Do Marketers Really Need RSS?

Do Marketers Really Need RSS?

by: Rok Hrastnik

The recent Forrester Research study, which claims that only 2% of online households in North America use RSS, took the internet marketing world by storm. Does this data really mean that marketers can still afford to ignore this channel?

Soon after the Forrrester study became public, I received a press enquiery asking whether marketers should be interested in RSS now that so few online adults use it.

Is this the correct question to ask? Let’s take a look at the bigger picture …

1. THE FORRESTER STUDY VALIDITY

The Forrester study is just one of those available and cannot be considered as the only relevant study, although it was conducted on a sample of 68,000 households.

Jupiter Research estimates RSS penetration at 12% of the American online population, while the latest report from PEW shows that 9% of the American online population has a good idea of what RSS is. An October 2004 PEW study actually estimated RSS penetration at 5%.

It is also important to understand that Forrester data does not include those that might not even be aware they are using RSS, especially through services such as My.Yahoo, which is actually the most popular RSS reader.

Also, at the same time, Forrester Vice President Henry Harteveldt says that »RSS is critical for any organization that wants to reach out to people under the age of 30«.

2. THE FUTURE GROWTH OF RSS

Regardless of the numbers we put our faith in, the future growth of RSS is without question. Microsoft just recently announced full RSS support in the next edition of their Internet Explorer browser and full RSS integration in the next edition of their operating system, the Windows Vista.

Once RSS becomes easily available to most internet users outofthebox and becomes as widely spread as bookmarks, its adoption will grow at an incredible rate. Microsoft has now made sure this in fact will happen.

Consequently, the time for marketers to not only become interested in RSS but also master it is now. Those that test and discover the best possible ways of using RSS for marketing will be ahead of their competition once everyone starts using RSS.

Furthermore, since RSS implementation can actually be free of any charge, there’s no reason not to start providing your content in RSS feeds now.

3. GOOGLE SHOWS THE WAY

Microsoft and Yahoo! aren’t the only big players to show support for RSS. Google recently launched RSS advertising as part of their Google AdSense program, giving publishers reason to start their own RSS feeds to generate direct revenues.

Those that depend on Google AdSense for part or all of their online revenues actually need to provide RSS feeds, or stand to lose some of those revenues due to their visitors switching to sites and feeds from their competitors.

Face it, today many users are already starting to request publishers provide them with RSS to subscribe to their content. This trend will only continue, with many users selecting RSS as their primary channel of receiving and reading online content.

4. THE QUESTIONABLE RELIABILITY OF EMAIL

All marketers today are experiencing email delivery problems, constantly wondering whether their messages are getting through or not. Simply put, email can no longer be relied on.

For one, offering your content via RSS as a supplement to email will help you make certain that at least a portion of your visitors, those that decide for the RSS option, will be receiving all of your content without any doubt.

Lockergnome.com decided to start pushing RSS instead of email some time ago, and as a result saw that their RSS feeds are outperforming email when it comes to clickthrough rates for about 500%. Also an interesting fact, they today have 5 times more RSS subscribers than email subscribers.

And two, for your most important content updates, RSS really is becoming a must, especially if you need to be in contact with your existing customers, partners and other key audiences. If you want to be 100% certain that your messages reach your audience, RSS is the way to go.

5. OTHER BENEFITS OF RSS

But all of the above don’t even touch all the reasons why marketers should start using RSS today …

a) RSS will help you generate additional traffic and reach new audiences. Considering the low cost of RSS implementation, this is reason enough to get started with RSS today.

b) RSS helps you to easily get your content published on other sites, thus generating you more credibility and visitors.

c) As a publisher you can use RSS to display content from other sources, thus making your site more relevant and interesting to your existing visitors.

And the list goes on and on.

RSS may not be mainstream yet, but it provides enough advantages even today to make it a mustchoice for marketers.

Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik

About The Author

Rok Hrastnik

Find out immediately how you can power your online business with RSS and integrate it in all of your marketing. Request the free 28page Business Case for RSS report, with easytofollow instructions, examples and advice on how to get the most out of RSS in the shortest possible time. Get the free download here: http://rssdiary.marketingstudies.net/case/index.html?src=sa15

