Category Archives: News To Use

Useful marketing news bites.

Heartbleed Bug Simple Q & A

By now you have probably seen the news about a recent security exploit for many sites using the “s” in the https URL.  There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the media, so I wanted to help break down what’s going on and how it might affect you and your business.  We are currently in the process of building a plan to change all passwords on nxtConcepts client websites, social networks, and notify you of other places you should change old passwords.  We know this is a PAIN, but  it is REALLY important to give this the attention it needs.

1. Does this Heartbleed bug personally affect me?

The simple answer is yes.  If you have ever created a user/pass combination on a site that used SSL technology, chances are someone may have access to your information.  Also, if you have ever used the SAME password for multiple account, you are most likely affected.  Here’s a quicklist of sites affected:

Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Yahoo, GoDaddy, Intuit (QuickBooks), DropBox,

Google-search, email, YouTube, Wallet, Play, and Apps

For a full list go here:

http://mashable.com

Note-on a positive site, banks, government agencies, PayPal, and Target were not affected.

2. Does this Heartbleed bug affect my company website?

Maybe.  If you have an ecommerce cart using a SSL, then, you will need to check with your hosting company and/or where you purchased your SSL to see if they have completed the patches.**

**3. If you use Bluehost.com, then the patches were made as soon as they were identified.  And, the SSL security keys were reissued.  According to Bluehost, the duration was very short so they have not seen an issue with this bug so far.  Here’s a link to more detailed info from them:

http://www.bluehost.com/blog/uncategorized/bluehost-update-heartbleed-bug-need-know-3298/

4. How can I check a https website to see if it is affected or not?

Go here: http://heartbleedcheck.com/

5. Where do we go from here?

We have a list of all the websites and social networks that we work with you on.  So, we can go ahead and start changing those passwords and then send you an updated list of accounts and passwords.

As for your website, we recommend having everyone change their passwords.  Just to keep away future issues.

Joomla sites (2.5 & 3.0) & WordPress : we can install a small piece of software to force a password change the next time someone logs into the site.  I recommend this, but we will not add it until you give us the ok.

Other sites we manage – please contact me directly for options.

Top 10 Tips for Mobile Marketing

When developing a mobile campaign, here are some do’s and don’ts:

1. K.I.S.S.

For best results, messages should be short and to the point. You have an insanely limited amount of space to communicate something, so make it count. Text messaging is limited to between 140-160 characters, so keep the content simple, to the point, and don’t forget the call to action.
2. Ask for Permission.

Subscribers pay for text messages. No one wants to pay for content they did not choose to receive.  People today are accustomed to being asked whether they’d like to receive additional offers/news when downloading content from the Web. This opt-in process is even more critical in the wireless world. Every campaign you send out should also feature a quick and easy way to opt-out.  It’s not only polite but required by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA).

3. Create a compelling offer.

Take great pains to ensure your offer is something your subscribers want. Strong offers can substantially increase subscribers, build brand awareness and increase sales for marketers.  A study conducted by Nokia indicated that nearly 9 out of 10 respondents agreed that they should be provided some kind of an incentive to opt-in to mobile marketing campaigns.

4. Every phone is different.

So make sure every message you send can be seen.  There are myriad of mobile phone choices today and a variety of platforms (text, mobile web and mobile video).  Phones can vary from simple SMS (Short Message Service) phones to highly sophisticated color wireless PDA’s (Personal digital assistant).  Screen sizes and quality range from small black and white screens to high-resolution matrix color displays.  Your mobile messaging provider should be capable of optimizing content for a variety of different platforms, including J2ME, BREW, WAP, and MMS.

5. Make it Viral.

Capitalize on mobile’s peer-to-peer communication abilities.  Users forwarding your message to their friends and colleagues (thus enhancing the reach of each message sent) facilitate viral or “word-of-mouth” marketing.  Adding “fun” or a give-away to messages may also facilitate viral marketing.

6. Piggyback on traditional marketing.

Just because you have it, doesn’t mean your customers will know it’s there.  Marketers must use other online or offline channels to drive users to participate in their mobile campaigns.  This means online advertising, email, social media, print ads, collateral, billboards, radio and television commercials can all be used to alert mobile consumers of a particular promotion, or invite them to join your mobile program.  Aside from increasing ROI, mobile marketing also enables better tracking of consumer behavior leading to useful reporting and data-mining capabilities.

