Do Email Advertising safe lists really work?

 by David Callan

In recent years there has been growing controversy over email and especially email delivery. Spam or unsolicited emails have become a very major issue. Many ISP services in their noble attempt to fight this menace have erected such powerful filters that they often keep out email that we want to receive.

This has led many online entrepreneurs to the conclusion that any promotional effort or online marketing campaign that involves email is automatically a non-starter. Actually despite all the problems and challenges that email has faced in recent years, nothing could be further from the truth.

Even as you read this, there are online publishing enterprises that have ignored SEO and PPC (pay-per-click) methods of generating traffic to their sites and have instead put all their focus on only email safelists or opt-in email lists. One company in particular that was heavily involved in direct marketing methods in its’ offline days is now approaching the staggering annual turnover of $100 million. And the only promotional method that they know, understand and use has to do with email.

Will RSS Feeds Replace Email Marketing?

The truth of the matter is that despite what folks have been saying about RSS (Really simple syndication) feeds replacing email the facts on the ground are that there is really no replacement in site for email.

There has been a lot of excitement about RSS because it delivers content right on the desktop of users all over the world. Some of the advantages that RSS enjoys is that it is not subject to ISP spam filters. Then there is the fact that consumers can customize their feeds so that they receive very specific information based on their niche area of interest. In a world where here is too much information being churned out too fast, this make plenty of sense and is bound to save people a lot of time.

However, despite its’ merits RSS feeds are different from email and there is no way that it will replace email any time soon.

Blogs Have Replaced Numerous Email Newsletters: What Does This Mean?

At the height of the spam crisis, it is true that many online entrepreneurs and publishers opted to have blogs running side by side with their email newsletters while others totally shut down their email lists in favor of blogs.

In fact this is one of the reasons why blogs shot up in popularity so quickly. The fact that there are many online marketers who have opted to stay away from email and have instead embraced blogs and RSS feeds does not change the facts on the ground.

The truth is that there are many other online entrepreneurs and marketers who totally rely on email marketing to make their money.

Opt-in Email Lists Can Hardly Be Replaced

Although folks are much more bound to subscribe information coming through an RSS feed rather than opt to receive a regular email newsletter the fact is that the latter is still one of the most valuable assets any online marketer can have. An opt-in email list is usually highly targeted and there are many online entrepreneurs who make a very good living from an opt-in email list with as little as 5000 names. These smart guys simply ensure that as they send out their valuable information, they include highly relevant ads and offers within their content. They never attempt to send out exclusively advertising messages to their opt-in email lists because people hate to be advertised to. But they do not mind relevant textual ads that are very closely linked to the area of interest being covered by the email newsletter that they have subscribed to.

Many owners of huge opt-in email lists never attempt to sell anything through their lists, they instead use them to drive repeat traffic to their sites and blogs where they predictably click on the Adsense ads adjacent to the new content. At the end of the day the site owner ends up making a substantial income from their opt-in email list without attempting to sell anything.

Email Safe Lists

In the same way people join massive advertising email lists at sites like yahoogroups.com and send out their ad messages to millions of people at a time. Despite the fact that not all recipients of such messages open all the email messages they receive, the fact of the matter is that catchy subject headings will tend to get a lot more readership. In fact there are some very respectable affiliate programs run by reputable corporations that have thrived on training their affiliates on the proper use of email safe lists.

Conclusion

So the answer to the question we started off with is a resounding “yes” despite all the problems, email safe lists and email marketing in general is still very much alive and thriving.

The Top SEO Rules According to Google

MarketBuildersOften, when we speak to new clients, we’re asked for Search Engine placement guarantees. We have to explain to them that Search Engine Optimization is about working smarter with the Search Engines and not by just adding keywords and submitting your site to every Search Engine and directory possible.

 

This article is for website owners who want to separate the hype from the basics. This article is written from years of experience working with (against?)the Google PageRank algorithm – what I’ve found works and what just wastes a lot of time and effort.

 

Rule 1: Relevant Inbound Links.

 

If you’re going to rank highly with Google, you can’t have enough relevant, quality inbound links. I know, you’ve heard it before, but now it has a lot more to do with HOW you obtain inbound links. The links you acquire from other sites are the paths to your website for search engine crawlers and visitors alike. Links that are relevant to your website, and have a high Page Rank themselves, increase your website’s value with Google and links from weak sites detract from that value and credibility.

 

Be selective in reciprocal linking. Both reciprocal and one way links can work, if you are prudent in selecting the links. Be sure to submit your website to the relevant sections in the major directories.

