BSM and The Apprentice – an example of free marketing using an effective email signature

BSM (British School of Motoring), a part of RAC, is using an effective marketing technique by adding to it’s outgoing email signature a link it has made to the first casualty of Sir Alan Sugar’s BBC show The Apprentice.

In a RAC email I received today was the following copy as part of the email signature:

A little note on BSM……..which is part of RAC

Apprentice’s Nicholas passes test with flying colours


Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, ruthlessly booted off “The Apprentice” by Sir Alan Sugar on Wednesday, has at least one
reason to celebrate: the driving school which taught him to drive, BSM, today reveals that he has passed his test
first time – with no minor errors.

The perfect test pass, achieved by only 0.85% of learners, comes as the latest success for Brown, 24, who claims
he has never failed an exam and regards his “B” in GCSE French as his biggest failure.

This method of marketing is clever because firstly, there is no cost. Adding a bit of text to your outgoing emails costs nothing. Secondly, The Apprentice is one of the UK’s hottest TV shows, having received in the region of 6.5 million viewer’s for the first show of the 2008 series! That means a lot of people will be discussing it at the water cooler and in the hallway; plenty opportunity for BSM to be mentioned in conversation, or at least remembered, as having done something clever like this tie in. – find out the value of your UK property

A new site, still in Beta, I read about in today’s Times newspaper is property web site Zoopla! The home page proudly states:

FREE value estimates and more on over 26 million homes
Creating a more transparent marketplace for property through community participation

I had a play about with the site and it certainly seems to be accurate, however I’m not sure how much more accurate it could be than an experienced property agent with knowledge of the area. Giving the home-owner an opportunity to ‘refine’ the property details, like number of bedrooms etc, provides a valuation as well the price homes on your street have gone for recently.

The site is built around the popular ‘social network’ theme and the idea is to get users involved in providing useful area information as well as buying/selling opportunities even if the property is not actually up for sale; a good way to gauge what your home could be sold for if you’re thinking about it.

Give it a try at

Queeen Elizabeth & the Royal Family go Digital with their very own YouTube Channel

“Welcome to Official YouTube Channel for the British Monarchy” reads the introductory header of the Royal Family’s YouTube Channel.

Traditionally  the Queen’s Christmas message is televised on Christmas Day and has been since 1957; the move to show the address on a YouTube channel marks the 50th anniversary.

This also marks a shift in the way the Monarchy will choose to connect with the British people from hereon. Internet browsing has shot past TV as the pass-time of choice and recent research has shown that fewer and fewer people watch the Queen’s Christmas message on TV. With so much time spent on social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube it’s no wonder that the Monarchy feels a move to an Internet channel is needed.

Considering that it takes very little time and effort to set up a YouTube channel, there’s no reason why businesses too cannot take advantage of this great marketing tool. Many top universities already use YouTube to host videos of their courses  and it’s possible to find marketing videos for all sorts of things on YouTube and across the Internet.

One of the best uses of a service like YouTube is to host videos on it and then display them on your own web-site or blog. This has a few advantages:

  1. The video now appears in more than one location on the Internet giving it better exposure;
  2. Video takes up a lot more server space than static images and if you’re likely to be displaying many videos on your site it’s wise to ‘host’ them elsewhere and ’embed’ them on your site;
  3. You can use videos hosted on YouTube, or any other similar service, to improve the Search Engine Marketing for your business.

Can your business profit by using YouTube to host promotional and marketing videos?

Use Blinkx Ad Hoc to Generate Revenue from Videos on your Web-site or Blog

If you’re a person who takes a lot of video and posts them up on your web-site, blog or social network then Blinkx may be of interest.

Blinkx Ad Hoc is an easy way to display ads on your posted videos and, following the pay-per-click model, any time an ad is clicked you get paid.

It’s easy to set up an account with Blinkx and you could soon be generating revenue from your videos.

From the Blinkx home page…

Make money every time you share a video on your blog, website or social networking profile. Sound good to you? It’s easy to do! Our clever technology matches relevant, in-video text ads to any video. Whenever someone clicks on an ad in your video, you make half the cash!

Check out Blinkx Ad Hoc today – X-Factor Winner Leverages the power of the ‘Instant Digital Download’

Leon Jackson was crowned the winner of the 2007 X-Factor competition last night. Winning a 1 million pound recording contract, his music single, a cover version of the song “When You Believe”, originally recorded by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey for the animated movie “Alladin”, is released on CD on Monday to give it a chance of making it to the Christmas No.1 chart position.

