Huckleberry Marketing and Advertising Agency


What Is The Internet of Things Really?

The Internet of Things (IoT) is considered the future of technology with a trillion dollar industry.

If you haven't heard of the Internet of Things (IoT) yet, or you have and have no idea what it is, this one's for you. 

1. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the term used for the connection of everyday things, like homes, equipment, watches and more, to the internet, for the purpose of collecting data, tracking usage, and automating systems.

2. That includes smart technology you probably have already seen like Google Home, Amazon Echo, wearable tech (like a FitBit or smartwatches), smart cars, smart thermostats - all that good stuff. 

3. IoT is kinda blowing up with the amount of connected IoT objects set to reach 50 billion by 2020 and will be worth $7.1 trillion by that same year.

4. And it's not just about consumer devices, IoT spans across industries with new technology for agriculture solutions, business enterprise tech, environmental innovations and more. 

5. Basically, the Internet of Things is changing the way we live, work and play with new farming equipment, new health care solutions, new transportation systems and much much more.

6. Right now, companies, investors, inventors and entrepreneurs are taking major strides to launch new IoT products and solutions to bring to market with billions of dollars in research and production across sectors.

7. Which basically means that there's room for anyone who wants to join in on the IoT happenings, no matter what role you want to play. 

8. And if you want to join in on the latest hot new IoT events to take part in this trillion dollar market, check out the homepage with our new IoT conference events.

Check out the latest new IoT events happening here.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

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Everything You Need To Know About New GDPR Website Compliance

New GDPR comes into force on May 25, 2018, here's what you need to know to make your website GDPR compliant.

Have you noticed the slew of emails hitting your inbox with updates to Privacy Policies yet?

That's because the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force on May 25, 2018 and if you have a website, you're going to want to read this to avoid hefty fines.

Here's what you need to know to ensure your website is GDPR compliant. 

Disclaimer: Nothing on this website should be considered legal advice. We are marketers, not lawyers.

1. GDPR applies to every organization and businesses across the globe (not just in the EU).

2. After May 25, 2018, fines for non-compliance are set at up to 4% of a company’s annual global revenue OR €20 million (whichever is greater).

3. The GDPR is 200 pages long but in a nutshell, GDPR is supposed to protect public users data and hold businesses to a higher standard for how they collect, store and use that data.

4. Personal data that is protected includes: name, emails, physical address, IP address, health information, income, etc.

5. Most websites already collect personal data or use integrations that collect data, like email marketing software, social media pixels, Google Analytics - all the data marketers use to create, execute and track campaigns. 

6. To make sure your email and website is GDPR compliant, you want to follow these 3 main aspects of the GDPR:

1) Get explicit consent for communications (no spamming people please!), 

2) Give people clear info about how you use and store personal data and the option to have their deleted if they ask you to (very reasonable, you'll probably want to update your privacy policy like we recently did here) and, 

3) Report any breaches of data collection, storage or use within 72 hours to appropriate authorities (no cover ups)

7. No matter what, be sure to check in with a lawyer to get specific info for your business on GDPR compliance. For example, depending on the size of your organization you might need a data protection officer. 

8. Being GDPR compliant basically makes the internet a better and more transparent place for everyone, so it's worth the time.

As GDPR rolls in, everyone will be making important changes to Privacy Policies and Terms of Service. Before issuing fines, it's likely that if you make an effort to become GDPR compliant, any non-compliance with GDPR would most likely result in a reprimand or warning.

GDPR is new for everyone so there's a learning curve as digital practices come up to speed with new data rules but all in all, it's aimed at making the internet a safer and better place for everyone.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

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Why SEO Matters For Your Digital Growth Strategy

Real talk, SEO is one of the single most important priorities for every business growth today.

The new year always tends to bring a whack of shiny new marketing ideas that are exciting and fun. Before you get caught up in blockchain, A.I. chatbots, VR, paid social ads or any other new digital rabbit hole, remember that website SEO should be your top priority first. Because SEO is the single most important strategy that delivers measurable results for digital growth.  

There's a lot of ground to cover in SEO, here are just a few things you should know about why SEO delivers top ROI.

1. Over 90% of online experiences begin with a search engine.

Want people to find your business online?  

Then you'll need to make SEO a top priority (Source: Junto).

2. There are over 1 billion active websites online today.

Just a *little* competition for online attention today so making the most of your website means SEO is a MUST.

You can check out the real time website counter on Internet Live Stats here.

3. 81% of consumers use search engine research before making a purchase.

Wanna make sales?

Better make SEO your number 1 digital priority (Source: Junto).

4. Your website needs to be 100% mobile for top SEO rankings. 

ICYMI, mobile is the norm online today.

The majority of internet searches and website activity happen on mobile (Source: Google Think). 

And, Google's new mobile search indexing means that any websites that aren't mobile optimized will see a hit on SEO rankings (Source: Search Engine Land).

So, if your website isn't already mobile optimized, 2018 is the year to make it so for the sake of your SEO.

5. Half of website visitors will leave a site that takes more than 2 seconds to load.

If your website takes too long to load, your bounce rate goes way up and your SEO takes the hit. 

Fast loading websites are a must for any effective SEO strategy.

6. Front end and back end SEO best practices WORK.

SEO isn't some magic vortex. 

Search engines run on the ability to connect the user search with the most relevant websites.

This means that it's in everyone's best interest to use the free and available services that walk you through the front and back end SEO  best practices to get your website front and center for your target audience. 

Google services are fracking awesome and free. Get set up ASAP at Google Analytics.

7. Your website pages need unique titles and good content.

Front end SEO is all the stuff that's visible to your website users and it matters. 

Website pages and content should focus on keywords for your website. 

2018 is the year of voice search so you'll want to have search keywords and conversational keywords in the mix. Everyone's going to be updating SEO keywords this year.

8. Tags and descriptions matter for your SEO big time.

All that back end stuff, descriptions, tags, alt tags, meta descriptions - the back stuff people don't see but Google does. You need to get this all set up with keywords.

Get the Yoast plugin and use it.

9. Keep your eyes on the prize.

No digital strategy is as important to get new leads and convert new leads as SEO for your website. 

