Tag Archive: digital marketing

  1. Picture This: The Big Benefits of Original Imagery and Design Over Stock Photos

    It may seem unnecessary—maybe even wasteful—but budgeting for custom photography and design is money well spent for your content and brand. It creates a level of credibility and authenticity with your audience. Simply stated, it’s been proven that people respond better to original images.

    Don’t get me wrong, though. Stock photos are very purposeful if you have budget or time constraints. But, it can be pretty easy to recognize stock in print and digital—images can look very polished, almost too professional and too generic in subject matter. They can also be easily recognized as stock because everyone else on the planet has access to that very same image. You might have seen the same model on an insurance billboard, an attorney’s print ad and your chiropractor’s website. Even worse, some stock photos look cheap and generic. And don’t get me started on the ever-present group photos of business professionals.

     

    stock photo

    A stock photo staple

    Mike Dobies said it best: “When is the last time you’ve seen a teenage Asian girl, a hipster bearded twenty-something, a middle-aged professional Black woman, and a savvy-suited elder businessman all in a conference room together? Few offices represent 100% of America’s melting pot.”

    If you ask any designer or art director how many hours they have spent searching through stock photos for that perfect shot, they will probably roll their eyes and tell you how it’s shaved years off of their life. They’re being paid to spend hours searching for the perfect image—one that they’ll probably have to spend time reworking later just to make it fit in a layout. Yes, Photoshop is a powerful tool that can create magic when used by the right hands. But, sometimes the end result still doesn’t hit the mark.

    For example, when you say, “Let’s take this model and put her into this environment,” the altered image may not look quite like you envisioned regardless of how much time was spent editing. So, now you have invested time and money with nothing to show for it. (And, it’s important to note that the high-end, more unique stock images aren’t cheap, to begin with.)

    The beauty of hiring a photographer to capture your own original images is that you avoid the “Frankenstein” approach (in other words: patching pieces and parts together to see if they work). When a design is created with custom imagery, the concept feels more complete because every element of it was intentional. And when art directors and photographers work together, that’s when the magic happens: Your brand evolves into a cohesive, visual experience that takes the viewer on a journey.

    When it comes to your brand, your first impression is critical. So, take a second thought before using your own DIY designs, or hiring the family member who took a design class at the local community college. Hire a professional. Whether it’s photography or graphics, using custom imagery can increase engagement and conversions, as well as boost your overall brand experience. And trust us–that that extra time and attention to detail is priceless.

  2. Top 3 Website Trends to Watch For in 2019

    2019 Top Website Trends

    There’s no mistaking that we’re facing a period of transition in all things digital. Artificial intelligence, visual search, and practically anything with the word “smart” in front of it is getting all of the attention right now, and rightfully so–it’s exciting. In fact, just the other day, I kept saying “Alexis” when I meant to say “Siri” and I just couldn’t believe I live in a time where I am already getting my servant robot names mixed up.

    While companies are starting to get serious about how machine learning can solve business challenges, increase sales growth and give them a competitive edge, it makes me wonder what this all means for websites.

    I’m still a big believer in the importance of having a great website and stand firm in the belief a poor user experience could diminish brand perception and be a make or break factor when converting site visitors into paying customers. So, let’s take a look at what’s in store for websites with three of the top trends to watch out for in 2019.

    1. Chatbots. Ok, so I’ve already contradicted myself here a bit by blurring the lines. A “chatbot” is artificial intelligence (A.I.) software that can simulate a conversation (or a chat) with a user in natural, conversational language. In short, it returns a predefined instant response based on input from a user. Why are they so important? Chatbots streamline interactions between people and services, enhancing and personalizing the user experience. At the same time, they offer companies new opportunities to improve the customer engagement process and even improve a company’s operational efficiency by reducing the typical cost of customer service.

    Chatbots certainly aren’t new–ever since Facebook invited developers to start making bots via its Messenger App, we’ve seen the number of bots significantly grow. Companies like Sephora, Whole Foods, and National Geographic have implemented them into their marketing with impressive results. Today, chatting with bots has become second nature, but as advancements in machine learning continue to drive forward, expect to see smarter chatbots on websites really take off this year.

