Free Webinar: Email Marketing Frequency

Marketing Profs and Experian provided a free webinar (with registration) that discusses how to effectively manage email marketing frequency. MarketingProfs provides many valuable recorded webinars including several free ones at their seminar library page.

Some key takeaways from the webinar:
-Ecommerce spending for Q4 of 2011 was up 14 percent.
-Estimated $44.25 return for each dollar invested in email marketing.
-Email volume continues to increase.
-Subscription management tools have helped reduce unsubscribe rates.
-Birthday, anniversary, and thank you emails have significantly higher open rates and transaction rates.
-A browse campaign involves sending email marketing based on a visitors browsing activity and have higher open rates.

Creative Commons photo by Josh Hallett

3 Reasons To Consider Advertising on the Radio

Advertising costs are a major expense for many businesses. As part of an effective advertising plan, companies must explore different methods to capture clients. Radio advertising can provide a cost-effective method for creating brand awareness and even obtaining new clients, especially for service-based companies. Radio advertising offers three main benefits.

1. First, it comes with built-in listeners. Radio listeners tend to tune into scheduled programming every day, and then tend to keep the same station on for an extended period of time. Unlike other marketing channels, radio listeners are more likely to receive the message, especially when it is broadcast a number of times over the course of two or three weeks.

2. Second, the radio advertising cost can be less expensive than television advertising, and more cost-effective than print advertising.

3. Third, it can be more targeted because many stations and progams cater to specific demographics. To maximize the effectiveness of a campaign, it’s important to understand the audience and how that matches up with your own target demographic. It’s a common mistake to choose a popular station because that’s what you listen to, though your most likely prospects may not. Every radio station’s media kit contains this information, or a radio salesperson can provide the data, including important factors like the gender and age of the audience, as well as income level.

Of course, choosing the right demographic means knowing which ones make buying decisions for your product or service. A national dog training company conducted an analysis of their buyers and discovered they needed to target working mothers, age 30 to 50. This demographic was their sales sweet spot, and the commercials that ran on adult contemporary and easy listening stations performed the best. Once you know your target group and match that to the station’s audience, don’t forget what listeners tend to be doing at any given time of day. For instance, listeners tune-in to their favorite stations in different environments. With the working moms mentioned above, work hours proved the most fruitful for one type of service for that demographic, perhaps because working moms are less likely to get any radio time in before or after work.

Don’t be distracted by reps who want to sell you on the biggest listening audience, which is rarely important. Radio’s real value is in it’s ability to repeatedly target your message to the right people, at the right time of day. The impact of your radio advertising campaign also depends on its frequency. Frequency represents the number of times a listener is likely to hear the marketing message. No matter how interested they may be, consumers rarely take action from a radio ad before hearing it three to five times.

Without a clear call to action, however, listeners are unlikely to take any action. An experienced radio ad writer can help craft a short and powerful message that can make a clear, effective point about your product or service. Radio ads need to be concise to be processed and remembered by listeners. Humor and other emotional tactics can play well.

Radio ads vary from quick mentions, to 15, 30 and 60 second spots, as well as live reads by the radio show hosts. A good advertising rep will help you package together a series of ads that help you to make the most impact. Don’t think that because you are new to radio ads that your service needs 60 seconds– that might sound like an eternity! On the other hand, if you can’t convey your type of service or unique selling proposition quickly, don’t load up on mentions and 15 second spots, just because that’s what you can afford.

Finally, consider radio-to-web strategies in your ads. Phone numbers are hard to remember, and require that the listener feel ready to take action and speak to someone. Listeners are much more likely to remember a catchy web address and can feel free to look it up when getting home (or to the office, as is often the case)! Radio-to-web campaigns also allow you to set up focused landing pages specifically for radio listeners, so you can push one or more radio-specific messages to test and improve your campaigns over time.

Neal Lacy works for United Call Center, a messaging service in Lake Havasu City, AZ. He is an expert on call center services and writes widely about telemarketing in general.

Photo by S. Diddy

Context is Everything: The Power of Your Tagline Depends Largely on the Surrounding Wordscape

The following article is a guest post by Jim Morris, aka Tagline Jim.

Context is everything.

The larger point I’m about to argue for applies to communication of all sorts, but, since I write taglines for a living, I’m going to make it in relation to taglines. Let me start out by saying . . .

I disdain one-word taglines. I have long contended that such taglines aren’t capable of expressing a whole thought about a brand. The one-word tagline is an intellectually lazy copout for brands that don’t have the courage or discipline to make a fully formed statement relating to their brand. Or it is the result of the brand being dictated to by designers who prefer a one-word taglines because it’s a cleaner design element to work with, never mind what it means or fails to mean.

