Sunday, March 23, 2008

How Not to Write Seeding

I've been receiving a lot of SPAM from a place called Fanbox lately. Each time they send me a SPAM, I do the following:
  1. Report them to phishtank.com
  2. Post a blog about Fanbox being a scam
  3. Mark the email as SPAM/JUNK
This last go round, I searched Google for: fanbox spam. It was interesting to read some of the seeding that they've done on the web.

The most gratuitous example can be found on the Office Tweaks blog. Not the post itself, but the comments. There is a comment there by a guy named “TJ Brown” that is an obvious seed for Fanbox.

I love FanBox! They have so many cool applications and features on their desktop! Their social network aspect rivals even MySpace and Facebook! I looked up the old stuff on SMS.ac, and who cares? It wasn’t even a big deal and they have since discontinued offering sms service. So stop crying and give the site a chance.

- TJ

Here is a lesson for anyone out there who wants to seed your own information, company, article, etc. Honestly, we can learn a lot from the SPAMMERS of the world. Not about how we should do things but how we shouldn't. After all, you ask any business executive what they learned more from and they will tell you that they learned more from their mistakes than their successes. Let's learn from the mistake of TJ "I love Fanbox" Brown.

First, don't use the exclamation mark for the first three sentences of your seed. It's a little overboard.

Second, don't compare your features to the competition. That wreaks of advertising!

Third, don't shrug off past issues. And even worse... don't say that they are no longer doing it. "I looked up the old stuff on SMS.ac, and who cares? It wasn’t even a big deal and they have since discontinued offering sms service" sounds too much like an insider.

Fourth, don't sign off. No one else on the blog posted a sign off. That's not how things are done on the internet. Sorry, TJ :-(

Fifth (and this is the MOST important), don't make a call to action. Again, this is an advertising technique. "So stop crying and give the site a chance." is a call to action.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Damn Better Then Hot Cakes, Like Gravity Defeyer Hotcakes

It's funny how much press these Gravity Defyer Shoes get. Everywhere I look there are more and more blogs, reviews, etc. I just searched Google for the shoes (results) and the information is overwhelming. Like Show-n-Tell, The Gadget Panel, TurboGadgets, and countless others have written reviews and given there opinions. Places like Gadget Universe, Skymall are spending lots of dough just to advertise these. So far they don't have a celebrity endorsements or any large retail chains supporting the shoes. In my opinion thats just around the corner.

-Vadim

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Most Important Copywriting Tip!

Buying and selling real estate depends on three things:

  1. Location
  2. Location
  3. Location

Writing copy also depends on three things:

  1. Benefits
  2. Benefits
  3. Benefits

What’s a benefit? I’ll tell you what a benefit is not. If it has anything to do with the product, it is NOT a benefit. WHAT?

Here is where it gets really tricky. When I say ANYTHING TO DO WITH THE PRODUCT, I mean ANYTHING. Keep reading, you’ll be able to sell better than ever by the end of this article. For example: Let’s say you are writing about a ladder. Here are examples of what you could say about the ladder:

  1. The ladder extends to 12 feet, making clearing the rain gutters easier than ever
  2. Clearing your rain gutters will be so much easier than ever with this new ladder
  3. Every time my wife would ask me to change a light bulb or clean the gutters, I would always make some excuse not to because it is such a chore. Until I got this ladder

Each of the above make it clear that your life will be easier than before because of the ladder. At first glance, these might even seem like you are talking about a benefit. After all, isn’t having an easier life a benefit we are all after?

I’ll go back to my definition of what a benefit is *not*: If it has anything to do with the product, it is NOT a benefit. All of the above examples have something to do with the product. So, how can you write about the benefits of the product without writing about the product itself?

Going back to the ladder example:

  1. Become a virtual Superman!
  2. You can be the star of your own do-it-yourself television show
  3. Be the neighborhood handyman you’ve always wanted to be

Sound like tall tales? Well, you aren’t selling someone a 12′ ladder. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of choices of 12′ ladders. You are selling him the excitement, the thrill of becoming a virtual Superman who can save cats stuck in a tree. You are selling him on being the guy that everyone goes to in order to find out how to clear rain gutters. You are selling him on being such a great handyman around the house that his wife is going to brag (NOT nag) about him to all the neighbors.

NOTE: I want to clarify that I am not saying to NEVER write anything about the product. You MUST write about product features. However, features are what people look for AFTER they are sold on the item, not before.

After you’ve hooked him with the virtual Superman line, you can give him all the features of the item. Now, when you describe the features of the product, it should be in line with the virtual Superman theme.

For example

  • Leap into action when your cat is stuck in a tree with a sturdy 12′ reach

instead of…

  • You can help save your cat when she gets stuck in a tree. The extra 12′ reach you will have with this ladder will turn into a virtual Superman

Even though the second example utilizes the virtual Superman idea, it doesn’t hold true to the idea of Superman. Remember, superman is able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. He’s faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. When you tie your copy to that powerful of an image, you need to make sure that the rest of your copy is not a bunch of Kryptonite.

NOTE: In this example, I used a male subject. Same thing applies to women. Obviously, becoming a virtual Superman might not appeal to a woman, but becoming a virtual Oprah or having a virtual Superman husband might.