    2. Site Speed. Humans are flighty and impatient, and attention spans are dwindling by the day. If you have ever asked yourself how much time you get to make a good first impression with a potential customer online, the answer is less than three seconds. That’s right, that’s all you get! That’s about the same time spent reading a billboard while driving down a road. In studies done by Akamai and Dynatrace, 50% of users expect that when they click on a site, it should load in two seconds or less. They will abandon a site if it takes three or more seconds to load.* A slow site not only impacts the time visitors will spend on your site, but it could also impact your organic search rankings as well. In fact, Google has begun prioritizing rankings for sites that load faster than others, meaning site speed and SEO go hand-in-hand.

    What does this all mean? Essentially, your web design process needs to take speed into serious consideration. Gigantic photos, uncompressed videos, and bloated Javascript are over. This doesn’t mean that large pictures and videos are gone from the web, but they need to be incorporated in such a way that doesn’t slow down loading time. You may want to even consider what is called “flat design,” a technique that uses contrasting bright colors and illustration, with simple imagery and sans serif fonts, for a quick-loading, data-light user experience.

    3. Accessibility. This one is less of a trend and more of an absolute requirement in 2019. The web is an important resource in all our lives so it’s important to make sure it provides equal experience and opportunity, regardless of how it is being accessed. Over the past year, government organizations have worked to make their websites accessible, and now it’s time for everyone else to get on board. Companies that aren’t compliant are starting to receive lawsuits for violating the Americans With Disabilities Act. In fact, companies such as Glossier, AllSaints, and Beecher’s Cheese were all hit with lawsuits in 2018.**

    So, get your website components up-to-code by following common accessibility guidelines like WCAG 2.1 and WAI-ARIA. While the laws are still murky outside of government organizations, it’s just not worth the risk and your audiences will be thankful.

    Though we may not be welcomed home by Rosie the Robot just quite yet, advancements in all areas of the digital landscape are advancing at a breakneck rate. Websites are no different, from chatbots to site speed and a renewed focus on accessibility for all users. At its core, these trends boil down to a key tenet of web design that brands would do well to never forget: user experience is critical to your company’s success on the web.

    Sources:
    *TheeDigital’s 2019 Web Design Trends

    **Forum One’s 2019 Design Trends for Nonprofits

  3. Microcopy: How Small Phrases Can Have a Big Impact on UX

    microcopy

    Buy Now! Confirm Purchase! Subscribe! At this point, anyone who’s joined an online newsletter, bought a book off of Amazon or secured airline tickets on Expedia has seen these short call-to-action phrases that plead for them to seal the deal. That is called microcopy and it may be short in length, but it is intrinsic to your site’s user experience (UX) and can highly influence whether potential customers buy your product or service.

    The purpose of microcopy is to inspire user action. Whether that action is to add a product to a digital cart, subscribe to a weekly comedy podcast or submit credit card information to begin a free trial of Netflix, there is always a button begging to be clicked.

    Where the strategy comes in is the endless variable that is human psychology. In around three words or less, how can I convince you that clicking this button is worth your time, that entering a search term in my marketplace will yield the results you need, or that tapping “buy” on a checkout page will secure your purchase? Well, there are quite a few important factors to consider.

    Following an extremely helpful guide by Udit Gupta for UX Design, we have compiled and simplified three primary thoughts you should have before carefully crafting your microcopy.

    • Anxiety is the Enemy: As someone with admittedly high levels of anxiety in his personal life, the last thing I want is a case of the nervous sweats before I hit “confirm purchase” at checkout. To battle that stress, effective microcopy will provide supplementary information that puts users’ minds at ease. For instance, maybe an “Add to Cart” button will be paired with microcopy underneath explaining “You will not be charged until checkout.” A little clarity and reassurance go a long way. 
    • Calm the Shock: Would you give your credit card info to a stranger? Of course not. This is the challenge many companies encounter when asking for sensitive information from potential new customers. Explaining exactly why this information is needed is vitally important. Why do I have to enter my phone number in checkout? Why do you need my credit card information when signing up for a free trial? If you can provide some answers, you can calm the shock and knee-jerk “no way” response many people will have to these questions. For example, being upfront about a subscription fee if the user doesn’t unsub before the end of the trial period is vital to not only being ethical but gaining trust.  
    • Ask it Nicely: Though the question itself is important, there’s a lot of power in how you ask it. Microcopy is brief by nature, but that is no excuse for it to be curt or cold. Instead of “Rate Us!”, why not try “How Was Your Experience?” Little touches like this are invaluable to improving user experience and creating lifelong fans (and return customers).

