Monthly Archives: November 2016

Avoiding the Siren Call of the ‘Perfect’ Digital Workplace

Avoiding the Siren Call of the 'Perfect' Digital Workplace

Since before the turn of the century, people have been looking for a way to make a digital workplace.  From portals to collaborative platforms to Enterprise 2.0 tools, a continuous wave of tools has appeared, each seemingly searching for a problem to solve.

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What Google AMP Means for Every Marketer

What Google AMP Means for Every Marketer

Mobile isn’t what’s next — it’s what’s right now.  Mobile has officially eclipsed desktop in terms of usage numbers, and is cementing itself as the go-to platform for connecting, engaging, shopping and general consumption.  Even bigger than that, the number of mobile-only users — people using mobile exclusively — has 

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With Email Deliverability Comes A Huge Responsibility

I am privileged to manage global deliverability, across all Oracle Marketing Cloud properties. As you might imagine, I have the chance to speak to all kinds of customers, across all different customer life cycle stages.

One of the things that I find most interesting about customers in these different stages, is the way they understand how deliverability actually works, and what they can and can’t do to change it.

The End Comes First

Let’s start with the end-game first.

The reality is that you, as the sender, control and are responsible for your own deliverability. Deliverability in its simplest form boils down to some simple truths. Senders who deliver messages that are relevant to their customers, will see much higher engagement, inbox rates, and fewer complaints. It all seems pretty simple, and that’s because it is in theory.

One of the misnomers that I hear with new clients on occasion, is something like this; “I have better deliverability now than at my old ESP”, or “I had better deliverability on my last ESP”. Both of these statements are, for the most part false. There are things that an ESP needs to have in place from an infrastructure perspective, that are 100% necessary.

You could be moving to or from a setup that may or may not have all of those table stakes elements. There’s a natural reaction to want to look at deliverability numbers and forget the context of those numbers. Understanding that context, will take you much closer to that Utopian Deliverability state we’re all looking to achieve.

When is it okay to compare numbers between two different sending origins? You can do it when the numbers are coming from the same base source. We all know that the warm-up period is critical in establishing your reputation with specific email receivers. During that time, it is important to make sure and put your best foot forward from an engagement standpoint.

Even as you do that, you will still see a significant portion of messages go to the bulk folder as ISPs evaluate your mailings. Comparing these warm-up numbers to another mailer with an established history, just doesn’t add-up. The later-on comparison can also be problematic. Unless you are sending the exact same content to the exact same audience, (and why would you do that from 2 different systems?), it is not an apples-to-apples comparison.

The Deliverability Reality

Here’s the reality of our space today. Unless you made a really bad choice of ESPs, you are probably covered from an infrastructure perspective. That means you are responsible for your own deliverability success.

The expertise and knowledge provided by ESPs is a differentiating factor between us, and can make a big difference in helping you reach your goals. Oracle Marketing Cloud puts a lot of emphasis on the warm-up period, and we offer incredible analytic tools such as our Deliverability Plus solution.

If you are in a place where you see better numbers from one source, think about the root cause instead of the blame game. What about audience and message? Are they the same, or are you doing better/different segmentation or messaging? Can you actually account for the difference in segmentation?

Even people who are in the same segment or demographic behave differently. It’s important to stay focused on the end-game, and not get too caught up in comparisons that don’t prove anything good or bad without a ton of extra analysis.

ESPs don’t have “better” deliverability. They have experts and procedures that you may like and take advantage of, but at the end of the day, you are in charge of your deliverability.

Do you need help taking charge? Download the Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide today to gain best practices, ISP landscape, international regulations, and much more.

Email Deliverability Modern Marketing Guide

My Favorite Business Model for a Breakthrough Digital Business

a business model and a breakthrough

It was the end of 2008. Something you might remember about that year — in October, the markets took a nasty fall and the global economy melted down.

I was the sole breadwinner for my family. The company I worked for was going through round after round of layoffs. The well-paying, secure job I’d had for five years looked likely to evaporate underneath me.

I had some savings, but not a ton. I had a mortgage and preschool for my three-year-old to pay for, as well as silly habits like buying groceries and having health insurance for my family.

I had been noodling around with business ideas, but I hadn’t gotten serious.

In the final few months of 2008, I had to get serious. Early in 2009, I took the leap. Here’s how I did it.

My year of living dangerously

In 2009, I felt a lot like a chicken trying to cross an eight-lane highway. It was theoretically possible, but there was a non-optimal level of stress involved.

