Monthly Archives: December 2010

Not Just Social Media – Great Social Media

There’s no doubt that social media is changing online marketing, and small businesses, once reluctant, are warming up to how it can help them to grow and thrive in this recovering economy. They are also coming to understand that social media marketing is not as easy as just setting up an account and watching the customers stream in. While it’s great to have a goal and a strategy in mind before getting down to tactics as my friends at Media Two have written eloquently about, if you decide that entering the social media space is right for you, what do you do next?

What you do next is back off from describing what you want. Leading up to this point, it has been all about you, but when talking about social media, that ceases to be true. Now, it becomes about your audience. And before you can get there, you need to describe that person (you heard me correctly: person, not people) in great detail and know what that person wants from you. And what that person doesn’t.

In most marketing and analysis circles, this is called building personas. But that’s just a term. Don’t get hung up on it. It just means you need to figure out some things about the customer you are talking with online. (Also not a typo: with, not to.)

To get your brain kickstarted on this, I’ll give you a few questions you might ask about your customer that can help you figure out how you’re going to engage that person. Continue reading

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How LivingSocial Changed My Life

On October 5th, I opened my email to see my daily LivingSocial deal. I was very excited because the discount was enormous. It was for sessions at Bikram Yoga Durham, a studio in downtown Durham. Not only was it super close to home and a great deal, but it was something I thought I’d like to try. The kicker is this: I would have never signed up without the discount. Not only had I never heard of the studio (it was new), but the price seemed pretty steep – more expensive than a gym membership. The deal broke down both those barriers.

Bikram yoga is tough. The first class, filled with several new practitioners like myself, was a struggle to get through. 105 degrees. 40 percent humidity. 90 minutes of yoga poses. It gets the heart rate up, and I’m not ashamed to say that I had to sit out a few poses and lie still while my legs tingled, the room spun, and I felt nauseous. Not uncommon. But then I came back for more. And then I signed up for more classes at full price.

There’s so much to love about yoga, but I think I know where to start in describing what could be life-changing about it. Yoga teaches you that you only need to be where you are. Can’t get your head all the way to your knee? Bend your knee. Maybe tomorrow, maybe the next day you’ll be able to do the full expression of a pose, but for now, you’re getting all the benefit exactly where you are. Continue reading

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Some Have Priorities Thrust Upon Them

2010 was not an easy year. I suspect most of us didn’t have an easy time of it. But I thought I’d reflect a bit on the transformation this year brought.

When the year began, I was working 60 hours a week, weekends, holidays. I was burning myself out but with work I loved (except for that stinking ecommerce inventory). I was still struggling to make ends meet, but I was hopeful that I’d be able to make it all work. I made sacrifices because that’s what you do in that situation. That was my life for the first 8 months of 2010. Work, a couple of hours with my family, more work, 5 hours of sleep, and back to work.

Then it ended. Best thing. Continue reading

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Top 10 Memorable Moments of 2010

First, let me say that these are my top 10. I’m not using any studies or data from so-called “reliable sources.” Who needs those? I’m talking about the memorable moments of 2010, which means it’s my memory. They’ve made an impression, made a difference, and helped to sculpt in some way what defines 2010. There is, of course, an digital media slant to it, but isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be? These aren’t ranked, per se, but I have put them in an order I’m comfortable with. Continue reading

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Email Marketing’s Naughty or Nice Vol. 3

In this final installment, I have to slap the hand of a brand I adore. It hurts. I must do it anyway. I deliberately chose to select from emails received on Monday, December 20th. It’s that last big push for holiday shopping when there is still that sprinkle of hope that it might arrive on time. It’s a great chance to reach out to procrastinating shoppers like myself.


This time, it goes to Stila Cosmetics. I love their products. I was all Stila-faced on my wedding day. They have a lot going for them, but email marketing isn’t one of them. Described as a “prestige brand,” the email I found in my inbox had no upper crust feel to it at all. It was… wait for it… text only. Cosmetics are about color and experience, and their holiday email left me wanting for either (and both). Continue reading

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Email Marketing’s Naughty or Nice Vol.2

It’s getting down to the wire for holiday shopping. I’ve been keeping a look out for emails that are done well to help identify online retailers who are doing a great job and those who haven’t. In Vol.1, I gave a lump of coal to an online retailer who made terrible mistakes and then made them again in the next email they sent out again. I guess that proves my point about them not listening.

At any rate, installment 2 brings us a new Naughty and new Nice because I don’t need to rehash what went wrong there in this post. Continue reading

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Email Marketing’s Naughty or Nice Vol.1

In honor of the holiday and all its marketing, I wanted to offer a little tutorial. This is in the form of 1 email gone bad and one that’s oh so good. I think it offers some good lessons and useful comparisons. I trust you’ll agree.


I will offer full disclosure and say that I have previously been affiliated with this company. Because I am no longer affiliated with them, some may assume that my critique is out of some personal malice. This is not so. My criticism is based on the fact that I’ve instructed them in the subject of email marketing and they’ve ignored me. So, I need to give them a slap on the hand (lest someone think I didn’t know any better). Continue reading

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Don’t Screw with Christmas

There are times when you know you’re not going to be able to do everything you need to do. And then you have to prioritize. Pick your battles, if you will. When it comes to e-commerce, your priorities are:

1. Generate sales.
2. Delight those customers.
3. Convert those to repeat business.
4. Convert them to brand evangelists.

But I am seeing some businesses missing out on the first item on that list. Continue reading

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Is This Going To Be On The Test?

One thing about being a parent is that you can’t believe half the things you end up saying – things you’d never imagined anyone would ever have to say. “Don’t eat the toilet brush.” “Get the spoon out of your nose.” Lately, I have noticed myself saying, “What do you say?” And when my son didn’t know what to say after someone sneezes, I thought how life for young kids must feel like a pop quiz, sneaking up on you when you least expect it. Continue reading

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