Tag Archives: Web Marketing

Canada’s New Anti-Spam Law Could Spank You

Like an iron fist smothered in maple syrup, Canada is sticking it to brands with the toughest email marketing law in the land. And if your company deals in the Great White North, it may apply to you.

Effective July 1, the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) requires businesses to obtain permission to send emails, text messages and possibly social media postings to customers or prospects.

Two Varieties of Consent: Implied or Express

Implied consent requires documented proof of a relationship with a consumer. For example, Jasper in Nova Scotia ordered a batch of squeegees last May and gave you his email address.

Express applies mainly to prospects, or any customer you can’t prove you’ve done business with in the last two years.

To gain the golden stamp of approval, you must dish out opt-in messages and compete with a flurry of others doing the same thing.

While mega brands like Ford entice customers with freebies – a chance to win a free Mustang – small businesses and non-profits don’t have the same resources.

Some experts believe companies will see opt-in rates of less than 20 percent without the help of an agency or digital marketing plan.

Whether you’re a global brand with customers up north, or considering business ventures there, it’s best to have an agency (and lawyer) on your side. Or risk stiff fines – up to $1 million per person, and up 10 times that for companies found in violation – and an email list worth less than a can of spam.

But for now, let’s just hope this crackdown doesn’t spread south of the border.

Read more about CASL here.

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Ideopia Wins Medical Marketing Awards

Ideopia competed with more than 3,000 entrants to win two Gold and two Bronze Medals at the 2014 Aster Awards, which recognize creative accomplishments in medical marketing. And the winners are:

Reliance Medical Products (Mason, OH) — Gold for magazine “Legendary Campaign” for examination chairs

Eyefficient, Inc. (Cleveland Ohio) — Bronze for Eyefficient.com web and mobile sites.

Reichert Technologies (Buffalo, NY) — Gold for “Blink Blog” and email newsletter.

Reichert Technologies — Bronze for magazine “Animal Campaign”

We thank the Asters, the Academy, the Jamaican Bobsled team, and the great clients who work with us as true partners: Steve Juenger, vp of marketing and sales, Haag-Streit USA; and Mark Newkirk in his roles as Director of Global Marketing for Reichert Technologies; and more recently as CEO of Eyefficient, Inc.

See our Aster award winning entries on our WavyBrainy blog.

Learn more at our medical division website, Ideopia Medical Marketing.

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Market To Billions With Baidu, China’s Search Giant

With more active users than the U.S. population, Baidu racks up a staggering 5 billion search queries a day. Yet, outside of China, the fifth most popular website in the world is largely unknown.

But for global brands, that’s starting to change. Here’s what you need to know about advertising on the Google of China:

Breaking down the language barrier

Baidu only crawls websites written in Simplified Chinese, so every search ad, website and landing page must be translated. The company offers support in English, and can put you in touch with a translator. Sure beats “Chinese for Dummies.”

Resellers set up shop in the U.S.

For the right price, companies like China Search International (CSI) make it easy to advertise on Baidu. They translate ad copy and keywords, handle all required documentation (China is strict with regulations), and report analytics.

It’s not just a Google clone

On top of paid search, Baidu offers animated and interactive banner ads, and its own version of homepage takeovers. These campaigns reportedly boast incredible click-thru rates of 50 percent or more.

Should your brand Baidu?

For companies with Chinese interests, Baidu can’t be ignored. With more than 531 million users and 90 percent of the search market, it’s clear that Baidu is the frontrunner in China. As for the rest of us in our American cubbyhole? Google will do just fine.

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Make Your Marketing Zappable with QR Codes

Those peculiar barcodes you may have seen on your Blackberry or Android smart phone have taken over Japan, and might soon become mainstream in the United States. Quick Response (QR) Codes, two-dimensional barcodes, started out in the early 90s as a way for manufacturers to track vehicle parts, but they’ve now spread to mobile phones, further linking the physical world and cyberspace.

QR Codes for Advertising

Japanese companies use QR Codes for advertising, notably on billboards so consumers can snap pictures from their cell-phones and head directly to the companies’ websites. The codes can be slapped on magazine ads, billboards, signage, or even business cards.

Some smart phones in the United States have already integrated QR Code technology, and as smart phones continue to skyrocket in popularity, that number will increase. The codes are appealing to advertisers because of their ability to seamlessly bridge the gap between cyberspace and the real world. By holding up your phone to an ad, you are instantly transported to the destination.

