Online Permission Marketing: “Only if you say so, or say ‘no’ as the case may be”

•October 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Nobody likes spam. But in today’s developed online world, we may never have to see spam ever again. Permission marketing is an online tool that involves a consumer giving ‘permission’ for an organization to distribute promotional material and readership. One of the main elements of permission marketing is the ‘opt-in’ or ‘opt-out’ components that allow users to voluntarily choose to view and receive emails or vise versa, from a particular organisation.

But what makes permission marketing so avant-garde is that not only are consumers ‘pre-requesting’ promotional material, it is more cost affective and relevant for an organisation trying to minimize the marketing budget while maximising the likelihood of target market message delivery. In a world where information is overloaded into our computers and our brains everyday, relevant, specific and timely marketing techniques are a rare delight.

From a marketer’s point of view, permission marketing has the ability to help target consumers with advertising material that is directed at their needs and interests, which inevitably increases customer satisfaction and thus the increase in their brand loyalty. From a customer’s point of view, they are receiving relevant information that they will mostly likely read and may even act upon!

However, like all marketing strategies it is not fool proof. Online permission marketing does significantly reduce the extent of consumers exposed to campaigns and promotional material as many people may ‘opt-out’ before realising what they will be missing. Online permission marketing focuses on a ‘depth’ strategy over a ‘breadth’ strategy but many organisations are finding this to be a more effective and efficient way or targeting consumers.

Another issue with online permission marketing is ‘privacy’. Privacy has always been an issue associated with direct marketing, and although permission marketing reduces this, it does not eliminate it completely.  Some organisations can take advantage of users inattention, misunderstanding or simply their laziness and unfairly obtain consent to market to nearly every visitor to their site.

Also, users have often complained about feeling ‘trapped’ to a database or subscription list, which is one of the main reasons, they are hesitant to ‘opt in’ in the first place. It is extremely important for consumers who do want to ‘opt in’ to a marketing campaign, that they do feel like they have the freedom to unsubscribe if need be. This simple element will not only keep consumers happy, but may even encourage more users to ‘opt in’ as they know they have an out if they should need it.

A strong online permission marketing campaign is more than just a pretty email with a nice design. The automatic nature of this techniques means organisations must track and then evaluate consumer’s responses, in order to really understand whom their target market is. Knowing this type of detailed information can help organisations track the target audience and their responses’ and assist in tailoring future campaigns to better suit consumers needs and wants, leading to an increase in success rates.

Original Source: Return On Investment (ROI), Sciverse

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e-books: to stay or not to stay?

•October 10, 2010 • 3 Comments

The recent launch of the ipad has affected many different industries including the literature and education industries. With this new generation of electronic reading devices including multimedia e-books and third generation Kindle it is suspected they are going to accelerate the process of e-books overtaking in popularity of regular printed books.

The introduction of ebooks has been a new advance in the world of online education. While printed books are still are large part of our acceptable world, there is no doubt that e-books have their benefits. For example there is a higher level of convenience both physically and economically, with the ability to extend learning spaces to places beyond traditional classrooms, libraries and homes, and the financial benefit of purchasing several books at a lower price, and keep them all on the one device.

But it is not only the education system that is embracing this new technology. Ebooks also have real benefits for travellers who do no want to kart around heavy books when backpacking around the country! Also, they have better access from rural locations and they are widely available, not to mention the fact they are often considered more environmentally friendly as they mean less paper printed and thus fewer trees destroyed.

 

However, not everyone has taken to the craze with open arms. There are still many people who are hesitant to accept this new method of an age old pass time, and it is believed that ‘printed books and traditional bookstores will continue to exist for some time’. Also, many people still really enjoy the activity of going to a bookstore or library and searching through the shelves for some new story to take them to a place they would rather be, and other enjoy having a large library as a room in their house. Yet, many of the original issues that were discussed in the launch of the original e-books have now been addressed or are being addressed, making them more desirable than before, including the issue of the screen lighting being damaging to ones eye.

