Your Guide to the New ChatGPT

In November 2022 the artificial intelligence startup OpenAI launched ChatGPT, a viral online large language machine that has the tech world and marketers giddy with excitement…and full of questions. ChatGPT was free to use, but now there is a fee, a necessity to triage capacity issues brought on by the free access that drove huge user numbers. 

It seems everyone has an opinion about ChatGPT. Engineers and  entrepreneurs tout it as a welcomed new frontier. It’s predicted to fuel new products, services and solutions, but not everyone is on the bandwagon. Social scientists and journalists are worried because they see the potential this technology may have to wreak havoc. Don’t worry. According to experts a full AI takeover isn’t imminent. ChatGPT doesn’t speak with sentience and doesn’t “think” like a human. There is an intrinsic difference between how humans produce language versus large language models. 

What puts this chatbot in the spotlight is how close it gets to replicating human-like language abilities thanks to generative AI, which uses statistics, reinforcement learning, and supervised learning to index words, phrases, and sentences. It’s a revolutionary technology that has been trained to learn what humans mean when they ask a question. It can also produce essays, solve coding problems, provide customer service, translate, and more. This is possible because it’s powered by large amounts of data and billions of words scraped from the web and other sources along with computing techniques to mimic writing styles, avoid certain types of conversations, and learn from questions. ChatGPT can access a vast vocabulary and database of information and understand words in context, helping it mimic human speech patterns to dispatch its encyclopedic knowledge. 

OpenAI is not alone in its use of large language model tools. Other well-known tech companies like Google and Meta use the large language model tools to develop programs that respond to human prompts and devise sophisticated responses. 

The technology is spreading to virtually every field – health care, marketing, law, you name it. But, it’s not a magic bullet. Open AI has acknowledged as much, sharing on its website that “ChatGPT sometimes writes plausible-sounding but incorrect or nonsensical answers.”  As with any technology, there are deficiencies and limitations. Here are a few in the spotlight now:

Plagiarism and Cheating

Plagiarism and student cheating are a valid concern. Thankfully, there is software that can be used to detect OpenAI text. However, due to the learning nature of the AI chatbot, it will keep learning and getting smarter, which may make it harder to identify plagiarism using the prescribed software.

Racism, Sexism, and Bias

ChatGPT fell under scrutiny when racial and gender biases were associated with the chatbot. Implicit bias built into technology is not a new discovery. UC Berkeley psychology and neuroscience professor Steven Piantadosi stated on Twitter in early December 2022 his concerns, “No, OpenAI has not come close to addressing the problem of bias. Filters appear to be bypassed with simple tricks, and superficially masked. And what is lurking inside is egregious.” He used queries based on race and gender, and ChatGPT produced results that favored white males over women and people of color.

Inaccurate Information

Despite the ongoing hype over ChatGPT, it also has ongoing issues with accuracy that have been well-documented since its inception. OpenAI has conceded that its chatbot possesses “limited knowledge of world events after 2021.” If there is insufficient data on a particular subject, the chatbot gives replies that contain incorrect data. This has started a much-needed discourse on the use of AI as a reliable source to create content – especially among news sources.

Clearly, some refined, deep content is necessary to address this problem. While it’s one thing for the chatbot to work “just ok” to relieve writer’s block, let’s say, this level of performance isn’t acceptable when using the chatbot to source valid, deep, and expansive domain data. If the information programmed is inherently flawed and the algorithms aren’t constantly regulating for reliability, then this new technology is just a big disinformation machine. Other issues with inaccuracies include:

Phrasing Sensitivity – ChatGPT is sensitive to tweaks to input phrasing or multiple attempts with the same prompt. It can claim to not know an answer, but when rephrased can answer the questions correctly.

Excessively Verbose – The model can be unnecessarily wordy, overusing certain phrases and being repetitive due to biases in the training data that favor long answers that are believed to be more comprehensive.

Inaccurate Guessing – Ambiguous queries should be questioned;  however, the current models usually guess at the user’s intention.

In the tech world, more data is always better. That philosophy is at play here as well, with OpenAI suggesting the system will “learn” from invalid data as long as the data set gets bigger. Fixing issues with inaccuracies is a challenging assignment that will garner more attention as the technology matures.

Not Original Content

A limitation is if more than one user asks the chatbot to write on the same topic, everyone making that request will get the same response. Therefore, the content created isn’t unique or original – all users will end up with the same copy. Thus, personalization is an area that still requires a lot of development.

