Adult Industry Blog
We live in a country were, as Americans, we have unprecedented freedoms and rights. The First Amendment, which provides us with freedom of speech and expression, is first for a reason. Because great minds knew that without open exchange of ideas; the entitlement to civil debate; and the right to express in art and literature topics that some might find controversial – without these freedoms, there would be little opportunity for progress and freedom.
Barney Rosset was one of those great minds. Rosset, the one-time owner of Grove Press and editor-in-chief of the Evergreen Review, was responsible for the landmark Supreme Court ruling, in 1964, that allowed him to publish Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer, which up until that time had been consider “obscene.”
With the monumental amount of information we have access to in this Digital Age, it’s hard to imagine a time when words on a page could be consider so offensive, so subversive, so dangerous that they should be banned. But Rosset took a hard stand for authors like Miller, DH Lawrence, the Beat poets – all of them now required reading in colleges and universities.
Rosset was the American publisher for the erotic BDSM classic The Story of O. He went back to court in 1968, when U.S. Customs seized copies of the early Swedish erotic film “I am Curious (Yellow)” that Rosset meant to distribute. And he won.
Rossett fought, not only for the freedom of expression of controversial artists – he fought for people like you and I to be able to have access to strange ideas and concepts so that we might see different perspectives and take away from them valuable understanding – or whatever the audience chose to take away from an experience others might deem inappropriate. A true free speech advocate, he believed in freedom of expression, in the extreme. He trusted in the intelligence of the people who would read those books and see those movies, and upheld the right for those people to make up their own minds.
That’s what being an American is all about.
Sadly, especially in difficult economic and political times, there is a tendency toward the conservative, to seek safety and sacrifice some of our freedoms. We forget how hard certain individuals have fought so that we could have those rights. Rosset dedicated his life to that battle and we have all benefited from his pioneering spirit. If you have ever enjoyed a passage from Lady Chattterly’s Lover or Naked Lunch or Waiting for Godot, you owe Barney Rosset a debt of gratitude.
Rosset died following recent heart surgery. He was 89.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Criterion Collection)
Special thanks to FSC Board President Sid Grief
Whew whee! It's been a while since I last logged in and you've probably been wondering "Where has Kim been? Has she run out of JOTBs?" Well, the good news is that I have NOT fallen off my motorcycle, The Big Vibe, and that I have been really busy with all things sex, GrandOpening.com and if you're reading this, probably the same goes for you! I mean, February 14th is always the big jackpot day in our business - Valentine's Day - and I hope yours was filled with love and lots of sales!
So where do I start? New Year's 2012 rang in and right now, the winter snows are being held at bay this year. Good news for sex toy shoppers, bad news for ski resorts, though. So let's start out at the beginning of the year...
The weekend of January 7 and 8 in Burbank, CA kicked off with the ANME Founder's Show (aka just the "The Founder's Show") where there was plenty of free flowing booze the night before the heavy buying action took place on Saturday for the qualified retail buyers in attendance. It's such a pleasure to schmooze with everyone, catch up on the "who's working for who" industry shuffle (always entertaining to keep track of), learn hints about what's going to be unveiled 12 short hours later when the show opens. I really love this industry - we all get along even though we are all competitors in the same business.
The show opened bright and early Saturday with a few new faces and companies as well as the ol' stalwarts who have been doing the show for years. There were new technologies presented (Can you say "QR codes"?), new products (more on that in a minute) and a few new faces, too.
Let's go into more detail...
The ANME Founders: California Exotic Novelties, Doc Johnson, Nasstoys, Pipedream Products and Topco had some of the largest booths as they always do. Cal introduced several new toys in beautiful packaging and continued with heavy marketing for their high end Jopen line featuring the whiz-bang electro-stim "Intensity" vibe. Doc Johnson presented really intelligent staff training tools including poured, sample mini penises that are made of the different materials that Doc uses for their goodies as well as PLENTY of written material that can be shared with staff. Attention Bricks and Mortar folks: My two bits on this training program which is called "School of Doc" - USE IT FREQUENTLY to train your staff about these materials with knowledge that can be applied to pretty much every toy available in your store. The material is smart, funny, and extremely useful since the printed matter are basically giveaways for your staff and customers. If you can't get these important training materials from your distributor, get in touch with Doc Johnson themself and they'll probably be happy to supply you with them.