This article was posted on August 09

by Rok Hrastnik

The Working Case Study

The Working Case Study

by: Christine Taylor

Next to white papers, case studies are the most popular tool in the technical marketerกs toolkit
The ubiquitous case study can range from a 3 paragraph online snippet to a fullblown magazine article. The most popular case study in the marketing/PR arsenal is the 500700 word success story. They’re not as challenging to write as white papers, but you should structure them for maximum impact.
Different companies use different structures for their case studies, but all should follow the same general pattern: 1. Company overview and challenge 2. Project details 3. Positive results (of course)
Customer Overview and Challenge
Start with a 23 paragraph overview of the customerกs company. This should be very positive since you’re going to detail a problem the customer was having, the last thing you want to do is make them sound like jerks. So compliment them. Feel free to adapt the overview from their own Website text, where they’re already placing themselves in the best possible light.
Then move on to the business challenge. Don’t make the customer sound stupid or incompetent. The challenge should always be centered on something good that is happening to them fast growth, industry prominence, strategic IT changes whatever. Their challenge should be applicable to your readersก own business issues.
Project Details
No project goes perfectly, but save the debriefing for the longerform trade journal article. These short case studies should report on the successful project by briefly discussing specific products and benefits.
Don’t go all over the map. If the project is fairly narrow or specific, you won’t have any trouble sticking with the main point. In the case of large and complex installations, concentrate on the main point. For example, Microsoft Great Plains has more modules than you can shake a stick at. Concentrate on the ones that had the most positive impact on your customer.
Business Benefits
Always quantify improvement when you can. Numbers can be dollar savings, percentages, or other measures of saved staff time, more efficient workflows, better customer service, etc. Be sure that the benefits you list are the benefits the customer perceives hard costs are most easily quantified, but soft costs may have the higher perceived benefit to a customer. Ideally you will list both.
When NOT to Write a Case Study
What are the most common blocks to partnering with a customer for a case study?
1. Your customer is really unhappy. Theyกd do a case study all right, but you wouldn’t want them to. If you’re the hapless individual setting up the initial interview, be sure that the customer really is happy and is open to talking to you. Otherwise theyกll just give you an earful. Fix: promise the customer that youกll pass on all of his comments to the technical support team, or whoever you think will best handle it. Then do it, and forget about it.
2. Customers who fear their market will punish them. Prime example: legal firms with security issues. Sure you helped them through a security project and now they’re Fort Knox, but they don’t want their clients to dream that a problem ever existed in the first place. Fix: Forget it. Theyกll never give you permission to produce the study. Besides, they’re probably right.
3. Your customer is an exacting IT type who is suspicious of the success story format. This customer considers the project a success too, but they dislike purely positive spins and no project is perfect. Fix: If they are happy for the most part, get a buyin that the project really was successful. Don’t put him off about the negatives, capture those comments too and promise to pass them on. (Then do it.) This is usually enough to secure the interview.
4. Your customer is scared to be interviewed. This is usually the IT guy who did all the footwork, and prefers to stay behind the scenes. He (or she) will either be too nervous to talk, or will despise you because he doesn’t think youกve got the technical chops. Usually both. Fix: Understand the technology you’re interviewing about. You don’t have to be an engineer, but you should understand IT pressures and issues. Ask leading questions, but if they clam up and won’t talk, thank them and hang up. Tell your customer contact that you’re so happy you got to talk to the technician, and now could you talk to a project manager too?

About The Author

Christine Taylor is an expert copywriter for the technology industry. Call her today for help with your white paper, trade journal article, case study, positioning document, or any other B2B marketing piece. Call 7602496071 or email her at chris@keywordcopy.com, and start that white paper selling!

