Streaming Jeff Pulver and “Dry Bones” from the Amuta2.0 event in Jerusalem

August 31, 2008

Live Broadcast by Ustream.TV

Social Media and Email – thoughts about coexistance

June 3, 2008

I recently read an excellent post on the blog:
The Digital Frontier ( http://blogs.mediapost.com/digital_frontier/?p=371) that brought up a number of interesting points on how Social Media and email are de-facto continuing to exist side by side quite peacefully (at least for now)

After I read the article there were a few points that I published there as comments and have copied here as well:

Regarding the basic statement of the article, that both mediums can coexist independently:

I found that I like having separate accounts, and at times separate identities, for my various communications – This has nothing to do with the functionality of the machine, the internet, or any specific site – It is a basic human trait that we compartmentalize and separate our relationships according to relevance, etc. and though a single unifying page would do nothing to harm that I still like the “ritual of passage” that flicking from one medium or site to the other affords me.

Regarding the possibility of a future unified interface:

I think that as social networking sites and tools become more and more evolved, forever bombarding us with new features that we, regretfully, all fall in love with and quickly find indispensable it will be a very tough GUI project to bring together all the various functions on to one screen without either cutting back on features, which will annoy those of us who are attached to something that gets left out, or creating a GUI that will be so messy and complicated, that we won’t understand or enjoy using it.

Regarding my own habits at the moment:

What do I do?
Have my google bookmarks appear as part of my Igoogle home page and access everything from there. It might not be pretty, but it works well, and I’m used to it…

: )

Mike
http://ReaderImpact.com

Email Marketing Tips. Part 2 – How to write an effective email.

March 16, 2008

This article is the second in a series of short articles each dealing with a certain aspect of email marketing and meant to help you, dear reader, to improve your email marketing campaigns. The second article in the series lists tips relating to the most common activity of email marketing – writing emails.

I hope you find the pointers given here interesting and useful. You are encouraged to contact me with tips based on your own successful experiences – I will add them to the list…

Pointers and Tips, Do’s and Don’ts, Hints and Suggestions,
for writing effective marketing materials for email campaigns

  1. DON’T – Send for the sake of sending

    My mom always said:
    “If you haven’t got anything smart to say it’s best if you shut up”
    My mom is always right.From an email marketing perspective there is something profound in this adage. Email blasts should only be sent out to your list when they have a point:
    You have some new meaningful content to share with your list members, content they are likely to want to receive.

    Sending out email simply for the sake of reminding people you exist is usually a pretty bad call. Repeat the practice often and you should expect people to sign out from your list in droves…not a pretty sight.

    DO – Keep people up to date

    Let your list members know about new and worthwhile content you have to share with them. “Worthwhile content” could be any of the following:

    1. News from your organization and industry.
    2. Press and media coverage of your organization and its members or activities.
    3. New products or services from your company.
    4. Articles with fresh editorial content, commentary, or hints relating to your fields of expertise and operation.
    5. Events your organization is organizing, participating in, or sponsoring.
    6. Special or seasonal offers for your list members.
  2. DON’T – Nobody enjoys being misledAvoid at all costs creating misleading subject lines for your postings. Not only is this type of deception unethical, in many places it is downright illegal. Using misleading titles will hurt your reputation as a trustworthy email sender and cause massive sign outs from your email marketing lists.

    DO – Stay on topic

    After evaluating which of the above mentioned message-worthy content is the prompt for your email, make sure that your content is closely associated to your chosen subject matter.

  3. DON’T – Yap about yourselfNobody likes a braggart.
    Avoid the words “Me”, “We”, “Us”.

    DO – Talk about them

    People like hearing about themselves.
    Use the word “You” often.

  4. DON’T – Be a bore

    Avoid sending emails that are composed entirely of blurbs extolling at great length the numerous virtues of your organization and its products or services. Most of the time we all find these company / product / organization descriptions boring to tears.

    DO – Be entertaining

    We all enjoy reading “human interest” stories.
    Focus your writing around story-telling that puts people at the center.
    Instead of giving endless feature descriptions or lists of your organizations virtues, try demonstrating the same benefits through stories about the positive experiences people have had with your products, services and organization.

  1. DON’T -  No really, don’t be a bore!

    A dry description of even the most exciting activity, product, or event will still make for a dull and boring read – the kind that will largely be ignored by your readership. On the other extreme, too many superlatives cause readers to doubt the subject matter as being nothing but hot air and fluff. DO – Keep it interesting.

