Thursday, April 30, 2009

When it comes to Social Media it is personal

Many of the Social Media vehicles were developed for personal relationship building. This must constantly be remembered when using Social Media. Unlike other media such as TV, for Social Media the other participants and not some producer or programmer determine actions. Thus there are several considerations that must be taken into account when using Social Media for business concerns.
  • Social Media vehicles are often advertiser unfriendly. For Social Media we want to share our information with others and visa versa. There is really no motivation for one to share advertising with others.
  • Your conduct is very important while using a Social Media channel. The guests make the rules not you. We have a business acquaintance that is “gung-ho” about Social Media. The problem is that this person uses any and every Social Media channel to communicate some business event or offering. After getting 6 – 7 invites from the various channels about the same topic, it starts having the same affect and effect as spam and I stop even opening up the corresponding emails from this person.
  • Social Media is just one part of an integrated marketing approach. So do not become too concerned when you cannot strongly suggest or forcefully persuade. Use your other media channels to accomplish this.
  • Social Media, since it is a personal network, is a very good channel to recruit new employees
  • Act as if you are a guest – one that would like to be invited back.
Do not let the above sway you from using Social Media as part of your marketing program. Often times us baby-boomer will say that w e do not like to use Social Media channels since they are for kids. Remember those “kids” probably are in their 20s or 30s – large buying community.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Facebook, Twitter, Flicker, LinkedIn? What a busy social life

An important part of New Media Marketing is the integration of the various Social Media vehicles. For many Social Media is a new type of building friends and relationships. This is also true for businesses where we are concerned with customer relationships and sales. In this case we refer to it as Social Media Marketing.

One of the first couple of blogs in this New Media Marketing series dealt with the arrival of Web 2.0. Web 2.0 users took for personalization and collaboration. This is also one of the major discriminators of Social Media. Social Media differs from traditional media of newspapers, broadcast, books, etc. in that with Social Media the audience can participate in social media by adding comments and stories themselves.

Social media has the following characteristics:
  • It is involved with a number of different social media channels.
  • Social Media changes over time. Actually the more participants the faster the amount of change
  • You cannot have social media without assuming and encouraging the audience to be part of your sales or creative process.
A question often asked: “Is social media accurate?” Yes and no. Statements may be made about your products/services that may not be true. However, if your customers reject them, you better fix them ASAP if you want to be successful. Guidelines when it comes to this:
  • Social Media uses the collective, the wisdom of the crowd – they cannot be entirely wrong
  • Social Media is effective when used for participation and influence not command and control.
Marketing classically deals with awareness -> consideration -> purchase. Social media feedback is user generated: use -. form opinion -> talk. This talk must be captured and made part of the marketing consideration. Social media is word-of-mouth. It is based on actual post-purchase experience. This is critical to help maintain the perceived quality aspect of your brand.

In terms of psychobabble, Social media follows Reed’s Law. David Reed’s work at MIT developed the Law of the Pack. This holds that the value of a network grows more powerful as the network grows. Thus a network of 100 customers is much more powerful than a network of 10 customers.

The simplest and effective way to jump into the Social Media Marketing is to use the New Media Marketing vehicle of the blog.

But to at least starting looking at all the various vehicles out there, here are just a few:

Microblog Services:
Twitter (
Tumblr (
Plurk (
Seesmic (

Multimedia Sites
Flickr (
Photobucket (
YouTube (
Seesmic (
Metacafe (

Taggin Services: (
Stumble Upon (

Social Sites
Facebook (
MySpace (

Business sites
AdGabber (
LinkedIn (
Plaxo Pulse (

Please share with us any others that you may be using.

All dressed up and no where to go:

The past few blogs, we discussed some guidelines and recommendations to help create an effective email. Now that is done – but it is a waste of time (except for practice) if you do not have a list to send the email to.

Jut a reminder as we continue this discussion – remember you cannot spam – it is the law!
So how do I build up my email list to send this perfect email to? There is actually two parts to this question. The first is to get legitimate emails and the second is to keep them on your list (not opting out).

