For nearly 15 years, Janna has been one of Northern New England's most prolific and creative marketing minds. However, Janna is more than a designer or a marketer, she understands the nuts-and-bolts of the back-office.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:34

Avoiding plagiarism in your blog

Using source material to develop blog topics and to gather facts for your posts is A-Okay. But be wary of how you use source material.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:33

WordPress still on top

WordPress was among the earliest blogging systems to take hold, along with Blogger, Live Journal  and TypePad. But where others have fallen into oblivion, WordPress has evolved.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:32

Guest blogging

Content marketers sometimes struggle to find time to write and  publish content to their own platforms. Despite this, and though it may seem counter-intuitive, adding guest blogging to your content strategy can help you reach your audience and build trust and credibility.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:31

Blogging stats 2017

How long does it take to write a blog post? How often do people publish? Orbit Media asked these and other questions of more than 1,000 bloggers in  their 4th Annual Blogger Survey.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:17

Going long

Unless you are Seth Godin, you should be writing longer blog posts.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 16:16

Is Podcasting the new blogging?

Once upon a time, marketers turned to blogs to establish themselves as thought leaders. A new generation of content creators is looking toward an alternative way of establishing their brand and credibility, and they have settled on podcasting.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017 14:14

Why Blog Idea Generators Suck | Savoir Faire

Formulating new, creative, exciting and/or informative blog topics or titles can be difficult, especially if you have been in the blog game a while. It’s easy to feel you have exhausted all possible approaches to your subject matter, that you’ve said all that there is to say. It’s equally easy as for a newbie to feel lost or overwhelmed when trying to create that perfect blog post topic or title that is sure to get your blog read.

For some, the lure of the “blog idea generator” can be particularly seductive. Add a few keywords about your subject and get a month’s worth of blog post titles or topics? Sign me up!

As with anything that’s too good to be true, these blog topic generators are only of limited use, and the value they do provide depends greatly on your subject matter. We took a look at a few so you don’t have to.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:16

SEO on the horizon

Have we mentioned change happens?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:15

Missing social data from GA

If you’ve been creating UTM Tracking URLS to help you analyze your social media performance, you may be missing data in your Google Analytics.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:14

Recovering your SEO after a hack

Bringing back your website after it’s been taken down or defaced by a hacker can be time consuming pain in the you-know-what. But what about your search rankings?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:13

The user not the engine

For years, SEO has focused on optimizing for search engine algorithms. But now, focusing on human beings may be more beneficial.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:12

SEO needs CRO

Visits are great. But what about after the click?

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 15:09

4 metrics you aren't interpreting correctly

Data gathering has become easier. However, knowing what it all means can be challenging.

Tuesday, 28 November 2017 20:21

How To Include Video in Your Website or Blog

Video is a highly effective content format. It breaks the monotony of long text posts and can address the content consumption preferences of different people, some of whom might like to learn from or receive information via images or videos versus reading text.

There are a number of ways to embed video in your website, including via HTML5, YouTube, Vimeo and Flash. Embedded videos are coded in a way that integrates a video player into your webpage.

There are far more video file formats available than can actually be embedded in a website. And, not every format can be played by every user. For example, if you use a Flash SWF file, your site visitor would need to have the Adobe Flash Player installed on their computer.

HTML5

HTML5 made it easier to embed videos without needing complicated code or markup. Instead, all you need is a simple <video> tag. However, this format requires that you include multiple file formats of your video to accommodate different browsers and operating systems. Thus, your one video could require three files be uploaded to your site as shown in the HTML code below.

<video width="320" height="240" controls>
  <source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4">
  <source src="movie.ogg" type="video/ogg">
  <source src="movie.webm" type="video/webm">
Your browser does not support the video tag.
</video>

Another drawback to using HTML5 to embed your video is the need to host your videos on your site or via a content delivery network (CDN). If you have limited website storage space on your hosting plan, video could quickly consume your available space and even slow down your website.

Additionally, if your visitors are using older Internet Explorer versions, they won’t be able to view your HTML5 video at all.

YouTube

YouTube has been hosting user videos since 2005. It’s a very popular solution and supports both Flash and HTML5 playback. Once a video has been uploaded to YouTube, you can copy the Embed code and add it to your website. 

For the most part, the video player on your site will look like the YouTube video player and there is little customization available, though you can select to hide player controls and the related or suggested videos, choose a start time and customize the video size.

Youtube Settings

There are several benefits to using YouTube.

Your videos are discoverable by people who are searching YouTube. You can also gain some search engine benefits by having your videos hosted here. 

The videos are already created for cross-browser and cross-platform playback as well, so you don’t have to use multiple lines of code, like you do with HTML5.

However, one major disadvantage is that your website visitors can easily leave your site via that video and proceed to YouTube, where they can get lost in any number of rabbit holes.

Vimeo

Vimeo hasn’t quite gained the popularity of YouTube for video hosting. This is likely due to cost. While there is a free version of Vimeo, most business users find that they need a paid plan to satisfy their hosting and embedding needs. 

