This is a classic example of how just because you think you know almost everything about what you’re doing, doesn’t mean you can tell other people who you think don’t know as much as you do, to shut it. After all, how can they know any better, right?
One day, a team member asked me, “Now that we have our newsletter set up, maybe we should have a popup screen asking people to subscribe?”
Within just 5 seconds, I looked like this:
Oh dear. I was quickly coming up with ridiculous reasons as to why we cannot possibly do that. What have I turned into! My teammate had the WTF look. “Yeah! WTF?”, I asked myself.
It was a humbling experience. More than humbling, it was mortifying.
“Why can’t we at least TRY it?” was the next line I heard.
I was so full of myself thinking I’ve read it all that I didn’t even think that those case studies and best practices might not necessarily apply to our company! (A mistake I think all of us at one point also made. Bah. Look at me trying to drag everyone into this.)
I changed my rage face to something more amiable.
Then I went back to my desk and started looking at possible solutions and if they really did work.
I found Padiact, met Claudiu Murariu, their wonderful and very helpful co-founder, and the rest is history. We installed it on our site and almost a year later, we’re now at 10k subscribers. We were and still are, seeing about 2-3% conversion rates each month. What a waste it would have been if I insisted that I knew everything.
My newsletter popup story might not work for your company or for your website but what I can guarantee you that will always work is this: having team members who are brave enough to call you out, to experiment, and to make sure that it’s not just your business that is growing, but also yourselves.
I was catching up on news/blog posts the other night when I saw this post from Nuffnang. They’re giving away tickets to the exclusive screening of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Okay so that sounds fine. A contest. Cool.
Oh but what is this I see? To join the contest, you need to write a blog entry with this specific title: “SkinWhite and Nuffnang bring you Snow White and the Huntsman.”
As I was reading this, my reaction was, “No way.” Little did I know I’d keep saying that throughout the blog post.
Turns out, not only do you need to use that specific title, you also need to answer this silly question “How does SkinWhite give you that beautiful blush white skin that your prince charming can’t resist?” It doesn’t end there, you also need to blog about the darn “syncrowhite action that works in FOUR ways!”
I promised myself I will look into this over the weekend. So today, I googled the required blog title to see if people are actually participating in this thing.
Holy mother of mindless marketing.
I looked at their blog post’s comments section and saw that there are 38 comments, most of them linking to their blogs; some asking why they haven’t received their confirmation emails. It looks like Nuffnang can only accept 100 entries. If they reach their goal, that would give us at least one hundred blog posts on the same exact topic.
Great idea? I disagree.
Bloggers Can Think for Themselves
At least I’d like to think that. I’ve met a couple of bloggers and they’re smart. They’re creative and they’re hardworking. Isn’t this an insult to their creativity by forcing them to use specific titles and include content (e.g. syncrowhite) they would not otherwise write about? Do they think bloggers are not capable of coming up with their own blog titles that it is given to them in verbatim?
Won’t they also feel like they’re being taken advantage of? Clearly, SkinWhite just wants them to write about their product. Who cares what they think? Here’s what they need to write.
If a blogger, one who really wants good content for his readers (not freebies from companies), saw this contest, would he participate?
More Content Junk, Less Thinking
If Nuffnang and SkinWhite get what they want, then the interwebz will have 100++ blog posts with the same title, same content, same links. Of course this promotes SkinWhite but does this promote quality content? You know, content that bloggers actually think and care about?
I went through the first 2 SERPs to be sure that I have an idea of what types of content they’re getting. A lot of them were just literally following instructions. I’d be lying though if I said I didn’t spot some good ones. I found about 4 “almost genuine” blog entries. I say almost because of my reason number 3.
Bloggers Lose Their Readers’ Trust
Now that I know about this contest, if I read a blog post that talks about SkinWhite, will I say, “Oh wow SkinWhite must really be effective!” or will I say “This was a contest entry. Hmm. I’m not sure this is true.”
Why is she writing this post? Why does it look so advertising-y? Why does she suddenly know all about the syncrowhite action that works in four ways? Oh okay. She wants to win movie tickets to see Snow White and the Huntsman. Hmm.
Do I lose trust in the brand? Maybe, but in this case, I don’t really care about SkinWhite. If I wanted to try it because of these blog entries, I will. If I like it, then maybe I’ll get more. If I find that it sucks, then I won’t buy it again. Simple.
The blogger though, loses credibility points. I read other people’s blogs to learn about different perspectives; not to read contest entries.
