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Posts from August 2008

August 29, 2008

Relations, Riffs, and Rap: August 25, 2008 Week in Review

Least Popular On One Degree This Week
These were the articles that got exactly one visit this week.  Someone found them helpful, perhaps you should give them another look!

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Seen on Canadian Marketing Blogs

Releases, Announcements and News

Hippopost (a Canadian company) launched a new Facebook application that lets you choose a picture from your FB account and send it as a real postcard to a friend.  They cover the printing and postage - paid for by advertising on the card that you choose. (Via Corby Fine)

Yelp, a hyperlocal recommendation engine that is super-popular in the US, has made its way to Canada.  Over a dozen cities are getting reviews of everything from restaurants to spas to all kinds of shopping.  This easy to use recommendation engine is sure to be a hit up here.  Brands big and small should check their listings on a regular basis! (Via TechVibes)

This Week's Video Meme

"Analytics, at the end of the day, is going to be the endgame." 
Eric Petersen?  Avinash Kaushik?  No.  MC Hammer.

Enjoy the long weekend!  We'll see you on Tuesday!

August 27, 2008

Sept 11-12 - Internet Marketing Conference - Vancouver

August 26, 2008

How to Leverage the Do Not Call List to Enhance Your Marketing

Is your company optimizing the potential of permission marketing?  The introduction of the Do Not Call List (DNCL) regulation will certainly compel senior marketers like you to think about this question.

With the DNCL set to be launched on September 30, 2008, you want to make the most of the time you have to call your customers. Take this time to contact the customers that are the most valuable to your firm. When you call them, make sure you verify their contact information and obtain permission to contact them through one or all of your communication platforms (telephone, email or direct mail).

The following is a guide on how you can leverage permission-based marketing across all communications platforms:

For those customers who prefer to be contacted by telephone:

  • Verify which telephone number(s) may be used for contact
  • Verify the preferred time(s) for contact
  • Probe to determine if other methods such as email or direct mail can be used for specific marketing or transactional communications

Some of your contacts will opt-out of telemarketing, and thus, you should immediately request their permission for your email marketing program.

For those customers who prefer to be contacted by email:

  • Verify which email address(es) may be used
  • Also, send an email within 24 hours of your conversation to acknowledge their preferences
  • Keep in-mind that when launching any new email program, begin with a ‘welcome message’ that describes the program – and includes an indication of the frequency of your email messages
  • Provide a method (e.g. a preference centre) that allows customers to define what emails they want and when they want to receive them
  • Include a visible and operable unsubscribe

For those customers who prefer to be contacted by direct mail:

  • Verify their postal address
  • Verify the marketing programs that match customer interests
  • Send relevant DM campaigns to communities of interests (social values, psychographic or demographic segments)

Ultimately, you want to get your customer’s permission to market and examine their preferences in detail. These preferences can be used to design a marketing program that is unique and relevant to your customer. As a result, you will achieve greater responses and build stronger relationships with your customers.

Spark Your SEO With Synonyms

August 25, 2008

Affiliate Marketing - Part 4: Choosing the Right Affiliate Marketing Software

Affiliate_marketing By CT Moore

In my last post, Affiliate Marketing - Part 3: Choosing the Right Affiliate Marketing Partner, I went over some of things you need to consider before partnering with an affiliate network to launch your affiliate program. Whether you partner with an existing network or decide to set up your own standalone program, the most important consideration to make is the technology behind it.

No matter how attractive your commissions are, the software that powers your affiliate program can make it or break it. Affiliate marketing is a symbiotic relationship between advertisers and publishers, so the software behind that relationship needs to support the needs of both parties.

One key software feature, for example, is being able to provide in-depth tracking reports for both affiliates and merchants. This allows both parties to optimize their respective marketing efforts and get the most out of the relationship.

Not only should affiliate marketing software accurately track all conversions, but it should also have an array of functions and features that allow you to efficiently manage your various kinds of affiliates and product promotions. Basically, a piece of affiliate marketing software should offer both comprehensive analytics and enhanced program management features:

1. Comprehensive Affiliate Reporting

To best analyze your campaign performance, you're going to need information on affiliate traffic, conversion rates, revenue, and commissions. You will also want to be able to run specialized reports that let you easily monitor account balances and transaction details. Being able to group these reports according to factors such as month, affiliate ID, or transaction will also enhance your data analysis.

2. Customizable & Brandable

If you're going to white label an affiliate marketing software solution to set up your own standalone affiliate program, then that software needs to reflect both your brand and your business model.