    Microcopy in Action

    What good is advice if we don’t practice what we preach, right? With that in mind, check out how we incorporated some key principles of effective microcopy into our own website to attract new clients and newsletter subscribers.

    microcopy

    1. We spell out our intentions: Findsome & Winmore wants to start a dialogue with you in order to see if we can be of service and potentially begin a partnership.
    2. We ask nicely: Instead of coldly saying “Contact us” or “Inquire for more information,” we ask visitors to “Tell us where you’d like to go…” (which plays off of our exploration-themed branding and is far more welcoming).
    3. We explain what you’re getting: Instead of just saying “Subscribe to our newsletter,” we go into just enough detail to entice and explain what people can expect from us, namely, marketing tips and advice.

    At its core, good microcopy delivers by putting users at ease, explaining what they’re getting into by clicking and making requests nicely. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to insert more personality into your messaging. Though it may be tempting to go with a less-is-more approach, I implore you to take a second to strategize before slapping “BUY NOW” on that digital button and calling it a day. You may not have much room to work with, but with a little creative thinking, you can really maximize your limited word count and make your user experience that much better.

  4. How Long Should Your Website Last?

    website redesign

     

    Change – it’s often referred to as the only constant in life. While I don’t claim to be a philosopher, I can speak to the validity of this concept when it comes to the longevity of websites. Many businesses are under the unfortunate misconception that once a website is complete, they can toss up their hands in victory, pop the champagne and never concern themselves with their website again. That is, until it becomes abundantly clear that a website redesign and/or redevelopment is not only recommended but a requirement to maintain a proper digital connection with customers and prospects.

    How do you know when the time is right? Especially if you are not a designer or a programmer. For many, it is difficult to know what looks desperately outdated and what appears to be fresh and new on the web. It is even more difficult for the layman to understand the complexities of back-end code that acts as the wizard to your website’s Oz, pulling the levers behind the curtain.

    That said, reasons to update may vary, but a few key warning signs let you know when the time is right for a fresh take on your brand’s digital home.

    Top Signs It May Be Time for a Website Redesign

    Time:  The simplest metric when deciding on the right time to redesign is, well, time. How long ago was your site built? Much like anything in the digital realm, the technology running your site is constantly being updated to be more secure and more efficient. Add to that the ever-changing design trends and your site can begin to demonstrate warning signs for a redesign in as few as three years.

    Engagement:  The proof is in the pudding, and if your site is no longer getting the results you intended, it may be time to look to a website redesign. After some in-depth analytics research, you can approach a redesign understanding exactly why your current site has fallen flat with your audience and what must change.

    To understand engagement, you must also have a clear definition of your brand’s goals and mission. If these have changed over time, your website must change as well to realign with the new focus and engage from a new angle.

    Usability: Tied very closely to engagement, usability and user experience are extremely important in order to achieve desired results. Your website should prioritize ease-of-use above nearly all else. After all, how frustrated would you be if it seemed like a website was actively fighting against you? If your visitors can’t get to what they want (and fast) they leave and find the information, service, or product elsewhere.

    An incredibly important aspect of a site’s usability is its responsiveness. Do you own a smartphone? How about a tablet? And a laptop? All of these devices vary in display size and interaction methods (touchscreen vs mouse and keyboard). If your site is only designed to be used on a laptop or desktop but your audience prefers to visit it on their iPhones, you could be in trouble. Plus, in order to provide the best search results, Google has cracked down on how non-mobile-friendly websites are treated in search results. If you have to pinch and zoom to view your site on your phone, Google is penalizing your site in favor of mobile-friendly sites.

    One method of determining your site’s usability is through what’s known as user experience testing (or UX testing). This is an extremely helpful method of testing just how intuitive your site’s layout and functionality are, which could help you decide the extent of redesign needed on your site.

    Tech: Without getting into code talk (you’re welcome), what’s running your website is just as important as it’s user-friendly facade. Over time, your site’s code can become outdated, leading to crashing pages, link issues and general bugs that can hinder user experience and page loading speed. Additionally, your site may have duplicate content, missing or inadequate meta descriptions, broken internal or external links, and missing ALT titles and title text on images. All of this adds up to a site that runs more poorly with every passing technological update.

