An Update on… “The Apple Privacy Update”

With the upcoming release of Apple’s new Operating System and (another) Apple privacy controversy in the news this week, we thought it was a good time to bring this article back. 😜

This spring’s iOS updated promised increase security and user control for inter-app tracking and cookies. However, the changes are taking a lot longer to reach users than first promised. It seems like all the changes they announced were more for show than actually giving users more control over their personal data.

And…. on the topic of personal data: make sure you do the emergency update on your devices today! The update fixes a bug that makes the over 1.65 billion Apple devices worldwide vulnerable to Pegasus Spyware. 

Pegasus spyware is particularly dangerous because unlike most spyware and malware, the user doesn’t need to click a link or open a suspicious email for it to be installed. The spyware doesn’t give the device’s user any indication that it was activated. This “zero click remote exploit” spyware was developed by Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO. The Pegasus spyware can turn a device’s microphone or camera on, and record even encrypted calls, texts, messages, and emails.

NSO has been subject to controversy in the past for it’s client list. They say that they only sell their spyware to government and organizations that meet strict human rights standards and who will use the spyware to track terrorists and criminals. However, the Pegasus spyware has been linked many times over the past couple years to organizations that do not meet those criteria. 

It is interesting to see if this latest privacy controversy will impact the upcoming ios update or change Apple’s approach to large scale privacy initiatives in the future. 

The (Un)Official Guide to The Apple Privacy Update

April 28th, 2021

The (Un)Official Guide to The Apple Privacy Update

The Apple privacy update rolling out this week that finally does what they’ve been threatening to do for a lonnnggggg time. Control over the ADFA (Apple’s Device Identifier for Advertisers) and other app tracking tools are being given directly to the users. What Apple decides to do when it comes to data privacy and marketing tools greatly impacts the entire industry.

Why? For one thing, 45.2% of smartphones users in the United States have an iPhone. Another reason is that they have marketed themselves as the company that is going to stand up for its user’s privacy and control, even if that means going against Facebook. Or the Government.

The big question is though… what does it mean for you? As a user and as an advertiser?

What does the privacy update actually do?

With the new update scheduled to go out this week, Apple is introducing a feature called “App Tracking Transparency.” What does it do? Well… it makes advertiser tracking between apps more transparent to users. Apple has made the ability to see (and change) what apps are tracking what for years. The difference now is that instead it being buried deep in settings, a pop-up window will show up on every app that tracks something or collects any data. This pop up (like the one for sharing location) will allow users to control what personal data each app has access to as well what other apps it can connect to.

What information are apps collecting/what are they collecting? Apps (and websites) can collect a surprising amount of information that users haven’t directly given them. Some apps track your physical location. They can use this information to serve you targeted ads based on where you are in the physical world. Knowing your physical location can also give you better recommendations on things “near you,” whether that be pizza for lunch or the weather forecast.  

Apps also can have tracking pixels built in. These pixels can track your movement form one app or website to another. This is how you can get an ad for something you just looked at on Amazon. Amazon has a tracking pixel built into their website, they in turn take the information the pixel has collected about visitors to target them on other websites and apps.

What choice do users have now?

In the popup window, users will now be given the choice: “Allow” and “Ask app not to track.” In the past Apple has let you decide which specific elements you would allow, like only location sharing or only ADFA tracking. However, this feature appears to be all or nothing. If you “Allow” then you are giving complete access.

What happens when you say no to tracking? Apple stops giving the app access to your ADFA, stopping it from learning about you from other apps. It also tells apps that you really would rather they didn’t track or share your information in any other ways.

Why should you allow tracking?

The (Un)Official Guide to The Apple Privacy Update -  Image of the AppTracking Transparency PopUp

Personalized ads are one part of the puzzle when it comes to be tracked online. As we’ve talked about in the past, personalized ads are very effective. Younger generation that have grown up online don’t tolerate non-personalized ads very well. We are constantly inundated with content and advertising, so it is easy to completely zone out advertising (in any form) that is something you are not directly interested in.

Also, many consumers now have in innate understanding of how their personal data is used to create targeted ads. Being targeted (or retargeted) based on their interests and past activities are expected. Recently surveyed consumers between the ages of 18-34, 58% said that a personalized ad helped them make a purchase decision. 42% also said that they had clicked on a sponsored ad in the last 6 months!

For a lot of us, the privacy concerns pale in comparison to function and usability of an app. A TapResearch poll conducted in August 2020 shows that 23% of iOS users are likely to opt in to sharing data with apps that request it. Another 21% of consumers are neutral on the subject, suggesting they will not opt out. Recent eMarketer research shows that 75% of consumers are willing to share their location if it enables a mobile service or saves them money. Which highlights how many users feel about personalized advertising: getting a coupon or an ad for something you were probably going to buy anyway is not a bad thing.

