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  • 6 Ways to Keep Your Website Content Fresh as a Daisy Feb 18, 2019 at 2:46 PM

    Keeping your website up to date isn’t just about making sure it doesn’t look like it was designed in 1998 (although that matters, too).

    More importantly, it’s about keeping people hooked on what you have to say… and making sure you continue to show up high in search results. Those Google ranking elves are suckers for novelty!

    Producing a constant stream of sparkling new content is tricky, though. In this article, we’ll take a look at 6 manageable ways on how to keep website content fresh.

    Read on to learn about:
    • What kind of content stays fresh
    • Preventing content from getting buried on your site
    • Repurposing content
    • Scheduling Strategies
    Let’s take a look at six great ways to keep website content fresh:

    1. Make It Easy to Update
    It’s really important that you have direct control over what goes on your site without calling IT every time you want to add or change something. The easiest way to do that is to use a CMS system that allows you to edit text, images and video.

    Ideally, opt for something that lets you add and replace things like cover images and videos and that incorporates an easy-to-update blog section. This means you can add new valuable or interesting content easily, in keeping with your site’s overall design.

    2. Create (and Update) Evergreen Content
    Evergreen content is stuff that doesn’t become irrelevant or outdated – at least, not for a long time.

    Sometimes it makes sense to publish time-sensitive content or post things that relate to events or issues that will be forgotten in a month: these attract lots of interest in the short term. To get the most out of your content, though, it’s good to mix this up with topics that people are still likely to search for in a year’s time.

    Inevitably, things change… but that doesn’t mean that your older content is useless. Rather than saying to yourself, “Well, I guess that how-to guide is useless now that X technology has come along”, why not give the original content a refresh and then market it all over again? This helps you to extend the value of content so that it’s truly evergreen.

    3. Link Back to the Good Stuff
    Search results aren’t the only way that people find older posts. You can also take the proactive step of linking internally to past content that covers similar ideas or issues.

    You can do this by weaving links into the body of your text, for example by linking to an article on top SEO tips while talking about SEO.

    Or you could break up the text by emphasizing links to other pieces of relevant content, like this:

    READ NEXT: 30 Bite-Sized SEO Tips for Beginners >>

    Or you could set up your site or blog so that it recommends related content automatically, like the “More Posts By…” button at the bottom of this page.

    Social media and email newsletters are your friends, too. Just because you posted a link to a blog post or video when you first created it, there’s nothing stopping you promoting it again six months down the line. Try to find a hook or link it to current events if you can!

    4. Map Out Your Site
    Is some of your older content getting lost in the sands of time? Are there broken links or orphaned pages that people can’t get to by clicking through logically? Think about how you can move stuff around to make it easier to dig out quality content from a few months ago.

    Also, if you’ve deleted some old content but links to it still exist out in the ether, what happens if someone clicks those links? Error messages are never a good look, so it’s much better to set up an automatic redirect to similar, more recent content instead.

    5. Repurpose Content in Different Formats
    Imagine you’d spent all week interviewing awesome people in your field on camera for a cool 30-second video giving their top tips on a key issue. That’s a ton of work for one piece of content… especially when so much will end up on the (virtual) cutting floor!

    Instead, think about how you can get multiple types of content from the same project. In the example above, could you transcribe the full interviews and build them into a long-form whitepaper or even an ebook? Could you divide them up into a few key takeaways from each person and publish them as a series of separate blog posts?

    Whatever format a piece of content takes, think about how you could translate it into another medium. That way, you squeeze out even more value for your audience and it gives you more great stuff to post on your site.

    6. Create a Content Calendar
    Everyone hates deadlines, but unless you have a schedule, producing top quality content will slip to the bottom of your to-do list. Your site will gather dust and you may find you only post things in a panic when you need to push sales, which isn’t very engaging for your audience.

    Figure out what topics interest your audience and which you’re uniquely qualified to shed light on, decide on a format… and draw up a regular content calendar. Make sure you include a schedule for posting on social media and incorporating this in your email marketing, too!

    Need some inspiration for creating a schedule? Click here: How to Create a First-Class Content Management Strategy.

    Final Thoughts
    While there are plenty of ways to extend the value of your content, there’s no getting around the simple fact that you have to create it in the first place. If you want people to find you and engage with what you do, make sure that you keep website content fresh and its creation stays a priority!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Top Tactics to Boost Trust In Your Emails Feb 11, 2019

    Do you ever get emails through and think, “Wait, did I sign up to this?”, “Why am I getting this?” or “Hmm, is this legit?”

    I’m sure you do. We all do! When you do get these, nine times out ten, I bet you decide not to risk it and just hit “delete”, right?

    Making sure your emails look trustworthy is essential if you want them to get read. In this blog post, we’ll cover 7 easy ways to boost email trustworthiness in every email you send.

    Read on for tips on how to boost email trustworthiness with…
    • Branding
    • Trustworthy language
    • Scheduling
    • Personalization
    • Optimization
    Let’s get started!

    1. Use Consistent Branding
    We’ve all been sent dodgy emails claiming to be from our bank or from a major brand we’ve signed up to – and that’s made us much more savvy about spotting the signs. As a result, any slight differences in design, any low-resolution images or logos, or anything else that seems a tiny bit “off” sends our internal fraud detectors into overdrive! To make it clear you’re legit, take extra care to ensure everything is pixel-perfect and consistent with your usual branding.

    2. Proofread!
    The same goes for misspelled words, bad grammar and other mistakes in your text. Not only do these look lazy and unprofessional, but they may as well have your readers doubting the authenticity of the email. Read everything over carefully to check for mistakes before you hit “send”. Ideally, get a fresh pair of eyes on it, too!

    3. Beware Hyperbole
    There’s a difference between using persuasive language and overselling a product. If you don’t want to leave customers disappointed, or to raise a few eyebrows, it’s really important that you learn to get this right!

    While you certainly want to show each product in the best possible light, be cautious about making claims you can’t possibly substantiate. Don’t use terms like “guaranteed” unless you really can guarantee a claim. Don’t say that something has a 100% success rate unless it really does (and there’s a big enough dataset for that to mean something). People aren’t idiots – if something sounds too good to be true, you’ll need to provide evidence. Wild exaggerations will simply make you sound like a snake oil salesman.

    4. Make It Clear Who It’s From
    Send your emails from an email address linked to your domain name. Unless you have a personal relationship with the recipient or you’re confident they know where you work, make sure that the sender name is set to your company name. These are super easy things to set up if you’re using a good email marketing platform.

    5. Include Your Contact Details
    When you’re sending out emails to someone, pay them the courtesy of making it easy to reply. Not only is this polite, but it also helps to demonstrate that you really are who you say you are, and you’re reachable and accountable to your customers. This is important for establishing trust.

    Include a contact phone number and/or email as well as your business address at the bottom of every email. It’s also a good idea to make it possible to reply directly to an email. No-reply emails aren’t great for your deliverability, as we talked about here.

    6. Set Up a Schedule
    Getting an email out of the blue doesn’t exactly scream trustworthiness. Not getting an email when you’re expecting one hardly suggests reliability, either. Instead, you need to establish expectations and trust by emailing on a regular basis and sticking to your schedule!

    7. Never Send Emails Just for the Sake of It!
    Last but absolutely not least, ask yourself whether your emails genuinely add value. If you’re sending emails that are pointless and waste people’s time by opening them, you’ll damage trust in your brand. Equally, if every email you send is nakedly self-serving or pushes people too quickly to make a purchase, they’ll hesitate to trust you. Make sure every email adds genuine value – and be prepared to build up trust over time.

    Final Thoughts
    As an email marketer, knowing how to boost email trustworthiness is essential; and, a lot of being trustworthy boils down to looking professional. From intuitive, consistent design, to easy scheduling, to making sure all the right details are included in every email, the whole task will be a lot easier if you use a dedicated email creation and marketing platform!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: News That Caught Our Attention This Month Feb 7, 2019

    “When you say it, it’s marketing. When they say it, it’s social proof.” – Andy Crestodina

    Our digital marketing news roundup will deliver the most essential updates and changes straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we’ll cover Gmail’s new shortcut features and the strange “Error 404” message users were getting; Microsoft’s improvements and new features for Outlook on the web; Google’s phishing quiz which helps users spot malicious emails; Facebook’s changes to the Page Manager and Recidivism Policy; the possible cross-messaging between Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp; a Twitter bug affecting Android users for years; and the upcoming changes to Google Search Console plus, what is Site Kit by Google?

    We’ll also talk about LinkedIn’s Interest Targeting feature for advertisers; Google’s 15-second non-skippable video ads; Bing Ads becoming the single global platform for all search advertising campaigns on AOL and Yahoo networks; Amazon’s new ads metrics; and Reddit’s cost-per-click ads.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email
    2. Social Media
    3. Search Engines and SEO
    4. PPC and Advertising
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in into our selection of digital marketing news, shall we?

    “Email is a push channel, so we need to push it to work harder.” – Kath Pay

    Gmail down. Users across the world were unable to access their emails after a strange outage which happened on Tuesday morning, January 29. The outage resulted in a mysterious “Error 404” message as well as the Gmail App crashing for both Android and iOS users, as reported by Downdetector. However, Google’s reaction time was pretty perfect as they’ve managed to sort out the fault shortly after it was discovered.

    On another note, Google is rolling out handy new shortcut features in Gmail in order to help users correct mistakes and edit while in compose view. The features include:
    • Undo/Redo – if you’ve accidentally deleted an email draft, you can recover it from the compose view; and, you can also redo the content;
    • Strikethrough – users will have the option to ‘line out’ material in their emails; same way as you do it in a Word doc. According to Google, this is “a visual cue that something has been completed or can be used as an edit suggestion”;
    • Download as EML – users will be able to download messages as EML file in rfc822 format from Gmail on the web. The EML files are recognised by other email clients; the format allows users to “view Gmail content along with attachments with those clients”.
    It’s important to know, the features will be rolling out over the upcoming days to all Gmail users on the web and G Suite users and, also, they’ll be ON by default.

    Microsoft has been cooking up a new experience for a while; and, now after all the testing has been done, they’ve announced the experience is available to all Office 365 users.

