Build a Dynamic Website and Grow your SEO!

Freakin' Genius Marketing is busily working on content and optimization for about 4 new websites along with the optimization of 2 existing sites this week. In all the hub-bub, what I’ve realized as the main point of contact at our agency is that I’m spending a great deal of time explaining the process to so many clients that I found myself channeling this as a blog post today.

There are three main development specialists each with multiple jobs in the development of a website. All of the web specialists are both integral to the final product and the sum of its parts. These specialists are: The Designer, The Programmer, The Marketing Strategist/Content Writer. Let me explain.

The Designer (Note: sometimes the programmer is also a designer, but mostly a designer is an artist- while a programmer has a more technical background)

The designer is key to the look and feel of the site. We call this the User Interface (UI) which is the pretty part, all the colors, the logo, the layout, the template and the way the whole thing comes together. All this pretty stuff works with the programming and often goes into separate hands. The greatest inventions have been templates of previously designed websites you can purchase so you can visualize what your “website” will look like before it’s built. The templates sell for very little, which is so exciting, but need much programming customization. It’s like buying the empty bear skin at Build-a-Bear. You still have to stuff and dress it for it to be a proper bear.

The Programmer:

So after the designers develop the UI, the programmers then develop the supporting programming that makes it all work like a website instead of just a pretty picture. They are the behind the scenes guys who are the wind in the sails as it pertains to writing the html or developing the Flash (images) that make the site work as an integrated “location” on the web. They program the databases if your website collects information also. They are really all the function while the designer is really all about the form.

The challenge with building a website is that the User Interface (UI), programming, and much of the navigation depends on the content and the goal of the site. Are you looking for a static site to convert a visitor to a certain page to give you their email or call or potentially to get to your shopping cart to purchase something? It takes much collaboration of the offer, the look, the timing, and the ease of getting around the site to accomplish that.

Ok, on to what the site actually says.

The Marketing Strategist/Writer:

Not only does your website’s content have to be descriptive, clearly introduce and cohesively sell what your company’s service and products are all about, but the mapping of it needs to be intuitively navigable, meaning, it has to be natural to move around in it in a logical way. And oh yes, it needs to written with important keywords and key phrases so that prospective clients will find you based on the search engine spiders seeing your relevance to their search. This is called on-page search engine optimization (SEO) and is integral to success as it pertains to your website’s goal of reaching your prospective customers. Writing search optimized content is sometimes counter intuitive. It can be repetitious and lastly doesn’t believe in pronouns. There are many rules to writing for SEO and of course those rules are always changing as the search engines keep us all hopping so we don’t figure them out.

Ok, so now we take one more go round with the programming because, once the UI is working in conjunction with the on-page optimized content, the off-page SEO needs to be developed just prior to launching the site. The writer has coordinated this while writing the on-page content.

The off-page SEO includes the titles, metatags, keywords, and descriptions that go in the body of the programming (off-page) but are in keeping with the final content on the site itself (on-page). In other words, the off-page keywords have to coordinate with the content on the page so that the search engine sees the html language and then confirms the words are indeed present on the site and as such, will send a search prospect the name of your website and the page address and description that is most in keeping with the search term used.

Does this whole thing sound complicated? It's not if you have someone keeping their finger on the pulse. Ask our Smartysite clients, at Freakin’ Genius Marketing, we keep our finger on the pulse of your whole project. We have the 4-star programmers, we have the award winning designers who develop the UI, and we write fantastic optimized content, ready to roll! Turnkey Website Development! Could you even have imagined it to be this easy? SmartySites! It’s Freakin’ Genius!

Freakin' Genius...Loved this!

I just read about a local printer who wanted to encourage prospects to use them, so they sent 1,500 roundtrip transit bus and subway cards to show them how easy it was to get to their facility for a press check. The card, was sent attached to a full-color, 5-panel mailer that spelled out "Take a swipe at us" as the prospect unfolded it. RESULTS: 5% of all mailed recipients placed an order!

Marketers offer sweat, tears and blood to their potential clients

Some marketing agencies promise to give blood, sweat and tears to clients. Touch branding, a european-based marketing company has been intent on backing up the claim "We'll give our blood for good branding" with an edgy direct mail campaign built around the message.

