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Businesses everywhere are starting to realize that customers want to know how their favorite companies are giving back and using their influence to do good. People are more likely to engage with a brand they see as socially responsible and concerned about their communities, which is why many organizations are adopting cause marketing to humanize their brand and show how much they care.
Simply put, cause marketing is a mutually beneficial partnership between an organization and a non-profit. Cause marketing can also involve a specific marketing campaign by an organization that benefits a non-profit. These campaigns usually focus on a social or charitable cause to show a cause that the company cares about and boost the non-profit’s visibility.
At Avalaunch Media, we’re making cause marketing a core focus for 2023. Read on to discover why we and other businesses are heading in this direction.Cause Marketing vs. Cause-Related Marketing
Now that you’re familiar with cause marketing, you may have also heard of cause-related marketing. In all meaningful ways, these terms mean essentially the same thing and are often used interchangeably.
Cause marketing was coined in 1983 when American Express decided to raise money to restore the Statue of Liberty. They made a small donation to the restoration every time someone used their charge card. They raised $1.7 million for the restoration, and people using their American Express card rose by 27% during the campaign.
Cause-related marketing is more often used in the United Kingdom and India. That is the only real difference between cause marketing and cause-related marketing.The Benefits of Cause Marketing
Cause marketing benefits both the organization and the non-profit — the non-profit benefits from the additional exposure and brand awareness. Non-profits, especially the smaller ones, usually have a small budget for marketing. Partnering with a small business or organization can benefit them greatly in increasing awareness of who they are and what they stand for. It helps them get in front of consumers who might not otherwise see them.
The organization receives numerous benefits, too. They can:Improve their organizational reputation Build community relationships Increase brand loyalty Stand out from the competition Improve employee morale
Let’s look a little closer at each of these in turn.Improve Organizational Reputation
Companies will use cause marketing as a public relations strategy to increase customer loyalty and attract new customers. It can also help improve a company’s image after receiving a negative response to something it has done (or hasn’t done).Build Community Relationships
A company can use cause marketing to build relationships within a local community. This is useful for small businesses, especially if they are new to a city. They can find a local cause to support and get their name out there as well. An example might be a local accountant helping a local little league team.Increase Brand Loyalty
Brand loyalty can be tracked during the cause marketing campaign to determine if the campaign is successful. A cause marketing campaign can increase brand loyalty when the company supports a cause that its customers are passionate about. If they support the cause full-time instead of during a specific marketing campaign, they will likely keep customers returning for the long term.Stand Out From the Competition
You can stand out amongst your competitors when you give customers what they want. It’s important to customers that companies show they’re passionate about the world around them, too, and not just in it for the all-mighty dollar. When you invest in supporting a cause, you can stand out from the competition and get customers’ attention that may have otherwise purchased elsewhere.Improve Employee Morale
Not only are customers passionate about causes, but your employees are also. When you get employees involved and feeling like they are making a difference, they become happier employees. When employee morale goes up, productivity is soon to follow.How to Strategize a Successful Cause Marketing Campaign
When done correctly, a cause marketing campaign benefits you and your non-profit partner. Cause marketing is especially beneficial to a small business that needs to get its name out there to generate business, as it helps to build brand awareness and gets your name in front of people that would not otherwise see you.
Keep in mind, however, that a cause-related marketing campaign is a strategic endeavor, so it’s essential to have a plan before launching your campaign to ensure that you and the cause you are supporting benefit and get the most out of your partnership.
Let’s discuss what you need to make your cause-related marketing campaign successful.Define Your Cause
When defining your cause, you should identify a partner that reflects your company values. While there are many examples where a partnership seems to make sense, it is harder to build brand loyalty and appear as though the association is genuine when the partnership doesn’t make sense. An example of a partnership that doesn’t make sense would be a major restaurant chain partnering with a non-profit that donates shoes to homeless kids. Those kids also need to eat, so partnering with a non-profit that feeds homeless kids makes more sense.
Your audience can have a lot to do with the non-profit you decide to partner with. The same reasons they come to you would make them want to be involved in the non-profit you are supporting.
The non-profit you choose to partner with will have an impact on your employees as well. If it is a non-profit that they also care about, they will work harder during the campaign, enhancing the outcomes for you and the non-profit.Determine How You Will Help
There are many ways to help your cause. When you partner with your non-profit, find out what they need. Money is an easy and obvious solution here and works great when you are getting your customers involved, too. But there are other ways you can help a non-profit besides financial contributions. Depending on your organization and what you have to offer, some of the additional ways you can help a non-profit might include:Photography for social media Event planning Volunteer groups from your company Sponsoring a charity function Helping them with their marketing efforts Donations of products and services
If you are partnering with a non-profit and not getting the public involved, you can easily assist with any of the above and toot your own horn about it (so to speak). If you want your customers involved, monetary donations are the way to go. Like the American Express example, a little goes a long way. You can donate a portion of all proceeds of a specific product or give customers a chance to make a small donation themselves when they make a purchase.Work With a Non-Profit Partner
When you and a non-profit partner decide to work together, you should both promote the partnership to ensure that the campaign gets more traction.
You both want to get the most out of the partnership, so you must strategize together. To make your campaign successful, you should develop a joint omnichannel marketing campaign for the furthest reach. You can make customers aware of the partnership by:Announcing the affiliation in a newsletter from each company Tagging each other on social media Blogging about the experience you each had Writing guest blogs for each other’s blogs Using each other’s logos in marketing campaign materials Sending a joint press release to news outlets announcing the partnership Get Your Audience Involved
While your audience may love your brand because you support a cause they love, too, they will be even more brand loyal if you give them a chance to participate in the cause-related marketing campaign. There are several ways you can get your audience involved in your campaign. Customers can participate by:Donating to the cause Participating in an event (Think American Express’s Small Business Saturday) Interacting with the non-profit you are supporting Helping you spread the word by sharing your social media posts
Let your audience be a driving force behind your campaign, and watch the support for the non-profit and your company soar. You will want to track your donors; a customer relationship management (CRM) can help you do this. Once the campaign is over, help solidify their brand loyalty by sending them a quick thank you note for their participation. They will be excited at being recognized instead of feeling like a small fish in a big pond and that their contributions went unnoticed.Well-Known Cause Marketing Examples
Aveda’s Partnership With Charity: Water
Aveda offers an annual cause marketing partnership with Charity: Water to promote clean drinking water for everyone. They have been working together since 1999 and have raised over $69 million to bring clean drinking water to those who would not otherwise have it.
Bombas Buy a Pair, Give a Pair Campaign
For every pair of Bombas socks, pair of underwear, or t-shirts purchased, they give another of the exact item to one of over 3,500 giving partners they work with across the United States to provide these same items to people in need. The donated item may go to:Overnight shelters Transitional living facilities Street outreach teams Rehabilitation centers Title 1 schools Medical service professionals
So, when you purchase from Bombas, you can feel good that you warmed not only your feet but the feet of someone else who otherwise wouldn’t have them.
Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives
This is an example of a company partnering with a charity that doesn’t necessarily make sense but was a huge success. The Yoplait Save Lids to Save Lives campaign was created to raise money for the Susan G. Komen breast cancer awareness campaign.
They changed the lids of their yogurt to pink covers and encouraged people to send the lids in for a ten-cent donation to the charity. They promoted the campaign with paid and earned media. They expanded the campaign to include other brands and raised $26 million for breast cancer research.Conclusion
Cause marketing is an excellent initiative for companies to show the world the causes they care about. It increases their social responsibility in the eyes of their customers, and customers will give their loyalty in return. Nonprofits benefit by getting their name in front of potential donors they wouldn’t have otherwise.
You can support a cause in many ways, from sponsoring a local team to raising money and awareness about clean water for everyone to even giving your time and resources to help a small non-profit market their business. The possibilities are endless. Just make sure the world knows about your cause marketing campaign, and customers will help you promote it any way they can.
If you need help launching or running a cause marketing campaign, the teams at Avalaunch Media are here to help. Contact us to get started today.
Research estimates that 80% of new leads will never result in sales, and companies that excel at lead nurturing will generate 50% more revenue with 33% less cost. How well are you nurturing your leads?
When we think about lead nurturing, the first things that come to mind are to be friendly to your leads and answer their questions. However, implementing a campaign that makes people want to convert takes much more thought and creativity. How can you connect and engage with consumers and convince them you’re the solution to their problems? That’s where the marketing funnel can help.What Is the Marketing Funnel?
The marketing funnel is a model that shows you how to appeal to consumers as they travel through the customer journey. It includes several stages designed to build brand awareness, engage with audiences, and ultimately lead to customer conversions. As consumers enter each step of the marketing funnel, marketers try to capture as many leads as possible to create a loyal customer base.Marketing Funnel Stages
Successful marketing strategies cater to all funnel stages to reach users. Understanding each stage of the funnel helps you create individual touchpoints and appropriately interact with your audience wherever they are in the customer journey. Below are the marketing funnel stages and each stage’s goals.Awareness
Awareness is the first and most crucial stage of the marketing funnel since it’s where customers first get to know your brand. The awareness stage encourages interaction and engagement. In this stage, leads are drawn in for further nurturing in the rest of the funnel.
The critical question during this stage is how will you attract your audience? How do you get your content out to them? You can build brand awareness through content like blog posts, social media posts, and infographics. Webinars, special events, and advertising can also attract the right audience.
The main goals of the awareness stage includeFinding your target audienceLearning more about their goalsDiscovering their pain pointsGetting your brand in front of them Interest and Research
After becoming aware of your brand, people move on to the interest and research stage. In this stage, they spend time researching and learning more about the company, its products or services, and any other helpful information the company shares. Companies now have the opportunity to develop a relationship with their new audience through classes, emails, and newsletters.
People want to learn more about your brand during the interest stage. They want to know how your products or services can benefit them. The interest stage should focus on building trust with your leads.
The main goals of the interest and research stage includeInteracting with your target audienceOffering solutions to their pain pointsGaining their trust Consideration
During the consideration stage, leads are now seen as potential customers. Leads that reach this stage are interested in your brand and ready to choose you over competitors. At this stage, keeping the relationship going and guiding them to make a purchase is essential. Producing targeted content and having meaningful interactions can help you nurture the relationship. This is also an excellent time to offer free trials and case studies.
As part of this stage, it’s crucial to clearly demonstrate the differences between your brand and competing brands. What makes you stand out from the competition? How can your offerings better suit the needs of your potential customers? Automated emails offering more information about products and offers can encourage potential customers to purchase from your company.
The main goals of the consideration stage includeContinuing to build trustProving your brand’s valueConvincing your potential customers to make a purchase Purchase
The purchase stage is where prospects make their buying decision and become customers. During this stage, the most crucial goal is positioning your brand at the top of prospects’ minds. Demonstrate how you can solve prospects’ needs and how to choose the right products or services to meet those needs.
By this point, prospects have learned a great deal about your brand and feel confident in making a purchase. Make the purchase process as straightforward as possible. Ensure they know how to complete a purchase on your website or who to contact about a consultation. Include clear calls to action to direct people where they need to go to complete their purchase.
The main goals of the purchase stage includeSimplifying the purchase processMaking customers feel confident in their purchaseOffering product or service support Benefits of the Marketing Funnel
Companies that spend time nurturing their lead relationships have a better chance of converting those leads into actual customers. The marketing funnel helps companies shift their strategies throughout the customer journey to target the right audiences and appropriately nurture their leads. Other benefits of the funnel includeFocus on the buyer persona. The marketing funnel helps you stay focused on the needs of your prospects and how your products, services, and content can relate to them. Simplify the customer journey. The marketing funnel helps you quickly see the entire customer journey to find the right tools and techniques for every stage.Better planning. By mapping out the whole customer journey, you can find any gaps in the system and fix them before they become a problem. Easier tracking. The marketing funnel helps you measure where you’re losing customers to help you adjust your strategy. The Customer Experience Funnel
It’s common for brands to flip the funnel after a purchase is made. This flip, commonly known as the customer experience funnel, defines the process for turning customers into brand advocates. Creating brand advocates can refuel the marketing funnel through awareness and referral. The stages of the customer experience funnel are outlined below.Repeat Purchase
Once a customer has made a purchase, the next step is to convince them to return. Continue to nurture customer relationships through interactions and follow-ups after the purchase to prove to them why it’s worth returning.Customer Loyalty
Customers develop a preference for a company during the customer loyalty stage and begin to identify with the brand. Building a personal connection is essential during this stage. The best way to build this connection is to develop a brand community, regularly engage with customers, and provide any needed support.Referral
Customers loyal to a brand are more likely to refer them to others. They may suggest your brand or products when asked for recommendations or share the word of your business with friends and family.Promoting
Loyal customers have the potential to become brand advocates. They may write positive reviews about your brand or products or share your products on social media, which can generate more leads.
A recommendation from an outside source unaffiliated with the brand can influence prospects. To better support advocates, companies can build their communities, ask advocates to take part in case studies, and engage with them on social media.
The main goals of the customer experience funnel are to increase the number of purchases and encourage more awareness and referrals to fuel a new marketing funnel.Conclusion
When people are ready to make a purchase, they’re more likely to choose a company they’re more familiar with. The more people know about your brand, the more likely they will convert into customers. Therefore, understanding your brand and how it fits into a marketing funnel is essential for success.
If you’re struggling to determine how to cater to consumers throughout the marketing funnel, Avalaunch Media® can help. We launch brands to their highest potential by walking them through specific marketing strategies and creating content that appeals to their audience. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you navigate through every marketing funnel stage.
Landing pages are web pages that visitors “land” on when clicking on an email link or ads on Google or social media. While it’s true that visitors can land on your homepage, it doesn’t qualify as a landing page because they are designed for different purposes.
Understanding the differences between landing pages vs. homepages is crucial for implementing the right marketing strategies. The most significant difference between the two is intention. A landing page is a separate page created to promote a single campaign. It should have a solid call to action (CTA) and be free from distractions. A homepage is part of a larger website. It includes a lot of information about your brand and is designed to help visitors explore your company.The Difference Between a Landing Page and a Website Homepage
Landing pages and website homepages may look similar, but they offer distinct purposes in marketing. Here are those differences and what makes them an essential part of your marketing strategy.Target Audience
A landing page is a page someone lands on after clicking on your ad. Paid ads let you target demographics to appeal to those most likely to convert. When you pay for a Google ad, you know what keywords people are searching for and what kind of people are looking for your services or products. This information helps you reach the audience who are more likely to make a purchase.
People who click your paid ads during a Google search are more likely than organic traffic to be interested in your products or services and less likely to be interested in exploring your website. Because of this, your landing page should only provide the content and information they need to convert.
Most advertising traffic should be directed to a single goal-oriented landing page to maximize ROAS (return on ad spend). Homepage traffic should rarely come from paid ads. There are unpaid sources your homepage traffic can come from, such as social media and organic web searches.
Homepages are meant to appeal to audiences who want to explore your brand. The information on your homepage should help this audience understand who you are as a company to build brand awareness.Page Goal
Landing pages and homepages should have different goals. The main objectives of a homepage should be to introduce and explain the brand and encourage engagement. Landing pages, however, should have one specific purpose. A landing page promotes a particular offer, product, or service rather than the brand as a whole. Landing pages focusing on a single goal result in higher conversion rates and, consequently, a higher return on investment.
The purpose of a landing page is to convert traffic. Homepages, however, have other uses. A homepage often has a navigation bar near the top of the page and can link to several other site pages or your social media or blog. The links on your homepage are essential for helping visitors navigate or interact with your website.
Landing pages shouldn’t have any other links. The goal is to keep your viewers on your landing page until they convert, which means avoiding links that could cause a distraction. Try to give visitors all the information they need without visiting another page.Page Content
Some info on your homepage can be included on your landing page, but the landing page should only contain content related to the offer or offerings you’re trying to sell.
Because you know what search terms and ads brought visitors to your landing page, it should contain content specifically related to those ads or terms. Don’t distract visitors with irrelevant content. It’s best to design your landing pages to help visitors find exactly what they’re looking for when they click your ad.
Instead of including content to convince a visitor to take immediate action, a homepage should contain all of the information a visitor needs to learn about your brand as a whole. It should include links to other pages for visitors who are interested in exploring your brand and all you have to offer.Call to Action
Landing pages are action-oriented and should have some kind of CTA to encourage your audience to convert. Examples of CTAs include filling out a form, calling, or making a purchase. No matter what CTA you use, it should be straightforward, such as “Shop Now” or “Call Us Today.”
On the other hand, homepages are meant to be a resource for visitors. While you can use specific CTAs on your homepage, they are not as crucial as on a landing page.When to Use a Landing Page vs. Homepage
Landing pages are more likely to convert than homepages, so you might wonder why a homepage is necessary. Your homepage is an essential resource, as it lets your audience explore your brand in a way that landing pages don’t. People can get to know your brand through your homepage. It can navigate visitors to visit your blog or “About” page, learn more about products and services, etc.
Every website should have a homepage as a storefront for your brand. A landing page should be used to accomplish a specific goal, especially when running ads.Features of a Good Homepage
How you design your homepage will play a significant role in the engagement it receives. Here are some features to include on your homepage to make it more appealing to your audience.Specific Business Overview
Your homepage should clarify your business and what it does. It should answer the essential questions such as who you are, what you do, and how you can help potential customers. Visitors should understand your brand from your homepage and feel encouraged to visit your website further to learn more about your offerings.Design
We’ve all been taught the importance of a good first impression, which remains true for your homepage. Your homepage is an introduction to your brand and is often the first page people will see when they want to learn more about you. People aren’t likely to stick around if your homepage isn’t clean and easy to read.
Spend some extra time on your homepage. Design it so people will feel like it’s worth their time visiting. People won’t take your brand seriously if your homepage gives the impression that your company is underdeveloped.Navigation
A well-designed homepage will make it quick and easy for users to navigate your entire website. Visitors who land on your homepage should be able to access all essential pages, such as your blog, content page, and product pages. Providing easy navigation tools encourages quick and efficient engagement.
Homepages don’t need a specific call to action, but they should allow some kind of action. For example, you can include a contact form at the bottom of the page or provide links to contact pages. You don’t need to convince visitors to do something, but you should make it easy for them to know how to take action if they want to.Features of a Good Landing Page
Because landing pages are meant to drive conversions, they need specific features to help customers complete the conversion process. Here are some factors to consider when designing your landing page.Focus
Landing pages need a single focus without navigation options or links to other pages. Before creating your landing page, determine the singular goal and how to achieve it. What kind of CTA do you need to add? What information is essential for customers to convert? Keeping landing pages simple is important; anything over and beyond a single subject detracts from the main objective.Interesting Copy
Sales copy is the most critical part of a good landing page. Design is essential, too, but words sell. Your landing page’s goal will help you determine what type of sales copy you should use. Are you trying to sell a specific product? Grow your email list? Bring in more calls? Knowing your goal helps write clean copy and encourages people to complete an action.Enticing CTA
Ensure your CTAs are accessible for visitors to spot on the page. CTAs that stand out on landing pages are more likely to drive conversions than more subtle CTAs. When there’s not enough contrast between text and CTAs, they can be easy to miss, and lost CTAs lead to fewer conversions.Conclusion
Landing pages and homepages are both valuable tools. Landing pages drive conversions, while homepages are a resource for visitors to get to know your brand. If you’re struggling to determine what to do with your homepage or how to design a landing page, we can help.
At Avalaunch Media®, we strive to help brands achieve their goals. Our talented team of marketing experts can help you design your homepage and a landing page that will help you reach audiences for greater conversions. Visit our website to learn more about how we can help you bring in the right leads.
Time management is a skill that can make or break your career. However, people aren’t born productive. If you don’t feel like you’re skilled in this area, the good news is that time management isn’t a talent — it’s a skill you can develop. We have some tips to help you learn about it and start utilizing it moving forward.Benefits of Time Management
Learning to be good at time management can make your life easier in the long run in so many ways. Effective time management can reduce stress, give you more opportunities at work, and enhance your ability to achieve goals. Once you experience the benefits of this skill, you’ll wonder why you waited so long to learn it!
You need to manage your time effectively in every aspect of life to reach your full potential. Although your work-life balance makes it seem like your job and the rest of your life should be separate, one always affects the other. Both are elevated when you learn to manage your time effectively.Stress Relief
No matter your job or how much you work, you’re bound to experience stress. At least a portion of that stress is probably due to a lack of scheduling and managing your time. When you learn to set goals and prioritize tasks, you are more likely to reduce stress and enjoy work more.
Seeing your to-do list in real-time and blocking time to finish tasks can help you breathe a little easier and use your time more effectively. Be in charge of your schedule instead of letting your schedule be in charge of you. More than almost anything else, this will help relieve stress at work.More Time
Creating a list of everything you need to do and scheduling time to do those things may help you realize that you have more time to accomplish your goals than you thought. It helps to write out your entire day and what you need to do at any given time.
The act of time blocking can help focus more deeply and finish your tasks faster — and with greater success. You can block out distractions because you know exactly what you should be doing at specific times.More Opportunities
When you have more time, you may find yourself with more opportunities. These opportunities could be at work, in your personal life, or even both. You can grow and excel in your career when you know how to manage your time well.
Your supervisors will start to notice that you are managing your time effectively, and they might start offering you more opportunities and chances to further your career and your goals. Being able to meet deadlines with aplomb once you know how to manage your time will show others that you are capable and responsible enough to take on other responsibilities and projects.Ability to Achieve Goals
Whatever goals you want to achieve in your life, effective time management can help you get there. You won’t be scrambling to find time to work on your own projects because you’re overwhelmed by deadlines and work projects. After learning how to manage your time with schedules, to-do lists, time blocking, etc., you’ll be able to start adding your own goals, both short- and long-term, into your life and shooting for the stars.
Time management skills take little to no innate talent to develop, so don’t give up if it takes some time to get the hang of it. Keep working at it and see the difference it can make in your life.Tips for Effective Time Management
Now it’s time to dive into our tips for effective time management. Implementing these strategies into your work and personal life can make all the difference for you. You might find yourself with more time to do the things you want to do, and you can finish work tasks faster and with more skill without feeling overwhelmed or rushed through tasks to meet deadlines.
People in your life might notice that you excel at time management, and they’ll want to know your secrets. It’s no big secret, though. Just learn some skills and integrate them into your life to create new habits.Set Goals Correctly
While any sort of goal is a move in the right direction, it’s essential to set goals correctly. Your goals need to be achievable and realistic. You should set daily, weekly, monthly, and long-term goals. All of your goals should be SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely. You can then put your plans into to-do lists.
When your goals are too nebulous, they’re pretty tricky to accomplish. Solidify your plans and know what you want from your career and personal life. And remember, a goal that isn’t written down is just a wish. Write down your goals and focus on what you want to accomplish.Prioritize Well
Once you have your goals, you must prioritize them. It can help to divide your goals into the 4 Ds of time management: Do, Defer, Delegate, and Delete. Do the most important tasks. Defer the tasks that are important but not urgent. Delegate tasks that are urgent but not necessarily important. Delete tasks that are unimportant and not urgent.
After figuring out your tasks’ priority order, make a to-do list. Seeing your tasks physically written down keeps them at the forefront of your mind. Then you can cross them off as you accomplish them, which is good for your mental health. Just be sure to keep your list simple. If there’s too much, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and discouraged by a half-finished task list.Set a Time Limit
Setting a time limit means you have to define your tasks well to get them done within the time limit. Setting time limits helps improve your focus and encourages you to work more efficiently. If you don’t control and define your tasks, they can get on top of you and take longer than they should.Take Breaks
This might feel counterintuitive, but taking breaks is necessary for productivity. After each task you complete, take a break and let your brain reset. If you continually move from one task to the next, you are more likely to burn out quickly. It’s better to give yourself a rest.
Your brain cycles through rest and activity cycles. Every 90 minutes, your brain goes from higher to lower alertness levels. You’re likely using energy reserves when you keep working past 90 minutes. Even if you don’t finish your task in 90 minutes, you should at least be taking breaks that often. Let your brain rest and come back later, refreshed and ready to work hard.Organize Yourself
Organization will look different for everyone. Find what works for you and stick with it. You can plan your week on Sunday and break down your weekly goals into smaller, daily tasks. Making your to-do list for the week will help you get your brain into ‘work mode’ and prepare for the week ahead.
It can also be helpful to automate your emails. Most email servers allow you to assign labels and filters to send incoming emails to specific folders automatically. You can also create email templates to make repetitive emails easier to send.Get Rid of Non-essentials
Non-essentials is another way to say distractions. In either case, these are things that keep you from being productive. Checking your email every single time there’s a notification, getting sucked into conversations with coworkers, and getting hung up on small details in an attempt to achieve perfection are all examples of non-essentials. Each of these lowers your productivity and disrupts your flow.
Batch your emails and schedule specific times to answer a couple of times a day. Most emails don’t need to be answered immediately and can wait until your designated time for emails. If you know you’re prone to get sucked into conversations, try noise-blocking headphones or work elsewhere. In theory, striving for perfection is nice, but in reality, it can destroy your productivity. Strive for done, not perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good.Plan Ahead
This goes back to making goals and lists. Ideally, you should plan out lists at least a day ahead, but it’s even better if you can do it at the beginning of the week and the beginning of the month. The more you’re able to plan ahead, the more likely you are to finish your tasks and achieve your goals. Use your calendar to time block your work and keep track of deadlines that you need to meet.
Visualize how your day or week will go. Take a moment to close your eyes and see your day or week playing out exactly right. When you have that vision in your mind, you’ll have a greater drive to manage your time efficiently. While you’re making your plans, try to allow for buffers. Schedule to be finished with a task at least a day early, if possible. Then, you don’t have to scramble to meet deadlines if something comes up.Poor Time Management
Poor time management can lead to some of your biggest problems at work. Successful time management can solve a lot of problems. If you struggle with it, you can experience poor workflow, wasted time, and loss of productivity and control over your day. All of these lead to lower job performance and satisfaction.
Beyond the lower job satisfaction, poor time management can also lead to decreased happiness in your life outside of work. When you’re missing deadlines at work, you might have to do more work on your own time and have less time to pursue your personal interests and goals.Poor Workflow
Your workflow suffers when you don’t use your time efficiently. When this happens, you’re more likely to be overwhelmed by your workload and miss deadlines. If you’re always frantically looking for the time you need to finish tasks, you add a lot of unnecessary stress to your job and your life.
Workflow is one of the most significant indicators of your productivity in the workplace. If your workflow doesn’t look good, you don’t look good as a professional. Poor workflow can also make you appear unprofessional and unproductive to your supervisors. They might start trusting you less or overlook you for possible promotions.Wasted Time
Time is a perishable and nonrenewable resource, and when you waste it, you can never get it back. You must respect time and implement good time management habits to make the most of such a crucial aspect of life. When you don’t know how to manage your time well, you’re likely to just waste a lot of time instead of using it wisely to achieve your goals.
When you get everything done at work in a reasonable amount of time, you have the freedom to use what’s left for your personal goals. Otherwise, you’ll be left to wonder where the time went and why you don’t have enough bandwidth to do the things you need and want to do. It can also lead to misery and dissatisfaction in your life.Loss of Control
Eventually, a lack of effective time management can launch you into a state of panic and pandemonium. You can experience burnout and work imbalance. This loss of control can take a toll on your mental and sometimes physical health. You want to be conscious of where your time is going and how to use that time to best benefit you.
