6 Rules to Make Sure Your Marketing Messages Don’t Smell Like Spam

Email Marketing, marketing demographics, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Strategy, Measureable Marketing, Uncatergorized
Nobody wants to spam their customers, but most do it anyway.  Spam isn’t just about the quantity of emails and marketing you do you. It’s also about the quality.

Rule 1

Make a promise to yourself to never underestimate the intelligence of your customer or client. People are much smarter than you give them credit for and every time you send them an email or lead them down a drip campaign that smells like spam, you lose any form of trust that you were hoping to get.
When you are building a business, trust is everything.

Follow these surefire ways to build trust with your future customers.

Rule 2

Marketing messages that over promise and under deliver and sound too good to be true not only smell like spam, they taste like it too.  Keep your claims and benefits realistic and believable.

Rule 3

So don’t use unnecessary words to describe your product or service. It’s better to describe what your offer is in a more clear and precise way than to add on adjectives that lose their meaning. Another benefit of writing concise copy – it can be read and understood faster and easier.

Rule 4

Speaking of wasting another’s time, that is exactly what spamming does. If your email or landing page copy takes more than a minute to read or watch you have wasted everyone’s time. Get to the point as soon as you can. People are smarter than you think and don’t enjoy being lead down a long, boring sales funnel.

Rule 5

Especially if you are trying to put a squeeze on their decision making. People are on to your tactics and they aren’t going to buy into your limited time only offer. Knock it off. If they are looking for what you are selling and you have a superior product, they’ll buy it. No need to put the squeeze play on. It’s a total turn off.

Rule 6

Please price your products competitively. The more time it takes to understand how much you want for that product or service you are selling the more frustrated your customer will become. Be upfront and make sure your price is sensitive to competitive pricing. If it’s higher, be prepared to explain why and if it’s too low, you risk looking like a cheaper and lower value offer.

Would you like me to review your marketing messages? Drop me a link at hello@mj.works  – I am happy to connect.


Marketing Health, Fitness, Food & Fashion + 3 Smart Ways To Build Your Online Business

digital content strategy, digital marketing, Email Marketing, Influencer marketing, instagram insight, Instagram marketing, madeline johnson, Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, marketing plans, social media marketing


What to Do When You Hate to Sell

So many business owners tell me how they hate to “sell”.  They don’t like to push their products or services on people because they can’t stand it when they are sold to by other companies. They delete email campaigns, block brands on their social media accounts and get really weirded out about retargeted ads appearing out of nowhere while they are surfing online. I know, it’s spooky.  I get it, I don’t like pushy sales campaigns either, but I also think many business owners need a shift in their perspective.  If you have a great product, you shouldn’t be selling at all. You should be building a community with your website, blog, video and social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook. You should be creating valuable videos, posts and downloadable tools that help future customers. Create and share like a thought leader about the problem your product solves and always give them a call-to-action.


Social Media Marketing Isn’t Difficult, But It Is Time-Consuming

So many brands want to create social media posts on the fly or worse yet, farm out the work to a freelancer who doesn’t understand their market. The truth is, without  proper planning, research or quality visuals, you aren’t going to attract any attention at all. Posting thoughtless or copy cat content can also lead to breaking trust with potential customers and clients. If clients only spent more time being thoughtful about what they want to post and really answered their audience and their community’s burning questions. If they only put themselves in their customer’s shoes. Think like your customers and clients and then give them solutions and broadcast it out to your social media content.


Even The Best Content Won’t Be Seen Without a Sizable Community

On the other hand, many clients have fantastic content, but they haven’t bothered to build a following on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat or Pinterest. They are wasting all that work on a community of zero. The way to get followers is to follow, to comment, to like and engage with the audience you want to attract.

community 2

I often get asked by associates, friends and new clients about what I am currently working on these days. Lately, I am in the midst of helping a number of businesses navigate their way through digital marketing & web-based sales.

I have a digital marketing consulting gig, which includes web and email campaigns for Glaxo Smith Kline. I am working with Roy Heitzer, Head of Multichannel Marketing in the Nordics:  Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden and Norway and his team.


I am also creating a full marketing plan (including editorial content for articles, video and blog posts as well as strategy for social media and special events) for Nuvo Suites.

Nuvo Suites

On the side, I am writing articles about healthy and natural living for Green Scene Gal, a new blog dedicated to helping women who long for a more natural way of life that is free of synthetic chemicals, GMOs, pesticides and artificial hormones.

I just published this article to help warn new moms and dads about arsenic levels found in baby food.


