8 Simple Ways to Segment Your Social Media Audience

Segmentation is not a new concept for marketers. We use segmentation to send personalized emails, create buyer-specific pricing models, and understand the behaviors of our most loyal customers.

It is also a valuable tool for generating more leads on social media. While publishing more often and posting different types of content is great for generating engagement with your audiences, segmentation can bring additional benefits, like….

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This post will show you how you can apply the principles of segmentation to social media, outline the benefits it can bring to your business, and give you tips for accurately segmenting your social media audience.

Segmentation is important because it increases your marketing success. When you know the key characteristics and desires of your target audience, you can become more focused with your brand messaging and create hyper-targeted advertisements that speak directly to your audience’s interests. Then, when your advertisements are tailored to their interests, customers are more likely to interact with them and take further action.

Let’s go over eight strategies for segmenting your social media audiences.

1. Understand your audience.

Just as with any marketing strategy, understanding your target audience is the key to accurate, relevant social media segmentation. Without knowing who your customers are, what they want, and how they like to be marketed too, it will be challenging to devise other strategies to help you succeed in your process.

To better get to know your audience, you can create buyer personas from your analytics and research data. Buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers that help you focus your time on qualified prospects, attract high-value customers, and create content that best speaks to their interests and desires.

You can think of it like this: if the data you’ve collected shows you that Facebook brings you the most engagement, dig deeper into who your audience is on that platform and create a buyer persona that brings a more comprehensive understanding of who they are. These representations you’ve created directly relate to our next tip, as many social media platforms come with audience targeting tools that you can use to market specifically to your different segmented audiences.

2. Use native social media targeting tools.

When most people think of social media segmentation, they think of paid targeting options. However, for low and high budget marketers alike, there are organic targeting options on different platforms that you can use to speak to your various audiences.

For example, Facebook allows businesses to target their messages to users based on demographics, interests, and geographical location (as shown below).

hubspot facebook page audience targeting demo

On LinkedIn, there are also built-in targeting tools that allow you to filter and segment by industry, company size, and much more (shown below).

linkedin-ads-audience-attributes-750@2xImage Source

3. Create audience groups.

Social media is all about community. Building communities of people who share common interests is an easy way to segment your audience and gain valuable insights. You may decide to keep the group open (anyone can join) or closed (a moderator must approve new members), and there are advantages to each.

Open groups enable you to gather information about how a more general audience feels about your brand. You can use this forum to have discussions and ask open-ended questions such as, “What are your biggest challenges?” or “What makes excellent customer service?” You can also test new ideas with your audience members or discover new content ideas that they would find interesting and relevant. The advantage here is that you will have a large group to bounce ideas off of. The disadvantage? They may not be as knowledgeable about your industry as you need.

That’s where closed groups can come in handy. You are approving each member’s admission to the group, and you can cherry-pick the most qualified candidates. Maybe they’re a group of customers whose opinions you value or a list of people who have attended an event you’ve hosted. Regardless of admission requirements, this can be a great way to get specific, helpful feedback from a group you trust — but you may not get as many responses as an open group discussion.

Various social media platforms have group functionalities, specifically Facebook and LinkedIn. On Facebook, you can create a group that is relevant to your business and your target audience’s interests that can be public or private, as mentioned above. The same can be said for LinkedIn, but you should only opt to use it if your target audiences are professional-aged, business minded individuals.

4. Create audience lists.

Most marketers are familiar with creating lists — we do that every time we send a new email campaign. But did you know you can use lists to have more productive social media conversations? Social networks like Facebook and Twitter allow users to create lists of friends, followers, people who have attended an event, and more.

On Twitter, your lists can separate followers into specific categories, like where they are in their buyer’s journey. Whenever these people in your lists Tweet, you’ll be able to view them all within a specific channel to get an idea of what kinds of things they tweet about and what they enjoy. When you have this information, you can create better-targeted ads that speak to your segmented audience’s preferences.

If you’re a HubSpot customer, the lists you use for your email can actually be one and the same as your social monitoring lists. You can set up a stream for each one of your buyer personas, such as a stream for leads who are talking about your brand, or customers in a certain industry. You’ll spend much less time trying to filter through the noise, and much more time having relevant, targeted conversations.

5. Post at different times of the day.

As marketers, we know how important timing is to marketingespecially on social media. If you’ve created accurate, relevant buyer personas, you’ll likely realize that your followers are distributed throughout different geographic regions. This means that your followers in the central United States are going to bed while your followers in Australia are getting ready to wake up.

Differentiating your publishing times allows you to generate engagement from a larger portion of your audience, as followers from all over the world have the opportunity to engage with your posts.

An additional benefit to doing this is that you’ll have multiple posts out there for your target audience to see. You can think of it like this: if you post three times throughout the day for three different audience segments, each one of those segments can also see the posts meant for the other. Three more opportunities for them to interact with your content and three more chances to drive conversions.

6. Leverage multiple networks.

As you master the various ways to segment your specific audiences, more people will be interested in connecting with you through social media. If you don’t already run multiple social media accounts, you may realize that one of the best ways to serve relevant content to specific audiences is to create several social media profiles, each with specific intent.

For example, if you’re a clothing brand, your target audience is likely widely dispersed age-wise. While you may hope to reach all of them on one platform, you’re more likely to get your younger audiences (aged 10-19) on TikTok and your older audiences on Instagram.

Additionally, within each of those different platforms, it’s also worth considering creating multiple accounts focused on various aspects of your business or the demands of your different audiences. At HubSpot, we maintain more than five different Twitter accounts to provide content relevant to each segment of our audience. For example, @HubSpotAcademy is a channel that marketers can use to learn how to be a better inbound marketer, while @HubSpotSupport is a channel that our customers can use to get help using the HubSpot platform. Both Twitter accounts are relevant to anyone interested in HubSpot, but they are most relevant to their particular segments.

Keep in mind that each social media account should still serve a larger audience, so be sure to work on building your overall audience from one account before you try building out more. If you decide to start building out more accounts, be sure that people can easily differentiate their purpose (ex: customer support, marketing materials, your yearly event, etc.) — otherwise, you’ll be creating more work for yourself.

7. Streamline your processes.

Should you choose to leverage multiple platforms or simply just want to streamline your processes, there are various social media tools that can help you create and publish advertisements built for your segmented audiences.

Falcon.io is one of those tools. It comes with an all-in-one social platform for creating paid and organic advertisements, managing customer engagement data from all your accounts, and even creating custom and lookalike audiences for further segmentation, as displayed by the image below.

falcon.io audience segmentation tool demo

Image Source

8. Test your strategies.

Although this tip is not directly related to grouping your audience, the success of your segmentation depends on how well you’ve created your groups. Using social media testing as a means of understanding how your content is performing among your target audiences is a way to know if you’ve accurately segmented your audience, and it can help you perfect your strategy.

For example, say you’ve found your millennial audience to be most active on Instagram. You know that they’re there, so you can begin creating content for them. However, what if you want to better understand their preferences? Maybe you want to know whether they prefer Instagram Stories or Instagram Reels? Conducting an A/B test with both of these content types will help you better understand how to communicate with these segmented groups.

Speak To Your Different Audience Groups

Unless you’re a very niche business, you likely have a large audience group. Within these audience groups, there are probably other distinct communities with different preferences and desires.

It may be challenging to figure out how to tailor your message to individually speak to all of your diverse customers, but the eight tips mentioned above will help you carefully segment your social media audience for more relevant conversations — and eventually, more conversions.

social media content calendar

How to Analyze Facebook Data to Understand Your Audience

With over 2.7 billion monthly active users and 1.82 billion daily users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. What began as a way for college students to network has become an essential marketing tool for more than 90 million small businesses.

All of those users generate a lot of data.

To help companies harness the massive amount of information created within the platform, Facebook released their Insights tool, which shares data about the best day to post, the ideal time to post, and what posts are performing well.

If you’re marketing on Facebook, understanding how all those numbers relate to your business and audience can be confusing at first.

But worry not. This post explains how to analyze Facebook data to get valuable metrics about who’s coming to your page and clicking around. By the end, you’ll have a better understanding of how Insights can help you connect with both current and potential customers.

Running a new Facebook Business Page? Find everything you need to know to elevate your paid and organic efforts in this Facebook Marketing Course.

How to Analyze Facebook Data

Facebook Insights is separated into two main categories: Audience Insights and Page Insights.

  • Audience Insights gives metrics about your Facebook audience, which helps you create relevant content, improve ad targeting, and attract more people to your Page.
  • Page Insights shows analytics for your Page, so you can see which posts are performing well and which aren’t.

This post focuses on Audience Insights, to help you understand both existing and potential customers. For an in-depth look at how to gather information from Page Insights, check out this guide to Facebook Marketing.

To access the data gold mine in Audience Insights, you first have to create a business Page. Once your Page is set up, navigate to Audience Insights by clicking Analyze and Report in your Business Tools menu. Now comes the sleuthing. Pull up your company’s target audience profile for reference, because it’s time to do research.

Step 1: Choose your audience.

A pop-up will appear and ask you to pick between the following options:

  • Everyone on Facebook: Start here for information to refine your target audience or attract new people to your Page.
  • People connected to your Page: Click this one to learn more about everyone who likes your Page to see if your target audience is showing up.

This part requires some strategy. Are you using Insights to build a buyer persona, see if your strategy is attracting the right people, learn about your audience’s interests, or something else entirely? By having a goal in mind, it’s easier to put the information to use.

Step 2: Filter to fit your goals.

With your goal set, it’s time to narrow down the audience. You can filter based on:

  1. Location
  2. Age and gender
  3. Interests
  4. Page connections

1. Location

Knowing where in the world your audience lives is helpful for many reasons. If you’re an online shop looking to expand, maybe you want to learn whether a specific country is interested in your products.

If your company has a physical location, select your city for relevant local metrics. And if you’re not bound to any location constraints, keep it open by including countries worldwide.

2. Age and gender

All Facebook users must be 18 years and older, so keep that in mind when evaluating audiences. If you have a specific buyer persona you’re researching, filter according to that age range.

But if you’re looking to expand your audience, it’s worthwhile to extend your age range or consider both genders to see if you’re missing out on potential customers.

3. Interests

This is where filtering gets fun — and a little complicated. Keep your search broad by selecting a handful of common interests, like food and reading, or select dozens of interests for a focused pool of people.

You have freedom to play with drop down filters or type anything that comes to mind into the search bar. Cooking, Entertainment, Adventure, Flying, Tech, Cake.

The list goes on, so let your imagination run wild. Just keep an eye on the number of people in your audience as you refine. If it drops below 1,000 people, Facebook won’t populate the data.

4. Page Connections

This filter shows the top “liked” Pages by people within your audience profile. If you’re scouting for competitors, this can let you know who to watch. Maybe you’re looking for content inspiration, and browsing connected Pages will give you ideas for a campaign collaboration or promotional giveaway. Either way, it’s good to know what other Pages pop up in your audience’s newsfeed.

Step 3: Understand your audience.

Sound the applause — you’ve filtered down your audience profile. Now it’s time to dig in further to four categories: Demographics, Page Likes, Location, and Activity.

Demographics

Facebook Insights lets you go beyond the basics to see audience information including Language, Relationship Status, Education, Job Titles, and Market Segments. Let’s say you’re a new food blogger targeting men ages 18-32.

If you plug in that information, you can get a detailed look at what your audience does for work, how educated they are, or even whether they’re primarily cooking for one or more people.

If your ideal audience turns out to largely be single with time-consuming office jobs, this can help focus your content strategy.

Maybe your audience would like a post about easy lunch ideas for work or meals that are even better as leftovers. I’m generalizing here, but the more you dig into demographics, the more data you have to hone your marketing efforts.

Page Likes

Similar to the Interests filter, this option shows what your audience likes. Check out the Top Categories to learn what people care about the most, with options like Movies, Charities, Companies, Music, Public Figures, News and Media, and Products.

Maybe those men whipping up meals for one are interested in TV series like “The Chef Show” or “Chef’s Table.” If you were to create a blog post round-up of your favorite cooking shows or episodes, it would likely do well among that audience. The key here is to look at what content is relevant both in and out of your industry to review competitors and connected interests.

Location

Use this filter to explore the top countries, cities, and languages of your audience profile. Say you’re based in the United States but discover your audience has a major presence in Montreal, Canada.

