The Quest for the Perfect Marketing Idea

Is there a perfect marketing idea out there?

This is a question that plagues marketers everywhere, and Forbes contributor Will Burns recently documented his quest for the answer. His criteria were simple. The campaign had to be:

  • Inexpensive
  • Visceral
  • Purposeful

During his search, Burns stumbled across three companies who made use of truly inspirational marketing tactics:

  • A nonprofit that created a marketing campaign on a budget of, well, nothing, using dirty windshields, pizza boxes, storefronts, coffee cups and anything else it could find to get its message across.
  • An airline that created a pass that allows passengers to pay a flat fee and fly as much as they want.
  • A restaurant that encouraged diners to interact more with each other by offering them 5 percent off their dinner bill in exchange for turning their phones in at the door.

The consensus? Yes, there are perfect, or near-perfect, marketing ideas out there, and they don’t have to eat up your marketing budget if you’re creative. We can’t argue with that.

300,000 Miles Closer to Giving Google the Wheel

Google’s fleet of self-driving cars is now boasting 300,000 miles driven collectively, and its engineering team could not be more confident in the vehicle’s abilities. So confident, in fact, that Google’s team members are using the car to make their daily commutes solo.

So are self-driving cars the wave of the future?

The George Jetson method of travel may not be too far away (minus the flying bit, of course).

Check out the full article from Forbes here.

Why Your Dealership Should Use eNewsletters to Drive Home Its Message

In today’s Internet age where consumers are used to instant, customized results, dealerships need a way to quickly drive their message home — so their prospects will drive more vehicles home.

Consumers are looking for vehicles that will meet their respective lifestyles, personal preferences and budgets. It only makes sense that auto dealers would take this into consideration when planning their marketing strategy.

Many dealerships are turning to eNewlsetters. Why? Because email marketing is one of the least expensive marketing avenues, and as the saying goes, content is king. Here are a few examples of how eNewsletters can benefit your dealership.

Steer Customers in the Right Direction (Toward Your Dealership)


First, eNewsletters can increase the likelihood of creating lifetime clients. By contacting customers on a regular basis and providing them with valuable information, you are building connections with them and in turn increasing loyalty. It is cheaper to retain customers than it is to gain new ones, so building and retaining this loyalty is important.

Another benefit to eNewsletters is that they can enhance your reputation and encourage customers to visit your website as well as your store.

Go Green


Just as many consumers are looking for fuel-efficient cars that will be more environmentally friendly and save them money on gas, many dealerships are looking for a solution that will help them get the most bang for their buck.

eNewsletters allow you to reach a large audience with little expenditure, especially in comparison to print newsletters (not to mention that eliminating paper is more eco-friendly). Because eNewsletters are a cost-efficient and effective method of communication, they can increase your lead generation and marketing ROI at a minimal cost.

Fuel Your Audience’s Desires


eNewsletters give you the ability to segment your target market as little or as much as you want, which in turn provides a higher response rate because your audience is more receptive to the newsletter’s content.

In fact, in a 2010 eMarketer survey regarding email list segmentation, 39 percent of respondents replied that they experienced increased open rates by segmenting their email list. Furthermore, 24 percent of respondents saw increased revenue and sales leads, 21 percent experienced higher customer retention and 15 percent saw increased customer acquisition. With eNewsletters, you are able to get instantaneous and trackable results.

Find a Chauffeur


If you’re not sure you have the manpower or the resources to handle the upkeep of an eNewsletter, Who’s Calling’s eNewsletter service can take the wheel and do the work for you. The service can deliver a professional, fully managed eNewsletter branded for your dealership. The eNewsletters are packed full of interesting articles and timely promotions to grab your target audience’s attention.

Who’s Calling also helps your dealership segment consumer markets by offering two unique eNewsletter options: one that targets prospects and one that targets customers. When you distribute content relevant to your reader, you invest in prospects and build loyalty with existing customers to increase revenue.

To learn more about how eNewsletters can drive home your marketing messages, visit our site at whoscalling.com/eNewsletter.

ClickPath @ SMX East 2012

Hey, online marketers, are you traveling to the Big Apple to attend SMX East from October 2 to 4? We are! You should stop by our booth. (We’ll be in #410.)

Here’s why:

  • Last year, online advertising passed the $30 billion mark and is estimated to approach $50 billion in 2015.
  • We know that click-through rates and site rankings are just not cutting it anymore when it comes to weighing the value of your online advertising.
  • We’re all about conversions, and we’ll show you how to link your ads to the revenue
    they generate.
  • We also smell good. (You’ll see.)

