The Gold Wrapping Paper

22 Dec

In this season of love and giving, may we all remember the beautiful love of a small child. Have a meaningful and love-filled Christmas season and new year ahead. May your days be filled with love, joy, growth, and inspiration.

Merry Christmas from everyone at Mediascope!

 

Once upon a time, there was a man who worked very hard just to keep food on the table for his Gold Present 3
family. This particular year a few days before Christmas, he punished his little five-year-old daughter after learning that she had used up the family’s only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper.

As money was tight, he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve he saw that the child had used all of the expensive gold paper to decorate one shoebox she had put under the Christmas tree. He also was concerned about where she had gotten money to buy what was in the shoebox.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, “This is for you, Daddy!”

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, now regretting how he had punished her.

But when he opened the shoebox, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. “Don’t you know, young lady,” he said harshly, “when you give someone a present, there’s supposed to be something inside the package!”

The little girl looked up at him with sad tears rolling from her eyes and whispered: “Daddy, it’s not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full.”

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept this little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems, he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us has been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.

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Texting versus Email: Which is a More Powerful Marketing Tool?

16 Dec

Text message marketing and email marketing both cater to business owners looking for an affordable mass communication method. Both methods encourage brands to send out valuable information and exclusive offers. On the surface, they appear extremely similar, but if you dig deeper, you’ll realize the benefits to each method. While email marketing has been around for a while and built up a noteworthy fan base, text marketing is new to the arena. Keep in mind that its current effectiveness is most likely due to its newness and these rates may drop over time.

In the infographic below by text marking company SlickText, you will see a comparison between open rates, click through rates and overall effectiveness of the two methods.

Currently, the average open rate of a text message sits at about 99%, while email ranges from 28-33%. Next to this, the click through rates (CTR) are vastly different. Include a link in your text message, and you will observe a CTR of about 36%. For email marketing, the CTR usually sits between 6-7%.

With email marketing, research shows that the more messages, the better. On the contrary, text message marketing preaches limiting the number of texts you send. Most successful users send between 4-6 campaigns a month, while email marketing finds better response and engagement rates with up to 30 campaigns a month.

As always, never center your marketing strategy around one method. Instead, create multi-channel campaigns with several high performing tactics. Set goals around each campaign and plan accordingly. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, directly increase sales, or do you want to gather qualified leads? Different goals may require different strategies. Increasing brand awareness may benefit from the repeated exposure found in email marketing while increasing sales may see better results from targeted text messages with short-term offers.

At the end of the day, marketing is all about return on investment so pick the methods that give you the best results.
text email

8 Best Practices for Texting

10 Dec

Last week, we talked about why texting is a good marketing tool for small businesses. Keep in mind, however, that although mobile marketing is a great way to reach customers instantly, it can send your subscribers straight to the “opt out” button if done poorly.

One of the most important rules of text message marketing is that all businesses must first gain permission (opt in) from customers in order to contact them via text. Failing to do so can damage your brand and result in some hefty legal fees.

The infographic below from SlickText.com explains the right and wrong ways to add text messaging to your marketing campaign.

5 Reasons Mobile Marketing Works for Small Businesses

30 Nov

Text messaging isn’t just a convenient way to keep in touch with friends. It’s also a powerful mobile marketing tool for small businesses. Most Americans own a cellphone and use their phone to send and receive text messages, also known as SMS messages.

While email marketing is a successful strategy for small businesses,  mobile marketingmobile marketing is shorter, sweeter and, in some respects, much more effective. No wonder more small businesses are jumping on the texting bandwagon: Sixty-nine percent of small businesses recognize mobile marketing as key to their growth over the next five years, and 84 percent that implemented it have seen a resulting increase in new business activity. Here are five reasons why mobile marketing works well.

Your texts are likely to be read instantly

Most cellphone users have programmed their phone to alert them whenever a new text message arrives, and most messages are read within a few minutes of delivery. In fact, an astounding 90 percent of texts are read within three minutes of receipt. This allows you to market your small business in new and novel ways.