On the customization side, you should be able to control what functions, features, and fields are available to which affiliates. On the branding side, you should be able to skin it to reflect, well, your brand.

3. Advanced Marketing Tool Support

For your affiliate program to succeed, you need to help your affiliates succeed by offering them pre-made marketing materials such as banners, text links, datafeeds, and HTML mailers.

Being able to also group marketing tools into banner groups that point to specific landing pages will optimize the process: it will increase conversions which mean more sales for you, and more commissions for affiliates.

Continue reading "Affiliate Marketing - Part 4: Choosing the Right Affiliate Marketing Software" »

August 22, 2008

Enter, Emerge and Eschew: August 18, 2008 Week in Review

Last Year at This Time

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Seen on Canadian Marketing Blogs

Interesting Bookmarks from the Backchannel

Got a good link for the backchannel?  Just tag it on delicious.com with the tag "onedegree"

Releases, Announcements and News
Microsoft is launching their social bookmarking tool, called "Microsoft Social Bookmarks". I'm so torn about MSFT's product names.  On one hand, sure, it's pretty clear what it's for. (Duh.) But on the other hand, boring.  Unlike delicious, ma.gnolia and Mister-Wong.

Other Tidbits
Elastic Path is holding an amazing free conference pass giveaway for three of the most popular ecommerce conferences around.  Get the details and enter!

This Week's Video Meme

Tiger Woods and the "Jesus Shot"
First seen on Michael Seaton's blog.  And then on every other blog in the blogosphere.  Mashable has the best analysis.

August 20, 2008

Affiliate Marketing - Part 3: Choosing the Right Affiliate Marketing Partner

In my last post, Affiliate Marketing - Part 2: Why Choose Affiliate Marketing, I looked at how affiliate marketing is a marketing strategy that lets you:

  • Drive online sales at a lower risks/costs than impression-based or cost-per-click advertising: and
  • Better target the right users at the right time.

This time around, I'm going to look at some considerations you need to make when choosing an affiliate marketing partner/service-provider.

There are two ways you can approach setting up an affiliate program:

  1. You can join an affiliate network, or
  2. You can white label affiliate marketing software and set it up yourself.

Each of these approaches have their advantages. Before advertising your products on an existing network, however, you need to weigh your brand and range of product offers against that network and its model.

Size and Scope of an Affiliate Network

The first thing you should consider when looking into partnering with an affiliate network is its size and scope.

While some affiliate networks are very broad and feature every kind of product and company, others are narrower in scope and specialize in specific product verticals.

If you set up your affiliate program through a broader network, you will probably get access to many more affiliates and your campaign can get much wider reach. However, it will be more difficult to find the right affiliates with the targeted traffic to promote your product.

On the other hand, setting up your affiliate program through a network that specializes in a specific vertical will make it much easier to find affiliates experienced in that niche. If you have a diverse range of products to promote, however, a specialized network might limit you from offering other products through that same affiliate program down the road.

Affiliate Account Support

Another thing you need to consider when choosing an affiliate network is the community behind the network. Some affiliate networks are more self-serve oriented, others are more relationship-focused. This impacts both the level of support you get as an advertiser as well as the kind of affiliates you get access to.

Relationship-focused affiliate networks will often focus on affiliate recruitment, campaign promotion, and technical support for advertisers as well as account management for affiliates. Niche content publishers value these relationship-based networks; consequently, the affiliates on these networks tend to be more interested in long-tail and niche promotions as well as developing long-term relationships with the merchants they promote.

On more self-serve style networks, you're more likely to come across affiliates whose content is broader and more general sites. These broader-appeal affiliates tend to be driven by commission structures rather than merchant relationships. These are often better suited for brands with a very vast array of product offers or regular seasonal promotions.

For instance, a department-store-style merchant might benefit more from a self-serve network. However, a merchant that is advertising focused product offers such as only women's wear, only sports equipment, or only electronics might benefit from working with a network that focuses on helping affiliates monetizing their niche content.

A final consideration you need to make is technology: what kind of software is powering the network, and how can it help you reach your marketing goals? This last consideration is sufficiently important that we'll discuss it in its own post next time.

August 19, 2008

Make More Sales With Fewer Words

August 18, 2008

Affiliate Marketing - Part 2: Why Choose Affiliate Marketing

In my previous post, Affiliate Marketing - Part 1: A Return on Marketing, I went over how:

  • Online retail is getting a lot more competitive;
  • Affiliate marketing is a relatively low risk (i.e. cost) way to maintain a competitive edge; and
  • The medium is a much more legitimate online sales strategy than some perceive it to be.

