The Bizz by

Business & marketing advice, news and features, design inspiration, and the art of gifting.

Finished Work: Custom Notebook w/ Strap Closure and PVC Cover


    Our partner is a promotional products retailer/supplier, and the company’s graphic artists love to show off their finished work. This is just another design of the many, many designs they finalize on a daily basis.

    L3 Technologies of of McAllen, TX is purchasing a fat stack of custom, high-quality, 5” x 7” notebooks featuring a strap closure. With the cloth bookmark, this 80-page notebook is the perfect note-taking companion for any professional, and the PVC cover will help the notebook last well beyond the lifespan of the notes inside the book. 

    Though these books may be used internally, they are also the perfect promotional giveaway for past clients, potential customers, loyal partners and generous vendors that take note-taking seriously. The recipient would appreciate the high-quality, long-lasting nature of the notebook, but more importantly, your company’s logo and message should be often viewed by the owner of the notebook and everyone around him or her. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. 

#MarketingMonday - Purposely Misspelling Your Brand Name in Ads Can Be a Smart Marketing Strategy


By Fausto Mendez

    Sometimes, the best marketing strategies take advantage of the most unlikely tools, glitches or places. For example, Lego famously leverages construction sites to send an inspiring and unforgettable message. In the same spirit, Snickers took over one of Google Search’s most beloved features - spell check.

    Snickers and Google partnered up for the snack brand’s latest marketing campaign, and if you’ve seen some of the more recent Snickers TV ads, such as the one with Joe Pesci at a party, you may already know the slogan, “you’re not you when you’re hungry.” Taking that same concept and plastering it all over Google Search, Snickers bought ads for about 25,000 misspelled search terms.

    When you search for these commonly misspelled terms, such as “snikkers candy”, you’ll notice an ad or two at the top of your search results. The ad varies depending on your specific situation, but our test pulled up an ad for the brand’s YouTube channel and also product ads to buy the candy at online stores. Some users are directed to a page dedicated to the campaign.


    More importantly, it doesn’t matter if you click on the ads themselves. If you know the slogan from the TV commercials, you should be amused by the same message after you misspell a word.

    The tactic is brilliant SEO marketing. Most professionals and businesses tend to execute safe and easy SEO strategies, which is wise - don’t get me wrong. But if you really want your brand to reach the top of the search lists, more often than not, you’ll need to think way outside the box. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

Three Critical Tips to Write Better Marketing Copy (Slogans, Email Subjects, Ad Copy, Etc.)


By Fausto Mendez

    Whether it’s a brand slogan, a promotional giveaway, a marketing email or a highway billboard, the best marketing copy is rather short and simple, but it can be far from easy to write. Effective marketing copy can take a long time (maybe even several days) to produce and revise, and it sometimes requires a draining amount of frustrating effort. But improving your copywriting skills can add a significant boost to your business’s success, so it’s important to continuously refine and hone your work.

    I’ve recognized three key principles throughout my career that have helped me improve my copy over time. Keep these principles in mind the next time you write to help you boost the quality of your work (see the #copywriting tips page for more)

Don’t Start with Words


+ Don’t start with words; start with a feeling. You shouldn’t write if you don’t know what feelings you want to evoke, but if you identify and target a specific feeling, such as relief or confidence, you’ll have a much better idea of what you are really trying to say. After all, that’s the point of marketing copy (to evoke or sell a specific feeling, not really the product itself). People don’t care much for products or services, but they love the good feelings certain products or services bring them.

+ The example above doesn’t feature any marketing copy, but it does a good job of evoking the the childish joy and wonder of one’s imagination. Actually, the intentional lack of marketing copy amplifies the feeling, so it’s also a good example of the “less is more” principal described later in this article. 

Short Verbs Are Safe Bets


+ Get in the habit of starting your copy with an action word; it’s beneficial to your writing process to start your copy with a short verb, such as “win” or “boost”. That’s because good marketing copy gets to the point fast, but the practice can also direct your writing process in a positive direction. You may find that this rule is too formulaic in certain situations, but most of the time, it’s a safe bet - especially if you’re pressed for time and not feeling super creative. 

+ The example above is a perfect illustration of this concept, and it gets right to the point. The feelings being evoked are joy and laughter, and that emotion leaves a positive impression with you as it associates joy and laughter with the name “Chick-Fil-A”. Furthermore, when a customer creates an emotional association to a brand, it makes the brand more memorable. 