7. Track your results.

Reporting is built-in to mobile platforms and occurs in real-time.  By tagging ad campaigns with a unique mobile keyword call to action, you can track each response to the exact ad that generated it.  Tracking your results also allows you to learn and improve the results of future campaigns.  Most professional mobile platforms include: polling tallies, survey results, total messages sent, total messages delivered, and more.

8. Allocate enough set-up time

Most businesses wait until the last minute of a campaign launch to start their mobile campaigns.  The problem, there is no one to market to.  It takes time to build up a subscriber list.  Starting months prior to a campaign will ensure you have people to send important messages to when it counts.  Don’t have the time?  All is not lost!  Mobile marketing is very flexible and time sensitive.  That means a last minute mobile campaign can be successful if done correctly.  Using a text messaging partner (like nxtConcepts) with previous marketing experience can be invaluable.

9. Start because it’s affordable. Continue because it works.

Some marketers may be tempted to develop a mobile campaign just because it can be a small line item in an otherwise big marketing budget. Big mistake.  Although mobile marketing can be very inexpensive to start and implement–sometimes just a few hundred dollars—it takes time and attention to make it successful.  By treating a mobile campaign strategically and integrating it with other online and offline advertising it will help it grow and thrive.

10. Perfect pitch platform

So why should businesses care about mobile marketing?  Simple.  The same demographics’ that are interested in buying your products and services are also the most likely to use mobile phones.  In a nutshell, every single one of your customers has a cell phone and there’s no better way to reach and engage them.

Americans Trust Small Businesses–But Government Hasn’t Caught On

There’s some interesting new research from the PEW Research Center.  People view small businesses with more trust than even churches, colleges, labor unions and other groups.  The study also showed that Americans say small businesses don’t get enough attention from the federal government. “At a time when a lot of institutions are viewed negatively, small business is viewed very positively. What’s really interesting is that large corporations are viewed almost as negatively as Wall Street. The contrast between large corporations and small business is enormous,” said Pew Associate Director Carroll Dougherty.

Although most of the media seemed to pick up and run with the fact that Americans have lost their faith in government, what was overlooked is the positive that small business IS trusted.  Let’s take a look at some of the study findings:

pew public view of institutionspew govt attn

Of course, as a small business owner myself, I (as well as other small business owners) have very little government influence.  But, don’t count us out!  Although, we may not have the power or funds of big business to change government, we do have power to change our world. Because we create most of the new jobs (65 percent of all new jobs are created by small companies). We have the power to innovate. And we have the power to create good working environments for our employees.

Do you agree, disagree, or have other “powers” to add?

Social Media Networks an Inside Look

A few months ago, a question was asked in one of the social media groups I belong to on LinkedIn:

“How many social media profiles do you actively manage?”

To date there have been over 830 comments from at least 500 people.  It’s a pretty active discussion.  It made me start to think…what a great informal research project.  So, that’s what we did.  We went ahead and tabulated how many social media networks this group uses regularly and what the most important/popular networks that are being used.

Here’s what we found:

Social Media Accounts LinkedIn users Manage Regularly

Social Networks Usage from Study

I found it interesting that most people that contributed to this called LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook “The Big Three”.  From the results you can see that a good portion of the respondents used these three social networks as their primary focus.

One other thing we found from this Discussion Group was the preferred tools.  Here’s a listing of the “best” tools to help make social media more manageable:

Let me know your thoughts.  Do you agree with the results?  How often do you update your online profiles for work or personal thoughts?

Go Ahead, Bug Your Customers

What is a Viral Campaign?

Have you ever visited a website and found an article, a coupon, a special offer, or something else that impressed you so much that you immediately sent an email to a friend about it?  If you have, you’ve experienced “viral marketing”.

Viral marketing is a term to describe a low cost, highly effective way to “bug your customers” by marketing your products or services using the Internet.  This “word of mouse” method is like a bug or flu virus in humans.  Instead of replicating and propagating itself by human contact, it does so by computer contact (in a good way).  One minute nobody’s heard of it, next minute, it’s everywhere.  Viral marketing is so effective because it lets you capitalize on referrals from an unbiased third party—your consumer!  Let just one of your customers catch your “marketing bug” and they will happily spread it to everyone they know.

As you know, the power of a positive testimonial from a reliable source will add credibility to your organization.  Putting various viral marketing methods in place will give you a tremendous opportunity to help guide and influence people’s buying decisions without the use of costly advertising.

So what then is a viral campaign?

