The beauty of emojis is that they enable us to communicate in ways we just can’t do with words. They also allow us to make an emotional connection, no matter how fleeting. This is why marketers are increasingly implement strategic (and restrained!) use of emojis in their communications to prospects.
And studies show they are making a smart move. In a recent study by All Academic Research, participants who were sent messages with emojis scored higher on memory than those who were sent messages without emojis. This indicates emojis are an effective marketing tool. The study also went on to report that the use of emojis works to portray businesses as friendlier.
In case you weren’t sold on the use of emojis in your marketing, check out these facts:
- Emojis in a tweet can increase engagement by 4 percent
- Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of likes by 57 percent
- Emojis in a Facebook post can increase the number of comments and shares by 33 percent
There’s no reason you shouldn’t be using emojis to increase engagement. Here’s where it can get tricky. There are literally thousands of emojis to choose from, so choose wisely and use them judiciously. According to a study by HubSpot that looked at 19,617,281 HubSpot published posts across all social platforms, here are the top 10 emojis most likely to increase click-throughs:
At first glance, this is an odd selection, right? I’m sure you noticed that none of these emojis are faces, which really surprised me. This could mean it’s productive to use less popular emojis in your marketing strategy, for the novelty factor, which may be what helps drive engagement. So, pick unusual emojis that are relative to your content and use them sparingly.
There was once a time when there was a valid concern regarding the deliverability of HTML e-mails, but that is no longer the case. So if you aren’t using HTML for your marketing e-mails, you should. Here’s why.
1. HTML Drives More Leads
With HTML you can build in interactive hyperlinks and calls to action that take your content to the next level, generating more leads and sales conversions than plain text ever could.
- HTML Is Responsive
Another advantage of using HTML is the fact you can offer an unsubscribe option. This gives your prospects the opportunity to opt out of future e-mails from you, so your list is comprised of only the best, most qualified leads who want to hear from you.
HTML also gives you the huge advantage of gathering analytics, seeing who engaged and how. This enables you to track and measure audience engagement and refines your e-mail marketing strategy based on what you find out.
- HTML Design Isn’t Busy
Often marketers worry HTML e-mails will be too busy. Not true. You can make HTML e-mails just as clean as plain text e-mail but with all of the added benefits HTML offers. In fact, HTML provides the perfect balance between effectively branding your company and controlling the content message, ensuring the content is the focus of the e-mail.
- Even HTML Design Must Follow Best Practices
When using HTML, you still have to follow best practices. Keep your design clean, your copy short, and your call to action prominent. Take advantage of analytics and test subject lines and offers to see what works best to get your prospects’ attention. Remember though to only test one thing at a time or you won’t know what impacted the results you see. Most importantly, always, always use a good e-mail list!
HTML is really the only way to go when it comes to sending your marketing e-mails, so don’t be afraid to use it. You won’t regret it!
In order for any lead nurturing campaign to be successful, it must be part of a comprehensive plan. It cannot exist in a silo. It must be connected to your other lead gen programs and analytics. The beauty of e-mail campaigns is you can select exactly whom you want to send your message to. And you can help direct your recipients’ next step by sending them to your website or by offering a special download – something to engage them. Then, you can use analytics to determine each prospect’s level of interest based on their level of engagement.
You should qualify your prospects based on opens and clicks. Did they open the e-mail? Did they click through on your call to action? This is their way of responding to your e-mails, telling you if they are effective or not. So, choose your content wisely and make sure it’s relevant. Communicate about special promotions, events, offers, anything of interest to your prospects.
Another key to successful lead gen campaigns is to know your saturation point. Do you need to send weekly e-mails or does monthly work best? You want your e-mails to be a welcome sight in your prospects’ in boxes and not a nuisance. Lead nurturing is about engagement. You want to keep prospects as engaged as possible along their buying journey. You want to keep your prospects interested, show them you care, you understand their unique needs, and how your company can help.
Knowing where your prospects are in the buying process is helpful. And how they engage with your e-mails will help you determine whether they are gathering information, considering, or ready to buy.
E-mail lead gen campaigns enable you to learn more about your prospects so you can better communicate with them and nurture them throughout their buying journey. This helps you provide the right content at the right time, moving them down the funnel to a purchasing decision.
E-mail marketing is so effective it’s easy to begin to think of it as simply an engine that drives your sales results. The problem with this thinking is that it removes the human element from the equation. And, the success of e-mail campaigns relies on the human element. Your e-mail must be a personal experience for your prospects. Here are four questions you need to answer to get you headed in the right direction to make your prospects’ e-mail experience better.
