How to Keep Your Email Campaigns Running Smoothly

Too many times, business owners don’t have an email marketing strategy in place and keep sending out emails over and over again to any list that they can get their hands on.  Most use Constant Contact to deliver their email communications and manage their contact lists. Guess what?  Constant Contact is cracking down on companies that are sending out continuous emails with no plan in place.  If you are one of those people, be prepared for Constant Contact to shut down your account.  Yes…they are shutting down accounts for a few valid reasons.  It’s important to understand the rules of email marketing and follow it!  Don’t let it happen to your company.

Here are some reasons that your email account can get shut down:

  1. Too many bounces It’s important to collect your bounced email addresses after every campaign and clean up your internal list.  If your bounce rate is continually high, you will be shut down.
  2. Spam Reports – Spam is unsolicited email also known as UCE (Unsolicited Commercial Email). By sending email to only to those who have requested to receive it, you are following accepted permission-based email guidelines.  If you receive a high rate of people complaining about being spammed by your company, then you are in jeopardy of being shut down for good.  Constant Contact has a no tolerance spam policy.
  3. Not removing Opt-Outs – Every email generated from Constant Contact contains an unsubscribe link which allows your contacts to opt-out of future emails and automatically updates your contact lists to avoid the chance of sending unwanted emails to visitors who have unsubscribed.  It’s important to use one service for all your email campaigns to ensure that your opt-outs don’t receive any further communication via email from you. If you switch to another service, make sure you bring your opt-out (unsubscribe list) with you.
  4. Invalid Company Contact Information - All of your emails are pre-filled with your contact information including your physical address.  If you try to tamper with this or put in a phony address, be prepared to be shut down. Your contact information has to be clearly stated in any email communication.

 

What happens if your email account has been shut down?

The first step to rectify the situation is to contact a representative at Constant Contact and find out the reason why? Once they give you a reason, you can discuss ways to rectify the situation with your sales agent. Since you are paying anywhere from $28-$75 per month depending on your account preferences, Constant Contact wants to help you get up and running again. Just be very careful to follow their rules so you avoid being shut down for good.

I have spoken to clients that think they will just get another email vendor, but most vendors are following the Spam laws and regulations and will shut you down at some point.  Also, another big misconception is that you can just use Microsoft Outlook to send out mass emails.  Again, you need to make sure you have an unsubscribe link in your email and your contact information is clearly displayed.  I would not recommend using Outlook for mass email communications since it’s not made for this purpose. You are better off using an email service that specializes in email marketing.  At the end of the day, you do not want to annoy your customers/prospects with too many emails.  You need to develop an email marketing strategy that works for you company and ensure that your email communication is going out to people that want to hear from  you! 

How to protect yourself from Spam: Take the Spam Test (compliments of Constant Contact)

  1. Are you importing a purchased list of ANY kind?
  2. Are you sending to non-specific addresses such as:
    • sales@domain.com, business@domain.com, webmaster@domain.com, info@domain.com, or other general addresses.
  3. Are you sending to distribution lists or mailing lists which send indirectly to a variety of email addresses?
  4. Are you mailing to anyone who has not explicitly agreed to join your mailing list?
  5. Have you falsified your originating address or transmission path information?
  6. Have you used a third party email address or domain name without their permission?
  7. Does your email’s subject line contain false or misleading information?
  8. Does your email fail to provide a working link to unsubscribe?
  9. Are you failing to process any unsubscribe requests that come to you via a reply to your email within 10 days or the request? If you have answered YES to ANY of the above questions you will likely be labeled a SPAMMER.

Sources:

http://www.constantcontact.com/uidocs/CCSpamPolicy.jsp

Email Marketing Rules

Email Marketing Laws

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

A Day at Google New York & Seth Godin [OPINION]

Google started a pretty amazing program called “Google Engage for Agencies”, while it’s a great outreach program to help generate brand advocates that act as a sales team for low to no cost, it’s much more then that!

Google has generated a program that has done a few things, but I want to center on two, Content and Education!

1) Google Engage is a program that is producing content for Google.  Agencies are now telling stories for Google about Google and tying it directly into local communities! The Engage program has agencies and consultants that now have stories that tie back to their community, ones that give all the recognition to Google and the AdWords platform.

2) Google is flooding the market with the correct information and empowering agencies and consultants through education to provide the correct and effective services. In a time period where consumers distrust agencies and digital marketers (and they should) Google has decided to empower those that want to learn, want to provide value making it much harder for those that are not genuine to survive.