    That’s not all. The company have added some highly requested features like:
    • Improved search – Outlook will anticipate what you’ll need based on recent conversations and people with whom you’ve worked the most;
    • All your files in one place – Microsoft has added a Files module that’ll show you all the files you’ve received or sent;
    • Suggested replies – Gmail has them and now has them, too. A bit late but let’s not complain much, alright?;
    • Simplified event creation – users can quickly add events to their calendar with updated event icons in order to easily (and quickly) identify events and see location suggestions;
    • Smart room suggestions – the intelligent technology in the new Outlook will help you find the best room for your meeting based on the attendees, time availability and your preference;
    • Simplified add-in experience – a simplified way of accessing add-ins with more user control. People can access popular apps and services like Boomerang; Evernote; GIPHY; Microsoft Translator; PayPal; Trello; and, more right from their inbox;
    • More ways to use and manage groups – improvements to existing features; and, introducing new features like group Files view and group management in the People module.
    Also, Microsoft recently released a new Office Insider build (11231.20080) for users in the Monthly Channel level. The new version (1901) adds @mentions support for Word, Excel and PowerPoint but, the most notable feature in the new build is the animated GIF support in Outlook. Yes, you read that correctly. You’ll no longer use boring static images in your emails. Instead, you can make them epic with some cool GIFs (without using a cheeky workaround!).

    Has one of your account been hacked lately? Your Instagram? Or worse, your email?

    If your answer is ‘Yes’, we’re sorry to say you’ve been a victim; and, possibly an unintentional collaborator; in a phishing scam. If you’re still not fully aware of what phishing is, it’s the most common form of cyber attack aimed at obtaining your password(s); and, taking over your account(s).

    The next question is – how to spot malicious emails? Well, Google has released a phishing quiz (via Jigsaw – a subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet Inc.) which displays several samples of common phishing techniques, such as using hyperlinks with a domain name disguised to look like a real web address. The aim of the quiz is to train test-takers in a number of quick, easy ways to be more cyber-secure; such as – hovering over a link in an email before clicking on it; or, check an email address against the name displayed as the supposed sender.

    According to Jigsaw’s product manager’s blog post, they’ve created the quiz “based on the security training they’ve held with nearly 10,000 journalists, activists, and political leaders around the world from Ukraine to Syria to Ecuador.”

    Phishing scams are not limited to emails; there are also phone-specific phishing scams, too. But email ones are fairly common. In fact, 1% of all emails sent around the world are phishing expeditions. Hence, take Google’s quiz and make sure you know what to look out for to prevent being a phishing scam victim.

    “Social media is not just a spoke on the wheel of marketing. It’s becoming the way entire bicycles are built.” – Ryan Lilly

    Seems like Facebook finally got sick and tired of Page’s trash content and is doing something about it. The company announced there would be two changes happening in the coming weeks. First, Page managers will have access to a new tab – Page Quality – which will show them when Facebook has removed or demoted certain content that goes against their Community Standards. Second, and way more interesting, the social media giant will be updating its Recidivism Policy. Facebook has long prohibited creating new Pages, groups, events and accounts which look similar to ones already removed due to a violation of the Community Standards. However, users have been trying to bypass the company’s enforcement and attempting to use existing Pages they already manage for the same purpose as the removed ones.

    In an attempt for better transparency (and accountability), the company explained they’ll no longer going to wait for Pages and Groups to violate its Community Standards before removing them from the platform. Instead, they’ll be moving towards a more proactive approach to identifying what can and cannot stay on their servers.

    Last, but certainly not least, we heard Facebook is working on end-to-end cross-messaging encryption between Facebook Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Basically, the services will continue to work as standalone apps, but their underlying technical infrastructure will be unified allowing more than 2.6 billion users across all three apps to communicate. Currently, there’s no timeline for when this will happen; but, the goal is to have it ready by the end of 2019; or, early 2020. Could this be Facebook’s attempt to assert control over the sprawling divisions at a time when they’ve been battered by scandal?

    Twitter’s been testing a new tag – Original Tweeter – which is supposed to make it easier to identify who started a thread. The new feature, which we’ve noticed popping up for some users, will make it easier to find posts from the original tweeter within a thread but, it’ll also help prevent abuse on the platform. For example, make it easy to distinguish accounts masquerading as other tweeters. The rollout is confirmed to be to a ‘small percentage’ of iOS and Android users. However, couldn’t they have made the tag a bit prettier and more original?

    A Twitter bug has prevented the “Protect Your Tweets” setting from working as intended for some Android users. The notable thing here is that the bug has been affecting Android users over a period of several years. The first detection of the bug happened on November 3, 2014; and by the looks of it, it still has not been fixed by January 17, 2019. Twitter announced the setting was disabled for some Android users if certain changes were made, such as changing the email address associated with the account. However, it seems people on iOS or the web have not been impacted. According to the mobile operating system market share stats for that period, Android (75.16%) users are far more than iOS (21.98%) ones. Hence, shouldn’t Twitter have done everything possible to fix this long time ago?

    With over 1 billion users and 894 photos uploaded per second, Instagram decided to roll out a new option which will enable users to share a direct link back to an Instagram Story. This will certainly provide a new way of boosting Stories awareness and engagement. Basically, you can get a separate URL for an Instagram Story – being it yours or someone else’s – and share it.

    In addition, Matt Navarra has noticed Instagram is giving more users access to the Promote option for stories. Given the broader emphasis on stories by parent company Facebook, it makes sense for Instagram to be rolling out such tools; both have significant implications for brands looking to make the best of the options.

    We’ve heard, through the grapevine, Facebook’s WhatsApp will be limiting users to forwarding a message only five times. The idea of it is to attempt cutting down the spread of misinformation. WhatsApp initially limited message to being forwarded 20 times in July last year. Before that, users could forward a message to up to 256 people.

    While this new limitation could help prevent the spread of bad information, it won’t necessarily be as limiting as it sounds. Messages can still be forwarded to groups with each group including up to 256 people; which means a forwarded message could be put in front of nearly 1,300 people. So, we’re wondering – what’s the point of the limitation if there’s a workaround to it?

    Google’s unsuccessful attempt at creating yet another social network – Google+ – will be officially shut down in April. The company has admitted that the network may not have been a raging success; but, there’s still evidence of a loyal user base. And, that base seems to be wondering what to do and where to go next. A lot of users are addressing this matter in Google+ Mass Migration Community, too. However, faithful user or not, you may still want to get a copy of your Google+ data and you can. People can use either third-party apps (like Google+ Exporter) or Google’s official tool – Google Takeout (be advised, though, it can occasionally be glitchy). Our advice, don’t wait until last minute to get your data; do it now and be done with it.

    “Relevance is a search engine’s holy grail. People want results that are closely connected to their queries.” – Marc Ostrofsky

    Google announced a series of updates that are coming to Search Console in the next couple of months. Along with those, though, Google seems to have made the ‘hard decision’ to drop some legacy features.

    New Features
    The following new features will be fully implemented in Search Console towards the end of March:
    • Crawl Errors in New Index Coverage Report: In an attempt to make the list of crawl errors in Search Console more actionable, Google is shifting the focus towards issues and patterns used for site indexing. With crawl errors being moved to the Index Coverage Report, Google believes site owners will be able to find and fix issues faster.
    • Sitemaps data in Index Coverage Report: By having the sitemaps data in the Index Coverage Report, Google says it’ll be easier to focus on URLs that site owner care about. Users will have the ability to track URLs submitted in sitemap files by selecting and filtering data in the Index Coverage Report.
    • Using the URL inspection tool to fetch as Google: Site owners will be able to use the revamped URL inspection tool to check and review URLs on their website. In addition to the ‘Fetch as Google’ capabilities, the tool also shows even more information such as HTTP headers; page resource; and, the JavaScript console log. It can also be used to submit images for re-processing in order to get them updated in the search results as soon as possible.
    • User-management is now in settings: Search Console’s user management interface has been merged with the Settings section. Also, this will replace the user-management features in the old Search Console.
    Old Features
    We’ve also mentioned some old features will be removed (or replaced) from the Search Console. Here they are:
    • HTML suggestions: With Google’s algorithm getting better at showing and improving titles, there’s no longer a need to show info about short or duplicated titles in the Search Console.
    • Property Sets: The feature will be removed due to low usability. As a replacement, Google will soon add the option of managing a Search Console account over an entire domain.
    • Android Apps: The feature will be removed as most of the relevant functionality has been moved to the Firebase console.
    • Blocked resources: This standalone section will be removed as blocked resources can be now found in the URL inspection tool.
    Last, but not least, Google introduced a new WordPress plugin which will bring all the insights from your Google tools – Search Console, Analytics, AdSense and Page Speed – to your WP dashboard. The plugin is called Site Kit by Google and is said to be released to beta testers in early 2019. Of course, users overly eager to get their hands on it, already, can sign up for the beta version. We prefer to see the feedback first. What about you?

    “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

    LinkedIn announced a new feature in the Campaign Manager – Interest Targeting – which will allow advertisers to target ads to the platform’s audience members based on their professional interests and topics. They can also target their campaigns using over 200 professional interests (ex. artificial intelligence, global economy, customer experience, etc.)

    The company emphasised the following benefits of Interest Targeting:
    • More relevant ads: Shape brand perception with different professional audiences by associating your brand with the topics that they care about;
    • Target specific accounts + interests: Using account targeting with interest targeting will help advertisers reach an audience of potential buyers who have already expressed or are likely to express, an interest in the content that’s relevant to your business;
    • Target people by degrees and interests: Use a combination of degrees and interests to reach an even more targeted audience.
    The professional network has been testing Interest Targeting in the past few months; and, customers have already seen a 25% increase in click-through rate.

    Google Ads
    The news around the Inbox is that Google is expanding the access to 15-second non-skippable video ads and bringing them to Google Ads and Display & Video 360.

    These type of ads were, previously, only available to select advertisers through YouTube reservation, which is similar to Google Preferred. Now, advertisers can utilise 15-second- non-skippable video ads simply by going to Google Ads or Display and Video 360; and, setting up a new campaign. It’s important to note, Google will continue to have protections in its ads system to cap the number of ads a user sees.

    This is, in fact, another step Google is making towards a more flexible and intuitive buying experience, where all formats are accessible to all advertisers; regardless of how they buy.

    The access expansion has already started, but a full availability will happen in the next few weeks.

