Holiday digital marketing: 6 ways your strategy should change

The holidays are a crazy, hectic time. Not just for consumers, but for your holiday digital marketing strategy as well.

Winter holiday online sales generated about $219 billion in revenue in 2021, with in-store sales reaching a record $668 billion.

So, it’s imperative for your business to thoughtfully examine your current digital marketing strategy and plan how you’ll pivot for the holiday season.

While you’re thinking about your holiday digital marketing strategy, consider these 11 ideas to inspire your holiday content.

Once you set your goals, the following are six ways your holiday digital marketing strategy should change to best connect with your target audience and grow your sales revenue.

Evaluate (and possibly shift) your marketing budget

The holiday season traditionally leads to more digital advertising. Because digital advertising works as online auctions, the higher the demand on a limited supply of ad space, the higher the price of the ad. 

So, if you’re feeling like you’re not getting as much bang for your advertising buck during the holidays, you’re likely right.

These costs typically start increasing in early November. Not only will you want to adjust your ad spending accordingly, but you’ll also want to closely monitor your ROI (return on investment) on your digital ads.

It’s important to evaluate your marketing budget in general as you plan for the holiday season. Where have you gotten the biggest payoffs in the past during the holidays, and what has typically been a challenge? You may want to shift your dollars to what will be the most effective channels during the holiday season specifically.

Determine your holiday discounts

Now more than ever due to technology, consumers are savvy shoppers, always seeking the best discounts and sales.

You’ll want to strategize on this front as early as possible. Brainstorm with your team about how you can appeal to potential customers more than your competition.

In addition to looking at what has worked for you in the past, a competitive analysis can help so that you can best understand what your competition has done and what appeared to be successful for them. Avoid the temptation to blindly copy any tactics, though, and decide how you can make them your own instead.

Also, check out these 16 tools to help make your competitive analysis easier.

Remember that your discount plan doesn’t have to be just one thing. You could offer a one-time, larger discount to draw in the bargain hunters (perhaps around Black Friday and/or after Christmas) and then provide a series of short-term weekly promotions. Digital coupons also could come into play. Again, it just needs to work for your business and what you believe will appeal to your audience. 

Optimize your mobile marketing

Mobile has revolutionized the way we do business, especially during the holidays. More than $88 billion in sales were made on mobile devices during the 2021 holiday season.

As you’re evaluating your holiday digital marketing strategy, think about how you can leverage mobile.

This goes beyond creating mobile-friendly marketing campaigns and using SMS text messages to reach your customers. You also want to optimize your online store for mobile devices. Think through the mobile user experience every step of the way.

Check out our 14 tips to level up your mobile marketing.

Create (or level up) your loyalty rewards program

Every business wants new customers, but your loyal customers are worth more to your bottom line. Repeat customers are responsible for almost two-thirds of your sales.

This could include better discounts, exclusive sales, even special gifts. Loyalty rewards programs can help grow your business year-round, but the holidays offer a special opportunity to make your program even more appealing.

In fact, consumers who engage in high-performing loyalty programs are twice as likely to increase their frequency of purchases. More than 90 percent of companies have some sort of loyalty program.

How your loyalty rewards program is structured is up to you, but consider what else you can do as part of your holiday digital marketing strategy.

While you’re at it, check out our five tips to successfully promote your loyalty rewards program.

Use videos to your advantage

Videos now more than ever can help tell your story and reach new audiences, especially during the holidays.

About 85 percent of all internet users in the U.S. watched online video content monthly on any of their mobile devices, while 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.

As part of your holiday digital marketing strategy, consider how you can show the human face (or faces) behind your brand. This could involve behind-the-scenes videos, employees sharing their favorite holiday members or even highlighting what’s involved in preparing your business for the holidays. Of course, an engaging holiday marketing video that your customers want to share with their friends and family because it’s funny, cute or emotional also works.

Check out 10 types of videos that you can use in your marketing strategy.

Explore niche social media channels

You’re likely already using at least one of the most popular social media channels (such as Facebook or Instagram), but what about other channels?

Such networks as Quora, Reddit and Pinterest have millions of users that could engage with your holiday content.

Use your holiday digital marketing strategy as an opportunity to include a new social media channel to the mix and evaluate how it performs.

Check out these eight most common social media mistakes that you should avoid.

In conclusion

Remember that user behavior changes drastically during the holiday season, with an emphasis on discount-seeking activity beginning in November. And this has shifted largely to online, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. And of course, your consumers will also be focused on way more than just shopping, such as celebrations, family gatherings and gift giving. You want to cut through the noise with a message that gets their attention and makes you stand out in a meaningful way. And that all comes down to how you pivot your holiday digital marketing strategy.

While you’re evaluating how your brand will be successful this holiday season, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation, email marketing, text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 ideas to inspire your holiday marketing strategy

The holiday season is a great opportunity to get creative so that your brand can stand out among the countless images of seasonal fun.

But since the holidays come back around every year, you might be struggling to break out of a holiday marketing rut. 

Do you find yourself running the same sales in the same way? Then, it’s definitely time to try something new.

And the effort is worth it. Holiday spending in 2021 surpassed $1 trillion in the U.S. for the first time ever.

Boost your brand’s visibility during this hectic time with the following 11 ideas to inspire your holiday marketing strategy.

Host a social media contest or giveaway

Organizing a contest or giveaway on social media is a great way to get people talking and involved with your brand.

There is a difference between contests and giveaways. In a giveaway, participants are simply entering to potentially win a prize of some kind based on the entry rules you set. In a contest, participants are doing more than just entering, but what that action is depends on your contest. For example, you could have a holiday photo contest that incorporates your brand’s products in some way, so participants would be taking and submitting a photo according to your entry rules in hopes of winning a prize.

Contests and giveaways can also help grow your social media following as well. It often can come down to the appeal of the prize and ease of entry. Just make sure you’re keeping everything on the legal up-and-up.

Leverage paid ads to promote a product or event

The days of relying solely on organic social media posts are long gone, so you’re likely already at least dabbling in paid advertising on one or more social media channels.

During the holiday season, consider getting specific with your paid ads that directs consumers to your upcoming holiday event, discounts or seasonal products. Paid ads are particularly helpful at reaching people outside of your social media following who are the demographics of the target audience you’re looking to reach.

Aim for memorable, shareable content

Easier said than done, right? When it comes to creating and publishing memorable content that’s easy for followers to want to share, start by thinking of your target audience. 

What are their interests? What are their hopes, fears, challenges when it comes to the holiday season. By using your content to address topics that matter to them, you’ll better resonate with them. And that’s where you’re content becomes more shareable because users will want to share that with their own networks. 

You’ll also want to keep your visuals in mind. Are they eye-catching and memorable?

Check out our 10 tips to create engaging content.

Create product bundles

Consumers like saving money, especially during the holidays. If you can offer multiple products or services together into a bundled discount, you’ll likely see an overall increase in sales during the holiday season.

If you’re not sure what to bundle, think about what items are often purchased together anyway.

Once you’ve created at least one bundle, you can include its promotion as part of your holiday marketing strategy.

Offer gift suggestions

The holidays can be stressful, especially when consumers are trying to think of the perfect gift for everyone on their list.

You can help with this stress by sharing gift suggestions featuring your products or services and the type of person it would be perfect for, such as:

  • Mother
  • Father
  • Wife
  • Husband
  • Sister
  • Brother
  • Son
  • Daughter

Just think about what you can match with some of those recipients and then promote accordingly. Just make sure you include a call to action, like “Buy Now.”

Partner with a local nonprofit

Cause-related promotions are particularly effective during the holidays. Consumers are becoming increasingly thoughtful about the businesses they support and what they’re doing beyond striving to make a profit.

By showing your support for the community, you can grow your brand awareness and potentially attract new customers.

Of course, these partnerships can work in any number of ways. For example, you could announce that a percentage of every product or service sold will be donated to a particular nonprofit.

Remember (and reward) your loyal customers

In the push to acquire new customers during the holidays, don’t forget about your existing (and loyal) ones. You can easily offer unique discounts or bonus gifts (with purchase) targeted to your established customers.

In fact, you can even send them a “thank you” message or card before the holiday season even begins so that they feel appreciated and have your brand top of mind as the season begins.

Be sure to seize the opportunity to leverage your customer loyalty program over the holidays as well.

Check out our five tips to successfully promote your customer rewards loyalty program.

Embrace nostalgia

The holidays are all about memories of childhood and magic. You can tap into this with your holiday marketing strategy.

To do this, consider using black-and-white images and old-style fonts. Then, use these to convey a sense of nostalgia that complements your brand and connects with your target audience.

Offer free shipping to convert abandoned carts

Free shipping can be a great way to not only convert leads into purchases up front. But if you hesitate to offer free shipping up front, consider offering it as a follow-up to any abandoned shopping carts on your website.

You can frame it as a holiday gift as you encouraged fallen-off customers to come back and complete their purchases.

No limit on holiday spirit

Beyond the posts that will reflect holiday imagery in some way, what else can you do to convey that your brand is all about the holidays?

Think about embedding warm holiday scenes and sparkle in your physical store locations (if applicable), across the home page of your website, the cover photos of your social media accounts and any relevant landing pages.

You also can go beyond the imagery by sharing any charity work your company is doing during the holiday season and any special services or products you might be offering (free or not) during the holidays only.

There’s truly no limit to the holiday spirit you can convey to consumers through your brand.

Take advantage of Small Business Saturday

In addition to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don’t forget about Small Business Saturday, which happens the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

If your brand is a small business, it’s an opportunity to connect with your audience in a different way. What’s the story behind your business? What drives you? Who are your employees? What are their stories?

About a third of U.S. adults who do holiday shopping say they plan to shop locally or buy from small businesses to support local communities.

Embrace that for your own brand and promote around that.

In conclusion

Of course, when it comes to your holiday marketing strategy, it’s never too early to start planning and publishing. It takes potential customers to see your messaging several times before taking action. And the sky’s the limit on creativity. Evaluate what your competition is doing or has done in the past.

Dive deeper with our seven holiday marketing tips to optimize sales.

As you begin to plan and prepare your holiday marketing, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 holiday marketing strategy tips to optimize sales

Digital marketing has become the primary way to spread the word about your holiday offers and savings. 

And since the holidays are a hectic time for consumers, it’s critical to develop a holiday marketing strategy sooner than later that will help you stand out from your competition.

Two key days during the holiday shopping season are Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which combined have been projected to generate more than $10 billion in sales. Of course, these days “Cyber Monday” has expanded into “Cyber Week,” which generates about 17 percent of total holiday spending. About 58 percent of Cyber Week purchases are made by totally new visitors.

The following are seven tips to help your digital marketing shine this holiday season and not miss any opportunities to stand out and succeed.

Start early

If you wait until the holiday season is about to begin, then you’re already too late. Aim to start working on your holiday marketing strategy and materials in August or September.

This will enable you to prepare what will be the most effective for your business since you’ll have appropriate time to think through everything and create what is needed. That way, you can focus on the actual execution during the holiday season itself.

Set your holiday marketing goals

The success of your holiday marketing starts with the setting of specific goals that you set in advance. 

Ask yourself: What do you want to achieve? 

Think through how to make your goals S.M.A.R.T.:

  • Specific
  • Measureable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

For example, you may want to beat last year’s holiday sales by a particular percentage. Or, you want to increase your email subscribers by a desired amount. Just make sure that the goal(s) are something that serves your business.

Check out our seven expert tips to achievable marketing goals for more.

Make your holiday marketing memorable

In order to stand out from your competition, you may need to do a little bit more than post about a big sale around Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

You want to connect with your audience. And in order to connect, reflect on how you can touch upon the values that your brand shares with your customers and potential customers.

After all, engagement is based on meaningful human connections. And if you’re not compelling your target audience to engage with your holiday marketing content, then it’s going to be that much harder to convert them into purchases. 

Beyond the discounts, limited-time offers and promotions, think about the broader message you want to convey in your holiday marketing that both represents your brand and brings your customers along for the ride.

Create or use a content calendar

Once you have an overall plan, a content calendar is a fantastic way to get (and stay) organized for your holiday marketing. This is where you can get more specific in the “what,” “when,” “where” and possibly even “who” behind planned assets.

A content calendar can help you plan and maintain your content marketing strategy across platforms. Specifically, a content calendar is a written schedule of when and where you plan to publish your upcoming content. It can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be, with the option to include:

  • Upcoming content pieces
  • Status updates
  • Planned promotions
  • Partnerships
  • Updates to your existing content

Check out our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Schedule emails and social media posts in advance

When business might be slower in the months before the holiday season begins, use that time as an opportunity to create and schedule all your holiday marketing assets in advance.

Of course, the obvious assets are emails and social media posts. But maybe you’re thinking about publish a holiday-specific landing page or pop-up ad (both of which DailyStory can help with). Whatever you plan to create, do so early and get everything as ready to go as possible.

The act of scheduling itself so that everything publishes automatically at the best possible time can save you a lot of time (and prevent missed opportunities that can happen if you’re publishing assets manually).

See these five ways you can approach automation in your marketing strategy.

Leverage cross-channel marketing

The beauty of digital marketing is that it includes multiple channels that can be used to boost each other within a specific holiday marketing campaign in order to get your message out to more of your target audience.

The idea here is that you want to cover all your bases. How can your emails complement your social media? How can your SMS text messages connect with warm leads from your emails or social media posts? 

In your holiday marketing strategy, think through the customer journey and where you can better connect with them along the way to better convert for a sale. Then, measure every element of your campaign so that you can build off of how everything performed going into the next holiday season.

Use personalization and segmentation

Personalization involves using the data you have about your audience to understand how your content best fits their needs or interest. (Personalization in the simplest sense can also be the use of a customer’s first name in a marketing message.)

Segmentation, then, is the targeted delivery of messages to only those you’re looking to share a specific custom message with. 

For example, a customer who hasn’t purchased from you in the past three months could be sent a “we miss you” email with a discount offer to entice him or her back.

Personalization and segmentation can be used to level up your holiday marketing as well. 

Within your holiday marketing plan, consider where you can personalize and segment your messaging. The more specific you can get, the more effective you’ll likely be.

Learn more about personalization and segmentation

In conclusion

The holiday season is a critical time to get noticed by your target audience and convert leads into sales. Don’t be afraid to experiment and even try new platforms. Just make sure it’s all detailed in your holiday marketing plan.

Dive deeper with our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you begin to plan and prepare your holiday marketing, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 last-minute Small Business Saturday marketing ideas

Small Business Saturday should be marked on every small business owner’s calendar. 

To put it simply, Small Business Saturday is a special day each year when people are encouraged to shop small during the post-Thanksgiving weekend to support their local economies. It applies to all types of small, local businesses.

The holiday was started by American Express in 2010 during the recession and became recognized by the U.S. Senate and all 50 states in 2011.

While about 39 percent of Americans celebrate Small Business Saturday, about 57 percent make it a point to shop at local businesses.

You don’t want to miss an opportunity to share your small business story with your target audience. But you might be busy and find yourself running out of time to do anything special for Small Business Saturday itself.

Don’t worry! We have you covered. The following are five last-minute Small Business Saturday marketing ideas that you can make happen with limited time and a limited budget.

Highlight your business story

Owning your identity as a small business can be as simple as posting a video or image on social media (or an email drip campaign if you have enough time or blog post) that shares the story behind your business. 

How did it get started? Why was it created? What are some of your favorite memories? Biggest challenges? What makes you different from big-box stores? How do you support the community? Who are the people behind your business? What is the relationship with your customers like?

There’s no limit to what or how you can share your business story. Even just a few thoughts can engage your audience in a meaningful way.

Offer a compelling discount or special

To stand out from the crowd of other small businesses marketing for Small Business Saturday, a compelling discount, offer or gift might be needed.

Think about your audience and what might appeal to them. Could it be a discounted packaging of a couple of your services or products? Is there a special gift you can include for any orders that cost more than a specific amount? Perhaps free refreshments in your physical business while customers shop?

You also can reflect and consider anything that’s worked well in the past. 

The key is that you want to blast your offer across your social media channels, email newsletter, in-store signage, etc. Wherever you can share it, including in relevant Facebook groups, do so.

Just make sure that whatever your offer is, it’s something that you can deliver on.

Collect email addresses in-store from customers

Regardless of how you set up your physical business location for success on Small Business Saturday, collecting email addresses from your customers should be a must.

This could be as simple as having a printed-out sign-up sheet (if you don’t have a device and online webform to use). You could even offer a special discount simply for signing up for your email contact list.

Remember that these customers are supporting you on Small Business Saturday, so you don’t want to miss out on signing them up for your email newsletter so that you can stay in touch (and encourage them to purchase from you again).

Confirm that you’re listed ahead of Small Business Saturday

Having an active, correct Google My Business listing ahead of Small Business Saturday is both critical and easy to do.

About 46 percent of all Google searches are looking for local information, while 88 percent of searches for local businesses on a mobile device either call or visit the business within 24 hours.

Check out our 12 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile.

Of course, listings go beyond just Google. Don’t forget Facebook, Yelp and any other platforms that are relevant in your community.

Host a giveaway

The best giveaways typically require a bit of time to plan and execute, but if you keep it simple enough, your giveaway can still be successful.

You can encourage user-generated content, such as photos with your product, to be posted with a specific Small Business Saturday-related hashtag. Then, whichever photo gets the most likes, you can repost it and give the “winner” a prize or special discount.

There are a number of ways to run a quick, efficient giveaway. Just make sure that you’re keeping everything legal.

In conclusion

If you’re limited on time ahead of Small Business Saturday, don’t fret. Decide what “low-hanging fruit” you can use in your marketing to seize the opportunity to engage with your audience and increase your sales.

As you’re marketing ahead of Small Business Saturday, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 ways to connect with potential customers through marketing

As a marketer or business owner, you’re constantly looking for ways to find and connect with potential customers. Marketing is the answer.

Of course, this is easier said than done because you have so much competition, and they seem to be doing everything right. However, consumers are smart, and they no longer believe everything a company says about its brand, products, and services, so it’s up to you to find new ways to connect with customers and foster trust.

Your customers drive your business. Without them, you wouldn’t exist. Customer interactions are key, so instead of reaching out to them because you need them to buy something from you, you must continuously find ways to connect with them on a more personal level.

Here are a few ways to connect with potential customers through marketing.

Personalize it

The one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work. Consumers want personal interactions with brands and to feel special. You can personalize your marketing by giving customers what they want.

Instead of sending email blasts for products customers might not be interested in, you can use your email marketing software to automate your marketing and send personalized emails to customers based on actions they’ve taken on your website.

For example, if someone purchases a toy for their dog, you can regularly send them emails about dog products instead of asking them to look at products for cats or other pets they might not have.

Dive deeper into how personalization is true one-to-one marketing.

Build trust

Your customers need to trust you before they make a purchase. Unfortunately, your first-time customers have likely never heard of your brand before, so they don’t yet trust that you’ll deliver on all the promises you made on your website.

Building trust is crucial, so consider adding testimonials to your site to act as word-of-mouth marketing and allow your customers to learn about the quality of your brand and products through other real people. 

Another way you can foster trust is by working with influencers and content creators who can be your brand advocates. Even though you pay these individuals to highlight the benefits and features of your products, your customers are more willing to listen to an actual human being than a business website or brand.

Respond to concerns

Always be available to customers to answer their concerns.

Even when customers have issues, quality customer service can improve their experience with your brand, making them more likely to come back.

For example, many businesses offer free returns for a set number of days with no questions asked. This means they’ll print the shipping label for the customer or even send them the packaging to put the products in to be shipped back out. By offering exceptional service, whether or not there’s an issue, you can improve your relationship with customers and begin fostering trust. 

Check out our 11 tips to best respond to negative reviews.

Be active on social media

Social media gives you the unique opportunity to showcase your brand in a more personal way.

While you might not want to put behind-the-scenes footage or images on your website to maintain its professional appearance, social media is the perfect place to show the people behind the brand to start building customer relationships.

Your social media platforms should be used to engage customers, not simply sell them products or services. Instead of making every post a post to sell more, consider asking customers to engage with your brand by hosting giveaways and contests or using social media as a way to highlight your expertise by offering valuable and educational content. 

