Weekly Home-Based Business News and Advice, since 1997.

Volume 6  Issue 50                                  ISSN 1499-1160                                      December 16, 2002

FEATURE - Writing for publicity

NEWS - New resources and information for home-based business people
NEWS - Email auto-replies can be an invitation to criminals
NEWS - Microsoft reveals critical flaws in Windows
NEWS - We buy more gifts for pets than in-laws

COMMENT - Moving to the U.S.

HOW TO - How to optimize a framed site for high rankings
ADVICE - New realities for e-mail marketing

WHO SAID:"There is no success without controversy."

CHUCKLES - I'm a recovering thinker





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FEATURE - Writing for publicity

By David Callan

Building your reputation online is one of the most important thing you can do to aid the success of your Internet business.

One of the most popular ways among the "Internet gurus" to do this is to provide highly useful, interesting and profitable information to people interested in your industry.

When people see you as a provider of good information that they can use and profit from, then your reputation and your companies reputation become more credible. When this happens people will be more likely to buy your products and services or indeed the products or services you recommend them.

One of the best and fastest ways to get your companies name and your own name spread on the web is to begin writing articles for other ezines and websites, or indeed just submit previously written articles to them.

If your articles are good quality and informative then ezine and website publishers will be interested and your work could end up being published in endless ezine editions and hundreds of websites. Not only will this increase your credibility, it could result in 1000's more visitors, this is because at the end of all your articles which you allow others to publish will be a link back to your site. Don't forget also if lots or your articles are published on websites then your link popularity will improve drastically. This will result in higher search engine rankings in Google and the other engines which use link popularity as a ranking factor, which or course means lots more visitors and profit for you.

Take AKA Marketing.com, we are only a new site, might be news to some of you but we are. We launched in late April (02) if I remember correctly. We have already had articles published in two of the most popular ezines available for webmasters on the Internet. These are WebProNews and Sitepronews, our "Yahoo submitting tips" article was published in WebProNews and our "Banner design tips" article was published in Sitepronews a week or so later.

These publications have a lot of subscribers, easily well over a million between them. For our troubles akamarketing.com received a couple of thousand free visitors over the day of publication and for a couple of days after the original publication. All we did was send in two articles which were already published for all our regular visitors to view and read on AKA Marketing.com. Hopefully with the above example in mind you can begin to realize the power of writing and distributing articles for others to use over the web. This article is your guide to getting published on the web.

First of, you have got to make sure your article is properly formatted. By this is mean readable, if it's not readable then it doesn't matter how good your article is, because no busy ezine publisher will bother to format it for you, that's your job.

Before we continue I have to admit that I have fallen down on this point, recently I submitted to article_annouce a Yahoo group for you guessed it announcing your article to ezine publishers and other people looking for content. Article_annouce is the biggest group of it's kind on the web with nearly 2000 members. However Shelley Lowery the group moderator emailed my a while later saying my "Yahoo submitting tips" article was rejected. It turns out the copy I sent to her was unformatted and all over the place. This is the same article that WebProNews editors felt was good enough to send out to over 800,000 subscribers, so it was a good article. However it wasn't formatted so it wasn't accepted and nobody in that group got to see it, that time anyway (it was accepted a few days later).

The correct way to format your articles is to hit the carriage return button or enter button on your keyboard every 65 characters including spaces. It's recommended that you do this using Notepad as MS WORD and other word processors aren't good at this sort of thing. I found this a pain in the butt, I knew it was essential to getting my articles published, but I thought that there must be a quicker way, and guess what there is.

However only users of MS Outlook and MS Outlook express might be able to do this. I'm guessing other programs have this capability too, but I only have the two MS programs mentioned above installed on my machine so I can't say. Anyway if you want to properly format your articles to the 65 characters a line standard without manually counting and pressing enter after every 65 characters you can. Simply startup which ever of the above programs you use for email, go to tools then options. The two program differ from here. In Outlook Express next go to the Send tab, select Plain text as the mail sending format and then click on "Plain text settings". You should now set the number to 65 in the "Automatically wrap text..." section.