Paid plans allow users to host more videos; create domain level privacy and private link sharing; access video analytics and reports; and utilize advanced video player customization. Higher level plans even allow you to include your logo on the player and allow team members to collaborate and manage an account and videos. 

Vimeo Settings

The Vimeo player is more stylish and clean than YouTube. However, to really take advantage of Vimeo’s options and HD video embedding, a premium account is needed.

Flash

Let’s not even talk about Flash. It’s dying. Apple doesn’t support the Flash player on iOS devices. That means that users of iPhones or iPads won’t be able to see your video. 

A note about WordPress

WordPress, the most popular content management system, has its own video player. Adding video is essentially like adding an image via the WordPress Media Manager. However, you will still need to do your own conversion to one of the following formats, MP4, WMV, FLV, MOV, or SWF. Additionally, you can face size limitations when trying to upload videos, and they can consume precious web storage space.

File Too Big

With WordPress, it’s best to take advantage of their YouTube and Vimeo embedding. This can be done by choosing “Insert from URL” when adding Media to a post.

Wordpress Insert Url

However, using this method eliminates the ability to customize the YouTube or Vimeo player.

Conclusion

Embedding video has become far less complex for content managers. And, with all the video hosting options available, it’s easier to find a solution that suits your video embedding needs and website structure.

 

Wednesday, 08 November 2017 10:35

4 Metrics You Aren't Interpreting Correctly

Data gathering and analysis is an important part of every marketer’s job. Without data, marketers can’t know what is working and what is not, what needs to be changed and what can remain the same. Thankfully, data gathering is easier than ever 

Technology has given marketers so many ways to gather data and insights about prospects, leads and customers, whether baked right in the tools they use such as Facebook Insights, as part of third party analytics tools, or from data aggregators which can comb through connected online properties and pull data into a comprehensive dashboard.

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 20:05

Are you making these mistakes?

Many businesses struggle with attracting and retaining followers on their social media channels even with a pool of more than 2.8 billion active users worldwide.

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 20:04

Oops, they did it again

Facebook is making changes. Whodathunkit?

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 20:03

The importance of link tracking

Google Analytics is a great tool for discovering what channels send traffic to your website. But simply knowing the channel or the landing page isn’t necessarily good enough.

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 20:03

Why Tweet?

With less than stellar engagement rates, is Twitter worth your effort in 2018?

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 19:50

Grow with Messenger

In the past year, Facebook's algorithm changes have made it more difficult for posts from business pages to appear in news feeds. So how can businesses use Facebook to connect with people?

Tuesday, 07 November 2017 19:38

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

Putting all your marketing efforts and marketing dollars into social media won’t make or save your business.

Every developer and content manager has their favorite plugins that they can’t live without, whether to make content creation or sharing easier, to connect social media, or to add features and functionality. But not every site needs every plugin or even every type of plugin. If your site doesn’t allow user registration, then there’s no need to add a plugin to help you define and expand user roles or to control access to content.

There’s a difference between shopping at a brick-and-mortar store and shopping online. When you go out to the stores to go shopping, you need to get dressed and leave the house. When you’re shopping online at home, well... let's just say the clothing requirements are less defined. 

But the differences in how people shop go beyond how they get to the store and the dress code, whether they’re traveling down the road or clicking their way across cyberspace. And, the differences that have the most impact on sales are those related to the shopper’s decision-making process.

We all want to create content that “goes viral.” You know, that article you spent hours crafting or the infographic that was meticulously researched and designed that gets shared thousands, or even tens of thousands - nay hundreds of thousands! - of times on social media and becomes curated or referenced on other sites throughout the web.

But “going viral” is a lot harder than you might think. Getting even a nominal number of people to read and share your content can be difficult. Here are five reasons your content might be overlooked.

While the design of a website is based on the goals of the business and strategic decisions to support those goals, it is also highly subjective. Certainly, there are “best practices” that inform a design. But when it comes down to fonts and colors and photos and graphics, we all have our personal preferences and will understandably interject those preferences during the design process.

However, it is important to remember that your website isn’t for you, and your preferences actually don’t matter.

When riding a motorcycle, accelerating, or increasing the throttle, can help a rider regain traction and recover control in a variety of situations, whether to correct a path of travel or to avoid potential disaster when things get squirrelly. Interestingly, we realized recently that the same could be said for your marketing efforts.

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:27

Sales needs to be social

Buyers are researching companies and products before they even talk to sales person. Guess what? They’re  also researching salespeople.

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:25

Social Media URLs and Your Brand

You spend a lot of time crafting messages and images for use on social media. But did you spend any time on your URLs?

Tuesday, 01 August 2017 18:11

It’s an addiction

Despite all the wonderful things social media has allowed people to do, it has a bit of a dark side.