- Why did your prospects sign up to receive your e-mails?
You have to know the answers to this so you can make sure you meet those objectives. Then you begin the work of striking a comfortable balance between pleasing your prospects and driving revenue.
When you know why your prospects want to hear from you, you can create very strategic content so it’s not necessary to bombard your prospects with too many e-mails, which will only work to turn them off on your brand. Predictive modeling can help you further segment your prospects to ensure a better e-mail experience for them.
- How often do you think about your prospects when you develop your e-mail campaigns?
We’re all a little guilty of it. We fall into the trap of thinking of e-mail simply as a tool for driving leads. We sometimes forget that there are living prospects on the receiving end of our e-mails. And, e-mail is a great medium to really address your prospects’ different needs and wants, developing content that speaks to them. Always keep the human element in mind when executing your e-mail campaigns.
- Is your content hitting the right note?
I believe e-mail is a great way to have a personal conversation with your prospects. So, even when you’re announcing a special sale, a new product launch – whatever – you need to make sure you are keeping it personal for your prospects. Tell them why it should matter to them. This thinking should start at the subject line with a message that has meaning and relevance to the prospects receiving the e-mail.
Prospects only view your e-mails for a few seconds. To have impact, your e-mails must be “scanable” to easily determine value. Best practices really apply here. Often the urge is to overdesign e-mails, but you do so to your peril. Keep in mind that most prospects view your e-mail on a mobile phone. Keep reminding yourself of that when you’re tempted to keep adding to the design.
- Is how you’re saying what you’re saying making a connection?
It’s not only important what you say but also how you say it. The tone of your e-mail matters. The tone should be in line with your brand and reinforce how you want prospects to view your brand. There is a tendency to forget this when creating content for e-mail.
Your e-mails should also set a good customer service tone. Give prospects links to helpful or pertinent information. Don’t make them hunt for it.
E-mail is a personal medium that works wonders to drive leads and sales. It has a high ROI. Make sure you are using it to its fullest potential.
I came across this infographic by film editing simplifiers Filmora that lists nine trends we marketers should keep an eye on in 2018. A few that got my attention:
- Video, especially livestreaming, is watched three times longer than regular videos.
- 30% of our chat conversation will be with chatbots in 2018.
- Increased brand participation in “dark social” or platforms not publicly visible, like the messaging apps WhatsApp, Messenger, and WeChat.
To see all nine trends to watch for in 2018, here’s the infographic.
If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ve likely discovered that marketers like us are trying to make ads look less like traditional ads. Now, why would we be doing this? Because we know our ads will be far more effective if they look more like content!
Here are some popular (and effective) ways to make your advertising look more like your editorial content.
Ads that purposely look like your other content are very effective. Prospects are likely to click on it because they think it’s editorial and not an ad. There’s a fine line here though. No one likes to feel tricked. And, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has weighed in on this stating, “advertisements and promotional messages that promote the benefits and attributes of goods and services should be identifiable as advertising to consumers.” So, while this is a very effective tactic, use it wisely.
It likely comes as no surprise that celebrity endorsements are hugely effective. And today you don’t have to be famous in the traditional sense to be an influencer. Influencers are also people who have created a following entirely through their online activity.
There once was a time when influencers weren’t required to make it known that they were getting compensated to promote a brand. Not so anymore. The FTC issued guidelines (and threatened penalties) that require upfront disclosure. So, while using influencers is smart, do so properly.
Sponsored Editorial Content
Sponsored editorial content can be very effective if not the most powerful of all content related advertising. Facebook and LinkedIn, for example, provide the perfect platform to not only place sponsored content but also micro-target. Using the micro-targeting tools provided by Facebook and LinkedIn will place your sponsored content on the targeted audiences page – a winning strategy if the content is written to meet the needs of the intended audience.
Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms are following the trend, and they too have made it harder for prospects to determine what is an ad and what is editorial. Each platform uses a faint “sponsored” or “promoted” disclaimer to meet FTC requirements. Even Google has gradually blurred the line between paid ads and organic ads – no longer flagging ads with a large “ad” box as it did in its early inception.
The point isn’t that we want to trick prospects. The point is that we want to deliver ads they actually want to read. It just so happens the more an ad looks like editorial, the more likely a prospect is to click on it. And, engagement is what we are going for. So, try to make your ads look more like your editorial content (legally and ethically) and you should start seeing higher ad engagement and more sales.