The Engage program has provided others, like myself with direct education and training. The information that I now have as a professional has been advanced by the support of Google, both in a distance education program and done in conjunction with Dale Carnegie trainers at Google.

I made a comment earlier that consumers distrust digital marketers and agencies and that “they should”. I stand by that statement, in fact,  I started blogging because of that very fact just a few years ago. Walk into a small business owner these days and don’t be surprised when you get a question like “what makes you different then the other 100 sales people before you” and it’s a great question, in fact if business owners and organizations had asked it sooner we wouldn’t have the distrust that the marketing industry has earned.

Google made a commitment to provide a service that they believed helps connect people on the web to solutions providers and services. That incredible tool has been defiled by digital marketing consultants and agencies. As Seth Godin has explained, marketing had it good until the illusion vanished. Out of fear and greed the economy was destroyed overnight by those that worked to game the system, be in PPC, SEO or just selling products, services and solutions that they didn’t care if it worked as long as they got paid.

Google had another great surprise for those of us in attendance, a LIVE Google Hangout with Seth Godin, “America’s Greatest Marketer as claimed by American Way Magazine. Seth’s presentation was excellent and while he did a great job sharing information with us, the Q&A was a treasure. Seth’s message is that success comes from being genuine and often takes a long time, in fact Seth admitted it took his blog three (3) years to gain traction.

A day at Google confirmed one thing, the world is full of fraud and the marketing industry has a disproportionate number of contributors. The bright note is that for those of us that take the time to genuinely try solve problems and not just generate sales or revenue, we can and will be successful. In this case, Google is genuine about wanting to connect people with what they are actually looking for, be it through organic search or paid search. Google is acting like a leader, providing the right and accurate resources to the community. The Google Engage program is just one of the resources that Google has invested in to empower the professionals that are trying to do the right thing by their clients, customers and business.

In the end, Google was impressive at every turn. Google New York had Food, Fun and Value! The information was only surpassed by their commitment and methods to deliver it! A methodology that I feel is worth any successful business or corporation pursuing.

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

What Type of Marketing Job is Right for Me?

You want to get into marketing, but aren’t sure where to start. Maybe you’ve just graduated or are looking around for an internship, but are having trouble narrowing down your options. The fact of the matter is that marketing is a vast industry, and it has many different types of careers to offer in numerous fields. The key is finding the one best suited to your particular strengths and passions.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/41605671@N08/4090395947/

The marketing sector can be broadly divided into five primary fields or branches. They are all interrelated and interdependent, but each is unique and all involve very different job descriptions. You can choose from careers in advertising, media, brand management, market research, and PR. Here’s what each has to offer:

Advertising

If you’ve ever seen an episode of HBO’s Mad Men, you probably have a general idea of what this work involves. Of course, it’s not nearly so glamorous or dramatic as that, but a career in advertising means becoming an expert in rhetoric, persuasion, and psychology. You’ll need to have a sharp aesthetic sense, be well versed in typography and design, and, most importantly, be able to create concise appealing images and expressions that will sell products.

Media

Technically, media falls under the blanket of advertising, but it deserves it’s own space because of the specialization it involves. While advertising, as characterized above, refers to the generation of concepts and strategies, media refers to the communication of those ideas. These jobs demand technical skill and involve getting the ad concepts circulating at maximum exposure on the Internet, television, in print, on billboards, and wherever else they will be most effective.

Brand Management

Brand Management accounts for a large part of marketing. It is also a largely conceptual field that requires an intimate understanding of a specific company and the products it sells. Brand managers must find ways to capture the essence of a company or product and translate it into a concise image, name, and marketing strategy––all while anticipating public reactions, carving out a niche market, and combating competitors.

Market Research

To sell a product, one must first understand the people it is being sold to. Market researchers conduct polls, organize focus groups, analyze statistics, recognize and anticipate consumer trends, and gain insights into the habits and psychology of the buyer.

Public Relations (PR)

Public relations jobs require strong social skills and fast-talking. PR departments are intermediaries between the media, consumers, employees, investors, and the public. They write press releases, appease angry parties, promote products, keep investors informed, and deal with journalists.

As long as products are being sold, there will be a demand for people who can market them. This is why there are so many employment opportunities in the marketing sector, and usually a strong degree of job security. Slumps in the economy rarely put marketing firms out of business. Rather, they make companies who are desperate to sell their products even more reliant on advertising and creative marketing. Hopefully this guide has helped you narrow down your options. Best of luck in finding the type of career you’ll pursue in your job hunt!