Back to the show: Topco presented technology and social media meets sex toys with popular webcam chicks getting masturbators made of their privates (more on this later in the blog). Nasstoys continued to roll out reasonably priced, nicely designed and quiet toys. Pipedream kicked out even more stylish packaging in all of their categories and rolled out their much anticipated and long overdue Plan-O-Gram program.
There were, of course, lots of other really cool products and companies represented at the show. NS Novelties, spearheaded by the New Sensations DVD company, unveiled over 100 new products, some of them familiar and some of them sporting creative designs. Standard Innovation, the folks who brought you the We-Vibe and many other fine products, have upped their game with the new, remote controlled We-Vibe that can be worn when one goes out grocery shopping and no one will ever know. Need to walk right past the Haagen-Dazs section of the freezer? Simply slip this on and in, hit the variable speed remote control and voila! You have experienced pleasure without calories, my friend! Paradise Marketing and Trojan wowed the crowd with the new Midnight Collection vibes that twist in the middle and are in an undescribable deep purple color, never mind that they are being promoted with a pretty cool, 3D postcard. Nice touch... bring 'em into your store and watch the customers' eyes widen when they see the Trojan brand on sex toys...
OhMiBod presented many new products which, while being publicly displayed for the first time, are not yet on the market. Of course, yours truly managed to snag some of them so I'll report on them as soon as they are out there... hint: they're being promoted by Kandi Buress of "The Real Wives of Atlanta" and they're super nice and classy...
So after two days of the ANME Show, our own XBIZ Retail Expo took over with different companies and distributors taking part. RodeoH was there, SCB Distributors (great, classy, explicit and HOT books that are hard to find) and a few new sparkling companies selling their wares to even more buyers.
As always, the XBIZ Retail Show had several workshops that focused on retailer's needs and the highlight, I must say, was the "3 Minute Showoffs" which proved not only entertaining, but extremely interesting. I was one of two judges (the other being "Sex Toy" Dave) and we were able to dish products "American Idol" style, after the products' manufacturers tried to wow us over with a, you guessed it, 3 minute show off. The competition was fierce, there were some great products shown, some that were yawners (I personally think there are enough glass dildos out there, folks), and a few WTF items which, who knows, might become your best sellers... ya never know.
The top winner was Topco who, in my own opinion, is cleverly moving forward with QR technology, webcam starlets' popularity, and other cutting edge technologies and meshing them with, well, rubber dicks, squishy vaginas, porno, blogs, websites and other creations that will bring in a fresh demographic wanting to by products that have been around for years. Brilliant.
Second place went to RodeoH, the new and clever dildo harness that fits like tightey whiteys. The audience loved the presentation and I think they are the coolest thing on the market since, well, the dildo harness was invented.
Third place went to Jopen's Intensity vibe which I think has a bigger audience in the kink community than in the medical one. Don't ask me why I think that :)
Okay, so from Burbank to LA and AVN's Adult Entertainment Expo, which was squeezed into The Hard Rock Hotel. It was a mix of new manufacturers and buyers and I often felt that it blurred the line of adult industry buyers and fans, kinda like the old days in the Sands Convention Center before the B2B section was developed and promoted. I saw a few new things there and had a good time schmoozing, as always.
And then there was Valentine's Day. How was it for you? It's always the time to have your store well stocked, your website up to date, your products ready to roll. Hopefully, your store has recovered and continues with strong sales this month and through the spring.
So be on the lookout for the next blog which I promise will be cranked out hot and fast... just like I like 'em.
And now for the JOTB:
Once an old man was brought to a nursing home to live out his final days. The first night he was there, he sat despondently on the edge of his bed and in walked a beautiful, buxom blonde who exclaimed "I'm your Hospitality Hostess and I'm here for Super Sex!"
After a moment, the old man gazed up at her with his tired eyes and sighed "I'll take soup."