It could be worth adjusting your marketing efforts to include content that speaks to both Americans and Canadians. And if you do expand your audience, you may even consider adding a French language option to your website to cater to Québécois customers.

Activity

See how active your audience is compared to the average Facebook user. The most important information in this section is the activity within the past 30 days, broken down by actions like Comments, Posts Liked, Posts Shared, and Ads Clicked.

Maybe you’re interested in running Facebook Ads but are unsure if anyone in your audience would click. With the Activity data, you have a better idea of how many people would take action. For a more detailed look at how to analyze Facebook Ad performance, take a look at this guide to Facebook Advertising.

Explore more Facebook Insights

Now you can wield the power of Audience Insights to help you build buyer personas, hone in your target audience, and expand your customer reach. But if you’re on a research roll, you can explore more metrics under Page Insights to see how your content is performing, what people are resonating with, and what posts to promote.

So the next time you question whether you’re attracting the right followers or are looking for out-of-the-box ideas to engage your audience, pull up Facebook Insights and put the data to work.

How to Get a Commercial on TV for Your Business

American adults spend an astonishing amount of time watching TV—35.5 hours per week, to be exact. And while you may wonder if television advertising is dead in the new world of streaming commercial-free programming, local TV advertising still works. However, there are a number of steps and costs involved in a campaign’s production, which can…

The post How to Get a Commercial on TV for Your Business appeared first on Fit Small Business.

How brands can maximise sales for Valentine’s Day 2021

If ever there was a year for brands to show their customers a little more love, 2021 surely fits the bill and what better opportunity than Valentine’s Day – Sunday 14th February. 

Famed for its commercial prowess, the Valentine’s period is often referred to in business as the “love economy“. Mastercard reported a global spend increase of 17% between 2017 and 2019 and in 2020 UK shoppers continued the upward trend, spending an estimated £855 million. Furthermore, despite current circumstances many businesses including those within retail, are still forecasting growth for Spring 2021

So how can brands make the most of this commercial opportunity in 2021? Well, as it’s likely the occasion will be taking place during lockdown, it’s important businesses remain creative. With this in mind, we’ve detailed some campaign ideas and templates we hope will help brands hit the right note with customers this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day 2021 campaign ideas 

Restaurateurs and cafe owners

As is the case with many special occasions, food plays a huge role in Valentine’s Day festivities – in 2019, dining out was the leading gift category with the highest estimated spend. So although individuals may not be able to celebrate the occasion by visiting your cafe or restaurant, they can certainly still benefit from your culinary expertise. Just as the larger food retailers have begun marketing dine-in-for-two offers, brands can do the same, adapting this offer to their strengths. For example, a cafe could look to promote afternoon tea boxes for two and restaurateurs can offer take-away deals or specialised meal kits.

Moreover, as including a photo next to an item on a restaurant menu increases its order by 30%, what better way to promote these offers to your customers than using SMS web pages. A simple SMS along the lines of our examples below, could encourage customers to click through to a carefully curated landing page showcasing a photo of the Valentine’s afternoon tea box, meal or even someone cooking using the meal kits. What’s more, given that SMS benefits from an average click through rate of 19% vs just 4.2% for email, harnessing the power of SMS for delivery could prove particularly effective. 

A few SMS template ideas for the delivery of your SMS web page:

*Insert customer name*, looking to make Valentine’s Day special? Take a look at our love-ly afternoon tea boxes. Available for pre-order from 10th Feb: *insert URL*.

*Insert business name*: *insert customer name* we’ve been busy in the kitchen! Take a sneak peek at our Cupid approved treats, available from 10th Feb: *insert URL*.

Hi *insert customer name*, need a last minute Valentine’s Day treat? Check out our Valentine’s menu: *insert URL*. Delivery available until 10pm. 

Retailers

There have been a few overarching trends in sales throughout lockdown, perhaps unsurprisingly loungewear sales have soared. In addition following the implementation of mask rules, eye make-up has taken a larger portion of overall make-up sales than ever before. But as is always the case in retail, it pays to know your customers. So for brands to ensure their campaign is hitting the right notes with customers, we recommend sending a little love via personalised offers or even a Valentine’s ecard via SMS web pages. Afterall, you want to ensure Cupid’s message is delivered directly to your customers and not lost in a junk mail folder. 

SMS suggestions for retail Valentine’s Day offers:

*Insert business name*: *insert customer name*, shopping for Valentine’s Day? See our gift sets for you and your main squeeze at: *insert URL*. To opt out reply STOP

*Insert business name*: *insert customer name* Cupid is coming and to celebrate we have Valentines deals with up to 40% off: *insert URL*. To opt out reply STOP

Suggested text for the delivery of your Valentine’s ecard via SMS web page:

Hi *insert customer name*, to help spread a little love *insert business name* have sent you a digital Valentine’s card…*insert URL*. 

Hair and beauty businesses

Personal care businesses have been inventive throughout the pandemic, responding digitally by introducing an e-commerce approach for the sale of products and even carrying out online consultations to prescribe at-home facial kits. As last year encouraged many individuals to focus further on self-care, Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity to promote these services and even introduce Valentine themed self-care packages for both singles, couples and groups of friends planning for Galentine’s Day 2021. 

SMS ideas for hair and beauty businesses this Valentine’s Day:

*Insert business name*: Introducing our brand new Valentine’s themed self care kit! Guaranteed to bring a little sparkle to 2021: *insert URL*. To opt out reply STOP

Hi *insert customer name*, last chance to book your online consultation and receive a personalised facial kit in time for Valentine’s Day: *insert URL*. To opt out reply STOP

Hi *insert customer name*, planning for Galentine’s 2021? Check out our self care boxes and enter GAL2021 at checkout for £10 off: *insert URL*. To opt out reply STOP

Whatever your business decides to do this Valentine’s Day, make sure it involves showing your customers a little love. 

To find out how Text Marketer can help with your campaigns, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our friendly team at info@textmarketer.co.uk or call 0117 205 0202.

The post How brands can maximise sales for Valentine’s Day 2021 appeared first on Textmarketer.

Brandmaker Posts Record Growth in 2020 as Global Marketers Prioritize Agility, Efficiency and Value

CPG, Retail and Financial Services Lead the Way in Marketing Operations Efficiency

ATLANTA, Georgia, January 28, 2021 – BrandMaker, the leading innovator in Marketing Operations solutions, today announced the accelerated adoption of its Marketing Operations platform driven by a significant increase in new customers and strong organic growth. New customers signing up to the BrandMaker Marketing Operations platform in 2020 grew 175% year-over-year, many of which are global household brands, including the largest specialty consumer electronics retailer in the U.S., a top 10 U.S. bank, several multi-national CPG conglomerates, and a major fashion retailer in EMEA.   

Demand for superior marketing operations is driven by the need for agile and efficient marketing that has quantifiable ROI and is meticulously aligned with an organization’s business strategy. This need has become an acute priority as many organizations battle to adapt to a constantly changing business and consumer environment as a result of Covid19. 

The BrandMaker award-winning Marketing Operations platform is finding favor with global marketing leaders because it effortlessly provides the intelligence, insights, and tools they need to drive global campaign and budget visibility, agility, and operational efficiency, all of which remain the cornerstone to delivering high-impact marketing and business outcomes.

Said Mirko Holzer, CEO BrandMaker: “BrandMaker’s outstanding growth is driven by our commitment to eliminate the low-value, labor-intensive work many marketeers face in managing campaigns and marketing operations so they are free to focus on the strategic and creative priorities that will drive better business outcomes. CMOs who can capitalize on global campaign agility and efficiency will be better placed to respond and succeed in what is likely to be a highly volatile and dynamic 2021.”

BrandMaker introduced a Marketing Operations Maturity Model in 2020 to provide a framework to identify priorities and gaps in processes and technology within global marketing organizations. It helps determine a marketing operations project roadmap that works towards strengthening operations with strategies and tactics to address each priority/gap.

About BrandMaker

BrandMaker is the leading software provider for effective marketing operations. BrandMaker gives enterprise marketers visibility and control of their marketing and finance processes. The enterprise-level modular Marketing Ops solution turns marketing into a business-building powerhouse by letting marketing leaders get on top of their budgets, people workflows, campaigns, and marketplace performance. BrandMaker is made to tame the complexity of multinational marketing. With our European roots, equipping companies to work across borders, cultures, and silos comes naturally to us. Accordingly, independent research firms recognize BrandMaker as a leader in marketing operations. More than 300 leading companies, including Best Buy, Bayer, Daimler, and Avantor, trust in our solutions to increase their effectiveness in marketing planning and execution.

For more information contact:

On behalf of BrandMaker: jennifer@rainemakers.com 

or at BrandMaker: dunja.riehemann@brandmaker.com

The post Brandmaker Posts Record Growth in 2020 as Global Marketers Prioritize Agility, Efficiency and Value appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

Vimeo's 4 Tips for Generating Leads With Your Videos

As a marketer, you’re often tasked with accomplishing two main goals: making beautiful content that builds your brand recognition and tells your story … and generating qualified leads that will help you grow your business.

Traditional marketing ethos may consider those to be two different streams of work — crafting impactful video ads, and digging up lower-funnel users — but it doesn’t have to be that way. If you’re not using video as part of your lead generation tactics, you’re missing out on a serious opportunity to create impactful content that directly translates to more leads for your business.

Megha Muchhala, Product Marketing Manager at Vimeo, shares some key insights on how to integrate your video efforts with your lead generation tactics.

Vimeo’s Tips for Generating Leads Straight from Video

We all know how useful including video on a landing page or an email campaign can be in boosting your conversion rates, but there are also optimizations you can make to your videos themselves that will give you a marketing edge.

1. Add customizable contact forms.

Rather than simply relying on CTAs to boost your follows or website traffic, marketers should utilize in-video contact forms to capture specific information from leads. This can be as simple as gathering their email, or more detailed to capture demographic information, short answers to collect personal insight, or other actionable data. 

Include these forms on videos embedded throughout your digital ecosystem across your website, landing pages, and even blogs to passively build qualified leads, fast.

2. Use a multi-step format.

While you’ve probably heard of multi-step forms before, it’s possible you have yet to use one. That’s a shame, because it’s a format that’s been shown to increase form conversion by up to 52.9%.

multi-step-1A multi-step form is one that breaks a longer contact form up into a more digestible series of questions, which should boost user experience and, in turn, increase conversions.

Using a multi-step form reduces friction and helps you wait to ask for more user guarded information (like an email address) until the user is already a few steps into the process.

3. Optimize it for any platform.

You always want your user experience to stay tip-top no matter how they’re viewing your video content. We know you take the care to create videos in different formats and aspect ratios depending on your hosting plans, and your contact forms should be no different. Utilize a contact form that displays on mobile and desktop to ensure you’re capturing all potential leads.

4. Get creative with your placement.

There are pros and cons to dropping contact forms at any point throughout your video, and the right choice generally depends on what kind of content you’re sharing.

If you’re offering premium or long-form content, gating your video with a contact form right up front is a great way to boost leads. If you’re telling a shorter form story, placing a contact form in the middle or just before a climax can be incredibly effective in terms of incentivizing information sharing.

And while placing your contact form at the end of the video can be risky (considering 50% of viewers stop watching a video after one minute), it can also generate the most qualified leads: those who’ve watched all the way to the end are the most likely to be engaged with your brand or story anyway. Whatever you choose, we recommend setting up a few A/B tests to determine the best placement. A little testing can go a long way!

And speaking of placement, consider your video distribution when deciding your form messaging and placement. Audiences watching a video on your blog are likely far more invested (and thus likely to share some honest info and opinions) than those catching a video on your homepage. Alter your messaging accordingly!

Some Final Tips

Now that you know about the joys of in-video lead capture, let’s review some final tips to make the most of your tactics.

1. Don’t ask for too much too early.

Make sure to consider the sales funnel when optimizing your contact forms. If you know video is your main acquisition tool (meaning, the first piece of your brand consumers see before becoming fans), know that they might not be so willing to share lots of information with you upfront.

Customize your asks as they relate to steps in the funnel: users who are brand loyalists are a lot quicker to give up info than those who’ve just spotted you via a sponsored ad.

