There are ALWAYS options

future“Sir, I have a concern,” I stated, kicking off yet another Monday morning conversation with The Effective Detective.

“And this is news, Watson?” The Detective asked, turning lazily to look at me.

“Perhaps not, but that does not change the fact that I have the concern,” I replied, then continuing so as not to be interrupted or lose the thought, ” It seems that for most small businesses and almost certainly for solo-preneurs, email marketing is the only economically viable alternative, which tends to longer ramp up times.”

The Detective looked at me speculatively for a moment, before responding. “What a marvelous observation, Watson. It is of course for the most part incorrect, but still you are to be congratulated for picking up on a common concern.”

Irritation flared, but when I looked again The Detective was out-and-out grinning, and I avoided reacting to the deliberate chain pulling, realizing that was simply a cost  of being his assistant.

“Ah, then perhaps you could enlighten my poor ignorant soul, sir,” I shot back with an equally large grin.

His grin stayed for a moment, then faded as The Detective turned serious, and started his explanation.

“You see Watson, we small business marketers as a group have a tendency to try and model organizations far larger than ourselves. The result of course is frustration, and sometimes foolish investments in marketing vehicles that have no hope of generating enough revenue to cover the costs. For the sake of brevity, let us examine one in particular: direct mail.

“Research shows that the typical direct mail campaign has response rates between one half of a percent to perhaps 1 or 2 percent. Due to these response rates, the volume that must be sent out tends to be fairly large; in the thousands or tens of thousands. With printing costs and postage, one can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars in expense. Something the average small business, two or three-man shop, or solo-preneur can ill afford.

“However there are ways to radically increase the response rates. Using 3D mailers or “lumpy mail”, as it is called, boosts the response rate by several points. Who can resist opening something that rattles when you shake it, a garbage can or a message in a bottle?

“The single best way to increase response rates though is to follow-up with a phone call. This of course is dependant on two things. First, you have someone willing to pick up the phone and make the calls, whether it is you, one or more of your people, or a firm you contract the task out to. Second, you have a definite goal in mind for the result of the call; an appointment, a sale, a follow-up call to further develop interest.

“By increasing response rates to far more acceptable rates by using either or both of these techniques, you can send out far fewer pieces, thus reducing the overall cost, even at a fairly high per unit cost,” The Detective paused characteristically to give me time to respond.

“So a small business could actually send out just a few hundred direct mail pieces, and turn a decent return on their investment,” I ventured.

“I believe I just said that Watson. The return on the investment is totally dependent on the price of the service or item being sold. If you are selling cheap buck and half sunglasses, this might not be the best idea. I would be hesitant to use this method to simply build a list, but like anything else, one must weigh the payback against the costs. Shall we move on to another of your observations Watson?” The Detective answered before turning back to his computer.

“Next week will be fine, sir.” I answered.

Process Makes Perfect

flowchart“Sir, I wonder if you might expand a bit on the topic you discussed this past Friday,” I requested, kicking off another Monday talk.

“You mean picking software, Watson?” The Effective Detective asked.

“Actually, I was more intrigued by the passing comment about process, sir,” I replied.

The Detective gave me one of his sidelong glances indicating slight annoyance, but he answered. “Passing comment, Watson? That was actually the most important point of the whole bloody discussion!”

“Exactly, sir,” I recovered, ” which is why I am asking about it today.”

The Detective looked at me briefly, then, evidently deciding he would rather lecture me than chastise me, he started in.

“Defining a process before selecting software can be the only thing that ensures you don’t make a bloody mess out of the whole thing, Watson. However, the word process can sometimes elicit visions of massive flow diagrams and tables showing decision points and critical path, and other mumbo jumbo that project managers are sometimes so in love with.

“In fact defining a process can be no more than writing a list of a tasks on a piece of paper. The real trick is that it is on the piece of paper, or extremely well thought out in your head. A process is merely a set of steps that you follow to accomplish something.”

“But what if you are unfamiliar with the object of the process. Say, like email marketing?” I objected.

“Well Watson, the obvious thing would be to contract out or hire someone who does understand how to develop and implement a process, but failing that you can still develop a process using concepts that you do know,” The Detective answered, then immediately continued, giving me no chance to interrupt again.

