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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

How Many Prospect Do You Really Need?

The customer ocean can be a pretty big place to go fishing. So, why not fish in the pond out back instead?

Here’s what I mean.

Most small businesses make the mistake of trying to attract that attention of members of the entire universe of potential customers. Not only is this a tough way to market, it’s terribly inefficient as well. If you only need a handful of clients, why not concentrate on marketing to a handful of prospects.

My suggestion is that you determine how many new customers you need next year to grow your business as you’ve planned (I know, you don’t have a plan, but how many do you need to keep paying the bills and make some money?)

From that number, take a stab at how many really qualified prospects you would need to get your message in front of to acquire the customers you need. For example, if you need or want 10 new customers a month, you may only need to generate 50 really qualified appointments to get that.

So, here’s the point. What if, instead of trying to get your 50 appointments from the sea of prospects, you identified 500 very qualified suspects (BTW: A suspect is someone that you suspect may need what you do – they only become a prospect when they raise their hand and ask for more information about what you do.) and made an all out push to educate them on why you are the obvious choice for them?

When you work with a smaller, more reasonable number of suspects you can afford to spend the necessary time and resources to get their attention and communicate how you are different. With a defined group of suspects you can create a budget that allows you to contact every member of this list once a month, including calling every single one of them to follow-up on a mailing. Your marketing efforts to this chosen group will be far more effective and far more focused.

One of key elements to the success of this approach, of course, is that you work with a list of suspects that actually meet your ideal target client profile. If you don’t know that piece of the puzzle you may end up fishing on the wrong side of the pond.

My experience is that when you can get your arms around this very qualified suspect list they become more real, more manageable. When you can start to put names and addresses to your potential clients you can actually begin to see them as clients. You can identify others who could refer you to members of this list. You can afford to start building marketing profiles on each to better personalize your marketing efforts.

Cast your line out into this pond and you may find that even the big fish are biting.

Duct Tape Marketing t-shirt design contest – win a nano!

I know this isn’t the most original idea on the planet, but I just felt it was time to create some Duct Tape Marketing t-shirts. I know that I have lots of very talented designer types that read this blog and my newsletter, so I thought, let’s hold a contest.

The whole Duct Tape thing offers lots of opportunity for creative designs. I’m looking for clever sayings (Got Duct Tape?) or witty designs that capture the entrepreneurial spirit (Carpe Duct Tape!) of the Duct Tape Marketing brand and the typical small business owner.

I am using my recently announced group of Duct Tape Marketing Authorized Coaches to pick three winners. On top of the fame that each will receive the grand prize winner will also receive a 4GB iPod nano. Two runners up will receive a copy of the wonderful book The Zen of CSS Design : Visual Enlightenment for the Web by Dave Shea, Molly E. Holzschlag.

Visit the t-shirt contest page to get the details and ground rules. Pass the word to any designer types you know by clicking on the email this post to a friend link at the bottom of the post.