    Even the driest most tedious subject matter can be transformed into an engaging and exciting read by a talented writer, this is often the secret of the success behind great non-fiction writing. As a rule, write about people and experiences and keep your audience involved emotionallyA story that touches our emotions is one that we will follow to the end.

  2. DON’T  – Give away all the goods in your email.Although this is a technical issue it is very important nonetheless. You should avoid using your email blast in order to tell full stories. The eye fatigue that your reader’s will experience during the course of reading your message from a screen dictates that you should avoid sending out emails that are longer than 250-400 words long.

    DO – Use your email as a lead to your site.

    A good email blast or newsletter will include several (2 to 4) story headers followed by short lead paragraphs
    introducing the items that the email newsletter covers.

    The purpose of including multiple leads in a single email is not only to relieve accumulated eye fatigue but also to allow for different tastes. We don’t all find the same stories interesting. By including a few leads you are multiplying the chance that your email will interest your readership.

    Moreover it is in your best interest to have your readers click on a link in your email so that they start viewing your site. Once a reader is on your web-site it is much easier to cause them to perform the action you are hoping for, whether this is the purchase of one of your items, signing up to an event or even just filling in a form.
       

Found this useful?

You might enjoy these articles as well…

Email ethics and legality

    The ethics of email marketing are founded on a simple single understanding. People’s in-boxes are as much part of their private domain as are their bedrooms.


I’m new to email marketing campaigns and advertising – What Impact can I expect?

    Email Marketing is being used by businesses and organizations to increase their profits and enhance their image.


Email from Non Profits and Charities have high Impact

    The credibility and authority of an organization makes readers more receptive to their email efforts.


Business Email: Send for Impact

    In the Email Game, the finish line is not the inbox. You must reach the reader’s mind.


What factors are distracting your readers from your Email Campaigns’ messages?

    Your reader’s poor response may have nothing to do with your email.


Readerimpact Glossary

    A glossary of terms relating to email and online marketing

Why you need to send email via an ESP for your email marketing to be effective

March 13, 2008

Email marketing has an extremely high ROI compared to most other forms of advertising. A seven-to-one return on investment is considered standard for an advertising campaign. Email based advertising beats the seven-to-one ratio with a stunning forty-five-to-one, this according to data published by the DMA (Direct Marketers Association). In a study they published that examined email marketing’s returns in the past three years, the conclusion was that Email marketing campaigns have been generating an average ROI of over 45$ for every dollar spent.This stunning ROI has led many businesses to take a stab at doing some in-house email marketing using a wide range of unsuitable tools with outcomes that range from limited success to catastrophic failure.

Email marketing the amateur way
is playing “Email Russian roulette”

Many SMBs and NPOs are currently using their Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc, accounts for sending out their email campaigns.

Besides being an unwieldy method for sending out massive amounts of email this practice is akin to playing Russian roulette with your email box.

Why?

Because when you send out large amounts of email to groups of people inevitably some of these people will either purposefully, or inadvertently, mark your email as spam. When this happens enough times at the very least your email address will be blacklisted.
In more severe cases your domain may be blacklisted. This will effectively prevent you, and everyone else sharing your domain, to use email. In today’s world, where email is a primary form of communication for many people and businesses, this situation will have a devastating effect on both your reputation and your business.

Using an ESP is an excellent email reputation insurance policy

The entry level email marketing packages offered by most ESPs are very low-cost to run and maintain, and fit the needs of most SMBs perfectly. When weighed against the potential damage that blacklisting can cause your business it is well worth your cost to use an ESP just as a form of email “insurance policy”. The low monthly fee that most services charge is money well spent when weighed against the catastrophic damage that getting blacklisted can cause you.

Monitor your email campaign’s effectiveness

One of the most fundamental rules of marketing is “Information = Power”. The more you know about your market and clientele the more power is at your disposal to market to them effectively. The Internet as a whole and email in particular allow you to know more about your clientele then was ever possible before. When you use an ESP to deliver your email marketing campaigns you will have data at your fingertips that you were never aware of before. Most mass email service providers can tell you what are the opening rates for your email campaigns, how many times your message was forwarded by the recipients, what links were clicked within the email and how many times and for what reason your email bounced. When collected and monitored over time this data will help you generate ever more effective messages and tip the ROI scales more and more in your favor.

Email list building and management for effect

The best way to capitalize on the high ROI’s that email marketing generates is to effectively build and manage your email mailing list. Most ESPs include powerful list creation and management tools that allow you to effectively segment your email list into sets and subsets according to demographic information and response rates.