“Let us take your email marketing example. Imagine if you meet someone at a networking event. Next imagine you are holding, oh,  say an interesting photograph. The person you are talking to shows an interest in photography and comments on the photograph you are holding. You offer it to him, if he will give you his address. He agrees, hands you his card, you thank him and shake his hand, hand him the picture and you both go off to meet someone else. When you get home, you pull out this person’s card, along with other cards you collected that night, send them all thank you notes, and let them know you will be sending out regular updates on photography and  other opportunities to get interesting photographs from you.

“You have just designed a process for staying in touch with prospects, providing them information, and the occasional offer. Just replace physical addresses with email addresses and hard copy letters with emails, and suddenly you have an email marketing campaign designed. You simply need to find the features in a software system that matches each part of your process. If the software doesn’t do all of them, then you either need to redefine your process, or find a different software product,” The Detective concluded and looked at me expectantly.

“That simple sir?” I asked raising one eyebrow.

“That simple, Watson. Of course there may be more steps involved, even some decision points that need to be inserted, but in the end, it all comes down to steps on paper. Once you have that, the rest is easy, or you can hand it off to someone else for implementation. Let us move on Watson,” The Detective finished, signalling it was time to take on a new subject.

“As you wish, sir. As you wish.”

Doing the Right Thing, Wrong

oops“Watson, I have a wonderful example of doing the right thing wrong,” The Detective began with an uncharacteristically indirect and confusing statement for our weekly discussion.

“Sir?” I asked, not sure how else to respond.

“Come, come Watson, we all know that we should, as part of any well-managed and useable list, have included our customers or clients, however you choose to refer to them. We also know that one of the reasons we segment a list is to ensure that appropriate information is sent out,” The Detective paused, waiting for me to confirm that I understood. I obliged.

“Yes, sir, of course.”

“So I have a wonderful example of a business doing the right thing: labeling me as a customer and engaging me, but doing it wrong by sending me an offer that I cannot use. Worse, it was actually quite an interesting offer,” The Detective said almost wistfully.

“Can you provide me with details sir?” I asked, now that my curiosity had been piqued.

“What? Oh, of course Watson. I have purchased several cars from a local dealership in the last two years. I am very satisfied with the purchases. Now, what do you think would be an appropriate communication from the dealership Watson?”

“Ah, perhaps an offer for some maintenance sir?”

“Precisely! An offer that I would appreciate, that I can choose not to avail myself of, but definitely something I could use if I was so inclined. That, however is not the offer I received. Received three times in fact. No, what I received was an offer for a discount on activation of a feature that is not available on either of the cars I have purchased from this dealership. Worse, it wasn’t until I had clicked through several pages before I realized there was no way I could use this offer. Not only was I frustrated that I couldn’t use the offer, I was irritated that I had wasted my time clicking through multiple pages before I learned this was something I could not take advantage of.

“So, what do you think the lesson learned here is, Watson?”

“Don’t make promises you can’t keep?” I asked, feeling a bit mischievous, and seeing if I could provoke a reaction.

“Bah! Watson, you are playing! The lesson is to ensure that your segmentation includes critical information. There is a delicate balance between over-segmentation and not segmenting enough. It all depends on what you are trying to accomplish and who you are dealing with.  The dealership knew what models and years I had purchased from them. They also knew that the option they were promoting was not available on either of those cars. Any one of those pieces of information included in their list could have allowed appropriate segmentation,” The Detective responded, with an irritated tone – exactly the reaction I had hoped to elicit.

“Simply put Watson, the missing key here was not utilizing information readily available to target a message only to those who would be interested; in this case those who could take advantage of it,” The Detective finished succinctly.

“Simple, but not always easy, sir.”

“That is why it works Watson, that is why it works.”

Squirrels

too_much_data“Watson, do you remember our discussion regarding too much segmentation?” The Effective Detective started today’s discussion.

“Of course, sir. It is hard to forget any of our discussions,” I replied.

The Detective cast a sidelong glance my way, briefly trying to decide if I was being sarcastic, then deciding  he didn’t care, and continued.

“I have realized there is a similar issue that requires some examination,” The Detective began.

“Which would be?” I asked, encouraging him to continue.

“We all know we are all deluged with data on a daily basis, Watson. What we often don’t realize is that even when we narrow down the data points, we may not be, how shall I say this? narrowing it down correctly.”

“You mean we are looking at the wrong data, sir?” I asked, concerned.

“Not actually wrong as in incorrect, Watson, I would describe it more as data points that are distractions versus ones that take us closer to our destination,” The Detective assured me.

“I am afraid you have lost me, sir. Distractions? If the data is correct how could it be a distraction?” Now feeling a tad confused by the direction the conversation was taking.

