Content Marketing Cures the Anti-Spam Blues

Does your business have the Anti-Spam Law Blues? A Content Marketing program will lift your business prospects and your spirits.

Content marketingCanada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) has been in effect since July 1. And in its first several weeks of implementation, it’s created quite a stir among Canadian businesses and marketers.

Typical of the business reaction these comments from a Toronto-based business owner being interviewed for an episode of CBC’s The Current:

“When we first heard about the legislation, it looked like it was just for flyers and I thought: Well, we really don’t do that. Our communication is one-on-one …  We don’t spam our clients. And then I realized that we actually do send out a monthly newsletter. It’s not even very newsy. It’s an image of a carpet that we might have done within the past six months that might be of interest to a company. And then I got a little further into it and I got much more concerned about what this might mean for a small company like mine. … we have customers that are 25 years old and we may not have worked with them in the past five years. But I still consider them a customer. My understanding is that after July 1, I can only email them once and without their absolute consent I can’t email them again. … I think it will dramatically affect how we can work because this is how we all work through email. We communicate that way. … We have customers in Vancouver and Calgary specifically and how we stay in touch is through email… I might think they do hospitality. They do a lot of hotel work. Maybe I’ll send them this image that we did just because they might be interested in what we’ve been doing lately.”

Look closely at what she said. “We don’t spam our clients.” “We have customers that are 25 years old and we may not have worked with for the past five years. But I still consider them a customer.” “Maybe I’ll send them this image that we did just because they might be interested in what we’ve been doing lately.” This business owner is deciding whether her “customer” would be interested in receiving an email with an image of a recent project – even if that customer has not done business with the company in several years. The decision to send the email is in the hands of the sender. The recipient has no voice in the matter. If that’s not Spam then I don’t know what is!

Now, I’m sure that this business owner is not alone in taking this approach. In fact, any discussion around a Chamber of Commerce or Board of Trade event will easily turn up many business owners who see this as a legitimate and indeed necessary marketing tactic. Have list will mail.

That era is over.

In the past it was easy for business owners to assemble lists of “prospects”. They could pick up business cards at trade shows. They could offer discounts to people who would register to receive them – and then send them email even if that person did not realize they’d signed up for an email newsletter. There were all sorts of ways to assemble a list of prospects to make a business grow. Most of those avenues are now closed. If you want to email something to a business prospect in Canada, you must either have an existing business relationship with them or obtain their explicit consent.

In the new world of the anti-spam law, consumers must know that they are signing up for a mailing list when they do so and know how you intend to use that list. The anti-spam law puts control of what consumers receive back in their hands and takes it out of the hands of the business owner who may “think” that a “prospect” might be interested in what they have to send. Consumers know what they are interested in and they can control what they receive.

Content marketing to the rescue

So what’s a business owner to do? Quite simply, business owners must give people a reason to receive their email letters. And in order to do that they must draw people to the sign-up form.

Content marketing satisfies both of these requirements.

By creating interesting, informative, entertaining content you can satisfy the curiosity of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. If you do this well, they will find you when they search for a topic. Or others within their community of interest will recommend things you have published in their social feeds. One way or the other, qualified leads will come to you. And then, if you create an ongoing stream of that interesting, informative and entertaining content, they will sign up to receive it and want to keep receiving it.

Content marketing is worth the effort for a business. Even more so now that CASL has made assembling a list of prospects has become much more difficult.

How I use 76insights for content marketing

76insights logo76insights gives publishers and marketers insight into how their content is resonating with their audience. It does this through an intuitive user interface that enables them to see patterns in which pieces of content are resonating, on which channels and social networks, and with whom. They can identify specific pieces of content that they want to further share with their audience and click out to the native application or their preferred application such as HootSuite to republish and share.

76insights is very different from any other social media tool that I have seen. And after I’ve described it to people, I often see that they are still puzzled about it.So this weekend, I decided to record a video showing how I use 76insights to do my work as a member of the Thornley Fallis content marketing team.