The second part is straight-forward: target the right people and keep your emails relevant and engaging:
  • Keep it relevant – tell your audience about things they are interested in.
  • Tailor to your audience – consider different emails to different sub-targets
  • Attract attention with your subject line
  • Get straight to the point – people do not like you to waste their time
  • Use simple language – create text that is simple to understand and very clear on benefits and call to action
  • Offer exclusive benefits – offer special benefits that will appeal to your audience
  • Correct frequency – send on a regular basis but only when you have something relevant to talk about.
So how do I begin building my email database? Before we address this question – make sure you have some procedure/process to capture and maintain your email list. You do not need to capture extensive amounts of data BUT capture enough so that you can select sub-lists. This will help you sent out emails based on message relevance. Now on to collecting and building your email list.
Collect information on-line: Place sing-up (opt-in) requests on your web site and other similar locations.
  • On every page of your web site
  • E-mail signature
  • On your blog
  • On banner ads and online advertising
  • Online directories
Collect information in person: Always ask for permission when you collect information in-person.
  • Swap business cards
  • Guest book on counter or in office
  • Business card bowl at trade shows and events
  • Train employees to capture customer information
Collect information through print:
  • Send a postcard offering an incentive to return card with email information
  • Position sign-up request to add value to the mailing piece
  • Add sign-up incentive
  • Always add your domain name to ALL print media
If you have any other suggestions, please share them with us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

If you're going to send an e-mail, design it right!

In our last blog, we talked about picking the proper theme. We will now look at format and layout considerations.

One of the most important parts of any email is "from:" and "subject" lines. There are studies that show up to 65% of recipients will decide to open an email based on the from: line.

The secret is to keep the from: line familiar. Some guidelines to achieve this is to include the following:
  • Your name (drjack)
  • Name of your business (tCDG Studios)
  • Combine your name and your business name. (drjack - tCDG Studios
  • If you have many locations, include your locations - drjack - tCDG Studios, Orlando

Also create an email of what you are and what you are doing

It is estimated that up to 31% recipients will open an email based on the subject line. Some suggestions:
  • Highlight immediate benefits
  • Include value words
  • Work with a theme. Colors work well, eg. making your sales more green

Another important aspect of your email is its format/layout. You should consider the following when working with text.

Font - This is especially true if your email is in a html format. If you select a font that is not stored on the viewers computer, it will not display properly. Use commonly accepted fonts such as Arial, Garamond, Georgia, Impact, Times New Roman, or Veranda.

When considering font styles, use the following rules:

Bold: contrast or emphasize
  • Headlines
  • Short phrases
  • Captions
  • Key words or phrases

Italic: subtle emphasis
  • Single word
  • Subheadings
  • Proper names
  • References to titles

Underline: emphasize words or phrases
  • Text links
  • Column headings
  • Headlines to separate from text

Font Color: enhance overall look and feel
  • Add emphasis to headlines and subheadlines
  • Links within text

Images - Make sure that the file format can be recognized by browsers. These are usually .jpg, .gif, or .png.

Images should re-enforce your text.
Photographs are most versatile in telling your story.
Examples include:
  • Key staff members
  • Products/Services being used
  • Site location
  • Event activities
  • Customer testimonials

Created Art
  • Logos - required for brand strengthening
  • Clip Art - recommend limiting use since it can "date" your design/layout
  • Animated .gif - same as clip art
  • Icons
  • Text images - most common is signature. Also effective for headlines

Another important consideration is how to increase the content value of your email. The following help increases the effectiveness of your email.
Include an offer
  • coupons
  • Give-a-ways
  • Lost leaders
  • Extending urgent offers

Effective Call to Action. Examples of Call to Actions are:
  • Read your email
  • Save your email
  • Print your email
  • Forward your email
  • Make a purchase
  • Fill out a form
  • Visit your web site
  • Visit a physical location
  • Request information
  • Register for an Event
  • Make an appointment
  • Phone you

Monday, April 20, 2009

So what is your theme?

