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Your Marketing is About Standing Out, Not Following the Pack

It’s easier than ever to know what works when it comes to marketing online. What you should be doing. What the research shows.

What day of the week should I send blast emails?

How should I write headlines that get people to read more?

What social media best practices for businesses should I be implementing?

It’s easy to be a follower. Sometimes it makes sense to follow what the research shows and what industry leaders are doing when it comes to your marketing.

Sometimes, if you’re just finding out what works — you’re already too late.

It’s clear that we as Web users constantly change our habits.

  • When people get email overload, they unsubscribe from their newsletters and they stop opening blast emails.
  • When people get Twitter overload, they stop going on Twitter.
  • When people see too many link bait articles like “10 Reasons Why…” or “33 Cat Photos That …”, they stop reading them.

Internet marketing is a copycat business. You read some post on Copyblogger that guest posting is the way to score links and exposure … and then everyone does it. You hear that getting your Google+ picture next to your search results increases click throughs … and then everyone does it.

If you’re not in on the ground-floor or leading the way when it comes to unique marketing approaches, you’re not standing out. You’re following the pack, and your marketing becomes just like everyone else’s.

Here’s a great example from John Tabita over at Sitepoint:

When everyone was jumping on email marketing, I wanted to stand out amongst the clutter. So I mailed a full-color, single-sided newsletter, printed off my inkjet. It landed me more than one client.

In today’s SMS and email-filled culture, it’s never been more important to write and physically send thank you notes.

We started doing this a few weeks ago; we spent good money designing thank you cards and having them printed out on high-quality paper to send when we finalize a project with a client. It’s a differentiator. And even if they look at it for 30 seconds before they toss it out, it’s still made an impact.

Be different.

Don’t worry that you’re not sending your promotional emails on Tuesdays, when they have the highest open rate. We send ours on Thursdays – and it helps us stand out from all the folks who do what they’re told and send on Tuesdays. Don’t worry if you aren’t using one of the 101 headline formulas that “work.” Write a unique headline that makes people’s head tilt.

Your online marketing is about standing out – not following the pack.

Don’t always do what you’re told works. Be different. Stand out.

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If You Ran Your Business Like Your Website, This Would Happen

Here’s a great example why you wouldn’t ever consider running your business like you run your website.

Stop talking in terms that your customers don’t understand.

Think like your users: what do they want to do and how can they do it?

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What’s the Best Day for Email Marketing?

For as long as I’ve been involved in sending out marketing emails (whether it’s content-driven newsletters or straight promotional messages), I’ve always worked off of a couple of assumptions:

  • Sending emails on Monday is a bad idea; people are just getting into the office from the weekend and are too busy getting settled for the work week to read whatever you’re sending them
  • At the end of the week, people are getting ready for the weekend and are more likely to be open to interacting with “non-work” items
  • Do things like Apple does.

That third bullet needs a bit of explanation. Apple, the company that dominates tech news and currently has the largest market cap, almost always holds its events and releases new products on Tuesdays.

Yes, that’s actually true.

A story from 2008 says that Apple goes with Tuesdays because they take the day before to make final decisions, but clearly for their bigger events and announcements, everything is set well in advance. Tuesdays are also when music albums are released, and when new movies and video games are most often released.

So is it a surprise that Tuesday is also the day when email marketing is most effective?

Tuesday Open Rates: 19.9%

New research by GetResponse and shared by eMarketer shows that, worldwide, email open rates peak at 19.9% on Tuesdays. Mondays are the worst weekdays, with an 18.2% open rate; Fridays are second-best, with a 19.6% open rate.

Email Marketing Rates

What’s the psychology here? In simple terms, by Tuesday, most people have settled into the week and are back to their routine. They’re out of weekend-mode and back to work. But they’re ready to be distracted, if you will, by regular advertising messages (your email marketing) they’re used to getting.

On Mondays, people are working to get back into their routine; by Tuesday, they’re there but ready to engage with advertising as it fits into their schedule.

Friday Click Rates: 4.9%

The more interesting results from this study, I think, are that click-through rates are the highest on Fridays.

Again, it’s mostly common sense when you consider the ebb and flow of most people’s work weeks; by Friday, they’re slowly getting back into weekend-mode and more likely to engage with non-work related items. They’re opening emails almost as often as they are on Tuesdays, but this time, they’re actually taking the call to action and actively engaging with the outreach.

It’s funny; back in the day when I worked for the digital side of a magazine, we sent our newsletters out on Tuesdays (adding Fridays when it became clear the demand was there).

The Bottom Line: Think Like Your Users

It all comes back to the mantra that everyone engaged in digital media should repeat over and over again: You are not your users.

If you want to have the most impact on their lives and encourage them to engage with you, think like them. Figure out who they are and when they are most likely able to respond to and interact with your outreach.

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FDR Memorial

Nothing to See Here … Please Move Along

Warning: what follows is most likely going to be very rambling. So it’s probably not going to be very coherent, or make much sense, or be of any interest to you.

It’s probably not even going to be of interest to me, but I’m still writing it. Mostly because I feel like I’m missing out on a good opportunity to update the blog and love the idea (but not always that actual act) of writing on a regular basis.

It’s not like a lot hasn’t happened over the past two years (where I’ve written a total of two posts, this one included). Plenty has happened.

In 2011, we had our second kid. His name is Asher, and he’s the little guy photobombing the picture on the left-hand side of this site. He’s 2 1/2 now. Here’s a blog post I wrote the day before he was born (which doesn’t have anything to do with him).

In 2012, I had an amazing sports year. My hometown Orioles had a winning record for the first time in 15 years and made it to the playoffs. I fell in love with baseball again. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed a September as much as I did in 2012. Then my Ravens won the Super Bowl (technically in 2013), and I got to take my dad to Ray Lewis’s final home game in Baltimore in the process. I still to this day re-watch highlights from that amazing playoffs run. I also got to witness and be a part of the amazing launch of Debbie Unger Photography, and see how hard she’s worked and grown as a photographer.

2013 has been incredibly eventful. At the end of January, I quit my job. My business, Junger Media, was ready to be a full-time commitment. I hired my long-time friend and oft-used contractor Jason Forrest to be my Creative Director. We launched the day after the Super Bowl victory. We’ve since hired an intern, and done projects for companies as big as Bank of America, Proctor and Gamble, American Express, Hershey’s and Bounty. Seriously. We’re solving people’s problems and providing them with amazing digital products and services that help them succeed.

I did the Tough Mudder. Peer pressure got me to do it, but I don’t regret it (even though I couldn’t walk for three days after it). I turned 30. My mom spent 5 weeks in the hospital and there was a good chance she wasn’t coming out. She did. We’re all grateful.

I’ve learned a lot. I’ve got a few more gray hairs. I’ve got a lot more responsibility on my shoulders. I’m loving every single moment of it.

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One Year

Wow. It’s been almost one whole year since I wrote a blog post here. That’s pretty crazy.

I don’t think I’ve had another stretch of time where I haven’t posted for that long, but then again, maybe I have and I don’t remember.

To be honest, I’m not even quite sure what to be writing about here anymore … or if I can find the time to do it. At the end of the day – to me at least – doing awesome things is more important than talking about doing awesome things. It may not win you the most recognition, but that’s OK … the results are totally real.

It certainly has been a fun (and busy) year. Hopefully I’ll be back to write more before 2013, but knowing my track record blogging for myself – outlook is doubtful.

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© Jason Unger. A Junger Media Production.