribe, you'll have a hard time formatting your emails in a decent, eye pleasing way, etc.

Lastly, the process of sending thousands of emails and managing lists, subscribing and unsubscribing people is tedious and just plain annoying. The only way to do it is with a maximum degree of automation, or, the better solution - to outsource to a company that does it professionally.

Folks, I am known for promoting the "do it in house" concept, and am not that big on outsourcing. But when it comes to mass mailing... I say stay away from it and let the professionals do what they do.

If you are worried about cost, know that the fee you pay for email marketing services, will still cost less than the continued overhead and expenses of the traditional options, not to mention the great possibilities of reaching a much larger audience, much faster (practically instantly).

What to look for in an email marketing company?

1. Automating Your Subscribe and Unsubscribe Requests

Many email marketing companies will provide you with exact HTML code you need to paste to your site to have a subscription form on your web site. The better services also provide a link at the bottom of each email that enables subscribers to update their information or unsubscribe from a list, automating everything for you.

2. Personalization of Emails

Another powerful feature of many email marketing services is the ability to use mail merge capabilities to personalize each email that you send. The better services allow to have custom fields, additional to the standard first name and last name.

3. Bounceback email handling

Bouncebacks are emails that are sent to email accounts that no longer exist or are full, blocked, etc. Essentially, you'll get a response stating that your message did not make it. All email list management software programs are able to manage subscribe and unsubscribe requests and send out messages, however without integrated bounceback email handling all the non-deliverable emails will be sent back to you, a rather big nuisance if your list is large. Ideally, the email software you use will be able to manage your bouncebacks for you. Whenever a bounceback is received, the software makes a note of the address and if another bounceback is received the email address will be sent to a list of dead addresses.

This remove capability is extremely important since if you continuously send out emails with many bouncebacks you may be blacklisted as a spammer. This is something you really want to avoid at all cost.

4. HTML email

The ability to send out HTML emails has been around for quite some time. Most email marketing companies support the ability to send out messages that include graphics and formatted text. This is surely something you'll want to look for.

However, not all of your users have the ability to view email messages in HTML format. This percentage is usually between 10-20%. Instead of seeing your aesthetically pleasing email they might see a string of meaningless code. Using most email list management programs, these 10-20% of users will open up emails from you and be very inclined to call you a spammer.

To avoid this, look for companies that use multi-part MIME to send out messages. When you send an HTML email in multi-part MIME, users who do not have the ability to view HTML messages will receive the email in the usual text format.

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The Most Important Thing About Online Marketing

by David Batchelor

The suggestions i am dealing with in the following paragraphs, are on online marketing for online businesses. They should make the strategies of internet based promotion more accessible to people.

The understanding of how the internet is used to promote things is crucial. As this makes it clear, that this technique of promotion is geographically not limited. Articles appear online as soon as they get submitted. For this reason article marketing is not vulnerable to time related barriers. Barriers like these, were the biggest hindrance of traditional advertising methods such as the newspaper.

Articles containing backlinks, is a famous concept of advertising. They get submitted to various article publishing websites. These articles are a useful read for the visitors, therefore they will follow up the posted backlink.

Similar to the method described before, is blog commenting. Just as articles do, comments that are posted by advertisers on well read blogs contain backlinks. The reader again, will want to know what the backlink is about. Obviously the comment has to be made on a themed blog relevant to the advert.

Posting banners is nowadays the most common way of promotion, even though it is not free. Websites are paid to post banners of advertising companies'. This method is not effective if the banner is published on a less visited site.

Advertising on the web raised some serious problems. Certain companies use the internet to make profit by betraying peoples' trust. These groups try to sell fake products online.

This method of online marketing is founded on the idea that the seller can promote scam products as the buyer will not be able to track him after he has purchased the product.

Further concern of internet marketing is the issue of privacy. Companies that are specialized in advertising, see the visitor numbers of the websites they work for. This not only informs them, how many people have visited that site but it also tells them when the people visited it and where they are from. This makes some individuals feel suspicious about internet marketing.