Consider:

HP
Invent.

It seems like HP wants to stake some claim to invention or creativity or innovation. Or something. But what? What claim, about what, exactly? A tagline doesn’t necessarily need to be clear or precise or comprehensive. In fact, I would argue that it’s better if the line isn’t any of these things. But it does need to say or convey something, to allude in some interesting way to the brand’s differessence. Invent is so broad and vague as to render it meaningless as a tagline.

I have identified 15 national/global brands that have hung their brand hat on one word or another as their tagline over the past couple of decades.

Acura. Advance.
Ally. Straightforward.
Diners Club. Belong.
EDS. Solved.
Hankook Tires. Driven.
HP. Invent.
Monsanto. Imagine.
Nissan. Driven.
United. Rising.
Coca Cola. Enjoy.
Hyundai. Win.
Xfinity. More.
Siemens. Answers.
Power Bar. Push.
Logitec. Enjoy.

No doubt there are others, along with who knows how many regional and local brands that have taken this same ill-advised path.

Two additional thoughts about one-word taglines:

My own brand’s tagline is Long Story Short. In order to tell any story in one word, it would need to be some special kind of word. I’m not saying I never will, but, so far, I’ve never written a one-word tagline (other than when more than one word is crammed together to form a new compound word.)

One of my favorite exhortations, when a client is considering a tagline, is this . . .

Read between the words.

Between the words is where you’ll find the value in many good taglines. Doing this with a one-word tagline is quite a trick. Should I exhort the client to read between the letters?

I could go on about the myriad issues with these taglines, but I must move on to the larger point.

So, if I disdain one-word taglines so much, why is there one for which I have the highest admiration?

(Finally, we get to my point.)

The answer is context. Cultural/historical/advertising/branding context. Or, if you prefer, we could characterize it as the intellectual/emotional/linguistic environment in which the tagline lives. This environment or context changes constantly and the effectiveness of a tagline depends largely on what environment—or context—it is surrounded by.

What is this singular exception that escapes my disdain? It is IBM’s ancient, iconic slogan, Think.

taglines

Of course, many of you are likely unaware of this tagline, because it held sway in the 1920’s, 30’s and into the 40’s, at least. It was created by IBM founder Thomas J. Watson. (I assume the IBM folks named their line of notebook computers, “ThinkPad”, as a homage to the slogan.)

Back in those particular olden days, it’s my guess there weren’t a whole lot of one-word taglines out there. Probably not any. It was, at the time, a bold, assumptive, leaderly, radical slogan by dint of its one-wordness. That’s a big reason why it gained so much notice globally and became such an icon. For a huge brand like IBM to brandish a one-word tagline was, in the context of that time, an act of courage.

And that word, Think, took on many layers of meaning pertaining to the IBM brand, largely because so much attention was paid to it over many years, which, in turn, was because it was so unique. It was sort of the Just Do It of its time. In a world of no one-word taglines, the first one is powerful and groundbreaking.

It was, in a sense, a demonstration of its own exhortation, and this made it all the more powerful.

Context.

That was then. This is now (last time I checked). These days, if your brand wants to stake out some tagline territory similar to IBM’s in the 20’s, you need, (in addition to a monster media budget), at least two words—one complete thought.

Like Apple’s Think Different, or AT&T’s Rethink Possible.

In today’s context, due to many factors including “word inflation” and the exampledness of one-word taglines, such lines are almost certainly not going to communicate your brand’s differessence or evoke much of a response or emotion. The only way I think a one-word tagline can be effective these days is if the word itself is unusual, provocative, exotic, intriguing. Which none of the 15 “lines” cited above are.

Here are two additional hints that one-word taglines, in today’s context, are not good. First, you won’t find one (other than IBM’s) on anyone’s list of great taglines. Second, what used to be called a “slogan” is now referred to in the industry as a “tagline.” The former implied a phrase or sentence, not one word. The latter makes that requirement explicit. It’s “tagline”, not tagword.”

Context helps determine the value and impact of all taglines, not just the one-word ones. The more that brands resort to familiar, frequently used tagline structures, terms and phrase, the less power such taglines will have. Tagline fads and trends are one dimension of context that very clearly and directly undermine the effectiveness of the taglines that fall victim to such fads and trends, of which the one-word tagline is but one.

Jim Morris, AKA Tagline Jim, is a freelance advertising copywriter who specializes in creating powerful, evocative taglines. He can be reached at jim@taglinejim.com.

