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Free digital marketing advice–my summer gift to you

I had a great summer holiday break, and I hope you did too. Escaping from the world of work and spending time with family and friends helps me stay focussed on what life is really about.

And it’s put me in a really good mood, even if I’m now back in the office putting out fires and juggling client projects.

So, to help spread the love, I’ve had an idea. For a limited time I’ll give up to 30 minutes of free consulting advice over the phone to anyone who needs it. Yes, that’s it, free, no strings attached. But I’ve only a few hours I can give away, so you need to move fast.

To book a call with me, simply click on the image below. The link will only work for the first ten bookings after which my normal consulting charges will apply, so don’t delay!


I look forward to our call!

Getting to ‘Like’: why being liked really matters and how not to do it

Social networks like Facebook have transformed the ways people connect with friends, businesses and much of the world around them. In the early days of online marketing, businesses used to fret about how to get people to their website and stay there. Nowadays, getting someone to ‘Like’ your brand on a social networking site is infinitely more important.

The reason a ‘Like’ matters is two-fold. Firstly, by gaining a ‘like’ you jump into the privileged position of having your updates pushed directly to the person who liked you, greatly increasing the chances of their seeing what you have to say (EdgeRank permitting). And secondly, and more importantly, being liked means that your fan’s friends may also see that their friend has endorsed you, thereby increasing their propensity to become a customer.

But the way that many companies go about becoming ‘liked’ sometimes leaves me cold. Take Glasses Direct for an example. This a really smart online retailer that sells spectacles and sunglasses for much lower prices than you’ll find on the High Street. I’ve browsed their online store and now see their cleverly targeted contextual ads on many sites I visit. They also email me regularly with offers, but their latest mailing didn’t quite hit the mark:

Glasses Direct email offer

OK, so you want me to ‘Like’ you on Facebook, and in return you’ll give me a 20% discount? That seems reasonable although, as I tell every business I meet, it would be far better if I would like you for some more permanent reason than getting a one-off discount. But, let’s see what we’ll get when we hit their ‘Like’ button on Facebook:

Glasses Direct Thanks for Liking Us screen

I’ve blurred out the offer code, but the bit that hurts me is this:

Glasses Direct restrictive offer clause

I’ve just entered into a long-term relationship with the Glasses Direct brand and already I’m being hit by short-term sales incentives. This is marketing lunacy. If you can get someone to like your brand on a social network, don’t abuse their trust by force-feeding them sales offers with restrictive terms & conditions attached. You should nurture your new relationship, drip-feeding goodness over the long-term, rewarding loyalty and routinely thanking your fans for their friendship. For example, a lifetime discount of even 5% would have had a far greater appeal to me than 20% in the next seven days.

What did I do after seeing this 7 day clause? I immediately ‘unliked’ Glasses Direct on Facebook because they had abused the trust I’d placed in them.

Think about how your brand uses ‘Likes’ to build its long-term customer base and reward loyalty. Just like in the real world, true friendship grows over time and through mutual enjoyment. What can you change in your marketing approach to ensure that ever ‘Like’ converts into a lifetime of loyalty?

Wake up Adobe: Free Shipping is not an offer

Most companies have moved on from expensive direct mail shots, realising that more precisely targeted and immediate digital marketing efforts often yield better results. Adobe, however, seems stubbornly committed to posting dead trees to its customers. One on level, this is perhaps understandable seeing as Adobe’s  design software is widely used to create printed materials and their primary targets, designers, are a visual and very tactile crowd.

Adobe Direct MailerBut it’s the nature of Adobe’s marketing that confuses me most. Today’s offering, delivered by Leslie, my over-worked postwoman, invites me to “Purchase CS5 (Adobe Creative Suite 5) and get FREE SHIPPING on orders over £350 (ex VAT)”

WTF?! You want me to spend over £350 (plus VAT) and you’ll give me “FREE SHIPPING” worth, what, maybe £5 at most? Is that the best you can do?

Has Adobe been asleep? Free shipping is increasingly the norm for online shopping. Order from Amazon*, and you’ll get free shipping (without any SHOUTY capital letters) on most items, all the time, as standard.

I’m only left thinking that Adobe must be targeting “really stupid people” (thanks for putting me in the data list) because that’s the only demographic I can think of that might get excited by “FREE SHIPPING” on a product that costs between £1,700 and £2,700! What next, “CS6: now in a FREE BOX!”?

Good marketing relies on all parts of the business working together. It’s no good having your direct mail person sending out offers that conflict with the work being done by your online retail sales guys. Everyone has to work together to create compelling offers that compete effectively through every channel. And don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, the social web will find you out.

* Really stupid people, please don’t read this bit: Better still, order from Amazon and save at least £100 on Adobe’s direct prices and get free shipping.

Author’s note: I have no axe to grind with Adobe. I use and like some of their software. But, for this mailer, I do think their marketing team needs a kick up the CS5…

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