However, Jeff Bezos stated that ‘the number of e-books sold by Amazon has already overtaken hardcover books and it will overtake paperbacks by next year’. What a huge statement. So in order to overcome concerns connected with the e-books, many have suggested that it should be made more available for trial in retail outlets and other public places.

Also, education systems globally have different views on the online education via ebooks. For example, students from Hong Kong may embrace this move more fluently ‘where the ownership of mobile devices is among the highest in the world and where public transport is highly developed, providing opportunities for mobile reading’ (Lam, 2009).

The phenomenon of eBooks is significantly different from the extensive use of eJournals. The main difference lies in the length and structure of a book, along with our traditional style of reading books, which make the two experiences quite different as books are often long and in depth, versus a short and succinct journal article. In terms of education, it is consequently vital to consider whether students can adapt to reading books online.

So, is the e-book here to stay? It seems to be all about acceptance and demand. If the e-book is given a chance by potential consumers then there is definitely a possibility that the e-books could take over from printed books. If students can overcome issues associated with viewing a long document and are happy to move, then why not?

Once people trial these products, many can’t believe how useable they are. The key is in the ‘hands on’ shopping experience. If retail outlets allow people to test drive an e-book, this could largely increase their popularity and assist them in becoming a new phenomenon, not just for the young and technologically savvy.

Original Source: Core Economics

Original Source: Australasian Journal of Educational Technology

What goes around comes around- in a big way

•October 4, 2010 • 1 Comment

The Internet has changed the way we work. The way people communicate, find romance, commit crimes, just about everything. The process of selling products or services is no longer restricted to traditional means such as radio or television advertising; it has been expanded into a world where peer-to-peer reviews and word of mouth are just as, if not more credible marketing tools.

One of the most inventive forms of Internet advertising is the use of viral campaigns. They are often inexpensive yet extremely powerful tools for gaining exposure and creating hype about a brand. Previously viral marketing campaigns have been described as ‘the short video clip, so compelling much of an advertiser’s work is done for them, when their prospective customers forward it to their contacts quickly building up an audience of millions’. What an absolute goldmine if executed correctly.

In this blog we will discuss some of the most successful viral campaigns famous for being innovative, compassionate, surprising, humorous or controversial. When it comes to viral campaigns, there is literally something for everyone!

From Nike’s amazing football boots to grizzly bears wrestling fisherman for John West Salmon, or Quicksilver’s dynamite surfing to lingerie clad Kylie Minogue.

The one thing they all had in common was their ability to engage an audience to the extent that the general public (and most often the target market) would be willing to circulating the video to friends, family and general acquaintances.

One of the most intriguing viral campaigns was the Nike football boots campaign. In this ad, soccer superstar Ronaldinho tests a new style of Nike boot that helps him hit the post 4 times in a row without it touching the ground. Many young men (who were the target market) thought that this ad was groundbreaking, and although unsure of its credibility still passed it on generating 50 million views globally.

One of the funniest viral campaigns going around was the John West Salmon’s take on company passion demonstrating the extent their fisherman would go to provide customers with the freshest fish. The best thing about this ad was its humour and although clearly staged, it created more than 300 million views and has won numerous awards.

Another viral campaign that was made famous for it’s provocative nature was Kylie Minogue for lingerie company Agent Provocateur. This ad was originally made for cinema advertising but was banned after complaints of it’s explicit content. The ad features Kylie Minogue scantly clad riding a velvet bucking bronco in black laced lingerie. The ad was in line with the corporate vision to provoke controversy and has had more than 360 million views and more everyday since its release more than 5 years ago.

The key ingredient these adverts possess is their main engaging characteristic. Whether it is humour, sex or shock value it gets people talking. And more importantly, it gets people ‘circulating’.

Online Customer Service: ‘Use it, or loose it’

•September 27, 2010 • 3 Comments


It is extremely annoying when you get a new product home to find out it doesn’t actually do what you wanted it to do.

