Are Emojis Ok to Use in the Marketing World?

There’s currently a heated discussion going on throughout the marketing world and it’s centered around the emoji. Should brands use them? If brands do use them, when is it acceptable and how often can you use them?

There’s two sides to the debate. Some are adamant about their use, saying it humanizes brands and brings a light-hearted, welcoming tone. The flip side, they’re unprofessional, crude, and can bring mixed meanings to your message.

Emojis are an integral part of digital communication, especially among millennials. I opened my phone and within looking through two text messages I came across an emoji. Recent studies show that 92 percent of the online population uses emojis on a regular basis whether it’s through text message or another form of messaging.

There’s a fine line when it comes to using emojis in your campaign. Below, we’re going to look at when and how you should use them and what to avoid so you don’t cause your brand any embarrassment in the future.

What is an Emoji?

So, what is an emoji? The basic definition of an emoji is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, commonly known object, etc., in electronic communication. Modern emojis became popular around 2011 – it was around this time that Apple adopted a full-on emoji keyboard to its iOS with Android following suit shortly after. This popularity is due to the fact that humans are decidedly visual creatures. Ninety percent of all learning and understanding is done visually. Seeing an image to convey an emotion or message falls in line with our way of interpretation.

But, modern emojis aren’t the first of their kind, the real history of emojis dates back to 3,200 B.C. when humans started using hieroglyphics as a form of expression and storytelling. Fast forward 5,000 years and emojis have become a sort-of primitive form of modern hieroglyphics.

Emojis spawned from emoticons – text-based emotions like ; – ) or : – (. Emoticons first came about due to the fact that typists were seeing that jokes were being misinterpreted or that sometimes negative connotations would come from a message even though that wasn’t the intention. Therefore, they came up with a system that was quickly adopted to try and convey what emotions were being told through the text which then led to the eventual progression of emojis.

When Should I Use an Emoji for B2B?

There are varying trains of thought when it comes to using emojis for B2B communication. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid using emojis for employee to employee internal workplace communications. This is usually because meanings are vague and can be construed into something that was entirely unintentional – think blame, sexual harassment, racism, etc. Unless you enjoy putting your HR department through the ringer, it’s best to avoid using them for internal communications all together.

It’s also a best practice to not use them like consumers do – as in, don’t use a string of emojis or even ones that would be considered risky. This is an excellent way to embarrass your brand and quickly make it the butt of many jokes. An example, you could be trying to convey a cat nip campaign that shows a cat being sly and sneaking in a bit extra of the good stuff, but if there’s a connection that a sly cat emoji (yes, a sly cat emoji exists) has a meaning of a one-night stand, then it’s best not to associate that brand to promiscuity. Remember, the internet never forgets.

When you do use an emoji, you need to remember that they are age specific. Unless they were sheltered under a rock, millennials get them – particularly Gen Z. Keep your emoji use basic – smileys, thumbs-up, claps, even the “100” symbol. Outside of that, you start to venture into dangerous territory and could create unintended consequences to your meaning.

Using Emojis

As the saying goes, when in doubt, leave it out.

Reserve the use of emojis for long-time clients if you’re going to use them in email communication. Don’t use them on new leads. This is a quick way to confuse your lead regardless of age. Even if it’s a simple smiley at the end of a bid, that could still cause confusion and not inspire confidence.

Use it in an email header to grab attention. A study was done by Rene Kulka on his newsletter recipients and it was found that there was a notable increase in email open rates. This was due to the fact that the email header stood out and drew more attention to it compared to other emails. Fifty-three percent of all emails are opened and read on a mobile device. When users are scrolling through their email and seeing endless streams of emails, an emoji in the header will stand out. Now this doesn’t mean use them all the time. You need to be sparing with it.

If you’re blasting out a newsletter to your subscribers, don’t use it in the body of your content. It’s not that you can’t, you just shouldn’t. Though it may seem more personable and light-hearted, it’s unprofessional.

Benefits of Using Emojis

The benefits of using emojis can prove plentiful. When consumers see an emoji being used (properly) they can quickly relate to it and the brand tied to it. It can increase user engagement which then drives more traffic. As Neal Patel describes below, using emojis in your campaign is a great way to garner attention.

They also help to clarify the tone of a message. If you’re wanting to have a light, fun post or newsletter and you’re wanting to show some excitement, using periods doesn’t convey that message clearly. Proper use of emojis can add further context to the message giving a clear idea of the emotion you are trying to convey.