Start with SEO and be sure your website is set up to capture email addresses from your website visitors.

10. Use micro social media to boost organic reach.

Most people know about macro social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest but what about the growing importance of micro social media?

You heard it here first, micro social media (A.K.A. online business listings) are becoming more and more important for SEO in 2018. 

Be sure that on business listings online like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Google My Business, have accurate and consistent information. Update your website with your new 'https' (oh yes, get your SSL if you don't already have it!). And make sure all your descriptions and photos are keyword optimized to get an SEO boost from micro social channels. 

Remember that no matter what other digital strategies you're using, SEO is a top priority for long-term digital growth. 


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

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Social Media Marketing for 2018

Here's what you need to know about social media marketing in 2018.

Social media marketing (SMM) is a massive opportunity for brands in 2018. Yet, social media also represents a potential massive vortex of time, money and energy with no clear ROI to show for it. 

In 2018, SEO ads and display ads are projected to make up 75% of the total digital marketing budget across industries. Social media ads are projected to grow to hit nearly a quarter of the total digital marketing budget. 

The problem is, social media marketing, unlike SEO and display ads, don't always show a clear ROI. The last thing you want as a marketer is to spend a growing ad budget without clear goals and metrics right? Find out what you need to know to succeed with SMM this year.

1. 37% of the world population is on social media.

2.8 billion users are on social media, accounting for a 37% of world population (Source: We Are Social). 

'Nuff said.

2. More than 1 million people start using social media for the first time every single day – that’s more than 12 new users every second.

By the time you finish reading this, over 1,000 new users will have joined one of the world’s top social platforms (Source: We Are Social). 

So yeah, there is definitely potential there.

3. But, research shows that the majority of marketers and business owners can't show social media ROI.

Yup, almost half of marketers (44.1%) say they haven’t been able to show the impact of their social media spending. (Source: CMO Survey).

Despite the upward trending on spending for social media efforts and ads, numerous reports confirm the lack lustre results for the majority of social media advertisers. 

So what's the deal?

4. Brand Advertising VS. Direct Response Advertising

Brand advertising has long been a tool typically reserved for big name companies who have the budgets to pay for giant displays of their logo for the sake of brand awareness. It's not designed to show clear cut ROI because it doesn't really have to outside of the overarching goal to increase sales. 

​Think Goodyear blimps.

Smaller companies typically run direct response advertising that provides a clear call to action. Direct response advertising intends to generate sales to pay for the costs of marketing and make profits immediately following a campaign. Kinda like how SEO and display ads work with clear call to actions while users are searching the internet.

Oh hi there clear and trackable ROI.

Social media is a hybrid of brand advertising in the modern era. And to be clear, brand advertising has never been about showing a clear cut ROI (Source: Marketing360).

That's not to imply that brand advertising doesn't deliver ROI, but just be aware that the goal of these two types of advertising are different. The most exciting part of the rise of brand awareness driven by social platforms is how smaller companies have gained this  opportunity to connect with consumers and take part in brand awareness that was previously reserved only for companies with much larger budgets. 

The challenge is knowing how to run social media effectively and properly account for the impact as part of your brand's overall digital growth.

​Today, ROI-driven budgets are largely being left behind as unable to effectively measure the impact of digital marketing. Customer Life Value (CLV) is the new metric that dominates under the unified goal of increased sales instead (Source: Google Think).

5. Most importantly, consumers expect brands to have a social media presence today.

Your brand has to be visible on at least some major social media platforms the same way a brick and mortar office needs a receptionist. It's basically a cost of business, so it's best to determine ways to use it wisely with the understanding of social media as brand awareness advertising.

The good news is, consumers are directing purchase behaviour based on interactions with brands on social media.

Consumers are happy to pay more for speedy replies from brands on social media AND are more likely to purchase from brands they have good interactions with on social media (Source: ConverSocial).

So it's clear with the volume of users and data on consumer behaviour that, outside of specific paid ad campaigns, there is not only an inherent (despite somewhat elusive) ROI to social media, there is also a potential for lost consumers if your social media isn't up to par. 

6. Social media marketing in 2018 should focus on authentic relationship building.

The truth is, social media is a great place to connect with your target audience so long as your brand is engaged with authentic storytelling.

Social media marketing is not about selling your product or services, it's about authenticity and two-way engagement with your audience. Keep in mind, many social media users have accounts on numerous platforms, but different networks with the same users will produce different results based on your brand and your posts. 

The key to show ROI for social media marketing is to pick the right platform for your brand to engage with your audience and use re-targeting ads to take advantage of second stage consumer awareness.

7. Find the right platform for your brand and audience to connect.

​Organic reach is the most basic and obvious indication of successful social media marketing - and ideally is the pre-curser to any paid ads that are more ROI-centric. 

Unless you are purposefully running ads to reach a new audience on a network with the understanding that you are not necessarily driving ROI campaigns but instead paying for brand awareness. And yes, there is a certain amount of social currency to establish your brand on top social platforms but it's important to be clear that these type of social paid ad campaigns are outside the scope of ROI performance and instead aimed at the goal of a level of social currency on a particular platform. 

If it's ROI you want from paid ads, then the rule is simple. When your brand is able to effectively use a social platform to gain organic engagement, it is much more likely that your brand will achieve more success on that platform running paid ads. 

Want to know where to find the best platform to reach your target audience? Get your free access to the full 2018 Social Media Playbook here with the latest data and user demographics to optimize your social media marketing.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

Post your comment below and watch the magic happen...

Top 7 Website UX Features for 2018

Here's what you need to know about user experience design for websites in 2018.

The data is in! Find out the latest 2018 market expectations and consumer behaviour to make the most of your website UX this year for digital growth. 

(And if you want to be extra fancy, be sure to check out the full 2018 Website Checklist here.)

1. Mobile design is crucial.

Nowadays, a mobile first approach to your website is crucial.

More than half of all internet usage is on a mobile device and that trend continues to rise. (Source: Google Think)

The market expectations are way past mobile responsive. This year will be the year of mobile design websites that deliver a smarter UX for the droves of website users on smartphones. 

2. Fast loading time is a must.

Consumer expectations for instant websites are on the rise.

