Resource Centre

A carefully curated collection of articles, books, tools and galleries.

Topics for 2016 include visual trends, graphic design, strategy, creativity and inspiration; web design, development and seo; email marketing and copywriting; marketing, advertising and social media. If you have a resource you'd like us to consider adding to the list, email it to us or if you're interested in adding a resources module like this to your website, let us know.

 

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Don’t be a copywronger!

5 tips to help you write better marketing emails

Creating copy for marketing emails is no easy job. And let’s face it, not everybody is a copywriter. However, it’s critical that your email content is relevant and engaging so that your emails are opened and acted on. From the way you format copy to how you address your readers, we have a few tricks to help you along your way. Get our latest cheatsheet for 5 tips to help you get the right response.

Key takeaways from this cheatsheet:

  • Discover the most important question to ask when writing an email
  • Get examples of how to make your emails user friendly and customer-centric
  • Explore ways to make your copy effective and actionable

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Download the free cheatsheets at dotmailer.com

25 Sales Email Subject Lines That Get Prospects to Open, Read, and Respond

Written by | @emmajs24

Just like a gatekeeper can prevent a salesperson from reaching the manager or executive they want to get in touch with, a subject line can block a prospect from opening a sales email. And it doesn't matter how much research and time you put into the body text -- your hard work goes to waste if the prospect deletes right off the bat.

But what makes a good subject line? Coming on too strong isn't a good idea. Think about it -- would you open an email with the subject line "I would like to sell you something"? That message is getting sent straight to the spam folder.

If you're reaching out to a prospect, you're either responding to their demonstrated interest (for example, they've visited your website, or engaged with your company on social media), or you have a solid reason to believe you can help them (for example, they tweeted out an article on training mistakes and you just so happen to be a training consultant). Now to get the prospect to engage with you and come to this realization ... 

The best sales email subject lines are creative, interest-provoking, and informative without giving too much away. Writing the perfect subject line is no small feat, so we've compiled 25 compelling sales email subject lines for a variety of situations. Customize for your own uses, and watch your open and response rates skyrocket. 

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Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

15 Email Newsletter Examples We Love Getting in Our Inboxes

Written by | @CarlyStec

When people first start doing email marketing, they often assume they need an email newsletter. "It'll have everything our customers care about, all in one place," they rationalize. "Our list will be different -- people will actually look forward to getting our newsletter," they argue. "Since we're only sending it once a month, it'll be a breeze to put together," they say.

And while all of those things may become true for a few lucky individuals, lots of email newsletters flop. They become an uninteresting mush of content people automatically ignore, archive, delete, or straight up unsubscribe from. And this isn't great for you, your metrics, or your company's success.

So if you're thinking about creating an email newsletter, check out this post and think really hard about whether that's the right move for you in terms of your marketing strategy.

If you've decided that you want to start an email newsletter, or you want to revamp one that's not performing well, keep on reading.

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Read the article at blog.hubspot.com

How we increased Design School’s traffic to 1 million visits

By 

Let me guess— you’re keen to give your blog that extra boost?

Let’s get real, it doesn’t need much. You’ve already done the hard part— you gave it life, and now it’s maturing nicely.

What it really needs is nothing more than a tweak here and there, to take it to that next level.

When I joined Canva in August 2015, I picked up the gauntlet to drive 1 million sessions to the Design School blog in a calendar month.

In this article, I’ll share how we finally achieved that goal.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

by Christopher Butler

“We got so deep into content marketing, that we forgot to mention what we actually do.”

Sounds crazy, right? Well, not really. Just the other day, I was speaking with an agency principal about her firm’s website. We had been talking about what she has observed over the past five years or so of doing what she called “more aggressive digital marketing,” when she made that startling admission. In that time, she and her firm had created a ton of content: blog posts, white papers, case studies, you name it. After stabilizing their content production, they even smartened up a bit and organized it based upon the stages of the buying cycle, making sure to differentiate between content written for prospects who were in early stages of solution research and later stages of evaluation. After that, they revised their calls to action to better speak to prospects in each stage, and made sure to use them in the right places.