So, you log on to the website and send an urgent enquiry to their ‘help desk’ in hopes that they can help mend the problem, as well as your broken heart. Yet to your utter disappointment, no response that day, or the next. Then, 3 days after you sent your frustrated email, you receive an impersonalized response with minimal detail and nearly no direction to help solve your original problem.

Online Customer Service (OCS) is the organizations ability to communicate with customers, regarding their questions or queries allowing them to feel confident that the organization cares about their problems. Some of the areas involved in OCS include sorting out problems with payments or deliveries online, giving feedback or advice to customers via websites or simply replying to email questions.

In the UK recently, a survey was conducted by eCustomer Service Software Company Transversal, analyzing online customer service with well-known online businesses. For a developed web nation, the results were not good. The survey found that 64% of leading consumer web sites answered less than two out of ten most often asked customer questions (sample size not available). Furthermore, only 16% of companies could answer five or more customer questions accurately.

A staggering 44% of organisations that were surveyed also failed to respond to consumer queries via email, and the ones that did took an average of 33 hours to reply. “Given the growth in the online channel over the past five years, these figures demonstrate an astonishing lack of understanding by the average organisation,” explained Davin Yap, CEO of Transversal.

Many organizations do not realise the affects that poor online customer response has on the value of brand identity from a consumer’s point of view. If an organization has a great product or service, yet has an inability to follow up with adequate customer service, the whole brand image is distorted.

So what can organisations do to fix this?

Firstly, there should be more emphasis put on the importance of online customer services through training videos and regular updates on customer feedback. If possible in some organizations, perhaps additional online customer service representatives should be employed to help carry the workload and make sure that the response time and quality is significantly improved.

Another way customer service can be improved online is with the use of social networking sites. These sites are making customer service more accessible and more accurate. With the use of segmentation via social networking sites, marketers can target the right type of consumers and tailor the communication to suit the market.

In terms of customer service, social networks can be used to send out relevant information to particular groups that may all be experiencing similar problems. Or, individual updates and feedback can be tailored to suit each users needs. With the increased amounts of information about consumers available through social networking sites, customer service can be more accurate and beneficial to both the consumers and the organizations.

Online customer service should be an important part of everyday functions for businesses in today’s world, with the growing dependency of online services. Remember that happy customers are loyal customers.

Original Source: David Chaffey Blog, Transversal

Pay-per-click Advertising: Your new best friend!

•September 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You’ve got your product.

You’ve got your website.

You’re using keywords with search engine optimisation (SEO).

Now it’s just a matter of sitting back and watching the traffic flood in.

Well maybe. But don’t get too comfy yet.

There are countless numbers of users relying on search engines such as Google and Yahoo to help them find the most relevant information available on the Internet. However, with so much competition out there, how do we differentiate ourselves from the next website?

Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) has great advantages when it comes to getting traffic to your website, and fast. It is an extremely powerful tool that allows users to see your advertisement, customised and predominant, next to the results for that particular word search.

PPC is a step above regular keyword advertising (AKA organic search), and works by targeting selected keywords and linking them with your advertisement.  Not until the advertisement has been clicked on do advertisers actually pay the search engine anything! Users can view the advertisement on the search results page, but until a user clicks through to a site, not a cent will be lost.

This type of online advertising has great competitive factors including the ability to gain huge brand exposure (to thousands of users) but only pay for the ones that click through. Also, the separate position on the results page builds confidence in users that it is a genuine website.

Once the advertisement has been clicked on, this is recorded as an impression and clients are usually charged per thousand impressions. The cost of each individual website differs depending on what keyword is used to link your site, and how popular that word is (the more popular, the more expensive).

In order to really maximise your investment in PPC advertising, a few tips have been devised.

