Let's start this post that I love how KLM does most things but a recent email they sent seemed to be something a bit amateurish with some obvious mistakes. Before each flight KLM often sends out a checklist email but this one for my upcoming flight to Milan but I want to highlight some of the things they managed to mess up. This is a bit of a long post that highlights how KLM could have done it's email to customers like me better based on all the data they already have in my profile. Timing for email? Feels more like spam!The email was sent on the 18th September which was 2 weeks before my flight which I don't think is ideal and something that just annoyed me more than anything. The reason was I booked the flight on the 16th September and got a checklist reminder email less than 48 hours later which is just a wasted connection they had and I'm more likely to ignore future email communication from KLM as I assume it's unnecessary emails like this. You have very few opportunities to connect with your audience so don't screw it up!My flight is to Milan, Italy and not the United StatesThis one peaked my interest, it's important to know that an emergency passport is not accepted in the USA. That's great advice but the flight is to Milan, Italy but maybe KLM thought I was flying to Milan, Michigan, USA? It's important to note that the flight is a European flight and you don't fly to any other Milan destinations such as Michigan, USA.The second part of the issue is that in my KLM profile you have my Advanced Passenger Information that contains both my nationality and passport details. You have this data please use it and don't scare your travellers about their upcoming flight that my passport is not accepted in the USA. I might not travel much or might not have read the sentence correctly and now I'm going to potentially freak out and use up your customer service resources to calm me down that my current passport is fine to use. How to freak out your passengers about disease!Asking passengers if they vaccinations are up to date is a good strategy for high risk locations, but since Italy like the rest of Europe has a chance of Tick-Borne Encephalitis is that something I need to be concerned about? Sure Tick season runs from April until October but you are putting too much into this email I'm still recovering about the news that my emergency passport is not valid in the USA and now I have to be concerned about getting vaccinated against Ticks? A visa is required when travelling to Milan! No it's not!Again you have my Advanced Passenger Information on my booking and you can see that my nationality is Australian. If you visit the Consulate General of Italy's website you can clearly see that Australian's don't need one, and since you have my return travel details is less than 90 days. Below is a screenshot highlighting the most important part, I do NOT need a visa for up to 90 days.Another issue is that if I did actually click on the apply here button I got taken to a broken page shown below.This is a fairly bad experience for the passenger that is now freaking out about their emergency passport, the fact they need to be vaccinated when travelling in Europe and they now can't apply for the Visa they don't actually need.Again Italy is in Europe, why the push for ETSA Authorisation?Ok please just let it go I'm not flying to the USA on this trip, it's just to Milan.... also if I click on the link it just takes my to My Trip and doesn't specify that I don't need a ESTA authorisation to travel to Milan, Italy as it's in Europe. Now all the extra items buried in the email?Special Diet Questions? Yes, special diet questions is something that is actually important, but if I check the flight details I only get a snack, sandwich and/or meal. You should be able to know that it's a short flight so you don't actually offer à la carte meals for this flight so I understand there is nothing you can do anyway if I had a special diet or allergies.Travel Insurance? I'm scare enough by this stage that I might just take out travel insurance but again you ignore your own data and can see I have a FlyingBlue Amex card attached to my account which offers travel and cancellation insurance. So why waste my time selling me something you know I don't need or likely want?Baggage? Well that's something that is suitable but why not just include the details in the email as you know what I booked and what is my current KLM status level. Please just include those details in the email and don't make me click another button!How much crap do you want to put into a single email?Sorry KLM but this is ridiculous you are now asking me even more random questions in the checklist email, I might have fallen asleep by this point or reported your emails as spam. The idea of important emails like this is not to try and throw as much as you can at your audience and see what sticks.Travelling with Children? You can see from my booking that is not the case, please don't waste travellers time asking questions not relevant to their booking!Legroom matters? Sure this is a good one and probably something I would have considered if you told me about it 30 minutes ago when I started reading this novel worthy checklist you just emailed me.Choose your favourite seat for free? You know when my flight is so why do you advise 334 days before departure instead of 16 days which it actually was.Delicious à la carte meal? Again we have checked and as a passenger I'm not disappointed I can't get a delicious à la carte meal on my flight but you keep reminding me just to annoy me I assume?Choose your favourite seat? Wait am I slow or did you just ask me about this no more than 2 items before.... should I have picked the previous option which was free.... I'm getting the feeling you really want me to pick my seat before my flight...Privacy? Yes that sounds like a great idea as you can see from my booking I'm travelling alone so is this just to remind me that I'm a loser for travelling alone? Well heck I want to do it anyway... let's click the link and see what we get belowTry your luck for a seat in Business Class? Well they must have known the link for sitting together wouldn't work as you can see above with the 400 error. Sadly this option doesn't appear enabled for this flight which I assume KLM knows already based on the