Anne Holland

Amazon to Test Selling e-Subs Someday (Soon?)

January 27th, 2003

When I was interviewing Amazon’s Curtis Kopf last week about selling edocs through them, he mentioned that he’s also in charge of their magazine subscription store. Then he volunteered the news note that while it’s not specifically planned right now, he sees a day coming when Amazon will want to test selling subscriptions to Web sites and email newsletters. Note that I didn’t actually ask about this, he volunteered it. Which makes one suspect that day may be sooner than later.

http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2246

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Anne Holland

Viral Marketing Not Easy or Predictable

January 23rd, 2003

Last year I got bit by the viral marketing bug.

It looked so easy, so cheap, so fun. I’d heard stories about how companies such as Honda and eMode had sent out an email to a few hundred people, and then it viral-ed outwards until hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people had visited their sites.

Two Case Studies this week (including one about a campaign I ran myself over the past five months) reveal the truth: Viral marketing is not easy or predictable.

As Sherpa reader Jay Kalpathy, VP NetLine, wrote me yesterday, “Viral audience building is not a slam dunk. We have run viral tell-a-friend campaigns and can attest to the flat numbers that you have seen.”

That said, the good news is once you get a referral from a client, reader or visitor, the numbers show those tell-a-friend people are incredibly highly likely to visit and buy from you.

While you may not reach the crazy-high numbers of people viral can, customer-referrals may help you reach more valuable people.

If this interests you, be sure to scroll down to our latest book contest (it’s article #9 below) and enter to win a copy of “Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force.”

Anne

Anne Holland – Publisher

MarketingSherpa

AHolland@MarketingSherpa.com

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THE WEEK’S STORIES:

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#1. Using a Viral Game to Get Email Newsletter Subscribers

Admission: This is the story of a marketing campaign that didn’t work. If you’re considering conducting any type of viral campaign, especially to grow your mailing list, absolutely read on.

Features tips on how to work better with online game developers and create a home page that entices more visitors to convert. Interesting friend-get-a-friend email data also included: http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2248

#2. Incredibly Unpredictable B2B Viral Campaign Results: The Little Snow Globe That Surprised Everyone

This is the story of a marketing campaign that TANKED, and then two years later out of the blue became a huge success. Call it “viral marketing whiplash.”

BTW: The folks who ran this campaign are the same ones who did the now infamous whack-a-flack campaign, which was an instant hit. Find out what they learned from their follow-up campaign. Includes daily data showing how visitor numbers grew in a bell-curve:

http://www.marketingsherpa.com/article.php?ident=23166

#4. Why You Shouldn’t Get Excited About the NAI’s Email Service Provider Coalition (Yet)

You may have seen the news elsewhere, where it’s been breathlessly reported. A group of email service providers are banding together to fight the spam problem. Sounds good, but is this just a happy press release that will lead to nothing?

MarketingSherpa’s Alexis Gutzman explains the facts. If you want a dose of reality-based cynicism, here’s where to get it: http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2247

#5. Exclusive Interview with Amazon’s eDocs Director: Should You Be Selling Through Them?

Curtis Kopf, Amazon’s eDocs & eBooks Director, asked that we pass a message to publishers saying you should consider selling through them. Whether you publish an email newsletter, how-to booklets, or research reports, there may be an opportunity for you. You won’t get wildly rich, but a little ancillary income is not something to sneer at these days: http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2246

#6. The Continuing Threat of Affiliate Automation: Risks to eRetailers, Rewards Portals & Affiliates

If you’re even remotely involved in affiliate marketing, you’ve probably heard about the uproar over various programs that have been “hijacking” customers and messing up commissions. We asked expert Jeff Molander to give us an update on the situation, who it affects, and what’s being done to contain the damage.

Must-read if you’re an online merchant or market online via “rewards” programs: http://www.consumermarketingbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2250

#7. New Editor Explains How to Get Covered in PRWeek US

PRWeek (13,000 US readers) has a new Editor-in-Chief now that former Editor Jonah Bloom moved to AdAge. Meet her and get her suggestions on how to plant a story about your firm or clients in PRWeek magazine:

http://www.marketingfame.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2251

#8. Book Contest Winners: “The DMA’s Lead Generation Handbook”

Congrats, these five Sherpa readers just won a copy of “The DMA’s Lead Generation Handbook.” It will be mailed out today:

1. Lisa Sweet, Edgewood Consulting Group, Emerald Hills CA

2. Christopher Cairo, Industrial Food Ingredients, St Paul MN

3. Rob Ewanow, Dawning Technologies, Fairport NY

4. Diane Bedard, Impact Promotional Publishing, Dunedin FL

5. Emma-Kate Werner, RSL COM MOBILE, Chatswood NSW Australia

#9. New Free Book Contest: “Creating Customer Evangelists”

Authors Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba have donated five copies of their brand new book, “Creating Customer Evangelists: How Loyal Customers Become a Volunteer Sales Force,” to our book contest for you to try to win.

