Integrating Email and Internet Marketing With Mobile Marketing

We all know how important it is to build a good marketing list. When email first arrived people couldn’t wait to open it. Remember that “You’ve Got Mail” sound or the email “chime” letting you know you had a new message? Eager with anticipation, you’d rush to your computer and open your inbox…only to see another message about “Viagra.”

That’s when it began; dummy email addresses-downright fake ones– I admit I used [email protected] on many occasions, just so I could get the information. Then came spam filters and junk email folders. All designed to impede your ability to deliver content to your clients and generate new ones.

What is a marketer to do you ask? How can I reach my core clients through the haze of a cluttered inbox? The answer now is mobile. Mobile text messages have a 100% open rate!

We all know that 80% of our business comes from 20% of our customer base. Mobile text marketing can help you to identify that 20%. If a client opts-in to receiving your text alerts, they are probably in your core audience. Others who opt in are new leads that are looking to become part of the top 20%. Mobile can integrate with your email marketing efforts, targeting that top 20% and increasing your ROI.

When someone gives you their cell phone number to sign up for their updates, etc. they are asking for you to communicate with them. Text messages are usually reserved for quick, personal communication. If your clients choose to have you communicate with them via text, they are inviting you into their “inner circle.” Not to mention that since many people don’t have an unlimited text plan, they are actually willing to pay for your information. That is how important it is for them to be on your list.

The operative word, however, is “choose.” Text message marketing is 100% opt-in. Spammers beware: if you send spam text messages you not only violate the Mobile Marketing Association’s best practices, but you could be subjected to lawsuits and massive fines. The US congress is entertaining legislation as of this writing to prevent and punish cell phone spam.

There are many text vendors already established and, with the explosion of mobile text marketing in the U.S., many more to follow. For email and internet marketers it is important that you are specific in your needs when interviewing potential vendors. The vendor should have the ability to seamlessly integrate into your existing email marketing campaign, eliminating the need for you to re-opt-in clients. Web page sign up boxes and advanced scheduling features, much like your email autoresponder, would be the best bet. Each vendor has its own niche where they excel. Another important thing to ask is their policy on opt-in. Most vendors, because of the huge expense, place many clients on one short code. If the vendor allows uploads of cell phone numbers via lists, they may be encouraging spammers. If too many complaints are lodged with the carriers, they can shut down the entire code and your ability to communicate with your clients.

OSHA Getting Tough Under Obama

It appears that President Obama and the Democratic Congress is all over the worker safety issue, and this should prove rather tricky for human resource departments as new regulations get passed. You see, the field of human resources is very complicated and it’s almost impossible to keep up with; there are new legal cases setting precedence each week, and new regulations going into effect; and each state has slightly different laws on top of the overriding OSHA rules.

The fines are stiff, the penalties are progressive, and lawyers and employees look for ways to go after the company’s nest egg or deep pockets. Well, once deep pockets anyway, as this recession hasn’t left much of a legal war chest or safe full of cash for settlements. Yes, it is considered a cost of doing business, but all this gets passed on to the consumer and results in lower pay and fewer benefits for employees.

Congressional Hearings:

During the last round of congressional hearings on the OSHA rules – according to Human Resource Executives Online Newsletter; “The potential for criminal convictions and increased financial penalties for OSHA violations — coupled with an increased funding for enforcement activities — mean that companies need to refocus on their health-and-safety policies and procedures. An emphasis on recordkeeping is also a necessity.” (*incidentally, if you are a human resources professional I highly recommend that you consider subscribing to this invaluable email newsletter).

California Going After OSHA Violations at Car Washes:

Looks as if CAL OSHA in California is getting a head start and going after carwash industry these past months, and racked up millions in fines, along with employee withholding violations and paying less than minimum wage. Something the car wash industry is notoriously negligent of, if not criminally intent-ful. Even the Steel Workers Union has been busy organizing car wash workers into their own little union offshoot of their group, while lobbying the state of California to enforce the law.

If Congress passes these new OSHA regulations corporate executives could receive felony criminal penalties when employee injuries occur and OSHA rules have not been properly complied with, and this is scaring many industry analysts because it is nearly impossible to comply with all the OSHA laws. Let me explain. If you stacked all the pages of OSHA laws on top of each other they would be over 50 stories high. No one can be expected to know all that.

Of course, lawyers that litigate workplace accidents will have a field day with this, while business people who provide jobs will be thrown in jail and disgorged of all their assets. If this doesn’t send jobs off shore or to the third world, I do not know what would. Think on this.