In Outlook go the Mail format tab and select "Plain text" as the format and then go to settings, again select 65 here. You now have your email program configured to hit enter every 65 characters for you whenever you send email.

You can leave it at that and just send your articles via your email program, but lots of free content sites only offer forms to people who want to submit articles. They will still want all articles formatted, what do you do then? Well I usually send my articles to myself, yes I simply copy them from my site, and email them to myself, a couple of seconds later they arrive at the same account I sent them. Except this time they are nice, formatted and put straight into a special folder, all ready for me to copy and paste into any Internet form as I require.

The next thing we'll discuss is your article itself. It has to be informative and useful to the ezine publishers audience. Your article should be original and unique and not just the same as the last article you read on your chosen article topic.

What bothers me a lot about some article writers is the fact they think that writing articles is just about plugging their products. They don't seem to realize that the ezine publisher is looking for real quality content that will make him or her look better in the eyes of his or hers subscribers and not just a sales letter.

What I'm trying to say here is that articles sent to ezine publishers which were written to sell won't increase your chances of being published in fact very few editors will accept any articles like this. The ones that do have probably used your product in the past and liked it. Articles designed to inform and educate people will increase your chances of being published and also of making sales from people who have read your article. So stay away from sales letter based articles.

I shouldn't have to say this, but make sure your articles are grammatically correct and watch out for those spellings mistakes.

Lots of online content groups and directories stipulate that you must include your publishing guidelines at the top of your article. A good one I like to use is this:

"You have permission to publish this article electronically or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be appreciated."

Lets continue onto bylines (aka resource boxes). These are the couple of lines included at the end of your article, this is what you get in return for allowing people to use your work. Pretty much the same as an email signature, the idea is to attract people to visit your site or email you to find out more about your product. I usually use something like:

"Article by David Callan - admin@akamarketing.com
David is the webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com.
Visit his site for free Internet marketing articles, advice, ebooks, news and lots more."

My resource box is quite small, you can get away with another line or two in most cases. Try however to stick to 4 or 5 lines if you can.

After your articles are written and before you go searching for places to submit them to, you can do certain things on your website to help them spread. Basically you just tell people they can use your article if the like, do this by including a little note at the end of the article, like the one at the bottom of this page. You could even tell your visitors that your articles can be reproduced on your home page like we do. If your site is busy and in an industry with lots of ezine publishers around like "Internet Marketing" then this could help spread your article very quickly indeed.

Finding places to submit your articles on the web is not hard. It does however take time. The best places to start are likely to be the free content directories and articles.

I however like to start by simply searching for sites which are looking for your articles. This is a much slower process and the visitors you get will be few compared to being published in a popular ezine. I prefer submitting to sites over directories first because this helps my search engine rankings. I know this because most of the ezine directories use CGI generated pages when fetching articles from their databases, Google and the other engines can't read this, so I might as well submit to individual websites first to give Google the chance to spider my article and register another few inbound links for me.

When searching for sites that are looking for articles on your industry use the following urls:




The text in red is your keyword(S), change this to match the type of articles you write. You should also try any other keywords you think people looking for articles would use. You'll find however that the above URL's will turn up loads of places that are interested in your articles either for websites, ezines or both.

Go to these sites, and confirm that they are looking for articles on your industry. Send your articles in two or three at a time at most. Do not send more than this, your emails might be considered as spam which nobody likes.

Make sure you have both your publishing guidelines and resource box included with all your article submissions.

The sites you submit to should go into a mailing list. The mailing listing should contain the article submit email address, the address of the site, and the name of the webmaster if known. The next time you have articles to submit you can use a mailing program. You can use this along with your mailing list to send emails with your articles in them to multiple webmasters, this will save hours of time.

You'll find that most webmasters will email you informing you that they are using your article but some won't, so it is a good idea to check back with the more popular sites you have submitted to now and again.

After a couple of months you should find your link popularity filled with sites from your mailing list.