However, the song is already available from the official Leon Jackson website ( for download. For the first time X-Factor has leveraged the power of the “Instant Download” by taking advantage of the obvious frenzy that surrounds the finals of such competitions. Marketing the website and the available download in the final show ensures that the masses of fans that voted for Leon Jackson can immediately satiate their need for his first single before the single even hits the stands on CD!

The Instant Download is one of the most important advantages the Internet brings to a business, especially a business that deals primarily in digital products, or even physical products that can be digitised in some way, for example e-books are digital versions of books, music and interviews can be digitised into MP3s, etc.

If your business can digitise its products then giving your customers access to the digital versions from your web site is a critical revenue channel. Once a product is digitised there are practically no further overheads involved and that single digital product can be sold millions of times and through dozens of partner websites.

Can you leverage the power of the Instant Download for your business?

A Forgotten Market?

Does your website provide a provision to verify delivery addresses via the British Forces Post Office?

In today’s The Independant newspaper, a reader’s Letter to the Editor raises the point that the British Forces Post Office address system is different to the conventional UK postcode system.

Most, if not all, e-commerce websites have a postcode verification system used to ensure delivery is made to the correct physical address, however since the BFPO doesn’t use postcodes British service personnel cannot use these websites to purchase goods.
In a sense, this is discrimination, as much so as not taking into account the fact that the disabled may want to use your website and should be able to navigate it with ease, something addressed by the Disability Discrimination Act of 1995.

We have gotten in touch with the BFPO to ask how best such sites can implement a workable solution and I’ll be sure to post their response when we receive it.

To learn more about the British Forces Post Office system click here…

Gadget Show Challenge Demonstrates The Success of Guerilla Marketing Using Blogs and Facebook

Last night’s Gadget Show challenge results clearly demonstrated the strength of running a guerilla marketing campaign on the Internet using blogging and social networking to drive massive traffic.

Every week Suzi Perry and Jason Bradbury reveal the results of a challenge and last night was the culmination of a 3 week long challenge to see who could generate the most Internet traffic to their videos on YouTube using viral marketing.

Suzi Perry decided to go down the route of an on-line game where the players aim for the highest score to get access to a ‘reward’ video and Jason Bradbury had a friend film him doing the ‘caterpillar’ move on the streets of London. Both videos were posted on YouTube and the number of views tracked for 3 weeks, with a final tally made on the program last night.

The results were astounding, with Jason Bradbury’s video getting 10 times more views, with over 2 million, than Suzi Perry’s which weighed in at just over 200,000.

But, in all honesty, it wasn’t the theme of the videos that drove the traffic. Jason Bradbury went on to explain that he’d blogged extensively about his video as well as sharing it with other bloggers to drive traffic. A friend had also set up Facebook group to drive even more traffic by creating a buzz around his funny video.

This clearly demonstrates that a huge budget isn’t required to generate buzz and drive good traffic to a web site. All it takes is some imagination and knowledge of how to leverage existing mediums like blogs and social networks like Facebook to run a successful Internet marketing campaign.

Click here to read more about running a marketing campaign on Facebook for free

View Jason Bradbury’s ‘Extreme Caterpillar Breakdance’ here…

Dragons from Dragons’ Den Invest In

Last night’s episode of the BBC programme Dragons’ Den was of particular interest to me as it featured a company called, a web site to make ordering takeaway-food easier, which needed investment to expand their operation across the UK.

Having successfully run the Dragons’ Den gauntlet, partnered with two of the Dragons, Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan, who agreed to invest £100,000 for a total equity stake of 25%.

The site has partnered with restaurants in various parts of the UK and provides the user with a single point of access by offering restaurant choice by area and the ability to place orders with the selected restaurant via the site. This does away with the drawer full of takeaway menus and means that a user, presumably, will have access to the latest menus.

It’s a great idea, especially considering more than 100 million takeaways are ordered in the UK annually, however what I wanted to stress here is that the investment was required primarily for off-line marketing, to recruit more restaurants to join the site and grow the coverage.
This is a point many ‘web-entrepreneurs’ fail to take into account. Many believe that just having a web site will generate enough interest in the market and lead to revenue generation. Not so. Off-line marketing is still as important as it ever was especially since it’s fairly easy to get a website up and running, meaning competition is ever increasing.