There are two aspects of “what an email should look like”:

Format and Theme. There are many who do not consider both but often one will at least consider format. Format refers to the classification and configuration of an email. For a successful email campaign, you need to also consider the appropriate theme. The theme is the main idea of your entire email campaign. It is not the same as format.

Once you have decided on the objective(s) for your campaign, you then select your theme. Most objectives can be achieved using one of the four typical email themes:
  • Promotional
  • Information
  • Procedural
  • Relational
We will also address emails that have multiple themes.

Promotional Theme – Use the promotional theme when you want to persuade your audience to take a specific action or at least ask for a specific purchase decision such as making an appointment. Typical PROMOTIONAL theme include:
  • Product images and descriptions
  • Testimonials
  • Coupons
  • Headlines and links that cal for action
  • Links to information that supports your main call to action
  • Directions on how to make the call to action
Informational Theme – Use this theme to inform you audience so that they will form an opinion. They are different from Promotional in that they usually do not include a call to action.
  • News articles
  • Stories and narratives
  • Opinions and viewpoints
  • Announcements
  • Event calendars
  • FAQs
Procedural Theme - This theme is used to give instructions or explain processes. Like informational themes, they usually do not include a call to action. Examples are:
  • New customer or opt-in welcome
  • Notifications
  • Shipping or privacy policy
  • Disclosures and warranties
Relational Theme – This theme is used to build or deepen relationship(s). These are usually one-way communications and no call to action. Examples:
  • Greetings
  • Acknowledgements
  • Personal experiences news and stories
  • Customer recognition messages

At times your email campaign may require you to use Multiple themes. Try to minimize the use of multiple themes. Recommend the following when considering multiple themes:
  • State your main theme very succinctly right up front
  • Sub-group together with design and layout elements
  • If there is that a major theme within the multiple themes, then send out separate emails
  • Remember objectives -> themes -> formats -> genre.
We will discuss the concept of genre when it comes to design in a future blog. But just remember, if your email is not text only, then maximize the visual impact by doing it right. Viewers are very savvy and can quickly detect amateur design. As I covered in my blog of January 29, 2009 “Crap is Crap”.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Why email if you are going to do it wrong?

As we start the email portion of the New Media Marketing (NMM) blog series, we will not be spending time on what is an email or how important they are. Most of us are very familiar with emails; email marketing campaigns, and which ones seem to work. Creating emails as part of your integrated marketing program is not the same as sitting down and writing an email as most of us do several times a day.

When it comes to email marketing campaigns, there are three distinct tasks that you must follow to maximize your email campaign effectiveness. (Thus don’t waste your time sending out emails).

The first is to determine your message – what your email message should say.
Remember: Make your emails as concise and focused as possible. Most recipients scan e-mails and do not necessarily take the time to read every word or sentence of your email.

Your message should contain the following three content elements:
  • Value proposition – why you versus someone else or some other solution/product/service.
  • Supporting Information – Provide additional information to support your value proposition. Summarize the following four questions in a paragraph: (1) What are the features of your product or services, (2) Benefits (always more important then specifications), (3) How are you different (4) Why that different is important
  • Call to action – ask the readers to take a specific action in a specific way. So often a well-crafted email forgets this part. Do not be afraid to ask the viewer to do something. This need not be “buy now” it could be call, click a link, download, save this message, forward this message, print out and use as a coupon, etc.
After you determine your message, you should select the look/type of your email. We will address this in more detail in the next blog.

The second step is to deliver your message. The how is easy to answer especially with the well-developed email service providers such as Constant Contact. The who is most important.
Like direct mail, email campaigns have the same mantra – junk mail/email is good mail/email sent to the wrong person.

As we so often mentioned in this blog series: targeting your campaign, categorizing your lists is critical.

The third step is to evaluate your message. The beauty of email is that you will learn very quickly if your message worked (usually within 48 hrs) and you can change the message or target for your next email.

