Questions? Feedback? powered by Olark live chat software

Is Single Opt-in a Form of Spam?

I had my eyes opened recently to an email marketing point that I was having trouble determining an answer to.

Should you require double opt-in or verification of an email address when someone subscribes to an online newsletter or offer? One side of me fought this idea with the thinking that it just adds another hoop for someone to jump through.

After a conversation with AWeber’s CEO Tom Kulzer, (my list and autoresponder service provider) I’ve become a firm believer in the necessity for double opt-in.

The argument that turned my head was the fact that when you don’t require verification, a person can fill any name and email in and then, when you unknowingly mail that address, guess who the spammer is – you!

Tom tells me that on all their various lists the name [email protected] shows up about 80 times an hour.

I think double opt-in is a much more professional approach for the small business to take as well. After all, it’s what the big guys do. With Aweber setting double opt-in up is like flipping a switch.

    Some other tips:

  • Don’t put the link to your download in your redirect page, it allows them to grab what they are after without verifying or giving your an accurate address.
  • Put verification instructions on your redirect page with the verification subject line to look for and ask them to white list your email address.

Bottom line, with double opt-in your subscriber lists will be much more responsive, you won’t be sending (even though innocently) spam and your subscribers will thank you for making the world a better place to live.

Sales Contacts with Jigsaw

Jigsaw calls itself an online directory of business contacts and company information. It’s more like data meets eBay. Jigsaw users buy, sell and (this is a big one) maintain contact information on millions of executives and purchasing folks throughout America. Sales people and recruiters swear by the service.

The service is a brilliant example of a user created tool that gets better them more it’s used. The data or list industry has been around for years and my experience tells me that Jigsaw may be a major wake-up for an industry perfectly happy with date error rates around 20%.Jigsaw motivates users to submit and clean the data on their system.

Users can simply pay for leads or buy them with points earned by submitting names and cleaning up names. Some users actually earn a little cash by submitting more contact data than they buy.

I interviewed Jigsaw CEO Jim Fowler for my podcast site.

Detractors say that this type of service is an invasion of privacy. Jigsaw counters that no personal information, such as cell phones, is accepted and what they are doing has been done by the Dunn and Bradstreets and Hoovers of the world for years. They just do it better!

Guide to CSS support in email systems

If you are sending HTML emails in your marketing campaigns (and there’s lots to support that you should) you have probably come across some serious design issues when it comes to using CSS styling. I ran across a very comprehensive article over at Campaign Monitor that outlines what CSS elements, selectors and properties are and are not supported by the various email client environments such as Outlook and Yahoo.

Does Spot Runner help TV ads for small business make sense?

Spot Runner, a start-up TV ad agency created by the founders of Firefly and PeoplePC, is a service that allows small local advertisers to customize one of a growing library of TV commercials to use in their local market. The user pays only $500 to use the professionally produced template and then can build a media schedule and run the ad using Spotrunner’s ad placement interface that boasts local targeted spots for less then $10 in non-prime time.

I’ve always had trouble recommending TV for small business marketers because the cost is pretty hard to justify for most.

A professionally produced television ad costs at least $5000. Now, Spot Runner’s ads are indeed generic templates, but the quality is pretty good. This service could be a very good way to add another medium to the mix to help with awareness. The low cost is what may make this form of television advertising make sense when it is added to the overall mix that includes direct mail, referrals and public relations.

I caught up with Spot Runner co-founder, David Waxman, and recorded an interview for the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. Go have a listen and find out more about this innovative offering.

Bob Bly is Anti-Business Card

In a recent issue of the Early to Rise newsletter, Bob Bly, marketing expert and author of 60 books on business, advises that business owners should forget everything they have been told about using a business card and adopt what he calls and anti-business card strategy. As is generally the case, I agree with Bob to a degree

From the Newsletter
1. Don’t worry about what you put on your business card. It doesn’t matter.
2. Don’t carry business cards or hand them out to people.

