Terrorism and Tech

Interesting post by one of our clients, Mark Gibson at Memex sparked by iPad launch. Consumer tech puts a lot of power in the hands of the average Joe Schmo. Timely post when we consider the Times Square bomber suspect arrested due to You Tube and Craigs List.

Have a read of Mark’s Blog.

Interesting – if a little scary – times.

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The race for local

Facebook have announced a location based dimension to go live next month. With the supping up of Foursquare and apps like Tripit telling LinkedIn users who is going to where, local is at the center of online and mobile development.

Search has been embracing local for a few years now. The success of Google’s local business offering heralded a move towards location being more than a mention in your footer. Adwords location based distribution, natural search local results in SERPs based on IP and the rest.

Social media is increasingly broadening out the offering towards location – a real dimension. It’s an interesting blurring of lines (more blurring) between the onscreen and the offscreen.

Add augmented reality into the mix and the future is Minority Report.

David Cameron – Social Media Mischief

David Cameron social media mischief

Pimp my poster

Humour and UK politics. A very timely and funny rework of the craze that hit Facebook last year of creating your own random album, this is an opportunity for the at home political satirist to pimp the Tory poster.

For more of these go to http://mydavidcameron.com/

The site illustrates how offering and opportunity for UGC is a means of promoting ideology. Offer an easy way to host the conversation.

In terms of media coverage it has already been very successful (Daily Mail, Mirror and Guardian). It would be very interesting to see the stats of the site – how many visitors find out who is behind the site, how many go to the blogroll like links on the right hand side, how many entries they have received and a follow up on the visitors political position.

What is clear is that we’ve moved on a long way since the last UK general election. If the election is to be on May 6 as was gaffed yesterday, it’ll be interesting to see how the web and social media will be used to 1. promote messages 2. engage with prospective voters.

Address to a Haggis.

For anyone who needs Burn’s tribute to the best pudding of them aw, here it is.

Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o the puddin’-race!
Aboon them a’ ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, or thairm:
Weel are ye wordy of a grace
As lang’s my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o need,
While thro your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An cut you up wi ready slight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like onie ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin, rich!

Then, horn for horn, they stretch an strive:
Deil tak the hindmost, on they drive,
Till a’ their weel-swall’d kytes belyve
Are bent like drums;
The auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
‘Bethankit’ hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout,
Or olio that wad staw a sow,
Or fricassee wad mak her spew
Wi perfect sconner,
Looks down wi sneering, scornfu view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as a wither’d rash,
His spindle shank a guid whip-lash,
His nieve a nit:
Thro bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

But mark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread,
Clap in his walie nieve a blade,
He’ll make it whissle;
An legs an arms, an heads will sned,
Like taps o thrissle.

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies:
But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,
Gie her a Haggis!

Seems you CAN have too many friends http

Seems you CAN have too many friends http://ow.ly/10bgE ^ST

Increase your Conversion Part 2

Back to tips on increasing conversion rates;

6. Encourage Customer Loyalty
Don’t forget the existing and returning customers. Remember the sales maxim, it costs 6 times as much to get a new customer than to keep an existing customer.

7. Test your Conversion Channel
Being able to analyse the progress of individuals through the conversion/sign up process and importantly the drop out rates can reveal some low hanging fruit.

8. Empathy – understand the need and be sure to fill it. If your selling point is uniqueness make sure this is served up to the visitor. If it’s a low price point communicate the value you’re providing

9. Urgency – use limited offer, seasonal sales, low stock warnings etc to get a conversion now

10. If they don’t convert there and then provide an opportunity to return – offer easy bookmark, a reminder service or an attractive reason to return.

Social media Marketing – getting buy in

Something that we come across frequently is the disconnect between client companies signing up to the whole concept of “marketing as a conversation” and then getting those people in the company that need to engage with the audiences to, well, engage.

We’ve approached this in a few different ways and the method which seems to work is of gradual immersion into the conversation through a structured drip feed of activity. Kind of like being a social media dealer and trying to get the clients addicted to the interaction. (Is Twitter the crack cocaine of SMO ?).

In some cases it starts quite simply with structured (but always authentic and valuable) blog posts which invites comment and conversation. Monitoring of the social babble to find strong conversations to start engaging with is alarge part of what we do.

At some stage, not too long into the process, there is a tipping point. It could be a tweet from someone they respect or a comment which starts off a strong debate but when this happens they’re off and running.

So the secret client participation is to make it easy, measure the results and show how worthwhile the activity is.

Can it be that simple?

Five Christmas Email Marketing Tips

Christmas is a great opportunity to boost your email marketing results. Here are our top tips for making the most of it:

1.Timing is everything:
If you’re in a business to business sector, this may be a slow period for you – use your emails to give you a seasonal boost, or to help you line up extra business for 2008. Bear in mind that during the build up to Christmas, workers take more half days off, therefore send your email in the morning. But be considerate about the quantity of mailings during the Christmas period as they might irritate some of your recipients.

2. Get creative
Christmas is a great opportunity to get a bit more creative with your email designs and content. Create a seasonal theme to add more substance to engage the attention of the recipients.