The Facebook Controversy

Facebook has been by far the most outspoken opponent of AppTrackingTransparency, going so far as to take-out full-page ads in newspapers and other print publications. Facebook says that AppTrackingTransparency will hurt small businesses’ ability to advertise to those in their community. And that Apple shouldn’t be able to make “unilateral decisions without consulting the industry about a policy that will have far-reaching harm on businesses of all sizes.”

Apple shouldn’t make “unilateral decisions without consulting the industry about a policy that will have far-reaching harm on businesses of all sizes.”

Facebook

In general, the consensus seems to be that Facebook is upset because of their ongoing rivalry with Apple and more importantly, this decision’s impact on their own revenue. In the months since its announcement Facebook has changed its tune a bit. Zuckerberg said in an interview in March on Clubhouse that Apple’s new privacy policy may actually help Facebook; if advertisers can’t find space across iOS apps they may turn to Facebook.

Time will tell if these changes pull advertisers more into Facebook marketing, but one thing is for sure, they have already impacted Facebooks. We were sent this by Facebook this week: “Apple released changes with iOS 14 that impacts how we receive and process events from tools like the Facebook SDK and the Facebook pixel. See updates on how these changes affect your ad account and see tasks that can help you reach your audience.” So far, the only thing we’ve seen impacted on Facebook is size audiences available. That is expected to level out though, in coming months as people re-opt-in to app tracking.

The (Un)Official Guide to The Apple Privacy Update 
75% of consumers are willing to share their location if it enables a mobile service or saves them money.

What are advertisers doing about the privacy update?

Many apps already have another type of pixel technology built into them called “Fingerprinting.” Fingerprinting has been developed recently to combat this end of cookie era. Fingerprinting works by collecting seemingly unimportant data from your device such as screen resolution, phone model, and current operating system, and combining it into a way of recognizing your unique device. Much like actual finger printing, fingerprints match to fingerprint, not a name, address, phone number etc. This allows advertisers to target you with ads without knowing who you actually are, thus getting around any data privacy issues.

There are many tools becoming available that do similar things. Tools like Household Level Identifiers that don’t target specific people. Apple has given advertisers time to come up with solutions, so we will probably see more options in the coming months and years.

So, what do you think? Do the advantages of AppTracking outweigh the privacy costs?

Have you seen any evidence of increase privacy for personal data?

 
 

The Value of the Social Proof Phenomenon

The Value of the Social Proof Phenomenon -  Main Image. An Influencer holds up a shirt to her phone

The Social Proof Phenomenon is a foundation piece of how our culture buys now. Between Instagram Influencers, Yelp reviews, and 5 star Amazon products, most of us make purchase decisions on the value others see in the product. How can Social Proof and online reviews work for you?

The Social Proof Phenomenon

What do online reviews have to do with “Social Proof?” “Social Proof” is the phenomenon based on the fact that it’s easier to buy things or trust companies if we know that other people already have. Our peers provide the proof of something’s value. None of us would buy something on Amazon with 10,000 1 star reviews. We trust those 10,000 strangers because that product connects us as a community.

“Social proof” is also part of the transparency that builds brand trust. Most consumers (almost 88%) research a business before buying from them. A lot of that research comes from reviews and reading what other people have said about their experiences.

What Can Social Proof Do For You?

Reviews can help educate consumers on your products and services. Reviewers usually talk about their specific experiences in their reviews. It can be an easier way for potential customers to learn more about what you offer.

Reviews Boost SEO. Specifically, Google Reviews. Google indexes reviews connected to your listing to help filter results. Especially for local traffic. “Best __ Near Me” is decided by reviews and stars. Customers will often use your keywords in reviews without even realizing it. This helps Google learn about you.

What Can You Do To Collect Reviews?

People are inclined to leave reviews if they a specifically positive or negative experience. Therefore, work hard to provide an overwhelmingly positive expertise for your customers! (You should be doing this anyway; the review is just a byproduct. 😉 )

Google My Business Reviews help prove your company's value to potential customers
Google My Business Reviews

People like to do things for other people so a great way to collect reviews is to just ask for them! A follow up survey email after they buy from you is an easy way to this. Ask them specific, easy to answer questions about things such as: service response times, shipping times, product or service quality etc.  

Make it easy to review you. No one has time to take 10 minuets following a complicated review survey with long required written answers. People are doing you a favor by reviewing you, show that you appreciate it by being respectful of their time and effort. Take out pain points of the review process: go through and make sure there aren’t any unnecessary steps or questions. Double check the user interface, id it easy to figure out?

Incentivizing your reviews (specifically ecommerce) is a big no-no! As temping as it is to show your appreciation for the review with a coupon or free shipping, or something: don’t. Both Google and Yelp have policies in place banning incentivized reviews. They will take the reviews down and give you a slap on the wrist.

What To Do With Reviews Once You Have Them

You have the reviews – now what? Here’s 2 ways to leverage them!

