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Do Consumers Actually Engage With In-Stream Ads? [New Data]

Do Consumers Actually Engage With In-Stream Ads? [New Data]

In 2020, video outpaced blogging and infographics as the most common content marketing strategy.

As users increasingly turn to video content for entertainment and education, most social media platforms have become more focused on expanding their visual and video capabilities. Now, the average social media user sees videos in the form of live streams, Stories, or Newsfeed posts on a daily basis.

Consumer preference for video over other mediums is only expected to get stronger. Although millennials watch more videos on a regular basis than Gen X and the Boomer generation, the age group’s consumption still pales in comparison to Gen Z.

As a marketer, you likely already know how effective the combination of video and marketing tactics can be.

At this point, we’ve seen millions of brands boost awareness by going live on Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve also seen brands report gaining traffic from video-based Instagram Stories with swipe-up links.

While video marketing seems like a winning tactic in 2020, you might ask, “What about video-based advertising?”

While posting a marketing video on social media or your website might cause you to gain traffic or brand awareness, launching an ad that encourages viewers to click to your store might provide both of those benefits — plus a more direct path to revenue.

When looking into paid video promotion, one of the common offerings you’ll hear about — especially if you plan to advertise on social media — is in-stream advertising.

An in-stream video ad is a promotion created by a brand that runs before or during a video on a streaming platform, such as YouTube. Aside from appearing in popular videos, these ads can also appear in Stories or live streams on platforms like Facebook.

To give you a visual of what an in-stream ad looks like, here’s a screenshot for an Olay ad that appeared before a YouTube video I recently viewed:

There are a handful of perks to in-stream advertising. The first is that your video can be targeted to audiences similar to your brand’s or can be placed in videos that match your ad’s keyword. With these types of targeting options, you can present your ad to viewers that match your audience’s demographics or interests. Because these viewers might have similar interests and purchasing motives as your customers, a well-targeted in-stream ad could ultimately result in a higher chance of purchases.

Another perk of in-stream ads is that these videos don’t need to be incredibly long or detailed. Depending on the platform you use, you can often launch ads as short as five seconds. While this gives marketers a limited amount of time to grab a viewer’s attention, it also means they’ll need to produce less content than they would for a long-form marketing video.

Aside from length and targeting capabilities, the last and most obvious perk of in-stream ads is their ROI potential. Even back in 2016, shortly before Facebook launched its in-stream ad offering, a Google study revealed that YouTube ads — which are usually in-stream — saw higher returns than television ads.

Sounds great, right?

Although the perks above might have you ready to invest in in-stream ads, there are still a few things you’ll need to research and keep in mind.

Even though in-stream ads are shorter and can be spoon-fed to your audience with ad targeting tools, your content will still need to convince those viewers to click on the ad’s link and buy your brand’s product. This in itself can be a major challenge for video advertisers.

How Consumers React to In-Stream Video Ads

While successful in-stream ads are possible, there are still important user-behavior barriers that you’ll want to keep in mind as you aim to create a winning promo. To help you determine some of the biggest barriers you might run into, I surveyed 400 consumers about how they interacted with in-stream ads.

Do Consumers Actually Click on In-Stream Ads?

Many in-stream ads include a call-to-action that you can click or tap to visit a brand’s website or ecommerce store.

But, do people actually click these CTAs?

To determine how often people clicked on in-stream video ads, I first asked the survey pool, “How often do you click on in-stream video ads that appear before or during a video?”

When you consider that in-stream video ads are sent to target audiences and demographics, rather than a wide pool of users, you might think that people will regularly click on this type of advertisement to learn more. However, the outlook was quite grim for in-stream ads in this particular survey:

how often do you click on in-stream video ads

Data Source

While 42% of people say they “almost never” click on in-stream video ads, another 22% say they’ll click on an ad “once a week.” Only 22% will click on two to three ads per week, while the remaining 15% say they don’t watch online videos.

As you plan your in-stream video strategy, remember that the results above are just from one small consumer pool. Had we asked this question to a particular demographic or a group of users on a specific platform, the numbers might have been different.

Although you should continue to do research about the pros and cons of in-stream ads, you should still keep the results above in mind. This data speaks to the age-old theory that people either completely avoid ads or mentally tune them out, regardless of their format or type.

While video advertising does offer the perk of audience targeting, you’ll still need to produce intriguing, interesting, or valuable video content to be successful.

In-Stream Ads and Purchase-Related Conversion

Before you start panicking about the results above, there were some optimistic findings in this survey. Although the consumers I polled are less interested in clicking on in-stream ads when they see them, they might still consider buying the promoted product.

When I asked, “Have you ever purchased a product that you learned about from an in-stream video ad?”, more than one-third of respondents — or 37% — say “Yes.” Meanwhile, 52% say, “No.”

Have you ever purchased something you saw in an in-stream ad?

Data Source

Of those who haven’t made a purchase related to an in-stream ad, 39% simply selected, “No” while 15% say, “No. I avoid in-stream ads at all costs.” Meanwhile, 9% say they “don’t watch online videos,” and thus wouldn’t have the option to see in-stream ads or make a related purchase.

