media mix

Email Design Trends of 2018

Getting your leads to open your emails can be quite challenging as it is, which means that when they do open your emails, you’ll want to make sure that you make a good impression. This is where the visual design of your email comes in. High-quality email designs will leave a strong first impression, whereas poorly designed emails will reflect badly on your brand. If you can’t put the effort into crafting a nice looking email, your leads may assume that the effort you put into your products or services may be lacking as well.

Keeping that in mind, the following are a number of email design trends that you should consider implementing this year to help you make a better impression on your leads:

Interactive Emails

When it comes to standard email designs, interactivity is generally limited to scrolling up and down. However, more brands are beginning to focus on creating emails that are more interactive. Doing so helps to draw the attention of your readers to different elements of your email.

For example, image carousels or icons allow readers to click on different points or images to bring them to the forefront, which is more engaging than simply scrolling through a list of bullets. Even something as simple as allowing the reader to hover over an image to reveal product details can help increase engagement with your email content.

 

The Use Of Animation

Movement helps prevent email content from becoming too static, which can sometimes be a bit boring. To bring movement to their email content, many brands are using animated GIFs. Just be careful about their size since they can slow down the loading time a bit — especially on mobile devices.

The Use Of Infographics

If you need to convey a lot of information to your readers, then infographics are an excellent way to do so. Infographics are visually effective because they allow you to carefully organize your information in a manner that is easily digestible. Infographics are also much more pleasant to look at visually speaking than having to read through a list or table full of statistics.

An Emphasis On Color Use

Many brands use color in their emails, but don’t give a lot of thought into how they use it. Bold color choices can help you bring attention to different components of your email, whether it’s highlighting a product or emphasizing your call-to-action. The careful selection of color can also help you tie the entire aesthetic of your email together into a more cohesive design.

Click Here for More Email Marketing Tips.

The Use Of Monochrome

Monochrome email designs make use of greyscale in order to create a more sophisticated and elegant look. However, don’t be mistaken into thinking monochrome just means black and white. Black and white email designs look boring, whereas monochrome requires the careful consideration of various shades of gray along with black and white to create high contrast visual elements.

Minimalistic Designs

You don’t want an email design that’s too busy and cluttered or else it will overwhelm the reader. A more minimalistic design will not only make it easy for readers to scan your content, it creates a more elegant appearance when pulled off properly. Minimalistic designs often make strategic use of negative space to bring attention to headlines or images. It also tends to create a more professional impression of a brand.

Keeping up with the latest email design trends is a good way to ensure that your email designs don’t get stale. These are some of the current email design trends that you should consider adopting for your email marketing campaign this year.

email marketing

Digital Marketing Strategies For Higher Education

As a college or university, you have a lot to offer to your students in terms of obtaining a higher education that can help them pursue their dreams of a career. However, you’re not the only school around, which means you’ll need to implement effective marketing strategies for higher education in order to attract prospective students and to convince them to enroll. The following are a few digital marketing strategies for higher education that are proven to be effective if leveraged properly:

Using PPC advertising

PPC (pay-per-click) ads are an excellent way to reach the students in your target audience and to generate high-quality leads. Prospective students will perform a significant amount of searches when trying to find higher education options, which means that PPC ads are a great way to put your school in a position to be found. They’re also very cost-efficient since you are only paying for the clicks that your ad gets.

When using PPC ads, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind. For example, you need to know who your audience is and what they are searching for in order to choose the right keywords and create effective ad copy. You will also need to take great care in deciding where to place your ads to best reach your audience.

Optimizing your site for SEO

To improve your page rankings and increase exposure to potential students, you’ll need to make sure that your website is properly optimized for SEO (search engine optimization). This includes paying attention to both on-page and technical SEO, using high-quality, relevant keywords, and earning high-quality external links. All of these elements are important in bringing in more organic traffic. Building up your external links will also help you bring in a bigger audience from other relevant websites and will go a long way towards expanding brand awareness and building a positive brand reputation for your school.