53% of mobile users will leave a web page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. (Source: Google Think). 

This means that simple, one to three page websites will be making a strong comeback in 2018 to meet loading time expectations.  

3. Voice SEO and voice friendly interfaces are trending.

Voice search now represents 20% of all internet searches and that trends continues to rise (Source: Next Web).

Website SEO practices on the backend and front end content need to meet new voice commands norms to ensure users can still find your brand's website.

4. SSL certificates a must-have.

Safety is a major concern for internet users today.

And, with Google's update back in October 2017, any website that doesn't have an SSL certificate now shows users a 'Not Secure' warning with slight SEO negatives so... yeah, just get the SSL certificate for your website.

5. Interactive content and media is trending big time.

2018 is gonna get so much more fun online with the rise of interactive content and media on websites. 

Whether it's online videos, branded GIFs, clickable images, animations or more complex augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), this year the brands that integrate interactive media will win.

6. Chatbots.

You've seen these things in action already no doubt, but expect to see a whole lot more of it on websites in 2018. 

Remember that if you're using a chatbot, make sure that it serves the purpose of empowering your website visitors. The best use of chatbots are for helping consumers get digital support.  

7. Customized automated messaging triggered by user website actions.

Part of the more enhanced UX on websites in 2018 will be to enable the right sort of push notifications, email follow-ups, re-targeting ads and more that personalize marketing messages based on a website user actions. 

Just remember, the growing consumer demand for personalized, more relevant marketing messaging is based on a desire for solutions that help consumers save time and effort. 

Only enable website action automations to help consumers save and effort without bombarding users with unnecessary notifications.

Want more? 

​Get the full 2018 Website Checklist here to find out the everything you need to know about website trends this year.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

Post your comment below and watch the magic happen...

How To Create IRL Opportunities That Enhance Consumer Experience

Here's what you need to know about the magic of IRL experiences for marketing.

IRL experiences for people to engage with your brand are a KEY priority. 

Mainly because IRL experiences and online connections offer the perfect blend of online and offline engagement that consumers today crave. Find out why and how your brand can use IRL experiences to drive digital growth below.

1. Experience is the most important factor driving consumer purchases today.

ICYMI, Consumers today make purchase decisions primarily for experiences, not the goods or services being sold (Source: AdWeek). 

The best IRL experiences execute a flawless blend of offline and online tactics to deliver a fun experience.

A.K.A. IRL events that are insta-friendly to maximize digital engagement with Facebook checkins, devoted Twitter/Insta hashtags, contests, etc.

2. Cater IRL experiences to deliver the best UX.

A great user experience (UX) is one that makes it easy for consumers to engage. 

Keep in mind that for consumers today, there is no 'offline' and 'online' because digital is just an extension of life. Essentially, brands that integrate offline and online tactics set the standard of expectation today (Source: Racounter). ​

When considering the UX for IRL experiences, get creative and focus on your target market. Figure out what social platforms are best suited for your audience, how to cater engagement before, during and after IRL events and make it fun for people to engage offline and online. 

3. Kick off promotions to build anticipation early.

As much as people love IRL experiences, if there isn't enough hype and notice, people aren't going to make it. Remember, anticipation is a big part of the fun.

Give at least 90 days for IRL event announcements to maximize your exposure and participation. 

Start off with teasers to build anticipation, then launch registration and continue to remind people with extra tidbits about what the happs will be. 

4. Be sure the IRL is selfie-optimized.


SRSLY though, if it isn't insta-friendly, is there really a point in going to this thing?

Be sure to give clear hashtags for social shares and optimize on backdrops for selfie madness that is sure to ensue at any IRL event worth attending. This maximizes your digital exposure and gives that highly coveted offline and online blending.

5. Create incentive for people to share and engage with your brand on social media.

Consumers attending your IRL event already want to take a million pictures if you've made it insta-ready (see above), 

BUT, you can really hone in your social shares if you create incentive for photo shares with tagging and hashtags by running a contest. Be creative, depending on your target audience and event, you might want to have a giveaway or special treat for winners to be announced a week after the event. Or, support a cause to donate money for social shares (consumers today love socially responsible brands). 

6. Surprise people with unique products, services, or anything creative to show off your brand.

Even with all your promotions for 90 days or more, there should still be a little something something extra that is only unveiled at the IRL event to surpass peoples expectations. 

This can be small items like limited-time coupons to unique product packaging, cool merch, freebies - the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to focus on having at least one or two unique surprises that elicit delight.

7. Connect with synergistic companies for partnership opps to enhance events.

When possible, try to find partnership opportunities to help with costs and promotions that ultimately enhance the event. This can be food, music, equipment and more depending on your niche market.

This way, you make the IRL experience even more fun and gain the benefit of a new partnership.

8. Get more attention with Influencers and press.

Ok so just BTW, first you want to maximize your offline and online promotions before reaching out to press and any influencers. 

Then, think about reaching out to press with a prepared document on LinkedIn and/or consider social Influencers in your niche. Be sure to vet Influencers and keep a budget in mind, or better yet, create a results-based agreement with any Influencers. 

Truly, all social media users are Influencers within their own right, so this is a case by case evaluation to consider if it's worthwhile for your target audience and the particular Influencer.

9. Run LIVE social media exposure during the IRL.

Live tweeting, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, SnapChat stories - be sure your brand is optimizing the event to continue to showcase the IRL experience on social media.

Live social media is crucial to show people behind-the-scenes sneak peaks, entice more people to join and get more engagement. It's a smart idea to have specific planning laid out for aspects of the event (such as prepared guidelines for any pictures, consistent hashtags and copy) prepared beforehand so that in the moment it can be as good as possible.

10. Share your post IRL event coverage.

Here's another really cool way to leverage your event and delight your audience... the after-event content. 

It's true, content is king and everybody loves a good story. Take plenty of pictures and video at your event so you have the creative multi-media for your website, emails and social media posts. 

This way, you leverage your event to create new and engaging content. Whether it's shout-outs, articles, fun emails or social media posts - your post event coverage is a real value-add for your audience. Plus, it helps you get attention and excitement for your next IRL to keep your customers happy and ultimately, grow your brand.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

Post your comment below and watch the magic happen...

