New Report: Making the Most of Transactional Emails

According to a new Experian Marketing Services report, transactional emails that include relevant and related products and services have 20%  higher transaction rates than those without.

Blown away, aren’t you? Okay, probably not. It’s no big marketing secret that suggestive selling and cross-promotions work, so why doesn’t everybody do it?

Let’s go back to basics. A transactional email is one that a customer expects. Could be an order confirmation, a shipping notice or information on returns and exchanges. Experian analyzed more than 1,800 emails of this type that were sent through their CheetahMail system and found that more than 100% of the time (how is that possible?) these emails are opened by the recipient. You won’t find anywhere near that kind of open rate on bulk emails.

Are Social Media Ghostwriters Bad for Business? Maybe Not.

Is it ethical to hire a ghostwriter to post updates to your social media accounts? Take a quick turn around the internet and you’ll find the majority of the people crying “no!” Words like authenticity and transparency get thrown around along with trust and honesty.

The American Marketing Association recently published a report titled, Social Media Ethics Shades of Gray: GhostTweeting and other Dilemmas. In it, Wayne Hurlbert, host of Blog Business Success on www.blogtalkradio.com, says that hiring a ghost is a grievous error.

“If you’re pretending to be someone else or pretending to be an organization that you’re not, then all trust is lost.  People prefer to do business with those who they know, like and trust and if you remove those factors from the social media world by trying to shade it into gray areas, you will not succeed.”

Edible Social Media Marketing

Hungry? Check Twitter and you’re sure to find some suggestions that will satisfy both your tummy and your need to share information online. But among all the discounts and Foursquare check-ins, there’s one company that has made social media an integral part of their dining concept. It’s called 4food and it’s giving all new meaning to the phrase “have it your way.”

4food serves hamburgers with a healthy twist. They have one shop in Manhattan but they’re getting press from all over thanks to their innovative concept. Instead of offering a set menu, the customer is asked to create their own special burger by mixing and matching ingredients from a long list. You can give your order to a waiter, the old fashioned way. Or you can sit down to an iPad (which is bolted to the table) and take your time developing your masterpiece. Then, you can surf the web free of charge while you wait for your creation to arrive.

Men Put on the Dad Lens When Buying for the Family

Everyone knows how important it is to market to moms, but what about dads? A survey by the newly formed Dad Central Consulting (an off-shoot of Mom Central Consulting) says that  92% of dads put on their special “Dad Lens” when shopping for the family.

What this means is that they use a different set of criteria when choosing items such as groceries, cars and home entertainment, than they used before they had kids. For marketers, this is a significant piece of information. Now, instead of marketing a car to men for its good looks and speed, this survey would suggest you go with safety and room to grow.

The survey also found that 77% of dad said being a parent significantly influenced their decisions and 82% said being a dad influenced who they trusted when seeking advice.

YouTube Says Don’t Block Them, Join Them

In the early days of fandom, studios routinely sent out cease and desist letters to fanzine publishers who were producing original works based on the characters from their favorite shows. It had a finger in the dyke effect, stopping one writer as twenty more popped up. In other words, it was useless.

When video software became common and YouTube hit the web, the studios began battling another, bigger problem, that of the unauthorized use of clips from shows. In order to plug the holes, YouTube created their Content ID system which scans videos and compares them to a list of items provided by the owner of the copyright. Then, like a virtual cease and desist letter, the software would block the offending videos, but who really wins? The studio gets their way, but the fans get mad and that’s never a good thing.

iTunes Ping Has No Zing

Apple says that more than one million users joined their new music-focused social network Ping in the 48 hours following its launch. I find that hard to believe. I do believe that people will flock like seagulls on a chip bag to a hot new social media site even though they can’t keep up with the ones they’re already on. I do believe that people will jump at the idea of a music-based network (take that Myspace!) especially one brought to you buy the maker of the iPod.

What I have trouble with is the fact that when I sign on to Ping, I can’t find more than twenty people using the site. Those that I did find were all in the music biz. What gives?

Mobile and Online Deals Expected to Drive Holiday Sales Dollars

In a recent survey about holiday shopping, 64% of the people said they’ll be spending less on everyone this holiday season, so that means marketers will have to work a little harder to make sure it’s their company that gets the cash and not their competitor. The trick is paying attention to how and why people are spending and customizing your marketing efforts to match.

eMarketer has a nifty new report called, “Online Holiday Shopping Preview: What Retailers Need to Know,” that can help, but here are a few of the basics. 42.7% of the people surveyed said they would only buy gifts that were on sale and 36% said they’d be doing more comparison shopping before forking over the cash.