    Bing Ads
    Our friends at PPC Hero reported that Microsoft and Verizon Media (formerly Oath) have recently announced a new multiyear global native advertising partnership making Bing Ads the single global platform for all search advertising campaigns on the AOL and Yahoo networks. The signed partnership will allow advertisers to leverage the benefits of Microsoft AI and audience targeting across the AOL and Yahoo search networks.

    The migration from Oath to Bing Ads is said to begin on March 15 and completed by March 31. After the completion date (March 31), search campaigns will no longer be manageable on Oath. Advertisers, who still have live search campaigns on the Oath ad platform, will have to re-create their campaigns in Bing Ads.

    This partnership represents a step forward for both Verizon/Oath search ads and Bing Ads. Advertisers will need to beware of potential changes in traffic if they are currently running on the Bing Ads platform; or, are considering expansion.

    Amazon Ads
    Amazon has introduced new metrics which capture insights on new customers that converted from ad campaigns. The “new-to-brand” metrics are available for video, display and Sponsored Brands ad campaigns; they determine whether an ad-attributed purchase was made by an existing customer or one buying a brand’s product on Amazon for the first time over the prior year. The set of metrics includes total new-to-brand purchases and sales, new-to-brand purchase rate and cost per new-to-brand customer.

    With these new metrics, advertisers now have the necessary tools to estimate the cost of acquiring new customers on Amazon; and, identify the most cost-efficient channels and tactics to achieve their campaign goals.

    Facebook announced they are launching a Brand Safety capability for the Facebook Marketing Partners (FMP) program. The first companies to be certified are DoubleVerify (an ad measurement platform) and OpenSlate (a video content rating platform for marketers). The capability recognises companies offering proprietary solutions that can help Facebook advertisers review content options; and, control where their ads will appear.

    Why should you care? After more than a year of being in the public eye due to brand safety concerns, content policy updates, video metric missteps and data breaches, having access to third-party tools beyond Facebook’s control offer marketers an added level of security to keep their brand away from abusive content that continues to plague the platform.

    Reddit announced their launching cost-per-click (CPC) ads; the platform’s first performance-based ad unit. The CPC ads can be bought via Reddit’s ad dashboard and are considered to “complete the suite” of ad offerings; alongside cost-per-impression (CPM) and cost-per-view (CPV) ads.

    The new CPC ad units will allow advertisers to implement direct response campaigns across desktop and mobile; and, they’ll be delivered either in the form of a link or Promoted Posts (video included).

    According to Reddit, the CPC ads are the first of several upcoming performance offerings; with enhancements to ads targeting, reporting and campaign management tools to come.

    “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, the product or service fits him/her and sells itself.” – Peter F. Drucker

    After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the subsequent privacy violations and repeated consumer data breaches, Facebook have been struck with, yet, another low blow. According to The Verge, advocacy groups (Open Market Institute, Color of Change and the Electronic Privacy Information Center) have written to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requesting a major government intervention into how the infamous social network operates. The groups’ letter outlines several moves the FTC could take in order to deal with the company such as a multi-billion dollar fine, reforming Facebook’s hiring practices, and most notably, breaking the company up for abusing their market position. The request could fall on deaf ears though.

    Twitter’s CEO – Jack Dorsey – finally gives the public some insight on how the oft-requested feature for editable tweets would work. In an interview with Joe Rogan, Dorsey said: “we’ll maybe introduce a 5-second to 30-second delay in sending the tweet and, within that window, users can edit.” The reason for the time limitation is to prevent taking the real-time nature of a conversation flow out of the whole tweet. Dorsey also mentioned he’s thinking about making the editability dependant on the context. So with Rogan, Kim Kardashian, heck, the whole Twitter-verse asking for this feature, surely it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to edit a tweet. Right?

    Do you remember Facebook’s standalone photo app Moments? Not many others do, either. So, take a moment to remember Moments because it seems the infamous social media decided on shutting it down. The official shutdown date for the app is February 25 and the reason for its retirement is that “not many people were using it”.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 27 Ideas for Irresistible Email Subject Lines Feb 4, 2019

    “We sometimes forget: Every email subject line is a pitch.” – Daniel Pink

    Your email’s subject line is the first thing people see and the biggest factor in whether they click through… so you need to make sure it’s good!

    To help you on your way, here are 27 great short, sharp, inbox-friendly ideas for email subject lines you can adapt to your brand.

    In this article, we’ll cover email subject lines that catch a reader’s attention using:
    • Urgency
    • Curiosity
    • Vanity and FOMO
    • Humour
    • Temptation
    • Pain Points and Problem-Solving
    Ready to get inspired? Read on!

    Example Subject Lines that Use URGENCY:
    Uh-Oh! Looks like your subscription is expiring…
    2. SALE: Must End Tonight!
    3. Grab Your Voucher Before it Expires!
    4. Hurry: We’re Nearly Out of Stock
    5. 50% off all lines until THIS Friday

    Example Subject Lines that Use CURIOSITY:
    We have a surprise for you!
    7. Weird habits of the rich and famous
    8. Are you sure you want to open this email?
    9. Secrets of Instagram Influencers

    Example Subject Lines that Use VANITY or FOMO:
    How far have you come since graduation?
    11. Don’t Get Caught Wearing Last Year’s Styles
    12. Get the Recognition You Deserve
    13. 5 Unmissable Events This Weekend
    14. DON’T commit these interview faux-pas!

    Example Subject Lines that Use HUMOUR:
    The 6 Worst People in Your Office
    16. Negotiating tips so good they work on your mother-in-law
    17. 7 Ways to Get Noticed (With Your Clothes On)

    Example Subject Lines that Use TEMPTATION:
    Irresistible Chocolate Recipes
    19. Go on, treat yourself
    20. Take a peek at our new product line
    21. How hot is this car?

    Example Subject Lines that Use MAKING THINGS EASIER:
    Grow Your Customer Base 15x Faster With These Hacks
    23. Learn a New Skill in Just 10 Minutes Per Day
    24. 6 Ways to Use Up Christmas Dinner Leftovers
    25. Psst! Steal these business card templates…
    26. Feed Your Family on £5 Per Day
    27. 3 Time-Saving Tips for Your Week Ahead

    Final Thoughts
    Despite what people say, they do judge emails by their subject line. In fact, 47% of marketers state they test different email subject lines in order to optimise their emails’ performance. At the end of the day, if your emails aren’t getting opened, they’re definitely not getting seen. Hence, if you’ve got great content to share you’ve got to prove it in your email subject line.

    Now that we’ve stirred your creative juices with these awesome ideas for email subject lines, we’d like to recommend taking a look at our piece on the core ingredients that make up the best subject lines.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 10 Blogs Every Startup Founder Should Read Feb 1, 2019

    “Don’t focus on having a great blog. Focus on producing a blog that’s great for your readers.” – Brian Clark

    Launching a startup can be a daunting and sometimes lonely endeavour. Few entrepreneurs have a variety of mentors to keep them pepped up and on the right track, day in, day out.

    Luckily, there are many sources of wisdom, support and advice out there to keep a fledgeling startup on the path to success. Here are 10 of the best startup blogs for entrepreneurs.

    In this article, we’ll introduce you to the following startup blogs for entrepreneurs:
    1. Startup Mindset
    2. Both Sides of the Table
    3. OnStartups
    4. Marie Forleo
    5. Four Hour Work Week
    6. The Next Web
    7. TechCrunch
    8. She Owns It
    9. QuickSprout
    10. 500 Startups
    Let’s get started!

    1. StartUp Mindset
    What’s the difference between a small business and a startup? According to StartUp Mindset, the latter are newly-formed businesses that aim to grow as fast as possible. As such, that’s the focus of this blog, where you’ll find all kinds of resources designed to help you scale speedily.

    2. Both Sides of the Table
    The draw of this blog by entrepreneur-turned-VC Mark Suster is that, as the name suggests, it’s written by someone who understands both points of view. He knows what investors value in a new business, but he also understands the challenges of running one yourself – and how to present essential advice to startups as a result.

    3. OnStartups
    A super-engaging blog by Dharmesh Shah, founder of supremely successful marketing strategy company HubSpot. Articles cover a range of marketing and entrepreneurship topics, but all are practical, accessible and easy to follow.

    4. Marie Forleo
    Forleo describes herself as a “multi-passionate” entrepreneur that struggles to fit into one box, and her hugely successful marketing, business-growth and startup-training blog reflect that, appealing to entrepreneurs that like to dip their toes in many different roles. Prefer to watch than read? Check out her award-winning video series, MarieTV, featuring interviews with entrepreneurial big-hitters.

    5. Four Hour Work Week
    Tim Ferriss’ enduringly popular guide to streamlining, outsourcing and generally making every process in your work and life as efficient as possible. While most of us aren’t actually striving to work just a few hours a week, startup owners who are overly inclined to doing everything themselves should take note of these great tips for freeing up time and making working hours much more productive!

    6. The Next Web
    This top tech blog has been running for over a decade and remains very influential all over the world. While it’s not specifically aimed at startups, it provides incredibly valuable insight into global tech trends, apps and other business developments that a savvy business person can’t afford to ignore.

    7. TechCrunch Startups
    Fancy checking out the competition? Browse through TechCrunch’s highly respected summaries and profiles of the world’s most ambitious startups kept constantly up to date here.

    8. She Owns It
    A blog focused on women in business that describes its manifesto as “celebrating, supporting and connecting women entrepreneurs”. It’s a great resource for female startup owners or/and women considering taking the leap, featuring interviews and how-to guides from successful businesswomen and offering up plenty of practical advice that’s specifically relevant to female startup owners.

    9. Neil Patel
    QuickSprout founder Neil Patel is an undisputed marketing and online growth genius. His posts, podcasts and videos give clear, precise, detailed, fluff-free, data-backed advice and step-by-step guides to help you tackle every pain point and grow your online business faster.

    10. 500 Startups
    An early-stage venture fund and seed accelerator founded by Christine Tsai and Dave McClure, 500 Startups has fueled some seriously impressive startups, some of which have, in fact, gone to IPO. Their blog provides invaluable advice on impressing and pitching investors, as well as lessons learned by their own companies during early stage growth.

    Final Thoughts
    Insight and advice like the one you will find in those startup blogs for entrepreneurs can be incredibly helpful in your early stages, but don’t get caught up in “Analysis Paralysis”. It’s important to be prepared, but you’ll learn your most important lessons by just getting out there and doing it. Be brave and take the plunge on your next business growth or marketing project, even if it scares you!