  1. Show them off
    Let your reviews sell your product for you. Happy previous customers can be a great way to convince your potentials to buy from you! Show off your reviews on your home page with Google review widget or prominently feature some reviews as part of the design. Don’t forget to ask for permission first if you are going to highlight a specific review, especially if you are going to use their picture.
  2. Engage with reviewers
    let them know you appreciate them! It doesn’t have to be a big deal, simply liking the review or just saying thanks goes a long way. That little bit of effort can turn a happy customer into a loyal one. And a lot of marketing automation software makes replying to reviews across multiple platforms easy.

Do you have a favorite customer review?

While we are on the subject… leave us a review! 😜


Get the most out of Instagram – How?

Get the most out of Instagram - How?

Instagram can be a confusing and overwhelming beast. It has its own constantly changing algorithm and culture that separates it from any other social media. Getting Instagram to work for you takes time, effort, insight, and unfortunately: intuition. What do you need to get the most out of Instagram?

Being an Instagram pro requires knowledge of 3 things: its culture, its algorithm, and your own analytics of those 2 things. Understanding the culture and the algorithm don’t do you much good if that knowledge is disconnected from your own follower and user data.

Instagram Culture

The biggest thing to remember is that Instagram is not Facebook. Facebook is for information, Instagram is for connections. And Instagram’s user base is generally younger than its big brother Facebook. More than 50% of Instagram users are between 18-35, while more than 60% of Facebook’s user are over 35. Therefore, these users have grown up with social media, including Instagram, and have shaped its function and culture. (For example, by the time my friends and I were old enough to have social media, Facebook was already too big and felt like something elusively for our parents. For a long time, Instagram was the only social media any of us had.)

Although Instagram is great for showing off products, the thing it is best at is highlighting your brand’s culture and personality. It is not enough anymore to have a good product available anymore, your consumers need to feel connected to your brand. 56% of Gen Z consumers say that having shared passions and perspectives is a major factor when it comes to their engagement with a brand.

$ things to remember about Instagram's Culture

And 49% of young consumers say they will evangelize a brand they feel represents their values, likes, and personality.

Don’t be afraid of incorporating causes you care about into your brands personality! 72% of consumers want the brands they care about to be positive contributors to society. We’ve seen in recent years that many brands (especially smaller companies) connect their core brand to a charity or cause they care about. Younger consumers are 69% more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to a cause.

The Algorithm

According to Instagram, they decide to show your content based on 6 factors:

#1: Interest

#2: Relationship 

#3: Timeliness

#4: Frequency

#5: Following

#6: Usage

The first three are somewhat self-explanatory. Instagram shows you things based on what you’ve liked in the past. They highlight posts from people they’ve decided are close to you: people whose content you most engage with, the people who tag you, the people you DM etc. Instagram also cares about when you post. Keeping track of your analytics can give you a good idea about when the best times to post for you are.

#4 Frequency
Instagram Algorithm - Cat scrolling through Instagram

Frequency isn’t about how often you post but instead about how often interact with the app. The more often you check your Instagram feed the more likely your feed will be chronological because they are always trying to show you the newest content available. This is helpful to understand what type of Instagram users your followers are. If they don’t check the app that often, then it will be harder to have your posts seen. Building up the other 5 components to the algorithm will be all the more important.

#5 Following

Instagram assigns value to follower counts in a couple different ways. First, is simple: the more followers you have the more likely your posts will be highlighted in your follower’s feeds. However, they also look at your follower’s engagement levels. If you have a lot of ghost followers that don’t interact with you, then they could actually be hurting you. Another thing to consider, the more people your followers follow the more competition for space in their feed. Do your followers follow a lot of people? Understanding that can help you decide if you need to adjust where you focus your efforts.

#6 Usage

This is how Instagram qualifies the amount of time spent on the app. The more time spent on the app, the deeper into its catalogs they have to pull from to show content. You can use this to your advantage by using hashtags or developing content that matches with the interests of Instagram’s heavy users.

How do you get the most out of Instagram?


How do these marketing channels stack up?

There are A LOT of different marketing channels out there. What are the pros and cons of some of the common ones?

There are A LOT of different marketing channels out there. What are the pros and cons of some of the common ones?

Social Media

Pro

There are over 3.8 billion people on social media around the world. Social media is a fantastic way to connect with customers, build brand loyalty, and generate sales.

People don’t just want to buy from companies because they have good products and services. They want to know what your brand stands for in addition to what it sells. Social media can help potential customers get to you. Social media feel like a 1-on-1 conversation between the brand and consumer, which helps build loyalty.

Con

A lot of the value from social doesn’t show up immediately. It’s rarely simple to track social media’s ROI. Often the goal of social media is not just to generate sales but instead to build connections. Without measurable results, using social media can be discouraging.