This article was posted on July 07, 2004

by Christine Taylor

Software Piracy Global Increase

Software Piracy Global Increase

by: Robert Palmer

Pirated software is on the increase and now accounts for over one third of the software installed on the worldกs computers and itกs cost the software industry a staggering, $28bn (£12bn) last year in lost revenues. Thatกs the startling claim of the UK based, Business Software Alliance. Their annual survey of global software piracy shows that some 36% of software applications were illegally installed and being used during 2003.
The study, conducted for the first time on behalf of the BSA by global technology research firm, International Data Corporation, incorporated major software market segments, including operating systems and consumer software and local market software. They discovered that while software costing $81bn (£38bn) was installed onto computers around the world, only $51bn (£23bn) was actually purchased and installed legally.
The USA and Canada who collectively are the most honest when it comes to purchasing software show a software piracy rate of 23% whilst the worst offenders are within the Eastern European countries, where piracy levels are an incredible 71%. Itกs difficult to draw any comparisons from previous years data as this is the first year the study has been outsourced to an independent company and takes in a wider spectrum of software than the previous studies conducted inhouse by the BSA. As well as counting the number of illegally produced software programs installed on systems, the study also includes software for where an insufficient number of site licenses have been purchased.
ขSoftware piracy continues to be a major challenge for economies worldwide,ข said Robert Holleyman, president and CEO of BSA. ขFrom Algeria to New Zealand, Canada to China, piracy deprives local governments of tax revenue, costs jobs throughout the technology supply chain and cripples the local, incountry software industry.ข
Mr Holleyman went on to say, that the IDC study reflects a logical evolution in BSA’s decadelong effort to measure piracy in the global economy. Its scope was expanded to account more accurately for trends such as the growth of local software markets worldwide and the acceleration of Internet piracy.
For its analysis, IDC drew upon its worldwide data for software and hardware shipments, conducted more than 5,600 interviews in 15 countries, and used its incountry analysts around the globe to evaluate local market conditions. IDC identified the piracy rate and dollar losses by utilizing proprietary IDC models for PC, software and license shipments by all industry vendors in 86 countries.
The study found that the size of a regional software market is the critical link between piracy rates and actual dollars lost. For instance, 91 percent of software installed in the Ukraine in 2003 was pirated, as compared to 30 percent in the U.K. But dollar losses in the U.K. ($1.6 bn) were about 17 times higher than those in the Ukraine ($92.1m). This difference is attributed to a much larger total PC software market in the U.K. than in the Ukraine.
ขA number of factors contribute to the regional differences in piracy, including localmarket size, the availability of pirated software, the strength of copyright laws, and cultural differences regarding intellectual property rights,ข said John Gantz, Chief Research Officer at IDC. ขUnfortunately, we found that high market growth regions also tend to be high piracy regions, such as China, India and Russia. If the piracy rate in emerging markets – where people are rapidly integrating computers into their lives and businesses – does not drop, the worldwide piracy rate will continue to increase.ข
ขThe fight for strong intellectual property protection and respect for copyrighted works spans the globe, and there is much work to be done,ข Mr Holleyman said. ขBSA will continue to work with governments to enact policies to protect software intellectual property as well as implement programs to raise business and consumer awareness about the importance of copyright protection for creative works. Lowering the piracy rate will stimulate local economic activity, generate government revenue, create job growth and cultivate future innovation.ข
Countries with Highest Piracy Rate:

Vietnam 92%
China 92%
Ukraine 91%
Indonesia 88%
Zimbabwe 87%
Russia 87%
Algeria 84%
Nigeria 84%
Pakistan 83%
Paraguay 83%

Countries with Lowest Piracy Rate

United States 22%
New Zealand 23%
Denmark 26%
Sweden 27%
Austria 27%
United Kingdom 29%
Japan 29%
Belgium 29%
Germany 30%
Switzerland 31%

Related links:
http://www.bsa.org/
http://www.idc.com/

About The Author

Robert Palmer is CEO of deskNET Communications (http://www.desknet.co.uk) providing webmasters and ecommerce with a more successful alternative to optin email marketing and email newsletters.

bob@desknet.co.uk

This article was posted on July 10, 2004

by Robert Palmer

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The Beginners Guide

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? The Beginners Guide To Online Selling

by: Joel Dreher

As a 40 year old high school teacher, I make an adequate salary and of course have my summers off! However, I continually watch every dollar I spend and worry about my retirement years.
Like most others, I have always dreamed of being wealthy and on my last birthday decided to finally take action. I would become an internet marketer!
Needless to say, starting a home business on the web was more difficult than I imagined. A few of the myths that I had to overcome:
It’s free to do business online!
While it is much cheaper than a brick and mortar business, there are still expenses such as web sites, hosting, advertising, and continuing education costs.
Internet marketing is easy!
After working in a tire factory for two weeks, I can attest that every other job I have done IS easy. However, I quickly discovered that although not manual labor, many bleary eyed hours were spent in front of my computer screen.It takes TIME and EFFORT.
You can get rich quick on the net.
There are literally millions of scams floating around that haul in big bucksfor the SCAMMER. The truth is: there are no get rich quick answers to your problems unless you want to rob a bank.
So how did I build my fledgling business? Here are a few of my strategies.
First, be honest. Don’t sell products that you have not tried yourself. When someone asks a question, don’t tell them what they want to hear—tell them the TRUTH.
Second, only pick products to sell that interest you. The sad truth is most people don’t like their job. Why then, would you start an internet business with a product you don’t like or care about? You must have a passion for what you are doing or you will never be successful.
Third, don’t quit! I can’t tell you how many times quitting crossed my mind when I was struggling in the beginning. Perseverance ALWAYS pays off. Stick with it when your business is struggling, good times are ahead. Remember, knowledge is power. Study, study, and study some more until you are an expert in your field.