Companies, that operate within a small community might want to chose more traditional ways of promotion such as newspapers. Local people are probably aware of that company and of the newspaper. Therefore their trust is easily won.

These suggestions on online marketing for online businesses are here to further peoples' knowledge about the basic ideas of online advertising. For those who want to know more about this useful topic, the article presented here is just a brief introduction.

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Promoting Home Based Business Network Marketing Opportunities Online – How To Really Get It Done

Do you really want to know how to promote home based business network marketing opportunities on the Internet? Distributors from all over the world are coming online and finding out that you can actually recruit people into your organization without having to go to hotel meetings and do things like that. Am I against hotel meetings? No, they are a staple in network marketing and they do provide great energy but as using them for many years they never seem to work for me. I was always left wondering why no one joined me when I attended the meetings.

Do you want to know the reason why nobody joined me? The reason why no one decided to join was simple. I was attacking the wrong target market. In all businesses you have to have a certain and specific target that you want to sell to. The same goes for network marketing. What you should be doing is going out there on the Internet and start finding people who are interested in the concept of network marketing. That's the big secret.

Why do you want to do this? The reason why you want to do this is simple and is because they are most likely going to join you because they understand what network marketing is already and also there is a great chance that they will be great producers in your organization.

Stop trying to convince other people that you have the best product or service and that your compensation plan is number one in the industry. Instead focus on others who are already interested in the area and know exactly what to do. By doing this personally I have been able to bring many people into my business that are highly qualified and that already know what network marketing is and what needs to be done. This is a simple yet powerful strategy that I suggest you begin to use whenever you decide to get involved in this industry.

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Four Free Resources For Small Business Advertising

One of the most difficult aspects of operating a small business is attempting to decrease your customer acquisition costs to improve profits and in many cases high acquisition costs are what prevent the business from being profitable at all. Most small businesses do not keep track of acquisition statistics so they are unsure of how much it costs for them to acquire each new customer. Without knowing this statistic, it is impossible to truly measure the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing.

One of the ways to help reduce acquisition costs is to use free advertising resources to increase your customer base. With these resources the primary cost is time, which for advertising is a relatively low price. Here are a few resources that small businesses should be taking advantage of to grow their customer base as it will definitely give you a competitive edge over your competition:

Craigslist - Craigslist.com is an online classified website that is free to post listings. Craigslists is one of the top 10 visited websites in the United States and can drive a tremendous amount of traffic to your business. Craigslist has a services section where local businesses can list the products and services that they offer for potential customers. Craigslist is organized by local geographies, therefore you have the potential to drive very local customers to your business. Total time to post an ad on Craigslist is probably about five minutes and will be less once you get the hang of it.

Google Base - Google Base is a free online classified that benefits from the large amounts of traffic generated by Google.com. A simple listing on Google Base can help to drive traffic to your website and although Google claims that it does not make a difference, it is a good bet that the more activity you have on the web properties, the better you will rank in their primary search engine.

Press Releases - The days of needing to be a professional writer to submit a press release are long gone. Now anyone that has knowledge of a product or service should submit press releases to media outlets and can be done easily with free resources. A couple of the sites that I recommend are prleap.com and prfree.com, but there are many others. These services submit your articles to the Associated Press which in many cases will be a distribution of 40,000 subscribers. If only a fraction of the subscribers pick up your article, you benefit. It first establishes you as an authority on the subject matter, but it also generates links back to your website which will increase your search engine rankings. The benefits of these free services can be massive in reducing your customer acquisition costs.

Merchant Circle - Merchantcircle.com is an online business directory that is focused on offering small business websites to promote their business. The main benefit of their service in my opinion is that their pages rank highly in the search engines, therefore, increase the ranking of your website in your local geographic ares. To set up you page only takes about ten minutes.

These are just a few examples of free resources that your business should be using. Think out of the box and do a little research to find out other free resources that will benefit your business. With only one new customer, this form of advertising pays for itself.

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