And you know what? It worked. They got more leads. But as we talked more, she described the strain that put on the person handling their sales (you guessed it: her). Despite creating so much content that described her firm’s expertise, she found that her sales conversations still began at square-one and required just as much time to inform and orient prospects to engagement possibilities as they had before they’d done all that fancy content marketing. The problem was, her phone was ringing much more now.

I smiled and said, “Don’t worry, you’re halfway there.”

She asked, “What do you mean, halfway?”

I explained that a few years ago, we spent most of our time helping agencies simply get up to speed with content marketing. We helped them break the habit of over-showing on the web by refocusing their websites on telling — namely, what they do and how they do it using actual words — instead of assuming that a glitzy portfolio in an even glitzier container would win them business. But for those whom we converted to the content marketing way, there was more work to do.

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Read the article at newfangled.com

When is the Best Time to Send Your Email Marketing Campaign?

There’s nothing we’d love more than to tell you a magic time and day that would give you the absolute best results for your email campaign.

But while we can’t give you exactly that, we do have more than enough data and proven best practices to offer you something more satisfying than the generic ‘it depends’ answer.

Use these 5 steps to find the best send time and day for your business:

1. Look at the trends

Industry trends are a great starting point when you’re first thinking about the best time to send your email. At Constant Contact, we regularly analyze customer email results to collect industry-specific data to help you know where you stand.

In addition to updating you on the average open, click-through, and bounce rateeach month, we also have this helpful chart that identifies prime times to send an email based on general trends by industry.

Based on the data, a clear trend across many industries is the highest open rates often occur early in the week. Monday morning is the optimal time for many different industries — which makes sense as many of your subscribers will approach the beginning of a week refreshed and engaged after the weekend.

Tip: Try sending out your next email newsletter early Monday morning before your subscribers’ weeks fill up with plans and commitments.

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Read the article at blogs.constantcontact.com

Tips, Tricks & Best Practices to Increase Twitter Engagement

With over 250 million active users, Twitter is here to stay. And for good reason — it’s an extremely effective method for communicating with your user base. AddThis data shows that Twitter users shared over 182 million pieces of content in 2014 — and are on track to more than double that in 2015, with nearly 107 million shares to date. However, it’s more than just a “build it and they shall come” platform.

We often get asked, “What’s the best way to increase engagement on Twitter?” In this post, we’ll share some tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way to help you with just that.

Mastering the Twitter Count: You Don’t Need 140 Characters

In your Twitter bio use the full 160 characters allotted. It’ll not only help Twitter users to find you, but also learn more about you. Make sure your bio is fully optimized and includes hashtags.

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Read the article at addthis.com

How to Build a Social Media Marketing Strategy for Your Business

With hundreds of active social networks, it can be tough to know where you should start when it comes to marketing a business or building an online community. To help you get a better understanding of each network, and how you can use them for your business, we put together a quick rundown on some of the top sites and services for your to build out your social media marketing strategy.

Facebook

  • Number of users: Facebook recently reported 1.49 monthly billion users with Asia accounting for 28%, Europe for 24%, USA and Canada for 17% and the rest of the world for 30% of those users.
  • How your visitors use it: Facebook is the largest platform for sharing worldwide, and when it comes to brands, users can share products and content that resonates with them. The social media platform also offers brand pages where users can interact with and review brands based on their experiences.
  • What you can do: Long-form content – with no character or word limit – gets the most Facebook shares and likes, so start writing! Encourage your fans to post reviews or stories about their experiences with your site on your brand page. Facebook is also a great platform to offer insider tips, troubleshooting ideas, meetup and event invites, and promotional offers.

See More

Read the article at add this.com

How to Keep Your Website’s Content Fresh

By 

When thinking of how to keep your website fresh, don’t underestimate the value of evergreen content, especially in a world where the pace of consumption moves as fast as it does.

If you publish on a weekly basis, you know it can be hard to keep up. Some days you’re strapped for time or resources or maybe the creative well has just run dry. But new content is what’s expected of you and your website, right?

Well, instead of fretting over the task of creating something from scratch every day, put some of your older, more popular pieces back to work.

Here are three ways to get more out of what’s already on your site ...

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Read the article at addthis.com

50 Of The Best Email Marketing Designs We’ve Ever Seen

By 

In case you hadn’t heard, email marketing isn’t dead.