If you’re not in control of your own schedule, who is? Do you really want someone else to be in control of your time? Your answer is probably a resounding no. In that case, it’s probably time to implement some of the time management tips discussed above.Conclusion
Time management allows people to do more work well in less time. While it’s true that everyone has 24 hours in the day, people who know and practice the techniques for managing those hours optimally can accomplish more than people who don’t. Time is too precious a resource to waste, so don’t spend it doing something that doesn’t add value to your life.
Did any of these tips resonate with you? What strategies do you use to manage your time correctly? Find the habits that work best for you, and run with them. You’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish when managing your time effectively.
Social media has taken the world by storm, providing many new marketing opportunities. As with all things, social media offers both advantages and disadvantages to businesses looking to market on social media platforms. Understanding them can help determine if a social media marketing strategy is suitable for your business.What Is Social Media Marketing?
Social media marketing aims to generate leads and sales by creating content for social media platforms. Social media strategies can help you engage with your audience, improve brand loyalty, and ultimately lead to conversions. Your marketing strategy can be short-term or long-term, depending on your needs.Advantages of Social Media
Many consumers spend several hours daily on social media, making it a great place to grab their attention and grow your business. Below are a few of the benefits of social media marketing.Free to Join
Social media platforms are entirely free to join. There are no signup fees — time is your initial investment. Some platforms offer premium or paid strategy options, but you can start small and gradually increase your spending. Generally, social media helps boost conversion rates and achieve higher returns on investment than print or search advertising.Reach Large Audiences
Millions of people are on at least one social media platform, so it’s an excellent opportunity to reach many people interested in your offerings. Joining multiple social media platforms helps you expand your reach even further with more diverse opportunities to find and interact with leads.
Not only can you target large audiences, but you can narrow your efforts to those specific people who are actively interested in your products or services. Many print ads are designed to reach as many people as possible, regardless of their interests. Social media helps you save your marketing budget by allowing you to target only those who want your offerings and bring in the more qualified leads with better chances of conversion.
You can also use social media to target specific parameters unique to an audience, such as their location. For example, if you’re a small coffee shop looking to attract locals to your business, you can use certain hashtags and location services that social platforms provide.Awareness
Social media can increase brand awareness. It amplifies your brand visibility by grabbing the attention of consumers who haven’t heard of your business yet. The more engaging content you create and post, the more awareness you can establish for yourself.Connect With Your Audience
One of the most significant advantages of social media is connection. People all over the world connect through social media. It allows information to be shared worldwide and provides people with a sense of closeness.
Unlike most other marketing strategies, a social media campaign can provide a direct line of communication between you and your audience. Through customer interaction, you’re able to gain a better understanding of what your audience is seeking from your business. There are several ways social media helps you connect with your audience.Understand Your Audience
Understanding your target customers allows you to provide them with more valuable content. It lets you tailor your content to their interests, which increases engagement on your business page. You can see who’s interacting with your posts and whether it’s positive or negative engagement. You can then adapt your marketing strategy to provide a better experience for your audience.See Your Business From the Customer’s Perspective
Interacting with your customers on social media can give you feedback on how they perceive your brand. Knowing how customers view your brand can help you make better marketing decisions. You can use this information to profit from the features people like and correct the ones they don’t.Improve Customer Service
Direct contact with your audience makes it easier to resolve issues. You can speak to them directly and work with them individually to solve their problems. Customers are more likely to trust a brand when their customer service needs are handled in a prompt and personal manner.Direct Website Traffic
Social media is excellent for driving traffic to your website, as social platforms often let you post content with a website link. Creating captivating content may persuade people to click your link. Once on your website, they can learn more about and gain familiarity with your brand. Social media traffic can then bolster your other marketing strategies by creating relevant traction on your page.Create Organic Content
Social media allows companies to publish organic content for free, opening many opportunities to find low-cost leads. You can also publish content whenever and however often as you want. You can create videos, text, or photos depending on the platform. It’s a great way to introduce people to your brand and help them become more familiar with it.Stay Up to Date on Relevant Topics
Social media contains valuable data, including important information about your customers. Tools like social listening can help you discover what people are saying about your brand and competitors. Discover what people like about your business or what improvements you can make to better meet their needs.
Through social media, you can also keep up with current industry trends. You can see what your competitors are doing and how you can improve your offerings to attract more customers.Easy Access to Paid Advertising
If you’re looking to create something beyond organic content, social media platforms provide options for paid advertising. Social media capabilities vary from platform to platform because each one offers different paid advertising options. Paid ads get your brand in front of interested leads who haven’t heard of you yet, and these ads can be customized to appear in the feeds of people searching for products and services like yours.Disadvantages of Social Media
Like every other marketing strategy, social media campaigns have disadvantages. Disadvantages don’t mean your campaign won’t succeed, but they present potential obstacles you may run into. Here are some disadvantages to be aware of.Negative Feedback
People use social media to share their experiences, both good and bad. If customers have had a negative experience with your company, they may turn to social media to share this experience with others.
Negative feedback can come in different forms depending on the social media platform. Facebook lets customers leave negative reviews on your business page. People who look up your company on Facebook can then access these reviews.
On platforms like Twitter or Instagram, people can tag companies in their posts with negative feedback. Multiple people can then share these posts and spread the negative word. It’s especially problematic if influencers post negative feedback about your brand. Their followers, some of whom may be your customers, may stop buying your goods. It may also prevent new leads from shopping with you.
Complaints and negative feedback are common on social media platforms. When people have a negative experience with a company, they may feel obligated to share to prevent others from having the same bad experience.Misinformation
Social media platforms are often filled with misleading information. People create posts with inaccuracies that others share without verifying their legitimacy. Someone can make up false rumors about your company which can quickly spread over social media. This can cause customers to cease business with your company or prevent future leads.Time-Consuming Campaigns
Social media marketing campaigns require a lot of time and attention. A successful campaign involves creating and posting daily content. It requires consistent monitoring and frequent interaction with your audience. All of this can be challenging without the right resources. Small businesses or companies with small marketing teams may find social media marketing to be challenging.
If you want to run a social media campaign but don’t have the time or resources, consider working with a marketing agency. They can do all of the posting and monitoring for you, so you have time to focus on other business matters.Lack of Immediate Results
Companies expect to see immediate results when they invest in a marketing strategy. However, social media marketing doesn’t often produce quick results. Your campaign’s success cannot be determined by posting one piece of content; you need to post multiple pieces of content over time.Constant Need for New Content
As content consumption on social networks grows, users become tired and bored quickly and are always looking for new content. Many companies see a drop in social media followers after just a couple of weeks of not posting. People expect new content from the businesses they follow. You’ll need to post content daily to keep your current users engaged and attract new followers.Vulnerability to Competition
It’s hard to hide your marketing strategies on social media. Your competitors are likely watching you and can efficiently study your strategy for their gain. They may copy them for their benefit and take you out of the market. Despite your creative campaign, you risk others using your ideas to benefit their business.Bottom Line
Whether or not you implement a marketing strategy should depend on your specific business goals and resources. Every marketing strategy will have disadvantages, so don’t let them be the only determining factor when choosing a marketing strategy. Consider them obstacles and determine if you have the resources to overcome them.
If you’re interested in diving into social media marketing and are unsure where to start, Avalaunch Media® is here for you! We can help you determine which platforms are best for your company and create ads that will entice your audience. Learn more about how we can launch your brand on social media!
Your marketing says a lot about your company, so it’s essential to execute your marketing plans in a strategic way. When developing these strategies, your company will have to decide whether to use an in-house marketing team or outsource to a marketing agency.
There are pros and cons to both marketing options; in-house marketing allows for better control over your marketing strategy, but a marketing agency will give you access to a broader range of marketing talents. To help you make the best decisions for your company, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons for both in-house marketing and marketing agencies. Using this information, you can make an informed decision and choose how to move forward with your marketing strategy.What Is In-House Marketing?
In-house marketing is when you utilize the people within your company or hire new in-house employees for the specific purpose of running your marketing. It involves building an internal team to create, manage, and maintain your marketing strategy — and very little, if anything, is outsourced to another company.
With in-house marketing, you can have more control over things like content creation, task management, payroll, etc. An in-house marketing team only markets its own brand and therefore has specialized knowledge, but talents in an internal marketing department aren’t quite as diverse. When your entire marketing team is within your company, it’s easy to control projects from start to finish. It’s also easier to maintain the quality of your marketing implementation, as well as rearrange priorities and take on tasks that need a quick turnaround time.What Is Agency Marketing?
Agency marketing involves outsourcing your marketing needs. A marketing agency takes on clients and can handle every aspect of their campaigns, including email automation, social media, blog posts, website content, etc. In this case, your own employees do very little by way of marketing. This way, you don’t have to worry about hiring employees to fill marketing roles and can instead have an external group handle all of it.
With agency marketing, you get access to expertise you might not have otherwise. Agencies hire employees that are experts in their respective fields. While choosing to go with an agency for your marketing means that you might have to wait for the work to be done, you can rest assured they know what they’re doing — and you won’t need to find employees to cover your advertising.
What’s more, the diversity you’ll be able to find in the talent pool of a marketing agency is unparalleled. You will also get to access software and technology that is relevant to your needs but could be expensive for your company to acquire. This helps your marketing campaign get in front of your target audience more quickly and efficiently.Pros and Cons of In-House Marketing
Choosing to do all your marketing in-house has pros and cons. It’s easier to keep everything organized and together when all of your marketing needs are kept in one place and within your company. But marketing requires full-time attention, which can be a big lift for your employees. It can sometimes be too much if you don’t have a large in-house team or if your team doesn’t have the expertise needed to succeed.Pro: Workflow Speed
In-house marketing means every team member is focused on your business and only your business. If your in-house team is on top of things, they can quickly get projects done. Since agencies take on multiple clients at once, the workflow speed can be affected.Pro: Communication and Collaboration
Communication is vital to successful project management, and collaboration is crucial for teamwork. When everyone is a part of the same company, already uses the same tools, and has the same company knowledge, it can make for simpler marketing management. The team can work on project goals and expectations together with fewer bottlenecks.Pro: Data Security
Data security is easier to achieve when you don’t have to share it with a third party. With an in-house marketing team, you can limit the accessibility of your data to those who need it while making it easier for the appropriate individuals to access it when necessary.Pro: Brand Ownership and Knowledge
Since an agency usually has multiple clients, they have to learn to brand in several different voices, and there may be a number of people working on your messaging at once. This can sometimes affect the cohesiveness of your voice. Having an in-house marketing team means you have complete control over the tone of your marketing assets and the way your brand is presented. In-house marketers will also have a more sound knowledge of your industry, products, and services while an agency will require time to learn about them.Con: Limited Resources
On the other hand, keeping your marketing in-house limits your resources. If your company is smaller, you’ll only have a small marketing team, which means you have limited skill sets available to you. Big companies can have larger marketing teams, which can require breaking the team into smaller groups for easier management, slowing down communication. Hiring a marketing agency can prevent this issue and often cut costs as well.Con: Limited Suggestions
When your entire marketing team is internal and plans are only circulated through the company, it can sometimes be challenging to see the forest for the trees. Your ideas and strategies are created in an echo chamber, and suggestions can be limited. An outside perspective can help with this issue. A marketing agency will share suggestions and raise reservations about your plans, which can make your projects more successful.Con: Lack of External Support
A marketing agency can bring in years of experience while an in-house team has only as much expertise as your employees have. Having an agency on your side brings in more expertise and unique contributions that can optimize your marketing efforts.Pros and Cons of Agency Marketing
There are plenty of perks to outsourcing your marketing efforts to an agency. Doing so frees up your employees to work on other tasks and projects and gives you access to industry professionals and specialists you wouldn’t have otherwise. You can use their expertise to further your company’s marketing goals. In this age of technology, you can outsource your marketing needs to the best in the business, no matter where they are.Pro: Fresh Ideas
When your marketing plans have only been reviewed by your in-house team, it’s easy to miss gaps in your strategy. Ideas can get stale when they’ve been suggested and reviewed repeatedly. Hiring a marketing agency allows you to collaborate with marketing experts who know your industry inside and out and can bring in new ideas and fresh eyes.Pro: Deep Industry Knowledge
Marketing agencies hire people who are experts in their fields, and that expertise can be hard to match with an internal marketing team. Your company benefits from this deep industry knowledge when you hire agencies with successful track records. An agency also has a broader range of skill sets because they hire people specifically for SEO, social media management, content writing, paid advertising, and more.Pro: Flexibility
A marketing agency can provide you with knowledge and support in specialized topics, meaning your team doesn’t have to scramble to learn niche information that an agency already knows. In turn, your team can concentrate on the tasks that fall within their area of expertise. This means your own team doesn’t need to worry about it and can focus more on productive tasks and provide greater flexibility.Pro: Creativity
Agencies have also cultivated and carefully curated creative tools over years of experience. Whatever task you throw at them, they have someone suited to take it on. The way an agency is set up makes it easier for employees to be creative and explore different options to best succeed at a task.Con: Slower Communication
As we’ve mentioned, marketing agencies often serve several clients at once, and they have to prioritize their work to keep on top of everything. Because of this, communication can sometimes be slow. Prompt communication is more accessible when your team is in-house, mainly because many agencies use phone or email to communicate with their clients. Phone calls can be inconvenient when they happen regularly, and email can be a slower form of communication.
Collaboration can also be slower with a marketing agency if no processes exist. The back-and-forth communication can slow the process down, affecting your bottom line if you’re not careful.Con: More Details
For an agency to provide you with the content you want, they need you to clearly communicate your goals. This often means getting a detailed brief to them for each task you need them to do. Creating a brief can be time-consuming and tedious without a system in place. An in-house marketing team would probably need fewer details because they already know the company’s necessary goals and tasks.Con: Less Data-Driven
Because you want to keep your data safe, the data access you can give an agency is sometimes limited, meaning an agency may have to make decisions with limited information. Making a blind decision can affect your marketing efficiency and lower conversion rates.What Is Hybrid Marketing?
If your company has a reasonable marketing budget but only has limited resources for an internal marketing team, then a hybrid marketing model might be a good option for you. This model uses a combination of in-house and agency marketing to reach your goals. If you do it correctly, hybrid marketing can be as effective as the exclusive use of in-house or agency marketing.Pros and Cons of Hybrid Marketing
With a hybrid marketing model, you have an in-house marketing team to handle the tasks that need to be done quickly and an agency to provide their expertise and experience in long-term goals. For a hybrid model to work best, you must ensure clear roles and expectations for your in-house team and the agency. Both sides of the coin complement each other to create an effective marketing strategy.Pro: Safer Data
If you choose to use a hybrid marketing strategy, you can make data-driven decisions without giving private information to a third party. This means that your data is safer and can still be used to make decisions that will benefit your business and clients.Pro: Expertise Without Hiring
You’ll also have access to available experts through an agency, but you don’t have to convince them to join your own company to get their expertise. When internal and external perspectives are taken into account, you will be able to get more points of view and brainstorm more effectively.Pro: Software Access
Many agencies have effective but expensive software. Hybrid marketing allows you to utilize this software without finding it or paying for it yourself. The agency side of your marketing team can use that software to find out how to elevate your business, and the in-house side can put those ideas into effect.Con: Crossover
As with any business choice, you must set clear expectations with your in-house team and the agency. If you don’t have specific jobs for everyone involved, you might find that more than one person is doing the same job. In that case, you’ll be paying for the same work multiple times.Con: Expenses
Hybrid marketing tends to cost more. You have to pay both your in-house marketing team and the agency you’re using. Your in-house team could work on client-facing tasks while the agency works on your online presence. Before you choose hybrid marketing, you need to be sure that you have the budget for it.Developing a Marketing Model
Regardless of the marketing model you decide to implement, some factors are necessary for all of them. You need to have clear processes in place, increase transparency, and enforce clear communication. To develop an effective marketing model, you also must establish good contact, ask for regular feedback, use the right tools, and implement effective collaboration techniques.Set Up Processes
Having transparent processes in place ensures everyone involved is on the same page. Set up a workflow structure that outlines how tasks are assigned, finished, delivered, reviewed, edited, and approved. Consider the timeframe to complete projects and who should assign tasks and check them when they’re finished.Transparency
Your employees are likely to be more productive when transparency is high. Transparency increases trust and improves relationships within your organization and between employees. Keep relevant information in an easily accessible place where all collaborators can find it and track how tasks are being completed. It would also serve you well to have regular meetings and even group activities to help your teams connect on a personal level.Communication and Contact
Standard communication isn’t enough with projects like this — you need to encourage direct and effective correspondence. It can be helpful to set up a communication plan to make it easier for your team to converse with each other. Direct contact provides guidance, corrections, and other communications that should be private. Effective communication with clients is also essential, as it sets everyone up for success.
Be consistent and transparent in conversations with your contacts. This goes along with the communication mentioned earlier. Whether you’re working in-house or with an agency, the better your contact, the better you can build a strong relationship. You don’t want any gaps in communication because important tasks can start to slip through those gaps.Regular Feedback
Regular feedback is one of the best ways to improve the quality of your marketing model. You should be asking for input from both your internal and external marketing experts. Everyone wants to feel like their opinions are appreciated, so be sure to consider all the feedback you receive.The Right Tools
Integrate effective communication software tools to keep in touch with everyone involved in your marketing strategy. Many options are available that allow for intercommunication while also storing pertinent files. Using the valuable features of the right tools helps your team converse in real-time.
Many teams find that communication software such as Slack, Google Chats, Discord, and the like are helpful tools. Emails allow for a lot of information to be shared, but it’s not always as immediate as the aforementioned options. Google Drive also provides a space for everyone on your team to share and access information and pertinent files.Collaboration Techniques
You should also encourage creativity and innovation when you’re looking for solid collaboration between team members. Employees shouldn’t have to spend a lot of time finding pertinent information and tracking down task details. Open communication, clear expectations, and specific goals set your team up for success.What Avalaunch Media® Can Do For You
Avalaunch Media® is a leader in the digital marketing industry. We work with a wide variety of client types and help them succeed in their marketing strategies. Our company has been around for over a decade, and we have the knowledge and talent to help your brand grow. Our proven strategies can help you grow your business in today’s digital marketing space.
The Avalaunch team will walk you through every step of taking your company to the next level. We learn your business’s needs and desired outcomes inside and out and develop a framework that will take your business from start to finish. Collectively, we are passionate about marketing and providing tangible results for all of our clients, and we focus on sustainable and long-term success in marketing.
When your company decides to use a marketing agency for your marketing needs, get the best of the best with Avalaunch Media®. Check out our website to learn more and see how we can launch your company! If you have any questions about our services, feel free to reach out.
“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.” — Bill Gates, 1996
Even though Bill Gates said this back in 1996, it’s still just as accurate today — marketing automation makes it easier to run a business and reach clients. In order for marketing automation to be successful, though, you need to have an efficient system in place. Once effective strategies are implemented, automation will help that system run smoothly.Marketing Automation Terms
There are a few terms in marketing automation that are often confused — email campaigns, email series, and automated email flows. They sound the same, but they are all very different parts of marketing automation. Let’s take a look at the differences between each of these terms.Email Campaign
An email campaign is a one-off email sent to the general list of people. When you hear the phrase “email marketing,” it’s usually referencing this type of marketing. Email campaigns can be batched and blasted in terms of email sending.
An email series refers to one or multiple emails sent to a segmented list of a client’s audience. This list is based on the activity or opt-in of the contact. If customers are on this list, their needs or desires lead to a common goal. An email series can be scheduled but can’t be fully automated.
Ex:Automated Email Flow
An automated email flow is an automatic process in which data initiates an email delivery to specific recipients in a timely manner without supervision. Data integration must exist to create a trigger that starts the workflow.
Ex:Projects to Avoid
Some projects included under marketing automation might come up, but they are not the same thing. A couple of examples are cold outreach emails and CRM management. While both have their place, they don’t belong in the same category as marketing automation.Cold Outreach Email
Cold outreach emails are not the same as marketing automation emails. Cold email outreach is when emails are sent to people who don’t know the company yet. Marketing emails go to specific audiences who have already opted in to receive emails from the company. A cold email outreach message is for brand-new prospects.CRM Management
Marketing automation is not the same as CRM, either. CRM setup, sales process/lead assignment, and attribution setup are not in the same wheelhouse as marketing automation. Many programs have capabilities for both, but Avalaunch Media® handles the implementation of marketing techniques rather than CRM management.The Flywheel Model
The Flywheel model encourages a business’s organic and lasting growth. It has a holistic view of marketing efforts. Using it allows for more proactive, strategic thinking rather than reactive, under-the-gun projects.
In Stage 1, you should include the following emails:Browsed Abandon Flow (2-3 emails)Subscriber/Follower Flow (2-4 emails)First Purchase Offer Flow (2-4 emails)Giveaway Registrants Flow (3-4 emails)
Stage 2 should include:Downloaded or Viewed Content Flow (2-3 emails)Connect on Social Media Flow (1-3 emails)Welcome/Re-introduction Flows (2-3 emails)Abandoned Cart Flows (3-5 emails)Incoming Lead Nurture Flow (2-4 emails)
Your Stage 3 should have these emails:Event Attendance Flow, i.e., Webinar (2-3 emails)Post-Purchase Follow-Up (4-5 emails)Replenishment Flow (2-3 emails)
Stage 4 involves:Upsell/Cross-Sell Flow (3-4 emails)Refer a Friend (2-3 emails)Monthly Promotions
In Stage 5, include:Win Back Flow (1-2 emails)Sunset Unengaged (remove unengaged contacts)Subscriber Flow (4-5 emails)Cancel Subscription Win Back Conclusion
Marketing automation can be a good move if you already have an efficient system in place. It can make running a business more manageable because it will reach your customers without much work from you. Just make sure you’re clear on the different marketing automation terms and what doesn’t fall in that category.
If you have questions about how Avalaunch Media® can help you launch your marketing automation, check out our website and contact us today!
The year 2022 holds many new possibilities for search engine optimization (SEO). Every day, the practice of SEO continues to evolve as it becomes more complex and precise. For something that has only been around for a little over 20 years, this analytical tool has made itself invaluable to the online community.
If you’re new to SEO, this article can serve as your guide to the latest SEO news of 2022. But before we go over that, let’s take a look at how far SEO has come. From there, we can move on to the future and possibilities of SEO. Keep reading to learn about SEO in 2022 and to see what the future of SEO holds.SEO Getting Its Start
To understand the latest SEO trends, you first need to understand SEO in general. SEO entered the general lexicon in 1997. At that time, Google didn’t even exist. There were other search engines, but they didn’t have the complexity or power they do today. They acted more like directories. Because no algorithms were in place, there weren’t really rules for displaying results. As companies noticed their URLs weren’t as prominent as they would have liked them to be, the idea of SEO was born.
With SEO, companies were able to vie for that top position on the search engine results page (SERP). A new method of digital marketing was born as companies sought to outrank each other online. And while SEO might not have been one of the top marketing strategies in the late 90s, it’s definitely made itself a priority since then. By implementing SEO best practices, you can attract more attention to your business, generate more traffic, and benefit from increased recognition and sales.SEO Hitting Its Stride
SEO is no longer a simple directory of available services and products. Today, SEO strategies can make or break businesses looking to make their mark in their chosen industry. Whether you’ve been using SEO and are interested in learning what’s new with SEO in 2022 or you’re brand new to this marketing strategy, here’s what you need to know about Google’s algorithm updates for 2022.Accuracy
As Google updates its technology, SEO gets more precise — and with each update, quality content across your blog, website, and SERP meta descriptions becomes increasingly important. It’s essential to make sure your keywords, H1s, and content are all correlated so customers understand what services you offer. When people find content about the topic they’ve searched for, it keeps them engaged and active on your website.
Google also updates its analytic software — for example, Google Analytics 4 (GA4) — so you can take advantage of even more data. This data can be personalized to provide accurate results relating to your organization’s goals and metrics. By analyzing these accurate assessments, you can take stock of how well your website is performing and make necessary tweaks to increase your website’s performance.Optimization
Just because you can find a way to repetitively use keywords to keyword stuff your page doesn’t mean you should; this antiquated practice is no longer beneficial and may even incur a penalty, as it violates the SERP rules. With more precise algorithm updates comes the need for better website optimization. Optimizing your website means ensuring each page is well-written, informative, free of duplicate content and repetition, and spurs the reader to action. Be sure to include all the critical points for top SEO performance — keywords, link building, original content, and working pages in moderation. Google will recognize your website as being well-optimized and reward you with higher SERP rankings.Relevance
As Google updates its algorithms and new SEO trends debut, they all have something in common — relevance. Google now works overtime to improve your search engine experience. This means matching information based on previous searches, page visits, and more. Suggesting pages and results combined with relevant search terms provides web readers, consumers, and customers with a more relevant and rewarding search experience. Consumers get more personalized search results, and corporations can get more relevant information.Trending Features
While accuracy, optimization, and relevance are the SEO trifecta, many additional features contribute to an improved SEO experience. Here are some of the current SEO trends for 2022 that we expect to be around for a while:Rich snippetsLong-form content“People also searched for” featureTraditional SEOCore web vitals
To capitalize on these trends, write quality long-form content that answers questions, utilizes keywords, and offers a great website page experience. Google continually updates its ranking factors, so stay on top of current features and always watch for new ones.SEO Is Heading Places
With Google’s algorithm update earlier in 2022, things are getting more precise and fine-tuned. We can expect more accuracy, data, and top-ranking results.
Is your business getting the type of online traffic you’re expecting? Do you want to see better SERP rankings? Are you looking to captivate more web readers and turn them into customers? All of this is possible with the help of Avalaunch Media®. We are a full-service performance marketing agency specializing in SEO. Our goal is to launch people and businesses through exceptional work quality and skilled implementation strategies. Get in touch with us to learn more about how we can help your business excel online. We’ll walk you through current SEO trends, help you learn SEO 2022 tips and tricks, and stick with you through any changes expected in the future of SEO.
Customer lifecycle marketing recognizes that different marketing strategies are necessary at every stage of a customer’s brand journey. Lifecycle marketing differs from the buyer experience; turning consumers into loyal, active customers takes time and trust. It can be challenging to win people over immediately, but you can employ lifecycle marketing strategies to attract and retain buyers after their initial purchase.What Is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?