Read our article: Essential Website Optimization Techniques To Increase Visitors

Creating high-value content

Prospective students will do a substantial amount of research before making a decision. Not only do most students have to pay for a higher education, it requires them to commit a significant amount of their time to it as well. They’ll want to make sure they make the right choice, w

hich is why you will want to provide them with plenty of content on your site that is relevant and helpful to their interests.

Not only can good content help with your SEO efforts (thereby drawing in more organic traffic), it can help establish your school as an authority, which will make your programs more attractive to potential students.

Establish a regular social media presence

A regular social media presence will put you in a position to communicate directly with prospective students, allowing you to address questions and concerns, provide valuable information, and to develop relationships with students, thereby building trust.

These are just a few of the marketing strategies for higher education that can help give your school an advantage attracting prospective students for years to come.

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What Are The Benefits Of Using HubSpot Marketing Automation Tools?

Creating a successful long-term inbound marketing strategy requires that you tackle several different tactics on different fronts, such as optimizing your site for SEO, creating high-quality content for your website, producing email newsletters, and engaging with followers on social media. Because these tactics all require constant attention to be effective, you should strongly consider the use of HubSpot marketing automation tools as a way to simplify your workload. The following are four reasons why you should be using HubSpot marketing automation tools:

1. Collect and Analyze Data to Improve Your Marketing Efforts

HubSpot’s analytics tools can help to collect data across all of your marketing platforms and provide you with metrics that you can use to the benefit of your marketing campaign. For example, you’ll be able to see what blog posts are outperforming other posts based on metrics such as visits, social engagement, click-throughs and captures. You can use this information to determine what kind of content is more effective or what elements of your blog posts need to be changed. For instance, if you have content that is receiving tons of views but no click-throughs, it may be because your calls-to-action are poor.

2. Personalize Communication With Your Customers

Marketing automation allows you to segment your email list, which makes it easier to personalize your emails and send more relevant content to your recipients. This is done by gathering data from your opt-in forms and using that data to segment your email list into different groups. For example, if you run an online clothing store, then segmenting your list into male and female will prevent you from sending content about women’s clothing to your male audience, which would hurt your ability to properly nurture leads through the sales funnel. The use of email segmentation will make your email marketing strategy more efficient and effective.

3. Schedule Out Your Work Ahead of Time

One of the important aspects of a good content marketing strategy is making sure that you continually publish new content on a regular basis. Your readers are going to expect new content at certain times and if you don’t publish it on the same days at the same times, you’ll lose readers. Of course, remembering to manually publish new content, whether it’s a posting an article to your blog or sending out a tweet, is time-consuming. Marketing automation allows you to create your content and posts well ahead of time and set them to be automatically published at specific times on specific dates.

Read our article: Content Marketing Misconceptions

4. Send More Qualified Leads to Your Sales Team

One of the challenges that a lot of businesses face is having their marketing team on the same page as their sales team. Sales personnel often don’t know what state of the buyer’s journey prospects are on, which makes their job more difficult — especially if they are sent leads that aren’t qualified. HubSpot marketing automation tools allow you to collect extremely useful visitor information, including their history of actions on your website, which in turn can allow you to send more highly qualified leads through to your sales team when they are ready.

The use of HubSpot marketing automation tools allows you make more efficient use of your resources and gives you the opportunity to see exactly what is and isn’t working in your marketing strategies. You’ll end up saving a lot of time on smaller, more time-consuming tasks, which you can then dedicate to more important aspects of your marketing campaign, such as engaging with and nurturing your leads.

 

What’s Trending in Marketing for June 2018

Staying up-to-date on marketing trends is a great way to reflect and verify whether your marketing efforts are in tune with what’s going on in today’s marketplace. We’re aware that keeping up with these trends can often be difficult given the abundance of information thrown at us every day.

