Thursday, November 27, 2008

Best Subject lines for email newsletters

Best Subject Lines for Email Newsletters

If you want to get more of your email opened then read this study from Marketing Sherpa.

MarketingSherpa recently pored over a year’s worth of data on our weekly newsletter subject lines. We learned a lot about what we’ve been doing right, and what could use some improvement. We wanted to share our findings with you – our faithful readers. Check out the four big takeaways and take advantage of our subject-line ‘Aha!’ moment.
The year long study indentified the four best ways to improve readership of emails. Here is an excerpt on the first tip.

Takeaway #1. Show value in the first two words

Sherpa’s top subject-line performers showed that pushing the value of a particular newsletter in the first two words was optimal. Meinhart recommends having your subject line writer focus on what *exactly* those first two words should be.

To illustrate the importance of those initial words, here are the 10 top-performing subject lines in the 12-month time period:

  1. Top 12 Email Newsletter Mistakes
  2. Simple Email Link Change Lifts Clicks
  3. CAN-SPAM - Must-Know Updates
  4. Best Time to Send Email: Test Results
  5. 6 Actions to Lift Clickthroughs: New Data
  6. Your Copy of Annual Email Study Results Enclosed
  7. HTML vs Text: Which Works Better?
  8. Newsletter Design Exclusive Data
  9. Email Audit PDF: How-to & Checklist
  10. How to Conduct Email Surveys

Read the rest of this study at Marketing Sherpa.

Free acess to this report is open until Decemeber 2, 2008.

George Torok
Co-author of Secrets of Power Marketing
Business Speaker


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bloopers, Boondoggles & Blunders

November 25, 2008, Report on Small Business, The Globe & Mail

Bloopers, Boondoggles & Blunders

The blunder: An attempt at innovative promotion brought trouble the client never wanted.
The lessons: Although Lowe Roche didn't set out to launch a viral campaign, Burlington, Ontario-based marketing expert George Torok says that Audi may have unwittingly benefited from the online chatter. "The best way to get viral marketing is to be provocative," Torok says. "Sometimes that happens by mistake—and if it does, then the company needs to find a way to leverage that and surf it out." Failing to exploit such an unexpected opportunity potentially exacerbates the error.

The above is an excerpt from the article published in the Globe & Mail, Report on Small Business magazine.

Of course the Ad agency responsible for the Boondoggle, Lowe Roche, was quite defensive about their accidental viral marketing campaign. Perhaps they created a monster they did not know how to manage.

But agency founder Geoffrey Roche says his goal was simply to reach an elusive consumer without spending a fortune on TV commercials. "We're not in the business of pissing people off," he adds.

Curious response from Geoffrey Roche - because that is exactly what they did. And every business pisses somebody off. That's the nature of the beast - especially marketing. You can't please everybody. So please your clients and engage your target audience. The rest - you really don't care about.

Read the rest of this article here at the Globe & Mail.

What I find strange is that the Audi cross promotion with Marvel Entertainment on the Ironman movie was brilliant. Did this come from the same people? Read more about that Marvel Entertainment Ironman movie here.

The final comment from Roche - the riskiest campaign of all is one that nobody notices.

Finally some words of truth from the advertising man's mouth.

George Torok
Secrets of Power Marketing - the national bestseller
Executive Marketing Briefing for the CEO


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fools chase the branding grail

Fools chase the branding grail - winners build relationships.

I first wrote about this concept in the Financial Post earlier this year. Since then I have discusssed the dangers of chasing the brand with my clients and they appreciate this refreshing perspective.

A longer article from me, The Branding Fallacy, recently appeared in Enterprise magazine.

The point is that small business needs to stop worring about their brand and instead focus on bulidng stronger relationships. Relathships should be the goal - not branding. If they build strong relationships - the brand will be a byproduct.

Small business gets fooled by the "branding clergy" who point to the success of the big corporate brands.

But small business can't compete with the resources that the corporations spend on branding.

And small business has a tool that big business does not have. Small business can build relationships which is a far better business-building tool. Big business can't build relationships so they take the weaker second choice - branding.

