Dallas Business Consultant Elijah ClarkDallas Business Consultant Elijah Clark

SPAM!!! – What are the rules? – Case Study

Current Site Traffic

From a recent study, CompanyEC has found that we have a low level of returning visitors to our website. While we are receiving a high number of new visits per day, on average only 12% of our visitors per month are returning.

This is an issue that we have noticed and today I would like to introduce to you the solution on gaining more return visits.

The method that I will present to you today is called bulk email marketing. “A Direct Marketing Association study found that email marketing is second only to search engine marketing as a top method of driving traffic to Web sites.” This marketing will target users who have specifically optedin to our mailing list to receive updates on new sales, discounts and other company information.

In addition, this campaign will allow for us to lower the cost of developing promotional hard copy, printing, packaging, postage, and other material. Email marketing is also known to yield a much higher response rate than traditional mailings.

What is SPAM?

If you have ever heard of the term bulk marketing, then you have probably also heard the term SPAM used to describe it.

The question is, what is “spam”?

SPAM is the acronym used for Specifically Persecuted Advertising Mail

The term spam was first used in the early 1990s to describe email messages, not related to the topic of discussion and postings that swamped newsgroups. Spam is frequently described as email that is sent in bulk; flooding the Internet with copies of the same message and forcing these unwanted messages on Internet users who might otherwise have chosen not to receive them. Rich, R. Lloyd. (1999).

Most spam is considered commercial advertising and it has received its bad name of spam due to it often relating to “dubious products, getrichquick schemes, or quasilegal services”. Spamming normally consist of targeting a bulk list of users simultaneously with theadvertisement. (Rich, R. Lloyd, 1999).


The CANSPAM Act

CANSPAM Act of 2003 is an acronym, which stands for: Controlling the Assault of NonSolicited Pornography and Marketing.

The CANSPAM Act of 2003 was signed into law on December 16, 2003 by President George W. Bush.  This law was the United State’s first attempt at a national regulation for the sending of commercial email.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible for regulating and enforcing the law. (Spam Laws, 2009).

The CanSpam act consists of setting the rules and regulations for commercial messages and emails. In addition, it gives the recipients the rights to have the sender of the spam to stop emailing them.

SPAM Penalties

The canspam act also has tough penalties for those who do get caught spamming without abiding by the rules of it. Violation of theCANSPAM Act is subject to penalties of up to $16,000 (Federal Communications Commission, 2010).

A wellknown case of spam involved the popular social networking site Facebook and Sanford Wallace and two others in February 2009 alleging they used phishing sites or other means to fraudulently gain access to Facebook accounts and used them to distribute phishing spam throughout the network. Sanford hacked into user accounts and sent as many as 30 million junk emails a day in the 1990s. (Mills, Elinor, 2009). 

The result of this case was that Sanford was charged and had to pay a fine of $711 million.

This is an extreme case of spamming that has a perfectly reasonable outcome. This kind of spamming should be penalized and this person should get what he deserves. However, we defiantly don’t plan to hack into accounts and utilize another company or websites server to our advantage. That isnt our goal, nor will we do it under any circumstance.

The fact is that unsolicited Spam has absolutely no benefits. It is unethical, notoriously low converting, and can even land you in jail – or leave you with millions of dollars worth of fines.

Bulk Mailing CanSPam

Our bulk mailing list will only include solicited advertising to an optedin list of users. We have no plans to spam illegally.

Despite its name, the CANSPAM Act doesn’t apply just to bulk email. It covers all commercial messages, which the law defines as “any electronic mail message, which has a primary purpose of commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service,” this could also include email that promotes commercial websites and its content.

The rules stand strong rather if they are sent to current, previous or potential customers. Businesstobusiness emails also have no exception to the rules. All emails must comply with the laws.

SPAM and the First Amendment.

Many have stated that spam is simply an act of our first amendment right. I myself personally agree. However, this right doesn’t give everyone the right to solicit their commercial business or product to anyone they choose or to however many email addresses they can find. No one wants to be solicited by products or services that they didn’t sign up for or products or services that they have no interest in.

