Doing the marketing thing here for almost a month now, I’m starting to get a hang of some of the stuff that makes companies and websites successful and attracts more eyeballs. So I may start playing around with some of these ideas on this here site. If you’re reading this, you somehow slipped past my first abortive attempt at trying to become a more useful site. I still plan on doing a weekly article out there, but I’m waiting for the move to complete and to get some other stuff off my plate.
In the meantime, I’ve discovered Blog Lines which, despite its name, is really just a web-based RSS aggregator. I heart the concept of RSS (and, hey, I even have an RSS feed myself) but it’s always been a bit hairy. There are, like, two billion aggregators out there and none of them seem to suit all of my needs. The best client-based aggregator I’ve found so far is NewsGator, which is so great because it integrates with Outlook. I genuinely believe that Microsoft and the other email folks out there (you listening, Mozilla?) should make integrating RSS into their products a high priority for their next releases. Doing so would boost the technologies adoption rate to the point where it truly will be the “next big thing” that the tech media has made it out to be (well, that and finally coming up with a well-accepted standard — Atom, RSS and RSS 2.0 need to get their collective shit together). Until this happens, it will remain as nothing more than a hobby for geeks.
My only problem with NewsGator is that it costs money. I don’t pay for a browser. I don’t pay for an email program. Regardless of recent capitalistic tendencies, the culture of free is alive and well on the Internet. So paying a third party to read someone else’s RSS feed, knowing the author of the feed won’t get a cent, does nothing for me. Thank God for Blog Lines.
Blog Lines has truly shown me the power of RSS. I used to read about seven sites a day and feel like I only got half the news happening out there, and even that seemed stale by the time I read it. With Blog Lines, I’m up to about 60 sites a day and not only feel like I’m missing nothing but also get the news as it happens. In addition, I get to figure out just how important the news I’m reading is perceived by seeing for myself in real time how many different sites are reporting it and how it’s spreading. Take Rumsfeld’s latest lie for example. I first heard about it yesterday on, I think, Instapundit. Not too long after that, I caught it at various personal blogs and then, finally, at Boing Boing. Granted, this is primarily a liberals-only meme, but I do expect to see it show up in a major mainstream news outlet within the next couple of days.
Granted, my Blog Lines subscriptions tend toward the techie side, but that’s what I care about. More than any portal or single news site, I think sites like Blog Lines are the future of news – totally customizable, portable, quickly digestible and published as the news happens. Folks have been talking about this future pretty much since the web first went live to the public, which is to say for the past decade. Sad that it’s taken this long, and it’s STILL not ready for public consumption. Blog Lines is a GREAT service and is well on its way, but it’s still not quite ready for prime time. Here’s hopin’ it gets there soon.
One of the things that came up in my feeds list yesterday was a story linked from an e-marketing site called PsychoTactics. Unfortunately, I forget which article it was that initially attracted me to the site as I ended up reading most of the articles I found there. I like the writing style and the info and, in my new job, all of the cool psychological marketing stuff is going to come in handy. So I subscribed to their newsletter. The confirmation email astounded me:
Welcome to your first Psychotactics newsletter.
It’s way before dawn here in Auckland. I hope you’re enjoying great weather in your city Walnut Creek
Thanks so much for subscribing to ‘Psychotactics’
Each newsletter you receive is comprehensive (often
7-8 pages long), no-nonsense and really gets your grey cells dancing. And that’s why you get just one a month! I know you’d rather get the whole story than just half baked information.
And yes, there are hidden articles on the site.
When you stay a subscriber, you get the direct link to these articles. They are not linked from the home page, so it makes sense to make sure you get the newsletter each month.
Voila! Here’s your little bonus. This is a gem of a book. I’ve personally read it about 30 times, and it still brings new insights. And it’s over a hundred years old.
To read the latest article
Welcome again. It’s wonderful to have you on board the PsychoTactics rollercoaster
Warm Regards from Auckland,
P.S.Rob, I’m curious. Did you have a look through the site before subscribing or was it the free book that caught your attention? I’d really appreciate, if you could tell me.
P.P.S. Would you like to use any of the articles in your online/ offline newsletter or on your website or send it to your readers?
PsychoTactics will give you reprint rights provided you let me know the exact details. Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you belong to a forum or a message board, don’t forget to tell others about Psychotactics as a handy marketing resource.
What astounded me was the level of personalization I received. The truth of the matter is that there’s a 99.9% chance this is a form-email created using the data I provided. They asked what city I was in, my first and last name, etc. and then plugged them into the appropriate spots. But, unlike most form letters, this one spoke directly to me. Look at the first graf, for instance. They could have launched right into their pitch, but instead chose to do a little chatting. This is sort of like the beginning of a sales meeting when the parties involved do a little friendly ice-breaking chit chat. I’ve never seen this done in a marketing email before, and I find it extremely effective. The email also did what some of the greatest salespeople in the world excel at – it made me feel important. Just check out this sentence: “Welcome again. It’s wonderful to have you on board the PsychoTactics rollercoaster ” Hell, that’s a better welcome than I got at my last job!
The first P.S. is also effective. Had they left my name out of it, I wouldn’t think twice. But it starts, “P.S.Rob.” I’ve been trained by many company mass emails to always look for my name in the body as some vital task will more than likely be buried there. I know you’ve done it to when you’ve asked yourself why you’ve been included on some company mailing list. That’s usually what differentiates a personal email from just another company FYI or, worse, Spam. Plus, we’re self-centered by our very nature, so seeing our name always gets our attention, just like saying a dog’s name within his earshot perks him up.
Very, very impressive. I think if more marketers tried the tactics shown here, their emails would be far more effective. It’s so easy to accomplish using an existing, verified mailing list (like an opt-in newsletter list) and requires little effort to implement. But, man, what a difference it makes. Goodonya, mates!
One last thing: if you’re interested in seeing what’s on my Blog Lines radar, check out my public list, which contains every site I’m reading on a daily basis. For the most part, I just skim the headlines and only click on the news that looks interesting. Which, of course, is the whole purpose of RSS. Now if only Psychotactics had an RSS feed…