Monthly Archives: February 2013

Why Shout When You Can Converse? Mobile Ads vs Good Design



I recently read a headline that mentioned mobile ad-spend topping $7 Billion by 2014. It got me thinking: why are we turning to new technology to further old practices? How does shouting get anything done? Here’s what I mean… paying for attention through all-out advertising works for some businesses and some in some situations. But the next generation is so inundated with out-and-out advertising that they can smell a sell from a mile away.

Instead of throwing money at mobile advertising with no plan, businesses need to think of how their customers, leads and audiences are using mobile technology. Instead of using a QR code to send a potential home buyer to your real estate site home page when they scan it from your yard sign, maybe that QR code takes them on a 60 second tour of that house. What if instead of buying an ad on Angry Birds free that sends a user to a banking website, that bank used the money to create a blog that helps clients save money through budgeting?

As an iPhone user who plays the occasional game, I get very tired of the full screen ads that come up on my phone with no immediate way to close out of them. This sneaky way of getting me to click on your ad out of frustration or by mistake is no way to drive click metrics.

When I looked into mobile marketing for my employer AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, the only answer I got was, “Here’s how you can get found: Buy mobile ads on these random games and apps.” Instead, I’d much rather buy ad space on product-specific apps and (mobile-optimized) websites that help us further our reach. As a mortgage banker, this is not Draw Something or Cut the Rope. I would consider an ad-spend on a realty-focused website or app. This capability is becoming a reality, but it’s not the norm. Instead it’s the old “spray and pray” method of shouting at everyone and hoping something sticks. We need to change this. Technology demands that we think in new ways.

What do you offer to your audience members, prospects and clients that helps them on the go? With phones in hands and pockets at all times (We even keep our phones by our heads while sleeping, don’t we?), mobile is definitely a vital part of doing business. But simply buying advertising space in a mobile world is no way to grow your business in a long-term, sustainable manner. Do you solve a problem, like “how to change a tire” that people may search for on their phones? As a mechanic, this could be a golden opportunity.

As with anything, if what you’re doing is working for you, then by all means keep doing it. If spending money on advertising is simply part of your current, successful business plan then who am I to tell you to change. Just keep this in mind: buyer behavior is changing. With DVR’s in our homes (no more TV ads), phones in our hands (no billboards get our attention) and pop-up blockers (Internet ads are annoying) we have made it clear: we don’t like advertising. So as marketers we must adapt and find new ways to get our message out. Social media, search engines and online video add up to content marketing that helps us spread the message and solve consumer problems.

So instead of shouting at me through my phone, have a conversation with me through these new channels in new ways. Don’t use my phone to holler at me – solve my problem with a unique solution.

Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

Do We Have to Track and Measure Everything in Inbound Marketing?

Do We Have to Track and Measure Everything in Inbound Marketing?

Measure, measure, measure!

This post is less about instruction and more about conversation. One of the keys to the new world of marketing – inbound marketing, content marketing, digital marketing – is the fact that we can track almost anything. Marketers can see how you found their website. From organic search to referral traffic to social media, we’re able to see so much more about our potential customers than ever before. With that level of tracking. we’ve come to focus on the metrics of click-throughs and conversions, obsessing over the mantra “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.” Or some other like motto with better grammar. But you get the gist.

So if we can track what email subject lines bring in the most paying clients, we can track how much a Facebook like is worth and we can see which web pages on our sites generate the most revenue, does this mean that something that isn’t trackable is worthless? What if something we’re tracking doesn’t generate an immediate dollar to our bottom line? Does this mean that we shouldn’t spend time doing those things which we cannot track?

I’m guilty of this. I tried a Pinterest marketing experiment for my employer. We were cranking out views and leads from our posts shared on Pinterest, so we began to invest time and effort into creating Pinterest-ready posts. This means we were looking for pretty, pin-able pictures to center blog articles on, in hopes that they’d gain a bunch of re-pins. And it worked, for awhile. But let’s be honest here: after awhile all those views began to offer no more leads. It wasn’t affecting our bottom line. At this point we had several hundred followers, and we stopped focusing on creating content solely for Pinterest (you can see the AmeriFirst Pinterest boards here). However, we didn’t completely abandon the site. We still pin and share cool content there, and we’ve grown our audience about 500%. It still doesn’t generate direct dollars, but it does give us a wider audience.