About The Author

Joel Dreher is an affiliate marketer with several of the top companies on the web today. He is the publisher of the NO Hype Home Business Newsletter, a guide to starting and building your home business. To subscribe, visit http://www.profitinbusiness.com.

This article was posted on June 13, 2004

by Joel Dreher

Who Is Your Market and Where Are They?

Who Is Your Market and Where Are They?

by: Sonia Colon

An important part of planning your business is to know who will use your products/services.
The vast majority of small businesses will rely on their communities for sales. It is in your best interests to get to know everything you can about your community, or the people who will use yor business.
Please don’t spend advertising dollars on people who don’t want or need your products/services. First, find out who are your potential consumers. Find out by answering the following questions:

Are most of them female?
Are most of them male?
Are they an even mix of male & female?
What is their average income bracket?
Where would these consumers generally congregate?
What are their interests?
What is the average size?
What is their average age?
What type of work do they do?
Do they live in apartments, houses or rural areas?
What is the average family size?
Which radio stations would they most likely listen to?

Answering the above questions will enable you to define the physical limitations of your business and build a profile of your average consumer. Some of the most successful businesses know exactly who they are catering to. With the answers to these questions, you can formulate marketing strategies aimed specifically at those consumers.
Break it down into the types of people who live there, you will be able to make informed marketing decisions. Finding out the income levels of your average consumer is vital. Don’t waste your time trying to sell expensive items to lowincome consumers. Study, study, study your consumers habits. Once you have a better idea of who you are targetting, you can then research the best way to advertise and promote your business.

About The Author

Sonia Colon owns and operates Jimson Products. She is also a writer & publisher of กMy Jimson Products Ezineก. Subscribe by visiting her site at http://www.jimsonproducts.com. Sonia Colon is also a Senior Independent Candle Consultant, Visit: http://www.shopaffordableluxuries.us/scolon to join her team and be part of a generous financial rewards program!

This article was posted on June 27, 2004

by Sonia Colon

Successful Internet Marketing StrategiesA Better

Successful Internet Marketing StrategiesA Better Approach To Save You Time And Money While Generating Huge Profits

by: Eric J. Borden

Thinking of starting an Internet business? Maybe you have one and are looking for additional products to sell? Choosing the right business and products are crucial to achieving online success. This is the question facing every Internet entrepreneur. However, you should not be asking yourself what products do I need to sell to achieve this online success. Indeed, the better questions would be: กWhat market niche(Specific group of potential customers) should I target and what are their current problems and needs? What goods/service could I offer to fill those needs and is my market willing to pay for them? What is the current competition and how can I be unique in the marketplace?ก Few marketers actually do the research to answer these questions properly, therefore, never obtaining the profits they so desire.

Common Mistakes of an Internet Marketer:

They sell products in which they have no interest or desire. You must have a passion for what you are selling. If not, your customers will perceive this and not buy from you.

No defined marketing strategy: They don’t know to whom they are selling, what their needs are and how to reach them.

The online marketerกs strategy consists of selling to everyone. They have no clear definition of กwho their target market is.ก Does this sound familiar? Many internet entrepreneurs have made this unfortunate mistake, including myself. They find a product to sell, put together a website, submit it to the search engines, and wait for the orders to come rolling in. However, in reality how often is this successful? Practically never!

They spend countless hours and thousands of dollars on a product and website without answering the questions that were posed in the opening paragraph.

Solutions to the Internet Marketerกs Mistakes:

Find an easytotarget niche market, one that is easy identifiable. Also, it must be an industry that generates interest, desire and passion for you. Because this is going to be your business, a part of your life. You will need to spend a great deal of time researching and developing it. Being associated with something of interest will greatly increase your odds of success. If you have a passion about a certain subject, customers will sense it and be more motivated to buy from you.

The easiest method of determining a new business idea is to brainstorm. By asking yourself the following questions will elicit a series of hot and profitable business ventures.

What do you enjoy doing?

What is your current occupation?

Did you acquire specialized skills, knowledge and talents from your job?

Hobbies you enjoy?

How do you spend your free time?

What did you enjoy doing as a child?

What were your favorite subjects in school?

What materials do you read on a regular basis?

If you had a choice of a career, what would it be?