And for that reason, our marketing plan has no desire to spam using this method. We will only market to those who are interested in our services. If they choose that they aren’t interested any longer, they simple unsubscribe to that newsletter. We aren’t going to make it hard for them. We don’t plan to keep pushing our service to someone who isnt interested. Because if we did, that wouldn’t benefit us.

The fact is that we will have people who will mark our messages as spam. We will have subscribers who unsubscribe to our mailings. We will possibly even get a few hate emails from prospects that are upset that their name is on our mailing list.

Nonetheless, if we create a great list of users interested in our services, which we will, we will ultimately have more sales. We will create a strong list of users who are glad that they have signed up for our mailings because they were able to find out when we had a new promotion or discount. We will have users tell their friends about our new service line. We will also have thank you emails from customers who are grateful that we are offering and promoting such great services.

With that said, while the first amendment does give us freedom to say what it is that we want to say. It works even better when we say it to people who want to hear it. People who will voluntarily sign up to hear what it is that we want to say. The plan is to create a list just like that. Our mailing list will include users who volunteered their information. We’ll create this list from asking current and previous customers. Any time a user signs up for our services, we will ask them if they also want to sign up for our newsletter program. In addition, we’ll add an optin box on our website which will allow for potential customers to sign up. By creating our list this way, we will create a strong list of subscribers who will be happy to receive our emails.

The question is, is it truly considered spam if we are marketing web design services to individuals who are interested in web design services? Should all commercial email advertising be punished because authorities consider it spam? No. I don’t agree with that, nor is that the law. We have never illegally spammed, nor do we have any plans to illegally spam.

The Advantages of SPAM

We wont be buying a bulk list of prospects in order to spam their email account.

In addition, we will also include a link so that users can easily unsubscribe to our emarketing service if they no longer wish to receive emails form us.

How we will follow the rules

The rules to spamming state:

Don’t use false or misleading header information.

In response to this rule, we will make sure that our headers are not misleading. A way to make sure of this is to match our headings to the message body. If the body of the message is to promote our upcoming sale on business cards, our header will read: Save on Business Cards

Don’t use deceptive subject lines.

Okay. We will make sure that we are truthful and accurate in our subject lines. If we are looking to promote our 10% discount on our web design services for a particular month: the subject title will read: Save 10% on a new web design.

Identify the message as an ad.

Our mailings will include words such as sale, discount and will clearly state that it is an advertisement. We wont confuse our subscribers to think that it is a personal message.

Tell recipients where you’re located.

Our mailings will include our website address, phone number, return email address and physical address information within its footer. If users wanted to contact us, they could do so easily.

Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future emails from us.

Our mailings will include information on how to optout. This could include a link, which directs the users to our company’s optout web page. Here, users will be able to fill in their email address and press a button and they automatically become removed from our list.

Honor optout requests promptly.

We’ll make sure that our list is automated so that human error is less likely. Once the user clicks the optout button, they will receive a confirmation and our systems will be updated.

Avoid purchasing email list that may not have given valid permission.

We will be sure to create a list of users who have optedin only.  This will allow us to avoid upsetting recipients and will allow for us to create an accurate and targeted list of users.

(Federal Communications Commision, 2010).

Email Sample

The answer isnt to not spam, its to spam legally.

Here is an example advertisement of how we plan to use spam legally.

As you can see, this advertisement covers all of the guidelines.

  • Its clearly an advertisement as it mentions discounts and sale information
  • Has the company address and other contact information.
  • Has a clear header and subject.
  • Provides users with a way to opt out of receiving any further mailings.

 

In addition, it allows for us to

  • Market our company brand and image.
  • Advertise our services and products.
  • Let users forward to a friend
  • Connect users to our social networking sites

It’s a winwin for the recipient and for our company.

Conclusion

Yes: spamming is illegal. Mass unsolicited email is illegal. However, bulk marketing is perfectly legal.