In fact, the reality is quite the opposite. By the end of next year, it’s expected that the total number of worldwide email accounts will increase to over 4.3 billion. Like it or not, we live in a time where people like to email. It’s fast, convenient and most important – effective.

As a business tool, McKinsey & Company found emails to be 40 times more successful at acquiring new clients than either Facebook and Twitter – just one of the many interesting statistics to support the success of email marketing.

If you’re a startup or brand wanting to leverage this success, a well-designed email is crucial to break through the pack. Amongst so much competition, a great email design needs to capture the attention of the reader right away to avoid being deleted and risk never being seen.

Engage your customers and create email marketing campaigns to reach a massive audience. Here’s how the pros did it – we hope this post inspires you to create your own awesome email designs!

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

20 Typography Mistakes Every Beginner Makes--And How You Can Avoid Them

By 

Much more than just arranging pretty fonts on a nice background, typography is an essential part of most designs — one that can make or break a whole project.

Unfortunately, typography errors tend to make a bigger statement than good typography. Mistakes stick out like a sore thumb, while thoughtful typographic choices blend so nicely with the overall design that you might overlook them. So if you want to get your message across without distracting typographic errors, learn to recognize some of the most common mistakes below, and use this article as a final checklist before wrapping up your design.

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Read the article at designschool.canva.com

How We Doubled Our Twitter Engagement Rate

By Christian Brink

Keeping up with social media is a 24-hour grind. And I don’t just mean posting and responding to followers, I mean keeping up with changes to the actual platform, learning how to get the most out of it, and modifying your strategy accordingly.

Facebook is a great example. Posting images used to be the leading way to get more reach, but now that’s changed and the recommended style is link-share posts. In fact, some studies even suggest that text-based posts are now getting more reach than photos!

Well, similar to what we try to do with Facebook, we tweaked our strategies on Twitter and found something that clicked. Here are three ways we recently doubled our engagement rate.Engagement Rate as defined by Twitter is the number of clicks, retweets, replies, follows and favorites divided by the total number of impressions.

 

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Read the article at addthis.com

Is Email Marketing Dead?

Every once in a while you stumble across an article declaring that “Facebook is dead!” or “Email is played out” or even, “Google is no longer the powerhouse in search”. To all of those, I say phooey. There might be elements of your marketing strategy you need to re-evaluate due to changes on various platforms, but this does not indicate one method being dead. It simply means it’s evolved.

As a result, we’ve changed a lot about our email marketing strategy — and the results have been stellar. There was no one single fix, it was a series of changes we implemented to help boost results, and below I will share them with you.

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Read the article at addthis.com

Hyphens and Dashes

Hyphens, en and em dashes are among the most misunderstood, and misused, punctuation marks in typography. While their appearance is generally similar, they have distinct designs and serve specific functions. These three marks are not interchangeable, and knowing the difference is key to setting type correctly.

The hyphen is the shortest of the three marks, and is used to hyphenate a word at the end of a line by breaking after a syllable. Hyphens are also used to join separate words into a compound word, such as dyed–in–the–wool; and to separate the digits in phone and account numbers. A hyphen can be designed as a simple horizontal stroke, or it can have characteristics that match the rest of the typeface.

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Read the complete article at fonts.com

Digital Content - Part 2 of 4: Let’s Get Visual!

by Jessica Vanderlee

FACT: 61% of consumers prefer companies with custom online content.
 

Mashable also reports, “80% of decision-makers prefer content to advertising”, so if you’re not using custom content to interact with your audience online you’re missing out. In our last post on “Written Content Types for Content Marketing", we talked about different types of online content, from blogs and white papers to case studies and e-books. In this week’s post we are focusing on arguably the most engaging type of content; visual media

Visual media and graphics are well-known to increase click-through rates and conversions. They are also provide a fantastic way to offer a variety of content on your website and social media pages while contributing to your SEO efforts. In addition to encouraging user engagement, visual content can drive results. Depending on your overall goals and desired outcomes, you can choose to integrate site links, social media pages and advertise promotions and events.

