1. The first email. First and most important is that the very first email that goes out establishes and communicates the purpose of the email. If it doesn’t communicate value, some recipients might consider it intrusive, unsubscribe or worse – label it as spam. Attention to detail is important. (If you want to develop a consumer email base, provide a sign-up form on your website and social media sites with an incentive such as a discount coupon for signing-up to build your list. 2. Provide an Opt-out option and a Forward button. It’s frustrating for customers to get emails they don’t want and can’t easily unsubscribe to, plus it’s legally required to do so at the bottom of each marketing email. Bonus – provide a “forward” button so that the recipient can forward the email to another person in the company that might be an appropriate person to also get the email, as well as providing a link for them to also subscribe to the emails. 3. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly. Many people these days read their emails on phone and tablets to check in while they are at lunch, after work or waiting somewhere – and are doing so to kill time. It’s an opportunity if the email can easily be read on a mobile device – if it’s interesting to them they will know to read the email on their computer when they get back to the office. If the text is to small they will skip to the next email, if the pictures are not optimized (taking to long to load), they will skip to their next email and may automatically delete it when they get back to the office. Mobile-friendly email many times get read twice – and it doesn’t cost any extra to make it mobile-friendly. Also important, if there is a call-to-action, make sure you link it to text and not a photo that may not have downloaded correctly. If you need help with your email marketing program, click here to drop me an email.
“Storyscape” is a coined term for the latest alternative to traditional advertising and media plans by getting the consumer more involved in the “brand’s world” through various media channels. The consumer wants to feel like a part of a story and think, “wow, that is cool” about the brand. The concept is to build a brand story that builds an emotional association that inspires the consumer’s behavior. That is the key, creating an emotional connection between the consumer and the product. Apple products are a perfect example of that – their customers have an emotional connection, a story to tell about their iPhone or iPad and how it changed their lives, which compels them as devoted customers to share their experience with like-minded people.
That said, there should be one strategy – versus a strategy for social, a strategy for events, a strategy for digital, and a strategy for public relations – there should be just one cohesive plan for all, and it’s directed by the big idea that organizes those activities. I ask my customers, “what’s your purpose?” Today’s customer wants to be able to connect to brands they trust, believe, feel are authentic, fill their needs and are able to take part like they are part of the company’s culture. They want to feel they connect with the company, like a friend, and are proud to say they are loyal supporter and part of the brand’s story.
So how is that type of marketing accomplished? It’s about creating a world or landscape of ideas that could be physical, virtual, emotional, and more than likely it’s all of those things. For example a Storyscape for selling a new house; baking chocolate cookies in a model home’s oven for visitors so it has a nice homey smell, the website touts your model dream house and has free cookies when you visit, offer a recipe for the cookies in a blog and on Pinterest so that a story or idea for engaging the consumer crosses all media platforms. That way the consumer looking for a house creates their world or story about that experience at all marketing touch points – so they not only experience a world they helped create, but they also tell a story about their experience.
The social media world changes so quickly. The traditional media plan keeps different media in separate boxes with target dates – where as we need to be more fluid and to think about how the different media interact and affect each other, as well as being affected by an event that causes a rippling effect throughout the media plan. The key difference with Storyscape, it’s designed to give the consumer control over which marketing connection points they wish to be engaged with and then encouraged them to interact across those channels — all supported by an organized idea and not the marketer choosing, based on analytics and data, which channels might be more efficient to reach them.
It’s a more organic or worldly version of a customer testimonial. In traditional marketing, the marketer writes the customer testimonial so it fits the needs of the marketing plan and gets the customer to signoff on it or tweak it for approval. The hope is that it resonates on one particular level with other consumers. Where as Storyscape opens up the world to all possibilites, so when the consumer’s exposed to the “idea” – they have an experience in the world they helped create that is a life-changing and they are willing to share it with other like-minded people.
The marketing industry is famous for creating new trends. Keep in mind, every couple of years a marketing person coins a phrase for a “new” approach to marketing, sells a bunch of books and it becomes the latest defacto marketing tool to be used. A year later, another marketing approach is the latest thing to do.