seat configuration but wanted to taught you about it for fun. It's not that hard KLM don't include extra items in the checklist that passenger's can't actually make any use of. I'm still heartbroken because I can't sit together with my imaginary friend in a row of 2 seats which is not actually possible in the Boeing 737-800 which has only row of 3 seat configurations as you can see from the picture below which you should already know based on my booking.Ok I'm over this email by now...I don't care about the KLM Crown Lounges, Renting a Car or booking any Accommodation by the time I've got to the bottom of the email which means KLM misses out on extra revenue from their passengers and that money will go somewhere else instead. I mean gmail actually clipped the message off that it was that long...I had to click the link to view the email online to see there was a plug for their mobile app, a plug to download RingCredible and don't forget their shopping services. KLM should be really concerned if their checklist emails are so badly stuffed with everything they could think of that Gmail clips part of the email off. I have included just some of the stuff that was clipped off it you don't believe me on how much KLM is just trying to stuff into their emails.Oh that's not actually the end of the email, they forgot to include important links that should have been at the top of the email, links to their resources plus a large text footer that offers 3 unsubscribe links which I think I'm going utilize atleast one of them and escape from these types of emails ever getting into my inbox ever again. Yep after writing this post I've decided unsubscribing from these emails they class as booking support emails, as this is a commercial message they are trying to hide in their support emails which I don't appreciate as you can see below. KLM use data to offer a better personalised emailSo you can see why I think KLM could do email marketing far better and this email checklist is something of a dog's breakfast, and they really should make an effort to get their email checklists in order and start using data to personalise them or they will continue to upset their passengers before they have even boarded their flight. You ruined the opportunity you had with me before my next KLM flight and I'm sure many other people might consider opting out of your emails if you can't get them right!
Skype announced yesterday in an email that they would be closing their affiliate marketing program after joining Commission Junction in April 2005. As a Skype Affiliate they offered upto 15-25% commission from customers who purchased one of the following with a 30 day referral window which made it quite profitable for affiliates.
- Skype Credit - With Skype Credit, customers can make international low-cost calls to landlines and cell phones, send text messages, and much more.
- Skype Subscriptions - Using Skype Subscriptions, customers can make international low-cost calls to landlines and cell phones, as well as send text messages at a savings per minute. You will pay a flat monthly fee- no long term contract required.
- Skype Numbers - You will create your own number that anyone can call from their phone and you pick up on Skype wherever you are in the world.
- Skype Credit eGift Card - Send a Skype eGift Card online and show friends and family the wonders of Skype Credit.
Google continues it's push for mobile first world with the expansion Google is aggressively expanding their transcode process starting in Indonesia in April, India in June and it seems now starting to show up globally according to Ben Pfeiffer. Cheers to Saijo George for pointing out it's progress since April 2015 around the world. Google is pushing this for faster and lighter mobile pages for people searching Google on slow mobile connections. Below you can see the comparison loading blogspot without on the left side and with on the right side which shows a fairly substantial improvement.Their experiments claim their optimised pages load 4x faster and use 80% less bandwidth which sounds great but what does it sacrifice?How to test transcoded view?If you have a search console account you can test how your website looks using their transcoder which will create a QR code you can scan with your mobile or use the Chrome device mode as shown in the screenshot below. Can I Opt-Out of Transcoding?Yes, if you do not want Google to transcode your pages you can add the following meta tag to HTTP header to your page and if Googlebot sees this page your page will not be transcoded.<meta http-equiv="Cache-Control" "no-transform" />Downsides of Opt-Out of Transcoding?If you do choose to opt-out Google will label your website results to indicate to yours that your pages may take longer and may use more data. This will likely impact your CTR from mobile devices and could potentially include desktop devices on slow connections. You can view more FAQ on their page.Ads and Revenue Impacts of Transcoding?As of May 2015 Google only supports a handful of Ad Networks including obviously AdSense but also Sovrn and Zedo but strangely still not supporting DoubleClick for Publishers (DFP). They do state that they will support more ad networks but no timeline on this yet. Transcoding also limits the number of ads showing on a single page and that limit is hardcoded to 3 currently. Google selects ads requested in order by the original page, so if your high CPC or CPM banners are loaded last Google will load them last or drop them if you are showing more than 3 ads.Google also advises that they only support two ad formats for transcoding 320x50 and 300x250 if you want your ad network to be included on transcoded pages.Why Shouldn't I Transcode my pages?A big reasons to not transcode your pages is that some Proxy and CDN services encode your media. This is not likely an issue if you don't use many features like images or music but could have implications if you do. It can have a huge impact if you opt-out for most large websites that use CDN for images and media files. If you are unsure if you are using CDNs you can use CDN Finder. If you need more details on Proxoy Decision to Transform W3C Working group has some notes on the topic, but be careful if you opt-out you might find some elements might break and your CTR from mobile devices might drop.