The following articles come from popular marketing blogs and highlight current marketing trends that we think are worth paying attention to:

Noteworthy Marketing News and Trends

Instagram’s New Native Payment Feature For Users

According to an article by Josh Constine on TechCrunch, Instagram’s new native payment feature will allow individuals to buy services or book appointments without having to leave the application. Users can now register their credit or debit card as part of their profile and will not be forced to go to a separate website or re-enter their payment information when purchasing a service. For businesses, this exciting feature will lead to higher conversion rates, as people will feel less inclined to quit in the middle of the checkout process and will make Instagram an even more powerful player in commerce. The potential of this feature has also enticed businesses to want to increase spending on advertising their services on Instagram.

Read our article to learn tips on how to use Instagram for your business.

Facebook’s Expansion of Reporting Options For Advertisers

Facebook’s Ads Reporting platform will be updated over June and the new changes will allow advertisers to customize their reports to their liking according to a recent write up on Marketing Land. The platform will also make things a lot easier for advertisers as it will include a side panel so they can edit ads on the same screen as the campaign page without having to switch back and forth between tables. Along with the updated platform, a new “creative reporting” metric will also be introduced and will provide users with useful information on which of the implemented creative ad elements are performing best.

Improving Your Marketing Program

Improve Your Marketing Strategy By Asking These 4 Questions

What separates a successful business from the rest? For Dan Gartlan, it’s the constant improvement and updating of marketing strategy. Updating your business’s strategy will demonstrate to consumers and competitors that you are in tune with the changes in your competitor’s messaging, methods of communication, consumer concerns, and the overall marketplace. In this article, Gartlan challenges you to reevaluate aspects of your business in relation to your marketing strategy by asking four key questions.

6 Email Marketing Tips

Email marketing continues to be a popular form of marketing and given the abundance of emails people receive daily, it’s important to make sure that your email looks good and stands out. Our own Nicole Wagner published a blog posts that offers tips on how to make the best out of your email marketing.

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Amazon, Homebuilders Unveil Smart Home ‘Amazon Experience Center’ in California

A new partnership between Amazon and Lennar, one of the largest homebuilders in the U.S., plans to shake things up with their efforts to create pre-wired, voice-activated smart homes that will change the future for homebuyers. A recent article on Security Info Watch explores how Lennar plans to integrate Amazon’s Alexa voice-assistant program into the design of the future homes they are going to construct. They have already constructed several models of these smart homes across the nation so people can experience what it would be like to live in one. Amazon and Lennar are convinced that this partnership and new creation will allow people to have greater control over their lives and could potentially make doing chores a thing of the past.

Influencer Marketing for B2B Brands in 2018

While you might believe that influencer marketing is solely for B2C brands, Michael Brito asks you to think again. Influencer marketing has proven to be efficient in increasing ROI and reaching audiences. According to Brito, the principles of influencer marketing can be also be applied to B2B markets and the implementation of it for these brands can be explained using the 1:9:90 model of influence, which has been used in the past to find, segment, and activate groups of people. By applying this model and understanding the differences between each group, you can then determine the best way to engage with influencers and encourage them to talk about your company.

marketing trends

How Marketing Automation Can Improve Your Lead Nurturing Process

One of the most important aspects of successfully nurturing your leads through the buyer’s cycle is understanding that each lead is different and that your marketing efforts need to be tailored to the needs of each lead. This can be quite difficult to do manually, which is why most businesses are turning to marketing automation.

What is Marketing Automation?

Marketing automation is an automated process that allows you to target leads based on their behaviors at different points in the buyer’s journey. It allows you to make your marketing more personal by delivering content to your leads that suits their needs or interests. This, in turn, makes it easier to build a real relationship with them, helping to drive them towards the conversion and closure stages of the buying cycle.

Not only does marketing automation help free up resources, it makes your marketing efforts much more effective. How effective? According to one study, businesses that use marketing automation increase their qualified leads more than fourfold.