Next well talk about actual free content directories, free content groups and other content resources available on the web. There are plenty of these on the web, many are a complete waste of time, however others can really help to get your articles out there.

Free content directories are sites which categorize hundreds, even thousands of articles which writers have submitted and given permission for people to publish. When ezine and website publishers visit these, they search for articles related to their industry and publish one's they like. This is why you want ALL your articles in ALL the content directories, the directories that are worthwhile anyhow.

Here's a few of the most popular places writers like to submit their work.

http://www.ezinearticles.com - This is one of the biggest directories on the web, but your articles have to be available via autoresponder otherwise they won't publish them.


Content groups serve the same principal as content directories - a place to connect writers and people looking for articles. These groups are hosted by Yahoo and Topica mostly. Writers can submit articles via the Internet or send them to the group email address. Most groups are moderated to prevent blatant advertisements and maintain a high standard of articles, so your article may not be published for a couple of days.

The moderator of the group usually selects his / her favorite articles from recent submissions, these articles are then emailed to members of the group. Some members however choose not to receive articles via email but to read them online instead.

Here are some of the content groups I submit articles to along with the latest member numbers.

Yahoo Groups - article_annouce - 1821
Yahoo Groups - Free-Content - 848
Yahoo Groups - aabusiness - 839
Yahoo Groups - articles_archives - 594
Yahoo Groups - Free-Reprint-Articles - 237
Yahoo Groups - publisher_network - 209
Yahoo Groups - ArticlePublisher - 129
Yahoo Groups - FreeWrites - 118

Before you can submit to any of these you have to have a Yahoo id and then join each group individually. Alsohttp://www.topica.com/lists/FreeEzineContent

Now I'll talk about the websites which publish ezines, but don't say if they accept articles. Just because they don't mention it on their websites doesn't mean they don't accept articles. For sites like these I use a couple of directories devoted to listing ezines only and not free content. These include http://www.homeincome.com/search-it/ezine/ and http://ezine-universe.com/ . These directories will usually tell you the following information and more about each ezine they list:

Ezine name
Name and email of the Editor/Publisher
Content Type
Subscription address
If they accept articles or not, what type of articles they accept and how to submit them.
And of course the all important circulation number.

Simply enter your search criteria and visit the bio page for each ezine. Be patient as for some searches there are 2500+ ezines listed. When on an ezines bio page, check to see if their circulation is above 500, (otherwise it will just be a waste of time) if it is check to see if the ezine accepts articles. If they do add the editors/ publishers first name (if you can), ezine name and the article submission email address to your ezine publishers mailing list. It will take time to visit all the ezine bio pages, but after doing so your mailing list should start to take shape. Be careful not to have duplicates in your mailing list, this is sure to annoy the unlucky publisher who receives your same article 3 or 4 times.

The resources mentioned higher up the article are only a fraction of the resources available, doing a simple search for related keywords should return many more places for you to promote your article.

One more final point before I conclude, recently I came across a service on a website. The service offered to promote your article for $50 by sending it to 2,800 ezine publishers. I considered giving the service a try myself but then thought "What about the next article I want to submit". I'll have to pay $50 over and over again, am I'm not going to do that, so I decided against using this service. I would have to promote my articles myself. The point I'm trying to make is to gradually build your own list of people who are interested in your articles, then this list will be your for keeps. Don't borrow someone else's list. The process is slower but much more profitable in the long run.

David Callan is the webmaster of http://www.akamarketing.com. Visit his site for articles and tutorials focusing on internet marketing and website promotion. AKA Marketing.com also includes free ebooks, webdesign and HTML tutorials. You can write to David at admin@akamarketing.com.

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NEWS - New resources and information for home-based business people

HomeBizNews has added extensive resources and information for home-based business people to our Archives.

Entrepreneurs can now search for information about the small business programs of each provincial government, as well as the federal government at http://www.homebiznews.ca/programs.html.