    Though not technically a “tech” issue, per se, search engine optimization (SEO) can play a substantial role in the success or failure of your site. If your site and its content were not crafted with SEO in mind, you may struggle to be found.

    Branding: Has your company completed a brand refresh? Even if your target audience remains largely the same, a website redesign is necessary to maintain the brand consistency we always strive for as marketers. You may think an old logo on your site after a brand refresh is a minor detail, but the devil is in those details and every single change matters.

    We understand the trepidation that comes with considering a website redesign. You worked hard, invested the time and money and maybe even grew attached to your site’s look and feel. But as I stated earlier, the only constant in life, and in websites, is change. You can either plan accordingly or see your brand’s online presence suffer for it.

    That’s not to say that a website redesign is always the solution. There may be smaller, iterative changes that can be done, such as refactoring the code, homepage redesigns, content, SEO updates and more. Be sure you review all of your options and compare the pros and cons before you engage in a website redesign.

    You can be sure your website isn’t collecting digital dust cobwebs that can stifle your online presence by reviewing the age of your site, investigating visitor engagement, ensuring usability is at the forefront of your design, confirming the code is up to date, and maintaining brand updates for consistency.

  5. The Good News | Sept.-Nov. 2018

    {Agency News with Lift!}


    Client Corner

     

    New Brand Launch for Amusement Fabrication Group, The Companies of Nassal

    Creating truly immersive experiences for theme parks and exhibits around the globe, this multi-armed company now has branding that unifies each of its group with an ultra-clean design and new, user-friendly website. See our new multi-company brand strategy and identity at work, which has also been utilized in all collateral and marketing materials.

    Explore the New Look and Feel for The Companies of Nassal


    A Hole-in-One Campaign for the Arnold Palmer Invitational

    To kick-off ticket sales for the 2019 Arnold Palmer Invitational, our team designed the warm and inviting “Get Closer” campaign. Campaign elements included an email announcement, ticket designs, hospitality badges and holiday graphics–and we’re just getting started. Creative will ramp up even more in the upcoming year.

    Keep Up-To-Date on the Invitational


     

    Hi-Tide’s New Catalog a Print Piece Worthy of Praise

    The nationally respected boat lift manufacturer now has a new product guide that features up-to-date information and visuals of their most popular products. Working alongside Hi-Tide’s website, this print piece helps inform consumers who are thinking about new, safer options for storing their vessels. We were proud to have designed and copy edited this piece, which is set to act as an educational and sales tool for years to come.

    Digitally Thumb Through the Product Guide


    AmeriFactors Acquires Game-Winning Endorsement Campaign with College Football Legend, Steve Spurrier

    The beloved “Old Ball Coach” provided quite the endorsement via a radio, TV and digital campaign for trusted accounts receivable financing company, AmeriFactors. Just in time for football season, as well as preceding Coach Spurrier’s run as head coach for the new Alliance of American Football team, the Orlando Apollos, this endorsement was expertly timed by our creative team.

    See the Commercial Our Team was Proud to Write and Produce


    What’s New at Findsome & Winmore?

    Party Planning in Full Effect for New Office Launch

    We’ve taken flight and touched down in a new, Winter Park office that provides room to grow and inspiration around every corner. But it isn’t official until we have a party. To appropriately mark the milestone of moving into our own office space, we are hosting friends and family to raise a glass to new adventures and a new home for our lofty ideas. Cheers!


    New Faces Join the Findsome Fold

    A whopping four new talents joined our ranks with the welcome addition of Jessica Hale, digital marketing manager, Jazmyn Reed, associate PR manager, Chris “Mac” McEntee, director of client services, and Ashley Willsey, art director. Jessica brings with her keen knowledge of digital marketing, while Jazmyn joins us with years of real-world experience in communications strategies. Mac, a knowledgeable digital marketing master with 15+ years of experience, and Ashley, an award-winning creative talent with deep roots in the theatre industry, round out the newest faces of our dream team. Welcome to the Findsome family!


     

    Showing Our True Colors

    To brighten up our spiffy new office even more, we wanted the Findsome & Winmore team to be able to add a creative and personal touch to our workspace. Meet the clipboard collage wall. With a new theme every month (this one was “favorite color”), we will each clip a personalized pic that showcases our unique, diverse and creative team.