A new year is almost upon us. That means it’s time to start thinking about 2018 and how we are going to inject new life into our marketing initiatives. With this in mind, here are four ways content is going to be changing in 2018.
- Create Better and More Consistent Content
The focus will be less on quantity and more on quality. That said, prospects want to see a consistent flow of content from you. They should be able to determine with a great deal of accuracy when they will receive the next video, e-mail, podcast or blog post from you.
- Don’t Try to be All Things to All Prospects
With so many social platforms, it’s tempting to try to be on all of them. The problem is that is a lot of work to do it well, and you would be better served picking a few and focusing on making your use of those platforms the best they can be. So, while cross-channel integration is still necessary, I’m suggesting you be highly selective. Use your analytics and see which social platforms pull the highest for you. Just because one platform is hot at the moment doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. No matter which options you choose, make sure you have content that is unique to each platform.
- Video Will Only Increase in Popularity and Effectiveness
If you’re not on the video bandwagon, it’s really time you get on it. Video works so well, its use is only continuing to grow. That’s because it’s so engaging. Video captures attention like no other medium. And, when prospects are watching, they are receiving your message, and they are more likely to engage, which brings them closer to a sale.
Don’t worry if you don’t have a big production budget or video crew. You can shoot pretty good short videos on your cell phone. Your main focus needs to be on the content of the video. Keep it simple and recognize that you’re most likely not dealing with professional actors. Have your talent speak from the heart.
- SEO is Back
If you took a break from SEO, you’re going to want to put this back on your radar. While social media platforms work great to reach prospects, you don’t own those platforms. You own your website and blog, so you should invest the time to make sure your SEO is pulling hard for you. SEO has to be viewed as a long-term commitment and investment. However, it will pay dividends for years and make you happy you did it. A blog post that is well optimized and high ranking can drive quality traffic to your website for months and years after it has been posted. Having a lot of relevant content on your website drives leads, increases your keyword ranking, and drives traffic to your site.
Use the remaining time in 2017 to develop your marketing plan for 2018, keeping these four content trends in mind.
We all know that content is king. It’s the driving force behind attracting customers and closing the deal. The following seven tips should help you get the highest ROI from your content marketing. Choose the ones that work best for you.
- Approach Content Like It’s Tactical Warfare
If you’re going to win the marketing war, you have to have a strategy that has multiple components that reach your prospects on different platforms and specialized ways. Even more importantly, you have to make sure you publish new, relevant content regularly to boost your SEO. And, while you’re at it, refresh your old content so it appears new. Your prospects will like this and so will search engines.
- Make Content Laser Focused
You can’t be all things to all people, but by using data analytics, you can get pretty darn close. See what your prospects’ actions are telling you about what they want from you – then deliver it to them with content that speaks to their desires or that answers frequently asked questions. An added advantage of this approach is that it boosts your key word search results.
- Develop Content That has Value
If you want prospects to give you their information, you have to give them something in return. And, it needs to be something they want and can use. This encourages paid ad clickthroughs, increasing the number of eyeballs that see your content. Consider offering exclusive content for social followers or build a highly targeted Facebook group for prospects that offers content your data has indicated will be useful to them. Work with sales to find out common objections and address those in your content.
- Disseminate Content Far and Wide
Use your website and other social channels strategically to get your content to your prospects where they are.
- Actually Look at Your Data
I know it takes time, but if you actually look at your data, it tells you quite a bit about what’s working and what isn’t. You can use your data to determine where you have content gaps and then work to fill them.
- Build Targeted E-mail List Segments
The data you gather from engagement in your content pieces can be use to create an e-mail list group that is highly targeted and features specific conversion pieces.
- Advertise Special Content Pieces
If you have created an exceptional content piece – like a white paper, case study, or e-book – advertise it to prospects. Ask them to request it from you, which is a much easier way to get the process to “yes” going.
These seven tips are pretty comprehensive. Don’t worry if you’re not doing all of them all of the time. The point is to have them on your radar and to implement as many of them as works for your business. Good luck!
The 2017 Franchise Leadership Development Conference was held October 11-13 in Atlanta, Georgia. Each year, Franchise Update Media works with a team of highly respected researchers to personally evaluate various participating franchise sales organizations and awards franchise winners in several categories at this well-attended event.
Walking away with the Star Award for Best Social Media Presence is Capriotti’s!
“I want to thank everyone on the Producers team for their hard work over the past year. You are great partners and do such an amazing job each week promoting our brand on social media platforms and creating effective content. We could not have won this award without your team.” Bruce Evans, Capriottis – VP of Franchise Development