You can also review the home-based business bylaws of many Canadian cities. Find out about how many employees you're allowed to have, or what signage you can erect on or near your house at http://www.homebiznews.ca/bylaw.htm.

We have also developed several tutorials about starting a business, so if you're a rookie, take a look at http://www.homebiznews.ca/Starting.htm

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NEWS - Email auto-replies can be an invitation to criminals

Do you send back an auto-reply to email messages you receive when you're out of the office for a few days? If you do, and you work at home, you're courting disaster.

A British industry group, The Infrastructure Forum, advises you to use such a feature cautiously, saying that criminals buy lists of email addresses on the Internet, to which they send out mass mailings whose intent is to gather those automated replies, and then, knowing you're not home, they cross-reference you name with free online directories or even telephone books for a home address and proceed to burglarize the place.

It's like leaving a sign on your front door saying "I'm away for a while - come on in and help yourself!" So if you're as security-conscious as most people are these days, when it comes to your credit card information, house keys, and electronic signatures, think twice about making it apparent that you're not going to be home for a length of time. Use general phrases in your auto-replies like, "I'm out of the office temporarily." As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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NEWS - Microsoft reveals critical flaws in Windows

If you like surfing the Web, and who doesn't, you'd better pay attention to Microsoft's latest security bulletin. Last week, the software giant revealed what it called "critical flaws" in its Windows operating system which allow hackers to access your computer while you're visiting Web pages, alter your data, load and run surreptitious programs, and even reformat your hard drive.

It all has to do with Microsoft's Java-oriented programming, and the company strongly urges users to download a completely new version of Microsoft Virtual Machine, the part of the operating system that runs Java-based applications, because it found eight serious flaws in the original version shipped with the NT, Millenium and XP operating systems.

To gain some degree of protection while visiting Web pages, the company advises users to stop their computers from running all Java applets until they've downloaded the new version of the program.

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NEWS - We buy more gifts for pets than in-laws

If you own a pet, you're 10 times more likely to buy Rover or Boots a gift for Christmas than you are to buy one for your in-laws, says a new survey by VISA.

Only 2% of the people surveyed by the credit card company say they're planning to buy a gift for their in-laws, this holiday season, while 22% are planning to buy a gift for their pets. Pets, in fact, rate the same as colleagues at work, as far as gift-giving is concerned.

Another result of the VISA survey states that our Christmas spending will go down, this year, compared to previous years. In some western economies the drop is forecast to be more than 20% - undoubtedly a reflection of maxed-out credit and tight budgeting. In the U.S., many financial institutions have expressed concerns about the practice of re-financing home mortgages to include credit card and other debt, which they believe will put a serious, if not critical, dent in any economic recovery.

In a light-hearted approach to gift-giving, the PNC Bank reports the cost of buying the 12 gifts mentioned in the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is US$15,749, in person, and US$23,736, online. On a more serious note, according to Canadian writer John MacIntyre, the most expensive item in the Neiman Marcus Christmas catalogue is a US$3-million collection of 10 portraits of sports stars painted by Andy Warhol - the same amount it costs CARE Canada to feed 5,000 Afghan widows and orphans for 12 months.

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COMMENT - Moving to the U.S.

Last week, Norma Greenaway of the Ottawa Citizen reported that last year there was a 40% increase in the number of Canadians who emigrated to the U.S., over the year before. A few days later, National Post columnist Michael Bliss wrote about "Ottawa's hopeless incompetence," and called Canadians who support the current Liberal government "a flock of hapless turkeys."

Those two items spoke volumes, although from different perspectives, about why talented and thinking Canadians are moving south like never before. Canadians I know don't like hearing things like, "let's spend another $15-billion on health care," before addressing the existing system's gross inefficiencies. They don't like hearing "let's starve our military," which used to be world-class, until it can't protect an embassy in southeast Asia, let alone the rest of Canada or our other interests abroad. And they don't like hearing Cabinet ministers say, "it's not our fault that we didn't tell people about spending a billion dollars instead of two million on an unproved hypothesis about gun control."

