Anne Holland

Sports Illustrated Email Renewals Help DM Efforts

November 21st, 2002

According to a brief article posted on DMNews today , Alec Casey, Exec Mktg Dir at Sports Illustrated says emailed renewal efforts
have had low response rates, but they definitely boost response rates for direct mailed renewal notices that follow them if you
can get the timing right.

I don’t know how SI gets its email addresses, or if they contact those addresses in any way during the year until renewal time,
and both these factors could hugely affect response rates. (Handwritten email addresses have a high likelihood of being data
entered incorrectly compared to postal addresses, and emails go “bad” at a rate of up to 30-40% per year as people switch email
boxes, these days often to avoid spam.)

Anyway, the whole email working in concert with a printed notice thing is interesting. Are any e-subscription sites sending mailed
notices? Let me know AHolland@MarketingSherpa.com

http://www.dmnews.com/cgi-bin/artprevbot.cgi?article_id=22241

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Anne Holland

Vendor S*pams Publishers; What You Can Do

November 20th, 2002

This afternoon a vendor to the content industry s*pammed hundreds of Newsletter & Electronic Publishers Association members with an unsolicited sales message. Patty Wysocki at the Association assures me they don’t rent their email names. The vendor must have harvested them without permission from the group’s membership directory.

Why should you care? Because if you publish a directory online or offline that includes email addresses, chances are an ill-educated vendor will blunder into making the same mistake with your data. This can hurt your organization in three ways:

#1. If a single person reports the message sent to S*pamCop and your organization is named in the message (i.e. ‘Special offer
for NEPA members’), you will be added to their blacklist irregardless of the fact that you didn’t send the message yourself.

This may cause your own web site host to suspect you are a spammer, and they may even threaten to take your site down. (Yes, it’s even happened to us after a spammer mentioned one of our brand names in a message.)

Note: If you’re ever blacklisted, here’s 3 tips from my Tech Editor Alexis Gutzman about how to get out of trouble:

http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2212

#2. Everyone listed in your directory will think twice next time about giving you their email address, which makes your editorial
content that much less valuable for purchasers who may want to contact individuals, well, individually.

3. Some recipients may assume you rented their name to the spammer, even if you have clear policies against doing so. That again can cause strained relationships. And in this economy, the last thing we need is more strain. :-)

How can you avoid this in the future? Try adding a line of copy at the bottom of every page (or screen) of your directory that
clearly states no one may use the email addresses contained herein to create and/or broadcast messages to a list of names.
It’s not actually the letter of the law (copyright law doesn’t protect directories as much as one would hope) but a clear
statement like this can at least make dummies think twice about what they are doing.

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Anne Holland

Selling Subs: Make 1st Day Worth Entire Year's Cost

November 20th, 2002

Today’s IAR news article on the whole Salon/Mercedes deal (which this Blog scooped them on three days ago, nyah nyah) reminded me of one thing I didn’t mention: The free day of Premium Salon that Mercedes offers folks in exchange for sitting through a
four-screen ad, is valued at about a nickel, if you do the math from their annual subscription fee.

I strongly suspect that’s not the way consumers view it. They view it as worth much more than that because, unlike a free copy
of a print publication, they are not *just* getting one issue. They are getting to see a whole world of enticing content heretofore behind the subscription wall. They are Marco Polo with a day-pass to China.

Which is probably why every successful subscription seller I’ve interviewed has told me the same thing, “The content customers
can access on the very first day better feel like it’s worth the entire amount of their subscription fee.”

It’s incredibly hard to sell someone on something that will arrive later. Consumers want (and trust) instant gratification.
That’s why it’s always easier to sell a one-off product than an ongoing subscription. The way to get around that predicament is to give them something worth the full value of their money on day one. The rest is a bonus, designed to keep you top-of-mind so they don’t cancel when renewal time comes around.

Which is probably why so many print subscription sellers rely on special reports and other free-gifts-with-purchase to bump
immediate value when they run subscription offers.

http://www.internetnews.com/IAR/article.php/10789_1545641

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Anne Holland

Salon.com & Mercedes – Good Idea, Blah Implementation

November 18th, 2002

Last week Salon.com announced a deal with Mercedes whereby the car co is offering a “f^ree Salon Premium Daypass” to everyone
who agrees to watch a four-screen online ad.

It’s a great idea.

However, I’m under whelmed by Salon’s execution of their barrier page in between the big offer banner on their home page and day-pass access to the sub site.