No Mobile App

Currently, ChatGPT is strictly a browser-based platform with no mobile app feature available as of yet; however, I’m certain one is coming, but there has been no confirmation of this by the brand. This lack of cross platform availability has given rise to copycat apps charging exorbitant prices. Beware of ChatGPT fakes not associated with or supported by OpenAI. A popular workaround for this is to load the chatbot on your smartphone browser. 

Looking to the Future

As with most new technologies, pioneers usually take most of the heat for early misses. However, the market will grow and advance, fueled by eager VC firm funding. Financial investors predict ChatGPT will spawn new companies and products moving forward. Some also foresee a new form of Internet search coming from this technology.

Competition is certainly on the way, as all of the players will enter the ring, perhaps introducing industry-specific and domain-specific offerings, new products, and other creative solutions. Just yesterday OpenAI announced version three of ChatGPT is out, unveiling “an entirely new user interface” complete with:

  • Five new creative sizes for those who do display or programmatic ads
  • A new version of AI that can generate more and better creatives even faster 
  • An OpenAI-supported startup with  several copywriting methodologies

The opportunities this technology presents is staggering. Rather than replacing vast amounts of workers, the technology will be used to enhance and upgrade the systems we use to do our work so we can do that work more effectively and efficiently.

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Video Drives Sales – Here’s What You Need To Know

Study after study has shown that video is the easiest and most effective way to engage customers and drive them to take action. Video works exceedingly well to create brand awareness, activation, onboarding, and retention. Effectively using video as a component of your marketing strategy helps you gain a competitive edge in an  increasingly crowded market.

According to a Wyzowl State of Video Marketing Report and Hubspot surveying:

  • Online video watching has almost doubled since 2018.
  • Nearly 93% of brands reported new customer acquisition came from videos posted on their social media.
  • 87% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive ROI.
  • 85% of consumers report wanting to see more videos from brands. 
  • Video usage in ad campaigns increases conversion rates by 34% according to Vidyard.  
  • Unbounce reports including a video on your landing page can boost your conversion rate by up to 80%. 

Clearly, video is no longer a nicety; it’s a necessity to ensure your brand is responsive to consumers’ growing desire for efficient and informative self-service options along their buying journey. More consumers than ever before are digesting content before reaching out to sales. Video enables marketers to target different personas to deliver the most relevant and compelling information at various stages in the sales funnel. Video has been shown to be superior at explaining information and building momentum, so it’s a great choice to keep moving prospects further into the buying journey and down the funnel by directing them to the next relevant video. Avoid the pitfall of the “request a demo” option. It works much better to use wording like “watch our demo now.” Simple changes like this will boost your conversion.

In order to take full advantage of video content, you need to understand the best strategies for using video as well as how to track and quantify its impact. The importance of video will only grow as we move further toward enterprise self-service. Let’s take a look at the four most common types of videos you should be creating.

Explainer Videos 

As the name alludes, this approach is best when you need to explain a complex product or service or differentiate your brand. 

Onboarding Videos 

This is typically a series of videos that welcome new customers and work to get them more familiar with a product or service by addressing key areas. Often these videos will include screen captures and audio instructions to show actions the customer will need to take.

Demo Videos 

This video approach allows you to demonstrate your product or service to show prospects exactly how it works. This type of video also makes use of screen captures and audio instructions. 

Testimonial Videos 

These videos are your opportunity to showcase satisfied customers to positively influence prospects. 

Top Tips For Maximum Results

These tips will help you achieve your video marketing goals and track your results. 

Shorter Is Better – The goal is to deliver relevant information as quickly as possible. Follow these time guidelines:

Explainer Videos: 45-90 seconds
Demo Videos: Maximum of 10 minutes
Onboarding Videos: 1-3 minutes
Testimonial Videos: 45-90 seconds

Using More Videos Is Better – Don’t think of your videos as a one-stop shop. Instead, realize that the most effective approach is to drip your content over a series of videos. Prospects are more likely to watch more short videos. 

Use Videos To Address Pitfalls – Use what you know about your sales funnel and any of its possible pitfalls and address them with videos that pull prospects down your funnel. 

Track the ROI Of Your Videos – You’ll want to track who watched what and how those views impacted your KPIs, influenced new leads, the amount of new pipeline, and new revenue generated. 

For marketers looking to deliver on the new self-service buyer journey, maximize their sales efficiency, and increase conversions, video is a must in your marketing strategy. Video delivers a full-funnel strategy that is proven effective. 