Email

Email Channel

Pro

Often it a brand’s only way to communicate with customers and can feel very one on one. A lot of millennial and gen z’ers expect to communicate with brands through email. Also, pretty much everyone has email so you know you will be able to communicate with people through email.

Con

We all get so. many. emails. Most office workers receive 127 every day. It can be hard to stand out from the crowd. People don’t have time to read emails that don’t actually provide them value. 

Email marketing also has a lot of laws and rules connected to it that can hurt you if your aren’t careful!

Content/SEO

Content/SEO Channels

Pro

Customers often rely on a business’s website for information. Especially for local businesses, it can be the only way to know a shop hours or address. Putting the information on a website instead of a social media or directly in a browser legitimizes the information.

Good SEO gives your website credibility. It makes it easier for people to find your website when they search for it. And it helps create a smoother user experience.  

Con

Bad SEO can hurt you. Most searchers never go past the first or second page of Google, though, which is why those top spots in the search results are so coveted. Having the proper SEO can prevent your website form getting organic traffic.

53% of all trackable website traffic comes from organic search. SEO is the main thing influencing how easy it is to find you online organically. Which is probably why it’s estimated that agencies and brands spent over $79.27 Billion on SEO services last year.  

Google Ads

Google Ads Channel

Pro

Where are people? On their phones. So, google ads is an extremely effective way to find people where they are. Google ads is great for brand awarness as well as retargeting. It is great if you want measurable results and analytics.

Con

Billboards, signs, posters, newspapers, and magazines all exist with in different physical spaces. With digital advertising however, we are all competing for the same ad space. That ad space is worth more now has less guarantees attached to it.  

Trying to figure Google ads can feel like rocket science. There’s a large learning curve and it can a while to feel confident in the set up.

Print and Mail

Print and Mail Channel

Pro

Direct mail average open rate is somewhere between 68 and 90%, which is double, triple, or quadruple the average open rates of other marketing channels. Do people who open direct mail actually purchase? Yes! On average people who receive direct mail purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money!

Why is direct mail so effective? It comes down to fact that we (humans) like getting mail. 41% of Americans of all ages look forward to getting their mail every day. We still want very real things in our hands, which is something totally lost in email inboxes or on social media. That tactile connection translates into 💰.

Con

Since Direct mail requires use of the postal system it has fixed costs. The graphic design of the mail piece may also have an additional cost. Using direct always requires a bit of math and if done wrong can hurt your ROI.

It’s not always posable to see direct, measurable results, from Direct mail campaigns. And if you can measure results, it may take a while to get the full picture.

Another thing that can be a disadvantage to direct mail is that you need a really good foundation of address data. The problem us that a lot of data providers don’t make sure that their data is accurate and that hurts the effectiveness of your campaign.   

Connected TV

Connected TV Channel

Pro

TV is a time-tested advertising channel. Although it’s a lot less common than it used to be, it can still be very effective. Many marketers are using CTV (connected TV) or OTT (over-the-top) channels to target consumers using streaming services and connected TV devices such as Hulu and Roku. Advertises are embracing these platforms as more and more ad space becomes available. Spending for CTV advertising is expected to grow from $6.94 billion in 2019 to $8.88 billion in 2020, a 28% increase.

Con

With customer attention spread so thin and cable tv subscriptions consistently falling, (over 16 million in the last five years) there’s a lot less advertising space available. Content consumption is at an all-time high and therefore, competition for viewer’s attention is as well. 84% of marketers say that it is getting harder to grab a consumer’s attention with television advertising alone. 

Audiences today expect personalized and relevant targeted ads. Linear TV (cable and network television) often fall far behind in targeting capabilities. Therefore, it can be a challenge for advertisers to figure out how to integrate linear TV into their campaigns. 


Data, Analytics, and Insight: What’s The Difference?

Data, analytics, and insight is kinda our thing. However, it seems like a lot of people use those words almost interchangeably. Are they the same thing? What do they mean for your business?

Data = The Information
Analytics = The Connections
Insights = The Actions

Data is pure information. For example, data about your current customers (first party data) is information such as average age, gender, location, or occupation. Analytics are the patterns that connect those things.

That would mean that data is knowing that you sent over 20,000 emails in June 2021. Analytics are knowing that your average open rate is 22.8% and your click through rate is 0.09%. The analytics show you a clearer image of the data.

Monet Painting number 1. data, analytics, and insight

I heard a really great illustration about this recently. Thinking about data and analytics can be compared to looking at an impression painting (like this one: The Cliff of Aval Etretat by Claude Monet.) Up close, all you see are the brush strokes and colors. That’s like looking at raw data. You can see what it is made off. But if you back up a few feet and look at the painting, you can see what the image actually is. Similarly, looking at analytics gives a more complete view of your data.

What’s the advantage of Insight?

Monet Painting number 2. data, analytics, and insight

Insight is the action connected to the analytics. Taking the example of 20,000 emails, insight would taking the knowledge that you have a great open rate but a terrible CTR and doing something about it. Applying insight means changing your call to actions or link to generate a better click through rate.

