Archive for the 'Online Marketing' Category

Turning your passion into passive profits online

February 17th, 2017 by Bob Bly

My oldest son, Alex, who was a history major in college with a
particular interest in military history, wrote an interesting
short paper, “World War II at a Glance,” that you can download
for free here:

www.theww2site.com/world-war2-at-a-glance

In this special report, you get a quick-reading overview of some
of WWII’s key initiatives including:

** Underground resistance groups in Europe.
** Enigma, other rotor-based coding machines, and the U.S. Navy
code breakers.
** The 5 most important intelligence groups operating during the
War.
** The real reason why the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor.
** The deadly WWII sniper who racked up a record 542 confirmed
kills all in one year, without using a scope.
** Plus: the B-25 bomber raid on Tokyo… the 1944 attempted
assassination of Adolf Hitler … the top Allied spy of WWII …
Kamikaze and Blitzkrieg attacks … and more.

The reason I urge you to check it out, even if you are not a WWII
or history buff, is so you can see how Alex and I are building a
new topic-based site …

…and how we plan to go about “monetizing” the site to produce an
annual passive income stream in the five or six figures within
the next 12 months or so:

www.theww2site.com/world-war2-at-a-glance

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Goodbye digital, hello paper

February 3rd, 2017 by Bob Bly

In an article in The New York Review of Books (2/9/2017), Bill
McKibben notes that an increasing number of folks are turning
away from electronic communication and instead choosing
old-school media.

For instance:

>> In 2006, just 900,000 new vinyl records were sold in the U.S.
In 2015, the number of vinyl records sold was 23 million — an
increase of 20% per year.

>> Despite a hefty $150 price for an annual subscription, in the
last decade the magazine The Economist has seen its print
circulation grow by 600,000.

>> Students who take massive open online courses (MOOCs) perform
worse, and learn less, than their peers who are sitting in a
school listening to a teacher talking in front of a blackboard.

>> In many classrooms and office conference rooms, schools and
corporations are replacing digital smartboards with paper and
colored markers.

>> Hundreds of board game parlors, where people get together to
play on game boards made of cardboard moving pieces made of
plastic or metal, have opened in North America.

So … what are the reasons a portion of the population is turning
back to old media?

>> Well, in the case of records, people enjoy handling and
playing them, and appreciate the cover art and liner notes. They
also gain a sense of ownership over the music some don’t get from
digital.

>> For The Economist, when you carry the print edition, people
can see what you are reading, which if the magazine is
prestigious, shows you are smart, cultured, and in-the-know. Much
harder to see that the bloke next to you is reading the digital edition of The Economist without sticking your face right in front of his smart phone.

>> MOOCs does not surprise me. Podcasts, online courses,
streaming video, and other digital classes simply cannot match
the interaction and personalized attention a teacher gives in a
classroom or a speaker like me gives at a live workshop.

>> As for video games vs. board games, McKibben quotes writer David Sax: “Even if you were playing World of Warcraft with the same group of friends around the world each day, talking smack over
your headsets, and typing in snippets of conversation, you were
ultimately alone in a room with a screen, and the loneliness
washed over you like a wave when the game ended.”

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 2 Comments »

7 small graphic tweaks that can create a huge lift in response

January 27th, 2017 by Bob Bly

Last week I asked ace graphic designer Dwight Ingram for some
ideas on how to improve the performance of our direct mail and
online marketing through changes in design.

Dwight replied:

“Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest
difference. I’m often called upon to ‘freshen up’ a fatiguing
control, and I’ve developed a toolkit of small design changes
that can revitalize a promotion without having to create a whole
new piece.”

Here are 7 of Dwight’s go-to design tips you can use to boost
response and breathe new life into your control:

1–Change the envelope or the outside of the mail piece. If the
design is too busy, remove or move something. If the design is
too simple, add something.

Use a new teaser, freshen up the design, and try new fonts. Use
the back … think of the extra space like a buckslip. It’s a great
place to showcase the product and reinforce the offer.

