Posted by: Chris Horner ( SEO Specialist ) | November 3, 2009

Email Marketing

E-mail the Internet’s first and biggest ‘killer app’, has always been and continues to be the best way to make direct contact with your audience with marketers predicted to increasingly take advantage of enhanced e-mail application features and strategic services such as services administered and applied by agencies and self-service technology providers.

  • email marketing

    email marketing

    email marketing

    83.2% of marketers list email as their most important advertising tactic

  • 55.3% citing email’s ability to drive incremental revenue as the main reason for this importance.
  • On average, companies have spent 20% of their online marketing budget on Email Marketing (second only to website spend).Email marketing can deliver impressive Returns on InvestmentThe continued growth in email marketing is based on a very simple economic principle – its strong ROI.Email ROI figuresAnalysts are bullish about email’s continuing popularity as a marketing tool in spite of the hype surrounding new Web 2.0 tools, rich media and other marketing channels like text messaging and podcasts,The continued growth in email marketing is based on a very simple economic principle – its strong ROI.In the USA email ROI per $1US spent comes in at $51.45 compared to that of print catalogues: $7.20 and non-email Internet marketing at $21.08.Email is also the least expensive marketing form in terms of cost per order coming in at $7 compared to affiliate programs at $17.47, paid search at $26.75 and banner ads at $71.89.It is predicted that spending on retention e-mail will more than double and account for over half of total e-mail marketing spending in 2012. Acquisition e-mail marketing will grow more slowly, with most spending in that category going toward sponsorship (for example, ad-supported newsletters).There is a range of motivations behind the popular use of email as a strategic marketing tool. In addition to the 55.3% of marketers who use email marketing to drive incremental revenue, 19.1% use email marketing to reinforce brand position, 10.6% to improve customer loyalty, 8.5% to reactivate customers and 6.4% cite the desire to drive more frequent purchases as an important reason to use email marketing.

    With careful analysis and with creative application Top Page can design your company an opt-in email marketing campaign – an effective communication and marketing option to increase customer loyalty.

    Here’s a short list containing some of the most important principles we apply in order to successfully manage an email marketing campaign:

  • Application. We analyse the potential efficacy and nature of campaigns. Is your message, company and audience with an email marketing campaign. If so, how best might it be applied?
  • Copy. Great copy rules. There’s a skill to email copywriting – a know how. We work hard to use the words that deliver results. Give recipients clear reasons to open your emails every time. Drive your content, creative, frequency and segmentation strategies with clearly defined Email Value Proposition (EVP). Recipients have limited time and less patience – we work hard to hit a recipient’s “internal inbox” every time.
  • Creative. Your mail has only moments to impress. You need email designs that load fast and look great. Stay away from large images, hidden content and over ambitious styling. Ensure recipients can navigate email easily and find the information they want through good design and formatting. Test sample messages, to make sure they perform across many email programs and Web services. Create highly relevant personalised messages that boost your value. Top-quality email service partners enable personalisation with email that recognizes each one by name, buying history, content, format, etc.
  • List Building. Build true opt-in campaigns or even double opt-in through subscription lists created through forms, invitations and incentives. Without trust, recipients are less likely to opt in or open or act on your emails they receive. They are also more likely to unsubscribe or file spam complaints. Collect only necessary information at registration. You can always ask for more later. Only send emails when expected and with appropriate subject-matter. Reputable emailers also provide recipients the tools they need to manage their subscriptions, contact you, forward information to others and get more information.
  • Test.Test for the most effective combinations of copy and landing pages. Test emails across a range of providers to identify bad links, bad images, copy that triggers spam filters or other problems. Are mails W3C HTML compliant? If not, you run the risk of them being filtered in particular at MSN and Hotmail.
  • House Keeping. Keep your list clean and useable, monitor opt-outs, remove duplicate and dead addresses. “List hygiene” cleans out unsolicited, incorrect, out-of-date or duplicated addresses and optimises campaign performance. Analyze and clean mailing lists.
  • Analysis. Track campaigns closely, monitor opened e-mails and used links. Adjust campaigns and modify messages accordingly. Boost performance, understand performance and trends based on demographics and segments. Make your communications more valuable by segmenting lists based on email and Web behaviour. Which links did recipients click? What actions did they take on your website?
  • Tread with care. It’s important that during a campaign the reputation of the mail sender is protected. ISPs will block and blacklist emails if they detect any unethical behaviour or feel you are abusing the system by sending too much email. It is important manage your reputation by honouring unsubscribe requests, avoiding blacklists, monitoring and resolving spam complaints, and unique IP addresses and a double opt-in process. It’s not just good business practice to respect recipient’s privacy, you will also avoid legal and ethical problems. We include a short, email privacy statement within opt-in forms and link them to the full policy statement on client Web sites.Remember that unsolicited email damages your brand, your campaign and your reputation. It is not good business practice to collect email addresses by “stealth” for example by using pre-checked boxes on site registration forms. We advocate the use of a two-stage subscription process that requires confirmation before the address goes into the database. Ask older opt-ins if they still want to receive email, and retain all the permission data on each opt-in.With careful, professional analysis and with creative application we can advise on a powerful opt-in email marketing campaign. Through successfully negotiation of customer expectations, modern technology, government regulations we can help to enhance customer loyalty, strong ROI and effective communication with your customers.Contact us now Tel:01242 227876 to find out how we can apply all the above and much much more in running successful email campaigns on behalf of our clients.
  • TOP PAGE Ltd
    14 Lansdown Crescent Lane
    Cheltenham
    Gloucestershire
    GL50 2LD
    UKwww.top-page.co.uk
    Office: +44 (0)1242 227876
    Mobile: +44 (0)781 2094842
    email: info(at)top-page.co.uk