In this post, I'll elaborate on the second point and discuss how affiliate marketing is an online sales/marketing strategy that is based on results

Why Affiliate Marketing

The two most important part of any marketing campaign is that:

  • There is a way to measure results (ROI); and
  • It targets the right demographic.

Since affiliate marketing is a performance-based model, it does both rather well because:

  • You only have to pay for ads when they actually convert into a sale; and
  • It allows you to target the right audience when they're in the right mood.

Pay Only for Performance

To recap: through affiliate marketing, merchants/advertisers deploy their ads through a network of affiliates. Affiliates in that network who are interested in promoting that product place those ads on their site.

If a user clicks on an ad, a cookie is used to track them over to the advertiser’s site. If the user ends up making a purchase, the affiliate gets a commission on that sale. If the user doesn't purchase anything, there is no cost to the advertiser.

In this respect, affiliate marketing is like tapping into an army of freelance salesman that work only on commission. Even if shady affiliates are advertising your product, it's not going to cost you to advertise on their site.

Better Targeting

Because affiliates only get paid when their ads convert, the affiliates that are going to promote your product are going to do so because they have targeted traffic. In other words, they are already running sites with content that's relevant to your product line.

For example, if you're a cloth diaper retailer with an affiliate program, I, as a content publisher, will only join your program if I have family-oriented traffic. If, on the other hand, I have adult or sports traffic, I don't stand a chance at making a commission through your ads because none of my users are going to click on your ads.

Consequently, your ads are distributed according to user-demographic and mindset/mood. Users on affiliates' sites are only there because they are actively interested in your type of product at that moment.  It's like you've got hundreds or even thousands of tiny, highly-targeted boutique sites on the internet aligning your product offering with relevant content.

One of the things that has made affiliate marketing a popular and smart choice for product marketers recently is the rise of blogging.  A number of bloggers are looking for ways to earn money for their efforts.  By placing affiliate ads on their highly targeted niche content, they have a low-effort/potentially high-value way to earn commissions.

Choosing the Right Network

Of course, just as every retailer has its own business model and range of product offerings, so does every affiliate network. Although most any affiliate network will likely welcome you in, that doesn't mean that they're going to connect you with the right affiliates to promote your product.

There are a number of other considerations you need to make when shopping around for an affiliate network, I'll be taking a look at what those considerations are in my next post.

Photo credit: PICT4730.JPG by gothick_matt

Oct 21 & 22 - Social Media and Web 2.0 Conference - Toronto

Does Someone Want to Buy Your Domain Name?

Has someone approached you about buying a domain name that you own? This happened to several colleagues recently, so I thought I would pass along some of the advice that I gave them.

If you are on the receiving end of a serious offer to buy your domain name, I strongly recommend that you get a professional appraisal of the fair market value of the domain name so as to avoid selling it for significantly less than what it's worth. The fees for a professional domain name appraisal are usually in the $20-50 range.

Here are some recommended domain name appraisal services:

Afternic Domain Name Appraisal

Moniker Domain Name Appraisal

Sedo Domain Name Appraisal

There are a number of other appraisal services out there, including a bunch of automated services that offer free domain name appraisals, however in my experience the most reliable appraisals are done by a real live human evaluator working for a company that has a lot of experience selling domain names. That's not the case with the automated appraisal solutions, which is why the appraisals by the automated tools are often notoriously inaccurate.

Speaking of appraisals, beware of a scam that has been making the rounds whereby a supposedly interested 'buyer' with lots of money to spend insists that you use an appraisal service they recommend in order to close the deal. The 'buyer' is not really interested in your name; he is hoping to trick you into purchasing an appraisal from a bogus appraisal service (which he secretly owns). Once you have paid for your appraisal, the 'buyer' mysteriously loses interest in your domain name. Ouch!

Of course, when it comes to domain names, "fair market value" is rather subjective and will fluctuate over time. On the one hand, it's not uncommon for people to sell domain names for a few hundred dollars and think they got a lot of money when in fact the domain was worth thousands or even tens of thousands. On the other hand, most domain names aren't even worth $10, yet delusional owners hang on to these "valuable" domains for years hoping to cash in by selling them one day. Sorry to burst your balloon, but that's just not going to happen.

An appraisal by a reputable company will provide you with a reality check, but don't base your decision to sell the domain name solely on the appraisal. Also consider how likely it is that another buyer might come along in the future wanting to buy your domain name. (Have you gotten offers on this domain name in the past? If so, you will likely get offers in the future as well. A really good name appeals to lots of potential buyers.) Sometimes, however, there is only one 'ideal' buyer for a domain name, and if you think they've finally found you and your domain name, then now's the time to sell.