Instead, do the following …

  • When a prospect asks you, “Do you have a business card?” say, “I don’t have any on me. But give me yours, and I will put one of mine in the mail to you.”
  • Then, in conversation, qualify the prospect and find out his needs. When you get back to your office, send him the appropriate catalog, brochure, or other relevant literature on your products or services. Enclose one of your business cards with these marketing materials – fulfilling the promise you made to send it.

Much of what Bob says in this article is dead on. People spend a lot of time fretting over something that probably doesn’t get them much.

But, here’s one place where I differ with Bob on this issue.

What if you printed an offer on your business card and gave it away like a powerful direct mail piece – now, somehow, I think even Bob would have trouble arguing with that use. Create a free newsletter, report or audio download and promote that on your business card and you will have one great way to use a business card.

You should really make a point of stopping by Bob Bly’s blog too!

Tom Kulzer on Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

I had an opportunity to discuss email marketing, autoresponders, spam and RSS via email with Tom Kulzer, CEO of AWeber Communications.

Listen in on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast

Google In the Print Ad Biz

This should scare the heck out of some traditional print advertsing sales folks.

Google is auctioning print ad space in a group of major print magazines. Current titles fall into three categories: Automotive (Car and Driver), Lifestyle (Entrepreneur) and Technology (PC World).

This should get interesting. I bid on several ads. I’ll let you know if I win.

From the Google test page:

” As you may know, as part of Google’s ongoing effort to develop new opportunities for our advertisers, we’ve been running tests of ads in a limited number of print publications. Now, we’re excited to test an auction of ad space in select magazines.

In this test, the control is in your hands: you choose the ad size, set your price, and decide how you’d like to use the space. There’s no risk to you – you pay only if you win the auction. “

So How Do You Find the Perfect Mailing List?

Yesterday I posted the idea of selecting a small number of suspects and concentrating a great deal of effort upon them. Wisely, one of my readers asked how someone might go about finding this perfect list of “hot suspects.”

No Need to Click Here – I’m just claiming my feed at Feedster feedster:162178481a2354e773de27a90c61d4d5

The perfect mailing list, as I call it, is generally made up by merging two lists. The first list is demographic in nature, the second is a list that holds the key to some purchasing behavior. But, the act of creating this perfect list is merely a nice guessing game if you can’t identify and create a crystal clear picture of who or what is an ideal client for your business.

So, your ideal client profile is the what, your perfect list building strategy is the how.

For example: My ideal client is a successful business owner with 10-50 employees who has discovered how to acquire business but wants to take the business to the next level (in fact, these are the exact words many of my clients have uttered). This client values professional service providers and consultants and has come to realize that they cannot continue to push marketing ahead without external help. They are book readers and students of business. They often have purchased one or more training programs and employ the services of accountants, attorneys, financial planners and executive coaches. They typically belong to professional trade or industry groups and take leadership positions in those organizations.

Now, I know that was a mouthful, but can you picture this person? Do you personally know someone that fits that description?

With that description in hand I can go out to a company like InfoUSA or GoLeads and order up a mailing list that fits this description for any geographic select I wish.

But, to really make this list a “hot suspect” list, I add another list with my purchasing variables. Above I mentioned that my ideal clients are readers, students of business and have purchased training courses. Birds of feather, flock together and buyers of similar products and services are birds of a feather. Crack the “buying behavior” code and you will have a list that is pure gold. In other words, it’s hard to convince someone who has no history of buying something similar to what you offer that they should buy your product or service. However, if you can locate suspects that have a track record of purchasing goods and services like yours, your marketing job will be much easier.

So, in my case, I head on over to the SRDS (a list of over 10,000 catalog and in-house mailing lists) and find a very large list of fairly expensive business training program buyers and merge it with my list of ideal business owners to produce the Perfect Mailing List.

This approach increases the cost of your mailing list but reduces the overall size of your mailing list and allows you to focus only on those that have proven they value this type of service