How To Create A Seamless Digital Experience Consumers Love (And Expect!)

Find out how to meet consumer expectations of a seamless digital experience.

Um, hi, welcome to the Internet, you might have missed this but... a seamless digital experience is the expectation nowadays.

Here's what you need to know about what consumers expect of interactions with brands online:

1. Roughly one third of consumers shop online at least once a week.

So basically if you sell anything, it needs to be available to reserve or buy online to keep up with consumer shopping habits today (Source: WalkerSands).

2. 50% of all foot traffic and in-person sales today are influenced by your online efforts.

This means that 100% of your online shoppers are influenced by your brand's digital AND at least 50% of all foot traffic and in-person sales are influenced by online pre-purchase activities (Source: MobileBusinessInsights). 

And that trend is only growing each year.

From product and price comparisons to online review and website research, consumers lean on digital access to help them make the best possible purchase decisions more and more. With a growing number of consumers shopping online directly and consumers using digital to make offline purchasing choices, there is no distinction between online and offline for consumers today.

3. Consumers expect brands to have an active onlinpresence.

Consumers expect brands to have an online presence. 

From social media and reviews to emails and more, consumers look for brands that are digitally active and responsive. (Source: SessionCam).

4. Mobile responsive is a MUST.

More and more people use smartphones and tablets to perform pre-product research and complete sales online.

In other words, you can't afford to miss out on the growing droves of consumers on mobile. (Source: McKinsey).

6. Integration with other platforms is key.

Consumers want access to integrations with other platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.).

Think about the consumer journey to use for the best options for digital integrations tailored to your target market (Source: SessionCam).

7. Consumers expect a personalized digital experience.

Consumers today actively look for brands that offer personalized communications (Source: theguardian).

Brands can use web tracking CRM software that triggers campaigns based on consumer selections. The key concept here is to make it as easy as possible for consumers by anticipating their needs based to save your customers time and effort.

8. Brands should tailor digital efforts to enhance the "consumer journey".

The omnichannel is real people.

Consumers today expect brands to be available across numerous devices with a cohesive digital consumer journey (Source: CGS).

The best UX for consumers today involves a clear understanding of how people become aware of your brand, evaluate purchase decisions, make purchase decisions and beyond. 

9. A 'seamless digital experience' is hipster for 'as easy as f-ing possible'.

The best way to create a digitally seamless experience for consumers is to map out the consumer journey from discovery to purchase and continued purchases.

Any innovations that save consumers time and effort WIN because consumers report that they will switch to companies that do provide digital solutions. (Source: ConverSocial)

10. Top seamless digital experiences combine offline and online tactics to enhance the overall consumer experience with the brand.

A seamless digital experience translates to a seamless experience. 

There is no 'offline' and 'online' for consumers because digital is just an extension of life... so if there's a difference interacting with a brand offline or online, it will become a decidedly bad one. 

Basically, brands that integrate offline and online tactics set the standard of expectation today (Source: Racounter).


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

Post your comment below and watch the magic happen...

How Company Ethics Impact Your Bottom Line

Do consumers really care about company ethics?

Global consumers are conscientious but how does that impact a company's bottom line?

Here's what you need to know about conscientious consumers in the digital age.

1. The majority of consumers are happy to pay premium prices to socially responsible companies.

 66% of global consumers will pay higher prices for products and services from socially responsible brands.

And, if your target market includes 'millennials' (most likely), that number is even higher with 73% of global millennials willing to pay extra for sustainable offerings (Source: Nielson).

​Premium pricing depends on specifics of a product, service and target market involved, but typically consumers are willing to pay premium prices of about 10-15% more (Source: Wall Street Journal).

2. 85% of global consumers AND 91% of millennials will switch brands to another associated with a cause.

Turns out that even though consumers will only pay an additional 10-15% in prices, consumers punish companies for a lack of social responsibility by shopping elsewhere.

In the digital age, consumers are constantly engaged in comparison shopping, and that includes looking for ways to support businesses that make socially responsible choices with a positive impact (Source: Cone Communications).

3. Consumers expect to see and engage with socially responsible brands over social media.

A lip service blurb on your website isn't gonna cut it these days. 

53% of global consumers and 66% of millennials expect brands to convey their part in socially responsible activities through social media channels that offer real-time engagement, storytelling and authenticity. (Source: Huffington Post)

Look for ways to take part in local efforts to get started and give people an easy way to take part, like '$1 donated for every retweet' feel good campaigns.

4. Even small incremental improvements to sustainable and socially responsible actions have a strong impact.

Getting involved in the corporate social responsibility doesn't have to be a massive undertaking. 

Research shows that small and incremental initiatives still have a large impact on influencing consumer behaviour (Source: Forbes).

6. Protecting the environment and promoting social equality are the two top concerns for consumers today. 

If you're looking to tap into the conscientious consumer priorities, be sure to keep in mind that environmental sustainability and social equality are top concerns (Source: Deloitte). 

7. Socially responsible companies attract the best and the brightest - for less.

Got #SquadGoals? 

Socially responsible companies get the best and the brightest for less because they want to be part of positive social contributions in the workplace (Source: Deloitte).

Companies involved in socially responsible choices have a major hiring advantage when it comes to attracting and keeping the best people on your team (Source: Choice). 

​And, that includes compensation with 62% of millennials stating that they are willing to take a pay cut to work at a sustainably responsible company (Source: Deloitte). 

8. Socially responsible stories are a key part of content marketing today.

What's the best content marketing story ever? 

How your brand is a real life hero that has real positive impact.

9. Being socially responsible is just the right thing to do.

No matter how you look at it, socially responsible companies that support sustainability are in it for the long haul.

Not only do people like your brand better, but let's face it, it's just the right thing to do cause we're all in this together.

10. Demonstrate good ethics with how you treat people - your consumers and your employees.

Like the old saying goes, good charity starts at home. 

A company with lack lustre customer service or a shitty workplace is just another corporate drone taking marketing aim at ethics with lip service and that'll never work. 

The foundation of corporate social responsibility is built on a fair workplace and good customer service. From there, your word of mouth and company culture organically grow to become one of the recognized socially responsible companies who live, breathe and grow sustainability ethics that customers love to love.