2. Remember to nurture your leads.

Leads are great, but if you don’t engage them, they’re pretty much useless. When capturing leads via contact forms, sync them to your email service provider to make it easy to nurture them. (Just so you know: Vimeo users can automatically sync their leads directly into their HubSpot account, making it simpler than ever to connect with your prospective customers.)Then, keep them engaged! Develop follow-up email campaigns around specific prominent demographics and use your gleaned data to make them even more engaging. Even better, further increase your click-through by embedding GIFs of your videos in your follow-up email campaigns to stand out and get noticed by leads.

3. Always keep SEO in-mind.

Your ability to generate leads in your video doesn’t mean a whole lot if no one watches your content. SEO can be a massively helpful organic discovery tool to send users to your business. Take the extra time to optimize your website, landing page, and video itself for maximum discoverability.

The 11 Best Free Email Accounts and Service Providers of 2021

You need it for networking, job recruitment, downloading resources, transferring files, setting reminders, meeting with colleagues, and so much more.

Even with the rise of office chat platforms, you still depend on email for a surprising number of things. But unfortunately, not every email service is completely free. And even the free ones might not be the easiest to use or have all the features you need.

It can be a challenge to find an email service provider at no cost that balances the right features with usability. To help make your search easier, we put together a list of the different types of email accounts you can set up, followed by the eleven best email service providers you can host your account on right now for free.

Types of Email Accounts

There are two main types of email service providers to choose from: email clients and webmail. When you use your provider to access your email from a different device or location online, you can use one of three major email protocols to do so: POP3, IMAP, and Exchange.

Let’s briefly go over these different types of providers and protocols.

Email Clients

Email clients are software applications that you install onto the computer itself to manage the email you send and receive. To access this email, the client interacts with a remote email server.

Email clients you’ve likely heard of include Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.

If you want to access this type of email from the web, rather than the client’s computer application, the email client uses one of the email protocols described below. For example, although you might have Outlook installed on your computer, you can also log in to your email account via outlook.com using a specific email protocol.

Webmail

Webmail is a form of email you access exclusively from the internet, and therefore exists primarily on the cloud rather than your computer. Instead of an installed application fetching your email, you manage your inbox right from your internet browser.

Webmail providers you’ve likely heard of include Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL (all of which have made our list of best free email accounts, below).

If you want to access your webmail from a mail app on your mobile device, rather than your desktop web browser, your webmail provider can use one of the email protocols described below.

Now, before we get into the best free email accounts, let’s talk about those email protocols.

Email Protocols

Email protocols are the systems that actually retrieve your email for you. They can be used to fetch email client accounts on the internet, and fetch webmail accounts on a mobile app. Here are the three main types of email protocol your account can use.

POP3

POP stands for “post office protocol,” and is best suited for people who have just one email account and email client. POP3 is the latest version of this email protocol, and allows you to access email while offline. It therefore requires less internet bandwidth.

IMAP

IMAP stands for “internet mail access protocol,” and is one of the older email protocol available today. IMAP4 is considered the latest version, and unlike the POP protocol, you do not download your email to your offline email client. Instead, all your email stays online while you’re accessing and managing it.

IMAP is particularly useful for people who have more than one email account and access them from multiple devices or locations.

Exchange

Exchange is a Microsoft email protocol, and is pretty similar to the IMAP protocol explained above. This protocol allows you to not only access your email over the internet from multiple devices, but also tasks, calendars, and contact information tethered to that email address. For this reason, it’s particularly helpful to organizations whose employees share many types of information and collaborate remotely.

Now, take a look at seven of the best free email service providers you can get your hands on today — both webmail and email clients included. For each email service provider, we highlighted a unique feature to help you find the best fit.

1. Gmail

Unique Feature: Native File Collaboration

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: anyone who already uses and loves the rest of Google’s products.

It might seem like an obvious top pick, but Gmail is just too versatile to not award the first slot. Gmail has the second-highest email provider market share (behind Apple iPhone’s native email app), according to Litmus Labs. And ironically, one of the reasons Gmail has become so popular is because of all the communication options in your inbox that don’t involve email.

Gmail is an everyday email inbox you can sign up for by registering for a Google account. But it’s built into Google Suite, a group of free apps that allow you to chat, video-conference, and share files with the people in your contact list.

Google Hangouts, available from your inbox’s left sidebar (or the right — you can customize how you inbox is displayed), lets you text and video chat with other Gmail users for the things that might not warrant an email message. Like most other email accounts today, Gmail also has an intuitive calendar where you can set meetings and reminders.

Pro tip: You can also use a free product like HubSpot Meetings to easily schedule meetings without back-and-forth emails.

Unlike other email accounts, you can use your Gmail address to log into and manage your YouTube account, as well as collaborate on shared documents and spreadsheets right from a cloud-based Google Drive.

Offering a generous 15 GB of free email storage, Gmail does everything it can to make your inbox less chaotic, including advanced filters that automatically push emails into separate folders as they arrive. And none of these functions costs a dime.

2. AOL

Unique Feature: Unlimited Storage

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: people who use email for most of their communication.

America Online (I feel nostalgic just typing those words) has quietly kept up with today’s standards for a good user experience. The classic AOL is now once again one of the best free email accounts available to you.

Purchased by Verizon in 2015, AOL delivers you email from its classic news-driven homepage, and comes with the contemporary spam filters and virus protection you’d expect from your email provider. You can also send text and instant messages from specific windows in your email inbox.

AOL does have something over Gmail, though: unlimited storage. Additionally, you can import email contacts from a CSV, TXT, or LDIF file so you’re not creating your “buddy list” (get it?) from scratch.

3. Outlook

Unique Feature: Multiple App Integrations

Sign up here.

Type of email: Email client

Who should use it: people who use many different platforms to connect with others.

If you ever cringed at the sight of a “Hotmail.com” email address, you can thank Outlook for this outdated domain name. But there’s good news: Microsoft has reinvented its longstanding email service, and your free Outlook.com email address has many progressive features waiting for you.

While it touts a calendar and message filter that is similar to Gmail, Outlook also integrates with a number of other popular communication apps. You can connect Skype, Facebook, PowerPoint, PayPal, and even task-management software such as Trello — making it very easy to reach and work with non-Outlook users without leaving your inbox.

Outlook offers 15 GB of free storage for each user, along with a super-clean interface.

4. Zoho

Unique Feature: 25 Business Addresses

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: startups and small businesses.

This is the first of the lesser-known free email accounts to make our list, but it holds a lot of potential for businesses.

The first thing you’ll notice about Zoho is its user-friendliness. From integrating with Google Drive, Box, and other cloud-based file managers, to its built-in task manager, this email service offers a simple way to accomplish all of your daily tasks.

The real difference-maker, though, is the ability to customize the domain name for up to 25 connected email addresses. Want to replace “@zoho.com” with the name of your business’s website? You can do so under Zoho Lite, which gives you 5 GB for free — all under username@yourdomainname.com.

5. Mail.com

Unique Feature: 200 Custom Domain Names

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: small businesses, freelancers, and the self-employed.

It doesn’t get more self-explanatory than “Mail.com,” does it? This email provider knows its audience — or should I say, audiences.

Right off the bat, you’ll probably notice Mail.com doesn’t have stellar storage space compared to the options above: only 2 GB. But what this webmail service lacks in gigabytes it makes up for with … drumroll … 200 free custom domain names. You can replace “@mail.com” at the end of your username with just about anything that describes you. Here are some options Mail.com has precreated for you to choose from:

  • Bartender.net
  • Musician.org
  • Columnist.com
  • Engineer.com
  • Accountant.com
  • Toothfairy.com (who knew she was online?)

Mail.com doesn’t rest on its 200 laurels, though, as the email provider also comes with a calendar for creating and tracking your events each week.

6. Yahoo! Mail

Unique Feature: Media and attachment history

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: creatives and those who send and receive attachments frequently via email.

Yahoo! Mail, another well-known platform, sits just behind AOL in storage space with a whopping 1 TB (that’s a terabyte) for free, along with a few key social media integrations.

In addition to custom background themes and being able to search key information from your inbox, Yahoo! Mail also makes it easy to find every photo, video, and document you’ve ever attached or received via email in their own tabs on your inbox’s sidebar. This makes the platform especially appealing to those who share documents on a regular basis or simply want an album made of every photo they’ve ever had shared.

7. ProtonMail

Unique Feature: Encrypted email

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: people who send and receive sensitive information.

ProtonMail offers just 500 MB of free space, but for the worthy trade of encrypted email, allowing you to send messages that nobody else can see, and disappear after a month.

What’s the catch? Is the service hard to use? As with most webmail platforms, ProtonMail is easy to use on any device without any software needed to encrypt your emails. Its inbox interface is as easy to understand at a glance as the other email services on this list, and offers quick color-coded labels to help you further organize which emails deserve the most care and protection.

8. iCloud Mail

Unique Feature: Label senders as VIPs

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: people who use Mac and want everything on one system.

If you’re a Mac user, you may want to consider using iCloud Mail as your email provider. Their free email account comes with 5GB of storage that you can use to sync your photos, files, or email. It’s important to note that storage is shared between all of your apps and devices — so if you take a lot of photos on your iPhone, you may eat into your email storage allowance for the month. Upgraded plans start at $0.99/month and go up to $9.99/month.

One of the biggest advantages of using iCloud over other email providers on this list is the ease of integration. Apple builds its desktop and iPhone mail apps with all email clients in mind, but it pays special attention to making the experience delightful for iCloud users. 

Some of the pros of iCloud Mail include an easy to use search functionality, easy-to-use rules, and an ability to label senders as VIP. When a contact is marked as VIP, new messages will automatically filter to a separate tab on the left, saving you both time and energy. 

9. GMX Mail

Unique Feature: Alias email addresses

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: people who need multiple emails with one central inbox.

While you may not have heard of GMX Mail, it’s been around for quite a while (since 1997) — and it has a bunch of features that make it worth considering. First off, GMX offers 65GB of storage. That’s a lot of storage for a free email service. In fact, they claim that allows you to keep nearly half a million messages in your Inbox!

Another feature worth noting is the ability to send large attachments. While many services have caps for your email attachments, GMX Mail allows you to send files up to 50GB. That’s great if you share a ton of photos, presentations, or other large files from your account.

But the feature of GMX Mail that really sets it apart is the ability to set up to 10 alias email addresses all from within one account. This can be useful in many situations — both personally and professionally. On a personal note, you could use one alias for all of your online purchases and logins — to keep marketing emails separate from your personal messages. From a business perspective, multiple email addresses can be useful for managing role based emails such as support@yourdomain.com or sales@yourdomain.com.

10. Mozilla Thunderbird

Unique Feature: Customization features, and the ability to open multiple emails in tabs

Sign up here.

Type of email: Email clients

Who should use it: anyone looking for a simple, but customizable email inbox.

Thunderbird, a free email application from Mozilla, known for Firefox, offers a quick email inbox setup and a simple, easy-to-use user interface.

The app offers customizable features, such as theme settings and app extensions that can improve your email experience. The email app also allows you to open multiple emails in tabs, similarly to how you would open multiple web pages in Firefox browsers.

11. Yandex Mail

Unique Feature: 10 GB of free cloud storage

Sign up here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: anyone seeking a free email with additional storage capabilities.

Yandex is a Russian web company that offers a global email tool. With the tool, you can sign up for a free account, link it to your Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail accounts, and personalize your email inbox.

Source: LifeWire

Like many of the other providers on this list, Yandex’s email inbox can be set to filter or prioritize emails so you see messages from real people. It can also recognize keywords in messages and subject lines and organize emails into categorized inboxes. Additionally, users who sign up for Yandex mail get 10 GB of free cloud storage.

Making the Most of Your Email

And with that, you have some of the best options for free email accounts this year. But who knows? Your next email address could be entirely different while giving you just what you need to succeed.

Once you’ve chosen an email provider and launched a new email address specifically for your marketing needs, you should also leverage apps, outside software, and APIs to add to your email strategy.

One powerful tool worth noting is HubSpot’s Free Email tool. The tool allows you to link your email address to the HubSpot CRM, while also allowing you to build email templates and send messages straight from the HubSpot software. Even more beneficial? The software even lets you track basic analytics and collect email subscriber contacts in your CRM — which can then be added to your email marketing lists.