Thanks to Agency Central for contributing this guide. If you fancy your hand in any of these roles, you can find wide range of marketing recruitment agencies at AgencyCentral.co.uk.

About Guest Blogger

This article is a guest post provided by a third party, its content was added to Digital Ethos to help provide additional information for our readers and followers. While the Guest Blogger posts do not undergo the same scrutiny as Authors and lack sources, the content was reviewed and approved as valuable to our mission.

Facebook Declares Sponsored Stories Their Primary Ad Unit

Traditionally, Facebook has been reluctant to fill up its social content feeds and streams with ads. However, they have rolled out Sponsored Stories for ad units. This new option will open up a viable new ad inventory that can include placements on the home page.

Facebook’s Platform for Marketers

Although Facebook is just past it’s 8 year mark since launch, it is still a rather new platform on which marketers can share their message, products or services.  Until recently, the method for spreading that message was the same as usual, create your message and share it with your most targeted audience. This seems to have left the medium and the message itself, out of sync. Expected results ensued. Most folks do not sign onto Facebook to be advertised to, or to look for places to purchase items of interests. Those who used conversion tracking were given a clear picture, the standard Facebook ads did not work. Shortly afterwards, social metrics were introduced in place of conversion tracking.

Many believe that if marketers can learn how to leverage the unique opportunity offered by Sponsored Stories, that they can thrive on Facebook.

Facebook’s Social Content Streams

While Facebook has traditionally be averse to filling their social content stream with ads, they recently began offering their Sponsored Stories ad units in the fully site wide ticker that includes real-time social activities and stories. The thoughts behind the benefits are that this will open up a valuable new ad inventory that includes placements on the users home page. So while they do remain as paid ads, the Sponsored Stories actually display your ad in a friends or your page users’ “Likes” which avoids the less invasive and annoying standard ads.

There may be the unintentional side effect that some viewers and users are not expecting advertisements to escape the confines of the lowly right sidebar, but in general, so far, the ads have proven to be quite effective for social advertising. Current ad units allow brands to purchase additional exposure, however, beginning in August, Facebook began blending the Sponsored Stories in with things like the game apps friends are using, or specific content they are following using other canvas apps.

How Do I Use Sponsored Ads to My Advantage?

There are several ways that marketers can take advantage of the ad units offered in Sponsored Stories. This includes several ad types where marketers or small business owners with Facebook pages can select from the type of ad that works best for their product or services.

Marketers will now be able to customize Facebook ads to their specific needs with only a few basic restrictions. The ad content must still complete with Facebook guidelines. Any images must be properly sized and formatted, and ad text must be 90 characters or fewer.

The marketer will get to target the perimeters that will determine the overall reach of the standard ad. With zero perimeters set that would mean that all of Facebook’s almost 1 billion users could see it. However, that would also be a phenomenal waste of money when highly detained perimeters can be set to target the exact demographics that are relevant to your product. The ad can be targeted so specifically that marketers can choose settings that will enable their ad to reach anywhere from 1 user to the over 850 million now on Facebook.

The 6 Types of Facebook Sponsored Stories

There are six different types of Sponsored Story ads to choose from.

Page Like Story

Page like ads are those where a user has “Liked” your page directly from the box on your website or from Facebook.

Page Post Like Story

This is where one of your fans has “Liked” one of your post in the past seven days.

App Used and Game Played Story

This means someone has played your game or used your app at least twice for a minimum of ten minutes in the past month.

App Share Story

This means that someone has shared a story from your app in the past seven days.

Check-In Story

A check-in story is where a user checked-in or claimed a deal in the last seven days at one of the Facebook claimed places.

Domain Story

A domain story means that a user shared a piece of content from your website using the Share button, shared a piece of your content using the “Like” button, or pasted a link to your site in their status window, in the last seven days.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Consistency Is Key In Your Integrated Marketing Strategy

Consistency is an important concept in marketing that many companies fail to deliver. It’s the key to success…so why is it overlooked by so many marketing executives?  The answer is that most marketing is fragmented and coming at people from too many different directions. Between TV, radio, print, outdoor billboards, email, direct mail all competing for your attention – consumers don’t know where to look next.   It’s important for companies to integrate their campaigns and not rush launching too many campaigns at one time.