Social media gives people and companies powerful tools to extend their reach, project their messages and engage with people far and wide. Through images and content, people use their social media platforms to promote and establish their personal or company brands. Many people focus on their posts, their profile image and their cover photo to accomplish their branding goals. But there is one oft-neglected piece of the social media branding puzzle: the URL.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 14:10

We Reinvented the Enewsletter

Here at Savoir Faire we spend a lot of time with our heads down doing great work for our clients. To the point, sometimes, that we forget to pick our heads up and tell you things. Interesting things. Important things. Like that time we completely reinvented the email newsletter and never bothered to tell anyone about it.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017 12:34

Facebook Changes to Link Previews

As usual, Facebook has made changes which could be significant for social media marketers as well as website developers.

Much like Mark Twain himself, the rumors of email’s death have been greatly exaggerated. And, as statistics show, it continues to be a widespread and ever-growing method of communication.

There are more than 2.5 billion email users worldwide with more than 4.3 billion email accounts! That adds up to approximately 35% of the world’s population. And according to Constant Contact, by the end of 2019, these users will receive 246 billion messages.

At the top of many website home pages stands a hero.

You know what you need.

Or at least you think you do.

But when you ask your graphic designer for a logo, brochure, poster, presentation or any other visual aid to support your marketing efforts, you’re faced with a barrage of questions full of words and phrases you aren’t quite sure you understand, and you’re wishing you had a “Graphic Designer to English” pocket dictionary handy.

Wednesday, 07 June 2017 18:28

Combatting List Decay

Like filling a leaky bucket, you need to continually add contacts to your marketing database in order to counter it’s natural, inevitable and continued decay.

Marketers and salespeople work hard to earn email addresses from prospects and leads with whom they’d like to communicate in order to educate them and to stay connected with them through their buying journey.

Plus, it feels good to see a list grow and thrive, especially if it has been cultivated organically and through efforts designed to attract engaged readers. Unfortunately, not all the names in a contact database remain valid as time goes on.

First impressions count. Cliché? Maybe. But the truth is, they really do. 

Imagine this: you’re sitting in your immaculate, modern conference room waiting for the principal of what you think is reputable a marketing agency to arrive and to pitch you on a new strategy for your company in the coming quarter. You’ve never met but you have heard some good things about the agency and the services it delivers. The door opens and there she is, in her bathrobe, slippers and appearing to have just rolled out of bed. Turns out, she doesn’t think she needs to impress you by how she looks or to make a good first impression; her presentation is SURE to “wow” you.

Now consider this: it can be difficult (though not impossible) to overcome a bad first impression no matter what you do in in the future or how well you do it. In fact, according to Fast Company, when someone forms a negative opinion, despite subsequent positive actions, he  will purposefully avoid changing opinion. This is  because of an inability to resolve the dissonance the contradiction creates. 

Let’s apply this scenario to your website 

Buyers aren’t waiting for your phone call and your sales pitch. They are researching online, trying to find the best product or service provider to solve a problem. That means your website has to act as your first impression - like the receptionist at the front desk, it sets the tone for what people think about interacting with your company. You want that first impression to be positive if you have any hope of turning website visitors into leads and then being able to nurture leads through to sales.

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 14:42

Accessibility and SEO

Some websites must be developed with accessibility in mind in order to be Section 508 compliant. However, every website should be accessible. It’s the right thing to do...and if that’s not good enough, it’s good for SEO.

Emails. So many emails, finding their way to our inboxes every day: updates from our favorite blogs, recommendations from an online store we purchased from, reminders about events we signed up for, tips and tricks from that website we downloaded a whitepaper from last year, notifications that we have a new follower on twitter (woohoo!) and, unfortunately, a lot of stuff we never wanted and didn’t sign up for.

But have you really thought about the different types of emails you receive and why businesses send them?

We have.  

Below are some of emails your business could be sending to keep customers informed, encourage sales or promote engagement.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:33

MailChimp’s Member Ratings

MailChimp provides a sophisticated way to rate your contacts and evaluate engagement.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:30

Secure ≠ Safe

A “Secure” site is not necessarily a “Safe” site.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:18

Social Image Sizes

Keeping up with all the social media channels, their image requirements and their layout changes can be daunting.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:12

Facebook’s Declining Organic Reach

Facebook’s algorithm changes over the past few years have made it more difficult for business pages to extend their reach organically. But there are things you can do without buying ads.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017 20:01

Don’t Annoy Your Social Followers

Your social followers chose to click “like,” “follow” or “subscribe” because they wanted to know what your brand is doing, and to get access to relevant and useful information. Don’t screw it up!

Thursday, 16 March 2017 12:50

Content Marketing Ideas for Non-Writers

How to do “content marketing” if you’re not a writer.

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:27

Facebook Advertising Facts & Tips

Think you’ve got Facebook advertising figured out? Tomorrow everything could change.

Wednesday, 03 August 2016 19:31

Chamber Music and your Marketing Team

This is the season that the Apple Hill String Quartet performs its summer series. Read our blog post about how a string quartet is like a marketing team.

Like traditional, written business correspondences, business emails often finish with a closing word or phrase, the sender’s name and sender’s title. Additionally, where a business letter or letterhead might contain contact information at the top of a correspondence, an email may include a variety of other relevant contact information below the closing.