7 Things Marketers Can Learn From Apple

Whether you love them or hate them, Apple has been one of the greatest business success stories of our time and it can be argued that most of their success is attributed to their marketing. Here are the top 7 things marketers can learn from Apple.

Create suspense around new products

Apple is known for its obsessive secrecy of new products which helps build anticipation and excitement for new releases. There is such a strong thirst for information about what’s next that fans of the brand will create and visit rumor sites. Creating a sense of scarcity around your new product’s information can increase demand for that information.

Draw a crowd

Apple clearly communicates a release date for new products so that it draws long lines of fans eager to be first to get the new product. Apple takes advantage of the popularity effect that influences people to mirror the behavior of the crowd. There is also a full restaurant effect which implicitly communicates that if people are lining up to buy – then it must be good.

Create something remarkable

Apple’s remarkable products encourage people to tell their friends and family about why they are excited about their purchase. Excited friends will influence others who will want to also feel the same excitement themselves.

Simplify the marketing message

When portable MP3 players first came out it was a revolutionary technology that was completely different from prior technology. So a clever person from Apple came up with the tagline “1,000 songs in your pocket” to explain the value proposition in an extremely simple way.

Compare yourself to the competition

By directly comparing itself with the competition in its advertising, Apple was able to effectively communicate the main differences between a Mac and a PC. Before their Mac vs PC ads, the average consumer probably couldn’t explain why a Mac was different. Now many more consumers could probably name some key differences.

Take Advantage of the Halo Effect
Apple’s great success in selling iPods created a halo around its other products like laptops and desktops, helping Apple gain significant market share.
See Creating The Brand Halo Effect by Branding Strategy Insider

Create a great experience around a product

From the time a customer walks into an Apple retail store to opening the product packaging to Genius Bar support, every step is a planned experience that aligns closely with the brand of elegant design and simplicity.

What other lessons can marketers learn from Apple?

Also see the Marketing Apple blog by Steve Chazin

Marketing by Teaching: Jason Fried Presentation (video)

Jason Fried describes how educating consumers can be an effective way to market a product or service. By educating your customer you are providing value for your customer which often encourages them to keep coming back to your website or store. Fried advocates giving away as much information as you can about your craft or industry so that you can build an audience that keeps coming back to you, and are likely to seek you out when they have a need for your product or service. Fried was able to drive 800,000 visits to a page of his site at a much lower cost than buying advertising.

Microsoft's Answer to Apple vs PC

It is one of the most talked about ad campaigns that I can remember. According to TWIT, it is costing Microsoft $10 million for Jerry Seinfeld and $300 million total for the campaign. Ryan Block, who was on TWIT, pointed out that the advertisement uses metaphors. The discount shoe store represents Microsoft that costs less than say Apple, but still delivers great value. I think this will be one of Micosoft’s best campaigns because it is episodic. It tells an ongoing story, so people actually want to see the ad to see what happens next. People will likely stop zipping through commercials on their DVR, so they can see the next part of the story. The campaign is like a serial show, and that is why I predict it will ultimately be a home run for Microsoft.

By the way, part 2 “New Family” is out if you go to the site.

39 Best Small Business Marketing Tactics

Here are 39 top small business marketing tactics that will help you acquire and retain customers. This is a evolving post so if you would like to contribute, make suggestions in the comments.

1. Create a podcast
2. Offer a free trial
3. Blog
4. Google Adwords
5. Provide remarkable customer service
6. Give something of value away
7. Use SEO to get ranked in Google
8. Find a Purple Cow
9. Give speeches
10. Join your local Rotary club or Chamber of Commerce
11. Volunteer in the community
12. Sponsor worthy causes in your community
13. Sponsor a little league team
14. Make your customers feel welcomed
15. Teach people
16. Speak in public
17. Learn your customer’s names
18. Get feedback from customers
19. Make sure your employees understand your brand
20. Get to know your customers
21. Understand your customers wants
22. Thank your customers
23. Respond quickly to emails
24. Be of service to others
25. Select employees that will represent your brand
26. Make sure the floors are spotless
27. Take care of your employees
28. Send thank you letters
29. Reward repeat customers
30. Create a “How To” YouTube video
31. Create a sense of community for customers
32. Set up a referral program
33. Sponsor local events
34. Partner with local companies and organizations
35. Get mentioned in the local paper
36. Encourage your customers to write a review on one of the local review sites like Yelp.com
37. Set up a Twitter account to post news, deals, useful information, and talk to customers.
38. Attend networking events
39. Buy banner ads in popular local blogs

Any tactics that were left off this list? Please add them below in the comments.

