When Is The Best Time To Do Email Marketing?

GFI just put out an absolutely wonderful survey that asks people when they check their email!

The winner? Weekends at 81%!

You can check all all the stats of the survey here.

Why is this such a big deal? Because if you send out your email blast when people don’t typically read their email, it makes them less likely to read yours.

I’ve always suspected that the weekends were the best time to do email marketing selling Customwave Internet Marketing services, but now I have my proof!

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Within 1 1/12 to 3 Years, There Will Be More Mobile Internet Users Than Computer Internet Users

T-Mobile and MetroPCS completed their merger today to become the 4th largest cell phone company in the country.

But the numbers that really stood out to me are the following:

-AT&T has 105 million subscribers, Verizon 99 million, Sprint 54 million and T-Mobile / MetroPCS has 43 million. That makes 301 wireless accounts in the US, not counting the smaller carriers.

-Some of the accounts are secondary accounts for some people so comScore and Nielsen, it looks like the number is around 250 million people with cell phones in the United States.

-According to comScore and Nielsen, 57%-60% of cell phone users now have smartphones that access the internet.

-So that would mean around 150 million people in America with cell phones that have internet access.

-Both research firms believe that as even more people get smartphones, that within 24-36 months, there will be more people that access the internet with a mobile device than a regular desktop computer or laptop. Stunning!

-According to IAB, in the total digital advertising and marketing spend in the county, only 9% of the money is dedicated to mobile internet marketing.

-In other words, advertising and marketing targeted for mobile internet use will be absolutely booming in the next 3-5 years.

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If The Internet Tax Bill Passes, Customwave Will Leave The Shopping Cart Business

I’ve thought long and hard about this. If the internet tax bill passes in Washington D.C., it will no longer be worth it for Customwave to build shopping carts for small businesses.

There are a lot of reasons for this. The biggest reason is that on a technical level, it’s going to be a nightmare for companies like Magento to figure out how to put in each state’s sales tax into the database and then have to track the IP address for each user based on what state they’re in. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it will take them a while to figure out. And the cost for small businesses’ like Customwave to use shopping cart programs like this to build shopping carts like this will most likely go up. Joy.

Then there’s the fact that small business owners will turn to companies like us at Customwave to explain how this new internet tax deal works. And we don’t want to have to spend the extra time to become experts in whatever boondongle of legislation is passed and then take the time to explain how it works. And our clients won’t like it if we charge for our support on the phone. They’ll think we should include for free in the service.

Then there’s the issue that this tax will make it almost impossible for small businesses to make money with their shopping carts. It’s been polled to countless focus groups and surveys that the #1 reason people will buy a product off the internet is they’re trying to find a lower price than the nearby stores have. I know the politicians have been talking up taxing big corporations like Amazon, Ebay, Wal Mart, etc, but the small business will be hurt the most. Because a small business already has a very small profit margin with them trying to compete on price, after this tax, they’ll have even less money left over for themselves. And for a lot of companies, it’ll make having a shopping cart not worth it to them.

So, I’ve heard the argument about how the states are broke and they need to find new ways to bring in new money by taxing the internet. Well, here are the unintended consequences of their bill:

  • Internet marketing companies like Customwave will start to refuse to build shopping carts. But if they do decide to build shopping carts they will for sure charge more money for the reasons I stated above.
  • Programming companies like Magento might decide to leave the shopping cart business or charge more. This will also drive up the price for a small business having a shopping cart.
  • There will now be an increased burden on small businesses to have yet another place they have to keep track of taxes. So now they’ll spend time on this instead of spending time growing their business, which would help create new jobs.
  • Lots of small businesses will abandon their shopping carts and pull the plug because of higher prices and the hassle of being taxed. This will drive their revenue down being there’s one less place for them to make money.

The supposed “Fairness in the Marketplace” legislation (what the internet tax bill is ironically being called), I argue will harm small businesses more than help them. And the only people that will gain the most by this is people in the government that will be TAKING yet even more money from the private sector to spend it whichever special interest they need to pay back.

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Google Wants To Cut Out AT&T, Time Warner, Etc. To Take Over The Internet

Just read a very interesting article from Wordstream explaining Google’s motive for running their fiber optic experiment in Kansas City.

For those that don’t know, fiber optic internet is a new way of making the internet faster and Google has set up their own ISP (internet service provider) setup in Kansas City before branching out across the country.

On an earnings call, Larry Page and Patrick Pichette discussed what the purpose of Google Fiber is. In a nutshell, they said they’re not happy with the loading times people have while using the internet and blame other ISP’s like AT&T, Time Warner and others for this.

Currently right now, Google is dependent on other ISP’s to deliver its products. But the longer something takes to load, the more likely the user gives up on what they’re doing and Google loses money. So they want to cut out the ISP’s and offer their own ISP service to make sure people have the fastest times on the internet possible to ensure they make more money.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I’m all about faster internet. But on the other hand, if Google started offering faster internet speeds than the other ISP’s at a lower price (because Google cares more about making money off ads than making money off the ISP service itself), Google would be pretty close to a monopoly in controlling the most important parts of the internet.