The better you manage your list, the more exact your segmentation, and the more you focus your messages specifically to each segment, the higher your ROI will be for each of your email marketing campaigns.

Making sure that what you see is what they get

The lack of any binding standard for email has unpleasant implications for most amateur email marketing campaigns. Although they look fine on the sender’s machine they will appear messy and jumbled at the recipients end. This is especially true if the email has many image components. Many email clients (gmail, yahoo, msn and the like) have “images off” as their default setting. The implication is that if the email is composed mostly of graphics then the recipient will be entirely unaware of its contents. Most ESPs help you avoid the pitfalls of creating garbled or illegible messages by offering you customizable templates that will render reasonably well on most email clients. Furthermore ESPs often allow you to create and send a plain text version of your email to send to recipients that are unable or unwilling to accept heavy graphic HTML emails. With more and more people reading their email on the move, from their PDAs and their cell-phones, rather then from their computers, text-only emails are becoming an ever more important component in the email marketing toolbox.

ESPs are to email what the postman is to mail

Finally, using ESPs is a good choice because email is their job.
A good ESP maintains relationships with all major email clients and monitors its listing status on a daily basis. For email clients that provide the service, the ESP will ensure it is “white-listed” with the email client, to ensure that mail sent via from its servers gets through. A Good ESP will guarantee that your message is getting out and is being received by your audience. And getting your message to the right audience on time is what effective advertising is all about…

Found this useful?

Why not read these articles as well

Email ethics and legality

    The ethics of email marketing are founded on a simple single understanding. People’s in-boxes are as much part of their private domain as are their bedrooms.

I’m new to email marketing campaigns and advertising – What Impact can I expect?

    Email Marketing is being used by businesses and organizations to increase their profits and enhance their image.

Email from Non Profits and Charities have high Impact

    The credibility and authority of an organization makes readers more receptive to their email efforts.

Business Email: Send for Impact

    In the Email Game, the finish line is not the inbox. You must reach the reader’s mind.

What factors are distracting your readers from your Email Campaigns’ messages?

    Your reader’s poor response may have nothing to do with your email.

Readerimpact Glossary

    A glossary of terms relating to email and online marketing

Email Marketing Tips. Part 1 – Building and maintaining an effective email address list

March 13, 2008

This article is the first in a series of short articles each dealing with a certain aspect of email marketing and meant to help you, dear reader, to improve your email marketing campaigns. I chose to begin the series with a few tips relating to the most fundamental prerequisite for any email marketing campaign – the email address list.I hope you find these tips interesting and useful and you are more than welcome to contact me with ideas of your own that you think we should be adding here.

A word of caution before we start:
Never buy an email list

Purchasing emails is unethical to say the least and in many cases it is illegal as well. Beyond these two very good reasons why you should avoid engaging in this practice, there is another reason you should take into your consideration:
It is doubtful at best that a person who signed up for a newsletter related to some other product, service, or organization, will respond positively to being solicited by you.
It is far more likely that your solicitation will be at best ignored, and at worst flagged as spam…

A good list grows organically

  1. Build you list yourself and start as close to home as possible.
    You already have dozens, hundreds or even perhaps thousands of clients and contacts. These people may well have donated to your cause or purchased from you in the past. It is safe to assume that unless you mistreated them, they remember you fondly and will be happy to receive emails, offers and news from you. They are also very likely to do business with you again…
  2. Start collecting email addresses from visitors to your website and locations.
    Whether your organization has a physical location, or is entirely online, you should be collecting your visitors email addresses and getting their permission to send offers and news.
    A wise man once said: “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the second best time to plant a tree is NOW”.
  3. Guarantee privacy and promise benefits.
    People today are bombarded by so much spam that they are often reluctant to hand out their email address. Signing people up to your list is much easier when you guarantee that their privacy will be respected and their email will never be passed on to any third party. Most importantly assure people that by signing up they will gain access to special content, benefits, and offers that are available only to members of your subscription list.

Gratitude goes a long way

  1. Give people something in return.
    We all love getting gifts. Beyond promising people future benefits for signing up to your list give them some immediate token of your gratitude that they can benefit from directly after signing up to your list. It doesn’t really matter how significant your giveaway is as long as it’s something that is delivered immediately following the sign up.
  2. Easy does it.
    All too often I encounter sign up forms that are so complicated and invasive that I give up on completing them midway. Your sign up process should be as easy, hassle free, and simple as possible. In most cases all you need from people initially is their email and perhaps their name.
  3. Develop relationships over time.
    Once you start an email relationship with people, and that relationship becomes positive and meaningful, it is much easier to ask them to divulge more information about themselves than it is at the initial contact, especially if you promise them some special benefit as a token of your gratitude for their cooperation.