Types of Visual Media 

  • Infographics
  • Memes
  • Posters
  • Animated Gifs
  • Comics/Cartoons
  • Presentations/Slides
  • Social Profile Pictures/Cover Photos/Shareable Images
  • Photography/Images
  • Videos

See More

Read the complete article at gshiftlabs.com

Digital Content - Part 1 of 4: Written Content Types

by Crys Wiltshire

By now we all know that the way to any search engine’s heart is through great content, served fresh. However, many companies still struggle to provide a variety in their content marketing mix. It is no longer enough to simply blog. In order to stay relevant and build your authority, you need to provide multiple types of digital content.

By offering up various forms of quality content, you are providing value for your target audience with a selection of engaging tools and resources. Different users will engage more heavily with content that appeals the most to them. By serving up a multitude of content types, you are more likely to reach larger portions of your audience.

While there is a wide range of content types available for your brand, we are going to focus on the most common forms of written content in this article.

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Read the blog post at gshiftlabs.com

The New Age of SEO: Why Your Approach Must Change

by Adam Heitzman

The old adage "adapt or die" could never be more true when it comes to SEO strategies these days.

SEO best practices are going to change whether we like it or not. It's easy to get set in your ways and feel comfortable with your current strategy, but this isn't going to be sustainable in this industry. It's important that marketers focus on getting out of their old way of thinking and evolve along with Google and the other search engines in order to find long-term success.

Fortunately, understanding this "new age" of SEO isn't as time-consuming or overwhelming as it may sound, so the sooner you can get started the better and easier changing your mindset will be in the future.

How SEO is evolving in 2015

Understanding how you can evolve your strategy as the search engines evolve starts with recognizing how it's all changing in the first place. A great way to do this is by compartmentalizing different SEO tasks and methods and then looking at what was recommended in the past versus what is recommended by search engines now, in the present.

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Read the full article at inc.com

How to Generate 30 New Content Ideas in 30 Minutes

There are two things that almost every project entails — creativity and deadlines. Unfortunately, those two things usually don't go together so well. When deadlines are looming, I'm almost always pressed for a new idea. But this strategy, which shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, is the perfect way to overcome your writer's block, and have enough ideas to keep you busy for weeks.

Spend 10 minutes on each step below, then get ready to start building your next idea.

  1. Make a list, and don’t stop until you run out of time.
  2. Look at what’s worked in the past.
  3. See what other people are writing about. 
  4. Edit your list and get ready to write! 

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Read the article at shutterstock.com

Free Best Practices e-Book: Designing a Marketing Email That Works

Tips for designing marketing emails that get opened and help your business grow

First impressions matter.

And when someone opens your marketing email for the first time, what they see is going to determine what they do next.

Chances are you’ll want them to read your email and take a next step. Maybe you want them to visit your website, register for an event, or buy something.

This is where a beautiful, professional-looking email designed to drive action is crucial and that’s why we made a guide dedicated to helping you make the right impression with every email you send.

We’ll take you through the reasons email subscribers delete emails and how you can encourage people to take those next steps.

In this guide, you will find... 
 

  • The Reasons Readers Trash Your Emails

  • Email Design in Action

  • 5 Simple Tips for Mobile-Friendly Emails

See More

Download for free from batemandesigngroup.com

Free Best Practices e-Book: Turn Your Social Buzz into a Loud Roar

10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Success

In the evolving world of social media marketing, it can be hard for a time-starved small business or organization to keep pace and know what to do when it comes to connecting with customers and members on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Yelp.

While there’s no “one-size fits all” approach, we’ve assembled 10 best practices for social media marketing success that will help your business or organization, whether you’re just getting started or trying to take your efforts to the next level.

In this guide, you will find these ten strategies explained... 
 

  1. Have a Goal

  2. Know Who You Are and Portray Yourself Consistently

  3. Be Where Your Customers/Members Are

  4. Tell Your Customers and Members Where You Are

  5. Don’t Just Join Conversations. Add Value to Them

  6. Be Relevant

  7. Be Engaging

  8. Be Active

  9. Respond in a Timely Manner

  10. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Download for free from batemandesigngroup.com

Free e-Book: Building Your List Can be aThing of Beauty

A guide to growing a permission-based contact list for 2015

Whether you’re a bookshop, a not-for-profit arts organization, a consultant, or an accountant, you need a steady stream of business, referrals, or responses from the people that keep your doors open. 