So this is where I wonder what the value of a larger audience is. It’s not always a trackable metric like email click throughs and closed leads from LinkedIn. However, these audiences – or as Seth Godin calls them – Tribes – become a powerful tool in our book of business. We may not be able to always track the exact value of a Facebook like, but what happens when we have 500 Facebook fans, 700 personal Facebook friends and a large peripheral network? This tribe often discusses life offline, and we may begin to see our business grow by word of mouth referrals.

These un-trackable metrics are not something I’d build a business on, but they’re still a valuable part of doing business. Trade shows, client lunches, a Pinterest audience, vacation time for employees – these are all part of the “cost of doing business” that may not directly tie to a profit margin. But I’d like to know how business owners and marketers feel about these things we cannot measure, and how we should attack them. Dividing your time and efforts between blogging & calls to action and meeting with another local marketer to discuss amazing ideas can be difficult. But it’s all necessary when it comes to business and inbound marketing.

Your turn: Tell me what you think about tracking everything in business and making decisions based only on the measurable metrics? How much value is there in a Facebook presence if no traffic from there converts directly into leads?

Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

(tape measure photo credit)

It’s a Thin Line Between Spam and Bacn

bacn is not spam

Bacon vs bacn

I wrote this for the employee newsletter at work. The intended audience was the sales team, or loan officers. But really, this goes for anyone with an email list. In fact, I recently ran across an annoyance with this personally. I signed up with Guitar Center to get a coupon for a purchase. It took 5 minutes. But when I decided to opt-out (I have no more need to get their emails) the landing page informed it would take up to 10 days to unsubscribe. How does that work? I’m still getting emails (it’s been less than 10 days but it’s still annoying and spammy) even though I unsubscribed.


Of course I did what any reasonable adult would do…I complained on Twitter. I even tagged their official Twitter page @guitarcenter. @CourtneySGC responded, but missed the point.

Guitar Center response

I’m glad they’re monitoring social media but the point is that 10 days of spam after I unsubscribe will annoy me and probably make me report you as spam. Let me unsubscribe for real, and as quickly as you let me subscribe.

So let’s get to the difference between spam and bacn.

For all of us who email clients and leads, we must be aware of the nuances between offering information and advice, and crossing the line into annoying. We’ve all heard the term spam. We even get it in our own email inboxes. But have you heard the term “bacn?” It’s pronounced like the delicious breakfast treat bacon. But it refers to a specific category of email. The term bacn was coined in 2007 to convey the idea of email that’s better than spam but just shy of personal correspondence.

Bacn is the email category that many of us fall into professionally. If you’re an LO who emails her clients on a weekly basis, you’re sending bacn. If you’re an LO who has an email client that automatically emails his clients with housing market updates and home buying tips, then you’re a bacn pusher. Other examples include restaurants that send out weekly menu updates or coupons, and periodic updates from online stores where you’re shopped.

Bacn crosses the line into spam when the recipient unsubscribes from your list and still gets email from you. Not only is it annoying, but it’s illegal. The CAN-SPAM act has very specific guidelines much like the do-not-call list. Make sure the person getting your email has opted-in and wants to hear from you. Once they decide to unsubscribe, make sure they’re gone from your list.

Now, don’t be afraid to email the people in your database often. Research shows that people don’t unsubscribe until they’re getting email in the ridiculous range. I’m talking once a day if all they want is a newsletter, or every hour when they’re expecting a daily email. Make sure you set the expectations and follow them. If you say you’ll email weekly, don’t switch to daily. But if you say you’ll email daily, then feel free to email daily, even adding the occasional “newsletter wrap-up” at the end of the month.

What do you say? Is there a difference between spam and bacn? If you sign up to hear from a business, can they become spammy? Leave me a comment below.


Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

(creative commons photo credit for bacon)

Welcome to The Inbound Evangelist

welcome to the Inbound Evangelist

Oh look, a billboard! Let me get my…too late.

Do you remember the last billboard you drove by? Did you write down that phone number for the lawyer and make a call? What about the last radio commercial you heard that drove you to take action? Or do you – like me – love your DVR so much you’re considering making it a part of your family?

Marketing as we know it is in the middle of a fundamental revolution. In fact it’s driving a major shift in business. A new world is emerging: Inbound Marketing. I wrote about this in an article: What is the Future of Marketing?

This blog is my attempt to change a few minds, shake up the world a bit and put an end to money-wasting marketing efforts of the past. Stop the spray and pray shouting method of throwing money at the problem, and let’s explore this Inbound Marketing revolution.

Download the book to find out how to go from the T-V newsroom into inbound marketing

(creative commons photo credit)