Cheap internet marketing tricks - counting impressions

Counting clicks is one thing, and counting impressions is something else. Everyone who is anyone in internet marketing counts both. Google does it, and Amazon does it. All the merchants who use Commission Junction do it too.

An impression happens every time someone sees your link or ad, whether they click on it or not. The ratio of impressions to clicks tells you something about the efficacy of your ad or link. Counting impressions is fairly easy by counting the number of time an image is displayed on a page. Amazon and Commission Junction use tiny little 1 x 1 pixel images with text links, so that things don't get slowed down much, but any image will do the job.

If you have access to a server log, that is one crude way of counting the number of times an image file is accessed, or a simple PHP script will also work. But, what if you don't have access to a server, don't know a log from a hole in the ground, or never heard of PHP?

There's a simple trick you can use.

working image
Bit.ly is a free link shortening service, but it also works with image links. Bit.ly records stats on how often the shortened link is accessed. Usually, for a normal link, this would mean that the link was clicked upon, but an image link does not require a user to click it. The link is accessed every time the page is accessed and the image displays. Thus, it keeps a rough count of impressions.

Webinars: What's the point

I receive a lot of invitations to webinars, and many of them are free. I never accept the invitations anymore, even for the many that I find to offer an interesting topic. With webinars it is always for a specific time and a specific date that I have to 1. Remember, and 2. Not be doing something else.

What's the point of that?

The technology of webinars offers a fine opportunity for intense interaction that does not require travel or taking a shower, but just to listen to a presentation? I'm interested in webinars for the purpose of learning something new, and not to offer what I already know. As for the possibility of asking questions live, if that is even made available, it is fairly useless to me.

All my best question arise at least three hours after the presentation is over, and everyone has gone home.

Record your presentation and put it on YouTube so I can watch it at 3 AM, which is sometimes best for me. Don't ask me to be sitting in front of my computer for an hour at a time certain and with a date fixed by you. It goes against my basic principles.

Give me a pause button at least, so that I can get up and walk around when it all gets too boring for me.


The value of a good email subject line

Last month Salon.com switched away from using "Salon Daily Newsletter" as the subject line of its emails. Now, such subjects lines as "Salon Daily: The 10 most compelling on-screen gangsters" show up in my email inbox.

Think about it. Which type of subject line would most likely inspire you to open an email? An unopened and unread email is like no email at all. Worse, in fact. An unopened email is an unwanted email with your name on it. An unwanted email is inbox clutter, and very likely it will soon be deleted.

A good email subject line gives the recipient a reason to open and read the email. From a marketing point of view, that is its main function, but the subject line must also accurately identify the content of the email. People do not like being tricked.


Free advice to a book author

I'm no different from anyone else in that I form quick judgments on minimal information. That's just the way the human mind works, it seems to me.

Based on totally insufficient information, I almost instantly pigeon-holed your new book as "spiritual romance," or chick book. Then I compare it to my pigeon-hole image of myself, and ask, "Am I the type of person who reads spiritual romance stories?," and the answer is "no."

This is undoubtedly unfair both to you and your book, but that's what you're up against, or something similar.

Some people read books as an enjoyable way to structure time. Others read books because they believe doing so will give them new information or perspective. Where does your book fit here?

Your book has a natural preexisting audience, I'm sure. I hope. Establishing a brand new category is nearly impossible in the sort-term. There is no such thing as a book for everyone.

There is a lot to be said on the subject of marketing books. I think a good question to ask and to answer with every mention of your book is this: "This is a book for __ (fill in blank) __"

Focus on the reader rather than on the book.

Hope this helps some.


A social solution in search of a problem

Brightkite.com has recently introduced a new small group SMS text messaging system they call Group Text. Group Text is a many to many chat system developed by Brightkite. It enables you to communicate in real time with up to 25 people via SMS, web, mobile web and dedicated mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian. In other words, you can message a lot of people at once for free in real time and when someone responds to that message, everyone in the group sees it too - kind of like a "reply all" in Email conversations. It's free. Can you think of a use for it?


Google social network fun and games

The chatter these days is about the new Google social network about which something new will be announced later this Fall, but hardly anyone I've noticed is talking about the Google social network that already exists. Google has been building it for years, and Google introduces new features nearly every week. They just don't make a big fuss about it because it is so incremental.