The difference is that bulk email marketing can consist of an optin list of users who have signed up to a mailing list because they areinterested in the product or service. The legal part about this that we will utilize in our campaign is that it has a list of users who have optedin to receive these messages from the company.

We will be sending these users highly targeted advertisements. We don’t plan to send emails about vitamins or new techware. Users who sign up will be interested in our services and news and will be linked back to our company website.

These individuals will consist of a list of users who have already shown a deep interest in our services.

How we benefit

Utilizing email marketing to attract attention to our services is a very effective way to turn prospects into clients. With this service, we can keep our users updated and familiar with our website and services. Bulk email marketing is a great way of ensuring that we receive valuable and repeat customer visits.

Credits

Federal Communications Commission. (2010). Canspam: unwanted commercial electronic mail. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/policy/canspam.html

Federal Trade Commission. (2009). The canspam act: a compliance guide for business. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/business/ecommerce/bus61.shtm

Mills, Elinor. (2009). ‘Spam king’ could face criminal charges in facebook case. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from http://news.cnet.com/83011009_31026406983.html

Zedtoo. (n.d.). Did you really mean to say spam is legal in the united states. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.zedtoo.demon.co.uk/nospam/legal.html

Scott Hazen Mueller. (2010). Frequently asked questions about spam. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://spam.abuse.net/faq/

Rich, R. Lloyd. (1999). Internet legal issues: spam. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.publaw.com/spam.html

Spam Laws. (2009). The canspam act of 2003. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.spamlaws.com/federal/index.shtml

eHow. (n.d.). How to abide by spam laws when sending mass emails. Retrieved September 10, 2010, from http://www.ehow.com/how_2040799_abidespamlawssendingmass.html#ixzz0zIZqFToq

Market Efficiency Theory

Market Efficiency Theory
Market efficiency was formulated by Eugene Fama in 1970, labeled as efficient market hypothesis. His theory suggests that stock and market value are based on publicly available information. Investors invest with the goal that their investment will generate a positive return on their investment. An efficient capital market is when a stock price reflects publicly available information that may affect the stocks value, which could benefit investors. Efficient markets generate random patterns that cannot be predicted, and an investor cannot factually predict a stock value with secretive information.

Less Efficient U.S. Markets
Markets are much more inefficient than they used to be, and unreliable information could cause investors to receive inefficient values. If markets are unreliable, the value could potential plummet and non-informed investors may not be interested in purchasing new stock. Furthermore, An inefficient market would likely be placing a market value above or below its true value. An inefficient market creates unfair advantages for certain investors who would not otherwise have access to the company’s information. Markets become less efficient often due to greed, economic involvement, negligence, and lack of communication.

Markets in Other Countries
Many studies have found that market prices are difficult to predict. Compared to the United States, other countries also have problems with market inefficiency. Market efficiency asserts that there is no pattern or trends that can be used to predict future value. In the Indian capital market for instance, market inefficiency exist that contradict the efficient market hypothesis. A study, which examined a calendar anomaly within the stock market; found that stocks often held until after the New Year present a higher return rate, and that Monday is considered the worst day of the week to invest. While this isn’t considered inside information, it does create a predictable trend that creates a level of efficiency to use in predicting market trends and potential.

Finding efficiency within the stock market may seem fairly simple with the use of technology and cheap software tools that can find patterns within stock prices. However, the reality is that there is no way in determining the direction of a stock by using computer technology or human assumptions. In addition, if exploits did exist, they would be found and corrected to prevent future defrauding.

With the efficiency market hypothesis, the securities will always reflect the available public information. No system, tool, calculation, or individual investor has access to secret information that would help them generate a rate of return above others. Consequently, investors should always expect to receive a fair value for their securities.

To determine the direction of a stock, investors must be skilled at analyzing data, predicting stocks, and have the ability to comprehend statistics and understand the stocks industries. To achieve this, it takes an investor that is passionate and has the time to evaluate the market.

