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Archive for November, 2008

Google Ad Planner Available to Everyone

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In June, Google launched Google Ad Planner to a small group by invitation only. This week, they have made it available to anyone with a Google account - in other words, all of you Adwords users out there! The release included a slew of new features to help with online advertising efforts.

Using Ad Planner, you can enter demographics and sites associated with your target audience, and the tool will return information about sites that your audience is likely to visit. The new release allows you to segment geographically and find sites using keywords, making it much easier to narrow your audience.

Ad Planner has also added advanced filters for sorting and organizing your site results, charts that make it easy to visualize your media buying plan and international demographic information.

Written by Adam Blitzer

November 12th, 2008 at 4:17 pm

Posted in SEM

Get the Most of Your Email Images With Alt Tags

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Jim Hitch of Emma email marketing has recently posted a series on making the most of your alt tags. This five part series addresses the issues faced with images not always loading in emails and how to set yourself up for the best possible results using alternative text (alt tag). Best practices are to set an alt tag for all of your images but Jim exposes various ways to continue to set yourself apart even when images don’t always load. Following examines the highlights from each installment of his series. In addition, see Jim’s full posts for additional insight and great visual examples that he has encountered regarding these items.

Five Great Ways to Use the Alt Tag:

  • Part 1 - Set an alt tag for all of your images within an email.When sending out HTML emails, it is always recommended to have an established backup plan in place. Since about half of the email programs out there don’t display images by default, the fallback is to rely on the alt tag that displays the alternate text that shows when the images don’t load.
  • Part 2 - Brand your message. Beyond the classics of the subject line and the from name and address, identify yourself by placing the brand name in the valuable top-left spot. This continues to communicates who you are and connects with the recipient, even without the help of images or your logo. When your logo does not display, have your text mimic the styling of your brand’s image. If you have special emphasis based upon capitalization or all caps, continue to stay branded even in your alt tag.
  • Part 3 - Add your offer in the alt tag. If you are providing a special offer in our email, ensure that is located withing the alternative text. Even if the images load, the recipient will be able to identify the offer and be more inclined to accept the call to action. In addition, if you can make your alternative text offer a hyperlink to another page with the offer this will continue to increase your chances of conversion.
  • Part 4 - Reinforce the emails theme by changing the color scheme. The common blue atl tag doesn’t have to interrupt the brand experience you’ve worked so hard to create. In fact, with some HTML knowledge, your backup plan can actually reinforce it. Mimic the feel of the image that is to be displayed in its place. If the image has text, mimic the font size, style and color to continue with the developed theme.
  • Part 5 - Ask your readers to load the images. Through your alt tag you can help increase your images loading by requesting the recipient to enable images to view pictures. Jim notes that he realized that sometimes the images aren’t just part of the message, they are the message.

Take your future emails to the next level by enhancing your images with alt tags.

Written by Adam Blitzer

November 11th, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Posted in Email Marketing

Tips on Timing Your Lead Nurturing

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Brian Carroll posted some tips on lead nurturing from MarketingSherpa’s B-to-B Lead Generation Handbook, providing some great guidelines on how to stategically map out nurturing communications.

Nurturing can often be automated using triggered emails or drip marketing programs and is meant to keep in touch with quality leads that are not yet sales-ready. The email program can also be used to supplement any follow-up calls by sales reps will perform.

Let’s take a look at the 5 Nurture Campaign Time Factors from Marketing Sherpa’s Handbook:

  • Immediate welcomes  - Welcoming someone to your list creates good will and also gives you an opportunity to reiterate the benefits of your email marketing program.
  • Lead Qualification Telemarketing - As soon as possible use telemarketing  to qualify each lead. In some cases you may also montior online activity and profile information to determine lead quality.
  • Interest-level Timing - Using cues from a prospects online activity or responses via phone, start to determine what stage they may be at in the buying cycle and respond appropriately. Marketing automation allows you to use lead scoring to gauge online interaction and market more agressively to highly active prospects.
  • Industry Timing - It’s a given that you may need to adjust your campaign timing to reflect your industry’s annual rhythms.
  • Job Function Timing - Data shows that a decision maker is heavily involved at the very start and the very end of the process, but leaves the middle of the process up to the influencers. For your niche, you’ll need to investigate who gets involved at which point in the process so that you can segment your messaging.

Written by Adam Blitzer

November 5th, 2008 at 4:21 pm