Lifecycle marketing is the combination of strategies companies use to positively influence customer behavior as they progress through every stage of the marketing cycle. Lifecycles can be long or short, but no matter the cycle length, several stages make up a lifecycle marketing plan. Understanding these stages allows you to target each audience’s specific needs at each stage, regardless of whether your prospects are new leads, first-time buyers, or repeat customers.Lifecycle Marketing Stages
Marketers have created many methods for increasing profits and have used numerous tools to reach customers. In lifecycle marketing, stages play a unique role, and marketing is viewed as a journey. Each stage of the lifecycle is unique and requires a different approach. These stages include:Brand awarenessCustomer engagementEvaluation PurchaseCustomer retentionBrand loyalty Brand Awareness
Brand awareness is the first stage of the customer lifecycle and is where your relationship with the customer begins. Awareness is the stage at which customers start learning about your brand. The most challenging part of this stage is making your brand stand out from the competition, as potential customers receive hundreds of marketing messages daily.Customer Engagement
During the engagement stage, people will begin interacting with your brand. The customer is interested in your offerings and wants to find out more by following you on social media, signing up for your email newsletter, or looking at your website. People will also often start paying closer attention to what others say about your brand and how you respond to customer complaints or requests.Evaluation
The evaluation stage is where customers decide whether to purchase from your brand. They may look at company reviews, research, or check their gut before making final purchase decisions. Providing digital self-services, such as FAQs or review sections, can help customers trying to find answers themselves. Ensure easy access to information that will help prospects compare features and prices.Purchase
The purchase stage is where people make their final buying decision. People who make it through this stage are now your customers. You don’t need to promote your brand during this stage, but you should strive to make the purchase process as painless and straightforward as possible.Customer Retention
The most important thing you can do to retain customers is meet their needs post-purchase. Many people won’t return after their first purchase if they don’t feel like they have access to needed support. It’s essential to follow up and provide support where necessary to ensure their satisfaction. Following up is an easy way to prove to your customers that you value them.Brand Loyalty
Customers reach this stage when they are so happy with your brand that they spread the word. Continuing to provide quality service and support and nurturing a connection with customers can create an emotional bond that will keep them coming back. Don’t forget about customers once they’ve made purchases. Strengthening relationships with current customers not only encourages people to continue shopping with your company but may also convince them to bring in new prospects.Customer Lifecycle Marketing Strategy
Strategy drives successful lifecycle marketing campaigns. A good strategic plan helps you build your customer base, convert one-time purchasers into repeat customers, and improve your customer lifetime value. You’ll have difficulty bringing in the right leads and may waste a lot of your budget without proper strategies.
The best marketing strategies plan for customer interactions at every stage of the lifecycle. Here’s how you can apply proper strategy through every stage.Brand Awareness Strategy
Creating visual, shareable content helps you attract more people from your target audience. Some brand awareness strategies include:Creating buyer personas to understand your target audience better.Launching social media ads that will stand out to customers.Researching and incorporating keywords in your content that relate to your audience.Working with influencers to promote your products to your audience. Creating blog posts that address the common problems your prospects may have.
Although acquiring new customers is crucial, many companies spend too much time and effort on this stage. Don’t exhaust all your resources acquiring new customers; ensure you have enough time and effort for future stages.Customer Engagement Strategy
As part of your customer engagement strategies, you should direct visitors to your website or social media pages and provide details about your products or services that will convince them to choose your brand over your competitors.
Prospects often have a lot of questions during this stage. Provide content that’s easy to understand and gives precise answers to their questions. The following are some examples of engagement strategies:Promote your product’s features through video demonstrations.Write guides or blog posts to provide answers to common questions.Provide long-form content that covers industry research or trends.Include testimonials and case studies that emphasize the benefits of doing business with you.Create landing pages that encourage engagement. Purchase
After impressing potential customers, the next step is to convince them to make a purchase. The best way to do this is to make the purchase process as easy as possible. Compare your brand to your competitors to determine what prospects need to see or know to make a purchase. Some strategies include:Presenting product features and up-front pricing on your website so customers can compare your products with others.Including customer reviews to provide customers with confidence in their purchases.Ensuring you can deliver a good customer service experience and addressing any post-purchase issues.Providing free trials to offer peace of mind with full investment.
As with the customer engagement stage, personalization is the key to converting potential buyers into customers. Try to make prospects feel unique instead of just being another revenue-generating number.Customer Retention
Retaining customers costs companies less money than acquiring new ones, yet many companies aren’t spending enough time on retention. Most customers will make additional purchases with a company that offers exceptional customer service. When you provide top-notch service after a sale, you can keep customers, improve the customer experience, and ultimately increase revenue. The following are some customer retention strategies:Provide discount codes or offers that can be applied to future purchases.Create targeted ads featuring complementary products and services to accompany first purchases. Give existing customers exclusive access to new products or services.Ensure easy access to support through tools like live chat, messaging, and FAQs.Create self-service options for simple service problems. Brand Loyalty
Many satisfied customers become brand advocates and tell everyone they know about your brand. These customers choose your brand over others and can drive sales as repeat buyers. Showing people you value their feedback is key to building customer loyalty, as customers are more likely to stay with a brand they trust. Here are some brand loyalty strategies:Offer free products or discount codes as incentives for sharing reviews.Provide exclusive features for returning customers or create a loyalty program.Offer rewards to people who bring in new customers. Create reactivation campaigns for customers who haven’t shopped with you in a while. Customer Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns
Customer needs evolve through each stage of the lifecycle, and implementing a customer lifecycle marketing campaign is the most efficient way to address these needs. Segmenting your audience based on their place in the customer journey allows you to build a proper relationship based on their individual needs.
Providing consistent value across all lifecycle channels can help you attract new customers and establish repeat buyers. Creating a captivating campaign while targeting the proper lifecycle stage can be challenging but worth it, as you’re likely to boost customer loyalty and referrals and reach revenue goals.
Here are some examples of campaigns for every lifecycle stage.Brand Awareness Campaign
Creating blogs that rank high in SERPs provides customers with the information they may be looking for. When they read your blog, they are introduced to your website and get a feel for your brand. It may also be beneficial to include easy links to let people learn more about your product or make a purchase.Customer Engagement Campaign
Provide a pop-up for people to enter their information while reading blogs on your website, such as their email addresses. Encourage them to fill out the form to receive more information on what they’re reading and how your offerings can meet their needs.Purchase Campaign
Make the purchase process as easy as possible. You can simplify the checkout process by having shipping and billing information pre-saved for returning customers, so it only takes seconds to submit their order.
Include customer reviews for your products or services so people can feel confident in their purchases. Provide links to related products on a page so people can easily find products that may complement the products they’re interested in.Customer Retention Campaign
Provide an email confirmation that summarizes the order and includes the return policy and any additional information the customer may need. You can also send an email a few days later introducing a limited quantity of exclusive products that may tempt them to make another purchase.Customer Loyalty Campaign
Create loyalty programs that encourage customers to continue doing business with you. A loyalty program example includes a point system that adds points based on the amount of money customers spend. These points can then be used as a discount on future purchases.
Informing customers of how you give back regarding charity work or other social means may also build an emotional connection with them. Emotionally connected customers spend much more per year with a company than other customers.How to Boost a Lifecycle Marketing Campaign
Here’s a quick list of ideas for bettering your lifecycle marketing campaigns.Track the percentage of clients who return to your site to make additional purchases to measure customer loyalty. Compare the number of new and returning customers to determine the share of repeat buyers.Try to collect contact information from people who visit your site, such as options for subscribing to your email list. This can help you grow your brand awareness and engagement and encourage customers to purchase from your website. Track how much money returning customers are spending on repeat purchases. Experiment with loyalty offers that can increase purchases.Send newsletters to customers even after they’ve made a purchase, as this will keep your brand in mind for future purchases.Provide exclusive offers and loyalty programs to make every customer feel valued. Customers who feel important to a company are more likely to make additional purchases. Lifecycle Email Marketing
Emails play a considerable role in marketing and can benefit from the customer lifecycle. Knowing where your customers are in the lifecycle can guide the type of emails you send. You can send several kinds of emails, such as welcome emails, promotional content, newsletters, and surveys. Sending emails at the right time is crucial so they don’t get buried in peoples’ inboxes. They should also be interesting enough to make people want to open them.Welcome Emails
Your welcome email is the first email you send to new subscribers and is the beginning of your relationship with them. This email should be a major area of focus. The way you encourage future engagement is an essential factor in winning them over as a client. Are there any coupons you can provide for a discount on their first purchase? Is there any news you need to share? Is there a deal on a specific product they won’t want to miss?Promotional Emails
Promotional emails build customer retention by incentivizing customers to continue purchasing from your brand instead of the competition. Promotional emails often include a discount code to encourage current customers to make additional purchases. They can also be used to announce an exclusive product or offer only available to existing customers.Newsletters
Companies use newsletters to discuss information with customers. This information can be about significant company changes, announcing new blog posts, or discussing industry topics. Newsletters are often longer than other emails and should contain engaging content and calls to action to learn more.Re-Engagement Emails
Sending an email to customers who haven’t visited the website in a while may convince them to return. People are often busy in their day-to-day lives and sometimes need a quick reminder that you still value them as customers.How to Improve Your Email Campaign
Don’t get discouraged if your email rates are low. There are a few ways to improve your email campaigns and make enticing email content people want to open. Here are some options to try:Make sure your subject lines have a good length, message, and sufficient context.Ensure the preheader text is as eye-catching as possible.Add attention-grabbing designs, including videos and graphics. Personalize the emails with the customer’s name.Provide a clear CTA.Test and compare new send-out times, such as Saturday morning vs. Friday night, to see when you get a higher open rate. Why Is Lifecycle Marketing Important?
Understanding the customer lifecycle is essential for properly reaching out to customers. During some stages of the lifecycle, prospects may be interested but questioning your brand, while in other stages, customers may have made a purchase and need an incentive to return.
If someone just discovered your brand, you’re better off telling them about the benefits of your product instead of trying to convince them to make a purchase immediately. However, repeat customers don’t need to be reminded of product benefits continually. It’s better to provide exclusive deals and loyalty program offers to existing customers.
Because of all this, each stage requires its own marketing strategy. Using the correct type of content at the right time can enhance the customer experience, as it proves to customers that you are more concerned with meeting their needs and answering their questions than using them to make a profit.Implement Lifecycle Marketing Strategies In Your Marketing Campaigns
Now that you know all of the benefits and stages of lifecycle marketing, the next step is implementing it in your company’s marketing campaigns. Begin mapping out the customer lifecycle and determining how to use these stages and strategies to better your marketing efforts.
Investing in a marketing agency can help you correctly target customers throughout the customer lifecycle. Avalaunch Media is a full-service marketing agency ready to help you reach your audience at every stage of the customer lifecycle. We are passionate about the marketing industry and are committed to maximizing results for our clients. We develop and execute marketing strategies to win our clients’ trust. Contact Avalaunch Media today and let us help you launch your brand.
Your branding is what distinguishes your business from competitors and helps people recognize you in the marketplace — and it’s essential for your success. In order for your branding to be effective, you need to be familiar with the components of bad branding. Whether branding a new company or rebranding an existing company, learning from others’ mistakes yields valuable lessons. Keep reading for examples of branding gone wrong, how to avoid rebranding fails, and what to do instead to create successful branding.What Constitutes Bad Branding?
Lousy branding is any branding that attracts the wrong kind of attention. This could look take the form of carelessly designed logos, unintentionally hidden meanings in an advertisement, or any other oversight that is obvious after the fact.
In many cases, bad branding can be worse than no branding. Without it, customers may never become aware of your brand. With bad branding, you could be sending the wrong messages and inadvertently turning potential customers in your competitors’ direction.The Consequences of a Poorly Maintained Brand
A poorly maintained brand has consequences. Perhaps the worst is the possibility of losing your core customer base. If your brand upkeep efforts are lazy or careless, you’ll likely lose touch with customers and see a downtick in sales, clients, and enthusiasm for new products and services. After that, if you can’t pull it back up, you could lose your entire company. Fortunately, it’s not too late to salvage a poorly maintained if you’ve been slacking as a company. We’ve listed some mistakes you can avoid and ideas you can follow through with below to successfully brand your company.Common Branding Mistakes
With access to the internet and information about branding gone wrong, it’s never been easier to learn about common branding mistakes and how to avoid them. We’ve identified some of the most common mistakes and why these moves could hurt your business.Cold Email Campaigns
Cold email campaigns are ones that target people who aren’t familiar with your brand. While these campaigns can be beneficial for exposing your brand to a new customer base, don’t make the mistake of trying to sell to them before you have established a relationship. If you do, you could be wasting your email marketing budget and end up in a spam folder.Ignoring SEO
For many consumers, Google is the end-all-be-all. You need to know how to play the Google game to stay relevant — and to do that, you need to take advantage of SEO. Research relevant keywords and the way your customer base is searching for them so that you can develop a strategy that will capitalize on these terms.Poor Web Design
Your digital presence needs to be strong. Web design can help you reach further than you probably could otherwise; developing an impactful logo, a memorable color scheme, and an easily navigable website can help you stand out in customers’ minds and increase your chances of conversion. However, poor design choices can have the opposite effect and reflect poorly on your brand. If a customer has a negative experience on your website, they’re unlikely to try again, so you’ll lose customers.Inconsistency
Inconsistent branding is a quick way to kill your brand recognition. It not only makes it difficult for people to identify your business from platform to platform, but it also makes your audience think you don’t know what you’re doing or who you are. This may stir up distrust in your customers and give your company a bad reputation. You need to have a strong brand style guide and know what your company stands for so your marketing can be consistent wherever your brand appears.Audience Disconnect
If you don’t research the target audience you’re trying to reach, you won’t know how to connect with them. Being inclusive and accessible in your designs makes it easier to form connections and win over a wide range of people.Insincerity
Your customers can spot inauthenticity from a mile away. Even if you get away with ‘faking it’ for a while, there’s always a chance that your audience will find you out, and then you risk losing them. Be true to your brand and trust that your ideal customers will find you.Being Generic
It’s really easy to produce generic content — anyone can do that. Your audience wants to see what your brand is all about. Check your logo, images, brand name, and marketing materials for anything that isn’t representative of your business or unique to your company. Your customers are less likely to care about or even remember a generic brand that makes no effort to be different from everyone else.Bad Branding Examples
There are plenty of companies and products out there that need rebranding. While the brands below might not be the worst examples, they could definitely benefit from some professional help. Whether it’s a company that hasn’t changed with the times or a brand that has made oversights or rebranding mistakes, their brands have a lesson to offer. Read about these companies below that could benefit from a rebrand or that have failed in their rebranding to learn what to avoid in your efforts.Avon
Avon used to be the epitome of convenience with their door-to-door cosmetics that gave homemakers a chance to earn extra money. But now we have online shopping, which has become more convenient than door-to-door sales. In 2014, Avon had a series of bribery suits that caused its wholesome facade to fade. This former trendsetter could probably benefit from a rebrand.Johnson & Johnson
Johnson & Johnson has had a scandal problem in the last few years. They had to recall thousands of bottles of baby powder because of traces of asbestos. Beyond that, the company has known about the asbestos problem for at least 50 years. Their family company image was hit hard, and a rebrand could help them get ahead of the scandal once the suits have been settled.Pepsi
Pepsi hasn’t positively changed its image in years. Their logo isn’t relevant to their product, and customers are noticing. They tried to rebrand in 2014 with a new logo, but it was considered a failure after the negative criticism they received. This attempt exemplifies how essential it is to get feedback from long-time customers when you decide to rebrand.Weight Watchers
Weight Watchers is a company known for wellness around the world. When the company changed its name after 55 years, its customer base was confused. Changing the name to WW left people unsure about what they were advertising. The name change is considered a rebrand misstep, even though the company decided to keep the new name.Yahoo!
In 2013, Yahoo! developed a marketing campaign around rebranding its logo. It spend a month building up to its new logo, but in the end, it didn’t up being much different from the original one. This left the customer base pretty disappointed. When rebranding, try not to hype up your audience if your changes will be indistinguishable from your original branding. If there’s going to be a significant buildup, your audience will expect a reveal to match the publicity.Why Rebrand?
Before you jump into a rebranding project, it’s important to figure out a timeline first. There’s a right and a wrong time for a rebrand, and taking that leap is a move that should be well researched and understood in advance.
Your “why” is the most critical part of a rebrand; if you haven’t yet developed an answer that justifies the time and expense of such an undertaking, take a little time to think it out. We have some suggestions on why you might want to reposition your business and rebrand.Your Mission Has Changed
When you change the way you do business, it changes your brand. If your brand and mission are misaligned, that’s a great reason to reposition yourself accordingly. A well-strategized rebrand will bring your business back in line with your mission.You Have a New Product
Introducing a new product or service may present a good opportunity for a rebrand. Adding a new product line or service could justify a rebrand to introduce the new offering and show how it relates to your existing brand.Bad Reputation
If your brand has recently earned a negative reputation, a rebrand can help eliminate the bad associations and give you a fresh start if you give it time and thought. Whether you’ve experienced a scandal or been called out for your business practices, you can come back from it — as long as you do it properly.Your Industry or Customer Base Has Changed
Most industries are continuously evolving in this technological age. If you notice that the new generation of consumers isn’t drawn to your brand, a rebrand could be just the ticket to getting new business and putting your company in front of fresh eyes.You’re Getting Outperformed
Sometimes, a rebrand may be needed simply because you’re not competitive in your industry, and your rivals are getting the better of you. That can happen even to the largest and best companies, but you can fix it. A rebrand will help your company to stand out from the crowd.How to Avoid Rebranding Failures
Even worse than not rebranding when necessary is suffering from rebranding failures. Here are some suggestions for avoiding the common pitfalls and mistakes that are commonly encountered when creating or rebranding a company.The Right Designer
You need a talented designer to make your rebrand come to life. They can use their expertise to make your brand exceptionally appealing, and they’ll be able to help you avoid design problems. It will serve you both better if you give them background information and broad ideas instead of specifics that will pin them down creatively.Get Your Whole Staff Involved
You’re missing out on critical opportunities if you only involve creative teams in your rebrand. People from other departments offer insights from a different perspective and might help you catch mistakes or provide meaningful feedback.Consider Your Customer
When it comes to rebranding, it’s vital to consider your customers’ perspectives. It’s easy to find out what they want by sending out a survey to your customer base; most people will jump at the opportunity to influence their favorite brands. Try to be as inclusive as possible when getting feedback, or you’ll lose out on opportunities to hear from broader audiences.Think Big
Rebranding your company is an investment. You want to ensure that it can withstand the test of time in your industry. Use abstract imagery and a broad purpose statement rather than committing to a design that will date your company in a year or two. It’s also important to do your research so that you can expand globally in the future if that’s your hope.Look at Your History
It can be helpful to look at your history so you can plan your future. Knowing the history of your company will help you avoid discarded branding and keep you from repeating rebranding failures. Instead, you’ll be able to concentrate your efforts on new, quality work instead of ideas that have already been rejected.Consider the Competition
One of the most important things to consider when rebranding is your competition. You don’t want your rebranded company to look too much like a competitor’s brand. This can make your marketing assets look generic, which you don’t want, or it can lead to trademark violations and other legal issues. Your company should stand out from the competition and draw in customers with its own flair.Think About Context
Think about your brand in every context; make sure that any acronyms don’t spell out something inappropriate and that there aren’t any unfortunate rhymes or unintentional messages. Your logo should avoid unwanted images in the positive and negative space and from any direction you look at it. Look up words related to your brand in different languages and ensure there aren’t any issues.
You also need to ensure your brand doesn’t touch on social or historical issues. To prevent that, show your brand to people from different generations and cultures. Do your research before you release your new brand.How Avalaunch Can Help With a Successful Rebrand
If you’re looking to rebrand but are unsure where to start, our expert marketers can help. Avalaunch Media has over a decade of experience assisting companies with their brands and successfully helping them rebrand when they need to. We’ll help you handle everything from brand messaging and content to PR and web development.
Check out our website to learn about our services and how we can help you elevate your business. If you’re ready to launch, contact us and let us do what we do best.
The value of sending snail mail is something that was ingrained in me from a very young age. After birthdays or Christmas, my parents would expect me to send thank-you cards to friends and relatives who gave me presents. When I started working, I stuck with it: I sent cards after job interviews and to colleagues who had especially impacted my career, and I realized it was a quick way to stand out in a world where most people don’t send snail mail.
So, when I launched my business a decade ago—a resume review side hustle on Fiverr—it felt very natural to integrate greeting cards into my client experience. Even though people were only paying me $5 for a resume review, I could afford to march down to TJ Maxx and buy a dozen cards for a few bucks to send a thank you card, along with a congratulations note when they landed a job.
My business has changed a lot since then, but my reliance on snail mail has not. Through my career coaching business, I’ve been able to help more than 1,000 clients with their careers and share advice with over 250,000 followers on social media. (Plus, I now charge a lot more than I did in my Fiverr days.) But I still carve out the time to send hundreds of holiday, birthday, and congratulations cards each year. It may sound like a slow way to market a business in our digital-focused world, but it’s been instrumental to my success.
Read on to learn how snail mail plays into my marketing strategy, the tactical details of how I implement it, and how any business owner can adapt this for their own client experience.How sending cards has helped my business growth
Most of my work comes from referrals or return clients, and I attribute that in no small part to the cards I send out.
For one, it makes my clients feel special and seen, which is especially important in a relationship-based field like coaching. Often, clients will snap a photo of the card and share it on social media, commenting that they love working with a coach who recognizes them as more than a number. That’s a feeling that really sticks and makes them want to work with me again next time they need support. (Not to mention, their post serves as free word-of-mouth-marketing to all of their followers.) I also think this offline approach amplifies the impact of my online content—when clients see my social media posts, they’re more excited to engage with them because of the personal relationship we have built.
The cards also emphasize the impact of our work together. Too many people are bad at celebrating wins, but when they receive a card congratulating them on the new job or promotion they landed, they have an excuse to pause for a moment and be really proud of themselves. Clients have told me that they’ll keep my cards to look at in difficult moments and remind themselves of the things they’ve been able to achieve in the past. In addition, continuing to stay in touch on holidays or birthdays helps me regularly remind them I'm here for them in a non-salesy way.
Physical mail also makes it easy for my clients to refer me to family, friends, and colleagues. I eventually upgraded my snail mail to include a custom cork coaster that says “you are fabulous” and has my website printed at the bottom. I’ve had many clients hand these off to contacts who are looking for career support, or even ask for extra coasters so they can have them on hand anytime they meet someone looking for a coach. They’re more expensive than business cards, but people actually keep and display them for years and see them as a daily reminder of the experience they had working with me.Kyle's custom cork coaster
I think of this approach as planting seeds. Do I always see immediate ROI from the mail I send out? No. But I’ve also had potential clients reach out saying they saw my coaster on their friends’ desk—one I had sent months or even years before. By creating something that people like to keep around, I’m top of mind when they’re looking for what I have to offer.How I integrate this habit into my busy schedule
So how do I send all this mail without it taking up all of my time?
For starters, I always keep the materials I need on hand. I’ve since upgraded from packs of discount cards to custom branded cards that I worked with my designer, Christa Fleming, to create, which makes the experience more polished and keeps my brand front and center. I have a custom birthday card, as well as a more generic card I can use for congratulations or other purposes. For my holiday cards, I design something new each year using a photo of me and my partner.The birthday cards Kyle's clients receive
I also keep a simple Excel spreadsheet with addresses for current clients and past clients from the last few years, as well as industry colleagues, people who send me referrals, and anyone else who had an impact on my business or life. I’ll also add their birthdays to my calendar. Once a year, I like to go through my calendar and add to my spreadsheet anyone I had a good conversation with, so I can re-spark the relationship.
Then, each Friday, I’ll spend about 30 minutes sending cards. I’ll send birthday cards for everyone on my calendar for the subsequent week, plus congratulations cards for anyone who reached out to me sharing a win or who I noticed an exciting update from on social media. I’ll spend a few minutes writing a short personalized note—mentioning their recent accomplishment or something I appreciate about them—and then send it off!
Holiday cards are a bigger lift since I’m sending hundreds of cards at once, so I save myself time by not writing personalized notes in every card. Sometimes I’ll hire someone to help me label and stuff envelopes, while other years I’ll set up an assembly line with my partner and Nana Hallie and we’ll spend a few hours prepping the cards together.Kyle's custom holiday card
I've thought about not sending cards anymore, especially as my physical mailing list grows, but every time I do it and see the results, it feels so worth the effort.How to make this your own
Do I think every small business owner should start sending cards? Not necessarily. If snail mail doesn’t fit your brand or you think you’d dread this task each week, then don’t do it!
But what I do hope small business owners take away from my experience is the value of creating personalized experiences in marketing. I’m a big Disney fan, and I’m always thinking about how I can create a Disneyland experience for my clients—something special that they won’t find with anyone else. This comes across in the cards that I send, but in other moments, too. For instance, when someone schedules a consultation with me, I send them a short welcome video helping them prep for the meeting.
Even if you’re not sending cards, ask yourself: What little memorable moments can you create? How can you develop a more human relationship with your clients or potential customers? How can you show up for them in a more personal way? And how can you do this in a way that will allow your personality, brand, and the value you add to their lives shine through?
So many business owners focus on growth through automation, through getting in front of more people, faster. But I truly believe it’s these human relationships that build strong, fabulous businesses for the long haul.
🔓 Creators Unlocked is a content series that delves into the world of creators to uncover the stories behind their social media posts.
Through in-depth interviews with various creators, the series seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the creative process and the challenges of being a content creator.
From Twitter to TikTok, the articles aim to offer insights and learnings for aspiring and established creators while also offering a glimpse into the lives of those behind the screens.
Welcome to the first installment of our new series, 🔓 Creators Unlocked, where we speak with creators to understand what it's like behind the screens of the tweets and TikToks to learn from their experiences. We are kicking off with Jayde Powell, content marketer/creator extraordinaire.📬This interview was already published in our newsletter, so to get your hands on these before anyone else, subscribe here!
Jayde has established herself as a creator, writer, and founder, especially through her series #CreatorTeaTalk hosted through LinkedIn Audio Events every other week to a rapt 100+ audience. On top of her content series, she regularly publishes culture-forward marketing content to her combined audience of 35,000+ followers.🔌To follow or see more of Jayde’s work, check out her Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
In this interview, we discuss all things content creation – from favorite platforms to her advice for creators on showing up authentically online.🖊️This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Q: Welcome, Jayde! I’ve been following you for a long time, so it’s great to finally connect. To jump right in, what inspired you to start creating content on social media?
Content creation was a byproduct of my work and then it became the parts of my work that I love the most. I wouldn't say I was particularly inspired, I’ve just always consumed and created content. It's just how we kind of define it today that has changed.
I started my career in social media in 2013, around the time when social media marketers were just becoming a thing. That was a different time – when we had to prove the ROI of social media to the businesses and brands that we were working with. And content creation was always part of the work – copywriting, photography, throwing images and text together to make it look good.
Over time, as Instagram became very popular, I was part of the early users creating lifestyle content for the platform. Then I shifted focus to Twitter, where I was doing more marketing and pop culture-focused content. And I’ve found my voice on each platform and my content has evolved accordingly.
Q: What are your favorite tools for content creation?
I love Canva – I do everything with it. Why get specialized training to use Adobe Photoshop when there’s an easy tool right there?
I also love Splice, which I can just use on my phone, Descript for transcribing audio and adding captions, and ezgif, which is great for quickly creating and sharing GIFs. I use Notion for project management and Grammarly for writing content.
tools i use to keep my shit together as a content creator:
7️⃣ @Apple notes
Q: What are your goals for 2023, and how will you measure success?
