Elements of Internet Marketing: Incentives.

Elements of Internet Marketing: Incentives (2013).

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DISCLAIMER: Every once in awhile, we cover “Elements of Internet Marketing” and why they are important for everyone to be aware or reminded of. Some of these topics are not new, but they are very important to consumers and service providers to repeatedly encounter and understand. Today’s “Element” is related to the topic of “Incentives.” Enjoy!

Everyone likes “FREE.” As a matter of fact, it is pretty likely that nobody is going to turn down “free.” At the same time, most of our modern society hates doing anything for free… including giving up personal information. This reason comes from past abuse from naive and unethical businesses.

No one likes SPAM. While it may be free, it is not friendly. Think of it as a demon that needs “exorcised” immediately. No one wants a “buddy” that will haunt them and annoy them for the rest of their lives.

In business, when we give someone something free, it likely comes with a price. We usually expect some sort of “buzz” to be created, because one person will tell the next about this “cool” new “thing” that they got for free. The next person will seek out a free item as well. This is Word of Mouth Marketing. An incentive is given for word about our brand to be spread. It is as simple as that!

As with many successful marketing actions, many businesses are against giving things away for free or taking the risk. Yet, they will complain that they aren’t making the income that they would like for the overall business venture. This is where the problem remains for them. After all, you have to take risks and do something new in order to succeed.

There are many businesses, on the other hand, that thrive through incentives. Incentives often come in the form of products, services and trials. Yet, some businesses have been benefiting from creating an actual monetary reward for their consumer base. Companies like DealsPlus pay users per deal that they list on the site, creating content. They also pay for articles to be written on their blog, coupon posts and other actions that take place.

Other sites give incentive rewards to those that refer users to become users on the site, through content generation and followers, and through referring new hires to the team. In the past, I personally worked with a company that paid college students a dollar to sign up as users on their site. They had to literally sign up through our laptop and mobile devices and confirm their accounts before being paid. These users became the most active on our site, because they had something to gain from it.

The downfall to incentive programs is what may lead consumers from becoming willing to participate in them freely. You see, so many ethical businesses have failed to adopt incentive programs, while more unethical practices have encouraged them. This is where the evil SPAM comes into play, as well as unauthorized charges to credit cards, scams, false contest and giveaway programs in attempts of collecting important information from clientele and so on. As business owners, we have to find a way to combat this, while including an incentive program into our marketing plans.

In including incentive programs into our marketing plans, we have to ensure participants that their private information is secured and won’t be sold, that they can trust us, and that participation is worth “the hassle.” Ensuring that our Brand Presence is intact and our reputation precedes us, we have a better chance of creating Brand Trust with our new potential consumers and those who use our products out of necessity.

If we hold contests and giveaways, we must be sure that we prove that it was a real contest and announce the actual winner in a public place (Online). Those that entered will be more lead to believe that it will be “better luck next time” and will more than likely participate in the future.

What some people fail to realize is that incentives may be open to everyone. But, the opportunity was a “privilege,” because not everyone will know about it until it is too late. It was a “privilege,” because the consumer has a 1-on-1 experience with the brand, as well.

Privilege leads to a personal story where the consumer is part of the overall story and history of the brand. This makes for Loyalty and Tenure. And if you are a business owner, what better incentive is there? Remember, incentives are everything if you can prove it is worth anything for your consumer to take action. Give a good call to action and you’re halfway there!

Some ways that incentives will help brands:

  • Brand Loyalty
  • Brand Trust
  • Word of Mouth
  • Viral Marketing
  • Guaranteed Funneling – Call to Action
  • Sign Ups
  • “Privilege”
  • Sales
  • Press Opportunity
  • SEO Opportunity
  • Brand Action
  • Cross Promotions
  • Sponsorships
  • Conversation
  • Social Activity (Comments, Conversation, Conversion into Customer, Likes/Followers, etc.)

NOTE TO MY READERS: The “Elements” section of The Examiner was created for YOU. Clients and readers are constantly messaging me with questions about specific topics. While I don’t consult for free, I do address their questions in general terms through these columns.

I invite you to ask questions about Internet Marketing, Social Branding and Event Marketing, as well as submit information about your upcoming projects, as related to the World of Internet Marketing. I will try to include them in my future releases. And, speaking of incentives, if you would like more “Elements,” tips, tricks and Internet Marketing-related news, please subscribe to my articles today!