Why is AI So Important for B2B Lead Generation?

No matter the vertical you are in, customer experience is paramount. Today’s B2B consumer cares nearly as much about the service they get from a business as they do about the product or service they are buying. The expectations are set for a fully personalized experience at all online touch points – including your lead generation website.

Artificial intelligence (AI) can help companies create the experience leads and prospects want and expect. More and more marketers are utilizing the power of AI to sell, and the trend is just beginning. According to data from Salesforce, the use of AI in marketing has skyrocketed from just 29% in 2018 to a staggering 84% in 2020. Here’s a look at how AI is being used to drive and close leads:

1. Access Massive Datasets 24/7

We all know that lead scoring is a tedious and time-consuming process, but it is a necessary evil. AI enables marketers to access massive datasets 24/7, looking at the most important factors and every detail that marketers just don’t have time to do on their own. And, AI does a better job, picking up on finer details that an overworked marketing professional cannot. AI scoring is far more accurate, enabling marketers to use the data to target leads much better.

Even better, AI only improves with time due to machine learning that studies computer algorithms and makes improvements automatically through experience and data analysis.

2. Reduce Bounce and Increase Engagement

This is marketers sore spot: bounce rates. All marketers want a low bounce rate because it’s an indication of interest in your content, your products, and your brand. A high bounce rate indicates low interest, which isn’t something anyone in marketing and sales wants to see.

The best way to mitigate a high bounce rate is to take measures to increase engagement. We know that the longer a prospect stays on your website, the more likely they are to convert to a lead and self-nurture. Keep in mind, the average buyer consumes at least 13 pieces of content from a single site before making a decision. Self-nurturing websites let prospects binge relevant content until they’re ready to provide their e-mail address and other information.

We also know that in order to get a lead to provide contact information, takes work, even when the content on our site is compelling. AI uses your content to create an engaging customer experience using multiple algorithms to study the behavior of each prospect that visits your site. AI then provides personalized content recommendations to let prospects do their own research while being guided down the sales funnel – all without having to fill out a form or talk to a salesperson yet. AI streamlines the sales process, encouraging prospects to stay on your site longer and to learn more about the opportunity, consuming more content with each subsequent visit to your site. 

3. Make Better Insights

Most marketers are in the fortunate position of having lots of data on prospects. However, it takes time and know-how to properly sort through that mountain of information. AI gathers and analyzes all of that data and draws better insight than any marketer could working alone.

4. Create Adaptive Content Hubs

Most blogs require visitors to scroll through an organized list of blog posts based on categories you have selected in order to access the content they want. AI enables you to organize your blogs by any vertical or pain point you choose. Once a prospect starts browsing your blog, your algorithms study the prospect’s behavior and provide personalized selections from your blog content.

5. Collect Accurate Data

It takes a good strategy to segment prospects, score leads, and develop content. But all that work can go down the drain if you are not collecting high-quality data. When your data is incomplete or incorrect, it throws a wrench in your marketing efforts. AI is your security that you are collecting accurate, usable data from the get-go, right when the lead enters your system. It does this by scanning public sources to verify company, job title, and other contact information. 

Adding an AI engine to your site puts you in a prime position to benefit from high-level personalization for your lead gen. AI also assists you with the task of nurturing your leads. Implementing tech-driven tools like adaptive content hubs and self-nurturing landing pages help ensure your content is working hard and smart for you.

How to Use Reddit for Your Digital Marketing

The recent buzz surrounding the investment app Robinhood and the skyrocketing of GameStop stock put the Reddit platform in the spotlight and left many marketers wondering if this vehicle should become a component of their digital marketing. This blog outlines the opportunities available on Reddit so you can determine if it’s the right fit for your business.

Reddit is a social sharing website that is built around users submitting text, images, and videos that users can vote on, sending popular content to the top of the chain (called “upvotes”) and pushing unpopular posts further down the chain so they get less views or none at all. Reddit claims to be “the front-page of the Internet.” The platform most recently added livestream content through its Reddit Public Access Network. Reddit’s popularity is a result of the fact it’s free and it fosters open sharing among users. The parameters are loose – so you’ll see just about anything and everything on the site. According to stats from Ignite, most Reddit users:

  • Are males between the ages of 35-44 (although 25-34 year-olds are not far behind)
  • Have annual income levels around $25,000-$50,000Have a bachelor’s degree or some college education
  • Are from the U.S. (in particular San Francisco and Seattle) with Canada (Toronto) a close second

What to Know Before You Reddit

There are two ways businesses can use Reddit: advertisements and posts. Buying an ad on Reddit is pretty straightforward, so I’ll focus on how you should approach posting to Reddit to try to market your business. First and foremost, you cannot post anything that blatantly looks or sounds like an ad. That is strictly forbidden. In fact, before you even think about trying to market on Reddit, you really must read the guidelines for each Reddit community. 

