“Do Not Reply” Email Addresses

The AWeber Blog has made a very simple but important point today. Basically, it says – don’t use “do-not-reply” email addresses in your campaigns.

In the past, broadcasts and announcements work. Today, not as much.

Today you need conversations, because that builds your relationships.

People WANT to click reply. Its natural for people to click “reply” in emails… and if you are doing marketing, you should actually be glad that people actually reply to your emails.

Great point Justin.

Small is Fast, Flexible and Nimble

Fat CatOn my way back from my dinner yesterday, I saw a cat trying to prey on a rat. I stopped walking to observe what will happen, expecting an exciting chase and ferocious battle, hoping to get some real life urban “National Geographic Channel” stuff.

The cat was fat, being well fed by the aunties from my flat who has nothing else to do everyday but feed stray cats.

Once the cat started its chase, the rat very quickly scampered under a car, and then into the drains. The fat cat had no chance.

So there was no exciting chase. No Geographic Channel to watch. 🙁

Today’s economy and technology allows small teeny companies to do big things. And remaining small keeps you quick, flexible to change and nimble. The obsession about building bigger companies, getting bigger offices, and hiring more is almost pointless. Getting fed by big projects will give you a whole lot of ego, but it will make you fat and cost you more too.

And when you are stuck giving credit to a big companies that take eons to pay their (big) bills, that is where your (big) problems begin.

As Seth Godin said in his recent post, “Big enough is big enough, biggest isn’t necessary.”

Today, because of technology and worldwide distribution, we see the disintegrating of “mass market”. When there is no mass market, how well do you think mass marketing (in the TV and papers) will do? By staying small, you don’t need mass marketing, because you don’t need mass customers. You can craft specific campaigns to appeal to specific potential customers.

We should focus on getting better, not bigger. Serve a small niche of customers and have them in a head over heels relationship with you, instead of reaching out to the masses and have “transactions” with them. Think big, but stay small.

For Links or For Readers?

tutorials-and-teachingIt is no secret that if you create a long list of resources – like “50 Beautiful Blog Designs“, “100+ Massive CSS Toolbox” or “50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory“, that blog post will get tonnes of comments, saved in bookmarks, delicious-ed, digged, twittered, reddit, stumbled upon and all that stuff.

The question however, is “How useful is this for your readers?”

Do you REALLY need 10 different CSS cheat sheets? Do you actually take the time to go through the tonnes of tutorials? What do you do when you see such resources? Do you say “Wow! Lets get going with some tutorials right now!”, or “Wow, this is a great list, but I’ll save it for later when I have the time?”

If you are like me, you do the latter. Most of the time, I just know that it is a good list of resources – but I don’t even go though the list.

So when do you actually “have time?” And even when you do, do you think “Yeah, I should fire up that 100 tutorials I saved last time and go thru them one by one?!”

Today is the age of information overload and attention scarcity. We want relevant and useful information, and we expect Google to help us filter that out. When I am setting up a photo gallery in WordPress, I would rather have ONE tutorial teaching me how to do it right, than “100 Awesome WordPress Photo Gallery Tutorials”.

Are you really writing for your readers, or are you writing for just pure link baiting?

Don’t get me wrong. I love those long lists of resources, like you. Its just that I realise I have tonnes of them in my bookmarks and don’t remember re-referencing any of them for real use.

The Power of the Flu

You must have heard news of the swine flu. Over the past few days, its been on the top of Twitter’s trending topics. Everybody is talking about it.

I checked out what people were saying. While most of them were updates, prayers, and positive notes, there were also some interesting stuff. One is an interesting discussion on Twitter causing the fear to spread faster than the flu itself.

I noted a few tweets which were telling people something like “Don’t worry about swine flu, because there are more car accidents a day than swine flu cases!”

Here’s one.

Swine Flu

Its true. Everyday, hundreds (or even thousands) of people die in car accidents all around the world. From a strict numbers standpoint, the broadcasters should tell people to fasten their car seatbelts, instead of avoiding crowded places and wearing masks.

But why is there such a global concern about the flu? Why aren’t the news covering the hundreds of deaths caused by car accidents?

The answer? It all boils down to one thing. Because the flu is viral. In simple words, it is because an infected person has the ability to pass on the flu to someone else. Today, 100 people can be infected. Tomorrow, there is a possiblity that each one of these 100 pass it on to another 100, each. That makes it 10000. In fact, its just been a couple of days, and we are now already seeing an increasing number of cases in other parts of the world.

That is why there is concern for a pandemic.

Car accidents are not viral. Going close to someone who doesn’t wear his seatbelt doesn’t force you from not wearing yours. It doesn’t spread this way.

Now I’m not saying that we should now all hide in our homes and breathe from oxygen tanks. I’ll leave that to the governments and the medical advisories to announce (and I hope the situation never get to that stage). What I want to bring across is how you can relate this to marketing.

This is why they call this Viral marketing.

Is your marketing viral? Are you making it easy for word of your product to spread? Are you facilitating the ease for one customer to tell his friends about his experience using your products?

Or are you still trying the “car accidents” way, launching campaign after campaign, spending tonnes of money in advertising and press releases, trying hard to “unbuckle every seatbelt you see”? How long can you last with this before you bang your head on the wall and give up?

You choose.

I’d spend my time planning and implementing a viral mechanism, rather than follow the crowd like a headless chicken, throwing money away on ads.

Viral Ideas

So how do you get your marketing to go viral? Internet Marketing guru Seth Godin also has this post about what makes an idea viral.

Here are some ideas you can start to implement that will take your marketing viral.

  1. Offer a bonus to your customer for recommending 5 of his friends to your product. (a.k.a. “Tell a Friend”)
  2. Create a video that is completely out of this world (hilariously funny, makes people cry, or pisses off every other human being), and post it on YouTube.
  3. Do an absolutely fabulous job for your first five clients, and make sure these clients are Otaku (from Seth). Let them spread the your word for you.
  4. Make it easy for people to spread the word. If you are using WordPress use ShareThis, at the bare minimum. If not, create a template like Nettuts.
  5. Move the free line. Give out a massive amount of valuable information for free!

Any other viral ideas?