If you decide to sell and agree on a price for the domain name, I recommend that you use an escrow service for the financial transaction. Escrow services act as intermediaries between a buyer and seller, and they help to ensure that the seller (you) gets paid and the buyer get the domain. Escrow services charge a small fee (usually a percentage of the sale price) for the valuable role that they play.

If you are selling a domain name to a buyer that you do not know personally (which is the typical scenario) and the transaction is for more than $200, I suggest using an escrow service to give you piece of mind.

Here are some recommended domain name escrow services:

Escrow.com Domain Name Escrow Service

Afternic Domain Name Escrow Service

Moniker Domain Name Escrow Service

Another approach is for the buyer and seller to sign a Domain Name Purchase Agreement, however this usually involves lawyers and the costs for this can quickly add up.

Good luck with your domain name sale!

August 15, 2008

Divas, Downtime and Dear Jane: August 11, 2008 Week in Review

Searches Arriving On One Degree This Week
Who needs Google Trends when you can look at our analytics and see what's popular - or not so much popular as ... kinda weird.  Searches that led people to One Degree this week:

  • scotiabank podcasts (what do you need to know about podcasts?)
  • "holiday email marketing" (speaking of which - have you started planning your holiday campaigns yet?!)
  • burton cummings
  • eatons mail order farmhouses
  • "what is it called when you are afraid of crowds" (Ask Monica Hamburg)

New Contributors This Week

  • CT Moore actually contributed his first article to One Degree just before our summer hiatus.  So we're taking this opportunity to say "Welcome!" with his latest piece (first in a four part series) on affiliate marketing. CT works for a Montreal-based retail affiliate network, and we're looking forward to him providing the inside scoop on affiliates and this rising marketing program.
  • Want to contribute?  Get the deets !

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Seen on Canadian Marketing Blogs

New to the Blogroll This Week

Releases, Announcements and News

Other Tidbits

  • One Degree is a proud sponsor of PodCamp Montreal !  If you're in Quebec, Ontario or New England, make plans to attend September 20 and 21, 2008!
  • Also about us .. OneDegree.ca was named to Spotlight Ideas Top 20 "Bread and Butter Blogs" of Advertising, Marketing, Media and PR. Aside from the Top 20, they group other top blogs in other categories like customer experience, account planning and social media.  In these categories are several other great Canadian blogs: Get Elastic for ecommerce, ProPR for PR, IdeasOnIdeas for Design and Twist Image for online marketing.
  • Finally, One Degree email was offline for about 48 hours earlier this week; backlogged email has been coming in slowly. If you sent us something and haven't heard back, a resend is appreciated!

This Friday's Timewasting Activity

  • Last night on Twitter there was a flutter of tweets about Face Your Manga - a website where you can create a mangaesque avatar for your various social media profiles.  Tired of that self-portrait of you at Starbucks?  Try this for a change.

Affiliate Marketing - Part 1: A Return on Marketing

According to Hitwise, the recession is driving ecommerce growth. As consumer budgets tighten, shoppers are turning online to shop, compare, and save.

In fact, Internet Retailer reported that last year alone, while brick & mortar retail grew a mere 3.8%, online retail grew a whopping 21.8%. And according to Forrester Research ecommerce will grow an additional 17% in 2008.

With growth, however, comes increased competition, so it's going to that much more important to step up your online marketing campaigns and target them better. One of the ways that an etailer can do both of these without breaking the marketing/advertising budget is through affiliate marketing.

Basically, affiliate marketing is an online advertising medium that doesn't cost you until an ad converts into a sale. Through affiliate marketing, you deploy your ads through a network of affiliates. Affiliates in that network who are interested in promoting your product place those ads on their site.  Then if a user clicks on an ad and subsequently makes a purchase, the affiliate gets a commission on that sale. If the user doesn't purchase anything, there is no cost to the advertiser.

It's like recruiting an army of freelance salesman who work on a commission-only basis. Consequently, it comes with relatively less risk than impression-based or cost-per-click advertising campaigns.

A Brief History of Affiliate Marketing

Now, even though the online medium is over a decade old (and the technology has been evolving for just as long), affiliate marketing has always been the red-headed stepchild of online marketing. But now that even Google has launched an affiliate network (GAN), there's just no way to ignore affiliate marketing as a legitimate and credible online marketing channel.

