Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Congrats to the good folks at the Search Marketing Standard, excellent news indeed.

If you are not familiar with iNET, it is a social media company operating prominent online communities for Internet professionals and technology enthusiasts. It operates properties such as WebHostingTalk.com, the largest online community for hosting services professionals and HotScripts.com, the largest directory of scripts and hosted services.

Once again, congrats to Boris and the team, and to iNET.

Take a look around some Web fora or blogs, or just listen to people talk for a short period of time and you’ll notice a lot of people calling other people stupid. Politicians and celebrities are the usual targets, knocked around by everyone.

Celebrities call politicians stupid on a regular basis. Well, at least the politicians they disagree with. Students call their teachers stupid, and behind closed doors teachers talk about the dumbing down of the student population. Get any two kids together and they’ll end up talking about how stupid some other kid is. Get two webmasters, SEMs or SEOs together and they’ll start talking about how stupid ‘the average surfer’ is.

So it is pretty much a given that no matter how smart you think you are, someone, somewhere thinks you’re stupid. So along comes Ditech and starts telling people that they’re smart. And that makes people feel good about themselves and people that feel good about themselves are much more likely to listen to the message than if you make them feel stupid.

So the next time you have a message to communicate, try making your recipients feel better about themselves. Try it out in your next blog post or your next bit of sales copy. Let me know if you think it was a smart choice.

I heard the following while eavesdropping on a salesman that was trying to sell a used tractor to an elderly farmer,

Farmer: “I don’t want all the technical mumbo-jumbo, I juss wanna know which a’ them tractors pulls best”.

Salesman: “Well sir, that International on the end there pulls like a mule that’s had his backside doused with turpentine”.

That simple country expression clinched the deal. I also thought it was a perfect example of a conversational sales technique. Speeds and feeds can be boring and confusing. Nothing boring about a mule that’s had his backside splashed with turpentine.

Just peruse the list of the top 100 advertising campaigns of all time and you’ll notice something they all have in common, the message is concise.

From Volkswagen’s “Think Small” to ‘Where’s The Beef” to ‘Please don’t squeeze the Charmin”, the most memorable ad campaigns have the fewest words and a strong message.

Take a look at the top ten slogans:

1. Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
2. Just do it (Nike)
3. The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
4. Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
5. We try harder (Avis)
6. Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
7. Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
8. Does she … or doesn’t she? (Clairol)
9. When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
10. Where’s the beef? (Wendy’s)

SCE To AUX

 

If you don’t know the story of SCE to AUX, you’ve missed what might be one of NASA’s finest moments. During the Apollo 12 mission, 36 seconds after liftoff, the craft was struck by lightning. Astronaut Conrad said that “Almost every warning light that had anything to do with the electrical system was on”. Sixteen seconds later, another discharge struck the craft.

At mission control, John Aaron, a flight controller in charge of the electrical system, lost all the flight telemetry on his screen. Mission Control had mere seconds to decide whether or not to abort the mission. In the midst of the chaos around him, John Aaron remained calm and in control.

He had seen the exact same thing occur nearly a year before. In a clear voice he said, “Flight, try SCE to AUX”. Pete Conrad, the flight commander didn’t know what John Aaron meant. Neither did anyone at Mission Control. Alan Bean knew exactly where the switch was located and flipped it to the ‘AUX’ position. Telemetry was immediately restored.

It was John Aaron’s extensive experience that provided a solution to the problem. For years he had lived and breathed his job, consuming every bit of knowledge that might be relevant to the mission and the lives of the astronauts that he was responsible for.

And this story was my answer today to the client that called and wanted me to handle his PPC campaign. I told him he needed an expert. He said that he thought I could do it, or that maybe, he could do it. And I said, “Maybe, but an expert will know exactly when to try SCE to AUX”.

tombstone2

Life Magazine and Infoworld will cease to exist as print magazines. The announcement in Business Week and Network World might come as a surprise to many, while ‘industry watchers’ try to determine whether this is a “short-term slump or a deepening systemic problem”.

