Posts Tagged ‘click’

Is Email Marketing Effective?

November 22, 2008

November 19, 2008

 Is Email Marketing Effective?”

Email marketing can be effective when used properly.  There is no guarantee of success with any marketing campaign. However, with such a low cost many are resorting to email as a marketing tool, but the abuse of such tool has put the effectiveness of email marketing into a debated area.  Here we will look at some useful tips, tricks and suggestions with regards to email marketing.

An article at wiliam.com examines how to make email marketing campaigns more effective while examining a survey done with 302 different web merchants.  The email marketing industry standards state that in order for an email marketing campaign to be considered effective it must have a delivery rate of 80% to 85% and an open rate of 35%. Out of the 302 merchants that were surveyed, only 59.3% had acceptable email delivery rates. The article suggests in order to combate the problem of low delivery rates, that maintaining and updating email lists is crucial. William.com also suggests that low open rates and click through rates can be attributed to poor content and subject lines. The last thing the article suggests is that in order to insure action is taken by the recipient that the email sent out be specific as possible and targeted to specific groups, and that the more relevant the content is to the user the more likely they will take action.

  •          Avoid emailing during Holidays, many people take a holiday away from emails during the holidays, so therefore emails during this time are not very effective
  •         Learn from Spammers, as spammers can teach you a lot about email marketing and what not to do, and so that you can avoid leaving a spam-like impression with recipients
  •       Figure out what the best time frequency of emailing will work for you and aim to stick to that frequency. For example, you may find that sending out one email on the 15th of every month will work for you. Consistency is always good.
  •       Include an easy to use un-subscription link in your email, as unhappy subscribers are worse than no subscribers. 

The article actually lists over 30 different tips and suggestions but those were the ones that seem most useful. While perusing the internet for information and research regarding effective email, the most predominant tip that was stated was to make considerable efforts to avoid making your email look like spam.  An article written by Eric J. Adams, at creativepro.com also examines how one could make email marketing campaigns effective and does so while examining the results of a consumer based survey.  More than 70% of consumers feel that they receive too many emails, with an average of 110 per week. Two-thirds of the consumers surveyed admitted that most the emails they receive don’t offer anything that interests them. Adams states that this type of consumer perception can lead to a serious disrespect and disregard for emails.  He states his 9 best practices that he believes are worth incorporating into any email campaign. In no particular order he advices to: think service, not marketing, customize, offer user control, demonstrate value not information, use subject and addresses honestly, keep messages short and sweet, engage consumers, experiment and finally benchmark performances.

It is quite possible that if the use of email as a marketing tool does not adjust to consumers current perception of receiving emails from marketers that soon the general populous will completely disregard emails from anyone but friends or family. If all marketers were to take on the “avoid leaving a spam-like impression” approach then it is possible that the face of email marketing will be saved and that email marketing will be looked upon positively by recipients. It is strongly suggested that anyone considering an email campaign, do some external research and take into consideration all the tips and suggestions that are available, and try to make use of the ones that best fit their campaign.

 

 

 

More often than not people are bombarded with countless emails in their inbox a day. Marketers want to reach their target audience and not have their email disregarded as “junk”. Typically people will open emails, when they find it interests them, they have time, and they have some knowledge of the sender’s request.  An interesting article at about.com highlights some useful email tips, tricks and secrets, that are meant to enhance the power of email. Below you will find a summarization of the tips that were found to be most beneficial.

Affiliate Marketing Programs – Pros & Cons

November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008

“Affiliate Marketing Programs – Pro’s & Con’s”

Affiliate marketing programs are revenue sharing ventures between a website owner and an online merchant. Basically, a website owner places advertisements on his site to help the merchant sell his product or service. Usually, the website owner does not receive any commission unless a sale or lead has been generated. There are several ways that a web site owner can receive revenue through affiliate marketing. There are also several pros and con’s to affiliate marketing for both the merchant and the website owner. Here we will briefly examine the different forms of affiliate marketing and the pros and cons of such programs.

Website owners can get paid one of three ways – pay per click, pay per sale, and pay per lead. With pay per click, every time a potential customer leaves the affiliate website by clicking on the merchant’s advertisement, a certain amount of money is deposited into the affiliates account. With pay per sale, every time a sale is made as a result of the advertising on the affiliate’s page, the affiliate receives a portion of this revenue. Finally, with pay per lead, every time a potential customer registers on the merchant’s website as a result of the advertisement, a predetermined amount is deposited into the affiliate’s website. The article at www.wisegeek.com provides a brief but to the point description of what affiliate marketing is, the different ways an affiliate earns revenues, and suggestions on what to look for in an affiliate relationship.

 There are various pros and con’s to affiliate marketing programs for both the merchant and the publisher. This particular article by Jason Gazaway at www.jobbankusa.com examines the pros and cons of affiliate marketing programs. Gazaway states that affiliate marketing gives the merchant a lot of exposure. He also stresses that the one thing the merchant needs to keep in mind though, is finding a website that will be a good “fit” with their product and where their target customers will visit. Through affiliate marketing the merchant gains more and more customers without spending the time to look for them.  Finally, the article suggests that different customers coming from various websites can provide the merchant with some insight into consumer trends and demands. As for the affiliate, well they get to make a little extra revenue from simply reselling and promoting the merchants website.