Known as an email signature, this block at the end of an email message can also contain company-related information such as the business name, mailing address, phone number or numbers, disclaimers or other contact information. When used correctly, email signatures can be an important part of your marketing strategy.

Transactional emails, also called triggered emails, are emails sent to an individual based on some action he/she has taken. Often, these are associated with e-commerce sites and purchases, but they also include any automated follow-up emails that are triggered by any website action, such as signing up for a newsletter or completing a form to gain access to an offer or download.

Not long ago, emails resembling printed newsletters were prevalent. They had two or three columns, a number of articles, a table of contents, a “published” date and a lot of content that was best read on a desktop device.

We’ve come a long way since then.

First Impressions

You’ve managed, with your compelling subject line, to convince an email recipient to open your email.

But did they read your email? Or did they “bounce?”

What your open rate (and click rate) doesn’t tell you is if they actually read your email after opening. That’s where email open time comes in.

According to emailmonday, a large percent of readers on various devices spend less than 15 seconds reading an email. This could indicate they quickly clicked a link but it could also mean they quickly closed or even deleted the email.

 

Movable Ink US Consumer Device Preference Report Q2 2014
Credit: emailmonday

 

Your email needs to engage the reader quickly and to encourage the reader to scroll and to click regardless of the email type.

Layout Design

Though statistics vary for different industries, on average, 66% of emails are now opened on mobile devices (Constant Contact) and 54% are opened on mobile first (Cynthia Price), making it very likely your readers are viewing your email on a smartphone rather than desktop device.

However, it is still important to design your emails for all devices, using responsive layouts to increase the likelihood your email will be read and clicked rather than abandoned.

  • If you use a multicolumn format, make sure it reformats to a single column when viewed on a mobile device, making it easy to read on a narrow screen.

  • Design your email to be no more than 650 pixels wide to ensure that when viewed in a browser-based email application such as Yahoo or Gmail, the entire width is visible.

  • Use a simple layout that is clean and uncluttered with visual cues to indicate headlines and calls to action as well as to create information hierarchy.

  • Use spacing and dividing lines to split content sections

  • Keep paragraphs short for easy scannability and readability.

  • Use your company’s colors and fonts. However, make sure your email works with a system font as well.

  • Watch your use of background images. Some email clients such as Outlook, will not display them.

  • Include a pre-header or preview text if your email uses a header image or logo which would take up a large portion of a mobile screen.

  • Try to keep your header less than 150 pixels high so that your main content is more likely to display on smaller devices.

  • Break up large chunks of text with images and consider linking to longer content hosted on your website. Remember to include “alt text” on your email images just as you would on a website to help identify images that might not be downloaded or displayed.

  • Balance your images and text. An email that is overly image-heavy can be flagged as spam.


Our internet savvy audience has matured rapidly and mobile technology continues to evolve. As such, it’s long past time to drop emails that look like old, printed newsletters, and to instead focus on mobile-friendly emails that are easy to read regardless of device. Rather than using email as a way to deliver every detail of every story in a given time period, consider the specific purpose of each email and use it as a gateway to information located elsewhere on your website where users can convert.

Wednesday, 08 June 2016 12:35

(So-called) Email Best Practices

Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a prescribed set of steps or parameters that would guarantee success or some sort of black and white, concrete solution to achieve results? Devoid any such magic insight or secret formula, we turn instead to “best practices.”

In email marketing, we can find a lot of data about click rates and open rates and how the structure of the email, the subject or the content affects these rates.

Companies like Mailchimp analyze hundreds of thousands of messages to tell us what time of day is best for sending, how to compose an email message that gets opened and which elements an email must have to improve clicks and conversions.

This data allows us to construct rules to guide us when building our emails and email campaigns. However, just because it is a “best” practice doesn’t mean it is best for you.

Pre-headers and “view online” links

Pre-headers allow you to include preview text that a user will see when viewing a list of emails in their inbox. It can give valuable information about the email’s primary content in order to entice the recipient to open. It is also where the The “View Online” link is usually located. This link gives users the ability to view an HTML version online if it is not displaying correctly on their computer or device. Obviously, it’s nice to give users an option. However, on mobile devices, this text takes up valuable real estate at the top of the email. The pre-header and preview text can be hidden in the email view via CSS and still appear in the inbox preview. However, what will hiding the “view online” link do?  To decide if this should be hidden or included, you can look at how many of your users click the link or how many people view the email online or in their email client.

Day and time

We’ve seen reports that state Thursday at 3pm is the best time of day while websites mention morning hours when people are just starting to go through their inboxes. We’ve also seen it suggested that it is best to send early in the week when subscribers have not already been bombarded with and become tired of emails. But the truth is, there is no exact day and time that will work for every industry and every business. Think about  your audience and when  your messages might best resonate with them. For example, if you are emailing about a weekend event, you might aim for Wednesday when people are making weekend plans. Consider your audience’s routines: when are they online, when are they thinking about your product or service, when are they making decisions?