    A Ruff Day in the Office

    As a decidedly dog-friendly office, we love inviting some of our favorite four-legged friends to help us with important tasks such as dedicated tail wagging and treat eating. Rest assured, these fur babies are definitely all good boys and girls.


    Clients We Welcomed

    Mibo USA

    Kid-sized, flimsy aluminum scooters, these are decidedly not. This company is poised to revolutionize the way we get around, bringing high-quality footbikes crafted in the Czech Republic and designed as a bicycle alternative sturdy enough for kids and adults of all sizes.

    Read More

     


    Watson Sloane Johnson PLLC

    With a specialty in helping entrepreneurs via a number of top-tier business, corporate, real estate, international and tax-related legal services, Watson Sloane Johnson PLLC is a well-respected, boutique business law firm with big firm experience and small firm values.

    Read More


     

    Harvest Bible Chapel Winter Garden

    A contemporary church plant with a focused and devoted mission of faith and worship, the Harvest Bible Chapel Winter Garden provides a like-minded community of faithful and provides focused ministries, including small groups, men, women, students, kids, worship and soul care.

    Read More

     


    IV Lounge

    As a “the next generation spa,” IV Lounge provides a full suite of wellness services, including IV drips, IM shots, vaginal rejuvenation and the new, revolutionary stress-relieving technology, the ORRB.

    Read More


     

    Something We Love

    Dani, the Yes-Woman

    “I received an exciting and life-changing surprise during my recent trip to Punta Cana. On October 12, my boyfriend got down on one knee on the beach and asked me to marry him–I said yes!”

    Daniella Monteiro, digital marketing manager, on her recent surprise engagement while on vacation in the Dominican Republic’s picturesque Punta Cana.

     

  6. Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

    Marketing on Facebook continues to evolve before our eyes. With the most recent and seemingly ongoing algorithm changes, agencies and marketers are being forced to roll with the proverbial punches as they navigate the uncertain waters of drafting paid and organic content strategy plans and tactics for each new quarter. Businesses are constantly being challenged to increase followers, foster engagement, (ultimately) generate leads, and stay competitive and relevant amongst the changes that Facebook continues to throw our way. All this in an attempt to justify ROI and ensure that the platform is benefiting the business.

    So, what does it take to succeed on Facebook and see results from tireless efforts and the countless (billable) hours of content development and paid ad spends? Starting with a solid foundation and getting back to basics can help answer this question. Throughout the year we’ll be identifying best practices on each platform to assist in your marketing approach to help put (or keep) your strategy on the right track.

    But first, let’s dive into the top five practices your business needs to master in order to get the most out of Facebook marketing.

    Facebook Best Practices

    • Know Your Target Audience: Utilize Facebook insights or a third-party social media management app to get to know your audience demographic inside and out. Doing so will help you focus on developing content and advertising for those who are most likely to engage with and benefit from your brand.
    • Keep It Short and Sweet: Keeping your audience’s attention is critical. When developing content for Facebook, you want to keep in mind that your sole purpose is to educate, inform and entertain your audience about your brand with the objective of increased brand engagement or conversions. While the Facebook character limit caps out at 500, sources suggest maintaining characters at 100 or less. Let the visuals do the talking through dynamic images and videos. Also, remember to keep the hashtags at bay.
    • Be Engaging: This holds true for both the type of content that you post and when responding to your customers. Asking open-ended questions, posting interesting and fun live videos related to trending topics–these are the cornerstones of content tactics on the platform as they exist today. Being social on social media and communicating with your audience is what develops trust and loyalty, inviting referrals and new customers to buy into who you are as a brand and what you can do for them.
    • Get Out of Your Comfort Zone: Taking chances on social is an approach countless brands are making to differentiate themselves from the competition and garner interest and intrigue. Utilizing the tools that boost organic engagement (Facebook Live, anyone?) will put your brand and spokespeople on center stage to reach your audience in the moment with live chats and behind-the-scenes moments exclusive to your brand. Giving users a sneak peek into what you’re all about humanzies their experience and interaction with your brand.
    • Pay to Play: Even with the recent changes to the algorithm, paid advertising on Facebook continues to be one of, if not the most, beneficial and measurable forms of digital advertising. With over two billion users, the opportunity to develop brand loyalty and awareness and eventually acquire new customers and conversions is staggering.