    Ah, we also recommend taking a look at our article on how to fund your business growth. After all, you can’t allow the lack of funding to be the reason for your startup failing, can you? Especially, when there are some awesome growth hacks you can use.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 5 Great Ideas for Getting User-Generated Content Jan 29, 2019

    User-generated content is the holy grail of marketing.

    Not only do your followers or customers shoulder much of the workload by making content for you, but they’re also far more engaged in what happens to that content and are highly likely to share it with their networks.

    So just how do you persuade people to get involved and create user-generated content? Read on to find out!

    In this article, we’ll cover the following ideas on how to get user-generated content:
    1. Curating a gallery
    2. Reposting user content
    3. Polls and surveys
    4. Making it a competition
    5. Offering rewards
    Let’s get started!

    1. Curate a Gallery
    One of the simplest ways to get user-generated content is to ask followers to submit photos or videos of them using your product and compiling the best in a gallery.

    This works particularly well for fashion brands, such as ASOS’s hugely successful #AsSeenOnMe Instagram campaign, where people used the hashtag on photos of themselves wearing ASOS clothing. That said, it can apply to just about any type of product or event. People just get a kick out of seeing themselves featured!

    2. Re-post User Content
    In fact, you don’t necessarily have to ask people to create photos or videos especially for you. Take the time to trawl through social media platforms looking for references to your brand or products and, if you come across cool photos by users featuring your stuff, ask the person if you can re-post it from your own account, crediting them. Most people are flattered by this and will happily agree.

    3. Running Polls and Surveys
    You might not have thought about these as ways of creating content before, but they’re both super simple ways to create extra stuff you can share. Whether it’s a basic three-option facebook poll or a detailed survey, sharing findings on social is an easy win; and, many people who took part will be curious to see how their viewpoints compared to others’.

    4. Launching a Competition
    If you want to attract really awesome photos, videos, designs or any other kind of content, introduce a competitive element or even prizes.

    Remember Doritos’ ad campaign, where they got people to upload their best homemade adverts, with the best to be screened during the Superbowl? The publicity they generated from thousands of people sharing their entries on YouTube and encouraging others to vote vastly outweighed the $1 million prize. Your competition will likely be run on a much smaller scale, but the same idea applies!

    5. Offering Rewards
    You don’t need to limit prizes to a single winner. Offering immediate perks in return for sending a single tweet naming your brand or uploading a photo of themselves with your product is a very effective way of getting user-generated content and sharing it with their friends.

    This could be something as simple as giving someone a free cookie in your café or free shipping when they order online. The free publicity will more than make up for it!

    Final Thoughts
    As always with marketing, the key is to focus on what benefit this brings to your users or customers. What do they get out of generating this content for you? That could be a financial reward, discounts, exposure for them, or simply the buzz of being featured on your website. Whatever it is, make sure you’re 100% clear on what you’re offering and have communicated that to users, before you ask them to take part.

    Ah, we also recommend taking a look at our first-class guide to creating a content marketing strategy.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: News That Caught Our Attention This Month Jan 28, 2019

    “If you’re not seeing the email channel as a money making machine, you have the wrong strategy.” – Hans Smellinckx

    Keeping up-to-date with the most recent and relevant digital marketing news isn’t easy. Hence, our roundup will deliver the most essential updates and changes straight to your inbox.

    In this digital marketing news roundup, we’ll cover Outlooks’ blocked access to attachments; Gmail’s recent update of the Promotions tab, Manufacturer Centre, your related activity and search console’s new features.

    Salesforce new tools; Bing dynamic search ads; YouTube breaking the trend and removing features and a whopping €50million GDPR fine for you know who.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email
    2. Social Media
    3. Search Engines and SEO
    4. PPC and Advertising
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in!

    “If social media is the cocktail party, then email marketing is the ‘meet up for coffee’. The original 1 to 1 channel.” – Erik Harbison

    If you’re using Outlook and you see ‘Outlook blocked access to the following potentially unsafe attachments’ message whilst attempting to open an email containing .exe or .msi file, Outlook will stop the attachment from being opened as it presents a potential malware threat. With so many phishing attacks in recent months, it’s a must-have security feature to have; that is if you want to protect your computer from harm.

    Despite the speculation that the release of Gmail’s Promotions tab (in 2013) would be the ‘end of email marketing’ it didn’t happen. On the contrary, email marketing continued to thrive and according to ReturnPath, Gmail recently announced an update to the Promo tab which should (on the surface level, at least) be more welcomed by email marketers. There are three primary components to Gmail’s announcement:
    1. Logos, discount codes, and more: Email marketers will be able to mark up their emails with small snippets of code to add new features to messages in the Promo tab. These include dial codes, discounts, company logo, deal expiration dates and single image preview;
    2. Bundles: Using machine learning, certain messages will be selected to show up at the top of the Promo tab in bundles with labels like ‘Top Deals’ or ‘Expiring Soon’; and
    3. Nudges in the primary inbox: The Gmail team has also created a summary display of top deals in the primary inbox they named ‘nudges’. This summary display will show overlapping logos of the top deals, a listing of the bundle type and a list of sending brands.
    Currently, the scope of the release appears to be limited to the Gmail mobile client for addresses; but, it’s expected to be extended to Gmail web client within this year. What’s the benefit to email marketers? The new Promotions tab rewards the brands that provide the most value to their subscribers with more prominent placement in the Promo tab; as well as, a new and more visual way to present their offers. Pretty cool, eh?

    “Social media puts the ‘public’ into PR and the ‘market’ into marketing.” – Chris Brogan

    The tech titan Facebook is still causing some unwanted user attention. It seems people who own Android phones (specifically Samsung ones) are unable to delete the app permanently. Apparently due to the pre-install deal made between the two companies owners can only disable the app but not remove it.

    A little birdy told us Twitter is working on some new publisher tools for business. Users will have access to two dashboards – Events and Insights & Analytics. The new analytics one will make it easier for publishers to gain a better understanding of the type of content that resonates with the readers; and, the events one will help them better track real-time info around, er, events. The concept behind this new publisher dashboards is to offer insights and analytics so companies can be better informed when devising content strategies. Whilst the analytics dashboard is likely to be accessible through and aimed at publishers and other users utilising the tool for business purposes, events will have a wider remit – it’ll be pinned to the top of the timeline in Explore and accessible through Search.

    Instagram quietly updated its API to include direct Instagram video scheduling. Previously, the Insta-API was limited to scheduling single-image posts, not yet allowing third-party tools to schedule videos or multi-image posts. Now, these third-party tools – chiefly social media management (SMM) apps – can add the ability to schedule video posts to Instagram without having to use ‘smartphone workaround’ (getting a mobile alert from an SMM app to remind you to post and then manually post the video via the Instagram app). The video scheduling API is only available to Instagram Marketing Partners via the Content Publishing API beta program. Most of the major SMM apps (Buffer, Hootsuite, Social Report, etc.) are a part of this program; hence, you can expect your app of choice to support the feature … soon. In addition, only Instagram Business Profiles have access to direct video scheduling via SMM apps.

    “Everyone knows what search engines are. But relatively few know how to use them effectively.” – Marc Ostrofsky

    The search engine with the largest market share worldwide Google (92.25%) is rolling out a new option which will enable businesses to add in their own, custom product info within search results, controlled by Google Manufacturer Center. The Manufacturer Center was originally launched in 2015 and is now available in 24 countries. It allows businesses to upload relevant product information which Google can show to users who are searching for product-specific queries.

    With this new addition, business will be able to add in said custom product info to augment those search results with a ‘From the Manufacturer’ panel added to the business listing. Business will be able to populate their product page on Google Shopping with inspirational and high-quality content; highlight their products features and capabilities that shoppers care about; and, build brand equity directly with shoppers on Google. Additionally, the company also launched new and improved analytics in Manufacturer Center; it will help businesses make better decisions by providing a better understanding of how ads for the products are performing on Google.

    It’s frustrating not remembering your last search in Google, isn’t it? Well, no more. The company is rolling out a new feature in search called ‘your related activity’. It’ll allow signed in users to pick up on previous searches they’ve done related to the current query they just added. Pretty cool, unless your partner enjoys boiled rabbit from time-to-time, in which case you should switch it off.

    Google Search Console
    Google Webmaster tools have announced some new features within their URL inspection tool found within the Search Console, users will now have the ability to see a specific URL’s HTTP response code, the page resources, the JavaScript logs and a rendered screenshot. Why it matters? Because you want to see what Google sees, don’t you?

    “Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.” – Bill Bernbach

    Google is notifying advertisers that AdWords Express has joined the Google Ads platform. The AdWord Express campaigns will now be available in Google Ads as ‘Smart campaigns’. Previously, AdWords Express was a standalone solution designed to be a lower maintenance option for small businesses. However, with this merge advertisers will not lose the benefits they had before but on the contrary, gain more and improved features. Google highlighted the following benefits of the ‘merge’:
    • Create an online ad quickly and easily;
    • Pay only when people click on your ad;
    • Attract more customers to your website or Google Maps listing;
    • Minimal ongoing management. Google Ads runs your ads for you;
    • Reach customers on desktop-computers and mobile devices; and
    • Review the effectiveness of your ads on your dashboard.
    Furthermore, the key features include:
    • “Campaign” overview: The account’s home-base where all Google-generated performance insights can be found;
    • Critical account alerts: Important notifications about your campaign, billing issues, etc.;
    • Verified calls: Shows you the number of calls that you’ve received from your campaign, along with your clicks;
    • Map actions: Helps you track the number of times people saw your ad and then clicked your business’ pin on Google maps or got directions to your business;
    • Track actions on your website with Google Analytics: Measures how well your website meets your business expectations; and
    • Ads scheduling: Allows you to choose the days of the week and the times of day to run your ad.
    Bing Ads
    Bing Ads are upping-their-game by launching page feeds for easier Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) management. Page feeds allow users to easily upload all the relevant URLs for the DSA campaigns in a spreadsheet format. This ensures maximum website coverage and enables the labelling and targeting of specific URLs via custom labels.

    “Business has only two functions – marketing and innovation.” – Milan Kundera

    After January 31, YouTube will be removing the ability to automatically share videos on Twitter and Google+ after they’ve been published. The reason behind it? The platform wants to provide a better user experience for both the user and their followers not to mention that Google+ is being switched off in the near future.