Some suggested metrics you can use:
  • Increase in number of web visits
  • Increase in orders and sales
  • Event attendance increase
  • Increase number of opt-ins
  • Change in opinions over time
Please refer to our last ezine Studio Buzz articles to read more about email as a marketing tool.
  • Getting Started with an Email Campaign
  • Do it Right – Five types of Emails
Note: links
Getting started…
Do it right…

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Crafting your Podcast

One of the first questions asked by clients who are attempting their first series of podcasts is: How long should a podcast be? A typical podcast episode is usually 15 to 30 minutes.

Remember podcasts are episodic so for a given podcast, since you have your audiences attention for that amount of time, you can build advanced or nuanced themes over time. Remember think of your podcasts as scheduled sequence of audio (or video) files, downloaded to a computer or portable media device.

Strategies learned from successful corporate podcasting:
  • Plan your podcast: spend time determining your audience, the purpose, format and audio alone or audio-video
  • Stylize your podcast: Will you use a one person presentation or an interview. For interviews use participants who are knowledgeable in the podcast subject /theme.
  • Podcast in a series: Podcast users expect a continuing series that they follow, not just a one-time file
  • Combine with interactive blogs: This will create an even higher level of interaction with the audience (Remember when we first started this series of blogs concerning New Media Marketing – the rule of 7 clicks to get someone into you Buyers Community).
  • Internal and External Use: Consider using podcast series for internal use for employees, associates, partners, etc..
How do I “get my podcast out to the public?”

Similar to other NMM tools, specific distribution tools are required. Podcasts use the same delivery mechanisms as does blogs. GoDaddy ( or BlueHost ( provide basic podcast delivery tools.

Podcasts have their own directories. Submit your podcasts to as many directories as possible. Most, if not all, are free. It is actually not that difficult to add your podcasts to iTunes ( for more details

To close the discussion on podcasts, we provide some don’ts:
  • Don’t garble your words
  • Don’t speak in a monotone
  • Don’t record with background noise
  • Don’t try to show-off by bombarding your audience with too much information
  • Don’t use loud, harsh music
  • Don’t try to act as a broadcaster be yourself
  • Don’t publish a podcast that is not relevant to your audience
  • Don’t make your podcasts too long. Even though a 15 – 30 minute max is suggested, as audiences become even more time starved, 10 minute podcasts are strongly recommended
For those who have ventured into the exciting world of podcasts, please share your lessons learned and some tricks of the trade.

Monday, April 13, 2009

PODCASTS – Newest and Soon to be the Greatest

Podcasts are the newest media member of New Media Marketing and is rapidly growing in usage. eMarketer estimated that at the end of 2008, 6.5 million people will download a podcast at least twice a week. They also estimate that number to be 25 million by the end of 2012. For those who hate the idea of sitting down and composing a blog or writing an article for your ezine – podcasting is your solution. Podcasts permits you to “talk” about your product or discuss your business. You can speak directly to your audience.

As we have previously mentioned, New Media Marketing works the best when you integrate the various medias. This is also true for podcasts. Even though a stand alone podcast can work, since podcasts are web based, they are much more effective when used in conjunction with your web, blogs, ezines, and email campaigns. The secret to New Media Marketing is it provides media variations on the same theme.

If podcasting is your main New Media Marketing vehicle then you should provide a podcast at least twice a week (similar to blogging). If it is used in conjunction with other NMM, you should podcast once or twice a month (similar to your ezine).

Podcasts can be viewed directly from your audiences computer via the web or they can be downloaded to a mp3 player (such as your ipod) and can be viewed or listened to at your audiences convenience.

Make sure that in your ezine, you describe your podcasts and lists the titles of at least the last three casts. Also add a link so that viewer can subscribe.

Just like the other NMM vehicles, name your podcast with a compelling name – one that will both grab the viewer attention and also establish relevancy for your targeted audience. Once you have selected such a name, then you can choose a theme. All podcast episodes for the theme should thus focus on that theme.