Here are some guidelines to help deliver a consistent identity with a cohesive integration plan:

Select Your Logo, Tagline, & Colors – Keep your colors and logo consistent in all marketing messages. This includes print advertisements, TV Commercials, direct mail, etc.  Your tagline needs to be present on every single marketing piece to drive home what you do!  Be clear in telling people what you can offer them.  However, this is still not full integration.  Integration requires the entire company being able to state what you do in the same manner.  You need to integrate your message throughout your entire organization.

Message Longevity – Marketers tend to be in a rush to meet the next deadline or get the next campaign out the door.  It’s important to realize that integrating your brand takes time. Don’t continue changing the direction of your campaigns. Keep it consistent for years if you need to…….there is no time limit to branding your company.  Don’t lose patience and stop the momentum of keeping the same messaging out there.  The worst thing you can do is confuse people with mixed messages.

Verbiage – Create messages that can be easily understood by your target audience. Don’t speak in terms that people don’t understand. A perfect example would be a company that has technical terms in a print advertisement that would be better suited for engineers.  It’s important to make sure that your audience clearly understands what you sell and how the product will benefit them.  Focus on the solutions you offer to take their problem away.  This should be in every single piece of marketing communication that is sent out by your company.

A perfect time to use integrated marketing communications is during an acquisition. When a large organization acquires another company…..it’s important to have an integrated marketing plan in place. The time right after the acquisition is crucial to branding the new company and making sure people understand how the brand integrates into your own.  An example would be a security integrator who installs security products and just purchased a security software company.  Your marketing message would need to show how this new software company integrates into your existing company.  The security integrator should show how they are working hand and hand to produce the ultimate security solution for the end user.  In my experience, the company that is acquired usually changes their brand image to reflect the parent company. There have been some cases that the brand image was changed over time.  As long as you have an integrated marketing strategy in place that delivers consistency….you will be ahead of the game.

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

Display Ads and Tumblr [News]

Technically, display advertising, or banner ads, are graphical advertisements on the web that pop up next to, above, blended into or under content on emails, web sites, or even IM applications. This video is very short but provides a great overall understanding of what display ads are and how they work.

What Benefits Will Display Ad Networks Have on Your Business?

Just like magazines or newspaper ads, you can expect to receive the same type of benefit from display ads in exposure for your business and hopefully in an obviously increasing customer base. However, unlike magazines and newspaper ads, the flexibility of the internet lets us advertise to a worldwide community, expanding a business’s horizons endlessly. Display advertising also has distinct advantages over the more traditional formats.

  • Businesses can target specific options such as behavioral targeting options or direct choices in demographics allowing them to expertly direct ads only to their most vital audiences.
  • Performance of your ads can be tracked as part of your daily marketing campaign to allow you to measure metrics such as clicks, conversions, and impressions which will allow you to calculate your ROI.

Top Display Ad Networks

Although the list is constantly changing, some of the top display ad networks in the country include:

  • Yahoo Network
  • Google Ad Network
  • ValueClick Networks
  • Turn Media Platform
  • 27/7 Real Media
  • Adbrite

News in Ad Display  – Tumblr

A couple of years ago, CEO David Karp of Tumblr was asked what his feelings were on display ads. At that time he shared that they turned his stomach. Not something he wanted for his blogging platform. Very recent news shared that he may have found himself eating those words a bit when he shared that Tumblr plans to begin selling ad display units to advertisers. So far, the platform has survived without any ads but users will soon begin to see them displayed on their Tumblr “Featured” section of the dashboard.

Tumblr dashboard

Tumblr dashboard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Advertisers should be able to pay for ad space beginning May 2nd. Tumblr currently hosts over 52 million blogs with a growth rate of approximately 50 million posts per day.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses That Work

Many people have the dream of leaving their corporate position behind and starting their own business.  However, many never reach their goal of business ownership due to the lack of a real plan.  Owning a small business has many challenges…but if business owners focus on the customer and develop a cohesive marketing plan that reaches their target audience effectively, then they have nothing to worry about.  How do you market a new business?  It all starts with building your business by securing a customer base through the following marketing activities:

Referral Networks – Most people do not see the value of networking.  It’s huge!!  By getting out and mingling with companies in your area…you are building valuable relationships that will set the stage for your business.  By attending local networking events, it helps build your name and relationships without spending a fortune. It’s a no brainer….networking works and should be done regularly.    One relationship can bring in many new customers and referrals.  Think about each person and how many people they are connected to…it’s endless.   Face to face meetings are as important as social networking and needs to be part of your marketing plan for small businesses.