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Marketing for Change: Only 1-in-3 parents read to their children, 8 and under

dr suess, one fish two fish red fish blue fish, dr seuss, childhood education, marketing research, market research, macys, via, childhood development, learn to read, english, orlando, pittsburgh, punxsutawney, fort pierce, pittsburgh, new kensington

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In a world where technology is so evolved that everything is possible, why are our children becoming more corrupted, lacking morals, becoming more spoiled, lacking conscious, etc.? Does it have to do with how we are raising them? Does it have to do with the minimum bonding time we are spending with them and in being the first teachers in their life? A new survey reports that “only one-in-three parents read bedtime stories at night…Children are more likely to spend time with TV or Video Games than books.”

And, here lies the problem.

Lack of bonding and discipline can lead to an increase in independence, but this increase can be harmful to a child if no direction is given. How are we showing our children we love them? How are we influencing their decisions?

We get mad that they emulate what is seen on television, but we are not filling idle minds with wholesome data or swaying their mindsets in the way that we should. If we aren’t that positive role model in their life, we can’t be upset when “the entertainment” keeps them fulfilled and becomes their new “favorite person.” We can’t be upset when our child comes home with dissatisfactory results on their report cards.

When we read, children look at pictures (if snuggled next to you). Chances are, they will follow the words along with you… whether they know what the words spell out or not.

When they see words in repetition, they eventually learn the word “on sight,” and this readies them to learn more complex words. This is a science that programs like “My Baby Can Read” have proven to us time and time again. This is also something that can’t be done one-on-one in the classroom, especially where large classes exist.

As a matter of fact, the age group of “8-years-old and under” are at the highest risk. “Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers,” according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

This is a science that programs like “My Baby Can Read” have proven to us time and time again. This is something that can’t be done one-on-one in the classroom, especially where large classes exist. As a matter of fact, the age group of “8-years-old and under” are at the highest risk. “Children who don’t read well by the end of third grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers,” according to a report by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Have we become too dependent on the programming our television networks have created to “educate” kids? Let us not forget that subliminal messaging is also often times placed in program messaging.

Innocent realities may also place “thoughts” into the mind of children. For example, an educational program called “IQ Kids” when heard without visuals, or when watched at “half span” attention sounds like it is clearly saying “I kill kids.” If your child can’t read, what message do they perceive? Do you think they will want to learn from these people, no matter how many awards they have won?

In the Online survey conducted by Macy’s, Reading is Fundamental and Harris Interactive, 33% of 1000 parents report nightly reading to their children. Through ten years of partnership, Macy’s and RIF find it even more important to deliver their 10 millionth book to children across the country. “Bedtime stories build the foundation for future achievement.

For a decade, Macy’s and RIF have worked together to get books and literacy resources to children in need, giving children and parents tools they need to dream big,” said Carol H. Rasco, president and CEO of Reading Is Fundamental. “While much news in this survey is encouraging, there is more work to be done – work that Be Book Smart and our partnership with Macy’s will help make possible.”

We must remember that this age group is that of our future society, our future decision-makers. If we aren’t teaching them correctly, who will? The television that has the sole purpose of selling advertising and merchandising?

Macy’s understands this and, since 2004, have donated over $25.8 million to RIF through customer-supported fundraising campaigns, in-store events and volunteer activities. They continue this mission with a campaign that runs Today (June 21) throughout until July 21, 2013, in the goal of donating the 10 millionth book to a child in need.

The campaign takes place Online and in stores across the country. The correlating Online campaign includes a Facebook Sweepstakes, and have included this statement in a recent Press Release:

“As part of the Be Book Smart campaign, Macy’s and RIF will host a sweepstakes on Facebook to encourage supporters to share information about the campaign and post images of quotes from favorite authors to their personal timelines via a Facebook app. Each week, one winner will be awarded a $500 Macy’s gift card. For official rules and to enter the sweepstakes, visit facebook.com/macys or rif.org/sweeps. No purchase necessary to enter or win a prize.”

What are you doing to ensure a bright and positive future for our children? Start reading to them, today!