So how exactly does it work? Take for example a lead that has just submitted a form from one of your landing pages opting into your email list. Using marketing automation software, this action can trigger an automatic email sent to them thanking them for signing up. It can be automatically personalized based on what landing page they converted from.

In fact, you’ll be able to personalize your content to your email list by using the information that they submitted on the opt-in form. Using this information, you can segment your email list to automatically send content at specific times that’s relevant to their interests and needs. For example, if you’re a pet food company and a lead lets you know that they own a dog on their form, then you won’t want to send them content you’ve written about cats. Using automation, you can make sure they get the right content, which will not only help build your relationship, it will reduce opt-outs.

If you’re uncertain as to the difference between marketing automation and CRM, be sure to read through our detailed article on the subject.

The Benefits of Marketing Automation

The following are some of the benefits that you’ll be able to take advantage of when implementing marketing automation software:

1. Improve productivity

Instead of sending emails out on scheduled dates to your entire email list by hand, you can schedule emails to be set out automatically by certain times on certain dates to certain segments of your email list, thereby improving your productivity significantly.

2. Increase revenue

Studies have proven that marketing automation does increase revenue if used properly. In fact, B2B marketers have reported an average of 20 percent increase in their sales opportunities as a result of using marketing automation to nurture their leads.

 

3. Improve customer retention

By being able to target your leads more effectively with personalized content, you’ll reduce the number of leads that you lose.

4. Improve customer relationships

By being able to personalize your interactions with leads, you’ll improve customer relationships. Not only does this help with customer retention, it will help with building your brand reputation. Building good customer relationships can help to improve repeat business and can also generate positive word-of-mouth.

5. Collect better data

Marketing automation software can help you monitor responses to your various marketing campaigns based on the specific parameters you’ve established for success or failure. This data can then be leveraged to improve future marketing campaigns.

For more in-depth information, check out our post on the benefits of marketing automation.

Marketing Automation has more benefits! Check out this article to learn more.

How to Use Marketing Automation

There are many ways that you can use marketing automation. Besides using it to segment your email lists, it can also be used to provide data on what types of content helps move leads from one stage of the buying cycle to the next, which allows you to create higher quality content to attract higher quality leads. In fact, you can also use marketing automation to score your leads based on their behaviors on your site. Scoring leads lets you identify what leads have the best chance of converting, allowing you to more effectively use your resources to target those leads.

One thing to keep in mind is that marketing automation isn’t just limited to your email campaigns or to your website — it’s channel-agnostic, meaning that it can be used on any platform. Read through our article on B2B vs. B2C marketing automation for more in-depth advice.

Marketing automation is proven to be successful, which is why businesses of all sizes have started implementing it into their online marketing strategies. There’s no reason not to use it, all it will do is make your marketing efforts more effective and more efficient, thereby allowing you to capture more leads and close more sales.

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package design

5 Package Design Trends for 2018

Change happens quickly, and if you are caught unawares, you could be left with packaging that is outdated and stale. Recognizing and incorporating the following package design trends into your packaging ensures that your packaging is modern and beneficial to your image.

1. Minimalism

Minimalism, the use of elegant, streamlined, and visually simple packaging, never really goes out of style. There are numerous ways to achieve a minimalistic look, including using bold typography contrasted with stark white backgrounds, splashes of color on clean backgrounds, or a basic arrangement of simple shapes. If you incorporate this year’s top colors, including pink, purple, and color of 2018 PANTONE® 18-3838 Ultra Violet, you can make your minimalistic design modern and timeless, without isolating or overwhelming the viewer.

2. Go Bold

Color has always played an integral part in developing packaging and this year is no different. Use bold colors to evoke emotional responses in potential consumers and, consequently, impact their buying decisions. So, the primary color you use in your package design has a significant psychological effect on those viewing it, and you should choose it carefully. Be bold, but choose colors that represent the personality of your brand.

