Branding

Another Penn State Scandal? Email Marketing Problems Now

In the next year and a half, I’ll have TWO kids in college – yikes! And since my kids both took the SAT test, our family email inbox has been overflowing with emails from colleges that the kids may or may not be interested in attending. While I’m not thrilled, I do understand that since they didn’t opt-out when they took the test, the colleges’ emails are CAN SPAM compliant. However, there might another Penn State scandal – this time in their email marketing opt-out practices.

In April, our home email address received an email from Penn State inviting us to spend a summer day at Penn State.

Penn State Email

Penn State Email

Thanks, but neither of my kids is interested, so I’ll just Unsubscribe. I click on the link and I’m taken to a page with the following info:

Unsubscribe Email Address

Please enter the email address you would like to unsubscribe from our events and communications lists.

Email Address:

You will receive an email at this address which contains a link to confirm your unsubscribe request. Thank you.

SUBMIT

WHAT??? You’re sending me another email? I know DJ Waldow says it’s ok to break the rules and send a post-unsubscribe email, but I’m not sure an email with a link to confirm my unsubscribe request is exactly what he had in mind… I’m feeling agreeable so instead of clicking the “This Is Spam” button on the original email, I insert my email address and click Submit.

I received the email confirming my unsubscribe selection:

We have received a request to have this email address removed from our events and communications mailing lists. If you wish to complete the unsubscribe process, please click the confirmation link below.

http://admissions.psu.edu/resources/unsubscribe/?confirm=XXXXXXX

Your web browser will display a confirmation notice when your email address has been removed.

Confirmation Number: XXXXXXX

Phew, I click on the link and I’m done, right?

By having to visit two separate pages, the Penn State email unsubscribe process could be considered in violation of the portion of the CAN SPAM compliance guide requirement #6 Honor opt-out requests promptly which states “You can’t…make the recipient take any step other than sending a reply email or visiting a single page on an Internet website as a condition for honoring an opt-out request.” But it’s ok, because I’m done so I won’t create another Penn State scandal by ratting them out on my blog.

Unfortunately, we’re not done yet. I then received ANOTHER email from Penn State Admissions stating:

This email address has been removed from the events and communications mailing lists of the Penn State Undergraduate Admissions Office.

Please allow 24-48 hours for the change to take effect. If at any time you wish to begin receiving email messages from our office again, please send an email to admissions@psu.edu indicating your preferences. Thank you.

Sincerely,

The Undergraduate Admissions Office at Penn State

http://admissions.psu.edu

Two emails after the original marketing message when my kids didn’t overtly subscribe to begin with, and I had to click on two links and go to two separate web pages in order to unsubscribe, but wait there’s more…did I mention I got another email from them and started the process all over again in May??? Let’s hope that’s the end of email marketing messages from Penn State coming to my email address.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? Were you mad? Did you delete the email or choose the “This Is Spam” option or contact the sender directly? Please let me know what you did and if you got any positive results in the comment section below.

3 Things The Ravens Taught Me About Marketing

Ravens - good Marketing teachers?

Ravens - Tough To Beat The Home Team

Wide left. That’s how the Raven’s 2011-2012 season ended when Billy Cundiff‘s 32-yard, game-tying field goal sailed outside the uprights with 11 seconds left in the AFC Championship game. Their dream won’t be coming true this season. Although the game left a hole in my heart, it also taught me a thing or two (ok, three) about Marketing.

It’s hard to beat the home team. The Ravens went undefeated at home in the 2011-2012 season, showing that having fans (or in the marketing world, brand advocates) behind you makes a big difference.

Win or lose, play as a team. Make sure your marketing tactics complement each other. You need to balance every marketing “player” or the whole marketing team will fail. Even though both Joe Flacco and Tom Brady went 22/36, Flacco had 67 more yards (28%) but the Ravens still lost the game.

Every play has the potential to be the game winner. If Lee Evans could have held on to the ball just a few more seconds in the end zone, or if the play had been reviewed, there could be a different team headed down the road to Indy. Take the time to review your marketing results and make sure a dropped pass wasn’t in fact the next Championship winner.