That starts with staying in regular communication with your audience. When you build an ongoing dialogue, you increase the trust and comfort level they have with you. They look forward to hearing from you. You’ll stay top of mind with them. 

As a result, they’ll become more loyal, spend more on your products and services, donate more frequently, and be more likely to refer you to their friends or colleagues. 

Sounds great, right? The easiest, most effective way to build that dialogue is with email marketing. And that’s why it’s so important for small businesses to have and grow a contact list.

In this guide, you will find... 

  • How to build your list at your place of business
  • How to build your list with social media 
  • How to build your list through your website  
  • How to build your list while networking 
  • What to do with your list 

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Download the e-book at batemandesigngroup.com

Your 2015 Pinterest resolutions

It’s the new year, and we want your business to accomplish big things. Invest more in Pinterest to help you achieve your goals, whether that’s getting more site traffic and sales or engaging with a new audience.

To help you start the year off right, we came up a few resolutions for businesses.

This year, resolve to:

  1. Have a specific Pinterest goal. Decide what you want to focus on this year. More sales? Engagement with your content? Traffic? Followers? While Pinterest is useful for all of those things, it’s always good to focus on what’s most important to your business right now. Track metrics using Pinterest Analytics every week so you can measure how you’re doing.

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Read the article at business.pinterest.com

15 Online Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2015

by Ashley Kemper

Online marketing is no longer optional for brands who are serious about pushing their businesses forward. Digital marketing often feels like a moving target that's impossible to hit, yet despite the frequent guesswork, there are some clear trends that will be defining the industry in 2015. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a digital novice, these 15 key trends should be on your radar over the next year.

 

1. More User-Generated Content

If 2014 was the year "Content Is King" became a reality, 2015 will be all about sourcing content from the kingdom at large. The onus will always be on publishers to produce high-quality (and expensive) content, but brand followers are willing, and expecting, to contribute to the conversation. Whether you tap a small handful of ambassadors to create meaningful posts on a corporate blog or promote a branded hashtag that allows the public to share content on your site, take advantage of this engagement opportunity early and often.

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Read Article at shutterstock.com

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Campaigns in 2015 (and Beyond)

by Ashley Kemper

If you're like most marketers, the past 12 months were filled with their fair share of victories, as well as near-misses, and maybe even a total flop. Step up your game in 2015 by setting (and sticking to!) these three simple resolutions.

Create monthly content calendars, and actually follow them

Whether you create content calendars weekly, monthly, or even quarterly, having a documented plan in place is critical. A well-crafted content calendar provides the high-octane fuel to keep social, SEO, and email channels running effectively. By taking the time to make a calendar ahead of time, you ensure that messaging and promotions are synced across channels, presenting a consistent interaction with your audience.

New to the content-calendar game? It's a versatile tool that is actually very simple to create. At its most basic, a content calendar can be a spreadsheet that serves to document:

- Dates and times that you'll publish your content

- Content format (photo, video, infographic, etc.)

- Key messaging to use

- Distribution channel(s) (Facebook, email, blog, etc.)

Putting together your first content calendar can feel onerous and time-consuming, but you'll be astounded at how much time it saves throughout the month.

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Read Article at shutterstock.com

How to Supercharge Your Content in 2015

by Sarah Maloy

Content marketing was 2014's biggest buzzword, but 2015 will be all about how brands can make that content strategic and make it start working for them. 

As you start to look at your content strategy for the new year, take a look at these 5 tips and learn about some of the tools and ideas that will help you supercharge your content in 2015. 

1. Identify Your Brand Values

Every piece of content you create doesn't have to (and shouldn't) be about you. By creating a content mission statement, list of brand values, or editorial guideline, you'll have a solid foundation for which topics fit with your brand.

From there, you can expand beyond just talking about your brand, and start to explore stories that resonate with your audience and show what your company or organization is all about. (To learn more about the brands that are doing this well, check out the "Stop Talking About Yourself" webcast we hosted with AdAge and Contently.)

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Read Article at shutterstock.com

Case Study: Kraft Foods using Pinterest for Business

Kraft Foods provides millions of families around the world with the staples they need to make delicious meals. The brand adds thousands of recipes to Pinterest, the greatest source of referral traffic back to Kraftrecipes.com.