With a flair for the dramatic, Touch has mailed real blood bags filled with fake blood to potential clients in their geographic target zone. The mailer includes a letter with a short intro to the company and a link to its website, which resembles a blood bag. They produced the whole thing in-house for around $1 a piece.

The edge that works for this campaign can only be achieved when marketers take risks and aren't afraid to get creative with their direct mail campaigns, even when they are only a part of the total effort.

"Direct mail works when it brings a positive surprise to the recipient", says Creative Director Martin Marusinec. "The postal service can deliver almost anything these days, so there's no reason why your direct mail has to be yet another letter or plain brochure."

Email Alone Will Get you Nowhere- Diversity is Key!

When the economy went bellyup two years ago, many marketers did what they had to do: Cut their spending and focused the few dollars they did have on the cheapest available options - primarily digital venues.

That's understandable. But now that the economy is showing signs of life, too many are sticking to that strategy, essentially standing on the sidelines as the economic recovery kicks into gear. Worse yet, increasing budgets but not the channels they use to communicate.

If there's one painful lesson that every investor learned when Wall Street crashed, it's that diversification is key to success. So why haven't marketers learned that same lesson when it comes to their communications?

As the result of this mono-venue approach, the digital world has become increasingly crowded- the average consumer receives 14-15 emails a day from companies or brands. That's not good for marketers lookign for engaging ways to get their messages into the hands of consumers.

Consider, for example, that the average household receives about 16 pieces of advertising-related mail per week (Source: 2008 Household Diary Study- USPS) and you can plainly see the potential that direct mail offers. Four times less clutter, an ability to stand out and the ability to put a brand's best case in the hands of your customer.

Beyond the clutter, there's simple math that says the more marketers diversify the communication venues speaking to the customer, the better the impact. A recent study found that 80% of consumers rely on more than one marketing message in multiple marketing venues when making a purchase decision. That makes sense to me. Most of us need to have multiple interactions with a brand before parting with our hard-earned money.

Don't forget the personalized URL, Quick Response code or other links that can be included in the print driven messages that can take your integrated digital marketing to a whole new level in 1:1 relationship building.

Tactical, dimensional marketing messages- cut through the clutter and get you noticed and will earn you a fair share of your customer's wallet-share. Diversify your marketing mix now and you'll benefit in the long run.

How do you REALLY connect with your customer?

By integrating elements of logic, general thought processes, emotions and their five senses you can discover a unique approach to the task of connecting with your customer.

When marketing in an experiential manner your objective is always to encourage such a deep connection with the customer that they respond to your product offering based on both their emotional and rational response levels. Here are a few of the basics of experiential marketing, and how this process can help you succeed when other marketing strategies fail.

Appealing to a variety of senses, experiential marketing seeks to tap into that special place within consumers that has to do with inspiring thoughts about comfort and pleasure, as well as inspiring a sense of practicality. This means that, a marketer, you need to have a firm grasp on the mindset of the prospective target market you wish to attract. By understanding what the consumer is likely to think and feel, it is possible to get an idea of how to steer the customer in a direction that will relate with the product, and entice individuals to act on that impulse to purchase.

In order to engage in experiential marketing, it is necessary to connect with as many of the senses as possible. Striking displays with powerful visual elements, such as websites, and visual media such as print ads should not only be visually appealing, but also conjure up daydreams of locales and reminders of sensations that are enjoyable to the individual. When used to create customer experiences of this nature, a sense of rapport between the product and the consumer is established that helps to make the good or service more desirable with each encounter.

Because experiential marketing connects with the consumer on multiple levels, the strategy is ideally suited for contemporary sales and marketing campaigns. Shortened attention spans demand that any ad campaign make a quick impression, or the opportunity to engage the consumer will quickly pass. While thirty second ads on radio and television once had a great impact, many people now use modern technology to avoid this sort of marketing approach.

This means that ads you place on the internet, in the print media, and on modern billboards must immediately catch the attention of prospective clients and hold that attention long enough to make a lasting impression. Experiential marketing holds the key to making this happen. By appealing to all five senses, and making the connection quickly and seamlessly, this approach to the marketing task ensures that you can still attract and satisfy the needs and desires of your prospective target market.


My 4 year old skips everywhere. It confounds me how in one moment she can be screaming bloody murder with the water works on full steam and the next moment she can be bounding for the next activity, at the height of a joyful prance. I guess this is the definition of true resilience.