While the percentage of people who won’t haven’t made a purchase after seeing an in-stream ad is quite large, this is somewhat expected when you consider online attention spans and how most of these consumers also say they don’t usually click on in-stream ads.

On the other hand, the percentage of people who’ve made a purchase after seeing an in-stream ad is still more than one-third of the group we surveyed. This might hint that there is a solid chance your in-stream ad could result in a purchase.

When do consumers click the “Skip” button?

When you look at the results above, you might think to yourself, “Consumers might not click on my ad, or purchase my product, but they’ll still watch the content. — Right?”

The truth is, most types of online content have just a few seconds to grab a consumer’s attention. Video content is not exempt.

As with any video marketing strategy, you can’t expect audiences to watch your content just because it’s right in front of them. Video ads, which often feature a “Skip” button, might have an even smaller window than the average marketing video.

When asked, “When given the option to skip an in-stream video ad that plays before or during your video, how long will you wait before skipping?”, a whopping 37% say they’ll “skip an ad as soon as possible,” while 20% say they’ll click skip in five seconds or less.

how often will you skip an ad appearing before or during a video?

Data Source

The interest in skipping isn’t a shocker. We’ve all done it. Sometimes, we just want to watch the video we planned to stream and don’t really care about the ads that are put in front of us.

Although the result above comes from just one small group of consumers, it aligns with mounting research which shows that global attention spans are narrowing — especially online.

While the average consumer’s attention span shouldn’t scare you away from an in-stream ad strategy, you should certainly keep it in mind.

To be successful with in-stream video ads — you’ll need to create content that grabs your viewer’s attention as soon as possible and is valuable enough to ease annoyances related to seeing an ad in their video.

In this example from the job search site Reed.co.uk. The ad immediately draws attention with a video of meowing kittens. Then it embraces its pre-roll placement by calling out YouTube viewers for watching videos because they’re “distracted from their job.” Towards the end of the ad, the site’s founder, tells the viewer to click on the video, which will send them to the job site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=9&v=8ErTZh9zEbg&feature=emb_title

How to Launch a Successful In-Stream Ad

As you’ve seen, there are solid pros and cons to in-stream advertising. While the cons shouldn’t scare you from trying this marketing tactic, you should still keep them in mind in order to create a video that can avoid constant skips from your audience. Here are a few tips to keep in mind

Throw viewers into the action.

Based on what consumers told us, you have anywhere from one to five seconds to grab your viewer’s attention before they zone out or skip your ad. You’ll rarely have more than 10 seconds to sway them.

So, begin your ad with an action-packed scene or concisely explain your product as quickly as possible. Don’t take time to get to the point — even if the ad platform you’re using allots a 30-to-60-second video.

Ask yourself, “Is this content valuable to prospects?”

Audiences will either skip your ad because they just don’t want to see a commercial, or they’re bored by your content and want to get to their video. This is why it’s important to create ads that either entertain your viewer or educate them about a product or brand-related topic they’ll value.

Use examples as inspiration.

Luckily, millions of brands have already tested out in-stream advertising. While this means the pool of advertising could be competitive, it also means that there are plenty of effective ads out there that you can watch for inspiration.

Next time you’re watching a video that begins or features an in-stream ad, watch the content. Take a mental note of why you do or don’t want to skip the ad. If you’re considering engaging with the ad and tapping to learn more about a product, ask yourself, “How did this content persuade me to click?”

If you don’t feel like searching out ads on social platforms, we’ve also got plenty of content to help you. Check out this rundown of effective short-form ads from small businesses and Super Bowl brands.

This post was originally published on this site

How Brand Management Has a Direct Impact on Your Bottom Line

How Brand Management Has a Direct Impact on Your Bottom Line

If your business was a person, your brand would be its personality. It’d be how you introduce yourself to new friends (er, customers) and how you build a trusting relationship with them. Your brand is a living, breathing entity … and it’s your job to help it grow and improve.

This is what we call brand management.

Creating a brand is thrilling, but it’s not enough. As your business scales, grows, changes, and succeeds, your brand must follow suit. That’s why we created this guide — to cover the basics of brand management and equip you with the tools you need to manage and maintain a fantastic brand.

Shall we dive in?

What is brand management?

Brand management is the process of managing your brand reputation and improving your audience’s perception of your brand in a way that builds brand awareness, equity, and loyalty.

While branding is the process of building your brand, brand management is the process of monitoring and maintaining it.

Your brand is a living, breathing thing, which means it’s constantly changing. It’s also very susceptible to external factors like news, trends, and current events. In a world where journalists, influencers, and social media users (just to mention a few) influence virtually every narrative, brand management is how you can take control of your business’s story. It is using your branding and brand assets to communicate value and build loyal relationships with your followers, fans, and customers.

In short, your brand needs a manager to ensure its success. Don’t let your brand be like Kanye.

brand management kanye

Source

We’ve discussed in other blog posts how important word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing is in retaining and attracting new customers. While you can’t always control what others say about your brand, strategic brand management is the process of responding to them in a way that elevates your brand and remains true to your core brand values — all while remaining consistent across teams and channels.