    Salesforce is adding a new tool which will allow marketers (and admins) to create and publish mobile apps for iOS and Android devices on its Lightning Platform and for its Community Cloud without a developer’s help. Why should you care? According to Salesforce research, 48% of IT departments have “a significant mobile developer skill gap”; and, another 33% expect such a gap in the next two years. With these kinds of stats, a tool such as this will create a more fluid experience for employees, existing and potential customers. Moreover, mobile apps provide a smoother experience than many mobile optimised sites, although Progressive Web Apps are beginning to change that balance. Let’s face it, the ability to quickly create and publish mobile apps – without software developer’s help – sounds really, really good. Doesn’t it?

    Since the GDPR, a lot of businesses have been facing violation accusations. We’ve heard that an Austrian privacy group has filed complaints against eight tech firms – Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud, Flimmit, DAZN, Apple Music and Amazon Prime – accusing them of failing to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection regulation. The complaints allege that the tech firms failed to provide access to data, as required by the GDPR, and demanded penalties based on 4% of their worldwide revenue (the maximum allowed). They were not the only ones though, Google has been hit with a fine of €50 million euros (£44m) by the French data regulator CNIL for a breach of the GDPR as well.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
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  • The 15 Most Important Email Metrics to Measure In 2019 Jan 23, 2019

    We all know that marketing decisions are better when they’re data-driven…

    … but what are the key email marketing metrics to focus on for your email campaigns?

    We will run through the 15 main email marketing metrics you should be measuring to ensure your hard work drives the best possible results.

    In this article, we’ll look at the 15 most important email marketing metrics to measure in 2019:
    • Delivery and Bounce Rates
    • Mobile Performance
    • CTRs and Forwards
    • Unsubscribes and Forwards
    • Measuring ROI and Revenue per Subscriber
    Let’s get started!

    1. Delivery Rate
    Your delivery rate tells you how many emails actually made it to subscriber inboxes. A low delivery rate suggests there’s something wrong with either your emails (e.g. they’re triggering spam filters) or your list (see bounce rate, below).

    2. Delivery Rate by Domain
    This drills down to the percentage of emails delivered by whether they’re Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook etc. If one domain is unusually low, you need to figure out what you’re doing to trigger that specific spam filter.

    3. Bounce Rate
    A subset of your delivery rate, your bounce rate tells you the percentage of emails that couldn’t be delivered. If yours is low, you need to prune out old, expired, unused email addresses from your list before it has a negative impact on your sender reputation!

    4. Open Rate
    The percentage of people who actually opened your email. This indicates a) how convincing your headline was at grabbing their attention and b) whether you’re sending relevant emails to the right people.

    5. Mobile Open Rate
    If your mobile open rate is a lot lower than your overall open rate, you need to take a look at your design to check its optimized properly for mobile. Since most people pick up emails on their phones these days, getting it right is super important!

    6. Revenue Per Open Rate
    This tells you how much money you made for every person that opened your email. Again, it’s a good indicator of whether the email content was compelling, but also whether you’re targeting the right people with your campaigns.

    7. Forward Rate
    An oft-neglected but useful metric, this shows you how many people were moved to share your email with others in their network. A high forward rate is a good sign you’ve sent something juicy!

    8. Click-Through Rate
    The percentage of people who received the email and ultimately clicked through to your site (or wherever you sent them). It’s a strong indicator of whether your campaign was an overall success.

    9. Mobile Click-Through Rate
    Once again, honing in on your mobile CTR alerts you to any issues with the mobile optimization of your marketing emails.

    10. Click-to-Open Rate
    The CTOR tells you the percentage of people that first opened your email and then clicked through. It doesn’t count people who didn’t open the email. As a result, you’re only measuring how successful the content of the email was at securing conversions. Learn more about the differences between CTR and CTOR here >>

    11. Unsubscribe Rate
    Tracking the number of people that click ‘unsubscribe’ on your email gives you some insight into how well your campaigns are being received. Reasons for a high unsubscribe rate vary – you could be sending too many emails, or failing to segment your list properly, for example. Measuring unsubscribes flags up a problem in the first place, though.

    12. Complaint Rate
    Sometimes people can’t find the button or can’t be bothered to open your email in order to click “unsubscribe” – they just mark it as spam. Your complaint rate calculates these reactions. Again, there can be lots of causes, but make sure you’re not overloading people with emails, only use opt-ins and make it easy for them to unsubscribe.

    13. Conversion Rate
    What action did you want people to take as a result of this campaign? To make a purchase? Download an eBook? Sign up for a webinar? Whatever it was, divide the number of people who did this by the number of emails you sent to get your conversion rate. This gives you a good idea of how well your campaign performed overall.

    14. Revenue Per Subscriber
    This metric takes the total amount of money your campaign brought in and then divides it by the number of people on your list. As a result, you can see how valuable each individual sign-up is to your business and assess whether to focus in on fewer, higher-value subscribers.

    15. Campaign ROI
    And finally, the bottom line. ROI is tricky to calculate, but you need to have an idea of how much the campaign costs to run compared to how much money it brought in. That’s what it’s all about, at the end of the day!

    Final Thoughts
    Don’t feel like you have to measure all of these email marketing metrics for every email campaign. That will get very time-consuming! The important thing is to highlight the most important issues and questions you need answered for your particular campaign and then select the right metrics to help you do it.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Jan 18, 2019

    “Good marketing makes the company look smart. Great marketing makes the customer feel smart.” – Joe Chernov

    Change and innovation – two things that go hand in hand are inevitable. As business owners, not keeping up with both can cause serious damage to your business’s future.

    We know that tracking all the recent and relevant updates in search algorithms, PPC, marketing trends, spam algorithms, digital marketing news, social media and, of course, email marketing is not an easy task. Hence, we deliver a news roundup which covers the most essential updates and changes you should be aware of. Make yourself a cuppa, get comfy and enjoy this month’s digital marketing news roundup.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email
    2. Social Media
    3. Search Engines and SEO
    4. PPC and Advertising
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in!

    “Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.” – David Newman

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered topics such as bypassing Gmail’s 2FA security, Office 365 phishing emails and new malware popping up pretty much every minute. This month, we’ll discuss a new tool which automates phishing attacks bypassing 2FA, improvements in G Suite and automatic email encryption for Office 365.

    At the start of the year, a security researcher – Piotr Duszyński – published a new penetration testing tool which can automate phishing attacks with ease. The tool named Modlishka can even blow through login operations for accounts which are protected by two-factor authentication (2FA). Modlishka is, what IT pros call, a reverse proxy but modified for handling traffic meant for login pages and phishing operations.

    Ah, if you are a G Suite user we have some news. Google rolled out a series of security-themed updates which, however, impact admin accounts only. The improvements are focused on the alert centre for G Suite and include: a) more Gmail phishing alerts, b) new data export initiated alert, c) new alerts deletion option and d) link to audit logs for G Suite Business and Basic Domains. This feature will be set ON by default.

    Last, but certainly not least, Microsoft will be launching automatic email encryption for Office 365 users. According to the documentation, the company plans to create a transport (mail flow) rule to encrypt outbound messages that hold sensitive data. Users can opt-out of this change by following a few steps. Nonetheless, if a user didn’t opt-out and the rule has already been created, they simply disable it. A release date has not been announced, yet.

    “Focus on how to be social, not how to do social.” – Jay Baer

    The battered and bruised tech titan Facebook definitely did not end 2018 on a positive note. It seems the company is, yet again, facing accusations of data and privacy breach. A privacy-focused charitable organisation – Privacy International – found that a majority of Android apps transfer data to Facebook without the user’s consent. Are they ever going to learn?

    On the other hand, Instagram confirmed a bug had mistakenly rolled out and made a massive change to the traditional news feed look. The usual scrolling through the feed was replaced by the horizontal tap-to-advance feature which users are familiar with in Stories. It’s safe to say users were not only shocked but frustrated as well.

    “A picture is worth a thousand words” or so we’ve heard. With that being said, Twitter has announced upcoming changes to PNG image support. The new update will, essentially, convert uploaded PNG files to the more compact JPEG format in order to reduce file size. However, not all PNG files will be handled the same.

    “Good SEO work only gets better over time. It’s only search engine tricks that need to keep changing when the ranking algorithms change.” – Jill Whalen

    The search engine selling itself on privacy – DuckDuckGo – has been accused of using fingerprinting to identify users. The company’s VP of Search states there is no truth to the claim and with everything we’ve read, it seems DDG is truly respecting the privacy of its users.

    On another note, it seems Google may have pushed out their first major Search Ranking Algorithm Update of 2019 over the weekend. There’s been chatter in the SEO community as well as ranking tools validating the shift in Google search results.

    Google Webmasters announced a new feature in the Rich Results Test. The feature will allow users to not only test live or sample code but also make edits to the code and test it on the fly. Very, very useful.

    “Advertising brings in the customers, but it is your job to keep them buying from you.” – Chet Holmes

    The infamous social media conglomerate Facebook has been aiming towards monetising its encrypted messaging app for quite some time. The company initially launched a business app and business profiles for marketers who use WhatsApp in January last year. Since August, of last year, Facebook’s Click-to-WhatsApp ads began rolling out. Now, the company has decided to add new reporting for Click-to-WhatsApp ads by including traffic, conversions (from the website) and post engagement to the ad campaign objectives.

    In September 2018, Bing Ads initially began rolling out a series of machine learning-powered insight features. In less than six months, the company announced the AI-powered Performace Insights is now available globally. The tool provides an on-the-spot way to take action on performance changes in your account.

    “Innovation needs to be part of your culture. Consumers are transforming faster than we are, and if we don’t catch up, we’re in trouble.” – Ian Schafer

    We heard through the grapevine that Windows 10 latest Insider build – 18309 – will expand the use of a recently introduced feature: passwordless Microsoft accounts. It’s now possible to create an account that will use a one-time code which will be delivered over SMS as its primary authenticator rather than the conventional password. Also, the new build includes a change to the setup process for Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise and Education users: Cortana will no longer automatically talk to you.

    HSBC’s ‘Not an island’ ads are causing quite a stir around the U.K. The poster ads which appeared in four cities have been questioned by some people in the country. It seems people on social media are also divided over the advert. To some, it appears the ads are anti-Brexit. Obviously, HSBC denies such statements. But, we have to say – it does seem like it, doesn’t it?