Check out our 11 best practices to grow your social media followers.

Show customer appreciation

You’d be nothing without your customers, so show them a little appreciation once and a while.

You can show customer appreciation in several ways. Many customers would be happy to receive deals as a thank-you for their business. However, you can take it to another level by making the experience even more personal and rewarding for them. 

Writing personalized thank-you letters or birthday cards is one way to show customers how much you care about them. One company that excels at building customer relationships is Chewy, the pet product marketplace. Chewy sends cards to pets on their birthdays and condolence cards and flowers to grieving pet parents after learning a pet has passed away. This company excels at building relationships, so they’re never in the back of someone’s mind when they need something for their pet.

Have a customer loyalty rewards program? Check out our five tips to successfully promote it.

Survey customers

If you want to know more about your customers, send them a survey and reward them once they’ve completed it.

You can learn just about anything from a survey, including how customers feel about your products and brand as a whole.

It can also improve your marketing by helping your business understand what customers want, including when they want to hear from you and which types of deals are most likely to make them take action on your website. 

In addition, consider social listening, which essentially audience research where you monitor your brand’s social media channels for any customer feedback, mentions of your brand and discussions surrounding specific keywords, topics, competitors or industries that are relevant to your brand. 

Build your email list

email-subscriber-list
If you don’t have an email list, you can’t send out surveys or keep customers informed about their orders, deals, and new products.

The best way to build relationships with customers is through email. If you don’t have an email list, you can’t send out surveys or keep customers informed about their orders, deals, and new products.

Email marketing has one of the highest ROIs of any marketing strategy, so if you’re not using it to grow your business, you’re losing out on tons of sales. 

There are many types of email marketing messages to send, including:

  • Abandoned cart emails
  • E-blasts with deals
  • Customer appreciation emails
  • New product announcements
  • Company announcements

Each of your emails can be personalized based on actions your customers take on your website, improving your ROI and boosting sales.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices that make an impact.

In conclusion

Connecting with potential customers isn’t difficult as long as you prioritize it.

Customers want to shop with businesses that actively show they care about them. If you’re not offering quality customer service or trying to build relationships and foster trust with customers, you’ll quickly lose out on sales to the competition that is doing all these things.

Consumers don’t want to be sold to. They want to be educated, informed, and experience personal interactions with brands.

Stop alienating customers because you don’t know how to market to them. They are the life of your business, so it’s time to start brainstorming ways you can begin building trust and improving your reputation. 

As you’re looking to connect more with consumers, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

About the author

Ashley-Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music. 

8 tips to write an effective marketing text message

SMS text message marketing can be the most effective method of mass communication.

Compared to emails, text messages can be more powerful. They have a 98 percent open rate compared to 20 percent in emails, and consumers are 4.5 percent more likely to respond to (and not just read) your text message than your emails.

So, how are you approaching the copy of your text messages? Remember, you can engage with or lose a lead forever in less than 160 characters. Paying attention to what you’re saying and how you’re saying it matters.

The following are eight tips to write an effective marketing text message.

Keep it short and concise

When it comes to SMS text messaging, you’re already limited to 160 characters per message. It’s important to get to the point quickly without a lot of fluff. Consider the recipient’s “What’s in it for me?” angle and focus on that to do more than just read your text message.

Writing in short sentences can help you be as concise as possible while also being more engaging for recipients. Think “5th Grader Level” when writing your copy. Consumers are most likely to skim your message, so don’t write long or complex sentences. You’ll lose their attention if you do.

MMS messages, with the use of images, can help you maximize what you can convey in a single message. Learn more about how you can leverage MMS text messages.

Use a strong call-to-action

Having a 98 percent open rate doesn’t mean much if your recipients don’t know what to do next. A strong, clear call-to-action can make the difference between a sale and being ignored.

Some examples of call-to-actions that you can use:

  • Act fast
  • Sign up now
  • Buy now
  • Last chance
  • Limited-time offer
  • Don’t miss out

Keep in mind that your goals matter. What is the point of sending this text message to your recipients? You’ll want to aim for that goal while being as persuasive as possible.

Personalize your text message

Depending on your SMS text message marketing platform, such as DailyStory, you should be able to personalize your text messages.

There’s a lot of power behind personalization. By using a person’s name when addressing them, you’re breaking down the impersonal barrier that can exist in any type of marketing method. This can help build trust with your text message recipients. It also can help you stand out from your competitors.

About 72 percent of customers will only engage with personalized messaging.

Of course, personalization goes well beyond just including a first name. You could use other data points as relevant. But personalization also ties into the type of messaging you’re sending. You would send a different type of message to a past customer who hasn’t purchased from you in a few months than you would to a brand new lead who hasn’t purchased from you yet.

Dive deeper into how personalization is one-to-one marketing.

Use power words in your text message

Using power words in your text messages can help you engage with your audience. These words help spur some type of emotion in your recipients, which can help with your sales conversions.

See our 16 tips to increase your sales conversion rate.

Some top power words in marketing include:

  • Obsession
  • Bold
  • Epic
  • Secret
  • Daring
  • Imagine
  • Inspire
  • Risky
  • Avoid
  • Authentic
  • Secure
  • Tested
  • Rare
  • Immediately
  • Hurry
  • Proven
  • Affordable
  • Guaranteed

See more power words and take note of what might work for you in future SMS campaigns.

Of course, while words like “free” or even emphasizing certain words by using all capital letters can help engage and persuade recipients to act, you have to beware of potential carrier violations, which can prevent your text message from being delivered at all. You don’t want to write anything that can be viewed as spammy by mobile carriers.

Dive deeper into carrier violations and how to avoid them.

Add urgency to your copy

It’s easy for consumers to not act until the last moment (or at all) unless they’re compelled to do so.

When an offer or message feels urgent, you’re more likely to spur your recipients to action. For example, a sale that ends in two days should inspire customers to plan how they can take advantage of the offer before it’s over. If the sale is monthlong, it’s easy to think there’s plenty of time to act, but that means it’s that much easier to forget about it entirely.

Consider how you can infuse urgency into your text message.

Avoid ‘text-speak’

“Text speak” is the use of abbreviations to save time, energy and space in your 160-character text message. For example, saying “l8r” instead of “later” or “u” instead of “you.”

As a brand, you want to maintain some professionalism and resist any appearances of spam. Using “text speak” can devalue your brand and cause a recipient to lose respect for you and opt out of your messages.

Consider your brand personality. You can still sound human and engaging without devolving into “text speak.”

Beware of special characters

Keep in mind that while special characters can feel like a great way to make your text message stand out, all characters are not supported by all carriers. Many carriers only support unicode.

This means that the use of a special character (like a special quotation mark or apostrophe) will not work for every recipient. That can cause confusion because (depending on the carrier) the unsupported character can be replaced with something random or a space. Either way, your text message will suffer as a result.

Keep your text messages legal

With various anti-spam laws in place, it’s critical that all your marketing text messages include an opt-out option in the text. 

Including the commonly used “Reply STOP to opt-out” at the end of your text makes your available message space that much shorter, but it’s better than risking thousands of dollars in fines.

In addition, you must identify who is sending the text message. This is non-negotiable. Make sure to work your brand name into your message.

In conclusion

Invest the time and effort into crafting text messages that support your goals, represent your brand and engage with and persuade your audience to take action.

Check out these six things to know before starting your first texting campaign.

While you’re crafting effective text messages, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 tips to run an effective brainstorming meeting

It’s likely that we’ve all been part of a brainstorming meeting that’s been unfocused, long and frustrating, with various ideas shared but no path to move forward.

This is not the kind of brainstorming meeting you want to experience with your team.

Brainstorming with others should enhance creative performance by almost 50 percent versus individuals working on their own.

Simply put, brainstorming is a go-to method for generating and developing ideas in a collaborative environment. Without the right preparation, leadership and focus, though, your brainstorming meeting can go off the rails.

The following are nine tips to run an effective brainstorming meeting that boosts team morale and generates creative ideas that serve your business, regardless of the topic.

Give enough time for individual preparation

Brainstorming participants tend to produce better ideas when they can think alone first. So, it’s important to allow for enough preparation time for everyone involved.

Doing so helps avoid groupthink in your brainstorming meeting and gives each person the opportunity to better contribute since they are prepared. Everyone also is able to collaborate more effectively and identify and develop the best ideas and solutions.

Maintain a small group

To avoid having too many cooks in the kitchen, don’t invite too many participants to your brainstorming meeting. 

Ideally, there should be no more than 10 people involved. 

Limiting the participants makes it easier for everyone to be heard and promotes more constructive conversations.

Because you do want to limit the size of your group, be sure to choose your participants wisely. You want to invite a diverse team with different backgrounds and roles to best discover new ideas in your brainstorming meeting. 

Avoid inviting anyone who’s too far removed from the topic that you’d like to discuss. You really want everyone to be an active participant with a buy-in for the process.

Keep your brainstorming meeting short

Shorter meetings will help keep your team focused. A time constraint will motivate your participants to stay on topic and share all possible ideas.

You’ll want to aim for no more than 30 minutes if possible. If you can make it even shorter than that, then all the better. 

Also, pay attention to when you’re scheduling your brainstorming meeting. Late afternoon meetings can feel sluggish, with your participants more mentally fatigued. Consider what the timing sweet spot would be for your team.

Share the goal of the brainstorming meeting

In order to be focused in your brainstorming meeting, everyone needs to be clear on the goal. What problem are you trying to solve? You can ask a prompting question to help set the tone, such as “What types of campaigns do we want to promote for Black Friday?”

You’ll also want to consider setting some boundaries on potential solutions. For example, whether there are any budgetary limits. Just be careful how many boundaries you set. Too many can stifle the sharing of creative ideas, while the right amount can keep your team focused.

Make sure to give your team all this information at least a couple of days before your brainstorming meeting so that they can prepare with as much relevant information as possible.

Set a brainstorming meeting agenda

To stay on track, create an agenda for your brainstorming meeting. It doesn’t have to be extremely detailed. Remember, you do want to keep your time spent as short as possible.

But even the most basic agenda can help maintain the focus of the team and accomplish your goal before everything is over. You’ll want to share this agenda with your team in advance of the meeting as well.

Aim to:

  • Allow time to discuss your topic, and any relevant boundaries, definitions and context.
  • Spend time generating and exploring new ideas.
  • Come together to sort, discuss and get a consensus on the best ideas.
  • Identify next steps that should happen after the meeting is over.

Identify a facilitator

First things first, the facilitator of your brainstorming meeting does not have to be you. But regardless of who it is, a great facilitator can make or break your meeting. His or her job is to guide the discussion and keep the team on track.

Ways that a facilitator can do this include:

  • Setting and enforcing the rules of the brainstorming.
  • Redirecting the conversation if it veers off-course or dies off.
  • Making sure that each person contributes.
  • Explaining the next steps when the meeting ends.

Select your brainstorming technique

Part of your planning process should include the style of brainstorming that you want to use. There are multiple different techniques that can help facilitate more and better ideas out of your brainstorming meeting.

It’s important to consider all approaches and which one best suits your team and your goal.

And depending on what technique speaks to you, you can then understand what tools or materials you’ll need, such as Post-It notes, a time-keeping system, whiteboards, etc.

Check out these nine brainstorming techniques to inspire you.

Just make sure that everyone knows that there are “no bad ideas” to ensure that everyone is comfortable and confident while sharing.

Don’t feel obligated to keep it traditional

Typically, when we think of a brainstorming meeting, we think of a conference room with whiteboards and/or Post-It notes.

But don’t feel trapped by that box. Not only can you hold your meeting in a more non-traditional way, but depending on whether you have remote employees, you might have to.

Remember that with planning, an online version of a brainstorming meeting can be just as if not more successful.

Follow-up on your ‘next steps’

Your brainstorming meeting is only as successful as the actions you take after it’s over. What this looks like definitely depends on what your designated “next steps” are.

For example, in staying true to your overall time limit, your next steps could be as simple as reconvening at a new time in the future.

Regardless, commit to honoring the time invested by your team to potentially solve the problem at hand by following up and staying true to the plan you all set.

While you’re planning your next (more effective) brainstorming meeting, consider your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

9 brainstorming techniques to inspire even better ideas

The power of your digital marketing efforts is based on multiple factors, including your brainstorming techniques.

Often an overlooked practice, the more effective your brainstorming, the more creative you’ll be with your marketing. 

Not only does your marketing benefit, but your team benefits as well. “Groups that focus on both the quantity of ideas and building on the ideas of others significantly increase their cohesiveness,” according to one Northern Illinois University researcher.

The more productive the brainstorming session, the more your team will leave feeling accomplished and energized for the next steps. Better brainstorming techniques can help.

Of course, brainstorming sessions can get off-track when there are:

  • Unbalanced conversations, where certain personalities take over.
  • Participants holding onto the first few ideas, preventing everyone from moving on.
  • Awkward silences, with unprepared participants.
  • Challenges with brainstorming with remote employees over videoconferencing.

Keep in mind that brainstorms typically have an idea capturing phase that leads to a discussion and critique phase and then finally a selection phase that gives a sense of next steps when the brainstorming has ended.

The following are nine brainstorming techniques to keep your team on track and spark the best ideas for your brand, regardless of the topic.

Brainwriting

This technique kicks off with everyone writing down three ideas that relate to the topic of your brainstorming. You’ll likely only need about five minutes to do this.

Then, all participants pass their ideas to the person next to them. That next person will then build on those ideas with bullet points or even related creative strategies. After another few minutes, everyone passes the ideas again, with more thoughts and sub-ideas added, continuing on until the ideas have made it all the way around the table.

Once all ideas have been shared in a non-verbal manner with everyone, the team can then discuss which ideas should be pursued. 

This same approach can be attempted with remote workers in Slack, using comment replies and threads to substitute the passing-in-person approach.

The brainwriting brainstorming technique helps ensure that everyone gets an equal voice up front and that all ideas get heard.

Brain netting

For “brain netting,” the key is that you have a single location for everyone to write down their ideas. This can be as simple as a whiteboard or an online editable document, depending on whether your team is brainstorming in-person or virtually.

Keeping the idea contributions anonymous can help everyone share more freely.

Once all ideas have been shared, then it’s important to follow up and decide on what to explore further. Granted, this brainstorming technique is largely focused on idea capture and is a fairly simplified method.

Figure storming

With this brainstorming technique, your team picks a well-known figure who is not in the room. This can be a boss, public figure or even a fictional character. Then, discuss how that person would approach the problem or think about the particular idea.

How would this person approach this problem? It’s all about your team putting themselves in someone else’s shoes, which can help everyone approach it in a different way.

By applying someone else’s perceived perspective to the brainstorming session, participants might feel freer to share their creative ideas. It can remove some barriers, such as perceived budget and time.

Round-robin brainstorming

In round-robin brainstorming, every participant contributes one idea to the group. It’s important that everyone contributes one idea before anyone can share a second idea or start discussing, elaborating or criticizing any ideas.

You also should ban anyone from defaulting to “My idea was already said.” You can always come back around to that person at the end to give them more time to think. Of course, giving your team time to prepare for this brainstorming technique in advance will help with this as well.

This technique enables everyone to get their ideas out before everyone moves into discussion and evaluation of the ideas.

Mind mapping

Mind mapping is all about allowing a first idea to spark a few other related (but possibly better) ideas.

In this brainstorming technique, your team starts with one idea and then draws lines connecting the resulting sub-ideas back to the first one. And then a sub-idea can spark additional ideas with more lines connecting back to that.

It’s a very visual approach to brainstorms that can be helpful for those who think visually. And while the result might look more like a spiderweb, your team can then discuss and circle the ideas that should be explored further.

Rapid ideation

With this brainstorming technique, it’s all about a time constraint that creates a sense of urgency. In rapid ideation, all participants write down as many ideas as possible in a set amount of time before any discussions or critiques happen.

The time constraint also can prevent participants from talking themselves out of an idea before they share it with the group. When you’re pushing to get out as many ideas as possible, there isn’t time to second guess any single idea.

Eidetic image method

This brainstorming technique is all about visualization and is best used when you’re looking to enhance the wheel, not reinvent it.

For example, your company might sell razors. In an eidetic image brainstorming session, you’ll start with intention setting, where you’ll ask everyone to close their eyes and clearly set an intention for what they will create. In this example, it would be a new razor design.

Once everyone has visualized what they would consider the best possible design, you’ll ask them to visualize the company’s current design. Then, you all can begin building upon that design. What would change about the color or size or some other feature? No one should focus on cost, but everyone should try to keep their thoughts within the realm of possibility.

Then, after setting the initial intention and building off of what currently exists, every participant can share their visualization, which can be recorded. These visualizations can result in many concrete ideas that can be used to enhance your product.

Granted, a razor is a very simple example, but this can be applied to whatever product or service your company offers. The eidetic image method is one of the most visualization-based brainstorming techniques.

Step-ladder brainstorming technique

If you’re concerned about the first few ideas heavily influencing your team (or even the loudest people in the room taking over), consider using the step-ladder brainstorming technique. 

To start, you would introduce the brainstorming topic and then everyone would leave the room except for two people (which can be handled with breakout rooms on a Zoom call for remote workers). The two participants still in the room will then brainstorm together for a few minutes before a third person returns to the room. That third person then shares some of the ideas he or she has before discussing the ideas that the first two came up with.

The step-ladder then continues, bringing one participant back in at a time until everyone is back in the room. Those who are outside of the room should be brainstorming but not discussing any of the ideas generated until they re-enter the room.

This technique best works with a smaller as opposed to a larger group.

Starbursting

If you’ve already selected an idea to dig into further and explore possible execution as a group, starbursting could make sense out of the other brainstorming techniques.

In starbursting, you’ll start with the idea or challenge at the center of a whiteboard or something else, and then draw a six-point star around it. 

Each point represents a question:

  • Who? (Such as “Who is this product targeting?)
  • What? (Such as “What is our motivation to create this product?)
  • When? (Such as “When should this product launch?)
  • Where? (Such as “Where can we target our audience for this product?)
  • Why? (Such as “Why would our target audience be interested in this product?)
  • How? (Such as “How should this product be launched?)

The goal is to focus on questions to encourage your team to examine the idea from every angle without anyone getting defensive. In starbursting, the team works together to find solutions together.

In conclusion

These techniques should help inspire creativity while also ensuring that everyone’s ideas are heard, which is important to balance. 

If you’re feeling like your brainstorming sessions are starting to feel repetitive, with the same people in the same space, consider moving your brainstorming to a different location. This can be as simple as getting outside or going to a restaurant and brainstorming over a meal.

Of course, any brainstorming should keep your overall goals in mind.

Struggling with a remote team? Check out our nine tips to better manage your remote employees.

While you’re planning your next (more effective) brainstorming session with any of these brainstorming techniques, consider your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 things to know before starting your first texting campaign

If you haven’t started your first texting campaign yet, you might be unsure of where to start.

The important piece is that you want to get started.

SMS texting campaigns have an engagement rate that’s three to seven times higher than with emails and a nearly six times conversion rate.

You don’t want to miss out on achieving higher marketing results for your business.

The following are six things you should know before starting your first texting campaign.

What’s a texting campaign?

First things first, an SMS texting campaign allows you to interact with your customers through text messages, which can feel more personal than emails.

You can still segment your audience (just like you would with your email marketing) so that you’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time. Automated text messages can also boost your interactions and ultimate campaign results.

There are limitations, though. You must work with a character count of 160 characters, and you have to fit the parameters of any included visuals, i.e. MMS messages.

What do you want to achieve with your texting campaign?

Thinking through your goals will help guide the direction of your first texting campaign. 

Setting goals increases the success of your marketing strategy by about 429 percent.

Consider your overall business goals and how SMS marketing can support any or all of them.

Still not sure what your goals should be? Check out our seven expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business.

What texting campaign service should I use?

It’s important to identify and sign up for the technology that will enable you to create and deploy texting campaigns.

When surveying what text marketing services are out there, you’ll want to understand all the features available, whether those features make sense for what you want to achieve (or if you need something more) and the total cost associated with a subscription.