Basically, when Google acquired DoubleClick, they also got the company's affiliate ad network program called Performics. Only recently, however, has Google added the Performics affiliate network to its list of namesakes, giving both the network and the affiliate marketing medium as a whole an entirely new level of credibility.

You see, before GAN, the only major brand name affiliate network was Amazon Associates. None of Amazon's brand name credibility trickled down to the rest of affiliate marketing, however, because Amazon was the only merchant advertising on the network.

Not only is GAN open to any merchant/advertiser, but Google has a name that's synonymous with online advertising/marketing, performance, and analytics. Of course, even though GAN carries the Google name, it's still the same Performics affiliate network which had many competitors.

In a word, GAN isn't the only kid on the blog, and for good reason: just as different conventional ad networks are better suited for different brands and their product offerings, there are different affiliate networks for different business models.

When pursuing affiliate marketing as an online sales strategy, then, you have to consider:

  • How the medium can increase your revenues and add value to your business;
  • What your business model and resources; and
  • What kind of support you're going to need from an affiliate network to make your affiliate marketing program work.

I'll be elaborating on these three points over the next few posts, so stay tuned to find out how you can drive sales to your ecommerce portal through an advertising medium with a much more performance based cost structure than cost-per-click or impression-based advertising.

August 14, 2008

The Mobile Phone Book Goes Social

What is old is new again – the mobile phone book is finally going social.  Here’s an overview of two of the more interesting mobile phone utilities I’ve seen for making the mobile phone book more social. And mobile.

1) Zyb allows you to stay more connected with your friends by allowing them to access “their” profile on your mobile phone through a common desktop web interface. They can update your profile on them with more accurate information and other details.

In return of accepting such a connection, social elements like seeing where your friends are on a map and their current online status become possible. The application even extends to your calendar and gives you the ability to leave messages in their profile… or send group SMS messages.

All very cool – but Zyb was limited to only a few types of mobile phones when I was walked through a live demo at the world mobile congress in February.

That has all changed in the last few months. First they were bought out by Vodaphone and now they offer their social phone book product across most platforms – including the iPhone.

You can view my six minute interview / demo on the product (albeit an earlier version) from WMC here:

Or check out their one minute promo video here:

2) Mobile social network itsmy.com recently extended their platform to also include a social phone book for the mobile internet. There is no application download necessary and all features can easily be handled with every mobile browser at http://m.itsmy.com.

If you have access to the mobile web, you can create an interactive social phone book with a few clicks.

The mobile web phone book consists of single contacts with all profile details from your friends like phone numbers, pictures, links to favourite mobile sites, but also has many social features like direct access to community actions, messaging, sharing and voting.

They also have plans to allow people to add mobile videos and location to their phone book and links back to their own platform/channels.

Since launching this service in the U.S., itsmy.com has seen an increase of logins to their site by 24% and 12% additional volume of picture and video uploads.

Antonio Vince Staybl, CEO of itsmy.com says: “We will transfer the complete personal phone book from the mobile device into the mobile web, make it social and add every possible feature including voice and video calls.”

itsmy.com is the off-deck, operator independent mobile community with more than 2 million mobile users, 4.5 million mobile home- and content pages containing 10 million mobile UGC-items. Mobile 2.0 social networking services like free homepages, messaging, personal mobile TV channels and location based services make itsmy.com a very sticky mobile community. itsmy.TV is also the world's largest personal mobile broadcasting service.

You can view my interview/overview of the service here:

Marketers can look for monetization opportunities through ad-serving on the phone book platforms in the near future. I can hardly wait :)

August 13, 2008

Aug 20 - Web Analytics: Money, Jobs and Opportunity – Vancouver

Aug 27 - Web Analytics Wednesday - Toronto

August 12, 2008

How to Write for Search Engines and Real People

August 11, 2008

Sept 20-21 - PodCamp Montréal - Montréal

August 08, 2008

James Lee Foundation Calls for Submissions to its Inaugural Scholarship Award

James_lee The James Lee Foundation (JLF) is pleased to announce it is accepting submissions for its inaugural scholarship award. 

Established in 2007 to honour the creative legacy and spirit of the late James Lee, the JLF Scholarship is open to emerging non-professional creative talent from across Canada looking to enter the advertising industry. 

“Knowing James inspired people to push the boundaries in creativity, the annual scholarship is intended to recognize and help a promising, aspiring talent do their best work,” says Dean Lee, the former creative partner of James Lee at DDB Canada.  “Ultimately, the award will be given to an up-and-coming ‘creative rebel’ – someone who’s driven to do things differently and has a passion for their craft.”