I split my goal-setting in two: goals that align with my career and personal vision for myself, then goals related to my businesses.
My first goal is to create further delineation among all the different brands I have because they all serve different audiences. Another goal is to explore my city, Atlanta, and build community there. Finally, I'm very big on saying no to things so that I don't become stressed. So prioritizing joy is my main focus no matter what I'm doing.
Q: Do you have favorites among the different social media platforms?
My favorite platform depends on my headspace. Sometimes I'm very Twitter-focused; other times, I'm very Instagram-focused. It just depends on where I am mentally and creatively. But I find that certain aspects of each platform play a different role.
For example, LinkedIn is a space where I feel like I am actively challenging people to rethink how they use the platform. I am very informal on LinkedIn because that's how I am in real life. I always want people to know what they get if they work with me. Then there’s Instagram which allows me to be a little more creative. And I love Twitter because I can tweet quick thoughts that don't really require creativity. They each have their time and place.
Q: Speaking of LinkedIn, why did you go with LinkedIn Audio Events for #CreatorTeaTalk over similar platforms like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces?
That’s the funny thing – when I had the idea for #CreatorTeaTalk, it was supposed to be on Twitter Spaces because that is where I have a community. I didn’t even know that LinkedIn had an Audio feature, but the sponsor of my first two episodes pushed me to try it. I already had an idea and outline of what those first episodes would cover, but it didn’t work out how we wanted so we decided to pivot.
We also considered Clubhouse and even TikTok Live, but in the end, we went with LinkedIn Audio Events because it made the most sense given the context of my show. The show, which is about bringing creators, influencers and brands, and marketers together to have conversations centered on the industry. And these people already use LinkedIn because they create content professionally.
What I've found since I launched the show is that people are making connections while the show is airing and after the show. So I think if it's a space where people can get more visibility into the work that they do, then those become like networking opportunities and potential paid opportunities down the line.
Q: You have a very distinct voice that feels true to you. What advice would you give creators who may be worried about showing up authentically online?
You have to do what feels natural and most comfortable to you while simultaneously not being afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If your instinct is to censor yourself, that's something you might want to rethink that.
I’m a big believer in showing up as your full self in all spaces, but depending on what those spaces look like, you may not be able to do that in the beginning. It’s a matter of testing the waters, doing what makes you feel comfortable, and expanding that with time.
Q: One thing that many creators struggle with is consistency. Given that you publish pretty consistently on top of running #CreatorTeaTalk bi-weekly, what does your creative process look like?
I'm a marketer, so my brain is trained to think strategically, which is fortunate because I can combine that with creativity. For example, with #CreatorTeaTalk, episodes are based on cultural conversations combined with evergreen topics creators already discuss.
Essentially, I’m always looking out for interesting, timely conversations and pairing that with relevant topics that will engage my audience. I always want creators, influencers, and brands to actually get the insight that they need from the conversations.
Q: How do you find or are you working on finding a balance between the need to be on social media all the time as a marketer and creator and being present in your personal life?
Setting boundaries for myself has been great for balance. Ironically, my new boundaries were a big reason for my career change because I actually stopped being a full-time social media marketer in 2021. I stopped doing social media marketing for many reasons but one of them was that I was spending way too much time on social media. I still do marketing full-time but stepping back from the social media aspect means my time spent on it is no longer as aggressive.
I now take naps during the day, which helps me refresh and disconnect. I’m also more intentional about keeping my phone away while I sleep so I’m not checking it constantly (it used to sleep under my pillow with me).
One of the things I've done recently is turn off Story replies on my Instagram because my friends and my community will respond to my stories all day long. And because I want to engage, I’ll reply to every single one but that’s not sustainable.
Q: As someone very in tune with social media and creators, what are some trends and developments you've noticed that you think social media creators should be paying attention to?
Less of a trend and more of a prediction, I think we'll see many more creators establishing their own personal brands, which might take away the focus on influencers.
Consumers aren’t necessarily trying to be influenced anymore – I think they want to see what creators are working on. Some people might become influencers, but simply creating on social media will help creators gain an audience and opportunities. We might also see more creators building businesses out of or related to what they create on social media.
We’ll also see more people establishing properties across different channels. For example, how I started on Instagram and Twitter but have navigated over to LinkedIn, where I now have a show. In turn, more creators will evolve to create assets off digital platforms like books or TV series.
Q: You're not like a traditional content creator, but you hit many of the markers – lots of followers, lots of engagement, and a very engaged community. So what challenges have you faced in your own unique experience as a creator so far?
Being a non-traditional content creator is actually one of the more challenging things for me. I get invited to influencer and creator events which is great, but when it’s time to network, I can’t figure out the box I fit into. Different people perceive my online presence in different ways.
Another challenge is that I’m constantly educating brands that want to work with me that when they reach out to collaborate, they’re not just getting content from me. They’re getting years of knowledge, experience, and access to my strategy muscle.
Q: What advice would you give to creators looking to monetize their social media presence and build community with other creators, brands, and their audience?
One, figure out where your strengths lie because that will help you to determine what you can and cannot monetize. Two, know your unique selling proposition – what makes you stand out from other creators. Three, identify something that doesn’t feel like work to you so you feel good doing it consistently. And four, think beyond the traditional ideas of monetization.
You may have a brand pay you to post about them or whitelist your content. But if you want to approach content creation like a business owner, determine what negotiations you can build from a brand partnership. Maybe that looks like being paid to go to an event and then make content about it. Or sharing your latest project or product with my email list. It's just figuring out what makes sense for you and the partnership that you're in.Takeaways
Here are the top three takeaways from Jayde’s journey as a creator:Show up authentically online without fear: Jayde is a big believer that you should do what feels natural to you hand in hand with stepping out of your comfort zone. Don’t censor yourself to fit in somewhere – if you have to, maybe that space isn't meant for you. And if you don’t feel comfortable jumping in headfirst with your full personality on display, take your time to test the waters. You can always expand your authenticity with time.Think beyond traditional ideas for what can be monetized: Content monetization is no longer the purview of brands – creators can take the power for themselves. If you get your first brand deal and their budget isn’t quite what you’re looking for, devise ways to upsell in other areas. Better yet, seize the means of creation for yourself and create a monetization strategy independent of other people’s (or brands’) money. Whether that’s a newsletter people pay to subscribe to, orTimes are changing – focus on building an audience out of what you care about and your audience will find you: It’s like Jayde said – influencers are making way for passionate creators. People want more out of their online consumption than just mindless scrolling and that’s where the new generation of online creators comes in: the Educators. Creator-educator is a term coined by Jay Clouse to describe the people who use content to share their knowledge, and it’s the future of content creation. Consider what unique expertise you have, be it making a specific type of cookie or an encyclopedic knowledge of bands from the ‘80s. Whatever it is, there’s likely an audience out there, ready to listen.
Whatever you land upon as your unique content offering, share it through Buffer, the all-in-one toolkit for content creation.Start creating today!
Every early stage founder like myself dreams of the day when we have the ability to activate high performing targeted online ads, a dedicated social media team, and other tried-and-true marketing techniques that would put us on the same playing field as long-standing heritage brands.
But since I bootstrapped SHAYDE BEAUTY, a skincare line that prioritizes the needs of melanin-rich skin, from the get-go, that hasn’t been my reality (yet). As a woman of color, I’m acutely aware that female founders of color only receive 1.2 percent of the overall venture dollars invested in the US. Instead of focusing my energy fighting for funding to fuel a massive marketing budget, I decided to get scrappy. I asked myself: How can I get the word out there organically, authentically, and without having to spend a lot of money?View this post on Instagram
After trying a few techniques, I landed on the most old-school approach there is: Meeting customers IRL. There is something about an in-person, hands-on experience that the post-Covid consumer is craving. During my first year in business, I would go to art shows and set up a table filled with product samples and business cards in the hopes of getting people to sign up for our email marketing list. I’d cold call boutiques around NYC to see if they’d let me do a pop-up shop for a few hours. I’d even go to Washington Square Park once a week with a bag full of sample jars and business cards to hand out to strangers. I’d approach people in the park (mostly women who looked like me and may struggle with similar skincare challenges), explain who I was, and ask if they were open to chatting about skincare.
What arose out of a necessity turned into my secret weapon. In fact, this “boots on the ground” approach has been instrumental in growing my brand’s reach and gaining me some of the most dedicated customers around. Is it the most efficient way to market? No. But here’s why it’s been so valuable to carve out opportunities to meet potential customers face-to-face.I can better educate my customers
Many consumers have had the experience of walking into a Sephora and feeling overwhelmed by the countless options available and then feeling too intimidated to ask for help. Unfortunately for those of us with melanin-rich skin, the market has vastly overlooked our needs, leaving us with the opposite (but equally as frustrating) problem.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve met with a potential customer who shares gripes such as, “I have hyperpigmentation, I’ve tried this product that’s supposed to work for this issue, but it actually made it worse.” By being face to face, I can explain how many products on the market aren’t formulated with skin of color in mind and can actually make some skincare problems worse. I also share how SHAYDE BEAUTY focuses on the percentages of active ingredients to ensure issues are targeted while still keeping the skin looking healthy—and that the product was created by someone who has struggled through the same challenges as them. There are so many myths out there around melanin-rich skincare, and talking to customers gives me some meaningful time to quash them.
I also get to educate them on my journey and how the products I’ve created transformed my skin. It’s one thing to write some nice copy that shares this story on my website—it’s another for a customer to see in person how good my skin looks. Once I pull up a picture of where it was five years ago and talk through the changes I’ve made in my routine and why they’ve worked, the customer almost instantly becomes motivated to purchase and support the brand.View this post on Instagram I can respond to the needs of my customers
Everyone’s skin has different needs, and by talking with customers regularly, I’ve been better able to learn about and respond to them. Getting to speak to each customer and ask, “What struggles are you dealing with, and how can we help?” guides not only what I recommend for them in the moment but also broader product decisions for the company.
For one, I can take the time to understand what’s going on with their skin and make tailored recommendations of which products would work best. Whether it’s over a Zoom call or in a store, I love having a potential customer tell me about their skincare routine and what’s working or not working about it, and then finding tailored solutions for them. It’s been reported that 91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who offer personalized recommendations.
These conversations are also an incredible avenue for market research, sparking fresh inspiration and evolving the future of the brand. Anytime I share samples with customers, I also ask what types of products they wish they had, or what’s not working for them about the solutions currently available on the market. This helps guide new products we may develop or tweaks to our existing formulas. I’m constantly shocked by how most skincare companies don’t respond to the needs of customers, but because we’re small, we can move quickly and adapt as needed. I think our willingness to do so sets us apart.I can create lasting relationships
I’ve seen time and time again how excited potential customers are to be introduced to me, the founder, alongside my products—and how that interaction creates brand loyalty.
People who first met me five years ago when I was set up on a folding table at an art show are still my customers today, and I think it’s partly because they experienced that one-on-one connection in the beginning. Sometimes customers who just met me that day will go home, try the product, and do an Instagram story that night, excitedly sharing how they met the founder of an amazing new product. Just that little moment of putting a face to the brand gained us a new customer and made them excited to be an advocate. Over time, these relationships have helped land our first major retail partnerships—companies want to see social proof and positive feedback before they make a decision to work with us.
I get it: As a consumer myself, I know I feel more loyal to brands when I have some kind of personal connection. As my company grows, I want to ensure I have the same kind of touch points with my customers on a larger scale, even if I can’t be there in person.
For one, I’m tapping heavily into ambassadors for the next wave of marketing. By developing a network of skin coaches and estheticians that focus on skin of color, the ambassadors can build similar one-on-one connections with customers and help educate them about the products.
Additionally, I’ve been conceptualizing ways of how I can translate this approach to our social channels. For instance, if customers I talk to are always asking the same questions, can that inform educational posts? Or, if meeting me is the draw, would Live shopping events allow me to connect with a larger audience?
No matter what, I still plan to prioritize spending at least one day a week on the floor of one of our retail partners, meeting potential customers face-to-face. These conversations remind me why I started this brand in the first place—and push me to keep going so I can help as many people as possible and bring overall market awareness to the unique needs of melanin-rich skin.
In just two and a half years, TikToker Toni Bravo has made a full-time career out of her social media. In fact, the 23-year-old is financially independent and has been able to sustain her Los Angeles lifestyle through brand deals and other gigs she’s landed through TikTok.
While the content creator is grateful for her job, she never set out to have this career – it happened organically. But this isn’t surprising considering her background.
“I was definitely a theater kid. I was always recording myself and filming things. I was on YouTube when I was nine. None of this feels new,” Toni said. “I think the biggest transition was turning it into a full time job.”
Here’s how the 23-year-old went from an amateur creator to making social media – particularly TikTok – a career.Starting out by posting roller skating content
In spring 2020, when the pandemic had first started, Toni moved home from college as everyone was preparing for a lockdown. But instead of just staying cooped up inside, she began roller skating with her friends at skateparks from 8 am to 3 pm and posting it all on TikTok.
These initial TikToks weren’t staged or highly edited but showed herself and her peers having fun while skating. Her videos began getting traction online, and Toni found herself in a very unusual position: brands were contacting her.@bonitravo
did a whole lot of nothing today😌♥️ #rollerskating #skating #beach♬ Just the Two of Us - Grover Washington, Jr.
“Roller skating is definitely what introduced me to social media being a job and being able to make money and work with ridiculous brands,” Toni said. “I had no management, I had no representation, I was doing everything myself. It’s insane, because I did some pretty cool things with some friends.”
For reference, Toni has modeled for brands including Coca-Cola, Calvin Klein, and Nike. And was even featured in Buzzfeed, Teen Vogue, and Vogue, to name a few publications, all because of her roller skating.
After Toni’s initial success with roller skating content, she graduated from college in June 2022 and got a job at Rare Beauty – a makeup brand created by Selena Gomez – as a social media associate. Through this job, Tony naturally became more interested in the beauty community and was learning a lot through handling Rare Beauty’s TikTok.
“I was creating TikToks, coming up with TikToks, editing TikToks. Posting and monitoring the comment section and just learning a lot about the beauty community,” she said. “So this was my first experience posting about makeup and making videos regarding beauty.”@rarebeauty
A love letter to our founder @Selena Gomez 💌 #greenscreenvideo #selenagomez #rarebeauty #ipledgeallegiance #selenator♬ original sound - c.
Toni then started posting makeup content consistently on her own TikTok in late 2022 and saw her account grow substantially. In fact, she’s now reached over 370,000 followers.
While her corporate job at Rare Beauty helped Toni broaden her horizons as a TikToker, she also got a crash course on creating great content when she applied and got accepted to one of Buzzfeed’s creator programs. There she was able to sit in on brand meetings and learn from social media strategists and creative experts.
“It basically centered around us being the best creators we could be,” Toni said.How Toni kept growing her brand partnerships
When Toni was originally approached by brands back in 2020, she was without an agent. But, instead of handling contracts by herself, she worked with her friends to negotiate deals.
The creator and her friends were transparent about the offers they were getting and the rates that they were charging for creating content. In this way, pay transparency was huge for the content creator at the beginning of her career. By being so transparent about money, Toni and her friends knew from early on what they deserved and weren't afraid to ask brands to reconsider their offers.
@Nike has you covered for another month of 🔥 ladies.
The #NeeditNow collection has must-haves & more. ⛸️ https://t.co/yVBsJfGFvv
📷 @bonitravo pic.twitter.com/3jyTw85EFr
“If we were all working on a project we would negotiate offers together. We would pop on calls and be like, ‘here's what they're offering you. This is what they're offering me.’ Let’s all come back to them with this number,” Toni said. “We would all just be like, ‘yo, like, let's demand this.’ And we’d get it every time.”
Toni went on handling brand deals on her own for some time. Since she posted her email on all of her social media bios, she found that brands were able to easily contact her. And because she gained so much traction online with her rollerskating, she was in demand.
In late 2022, it got to a point where the content creator felt overwhelmed and knew it was time to get a manager.
“I was missing out on emails and threads, because they were just too many. And I could not track the details and numbers and contracts,” Toni said. “And that's when I was like, okay it makes sense [to get a manager].”
While Toni’s manager, Kiki, handles all of the logistics of her brand deals, Toni is looped into every aspect. She is typically given a creative brief, information on the brand’s specific campaign, along with a contract that details all of the financial aspects and the timeline of the deal.
A brand she’s worked with multiple times is Saie, the beauty brand first contacted her back in 2020 after finding Toni through Instagram, and they’ve recently worked with TikToker again for a recent launch.
When making these videos, Toni never goes out of her way to over-produce them. Instead, she keeps them as lowkey and simple as possible. Oftentimes, she’s just filming in her car, making her content feel authentic and genuine.@bonitravo
my quick & easy @saiebeauty concealer routine🎀 #brighteningconcealer #saiehydrabeam #saiebeauty #concealerroutine #saiepartner♬ original sound - Toni Bravo
While some brands are a bit more strict than others, Toni enjoys creating branded content and says she’s able to make each TikTok and Reel her own creation – her favorite part of her job.
“I have a huge amount of autonomy, which is why I love doing it,” she said. “I like having fun with how I make things and how I edit things.”Toni’s plans for career growth
As Toni is in her third year creating TikToks, she’s been able to make this her full-time job and is getting paid well for her work. While part of her salary increase has to do with the rates she’s charging going up as she continues to grow her accounts, she also credits it to the early conversations she had with her friends about salaries.
“Obviously, the more you start doing gigs, the rates go up as the followers go up, and the engagements go up,” she said.” And I think a huge part was also having those conversations with my friends.”@bonitravo
yes, i’m a sagittarius♬ original sound - lucia <3 </3
She advises aspiring TikTokers to be consistent in posting and also to listen and engage with their audiences. But most importantly, she thinks the main reason for her success is that she only posts content that she’s genuinely happy to create.
As Toni continues her social media career, she is adamant on not boxing herself into one category. She’s made videos on roller skating, beauty, knitting, and her dog, and believes the reason all of this content performs so well – and has landed her dozens of brand deals – is because she genuinely cares about her work.
“I think just showing up authentically [on social media] is always the best way.”
If you’re looking to grow your career, make connections with people in your industry, and build a personal brand, you should be on LinkedIn. To get a little personal, nothing has been more valuable to my career than building a platform on LinkedIn. It’s difficult to get a remote job when there are many people, and it’s even harder when you’re outside the West.
In this article, I will walk through three steps to use LinkedIn to build your personal brand with advice from me and others who have found success using it.Why LinkedIn is important for personal branding
Whenever you’re trying to grow in your career, whether as an employee, startup founder, or small business owner, you’re faced with one major problem: there are a thousand other people just like you. Standing out among the sea of people competing for the same jobs, clients, and customers is increasingly difficult – and social media platforms often contribute to that difficulty with their ever-changing algorithms.
However, LinkedIn’s focus has always been connecting professionals and the platform has managed to stay the course. Building a personal brand is about building an online persona that people with similar needs or interests can easily identify with you. The marriage of personal branding and LinkedIn means that even a complete newbie can start creating on LinkedIn today and find success on the platform.
Don’t just take it from me either – small business owners Sherell Dorsey, Sheena Russell, and Latesha Byrd all acknowledge the power of LinkedIn for personal branding.
If you want to take charge of your image, there’s no better way to do that than crafting your personal brand on LinkedIn.3 steps to use LinkedIn to grow your personal brand
In terms of actionable tips, taking LinkedIn seriously for personal branding is quite simple to get started with. We've broken the process down into three key points (or steps) you need to hit to put you on the right track.1. Optimize your LinkedIn profile
Your profile is the first thing people see when they encounter you on the social media platform, so you should optimize it to expand your professional network. At a glance, you want to tell people exactly what they can expect from you, whether as a candidate for a job or a simple follow on LinkedIn.
Take advantage of the features that LinkedIn offers and add to your profile:A square, 400x400px profile picture that doesn’t have to be super strict and buttoned-up but should clearly show your face and not be from a blurry night outOptional: Film a profile video – you only have 30 seconds, so make them countA background image that doesn’t have to be elaborate but is prime real estate if you have a message you want to get across immediately after someone visits your profileA headline that details what you do and, one step further, what unique service or experience you offer. Think of your headline as a tagline. It’s the first description many people will see, so make it memorableMy LinkedIn profileHashtags that mention what type of content you create – these are great for getting discovered by your target audienceThe services you offerLink to the most relevant links in the Featured section. This includes features in reputable publications, your own published work, or even your resume.Make the most of your ‘About’ section with an engaging description of who you are and what you do. This is the only place where you can give context to what people might see on your profile. Get inspired by these About sections from LinkedIn's blog.Juhli Selby's engaging About section
Finally, an underrated tip is to make sure you’ve customized your LinkedIn URL. This can help you stand out in search results for your name. If you have a common name, get creative to stand apart from the crowd.2. Build and engage with your network
Once your profile is optimized, you’re ready to make connections and grow your network. Making time to connect with new people keeps your network fresh and active and strengthens your global connections.
People generally think highly of those who keep good company, so building your LinkedIn network simultaneously builds your personal brand. To do this, connect on LinkedIn with trusted friends, former colleagues, classmates, industry leaders, vendors, and other professionals. And don’t be shy about asking your contacts for introductions to people in their networks.
When connecting with people on LinkedIn, keep the following tips in mind:Personalize your connection request: When sending a connection request, take the time to personalize your message. Mention how you found their profile and why you're interested in connecting with them. This will help make your request more memorable and increase the chances of getting accepted.Connect with people you already know: Start by connecting with people you know, then the people they are connected to, then you can move on to making broader connections in your industry or with those with similar interests. You can search for people by company, job title, or keyword.Join LinkedIn groups: Groups are a great way to connect with like-minded professionals and expand your network. Engage with the group by participating in discussions and sharing relevant content. I’m part of several remote work and content marketing communities which allows me to stay on top of what my colleagues in those industries are thinking and doing.Attend LinkedIn events: LinkedIn users often host events using the platform’s audio and video capabilities. These events can be a great way to network with other professionals and make new connections. For example, Jayde Powell, who we interviewed for our newsletter-exclusive content series ‘Creators Unlocked’, runs a bi-weekly LinkedIn Audio Event called #CreatorTeaTalk that connects marketers, brands, and creators.Engage with your connections: Engage with your connections by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts. This will help strengthen your relationship and increase their chances of engaging with your content in return.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, avoid going straight to asking for something when making a connection request. The more well-known a new connection is, the more likely it is that their inbox is full of messages asking for something. Go the opposite direction and offer something: a fresh perspective on a post they shared or a great new podcast you’ve been enjoying.
Whatever your goals are for LinkedIn, you will benefit a lot from approaching the platform with your authentic voice and curiosity.💡For more in-depth advice on growing on LinkedIn, check out this blog post by Nate Shalev, founder of Revel Impact shared some of his tactics for growing his follower list with us.3. Create and share content
Publishing content on LinkedIn is a great way to showcase quickly what you’re passionate about. LinkedIn offers robust options for content creation, from image carousels to videos, to newsletters.Matthew Pollard uses LinkedIn Carousels to share content
Sharing content on LinkedIn to your connections and any new people the platform’s algorithm shows you can help you build a reputation in your industry and, subsequently, your personal brand. The more you publish, the more credibility you’ll build, and the stronger your professional profile will become.✍🏽If you’re wondering not just what but when to post on LinkedIn, check out our in-depth guide to the best time to post on LinkedIn.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do too much new thinking to start publishing on LinkedIn. Jack Appleby, who we interviewed for Social Proof, shared that he repurposes content from his Twitter, and it performs twice as well. Katelyn Bourgoin agrees with this strategy saying, “[I went] from about 9000 followers to almost 19,000 followers on LinkedIn, and I [just] repurpose most of my Twitter content on LinkedIn.”
If you already publish to another platform – fantastic! You can take your content, whether it’s a podcast or blog, or even tweets like Katelyn and Jack, and share them to LinkedIn. Content on the platform is usually written more formally than tweets but not as formally as long-form content. With this in mind and a little tweaking, you can build a regular content cadence and start gaining recognition for your thoughts.✍🏽The LinkedIn team shared insider advice for what kind of content actually works on LinkedIn – dive into their tips and tricks.Build consistency on LinkedIn with Buffer
If you’re looking to start building your personal brand on LinkedIn, you need to be consistent. That means publishing thought leadership content regularly and engaging with replies, all while keeping up with your connections. Sound like a lot? Not if you have Buffer in your toolkit!
With Buffer’s range of tools for publishing to LinkedIn, you can take some of the load off your back by scheduling content in advance, so you only have to focus on engagement. If that sounds good, get started for free!
An important part of growing your Instagram is connecting with other brands and accounts on the platform, and doing so just got easier with Instagram Collab posts. With this feature, you can share content in collaboration with another account. This means your content, whether it be photos or a Reel, will be shared from both accounts rather than just your own.
There are a ton of occasions where sharing an Instagram collab post can be more powerful than simply tagging another account. Read on if you want to learn how to create an Instagram collab post and the benefits of doing so.What is an Instagram Collab Post?
Instagram announced Collab posts in late 2021 and said the feature would allow for two accounts to share a Feed post or Reel. The original author can tag another account to become a collaborator, or co-author, which allows the post to be posted from two accounts.
According to Instagram, a Collab post between two accounts means:Both account names will appear on the header of the postThe post will be shared with both sets of followersThe post will live on both profile gridsThe views, likes, and comments will be shared by both accounts
This is a great way to present content on Instagram with people you’re working with including other small businesses, brands, and content creators.The benefits of Instagram Collab posts
Collab posts are an easy and efficient way to boost the reach of your content, which can lead to these benefits:Increase exposure – instead of just posting content to your audience, a Collab post allows you to share content with your co-author’s followers as well, meaning you’ll be increasing the number of eyes on your posts. This can help boost your overall brand awareness.Gain more followers – since you’ll be showing up in more feeds through Collab posts, your brand will be introduced to new people, and this can be a great opportunity to gain new followers. These Collab posts can also be seen as an endorsement from the brand or creator that you co-author content with, encouraging their followers to follow your account as well.Drive up engagement – There’s a good chance that more people will interact and engage with your Collab posts because of the increased exposure. This means these posts can bring in more likes, comments, and shares than a normal Instagram post that only gets seen by your followers.How to create an Instagram Collab post?
To create a Collab post with another account, you need to first invite that account to be a collaborator. Once they accept the invitation, the post will be shared from both accounts.
To be clear, the original author owns the post and if they delete it, it will also be deleted from the collaborator’s account. The original author also has to have a public profile to create a Collab post.To begin, click the + sign to create a new post.Once you’ve uploaded the content, click on “Tag people.”Click on “Invite collaborator.”Search for the account and click on their profileWait for them to accept the request.
Once they’ve accepted the invitation, the post will live on both of the accounts’ grids and feeds.Examples of Instagram Collab posts
Here are just a few ways small businesses and content creators are using Instagram Collab Posts.Brand partnerships
Instagram Collab posts are perfect for two brands that are collaborating on special promotions and want to get the word out to both of their communities.