In addition to rationality, independent deviations from rationality, and arbitrage, t he efficiency market hypothesis makes the assumption that there are three levels of market efficiency’s. The three levels assume that the value of an investment should reflect all available information. Prices should change based only on publicly unexpected information. The hypothesis is considered a model based on how markets tend to work and not how they should work. The three levels of market efficiency include strong, semi-strong, and weak (Maguire, 2010; Ross, Westerfield, & Jaffe, 2013). The weak level of efficiency does not base it results on reliable data such as earnings, forecast, or company announcements. However, they are often random and based on mathematical assumptions relating to historical data. A market is considered semi-strong if it can be predicted by using publicly available information. Information that helps predict a market using a semi-strong efficiency level includes information regarding accounting statements, and historical data. The strong efficiency level uses all publicly and privately available information to determine a stocks value.

Insider trading behavior is affected by expected trading profits from private information, and potential litigation risk. Managers tend to avoid trading before company disclosures so that they may avoid litigation risk. To reduce the probability of litigation, managers provide higher quality disclosures before insider trading. Furthermore, to avoid litigation, insiders often avoid profitable trades before earnings announcements, but will trade after the announcement in an attempt to profit from their future earnings based on the announcement.

A marketing strategy to grow your business

Marketing plans are crucial for starting and growing a business. A good marketing plan will help your business identify your target customers, and generate a plan to reach and retain those customers. The marketing plan is the roadmap to gain customers and improve organizational success if done properly.

Additionally, the plan describes the desired customer by targeting their precise needs based on their demographic profiles. This is helpful for identifying targeted customers and creating pinpointed advertisement aimed directly at those prospective customers.

An additional crucial point of the marketing plan is its plan of distribution. The distribution plan details how customers will purchase or buy into the organization. The promotional strategy of the plan is considered one of the most important sections of the plan. The promotional strategy details how new customers are to be reached.

Examples of an effective promotional strategy include distribution and promotional tactics on television, at trade shows, and through online advertising. A marketing plan includes everything from understanding the desired customer, to determining how to outperform and strategize the competition. A marketing plan is paramount to achieving business success and the time taken to develop a marketing plan, is an investment worth making considering it defines who to connect with customers and generate sales.

Creating a professional brand image

Creating a professional image

A good graphic artist will understand that business logos are not just for multi-national corporations. Graphics are for any enterprise that wants to present a professional image and customer recognition for a job (otherwise known as branding).

Your logo works for you on your business cards, stationery for your company, invoices and receipts, your business’ publications, and of course ads. A good business logo design helps your customers remember your business and many people remember images better than they remember the words.

Delete / Remove Photos in iCloud Photo Stream

 

So you took a picture you shouldn’t have on your iphone and now its on all of your iDevices and Computers. What to do now considering you can’t delete images from a cloud? Well, you can. Its not as simple as highlighting and deleting, but its pretty simple. Follow the instructions below in order to delete photos from your iCloud and photo stream… and stop taking pictures you dont want showing up on your apple TV when your parents come to visit.

Side note: I just launched my Facebook Fan Page, Please click the “Like” button on the right

 

First: Delete from iCloud:

1. go to iCloud.com and login

2. click on your name in the upper right corner

3. click “Advanced” tab

4. reset photo stream

 

The above will remove it from iCloud. in order to delete from your device do the following.

  Read more

Economic and Perceived Value Pricing

Real and Perceived Value
The price of a product is reflected based on the financial needs for growth and operation of the company, in addition to consumers’ perceived value of the product. Businesses have a goal of making a profit, which often requires selling items at a perceived value. Real and perceived values are different ways in which products are valued, which are generally based on economic impacts and competition. In addition, the relevancy to the consumer determines the value of the product. If the product or message is not relevant or does not affect the consumer personally, it will not be as effective as if it did.