Adult Production Safety & Health Services (APHSS.org), which is operated by Free Speech Coalition (FSC) is reaching out to performers with a survey on the performer testing program. The survey is meant to gather feedback about the APHSS.org testing program and will be sent to performers, producers and agents that have signed up for the program.
The survey is multiple choice and those that fill out the survey will be able to send their comments on APHSS.org and its affiliated testing facilities. This information will be used to improve the testing program, and help to provide the best program possible to performers and other APHSS.org participants.
All information gathered will be kept completely confidential.
“We want to reach out to the performers, producers and agents, to get feedback on their experience with APHSS.org,” FSC Membership Director Joanne Cachapero said. “So we encourage everyone that receives the survey to please, take the time to respond. Those responses will help to further develop a program that serves the needs of the industry and the best testing experience for APHSS.org members.”
The Adult Production Health & Safety Services (APHSS.org) Survey will be sent today using survey website Zoomerang.
If you have questions about the survey, or APHSS.org, please contact Joanne at email@example.com.
A recent study posted by the folks at Marketing Sherpa revealed that 70% of visitors to your website will end up making a purchase. Some of them will buy it from you, some will buy it from your competitors, but most of them won't do it right away. What this shows is the importance of building a relationship with your site's visitors so you will be at the forefront of their minds when they are ready to finally make a purchase.
This method is known as "lead nurturing" in marketing circles, and is the process of developing a relationship through the use of e-mail marketing mailers that are targeted, relevant and valuable to your customers in some way. The goal of the e-mails is to elicit some type of action from your recipients as a means of engaging with your business voluntarily. Another study conducted by the folks at Forrester Research showed that companies can increase 50% more sales-ready leads and save 33% per lead just by taking advantage of lead nurturing techniques.
Here are some tips to help you increase your e-mail marketing results:
Build Your List
Before you can successfully market to your list of prospects - you need a list of prospects! You should build your e-mail marketing list by offering lead forms on your website and encouraging opt-in e-mail address submissions. The best way to do this is by giving your visitors a reason to opt-in on your list, such as a free e-book download, a request for additional information or some other type of free content. Make sure you specify what you will be giving away. You don't want to create a negative relationship with these prospective customers before you even get started!
Sending Your Mailers
The most important thing to remember when creating and sending mailers is to keep them relevant. Sort your leads by the topic(s) they were interested in at the time of opt-in. If they downloaded an e-book with tips for a specific type of product or service, make sure to send them mailers on related topics. You can also include links to additional products, services or resources that are similar to what they initially marked an interest in learning more about. Be as personal as possible and include your name and return e-mail address in the "from" line of the e-mail, personalizing the message so visitors are reminded why they visited your website in the first place.
Something for Everyone
Make sure to include a little something special in your e-mail that will appeal to your recipients. Offer a solution to a problem or fill a need with a product or service. Avoid sending spam-filled mailers that just tout the benefits of your business. Another good tip is to make sure your e-mail can be read by all. Don't just create an image ad and send it. Some mailing services and most mobile-based e-mail clients won't allow images to be shown on-screen. Some users also opt not to receive HTML-based messages for added security. Brush up on all regulations and laws regarding spam and make sure you are complying with them 100%.
Make sure the call-to-action in your mailer is crystal clear. Whether you want them to click a link to read a blog article on your website, or you want them to download your latest e-book - make it obvious. Then route your visitors to a landing page where they can fill in a form, sign-up for additional information or download the Web-based content you are offering. It's about building a relationship, encouraging clicks and other actions, and establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource that delivers what it promises.
Is It Working?
Some developers just measure success based upon the number of sales they get at the end of the week. If you have several different marketing programs in the works - and most businesses do - this type of analytics just won't tell you what you need to know. Measure specific data such as your CTR or click-through-rate, counting how many people clicked on your call-to-action link in your mailers. This will help you make adjustments as necessary to improve your CTR. Other data you should look at includes your "open rate" or how many people opened and viewed the e-mail, particularly if there are images or HTML to load; conversion ratios - based not just on sales but on overall clicks and actions; and your unsubscribe rate - it's important to know how many people are opting out of your mailer, when and why.