    Knowing your audience, keeping your messaging concise, engaging your fans, experimenting with live streaming, and dabbling in the Facebook Ads platform are all perfect ways to leverage the power of this social media behemoth. Even through the recent controversies over suspicious data collection practices, Facebook will continue to be a valuable resource well worth leveraging for years to come. With these best practices in mind, your business can craft content that breaks through the marketing filter and reaches fans on a more personal level than ever before.

  7. Findsome & Winmore Announces Plans to Occupy and Remodel 8,000 Square-Foot Building in Winter Park

    Orlando digital marketing firm enlists help of local clients to relocate headquarters ahead of anticipated agency growth

     

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients find and win new customers, announces today plans to relocate its headquarters to an 8,000 square-foot, full building located at 1550 South Lakemont Avenue in Winter Park. This announcement comes as the company prepares for continued strategic growth in 2018 and beyond.

    In searching for and finalizing the purchase of its new space, Findsome & Winmore enlisted the help of clients Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital, and Sloane & Johnson. Additionally, Baker Barrios Architects, another Findsome & Winmore client, will oversee the remodeling of the building.

    “We have always considered ourselves to be an extension of our clients’ teams, so involving them in the process of finding our new home was very special for us, ” said Matt Certo, CEO and principal at Findsome & Winmore. “With their assistance, we have found a space that will not only allow us to grow our agency significantly over the next 18 months, but will also provide our team members with a creative, interactive environment they can thrive in. We thank Foundry Commercial, Fountainhead Commercial Capital and Baker Barrios Architects for their continued, invaluable insight as we embark on this journey.”

    Findsome & Winmore’s decision to relocate its headquarters comes just two years after the company expanded its current office space, increasing office capacity from approximately 15 people to 25 people. Now, the company is moving to a building that will sustain its steady growth trajectory while permitting extra room for a kitchen, coffee bar, multiple meeting spaces and more.

    In 2017 alone, Findsome & Winmore’s growth involved the onboarding of multiple new clients, including Virgin Produced, Tijuana Flats, Children’s Home Society, onePULSE Foundation, Park Square Homes, and more.

    Following a five-month construction period, the Findsome & Winmore team will relocate to its new office in May 2018.

  8. Findsome & Winmore Continues Momentum In Third Quarter of 2017

    Findsome & Winmore, the classic digital marketing agency that helps clients “find and win” new customers, completed a successful third quarter with the addition of new employees and new projects for clients. The company, which is currently in its fourth quarter, announced today the addition of a new client within the real estate industry and the completion of two client rebrands.

    Park Square Homes, a residential real estate company, enlisted Findsome & Winmore for various services including public relations, website maintenance, and digital marketing. Additionally, the agency completed rebrands for Bourne Financial Group, a real estate private equity company, Spectrum Global, a telecommunications firm, and Tews, an employment agency. Both Tews and Bourne Financial Group also hired Findsome & Winmore to create their respective company websites.

    “We are pleased to know that our clients continue to put their trust in Findsome & Winmore in their digital marketing endeavors,” said Matt Certo, chief executive officer of Findsome & Winmore. “We had a very solid third quarter and are looking forward to ending 2017 on a high note, with additional clients and new projects. As we move through our fourth quarter, we anticipate helping even more clients find and win new customers.”

    Findsome & Winmore also added three new employees to its growing team with backgrounds in creativity, marketing and public relations. Moreover, the company continued to expand its content presence through its email marketing series, entitled “Marketing Tip Monday,” providing subscribers with tips on an array of business growth topics, http://www.marketingtipmonday.com

  9. The Roll Out of Twitter’s Increased Character Limit

     

    Soon, we could all be saying goodbye to the days of reading and re-reading our would-be tweet to find out what words are actually necessary to convey our important thought. In a surprise update, Twitter has announced it will begin to roll out a 280 character limit to some users, doubling the original 140 character limit.

    The micro-blogging platform provided some pretty sound reasoning for the update, namely, equality across languages. Users who tweet in Japanese, Korean and Chinese are able to convey more information using fewer characters. In other words, they can say twice as much while using half the characters as users who tweet in most other languages. According to Twitter, Japanese users hit the character limit only about .4% of the time while 9% of tweets in English use all 140 characters.

    How does this change the way we use the platform?

    Twitter will always be about brevity, but the 140-character limit was conceived at a time when flip phones and SMS messaging reigned. As society has moved on to smartphones and data plans, the platform has been hesitant to adapt, slowing user growth, and scaring away some investors.