Less is More


+ I can’t stress this principal enough: use less words whenever you can. The shorter your message, the more people will consume it and understand it. It’s not a difficult concept to understand, but it seems to be a difficult concept for newer writers to apply. 

+ In the above Nike ad, the writer could have written: “It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter how or why you do it. It doesn’t matter how good you are when you do it - as long as you do it and you do it for yourself.”  But the standard Nike slogan, “just do it”, works much better. It communicates the same message in a fraction of a second, so the team that designed the ad effectively maximized the audience that will consume and understand the ad. 

    Here’s an extra bonus tip that can apply to any creative professional, not just writers: develop amazing, outstanding taste. Simply by improving your taste (for example, learning to enjoy more sophisticated books or higher-quality blogs), you will improve your creative work. That’s because you can more easily and quickly identify bad ideas, so you can trash those ideas before you finish them. The best creatives kill almost all of their ideas, and they only keep a few shining gems to refine. Similarly, you should find a thick pile of unused ideas in your trash bin at the end of any writing session.

    For more copywriting advice, check out "10 Ways to Improve your Marketing Copy."

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How Social-Media Marketing Boosts Sales by 30% in the Video Game Industry


By Fausto Mendez

    The effectiveness of SMM (social-media marketing) is a widely debated topic, but the video game industry is done with that debate. And its verdict is in. It turns out SMM may be its most powerful marketing channel yet. 

     Twitter broadcasts over 400 million tweets everyday. That’s a lot of talk - most of it gibberish, but the video game industry is learning that guiding those conversations towards upcoming video-game releases has a very significant impact on sales, according Twitter and Deloitte LLP. Twitter UK commissioned Deloitte LLP to measure the impact of those 400 million daily Tweets on the sales of 100 best-selling PS3 and Xbox 360 games, and you can see the results for yourself in the full infographic below (click to enlarge it). 


The Lesson: Creatively Integrate Multiple Channels in Your Marketing Campaigns

    The point is not to rely solely on Twitter - or even social-media marketing - but to shape your campaign using a variety of tools that guide your audience towards positive online conversations about your products or brand. 

    Now, let’s use this lesson to design an effective marketing campaign for a company like Rockstar, maker of the famed Grand Theft Auto series. As a marketer for a major gaming company, you have to think bigger than an unforgettable TV ad, a beautiful billboard, a hilarious Twitter author, or a well-designed Facebook page. You want to design marketing tactics that start conversations that move to and from various marketing channels. 

The Example: How to Move Customers From Channel to Channel

    For example, you might design a set of TV commercials that confuses and surprises viewers. Throughout the commercial, you’d display a unique hash tag at one of the corners of the screen. The confusing ad would encourage users to search for the video or the hash tag online. The confusing ad also airs between 4PM and 8PM because that’s when the target audience watches TV. By 9PM, the audience is most likely playing video games and/or browsing the Web.

    At this point, those gamers that aren’t gaming are probably searching for the video or hash tag in order to discuss it and share it with their friends. After discussing with their friends, they probably want more information, so they would search for related websites later that night. This campaign would have three important effects.

+ By adding social and online components (that are easily searchable and sharable) to the TV ads, the ads are viewed by many, many more people than if they were developed without those social and online components. 

+ Conversations with friends about upcoming games has a more powerful effect than ads that intrude on the audience’s time and attention. Friends are often entertaining, welcomed participants in such conversations. Ads that try to dictate how you think, on the other hand, run the risk of being an annoyance if they appear in the wrong situations. In other words, your friends’ excitement for the next Madden NFL game is more effective than a tv ad for the same game, but the conversation that exposed you to that excitement may have never occurred if it wasn’t for the TV ad in the first place.

+ The search-engine performance of your website is increasingly becoming dependent on the performance of your social-media profiles and content. As your profiles and content are shared across social-media sites, your website’s SEO grows too, so by catalyzing conversations that involve your social-media profiles, critical keywords and links to your website, you should increase the traffic that your website receives from search engines beyond the traffic that arises from curiosity just after a new ad airs. 

Why does it work?

    In the previous example, the process starts in the living room. That means you have to know when your audience will be there. If you do your homework, your customer will see your ad on TV at the perfect moment. They would then search for your hash tag or video online (which would cause the initial search-engine traffic boost). As the audience start conversations about the video and any related content, they would share this content on social networks, and then you get a second search-engine traffic boost as Google notices that your brand name and content are being shared on social-media sites. As excitement, rumors and information spreads, sales grow. Just rinse, and repeat.