Texts are engaging and personal

If you’re like most people, you can’t wait to read a text message when it arrives in your inbox.

This has obvious benefits for business owners. Not only are the consumers on your SMS contact list willing participants in your promotional campaign, but they’re likely to read your message right when you send it. Mobile marketing won’t get your promotion in front of as many people as other modes of advertising, but by delivering your messages directly to engaged consumers – and getting them to read those messages quickly – it delivers great value.

Thanksgiving Blessings

23 Nov

Today’s blog on Thankfulness is written by David Steinquist, owner of Mediascope for over seventeen years. David has been married for thirty-two years and is the father of three young men.


Happy Thanksgiving, all! I hope that this note finds you all in good health and joyfully reflecting on the year that has, once again, passed by way too fast.

As I write this, it feels like Fall has finally arrived here in Minnesota. We have had a great year for spending time outdoors. The summer was not too hot and the Fall has been mild and longer than normal. I happen to think that Fall is the best time of year to be outside. The colorful fall leaves and mild temperatures make for perfect walks in the woods or for simply enjoying the colors from a living room window.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I think we all spend a little time counting our blessings. AfterThankful all, isn’t that what the first celebrants did? The Pilgrims left Holland in August of 1620 and landed during the Fall in what is now Massachusetts. That first year was brutal for them and a large number of people did not survive. We can be thankful that for us, a brutal year might mean the stock market wasn’t quite what we had hoped it would be, or that we didn’t get a 4.0 in all of our classes. Or something else wasn’t quite up to the expectations we had set. After all, if you are reading this, you made it through the year, so you and I are one step ahead of the Pilgrims.

For me, it really is the simple things in life that I am thankful for. Some of those things are:

  • My family. I truly enjoy spending quality time with all of them. And as the boys get older, now we have fewer and fewer times when we can all get together.
  • I enjoy the challenges and triumphs that come from hard work. Sure, there are some days that I would rather be on vacation but vacation can only last for so long.
  • Living in the USA. Even with all of the turmoil that seems to have sprouted up this last year, I truly believe that as a nation, we are extremely blessed.
  • This nation also allows me to freely worship as I please. I am a Christian, but I appreciate the fact that folks who choose to worship in other ways, or not at all, have that right.
  • You, whoever you are, whether we have met at some point or not. For some reason, you were drawn to my idle ramblings, so I appreciate the fact that you took a few minutes out of your busy day to read my note.

Wherever you are and in whatever circumstances you find yourself in, I pray that you are able to reflect on the blessings you have. Enjoy life and plan for a wonderful 2016. Look positively on your circumstances and be a blessing to those around you.

Just a couple of closing observations, not even closely related to one another.

  • Did you know that George Washington, in 1789, declared Thanksgiving the first National holiday?
  • I can only think of one movie that had a Thanksgiving setting, and it is one of my favorites: Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I get the chuckles just thinking about it. Be a blessing to the Del Griffiths in your life.

Best Email Marketing Tactics

16 Nov

According to MarketingProfs, some 122,500,453,020 emails are sent every hour. Given that staggering number, how can you make your email stand out in a crowded inbox?

A lot of information is available about email marketing best practices. As the old adage says, however, sometimes a picture is worth a 1,000 words.

The following tips from Madison Logic‘s infographic features 10 best-practices that will help get your emails noticed.

The top tip is to craft a subject line that catches people’s attention. Surprisingly, Madison Logic found that punctuation isn’t necessary but capital letters produce a lift in engagement.

What does matter in the subject line is personalization. For example, users are 22% more likely to open an email if they are addressed by their first name.

As for the email itself: “Focus your message to fulfill the promise of the subject line,” Madison Logic suggests.