2–Use bigger buttons. For e-mails and landing pages, try a bigger
button, a different color, or change the shape. Add a button to
the top or bottom in a key location near the offer language.

3–Simplify. Make the order process clean and fast, especially in
digital efforts. Don’t make your audience jump through hoops to
order.

One of the first things to look at is how many fields are on a
form? Are there too many choices, and is the process intuitive?
Decide what information you must ask for and what you can
eliminate.

4–Change the order form. Enhance the format of your form by
adding a notch, or make it an L-shape. Strengthen your offer
language, focus on the key benefits. Add an offer summary box.
Stress the deadline. Use more personalization, but not too much,
and use it appropriately.

5–Add an insert. A lift note, buck slip, or other element can
focus your prospect on the right features or benefits of the
product. Highlight the guarantee, the premium, or a unique
feature of your product or service.

6–If you use a business reply envelope (BRE), change the color.
Using a different paper color for the BRE can lift response.

7–Make sure your e-mails, landing pages, and order pages are
coded to display optimally not only on PCs but on mobile
devices including tablets and smart phones. (I’ll have an entire
chapter on designing e-mails for smart phones in my forthcoming
book “The Ultimate E-Mail Handbook” from Skyhorse Publishing.)

Remember, it’s all about clarity and thinking like a potential
customer. If your offer is hidden, or too complicated, or if
you’re asking for too much information, your response will be
affected. Make it easy.

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Category: Direct Marketing, General, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Further adventures of the “digital marketing dullards”

December 27th, 2016 by Bob Bly

I recently told the story of how a community college
decimated its enrollment by dumping proven traditional marketing
channels in favor of some digital bright shiny objects.

Their mistake was not making the transition from traditional to
multi-channel marketing gradually and testing as they go.

Instead, they suddenly halted a marketing campaign that had been
working like gangbusters, fired their old agency, and hired a
new-media agency — with disastrous results.

Apparently, they’re not the only ones failing to be cautious when
transitioning from old-school print media to digital.

Subscriber DG writes:

“Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

“For the past 25 years, we used old fashioned snail-mail
brochures to promote our engineering seminars.

“The recipient is invited to sign up online. In the early days,
we even used a live registration form. Online is even simpler.

“We tried purchased e-mail lists a couple of times, but the
response was abysmal. However, our own compiled lists — past
clients and others — do quite well.

“The results: over 12,000 students and probably over a million
mailing pieces. The extra revenues nicely enhanced the retirement
accounts.

“Now I am doing classes through a small training company. They
mail an old fashioned catalog several time a year, with on-line
registration for the response. Quite successful.”

“So direct response is NOT dead, at least in my world.”

Subscriber DK tells a similar cautionary tale:

“3 years ago I had a client who specialized in laser surgery to
clear toenail fungus. Not glamorous, but necessary.

“I got them a 2-month Outdoor paper Poster campaign … 10′ X 20′
signs … you might consider them billboards. Valued at over $100K,
we got a two month deal for $30K.

“Ads ran in Feb and March. In November that same year people were
flocking to the clinics saying they remembered the Outdoor
posters.

“The next spring, since our campaign worked so well, the client
dumped us and pumped $25,000 into online somewhere.

“And what did they get for their 25 grand? About 6 likes, no
sales, no phone calls, and no one visiting any of their six
health clinics. Nada.

“Haven’t seen a ripple of activity from them since.

“Digital/On-line/Social are nice add-ons in moderation when they
have been vetted and tested, but they are not a panacea for all
that ails struggling businesses.”

Takeaways:

1–Traditional print still works some of the time. Digital can
work some of the time. Sometimes they work well together.

2–Don’t throw out a campaign that is still working just because
you are bored with it, because if it is still working, your
prospects obviously AREN’T bored with it.

3–Test new channels, media, and tactics gradually and cautiously.
Stick your toe into the water first, before diving into the deep
end of the pool.

