Archive for February, 2006

To Avoid Spam, Know Your Client

Recently, my employer asked me to resend an email newsletter to our clients. The resend was targeted at our clients that had not opened the first email. Such an idea is not without merit.

Resending an email of significant importance, whether it is a change in company policy or an extremely enticing sales offer, is not a communication faux pas. Personally, I believe such a strategy, when used sparingly, can greatly help your marketing efforts.

However, if this practice becomes the communication norm for a company, great damage could result. There is a fine line between marketing communications and spam. The best way to circumvent such a debacle is to know your customers.

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Flickr Hacks

Kevin Dugan, author of the Strategic Public Relations blog, has posted 10 Flickr Hacks. According to Dugan, Flickr is “one of the most underutilized online pr tools in the blogosphere.” I am not sure if I totally agree, but these hacks are quite interesting. Check them out by clicking here.

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Prospect Communications

I am probably preaching to the choir but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of communication. This not only applies to a company’s current customers, but to it’s prospective clients as well. This seems perfectly logical, I am sure, to both you and me. The trick, as I am now learning, is convincing upper management. Let me give a quick rundown of what I am trying to accomplish.

Right now, I am trying to figure out how to expand my company’s communication strategy with prospects that visit our website. One of the obvious ways to do this would be to use a newsletter designed specifically for prospects. There are many benefits of creating a prospect newsletter. These benefits include:

  • Capturing prospects that may not be ready to take other actions, such as a purchase or directly contacting the company
  • Building a relationship leading to future sales and other desired actions
  • Presenting viral marketing and word-of-mouth marketing opportunities
  • Driving traffic to the company website
  • Serving as a sales piece and support for sales team

Obviously, the content of the newsletter will have to appeal to the prospects. The content must include the following:

  • How can our service help the prospect
  • Proof that our service is fast and efficient
  • We offer more for our prospects’ money than our competitors (without specifically mentioning our competitors)
  • Case studies and customer profiles
  • That our company has an excellent reputation and is stable
  • Describe our fast and friendly customer service

The next challenge is to get prospects to sign up for the newsletter. I figure the best way to accomplish this would be to:

  • Prominently place a link on our homepage
  • Include a link in the signature portion of our outgoing customer support and sales emails
  • Put a link on our “Contact Us” page
  • Have customer support ask callers if they would like to receive the newsletter

Now, I have to somehow get upper management to see the value in this plan. Does anyone out there have any suggestions? I would love to hear them!

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A Hectic Week Needs Comic Relief

This week has been extremely busy. First there was Valentine’s Day. Then I had to help plan a surprise birthday party for a friend. This included helping design the cake (not bad, huh?). On top of that I had my first paper and presentation due in my Organizational PR class. All of this and I work a forty-hour a week job in the marketing department of an Internet company.

Thank goodness this week has finally ended! To relax a bit I figure I would post a link to this video. It is a comic gem. The short film is entitled Fear of Girls.


Is Technorati Right?

A new Gallop poll suggests that Americans may not be as interested in blogs as we once believed. I found this interesting tidbit of information in the MarketingVox newsletter. The poll shows that 66 percent of Americans do not read blogs. Read the article in its entirety here.

The findings of Technorati and of the Gallop poll beg for certain questions to be answered. One such question could be, “How were the findings of both studies compiled?”. Another that I am particularly interested in is this, “Does Technorati have anything to gain by skewing the data?”.

Now, I am not accusing Technorati of any wrong doing. I just think we should be cautious. I have seen a lot of posts about how blogging is skyrocketing. Maybe we should find evidence of that fact and be able to back it up with concrete numbers.

Buzz Words + Press Release = Wastebasket

A post by Richard Laermer at Bad Pitch further expounds a point that I made in an earlier post. When authoring a press release, a public relations professional should stay away from industry buzz words. Laermer writes, “The beef presented by the journalists is unquestionably legit . . . Who wants to read a hyphen-littered, uninformative piece of spin loaded with invented syntax, hyperbole, and marketing concept jargon?”

I must agree with Mr. Laermer and the journalists who receive such fustian press releases. Such releases indicate that the author’s lack of knowledge on the subject or the release’s hurried composition.

Laermer makes his point by saying, “PR people need to talk like real people, and we have to talk fast because journalists are usually busy.”

I will make my point buy emphasizing that journalists (and customers for you marketing people) are generally not impressed by using buzz words in your communication pieces. Those who usually are impressed by buzz words are the executives that hire public relations firms. But we are not trying to inform them now are we?

Advice for the New PR Professional

In her blog, Kelly Papinchak has posted an extremely informative interview with public relations professional Peter Hollister. Read it here.

I found Hollister’s advice on patience to be very helpful. I find myself being impatient when it comes to my goal of obtaining a managerial position.

Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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