It’s not as if it’s harnessed in any way….it’s so natural that it just sort of falls out of her. So, when I, like the smarty pants that I am, try to mimic it, subscribing to the fact that it will manifest the same resilience in my world, well….I just look like damn foolish.

I guess the whole thing has me looking at resistance a little bit differently. This came to me as I was running this morning, as I’m dedicated to do 3 times a week no matter what! Don’t think that commitment to running wasn’t initially met without resistance either, because it was. It’s not easy finding that time for myself in a busy day, but what I’ve found is that the hour I dedicate to running, thinking without interruption, praying, and writing in my brain makes me about 100X more productive the other 18 hours of my generally non-stop work-filled days.

So, I was running today, which I do with no Ipod, no Iphone, no distraction or friend to chat with, and no expectations and suddenly I found myself attuned to the smell of the late season clover, sound of the secadas, the wind in the leaves as it swept over the miles I could see, the birds chirping, the geese wings flapping above, the bees buzzing to my right, my sneakers as they hit the gravel at an even pace, my breath- all was synergistic. Like a puzzle, it all fit into a nice neat package of a fully realized moment in time.

Then, from out of nowhere a motor revved, a plane flew overhead, and it was an assault to that moment. I couldn’t help to think, because this is what this hour for, about how analogous this was to my business day. All that noise, but such important messages in each succinct piece. Competition of individual messages to be heard in a noisy world, that when listened to, in an attuned moment make complete sense. As a runner, in that moment I could hear it all, including the assault. But in the same moment, I was able to assess the assault, tune it out, and continue my momentum. Of course, just when I thought I had it all under control, I rounded the corner of a steepened hill and I was nearly rendered breathless when met with a wind that would barrel me full force for what would be another mile

It was in this resistance that my mind took me to my work. Ah, I thought, this wind is the negative self speak my clients have when they come to me with viable ideas and no self confidence to implement them. This wind bespeaks of naysayers and competitors trying to knock pricing into a commodity mode. This wind is trying to slow me down until my momentum merely becomes a race in time for a motionless end to my success at mental clarity. But then it came to me, my daughter…prancing along like a pony. Just Skip, the little voice inside my head prodded!

So I did.

And as I skipped, the wind that had been rushing against me fueled my prance and I found I was moving faster instead of slower. As I skipped, I began to giggle and then laugh forgetting entirely that I had been out of breath from the previous 4 miles. What a fool I must have looked like, I mused, at which point I decided to pull out all the stops and put my arms out like an airplane and zoom my way through the last half mile of the trail. When I skipped and zoomed into the parking lot, where I generally show up looking haggard albeit with an unparalleled mental clarity, I arrived joyful…feeling like I could take on another 5 miles. Well, almost. Most importantly I had this revelation about resistance, and how if you take it on like a wrestler in the ring, it can be USED as a piece of the puzzle to get you to your goal. So the next time you feel like you just can’t go that last mile, just approach it differently. What’s there to lose? And man oh man, there’s way too much to gain not to try. So, when you are next faced with resistance either from a colleague or a prospect, just skip!

Note to reader: As a practice, my business is fueled by experience. The anecdotes I often share with clients and seminar attendees have often been the moment of revelation for me or someone I work with. Associative learning is a wonderful strategy to understand new concepts in a rapidly changing world. Learning by anecdote and metaphor enables a level of understanding one might otherwise never get if forced to learn a new language and skill set.

FTC Guidelines for Blogging and Tweeting

Are you left scratching your head how the heck you can comply with the new FTC “Endorsement” Guidelines when sending a “tweet” that is limited to 140 characters?

Do you have any idea how you are supposed to comply with the new FTC Guidelines when doing something as simple as updating your facebook wall, or posting something to your blog?

Well, you aren't alone.

Since the new FTC Guidelines went into effect last December people have had thousands of questions but very few of them were ever answered.

Chicken little might scream the sky is falling, but believe it or not, the FTC has been busy answering those questions on their website.

Go to the FTC Guidelines by clicking this link and scan the hundreds of questions and answers for some of your own.