Another benefit is that emojis give off a friendly, personal feel. Most mobile users use some form of emojis in their day-to-day conversations so seeing one associated positively with a brand creates an identifying factor. It reduces the chance for ‘negativity effect’ – things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than neutral or positive things. Hospitals or dental offices can use emojis to help cater to a friendly experience rather than the fear or negative bias some consumers have formulated.

Regardless of your budget or how you string your emojis together, following these guidelines will help you better implement your message and cater to the audience you’re looking for. Still have questions? Schedule a free meeting with us!

Mobile Vs Desktop: How To Reach The Consumer On The Go

There are few things in life that actually live up to their hype. For example: The Grand Canyon, The Internet, Tesla cars, Game of Thrones, peeling plastic off of a new electronics… And of course smartphones.

Remember when your grade school math teacher drilled long division into your head because: “You’re not always going to have a calculator in your pocket”?  Guess who has the last laugh now.

I called it a while ago that 2015 would be the year on mobile. It looks like the world is beginning to agree.

Here’s why:

During their 2015 Adwords Performance Summit, Google announced that for the first time, a long time speculation came true: mobile is beating desktop in the search game. Honestly, this should not come as a real surprise to marketers. With the growing number of apps and smartphones available on the market, and the fact people are always on the go has resulted in the growth of a mobile concierge economy. Combine that with the long awaited Mobilegeddon of Google, and you have all the makings of a coup d’etat for the digital crown.

It is an inescapable truth that mobile devices have become a fundamental part of life. It is not only the screen glued Millennial’s that sleep within an arm’s length of their phones. We feel lost and disconnected when we cannot find them. I can’t be the only one who has ever experienced a phantom vibration when I don’t have my phone in my pocket.  The world is of course faster paced today and we are constantly on the move within it. So all of this mobility begs the question:

How do you reach the consumer on the move?

You can see there are numerous trends appearing around the country now if you followed the news from SXSW, or any of the other trade shows marketers frequent. One growing in popularity that I foresee really making a significant impact in the digital world is that a number of retailers have begun installing beacons inside their stores. This technology essentially is the next level of CRM (customer relationship management) device that allows for a unique and personalized bottom funnel sale /remarketing ability exclusively to mobile devices.

For another we can look to an older medium radio for inspiration. Traditional radio is sharply declining. In its place are Internet radio services like Pandora and Spotify which bring in new listeners in droves. Why is this? Simple: mobility and personalization. Consumers want things now, and they want them, the way they want them.

^Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal

People are commuting farther and more frequent these days, and to help them get where they are going (mad men nod) they are using traffic crowd source apps like Waze and Google Maps to help them get where they are going.  This is an opportunity.

It is said that there is now a Uber for everything. This rise of a concierge economy is powered almost exclusively through the prevalence of mobile. Need a cab? Summon an Uber or Lyft. Want some booze but don’t want to drive? Drizly or Saucey have you covered. Have to get some laundry and dry cleaning done? Washio has your back. You can even order a doctor or a massage using the apps Heal or Zeel.

I bring this up because each of these services has an audience that is on the go. There are advertising opportunities available within each of these, as well. Google Display Advertising can allow you to place your message within these apps giving you the ability to reach people during their commute or free time.

So which is better Mobile or Desktop?

A hard question but to answer it, I’m going to take another page out of radio’s play book. Imagine search as a Hot Clock. There are high traffic times and low traffic times. Times when you know people are more likely to be on desktop, and times when they almost certainly have to be mobile. The folks over at the IDG Knowledge Hub put together a killer graphic that goes into this with a little more detail. Click here to check it out.

It is not just search in which mobile wears the crown. Take a brief look over any campaign reports from Facebook or Twitter to see how mobile your target audience is. If you separate out the placement of your ads I would wager you are likely to see a stark contrast in the CTR and impressions between mobile and desktop.

Mobile IT purchases and when people are most active on their mobile.

So should I drop desktop entirely?

Not by any means. While I am clearly an advocate of the strength of mobile over desktop, “traditional computers” (going to coin the phrase now) will still reach a broad demographic. It depends on who your audience is and what day part you want to hit them. Be honest: how many times have you watched a YouTube video or did a little Amazon shopping while on a computer at work?

