Text marks the spot Create text-based marketing promotions with Textmarks

Posted by maggie.hunsucker March 31, 2009 at 2:08 pm

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If you want to be able to reach just about everyone, SMS is still the way to go for mass group communication. However, not everyone wants to wrestle with the hassle or expense of SMS based promotions.

With a service called TextMarks, you have an inexpensive option for putting text messaging (SMS) to work as a marketing promotion tool.   TextMarks revolves around a keyword – your TextMark – that is your group identifier.  It also acts as a password of sorts for group communications.  A member simply texts your TextMark keyword to 41411; in this example, let’s say my TextMark is “feedgrowth”.   Anyone who texts “feedgrowth” to that number will receive my TextMark update, which can be a message or a text selection from a website.   The latter I identify by giving the TextMarks system a URL and clipped text.

TextMarks mimics the functionality of an email chain, so group members can reply to my TextMark message with a single text, but forward to the entire group.  And like an RSS feed, a member can subscribe to my TextMark and receive notifications automatically.   The service is free, however, you will have to contend with an ad in the footer of your message.   If you want TextMarks to be your workhouse communication vehicle, you can also sign up for a Pro account.  The basic option costs $9.95/month, and you receive 100 ad-free outgoing messages a month and 5 TextMark keywords.   Prices and message capacity increase by package.

So, if you want to use text messaging to track responses or reactions to everything from print ads to billboards, here’s a simple and inexpensive way to do it. Just sign up for a TextMark and include it the your creative. Then, when the ad runs, instead of wondering if your offline communications are working, you can just use TextMarks to generate and track your customer response.

If your TextMark communication chain is compelling content, why not publish it directly to your website or blog? TextMark offers a widget suite that you can use to either promote subscriptions to your TextMark group or text message contently directly to the widget and have it stream on your site.

Your TextMark naturally lends to being your brand or company name - which means it can be easily remembered and promoted. Ideally, customers subscribe to your TextMark (receiving regular updates, sales, promotions, etc), but they also have the option of engaging your brand on demand and only receiving updates when they ask for them.

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  Pipeline in your pocket Access your CRM on the go with the Salesforce Mobile iPhone App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker March 24, 2009 at 1:46 pm

picture-2Salesforce and its AppExchange program has yielded popular mashups with Google Adwords, which gives Adwords users the ability to create and track campaigns from within Salesforce, and Facebook, which lets you import Facebook profiles into your contact lists (Faceconnector is an idea we previously covered when it was called Faceforce).

Of course, it didn’t take long for the popular CRM service to find its way to another application network.  Now you can access your Salesforce account directly from your iPhone with Salesforce Mobile.  This app gives Salesforce users the ability to take all of their customer data with them in the field, which is where you want your sales and marketing professionals to be.  Not tethered to a desk.

With Salesforce Mobile, you can view and edit your Accounts, Opportunities, and Leads from your iPhone.  Of course, you can manage sales pipelines, contact information, account activities, etc.   If you have an employee out of the office, he/she can:

  • Respond to leads and customer requests immediately
  • Log sales activities like calls and meetings while out in the field
  • Access up-to-date account records before stepping into a meeting

Salesforce Mobile is a free download, but you will need a Salesforce Mobile license or an Unlimited Edition account to use, assuming you are a member of Salesforce.  You can sign up for a free 30-day trial to demo both the product and the iPhone app.   With mobile access and its own app store full of big name partnerships, Salesforce makes a pretty good pitch to be your CRM software of choice.

The reason AppExchange is such a robust offering is because Salesforce opted to open up their API and let other products and developers work to make their platform better. It has over 400 apps on tap, including mashups with Hoovers and Vertical Response. Developerforce.com provides interested parties with access to the API, guides, tutorials, webinars, and more.

With the explosion of internet-enabled smartphones and mobile applications, it will interesting to see how our business processes evolve over the next few years and what products emerge to meet our needs. Salesforce Mobile works because of its immediate simplicity. It's not reinventing the wheel; it's providing a mobile extension of a widely popular and intuitive platform.

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  Run with the numbers Access Google Analytics on your iPhone with the Analytics Pro App

Posted by maggie.hunsucker March 23, 2009 at 2:04 pm

iconproOne of the benefits of the mobile application boom is the easy access to business information when you are on the road or away from your office.  There are apps for customer relationship management (as we discussed in Touchy Feely), client invoices, expense tracking, flow charts -  heck, you can even use an iPhone as a credit card processor.