What’s the secret of success? A well organized list!

  1. The better your information the greater your success.
    We all enjoy feeling important and special. We appreciate people who remember details about us. With many premium email marketing platforms available today it is simple to create subsets and filters of demographically similar members within your email list. Segmentation allows you more accurate targeting for your messages.
  2. Keep it personal.
    We all like people that really care about us.
    The more you know about the members of your list, and the more trouble you take in making it obvious that you are aware of who they are individually, the better the responses you will get to your solicitations, requests, and offers.
  3. A small and responsive email list is better than a large and indifferent one
    Managing email lists and member data is a time consuming effort.
    Concentrate your efforts on identifying, segmenting and managing lists composed primarily of those members that are responsive to your messages. By following this guideline you stand to gain twice: 1st you will be saving precious time by limiting the efforts you are wasting on vast numbers of useless contacts and 2nd you will have more time available to dedicate to building meaningful and productive relationships with your responsive contacts.

If you found this useful…

you might want to check out these articles as well

Email ethics and legality

    The ethics of email marketing are founded on a simple single understanding. People’s in-boxes are as much part of their private domain as are their bedrooms.

I’m new to email marketing campaigns and advertising – What Impact can I expect?

    Email Marketing is being used by businesses and organizations to increase their profits and enhance their image.

Email from Non Profits and Charities have high Impact

    The credibility and authority of an organization makes readers more receptive to their email efforts.

Business Email: Send for Impact

    In the Email Game, the finish line is not the inbox. You must reach the reader’s mind.

What factors are distracting your readers from your Email Campaigns’ messages?

    Your reader’s poor response may have nothing to do with your email.

Five reasons to send your email marketing through an ESP

    Why you need to send using an ESP for your email marketing to be effective.

Readerimpact Glossary

    A glossary of terms relating to email and online marketing

Ethics and legality of Email Marketing

February 27, 2008

The ethics of email marketing are founded on a simple single understanding:

People’s in-boxes are as much part of their private domain as are their bedrooms.

We all need to understand that sending spam to someone’s in-box is akin to barging uninvited into their bedroom.

The Golden Rule of ancient philosophy, quoted here from the works of Pittacus, and understood to be the basis of all human rights, applies to email marketing as well:
Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him“.

If you do not enjoy receiving spam why on earth do you think anyone else does?

If you do not enjoy looking at commercial offers that are entirely irrelevant to you why do feel that forcing others to do so is a good idea?

Do you need Fake Vitamins? Phony watches? Dodgy loans?

No?

Neither do I…

How much does Spam cost?

In a utopian world the two ideas I mentioned before would be enough to prevent spam from ever becoming a problem.
Sadly, as the following figures prove, the world is far from being Utopian. Spam counts for more than 80% of all the email traffic on the face of the planet. The UN published a recent report stating that spam is responsible for causing a 25 billion $ dent in the global economy every year (no mistake – Spam costs us all 25 billion dollars a year).

Laws come to regulate situations where ethics and personal morals have failed to restrain improper, hurtful or dangerous behaviors. Laws are also often created in situations where technological and scientific advances create new sets of circumstances that require regulation in time frames that do not allow for the natural evolution of new ethics.

The Internet, cyberspace and email in particular, fall into both these categories. We have all indeed witnessed extensive unethical and illegal use of every new field presented to us by the IT sector. It therefore should come as no surprise that most governments in the cyber-savvy regions of the globe have indeed created rules and laws to regulate the usage of the new medium. In general, and also specifically to regulate how the medium may be used for advertising.

The American Anti-Spam law

The United States government published the CAN SPAM act (Controlling the assault of non-solicited Pornography and Marketing Act) in January of 2004.

Although it has often been maligned and criticized, a basic understanding of the principles of the American law remains a good starting point for anyone who wishes to engage in email marketing the legal way.

So what does the CAN SPAM act actually say?

Here’s a basic list of the laws main provisions:

  • CAN SPAM forbids false and/or misleading header information
    The “From,” “To,” and routing information in your emails, including the originating domain name and email address, must be accurate and identify you correctly.
  • CAN SPAM forbids the use of deceptive subject lines
    The subject line of your email mustn’t be misleading regarding the contents of your message.
  • CAN SPAM demands that your email give recipients a method to opt-out
    You must provide an email address, or other Internet-based point of contact, that allows recipients to elect to no longer get email messages from you. You are required by law to honor all such requests.
  • CAN SPAM states that it is illegal to sell email addresses
    Its illegal for you to sell or give away the email addresses of the people who chose to no longer get your email unless you transfer the addresses so another entity can comply with the law.
  • CAN SPAM requires that commercial email be identified as an advertisement and include the sender’s postal address
    Your email must contain a clear notice informing the recipient that your message is an advertisement and that the he or she can choose to no longer receive commercial emails from you. Your message must also include a valid physical postal address for you and/or your business.