It really boils down to truth in advertising and practicing integrity and the honor system as the revised Guides – issued after public comment and consumer research – reflect three basic truth-in-advertising principles:

1. Endorsements must be truthful and not misleading;
2. If the advertiser doesn’t have proof that the endorser’s experience represents what consumers will achieve by using the product, the ad must clearly and conspicuously disclose the generally expected results in the depicted circumstances; and
3. If there’s a connection between the endorser and the marketer of the product that would affect how people evaluate the endorsement, it should be disclosed.

Yep, Yer Kid, Yer Dad AND Yer Grandmother are Using Social Media

In April of 2009, just 22% of Americans age 50 and over were using social networking tools such as Facebook. (Source: Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project) But by May of this year, 42% of Americans 50 and older were posting status updates or sending tweets. A near-majority — 47% — of people 50 to 64 are now using social networks.

More specifically, the Pew report found that 13% of Americans 65 and older now log in to a social network on a typical day, compared with 4% in 2009.

What does this translate to for marketers? An unprecedented opportunity to reach the 50+ target market in a captive location. While young adults are using the venue more intensely, the level of growth of adoption towards social media in the baby boomer plus age group is truly unparalleled.

While it is true this group still relies heavily on email for contacting family, friends and colleagues, social media is fast becoming part of their daily communication network- probably as a result of it's speed and convenience, not to mention its obviously widespread use.

There is no irony that Facebook was started as a way for college kids to network, but that it may end up being the venue that closes the gap between generations, as the dicey question of whether to "friend" Mom and Dad becomes an increasingly universal dilemma, even for middle-aged people. When you think of it, how many other places are there in the world - either on or offline- where kids, teens, mid-generation members, grandparents, neighbors, teachers, friends and colleagues can regularly intersect and communicate?

NOTE: Pew's findings come from a nationwide survey of 2,252 American adults who were interviewed on land phone lines and cellphones. The margin of error for the total sample is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Target Marketing to the Max!

Did you know that you can take a map, draw a circle around an area you want to target and identify only those potential customers with criteria that match your target customer base?

Did you know that, you can then model the profile of that target customer base and recreate test marketing in communities in a larger "geo" circle around the area your business serves? In fact, you can actually profile a region to assess and evaluate a strategic growth plan into neighboring towns and counties.

Most businesses grow by default or competitive intuition. They either pick up a client in an extraneous or obscure location by referral or the internet or they pick an area where there is little or no competition and they build a customer base from scratch.

FGM has a client who has a service business serving a rather large 100 mile geocircle, inclusive of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. They are experts at what they do and hired FGM to create a highly optimized and educational website to drive potential new customers to their website. The result? Their web leads multiplied exponentially, however, some of them are from halfway across the country. Disappointingly, they are unable to service a need that far out of their service area and to date find themselves apologizing to potential customers in other states. They are even trying to assess ways to stop these calls by limiting the web exposure and minimize the keywords that are reaching these potential markets. I say, WHOA! Use it to your advantage!

When you start evaluating how you want to grow your business consider arranging reciprocal arrangements with companies you trust who perform similar services in other areas of the country. Establish a reciprocal fee for finding and referring a customer (if they indeed win the business) and watch your profits grow without the overhead of time or labor. Additionally, if your website or referrals are bringing in an extraordinary amount of business from an area you once considered outside of your target area, start looking at potential buy-out opportunities in which you acquire a business with a strong local reputation and start funneling all the leads you are receiving towards it.

Growth opportunities are around every corner. It's the ones under the rocks that are often the most profitable though, and often they start with a sign from your target market when they call looking for you! As my grandmother would say, "keep your eyes peeled and your ears pricked" for potential,it's never silent.

Five Brain Facts To Keep In Mind When Creating Marketing Messages

On a very personal note, I have done a great deal of research on the brain as of late and I'm afraid that in some strange way, I relate everything I learn to marketing. Blame it on my brain!

Brain 101: Every human being has a right brain and a left brain.

This is probably something you already knew, having heard your spouse or your kids refer to your left brained obsession with the cost of leaving all the lights on in the house, or your right brained obsession with velvet pain-by-numbers artwork. To that point, each of those hemispheres perform different tasks, including how they relate to and perhaps remember or immediately forget marketing messages!