What’s another way to apply insights?

Building a Buyer Persona

What is a buyer persona? In the simplest terms, a buyer persona is exemplification of all of your customers. The most common way to do this is to create a fictional person that has the most common demographics and interests of your customers. Basically, you take data, analyize it, and then use insight to act.

Ask yourself: What are your customers common denominators? (Data) What do they want? (Analytics) What are their pain points? (Analytics) Once you have this information, it can be combined into a person you can picture makes it easier to connect with the crowd. (Insights)

Jim Edwards from Funnel Scripts explains buyer personas as the main character in the story of your company’s customer journey. Although your company already has its own personality, (or brand) in order to success the narrative you’re telling haws to focus on what the customer wants and needs. You are there to help them get to where they want to go. Jim Edwards example buyer persona was for a weight loss company. Their buyer persona is a middle-aged unicorn named Fred who needs to lose weight if he wants to be successful at his quests. Fred is the main character in the story. The weight-loss company is there to help him.

What data do you need to create a buyer persona?

Like any good main character, your buyer persona needs to be well rounded. It needs to have a purpose, interests, goals, and struggles. It’s especially important to know what motivates them so you can help them.

Here’s some common buyer persona attributes.

  1. What are their basic demographics?
    What gender to they identify as? How old are they? Where do they live? What is their relationship status? Are they educated?
  2. What do they do for work?
    What’s their job title and description? But more than that, are they a decision maker? What do they influence at work?
  3. What are their interests?
    Do they have hobbies or interests? What do they do in their free time? Are they part of a community?
  4. What do they want and why can’t they have?
    This a big thing for figuring out what you can do to help them! What are their goals and dreams? What are their pain points? Like, what keeps them up at night?
  5. Why wouldn’t they buy from you?
    What’s stopping them from buying from you? What objections may they have?
  6. What ways would they prefer to interact with you?
    Do they use social media? Do like a particular social media? Is a phone call the best way to reach them?

Using data, analytics, and insight is essential to having a successful business. What ways to you implement data in your business?


4 Internet Marketing Terms You Are Probably Using Wrong

4 Internet Marketing Terms You Are Probably Using Wrong

The internet and the marketing industry have something in common: They are full of terms and acronyms that can feel like an entirely different language. It can be super easy to misunderstand and/or misuse those terms. Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

  1. Viral ≠ more views than you normally get
  2. Meme ≠ a picture with words on it. Please stop doing this
  3. Clickbait ≠ a catchy title
  4. Landing page ≠ a web page you’ve landed on

What do these words actually mean and how can you use them to communicate more effectively what you actually mean?

#1 Viral

What does it mean when you go viral? What makes something viral can be hard to quantify. There’s no magic number that means something is quote-on-quote viral. (Although MANY people try to make one.) Instead of defining viral by the numbers, it’s easier to quantify it by 2 things: reach and speed. The Wikipedia article on viral internet content makes the analogy that viral content is very similar to a virus. Viral internet content self-replicates and quickly spreads far from its original source. And often when content goes viral, it takes on its own life separate from what it was originally intended to be.

Let’s say one of your posts gets double or trip the amount of reach it normally gets. Is that viral? That’s very exciting, but no. Sorry! Although it’s possible to have something go viral with a specific community, viral implies exposure far outside it’s intended audience’s reach. With the number of platforms, and the cross-contaminating reach of those platforms, the general rule of thumb is over 2 million views in less than a few days to call something “viral.” This doesn’t mean that the content has to be a week old, it has to do with rate of expansion.

#2 Meme

"for the better, right?"
Original Meme

This is one of my biggest pet peeves. It can be easy to look at a meme and think that any picture with words on it can be called a meme. It can be, but that doesn’t mean that it is. Meme was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book on Darwinian evolution as an attempt to explain memetics; or, how ideas replicate, mutate, and evolve. What makes something a meme is not what it is, but instead the way that it replicates.

For example, the Star Wars “For the better, right?” meme has been a common format to use this month. What has made it a meme isn’t the original movie quote, or the format itself. It is a meme because many people are using or repurposing the format to convey information. Memes are only effective if the format conveys emotion or a message without it being explicitly stated and in a variety of different situations.

"For the better, right?" png meme

Although the types of memes we think of are usually in a concise image-based format, things like folk tales, urban legends, and chain letters are all versions’ memes. They are structured format in which information is shared and evolves.

#3 Clickbait

Are all catchy titles or hooks clickbait? No. The technical definition of clickbait is any text that is designed to entice a user to click or read on. However, the expression has a more specific connotation than that. It implies that the title isn’t accurate and is somehow disconnected from what you will see if you click. It’s similar to old school bait-and-switch marketing. Using bait or a hook isn’t wrong if you are looking to attract people, HOWEVER, the switch is wrong.

