I recently created an online gallery of my creative images from the past few years and it’s divided into 6 categories:
1. Digital Art (creating images using Photoshop), 2. Abstract Symbolism (acrylic paintings on stretched canvas), 3. Photography (images primarily captured on my iPhone and some have a bit of Photoshop enhancement), 4. Fantasy and Romance (a combination of using 3D software and Photoshop), 5. Steampunk (gears and the Victorian future), and 6. Illustration (commercial art used in company literature).
One of the cool things about this site is that it visualizes for you what an image looks like when printed on canvas, steel, beach towels, pillows, greeting cards and even shower curtains! (And many other decor items too). The company hosting the site takes care of the printing, shipping and payments – easy-peasy!
Check the gallery out at: Greer Galleries
Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.
This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
- Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
- The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
- The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
- “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
- “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
- The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
- The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …
1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”
2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.
3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).
5. Does the use of questions keep people reading? Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”
6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.
7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”
8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.
Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.
It’s easy to follow just some of these guidelines – send an email out to customers and then check it off the to-do list. That said, all of these suggestions contribute to success. If the subject line isn’t compelling or communicates value, the customer may never read it. If the basic structure isn’t followed as mentioned in the previous email, then again it will decrease the potential for a successful program. Emails are like an offense in football, the quarterback, receivers and offensive line all need to do their part well for the play to work, if one guy is not on the same page, most likely the play fails. It’s the same with an email marketing campaign – all of the details matter. Tips 4-6 below focus on frequency, content and compelling subject lines.
4. Write knock-out subject lines. Do I have your attention? We could have the best content and message in the world but it may not get read because of the subject line. Writing a subject line is a marketing art – I actually attended a seminar just focused on writing email subject lines, that’s how important they are. The subject should grab the reader’s attention quickly and explain exactly why the message is valuable. Most important, keep it short – around 6 to 8 words because readers on mobile phones only see 25 to 30 characters in the subject lines and laptops around 60 characters.
5. Frequency. The readers will want to know how often we’ll email them. Whether you plan to email once a week or twice a month, its important to be up front with the frequency information so they know what to expect, (and stick to those expectations). Many times people sign up for informative emails and get deluged with daily emails, so these days people are skeptical, and telling them the frequency they can expect would be very customer-friendly and appreciated.
6. Great content, not just marketing messages. Your customers are going to unsubscribe to your emails if it’s just marketing and advertising messages. The content needs to offer value – new technology, products that help their lives or business, product installation tricks and tips, as well as customer testimonials – all are value-based messages. Then over time we find out what interest customers the most through the email response analytics (click-through rates, user surveys, etc.). Questions asked in forums, social media or asked directly to your sales staff are also ways to find what content would be of value to the customer. ==> Be careful of sending frequent advertising specials and coupons in email blasts because it could dilute the perceived real value of your products. The content still needs to focus on the value the product is to the customer.
Again, leaving out one of the above tips and not thinking it’s important will result in a sputtering offense, and miss the opportunity for a real score.
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.
The next customer types are the auditory people. Auditory people absorb information by listening – they need to be able to clearly hear what it is that they are being told. They will look you directly in the eyes to hear you better, where as visual people are looking around, searching for visual cues so they can comprehend better.
Auditory people enjoy talking with others and conversation is something that they find very interesting. They might lean forward to engage you, just to test and hear if what you are saying is true. They will remember what you say – and possibly challenge verbal claims you make, later on in your presentation. So dial down the BS button with these folks.
Auditory people like to use phrases like, “that sounds good”, “that is clear as a bell” and “listen to me”.
Simply put, auditory people understand spoken language more than anything else. Therefore, when making a presentation to them, focus more on your verbal part of the presentation, (and with less speaker prompts to guide you, you will need to know your product benefits better). Verbally communicate your 5-7 main benefits (or value propositions). Tell them what you plan to tell them using a verbal roadmap of where you are going with your presentation. Writing things down or trying to create a vision for them may appear condescending to them.
If your website has videos describing your product, service, and other values, that can play an important part of your sales process – they will have other people in your company to listen too that tells them the story of your company and its products. Click here for an example of a video I created for a website that communicates directly to an auditory type person.
For auditory people their world is represented by sound, therefore, to get their attention and engage them, you must say something that sounds very appealing to them. Also make sure you clearly annunciate and be careful with embellishment – this group “hears” right through the BS.
Just as visual people like to look at directions, auditory people would rather hear directions read out loud by someone else, because retaining information by looking at it can be difficult for them, whereas hearing is better comprehension for them. If they are that type of listener, don’t waste your marketing budget dollars leaving behind your standard folder full of literature – ask if there is anything else they need, and listen to them like they listen to you.