1. The right brain works in sensual imagery, not in words.
2. Right brain images are direct reflections of reality as gauged by the senses, not abstract symbols of reality, such as the words in this post
3. The right brain plays the lead role in determining the relevance of incoming information and messages
4. The right brain, which looks for patterns or relationships, forms more complete images than the left brain, which focuses more on the details
5. The right brain is inclusionary and detects relationships; the left brain is exclusionary and detects categories

What this all boils down to, is that while most businesses focus on features in their marketing, all customers focus on feelings. See the problem?

Assess your marketing message for what it says about the relationship with the potential customer. For example, does it reflect images of who they want to be rather than who they are, leaving them pining for your product or service? With all the strength of the right brain's job in processing outside messages (as above, and I suggest you read them over again), you definitely don't want to leave out its most intense desire to be connected emotionally in some way to your message. It's the way to becoming memorable, even viral.

The scary part is that much of it happens in the first-impressions stage of introduction of the message. Based on the demographic of your market, a first impression can either kill the chance you will ever get a customer or win you a lifer! Find the right brain message in your marketing and write your ticket to success.

Five Nuts to Watch in 2010

You may think I'm nuts for this post, and I am. I am really excited about it! I am excited because I think it strongly demonstrates how important associations are in the advocacy campaigns for their members. Over the years I have had the opportunity to be a member of some benign and some really valuable and strong organizations.

Advocating for the rights and interests of its constituency should be an association's top mission, but often, sadly the top spot often falls to other more self serving purposes for existence. I love this piece because it clearly illustrates how a smart group with strong research was able to lobby for national credibility and awareness without having to spend millions of dollars on another "milk mustache" campaign.

Nuts of all types have had their ups and downs as far as the American diet is concerned. They lost ground in low-fat diets of the past millennium, their carbohydrates were scorned by the Atkins diet and nuts were further scarred by the Peanut Corp. of America salmonella contamination early this year.

But they keep bouncing back. Why? Because nuts are excellent sources of protein, minerals, monounsaturated fats and other nutrients, and they’re good for the heart. And consumers increasingly are getting those messages.

Nuts in 2003 received the FDA’s first qualified health claim for a food: “Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” The FDA announcement was in response to a petition from the International Tree Nut Council’s (INC) Nutrition Research & Education Foundation.

“More than 30 studies have shown that including nuts in the diet can reduce the risk of heart disease regardless of the individual nut studied,” said Guy Johnson, at the time nutrition consultant to INC and author of the INC health claim petition. In addition to being good sources of unsaturated fats, which have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, most nuts contain a variety of other potential cardio-protective components such as vitamin E, selenium, magnesium, copper, potassium, betasitosterol and omega-3 fatty acids.

Five healthy nuts to watch (and include in your formulations) in the new year:

•Almonds: Just a quarter cup of almonds contains nearly 25 percent of the recommended daily value of magnesium, plus significant amounts of potassium, manganese, copper, the antioxidants vitamin E and selenium, and calcium. In fact, a quarter cup of almonds has almost as much calcium as a quarter cup of milk. They also make for a healthy colon. A study found that animals (which were exposed to a colon-cancer-causing agent) given whole almonds had fewer signs of colon cancer than animals given almond oil or no almonds. Researchers suspect the benefit may be due to almonds’ high fiber content. And because 70 percent of the fat they contain is the healthy monounsaturated variety, they are believed to believed to lower cholesterol.

•Walnuts: Full of healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which have been found to protect the heart, walnuts may promote better cognitive function and provide anti-inflammatory benefits for asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema and psoriasis. And their antioxidant compound ellagic acid is known to fight cancer and support the immune system.

•Cashews: Not just bar or party food, cashews are gaining formulation respect because they are lower in fat than most nuts, and 65 percent of this fat is unsaturated fatty acids. Of this, 90 percent is oleic acid, the heart-healthy fat found in olive oil. They’re also good sources of copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and biotin.

•Pecans: Another nut with significant proof that it lowers cholesterol. Clinical research studies evaluating the impact of pecans on serum cholesterol have found pecans can significantly help lower blood cholesterol when consumed as part of a heart-healthy diet, according to the National Pecan Shellers Assn. They also an excellent source of 19 vitamins and minerals including vitamins E and A, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, several B vitamins and zinc.