So, when you’re putting together your business plan for a web-business, don’t forget to consider all the marketing channels available to you, off and on-line.

Has Facebook Crossed The Line With It’s New Ad Strategy?

I don’t think too many of the 5-million-plus members of Facebook were impressed when it sold a 1.6% stake to Microsoft a couple of weeks ago, but the announcement of their new ad strategy will impress even fewer if not actually enrage them!

So what’s the problem with ads being displayed on Facebook pages? It’s free to use after all, and Facebook needs to generate income somehow. Advertising is the obvious route to take. What, then, is the problem?

What has users up in arms is the fact that the new ads displayed will carry the profile-pictures of members as if to say “try this product, I recommend it”. The problem here is that the pictures/photos of members don’t belong to Facebook to use in this way. The legality of this strategy is being hotly debated by privacy advocates and Facebook.

Could a move like this spell the end of Facebook? Probably not. Too many Internet users exist who don’t seem to care about putting their lives on digital display and the fact that their photos will accompany ads may just spur many of them to join up if they aren’t already members.

However, this kind of user will reduce the quality of a network like Facebook and could lead to more ‘responsible’ users going someplace else to socialise.

Read “Will Facebook survive past 2008” for more…

Use Facebook To Run A Free Marketing Campaign

Social networks like Facebook are a marketer’s dream. Social networks, by nature, are viral i.e. they’re built to ‘spread’ ideas, photos, video or anything you can think of to your list of contacts within the site, and they to their list of contacts and so on…

Facebook is second only to MySpace in the number of members it has, however it’s built to be a better viral vehicle for marketing. Whether you’re selling a new product or want to get exposure for a social event, it’s very easy to get ‘eyeballs’ on it using Facebook and what’s more it doesn’t cost anything.

The first step would be to set up a Facebook group for your specific product or service and invite all your contacts to join. When your contacts do join, the feed on their friends’ pages will be updated with that fact and will likely lead to a lot of them at the very least visiting the group page to check out if there’s anything of interest for them. “After all if a friend of mine joined a group it’s more than likely it’ll be of interest to me too” is the concept we’re going for here (you want to be sure to have some compelling copy on the group page to make sure your message is getting across to your ideal market to entice people to join). This will carry on for a while and pretty soon the group will have hundreds of members. And by ‘pretty soon’ I mean within weeks.

Whilst this is going on you want to be sure to have a website, preferably with a descriptive domain name that users can relate to the Facebook group, where members can find more details of your product(s) or services or whatever it is you’re marketing. Why? Because the site is under your control; you’re not limited in what information to host on the site or in what manner. Also, having a website allows you to capture the email addresses of your visitors so you can start marketing to them directly.

Drive the members of the group to the website (it could also be a special page you set up on an existing website created just for members of the Facebook group) using teaser information like articles or special offers/discounts. This will lead to more people joining the group so they can take advantage of the special discounts thereby continuing the viral campaign for you.

That’s it! Using this simple method you’ll be driving traffic to your web site in no time.

Here are a few links to help you set something like this up:

  1. Hosting and domain name for your site (if you don’t currently have one) – DreamHost
  2. A Cynergise article on using descriptive domain names to drive more traffic to your site from Facebook and elsewhere
  3. A brilliant email management tool to help you capture and manage your email list for direct marketing

If you’re setting up your Facebook marketing campaign and web site and need some advice don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll be happy to help. – promotional items website

If you’re running a business you’re likely to be using promotional items, like free gifts with every purchase, to get your customers coming back for more.

A great website to source such promotional items, as well as other products, is – based in the Far East, this website gives you access to numerous suppliers, manufacturers and importers or exporters of all sorts of stuff, using an easy to use interface to search by product type and/or region.

Check it out today by clicking here.

How Stuff Works, the website

A really useful website I recently landed on is ‘How Stuff Works’. As the name of the site suggests, it covers everything you’d ever like to know about cars, motorbikes, alternative fuels, werewolves, Google Phone, fleas, ghosts and a whole bunch of other stuff you didn’t know that you didn’t know!!

Just a few of the interesting articles are listed below with a link to the article on the How Stuff Works site (each link opens in a new page so this list remains) :

Drop us a note below if you find an article our readers might find interesting.

