Important: The Lonely Marketer Has a New Location

January 20, 2007

Thank you very much for coming to my blog!

I’ve moved the Lonely Marketer to

If you’re a subscriber, your feed should update and you should be redirected to the new site. If you’ve bookmarked the Lonely Marketer, please stop by my new site and bookmark me there or subscribe.

Thanks again for coming! I look forward to your feedback on my site.

The Lonely Marketer is Moving!

January 19, 2007

moving.jpgMy posting will be light the next couple of days as I pack up and move the Lonely Marketer to a new site. I’m planning to have everything up and running by Sunday and a full week’s worth of posts coming next week.  Please keep an eye out for the official launch!

No eCommerce? Email Marketing Still Works!

January 19, 2007

I was in the process of planning a post discussing email marketing for companies who do not sell their products or services on the web. I had read a couple articles and posts in the last month which focused on email marketing as a tool only to drive eCommerce transactions. Sure, emails are great for that, but I think there are many more uses to email marketing – especially in a B to B environment.

Well, Karen Talavera of Synchronicity Marketing stole my thunder. I was researching some content for the post and came across an excellent article written by her for BtoB’s eMail Marketing Insight. She outlined my main points! So, let’s read what SHE has to say:

“Many organizations can’t or don’t sell products and services online. For them, the concept of driving sales conversions via e-mail to an e-commerce-enabled Web site makes about as much sense as leading a horse to a well instead of a river. These companies instead rely on their Web sites to educate interested prospects, cultivate inquiries and accelerate leads—and their best application of e-mail marketing is to do the same. Here’s how:

  • Answer inquiries. A non-e-commerce Web site is ideal for gathering and fielding inquiries. E-mail is used to respond to those inquiries with customized information, answer specific questions or, better yet, the all-important invitation to begin the sales process in the company’s channels of choice. For b-to-b marketers, that may mean setting phone appointments or initial meetings, or referring to a distributor or reseller.
  • Educate. What are the steps prospects must take in order to buy from you? Do they know what those steps are? What are the typical objections to a purchase decision? In the often complex and lengthy b-to-b buying cycles that involve group consensus-building or decision-making, it pays to address and overcome known objections early through proactive e-mail campaigns.
  • Accelerate. Once a prospect (or even a returning customer) is well into the sales funnel, there’s a special role for e-mail marketing and the premise is simple: Multiple communications channels increase response. E-mail regularly scheduled in conjunction with individual account exec or sales team contact will accelerate qualified prospects into customers. E-mail is also a route for conveying exclusive offers, incentives or limited-time deadlines that prompt open opportunities to close rather than linger indefinitely.
  • Build and sustain customer communication. Do you proactively reach out to customers to share news, announcements, and information of interest to them rather than you? E-mail is ideal for distributing information, yet too often that information is irrelevant to the audience; either it isn’t customized enough or is manufactured simply to fill yet another e-newsletter. Don’t push content solely for the sake of maintaining a particular contact frequency once a prospect converts to a customer if it isn’t useful, relevant, and engaging.”

Email marketing is a powerful way to educate, drive traffic, and generate leads even if you don’t sell through your website. The harder you work to refine your email strategy, the bigger the pay-off.

Small Business Branding? Be Selective.

January 17, 2007

timessq.jpgI originally read about this story in my local Minneapolis Star and Tribune paper, but Brandweek did a better job of covering the event and prompted me to write a quick post about it.

Target Corporation ran an enormous branding event on New Year’s Eve in Times Square in New York. The promotion included ‘word-fetti’ provided by Target and large animations running on seven video screens throughout the famous area of Midtown. Coming from a small business perspective, when I first read the story, my first reaction was that this was a very large waste of money. Target doesn’t have a store in Manhattan and with all the chaos of the moment, the huge spend will go largely unnoticed.

Well, I saw the story retold in Brandweek and they offered a little different spin. Said Jeff Straus, executive producer of New Year’s Eve in Times Square, which is co-produced by Countdown Entertainment and the Times Square Alliance.

“We were very impressed because with them it was all about connecting with the consumer, more than about the branding. It was about creating an environment that would bring something to the revelers in Times Square.”

I also was in New York this week and had the chance to see a replay of the events of New Year’s Eve. They did a good job with it. They definitely connected with the consumer and (if you weren’t too intoxicated) you walked away having been touched by the Target brand.

What does a major outpouring of branding cash have to do with small business? I think any marketing manager of small business can read this article and take away a couple points about branding:

  1. A branding effort needs to be focused and connect with its intended audience
  2. In today’s media driven marketplace, you need to give your audience a chance to ‘interact’ with your brand as part of your branding strategy.

With limited budgets and resources, research and opportunity are keys in any small business branding strategy. By research I mean knowing your audience and knowing when, where, and how to touch them with your brand. And with limited budgets, you can’t jump at every branding opportunity. You need to be selective and choose based on how many you will reach and how deeply you can engrave your brand in their memory.

There have been some good blog postings recently regarding branding. If you have time check out:

Jonathan Mendez’s Blog – Optimize and Prophesize – He wrote about paid search and the use of branding keywords.

Chris Brown’s blog – Branding and Marketing – She discusses the use of color in branding and re-branding.

Marketing Vox Blogwrites about the New York Times re-branding strategy

Advertising Strategy Snags My Attention

January 15, 2007

For those of you that read this blog often, you know I tend to write more about online advertising than print advertising. Online advertising comes in so many forms and is so easy to track. I do plan plenty of print advertising each year, but mainly use the medium for branding – keeping our name out there in front of our audience that prefers magazines.