Clickbait is sensationalized content. An article titled “5 money making secrets you need to hear,” isn’t click bait if the article is actually about 5 money making tips. Which is part of what makes cracking down on malicious clickbait tricky. A lot of platforms like Facebook and YouTube measures in place to mark clickbait as spam. But how can AI decide if those 5 money making secrets are tips and tricks you actually need to hear? How does the platform know if those “secrets” can actually make you money? Clickbait is connected to consumer perception.

#4 Landing Page

Here’s 4 “marketing/internet jargon” terms you are probably using wrong!

If you land on a webpage does that make it a landing page? No, because a landing page is a webpage you land on that is designed with a specific purpose in mind. One person illustrated it this way: You could use a baseball glove to retrieve a hot dish from the oven, but that doesn’t make your baseball glove an oven mitt. So just because someone lands somewhere doesn’t mean that it is a post-click landing page. The landing page could be designed get the user to make a purchase or fill out a form or watch a video. It doesn’t matter what the purpose is, it matters that it has one.

What is the advantage of separating your landing pages out to specify a single action? Research has shown that companies using 40 or more single action post-click landing pages generate 120% more leads than those using less than 5!

Do you have any marketing/internet terms misuse pet peeves?  


5 Ways to Help Emails Reach People

5 ways to help emails reach people

There are so many things that impact an email’s effectiveness. Often, what matters to the consumer and what matters to the email service are very different things. It’s important to strike the right balance in making the consumer and email service happy, as well as reaching your goal in sending the email. So, how can you make sure your emails reach people?

The Email Services

What do email services care about? They care about the backend/behind the scenes stuff. Things like how heavy images are and the amount of content and the types of links. This is where general best email practices come into play.

It’s important to give consumers an opportunity to opt in (and out if they want) of your email campaigns. If you don’t give people a way to opt out, you are breaking federal email laws and get blacklisted or penalized. Give people the option of choosing what types and how much email content they want from you. Follow through on their requests promptly. Legally, you are required to honor their request within 10 business days. Honoring that request promptly will build on their opinion of your brand.

What other email practices are required by law? Don’t use misleading or inaccurate header information such as your “To,” “From,” and “Reply-To” information. You want people to know where the email is coming from and so does the email service provider. Consumers don’t want to get an email from someone they don’t trust, and the email service provider doesn’t want to deliver email like that.

Don’t mislabel the email. The CAN-SPAM act requires that email subject lines accurate reflect the content of the email. That includes ad information. Like most social medias, email is required to tell the consumer if it an #ad. However, there is a lot of leeway on this and how you choose to disclose this information is up to you.

Consumer’s Opinions

Now that you have followed all the email laws and best practices to get your email in your consumer’s mailbox, what else should you do? Well, consumers care about catchy subject lines, engaging and interactive content. Here’s 4 things that will impact your emails effectiveness from the consumer’s point of view:

Choice of Words

Email marketing provides freedom for trying out different types of copy until you find works best for your audience. Every audience is different so what content will be the most effective is also different. It is important to understand your demographics and who your audience is.

Personalized Content

Email is more than just delivered information. It’s a conversation between brand and consumer. Often it a brand’s only way to communicate with customers and can feel very one on one. The consumer feels like they know the brand like a person, so it makes sense if the brand communicates with the consumer as if the know them as well. They are simple things that make that conversation more memorable, for example, many brands use the customer’s name in emails.

Beyond that you can use audience segmentation to separate your audience into groups that share common characteristics like demographics and behavioral information. Using your audience segments to target your message to things that each group are actually invested in can greatly increase how personal your marketing will feel to the customer.

Brand Consistency

Most office workers receive 127 every day.

Since email is often one of main touch points brands have with consumers, it’s really important to maintain brand consistency. The consumer needs to know that the message is from you. Keeping that brand consistency helps your brand’s personality shine and helps people get to know you. Brand consistency builds loyalty and trust. It helps the consumer maintain the connection to your brand.

What brand elements should you include in your emails? Your logo, brand colors, and fonts are good places to start. Due to the nature of email, you don’t want to over crowd it with branding. Instead, think about how tone and feeling. Does the way this email is set up feel like how my brand feels?

Don’t waste people’s time

Most office workers receive 127 every day. People don’t have time to read lengthy emails that actually provide them value. Email copy writing is about providing value as succinctly and quickly as possible. Be direct and to the point. Don’t word vomit on people. Use infographics, bullet points, and short paragraph too highlight the point of your message.

What makes you open an email?

Need a Refocus Break?

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In this digital world, a lot of us probably spend more time at our desks than we’d like to. Long amounts of time staring at a computer can take a toll! Here’s a few things you can do to give you a physical and mental break.

Take a Stretch Break

Admit it, you’re sitting hunched over your keyboard or phone right now. 😜 Its ok; we all do it. Here’s 3 quick stretches you can do at your desk!