     
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    Posted by: Chris Horner ( SEO Specialist ) | October 20, 2009

    Amazon Kindle UK

    Visit Amazon for more info…
    Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader is going on sale in more than 100 countries around the world, including the UK.
    The reader has been confined to the US since its launch in November 2007; Amazon expects to have sold a million of the devices by the end of the year.

    Amazon Kindle

    Amazon Kindle

    The global version will run on the 3G network, although Amazon has not specified the networks that will provide connectivity for the devices.

    The Kindle store will offer over 200,000 English language titles.

    Hundreds of publishers are signed up including Penguin, Faber and Faber, and HarperCollins.

    It will also carry more than 85 US and international newspapers and magazines.

    “We have millions of customers in countries all over the world who read English-language books. Kindle enables these customers to think of a book and download it in less than 60 seconds,” said Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.

    Penguin chief executive John Makinson hopes it will kickstart digital book sales in Europe.

    “The publishing industry is experiencing explosive growth in digital book sales in the US,” he said.

    KINDLE IN EUROPE

    0.36 inches thick with 6in e-ink display
    2GB of internal memory
    QWERTY keyboard to add notes to text
    Battery life “weeks on a single charge”
    USB synching for people out of coverage area
    The look and feel of the device will be the same as the US version with the exception of network access.

    Following difficulties making the Kindle’s Whispernet wireless download system work in the Europe, Amazon has decided to make downloads available via the 3G network.

    This means that people wishing to download a book outside of a 3G coverage area will have to transfer content over USB.

    In May of this year, Amazon unveiled a new version of its e-reader aimed at reading magazines, newspapers and documents. The Kindle DX is currently available only in the US.

    The European version of the Kindle will begin shipping on October 19 with a $279 (£175) price tag.
    Find out more – Visit Amazon

    Posted by: Chris Horner ( SEO Specialist ) | October 19, 2009

    White Hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO

    Ethical SEO (white Hat SEO)

    Ethical SEO (white Hat SEO)

    Search Engine Optimisation Techniques Explained

    Some SEO companies are prepared to go as far as necessary in the pursuit of high search engine placements, others take a more long term ‘ethical’ approach to representing their web sites and their clients.
    In our view the debate is very simple – Violate any of the search engine guidelines and you risk having the site removed from the index.
    Discussing ‘shades of grey’ in the context of SEO is largely irrelevant as the guidelines and regulations are all clearly defined by the various search engines.
    It’s White Hat or it’s not – simple as that.
    At Top Page we understand clearly that if a website is optimised ethically for human consumption and intelligently it will likely gain high rankings. Good for business.
    If your web presence is designed to trick search engines into believing it has more search value than it really does it may also get high rankings – the likelihood though is that it will be found out and it will be punished. That’s bad for business
    Here are some black hat techniques to be avoided:

     