Cold Calling– Who wants to sit on the phone and make phone calls…not me!  But guess what…it works!  By being proactive and reaching out to a targeted list of companies, you are adding to your network.  All it takes is one lead to turn into a customer.   Prior to starting a call campaign, a script should be produced and used for all calls.  You want to call with a purpose and offer something attractive to potential customers.  It also helps you be creative and adapt to various questions you get from your prospects. You will be surprised with the results and how many people you end up building a relationship with.  The best time to call is in the morning before people start their day.  You should dedicate 1-2 hours per day on making calls and prospecting.  There are also classes that offer training on how to make calls and succeed.

Inexpensive Marketing Materials  – A quick flyer that explains what services/products you offer is a great way to spread the message about your small business.  You can print out on your office computer and develop a nice template in Word.  Again….you don’t have to spend a fortune on hiring a designing and going to a fancy printer.  As long as you create a flyer that has the correct messaging for your target audience and great images…you are good.  Also…a unique business card will grab attention. Use a different color or shape.

Free Press– Write a press release on your small business and send it out everywhere!  Guess what…it is free!  You can send to your local press list and even splurge on an online pr site.  It can cost anywhere from $50 – $200 per release…but it’s worth it.   It’s a great way to announce your company to the world.

Co-Marketing – Work with other small businesses to share marketing costs.  You can create a direct mail campaign or print ad together.  Perhaps….your services complement each other.  Be creative and come up with some new offers that are out of the box.  You can offer discounts and bundle your services together.  Also, you can share a booth at a trade show to cut costs.

Seminars:  Create a seminar series on various topics that build your credibility in the industry.  You can host an event at your office or select a venue that wants to bring people into their restaurant.  Schedule events after work and include your target customers.  Seminars are a great way to build your network and business.  It also creates a buzz about your business.

Building a business is a process that takes time and can’t be rushed.  As long as you have an effective marketing plan in place, you will succeed.    The time you put in today will be rewarded tomorrow.  Don’t give up!

Author: 

Monique Merhige is the President of Infusion Direct Marketing & Advertising, Inc.  She has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola.  Infusion is a marketing consulting firm that specializes in the security industry and delivers marketing solutions that include Public Relations, Direct Marketing, Branding, Collateral Development, and Social Media Marketing.  Visit:  www.infusiondirect.com or call 631-846-1558

Sources:

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

The Facebook Page Cover Challenge

FOREWARD
In the short time that most of us have become aware of the need to make changes to our facebook (business) pages, some very interesting page covers have emerged. I would like to show some of them throughout this post and describe what I feel works or might work better in each case. Please let me know what you think, about the examples and about my comments.

https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=276329115767498

Facebook Help: How should I choose a cover photo for my Page? @ facebook.com

INTRODUCTION

The word went out. Facebook was carrying its new timelines format from personal profiles over to the professional side. All (business) pages were going to not only have timelines but other MAJOR CHANGES would be taking place.

I can just imagine how this all took place. It is apparent even to this amateur detective that there were parties who were privy to this information long before the public became aware of this terrifying transformation to take place this past March.

On the downside, there would be no more default pages that allowed for potential customers to go directly to a landing page, sign up for an offer and begin the slide down the Inbound Marketing funnel. But on the plus side and best of all, in my opinion, would be massive billboard size ‘page covers’ ready for branding one’s business.

The CocaCola cover page

The CocaCola page cover from a Social Media Examiner blog post (credited below). This page was online way before the March 30th deadline. CocaCola knew. They knew what to do and they obviously have an in-house design department or marketing agency on retainer. Clearly,'Life is Still Better with Coke', without saying a word. The small icon has the traditional and world famous original glass bottle image with bubbles that bubble up with dreams of the better life with Coke.


WHO KNEW WHEN

Clearly, companies like Lujure and Constant Contact, not to mention many others less well known to me, had to know what was a foot long before the public announcement that everyone would be required to use the new format by the end of March. The webinars given by the likes of Amy Porterfield, Mari Smith, Nathan Latka and facebook itself indicates to me that many corporations and social media evangelists had considerably more time to prepare than a pedestrian facebook user like myself.

But I suspect that some companies were turned upside down having to scramble in typical Steve Job’s Apple time to accomplish the impossible because it was just a matter of working harder as he would insist to his staff. What clued me in was how early in March some of the major corporate brands were showing off their spectacular new designs.