Kraft wants to make it easy for people to discover and share everyday, achievable meals. They joined Pinterest in January 2012 because the service reached Kraft’s desired audience and had significant scale. It also helped that recipes were already one of the most popular interests on Pinterest.

Now, Pinterest has transformed the way Kraft thinks about its content marketing.

Kraft's “Christmas Recipes” board takes advantage of the many searches for recipes during the holiday season.

Kraft learned that well-lit, appetizing food visuals with some color contrast are the most often repinned. Recipes tied to seasonal and social events also perform well. Kraftrecipes.com saw a significant traffic lift after testing and optimizing their pins.

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Read Article at business.pinterest.com

Project Holiday: Create Pins and boards for the season

It’s the right time to create Pins and boards for the holidays. Businesses that take advantage of seasonal interests, including products, DIY projects, travel and recipes, can inspire people while they’re in a holiday mindset, ready to take action.

And there’s lots to indicate that many people are already in the holiday mindset. So far, there are more than 604 million holiday Pins and 244 million gift-related Pins on Pinterest. Overall, more than 65 million people are following boards with holiday or gift Pins—a significant chunk of Pinterest’s community. 
 
With so much activity, it might be hard to know where to start Pinning.

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Read Article at business.pinterest.com

How to use Pinterest Analytics to change the way you Pin

We recently featured DODOCase, a leather goods company, in our blog to show how they made real business decisions using the new Pinterest Analytics.

 

 

We launched Pinterest Analytics last month, and we wanted to give you more information on how you might interpret the data to take action on your Pins and in your business.

We worked with DODOCase, a San Francisco-based leather goods company, to walk through a real-life example of how a business can take action on the content and audience insights gleaned from Pinterest Analytics.

Let’s get started!

We’ll cover:
Your profile analytics 
Your audience
Your website analytics

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Read Article at business.pinterest.com

SUCCESS STORY: Lowe’s Inspiring home improvement on Pinterest
Industry: Retail
Pins about: Home Improvement, DIY, Design
 

A big part of Lowe’s marketing strategy is helping people feel like they can take on home improvement projects on their own. To share project possibilities, they added a Creative Ideas section to their site. Because Lowe’s has the Pin It button installed on their site, people who browse Creative Ideas can pin projects they want to take on later. Once these projects are on Pinterest, other pinners can discover and pin them, too!

 

Lowe’s also created a few Pinterest boards dedicated to smaller home design and decor projects. Their most repinned pin—a create-your-own colorful doormat project—has gotten more than 200,000 repins so far, and has helped Lowe’s understand that their strategy of helping people DIY is a sound one.

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Read article at business.pinterest.com

Storify - Make The Web Tell A Story

Collect media from across the web. Publish on Storify,  embed anywhere.  Share and notify sources, go viral. Storify is completely free to use. You can upgrade to Storify VIP for real-time updates and full customization options.

Storify helps make sense of what people post on social media. Our users curate the most important voices and turn them into stories. Together, we are building a new information network that will give you the social perspective on any event. 

 

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See more at storify.com

The Top 7 Online Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014

By 

The Internet has drastically altered the way in which information is shared, and has had a profound impact on marketing. Over the past few years, there has been more of a shift toward inbound techniques, while many outbound tactics have become antiquated. More businesses are finding success publishing original content rather than embedding advertisements within external content, because of the additional benefits these tactics offer, such as branding and audience growth.

With these trends in mind, let’s discuss my predictions for the top online marketing trends of 2014.

1.      Content Marketing Will be Bigger Than Ever

One of the main ways that companies are establishing authority and gaining trust with consumers is by consistently creating valuable content through a variety of channels. This typically involves relevant industry information that provides insight or entertainment to an audience. Doing so allows a company to steadily build rapport with its demographic and develop a loyal following. According to the Content Marketing Institute, the top B2B content marketing strategies are social media, articles on a business’s website, eNewsletters, case studies, videos and articles on other websites.

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Read Article at forbes.com

Storytelling and Real Storytelling

By Bill Baker

Bill Baker (no relation) is nicer than I am, so don't pin any of my introduction on him. I recently spoke to an auditorium of C-level executives, and the title of my presentation was long but revealing: "The Happy Death of Branding, the Next Fad of Storytelling, and the Hopeful Rise of Alignment."