Emigration to the U.S. did not fall off, after the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. It increased. Why? It's not because the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It's not because of the perception that there are fewer taxes south of the border. It's not because the U.S. economy is booming. It's because talented and thinking Canadians are sick and tired of Canada's political mamby-pambyism and holier-than-thou attitude.

It's not surprising that emigration from this country has reached almost epidemic proportions. An increase of 40% in the number of Canadians who moved south in 2001, compared to the previous year, will undoubtedly be repeated next year and the year after and the year after. Why? Because in spite of what our so-called political leaders say, talented and thinking Canadians appreciate the night-and-day difference in response to the horror of September 11 demonstrated by the Canadian and U.S. governments.

Talented and thinking Canadians want to be on a team of winners who take action. They don't want to simply shake their heads in acquiescence to the indecisiveness of a bunch of perpetual losers who will always sit in the cheap seats. "An increasing number of Canadians are emigrating south of the border," Ms. Greenaway says, because they want to be winners. They want to go where opportunities really exist, where people have backbone, not jelly, as the foundation for their commitments.

One entrepreneur I know said, "If I thought staying in Canada would help, I'd have to get involved in politics, and that idea makes me want to heave." But that may be the only way we can change things. As Mr. Bliss wrote, replacing "one gang of morally challenged Liberal minipulators [with] another," in reference to Paul Martin's apparent coronation as the new Liberal leader, late next year, is not the way to go.

We should not, as Mr. Bliss wrote, "dream foolishly of two unworkable panaceas" - a change in government tone simply because the party in power gets a new leader, or that a "reunion of conservatives, a real alliance between the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party," will come to our collective rescue. To the contrary, he suggests doing what many Canadians have done in the past - go to the polls at the next available opportunity and hold our noses as we vote for the only alternative we have - the Canadian Alliance.

Before you screw up your nose and refuse to smell the roses, think about the alternative. Canada, under the Liberal government, has become a true second-rate country, from a global perspective. Our voice has faded, our resolve has disappeared.

Eleven years ago, I was a candidate in a provincial election because I was sick and tired of the corruption I saw in the government, and I wanted to make a difference. I barely lost that election to the favoured leftist candidate, and would have won if the candidate for the incumbent party had thrown his support behind me. Ironically, the incumbent got about 30% of the votes I received, and I only needed another 10% to win. Such is politics. The ensuing ten years of left-wing government turned my province into a has-not jurisdiction which is now receiving aid in the form of transfer payments from the federal government, instead of providing funds to the federal government for distribution to poorer provinces.

As Mr. Bliss so eloquently put it, "you pay a high price if you can't think of anything better than to keep on sending in the clowns." It's time Canadian's stopped sending in the clowns, or letting them run the show. Clowns are supposed to be a side show, not the main attraction, and they're certainly never in management. Maybe that's why so many Canadians are leaving the circus behind.

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HOW TO - How to optimize a framed site for high rankings

By Jill Whalen 

Is your framed site doomed? Not necessarily!

The question of whether or not to use frames when designing a Web site seems to be as old as time, or at least as old as frames themselves!

A framed site very often makes for an easily updated Web site, and many designers opt to use frames for this reason. They are especially useful for maintaining very large sites.

Personally, I find framed sites that utilize scroll bars to be fairly ugly and outdated-looking. But I've also seen creative uses of the frame design, with no scroll bars, that look very professional and Internet-savvy.

What Is a Framed Site?

You can usually tell that a site is "framed" when the left-hand navigation bar stays still while the information in the center of the page scrolls. Alternatively, there might be a logo or some navigation at the top that stays still while the rest of the page scrolls.

Most of what you read about search engine optimization says that using frames on your site is basically a death sentence because the search engines simply cannot navigate the frames, and therefore your site will not get indexed properly. This is both true and false. It's true if frames are used improperly, false if they are used correctly.

Here's why many framed sites fail to get listed on search sites that use spiders. (Please note that the following explanation, while not technically complete, offers an accurate layperson's description of what is going on.)

