Friday, 3 October 2014

Great SM starts here!

SM Tip: Look closely at your company’s overall needs and decide how you want to use social media to contribute to reaching them. Your Calgary marketing agency

Great design comes from YOUR Calgary marketing agency

This colorful collection of molded wood stools also work great as side tables: You have to see this! Great design comes from YOUR Calgary marketing agency!

SM ideas from your Calgary marketing agency

Why is a marketing agency able to produce amazing social media results? We can show you how Your Calgary marketing agency


Content and social media have a symbiotic relationship: Without great content social media is meaningless and without social media nobody will know about your content. Use them together to reach and convert your prospects. Your marketing agency

Another great marketing tip from YOUR Calgary marketing agency

When it comes to social media marketing, researching your competition not only keeps you apprised of their activity, it gives you an idea of what’s working so you can integrate those successful tactics into your own efforts. YOUR Calgary marketing agency

Social media tips!

If a business is suffering from low engagement on their social profiles, it’s usually because they don’t have an accurate ideal customer profile. Buyer personas help you define and target the right people, in the right places, at the right times with the right messages. When you know your target audience’s age, occupation, income, interests, pains, problems, obstacles, habits, likes, dislikes, motivations and objections, then it’s easier and cheaper to target them on social or any other media. Your Calgary marketing agency

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Make Your Next Email Campaign - News

Make Your Next Email Campaign - News

If you want to impress your boss at your next social media management meeting, suggesting an email campaign may not go down well. Email campaigns have a ‘jaded’ stereotype, of being the worn out, overused old Grandma of the media marketing suite, but that image could not be further from the truth. For every $1 spent on email marketing the return is … $54. That’s no small feat. Image any other kind of media budget bringing back that kind of return…

Email campaigns work well, but may need a face lift to cut through the white noise that social media creates. To this end, Quartz have done some research that is not only interesting in its results, but for the business savvy marketing executive, opens up a whole new avenue for reaching the people that count. 


Quartz survey was detailed to look at the habits of business executives and how they accessed their industry news; bear with me, this is all relevant. They chose to interview 940 business executives to see how they kept up with what was going on in their industry and what they looked for in gaining that information. JACKPOT! If that means nothing to you, go ask your boss…

For those of us who are in the marketing arena and strive to continue to be one step ahead of the competition, this survey lets us see what those men in the corner offices with panoramic views of the city, the decision makers of the industry, base the effectiveness of their business decisions on, so anyone that can get in right at the beginning, doing all the moving and shaking, has more than a distinct advantage. 


Business executives, despite having a myriad of media options open to them, chose to use email newsletters to keep ahead of industry news over any other type of delivery. 60% said that they opened and read their email industry newsletters as one of the first three sources they turned to in the mornings to catch up on the news. 56% of the executives said that email newsletters were their top source of finding out what was going on in the industry. 

Their appetite for email news continued when it came to sharing what they consumed with email soliciting 80% of executives sharing content within the industry, which topped Twitter at 43%, leaving Facebook and LinkedIn tied at 30% as their platform of choice. 

These are the types of figures that cannot be ignored. What are the decision makers of companies basing their decision on? It would appear that it’s the content of email newsletters. 

Jay Lauf, publisher for Quartz said, “The fact that they are willing to consume and share, that was a great validation that if we do provide interesting, relevant, useful content, even the most time-starved audience could use it.”

It would appear he’s right.


The study covered the way that the email newsletter was consumed, which is great information for any marketing campaign. Mobile devices, especially phones, caught the biggest slice of the executive groups attention: 61% said they used a mobile device to receive the news. That broke down to 41% phones, 20% tablets.

Executives were also tested on digital marketing. They were asked to think of the last digital ad they could remember. The survey found that video ads are highly memorable to executives: 54% cited a video ad as the last digital ad they could recall. The second most remembered ad format to executives: sponsored content, with 28%. What about a regular banner ad? Only 12% cited them as the last advert they could remember.

With 75% of business executives spending at least 30 minutes or more on industry related news, maybe it’s time to consider your next email campaign. Presenting it as a newsletter may be just what you need to reach your audience. With an open rate of between 40-50% it may be just the vehicle you need to jump start your next evolution of digital media. 

It gets even better when you realise that 86% of executives told Quartz they are interested in seeing more branded content. 55% of respondents said they follow brands in their own industry on social media and would like to see industry relevant ones in email, and 47% said they would also follow brands outside of their line of work. Those numbers jump to 73% and 64%, respectively, for the media industry - it must be a common courtesy type of thing!

When it comes to the device used for adverts, 58% of executives said desktop ads were more memorable, while 42% said mobile ads are memorable, with that type of result you can’t really go wrong either way with adding branded adverts to a well written, industry focused, company newsletter. 

Email campaigns work well and by using the research Quartz has produces, you can match your email campaign to the needs of your target audience. With the information that has been provided you can craft content that is relevant, digestible and influential. That provides a document for success – and there may even be a promotion in there for you too.

Win Back Campaigns – How Long Do You Wait?