Here is a look at Madison Logic’s infographic.

ten-best-email-practices-infographic

 

Don’t Be a Spammer: 10 Email Marketing Spam Laws

12 Nov

Email marketing is a valuable marketing tool. It’s inexpensive, quick and easy to set up, and since your customers have given you permission to contact them, they are generally interested in what you have to say. Plus, you’re able to track results to determine which approaches work best for your customers.

Unfortunately, there are companies out there that have exploited email marketing and given it a bad name. Known as spammers, they send emails to anyone they can get their hands on, no matter how they obtained the data.

Laws are in place to prevent this kind of business, mainly through the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. CAN-SPAM is short for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing and is a play on words to “can,” i.e., get rid of the spam.

Follow these ten tips to stay on the good side of the law and avoid becoming a spammer.No Spam 2

Opt-In is a Must

Be sure you have your customer’s consent to send them emails. A customer’s consent may be oral or written. Keep track of how and when you received permission to contact each person.

Be Truthful in your Header Information

Customers have a right to know who is contacting them, so the “From,” “To,” and “Reply To” lines must represent your company; or specifically, the company or individual who sent the message. Your routing information must also be clear, including the origination domain name and email address.

Don’t Use Deceptive Subject Lines

The subject line must accurately reflect the message’s content. For example, if the offer inside is a 15% discount, the subject line can’t suggest a higher percentage.

Identify The Message As An Ad

Most customers know an advertisement when they see one and will tend to ignore it because of this. Marketers have therefore developed techniques over the years to make messages look more like a recommendation than an ad. However, the CAN-SPAM Act requires you to let your customers know the email is an ad. Again, it’s all about making sure customers aren’t deceived.

Tell Recipients Where You’re Located

This shows your customers you are a real company and gives them another way to contact you. The message must include a valid postal address. This can be your company’s street address, a post office box registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or private mailbox registered with a commercial mail receiving agency established under Postal Service Regulations.

Tell Recipients How To Opt Out Of Receiving Future Emails From You

Email marketing is always about the customer’s choice. It should be their choice to sign up to hearing more from you and their choice to decide they’ve had enough. Make it clear how recipients can opt out of getting future emails from you.

You also need to give a return email address or another internet-based way to allow people to let you know their choice. If you provide a menu of choices so the recipient can choose certain communications and not others, there needs to be a “no communication” option.

Promptly Honor Opt-Out Requests

Make sure your own spam filter doesn’t stop opt-out requests from coming through. Once you’ve received an opt-out request, be sure you honor the request within 10 business days.

You must make opting out as easy as possible which means you can’t charge a fee, require personally identifying information beyond an email address, or make them do anything other than request to opt-out.

Be Sure You Know What Others Are Doing On Your Behalf

It’s no excuse to blame the mistake on someone else, so you must keep a watch over any external company that completes your email marketing for you. Both the company that sends the email and the company that is selling the product or service must comply with the law.

Commercial Email Definition

The CAN-SPAM Act defines commercial email as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service (including content on an Internet website operated for a commercial purpose).”

For the most part, the CAN-SPAM Act only applies to commercial mail, rather than transactional or relationship email. This means that if you send order receipts, warranty information, or changes in membership details via email, you only need to make sure that your routing information is correct. Be careful if you start to add any advertising messages in these types of emails as they could fall under commercial category.

Also think about where the email links to, as your customer’s final destination from your email also counts when deciding if the overall message is commercial or not. Usually your website will fall under this definition of commercial.

Be Careful of Forward-to-a-Friend Schemes

If you offer a link so the recipient can forward the email to a friend, you don’t need to worry about the CAN-SPAM Act. However, if you include an incentive for your customer to forward it, like a discount code or the chance to win a competition, then you become responsible for the sending of that email. Therefore, you need to be very careful about adhering to the rules.

In Conclusion

To make sure you don’t risk breaking the law and upsetting your customers with poor email marketing practices, follow these legal stipulations. At $16,000 per violation per individual email sent,  you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of the law! If you’re unsure about your email practices, the Federal Trade Commission offers this publication which better explains the CAN-SPAM law.