If you are still drawing a blank after reviewing these questions, don’t worry. My Marketing Research Report: Internet Money Making Ideas Explored tests a variety of potential markets to determine those that have the most potential to succeed. This report can be found at http://www.ideasexplored.com (You are free to use any of the business subjects I mention.) The next step would be to test the ideas from your list. Apply the methods I describe in my Research Ezine that can be found in the section Preparing a Product Market Study: It will take you through the process stepbystep to help determine if your proposed business venture would be profitable.

If you are currently selling on the Internet and are looking for additional products to offer, try the following:

Send a questionnaire to your current customer list. Ask what products and services they would like to see on your website. You could provide a free gift or discount for their response.

Look for products that complement your current inventory. Try to produce as many addon sales as possible. These added sales can generate huge profits for an Internet business. For example, if you are selling fitness equipment, merchandise such as nutritional supplements and exercise courses would be excellent addon choices. You could sell it as a package and promote it as ‘the Complete System to Health and Fitnessก.

Identify your nichemarket: Know who they are, their buying habits and what products most appeal to them. Do not try to reach everyone, select a specific group of people that are ready, willing and able buyers for your product and or service.

The best way to approach this is by studying newsgroups and message boards. By reading the posted messages, these forums can provide a wealth of information. This is also described in my Preparing a Product Market Study. The steps mentioned in the Study can help you solve a number of the biggest mysteries regarding your nichemarket. From this Study, you will learn some valuable information. Such as the needs, wants and problems of your market. What product or service to offer and how it would benefit the customer. Finally, it shows what sales strategies are the most effective.

The easiest method to organize this information and create a winning strategy is to setup a Problem, Feature, Benefit and Solution Worksheet. Also know as the PFBS equation, this statement can be your most valuable tool in identifying the needs and wants of your target market. It will show what products to market and how to sell them.

HOW A PFBS EQUATION WORKS.

Take a sheet of paper and write across the top: Problem, Feature, Benefit and Solution. Then make a list for each topic:

Problem: Make notes of the current problems or needs your target market faces. Later, you will provide solutions to these problems with your product.

Feature: List the various selling points of your product and what features set it apart from the competition. This is where you want to stress your competitive advantages.

Benefit: Now describe what benefit or reward each one of these features offer.

Solution: Finally you want to illustrate that purchasing your product will solve their problems, needs and wants.

Note: Answers to this equation will show you what products to offer and how to develop copy that will effectively sell these products to your target market.

The following is an example of a PFBS equation:

I will use my ebook Internet Marketing on a Shoestring Budget as the topic of study. This book contains various low cost marketing strategies that can be applied to an Internet business. A copy can be found at http://www.ideasexplored.com

After determining the nichemarket, my book targets a Problem, Feature Benefit and Solution statement can help determine needs and wants.

Problem

Spending too much money on advertising technique.

Feature

Low cost marketing.

Benefit

Save money

Solution

Cutting ad budget while increasing profit

Another example:

Problem:

Ineffective Ads.

Feature:

Productive ad strategies.

Benefit:

Generate Profit.

Solution:

Better R.O.I.

Note: Conducting a proper Market Research study is crucial in determining the problems facing the customers you are trying to reach. If you need assistance with your study: See Marketing Research and Analysis that can be found in the book Internet Marketing on a Shoestring Budget. A Bonus Product that can be found at: www.ideasexplored.com. The sections about studying Messages boards and Newsgroups provide useful information about needs and wants.

The answers to the PFBS questions will show what products to offer how to effectively sell them.

Finding the right products to sell are crucial to your online success. Therefore, a study of the market we want to target is essential before a marketing campaign can begin. Some ways to gather this information is by studying message boards, newsgroups and sending questionnaires to your current customer base. What you learn from these methods can be applied to a PFBS equation or a Problem, Feature, Benefit and Solution Worksheet. The conclusions you draw from this table can guide you in starting or developing an Internet business.

What You Learn From A PFBS equation:

Hot products to sell

How to create a winning website

Killer Sales Copy

Successful Marketing Strategies

Go to: www.ideasexplored.com. You will find info products on each of these steps and how they can be applied to craft an online venture. These lessons will not only teach you how to generate huge profit, but also the secrets behind successful web automation.

About The Author

Eric Borden is the Publisher of Internet Marketing Ideas Explored. www.ideasexplored.com. This ezine explores hot products and hidden markets for online selling.

You have permission to publish this article electronically, in print, in your ebook or on your website, free of charge, as long as the authorกs bylines are included.

© Internet MoneyMaking Ideas Explored. All Rights Reserved

ejborden@ideasexplored.com

This article was posted on August 20, 2004

by Eric J. Borden