    Google has announced Cloud DNS forwarding which will ensure your resources can find each other via DNS; whether they are in the cloud or on-prem. The DNS forwarding allows you to create bi-directional forwarding zones between your on-prem name servers and Google Cloud Platform’s internal name servers. However, it’s important to note that this is currently in beta; and, as such, it’s still under development which means additional changes are not only possible but also expected.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 9 Ways to Fund Your Business Growth Jan 16, 2019

    “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

    Looking to grow your business but need a cash injection? There are all kinds of ways to fund business growth, each with their own risks and rewards.

    Lack of funding is a key reason why many businesses fail to scale. Hence, we’ve decided to focus on several of the most common ways to fund business growth.

    In this article, we’ll talk you through 9 of the most common ways to fund business growth. Read on to learn about:
    • Different types of loans
    • Sourcing investment
    • Taking on New Partners
    • Crowdfunding and Cloudfunding
    • Making more money without loans
    Let’s get started!

    1. Bank Loans
    Banks are a trusted and common source for small business funding. They’re particularly popular with entrepreneurs because you don’t have to give up any control over your business or sacrifice part of your future profits once the loan is repaid.

    However, getting funding isn’t easy. You need a compelling business plan that convinces the bank that you will be able to pay back the loan over the specified period. You will likely have to wait a long time for your application to be processed, too, so it’s far from ideal if you’re looking to capitalize on opportunities close on the horizon.

    Plus, of course, the biggest risk is that the bank could force you to liquidate your company if things don’t work out, in order to pay back the loan.

    2. Personal Loans / Self-Funding
    Setting up or growing a business is inherently risky, and many people prefer to take that risk themselves.

    If you have assets such as a house to your name, you’ll find it a lot easier to take out personal loans, which are guaranteed against these assets. The benefit here is that you’ll likely get a decision much faster, so if you’re super confident in your venture, it’s a good way to get the money you need to grow, fast. The downside is that if things don’t go to plan, you could lose your house, car, or whatever else you used to secure the loan as well as your business.

    Loans aren’t the only way to self-fund, of course. Credit card debt is sometimes easier to manage while investing savings (or selling assets and investing the money) means you essentially limited the damage in advance. Just think very carefully about whether you could really stomach the loss.

    3. Informal Loans
    Another option is to ask for a loan from family or friends. Typically these are informal arrangements and, depending on the circumstances, will probably be a lot more flexible than a bank loan, alleviating a lot of the stress and pressure that comes with a firm payment deadline.

    That said, disagreements over money have a way of wrecking relationships with people you love. If there are any misunderstandings or mismatched expectations about when you’ll be able to pay people back, or you drag your heels on doing so, things can get nasty very quickly. Consider whether this is a risk you want to take – or whether it’s fair to ask these people to risk their money if you’re not risking your own!

    4. Angel Investors
    Angel investors are people with loads of experience in building and investing in successful businesses. Typically they offer much more than financial investment – they are also keen to share their knowledge and insight to fuel your success. It’s an amazing way for a growing business to access invaluable expertise and advice to get the most out of their extra cash.

    That said, these angels are taking a risk on your business and they want to know it’s worthwhile. As such, they might ask for a big chunk of equity – often, up to 25%. Many entrepreneurs are simply too uncomfortable with handing over that much control!

    5. Crowdfunding
    Crowdfunding is when you ask lots of people to contribute a relatively small amount of money each, in order to fund a new company, a specific product or project, or the next stage of growth. In return, they might be first to get the new product, own shares in your business, receive ongoing perks, or even just get a thank you, according to the size of their contribution.

    This approach can be enormously successful. However, there are a few things to bear in mind. First of all, you need to be extremely clear on what crowdfunders get, and you need to deliver it. You need to use a respected crowdfunding platform to manage contributions. You need to decide what happens if you don’t meet your funding target – do you return the money, or is there a plan B?

    If you don’t work it all out in advance you could have a LOT of angry funders to answer to!

    6. Cloudfunding
    This is a variation on crowdfunding which is more geared towards big-hitting investors than individuals. You still upload your idea online and seek multiple contributions, but you’ll be giving up small pieces of your business in the process. There are all kinds of rules about how this works that differ according to your region; so, make sure you research thoroughly before you try it!

    7. New Partners
    Sometimes sharing the load with another person is a good move financially and strategically. Going into partnership with someone you trust and respect, and who is willing to invest in the business, is a big, nerve-wracking step; but, might be the best possible way forward. If you choose this path, bear in mind that the company is no longer primarily yours, it belongs to both of you. It’s a major shift!

    8. Venture Capital
    Venture capitalists (VCs) usually invest in the early stages of a business… and they invest big. That means, however, that they’re typically interested in seeing a return on their investment pretty quickly.

    Like angel investors, VCs will want to take a large slice, even a controlling interest, in your company. Unlike angels, though, don’t expect the nurturing, advice-giving element. This is very much a financial arrangement.

    9. Focusing on High Worth Clients
    Borrowing or risking money isn’t the only way to raise capital quickly. An excellent alternative strategy is to pour time and energy into your highest-value clients (the ones that spent the most and pay on time) and your highest-margin products or services.

    While you may not be able to sustain their increased rate of spending constantly in the long term, a well-orchestrated effort could boost your cash flow and allow you to fund business growth with none of the usual risks!

    Final Thoughts
    We’ve all heard the saying, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”, but that doesn’t mean throwing caution to the wind. Whatever strategy you choose to fund business growth, make sure it’s backed by realistic growth expectations and won’t give you a heart attack 12 months down the line!

    Ah, if you are a startup, we’d recommend taking a look at our article on finance tips for startups.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: News-In-Brief That Caught Our Attention This Month Jan 14, 2019

    “Make your marketing so useful, people will pay you for it.” – Jay Baer

    The tricky thing about news is … it is constantly changing. Sometimes, that’s of no consequence to your businesses but, more often than not, it may well affect your ventures in the long run.

    Keeping track of all the recent and relevant updates in search algorithms, PPC and advertising, marketing trends, spam algorithms, digital marketing news, social media and, of course, email marketing is not easy. Therefore, we’ve decided to take on the mantle of delivering a news roundup which covers the most essential updates and changes which can (and probably will) affect your businesses. Make a cuppa, put your feet up and enjoy.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Email
    2. Social Media
    3. Search Engines and SEO
    4. PPC and Advertising
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in!

    “An email without clarity is like an annoying mime: Just say what you want or get out of the way!” – Jordie van Rijn

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered topics such as fake ransomware emails, cyber attacks, the world’s worst spammers and more. This month, we’ll talk about bypassing Gmail’s 2FA security, Office 365 phishing emails and the new malware popping up pretty much every minute.

    As incredibly useful as email is, it still remains one of the most common routes for hackers to attack. Hence, a new wave of attackers started targeting Google and Yahoo accounts in order to bypass the two-factor authentication by sending well-crafted phishing security alert messages aiming to lure victims to malicious domains masquerading as legitimate websites belonging to Google and/or Yahoo.

    Furthermore, there is a wave of phishing emails closely resembling legitimate Office 365 non-delivery notifications (branding and all!) that aims to obtain users’ Office 365 passwords. As is known, official non-delivery notifications are alerting the users that messages have not been delivered and they are told further action are required. With phishing emails so closely resembling the real thing, there are only a few signs to look out for to recognise which emails are real and which are phishing ones.

    The security firm McAfee reported 480 new malware variants are popping up every minute. In its Threat Report, the company also mentioned they’ve observed a ‘sharp increase’ in malware that is targeting Internet of Things (IoT) devices. Their most brilliant move (if you ask us) was infiltrating hacker forums in order to track what types of conversation are going on there. It seems hackers mostly ask for email user credentials. The whole thing is a bit Men In Black meets Mission Impossible meets James Bond, don’t you think?

    “Build it and they’ll come” only works in the movies. Social media is “build it, nurture it, engage them and they may come and stay.” – Seth Godin

    Nine months ago, Instagram was first spotted testing voice messaging in Direct; and now, the company announced they are finally rolling out their walkie-talkie feature globally. The voice messages can be up to a minute long and remain permanently available to listen to instead of disappearing. However, since both WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger already have such a feature available, how popular do you think it’ll be on Instagram?

    We also heard Instagram has rolled out a series of new features designed to form stronger connections with followers. These new features can be used with channels-stories and live videos. Let’s see how it goes before giving an opinion, shall we?

    We’ve mentioned Google’s decision to pull the plug on Google+ back in October; and now, they are expediting the shut down due to a second data breach. The first one affected 500,000 users; however, the second was significantly larger, impacting 52.5 million users. Who knew that many people were still using Google+?

    Ah, for all you Redditors, we’ve got some news coming straight from the source. Reddit just released their 2018 Year in Review report revealing the rapid growth of video content since introducing native uploads last year. Here’s a quick summary:
    • 153 million posts to Reddit
    • 1.2 billion comments (and counting!)
    • 27 billion votes
    • More than 330 million monthly active users
    • Nearly 150K active communities
    • 14 billion views per month
    Pretty impressive, right?

    Do you remember Twitter’s timeline being reverse-chronological for years? Well, now they’ve finally rolled outSee latest Tweets’ allowing users to toggle between latest and top tweets. But, it seems it’ll only be available for iOS.

    “Google is the new corporate homepage.” – Jeremiah Owyang

    If you are using Google My Business (GMB) – which as a business owner you should – we’ve got some news. Apparently, GMB is upgrading the ‘communications manager’ role to ‘site manager’ as well as adding several new permissions. If you have multiple users managing your GMB listing you should be aware of what those new permissions are.

    Once upon a time – in January, users noticed Google Search Console Performace reports are a day off. Now, eleven months later, it seems this issue has not yet been resolved. When comparing the new Google Search Console Performace report with the old Search Analytics report, the data in both is the same however, the day they plot the data is still a day off. Furthermore, with Google shutting down the old Search Analytics report, this is a concern.

    Ah, we’ve got some news for all of you Chrome users out there. We heard through the grapevine, Google has announced that Chrome 71 has left beta and is publicly rolling out for Windows, Mac and Linux. The new version will contain a number of fixes and improvements such as fighting against abusive ads experience and showing billing warning screens.