1. Understand what the customer wants or needs,
2. provide a logical and emotional dialogue so the consumer has the information they need to help them make a decision,
3. give them plenty of opportunities for that exposure,
4. make sure customers feel connected to the brand’s world and product,
5. provide them with easy access (distribution points) to purchasing the product and,
6. after the sale, make the customer feel special and part of the brand’s family.
Use advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms
My social media marketing predictions for 2015 should be your resolutions …
1. Digging Deeper into Data. Using advanced analytics for your website and social media platforms is key in knowing what to write about as well as knowing your visitor’s likes, shares, engagements, demographics, etc. Making the most of your metrics will help you identify the right prospects and pinpoint the right offers at the right time.
2. Eliminate Advertising-based Content. Over and over again I see companies writing blogs that are just product descriptions and – essentially just a landing-place to copy and paste content from data sheets. Write to your customer’s needs, not just what you are selling. Content Marketing is all about providing content that has value to consumers. It can offer practical information, tell a touching story, or be outrageously hilarious. It should forge emotional connections that nudge people toward the business that rolls out the content. Make your content stand out in 2015 by performing thorough keyword research, present new information, offer something innovative, and distribute it to your customer base effectively.
3. Being Candid and Honest. Zig Ziglar once said, “Honesty and integrity are by far the most important assets of an entrepreneur.” The same principle rings true for current marketing trends. The best brands will give an accurate and real-time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.
4. Social Media Connections. Your target customers have some traits in common, but that doesn’t mean that they all are the same entity. People want to feel they are part of a group, crave connection, and participate with others of like-mind. Consumers buy from friends – companies can be perceived as a friend by sounding more personal in their writing styles. When you are writing, talk to your customers and future clients like each one really matters, because they do.
5. Personalization. One way to send personal messages is via triggered emails. When a customer joins your rewards program or signs up for your newsletter, send a warm welcome. You can even include a special freebie or stellar discount. On your customers’ special dates, such as birthdays – send a friendly greeting. These automated messages can make recipients feel that you care about them.
No one can say for certain what the future holds, but the current direction of marketing shows that the above trends will impact marketing in 2015. Expect marketing to move strongly in a digital direction and focus on transparency, technology, personalization, and quality.
One of the most important pages on a website is a company’s “About” page, yet most companies spend the least amount of time putting good content on it. They plop their official PR paragraphs from their press release, throw in a photo of the building and the boss, and – whoo-la, done! That said, if you look at the analytics of your site or your client’s sites, you will discover that the “About” page many times is the most viewed or searched page in the website.
When consumers go to websites they want to buy not just a product, but connect with the company and it’s brand. They want to know who is on the other side of the screen when visiting a site. It’s not just about price, but also about the company. Some of the most popular products and companies also have the highest priced products and services. People are willing to pay extra for great value – Apple Computers, Lexus and Louis Vuitton come to mind. Too often the company’s info in their “About” section is sterile and shows little personality or brand. Businesses of all sizes need to spend time and resources putting up pictures that reflect their team and culture, and writing the “why” behind the company and its products – so customers perceive their products are the best value.
The portrait of this King and Queen was scheduled to be taken on a backyard dock with the island in the background. But as fate would have it, on that Saturday a front was moving in and the wind gusts were 35 to 40 mph – playing havoc by blowing tree branches, light stands, hair and robes. With no time to reschedule, the photo (using an iPad), had to be moved indoors, requiring me to be a little creative with the final portrait in the steps shown below.
The backyard trees and pond needed to have details enhanced.
Moving all of the lighting and props to the living room made for a better controlled environment (lesson learned). The Queen is holding a fluorescent light tube which will be the background for inserting Queen’s Elizabeth’s scepter .
Then the two photos needed to be combined as well as the additional touches described below.
If you need Photoshop effects done at a very reasonable price, to enhance or create attention getting images, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or or call me at 727.409.2326 to discuss a project – big or small.