However, there are some downsides to affiliate programs. Gazaway’s article suggests that the merchant may suffer from high commission costs, as well as costly set up and maintenance fees that are charged by most affiliates.  There have been cases where merchants will close down programs without informing the affiliate and may leave without paying commission. Basically, if there is a downside that sums up all the pitfalls of this program it would be around trust, efficacy, and legality. Kathy Hendershot-Hurd’s article at goaticles.com examines the key to success with affiliate programs, and explains the process behind the one to multi tier programs. She also distinguishes between the pros and cons of affiliate marketing for the merchant and the affiliate using business based examples.

Despite its disadvantages, affiliate marketing programs are still considered one of the best ways to make money online. Surely, this notion of affiliate marketing programs is steadily increasing. It is a good way for website owners to make money at no extra cost to them, and it is a good way for merchants to market their products for considerably cheaper then other marketing avenues. However, it is also important to note the benefits and disadvantages of these types of programs and that affiliate marketing programs may not be in the best interest of all e-commerce participants. Having a good fit between the affiliate and merchant will probably make the difference in the effectiveness of the marketing efforts

Click Fraud- Types, Cases, Perpetrators, & Preventative Measures”

November 7, 2008

November 06, 2008

 “Click Fraud- Types, Cases, Perpetrators & Preventative Measures”

Click fraud is clicking on a paid advertisement for a fraudulent or non-legitimate purpose. It is something that negatively affects all e-commerce participants, online marketers and search engines. Click fraud can come in many forms such as: network click fraud, competitive click fraud, and impression fraud. Here, we will distinguish the difference between these types of frauds, examine an example of a click fraud case, expose the source of click fraud, and briefly explore some preventative measures against this type of internet fraud.

 

 Forms of Click Fraud

An article at www.clickz.com explores the different types of click fraud and its implications. In short, network click fraud occurs when a network partner (usually the search engine) manufactures clicks, either through human or robotic means. This type of fraud benefits the publisher and the network owner.  Competitive click fraudoccurs when a competitor fraudulently clicks on a paid advertisement that you have purchased or bid on. For example, if you are a law firm in New York and decide to bid on the term “New York lawyer” which exceeds $10 CPC, and your listing gets a click a day from five people from a competitor in both Google and Overture, you’ll pay and extra $1500 a month, with no true benefit. A page impression occurs every time a page is viewed that contains Google Ads. Each impression is counted only once regardless of how many Google Ads it contains. A fictitious illustration of impression fraud was found at sem-faq.com , in brief, the story outlines how impression fraud works.Cindy has an ad for Christmas trees running on Google Ad words, she is generating decent traffic through her PPC campaign. A lot of visitors end up purchasing. Bob also has an ad running for Christmas trees on Google Ad words but his ad is not getting a lot of clicks. He has to pay more just to keep his add on display, so he decides to do something devious. He starts to search for Christmas tree related words on Google and asks his friends to do the same several times a day, though they never click on any of the links. This causes Cindy’s click-through-rate to go considerably down and she is now listed at the bottom of the heap. In reality the loss from impression fraud may run into the thousand dollar mark, and even more for larger businesses.

 

 

Cases & Perpetrators

 

A business week article entitled The dark side of online advertisingexposes the story of Martin Fleischmann who was deceived by click fraud. Fleischmann is the owner and founder of MostChoice.com a company that gives information and quotes on mortgages and insurance. Recently Fleischmann invested a total of $2 million in advertising fees (paid to Google); he later noticed a growing number of clicks coming from overseas destinations such as Bostwana, Mongolia and Syria, which seemed odd as most of his clients resided in the U.S. Fleishmann using high-grade software, discovered that the distant clicks had appeared not on Google or Yahoo pages but dummy websites with names like insurance1472.com and insurance060.com. When somebody would click on these recycled links on these dummy websites MostChoice would get billed. Google and the dummy website hosts and operators then share the revenue. To date he calculates that this fraudulent clicking has cost his business over $100,000 since 2003.

 

In addition to examining this particular case of click fraud, the article also talks about the “thriving click-fraud underground” community that has been populated by small-time players that makes detection difficult. The article gives an example of a married couple that engaged in click fraud and made more than $5,000 in four months. David and Renee Struck set up dummy websites with recycled Google ads and paid others to visit the sites and click repeatedly. There are actually numerous sites that disguise themselves as legitimate employment and will hire you as a “click agent”, where you can earn up to $10,000 or more of extra cash a year.  Google continues to defend their practice of recycled advertisements claiming that it helps point internet surfers toward relevant information.

 

 

Preventative Measures

 

The article on impression fraudat sem-faq.com suggests that keeping a close eye on traffic, CTR and impression activity is crucial. It also advises to reporting any strange or unusual activity such as lots of impression but little change in CTR to Google immediately and that this will help you get some compensation. But above all the article suggest that keeping a close eye on traffic coming to your site and the traffic that is not coming to your site is the most important point. Perhaps, general awareness may be the first step in terms of protection against click fraud. Awareness, education and prevention are usually regarded as the key components in detecting, avoiding and stopping fraud.  It will take a cooperative effort between law enforcement, search engines, advertisers, and publishers to stop or at least lesson the amount of click fraud out there.