Category Archives: Marketing

Answering Someone Else’s Marketing Questions

One of the best things about Twitter is that, if you’re following the right people, every once in awhile you come across something that just peaks your interest, and then you have to investigate it.

This happened a little while ago when I came across a Twitter post by Dr. Letitia Wright saying that she’d left what was probably the longest comment she’s ever left on someone else’s blog. Me being the curious type, I just had to go see what she was talking about, and I came upon a post by Frank Conrad Martin on his blog Marketing Magic where he asks 30 questions about marketing in general, not specifically internet marketing. Dr. Wright decided to respond to every single question he asked, and I like her answers, mainly because she took the time to answer them. And I pretty much agree with them, but of course I have my own take on them. I hope you go and visit the article so you can read all the questions for yourself. However, I’m going to respond to a few of them here.

1. Why are pigs always smiling and dancing on signs at a Barbecue Restaurant? Does anyone think that pigs are happy about barbecue? This is a good one, something I’ve always wondered when I go to certain restaurants and see the happy faces of what it is you’re about to eat. Frankly, most of the time it creeps me out, but as I thought about it, I figure that it’s a pretty good advertising trick because you easily know what a restaurant’s main thrust is, even if it doesn’t say it in the name. I guess it’s better having the animals smiling than having them look like they want to kick your behind for eating them.

2. Does anyone know anyone who has *ever* purchased an item from pop-up ads? I’ve wondered this one myself. I know Problogger and the like stated that they saw dramatic increases in their newsletter subscriptions once they added that stupid little popup on their sites, but you know how much popups irritate the heck out of me. Yet, those aren’t the only types I’ve seen. Will anyone admit to buying something because a popup or popunder stopped them from leaving a site by offering a ridiculously good offer? Will anyone admit to buying something because, while they were reading an article, one of those floating popups came by offering some other unbelievably good deal?

5. Why is it OK to use stereotypes in ads, as long as the stereotypes are only for white men? Why are men so frequently depicted as inept or clueless in advertising presumably designed to sell them stuff? This is one of those questions that’s only ever asked by the majority of whatever country a person happens to be from. People in general, at least those with any kind of sense of humor, tend to parody themselves. In America, all the ad companies are run by white men for the most part, so who would they be expected to lampoon and not have people picketing outside of their doors? And the writer has this one wrong, or hasn’t he ever noticed how the music in the background is different if the person in the ad is a minority? For a marketing guy to not have figured this one out just kind of amazes me, but it also makes it look like he’s never left the country; for those of you who are in other countries, tell us which group gets lampooned the most where you live. I’m betting it’s the majority male.

8. Does the nudity in European advertising get more attention and sell more stuff than the more fully clad ads in the USA? Another one I obviously can’t answer, but I will admit to being shocked by what advertisers can get away with in other countries that just won’t fly here. Still, it’s an intriguing question overall; does sex on TV really sell more, no matter the country? Do I need to add more pictures of pretty women on my blog to start making some sales (I know Sire’s answer lol)?

9. How much viagra and “male enhancement” are actually sold via spam email? Could anyone *really* trust their credit card numbers to those spam marketers? Once again, you know how much I hate spam, and it’s a question I’ve asked elsewhere, that being just what do spammers think they’re deriving from all that they’re sending out? If you remember, I wrote on a post talking about legitimizing spam where someone sent out almost 470 million pieces of spam email and got 28 people to purchase from them. People around the world have gotten more savvy, and the spammers have gotten more desperate, and this is really a very legitimate question because it shows that, even though we’re all gotten smarter, there are still a few people out there who need more information on how to protect themselves.

15. Why are so many television commercials dumbed down to the 5th grade level of comprehension? Because advertisers have looked at statistics which show that at least half the American population can only read well at a 3rd grade level. You think I’m making that one up? Based on statistics put together by The Informatics Review, in 1995, 41.6% of American patients could not comprehend directions for taking medication on an empty stomach. One in four Americans is a high school dropout. Parents with young children overall read at a higher level than the norm, but only at a 7th grade level. Even Medicare requires any written correspondence for their subscribers has to be written at the level of a 3rd grader. So, this one makes sense because, unfortunately, we’re not a country full of Mensa candidates.

27. Do politicians or their managers *really* believe voters are stupid enough to believe the negative drivel they push late in the campaigns? They do because it’s true, unfortunately. Barack Obama had a double digits lead on McCain until the campaign got ugly, with the Republican National Committee deciding to keep pushing the fact that his middle name was “Hussein” (anyone see the racist intent there?), that he even knew a reverend and a former American “terrorist” (heck, might as well call that one for what it was) and wouldn’t repudiate either as they wanted him to (nope, just saying he disagreed with their positions wasn’t enough for them), and then, when they wanted more juice, decided to try to get people to believe that he wasn’t even American enough to be legally elected. I hate negativity in campaigns, but it works; or did you not see this video from Ohio that I posted back in October?

Anyway, those are the questions I wanted to address, but there are so many more. Please, visit the site, read the questions, do some thinking, and either respond to him or write your thoughts here. I’ve just marketed for the both of us.