    Whether you’re ordering promotional products for a trade show or finalizing the details for your next TV commercial, a strong and wise marketing campaign can go a long way. Take notes, people!

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

#MarketingMonday - How Refinery29 Launched a Multi-Million-Dollar E-Commerce Store Built Around Content Marketing


By Fausto Mendez

    Content marketing is a powerful but often underestimated tool in the world of business, and despite being misunderstood, it is the vehicle that is turning average Joes from all walks of life into millionaires.

    Justin Stefano and Phillippe von Borries are the owners and founders of Refinery29, a fashion content and e-commerce company out of New York. It’s raking in multimillion-dollar sums every year, but it didn’t start out that way. About eight years ago, the website could barely pay a $28,000 salary to each member of the founding duo, but thanks to a smart and evolved approach to content marketing, it pulled in $14.2 million dollars last year. Stefano and Borries expect that number to increase by another ten million for 2013, according to Business Insider

    Prior to launching Refinery29, both Stefano and Borries held down relatively cushy jobs in law and politics, but they quit their careers to launch the website in 2005. It started out as a somewhat traditional blog on fashion, music and design in New York City, but their dedication and taste finally paid off after three years. Riding on a $28k salary purely from ads, the blog took off around 2008 as smaller, niche brands found a growing and receptive audience at Refinery29. 

    Oddly enough, Stefano and Borries know nothing - and continue to know mostly nothing - about the fashion industry. But Refinery29 eventually became the place on the Web to talk about emerging fashions and up-and-coming brands. What they didn’t realize at the time was that they were perfecting the practice of content marketing, which would set the stage for an e-commerce store that would launch Refinery29 to new heights.

    The addition of an e-commerce component to Refinery29 enables the store to generate another $3-4 million per year, and it doesn’t cost the duo much time or effort to get the store off the ground. After all the, Stefano and Borries don’t even buy inventory. They just take a cut from the products sold by the smaller, niche brands that their audience loves to read about.

    What Stefano and Borries did with Refinery29 is what content marketers all around the world aim to do everyday, but content marketing doesn’t always produce such favorable results. Their success stems from a few basic principles: 

+ They are genuinely passionate about their jobs (as owners of Refinery29) and the content they produce. People are attracted to passion, and passion makes it easier to work harder and more effectively.

+ They write for the reader, not for search engines. Writing for search engines can help you boost traffic in the short term, but writing for real readers produces passionate, dedicated fans that love to come back to the site on a regular basis.

+ Like in TV, high-quality (entertaining and/or useful) content comes first because that what attracts people. Without the content, there is no audience.

+ Many e-commerce stores underpay content marketers, copywriters and bloggers in the belief that their contribution is not as important as, let’s say, a web developer. But to underpay your writers and bloggers is like ABC underpaying its sitcom-writing staff. The writers of a major sitcom at ABC are some of the highest-paid employees of the company. Think about that the next time you expect a minimum-wage employee to generate major traffic. Appreciate your content creators.

+ A content marketer should have (or at least strive to have) the same skills and professionalism as a staff writer for Time Magazine or

+ Don’t forget to broadcast a healthy sense of humor. The Web is full of humor and people that appreciate a good joke. This is a fact of modern Web culture, and if you’re not in tune with modern Web culture, you won’t succeed as a content marketer.


    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

#Marketing #Infographic: The #Psychology of #Color


By Fausto Mendez

    Colors are a critical factor when designing ads, branding materials and marketing campaigns. That’s because, whether you know it or not, colors can evoke certain moods in most people. Colors can even stimulate your appetite!

    We stumbled upon this fascinating infographic on the impact of colors on consumer behavior. The whole thing is rather interesting, but we were really moved by the following facts (check out the full infographic below - click to enlarge): 

+ Colors can improve comprehension, learning and reading ability in individuals.

+ A significant majority of consumers make purchasing decisions based on color alone.

+ 93% of consumers buy products based on visual appearance.

+ Strategic use of colors increases the rate that people pay attention to ads.


    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by Thanks to Web Page FX for the image.

Finished Work: Plastic Handle Bag for KSPR ABC of Springfield, MO


By Fausto Mendez

    Our partner is a promotional products retailer/supplier, and the company’s graphic artists love to show off their finished work. This is just another design of the many, many designs they finalize on a daily basis.