I’m an avid reader of personal finance and small business magazines and over the last year I’ve seen a rise in print advertisements in which advertisers make their one-page ad look like an article or case study of sorts. An example is shown below from Kiplinger’s magazine. On the left side is the last page of an article and on the right is an advertisement for long-term care coverage.

Now, why am I writing about this? Well, for the last year, I’ve shook my head and moved quickly past these ads figuring that this was a wasted effort by the advertiser – until I came to the page shown above. They tricked me and it worked! I recently had a conversation with relatives about long-term coverage and when I saw the page I thought it might be an informative article I could pass on. I breezed right over the small “Advertisement” tag at the top. The article was somewhat informative but got me thinking about the topic again.

So, I stand corrected. Print advertisements like this may have a place. I was so intrigued I actually searched the small print at the bottom and found MetLife was the advertiser. I went to Google and searched on ‘long term care coverage’ and sure enough, MetLife had a paid search ad there offering quotes on coverage.

Now, I’m not in the market for long-term coverage, but I have relatives who are. With many aging baby boomers, this is a hot topic and the ad provided a reason to look for more information. MetLife did a good job of throwing information out and then backing up the ad with a paid search ad offering a quote. Good strategy!

Introduce Us To Your Neighbors!

January 14, 2007

Another great community builder is going around the blog world – this time focused on our MyBlogLog community members. I picked up the list from Drew McLellan’s The Marketing Minute. Drew was nice enough to add the Lonely Marketer to the list – Thanks Drew!

Here’s how this works. The first link is someone in your BlogLog community and the link right next to that is the neighbor’s community. I’ve added Matt McGee, Chris Brown, and David Temple – all great sites to check out with quality information. So, grab the list and introduce us to some of your community members.

Andy Beard | Andy Beard’s Community
Andy Beal
| Marketing Pilgrim Community
Graywolf’s SEO Blog | Graywolfs SEO Community
A VC | Fred’s A VC CommunityConverstations | Mike Sansone’s Community
The RSS Blog | The RSS Blog and KBCafe
Black in Business | Jim Walton’s Community
Social Caster | Bruce Prokopet’s Community
Shared NeedLes | Jamie Parks’ Community
Brain Based Biz | Robyn McMaster’s Community
Branding Strategy Insider | Derrick Daye’s Community
Drew McLellan | Marketing Minute’s community
Liz Strauss | Successful and Outstanding Blog’s community
Patrick Schaber | Lonely Marketer’s community
Phil Gerbyshak | Make it Great’s community
Roberta Rosenberg | Copywriting Maven’s community
Ben Yoskovitz | Instigator’s community
Kammie Kobyleski | Passion Meets Purpose’s community
Chris Brown | Branding and Marketing Community
Matt McGee | Small Business SEM Community
David Temple | SEM SEO Certification Training

Don’t Like The Ad? Put Your Shoes On It

January 12, 2007

I always enjoy reading about or seeing a creative idea taking advantage of one of the last places on earth where we’re not touched by some kind of media. This time those infamous security bins at the airport in which we load every aspect of our lives for examination before heading to our gate to catch our plane will soon be infiltrated with advertising. Some people will be annoyed by this, but I say, why not? In fact, I’m kicking myself for not thinking of it!

If you’re interested in reading more behind the effort, check out this USA Today article. Here’s what might be in store for our shoes in the near future.



You may be asking what this has to do with small business? Probably, not much. But, it does show us that there are still unique, creative places left to buy advertising space.

Using Transactional Email for Cross-Selling

January 11, 2007

I hadn’t come across this topic in awhile, but transactional email can be an effective – and low cost – method for cross-selling and gaining valuable customer insight. A transaction email is, for instance, a confirmation email sent from you to a customer after a purchase or download of some sort. Many times, transactional emails are plain text generated from a customer database. Why not make them more?

A quick article written by Dave Lewis of StrongMail Systems ( in a recent BtoB Email Marketing Insight newsletter offered a few tips on developing a program to take advantage of transactional emails.

“Compliance. While marketing messages are allowed in transactional e-mails, you do need to follow the provisions set out in CAN-SPAM. It comes down to keeping the focus on the transaction in your subject line and placement of content. Of course, you’ll want to consult with your legal adviser for the exact parameters before implementing your program.

Relevancy. Any messages or offers inserted into a transactional e-mail need to be relevant. Relevancy is even more important with transactional e-mail, as you risk losing an active customer with indiscriminate marketing offers that don’t reflect previously established interests and preferences. Helpful information related to the transaction can go a long way in establishing brand loyalty and inducing follow-up sales.

Branding. Take full advantage of HTML to reinforce your brand. Without taking focus away from the transaction itself, HTML also allows you to insert marketing messages and offers in a much more prominent, visually appealing way. Text-based offers too easily get lost at the bottom of a transactional e-mail.

Technology. Sending out relevant, highly branded e-mails requires the right technology to enable HTML and integrate with your customer databases. As a supplemental marketing channel, you’ll also want to make sure that you have the e-mail management systems in place to properly track delivery, open and conversion rates. Whether you use an in-house solution or outsource to an ESP, make sure it provides the required integration and management capabilities.”

If a quality email tracking program is in place, a small business could track what a customer may also be interested in by where they click in the confirmation email. That information could be used by the sales team for the follow-up thank you call or for future marketing efforts. Promotions on related products or services purchased could also be communicated via the email.

Yes, building a back-end program generated from a database for this program could be costly and/or challenging, but the benefits and the upside could easily offset that.