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Category: Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Avoid disaster when migrating to digital media

December 16th, 2016 by Bob Bly

It’s ironic.

Direct response guys by far know more about what works in
marketing than anyone else, because we generate tangible results
on every promotion. And these results are measured.

Yet more and more marketers are bypassing direct response today
in favor of what is hot and trendy — specifically branding,
content marketing, digital marketing, and social media.

For instance, my friend BC, a veteran direct marketing pro,
recently wrote me an e-mail. He says:

“I’ve had so many clients insist on dropping what they call
‘traditional’ media for digital and social media, only to have a
harsh awakening as their response plummets.

“One such client is a small community college who was struggling
during the recession. They were down to just under 7,000
students and state funding was cut.

“Teaching jobs were on the line. We launched a campaign with
traditional media with the right message. And in just 2
enrollment periods — spring and fall of the same year — we
raised enrollment to just over 11,000 students … an increase of
57%.

“We sustained that number and even moved it up a notch or two for
3 years. Then the college’s Marketing Committee got comfortable
and bored, fired us, and hired a digital/social media agency.

“The new media agency produced disastrous results. Enrollment
went from just over 11,000 students down to 6,500 students in 2
enrollment cycles. The last numbers I learned of were below 4,500
students.

“Now the college doesn’t have an ad budget, and most of the
Marketing Committee, who were also professors and instructors,
have been let go due to lack of funds.

“The college’s Marketing Director was moved from his office suite
in the main building to an office on a remote side of the campus.

“This is why I always tell clients to ease into ‘new media’
slowly — and test, test, and test!”

I urge you to consider BC’s story and advice carefully. He is a
top pro and he knows what he is talking about.

In my view, this myopic college Marketing Director, who had BC’s
vast expertise as his disposal, starved to death with a loaf of
bread under each arm.

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Category: Direct Marketing, Online Marketing | 1 Comment »

Are FB ads really “social media”?

December 6th, 2016 by Bob Bly

According to Duke University’s School of Business’s recent CMO
survey, 44.1% of marketers said they are unable to show the
impact of social media.

Another 35.6% say there is a quantitative impact but cannot
measure hard numbers for sales ROI and other key metrics.

Bottom line: about 8 out 10 marketers surveyed either haven’t
realized or can’t prove the ROI they expected from social media,
dampening their desire to invest more time and money in the channel.

Whenever I share this, I always get responses from people who
tell me they can measure social ROI and are crushing it on
social.

But 99 times out of 100, it turns out that they are talking about
boosted posts and paid advertising on Facebook.

One can argue — and I am that one — that FB ads are not really
“social media” or “social marketing.”

They are online advertising, same as pay-per-click ads on Google
or Bing, banner ads on web sites, and ads in e-zines.

When I question whether social media works or produces a decent
ROTI (return on time invested), I am not questioning the efficacy
of FB paid ads — because I already know they can work like
gangbusters.

What I’m questioning is whether endless blabbing and chatter on
Facebook, Snapchat, and other social networks generates a good
ROI.

Well, the Duke survey says 8 out of 10 CMOs cannot confirm a
positive ROI from their social media.

Now, whenever I say this, someone will blast me, pointing out
that Grant Cardone is “crushing it” on Snapchat and Gary
Vaynerchuk is doing likewise on multiple social networks — as if
this invalidates the Duke survey findings.

Well, it doesn’t. Because there are exceptions to everything, and
in social media ROI, Grant and Gary are two of a small minority
who are in fact making money with social.

But for the majority of marketers, social media remains an
unproven medium that often sucks time and funds that would be
better spent on other activities — such as e-mail marketing and
direct mail.

Yes, it doesn’t cost a lot of money, but I contend social
marketing has a poor ROTI — return on time invested. And since
time is so precious, blabbing on Snapchat or tweeting half a
dozen times a day without generating hard dollar revenues online
is to me a waste.