As an example, read how Zappo’s used brand management to make the most of a $1.6 million mistake.

For that reason, brand management extends far beyond marketing. Brand management should be intertwined with sales, human resources, and customer service — basically, any department that “touches” your followers, customers, and even potential employees.

When done successfully, brand management can:

  • Boost your brand awareness
  • Allow you to charge more for your products or services
  • Influence your audience’s purchase decisions
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Increase sales
  • Create happy customers that become brand advocates

Principles of Brand Management

Brand management is comprised of both tangible and intangible components. We’ll discuss the tangibles in the following section.

The intangible components, however, include the principles that help you measure your brand management efforts and achieve those brand management success indicators that we discussed above.

You’ll also note that each of these principles can influence the others on this list. For example, heightened brand awareness can contribute to brand reputation, and increased brand loyalty can affect brand equity.

Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is how familiar the general public and your target audience is with your brand. Brand awareness is important because consumers can’t engage with or purchase products or services from your brand if they’re not aware of it.

Brand Equity

Brand equity is how consumers value your brand based on their experiences, perceptions, and associations. (This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand valuation, which is the commercial value of your brand as perceived by the market.) Brand equity is important because a valuable brand can support higher prices and increase your merit among investors, shareholders, and potential buyers.

Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty refers to how consistently your customers and followers engage with and purchase from your brand. While your marketing can’t necessarily influence this, your customer service department can — focusing on satisfaction and relationship-building can bring customers back time and time again. Brand loyalty is important because it creates brand ambassadors who do your marketing for you.

Brand Recognition

Brand recognition is how well a consumer, ideally in your target audience, can recognize your brand — through your logo, tagline, packaging, etc. — without seeing your brand name. This concept goes hand-in-hand with brand recall, which is the ability to think of a brand without seeing or hearing any branding prompts. Brand recognition is important because, by recognizing and recalling your brand, consumers keep your brand top-of-mind and are more likely to choose your brand above the competition.

Brand Reputation

Brand reputation refers to how the general public and your target audience perceive the character, status, and quality of your brand. Your reputation can be influenced by internal factors (customer service, product quality, etc.) and external factors (customer reviews, WOM marketing, news mentions, etc.). Brand reputation is important because it can be some consumers’ first impression of your brand.

Brand Asset Management

Your brand assets are the tangible components of the brand management process, the parts of your branding that your audience can see, experience, and remember. Brand assets include any piece of your branding or marketing that is seen by the “outside world” — customers, employees, or the general public.

Brand asset management is the process of crafting and maintaining these tangible elements as well as keeping them consistent throughout your branding. This could look like:

  • Organizing your brand assets (both digitally and physically)
  • Creating an accessible digital and/or physical storage system for your brand assets, or implementing a tool that does this for you
  • Instructing your team on how to access and use your brand assets
  • Conducting routine checks for brand inconsistencies and correcting when necessary

What constitutes a brand asset? Let’s cover the assets you’re likely working with for your business.

Brand Name

Your brand name is the primary identity of your company. As your other brand assets evolve, your brand name likely won’t ever change. If you haven’t trademarked your brand name, we encourage you to do so.

By owning the rights to your brand name, you have better leverage over unauthorized use and any competitors who attempt to copy or steal your brand. Check out HubSpot’s trademarks and Trademark Usage Guidelines as an example.

Your brand name will also likely be reflected in your website domain and social media pages. Keeping these names, identities, and handles consistent will help customers discover and follow your business.

Logo and Color Palette

Your logo and color palette embody the creative representation of your brand. These assets are important parts of your branding as they tap into emotional marketing tactics. If designed properly, they can help you attract and convert customers.

Typography

Your typography refers to your fonts and text-based assets and how they’re used in your branding. These guidelines inform any branding or marketing asset that’s designed on behalf of your business, including your website, paid advertising, social media posts, and more — all the way down to the spacing between the letters.

Graphics

Your graphics include many different brand assets — basically anything specifically designed for your brand or marketing. These could be used on your digital marketing channels (which we’ll discuss next) or developed as standalone assets, such as external slide decks, letterheads, press releases, or even marketing videos.

Your brand graphics will likely be utilized by a wide variety of people (from designers to social media marketers to content writers), so they should be well-organized and have clear instructions on how to use them.

Digital Marketing Channels

Your website, social media, and paid advertising are a few of the most important iterations of your brand. Millions of people access the internet daily, and your digital channels are likely the branding assets the most viewed by potential customers. For this reason, they must reflect your branding, and they must be consistent.

Also included in this section is your employees’ and executives’ social media accounts, as these are a reflection of your brand and a fantastic marketing opportunity to give your audience an inside look at your company and the opportunity to connect with your brand on a personal level. If your employees desire to use their profiles to market your business, ensure their accounts reflect your brand assets and follow your style guide.

Note: If members of your leadership team also manage a personal brand, chat among your team about how to align (or separate completely) this brand with your business brand. If their brand is connected in any way to your company, it should complement yours.

Packaging

If your business sells a physical product, your packaging is a critical part of your branding. For some customers (if not most), your packaging might be their first impression of your brand. Also, one-third of customers say they make purchase decisions on the packaging itself.