Successful Second Life Marketing Tactics


Second Life will probably never be widely adopted but as a niche media, it offers a lot of interesting marketing applications. Although Second Life is very unproven and difficult to measure in terms of ROI, residents of the virtual world have an unmatched level of brand interaction.

I recently had the chance to listen to Catherine Smith, the VP of marketing and PR for Second Life at the Market Smart conference in Seattle. I was shocked to learn that the average Second Life user spends 56 hours a month logged in. One of the attractions appears to be the opportunity to make money. Over 56,930 residents have been profitable in Second Life.

She gave us the following guidelines on successful marketing in Second Life.

The More Interactive the Better.

One of the best benefits of marketing in second life is that it is highly interactive. If you make your marketing interactive it will encourage people to spend time with your brand.

Extend Your Brand Without Diluting It
One of the biggest mistakes Catherine sees marketers make is trying to create a replica of a real world store and just expecting people to go there. Successful promotions add value in some way, like Marvel offering Iron Man costumes for free.

Know Who You’re Marketing To

“There’s nothing sadder than an empty island” said Smith. There have been several companies that have tried to create a Second Life presence with out first understanding the consumer. This often results in an empty island.

Some interesting applications in Second Life are using the streaming capability to show video clips in a virtual theatre. You can set up a exclusive place in Second Life where you can conduct virtual meetings and teleconference. You can conduct market research with new products by observing behavior and collecting feedback. You can sponsor Second Life concerts and give a class in one of the lecture halls.

Image by Yeray Hernández

Top 10 Marketing Applications of Twitter


Twitter is not just for telling people you just ate a sandwich. There are limitless applications for Twitter. Here are the top 10 marketing applications of Twitter.

1. Instant Focus Group
Jason Calacanis uses his 23,000 plus followers to find out what they think. He will shoot out a question about what people think about a Mahalo’s site design or who should be the next host of Mahalo daily and lets the community share their ideas and thoughts.

2. Giveaways
You can ask or pay a top twitterer to giveaway some of your products for free. Jason Calicanis often gives away the GPS Dash, which made me wonder what it was.

3. Advertising on the Homepage
You can set an image as your avatar or in the background of your Twitter homepage. If you can get your brand on a top Twitterer’s homepage it can build brand awareness.

4. Spread a Message
Twitter is the ultimate catalyst for word of mouth. If something remarkable came out like the recent rumor that AT&T will offer a subsidized iPhone for $200 with a 2 year plan, it will spread through Twitter like wildfire. With a lot of people having mobile access to Twitter via SMS, they can quickly and easily spread interesting news.

5. Market Research
By texting Track, followed by a keyword (e.g. track Obama), you can get immediate updates whenever someone in the Twittersphere says the keyword. For instance if you are Nike, you can monitor what people are saying about your brand.

6. Endorsements
If Britney Spears or Paris Hilton started using Twitter, their followers would be in the hundreds of thousands if not millions globally. If you could get a high profile individual with many devout followers, they might influence people in favor of your brand.

7. Provide Valuable Content
If you provide valuable and useful content people will give you their attention. A company Twitter could provide useful information and updates, it will build good will for the brand. A brand that has passionate followers like Apple, would have many followers.

8. Direct Leads to Your Website
You can direct people to products on your website where they can convert to customers. Linking to your site can even possibly give you some added SEO value.

9. Communicate with Customers
Company leadership can speak to customers at a intimate level by Twittering. This could also build good will for consumers who often view corporations as soulless entities.

10. Have a Conversation
Twitter allows you to reply to what someone says, so you can have a conversation about virtually anything from the lives of consumers to issues in society or just whatever you think is cool.

Can you add any marketing applications to this list?

Creating Free Content

Creating free content is one way to generate interest in your company and its offerings. That is why many companies are looking into producing their own podcasts and some companies have embraced podcasting. Business Week Cover Stories and Climbing the Ladder are just a few great podcasts that are part of the Business Week Podcast Series. The high quality and value of these free podcasts created momentum that eventually led to the tipping point of me spending 50 dollars on a subscription. Luis Kelly, in her book Beyond Buzz, says that she’s weary of consultants who guard their information until paid. Those who freely give away information on the other hand are perceived as having a lot more to offer.

Matt Heinz, in his book Are You Selling Pants or Selling a Dream, suggests that companies not talk about products but about their customers. Create content that is valuable to your customers. For instance if you are Home Depot, you could create shows on how to renovate your home. If you are a small business coach you could make a show about tips on marketing for small businesses. If your content rocks, you can build an audience of loyal listeners who have the potential to become loyal customers.