The Ben & Jerry Ice Cream page cover

The Ben & Jerry facebook page cover @ Ben & Jerry is about as close to perfect as anything I think that facebook had in mind for this project. The only words are in the icon. The rest is the pastoral scene of contented cows that love to have their milk made into Ben & Jerry's ice cream. The style of the scene is folkart-ish, old fashioned. The subliminal message is that their ice cream is made the traditional, old-fashion delicious way. This image was found on a Social Media Examiner blog post.

A GRAPHIC DESIGNER’S DREAM

I was relieved. No more five-frame images that I could never get to stay in place. My company header looked like scrambled eggs rather than the banner it was meant to be. So when I learned that the new page covers would measure 851 pixels wide by 315 high with a postage stamp size area for the company’s logo or other icon, I was in Photoshop heaven.

Can Bloggers be Journalists?

'Can Blogger Be Journalists? Are Journalists Still Journalist When They Blog a Story?' These words appear to be carved in stone and relate to a case in a State Supreme Court where the Judge deemed that bloggers are NOT journalists. Other states realize that the medium is not the determining factor for credentials and qualifications to be a journalist. To emphasize the point, I have used my press pass in the icon square. How successful do you think this page cover is? What do you like or dislike about it? Do you know about this court case? What do you think? Can bloggers be journalists, too?

OK FOR FACEBOOK BUT NOT PINTEREST

Since I have about 20 facebook pages, divided up into a variety of categories, I immediately set about making my new page cover designs distinguishing them by the various categories. I had plenty of old artwork from a half dozen or so previous enterprises that I was proudly displayed as pages.

The page covers  are okay. Some are even not half bad. But once I pinned them to Pinterest, they plopped. There was no discernable diversity. They looked boring pinned next to each other. In addition to that failure, some very kind and helpful Internet colleagues started alerting me to the very clear and concise restrictions facebook was placing on what was and what was NOT allowed to be on these page covers.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest.

What did not look bad as individual page covers looks terrible as neighboring pins on Pinterest. @ Pinterest.com/AlisonsArt These are all page covers that I designed for a variety of my page categories for my numerous facebook pages. I followed the facebook guidelines and each looks okay on its own page. But they sure look boring together. Something to think about.

BEWARE OF BILLBOARD-ITIS

There are to be no billboards, no ads, no discounts, no calls to action, no URLs, no, no, no. So what is allowed? What is the Y-E-S? This is where many people shuddered, shouted, even screamed. My guess is that many people, who had created high tech facebook pages with apps for all kinds of tabs, were in a pickle. The programming part was not going to be much of a problem for them. But something else was, and it was a big BUT.

Now there would be a need to come up with something that fit within guidelines that were not typical of social media. This is usually a discipline that is code driven rather than driven by visual creativity, at least before Pinterest.

Bear's Cake Kitchen facebook page cover

Bears cake Kitchen facebook page cover @ Bears cake Kitchen had an adorable, colorful cake picture in its icon square. What is that in the billboard area? Personally, I would have rather seen the colorful cake blown up really big to fit into the billboard. Then their logo could have gone in the icon. I am sure the cupcakes taste delicious but to me, the dark colors and lavender icing are not appetizing. Too bad. This could have been and still can be a great page cover.

WE ALL NEED HELP

Facebook’s changes would provide plenty of chances for programmers and designers to help each other out. Opportunities for exchanges, barters and other compensations would be all around us. So how was one to go about building a billboard size page cover without using this spacious real estate like a billboard? It would indeed require the creativity of a seasoned graphic designer, branding expert and marketing maven.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design.

HyperArts fantastic page cover. I love how the icon fits right into the design. From the facebook page @ HyperArts and found on a Social Media Examiner Blog post. I have one question about the white type on the field of orange. How would their brand hold up to the elimination of the type, the repositioning of it, or perhaps just less of it? I'd love to see HyperArts in the right hand bottom corner with Hyper at a right angle to Arts or HyperArts at a right angle to Web Design. What do you think?

BRANDING HAS ITS DAY

To capture the essence of a company without spelling it out is a real challenge in the design world and even more so for the word bound world of the Internet and trendy, texting generation. Companies with design departments or design firms on retainer that understand the subtleties of what the facebook challenge is about would manage. To me, this is a designer’s dream come true. It is a chance to do some real design work amidst a world of coding, programming and ‘drag and drop’ programs. They are all indispensable but designers have moved very far into the background lately.

