How to Get People to Read Your Email: The Australia Email Trick

Email used to be an extremely valuable tool for communicating crucial information but has dramatically lost value over the past decade. In a time-poor society with shrinking attention spans, emails have been devalued and are quickly becoming everyday annoyances that are largely ignored.

Sales and marketing professionals are all too aware of this issue, and it serves to make their jobs more difficult with each passing day. This is an issue that affects everyone, as I am sure everyone has experienced the lack of professionalism when they don’t receive a response to an email they have sent. Today I share with you a trick: The Australia Email.

My job as Marketing Manager (it’s a misnomer, I wear many hats) requires me to interact with particularly time-poor individuals — usually business owners and controllers — to discuss the prospect of implementing ERP Software. In almost all cases they have reached out to me, so I am not cold calling, and yet I see a serious lack of professionalism on a daily basis: they just won’t return my emails.

Typically, I will leave a voicemail and send an email, leave a number of days in-between and then repeat the process once or twice. After that point the opportunity is pretty much dead in the water, however, before moving on I always send out my “Australia email”.

It goes something like this:

Subject: Impromptu Trip to Australia?

Hi Steve,

I haven’t heard from you in several weeks.

Are you busy exploring another continent?

Amazingly, the vast majority of the time I have sent this email I have suddenly received a response. The obvious lesson here is that you need to find a way to cut through the noise. The more subtle lesson: find an interesting way to call people out on their lack of professionalism.

Rant: When will the television thievery end? Enter: OpenMedia.ca

Most people don’t speak kindly of telecoms and few people are more angry than Canadians. Our telecom oligopoly has created few options and left our wallets lighter for the privilege. Unlike years past, however, Canadians now have a place for their collective outcry.

The internet is the primary game changer — simultaneously offering additional media avenues while allowing Canadians to come together to voice their concerns with an industry that has been broken for far too long. OpenMedia.ca, an organization that leverages the internet and social media to rally Canadians, is a key component in the new movement against unfairness in the Canadian communications market.

OpenMedia “operates as a network of organizations and people who have come together to advance fundamental democratic principles that we feel should guide media, telecommunications, and cultural policy-making in Canada”. OpenMedia has successfully brought Canadians together across the country to fight for our rights and together we are winning.

Open Media - TV thievery
Soon this will be the only place you will find traditional television.

As a consumer of a wide variety of content (magazines, blogs, streamed content, traditional TV) I have long been displeased with the lack of adaptation and competitiveness of traditional TV services. My story goes likes this:

My apartment recently went under construction for a balcony upgrade. As a result, I was forced to cancel my satellite service or pay for something I could not use (all dishes had to be removed off the balconies). At first I went through a bit of TV withdrawal but adjusted surprisingly quickly. I went without satellite for nearly 6 months and  found myself getting by just fine with online services like Netflix and online streams.

There was one thing that I did not have easy access to: high-quality live sporting events. So I said to myself: “okay, I’ll get satellite again so I can watch my sports” (thinking it is that simple is such a cute thought in hindsight). The technician came by to set up my service and I soon found myself flipping through channels happily like I had almost half a year prior. However, I quickly realized/remembered something that will very well be a deal-breaker for me: you can’t watch some of the most important sports games unless you pay for the most expensive package as well as specialty offerings.

So here I am shelling out almost $70 a month for something that I have been able to do without for the last 6 months and I am not even getting the sole piece of value that I still exists with TV. Despite paying for a mid-tier package that comes with a variety of sports channels, many local games such as Leaf’s and Senator’s games are blacked out. The situation is laughable because TV is already largely replaceable so you would think they would make their one key offering more accessible to avoid an outflux of subscribers. Not so.

This is of course just one of many issues with TV as it is today but is enough of a reason to force me to abandon satellite once again.

It will only be a matter of time before the industry is shaken up enough to force serious changes to their model and I am hoping each of you can work with me to support OpenMedia.ca to help expedite these changes (along with the MANY other changes desperately needed in the telecom space).

Needless to say, I will be cancelling my service.

 

Update: there are solutions to getting NHL and MLB without cable.

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Extreme Entrepreneur: Elon Musk

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos are not extreme entrepreneurs. At least, not compared to Elon Musk.