In the meantime, I am also developing a B2B Drip campaign for the fitness franchise Get in Shape for Women. See attached for email one of the five email campaign.


On a day-to-day, I strategize and assist Alana Johnson, designer and founder of Orseund Iris with her made in NY fashion label.  This includes strategizing and optimizing the business for growth which continues to build a following with 98% of online sales coming from Instagram and fashion influencers

Orseund 2

For those startups looking to build their vanity metrics with media interviews, I also have an online course www.ThePRPlaybook.com for  entrepreneurs in health, fitness and wellness. This is targeted to brands like PEbyDesign.com who I have helped from the ground up.


The Ultimate Real Estate Marketing Guide

location based marketing, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Uncatergorized

If you are hustling in the commercial or residential (maybe both?) real estate business then this marketing guide from FitSmallBusiness.com is a must read for you.  Writing in-depth reviews and how-to guides for just about every topic related to small businesses, I don’t think the editorial team missed a single marketing tactic in this one.

Useful, actionable and valuable, check it out now. Read here.

Marketing Secrets. A Look at Conversion.

advertising on smartphones, Brand Awareness, digital advertising, Email Marketing, Experiential Marketing, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Metrics, marketing plans, marketing rituals, target marketing, web advertising, website design

brainBefore I begin, I must stress that the most effective marketing secret is in remaining “remarkable” @thisissethsblog Why remarkable? Because it really is about creating an amazingly valuable product or service that people just can’t live without. There may not even be a need for marketing. Well unless you have a really bad website. Than you need some help. But if your product is super wonderful, especially when people want to know – where’d you get that? Then you are #mydreamclient

For the rest of the world, marketing comes in handy and increasingly so on the internet.

Statistics vary from source-to-source, but the conversion rates to follow in this post are closer to the truth than what most digital agencies quote.  The purpose of this post is to relate what is most effective when it comes to spending your marketing dollars.

In 2016, global e-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.92 trillion US dollars. This year alone, 1.22 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online. (Conversioner.com)

While Gartner Research claims that by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships with brands without ever talking to a human because of rapid growth of “marketing automation”, this post is a review of current conversation rates for some of the most popular methods of inbound marketing conducted by mere humans.

It’s important to understand the difference between a CTR (click through rate) which happens during the customer’s discovery and journey and which refers to the percentage of visitors clicking on your online ad or blog post/video link. Divide the number of impressions (people who saw your content) received by the number of clicks to get the CTR. For example if a blog post had 100 shares and two people clicked on something in it, the rate would be 2%.

For this post a conversion rate measures the percentage of your website visitors who actually purchase something from you. Conversion rate measures the number of sales you’ve received, just divide the number of sales by the number of visitors you have had to your website. Focusing on the ultimate user experience, while optimizing the conversion rate on your website is extremely important and an entirely different topic. For this post we were interested in learning which marketing activities attract the highest chances of conversion.

According to Forrester Research the average conversion rates across marketing activities are about 2.9%, while it’s also interesting to note that the average online order value in the first quarter of 2014 in the US was $78.00.

According to Conversioner.com 80% of the online population has purchased something using the internet and 50% have purchased more than once while 84% of online shoppers refer to at least one social media site for recommendations before shopping.

Email Marketing

Some interesting findings.

  • Personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10% (Aberdeen Group)
  • Using the word “Secret” in the subject line of your email has proven to get the most clicks. (Hubspot). While “Click Here” gets the highest percentage of clicks over “Go” and “Submit”.
  •  65% of consumers prefer emails that contain mostly images vs 35% who prefer mostly text. (Hubspot).
  •  According to Conversioner.com email marketing is the most converting traffic source with 3.3% conversion rate.

Social Media Marketing

So what does a Facebook business page or Instagram account really mean to your bottom line?

  • 52% of marketers cite difficulties in accurately measuring the return on investment as their main source of frustration in social marketing. It really makes you wonder about all the work it took to get those 1K + likes on Instagram, doesn’t it?
  • In 2014 Conversioner.com reported an average conversion rate of 1.08% through social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest.
  • According to a blog post by Marc Macdonald on Shopify.com Facebook dominates as a source of traffic and sales with a 1.85% conversion rate and an average of 85% of all orders from social media belong to Facebook. So less than two people out of 100 are actually going to buy anything from you.

You see Facebook and basically all social media are good tools for market research, customer service and customer feedback. Not sales.