We particularly like Analytics Pro.  This iPhone app connects you directly to your Google Analytics account, giving you access to multiple profiles and over 50 reports.   It’s perfect for marketers, SEO professionals or just about anyone who needs web analytics on demand.  It provides the same raw stats and charts you are used to, even mimicking the look and feel of your web-based Google Analytics account.

iphone-homepageThe app costs $3.99 to download, and if you don’t already have a Google Analytics account, you can get one here for free (just add a few lines of code to the HTML of your site, and you are good to go).  Login to Analytics Pro with your Google Analytics username and password and manipulate the filter settings – which account, profile name, and date range – to view the corresponding report.   You can see:

  • Analytics Dashboard
  • Map Overlay
  • Visitor Overview
  • Site Usage (visits, pageview, bounce rates, etc)
  • Content Overview
  • Traffic Sources (referring sites, search engines, and keywords)
  • Goals/Conversions

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For so many marketers, tracking web traffic isn’t just a nice to have. Once you’ve embraced digital marketing, your website will likely represent the one place where all of your marketing investments come together. Here’s a way to make sure that these analytics (and the answer to “how are we doing”) are accessible wherever you might be.

Blackberry will be unveiling their rival store soon, aptly titled Blackberry AppWorld. Right now, it's sign-up notifcation only, but there is an open call for developers to take part in their SDK program.

If you're not ready to part with your beloved mobile device or sign the two-year AT&T contract, consider purchasing an iPod Touch, instead. It's pretty much the iPhone without cellular service, so you can take advantage of the same features (games, movies, and music) and mobile application download wherever you might find WiFi access.

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  Phacefone Add social functionality to your iPhone apps with Facebook Connect for iPhone

Posted by maggie.hunsucker March 17, 2009 at 11:40 am

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In Everybody knows your name, we discussed how Facebook ’s third-party offering, Facebook Connect, lets outside websites and applications ‘borrow” aspects of the popular social network.

This go round, Facebook is opening up their API to the iPhone application development community.   What does this mean?  On face value (no pun intended), developers can integrate Facebook profiles and functionality into their iPhone (or iPod Touch) applications.  But what it really means is every time an app user broadcasts an update to Facebook, whether it’s their high score from a popular game like Tap Tap Revenge or a restaurant recommendation with Urbanspoon, they are exposing their friends and followers to that app.  It’s free marketing.  And while the rest of the world tries to figure out how to harness social networking, Facebook just gave mobile applications a free ride.

Not that iPhone apps are hurting for attention.  With free marketing and distribution through iTunes and Apple’s open iPhone development community, just about anyone can get in on the action.   Of course, knowledge of Cocoa, the framework for Objective C, which is the primary development language for iPhone applications, is helpful.  According to Facebook, and this handy dandy video they put together, Facebook Connect implementation only takes 5 minutes and a few lines of Objective C:

Do you have an idea for an iPhone application? We have an iPhone application developer in house so contact us today to get started!

iPhone users may be surprised to learn that some of their favorite applications were given early access to the Facebook Connect integration. Apps include Agency Wars, iBowl, Live Poker, Movies, Tap Tap Revenge 2, Urbanspoon, Whrrl, and Who has the Biggest Brain?

iPhone apps are a burgeoning market, with paid apps, surprisingly, outperforming their free counterparts. Thanks to Mobclix (which monitors iPhone app usage), you can get a breakdown of downloads by category, providing base level market research. If you're ready to dive in, but lack the development muscle, contact some digital scientists to help.

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  Because, because, because . . . Advertise on targeted Twitter tweets with adCause

Posted by maggie.hunsucker January 29, 2009 at 2:29 pm

ad-causeAdvertisers have been waiting in the wings for popular micro-blogging platform Twitter to figure out a monetization strategy.

Enter adCause, the latest contender.   It connects businesses looking to tap into the growing Twitter network with publishers (or as the name suggests, with philanthropic publishers) who are willing to offer up ad space in their tweet stream for a small fee.

Here’s how it works.  Twitter users sign up for the adCause publishing network and give advertisers their best sales pitch – a description about them and their followers, the number of followers they have, ad frequency (e.g. your ad will appear once for every ten tweets I send out), ad duration, and the cost of this campaign.   As an advertiser, you can search through the network and find Twitterers that best suit your needs or target a specific user by their Twitter ID (you’d be surprised how many have name-brand recognition).  This is also a handy feature if you want to run a background check on a Twitter user before investing.

And if you’re the type that likes to haggle, you’ll dig adCause’s built-in best offer feature (similar to Ebay).  Once an agreement is reached, simply enter your ad text (like Adwords, tweets need to be short and sweet) and pay with PayPal.  Publishers have editorial control, so they do retain the right to 86 your ad if it’s inappropriate for their followers.

Publishers who want to throw some, if not all of their profit to a charity can even set-up a charity info section on their adCause profile page, including the charity name and the percentage of their donation. Advertisers may be more inclined to invest in your Twitter identity if they know your values align with their own.

You might want to consider a few other Twitter money-makers where advertisers either bid on notoriety (Big Talker) or the equivalent of billboard space (Rockin Robin).

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