Remember the golden rule…

The American CAN SPAM act and similar laws in other countries came into being because we all neglected to obey the golden rule: “Spam not thy neighbor as thou wouldst not have him spam thyself“.

It is a good idea to test all your email marketing, and indeed all your marketing efforts according to this simple maxim. When your marketing efforts meet the simple requirement made by this maxim you will find that, not only are they far more effective, but also that you and your business are perceived as ethical, honest and pleasant to deal with.

In most businesses I’m familiar with a good reputation is often worth a hefty chunk of change…

Please note that the above is nothing more than my uneducated personal opinion. I am not a trained legal professional, and this post is not to be viewed as legal, or any other form of advice, in any way. Should you elect to follow any course of action suggested in the above text you do so at your own responsibility and under no circumstances will any claims of this writers responsibility for the outcome of your actions be acknowledged.

Found this useful?

Why not read these articles as well

Five reasons to send your email marketing through an ESP

    Why you need to send using an ESP for your email marketing to be effective.

I’m new to email marketing campaigns and advertising – What Impact can I expect?

    Email Marketing is being used by businesses and organizations to increase their profits and enhance their image.

Email from Non Profits and Charities have high Impact

    The credibility and authority of an organization makes readers more receptive to their email efforts.

Business Email: Send for Impact

    In the Email Game, the finish line is not the inbox. You must reach the reader’s mind.

What factors are distracting your readers from your Email Campaigns’ messages?

    Your reader’s poor response may have nothing to do with your email.

Readerimpact Glossary

    A glossary of terms

The standardization of Email – What’s up with that?

December 30, 2007

The rise of the Internet

The rise of the internet as a popular media form is unprecedented in human history.

Statistics put the amount of people of engaged with this form of media in some fashion at over 1.2 Billion.

Whatever the parameters you choose to focus on for your analysis the Internet’s behavior within that parameter is virtually uncontested by other media types. Never before has a form of mass media gained such visibility, following, adherence and loyalty in such a short period of time.

This stunning success often makes us forget that the Internet, as we know it, has been around for less than fifteen years. Many of us feel that the Web was always there, and that we were always using it, but I still remember discussions I witnessed in the mid 90′s where some people where discounting the Internet as a fad soon to be forgotten, like Teletext, Betamax, Boy-Bands and the Macarena. I guess those people are lucky I can’t remember their names…

The cost of rapid development is low standards

The rapid rise of the Internet as a media form is not without its problems. This is natural and should be expected from a media that, more than any other media, empowers each and every individual engaged with it, to become a creative agent, who is not only experiencing content but also providing it.

One of the major difficulties the Internet faces as a media form is the low level of standardization of the content. Internet content comes in all shapes and sizes – websites, Email, forums, wiki’s, social networking platforms, etc. These are all Internet based forms of content. Each one of them is constantly being created and edited by a mind boggling amount of people who each have their own insights and beliefs regarding what would be the ideal format for their content contribution.

Expectation vs. standardization – an exponentially growing gap

To further complicate matters these creative contributors are all vying for the attention of an unprecedented number of online consumers. These consumers hunger for innovation, a hunger that is fueled by the IT industry’s constant advertising of new and exciting methods for and experiencing and creating content.

Since the computing power fueling these developments is continuing to increase at an exponential rate, this problem will only become more acute in the future. A day will come when consumers will expect their technology fantasies to be delivered by the industry in real time.

The standardization of Painting – a case study

To give a different perspective to this issue I offer that we reflect on a much older form of media, and consider the process by which it became standardized.

Let’s take the evolution of painting as a case study. What in fact is a “Painting”? What do we consider consists a painting? For this we need first to examine our definition of a what a painting is.
Here’s my feeble attempt at this task -

A painting can be defined as:
“A two dimensional rendering made with paint, ink, pencil or another form of marking substance, of an artistic or creative idea, onto a two dimensional format often made of canvas or paper”.
This flawed definition is my own but I hope that you would consider it an acceptable basis for dialog from which a better final definition could be hammered out together at some other opportunity. Defining paintings is not the purpose of this article…

Let’s consider the history of painting to see how long it took for humanity to work out what consists a “Painting”.