If you look at the HTML code of a typical framed site, you will usually see the TITLE tag, the META tags, and then a FRAMESET tag — and that's about it!

Search engine spiders are programmed to ignore certain HTML code and, instead, to focus on indexing the actual body text. But with a typical framed site, there is no body text for the search engine's spider to index, because the text is all on another page (usually the inner, framed page).

If you've read all my previous articles, you know that the actual text on your pages is the most important thing for your search engine optimization efforts. Therefore, as you can see, it would be nearly impossible to get a high ranking for a Web site designed in this framed manner.

Using the NOFRAMES Tag

Do not despair! There is an HTML tag called the NOFRAMES tag, which, when used properly, gives the search engine spiders the information they need to index your page correctly. I believe it was designed to give frames-incapable browsers — early versions of browsers that cannot read or interpret the FRAMESET tags — the ability to "see" the information on a framed site.

Unfortunately, too many sites that utilize this NOFRAMES tag put the following words into it: "You are using a browser that does not support frames. Update your browser now to view this page." It might as well say, "We are putting the kiss of death on our Web site and have no interest in being found in the search engines for relevant keywords regarding our site! Thanks for not visiting our site because you couldn't find it!"

What happens when you do the above is that the engines will read your TITLE and META tags (if you even included them) and the above information that the browser is frames-incapable, and that is what they will index for your site.

Try a search at AltaVista for the following: "does not support frames" and guess what? 260,882 pages are found! Nearly all of them are framed sites that used those words in their NOFRAMES tag. I bet that the circular-saw maker whose site is ranked number 1 for those keywords doesn't have a clue that he has put the kiss of death on his Web site! I also bet his site is nowhere to be found under the keyword "circular saws." (It isn't.)

If you want to have a framed site for whatever reason, then for goodness' sake, use your NOFRAMES tag properly! The proper usage of this tag is to take the complete HTML code from your inner page and copy it into the NOFRAMES tag.

So the code on your page should actually look something like this:

<HTML> <HEAD> <TITLE>Your keyword-rich descriptive title goes here.</TITLE> <META NAME="Description" CONTENT="Your one- to two-sentence keyword-rich marketing description goes here."> <META NAME="Keywords" CONTENT="Your important relevant keywords and keyword phrases go here."> </HEAD> <FRAMESET> <FRAME SRC="navigation.html" NAME="nav"> <FRAME SRC="main.html" NAME="main"> <NOFRAMES> <BODY> Here is where you should copy all the HTML code for what I have named main.html. Be sure that you have all your navigational links to the rest of the site also in here for the search engines to follow. </BODY> </NOFRAMES> </FRAMESET> </HTML>

Once your inner page information is within this tag, it's as if your site is not framed at all as far as the search engines are concerned, because now they can read everything and index your site properly.

Of course, doing all this is only useful if the information in your main page is well-written and utilizes your keyword phrases properly. Putting a poorly written main page into your NOFRAMES tag won't help you much more than putting the above kiss of death in your NOFRAMES tag.

Other Frames Issues

The above information takes care of your front page. However, there are other issues having to do with getting the rest of your pages indexed properly when you use a framed site.

Most Web designers use frames for ease of navigation. That is, they have a left-hand frame with a static navigational bar or buttons that never change. When someone clicks on a button on the left, the frame to the right brings up the new page accordingly. Because of this type of design, there are usually no navigational links on any of the inner, framed pages.

Why is this bad? It's bad because you could (and should) optimize these inner pages to rank high in the search engines. But if you do, and someone searching in the engines finds them, they will be what I call orphaned pages.

I'm sure you've come across these at one time or another in your searches: a page that has a bit of information about what you were searching for but offers no way to get to the rest of the site!

Savvy Internet users might look at the URL and try finding the root directory, but most users don't have a clue about doing that. It's too bad for the site owner, who just lost some potential eyeballs — or worse, a potential customer.

