Posted by Elmer in Geek on November 10, 2009

Running a business-to-business EDM campaign but also running out of ideas? Sometimes it happens when we think we have exhausted all possible ideas what should our next e-newsletter should contain. We can dump a lot of near-worthless messages, but we have also become more sensitive to subscribers who may immediately unsubscribe. For our EDM campaign to be successful, our readers must also find our content appealing and valuable.

Email Newsletter

By this time we might already know the profile of our readers, their jobs, Internet habits, likes and favorites. By identifying these traits, we can anticipate their reaction as they receive our newsletters. Here are some ideas on what type of content we can include on our next email marketing blast.

How To's and Tips

How to's, tips and instructional topics are attractive content that subscribers love to read. If you manage a cooking recipe blog and manage a mailing list, you may want to include tips on extending the flavor of your favorite rib eye steak or tips on how to prepare the most appealing Thanksgiving desserts. If you are into flower business, ideas can evolve around proper care of plants, most ideal flowers for certain occasions and ideas on picking flowers at any given time of the year. Such tips can be a part of a regular column of your EDM that people will look forward to reading everytime a newsletter is sent out.

Analysis and Opinions

For a fan newsletter, we can offer subjective opinions about our favorite NBA team (who deserves the starting lineup, why a trade for another player is necessary). In many cases these topics invite user reactions and this makes the topic more interactive. For a business involved in English language lessons, an opinion about the job market for English-speaking labor force and the demand for English proficiency in certain industries. This can be supported by government stats, and reliable sources.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on November 06, 2009

Google Analytics reports just got a little more flexible! If you look into your Google Analytics reports, you'll see a new beta feature just added. It's the Intelligence menu, the latest major category added since Goals was introduced a few years ago.

Just like an intelligence network in the military, this report tries to interpret what a certain deviation of report metrics and dimensions over daily, weekly, and monthly reports. Typically if we notice a surge in traffic on a fine Tuesday morning, we initially investigate what must have influenced such irregular traffic pattern. We look at traffic sources and ask questions such as:

1. Was our email marketing campaign with over 75,000 recipients launched on that day?

2. Was our blog posted on that day made its way to Digg headlines?

3. Was our article cited by a big-name company and linked to it?

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 28, 2009

As we are firm believers of email marketing as an effective marketing channel -- when performed the right way -- we continue to act as advocates and provide best practice email marketing.

In addition to our previous tips, we are hereby presenting another set of EDM tips, tricks and ideas that will help you successfully launch your marketing initiatives.

Limit your "From" character length

From an AWeber study, keeping your name length (the "From" field) within the limit of 20 characters, it is easier to recognize you and readers are more likely to read than ignore your message.

Use a valid email on your "From" field

Sometimes visitors reply to emails they receive. So it pays to make sure they get their message across. It projects a bad impression to subscribers when they realize messages sent to them come from machines and not humans.

Get personal

Because email marketing allows you to do so. Addressing recipients by first name (or Ms/Mr surname) sounds more personal. Thus, it helps if you build mailing list with name and email address combination.

Don't send campaigns during holidays

Be sensitive, and spare your recipients from more burden by the time Christmas holidays is over by not sending them messages during the holiday season. December, January, July and August fall into this category so if it can be avoided, minimize sending emails during these months.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 23, 2009

Still haven't jumped into the Gmail bandwagon? Maybe you need more reasons to figure out why it works well over Yahoo! Mail or Windows Live Hotmail. Here are some of them (in no particular order of importance):

1 Anti-spam feature is just amazing

I've been using Gmail as primary email client, while not entirely abandoning my Hotmail and Yahoo! accounts. When it comes to spam protection, Gmail does it best; I hardly see a spam message in my inbox. Yahoo! tells me by clicking a spam message it didn't detect, I am helping SpamGuard perform better.

2 Firefox extensions

If you use Firefox browser, Gmail allows you to take advantage of its productivity features. Change your Gmail skins, use spare Gmail storage for files and photos, manage tasks, manage multiple Gmail accounts and more.

3 Less distractions

Hotmail displays lots of colorful ads that distract me while reading or typing emails. Worse, Yahoo! forces me to view the ads by disguising as "introducing a new feature of chatting with friends". After login, both Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail display intermediate pages which contain boatloads of ads, news feeds even if it's obvious that the reason I logged in is I want to check my mail. Gmail is more straightforward, requires less clicks and gets the job done quickly. And its text ads don't steal my attention.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 20, 2009

No man is an island, and this applies to Twitter; you can't have an account and not get connected with anyone. You need to follow or to be followed so Twitter becomes useful. Otherwise it defeats the purpose of having a Twitter account.

Assuming we know this necessity, the next step is to find appropriate people to follow. For example, if you're into baking and cooking recipes, you may want to follow Twitter accounts of pastry writers, food bloggers and cooking enthusiasts. The question is, how do we locate them?

Posted by beansbox in Geek on October 16, 2009

I wrote recently that Google Webmaster tools added two features in its fold. Googlebot simulation and malware reports are now available for webmasters to use. However, in a rather unceremonious move, Google decided to pull the plug on PageRank report on Google Webmaster tool.

This can be interpreted in various ways, depending on who you ask. But it appears that most industry experts agree that this is something Google had been harping for a long time. Google has just been more consistent of what it says in the past; to say 'don't spend a lot of time' on PageRank and at the same time display PageRank in the Webmaster Tools smacks of hypocrisy. Thus the removal of this irrelevant report in Google Webmaster tool sets the tone clearer.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 14, 2009

Maintaining Google AdWords paid search (PPC) campaigns can be a very challenging one. There are many parameters to look after and less prominent ones are sometimes taken for granted but later on could provide impact on our campaign's performance. Many of these "optional" settings have their own default values set by Google AdWords. However, these default values don't necessarily optimize campaigns and worse, provide less efficient PPC campaigns.

Google AdWords paid search campaign is so flexible that advertisers are capable of fine tuning campaigns on many details. Given such numerous capabilities, it's not surprising to skip many settings. Here are some of the factors that may harm our PPC campaigns:

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 12, 2009

There are small but significant updates Google did over the past weekend. The primary aim of these updates is to improve overall user experience.

Quick Browsing of Google Docs

Previously, PDF, Word or Excel documents displayed on search results have the "View as HTML" link to facilitate preview of these documents. However, sometimes these previews are not readable (especially PDFs). Not anymore, as Quick View is now introduced as a replacement. With this new change it is now possible to see a graphic preview of these documents as if we screen captured them.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 06, 2009

In most cases, it is easy to detect if Google issues a penalty to our website. But in other cases it's difficult to detect. Hopefully the few hints below tell us that our site might be getting that dreaded penalty from Google.

Posted by Elmer in Geek on October 02, 2009

As a follow up to the article I posted on my other blog about Google Searchology, Google has updated its search results so that it now allows users to filter them according to whether they are visited already or not yet visited.

This is how it works: for example, you search for "ajisen ramen", and visited several results pages but you are not contented because all don't have your desired information. You refine your search phrase to "ajisen ramen hong kong" and review the search results. You're not happy with the experience because you still find the same results as they are relevant to your keyword phrase. With not much luck, you again revise your search phrase. With the new feature, Google allows you to dig deeper into the results.

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