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July 31, 2006
1.Top 10 Summertime Activities for Marketers

Case Studies
2.How to Get 350 Positive Media Mentions for a Business Services Firm in Six Months

Practical Know-How
3.How to Make Your Email Enticing in AutoPreview -- 16 Samples of Best & Worst Tactics
4.Special Report: How to Market to India Online -- 4 Challenges and 22 Helpful Hotlinks
5.Interview: Behind the Scenes with a Five-Bar Affiliate -- How Merchants Can Improve Program Results
6.Fame Briefs: 1 Speaking Gig and 1 New Award to Enter
7.Career: 37 New Jobs & 6 Seekers Available
8.Our New Book Offer: 'Advanced Email Marketing'

Top 10 Summertime Activities for Marketers

For most marketers, summer is not the time when you go to the beach or take that extra Friday off for a longer weekend. Nope, summer is the time when you gear up for the big fall season. Top 10 ways:

#1. Review past test data

I've noticed when marketers try to recall results from tests even just a few weeks back, their memories are pretty far off. You think you remember the numbers perfectly ... but then when you actually look at the report, you're surprised by the real data.

Lesson -- never make decisions for your upcoming fall campaigns until you've reviewed the action numbers one more time.

#2. Launch new tests

More ecommerce sites launch tests during August than any other time of the year. If you surf sites whose peak selling seasons are the holiday season, you'll find all sorts of neat stuff going on right now, including shopping cart redesigns, internal search results page revamps, 3D, audio and video added to merchandise pages, etc.

If you're B-to-B marketer, now is the time to run an A/B test on your lead gen landing page to see if a few tweaks can increase your conversion rates. Clean up your landing page now before you begin driving heavy traffic with third-quarter campaigns.

#3. Face-time with other departments

Chances are summertime is a slightly easier time of year for the rest of the organization. Execs who couldn't possibly spare time for a meeting with marketing in the past could be open to one now. Schedule lunches or meetings with everyone from business development to customer service. You don't need an agenda past relationship building.

The relationships you build now will serve you well when it's crunch time later in the fall.

#4. Customer verbiage studies

This is also the best time of year to grab at least few customers on the phone or in person. Your goal is to discover both their pain points (what could your product or service solve) and what sorts of language/verbiage they use to describe your offerings.

Your findings will feed directly into everything from search marketing keyword lists to email newsletter article headlines for fall. Nothing is sweeter to a customer or prospect's ears than words they themselves would use to describe things.

#5. Canned content creation

Professional managing editors in the publishing world have a secret weapon they use to survive busy seasons -- canned content. This may be anything from feature articles to interesting blog postings that they hold on hand for "just in case."

Two keys -- the content is "evergreen," meaning it can be held for use in emergency situations at any time in the next six months to year without appearing dated. Also, the content is designated "emergency use only," which means you don't slip it into the regular schedule.

Fate does have an unscheduled, but very real, emergency in store for you this fall -- probably just when you don't have time to cope with it. A writer will fall ill, a launch will be delayed, whatever. You'll be incredibly grateful to have that canned content ready to slide in at the last moment.

#6. Revamp analytics reports

Everyone I know who has a pretty good analytics system (data coming from their Web site and other marketing campaigns) complains they never have time to really review it.

I'm not saying this is the best time to review it. Instead, I'm saying summer is the best time to set up a few more reports. Why more when you need less? That's the point -- your new reports will be focused on the most useful data points only.

Think over what data do you need that will make a big difference in marketing decisions that will confront you this fall? Plus, what data would help you impress the management team that marketing's doing a great job?

Boil down your analytics report needs to just those (far fewer) things and set systems in place -- automated if possible, cheap temp or intern labor if not -- to be able to produce them from now on.

#7. Revisit all templated/automated content

Run an exhaustive research mission to collect every bit of automated content your prospects and customers receive. This is content such as service letters, email autoresponses, basic brochures, corporate "about us" pages, PowerPoint slide templates, transactional notices, employee email SIGs ... even the on hold audio on your phone system.

Are the logos still correct? How about offers, tone, colors? Chances are something's out of date. Something always is.

#8. Research external helpers

If business booms this fall and the management team turns to you to say "rev up marketing even further," are you prepared? In the middle of your busiest season you may not have time to research vendors or hire and train more staff.

Now is the time to build an in-house file of external resources. Check out everything from transcriptionists (everything audio on your site should have matching text to help boost SEO) to graphic artists. You should have contacts, costs and samples of their work when appropriate.

Also, check when your main vendor contracts run out. Are you planning to re-evaluate vendors for 2007? You may not have time closer to January to start the RFP process on a proper researched foundation.

#9. Start a public swipe file

Buy a huge bulletin board and hang it somewhere that everyone in the marketing department (at least locally) can see it. Plus, start a house library of binders to browse through when the board is full. Companies with marketers worldwide often add a swipe file to their intranet or create a private group blog for them.

Then, start adding every piece of creative you like (even if you like only one element of it) to that file. Ask other departments to do the same (great way to help management feel "involved" in marketing.)