Personalization

Personalization became a best practice to boost open rates; however, when spammers realized this, they began using personalization in every email. Soon, recipients could easily identify a spam email based on the presence of their first name in the subject line. Personalization has become impersonal and emails with names in the subject lines are often delivered as junk mail. Should you ditch personalization because of this? Not necessarily. But consider it in terms of your list segmentation and what content or offers you are delivering to members of your audience. Be personal without being spammy.

Messaging and your subject lines

We posted recently on some considerations when crafting your subject lines such as keeping them short, avoiding overly spammy words, using targeted keywords and creating a sense of urgency. However, while these are “best practices,” it is worth noting that utilizing words such as Free won’t necessarily flag your email as spam or cause a user to automatically delete it. Spam filters will look at the email in general as well as the overall reputation of the sender to calculate your spam score. So feel free to use some of those “spam trigger” words in your testing. They might just compel your audience to click.

Your unsubscribe link

It’s been a fairly common practice to hide the unsubscribe link in small type in the footer simply to satisfy CAN-SPAM requirements in an attempt to avoid the loss of subscribers or contacts. But if people really want to leave, they will find a way. If you make it too difficult to unsubscribe, users might simply report your email as spam, which, if you have enough complaints, can affect your email deliverability. Make it easy for users to unsubscribe or manage their email preferences. Test different options including ways to “opt-down” or select different email frequencies or email types.

Frequency

Once a day, once a week, once a month? How often should you send emails to your subscribers. Finding that sweet spot where recipients remain engaged and informed and have not experienced email ‘fatigue’ from over mailing can be difficult. Research from the DMA (the UK-based Direct Marketing Association)  shows the highest percent of companies send 4 to 5 emails per month to their contacts. Does that mean this is the magic number to elicit response? Again, the answer is not necessarily. While you want to avoid sending too few as well as too many emails, the number of emails depends on the types of emails you send as well as your audience. For example, your company might send a larger number of emails particularly if transactional emails are a part of the purchase or sales process. If the emails are relevant, the quantity becomes less important.

Remember, as with anything, best practices might not be best for you. Consider these to be common practices or even average practices. Use them as the basis on which to build but don’t allow best practices to be the reason you do less or stop experimenting. With a little imagination, trial and error and A/B testing, you can develop better best practices for your business.

Bigger isn’t always better, especially when describing your subscriber count. Of course, you want to be actively growing your email list; but you also want to be sure your list encompasses people who are interested in your email content and are engaged with you rather than “dead” subscribers, names on your list who have not engaged with (opened, responded or clicked) any of your emails in at least six months.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 20:37

Blogging for SEO

People are looking for answers. Google is delivering them.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:18

Why is LinkedIn Important?

Many business owners, managers and other decision makers know about several social media channels currently utilized  —  at least to the degree they use them personally.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016 20:24

Creating a Brand

Brand development can be hard. There are a lot of things to think about besides your logo.

Monday, 04 January 2016 21:22

Brand Names

A rose by any other name would...cause great confusion.

Monday, 04 January 2016 21:20

Limiting WordPress Admin Access

WordPress allows developers to limit the availability of plugin, theme and configuration access for backend users in two ways; via the theme functions file or via user roles. Both have pros/cons.

Monday, 04 January 2016 21:19

LinkedIn Groups Overhauled

Recently, LinkedIn made major changes to its groups interface, making the desktop and mobile app versions the same.

Sunday, 20 December 2015 19:53

Domains and Google

Many new domain extensions, such as .academy, .guru, .attorney, have been made available  recently with new extensions still being released. These new extensions allow website owners to create more personalized and memorable website domains, but how does Google rank them compared to traditional .com, .org and .edu extensions?

Sunday, 20 December 2015 19:34

Brand Guidelines

Consistent communication of a company’s brand is vital to brand awareness and brand engagement.

Sunday, 20 December 2015 19:20

Agency Review

Over time, relationships can stagnate, each person offering less of themselves and communication breaking down. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault; sometimes, it just happens. The same holds true in a company-agency relationship.

Sunday, 20 December 2015 19:16

Post-holiday Marketing Opportunities

Many business put a lot of time, energy and money into their marketing leading up to Thanksgiving and through the holiday shopping season. Post-holiday marketing can help businesses capitalize on holiday sales, increase post-holiday sales and establish long-term relationships with customers.

Sunday, 20 December 2015 19:11

Analyzing Your Email Marketing

Email plays an important role in marketing automation strategies. How do you determine whether your emails are successful?

Monday, 14 December 2015 09:37

Measurement Monday: Email Marketing Analysis

Welcome to measurement Mondays, our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be reviewing some of the different metrics used when analyzing email campaigns.

Email is an integral part of today’s content marketing and marketing automation strategies, and contributes greatly to the success of each by maintaining customer relationships, nurturing leads and even attracting new contacts through sharing.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 22:09

Meet the New Google+

Google has always evolved their various products in response to user feedback and usage data in order to improve the user experience and provide the right solutions, sometimes completely revamping or retiring products. Google+ is the most recent project to get a bit of an overhaul.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 21:56

Is Google the Right Search Engine?