Click here to visit the How Stuff Works home page 

SAGA Zone – The Social Network for Over-50s

If you thought social networking was only for the young, you’re wrong. Today sees the launch of SAGA Zone, a social network for over-50s, created by the insurance and travel company SAGA.

In a four month trial, over 13,000 users signed up to SAGA Zone signifying that the Internet is not only the domain of the young. In fact in the UK the elderly make up 30% of all time spent on the Internet, a study by OfCom has shown.

Click here to visit SAGA Zone and be sure to pass this on to any 50+ person who enjoys using the Internet – this will right up their street.

Is Google Phone On The Way?

Google PhoneI’m a big fan of Google and especially its attitude toward making its services accessible to all so I’m getting pretty excited about the rumour going around the Internet that the Google Phone is due out in the first quarter of 2008. Google has already made the web largely accessible to computer users and is now extending their ethos to mobile phones.

But, what is the Google Phone all about? From what I gather, Google will first release software that will be compatible with the hardware from phone vendors before actually releasing it’s own range of phones. This last bit is still a bit foggy but it seems the software release is imminent.

The software will bundle Google Mail, Google Maps, Search and YouTube for video-sharing. However, the best part of this software is that it will be ‘open’ so that developers can actually build additional phone features.

What does this mean for you and me? Just that we’ll get access to some of the best free web applications on our mobile phones.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets – The Viral Games Web Site

National Treasure: Book of Secrets, the new Nicholas Cage movie, is the sequel to the 2004 movie National Treasure and is due out later this year.

The official website is packed with the movie trailers, info about the story about the movie but the better site is the games site sponsored by Mercedes Benz here. However, rather than the usual dull advertising banners, Mercedes Benz have advertised within the games.

For example, there are 2 games based in London; in one, the action game called Thames River Race, you drive a Mercedes Benz along the Victoria Embankment avoiding buses, black-cabs and other obstacles.
The puzzle game called Break Into Buckingham, a game very much like Tetris, involves destroying symbols to unlock the gates to Buckingham Palace. One of these symbols is the Mercedes Benz star.

The prizes are impressive, with a chance to win $50,000 in the London games and for all 5 city games the chance to win the $50,00 plus a Mercedes Benz!
The site is viral as one of the other cities is unlocked every week, revealing the games specific to that location. This week, running to the 24th of October, is London and the other cities are Cairo, Paris, New York and Washington D.C.

All in all, a great fun site packed with fairly unobtrusive branding and great viral games.

Let us know if you win the Merc!

When is the Best Time to Kick Off your Email Marketing Campaign?

What is the best day of the week to kick off your email marketing campaign?

Historically, marketing or sales emails that land in your customer’s (or potential customer’s) email inbox on a Thursday morning are shown to have the best conversions.

The thinking behind this is that most office workers, who have regular access to email, start to ‘dial’ down from Thursday morning onward. Thursday is the almost the beginning of the weekend; we’re past the middle of the week and the weekend now looms, getting closer and closer!

Psychologically, this means that our minds are getting set for more fun activity and less actual work. This in turn means longer time spent on the computer doing non-work stuff like reading friends’ emails or checking out the latest on Facebook.

But can we narrow it down even further? A recent survey/study done by a news organisation states that it’s exactly at 3:27PM on a Thursday afternoon that we really begin to switch off from our work. So, could we get better results if marketing/sales emails are timed to land in email in-boxes late on a Thursday afternoon? We’ll try it out and let you know!

Contextual Advertising on your Web Site using Google AdSense

Although there are a number of contextual advertising schemes out there Google AdSense remains our favourite, primarily due to the ease of setup and implementation.

But first, what is contextual advertising? As the term suggests, this is advertising, or ad placement, based on the content of the site that the ads will appear on.

For example, at we write articles on Internet marketing so most of the ads that appear on our site are related to Internet marketing. However, there is more to it than that; Last week Sol wrote an article about how blog owners can strengthen relationships with their readers using certain blog-comment plugins for WordPress. Some of the ads that displayed for this article had to do with relationship-building and how to find the perfect life-partner! Not quite what we had in mind! However this was quickly remedied by adding filters to our AdSense account blocking out those advertisers.
To get a better idea of what contextual advertising is, take a look at the Google AdSense ads in the middle and right-hand columns of this site – you may need to scroll down the page a little to see them – you’ll probably see ads on AdSense, Google AdWords and other Pay-Per-Click schemes. Look at some of our other articles and the ad will change to reflect the content. If your site is about sports, it’s likely the ads displayed will be related to sports in some form or another.