To learn more about our free email tool, click here

10 Best TV Commercials That You Won’t Forget

No one looks forward to TV commercial breaks that always have a way of leaving you hanging the moment a show was about to get good. And yet, when television ads are done well, they can not only provide a surprising form of entertainment that captures an audience’s attention, but serve as an effective form…

The post 10 Best TV Commercials That You Won’t Forget appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Using SMS to give your business a competitive advantage

Did you know that generally speaking most people receive on average just 178 SMS messages a month compared to an incredible 1,216 emails? 

Perhaps that’s one reason why the humble SMS has such a high open-rate at 95%. Over the past year, our mobile habits have changed fairly dramatically, in fact, 70% of smartphone users reported increased usage during the pandemic. So It seems that now more than ever is a great time to take advantage of SMS.  

While email still has its place to play in any effective marketing campaign, it is relied on by every business with 54% of companies saying they’d send more emails than usual last year.

Following the implementation of the UK’s third national lockdown, and what was a difficult year for many companies, customer engagement has never been more essential to business recovery. Because SMS is a great way to stand out from the crowd and breakthrough from the noise of cluttered inboxes, we’ve listed a number of tried and tested ways you can use SMS to gain an advantage over your competitors.

Using SMS to give your business a competitive advantage

Superior engagement rates

It’s possible for emails to sit unread for days or worse yet…instantly deleted, but SMS is regularly understood to have a much higher chance of being read. 

With high open rates comes high conversion rates with one report suggesting that 32% of recipients respond to SMS offers, with texted coupons redeemed 10 times more often than traditional coupons.

Not only are those figures impressive on their own but considering that the recorded conversion rate of email is only 3%, it’s clear the opportunities that SMS marketing presents.

Channel preferences

With 75% of people wanting to have offers sent to them via SMS, the perfect way to communicate with customers is through SMS. But offers aren’t the only thing that customers want to receive via SMS.

Ecommerce is thriving and whether you’re offering delivery or a click and collect service, SMS is a great way to keep customers updated about their order and for brands to engage with their target audience. Afterall, retail trends emerging from the pandemic have shown that consumers want to shop and support local, independent businesses. 

In addition, given the frequent disruptions businesses are facing, a quick SMS detailing opening hours, changes to how customers can shop with your business, as well as stock or delivery delays, provides transparency for customers which in return builds loyalty.

Getting personal

It’s likely that you have data on your customers from personal information such as name, gender, d.o.b. etc to their shopping habits all of which can be used to make more relevant campaigns. By using this data to tailor recommendations and messaging on customers past behaviour and interactions with your business, you can create a more bespoke shopping experience for them.

Something that always goes down well is a birthday offer but brands should also consider sending this before their big day so the customer can treat themselves accordingly. By building a more personal relationship with customers, brands can make their audiences feel special and thus, promote customer loyalty. 

There are many opportunities for retailers to use SMS beyond marketing and sales purposes, which involve keeping customers more engaged with your brand and improving the customer’s overall service and experience, all of which your competitors might not be tapping into.

If you’re looking to enhance your campaigns this year or perhaps add SMS to your existing strategy then get in touch with the team at info@textmarketer.co.uk or on 0117 205 0202.

The post Using SMS to give your business a competitive advantage appeared first on Textmarketer.

Advertisers Need to Refocus on the Fundamentals in 2021

The year 2020 was not a good year for predictions. When the virus hit, all predictions became instantly obsolete and the entire world was navigating blind. As we start 2021, industry leaders look ahead more cautiously. ‘Predictions’ may fall short as the ecosystem is presented with challenges it doesn’t have the tools to fix. However, advertising trends have emerged which can help the industry point to expected changes in the immediate future.

By: Elie Kanaan

Consumer naivete is a thing of the past

The advertising industry has traditionally relied on consumer naivete as to how consumer data is used for advertising. Yet, thanks to documentaries like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma, consumers have woken up to the value of their data and the importance of privacy. Couple this with the severe digital fatigue consumers face in today’s ‘work from home’ environment and it’s clear old tactics need to change.

The fact is, most consumers now understand the advertising value exchange. Ogury research found 70% of consumers were willing to receive a certain amount of useful ads in exchange for free content. It’s important to remember consumers don’t hate all digital advertising — only useless, invasive, and irrelevant ads. To be successful in a time of severe advertising fatigue, brands must respond to consumer demand and provide authentic ways to engage with consumers.

Contextual advertising won’t be enough

Google’s commitment to phase out third-party cookies by January 2022 and Apple’s changes to the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA), which requires consumer consent to data sharing, are both major shifts for the industry. Without third-party cookies and IDFA, it’s understandable advertisers feel left in the dark.

Yet, these types of challenges foster innovation. Relevance will no longer equate to personalisation. And contextual advertising, however improved, won’t be enough. A new approach will emerge that meets advertisers’ need for sustainable performance and effective protection.

Sustainable performance is the new focus

In the past, advertisers were forced to prioritise short term gains, placing their brands at risk of fraud and legal and reputational damage. Juniper Research revealed advertisers’ total loss to fraud will rise to $100 billion by 2023 by spoofing advertising networks to falsify ad clicks and displayed ads.

With consumer awakening, the effects of legislation, and the heightened risk of fraud, compromise on protection is no longer viable. The industry must step up to strike the right balance between efficiently delivering expected results, while also protecting brands and consumers alike.

2021 will see the return of the hallmark of great advertising

For too long advertisers favoured bottom of the funnel conversion tactics, coupled with last-click attribution to drive incremental sales or app installs. Everyone realizes these approaches do not deliver the performance they promise. It is time to refocus on the fundamentals of advertising: brand and product discovery with ads that attract consumers instead of harassing them. Advertising aimed at building brand equity addresses consumer demand for authentic engagement, reduces fraud, and eliminates the illusion of performance with opaque attribution.

After nearly a year of virtual interaction and heightened digital fatigue, consumers crave authentic engagement. Today, 54% of US consumers expect to become more digitally engaged with brands over the next 12 to 24 months, while more than half of them have spurned personalization to preserve their privacy. Innovative brands will look to re-engage consumers and return to the true value of advertising — building sustainable awareness and product affinity.

Elie Kanaan is Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer of Ogury.

The post Advertisers Need to Refocus on the Fundamentals in 2021 appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

The 6 Best Thank You Page Examples of 2021

… Not exactly the message you want your customers inferring from your website’s Thank You Pages, is it?

Thank You pages are effective opportunities to demonstrate appreciation towards your leads, prospects, and customers for taking a desired action — and even potentially convert users or increase sales through additional CTAs. 

Here, we’ll explore six different purposes of a Thank You page, along with six stunning examples of Thank You pages to inspire your own designs in 2021 and beyond. 

Let’s dive in. 

What is a Thank You page?

Your customers and leads see your Thank You Page immediately after completing a form or making a purchase on your web page. It acts similarly to a confirmation email — except viewers don’t have to choose to open it. 

Think of a Thank You page as both the last step in your conversion process and the first step for customer retention. 

The Thank You Page presents a prime opportunity to turn a lead into a customer — or a customer into a brand advocate. The best way to do this? Make the next step(s) in the buyer or user journey:

  • … Obvious and clear
  • … Immediate
  • And exciting or desirable.

What is the benefit of a Thank You page?

Think of it this way: you may never have an easier, more natural opportunity to give a customer something that pleasantly surprises them and precisely fits what they want. 

How do you know what your customer wants? They just told you exactly what they want, by following a call-to-action on your site.

After someone follows the CTA on a landing page, take them to step two in their journey before they click away. Show customers you’re ready to deliver value time and time again.

For instance, if a customer makes a purchase on your site, use the Thank You page as an opportunity to add value through additional resources or content — which will build trust and delight customers. 

Alternatively, you might use a form Thank You page as an opportunity to provide leads with next steps. If the lead downloaded a Social Media Calendar ebook, the Thank You page can list out alternative social media resources you’d like to provide. 

To see this in-action, let’s explore Thank You page examples, next. 

Thank You Page Examples

1. Purpose: Contact Form Completion

Confirm to your customer that they completed their intended action successfully – and remind them what you will (and won’t) do with their information. Build trust and let them know you’re on their side. 

Let consumers know you’re interested in delivering value … and won’t be emailing them just for the sake of it.

This is your best chance to convince consumers your brand is different, and it comes long before they run across one of your messages in their inbox.

Best Contact Form Thank You Page

Axis Social tells a big, layered story on their Thank You page for new contact form sign-ups. Thanks to careful layout and crisp design, they manage to push their primary CTA while also reinforcing social validation and trusted partners.

2. Purpose: Downloadable

You likely have an ebook or other lead generation downloadable send automatically via email. However, it’s still best to offer a download link to the originally-requested item right on your Thank You Page, as well. 

This can keep your customer engaged on your site and increase the likelihood they’ll open and engage with your materials right away. 

Best Thank You Page for Downloadables

The Content Marketing Institute incorporates both native download links and curated suggestions for additional on-site content into their Thank You Pages. (It’s almost like they do this kind of thing for a living …)

Content Marketing Institute's Thank You page

3. Purpose: Purchase Confirmation Pages

The post-sale confirmation page is an often-missed opportunity to surface similar, related, or complementary products. 

To increase effectiveness, you’ll want to customize these recommendations with an aligning offer — such as a coupon, rewards program, etc. 

If customers can create an account with your site, but also have the option of checking out as a guest, the confirmation page is also a great opportunity to prompt a free account creation. 

Best Purchase Thank You Page

Few companies can even begin to approach the level of customer data that Amazon collects, stores, and leverages across their businesses. This quality of information – and the company’s essentially limitless supply of items and store listings – makes the purchase confirmation page incredibly effective (and, as a consumer, quite difficult to resist).

amazon thank you page

4. Purpose: Appointments and Reservations

When you’ve got someone newly signed up for an appointment, the Thank You Page provides a ready-made opportunity to expand or extend the conversation with them. Encouraging viewers to follow or engage with your organization on social is a natural next step.

Best Thank You Page for an Appointment or Booking

OpenTable incentivizes users to download the app once they’ve made an appointment so they can track and modify changes from within the app itself. The Thank You page also includes helpful notes about what to know before arriving at the restaurant. 

opentable's thank you page

5. Purpose: Account Creation Thank You Pages

This is a prime opportunity to usher your lead seamlessly into your onboarding or account setup process. 

You’ll want to make it so easy they don’t even think about clicking away. 

You know how hard you had to work to get them to this point in the first place. Why not capitalize at the start by moving them a step or two along in your retention lifecycle journey?

Best Account Creation Thank You Page

Backlinko goes above and beyond in laying out the next steps for their leads. They’ve infused their page’s messaging with urgency, but also friendliness and approachability. 

Backlinko's thank you page

6. Purpose: Donation Thank You Pages

A donor isn’t ‘buying’ a product in the same way most other customers are, but they’re undoubtedly looking for some element of reassurance, affirmation, appreciation, or — at the very least — some confirmation that their contribution is making a positive impact and being well spent. 

For nonprofits, political campaigns, and other donor-soliciting sites, use the Thank You Page to provide a window into each donation’s impact, right from the start.

Additionally, it never hurts if you can anticipate and answer questions about your efficacy before they’re even asked. 

Best Donor Thank You Page

Save the Chimps nails the impact of storytelling on their donor Thank You page, putting the chimps — the organization’s beneficiaries — front-and-center. 

save the chimp's thank you page

The Quick Guide to WordPress User Roles & Permissions

WordPress user roles and permissions may seem like a minor detail, but they are incredibly important. Whether you’re looking to enable content creators to add their own content while safeguarding your site, monetize your site with gated content only certain users can access, or looking to create email campaigns for your web-driven contact lists, you…

The post The Quick Guide to WordPress User Roles & Permissions appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Hello 2021 – Let’s recall our top 10 blog posts from 2020

It’s January, which means the somewhat stunted festivities are over. No more excuses for eating excessive amounts of chocolate and cheese. The decorations have been put away and we’re back in our home offices. So… we imagine, like us you’re glad to see the end of 2020.

2021 comes with a fresh start, new goals, new beginnings… and a new lockdown. However, it’s not all doom & gloom, we’re here to share our top 10 performing blogs from 2020. We’re pretty proud of them and hope they’ll give you some ideas of how to best maximise your business’s SMS marketing efforts for the year ahead.