 

The best approach is to build a ‘link baiting’ website that attracts links due to the current, interesting information you provide. Active Blogs, Press Releases, and submitting articles to eZines … these all help to attract quality, inbound links to your website.

 

Rule 2: Know Your Competition.

 

“Rank” is the relative position of a website in the Search Engines’ natural results. How competitive is the keyword or search term you’re trying to rank highly for? If there’s little competition, anyone can get you 1st page search results. It’s the competitive search terms that draw large amounts of traffic that are difficult to rank for.

 

How well you do in the search engine results is a function of how much hard work you’ve done in relation to your competition and the keywords and search terms that you’re most likely to rank highly for – AND that get enough traffic to satisfy your business model.

 

Analyze your competition’s keywords, links, keyword density, and design – but be sure to never plagiarize – don’t copy your competition, improve upon it!

 

 

Rule 3: Ranking Highly with the Right Keywords.

 

Ask yourself what keywords and search terms your ‘most likely customers’ will use on the major Search Engines. Many businesses make the mistake of simply attempting to increase traffic to their site rather than making their primary goal to attract internet visitors that provide the highest ‘clickthrough’ or purchase rates.  You can have 10,000 visitors per day, but if they don’t buy or ‘clickthrough’ they’re just a statistic.  High ranking for the right keywords (keywords used by your target audience) is imperative.  Make sure the keywords you choose are attracting the best audience possible – based on your business model, of course.

 

 

Rule 4: Use a Search Engine Friendly Website Design.

 

A search and visitor friendly design is a must for any successful website. Your website should be compelling enough to encourage repeat visits by potential customers and Search Engine crawlers as well. Use search engine friendly website addresses (URLs) and avoid long URLs with dynamic, query strings.

 

Rule 5: Select Keywords Carefully.

 

You must research your keywords before targeting. There are tools that give you a good idea of a keyword’s search potential for example. It is important to know the number of searches for specific keywords in the last month, last 6 months and last year. You should also determine the number of web pages that are targeting the keyword or search term.

 

Start slowly.  To determine the keywords with the best ROI, begin with campaigns that focus on keywords with moderate competition, but a high number of searches.

 

Also, make sure you have your best keywords embedded throughout your text on each web page. Don’t overdo it, but try to use them often throughout your text in a natural way.

 

Rule 6: Write Compelling Content.

 

This is pretty obvious – I mean as opposed to writing weak content. Even if your website site is technically sound for the search engine crawlers, it will not succeed unless you also fill your web pages with focused, relevant, and compelling content. Interesting content brings repeat visitors and increases the chance of conversion. Good, sound content holds the reader’s attention and appeals to your target audience. Your web pages should have your desired action embedded in the content that is the focus of the site.  You should add new text or change content regularly. It’s important to keep the website fresh, with current information and news.

 

 

Rule 7: Write Relevant and Original Content.

 

Website content is like a business. Just as your business card markets your services, website content tells search engines the relevance and context of each web page. Resist the temptation to include everything in the Meta content, but make it detailed. Confused? The idea is to include only what is relevant to the page in the Meta Content but to include everything that is relevant.

 

Rule 8: There are No Guarantees.

 

Google alone controls its indexing and PageRank algorithm.  Don’t try to trick Google using ‘link farms’ or other useless services. The only way to improve your search engine rank with Google is to play by their rules. And their rules are pretty simple: establish relevant inbound links and focus your website content on the services you provide. Web content has to be written so that it’s compelling for website visitors and for Search Engine crawlers as well.

 

Don’t fall for the ‘1st Page Rankings on Google in 10 days’ offers. The just use Adwords, PPC, or SEO for obscure search terms no one uses.  

 

With Google, there really are no short cuts. Top ranking in natural listings with Google will take time – depending upon the competitiveness of the search term, of course. Hard work is imperative especially in developing the content of your website and the inbound links required to earn top rankings with Google.

 

 

Rule 9: Consult the Experts.

 

If you have the competence, there are two ways to learn – learning by trial and error or learning from others’ experience. If you have the time and can wait for the online dollars, it’s possible to do it yourself. If you want to get started now, save time and money – consult the experts.

 

http://www.MarketBuilders.TV

 

 

Scott Porter is an expert in SEO and Search Engine Marketing with over 10 years experience in Internet Marketing.

 

He heads MarketBuilders, a professional Internet Marketing and Search Engine Optimization company in Richmond, VA.

 

MarketBuilders empowers its clients around the world with creative SEO and Internet Marketing programs.

 

He may be reached at scott.porter@marketbuilders.tv.

 

www.MarketBuilders.tv

Demographic Targeting According to Google

MarketBuilders Internet Marketing

JUST ONCE I’D LIKE TO read an article about the search engines’ deployment of demographic targeting technologies that didn’t mention the phrase “Holy Grail.”