 Got thoughts? Share your ideas, opinions and questions below to contribute to the discussion. Your comments are always read and responded to by our team and have a direct impact on new content, services and products we create.

Post your comment below and watch the magic happen...

Here's Everything You Need To Know About Texting Your Customers

Find out why texting customers is the latest rising trend and how to use it for top results.

Calling people on the phone is so 90's, it's no surprise instant text features are blowing up on social media and websites. 

​Here's what brands need to know about texting customers.

1. Calling someone on the phone is borderline rude in this day and age.

32% of consumers have reported phone calls as the most frustrating form of communication. 

In other words, if your consumers are forced to call in, they won't be around much longer. So be sure to offer other forms of communication solutions (like email, chat, text, social media).

2. Texting is the #1 method and preference for communication today.

The majority of smartphone owners prefer to communicate by text instead of phone calls or email (Source: Pew Research). And, sending and receiving text messages is the most prevalent form of all communications today (Source: Gallup News).

Most people are already aware of this shift in their personal lives and most people already use forms of instant chat and text with their co-workers, however, businesses are only now just starting to now harness the power of texting.

3. Texts have a 98% open rate.

With a 98% open rate, nothing beats the power off texting in this day and age (Source: Mobile Marketing Watch). 

What's more, texts are read almost instantly with an average response time of 90 seconds. (Source: OneReach).

4. Texting customers doesn't have to be $$$, social media tools offer instant text tools for free.

It's a good idea to get your social media set up with these free tools that enable instant chat and text from your business profiles on your Google My Business page, your Facebook and Instagram business profiles and your Twitter profile. You can also embed the Messenger Bot onto your company website so that your customers can always reach you online for questions and customer service.

Just be sure to indicate business hours and have specific policies in place so you're offering consistent answers and service to anyone who does reach out to you.

5. You can use texts as a way to schedule follow-up conversations with leads.

It takes an average of 5 follow-ups with a lead to close a sale so adding texts to your follow-up repertoire is a smart way to get these follow-ups in there.

You can create a 'Text Me' option for web signups and use texts for your phone meeting scheduling. Sending a quick text in the morning like, "Hi there John, this is Kathy from Company. XYZ I was wondering if we can chat for a few moments today at noon to go over your request for ABC.". This kind of message is much more likely to be read and replied within moments, versus calling and leaving a voicemail (which let's face it, is the worst) or even sending an email.

6. Use texts to ask customers for online reviews.

Online reviews are a powerful way to gain customer feedback and help potential customers make their final buying decision. The thing is, for a customer to trust an online review of your business, it needs to be a recent review (within the last 3 months to be exact).

Try texting customers to ask for a review of your business on your Google My Business listing by sending about 5 customers a month a text with a shortened link to your business page. Something along the lines of "Hey John, hope you enjoyed the service/product! If you can take a moment to leave us a review, we would really appreciate it! LINK HERE". Just by asking for reviews with a quick text a few of your customers will help your brand get a lot of traction online.

7. Take it to the next level with text announcements. 

Depending on your list size and budget, you might want to consider having an option for testing customers as part of an exclusive group. Most Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems (for email automation) now have features for texting customers as well, so you can manage all your communications in one place (Ahem, just BTW, Huckleberry CRM offers texting customers integrations).

This is a large-scale option to stay in touch with your customers (works great for brick and mortar businesses sending out exclusive deals or promo codes). For smaller scale options to get started texting customers, you can also use chat services like WhatsApp groups too.

Just keep in mind that if you send any web links especially with texts, the web page should be mobile friendly.

8. Never send unsolicited texts.

Texts, just like emails, should never be sent to anyone who hasn't given your company explicit permission to contact them via text.

Just don't, it's like the worst and you will get blocked.

9. Create basic guidelines for social media chat and texting customers.

Be sure to create a guide for your team so there are clear policies in place and your customers experience consistent service when you do implement instant chat and/or text for your business. 

Look for ways you can implement text or chatbot solutions to help drive your business and make your customers lives easier and you will be on your way to creating a seamless digital experience.

10. Send your website visitors push notifications.

Adding push notifications to your website is a great way to send your audience text-like messages.

You can add website push notifications to update website visitors on new articles or deals you're offering. This keeps people in the know with the latest happenings and gives your brand an easy way to leverage your existing audience and website content.  

Just be sure to keep it interesting and time it so you're only sending out a weekly notification that gets attention.


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Why Your Digital Marketing Needs Creative Multimedia

Here's what you need to know about creative multimedia.

Creative multimedia is essential for any digital marketing strategy. 

Whether you're using text with images, memes, GIFs, infographics, videos or a combination of all of these (best!), unique and shareable multimedia is one of the best ways to capitalize on content marketing and social media engagement for your brand.

Here's what you need to know about creating shareable multimedia to increase your website traffic and expand your organic reach online.

1. Creative videos get the most attention online.

So naturally, it's time to make some videos right? 

Remember the key word here is CREATIVE. Videos that grab and hold attention are clever and speak directly to your target audience in relatable ways. The good news is that, videos don't have to be overly complicated.

A well-thought out video recorded on a smartphone and edited can be a great Instagram story and paid ad, for example. There are so many fun ways to showcase videos on social media, automated webinars, YouTube channels, VLogs, courses and more that people love to share.

2. Anything interactive with multimedia is good.

Call it experiential marketing or just the natural human tendency to seek connections, people want to actively participate. They want an experience, a story, a unique connection - and that means interactive multimedia from live broadcasts and instant chats to quizzes and texts. 

Interactive multimedia spreads like wild fire on social media. Whenever you're creating multimedia, focus on the two-way connection between your brand and your audience.

3. Use multimedia to entertain, educate and entice your audience.

There are three main purposes to keep in mind whenever creating your multimedia - the Three E's

+ Educate consumers about the problem your company solves and/or the solutions you offer; + Entertain consumers with anecdotes that relate to your products and/or services;+ Entice consumers with limited-time offers and/or deals.

Your multimedia is an essential part of your content marketing strategy. Whether it's social media posts, candid pics or otherwise, be sure to use images that tell your audience who your company is and why your company is worth doing business with.​

4. Large amounts of data need visuals.

People are busy and more often than not, you're competing with at least one other activity whenever someone is online so, make it snappy, clear and concise. 