When buying things online, there is still some level of distrust from consumers. Google’s Mobilegeddon aimed to relieve some of that hesitation and make the internet a bit more mobile friendly place. The trend is that consumers are doing research on their mobile devices, but when it comes to time to buy, they return to their desktops. A integrated marketing campaign will, as always, produce much better results.

What does this all mean for digital advertisers?

Bottom line? The ability to meet your target audience on the go and where they work was once a luxury, but now, it is  essential. The traditional sales funnel is changing and we as [digital] marketers must change with it.

Looking for more analytical proof about why mobile is important? Check out this blog on StrataBlue to learn more.

Want to talk more about how to advertise inside apps and search to reach your customers while on the go?

Click here now to contact us online!

5 Email Marketing Tips To Help You Increase Engagement

Email marketing - low cost, high return.

[section_dd][column_dd span=’12’][text_dd]Email marketing is a medium I hold near and dear to my heart. Without sounding too sentimental, it’s how I cut my teeth in digital marketing and to this day, there’s nothing I love more than working on an email campaign. From writing, to image placement, to list segmentation, and analyzing engagement rates, the whole process from start to finish moves me. So, I liked to share some tips I’ve learned along the way. Why? Because knowledge is power and there’s nothing like feeling confident in a solid email marketing campaign.

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Case Study: Restaurant Grand Opening

Creating Buzz in the Community and Building an Email List for Restaurant Opening

At StrataBlue, we work with lots of restaurants. And when it comes to the recipe for a new restaurant’s opening, creating buzz via social media and using email to acquire and communicate with customers are key ingredients it the success.


The proprietors of a new restaurant came to us just four months prior to their targeted open date. They didn’t have a logo, let alone a website. They were still planning the menu. And even though they’d signed up for social media profiles, they had no branding or content up.

  • Our Challenge: How do you create word of mouth and buzz when the restaurant is still months away from opening?

Our StrataBlue team made it our mission to aim for massive, targeted reach and to build and educate an audience that included local foodies and social media influencers, who could help us serve up the maximum amount of online reach and digital buzz.



Cooking up the Foundation:

While the eventual goal was to grow a social media following, generate and amplify buzz, and build a foundational email list, we had a lot of work ahead of us before we could begin posting content and amplifying it throughout the social sphere. Our graphic design and social teams worked hand in hand with the restaurant proprietors to create the overall voice they wanted to convey through their branding and digital presence.

Our graphics team started from scratch to design the following:

  • logo
  • website
  • branding materials
  • menu design
  • social media profile branding (Facebook & Twitter)
  • social media display ads (Facebook & Twitter)
  • email marketing templates



Meanwhile, the social media team worked to set up and brand the following digital channels:

  • Facebook Page
  • Twitter Profile
  • Instagram Accounts
  • Email Marketing Account

Digital Buzz Building:

StrataBlue took care of the social media before the restaurant was open for business, so this created a fantastic opportunity for us to tell the story right from the start about the development and vision. It also allowed us to involve the local community from the outset.

Our goals were to:

  • Announce the restaurant to the community and begin educating them about the concept, menu development, and plans for drink specialties and weekend entertainment.
  • Build a climate of anticipation around the launch.
  • Connect with the locals and foodies to create excitement and buzz within the foodie community.

Action Plan:

Even before the time came to open its doors with a promise of delicious food, StrataBlue ensured the restaurant was an aggressive user of social media channels to connect with potential patrons, and grow its digital footprint.

  • We began posting teasers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, cross-promoting content between the various platforms three months prior to a September opening date.
  • To increase the number of social media impressions, both Facebook and Twitter advertising were used to drive awareness, while connecting and engaging with more followers.
  • Appealing to a customer’s eyeballs is where Instagram came in, and we were able to show off what the restaurant would bring to the table (pun intended). We also used all social profiles to chronicle the evolution and construction of the restaurant, posting photos of both food and interior progress.
  • Socially shared and promoted content was also dedicated to staff Q&As, specialty cocktails that were planned, and entertainment acts that were being booked to perform.
  • While the website was being designed and built, we set up a landing page to announce that the new concept was coming. An embedded lead capture form was used to gather subscribers who wanted to be the first to know all the launch details, including opening week festivities.

Measurement & KPIs:

We defined KPIs to measure our performance, which we carefully measured over the course of the campaign:

  • KPI 1: Growth of the social following across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • KPI 2: Overall digital media impressions and reach
  • KPI 3: Email list subscriber growth
  • KPI 4: Increases in website traffic (the landing page went up two months prior to launch and
    the full website was launched several weeks before opening)

The restaurant’s grand opening was a massive success! During the first five months (three months prior to opening and two month after), the restaurant’s website received 49,000 visits by nearly 35,000 users, and the brand now has a database of 2,100 email address with which to send targeted e-newsletters.