  1. Choose the right keyword.
    This is a critical element in PPC advertising, as the server cannot pick up your advertisement if your keyword does not link with the search. It is important to think like a customer in this sense. If you were searching for something that your business provides, what would you search? For example, if you were searching for horse riding schools in Melbourne, you may choose keywords such as ‘horse riding lessons/classes’ ‘Melbourne riding school’ or ‘learn to ride Melbourne’. Put yourselves in the consumers shoes, and go for a walk.
  2. Peak your client’s interest.
    When designing your PPC advert, make sure you keep it relevant, fresh, exciting and individual. You have only a limited space to grab users attention, make sure that each work is enticing and exciting and something you could see people wanting to know more about. Be creative and original, and to an extent push the boundaries.
  3. Don’t try to be the best.
    With the most popular search engines like Google and Yahoo, the price of being first on the list can cost a lot of money. Aim for a moderate position on the page, and as your profits increase, you can increase your positioning too. But remember, it’s not all about position on the page, you can still be successful with catchy phrases and interesting ad words, it’s all about STANDING OUT!
  4. Key one eye open.
    Don’t be afraid to be a sticky beak. We can learn so much from our competition, both how to improve and how to gain a competitive advantage. Look at some of the success stories and see if you can apply some of their elements to your own campaign. But, beware of copyright infringement and make sure to keep it original.

So if used correctly, PPC advertising can be your new best friend. It can help to drive traffic to your website and gain brand exposure. It is a relatively cost effective way of advertising online, yet can get expensive with the larger servers so be sure that you consider your keywords carefully.

And remember to be creative, it’s not always about how much you can afford to spend on advertising, it’s about how well you use what you’ve got, that counts.
Original Source: emarketing newsletter

Viral Guerrilla Marketing

•September 5, 2010 • 2 Comments

Guerrilla Marketing.

Every marketer has heard the term. Even non-marketers would have most likely been involved in guerrilla marketing at one point, if it were simply by being in the right place at the right time. Either way, no one can underestimate the power that successful guerrilla marketing can have on a small business.

Originally, guerrilla marketing had not really been associated with many forms of online marketing. Today, using high-tech gadgets with the touch of a button is giving businesses the ability to promote in unimaginable ways. This inexpensive, highly accessible tool known as ‘the internet’ has revolutionised not only connectivity, but also marketing, as we know it.

Marketing online isn’t simply limited to a website. It could also include practices such as emailing, commenting, research, chatting, videos, podcasts and applications. Two of the most interesting concepts in online marketing are the use of ‘viral campaigns’ and ‘online guerrilla marketing’ campaigns.

There is a slight difference between the two in which guerrilla marketing launches a surprise attack on the viewer compared with viral which is voluntarily passed around because viewers think it’s clever, funny or interesting. An effective viral campaign is clear that it is selling a product or service in an unusual way, yet a guerrilla campaign often tricks people into thinking it’s not actually an advertisement at all.

One of the most successful online guerrilla campaigns was for the release of the movie ‘The Blair Witch Project’. A relatively low-budget film was promoted to a huge degree with an online guerrilla campaign that worked to spread the myth of the ‘Blair Witch legend’ as if it were true. When the film was actually released, many people were convinced that the spooky legend actually held some truth.

However, these types of campaigns are not always fool proof. There are also some issues that arise with guerrilla marketing including the fact that many sceptics believe this form of promotion is making it harder to determine what’s is genuine and what is a hoax. However, not all online guerrilla or viral campaigns are about profit, and can also target social changes, policies, and safety issues.

An example of this is the Volkswagen video from TheFunTheory.com, in which the company is trying to get more people to take the stairs over the escalator by making the stairs play music when stepped on. Although the company logo appears at the end of the clip, it is a good example of socially conscious marketing going viral.

So, online guerrilla marketing.

A successful marketing tool using the powerful of the Internet to promote ones brand, or a risky method devaluing the genuine marketing techniques used on the Internet?

Perhaps a bit of both.

But what we know for sure is that if people are talking about it, you must be doing something right.

Article Source: Be On The Net, Gmarketing, Web Urbanist

 
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