•Macadamia Nuts: While having some of the highest levels of calories (200 per serving) and total fat (22g), they’re also the highest in monounsaturated fat. Macadamias are high in protein, fiber, potassium and magnesium. And since most come from Hawaii, they have cachet.
Source: The Next Wave: Wellness Food Trends for 2010

Freakin' Genius Marketing Speaks to the North American Meat Processors Association

March 20th, while many of you were still nicely tucked in your beds, I was en route to give a General Session presentation to an estimated 200 attendees at the North American Meat Processors Conference at The Drake in Chicago.

While NAMP had originally engaged me to give a general presentation on Marketing in Mean Times (a presentation I have given to a number of Associations previously) I found that while doing my research to customize the presentation,their needs were much more far reaching and indeed quite specific to one topic many industries face. So, I put my nose to the grindstone and researched and wrote a presentation about Breaking out of the Commodity Box from a strategic perspective.

The presentation was an overwhelming success and just under 50% of the audience also attended our (with the help of Peter Lineal, FGM Partner) afternoon workshop, where specific tactical insights were bantered about for about an hour in a more informal setting.

NAMP is a fantastic association and supports its dedicated member base with strong strategic programs and right-on-point tactical efforts to grow their constituent's business. I am honored to have been a guest speaker at their conference and am even more excited to have been able to provide insightful information on establishing unique selling propositions in an industry known historically to be hinged on price, price and price.

I am thrilled to welcome several new clients to the list of fine businesses we at Freakin' Genius Marketing work with as a result of our presentation at this conference!

Is your Direct Mail Being Read?

55% open something from a brand or company that they know
51% open it if it's personally addressed to them
50% open it if it's a product or service they already have interest in
39% open it if they can see it contains a free sample or a voucher
27% open it if it's a local business or event
21% open it because it's competition
15% open it if it's fun and interesting packaging
10% open it if it looks funny or silly
6% open it if they like the design or find the envelope attractive
3% open it if they like the color
12% open it for a variety of miscellaneous reasons
Source: CCB for MAP 2008- Research

The best question to ask yourself is, have you tried testing different direct mail strategies and tactics in search of the greatest percentage of opens and responses? If not, you are wasting a lot of money on direct mail that is not working for you. ROI, it's the name of the game!

An example of Why Facebook is good for Business!

Word of Mouth on Steroids
An excerpt from my Facebook Friends (3/9/10)

Sherrie: (Status Post) Cheers to NBK bakery team - birthday cake was a huge hit!
14 hours ago · Comment ·LikeUnlike

Juan likes this.

Lynn: What is NBK? I need a cake for Sally's birthday - would love to try someplace new...
5 hours ago

Sherrie: Hey Lynn, NBK is Whole Foods Market, Northbrook. They made me a cake that was super reasonable and had the guests (big & small) raving! I got Chocolate with chocolate buttercream, iced with ganache on top (smooth dark coating over cake). They drew the cutest football, soccer ball, basketball & base ball on it! It rocked.
2 hours ago

Lynn: Ummm, I'll just say YUM!
17 minutes ago

Write a comment...

So whaddya think? You think that anyone who reads this description will think of NBK Whole Foods for their next cake? I do! And that, my friends, is how social media works to grow your business beyond your wildest dreams!

It's not a Monologue! It's a DIALOGUE! Get in on the conversation!

Laughable Litany of Social Media Terms

"ReBuzzThis Wants To Be The TweetMeme Of Google Buzz
Written by Erick Schonfeld on Mar 5, 2010 for TechCrunch

You know how TweetMeme started out trying to be the Techmeme of Twitter before it ventured off plastering its ReTweet buttons on every blog on the Web? Well now there’s a site that just launched today that wants to be the TweetMeme of Google Buzz called ReBuzzThis."

Ok, I gotta ask this. Am I the only one that thinks the litany of made up social media terms sounds like gibberish? Honestly, if the Back to the Future Delorean really existed, do you think that Doc would have any freakin' idea what we were talking about if he read this? Wanna real laugh? Read it out loud! Ok, so I'll take a step back from my seemingly judgemental position to comment constructively.

Retweeting, Rebuzzing, and Tweetmemeing are just sexy terms for reposting. In other words, taking your place in the social media line of passing along the good word on an article, topic or product that made a memorable impression on you. Good or bad, it inspired you enough to share!

It's your responsibility to be a part of the dialogue that fuels social media, especially if you are on the other end of the spectrum hoping that someone will re-post, tweet, or buzz your post.