Prior to opening night, Social Referral traffic and Direct traffic made up 19.14% and 25.33% of website sessions, respectively. After five months, the client was able to attribute nearly 10% of their website traffic to StrataBlue’s social media efforts. Direct website traffic, which demonstrates brand awareness and also includes some email and social media traffic, made up 21.43%.

The social media strategy achieved fantastic results within the first five months: 7,100+ Facebook Likes, nearly 1,250 Twitter Followers, and 960 Instagram fans actively engaging.


Overall, the multi-channel campaign drove well over 2.5 million digital media impressions across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Two months post-opening, the StrataBlue team continues to use social and digital marketing to generate traffic to both the client’s website and brick-and-mortar location. Business is booming!

Would you like to see what we can do for your new business? Get in contact with us today!

Increase Holiday Sales with Social Media

It’s that time of year again! Halloween candy is now 70% off and Christmas lights and garlands have taken over the shelves. This year it’s predicted that November and December sales could hit almost $617 billion, which is a 4% increase from last year’s holiday sales. As for online sales, they are expected to increase as much as 11%, a 3% increase from 2013 sales. So what are you doing to help increase your sales this season?

As we’re finding with our StrataBlue clients’ campaigns, social media advertising is key to any company’s efforts to reach large, targeted audiences in order to increase holiday sales. Below are some ideas we recommend to help increase holiday sales with social media.

Create a Pinterest “Gift Idea” Board

Millions of people every day are flocking to Pinterest for ideas on what to get their loved ones for the holidays. Make their search easier by creating Pinterest boards specific to whom the gift will be given. Giving your holiday Pinterest boards creative and engaging names is paramount to increasing traffic. Try some of these titles:

  • 50 gifts under $50
  • Gifts for The Person Who Has Everything
  • Last Minute Gifts
  • Gifts Your Boyfriend Will Love
  • DIY Christmas Gifts

Be sure to keep in mind the pain funnel when creating boards and pinning your products. What might your potential customer’s challenge be when shopping this holiday season? This could include:

  • Trouble finding the right gift
  • Shopping on a limited budget
  • Shipping costs
  • Gifts for the right occasion

Last, and most importantly, remember to link your product pins to your website for fast and easy access for your potential buyers. (And once they get to your site, consider having remarketing code in place so that when they continue on their search quest, you can re-appear in order to stay top of mind.)


Steve Madden pins their gift guide on Pinterest.

Run Facebook Ads

Running Facebook Ads is a must this season if you are wanting to increase your holiday sales with social media. As for which type of objective to choose for your Facebook Advertising campaigns, I would suggest either a Clicks to Website, Website Conversions, Offer Claim or Local Awareness campaign.

Don’t forget to include a call to action in your ad!


Target advertises free shipping for online orders on Facebook.

Exclusive Deals with Email Marketing

Give your email subscribers the upper-hand this season with exclusive deals, coupon codes and offers right to their inbox. Not only will your current subscribers be thrilled to receive special offers, but this will also open to the door to increasing your email list subscribers with those who want the same deals. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your email marketing this season:

  • Consider Cyber Monday, December 1st– the biggest day for online shopping
  • Don’t spam your lists!
  • Personalize messages to increase brand loyalty
  • Consider sending emails on the weekends
  • Use creative subject lines to entice opens

TJMaxx gives a sneak peek to subscribers.

Create Twitter Cards

The recent roll-out of Twitter Advertising cards makes targeting online shoppers a breeze. Be sure to include an engaging card image along with a catchy headline. Remember Twitter cards appear on your audiences’ Twitter feeds, so step out of the box with your Twitter card and catch the eye of your potential customers.


Choose the “Shop Now” button as a call to action.

Deck the Halls with Data

To make sure you are getting the most out of your social media efforts, be sure you are tracking and assessing your performance throughout the entire campaign. This way you will be able to tweak and re-target to see what’s working and what’s not working. Consider these tracking systems:

Whether it’s pushing in-store sales or online sales, running several social media campaigns across several different platforms can be very effective. Don’t be afraid to hand the reigns over to a digital media marketing firm to help you reach your highest potential this year.