An example would be if you are a design studio, you may want to select the theme “Emotional Branding through Color” or “The Wonderful World of Color”. You then can create a video podcast that shows how colors actually create different emotions and also an audio podcast that talks about the process of selecting the right color for a given message.
There are some technology requirements that are not necessarily required for the other NMM vehicles:
  • Need a computer with a high-speed internet connection
  • Audio software to produce the required audio files and a microphone. Also consider buying a pair of headphones
  • For video, the software and equipment is more extensive then for just audio. However one can product a low-budget video using such programs as Mac’s iMovie and photographs and illustrations. Life video is not always required.
  • You will also need to select a hosting company for your podcasts:
  • Often your existing web site hosting company provides podcast hosting, some other suggestions:
  • Switchpod (
  • Liberated Syndication (
  • Godaddy (

  • When creating your podcast remember to make the media have heart with your enthusiasm
  • Create a picture in your listener’s “mind’s eye”
  • Practice your enunciation and diction
  • Remove words such as uhms, ers, etc.

Content suggestions:
  • Key business products and services
  • Interviews
  • Profiles
  • Business tips
  • Panel discussions
  • Behind-the-scene tours and looks
Like most NMM vehicles, once you tried them you will become comfortable with them and actually enjoy using the various media to tell your story. Remember it is all about your story.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

E-zineanomics (Part III)

Your e-zine is probably one of your best tools to constantly build your community of buyers. Because of this we are going to spend one more posting on this all important New Media Marketing tool.

Now that you have created your e-zine and have it ready for posting the next important question is How do I get viewers to read it?”

The first answer is obvious but often overlooked – build your database of email names (remember just taking names and sending an email can be considered spamming).
  • Add the opt-in names from your web site
  • Get your contact lists that you use for business and personal and go through that list for candidates
  • Join professional and civic group and use their membership list (check on membership list policies for each organization)
  • Collaborate with businesses that service the same audience but our not in competition with you. Adding information to the e-zine for them provides the ability to use the names that your collaborator can provide.
  • Provide a description of your e-zine in your web site opt-in registration page that provides a simple but direct benefit of the e-zine.
  • Register with an e-zine directory. Many such directories often offer categories that you can register with.
Some such directories are:
The Directory of E-zines (
E-zinelocater (
BestEzines (
New-List (

The last two blogs we provided some suggestions on writing your e-zine content and how to build an e-zine skeleton layout.

Well here are some E-zine Do Not Dos:
  • No generic greetings. Remember in the world of web 2.0, viewers are looking for collaboration and personalization.
  • Do not have your e-zine look totally different from your web site
  • Do not use a free e-mail domain. It makes you look “mom-and-popish”.
  • Do not write long articles. Be brief. Viewers are often time starved.
  • Do not try to show off by trying to demonstrate how much you know.
  • Content should not be all self-serving. So often in corporate story telling, we advise our clients: you know your story (we hope) the task is to tell it to others in a way they understand it. This is the same with e-zines. Readers are interested in information of value. Make it relevant. If not viewers will unsubscribe.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

E-zineanomics (Part II)

The key to a good e-zine is to get the reader’s attention. E-zines are good ways to combine your marketing messages with new announcements, and industry news.

Note: For every e-zine issue, make sure it is interesting and relevant. If not the recipient will not open up the email.

Your e-zine should consist of customized messages – that is of interest to your audience. If your e-zine leads with regional information, you may want to consider having different issues that are geographic specific.

Note: E-zines are not stand-alone. You want the viewer to email you or click to your web site to obtain more information. For example you may have a summary of an article in your e-zine and a read more link to a specific page to your web site. (The link should be to the relevant page. Do not have the viewer go to your home page and have to navigate to the additional information they are seeking.)

Some content creation suggestions:
  • Make sure your subject line of your email is attention grabbing. Also make it consistent so that they will recognize it and know to open the email. Using the name of your e-zine is a good strategy.
  • Select a good name. The above suggestion works well when you select an e-zine name that is also eye-catching.
  • Keep in mind the following two tenets when writing content: Relevance – your e-zine is specifically targeted to your audience and Brevity – keep content focused and succinct. No long text.
  • Keep articles no long then 300 – 500 words. Use links to your web site articles page to provide full articles.
  • For a given e-zine think of a theme. This theme will help you select article topics and other content elements.
  • Establish a structure or skeleton for your e-zine. Try and follow that layout skeleton for each issue. Try to keep the number of articles to no more then 5. You do not want to have a long table of contents.
  • Your e-zine need not be created in HTML (this is the format that most email/e-zine providers offer.) You can create your e-zine as plain text.
  • E-zines should contain multiple calls-to-action
  • Must contain more information then promotional material. If not it is not an e-zine but an advertisement
  • A good format for an e-zine is one that has multiple columns
And finally you still may be wondering what do I write about? Here is just a list of some of the many topics you can cover in your e-zine:
  • Advice and options
  • Membership communications
  • Stories
  • Product support articles
  • Event calendar highlights
  • Book reviews
  • Summaries of larger bodies of information
For our blog readers, please share with us topics that you have found very useful.