It's all in the game of good sportsmanship to share and be shared. These tools are simply FANTASTIC as traffic driving SEO machines, but boy...they sure sound ridiculous! Tweet on my friends! May the Buzz be with you!

Email Success: Quantity or Quality?

Should Marketers pick quantity or quality in measuring Email Return-on-Investment?That is the million dollar question.

For a lead-generation email campaign to be a success, business owners must understand that Return-on-Investment (ROI) is the most important metric.

Marketers must first decide if the campaign will be sent to a large list of opt-in email addresses, or a smaller, more targeted list based on previous purchase or request for specific information.

Dealing with larger quantities of email addresses can create challenges because it is difficult to test the campaign on a large list. Every campaign I ever executed started with testing, as I believe testing is integral to success.

If the campaign must be sent to a large list, the subject line and text copy must appeal to a large audience. This isn't so easy to accomplish and still have a strong call to action without sounding promotional and spammy in nature. (Like that? Spammy? I think I just made that up.)

If a marketer can splice and dice the list into a smaller, more targeted email campaign the overall open and click through results will most definitely improve. Another key strategy is to divide the mailing up geographically to test different subject lines based on geographical segmentation.

All that said, I stand behind quality in marketing over quantity any time. As it pertains to ROI, it's all about the goal and the conversion rates of the email that correlate to that goal.


Social Media Anxiety Disorder! Oh my, is there really such a condition? What kind of credentials must the diagnosing party have to label it as such? Does the sufferer shake and cough when they are tossed offline or only when they have to execute an integrated social media component into a marketing plan?

How many of you have been bucking the trend towards social media usage whether on a personal or a professional basis?

Social media has fast become the only growth media there is…with over 66% of marketers saying they'll be throwing more of their budget into social media, it appears its time is here!

But, does the learning curve with juggling it and all the prospective optimized cross links you can create through it give you the same shakes you suffered during vows to your FIRST spouse? Does the idea of having the public be the conversation starters AND controllers about your brand or product make you consider medical or psychological intervention? Do the viral videos, survey monkeys, quizzes, rating systems, and blog commentaries induce crippling anxiety?

Sounds to me like a clear cut case of SMAD!

To be clear, SMAD is a bit different from what psychiatrists have defined as Social Anxiety Disorder. According to the DSM IV, the guidebook to all things mental, SAD is "a persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others" (eg; "Life").

SMAD, on the other hand, is caused by stress from the pressures of social media: the constant management, requests, writing, invitations, posting, tweeting, commentary, networking, profile writing, page development, and blogging to name a few. If the constant chatter among customers, potential customers, and angry past customers alone is enough to make you run from your office screaming, you are suffering from SMAD.

Now, there are multiple ways to relieve yourself of the acronym, not the least of which is to dig a hole and stick your head in it. But, a more productive manner of coping might start with a strategic plan and some time management techniques.

Social Media is an amazingly responsive and seriously effective way to drive traffic to your website, increase exposure of your brand in and beyond your “marketplace” and create BUZZ about whatever it is you or your company represents.

There is nothing to be fearful about! I repeat, there is nothing to fear! There is moderation meets a keen strategy with conversion goals (goals for how you want to measure your success – based on sales, traffic, comments, tweets, forwarded links, a combination of all of them, etc.)

Freakin’ Genius Marketing are pros at working with you to develop a strategy that integrates into your existing marketing plan so that you can find relief in the ROI you will realize, and kick the SMAD to the curb. Yeah, that’s us…We’re the antidote to SMAD. You’ll find our pricing isn’t a hard pill to swallow either!

SmartyMail™ and Smart Direct Mail Make a Winning Combination!

SmartyMail™ and Smart Direct Mail make a top notch tactical combination to generate leads and effectively increase loyalty by your current customers.

How does it work?

1. We start with a top notch mailing list (either yours or we purchase one that meets all the criteria of your top prospect). Note: Testing this tactic by picking a niche target market is an excellent idea for those skeptics out there.

2. Then, our award winning design team creates a traffic-driving, promotionally-driven jumbo size post card with a strong web-based call-to-action. The Smart Direct Mail drives your prospect to a customized landing page offering a trial or reward for opt-in to your email database.

3. When they opt-in, they are entered into your database where SmartyMail™ can take over and send them an autorespond to thank them along with delivering their "reward" download or "trial" information.

