Future of email

The Future of Email: What To Expect

Although one of the oldest forms of online marketing, email marketing is consistently one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies there is, and it will continue to be so well into the future. Because of this, it’s worth thinking about the future of email in order to begin adjusting your email marketing strategy accordingly. The following are some of the things you should expect from the future of email:

1. More Visual

While emails used to be more text-based, this is quickly changing even now. Besides the content itself, the email interface will become more visual as well. For example, contact photos will become more prominent, attachments will become previewable without having to open an email, and email apps themselves will be more visually customizable for the user.

2. More Interactive

Smartphones provide users with a lot of interactivity options due to their touchscreens. It won’t be long until users will be able to interact with their inbox by picking up, deleting, and grouping emails within a 3D space.

Interactive Email Marketing Trends

3. More User Control

Every facet of a user’s online experience will be providing users with more control in the future, including their email. They’ll be able to organize their main email interface by choosing to see their favorite contacts first and by customizing their most important folders or labels. Although this could limit the ability of advertisers to reach users, it could also help your emails become more prominent amidst all the spam that recipients once received.

4. Potential Payment Email Models

Consumers get tons of spam on a daily basis because emails barely cost spammers anything to send. As a result, some kind of paid email model may be implemented. Sending emails would only cost cents or fractions of a cent, but it would limit the ability of spammers to send out mass amounts of emails on a regular basis because the cost would add up.

5. Automatic Organization

It was only recently that Gmail introduced their tab-based email system to organize user inboxes into folders. This was a huge change from the basic full view list inbox that all email apps used beforehand. This type of automatic inbox organization system is only going to get smarter and more intuitive in the future.

6. Content Will Be Rated And Analyzed

Email apps will have the ability to rate and analyze the content of a user’s emails. This will allow them to extract important information. For example, if they’ve ordered airplane tickets, then the app will be able to identify flight information from the email and display that.

7. Emails Will Be Read Out Loud

Voice assistants like Alexa are already becoming quite popular. It’s only a matter of time before users can have their emails read out to them – or have them summarized out loud.

These are some of the things that you can expect from the future of email that will no doubt have you rethinking parts of your email marketing strategy in the years to come.

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What Every Creative Advertising Agency Needs To Know To Endure The Digital Transformation

Let’s face it: the transformations that are taking place in the digital world have altered the definition of being a creative. Understanding the impact these changes have on creatives and figuring out how to navigate them can be an overwhelming task. Here is what every creative advertising agency needs to know in order to endure the digital transformation today:

Big Ideas Can Arise From Anyone Or Anywhere

Everyone from creative technologists to consultants are constantly challenging themselves to think of new ways to stay innovative in the rapidly changing digital world. Because of this, we have to recognize that people all around us, regardless of title or industry, are pitching ideas that could be the next big thing. To avoid missing out on those big ideas, I encourage you to keep your door and your mind open when conversing with co-workers.

Learn Through Collaborationcreative advertising agency

Technology alone is no longer the single center of digital transformation—it’s people. I learn new things, and processes in the digital scape, by discussing projects and goals with others. Can you remember a time you were working with someone and they showed you something new in a program you have been using for years? It’s easy to think that because you have been around a technology, you are familiar with every aspect of it, but you might be surprised by what you learn from the people around you. Acknowledging the wide range of abilities our fellow creative partners possess can inspire us to go further and elevate what we are capable of.

Make Learning A Constant

If you are seeking to improve your craft and entice your clients, continue to expand your field of knowledge and gain perspective on the world around you. There are several different ways to do this. For example, I have an Alexa in my home and I like to develop skills for it, as well as listen to podcasts and audio books in the car. Learning can feel like a chore, so do it where you are most comfortable and really dial in to how you learn best. For me, it’s audio and visual.

You should even Consider using down time to learn. Yeah, we all like to recoup during less busier times, but why not take advantage of your free time to bolster your skills? Remember when you used to love to create? It could have been when you were a kid coloring in a coloring book, or when you were in college creating projects where you had all the authority and made all the creative decisions. Think of digital the same way.

Read our article: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself When Looking For Creative Marketing Solutions

Work Backwards If You Have To

Discover what else you can learn from a familiar program or subject by working backwards. I recently re-upped certification by Google in Analytics and filled in some of the holes in my knowledge base. I use Google Analytics just about every day, but never knew all the things it could do. Just because you do something all the time OR because you are supposed to be a professional, doesn’t mean you can’t keep working on your skills.