Elon Musk has long been on my personal list of “notable entrepreneurs”, but it wasn’t until Wired published “Elon Musk’s Mission to Mars” that I realized just how much of an extreme entrepreneur he is. The article is well worth the read but I will summarize Elon’s extensive resume:

  • At 12 years old, he created a videogame that he sold to a computer magazine for $500 — essentially a million dollars when you are 12.
  • In 1995 he drops out of university to start an online publishing platform called Zip2
  • 4 years later, Musk sells Zip2 for over $300 million.
  • A year later, he founds PayPal
  • In 2001, he establishes the Musk Foundation for renewable energy, space and medical research as well as for science education
  • PayPal goes public and is then sold to eBay for$1.5 billion — at the same time, Musk founds SpaceX
  • Invests in Tesla Motors — building high-end electric cars
  • Can you believe this list still goes on???
  • Becomes involved in renewable energy by helping to create Solar City, which provides solar power systems for buildings
  • Rounds out his resume through his involvement with SpaceX

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and the others mentioned at the beginning of this article have completely dominated their industries while dabbling in other sectors, yet none have a resume as diverse as Elon Musk’s. Richard Branson is the only close comparison; his launch of Virgin Galactic puts his ambitions on a similar scale. However, Musk has one major advantage: Branson is focused on getting people to orbit the earth —

Musk aims to put people on Mars.

Coming from an engineering background, gives Elon the ability to dominate a variety of industries from a technical standpoint. For example, since founding SpaceX, Musk has been able to reduce the cost of building rockets by 10-fold. Such a cost reduction could save an organization like NASA billions of dollars. The initiative to aim to put people on Mars was spurred from his distaste with NASA’s current timeline to put people on Mars.

As it turned out, given current costs of rockets, it looked like NASA would never have the funding to actually get people to Mars. Musk set out to change that and reducing the cost of rockets was the first step. The crazy part is that the SpaceX team has already succee

ded in dramatically reducing the cost of rockets. Not only that, but SpaceX is also the first company to launch a shuttle that successfully connected with the International Space Station.

Elon Musk - SpaceX, Tesla, PayPal

The team is now focused on building cheap rockets that are able to land casually on the martian surface.

How many entrepreneurs can say they are working on a project of that magnitude? It is for this reason, as well as his overall experience across diverse industries (tech, energy, space exploration) that I consider Elon Musk to be an extreme entrepreneur.

Can you think of any other extreme entrepreneurs? Leave a comment down below with anyone you think fits the bill.

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Best New Google Analytics Features

For the unititated, Google Analytics contains a series of the most powerful web analytics tools on the market – and the best part is: it’s free! Whether you are tracking website traffic, conversions, site speed, or audience demographics; Google Analytics is for you.

As a content and website manager myself, I can say that I use Google Analytics frequently. Combined with marketing software like Hubspot, there is very little you cannot find out about your online audience. I could go on forever about its usefulness but for the purpose of this post I will be focusing on the best new Google Analytics features.

In-page Analytics (Content > In-Page Analytics)

Google Analytics - In-page Analytics

In-Page Analytics allows you to see which elements of your website are most appealling to users and generate the most clicks – essentially a heat map for click activity. Above you can see the screenshot of the website I manage (exciting stuff, Inventory and Accounting Software). The tool isn’t perfect – many of the results do not match the colour properly or reference the correct element, perhaps because of positioning issues, but hovering over each section will reveal the data for the correct element. Colours range from blue (low click rate) to red (high click rate).

With In-Page Analytics, you can navigate from page to page and determine which elements are most interesting to your audience and which are not so that you can make changes accordingly. Like the rest of the Google Analytics interface, you can change the time frame to see click data for different periods.

Included with In-Page Analytics is the ability to “see what your audience can see”. This feature is simply labelled “browser size” and allows you to determine how much of your page is visible to the average user of your website. This is particularly important as Google leans more and more towards content located above-the-fold. The tool is also useful for designing mobile sites and ensuring content is visible as well.

Motion Chart (Available Throughout Interface)

Motion Chart - Google Analytics

The next best Google Analytics feature is the Motion Chart. Found throughout the system, Motion Charts allow you to visualize data over time. You can enable Motion Chart by clicking on the icon indicated on the screenshot above. Not every screen has the option for motion charts but many do. This feature can make presentations on data over time a breeze. You can choose 2 criteria to evaluate, one for each axis, and then scroll through time to see how the data has changed for each element selected. The flexibility and power of this tool was surprising.

Visitors Flow (Audience > Visitors Flow)

Visitors Flow - Best Google Analytics Features

The last Google Analytics feature I want to talk about is Visitors Flow. Visitors Flow visiualizes, well, the flow of visitors throughout your site. You can quickly pin-point the most popular pages and the pages that have the most significant drop-off or bounce rates. You can also highlight “traffic routes” to see how which pages users are most likely to visit based on a given entrance page, for example. This can be powerful insight and allow you to make decisions to improve a visitors pathway to maximize conversions.

I feel bad for any company trying to sell website analytics – Google offers a ton of functionality for free. All marketers and webmasters, should become very familiar with Google Analytics.

Is Social Media Viable for Niche B2B Companies?