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#1 Give Your Wrists Some Love

Being on the computer all day overuses some muscles and underuses others. New York City based physical therapist, Dr. Abby Bales, suggests stretching your wrist flexors and extenders. The easiest way to do this is to hold your arm straight out and bend your wrist up and down at 90 degree angles. Bales says this “prevents the wrist from getting locked in a smaller range.”

De Hunch

#2 De-Hunch

Your upper back and shoulders can lock from being at a desk too long. Dr. Bales suggests stretching by clasping your hands behind your head and squeezing your shoulder blades. This opens up your chest and shoulders, helping stop the hunch.

#3 Big Shrugs

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While on the computer most of us have the habit of scrunching up our shoulders and leaning toward the screen. Doing some 3-5 second shoulders shrugs helps! “By actively shrugging and then letting go, the brain is made aware of the unhealthy height of the shoulders,” Dr. Bales said, and it resets accordingly.

Mental Resets

Anytime you disrupt your routine (either by doing little things like pausing to stretch or like, I don’t know, a global pandemic) you have opportunity to reset. What can you do to reset your brain?

#1 Breathe

Pausing and taking a couple deep breathes can help clear your mind, relax, and refocus. It’s as simple as just looking up from your computer or phone and focusing on your breathing for a bit.

#2 Reprioritize

Another thing you can do to mental reset is take a moment to go over your tasks and reprioritize. Ask yourself, “What is my overall goal for the day and what do I need to do next to reach that goal?” It’s critical to understand what tasks are most important. Inevitably things change throughout the day; deadlines move and priorities shift. Reorganizing your task list can help you to stay focused on what really matters and make it easier to adapt to shifting priorities.

#3 Change Up Your Surroundings

Changing something about your surroundings can help you refocus. Can you get up and move? Now that it’s summer, could you work outside? Disrupting your groove gives you the opportunity to reset your focus. Changing where you physically are or even something small like switching up your music is super effective!

What ways have you found to reset your focus and give yourself a physical or mental break?

The Data You Need to Market To Those Under 25

Do you ever read a statistic that just messes with your head? For example, I recently read that by 2022, 41% of the world’s population will be under 25. Which is crazy!! And creates an interesting marketing challenge. How can you effectively market to a generation who has grown up online and is constantly inundated with content and advertising?

Under 25 Stat 1

People under 25 not only take up a large share of the world’s population but they also make up a disproportionate amount of online and social media users. However, those of us in this age group statistically have shorter attention spans and tend to make decisive decisions about whether or not to consumer content or ads. A study in 2019 found that 64% of 18-24 tune out content from cluttered environments. Leading to 46% of advertisers saying that they have issues getting their content to stand out! Also, a third of advertisers say that it’s a challenge to find effective ad placement sin all the online clutter. What can you do to cut through all the online noise and reach this massive market?

#1 – Find Shared Passions

The sheer amount of product, companies, and information available is staggering. It is not enough anymore to have a good product available anymore, your brand ideals and personality need to match with the personality of your consumers. 56% of Gen Z consumers say that having shared passions and perspectives is a major factor when it comes to their engagement with a brand. However, Gen Z’ers are fantastic at sniffing out inauthenticity. Your brand personality and ideals need to actually be what you say they are. Actions speak louder than words!

What are the advantages of having a well-defined brand personality and ideals? Giving your company a personality makes things like content creation a lot easier. Knowing who you are also can help you make decisions about the direction you want to go in the future.

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And 49% of young consumers say they will evangelize a brand they feel represents their values, likes, and personality.

Don’t be afraid of incorporating causes you care about into your brands personality! 72% of consumers want the brands they care about to be positive contributors to society. We’ve seen in recent years that many brands (especially smaller companies) connect their core brand to a charity or cause they care about. Younger consumers are 69% more likely to buy from a brand that contributes to a cause.

#2 – Choose Quality Locations

Younger generations are big on authenticity, brand trust, and quality. 74% of 18–24-year-olds believe that brands are responsible for where their ads are shown. Which is true! There’s very little excuse for having your ad show up on a website that doesn’t believe in the same things as you. Programmatic advertising and digital display ads give you a lot of control over your ad placement. Nearly 40% of advertisers have faced some backlash for having ads appear near low quality content. 54% of younger consumers say that ads placed near premium content inspires more trust in the ad itself!

#3 – Use Innovative Technology

From AI and AR driven content to native and contextual ads, technologically advanced are advertisements are becoming more accessible. The stats on their effectiveness across the entire marketing journey speak for themselves!