Include copies of everything from email newsletters to PowerPoints and landing pages. However, don't break copyright -- generally, if it's a marketing piece that's run publicly you're safe copying it, but not so if it's an article.

Later this fall, when you are on crazy deadline and need an idea to spark your creativity, your swipe file is there to help you. That said, always test new creative. Never assume marketing creative, even swiped from huge successful organizations, is something that's going to work the best for you.

#10. Plan a fabulous vacation for January

If you're not a skier, consider Australia or New Zealand. Remember, their seasons are switched from ours, so you can have that perfect beach vacation you've always dreamed of and still be in marketing.

Anne Holland, President
MarketingSherpa, Inc

P.S. As always, our Case Studies and articles are open access for about 10 days. Then they go into SherpaLibrary where you can research for a small fee. The links always remain the same.


#2. How to Get 350 Positive Media Mentions for a Business Services Firm in Six Months

SUMMARY: If you want better public relations results, this Case Study is for you. Discover how a national law firm emerged from the shadows to hog the B-to-B media spotlight this year -- 350+ mentions so far.

Includes tips on how to introduce your CEO to journalists; how to set up an effective team of PR pros; and how to turn a hot media topic into a series of lead generation seminars.
(Open access until Aug. 5th)


#3. How to Make Your Email Enticing in AutoPreview -- 16 Samples of Best & Worst Tactics

SUMMARY: Oh, dear. Have you ever viewed your own email newsletters or offers in an Outlook in-box with "AutoPreview" turned on?

69% of Outlook users frequently scan through their in-boxes using some form of Preview. And, MarketingSherpa has discovered some pretty big mailers (Target, The Company Store, the DMA and ourselves among them) have blah, please-don't-open-me AutoPreview copy.

Here's how to redo your email template design for AutoPreview. Features inspirational email samples from nine mailers you should copy, including The Motley Fool, Fossil, Circuit City, Gevalia, Williams-Sonoma and JetBlue:
(Open access until Aug. 6th)

#4. Special Report: How to Market to India Online -- 4 Challenges and 22 Helpful Hotlinks

SUMMARY: With all the hype surrounding India's emergence in the world economy and its growing middle class, it's a market worth delving into.

In our exclusive Special Report, discover:
-> Useful stats and demographics
-> Top four challenges to overcome
-> Three online marketing tips

Plus, hotlinks to 22 associations and other helpful places.
(Open access until August 4th)

#5. Interview: Behind the Scenes with a Five-Bar Affiliate -- How Merchants Can Improve Program Results

SUMMARY: "Most mid-tier affiliate programs could do much better," says Joe Raffetto. Raffetto is a Commission Junction Five-Bar performer as well as a Digital River affiliate network all-star, so he knows what he's talking about.

Discover what he revealed to MarketingSherpa on:
-> How to recruit top affiliates
-> What should be in your email newsletter to affiliates
-> Three Best-of-Breed merchants to emulate

Here's our exclusive Q&A:
(Open access until Aug. 3rd)

#6. Fame Briefs: 1 Speaking Gig and 1 New Award to Enter

Here's a quick listing of the latest marketing, ad and PR awards you can nominate yourself for.
(Open access = permanent)

#7. Help Wanteds: 37 New Jobs & 6 Seekers Available

The past week's new posts including four Directors and 10 in Web marketing. Plus, learn how to post your own opening. (complimentary service).
(Open access = permanent)

#8. New Book Offer: 'Advanced Email Marketing'

We all know that email is a high-speed, low-cost tool that has the potential to be a dynamic marketing device. But do you know how to maximize its potential?

In 'Advanced Email Marketing,' author Jim Sterne directs his message to the professional email marketer who wants to use email to achieve marketing goals. The book covers a range of topics that are of concern to an organization or marketer who is trying to create, maintain or improve their email marketing operation.

Sterne, an internationally recognized speaker on electronic marketing and customer interaction with 20 years of experience, explores broad topics with instructional text, real-world examples and hands-on worksheets.

He uses a fictional company, Acme Bike Corp., to portray his email marketing messages. After reviewing the email operation journey of Acme Bike, you can transfer what you learn to your own emails. Each chapter contains valuable worksheets to get you started on the right path.

Sterne donated five copies of 'Advanced Email Marketing' for Sherpa to give away. Toss your name into the hat here to try for one.
(Ends 08/07/06)

+ Last week's book offer:

These five lucky marketers will get their own copies of 'What No One Ever Tells You About Franchising," by Jan Norman:
  • Joe Ciannamea, Pak Mail, Spring Hill, FL
  • Jesse Emperador, Cendant, Washington, DC
  • Melanie Johnston, HealthPros, Kansas City, KS
  • Lisa Pohmajevich, Conceptus, Mountain View, CA
  • Timothy Simba, Vulindlela BizzAssociates, Gauteng, SOUTH AFRICA

P.S. Did a friend send you this? Go Here for your own copy - it's award-winning, useful, and complimentary.

P.P.S. Got questions, comments, or ideas for editorial?
Email Editorial Director Tad Clarke at TadC(at)marketingsherpa(dot)com
or call Customer Service at (877) 895-1717 -- thanks!

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