Regarding features, consider:

  • Ease of use
  • Any complementary tools (such as data-capturing forms)
  • Audience segmentation
  • Automation capabilities
  • Campaign reporting

DailyStory offers SMS text messaging features, as well as email marketing and more as well. Explore with our 21-day free trial.

Who can I text?

Before you launch your first texting campaign, it’s critical that your customers gave you permission to send them SMS messages.

It’s a best practice but also the law (as it relates to distributing promotional content via texting). But about 91 percent of consumers would opt-in for text messages from brands

Of course, there are many ways to opt-in your customers and even potential customers, including:

  • Including a contact phone number field and permissions checkbox in your contact or sign-up forms.
  • Using a “text to join” strategy, where consumers text a keyword to a specific number that you give them.

Check out our four tips to grow your SMS text message marketing subscribers

Just remember to give a clear option to opt out of your texts within each message sent. For example, a subscriber can reply “STOP” to opt out. While this feels countintuitive to your marketing goals, it is required by law, and you wouldn’t want to accumulate frustrated and uninterested subscribers anyway.

What should I text?

The sky’s the limit within 160 characters, creatively speaking. But you do have some guidelines to follow to avoid getting carrier violations and the resulting impacts from them.

A carrier violation occurs when carriers (such as Verizon, AT&T and such) receive an outbound SMS and opt to not deliver the message to the destination phone number. In other words, carriers monitor and filter SMS traffic, and if your message triggers a perceived violation from the carrier’s perspective, your text will not be delivered.

When your text messages are flagged, it becomes very likely that future messages from the same number (or those with similar content) will be filtered out as well.

Learn more about carrier violations and how to avoid them.

How should I track my texting campaign?

The metrics tied to texting campaigns aren’t as robust as what you might be used to with email marketing due to technoligical limitations. 

Within whatever texting campaign service you choose to use, you should be able to track the number of sent SMS messages as well as the click rate. You also should be able to see your deliverability rate, depending on the service.

Of course, to take this a step further, it’s a best practice to track any resulting sales from your texting campaign as well to give you a bigger picture view of how your text messages are performing.

In conclusion

Before you dive head first into texting campaigns, make sure you have a plan. Knowing your goals as well as the “rules of the road” that come along with texting can help you start strong. From there, be sure to experiment and measure so that you’re continuously optimizing your texting campaigns.

While you’re planning your first texting campaign, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 tips to maximize your SMS marketing strategy

Every business should have an SMS marketing strategy as part of its larger digital marketing efforts.

SMS marketing is the use of text messages to convey your message to potential (and current) customers. It’s also the way many consumers prefer to communicate. About 75 percent want to receive texts with special offers.

Check out our 10 best practices for SMS text message marketing, while the following are eight tips to consider to maximize your SMS marketing strategy specifically.

Send drip campaigns via text

Drip campaigns are a type of time-release marketing tactic. Think drip irrigation systems. Drip messages (whether through text message, email or something else) are intended to land with purposeful timing and targeting, with minimal waste (and technically minimal effort once set up to run automatically).

Think about it like a conversation that you’re building upon along the way.

In that sense, a planned, automated drip campaign should have a place in your SMS marketing strategy.

Text drip campaigns can keep subscribers engaged as you regularly send relevant, valuable content. Here are a few ideas to get started:

  • Welcoming and onboarding new customers
  • Educating customers about how to get the most out of your products or services
  • Sharing relevant education and tips about related topics
  • Including special offers along the way as you build up to them (and/or increasing the offer over time if it hasn’t been claimed yet)

Check out our 14 best practices for drip campaigns as they relate to email marketing.

Create exclusive text-only deals and offers

Consumers want to feel special. And why should they opt-in to your marketing texts if they don’t think they’ll get something they wouldn’t get otherwise?

From a special day-of discount to advanced notification of an upcoming sale, the sky’s the limit when it comes to getting creative with what you can offer your text subscribers.

The key is that you communicate this value upfront as you’re asking for their opt-in and then deliver it on a regular basis.

Learn more about how to promote a loyalty rewards program (which is often text-based but doesn’t have to be).

Use keywords for SMS opt-ins

A great way to grow your SMS subscriber list is to use SMS keywords for opt-ins.

An example of an SMS keyword opt-in is if a spa asks you to text the word “SPA” to a phone number, which then opts you into that company’s text message subscriber list.

These SMS keywords are an easy way for interested consumers to subscribe to your texts. The easier you can make that opt-in, the better.

Just make sure that when you are growing your SMS subscribers, you’re offering an incentive for joining, providing a link to your Terms and Conditions and setting the expectations for the frequency your audience will receive text messages.

Prioritize responsiveness

Regardless of the type of campaign you’re running, the ability for text recipients to respond and engage in conversation with you must be a priority in your SMS marketing strategy.

It’s one thing to send out an SMS blast or pull your subscribers along in a drip campaign, but you have to make sure to not only have the ability to chat back and forth with anyone who responds to a text but also to be able to reply back in a timely manner. 

DailyStory has the capability to alert you to text responses as they happen so that you can be as responsive as possible.

Check out these eight ways to improve your overall customer responsiveness.

Focus on education before the ‘sell’

You are an expert in your industry, so leverage that in your SMS marketing strategy before you go in for the sale.

Consider the problems your target audience (i.e. ideal customers) have. Then, develop various pieces of content that can help your audience overcome those problems. You can then take 160-character snippets of this content to engage and serve your text subscribers.

This not only shows the industry expertise that you have. It also engages subscribers, delivers promised value and builds a trusting relationship that can ultimately lead to that sale (and more sales after that) over time.

Be functional with reminders and confirmations

Your SMS marketing strategy does not have to be restricted to the balance of educational and promotional content. In fact, it can fill a very needed function: scheduling confirmations and reminders.

About 67 percent of consumers would rather text with a business about appointments and scheduling than by email or phone.

This means that appointment reminders, booking confirmations, billing reminders and more can all be incorporated into your SMS marketing strategy.

Your business more efficient, and your potential customers and customers will appreciate the method of communication.

Consider running a contest

Contests are a popular tactic in various digital marketing mediums because they do typically work.

They can be especially helpful in growing your SMS subscriber list. For example, you can set up an SMS keyword that (when texted to a particular phone number, whether it’s a short code or long code) not only enters the consumer into your giveaway but opts them into your subscriber list.

Key reminders when it comes to contests:

  • Use them sparingly (so you don’t lose impact by running an ongoing contest that loses interest and steam)
  • Create urgency
  • Make it easy as possible to enter
  • Offer a compelling prize
  • Cross-promote across platforms
  • Keep it legal

Gather feedback and monitor performance

Data will always make your SMS marketing strategy more effective. You want to optimize the data you gather about your subscribers so that you can better engage with them. You also want to monitor how each text campaign is performing to make informed decisions on that and future campaigns.

To get more data about your subscribers, try ending a welcome text message (or including in a drip sequence) a survey or poll. This can help you learn more about who your audience is and what you can offer them. This information will benefit your strategy and even how you craft the language of your text messages.

Then, in the backend, you want to track what’s working and what’s not in your SMS marketing strategy. Text messages don’t have as many metrics to follow as emails, but understanding your delivery rate, click-through rate and replies will help you make the best decisions about your strategy. If something didn’t work, you can take that and pivot for the next campaign to do better.

In conclusion

With nearly 100 percent of people reading all their text messages, SMS marketing can be powerful if done right. Take the time you need to invest in the planning stage of your SMS marketing strategy so that your texts are engaging with your audience and deliver the results you’re looking for.

As you’re exploring your SMS marketing strategy, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation, powerful SMS text message marketing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

Best new technology to improve your business

All businesses need new technology to thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Still, with advancements every year, it can be hard to keep up with everything you need to stay ahead of the competition and keep your employees happy and productive.

Companies willing to invest in technology can increase efficiency and improve decision-making, while those unwilling to invest will fall behind.

Wondering what new tech can improve your business? Keep reading. Here are a few of the best new technologies to improve your business.

Card reader apps

If you don’t need a full cash register, you can use a credit card reader app that prevents the need for invoicing or accepting cash only at your business.

Instead, you can swipe cards and send digital receipts to customers. It also helps you track inventory and gives you access to sales history. Card reader apps can simplify things for small businesses without investing in a full-scale POS system. 

Finance and accounting apps and software

finance-apps
Finance and accounting software allows you to take all your financial management processes in-house.

There’s no longer any reason to hire financial companies to manage your finances.

Finance and accounting software allows you to take all your financial management processes in-house.

While you should still work with a financial consultant and CPA, especially during tax time, you can manage your own finances and bookkeep in-house with professional financial software that allows you to track income and expenses while giving you insight into taxes, payroll, and more.

The more robust the system, the more it can do, potentially integrating with HR software to handle employee payroll and taxes. 

With this software, you can easily file your taxes online and make automatic deductions to help you save on your taxes every quarter and year.

It also makes it easy to manage all aspects of your company finances, providing you with easy-to-understand insights into your financial health. 

Communication apps

Whether or not you have remote teams, everyone within your organization should be able to communicate seamlessly with one another.

Communication software allows you to contact staff and different teams quickly without getting up from your desk.

It also allows you to search for posts to help you organize communication without asking for team updates. With communication applications, you can create different channels or groups to help organize communications across departments and various teams.

Check out these nine tips to better manage your remote team and keep communication up.

Cloud computing

The cloud allows you to centralize all important business data and documents into one easily accessible area.

With cloud computing, you can access documents from laptops, tablets, and smartphones anywhere around the world and at any time, so individuals don’t have to be at the office to complete their work.

Cloud computing also makes it easy to store important documents without printing them out and storing them in the office while helping companies improve internal communications and collaboration.

Customer relationship management systems

CRM systems allow you to effectively manage customer relationships and communication, helping you generate and convert leads to increase profits.

A CRM tool allows you to organize your leads to promote growth and enhance conversions while decreasing total costs.

With CRMs, you’ll have access to important sales and marketing analytics reporting dashboards to help you make better business decisions based on real customer data and information. 

Learn more about how DailyStory can support your sales funnel for all your leads.

Cybersecurity

Every business must protect its customer data. However, businesses also have their own information they don’t want to share with the competition. Securing your data goes beyond keeping documents locked away in the office.

Instead, most businesses have some data stored in the cloud that they must protect at all costs, especially when it comes to customer credit card information and personal data. 

Cybersecurity solutions protect your customers and your business, ensuring sensitive information is protected. Unfortunately, hackers get smarter every year and find new ways to break into your systems, so you’ll need a cybersecurity solution that’s able to detect threats before they steal data.

Working with an IT company is the best solution for most companies who don’t know how to protect their own data. Many of these companies are experts in cloud storage and can help you keep all data used in digital tools safe from threats.

Check out this 12-step website security checklist for beginners.

Project management software

If you have difficulty tracking your tasks, your staff likely does, too. Without proper processes and tools in place, you won’t be able to effectively track and complete tasks that are part of larger projects.

Keeping track of deliverables and deadlines is key to the success of your business, but sticky notes and personal notepads aren’t effective for tracking everything within your organization. 

Instead, use project management software that tracks all aspects of projects and deliverables to ensure work is getting done timely, even if staff is working outside the office.

Project management tools vary, but you can find the right one for you by making a list of priorities and talking to each project management company to determine what’s best for you and your teams.

Check out these 15-plus free productivity tools that you should know about.

Inventory management systems

Businesses with products must effectively manage their inventory to ensure they’re not losing expensive product components.

Inventory management also ensures your customers aren’t purchasing products that are out of stock. Inventory management should be every business’ main concern if they sell products because you must ensure you have enough inventory to meet customer demand. You also don’t want to overstock and keep your cash flow tied up in inventory. 

Inventory management software helps you track inventory, allowing you to set up alerts when your inventory is low so you know exactly when to make a purchase based on business needs. It can also facilitate customer service by making it easier to track products, avoiding the potential of angry customers when they purchase products that aren’t available.

Small business technologies

Small business owners must wear many hats that include tracking projects and forming beneficial partnerships that help the business grow. You could lose valuable customers and profits if you’re not effectively utilizing technology in your business.

Finding the right technology for your needs means prioritizing your needs and researching the different providers to ensure you’re only investing in the technology you need. 

About the author

Ashley-Nielsen

Ashley Nielsen earned a B.S. degree in Business Administration Marketing at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is a freelance writer who loves to share knowledge about general business, marketing, lifestyle, wellness, and financial tips. During her free time, she enjoys being outside, staying active, reading a book, or diving deep into her favorite music.

5 tips to select stock photos that aren’t cheesy

Stock photos can be incredibly helpful in your digital marketing efforts, but are the stock images you’re using look like obvious stock photos?

Your visuals matter. When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later, but if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of it three days later.

In addition, posts with images get 650 percent more engagement than posts with only text, and tweets with photography receive 18 percent greater clicks, 89 percent more favorites and 150 percent more retweets.

However, design and visual content is the biggest challenge for about 24 percent of content marketers.

Enter stock photos. Stock images are generic, previously created photos, illustrations and icons that are licensed for specific uses. Some are free, while others cost a fee or are part of a paid subscription plan.

Their use can save you time and effort, but it’s critical that you’re selecting the right stock photos for your digital marketing efforts. There’s a real danger of obvious stock photos appearing cheesy and inauthentic, which can turn off potential customers. 

The following are five tips to select stock photos that aren’t cheesy.

Keep the context top of mind

Before you even begin searching for a stock photo to use, fully understand exactly what you’re going to use that image for. Consider:

  • Are you using it in digital or print?
  • What surrounding colors are involved?
  • What shape or orientation would work best?

Knowing exactly what you’re looking before you get started will save you a lot of wasted effort.

Get a little abstract

Subtle images can go a long way. You don’t have to be super literal when searching for the perfect stock photo. 

So, think outside the box. Going more abstract can be a great way to find a visual that will feel more unique while complementing the surrounding content it’s being used in.

Avoid cheesy smiles

Simply put, some of the most identifiable stock photos are those of super happy businesspeople interacting in posed ways, especially when they’re photoshopped onto a somewhat blank background. 

And they’re not just identifiable because of their contrived aesthetic. They’re also extremely overused. 

Oftentimes, going with more natural poses and realistic postures will feel more authentic, especially if there are at least two people interacting with each other.

Try to avoid a severe lack of personality, the use of way-too-literal tropes and wide-angle shots that are distant from the subjects in the frame. Inauthentic-appearing stock photos often have these characteristics.

Use your judgment. If you see an image that technically works but hits you as feeling fake, keep looking.

Look to direct the viewer’s eye

It’s all about positioning. Consider a magazine article layout, where the image fills the entire page, but the text aligns to the left, while a person (or animal or object) is to the right.

Bonus points if that person in this example is looking toward or pointing to the article text.

You can apply this idea to any stock photo usage, whether it’s text on a social media image or something else. It’s all about directing your viewer’s eye.

Keep experimenting

Remember that there is no science behind selecting the perfect stock photo for your brand. Continue experimenting with different images. Be sure to measure your results so that you know what types of images are working and which are not.

Just keep your brand identity and target audience in mind.

In conclusion

Stock photos have definitely earned a bad reputation over the years, but a lot of that reputation results from marketers and others not knowing how to find stock photos that are unique and authentic-looking. Truthfully, stock photos can be just as genuine and impactful. You just need to invest the time in your search to find the right ones for your brand.

While you’re thinking about visuals, check out these six ways that visuals can increase email conversions.

As you begin to search for more authentic stock photos, consider optimizing the digital marketing process that you’re using them in, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to improve employee satisfaction

Employee satisfaction is more important than ever.

As your employees continue to evaluate what’s important to them in their lives, job satisfaction is key. It ensures that your top performers don’t look for work elsewhere.

So, whether you’re looking to reduce employee turnover or you need to recruit new talent as your company grows, it’s time to start prioritizing satisfaction.

Keep reading to learn more about how to improve employee satisfaction, boost productivity, and reduce expensive turnover.

Importance of employee satisfaction

employee-satisfaction
Happy employees lead to more productivity and less turnover.

Employee satisfaction is key to the success of your business. If your employees aren’t happy with their bosses or the company as a whole, you can expect lower productivity and less engagement, both of which affect your bottom line.

On the other hand, if you have high levels of satisfaction, your turnover rates will reduce because employees won’t feel a need to start looking for other opportunities. 

Having happy employees makes it easier for everyone in the workplace to succeed. These individuals take pride in their work and feel loyal to their employees. Ultimately, happy people are productive people.

Tips for improving employee satisfaction

To improve employee satisfaction, you must first understand why employees are dissatisfied.

Unfortunately, employee dissatisfaction is typically never the cause of one issue or event. Instead, low employee satisfaction is brought about by multiple problems that can all affect the efficiency of their work, their happiness with their job duties, and their overall feelings about the company.

Here are a few factors that can lead to employee dissatisfaction:

Underpayment

Employees deserve to get paid what they’re worth. If you start giving an employee additional duties, they should be compensated for taking on more work. While many people don’t leave jobs due to underpayment, it can contribute to someone looking for another opportunity. 

Lack of recognition

Employees need to feel like they are valued. When someone does a good job on a project, they don’t expect a party. However, they might expect someone to thank them for their hard work. 

Poor leadership

Very few people leave their jobs because they dislike the work; most people leave because they have bad leadership. Bad bosses come in many forms, including the gossiper and the micromanager. 

No opportunity for growth

Most people want careers. Even if someone is hired as a low-level employee, they’re likely hoping for the chance to grow within the company and eventually make more money by learning new skills. However, if your employees are learning new skills and not getting promoted, they might choose to take their skills elsewhere. 

No flexibility

Modern employees need more flexible schedules, and more people realize the eight-day workday just doesn’t make sense anymore, especially for parents or those with responsibilities outside of work. While your company may not be able to offer people full days off, people do expect some level of flexibility in their working hours so they can take care of what’s most important in their lives, such as their loved ones. 

Understanding the contributing factors of employee dissatisfaction is important because it can help the business understand how to fix employee attitudes and improve their relationships with those who work there.

Here are five ways you can start to improve employee satisfaction.

Give promotions as appropriate

Too many small companies forget to give their top performers the promotions they deserve.

If someone is taking on additional duties without being compensated, they might take their new skills and start applying for other jobs. Your employees are smart, and they know what they’re worth. They can type in their job title on any job board and find hundreds of job listings that align with their skill sets. Many of these listings include the rate someone else is willing to pay them. 

If you can’t pay people what they’re worth and invest in your employees, you can’t expect them to be loyal to your company. 

Celebrate milestones

Celebrating employee milestones makes employees feel appreciated. It shows you care about them as people and not just cogs in a wheel.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to throw a party every time someone hits their work anniversary milestone. Instead, you can try small gestures, such as giving employees gifts like a snack box or small gift cards on their anniversaries. 

Recognition

Recognizing employees for their work goes a long way in building a healthy relationship with them.

By telling someone they did a good job on a project, you can make them feel like their work really matters. Consistently recognizing hard work is key to ensuring employee engagement.

Build a growth plan

Employees may love their jobs. But eventually, they’ll want to start taking on more responsibility to prevent boredom from doing the same work every day.

Providing employees with a growth plan can help them understand what they need to accomplish to get a promotion and start taking on more responsibility.

Be flexible

Some companies give their employees unlimited paid time off because they trust that they are completing their work. However, unlimited PTO might not be a good idea, depending on your industry and the size of your company. Instead, implement a flexible work schedule, allowing people to work when they can and when they’re most productive.

A flexible schedule doesn’t mean that your employees will be working around the clock, though. When offering flexible work schedules, all employees must have the same rules.

For example, you can ensure that everyone works the same number of hours in a day, no matter what time that is. You should also find a way to track projects easily to improve communication when everyone is working on different schedules.

In conclusion

Improving employee satisfaction is easy. However, if you don’t start taking the time to evaluate your employees’ feelings about their jobs and their work, you won’t know when they’re dissatisfied.

Of course, if you have a high turnover rate, that should signal that something is wrong.

Unfortunately, far too many employers care more about sales than finding candidates who can help boost those sales. You can start improving satisfaction and reducing turnover with a few simple techniques.