Of the 18–34-year-old’s interviewed:

63% pay more attention to advertisements with innovative formats

70% will consider a brand more if they associate them with innovative and immersive formats

71% say innovate ad formats are more engaging

62% feel like innovative ads formats tell them more about the product or service

63% are more inclined to purchase from brands that create content with innovative tech

#4 – Personalization

Personalized ads are effective for every age group. Gen Z’ers and Millennials are less tolerant of ads that aren’t personalized. Most younger consumers have in innate understanding of how their personal data is used to create targeted ads. Being targeted (or retargeted) based on their interests and past activities are expected. Thankfully creating effective personalized ads are easier than ever to make.

  • What can you do to create effective personalized ads? Start with the information you have about your customers. It’s difficult to know what your customers want if you don’t know who they are. Look at your 1st party data. What are your most common demographics? What are their interests? How would they most like to be communicated with?
  • Use the tools available. Marketing automation platforms and CRMs can do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to segmenting data. Many of them are designed to help create simple, personalized messages.
  • Have a well thought out plan. Do you have a mapped-out customer journey? Knowing where in their journey your customers are makes a big difference in the types of personalization that will work for them. Think about nurturing. Pay attention to the details. Make sure that there aren’t little annoying things such as, getting an abandoned cart email even though you’ve already come back to purchase it. Get rid of triggers that are connected to repurchasing products commonly only purchased once.
  • Know when to walk away. Keep your data clean. If someone has never opened an email it might be a good idea to take them off your list. Their data could skew your demographics and could make understanding what personalization your active customers need difficult.

Is it effective?

Is it effective? Yes! From that survey of consumer between the ages of 18-34, 58% said that a personalized ad helped them make a purchase decision. 42% also said that they had clicked on a sponsored ad in the last 6 months!

In my experience, a lot of companies panic when thinking about marketing to young consumers. They feel like they need to be relatable or “cool.” That often comes off as disingenuous and is easy to see right through. It’s far more effective to instead focus on building a relationship with them. Make it easier for them to see who you are and what you stand for. Chances are they care about the same things you do!


All The Things You Need To Boost SEO

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SEO has proven over and over again that it is essential to growing (and maintaining) your business. However, it doesn’t often get the spotlight it deserves! So, here’s some things you need to know to boost SEO.

What is SEO?  

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines look at look at many site elements like structure and design, visitor behavior, content, and other external factors to decide how highly ranked your site should be in the results pages. SEO has become the catch all term for all things you can do to make your site look more appealing to search engines.  

What are the advantages of good SEO?

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Good SEO gives your website credibility. It makes it easier for people to find your website when they search for it. And it helps create a smoother user experience.  

The other important reason for making sure your websites SEO is up to snuff is that it helps generate organic traffic. 53% of all trackable website traffic comes from organic search. SEO is the main thing influencing how easy it is to find you online organically. Which is probably why it’s estimated that agencies and brands spent over $79.27 Billion on SEO services last year.  

SEO is also important in driving local searches. When you search for “Best Pizza Place” near me, the results you are shown are based on the pizza place’s SEO keywords.  

Where do you need to pay attention to SEO?  

Everything “online” can be indexed and therefore optimized. Google indexes websites and apps that they own. So, your YouTube video search optimization is connected and combined with your website optimization. However, some companies, like Facebook, categorize videos and posts internally, meaning that it doesn’t help general search engine SEO.  

What can you do to boost SEO?  

Personally, I would split SEO into 2 main categories: Content and Categorization. Both are super important but require different things.  

Content 

SEO post requirements
Do you fill in all the available information?

Content is all the things you put out there. Search engines look at what you are putting out there to determine your search rankings. Google likes blog articles and web pages with a lot of content. Adding pictures, videos, links, and charts shows search engines that what you are creating should be seen. They are going to rank something high in the search results if they don’t think its valuable.  

To go along with that, search engines look at user experience. Is your website/blog easy to read? Do you have paragraphs, subheadings, punctuation, and spacing? Is it super short? (Long form content, over 2,000 words, tends to rank higher.) Do your pictures and video take a long time to load? How about accessibly? Do you have alt text for your images and text readers?  

Search engines want to provide the best possible experience for its user and will rank your website accordingly.   

Categorization 

Categorization is all the “backend” stuff. Keywords, hashtags, blog categories, utm links, exerpts, and featured images all fall into this bucket. The best way to boost this type of SEO is literally just fill in every box provided. If the video you are uploading to YouTube as a field for title, description, keywords, hashtags, ect: give them that information! Search engines need to know what they are ranking, and all the backend information is how they know what it is and where it should go.   

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Categories our SEO service requires

If you write an article called “How to make good pizza” the search engine will put with other information on pizza. However, if your article also has keywords like, “good pizza,” “how to,” “cooking,” “dinner for two,” “Italian food,” and so on, the search engine has a lot more places it can show the article. 

Another thing you can do to boost SEO is to repurpose content. Search engines like to see a lot of content that revolves around a single topic. It shows a consistent brand message and purpose. A consistent brand message can indicate brand value.  

What ways have you found to be effective in boosting SEO? Do you have a favorite method?