A scholarship of $5,000 will be awarded on the basis of the portfolio that demonstrates the most original thinking and craftsmanship according to a judging panel made up of a representative from each of the JLF’s five founding member agencies (DDB Canada, Grip Limited, Lowe Roche, Rethink, and TBWA Vancouver), as well as James Lee's family.

Entrants in all fields relating to the advertising industry will be considered for the award including writers, art directors, filmmakers, recording artists, illustrators, photographers and digital artists. 

Portfolio submissions will be accepted online from August 15 through September 15, 2008. 

For complete information on the James Lee Foundation Scholarship and how to enter, please visit the James Lee Foundation website.

Beavers, eBooks and BitTorrent: August 4, 2008 Week in Review

Popular On One Degree This Week

Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Seen on Canadian Marketing Blogs

Interesting Bookmarks from the Backchannel

Press Releases and Product Announcements

News Items

Image of the Week
The Bell Jumble from Colin McKay at Canuckflack

August 07, 2008

Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way: Why it is good to be Canadian (or Spanish) in 2008

Spain is enjoying a great summer – winning the Euro Cup in late June, then Nadal’s Wimbledon victory in early July, plus Sastre’s Tour de France win at the end of July.

Meanwhile, over here in Canada, we’ve scored a string of victories as well – telecom victories. And the fans go wild over them.

For one, it looks like we’ll have several new mobile providers by as early as next fall. And generally, wherever and whenever competition flourishes, consumers benefit (until the industry reconsolidates again… but that’s another topic).

Secondly, all the rocking and rolling at incumbent BCE (branded as Bell Canada) promises Canadians some big changes. Privatization and plans for a “massive investment in broadband” as well as a “renewed focus on customer satisfaction and service” are cause for excitement.

Thirdly, (and this won’t seem like a big deal to those of you living in countries with “unlimited” data plans), after two weeks of customer complaints, incumbent Rogers Communications succumbed to criticism and dropped its data rate plans for the new Apple 3G iPhone.

What does this all add up to? A much more promising – and 21st century – media and communications landscape for Canadians.

A recent study found that Canadians expect to keep their current mobile phone for the next 3.5 years. The study claims “consumer inertia” as the cause, rather than contract impediments or a lack of better alternatives.

Likewise, most Canadians are only on their 3rd model of mobile phone while over in Hong Kong and the UK, consumers are already on their 6th model. Yet with each generation there is more innovation, more features and more creativity in the hardware, software, networks and usage.

“Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way” is a battle cry that Canadian mobile innovators should be shouting at the top of their lungs by now – especially since we have a noble and pioneering telecommunications legacy to uphold. Research in Motion (RIM), and the global success of the Blackberry, is but one feather in our nation’s telecom cap.

With Canada’s vastly dispersed population and various geographical challenges, telecom innovation quite literally connects this nation. We’re often culturally overshadowed in the mass media arena and our various hinterlands can be somewhat underserved. We rely on solid telecommunications to build and hold this country together. The sovereignty of our nation often dictates our rules and regulations on foreign ownership as well as those for distribution, licensing and royalty agreements.

Enter: User-Generated-Content (UGC).

The axiom of this article is that “Various handheld devices will inevitably operate as the primary portable connection to a media-rich Internet”.

The premise of this article is that “User-Generated-Content, and the accessibility of it, correlates directly with 21st century Customer Service and Satisfaction”.

Today, User-Generated-Content is king.

Accessing that content – anytime, anywhere – is the expectation.

Our text messages are UGC.

And we get very testy when people try to make us pay for our own content. But while the EU Telecoms Commissioner is working on ways to cap the roaming charges for international text messaging, Bell and TELUS Mobility in Canada are facing a class-action lawsuit over charging pre-paid customers 15 cents per incoming text. What’s not working here?

Continue reading "Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way: Why it is good to be Canadian (or Spanish) in 2008" »

August 06, 2008

My Internet Marketer's Diary: Chapter 1 - Sowing the Seeds

A few weeks ago, I officially launched my newest online venture, Hollywoozy, the first Website devoted to reviewing movie domain names.

One of the many reasons I am always launching new things is that it gives me a chance to experiment with and refine different marketing tactics, and Hollywoozy is no different.

What is different this time, however, is that I am going to lift up the curtain and share some of the marketing tactics I am using to promote my venture, along with the results. In most cases, these tactics do not involve spending any money, although they all require spending some time to implement.

In this first chapter of my Internet Marketer's Diary, I am going to list five of the key tactics I used leading up to Hollywoozy's official launch on July 20, 2008. I consider these the essential building blocks of a good online marketing campaign.