Read more about this discussion on the blog of Nicky Jameson at

George Torok
Marketing Speaker


Friday, November 21, 2008

Don't Send Christmas Cards

Don't Send Christmas Cards

It's that time of year again. Many business owners are thinking of sending Christmas cards to their clients, prospects and associates.

My advice - don't send Christmas cards!

That might sound harsh. It has nothing to do with political correctness. It is based on sound marketing principles.

Your marketing should do one of three things for you:
  1. Grab attention
  2. Demonstrate value
  3. Build relationships

And it should do that better than your competition. If it doesn't - you are wasting your money.

The reality is that too many businesses still send Christmas cards to their clients. The result is that nobody remembers who got a Christmas card from you.

If they don't remember you - it was a waste of your money. So don't send those Christmas cards.


Either do something incredibly memorable at Christmas time or do something at another time of the year.

For example: Send cards in January and wish folks a Happy New Year. How many New Year cards do you think they get? You would stand out and be more memorable. Pick some other day of the year to send your greeting cards. Thats good marketing.

Have a Merry Christmas - but don't expect a card from me.

George Torok
Marketing Speaker
Canadian Business Speaker


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Power Marketing Tip 12: Expect Major Delays

Power Marketing Tip 12

"Expect Major Delays"

Those were the words that jumped out at me from the sign in the middle of the street. This road construction sign demonstrated a few important marketing lessons for all of us.

Grab Attention
It grabbed my attention - the first role of good marketing. It was right in the middle of the road and it was bright fluorescent orange. I would have had to be blind to miss it. Is your marketing standing out or blending in?

Engage Emotions
Those few words grabbed my attention, engaged my emotions and conveyed a clear message. Review your print ads, your printed materials and websites. If you want to immediately engage your prospects use powerful words. And use as few words as necessary. Remember that images might look nice but it is powerful words that engage our emotions. Check your marketing copy for emotion stirring words.

Manage Expectations
When I saw that sign my immediate fear was that I would be waiting in my car a long time just to get home. Instead I slowed down for the rough road and breezed through. I felt lucky. Why? Because I was expecting a major delay. Instead it was quite minor.

Exceed Expectations
This might be the most important marketing lesson for you. Manage the expectations of your clients. Set the bar of expectations low enough so you can easily clear it. It's more important to clear the bar than to raise it. Don't promise delivery in three to five days. Your client hears three and when you deliver in four they think that you are late. Under promise and over deliver.

George Torok
Power Marketing

Register for free Power Marketing Tips and receive a free copy of 50 Power Marketing Ideas.

Order your copy of Secrets of Power Marketing.

PS: Tell me how this marketing tip helps you.

PPS: I welcome your comments.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Keep your blog out of a courtroom

How to Keep Your Blog Out of a Courtroom - Advice from Legal Pro on Providing, Creating Content

Informative article from Marketing Sherpa. Access to this article is open until November 18. If you have a blog you should read this article. The Internet is not the wild wild west. There are laws that you should know and follow to stay out of legal trouble.

SUMMARY: A company blog can be great for marketing. But inappropriate content and troublesome comments can also expose you to lawsuits.Here's advice from a 30-year business attorney with extensive knowledge of the laws on blogging and user-generated content. Includes tips to avoid turning a blog post into "exhibit A."

Click to continue
(Open access until November 18th)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Be a Name Dropper

Be a Name Dropper

What's in a name? Could be millions. If you were a movie producer and you wanted a "name" to help you reap millions - you would pay $10 to $20 million for Bruce Willis, Julia Roberts, Jim Carrey or Arnold (when he returns to Hollywood…he said he'd be back). You know the money has no relation to their "acting" ability. It is the name that is valuable - the name that sells.

Imagine if you had the power of these names promoting your business: Tiger Woods, Wayne Gretzky, Lance Armstrong, Venus Williams, William Shatner or Celine Dion. Some companies paid millions to associate their products with these names. Why? Because there is something special in a name. A name conveys credibility, acceptance and emotional hunger. I want to be like him or her. It is like a zombie trance - "Tiger Woods wears Nike - I must have Nike".

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody."
Bill Cosby.... read the rest of Be a Name Dropper.

George Torok
Personal Marketing
Power Marketing

Friday, November 07, 2008

Check your name availability

Check your name availability

Would you like to know if your name is still available?