Your packaging is also the most tangible, experiential way that customers interact with your brand. For that reason, your packaging should reflect your branding — in its design, colors, size, and feel.

Style Guide

Your style guide is a document that instructs employees, designers, and other businesses on how to use your branding. This is an important brand asset because it informs how all other brand assets should be utilized, designed, printed, and more — all the way down to what size your logo should be and what colors are and aren’t allowed in your marketing materials.

Not only does this help others create on-brand designs; but it also informs them of how to follow branding guidelines and legal/licensing restrictions. Take a look at HubSpot’s Brand Guidelines as an example.

Download our free ebook How to Create a Brand Style Guide and access free templates to take your brand and brand management to the next level.

Brand management can be a serious undertaking, especially when working with a large brand or perhaps a brand with multiple brand extensions. Also, if you’ve outsourced your branding to a creative agency or individual, it can be difficult to assume the task of managing it.

Check out these brand management companies and services that can help you maintain a successful brand.

Northeastern Region

1. Dirigo Design and Development

Dirigo Design and Development is a Maine-based marketing agency. The company offers various marketing services, including branding, strategy, and reputation management. Notable Dirigo clients include Dunkin’ Donuts, Harvard University, and The Wall Street Journal.

2. Jax Media Design Group

Jax Media Design Group is a D.C.-based agency focused on digital design and development. The company creates digital marketing assets using your brand guidelines and helps you implement them in campaigns. Notable Jax Media clients include Geico, AARP, and National Geographic.

3. RP3 Agency

RP3 Agency is a Maryland-based marketing agency. The company offers services for brand strategy and positioning, message strategy, and audience insights. Notable RP3 clients include Coca-Cola, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, and Giant Food.

Midwestern Region

4. Hangar 12

Hangar 12 is a Chicago-based agency that specializes in consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. The company focuses on marketing strategy and brand positioning, as well as digital and social media marketing. Notable Hangar 12 clients include Purdue, Conagra, and Hostess.

5. Brandgarten

Brandgarten is a Wisconsin-based agency focused on telling brand stories using customer insights. The company offers brand development and strategy services as well as brand training for your team. Notable Brandgarten clients include Johnson & Johnson, Alliant Energy, and Organic Valley.

6. DEKSIA

DEKSIA is a Michigan-based marketing agency. The company has cross-industry experience in marketing and brand development and management. Notable DEKSIA clients include Visa, Uber, and Twitter.

Southern Region

7. Matchstic

Matchstic is a Georgia-based brand identity agency. The company offers services that help you define, promote, and evolve your brand. Notable Matchstic clients include Chick-fil-A, Prudential, and Spanx.

8. Spire

Spire is a Dallas-based branding and marketing agency. The company specializes in B2B brands and offers brand audit, articulation, and integration services. Notable Spire clients include American Airlines, Texas Capital Bank, and Airbus.

9. Proof Branding

Proof Branding is a Nashville-based branding agency. The company offers services that distill, develop, and deploy brands. Notable Proof Branding clients include Vanderbilt University, Barista Parlor, and The Grand Ole Opry.

Western Region

10. BLVR

BLVR is a San Diego-based branding agency. The company works with customers on brand auditing, brand identity, brand development, and brand strategy. Notable BLVR clients include Andis, Tony Robbins, and World Vision.

11. BrandJuice

BrandJuice is a Denver-based branding agency. The company focuses on strategy, innovation, and design services. Notable BrandJuice clients include Denver International Airport, DISH Network, and Red Canary.

12. modern8

modern8 is a Salt Lake City-based design studio. The company offers services for brand strategy, identity design, and asset management. Notable modern8 clients include Yesco, Architecture Week, and School Improvement Network.

Pacific Northwest Region

13. Parliament

Parliament is a Portland-based brand-focused design studio. The company creates brands, products, and experiences for their customers. Notable Parliament clients include Olympia Beer, Nike, and Capital One.

14. States of Matter

States of Matter is a Seattle-based branding and design agency. The company helps you audit, develop, and deliver their customers’ brand assets. Notable States of Matter clients include Modbar, Dolly, and Blue Nile.

15. S’more Brands

S’more Brands is a Vancouver-based branding and marketing agency. The company offers a Brand Camp that helps businesses develop and manage their brands. Notable S’more Brands clients include Spring Lake Manor and Lemon Wing.

Brand Management Software

If you’d rather manage your brand in-house, there are plenty of tools available to help. These tools are either platform solutions or online software tools, and some provide free accounts or trials that allow you to test them out.

Brandfolder

Brandfolder is a digital asset management platform that helps you collect, organize, and share your brand assets with your team. It allows your team to easily collaborate when creating brand assets, launching new products, or working on marketing campaigns.

BrandVerity

BrandVerity is a brand monitoring tool that helps you monitor for noncompliance and trademark infringement. You can customize the BrandVerity crawler to search for your specific guidelines and trademarks and use the tool’s email templates for easy remedying.