Whenever you want to share data-heavy information, create an easy to digest visual representation like Infographics. You can use free Infographic tools (like Canva or Piktochart) to create your own Infographics with your company logo or repost others (so long as you credit the original creator and get permission to use it).

5. Candid pics are great on social media and blogs.

Beautiful high-resolution photos are amazing, but remember that you want to create connections with your multimedia and one of the best ways to do that is by using candid pictures. 

One of the advantages that social media and blogs bring is a way for your audience to get those behind-the-scenes peeks so they can get to know your company and your brand (without oversharing).

6. GIFs and memes rule.

GIFs and memes dominate the digital world so take the time to plan out how and when you can use these to incorporate into your content marketing strategy.

7. Podcasts are a thing.

Podcasts are the "Netflix of radio" with millions of listeners. Podcast listeners are on the rise, with monthly listeners growing from 21% to 24% year over year (Source:  Edison).

In other words, this trend is hot and an incredibly effective way to engage with your audience whether it's free, a paid subscription, a bonus or otherwise.

Plus, you can always transcribe podcasts to offer users a PDF download. Remember that users are looking for an ad-free or ad-light experience so you want to again focus on the connections and behind-the-scenes content that really engages your audience. 

8. Multimedia combines text, graphics, animation and interactive experiences to execute an overall sales strategy.

Content marketing strategies help you connect with your audience in an authentic way that represents your brand. 

Stay focused on your overall strategy, so that you know how your content marketing sparks the interest and engagement that leads your consumers through a sales process. Emails, ads, social media posts, blogs... these should all be a building aspect of your overall strategy to boost your bottom line by making the most of your digital presence.

9. Multimedia makes it personal.

With continuous distractions and the bombardment of information, people tend to spend more time with screens than they would like. Creative multimedia creates a two-way conversation and helps people get to know your company. This means that you effectively combine text and design to appeal to your target audience so that there is a sense of shared experience and engagement. 

Depending on your brand, you'll want to incorporate at least a few different multimedia cornerstone content pieces on your website that make it easy for would-be consumers to get to know you. After all, that's what digital convenience is all about.


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How To Level Up Your Email Marketing in 2018

The top 20% of marketers generate 77% higher returns than you, here's what they do.

Email marketing is by far the top digital strategy today with an average ROI of $44 to every $1 dollar spent

But, did you know that only the top 20% of marketers know how to increase the impact of email marketing by 77% by using one simple tactic?

Read below to find out how to level up your email marketing ROI.

1. It's no secret that email marketing is the top performing digital strategy today.

In case you're late to the party, email marketing delivers at least a quarter of all online sales with an average ROI of 4400%. 

So, if you're not already using some form of automated email marketing, your week just got booked.

2. And there's a way to make email marketing even more profitable... to the tune of 77% more.

Yup, It's called targeted email marketing and it improves ROI of email marketing by 77% (Source: Kissmetrics). 

ICYMI, targeted email marketing is ad-geek for creating groups within your email list CRM to cater messages to specific segments in your database and trigger campaigns based on tracking behaviours (like signing up for a new list, linking a product, etc.).

3. Targeted emails generate higher open rates, higher conversion, higher click through rates and of course, higher ROI. Plus, it makes your customers way happier.

That's right, not only does list targeted and customized communications increase ROI of your email marketing, it also keeps your customers happy and loyal.

JSYK, 52%-65% of customers today seek out brands that personalize marketing and communications (Source: SalesForce).

And, personalized promotional emails get 27% higher unique click rates and 11% higher open rates than those that do not personalize (Source: Web Presence Solutions).

4. Top marketers use segmented lists and automated action trigger campaigns to generate top profits. (A.K.A. Targeted Email Marketing.)

The results you gain from targeted email marketing are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

Segmented lists generate higher unique opens, click through rates and conversion. Automated trigger campaigns (as in, emails that are triggered by a specific action, like an abandoned cart, a sign-up call to action, etc.) increase conversion by 624% compared to batch scheduled emails (Source: Web Presence Solutions).  

5. Ready to find out how you can start using targeted email marketing?

The good news is, you can immediately begin to create targeted email campaigns.

Simply start by tagging your list within your CRM and then create more focused follow-up campaigns.

If you don't have the data to segment and personalize your list yet, there are a few ways to get the info you need. For instance, you can create a survey to get some basic information from your users (name, birthday, preferences relevant to your products, etc.) and tag those users based on the data you receive (many software solutions will do this automatically once you create the survey and tags). You can sweeten the deal with discount coupons for filling in the form as a way to make it even more enticing to your list.

Another way to do this is to use rewards programs, exclusive birthday discounts, wish list features on your website - there are many ways you can start to segment your list and create website tracking integration to use behaviour triggered campaigns. What works best for your brand really depends on your audience and offerings.

The general idea that consumers want is communications that help them save time and effort with convenient and tailored marketing messages.

6. The great news is, customers LOVE this type of engaging email content! Your customers feel all warm and fuzzy knowing that you care.

Personalized and customized email marketing saves your customer precious time. When your email marketing campaigns are timely solutions that make it easy for your customer to get the information they want, everybody is much happier. 

Be sure to go the extra mile and ask the right questions and provide relevant landing pages so the experience from email to click is consistent and seamless to make the most of your targeted emails.

7. Try different tactics to find the best targeted campaigns for your target market.

Keep it fluid and authentic to your business so you can create relevant segmented lists. The goal is to engage with your customers on a more engaging and personal level. 

For some businesses, that will be using certain tried and true trigger campaigns, from welcome emails, rewards programs and cart abandonment. Or, you can split your list into broad categories to identify different needs and then create targeted campaigns based on those segments. Some lists will respond best to emails sent out at 8am while others prefer emails at 7pm - test it all so you can keep it fresh and relevant for your consumers. 

Bottom line?

Look for ways to integrate more personalized and targeted email marketing. Start by segmenting your existing email list and build out campaigns that empower your brand to create the most relevant follow ups. Once you've got this down, look for solutions to integrate website tracking with your CRM so you can deliver the customized action trigger campaigns that consumers love.