Here, Sourdough bakery, Rize Up Bakery, shares a Valentine's Day collaboration with Charles Chocolates.View this post on Instagram
The Cosmic Latte, an astrology account, also did a Collab post with a jewelry brand, Sequin Jewelry. The partnership showcased the best accessories for each horoscope sign.View this post on Instagram Working with Influencers and content creators
Collab posts are ideal for when brands work with content creators or vice versa because it allows both parties to share the posts together, representing the partnership.
Seattle Chocolate is a company that cares about sustainability, so when they highlighted eco-feminist, artist, and activist Burcu Koleli, they tagged her as a co-author. This made her profile more visible – a huge plus considering she has a smaller following compared to Seattle Chocolate.View this post on Instagram
Similarly, Twisted Green – an account that shares vegan recipes – partnered with content creator Jake Dryan aka Plant Future, and used Instagram Collab posts when sharing their joint Reel.View this post on Instagram
Influencers or content creators who are working together can use Instagram Collab posts as well, as Zach and Tee of ZachandTee did with Alyssa of Gaming_Foodie for their joint cooking Reel.View this post on Instagram Giveaways
If you’re posting a giveaway alongside another brand or content creator, the Collab post is a good option to share the giveaway news.
Here, content creator, Meghan Yuri Young shares her giveaway with the nonprofit Twentytwenty Arts.View this post on Instagram Product launches
When launching a new product alongside another brand. announcing the news through an Instagram Collab post is the way to go.
The Pastry Project used a Collab post to announce their new baking kit in partnership with Kola Goodies.View this post on Instagram
We hope this post gave you some inspiration and ideas to include Instagram Collab posts in your social media strategy.
Get started with Buffer for free today and schedule your Instagram posts and Reels!
When you watch a creative TikTok or read a blog post that resonates deeply, you may often wonder how the creator does it. How do they keep coming up with content that excites or inspires?
It’s the “creative process”, which looks different for everyone. Some creators might be consuming content constantly, setting aside time to come up with ideas, or even just learning what works through trial and error over time. Regardless of the method, everyone has one. The creative process is an essential aspect of any artist's journey. It involves ideation, experimentation, and implementation of ideas that eventually manifest into creative works.
In this article, we explore the creative process of three creators: Jayde Powell, Dre Fox, and Katie Xu. Each of these creators has a unique style and approach to their craft, making them stand out in their respective fields.How to figure out your creative process
There are five steps to help you build out your creative process: consumption, incubation, ideation, evaluation, and creation. Here’s how to use them to figure out yours:Consumption
Content creation doesn’t start from the great idea that comes to you in the shower. It starts from the things you consume: that one trip when you were 10 that has stayed with you into adulthood or the comic book you came across and never stopped reading. The earliest advice you’ll be given as a creator is to “do what you know,” closely followed by “show how you’re learning something new.” You can’t pour from an empty pot, and you can’t create if you’ve never consumed.
Practically, this boils down to: take note of everything. You’re already consuming daily by reading books, interacting with people, and spending 4 hours on TikTok. Out of every experience you have, from the mundane to the exciting, remember what engaged you and why it did.
Let’s say you want to direct your consumption to more specific sources. From personal experience, building expertise in all things social media and content creation didn’t happen because I took a class in a controlled environment. It happened through all the people I followed within the niche across all my social media, reading blogs and newsletters, and watching every video/listening to every podcast I could find. In many ways, I use the tools at my disposal and take advantage of The Algorithm to keep serving me similar content, so I never run out of inspiration.Incubation
The incubation stage is where you let your thoughts run free. This is where you have a bunch of shower thoughts or ideas that came while you were on a walk down in a notebook or Word doc, but with no form to them. At this point, you must do something counterintuitive – instead of doubling down, let your ideas go.
You can work on other, more developed projects or take a break entirely with an activity that doesn’t overlap with your other train of thought. Whatever you choose to do, let it be something that ensures you’re not trying to work on your new idea. By allowing your ideas to breathe on their own, you can let them fully form and come to life without restriction.Insight
After incubation comes the insight stage, where ideas begin to take shape. This is the time when structure and templates come into play as you start to organize your thoughts. You may start to flesh out your ideas by adding detail to them. You may also start to research to see what has been done, to see what makes yours stand out.Evaluation
At this stage, you can begin to determine what is and isn’t practical. You may weigh your idea against alternatives and realize you can’t beat what’s already there or realize your idea isn't as concrete as you had initially imagined. You can also think about your ideas against where you are as a creator. Some things may be too out of scope or just not aligned with your audience – this is the stage where you figure this out. If, after evaluation, you’re left with nothing, that’s okay! Take the lessons you’ve learned about what is good and what isn’t, and apply them to your future ideation exercises. If you’ve landed on some great ideas, even better – forge ahead.Creation
This is where the fun (and hard work) begins. You have that one idea that you’d love to turn into a full project, whether that’s filming a video of you making a sculpture for TikTok or creating an educational online course to share. Once you finalize this stage, you can share your content with the world.
Three creators – Jayde Powell, Dre Fox, and Katie Xu – shared with us how they create content, from idea generation to execution.Jayde Powell combines strategy with creativity
When planning out episodes of her LinkedIn Audio series – #CreatorTeaTalk – Jayde Powell had one thing in mind: to entertain and provide insight. She also had to think strategically about what would captivate an audience for the two-hour-long live show.View this post on Instagram
The series’ topics are based on cultural conversations among creators, so Jayde doesn’t start planning episodes until a week before the event. The first episode covered pay rates and transparency because that’s always top of mind for creators, and that initial episode set the tone for the rest of the series.
The idea for the series was already in the Insight stage and went from Evaluation to Creation easily because Jayde came up with a creative idea and then built a strategic framework to support the generation of more content ideas.Dre Fox and the Content Tree
Dre Fox, a content creator and social media coach, needs a consistent flow of ideas for all her content creation. She calls her ideation method a “content tree”. As she describes it, “You have a lot of different branches, and then those branches have other branches coming out.” This visualization helps the content creator and social media coach create dynamic content. The tree method is a sister of the content pillar or bucket methods, but Dre mentions that can get repetitive.View this post on Instagram
The creator takes one topic, breaks it down into six sub-topics, and those into smaller ideas. This exercise helps her turn four general topics into 100 ideas within 30 minutes. Next comes figuring out how to visually communicate that value (because her main social platform is Instagram).
So if it's an info-driven idea, like a 5-step process, she’ll go with the Carousel. If it’s more personal, where she’s telling her story about how she started her business, she’ll use a photo. And if it’s a more trendy or light-hearted topic, she’ll use a Reel. Deciding what goes where is usually determined by a mix of gut instinct and technical knowledge.Katie Xu bucks convention with intentionally raw videos @katiexsocials
Replying to @neigehq Quick follower growth is an ILLUSION. Every time a video does super well, you will guaranteed grow quickly for the next couple of weeks. While you might think it’s various strategies you’ve developed that are attributing to your growth, it’s probably just the success of a couple videos. You should pay attention to your analytics to figure out what is truly working.#greenscreen #katiexsocials #futuremillionairekatie #tiktokgrowth #tiktokgrowthtips #socialmedia #contentcreation #becometheniche #socialmillionaire #nichedown #tiktoktips♬ original sound - Katie Xu | Future Millionaire
TikTok creator Katie Xu’s method of coming up with ideas is part of the unconventional goodness of her content. She mentions working backward in terms of strategy, starting from identifying her personal brand to determining what ideas would come from it. She asked herself: “What do I want my brand to look like and what kind of content am I good at making?” Then, “What is the best method for me to get there to be putting out and doing well with that content?”
A lot of the conventional thought processes can restrict the kind of content you can make because it’s geared towards the algorithms of each platform, which is fine in Katie’s estimation but can take the creativity out of the creator. Katie shares advice for creators that goes against common convention using a lo-fi format because she wants her content to speak for itself.Conclusion
Despite the formats and formulas we've shared, the creative process is unique to everyone. Some people have no problem developing innovative ideas on the fly, while others regularly get blocked (like me!) We merely hope to suggest ways to standardize your process and make it a bit easier to generate content.
When you're coming up with ideas, writing them down somewhere you won't forget is vital. Buffer Ideas can help – just open Buffer on web or mobile and draft in the Ideas section, so you never lose your content to that one notebook you only open once every other month.
Imagine this: You open your inbox, and there sit a dozen new articles you’d be thrilled to share on social media. Simple as that!
Welcome to the world of email newsletters, where experts from a wide spectrum of topics are creating and sharing the best content they discover—perfect for you to read, schedule in Buffer, and share with your social media audience.
There are a ton of great newsletters to choose from – almost too many. So for this list, we focused on newsletters that are relevant to our audience of social media managers, creators and small businesses. With the newsletters on this list, you'll be able to stay on top of all developments in social media and learn from amazing experts.14 of the Best Newsletters in 20231. TheFutureParty
TheFutureParty is a newsletter that tracks news and trends in business, entertainment, and culture through the lens of tech and social media.2. Marketing Brew by Morning Brew
The Morning Brew offers a wide range of newsletters, but brands and creators may find the most use of the Marketing Brew, which details the latest in the industry. It’s also a great source of links across different topics for social media publishing.3. Buffer’s social media newsletter
Yes, this is the newsletter for the blog you’re reading right now. The weekly newsletter is short and sweet — full of all the latest social media news from Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, and more, plus the newest tools and trends.5. Link in Bio by Rachel Karten
Rachel Karten is a social media consultant with an extensive portfolio and years of experience. She brings that experience and the connections she's built to Link in Bio, making it the ultimate resource for social media managers and a great source of content inspiration6. Geekout by Matt Navarra
Matt Navarra is a social media personality with his fingers on the pulse of everything happening in social media. His newsletter is a great way to keep up with the constant changes in the space. He also has a Facebook Group where members can get updates as they happen without having to wait for the newsletter to be published.7. Future Social by Jack Appleby
Social media expert and Social Proof interviewee Jack Appleby publishes a weekly newsletter covering the latest in social media strategy, the creator economy & more.8. The Tilt
The Tilt is a great resource for growing content creators, and its newsletter offers great zero-click content from a wide range of experts. It focuses on helping creators grow as entrepreneurs that don’t rely on social media platforms.9. The Hustle
The Hustle is a newsletter aggregating news and trends in an easy-to-digest email you can work through in 5-minutes. The platform also offers its newsletters in video and audio format through YouTube and a podcast.10. NYTimes Morning Briefing
One of their many valuable content efforts, The New York Times Morning Briefing efficiently summarizes the top news stories of the day and offers a long list of feature stories that are worth a 20-minute read. A great place to look when you have that extra time and want to dig deeper.11. Creator Science
This newsletter by Jay Clouse is full of great advice for creators, as Jay focuses on sharing the results of his experiments, expert interviews, and actionable advice every week.12. ICYMI by Lia Haberman
Social media consultant and expert Lia Haberman puts together everything you could possibly need to know about what's going on in social media, from the companies to individual creators.13. Every
A unique entry to this list, Every offers a bundle of newsletters, most of which you pay to read in full. However, it's worth it, as experts (including Fadeke Adegbuyi) break down everything from the creator economy to tech startups.14. Recode by Vox
Recode by Vox explores everything happening in the digital space and is great for getting detailed reporting on the evolutions in the companies and industries we rely on for the Internet to be a safe space.Which newsletters are your favorites?
I hope I’ve hit on a few of your favorites in the list here, as well as given you some good ideas on possible new ones to grab!
Which newsletters do you subscribe to? Which are your favorites? Which ones have you found most helpful with finding content to read and share?
I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
This article was originally published in February 2015. We refreshed it and updated it in March 2023.
My founder story is, in some ways, like many others. I saw a problem that needed solving: Men don’t have as many instant fixes for acne as women do. I met my co-founder Nick Bunn who had experienced the problem firsthand and believed in the same vision of faster acne care, while providing complimentary skills: he brought an excitement for marketing and operations, whereas I had knowledge of branding and design. Together, we saw an opportunity to reimagine the acne experience, and FRONTMAN was born.
The unusual part of my story? All of this happened during my junior year of college.
Maybe it would have made more sense to wait until after graduation to dive into our idea, focusing on our studies and daydreaming about our future company in moments between classes instead of working on it in earnest. But I was ready to work on something real, so we dove right in—and I’m so glad we did.
Because we got started early, we were able to launch within a year after I graduated, hit six figures within a year after that, and triple that number the following year. Not to mention we’ve grown from one product to ten, expanded to Amazon, and landed our first retail partnership with Urban Outfitters. All within two years of officially putting our brand into the world.
Here are some of the reasons that starting a business in college helped us, and how we used our unique position to set ourselves up for success after graduating.Annelise and her co-founder NickWe had the benefit of time
This likely isn’t news to anyone, but starting a company takes time. This is especially true for product-based companies like ours. It took us nearly two years to finalize our products because of how much effort went into iterating (plus the notoriously slow speed of the CPG industry).
Before we could start marketing and selling, we had to work with scientists and dermatologists (including my mom!) to create product formulas. We had to find product manufacturers to work with, and then get samples to test for feedback and start the process all over again. We had to get money to pay for said samples. And, having never worked in this industry before, we had to learn as we went at every step.
Luckily, we had time to spare until we really needed this to support us. I recognize that this isn’t the case for every student. While I was fortunate to have a lot of financial support through college, my co-founder Nick did not. Prior to starting FRONTMAN, he and I had worked with a student-run company and launched a small agency that offered on-campus brand activation, which gave us each some income, and Nick also picked up a bunch of flexible part-time jobs like rideshare driving to support his needs while having time to work on the company.
We were also able to create more flexible schedules than most working adults can. Again, this may be different for other students, but I was less focused on classroom learning at that point and ready to work toward my professional interests after graduation. So I looked for less demanding classes that would give me the time and brain space to focus on the company. That’s not to say it was always easy.
For instance, I remember one particularly hectic month my senior year where I was going back and forth from Boston to New York every weekend to take meetings for FRONTMAN. But I found that schedule easier to juggle than the six months after I graduated when my founder and I were both working other jobs while finalizing our product for launch.We took advantage of any school resource we could
In an ideal world, we would have filled our class schedules with business courses that could give us the knowledge to support our growing idea. Unfortunately, our school didn’t have a business major and historically hasn’t been very supportive of student startups, so we had to get creative.
We did find one class in the engineering department that focused on research and development (R&D) and gave us credit for spending time working on our idea. That class also had a pitch competition at the end of the semester, which we won, giving us around $10,000 for our development budget.
For us, unfortunately, that’s about where the official school resources tapped out, but there are many schools that offer much more support for student entrepreneurs, and I recommend that college founders take advantage of as much as they can.We had a vast network who were excited to help us
That’s not to say our school gave us nothing. The biggest unofficial resource available to us was a network of incredibly smart and accomplished alumni, who gave us some much-needed perspective from people a little farther ahead in their careers. Some even became our early advisors and investors.
Whenever I learned about an alum who may have been able to support our goals, I’d reach out saying: “I'm really interested in starting a skincare line. This is where we're at. You have great experience in [subject area]—could I have a few minutes of your time to get your advice?”
People are surprisingly motivated to help college students out, especially when they’re alumni of your university. They think it’s cute that you’re trying to start something, and they want to pay it forward. It could have felt belittling, but instead I was able to use it to my advantage to learn from experienced contacts who might not have been as eager to help any working professional.We used our peers to brainstorm, to product test, and more
The other network we had access to at school was our fellow students. First and foremost, I met my founder at school and would not have been able to start this business without him.
Being in that R&D class also surrounded us with other students who were working through the same challenges we were—almost like a mini (and much less competitive) accelerator. We were able to help each other navigate different processes and approaches, bounce ideas off each other so we didn’t feel like we were making decisions alone, and share our connections to make our networks even broader.
Outside of class, we also found it helpful to tap into students who were just excited to work on something real. For every hurdle we faced or need we had, we realized there was probably someone on campus who knew more about it than we did. We worked with a lot of student marketers who were excited to work for free on projects they could add to their resume. We had a lot of really good conversations with other students about parts of the business we were stuck on. Plus, we were able to use our peers as guinea pigs to get real-time feedback as we developed our products, which really shaped the direction of our final offerings.Frontman skintone acne treatmentWe had a really safe testing ground
Perhaps more than anything, I appreciated having a safe testing ground for both developing our product and learning how to be a founder.
It felt like there was very little risk to giving our idea a go while we were still in college, that there was so much less to lose than later in life when we might have more obligations. It also felt like we were given more leeway to mess up along the way and that the bar was lower than it is for more experienced founders.
For instance, when we first started, I was such a nervous public speaker. My first pitches weren’t nearly as good as they are today, but I still got some early interest from advisors, investors, and partners simply because I was energetic and compelling. Meanwhile, through practice, I was able to learn how to present my ideas more concisely, how to capture people emotionally, and how to come across as competent despite my age. I feel much more confident now having had the time to experiment and learn in that college environment. It laid the foundation for me to be a good entrepreneur now.
Do I think every student who has dreams of being a founder should get started in college? Not necessarily. I was surrounded by many who just “wanted to start something,” which I don’t believe is a good recipe for creating a long-lasting and successful company. You need to have an idea that you physically can’t stop thinking about.
It’s also by no means easy, but starting a business is never going to be easy. If you think you’ve identified a real problem that you’re excited to work on a solution for, why not get started now? It just might become a reality, too.
On the surface, it would seem that Juliana Pache landed her dream job. The New York native was the head of social media at Rolling Stone – the famed music magazine. But in reality, the gig was anything but. Despite working in a job that blended her two passions – music and social media – Juliana found herself weighed down by an unhealthy work culture and demanding schedule.
As she dealt with the stress of her nine-to-five she developed a side hustle – making clay jewelry early in the mornings. While she initially started the venture as a hobby, a way to ease into her hectic days, she soon realized she had something special. After 11 months at Rolling Stone, she quit to launch Pache Studio.
made more in my first year as a full time small business owner than I did last year as a salaried employee and I just want to say thank you to everyone who stressed me out beyond my limit at my 9-5 because without you I wouldn’t have taken the leap! happy new year ☺️— juliana (@thecityofjules) December 29, 2022
By betting on herself, not only has the entrepreneur achieved inner peace, but she’s also making more money than ever before. Matter of fact, in her first year of operating her small business full-time, Juliana brought in more money than at Rolling Stone where her salary was $90,000. Here’s exactly how she did it.A creative outlet stems from an unfulfilling 9-5
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Juliana had a culture shock when her family moved to the suburbs of Florida during her middle school years. The minute she turned 18, she knew she needed a change of environment and landed at Temple University in the heart of Philadelphia where she majored in media studies and production.
A singer herself, Juliana originally envisioned a career in music but after a few classes, she realized the technical aspect of producing music wasn’t for her. This led her to shift her focus to journalism and media. During college, she landed a marketing internship at Red Bull where she worked with the infamous “wings” team.
The experience was formative for her and she worked at the energy drink company after college. But needing another change, Juliana left Red Bull and moved back to New York where she did marketing for a coconut water startup. Unfortunately, it was no comparison to her previous job.
“Red Bull is an outlier. It's an exception to the rule. Right?” she said. “It was really cool. They do stuff with arts, music, sports, and culture. It was just completely different.”
Luckily, it didn’t take Juliana long to find another position where she would thrive. She became the social media editor at the Fader, a publication that covers music and the culture around it. The job blended all of her interests including music, journalism, and social media. In her three years there, Juliana worked her way up to become the social media director. She then moved to do socials for VICE, a larger and well-respected publication, and was then hired by Rolling Stone a year later.
But while her career trajectory looked amazing from the outside, this was a difficult time for the media professional.
“Rolling Stone broke me,” she said.
Juliana found herself in a toxic work environment where she was given an unreasonable amount of work and no support. It all became too much for her.
“I was having frequent panic attacks. And not only that, but the hierarchy at Rolling Stone is so old, white, male dominant. And they have a certain way — culturally — of communicating that they don't recognize is demoralizing and condescending,” she said. “So the combination of all of those things, I just felt like I was alone out to sea. No support.”
Realizing that she was being taken advantage of, she quit only to have the company offer her two extra weeks of PTO and the promise of bringing in additional support. But after a month and no hiring progress, Juliana left for good.
Leaving a stable job was risky, of course. But Juliana had a plan. In the morning and evenings when she had a respite from her day job, she was working on a side project she started at the end of 2020 and decided it was time to fully invest in it.
“I had started my [jewelry] business, Pache Studio,” she said. “It was a side hustle, a creative outlet. It was a way to make some extra income. By the time I quit Rolling Stone, I felt like, ‘oh, I have enough of a following here that I could really make something of this.’”A passion project becomes a stable business
Technically, Pache Studio started as a hobby. Having stretchy and sensitive earlobes, Juliana found herself getting most of her earrings from Etsy because they were lightweight.
“I was buying clay earrings a lot on Etsy,” she said. “And I was like, 'I wonder how they're making this?'’”
After doing a Google search, she purchased all of the necessary materials and decided to try her hand at producing jewelry. Two weeks later, her Etsy store went live.
A social media professional herself, Juliana was able to get the word out about her small business relatively easily and grew Pache Studio’s Instagram organically. While she was still at Rolling Stone, the volume of orders for Pache Studio was quite low, which allowed the entrepreneur to slowly work on the business.View this post on Instagram
An early riser, Juliana naturally goes to bed from 9:30 - 5:30 am. This meant she had several hours every morning she could dedicate to jewelry making before her day job. At the time, she wasn’t necessarily thinking about expanding this project into a full-time business. Rather, she found the craft was becoming a form of therapy.
“Producing the jewelry was kind of my creative outlet,” she said. “It was a very relaxing, kind of repetitive hobby. So that worked out in my favor.”
The stars just happened to align and when she found herself at her breaking point at Rolling Stone, Etsy approached her and wanted to feature her business. This helped Juliana take the leap to leave her salaried job in October 2021.
“I knew I was gonna have a flood of income coming,” Juliana said. “Etsy featured me in their blog. They featured me in the newsletter on Small Business Saturday. So I was good.”
After leaving Rolling Stone, Juliana devoted all of her time to Pache Studio and it became her main source of income in 2022. This was also the year she prioritized in-person sales and began tabling at local markets throughout New York City. She found great success with this approach.
“I kind of shifted some of my priorities to do the in-person markets,” Juliana said. “Because it's quicker. I can just bring the earrings, put them in a bag, and make the sale,” she said.
Juliana recalls that her first in-person sale was at a small popup in Bushwick. Despite feeling a bit unprepared – she forgot to bring a tablecloth for her display – the day was a success.
“I just remember that whole time at that market, feeling like, ‘oh my god. I can't believe I sold this many earrings,’” she said.The behind the scenes of running a small jewelry business
While it’s never easy to let go of a stable paycheck, Juliana’s found greater financial freedom through her small business.
The entrepreneur made more in 2022 than she did in 2021 when she was employed full-time at Rolling Stone. While she did do a bit of freelancing for VICE, the majority of this income came directly from Pache Studio. Here’s a look at her company expenses and what it costs to operate a small jewelry business in New York.
Initially, Juliana paid exactly $1,250 to open up Pache Studio. This included the $500 fee to start an LLC (limited liability company) in New York City along with an additional $500 to get the LLC published in the newspaper. The remaining $250 was the cost of the first supplies and materials Juliana bought to make the earrings.
The entrepreneur spends about $250 on admin tools every month, including her Shopify website and Quickbooks. The materials for her jewelry can be anywhere from $200 - $400 a month. Her monthly vendor fees also range from $400 - $600 depending on how many markets she attends. On the high end, her total expenses per month can be around $1250. Still, Juliana has been profitable every month she’s operated Pache Studio.
Her schedule is broken down into spending about three hours a day on admin work: fulfilling orders, responding to customers' requests, going to the post office, updating inventory, tracking expenses, and tweaking the website. The remainder of the day – anywhere from two to four hours – is dedicated to the production of the jewelry.
Depending on the technique and assembly required, Juliana spends about two to five hours on one batch of earrings which amounts to 12 to 15 pairs.
Currently, Juliana is operating as a team of one. She does work with a part-time employee who helps her at the markets and sometimes utilizes Taskrabbit for help on shipping out orders, including hiring someone to pierce holes in the earring cards.
With Pache Studio growing, she feels like it’s time to bring in a team member to assist her. As a small business owner, it can be a bit intimidating from a financial perspective to take this step, but Juliana acknowledges that she needs the help now.
“I've decided now I need to hire someone because it’s just not sustainable,” she said. “Mentally, I'm buzzing around. And I'm checking things off my to-do list, but every time I check something off, it feels like five more things are put on my list.”The creative process of making jewelry
Finances aside, Pache Studio has allowed Juliana to tap more into her creativity, something that’s been with her since her childhood.
“I’ve always been a very creative person,” she said. “In elementary school, I was in the art club. I just remember using materials in a fun, creative way.”
Now, years later, she’s continuing to experiment with materials – this time as a career. Each earring is hand-crafted by Juliana herself using polymer clay and hypoallergenic materials. First, she shapes and molds the clay and will sometimes add mixed elements like hardware and resin. Once she has finished manipulating it, she cuts the earrings up into different shapes and will then bake them in the oven.
Designing the earrings comes naturally to Juliana, as she’s always had a penchant for identifying striking color combos and patterns in everything from buildings to fabrics.
“I was looking at the preview of The Real Housewives of Potomac reunion and the colors and the set design — they had these lush purples, blues, and little hints of pink – and I was like, oh my god, that would be such a great color scheme for some earrings,” she said.
While Juliana has made a career out of managing social media for large news organizations, she applies the same principles for posting when it comes to promoting her own brand: giving back to the audience. She’s found that filming Instagram Reels that showcase the creative process gets the most engagement.💡Get started with Buffer for free today to schedule and publish your Instagram Reels!
“I've tried to think about, “what is the most generous thing to post?” Because that is oftentimes the most engaging thing to post. Like, what am I offering to the audience?” she said. “I'm offering something that is really interesting to look at. So I'm not just selling earrings, I'm also offering them something that piques their curiosity.”View this post on Instagram Achieving peace of mind through Pache Studio
Despite all of the responsibilities of Pache Studio falling squarely on Juliana’s shoulders, she’s in the healthiest place she’s ever been both mentally and financially. It may seem like a paradox, but the freedom and independence she’s gained from her small business has allowed her to thrive.
“Honestly, it's way less stressful to put that amount of inertia into a business, knowing that it's controlled by you, you set the rules, you set the pace, you make the schedule,” she said. “It's a different kind of stress because it's not the kind of stress where you feel like, 'what is the point of this?'”
In fact, Juliana was able to open her second small business, Black Crossword, because of the mental clarity she’s found. A fan of word games, Juliana created the crossword as a way to highlight and honor the diversity of Black culture. In a New York Times interview, she said her goal with the project was for, “people of the Black diaspora to learn about each other in a way that’s fun and rewarding.”
Running two small businesses is difficult, sure, but it’s also been fulfilling and purposeful for Juliana. The entrepreneur especially appreciates that she’s in charge of her schedule and says becoming her own boss has has drastically improved her life.
“The quality of life is so much better when you don't have to work with jerks,” she said. “If I want to break up my day and go to a cafe and read a book, or go to a park, I can do that. I just feel more in control.”
