Effective Blogging and More Uses for the ‘Cloud’

On Blogging, Telemarketing and Timing of Emails

Here are three good articles I’ve come across in the last few days, as we gear up for next week’s Marketing Conference in Miami.

1. Blog Away. “[B-to-B] blogs are the closest thing to a no-brainer I can think of,” said Paul Gillin, author of Social Marketing to the Business Customer (John Wiley & Sons, January 2011) in his presentation Social Media: It’s Not Just for Consumer Marketers Anymore in Chicago on Wednesday. He added: “Blogs kill on search engines.” The talk was reported on by Sean Callahan on the website BtoB, the Magazine for Marketing Strategists.

One interesting quote complements something I wrote about yesterday, that social media and blogs are more about engagement and becoming a thought leader, not necessarily direct selling. “Gillin said blogs, when done properly, build the credibility of the marketer and provide potential customers with helpful content, which can then be shared across a variety of social media,” Callahan wrote. “‘Bottom line: If you’re not helping, they’re not listening,’ Gillin said. ‘It’s not How do I sell? It’s How do I help?’”

Gillin preached a “publish everywhere” mentality. Post company videos to YouTube, promote blogs on Twitter and upload PowerPoint presentations to SlideShare. “[SlideShare is] YouTube for us [business people],” Gillin said. “What’s the language of business professionals? It’s PowerPoint, for better or for worse.”

2. Up in the Clouds. There was a funny cartoon in The New Yorker last week of two angels in heaven staring at rows and rows of filing cabinets sitting in the clouds. One angel says to the other: “It was much nicer before people started sharing all their personal information in the cloud.” On that same topic, the New York Times ran an article in their “Bits” department headlined, “Will Cloud Computing Make Everything (and Everyone) Work Harder?” The beginning read: “What do the following have in common: Computers, limousines, empty beds and stay-at-home moms? The cloud keeps them busy. The rest of us are next.”

The short article described the idea of keeping processes and people busier a greater percentage of the time—the way virtualization of computer servers have “made it possible for a single PC that was used 20 percent of the time to be used 80% or more.” So now limousines that sit empty are finding between-jobs jobs. Spare rooms in your house are becoming cheap alternatives to hotels. And perhaps most interesting to SIPA members who would like to telemarket more, a cloud-based call center called LiveOps “farms the work out to 20,000 people who connect via the cloud from their homes. They sign on weekly for however many half-hour sessions they want, filling out what would otherwise be vacant time.”

According to the article: “‘The computers in the cloud find the right person among our agents, then routes the call to their house,’ says Marty Beard, LiveOp’s chief executive. ‘They’re mostly students, parents, veterans looking for work – people with a little extra time.’ In addition to phone calls, he is gearing the company up to respond to people’s Twitter and Facebook postings about the companies that have contracted with LiveOps.” People work 25-30 hours a week, basically filling their free hours. Could be a good way to do more telemarketing.

3. Say When. Check out a pretty neat chart from KISSmetrics, about the timing of email marketing. “Are certain times better than others for sending your email campaigns?…Data suggests that there are distinct windows in which to send emails if you want to achieve the highest open rate and maximize your readership.”

Dan Zarrella supplied the data on Hubspot. It gives a key takeaway for each chart such as bounce rates are highest in the early morning (but open rates are also highest then). It’s nothing definitive but will give you data to add to your own to make the best decisions. A SIPA member recently told me that he’s had luck with Saturday emails, so most times are probably worth a try.

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