 

I guess that expresses my view of branding: there are a few firms really doing it, and the rest (and majority) aren't doing anything differently than they did before, but now they are calling it branding because it sounds upstream. There was no training in marketing, no classes, books, or even real processes. The typical four circles with the ubiquitous use of alliteration doesn't count and should be taken off your website.

Regardless of whether or not you agree with my view of branding, it clearly is yesterday's news, and storytelling comes up frequently. Rather than being marginalized even more, I think we ought to jump on this one early so that we don't relieve the word of even more meaning.

Bill (disclosure: a client) is one of the very few people really doing story telling. While the concept has been around since people wrote on cave walls, modern storytelling was really maximized by E+S (Envisioning and Storytelling) in Vancouver roughly three decades ago, a place where Bill was Chief Strategic Officer. Now, under BillBaker&Co he continues that great work with clients like GE, Relais & Chateaux, Johnson & Johnson, The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, etc. Here are some of his thoughts on the difference between faux storytelling and real storytelling. Real storytelling is a very complex skill, and I can sit for days listening to Bill point out the subtleties involved. This is just the outer layer.

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Read Article at recourses.com

33 Experts Share Their Secrets For Improving Reader Engagement

By Adam Connell

A while ago I published a huge article on reader engagement which featured not only tactics, but also tools and examples of great reader engagement and the post did really well in terms of traffic, shares, feedback and all that fun stuff. (If you’d like to check out that post, you can find it here).

That got me thinking – how does everyone else increase engagement with readers on their own blogs?

More specifically – other industry leaders and experts.

Reader engagement is a topic that isn’t anything new by any means but it’s not talked about all to often in comparison to other topics.

So I set out on a quest to approach a number of industry experts and influencers and ask them exactly how they do it and then collate their answers into a group interview.

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Read Article on bloggingwizard.com

11 Essential Ingredients Every Blog Post Needs [Infographic]

by Demian Farnworth

So. You think you’ve got yourself a good blog post.

You chose your writing style. You knocked out the first draft. You allowed it to sit for an hour or a day.

Now it’s time to edit that bad dog — ruthlessly. So that it has a fighting chance in the trenches.

You’ll want to pay attention to the details like avoiding goofy, but common, grammar mistakes. You’ll want to choose your words carefully so you say what you mean.

This will allow you to shed excess copy so that you have a lean, muscular article.

But you’re not done. You also must ensure that your blog post has all of the essential ingredients it needs.

Ingredients like these, as presented in this infographic by our lead designer Rafal Tomal. Print it, pin it, but whatever you do … use it.

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Read Article at copyblogger.com

10 Best Practices to Help Big Brands Get Started on Twitter

by Shelley Pringle

While a relatively small percentage of the adult population is active on Twitter, there are still plenty of solid business reasons for brands to engage on this social media platform.

Consumers may be conversing about your brand—in either positive or negative ways. Competitors could be active on the platform, dominating your category with their 140-character tweets. Twitter is also the place to reach people who have influence elsewhere, including relevant bloggers and even traditional media contacts.

However, it is not wise to start tweeting up a storm without thinking through your goals or how to measure your activity.

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Read Article on polarisprinc.com

Content Marketing Advice from 17 Online Marketing Experts

By Steven Sefton

Content marketing is becoming an increasingly sought after skill in the world of online marketing. Traditional link building for SEO purposes is becoming a riskier business, and with the amount of online noise, it is harder than ever for your content to stand out from everything else that is happening on the internet.

From 6 second vines to 30,000 word guides, content marketing principles can be applied to just about anything that you need to promote online, regardless of the medium.

Inbound.org has some of the best online marketing related content around, shared by some of the best online marketers around. I asked 17 of the top rated members of inbound.org this question: What is your best content marketing tip? And here’s what they had to say…

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Read Article at seftonmedia.com

Why Use Google Plus? A Quick Guide and Glossary to Google+

By Kristen Curtiss

Google Plus remains a mystery for many small business owners and nonprofits. Why? People feel that there are so many social networks to choose from. They also can’t seem to find the benefit in starting a completely new presence on yet another completely new platform, especially when they don’t know ANYONE else using Google Plus.