In the end, the most important thing you can do to improve your business and build a solid reputation within your industry is to develop a relationship with your leads. E-mail communication is not the only way this can be accomplished - there are many ways to communicate with your leads - and customers.
Take advantage of every available opportunity via social media, comments, feedback forms and more in order to be pro-active instead of reactive!
By the close of 2011, the Republican presidential hopefuls had their work cut out for them. It was starting to look like the people had gotten their fill of Michele Bachmann’s eccentricities. Such a sentiment was confirmed at the Iowa caucuses, when the Tea Party Chair, receiving only 5% of the votes, placed sixth among the other candidates, ultimately resulting in Bachmann’s withdrawal on January 4, 2012. Despite consistent double-digit polling numbers since early fall, January claimed another candidate in former Utah Governor, Jon Huntsman. Withdrawing from the race on January 16, the former ambassador pledged to “stay relevant” in the race, and has kept that promise by actively supporting Mitt Romney. Then, of course, there’s Herman Cain – once his luck ran out with the ladies, the voters soon followed. Despite suspending his candidacy back in December amidst allegations of sexual misconduct, Cain has done his best to remain in the spotlight, still lobbying for his 9-9-9 Plan and has yet to formally endorse one of his former competitors. And we can’t forget 2012’s latest casualty, Texas Governor, Rick Perry. After his promises to end “Obama’s war on religion” evolved into concerns of Perry’s War on the Establishment Clause, steam behind Team Perry was waning towards the end of 2011, and finally came to an end on January 19.
At this point, it’s almost mid-February and oh how the tides have turned. Deemed a misfit for most of his political career, Ron Paul has ridden the ‘rebel, nonconformist’ wave all the way to its peak. With that success, comes mainstream popularity and partial loss of Paul’s famous underdog status. Struggling to reconcile the Congressman’s political identities, voter support seems to be reaching a plateau, although not necessarily declining. The likely result: Paul is applauded for his valiant effort, but ultimately directed by the GOP powers-that-be to graciously keep the rebel rousing within the confines of the Texas state line.
Former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, was thought to be down and out this past summer after a series of questionable spending excursions and the infamous mass exodus of several high-ranking campaign officials. But ever the true politician, Newt has overcome the instability of his early campaign and gained enough momentum to be considered a genuine presidential hopeful.
Probably the biggest candidate surprise of the campaign thus far is former Pennsylvania Senator, Rick Santorum. Battling disheartening numbers since the day he threw his hat into the ring only to surge ahead in 2012 by winning four of the eight presidential primaries thus far, Santorum is the very definition of a “comeback kid.” Making no apologies for his socially conservative politics, Santorum ready and willing to squeeze out the very last bit of libertarian influence that might be left in the GOP, and based on recent numbers, he might just be able to do that.
The one constant since the beginning of the campaign trail is Mitt Romney’s title as the election’s front-runner. Romney is currently blowing everyone out of the water with ninety-five pledged delegates; that’s more than the other three candidates combined. Maybe the American people think a business consultant as President is the only way to completely pull out of this economic tailspin, or maybe we all harbor deep-seeded respect for Mormon’s with good politician hair – either way, Mitt Romney isn’t going anywhere any time soon.
So what do the Republican Presidential candidates have to say about adult entertainment issues? Not that the Obama Administration has been the champion of personal freedoms that was originally hoped for, but at least the DOJ’s decision to focus on child pornography instead of filing any new obscenity cases allowed the industry a bit of momentary relief. However, it’s safe to say that if a Republican takes over the presidential seat, it’s going to be a different ballgame all together.
According to Morality in Media’s (“MIM”) President, and former DOJ official, Patrick Trueman, “Vigorous prosecution of those who violate our nation's obscenity laws is critical now. Our nation is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography that is readily available - even to children on the Internet and in other venues.” Trueman has targeted Santorum, Romney and Gingrich for months, requesting that the candidates take a public stand in favor of his anti-porn efforts.