The Business Corners facebook page cover

The Business Corners facebook page cover @ The Business Corners. This page cover is a hybrid combining the original 5 panel design at the top into the new larger billboard size. Notice how most of the space is black while the images take up a small amount of room at the top. Do you think this works well? How would this look without the images and have the entire field black except for the slogan 'Space to . . . Connect Create Collaborate. The logo does not have to appear again as it is in the icon. What if the icon were also black with the letters in white like it is in the large black space? This would leave to the imagination what 'space to connect, create, and collaborate' might look like.

BUT NOT FOR ALL

Granted there would be the clip art programs and do-it-yourself apps with temptingly affordable templates that many would and will still need to turn to. But there are also be those who understand the intrinsic value of facebook’s challenge. It requires a design with the whisper, not a shout of explitives, the subtle expression of a company expressing its brand, its mission and passion in a subliminal rather than literal way.

How many have and will continue to rise to this facebook page cover challenge? What are some of your favorite new facebook page covers? How do you feel about the changes facebook has made in this area?

AUTHOR:

Alison Gilbert is the Digital Age Storyteller. She is a regular contributing author to DBME, writes The Marketing Byte Blog and is The New York Graphic Design Examiner. Alison is the owner of MARKETING BYTES Solutions 4 Local Biz. Located on Long Island, New York, MARKETING BYTES serves clients virtually everywhere.

Their boutique style – very personal service – hybrid company specializes in helping local/small biz generate sales leads by transitioning from traditional advertising to online marketing. Contact MARKETING BYTES at info@marketingbytes.biz or call 516-665-9034 ET

VIDEO RESOURCES:

5 Tips To Easily and Quickly Set up Your Facebook Fanpage- Business Page FREE!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5GaW8Unl550

New Facebook Fan Page Timeline Changes Your Business Needs To Know

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPEVcLrCwc

How to create a Facebook cover for the new Timeline profile.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwb9it9ATqw&hd=1

New *Facebook Fan Page Timeline* Design Coming March 30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mdPshVbXfs&hd=1

Cover Photo Design & Facebook Timeline Branding

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qg0LoAbguww&hd=1

Facebook Fan Pages Timeline

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HIxQ3NTcKk&hd=1

Facebook New Timeline Design For Pages – Walk Through

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZoz7B-4nXM&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Cool Facebook Timeline Cover Page designs at www.coverdoodle.com

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHuWlGTmYwA&hd=1

Facebook business page, Facebook timeline design, generate business

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13vbgfJOZbU&hd=1

Facebook Timeline For Brands Facebook Timeline Business Pages And Fan Page Timelines Rock!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNVPTX9RHhU&hd=1

Introducing the New Facebook Brand Pages With Timeline Design

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wgG9SO3ceY

Facebook Timeline for Brands – Demo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF_yAOHV80I

How To Create Pro Facebook Timeline Cover

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-bhngn3h6A&hd=1

5 Tips for Fantastic Facebook Fan Page Cover Pics

http://prezi.com/dgfa3fwsiroy/5-tips-for-fantastic-facebook-fan-page-cover-pics/


BLOG RESOURCES:

About Alison Gilbert

Through decades as an entrepreneur, I developed ventures in over a half a dozen industries including HEALTH FOOD | GRAPHIC DESIGN | BUSINESS PROMOTION | HOLISTIC HEALTH | DECORATIVE PAINTING | SOCIAL MEDIA | PUBLIC SPEAKING | WRITING. Eventually under the umbrella of ALISON*S ART, INC, they evolved into the dba MARKETING BYTES, a hybrid company specializing marketing small business using social media marketing and traditional graphic design services. Currently retired, I am focusing on teaching social media marketing graphic design and visual journalism. I can be messaged through www.facebook.com/alisondgilbert and tweeted @MktngBytesMaven and @AlisonsArt.

Improved Facebook Advertising Campaign Performance

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Social media marketing, research has shown, is the fastest growing platform for advertisers. With promises of increased customer engagement and low marketing costs, advertisers flocked to this platform in droves. 76% of companies in the US use social media. Over three quarters of marketing officers believe they will increase their ROI this year through social media and plan to increase their budgets. But ROI is not easy to measure with social media. The different metrics will yield different results. Are you doing whatever it takes? Are there some things you don’t know about?

Facebook is the most valuable platform, statistic shoes, with over 15% of the social media marketing business, while rating and reviews, Twitter, LinkedIn and Youtube are there as well starting at about 10%.