Is this the type of blogging environment Nuffnang wants to promote?
BONUS: Seriously, what’s wrong with not being fair-skinned?
This weekend, yet another whitening product is getting flak for their most recent commercial:
SkinWhite in this campaign does the same thing albeit not as ridiculous as Block and White. It basically tells me that the only time a “prince charming” will like me is if I have “beautiful blush white skin.”
What are we? 12? Is this Disney country? Who wants “princes”??? This is why women have fairy tale worlds, referring to men as princes (because they think they’re princesses).
Why would you want to be a princess anyway?
In the real (non-Disney) world, princesses usually couldn’t choose their prince. That choice was made by their parents in order to form alliances between countries. I’m pretty sure King Daddy and Queen Mommy didn’t care whether he was Prince Charming, Prince Douchebag, or Prince Dumbass. Once married, the princess was then expected to obey all her prince’s commands.
This is how PowerMax Consulting Group‘s event was for me and since we don’t have a Yelp for conferences, I will write my “review” here hoping that at least one person will read this and be more discerning when it comes to conferences they choose to attend and pay for. (I’ve also written about last year’s Search Engine Marketing Conference, if that’s something you want to check out.)
I found out about this event through a friend’s forwarded email. The email didn’t look professional but I thought it sounded pretty interesting anyway so I bookmarked it. I am not even going to say anything about their email and how it looks like. Not even their website, which got this response after I gave someone their website link:
Very legit comment btw.
To be extra clear, I only attended the morning session of the Philippine Internet Congress‘ 2nd day schedule. If you’ve attended both days and feel that my review is inaccurate, feel free to write your comments below. I am basing my post on the 4 hours I spent at the Megatrade Hall.
They tried to rip us off.
Here’s the conversation I had with them (I went with my co-worker):
Lady at the registration booth: Have you registered? Me: No, not yet. Do you accept credit card payments? Lady: Yes. *a couple of seconds after she uses her calculator* That would be 19,000+ (I forget what the exact amount is but it was 19k something for 2 people)
Uhh, what was that? I didn’t even get the chance to show her the email.
Had I not emailed someone from the company, would they have charged us Php 19,000+? Did they do this to someone else? Even if this wasn’t intentional, this is still terrible because that means their staff are uninformed and will end up making their attendees pay more than what they have to.
They had singers… and dancers.
So we walk in and there are about 15 people in the room. It’s 8:45 AM and their schedule says it will start at well, 8:45. Nuninoo. Nothing. 5-10 minutes later, I hear a voice. It sounds like I’m at a wedding. Where am I?
Then he says something like, “Ladies and gentlemen, while waiting for our speaker, let’s listen to [insert name] as he serenades us with his rendition of ‘Breakeven’ by The Script!”
No one claps.
It’s about 9 AM… and we’re listening to someone SING. I look around and no one seems to be reacting and by that I mean they’re all poker-faced. I look at my coworker and we both end up looking like this:
He sings again before Jim Ayson speaks, this time doing an Adele cover and eliciting this tweet from a participant:
We obviously didn’t get the memo that this was a variety show slash conference because before the lunch break, about 3-4 guys in plaid shirts start dancing to a mix of Teach Me How to Dougie and other pop songs.
Here’s a picture I took of them:
Sorry but I came here to learn. Not be entertained. Also, I really think that there is a more appropriate type of venue for these types of performances.
They had tons of technical difficulties.
Ear-splitting mic feedback, videos not playing properly, speakers having to use a mic so they can use it as their laptop’s speaker. Why are these things happening when it’s already their second day?
See it’s fine if only one of those things happened but all of them? That just tells me they didn’t prepare for this. That, or they don’t mind that they’re getting a significant number of technical issues.
Their conference kit is terrible.
I’m really beginning to think that conference sponsors/advertisers here like to waste paper. I did not keep a single flyer nor did I look at one for more than 5 seconds. They were photocopied fliers on green and yellow paper. I suppose I should return them to the organizers next time. Also, why force participants to poke holes on their shirts by giving them button name tags?
Well, at least I’d be able to use 3 items here: the free 20 sheets of bond paper I got, the Philippine Internet Congress notebook which has photocopied sheets that I can write on (also comes with photocopied ads on the last 10 pages), and the canvas bag. Oh but wait… while taking pictures of the notebook… the sheets came apart.
We left after that as we had other plans. I am not going to go into their line up of speakers anymore. Just know that I loved Janette Toral and Jim Ayson‘s talks. If they didn’t have them, I would have definitely asked for a refund.