If you use a framed design, it is absolutely imperative to place navigational links on all your inner pages. At the very least, include a button that links back to your home page. However, I would recommend that you have links to all your major category pages, as this will help the search engine spiders visit all the pages, index them all, and rank them high!

Jill Whalen, owner of High Rankings,http://www.highrankings.com, and moderator of the free weekly email newsletter, High Rankings Advisor, specializes in search engine optimization, directory submissions, SEO consultations and seminars. She has obtained hundreds of number 1 and 2 spots for her vast array of clients throughout the years. Clients include multi-million dollar companies, major universities, real estate agencies, attorneys, surgeons, dentists, and small-medium sized businesses.

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ADVICE - New realities for e-mail marketing

 By Lee Traupel

Spam e-mail is no longer the mild irritant it once was - ­ it’s clogging corporate networks and ISP mail servers and has become a real productivity drain, forcing corporate and consumer e-mail users to spend 20-30 minutes a day dealing with this deluge of junk! According to recent figures, unsolicited bulk e-mail now makes up to 36% of all e-mail, up from under 8% just over a year ago. And, what’s worse, more and more legitimate e-mail is not getting through to recipients due to spam filtering taking place via ISPs and/or corporate networks.

Opt-in E-Mail Marketing 30K foot Picture

Opt-in e-mail marketing is clearly losing some of its effectiveness as a viable marketing tool, much to the consternation of those of us who have been advocating its effectiveness for years! This is not to say opt-in e-mail isn’t a viable way to market goods and services, ­ but ROI (read response rates) is heading south quickly and needs to be considered when assessing the viability of this marketing process, as response rates have dropped on average from 10-20% to 3-10%.

However, opt-in e-mail is not disappearing off the marketing horizons. ­ Forrester forecasts spending on e-mail marketing will grow from $1.3B (USD) in 2001 to $6.8B in 2006 and Jupiter Media Metrix is even more optimistic, forecasting growth rates from $1B in 2001 to $9.4B in 2006. But, there is a dark undercurrent to these numbers that is fueling the market growth and driving down response rates ­ - some opt-in agencies, brokers and media representatives are “flogging” lists by overselling them, so caveat emptor.

Five Offsetting Marketing Strategies

1. Deploy opt-in e-mail campaigns very selectively (!) - buy opt-in e-mail lists from legitimate top-tier broker/list managers who are well established, who are not “over-sending” messages to list subscribers and who are constantly refreshing their list quality by adding new subscribers. Critical questions to ask brokers include: how many messages (“frequency” in ad speak) are sent to each list recipient per month, how are new subscribers added, what is the percentage of new members added per month, are they using “third party” (someone else’s list) lists to augment their own, are their lists “double opt in” (meaning, you sign up and then must reply to a signup confirmation to be added to a list), and last but not least, what is their privacy policy and how strictly do they adhere to published industry standards?

2. Utilize plain vanilla text link advertising. Find web sites or portals that have traffic comprised of customers who are in your market segment. Then, add a text link (banner ad or graphic button if you will) to a page or pages, and negotiate a media buy that is based upon a “cost per click” basis; i.e. paying only for traffic that clicks through to your web site.

3. Creating and deploying a “link strategy” campaign (i.e. getting a site listed via other web sites) is one of the best self-sustaining interactive marketing processes available to any company seeking to drive qualified traffic to a web site. This process is not based upon the more traditional “reciprocal links” procedure but incorporates some web-based competitive analysis. You start by analyzing the links that are pointing back to your top 3-5 competitors’ web sites and then establish relationships with these sites. Also, submit your site to top- and second-tier directories to augment the number of links. 

4. Newsletter insert advertising used to be considered rather mundane and not very effective. But, if you contrast the effectiveness of this process versus the new opt-in e-mail response rates, the heretofore lowly newsletter advertising has new and vastly improved luster! Also, in the past it was difficult to track when and if people clicked on a text link ad in a newsletter  - but new technology enables virtually any publisher to provide you with this information, enabling you to track your ROI for the media buy.  Finally, the real beauty of newsletter text advertising is that it is very targeted and people want to receive the information so you can be confident your ad will at least be viewed by some finite number of prospects.