It’s a specific marketing promotion that focuses on something you do, NOT on who you are.  It is also not something malicious or under-handed.  Viral marketing is used by reputable companies trying to promote reputable products.  A viral campaign does not use spam or programs that force people to see or do things they do not want.

Instead, a viral campaign is something that is so cool, so exciting, or so creative that it gets people so excited; they can’t wait to share it with others.  It’s subtle, not forceful.  It’s uncontrollable.  The exposure you get from this MAY raise sales or otherwise help your company name recognition, but that’s actually the by-product.  That’s why it’s so effective if done correctly!

With a good viral campaign, people feel compelled to spread your word.  They can’t help themselves (just like sneezing when you pass a virus around).  The heart of a viral campaign is the content.  People don’t spread what you say or do because they love you, they spread it because they can’t help but adore your content.  Don’t forget!  They are not evangelists serving you, they are self-serving.

So, you better create a “bug” that sticks around.  All successful viral campaigns appeal to any one (or all three) of these basic human motivators: entertainment, greed, or charity.  Develop a theme around one of those and you may be able to create a full blown epidemic of sales.

What Makes Viral Marketing so cool?

People (read consumers) hate ads.  They will do anything to avoid them.  So, if you want to find a way to appeal to your consumers without offending and without spending huge dollars (another viral marketing perk) than going “viral” is something you should consider.

Despite (or perhaps because of) viral marketing still being relatively new, most people are confused about what viral ads are, how they work, what they should cost (loads of confusion there), how to measure results, etc.  It is still evolving.  However, there are three common forms being used:

1. Word of Mouth such as “Tell a Friend,” “Send this coupon to a friend,” or “Recommend this to a friend”.

2. Pass-It-On, where we receive an article, cool tool, funny video and then pass it on through email to a friend, family member, or associate.

3. Product or Service Based, where a free tool is used online and that tool includes an embedded marketing message, like Hotmail.

Word of Mouth

A good word-of-mouth viral marketing strategy enables a visitor to your website or a recipient of your email to share your site or email content with others with just a click of a button or link.

Amazon.com is a great example of a company that is using viral marketing throughout their website.  When you browse the products, you’ll notice invitations to “Tell a Friend” about this product.  Providing this automatic and easy to use feature, results in increased sales for Amazon products.  Yup, it’s that easy.

How can you do this?  Here are 8 tips to effectively use this strategy on your website:
•    Use tools that encourage people to visit your website more often such as coupons, newsletters, e-specials, contests, and fresh content.
•    Do things that are unique and grab attention.  I.e. cool button or graphic.
•    Provide a call to action by telling visitors what you want them to do.
•    Give clear instructions on how to participate; make it simple, intuitive, and easy.
•    Offer an incentive to encourage them to do what you want them to do: “Tell a friend and be included in a drawing for …”
•    Leverage, leverage, leverage!  “Tell five friends and get a free …”
•    Have your privacy policy posted.  Most people won’t consider giving out an email unless they know what you plan to do with it.
•    Make sure whatever technology you use works.  There’s nothing worse than offering something you can’t deliver on.

Pass-It-On Marketing

We all love to share a funny story, cool resource, or great deal.  When we find one, we usually send an email or “forward” it on to friends, family, or people we work with.  This old “they tell two friends and they in turn tell two friends” method is very effective online because of the ease and simplicity of reaching large groups of people.

Pass-It-On marketing can take many forms.  Including:
•    Articles-writing articles that can be distributed as content for newsletters or other websites.  The article should contain links to your website and include information on you, your company, and your website.  See myMarketingGuide.com for samples.
•   Fun videos or clips-nothing seems to spread faster on the web.  Fun to produce, but not a sure thing for results.  Worth noting—you’ll need extra help with this campaign—unlike games, email, and music which have long established pass-along tendencies, video is harder to spread the word about.  You may need to supplement this with paid advertising to make it successful.
•    Free software or templates-doing something your target market will be interested in, and will find handy and helpful.
•    Online Games or Quizzes-spread like wild fire.  Develop your own game or buy the rights to one.  Unlike common myths, the demographic that loves games and quizzes the most are…adult women.  Many marketers report game interaction time of up to 20 minutes per play.  That’s a lot of time for your brand to hover friendly-like in the background as a sponsor.  I.e. Murder mystery game for forensic scientists sponsored by a forensic tools maker.

Just make sure, whatever you choose, do it well.  For this type of viral marketing to be successful, you have to start with great content that the recipients will WANT to share with others.