She acknowledges there can be a lot of condescension from others when it comes to small business, and that not everyone is supportive of this lifestyle. But even so, she encourages other aspiring entrepreneurs to take the leap and trust themselves as she did.
“Your friends might not know what you're doing. They might think you're crazy. They might think that you're twiddling your thumbs with your little arts and crafts,” she said. “But you just have to forget about all of that and focus.”
For the last six years, we’ve published the State of Remote Work report. We use this report to do a deep dive into the experience of remote workers around the world, their work structure, their struggles, and their career growth and pay.
This year, we had 3,000 remote workers respond to the State of Remote Work to help provide insights.
In this post, we’ll cover the top seven insights from the 2023 State of Remote Work. We’ll take a deeper look at some of the trends that currently exist in the remote workspace.
Thank you to Nomad List and Remote OK, who partnered with us on this year’s State of Remote Work report! Read the full report here:Read the 2023 State of Remote Work
Let's take a closer look at what this year's report has to say about the state of remote work.1. Remote work continues to be perceived as very positive.
Remote work has its fair share of critics. Still, those who work remotely perceive it very well. A whopping 98 percent of respondents want to work remotely for the rest of their careers. Another 98 percent would also recommend remote work to others.
We ask these questions to try and get a sense of how remote workers are feeling about remote work, and consistently we learn that they want to keep working remotely and they would recommend it to others.
These two responses are up slightly from 97 percent in 2022.
Another indicator for remote work is that we directly ask respondents about their experience. Again, we had great results — 91 percent of respondents report having a positive experience and just 1 percent described their experience with remote work as negative. Respondents were most likely to select very positive with 68 percent of respondents selecting it, and 23 percent selected somewhat positive.
Overall, regardless of the critics, people who work remotely overwhelmingly want to continue working remotely, we see this year after year. This is something to consider as some organizations are considering the return to the office. We’ll get into that next.2. Remote workers don’t want a hybrid setup
In 2020, remote work became the norm out of necessity. In 2021 and 2022, the conversation largely revolved around the return to the office, or how to successfully adopt a hybrid approach to work.
Based on this year’s responses, we can see that remote workers don’t want a hybrid setup.
When asked about their current work structure, most of our respondents (64 percent) were fully remote, another 18 percent were hybrid and remote first, 9 percent were hybrid and office occasional (required or encouraged to be in the office), and another 9 percent were hybrid and office-first with remote work allowed.
In the next question, we asked about the structure that those same respondents would like to have, and the response was clear — 71 percent would prefer fully remote, and 20 percent would choose hybrid but also remote-first, which is very close to being fully remote. Just 6 percent selected hybrid and office occasional, and another 2 percent selected hybrid and office first, with 1 percent selecting fully office based.
These trends have all increased from 2022 as well. In 2022 we had fewer respondents who were already fully remote (49 percent) and fewer who selected that they preferred a fully remote setup (56 percent).
After several years where the hybrid work structure has been explored by many large organizations, these results could indicate that the hybrid setup has not been working for remote workers and they prefer being fully remote or as close to fully remote as possible.3. Flexibility continues to be the biggest benefit of working remotely
Unsurprisingly, the top benefit of remote work remains flexibility. We get specific about what respondents mean when they say flexibility, though. For 22 percent, the biggest benefit of remote work is the flexibility in how they spend their time, for 19 percent it’s the flexibility to live where they choose, and for 13 percent it’s the flexibility to choose their work location.
We’ve seen many examples of Buffer teammates embracing the flexibility we offer to live and work differently and they’ve found a lot of happiness in the setup. One teammate has been a digital nomad ever since joining the team.
This flexibility lends itself differently to everyone and we’ve seen other groups like parents use remote work to set up their schedules to work better for their families as well.4. One in three remote workers reports staying home too often because they don’t have a reason to leave
We always dig into the biggest struggles of remote work alongside the biggest benefits — and the top responses are always shifting. For several years, we saw communication and collaboration were the biggest challenges for remote workers followed by loneliness, we saw loneliness spike in 2020, and then not being able to unplug led the way in both 2021 and 2022 with loneliness as a close second.
This year, we added an option to the survey that we had seen spoken about online and in our own circles when it comes to struggles with working remotely — “I stay home too often because I don’t have a reason to leave.” This option ended up being the most likely response with 33 percent of respondents selecting it as a struggle that they have. When asked about their biggest struggle from the list, staying home too often remained in the lead with 21 percent of remote workers selecting it.
The next most selected struggle for remote workers was loneliness, with 23 percent of remote workers selecting it overall and 15 percent of remote workers selecting it as their top struggle from the list. These two struggles go hand in hand and paint a picture of how the reality of remote work can be very challenging.5. Remote workers find work boundaries important but are only moderately successful with setting them
While 71 percent of respondents say it’s very important to set work boundaries, remote workers are only moderately successful.
Eighty-one percent of remote workers claim to check work emails outside of work hours, including 63 percent who do so on weekends and 34 percent while on vacation. Another 48 percent say they frequently work outside of traditional work hours, and 44 percent of remote workers say they have worked more this year compared to last year. Finally, 22 percent report not being able to unplug as their biggest challenge with remote work.
Organizations and leaders have a role to play in work boundaries as well by ensuring that communication expectations are clear, especially on remote teams where your devices act as a workspace but also personal space. Here’s how we set up agreements for how we communicate on Slack at Buffer.6. Remote workers are split on if career growth is more difficult remotely, but it’s trending toward easier
In 2022’s report, we added a question to learn more about career growth for remote workers — a trending topic at the time as some claimed remote work would be detrimental to anyone’s career. In that report, 45 percent of respondents said that remote work did make career growth more difficult, just 14 percent said remote work made career growth easier, and the remaining 41 percent said it had no impact.
This year, we asked the question again, and we got a very different response. We saw a huge increase in the number of people who selected that remote work made career growth easier — from 14 percent to 36 percent. We also saw the group that found career growth more difficult decrease from 45 percent in 2022 to 28 percent in 2023.
These trends are overall positive, as remote workers are either saying career growth is easier or that remote work has no impact on their career growth. The end results though are still split with 28 percent finding career growth more difficult while remote and 36 percent finding it easier.
The group who find remote work easier for their career growth were most likely to select that the reason they felt that was that they were measured on their output and impact instead of their time in the office, as well as the fact that all employees are on a level playing field because they are all remote. Career frameworks can be a massive help here.
On the flip side, the group who found remote work more difficult said it was because they feel like if they aren’t seen they aren’t thought of for new opportunities, as well as because they don’t know how to promote their own success and they feel left out of organic conversations. This last one hints at a gap between fully remote workers and hybrid workers — and when we looked into that gap it was there. People who selected that they work hybrid and office occasional or hybrid and office first were more likely to select that remote work was more difficult than their fully remote or hybrid and remote first counterparts.
The feeling that career growth is more difficult for hybrid workers is potentially another reason that remote workers prefer not to work in a hybrid setup unless it is remote first.7. Remote workers feel connected to their colleagues, and are more energized and engaged
Another criticism is that remote workers don’t feel connected to their colleagues and aren’t engaged at work. We can prove this isn’t true.
From our survey, 75 percent of remote workers feel connected to their colleagues, even though a majority of the respondents work across time zones. More than half of respondents (58 percent) said that they feel engaged about their job, compared to 30 percent who are unengaged.
Another positive indicator on this front, compared to a year ago, almost half of remote workers say they are feeling more energized. Twenty-one percent report feeling burnt out and 31 percent report no change.
Overall, this report has felt like a strong indicator of the stability of remote work in today’s workplace. Many remote workers say that their company is permanently allowing some form of remote work, and remote work’s benefits seem to outweigh the struggles as remote workers continue to want to work remotely for the rest of their careers.Read the full 2023 State of Remote Work report
What do you want us to ask about next year? Send us a tweet or pop into our community.
So often as a mission-based business owner, it can feel like I have the most important message in the world—but nobody wants to listen to it.
When I first started building Diversability with the vision of creating a community of people with disabilities (and the allies who support us) elevating disability pride, I kept encountering roadblocks when trying to get the word out. When we were first getting started as a student club in 2009, I remember initially struggling to get my peers to join. In 2015, when I relaunched Diversability after graduating, I struggled to gain visibility for this side hustle while working my full-time corporate development job. There were a plethora of events happening in New York City, but I wasn’t sure how to become a speaker. I’d reach out to journalists via Help a Reporter Out and hear crickets. I couldn’t figure out how to get people to care about disability.
And then I remembered a lesson from my own disability experience. One of my arms is paralyzed and I’ve always found that, if someone hasn’t designed something for me, I have to figure out a way to do it myself. I decided to take the same approach to marketing Diversability: If people wouldn’t hand me a microphone, I’d become my own hype person instead.
Now, in 2023, we have 80,000 followers across our social networks and 5,800 in our closed communities. Here are some of the surprisingly easy and affordable DIY strategies that my team and I used to get there, and the lessons learned that can help any business owner generate their own buzz.We created our own events
After struggling for a while to find events for me and our disabled community members to speak at, I decided to start hosting them myself—and was surprised to find how easy it was.
I leveraged some early connections I made with disability organizations and other advocates, offering them a stage to share their story. I was fortunate to make some connections with venues that offered to host us for little to no charge (a coworking space that let us use the facility on nights they didn’t have other bookings, a tech company that opened their office to community events). In 2020, we moved to our events being held almost exclusively virtually, which lowered the bar even more for how easy it was to do.
We used Eventbrite to sell tickets for our events on a sliding scale basis (and still do!), which helped us cover event costs while making sure that they are accessible to those who want to attend. I would create the event graphics myself using Canva, and use them to promote the events on Diversability’s social channels, amplify them on my personal accounts and within other disability communities (like Facebook groups I was part of), and share the marketing materials with our speakers to help expand our reach. In the early days, I was doing much of this by myself (we now have a team of eight), and each event would take me about 10-15 hours and cost $50-$100 to make happen.View this post on Instagram
In the first year, we had “sold out” events with more than 70 people and also had much smaller events with only eight to ten attendees. But every time we hosted one, someone would reach out either asking to speak at an upcoming event, wanting to get involved in another way, or just making sure they’d be notified when the next one was happening so they could come again. We knew we were onto something.
We now call ourselves “year-round disability conference,” hosting monthly virtual Diversability Unplugged events with topics ranging from financial equity, sexuality, work, and Gen Z through a disability lens. In 2022, our events welcomed more than 1,100 attendees, not only giving an incredible platform to diversity thought leaders who may not have found one elsewhere, but helping grow our own brand equity and reach.We created our own list
I was always frustrated that, even with the rise of “list culture”—Forbes 30 Under 30, Create and Cultivate 100, Inc 5000, etc—I rarely saw people with disabilities featured. So, I created our own list to elevate those doing big things in the disability world.
The D-30 Disability Impact List honors 30 disabled leaders annually who are making an impact in their community. Again, this was surprisingly simple to launch. We created a Google Form to collect nominations. We reached out to people with strong networks to be part of our selection committee in the hopes that they would help us get the word out. We created a folder of marketing assets (like graphics and social media post copy) to make it easy for others to promote the nominations form, and did the same when announcing the honorees to help people celebrate them.View this post on Instagram
In the past three years that we’ve published the list, we’ve received almost 1,000 nominations, and we’ve been able to share the work of 91 truly impressive disability advocates. On top of getting to honor their work, we always see a bump in website traffic during nominations and after the list is published, and find that many new members discover our community thanks to this list.We created our own press
From the start, I was intent on public relations being a part of our marketing strategy. Not only did I want the Diversability message to be featured on as many platforms as possible, I wanted to share press opportunities with our community members in order to elevate their voices. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in a place to spend thousands of dollars a month for formal PR support and couldn’t justify the cost for this “top of the funnel” marketing. So we started creating our own original content across multiple platforms to serve as a sort of press outlet.
I started by writing posts on Diversability’s blog and connecting community members to write guest post features of each other. In 2022, we brought on a dedicated writer on a part-time basis to create three articles a month featuring our community members, both for our own blog and to pitch to other publications. Our blog pieces have been syndicated on MSN and Medium and we have been published in Thrive Global, Women Enabled International, Ability Magazine, and World Institute for Disability.
We also started treating social media as a sort of press, focusing on creating educational content about the disability experience and opportunities to highlight our members, like my “Anti-Ableism Series,” which has over 5 million views. Our original content about the disability experience reached over 140,000 people last year.View this post on Instagram
Finally, we launched a podcast. We tried to make this as low-lift as possible, using Zoom to interview members of our community recording both audio and video so we could use the content for our YouTube and social channels, and leveraging Zoom’s captioning feature to include a rough transcript of the conversations.
Ironically, creating our own “press” helped us tap into more traditional press outlets over time. We’ve recently gotten inquiries from journalists at The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Mirror, Yahoo Life and more looking for quotes from the disabled community—no cold pitching required on our end.
I’m not saying that every business owner should use these exact strategies. Even though they are extremely affordable, the tradeoff is that they take time. Plus, not all approaches work the same way for every business—you have to make it your own and find what works for you.
But I do think it’s helpful to call out the common thread between the DIY marketing approaches that have helped my business succeed: bringing other people in. My marketing is not just about promoting Diversability. It’s about promoting other leaders and influencers in the disability space, relying on the power of community and the network effect to raise their voices and raise our brand equity in the process.
Even if your core business isn’t as community-oriented as mine, it’s worth considering how you could apply this. Could you host an event or an Instagram Live where you chat with a thought leader your users would care about? For example, we at Diversability have recently partnered with a body positivity conference, a therapy platform, and a youth social impact group, cross-pollinating our audiences. Could you find a meaningful way to highlight your customers or users on your blog and make that a place where people want to be featured?
There are so many more pathways now for getting the word out about your business and your mission. Instead of waiting for other people to tell that story, why not take matters into your own hands and show them why they should start paying attention.
Most weeks start in the same way for me.
I’m sitting, looking at my Buffer queue, scratching my head at what I should schedule across my social media profiles.
Inspiration can be hard to come by. But recently, I’ve discovered a solution.
Buffer’s AI Assistant. It is designed to simplify the process of social media scheduling, making it easier for me to come up with posts, refine my own ideas and help me create content that resonates with my audience.0:00/1×Buffer's AI Assistant
Here’s the catch though.
To get the most out of AI, you need to provide the right inputs. This means taking the time to understand what information the AI system needs and how it processes that information.
The quality and accuracy of your inputs will directly impact the quality and accuracy of the output.What makes a good AI prompt?
In one word: context.
A good AI prompt should provide enough context to allow the AI to make an informed decision. Additionally, the prompt should be tailored to the specific AI model being used and should provide all relevant information needed to make an accurate prediction.
For example, if you are using Buffer’s AI Assistant, you need to feed it relevant information such as your target audience, desired tone, and content topics. Providing clear and concise inputs will help the AI system understand your goals and provide more effective suggestions.
So, for example, you ask Buffer’s AI Assistant:“Write me a tweet about black Friday.”
It’ll give you a result like this: "Get ready for the biggest shopping day of the year! #BlackFriday is just around the corner.”
That’s, okay. But not something you’d probably be happy to share on social.
Instead, providing Buffer’s AI Assistant with more information about your brand, your product, your tone of voice, and your target audience will help the AI create something much better. For example, if you ask Buffer’s AI Assistant:
It’ll give you a result like this: “Fuel your day with purpose! Get 50% off our smooth & flavorful organic, fair trade coffee from Peru this #BlackFriday 🌎👩💼 Perfect for busy millennials looking for a guilt-free coffee fix 💪 #SustainableCoffee"
This is much, much better. It’s not perfect. But it’s a step in the right direction.
And that’s the point, get the input right, and you’ll get a much better result.
So, without further ado, here are 38 inputs you can steal, tweak and test out for yourself:38 prompts to get you started with Buffer’s AI AssistantPrompts for generating ideasBased on [link], share [number] ideas for a/an [social media name] post (use)I run the [social media name] for a [type of account] Share [number] ideas to help increase engagement on my account (use)Generate [number] [post type] announcing the launch of our new [product/service name & description] (use)Create a social media post that showcases the benefits of [product/service] for [target audience] (use)Generate a motivational quote for [target audience] related to [topic] (use)Write a how-to post on [topic] for [target audience] (use)Create a post that highlights the latest trends in [industry/field] (use)Generate a list of [number] tips for [target audience] on [topic] (use)Write a post that explains the science behind [topic] like you would to a 5-year old (use)Create a post that debunks common myths about [topic] (use)Generate a post that discusses the impact of [topic/event/trend] on [industry/field] (use)Write a post that features [number] success stories related to [topic] (use)Create a post that compares and contrasts [topic A] and [topic B] for [target audience] (use)Prompts for drafting contentWrite a [social media name] post about [topic] that includes a call to action for [target audience] (use)Draft a post that showcases [number] ways to [achieve a specific goal related to the topic] (use)Create a post that breaks down [complex topic] into simple steps for [target audience] (use)Write a post that shares the latest news and developments in [industry/field] (use)Draft a post that offers [number] expert tips for [topic] for [target audience] (use)Create a post that explains the benefits of [product/service] for [target audience] (use)Write a post that features [number] inspiring stories related to [topic] (use)Draft a post that shares [number] interesting facts about [topic] (use)Create a post that lists [number] common misconceptions about [topic] and provides accurate information (use)Write a post that compares [product/service A] and [product/service B] in terms of [specific aspect or feature] (use)Prompts for when you’re ready to publish and promoteCreate a social media post that announces [content piece] and highlights its key takeaways for [target audience] (use)Draft a post that features a quote from [content piece] and provides a link to read more (use)Write a post that showcases [number] reasons why [target audience] should check out [content piece] (use)Create a post that highlights the unique features of [content piece] and its benefits for [target audience] (use)Draft a post that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of [content piece] (use)Write a post that features [number] testimonials from satisfied readers of [content piece] (use)Create a post that asks [target audience] to share their thoughts on [content piece] and provides a link to read more (use)Draft a post that offers [number] exclusive tips or insights from [content piece] not found anywhere else (use)Write a post that showcases the positive impact [content piece] has had on [specific industry or field] (use)Create a post that presents [content piece] as a solution to [specific problem or challenge faced by target audience] (use)Prompts for when you’re repurposing old contentRewrite this social post in a more engaging style: [add the social media post] (use)Turn this LinkedIn post into a Twitter Thread: [add the LinkedIn post] (use)Take this Facebook post and transform it into a caption for Instagram: [add the Facebook post] (use)Take this YouTube description and create a TikTok caption for the video: [add the YouTube description] (use)Read my 5 best performing social posts and come up with a new post in a similar style: [add 5 best performing social posts] (use)
If you're feeling stuck on what to post on social media, Buffer's AI Assistant is here to help.
It's designed to make your life easier by suggesting content that resonates with your audience. But to get the best results, you need to give the AI the right information.
A great AI prompt should provide enough context for the AI to make a well-informed decision. The more information you give, the better the AI will understand your goals and the more effective its suggestions will be.
Got any suggested prompts you’d add to this list? Send us a Tweet to let us know and we’ll get it updated! And for more advice on creating great AI prompts, check out this thread:
Everyone’s using ChatGPT.
But almost everyone's STUCK in beginner mode.
10 techniques to get massively ahead with AI:
(cut-and-paste these prompts👇)
Want to try out Buffer’s AI Assistant for yourself? Get started today for free!
Have you ever looked back at a moment or event in your life and realized that it was an impactful turning point? I just recently had that experience.
A couple of months ago, a change to my main role at Buffer prompted me to re-evaluate how I organize myself and plan my day. The results? They’ve been impactful.
I’d love to share a bit of context.
I’m a Customer Advocate working in the support team at Buffer. For the most part, my approach to work has always been quite passive. I was able to succeed in my role by consuming information and reacting to questions brought to me. I didn’t push a lot of information outward.
Most of my time is spent working directly with our customers or contributing to projects that would impact the customer experience. Most of my meetings (we call them ‘syncs’) were with other members of the Customer Advocacy team.
Then, in January 2022, I had the exciting opportunity to jump into a new function as a liaison between the Customer Advocacy team and our Engineering, Product, and Design (EPD) teams. Some of my responsibilities would include making sure our support team is fully informed about what features we’re building, passing along customer feedback and insights to EPD, and helping to plan new feature launches.
I was all-in, but I also had a lot to learn about how EPD works, how marketing launches flow, and more. Things move fast, and the relevant information that I need to be effective in this role can pop up in any one of a number of our communications apps. There’s no way I could do all this without being much more organized than I was before.
I had no choice but to shake up how I work. I could no longer function in the uncertainty or anxiety that I might have forgotten something important that I was supposed to do. And, while I do love the fresh start that a new notebook and pen provides, this effort required more of me than just a new stationery purchase.
Over the last several months, I found that a combination of six mindset tweaks and new habits have helped me keep up with my commitments and reduce uncertainty.
*Disclaimer: While all of these habits have worked nicely for me, it could be the case that you’ll want to tweak them or completely ignore them based on your own preferences and work style.1. I have a morning routine to plan my day.
Working from home can quite easily mean that not much happens between the bed and the laptop. That’s never felt great to me, and even before we got a dog, I would leave the house for a walk to get a coffee or for a run or a gym session. I needed to feel like I was doing something before ‘going to work’. Now we have Diego, his morning walk is part of a routine that really helps me start my day right.
When I sit down to work, I have my list of tasks, which I have set up in a board view in Asana (the tool I use for planning my work). The columns I work with are Today, Tomorrow, and Later. This helps me keep today’s priorities in focus.
Then, I have a checklist of all the places I review every day: email, Slack, Threads, and a bunch of bookmarked internal documents so that I don’t miss a thing.
I check my calendar and make sure I’m ready for any meetings and syncs that day. For bigger meetings, such as a performance review, I’m sure to have a reminder set days or even weeks in advance in Asana.
All of these practices give me a clear idea of what today will look like. Once I know what to expect, I’m ready to dive in.2. I use notification management to keep informed.
To make sure I don’t miss any important conversations I should be aware of, I set up notifications to let me know when someone makes a change to a specific document, when someone comments in certain Slack channels, and when new updates are shared in key Threads forums.
While checking individual apps for their notifications is a great flow for some people, I’ve found that sending all app notifications to my email inbox is the most thorough process for me to follow because everything is in one place. I hold myself accountable to this by having a daily goal to clear out my inbox.3. I take time to prioritize.
Prioritization hasn’t always come naturally to me. There are often tasks with a similar level of urgency, and picking and choosing which feels more important/urgent isn’t always easy. There can be feelings of guilt for not doing something that you’d planned or committed to, and that cognitive friction just adds to the challenge.
I’ve found that the best way to really honor prioritization is to consider the impact of not doing that work. Would it matter?
If honoring the true prioritization means that I have to delay another commitment, I’ve learned that the best way forward is to communicate to the other stakeholders as quickly as possible, to ask for help, or to delegate.4. I break bigger projects down.
Some projects, such as launching a new feature, can be divided into subtasks and milestones. When doing this, it’s usually quite clear which order things need to be done in, and I’ll add a due date for each task/milestone.
If other people are involved, I’ll be clear with them about the timing I have in mind. The beauty of this is that if some unexpected time becomes available, perhaps if a meeting gets canceled, I know I can make progress with a sub-task rather than feeling like I need to wait until I have a whole day clear before I can get started.5. I’m more disciplined.
It’s ok to say no, delegate, or ask for more time. It can feel good to say “yes” to requests for help, especially if it’s a task I think I’ll enjoy. I’ve learned that, unfortunately, the pleasure of getting involved in something new can sometimes become outweighed by the dreadful feeling of an uncompleted task getting pushed down the list. I’ve learned that saying “no” or “Is it ok if I get to that next week?” can sometimes be the best gift I can give to the other person. I also like to think through who else might be a better option as the owner of this. Perhaps we can chat with them about taking it on or sharing the work.
Tackle quick jobs on the spot and add bigger jobs to the to-do list. Some tasks that crop up can be done then and there, even if they’re not high priority. If something takes 5-10 minutes, I like to tackle it. However, I like to be alert and use discernment! It’s important to ensure that many small tasks don’t derail bigger plans for the day.
Strip the to-do list! I’ve found that it’s important to revisit my to-do list-- especially if it seems ever-growing – and delete things from it. It feels great! The question ‘what would happen if I didn’t do this?’ normally helps bring clarity to the decision of deleting something. Once finished, I inform anyone else involved in that work.
Get started even when motivation is low. Big projects, tasks that don’t feel exciting, and low-priority projects that have been put off can end up as standards on a to-do list. I like to approach these projects by dedicating just 10 minutes. Sometimes this small bit of momentum allows the rest to fall into place.6. I recognize the feeling of overwhelm and act on it.
I want to prioritize myself by taking time for periodic mental health check-ins. Am I fed, hydrated, and rested? Would a 5-minute break help? It’s so tempting to push stubbornly against a brain that doesn’t want to function properly, but ultimately it’s unproductive.
As humans, if we’re feeling slower than normal, less focused, or have a lack of motivation, it’s important to lean into those cues.
Some ways I’ve learned to ease the drag are to:Defer some tasks to tomorrow or another time,Ask for help, orJust step away for a good 10-30 minutes.
Once the moment is dealt with, I like to reflect on what happened. When I have a sense of it, I can create a plan to avoid it next time.
I’m grateful that this new opportunity afforded me enough disruption to shift my mindset positively. It put me on a journey to becoming more organized and productive. The above are six things that have helped me thus far, but I have a lot of learning still to do and would love to learn from you. Speaking of which…
Over to you! What tips and tricks have you picked up that have made a big difference? I’d love to hear the stories behind them, too! Feel free to reach me via the social channels listed on my Start Page.
I’m probably not alone in dreaming about having an assistant to help me out with posting on social media.
Someone to bounce ideas off, someone to help me write updates, even someone to translate my posts.
I’ve imagined this assistant styling my posts in specific ways to help me boost my engagement on social and grow my audience online.
This dream has been pure fantasy … until today.Say hi to Buffer’s AI Assistant
Today, we’re extremely excited to introduce Buffer's AI Assistant
Buffer’s AI Assistant can generate new posts for your Buffer schedule, repurpose existing posts, and come up with endless new ideas—helping you grow your followers and super-charge your engagement.
Plus, it’s available to all Buffer users (including those on a free plan).
Take a look 👇0:00/1×Introducing Buffer's AI Assistant (in 98 seconds)Why AI and why now?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’re probably aware of the huge wave of AI tech now readily available. Tools like Chat-GPT, DALL-E and Google’s Bard are sweeping the market and dramatically changing the way we work.
At Buffer, we like to stay aware of these trends, but not dive head first into them for the sake of it.
So, why AI, and why now?
Well, since launching back in 2010, we’ve been focused on helping people grow their following and create click-worthy content.
We want all Buffer users to see significant growth in their audience and genuine boosts in engagement, all without spending money on ads, or hoovering up lots of time.
AI represented a very real way of helping Buffer users achieve this.An assistant not a replacement
Buffer’s AI Assistant is exactly what it’s called. An assistant.
We want to be clear. This is not a tool that will replace creators. We don’t expect the tool to remove creativity. We can’t see it being used instead of typical human creation.
