Spam is big business

Have you ever received an email from a company that you didn’t sign up for? Of course you have! We receive email messages on daily basis and the most annoying are those we never granted permission to receive, also known as spam.

As email marketing ramped up in the 20th century, more and more people began receiving spam emails. In order to establish rules for commercial email marketing messages, the CAN-SPAM act was passed in 2003. The CAN-SPAM act, which stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing, gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.

For companies that violate the CAN-SPAM Act, the FTC issues a hefty fine of $16,000 for every single email sent. You read that right, sixteen thousand dollars for each email that violates the law. So, in order to be compliant with the CAN-SPAM laws the following infographic includes a list of rules that should be followed.

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Maximizing your SEM strategy with Google

Google has had a huge influence in the search engine domain. In my own personal experience using the web, I almost always turn to Google to search the web. I even find myself saying, “I’ll just Google it” rather than search it. When I use Google to search, I typically am conducting research on a product before making a purchase. I’m not the only one who uses Google this way. Econsultancy found that 61% of consumers use search engines to gather research before purchasing a product.

As media continues to emerge, brands are looking beyond traditional media to drive people to their website. Search engine marketing (SEM) is one technique that brands are investing in to get people to visit their website. SEM is the process of gaining website traffic by purchasing ads on search engines. Some of the most common terms used in SEM include:

  • Paid placement: advertisers pay a fee for higher rankings in the search results
  • Paid inclusion: advertisers pay a fee for their website to appear within a search engine’s full index of possible results
  • Pay-per-click advertising (PPC): advertisers place a small ad on the search results page for a certain keyword and in return they pay a fee when a user clicks on the ad.
  • Google AdSense: allows advertisers to enable ads on their website and they receive a portion of what the advertiser pays to Google when clicked.

Here’s a good video that dives deeper in search engine marketing:

If you said yes, please share your thoughts in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you!

Consumers crave storytelling

When it comes to brands and their marketing efforts, storytelling has formally become more popular throughout the years. While it is not a new concept, more brands are using this technique in their digital marketing strategies to communicate with audiences and take people on a journey to tell their story, build relationships and encourage people to make purchases.

One brand that does an exceptional job at telling their story is TOMs. TOMs is a company that sells shoes, glasses and other items. Anytime you purchase something from TOMs, you’re giving back by providing a pair of shoes to a person in need, providing eye surgery, as well as other things. TOMs excels in storytelling because they are selling more than just shoes, they’re selling a belief system. The company creates and sells products that are an indication of an authentic and meaningful narrative.

Now, think if TOMs didn’t use storytelling in their marketing strategy. Would you be compelled to purchase a pair of shoes from TOMs if their strategy was focused on the shoes and how they’re made, instead of how your purchase will make a difference? Probably not.

A study from Nielsen shows that consumers want a more personal connection in the way they gather information. When reading data and advertising, only the language parts of our brains work to decode meanings, whereas when we read stories, our brains light up and we actually experience what we read meaning it’s much easier for us to remember stories than hard facts.

Are there any brands aside from TOMs that you feel excel at storytelling? I’d love to hear about an example that you think is exceptional!

What’s the buzz about?

One San Francisco restaurant has taken buzz marketing to a whole new level.

Buzz marketing is a viral marketing technique that attempts to make each encounter with a consumer unique and a spontaneous exchange of information instead of a calculated marketing pitch. It is synonymous with word-of-mouth marketing and has seen growth in popularity in recent years.

There are many examples of brands using buzz marketing, but I haven’t seen an example quite like Botto Bistro, an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. Contrary to what you read on Yelp, this one star restaurant actually has many loyal customers. After being blackmailed by Yelp, owner David Cerretini began offering customers 25 percent off for a 1-star Yelp review. In a matter of days, the restaurant has generated a flurry of press and hundreds of 1-star reviews on Yelp. While Yelp and Cerretini continue to battle out their differences, Cerretini is refusing to back down, claiming he’s attracting higher-paying customers who are quite loyal.

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Although this is an interesting example we typically don’t see in buzz marketing, there are a few takeaways to learn.

  1. It is reasonably priced. Buzz marketing doesn’t have to be expensive and some of the time, it reduces the need for traditional media and can be free of charge to generate.
  2. It is unique. Buzz marketing is impulsive and an attempt to meet consumers in spontaneous means, especially twentysomethings who remain uncertain of traditional advertising.
  3. The Internet is a resourceful platform for buzz marketing and just about anyone with a computer and marketing skills can create buzz in some fashion.

What makes mobile different?

Yesterday was a pretty big day for Apple as they released the new iPhone 6. I can remember the day the iPod was released many, many years ago (13 years to be exact). We’ve seen mobile progress in the last 13 years and the release of the iPhone 6 is just another reminder to marketers that mobile is here to stay.

In order to understand smartphone consumers and the mobile movement, check out the following video from Google.

After taking an in-depth look into the rise of the smartphone craze, some of Google’s findings include:

  • 81% of smartphone users access the Internet on their mobile devices
  • 59% use the Internet on their phones while waiting
  • 43% would give up beer if they would otherwise have to give up their smartphone

While the stats are enough of a reason to join the mobile movement – the question marketers should be asking themselves – what makes mobile different? One of the main characteristics is that it is highly personal. It is a new medium for marketers to talk to their customers in real-time, wherever they are.

Another takeaway about mobile that marketers need to be conscious about is that smartphones aren’t the only possible devices being used by consumers. Creating a highly personal experience is important, but creating an optimized user experience – on desktops, full tablets, smaller tablets and smartphones – is also crucial for success in developing a mobile presence.

My question to you is – how do you use your smartphone in your daily life? Are there any brands you interact with on mobile?

Is social media the new norm?

How many of the social media channels below are you familiar with?

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Now – how many have you used in the last 24 hours?

Whether you use none or all six of these platforms, many brands are using all six to craft marketing messages and spark conversations with people like you and me.

In 24 hours alone, over 350 million photos are uploaded to Facebook, more than two billion search queries are performed on Twitter, 432,000 Vine videos are shared on Twitters and over one billion likes are generated on Instagram. If brands aren’t already using social media to break through the clutter and build relationships with consumers, they’re missing the mark.

With approximately 85% of people going online to research purchases, successful social media marketing has the potential to generate more traffic to a website, send customers to a retail location, create awareness for a brand and build customer loyalty. In an ever-emerging digital age, it is key that brands are using social media to create conversations with people with the ultimate goal of attracting people into their world, which could lead to an easier selling process.

Do you follow any brands that are already using a social media marketing strategy?