Product or Service Based Viral Marketing

MSN.com was the true leader of service based viral marketing with its Hotmail service.  Hotmail is a free email service that is provided by MSN.com and is used by millions of people around the world.

How did they use a free email account as a viral technique?  They added a tagline to every email message sent through their system.  If you’ve ever received a Hotmail email message, you’ll notice a line of text at the bottom, “Join the world’s largest email service with MSN Hotmail…”  That message results in hundreds of new accounts each day on the Hotmail website.  This innovative and inexpensive technique creates massive exposure for MSN.com and the other products and services offered on their website.  Now that’s viral marketing at its finest!

Do you have a viral technique you’d like to share?

What is Sponsorship Marketing?

Sponsorship marketing is typically done for promotional purposes, to generate publicity, or to obtain access to a wider audience than your budget can afford.  Although you may think of corporate sponsorship’s as in-kind donations, that’s not longer the case.  It‘s a booming $11 billion dollar industry according to IEG’s 2004 industry report.

Sponsorship marketing is done financially or through the provision of products or services to support an event, activity, person, or organization where two or more parties benefit from the arrangement.  The key to building successful sponsorship programs is to match the correct products or services with the people who want to purchase them.

Benefits of Building a Sponsorship Marketing Program

  • Low cost way to create visibility and traffic for an organization.
  • Increased marketing dollars to stretch limited budgets.
  • Inexpensive way to increase sales.
  • Increased loyalty through consistent brand building.
  • Increased pr/media exposure.
  • Exciting employees and incenting sales representatives.

How it Works

What attracts a sponsor is “eye balls”.  The more people or targeted impressions you can deliver to a sponsor, the more money or services you will be able to attract.  It’s that simple.

Any organization can start a marketing sponsorship program.  Of course the success of it depends on: what your organization does, who your customers are, and how you structure the exposure for the sponsor.

Organizations Most Attractive to Sponsors

Still not sure if it’s worth devoting time or money to building a sponsorship program?  Then, check out the top five industries, according to IEG, that companies with sponsorship dollars are looking to spend them with:

  • Sporting events or venues
  • Travel or Entertainment Organizations
  • Educational or Non-Profit organizations
  • Art Related Organizations
  • Web based businesses or organizations with highly visited websites

Getting Started-Seven Steps to Building a Sponsor Program

1. Define your product / service

Be as specific as possible about what your organization has to offer. While your organization’s activities are the main product, other products or services can also be considered as offerings to sponsors including: sales materials, uniforms, preferential booking of facilities or discount rates.

2. Define the Target Market

A sponsorship marketing strategy will only by successful if it is aimed at the appropriate group of people. You can quickly identify your target market by looking at your current customers and considering common factors that they share.

– Demographics age, sex, marital status, occupation, ethnic groups, religion, education, etc

– Psychographics behavioral groups such as skiers, skateboarders, families

– Geographic location (local, regional, national)

3. Set Your Objectives

A clear, documented idea of what it is your organization is trying to achieve is needed.

Do you want to have your brochure costs covered by a sponsor, increase your advertising buys, or maybe have the cost of your next special event covered?

4. Develop a Marketing Strategy

When your objectives are clear, the next step is to develop a marketing strategy to help achieve those objectives.

If you want to have your next brochure costs covered you strategy may revolve around selling advertising in it.  If, on the other hand, you want to cover the cost of your next special event, you need to use different strategies such as emphasizing how the sponsor will be represented at your organization, in promotional materials, and advertising.  Remember, the more people you can deliver to a sponsor, the more valuable they will find your program.  Use whatever means it takes to do that: newsletters, signs, radio or TV spots, press releases, website, etc.

5. Develop an Action Plan

Once you know what you want to do, it’s time to actually do it!  The key to a good action plan is to outline the activities to be achieved—assign people to get the tasks done and make sure to set a realistic deadline.  Don’t forget to set up a reporting process so you know what’s done and what might need extra attention.

6. Build your Sponsor Packet

The Sponsor Packet is what you will use to communicate your sponsor program to prospects.  In its most basic format, a Sponsor Packet would include:

a)     Description of who you are and what you do

b)    Description of the target market you can deliver to sponsors

  1. I.    E.g. 25 – 35 year old family heads of households

c)     Summary of your marketing objectives

  1. I.    E.g. To expand marketing exposure

d)    Marketing strategies

  1. I.    E.g. Online and offline Sweepstakes

e)     e). Action plan

  1. I.    E.g. Develop online and offline entry forms and promotional flyers to be distributed by sponsor.  Promote will begin 4 weeks ahead of the giveaway through radio ads, press releases, and local search engine marketing.