Advantages and Disadvantages
Value pricing allows companies to influence consumer purchases by offering lower prices for competitive products. Real value is generally easier to measure than perceived value. Factors that increase the value of real value include the cost of labor, materials, marketing, shipping, and product development. Product distribution, marketing efforts, and brand value determine the products perceived value. For example if two competitors are to sell the exact same item, built exactly the same way, and from the same materials, it is likely that the company with the better brand value reputation can sell the item at a higher price because of the perceived value by the consumer. If the consumer perceives the value of the product high, the consumer will likely show more interest. The consumers’ perception of the company’s customer support, trust, loyalty, and product quality determine the products value.

Services and Products
Value pricing attracts value conscious customers. The actual cost of the product production determines the real values. In addition, the real value depends on the usefulness of the product to the consumer as well as the value of the product components. Perceived value is based on how much money the consumer or business believes the product is worth. It is the marketer’s responsibility to generate a positive perceived value of the company’s products. Whether marketing a service or a product, the results are similar in that both rely on the consumers’ perception of the company’s or individual’s expertise, quality, and reputation. In addition, both products and services have other components necessary to complete certain task. While a product may have additional parts and components, a service technician or company is likely to have to purchase tools, software, and other items necessary to complete the service.

Perceived value for individuals looking to invest into higher education tremendously affects the institutions price. Students and family perceive the value of the institution to be within the quality of the education. Consequently, the higher the perceived value of quality, the higher the cost of tuition. Research, however, has not proven a correlation between institutional cost and actual quality. Perceived value of an institution does correlate a student’s likelihood of enrollment. Perceived value of an education has three main factors, which include, quality, cost, and emotional attachment. Failing to satisfy either of these could jeopardize the student’s enrollment potential, as it will affect the students perceived value.

In marketing, generating excitement can also generate a sale and loyal customer. If a user is excited about a product, they may ignore the cost and quality factor. To enroll students into an institution, the marketing and sales team should seek to expose students to information and experiences that excites them and builds passion for the brand.

Real and perceived value offers many benefits to businesses and consumers. The impact of marketing and social networks real and perceived value in regards to marketing efforts is hard to determine. For instance, LinkedIn is a social network that is said to build business networks and promote expertise. However, it is difficult for a user to determine the real value of a paid account, free account, or whether the service is actually making a difference and producing what its purposed to do.

The LinkedIn site is available in 20 languages, and has 238 million users globally. The Internet-based service is similar to a Rolodex of business contacts. As a user, the platform may be a good place to build a brand, increase online visibility, and grow a professional network. It is the users responsibility to determine what the real value of the LinkedIn platform is based on their needs. Although the real value may be worth the free account, the perceived value could be priceless if the user uses the platform to truly build a network and search for a new career.

If an individual truly believes in the quality and value of a product or service, then the perceived value becomes more valuable than the real value. Online platforms, website, and social networking sites work just as traditional products and services regarding real and perceived value.

Content Management Systems CMS

Stay Updated With a CMS

With some websites, having fresh content is mandatory to gain new and repeat clients. With a Content Management System (CMS), you can keep your site updated with the latest news articles, products, and services. You have full control over what you want to put on and take off your site.

Updating:

Your website needs to be easily upgraded with new content on a regular basis. A CMS gives you full control so that you can easily add new updates and blogs to your website without having to call a programmer to do it for you.

Results:

All content can be managed through a simple user interface that allows for quick task completion. The Administration area is easy for all to use, and can involve multiple access levels for various management controls.

With a CMS, you can easily implement and manage:

  • Article publishing
  • Website forums
  • Photo galleries
  • Surveys and polls
  • Projects
  • Interactive event calendars
  • Complex data entry forms

Matching user personas to Adwords campaign

Competitive:

Professional Web Design

Beat out your competition.

Build a successful online brand.

The competitive persona will be looking for a company that knows what they are doing. This ad shows that we are a professional company and we know how to help them get to the top of their industry.

Humanistic:

Affordable Web Design

Stay connected with your customers.

We have a plan to help you succeed.

This ad will be great for the humanistic persona as it explains to them that they will be able to stay connected with their customers online. It also shows that they can contact us and we will speak with them to come up with a plan for their company’s success. “Affordable web design” will be their search word, as they normally don’t like large companies due to them not being relationship oriented. This ad is designed to create comfort and ease. 