This 200-page hardcover book includes lots of inspirational real-life stories of companies that grew when friends told friends told friends, including Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, SolutionPeople, Delta and IBM.

To enter the contest (takes just one minute and you are *not* asked for your email address) go to: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=60476164150

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Anne Holland

Real Facts on CafePress Print on Demand Launch

January 23rd, 2003

Maheesh Jain, VP Sales/ Marketing at CafePress, has confirmed to me that the rumors they are launching print-on-demand (POD) services for content sites are true, albeit slightly inaccurate.

Here is the scoop:

“CDs: We’re starting off focusing on music and will eventually move into data. Users will submit to us a master CD which we will duplicate from. They will be able to customize artwork for the CD as well as jewel case booklets. By March/April, we should have it so users can upload MP3s (and thus data as well). Most real musicians won’t sell music from MP3 format, so that’s why we’re working from masters to start with.

DVDs: Completely master based b/c nobody wants to transfer that much data online! So user submits master DVD and we copy from that.

Books: PDF based system launch hopefully in March. No setup fees, no minimums. Users can upload documents in a few select formats (PDF recommended, Word, maybe Pagemaker). We will show them final formatting of document. User can upload artwork for front, back and spine. We will offer a few standard sizes as well as binding options (saddlestitch booklet, perfect bound, combing/wire bound). We will offer pay for design services if users need help formatting their books. Initially, we’ll be offering color colors and b/w insides. We hope to move to color insides by end of spring.”

Other reporters have mistakenly implied that CafePress wishes to enter the publishing industry, own copyrights, market content, or own the ISBNs for everything using the POD system. This is definitely *not* the case. Maheesh says they may provide an ISBN service whereby they help you get an ISBN which you’ll own, if you don’t feel like dealing with it on your own. They may also provide for-fee cover art creation services. They basically wanna be your printer and fulfillment house, not your publisher.

Link to my past article on how content sites are making money with CafePress offerings (small fee):

http://www.contentbiz.com/barrier.cfm?currentID=2150

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Anne Holland

@broadband.att.com Addresses Dead as Doornails

January 22nd, 2003

More notes on Comcast: Richard Jackson CoFounder of Aroq Ltd wrote in asking if any addresses with an “att” in them were affected besides the attbi.com ones. Sarah Eder of Comcast just told me none are with the exception of “@broadband.att.com” which is an address that was used only by employees of AT&T Broadband who have now all either been fired or been moved to jobs at Comcast with entirely new email addresses. No, she doesn’t think anything sent to their old addresses will be forwarded automatically; if they are on your list the names are probably bad and you’ll need to get them to opt-in again with a new address.

People with other ATT email addresses, such as @worldnet.att.net, @attglobal.net and @att.net should not be affected by the Comcast name change because they were not broadband customers.

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Anne Holland

Forrester + Giga 2gether 4ever

January 22nd, 2003

Forrester is buying Giga for $51.3 mill. If you do the math, that’s $57,000 per Giga client (they have about 900).

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Anne Holland

1.9 Million @attbi.com Email Addresses Changing

January 21st, 2003

Just spent 30 minutes tracking down the facts at Comcast about the whole AT&T broadband migration that the Chicago Tribune
announced on Saturday. According to Comcast corporate cable/broadband spokesperson Sarah Eder:

- The estimated 1.9 million current AT&T broadband email customers who are people on your email lists with “@attbi.com” in
their addresses will definitely be getting new email addresses that are “@comcast.net” sometime starting in February.

- The addresses will be not be switched over all at once, Comcast intends to do this regionally so they can troubleshoot.

- They do not have a schedule set up for which regions or when yet. When such a schedule is set up, it’s definitely subject to change because if there’s a problem with a region then they’ll need to delay the rest until things are sorted out.

- Attbi.com customers will be notified about their own accounts, however there is no information on the Comcast public site about
dates or schedules and Eder is not planning on making any sort of announcement to the press whatsoever. She told me customers would
be notified, but companies that email to customers will not be notified.

- The old addresses will *not* forward email automatically to the new addresses at all. Instead of forwarding, Comcast plans to
allow customers to check mail at both of their accounts, the old one and their new one, for at least 60 days after the transition. Then the old account will be shut down completely.

The annoying thing to me and many other email publishers and list owners is that Comcast clearly feels no responsibility toward
companies that send emails to their customers. And to some degree why should they? By refusing to forward messages or to
proactively give out scheduling information to list owners, they will save themselves money and server space because those 1.9 million customers will get a heck of a lot less email at their new addresses for awhile.

There is no incentive for Comcast to help publishers at all.

Anyway, Sarah and I will be in touch again later in February so I can bring you updates as needed. Don’t start running announcements to
your attbi.com names until I give you the word though, because right now you’ll just confuse them as they do not have new addresses to switch to yet.