Gateway HD2201 22 Widescreen LCD Computer Monitor

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Kontera, Performancing, TTZ – The Update

Back on November 3rd, I talked about adding some new affiliate programs, most specifically Kontera, Performancing Ads, and TTZ Media. I figured it was time for a quick update on these programs, since we’re six weeks away from that time.

To date, I have to say that I’m more than somewhat disappointed by the performance of all of them. Kontera has performed that best of all three programs, as I’ve made,… 14 cents since I implemented it. In case you’re not sure, Kontera are the ads you see throughout the posts with the double underline. I have to say that I’ve taken a look at some of those things by hovering over them, and I’ve noticed that many of them have nothing to do with the word they’re setting themselves against, and some of them don’t make much sense. It’s probably no wonder that they’re not making much, but at least they’re there for now.

TTZ Media and Performancing Ads have made the same amount of money, that being nothing. Each of these programs works differently, though, so the expectation is somewhat different. TTZ Media has ads that somewhat look like a cross between Shopping Ads and Widget Bucks. If you look to the right above the Technorati image, you’ll see the TTZ ad. I need to have more of those, and in more prominent places probably, but it does change with every post, including changing if you visit the same post more than once, so maybe it just needs to be in a more prominent spot.

However, the Performancing Ads program has been the biggest disappointment. What you see on the right, above the TTZ ads, is the affiliate ad for Performancing Ads, and not any of the Performancing Ads themselves. If you saw anything, it would be showing above that ad, as Performancing has you add a widget to your site, and that’s where they would populate the ads of their advertisers. If all was working properly, you’d see two 125×125 ads sitting there, instead, you don’t see anything there, and that’s irritating me. I added it because of a post on John Chow, but I should have read this post by Problogger beforehand, as he mentioned that Performancing had been sold, then made a comeback, but he wasn’t sure if they’d be able to get advertisers for the program again. Even John Chow, the guy whose blog I saw Performancing Ads on, hasn’t made any money from them, even though he’s showing the affiliate ad on his site.

So, the immediate move I’m going to make within the next day or so is to remove Performancing Ads totally from my site. The widget will be gone, and I’ll be popping a different ad in that 125×125 slot. You may even see it gone by the time you read this. I don’t know if the problem is them not finding advertisers, or those advertisers not wanting to advertise on my blog. Since I’m about to break into the top 100,000 per Technorati, I figure I’ve done my part in popularizing my blog in some fashion, and I can’t go blaming myself for everything, so I’m thinking it’s on them. No matter; time to put something new in there to see if it performs better.

Stay tuned, folks; there will be more reviews on some of these other affiliate programs I’ve added in the near future. Nothing personal, Performancing; it’s all business.

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Internet Marketing and Home Business – Guest Post

The following is another guest post. It’s an article written by Diego Norte, who writes about internet marketing, along with other aspects of doing business online.

Depending on whom you ask, the term Internet marketing can mean a variety of things. At one time, Internet marketing consisted mostly of having a website or placing banner ads on other websites. On the other end of the spectrum, there are loads of companies telling you that you can make a fortune overnight on the Internet and who try to sell you some form of “Internet marketing program“.

Today, Internet marketing is evolving into a broader mix of components a company can use as a means of increasing sales – even if your business is done completely online, partly online, or completely offline. The decision to use Internet marketing as part of a company’s overall marketing strategy is strictly up to the company of course, but as a rule, Internet marketing is becoming an increasingly important part of nearly every company’s marketing mix. For some online businesses, it is the only form of marketing being practiced.

Internet marketing is using the Internet to do one or more of the following:

1. Communicate a company’s message about itself, its products, or its services.

2. Conduct research as to the nature of existing and potential customers.

3. Sell goods, services, or advertising space over the Internet.

Components of Internet marketing may include:

1. A website, consisting of text, images and possibly audio and video elements used to convey the company’s message, to inform existing and potential customers of the features and benefits of the company’s products and/or services.

2. Email marketing, which is a method of distributing information about a product or service or for soliciting feedback from customers about a product or service through Email. Email addresses of customers and prospective customers may be collected or purchased.

3. Banner advertising, which is the placement of ads on a website for a fee. Offline this would be similar to traditional advertising in newspapers or magazines.

Of all of the components of Internet marketing, prospective customers and clients expect a business to have a website. In fact, not having one could raise a red flag to a prospect. Online usage has become so pervasive today, many prospects might easily choose to do business with a company that they can get up-to-date information on 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.

Even a business that only has very local customers, such as a single location restaurant or shoe store can benefit from having a Web site. And, those businesses whose customers are not restricted to a geographical area might have a difficult time finding an alternate method of attracting customers that offers the reasonably low expense and worldwide reach of a Web presence.

Because of the “virtual” nature of most home businesses, websites, if not an absolute necessity, can certainly provide benefits to a home business operator. Since most home-based businesses don’t have a physical location, a website provides an inexpensive means for prospects to get to know what you do or what you sell and can even be a “storefront” for selling goods and services directly.

The Internet has greatly enabled home businesses to prosper because of the reasonably low cost to start and maintain a web presence. Therefore, Internet marketing should be part of your business plan and your marketing strategy.