If you encounter any of their events in the future, my advice is to make sure that you know at least 2 or more speakers in their line up and that they’re worth going for.
I do not work for Magnum nor Chowking. I also am not a fan of either. What I am is an active Twitter user who has seen both brands do “hashtag marketing.”
#Magnum Trends on Twitter PH
If you’ve been on Twitter a lot the past couple of weeks, you might have seen the buzz on this Magnum ice cream bar. February 28 was when they had their press event and had their brand ambassadors, together with food bloggers, tweet about how ridiculously delicious this ice cream is. Of course, the #Magnum hashtag had to be there.
Yes, I will admit, I was one of those who got suckered by this marketing tactic.
To be fair, I wasn’t alone in this.
There were a lot of other tweets but I won’t include it here anymore. I’m thinking you’ve already seen a lot. But yes, #Magnum trended for a few hours that day and even my Facebook newsfeed picked up on it.
Of course, you can’t please everyone and so naturally, Magnum also had some people feeling they were ripped off or that this is a ridiculous campaign that just used celebrities and food bloggers. I’m not here to judge the product as I am by no means an ice cream connoisseur.
If you appreciate marketing or you’re a marketer though, you’ll know that if brand awareness was your objective for this product, then this campaign truly succeeded. I don’t know just how many of these things were bought that day but based on the number of people I’ve seen tweeting that they’re going to Ministop, the 7-Elevens that “ran out” of Magnum bars, and the number of people I’ve seen walking around with chocolate popsicles, I’d say they’ve sold a significant number.
But yes, whether or not you liked it, if you tweeted/Facebooked/Instagrammed your experience, you just helped them create even more buzz.
As for reaching 10 million tweets, I wonder if they included all the other non-ice cream Magnums out there? I actually had a friend from the US ask me why I was tweeting about condoms. LOL. Turns out Magnum is also a well-known condom brand. Interesting.
Spotted: A Copycat?
5 days after the #Magnum tweeting first started, I see around 2 tweets for this Chowking Chef SuperBowl Specials promo. I do a quick Twitter search and find the following: (I am not even going to comment on the #ExtremelyLongHashtagThatTakesUp1000Characters)
They used Twitter bots.
I’m not sure if this is something they’re proud of but the way I see it, it just looks… sad. If you don’t believe me, check out this Twitter user named Andre Pitt. In case he deletes his account, I also took a screenshot.
They spammed users.
Obviously, they have not heard about what happened to Ragu in the US. This tells me they don’t care whether people get annoyed by what they’re doing or if they’re labeled as spammers. As long as people see this #superlonghashtagabouttheirbrand, they’re fine.
They don’t even understand what they’re talking about.
How exactly do you trend on a Twitter fan page? I suppose if it’s your fan page, you’ll be trending on it 24/7?
I understand Chowking may not have the same budget as Magnum in that they couldn’t afford to have brand ambassadors or have nice press events but I really think this could have been done way better. You know, without the spamming, the bots, or the #extralonghashtagyesishouldprobablystopdoingthis.
Let me start by saying I am not an expert email marketer. I also don’t offer email marketing services, I am not affiliated with any of the companies I will be mentioning, and I don’t work for an ESP. I am just your regular hater email marketing recipient.
I’ll be showing you a couple of emails I have received from companies here in the Philippines. I’m not sure they did email client testing or if they did research as to what email marketing best practices are.
Here are the 2 things I’ve noticed:
1. They don’t use recognizable “from” email addresses.
The email is from a certain Grethel Almazar. How in the world am I supposed to know who that is? And what a catchy subject line! Pizza Promo! WOW! Let me read this! I don’t know who it’s from but it says Pizza Promo so I’ll read it right this very second! NAT.
Only after I click the email will I see that it’s from S&R. This is a big company, why can’t they invest more time in figuring out how to properly send emails to their customers?
Globe Telecom, I am also looking at you.
Who, or what is talk? Also, calling me “Valued Subscriber” really makes me feel “valued.”
2. They send purely image-based emails.
S&R did this. As you can see up top, it’s just an image that they attached as if it were an internal email sent to their coworkers. The problem with this is, well, it’s an image. Which means… 1 – If they have 2 or more items in there that looks “clickable”, I can’t click it because it’s this one big chunk of image. 2 – I can’t read the text if HTML is disabled which means when I first open the email, I won’t see anything. I will just see a big empty box and Yahoo or Gmail asking me if I want to display the image. Lastly, if I want to copy and paste the text, I also can’t do that.
