October 29, 2016

The Colours of Your Christmas Campaign

If you are looking for new palette options for your Christmas marketing campaign, once again the image is the best place to start. Choose an image that is obviously holiday themed but in colours outside of the traditional red and green colour combinations. Pull the colours out of the image to create a palette that is exciting but non-traditional. Here are a few ideas that might spark something for you.

You can pair almost any colour with gold or silver metallics to make it festive. So it stands to reason that the non-metallic versions of gold and grey would pair well. Together they create a feeling of warm elegance that is very inviting.

Pair blue with silver and you get the same elegance with a cool tone. A little more formal or a little more relaxed depending what your text is. This palette can evoke cool breezes and festive nights or it can be used to trigger thoughts of grey, relaxed cottage days. It will be all in the word smithing.

Purple and gold, paired with pink! I don't know about you but I sense a party coming on. This palette has a festive, feel-good vibe that would be appropriate for any holiday event or sale.

Dramatically different for a holiday palette, these earth tones are inviting and warm. They call out to come in from the cold, warm yourself by the fire, enjoy a quiet, conversational gathering with friends.

Pretty in pink and grey is fun and festive. Perfect to promote holiday events or products with a feminine appeal.

Whatever the mood for your holiday campaign, there is a non-traditional palette for that!

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Originally published at diymarketinghelp.com

October 25, 2016

Writing is Not the Only Ingredient of a Winning Blog

Blogging success has less to do with your writing skill than you might think. Yes, it has to be interesting or useful... hopefully both! But if it's not also these other things below, it likely won't be successful for your business:

#1. Valuable
What’s in it for your audience? What will be valuable to them? Why would they take the time to read - and share - your blog? After writing, double-check to make sure there's value. When you reread your article from your readers' perspective, you might be surprised. Would a complete stranger find it valuable?

#2. Repetitive
At least once a week if you want your blog to help increase sales. Over time, repetition will show up as diligence and tenacity.

#3. Consistent
Being inconsistent makes you seem inconsistent. Over time, consistency will show up as loyalty... for you and your readers.

#4. Distributed
If you write it, they will not come. How will you get your articles in front of people? You need a plan for marketing your blog. 

#5. Measured
Pay attention - watch your statistics. Revise your strategy. Expand your plan. If you aren't interested in staying on top of your blog schedule and watching your results, certainly no one else will be.

You might be thinking, "Ick! These things aren't fun." And you might be right but, if blogging is part of your marketing strategy, these things are just as important as writing the article.

These aspects of blogging can also be fun and creative. In fact, if you aren't a star writer, these areas are where you can shine.

October 18, 2016

If Efficiency is Your Goal, You'll Want These Tools

“You’re assuming efficiency is my goal,” my good friend replied one day when I suggested a better way (to me) of doing something. Oddly, I might be inclined to say that about some parts of my own work (just not whatever it was we were discussing at the time).

This is not a story about the dangers of assuming (although that could be another article). This time I want to dish out some advice about how to be more efficient (since Danielle doesn’t want to hear it).

I’ve written before about my essential small business tools (Part 1 and Part 2) but these ones below are especially important to my productivity.

FreshBooks (aff)
Immediately upon implementing FreshBooks, I saw an improvement in outstanding accounts receivable. Reminders are automated and I rarely have to follow up with anyone myself. No more wondering, "Did I already remind that client?"

I've been using graphics applications for over 20 years - for fun and work. Nothing beats Canva's 'magic resize' option for creating multiple sizes of the same design in just seconds.

FollowUpThen (aff)
'Out of sight, out of mind' has sometimes been a problem for me. Now it's a really good thing (for my mental health) because this application lets you forward or send messages to your future self.

This application can save you a whole bunch of time when it comes to content promotion. Preload social media messages, attach images, give it a schedule, and it'll do the rest. Don't forget about it, though. Keep adding new messages and filtering out the stale ones.

I pay for each of these applications and the cost is definitely worth it for the efficiency I gain. Pick one and give it a try.

photo by timsackton / Flickr

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originally published in Work Better, Not Harder October 18, 2016

October 13, 2016

An Email Marketing Happy Dance!

iContact has NEW stats! We think it is the most awesome new feature ever!! Drum roll... now, you can see how your audience is opening your email messages! How great is this?

The new statistic will tell you what percentage of your audience opened your message on a computer, tablet or smartphone. Gone are the days of guessing based on target audience demographic and wondering if the assumptions behind the guesses are good ones. Whoo hoo! I could not be happier. In fact, I am certain I have to stop here and do a happy feet shuffle...

Why is this important?

From a design and build perspective, it is huge. Each email looks different on each device. User settings on devices can change what the email looks like on the same device. It has always been a challenge to design email for optimum usability on all devices. In fact, it is a challenge that is impossible to conquer. But now it can be managed!

For example:

If the majority of your audience is reading mobile, you want to reduce your use of dark coloured design blocks where you would normally change the links to a lighter colour than the standard blue. Smartphones automatically convert dates, times, locations and phone numbers into links that are standard blue. These links will create unreadable text on a dark background.

If the majority of your audience is reading mobile, the default smartphone settings will stack all your content blocks. You need to be aware of the stacking default order or your content may not make sense or flow for the reader in the mobile version. Images often show up in awkward places in the stack. Use less text wrapping for optimum mobile viewing.

Audiences that are overwhelmingly opening your email on computer make it much easier for you to brand your email and use funky, eye catching design within the email itself. Many design elements disappear when the content blocks convert to a stack.

Now you can tailor your design for your audience. It's as good as a giant scoop of ice cream on top of a cake :)

originally published at diymarketinghelp.com, September 13, 2016

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October 8, 2016

If You Pay Attention to Your Headline, It will Get Attention

When a client mentioned CoSchedule's Headline Analyzer, I hopped on over to check it out. (Thanks Natasha!) Here's the promise I found there: "The free blog post headline analyzer will score your overall headline quality and rate its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value."

My initial thought was that it would have to be run by algorithms so its value would be limited. But my skepticism turned to enthusiasm with my first use. The rather mechanical breakdown of my proposed subject line was detailed and looked at different success factors.

The Headline Analyzer was useful to help me brainstorm alternatives and especially to consider options I wouldn't have otherwise devised. I think success came partially from paying more attention instead of rushing to publish. Go check it out - it'll take only a few minutes to improve your headline score.

photo by Benjamin Ellis / Flickr

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