Even though Reddit is a massive sharing community, it’s not for the meek and the mild. You can’t just put anything up on Reddit and wait for the marketing magic to happen. Reddit users can spot marketers a mile away. You must know how to provide content of interest and of value or you just may get banned from the platform. Reddit users can be brutal and will ensure you’re never heard from again if they don’t like what you’re posting.  To help you overcome this potential pitfall, here are subjects that are extremely well received on Reddit that work for businesses:

  • Only Share Content People Will Actually Want to See – Don’t post anything else.
  • Include Links In Your Posts – The links don’t have to be ones you created, in fact it’s best if you don’t just post your own content. You want posts that you think Reddit or subreddit users will find interesting, valuable, insightful or funny.
  • Tell Personal Stories That Come From the Heart – Talk about how you overcame challenges, beat the odds, survived the impossible, etc. 
  • Share Unusual or Obscure Facts – Reddit users like to learn little-known facts about a variety of topics, products, movements, diseases and any other topic you can think of that has interesting facts surrounding it that are relevant to your business. 
  • Post Interesting Videos, Photographs and Art – Videos generate the most upvotes.
  • Talk About US and Global Politics Related to Your Business Vertical 
  • Share How You Use Technology to Benefit Your Customers
  • Include Topics On Science, Fitness, Music, Comics and Food As Relevant

Content that is unique, progressive, or simply just eye-catching tends to do very well on Reddit. This platform is no different from other social media sharing sites – each has its own underlying feel. Tap into what that is and post content related to that feel, and you will be rewarded with favorable results. Reddit users are trendsetters.

Another advantage of Reddit is that it is divided into smaller communities called “subreddits.” A subreddit is a board dedicated to a certain topic, which is great news for marketers! Each subreddit begins with “reddit.com/r”, such as reddit.com/r/entrepreneurship, which would potentially put your posts in front of entrepreneurs on Reddit. 

Reddit also enables you to reverse engineer your messaging by giving you the ability to do a search to see which posts have done well on Reddit for the subreddit group you’re looking to target. To Go to the search bar in Reddit and type in “Site: DomainName.com.” What you enter for “DomainName.com” will be the website address for a business that you think is generating lots of likes in a Reddit community you’re looking to target. Doing this will show you all of the Reddit posts that were most successful for the searched site. This is really helpful for marketers who are new to Reddit.

Reddit has a bit of a reputation of being the ugly stepsister, so many marketers dismiss it. However, if you are looking to target certain niche markets and you are open to user’s potential criticism, Reddit is the best place for you. And consider this: If your competition is passing on Reddit, the market is wide open for you.

Before you make the move though, make sure you’ve thoroughly educated yourself on all things Reddit. If you need any help figuring out if Reddit works for your business, let’s talk. Good luck!

4 Ways to Improve the Performance of Your Website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is your website underperforming and if it is, what can you do about it? To help determine the performance of your website, start by establishing the following benchmarks:

  1. What is my site’s domain authority?

Do Google and the other search engines see your site?  Are your pages properly indexed and optimized?  Domain authority helps indicate how well your site performs in a search engine. This tool provides your site with a score between 0-100.   There are several online tools that will look at your site and provide you with this score. Let us know if you need help with this, and we will happily assist you with providing your site with its domain authority.

  1. Where is the traffic to my website coming from?

Google Analytics provides you a tool that will show you where the traffic is coming from.  Generally categorized as free and paid traffic, Google separates traffic by referral (coming from other sites), direct (paid traffic), organic (free search), and social (LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter).

  1. What is the net traffic to my website?

Google Analytics provides the number of visitors to your site.  Calculating the number of net visitors is the number of visitors subtracted by the back rate or bounce rate.  The back rate is the number of visitors who leave immediately after they visit the site.  The bounce rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e. sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).

  1. What is my site’s conversion rate?

Conversion rate represents the percentage of visitors who complete your desired action.  That could be filling out a form, purchasing a product, or calling a telephone number.  Simply, conversion rate is the number of conversions divided by the net number of visitors to your website.