Methodical:

Professional Web Design

Proven success stories

100% Satisfaction Guaranteed

I chose the “professional web design” headline to draw in the methodical personality because it shows that its not a freelance or amateur company. By also mentioning proven success and 100% satisfaction, this user will be likely to visit the website and view the portfolio and testimonial section of other customers. Providing money back will also provide further proof that we are trustworthy and customer friendly.

Spontaneous:

Affordable Web Design Offer!

Low cost web designs

Get started on your website TODAY!

This headline was used to draw in the spontaneous persona, as they are normally looking for easy, fast and affordability. They want quick answers and this add shows that we are affordable, easy and that they can get the answer they are looking for fast.

Working With SEO

In order to create a successful search engine optimized (SEO) website, the designer must be sure that the website is well put together. In creating this website, the designer must first be sure that the website is appealing to the user and that the site is easily navigable. The way to create the proper architecture for a website is to be sure that the site is flat and has minimum user clicks to get to the destination page. “A great tip is to identify your most authoritative pages using the ‘Top Pages On Domain’ tool at SEOmoz and use those pages to add some authority to others by linking out to them” (Baxter, 2009).

In addition to creating the proper navigational structure of the website, the designer must also check for broken internal and external links. Some tools to use for finding broken links consist of “Xenu’s Link Sleuth” tool and “Web Link Validator” tool which will crawl through the website and recognize any broken links.

Another technique for helping with the architecture of a website is to check the server header response code and to also check the site for duplicate content. If either of these is wrong in their results, they should be corrected. While some of the concerns may need to be fixed by the sites developer, others can be fixed by simply changing some wording or taking the proper steps with the search engines to correct the information.

The final steps that the author explains in order to make sure that a website has the proper architecture is to be sure that the site has one main URL by setting up a canonical 301 redirect. In addition, also be sure to remove the developmental site that was used to originally create the website. By leaving the developmental website on its server, this creates duplicate content that can get crawled by search engines and create a negative impact on the website. Once the live site is up and running, the developmental site should be taken down.

Credits

Baxter, R. (2009). Diagnose critical website architecture issues for seo. Retrieved June 18, 2010, from http://www.searchenginejournal.com/seo-website-architecture-issues/9760/

Online Marketing Success

Content Marketing

Whether you’re a local business, an ecommerce site, or a nationwide franchise, your website goal(s) is what defines content purpose. Most of all, your website should be enjoyed by the consumer and tour guide visitors through a funnel to reach your website goal.

Keyword Copy Storylines

Content storylines need to answer a site visitor’s reason for pulling your website. It’s not convincing the visitor that they need your help by creating letters and words; instead, your words along with images narrate for visitors and convince them that your product/service will temper their hurdles so to purchase.

With that being said, many websites fail to have an objective. Keyword copy is then created for the sake of SEO, and disconnection of reality occurs on the premise that it leads to money. This belief though is only true when a website has a defined goal, and Web content storytelling is created for formal marketing strategies. For this reason, building brand awareness without a goal, while lacking marketing strategy, is a recipe unmindful of how to market a brand on the Web.

Buy Me Website Design

Serious Web businesses demand and press into service methodical online marketing strategies. Target audiences are analyzed, segmented, and character cross-sectioned. The result is a website with content that:

  1. Connects with
  2. Bewitches,
  3. Embraces,
  4. Influences, and
  5. Herds wanted goal action(s).

This course leaves no generic storyline driveways, and keeps your content focus revolving around your marketing strategies.

Consumer Leads

Marketers From Mars exposed that consumers’ love content storytelling and want it through:


This means that content has to be tweaked for each cross-sectioned audience silo. In other words, getting the copy storyline right depends on where and how the consumer encounters your brand within their unique shopping cycle.

What does this means for Web based businesses? Your brand’s storyline is keyword scripted, optimized as well as distributed for a consumer’s unique shopping cycle to accomplish your website’s purpose.

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