The earliest examples of cave painting are over 40,000 years old and they hardly conform to the definition I offered earlier. The canvas paintings that my definition covers more adequately were popularized in Italy around the 14-15 century.

It took our collective effort as a species and nearly 39,000 years, to reach the level of standardization required to allow me to define what consists a “Painting” in the fashion that I did. That’s a lot of effort for a 32 word definition…

Back to the future …of the Internet

I hope the process of standardization takes less time for the Internet because it has been around for just 15 years and 39 millennia is a long time to wait… When we consider that standardization is not only a technological process but also a social one it should come to no one as a surprise that standardization is a major plight for the Internet at the moment.

Technological processes vs. social processes

It is far easier for a technology company to come up with a new product than it is for it to agree with another technology company on how this product should behave and to what standards it must comply. The first process is a technological or development process. Its progress is dependant mainly on access to the funding required. The second process is a social process requiring a group of human beings, with what are often conflicting interests, to sit down and reach an agreement that they not only can live with, but will be also be committed to uphold over a long period of time. I think you’ll agree that throwing money at a problem is a much easier method of solving it.

I personally feel that this gap between development and social processes was the main reason for the bursting of the Internet bubble in 2000. Simply put, technology companies were delivering products at the rate computers could churn them out, to a market that was developing at the rate that humans can comprehend…

Good news on the Internet standardization front

The good news is that much work has, and is constantly being done, in order to reach a level of standardization that will improve the way the World Wide Web is experienced as a media. Projects like the WC3, the IETF, are well received by major Internet stakeholders who are mostly collaborating with the standardization attempts.

Old cousin email got left behind

Regrettably while the World Wide Web’s attempts at standardization are moving along nicely and are being well received, the Internet’s earlier application, Email, has been left behind with regard to standardization. This is a problem we all encounter so often that we have been desensitized to its existence, but it is responsible for phenomenon we are all familiar with. For example, different appearances of the same email message on different email clients (Outlook, Yahoo, Gmail, Thunderbird and all the rest….) are due to the fact that what consists of an “Email” has never been properly ratified by all the stakeholders in the Email game.

The Email Standards Project

But it seems that even in the Email arena things are finally beginning to change. Recently I have become aware of a praiseworthy initiative called the “Email Standards Project” that is working with email client developers and the design community in order to improve web standards support and accessibility in email. The goal of the Email Standards Project is to help stakeholders understand why standards are so important for email, and to ensure that emails display consistently on all email clients.

The Email Standards Project is a community effort aimed at improving the email experience for both designers and readers alike, and that alone is a good enough reason for me to endorse it.

-

Mike Darnell
Creative Director
Oleh Technology and Communications

What can I expect from my new email campaign?

December 3, 2007

Email marketing, advertising, and campaigns have many benefits. See this short list:

  • With email your message arrives instantaneously
  • Email marketing and is a low cost undertaking when compared to printed or other advertising forms .
  • Readers appreciate emailed newsletters because they contain timely information (or they should…).
  • Your readers are receptive to your email messages since, assuming that you’re using a permission-based ESP (Email Service Provider), they opted-in (subscribed) to your list
  • Emails have a impact because readers skim them for details with a high degree of mental focus, leading, in turn to a high level of retention for the information provided.
  • Email is a very widely used form of communication. Over 97% of consumers and 94% of marketers in the U.S. use email daily.

Email marketing Vs. printed advertising

While regular emails are like personal letters, marketing emails are more similar to fliers, bulletins, and colorful advertisements. In order to compete in this new media, you need to have emails that match what you were doing previously on paper. You can’t exchange a colorful Non-profit organization or charity bulletin created with Publisher for a plain-text email, but you can exchange it for a colorful, graphic, high impact email.

The methodology of bulk email marketing

Using email saves you money on envelopes, postage stamps. Saves you the hassle of going to the post office and also gets better results. Additionally information reaches your targets much faster. Without lifting a phone or leaving their home or office, members on your lists can RSVP for an event or volunteer to help. Customers can buy Judaica items with the click of a mouse.

Email campaigns = Shorter delivery times at lower costs

The purpose of mass or bulk emailing from a marketing perspective is to provide groups of readers with information they’ll find useful, in exchange for gaining their consent to continue their email relationship with your organization, charity or business. The outcome of this relationship is may well be eventual sales of products/services, or in the case of organizations or charities, increased member participation and donations.