Establishing these benchmarks is important to setting goals that will help improve the performance of your website.  And, the beauty of website performance improvement is that you can increase revenue without increasing advertising spend!

Our white paper How To Improve Your Website For More Leads and Profit is full of additional ways to turn your website into a powerful lead generator. To request your free copy, click here.

Have you had success turning your underperforming website around? If so, tell us how you did it.

10 Top Digital Marketing Best Practices

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How would you like to gain access to the top 10 techniques used by leading brands to drive quality web traffic, increase website conversion, and fill your pipeline with quality prospects? I thought you would. That’s why I put together an e-book that highlights what’s new in marketing and gives tips you can put to work now to start seeing results right away.

This e-book is a beneficial, quick overview that will assist you in your efforts to master the new world of marketing and deliver results.

Click here to request your free copy of 10 DIGITAL MARKETING BEST PRACTICES.

What are you doing that’s effectively driving web traffic and creating quality leads? Share your tips with us!

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34 Things to Make Your Next E-Mail a Success

Are you doing everything you need to do to make your next e-mail campaign a success? Are your e-mails being opened, read, and responded to? I developed a highly effective checklist of 34 tips that generate leads, build your pipeline, increase quality web traffic, and accelerate deal flow. I’ve grouped the 34 tips into three segments to help you focus your efforts. You’ll find all of this in my informational booklet 34 Strategies To Make Your Next E-mail Campaign A Success. To request your free copy, click here.

7 of the Most Effective Marketing Techniques

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Content marketing is king because it’s such an effective sales and marketing tool. If you think all your content marketing strategy needs to include is a good blog schedule, you’re wrong. And, you’re missing out on some great opportunities. Here are seven effective ways to use your content to drive results.

1. Segment Your Prospects

Now it’s easier than ever to try to cherry pick your prospects using strategic demographic micro targeting. By segmenting your target market into specific groups, you are better able to deliver highly effective, targeted content and convert the kinds of leads you want.

2. Implement The Pillar-Cluster Model

I know, the name makes it sound like it’s going to be complicated, but it’s not really. The Pillar-Cluster Model is a great way to make sure your site has good SEO. Search engines may get confused by all of the individual content pieces shared on your website. This means your content is competing against each other rather than working with each other. This Hubspot graphic illustrates the problem perfectly:

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Search engines want to see overarching themes and how your individual content pieces connect with these themes:

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To implement the Pillar-Cluster Model, start by deciding what your four or five cluster topic pillars need to be. Then create a single pillar page for each that provides a high-level overview of a topic and hyperlinks to cluster pages that address the topic’s subtopics. This signals to Google that your pillar page is an authority on the topic. An added bonus? When your pillar page ranks higher, so do your cluster pages.

3. Develop A Podcast

Online audio content is gaining in popularity and is a good lead generator. If you’re going to take the time to create a podcast, make sure it’s informative and entertaining or no one will listen to it.

4. Implement Social Media PR Campaigns

If you’re still just placing your PR on news outlet publications, you’re missing a huge audience on social media. In fact, your prospects spend more time on social media now than ever before. You need to deliver content that will perform well on both social media platforms and publications. Know the audience and provide what they want.

5.  Build Your E-Mail Subscriptions

The data tells us it takes about six to eight touch points to generate a qualified lead. By getting prospects to subscribe to your e-mails, you’re building an interested audience for your content and hopefully a list of hot prospects. Make sure what you e-mail your list of subscribers is relevant and of interest so prospects will be actively engaged and keep reading each time they hear from you.

 6. Resend Popular Posts

Take a look at your blog views and see which ones are pulling the highest. Pick a few of the best performing ones and republish them with some new information added. This helps you build on your organic traffic and conversions these posts are already generating.

7. Conduct A/B Testing

The only way you’ll know which copy, ad, design, etc. works the best to generate leads is to conduct A/B testing. My blog has a few posts about A/B testing on it if you need a refresher. In general A/B testing enables you to test two variables – like two different headlines or two different calls to action – and see which one performs better.

These seven marketing techniques are sure to help you finish the last half of 2019 strong.

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Eight Ways to Optimize Your Landing Pages to Drive Long-Term Lead Generation

SocialMediaMarketingIn marketing we often fall prey to instant markers of a campaign’s success. However, studies show that when done correctly, the content we create today may still be working to generate leads for months and years to come!