    Earlier this month, we’ve mentioned Google has made some changes in the Search Console; the most significant one being to the index coverage report that now uses mobile-first indexing. Now, Google has announced that over half of Google’s search results are powered by that same mobile-first indexing. So, are you sure the mobile version of your page is Google-worthy?

    “Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” – Howard Gossage

    In an attempt to simplify its interactivity features across video ad formats, Google Ads is sunsetting the YouTube call-to-action overlay ( January 2019) and introducing a new call-to-action extension. The new CTA extension can be applied to TrueView in-stream ads and, later on, to Bumper ads and TrueView video discovery ads. There are still not a lot of details about this new extension but we expect more will be revealed in the upcoming days. After all, how long can they keep it a secret considering the launch is happening in January, right?

    Have you ever dreamt of unifying campaigns, analytics and sales data in one dashboard? Well, you can certainly stop dreaming now because AdStage has launched Join. Its purpose is to give customers full-funnel visibility into how their search and social campaigns are driving sales outcomes. It, basically, maps sales and campaign data together – automatically – without the need for URL rewrites. Finally, a frictionless way of saving marketers buckets of analysis time and increasing the efficiency of the sales and marketing teams.

    “Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about.” – Benjamin Franklin

    Are Google and Twitter having a lover’s quarrel? On December 6, Google mysteriously started showing the wrong result for Twitter in Google Search Results. As you can imagine, theories as to why started flying around immediately. However, the real reason turned out to be quite a surprise; and, the worst of it, it led to even more questions. To sum it up, this whole mystery is clear as mud.

    A recent massive fake review attack impacted a lot of small businesses on a global scale. A collection of 37 profiles left over 3 million fake 4-star ratings; however, by the time Google removed them (five days later!), the average profile had left over 81,000 ratings for various businesses. Due to the fact that the profiles chose to have their reviews hidden, Google and the business owners themselves couldn’t pinpoint all the ventures who were affected. We have to say, as happy as we are that Google removed all those fake reviews, this entire situation certainly sheds light on the fastly growing trend that leaving fake reviews online is way, way too easy.

    An India-based bug hunter – Sahad Nk – discovered a series of vulnerabilities that left Microsoft users’ accounts – from Office docs to Outlook emails – susceptible to hacking. According to Nk, Microsoft’s subdomain “” had not been properly configured which allowed him to easily take over. He used a CNAME record to point the unconfigured subdomain to his own Azure instance and voila; he controlled the subdomain and any data sent to it.

    And last, but certainly not least, we heard the Russian internet company Yandex is releasing its first smartphone called – drumrolls, please – Yandex Phone. Creative, eh?

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 27 Awesome Growth Hacks For Businesses To Try Jan 9, 2019

    “Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together.” – James Cash Penney

    Who wants to spend years growing their business slowly but surely when they could zoom ahead of the competition with a few crafty, budget-friendly growth hacking techniques?

    As a business owner, growing your company is one of your top priorities. Furthermore, you also know that it can be challenging. If you lack the huge budget for big marketing campaigns and the time to focus on growth – when there are so many other aspects to manage – we’re here to help and teach you a few tried-and-tested growth hacks for businesses that will help you expand your venture fast.

    In this article, we’ll teach you a few growth hacks for businesses covering:
    1. Growing your audience
    2. Becoming more effective
    3. Retaining customers
    4. Boosting Revenue
    Buckle up because your 27 growth hacks for business are here …

    Growing Your Audience
    Create fun surveys and quizzes that will, certainly, capture emails in the process.
    2. Build relationships by answering readers’ questions and leaving thoughtful comments on popular content (and, also, mentioning your business in the process!).
    3. Use LinkedIn and to find email addresses for exactly the right person at companies you’re trying to connect with.
    4. You can also use the Google+ “find people” function by choosing the “find coworkers” tool and putting in the company name. Just bear in mind Google is retiring Google+ next year.
    5. Quote influencers in your field in your content and tag them when you publish – they’re more likely to share it with their followers!
    6. Share any positive reviews that your customers write about you on your social media channels, tagging and thanking them if possible.
    7. Do a ‘daily challenge’ e.g. creating a GIF a day. Obviously, make it something that takes you a few minutes but provides regular, valuable content/tools that keep people coming back to your site or channels.
    8. Try a 4-1-1 approach to social media content: 4 x reposts of other people’s content, tagging influencers/authors, 1 x in-depth piece of original, educational content, 1 x sales-orientated post.
    9. Join professional groups on LinkedIn and engage with conversations/answer questions without pushing your product or service (wait until you have a relationship!).
    10. Create WhatsApp groups so you can give potential customers an easy way to contact you for free (and vice versa).
    11. Launch a referral program to reward existing customers for signing up new ones.

    Becoming More Effective
    Track down journalists who might be interested in your company using this search term in Google+: “ inurl:about “contributor to”” (e.g.
    13. Use klear or Followerwonk to identify influencers in your field to target, retweet, etc.
    14. Create an explainer video or free course showing people how to use/get more out of your product.
    15. Compress images on your website to get your site to load faster (and, consequently, lower your bounce rate).
    16. Use chatbots to answer common queries.

    Retaining Customers
    Index your app to reactivate users by having results from your app appear at the top of searches.
    18. Provide perks, bonuses and special deals to loyal customers via email.
    19. Analyse touchpoints in your customer’s journey to see where you’re losing or annoying people.
    20. Also, send follow-up emails to people who aren’t using products they’ve paid for to give tips/ask how you can help.
    21. Be polite and helpful when you respond to complaints.
    22. Make a Slack or, similarly, a Facebook group exclusively for Premium members.

    Boosting Revenue
    Pull all your best-written content together in an eBook and while you’re at it, why not sell it online!
    24. Set up Rich Pins so that people can buy your products on Shopify without leaving Pinterest.
    25. Offer a money-back guarantee. These are, certainly, known to boost sales by up to 30%.
    26. Furthermore, reduce the number of product or subscription options available on your site to 3-4 max; hence, preventing customers from getting paralyzed by choice.
    27. Use crowdfunding to push forward new ideas and innovations, even if you don’t have an investment.

    Feeling inspired? Start growth hacking! But, above all, remember: never lose sight of the fact that you’re providing a top service or product for your clients. The moment you seem too selfish, the customers will start falling away.

    Finally, why don’t you also take a look at our marketing hacks that don’t cost a penny – since we’re on the topic of growth hacks for businesses and all.

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • How To Create a First-Class Content Marketing Strategy Jan 7, 2019

    “Content marketing is the gap between what brands produce & what consumers actually want.” – Michael Brenner

    Content marketing is one of the most powerful ways to build a relationship with your audience, encourage inbound leads and show off your expertise. Getting it right, though, is a precise art.

    Hence, we’ve decided to ‘spill’ our secrets on how to create the best content marketing strategy in our very own 10-step guide.

    In this article, we’ll teach you the best way to create a first-class content marketing strategy and how to:
    1. Define and understand your audience
    2. Figure out how to do it in a way that’s unique and relevant to you
    3. Further your marketing and sales goals
    4. Run a content marketing campaign
    5. Publicize your content
    6. Learn from your mistakes
    Ready to get started? Here are your content marketing strategy ten steps!

    1. Figure Out Who It’s For
    Don’t just write into a vacuum. You need a clear idea of which audience or audiences you’re making the content for. If you’re targeting more than one, distinctly different type of person, job role, interest group, etc., you’ll need to make different content for each one.

    2. Decide What Problems You’ll Solve
    Every piece of content you publish needs to have a purpose. What’s in it for your audience? What problem or pain point does it help your audience to tackle?

    A good place to start is to list specific questions and issues that your audience needs help with and build content specifically around providing answers and solutions. This ensures your content will be valuable and will help people to find your content more easily in searches.

    3. Establish Exactly What You Bring to the Table
    Why are you the right person/company to answer this question or help fix the issue? What knowledge, expertise or perspective can you bring to the challenge that makes you stand out – and that will be particularly valuable to your audience? Your uniqueness is an asset – don’t just imitate other people!

    4. Decide What You’re Trying to Achieve
    As well as figuring out what purpose each piece of content serves from your audience’s perspective, you need to know what purpose it serves for you. In other words, what do you want your audience to think, feel and do?

    These goals need to shape the content all the way through, but the “do” bit is especially important when you craft the Call-To-Action at the end.

    5. Research Your Audience (and Your Intended Audience)
    In order to connect effectively with the people you’re trying to reach, you need to understand what makes them tick. Conduct thorough psychographics, create detailed buyer personas and keep the image of the type of person you’re talking to as you write, plan or design your content.


    6. Design a Content Plan
    You’re now ready to figure out what content to make! Start with draft titles and map out how all of these will fit together, both in terms of the logical order you’ll release them in and how they’ll link to one another through CTAs and so on. It might help to plan this out visually, in a kind of web structure, noting key points and goals such as pointing people towards making a sale.

    7. Choose the Best Content Type for Each Step
    Next, on your content marketing strategy list, is to decide what kind of content would be best for each title or point in the chain. For example, would it work best as a blog post? A video? A webinar?

    Three things should influence your decision for each piece of content: whether this medium works for your audience, whether it’s the best way to share the message, and how well it fits with your team’s expertise.

    8. Figure Out a Content Calendar
    Things are getting real now! To make sure you actually do what you said you were going to do, you need to give yourself deadlines and publishing dates for each and every piece of content… and stick to it.

    9. Get Your Promotional Strategy Ironed Out
    As well as the content itself, you need to know how you’re going to bring it to people’s attention. You’ll probably want to publicize and promote links through your social media channels, but an even more effective route is to work this into your email marketing strategy.

    Psst! Need help building your email list first? Click here! >>

    10. Create, Analyze, Improve
    You’ve created your content, you know when it’s due to go out, and you know how it will be delivered and publicized… now it’s time to get going!

    Right from the start, though, make sure you’re monitoring and analyzing the results, including email open rates, reads, watches and shares. You can learn from these insights and use them to keep honing and improving your content marketing campaigns long into the future.

    Final Thoughts
    Remember that there’s no substitute for quality. You can plan and strategize until the cows come home, but your content marketing strategy will only be a success if every piece of content you release is genuinely valuable to your audience.

