CAN-SPAM Act | Are Your Emails CAN-SPAM Compliant?

Posted on Oct 13, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

CAN-SPAM Law

Back in 2003, Congress created the CAN-SPAM Act in order to prevent spam. There are rules in place now that need to be followed when sending emails, period. Don’t even think about not following the CAN-SPAM law or you might find yourself in up to a $16,000 pickle.

So what can you do to make sure your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant? It’s actually very simple, so don’t start sweating yet!

1) Don’t Lie About Who You Are. The “From” and “Reply-to” email addresses that are associated with your email must not be misleading. If you don’t want to use a personal email address, use an alternative email address such as noreply@yourcompanyname.com.

2) Your Subject Line Must Be Relevant To Your Email Campaign. This may seem like common sense to you, but there are email senders out there that have manipulated their subject line in order to ensure a higher open rate. This is the opposite of good. You want to gain your contacts trust, not take advantage of them.

3) Clearly Identify What The Message Is. If it is an ad, make sure the recipient knows it! This will set the expectation of what your contacts will always receive from you in the future.

4)  Provide A Valid Postal Address. This could be a current address or a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service.

5) Give Recipients An Option To Opt-Out. Although we understand that you want to continually build your contact lists rather than have people unsubscribe, your contacts have every right to not want to receive future emails from you. It is very natural to have a small percentage of your contacts unsubscribe each time you send out an email campaign. This is nothing to be too worried about.

Like we said, these rules are simple and based on clever reasoning. You want your contacts to trust you, to open your emails knowing what they can expect. You want your contacts to like you, to stay on your contact list because they enjoy what you have to say, not be stuck there deleting your emails every time yours comes around. Especially with the large amount of activity on Social Networks these days, you can’t afford to have a contact or customer complaining about you to the ever-listening social world.

How to Index Pages Using Twitter

Posted on Oct 5, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

A new theory has been experimented. Indexing the URLs of all the pages on your website is important for SERP. The more pages you have under your domain that spiders can grab relevant content from,  the better off your site is in search results. This is why SEO consultants and companies will always suggest that you create an XML sitemap for your website.

index pages using twitter

But what if your client can’t give you access to create a sitemap (we’ve seen this happen when a company website is part of a corporate system or franchise structure). What you can do, is try this new theory on how to index pages using Twitter to post your URLs.

Now, you don’t want to spam your followers with a whole bunch of links, but if it is relevant to what your posting, don’t miss out on the opportunity!

Here is a very intelligent article that walks you through an experiment with indexing pages through Twitter.

Using Twitter for Increased Indexation

B2B Marketing In A Digital World

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing, Social Media

This is an outstanding video to help explain how B2B marketing has changed in the digital world!  Grab some of these stats – you will want to save them!

New Google WebP Images

Posted on Oct 4, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

google webp

One thing we consider when optimizing your website is the loading speed of your page. For a long time, the SEO industry theorized that page speed was one of the factors that SERPs considered.  Now, especially since Google released it’s Google Instant, we are certain that speed does matter!

Google has now introduced WebP (“weppy”) images. This allows search spiders to see the size adjustments to your images in the coding so that they will know you aren’t making searchers wait to load your full size image. It allows you to download the WebP install and convert your JPEG image codes to be WebP friendly.

Read more about how it helps your page speed here:

Google’s New “Weppy” Image Standard

You Shouldn’t Run From Social Media – PLAN for It!

Posted on Oct 1, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Are you hiding under your desk scared of what social media could mean for your company?  Remember thinking that you are “safe” if you don’t get involved?  If there is one thing we hope you realize is that disasters aren’t caused by social media!  Social media is what lets you SURVIVE them!  No matter how small or how large your company is, your customers are still talking about you!  Avoiding the conversations makes you look like you aren’t interested in connecting with your customers.  When taking a look at social media, don’t only think about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or MySpace.  Think about using these tools to connect with your target audience…social media is about people.

So are you ready to take that leap of faith into the social media world?  The only way to start is by developing a social media plan.  No plan?  Well, let’s get you started – no one is successful without a plan, right?

Define Your Success

You shouldn’t enter into social media unless you know what you want to get out of it!  If you aren’t sure what defines “success” for your company, then you aren’t ready!  Some examples of metrics are:

* Building buzz and conversation around your product
* Gaining more traffic
* Knowing how your customers view your brand
* Better overall brand awareness
* Leads or blog subscribers

Once you know that, the next step in the planning process is to figure out how you will measure it!  Be sure you understand your challenges and goals to determine how “buzz” will be quantified.  Are you looking at blog comments, conversions, links, Twitter conversations, or better brand recognition?  No measurement = not meeting goals!

Tell Your Story

The best way for you to connect with your customers is to use social media tools to tell them who you are!  What are the values your company holds?  Are you known for anything in particular or do you have something you want to be known for?  Marketing is telling a company story!  When your story is being shared by your customers, you know you have been successful because they WANT to be associated with you!