Umber, a content writer here at Buffer shared her very real concerns about AI. She talked about her unwillingness to use the new tech and her fears about how it might replace genuine, real, human creativity.
This is not how we expect Buffer's AI Assistant to be used. It’s an aide, designed to lend a hand. Not a stand-in for you.
You might use Buffer’s AI Assistant to:To rephrase your post to make it less formal (try it)To rewrite your LinkedIn post into a Twitter Thread (try it)To repurpose last year’s best performing post by tweaking the copy (try it)To suggest a caption for your Instagram Reel (try it)To write a post for your latest blog (try it)To brainstorm ideas for your latest campaign (try it)To translate your post into Spanish (try it)
Don’t expect Buffer’s AI Assistant to fully run your social media accounts. It won’t.
Use it as an aide, something to help you improve your copy and to save you time.So, how will it help me?
Here’s the fun bit. Buffer’s AI Assistant can (if used in the right way) dramatically save you time, help grow your followers and create engaging, click-worthy posts for any channel you please.
Our 40 beta users have been putting the AI through its paces and have found it helps with a number of different use cases. Here are some of our favorites:Create ideas: Quickly create engaging posts without the need for painstaking brainstorming.Be relevant: Create personalized posts for different audiences to improve engagement across every channel.Run experiments: Generate multiple versions of a post to A/B test and determine the most effective approach.Stay consistent: Set guidelines for the tone and style of posts to ensure Buffer AI Assistant sticks with a consistent brand voice.Follow trends: Instantly generating timely, relevant posts to capitalize on the latest trends.Fast translation: Generate posts in multiple languages to reach a global audience.Easy engagement: Respond to common customer inquiries or comments in half the time with Buffer AI Assistant.Repurpose posts: Easily repurpose a viral post into dozens of variants for different channels to maximize the reach.Buffer's AI Assistant creating two different posts for a blog postWhat’s next?
We can’t wait to see how you'll use Buffer’s AI Assistant, but we should make it clear that the product is still in Open Beta. It’s not the finished article.
This means you should expect to see significant improvements to the feature over the coming weeks and months. And you’ll see updates to the pricing and usage limits.A sneak peek at what's coming next for Buffer's AI Assistant
Right now, we’re only offering a one-time allocation of AI Credits which do not replenish.
Every time you generate a response using AI, it will consume one AI Credit. These AI Credits do not automatically renew each month. This will likely change when we exit Beta, but for now try not to use all your AI Credits at once. To see how many AI Credits you have remaining, simply hover over the Generate button in Ideas.
The number of AI Credits we’ve allocated during this Beta period depends on what type of plan you’re on. If you’re keen on getting more Credits, you’ll need to upgrade your plan or add an extra channel. Here’s how we’ve allocated AI Credits during the Beta period:Free plan = 50 AI CreditsEssentials plan = 150 AI Credits (+150 for each additional channel connected)Team plans = 300 AI Credits (+300 for each additional channel connected)Agency plans = 3,000 AI Credits (+300 for each additional channel connected)
For example, those on the Essentials plan with 4 Channels connected will have access to 600 AI Credits (150 x 4 Channels).
We can’t wait to see what you think of our AI Assistant. If you have feedback, please do send us a tweet and let us know.
Discover seven unique ways to use Buffer's AI Assistant here.
Want to try out Buffer’s AI Assistant for yourself? Get started today, for free!
2022, another eventful year. We navigated our way through new challenges and new marketing trends that continue to keep us on our toes. But with all this “new,” we still made sure we evolved our strategies to stand out and connect with our audience.
This year has brought a renewed focus on nurturing existing customer relationships, by establishing trust, creating lasting impressions and providing value, all in the pursuit of true connection. We believe that connecting with our customers is how we measure success – so this trend, for us, is one that will go well into 2023 and beyond.
We’re proud to say our platform and our customers have conquered this new landscape to successfully connect and convert audiences like never before. But, before we close out on a fruitful 2022, let’s take a moment to look back and recognize the achievements and milestones we’ve accomplished.
This year, Campaign Monitor customers used our platform to send more emails than ever before – 31,985,621,168 to be exact, that were opened up in 248 countries across the world*. That’s some serious reach!
And, you designed 491,373 email templates that made sure you stood out in the inbox.
You harnessed the power of email, A/B testing 140,663 campaigns and setting up 41,382 automated journeys. Think of all the additional engagement and conversion you drove!Our new product releases made it easier for you to create impactful campaigns
2022 featured some of our most exciting releases to date. We debuted 26 new features that focused on giving you a smarter, faster and of course simpler way to create impactful campaigns that take your marketing to the next level.
Our biggest and most exciting release for 2022 was the launch of Campaign Monitor SMS – which is now available to contracted customers sending SMS to the USA, UK, Australia and Canada, with expanded availability coming in 2023 (watch this space)!
Our monumental SMS launch now gives our customers access to one of the most powerful and effective marketing channels, so they can connect and convert like never before:The same intuitive campaign creation interface as email, so you’ll find it easy to get your SMS campaigns up and running fast. Increase the speed of return on your marketing investment by encouraging immediate actionfrom your subscribers. Seamlessly capture SMS permissions so you can grow your list, boost sales and drive urgency with additional touch points.
But we didn’t stop there. Here are the some of the other feature highlights:Subject line recommendations Emoji picker Assistant improvements Recent images Email builder improvements
Check out all our product enhancements from 2022, here: What’s New in Campaign Monitor.You can rely on us
We supported you with a 99.51% delivery rate for all email campaigns sent. And with 99.98% app availability, your experience was seamless with minimal interruptions.
When you needed support, you loved that we have a dedicated support team, with real technical expertise – and we know this because 90% of you were satisfied with how our team resolved your requests.We keep you ahead of the curve with best practices
We love creating content to support you in product best practice and help you navigate marketing industry shifts and trends. We look forward to bringing you even more content and connecting as a community through events in 2023, but for now let’s check out some highlights from 2022.SMS Best Practices Resources Hub: Our team has done a ton of research on SMS best practices (so you don’t need to). Email Academy: Preference Center best practices: We added a new online email marketing course to our Email Academy family Signals22: our virtual relationship marketing event, hosted by Marigold, brought you 30 presentations over 4 days mapped to the 4 stages of relationship marketing – Acquire, Engage, Personalize and Retain. Watch the sessions on-demand. Deliverability Q&A: We know how important deliverability is to you, so we sat down with our in-house deliverability expert, John Peters, to help you maximize inbox placement and engagement during the busiest time of the year. We released over 20 new stylish email templates that help you drive interest and engagement in your email programs. Find them under the ‘latest category’ in the email builder.
It’s because of our partnership with you that we received industry recognition. Here are a couple of awards we’re proud of;
As a part of the Marigold family, we are extremely proud and honored to be recognized as a 2022 TrustRadius Tech Cares recipient. This award is a true testament to the entire Marigold working towards a more inclusive and responsible business.
Marigold was also selected as one of the hottest marketing tech companies of 2022 by Business Insider and “Best Overall MarTech Company” for the third consecutive year by MarTech Breakthrough Awards.But it wouldn’t have been possible without you
We’re proud to be a partner who can grow alongside the changing marketing landscape and help you seamlessly connect with your audience, no matter what challenges arise. Whether those changes are the way we consume information, changes to legislation and policies, or even changes to marketing strategies in the current economic climate – we’re always ready to adapt and pivot. Campaign Monitor’s coming Consumer Trends Index will forecast some of these changes expected throughout 2023, so you can confidently navigate the new year (stay tuned for more!).
Every year, we can’t imagine being more inspired than we already are by the marketers who creatively use Campaign Monitor to connect with their customers. But here we are, wrapping up 2022, feeling even more inspired than ever. We can’t wait to see what the next year brings – and we look forward to being a part of your journey in 2023.
*Using Country Codes as the measure ISO3166
The post Campaign Monitor’s Year in Review appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
With the holiday season just around the corner, and the prospect of sending more emails to your subscribers than usual, not to mention the influx they’ll no doubt receive from other brands, we want to make sure you feel prepared and holiday ready.
We sat down with John Peters, Campaign Monitor’s Deliverability Manager and advocate of email sending best practices, to ask him how you should prepare for the influx of emails this holiday season, and how you can maximize inbox placement and engagement at this busy time.
Read on to see how you can make an impact with your email program this holiday season, for all the right reasons.
Q: For those that might not be familiar with deliverability, can you give us a crash course on what it is.
Sure! Email deliverability can be complicated and may, at times, seem part science and part magic.
To demystify deliverability, let’s look at the journey of an email from when someone clicks “send” to the email arriving in the individual recipient’s inbox. We can break this journey down into two main stages.
Stage one is where our system compiles the email and sends it to the mailbox provider like Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail or business domains. The mailbox provider will either accept the email, or reject it and if the email is accepted we call this successful email delivery.
Stage two is what happens after the email is accepted. There are more automated checks carried out by the mailbox provider’s system, and these checks determine where the email ends up. If the customer has a good sender reputation their email will land in the inbox. Otherwise it will get blocked or filtered to the spam folder. And this is email deliverability.Q: What can our customers do to influence good deliverability and avoid the spam folder?
I think it’s important to acknowledge that a marketer has direct control over the majority of factors that impact deliverability. For the most part deliverability is about sender reputation and subscriber engagement, that is to say whether a person reacts positively or negatively to their emails.
As such, a marketer can make sure they follow these 5 steps:they have explicit permission and voluntary opt-in to send emails their email content is both expected and wanted by their audience they focus on increasing recipient engagement and reducing the risk of high spam complaints they regularly refresh their lists by re-engaging inactive subscribers and removing dormant ones with no activity over 12 months they authenticate their sending domains and at the very least set up DKIM for the domain they use to send emails
It is normal during the holiday season for global email traffic to increase and peak over the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend. During this time, marketers send more emails and with greater urgency and mailbox providers are strained to manage the surge in email volume.
In such a peak time, mailbox providers must strike a balance between over-filtering incoming email and placing legitimate emails in the spam folder. Or the mailbox provider may not filter enough emails and let spam through to a person’s inbox.
Marketers want to reach their subscribers’ crowded inboxes (especially at this time of the year), and to do so successfully they need to know the constraints and affecting environment of the email ecosystem. Otherwise they may find that their well crafted and curated content is being filtered and not reaching their subscribers’ inbox.Q: Is it too late for customers to prepare for the 2022 holiday season?
No, this is the perfect time to prepare for the coming holiday season. Even if your holiday programs have already begun, it’s not too late to follow these deliverability best practices. The savvy marketer knows now is the time to audit their database and review their campaign and mailing reports.
Focus on list hygiene. Permission to send emails isn’t evergreen, and monitoring list hygiene is an ongoing process. If a subset of a list has poor engagement metrics, consider trying to re-engage that particular group.
Sending a “check-in” email to those less engaged subscribers is a great way to see if they wish to remain on your list or if they do not then perhaps it is time to bid them goodbye and remove them from your list rather than damage your sender reputation.
Don’t make sudden and unexpected changes to how you send emails, such as changing the “From” email address you use to send emails or changing your branding. These are your calling card which helps people remember who you are and why they are receiving your emails and it helps your email stand out in their crowded inbox.
If you anticipate a dramatic increase in your email volume or sending frequency make sure you have a ramp up plan to accommodate the change in cadence. Mailbox providers treat sudden changes in email volume from a sender as suspicious and may filter your emails to the spam folder or block them.
Make sure you have DKIM set up for your sending domain. Campaign Monitor now has a virtual Assistant that helps customers know if they haven’t authenticated their sending domain.
Included in your Campaign Monitor account is our Insights reporting. In this reporting you can immediately see overall statistics for your campaigns. You can review your results over a period of time, which you are able to define using the date selection tool. This will help you look for trends in your performance over a period of time.
Marketers should closely monitor their email results for any signs of subscriber email fatigue. A drop in engagement will impact your sender reputation, and a fatigued subscriber is more likely to mark an email as spam.Q: Any other final tips for Campaign Monitor customers?
Landing in the inbox is a privilege rather than a right. If we want to be invited in as a welcome guest, we need to make sure we present ourselves as trustworthy and respectful senders who are mindful of our sending practices and the expectation of our subscribers.
While it’s tempting to maximize sales by sending in higher cadence even to unresponsive subscribers, any small increase in ROI is not worth the longer lasting negative impact to future inbox placement, especially leading up to the post Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday season.
By following the above practices marketers can increase the quality of their email list, better manage their database and increase the overall effectiveness of their email programs and inbox placement.
The post Get Holiday Ready: Email Sending Best Practices appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
SMS is an essential marketing channel for all kinds of businesses. But, it can be tricky to nail down what kind of message is appropriate for SMS, and what kind will annoy and drive away your customers. Read this post for five incredible SMS marketing examples of messages your audience actually wants to read.
Everyone likes getting gifts. But everyone also has that one weird family member. You know, the one who makes you ugly crocheted “fashion statements” for Christmas and gets you underwear for your birthday.
Usually, they have good intentions, but they’re probably unaware and out of touch with what people actually want. In short message service (SMS) marketing, many brands, unfortunately, become just like your Great Aunt Margaret. Someone told them that “Those hip young people like text messages,” and they started sending SMS marketing messages that are the equivalent of a crocheted necktie and tighty-whities.
According to Zendesk, the popularity of using SMS messaging to contact businesses grew by 75% in 2020. However, just like gift-giving, it’s key that you actually give people what they want when they start a text conversation with your brand.
For example, according to SimpleTexting, only 9% of consumers want to hear about your customer satisfaction survey via text. (Which, let’s be real, makes up like 99% of text messages people receive from businesses. Annoying much?) On the other hand, according to the same survey, 35% of consumers would love to get special offers or promotions via text.
Text message marketing can feel invasive and unwelcome if it’s not personalized and valuable to your audience. If you’re still not sure what consumers want to receive, you’re in luck. This guide covers five SMS marketing examples your audience actually wants to receive so you don’t become the marketing equivalent of Great Aunt Margaret. You’ll increase your conversions and your bottom line.1. Event updates
It’s hard to beat text message marketing campaigns for timely updates you know your audience will see. Americans are constantly checking their phones — about 344 times a day, according to Reviews.org. And McKinsey reports SMS messages have the highest read rates out of any commercial messaging channel, with an open rate of 42%. This combination makes SMS text messages the ideal channel for time-sensitive event communication.
You can use SMS messages to hype event lineups, send ticket QR codes, provide attendees with session time updates, or even provide interactive content during the event.
For example, event attendees may opt in to receive messages, so they can be the first to hear who the headlining speaker is or receive a mobile ticket. And then, once they have opted in, you can notify them of important information via SMS throughout the conference, such as which conference space their sessions are in.2. Special offers
According to SimpleTexting, 50% of consumers said they would be more likely to opt in to SMS messages from a business if they knew they would receive time-sensitive promotions. Through audience segmentation and marketing automation, marketing teams can personalize the promotions to each consumer, increasing the value and connection to the brand.
SMS marketing for special offers could be as simple as promoting flash sales or as specific as sending a discount code to a customer on their birthday. The key to maintaining the value for the consumer is to use it only for timely or personalized offers, rather than constantly bombarding them with texts.
3. Product launches
Consumers have the world at their fingertips with the internet. If you want your product to stand out from the beginning, you need a unique promotional mechanism. According to a survey by Harris Interactive, 77% of consumers view companies that offer texting more positively (not to mention those impressive read rates we mentioned previously). So, if you want all eyes eagerly on that new product launch, SMS is where you should start.
The timeliness of SMS provides brands with a chance to roll out their products in stages to increase the hype. For example, you should start a launch with a VIP and influencer early-access message before opening sales up to all customers.
Besides the timeliness of SMS, it also has the advantage of having very measurable outcomes. Campaign Monitor’s SMS reporting dashboard shows a comprehensive view of your launch campaigns, including audience responses to both email and SMS. Instead of guessing at interest levels in your new product or the success of your campaign, you can easily assess them at a glance.
4. Community building
SMS messages provide a unique opportunity to build brand affinity by personally connecting with your audience and creating a community around your brand. In this way, you can promote your brand without promoting your brand.
For example, you could send daily health tips or mindfulness prompts if you’re a wellness brand, or links to interactive brand content such as how-to videos and online communities. All of these things promote user-generated content, which 79% of users say highly impacts their purchase decisions, according to Stackla.
5. Donation drives
People get bombarded with organizations asking them for donations. If it’s not the Boy Scout down the street, it’s the fundraiser in the mail or the grocery store clerk asking them to “round up for the cause.” So how do you break through the noise? SMS.
The key to using SMS for donation drives and fundraising is to craft a message that won’t be just banging cymbals in the cacophony of fundraising campaigns. Gone are the days of cold-calling telethons. Today, consumers expect personalized and timely communications. And that is where SMS shines.
For example, you can tailor each message to the individual donor with Campaign Monitor’s subscriber list upload feature and customizable fields. Segment your list by region, income range, age, or any other custom qualifier you choose. Personalize every message with the subscriber’s name for an added personal touch.
With SMS, you can respond within minutes to any community or worldwide crisis, giving people the opportunity to act as soon as the news breaks. You no longer have to wait for the mailer to reach their house weeks later or cross your fingers your social posts reach them. Hit your donor base when it’s still fresh and before they are bombarded with other organizations asking for donations.
Once you have your audience’s attention, it’s important that you give them an easily accessible and immediate way to give. Relying on dated payment options isn’t going to cut it anymore. When was the last time you wrote a check for anything? It’s probably been a while. According to the Federal Reserve, the use of checks and cash is decreasing dramatically YOY, and mobile payments are taking the place of most payments previously made via check or cash. In short, if you want people to donate to your campaign, you need to offer mobile payment options.Combining SMS and email marketing strategies
There’s no arguing the benefits of SMS marketing, but it has an even greater impact when used in combination with an email marketing strategy. Each serves your customers in a unique way and enhances the impact of the other. What they share in common is the ability to grow your customer base and your bottom line. If you want to learn more about how to use SMS marketing strategies in combination with email marketing, check out our guide.
The post 5 SMS Marketing Examples Your Audience Actually Wants to Receive appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
Let’s break down the secrets to success behind The New York Times’ The Morning, and what you can learn from it for your own newsletter.
Some people say newspapers are dead, but The New York Times (NYT) isn’t taking that lying down. It has maintained its classic brand and award-winning content while evolving its product to serve a digital audience. Besides its website that serves as a digital news source for its readers, it has curated one of the most popular daily email newsletters in the world. The newsletter, called The Morning, has garnered over 17 million subscribers.
So, how has The New York Times built a newsletter subscriber list over twice the population of New York City? It took the strengths of its centurial newspaper and adapted them to a new platform. It translated attention-grabbing headlines into subject lines. It adapted award-winning photojournalism into newsletter illustrations. And it turned renowned news stories into a newsletter its subscribers eagerly wait for each morning.
While your organization may not be an iconic newspaper, you can apply many of the same principles The New York Times has used to build your own successful newsletter. That is, a newsletter that is engaging and informative, keeps your readers coming back, and ultimately promotes your brand to a captivated audience.1. Short, intriguing subject lines
Eye-catching newspaper headlines have been a long-standing tradition in the world of journalism, a skill The New York Times has leveraged in its email newsletter subject lines. The Morning features succinct subject lines with compelling descriptions you can’t help but want to open.
The Morning email subject lines are typically no more than four words following the title of the newsletter. They offer enough for the reader to know what the featured story is about but hold back the details, so the reader has to click to find the resolution.
Don’t worry — even if you don’t have harrowing war stories or political unrest to share in your newsletter, you can still curate eye-catching headlines. Start with determining a distinct perspective or value to share with your readers. From there, isolate the most essential concepts or words and think about the goals of your customer.
For example, if your value proposition is a 50% off sale on summer clothing, don’t just share a deadpan subject line that says, “we have a sale.” Instead, offer your customer the tangible and aspirational value of the sale in your subject line. For example, your subject line could be “50% Off Summer Fashion Statements!” This highlights the savings value as well as the goal they can attain by participating (making a fashion statement).
2. Vivid imagery
The first thing you see when you open The Morning is an in-your-face graphic or image. Let’s just say The New York Times definitely takes advantage of its award-winning photojournalists and designers when it comes to producing its newsletter. The image immediately conjures an emotion, making the reader invested right from the start.
The opening graphic in your email newsletter is like the welcome mat to the narrative you create within. Make sure it invites your readers in and tells them what they can expect. Maybe it says, “groundbreaking news” or “innovative ideas.” Or maybe it says, “If you’re pizza, Amazon, or Ryan Gosling, I’m home” (our favorite).
3. Clear sections and clean design
The Morning makes it clear what its readers can expect in each section with descriptive section headers and clear dividing lines. The simple black and white print is not only reminiscent of its newspaper roots but also makes its content easily legible.
So maybe a straightforward black-and-white design doesn’t fit your brand or audience but maintaining legibility is still key. This includes taking into account the 49% of users reading email on a mobile device. Are your emails optimized for mobile? Is your content skimmable? Is the contrast between the font and background stark enough that it’s easy to read?
4. Timely and comprehensive content
The Morning gives readers everything they need to carry on conversations about culture and world events. It features events that are happening currently but also provides resources to understand upcoming news-worthy topics. The newsletter also explores cultural moments in time such as food, literature, art, and entertainment.
Even if your business is not reporting the news, it’s worth taking a note from The New York Times when it comes to timeliness cultural relevance in your content. This might look like making sure your promotions are in line with current holidays, your event reminders give your audience enough notice to act, and your voice and tone are in line with cultural trends.
5. Authoritative voice and tone
Even the most renowned newspapers in the world have to maintain authority and trust with their readership. Most major news organizations try to distance their journalists from their work to promote the idea of unbiased news. However, The New York Times takes a unique stance in its newsletter by having each one “hosted” by one of its renowned journalists. This builds a personal connection with the reader and establishes trust and credibility by having a respected name on the byline.
In addition to naming the writer, the content is written in a strong authoritative voice and tone. There are no qualifying statements or punches pulled; the writers take a clear stance in every issue.
You may not be a leader in political or cultural opinion, but you do have the opportunity to be an authoritative voice in your industry niche. Own your space, take a stance on industry practices or trends, and challenge the status quo. Make a statement your readers will not only remember you for but come back for.
Create your iconic newsletter
You may not be The New York Times, but you can still create unforgettable newsletters that subscribers will come back for and share. Good newsletters can promote their email enough to build a list, but great newsletters will grow themselves. Get started creating yours today with our easy drag-and-drop templates that will make your newsletter stand out in the crowd.
The post What Makes NYT’s “The Morning” Newsletter One of the Most Popular in the World appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
It’s the age-old debate of every email marketing conversation: “when is the best time to send an email newsletter?” The answer is — there isn’t one best time. Yes, you read that right. If you want to increase email engagement rates, it’s not as simple as picking a certain day or time.
Similar to Farmers Insurance, “we know a thing or two because we’ve seen a thing or two” when it comes to email marketing. Every year, we study over 100 billion emails to curate an annual report about email marketing trends and engagement. And do you know what we’ve found? The best time to send an email newsletter varies by industry, audience, and engagement goals. There is no one-size-fits-all time to send an email newsletter.
The core of email marketing engagement is a newsletter tailored to your product, brand, and target audience. To accomplish this, it’s essential to continually test, analyze, and optimize your email campaigns. What does this look like in real-time? Let’s dig in.Test your emails
The foundation to perfecting email engagement is testing what works and doesn’t work for your audience in every aspect. This includes testing the time of day you send, subject lines, copy, graphics, and other key elements of the email.
Note that this may be different for each audience segment, product, and type of email (i.e., feature announcement vs. welcome email) you send. It may sound overwhelming to test so many things with multiple segments, but thankfully there’s a systematic way to approach email tests that will simplify uncovering trends: A/B testing.1. Segment your email subscriber list
To segment your subscriber list, divide your email list into smaller lists according to key characteristics, such as demographic, business type, purchase behavior, or location. Segments will allow you to see what has the most impact on each brand audience as well as provide more targeted email marketing in the future.
Ideally, your email marketing platform should have a segmentation tool that will make it easy to do. Here’s how it works on Campaign Monitor’s platform.2. Form a hypothesis
Once you have segmented lists, it’s time to form a hypothesis, or “educated guess,” just like you would in a scientific test. To develop your hypothesis, first pick a segment of your list to focus on, then pick a single element to test that’s key for that group.
For example, you may make an educated guess about what the outcome would be of changing the time you send welcome emails. Similar to setting a goal, your hypothesis should be S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timebound). In this case, your hypothesis could be “sending welcome emails within 10 minutes of a user joining will increase email open rates by 6% over the next three months with the new user segment.”3. Split each segment into an “A” and “B” test group
Now that you’ve formed your hypothesis, split the subscriber segment in two: an “A” group for your control group and a “B” group for your test group.
Split the segment equally at random to ensure the results aren’t skewed one way or the other. The easiest way to achieve random group selection is to use an email service provider (ESP) that has built-in A/B testing.
Assess if each group is large enough to provide statistically significant results to ensure the most accurate data. If the groups are too small or not varied enough, the test will be prone to just reflect the results of randomness. Whereas a larger group will increase the accuracy of results by reducing the probability of randomness.
A statistically significant group is determined by a few factors and a lot of math. If you’re not a statistician or just don’t like doing math (because who does?), you can easily find the right size by using an A/B test calculator. A good starting size is usually at least 1,000 subscribers, but again, that can be lower or higher depending on the test and the subscriber list.4. Create “A” and “B” test assets
To test a specific aspect of your email, create two variations of the same email with just that single element changed to reflect your hypothesis.
For example, create two identical welcome emails, but send one at the time you typically send your welcome emails and one at the time reflected in your hypothesis. Following the hypothesis example above: if you typically send your welcome emails two days after the user joins, send your control email at this time. Your test group email could be sent 10 minutes after the new user joins to test the effectiveness against your baseline results from your control group.
The only thing different between the two emails should be the time you sent them. If you were to test more than one element, it is called multivariate testing. For example, a multivariate test would be if you were testing both the time the email is sent and different subject line. You should only use multivariate testing when you are testing combinations of different elements. And it’s best to implement multivariate testing only after testing each individual element.
For example, after you test and find the most effective time to send your email, you can then combine it with winning subject lines to measure the combined impact. If you attempt to test all aspects of an email at the same time, it can be difficult to determine which is contributing positively or negatively to the overall outcome.5. Run your test on a platform that can measure results
Now it’s finally time to hit play on your test. Make sure you send your email from an ESP that has a strong analytics dashboard so you can easily measure and assess the results. Remember to isolate all variables except the one you’re testing. So if you’re testing send times, don’t write different subject lines and send on different days of the week or different times of day. Include the same subject lines in both emails, and just change the time sent.Analyze the data
Once you’ve run your test, it’s time to assess the outcomes and determine if your hypothesis was correct or not. When testing the hypothesis above, for example, look at open rates for each email segment to measure the impact of send time. Whichever group had the highest open rate would be the “winner.”
If you’re using an ESP that has built-in A/B testing, the platform should do most of the hard work for you. For example, in Campaign Monitor’s A/B test analytics dashboard, you can view graphs of your results and conversion values all at the same time.
