Email Marketing Made Easy - And Fun!

Today I stumbled across a FANTASTIC email marketing tool... Mad Mimi.

This is the simplest, prettiest, most user friendly email builder I've seen. It feels more like creating a blog post than crafting a business email or newsletter. With a moderate price point, and a free version for casual users, Mad Mimi is sure to hit a sweet spot in the market.

This tool actually has me racking my brain for reasons that I might need to send out fancy emails to family and friends.

Don't Listen to the Voices in Your Head

Advertising has moved to a new realm... invading your thought. So next time you think you hear voices in your head... it may just be Coke telling you that you're thirsty.

Companies are beginning to use hypersonic sound - a targeted beam that causes anyone who crosses it's path to hear a message in their mind.


Clive Thompson writes about his first encounter with this futuristic advertising medium in this month's Wired. He writes:

"Trolling down the street in Manhattan, I suddenly hear a woman's voice.

'Who's there? Who's there?' she whispers. I look around but can't figure out where it's coming from. It seems to emanate from inside my skull.

Was I going nuts? Nope. I had simply encountered a new advertising medium: hypersonic sound. It broadcasts audio in a focused beam, so that only a person standing directly in its path hears the message. In this case, the cable channel A&E was using the technology to promote a show about, naturally, the paranormal."

Yes, it's pretty cool... fascinating, actually. But is this new invasion of our thoughts ethical? Or even legal? Thompson also examines the greater world of emerging brain technologies... leaving us feeling that we're losing our grasp on what may be our only true sanctuary... our own minds.


The Future of the Newspaper

One of the more memorable scenes in the futuristic film Minority Report features Tom Cruise reading a newspaper that changes in real-time - and shows a news report about him.

Now with smart phones dominating the market and newer products like the Kindle coming in to use, that future doesn't seem so far-fetched.

Today at the Associated Press' annual meeting, the news giant announced the Mobile News Network, a service that delivers news formatted for the iPhone and other cellular handsets. Accoring to Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley:

“The Mobile News Network will provide a national platform for smart phone users to access local content from brands they trust. Members can participate by providing local news that will appear alongside their logos. Importantly, the network also offers a new outlet for members to sell local advertising to the mobile audience.”

This is certainly an interesting opportunity for selling advertising and for those with news to share, but it's one more sign that the traditional newspaper is slowly declining in relevance.


On the Streets: Interesting Cross-Promotions

It always interests me to see how brands chose to work together to reach their target audiences. I've seen a few interesting cross promotions lately...

One that makes sense...

Bravo TV and Crunch Fitness
Crunch is hosting a new set of fitness classes (at select locations) based on the show Step Up and Dance. My guess is that this show appeals to a lot of 18-49-year-old women who are also interesting in slimming down and toning up in new, fun ways. I get it.

One one that puzzles me...

Peroni and free bakery bread
Though I was not able to find any details about this promotion online, I'll have to snap a picture next time I'm in my local Publix. Walking though the beer aisle, I spotted a sign that advertises a free loaf of bread from the bakery with purchase of Peroni. This looked to be a Peroni promotion, not a Publix-based promotion. Perhaps drinking Peroni while eating bread is traditional? If it is, I can't find evidence that says so (and Google never lies).

Perhaps it's a recession technique... I imagine it something like this:

Peroni Exec #1: Oh, no, with the economy, people can't afford to buy our fancy beer. They have to spend money on essentials like bread and milk.

Peroni Exec #2: I know, we'll give them bread WITH the beer, so they can still afford to buy beer!

Both: Perfecto!

I'm not sure who this promotion benefits, but it's certainly baffling.


You Might Be A Spammer If...

This entry was actually written for one of my blogs at work, which are typically more B2B or product related, however, I think this topic applies to all of us in marketing.

Everyone gets spam. I even consider a lot of the emails I somehow, someway opted-in to a million years ago a form of spam. I have quite a few clients who I consider "spammers," but of course, they don't think so. That means you - yes, you - may be considered a spammer and not even know it. So, please enjoy...

No one wants to be labeled a spammer, but the reality is sometimes your customers might consider your messages spam, even when you consider them permission-based marketing. So here are some tips on keeping yourself on the "nice list" and preventing customers from hitting the dreaded unsubscribe link.

Give the People What They Ask For
Make sure it's clear what they are getting when customers or prospects sign up for your list. If they ask for your monthly newsletter, send them a monthly newsletter. Do not let that monthly newsletter turn in to a weekly (or daily, yikes!) newsletter. Companies should fully disclose the type of content the list provides and the frequency of the mailings.

Don't Assume They Are Interested
Addresses should only be used for the list they signed up for. Just because you have a prospect's email address doesn't mean you should add it to every mailing list you use. It is more appropriate to include information about other offerings that may interest your readers and provide a link to a preference center, where they can manage their own list subscriptions.

Buying Lists Can't Buy Happy Prospects
Obtain all your lists and a legitimate manor through prospecting, conferences or other ways of building contacts. It is not advisable to purchase lists, since those people did not request your emails, and therefore, did not give permission to begin a relationship with your company.

Better Safe Than Sorry
It's unlikely that someone would provide you with an email address that is not their own, but you can never be too careful. It's easy to set up an auto-responder message or send an email asking people to take the step of verifying their email address in order to be added to your list. Requiring a subscriber to take action to be added to a list is known as closed loop confirmation.

And if All Else Fails...
Make sure you have a clear, simple way for your readers to unsubscribe from your message. This will ensure that you're in compliance with CAN-SPAM regulations and help prevent ISPs from blacklisting your content. Stick to your word - when you say a customer is unsubscribed, all correspondence should halt immediately.

via Pardot


Images! Get Your Free Images!

Seth Godin posted a handy tip (especially handy for us bloggers) about finding royalty free images on the internet... Flickr.

They have a great selection of images for public use. You can find just about anything you need.

Like this:

Or this:

Just use the advanced search function and select Creative Commons Commercial license.

In a world where all royalty free images used to be cheesy "lifestyle" shots, it's good to know you can get quality shots to use for your website, presentations or other needs.

blog template by suckmylolly.com : header hand photo by Aaron Murphy