“I’m reluctant to say that a single data point is a trend,” said Barry Parr, a media analyst at Jupiter Research. “But those are scary numbers, especially when we’re not in a recession.”

Barry doesn’t remember that the N.Y. Times publisher, Arthur Sulzberger, said last month that there may not be a print issue of the N.Y. Times in five years. It appears to be more serious than a short-term slump as I’ve reported on the issue in January in a piece titled The Fall of the Paper Newspaper.

This isn’t the first death for the print version Life Magazine as reported by Business Week;

Originally launched in 1936 as a weekly, Life was suspended from regular publication in 1972 and brought back as a monthly in 1978. It was suspended again in 2000, then brought back as a newspaper supplement in 2004.

This might suggest that Life Magazine simply isn’t relevant for the current generation of readers but the N.Y. Times reports that print ad revenue is down for even the largest papers, like USA Today, while Gannett, USA Today’s owner, reports an ad revenue drop of 3.8% in February.

The small markets aren’t faring much better;

Even papers in smaller markets, which are shielded from some of the forces buffeting some of the bigger metro dailies, saw losses in February. Ad revenue for the publishing division of Media General, which owns The Tampa Tribune, The Richmond Times-Dispatch and The Winston-Salem Journal, were down 5.8 percent.

With costs up and revenues down, print media will simply have to find ways to adapt. The discussions about ‘short-term slumps’ need to cease. It’s not a short-term slump. It is a steepening of a gradual decline that has been evident for the last five years and much worse over the last two.

What market can absorb an influx of old print media corporations that have finally decided to embrace the online world? Take a long look at that cell phone hooked to your belt or tucked in your purse.

Last night, over a very later dinner of Orange Roughy and seafood Alfredo, a question was raised.

What is the most effective word you can put in a headline?

Several words were offered up, with the word free topping the list. I disagreed, though I do believe that ‘free’ has its place. I said that the most effective word that can be used in a headline was contained in the question.

You. Headlines live and die by getting you to react. They are written to engage you, to get you to think, to get you to take action. You simply don’t care what I have to say unless it affects you or can benefit you. Why should you?

So my suggestion is this. When you proof your copy, look for those words like I and mine, and figure out how to replace them with words like you and your. Your readers will love you for it.

If you would like some examples, considered by Jay Abraham to be some of the most effective headlines ever written, keep reading. Below are a few samples from his list of 100 of the Greatest Headlines Ever Written .

THE SECRET OF MAKING PEOPLE LIKE YOU

ARE YOU EVER TONGUE-TIED AT A PARTY?

DO YOU MAKE THESE MISTAKES IN ENGLISH?

WHY SOME FOODS “EXPLODE” IN YOUR STOMACH

YOU CAN LAUGH AT MONEY WORRIES — IF YOU FOLLOW THIS SIMPLE PLAN

WHICH OF THESE $2.50 TO $5 BEST SELLERS DO YOU WANT — FOR ONLY $1 EACH?

DISCOVER THE FORTUNE THAT LIES HIDDEN IN YOUR SALARY

HOW OFTEN DO YOU HEAR YOURSELF SAYING: “NO, I HAVEN’T READ IT: I’VE BEEN MEANING TO!”

IS THE LIFE OF A CHILD WORTH $1 TO YOU?

DO YOU DO ANY OF THESE TEN EMBARRASSING THINGS?

Titles are the first contact you make with your visitors. If the title is poor, it’s likely to be the last contact as well. Your titles appear in the search engines, on your site, in links on other people’s sites and in your RSS feeds. Even if you publish full feeds, many feed readers only show the actual content if the title is clicked. Getting that click is the title’s job.

Unfortunately, in the rush to publish, you may find yourself concentrating more on the copy than on the title.

So how do you write titles that are effective?

1. Speak directly to your audience and be specific.

‘Security Update for WordPress 2.0 Users’ is better than ‘Update for WordPress Available’ but not much. “Protect Your WordPress 2.0 Blog, Download The Newest Security Patch Now’ adds a call to action and introduces some urgency.