AT&T and other ISP’s also sell cable and satellite TV service too and with them potentially losing that due to cord cutting, losing the ISP business would be devastating. So I’m fairly confident they’ll spend every last penny to protect that business and fend off Google.

But what if they can’t? Hmmm …..

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Does Display Advertising Work For Small Businesses?

Display advertising is very different than advertising on a search engine like Google.

All the big websites like espn.com or foxnews.com have display advertising or picture ads on the website.

For right now, I don’t believe display advertising works for small businesses. And on the whole, display advertising should be a lot more effective right now than it is.

Why is it not better?

Publishers (or people who create the websites and try and make money off the clicks) will set up the ads on the website to increase the likelihood of clicks as much as possible. Why? Because the more clicks that happen, the more money they make. But the problem is that the vast majority of people that click on these ads do so by accident.

Like, you’re on a website, the arrow of your mouse goes over an ad and you try and click something but before you know it, the ad expands and you accidently click on an ad. This especially happens on cell phones just by inaccurate touch screens.

So because of this, advertisers (the people who are paying for clicks and trying to generate sales leads or some other action) will pay for lots of clicks but get no results they’re hoping for. Because of this, they don’t make money off the advertising.

Bigger companies can absorb these losses and still be happy because their brand is still advertised and shown. But for small businesses that can’t afford to spend money and not make anything back, it’s very bad.

Display advertising will truly hit the big time once publishers stop taking short cuts and not collect accidental clicks. They need to not trick people in clicking on the ads. Just let whoever is interested click on the ads. Then the advertisers will make money and want to increase their click budget with the publishers. Once this starts happening, display advertising will become a very viable marketing option for small businesses. Until then, don’t waster your money.

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Yelp Sales Reps Blackmail & Scam Small Businesses

Yelp Sales Reps Blackmail & Scam Small Businesses

Since 2006, some of Yelp’s sales people have been blackmailing, extorting and committing fraud on small businesses. And still to this day, Yelp does nothing about it and pretends the problem doesn’t exist.

The following is a very typical story that I’m sure a lot of small business owners are familiar with. One of my clients had 3 negative reviews published on their Yelp page (which one was left by a competitor over the weekend). Then they have 8 positive reviews that are “filtered”, meaning they’re hidden. And on a pretty regular basis, my client will get calls from Yelp sales reps. Just today, he got a call from a Yelp sales person that said if my client pays for Yelp advertising he could “probably help with unhiding the positive reviews”.

Now, Yelp isn’t the only company that has sales reps that will say anything and do anything to make a sale. Unfortunately in this case, these Yelp employees have way more leverage than the typical sales person.

So can Yelp employees actually decide which reviews get filtered and hidden? The answer is no, they have no access whatsoever. They can’t control which reviews get filtered no more than you or me. So when they say that they can, they’re not being honest. All you’ll get is Yelp advertising. So the Yelp sales reps are blackmailing and scamming small businesses into paying for something they can’t deliver.

But it gets worse. I’ve seen other cases where some Yelp employees will actually submit negative reviews themselves onto a small business’ Yelp page. Then call them up saying if they pay for Yelp advertising, they can somehow get the positive review removed. And then they simply delete the negative review they created themselves after the small business puts their deposit in for Yelp advertising.

And of course Yelp’s management denies any knowledge that their sales people are doing any of this. And they can deny all they want. But it doesn’t change the fact that if you were hired on at Yelp to sell their advertising, it would be very easy to lie to small business owners saying you can remove their bad reviews if you sign up. And it would very easy to post negative reviews yourself and only remove them if the small business owner pays.

It’s inexcusable that Yelp has not done anything about this problem. These bad reviews damage businesses severely and can sometimes hurt word of mouth business and referrals. But they just bury their heads in the sand like the problem doesn’t exist. Yet, countless small business owners all across the country have almost identical stories of what people from Yelp say to them.

I normally don’t pitch our services at Customwave on my blog posts, but if you’re one of those small business owners that had bad reviews on Yelp and are interested in getting help, you can contact me at chris@customwave.net or call me at the Customwave office at (877) 638-0827.

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Yellow Pages Is Moving Away From Advertising Local Business, Starting to Target Nationwide Business

The people that run the different yellow pages companies are not stupid. They know their business model is dying and going obsolete. So it looks like they’re starting to do something about it.

Mike Blumenthal had some interesting stats today showing that the print, local yellow pages book is starting to have more big, nationwide businesses advertising than local, small businesses.

The yellow pages is probably thinking that small businesses can’t afford to advertise in their print book without making money off the advertising, but big, nationwide companies just want the exposure. They don’t care so much about increased phone calls. They care more about brand awareness and it’s another place to advertise and be visible.