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Category: Online Marketing | 2 Comments »

Top 7 Reasons Why Anyone Can Succeed as a ?How-To? Content Writer And Make Money Online

November 4th, 2010 by Bob Bly

Excerpted from my new book, How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit.

1. It?s easy to get started in how-to writing: ?How-to writing provides a quicker, surer entry into publication than many other writing categories. Vast hordes dream of writing the Great
American Novel, but the group of writers who dream of writing the Great American Guide to Growing a Greener Lawn is a bit smaller.?

2. How-to writing pays extremely well: ?Some of the best-selling books of all time are how-to books. If you follow the plan in How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit, I think you can realistically get to the $100,000 to $200,000 a year income level within 12 to 24 months.?

3. You don?t need to be the world?s greatest writer: ?To succeed as a how-to, do-it-yourself, or self-help author, you don?t have to be the next Shakespeare or even the next Stephen King. Can you explain something or teach a skill in a clear, organized, entertaining fashion? Then you can succeed as a how-to writer.?

4. You don?t need to be the leading guru in your field: ?You do not need to be the leading practitioner, scholar, or expert in your field to write a book about it. As noted by author and speaker Fred Gleeck, you only need know more about your subject than 90 percent of the people out there. ?Don?t worry about the other 10 percent; they?re not your market anyway,? says Fred.?

5. Whether you know it or not, you have unique knowledge to share with a paying audience: ?If you think you are not an expert in any subject, I doubt that?s really true. Every person has unique skills, training, and experiences. You are an ?expert? in your life and many of the things that make up your life.?

6. Even when information is free, demand for knowledge is high: ?Even in a world dominated by Google, the wisdom, knowledge, and guidance people are seeking are in short supply. As librarian Richard Yates once observed, ?We are drowning in information but starved for knowledge.? As a result, the public?s appetite for how-to material is insatiable, and?despite the Internet user?s mantra that ?information should be free??readers eagerly open their wallets to obtain it.?

7. The guided step-by-step plan in How to Write and Sell Simple Information for Fun and Profit shows you everything you need to do to be a success: ?By following the comprehensive plan laid out in this book, you can earn a comfortable six-figure annual income from your writing. And you can do it when and where you want, while writing what interests and pleases you. You can work at home?no boss, no commute, no suit and tie, no alarm clock.?

For more information visit:

www.bly.com/simpleinfo

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Category: Online Marketing, Writing, Writing and the Internet | 78 Comments »

Not All List Brokers Are Created Equal

June 28th, 2010 by Bob Bly

by, Brian Berg,President/CEO ? BB Direct, Inc

No two list brokers are the same. Yes, they are all compensated by earning a commission in the form of a discount for their data, but not all list brokers live up to the compensation they receive. Many provide little more than a list industry vocabulary. A good mailing list broker starts with an account summary of previous campaign successes and low or no response. They attempt to involve the mailer in the process of target audience selection and how their list recommendation is developed. Ultimately, they attempt to improve response and response measurement, as well as reducing cost.

Often asked, ?Why utilize a mailing list broker when you can go direct to the source?? The answer to this question can be found in the flexibility provided by a list broker. A good mailing list broker can access many sources of data, put the ?target-ability? of the list before cost, and properly set the expectations of the mailer in terms of deliverability and response.

Mailers that go direct to the database compiler should expect to pay a standard retail price point that?s higher than what you?d pay with a broker. But even more so, going directly to the database source will limit their options. Owners of the database will only sell their own data while brokers will have options. And since no two databases are the same, knowing the strengths and weaknesses of a particular database is a quality that good list broker can deliver.

When shopping for a mailing list, it only makes sense to get more than one quote. Like anything you shop for, consider experience within your industry, price, and general ?gut? feeling about the broker/consultant. Ask for references and call those references. The time put into this type of research will always return favorable results. The importance of partnering with a good mailing list broker is vital to the direct mail investment and the return on that investment.

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Category: Online Marketing | 625 Comments »