2. Appeal to your readers’ self-interest.

Your readers are no different than you are, they all want to know, ‘how does this affect me’? What do I get out of this? Tell them. This is perhaps the most important quality of a title, make a promise to your readers, and deliver on it.

Are You A Blogger? Save Time and Increase Your Productivity With BlogDesk

Feed Your Children Nutritious Meals For Less Than 5 Dollars Apiece

Improve Your Golf Swing By Following These Three Simple Steps

3. Deliver An Important Message

Skin Cancer Can Be Treated If Detected Early Enough – Get A Checkup Today

Reduce Your Grocery Bill By 60%

Protect Your Computer From Spyware With A Free Download

4. Deliver The News – If you’ve recently improved a product or service, let people know.

Improved Feed Reader Allows You To Subscribe With Drag and Drop

New Office Software Instantly Converts PDF Files To Excel.

5. Ask a Question – This technique engages the reader instantly.

Do You Drive Every Day? Would You Like to Save 30-40% On Gas?

Tired of Eating The Same Thing For Dinner? Get 3 New Recipes Every Day

The goal of every title is to engage and entice. The underlying rule behind every title should be, make a promise, then deliver on it.

Now lets talk about some things you shouldn’t do .

Don’t assume too much . Be direct, but don’t get too familiar.

We Know You Want to Impress The Ladies, Here’s How

That’s a pretty big assumption and it’s too personal too quick. Here’s another way to lose readers;

Everyone Wants To Lose Weight, Lose Ten Pounds in Ten Days

Don’t use large words . Keep it simple. Use instead of utilized, car or truck instead of vehicle. It’s simple, never use a large word when a diminutive one will suffice.

Don’t use the word free unless you’re offering something for free but don’t be afraid to use words like guarantee if you offer one. Words like quick or easy are attention getters. Use them if they apply. Just don’t break the promise you made in the title in the copy.

If you’re still stuck, do a few searches on the web, look through some magazines and if you find yourself reading an article, take a close look at the title to determine why it was effective.

If all else fails, start your title with the word ‘how’.

Last week I reported on a conversation I had with the media manager of a local newspaper in a post entitled The Fall of the Paper Newspaper. This week, Eytan Avriel reports that Arthur Sulzberger, the publisher of the New York Times has a new goal:

“I really don’t know whether we’ll be printing the Times in five years, and you know what? I don’t care either,” he says.

Sulzberger is focusing on how to best manage the transition from print to Internet.

“The Internet is a wonderful place to be, and we’re leading there,” he points out.

The Times, in fact, has doubled its online readership to 1.5 million a day to go along with its 1.1 million subscribers for the print edition.

Sulzberger says the New York Times is on a journey that will conclude the day the company decides to stop printing the paper. That will mark the end of the transition.

Five years is a long way away, and I have to wonder if by the time they make the transition to the Web, that everyone else will have made the transition to mobile.

If you had any doubts about print advertising in newspapers being in serious decline, Sulzberger’s comments should end them. Related

Hat Tip to Threadwatch

Nick Wilson lays out three reasons why Snap is bad for your blog. I happen to agree with all three points. I can enable Snap with a click, but after running into those obtrusive preview windows several times while mousing over a link, I simply decided Snap was irritating and that’s where I left it.

Nick offers up a bit more insight,

All joking aside, SPA is not helpful, it’s not cool, and it’s not winning you readers — It’s bling, a silly little shiney thing designed specifically to increase awareness of Snap.com — no bad thing, and certainly an shining example of how to use widgets to gain links and attention, but, come on ladies and gentleman, show a little self restraint, show a little consideration for your users.

If you’d like to see his reasoning behind why he thinks Snap is bad for your blog, head on over to Performancing to read his take on Snap.

Before you implement Snap, give it some serious thought. It’s worse than distracting, it’s rude.





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