Marketing campaigns of lockdown: The good, the bad and the ugly

A fairly clever chap named Albert Einstein once said: “Failure is success in progress”. Marketing campaigns are no different, but the good news is we’ve already found what you shouldn’t be doing. So have a read and see what you can learn from the good, the bad and the ugly campaigns from lockdown 1.0.

Using SMS to enhance back-to-business for hairdressers and barbers

Lockdown hair was a serious issue and every man and his dog wanted to sort out their DIY haircut with a professional. As such communication from businesses to customers needed to be effective. This post details all the ways SMS could be used to achieve just that, helping hairdressers and barbers prep for reopening. 

How to use SMS web pages to communicate during a crisis

Crises can come in all shapes and sizes, and 2020 required businesses to remain agile and navigate a number of different challenges. It’s important for companies to be fully prepared so they can react as quickly and efficiently as possible. This blog details all the ways SMS Web pages can be used to convey helpful information in an emergency. After all, combining the speed and reach of SMS with the old saying a picture is worth a thousand words, can be particularly useful in a crisis situation. 

How to track the ROI of your SMS campaigns

We like to spout the importance and effectiveness of SMS, but don’t just take our word for it. You need to track the results to measure your return on investment (ROI) to know what your customers respond to best. Here we detail 3 main ways you can achieve this with your future SMS campaigns.

Technology can help pubs and restaurants during COVID-19

Pubs and restaurants, remember those? Many have adapted to doing takeaway and pick-up options to keep revenue coming in. For these services to be successful, businesses must be able to effectively communicate with customers, whether it be opening times, menus, or delivery updates. Find out how SMS can help cut through the noise.

eCommerce trends for 2020

This one might seem a little outdated but it’s worth considering some of the key changes of 2020 and how that may have affected your business. Maybe it’ll spark some thoughts about the big eCommerce trends for 2021.

How hospitality businesses can bridge the revenue gap

Arguably, hospitality has been one of the most disrupted sectors during the pandemic. So to help our hospitality customers maximise customer engagement and drive revenue in these uncertain times, we outlined the campaign ideas which proved valuable for our clients back in July.

Best practice guide: Creating a business continuity plan

2020 didn’t exactly go to plan for a lot of businesses, but it did get us thinking. How do you prepare for the unexpected? Check out the helpful guide and see how you can integrate SMS for an even better business continuity plan.

What business practices are here to stay?

In many ways last year was a learning curve for businesses. There were some practices enabling companies to remain agile and effective, which it makes sense to continue with. See a quick rundown of our learnings and the things we think are worth maintaining moving forward.

How to successfully manage remote teams

Teamwork is as important as ever, but it’s also probably the hardest it’s ever been with remote working. Not having to sit in rush hour traffic or on the busy tube is great, but there are some challenges too. Here we delve into how to better manage your remote workforce. 

Well, we’re glad to see the end of 2020 and say hello to 2021. Hopefully, some of this content was useful to you. If you’ve got any ideas for topics you think we should cover, drop us a note at info@textmarketer.co.uk

The post Hello 2021 – Let’s recall our top 10 blog posts from 2020 appeared first on Textmarketer.

A Look at the Tech Trends That Will Shape the Future of Loyalty

How 2021 Will Be Won

“What a year we’ve had!” There are more than a few ways to read into that sentiment, but at least when looking back at the dramatic ways technology has shaped the converging landscapes of marketing and technology, the words are brimming with enthusiasm. 2021 will be an even more important year. Loyalty vendors are now teetering on a fine edge; they can either continue doing what they have always done, or they can change with the times to embrace the future of tech trends that will shape our world. The circumstances which have made 2020 a disaster for many have fueled technology applications acceleration, due to the necessity of remote interactions and virtual experiences. This evolution will continue into 2021 and beyond, even after the immediate effects of COVID-19 have subsided. Simply put, the world has changed, and will continue to change. Here are just a few of the future tech trends marketers should be ready to meet head on in 2021 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence

A concept which has been around for a long time, AIs are beginning to stir attention as their growing sophistication is allowing them to enter real-world applications. According to a Teradata study, 80% of enterprises report that their organization already has some form of AI in production. The study also revealed that one of the top planned areas for AI investment for brands was customer experience. AI can benefit all areas of the loyalty ecosystem including improving data and analytics, enhancing customer experiences, and predicting the behaviors of customers over short and long time horizons.

Case Study: Adobe Analytics

Adobe has recently announced some big upgrades to their Customer Journey Analytics product. The new toolkit will use AI learning to spot anomalies in retail areas such as shopping carts and will add context to solve problems. John Bates, director of product management at Adobe Analytics, said “enterprises are collecting thousands of different metrics and these [new] tools aim to get the signal through the noise.”

Mobile Apps

Mobile apps require extra effort from customers. They require a device. They oblige extra effort to download, store, and manage updates for a piece of software that takes up space on that device. Given the added considerations of this commitment, many pundits believed that turnkey web-based platforms would outpace apps as the preferred channel of loyalty access. But in fact, apps are more important than ever in today’s loyalty landscape. 52% of c-store shoppers prefer using a mobile app, according to PDI’s 2019 C-Store Shopper Report. This growth is increasing rapidly: the 2019 Road to Rewards Report noted that in 2016, only 20% preferred mobile apps for reward redemption. The number rose to 31% in 2017 and 44% in 2019. In contrast, the choice to use a website for reward redemption has declined from 36% in 2017 to 29% as of 2020.

What is propelling these trends? Simply put, app experiences are better. Personalized targeting and customized rewards can be sent directly to users, tapping into the constantly progressing computing power of mobile devices. And the data collected from these interactions is much richer, enabling marketers to better link performance and results.

Case Study: Starbucks Rewards

Starbucks rewards is one of the most successful app-based loyalty schemes of all time. Charged with bringing many innovations into mobile loyalty technology including real-time personalization and pre-ordering functionality to bridge the virtual with the physical. Plus, the program took another firm step into the future this fall by embracing currency neutrality. Reward members can now pay for orders by cash, credit/debit card, and select mobile apps.

Contactless Payment

As cashless customers continue to march steadily forward expecting frictionless transactions no matter which technology or financial institutions they choose to patronize, stores must keep up with the surge in demand for mobile payments. Cash was under pressure even before the circumstances of COVID-19 began tugging on the final seam in an aging wallet. But now, even credit cards are falling into the realm of the has-been, with customers opting to go completely digital with their payment decisions.

Case Study: 7-Eleven

7-Eleven, Inc.’s new app-based mobile wallet offers all customers — including those who would like to load cash — a true contactless, convenient way to pay nationally at participating U.S. stores. 7-Eleven Wallet, a feature built into the 7-Eleven app, allows customers to securely load funds in the form of cash, debit and credit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and prepaid 7-Eleven gift cards. Users are not charged any loading or transaction fees and incur no interest fees like those charged by credit cards.

The Digital Made Real

Perhaps the biggest tech trend of 2021 isn’t just a single app or hardware-enhanced feature. It’s a combination tools designed to integrate digital spaces with the real world as seamless, tangibly familiar experiences. It’s about augmenting reality in ways that were once only imagined in the most fantastical dominions of science fiction, and using technology as an interface to foster better loyalty connections, creating an all-encompassing omni-channel environment. Systems like voice and facial recognition paired with advanced AIs, real-time proximity marketing, strategic sensors, and smart screens will all combine — often behind the scenes — to create a new paradigm of shopping and loyalty across all areas of retail.

Case Study: Star Alliance

The airline industry had a rough year in 2020, and will need a drastic upheaval from their historic operations to accommodate the change in demand and travel expectations from customers. Star Alliance, the world’s largest global airline alliance, along with founding member airline Lufthansa, is rolling out a new generation of biometric services at Frankfurt and Munich international airports called Star Alliance Biometrics, powered by NEC I:Delight. These innovations will help solve a key piece of the new air travel model: allowing for faster and more accurate identification than human screening while also reducing the need for human interactions.

Star Alliance aims to bring most if not all of its 26 member airlines onto the platform, and to expand the service beyond its member airline loyalty club and include all travellers. “We believe providing warm and personal customer service is an important element for airports and airlines to build customer loyalty,” says Jason Van Sice, Vice President of Aviation, NEC Corporation of America. “NEC I:Delight will not eliminate but enhance these initiatives by removing the distraction of document and ticket validation, and focus on known individuals with seat preferences, status, and more.”

The post A Look at the Tech Trends That Will Shape the Future of Loyalty appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How to Monetize Your Brand's Blog, According to HubSpot's Blog Leaders

Whether you’re running a personal blog or managing the official blog on your company’s website, monetizing your work is entirely possible — it just takes a good amount of time and effort.

While there’s no exact formula to start making money, there are some tried and true strategies you can start experimenting with to see what works best for your content, your business model, and your audience.

Below, we’ll dive into some of these monetization ideas and get advice from HubSpot’s own blog leaders.

How Do Blogs Make Money?

Before we dive into the monetization strategies, you might be wondering, “How will my blog make money?” Well, your blog can make money in several ways including lead generation, affiliate marketing, brand partnerships, collaborations, or advertising. To find out more, you can learn about the types of blogs that make money and see which strategy would work best for your blog.

Now that we know a few ways that blogs can make money, let’s dive into the top monetization strategies for your blog.

1. Map blog posts to specific conversion points.

As a company, you can use your blog to drive leads and conversions.

AJ Beltis, a marketing manager on HubSpot’s channel monetization team, says, “Conversion is the foundation of blog monetization. Whether it’s an ecommerce purchase, a demo request, or a content offer download, it’s imperative to have your blog posts point to an intentional, related next step in the buyer’s journey.”

So, you might be asking yourself, “How can I do that?”

Beltis’ advice is to ask yourself what somebody reading this specific blog post would want or need from your company. Then, you should create the assets you’ll need to make that conversion happen in the form of website pages, forms, or content. After that, you’ll naturally place your calls-to-action to that next step in the blog post so readers are reminded about what your recommended next step is.

“By placing these CTAs in appropriate sections of the blog, you’re more likely to capture the attention of readers with high intent. This process puts more readers on the path to become paying customers for your business,” Beltis adds.

2. Include information about your product or service in your blog posts — but do so sparingly, and thoughtfully.

When you’re writing blog posts, it’s important that each post isn’t just a sales tactic. Your blog posts should provide educational content that anyone could benefit from, not just your customers.

However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever mention your product or service.

According to Caroline Forsey, the editor of the HubSpot Marketing Blog, “If you’re writing content about the best tools for X, and your product or service is a good solution to that user’s search query, I’d highly recommend including it in your total roundup of tools to increase exposure and, ideally, drive more leads and customers towards your product. This is one of the most effective ways to monetize your blog for the long-term, particularly since that same piece of content might provide your business with leads 3-5 years into the future.”

Again, this doesn’t mean you should always and only promote your own product or service.

Forsey adds, “You risk damaging your blog’s reputation if you do this too often, or outside of the appropriate context. Readers don’t want to see a random ‘buy my product!’ CTA in a piece of content irrelevant to your product — and, if they feel like your content is actually just a gimmick or hidden advertisement, they’ll distrust your brand as a whole.”

To avoid this, Forsey suggests only mentioning your product or service where it makes sense, and in a list of other tools you’d suggest for businesses so they feel you’re arming them with useful information so they can make their own decision best-suited for their needs.

“Trust me: if readers enjoy reading your content and feel your brand is genuinely helpful, they’ll give your product or service a second look,” she says.

3. Build a lead funnel for your product.

If you work at a B2B company or have a long sales cycle, reading a blog post is usually a customer’s first and furthest interaction from their actual purchase. But it’s also arguably the most important stage of the inbound funnel. Attracting your audience’s attention with helpful, educational, or entertaining content creates a larger pool of people to convert into leads and close as customers. In other words, your blog marks the start of a relationship with your customers.

Lestraundra Alfred, the manager editor of the HubSpot Sales Blog, says, “If you’re looking to gain exposure from your blog, your content should help bridge the gap between the problem the reader is trying to solve and your product, which can serve as a solution. By creating content that your ideal customer is searching for and interested in, you can build a solid community of readers who are a great fit for your product, and when nurtured, can turn into customers for your business.”

Ideally, you’ll want to craft compelling blog content that your audience can discover easily through a Google search or social media. You can also pay to amplify your distribution on Facebook, which has the best targeting tools out of all the social media sites and is cost effective, or through paid search, which can thrust you to the top of a high-volume Google SERP, although some keywords are expensive.