Have remote employees? Check out our nine tips to better manage your virtual team.

As you’re determining how to improve employee satisfaction, consider leveling up the digital marketing of your entire business with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

About the author

Julia-Olivas

Julia Olivas graduated from San Francisco State University with her B.A. in Communication Studies. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing and content creation. Outside of writing, she loves cooking, reading, making art, and her pup Ruby.

8 signs that your marketing strategy isn’t working

Even with the best planning, your marketing strategy could fail.

Digital marketing comprises various online strategies that identify, build and target an audience with the ultimate goal of turning them into paying customers. It includes the following and more:

About 81 percent of shoppers research online before purchasing, so it’s important to know as soon as possible if your marketing strategy isn’t working.

Beyond the obvious drop in revenue or even stagnant revenue, the following eight signs can tell you that a change is needed in your marketing strategy.

Low social media engagement

If your posts on any social media platform are received with crickets, something needs to change. A healthy social media presence is typically indicative of a healthy business. 

Of course, you’ll want to consider not just the content you post but your posting frequency as well.

A social media management tool can help you get organized across platforms, and check out our list of 11 free (or almost free) social media management tools you can try.

Plus, see our 11 expert tips for growing your social media following.

Not reaching your target audience

Your various marketing channels (social media, email and more) could be seeing decent or even great engagement rates, but are you actually reaching your target audience?

It’s important to understand who your ideal customer is so that you can then ensure that your marketing strategy supports reaching and engaging with them. Engagement is great, but are they the type of consumer who will ultimately purchase from you.

Regularly perform an audit of your online targeting. You can gather this information on different platforms through their analytics interfaces or even Google Analytics for your website.

Not sure who your target audience should be? See our seven tips to help determine your target audience.

Feeling overwhelmed or without direction

Digital marketing involves a lot of planning, strategizing, execution and follow-up, so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And even if you’re going through the motions and doing everything that you’re “supposed to do,” do you have a purposeful direction?

While you want to be open-minded to new strategies and tactics, you also want to define exactly what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. 

Refer to your data thus far for inspiration, and check out our seven expert tips to set achievable marketing goals for your small business.

Hesitation to share your website

Whether you like it or not, your website is the online calling card for your business. Are you proud of it? 

If the answer is no, then you definitely want to focus your energy here. Perhaps your website simply needs updated information or a total website redesign.

Audit your website to understand what needs improvement.

And because a majority of website traffic is mobile, check out our 16 tips for a mobile-friendly website that you can explore.

Low website traffic

Of course, every business wants to see a lot of traffic on its website. But if you’re noticing a drop in website traffic or a plateau of low traffic, you’ll want to assess your marketing strategy as it relates to driving consumers to your site.

You’ll want to start with an audit of your SEO practices, as well as how you’re faring with content marketing. Do you have a blog? If so, is it attracting your target audience?

Check out our 19 tips for driving traffic to your new blog.

Low brand penetration

Are you known in your market? Do you stand out from your competition? Do customers understand your brand?

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, you might have an issue with your branding.

A brand consists of:

  • Visuals, such as colors, logo, images, font, etc.
  • Tone of voice
  • Content
  • Online presence, such as website, social accounts, etc.
  • Influencer and other types of partnerships

The consistency and connection an effective brand can offer builds trust among consumers. About 81 percent of consumers say they need to be able to trust a brand before buying from it.

If you need to reassess your branding or even start from scratch, check out our nine expert tips about branding.

Competition envy

What do you think when you see your competition’s website, ads and social media? If it’s overwhelming jealousy, then you want to take a second look at your own marketing strategy.

Remember to focus on your mission, your target audience and your own goals when your sharing the story of your business. You can leverage inspiration from your competition into your own strategy, but you’ll always be more successful putting that energy into your marketing.

Learn more about what a competitive analysis is and how you can start yours.

Over-budget campaigns

On average, businesses spend about 10 percent to 13 percent of their annual revenue on overall marketing. 

So, there’s something to be said about having a set marketing budget and that at least a portion of that is intended for brand awareness (which is difficult to measure an ROI on).

However, if you find that a specific campaign cost $1,000 (for example), but it only resulted in $200 in sales, you need to ask yourself whether the $800 was worth the potential brand awareness. If the answer is no, then you’re over budget.

You’ll want to assess how you budget for each campaign and monitor your campaign’s performance as it’s happening (not just after it ends) so that you can change anything if needed.

Check out our six tips to maximize your social media advertising budget.

In conclusion

Regardless of whether you think your marketing strategy is failing or not, you can always pivot and change directions.

The key is to be tuned in to what is happening and whether it’s working (or not).

As you’re evaluating your marketing strategy, consider leveling up with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 tips to write a press release that gets noticed

While some may think a press release is archaic, it still should be part of your overall marketing strategy.

In the simplest sense, a press release is a news story written by a public relations professional and sent to targeted members of the media. Typical elements include:

  • Headline
  • Subheadline
  • Dateline
  • Lead sentence with the most important information up front
  • Body text that expands on the news
  • Quotes from representatives of your brand or other relevant individuals
  • Company boilerplate
  • Contact information

Of course, the days are different from when press releases were the dominant way that brands could get their story out. Now, just social media alone provides an immediate solution for brands to directly tell their story to consumers.

But the relevance of a press release remains.

About 44 percent of journalists trust press releases the most, with a portion saying that it’s their most trustworthy source of brand-related information.

There is a nuance in crafting a press release that’s both informative and engaging. The following are eight tips to write a press release that gets noticed.

Determine a relevant, newsworthy angle

Before you even begin to write a press release, you have to ask yourself: “Why would anyone be interested?”

You need to have a newsworthy angle. Remember that a press release is about delivering an official statement to the media in addition to your current and potential customers.

The media still counts on press releases for discovering story ideas. Give them the why they need to notice your press release among all others. In fact, your why should be in the first sentence.

Here are some topic ideas:

  • Receiving an award
  • Launching a new product or service
  • Hiring a new executive
  • Planning a big event
  • Managing any type of crisis

Of course, you’re not the only brand that would ever launch a new product, for example. Go behind the standard, expected angle and see if you can offer a unique perspective to your brand’s news.

Focus on an engaging headline

Your headline is the first thing a reporter reads in your press release, which makes it almost one of the most important parts. It is your first impression, for sure.

More than anything, you want to stand out. Think about how you can be both catchy and informative. Also, consider opportunities to include:

  • Action words
  • Numbers
  • Interesting adjectives
  • Accuracy

Check out our 19 tips to write engaging, effective headlines.

Keep it brief

While you might be tempted to include every possible detail in your press release, don’t. Stick with the facts, and don’t stray away from the point or repeat yourself. 

You want journalists to have all the relevant information they need to write their stories, but you want to be skimmable as well. If it’s too dense and long, you risk losing their interest altogether.

A general recommendation is to be one or two pages maximum, but strive for only one page if possible.

Provide a release date

Including a date in your press release tells the reader exactly how new or old the story is. This is necessary for journalists.

Remember that if the news should not be released yet, you can have an “embargoed until” date. There’s no for-sure guarantee that every journalist will observe it, but most should.

Include a call-to-action

What do you want the journalist to do because of your press release? Including a strong call-to-action clearly expresses what you want him or her to do.

Because a majority of readers will not read it to the end, you’ll want to include your CTA high up in your text, preferably between the first and third paragraphs.

Keep these factors in mind with your CTA:

  • Formatting with bold and italics to draw attention
  • Standing alone from the rest of your text
  • Including a link

Share quotes

Quotes are a great way to add authority and dimension to your press release. You can quote an executive from your company, an industry expert or other relevant individual.

Plus, journalists definitely use press releases for quotes and often pull them directly for their articles. 

Try to include quotes from more than just one source. 

You should include contact information for your company’s point of contact in case a journalist wants additional quotes or has any questions.

Leverage multimedia in your press release

Whenever you can show rather than tell, go for it. Including multimedia in your press release can enhance your storytelling while also offering additional information and visual references.

Press releases with a visual element get about three times more views. Multimedia types you can use:

  • Photos
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • PDFs

Just make sure that the multimedia you’re including is high-quality and shareable.

Visuals also impact emails in general. See these six ways that visuals increase email conversions.

SEO still matters

Press releases exist digitally, so search engine optimization (SEO) for everything you put out there still matters. Keep your keywords in mind.

Check out these 11 free SEO keyword research tools that you should consider.

In addition, think about:

  • Keeping your sentences and paragraphs short
  • Bolding and italicizing critical information
  • Using bullets and/or number lists

Check out our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners.

In conclusion

Be patient when writing your first few press releases and don’t be afraid to tweak, adjust and proof multiple times to get it right. (Of course, you’ll want to proof for any spelling or grammar mistakes.) Practice makes perfect. Just focus on your target audience and how you can stand out from the crowd.

While you’re writing your press release, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to create an effective media kit for your business

Does your business have a media kit? Is it doing everything it can to share your brand story?

Whether you’re looking to create your first media kit or revamp what you already have, you’re in the right place.

A media kit (also known as a press kit) is a promotional tool that highlights your company’s products, services, milestones and any relevant past work. Targeting media outlets, possible investors or even other businesses, your media kit should share everything you would want those groups to know.

Commonly, media kits are used when your business is:

  • Launching a new product or service
  • Attracting investors
  • Promoting an event
  • Opening a new location

Of course, the format of your media kit can depend on the purpose behind it. Beyond that, keep in mind that your media kit can be digital (which gives you a little more flexibility in the assets and linking you can incorporate in it) or printed.

The following are seven tips to create an effective media kit for your business.

Gather all your resources

Before you can even begin creating your media kit, you should begin gathering all your resources. Media kits can be filled with a number of different assets:

  • Documents
  • Work samples
  • Images
  • Relevant links (if creating a digital version of your media kit)
  • Testimonials
  • Statistics
  • Press releases
  • Any additional media assets

Images

When it comes to images, you want to focus on high-resolution photographs. These often are taken by a professional photographer. You’ll also want to collect professional headshots of all relevant team members who will be featured in any way in the media kit.

Testimonials

Testimonials are an excellent form of social proof. They can come from customers, other brands you’ve worked with or anyone else who can speak to the value of your brand. You’ll want to collect at least five strong testimonials.

Past work

Depending on the type of business you have, you could feature past work (such as online influencers sharing past collaborations and what posts from that generated the most traffic) or statistics that reflect your business and are up to date and detailed.

Statistics

Statistics are particularly important to potential investors. Types of statistics you can consider including:

  • Website traffic
  • Social media traffic
  • Audience demographics
  • Growth statistics

You can use various data analytics tools to pull these numbers and confirm that they are correct and up to date. Check out our nine tips to get the most out of Google Analytics.

Press releases

For the inclusion of any press releases, you can include up to three (in chronological order) in your media kit that really highlight your company’s milestones. Make sure they cover different angles and are not repetitive. Remember that press releases are ranked as the most trustworthy channel for media. Of course, if your business has any prominent media mentions, you can include that as well.

Media assets

When deciding which media assets to include in your media kit, consider what a journalist would need to write an accurate article about your business. This can include photographs, samples, infographics and more. Then, those assets should be listed in your resources section.

Optimize your introduction

First impressions are everything. You want to write a concise yet informative summary of your business as an introduction. This could include elements of your mission statement, but it doesn’t have to.

Regardless of whether your media kit is about your business as a whole or reflects a newly launched product (or something else), your introduction should still focus on what your business is about.

Keep your introduction to just one paragraph. In addition to referring to your mission statement for inspiration, you can also consider:

  • The history of the business
  • Your personal story
  • The “why” behind your business

Whatever angle you choose to take should not double up on the information you’re planning on including elsewhere in your media kit.

Of course, your logo and any relevant headshot images of founders or other team members should be paired with your introduction.

Include contact information

Your contact information might be a given in your media kit, considering its purpose. But a great place for your contact information is immediately following your introduction.

The contact information should be for whoever can be interviewed by the media. This can be the founder, a public relations representative or any relevant individual with the company.

Remember to include the contact’s:

  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website URL
  • Social media handles
  • Mailing address

Include a ‘backgrounder’

A “backgrounder” is an informative document typically attached to media kits and even press releases and media advisories. It’s an opportunity to offer more information about your company or the product you’re making (or service you’re offering).

Make sure that when you’re writing your backgrounder, you stay focused. Don’t go off-topic. It can include:

  • A brief description of your business
  • The history of your business
  • Any milestones and awards
  • A description of your highlighted product, service or event (if relevant)
  • You vision and mission statement

Highlight your founders and employees

If you focused on your business in your introduction, now is the time for a brief one-page section that’s about your founder(s) and other employees. 

It’s a personal touch that can help your media kit stand out. You can mention your founder’s history, your employees’ work ethic and more. You want to humanize your business. Just make sure that you’re concise and straightforward.

Of course, you’ll want to include an image of your founder(s) and a group photo of your employees.

Proof your media kit

Once you finish your media kit, proofing is incredibly important. Ideally, you can have other team members proof and review the media kit for you. 

But at the very least, you should give a couple read-throughs with some time in between. You also can read out loud, proofread for one type of error at a time and/or print out a hard copy and mark edits in red pen.

Distribution is subtle

Once all the edits are made, make sure that you convert your media kit to PDF format for digital distribution. That way, readers cannot make any edits of their own.

But what you might not know is that distribution isn’t about bombarding various journalists with your media kit upfront. Instead, send an initial press release to media outlets that could help you reach your target audience. Then, if an outlet is interested in covering your story, you can send your full media kit.

Many businesses have their media kits available for viewing and downloading on their websites as well.

While digital media kits are popular, you might have a need for a hard copy version. Make sure that you have it professionally printed. If you cut any corners in the printing, it will show.

In conclusion

At the heart of a great, effective media kit are honesty and brevity. But before you dive in, take the time to research the media kits that other businesses have. What do you like or not like about them? You can learn a lot simply from looking at your favorite businesses. Use your takeaways to help construct your own media kit.

While you’re creating your media kit, think about your digital marketing process. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 of the most profitable blog niches

Creating a blog not only supports your content marketing efforts. It can help you make money, too.

But to nail your profitable blog niche isn’t easy. Blogs are very popular. About 70 million posts are published each month just by WordPress users. In order to succeed, you must stand out.

Fortunately, you have numerous profitable blog niches to explore so that you can find the topic that best suits your expertise, your brand and (truly) your passion. That way, you’re crossing what makes sense for you with what can make you money.

The following (in no particular order) are 10 of the most profitable blog niches to consider before you even begin to plan your first post.

Digital marketing

Digital marketing’s importance for small businesses is only increasing. But at the same time, it can be an overwhelming topic for many business owners.

The topic of digital marketing covers a range of online strategies that market one’s business to its intended target audience. This includes (but is not limited to):

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • SMS text message marketing
  • Pay-per-click advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Online branding
  • Influencer marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Content marketing

Successful digital marketing efforts can lead to increased conversions and sales for businesses. So, whether you’re social media savvy in general or have a degree and many years of experience in the digital marketing field, an increasing number of businesses are seeking understanding and tips from people just like you.

Of course, you can narrow down your focus to a more specific segment of digital marketing and really leverage your blog as a valuable resource that internet users will want to return to and even subscribe to for the latest updates. Affiliate marketing could be a great way to generate an income through this topic. But the simplest approach is selling digital advertising space on your your blog website.

Do-It-Yourself

Search engines are constantly being used by people trying to figure out how to do a project themselves. Are you an avid DIYer? Maybe you have life hacks when it comes to one-off repairs in older homes. Or, you’re a contractor who rebuilt your entire home from the ground up. The sky’s the limit.

Clearly, this is one type of profitable blog niches that cries out for tutorials and how-to articles. But YouTube can be a great pairing with your blog here as well. 

Build a big enough audience on YouTube, and you could be paid directly for your content.

Health and fitness

The total market size of the global fitness club industry alone is more than $87 billion. And the COVID-19 pandemic has only underscored the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.

Of course, the overall topic of health and fitness is about as diverse as you can imagine. Whether you’re a health professional leveraging your expertise about macronutrient nutrition (for example) or an amatear transparently sharing your personal fitness journey (and everything in between), you have the opportunity to connect with others through your blog.

As far as making money, one way in the health and fitness industry to do so would also be affiliate marketing, but you also could offer an online-only health program or sell a subscription to your video content (whether they’re workouts or cooking tutorials, and so on).

Check out our four tips to become a fitness affiliate marketer, as well as 18 of the best fitness affiliate programs to boost your income.

Recipes and food

Not necessarily tied to the health and fitness industry since food can definitely be “not healthy” but just as engaging, recipes and food in general is big business online.

Food itself is an evergreen topic, good anytime for a long time. This makes it particularly profitable as a blog niche.

Whether you specialize in quick-and-easy weeknight meal recipes or anything and everything with cheese in it, determine where you can specialize since this niche is so saturated. You’ll also want to include plenty of eye-catching visuals. Consider pairing your blog with an Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook presence.

To drive income through the food and recipe blog niche, you could partner with brands to create recipes using their products, sell a printable cookbook and more.

Parenting

The audience for parenting advice is so large that if you’re a parent, this is one type of profitable blog niches worth considering. Think mommy bloggers.

But beyond just being a parent, what specifically can you focus on? Maybe it’s a stage of parenting (like raising toddlers), a type of parent (like older parents) or even your status (single father). You’ll want to outline your blog’s brand so that you can stay on topic to help build your audience. 

Of course, to make money, product partnerships, sponsored ads and more can all help turn a profit.

Personal finance and investing

Who doesn’t want money advice? People always are looking for ways to more effectively manage their money and improve their investing outcomes. Google searches about financial planning are only increasing.

Personal finance blogging is a great opportunity. If you’re a financial advisor, you can offer a wealth of tips to be more money wise. You also could be an avid couponer who has tips to share on how to save the most money when shopping.

Whatever your angle, the best way to make this niche profitable is to think through what you can offer that will help readers make more money in the long run. That could be an online course or paid webinars.

Fashion

Fashion is an immensely popular and diverse blog niche. Whether you’re a designer, love modeling new looks, intensely follow the industry and its news, or something else entirely, fashion blogging could be for you.

Just like food, visuals are key, and a pairing with Instagram or another visual social media platform would be helpful.

To make money, you could leverage Instagram Shop to directly sell your products, sell advertising space on your website or explore affiliate marketing.

Technology and gaming

It makes sense to use the online medium of blogging to connect with others who are interested in technology or gaming. In 2020, the gaming industry alone generated about $155 billion in revenue.

You could share in-depth product (hardware or software) reviews, post tutorials to help people use a specific piece of software or even break industry news if you’re an insider.

To make money, there is a great opportunity to use affiliate links to products or software that you’re writing about.

Travel

If you’re dream retirement is to live the life of a travel blogger, we don’t blame you. But you also don’t have to wait. Travel is a very popular and one of the most profitable blog niches if done right.

Many begin by blogging about their own travels, but you’ll want to focus your content a little bit more than that. Remember, you want to stand out. Maybe you’re a particular type of traveler (like a family or a solo female). Perhaps you’re focusing on a particular area or continent. Whatever it is, you want to have a theme or brand that’s clear to your readers. Having this makes it easier to monetize your content.

Profit can be driven through affiliate links to hotels or other travel accommodations and products.

Self-care

A popular trend in recent years is self-care. About 73 percent of Americans were more conscious of needing self-care in 2020 (with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic), while about 69 percent planned to do more self-care in 2021 than they did in the previous year.

But self-care is as popular as it is diverse. From stress management to journaling, a trained psychologist, wellness coach or counselor can really add to the self-care conversation.

To make money within the self-care blog niche, consider promoting products in paid partnerships that can help your audience achieve their goals, offering life-coaching sessions, developing a podcast where you can sell ad space with a big enough audience or even directly selling your own digital products, such as a robust journal template. 

In conclusion

When creating your blog and choosing a profitable blog niche that works for you, remember that you have something to contribute to the already existing and ongoing conversation. Make sure you identify what helps you stand out and leverage that every chance you get in order to connect with your own target audience.