Heading straight for the newbie, Trueman successfully got Santorum to sign the Family Leader Pledge (made famous by former candidate Bachmann’s “ban on porn”) all the way back in July of 2011. The pledge requires Santorum to uphold, among other things, the “Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy — our next generation of American children — from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion and other types of coercion or stolen innocence.”
Nothing if not persistent, Trueman continued MIM’s crusade this past October by demanding that the 2012 presidential candidates publicly disclose “their respective views on the enforcement of obscenity laws.” MIM officials eventually obtained statements by all three of the frontrunners after calling on MIM followers to continue the crusade through emails, calls, and meetings with the candidates urging them to respond to MIM’s request for disclosure.
In his response to MIM, Santorum wrote: “Federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.”
In a one-on-one interview with MIM staffers, Gingrich was asked if he will enforce existing laws that make distribution of hard-core adult pornography illegal, he responded: "Yes, I will appoint an Attorney General who will enforce these laws."
The only candidate to reference online content in his written reply to the MIM demand, Romney stated: “It is imperative that we cultivate the promotion of fundamental family values. This can be accomplished with increased parental involvement and enhanced supervision of our children. It includes strict enforcement of our nation's obscenity laws, as well as the promotion of parental software controls that guard our children from Internet pornography." Although, Mitt’s status as one of MIM’s golden boys of piety may have hit some rough terrain as it was revealed that everyone’s favorite squeaky-clean Mormon accepted a maximum amount campaign donation from Daniel Staton, chairman of the board of the company that owns Penthouse. While this may not be tantamount to accepting a donation from Max Hardcore or Extreme Associates, this minor campaign faux pas is going to raise more than a few eyebrows.
With MIM sparking GOP discussions of a resurrection of strict enforcement of obscenity laws, notions of MIM President’s Trueman staging a re-entry into politics seem unsettlingly attainable. So is the country in imminent danger of the DOJ turning into the “Trueman Show” come January, 2013? Hopefully not, but with polling data saying one thing, schizophrenic primary numbers saying another, and public opinion exhibiting an extreme of the two on any given day, it truly is anyone’s race. The stakes are high for the country and our Constitutional freedoms. And with the top three presidential candidates pledging to reinvigorate the ‘War on Porn,’ one can’t help but hope that the adult industry won’t be one of the losers in 2012.
Adult operators today are engaged in their own “arms race,” striving to outdo each other by continually pushing the line — with some seeking to secure market share by publishing increasingly edgy or outrageous material, while others take the high ground through elevating the bar beyond reach of most competitors.
In the first case, several high profile obscenity prosecutions have resulted from those taking the former business approach, while the latter strategy is exemplified by the cinematic quality of Michael Ninn’s “The Four” — which delivers “adult entertainment” at a level far beyond the ability of the majority of porn purveyors to successfully compete against.
Somewhere between “shock and awe” and Cecil B. DeMille lie the bulk of adult operations — many of which swim in a sea of sexual mediocrity as they face the necessity (but not necessarily having the ability) to move into one of these two extremes in order to stand out from the competitive crowd. Of course, going down is easier than climbing up, so it’s simple to see why a pyramid is pointy at the top…
A pyramid has a broad base, however, because it provides the support necessary for the apex to reach its lofty heights. Indeed, the aggregate demand for the basest material far exceeds the call for cinematic extravagance when it comes to masturbatory fodder — but “art” does have its place in porn...
I contemplated this over the past weekend, when my wife and I went to one of our favorite relaxation retreats, the Chozu Bath and Tea Gardens in Ashland, Oregon. This clothing optional spa is tranquility defined and boasts a wide range of sake samples and other niceties to calm the body, mind and spirit. We stay in a private garden cottage, but spend a lot of time in the communal areas, such as the large Jacuzzi pool: the hot water meets the cool night air here, causing an ethereal mist to form over the pool’s surface, which is lit from below for another-worldly effect.
As nighttime fell and the darkened silhouette of my wife’s softly curving nude form glided across this misty pool, I found the simple sensuality of it all quite breathtaking — and it made me see new opportunities for a renewed creative vision — a vision bolstered by our earlier browsing at a local art gallery featuring nude photographic prints finished with silver, gold and colored metallic effects, for a striking example of erotic expression.