3. Focus:
Christmas is a very busy time of year. Make your campaign easy to remember by focusing on one offer over an extended period rather than on multiple offers over shorter periods. One generous promotion will be remembered better amongst the multitude of competing offers sitting next to it in the inbox.

4. A good time to re-establish relationships
Christmas is an ideal time to try and re-establish relationships – why not target them with an extra special seasonal offer?

5. Clear for landing:
Keep in mind the ultimate goal of your campaign – new business. There’s no point if your Christmas email campaign was successful at bringing customers to your site but failed to convert any of that traffic to sales. Make sure your call-to-action is clear and direct your emails to the correct landing pages.

Your own personal IP dystopia

With the IPv4 internet addresses running out and the move to IPv6 over the next few years, will this have an effect on our own personal information and freedom?While the move to IPv6 will allow IP starved countries have more addresses, and will support an increase in net security as well as allowing for greater interface interaction, it could also open a Dystopia which would have Orwell salivating at the typewriter.

Forget the furore about ID cards…what if every kid born was given his or her own IP address. Swap a name tag in the labour room with an RFID chip and voila.  It’s perfectly possible with IPv6. “The very large IPv6 address space supports 2128 (about 3.4×1038) addresses, or approximately 5×1028 (roughly 295) addresses for each of the roughly 6.5 billion (6.5×109) people alive today.[1]52 addresses for every observable star in the known universe[2] – more than seventy nine billion billion billion times as many addresses as IPv4 (232) supports”. Wikipedia

The benefits of being able to interact automatically with all sorts of interfaces could be tremendous. Environmentally we could all have our own trackable carbon footprint perhaps set our electricity use to match with lights coming on and off when we enter rooms, alloting a number of car journeys per week etc. Or perhaps gadgets will be configured to our own preferences – kind of like cloud computing but with the individual becoming the hub and being able to interconnect remotley. Micropayments could be charged to your IP wallet so no need for money or cards, if we find a more secure system than the London Oysercard trails.

Your health could be linked to your IP – exercise regime, bloods, dietary requirements and advice linked to your weeky shop, which would automatically add in a few more leafy greens to the delivered box after a week of partying.

The potential is huge… but for for someone who has an aversion to even signing up for a Tesco card (much to the annoyance of my better half!), the tech utopia outlined certainly has its Dystopian side.

Imagine every car having it’s own IP address. With GPS it’s now trackable constantly. Great for stopping thieves, the insurance companies are no doubt looking into it as I type… but worrying for personal freedom. Our activities are already trackable through our bank cards and mobile phonenetworks… but just think how much more effiecient this collation of data would be if it’s liked to your own personal IP, not to mention Vanillia Sky like ads being triggered as you walked in the canned goods aisle or drove past a billboard.

Yikes!

Email marketing – Look to your existing customers to help you weather the credit crunch.

In times of less cash, it’s all about about sustaining revenue.  With customers being more discerning with their disposable income, you need to work a lot harder to keep existing clients spending or from shopping around at the competition.

Email is a great channel for making sure that you are communicating as effectively as possible with your existing customer base. There’s no harm in having a review of your basics to make sure that you are keeping your customer’s attention and are their no brainer choice when it comes to purchase.

1 Plan your campaign
What is your objective from the email campaign? Decide what it is before you start your campaign and create your email with your goals in mind.

2  Get permission
To ensure compliance with Data Protection legislation make sure your email marketing is permission-based which means you need the customer’s consent to contact them. To build up your contacts database, collect email addresses from your customers at every opportunity!

3  Call to action
Include a call to action in every email you send. For example you could invite customers to download discount vouchers, purchase a discounted product online, or agree to attend an event.

4  Be personal
Try and speak directly to the individual customer, the more personal you are, the more successful your campaign is likely to be. Follow up the campaign with a ‘thank you’ or a special offer.

5  Be relevant
The first question the recipient will ask is ‘What’s in it for me?’If you don’t sent them information which can save them time, money or give them information then they are unlikely to take action.

6  Unsubscribe Link
The recipient must have the ability to request that they no longer want to receive emails. Their details should be removed from your database immediately.

7  The Subject line
This is very important and influences whether the recipient bothers to open the email. Think very carefully about the title, keep it short, to the point. Do not use capital letters and exclamation marks and never use words like Free!

8  Provide plain text as well as a HTML version
Have two options as some recipients will have their images turned off. Also when sending HTML versions, make sure the design works in the different email client interfaces (test test and test again!) and there are no mistakes. Keep the content short, be consistent with your layout, and design elements – it reflects the professionalism and brand of your company.

9  Deliverability
The main obstacle with email marketing is the email actually ending up in the recipients in box. ISPs delete billions of emails each day. Research an Email Service Provider with good deliverability rates. (blatant self promotion – we have a very rigorous email marketing set up which has great deliverability across Europe and the US ).

10 Statistics
Review the statistics after  each campaign. How many emails were delivered and opened, and which links customers clicked on within the email.  Each subsequent campaign can be fine tuned with new information collected. The power of email marketing is being able to segment your database based on consumer behaviour.