Use this free tool to check over 60 web services in seconds for the availability of your name.

If you are venturing into the use of the interent social media you might want to use the same user name on several services. Perhaps you just want to reserve your name while you have a chance.

George Torok

Website Grader

Website Grader

Here's a neat free tool to check your website and those of your competition for search effectiveness.

It takes a few seconds to give you a fairly comprehensive report of how your site is performing along with suggestions on how to improve. You get a grade out of 100.

Website Grader


There is a Twitter Grader

There is a Press Release Grader

George Torok


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Niagara College Alumni

Promote Brand You - for a more promising career

Recently I spoke to the Niagara College Alumni Toronto Chapter. This group was engaging and interested. I enjoyed speaking with them because they were at tentative and asked challenging questions.

I usually speak to business owners. So you can imagine how I enjoy speaking with students and recent graduates because they challenge my perspective and force me to rethink some things. It helps to keep me sharp.

Enjoy this commentary about my presentation.

George Torok


Hi George,

Thank you again for your presentation last week at Oakham House.

As well as the informative and insightful messages of your presentation, I must comment on your flexibility and commitment to personal conversations with the participants. I realize that the numbers were not at the level that we would have liked and some logistical issues (e.g. like the food coming earlier than expected) interrupted the flow of your presentation; however, your flexibility in talking after the mini-break really helped to pull together some key concepts and provide the opportunity for the participants to discuss/share some of their ideas - thus enriching the learning experience.

I especially appreciated the number of intense conversations that you had with participants. I was conscious of you consistently engaged in intimate dialogues with individuals and small groups around their questions and really focusing on their needs and issues. I had several positive comments from participants about the quality time that you took to listen and talk with them, rather than the peripheral discussions that often happen with presenters.

Thanks again for sharing your expertise and I hope that the marketing materials forwarded to other colleges trigger some direct contacts to explore your services. I also hope that we can work with you again as we continue to develop related programs. Obviously we need to find ways to market more effectively and strategically expand the number of alumni contacts that are engaged with Niagara College so that we have a registration base.

Steve Cino

Alumni Affairs Coordinator
Legacy Leadership Project
Niagara College, Welland Campus S110

905-735-2211 ext. 7865


Touch the emotions

Touch the emotions

If you want people to remember you - touch their emotions. Make them laugh or make them cry.

Kudos to Brenda McKinley, real estate agent for Royal LePage in Burlington, Ontario.

She has been "pinging" us for years with her glossy monthly newsletter sent by regular mail.

This month she sent a one page letter. The letter commented on how the upcoming Remembrance day on November 11 reminded her of the visit she made with her husband to the Juno Beach Centre in France on the Anniversary of D-Day.

It is an emotionally touching letter to read. I believe that she was sincere.

She included a poppy in her envelope and encouraged the reader to wear it proudly.

She also announced that she donated to the local Canadian Legion Branch on behalf of her clients.
And the last line reminded the reader that she would love to hear from you if you or your friends and relatives have a need for real estate services.

Nice marketing Brenda McKinley.

George Torok
Marketing Speaker
Marketing Author
Canadian Business Speaker

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Rimrrock Resort - Where is my room?

Hello Rimrock Resort Banff - Where is my room?

Room 940?

I recently stayed at the Rimrock Resort in Banff, Alberta while speaking at a conference for the IT industry.
The view from anywhere in Banff is breath taking. The Rimrock Hotel is perched on the side of a mountain. The view is spectacular from anywhere inside and outside the hotel. Although it is in Banff - it appears to be an oasis in the middle of the Rocky mountains. The Rimrock Resort is a first class hotel. However, even they missed some important details with this sign.
My room number was 940. According to this sign near the elevators room 940 doesn't exist at the Rimrock Resort. Considering the view, you would understand if I felt like I might have been in the movie The Shinning. I glanced quickly back at the bank of elevators and did not see any blood ozzing through the elevator doors. So I picked left and walked a few steps down the hall to discover my room - 940. It was there - just not on the sign.
And yes there was a room 939 - but not listed on the sign. Why?
Also room 900 - which was the hospitality suite is absent from the sign. I found that room by following the noise. No thanks to the Rimrock Resort. I didn't go looking for room 901.