Inspiring People

With creativity finding new platforms for expression, our renewed focus on humanity has played the most important role in digital transformation. Having a variety of options that work to improve our lives has never been easier due to the merging of creativity, data, and technology. Although mixing all of those elements into a stew of color, light and imagination can certainly hurt our heads, it is all worth it when something incredible arises from it that inspires people.

We Are Currently In The Second (And Maybe Third) Chapter Of Digital Innovation

Major companies like Amazon, Kickstarter, Uber, and Netflix have altered what we thought was possible in today’s world. Thanks to their innovation, we have become accustomed to a life of convenience and have higher everyday expectations. Advertising agencies play a massive role in inspiring people, so the way we use technology matters significantly for the next chapter of digital innovation.

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advertising industry

How Data Driven Creative Is Shifting The Advertising Industry

It wasn’t that long ago that businesses had limited data to use for their creative. Marketing campaigns were often built using subjective creative instinct and little else. However, now that advertisers have access to significant amounts of data, including personal customer information as well as audience behaviors, creative decisions are being informed by their data. The use of data allows businesses to make much better use of their resources, thereby making your data driven creative efforts more successful as well as more cost-efficient. The following are just a few ways that advertising agencies use data driven creative tactics to influence your marketing campaign for the better.

1. Develop More Accurate Buyer Personas

Arguably the most important facet of any marketing strategy that you implement is the audience you’re targeting. If you’re targeting the wrong audience, your efforts will fail. This is why developing buyer personas is so important — and the most effective way to do this is through the use of customer data. You can use the data you have from previous customers as well as data from the leads you’ve captured in order to identify exactly who your audience is, which will help inform the creation of your buyer personas.

For example, you can track the behavior of your customers by viewing what pages they visited and what actions they took before making a purchase. Information like what they’ve purchased and when they purchased it will be very helpful in being able to reach your audience as well. Many businesses will also create post-sale surveys for customers to fill out that provides valuable information as well. Additionally, you can gather information from your email opt-in forms as well as from your social media followers.

Want more information on Buyer Personas? Click here.

2. Locate Where Your Audience Is

Knowing who your audience is won’t help much if you don’t know where they are. There are countless social media platforms on which you can target your marketing campaigns. If you choose a social channel on which your target audience isn’t present, your campaign will fall on deaf ears. Figuring out what platforms your audience uses is the first step towards reaching them, and your data can help you pinpoint where they are. For example, you can look at the social media data of similar companies to determine where they have the biggest reach, or you can add social share buttons to your content and then identify which platforms your content is being shared on most.

You can also set up business pages on several social platforms and link to them in your email campaigns and on your website. You can then track which pages receive the most follows, which will tell you which social channels you should focus your marketing efforts on.

3. Personalize Your Ads

The amount of data that you have at your fingertips should allow you to personalize the experiences of your customers, especially once you’ve created your buyer personas. For example, retargeting customers using PPC (pay per click) ads highlighting items that they added to their cart but didn’t end up purchasing can be a very effective way to close a missed sale opportunity. Personalized experiences in general, whether it’s personalized CTAs (calls-to-action) or personalized emails, have a big impact. A recent study even revealed that consumers are twice as likely to click through ads for brands they were unfamiliar with if it was tailored to their preference.

4. Create More Relevant Content

By using your buyer personas and by collecting and analyzing how your visitors engage with the content you produce, you can fine tune your content strategy to better target your audience. By tracking several metrics, including time spent on a page, engagement with the content (comments, social shares, likes, etc.), click-throughs, bounce rate, lead captures, and more, you can identify what content performs at the highest rate. You can then craft new content that’s aligned with what type of content performs well. For example, if you noticed that short-form content in list form performs well but long-form content without bullets or numbers does not, then you should have a pretty good idea of what future content should look like.

These are just a few ways that data driven creative can work and why it’s changing the way the advertising industry operates. Using the significant amount of data that you have access to in order to drive your creative marketing decisions will make it easier to successfully identify who your target audience is and how to reach them in a cost-efficient manner.

17 SEO MYTHS YOU SHOULD LEAVE BEHIND

How Creativity and Data Driven Marketing Help Develop Marketing Campaigns

Not long ago, businesses simply didn’t have that much information to leverage when it came to crafting marketing campaigns. They could only draw conclusions about their audience from in-store information — as in, information on who bought what. Mostly, they just advertised to the audience that their products or services were initially intended for. A lot of their marketing effort came from the instincts of their advertising agency’s creative team. These days, advertising agencies have access to a wealth of data, which has led to data driven marketing. However, knowing how to use that data properly is important as well. It’s the agencies that merge data and creative to form the foundation of their marketing campaigns that tend to be the most successful.