After people start reading your blog content more, and want to read it on consistent basis, they’ll sign up for your blog’s email subscription. Once strangers to your brand, they’re now regular visitors.

When these visitors read enough blog posts, you can entice them to download conversion offers like Beltis mentioned above. Then, you can then nurture qualified leads with more blog posts and lead generators through email or Facebook ads. Consistently educating them and helping them solve their problems will build their trust, making it more likely they’ll move to the middle of your funnel when they’re ready. And once you see them researching your product or service by reading case studies, requesting a demo, or trying to contact sales, you can move them to the bottom of the funnel, where sales will qualify their fit as a customer.

Sales will close some of these leads into customers, and they’ll be thanking you when they do. Your blog introduced their customers to your brand.

4. Offer sponsored content opportunities to other brands.

Publishers like BuzzFeed and The Dodo produce content that floods social media every day. And they make money by helping other brands do it too.

Brands will collaborate with their video production, social media, and analytics teams to craft posts and videos that follow their formula for virality. Publishers also distribute this sponsored content to their massive social media and website followings. This content is similar to the publishers’ native content, so their audience will enjoy reading it, exposing their clients to a huge, engaged, and new viewership and boosting their followings and audience engagement.

If your blog generates a significant amount of traffic, you can leverage your editorial expertise and audience reach to help smaller brands tell captivating stories to a bigger and better viewership.

Doing sponsored content right can pay huge dividends for your brand. Not only does it create another revenue stream, but partnering with other marketing minds can help your team unleash unprecedented amounts of creativity. In fact, T Brand Studio, the New York Times native ad business, crafted paid posts that captured as much engagement as some of nytimes.com’s highest-performing articles.

5. Provide coaching services.

Your blog posts can serve as a teaser for how much your readers can learn from you about a certain subject matter. Because if you write about enhancing certain skills like selling, social savviness, sports, cooking, and music, your blog posts can only teach your readers so much. They need to practice these skills in real life to see substantial improvement.

But if your readers practice these skills on their own, they’ll only get so much better. If they really want to improve, training with a coach will guide them toward success faster than anything else. Think about it. What would improve your basketball skills the most? Reading Michael Jordan’s book about shooting and practicing his tips by yourself? Or reading his book and then taking shooting lessons with him?

If you’re running a personal brand, as a coach, your blog is your most important marketing asset. It helps your potential clients improve themselves while giving them a glimpse into what life would be like if they actually achieved one of their life-long goals. Your blog inspires readers to strive for their dreams. And when they’re more motivated to reach their potential, they’ll usually want an expert directing them toward greatness, not just themselves.

6. Market your freelance writing skills.

If you’re a freelance blogger, you need to show potential clients that you can write compelling content. To do this, you could try to attract their attention with your previous work, but you usually don’t have control over those topics. So what if they don’t pique their interest?

The best way to show potential clients you can write compelling content is by engaging them with your own content. When you start a blog, you have access to your post’s performance metrics and complete control over the topics you cover. This allows you to write content that you know your target audience will devour, attracting more and more potential clients to your blog. And once they realize they rely on you for content marketing advice, they’ll know they can trust you to help them improve their own content marketing.

For instance, Eddie Shleyner, a freelance copywriter and content marketer, markets his business called VeryGoodCopy by writing articles about copywriting, content marketing, and psychology. His articles are so engaging and insightful that organizations like The North Face, Geico, and Mercedes Benz hire him to write articles, eBooks, landing pages, website copy, and email campaigns.

7. Participate in affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to monetize a blog when you don’t sell a product or service. It’s a relatively simple process too. You’ll partner with an ecommerce platform or businesses that have affiliate programs and pick out relevant products to promote on your blog. Your partners will then send you custom links to their product pages that can track customers referred by your blog. And if someone clicks on the link and buys the product, you’ll earn a commission.

One of the most popular affiliate marketing programs is Amazon Associates. You can choose from over one million of Amazon’s ecommerce products to advertise on your blog, and you can earn up to 10% in commission.

Out of all the ways you can make money blogging, affiliate marketing requires the least amount of time, money, and resources. You don’t have to build, market, or sell a product or service and inserting affiliate links in your blog posts doesn’t cost any money. All you have to do is wait for people to click on them and buy something.

Start Making Money with Your Blog

Choosing your monetization strategy will depend on the type of blog you’re running and the type of product or service you offer. To up-level your blog, learn how to set yourself up for success and avoid the top blogging mistakes.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in March 2018 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

19 Brilliant Examples of Holiday Marketing Campaigns

Every year, as soon as Halloween is behind us, it seems like the floodgates open. Without warning, there are holiday marketing campaigns everywhere, with countless businesses rushing to cash in on a spending frenzy. There are holiday emails, social media posts, and TV ads — oh, my.

It might seem like holiday marketing is out of control. But some brands do it very, very well.

How? Well, these brands create campaigns that actually delight customers instead of adding to holiday “noise.” They evoke emotions and promote sharing, sometimes even connecting people with their loved ones, or partnering with a charitable organization.

Great holiday marketing campaigns come in many different shapes and sizes. Check out our favorites below, and use these ideas to fuel your own holiday marketing ideas.

1. Walkers: All Mariah Carey Wants for Christmas

While the holiday season is a time for caring and sharing, Walkers shows musician Mariah Carey doing the exact opposite. After filming a music video for her famous song, “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” Mariah Carey gets angry with an elf for taking her Walkers chips. To fend him off, she sings a highnote which makes him block his ears and let go of the chips.

This is a hilarious commercial because it shows that the only thing you might not want to share on Christmas is Walkers products. It also shows how even stars, like Carey, enjoy the brand.

2. Coca-Cola Canada:Give Something Only You Can Give

In a recent holiday commercial, Coca-Cola brings us the story of a dad doing everything possible to deliver his daughter’s letter to Santa. 

The dad enjoys a Coke while deciding what to do with the letter. We can sense that he’s not sure whether he’ll get there in time. 

We see him sail through a sea, hike through a forest, ride across a desert, and climb a snowy mountain as he searches for Santa. Finally, he gets there, but Santa’s closed for Christmas. Just when we think the situation’s hopeless, Santa saves the day by cruising in on a Coca-Cola-branded truck and taking the dad home. 

His little girl’s wish? For him to be home for Christmas. (This ad will definitely make you cry.) 

While we’re always tempted to give expensive gifts, the best thing that you can give to your loved ones is your presence and time.

This installment is just one of the latest in the Coca-Cola company’s legendary holiday marketing campaigns — I mean, who doesn’t love the annual debut of the Coke-drinking polar bears?

3. Microsoft: Find Your Joy

The year 2020 was difficult for many of us. We spent more time on Zoom than ever before, and we heavily relied on technology to distract us from the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t celebrate the holidays and make the most out of it with our loved ones and pets. 

Microsoft’s holiday commercial takes a fun spin on this theme. The commercial begins with a puppy named Rufus. Rufus longs to play and approaches each member of the family, but everyone, from the mother to the grandpa, is enjoying a Microsoft product and doesn’t pay attention. 

Rufus grabs his best bud, a puppy from next door. Together, they go on an imaginary adventure involving the games and activities their humans had been enjoying. The ad not only showcases Microsoft’s offerings, but reminds us to cherish our loved ones (and to pay attention to our pets!).

4. Macy’s: In Dad’s Shoes

Macy’s campaign offers a new spin on what might be considered an overdone gift: socks. 

“In Dad’s Shoes” takes a little girl through a “Freaky Friday”-like adventure, where she finds herself literally walking in her dad’s shoes for a day. Even though we see her as the daughter, everyone else, from neighbors to passerby, greets her as if she’s her dad.

Throughout the ad, she realizes how much work her dad does and how many places he frequents throughout the course of the day. He spends a lot of time walking. That’s how she gets an idea for what she’ll get him: socks. We all know that you can’t get anywhere without a good pair of socks. 

We love that Macy’s showcases a simple gift borne out of empathy. This ad tells us that gifting doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, or over-the-top.

5. Airbnb: Airbnb Hosts Ring Our Opening Bell

This is a great example of an ad that doesn’t explicitly allude to the holidays, but rather emphasizes the value of community and gratitude. 

Airbnb celebrates the season by thanking its four million hosts for opening their homes to strangers all over the world. The video shows various hosts from different countries ringing the bell and opening the door. We go from the United States to Japan, from Kenya to New Zealand, from Brazil to Spain. (We love that each of these countries were listed in their original languages!)

This campaign demonstrates that you don’t need string lights or artificial trees to create an amazing campaign that embodies the holiday spirit. You can uplift your company’s values, celebrate your wins, and appreciate those who’ve played a role in your success.

6. Amazon: The Show Must Go On

If you lived through the 2020 pandemic (which you most likely did if you’re reading this), then you know how much it derailed any and all plans. Being quarantined keeps us from achieving things, it turns out. Unless it requires alone time. 

In this ad, Amazon effectively punches us in the gut with the story of a ballerina who was chosen to play the lead in her dance school’s winter show. The girl is thrilled to be chosen, but as the months pass and the pandemic gains traction, the event is canceled. Ballet classes are moved online. The girl’s initial thrill fades, a feeling we can all relate to.

Her little sister remedies the situation by putting together a DIY event next to their apartment building. All of the tenants look down on her as she dances. The event is socially-distant, and the girl gets to dance the ballet she’d been practicing for since the beginning of the year. 

What we love most is Amazon’s tasteful product placement. Rather than showing everyone ordering all supplies from Amazon, the ad showcases the purchase of a single product: a flashlight. The flashlight is the critical piece that allowed the tenants to watch the show from their balconies.

7. Woodie’s: #WereAllHomemakers

This one made us cry. Woodie’s, an Irish home improvement store, reminds us of what the holidays are about through the story of Mrs. Higgins, an elderly woman who’s beloved in her neighborhood. 

Throughout the ad, we see multiple people greet her. Neighbors and passersby are fond of her. Even the rowdy teens who loiter in front of her house love her. She has one problem: the door that leads to her yard is missing a hinge. In the United Kingdom, homes typically have a fence with a gate. Every time she leaves and comes home, she struggles opening and closing that door, as one corner drags across the ground. 

 

When Mrs. Higgins comes home on one particularly snowy day, she finds that her door opens smoothly. The picture focuses on the new hinge that had been installed. 

Who fixed it? It turns out it was a one of the teenagers who loitered in front of her home. With this advertisement, Woodie’s not only subverted expectations but also effectively communicated what’s so wonderful about the holidays.

8. Hinge: See What We’re Thankful For

This holiday season, what are you thankful for? Recently, dating app Hinge sent around an email posing the same question to its members, using the opportunity to talk about its recent rebrand and subsequent growth — something for which Hinge itself has enormous gratitude, according to the email.

The timing for this sort of marketing is impeccable. The holidays are notorious for the sentimentality they invoke among the masses, and the desire to spend them with “someone special.” 

Hinge used this email to harness the holiday spirit and redirect attention to an app that helps people find meaningful relationships, instead of, well, shorter-term alternatives.

[Click here to see the full email]

9. Lagavulin: Nick Offerman’s Yule Log

This one is an oldie but a goodie. Actor, writer, and humorist Nick Offerman loves his whisky. He’s sung about it before, and during a previous holiday season, he joined his favorite whisky brand, Lagavulin, to film a 45-minute video of — wait for it — Offerman sitting in a leather chair next to a crackling fire, drinking whisky and looking calmly at the camera. Where do we sign up for that gig?

“This is smart branding on Lagavulin’s part,” Kristina Monllos wrote for AdWeek. “Creating an extended ad that can serve as a conversation starter — should consumers swap the traditional Yule Log video for Offerman’s at parties — will also get everyone talking about the brand.”

Since the video was initially released, a new 10-hour version of it became available. Consider it our gift to you.

10. BarkPost: Yappy Thanksgiving Eve

Holidays are traditionally a time to be spent with family. For many of us, that includes our dogs.

BarkPost is no stranger to marketing campaigns that help “dog ruvers” include their furry friends into day-to-day life. In November, the pet-friendly brand showed how to do that at Thanksgiving, with a clever email that included holiday-themed cartoons and videos, feeding safety tips, and other holiday survival techniques — which, of course, involve your dog.