Search Engine Optimization

  • SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, while outbound leads (like direct mail or print advertising) have a 1.7% close rate. (Search Engine Journal).
  • A search for a product had an average 2.27% conversion rate for online US Shoppers in 2014. By referrer, Google had a 1.71% conversion rate in 2013 according to Smartinsights.com

Content Marketing

  • Marketers who have prioritized content creation and curation (ie. a brand blog) are 13x more likely to enjoy a positive return on investment.
  • Content marketing generates 3 x as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less (Demand Metric)
  • The top three most widely adopted content marketing tactics are videos (87%), website articles (86%) and in person events.
  • 79% of companies that have a blog have reported a positive ROI for inbound marketing in 2013. (HubSpot State of Inbound 2013).
  • It’s interesting to note that 73% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after watching a video and videos in universal search results have a 41% higher click through than plain-text results. When optimizing for universal search, pay attention to keyword intent and be sure to use informational keywords vs transactional words.

Referral Marketing

The trust factor becomes important with referral marketing as consumers rely on recommendations from people they know. According to a Neilson Trust Study, word-of-mouth referrals are the most trusted form of “marketing”, while editorial content, a mention or feature story in a magazine or newspaper fell behind a great branded website and online reviews.

Make it easy for customers to refer your products and services and be sure to respond to online reviews for engagement. Shopify has a number of great app recommendations to help referrals including Referral Candy, Friendybuy, LoyaltyLion and Referrify.

Paid Search

It depends on what you read, but the average click-through rate for paid search in 2010 worldwide was 2% (Convario Jan 2011) and in 2014 about 3.58% for shopping, 6.12% for banking, insurance and finance, 1.45% for the travel industry, 2.21% for home and garden and 4.79% for computers and technology.

Mobile Advertising

While about 8% of purchases come from desktops with a tablet purchase close behind, only 4% of purchases are made from a smart phone. But don’t you worry, that is growing. Thousands of blog posts will tell you so. In the meantime, there is a lot of mobile frustration, as potential customers complain of difficulty viewing product information, a challenge comparing product features and costs to others and slow connection speed as just a few of the setbacks to purchasing on their phones.

Affiliate Marketing

Conversions by affiliates have the highest order value with an average of $445.00 per sales order according to Hubspot and online surveys demonstrate a 1-3% conversion rate for affiliate marketing.

While we continue to study what marketing activities are worthwhile and actually lead to sales and have a return on investment when it comes to building a business, we agree with Seth Godin. “Being the best in the world is seriously underrated.”

Reaping the Rewards of Brand Ambassadors

brand management, brand reputation, infiltration marketing & PR, Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, Uncatergorized

Never do yourself what others can do for you. Make the most of the insights that social engagement offers you. The goal is to own a brand that is globally owned,  but locally supported.

Successful social media campaigns come from building trust with your brand ambassadors and then allowing them to share their favorable positions and pass it on via word-of-mouth to their followers.

Do this by finding them first (tip – they are usually talking about your competitors products) staying in touch, answering questions, testing new products and listening to critical feedback.

Research their conversations, videos and photos to spot trends and opportunities to grow in new directions.

Listen to your ambassador audience and let them spark new ideas, projects, profits.

(photo – Ansel Adams)

5 Really Inspiring Social Media Campaigns

Creative Marketing Campaigns, Marketing Mavens, Marketing Trends, personalized brand experience, social media marketing, social monitoring experts, social shopping experience, Uncatergorized

Here we list five difference ways your brand can boost it’s social media scorecard.

1. Maintaining a creative and engaging social media presence, like Uniqlo, the Japanese fashion brand on virtual scrap booking site Pinterest. Announcing contests like 100 Wonderqubes, a unique fashion recycling program, innovative and functional fabrics and their latest collections. Get inspired by widening your brand’s presence by sharing  across multiple channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,  Tumblr and Youtube.

2. Entertaining your consumer with storytelling through short films like “The Tale of a Fairy”  by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Cruise 2012.

3. Studying your consumer by using social media monitoring for market research.   Listen, measure, understand and engage by working with companies like Sysomos.

4. Building your presence with your best enthusiasts and influentials while collaborating with savvy customers and letting those that are closest to your brand identity help attract new customers. Cherry picking and then featuring your favorite customers to share your brand values, like J. Crew’s  HelloWorld   Take a lesson from Dos Equis as they share knowledge you never knew you needed at The Most Interesting Academy.

5. Using smart phones and tablets to help revolutionize the way your customer’s shop with you. Shopkick, is a free location-based shopping app which works with Androids and iPhones. It currently has more than three million users.