7. Package it.

You’ll be asking a lot from your sponsors so make sure your presentation represents you well.  Be accurate and concise with your content.  If possible try to have it professionally printed and include photographs to enhance presentation. The use of special paper and covers can also enhance the presentation.

Put It To Work

After you’ve completed your sponsor packet, it’s time to put it to work.

1. Company’s.  Determine the company’s best suited as a sponsor to your organization.  Create a contact list that includes as much information as possible.

2. People. Find out who you should address the sponsorship proposal to (usually the Marketing Manager and include their proper title and position. Ensure you have the correct spelling.

3. Contact.  Speak briefly with them on the phone to let them know you will be sending a proposal.

4. Timing.  Present your sponsor packet proposal well in advance. Businesses budget for sponsorship annually. They can also take a while to approve sponsorship proposals, particularly if they have to be cleared by the General Manager or Board of Directors.

5. Follow up. Allow a week after you have sent a proposal before making a follow up call. The

sponsor may not be able to answer at that stage. However, it provides an opportunity for them to ask any questions. Offer to come into their office to speak to them if they so desire. Ask them when you could expect to receive an answer.

6. Reporting. Once a sponsorship has been negotiated and secured, ensure you keep in regular contact with your sponsor. A letter or phone call once a month letting them know about your organization and how the sponsorship is going is good practice. Send any material that may be of interest to them – newsletters, any promotional material or photographs involving promotion of the sponsor.

To see some sponsorship templates, visit myMarketingGuide.com

One-Minute Marketing Makeover

There can be big gains from small tweaks to your marketing plan.  There are two types of marketing plan audits.  The first is the comprehensive which should occur at least one a year and then there are the “mini” audits which should happen at minimum every quarter.

The “mini” marketing audit is stripped down to the bare essentials and the goal is to create a task list which can be done quickly and easily and yield results right away.

Mini Marketing Audit Questions

1. What initiatives and key messages generated the greatest number of leads, media placements, or sales in the last 2 years?

2. Which marketing channel (website, email, text message, pay-per-click, radio, TV) netted the most revenue for the lowest investment?

3. Who is your target audience (describe them) and has that changed due to economic conditions, pricing considerations, or new product and/or service offerings?

4. Who are your most valuable customers?  How and where do they purchase your product or service offering?

5. What are your competitor’s offerings and are you tasked with increasing market share, stakeholder satisfaction, $ revenue, or all of the above?

6. What are your organization’s short-term and long-term strategic goals?

7. What in-house vs. outsourced resources do you have available?

8. Are you on-target with your marketing budget, over budget, or under budget?  Why?  Do adjustments need to be made?

9. Are there any upcoming deadlines, events, or projects that might require you to alter your marketing plans in the next 3-4 months?

10. Have you taken advantage of trying out new marketing methods (internet advertising, media relations, email newsletters, mobile marketing, website marketing) to gauge their effectiveness?  What percentage of your marketing budget could you set aside to explore new options (usually about 5-10% of a budget)?

Sample Task List

Mini Marketing Audit Answers and Task List

Best Campaigns to do again: Summer 2008, Winter 2009

Best marketing message: Go BOGO (Buy One Get One Free) for the highest redemption rate and increased sales.

Best ROI marketing channels: website, email newsletters, text message campaigns, media relations/press releases & media kit, co-op advertising program, custom loyalty program.

Least ROI channels/not able to track effectiveness: radio, TV, outdoor billboards

Target audience: 25-45 households with kids (families) within a 2 hour radius of our location.  Current economic conditions indicate that this audience may be watching their dollars closer and spending less.  To keep sales up, we should look to expanding our demographic to include the baby boomer age group and expand to web sales

Most valuable customers: local customers looking to support us.  Need to keep them happy and coming back more.

Competitors: offer similar offerings.  We try to differentiate by talking about our expanded service and support, monthly payment plans, and testimonials.

Marketing goals: increase revenue by 5% in the next quarter.

Organization short term goal: reduce overhead by 5%

Organization long term goal: increase profitability by 5%.

In-house vs. outsourced: loss of one staff member means we will need to outsource more marketing functions in the next 1-2 months while we look for another staff member.  Will need to find one or multiple companies to assist us in everyday marketing tasks including: graphic design, ad placement, email newsletter copywriting, design, and sending, press release copyrighting, etc.