When a business or organization sends emails of worth, providing a clear value for the reader, the sender develops a good email reputation — that’s email-heaven, since readers learn to trust the sender, and his messages are perceived as being credible.

Emails similarity to other forms of advertising?

In the end it’s all about people…
Email marketing is hi-tech, but it’s still based on human relationships. When you strip away all the computer stuff, you’re left with a message created by one person, to be read by another.

Your message and how you present it, determine the responses you will receive. It is vital that you take the time to plan, prepare and write your message well. Even great writers may create several versions before getting it right. Good emails take more time to prepare but gain a bigger impact and have a higher chance of getting your readers to perform the actions you are hoping for. Careful planning keeps your emails from being D.O.A. (deleted on arrival)

How should I plan my email advertising campaigns and promotions?

Finding the exact combination of:

  • Email wording
  • Email design
  • Information provided
  • Value proposition offered
  • Sending schedules and times
  • And other factors, is the primary activity of email marketers.
  • No one gets it right the first time.

Fortunately, you’re not alone. Hundreds, if not thousands of ambitious entrepreneurs, businesses, organizations and charities are involved in learning the ropes of successful email marketing – some achieve fantastic results almost immediately while others are frustrated at first but our experience is that trial and error ultimately bring wisdom with results following soon after…

Learn More?

Email from Non Profits and Charities have high Impact

Business Email: Send for Impact

What factors are distracting your readers from your Email Campaigns’ messages?

Information 2.0

November 12, 2007

I’m a sucker, I really am. I am naïve to the extent of being gullible and readily admit it. Sales people, advertising people, PRs, anyone with a slick tongue, makes short change of me.This is one of the reasons I’ve chosen to specialize in online marketing. The first time I experienced a web-based tracking and analytics tool I was hooked. For the first time I had access to up-to-date, objective, and validated data about my business at the tips of my fingers.

Advertising Campaign Evaluation – What’s the problem?

Monitoring traditional media advertising campaigns poses a number of challenges that nearly all arise from the lack of an accurate method to track the exposure and influence that these campaigns have. The problem is compounded by the fact that advertising campaign monitoring tools that do exist are usually unavailable to small business owners, who are essentially left with only the following monitoring options:

  • Believing your agency – You can always choose to believe the numbers your advertising agency is supplying you with. These numbers are not objective by definition (your advertising agency has a vested interest in making things look rosy…).
  • Questioning customers – Not all businesses allow for pleasant dialog between sales-people and customers and, although this method might generate wonderful anecdotes for you, it requires a lot of commitment in order to gather substantial amounts of hard data. One should always consider that any data gathered only reflects the opinions of those customers that took the time to answer your survey.
  • Coupons – Advertising and tracking the use of various types of coupons is an excellent method to track campaign success however this method only factors customers that actually use coupons and gives literally no indication as to the effects exposure to the campaign may have had.

Online tools for advertising campaign evaluation

Now that we realize what are some of the challenges we face when we wish to monitor the success of an advertising campaign based on traditional media, its time to test what possibilities the online world has to offer us:

Every Click Counts

Although many of us are still unaware of it, every time we click on a link or button on a website or email, we are creating a record. These records can be collected and studied in conjunction with records left by other people clicking on the same links in order to create an accurate, up-to-date, and most importantly, objective report regarding the amount, type, and depth of exposure your messages are getting. Lets look at some great tools for monitoring the performance of your website and email campaigns:

Google Analytics

The really good news is that one of the best and most powerful tools for tracking traffic to your website comes from Google and is absolutely free! Google Analytics puts solid information regarding your visitors , referral sources, and content popularity at the tips of your fingers. Google’s statistics are easy to understand and excellent. The installation process is simple to perform and shouldn’t be any trouble for even rookies to accomplish. Once in place Google analytics will let you know:

  • How many visitors are coming on to your site and what are some of their demographic characteristics.
  • What sites and what type of search engine queries are referring traffic to your site.
  • Which of your content is popular and is responsible for drawing traffic to your site and which of your content is unpopular and is responsible for people leaving your site.

Google Analytics is free and requires only a basic understanding of HTML in order to implement on your site.

The email option. Great even if you don’t have a website!

Email campaigns are a wonderful method to drive traffic to your website or, even directly to your business. I have often advised business owners who had not yet gotten round to putting up a website for their business to do precisely that and use email blasts in order to invite customers to stop by the shop and collect some form of gift or enjoy a “members only” special. ReaderImpact, our email marketing solution, allows businesses to create and manage permission based (see footnote) email marketing campaigns regardless of whether your business has a website or not.