5. Search engine ranking has come of age in the last 12-24 months. You can now easily create and deploy a traditional (title, description, keywords inserts in content, submissions and optimization) search engine ranking process that is augmented with a pay per click (“PPC”) process. Deploying both strategies ensures you derive long-term (traditional rankings) and short-term (pay per click) results, with the latter being driven by the amount of funds you have in your marketing budget.

Lee Traupel has 20 plus years of marketing experience, and  is the founder of Intelective Communications, Inc. http://www.intelective.com, a marketing services company which provides strategic and tactical marketing services to small to medium sized companies. You can write to Lee at Lee@intelective.com 


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"There is no success without controversy."

 Kerry Adler, CEO of Webhelp Inc.

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CHUCKLES - I'm a recovering thinker

It started out innocently enough. I began to think at parties now and then, to loosen up. Inevitably, though, one thought led to another, and soon I was more than just a social thinker.

I began to think alone - "to relax" - I told myself. But I knew it wasn't true. Thinking became more and more important to me, and finally I was thinking all the time.  

I began to think on the job. I knew that thinking and employment don't mix, but I couldn't stop myself.

I began to avoid friends at lunchtime so I could read Thoreau and Kafka, and I'd return to the  office dizzy and confused, asking, What is it, exactly, we are doing here?"

Things weren't going so great at home, either. One evening I turned off the TV and asked my wife about the meaning of life. She spent that night at her mother's.

I soon had a reputation as a heavy thinker. One day the boss called me in. He said, "Frank, I like you, and it hurts me to say this, but your thinking has become a real problem. If you don't stop thinking on the job, we'll have to let you go." This gave me a lot to think about.

I came home early, after that conversation with the boss, and said to my wife, "Honey, I've been thinking..."

"I know you've been thinking," she said, "and I want a divorce!"

"But Honey, surely it's not that serious," I protested.

"It's more serious than you think," she said, lower lip aquiver. "You think as much as college professors, and college professors don't make any money, so if you keep on thinking we won't have any money!"

"That's a faulty syllogism," I replied impatiently, and she began to cry. I'd had enough. "I'm going to the library," I snarled as I stomped out the door.

I headed for the library, in the mood for some Nietzsche, listening to a new tape recording of The Dictionary of the History of Ideas. I roared into the parking lot and ran up to the big glass doors... they didn't open. The library was closed.

To this day, I believe that a Higher Power was looking out for me that night. As I sank to the ground, clawing at the unfeeling glass, whimpering for Zarathustra, a poster caught my eye. "Friend, is heavy thinking ruining your life?" it asked. You probably recognize that line. It comes from the standard Thinker's Anonymous poster.

Which is why I am what I am today - a recovering thinker. I never miss a TA meeting. At each meeting we watch a non-educational video - last week it was Porky's - and after the video we share experiences about how we avoided thinking since the last meeting.

I still have my job, and things are a lot better at home. Life just seemed... easier, somehow, as soon as I stopped thinking.

Unattributed. With thanks to www.CyberQuotations  

Got a quick joke, or funny comment on society, work or relationships?  E-mail a Chuckle to lorne@pacificcoast.net.

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The Publisher of HomeBizNews, Lorne Peasland, is a former advertising agency owner, media representative, chamber of commerce marketing manager and the founder and past-president of the Canadian Home & Micro Business Federation. He is the author of "Influencing Public Opinion - A Communications Primer For Political Candidates, Community Activists, and Special Interest Group Spokespeople" (ISBN 0-9697364-0-1), and a home-based marketing consultant, writer and speaker. He can be contacted via e-mail at lorne@pacificcoast.net., or by phone at 250-708-0250.  Visit any of his web pages athttp://www.homebiznews.ca/lorne.html,   http://www.homebiznews.ca/pms2.html or http://www.homebiznews.ca/AdCopy.htm.

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