Of course, many of the methods mentioned to drive an income from your blogging efforts are only the tip of the iceberg. There are many ways bloggers are profiting from their content. But either way, profit depends on growing and maintaining a significant amount of website traffic and engagement. 

Check out our 19 tips to drive traffic to your new blog.

As you gain traction with your new blog, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

19 tips to drive traffic to your new blog

Blogs can be a large part of your content marketing efforts.

Each month, about 409 million people view more than 20 billion blog pages.

If you haven’t already been maintaining blog content for your brand, you might be deciding that now is the time to get started.

Great! But once you launch your new blog, how do you begin to drive traffic to it? Clearly, a blog with no page views is like a tree falling in the forest without anyone hearing it. In other words, you’re not going to hit any of your marketing or revenue goals with a low-performing blog.

The following are 19 tips to help your new blog get attention.

Determine your target audience

This is a common requirement for any sort of successful content marketing tactic. While many small businesses would love to target everyone all the time (because who wouldn’t want your product or service?), you have to get real.

First, everyone has a budget. And yours is going to go much further when you are targeting a more specific group of people than if you’re trying to reach everyone.

Second, you’ll be that much more effective by targeting a niche of consumers who are most likely to purchase. That’s right. Aiming “small” (but targeted) will lead to a better ROI (return on investment).

Of course, your target audience is more than a handful of demographic characteristics. See our seven tips to help you determine the best target audience for your brand.

Plan engaging blog content ideas

It might sound obvious, but there’s not a huge reason to push for more blog traffic if your content is lackluster. You’ll simply lose the readers you do get and definitely won’t be able to build a relationship with them.

Content that’s clear, engaging and even solves a problem that your target audience might be dealing with will not only attract visitors but also leave your audience wanting more. Both are good things!

Consider as your brainstorming blog topics:

  • Your expertise. What relevant knowledge can you share?
  • The interests of your readers. What are they wanting or needing to know?
  • Trending topics. What can you contribute to the conversation?

Once you have a list of topic ideas, get organized. Check out our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Develop attention-grabbing blog headlines

Headlines can greatly impact how well your blog posts perform. They are on the frontlines representing your content and impacting whether an internet user will click through on your link or not.

In a nutshell, you want to be clear, catchy and detailed while also not being too long. 

See our 19 tips to write effective, engaging headlines.

Optimize for SEO

Keep in mind the phrases and keywords that your target audience will most likely use in search engines, like Google or Bing. You’ll want to naturally incorporate these throughout your content.

You can try any of these 11 free keyword research tools to get an idea of the proper keywords you should use.

This effort can help search engines find you and recommend your specific piece of content to the potential searching audience, which can then lead to free website traffic.

See our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners to dive deeper.

Consistency is critical

You’ll want to publish new blog posts consistently. Of course, consistency does not mean posting daily at the same time each day. It just means that you must decide on a posting schedule and then stick to it.

This serves your visitors, so they know when to expect new content, but this also can help your ranking for search engines, which trust websites with consistent new content versus those with an erratic posting schedule.

When deciding how often to post, consider your time and resources first. You don’t want to overpromise and underdeliver as soon as you start. Remember that you can always build up your posting schedule over time as it makes sense to do so.

Go long with your content

This isn’t permission to go long just for the sake of going long. There needs to be substance behind it, of course.

Long-form content offers readers deeper, more concise information. But that’s not the only benefit.

Sharing rates typically increase along with the content length of your blog on all the major social media platforms, especially Twitter and Facebook. In addition, the top ten results for any given search tend to go to content with at least 2,000 words, and the rankings tend to decrease along with the word count.

Just make sure that you break up your longer content with subheadings, images and so on.

Never go out of style with evergreen content

Evergreen content remains relevant over a long period of time. It’s not time-sensitive in any way, but it could be seasonal, where the content can continue to come back every year and be just as relevant. This sustainability will help feed continued traffic to your blog.

To get the ball rolling on evergreen content, think about the questions you’re frequently asked by customers.

Use visuals

We as humans are more visual by nature. Our eyes are drawn to images before text.

About 80 percent of people remember what they see, compared to 10 percent of what they hear and 20 percent of what they read.

Leverage this by incorporating images, GIFs, videos and graphics into your new blog. Plus, you have the ability to properly tag your images so that search engines can understand the types of assets you’re offering to visitors within your text content.

Confirm your website loading speed

About 57 percent of online shoppers will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds for a page to load. And search engines are paying attention to your loading speed as well, which will lower your search ranking if you’re slower than you should be.

Not sure what your website’s loading speed is? Start with Google’s Page Speed Insights. You’ll not only find out the loading speed of your pages on mobile but also get some diagnostic advice on how to fix any of the slower pages.

Website loading speed is critically important to mobile marketing in general. Check out our 14 tips to help you optimize for mobile consumption in additional ways.

Embrace internal linking

Internal linking is all about linking to your other content that’s relevant in the current blog that visitors are reading.

This benefits your SEO efforts, and it can help keep visitors on your website longer by visiting that related content in addition to your original content that attracted them in the first place.

Just make sure that you’re only using links that are relevant and valuable. Keep an eye out for opportunities to link to other content as you’re working on new content.

Build up quality backlinks

Backlinks are hyperlinks that point from one website to another (as opposed to internal links that are linking within your website). About 91 percent of all web pages never get any organic traffic from Google, and that’s mostly due to the fact that they don’t have backlinks. 

Don’t be one of those pages.

We all want to improve the search engine ranking of our website, but when it comes to getting others to link to you, it’s easy to feel lost. Plus, you don’t want just any backlink for your site. Quality (meaning that the backlink is coming from a trusted website) is important as well.

See our seven tips to help grow quality backlinks to your content.

Consider guest blogging

By featuring other writers on your blog, you’re not only adding to the value you have with different perspectives, you’re also potentially reaching a new audience.

When you’re working with potential guest bloggers, make sure you agree in advance on how the partnership will work.

  • Will they share the content on their own social media channels? If so, how often? What does that look like?
  • Does anything need to be linked back to for them? What links? How many?

Of course, this can also be flipped where you’re guest blogging on another website.

Partnerships can truly be a win-win for everyone involved if planned and talked through in advance.

Social media promotion is key

Maintaining an active social media presence goes a long way toward driving traffic to your new blog. You can directly share your content with the context that should encourage users to click through to your blog.

You’ll want to consider every social media platform different and unique. What works on Twitter is not the same as what can work on Instagram.

Consider your audience and the platform when posting. You might even want to consider creating a YouTube channel to work in tandem with your blog.

In addition, having social media sharing buttons that are alongside your content will make it easy for your visitors to share your content organically on their own social accounts as well.

Learn about what you should know about social media.

Leverage email marketing

Email marketing is a great way to build personal relationships with your subscribers, and you can use snippets of your blog content within your emails that can link back to your full content.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Even in a world of social media prevalence, more consumers use email than any social media platform, and more than half of consumers check their email before they check their social media in the morning.

Check out our 16 email marketing best practices so that you can put your best foot forward.

Host a contest or giveaway

You can create opportunities for your audience to win prizes by subscribing to, liking, commenting on or sharing your blog content, which can all further the reach of your blog.

Prizes could be a product you sell or a service you offer to keep it simple.

Make sure you plan ahead so that any giveaway works efficiently for you and for the participants. Plus, you’ll want to keep it all legal with thorough Terms and Conditions tied to your giveaway.

Encourage comments and discussions on your blog

Google naturally improves the search ranking of a blog that’s receiving a lot of comments because it indicates that the content is engaging.

Of course, what can help these discussions is your thoughtful responses to any comments left by readers. It creates a trusting relationship and encourages them to continue commenting.

You can always try to get the comments going by ending your blog post with an open-ended question that readers can answer in the comment section.

Participate in various Q&A websites

Question-and-answer websites are definitely one of the biggest online communities in the digital world.

By answering questions on such platforms as Quora, TripAdvisor and others, your answer will be live for a long time and could potentially drive traffic to your blog.

That being said, you want to avoid any link dumping on these sites. Instead, focus on giving as detailed an answer as possible and only include a link if it makes sense to do so.

Experiment with influencer marketing

In the simplest sense, an influencer is anyone with a digital following (or audience) on a social media platform or elsewhere whom you’d like to attract to your own brand.

The purpose of influencer marketing involves increasing brand awareness, targeting new and niche audiences and increasing impressions and reach.

By identifying and partnering with an influencer, you can reach that new audience and drive up traffic to your new blog.

But before you dive in headfirst with your first influencer marketing campaign, check out our seven tips.

Spread social proof across every platform possible

Social proof refers to potential customers assuming that what others are doing is correct based on how often they see those actions. In other words, social proof is about looking to others to figure out the right way to interact in any given situation.

You can use social proof to promote your blog on your website and across your social media channels.

Here are a handful of ideas to get started:

  • Use a feedback form to collect user feedback about your blog that you can then share.
  • Ask users to rate your blog articles.
  • Share your social media following number, email subscribers or any other numbers.

Learn more about what social proof is and nine ways to use it, as well as 17 of the best social proof tools that you can try.

In conclusion

The biggest thing to keep in mind when launching a new blog is to have patience. Growing your website traffic organically can take time. 

Focus on offering quality content that resonates and getting creative with your promotion beyond even these tips. 

Check out our seven tips to level up your content marketing, as well as our Digital Marketing 101 Guide for Beginners.

As you gain traction with your new blog, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

8 best practices for using GIFs in your marketing

When your goal involves being as eye-catching and engaging as possible, it’s tough not to consider using GIFs in your branded marketing.

The human brain processes images about 60,000 times faster than words. 

GIFs are a type of image file format (Graphics Interchange Format) that can store multiple image files and present them sequentially, creating an animated effect. 

GIPHY, a popular GIF website, serves more than 7 billion GIFs per day, seen by more than 500 million daily active users who watch more than 11 million hours of GIFs every day.

GIFs were created in 1987 when software developer Steve Wilhite was trying to use animated images that didn’t have an extremely large file size. GIFs use an infinite loop that autoplays upon loading and are compatible with different operating systems and browsers. High-quality GIFs look nearly identical to videos.

In other words, GIFs are far more interesting to the eye than static images and add movement to your content. If they’re right for your industry and used well, they can help you stand out from your competitors.

The following are eight GIF best practices for your digital marketing efforts.

Best practice #1: Get creative with how to use GIFs

There are endless ways you can use GIFs in your digital marketing. Here are some examples:

  • Express emotions and personality. If your brand personality leans toward the fun or wacky, GIFs are a great way to showcase that. 
  • Tell stories. GIFs can be very effective when used for storytelling. 
  • Explain processes or show products. Launching a new product? Consider showing it off in a high-energy GIF. Is there a process that could be easier to understand through the animation of a GIF? Loop the steps in an easy-to-understand presentation.
  • Animate your data. Your audience may appreciate the visual appeal of watching your charts and graphs come to life.
  • Replace video. This comes in handy especially when file size is a factor or the medium otherwise can’t directly embed video in an efficient way (such as email).
  • Highlight your call-to-action. GIFs can complement your CTAs, where the goal is to draw attention.
  • Launch your own branded GIF channel on GIPHY. The platform could expand your reach to new audiences.

Truly, most of your digital marketing content could incorporate a GIF in some way. You’re mostly just limited by your imagination.

Best practice #2: Get organized with a content calendar

Because there are so many ways you can use GIFs, it’s best to get organized. 

But in general, a content calendar will help you strategically plan not just when and where to use GIFs in your digital marketing but also what the GIF content itself should be. This can help you plan content for all occasions.

You also can include a section to bookmark any brainstorming ideas as they arise. The key is that you begin incorporating GIFs as part of your ongoing strategy.

Check out our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Best practice #3: Aim for subtle branding in your GIFs

Of course, when creating a GIF, you’re going to want to incorporate your branding into it. That branding can include a watermark, product placement, colors, fonts and so on.

But strive to keep the branding light as a best practice. Focus on entertainment first and brand placement second.

This recommendation goes back to the way many use GIFs, which is to enhance digital conversations. If your branding is over the top, your GIF is that much less likely to have a second ongoing life with internet users. By incorporating your branding in a subtle way and prioritizing entertainment, your GIF makes more sense in common uses. And even though the branding may be subtle (like a small, gray watermark, for example), you’ll increase your reach by not overpowering the GIF’s message.

Of course, this does not apply to any product-specific GIFs you may want to create. Remember, it all comes down to the goal of your GIF. You want to feature a product in an eye-catching way? Do so. But if you want your GIF to be widely used, consider subtle branding options.

Best practice #4: Use text to make it a meme

Memes and GIFs are both informal and fun and can offer commentary on pop culture as well as express emotions. A meme is an image that portrays a particular concept or idea that then usually spreads through online social platforms. Text is often overlaid onto the image to convey that intended message.

By adding meme-like text to your GIF, you greatly enhance your content’s potential for going viral or at least reaching more users. 

Keep in mind that GIF engines also look to see if there is text within your GIF. This helps them understand what your GIF is about, which can help the discoverability of your GIF.

Best practice #5: Explore GIF stickers for social media reach

Interested in your reach via Instagram Stories and Snapchat Stories? Consider GIF stickers. They’re what Instagram and Snapchat users can place on their Stories.

By uploading your GIFs into your GIF search engine of choice, they will be available for consumers.

This approach helps leverage users into brand ambassadors.

Best practice #6: Leverage emotion with reaction GIFs

A primary purpose of GIFs is to express emotions, so many of the most popular GIFs are reaction GIFs. This refers to when GIFs are used as a response that showcases an emotion.

Sharing a GIF where a person is jumping up and down and clapping is more expressive than simply typing: “Excited!”

Of course, if your product or service ties into human emotion (such as “hungry” for a restaurant), you’ll want to create GIFs for the emotions that your product or service directly solves. If this isn’t the case, focus on content for popular reactions and emotions in general.

Best practice #7: Conduct keyword research

Keywords are an important element to any successful SEO strategy or pay-per-click campaign, but did you know that they matter for GIF strategy, too?

So, keyword research is critical to getting your GIFs seen by your target audience. A best practice. Consider the purpose and goals of your GIFs. This will help you narrow down which keywords you want to use. Then, you can make your content for specific keywords for a better chance to rank in searches.

Check out these 11 free SEO keyword research tools to help you.

Best practice #8: Timing matters

GIFs are short but not too short. Ideally, you want to get your message across in between 2 and 6 seconds as another best practice.

If you go shorter than 2 seconds, your GIF will be more like a strobe effect. If you go longer than 6 seconds, you risk losing the attention of your viewers.

Make sure that your GIFs loop cleanly as well. You’ll want a clear start and finish, but pay attention to how the last frame of your GIF transitions back to the first frame. Best practice: Aim to be as seamless as possible.

In conclusion

GIFs can be a powerful addition to your digital marketing strategy. Make sure to have a plan first before you venture into their use and creation.

To help you create your own, check out these 11 free GIF-maker tools.

As you’re exploring your potential GIF strategy, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

16 email marketing best practices that make an impact

Email marketing might feel “old hat” in a world of new and ever-evolving digital marketing tools. But it deserves your attention more than ever.

In 2022, the number of email users worldwide is estimated to be about 4.3 billion. This is expected to grow to about 4.6 billion in 2025, making up more than half of the estimated world population

See these 48 statistics that show the value of email marketing.

Simply put, email marketing is the use of email to promote your brand’s products or services. But in addition, you can develop relationships with your current customers and connect to potential customers. It’s about informing and engaging your recipients with a personalized message that resonates. Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective and conversion-rich tactics you can embrace within your overall digital marketing strategy. And embracing its best practices can make you even more effective in your efforts.

The following are 16 email marketing best practices that will help you make an impact.

Never purchase contact lists

There are a number of reasons why you should not purchase contact lists for your email marketing efforts.

Of course, data protection laws (such as the General Data Protection Regulation) are critical to keep in mind. You need consent.

But beyond even that is how differently email recipients act when you’ve bought them versus when you’ve earned them.

Email recipients you’ve brought are essentially cold leads. They could have no idea who you are and may even wonder how or why you are emailing them. This could lead to low open rates, low click rates and even higher unsubscribes or (even worse) spam reports.

See our 11 tips to increase your open rates when you are cold emailing.

The contacts you’ve earned have opted in somehow, so they have a better recognition of your brand and are more likely to open and click (and not unsubscribe or report you).

Regularly review (and segment) your contact list

While several of your contacts might not opt-out of your emails, they could simply never open an email of yours either. This can kill your open rate and cloud some of your campaign analytics.

It’s important to regularly audit your mailing list and segment accordingly so that you can target the right message to the right recipients at the right time. 

Removing contacts is an option some brands use to maintain a more engaged list, but we actually recommend grouping your less-active contacts so that you can target them in different ways (whether that’s frequency or contact channel). Ultimately, the least engaged of your contacts will be the most likely to unsubscribe in the future. So, keep that in mind as you decide how best to engage with them.

On the flip side, you can (and should) segment your contacts into groups that are relevant to your marketing goals. A segment is a grouping of your audience who shares common attributes.

Examples include contacts who have not made a purchase yet or customers whose membership is about to expire, and so on.

By targeting the right group with the right message at the right time, you’ll see better conversion metrics in every email campaign.

Dive deeper into the power of audience segmentation.

Timing is everything

Granted, there is no “silver bullet” time that all marketers can guarantee better conversion rates.

But data suggest that mid-morning, afternoon or evening Tuesdays through Thursdays is a good place to start. We also recommend trying “off” times, like 10:13 a.m. rather than 10 a.m.

That being said, you’ll still want to think about your audience and their habits. Then, you’ll want to track the performance of your emails and see if there’s particular timing that works best with your audience.

Do not use “no reply” in your sending email name or address

Considering CAN-SPAM, which is a law that sets the rules for commercial email, you want to avoid using “no reply” (or anything similar) as your sending email name or address. An example would be “noreply@example.com.”

This interferes with a recipient’s ability to respond or even opt out, which is a huge protection with CAN-SPAM.

Instead, make your sending email name and address as clear, recognizable and even as human as possible. This not only follows commercial email regulations but also builds trust with your recipients, which can encourage them to open and engage with your emails.

Invest effort into your email subject lines

A successful email subject line is part art, part science but typically a recipe for anxiety for any marketer or business owner.

But it doesn’t have to be. If you’ve noticed that your emails aren’t getting the open rate you are looking for, then it’s time to take a look at your subject lines.

Of course, some subject line recommendations include:

  • Keeping it short (between 30 and 50 characters, including spaces)
  • Using action verbs (instead of passive voice)
  • Leveraging urgency
  • Giving an air of exclusivity
  • Being very clear about your offer (whether it’s an incentive, discount or something else)
  • Embracing a compelling or engaging angle

You can also test your subject line with an A/B test or resend through an automation with a new subject line.

Dive deeper with our 12 tips for email subject lines that won’t get ignored.

Optimize your email’s preview text

About 24 percent of email recipients look at an email’s preview text first when deciding whether to open an email.

The majority of email clients provide a snippet of text to preview the contents of an email in your inbox. Leverage this to your advantage.

You should use the space to dive deeper into why recipients should open your email. You can build off of what you say in your subject line, tease something that’s inside the email and so on.

Keep in mind that if you don’t include any content in the email preview text field, a recipient’s email client can pull whatever content it decides to. This could be your preheader (if you have one) or simply the first 40 or so characters of your body text (which could be confusing as preview text). For example, many preheaders say, “Email not displaying correctly? Click here.” You definitely don’t want that.

While you can’t control how much text will be shown in your email preview, you can control what text is shown. And you should include at least 160 characters of text in your preheader copy.

Dig deeper into what email preview text is and how you can best use it to your advantage.

Confirm that your email template isn’t too wide

While many email marketing applications account for automatically resizing your emails to appropriately for the screen sizes your email recipients are using, it’s always a good idea to make sure that your email template is no wider than 650 pixels wide.

Going wider (unknowingly or not) can force your recipients to have to scroll horizontally. Having to do so makes your brand appear less professional.

Readability is critical not just for conversions but the overall user experience that can build relationships with your contacts, which can lead to further conversions in the future.

Limit your font types and sizes

Think clutter. The more font types and sizes you use in a single email, the more cluttered the overall email will feel. 