    This shift to an increased character limit will hopefully invigorate user growth on the platform, leading to more meaningful and engaging conversations between users.

    The formula is simple:

    This increase is especially helpful for brands that routinely feel the pain of links depleting their already scarce character count within tweets. While links will still count toward the character limit, an increase from 140 to 280 characters leaves more room for brands to tweet without skimping on their message or leaving out an important link.

    So this sample tweet about our client:

    We are loving all of our new apparel options. Are you? Shop the collection and show the world that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    No longer has to be this:

    We are ❤️ all of our new ?? options. Are you? Shop the collection & show the ?  that #WeWillNotLetHateWin http://bit.ly/2r9qft0

    Social media is a constantly updating medium, so, only time will tell if this change becomes the official standard, and for how long. For my money, the promise of major benefits and ease of use for countless users around the world just might make Twitter’s increased character limit a big winner by allowing people and brands more “real estate” to get their messages across. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping a close eye on whether this change is worth a “like.”

  10. Email Design 101: Tips for Better Email Marketing

    email design

     

    We’ve all been there. You go to check your email and BAM, that eyesore of an email newsletter comes through and you immediately want to unsubscribe from ever receiving it again.  

    No one likes to read a lousy, long email, so how can you prevent yours from being categorized as one? We’ll walk through the steps to ensure that you are on top of your email design game so that you can send something to your audience that is worthwhile and engaging.

    Why is Email Design Important and How Can It Play a Factor in My Overall Results?

    If your email design isn’t easy to follow, chances are, your audience will quickly “x” out and possibly unsubscribe from your emails completely. Your email design should help navigate users to main call-to-action (CTA) areas of your email. Ask yourself, “What are the most important parts of my email and how do I attract users to these specific buttons or articles?” When you address these questions in your email design, you’re promoting areas of clickability, which help your overall click-through ratings. Another item that is often forgotten is linking your imagery and headers. You wouldn’t believe the number of areas where your users will click. It’s important to capitalize on this in order to make your email as engaging as possible. This practice also prevents users from being able to download your imagery.

    Check out this feature example showing the number of clicks (green bubbles) our newsletter, HOT AIR, received on its June 2017 issue. Users clicked on every available link, especially imagery.

    email design

    Design for Your Audience, Not (Necessarily) You

    Understanding your audience and clientele will help determine what works and what doesn’t work. Not everyone wants to read pages of your company updates and read about Suzy Q’s birthday (sorry Suzy). Think about what they’re looking for and design for that. Keep your content quick, easy, and on point. Information that is highly visual, easy to read, and of interest to the user are emails that tend to perform very well.  

    Beyond design, emails that produce positive results are ones in which the user knows what they’re signing up for and can expect the type of information they receive.

    What We Can Learn from Recent Email Design Trends

    • The use of GIFs

    With our current HOT AIR newsletter, we’ve incorporated a moving hot air balloon to provide playfulness and visual appeal to our newsletter logo:

    email design

    We’ve even changed it to incorporate the holidays:

    email design

    Nike does a great job of employing this tactic into their emails by taking snippets of their video content and turning them into GIFs. The one shown below was created to inspire Crossfitters to buy their equipment:

    • Clean design:

    Mineral Emporium: 

    email design

    • Using color & large imagery

    Handy:

    email design

    Elements of Creating a Clean Email Design

    Have clear CTAs. Buttons that are descriptive and visually clear:

    email design

     

    Keep your content brief and to the point. If you provide all of your answers in your email, then why would anyone click for more information? Keep in mind, your objective is to have users engage. Give them just enough to interest them in hearing more about what you’re discussing:

    email design

     

    Providing imagery will keep users intrigued.  Full-width imagery is a trend for 2017 and 2018:

    email design

     

    The result? It could look something like this clean and intriguing design:

    email design

    Email Design Done Better

    If an email is not aesthetically pleasing or not easy to read, the likelihood of having a good open rate or click through rate will be slim. In addition, you may have users opt-out of your audience list. Email, after 30 years, continues to be the king within your marketing deck of cards as it allows you to interface directly with your audience and not be hidden amongst an ever-scrolling social media news feed. Make sure you put the time and thought into designing not just for your brand’s needs, but, for your users interests too. The end result may surprise you.