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Pet-friendly Social Network, uraPET, to give away $100 Petco gift card

petco, urapet, pet social network, pets talking, social branding, public relations, dog site, site for cats, shorty produkshins, shorty productions, jessica abraham, jessica n abraham, jessica n abraham hogan, internet marketing orlando, internet marketing animals, pittsburgh, fort pierce, punxsutawney

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Bailey is the president of a “pet-friendly” Social Network, called uraPET. It seems his human is doing all the work, however, while Bailey just sits back and browses the Internet, commenting on the status updates and photos of “all his dogs…” and salivating over high-end doggy bags from his favorite “kibble” brands. Well, not really, but Ken Braun, his human, had a vision and carried it through.

While us humans were busy being conceited and bragging ourselves up on Facebook, Ken was busy “shaking hands” with new members of his uraPET Social Network for Pets! “As any pet owner knows, all animals have unique personalities, which can provide for hours of entertainment,” says Ken Braun. “We got to thinking – what if pets could interact online, just like us humans do? While we know that’s not exactly possible, uraPET creates a fun, lighthearted environment in which we can see what life would really be like if dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, and reptiles could log on and communicate with each other.”

In March of 2013, Ken and Bailey, the English Cream Golden Retriever, teamed up to bring us a venue to show off our pets to those that really care. It’s a place where we can upload hundreds of photos of our pets and “everyone knows his name!” This site is so pet-friendly that Bailey decided to throw a $100 Petco Giftcard Giveaway, in which all new members are automatically signed up to win!

The site itself is super user-friendly by mimicking many of the features we are already used to on those boring human networks where everyone whines about their life, as opposed to the whimpering to go outside and smell the fresh air. We can “like photos, statuses, and even howl at the craziness of our “best friends” who we can invite through Facebook Integration. uraPET is all things “pet” and includes tips and tricks of caregiving, important information on health and nutrition, and even information about nearby shelters.

At uraPET, you’re able to give your pet “a hand” by updating his status, uploading his glamour shots and showing off his undeniable “puglife!” This is a new Social Network where the pets do all the talking, while you transcribe their thoughts. After all, no one understands him like you do, right? Go to uraPET today, put Facebook on “paws,” and sign up for a free profile to get started!

…And, don’t worry, you won’t have to sniff any butts to greet your fellow four-legged friend!

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Event Marketing: Eventbrite’s findings based upon current database!

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If you actively engage in Event Marketing, sold your own tickets, or have marketed some sort of event in the past, you probably know of an event site, called Eventbrite. This site is personally one of my favorite sites for SEO-related tasks associated with Advanced Event Marketing techniques. Many options are given in allowing for great marketing and distribution of event details to partner sites!

Eventbrite released some pretty interesting information, yesterday, regarding the most likely genre preference of an event goer. This information was based on findings within their database, as the data was collected by the Harris Interactive Service Bureau between the time period of May 22 and May 30, 2013. The collective group of analyzed individuals consisted of 1019 individuals.

Eventbrite has come to the conclusion that their largest audience consists of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) enthusiasts and event planners. The company’s data analysis partner finds that the reasoning behind this is that the EDM community tends to be more Social and Mobile than other groups of eventgoers.

EDM enthusiasts are more likely to “share” their findings and attendance records via Social Networks and the means of Mobile (Marketing). EDM fans are 78% more likely to attend an event if their peers were attending and/or based on who was performing, as opposed to other groups who are only 43% more likely to attend an event if their friends go, too.

Those associated with Electronic Dance Music are also more likely to pay to attend an Online Streaming Event than other groups.

When considering an Event Marketing Plan, it is obvious that Event Branding should be prelevant in gaining the interests of your audiences. Every Event Marketing Plan should “Brand Social (Shorty Produkshins, 2009.),” be “shareable” on a mobile device, and should begin taking place NO LATER THAN three weeks– two weeks at the maximum — for ultimate results, because it is important to allow anticipation to build and Viral Marketing to take effect!

Furthermore, if you are regularly throwing and promoting events, a definite Mobile Marketing Plan of Action should be placed in line with your Marketing Plan. These results only prove these points to be true!

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The Power of Viral takes front row in History!

Malcom Shabazz, Malcom X's Grandson

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Photo taken from GiantMag.com under Fair Use Doctrine.

Yesterday’s loss of the grandson of historical icon and leader, Malcolm X, has already become part of History, Controversy, Conspiracy, and even Viral Conversation throughout the Internet. Malcolm Shabazz, 28, was murdered Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Tijuana, Mexico.