Marketing budget: we are under budget because we were not able to complete one of the campaigns from last quarter due to technology set-up issues.  Will try to complete that project this quarter or reallocate the funds to a different campaign.

Upcoming events: within 2 months we will launch a new product that should appeal to a younger more web savvy consumer.  We may need to shuffle some of the budget and timelines to get this launched.

New marketing channel test: would like to start an internet advertising campaign on Google, Yahoo, and MSN.  Need to find a company to help us implement this.  Tie this to the new product launch.  Will try 2-3 months with a budget of $5,000.

Comment Policy – play nice and no spam

It started simply enough…nice spam.  A few comments here, a few positive reviews there, then all of a sudden–lots of useless and seemingly spam links to sites I would never want to promote on my blog.  So, as of this first Monday in the New Year, I am announcing my personal war against comment spam.

Here’s just a few ways to get your comments removed from my blog:

  • Your name is a bunch of keywords that do not tell me who you are but what  you are pushing.
  • Comments that simply say “nice site” are not going to last long and may get your IP address banned.
  • Links in the body of the comment.
  • Signing off with a link.

How to post comments:

  • write something acceptable-whether you agree with me or not.
  • I have a comment form please use it to ask me questions unrelated to my post.
  • Please stay on topic.
  • Submitting lots of good comments over a period of time (not all at once) is a good way to get my attention and have me want to link to you.

Once again, thanks for reading and your support (for those that are actually reading and not spam bots).

10 Most Popular Tweets of 2009

2009 has been an interesting year for marketing.  Social media seems to have quickly created a place for itself, even while marketers are still trying to figure it out.  That’s why I thought it would be interesting to track just what topics received the most attention from my Twitter postings at http://www.twitter.com/srufo . Personally, I still love the “Martini Marketing” article.

Top 10 news stories clicked by Twitter readers in the past year.

1. Social media emerging as key to ski-industry marketing according to Mountain Travel Symposium. http://ow.ly/25Vs
2. MUST READ. MySpace becomes social-media “ghetto” http://ow.ly/uSJ5
3. Social media challenges social rules. Old social rules don’t seem to work online http://ow.ly/BTle
4. Can your loyalty be bought? Microsoft wants to pay publishers to leave Google. http://ow.ly/FeeX
5. Vail Resorts’ Top Exec Acknowledges Huge Decline in Ski Season. Retail & Ski School hardest hit. http://ow.ly/21mh
6. Martini Marketing. Brilliant! Why didn’t I think of this? http://ow.ly/4i0b
7. What do spa guests want in these uncertain economic times? Over 1,300 active spa-goers responded to this poll. http://ow.ly/FdHr
8. Good reminder. How to Not Go Out of Business – from BusinessWeek http://ow.ly/EjL1
9. VIDEO: Tapping marketing potential of your site’s press page http://ow.ly/4Deu
10. Did social networks kill Second Life? Anyone still using SL? http://ow.ly/HtQE

Chained to your email? You have no idea…

Feel like sometimes you just can’t get away from your email? It’s probably not just a feeling. Latest studies show that most people spend an hour or more a day on email and have multiple email accounts. To see how you compare, keep reading.

According to American Online surveys, conducted in partnership with Opinion Research Corporation, as reported by Emarketer, users rely on e-mail as much as the phone for communication, spend about an hour a day on e-mail and that 77% of them have more than one e-mail account. That translates to an essential part of everyday life, concludes the report.

The survey shows:

• 41% of Americans check e-mail first thing in the morning

• 18% check e-mail right after dinner

• 14% check e-mail right when they get home from work

• 14% check e-mail right before they go to bed

• 40% of e-mail users have checked their e-mail in the middle of the night

More than one in four say they can’t go more than two to three days without checking e-mail. And it’s checked everywhere:

• In bed (23%)

• In class (12%)

• In a business meeting (8%)

• At a Wi-Fi hotspot (6%)

• At the beach or pool (6%)

• In the bathroom (4%)

• While driving (4%)

• In church (1%)

The survey found that 61% of e-mail users employed outside the home check their personal e-mail at work,

• 47% check personal e-mail at work

• 47% check it sporadically throughout the day

• 25% check it first thing when they arrive at work

• 18% check it at lunchtime

• 8% during an afternoon break

• 2% right before heading home

Women are more likely than men to check their personal e-mail at work throughout the day, and 60% of all e-mail users check their e-mail while on vacation.

What about you? Leave a comment or two to commiserate with me!