And that clutter can turn off your email recipients.

Strive to use web-safe fonts between 10-point and 12-point sizing. This helps ensure that your email will be legible on all email clients and possible devices.

Seek opportunities for personalization

Are you sending emails that begin with “Dear Member” or “To our customers”?

Personalization can take your emails to the next level by automatically inserting details about each email recipient that really shows you care enough to speak specifically to them.

Especially in DailyStory, the sky’s the limit with the types of information you can automatically personalize in your messaging. Some examples include:

  • First name
  • Location
  • Number of purchases or visits

First names can be especially powerful, and you can leverage that power in your email subject line and the body of your email.

Dive deeper into the one-to-one marketing that personalization offers.

Always include your logo in your emails

Logos are part of branding, which is critical to your digital marketing in general but your emails as well. 

Brand recall increases about 18 percent after a five-second exposure when including a logo in the email, and the likelihood of a purchase goes up by about 34 percent in emails with logos.

Emails are simply a great opportunity to not only include your logo but also your branded colors, fonts and voice.

Get your main message and call-to-action ‘above the fold’

“Above the fold” in email body copy refers to the information that’s visible to the recipient before he or she scrolls down. 

Consumers spend about 57 percent of their email-viewing time on above-the-fold content, and that decreases to about 17 percent on the second screen below.

Clearly, you don’t want critical call-to-actions (CTAs) getting lost in the need to scroll.

There are many tactics for this, depending on how you design your email. One example is including a CTA button at the top and bottom of the email. Another example is leveraging your banner at the top to be a clickable CTA while also being visually engaging.

You also can run A/B testing to determine what approaches work best for your audience. See our nine tips to make your A/B testing more effective.

Include an email signature

No matter how broadly you’re sending a message or newsletter, you’ll want to consider including an email signature at the bottom. Even when an email is representative of your entire company, a signature adds a touch of human personalization to your messaging. It shows that a human is behind the email, not just a marketing department.

About 41 percent of marketers say they use email signatures for branding and visibility.

Send an engaging welcome email

About 74 percent of users expect to receive a welcome email immediately after they subscribe, while only 57.7 percent of brands actually send a welcome email to new subscribers.

You want to be a brand that gives all new subscribers a warm welcome. Welcome emails give you the opportunity to re-introduce yourself and explain to new subscribers what kind of emails they’ll receive from you (and how often they should expect them).

It’s about getting started on the right foot with your new subscribers but also sharing the value of your emails and getting them excited to keep an eye out in their inboxes.

See our nine tips on how to engage new leads with a welcome email series.

Provide an opportunity to subscribe within your email

Of course, common sense suggests that your email recipients are receiving your email because they’re already subscribed to your list.

But that train of thought forgets about the possibility of your email being forwarded from a subscriber to someone else.

Being clear and giving the opportunity for a non-subscriber to subscribe to your email newsletters ensures that you’re not missing out on that opportunity. No one overtly slips through the cracks.

The CTA doesn’t have to be big, just clear. You don’t want it to compete with your primary CTA for the email.

Make unsubscribing easy

On the flip side, you also want to ensure that your subscribers have a clear and easy way to unsubscribe from your emails.

This can feel counterintuitive if your goal is to either grow your email mailing list or boost your conversion rates (or both). 

You’re required by commercial email laws to offer the clear path to opting out. By not doing so, you risk being in violation and/or getting reported as spam, which can hurt your email sending reputation.

Even if the email recipient only moves your emails to a folder he or she never opens, that’s not a win either.

Truthfully, your campaigns will perform better by allowing those no longer interested to easily unsubscribe and focusing on your more engaged recipients while building up your contact list with other interested subscribers.

Use a common phrase like “Unsubscribe” as your hyperlink text, so subscribers can quickly find it. And make the unsubscribe link big enough so that people using mobile devices will be able to click on it easily.

Test and monitor performance as much as possible

Before officially sending out an email, you’ll always want to send a test email. One can go to yourself so that you can confirm everything looks and acts the way it should. The other should go to at least one friend or colleague. 

Not only should that person do a basic proofing and testing of your email, but you’ll also want to ask him or her to tell you whether the CTA is apparent within the first five seconds of looking at the email. If it is, great. If not, you’ll want to adjust.

Beyond the work you’ll want to do upfront, you must follow it up by monitoring and tracking the performance of your email campaigns. Keeping an eye on what is generating higher open or click-through rates and conducting A/B testing will help you learn what works for your audience and what doesn’t.

As you’re evaluating your email marketing strategy, consider optimizing your overall digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email and text message marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 ways visuals can increase your email conversions

WIth many marketers investing time and energy into engaging subject lines, visuals can be just as important to boosting your email conversion rates.

The right email visuals can help you stand out from your competition and encourage your recipients to click.

And email matters. Four out of five marketers said they’d rather give up social media than email marketing. For every dollar invested in email marketing, brands can earn about $36 on average in return. 

Of course, consumers spend an average of 10 seconds reading brand emails, so your visuals can make or break a conversion.

The following are six ways you can use visuals to increase your email conversions.

Leverage visuals to brand consistently

Branding is critically important for all businesses. When done well, it creates a sense of trust and familiarity among consumers. You’ll also be perceived as more professional.

A brand consists of:

  • Visuals, such as colors, logo, images, font, etc.
  • Tone of voice
  • Content
  • Online presence, such as website, social accounts, etc.
  • Influencer and other types of partnerships

Visuals are definitely at the top of that list. Use them to brand yourself in your emails like you would on any other digital medium.

Refer to your brand style guide to stay consistent throughout. Don’t have one? Check out our five tips to create a brand style guide for your business.

GIFs can add personality to your email

An animated GIF embedded in your email can grab attention, add personality and boost click-through and conversion rates (if used appropriately).

In fact, GIFs have been shown to increase email conversion rates by about 103 percent.

Creating your own customized GIF is likely easier than you might think. There are many free GIF-making tools available online, where you don’t have to know any coding to be successful.

You can:

  • Offer a how-to explainer via GIF.
  • Share an animated infographic.
  • Provide a brief product demonstration.

Just make sure your GIFs are fun but also true to your branding. You’ll also want to keep your GIF file size at about 1 MB and within 600 pixels in width.

Incorporate images into your call-to-actions

It’s likely that your call-to-action buttons within your emails are fairly simple, possibly even text-only. You’ll want to experiment with using images as part of your CTAs.

Imaged-based CTAs in emails report a higher conversion rate than simple text links. This is because they can be more compelling to email recipients and are nearly impossible to miss.

Of course, as you start to experiment, you can begin with a button approach, where the background color contrasts with your email background color and the color of your text. 

Learn more about color psychology in digital marketing.

Be sure to not go overboard. Overly aggressive CTAs won’t increase click-through rates.

Dive deeper into image-based CTAs.

Seize opportunities to use infographics

Infographics add more credibility, so they definitely have a potential place in your emails.

They’re an opportunity to educate your audience, which shows the value of your brand that can help you stand out from your competition.

Check out these 11 free graphic design tools that even the biggest non-designer can use.

Tread carefully with stock photos

Stock photos can be a great help when you’re creating visuals for your branded emails.

However, they can be a double-edged sword: They either look professional, or they look generic and inauthentic. 

About 35 percent of marketers say they use stock photos more than any other type of visual content, so if this is the case for your brand, you’re definitely not alone.

Simply take extra care to only select images that look genuine and natural. If it feels artificial to you, it’ll feel artificial to consumers.

Add videos to your emails

Did you know that videos can potentially boost your email click-through rates by about 500 percent?

It’s true. However, you want to make sure you’re using videos correctly within the structure of your email because many email clients will not allow recipients to play your videos inside of emails.

Oftentimes, linking an image with a play button on it to a YouTube video is the best practice.

See our how-to guide for embedding videos into your emails.

Videos give you the opportunity to share:

  • Behind-the-scenes footage
  • Personalized video messages
  • Tutorials

If you’re still unsure, check out any of these eight email marketing courses online to level up your skills.

While you’re exploring how to use visuals to boost your email conversion rates, consider supercharging your digital marketing process. DailyStory features automation, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

12-step website security checklist for beginners

Website security matters now more than ever.

In fact, there have been about 300 percent more cybercrimes reported to the FBI since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

It’s clearly not just about building trust with your customers. Data breaches can also result in stolen data and lost revenue due to downtime. The global cost of data breaches averaged about $3.86 million in 2020. While the data breaches for large, national companies are what make the news, about 43 percent of cyberattacks do happen to small businesses.

In other words, no small business is too small to be noticed by a hacker.

The following is a 12-step website security checklist that’s simple enough for even the biggest beginners to work through.

No. 1: Keep all your software up to date

Software updates might be annoying or inconvenient, but they’re critical to ensuring that you don’t have obvious vulnerabilities that can be taken advantage of by hackers.

Keep an eye out for software patch notifications. They’re intended to help resolve any discovered vulnerabilities. 

And in general, make sure you update your software as soon as you get those notifications. Resist the urge to “remind me later.”

No. 2: Tighten up your passwords

Passwords are an obvious aspect of your website security that you must consider. However, they’re often neglected as far as:

  • Their complexity
  • How frequently they’re updated

In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to keep all their passwords written on a Post-It located on their computer monitor. We definitely do not recommend this!

Focus on creating complex, secure passwords. As recently as 2019, the password “123456” was used 23 million times in the UK. You can do better than that. Avoid being predictable. Mix up capital letters, numbers and special characters in your passwords.

To help with your password management, you can try tools like LastPass and 1Password. Tools like these can help you not only create secure passwords but can also keep track and help you regularly update them as necessary. We recommend updating every six to 12 months at least.

No. 3: Prevent spam comments on your website

Especially when you’re maintaining blog content on your website, spam comments can be a top concern. In fact, they’re one of the most common ways that hackers and spammers will mess with your website.

Obviously, spam comments reduce the trust your real visitors would have for your site. In addition, spam comments don’t bode well for your search engine optimization (SEO) either.

There are a number of integrations and plugins that can help you identify and moderate comments on your website with a simple code embed. Refer to your hosting platform to see if they already have an option available for you to use.

No. 4: Prepare for the worst by regularly backing up your website (and all of its data)

By backing up your website regularly, you’ll be able to bounce back quickly should something go wrong.

The “wrong” could be a hacker, but it also could just be a garbled website after a problematic redesign. 

Check with your hosting provider for help with this. If you’re using WordPress, there are several plugins that can automate backups.

No. 5: Use an SSL certificate

SSL stands for Sockets Secure Layer, and it helps keep sensitive transfers of data secure.

Think login credentials, credit card information or any other personal information. An SSL certificate gives you that extra layer of protection.

In addition, SSL boosts the overall perceived security of your website since secure websites have a lock symbol on the side of the URL address bar of your browser. In fact, if you don’t have an SSL certificate, the browser will notify visitors either with a “not secure” label or by blocking the connection entirely.

If you don’t already have an SSL certificate for your website, you can get one by:

  • Verifying your website’s information through the ICANN Lookup tool.
  • Generating a Certificate Signing Request (CSR) through your server, your cPanel or an online CSR generator.
  • Submitting your CSR to a certificate authority to validate your domain.
  • Installing the certificate on your website.

No. 6: Limit both user permissions and access

Spoiler alert: You should not give all your employees and colleagues unfettered access to the backend of your website.

Every user with access translates into natural vulnerabilities for your website, so make sure that you’re setting appropriate permissions that reflect each team member’s role.

Of course, you’ll want to terminate access as soon as an employee leaves your team. But you also should set the standard for secure, frequently updated passwords for all users.

No. 7: Only use a trusted payment provider

If you’re processing payments of any kind on your website, it’s important to only use a trusted payment provider. 

Two of the biggest providers are PayPal and Stripe.

Not only will a trusted provider properly and securely process payments, but their use automatically builds trust with your website visitors.

No. 8: Reduce any XSS vulnerabilities on your website

XSS stands for Cross-Site Scripting and refers to the way that hackers can insert malicious code into your website. That code then aims to capture the private data of your website visitors.

This step of reducing those vulnerabilities actually can require a web developer’s help. However, beginners should still be aware of this threat. In the meantime, use a web application firewall to scan your website. You can also clean your user HTML inputs with such tools as HTML Purifier.

No. 9: Reduce any SQL injection vulnerabilities

If your website stores a lot of sensitive user data (like credit card information), you’re doing to want to consider SQL injection vulnerabilities on top of XSS.

It’s not as common but will steal sensitive data directly from your database.

Again, this is definitely a step that you should discuss with your web developer, but solutions can include setting up a firewall, using a whitelist and so on. Learn more about what can be done to reduce SQL injection vulnerabilities.

No. 10: Use anti-malware software for advanced, extra website security

Anti-malware software aims to prevent security threats by detecting and removing them early on from your website (before they do too much damage).

Of course, anti-malware can cost money to install and use. Take the time to review your budget, and remember that the cost of a security breach (both monetarily and perception-wise) can be so much more.

Many website hosting platforms have anti-malware software that you can subscribe to, but if not, you can check out such tools as SiteGuarding or Quttera and see if either is right for you.

No. 11: Keep an eye out for any traffic surges

Another type of website security attack involves blasting your website with fake traffic to essentially overwhelm your web servers and crash your website.

This type of attack, called Distributed Denial of Services (DDoS), happened more than 10 million times in 2020 alone. 

Fortunately, your traffic analytics tools can help you identify and strange surges. Most web hosting platforms come with DDoS protection, but you can always use external tools, such as Cloudflare or Radware, for additional protection.

No. 12: Get an extra layer of protection with Web App Firewalls

Web App Firewalls, otherwise referred to as WAF, defend against multiple types of website security attacks. Hence why this isn’t our first mention of them.

A firewall essentially monitors your web traffic and guards against any traffic that’s malicious. WAFs use policies to determine which traffic is dangerous.

If you’re a small business, we recommend a cloud-based or software-based WAF due to lower cost and ease of maintenance. That being said, there is also hardware-based WAF that, while harder to maintain and more expensive, can also be more effective.

In conclusion

Website security can feel like an overwhelming topic for any website beginner, but simply go step-by-step to identify what you can do better to protect your business and your customers.

Looking to level up your digital marketing process as you secure your website? Consider DailyStory, which features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to improve your website’s domain authority

Many factors come together to make or break your search engine optimization (SEO), including your domain authority.

In a nutshell, the higher your domain authority, then the more likely your website will rank higher in search engine results and generate more organic traffic. Domain authority represents your ranking strength.

Domain authority is scored on a scale of 1 to 100, where 1 is the worst and 100 is the best as derived through an algorithm that you are not in control of. Scoring between 40 and 50 is average. Between 50 and 60 is good, and scoring over 60 is excellent.

With about 68 percent of online experiences beginning with a search engine, SEO matters more than ever.

To be clear, domain authority reflects your entire domain (or website), while page authority is specific to a single webpage.

The following are seven tips to help you improve your website’s domain authority.

Pick a good domain name

Having the right domain name for your website is critical. You want it to be relevant but also easy to remember.

Of course, if you already have a great domain name, make sure that your license isn’t going to expire without your knowledge.

Check out our Domain Name 101 Guide for Beginners.

Optimize your on-page content, elements

This includes so much more than just the obvious content itself, including:

  • Title tags
  • Image alt tags
  • Headings

Of course, when it comes to your content, it needs to be relevant and use critical keywords. Think about the questions search engine users are asking that should lead them to your website. Give them the value that they’re looking for. To truly improve your domain authority, you must show that you are the expert of your niche. Seize that opportunity with every piece of content you create.

Consider backlinks

Backlinking is when other websites link to the content on your website. This obviously isn’t something you can snap your fingers and make happen. 

But it all starts with creating high-quality content that others would want to link to, of course. Beyond that, see our seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website.

Increase your internal linking

Internal links, on the other hand, are entirely within your control. They help direct your website visitors to other related content on your website that they might be interested in.

Take the time to audit the content you’ve already published. Then, begin to edit in links to your other related content. Doing so creates an internal linking structure that supports a stronger domain authority ranking.

Audit your outbound linking

Outbound linking is great for your SEO. It shows search engines that you’re a team player, but you also are showing whom you consider to be trustworthy resources on the internet. 

That being said, you’ll want to ensure that any website you’re linking out to from your content is still live and a trustworthy site.

This can ebb and flow more than you might imagine. So, it’s worthwhile to take the time to make sure every outbound link you have is still viable. Otherwise, you risk your own domain authority by linking to bad sites.

Prioritize mobile optimization

The way of the internet these days is mobile first. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile device (whether it’s the layout, loading speed or something else), you’re shooting yourself in the foot.

And that’s not just because of what website visitors might think. Search engines are seeking mobile-friendly websites as well.

Check out our 16 tips to optimize your website for mobile traffic.

Embrace social media

Social media can impact both your domain authority specifically and your SEO at large. At the heart of it, it comes down to links directing users to your website beyond your website. 

Share your best content on your social media accounts, but also make it easy for your website visitors to share your content by providing social media sharing buttons.

See these seven ways that social media can impact your SEO.

In conclusion

Of course, the last thing you want to do is obsess over your domain authority ranking. We recommend monitoring your website analytics so that you are familiar with where your website traffic is coming from and what is working (and what isn’t).

Embracing general SEO best practices should feed into a boost for your domain authority. Then, know that it will take time. Be patient.

Check out our 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners.

Then, as you’re working on your SEO, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 tips to write an author bio that gets noticed

Author biographies are an opportunity to personally connect with your blog readers.

There are more than 500 million blogs out of 1.7 billion websites, and about 409 million people view more than 20 billion pages each month.

Your goal as a blogger is to stand out. An author bio can help.

An author bio is roughly a paragraph about you, your credentials, your hobbies and/or any other information you wish to share with readers.

A compelling author bio will not only help build a relationship with readers, but if you are guest blogging, it can actually drive traffic to your own website or social accounts (whatever you’re linking to).

The following are seven tips to write an author bio that gets noticed.

Consider your personal brand

An author bio is essentially an extension and reflection of your personal brand. How do you want to be perceived in relationship to your blog article?

Check out our 10 tips to build your personal brand if you need a little help.

Understand your audience

Especially when you’re guest blogging, you can engage with many different types of audiences.

Whom you’re speaking to can (and should) impact your author bio.

Just like you should understand your target audience when you’re creating a piece of content, whether it’s a blog or something else, you should extend that same effort for your bio.

Depending on the audience, the details you include might vary.

Keep it short and sweet

It’s tempting to outline your full resume of professional experience and accomplishments in your author bio. 

But resist the urge.

Listing every detail simply to list it (or to establish your authority on your blog) will lose your audience. 

Narrow it down to what you would include in an “elevator pitch.” What are the top three things you would say about yourself? Remember that you want to include the most attention-grabbing points about yourself (just not too many).

Speak in third-person

Regardless of what voice your blog article is written as, you want to write your author bio in third-person voice only.

It’s simply more professional.

List any achievements sparingly

Again, too much is obviously too much. And a long list of degrees or awards (or both) will make the eyes of your readers glaze over. 

In addition, it could come across as more boastful than impressive.

If you want to include something, consider your biggest or most recent achievement.

Feel empowered to get personal

Blogs are not as formal as other mediums of communication, so you have the opportunity to add a few compelling, personal details about yourself.

This is especially the case if your blog article focuses on a more personal or first-person topic.

You’ll want to be selective with these details as well. What makes the most sense to include? What might connect with readers?

Include a professional photo

There is a big difference between a selfie (no matter how flattering) and a professional photo.

Characteristics of a professional photo include a background that is not distracting and good lighting. They’re typically shot straight-on, featuring a clear image of the face. Headshots traditionally refer to professional photos that show the face and at least some of the upper body.

Of course, you can certainly show your personality in a professional photo. See some examples for inspiration.

As you’re creating your author bio, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory and our 21-day free trial. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

4 tips to market your brand on Reddit

The idea of marketing on Reddit might make many businesses nervous, but rather than avoid the platform, why not embrace it as an opportunity?

