Archive for December, 2009

Happy 2010

December 31st, 2009 No comments

Yeah, I know. I don’t have any real nuggets for you now, probably because I’m on my way to a new years party and getting a head start on my drinking already, so let me just wish you, dear reader, a happy, healthy and successful 2010!

See y’all next decade!

Categories: Informational

Is America Getting Dumber?

December 24th, 2009 No comments

Apparently, the PR people at the White House seem to think so.  I just dug up this interesting graph which shows the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of US Presidential Inaugeration speeches, and it shows a serious downward trend over the past century or thereabouts.

One can quickly note several things about this graph.

First is the downward trend.

Second is the way the speeches’ score is usually lower for second terms than it is for first terms.

Third, is interestingly the presidents who spike up…  Hmm…

Anyway, I stumbled across this by chance when doing more research in finding better tools to help me calculate the Flesch-Kincaid scores of my end-of-the-year email that I just prepared for my blog subscribers, and had to share it when I saw it.

Comments are welcome!

Interruption Marketing?

December 22nd, 2009 No comments

I just read this post by George Benckenstein where he discusses the inherent “ad filters” that we as consumers have, and compares “classic” interruption marketing with social marketing.

He’s got the markets and the funnels right, but I’m not sure if I agree with the “Interruption” marketing concept as he talks about it.

When I think “interruption” marketing, my vision is some highly-contextual advertisement displayed to a prospect/user when his natural “ad filter” defenses are down, and concentration is up.  After all, the ads aren’t really complete blind spots, as people do scan them quickly with their eyes.

The goal is to use the prospect’s existing interest in the related content to get past the filter on that quick scan, and if you manage to align your ad well enough with the content, you’ll get an added bonus of the prospect’s continued interest and concentration in your service.  So your CTR is down, but your click-to-conversion rate is (hopefully) way up.

A great example of this (and proof that the concept works)  is AdWords marketing on the content network.

Anyway, it was still a good read, even if I tend to differ on the terminology :)

Categories: Informational

Tracking My Safelists

December 15th, 2009 No comments

So there’s a brand new product called Viral Mail Profits which is going to launch really soon (as of writing, at least :) ) that I was invited to review by the admins, both of whom are really talented and good friends besides.  I’m not going to talk about why you should or shouldn’t sign up and/or upgrade. I frankly don’t even know what the pricing structure is yet!  Instead, I want to talk a bit about my experience in reviewing it.

At first, I thought that it was just a clone of Traffic Zipper.  For those who aren’t familiar, Traffic Zipper is a service that Mike Purvis provides which will automatically log you into your favorite safelists and send your messages for you.  I really didn’t like it for a bunch of reasons.  The big 3 were

  1. The fact that on credit-based safelists I couldn’t see how many members I could email.  That could possibly translate into a waste of credits, or worse: under-sending to less members than I potentially could.
  2. The fact that on safelists with separate text/html mails, I couldn’t customize the different options.  That’s also really important to me, since in HTML mails that contain tracking links, it’s important for me for the clickable link to not be a URL.  The reason for that is that the latter might trigger phishing-detecting programs, meaning lower penetration rates for my email.
  3. The fact that I was limited to a preset list of programs, which didn’t include several programs that I regularly use

When I initially logged in to Viral Mail Profits, it looked exactly the same as Traffic Zipper.   Except for one teeny tiny detail: the one feature that I really kinda liked about Traffic Zipper – the fact that it would do the hard work for me – wasn’t even there!  What?!?

But as I explored, I found that there were a bunch of features which were much cooler.

First of all, there’s a built in link tracking on a per-link basis.  Basically, the way the system works, you prepare your email messages and list of safelists in advance, just like Mike’s program.  But at Viral Mail Profits, instead of it sending the mail for you, it just formats the message (including the first-name tags and other per-safelist specifics) and gives you the exact mail to copy/paste into the safelist you want to send from.  Like I said, this initially seemed like an annoyance.  More work for me.

Oon the other hand, it meant that I’d be keeping up-to-date on these safelists by logging in each time, and seeing how my account is doing, and maybe if there are any special offers available.

Anyway, I was saying that the link tracker was also included in the emails that Viral Mail Profits prepared automatically for you.  That’s amazing! It  means that the average use  can start tracking their safelist mailing results without doing anything that they are not already doing!  That’s a massive feature AND time saver right off the top.

At first I was a bit negative about that feature.  I do my own custom tracking, and this didn’t seem to be a useful feature.  Later on, though,  I considered that I could put this on top of my personal tracking, and still benefit from seeing which versions of the email copy performed better or worse across ALL of the safelists.  That’s something which ha’s been difficult for me to do on my own.

At that point, I already knew that even for a pro like myself, this was going to be a useful tool!

But it got better.

There were also custom programs that I could add to the list and track without the system needing to “support” the safelists that I personally use.  That’s also a huge plus.

Finally, the cherry on top was the ad reminder system, that will email me every day that I can send a new email out and get it out on time, so as not to miss out on advertising that I’m paying (or clicking) for!

There are some extra built-in features too, but there really are so many that I can’t possibly cover them all here.  But I’m expecting to see a 250% increase in my safelist-generated profits really quickly.  We’ll see how it performs, but I’m pretty hyped over Viral Mail Profits!

List Building ABC’s

December 11th, 2009 No comments

Your list is your most valuable asset in the online world.  Period.

Your list isn’t necessarily a bunch of email addresses, although it commonly is.

Your list may be your Twitter followers, your Facebook fans, your “crew” at your favorite forum.

Really, the generic network marketing description of your “luke-warm list” is the best:  A group of people over whom you have influence.  Every single thing you do in online marketing should be focused around expanding that circle on a constant basis.  That’s why social media marketing is so powerful – because it works perfectly alongside this principle.

One of the classic methods of doing so are with squeeze pages.  If you’ve read my book, then you know that a squeeze page is just like a splash page but also has a lead capture form.  Classically, you’ll have some offer on the page as “bait” to get people to sign up.  I often offer my book.

But it’s also really important to think about what to do after you have them on your list.

Some people do nothing, which is a mistake, because the next time you send them an email, they’ll have already forgotten who you are and why they were ever interested in you, and may just unsubscribe.

Some people set up a massive autoresponder full of canned messages and send them over the course of a month.  That’s how I personally started, and while it’s not optimal, it’s MUCH better than doing nothing.  I built my list to 2,000 members and made $500 a month from an autoresponder that was based on canned mails which I lightly editted to make them sound more like me.

Not bad, eh?

Now, after several years in the business, I’m applying a lot of what I’ve learned and redoing my list from scratch.  All my own content.  Using new copy.  And new information that’s up to date for 2010.

And I’m not focusing only on one list.  I have several lists.  One for each “niche” of people that my various signup forms might interest.

That way, I can pick the users whom I want to market a new product to, and I’ll have a better chance of making sales.  Because the email will be better targeted.

Building your list, learning to talk with them, and earn their respect (remember that your goal is for them to enter your circle of influence!) and willingness to hear a bout new products from you is not an easy task nor a short one.

It takes time to build a quality list.  You need to select your target market up front.  You need to get them on the list.  You need to follow-up with them to keep them interested in you and what you have to say.

Only then will you find it easy to sell to them.

The bad news is that I can’t offer you a product to make this easier.  It’s really more your own discipline than any tool to make it work.

Try.  Track.  Learn from your results.  That’s the only way to do it.