While “no one knows” who killed him or “why,” Shabazz felt it was coming and explained the process of assassination in which no one would care to ask questions. In an Online record that is currently circulating Facebook with a “RIP Malcolm” photo attached, he explained, in his own words, how he was constantly being harassed and forced to keep a distance from loved ones, not disclosing information to them… in addition to a plethora of other interesting details in his life.

Much of these details highlighted media defamation of his character and crimes that he claimed to have been “cornered” into accepting blame for.

Much earlier this month, an audio recorded “open letter” to Pope John Paul II from 1998 began its recirculation in the midst of a new addition to an FBI Most Wanted List. Assata Shakur has been named a terrorist by the United States and marked with a $1 million dollar reward for her capture. The open letter is circulating the Internet, speaking in defense of actions that “set her on the run” and in what seems to be self-defense.

Similar to Shabazz, we are able to get another side of the story and paint a much clearer picture of what happened that led up to the incident.

On the other end of the spectrum, we have Christopher Dorner, who was allegedly burnt alive in a cabin fire atop a California mountain chain. It is to be noted that Dorner personally placed a “manifesto” onto his Facebook page explaining his motives and reasonings of events that were to come in latter days. This manifesto was widely spread on the net, even after his Facebook page had been shut down. This, alongside mass murders, led to a manhunt of suspected “cop killer” who was now on the loose and had a distinct vendetta with an extreme plan of action.

Here, we have three situations in which Social Media has given another side of the story. Generally, once a person becomes a fugitive, is murdered or placed into imprisonment, we hear nothing else about the topic, unless it is false or sensationalized by media outlets who are in search of higher ratings. Social Media has allowed these pieces to go viral and for us to become familiar with another side of the story.

Whether or not these contents are genuine and/or truthful, a deeper look into the situation and a furthered understanding can take place in the face of an audience, who would otherwise scorn an innocent person, rather than understand what went wrong and why. And, such is the case on frequent occasions.

Because of the “Power of Viral,” we have found many lost persons, located dangerous villains, reunited loved ones (even pets), freed hostages, petitioned wrongdoings, petitioned action in situations where many have been given the cold shoulder by corrupt agencies, and many more situations that have brought about a positive change in the lives of the human race. In fact, many continue to hand over the “Power of Attorney” of intellectual property and private information to be posted Online by trusted friends and family in the event that something should happen to them, as is the case of Malcolm Shabazz who had to purposely distance himself from those he cared about most in this world.

Not only has the Power of Viral aided the lives of individuals in trouble, but it has also benefitted causes and Nations in finding hope for the future. In Iran and Israel, an accidental “peace campaign” once took place that united members of each enemy territory with others of the opposing territory. This campaign took place when citizens of Israel posed for “Israel loves Iran” posters, in which were sent to Iran via “social,” as Iran did the same to Israel.

“Everyday people” had posed for these posters and placed them on social networks in “free speech” to the opposition of the political choices to go to war. It was rumored to cause an accidental movement of peace between the nations who have been in direct warfare for over a decade.

On the contrary, viral content has created a means for truth to be spread during cases of all-out warfare, in which “outside” territories claim it to be in total civil war. Those who are living the horror are actually able to report “hands-on” and “breaking” information and enemy locations, such as through GPS, photos and video. These items are also beneficial in convicting war criminals of the heinous acts that they commit.

Syrian Truth and Syrian Democratic Future has “outed” many traitors and terrorists on their Facebook Pages, while distributing graphic content that keeps the World aware of real-life terror taking place daily in Syria, in hopes of creating a positive change within it. They stand for the voice of Syria and in gathering allies around the globe to commit to putting bullies in their place.

While the aim is not to market negative aspects of the real world, the Power of Viral takes the front row in making and recording history in the 21st Century. The goal is to distribute information, whether through Word of Mouth or via search engines. Organic SEO results take place through content distribution and Viral Marketing through shares and views. Information is being spread and people are being made aware of corruption and terror.

Can we use this concept to bring about actual change and peace in the future? Or, will this ability be taken from us in the future due to misinformation by those who will learn to use Viral for their own selfish purposes?

In time, we shall see. For now, let’s make the best of it with open eyes and open minds!

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