What is Digital Storytelling? Read here.

How Data Driven Marketing Can Support Creativity

Although it’s difficult to argue that data hasn’t been hugely beneficial in terms of identifying who your audience is and how to reach them, a lot of people within the industry are scared that the use of data is restricting creativity. They believe that the increased use of data and automation is going to reduce innovation in marketing campaigns. There’s certainly some truth to this – but only if your marketing agency isn’t using your data properly. You don’t want your creative decisions to be solely based on numbers, after all.

However, you also don’t want to use your data as an afterthought either. For example, maybe you’ve produced both long-form and short-form blog content. Using analytics, you’ve found that your long-form content is performing better. You won’t want to try to take your short-form content and extend it so that it’s longer as this kind of strategy is akin to trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Instead, you should keep this data in mind for future campaigns.

Data driven marketing is about creating a balance between the data you have and your creative. Take video content creation as an example. Video has become one of the most effective forms of content in the past few years as it’s become easier and cheaper to produce as well as easier for consumers to watch. According to recent stats, Facebook users are more likely to engage with your video if it draws them in within 1.7 seconds. When creating video content for Facebook, you’ll want to keep this in mind. It might seem restricting at first — but limitations are often what helps to drive creative solutions. Instead of looking at data as something that restricts the creativity of your marketing campaigns, look at it as a way to drive innovation.

While some critics fear that an over-reliance on data could ultimately hinder creative efforts, in reality, the use of data can help inform creative efforts to bolster the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. In this day and age, advertising agencies who do not leverage data to their advantage in order to influence the direction of their creative marketing decisions will quickly fall behind the competition.

business story

What’s Trending In Marketing For August 2018

This week in inbound marketing we look at Amazon’s incredible success on Prime Day that made history in all categories. Read more on the changes and trends happening in marketing this past month.

Noteworthy Marketing News

Facebook To Begin Testing New ‘Highlights’ Feature That Lets Users Save Stories

Taking a page out of Snapchat’s playbook and making it their own, Facebook has begun testing a new “Highlights” feature that will give users the option to save Stories to their profiles. Unlike Snapchat, Facebook’s feature will allow users to save their Stories beyond the standard 24-hour period a Story exists. Your saved Stories will appear as a horizontal bar on the user’s profile and display view counts as well. Facebook believes this feature will not only give users the opportunity to hold on to their favorite content, but will also “make it easier to express who you are through memories.”

 

social media

Instagram Testing Open-Ended Questions In Stories To Make Content More Interactive

In an attempt to make content more interactive on their app, Instagram is testing a new feature in which users can add open-ended questions in stories according to a recent write-up on Marketing Land. Instagram currently allows users to post polls with multiple-choice answers, but with this new feature, Instagram is hoping to increase engagement between users, while giving brands the opportunity to have more public conversations with followers.

 

Snapchat Partners With 4 News Discovery Platforms To Help Push Content Beyond The App

According to an article on Marketing Land, Snapchat has decided to partner with four news discovery platforms (NewsWhip, Tagboard, SAM Desk, and Storyful) used by media organizations to spread their news-related content on a wider scale and basis outside the app. The partnership will allow the four platforms to use Snapchat’s Story Kit Integrations to access and deliver news content posted within the app to thousands of storytellers and newsrooms. Along with Snapchat, the platforms will also be able to access content that is present on the app’s Discovery channels like NBC News and BuzzFeed to name a few.

Improving Your Marketing Program

20 Tips To Improve Your Website Redesign Process

Whether you like it or not, your website is often the first impression your audience gets of your business and your offering, so keeping your website up to date with today’s technological changes in mind is crucial if you want to draw in your target consumer. Our own Nicole Wagner offers an abundance of tips to help you improve your website redesign process.

 

8 Tips On Social Media Best Practices For Your Business

Today, the majority of marketers and brands recognize the value of implementing a social media strategy when it comes to engaging and connecting with their audience. In an article she wrote, Nicole Wagner presents the best social media practices to get the most out of those popular platforms.

 

What Is Digital Storytelling: How To Improve Your Effortsdigital storytelling

Storytelling plays an important role when it comes to presenting your products or services as a solution, while also helping consumers relate to your business on a deeper level. Similar to storytelling, digital storytelling involves using strategies across all online platforms to communicate your message to your audience. Dan Gartlan offers strategies for how to improve your digital storytelling efforts to build strong relationships with consumers.