This was to be the Raven’s “Relentless” season, but perhaps being unyielding in severity, steady and persistent isn’t the best way for a team to win the Superbowl…or for a Marketer to win additional customers. Maybe you need a little flash. What do you think? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

The Ravens, Ravens logo and all mentions of Baltimore Ravens are Copyright © 2012 Baltimore Ravens.

Book Marketing Recap – Part 2 Marketing Methods

A few weeks ago, I was the moderator for a great #smchat conversation on book marketing and publishing. There were so many insights that not only was I able to compile one post-chat blog post, I created TWO! The first half of the chat was on book publishing and the post below contains some of the book marketing insights I learned from the lively #smchat discussion:

Q4 You’ve written a book-now what? Do you need special book marketing skills? What role does social media play?

@JimKukral: Book marketing starts at book conception. BEFORE it’s written.
@WhereitBlooms: But SM does help in determining your audience. Is there a need for the book? Who will have interest?
@ambercleveland: A4. Tons of book marketing resources available, do your homework. Social media plays a huge role, gives audience access to authors

Q4b: How soon should you begin promoting your book before it is finished & is it possible to promote “too early”? @akstout18 asks, “Is there a risk in letting ppl know about your book idea before it’s finished?”

@thehealthmaven: Use SoMe to find out where your target market is & what they are taking about, build & leverage tribes before book comes out
@AndreaPatten: Non-fiction gets submitted as a proposal. fiction needs 2b complete
@novelpublicity: For fiction, you definitely want a completed and polish manuscript before submitting. Nonfic has different rules
@CreativeSage: For non-fiction, submit an outline + 3 chapters and your marketing position (after your research) to agent/publisher (cont.) For novels/memoirs, the writing is more key, often need to finish book & get editor before submitting manu.
@JimKukral: Nobody is going to steal your idea. Block and tackle. Ideas are worthless, implementation is everything
@novelpublicity: New authors often worry about ideas being stolen. Once you see how hard it is to sell an idea, you’ll get over that 😛

Q5 Videos, TV spots, print and online display ads – what’s the most inventive way you’ve seen a book marketed?

@ambercleveland: A5. Use a QR code on your business card that takes them to your site where they can purchase your book
@CreativeSage: Inventive video “trailers” & author interviews; integrated approach w/ social media, PR, targeted mktg, crowdsourcing
@novelpublicity:Do you see the little button on my Twitter avatar? That’s called a PicBadge, and it’s another creative marketing tactic (cont.) PicBadges are all about solidifying your brand – keep a primary author page, integrate book in picbadge (cont.) I actually blogged about that today with a step-by-step guide on how to create a PicBadge for your book > http://t.co/DIP2u4CN
@tcgagency: Q5 Sending advanced copies to a small group of people and asking them to leave an Amazon review, good or bad.
@sharonmostyn: A5 I love book trailers! Author @ToniMcGeeCausey talks about them here http://t.co/WuNE0TIn

(cont.) Also interesting when authors interviewed-ex. @barbaravey interview of Tori Carrington http://t.co/N5cWerOl (cont.) Also love videos by fans/friends about #books, like this by @shelleyryan http://t.co/n91EgOL0 for @thecontentrules
@novelpublicity: Create a truly engaging book trailer, then purchase PPC advertising on YouTube. I’m doing that with > http://t.co/VyS53lLU
@ProminencePR: The hangout feature on google + is really great. You can invite key people that you want to network with.
@LarsDHHedbor: What’s the best way to reach out to book clubs? GoodReads presence? Amazon Author pages? Other?
GoodReads.com got a mention by several of our participants, one going so far as to say it is “is the single most important site for writers, even more so than Twitter and Facebook.”

If you are really interested in the book marketing topic, @ambercleveland recommends #BookMarketChat with @ClaudiaC Thursdays at 4PM ET. And we’ll end with this reminder from @JimKukral: Nothing can happen until you write something. Get to work.