In this video I demonstrate how I use the analytics dashboard to identify patterns in which of our content was most resonant with our community, to identify who was interacting with that  content, and then to share items that I think will be of interest to one or more of my communities on different social networks.

76 insights is being rolled out by invitation to select content marketers and publishers. If you’re interested in knowing more or even in becoming one of the early adopters, click over to the 76insights site to find out more and, if you’d like, to request an invitation to be an early user.

Disclosure: 76insights has been developed by my colleagues at 76design and I’m proud as punch of what they are creating.

Georgia Sapounas sees Social Media on the Olympic Road to Sochi

The Canadian Olympic Committee’s Digital Manager, Georgia Sapounas, traveled to Ottawa yesterday to provide the Third Tuesday Ottawa participants with a glimpse into the Canadian Olympic Committee’s plans to use social media during the Sochi Winter Olympic Games. And as always, the Third Tuesday participants tweeted extensively about what they were hearing and thinking. I’ve captured some of the highlights from the #3tYOW Twitter stream.


Continue reading…

Canada and Google Products: So Close Yet so Far Away

Canadians have the best of all worlds. We live close enough to the United States to be able to share US media and pop across the border to spend weekends in US cities (Hello New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle!) But we still get to keep our own spelling of worlds like colour, pronounce the letter Z as “zed” and watch our democracy unfold in the daily ritual of Parliament’s Question Period.

Yet, when it comes to the introduction of new Google products, we often have a much less happy situation. And this is one of those times.

For the past few weeks I’ve been watching reviews of the Chromecast, the new Nexus 7, the HTC One Google Play and Samsung 4 Google Play phones. All look like awesome devices. And all are just out of reach for a Canadian.

This is what I see when I sign onto the Canadian Google Play device store:

Canadian Google Play device store, July 28, 2013

Canadian Google Play device stores, July 28, 2013

The Canadian store offers only last year’s devices – the Nexus 7 2012 version and the Nexus 4. Not one word about the awesome new devices that my American friends sixty miles south of me are ordering and testing.

When it comes to the introduction of new products from Google, Canadians are so close, yet so far away.

UPDATE:

July 31, 2013 Still no sign of the new Nexus 7 on the Google Canada Play devices store. BestBuy.ca now shows one model of the new Nexus 7. However, it is not available to buy online nor in a store.

BestBuy 130731

 

UPDATE 2:

August 13, 2013. Slowly, slowly, the rollout is occurring.The New Nexus 7, well at least the 16GB version made its appearance on the Canadian Google Play store this morning.

New Nexus 7 16GB in Canada Play Store 130813

 

eBook prices remain high in Canada despite price drops in US

While readers in the US may be benefiting from a drop in eBook prices following settlement of the Apple eBook price fixing case, Canadians are not sharing in the benefit of declining eBook prices.

Laura Hazard Owen reported yesterday that retailers have begun cutting eBook prices in response to the settlement of the Apple eBook price fixing case. Her post included a table comparing prices at which certain books are offered by the various major eBook retailers in the US.

I focused on the fact that my favourite eBook seller, Kobo, was the highest priced seller in all examples. I tweeted about this and was promptly called out by Jennifer Fox.

 

 

Jennifer makes good points. Canadian prices always are higher than US prices and a comparison of US prices does not transfer into Canada.

So, I decided to take a look at the prices that the Ebooks in Laura Hazard Owen’s example are being offered in Canada. .