It wasn’t porn, but it was damn sexy — and worth paying for...
While I am not suggesting that we return to the days when most people only saw a nude image in an art gallery or museum, there is something to be said for taking a more simplistic approach to depicting (and commercializing) erotic artistry and sensuality.
Part of the problem from the planning and production side is that it is easy enough to become jaded in this business, where our own exposure to adult material may far exceed what consumers experience; resulting in different standards of normality as to the sexual expectations of the paying public, along with uncertainty as to where the “sweet spot” is, in the marketing equation that balances titillation with profitability.
As they say, “different strokes for different folks.” The key is to find your place in the richly diverse adult entertainment ecosystem and then to develop a following from there.
By focusing on the sensual appeal of your content, regardless of where it fits in the pyramid of porn, you’ll have a better chance of meeting your audience’s expectations and of deriving profits from the resulting enhanced level of consumer appeal and satisfaction.
The center is under the direction of infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Miao. Former Adult Industry Medical Healthcare (AIM clinic) employees Jennifer Mooney and Bobi Seybold comprise the medical support staff at Cutting Edge.
“We are extremely excited to have Cutting Edge added to our list of providers,” said Free Speech Coalition Executive Director Diane Duke. “Dr. Miao is a well known and well-respected infectious disease specialist who will provide top notch testing and care for our performers. Those are critical components of our APHSS.org program.”
APHSS.org was created to fill the gap left by the closure of the AIM clinic, and to carry on health & safety protocols for adult productions. The program and availability index were developed by FSC, working with legal and medical experts, industry members and Internet technology consultants.
Cutting Edge will provide the most advanced HIV testing available today (PCR- RT-RNA) as well as Chlamydia and gonorrhea at a cost of $120 for the performer panel with an estimated 24 hour turnaround time.
“We have missed providing testing and health services to performers. After spending nine years working at AIM, many of the performers are like family,” said staff member Seybold. “What is really exciting is the quality of care the performers will get from Dr Miao – he’s the best!”
Other APHSS.org providers include AMTC and the Healing Wave Center. APHSS plans to continue to build on their base of testing and health centers including signing on centers in other cities and states. “We heard from performers, producers and agents that they want more choices,” said Duke. “Quality of care is the first priority and there are a number of quality providers eager to work with our industry. We will continue our efforts to find exceptional partners to join our program resulting in an increased number of choices without decreasing the quality of care.”
Performers, agents and producers can go to www.APHSS.org and click “sign-up” to be led through a simple registration process. Other information that is available at the website includes links to testing facilities, FAQs and contact information. Users are encouraged to view the FAQs on the website; if they have further questions, they can contact FSC.
Cutting Edge Testing is located at 5000 Van Nuys Blvd., #202, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Contact them at (818) 386-2132, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Graphic: courtesy of Nevit)
Sometimes the best way to learn how to do something is to look at the mistakes others have made and see how you shouldn't do it. Let’s focus on five of the biggest mistakes that marketers make when trying to take advantage of a cold call opportunity via social media networking sites, targeted mailers or even other traditional methods used in marketing.We've all done these - just remember not to act in haste and remember what an opportunity each call represents. Since they are targeted calls [and they better be ;-D ], make each one carry the weight of a personal meeting.
Mistake #1 - Assume
We all know what happens when we assume. Sadly, many business owners do it all the time and wonder why they aren't getting more positive results from their marketing efforts. You should never assume that people will be interested in what you have to say - or sell. Even if it appears that you have much in common with one another, or that you are in similar business circles and industries, you should never assume that they will return the interest or have the time to make a connection.
SOLUTION: When this happens - and it will - don't let it get you down. When you make your cold call contacts use good manners, offer solid and valuable information and be persistent.
Mistake #2 - No Real Connection
Some marketers work on the 7-11 theory. If you build a store on every street corner, sooner or later they are going to come in and buy something. However, in the world of cold calling, it is important to contact individuals that you share a connection or interest with in some way. Some marketers will just go down a list of names and e-mail addresses or leach onto their friends' social media contact list, spamming their business or website with no real method to their madness.