You’d think they’d try to get as many visitors to convert to day-pass offer accepters as possible so more people see Mercedes’ ad.
However, the page’s three-paragraphs of sales copy are too long-winded for a really high conversion rate. Guys, can you bullet point something please?

Also the final sentence before the entry button is off-putting enough in placement and wording to be costing some conversions as
well, “Important Note: Your browser must be set to accept cookies and you must also have the Flash Plug-in Verson 4 or higher.”
This probably would have been better tiny type next to the cceptance button. (BTW: For once the typo is *not* mine!)

It’s a good idea with so-so execution.

http://www.salon.com/partner/mb/

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Anne Holland

Subject Line or List Host Changes Can Cost You Readers

November 15th, 2002

Ever since I sent out my do-typos-stop-filtering survey to MarketingSherpa readers on Wednesday morning (results here) subscribers have been emailing me notes to explain why my issues are less filtered than I’d feared. Many say, “I added a ‘rule’ to my system to make sure newsletters with your subject line get
through” or “I made sure all email from your newsletter address gets through.”

Which is wonderful of them, but also makes me realize as a publisher that I could risk losing or not delivering to some of my most dedicated readers if I changed my subject line format, or switched list hosts so my newsletter from address was affected.

It’s the equivalent of cutting off all the people who had direct links to articles on your site when you switch content management
systems (a big problem for publishers upgrading). That can hurt your traffic and crush your search engine rankings.

http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2207

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Anne Holland

Yahoo Groups Drop List Members After One Single Bounce

November 15th, 2002

Whoa, after one single bounce Yahoo Groups turns OFF accounts. My email service was down for a short time on Sunday night, a single
Yahoo Groups list I was on sent something during that time. Today I got a message reading

“Please reactivate your Yahoo! Groups account:
Recently, messages sent to you from Yahoo! Groups have been returned to us as undeliverable. To prevent any problems with
your email service, we have temporarily turned your Yahoo! Groups account OFF.

If you are reading this message now, the delivery problem appears to be fixed. However, we won’t know that the problem is fixed until you tell us.” (Huh?)

Most list owners cut off opt-ins after seven or 10 bounced messages in a row. I’ve never heard of anyone who cut off after one. I guess Yahoo is trying to cut back on server space and any excuse is a good excuse to cancel a free account. Independent groups and publishers who operate out of Yahoo groups should be aware of this: Your lists will start dwindling fast with this policy in place.

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Anne Holland

Some site revamps leaving fewer options

November 13th, 2002

For the past few years I’ve had countless marketers and Web usability experts tell me, “Make sure your site pages are thin so they load quickly. People will leave your site rather than wait even an few extra seconds.”

Now there’s a new trend, it’s not just about thinning your page load, it’s about thinning your navigation options.

Most site revamps these days seem to be about taking stuff off, rather than adding stuff on.

In fact two of our Case Studies this week are about sites with few options. One site (MiningGold.com) only has a single option. You can click to buy, or you can click to leave. Another site (GoodysOnline.com) got rid of all of its impressive bells and whistles to focus on a simple offer for a discount coupon.

In a way, many companies’ home pages are becoming less like all-encompassing corporate doorways, and more like direct response reply cards.

Has your site gone skinnier? Let me know.. AHolland@MarketingSherpa.com

In the meantime, here’s Sherpa’s best stories from the past week:

====

CASE STUDIES:

====

#1. How to Go From Zilch Coverage to 200+ Media Interviews in 18 Months

Can you imagine if you called up the reporters who cover your marketplace, and they all said they’d never heard of you, or they thought you’d gone out of business?

That PR nightmare is exactly what happened to MAPICS, a 20-year old software firm serving manufacturers. Learn how MAPICS fought back, grabbing column inches from competitors like Oracle and SAP.

No, MAPICS didn’t stage any dramas or launch any revolutionary new products. Instead they relied on rock-solid PR best practices that you can emulate in order to get more press attention too: http://www.b2bmarketingbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2197

#2. Goodys Chain Stores Test Emailed Discount Coupons

If you’ve been considering emailing discount coupons to your customers to see if you can drive some brick and mortar store traffic, absolutely check this Case Study out.

