May 2011 Archives

Seth Godin always answers my emails - quickly & directly. Now, I am not special and for all I know Seth Godin answers everyone's email quickly and directly.

But, once somewhere on the web, Godin stated that his preferred length of email response was three lines. (I recall that he was quoting, with approval, some other A-list blogger.)

Godin answers my emails quickly & directly because I make it easy for him to reply substantively in three lines or less. We both gain from his quick & direct response.

I told you that parable to introduce a more general idea.

People waste your attention and mine with long email signatures, or sig files.

While they have our attention, they direct us to some list or item that has no quick or direct response.

Look at this sig file, for example.

signature file.jpg

No offense meant to Allison Smith, but when you get her email, your attention is focused on this impressive list of contact information.

What does the Allison want you to do with this list?

There is nothing to do - her email directs you to do nothing. You comply quickly & directly by deleting her email from your attention box, and hurriedly move on.

Why did Allison waste your attention?

(If she wanted to provide the important contact details, I believe that it would have been more courteous to give her audience a v-card - a list of contact details that can be downloaded or imported quickly & directly)

So, should your email end only with a a stock or traditional phrase?

No, give your audience the option of doing something quickly & directly that will benefit both the author and reader.

For example, end your email with just a simple but interesting tagline, hyperlinked to where their attention should go.

Here is a good idea.

Look at Perry Shoom's email signature.

signature 2.jpg

Perry, who has a fascinating five part article on franchising, the internet, and research as a public good, wants his readers to know that his business is providing franchise systems with comprehensive surveys.
When his audience shows interest, they are whisked away quickly & directly to a page which describes his company Franchise Facts and his supports.
Look at his supporters.
With one simple email, Perry's tagline has converted an interested audience into a an impressed audience - every time Perry sends an email. (Imagine the multiplier effect if Perry was using this technique in his email newsletter.)
So, where can you get some practical advice on creating interesting tag lines?
One source is the Tag Line Forum, on MarketingProfs. A free registration is needed. Tell me which expert helped you the most.

Marketing online is easy, for those of us over 40.  Well, its conceptually easy.  We remember the Yellow Pages.   You bought a bigger yellow page ad to get more business.  You paid outrageous monthly fees - usually in advance.  You silently fumed vowing to "train" your staff to "track" all the inbound calls.  But, paying worked.  You made money from those Yellow Page referrals.

Depending on your occupation, you spent between $4k to over $25k a year in advertising.  (Some professionals turned to writing articles instead of purchasing yellow space.)

For almost 50 year, if you supplied goods or services, you used Yellow Pages, in part to signal your reputation.  A big ad, a prestigious address connoted skill and experience.

The Yellow Pages was a platform; and it solved a chicken and egg problem for merchants and consumers.  The merchants paid to be bundled with their competition because consumers were expected to use the bundle, the physical book.  Consumers got the bundle for free, which made it easier for them to use.  More use lead to greater merchant participation.  More merchants crowding on the page signaled more expected consumer use.  And so it went, until it got too croweded and nobody went there anymore.

But, the book is gone.  Many will tell you that online search has replaced the bundle; that you must transfer your monthly advertising budget into a variety of ungodly acronyms: PPC, SEO, SEM, CPM and likely ICBM's, to best the competition.

None of this is true - for you.  Paid search has always been overrated.  When I am ready to buy, I will search and then click.  But, the use of that infernal patented 1-click button which drains my credit faster than Don Cherry sprinting from his sauna to the beer fridge, is not a result of my last search.  Many things happened before I was ready to buy, whether clicking or phoning.

So how do you replace the Yellow Pages?  Remember the economics behind that bundle of cheap yellow newsprint.  Merchants paid to be in the bundle because merchants expected consumers to use the bundle and call them.  Consumers used the bundle because consumers expected to find reputable merchants in the bundle, merchants who signaled their reputation, skill and experience by buying bigger ads.  But, the bundle fell apart when this virtuous circle of actions and reciprocal expectations were shattered.

So, as a merchant, you are looking to duplicate the Yellow Pages platform on a smaller scale.  Here is the type of online directory  that you are looking for.  Consumers are looking; there is decent traffic and much more than your own.  How can you determine that?  Here are two tests, rank your website and the directory over at  For example, let's rank one a key partner of the IAFD, AllState Capital, with the Asian American Hotel Operators Association website.

Here is the AAHOA Alexa traffic ranking:

AAOHA May Alexa Ranking.jpg


Now, lets compare that to Allstate's Capital website.

Allstate Capital May Alexa Ranking.jpg

So clearly, the US traffic is better at AAHOA, which makes its directory of merchants attractive.  (Alexa has accuracy problems and biases, but when used to compare similar industry sites, those biases should wash out.)  Of course, you would want to make this comparison with every possible directory and compare costs.

Next, you might also check the reputation of a directory by using Hubspot's Website grader.  (You don't want to check your own score using Hubspot - it can be too be embarrassing.)  

So, John at Allstate Capital might want to compare the directory reputation of  the Curves Franchisee Association against the Gold's Franchisee Association because Allstate Capital funds the purchase of fitness equipment.

Here is the Curve's website grade.

Curves Website.jpg


Here is Gold's Gym Franchisee Association reputation score:

gold's gym.jpg


So, it might make sense for John at Allstate Capital to look at purchasing a directory listing at the Gold's Gym franchisee association website, all things being equal.  But, again you would want to do this ranking for each pair of directories that you were considering and then calculate the trade-offs between price, traffic, and reputation.

This should be enough to get you started on finding your replacement for the Yellow Pages.

Tell me how it goes.

"The IAFD cannot make your business better.  We cannot give you a better reputation than you have.  We do have a marketing program however that maximizes your reputation, builds your social audience, and creates sales leads - the Key Partner Program. But, if you use it, you will have to get used to the fact that it works better than the Yellow Pages and is less expensive.  If you can live with better and cheaper, then the IAFD would love to have you as a Key Partner."

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This page is an archive of entries from May 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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