SOLUTION: Make sure the connection makes sense and is relevant to what you are proposing; either via past relationships, mutual colleagues, niche market or B2B service and need.
Mistake #3 - Be Rude
We all have busy days that get quickly eaten up with e-mails, phone calls and other interruptions. No matter what method you use to approach your prospective contacts, you will be taking time out of their daily schedule. Some marketers are rude, pushy, take too long to spit out what they are trying to propose and/or don't even follow the rules of good business conduct. Think about how you would like to be approached, how quickly you just wish someone would cut to the chase and what you would want to get out of the situation.
SOLUTION: Be considerate, courteous, use good manners, be specific and succinct and make sure to thank your contacts for their time. Good business etiquette goes a long way.
Mistake #4 - Wasting Time
Have you ever sat down to dinner with your family and had it interrupted by a cold call from a telemarketer who wanted to sell you something you couldn't use? How responsive were you to the phone call? How did you react and treat the caller as a result? Why would you expect to be treated any differently by a contact or customer if you bring them an offer that is not worth their while, something they would never be interested in discussing in a million years?
SOLUTION: Contact people that you know will benefit from the proposal, offer, product or service you are selling. Using business-based services like LinkedIn can help you fine-tune the needs and interests of your contact list.
Mistake #5 - Be Cold and Impersonal
A cold call doesn't have to be cold. Some marketers think they will win new customers or clients through the use of canned, spammy wording instead of targeted, personal messages. Spammy messages are a dime a dozen. Our inboxes are full of them every morning and you only need to take a moment to look at Twitter or Facebook to see pages and pages of poorly worded posts and tweets that quickly become missed opportunities. Think about it from your own point of view: would you respond to a canned message from someone you don't even know?
SOLUTION: Make sure you add a personal tone to each and every contact you make. Target your message as much as possible to each individual in a unique way to increase response.
Remember that everyone you call should be interested in what you are recommending, and if the timing is not right for them to purchase, how you handle the contact can always make or kill the possibility of referral business moving forward.
Always introduce yourself. I learned that in the fourth grade where we did mock etiquette calls. How many times a day does someone call you and ask for a manager or you by name and not identify themselves? This really puts me off.
Always acknowledge that you understand you are interrupting their work flow, and if now is not a good time to speak ask to set up a scheduled call.
Do your research in advance – be familiar with their website, business model, and problems you could help them solve before you ever dial their number.
Reduce your offer to bullet points, but not to the point that it sounds scripted or read from note cards! Make it conversational.
Above all, LISTEN. Don’t be so focused on your elevator pitch that you miss cues from the prospect because you are not listening to them. Now get on the phone!
New Years are about looking forward and hoping for the best — but some of the most recent new years have been anything but good for the online adult entertainment industry.
That situation, however, may be set to change in 2012, as evidenced by the evolving community buzz about better sales, greater profits and more stability for many operators.
This year’s highly anticipated XBIZ LA digital media conference reflected the hope and change taking shape within our industry today; bringing together a veteran group of elite adult entertainment operators, along with a selection of newer entrants to the field, for an informative, entertaining and relationship-building event that seemed to be better attended and more productive than several other recent adult industry gatherings.
For example, I attended all of the XBIZ LA seminars and noticed that this time it was “standing room only” for the majority of sessions — and those sessions were not a rehash of previous panels and tired information, but a glimpse into the present and future of this industry, along with coping strategies for the challenges and opportunities it presents.
Although some of the topics were a bit controversial and some of the information was highly specialized, the benefits to attendees, I believe, was significant — a sentiment that was repeatedly expressed to me at this event.
While nothing is perfect, and the business’ battles far from over, the overall tone that I received from XBIZ LA was one of cautious but growing optimism, with a feeling that things have finally “bottomed out,” and that the industry has reached a turning point, where the strong have survived — and are now ready to move forward — with XBIZ LA providing the tools and networking venue to help make it all happen…
Sure, I’m biased, but that doesn’t change the fact that XBIZ pulled off another great event and that many folks are anticipating our next show — further reflecting the optimism of the participating players and their long-term plans for corporate prosperity in 2012 and beyond.