1. Build the Site with Search Engines in Mind

In addition to following SEO (search engine optimization) best practices, one of the best ways to ensure a site is very search engine friendly is to create it using a blog platform, because search engines love blogs. My site was created using TypePad, which is my favourite professional blogging platform, however you could probably achieve similar results using WordPress. I also made sure that my site featured the most heavily searched keywords and key phrases that I was targeting. For instance, since Hollywoozy is about movie domain names, I made sure the phrase "domain names" was used extensively throughout the site on every single page.

2. Invite the Search Engines to Crawl the Website Prior to Launch

I wanted to give the search engines a head start on finding my site, so I added discrete links to my new site from some of the other heavily trafficked Websites that I own. This got my site indexed by Google a few days prior to its official launch, so that when people started to search for "Hollywoozy" in Google on the day of launch (which many did, according to my Web analytics reports), the site was already listed in Google's search results.

3. Use Tags to Define the Content of the Website

Prior to launch, I registered my site with Technorati (the leading blog directory and search engine), complete with a keyword-loaded description and lots of relevant tags. Technorati is frequently and deeply crawled by the search engine spiders, and within 24 hours Google had found Hollywoozy's listing on Technorati.

4. Generate Targeted Traffic via a Multiple Domain Name Strategy

I am proud of the unusual brand name I came up with for my site, however I am the first to admit that "Hollywoozy'" is not a descriptive name. That's why I also registered moviedomainnames.com and a few other descriptive, keyword-loaded domain names, which I pointed to my new site. The $28 (total) I spent registering the four domain names was the only cash outlay I made towards marketing the Website. That's peanuts to pay for the targeted type-in traffic my site will likely get from these domains over time.

5. Invite Some Enthusiasts to a Sneak Peek

In the week prior to launch, I used my Facebook status line (and Facebook's message service) to invite my friends and colleagues to let me know if they were interested in getting a "sneak preview" of my newest venture. The curious keeners who responded got early access to my site. Not only did they tell some of their friends and colleagues about the site (thank you, everyone!), but they were also a great source of feedback and ideas. Michel Neray, for instance, suggested I make a small but important tweak to how I displayed my domain name reviews, and I quickly took him up on the idea. All told, about 20 people in my personal network got an early peek at the site, and they helped to quickly spread the word post-launch.

In the next chapter of my Marketer's Diary, I will reveal the tactics I used to kick off the official launch of the site, as well as share some of the results to date. For a taste of how successful the launch was, try doing a Google search for "movie domain names" (which is the focus of my site) and see if you can spot Hollywoozy in the search results. ;+)

August 05, 2008

Add 2.8 Million Readers With Accessible Writing

Five Observations on Marketing to TTC Riders

Every week in the GTA there are over 1.5 million people who take the TTC, most of whom going back and forth to work.  When I'm not riding my bike to work, I'm usually one of them. 

I take it for a number of reasons; it’s cost-efficient, it’s environmentally friendly. And I take it because I’m an obsessive watcher of people who draws great pleasure from trying to glean insight into human behaviour, especially human behaviour relating to people’s interactions with marketing. 

Based on my years of being a watchful, marketing-obsessed rider, I will argue that the TTC is a great way to communicate marketing messages to GTA residents, as long as you understand rider behaviour.

To help marketers understand some of the do’s and don’ts of TTC marketing (especially if you are not one of us regular riders) I offer the following five marketing-related observations.

Observation 1.  TTC Riders fall into several behavioural “categories”.   

I would argue that there are 3 main categories of subway riders and then a few outliers.  They are:

  • The Electronics:  those riders defined by their propensity to play with electronic devices while on or waiting for the TTC, most commonly:  music players, blackberries, video devices and game consoles.
  • The Readers:  those riders defined by their propensity to read things while on or waiting for the TTC, most commonly:  free dailies, newspapers, books and work documents.
  • The Zoners:  those riders defined by their propensity to zone out while on or waiting for the TTC, most commonly:  staring blankly straight ahead, at the ground or sleeping. 

It differs at different times of day, but I would say during rush hours, almost 90 percent of riders will be in these main categories and it breaks down equally across these categories. 

The last 10% is made up of what I’ll call The Outliers, which I would argue are the talkers (usually later in the day and on trains with fewer people), the crazies (completely random behaviour of all sorts) and people like myself, the people watchers. 

Observation 2.  The overwhelming majority of the readers are reading the free dailies, like Metro.

