Who Wants to Hear Some (Instagram) Stories?

“Storytelling’ has been a key buzzword of the marketing world for decades (see the philosophy espoused by Don Draper in AMC’s Mad Men), but the digital realm especially has taken this concept to new heights.

Before you even introduce your product or service, your audience of potential customers want to be captivated and intrigued. Given that we see anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements per day on a variety of platforms (print, billboard, television, internet and smartphone apps), the ads that capture our attention are the ones that truly stand out and act as a natural complement to the content with which we already love to engage.

In August 2016, Instagram launched the Stories component of its photo and video-sharing app. Admittedly copied from Snapchat’s enormously popular Stories feature, Instagram Stories allow users to post full-screen vertical images/videos that disappear within 24 hours. However, while users’ normal posts can be easily lost in the timeline, the Stories feature is located at the top of the home screen, allows for a seamless scrolling with posts often appearing in chronological order and alerts users to any time a profile they follow has posted a story.

According to Instagram, over 500 million accounts use Stories every day whether posting or just scrolling through and that “one-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories gets a direct message from its viewers.” If you want to truly up your company’s Instagram strategy, read on to discover FIVE ways to best use Instagram Stories.

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How AI Is Making Marketing Smarter

It’s no secret that artificial intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of our everyday lives. No longer just the stuff of science fiction, a recent episode on CBS’s 60 Minutes was devoted to this topic. “The Oracle of AI,” Kai-Fu Lee, said that he believes, “…it’s going to change the world more than anything in the history of mankind. More than electricity.”

Own an iPhone X? Its facial recognition system is powered by AI. Ever been redirected by Google Maps or Waze because of an accident or construction ahead? Ever used Spotify’s voice interface to make your personalized music selections? You guessed it: AI. These are just a few small examples. Forbes tells us, “By one estimate, AI contributed a whopping $2 trillion to global GDP last year.” By 2030, it could be as much as $15.7 trillion, “making it the biggest commercial opportunity in today’s fast changing economy” (more than the combined output of China and India), according to a recent report by PwC.

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How to Pump Energy into a Tired Brand

You know what to do when your energy is fading. You drink some coffee, take a power nap, or work out. But, what do you do when it’s your business brand that’s losing its former oomph and its power is fading?

The answer: It’s time for a brand refresh. Alas, that’ll take more than some exercise or a little caffeine. That’s why we’re giving you some hints on how energize your tired brand. Continue reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Instagram for Business

As a business owner diving into the realm of digital and social media marketing, you may have just gotten comfortable with posting on Facebook or Twitter. However, as marketing trends evolve once again, you and your team can now add a bevy of tools to your disposal.

While you may be tempted to try everything and see what sticks, you’ll probably want to start with adding one new platform to your content strategy at a time instead, and we’ve got a great suggestion for you!

Recently alluded to and memorialized in a Taco Bell commercial involving “sunset heart hands,” Instagram provides an organic, in-the-moment approach to content creation and sharing that includes pictures, videos, hashtags and much more.

Read on to discover some Instagram basics as well as two features that can help you take your company’s marketing game to a completely new level.

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Exciting Email Marketing Trends for 2019 and Beyond

Fellow email marketers, hold on to your inboxes! As email turns 41 years old this year, it’s our chance to reboot our email programs and refocus our efforts on 21st century innovation and speed to keep pace with increasingly demanding customers. That’s why it’s so important to know the newest trends and what’s reaching the tipping point in email marketing this year.

“In 2019, we can expect consumer expectations for quality content to increase—it’s become an annual tradition,” according to MarketingLand. “Marketers will need to leverage new technologies and disciplines to continue to push the boundaries. Email programs will become even more personalized and more interactive, and as a result, more effective at driving revenue and brand loyalty.”

Here are our eleven electrifying email trends for 2019…

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Avoid SEO Issues With These 5 Design Tips

When most people think about their site’s search engine optimization (SEO), they’re thinking about their copy, content, keywords, metadata and tags. In other words…words.

This is completely understandable! Using the correct language and terms in the right places is a huge factor in making sure your site is optimized properly. But that doesn’t mean that the design of your site doesn’t play an important role as well.

All the massaged copy in the world, peppered with the best, most relevant keywords you can come up with, will inevitably be hampered if your site is designed without SEO in mind.

Here, then, are 5 design tips for making your SEO even better.

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Email Marketing Automation for Beginners

Small business email marketing has come a long way in recent years. As email service providers (ESPs) continue to expand their features, small businesses are gaining access to functionality formerly only available to enterprise-level marketers. With automation, email marketing is an old dog up to some relatively new and exciting tricks that you could be tapping into without breaking the bank.   Continue reading