    We’re honored that ABC affiliate KSPR of Springfield, MO reached out to us this week for a fat stack of plastic handle bags. This inexpensive promotional item is currently item #668032 in our catalog, and they come in a variety of solid colors. The handles feature a fold-over, reinforced, die-cut design, and the front and back faces measure 12” x 15” with a depth of three inches. 

    Promotional handle bags function perfectly as custom gift bags (that hold other promotional giveaways), and they maximize brand awareness at industry events, retail stores, souvenir stores, music festivals, cruises, concerts, hotels, tourist spots and any place or event where members of your audience linger around each other for significant periods of time.

    AnyPromo is the low-price leader and one-stop shop for customized promotional products and personalized promotional products, and with a catalog of over 40,000 products, we guarantee you will find the promotional supplies that you need to launch the most effective promotional campaign - no matter your circumstances or budget.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

Businesses and Advertisers May Not Use Google Glass for Ads


By Fausto Mendez

    Google Glass is the smartphone of the future, a wearable computer that sits on your head like a pair of glasses. Though it seems rather futuristic, the technology that powers Glass is hardly any different than the same stuff that powers your smartphone. Needless to say, advertisers and businesses continue to line up and compete for a chance to start using and building software for Glass - mostly programs and experiences centered around ads other types of marketing content (as is the custom in smartphone app development). There’s just one problem: no one is allowed to serve ads on Glass!

    Google recently announced that a set of Glass headsets would arrive at the doorsteps of some lucky developers and a few enthusiastic fans, and with that announcement, the company released the API (and guidelines) for developing software for Glass. It turns out the API specifically states that Glass and the user’s data connection may not be used to serve advertisements. Section Two of the API reads:

No Ads. You may not serve or include any advertisements in your API Client. Data Usage. You may not use user data from your API Client for advertising purposes. You may not sell or transmit any user data received from your API Client(s) to a third-party ad network or service, data broker, or other advertising or marketing provider. For the avoidance of doubt, user data from the API Client(s) may not be used for Third-Party Ad Serving (‘3PAS’).”

    This development poses problems for businesses that have become accustomed to Google’s traditional business model: ads everywhere and anywhere, but whether or not Google will maintain this stance is unknown. It could very well be a temporary measure to ensure that only the most passionate developers jump on the bandwagon. On the other hand, Google may have a business model in mind that we’ve never seen before. 

    Google is no stranger to revolutionizing business models. After all, it is the company that shaped the modern Web and the way businesses to business on the it (with the help of the masses, of course). We look forward to seeing what Google has planned throughout the rest of this decade. It will certainly be an interesting ride.

    We’ll  watch the story as it develops, so stay tuned. In the meantime, join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

Honda Leveraged Pinterest to Reach 5 Million Users With Tiny Budget - #MarketingMonday


By Fausto Mendez

    Every Monday, we analyze a successful marketing campaign, or we assemble a set of tips on a relevant marketing topic to help you boost your business to the next level. This week, we dissect Honda’s very successful #Pintermission campaign.

    Social-media marketing is a tricky landscape to navigate, but some out-of-the-box creativity can go a long way. Big brands know this well, and Honda knows this better than most. In fact, Honda’s #Pintermission campaign reached about five million users, according to Marketing Mag, including 5,000 repins and 2,000 “likes” so far. Overall, Honda measured 16 million impressions when the campaign (which included traditional advertising) was said and done, and that’s not including Facebook and Twitter conversations. But exactly how did Honda leverage Pinterest to such great effect? 

    The campaign specifically advertised the new CR-V, which encourages the concept of enjoying life beyond the walls of home. The CR-V is also targeted at younger adults that are about to settle down, and these young adults grew up with social media. They are accustomed to making plans online, and a good chunk of this demographic are on Pinterest too. Now, here’s the tricky part. How do you reach all of these people with a minuscule budget?

    The name of the game is creativity. If you have it, you can probably be an amazing social-media marketer, and whoever’s working for Honda apparently has it. 

    Honda reached out to Pinterest users with profiles that have massive follower numbers, and a significant chunk of these followers are individuals from the target demographic. The company offered these users $500 each. All they have to do in return is to make or complete one of their pinned images. Honda calls this concept - taking a day off of Pinterest to give life to a pin - a #Pintermission. 