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How Online Reviews Make Or Break Your Business

Here's what you need to know about online reviews in the digital age. 

Online reviews have a MAJOR impact on businesses in this day and age. From your search engine visibility to purchasing decisions, online reviews can make or break your business. 

Read below to find out how to leverage positive and negative reviews to grow your business.

1. Did you know that 90% of consumers make buying decisions based on online reviews?

That's right, 90% of consumers report that online reviews make or break their buying decision, so yeah, pretty key (Source: Marketing Land).

On average, people read about 6 reviews before making a purchase decision.

2. More often than not, online reviews show up in the first page of internet searches.

At least 81% of consumers perform internet research about a brand and product before making a buying decision (Source: AdWeek). 

What's more, consumers love online reviews so search engines love them too (Source: Shopify). In those critical stages of pre-purchase activity, any online reviews through Google, Yelp and other platforms are more than likely to show up and influence a purchase decision. 

3. Lack of communication with negative reviews is a major flag to potential consumers.

Consumers expect brands to be present and available through digital communication channels.

If a consumer posts about a negative experience, take it as an opportunity to address a problem and make it right with superb customer service solutions.

Do not delete or ignore negative reviews! Show your brand is actively listening to feedback and providing solutions with a response to make it right because this makes consumers confident that if any goes wrong, you will be there to hear them out.

4. Actively ask customers for reviews online.

Because the vast majority of consumers perform research online before making a purchase decision, a lack of reviews can have a negative impact (Source: All Business). 

Take a pro-active approach and ask your customers to provide feedback. There are a few ways to do this is, such as adding links from your website, signage on location, emails with a link to provide a review after a sale or a text with a link to give a review. 

A bonus to asking for reviews (beyond the boost in SEO and credibility) is the invaluable feedback for your company.

5. Always thank customers who share positive online reviews.

While 90% of consumers read reviews, the majority of online reviews are written by a small minority of customers (Source: Business2Community). 

So when a customer takes time to share a positive experience  be sure to thank that customer online!

Consumers look to see for active engagement from brands for negative and positive interactions. In fact, 25% of consumers actively advocate for brands who regularly interact with their consumers via social media in real time (Source: Forbes).

6. Consumers look for timely reviews from the last 90 days.

73% of consumers disregard online reviews that are more than 3 months old (Source: BrightLocal). So it's in your best interest to actively ask for reviews to stay relevant.

7. Online reviews are the digital era's word-of-mouth advertising.

Online reviews are trusted by consumers just as much as a personal recommendation from a friend or family member.

In other words, online reviews are one of the most powerful ways to grow your business in the digital era.

Be sure to keep close tabs on your online reviews with Google alerts for your business and take the time to respond to both negative and positive reviews to make the most of it.


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What You Need To Know About Customer Service In The Digital Era

Here's everything you need to know about how to deliver amazing customer service today.

Word-of-mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool that brings in the most profits for businesses. 

Today, more than ever, consumers look for quality of service and experience, and that has a direct impact on the sales you do or don't make. Read below to find out what consumers are looking for so you can meet service expectations to enhance your consumer experiences and grow your business.

1. The single defining trend leading consumer purchase behaviour isn't a product or service, it's the CONSUMER EXPERIENCE.

The latest data trends continue to show that consumers are primarily basing all shopping decisions on the experience that goes along with it (Source: AdWeek). 

So basically, delivering quality customer service is KEY.

2. Digital accessibility is a crucial component of a good customer experience.

Consumers expect that a legitimate company has at least some online presence, including a website, contact information, listings with local directories and some form of social media platform to easily access two-way communication. 

Being responsive is a major part of any good customer service. 

Over the last two years, consumers have increased interactions with brands on social media by 250%. And, when consumers see that brands respond to consumer issues on social media, it increases word-of-moth advocacy for that brand by 25% (Source: ConverSocial). 

3. A good digital experience absolutely entails mobile responsive access to any social media ads, websites and online e-commerce platforms.

Mobile is the dominant way consumers perform pre-purchase research that accounts for at least 50% of all foot traffic in addition to online sales, and that trend is rising (Source: Google)

So yeah, mobile is hella important.  

4. Consumers look for interactive digital content to make the most of the shopping experience.

Consumers today want active forms of interactive engagement with brands online (Source: AdAge).

This can be as simple as turning on a Facebook messenger option, making graphics interactive, adding text confirmations to web sign-ups and as complex as "gamification" and enterprise apps for your brand. 

5. Consumers will pay significantly more and stay loyal to companies that offer speedy replies via social media and instant chat services.

Consumers find voice and phone the most aggravating medium of communication and are willing to spend more for speedy digital responses - to the tune of $19.83 more if your brand responds to social media interactions within 6 minutes or less (Source: ConverSocial). 

Basically, time is money and consumers will pay more and stay loyal to brands who make it easy to get solutions they need. 

6. Consumers report that lack lustre customer service solutions, like lengthy phone calls instead of instant chat access or social media responses, will result in leaving that company.

77% of consumers said that if they are forced to exert too much time to get solutions, they will take their business to a competitor who does offer easy solutions (Source: ConverSocial).

So if your brand forces consumers to call in for customer service, you're gonna want to re-shop that ASAP because consumers today will leave a brand to shop where their time and money is truly valued with convenient solutions. 

7. Consumers today want personalized, time-efficient communication and solutions.

Customer service solutions should be readily available across digital channels so your customers can save time and stay happy. 

Keep in mind that tools for social media instant chat and text make this a relatively easy solution to add to regular business hours. Your business can leverage existing platforms to add a 'Message Us' or 'DM' us on your website.

Also, be sure to consider how your email marketing and your social media engage with consumers and personalize the experience to make the most of your digital efforts.


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Why Experiential Marketing Is The Future Of Advertising

Here's what you need to know about experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing is THE hot trend you need to incorporate into your marketing efforts in 2018. 

If your digital media is on life support with a plethora of stock photos of your products, scheduled Hootesuite inspiration quotes on social media, and/or a large collection of ads, you need to read this to find out what experiential marketing can do for your exposure and growth.