BrandWorkz

BrandWorkz is a system purely dedicated to brand management. It features numerous tools that equip brand and marketing professionals to deliver consistent content through any channel, including digital asset management, workflow and annotation, and brand reporting and analytics.

Bynder

Bynder is a digital marketing asset solution that provides access to your company’s branding depending on your role within your team. It keeps your branding consistent and helps you keep your team up-to-date with any new or upgraded branding assets.

Canva

Canva is an online graphic design tool that helps you create simple, gorgeous designs. It’s helpful for brand management because, with a paid subscription, it allows you to upload your brand assets — your logo, colors, typography, and more — with which you can create designs. Regardless of how many team members you have working within Canva, you can be confident that they’re using the correct brand assets and creating on-brand designs.

Lucidpress

Lucidpress is a tool that offers multiple solutions — a design program, brand management platform, and marketing template library. Similar to Canva, you can upload your brand assets to Lucidpress and have your team create your brand and marketing materials within the software. From there, your team can re-use on-brand templates to ensure consistency in your branding.

TrustPilot

TrustPilot is a review software that can help you build your brand reputation, create brand equity, and build brand loyalty. Collect reviews from real customers and share them with followers and potential customers to harness the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

Wedia

Wedia is a marketing platform that allows you to manage your creative projects, create and store your digital assets, and distribute your marketing material across multiple channels. It acts as a central location for your team to access your brand assets and allows you to keep your team and creative projects aligned and consistent.

Brand Management Courses

If you’re interested in learning more about managing your brand, there are dozens of fantastic courses available online. We’ve collected some of the leading courses below.

A Well-Managed Brand is a Successful One

Brand management, as auxiliary as it seems, does affect your bottom line.

Strong brands aren’t built by marketing or product alone but by constantly iterating on your customers’ brand experience. It’s easy to overlook the impact of consistent, intelligent brand experiences — and brand management can help you provide this for your followers, customers, and brand advocates.

This post was originally published on this site

Why Email Design is Important, and 12 Best Practices to Improve Yours

Why Email Design is Important, and 12 Best Practices to Improve Yours

In 2018, there were over 3.7 billion email users around the world. By 2022, this number is expected to increase to 4.3 billion.

A group within that large number of users includes your business’s target audience, the people you want to market your brand, products, and services to via email.

To ensure your emails stand out and grab the attention of these target audience members, you must consider email design.

What is email design?

Email design is the process of strategically designing and creating an email that resonates with your business’s target audience, specifically your current email subscribers and customers. The design should be attention-grabbing, aesthetically-pleasing, and on-brand so recipients recognize it’s from your company.

Why is email design important?

The average recipient spends about 1.1 seconds scanning an email prior to deciding whether or not they want to stay or abandon the message.

That’s why email design — design that makes your email organized, attention-grabbing, on-brand, and valuable — is so important to the success of your marketing efforts. It’s how you effectively keep recipients reading and interacting with your email content. 

Now you’re probably thinking: That sounds great, but how do I design my email to attract my target audience and keep their attention on my email?

To begin, keep these 12 email design best practices in mind.

1. Craft a strong subject line.

Your email subject line is the first thing anyone sees when you send them an email. It’s the brief statement that’s supposed to pique the interest of your recipients. It should capture their attention so they want to open the email and continue reading.

Your subject line should do three main things:

  1. Grab the attention of your readers in as few words as possible (less is more).
  2. Provide some sort of value and/ or information that makes them want to open the email.
  3. Summarize what recipients are going to read and/ or see once they open the email.

Here’s what a subject line looks like in your email inbox:

email subject line example

Here’s what a subject line looks like in your mobile device’s email inbox:

Email subject line on mobile

You can also review some of the best email subject line examples for more inspiration.

2. Write an attention-grabbing preheader.

Your email preheader is a preview of what the email is about, similar to the meta description of a web page. It’s the second thing recipients see.

Rather than rewriting the first sentence of your email, you can customize the preheader to provide an inside look into what your recipients are about to read in your message.

For reference, here’s what a preheader looks like in your email inbox:

email preheader example

Here’s what a preheader looks like in your mobile device’s email inbox:

email preheader example

3. Be concise.

Remember the statistic above about how you have about 1.1 seconds to hook your audience with your email? This is precisely why your email copy needs to be concise and straightforward.

Think about it this way: How many times throughout the day do you find yourself opening an email thinking, I can’t wait to sit down and take the next 5-10 minutes to really dive into this email in-depth!

If you’re anything like me, the answer is never.

Give email recipients the information they want and need from you without getting into the weeds. This will show them you value their time which has the potential to help you improve email subscriber retainment.

4. Keep your email on-brand.

When your email recipients open your message, they should know the email was sent from your company … meaning your email should be branded to the point that they don’t need to look at who’s sending the message to know it’s from your business.

To keep your email on-brand, consider using the following tactics:

  • Use a tone in your email content that complements your other branding and marketing materials (like your website and social media).
  • Incorporate the same colors and fonts that you use in your other branding and marketing materials.
  • Include your logo, a link to your website, links to your social media accounts, and calls-to-action (CTAs) relevant to your products or services. This is a great way to increase brand awareness and boost conversions.