Think long-term on the content you create. It shouldn’t only address your current campaign goals. It should also address a broader message that will resonate with prospects for some time to come. You want to generate organic search traffic because it’s the strongest source for leads that are about seven-times more likely to convert to a sale. When prospects find your content via a search, you have a captive audience. Follow SEO best practices, and organic searches will help you generate leads by doing very little.

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However, no message is effective unless it can be found – even long after you’ve stopped promoting it in your e-mail campaigns, on social media, and in your calls to action. Make sure you optimize your content for search engines.  Here are eight ways you can be sure you’re building landing pages that offer long-term lead generation. I don’t go into a lot of technical detail, but anyone handling your website and lead generation should be very familiar with this information.

  1. Your Page Title Should be Short and Keyword Optimized

Your page title is considered the most important element for any on-page SEO. It is where you describe your web page so search engines find it. It is displayed at the top of your browser – usually only the first 60 characters show, so keep it short.

  1. The URL You Use for Your Landing Page Matters

Next in importance is the URL you use for your landing page because it helps share even more information with search engines about your content. Most search engines only show about 65 characters in the URL portion – and some of these will be for your domain name.

  1. Your Heading Tag Should Match Your Page

It’s important to make sure search engine visitors can figure out exactly what you’re offering on your landing page very quickly, before they lose interest and bounce back. Creating a heading that closely matches your page title helps increase your ranking and number of click throughs.

  1. Your Meta Description Must be Clear and Direct

Your meta description is where you describe what is on the page. It’s where you influence prospects to click on your search result. Make it to the point, including a summary of what they’ll see. You don’t want to lose their interest. The more clicks, the higher your Google ranking, which leads to more clicks.

  1. You Need to Optimize Your Images

Search engines can’t easily scan images, but you can still use them to help your page rank for certain keywords. Often search engines take clues about what an image contains from its file name and the alt text you provide.

  1. Test Your Landing Page for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets enhance search engine result listings and give searchers more information on your content. Google offers a free testing tool that will scan your page and let you see what it could look like in search results. For more information on rich snippets, you can read this 2018 post.

  1. Create Forms With as Few Fields as Possible

Most landing pages have forms to capture prospects’ information in exchange for content, a discount, etc. Forms serve a crucial function, but prospects don’t like filling them out – especially if they are long. If they are too long, prospects will leave your page.

  1. Design Your Landing Page So Prospects Link Back to It

To get the highest search ranking, search engines check to see if Internet users are vouching for your landing page by linking back to it from a blog post, e-mail or social media.

By implementing these eight tips, you will be able to create very effective landing pages that bump your position in search engines now and well into the future. This enables you to generate leads well beyond your launch of new campaigns.

 

 

How the Leading E-Mail Innovations Help Marketers

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email-buttonE-mail remains a prominent player for marketers to drive both revenue and engagement. As this medium has seen significant developments and dollars invested in technology, marketers are wise to keep pace and not rely on the status quo for their e-mail marketing efforts. E-mail must play a central role in your marketing.

E-mail drives data, and we marketers know that’s key. The more we can learn about our prospects and communicate with them in meaningful and ongoing ways the better it is for not only getting a sale but also for forming a trust relationship. E-mail is about so much more than just sending a message to a prospect or an existing customer. It’s what marketers do with the data gathered and the e-mail platform capabilities that drives real results.

One of the primary obstacles of using e-mail marketing that I see is a lack of real dedication or buy-in to the e-mail initiatives. Without dedicating the proper amount of time, human and financial resources to your e-mail strategy, it’s likely not to perform well, or worse, fail completely. Just as the e-mail platforms must continue to innovate in the technology they provide, we marketers must also continue to innovate in how we use e-mail to market to our prospects and customers. We must think about what our prospects want to hear, what they need to hear, and how we need to say it.

By viewing your e-mail tactics not as single deployments but rather part of a comprehensive whole, you’re beginning to set the stage for success. How can e-mail be part of your marketing whole? Each component must compliment the other as well as feed this circular marketing message – from e-mail to website to YouTube to Twitter, etc. – the message must be consistent and well orchestrated to tell a story across platforms in a compelling and cohesive way. Push the limits of how you define e-mail and how you use it. Innovate!

To provide you with a little inspiration, here are some e-mail examples I like because of their simplicity. They each do a good job communicating a clear message, offer specific and highly visible calls to action, provide a few opportunities to click for info, and stay true to their brand image.

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