Newswordy PR

Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, media relations, media relations expert, press liaison, press release writing

Stumbled upon www.newswordy.com, a website that gives you a clearer understanding about the most popular words used in the news and precisely how they are being used in stories and on social sites like @twitter.

Marketing in the Moment

Engaging Customer Service, Marketing in the Moment, Marketing Mavens, marketing muscle, Uncatergorized, word of mouth campaigns

Last week, we received a call from Rain Africa, an international company that makes amazing hand-crafted gifts made from indigenous ingredients in a small rural factory while abiding by a fair and reliable supply chain with a commitment to biodiversity conservation.  Their US store is located near Rockefeller Center in Manhattan and as for many retailers after the holiday season, sales were strong until January. They wanted to know what they could do to boost store traffic and awareness quickly, yet they hadn’t  created a 2012 marketing plan.  They are leaning towards hosting an in-store event.

Yes, an in-store event is a great idea, we explained, but one event will not make a difference. Every day should be an event at your location. We explained the concept of creating a “retail experience” for every shopper that walks through your doors.

We also explained that it is not just one marketing activity that will grow sales, it is a combination of continuous activity that will keep your brand growing.  All small businesses should be working from a plan that includes maximizing on their earned, owned and shared media coverage as well as creating exciting promotions and hosting retail events.

It’s not too late to strategize for 2012. While you are creating your plan for the rest of the year, here are immediate things you can do to help boost sales and traffic.

1. Gently increase your prices in smaller almost unnoticeable but meaningful increments.

2. Monetize your average sale by “up selling” those customers that are already making purchases.

3. Increase how often your customer purchases something from your company with twitter/text promotions that remind them to shop with you.

4. Give your loyal customers an incentive to help you build word of mouth campaigns by referring their friends and family.

5. Increase and strengthen your operational efficiencies with better customer service and customer relationship management.

Membership Program Marketing in 2012

future of marketing, Marketing Mavens, Measureable Marketing, Uncatergorized

Sometime last month we were sitting around the conference room table with a team of executives brainstorming ideas to help their partners increase sales and customer loyalty. One of those in the room with a short-term thinking “mind-set” brought up the “fact?” that in her experience she found that customers who signed up for gym memberships would continue to pay for the membership, even if they didn’t work out at all,  for an average of 14 months after signing up.  The charge would just appear on their cards and it wasn’t until over a year later, these member customers would wake up to the fact that they were pouring money down the drain.

This “experienced” professional was proposing this membership model as a revenue driver and was asking the team to think short-term while charging customers a membership each month – on top of the service price they are already paying, with the thought that these same customers would forget they signed up and continue to pay the $9.99 a month on their cards for the year to come.

This is the same type of greed-induced strategy that got our economy where it is today. Now, it’s a good thing that customers everywhere are all the wiser and are completely aware of scams like this one proposed.

This kind of thinking also reminds us of the recurring charges that customers get stung with (and that web companies are under investigation for) which you can read about here.

Membership Programs in 2012

Your membership program has to bring real value to the table in order to even appeal to new customers and keep existing customers loyal, especially in this day and age. The real fact is, customers are too smart and watching every penny they spend. Membership program enrollment is down and there have been three major reasons for this decline – economic changes, demographic shifts, and technology.

Now, new technologies can enhance a great membership experience -from social media platforms that celebrate customers who promote your business to data mining tools that help target your customers, and help keep them coming through the doors.

If you are considering adding a membership program to your business, think about what you have to give to attract and retain customers. Consider your business model, your customer’s purchasing behavior and think along the lines of –

  • Programs that offer real value and no risks
  • Possible discounts with every purchase and no restrictions
  • Cash prizes and upgraded shipping
  • Special savings that translate to 15% to 35% off retail prices
  • Exclusive promotional offers void of black out dates and messy disclaimers
  • VIP membership events
  • First dibs on new products, appointments and services
  • Product guarantees and free offers
  • Upgrades and same product/service add ons
  • Co-marketing programs with synergistic businesses

In other words, your membership program must contain a well-defined value proposition that resonates in today’s environment.

Smart companies think like Zappos.com  and American Express –

  • Consider not charging a membership fee
  • Offer valuable services like free overnight shipping and
  • expedited returns

Once you have developed a valuable membership program you must consider how much you have to spend on spreading the word (marketing the program)- through e-mail, newsletters, in-store signage and website updates as well as social media platforms. Your employees should also be ambassadors for the program and able to relay its value to customers. This happens with proper training and real support.