3. Handwriting and Handmadepackage design

Many consumers are looking for environment-friendly and ethical goods, including homemade items. Homemade products also create an emotional connection with the consumer, often evoking warm memories and nostalgia. The handmade package feel can be achieved through careful package design that includes text that looks handwritten. However, it is essential to ensure that your writing is clear and readable. You do not want to confuse or inadvertently mislead consumers.

4. Whimsy

Most consumers love goods that evoke positive childhood memories, or that engage their inner child. Using fun visuals, bright colors, and fantastic illustrations, including hand-drawn logos, is a great way to engage such consumers. Whimsy makes people smile and feel happier, so when your product packaging incorporates whimsy, you are creating this joyful connection between your customer and your product.

5. Eco-friendly

Going green is the best way to gain new customers and keep returning ones. It is not enough for your product to have eco-friendly credentials though; your packaging has to as well. Using packaging materials that are eco-friendly, biodegradable, and locally sourced is a great place to start. However, your design must also shout eco-friendly. Using earth-based colors in your packaging is one step, as are the inks you use in printing and the amount of packaging you use.

Incorporating these package design trends into your packaging will benefit your business in 2018. However, it is also important to employ them in a way that maintains your individuality and ensures that you are instantly recognizable to your audience, so using the same color scheme as you use in the rest of your marketing can be a great start.

 

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Logo Design Trends For 2018

Your business logo encapsulates your business. In one simple graphic, your potential customers learn everything they need to know about you. Logo design done right embodies your brand, makes you instantly recognizable, and creates a timeless appeal.

One of the critical mistakes that businesses of all sizes make when designing their logo is following the wrong trends. Another is following trends too tightly, and not adding that spark that makes them stand out from the crowd. Do you remember when everyone decided to include pixilated images in their logo? But, can you name any of the individual companies that tried that?

logo design

Think Social Media

One of the key trends for logo design in 2018, is designing with social media in mind. Logos on social media need to be short, punchy, and fit neatly into a square field. That does not mean that square logos are the way forward; it just means that the finished logo should fit, and be visually balanced, within a square.

 

logo designConsidering Context

Designing your logo is not just about the logo itself, but also how it is presented to your potential audience. One trend that is gaining momentum, and which is likely to continue to do so into 2018, is placing your logo in a real-world context. That includes ideas such as showing the logo on wall signage, business cards, and stationery. Taking this approach creates a visual link with the audience, so when they then see your signage with your logo, they automatically think back to what they have seen, and read about that logo and therefore that brand.

 

Mindful Monogramslogo design

Monograms and single letter logos are ideal for social media. They play on a classic idea that has been placed on everything from letterheads to cufflinks for centuries. However, it can be challenging to make monograms and letter logos unique. If you are going to use your business initials to create your monogram, then be watchful of unintended words, shapes, and puns that can be created.

Making this type of logo stand out, and say something meaningful about your brand, can also be difficult. Colors, shapes, letter styles, and letter combinations need to be well chosen to ensure that you do not create a logo that looks just like everyone else’s.

 

logo design

Going Back to Basics

Logos that include geometric shapes and clean lines are set to be on trend in 2018. These logo designs come back into favor regularly because they are, when done right, elegant and timeless. However, you need to avoid these types of logos becoming over simplistic and boring. You also need to ensure that your logo design stands out; after all, there are only so many shapes and shape combinations that can be used to create a geometric design.

 

Bringing Back Colorlogo design

Working in a digital medium gives you unprecedented access to colors in tones and shades that have been near impossible to create or show in a logo before. This is one of the reasons why there has been a surge towards brightly colored logos. However, when using color, it is not enough to just use blocks of bright, intense colors. To stand out, your logo design needs to consider intensity, saturation, shades, fading, and mixing of colors. Moreover, the colors you use must still reflect your business and its brand.

Logo design trends are there to guide you in creating the perfect logo. However, the focus of your logo design must remain on designing a logo that represents your business positively and makes you both visible and memorable.