5. Use the layout to enhance your email’s user experience.

Nobody wants to read a cluttered, unorganized email. Your email will appear too overwhelming and time-consuming to deal with, and you’ll increase your chances of abandonment.

Instead, organize your layout with user experience (UX) in mind — meaning, leave white space and strategically place your written and visual content in the email so it’s organized and easy to navigate. This will also improve your email’s professional, thoughtful feel, which ensures readers are able to find the information they want and need to enjoy their interactions with your business’s email content.

6. Personalize every email.

When you customize an email with your recipient’s name, the email feels more tailored, professional, and personal. This touch helps you foster a relationship between your business and email recipients. Additionally, it has the potential to help you humanize your brand and, in turn, improve email retention.

7. Incorporate unique visual content.

If your recipients and subscribers open an email and only see written content, it’s likely going to be difficult to hold their attention and keep them interested in your message. Include unique images, videos, GIFs, and animations to break up the written content. This is also a great way to complement your branding and enhance the purpose of your email.

Speaking of incorporating creative and unique visual content in your emails, let’s talk emojis.

8. Don’t be afraid to use emojis. 🧡

At first, emojis may seem like an unnecessary or unprofessional addition to an email. While this may be a fair assumption, it’s actually untrue. In fact, when you add emojis to your email subject line and/ or email copy, you can increase your open and click-through rates.

Note: When using emojis for marketing purposes, make sure you know the meaning and connotation of the specific one(s) you incorporate. 😃

9. Use a responsive design.

A responsive design means your email changes format to fit the screen it’s being viewed on, whether it’s on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device. Recipients will be able to read your emails with ease no matter where or how they’re viewing them. Responsive design enhances user experience and improves email subscriber retention.

10. Optimize your email with calls-to-action.

Calls-to-action (CTAs) are used to convert your email recipients — they may be used to get your recipients to follow you on social media, visit your website, or become paying customers. CTAs should be visible, enticing, and clearly show why they’re valuable to click. Additionally, you might choose to personalize your CTAs to tailor them towards specific recipients — this tactic has been proven to increase conversions.

11. Add an “unsubscribe” button.

Email marketing is highly effective as long as you’re providing relevant content to your recipients. The unfortunate but true reality of email marketing is that your recipients and customers change over time — in addition to various factors related to your business as you grow and evolve — making your content no longer relevant to some at different points in time.

For this reason, allow your recipients to leave (or unsubscribe from your emails) on a good note so they can remember your business in a positive light — who knows, they may need your email content, products, or services again in the future. To ensure these people are leaving on positive terms, simplify their lives with an easy-to-use and visible “unsubscribe” button.

Note: According to the Federal Trade Commission and CAN-SPAM Act, you’re legally required to include a “clear and conspicuous explanation of how the recipient can opt-out of getting emails from you in the future”. Meaning, that unsubscribe button isn’t an option.

If you need some inspiration, check out these effective unsubscribe pages.

12. A/B test your design.

Similar to most other marketing efforts, email design is an iterative process. You might determine you need to make changes and updates to get the most out of your email design. Whether it’s modifying your CTA, colors, font, or tone, don’t be afraid to A/B test designs to determine which one works best in terms of ability to convert, and resonate with, the highest number of recipients.

A great way to incorporate all 12 of these best practices is to use email design software. In fact, many of these best practices will come up naturally while you’re designing and planning your emails this way. Let’s take a look at some of the most common software options for email design along with a few of their features.

Email Design Software

The following commonly-used email design software options each offer capabilities related to your business’s website design as well as marketing and sales efforts. Take a deep look at their features to make the best decision for your overall business goals and email design needs.

HubSpot Email Design Software

HubSpot’s email software allows you to create, design, personalize, and optimize all of your emails. You don’t need any IT or coding knowledge, and you can easily customize mobile-friendly emails and design them to complement your branding. The software allows you to A/B test various email designs to determine which optimization and design efforts are most successful among your recipients.

BEEPro Email Design Software

As a BEEPro user, you can design responsive emails in just minutes. Smart design tools provide you with a quick way to format your emails and ensure your layout complements your content. You can also customize and save various email design templates so your email messaging and branding stays consistent among specific recipients.

MailChimp Email Design Software

With over 100 templates offered, MailChimp allows you to customize your email design for your target audience. If you’re someone who does have coding experience, and you want to take your design a step further, MailChimp offers you the ability to code your template as well.

Stripo.email Email Design Software

Stripo.email requires no HTML knowledge to create and design professional email templates. All of their pre-made templates are responsive so readers can easily view them via any device. You can also sync your current email service provider (ESP) with the software to access all of your email information from a central location.

Chamaileon Email Design Software

The collaborative email builder Chamaileon gives you the ability to invite members of your team to provide input on your designs. The software ensures your emails will have a responsive design and automatically comes with over 100 pre-made templates to customize for specific recipients.

Now that we’ve covered email design best practices as well as the software you can use to assist in designing your perfect email, let’s take a look at some well-crafted examples to inspire your work.