Google has become widely accepted as the search engine of choice. We talk about “Googling” something. We don’t tell people to “Bing it” and we aren’t “Yahooing” for anything. But is Google the right search engine to optimize for?

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 21:53

Pillars of SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)  consists of a number of factors or activities that occur both on and off your site. These are the pillars of SEO.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 21:46

Personalizing at Scale

Personalization can improve conversions and ROI, but some marketing efforts fail when personalization crosses the line to intrusive - or even creepy.

Wednesday, 09 December 2015 21:37

Content Publishing Platforms

Content has become a major part of most marketing strategies. But where should you host your content?

Friday, 20 November 2015 20:20

Mobile Surpasses Desktop

In early October, Google announced that over 50% of all Google queries worldwide are now coming from mobile devices.

Friday, 20 November 2015 20:19

Content Marketing Misconceptions

Content marketing, while certainly en vogue and quite popular as a strategy, is not a new concept.

Friday, 20 November 2015 20:18

Website Analyzers

Getting a quick diagnosis of the health of your site can help you figure out where you need to focus your efforts in order to improve your online presence.

Friday, 20 November 2015 20:17

SEO Tools

While you can spend time analyzing the results of your SEO efforts in Google Analytics or other reporting software, sometimes, you need a tool that will will analyze your site in a more specific manner and reveal new areas for improvement.

Monday, 23 November 2015 06:01

Measurement Mondays

You must effectively measure your marketing efforts; but what should you be measuring?

Welcome to measurement Mondays, our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be taking a look at social media.

Social media can be hard to measure and difficult for CMOs to understand the value of.

Monday, 16 November 2015 07:08

Measurement Mondays: Analyzing Your Blog

Welcome to measurement Mondays, our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be reviewing some of the different metrics used when evaluating your blog and blogging strategy.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 18:06

Customer Search Behavior

The way people are searching for information has changed.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 17:59

Budget Shift to Digital

It wasn’t long ago that people thought the Internet, email or social media were fads and wouldn’t merit much use beyond being a toy for the well-to-do population that could afford to have these at their disposal. But we’ve seen how wrong these types of predictions were and that digital marketing has grown exponentially in recent years with more businesses investing larger portions of their marketing budgets in digital.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 17:55

Mobile Influence

In the past year, more people are conducting shopping-related searches on their mobile devices.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 16:17

Strong Passwords

From banking to social media accounts to shopping to any other number of online activities, chances are you have needed to create a password. You know “password” isn’t a good idea and neither is “passw0rd” even with the clever little zero snuck in there. But did you know none of the clever little password tricks protect you.

Welcome to measurement Mondays, our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be reviewing some of the different metrics used when evaluating a website’s analytics. 

Thursday, 05 November 2015 09:12

How To Grow Your Email List

Social media messages and email messages both stream into our view whether it be via a news feed or your inbox. The difference is email is far less fleeting than social media.

Social media updates fly by quickly, and it’s not likely we scroll back to the previous day(s) to read posts. But with email, we take our time in our inbox. In 2012, McKinley Global Institute found that people spend up to 25% of their workday in their inbox. Email can hold our attention and demand response.

Welcome to measurement Mondays. Our opportunity to share some best practices, educational information and talk about all things related to measurement to start your week. In this week’s measurement Monday post, we will be reviewing some of the different metrics used when evaluating a website’s performance.

Monday, 26 October 2015 06:15

What is Omni-channel?

Have you seen the ad where a number of celebrities discuss ordering pizza from Dominos via whatever method they prefer, text, tweet, smart TV, or smart watch?

Monday, 26 October 2015 06:15

3 New Inbound Stats

New research and big data are continually providing insights on changes in the marketing industry, buyer behavior and the way we conduct business. But with the speed of change, the most up-to-date statistics can be elusive.

Monday, 26 October 2015 06:15

Even the Print Industry Loves Content

Logically, it would seem printers would abhor digital publishing as a less costly alternative to traditional publishing, their meat and potato. But, contrary to this assumption, printers actually embrace and espouse the benefits of online content and content marketing.

Monday, 26 October 2015 06:15

SEO + Content

In the early years of the internet, many businesses built websites that functioned as online versions of their company brochures. As people began to search for those brochures online, we saw the birth of SEO.

Monday, 26 October 2015 15:18

Trends CMOs Need to Know

While knowing what has happened allows a CMO to report on performance results, trends allow CMOs to adjust and adapt to the ever-changing digital marketing landscape.

Monday, 26 October 2015 15:16

Why Sell Online?

Learn how to stay ahead of your customers’ purchasing needs by selling online.

In every marketing program, whether traditional or digital, you must effectively measure the results of your efforts in order to identify and build on success or know which adjustments to make when it fails. So the looming questions is, what exactly should you be measuring?

Traditional measurement efforts used costly research techniques to learn more about market trends, market size, brand awareness and customer satisfaction. They also required companies’ utilize time-consuming data gathering techniques like customer feedback surveys or response cards that depended on a person’s willingness to offer information or participate in the information gathering.  