1. Meet the new darling of advertising, Experiential Marketing.

Experiential marketing has been gaining more and more traction over the last three years, as brands and consumers alike are evolving communication in the digital era. 

Today, experiential marketing is the driving strategy for big brands like Coca Cola who want to leverage digital to interact with consumers (Source: AdAge).

2. And, just in case you're wondering, "Experiential Marketing" is ad-geek talk for marketing that focuses on creating experiences.

There are a few reasons for this important shift, but mainly experts agree that the medium of digital platforms has shifted the focus of marketing communications to meet the expectations of consumers today (Source: AdWeek).

3. Consumers today want to purchase experiences.

Experiential marketing delivers that enhanced experience that consumers are actively seeking today. Experience is the main force driving sales for consumers both offline and online today. 

More than ever, people are looking for ways to engage in two-way communications with brands through digital platforms and IRL events

Look for ways to incorporate experiential marketing that creates unique engagement for the best consumer experiences. For example, cater a brick and mortar business to be Insta-friendly, share unique hashtags, create lead pages for contests and more. 

4. Experiential marketing is the best social media strategy.

Experiential marketing takes social beyond inspiration quotes and scheduled shares to a much more effective type of interactive marketing. The more unique engagement brands create through any social media platform, the more organic reach brands gain. To find out more about how to use experiential marketing for top 2018 digital strategies, get instant free access to the 2018 Social Media Playbook here.

Good examples of experiential marketing at work are those social media posts that inform and invite consumers to take part in IRL events, live streams, contests and giveaways, etc. so that consumers then actively participate.

5. Social media tools are designed for experiential marketing.

Experiential marketing is the key to a successful social media strategy.

This isn't about paid ad campaigns, this is about organic reach as a result of real-time active engagement and two way communication.

Remember that more often than not, even brand followers won't see all your posts (Facebook organic reach for brands is at an all time low of just 2% to 6% of fans even seeing business posts), but if your post gets real engagement, your organic reach goes way up to reach a much wider audience.

6. Experiential marketing influences 53% or more of all online and offline purchases.

In the US and Canada, social media is a key part of pre-purchase activities for at least 53% of all consumers. (Source: Google).

Because experiential marketing gets engagement and enhances consumer experiences, this also has a direct impact to boost online purchases and increases foot traffic purchases offline. (Source: OpenTop)

7. Ready to take your social media game to experiential marketing?

The best experiential marketing focuses on enhancing the UX for consumers through personal interaction. 

An easy way to implement experiential marketing is to pick the social media platforms that best suits your target market and host live streams. To find out all the latest stats on different user demographics for social media platforms today, check out the 2018 Social Media Playbook.

​If you share ads on your social media, make them creative and funny to get organic engagement and real shares, if you share info about contests or purchases, make sure it is digitally accessible and above all - be real and focus on making connections. Basically, use marketing to create two way engagement with prospects and customers.


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Here's Everything You Need To Know About Email Marketing

Here's what you need to know about email marketing.

Email marketing is the best way to make money online. 

And, even though email marketing has been around for 40 years (which in digital terms is 'old'), email continues to the top ROI strategy for all online sales. Here's what you need to know about email marketing.

1. Email marketing is the top performer when it comes to making sales online.

Email marketing outperforms social media by 40x when it comes to acquisition of new customers (Source: CampaignMonitor).

What's more, since 2014, email marketing accounts for roughly a quarter of all online sales generated online, delivering an average ROI of $44.25 for every $1 spent (Source: Web Presence).

So basically, email marketing is E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G for your overall digital sales strategy.

2. Welcome emails are the most opened and most acted on emails.

Welcome emails generate an average 320% MORE ROI on a per email basis than any other promotional emails (Source: WordStream).

In other words, make that first welcome series count.

3. Emails that get sent out in REAL TIME make 10x more money.

​​Trigger campaigns sent out in real-time make 10x more money than batch scheduled emails (Source: EasySMTP).

So yeah, definitely a worthwhile feature to add for any e-commerce website.

4. Segmented emails based on preferences increases email ROI by 77%.

Remember, it's all about the consumer experience. 

Segmenting your email list to send out behaviour and preference based emails will increase your overall email marketing ROI to the tune of 77% more (Source: Kissmetrics).

6. Customized emails get more opens and clicks.

Flattery really does get you everywhere.... Turns out, customized emails have an open rate that averages 14.32% higher than "blasts" with a higher CTR of 100.95% (Source: WordStream). 

Customize emails with names, exclusive offers based on behaviours, birthday deals, content catered to preferences and interests so your list subscribers feel noticed and special.

7. Emails should be mobile AND desktop friendly to optimize sales.

People tend to check emails while watching TV, laying in bed or just relaxing, so that first time seeing your email should catch attention (over 90% of consumers use their email once a day if not more). And, the second time they view your email is when the action is taken (Source: SalesForce). 

Most commonly, emails are opened on mobile first and the real purchase decision happens on desktops or tablets (Source: WordStream).

8. WORDS have the most impact to create emails that sell.

The top 3 words to include in email for conversion are: 'you', 'because' and 'imagine' (Source: EasySMTP).

Use enticing subject lines that make consumers want to open your email and be sure that there is a flow between your subject and content.

9. If you don't customize emails, your consumers will go to your competitor who does.

Yup, 52% to 65% of consumers report that they will switch companies if their communications are not personalized in some way (Source: SalesForce).

With data collection capacities these days, if you don't already have segmented lists with tags, you can easily implement a survey and tagging options to implement this and see a big difference for your email marketing ROI.

Course, if really you want to be *extra*, use website tracking to deliver action triggered emails and re-targeting display ads. 

10. Simple improvements can double your email ROI.

Believe it or not, even though email marketing has the top ROI in digital, as of Dec 2017, only 49% of companies were using automated email marketing (Source: WordStream). Wha?! So anyway, if you're already doing email marketing, you're doing well

That being said, improvements and updates to email campaigns is smart so you continue to keep content fresh and engaging.

The fastest strategy to improve email marketing is to A/B test your email campaigns, which is shown to improve email campaigns by up to 49% (Source: CampaignMonitor). Then move onto the more fun stuff with segmented campaigns and customized offers.​


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