Article Archive by Kristin Lesko


November 15 2013

Four Common Mistakes of Email Marketers

by Kristin Lesko

As of early August, 145 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones, according to a comScore report from August 2013. Add to that the fact that email was the top activity of U.S. adults on their smartphones – based on a new study – and you’ve got an opportunity to reach customers anytime, anywhere. Some businesses are using this to their advantage, crafting emails that ignite action. Others, however, are provoking customers to take only one action: Clicking “delete.” Here are four common mistakes that turn marketing into junk mail.

No. 4: Making a tpyo in a subject line. If you wrote the email copy, get a colleague to proof it. Then send out a test blast to a different team member internally. We all make mistakes, but we can also all take the steps necessary to minimize them.

No. 3:  Writing an email subject line that’s so lengthy, it gets cut o… When your email subject lines are too long, they get truncated in the preview, which can be a total disconnect for your reader. While every email program is different, aim for less than 60 characters, including spaces, to ensure that your email subject displays properly in your recipients’ inboxes.

No. 2: Sending your email creative as a high-resolution image. Although photos are a great way to illustrate your message, if your entire email is one large image, you could run the risk of it not loading properly. That means your customers will see a red “X” where your beautifully designed email creative once appeared.

No. 1:  Burying the call-to-action. If you want the reader to take action after reading your email, you have to tell them what you want them to do. And telling them mid-way through the third paragraph of a long-winded eblast won’t cut it. Keep your message short and concise, with a clear directive at the end. In addition, use design elements, like a “Register Now” or “Subscribe” button, to help guide users toward the appropriate action.

What’s the worst email snafu you’ve ever made? Share it with us on Facebook.

October 25 2013

Defining Your Brand Identity – 3 Steps to Avoiding an Identity Crisis

by Kristin Lesko

Your brand is your company’s identity – differentiating you from your competitors and revealing to the world who you are and what you’ve set out to do. But while many people think their logo is their “brand,” it’s just one component – albeit an important one – in a much bigger picture. Your branding is also comprised of your company’s messaging and brand voice, which, ideally, work collectively to help people identify with you. Here are a few ways to create a brand that resonates with the right people.

Get to Know Your Audience

Before defining who you are as a company, think about who you’re trying to reach first. Pick one person from your primary and secondary audiences (i.e. stay-at-home moms, CEOs, animal owners, etc.) and create a profile in your mind of who this person is and what they look like. While people are as unique as their fingerprints, there are some commonalities based on the “roles” they play in life.

Ask yourself:

  • Is this person male or female?
  • What’s the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning?
  • Where do they spend their free time?
  • What motivates them?
  • What do they want from your brand?

Go on a Speed Date As Your Brand

Imagine you’re on a “speed date” … as your brand. This means “you” will only have a few minutes to make a good first impression. In the real world, your target audience might not be so generous with their time.

Consider these questions:

  • How do you want the other person to perceive you?
  • What words would they use to describe you to someone else?
  • If they were to compare you to another brand (outside of your industry), which one would it be?
  • If they had to choose between you and another brand (who also happens to be good-looking and a snappy dresser), why would they choose you?

Introduce Your Brand to Others

Now that you’ve role-played to get to know your audience and brand better, it’s time to get feedback from the real deal: Actual people. Organize two different test groups, one comprised of members of your primary audience and the other for members of your secondary audience.

Show them:

  • Your logo.
  • A few pieces of marketing collateral (brochure, website, blog).
  • A demo of your products/services.

Afterward, have them take a survey about your brand, but also include open-ended questions, such as: “What emotion, if any, did you experience while reading our website copy?” Questions like that can help to ensure that your goals align with actuality.

If you’re still in the development stage of your branding, consider bringing two to three options for your logo design and brand messaging to these test groups. This can help you identify which version resonates with the test group before making your final decision.

What’s your biggest struggle as a brand? Share your feedback with us on our Facebook page.

October 14 2013

Pinterest Makes it Easy to Find, Save Online Articles

by Kristin Lesko

For marketers, Pinterest has long proven itself as a worthy investment – from having an active presence within the channel itself to finding ways to incorporate it within their brand’s website. Although Pinterest is widely used to post photos, it has also become a mecca for articles. In fact, according to Pinterest’s blog, more than 5 million articles are pinned every day.

With articles becoming a popular format, Pinterest decided to spend time perfecting the look for this type of pin. As of Sept. 24, the channel rolled out the new design for article pins, which provides more information than what was previously available.

Now, article pins can include:

  • Headline
  • Author
  • Story Description
  • Website Links

Also, if you come across an article, but don’t have time to read it, you can save it for a later time (like the morning coffee line at Starbucks). Simply create a reading list board and add articles to it within Pinterest.

Even when you are browsing articles or blogs outside of Pinterest, you can utilize the feature by adding the “Pin It” button to your browser (exclusively for Firefox). It will then add the website or blog article into your very own Pinterest reading room (pillows and candles not included).

So what does this mean for your business? Well, if you’re regularly producing fresh content on your site, the new button could make your articles or blog posts easier to share – potentially helping you reach a broader audience within Pinterest. It also means that your users could actually be posting your content in Pinterest for you, for other Pinterest users to find, read and repin.

And, if you’re not regularly producing fresh content on your website, it means that you have yet another reason to start.

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