 

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video marketing strategy

How First Person Experience Videos Can Make an Impact on Your Video Marketing Strategy

A popular and recent trend in video ads, particularly for many technical products, is the effective use of camera angle from a first person perspective, allowing viewers to engage in a more immersive experience. Most styles of these video ads often do away with spokespeople and voiceovers, letting the experience talk. From the perspective of a video marketing strategy, first-person videos are very effective as they deliver a more personalized user experience.

The strategy of using a first-person angle in videos is to offer viewers a first-hand and personalized view of what’s it like to experience the products. Moreover, these videos cut past the fluff and buzzwords, showing the viewers precisely what they will get. The other important part of this video marketing strategy is to make the user experience more memorable, motivating them to use the products.

The use of a first-person perspective in marketing videos utilizes an emotional appeal, making it easier to forge a bond between you and viewers. Here are some reasons why first-person content is helpful:

Presence

Using the first-person angle in your videos anchors them in the moment. It can benefit you as the viewer feels like he or she is participating in an active experience, rather than feeling distant or remotely connected. This sense of presence makes your content more relatable.

Ownership

It is more difficult to be passive and wishy-washy in your video statements when you make claims using the word “I” or “we.” As a result, imbuing the content with ownership through the first-person perspective can make it more authoritative and develops trust with your viewers.

Check out this similar article about the Top Trends in Social Media

Authenticity

Presence and ownership often lend themselves to a unique sense of authenticity. The implied ownership makes your content more credible and believable compared to “source-less” content, even when there is no name associated with the audio or voice.

Reflection

People often think before speaking. Therefore, when your audience views video ads made from the first-person angle, usually it confers a tacit implication of recollection and reflection. Using the first-person perspective conveys that you have put some consideration and personal thought into your words, which can lend it more credence.

A number of leading brands such as Google, Apple and Samsung use this video marketing strategy. Apple, like its main competitor Samsung, uses the first-person perspective in nearly all its product advertisements. Especially as many of its products are handheld devices, the viewers get a first-hand experience via the videos.

Flashy and over-the-top video ads do not get the same traction anymore. Customers want to know what they will get when they open the box. This is one reason why product unboxing videos have become so popular. They are posted by customers on YouTube for almost any product you could think of. As this is exactly what consumers are seeking, you could let your new video advertisement unbox a product for them.

Integrating Social Media & SEO Efforts For Enhanced Search Engine Results

 

 

advertising approach

An Advertising Approach On 4 Social Media Platforms

There is no right way to have an advertising approach. What is great about advertising is that you can advertise on multiple platforms. Online advertising is just one platform. Online advertisements have become very useful for companies. With advertisements, there are some tips so that advertisements are being used effectively. Tips include: make sure the ad aligns with the social media strategy, consistent coloring (matches website), rotate images, variation, and ad testing (determining what is and is not effective). Advertisements can be used on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. Each platform uses ads slightly different.

Ads on Facebook

To create an ad on Facebook, you must first have admin permission. When creating an ad on Facebook, it will have you choose the campaign, followed by the budget, scheduling, targeting, biding, ad placement and variations. Facebook allows you to track the progress of the ad. With Facebook, you choose an objective for the ad and there are many to choose from.

Top 4 tips for creating a successful targeted Facebook ad campaign 

Ads on Twitter

On Twitter you choose ads based on the objective of the campaign. There are twitter cards, which allow for rich media, a link, a button, and room for text on the ad. Twitter has four parts to the ad campaign. These are the timeframe, creative, targeting and budget. Twitter also allows you to do keyword targeting.

Ads on LinkedIn

A LinkedIn ad targets the audience based on professional attributes. You can create an ad or sponsor content. LinkedIn allows for up to 15 ad variations.

Ads on Instagram

Ads on Instagram can be created through Facebook. If you have a business manager account, the ads can be created through the Instagram app. You can include a call-to-action button.

What is great about having ads on social media is that the ads will be shown to the right people. With having ads online, you can make the smallest changes and get the ads to the right people. The social media platforms allow you to choose your audience and age range. Each social media platform has their own way of creating ads, but each platform is a great choice. The right advertising approach for your company might by online advertising. It is up to you to determine which social media platform is best.