Back at the end of October we talked about developing successful mobile applications. Now let’s talk about what happens after you’ve offered that app to all your brand loyalists and new brand converts!
Customer retention is more important than ever these days. While there are millions of users out there who might become customers, today's marketer knows that the smart investment is in keeping customers happy, engaged and recurring. How engaged are your users? How loyal are they to your brand? Have you gone out of your way to offer services that are desirable to your users? …Services and upgrade options that will keep them coming back for more?
This is a vitally important area of any marketing campaign or development project. Think about how you want your customers to use your mobile site and app. Do you want them to access it daily to get updates on news, information or to view fresh content? Will you encourage ease of use that will help to connect them with other aspects of your site and product offerings? Here are some stats that you need to know in order to improve customer engagement and loyalty:
- VISITOR FREQUENCY - You need to know the ratio of visits to actual users over a period of time. Check this weekly, monthly and quarterly. This metric will help you to know how frequently your mobile site or apps are being used and it is essential to understanding your overall user loyalty.
- DEPTH - How deep do your visitors go into your site? Do they just look at one page and then move on? Tracking the number of screens viewed by the average user and then comparing it to the total number of visits will help you to easily see the engagement level of your customers.
- BOUNCE - This statistic can be hard to look at, but it is important just the same. Having a ratio of the single view visits to the total number of visits is important because it shows you how many users are launching the app and then closing it right away again versus how many are launching it and then actually using it.
- DURATION - You need to know how much time your users are spending on your mobile site or using your mobile app. Again, this will show the level of engagement your visitors have with your properties.
What is a Conversion?
Another metric that you need to stay on top of is your conversion ratio. You need to establish the actions you want your customers to take when they use your app and then measure how many of them have "converted" and have done what you desired them to do. A conversion can be any action that you want it to be, such as the purchase of a product, a membership, a registration for a promotional campaign or even the viewing of a gallery or video promotion. Measuring the level of engagement in this area is extremely important if you truly want to measure the success of your mobile marketing campaign. This is true of any mobile property - websites, apps or other SMS promotional campaigns.
To measure the success rate of your mobile project, you need to identify all the different ways your app helps you to achieve your goals. By mapping out the measurement to individual customers who have completed the activities required for conversion, you will be able to see the true value of your project. Think about the various characteristics of your target audience and how you can reach them through your mobile site, app or SMS promotion. If you keep your focus on your target market, you will be able to easily identify the critical elements of success. Also think about the activities you want to make available for your users, how they will generate revenue, save you money or help to brand your business in some way, shape or form.
Retaining Users and Encouraging Usage
If you own a smartphone then you understand how it’s possible for people to download dozens of apps that they ultimately never use! Retaining your customers and encouraging them to use your apps is one of the most important aspects of a successful mobile property marketing campaign. You want to offer features that will be useful and relevant to your users. The best place to start is to think about how your customers will use your app. If your app is highly useful, they will use it more often and will keep coming back on a daily or weekly basis. Here are some things to think about that will help you to encourage use and retain users:
- BE STICKY - We all know about developing a sticky website and it's no different when it comes to mobile property development. You need to find unique ways to keep your app at the forefront of your users' minds and you need to stay on top of it and keep it fresh. You can't stay sticky forever - there's always a newer, bigger and better app being introduced. Take steps to make sure you remind your users that your app exists, keep them informed about the features available for use through the app and stay ahead of your competitors by launching the newer, bigger and better app yourself!
- FEEDBACK - You need to know what your customers think and feedback is an essential part of gaining insight into the true user-experience. Make sure to offer opportunities for your customers to give you feedback, either a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down metric or an option to send you a paragraph or two in their own words. You can do this via your online app store showcase or via your main or mobile websites.
- DISTRIBUTION - Don't just hope that your customers will find you via the online app store. Make sure to distribute your app freely to as many markets and in as many opportunities as possible. Market your app via traditional websites, mobile websites, offline print marketing - anything you think will get new customers to download and use your app.
You’ve learned over the years how to successfully market your websites, now apply everything you’ve learned about site marketing to your app marketing efforts!