Book Marketing Recap – Part 1 Publishing

A few weeks ago, I was the moderator for a great #smchat conversation on book marketing and publishing. There were so many insights that not only was I able to compile one post-chat blog post, I created TWO! The first half of the chat was on book publishing – different ways to have your book published: traditional or crowd-funded, indie publisher, self-publish, e-books and their formats, etc.

Here are some of the book publishing answers I learned from the #smchat participants:

Q1 What is the difference between “traditional” and “crowd-funded” book publishing? Advantages to each?

@JimKukral: Crowd-funding, or crowdsourcing is how I’m pre-funding my next new book series. Raised over $20k so far.

Q2 Everyone’s an author these days, is it getting easier to get a book deal or is self-published the way to go?

@DigitalKaitlyn: A2 I think it’s almost harder to get a book deal because there are so many writers now, self-publishing is a great way to start
@tcgagency: A2 At the same time, I read about one author who left his publishing house to pursue a bigger audience/profits with self-publishing.
@ambercleveland: A2. If you self publish, important to use multiple available platforms – Smashwords, Kobo, PubIt, Amazon, eBooks…etc
@JimKukral: Best advice. No agent or publisher needed. Write a book, get it out there. Learn how to market it. Over and over.

Sounds like the consensus to Q2 is self-publishing – so Q2b why would anyone go through a big name publisher?

@ambercleveland: A2.b. Advantages to big publisher is better access to libraries and bookstores
@adinfini: I think the big guys do have a better understanding of the marketing side of selling the books than most authors

Q2c: If self-publishing, are there any aspects that really would be better if you enlisted the services of a professional?

@ambercleveland: A2. c. Get professional assistance with editing and designing the cover (unless you have great graphic skills)
@CreativeSage: You may need to hire yr own publicist because trad. publishers won’t do enough—AND you promote yr book too

Q2d from @WhereitBlooms: If you self-publish do you hire an editor for proofing and input?

@tcgagency: Editors give you a fresh set of eyes on structure, flow, where needs beefing up, etc. That always makes for better writing.

Q3 Do formats matter? Is it better (or more-effective) to publish an e-book before you try a printed version?

@adinfini: Q3 in some ways ebook is harder to market
@CreativeSage: It would make sense to try e-book format 1st, but a good editor & book designer are most important, look professional

There were several sub-questions on the ebook publishing topic – the first from @akstout18 – Is CreateSpace the best platform for self publishing?

@sharonmostyn: Instead of CreateSpace, @JimKukral suggests BookBrewer & @ambercleveland likes LightningSource

@thehealthmaven asked, “Curious: How many books do u order/month? I love books – my ipad, book shelves are filled, but rarely walk into a book store anymore”

@lesleyridge: …my rule of thumb: reading for fun – iPad; book I will want to markup/underline for future reference, in-store buy
@sharonmostyn: ebooks are convenient but prefer “physical” book-like bookstores who can help recommend books I’ll like.

 

Want to know what else we talked about? Please visit the second part of the Book Marketing Recap – Social Media and Other Marketing Methods. One of the most provocative Tweets was from @jettzworld, “Everyone may be an author but ever few are writers. #justsaying,” to which Alex from @tcgagency replied, “I’d say it’s the other way around. We all write emails, Tweets, etc. But how many complete a creative work like authors?” So maybe there’s hope for me yet!

Can I Pick Your Brain? Sure, Why Not?

Don't Say No
My Grandparents’ 50th Anniversary

20 years ago this week, my grandfather passed away. I still miss his easy, laid-back manner and willingness to help anyone. My grandfather would patiently explain things for hours. He never got frustrated when I didn’t understand something, and I wasn’t the only one he took the time to help. Sometimes he even helped people who didn’t necessarily want help…there was one time on a trip to (French-speaking) Canada when he helped someone push a car during a snowstorm and because of the language barrier we’re still not exactly sure how that person actually wanted my grandfather to help! I only remember him telling me “No” one time, when at 13 I wanted to buy a black string bikini – it was the kindest, firm refusal I have ever received.