Tax-free Internet in Jeopardy, as Tax Moratorium Expires November 1st

November 1, 2007 is the date the Internet tax moratorium is set to expire. The original Internet Tax Freedom Act of 1998 created the tax-free moratorium, which Congress has extended two times. Legislation has been entered into both Houses this year–S. 156 and H.R. 743-by Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Cal., respectively, to make this ban permanent.

Many state and local government officials are arguing that this ban on Internet tax is robbing them of funding sources needed to fund their programs. They believe Internet tax revenue will provide necessary funding for health care, education, public safety and other critical services.

However, U.S. Census Bureau data shows that state and local government revenues increased from $1.4 trillion in 1995 to $2.5 trillion in 2005-a 78% increase, compared to inflation which increased by only 22% in the same time period.

According to Fox News, Walter McCormick, president and CEO of the United States Telecom Association, in a recent piece for The Hill, a daily Congressional newspaper made these remarks regarding Internet taxation, “Consider what an Internet tax is actually taxing. It is taxing access to information, to knowledge, to a voice in the democratic process, and to economic opportunity”.

Those who support Internet taxation and lifting the moratorium include Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyoming. He believes that not taxing e-commerce and the Internet will lead to the increase of other taxes such as income and property tax to offset the growing loss of sales tax revenue.

A 2003 Washington Post estimate put the total lost state sales tax revenues in the neighborhood of $16 billion for 2003. This amount is certainly currently much higher and will, no doubt, continue to increase rapidly each year, as more and more businesses turn to e-commerce solutions.

Many lobbyists are now pushing for the ability to impose sales tax on Internet shopping, and to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other connections. The taxing of even email and downloaded applications has even been suggested. If the Internet tax moratorium is lifted, the Information Superhighway could turn into a series of toll roads/clicks for the average American Internet surfer.

Senator George Allen is a proponent of permanent legislation to ban taxes on the consumer’s ability to access the Internet. He introduced “The Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act (S. 150) to permanently ban Internet taxation.

According to Allen, “The growth of the Internet over the past 10 years has provided greater opportunity for everyone–from the largest multinational corporation to the smallest mom-and-pop start-up business. By giving more people access to knowledge and information, the personal computer and the Internet have empowered tens of millions of Americans as consumers and entrepreneurs, and as citizens in our free society.”

One thing is for sure, November 1, 2007 is an important date for both Internet users and e-commerce companies. Indeed, the very future of American economics and the Internet experience as we know it hang heavily on this vote.

Why is Mobile Marketing the Next Big Thing in Online Marketing?

Online marketing techniques change with the wind and, as a marketer, it is often a full time job keeping up with new trends. But, when Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, told the world at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (February 2010) that “Mobile is pretty much the answer to everything” it was suddenly clear which way to go. He also stated that “Anything that Google creates from here on out will be first on the mobile platform and then worked around for the desktop” which means that mobile marketing needs to be as sophisticated, if not more sophisticated than what we are used to now.

Why is Google, who has 70% of the search traffic globally, so keen on mobile? The answer is at least four fold; there are now at least four times the mobile devices in use than there are computers, people generally keep their phones/devices within three feet of them twenty four hours a day and three hundred and sixty five days a year, just as the use of social media has exploded in the last eighteen months online, so will it explode even greater when mobile, when people are out shopping they are comparing prices and even making substantial purchases from their phones- a man recently paid $75,000 for a Corvette on eBay from his mobile device. Google likes to give its customers what they want and this gives marketers a great opportunity to provide a solution to businesses wanting to reach out to their customers in a whole different way.

Traditionally, the best way for a business to keep in touch with their customers was via email but as users receive more and more junk in their in boxes everyday, it becomes harder for the business to deliver their message. Not with mobile; on average mobile messages are opened and answered within fifteen minutes of being sent- this is an extraordinary opportunity for direct response marketing and, putting it in the hands of small, local businesses could mean the difference between an average year and an extraordinary one. For example, imagine a lunchtime sandwich shop who decides to market to their customer base via their mobile phone.

The sandwich shop could run surveys as to what is the favourite filling, bread or side order thus engaging with their customers; more than this, they can run specials and let their customers know what is on the menu at 11:45am every day and offer a 10% discount with the coupon that has been delivered to the mobile device. This is the pinnacle of direct response marketing thus far and what is even better is that it is trackable. This kind of communication can work with schools (‘no school today because of snow’), doctors & dentists sending appointment reminders, mortgage brokers alerting their customers of a rate rise and the emergency services alerting people of floods- the list goes on.

So, if Google says that “Mobile is the answer to everything” then as businesses, we have to exploit this platform for all that it can offer us.