Last month, a company called Techlightenment unveiled its new product called Alchemy 2. The company which is a leading provider of Facebook marketing technologies, helps solve traditional Facebook challenges of scale and performance, and has features that reduce the time spent on manual processes because the platform does it for you so you can focus your attention on higher value decisions.

The company promises that marketers will get 80% higher CTR and 50% lower CPC using their platform compared to the average Facebook campaign. Alchemy 2 allows user to take advantage of what Facebook has to offer; timeline, Sponsored Stories and Custom Action ads.

Here is what this platform includes:

Create a campaign fast and easy. You can create hundreds of ads in a few minutes.

  • Combine location, target audience with your creativity.
  • The system allows you to dynamically insert keywords and locations.
  • Analytics will tell you how many end users you will reach.
  • Easy re-posting of campaigns in one click.

Optimize and track.  About 70% of what used to have to be done manually can be done by alchemy 2.

  • Optimize by setting up rules based on which actions are taken.
  • Track multiple conversion points.
  • Control your budget by targeting groups and locations.
  • Optimize to CPA with tracking solutions and analytics.

Manage and Report.

  • Drag and drop the data you have to see how effective the campaign is.
  • You can easily change the metrics, and have complete control of how the budget is being allocated.
  • You can see CPA and conversion data at the ad level. The platform will calculate your margin and optimize accordingly.
Image representing Techlightenment as depicted...

Image via CrunchBase

Will Ashton, Managing Director of Alchemy 2 at Techlightenment  said: “Alchemy was the first Facebook advertising platform to market in 2010. We have redesigned the platform for the release of Alchemy 2 to make it even more sophisticated and agile. As Facebook makes updates to its platform, Alchemy 2 is well positioned to be updated as near to real-time as possible, allowing users to make near immediate use of new features and ad formats.”

Techlightenment was bought by Experian in January 2011.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

Customer Engagement for Small Business

Telling business owners that they need to have some plans for customer engagement is easy. However, once they have absorbed that tidbit of helpful information, many may be lost as to what customer engagement can actually entail. Most likely, there is nothing that you in particular are selling, that can’t be found somewhere else. So what can the small business owner do to show that their product is the right choice for the consumer?

Be a Customer for a Day

Spend a day emulating the actions that your prospective consumers do.

  1. Call your customer service number.
  2. Go through the motions of purchasing your own product.
  3. Fill out your contact forms.

Make sure that your customer experience matches your outlook and ideas.

Build Communication Options

Not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter believe it or not. Make sure you have traditional methods of communication as well as digital ones. List phone numbers and a physical address for your business, even if it is online based.

Exercise and Act on Your Listening Skills

c/o www.retailshakennotstirred.com

It isn’t enough to reply to customers questions or request with generic terms. When prospective consumers ask for discounts or other beneficial options, show them you are listening by enacting them. You will get no better word of mouth advertising then having a consumer who can say “I asked for a discount, and they gave me one!” This doesn’t mean you have to offer that discount to everyone who asks, but you should never outright ignore those request.

Show Your Integrity

Since bad news can travel with light speed on the internet, you may need to go out of your way to show your customers that not only are you expert at what you do, but that you back that professionalism with personal integrity. Show your customers that the people behind the brand care.

Let Your Customers Advertise for You

Anything that you can do to get your consumers to share their product or service experiences with the public will provide you with two benefits. Obviously it will give you the valuable advertising you are seeking, but it will also provide you with media that you can post to help build top-notch links for your site. Don’t expect your customers to do this for no reward though. Their time is valuable too. Try to run contest for the best written or video reviews of your project. Reward the winners appropriately for their time spent talking about your products and services.

Above all it is important that any consumers approaching you for your products or services walk away with the sense that you are a brand they can trust and rely on.

Author:

@BasilPuglisi is the Executive Director and Publisher for Digital Brand Marketing Education (dbmei.com). Basil C. Puglisi is also the President of Puglisi Consulting Group, Inc. A Digital Brand Marketing Consultancy that manages professional and personal branding for Fortune 500 CEOs, Hedge Fund Managers and Small Business Owners.

Sources:

About Basil Puglisi

@BasilPuglisi is a Content Contributor and the Chairman of the Board for Digital Ethos. Basil C. Puglisi is also the Digital Marketing Manager for PMG Interactive. As the Digital Marketing Manager he provides oversight and support to Digital Campaigns, from Website Development to Search and Social Reach.

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