Win Back Campaigns – How Long Do You Wait? 

Marketing campaigns have many uses – but they ALWAYS have a use. In a well-crafted, innovative marketing campaign contains a call to action that resonates with the audience and drives them to be part of your product. If you are canny with your marketing, well segmented email lists are aplenty in your databases, and you have a choice of demographics to target. 

Return Path have uncovered some great research that helps keep your databases lean and productive, if you choose to listen what they say. Much effort is put into collecting email addresses, but not as much effort is put into keeping those lists performing at peak capacity, and even less is known about keeping them relevant and how long they are productive. 

Email marketing is economical and effective, and relatively easy to use. You will have some demographics in a, ‘Shut up and take my money’, database, but what about the others? How many of them need a seminal ‘win back’ email to galvanise them into action? Then how long do you wait for them to call before consigning them to the ‘lost in cyber space’ list? It’s a tough question…

… now here’s the answer. 


According to the company Return Path, who analyzed 300 million email messages sent by well-known brands to over 100 million consumers, many marketers are giving up too early. On top of that, Brands from different industries sending out these emails were also choosing to drop subscribers at random, stopping sending emails to 4% of subscribers even though it appeared that 85% were not actually active. 

In both cases research bailed out the fact that your mother was right – patience is a virtue.
The study reads:

Approximately 12% of all win-back messages were read, typically within a few days of delivery. However, as many as 45% of recipients later engaged with the sender’s email program, taking an average of 57 days – nearly two months – to read additional messages.

Let’s look at what that means in a real life application.

A marketer’s goal may be that they want an open rate within a few days of delivery, so may mark an account as ‘inactive’ after that small of a window. If 45% of recipients engage with the email originator within 57 days, 45% of those accounts are not dormant – they’re just not opening their emails very quickly. 

If anyone promised you an email open and success rate of 45% I am guessing you would jump at it. In that case, the chances are you already have it; you’re just switching off your metrics or deleting accounts before they have a chance to think about it and answer. 

In this age where ‘instant’ in ‘in’, people still need time to think and compare before committing. Give them that time. Do not cast someone off because they don’t read their emails as often as you would like them to, cast them off because they aren’t engaging at all after you’ve given them some time to think. And don’t be tempted to hang onto what you perceive to be ‘good’ accounts; if they are not active, they are not a good account. Move them out and maybe, just maybe, you’ll move someone in that will be much more productive. 


Return Path suggests that 90 days is the magic number for evaluation. After a win back email is sent watch your audience carefully, the first 9 days is usually the time you get the most activity, but for the highest activity wait for 60 days before making any productivity decisions, and 90 days for any culling decisions. 

The study also uncovered that Win Back databases also needed to be segmented for best effect – by mailbox provider. The study said:

“The findings show that mailbox providers’ definitions of inactivity, and their tolerance for inactivity before filtering messages, are different enough to necessitate customized win-back campaign formulas.”

What that means is that each mailbox provider had its own metrics for abandoned mail and spam filtering, so a different subject line or content could make all the difference to open rate for some providers. Universal subject line success were ‘Miss You’ and ‘Come Back’, but it may take some investigation to find out what works for your demographic. 

It appears that as far as the open rate and read rate for different providers are concerned the results are also varied. AOL had the highest read rate at 23 percent. The average overall read-rate was 14 percent, with Gmail subscribers at 16 percent and Yahoo subscribers at 15 percent. This could have a lot to do with the metrics they use for abandoned mail, but gives you a good insight into what to expect. 

Win Back emails are a great way to make your calls to action profitable for a long time, and makes your email lists work for the maximum amount of time. With these new benchmarks from Return Path you can monitor your databases and make them lean, mean, marketing machines – if you give them enough time to open, read and digest; the result could well be the same whether you are emailing Mr Tortoise or Mr Hare. Mr Tortoise was right, sometimes slow and steady really does win the race.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Embedded Photos – the next generation of copyright?

Embedded Photos – the next generation of copyright? 

In March this year one of the biggest photo image companies made a landmark decision and took their marketing in a brand new direction. Brave? Maybe. Risky? YES! But as the pioneer Jenner tested the small pox vaccine on himself just to prove that it worked, most ground breaking ventures contain a breathtaking amount of risk. 

Getty images is a name most people connect with stock photos, and one from which most people can recognize at least one or two images from major marketing campaigns, has taken the way they allow people to use their image in a gutsy direction. For more than a hundred years Getty have captured history and images of daily life and had them available for use. Their database was protected by a watermark on the image – if you wanted the watermark removed, you paid for it. 

In line with the digital age, Getty have decided that that approach does not work.  According to Craig Peters, a business development executive at Getty Images, watermarks as a means for protection does not work. 

"Look, if you want to get a Getty image today, you can find it without a watermark very simply," he says. "The way you do that is you go to one of our customer sites and you right-click. Or you go to Google Image search or Bing Image Search and you get it there. And that's what's happening… Our content was everywhere already."

