Stuff I’m reading

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading about email marketing. It’s one of the main areas I work in, so I believe its beneficial for me to read up on it. From what I’ve read and just my own thoughts, email campaigns are pretty important since its the second highest expenditure of internet advertising after search engine marketing. However, the key is to not look at any of these things in isolation.

Email is one of the main forms of communication these days. I was talking to someone about it today, rarely do we send business documents or correspondence through physical mail – its all email these days. I talk to everyone in my office and my clients, my friends, via email because of the speed of communicating. the key with email marketing is to send relevant content to people at the right time.

You’v got to communicate with customers and potential customers with stuff they are interested in. You are only allowed to send email communcation to people that have opted in to recieve the content. Once someone has opted in (i.e. given you permission), they’ve explicity told you that they are happy to recieve things from you. They are more likely to open the email, engage with the content and transact, forward it on, etc…Providing relevant content is the key.

The best digital marketers will look at how all these things are fit together – how search engine, email, social networking, landing pages, portals, blogs, internet ads, etc… complement each other. I’m fortunate to be working at a place that has an integrated approach – we do end to end digital marketing i.e we look at everything. Having said that, you also need to understand how digital marketing fits within the overrall marketing plan and also with the business goals.

So far I’ve discovered a couple of email service providers – companies that provide bulk email service. They allow you to manage a list of people to send to, and the ability to send to large numbers of people, and provide reporting functions on the emails sent. The main competitors I’ve found overseas are Bronto, i-contact, Constant Contact. In Australia, its Campaign Master. I’ve been reading up on the white papers in Bronto (half the stuff is promoting itself) but its got some useful tips in there.

On another note, I’ve also signed up for its a social bookmarking site. I had some idea what it was, and I always saw it at the bottom of a lot of articles i read online. So I decided to join! Social bookmarking sites allow you to bookmark webpages and store the links online. its quite handy, because you can access the links whereever you are online – i.e. its not stored on your computer but rather in cyberspace. Plus you can also give websites a tag (a keyword description) and longer descriptions, group links together, and share them with your friends.

You can also search for stuff within social bookmarking webpages and some argue it leads to better search results as well. the user is more engaged with the content and will read the article/webpage. however, peopel use different types of descriptors as tags. I might read a article about michael jordan playing basketball. I might tag it as “basketball”, “jordan”, “Air” and “Bulls”. Someone else might use “23”, “chicago”, “MJ”, etc…. This is because there are no rules in tagging – you can put whatever you want and the user is more subjective with the content, as opposed to a cold heartless, objective search engine.   

Lastly, I’ve also been reading up about the semantic web, Web 3.0, content publishing, and checking out some search engine data (see below).

Looks like taking quite the digital slant aren’t I? I read somewhere that you can be an expert in this area in a couple of years. I’ve only spent about 3 months in this area, but if i stay interested in keep progressing and learning more, I could be well on my way! In other good news, I got a distinction in my advertising subject “media planning and buying”….78% baby! I scored 91% in the actual exam!!!! And to think that I knew nothing about advertising or media buying/planning before I even took the course, nor did I even work in the area.

I’m out like bookmarks,

Matt Ho.