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Anne Holland

Subscription Agency Fraud – Faxon, RoweCom, Divine

January 21st, 2003

According to copywriter Barbara Kaplowitz of Big Huge Ideas who specializes in newsletter subscription marketing, there’s a big
scandal brewing in the subscription agency arena that will affect all subscription publishers who accept orders from Faxon, Rowecom and their parent company Divine Information Services, or who accept orders from Web sites that partner with these companies (Rowecom was definitely partnering with a bunch of people for a while).

“Apparently, the company took subscribers’ money, and instead of purchasing subscriptions, used it for operating expenses and debt coverage. Reports from 1/18 Toronto Star say that the City of Toronto, through its libraries, is out $140,000. SUNY Buffalo’s
losses are reported at $800,000.

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Anne Holland

Instant Messaging & Future of Your Editorial Length

January 20th, 2003

Are instant messaging and blogging turning us all into short-writers/short-readers? How does/should this affect your editorial?

When high tech marketing consultant Kristin Zhivago and I got together for lunch last Friday, the first topic to come up was how IM is affecting the communication skills/habit/tactics of most people we know under 35 in the workplace. People are getting used to writing much shorter – you don’t type out a formal memo or even full sentences when your IM buddy is impatiently waiting for a live response on the other end.

In one century we’ve gone from flowery-polite long winded Edwardian business letters to telegraphic IMs. From long articles to Blogs. Aside from the cultural barbarians-at-the-gate/nobody-thinks-deeply-anymore reaction you can have about this; how does it affect your editorial as a publisher? Should you ask writers to boil stuff down to fewer words please because the only thing length does is annoy people? Should you add quick-read summaries to the tops of every story for impatient readers?

Every month or so sombody writes in asking us to do this with our stories which generally run 3-6 pages. “I don’t want to have to read the whole Case Study, just sum it up for me.” Problem is, if we only serve a paragraph or two summary then we can’t stick more than say one ad in the issue or it looks overly commercial.
You need a body of content to carry your ads; less body, fewer ads. So we write the Case Studies as tightly and entertainingly as we can to get you sucked into reading, and cross our fingers you’ll find it worth it to continue and incidentally view more ads.

Then, this Sunday for the first time in a while, I grabbed the NY Times book review to find out about the a new novel by a favorite author. When I opened it to the page, my heart plummeted. Oh god, a whole page of tiny type to read. No star-ranking to glance at, no summary, no sub-heads for sections. I would have to plow through the whole thing. I was annoyed. I didn’t want to read the no-doubt thoughtfully-written review for 10 minutes. I just wanted to know, should I buy that book? I wanted the IM, the Blogged, version.

Now I have to rethink our long Case Studies, how the heck can we as publishers provide for the new “short” reader and still have a business?

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Anne Holland

Time of Day & Your Email Campaign

January 16th, 2003

Rick Stamberger’s company SmartBrief publishes email newsletters
for more than two dozen different marketplaces, so when I got a
chance to interview him for a Case Study this week (see below), I
asked the question we’re all dying to know these days:

“Which time of day is really the best to send email?”

His answer was it depends on when your target market is most likely
to read your message. For example, he sends email to restaurateurs
just after the lunch hour rush, to grade school teachers in the
late afternoon, and to consumer packaged goods CEOs around 10am.

His average open rates are higher than 70%, so he’s got to be doing
something right, and I bet carefully considering time of day is
part of it.

Turns out, you want to be around the top of the email pile at about
the time your audience turn on their computers to check it. Which
means sending late at night is stupid because your message will be
jumbled in the midst of a lot of other emails by the time
recipients see it (unless they are late shift workers).

It also means attaching time zone info to names on your list may be
critical for your success.

It’s incremental stuff like this that adds up over time to a better
ROI.

P.S. Link to Case Study on Rick’s Company:

http://library.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?ContentID=2240

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Anne Holland

Time of Day & Your Email Campaign

January 16th, 2003

Rick Stamberger’s company SmartBrief publishes email newsletters
for more than two dozen different marketplaces, so when I got a
chance to interview him for a Case Study this week (see below), I
asked the question we’re all dying to know these days:

“Which time of day is really the best to send email?”

His answer was it depends on when your target market is most likely
to read your message. For example, he sends email to restaurateurs
just after the lunch hour rush, to grade school teachers in the
late afternoon, and to consumer packaged goods CEOs around 10am.

His average open rates are higher than 70%, so he’s got to be doing
something right, and I bet carefully considering time of day is
part of it.

Turns out, you want to be around the top of the email pile at about
the time your audience turn on their computers to check it. Which
means sending late at night is stupid because your message will be
jumbled in the midst of a lot of other emails by the time
recipients see it (unless they are late shift workers).

It also means attaching time zone info to names on your list may be
critical for your success.

It’s incremental stuff like this that adds up over time to a better
ROI.

P.S. Link to Case Study on Rick’s Company:

http://library.marketingsherpa.com/barrier.cfm?ContentID=2240

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