Laura Hazard Owen’s US price table

Laura Hazard Owen eBook price comparison

Canadian prices for the same books

Title Author Kindle Nook Apple Kobo Google
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini  $    16.99  n/a  $    16.99  $    16.99  $    16.99
Entwined with You Sylvia Day  $    10.99  n/a  $    10.99  $    10.99  $    10.99
The Fault in Our Stars John Green  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99
The 9th Girl Tami Hoag  $    13.99  n/a  $    13.99  $    13.99  $    13.99
Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99
Backfire Catherine Coulter  $    10.99  n/a  $    10.99  $    10.99  $    10.99
Youtility Jay Baer  $    12.99  n/a  $    12.99  $    12.99  $    12.99
The Great Degeneration Niall Ferguson  $    13.99  n/a  $    13.99  $    13.99  $    13.99
Cooked Michael Pollan  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99

Do you see what I see? For Canadians, one high price for each book, regardless of retailer.

Canadians are not benefiting from the drop in US eBook prices

It’s clear that agency pricing persists in Canada. And that means higher book prices across the board with no competition on price.

That’s not good for consumers. That doesn’t promote reading. And that’s something that must change. Now. Not next year.

What will it take to end agency pricing of eBooks in Canada?

Who will see this as an opportunity and take the lead?

I buy from Kobo because of its commitment to ePub standards and its device-agnostic approach. And I’m willing to pay a premium for being part of an open system that lets me consume my books on the device of my choice.

So, Kobo, you’ve already got me for the right reasons. Now why don’t you go the next step by seizing the opportunity to break the agency model and lead the way to better book prices for Canadian eBook readers.

Kobo, are you listening?

Noteworthy: We're making conscious choices about who we give our personal data to

  • “54% of app users have decided to not install a cell phone app when they discovered how much personal information they would need to share in order to use it
  • “30% of app users have uninstalled an app that was already on their cell phonebecause they learned it was collecting personal information that they didn’t wish to share”

Those numbers are much higher than I would have expected. Why? Because most app terms of service are understandable only to lawyers and people with the patience to read them closely. And because I would have expected most people to rush past them in their eagerness to try out the shiny new app on their mobile device.

But it turns out Americans are more privacy-savvy than I expected. Good for us!

Read the full report: Privacy and Data Management on Mobile Devices

Marketing with Integrity – Selling Likes and Followers

Do you sell Facebook Likes or Twitter Followers to your clients?

I received this email in the middle of the night. You may have received it or something like it too.

It asks, “I was wondering if you sell Facebook Likes and Twitter Followers to your clients to improve their social media credibility?” The writer then goes on to suggest that, “Some companies sell 500 Facebook likes to their clients for $100, and buy the service from me for $15. It’s a huge profit margin and is a really easy add-on to sell to your current customers.”

My answer in a word is NO!

No, we don’t sell Facebook Likes, Twitter Followers or any other kind of social gesture. Buying followers amounts to pure deception, in my mind. Especially if the intent is to suggest that a large number of followers conveys greater credibility.

True credibility is earned. It is ascribed to you by others based on their experience of you. If you believe that the number of likes or followers conveys credibility, then purchasing them amounts to deception. 

If you are a marketer, don’t follow this path. It is marketing without integrity.

Gini Dietrich is Marketing in the Round at Third Tuesday

Gini Dietrich is everywhere! Including this month, at Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ and Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW.

Over the past two years, she has built a large online following at her blog, Spin Sucks, on Twitter and on Facebook. She is building Spin Sucks Pro as a platform for marketing expertise tailored to the needs of senior executives. She has become a sought-after speaker. She finds time to co-host the Inside PR podcast with Martin Waxman and me. And she manages to hold down a day job as CEO of Arment Dietrich. (Disclosure: Arment Dietrich and Thornley Fallis are business partners.)

With all this on the go, Gini found the time to co-author with Geoff Livingston a book that every contemporary marketer should read: Marketing in the Round, a practical guide to integrating the traditional and new tools of marketing into a coherent, effective whole.

And now, Gini is making the time to be our next speaker at Third Tuesday. She’ll join us on July 24 (Ottawa) and July 25 (Toronto.) Gini offers great insight into marketing in the connected era. Register online to attend Third Tuesday Ottawa or Third Tuesday Toronto to hear and meet her.