Plus, check out that adorable call to action at the bottom of the email: “Stop getting cute dogs in your email. Unsubscribe.” I mean, who would want to unsubscribe from that?

BarkPost's Thanksgiving holiday email campaign includes safety tips and adorable puppies.

11. reMarkable: Keep Your Goals for the New Year

You may not have heard of reMarkable, but no matter: this company is the definition of cool and simple. Their single offering is a tablet that acts as a “digital notebook.” When you jot anything down, the reMarkable tablet automatically turns your writing into typed notes. Pretty cool, huh? 

In its New Year email ad, reMarkable embodied the simplicity of its product by creating an equally simple campaign. In the email, they entice you to splurge with a $50 discount. Everyone knows that New Years is a time to make plans, set goals, and get your things in order. 

reMarkable presents its product as the way to do that. They want to help you save time, which will help you spend more time with your loved ones and pets in the upcoming year. And who likes transferring notes from a notebook to a tablet?

Image Source

12. Kool-Aid: All I Really Want for Christmas feat. Lil John

In a music-video styled ad, rapper Lil John quietly sits down to drink a glass of Kool-Aid as the Kool-Aid man smashes through his wall. At that moment, the bass drops as a festive musical video begins showing Lil John rapping in front of a family Christmas gathering. The video goes on to show Lil John, the Kool-Aid Man, and Santa dancing along with shots of holiday food, presents, and Lil John’s Christmas list.

By launching a full-fledged music video with a prominent rapper, Kool-Aid both entertains prospects and demonstrates how “Kool” their brand is. Along with being humorous and entertaining, this ad also reminds you that you can still drink Kool-Aid during a time of the year where you’re mostly thinking about hot beverages.

13. Resy: Where to Spend New Year’s Eve

Don’t want to cook for New Year’s Eve? We don’t want to, either—mostly because washing dishes is a chore. 

That’s what Resy bets on in a recent New Year email campaign. In a short but effective email, the company invites its subscribers to the best places to dine in the San Francisco Bay Area for the New Year. (If you’re not in San Francisco, you have the option to look for local eateries near you, also curated.) Like OpenTable, Resy allows you to make effortless reservations for you and your loved ones.  

We love that this simple email keeps the focus on what we can do to celebrate New Year’s Eve. And what better way to do that than through delicious, local food that we don’t have to cook ourselves?  

Image Source

14. Erste Group Bank: #EdgarsChristmas #believeinlove #believeinchristmas

You might not recognize this company, but you’d definitely recognize their holiday ad from 2018. Remember the cute porcupine who couldn’t get any friends because his spikes were, well, spiky? The short film has more than fifty million views on YouTube and touched millions of people’s hearts on other social media platforms. 

Erste Group Bank did it again during their 2020 holiday campaign. This time, they made it just a little bit more clear what they offer: loans that can help you purchase something that may feel out of reach, but that may help bring your family together. 

The ad begins with a granddaughter handing her grandfather his hearing aids. Throughout the video, the grandfather seems unhappy. We later find out that it’s because he’s been wanting to play music, but has no way to because he doesn’t own a piano. 

The granddaughter purchases a piano for him. In the end, the grandfather gets to play a song he’d written for his mother. The entire family joins in, and they play the song together.

15. Sonos + Spotify: #PlaylistPotluck

One great way to celebrate the holiday season is with an event. And with events typically come music. Spotify is aware of that tradition, which is why it created #PlaylistPotluck.

It started with a partnership with Sonos. The brands got together to turn playlists into something like a potluck in which everyone contributes something to bring the event together (the tagline of the campaign is “One home. One host. Everyone brings a dish.”) Only, instead of contributing food or drink, everyone contributes a tune to a collaborative playlist.

Oh, look. That feature is available with Spotify!

The idea is delightfully interactive. Instead of using traditional invitations, guests RSVP to the potluck by adding songs to the collaborative playlist. And the cherry on top? Both brands also partnered with the PBS series “Mind of a Chef” for a televised holiday special, in which various celebrity chefs will be using the feature for their own meals.

What we love about this campaign is the fact that it incorporates several different elements and media formats to make it cohesive — a speaker system, a music-streaming app, and a televised special. Plus, if you participate, you’re entered for a chance to win your very own dinner party, hosted by a world-renowned chef. Bon appetit — and rock on.

16. Google: Santa Tracker

While Google’s Santa Tracker has been around for a few years now — and we recommend checking out the back story here — its features have evolved over time. Now there are interactive mini-games such as “Santa Selfie,” “Wrap Battle,” and “Build & Bolt.” Additionally, you can watch delightful short films such as “A Day at the Museum,” so you can see what Santa’s day-to-day looks like.

It’s hard to narrow down what makes the Santa Tracker so delightful, but if we had to summarize it, we’d say this — it combines the holiday wonder of a belief in Santa with real-life technology. What a wonderful way to teach kids about the web, while also allowing them to be kids. (Although, we adults certainly appreciate it, too.)

Google even introduced a B2B element of the Santa Tracker by sharing the code with developers and releasing other elements of the tool as open source. Why make all of that information public? To inspire developers to create their “own magical experiences based on all the interesting and exciting components that came together to make Santa Tracker,” writes Google’s Developer Programs Engineer Sam Thorogood.

Up until Christmas Eve each year, visitors can have a peek at the “North Pole,” to see what Santa’s elves are up to as the holiday approaches.

Google Santa Tracker

17. Disney: From Our Family to Yours

Culture, history, and holiday cheer come together in this holiday advertisement from Disney. The media giant takes advantage of their long-standing name to take us back to 1940, when a young girl gets her first Mickey Mouse plush toy.

As the video goes on, we see the little girl grow older until she becomes a grandma. She hands down the plush toy to her granddaughter, who doesn’t appreciate it as much as she becomes a young adult.

The granddaughter realizes how much it means to her grandma and restores the toy back to its former glory. We definitely did not cry when the grandma opened her holiday gift and saw her old toy fixed and restored. 

We expected something quite touching from Disney, and this one did not disappoint. We especially love how Filipino culture has been showcased to three million viewers and counting.

18. Black Owned Everything: Jingles and Things (with “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey”)

Black Owned Everything, an Instagram curator of Black-owned businesses and brands, creates the perfect gift guide in Jingles and Things

Done in partnership with Netflix and the musical “Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey,” Jingles and Things curates the very best gifts for the holiday season, including items ranging from fragrance to dishware to dolls. There’s truly something for everyone here—and the best part is that we can support Black businesses while completing our holiday shopping.

 

Zerina Akers, the owner and head curator of Black Owned Everything, introduces us to the shop by explaining that it’s not just a marketplace but an inclusive platform. There’s nothing more that encapsulates the holiday spirit than inclusivity, community, and belonging, and we love that Jingles and Things uplifts that theme.

19. Heathrow Airport: The Heathrow Bears Return

This adorable holiday commercial from Heathrow Airport shows the journey of two grandparent teddy bears as they decide to pack up, leave their sunny home, and go visit their teddy-bear grandchildren for Christmas. At the end, you see the bears reunite with their family in London’s Heathrow Airport.

For many, these bears are both nostalgic and relatable. They remind you of the bears you might have played with as a child and the average grandparents.  At the end, when you see the teddy bears join their family, you might also remember the happiness you felt when your grandparents came and brought you gifts or hugs during the holidays.

This commercial is a sequel to a similar commercial the Heathrow launched a year before, titled “Coming Home for Christmas”. This ad follows the bears riding and exiting the plane to meet up with their family at a Heathrow Airport Gate:

This series of commercials has all the great aspects of an ad campaign because it’s relatable, nostalgic, and incredibly heartwarming.

Go Forth and Be Merry

Out of all the things that we appreciate about these campaigns, there might be one thing we like the most — the fact that they put the fun back in holidays. This season, don’t let the stress get to you. Have a laugh or a cry with these examples, and please, be merry.

From our family to yours, happy holidays.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and was updated in January 2021 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Modern B2B Marketing Attribution: Making the Business Case

When my father was in college, he had a friend who was blind. His friend made a deal with him – he’d buy a car they could share. The catch? When my father’s friend wanted to take a girl on a date, my father would drop any other commitments and be their designated driver. Sometimes, just for fun, they’d go to an empty lot and his friend would drive the car – flying around at a reckless speed with only the yelling and screaming of his pals to prevent catastrophe.

Now, while we expect this kind of risky behavior in college (based on stories we’ve heard, not our own experiences, of course), flying blind is no way to run a marketing department. Thankfully, today we have access to the marketing attribution software needed to clearly see what channels, content, and campaigns are working…and which are not.

KPIs that matter

When we start our careers as marketers, we tend to jam our foot into the gas pedal and hurry straight into driving programs and campaigns. We learn how to use marketing channels. We learn about content, creative and CTAs. In time, we master marketing metrics such as views, click-through rates, and marketing-qualified leads. Still, something eludes us. We are counting a lot of things, but none of them are what the CEO really cares about – pipeline and revenue.

For most of us, our first step into the light was single-touch attribution, often enabled by a CRM. Now we could attribute revenue credit to the single campaign which appeared to trigger an important event such as product purchase. Helpful, but also unrealistic in the context of a long B2B buying journeys comprised of dozens or even a hundred or more customer touchpoints. So, about ten seconds after we started using single-touch attribution, we realized its limitations in B2B marketing. We were still flying blind.

We needed visibility to the whole journey – every buyer touchpoint, every channel, every content asset, and every campaign that made (or didn’t make) a difference. Only with this complete picture could we hope to optimize our marketing mix across every buying stage in order to grow the business. And, of course, we needed to be able to do this in a modern and automated way that didn’t involve spreadsheets and weekends.

Multi-touch attribution challenge

Led by Marketo (now Marketo Engage), marketing automation providers began to offer capabilities for taking on this multi-touch attribution challenge. In time, Bizible emerged as the leading attribution solution for B2B marketers. Bizible maintains this leadership today as a part of the Adobe Experience Cloud where it can take advantage of native integrations with Marketo Engage and other Adobe software.

So, what’s the value of not flying blind? What’s the value of knowing what’s working and what’s not? As it turns out, the value is immense. We see it with our Bizible customers every day and as we work with prospects to construct financial business cases for Bizible, we regularly come to ROI figures that are as compelling as you will find for any type of software. It makes sense when you think about it. As marketing teams grow in maturity and have gotten good at the mechanics of buyer engagement, there is really nothing more valuable than insights that help you tune that engagement for maximum impact and ROI. As one Bizible customer succinctly put it, “Bizible helps us understand where to put our marketing dollars.”

The financial value of an investment in attribution software

While we love to share customer success stories and create business cases with individual Bizible prospects, we know many marketers are seeking a more general description of the potential financial value of an investment in attribution software. To do provide this, we commissioned Forrester to perform a Total Economic Impact (TEI) study. Forrester’s TEI methodology provides a proven, industry-recognized approach for assessing the value of technology investments. Results are based on customer interviews and Forrester’s own independent analysis and expertise. In this case, Forrester interviewed five Bizible customers ranging in size from a $50M/year US company to a $52B/year global enterprise.

So, what did they find? What is the ROI of an investment in modern B2B marketing attribution? Forrester found an almost 4x return on investment in Bizible with a payback period of less than one year. Marketing teams were able to generate 15% more qualified leads and millions of dollars in incremental pipeline and revenue while also saving time thanks to Bizible automation. Meanwhile, marketing cost per sales opportunity was reduced by 17%, freeing up money to drive even more growth.

Forrester TEI of Bizible

Ultimately, it’s no wonder so many B2B marketing leaders consider Bizible a part of their playbook for professional success. While flying blind can be thrilling, there comes a time for every marketer and marketing team to graduate to what comes next. Those who do wonder how they ever did their jobs any other way. The B2B marketing attribution software exists today to understand the complete B2B buyer’s journey and link marketing to pipeline and revenue. With the new Forrester TEI study of Bizible, marketers now have a powerful new way to communicate that value to stakeholders and budget owners within their companies.

Check out the complete Forrester Total Economic Impact of Bizible report.

The post Modern B2B Marketing Attribution: Making the Business Case appeared first on Marketo Marketing Blog – Best Practices and Thought Leadership.

What Are Taxonomies in WordPress?