If you look on any social platform you can see thousands of images that may or may not be copyrighted all over the media so it’s hard to doubt his theory. Most are on non-revenue generating pages so there is little point taking any action as they have no means to pay. The reason they are on these pages is because they have been copied from another site… for free. Anything more expensive than free, and they probably can’t afford it. 

To bring Getty Images into the digital age and align its revenue process with new technology they are dropping the tried and tested for over 100 years watermark on the bulk of its collection. An open-embed program will be included with each digital image that will let users include any photo they want anywhere they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. For small-scale WordPress blogs with no image budget, it still provides what they want – free imagery. What Getty hope is that if the internet users have a legal and free way to use the images it will lead to a revenue stream as the relationship matures and, more importantly, Getty has control over the embedded images. 

Everyone is familiar with the advertisements that appear on Twitter or YouTube before viewing images and the same iframe technology will allow Getty to the do the same to its properties. It could also be used collecting data from users. "We've certainly thought about it, whether its data or its advertising," Peters says of how Getty will use the embed feature, but as of yet, none of the images include these features so far. "We've seen what YouTube's done with monetizing their embed capabilities," Peters says. "I don't know if that's going to be appropriate for us or not."

Getty has bought in this new approach to an old problem because they are trying to legitimize those using the images for well-meaning purposes whilst also supporting the photographer’s integrity and revenue stream. 

"The principle is to turn what's infringing use with good intentions, turning that into something that's valid licensed use with some benefits going back to the photographer," says Peters, "and that starts really with attribution and a link back."

Will it work? We hope so. Images on the web are here to stay and Getty has come up with a way that both cash strapped info blogs and service providers can get what they need. In a way Jenner and Getty are more similar than at first they seem. Except I don’t think Jenner has a photo of Getty safely tucked away and watermarked with the rest of his pioneering equipment.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Using Images to WOW Your Content Marketing

Using Images to WOW Your Content Marketing

Images have always had to power to convey messages in clear and concise manner, but it would seem that marketers have been slow to catch on to their true power. For decades images were used to make a message more appealing or clever, but no one seemed to see that images, particularly photographs, had the power to BE the message. It wasn’t until Facebook bought Instagram, and the marketing world stood agog as Pinterest had nothing short of a miraculous and meteoric rise to be the marketing super power it is today, that photographs were acknowledged as a medium that could carry a marketing message much further than content alone. Essentially, the medium became the message.
Images have become pivotal in the social activity across all social platforms. Facebook by far dominates the social media scene and the most common activity on Facebook is – sharing photographs.

Google also has sharing images as their number one activity.

Uploading and sharing Images are the number one activity across most social media platforms so basing your content around photos and images is one way to quickly and effectively increase your exposure. If you can produce an image that captures the imagination of your target audience it will spread quickly around the internet, and with it, your company image. 

Here are 7 ideas to help you choose images that are irresistible eye candy to your to your customers and prospective clients and make sure you are not forgotten. 

1: Quality

Make sure your images are of professional quality. No one will be attracted to a badly lit, insanely placed product that is blurry or obscured. Your product or service is the star of the content, so make sure you place it so. If you do not have the right equipment and knowledge you cannot produce high quality images that improve your company image, hire someone that will. Your marketing will be memorable – you want to make sure it’s memorable for all the right reasons. 

2: Make It Real
There are thousands of standard marketing images around the internet that will showcase the product you sell. They may be clear, uncluttered, professional images that allow the consumer to see what he is buying. What you need to do is to put the product in context of use to catch the eye of your target audience. You want them to be drawn in by looking at what the product can do for them and the right image is exactly what you need. It can showcase WHAT your product is capable of and how your consumers need it, and need to buy it from you. 

3: Weave a Web

 Let your picture tell a story. It may be narrative of best practices for the use of the product of service, or showcase your organization and what makes you difference. You may choose to take images of your staff or location to show the company behind the product to build confidence, but your images must tell a story, bringing the customer closer to a sale. 

4: Show Your Face

It’s a known fact that people sell to people. Humanize your images. By putting people in your photos you create a bond of trust with your potential customer and give them the reassurance to know that there is a human face behind the marketing. Whether it’s a customer’s view of your product, or your staff, people make your product more credible. 

5: Step by Step

Use your photos to produce step by step instructions or progress the journey. Images are much easily digested and more expressive Use them to bring your customer to where you need them so they are fully armed to make a buying decision. 

6: Make it News

Use current events and related current affairs to promote your brand. You can use it as a parody, or a compliment, but look at what images are current and quickly release your take on the news with your product or service as the star on your social media. You have to be swift, but it can also easily go viral. 

7: Get Your Audience Involved

90% of people have a cell phone capable of taking photos and instantly downloading them onto the internet. Why not harness the power of people selling to people and get THEM to upload their photos and sell your product for you? It’s easy to organize if your have a web site and very effective for audience involvement across all social media platforms. 

People are visual learners and well thought out, high quality images are one way to effectively market your product, but also to strengthen your brand and improve your company image. Raise that bar on your content marketing by including images that sell.