Most marketers and business owners can identify with the shift from web to apps based on their own mobile use. There is a trend for many users to consider an Apps Only world, This requires some adaption by businesses and investment in making your apps better and marketing them more.You can start by asking yourself two very simple questions:
- How many apps have you installed on your device? How many do you really use?
- If you already have the app, how often do you use their app instead of their website?
Free Or Paid App?A big consideration is whether you market a free, freemium, or paid app. While technically the paid market is not dead and can still produce reasonable success, users taste preferences are changing. Hybrid models of in-app purchases, in-app advertising, or even subscription models can be much more lucrative for publishers if they get it right.If you have developed a premium paid app you better ensure it's amazing if you want user to buy it no matter if it's $0.99 or more. According to eMarketer research only 35.8% of US smartphone users will purchase an app. Do you still want to go premium? Evaluate how the app fits into your business model, review the competitive landscape, and don't be afraid to experiment with pricing or promotions until you find the sweet spot. Remember that most people love free stuff even if later they have to make in-app purchases to attain that upgrade for the next level...
Can Your App Win Their Love?The big question you need to answer is: will your users place your app on their home screen -- and if not, it will they ever open it again if it's hidden away in a folder. There are only a handful of apps or companies that can win the prized placement of a user's home screen (Facebook owns 4 of them).You recall the question at the start about how many apps that you have downloaded you really use? I assume you probably have 2-3 alternative apps for most common apps so you can now see how much choice your audience has.There are now three points you should be able to easily answer:
- Does your app belong on the user's home screen? Do they use or value it that much?
- If you are not on the home screen, do you have a plan to recapture the user's attention?
- Is your app is good enough that the user won't un-install it to make space on their device for more selfies or another app?
App Marketing Considerations?There are 5 core areas you need to consider when you market your app. Some of these considerations can be done at a minimal level but they all need to be done for your app to be effective.It's easy to throw money at Apps and hope it works but with some planning you can attain far better campaign results by looking at the following areas:
- Measurement: How do you measure your app installs? How do you measure engagement within your app?
- Re-Engagement: It's not enough for your users to just install the app, you need them to be using the app; how do you encourage users back into your app? Daily bonuses, retargeting, Deep Linking, App-Indexing, Push Notifications?
- Feedback Loop: There should be a continuous feedback loop. Listen to what your users are saying. Listen for improvement feedback and feature requests. Pay attention to reports about bugs and other problems with your app.
- Organic Promotion: It's great that you have an app but are you actively promoting it? Are you linking to your app page from your website, social media or emails? Are you optimizing your App Store listing to get the most visibility in the App Stores?
- Paid Promotion: Paid promotion can help you reach a new audience, allows for very targeted campaigns, and offers great insights into your potential market.
Google Pushing For Apps...Google is playing a bit of catch-up on apps. It lags Facebook in the quest for mobile app users. But now apps are clearly the focus for Google. Others will follow their lead or risk being left behind.Google sees desktop traffic stalling out and is doubling down on apps. They push to make apps more central and improve app discover by rolling out App-Indexing. The general idea of app-indexing is that when you allow your app to be crawled and indexed by Google mobile searches can be presented with results that can be opened within your app.Google has also gone one step further by actually rolling out a specific mobile algorithm with a ranking benefit to websites with indexed app for signed-in users who already have your app installed. This is important; as Google starts to shift users directly into apps instead of websites, Google also provides an advantage to websites that build a quality app to complement their website experience.With App-Indexing Google offers an SEO incentive to websites that integrate their mobile, desktop, and app experience.
The Growing App EcosystemThere is a lot of focus on app marketing. Your digital marketing needs to be perfect for your Apps; they can be make or break your business.Apple saw a 50% increase in revenue in 2014 from iOS apps with over $10 billion in revenue for developers: proof that there is money in apps. Google Play Store distributed more than $7 billion to app developers.This highlights the huge potential audience and revenues you can attract. But understand that you also face incredible competition. You need to have your game plan in place.A few questions you need to answer when you think of launching an app:
- Do we need an app? Can we use a white-labelled app or do we build from scratch?