Maybe there will be a big splash later this year with a new roll-out, but maybe the big splash will be that Google just tells folks what they have been working on and slowly introducing all along. It will seem like a big splash and a surprise. One of the tricks is that Gmail is still by invitation only, as far as I know. You can't just go and sign up for a Gmail account because you want one, and the main way to notice the many social features that are, as of right now, up and running is to have been using the Gmail service for a while, in connection with Google Buzz, Google account profile, Google Voice, Google Reader, and Feedburner, to name what seem to be the most important ones. Oh, I forgot that Google Blogger, along with other blog platforms can be integrated through the Google Buzz connections.

I read today that Facebook and Skype are negotiating an integration of services somehow.

Google is already doing telephony in a much bigger and broader way. Say Android. Do you know about Google Voice?

The best thing about the existing Google social network is the expansiveness of it. It's not at all like living in a box, as with some social networks I've encountered.

If Google really has a bunch of new features that are soon to hit the streets, I'm excited.


Apple's gross profit margin on new iPod Nano

Apple's gross profit margin on new iPod Nano is about 70% (330% markup), according to Boy Genius Report. This is with Apple's strong pre-existing market position, a large and experienced manufacturing ability, and nearly guaranteed sales of a bazillion units.

Each $149 iPod Nano costs Apple about $45 to manufacture, says Boy Genius.  

Market gap analysis - Setting the reference point

The beginning is the most important part. It is here that you set your goals and constraints about an opportunity that has not yet been discovered. It is important because it is so much easier to be hard-headed about the business practicalities before you fall in love with an idea and get carried away with wishful thinking. When I say "business practicalities" I do not necessarily imply a project optimized for monetary profit. Non-profit organizations labor under the same "business practicalities" as everyone else. They just don't have to pay income taxes.

Goals and constraints relate to what you want to get out of a project and what you are willing to put into it. Just for the sake of simplicity, the discussion will focus on business-for-profit. Monetary profits are so much easier to measure, but the same considerations apply to a not-for-profit opportunity search.

Instead of "business practicalities," you can also read it as "sustainable."

A comprehensive set of goals and constraints, established in writing at the very beginning, is important because of the powerful distortions inevitably introduced by the emotional attachments that arise once imagination is engaged. You fall in love with your own ideas and wishful thinking swamps rationality and prudence. But, with a written set of goals and constraints, it is sometimes possible to pull yourself out of your own business fantasies.

One common tendency is to understate both goals and constraints. You think you can succeed with a smaller profit margin than what you actually need, it will take less time than is realistic, and it costs more in money and effort than what you imagined. Overstate goals and constraints in your written reference point, and understate the expectations for any particular opportunity.

As the maxim goes, "Aim High. That way you will at least avoid shooting off your own foot."


Market research - Trade publications

Whether you are searching for business customers, partners, vendors, or competitors, industry trade publications are an efficient source for current information. Finding trade publications is made easy through TradePub.com.

TradePub.com offers an uncounted number of industry trade publications and white papers, most of which are available as digital downloads. The purpose behind making these publications available for free is to generate qualified leads. The idea is that you are a potential customer, and the publications are made available to you only if you agree to be contacted with quotes and offers.

It's a small price to pay.

The digital publications are easy to obtain, but there are a few which are available in print only. These, I suspect, are screened carefully and are more difficult to get.

Even at that, if your need is great enough and you have a compelling story, you can probably talk your way into receiving a complimentary copy.

Other sources:
Yahoo directory
Entrepeneur Trade publication directory
ImportExportHelp.com - Directory of trade publications
Directory of Engineering and Scientific Trade Technical Magazines


Market gap analysis - Introduction

A first milestone for any start-up business is to uncover a market large enough to support your financial profit goals, in which demand exceeds supply. The tool of market gap analysis couples with market verification will assure your business with a lucrative market.

Like the selling funnel metaphor so well known to marketers, a market gap analysis starts with a large mass of everyday observations collected though research and exploration. Curiosity is a useful trait to have here. The process of analysis narrows the possible opportunities to a manageable number. Those candidates that survive the funneling process will consist of viable market opportunities and mirages. The mirages will out-number the real opportunities.