Many companies have found great success via social media such as the Old Spice campaign “The man your man could smell like”. There is no question that big brands can benefit from social media – it has given them the most direct channel to speak with individual consumers ever. But the question remains: does social media pan-out for B2B businesses?

I invite responses down below because, well, I do not know the answer! Working in the B2B space I have realized that there is substantial opportunity for success in social media. HubSpot, for example, does a great job leveraging their content through social media. However, HubSpot does not serve a niche marketing; their software could be beneficial to just about any marketer out there (despite perhaps being out of their price range). How does a niche B2B company go about utilizing social media?

Let us explore a number of options:

  1. Use social media to keep in touch with customers – this is effective so long as the customers in your vertical use social media (which isn’t often the case).
  2. Use social media to network – this is perhaps the most effective use of social media for niche B2B businesses. You can find all sorts of potential business partners, trade associations and business services via social media.
  3. Use social media to acquire leads – this one can be tough. Marketers, please do your thing and share your insight below.

Consider B2B inventory and accounting software available exclusively for small wholesalers and distributors. How do you target the owners of such businesses, that are not tech-savvy and do not use social media? Is this a dead-end, or is there something I am missing? Industry forums are a good option but what about Twitter and Facebook? How do you avoid posting updates in a vacuum?

Please share your experience in the comments down below.

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Social Media = Social Justice

Social media easily one of the biggest technological advancements to-date, especially (and obviously) in regards to socializing.

What is so great about it? Plenty:Twitter Social Media Justice

  • It allows you to keep easily message and keep up with hundreds of friends (even if we actually only keep in touch with a subset)
  • You can connect with people you would otherwise not be able to connect with (e.g. celebrities on Twitter or people around the world)
  • It enables business to connect with new customers
  • It is a great way of interacting with others (starting conversations around a status)
  • It enables true global social justice

Each aspect combines to make social media a far reaching technological advancement with tremendous implications for everyone. Perhaps my favourite aspect of social media is the fact that everyone is held accountable.

Social media holds everyone accountable.

Social media gives everyone a voice – true universal justice. No matter how “small” you are, if you have been truly wronged, you can find justice via social media. This social justice is usually most effective when leveraged against businesses, organizations and government, however it can also be used to directly help the individuals that have been wronged.

Social media makes everyone accountable for their actions. Take, for example, a rude Twitter user behind the Kansas City Chiefs. The story in short: an angry fan tweeted about a poor management decision and was shot back at rudely by the person in charge of the NFL team’s Twitter account. The story gets tossed around via social media soon the story goes viral – a ton of bad press for the Chiefs.

Perhaps the biggest story to emerge recently was the pizza shop owner bear hugging Obama. As a result of giving a spontaneous bear hug to the President, Scott Van Duzer found his pizza shop receiving a lot of attention. At first, the attention was extremely negative with right win nuts pouring in leaving horrible reviews on Yelp, trying to ruin his business. The good news is, however, that eventually other people caught on and came in to save the day. His shop then began to receive thousands of positive reviews, more than counteracting the negative reviews.

Over the last several years, I can think of several instances where someone was left victimized and social media allowed people to give donations and help them in their time of need. The ability to tap into  the hearts of millions of strangers is truly an incredible phenomenon.

Whether it is people correcting for wrong doing caused by others or simply holding the jerks of the world accountable, social media allows for the first ever form of global social justice for the individual.

Multi-Page Articles: Hurting the User Experience (UX)

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Do multiple-page articles annoy you as much as they annoy me? It can be extremely frustrating clicking from page to page when all you normally have to do is scroll for more content. Of course, being a marketer and getting the inside scoop, I know exactly why they do it. They do it to inflate their page views to sell more advertising or make themselves seem more popular than they are. Each time you click to the next page, it counts as another page view. Whereas a normal website would only get one page view for a single article, these sites can collect several.

The problem with this is that multipage articles hamper the user experience (or UX, in silicon valley terms). Is hurting the user experience really worth artificially inflated page views? I hope they are laughing all the way to the bank.

The only other reason that has been brought up is making the site load faster on mobile devices. This is ridiculous, of course. First, most devices are now fast enough to download an article in no time – afterall, most articles are are quite small with few images and are primarily just plain text. Secondly, having to load another page actually takes longer than simply having to load more of a single page. Sure, it may reduce the initial load time but there are loading tricks to help reduce that time and it is certainly not worth it load a bunch of pages instead of one.

What is particularly frustrating is that these sites implement multi page articles for their non-mobile site as well. Surely they cannot think that their articles are big enough to slow down the average PC browser . . .

I have gone so far as to boycott these sites. If it has multiple pages, I leave. The only middle-ground I have found are the sites that have a “view as single page” option. Not an optimal solution because it is an unnecessary page load but better than nothing.

Join me in my boycotting and leave a comment below with your take on these sites.
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