Reddit has traditionally considered itself the “front page of the internet.” In other words, it’s a network of communities where users can dive into their hobbies, interests and passions. Registered users can share content on different discussion boards, referred to as subreddits.

Considering that Reddit sees about 430 million monthly active users in comparison to the roughly 444 million monthly active users on popular aspirational platform Pinterest, the potential of a sizable (yet largely untapped) audience is there.

To state it another way, Reddit is one of the world’s most popular websites. As of May 2020, the United States generated about 50 percent of all desktop traffic to the forum site.

On the flip side, Reddit is not a fan of marketing. In fact, it strongly discourages sales content and self-promotion.

But cracking the code to marketing on Reddit (so to speak) comes down to understanding the difference between marketing strategies of the past and those that we recommend today. Simply put, it’s about prioritizing authenticity and delivering value to other Reddit users.

The following are four tips to market your brand on Reddit without being spammy or “Reddit shamed” (or banned entirely).

Invest time in being a Reddit user first

This sounds obvious, but it’s more true on Reddit than on any other platform. Being an engaged natural user of the platform will only help you with your content marketing efforts.

We recommend engaging on subreddits that span your personal interests to your professional interests. Comment, ask questions, be an active participant. 

Not only will you get first-hand experience on the overall code of conduct and expectations of the platform, you also will see the nuances of different subreddits (and how they differ from each other). In addition, you’ll discover the subreddits (and relevant conversations) that your brand should target and engage with along the way. Just like how you want to get specific with your target audience, you also want to get as specific as possible with your selection of subreddits.

There’s no official amount of time that you should invest before posting your own content, but know that you shouldn’t be in a rush. The more you can invest as an engaged user first, the better. You’ll best understand any subreddit-specific rules of engagement, as well as any potential inside jokes among a subreddit’s audience.

Then, once you get going, a general rule of them is to balance your posts with a greater number of comments. For example, commit to 10 comments on others’ posts for every link you share. Think of it this way: You should contribute 80 percent of the time and only self-promote (in an authentic way) 20 percent of the time.

Create helpful content

Helpful and/or entertaining content naturally drives higher engagement. This is no different on Reddit, where users are just as open to content that can help them solve their problems or overcome an obstacle just like anyone else.

Focus on brainstorming an array of how-to content ideas that are relevant for your target audience. This entirely depends on the nature of your business and how you’re trying to reach, of course. Just think about the typical questions you hear from your customers. That’s a great place to start.

Once you have at least a dozen topics that you can create content around, check out our eight tips for developing a content calendar to stay organized. If writer’s block pops up, see our seven tips to overcome it.

As far as posting, you have numerous creative options you can explore on Reddit: 

  • GIFs instead of videos or video links (you can always link to a full video in the comments)
  • Images (just make sure they’re eye-catching)
  • Text (sometimes the preferred medium for in-depth conversations on certain subreddits)
  • Blogs (just make extra sure that your content is highly engaging and useful since Reddit users have a particular distaste for any blog spam)
  • AMAs (“Ask Me Anything” threads that are just that)
  • News (any industry or other type of update that is relevant and timely to that subreddit)

Treat everything as a conversation

This includes engaging with commenters on your own post long after you’ve even posted, just as you would on any other social media platform. 

Remember, social media in general is the compilation of conversations. 

Reddit is no different. In fact, you’ll get called out that much quicker for not engaging as expected. You have to always go above and beyond to prove that you’re human when representing your brand. But in the end, that engagement builds much-needed (and much-sought-after) trust.

No cheating

Reddit users are a skeptical crowd that has seen it all with various cheat-the-system tricks:

  • Face accounts
  • Employee (or colleague) upvoting
  • Undisclosed paid sponsors

The reaction of fellow users and Reddit itself will be very negative if you try to cheat in any way. You risk being banned from a specific subreddit as well as the website itself.

In conclusion

While Reddit can feel like an intimidating site to branch your marketing efforts into, it really is worth the effort if you have the resources (aka time) to invest in it. 

Of course, if you have an available budget, Reddit advertising might be an option for your brand as well.

Organically speaking, though, link dumping definitely won’t work no matter how you try to conceal it. As long as you aim to be human first as you represent your brand and give as much as (if not more than) you take, your business will reap the rewards of reaching a largely untapped audience that can appreciate you investing that effort and being part of the community.

Check out our seven tips to level up your overall content marketing while you’re at it.

Then, consider the possibility of optimizing your digital marketing process, such as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

6 tips to create brand loyalty for your business

While attracting new customers will always matter, you can’t forget about your existing customers (and building up their loyalty to your brand).

Just a 5 percent increase in customer retention can lead to at least a 25 percent increase in profit.

Fortunately, while consumers do have limitless options when it comes to the items they want to buy, about 90 percent still report being brand loyal.

Brand loyalty is when consumers strongly favor a specific brand over other brands.

Brand loyalty involves more than just retaining your customers, though. It’s about providing an experience that your customers won’t find anywhere else that will keep them coming back.

The following are six tips to create brand loyalty for your business.

Increase your focus on customer service

The quality of your customer service is everything. It can make or break your customers’ loyalty to your brand. 

About 33 percent of customers say they would consider switching companies immediately following just one instance of poor service.

Remember that you want to address every inquiry in a responsive and timely manner. But beyond that, you should make every customer feel valued and appreciated.

Check out our six ways to be more responsive to your customers.

Understand (and share) your brand story and voice

Customers need to have a clear understanding of a brand before they become loyal to it. Your brand personality encompasses what your brand is all about, and it should be approachable to your target audience.

Clearly, you want to be as unique as possible as well so that you stand out from your competition. Take extra time when constructing your mission statement, which explains why your business exists and what makes you different.

See our nine expert tips to help you build your brand from scratch. In addition, check out our five tips for creating a brand style guide that can help you stay consistent in all aspects of your branding.

Success here makes your brand more recognizable and memorable to customers.

Consider a loyalty rewards program

Loyalty rewards programs incentivize your target audience to shop with you again. You can offer discounts, coupons or extra perks to repeat customers for any number of reasons:

  • Customer anniversaries
  • Repeat purchases
  • Early bird perks
  • Customer birthdays

Think about the products and/or services you offer and what makes the most sense for you to create as a loyalty rewards program.

Leverage your social media

You likely already have various strategic goals tied to your social media marketing, such as brand awareness, lead generation and customer service.

But think about what you’re doing on your social media accounts to promote brand loyalty. Sharing announcements and new products isn’t enough. You should dive into your brand story and find ways to share all the facets that come together to make your brand personality what it is. It should permeate every post in even the most subconscious ways.

Start with what matters most on social media: compelling content.

Find out what every startup company should know about social media, as well as what social media platform is right for your company.

In addition, you’ll want to review the difference between social listening and crowdsourcing so that you can better identify the opportunities when customers may not message you directly but will mention you on social media (for better or for worse).

Invest in a brand community

By “invest,” we don’t mean with money per se. Building a community that supports and celebrates your brand at the very least requires a major and consistent investment of time.

It all begins with understanding not only your target audience but your existing customers and what commonalities they share. Consider those engaged within your community as potential brand advocates, who are likely to share your brand with others and give honest reviews of your products and/or services. In the simplest sense, they have your back and are proud to be connected to your brand.

Depending on how your community largely uses social media, it might make the most sense to create a Facebook group or a branded hashtag or even a subreddit board. There’s no right or wrong here. All that matters is that the channel you chose to nurture your community on resonates with your brand advocates. 

Social media is all about engaging with others, but it also requires you to be present for your community to help it grow and thrive.

Check out our 12 tips to use Facebook Groups to help grow your brand. A lot of these tips can be applied to other channels when building an online community.

Deliver value through quality

This may sound obvious, but there is no amount of great social media or incentives that can create brand loyalty if your products and/or services are not high quality.

Make it a priority to deliver on every promise you make and exceed every possible expectation you can think of.

You can regularly conduct customer surveys to better understand what you’re doing well and what could be done better.

In the end, customers will feel loyal to quality in all aspects.

In conclusion

Ultimately, your commitment to creating and maintain brand loyalty among your customers can help boost your profits, so it’s worth the effort.

Consider existing customers just as important as new customers.

As you’re developing a strategy to boost brand loyalty for your business, consider leveling up your digital marketing with DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to create a brand style guide for your business

Branding directly impacts the success of a business online, so you’ll want to consider creating a brand style guide if you don’t already have one.

Think of a brand style guide as the rulebook for how your business presents itself to the world. This includes your logo, fonts, colors, nature of photography and more. 

Check out our nine expert tips to help you build a brand from scratch.

You can use your brand style guide as a reference to help maintain branding consistency no matter which of your team members is involved. Consistency helps you build a trusting relationship with consumers.

About 59 percent of consumers prefer to buy from brands they trust.

The following are five tips to help you create a brand style guide for your business. 

Collect visual branding examples

One of the best ways to convey the presence of your brand is through visual examples.

Consider what reflects your branding the most. This can include ads, emails, social media posts and so on.

If there is a particular point you want to make sure gets addressed, be sure to collect the visuals to communicate that aspect of your branding to your team members.

It’s about visually communicating the look and feel of your brand. 

Define the essential elements of your brand

Traditionally, you’ll want to identify six essential elements of your brand in your brand style guide:

Brand story

This includes your company’s vision and mission statement that introduces your brand to the world and conveys your purpose in so many words. See our five tips to create an effective mission statement for your business if you don’t already have one.

Logo guidelines

Beyond what your logo consists of, think about how your logo should look in different environments. For example, a simpler icon version in addition to a full logo, overall spacing, minimum sizing, logo proportions, a black and white version in addtion to color and so on. Include all of the approved versions of your logo in your brand style guide, as well as an explanation of when to use which version where (as applicable).

Brand color palette

Even if you already have one main branding color and a secondary color, you should make sure that you identify at least one more color to give your brand flexibility.

Many brands opt for about four colors. Think of a lighter color for backgrounds, a darker color for text, a neutral color and a color that pops. They should complement each other.

Font guidelines

Font itself can become its own rabbit hole, but it is very important to put careful thought into choosing the font that best reflects your brand’s personality.

Once you have at least two fonts chosen (can certainly be more than that), you’ll want to be very clear in your brand style guide as to whether an entire typeface family can be used or which specific typefaces can be used.

In addition, you’ll want to communicate when, where and how every font should be used with your brand. Be as clear as possible, including the alignment to be used and any specific spacing.

Image and photography guidelines

This can be one of the more difficult sections of your brand style guide, so take your time. It’s likely easy enough for you to identify which images suit and reflect your brand well, but it’s just as easy for a team member to not have the same natural eye as you.

The goal is to steer your team in the right direction. You can do this by including a selection of example images and sharing the reason behind those examples as well as what your brand hopes to achieve in every image.

Brand voice

Your brand has a personality of its own, much like a person. The more you can share as it pertains to the overall writing style for your brand, the better.

In this section of your brand style guide, you can detail best practices, illustrate your brand personality description with key adjectives, include do’s and don’ts, etc.

Not sure what your brand voice is? Check out our eight tips

Think about the bigger picture

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to dive deeper into certain areas where your branding is relevant.

For example, if you create physical products, what should your packaging look like? How should the layout of your website appear? What makes a branded appearance for a post on any given social media platform?

Brainstorm every possibility that is relevant for your business. Then, pick away at the answers so that you can include them in your brand style guide.

Get organized with a brand style guide outline

Once you’ve compiled all your essential branding elements and visual examples, it’s time to outline your entire brand style guide so that you can stay focused throughout.

In addition, your outline will make the creation process more efficient.

You’ll also need to decide the format of your brand style guide. It can be a digital PDF, printout, webpage, etc. In general, make sure that it’s easy to update and distribute to your team.

Expect brand evolution

The only guarantee in life is change. Never assume that what you decide about your brand today will be right for your brand in 20 years. Just think about Apple. It’s definitely not the same-looking brand from the 1980s (or even earlier).

Consider your brand style guide a living document that you should revisit at least annually.

To help with inspiration, check out the brand style guide for Starbucks or Zendesk.

As you begin to create your brand style guide, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to get started with AR shopping for your business

Augmented reality looks to be the next frontier of e-commerce, but are you ready for it?

AR shopping capitalizes on an enhanced version of the physical world around you that involves digital visual elements, sound and other sensory stimuli. These features offer customers deeper and more thorough information about your products.

Learn more about AR shopping and three reasons why you should consider it for your business.

Interestingly enough, about 73 percent of mobile AR users reported either high or very high satisfaction with mobile AR experiences, while about 51 percent of consumers feel that retailers are failing to take full advantage of augmented reality.

The opportunity to jump on this emerging technology (if it’s right for your business) is now. The following are five tips to help you get started with offering AR shopping.

Identify your business objectives

Before diving into AR shopping, it’s critical to decide what your goals are. How would AR shopping specifically serve your customers?

Think through your customer’s purchasing journey with your business and where the pinch points may lie that you could address with AR solutions.

Deciding on your objectives and what you want to create first will make your decisions about techniques and specific tools to use far easier and more efficient.

Determine your budget

Augmented reality includes diverse opportunities for your business. So, once you know what you want to accomplish, it’s time to decide how much your business can spend to launch and maintain such a platform.

Fortunately, even if you don’t have much of a budget to work with, you can get your feet wet by experimenting with Snapchat filters or customized Instagram stickers and “try on” items for Stories.

Choose your AR shopping tool

A number of tools exist that can help you achieve your vision of an AR shopping experience for your customers. 

However, as you begin to examine the options, keep the following factors in mind:

  • Available features: Clearly, the available features of any given tool will serve as a large factor in your decision-making process. Keep in mind what you need and what you don’t need. However, especially if you’re new to AR, you may discover a feature you’re not previously aware of that can elevate your original plan. Stay open to that possibility.
  • Cost: Depending on the license type, a tool could be free or range in pricing. While free is great, make sure to review what features are available in free versions and whether a paid version could serve your objectives better.
  • Supported devices and operating systems: Check whether a tool is compatible with relevant devices and operating systems for your customers. For example, if you’re developing an app for multiple phone types, confirm that the tool you choose supports at least the main mobile operating systems.
  • Learning curve: Ideally, you want to find an AR shopping tool that is easy for you to understand, use and update as needed. If you have questions, reach out to the developer. You’ll often be offered a free demo so that you can see first-hand whether this is the right tool for you.

Track the pros and cons of all available AR shopping tools that you review so that you can make the best and most-informed decision for your business.

Market your new AR shopping platform

Considering that the demand for AR shopping is there, you’ll want to develop a full campaign leading up to the launch of your AR shopping platform.

Ideally, you’ll plan content across social media platforms, your website and any other channels you have access to. 

Not sure where to begin? See our seven tips before planning your first marketing campaign.

Request and collect feedback

After launching, you’ll want to use surveys to follow up with your AR shopping customers. Doing so will help you find out what they thought about the experience.

Be sure to ask specific questions while also offering open-ended opportunities for respondents to share more. Never assume that you’ll think of everything you could possibly ask about.

By understanding the user experience, you’ll be able to improve your offering to serve your customers even better.

As you begin to launch AR shopping for your business, consider optimizing your digital marketing process. This includes such features as automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

5 tips to create an effective mission statement for your business

Successful digital marketing incorporates sharing the story of your brand, sharing what you do, how you do it and why.

To help nail down the focus of your story and the purpose of your business, you should consider creating a mission statement.

They work externally for potential customers and internally for employees. For consumers, it can help you set your brand apart. For employees, it can help keep your team on the same page during branding.

See our nine expert tips to help you build your brand from scratch.

Your mission statement should explain why your business exists and what makes you different while balancing realism with optimism.

Ideally, it should include these four elements:

  • The value of your busines
  • What is inspiring about your business
  • Overall plausibility
  • Being specific

Examples of successful mission statements include:

  • Google’s mission statement: “Our mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
  • Tesla’s mission statement: “To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy.”
  • LinkedIn’s mission statement: “Connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.”
  • Starbucks’ mission statement: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time.”

The following are five tips to help you write an effective mission statement for your business.

Combine what you do with your values

To get started, write out what your business does in the most basic terms in no more than one sentence. 

Then, list the core values of your business. After that, write an explanation about why your business does what it does.

You can then take these three ideas and proceed to combine and condense as necessary until you end up at a mission statement that both engages and informs. 

Think long-term and big picture

It’s not about what’s happening right at this moment with your business. You want to keep your mission statement open enough to account for where your business will be in the future.

For example, just because you might only serve one geographic location right now doesn’t mean that your business won’t expand beyond that over time. 

The bigger the picture, the better. Remember, your mission statement is not a detailed business plan.

Keep it short

As you saw in the above examples, a mission statement should be as short and concise as possible. It’s about getting to the point quickly and thus being more memorable.

Resist creating an essay or anything that feels long or drawn out.

One sentence is best but definitely no more than a brief paragraph at most.

Gather feedback

Once you’ve settled on at least one option that you like, start gathering feedback from colleagues and others. 

Having more than one option is helpful. And if you have the resources, a focus group from outside your business (and even a second one from within your business) can be very helpful.

Just don’t make knee-jerk changes based on every individual’s opinion. Focus on gathering the data first review it all at one time.

Your mission statement can evolve

Did you know that YouTube began as a video dating site in 2005? Clearly, the world’s biggest video platform has evolved far beyond that initial intention, and you better believe its mission statement has grown with it.

Just like YouTube, you should expect your own business to naturally evolve and grow. 

So, keep your mission statement in mind along the way. You can update it as necessary.

In conclusion

Once you’ve arrived at a mission statement you’re proud of, share it everywhere: your website, social media accounts and so on.

This is a statement of what makes your business worth purchasing from and/or working with. Don’t let it get hidden or lost in the natural noise of the internet.

After you create an effective mission statement for your business, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.

10 best practices for SMS text message marketing

Text message marketing should be part of your digital marketing strategy.

About 85 percent of consumers in one study say they want to receive text messages from brands. 

And when done right, businesses can see SMS response rates of about 45 percent (while email marketing shows about 8 percent). When not done right, thought, you can lose about 65 percent of your subscribers who will unsubscribe because you’re texting too much and/or your content isn’t relevant to them.

So, how can you do SMS text message marketing “right”? The following are 10 best practices to make your text messaging efforts as successful as possible.

Get permission

The biggest mistake a business can make when first getting into text message marketing is to get ahead of itself and begin texting the contacts you have before you’ve confirmed your opt-ins.

But it’s important to do so.

Without consent, you’re breaking the law and open yourself to possible litigation. It also can negatively impact your brand’s image.

Opt-ins can be fairly easy, though:

  • Texting a keyword to your number
  • Filling out a web form (or paper form if necessary)

Consider this the most important aspect of your SMS text message marketing strategy.

Include all necessary disclaimers

Beyond just being up front with text subscribers, industry regulations actually require you to share the following disclaimers up front:

  • That messaging and data rates may apply
  • How often you plan to text your subscribers
  • A link to your Terms and Conditions and your Privacy Policy
  • How to unsubscribe

We recommend reviewing the official messaging principles and best practices from the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) to ensure that you’re operating within the industry guidelines.

Establish consistency with your sending frequency

It’s obvious that you don’t want to text too much and potentially overwhelm and turn off your subscribers.

But you also don’t want to text too sporadically either.

When you don’t text consistently enough, the texts you do send can appear out of the blue (in a bad way) to your subscribers who may have forgotten why they subscribed in the first place.

This can lead to fewer conversions and more unsubscribes.

In general, most businesses strive for two to four texts per month. But every business is different. You could have a daily or weekly need to text your subscribers. The key is to be upfront about your frequency as subscribers opt in so that there are no surprises (and subsequent unsubscribes).

Consider the timing of your texts

Just like how you wouldn’t want to receive a promotional text at 9 or 10 p.m. at night, don’t plan on sending your texts at awkward times for your text subscribers.

Timing considerations include:

  • What’s right for your audience
  • Any time-zone differences
  • The availability of your team if response support is required
  • Volume pacing, which means that depending on whether you’re using short codes or long codes, this impacts how many texts can be sent per second. For example, you could send an afternoon text to thousands, but if the volume takes time to handle, plenty of recipients could receive your text far too late. Learn more about 10DLC numbers and more.