Building Communities

Make sure that you understand who your customers are and where they are located.  If you aren’t sure, start some research to find out.  Starting with Twitter, search for your brand name, your competitors’ names, your keywords, industry, etc.  You will then need to decide if there is enough conversation to start engaging.  With Facebook, see if there are Business Pages dedicated to your company or industry.  If there aren’t, are there a lot of people who list it as an interest and possibly interested in joining a community on that topic?  You can also check out Yahoo Answers to see if people are asking or answering questions.

Rules for Engagement

There might be some times where your company is called names and have some negative comments come from customers, but make sure you set up a strategy for dealing with them!  Having ground rules is a must!  You also need rules for not just what you will say, but WHO will be in charge of saying it and what their role is.  Better to create the rules before you get started and not while the fire is flaming!

Check Your SuccessYou can’t set up your account name on your social media accounts and then just wait for things to happen.  You have to make sure that you are engaging with your community, but then also taking a look at your efforts to make sure you have been successful.  If you haven’t, what are you going to do to fix them?  Make sure you give it time….  Social media efforts start showing their effects about 2-3 months into your plan.  When you begin, you start looking at Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but those aren’t the metrics you should be evaluating all the time.  You should really be looking if your rankings have increased based on traffic and links, if social media users are actually engaging or converting, and if you have increased awareness about a product that has led to a sale.

Whatever you had outlined as determining “success” before, now is the time to see if you’ve gotten any closer to that goal.  If you have, congrats. Keep on doing what you’re doing. If not, figure out what’s broken and fix it. If you can’t do it yourself, you may need some help!  I’m sure you know where we will point you ———–> Digital Street!

What Email Marketing Can Do For You

Posted on Sep 23, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Email Marketing>Build Brand Consistency – When sending email campaigns, it is important to stay consistent without overwhelming your contacts. Take this opportunity to build brand loyalty by sending out a campaign once a week, twice a month, or whenever you think would best suit your brands needs without being overbearing. Your consumers will begin to look forward to your email campaigns once you set the pace for when to send out campaigns. This will also lead to less chances of someone unsubscribing because they are too bombarded with your emails and don’t want to receive them anymore.

>Engage your Contacts – Believe it or not, your customers want to talk to you. It is even better when you reach out to them. With a platform such as Digital Street, you can personalize your emails by simply including someone’s first name. It makes you look like you are going the extra mile to interact with that individual. Don’t forget to give your contacts a “call-to-action”. Remember, the whole point of sending an email is to potentially bring more business to your company. Whether you are promoting a sale or just talking about something new happening within your company, you should have links going back to your company’s website. This will lead to your customers feeling more engaged, and you will be getting the most out of your email marketing.

>Catch Them Quickly – With people around the world being extremely busy, you usually don’t have much time to catch the attention of your customers. Emails allow you to get straight to the point with what you are promoting. Make sure your subject line is strong enough to make the consumer want to see what’s inside your email! However, the subject line MUST be relevant to the message you are telling. Once your email has been opened, you still only have limited time to keep the reader’s attention, so make sure your email is direct and to-the-point.  Short and sweet is better than long and lengthy.  The beauty of using email marketing is being able to connect with your customers in a time efficient manner.

What is a QR Code?

Posted on Sep 20, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

I am still hoping for the day that QR codes, “Quick Response Codes”, become a regular on the advertising scene.  QR codes put an end to the “I hope you remember the website in our magazine ad so you will go home later and type it in off the top of your head” issue.  These codes create a direct channel to your website right then and there. Let me paint a picture…

You are waiting at a bus stop. Nothing is around you but strangers and a giant advertisement wrap around the bus stop station. The advertisement is a poster for a new movie out with, *gasp*, your favorite actor! Well, hopefully you remember the name of the movie so you can go home and look it up. BUT WAIT! You have the QR Reader App on your smart phone. You hold your phone up to the little digital square and your phone immediately opens up your browser and takes you to the movie’s website. BUT WAIT! Not only does it take you to the website, but a video pops up. It’s the trailer to the movie! Now you scroll below and enter your zip code to see when the movie is playing  in your area and can directly buy tickets from your phone! BAM. Conversion goal met.

Here is an example of how Blockbuster used QR codes:

The great thing about a QR Code is that you can make one for ANY landing page. It is entirely too simple. All you have to do is go to Kaywa.com and enter your URL. Once you get your QR code, you can pretty much place it on anything. I even had one on my resume that led to my own personal website. I’ve seen people add them to business cards as well.

What’s the catch? In order for the camera on your smart phone to read these little digital squares, QR codes, you need to download the application for it. Just do a search for QR in your app store and download the QR app.

If you are a fan of the popular HBO show, “True Blood”, you would be happy to know they’ve actually designed a very branded QR code. From what I’ve researched, this is the first designer QR code to appear on TV. Imagine what you can do with this. Since QR codes can go pretty much anywhere, they can use this image in a magazine ad, a giant poster, or even in their commercials (which they did, and you can read about it and watch the commercial here):

TRUE BLOOD DESIGNS A QR CODE

True Blood QR Code

True Blood QR Code

Keeping you updated and downloaded – Megan @ Digital Street, Inc.