 

Recent Marketing Reports, Updates, and Trends

Even With All The Glitches, Prime Day 2018 Proves To Be Amazon’s Biggest Sales Day Ever

Amazon has done it again. According to a recent post on Marketing Land, Amazon reported that this year’s Prime Day was the biggest sales day ever surpassing last year’s sales as well as its Cyber Monday and Black Friday sales. Despite the glitches it faced, the company sold over 100 million products, and in the first nine hours gained more Prime members than any other day of the year in Amazon’s history. The products that sold the most worldwide were all Amazon devices—Alexa Voice Remote, the Echo Dot, and the Amazon Fire Stick.

Discover how to improve your brand marketing strategy using Amazon Alexa

multipurpose video campaignHow Overstock.com Created A Multipurpose Video Campaign

The digital era we are living in today has made it difficult to distinguish between brand and performance campaigns. For brands with dual goals, a multipurpose campaign might be the answer. In an article published on Think With Google, Overstock.com, the online home goods and furniture retailer, decided to experiment with mixing direct-response strategies with regular brand creative. Interestingly enough, the return on ad spending for the campaign was 3X its other campaigns—the result was enough to make them reconsider how they would normally approach digital video.

 

SLIF Attendees Share What Excites & Concerns Them About The Future

Senior living industry leaders attended the Senior Living Innovation Forum, a conference that takes place every June to discuss a variety of topics centered on the senior housing industry. Several attendees shared their insights and concerns about the future of the industry, and recognized that in order to fit in with the current times, companies and investors need to shift their attitudes and accept a new business model if they aspire to create larger market opportunities and increase innovation as well.

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video storytelling

Video Marketing Ideas: Using Storytelling In Social Media

Storytelling is one of the most important aspects when it comes of successfully conveying your message to your audience and giving them an idea of who your brand is and what you stand for. While storytelling is something that can be done via all types of content across all platforms, it’s particularly effective in video content on social media. However, coming up with different video marketing ideas that help strengthen your brand’s storytelling can be challenging. The following are a few video marketing ideas that you may want to implement on your social media channels to aid your storytelling efforts:

1. Film Your Customers’ Stories

Telling the stories of your customers is an easy way to get viewers to relate on a more personal level to your brand. When you film the story of your customer, they become the main character, which allows you to demonstrate through their story how you were able to provide a solution to their problems or needs.

2. Tell Personal Stories

Tell your brand’s story by showcasing how your company came to be. For example, you can focus on your owner as the main character and show how they started the business. This is a great way to put a face behind your brand and to make your company more relatable to your audience.

3. Create Fictional Stories

In addition to using the stories of your customers, make up some of your stories. Fictional stories often give you the opportunity to add humor and excitement that real stories don’t always have. For example, you could make the main character a superhero but keep the problem or need the same. If you’re selling a carpet stain removal product, it might be humorous to show a superhero having trouble removing a carpet stain even though you just showed them having no issue at all taking down a bad guy. Just make sure the message is clear and that you end with a strong call-to-action.

4. Film Documentary-Style Videos

Documentary videos give audiences a look into the process behind your company, whether it’s showing the process of working with a client or showing what a typical day at the office is like. It’s a good way to showcase how hard your company is working to help your customers.

5. Provide Behind-The-Scenes Videos

Behind-the-scenes videos give audiences a glimpse into what it’s like to work for your company and into what you and your company are trying to achieve. These types of videos make your brand feel more human as opposed to just being a faceless corporate entity.

The Power of First-Person Experience Videos

6. Perform Product Walkthroughs

Showing how a product works will be a lot more engaging if you film it in the form of a story. You can do this by establishing a character, showing what their problem is, demonstrating how to use your product or service, and, finally, revealing the result.

Storytelling is an essential part of marketing your brand effectively, and there are few better ways to do it than through video marketing. Use some of these video marketing ideas to enhance your storytelling abilities on social media.

business story

Future of email

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

How To Tell A Better Business Story

A critical key in modern marketing is storytelling. Now, anyone can generate and tell a story. For it to be effective, however, it needs to convey a meaningful message to your audience. Simply put, you need to tell a better business story.

The Meaning Behind the Story

There is some question as to why you need to tell your story in the first place. Who is interested in the history of your company? Your target audience, that’s who.

Connecting with your target audience requires making an emotional connection. That connection builds excitement and encourages loyalty. Storytelling is one way to do this. Humans have connected to their culture and history through storytelling for millennia. It stimulates the mind and it invokes deep emotions. It provokes empathy, engagement and perspective. And all of that promotes an emotional connection.