It’s so simple. If there’s text in your email, especially if it’s long, don’t embed that in an image.
You would think that a publication for an advertising and marketing community would know this but check out their last email:
You’ll see blue in there because I highlighted it and I wanted to show you that if I tried to highlight say, a specific name in there so I can Google it, I can’t because it’s one. big. chunk. of image.
Here, I’ll show you how the entire email looks like:
See how long that is? I can’t even click on their sponsors.
I won’t include emails from daily deal sites anymore as I’m sure they follow email marketing standards – after all, they rely heavily on email marketing. Segmentation is where they need help but I don’t really feel like showing you an email from Groupon or Ensogo. I’m pretty sure you also get that daily or have already unsubscribed.
Now here’s an email from The Green Grocer. I love this because they’re not a big company, yet they already have something like this in place. (Disclaimer: I know the owner because I’m a customer and a big supporter of her business)
Another email sender I like is Wunderlist. I know they’re not a local company but their emails are just so simple and beautifully designed. They don’t use any special ESP either. They use MailChimp which anyone and everyone can use now.
Are there any other Philippine companies out there that send good marketing emails? Or if you’re a hater like me, really bad ones? Ha!
It’s not exactly cool to like your own Facebook status nor to give yourself a high-five in public but for those hating on them self-likers on Facebook, there might actually be a reason why they’re doing it – they want to increase their Facebook EdgeRank Score!
For those who said “Facebook whuuut?”, today is your lucky day – you won’t have to Google it because today’s blog post is all about this EdgeRank thing! I won’t go into the boring formula (which I’ve learned from Myles Vives btw) but instead just talk about the importance of this Edgerank Score and what factors affect it. EdgeRank Score is basically the reason why your posts are seen (or not) by your Facebook friends or if you have a fan page, fans. The higher your EdgeRank score, the more likely it is that your posts will show up on other people’s newsfeeds.
I know there’s a recent update where you’re now able to sort your Facebook stories either by Highlighted stories (this is where you’ll be showing up if you have a high EdgeRank score) or by Most Recent, but this really doesn’t change a lot of things because I know a lot of people who haven’t changed this setting, or know that it even exists.
So what affects this Facebook algorithm?
I like George Clooney, and if I were friends with him on Facebook I’d probably like most (not all because I plan on not being too creepy) of his posts, poke him and write comments on all his status messages and photos. Maybe I’ll even tag him in my pictures or notes or comments to my friends. I’m doing this, of course, so he’ll notice me.
BUT, with Facebook’s affinity score, just because I’m doing all these creepy things on George’s Facebook account, doesn’t mean my posts will show up on his newsfeed. All of his posts, tags, or whatever else he does on Facebook though, I’ll see. Oh the heartbreak.
See, on Facebook, we all get affinity scores from our friends while they get affinity scores from us. Think of it as a grading system and the test is interacting on Facebook. I’m giving George Clooney a high affinity score of course because I keep liking and commenting on all his shee. Unfortunately, he’s ignoring me which means he’s giving me a really really low score which is why whatever I post on Facebook won’t show up on his newsfeed. And since there are probably a lot of people like me trying to stalk him on Facebook, he will definitely show up on their newsfeeds and possibly on other people too even though they didn’t interact with him. This is what makes him popular on Facebook. That person you’ve been stalking on Facebook? He’ll keep showing up on your newsfeed. To increase your affinity score, whether for a Facebook fan page or for your own account, you need to make sure that people interact with you. That they write on your wall, comment on your statuses, send you private messages, etc.
Your Facebook posts are basically objects that has its own weight. With Facebook, if it’s a video, a picture or a link, it adds more “weight.” According to the Facebook experts, photos, videos, and links weigh more than your typical status message with Facebook app updates having the least weight.
3. Time or Age
This is the easiest. Newer posts will score higher. The older your post is, the less relevant it is and the less interaction it will get. Bam. So keep posting! For brands, I’ve seen it work better if you post every other day with once every day as your limit. For personal profiles, I find that they show up more if they post a lot and that’s not fun if you’re being flooded by rants or lookbook pictures of themselves. The good news is, if you don’t like what you’re seeing, you know you can always de-clutter and unsubscribe.
There you have it kids! Affinity Score + Weight + Time = EdgeRank Score! As for the friend liking her own post to increase her EdgeRank score, she helped add some weight to her post, plus her affinity score from herself just increased! If you want to read more on this, head on over to http://edgerankchecker.com.