  • • Buying Links – The engines detest bought links. Bought lilnks whilst trying to infer popularity only really establish the fact that the site owner has gone out and bought a load of links. Paid-for link add no extra value to visitors.
  • • Cyber Hoaxing – An affiliate program technique. A fake news site hosting a hard to prove or disprove sensational fake new story submitted across a range of social media sites such as Digg, Stumbleupon, Del.icio.us, etc. The basic idea is to generate a buzz and get links to your fake news story even capitalizing on the outrage of the setup. Most media apply the concept to a minor degree
  • • Keyword Stuffing/Hidden Text – Old school, in fact rather naff and increasingly ineffective. Stuffing a page with keywords and keyword visible to search engine spiders, but not to human visitors is so 1999. They can be located in a hidden div tag, coloured so that they blend into the background, or even placed within HTML comment tags.
  • • Doorway pages – The aim of which are to be crawled and included in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Usually designed around the primary keyword being targeted, stuffed with keywords and published in bulk. They will likely have a form of meta refresh tag or javascript redirection sending visitors to the money site.
  • • Web Page Cloaking – A technique that shows a doorway page to search engine spiders but the “money page” to human visitors. Both pages are accessed using the same URL with software used to identify the search engine spiders and serve the doorway page to them. Competitors are kept from scraping the content of the optimised doorways, and human visitors are kept from seeing the ugly doorway pages.
  • • 302 Redirect Hijacking – The creation of a web page on a high-page-rank domain with a 302 redirect to the page trying to be hijacked. Spiders follow the redirect to the second page and indexes it, but on the SERP, the URL of the indexed page will be that of the page with the redirect.
  • • Scraping and Spinning – Content is grabbed by software from sites, paraphrased, randomized, and “new” content generated. It will invariable read terribly. Spinning content into duplicate-content-penalty-avoiding text is considered the holy grail of black hat techniques.
  • • Splogs – Related to scraping and spinning, splogs are simply, worthless pseudo blogs with automatically generated content. Admittedly it’s often hard to tell the difference between a Splog and a poorly written but genuine blog. Many splogs read RSS feeds and create blogs automatically. Splogs can be used to get other sites indexed or their Pagerank increased, by including links to them. It is estimated that 20% plus of online blogs are actually splogs.
  • • Link Spamming/spamdexing – A way of getting links through the use of automated software which accesses unprotected blogs through anonymous web proxies and leaves links in their comments.
    It’s a tough call for the search engines. In attempting to help site owners understand where the lines are drawn they try to be as transparent as possible though not so transparent that they provide too much information that those inclined to abuse the system.
    What colour hat you choose to wear is a relatively straightforward business decision, whether one chooses adhere to the stated guidelines or to take your chances beyond them. Techniques that violate the guidelines are Black Hat. They may work in the short run, be commonplace, non-deceptive or justified but that doesn’t make them immune to punishment. If your business objectives, timescales and reasoning can support Black Hat SEO then go for it, but don’t forget that Black Hat SEO activities run the risk of having the site removed from the search index.
    If your SEO is a long term project and creating quality content to match the most relevant result for a desired query is your intent then go White Hat. Supporting your content in a topical environment with quality relevant inbound links and making sure the site can be easily crawled and indexed by search engines with light tight code is also important.
    People often apply an ethical or moral spin when it comes to SEO. SEO’s bottom line though is about results not right and wrong, it’s about delivering business objectives to customers, professionally and over the long term. At Top Page we apply as creative techniques as necessary to give our clients a competitive edge, however, we won’t jeopardise their Internet presence in the process.
    People often apply an ethical or moral spin when it comes to SEO. SEO’s bottom line though is about results not right and wrong, it’s about delivering business objectives to customers, professionally and over the long term. At Top Page we apply as creative techniques as necessary to give our clients a competitive edge, however, we won’t jeopardise their Internet presence in the process.
    Contact Top Page today Tel:+44 (0)1242 227876
    to find out how our expert SEO techniques can help you enhance your Internet presence and grow your business.
    http://www.top-page.co.uk

    Black Hat And White Hat Seo … Black Hat SEO … Black Hat Vs. White Hat … Domain … Ethical SEO … Firm … Forums … Guaranteed … Keyword … Optimization … Posts … Replies … SEO Blog … Spam … Tools … Web Design … Webopedia … White Hat Marketing … White hat SEO techniques … Whitehat Seo Tips For Bloggers.