Business Storytelling Tip: “Burn The First Reel” 

Crafting a Better Business Story

How can you make your business story more engaging and exciting?

  • Tell your audience how your company is changing the world. When you opened the doors, you had a vision on what you wanted to accomplish. That vision may have changed a bit since you started, but you still have a vision. That is part of what you need to convey to your audience through your business story. You want that audience to see that vision and to embrace it as part of your brand.
  • Show your audience why your company matters. Part of what you need to convey is what makes your company different from your competitors. Telling your story gives you the opportunity to highlight what makes you different and why your customers choose your brand. This differentiation needs to be an integral part of your story.
  • Be authentic. Today’s consumers have the ability to check the facts. When you are telling your business story, you need to stick to the facts and avoid embellishing the truth. If your story sounds a bit boring, try a different angle. Even the most boring story can sound interesting with the right storytelling.
  • Focus on your audience. Your story needs to create an emotional connection with your audience. You don’t want to throw details into the story that clutter your message. When crafting your story, be sure each highlight you include invokes or enhances that critical emotional connection.
  • Be courageous and audacious. Brainstorm and explore all avenues of how to convey your business story. You may have a few bad ideas, but if you explore the inspiration behind those bad ideas, you may find the perfect angle for telling your story. Or you may find the right details to set your story apart from the competition. The bolder and more audacious you are, the better your story will be in the end.
  • Tell, refine, retell. The first time you tell your story, it will sound hesitant and awkward. You may not have the delivery smooth and the details are rough. But, that is only the first time. Refine your story, smooth out your presentation. Tell the story again. And again, and again. The more you tell it, the more you refine it, the better it will end up.

Each of these tips will help you craft a better business story. Remember, you are not going to get it perfect at first. But, the more you tell it, the more you refine it, the more authentic it becomes. And that is how you make that emotional connection with your target audience.

business story

brand story

How To Build A Brand Story

Storytelling has been a part of human interaction for millennia. From the ancient time when families gathered around a fire for protection from predators, to the modern gathering of children around a preschool teacher, stories are a way for people to convey ideas and share experiences. The power of the story also works for building brands. Learning how to build a brand story begins with the past and moves forward.

Know Your Brand’s History

Every person who ever started a company had a reason for opening the doors. It could be to sell a product the founder invented. It could be to solve a known consumer problem. The reason could be to fill a particular niche. No matter the reason, the details of who founded the company and why is important for building the brand story.

Another aspect you need to record is why the brand took the direction it did. The founder may have started the company in one direction, but for one reason or another, the brand took its own path. Recording what happened and why is important for moving the brand story forward to the present.

Know Where Your Company Is Going

The next part of how to build a brand story is knowing where the company is going. Every brand needs a plan for future growth. That plan should be a natural outgrowth of the brand’s past and its present trajectory.

The future story is a vision of where the company’s owners want the brand to be in a given time frame. It needs to be well thought out, figuring in potential changes in the market and industry. It needs to integrate the brand’s vision, strategies, and goals.

Using Marketing Technology to Build a More Visible Brand 

Know Your Brand’s Values

What does your brand stand for? A brand’s values demonstrates what connects it to the world around it. Defining a brand’s values needs to be more than just stating an idealized version of what the brand should stand for. It should be an authentic statement of what the brand actually stands for.

Ask a customer what your brand stands for. You might be surprised at what you hear. The values that customers perceive may not be the values you want your brand to stand for. You have the power to redefine the perception, but it begins with knowing the values you want it to stand for.

Tell Your Story

Knowing your brand’s history, its future, and its values gives you the building blocks to tell your brand story. Your story needs to be authentic and honest. It should be a succinct statement of where your brand came from, where it is going and what it stands for. The story must demonstrate your company’s purpose. It should invite your audience to be part of the brand’s future.

Learning how to build a brand story is just the first step. You must align every aspect of your company with this story. Consistency demonstrates authenticity, which, in turn, builds trust with your target audience. The story should be an integral part of your website, your marketing, and your advertising. It needs to be part of your internal training for new hires. It needs to be a part of the fabric that makes up your brand.

Click here to learn all there is to know about telling your brand’s story.

brand story

creative marketing solutions

5 Creative Marketing Solutions That Will Work In 2017

Solutions come in every flavor. Every client has different pain, and it’s an agency’s job to seek out and offer solutions. Once the pain has been established, the solution is what will solve or compound the problem. Great agencies can put creative thoughts into a campaign and make it memorable. Here are 5 creative marketing solutions that will resonate with the consumer in 2017.

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