It includes some stunning metrics regarding average shopping cart size. We worried discount coupons might cannibalize normal sales. We were completely wrong: http://www.consumermarketingbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2199

#3. Selling eBooks & Subscriptions to Consumers Online: 5 Hard Lessons from a Get-R*ich-Quick Publisher

It’s easy for we “serious” marketers to sneer a bit at the guys selling “how to get r*ich on the Internet” stuff. But, don’t you ever secretly wonder if there’s something you could learn from them? No matter how traditional and snooty your company is?

During the course of our research to create this Case Study, we learned five lessons that have already helped us out tremendously. Now it’s your turn. Yes, includes some (very) useful metrics: http://www.contentbiz.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2201

====

PRACTICAL KNOW HOW:

====

#4. Anne’s Marketing Column: How to Sell Your List – Part II

In Part II of this special report for email list owners, you’ll find:

-> 7 Tips on how much money you can make renting out your list

-> How to pick and compensate a list manager

-> What’s the difference between a manager and a broker

-> How to make sure no one spams your list

Also includes a link to Part I (in case you missed last week): http://www.MarketingSherpa.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2198

#5. AOL’s EVP of Strategy Lon Otremba on Now That the Pop-Up Party’s Over…

Short but sweet. In this quick interview, AOL’s Lon Otremba suggests a few ways online advertisers can still get pretty good response rates, without relying on annoying interruptive spots: http://www.greatmindsinmarketing.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2202

#6. How to Plant Stories in Target Marketing & Inside DM

More than 45,000 direct marketing professionals read Target Marketing Magazine or its sister newsletter Inside DM. Check out our interview with Editor in Chief Hallie Mumert to find out how to influence her so your story reaches them: http://www.marketingfame.com/sample.cfm?contentID=2200

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Anne Holland

WSJ.com Eliminates Publisher Position

November 13th, 2002

Dow Jones, a company which has now admitted it’s paid for strippers(http://www.nypost.com/business/25970.htm) to help close ad sales deals, announced today it no longer wishes to pay for a anyone to be
Publisher of WSJ.com. Neil Budde is doing the “other opportunities” dance, and nobody is being hired or promoted to step into his old
shoes.

http://online.wsj.com/article_email/0,,SB1037991863714387948,00.html

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Anne Holland

Oracle Offers Economist.com Subs to Get Email Names

November 12th, 2002

Thanks to Barbara Kaplowitz for sending me a link to this unusual co-op marketing campaign from TheEconomist.com and Oracle. She just got an emailed offer from TheEconomist.com (who apparently have no idea filters will hurt you if you use the word “f^ree” repeatedly in a broadcast message) that says that Oracle have
offered to pay for an Economist.com $69 subscription for her.

The only thing she has to do to get this site subscription is click on the link and hand over her email address with permission
to be added to Oracle’s email list.

They do not want the offer to go viral so unless you are Barbara, the offer will not work for you, but you can view the landing page
and privacy policy.

This is a very clever way for TheEconomist to get some sponsor dollars by in effect offering a co-reg. It is something other subscription sites might consider, as long as your universe is big enough that you are not scared silly of cannibalization.

However, as Barbara noted in her letter to me, “Have to admit, the really daunting privacy policy at Oracle made me consider not
accepting the deal.” If Oracle had added some benefit copy about why it’s cool to be on their list and/or at least given a non-
legalese-summary of their privacy policy, they would have done better with this campaign.

Also, it does make me wonder about the value of the list. Oracle is such a big broad company offering so many products, that I’m
not sure what they are planning to send these new o^pt-ins that is targeted and valuable enough content for the Company to get a
decent email readership % rate. We shall see.

http://www.economist.com/subscriptions/oracle.cfm

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Anne Holland

Sites with Fewer Navigation Options Win

November 7th, 2002

For the past few years I’ve had countless marketers and Web
usability experts tell me, “Make sure your site pages are thin so
they load quickly. People will leave your site rather than wait
even an few extra seconds.”

Now there’s a new trend, it’s not just about thinning your page
load, it’s about thinning your navigation options.

Most site revamps these days seem to be about taking stuff off,
rather than adding stuff on.

In fact two of our Case Studies this week are about sites with few
options. One site (MiningGold.com) only has a single option.
You can click to buy, or you can click to leave. Another site
(GoodysOnline.com) got rid of all of its impressive bells and
whistles to focus on a simple offer for a discount coupon.

In a way, many companies’ home pages are becoming less like all-
encompassing corporate doorways, and more like direct response
reply cards.

Has your site gone skinnier? Let me know.

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