So, how do you get started with Google AdSense? As with all things Big-G, it’s free to sign up and after a brief evaluation period of your primary web-site your account will be activated. There are, of course, terms and conditions that your web site has to follow and as long as you play by the rules your web site will be serving up relevant ads to your web-site visitors in no time.

After you’ve signed up and your account activated, you’ll be able to sign into your account, set-up how you’d like Google to pay you (although this can be deferred to a later date) and start setting up your ad campaigns. Everything is very well documented and it’ll only take a few minutes using the wizard to set up the colour and dimensions of the ads so they fit in with your web site. The AdSense wizard then presents you with a block of code which you insert into your web page at the location you’d like the ads to appear.

And that’s it – once the relevant ads begin to appear your web site visitors will hopefully be clicking through to other related and relevant sites.

So how do you, the web site owner, generate revenue? Google AdSense is a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising scheme which means that you as the publisher of the ads gets paid every time an ad on your site is clicked on. The revenue generated varies from click to click as advertisers ‘bid’ on certain keywords and a sliding scale is used depending on the maximum bid per keyword.

I’ll be writing more about this and on how to implement Google AdSense code in your web pages in new articles in the near future.

To keep up-to-date be sure to sign up for our FREE Internet Marketing tips newsletter using the sign up form on the right.

Byron Review – UK Government to Review Internet Risk to Kids

Young kids today face a completely different world to that experienced by their parents. In fact, even only a short time as 10 years ago kids weren’t exposed to the kind of media they now have easy access to.

Always-on access to the Internet has brought many risks to children and these are now to be assessed under the Byron Review here in the U.K. Dr Tyra Byron, a clinical psychologist, will head the review process that will also look at other media including video games.

To learn more visit The Byron Review site and get involved in the Call for Evidence by clicking here (closing date 30th Nov 2007).

.mobi Domain Auction Generates Over £400,000

The .mobi domain is now only about a year old and many didn’t take it seriously on launch, especially considering that its meant to address the mobile-website market and it really didn’t make sense that a user would have to key in 4 letters on their mobile phone keypad for the domain as compared to the 3 letters of all the other Top-Level-Domains (TLD), like .com, .net .biz etc.

However, dotMobi, the company managing .mobi domains, has just auctioned 5,500 ‘premium’ .mobi domains like,,, and others for over $850,000!

Seems .mobi is being taken very seriously now.

Web Analytics – A Look At How Visitor Information Can Be Collected

Last week I wrote about why every web-site owner should be tracking their web-site visitors using web analytics.

This week I look at the manner in which site visitor traffic information can be collected.

There are two ways of collecting traffic data from a web site:

  1. Log files
  2. Page-tagging

Web servers generate reports about every site they host. These are known as log files and before page-tagging came along, this was the most popular way of collecting and analysing web-site usage information. The use of a program, generally known as a Log Analyzer, is required to work through the raw data produced by the server.

Page tagging involves a piece of code, usually Javascript, being inserted into a web page and a callback being made every time that page is requested. We advise most of our clients to use this method as it’s sufficiant for basic traffic analysis and easy to implement.

There are advantages and disadvantages in both methods and it comes down to the web site owner to make the decision which method suits their business better.

The advantages of using Log Files are:

  1. Raw data is readily available as every server generates reports
  2. Because the data is raw, any Log Analyzer program can be used for analysis
  3. Can be more reliable as some web users ‘turn-off’ Javascript on their browsers and these visitors cannot be tracked by page-tagging

The advantages of using Page Tagging are:

  1. No need to invest in any analysis programs (or the overhead in running them) as Google provides a free-to-use tool called Google Analytics, an easy-to-use, web-based graphical tool that provides fairly in-depth reports of site traffic
  2. If you run Google AdWords campaigns, these can be linked to Analytics to provide in-depth reporting on your campaigns
  3. Flash media can be tracked e.g. if your site hosts ads that are created in Flash
  4. Whereas Log Files are more readily available to companies or site owners that own the web server their web site is hosted on, page-tagging is available to just about anyone.

I hope this information helps you in making a decision on which method suits you best. If you require any more information get in touch with us via our contact form…