- Are most of our audience on iOS, Android, Blackberry, or WindowsPhone?
- What is our time frame for building and launching the app?
- Who is our competition? How pro-active or established are they?
- What is the total potential audience or revenue we can generate?
- How much can we invest in an app?
- How much do we have to spend promoting the app?
Member's of Humanity's Team UK Jonita & Daniel created a wonderful social experiment that filmed the reactions of people when a homeless woman was able to give something back to society. You can be sure to share a tear or two when you watch this clip, please enjoy!
Facebook has quietly announced on their website that with the release of Graph API v2.3, the Like Box plugin for pages is deprecated and will stop working on June 23rd 2015. They advise that you should use their new Page Plugin instead. Their page plugin in similar to the old like box but is a little more visual and allows you to embed a simple feed of content from a Page into your websites. If you want to add the new page plugin you can visit https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/page-plugin but you will required to remove the old code and add in the new SDK. The settings on the new page plugin is fairly similar to the old like box as you can see below.
It seems that even big sites like TripAdvisor can still get link bait right sometimes and remain on brand, get a ton of social shares and still build relevant inbound links for industry blogs and high authority news sites. TripAdvisor have launched a fictional Grand Budapest Hotel listing located in the fictional Republic of Zubrowka but they have quickly grown from 20 to 50 reviews to the current amount of 124 reviews and will likely continue to grow. The TripAdvisor listing already managed to be ranked #1 of 1 hotels in The Republic of Zubrowka so there is no stopping their chances of being the one of the top hotels in Hungary at some point soon, which might be interesting for visitors looking to book a real hotel.While it was originally reported by A.V Club as a potential PR stunt for the UK DVD launch of Wes Anderson's film "The Grand Budapest Hotel" this seems to be something closer to link bait because the listing is on every localised version of TripAdvisor not just the UK version. So that rules out the chances that this version is just setup to promote the UK DVD release and there is no mention of the DVD on the TripAdvisor page.So why would TripAdvisor be interested in creating a specific page for The Grand Budapest Hotel considering it's a fictional hotel if it's not related to the DVD launch? So I thought I would look at Google Trends data, what you can see is that the search volumes of "The Grand Budapest Hotel" & "Grand Budapest Hotel" look to be almost as much as the interest in "Budapest Hotel" and far far higher than "Budapest Hotels". So it looks to be something of a smart traffic play by TripAdvisor if they can capture even part of this potential search traffic. I would assume that they would have tested the ROI on the head traffic terms listed in the screenshot below before they launched this content page. So how did the link bait campaign work for TripAdvisor?I thought I'd play around with Moz Fresh Web Explorer to see if I can pick up what links the URL has attracted so far. In the screenshot below you can see the main TripAdvisor.com URL has attracted atleast 16 web mentions since the 8th July 2014. The localised versions TripAdvisor.com.au and TripAdvisor.co.uk only attracted one additional mention each, showing TripAdvisor.com won the battle for links this time around. I'd think that after a few months MajesticSEO and Moz will show up a far more detailed link graph of just how many links TripAdvisor built due to this campaign. How did TripAdvisor do with traditional media coverage?The fictional hotel stunt listing seemed to do ok with some mainstream media picking up the story, I found the a majority of the following sites in Google News that were providing some coverage from a short post for a full in-depth article and several more that were appearing on the first few pages of Google.com
- Curbed National
- Daily Mail
- Irish Independent
- A.V. Club
- Indie Wire
- France TV Info
- L'Huffington Post
- Huffington Post Italy
- Best Movie
- Bad Taste
- JOL Press
- Marie France Magazine
- Métro Montréal
- USA Today
- The Overlook Hotel - The Shining
- Fawlty Towers - Fawlty Towers TV series
- Bates Motel - Psycho + Bates Motel TV series
- The Dolphin - 1408
- The Hyperion Hotel - Angel TV series
- Hotel Earle - Barton Fink
- Hotel Splendide - Casino Royale
- Majestic Hotel - Dunston Checks In
- Heartbreak Hotel - Elvis Presley
- Hotel Babylon - Hotel Babylon TV series
- The Hotel New Hampshire - Hotel New Hampshire
- Hotel Splendide - Hotel Splendide
- Hotel Transylvania - Hotel Transylvania
- Kellerman's Resort - Dirty Dancing
- New York Hotel - Maid in Manhattan
- Pensione Bertolini - A Room with a View
- Hotel California - Eagle's Song "Hotel California"