Mooncakes and Marketing


Wow! Its the time of the year again, the mid-autumn festival is coming again – its time to feast on mooncakes!

Yum Yum! Heh.. before I let my saliva drip and spoil my keyboard, I better get on the topic!

I remember when I was smaller (erm.. younger), mooncakes used to come in only a 2 or 3 varieties. There was the baked crust, or the “ice-skin” crust… and there was just bean paste, or lotus paste.

Today as you walk along the streets of Singapore, you will find mooncakes of all sort of shapes and sizes, and all kind of fillings!

I remember just a couple of days ago, I was walking pass the Haagan Daaz ice cream cafe at Suntec City, and what was on display was a set of temptalicious (I know there is no such word in the dictionary!) dark chocolate ice-cream mooncakes! And yesterday at Orchard road, I saw a whole Chinese Chess set made of mooncakes! … man… they should sell these all year!

And if you check out the wikipedia entry, you will find that today’s mooncakes can come in all flavours:

… it was obvious these non-baked mooncakes could be filled with pretty much anything that could be made into a paste. An explosion of new flavours appeared and spanned the range from:

  • cream cheese
  • ginseng
  • bird’s nest
  • chicken floss
  • tiramisu
  • green tea
  • pandan
  • durian
  • ice cream (variety of flavours)
  • chocolate
  • coffee
  • peanut

White kidney bean paste or plain ice-cream are usually used as a base of flavours such as green tea, coffee, or ginseng, which are not thick enough or cannot be usually in large enough quantities to be a filling on their own.

My point is, just over the past 5-10 years, things in this world have REALLY changed, especially with the proliferation of web applications. Even mooncakes have modernized to appeal to the new crowd. Have you? If you are a business owner, what about the way things are run in your company? How about your marketing methods?

This is quite a saddening fact, but its true – while many business owners who have moved on from their traditional practises, I still know of thousands of “white elephant” websites, practically “having the website for the sake of having one.”

Consider some PPC adverts. Learn some SEO. Try out some email marketing. There is a myriad of tools (some for free, some at very affordable rates) for you to learn to get started with online marketing.

Isn’t it time to embraced web marketing yet?

Update: Have you checked out the Mooncake USB sticks yet?

Affiliate or Product Vendor?

Jonathan Leger has an interesting discussion going on today.  In his blog post, he argues that it is better to be a product vendor than an affiliate.

1. More earning ability than affiliate commissions, both initially and after the sale.
2. Greater growth potential as you recruit affiliates.
3. The money is in the list.

What do you think?

I personally have my own views. I think each has their own advantages (and disadvantages). Everybody has their strengths and every affiliate program is different. In choosing an affiliate program, it is important to choose one with good support from the vendor, and if you have chosen to be a product vendor, you need to think about how well you are supporting your affiliates!

But whatever it is – some Internet marketing principles will not change.

  1. Serve a hungry niche market.
  2. Build a list.
  3. Build a relationship with your list.
  4. Focus on marketing, not on creating a perfect product. (I know I fail terribly at this)

So… is it affiliate or vendor, for you?

List Building: Single or Double Opt-In?

Single or Double Opt InI’ve been working on a few niches that are not related technology and Internet marketing, and as part of the project, I am collecting email addresses… as they always say – the money is in the list.

However, I did an experiment with regard to the method of collection of email addresses. Particularly, I tried both single and double opt-ins.

My original AWeber account has double opt-ins enabled. Due to AWeber’s strict policies, I was not able to create a mailing list that used only single opt-ins. The results weren’t fantastic.

I was curious if the double opt-in mechanism was the one causing the less than satisfactory results, so I went on to register a separate account, using single opt-ins. At the same time, being curious, I personally emailed a couple of the unverified leads from my first experiment to ask what actually happened.

Some of the replies I got were stunning.

One said that he didn’t receive the verification message… and another mentioned that he didn’t know that there was a need to verify (even though my notice to check the verification message is VERY prominent!).

On the other hand, not to what I expected, the single opt-in method work well. The leads were still responsive, and I cut my cost per lead 4 times.

I gave it some thought – that from a strictly business standpoint, single opt-ins should be the way to go. That probably explains why most Internet marketers use single-opt ins.

People are simply too lazy to get verified.

What’s your take on this?

Product Launch Formula 2

An Internet Marketer releases a new product and my email gets flooded by the second. That’s not new if you’ve subscribed to all the email lists in the world.. but heh, but this time it was slightly more interesting experience for me as I skim the mails coming in. 😉

Yeah, you know its all about Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula 2.0.

And it looks like a huge fight is going between the affiliates.

One mail came in today saying that “If you buy from my affiliate link, I’ll give you an audio seminar, loaded into an MP3 player… for free!”

Then… seconds later another came in, and I literally burst into laughter as I read these paragraphs:

… Some of these bonuses might fall into what I classify as the “crap stack”.

…This refers to a stack of useless bonuses that have absolutely no relation to the product itself. Some people try to impress you with the sheer volume of bonuses (crap) that you get. Not me.

Heh. Ouch.

Getting a paid autoresponder is not about looking good

Yesterday, I sent out an email using my regular Ms Outlook email client, using an email account hooked up with my webhost provider… To my surprise, today I received a bounce back from my friend’s Yahoo email address, with this:

Email Deferred

Basically, I am using a shared web hosting, and that means that there are probably hundreds or thousands of users around the world using the same server with the same IP address.

… and someone with an account has been very naughty – sending mass unsolicited mail, which triggered Yahoo to defer mails from the particular IP.

It was lucky for me, because it is not a business email. But that emphasises the need for marketers to use professional email marketing services like AWeber or GetResponse. Because companies like these pay a lot of attention to having their server IPs in the white list in many ISPs, so that your mails get delivered.

Imagine how much money could potentially be lost if you have used your own web host IP to mail out your marketing messages?