Email Design Inspiration

Email design inspiration provides you with a better idea of what it looks like to combine the best practices we discussed above — these will help you effectively reach your target audience. In addition to the examples we’re going to review here, you can check out this blog post about 13 great examples of email design.

1. Starbucks Rewards Email Design

Starbucks customers and members —the people who have converted and signed up to receive company-related information and rewards — may have seen this email, or something similar, in their inbox:

email design example

The email complements all of Starbucks’ marketing materials and branding. There’s plenty of white space to separate the concise yet helpful written information that’s paired with artistic and visually-pleasing photos of their products.

The email includes a CTA to activate their email rewards offer, a link to their website to help drive traffic there, and an unsubscribe button for those who’d like to stop receiving Starbucks emails altogether.

2. Vital Proteins Email Design

Vital Proteins’ emails are sent to current customers as well as anyone who has visited their site and signed up for their email newsletter.

example of email design

Although this email design contains many images and a lot of information, it’s neatly organized so it doesn’t feel overwhelming to visitors. The email’s colors, font, and unique images are on-brand and feature the company’s products.

It includes an obvious and large CTA that redirects recipients to their Instagram page to increase their number of followers and enhance brand awareness. Lastly, there are buttons at the bottom of the email for unsubscribing, changing email preferences, and forwarding the message to a friend.

3. HubSpot Marketing Blog Email Design

HubSpot sends subscribers Marketing Blog emails every day. These include a few blog marketing-related articles to read and learn from. If recipients choose, they may also subscribe to HubSpot’s Sales Blog and Service Blog emails.

email design examples

The marketing blog email feature HubSpot branding so readers immediately know who the email is from and what it’s going to include. There are previews and short descriptions of what each blog article in the email is about as well as an interactive pop quiz.

The email has plenty of white space to ensure it doesn’t feel or look cluttered and includes a personal note from the marketing blog editor to humanize the email and foster a personal relationship between readers and HubSpot.

Get inspired with 15 free and downloadable email templates designed for marketing and sales with previously written copy to save you time.

Grow Better With Great Email Design

With great email design, you’ll grow better — meaning, you’ll reach and resonate with your audience members more effectively. Eye-catching and impactful emails will help you build long-lasting relationships and convert more people into paying customers and brand advocates. So, begin designing your emails while keeping the best practices and examples we reviewed in mind.

This post was originally published on this site

Why ABM Is Your Small Team’s Secret Weapon

Why ABM Is Your Small Team’s Secret Weapon

We’re all too familiar with the dilemma most marketers face: higher expectations, and fewer resources.

This pressure can feel even greater if you’re already strapped with a leaner team.

Plus, there’s a lot of rhetoric around marketing strategies and buzzwords that seem complex and hard to implement, only making the water murkier.

One of those buzzwords we’re here to demystify is ABM — and especially the myth that it takes a large team, and tons of time, to scale. The truth is, having a leaner team may actually be your secret weapon to successfully implementing ABM.

Here, we’re going to explore how your small team can reap the ABM benefits that larger teams have been implementing for years.

ABM is a Mindset, Not an Isolated Tactic

Before we dive into how small teams can take those higher expectations and fewer resources and turn them into real results, it’s key to break ABM down to what it really is.

While ABM is often ranked among tactics like ’email marketing’ or ‘display advertising’ or ‘social media marketing’, it’s actually more of a mindset.

In essence, account-based marketing is just a smarter way to do B2B marketing. It’s choosing to reserve your budget for those high-value prospects most likely to convert, instead of throwing your budget at a large group of people with less insights into their chances of becoming a customer.

The method was just far more cumbersome to scale before data and AI caught up to make it possible for smaller teams, who needed to show results quicker and on a leaner budget.

If you could, why not reserve your budget for those most likely to convert to pipeline or revenue? That’s what ABM helps you do. That’s why it’s especially powerful for teams without overflowing budgets — because ABM enables you to start with ready-to-buy, high-fit accounts and tailor how you engage with them until you’re able to have a fast-tracked funnel from the first to last touch.

Kickstarting ABM for Small Teams

Now that you’re in the mindset, we can get to kickoff. The simplest way to approach ABM is to think in three straightforward steps. Let’s dive into those in more detail now.

1. Identify your best accounts and associated buying committees based on fit, intent, and engagement signals.

Build Your ICP

We get it, one of the aspects that held smaller teams back from ABM in the past was the ability to parse through data and understand their true ideal customer profile (ICP). For more traditional inbound or demand generation approaches, this usually got left at a persona.

Rather than rely on the buyer alone, this is instead a business-minded measure of who’s mostly likely to become a customer. This includes firmographic or technographic information like company size, revenue, industry, location, tech stack, and many other attributes.

Rather than use your ‘best guess’, you should rely on your CRM data or website traffic to analyze traits of your best customers in the past. This is where ABM tech comes in to help you distill information quickly, instead of relying on manual spreadsheets.

Develop Your Target Account List

Once you have this concept of your best ‘fit’, you can then begin to build your target account list (TAL) full of companies that are close matches to your developed ICP. Again, this is where you’ll want to leverage pre-existing databases with thousands of companies ready to fill your list.