Now, you own an enhanced email list of target prospects who have all the criteria to be your new best customers and they have OPTED IN to see your emails. SmartyMail™ then delivers regularly scheduled customized and branded emails of varied topic to those customers and prospects to maintain exposure and increase brand loyalty.

Buying or renting email lists has proven to be very unsuccessful for many Freakin' Genius Marketing clients. This is a much more effective way to develop your own list AND it gives you so much flexibility relating to the landing pages as it relates to that specific prospect!

Call us at(847)882-4234 or drop us an email ( to find out how we can customize a program for you! Make the first quarter of 2010 impressive, get SMART with a SmartyMail™ and Smart Direct Mail combo campaign!

Controlling the Assault of What? We're talkin' Emails here!

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003- full name, Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing - established national standards for sending commercial email.

CAN-SPAM allows the Federal Trade Commission to implement a National Do-Not-Email list similar to the National Do-Not-Call Registry against telemarketing. However, the FTC soundly rejected this proposal, and will not implement such a list.

The reason this all comes to mind today, is this morning my inbox was so jammed up with bogus holiday services and promotions that I thought it was a good time to review the CAN SPAM laws.

This week marks the six-year anniversary of the President making the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act official. Bolstered by an overwhelming approval by the U.S. congress after six years of debate, it created the first federal law regulating spam. Many U.S. states already had anti-spam laws. In some cases the state laws were more stringent, though overruled by the federal version.

The law went into effect January 1, 2004. Here’s a quick rundown of the law’s main provisions to keep in mind while sending out your email marketing campaigns.

•Header information must be correct and legitimate. Your email’s “from” and “to” lines must be accurate, including the originating domain name, and identify the person who initiated the email.

•The subject line cannot mislead your email recipients about the content within the email.

•Your email recipients must have an opt-out method and it must be clear, easy to follow, and it must work to end any commercial messages.

•The opt-out option must be available to recipients for at least 30 days after they receive your commercial email.

•Opt-out requests must be handled within 10 business days.

•It’s illegal for you to sell or share opt-out email addresses.

•If your list is not double-opt in, your email must be identified as an advertisement and include a valid bricks-and-mortar postal address.

•Don’t harvest emails and don’t use automated means to create email addresses.

•If you share an email address with a third party, you must give the recipient “clear and conspicuous notice at the time the consent was communicated”.

The law also distinguished commercial emails from transactional emails, if the purpose of the email is to “facilitate, complete, or confirm”. Since the original law was enacted, the FTC has made some updates including some in the last few months including Spam directed at wireless and mobile related devices.

Here are some of the newest provisions, cut and pasted directly from the FTC Web site: e-mail recipient cannot be required to pay a fee, provide information other than his or her e-mail address and opt-out preferences, or take any steps other than sending a reply e-mail message or visiting a single Internet Web page to opt out of receiving future e-mail from a sender;

2.the definition of “sender” was modified to make it easier to determine which of multiple parties advertising in a single e-mail message is responsible for complying with the Act’s opt-out requirements;

3.a “sender” of commercial e-mail can include an accurately-registered post office box or private mailbox established under United States Postal Service regulations to satisfy the Act’s requirement that a commercial e-mail display a “valid physical postal address”; and

4.a definition of the term “person” was added to clarify that CAN-SPAM’s obligations are not limited to natural persons.

Keep in mind, CAN SPAM law is intended for the U.S., so email in other countries is governed differently. The European Union, for instance, has a set of standards, but the actual laws are different throughout Europe.

In December 2003 when Bush enacted the original CAN SPAM law,many critics said it would do little or nothing to lessen the amount of spam. The joke at the time was that CAN was a verb allowing permission. It appears the critics were correct. But proponents of the federal law still say it helps send a powerful message to spammers through a nationwide legal standard.

If you’re just starting out with email campaigns, adhering to legal standards might seem overwhelming. In this case there’s no substitute for chatting with your legal team. But for many simple email campaigns, just using the features of software like Freakin' Genius Marketing's Smartymail(tm) can help ensure you’re covered for opt-out mechanisms and ensuring your header information is correct.

Well, I hope this post acts as a nice reminder for everyone. Gotta get back to Spaminating my mailbox. Wishing you a Spam Free Holiday!