It’s a novel idea, to sprinkle the whole country with the same phone book with all these big companies in it. The problem remains that a very small amount of people still use the phone book.

I still predict the yellow pages to go the way of the dinosaurs. But at least this move has the potential to slow down their demise.

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Yellow Page Directories Are Obsolete

For anyone who cares, Super Media and Dex are two of the biggest directory companies in the country. But both are in bankruptcy hoping to save their businesses by forming a merger.

It won’t help them. Why? Because their advertisers aren’t making money off their phone book advertising. There’s not enough people that still read the phone book. And if the directories charged any less money, they would have no profit.

And people don’t go to Google and type in “super pages” or “yellow pages”. They just go to Google and type whatever it is they’re looking for.

The yellow pages are just like CD’s. People used to make boatloads of money. But that time is passed. They would be better off abandoning everything they’re doing and using the money they have to start over doing brand new stuff.

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The True Impact Of What Reviews Can Do For Small Business

I just read a report from Nielsen saying that online reviews by both professional critics and consumers is more trusted than any other form of internet advertising.

For more evidence on why online reviews are important, I wrote a piece back in June of 2011 on Pew Research’s discovery that 58% of people who have never done business with you before will Google your company name to see if there’s any red flags out there before pulling the trigger and deciding to give you their money.

So what’s my main point? If you’re spending money marketing your business online, advertising your company name and phone # to people who have never heard about you before, they’re going to be very likely to go to Google and type in your company name. And if you have good reviews they’ll be more likely to do business. But if there are bad reviews out there, they’re going to be a lot, a lot, a lot less likely to do business.

For most small businesses nowadays, they don’t invest in reputation management and make an effort to get their customers to leave positive reviews because most of those companies don’t have any reviews out in circulation. 99% of the people that call me looking for help, it’s because they have a negative review, they feel pain, now they want to do something about it.

I know money is tight for everyone but if you’re already spending money online to advertise your business, it’s going to suck for you if you’re advertising to people that you’re a company that has bad reviews. That’s all I’m saying.

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People Who Say They Can Get You On The 1st Page Of Google Guaranteed With SEO Are Lying

Search Engine Optimization is The New Pyramid Scheme.

I am so sick and tired of search engine optimization. Mostly because I’m sick of clients coming to me saying that someone solicited their business and told them all these wonderful tales that if they do x, y, and z, they’ll be on the first page of Google for sure without having to pay for any of the clicks. Below is an email that a client sent to me this afternoon:



My name is Deborah and I am an Online Marketing Representative.

The reason for my email is I have come across your site  and decided to run an analysis on your competition and your current search rankings. I also tried to look for your business on various social media sites and really couldn’t find much else about you.

Over the last 12 months GOOGLE has placed so much importance on Content Creation & Social Media Performance that if your business isn’t creating valuable content or even visible across social media platforms you have basically no chance of being seen on any search engine for keywords your customers are using to find businesses like you.

With a solid plan and strategy I honestly believe I can help get your website ranking higher on GOOGLE and getting customers to interact with your business on Social Media to really build your brand.
Can I call you and run some ideas I have to help your business grow? 


Let Me break this down:

There is no such thing as a blueprint to have success in search engine optimization. If you apply the same practuces to 10 websites, you will have at least half of them fail to get on the 1st page. At least. Probably more than half will fail. Deborah is making guesses and selling them as a guaranteed result.

Google makes sure that there’s no one size fits all approach to getting any one website on the 1st page. Google is in the business of making money and they make ranking on the 1st page difficult because they want you to pay for website visitors. They don’t want you to get all these clicks for free.

Small businesses don’t need their brand built by social media. They need new customers and increased sales. Period. Next.

All this search engine gobbledygook to small businesses is a pure waste of time. It’s been proven over and over by companies like mine at Customwave and others, that the best approach is to pay Google to be on the 1st page. Then skip over this whole giant “getting on the 1st page of Google without paying for clicks” mess.

You skip that whole entire thing and move onto more important steps like, are the website visitors converting into phone calls and sales leads. Are the phone calls equaling new customers? Do I need to target different keywords to get better quality sales leads? Those are the things a small business needs to concentrate on.

But someone like Deborah won’t talk about making sure that the website traffic or “social media” presence turns into phone calls. Or if the phone calls will equal new customers. She only talks about getting you on Google. Why? Because I bet most of the time, she never gets to the phone call part. Probably because she can’t even deliver on getting someone on the 1st page of Google.

And if you’ve already seen my client on the 1st page of Google, than I have obviously already done something that you can only claim you can do.

I’m so sick of people like Deborah because they get my client’s hopes up and then waste my time because I have to bring the client back to reality and inform them that people like Deborah are a fraud and scam.

I wish these people would just go away back to the pyramid scheme they came from.

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