“Elementary my dear Watson, even the simplest data analysis – is this good, is this bad? requires time. If you are looking at data that, while quite correct and accurate does not advance you toward your goal, it is a distraction. For example, obsessing over the number of hits your website gets, and ignoring if any of those hits sign up for your list  or buy products that you had for sale. Wondering how you can increase your Social Media Klout without checking to see if all of that Klout is resulting in sales,” The Detective took his characteristic pause, and I, seeing a chance, jumped in.

“Weapons of Mass Distraction, sir?”

The Detective rolled his eyes, but couldn’t hide the smile from turning up the corners of his mouth. “A bit of a cliché, but still accurate, Watson. There is actually nothing wrong with looking for hits, likes, or whatever, the issue becomes when you become distracted by them and lose sight of what the real goal is. You must look at any data in concert with your goals, for example,’ my hit rate is up but my sign ups are flat’, then you can consider issues with the copy, or perhaps you are simply getting hits from sources that are not in your market. The data only informs you when looked at together. By itself, some of this data truly is just a distraction,” The Detective finished and gave me that look that told me it was time to move on.

“Something we should all consider, sir.”

“Quite so, Watson, Quite so.”

To Double Opt or Not, That is the Question

checkout“I find this discussion about single opt-in versus double opt-in a challenge, sir,” I began my weekly discussion with The Effective Detective.

“A challenge, Watson? Pray, in what way?” The Detective responded with genuine curiosity.

“I see the point in using double opt-in as a way to ensure that people are truly interested in joining your list, but with the vagaries of email these days, isn’t it possible that you will lose some people’s interest? Haven’ t they already shown their interest by filling out the form or asking you to be put on their list?” I explained.

“Ah, that is a problem, Watson. The rise of spam has meant people are all the more cautious. Which is exactly why double opt-in is so valuable, especially when you are giving away valuable content. Let us not kid ourselves, we give away content to educate and entice. We want people to understand that we have something to offer them. Something that can help them, whether it is in their business or life,” The Detective paused, allowing me to, once again, jump in.

“Then why not utilize single opt-in, in fact, why not just take their general interest as a sign that we can begin to communicate with them?” I interjected.

The Detective gave me one of his sidelong glances, indicating he was about to school me in something. I sat back and waited to be schooled.

“Watson, this is what makes our weekly discussions so much fun. You invariably take a ‘devil’s advocate’ side. It is refreshing,” The Detective smiled.

“I try, sir,” getting one last word in edgewise.

“However, with possibly a few exceptions, double opt-in is the superior device. Tell me Watson, do you really want a list full of people who really aren’t paying attention after they have that initial give-away? Or would you rather have a list where at least the majority of members are reading at least some portion of your emails?” The Detective started. I sensed this was a rhetorical question and held my tongue to allow him to continue.

“The answer should be that you aim for quality. Single opt-in is more convenient for the user. However, single opt-ins are more likely to  opt-out of your list. They are more likely to forget that they gave you permission. They are less likely to open anything further from you. The reality is that if some of these huge lists that were built with minimal permission were required to re-opt-in the drop-out rate would be substantial.

“You should want to feed your pocket-book, not your ego. It really is as simple as that,” The Detective settled back into his chair.

“You said there were a few exceptions, sir,” I gingerly brought up.

“That discussion is for another time, Watson.”

“Of course, sir.”

Too Much Of a Good Thing

pie_chart“Do you know how to destroy the usefulness of a technique, Watson?” This time it was The Effective Detective who began our weekly discussion.

“By misusing it, sir?” I replied.

“Close, Watson. You are still, on occasion, quite vague. There are many ways to ‘misuse’ a technique. I am looking for one way in particular,” The Detective’s response came back with a barely disguised tone of irritation.

“Over use perhaps?” I ventured.

“Perfect Watson! Even if it was a guess,” The Detective shot me a sideways glance. “It is possible to fall into the trap of thinking that if a little of something gives me great results, than a lot of it will give me fantastic results,” The Detective paused briefly.

“Was there a particular technique you were thinking of sir?” I encouraged.

“Yes, Watson, thank you for asking. There is one technique that is often used to a point where the data it provides becomes meaningless. That one technique is segmentation,” The Detective paused uncharacteristically here; usually expounding a bit more on the subject before giving me an opening.  However, even with the limited amount of exposition from him, I had formed a question or perhaps a challenge.