There are a number of factors that can impact your email open rate. Some of these; who the email is sent from, the cleanliness of your list, and the day/time the email was sent, can be manipulated and controlled to a degree. There are however, external factors and limitations sometimes imposed by the email send provider that limit your control..

On the other hand, you have complete control over your subject line and it can make the biggest impact on the success or failure of your campaign. You can choose the general format, the words, length and the inclusion of personalization as appropriate.

Monday, 12 October 2015 19:44

Effective Email Subject Lines

Just because your email was delivered, doesn’t mean it will be read. Your email subject line is often your only chance to persuade a recipient that you have sent valuable, interesting or important information relevant to them.

Monday, 12 October 2015 19:29

Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is growing in popularity. But executing effectively still seems elusive.

Monday, 12 October 2015 19:17

WordPress and SEO

Google loves WordPress. But even more so with customization.

Monday, 12 October 2015 18:54

Visual Consistency

The human brain relies heavily on visual cues, so providing consistency is a must for your website.

Monday, 12 October 2015 18:43

Avoid Blog Writing Burnout

Many marketers agree that in order to improve SEO and gain traction, you must blog consistently. But continual blogging can become tedious and tiresome.

Monday, 12 October 2015 18:24

Announcing Leadin

Hubpot announced a new website plugin to gather visitor insights.

The buyer’s decision-making process has changed dramatically in recent years. Buyers are conducting extensive research online before ever speaking to a sales person. Buyers are also making more direct purchases online and via their smartphone, never stepping foot into traditional brick-and-mortar locations.

According to eMarketer, ecommerce sales rose 16.4% in 2013 over the previous year to 262.3 billion dollars and is estimated to climb to 440 billion dollars by 2017. However, the percentage of online sales to all retail sales is still relatively small. Consider this: only 11% of Macy’s sales are online. But, that meager 11% represents 3.1 billion dollars per year. (eConsultancy)

To capture a piece of the pie, brick-and-mortar stores need to adapt as their customers are. Shoppers are more than happy to stay home and research and complete their purchase online as long as the barriers to online shopping have been subverted, i.e. security risks, paying for shipping, etc. Many don’t want to drive to a store, wander around in search of what they need and then interact with a cashier to finish the purchase process. In fact, according to an eConsultancy survey, 60% of Americans like knowing they don’t have to shop in a crowded mall or store and 51% prefer to shop from the comfort of home. Consider this; Black Friday, perhaps the biggest shopping day of the year, saw about 6 million fewer shoppers at retail locations in 2014 than 2013. This is a decline that is expected to continue in 2015.

And people don’t just shop from home; they are making purchases anywhere they have wifi or phone service. Consider that sixty-two percent of smartphone users have made a purchase online using their mobile device in the last six months. (KeCommerce)

The good news is you don’t have to compete with Amazon or other retail giants. The internet enables even small companies to sell online and compete adequately with the retail giants via cloud based platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, Amazon Webstore as well as other solutions like Magento, ZenCart, Abante Cart or using WordPress plugins.

Compared to setting up a brick-and-mortar location, getting started online is very manageable and affordable with many vendors and distributors making it even easier by including services like drop shipping until sales justify investing in having your own inventory. And payment processors making it even easier to take payment with multiple options and lower fees.

Benefits

Selling direct online increases your reach. With an online store, your profits are no longer limited by the number of customers that can physically visit your brick and mortar location. You can sell across towns, states, and even across borders, removing all geographical limitations.

Your online store also allows you to cater to shoppers who find it more convenient to browse and buy at times when retail locations are not traditionally open. Online shopping can save time for both the buyer and retailer, reducing phone calls about availability, specifications, hours of operation or other information easily found on company and product pages.

An ecommerce system provides real time data and analytics about your products and your customers. You can see how people interact with the site, what products interest them, what they left in their cart and how much the average purchase was. Valuable metrics that allow you to make adjustments to meet your customer’s needs.

Even if your product(s) don’t appear ideal for online sales, an ecommerce presence will help buyers discover your business. Shoppers are spending more time researching online than ever before. Sixty-four percent of buyers spend 10 minutes or more researching before buying. They are online searching for products your business might sell. By having your items listed online in an ecommerce system you improve your chances of appearing in search engine results pages.That research could draw local buyers to your brick-and-mortar location or entice them to call. And best of all, your website is always selling. An ecommerce site is open  24/7/365 with virtually none of the overhead of a brick-and-mortar location.

Considerations when building your ecommerce presence

  • Create a user focused experience. Provide product details and information in a clear and concise manner. It’s important to help users through the online buying experience where they are unable to touch or try-on the products.

  • Use reviews and trust seals. According to KissMetrics, 5% of shoppers say that online reviews influence their buying decision.

  • Make sure information is readily available and there are no surprises, such as unexpected shipping cost. Twenty-eight percent of shoppers will abandon their shopping cart if presented with unexpected shipping costs.

  • Allow guest checkout and ensure checkout is secure. Many shoppers will abandon a cart if they are required to create a new user account or have payment security concerns.

  • Make customers feel good about their purchase. Be helpful and personalize the experience. Just as with in-person interactions, online first impressions matter.