The Good, The Not So Bad, & The Ugly | Link Building

Posted on Sep 15, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

Seo Austin

Link building is a whole other world. You can spend hours and hours building links every day for years, and there will still be opportunities to build. The internet is such a vast breeding ground for brands, that every blog, every blog network, every business listing, and every article directory in the World Wide Web, has probably been scoped out for a business opportunity at some point. This is why it is so important, especially with Google’s eyes on you, to focus on how VALUABLE a link will be to YOUR business.


THE GOOD.

You want link juice. You want to show up on those Search Engine Results Pages as the number one for your carefully chosen keywords. Several forums and blogs in SEO will preach that DoFollow links are the only worthwhile kind of link for your website. They believe that if a link doesn’t help you climb the Google ladder, it isn’t worth your time.

We can’t deny that these types of links are the best. Especially if you can get a DoFollow link on a website with great page rank, great domain authority, and a reasonably low amount of other outbound links (wish we came by those every day).  Also, Google rewards the amount of relevance the page or blog linking to you has with your site, which makes DoFollow links on NICHE sites so very valuable. While we do agree that these links are the best for search results, we can’t say that NoFollow links don’t hold their own value.

THE NOT SO BAD.

I think it is about time we address this little thing called Traffic. Some people seem to think that the ONLY valuable links are the ones with link juice, and that’s because they are the ones that can climb your company up on Google. Today’s Valuable Lesson: Search Engines are NOT the only channels for Traffic.

How many times have you clicked on a link from a website you were on. Did you go to Google first to examine what that link would maybe lead you to before clicking on it? How many times have you read news from your favorite news site or a new story from your favorite blogger and clicked on a link they suggested? It’s because you trust their expert opinion! It happens! People don’t always find what they need through search engines! The more opportunities you have out there to increase TRAFFIC to your website, the more TRAFFIC you will GET to your website. That’s why I have to defend the poor, shunned NoFollow links. They do their job. They just do it differently.

THE UGLY.

Link farms. This is why you really want to trust the company who is doing your SEO. Someone can promise you links, physically show you the links exist, and never tell you that they are actually hurting your website. This can be anything from an article directory that accepts all content without reviewing it, to a website that allows you to submit whatever links you want in as many different forms so that you can for purposes of getting higher on the search engines. That’s not natural, and Google isn’t dumb. They have the USER of the search engines in mind. They want their searchers to find the most valuable information they need when they search for a specific keyword. That’s why Google respects ORGANIC and NATURAL links. They want the people who link to you, to really be endorsing your company or brand.

Besides, if you get to a domain page, and it has NO page rank, and no authority domains linking to it, what SEO value are you going to get from that? The theory is that Google divides the total link juice of the domain website by how many outbound links it refers, and then passes that fraction of link juice onto them equally. If there is not juice to start with, how can you pour the rest a glass? An even BIGGER mistake is if you put a link to one of those Link Farms on your website. Google will punish you for that. Don’t be a partner in crime.

The good news is, at Digital Street Inc., you can trust we only practice White Hat SEO. We will make your links matter. They will be valuable, they will be respected by Google, and they will bring you the right kind of traffic. We know you have a great product/service, it is all a matter of making it available to the right people, in the right place- right where they would be searching for it. An optimized website and strategic links will open the doors.

Big Things Happening At Google – “Instantly!”

Posted on Sep 8, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Social Media

You know big things are happening over at Google when their CEO, Eric Schmidt, tweets the following message:

“I predict big things happening today at Google.  We’re already fast… fast is about to get faster.”

Twitter _ Eric Schmidt_ I predict big things happe ...

Now that tweet and all the fun logo changes are coming together!  Google has just release real-time live results that change as the user types their query!  It’s called Google Instant.  Just what is Google Instant?

Videos are always more fun than reading, right?  Check out the video from Google

Google Instant is rolling out over several days to users signed in to a Google Account.  We have been testing it out and have been amazed!  Here is a quick shot of the screen:

digital street - Google Search

This is a major change.  It should help users find what they want faster—heck, you don’t even need to click the “search” button anymore if you don’t want too.  And like Schmidt’s Tweet from this morning suggests… it’s all about the speed with Google Instant (and I can’t stress enough how remarkably fast it is).  Remember, Google only broke through in the search industry and rose to prominence because their results were so much faster (and more accurate) than the competition—speed has always been important to Google. It seems they’re bound and determined to do whatever they can to ensure that they’re results are quicker and more accurate, so that we have less reason to look elsewhere.

Take a look at our Email Marketing Platform!

Posted on Jul 2, 2010 by Michael Herman | Posted in Email Marketing

Here is a quick video to give you an idea of what our email marketing platform looks like!

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