Schedule a time to meet with us at SMX East if you haven’t already. See you there!

Migrating to Mobile

Regardless of the operating system your phone runs on, the increase of mobile users is great news for marketers. As phones continue to increase in both complexity and utility, the potential for mobile devices as a marketing medium grows. Mobile phones are a platform that rarely leaves the presence of the target audience and thus presents a tantalizing opportunity for marketers.

Mobile Email and Media Trends


Mobile devices have begun to edge out other forms of marketing media, such as newspapers, magazines and even PCs. Last year, email opened from a mobile device increased by 34 percent, while opens on webmail and PCs decreased by 11 percent and 9.5 percent. Research also shows that adults spend more time viewing media on mobile devices than on newspapers and magazines combined.

Mobile Shopping Trends


Smartphones are also becoming widely used shopping aids. 79 percent of smartphone users use their phones to help them shop, and 74 percent make a purchase as a result. Consumers use mobile apps like Amazon Mobile, Google Shopper and Coupon Sherpa to compare prices, find discounts and read reviews while shopping in-store.

Marketers from all industries should start asking themselves how they plan to adapt to mobile trends and avoid missing sales opportunities.

We’re on board with mobile. Check out the all new mobile capabilities of our RESCUE feature here.

The Power of an Image

An image can be many different things. It can be a factual representation of a scene or the preservation of a life-changing moment. It can sweep us away to a place of fantasy or remind us of what is truly important. It can even evoke an emotional response. We can connect with an image in an instant.

With this in mind, the importance of an image’s presence in your blog posts should be evident. There are a few guidelines that you should keep in mind when choosing an image for your blog post.

Relevance


Your image should contain subject matter that is relevant to your post and allows the reader to make a connection between the image and the post. The image could relate an implied connection, stirring an emotion that you want your reader to experience as they read your post. It could also show a direct connection that relates to the topic you are addressing in your post.

Quality


Above all, the image that you choose should represent the professional sensibilities of your brand. It is very important that the image be of a professional quality that is in line with your branding standards. There are several great microstock image companies, such as iStockphoto and Thinkstock, that offer a wide variety of high-quality images at affordable prices.

There are a few things to consider when choosing an image: lighting, composition and creativity.

Lighting
The lighting in the image should be consistent. It’s important not to post an image that is overexposed, or too bright. You should still be able to make out details in the shadows and highlights of the image rather than seeing just black or white. With that said, there should also be a healthy level of contrast in the image so that it doesn’t appear monotone or flat.

Composition
Composition is also very important. When considering an image, keep the rule of thirds in mind. Simply put, if you were to divide the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically, does the main subject of the image land on one of the intersecting lines? Many images in which the subject matter is centered either vertically or horizontally can lack depth and may actually detract from your post.

The image on the right accurately portrays the rule of thirds. The subject is strategically positioned on the far side of the image, and the horizon transitions on the bottom rule of thirds line.

Creativity
Lastly, you should always consider the creativity of the image. You want the image to elicit an immediate reaction. If the image is something expected or relays a stale idea in general, then readers may not find merit in the content of your post and might actually react negatively to the piece.

The tech blog Gizmodo is a great example of how to positively use images in your posts. The blog regularly includes creative images with a comedic relation to their post’s subject matter, and features product shots that are professionally done. The images are typically at the top of the post, so they immediately grab the reader’s attention.

SEO


Images can also play a strong role in your search engine optimization (SEO). Although search engines cannot see images in terms of keywords, they can recognize alt text and the file name of your image. Your images should be properly tagged so search engines can identify the content of your image. Blogging programs have various methods to attach alt text to an image, or the alt text can be added within the HTML code.

The file name of your image should also describe the content of the image rather than containing random numbers or unrelated words. For example, the image at the beginning of this post includes an owl. The file name may simply be owl.jpg or owl_with_snowy_forest.jpg. This provides you with another opportunity to use relevant keywords to drive traffic to your site.

It is also essential to optimize your images for the Web. If an image is larger than necessary, it can impede the load times of your site and detract from the reader’s experience. This can lead to readers not returning to your site and can also negatively affect your SEO.

Image size can be reduced with a number of different image editing programs or within some blogging programs. For Web content, 72 dpi is ideal. The physical size of the image may vary depending on the use of the image, but around 600 px on the long side of the image is a good starting point.

Overall, the consistent use of creative imagery in your posts can help boost the consistency of your readership and impress upon your audience the creativity of your brand.