“But sir, isn’t it important, in fact, critical, to have as much information as possible?” I asked.

“An excellent point Watson. That said, there are two dangers in overuse of segmentation.

“The first should be rather obvious. It is possible to segment your audience to such a point that the segments shrink down to a size that renders them unusable. Unless you have a high ticket item that you are marketing to a group that you intend to try to reach at a premium price, who you have a high confidence level of engaging with,  segmenting down to less than fifteen or twenty individuals is most likely not going to produce results equal to or greater than the labor and cost  involved in producing those results.

“The second, and perhaps less obvious, but still deadly, danger is segmenting into sections that will have no effect on your message. If the appropriate age for use if your product or service is anyone older than sixteen years old, dividing your audience into a standard set of age segments like 18-24, 25-34, 35-54, 55-64, 65+ will largely be a waste of time in terms of getting that information, and a colossal waste of time and energy in crafting multiple messages for the different groups,” The Detective took his more characteristic pause here, and my mind raced to come up with an observation or question.

“So one only needs to segment down to the level where the message will resonate most strongly!” I exclaimed in a sudden moment of clarity.

“Precisely, Watson! Well done.  A more specific age example would be  if your product or service is aimed at adults aged 35-64, then you shouldn’t care if they are 35-54 or, 55-64, that breakdown isn’t needed. A tad simplistic I admit, and age is certainly not the only demographic you could over-think,  but you see the point.”

“Indeed I do, sir. So the trick then is finding that balance between too little segmentation, and too much.” I responded.

“Quite, so. That however, is a discussion for another day.”

Baby Steps

CB101959“Sir, I know we should always keep our focus on the positive, but we see so much failure, I find myself drawn to it,” I started my conversation with The Effective Detective on a down note, reflecting my mood.

The Detective stared at me for a moment before answering. “I understand your pain, Watson, but I feel your concern is misdirected.

“Failure, Watson, implies action. You cannot fail at something unless you actually attempt it. What we tend to see is inaction.”

It was my turn to stare for a moment, then give my response. “Perhaps, sir. But wouldn’t it be the fear of failure that causes the inaction?”

The Detective smiled. “A fair supposition Watson. That plays a part,  but not in the way you might think it does. Someone that takes the risks involved in going into business will generally understand they are going to fail along the way. The nature of an entrepreneur is such that failure, while still biting, is not always a sufficient deterrent from proceeding. No, there is a different problem at work here,” The Detective paused as he usually does at this point in our conversations and smiled at me expectantly. I decided, again, to not disappoint.

“You have my attention, sir. What would the problem be?” I said, giving The Detective his opening.

“Tell me Watson, does a toddler learn to walk by suddenly standing up and running a marathon?”

“Sir?” I asked, a bit confused.

“It is a simple question Watson, is that how a toddler learns to walk?” The Detective asked again, with just a trace of irritation.

“No, of course not sir,” I recovered, preparing for the full explanation.

“Correct Watson. The toddler begins with a step. Then two steps, three. In no time they are strolling around the house wreaking havoc. The toddler doesn’t worry about running a marathon. The toddler worries about taking the next step. But for some reason as adults we feel we should be immune from this cycle. We should be able to go from crawling to running the marathon.

“So, as adults we spend our time looking for that silver bullet, that magic elixir which will allow us to instantaneously reach everyone in our market and turn them into faithful customers. However, as adults we have acquired something toddlers have yet to learn – caution. So we hesitate, debating over whether this method or that will make the magic happen, and we end up doing nothing.

“The funniest part of this Watson is that we miss the most important aspect of the toddler’s baby steps,” here The Detective paused, waiting for me to interject and invite him to make his final point.

“Which would be, sir?”

“Elementary my dear Watson, the most important aspect is that by taking baby steps, the toddler ensures success. They take a step and then pause to gain their balance. If need be they fall gently, if not gracefully, on their bum.  They make small adjustments all the while making steady progress. With each attempt, they learn something new, incorporate that knowledge and move closer to their goal.

“We adults on the other hand, think we should be able to bypass the process and go straight to success.  Our impatience betrays us. But because we fear going all in, with good reason, we do nothing,” The Detective stopped with a look that told me the discussion was over for today. But I couldn’t resist getting one last observation in.

“Wisdom from the mouths of babes, sir?”

“Quite so Watson, quite so.”

What is Content Anyway?

contentI must have sighed a tad too deeply whilst reviewing my email, because I suddenly felt The Effective Detective’s gaze focused upon me.