Attendees will receive a copy of Marketing in the Round

That’s right. Your admission fee pays for a copy of the book. All attendees will receive a copy of Marketing in the Round. That gives you not just the opportunity to hear Gini speak, but also to meet her and have her personally dedicate and sign your copy of the book.

Thank you to the Sponsors who support Third Tuesday

As you know, Third Tuesday is a community-oriented, volunteer-driven event. And we wouldn’t be able to bring great speakers like Gini Dietrich to Third Tuesdays across the country without the support of some like-minded sponsors. We’ve been lucky to have some great companies step up over the past several years to help us make Third Tuesday happen. Big thanks are due to CNW GroupRogers Communications, the Canadian Internet Registration AuthorityRadian6 and Cision Canada for making the 2011/12 Third Tuesday season possible.

Interested in learning more about Gini Dietrich and Marketing in the Round?

Mitch Joel interviews Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston on the Six Pixels of Separation podcast.

Georgina Laidlaw and Valeria Maltoni reviewed Marketing in the Round

Bob LeDrew interviews Gini Dietrich on the FIR Book Club

 

Social Mediators 9: Promoting a book with social media

Recently, Terry Fallis found both of his novels – the Leacock Award winning The Best Laid Plans and the soon to be published The High Road – in the top five of the iTunes Literature podcasts. In this week’s episode of Social Mediators, Dave Fleet and I talk with Terry about how he and his publisher, McClelland & Stewart, are using social media to find and cultivate a fan base for Terry’s novels.

Also up for discussion this week: Social media adoption still isn’t universal among communicators.

Do you think social media is just a niche expertise or should it be a core skill set for all professional communicators?

Taking The High Road with Terry Fallis

Terry Fallis‘ story started out the same as that of almost any other unpublished writer with a first novel. Pitch it to every publisher he could find – and be rejected by every one. And it could have ended there – as it does for most first time writers.

But Terry knew something about social media. And he decided that, if he couldn’t get his book to readers in the traditional way, he’d try to get it to readers in a totally different way. He’d read a chapter a week and distribute it as a podcast on his Terry Fallis blog and via iTunes.

And that’s the way The Best Laid Plans found an audience. Via social media. Virally. One fan at a time found it, liked it and passed it on to friends.

Some of the people who heard about the book and read it were on the selection committee for the Leacock Award. They liked it. In fact, they liked it so much that they nominated it for the award. And in a true Hollywood ending, Terry Fallis’ The Best Laid plans won the Award in 2008. And then traditional success followed. He picked up representation from one of Canada’s leading literary agents and a traditional publishing deal from one of the country’s most prestigious publishers, McClelland & Stewart.

Well, Terry’s back with a sequel, The High Road. And he’s persuaded his publisher, McClelland & Stewart to test his approach again to see if lightning will strike twice. This is a first for a Canadian publisher. And I’m sure that others are watching closely to see whether podcasting the book in advance of publication will lift sales.

This week’s Inside PR, features an interview with Terry about how he and McClelland & Stewart are using social media to promote his book. Following the interview, Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich and I talk about Terry’s experience and whether it can be more broadly replicated.

Listen to the episode:

Here are the complete Inside PR show notes, prepared by our producer, Yasmine Kashefi.

0:23 Martin opens the show.

2:50 Joe mentions that Terry Fallis’ book podcast has made it to number one on the iTunes literature podcast charts.

4:03 Joe interviews Terry about how he used social media to promote his two books.

13:00 Martin, Joe and Gini comment on how innovative Terry was with his approach to social media to promote his book and himself.

19:00 Joe presents this week’s topic, recent developments in social media. He starts with the YouTube news feed and how citizen journalism has changed how news is defined.

24:21 Joe adds that the move toward government 2.0 has been gaining momentum and cites the Australian government’s Gov 2.0 as an example.

25:53 Martin introduces a new closing segment, the round up.

26:12 Gini kicks off the last -30- segment on Inside PR.

28:14 Martin wraps up the show.