Managing email marketing campaigns on ReaderImpact is easy and requires no technical knowledge whatsoever. All you really need to do is sign up for a free, full feature, 30 day trial account on the ReaderImpact website, and you’re good to go!

ReaderImpact’s tracking and recording manager lets you see:

  • How many of the emails you’ve sent reached their recipient.
  • How many of you emails were opened by the recipient.
  • Whether the recipient clicked on a link within your email.

What’s next?

Online monitoring tools are already having an immense effect on the advertising industry because of their ability to objectively and verifiably monitor an advertising campaign’s success. Better monitoring is already translating into big-buck savings for advertisers and an increasingly steady migration of advertising budgets from traditional media to email and other online campaigns. It definitely seems as if time is in favor of us suckers as ever more efficient and intuitive monitoring tools become available. The days of the shyster advertising salesman are thankfully nearly over.

I ,for one, certainly won’t miss him…

-

Mike Darnell
Creative Director
Oleh Technology and Communications

Footnote: What is permission based email marketing and how is it different from “Spamming”?
Permission based email marketing is email marketing that is sent only to recipients that have given their consent to receive email from your business. Permission based email marketing is the opposite of “spamming”, which is the annoying bombardment of lists of unverified email addresses with marketing messages that the recipients do not want to receive.

I wake up and smell the Pad Thai…

October 15, 2007

September is vacation time here in Israel.
This year I must admit that I wasn’t really planning on doing anything special. In fact I was quite looking forward to a peaceful holiday whose main entertainments would be home cooked food (my own), my beloved library and seeing if I could beat my dog at freestyle sleeping.

But it was not to be…

A week before the holiday started my best mate, whom I have known since we were both in high school, suggested that we go together on a vacation to Thailand, and although beating my dog at sleeping is a worthwhile endeavor, I figured I could postpone it until my next vacation…

And so, with what is for me a rather uncharacteristic degree of spontaneity, I found myself booking the last two available seats on an airliner headed for Bangkok.
All that remained in order to make our travel plans complete was to book a flight to the islands and prearrange the first few nights at the resort of our choice.
Both tasks easily accomplished online.

Online… now that rings a bell…

It was while I was making my travel arrangements that the realization of the impact the Internet is having in “rural” and “backward” regions hit me like a ripe coconut on the head.

The last time I traveled to Thailand, about five years ago, my travel arrangements were organized by a plethora of middlemen and brokers all ultimately represented to me by my travel agency. This time I was able to make all my travel arrangements directly over the web from the comfort of my home and without anyone’s assistance.

Thanks to a simple set of Google searches I was able to have direct contact with resorts and guesthouses that were invisible to me five years ago. The Internet enabled the service providers and me to communicate directly and completely circumvent the entire structure of the traditional tourism business. The effect of this direct communication was that I was able to avoid the middlemen that traditionally broker tourism services and was thus able to guarantee myself better prices for my holiday needs. The service providers, on the other hand, were able to enjoy higher profit margins for exactly the same reason. A classic win-win situation for everyone (except the brokers, who are now probably just plain broke…).

I was experiencing first hand how, far from the limelight of the “First World’s” media, the power of the Internet is accelerating the economy of regions that were bypassed by both the industrial and the electronic revolution. Broadband Internet connections are enabling the inhabitants of these regions the ability to communicate and trade globally. They are bringing the global economy directly to the doorstep of rural societies around the globe and enabling members of these societies to take an active part in the new economy and improve their financial situation, without requiring that they abandon their traditional lifestyle. This is especially evident in Thailand’s booming tourism industry: Tiny mom and pop guesthouses, virtually unknown five years ago are using email campaigns and websites in order to advertise their services and manage their bookings. Cottage industry artisans once dependant entirely on brokers and dealers to market their wares are now the proud owners of ecommerce sites that put them in direct contact with a global clientele. Other examples abound but I think you get the point…

For me this entire experience was in many respects a bit of a wakeup call.
In my professional life I encounter daily the complexities and difficulties of running a business online and together with my colleagues here at Oleh I spend my days dreaming up ways to streamline and improve these processes.
It was a very empowering experience to realize that even in today’s rather sorry state of affairs the Internet is revolutionizing the global economy. I can hardly imagine what impact the Internet will have once we succeed in realizing our dream of making ecommerce tools trivial, simple and commonplace; or, as we like to say here at Oleh: Integrated, Intuitive and Indispensable.

-

Mike Darnell
Creative Director
Oleh Technology and Communications

http://www.ReaderImpact.com


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