All hype aside, the fact that Google has introduced demographic targeting to the placement targeting of Adwords is a welcome development, especially for direct response marketers who’ve been using this method for years.

Of course, demographic targeting as it’s been implemented by search engines has yet to really deliver on its promise, because the quality of the data has always been suspect.

Google, of course, has the scale, so it’s going to be much more interesting experimenting with demo targeting there, especially because MySpace is now in Google’s contextual network.

So far, only a limited set of sites in the contextual networks are participating, and I wonder whether the comScore data used by Google to establish its demographics is 100% reliable. For example, I set up a test campaign that would just target senior citizens over 65 years of age with an annual income of $75,000 or more. Some sites suggested by the tool seemed very appropriate to this audience segment, while others seemed to be a major stretch. Obviously, marketers will want to take a close look at sites recommended by Google’s tool to ensure that they feel comfortable with the selections it makes before laying out marketing dollars.

Of course, the real prize will be when Google begins to tap into MySpace’s huge repository of user-disclosed demographic data, which has the promise of offering a tantalizingly accurate picture of its membership. While one cannot rule out the prospect that a significant number of My Space’s users include false information in their bios, I’d guess that most of the data here is good data..

One large but unanswered question about all this micro-targeting is how the MySpace and Facebook membership will react to targeted ads that too many may seem unappealing.  Some will certainly take steps to remove details from their profiles to discourage demographic targeting, but I’d imagine this will be a small minority.

Demographic targeting isn’t a panacea for targeted Internet Marketing.  In fact, it may provide search marketers with more than their share of headaches as they attempt to integrate demographic targeting with already complex keyword-based campaigns using  geo and daypart targeting.

For those who get it right, demographic targeting should provide both increased ROI and greater insight into who is actually consuming and acting on their marketing messages. I plan to be following this new discipline with interest and will continue to experiment to see what kind of gains marketers can yield from it in the year ahead, even if it just proves to be a useful tool and not the panacea it’s frequently reported to be.

Social Media Will Succeed

Social Media Advertising Will Succeed

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Despite the fact that social media advertising has yet to hit its stride and is taking some lumps for low click rates when compared to high pageviews, it will succeed. Social media is a different type of advertising platform from information-oriented websites and the two should not be compared.

The reality is that social media delivers the holy grail for advertisers on the Internet: a mass-concentrated U.S. audience reach similar to television.

The top 25 social media networks delivered over 155 million unique visitors in Feb. 2008 with 70 percent coming from MySpace, Facebook and Classmates.com. Add in YouTube and Flickr and you get another 60 million totaling an estimated 215 million humans viewing social media monthly.

Compare that to television where an average 24-hour period delivers around 50 million unique viewers. The highest viewership day of the year, Super Bowl Sunday, has an estimated 110 million unique U.S. residents viewing television. Even over an entire month there is arguably less than 200 million total unique television viewers.

The Internet has become a powerful platform for advertisers to reach mass audiences via user generated video too. According to comScore Video Metrix, U.S. Internet users viewed over 10 billion videos online in the month of December alone. Imagine a 15 to 30 second commercial with each video view and the Internet seems ready today to compete with broadcast TV in delivering commercial views.

Advertising on social media is not about clicks or click rate any more than TV commercials are; it’s about quickly reaching reaching a huge U.S audience. Sooner rather than later, advertisers will see social media as a great way to reach mass audiences. After all, in terms of audience size there are several Super Bowls every day on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube!

It simply doesn’t matter what the click rate is for Facebook, MySpace and YouTube because they reach huge audiences that major advertisers like Ford, Pepsi and McDonald’s can’t help but see the value in. Predictably, Adwords buyers will see the value too.

Click rates are a reflection of pageviews and social media sites similar to TV have a large overlapping audience that hang around them all day, every day. Television would have a low click rate too if an ad campaign were measured over the course of a months worth of programs on the same network, assuming you could click the screen.

People also tune in and out of TV just like they do with social media. According to Compete’s figures for every unique visitor to YouTube there are 54 pageviews. With Facebook, a unique visitor creates an amazing 564 pageviews in a month and on MySpace each person generates a staggering 1,110 pageviews.

The social media audience is loyal, large and habit-oriented just like broadcast TV. They also hit the prime youth-tilting demographic who are big spenders online and are considered a high value audience by ad agencies and advertisers. Ultimately, what advertisers value is the audience, not just the clicks.

 About the Author:
Rich Ord is the CEO of iEntry, Inc. which includes WebProNews and numerous other vertical and community sites.

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