Monday, April 6, 2009

E-zineanomics (Part I)


“God Bless You”

“No I did not sneeze I said e-zine you know electronic magazine”


“Let’s try this – email newsletter”

“Oh, why did you not say that from the beginning?”

An e-zine is a regularly scheduled email that connects to your targeted audience by providing information and re-establishing the relevance of your product/services with the audience’s needs and wants.

Unlike email campaigns, blogs, and other types of electronic communications, e-zines communicate with your targeted audience, periodically offering information, tips, and suggestions that will help the viewer.

A good rule of thumb is to send out your e-zine once or twice a month – always on the same day. This way the potential viewer will grow to expect your email and will be looking out for it being sent.

E-zines are critical to stay in touch with present and past clients. Remember that email marketing can lift brand awareness by over 58%.

E-zines usually have the following standard parts/sections:
  • Business information – This includes your log name, contact information, etc. Try to use a header that becomes part of your branding. Should look similar to your web site header. (you may have to resize it)
  • Personal Greeting – Should be relevant to the e-zine issue, make it personal, and use it to introduce content, a new product, an event at your organization, etc.
  • Main Content – It is here that you offer your information, helpful tips, and recommendations. This can be a mixture of (but not necessarily all): Articles, FAQs,Book Reviews,Interviews, Customer Profiles, Statistical information, or Guest writers articles
  • Product and Service Information
  • Privacy and Subscription Information
There are many good e-zines being posted. If you know of any or have suggestions of other content elements, please share them with us. Tomorrow’s blog we will continue with how to create a good e-zine.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Blog – Summing it all up

Over the last few blogs, I attempted to give you some insight into the world of blogging. It is a key element of a successful New Media Marketing campaign. Like most marketing vehicles, it has its own set of guidelines and suggestions. Also do not be fearful of or discount blogging. I remember when our studio staff wanted me to blog. My initial reaction was “no”. It was something foreign and strange. Even the name sounded strange. So the request rapidly moved to a command and I found myself in the blogosphere. It went from dragging my feet to really enjoying blogging. Anyone out there who is hesitant, make the decision, the commitment, and start developing the related skills – results will come.

Anyone out there that blogs on a regular basis, please share some start-up stories and suggestions you may have.

Suggestion Summary:
  1. The blog name is important. Choose one that relates to the topic you selected for your blog. Remember that relevance is the key factor for all electronic marketing.
  2. The best way to maintain relevance is to keep your blog focused on its purpose. The reverse side is to select a theme that you will be blogging on such as these blogs are focusing on the theme of New Media Marketing
  3. Say what you think about your professional focus. Remember to write blogs that contain your own opinion.
  4. When writing your blog make sure you write them personal, informative, and somewhat casual without loosing your professionalism.
  5. Be consistent – you should blog at least twice a week.
  6. Your blog is part of your integrated marketing program so make sure the look of your blog is in tune with your other marketing vehicles especially your web site, email campaigns, and ezines.
  7. Be brief – Blogs should be short but frequent. To tell you the truth, blogs within our 31 Blogs for New Media Marketing, at times border on being too long just because there is so much information to provide.
  8. Don’t throw too many listings or blatant advertising at your viewers.
  9. Make sure you proofread your blog. I have at least two people read the blog before it is posted. Even then some mistakes are found so use a blog service where editing is very convenient.
  10. Consider using RSS feeds and blogrolls.