Do a Google search to create your own QR Codes. Does your smartphone have a QR reader? Scan our code:

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Facebook’s Extreme, Almost Creepy, Ad Targeting

Facebook’s ad service is one of the most targeted and dynamic advertising mediums around. And, we believe it’s highly underutilized. From our experience, we’ve found that Facebook can trounce Google Adwords in terms of quality traffic and conversions. That’s because you can cheaply make numerous ads that target consumers based on the usual age and gender demographics, and further sort by state, city, profession, and lifestyle likes and dislikes.

As you select your criteria, the program dynamically updates how many people you’re likely to reach with your ad. Facebook ads are so precise that one man was able to create an ad solely for his wife, and it worked.

Consumers are 10 times more like to buy products via social media, according to one study, so get on Facebook and get cracking on brand promotion!

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Brand Brainwashing with Web Contest.

Promotions and contests can stimulate short-term sales. They’re also a powerful tool for educating consumers about a brand, even the stuff that doesn’t seem so sexy on the surface, and gathering valuable information. A recent web promotion Ideopia created for Reliance Medical Products presented an entertaining quiz that educated prospects about the benefits of dealing with an American Manufacturer. In addition to driving engagement on an important brand value, visitors were required to answer questions before entering the quiz. Just the kind of stuff that you might use for customizing email… who knows? Let us know if you would like a tour of this project.

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Dr. SEM: How healthy are your keywords?

6_sqKeywords are the words or phrases that visitors use to find your site via search. Most web analytics programs track keywords and how many visitors each drive to your site.

Here’s what you can learn. Say that you’re in the candy business and your top keywords are “jaw breakers,” “salt water taffy,” and “Carbolicious Carmel Corn.” Great, you sell those products. But what if 30% of your company’s income derives from selling “candy gift baskets,” and that term ranks at the bottom of your keyword list? This is an example of an opportunity missed, and a website that’s out-of-step with its core business. To get the rest of the picture use Google’s keyword tool to find out the frequency of search on key terms. This will help you determine if your business is jiving with reality. For example, if  “mimeograph” machine is one of your top keywords, but it’s very low in popularity as a search term…uhhh…you may want to consider a new core business. Keywords can speak volumes about the state of your site and business, so dig in soon!

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Naked HTML: Do your web visitors give a hoot?

Sheer volume of web traffic, as we pointed out in our article on Bounce Rate, doesn’t tell you whether visitors had a good time at your site, learned anything, or absorbed key messages about your brand. Although there are some exciting new analytics tools that monitor the quality of engagement, you can get started by investigating the average time visitors spend on your site and per page. The underlying assumption is simple. If people like your page, they’ll spend time with it. If they’re bored silly, they’ll move on. Here’s what to look for:

  1. What’s the Average Time Spent on the site as a whole?
  2. Compare directories on the site, e.g. your about section vs. products. Where are visitors spending the bulk of their time on your site? Does that match your web strategy?
  3. Are your visitors spending time on critical pages, e.g. product overview, pages that differentiate you from your competitors, etc?
  4. Sort pages from highest to lowest Avg. Time Spent on Page. What’s performing well, what’s not?
  5. Are there pages that drive a high percentage of viewing that don’t directly advance your business, e.g. the photo gallery with everyone popping brewskies at the office tailgate party? These pages are valuable, but keep in mind that they could be distorting your view of your site’s overall performance.

Use this information to build on content that already engages your visitors, and improve or eliminate pages that don’t.

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Top 9 Dirt Cheap Ways to Improve Your Web Site

The remodeling tips below require almost no knowledge of code, but they can have a big impact when you get them right.

    1. Proof all copy for typos and grammar.
    2. Read your copy. Cut jargon and long-winded phrases.
    3. Break long paragraphs of copy into bullet points. Web visitors scan, they don’t read.
    4. Run a free online link checker, like Integrity, on your site. Fix broken links.
    5. Make sure headings or headlines on each page instantly communicate the page’s content.
    6. Check all forms. Make sure all fields work, and results are returned to the correct person. Do the same with email links.
    7. If you don’t have a contact form, get one.
    8. If your blog doesn’t have an RSS icon or feed, get one. It’s usually a simple setting.
    9. Review all pages to make sure they have titles above the browser window. These are essential for search rankings and understandable search results.
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