This is really an interesting phenomenon for me and a relatively recent one.  Clearly “Free” works, as does “Location”.  I’ve noticed that the boxes containing the free dailies right by the subway entrances are always empty by  8:30am (if they were smart, they would re-fill them). 

Noticing how many people read them, I’ve started picking them up as well.  They are perfectly written with their target market in mind.  No story is longer than a few paragraphs and there are lots of colourful pictures for people reading over your shoulder to see. 

Also, unlike the big papers, they are small enough in size to not be a nuisance to other riders (yes, I’m talking to you, Globe-in-my-face-guy).  If you wanted to target these riders, advertising here has potential.

Observation 3.  Subway ads are definitely being looked at, often longer than most other types of ads.

Here’s what I’ve noticed, the electronics, the readers and the zoners are all likely to look at the ads on the TTC platform and the TTC itself at some point in their journey.  Even a jaded marketing type like me looks. 

Why? To a certain degree, it’s just natural.  I’m either standing around waiting for a train, out of cell range with very little else to look at or I’m standing in a crowded train for 20-30 minutes trying to avoid eye contact with the guy 2 inches in front of me. 

Unlike many other forms of advertising (like TV and radio ads), this type of advertising is not interruptive, but rather a semi-interesting distraction from a mundane or uncomfortable journey.

Observation 4.  It is surprising how few TTC ads (if any) are actually customized to the nuances of that medium.

Marketing 101 says to speak to your audience in a voice they can relate to.  Here are a set of the most common mistakes I’ve noticed in TTC advertising:

  • Not enough information (remember, people are looking longer so you can give them more information)
  • Tiny fonts and too many words (don’t make me squint to read your poster, there are three others alternatives right beside it)
  • Most importantly, the ad doesn’t speak to the situation I’m in (I’m on a subway jammed with people, stuck in someone’s arm pit, late for work again and trying not to make eye contact with anyone – there is LOTS there to relate with me around).  You have my attention marketers! Use it!

Observation 5.  Innovative marketing works but NOT if it interrupts traffic flow in any way. 

I’ve noticed a set of innovative marketing tactics which catch people attention in a positive way like: total station take-overs, turnstile branding, free samples across the street from the station, etc. 

I’ve also noticed some tactics which have the opposite effect and really make people angry.  This includes all tactics which create bottlenecks in traffic flow. 

Remember, there is nothing more important than keeping traffic moving on the TTC.  Don’t set up booths of any kind in the main traffic areas in the station itself, don’t put ads in places where I’m looking for information and don’t stop traffic flow to hand something out.

Let's face it, Torontonians are an impatient lot at the best of times and this is especially true during rush hours – interrupt flow at your peril.

Photo credit: In the subway by urbanwild

August 01, 2008

Cuil, Kewl or Cool: July 28, 2008 Week in Review

Editor's Note: We're trying something new this week - a Week in Review post.  Let me know what you think and if there is anything you would add/subtract.  If it proves popular/useful, I can also make it a separate feed as well as a unique email list for those of you who don't want all the articles in your inbox.

Popular On One Degree This Week

New Contributors This Week
None this week - but you could be featured here next week!  We're always looking for new contributors who can bring a fresh perspective to digital marketing and communications colleagues across Canada!  We're especially looking for viewpoints or case studies from places that aren't Toronto :)  Halifax, Calgary, PEI - you have great marketers, write for us

Thanks to Our Sponsors!
We had job ads this week from Conair Canada, Everest Management (recruiter) and the Canadian Standards Association.  Check them out!

Seen on Canadian Marketing Blogs This Week

News Items, Press Releases and Product Announcements

  • Cuil (pronounced "cool") the new search engine launched.  Described as the "Google killer", it has met with mixed reviews.
  • Got a note that Veeple.com is ramping up.  Veeple has plans to help you monetize video streams. It comes from Silicon Valley.  Seems similar to what Ottawa's Overlay.TV is doing.  Except I think Overlay.TV does it better.  Speaking of Overlay - they just moved into 0.9 Beta.  Keep track of them on their blog.
  • AppAppeal is a directory of reviews of Web 2.0 sites.  Get a list of the major sites under topics like "Travel" or "Shopping" or "Dating" (good if you want to target certain sites for advertising).  Each site listed also has a review and a rating.  Good for getting a super-high level overview of a Web 2.0 vertical.

Other Tidbits

This Week's Video Meme
On pretty much every blog I read this week, this video of Randy Pausch's Last Lecture was featured. With good reason.  Definitely worth the watch.

Have a great long weekend!  We'll see you back on Tuesday!

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