WordPress taxonomies are built-in categorization tools for organizing WordPress posts. The two taxonomies that every WordPress site will come standard with are categories and tags. With categories, you can group your posts by topic or subject (e.g., website, SEO, and PPC for a marketing agency), and with tags, you can group posts by specific details…

The post What Are Taxonomies in WordPress? appeared first on Fit Small Business.

Cost Cutting Measures You Should Implement in Your Small Business

As we learned in the year 2020, we never know when business in America could take a dark turn. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, many companies had to close their doors or turn to drastic measures to stay afloat. Many businesses cite part of their current survival on their rainy day fund. Implementing cost cutting measures as a small business owner could make all the difference when unforeseen circumstances arise.

If your small business struggled during the pandemic, then you need to learn from the past and start making the proper plans to cut costs in case the unforeseen were to happen again. Doing so is easier than you may think. Take it from the airline industry, for example — all it takes is cutting some unnecessary costs, talking to the right people, and thinking about how you do business.

Go Green

When it comes to saving money, every penny counts, and by going green, those small savings can grow over time. Start simple by changing over to LED bulbs that can both save energy and costs since they can last 25% times longer. Regardless of the type of bulbs you are using, turn the lights off when you are not in the room to avoid waste. Also, be mindful of the amount of heat or air conditioning you use. To avoid overuse, never set the thermostat below 72 degrees or over 78 degrees and consider a programmable system that can turn off the air when the office is empty.

Next, it’s time to think about going digital to use less paper, which not only overloads our landfills but also wastes money that you don’t necessarily need to spend. Take the time to create processes that eliminate the need to print paper, such as having PowerPoint presentations during meetings instead of handing out paper flyers. If you must print some paperwork, invest in a dual-sided printer so you can use less paper. When bringing in new customers or members, make the process digital, and avoid physical mailers.

You can also save a lot more money and paper by going 100% digital with your company and relying on the cloud. While this may take more work upfront, you can save major bucks by eliminating your physical office space and moving to a remote workforce. With the cloud, all software programs will be online, and employees can access data and collaborate seamlessly. That way you can cut down on the cost of rent, utilities, office space — and still keep business flowing.

Think About Your Employees

Now that your office is clean and efficient, think about how you can save money from an employee standpoint. Start with who you already have on staff. Is it possible to move from the standard five days schedule to a four days a week schedule with 10-hour days? If you can do something like that, then you can cut down on electricity and utility costs. Plus, if you have more people working at once instead of being spread out, you could save on staffing costs as well.

When it comes to hiring new employees, the choices you make could save you big money. One of the biggest choices in the hiring process is how you train your employees. Linkedin even suggests that by failing to do so can make your business lose money in the long run. Training may feel like a waste of time and money, but without it you have unhappy employees and unhappy clients. Additionally, this eventually leads to high employee turnover rates.

You may not think of it often, but the price of employee turnover can put a big dent in your rainy day fund. If an employee is unsatisfied and leaves, you then have to spend time and money recruiting, hiring, and training the new associate. You can cut those costs by ensuring employee satisfaction through benefits and perks. See what your business can afford as far as vacation time and health and wellness offerings, including health insurance. Show your employees that you value them, and they will stick around longer and refer other high-quality candidates to your organization.

Reducing Office Costs

Typically, your lease and the required office space to run your operation will take the biggest chunk out of your budget. If it’s impossible to move to the cloud or a remote workforce, then see how you can save money in other regards. Start by having a conversation with the landlord. If you have been a tenant for a while, you can ask about a discounted rate to keep your business in their building. If you are new to the building, ask about discounts for new renters.

If your staff is not filling your entire office space, then you could look into the possibility of sharing an office with another company. You could organize this by either having both companies in the area at the same time or working out a schedule where your employees work in the morning and the other company employs a night shift. This way, the other company can share rent and pay for expenses and save you a bundle.

While we have discussed many ways to save money, it may be inevitable that you will lack funds and need extra capital that will require you to take out a loan. However, you may be caught in a catch twenty-two and lack the credit score needed to get that loan. If this is the case, then you can still acquire a loan, it will just have a much higher interest rate, and you may have to provide collateral or a hefty deposit. If you are really in need of the money — and only as a last resort — try securing a personal or payday loan.

As a small business, your bottom line is everything, and there is seldom wiggle room for extra expenses. However, with some smart budgeting and a careful allocation of your resources, you can see more profit and save money for when you need it most.

The post Cost Cutting Measures You Should Implement in Your Small Business appeared first on The Wise Marketer – Featured News on Customer Loyalty and Reward Programs.

How HubSpot's Report-Based Acquisition Campaign Hit 150% of Our Lead Goal in 30 Days

This post is a part of Made @ HubSpot, an internal thought leadership series through which we extract lessons from experiments conducted by our very own HubSpotters.

Acquisition marketing campaigns are critical to bring in new customers and revenue. At HubSpot, we run these campaigns quarterly.

Despite the rapid cadence, every quarter we work to create new, remarkable ways of reaching, informing, and converting our audience.

I wrote this post to share with you how we crafted our latest acquisition campaign to hit and exceed our acquisition targets.

Establishing the Campaign

The beginning of our Q1 2020 Acquisition Campaign started with a blinking cursor. As we brainstormed how to start our research, we had a few inputs to work with.

First, we knew our target audience consisted of marketing managers, as we were re-launching our Marketing Hub Enterprise product that month.

We knew that reports were a content type that worked well for us in the past. We saw our 2019 Instagram Engagement Report and a 2020 Social Media Report successfully attract new audiences.

At the very least, it was a motion that our audience was familiar with, which meant there was less of a barrier to show the value.

Additionally, seasonality played a large role in our planning. We wanted to build content to support marketers planning their strategies for the upcoming year.

With the combination of 1) a target audience, 2) an understanding of high-performing content types, 3) timing, and 4) our additional user research, we wanted to create a remarkable go-to resource for marketing managers building their strategies for the year.

Thus, the idea for “Not Another State of Marketing Report” was born.

In this article, I’ll talk through the report surveys and content, the web experience, the promotion, and the results. Hopefully, it gives you a peek behind the curtain and some inspiration for future campaigns.

Running the Surveys and Creating the Report Content

The first and most important thing about the content of this report was to start collecting survey data for analysis and visualization.

Working with our team at HubSpot Research, we ran our first survey in November/December of 2019 that went out to 3,400 global marketers.

After we sent out the survey, we talked about what might differentiate this content from other reports we had released in the past. While the data was valuable, we knew that data can be dull without human context or insights.

So, we brought in the humans.

Our first criterion for selecting our experts was their subject matter expertise. We had come up with a list of topics we wanted the report to cover (from SEO strategy to content marketing strategy and more) and wanted our experts to have deep and specific knowledge about the topic we chose them to represent.

Our second criterion was seniority. We were crafting a report for higher-level marketing managers, directors, and VPs, so we wanted our experts to have a similar level of seniority.

We are fortunate enough to work with a lot of brilliant marketers at HubSpot, so eight of our experts were internal. The other two, Cynthia Price (VP of Marketing at Litmus) and Ellie Mirman (CMO at Crayon) were generous enough to offer their time when we asked them to share their expertise with us.

We interviewed each of our experts for about an hour, took detailed notes, and recorded the interview. We also shared the survey data with them to gather their commentary about the data points. Finally, we worked with the experts to craft detailed articles with their advice for the upcoming year.

We decided to leave these articles ungated on the web experience, so we optimized them for organic search with extensive keyword research. We’ve seen some exciting results from that play — generating over 15,000 backlinks in the first two months and taking the number three result for the search term “state of marketing”.

When we received the initial survey data, we were thrilled by the results — but knew we needed to take it one step further. So, we ran an additional survey in January to a North American database of marketers.

At this point, with the additional survey data and expert commentary, we sourced some quotes from experts across the industry. We ended up with a great group of contributors from Dropbox, Twilio, and more.

When all was said and done, we had 19,000 words worth of insights and 70+ data points.

Designing and Developing the Web Experience

Differentiating this campaign didn’t stop at the expert insights. We wanted to create an immersive web experience to pair with the report PDF.

The result was a fully custom web experience with a homepage, nine child pages for each article, and custom interactive form that follows the user in a non-intrusive banner. It was designed by an incredible lead designer, and built from the ground up by three developers. (It’s better seen than described, so I’ll leave you with this.)

state of marketing report hubspot

We were curious about what kind of conversion rates this custom web experience could drive.

To date, the homepage of the report is converting at around 35%. This metric is calculated as the ratio of views vs. submission and is measured in HubSpot’s own HubSpot portal.

We’re really excited about that conversion rate, but we’ve noticed that it doesn’t stay as high throughout each page of the web experience.

For example, on a sample article page, we noticed the conversion rate was about 5%. The leading theory right now is that people are downloading the offer when they land on the homepage, and then they explore the rest of the experience after downloading, so they aren’t converting on the offer pages.

Overall, though, we’re very proud of how the web experience turned out and think it’s a strong differentiator. After all, 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content doesn’t look pretty on the page.

How We Promoted the Campaign

When it came time for promotion, we had to decide on three things: the story we wanted to tell, our creative promotional assets, and the channels we wanted to pursue.

1. The Story

The literal offer that we were marketing was a report. However, the emotion that we wanted to portray was confidence. This was the story we wanted to report and campaign to tell.

For some marketing managers, feeling confident about a strategy can prove difficult. Are other people in the industry doing this? How will I know if it will work?

Data can help ease those concerns, as can long-form articles from deep subject matter experts.

So, we wrote 20 headlines around that concept. This was a good exercise because, although most of them ended up unused, we found this process sharpened our writing “muscle”.

One of the early headlines we landed on was, “A report for marketers who use data to outperform their goals.”

2. Our Creative Assets

The design of this campaign was important to us. We wanted it to feel cohesive across the web experience, the PDF offer itself, and our promotional efforts.

So, under the guidance of our lead designer, we put together a detailed brief for a freelancer, and he came up with some beautiful stuff.

not another state of marketing report hubspot

Our learning here is that cohesive design across all campaign assets makes the campaign feel larger than life.

3. Promotional Channels

On the Global Campaigns Team here, we like to bucket our promotion into three categories:

  • Paid : What channels can we activate that we have to put direct dollars into?
  • Owned: What organic channels and established HubSpot audiences can we leverage?
  • Earned: What are some additional free promotion and placements (e.g. organic SEO) can we leverage?

For our paid channels, we chose to focus on Facebook Ads (historically the lowest CPL for us) and LinkedIn Ads (typically more expensive but more effective targeting for the audience we wanted to attract). For this channel, we built a more standard landing page to drive conversions.

For our owned channels, we activated our brand channels (social media, email, etc.), our solutions partner channels, our customer channels, our HubSpot Academy Channels, and Sales Channels (our BDRs used the report as a conversation starter). We also asked our authors to promote it on their personal social networks, and we gave them personalized assets to make that promotion remarkable.

For our earned channels, we focused heavily on the organic SEO value of our ungated articles, the promotion from our partners in the report (Litmus and Crayon), and media placement in marketing publications.

Tracking and Analyzing the Results

This campaign was quickly successful: We hit 100% of our net new lead goal in 16 days and 150% of the goal in just over one month.

As of April 21st, there are 15,800 backlinks to the report. We are ranking for over 350 organic keywords and secured the #1 result for the search term “state of marketing.”

The custom homepage is converting at over 30%, and the paid landing page is converting at 25%.

About 50% (48%) of the net new leads for the campaign came from paid social media. We are hoping to see that percentage decrease as organic traffic continues to gain traction.

There were a lot of factors to our success, but we’ve identified the following as the main ones:

  1. Spend time in the strategic planning process. It’s tempting to rush a campaign out the door, but a well thought out strategy goes a long way. Use qualitative, quantitative, and search data to inform the direction you choose.
  2. Think about how you can contribute to a conversation that’s already being had in a new way. There are a lot of State of Marketing Reports out there. We focused on providing that same value but took it a step further.
  3. Help your creative team by giving them strong creative guidelines. This makes the design more cohesive and powerful in the end.
  4. Identify at least three channels you can activate for promotion. You should prioritize the ones that will most help you with your goal. Since we were looking to attract a new audience, our paid channels made the most sense to invest in.
  5. Double down on the details of your content. If someone is willing to give their information for your content, you better make sure it delivers on value.

Best of luck with your future campaigns!