  • Posted by: Chris Horner ( SEO Specialist ) | August 21, 2009

    Why Blog – Fresh, inspiring content

    Blogs present a great way to keep your site fresh, informative and evolving as a resource. Also the interactive nature of blogs means that you can communicate with your constituency to share, gather and showcase expertise. Blogs can be enormously powerful pieces of Internet publishing – Just ask Robert Peston

    Blogs, whether simple site blogging or blog outreach (the submission of blog content to third party sites), can play a critical role in any SEO strategy. Well conceived, well crafted blogs based around specific topics and delivered in natural tone with integrity can generate additional traffic, brand awareness, and especially new linking opportunities. Blog outreach when applied intelligently exchanges high quality content, perhaps an article or an exclusive audio stream for high value links. Website owners are always looking for high quality content. If you have it, flaunt it, share great content for links – it will help your optimisation no end.

    At Top Page we fully appreciate the contribution of high quality, regularly written blogs as a component of SEO strategy and offer a range of strategic input, copy writing, technical development and blog submissions.

    As SEO specialists we work to establish both relevance and ways by which the search engines are able to identify it. Relevance needs a contextual framework through informative, meaningful content. Content is THE critical component of the Internet and blogs serve to provide a great platform for engine searchable content.

    Quality not quantity
    Best keep them meaty too. Despite the rise and rise of micro blogging, largely in the form of Twitter, traditional blogs are still very worthwhile pursuing for their SEO benefits. Web guru Jakob Nielsen refers to in-depth content adding in-depth value, recommending fewer high quality articles over a higher quantity of poorly written blogs.

    “A thousand monkeys writing for 1,000 hours won’t write Shakespeare but create a thousand random, low quality posting that don’t give readers a comprehensive understanding of the topic, even if those readers suffer through all 1,000 blogs.” He says.

    Though many blogs fall short of delivering the depth and expertise that is necessary to elevate their sites above the competition and many others fall in the ghastly vanity publishing black hole, carefully considered and crafted blogs, as well as articles, should be an integral part of an overall online marketing/SEO campaign. Blogs can play an important role in gaining trust, authority, high search engine placements and traffic largely through high quality inbound links – The SEO raison d’etre.

    Scannable
    Consumable – Make blogs concise and scannable, format using bullet points and lists offering useful tips and advice. Use Web 2.0 video, podcasts, streams and media as well if it makes sense.

    Connection
    From the most intimate to the most commercial, the important thing about blogs is connection; that it’s a forum for conversation through which community evolves. Bryan Appleyard writing in the Times refers to the intimacy/exposure nexus. ‘ The way to get your blog going is to use connectivity. Link to other blogs and place comments. They’ll come back to you. Once they do, a few will stay. You will acquire regulars. You’ll get to know them. If they stay away for a while, you’ll miss them. You’ll feel, if you’re a sucker like me, somehow responsible for and to them. This is weird, I know, but then good things start to happen.’
    Blog Marketing

    Blog Submission
    Regularly and far afield should do the trick. Largely through RSS feed and blog submissions to directories.

    Submitting blogs to many of the RSS & blog directories is much simpler than submitting standard sites as there are automatic systems in place that allow submissions of updated blog versions to directories.

    Dedicated blog search directories including The Technorati Blog Directory (a U.S. based blog search engine is currently tracking over 112.8 million blog copywriters), Boing Boing, Answers, Digg and Feedburner plus the major search engines are great destinations. Technorati

    It’s important that clients ‘get’ what is trying to be achieved – that a well written, regularly updated blog using a natural voice can offer a more ‘human’ type of writing and create a space where professional formalities are put to one side as a ‘human side’ is revealed. Blogs enable readers get to know you and your organization intimately, the closer you are able to be to your audience the better the experience for all. Engage your audience and interact. Blogging is a conversation, speak to your readers, always keep them in mind and at the centre of everything: the topics you cover, the way you write, what choose to include and what you omit.

    Good blogs?
    Here’s a couple of the best blogs as chosen by Bryan Appleyard;

    bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology

    At the BBC’s Dot Life, abundant intelligent comment replaces the prattle that makes most geek blogs unreadable. The British perspective is also refreshing in an American-dominated blogosphere.

    popjustice.com

    “You shouldn’t grow out of pop music the moment you hit puberty” and “You shouldn’t grow into pop music the moment you discover irony” are among the tenets of Popjustice. Whether wowed or withering, it is compulsive reading, and its accolade as the Smash Hits for the digital age is spot-on.

    Two for the road;

    Edpeto.com – guy living in Beijing. Has interesting things to say on life, music and yoof culture in China.

    zmag.org/zspace/noamchomsky – thought provocation by the bucket load

    Author – Chris Horner SEO

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