I’ve seen several posts on why you should say no when someone asks to “pick your brain” and, as I learned from my grandfather, I have a hard time saying no. I may not be able to spend a huge amount of time, or answer every question, and it may not be on the timeframe you desire, but I am generally happy to share the knowledge that I have.

Here are some of the posts I have seen on why NOT to let someone pick your brain:

Many of the people I read saying “no” are consultants, and while I truly understand their need to make money, I’m confused as to why they think having a conversation about what they do for a living is a bad idea. I personally like Barry Moltz’s response – pay it forward by letting them pick your brain, but do it on your schedule and set your own limits.

I’m using this as the topic for my 1-year anniversary of moderating #SMchat on Wednesday, 3/16/11, at 1PM ET. Here are the questions I am asking:

  1. Have you ever had someone “pick your brain” (yes/no)? If so, how often? If not, why not?
  2. Does your answer depend on how well you know the person who asked or the type of company they represent?
  3. Would you be more likely to participate if you were in the beginning of your career or once more established?
  4. Could a “brain picking” session could turn into an advantage, either personally or professionally?
  5. Is blogging/participating in online chats/answering online Qs/etc. the same thing as having your brain picked?

I’m hoping my online friends will be able to shed some light on both sides of the topic. Let’s talk about it then. Please feel free to comment below if you can’t make the chat or if you would like to bring up something I have missed.

2010 Blog Post Recap and Looking Forward to 2011

Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!
Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!

In January, 2010, I posted about how I was lucky at Affiliate Summit West 2010, and I’m ending the year with some lucky affiliate news from buy.at – I won their final Christmas quiz! I was able to determine the literal meaning of the word mistletoe is “Dung on a twig.” Can I just state for the record: YUCK!!! I now have an entirely new mental picture whenever someone talks about kissing under the mistletoe…

It seems affiliates were lucky for me in 2010, and maybe not so surprisingly my most popular blog post mentions no less than EIGHT affiliate marketers mentioned in it! Listed below are my top ten 2010 blog posts, ranked via pageviews according to my Google Analytics account. Count them down with me as we count down the last few hours of 2010:

10. Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

9. 5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

8. Talking SEO for our 1st Blog Birthday-Anniversary-Blogiversaryday

7. Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

6. How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

5. Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

4. Twitter Chats – Fantastic for Insights and Visibility

3. Putting The Social Back In Social Media

2. Top 12 Twitter Chats by Day – What are your Favorites?

1. 2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Happy New Year – 2011! My wish is that the new year is happy, healthy, and prosperous for us all!

If you look at the topics of the blog posts above, there is a wide mix of marketing topics including social media, Twitter chats, brand building, SEO, and even some web analytics and email testing. What would you like to see more of in 2011? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

Social Media for Brand Building?
Social Media for Brand Building?

At the suggestion of Chris Jones, aka @SourcePOV, I’ve been reading a lot recently on how brands are using social media. Here are some links I’ve come up with – examples from around the globe on how companies like Starbucks, Microsoft, Coca Cola, Dell, Kenya Airways, Cadbury, Vodafone, Volkswagen, and K-SWISS are using social media to increase brand recognition and positive brand interactions:
Building Brands Through Twitter
Starbucks’ Schultz: Social Media Is Key to Building Brand Trust
Building Brands via Social Media
Building European Brands Through Social Media
Digital Media Law: Building Brands In a Digital World

For the October 13, 2010 #SMchat, we will be discussing the following 5 questions:

  1. Is social media the best way to build a brand online? Why or why not?
  2. Do B2B and B2C brands need different social media brand-building strategies?
  3. Which social media channel is the best for brand building and why?
  4. Is there a best channel for brand engagement? Does it depend on the product?
  5. What about brand loyalty? Is one channel better than another?

Did I miss any good branding and social media articles? Please feel free to post links in the comments below and don’t forget to join us for #SMchat on Wednesday, 10/13/10, at 1PM ET! We look forward to chatting with you.