“Come, come Watson, please explain your plaintive sighs,” The Detective finally demanded.

“Sorry sir, I must be showing my disappointment with today’s crop of emails from various lists we recently subscribed to,” I answered truthfully.

“Interesting Watson, and what is the root of your disappointment?” The Detective asked.

“Well sir, there seems to be a preponderance of advertisements. If I wanted to be sold, I would watch network television or stroll out to get today’s mail. I was hoping for something better in email” I explained dejectedly.

“I see Watson. Perchance are the majority of these advertisements coming from more product based companies versus service?” asked The Detective.

“Quite so, sir! Construction, photography, fine art,” I agreed with The Detective’s analysis. “I was hoping for something different.”

“Understandable Watson. Many of these companies feel they have nothing in the way of information to offer you. They aren’t like one of the many types of coaches that can offer free insights and tips from their expertise that you can apply. Their feelings are of course poppy-cock, but they have them nonetheless,” the Detective paused to see if I would encourage him or try to change the subject. I opted for encouragement.

“Poppy-cock sir? True, I would prefer something other than an ad, but aren’t some of these companies limited by the product they sell?”

“Perhaps in some cases Watson, but I suspect it is more often a combination of not thinking about their audience and a simple lack of imagination,” said The Detective, warming to his subject. “I sometimes feel that we in the marketing field confuse the issue. We constantly refer to ‘content’, which I think many assume to mean ‘useful’ information or tips.

“‘Content’ can be defined as virtually anything that is not an ad. If you are selling art of any kind, isn’t possible that people who buy art might be interested in the creation process?  If you own a restaurant, mix in some stories about how a dish is developed along with your typical offers. Whenever there is a process involved in the creation of a product there is the potential for interesting stories.

“The purpose of regular communication with your tribe is to make a connection, develop a relationship. In our personal lives we regularly make a connection with conversations that span diverse subjects that have nothing to do with what we do for a living. Why should this type of connection be all that different?” The Detective finished.

“Surely you are not suggesting that a plumber should be sending out messages about travel to Europe?” I asked in mock terror.

The Detective smiled, “Elementary, my dear Watson, an article about how plumbing facilities differ between Europe and the United States could be quite an interesting piece! You see, all it requires is a little imagination and thought.”

“I see sir. The issue isn’t so much what you are communicating, but whether it might be of interest to your audience, which allows you to make a connection with them,” I restated the point to ensure I had it right.

“Exactly Watson! Just use a little imagination to discover a connection to your business and you can find an infinite amount of interesting and even fun information to pass on to your tribe. Now, let’s get back to work,” The Detective finished, closing discussion until the next time.

Spending versus Investigating

test“Watson, I have been pondering something that seems to come up quite frequently with small businesses in relation to their marketing,” The Detective began.

“And that would be?” I interjected.

“Patience Watson, patience,” The Detective smiled. “What I have been pondering is the seeming reluctance of many small businesses to engage in active marketing,” The Detective paused only briefly here, seeing the puzzled look on my face. “Active marketing or interruption marketing as Seth Godin calls it, advertising, direct response mail, and lets throw pay-per-click in there. Instead too often, we go after what can be perceived as easy: passive marketing – Social Media, referrals, blogging, you know the variety of ways that you can, shall we say, ‘get the word out’.

“The issue is not that passive marketing is bad, but that it typically relies on you already having a tribe. What good is a blog in the short-term if you only have a few readers? Of course you hope they pass you on to others, but only a small percentage will do so, and if  the tribe is small, we are talking a small pass along as well,” The Detective stopped here for his characteristic pause for effect.

“An astute observation sir, but isn’t there a distinct disadvantage to active marketing?” I inserted into the pause, knowing mild praise and a question will always get The Detective moving again.

“Of course, Watson,” he said with a smile, accepting the praise and warming to the question. “Active marketing can carry a relatively hefty price tag and that is where I believe we will find the root of the average small business person’s hesitation.

“What we all fear is that we will spend vast amounts of money without results, and thus, that money will have been ‘wasted’.  Yet we believe we must cast a ‘wide net’. Our hope is that by reaching thousands we will find the proverbial needle in the haystack – our prospect. Sometimes, if the product and the market are appropriate, it can work. However, this requires a leap of faith; one not always justified and of course an outlay of cash, which we fear to waste, and a circle of doubt begins.

“Yet, there is another way, one which leads us to doubt conventional wisdom about ‘wide nets’.