  • Gather feedback and data that will help you constantly improve the customer experience.

  • Make sure your ecommerce is mobile friendly. According to Brad Frost, “Mobile users will do anything and everything desktop users will do, provided it’s presented in a usable way.”

  • Be fluid and evolve. This applies to both your ecommerce site but also the logistics of meeting demand.

Your brick-and-mortar isn’t dead.

While more people are enjoying a complete end-to-end online shopping experience, click and collect is also a popular model. Nextopia reveals 44% of shoppers are more likely to purchase online if they are able to pick up in-store, and that 62% are more likely to shop online if they can return an item in-store. The key to success is the effective and appropriate use of both online and offline channels to create a solution that better satisfies your buyers’ needs and shopping methods.

Look for the next post in our ecommerce series where we take a deeper dive into reviewing the different types of eCommerce software solutions available to sell online. Have a favorite platform? Let us know using the comments below.

Images are an important part of creating engaging content. In fact, according to Jeff Bullas, posts or articles with images get 94% more views! But finding great stock photos can either be costly or time consuming.

Websites like Getty Images® have beautifully composed photos for sale. However, these rights-managed images can be very expensive depending on your usage needs. Getty does offer some royalty-free images for embedding on a blog or website or social media using their “embedded viewer” provided your site and site content conforms to their terms and conditions.

Stock photo site 123rf.com has similarly allowed certain images to be downloaded for free for use on blogs and in PowerPoint presentations. Essentially the site asks contributors to “donate’ their images for increased exposure; the images are available for a period of time and eventually expire.The quality of images on 123rf can be hit or miss with contributors whose photography and videography skills vary.

For the last several years, we have been compiling a list of stock photo sites containing free, high resolution images available for personal and commercial use, many of which are offered under a new Creative Commons Zero license. CC0 indicates all copyrights have been waived by the owner. This is not the same as public domain mark, however, where an image has been released, to the public, often due to the passage of time.

To help you find images, we’ve shared our ten favorites:

Stocknsap.io.
This site has a search feature and all photos are free from copyright restrictions and no attribution is required. However, photos are curated by StockSnap from around the web and can often be found on other stock sites such as PicJumbo. https://stocksnap.io/

Startup Stock.
Startup Stock offers a limited collection of hi-resolution photos which depict possible scenes from fictional start-up companies. The images are licensed under the CC0 license. http://startupstockphotos.com/

Life of Pix.
Life of Pix has beautiful photos and an onsite search to help you find the perfect image. There are no copyright restrictions and new photos are added weekly. The photos are offered by an agency in Montreal and are donated by their network of photographers. http://www.lifeofpix.com/

Pexels.
Pexels has a nice online search and a good size library. Images are licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license and are free for personal and commercial use. Their one restriction is that identifiable people may not appear in a bad light or way that they may find offensive. https://www.pexels.com/

Gratisography.
This site offers free, high-resolution pictures for any project. The photos are all by Ryan McGuire. Many of these images are more conceptual or whimsical and may not be suited to every business. However, they are certainly different than what is found on other sites and could make your blog stand out. http://www.gratisography.com/

Unsplash.
Unsplash is the project of Arthur Weill and has been a resource for bloggers for awhile. The original site, https://unsplash.com/, has no search available. You can subscribe to receive 10 new photos each day delivered to your email; this doesn’t necessarily give you the photos you need when you need them. There is a search in beta which utilizes tags or combinations of tags to help you find relevant images which makes this site more useful. http://www.arthurweill.fr/Unsplash/en

Vecteezy.
Vecteezy offers vector art such as illustrations, icons and patterns. Artist’s share their free art and resources on Vecteezy to gain exposure or to get feedback. Artists can license work with various Creative Commons licenses. Make sure you read the rights associated with any item downloaded from this site. http://www.vecteezy.com/

FoodiesFeed.
This site offers high resolution food and beverage imagery. The images are provided free of use for personal and commercial purposes and no attribution is required though the artist does appreciate it. In additional to the free photos, the artist does offer Premium photo packages as well. https://foodiesfeed.com

The Amazing Pattern Library.
This project by Tim Holman and Claudio Guglieri compiles patterns shared by designers to use freely in designs. http://thepatternlibrary.com/

Morgue File. 
We’ve been using this one for a long time, mostly because in the beginning, it was one of the few sites offering free images for commercial use. Though the images on this site are generally less professional, it provides much greater variety than other stock photo sites which curate from the same sources. As such, mor becomes our fall-back resource. http://morguefile.com

The question that is often asked; “Can’t I just a use a Google image search to find what I’m looking for?” Sure. But chances are the images are copyrighted. Just because something is posted online or makes it into a search engine result does not mean it isn’t still copyright protected. And simply adding an attribution doesn’t necessarily protect you from legal action. The author/artist must give you permission to share or distribute the work.

For more on finding images, CC licenses, copyright and proper attribution, download Finding and Using Images, our resource to help you find images for your content marketing needs.

Have a favorite stock photo site to share? Please add it to the comments below.

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