Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Would you, should you or can you advertise on Twitter?

Although you might not think there was a whole lot of scope for advertising in a medium that only gives you 140 characters to play with, there are a growing number of ways to advertise through Twitter although whether or not they’re actually effective is an entirely different question.

The means for handling the advertising varies quite a bit as you’d expect for a fairly new type of media. For instance, since the tweets themselves are rather fleeting affairs on the tweet streams of the more prolific twitterers, Twittad takes the approach of using the background image to place the main advert and uses the tweet stream to announce that the twitter account is sponsored. The system works in a similar way to blog sponsorship platforms which is to say that you write up a little profile of your twitter account and advertisers can choose you based on that or alternatively you can choose some advertisers. Payout seems to be around the $2.50 a week level which is OK in that you don’t need to do much for that.

Another service that’s possibly more interesting to the advertisers than the twitterers is Twtad which works on the pay per click model. The problem with this one is that the payment is typically 5 cents or less which would be alright for a system that was entirely automated but this system isn’t. Since click-through is typically quite low this system isn’t really worthwhile unless you have LOT of followers (10,000 or more perhaps) and if you have then you should be able to pick up more money elsewhere.

A more comprehensive version of this is Be a Magpie which is an automated service offering pay per view, pay per click, pay per lead and pay per sale. You can set it so that you have to pre-approve tweets but leaving it on automatic seems best and will put a Magpie tweet every 5 ot 10 (you set the interval) of your tweets. All else being equal this one seems by far the best bet for the twitterers in that once it’s set up it can be fully automated. It’s good from the advertisers point of view too in that it offers the four different payment methods.

The latest entrant seems to be Betweeted which I gather operates on the basis of the twitterer choosing advertisers to tweet about so is quite similar to the usual blog sponsorship services. So far it’s only for US bloggers and nobody else can even register to look at how it works.

So, you can advertise via Twitter, but the question is: should you? If you followed the original principles of Twitter ie that it’s a service for “friends, family members and co-workers to stay connected” then the answer is probably not. After all, you wouldn’t hand out advertising leaflets to these people, would you? However, the service has moved a long way from that and most people have followers who are complete strangers and lots of others are tweeting to promote themselves or their business, in which case the answer is: why not? Aside from advertising third parties, more and more companies are moving on to Twitter to promote their products and, of course, there’s always been the self-promotion of bloggers tweeting their posts (some cross-promote their tweets on their blog) so advertising is very much a feature of Twitter that seems here to stay.

Finally, there’s the question of effectiveness of Twitter advertising ie does it actually work? Well, I’ve been tweeting my own blog posts for a while now and it would appear that it’s quite an effective way of gathering new readers for the blog so presumably it would be equally effective for advertising tweets, or at least those that fit in with the general interest of the followers.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Wastage vs theft in hotels

In big hotels towels and whatnot go “missing” and it’s classed as wastage basically because it would be pretty difficult to identify who’d made off with things as so many different people are involved.

However, in our place which is very much at the smaller end of the scale, there are very few people involved so it’s easy enough to identify the culprits. For example, just this morning a family checked out and made off with four of our towels. Sometimes you wonder why people do that but in this case it’s pretty clear: they had ordered four breakfasts but only ate one. Therefore in lieu of the three breakfasts which we’d charged them for they thought that they’d take two little towels and two big ones.

Net effect? Well, they’ve been charged EUR 40 and received an e-mail letting them know we’ll refund it if we get the towels back next week.

Now, what they’re going to say is that they didn’t do it and obviously it must have been our cleaning person. Well, as it happens I’m the person who both puts the towels into the rooms and takes them out again. I put six in and took two out therefore they took the other four.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Odd offers

When you’ve collected a few domains and are running a number of websites after a while you start getting what can sometimes become a flood of peculiar offers.

Mainly, for us, it’s the peculiar bookings. Nearly always these are from Dr SomeBodyOrOther who represents some Christian organisation and who wants to send a large number of delegates to us for some conference in the near future.

On the more general front there’s the stream of link exchange offers from some incredibly dodgy websites indeed. On the other hand, I’ve just done a link exchange with A Personal Finance Guide which is close to being the American mirror image of Financial Perspectives.

And then there’s the business offers of various kinds. The latest is effectively a franchised dating site. Some of these look quite interesting eg for the dating site it would appear that the only upfront cash required would be to register a domain so I’m thinking about that one.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

They didn’t speak French to us…

That’s one of the negative comments that we received recently. Slightly ironic though in that the comment was from a German family of which only one of the four could speak any French and he couldn’t speak much.

However, we’ve now reached the point where we expect that French guests will criticize us for not being French. At least that is if they come from the Dordogne where we can understand their opposition to English as it’s often treated by the English as though it were the far south of England. Somewhat more peculiar though are those from Alsace who are historically German of course but who are, by now, more French than the French with a lot more depth to their French ancestry.

What’s also been a feature this year is that we’ve had a LOT more Germans, Dutch and Spanish than normal and have around 90% non-French for quite extended periods sometimes. That’s given rise to criticisms from some of the French guests that French isn’t being spoken in the dining room or rather that English is being used by everyone else but them.

That’s something that we’d never thought about before. After all, in the majority of hotels around the world, it’s English that’s used between guests of different nationalities and, on the whole, it’s the language you’d most commonly hear during breakfast. Yet, in France the French expect the most common language to be French. Weird.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.

Just how do you judge the value that you’re getting at a restaurant?

Although you’re getting a product from a restaurant, restaurants are very much in the service sector and therefore “value” is judged largely on service criteria which are generally a little peculiar.

For example, whilst you can obviously tell that, say, a brick is of higher quality than another brick at the same price through such things as the material used, how well it’s finished, and so on, for services it’s often the case that people will value a more expensive “product” more simply because it is more expensive. Thus, when people are considering two restaurants that seem otherwise similar they may well go to the one with the higher prices on the basis that they’re getting better quality, at least until they’ve had the chance to actually try out the offering.

In France, the two way pull between people wanting to get good value whilst they also get good food has a peculiar effect. Typically you’ll see extremely low “menu” prices which are there to pull in the customers yet when they get inside, anything deviating at all from that menu can result in a total bill that’s substantially more than the menu price. Locally we find that people assume that lowish prices are low simply because the restaurant is using pre-heated food (very common locally) so if they want a decent meal they avoid anywhere with prices that seem “too low” which, of course, has the effect that quite ordinary restaurants end up having to charge what would be very much over the top prices elsewhere just to indicate that they are cooking the food fresh.

Ironically, those high prices don’t produce the high level of service that you’d expect elsewhere so in practice it’s actually quite poor value on offer in comparison to comparable restaurants elsewhere. Having said that, low service levels are generally the norm in France so in comparison to other comparable French businesses they’re fine.

Copyright © 2004-2014 by Foreign Perspectives. All rights reserved.