    Pinterest is a popular place for sharing how-to articles and images of places or activities that people would love to be a part of, so the rest of the campaign was rather easy. Honda created boards for these users to post their #Pintermission photos, and the company also requested that these users create their own dedicated boards for the campaign (with Honda’s Pinterest profile as a collaborator). In addition, Honda also posted and shared custom images that advertised the concept of a “Pintermission”. With the stage set: online discussions, viral shares and “likes” took off. 

    Most importantly, Honda understands that Pinterest is not the best place for marketing many of its other vehicles. The CR-V has a unique target audience. As a result, Honda found those users online, and then, it developed a plan to engage those users with the CR-V as the centerpiece for discussion. That’s the big lesson here: find the customers, understand them and engage them.

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

Finished Work: 32 oz “h2go” Water Bottle for the Harrington College of Design


By Fausto Mendez

    Our partner is a promotional products supplier/retailer, and the company’s graphic artists love to show off their finished work. This is just another design of the many, many designs they finalize on a daily basis. 

    We’re more than honored, happy, and proud to serve the Harrington College of Design with a fat order of custom promotional water bottles to be distributed on campus. The bottle features one of the school’s more inspiring and motivating slogans, “I am a 100% designer,” and it’s topped off with the school name/logo at the very bottom . Below, you can see the same bottle with the Monster logo.


    Though water bottles are more of a sports or outdoors item, any recent college student can attest to the popularity of reusable water bottles on college campuses. They’re just as useful - if not more useful - outside of the gym as active and mobile students need to stay hydrated to push their minds and bodies to the limit.

    AnyPromo also carries a wide variety of education promotional products, or products that can be used for promotional purposes within an educational setting, and with a catalog of about 50,000 products spread out across several categories, we guarantee you will find a suitable promotional giveaway that is perfect for your circumstances.  Need help choosing the best promotional giveaway for your brand? All you need to do is to contact your Customer Care Representative for advice, and she will happily reply with a list of suggestions. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis.

DIY Promotional Giveaway: Chocolate Bouquet


By Fausto Mendez

    If you’re a fan of DIY crafts for personalized gifts and promotional giveaways, you should consider adding a personal touch to your next promotional gift with a homemade chocolate bouquet.

    This DIY giveaway is perfect for courting leads that happen to be recent grads - especially masters and PHDs - since they might be moving up the corporate ladder soon. You might also send one to your clients’ kids if you’re close enough and not creepy about it. Top it off with some relevant promotional giveaways, such as a pen set or an iPad case, to add some brand boosting power to your gift. Don’t forget that the point of a promotional gift is to raise awareness of your brand in your target audience.

    Furthermore, you can adjust the design to fit a variety of themes, holidays and events. You are only limited by your creativity. Now, let’s make a chocolate bouquet.

    First, you should do some basic research to determine the best type of chocolate to buy. Some people really prefer dark over milk, and others love white chocolate. Some people love caramel while others prefer (or have allergies to) certain nuts. A little bit of homework goes a long way.

Step 0 - Gather Your Cooking Materials


+ Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups or a similarly shaped chocolate candy.

+ Square-shaped (not cubed) chocolate candies or candy melts (that you melt and reshape into a square). Reshaped candy melts work best.

+ Lollipop sticks

+ Mini M&Ms

+ Colored candy decorating pen

+ Flower pot

+ Styrofoam cylinder (that fits inside the flower pot)

Step 1 - Prepare the Cups


+ Insert each stick into the top of the peanut butter cup. You might need to make a hole with a toothpick before inserting the lollipop stick. This helps to keep the cup intact as you insert the stick.

+ Most likely, your hands are too warm for the peanut butter cups, so they are starting to melt. Place each of peanut butter cup right side up on a plate. Stick them in the refrigerator for ten minutes to help them solidify. 

Step 2 - Assemble the Hats


+ Use the candy pen as adhesive to stick the square chocolate onto the bottom of the peanut butter cup. Do not penetrate the square chocolate with the stick.

+ Sit the hats upside down for about ten minutes to allow the adhesive to set.

+ Create the graduation cap tassel with the candy pen, and use an M&M to create the button that holds the tassel onto the hat.

+ Arrange the caps within the flower pot by using the Styrofoam to hold them in place.

Step 3 -  Dress it Up


+ Use tissue paper (preferably cut into thin, long strands) to add some flare and hide the Styrofoam. 

+ Decorate the flower pot with a message or art.