Best of luck this season and Happy Holidays!

Managing Emails like a Rock Star with Marketo

Marketo is an extraordinarily versatile web-based marketing automation tool. It can help you run email campaigns, create landing pages, capture data from forms, integrate with webinar and CRM software, and nurture leads throughout their entire lifecycle.

It would take us several more articles just like this one to cover everything that Marketo marketing automation software can do, so we’ll stick to the basics: using Marketo to create and run a simple email program with associated email and audience.

Launch Marketo

First, start up Marketo and log in. If you don’t have an account on there, Marketo offers a free trial. Keep in mind that you have to request the trial, and it’s usually only offered to companies with 10 employees or more.

Create a Campaign Folder

A campaign folder is where everything in your campaign will reside. In this case, we’ll be putting an email program, an audience, and the email itself in here. If you were sending a series of emails, you’d put them all inside a single campaign.

    • Right click on Marketing Activities and click New Campaign Folder
    • Call it Test.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Call the new campaign folder Test.

Create an Email Program

A program is another type of folder, which contains assets like emails and leads.

    • Right click on that folder and click New Program
    • Make sure it’s in the Test folder and call it Test Email Program
    • Under Program Type, select Email
    • Under Channel, select Email Send

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose Email for Program Type and Email Send for Channel.

Define an Audience

If you’ve got a pre-existing set of emails in a spreadsheet, you can import those emails into Marketo.

    • Click the Test Email Program, then under the Audience panel, click Import List.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Under the Audience panel, click Import List.

    • Click Browse and locate your CSV or XLSX file with your contacts. Click Next.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Find your comma delimited file or Excel file and click Next.

    • You’ll need to map each of the fields in the spreadsheet to an existing field in Marketo. Most of the time, the fields will match on a 1:1 basis. If you’ve got full names in a single column, match it to the Full Name field, for example.
    • Click Next again.
    • Enter a name for your list, or click the dropdown to add it to an existing list. Click Import.
    • Click Leads, and you can see the leads you imported.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
See all the leads you imported in this list.

Create an E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Click New Email under the Email pane.
    • Make sure the program matches. Call it Test Email. Select the Blank template for now.
    • Click Create.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Enter a program and name and choose a template, then click Create.

    • The email editor will open. Choose who you want the e-mail to be from, and what email you’d like to handle them. If there are a large number of leads, this address will get a lot of unsubscribes, bounces and so on, so you may want to create a new email in your email app just to handle these. Write a subject.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Determine who the emails will reply to, even in the case of bounces.

    • Look below the subject. Notice there’s a text box already created. Double click this box. You’ll get a new edit screen, where you can design an email in HTML.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Design the email in HTML here.

    • If you’d like to add a company logo or other graphics, you can drag and drop them from the Insert Elements box on the right. Then, choose the image, and it’ll be inserted into the HTML.
    • When you’re done designing the email, be sure and click Copy from HTML so that there’s a text version. Not everyone likes HTML email, so having both integrated into the same email is wise.
    • Click Save when done.
    • You’ll then need to right click on the Test Email and click Approve. Nothing goes out from Marketo without you approving it first. You’ll see the approval marked by a check box.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Right-click Test Email and click Approve.

Schedule the E-mail

    • Click Test Email Program.
    • Choose a date and time to send the e-mail under the Schedule pane.
    • Click Approve Program.

Managing E-mails like a Rock Star with Marketo
Choose a schedule and click Approve Program.

You’re all done! Your email will now go out at the scheduled time. Now you’ve learned how to set up a new program, a new email and a new list. That’s just the tip of the iceberg of what Marketo can do.

Read up in Marketo’s tutorial section for more advanced features, like landing pages, email campaigns, YouTube videos, webinar integration and more. There’s really no limit to what you can do with Marketo.

Do’s and Don’ts of Email Opt-Ins

Marketing to a permission-based email list is a proven, cost-effective way to increase revenue and improve customer loyalty. How do you grow your own email opt-ins list? Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind from the minute you start building your list.

DO: Leverage Marketing Programs you already have

No one can opt in to receive emails if they don’t know you have information to share. Include a line in your emails that links to the sign-up page on your website. You can also bring a computer to tradeshows and ask visitors to your booth to sign-up for your emails. Remember to keep sign-up cards at your location so you can make your customers aware of your mailing list and have them sign up there.