    Pour in proper care and attention to crafting impeccable content that you’re really proud of and the rest will follow!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • 5 Cheese-Free Ideas for Your Christmas Marketing Dec 20, 2018

    “On the 12th day of Christmas, my inbox gave to me…
    Ten thousand snow puns
    A slew of corporate greetings
    And an unrelated cartoon Christmas tree.”
    Yes, it’s that time of year again, when every company under the sun starts sending festive-themed marketing emails.

    To have a hope of standing out, you’ll need to get creative with your Christmas email marketing ideas.

    In this article, we’ll cover the following Christmas email marketing ideas:
    1. Giving gifts people want
    2. Using humour
    3. Making it relevant
    4. Using games, quizzes and other distractions
    5. Covering the basics
    Here are 5 top Christmas email marketing ideas to help you get inspired.

    1. Give Gifts People Want!
    We’ve all had that last minute present-buying panic. You know the one, where you realise you haven’t picked up anything for your difficult sister-in-law, you’ve run out of time, and now you’ll have to buy something bland that you don’t really want to pay for and she doesn’t really want, just to save face.

    90% of holiday marketing campaigns are like that: uninspired, sent out of obligation, not really benefiting anyone.

    The best way to avoid this is to focus on what the customer actually wants. It sounds obvious, but it’s crucial!

    People are overloaded right now with Christmas emails, but they’re also stressed about things like travel logistics, getting presents delivered on time, wrapping up work before they go on holiday, etc. Your Christmas email marketing ideas should be focused on what you can do to solve specific problems and make the recipient’s lives easier at this time of year.

    2. Use Humour
    One of the problems with corporate Christmas email marketing is that it so often sounds insincere. Unless you have a personal connection with someone, a “Merry Christmas” message can ring hollow – especially if they then try to get you to buy something!

    One good way to get around this is to aim for laughs instead. For example, take a look at this cheeky campaign from Parts Town, which gets the tone just right. It refers to Christmas without any cliches and cringiness, while at the same time getting the message across that they’re open on Christmas Eve:


    3. Make it Relevant
    Think carefully about why you’re sending this particular email now. Is it specific to the Christmas period? Is it specific to Christmas? Or are you just putting some tinsel on something you were going to do anyway and calling it festive?

    People have pretty sophisticated bull-dung detectors, so don’t try to mislead them. Think carefully about how to make your messaging or offers genuinely relevant to this time of year.


    4. Provide Entertainment!
    At the same time, in a lot of offices (particularly in the UK and Europe!), work slows down dramatically in the run-up to Christmas as people slip into a holiday mindset! Bosses, too, seem to be a lot more tolerant of good-humoured and festive slacking.

    That makes it the perfect time to send out some lighthearted games, quizzes, animations and other bits of fun to make people smile and to stay top of mind. The more interactive, the better… remember how ElfYourself went viral? That’s a perfect example!

    5. Remember the Basics!
    You’d be amazed at how many companies let simple things slip in the Christmas countdown. Given the scale of the competition right now, you can’t afford to make silly mistakes.

    Proofread your stuff. Check that the right name or company name is in the send field. Make sure the links work. Ensure the tone and style of your email reflect your company persona and values. For a complete checklist, click here.

    Final Thoughts: Don’t Force It
    The only thing worse than a Grinch is a corporate Christmas bandwaggoner. If it’s simply not relevant or appropriate, don’t feel you have to shoehorn in a Christmas reference! Stick to your usual style or send a simple “Thanks for working with us this year” type email. Festive marketing can be great, but it’s not obligatory!

    Open your free email marketing account now and we’ll give you 12,500 sends each and every month free, forever. For up to 2,500 email contacts you’ll never pay us a penny.
    If you have more than 2,500 contacts check out our professional email marketing pricing.
  • Digital Marketing News: What Caught Our Attention This Month Dec 17, 2018

    “Marketing’s job is never done. It’s about perpetual motion. We must continue to innovate every day.” – Beth Comstock

    Your businesses exist in a digitally-driven world. Hence, if you want to stay afloat, it’s imperative to keep up-to-date with the most recent and relevant updates in spam algorithms, PPC and advertising, digital marketing trends, social media and, of course, email marketing.

    We know it’s not easy to keep track of all the digital marketing news roaming around the Internet. Therefore, we decided to take on the burden and deliver you a news roundup which covers the most essential changes that can affect your businesses.

    In this article, we’ll cover the most recent digital marketing news on the following topics:
    1. Social Media
    2. Search Engines and SEO
    3. PPC and Advertising
    4. Email
    5. Other stuff we found interesting
    Let’s dig in into this month’s digital marketing news, shall we?

    “Put your energy into making things that are likeable, not some douchey social media strategy.” – Matthew Inman, AKA The Oatmeal

    The notoriously infamous social network we all love to hate – Facebook – will be changing its News Feed algorithm in order to demote content which comes close to violating their policies. According to them, the content demotion is only in effect in limited instances. However, the company will continue to repurpose its AI technology for proactively taking down content in violation of their policies.

    On another note, Facebook is testing a new element in its evolving eCommerce tools – Facebook Live mode. The feature will enable Pages to showcase products in a live stream, which viewers can then purchase easily via screenshots. The downside, it’s not yet available to everyone. Nonetheless, if you’re impatient, you can join the waitlist.

    Moving on to the second most used and favoured social media, Instagram. We heard they’ve become even more cliquey by adding a new feature called “close friends”. What it does, basically, is allowing you to post Stories limited to a selected group of your followers. What could possibly go wrong, right?

    You don’t think we’ve forgotten about LinkedIn, do you? If you are a business, a recruiter or, basically, anyone and you expect to be able to export the email addresses of your connections well, you’d be unpleasantly surprised. It seems the professional network quietly introduced a new privacy setting which defaults to blocking other users from exporting your email address.

    Last, but certainly not least, YouTube will be removing both annotations and video credits come January 2019. Annotations were retired in May 2017 but, existing annotations were shown to desktop viewers. Now they’ll be gone starting January 15, 2019. As for video credits, YouTube will be discontinuing them after January 31, 2019.

    “Your ultimate consumers are your users, not search engines.” – Google

    Google released an update to Google My Business API. The new version – 4.3 – brings the addition of Q&A APIs so you can retrieve questions, post answers and provide FAQs. However, that’s not all. It’ll also allow you to read reviews in bulk, report location issues, identify unclaimed locations and much more.

    We’ve also found out, Google has made two changes in Search Console. Firstly, and most significantly, the index coverage report now uses mobile-first indexing data (when available). Secondly, some of the old reports will be going away. No worries though; they will only be removing reports that have replacements in the new version of the Google Search Console.

    Furthermore, Google is changing the way they show some of the issues within Google Search Console for the AMP enhancement report. By the looks of it, they’ll be combining some over-specific issue types into fewer generalised ones – within the report – in order to simplify issue types into more manageable groups.

    “Many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” – Mark Twain

    Google announced that calls from Google Ads location extensions can now be counted as conversions. That is, once you’ve enabled account-level call reporting. By default, calls will be counted as a conversion after 60 seconds. Nevertheless, users have the option to change the default setting to any length of time, according to their business needs. Hence, in theory, a conversion should be counted as soon as the call is answered simply by changing the default value to one second.

    What’s more, Google is also rolling out a series of updates to responsive search ads which include more languages and new reporting tools.

    Ah, if you are a marketer using Bing Ads, we have some exciting news for you. Microsoft is strategically partnering up with Intent Lab to add a deeper AI-powered insight to search. The partnership is aimed at providing a better insight into what customers are thinking at each stage of their online journey. Sounds … insightful.


    “A bad email reputation is like a hangover: hard to get rid of and it makes everything else hurt.” – Christ Marriott

    In our recent digital marketing news roundup, we’ve covered topics such as malware, ISPs, TLDs, migration from G Suite to Office 365 and more. This month, we’ll talk about how to prevent ransomware emails, recent cyber attacks and the world’s worst spammers.

    Fake ransomware emails have been a worrying trend in recent weeks. The hoaxers are sending emails telling people all over the world they’ve been hacked and demanding a payment in order to release user’s private details. Our friends at UKFast take cybersecurity incredibly serious hence, they’ve pointed out what users can do to prevent being exploited by those tricksters.

    Troubling news we’ve heard through the grapevine concerns cyber attacks. It seems a hacker group – widely believed to be working for the Russian state – is using Brexit as a lure for cyber attacks. The hacking group Fancy Bear, also known as APT28, Sofacy and a variety of other names, is targeting government departments by sending an email with an attachment named Brexit 15.11.2018.docx. Our advice, be very careful of the emails you’re opening. You might not be a government department but that doesn’t mean you’re safe from attacks.

    Lastly, up to 80% of spam targeted at internet users across the globe is generated by a hard-core group of around 100 known persistent spam gangs. According to Spamhaus, stats are in (as of 11 December 2018) and the Top 5 Worst Spammers are Canadian Pharmacy (Ukraine), Blaze Media Solutions (United States), PredictLabs (United States), Guangzhou-Seoul Information Technology Co., Ltd. (China) and RR Media (United States). It appears the US has one too many spammers.

    “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement and success have no meaning.” – Benjamin Franklin

    As hard as Facebook tries, can they really be absolved from their recent sins? Considering we’ve learnt, they’ve been pondering around the idea of selling users data forgiveness is not something we are thinking about right now.

    On another note, Reuters reported that Russia has initiated a civil action against Google over the search engine’s failure to censor certain search results in the country. The potential penalty is trivial: 700,000 roubles (approximately $10,450). That penalty will bankrupt Google for sure.

    Ah, if you’ re a traveller – be it for business or leisure – you will definitely find the next piece of news … interesting. TechCrunch reported Marriott’s Starwood Hotels guest reservation database have been hacked, exposing the data on up to 500 million guests. The data breached includes details such as name, email address, postal address, phone number, passport number, Starwood Preferred Guest account info, DOB, gender, arrival and departure info, reservation date and communication preferences. We’ve only got one thing to say: Change your passwords NOW!

    Do you use WordPress? Have you seen the WordPress 5.0 release notification on your dashboard? If you have, be careful with the install. It seems that the community’s responses were not entirely positive. Especially considering the release date was in limbo for quite some time.

    Let us know what digital marketing news topics and areas you would like us to look out for in the future. Write your requests below, we’ll keep an eye out (or two) so you don’t have to – and all for FREE, of course.

    In the meantime, you can take a look at our blog for more digital marketing news, social media marketing, business growth tips and tricks plus, of course, all things email marketing.

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