Think exclusivity

Because your subscribers have to opt in to receiving your text messages, keep that in mind when you create your content.

It’s an exclusive group who’s giving you the ability to contact them directly, yes? Treat them that way.

What can you offer that’s different from your email, social media and website promotions?

The answer depends on your business, but keep it simple. It could be a special discount for one day only, just to test the waters.

Maintaining exclusivity for your SMS text messaging gives customers a reason to sign up and a reason to stay subscribed.

Be responsive

About 34 percent of people will read a text message within five minutes of receiving it. If your plan involves two-way messaging (for customer service, for example), you have to be as responsive as you possibly can be.

Build the necessary time into your or your team’s schedule. Text message marketing platforms, such as DailyStory, also have built-in features that help notify you to replies and can even automate certain responses, depending on the scenario.

Use concise language

A regular SMS text message gives you 160 characters per text message. This space restriction might tempt you to abbreviate and/or use texting abbreviations, but keep your brand voice in mind. You want to sound clear and professional as a brand.

Of course, the use of MMS can give you more flexibility in communicating your message since you can include an image.

But either way, keep carrier violations in mind since they will prevent your texts from even reaching the phones of your subscribers.

Plus, see our eight tips to write a text that won’t get ignored.

Personalize your content as much as possible

Mass text messages offer the automatic one-to-one connection with customers simply because of the medium.

But you have to elevate your content to speak directly to that one customer rather than general language that feels like you’re talking to everyone.

First of all, know who you’re texting. Segment your contacts as much as you can to be as specific with your messaging as possible. For example, you’re not going to say the same thing to a customer who hasn’t purchased from you in 45 days that you would to your most loyal customers.

In addition, text message marketing platforms should give you the ability to use custom fields in your texts that will automatically pull in your contacts’ information, such as the first name. A text using your first name in it (despite being a mass text) is going to be that much more effective than a text that doesn’t.

Again, DailyStory offers all these features and more to boost the success of your text message marketing campaigns.

Offer an easy, clear way to opt out

While no business wants its subscribers to opt out of receiving text messages, you must make it easy and clear to do so. 

It’s an industry requirement, but it also helps your brand image. Everyone should know that they can unsubscribe anytime and how to do so. It’s about establishing trust and credibility for your brand.

Simply include “Text STOP to unsubscribe” in your texts and/or when promoting your text campaign.

When a subscriber does unsubscribe, make sure to send a confirmation and then remove that individual from your contact list.

Measure your SMS campaign performance

Just like any other tactic in digital marketing, you’ll want to monitor how your text messages perform. 

Text messages don’t necessarily offer all the same analytics that you expect to see in email marketing campaigns. But you can track deliveries, clicks and replies. It just depends on what platform you’re using to conduct your SMS text message campaigns.

As you’re exploring these best practices for your SMS text message marketing, consider using DailyStory. Features include automating various marketing tasks, dynamic audience segmentation and more that can apply to texting, emailing and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

11 best practices to help you grow your social media followers

Social media is a key part of any business’s digital marketing strategy, but are you seeing enough followers and engagement on your accounts?

About 3.6 billion people worldwide were using social media in 2020, and that’s expected to grow to about 4.4 billion by 2025.

So, your target audience is definitely out there. (And if you need help determining your ideal target audience, see our seven tips.)

Of course, don’t miss what we recommend every startup company should know about social media.

The following are 11 best practices that can help you grow your social media followers over time regardless of the platform.

Build a strong brand identity

Branding is everything for successful businesses online. Of course, this means more than just including your logo on all of your multimedia assets and so on.

It ties into your predominant color scheme, graphic designs, voice, even filters. If you haven’t yet solidified your brand’s identity, it’s never too late.

See our eight tips for finding your brand’s voice. And in the fitness industry, we walk you through building an online brand from scratch (that can be applied to other industries as well).

Even personal brands count. Check out our 10 tips for building your personal brand and growing your business.

The most important thing is consistency and cohesion. Once you have your brand identity, own it.

Follow relevant accounts

Following other accounts that are relevant to your interests, industry and business is a great way to:

  • Stay in the know about topics that matter to you and your brand
  • Be inspired by what others are doing on social media
  • Have an opportunity to engage with accounts that are relevant to you
  • Get an idea of what your competition is doing on social media

Of course, there’s also the opportunity to potentially be followed back by others, but that shouldn’t be your primary reason to do it.

Actively engage with your followers

Time is always a challenge, but resist the temptation to “set it and forget it.” Once a post publishes (whether it’s scheduled or live), that’s only the beginning.

Prioritize time to engage with your followers who are commenting on your posts and/or messaging you. 

Granted, you can’t go down the wormhole on it, and the more engagement you receive, the harder it will be to respond to every user. But there are tools out there that can help.

Check out these 11 free (or almost free) social media management tools to help you stay on top of the activity happening with your brand accounts. Plus, see additional reasons why a social media management tool can benefit your business.

And consider these seven opportunities for social media automation that you might not be aware of.

Just remember that social media is a conversation, not just a megaphone. You’ll lose your social media followers if you never engage with them. Invite those connections and conversations.

Publish content that’s worth sharing

Ask yourself honestly: 

  • Are you posting content that excites, entertains, educates? 
  • Is your content engaging? 
  • Are you thinking about your followers first?

If the answer is no, then it’s time to reevaluate your content strategy. Think about how you can add in more:

  • Opinions (just be cautious when it comes to sensitive issues)
  • Trending content (which helps you stay current on social media)
  • News developments from your industry
  • Data and statistics
  • Humorous or cute content (just make sure that it’s relevant to your brand identity)
  • Visually compelling or eye-catching (including videos)

If a majority of your content is sales-heavy, you’re definitely missing an opportunity for engagement with your social media followers (and giving others a reason to follow you).

Use a content calendar

Content calendars are great for both long-term planning and overall content organization.

It’s about striking a balance between posting enough to stay relevant and not posting too much, which looks more like spam. That balance helps you connect with social media followers.

See our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

Promote your social media elsewhere

Don’t assume that everyone knows you have a Facebook page or an Instagram account or a viral video on TikTok.

Depending on what else you’re doing online, think through the opportunities you have to promote your social media accounts elsewhere. 

This could be on your website, blog, podcast, guest blogs (or appearances), email newsletters and so on.

Be smart with your hashtags

Hashtags are all about discoverability. But it’s better to be strategic and targeted than to treat your hashtags like buckshot.

In short, the most popular hashtags (such as #love) aren’t necessarily the ones you need to use because they are, in fact, so overused. You’ll just get lost in the noise.

You can opt for more specific hashtags and/or create branded hashtags to promote user-generated content (among other reasons).

Check out our six tips to help you master hashtags on Instagram specifically.

Explore influencer marketing

Influencer marketing continues to increase in popularity, and for good reasons. It simply makes sense to partner with another brand that (or personality who) is relevant to your target audience.

Make sure you understand who you’re going to work with (whether they’re appropriate for your brand) and what the expectations are.

The result of a successful influencer marketing campaign is increased engagement and more social media followers.

Check out our seven tips you should know before starting your first influencer marketing campaign.

Keep your customer service team in the loop

Because so many more consumers are contacting brands via social media, it’s important that everyone tasked with responding to those messages are in the loop regarding your overall social media strategy and any significant campaigns.

Maintaining that communication across your team will preserve a consistency in your customer service that should back up the brand voice you’re projecting publicly on social media.

(Of course, this also extends to how you address negative commentary and reviews online. See our 11 tips.)

Consider contests and giveaways

Contests and giveaways should never be the end all be all of your entire social media strategy. But they are a great way to engage with your social media followers and grow your following as well.

First, think about what would spur interest and excitement. Make sure it’s reflective of your brand identity.

See our 10 tips to encourage more user-generated content.

But most importantly of all, make sure you’re on the up and up and keeping every giveaway and contest legal. Check out our guide on Terms and Conditions.

Pivot your strategy based on your social media performance

Similar to what we recommend for just about any digital marketing strategy is not just to monitor your social media analytics, but to refine your strategy as needed based on that performance.

If something is working, how can you build on that?

If something isn’t working, what can you do differently?

Clearly, there are so many factors to consider:

  • Timing
  • Content itself
  • Voice
  • Visuals

And so much more. But that’s what makes social media exciting. It’s always changing, and in general, it’s a grand experiment for every brand to find ways to represent itself, be heard and reach its target audience.

Consider any of these 17 online courses to level up your social media skills.

While you’re exploring how to increase your social media followers organically, think about how you can improve your digital marketing process as well. Is it everything you want it to be? DailyStory features automation, audience segmentation and more. Schedule your free demo with us today.

7 advantages to automating your workflow

Workflow automation allows you and your employees to save time on administrative and repetitive tasks, so they can focus on more important business goals. 

In addition, automating your workflow helps you avoid the issues associated with manual work, such as human error.

Many stages of workflows can be automated to speed up processes and cut back on costs. Developing an automated workflow for repetitive, laborious tasks, such as customer communication, can help your business grow. Automation can be applied to many different tasks while providing you with detailed record-keeping that’s error-free. Here are the benefits of workflow automation

No. 1: Speeds up task management

Whether you’re a SCRUM master or simply need help managing your task load to promote a better work/life balance, automation speeds up the management and completion of tasks. For example, without automation, a software development team might not be able to manage projects as effectively or meet deadlines. In this case, a workforce management system can automate insights to help team leaders identify bottlenecks and come up with creative solutions to advanced problems.

Not only can developers benefit from automation, but so can anyone. Does anyone in your organization perform data entry? Automation can automatically populate forms and spreadsheets from databases to ensure correct data. Not only will this save someone time, but it also prevents the risk of someone typing in the wrong number or letter.

No. 2: Reduces labor costs

Automating essential tasks can lower costs because it reduces administrative tasks and repetitive tasks, ultimately decreasing the number of hours needed to perform those tasks. Not only that but digitizing documents can help boost productivity while automatic validation ensures incorrect data can’t move through the workflow and prevent problems later on. 

For example, if someone enters a wrong number, the problem might not be discovered until it’s too late, which means hours upon hours of finding the error and fixing it. Automation prevents this by ensuring the data is correct at every stage of the process. Instead of letting the wrong letter throw your employees on a quest to find the right information and remedy the problem, you can save on labor costs by having smaller teams that can get more work done.

No. 3: Reduces errors

As we’ve already mentioned, human error is always an accident, but it can be pricey. Manual processing means just one employee can throw off the entire workflow, no matter what you’re doing. For example, suppose you’re performing equipment testing, which requires employees to write down numbers and other types of information. In that case, the person who must type up the information can easily misread a calculation. 

Automation can’t misread calculations, especially when you use software that integrates with all of your processes to ensure every number and letter is in its proper place, this is why many companies lean into test equipment and generators. Errors lead to delays, unhappy partners and customers, and even compliance issues, so the fewer, the better. 

No. 4: Streamlines approvals

If your business has a long approval process for anything, including purchasing products, then you already know how long it can take for a request to get approved. When using a manual approval process, staff members must deliver documentation to approvers and chase them down when they don’t get a response. 

Using automation can make the approval process quick and painless. It can send documentation to the right person based on logic while allowing approvers to sign documents digitally to prevent delays. 

No. 5: Improve customer relationships

Automating workflows can help you quickly respond to customers with accurate information. With fewer errors and delays associated with automation, you can enhance the customer experience with products and services that can be promptly delivered. 

Not only that, but automated workflows can help you quickly address customer concerns. As you know, customers expect a quick reply when they have a concern. To solve this problem, you can set up an alert for your customer service representatives that alerts them when a new issue needs their attention as soon as possible. 

No. 6: Happier employees

Happy employees are more productive employees, making them more likely to help your business succeed. Sitting at a desk doing the same tasks over and over can lead to burnout and fatigue. Instead of relying on your employees to do manual, repetitive tasks, you can automate their workflows and allow them to do more exciting tasks every day. 

By saving them time on the boring tasks that are just a part of the job, they’ll be more excited to come into work to focus on achieving business goals.

No. 7: Scalable

Workflow automation requires you to understand everything you can do with it to make your business more efficient. However, the time you spend learning about automation can help you save time in the future because it’s easily scalable. 

As you know, every department has different responsibilities and needs, but all of them can benefit from automation. For example, accounting can automate invoicing while HR automates paid time off requests. 

As soon as you design and implement a workflow, you can scale it and add more tasks to it. In addition, automation will become easier the longer you use it, which means finding and fixing issues within your business will, too. 

workflow-automation

Do You Need Workflow Automation?

If you’re still using manual processes, then it’s time to look into all of the different ways automation can help. Doing all of your work manually can cause bottlenecks and inefficiencies. These inefficiencies can force your employees to spend too much time on tasks that automation could be doing. 

Manual processes are slow and require more people and more time. Not only that, but you can easily lose important documentation. You also can leave yourself open to human error, which can be detrimental. 

Automating workflows allows you to do more in less time with fewer errors. With automation, your business can optimally function. Plus, your employees will be happy to spend more time on the parts of their jobs that matter.

About the author

Matt-Casadona

Matt Casadona has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. Matt is passionate about marketing and business strategy and enjoys San Diego life, traveling, and music. 

12 SEO marketing tips for beginners

Search engine optimization, also referred to as SEO, is critical for every website, but it’s also achievable, even for beginners.

SEO is all about ensuring that your website content ranks high in relevant search engine results. Of course, the higher you land in search rankings, the more website traffic you’ll see. The more traffic you drive, the more potential sales and revenue you can generate.

On the first page of Googe search results, for example, the first five organic results account for about 68 percent of all the resulting clicks.

The effort is worthwhile. About 49 percent of marketers say that organic search has the best return on investment (ROI) of any marketing channel.

But successful SEO is so much more than just using relevant keywords.

The following are 12 SEO marketing tips for beginners that you can start using today.

Claim (or create) your Google My Business profile

Google My Business is a free public profile or listing that appears in related search results on Google.

Claiming (or creating) your listing provides Google (and internet users) with key information about your company. 

See our recommended 12 ways to optimize your Google My Business profile.

Create new, fresh content

Search engines love new content, which is seen as more relevant for users but also shows that your website is active.

Focus on topics that address the needs, wants and challenges of your target audience. What problems can you help them solve? To stay organized, see our eight tips to create an effective content calendar.

However, producing new content consistently can be a challenge for any marketer.

See our 13 tips for repurposing content like a rockstar. But if you’re flat-out stuck, check out our seven tips for beating marketing writer’s block.

Write longer

Writing longer, at its core, is about giving visitors the quality, in-depth content they’re seeking.

On the practical side, longer content gives you more opportunities for including keywords and offering the most beneficial information.

Longer, engaging content also increases your time on side, otherwise known as “dwell time.” The longer a user spends on your page, the greater the signal to Google (and other search engines) that users are engaging with your content. You want as long of a dwell time as possible.

The ideal length based on recent data is between 2,100 and 2,400 words.

But the danger of this tip is lengthening your content without adding value or sacrificing quality. Don’t go long just to go long. Quality over quantity always.

Use relevant keywords

Keywords aren’t everything, but they are a big piece of a successful SEO strategy.

It’s important to use the keywords that are most relevant to your piece of content. If you cast too wide of a net on your keywords, you are overpromising and underdelivering for search engines. Remember, search engines aim to deliver the most relevant search results for every user’s query.

Think about what a consumer might type into a search engine to find your content, and do your research.

Keep long-tail keywords in mind as well, particularly with the considerations surrounding voice search. (Long-tail keywords contain at least four words that more clearly specify the user’s intent in his or her search query.)

In addition, think about LSI keywords, which stands for “latent semantic indexing.” These are keywords that are related to the topic your content is about.

Check out these 11 free SEO keyword research tools that you can consider using. 

Optimize on-page elements

You’ll want to always keep your title, meta, heading and sub-heading tags on your website top of mind. These comprise your on-page SEO elements.

  • Title tag: The headline that appears on top of a search result. Make sure it’s unique for each page of your website, contains relevant keywords and is no more than 60 characters long.
  • Meta tag or meta description: The summary paragraph that appears as a description of your search result. Make sure that you take the opportunity to persuade users to click on your result in no more than 160 characters.
  • Headings and sub-headings: Ideally, you’ll have one heading <h1> per webpage, but you can have as many sub-headings (<h2>, <h3> and so on) as makes sense for the organization of your content on the page. These don’t appear in search results, but they are indexed and checked by Google the same as title tags, so include keywords as much as it makes sense to do so.
  • Sitemap: Schematics that help search engines find and rank your webpages. Using a sitemap helps your pages get updated faster and that all your pages are getting found.
  • Robots.txt: Code that tells search engine web crawlers which pages to include in their index and which not to. This is ideal for test pages and pages not intended for the public.

Learn more about the difference between on-page and off-page SEO.

Keep your URLs as simple as possible

While most internet users won’t notice the specifics of your webpage’s URL, it still matters to your SEO.

As a best practice, keep your URLs as simple and readable as possible, with a logical structure. This means that you’ll want to use text in your URLs rather than random numbers. Just remember to keep your URLs as short as reasonably possible.

You also can use your URLs to include your most relevant keyword, but make sure you’re not overstuffing. 

There’s no need to overhaul all your past URLs unless you think they are having a negative impact on your SEO. (If you do, make sure to also do a proper 301 redirect.) Simply move forward with simple, structured URLs. 

Build up your backlinks

Backlinks are when another website links back to any of your webpages by linking to it. Ideally, you’ll want backlinks from high-quality websites that are related to your content.

Backlinks help increase your search ranking, but obviously you can’t just snap your fingers and increase your backlinks instantly. It takes work.

See our seven tips to grow quality backlinks to your website and boost your SEO.

On the flip side, you also want to link out to other quality websites, which helps you appear more trustworthy to search engines. It’s a give and take.

Increase your internal links

Internal links go from one webpage to another within your website. Not only do these links help visitors navigate your site, but they also communicate more structure to search engines. 

When you’re posting a piece of content, give your reader every opportunity to dive deeper into related topics throughout your post.

Consider your images

You might not realize it, but images play a role in boosting your SEO.

But it’s about more than simply breaking up paragraphs of text for your reader. To help search engines understand what your images are about, use the alt text feature, which is an HTML code that describes what your image shows. 

Make sure that every image on your website has an accurate, detailed description in the alt text. Again, avoid any keyword stuffing. 

These also help blind or visually impaired users who are using a special computer (or software) that reads text out loud.

Optimize your site speed

While site speed is a bit more of a technical characteristic to consider, it matters for your SEO. Obviously, slow-loading pages turn off internet visitors and therefore are downgraded in search rankings by Google and other search engines.

About 75 percent of users will not revisit websites that took longer than 4 seconds to load.

If you’re using Adobe Flash, you might want to think again. Flash is an app that enables multimedia streaming and user interaction within a webpage, but it can slow down your loading time. In addition, Flash doesn’t work on many mobile devices. For both of those reasons, search engines can downgrade your search ranking if you use a lot of Adobe Flash.

You can check your site’s speed with Google’s PageSpeed Insights and get recommendations on how you can speed up your site if necessary.

Speed is especially important for mobile browsing. Dive deeper into what mobile SEO is, as well as six best practices.

Use social media to your benefit

Social media is a powerful and diverse tool for brand awareness and audience engagement.

Because it’s so diverse, you have a number of different platforms and strategies to explore and consider.

Here’s what every startup company should know about social media when they’re starting from scratch.

In the end, your use of social media does impact your SEO. See these seven ways how.

Monitor your SEO performance

One of the most important steps in all of digital marketing, SEO and otherwise, is to track your results.

You can easily see how your SEO is impacting your website by using Google Analytics, which is free. You can see where your traffic is coming from, as well as what’s working and what’s not. The tool offers historical, comparison and real-time data at your fingertips.

In conclusion

The most important thing to remember when you’re starting out with best SEO practices is simply to think about your target audience. Think about the user. Put them first.

Dive deeper into how to determine your target audience with our seven tips.

Keep in mind what those users are looking for, what they want and what they need. Your content should serve this above all else. That’s how search engines will continue to see value in your content and serve that in search queries.

For now, you can see how to check your Google search rank right now for free.

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