DO:  Make it Easy to Opt In

Once people are on your website, make it easy to opt-in by having a link on the homepage to subscribe to the mailing list. Signing up should take as little time as possible, so don’t ask for too much information at this point. Only ask for the basics, such as full name, email address and birthday.

DO: Consider the 4 Cs

Clear. Concise. Compelling. Customer-centric. When you write an email, put yourself in the reader’s shoes. Ask yourself how valuable this email is and why someone would want to read it. Your readers are not opting in because they want to hear a sales pitch. They want to save time, money and effort. They also want to improve productivity and success. Your message must be compelling enough to convince, be valuable and useful.


DON’T: Offer Fabulous Prizes for Signing Up

While this might seem like a good idea at first, you’ll end up with subscribers who are just in it to win a prize. Your prize should be the useful information you provide so offer them a newsletter or more information about your products & services instead. If they stick around long enough, give them a coupon or a discount on their next purchase to show them that they are a valuable customer.

DON’T: Spam Your Subscribers with too Many Emails

How much is too much? Let people know what they’re in for before they hit the submit button. After they’ve had time to digest the information, poll a sample from your list, and ask them what is the right number of emails. Otherwise you’ll find out the hard way through an unsubscribe request.

DON’T: Spend Too Much Money Acquiring Names

An email opt-ins list is a valuable asset and that means an investment on your part to build and maintain it. But budget appropriately and ahead of time, find the most cost-effective ways to reach your target audience and know how much each name will cost. Keep in mind potential revenue, lifetime value of each customer, and choose accordingly.

What do you think are some of the important do’s and don’ts to follow when expanding your email opt-in list? Let me know in the comments below.

8 Tips for a Successful Email Marketing Strategy

According to eMarketer there will be around 236.8 million US email users by 2017!

With the average return rate of $44.25 for every dollar spent on email marketing, you better start implementing this in your marketing plan if you haven’t already. Let’s go over some do’s and don’ts of email marketing before you jump in and start creating your first newsletter.

  • DON’T buy an email list! First of all, you will probably be violating your Terms of Service (ToS) with your email service provider. If you go back and read over the ToS again, you will see most providers don’t want you spamming or using purchased lists. Using a purchased list can also hurt your IP address reputation as mentioned in one of my earlier blogs.
  • DO put a subscribe box on your website, as well as a Facebook tab, allowing people to sign up to receive your newsletters. Also, put a link in each email that brings people back to your website or Facebook.
  • DON’T overlook the importance of subject line. The shorter, the better. Email topics with 10 characters or less have over a 55% open rate. Frame the subject line as a question that your customers might have.  Avoid a subject line that reads as an advertisement. MailChimp says it perfectly: “When it comes to email marketing, the best subject lines tell what’s inside, and the worst subject lines sell what’s inside.”
  • DO make your emails mobile-friendly. No text-only newsletters. Make sure you have an eye-catching graphic to grab people’s attention. People are busier than ever these days. 66% of Gmail checks occur on mobile devices according to Litmus.


  • DON’T think of this as a quick way to success. Building an email list with loyal followers takes time and patience. It might take months before you start getting higher open rates and better responses.
  • DO make a schedule of when you are sending out a newsletter each month. You don’t want to bombard your followers with too many emails, but you also want to regularly remind them of your brand. I recommend two a month. This gives you the freedom to add another on here or there for special occasions without overloading your subscribers.
  • DON’T make your newsletter a sales pitch. Just like in social media people will quickly tune you out or unsubscribe if you are constantly trying to sell them your products or services. Use these emails to educate and inform your email followers while giving a clear call-to-action.
  • DO pay attention to your analytics and track your links. Constantly testing out different strategies will help your open rate improveu over time.

What have you found works best when sending out newsletters?

Email Marketing Strategies You Often Overlook

Email marketing strategies usually lead to great debates among marketing teams. How often you send an email, how often you try and sell them something and what type of subject lines are a few of the discussions you will likely have along the way. Email marketing has an ROI of 4,300% (Direct Marketing Association).

In the past, almost every email contained some sort of sales pitch, but times are changing rapidly and so is your consumer’s tolerance. Developing a well-balanced email strategy is the key to building and maintaining a list that will drive sales in your business. Here are a few strategies that are often overlooked but are working well today.

Personal Email Campaign: Every company should have a campaign set up that sends out personal emails on birthdays, holidays and any other special day of the year. This is very easy to set up. Be sure to change the message every year to keep it fresh and current. Never sell on this campaign. For best results and maximum effectiveness, give them something valuable such as a coupon or discount.

