Monday Sales Call: Call To Action and Permission Marketing

I have been thinking a lot lately about what makes the perfect blend of Call to Action and Permission Marketing. Call to Action marketing can often be misinterpreted by marketers and the result is never pretty. The thought of succeeding at Permission Marketing (a term coined by e-marketing guru Seth Godin) can be intimidating for the new or even seasoned marketer.I guess since Godin coined the term he can write the rules on Permission Marketing. Godin’s “rules” discouraged me because there are not many people, organizations, or companies who have my “permission”. Godin says I should be anticipating your status updates or monthly newsletters. And if for some reason I don’t see your newsletter in my inbox on the third Tuesday of May I should feel sad and seek you out on my own time. Not many marketers reach this level of Guru Permission Status.How can a non-guru like myself obtain this level of marketing Zen? Patience and creativity.I recently was informed I can block certain people’s Facebook status updates. I immediately blocked 30 of my “friends” on Facebook. They lost my permission. While most of these “friends” aren’t trying to sell me anything (a few actually are), I feel invaded by their one way networking. I don’t need an update on your feelings or what you are eating every 10 minutes. I know that is harsh but it is the truth.Call to Action Marketing is heavily used in the online poker industry. The red headed step children of this practice are banner farms. No relevant content or added value to the user. Just links and banners. And don’t get me started on pop ups. Balanced call to action marketing is essential for successful online marketers. But how far you go with it depends on the permission level you have with users/readers.I read Jeremy Schoemaker’s blog daily via my Google Reader. Sometimes I visit his site to view videos or archived articles. ShoeMoney has a large pop up on his homepage. The pop up encourages readers to subscribe to his newsletter. The first couple of times I visited his site I was annoyed by this pop up. After months of reading his blog and becoming a fan, I no longer have an issue with it. ShoeMoney has gained my permission.So what can we take from the ShoeMoney example? Don’t annoy users until they want to be annoyed. The anticipation or readiness of potential users to receive your pitch (said annoyance) is faster and of higher quality once you gain permission. Gaining permission takes time. The amount of time it takes depends on your conversion rates, monetization methods, and product time tables. If you are attempting to point users to a deal that ends in 30 days, your calls to action will need to be more aggressive.Next week I will be taking a look at how Permission and Call to Action Marketing specifically relates to the online poker industry. With any business, the game can change depending on the product being sold and the user being pitched.Tony

Publisher Spotlight: RakebackAces

It’s the summer of 2007 and I have made the decision to go back to school and finish my college degree. I started out with a small schedule and added a few more classes by spring semester. I was getting solid grades and getting closer and closer to the almighty college degree when I started having some problems.In addition to my schooling I am a full time rakeback affiliate. It’s how I pay my bills. I have a decent base of a few hundred players. I quickly found myself falling behind on statistics updates, payments, and general customer service. It was clear that I needed help but I didn’t have enough money to actual pay someone else to do my work. I started looking for solutions.In came Chris Carlson and his team at Poker Affiliate Solutions. Chris helped me convert my site over, while maintaining its unique visual feel. The transition was seamless for my players. I no longer had to worry about updating stats, payments, and even customer service. Poker affiliate solutions solved all of my problems at once.The job of a professional rakeback affiliate requires a lot of hours. It really is a full time job, and I didn’t have full time hours to give. Poker Affiliate Solutions delivered exactly what I was looking for and more.

Monday Sales Call: A Trip Down Memory Lane

I went to visit my father’s side of the family in Chicago over the weekend. On Saturday, my dad and I took a ride down to the neighborhood where he grew up. We ended up stopping by an old building my grandfather used to own. My grandfather’s parents immigrated from Italy around 1920 and made their new home in an Italian neighborhood in Chicago. My great-grandfather was a fruit peddler who struggled to provide for his family during the Great Depression.My grandfather dropped out of high school to work for his father selling fruit at the downtown markets. He eventually saved up enough money to buy a decent sized commercial truck. He parlayed that truck into 4 larger trucks and his own trucking company. Not bad for a guy who had little education and parents who spoke minimal English.With earnings from his trucking company he bought a two story building in Cicero, IL (just outside of Chicago). He rented out the top floor to Italian immigrants who were looking for cheap housing. The bottom floor was rented out to a liquor store, a dentist office, and a tailor. The surrounding neighborhood was mainly inhabited by first or second generation Italians. My grandfather sold the building before his death in 1976. He owned the building for 20 years and had many of the same tenants over that time period.Fast forward 30 years. My father and I are standing outside of the old building taking pictures. The first thing we noticed was that the parking signs were translated to Polish. Also, the tenants and neighboring businesses were Polish owned and catered the now mainly Polish Community (Polish sporting good store, Polish Market, Polish restaurant).Chicago, like many large US cities, was the new home to thousands of European immigrants from the 1900’s to the 1950’s. The Irish came first, then the Germans, the Italians, then the Polish. Over time, these groups would move farther and farther away from the city. So how did existing businesses like my grandfather’s tenants adjust to this phenomenon? One day they are catering to an Irish community then 5 years later their store is smack dab in the middle of Little Italy.I am guessing they assimilated to their new environment or went out of business. Language barriers and culinary tastes are the first obstacles that come to mind. I am sure a few of the businesses packed up and moved with their neighbors but I doubt that was the norm. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the local Polish markets was owned by an Italian or Irish family.Environments change and we have to adapt as marketers. Especially on the Internet. You can’t exactly pack up shop and move.We are on the cusp of a possible environment change in the online poker industry. Recent legislation in California and Minnesota will be the catalyst for future bills in other states and on Capitol Hill (the issue in MN is not a bill but rather an order from the MN Dept of Public Safety). Current and future legislation will change the way the game is played for online poker affiliates. We must plan ahead and put our companies in the best position possible if legislation does in fact pass.The future landscape of our industry may be determined by outsiders. State governments are finally realizing how much money they are leaving on the table by not taxing online gaming. Whether that means they open state run card rooms or regulate existing operators, your guess is as good as mine. There are pros and cons for affiliates with both scenarios. However, we can still make money as marketers with either sequence of events. It’s all about putting yourself in the right position to evolve with the changing market. Many affiliates see legislation as a giant hurdle they would rather not think about.Entrepreneurs salivate at the chance to exploit new trends caused by outside entities. Whether it’s regulation of the current operators, blocking certain state’s players, or the opening of state/federal ran rooms, there is an opportunity for affiliates to be first to market.What are your plans if legislation impacts our industry in the coming year?Tony