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Advertising Agency Trends

The world of the traditional advertising agency is gone. Today, clients want agencies that truly embrace all forms of advertising, both traditional and digital. Smart agencies know this and stay on top of the trends in marketing and sales that will have the most impact for their clients. Let’s look at a few trends that are hot and here to stay.

Native Marketing

If there is one trend in advertising that is going strong and will remain strong for years to come, it’s native marketing. Blending advertisements smoothly with surrounding content has been around for decades. Doing it in new and innovative ways in the digital marketplace is what is driving the current growth.

Business Insider predicts that native advertising will hit $21 billion next year (2018). In 2013, spending for native advertising was $4.7 billion. That translates to a 445% growth in just 5 years.

The beauty of native advertising is that it’s very unobtrusive. It organically blends into the user experience.

Marketing Automation

Let’s face it. The world of marketing is a bit cutthroat with so many companies vying for consumer attention. Trying to bring a brand to the forefront and keep it there requires a solid set of tools that collect data, provide analytic tools and does a lot of the work for you. That set of tools is marketing automation.

A marketing automation platform gathers pertinent information on what visitors are most interested in, which pages they visit most, and what changes as they go further down the sales funnel. This information offers critical insights to what the target audience needs at each stage of the journey. All of that information can help an advertising agency develop highly focused ad campaigns

5 Benefits of Marketing Automation 

Content Marketing

Content marketing is becoming more sophisticated and more personalized. It starts with web pages providing basic information. Adding elements like video and infographics enriches the experience.

Gathering information with marketing automation allows for personalization. Certain areas of the web page can provide content drawn from the visitor’s profile. Marketing apps take that to a whole new level with interactive content experiences, completely based what is known about the visitor.

This increasing sophistication of content marketing is going to demand more sophisticated options from advertising agencies.

Personalized Marketing

Consumers expect personalization and they value it. It goes back to the days when a shopkeeper knew the names of all his customers. “Hi, Mrs. Jones, how is your oldest son doing in school?” “Hello, Mr. Gonzalez. That car part you wanted just came into stock.” The personal connection builds trust that cannot be replicated.

That personal touch is becoming the norm when it comes to marketing. People respond better to email offers that include their name and refers to what interests them. When they log 0nto a site like Amazon or E-Bay, they like the fact that they get recommendations based on their browsing and purchase history.

Closed Loop Marketing Analytics

Smart marketing means know who visits your website via SEO or marketing efforts. Analytics tracks which web pages a visitor visits. It tracks how often the visitor comes back and what most interests him/her. Analytics may track when a visitor becomes a lead. It can even track some parts of the lead’s journey to becoming a buyer. But, does it track what converted that lead into a buyer?

That is what closed loop marketing analytics track. This type of analysis helps marketers understand which effort ends up in sale and which effort did not. It highlights the most effective marketing efforts and which ones need attention.

From an advertising agency perspective, it can show you which ad campaigns had the most impact and which ones did not.

Continuous Website Improvements Based on Data

Most companies do a major website redesign every few years. The problem with just a major redesign is that once it’s done, it’s done. Nothing major will change until the next redesign 2-3 years in the future.

A new approach, rapidly gaining popularity, is a web design based on continuous improvement. Instead of rolling out a completely outfitted website that takes months to build, it starts with a streamlined, well-designed core based on tightly focused goals and objectives for content, design and development.

When that new website goes live, it starts gathering user data, linking it to marketing/sales effort. The data shows what is working and what is not. That data is what drives the next wave of improvements, often done on a monthly basis. This cycle of analyzing data, making improvements and gathering data can go on forever, continuously improving the website and its effects on marketing/sales.

Staying on top of major marketing trends is critical for any advertising agency. These trends impact client advertising directly. Which trend do you think will have the most impact in the coming year?

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