If you want to get even more laser-focused with your marketing budget, you can begin to divide your new TAL into tiers based on how valuable they may be to your business. There’s a chance that some accounts are the best fit while others are a looser fit. AI can help save you the headache with predictive models that compare your list against your best customers. From there, you can work with a list of highest to lowest-fit accounts to help you decide where to invest the most time and money.

Beyond Fit

While making sure you begin building a TAL based on the right ICP is critical, there are also other measures of buyer readiness that should be layered on to make sure you’re approaching your strategy with the most information at hand.

Account Engagement is a first-party measure of which accounts are engaging with a business through activities such as email clicks, digital advertising impressions, website visits, webinar registrations, physical events attendance, blog post reads, and online product demos. Not all activity is equal (a product demo is probably a stronger signal than a blog visit). However, aggregating activity from all the people who are interacting with a company at the account level is critical so that marketing and sales teams can respond rapidly when engagement is spiking. Follow up speed matters in this digital, always-on world.

What to do:

  • First, list your prospects that are showing clear signs of engagement for high-interest pages like pricing, product overviews, case studies, etc.
  • Next, start to look in your CRM  for sales stages that could be reworked like closed-lost opportunities, past demo requests, meeting no shows, etc.
  • Finally, add colleagues of people who have historically exhibited high value engagement (nothing like name dropping to increase email open rates)!

Account Intent is a measure of which companies are engaging with your solution area but are not (yet) engaging with your business. Intent is measured through third parties (like Bombora) identifying buyers consuming business content relevant to a solution area or topic. These are the accounts that are traditionally invisible to marketers.

What to do:

  • Work with your team to come up with a short list of topics your potential prospects would be looking for that are a fit for you and compile them.
  • From there, work with intent signals that show surging topics for certain accounts, like how often they’re searching for topics related to your service.
  • If you have partnerships with review sites, you can also tap into their database of companies searching for your category or visiting your profile.  

2. Define your marketing mix and invest in the channels most likely to reach and engage your audience with the right messaging.

When you ask marketers what being ‘account-based’ means, some jump to in-person events, direct mail, special sporting events, or dinners with high-value prospects — you name it. These are also typically more challenging to scale as a more nimble team with tighter budgets. But more than ever, recent events (goodbye conferences, lunch and learns, happy hours) have called on marketers to reexamine how they view an account-based marketing mix and what can drive impact.

The resounding answer? Go digital. Even before the world changed, Forrester showed that 65% of B2B buyers prefer to conduct their purchase research online rather than work with a salesperson (and we know that’s who you had staffing your booths).

Now’s your chance to use that data to rethink your marketing mix and lean in where it makes sense. We know this much: People are spending more and more time online. Within our own internal data, we’ve seen that prices are going down (50%)  inventory is going up (13%), and key measures of return on advertising spending (ROAS) are moving in the right direction.

Get Started With Air Cover

The best way to begin building momentum and alignment with your sales team (also known as, building pipeline) is to kick off an air cover play. Here’s how you can do it:

Screen Shot 2020-07-07 at 10.05.06 AMThe real result you’re looking for? Increased site engagement increases the likelihood of your sales team booking a meeting or closing a deal.

In the real world: While running our own ABM program (in 2017), we found that accounts that had a marketing touch during sales outreach were 2X more likely to book a meeting.

3. Shift key metrics used to show impact, slowly moving from lead-based to account-based metrics with multi-touch attribution.

First, you’ll want to look at campaign metrics to make slight tweaks or optimizations. This will look like CTR, CPM, CPA, CTOR, etc. You may begin to prioritize spend on certain higher-value accounts and begin drilling down to engagement on the account level.

Here are a few other key metrics you’ll want to key your eye on to show demand impact:

Accounts Targeted — As a baseline, you should always be aware of just how many accounts are on your list. By keeping this number front and center, marketers can make sense of other metrics.

TAL Responses Generated — The number of targeted contacts that responded to the offers as measured by a form fill, page view, or email response.  

TAL Meetings Booked — The number of meetings booked with your sellers that had a 3x3x3 play response as a preceding event prior to Opportunity creation.

LT TAL Opportunities Generated — The number of net new opportunities created with a 3x3x3 response as an event prior to opportunity creation.

LT TAL Pipeline Value $ — The dollar value of the net new opportunities generated as defined above.

Spend — Amount spent on all selected campaigns.  

Value Over Volume

What you’ll want to dig into is a potential shift in the volume of demand moving more toward value in demand. This is a very typical shift when moving toward a higher fit/engagement/intent audience.

But with this more high-value over high-volume, you’ll start to see a faster conversion through the funnel from meeting to revenue thanks to being more selective with your audience. You can measure this, as well.

This post was originally published on this site

How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel

Want to attract and convert more people without Facebook ads? Looking for tips to develop an organic Facebook funnel? In this article, you’ll learn how to model an effective sales funnel with organic Facebook content. #1: Leverage Existing Facebook Audience Engagement to Create Awareness With New Prospects Back in the good old days when organic […]

The post How to Create a Facebook Organic Sales Funnel appeared first on Social Media Examiner | Social Media Marketing.

This post was originally published on this site

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