“The answer of course is to test; but we must review the information from the test carefully. I myself ran such a test just in the past week. I ran a pay-per-click ad to a very narrow audience for a very niched product. I received a small number of views, and a very small number of clicks. So I expanded the audience ten-fold, received a phenomenal number of views, and a decent supply of clicks – which of course resulted in a further investment on my part, albeit a small one. Now what would be your initial reaction to this Watson?” The Detective asked at the end of his story.

“Why that the broader market was the better one, sir,” I quickly replied.

“Now what if I told you that I received nothing from any of those clicks? Even with copy that had resulted in positive results before,” The Detective smiled, springing his trademark “trap”.

“I’m not sure, sir,” I answered truthfully.

“Let me give you another clue, Watson. Analytics showed me that the people who clicked on the ad spent virtually no time on the page the click led to, even though the copy was directly related to the ad,” The Detective teased.

“I would have to say they were the wrong people sir, they had no real need, maybe they were curious, or even clicked accidentally,” I hesitantly ventured.

“Precisely Watson! Rather than supposing that pay-per-click is a useless marketing vehicle; which may yet be the conclusion – at least the pay-per-click sources being tested, instead, we can arrive at another conclusion – that the ad itself was faulty. Perhaps a bad headline, or imprecise text, which resulted in fewer clicks from our true audience.  Theories arrived at with minimal cost, and which can be tested with minimal additional cost,” The Detective summed up.

“And then if more positive results appear, we can decide to invest more money in the ad. I must say I like the sound of that sir!” I exclaimed.

“Elementary, my dear Watson, it is all in the data,” The Detective replied, turning back to his work.

 

 

What’s in a Word?

list“Sir?” I prodded, interrupting The Effective Detective’s reverie.

“What?!” the startled detective exclaimed, “Oh Watson, what can I help you with,” regaining his composure after almost jumping out of his chair.

“I don’t require assistance at this moment sir, but I am puzzled about something. I guess you could say I consider it a mystery,” I said, so absorbed in my own thoughts, I didn’t even notice The Detective’s reaction.

“Well Watson, you have started today’s discussion, pray continue with details of your ‘mystery’,” The Detective answered, warming to the challenge.

“Ah, yes sir. You see what puzzles me is what seems to be a misunderstanding of the use of the word ‘list’. I have noticed often in your and others’ presentations that when that word is used, confusion seems to set in. It is as if the word has no meaning, or at least no meaning in the marketing sense,” I explained.

“Ah Watson, you have picked up on an interesting situation. One where the same word can have two different meanings depending on the audience. If you mention that word to an Internet marketer, there is no confusion, they know and understand of what you are speaking. However, I too have noticed the confusion in the eyes of brick-and-mortar product business owners, and professional service providers – even the ones that consider themselves virtual, at least in terms of their office location.

“To the Internet marketer, their list is the heart of their business. It is the thing that allows them to exist, and it is to be nurtured and developed above almost everything else. Unfortunately, too often, to lets call them ‘real-world’ businesses, the ones that see their customers, interact with them directly, their ‘list’ is much more akin to an accounting device. It allows them to calculate profit and loss on an individual basis. It allows them to claim a following in their marketing,” The Detective stopped here for his characteristic pause, designed to give me a chance to interject something that would spur the conversation on. Of course I obliged him.

“So they claim a following in their marketing, instead of marketing to their following?”

“Bravo Watson! An excellent line indeed. You’ve hit the nail on the head! What most non-Internet businesses do is constantly market to the universe of people who aren’t really aware of them, hoping that the message will strike someone’s fancy who is also in the market for the product or service at the precise moment it is being advertised to them. Whereas the Internet marketer will market their wares consistently to the universe of people who are aware of them – the list, knowing that even if now is not the time, next week, next month or perhaps even next year might be, and through consistent contact they will be there to serve,” The Detective responded.

“And to the universe of people not aware of them? Are they ignored?” I asked.

“Elementary dear Watson, they are marketed to as well, how else will you build the list? If, by chance they are ready to buy today, wonderful! But, if not, that is okay as well. They are invited to become part of the community, and will be given many other chances to purchase something,” The Detective answered patiently.

“So it is a constant series of sales pitches?” I asked, imagining a never ending barrage of advertisements to a helpless list armed only with a wastebasket and the delete button on their computer.

“Bah! Watson, that would be suicide for the business. However, that discussion is for another day,” the Detective responded forcefully.

“As you wish, sir.”