Step 4 - Add Promotional Products that Raise Brand Awareness


+ If you’re using this concept as a promotional gift, you’ll need to add some customized promotional products with your brand logo on it. We have a number of suggestions below, but can also browse the AnyPromo No-Minimum section for products that don’t have to be ordered in bulk. Don’t forget to add your brand’s logo to any of these products.

+ Many grads have a laptop, and have developed some level of addiction to it. A promotional messenger bag for 11-inch or 13-inch notebooks would be a useful and long-lasting gift.

+ Some grads might enjoy a custom flag or vinyl banner customized with a band or sports team’s logo. 

+ If your target is a drinker, he or she might enjoy a corkscrew / coaster gift setWriters or heavy note takers might prefer the leather notebook version.

+ Targets with business cards may enjoy a custom sculpture shaped out of their business cards and then placed inside a glass bottle. It’s a new take on the boat-in-a-bottle concept. From 18 wheelers to aircraft carriers, there’s definitely a sculpture that will appeal to your target.There’s even a sculpture of business man behind a desk!

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by Thanks to Chica Circle for the pictures.

An Email Marketing Tactic that Works Really Damn Well


By Fausto Mendez

    Email marketing is a tricky beast to tame. Effective tactics vary from business to business, so A/B tests and audience surveys can work wonders. But some basic strategies exist that can unlock big rewards if you execute them well - no matter your industry or audience. A recent EDM campaign by REI is a perfect example.

    This morning, I stumbled upon a great piece at Freelance Writing Solutions on follow-up marketing emails that seem to be working pretty well on customers that made recent purchases at REI. Below, I break down the story to the basic details, but the whole thing is worth a read if you have the extra time.

+ The author of the article recently purchased a pair of cross-country skiesat REI, an outdoor-equipment retailer with a lot of street cred within the outdoor-sports community.

+ Approximately three weeks after purchase, he received a follow-up email from REI. The message congratulated him on his recent purchase of skies, and it included some very helpful articles, including how-to guides on equipment cleaning & maintenance and a web-based tool that displays snow reports at your favorite ski spots.

+ The customer felt like REI was paying attention to him because REI knows that he didn’t purchase downhill, or mountain, skies. Also, the email marketing team at REI did a great job at guessing exactly the kind information a recent purchaser of cross-country skies might need. Actually, that customer didn’t even know he needed some of the information in the message, so it was a welcome surprise overall. 

+ This marketing email is not designed to immediately catalyze purchases. Unfortunately  a lot of marketers expect instant results out of every message sent to subscribers, but this message has a much greater, longer-lasting effect. The effect this message seems to have on the customer is that it builds a relationship with the customer, increasing brand awareness and brand appreciation in the process. As a result, his next outdoor-sports purchase will probably be at REI. 

    The story illustrates the importance of building long-lasting and close relationships with your customers - not just through email marketing but through any and all available channels. More importantly, email marketers need to exercise more out-of-the-box creativity to find the best ways to do this.

    It’s a great idea. No doubt. But we suggest a few more tips that’ll help you make the most out of every EDM:

+ Stay visual. Effective web marketing is always mixed in with amazing graphics, photography and lay-out design. Rely on a tried-and-true graphic designer to help you achieve the best results.

+ Though your graphic artist has a great eye for visual design, he’s probably not a great marketing manager. The same can be said about your customer service reps and salesmen. The EDM campaign as whole, including message and content, should be managed by a well-trained marketing manager that can easily see the world through the eyes of other people. 

+ The subject line is critical! This text is the first thing the customer will see, and it will literally determine whether or not the customer opens the email at all. It may even encourage customers to label your messages as spam, which can weaken your delivery rates in the future. In other words, you can build the best EDM emails that have ever existed, but if the subject line is weak, no one will even open it in the first place. 

+ Seek the opinions of an outside consultant with a fresh and unbiased view of your business. This consultant can offer answers to confusing issues that you would have no idea how to approach, such as: low deliverability rates, IP address issues, domain issues, choosing the best email service provider for your current circumstances, A/B testing, blacklists, whitelists, changing privacy laws, and much more. If a consultant is out of your budget, you may consider signing up with an email service provider, SEO firm or marketing company with an EDM specialist on staff that you can call upon when you need help. 

    Join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ or Linkedin, and stay ahead of the game with an occasional laugh and non-stop marketing & business advice, news and analysis. Brought to you by

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