In addition to analyzing the results as they pertain to the individual test, assess the results in light of your overall email newsletter performance. This will allow you to gain further insights into the potential impact it could have on other email segments. For example, if a personalized subject line increased open rates with new customers, consider running the same test with other list segments.Optimize based on the results
The data you gather and analyze will only go as far as you implement it. The key to long-term vitality is to implement the changes indicated by the test results as well as continuously iterate on them. Your audience’s needs change, your brand will likely evolve, and, as such, your email marketing campaigns need to adapt. To effectively adapt, A/B testing should be an ongoing practice.
Note that how you choose to optimize your email will have varying impacts. Therefore, it’s essential to set a clear primary goal before making changes to your email marketing. Our research has found that the best day and the perfect time to send an email is not only subjective to your industry but also to your goals.
For example, Mondays, on average, have the highest open rates, but Tuesdays have the highest click-through rate (CTR). So, if your goal is higher open rates, Monday may be a better day. But if a higher CTR is your goal, then a better bet would be Tuesday. All of this is subjective to your industry and audience, so it’s important to test this with your specific email list.
It’s also important to tailor your changes to each audience segment because, again, email optimization is largely dependent on the audience. Sweeping, universal changes to your email marketing are typically less effective. They must be personalized and tailored to each audience segment’s needs to drive the greatest impact. In fact, according to research by Accenture, 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with a brand that offers a personalized experience.Uncover the data that will tell you the right time to send an email newsletter for your audience
Campaign Monitor is the email marketing platform built for real marketing professionals. Our email marketing analytics uncover the trends that a winning email marketing strategy is built on.
Discover the trends specific to your audience in your own Campaign Monitor dashboard. You won’t see any gimmicky email functions, cutesy monkeys, or best guesses here. Instead, you’ll get real-time data that gives you a clear direction on what your customers want and need. You won’t just find the best time to send them emails; you’ll discover what makes your audience convert.
The post How to Find the Best Time to Send an Email Newsletter to Your Audience appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
Email newsletters often don’t bring immediate conversions or sales. They take significant time and resources to create. Is it even worth it to launch one?
Those in the know think so. The Content Marketing Institute’s 2021 B2C content marketing report found nearly 3 in 4 marketers use email newsletters. Among those who run at least two types of content marketing campaigns, 26% say newsletters are the most effective.
Email newsletters are an essential marketing tool for sharing information that goes beyond your products and services. People trust brands that fulfill the trifecta of strong products, a good customer experience, and support of social issues that align with their own. This trust leads to increased sales and loyalty, which is why newsletters are worth the investment.
The question isn’t whether it’s worth it to launch a newsletter; it’s whether you can afford to not have one. However, building a newsletter from scratch is no easy task. This post outlines everything you need to know about how to make an effective newsletter. It’s not just about writing, either — these tips cover everything you’ll need to go from initial idea to successful launch.Phase 1: Set the groundwork before you start writing
Content creation and distribution are two separate operations, but you have to consider both at the same time. Set up everything you need to send your email beforehand to make a process you can easily replicate in the future.Choose an email newsletter service
First things first: Don’t try to send your newsletter manually using Gmail, Outlook, or any other standard email service provider. Google Workspace limits senders to 500 external recipients (people outside your company) per message and 3,000 per day. It’s not a scalable solution, nor does it have important tools like email templates, segmentation capabilities, or analytics. You’ll run into similar restraints with any app that’s not dedicated to email campaigns.
Your email newsletter service should have an easy drag-and-drop editor, come with sign-up forms, and be built for collaboration so even a well-meaning blunderer like Michael Scott could get great results. Campaign Monitor offers all these features, plus automation, real-time analytics, and more, for a competitive price.Make a strategy and set a schedule
The first step in planning an email newsletter is choosing a subject matter that’s both interesting to your audience and relevant to your company. You also need to decide when to send your newsletter. You don’t want to send too often (and annoy your subscribers) or too infrequently (and have them forget why they’re on your list). Just make sure your installments go out on a set schedule.
When it comes to timing your send, no one rule works for everyone. Campaign Monitor comes with testing capabilities and analytics that help you determine the best time to send to your customers. You can build off your existing email marketing strategy, and use practices you already know are successful.Start building your subscriber list
A newsletter can only help your marketing efforts if people read it, which means you need subscribers before you start sending. You may already have customer emails from previous list-building campaigns. If you don’t, use these effective tactics to bring in new subscribers:Incentivize sign-ups Run contests or sweepstakes Set up data capture forms and pop-ups on your site and landing pages Use social media (or other digital marketing techniques)
The easier you make it for people to subscribe to your newsletter, the more success you’ll have.
Don’t ever buy an email list to get more readers. Purchased subscribers are much more likely to flag your newsletter as spam and tank your deliverability.Make sure you understand the laws
From CAN-SPAM to the GDPR and beyond, email marketing is regulated by multiple laws worldwide. Make sure you understand email legislation and follow it to the letter to avoid fines.
Some legal requirements, like getting consent from people before emailing them and including an unsubscribe link in every message, are common sense. Others require more technical knowledge. Campaign Monitor has tools to help you comply with major legislation like the GDPR.Phase 2: Focus on strong content and design
The copy and design of your newsletter should work together to support its theme and reflect your brand identity. Your first newsletter needs to set the tone, as it will be a template for all future installments. Take the time upfront to make a process you can easily repeat.
There are a lot of decisions to make at this stage. You don’t have to make them all alone. Rely on the advice of experts who have been where you are.Choose and customize an email newsletter template
Save time on your email design by using a free email template for newsletters. Choose one that works for the type of content you want to share and then customize it. Our email newsletter design tips can help anyone make a newsletter template look like their own.
If you get stuck during the newsletter process, try looking at our favorite resources for inspiration:The Campaign Monitor email gallery Really Good Emails Milled Email Newsletter Examples Dribbble
Still having trouble? Try to find a different template that better fits your needs. This is frustrating, but it’s better to take time to find the right template than to struggle with design and layout every month.Keep your content interesting and relatable
The only reason subscribers will engage with your newsletter is if its content is valuable to them. When looking for topics for your next newsletter, consider ideas that are:Useful Timely Newsworthy Personalized
Depending on the size of your email list and the depth of your resources, you might want to create different newsletters for different segments. Most beginners — and those working in smaller departments — won’t have time to create content that’s personalized with that much depth. However, you should still use basic personalization, like customers’ names, to connect with readers.
Creating content regularly often leads to writer’s block. Don’t worry if you’re struggling — just refer to our list of 50 engaging newsletter ideas, which range from new product announcements to case studies to user-generated content. Or, you can check out some fabulous examples and get a breakdown of why they work from our list of 15 of the best email newsletter examples we’ve seen.Make sure your newsletter has all the necessary elements
Email newsletters aren’t just about the body content. Don’t forget the other parts of your message. While they may take up less space, they’re just as essential to your newsletter’s success:A subject line that follows best practices to boost your open rate A preheader that complements your subject line and offers another hook A CTA, whether you want readers to click through to your blog, send feedback, or engage in some other way An email footer that helps you follow legal requirements and meet reader expectations
These elements are the ones readers use to judge whether they should engage further with what you’ve sent. Take time to execute them well if you want your newsletter to succeed.Phase 3: Test and optimize on an ongoing basis
Verifying everything in your email works before you send matters just as much as A/B testing and looking back at analytics afterward. Each installment you send is an opportunity to improve on your process and your results.
Pre-send tests should include email list maintenance, content optimization, and email previews. These 17 low-budget email testing tools can help you cover all the major bases. Set up a good workflow to automate as much of the testing as possible.
After you’ve sent, the only thing to do is wait for the results to come in. Your KPIs should match the goal of your newsletter; whatever your chosen metrics are, make sure you faithfully track them. Our 2022 email marketing benchmarks can help you compare your open rates, click-through rates, click-to-open rates, and unsubscribe rates to senders across 18 industries.Be ready to keep learning
You don’t have to stick to the rules you set for yourself in the beginning if they don’t perform as expected. Don’t be afraid to experiment by adding new content or retiring sections that aren’t resonating with your readers. It’s hard to send a quality newsletter, and sometimes it takes time for new attempts to really find their groove.
The most important thing you can do is listen to your readers to learn how you can better serve them.
The post The Ultimate Guide to Writing Your First Email Newsletter appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
When it comes to email marketing, you probably spend most of your time thinking about the message you want to get across. You’re likely to focus your energy on crafting the perfect copy, as well as including compelling images.
Don’t let your attention to the body of the email come at the expense of important structural elements, like footers, though. Email footers may not be the first thing you think of when creating emails to send to your subscribers, but they’re an essential piece of the puzzle.
The footer won’t get the attention of your readers before they open the email, but it may be their last impression—especially if your readers are considering unsubscribing. A good email footer should include legal elements, tell your readers how to get in touch, and double down on your branding. A great one can unexpectedly delight your audience and invite more interaction.
Read on for instructions and examples to help you design an email footer that will strengthen your brand and improve your customers’ experience.What is an email footer?
The footer of your email is located at the very end of your email. It comes after all the body content, including your email signature. It may be as basic as your company’s address and an unsubscribe link, or it might have useful details like contact information, social links, or legal disclaimers.
If you haven’t planned and standardized your email footer, it’s past time to do so. You’ll save valuable time when you no longer have to think about where and how to include basic details with each new email message. Plus, customers expect robust email footers, and making one that hits the mark will prevent frustration with your brand.What should I put in my email footer?
Email footers are a great place for including information required by spam and privacy laws. They’re also a good place to connect with your readers. Here are the elements you should consider including.Legally required footer elements
If industry regulations require you to include legal disclaimers, your footer is a great place to put them. You may also want to include a copyright notice, though you don’t have to do so for your email to have copyright protection.Optional (but useful) footer elements
Along with the legalities, you can use your footer as a hub for reader interactions. Footers are the best place to put utility items like:Social media buttons and a website link: In case your readers need help or just want to learn more, give them a place to go that isn’t email. A subscription reminder: Tell consumers when and how they signed up for your list to preempt untrue accusations of spam. CTAs: Build your list and audience by including a referral link or a suggestion to forward the email to someone who might like it. A view-in-browser link: If your message isn’t displaying well in someone’s email client, they can follow this link to view it as an HTML web page. A safelist request: Ask readers to add you to their address book to stay out of spam folders and improve your overall deliverability. Company branding: Your company name, logo or wordmark, tagline, and other brand assets can make the footer recognizably yours. Examples of custom email footers and what we love about them
Email footers may be a standardized medium, but that doesn’t mean you should settle for being like everyone else. Personalize whatever elements you choose to include in a way that’s true to your brand. Here are five great customized email footers to inspire you.1. Highlight your company values like United by Blue.
Lifestyle company United by Blue does a great job of communicating what they stand for. The company sells outdoor gear that’s durable and reliable, which they state in their footer. They also appeal to their audience of nature lovers by sharing how they’re involved in taking care of the planet.
Customers know where to go for help, thanks to the prominence of United by Blue’s phone number and hours of business. Everything is organized and easy to find, and they have their hashtag, so you can find the company on social media.
Takeaway: Include relevant information for customers, such as valuable contact information and brand positioning that reminds them why they’re a fan.2. Share your business personality like Moosejaw.
Moosejaw keeps their disclaimers lively by including subheads that let their company’s fun (and sarcastic/irreverent) voice shine. They even thank subscribers afterward for making it that far down in the email.
Their footer includes a link to their privacy policies, a link to an email preference center, and an easy-to-find unsubscribe link. Plus, the link to a picture of a giraffe does, in fact, go to a picture of a giraffe.
Takeaway: Comply with the law, but don’t be afraid to make disclaimers your own.3. Add brand imagery like Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Airlines makes their email footers stand out by sticking to their branding. They don’t include their wordmark, but anyone who’s flown with them will recognize the image that features on their aircraft’s tails. They also have a fun way of asking their subscribers to follow them on social media.
Takeaway: Using your brand assets and voice is a great way to make your email footer feel unique.4. Include an email preference link like Patagonia.
Patagonia shows they respect their subscribers by linking to their email preferences center with a promise that their emails will be more relevant for those who share their information. They also remind readers what’s so great about Patagonia by including links to a few of their community-oriented programs.
Takeaway: Having a link to your email preference center in your footer is a great way to give your readers control over how you communicate with them.5. Share your company mission like MiiR.
MiiR makes their company’s mission a big part of their footer to remind subscribers who they are and what they stand for. They also have all the required information, but they’ve made their unsubscribe message friendly and nice.
Takeaway: Strengthen your brand by making your company’s objective clear in your email footer.Email footers are just one part of a great message
These email footer examples and tips can help you get started with crafting a high-performing email. Take that knowledge further with our advice on creating compelling copy and optimized headers, footers, and CTAs for email campaigns that are sure to perform.
Try out Campaign Monitor today to play with our range of flexible options for editing your footers – you can choose a layout; customize text color, font, and size; add a logo; add hyperlinks; customize the background color, and more.
The post What to Put in Your Email Footer (+5 Examples We Love) appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
When Amanda Natividad started her newsletter, the VP of marketing at SparkToro and classically trained chef focused mostly on the craft of creating a strong newsletter. Six months in, she had a repeatable format she was comfortable with, a steady cadence…and only 400 followers.
All her hard work deserved a bigger audience. Amanda turned to her considerable marketing experience and created a newsletter growth plan. She reached 1,000 subscribers a month and a half later.
Today, she has 2,600 readers and gains around 500 more each month. Here’s the method that helped Amanda gain 600 new subscribers in six weeks — and can help you, too.Plan a sustainable format
Consistency is essential to building a successful newsletter. Before you write your first email, decide what you want to send and how often. The most important thing is finding a schedule you can stick to.
It might take some time to figure out what works. If the format you chose is causing you stress, keep iterating until you find one you can stick to. Swap out a section you never have enough content for in favor of something more flexible or send less often than you initially intended.
[I]f you aren’t sure whether you’ve found your groove, keep testing new things.
“And if you aren’t sure whether you’ve found your groove, keep testing new things,” Amanda advises. “Not just new ideas, but test your schedule, writing cadence, try seeing if publishing ahead of time begets new ideas for a newsletter.”
Amanda’s newsletter has been through multiple changes since it launched. “I knew from the very beginning I wanted to have some curation element,” she said. But it took her a while to land on the name Petits Fours and the four-link format. At one point, she included screenshot interviews in each issue but dropped them because they took too much time. She can try new things without losing followers because she’s consistent in delivering high-quality, topical information.Get an initial audience through existing networks
Your network can help you get your email list started, but you’ll need access to a bigger audience to continue growing. Even with word-of-mouth support from her initial subscribers, Amanda was limited in how many people she could reach. Her subscriber count started rising again when she looked to built-in social media audiences.
She used her social media presence — largely on Twitter — to drum up interest for her newsletter. If you don’t have a lot of followers, reply to big accounts with fresh insights or funny observations. Follow up every attention-getting post with a plug for your newsletter. Twitter hashtag discussions can help you get traffic and earn new followers. Amanda also joined writing communities on and off Twitter to find support and subscribers.Use early subscribers as beta testers
Your relationship with your audience shouldn’t be one-sided. Amanda A/B tested headlines and tracked link clicks to refine her content. The main metric she focused on was the open rate, which she got up to 60%. For reference, our latest benchmarking report found the average email open rate is 21.5%.
Amanda also solicited feedback by asking her subscribers questions. In fact, she still does “when it feels organic.” Only a small percentage of subscribers reply, but their comments can be invaluable. Sometimes, readers will respond without prompting if they have strong feelings about something: “One time, I skipped the recipe and instead offered a food tip, and 2 people replied to say they were bummed I didn’t send a recipe,” Amanda says. She’s doubled down on including recipes since then.
More people are rooting for you than you think.
The one thing Amanda wishes she’d tested was sending a shorter newsletter. “Sometimes I wonder if my newsletter is too long, but it might be strange to renege on length now that I have a few thousand subscribers,” she told us. However, her top takeaway had nothing to do with her content, scheduling, or newsletter logistics. “[The] biggest thing I learned is, truly, the importance of creating a safe space for yourself to test ideas,” Amanda said. “More people are rooting for you than you think.”Incentivize signups (and make them easy)
Even engaged followers are unlikely to take your word that they should sign up for your newsletter. Amanda offered value with signup magnets. She didn’t go the traditional route of giving a downloadable resource to anyone who shared their email. She told her Twitter followers they’d get her recipe for Bulgogi Shepherd’s Pie if they signed up before she sent her next email. Seventy of them joined that day. It wasn’t an offer she could use more than once, but it did provide a sense of urgency.
For subscribers who don’t see the incentives she tweets, Amanda shows exactly what her newsletter provides. Her website, amandanat.com, has copies of every newsletter she’s sent. Offer free previews, so readers can see what they’re signing up for before committing.
The easier your signup form is to complete, the more subscribers you’ll get. Amanda sends emails through Revue, which is owned by Twitter. As a Twitter user, she loves how anyone who finds her on Twitter can sign up for her newsletter with one click.
Elements of a good newsletter signup page
How can your signup page reduce risk and make it easy for new readers to subscribe? Here’s what Amanda Natividad recommends:Set expectations: Tell a reader exactly what they’ll get when they share their email and offer sample content for them to view before signing up. Prove credibility: Amanda mentions her culinary school training and tech/marketing work to show she knows what she’s talking about. Provide social proof: Share the size of your email list or reviews to prove your subscribers are benefitting from your newsletter. Create opportunities to promote yourself
Reach beyond your audience by appearing on podcasts, writing guest posts, or contributing to other credible media within your niche. Choose promotional efforts that benefit you and another creator in your niche for the biggest effects.
Every external marketing opportunity needs to have a double purpose or else I can’t commit.
The size of your audience and the amount of time you have to spend on promoting yourself will shape the types of opportunities you should look for. Here are Amanda’s recommended methods:Co-marketing: Use your newsletter to recommend and link to other newsletters in the same subject area. You’ll likely get a shoutout in return, especially if you know the writer. Podcast appearances: Reach out to podcasters to see if they’re looking for guests and tell them you’ll cross-promote your episode to your email list. Then mention your newsletter during recording. Guest posts: Reach out to bloggers or newsletter writers and offer to contribute a guest post. Make sure your name is prominently attached, and add a link to your newsletter. Webinars: Partner with a friend to host a webinar. After you’ve won over attendees with your expertise, mention your newsletter and invite them to subscribe.
Cross-promotional opportunities can also help you come up with ideas for your own newsletter. Write an entire issue about something you discussed on a podcast, or add an excerpt from your guest post to your next newsletter.
Amanda now considers how opportunities can boost her personal brand or that of SparkToro, where she currently works. “Every external marketing opportunity (like a podcast or webinar) needs to have a double purpose (say, to promote SparkToro AND serve as inspiration for a Twitter thread for my personal account) or else I can’t commit,” she says.
Be careful not to stretch yourself too thin. Amanda learned the hard way that taking every opportunity means losing time she’d like to spend on other pursuits. She advises writers to “block times on your calendar for serendipitous opportunities (like potential podcast appearances), and STICK TO IT.” While too many opportunities may sound like a good problem to have, you don’t want your newsletter (or other commitments) to suffer because you’re too busy.Anyone can start a successful newsletter
Everything Amanda did is replicable if you’re willing to put in the work. You will see a return on investment for the effort you expend to promote yourself and your newsletter.
The most valuable thing you can give your newsletter is time. “I spend maybe 2 hours on each newsletter edition, the day of the send. The fastest I’ve been able to do this is just over 1 hour,” Amanda shared.
She’s also constantly thinking about how to improve her emails. “Now that you ask me, I might always be testing a new section. You might see me experimenting with new ways to promote my YouTube show in the near future,” she told us.
You can see her new efforts for yourself by subscribing to The Menu or following her on Twitter at @amandanat.
The post How Amanda Natividad Got Her First 1,000 Newsletter Subscribers appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
Today, audiences expect a lot from the brands they interact with. They want personalized, relevant communications delivered in a format that’s convenient, at a time that suits them.
Email has been an essential medium for this kind of communication for a long time, and at Campaign Monitor, we’ve helped thousands of brands across the world use email to deliver personal, impactful messages to their customers.
And today, we’re excited to add a new medium to the mix as we introduce Campaign Monitor SMS.A New Way to Connect and Convert
SMS is a powerful, yet simple marketing tool that helps you drive stronger connections with your audience and drive higher conversions for your business. It’s the perfect addition to email – increase the speed of return on your marketing investment by encouraging immediate action from your subscribers.
Whether you want to boost sales through limited-time offers, maximize contributions to a donation drive, or level up your customer service through satisfaction surveys, combining SMS with email creates additional touchpoints with your audience, drives urgency, and gives you the best chance of increasing engagement and conversion.
Campaign Monitor SMS is built for busy marketers. Using the same intuitive campaign creation interface as email, you’ll find it easy to get your SMS campaigns up and running fast.
Be on the lookout for helpful resources from our team as well. Whether you’re wondering how to capture SMS permission and grow your list, write effective SMS copy, or follow SMS best practices, our team is here to help you along the way.Get Started With Campaign Monitor SMS
Ready to get started with SMS? Talk to our sales team to get a tour of how SMS works at Campaign Monitor, and learn how you can get started. Oh, and don’t forget to save your seat for our SMS launch event, where we’ll walk through how the feature works, and best practices for getting your SMS campaigns up and running.
The post Introducing Campaign Monitor SMS: a New Way to Connect and Convert appeared first on Campaign Monitor.
SMS marketing has quickly become an essential channel for businesses. Here are seven best practices to help you make the most of it.
Did you know the average consumer spends around 36 minutes using their smartphone to text or call people every day? Most of these communications are done without a thought. However, the rapid-fire texting you do with your friends isn’t appropriate for marketing communications.
SMS marketing is one of the more interruptive ways of communicating with consumers because people feel compelled to read text messages. The 2020 Mobile Consumer Engagement report by Sinch found that 2 in 5 consumers have more than 50 unread emails in their inbox, but only around 2 in 50 have more than 50 unread texts. Many bulk SMS providers emphasize high open rates as one of the best features of text message marketing. We see it as a sign of higher stakes.
Our team here at Campaign Monitor gathered a list of SMS marketing best practices to help you meet consumers’ expectations as you launch your text message marketing campaigns. Success requires following regular marketing rules while considering how consumers interact with texts. Your customers are likely to unsubscribe from your texts if you don’t fit into their inboxes. Follow these SMS marketing tips to make sure your texts are a welcome interruption.1. Comply with industry guidelines
Industry guidelines may vary depending on what country (or state) that you’re sending to. However, there are some principles that we recommend following, regardless of where your audience is.
Set yourself up for success by:Explicitly asking for permission before sending any text messages to your audience – we recommend doing this via sign-up or subscription form. You should preserve evidence that your customers have opted in to receive SMS marketing Making your sign-up CTAs clear so consumers know what you’ll text them and how many messages they can expect each month Including your company name in every message you send to identify it as a marketing communication Sending your texts during business hours — typically between 8 AM and 9 PM local time, although you’re likely to receive the best response between mid-morning and mid-afternoon Including information about how to opt-out in every SMS message (Reply STOP or include a link to unsubscribe)
Always make sure to refer to the relevant legislation in the country you’re sending to:Sending to the US Sending to Canada Sending to Australia Sending to the UK 2. Use SMS for important and immediate messages
The best SMS marketing campaigns offer consistent value to everyone on your contact list. Send time-sensitive info (like a flash sale announcement) or critical updates via text to improve consumers’ relationships with your brand.
We also recommend adding an element of exclusivity by rewarding subscribers with special offers. SMS-only coupons and free shipping are great perks to entice sign-ups and keep consumers on your list. Show readers the benefits of being on your list by including a clear CTA in each message.3. Watch your send frequency
The optimal frequency for most text campaigns is one message a week. Start there — and then try varying your message cadence once you have a big enough contact list to gather meaningful data. If you know your target audience well, you might risk starting with a higher send frequency. Just don’t get too spammy. Upland data shows there’s a significant increase in unsubscribe rates once a brand reaches the threshold of 10-15 messages a month.
The reason message cadence is so important goes back to what we mentioned earlier about text messages interrupting your customers. Everything you send must be worth an immediate read. If it’s not, you’re betraying the trust your consumers put in you when they shared their phone numbers.
Don’t forget to consider the best times to send a campaign, either. Generally, 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM local time is a good guideline — with audiences being most likely to engage between mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Sundays typically have the lowest amount of engagement, so unless you have a particularly good, timely reason to send on a Sunday, it’s likely best to wait.4. Be concise without sacrificing clarity
Do U want 2 rcv a msg that lyk dis from ur fave brand? Neither do we. Sure, there are only 160 characters to use and you want to make the most of them, but text speak is annoying and unprofessional. Avoid abbreviations where possible because they make texts harder to read. Stick to common ones if you must use them.
Take this example from Ulta: Instead of writing out “24-piece,” the company wrote “24 PC.” Most people can figure out what the message means, but it takes time to translate. The capitalization doesn’t help — a PC is, to most, a computer.
Make the best of your limited space by starting with something exciting. Flag a sale as “4 hours only!” or let SMS subscribers know when a deal is on its way out by telling them it’s their “LAST CALL” to shop. You can also just start with the goods. “BOGO” and “50% off” are things customers love to hear. Crafting the perfect SMS marketing message takes more time than you have characters, but doing it right pays off.5. Lean into the conversational tone
Your text message marketing efforts should respect the medium’s primary purpose: conversation. Readers should feel like you’re talking to them, not at them. SMS is a great place to bring your brand’s voice to life in a more personal way.
Start by using personalization and segmentation to send messages that reflect consumers’ interests and past behaviors. Then, write a text message, not a subject line. Messages should sound like they’re for one person rather than your entire marketing list.
The following efforts from bebe and Sally Beauty show why these details matter. One reads naturally and creates a connection with the customer. The other is a pain to scan and looks like a mass text sent by a computer.6. Use SMS as part of an omnichannel strategy
Your SMS marketing strategy can benefit from integration with other marketing efforts. If you have a CX or CRM system, connect it to your SMS marketing software to take advantage of existing data and add new insights. The lessons you learn from other customer interactions can guide your text message marketing efforts. Likewise, SMS campaigns may surface interesting data points that point to new opportunities elsewhere.
Successful omnichannel marketing means sending the right message via the right medium. Not everyone will sign up for SMS, which means you can’t rely on it as a primary mode of reaching people. Given the other constraints we’ve discussed — namely message length and frequency limits — SMS works best when integrated with email, social media, and other marketing tools.
7. Test, test, test!
As is the case with any marketing channel, testing will be key to your success in SMS. As much as we as marketers like to think we know what will perform best, we’re all just guessing. The only way to learn about our audience and what they respond to is by testing.
This means trying out different types of offers, different text lengths, different send times — pretty much any variable you can think of — and seeing how your audience responds.Amplify your marketing with Campaign Monitor SMS
Ready to create stronger connections and grow your business? Then Campaign Monitor SMS is for you.
See how you can add SMS to your marketing mix – talk to us today.
The post 7 SMS Marketing Best Practices to Know Before You Hit “Send” appeared first on Campaign Monitor.