Now, let’s hope this helps the guy I’m coaching on writing copy for his email marketing campaigns :-D

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Innovative Marketing Needed for Innovative Product

The Gravity Defyer Shoes by Alexander Innovation Wizard are a hot item. They were a huge hit when debuted at the 2007 CES. Yes, shoes made their debut at the largest consumer electronics show. A crazy idea, but it actually makes sense, given the amount of time people spend on their feet.

See what people said about the shoes at the CES as well as what other bloggers and reporters have to say:

Read what GUTTERBOY said (humorous)
Read what turboGADGETS said
California Newswire
The Red Ferret says they “are straight off the ‘what the…?’ banana boat LOL
Investor’s Business Daily
Nothing to do with Arbroath
Dr. Joe Vitale has many good things to say not just about the shoes
The Gravity Defyer Shoes are wishlisted by someone on TheThingsIWant.com. Perhaps I’ll send him a pair :-D
CrunchGear had their hopes up about defying gravity
MondoShoes had something to say too
Sys-con
Yahoo! Finance published the press release
Can you Digg it?
eNewsChannels
They even love it in India
The Ventury County Star picked up on the hot news!
So did the Dallas Morning News
Even EARTHtimes.org got in on the action

See the reactions from people at CES for yourself!

Gadget Universe - Gravity Defyer Shoes

Alexander Elnekaveh (Alexander Innovation Wizard)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Actual Marketing Flops

Cracking an international market is a goal of most growing corporations. It shouldn't be that hard, yet even the big multi-nationals run into trouble because of language and cultural differences. For example...

The name Coca-Cola in China was first rendered as Ke-kou-ke-la. Unfortunately, the Coke company did not discover until after thousands of signs had been printed that the phrase means "bite the wax tadpole" or "female horse stuffed with wax" depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 Chinese characters and found a close phonetic equivalent, "ko-kou-ko-le," which can be loosely translated as "happiness in the mouth."

In Taiwan, the translation of the Pepsi slogan "Come alive with the Pepsi Generation" came out as "Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead."

Also in Chinese, the Kentucky Fried Chicken slogan "finger-lickin' good" came out as "eat your fingers off."

When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, it was apparently unaware that "no va" means "it won't go." After the company figured out why it wasn't selling any cars, it renamed the car in its Spanish markets to the Caribe.

Ford had a similar problem in Brazil when the Pinto flopped. The company found out that Pinto was Brazilian slang for "tiny male genitals". Ford pried all the nameplates off and substituted Corcel, which means horse.

When Parker Pen marketed a ballpoint pen in Mexico, its ads were supposed to say "It won't leak in your pocket and embarrass you." However, the company's mistakenly thought the spanish word "embarazar" meant embarrass. Instead the ads said that "It wont leak in your pocket and make you pregnant."

An American t-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope's visit. Instead of the desired "I Saw the Pope" in Spanish, the shirts proclaimed "I Saw the Potato."

Chicken-man Frank Perdue's slogan, "It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken," got terribly mangled in another Spanish translation. A photo of Perdue with one of his birds appeared on billboards all over Mexico with a caption that explained "It takes a hard man to make a chicken aroused."

Hunt-Wesson introduced its Big John products in French Canada as Gros Jos before finding out that the phrase, in slang, means "big breasts." In this case, however, the name problem did not have a noticeable effect on sales.

In Italy, a campaign for Schweppes Tonic Water translated the name into Schweppes Toilet Water.

Japan's second-largest tourist agency was mystified when it entered English-speaking markets and began receiving requests for unusual sex tours. Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company changed its name.

and finally...

In an effort to boost orange juice sales in predominantly continental breakfast eating England, a campaign was devised to extoll the drink's eye-opening, pick-me-up qualities. Hence, the slogan, "Orange juice. It gets your pecker up."




A definition of marketing that makes sense...

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and say, "I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Direct Marketing.

You're at a party with a bunch of friends and see a gorgeous girl. One of your friends goes up to her and pointing at you says, "He's fantastic in bed."
That's Advertising.

You see a gorgeous girl at a party. You go up to her and get her telephone number. The next day you call and say, "Hi, I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Telemarketing.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. You get up and straighten your tie, you walk up to her and pour her a drink. You open the door for her, pick up her bag after she drops it, offer her a ride, and then say, "By the way, I'm fantastic in bed."
That's Public Relations.

You're at a party and see a gorgeous girl. She walks up to you and says, I hear you're fantastic in bed."
That's Brand Recognition.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Yahoo Finally Beats Google at Something

I RARELY use Yahoo search. Granted, this has little to do with the usefulness of the search. It has more to do with the fact that I think Yahoo is a bunch of ass clowns. However, today... Today, I might just have to change my mind.

I am a HUGE proponent of RSS. I love RSS. If I could eat RSS, I would. I love RSS so much that I've tought about legally chaning my middle name to RSS. Jared RSS Tracy... I like the sound of that!

I ran a search on Yahoo to see how certain products were showing up on Yahoo vs. Google. I noticed something up in the corner of my Flock web browser whilst searching on Yahoo. It was the distinct RSS feed logo. At first, I thought it was merely a link reference for some main Yahoo RSS. Upon further review, it is actually an RSS for whatever the current search is! Wickedly SWEET!

Yes, Google does offer the Google Reader thing. However, it's more than just one click away. Kudos to Yahoo for geeking Google out. If you have a browser with a built-in RSS (such as Flock), explore the difference between bill gates - Google Search and the bill gates - Yahoo! Search Results