I thank Diego for this article. I hope you enjoy it, and please visit his blog here.

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Is Social Media Hurting Your Online Business?

As all of you know by now, we had a presidential election this year. It was a major event that, for the first time that I can remember, got more social media attention than at any other time in history, mainly because of sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Talk Nerdy To Me #2
Constantine Belias via Compfight

Because I’m an independent consultant, I knew that I wanted to protect my overall business by not going too far in saying things one way or the other. And I did just that sort of thing until, near the day of the election, I came across this racist video of a small town in Ohio that literally set me off. Even then, I kept my anger in check by only discussing the issue that the video has brought up and nothing else; I couldn’t be faulted for confronting racism when I see it.

During the last few weeks leading up to the election, I saw some things on Twitter that really blew my mind. There were many hateful things said about both candidates, and as long as things stayed on political topics, I didn’t mind. However, when it got personal and racist and downright insulting, that’s where I drew the line. Instead of participating in the hate, for the most part, I just stopped following certain people. The thing is, some of those people were pretty big names, people whose blogs I read and who’s sites I’d visited; one of them I’d even bought a product from. But it was over; I’d lost respect, and it wasn’t coming back.

Facebook is a different animal from Twitter, and yet it’s still social media. There are people who will “friend” you, and sometimes you decide to go ahead and allow it to happen, even if you’re not sure. Most of the time it turns out to be fine, but sometimes, you see people exhibiting behavior that just drives you nuts. People put pictures of themselves on Facebook, which can be fun, but there’s certain behavior that will get people thinking of you in negative ways. I’ve heard the arguments that people should be able to do whatever they want on their own time, and that those “few” acts of indiscretion shouldn’t count against you.

Well, trust me, they do. I remember years ago going to a local networking event and meeting a woman who obviously had too much to drink, and continued drinking, even after her husband showed up. Her spitting in my face and constant touching me certainly didn’t make me a fan of her or her organization, which is one of the largest local bank chains in my area, and I knew that I would never go into her branch again; truthfully, I’ve never ended up going to any of the branches of her chain except one, and that’s only because a friend of mine works there, and I sometimes meet her for lunch.

On Facebook, it might not only be pictures. People will badger you with stupid stuff over and over, and to get away from it you finally just drop them and move on. Luckily, Facebook allows you to drop people without notifying them. Twitter is the same way, although some people have gotten around that by signing up for something, the name of which I can’t remember, but it tells people who’ve stopped following them. Why anyone would want to know when people drop them is beyond me, since there’s nothing they can do about it anyway.

It prompts me to wonder whether many people are cognizant of things they may be doing that may be hurting their business in some way. For instance, going back to Twitter, there was one lady who probably wrote at least 200 posts on Twitter a day, many times one after the other, and I finally had to drop her because it was taking away my enjoyment of the site. She’s actually quite popular, but knowing the type of person she really is has made me decide not to deal with her in any form anymore. There was someone else whose blog I used to enjoy reading, but then he decided to go after someone on Twitter over the course of a few days, and that turned me off and made me go in another direction.

As you look at your websites, and your blogs, do you think there are things there that might be turning off the wrong people? I know a few people have complained about the advertising on my blog, for instance, but this is an internet marketing blog, my intentions have always been well known as far as my intention on trying to make money with this blog, and I talk about all the things that one eventually sees on this blog, so it’s also a testing site. Yet, the majority of my visitors know what I’m doing, are interested in the same types of things, and y’all keep coming back for more (and don’t think I don’t appreciate it either; thanks folks).

But the one thing no one can say about me is that they saw me say anything inappropriate, or show or do anything inappropriate, on a social media site. I tend to be very cognizant of my image; not everyone is. Ask yourself this question today; are you hurting yourself publicly in ways you’re not intending to?

Super Bowl

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Still Losing Affiliates

Back in May, I wrote a post about New York state’s new law to force affiliate programs to start collecting taxes from those of us who market their products, and how I started having affiliates dropping me from their programs. I followed that one up a couple of weeks later with this article talking about how six affiliates had dropped me, and I wasn’t happy about it.

Well, after the initial round, nothing more happened, and I moved on, not thinking about it again. Suddenly, however, this week I’ve had three more affiliates drop me, mentioning this same thing about New York state. All I can conclude is that New York had thought about backing off of it a little bit, but with the big budget crunch because of the failing of the financial markets, which impacts New York more than other states because part of the budget is based on receiving residuals off positive stock market returns, they’ve come on full force and made these demands without reservation.

It puts one in an interesting position. After all, it’s not like I’ve been making money hands over fist with some of these affiliates, and yet I feel as though that next sale might have been just around the corner, and now this. Frankly, I don’t like it one bit, but there’s obviously nothing I can do. Well, there’s also something I have to do, that being going back through all my posts, looking for those particular ads, and removing them. I also have to look at a couple of my other sites and remove those advertisers there. It’s irritating, but if anyone purchases something from them I won’t get paid for it, so why keep promoting them, right?

Yup, it’s tough doing business in New York, no matter what type of business one is trying to do.

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