Engagement Emails: Getting your customers to engage with you over emails can be a challenge. However, it is important to keep and encourage an open line of direct response communication between you and current and/or future customers. People love voicing their opinions and thoughts, so create email marketing campaigns that solely serve the purpose of customer involvement.

Coming out with a new product or celebrating an event? Whatever the reason, get your customers’ input. Ask them to participate in polls or actually respond to the email. This is very rarely used by most marketers today but can be very effective. If you want, you can throw in an incentive like a special discount on their next purchase to those who fill out the survey.

Consistency: None of the marketing that your business conducts should be too spontaneous. The only exception to this should be current events that affect your readers. To keep your email marketing scheduled and organized, add the blasts to your content calendar. Once you decide how often your company should send out an email, stick to that schedule so your audience has a sense of consistency. Over time, your readers and their reactions to your emails will help you to dictate the frequency of your emails.

Suppressing anyone in your list who hasn’t engaged with your emails in over a year increases your deliverability rate by 3-5% immediately. What do you think are some great email marketing strategies that people don’t use as often anymore? Let me know in the comments below.

Content Marketing: Now What?

You know the feeling of creating the perfect blog post. You’ve done your research and put all of the pieces together. You’ve edited, double checked, triple checked and optimized the content. You spent almost as much time coming up with a clever and catchy title as you did in crafting the blog. This post is your best work yet, it’s bound to go viral, right?


Chances are, without the right promotion and distribution, your blog isn’t going viral (no matter how great it is) on its own. Yes, sometimes it happens without any extra effort, but that strategy of wishing and hoping is not going to work for you in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you have incredible content if nobody sees it! Buzzfeed Founder Jonah Peretti has said that when it comes to content marketing, 50% of your time should be spent considering promotion and distribution.


Promote your content by tweeting about it, but don’t limit yourself to only one tweet. Send out a link to your blog several times during the day with different copy accompanying the link. You could tweet a quote from the blog, a statistic about the blog topic, how your audience will benefit from reading the content, a catchy headline, one of your thoughts about the blog or a number of other ideas. This makes your Twitter timeline fresh while still promoting one piece of content. By attaching the same link to all of these different tweets, your blog gets more opportunities to be seen by a larger group of people. Space these posts out throughout the span of a week and test out which posts and times work best. Remember, you can’t expect to tweet a link to a blog once have your web traffic go through the roof.

Content Distribution Software

Content discovery offerings such as Outbrain or Taboola can help grow your audience by distributing your content on other sites where people are already in content consumption mode. This audience is targeted, more engaged and likely to stay longer on your content. These content discovery services have networks of publishers to give your content visibility and reach beyond what your social networks can do for you. Outbrain, for instance, appears on over 100,000 online publications and blogs, serving over 100 billion content recommendations every month. While these paid opportunities are not cheap, they send high quality and targeted traffic to your content. If you decide to go this route, remember to keep cost vs. conversion in mind to see if the money you’re spending is worth the results.


Email Marketing

If your company has a weekly newsletter, make sure to add a short teaser about your content with a “read more” link. This teaser should entice the email recipients to head over to your website because they want to know more. You could also send a personal email about your content to a select list of people with a link to share. This is the most direct line of communication for you to your audience: straight to their inbox. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of around 4,300%! Email and content marketing go hand in hand.

Direct Outreach

Do you know who the influencers are in your niche? Create an inventory of the most influential bloggers and tweeters in your industry that are engaging, motivating, well-known, impactful and thought leaders. This list can be anywhere from 50 to 500 people. Now it’s time to engage! If you want influencers to interact with your content, you have to interact with theirs. So start by sharing, commenting on and asking questions about their content. Once you have built up a relationship with your influencers, you can start to share your content with them and hope that they share it with their audience. If you have built a strong relationship, you could even email him/her a link and ask for a share (although I wouldn’t recommend doing this frequently).


Facebook advertising  is one of the best online marketing options available, mainly for the fact that potential profit is around two to three times better than AdWords and SEM. You can use Facebook advertising to have your content show up in the News Feed of a very targeted audience based on factors such as likes, interests, location, age, gender, education, connections and more. This will expand your reach, drive traffic, increase “likes” on your page and will help improve EdgeRank to help improve your future organic marketing efforts.

Have you found certain tactics that have helped your content go viral?