The first thing I did was hang out my shingle as a freelance copywriter.

In a lot of ways, it was wonderful. I worked on fascinating projects that I cared about. I had lovely clients who actually listened to me. I was able to implement content strategy (which I learned, incidentally, mainly from Copyblogger), instead of sitting in endless meetings talking about it.

The main downside for me was the “you don’t kill, you don’t eat” freelance model, in which I was endlessly having to close new clients in order to keep my revenue going.

I know people who are masters of this. I was not one of them.

But it worked, more or less. I was supporting my family.

Growing the audience

One thing I’m so grateful for about that time: I had started growing my audience well before I needed clients. My original intent had been to find another job — I figured a blog would help me stand out with prospective employers.

As it turned out, I was functionally unemployable, but the blog was an amazing resource. It didn’t have zillions of readers or email subscribers — but it had enough.

(By the way, I launched an email list with a simple autoresponder before I even had that site up, which I recommend if you’re starting from scratch today. You want to capture every drop of attention you can.)

By the time I went out on my own, that blog had already started to pull a small audience together. It also connected me with like-minded people for projects, support, expertise, and eventually business partnerships.

The email list allowed me to put offers in front of potential customers — and discover what worked and what didn’t.

Finding stability

2009 was a year of hustle, and trying out all kinds of business models.

I tried freelancing, which sort of worked. I tried some content strategy consulting (we called it something else then), which also sort of worked. I put together a few simple information products with friends. I had some affiliate offers going.

My friend Gary, a business coach who talked me down from Mount Freakout about a thousand times that year, had been on my case to launch an online course with a membership component. I told him I’d get it done that year.

It was not pretty. Building the site was complicated, and I needed to hire someone to put together a variety of puzzle pieces that came from entirely different puzzles. It was fairly expensive to build. But I got it launched — in mid-December, since I’d promised Gary I’d do it that year. (Accountability is a useful thing.)

I called that site The Remarkable Marketing Blueprint, and it changed everything.

(There are still lovely and successful folks out there who identify themselves as “The Remarkables.” That makes me deeply happy.)

I launched the Blueprint at a pretty modest monthly fee. The checkout system was a PayPal nightmare, and I’m lucky it worked at all. The membership management tools were primitive, with lousy security. (Remind me to tell you about the week that Russian hackers kept putting porn into my member library. Fun times.)

That’s why I’m a bit emphatic about how much easier the Rainmaker Platform makes things. Trust me, the early tools were not so user-friendly.

But they got the job done. People bought the course. They benefited from the course.

After a short time, I relaunched the Blueprint (Gary was bugging me again) at a higher price. And that launch went even better.

I didn’t become a millionaire. But I had momentum and steady revenue. I was helping people with their problems, and in turn, I was making a reasonable living. I had a business that worked.

If you think that would be an amazing feeling … you’re absolutely right.

Come to the free webinar

Building an online course or membership community is a great business model — but it’s not a guaranteed home run. You can set yourself up for failure, or set yourself up for success.

Brian Clark’s original Teaching Sells was the course that taught me how to set the Blueprint up for success. How to structure it, how to make it marketable, how to position it, how to get the content created, how to launch it, and how to run it.

Teaching Sells isn’t on the market anymore, but Brian Clark still teaches folks how to build online courses — only these days, it’s a much more streamlined process.

Brian’s holding a free webinar on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time that will get you started.

Click the button below for easy (and free!) registration.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

I love this model for so many reasons.

  • I won’t say it was easy, but it was doable.
  • It supported me and my family when we really needed it.
  • It provided steady, predictable revenue so I could catch my breath and actually plan something.
  • It was conducive to my commitment to be a good parent and spouse as well as a capable businessperson.
  • It connected me with wonderful customers, who became friends, and who went into the world and did amazing things.
  • And it opened doors to other possibilities — the business stage that Brian Clark calls “Acceleration.”

It’s a model that works if you know how to do something really well. It’s also a model that works if you don’t have your own particular area of expertise, but you partner with someone who does. (You set the course up and run it; they provide the content and expert authority. These can be remarkably productive businesses.)

Even though we’ve been business partners for years now, I always make a point of listening to what Brian has to say about online courses. He always has new insights and points of clarity that I learn from.

So I’ll be there … and if you have any interest at all in this model, I recommend you check it out as well. You can just click the button to get registered.

Free Webinar:
How to Develop an Irresistible Online Course People Will Line Up to Buy (and Then Actually Use)

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