Here’s a quick guide and glossary that will explain why you should use Google Plus, the benefits of using it, and what you need to know to get started.

Relationship building is key

Creating relationships with industry influencers (who may have big followings on Google Plus) might not seem that important to your business, until you realize that those relationships could extend your reach and help you become visible. Let’s say you run a flower shop in Topeka, Kansas, and you’ve nurtured relationships with national brands and/or influencers who live in another area. Who do you think those people will recommend when one of their thousands of followers need flowers while visiting Kansas? No, not your competition down the street…you! They know you, they trust you, and your name comes to mind first because they have held conversations with you.

 

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Read Article at constant contact.com

21 Simple Ways to Get More Followers for Your Google Plus Business Page

By Stephen Walsh

Google Plus has more than one billion registered (and 359 million active) users, as well as some of the most business-friendly features of any social network, this is the time to start building out your business page, if you haven’t done so already.

 

As additional incentive, Google Plus has been shown to dramatically improve search engine rankings, which, in itself, is a sufficient reason to join the platform. By building your brand through this social media channel, you will be able to boost your SEO efforts and increase your business’s online exposure.

So, let’s jump in and take a look at some of the awesome ways to increase your exposure on Google Plus.

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Read Article at entrepreneur.com

Email Marketing and Online Surveys

Our partnership with Constant Contact makes it quick, easy and affordable to connect with your customers.

Constant Contact's email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, and online survey tools help small organizations grow their businesses by building stronger customer relationships.

More than 500,000 small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and member associations worldwide rely on Constant Contact's easy-to-use, affordable online tools to create and deliver personalized, professional communications that engage casual customers, members, prospects, and passionate customers wherever they congregate online — from their email inboxes to their social networks.

All Constant Contact products come with unmatched education, training and personal coaching services, and award-winning technical support.

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See how far a FREE 60-Day Trial can take your business!

15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly

by Brian Clark

We’re big advocates of conversational writing that’s engaging, persuasive, and fun. So that means it’s perfectly fine to fracture the occasional stuffy grammatical rule (and many times it’s preferable).

On the other hand, making some grammatical errors just makes you look bad, and hurts your effectiveness. Sometimes we even misuse words simply because we hear others use them incorrectly.

So, we’ve assembled the 15 most egregious grammar goofs into one helpful infographic. With this handy reference, you’ll never look silly again.

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Read Article on copyblogger.com

Free e-Book: Turn Your Social Media Buzz into a Loud Roar

10 Strategies for Social Media Marketing Success

In the evolving world of social media marketing, it can be hard for a time-starved small business or organization to keep pace and know what to do when it comes to connecting with customers and members on sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, and Yelp.

While there’s no “one-size fits all” approach, we’ve assembled 10 best practices for social media marketing success that will help your business or organization, whether you’re just getting started or trying to take your efforts to the next level.

 

Best Practices for Social Media Marketing:

  1. Have a Goal

  2. Know Who You Are and Portray Yourself Consistently

  3. Be Where Your Customers/Members Are

  4. Tell Your Customers and Members Where You Are

  5. Don’t Just Join Conversations. Add Value to Them

  6. Be Relevant

  7. Be Engaging

  8. Be Active

  9. Respond in a Timely Manner

  10. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

Free e-Book: People "Like You", But Do They "Like You" Like You?

28 Tips for Better Facebook Marketing

When it comes to Facebook, many people struggle to just get “Likes” for their Page. And believe it or not there are actually varying degrees of “Like.”

There are those that connect with your Page but never engage with it. And then there are those that like, comment, and share almost all of your content. 

We’re interested that second group. You know, the ones who like you, like you. Their interactions with your Page help you spread the word about your business or organization. They’re the ones who attract new “Likes” to your Page and help you make the most of your Facebook marketing.

So how do make sure you keep your best fans engaged?

Good question. And that’s what this guide is about:

The goal of your Facebook Page should be two-fold:

  1. How to engage your best fans.

  2. How to drive actions that will bring you real results.

In this guide, you’ll find 28 tips for better Facebook marketing. From choosing between a profile and a Page (really, there’s no contest) to creating simple, straightforward calls to action, we’ve got it all covered.

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

10 Small Businesses & Nonprofits with Great-Looking Email Templates that Drive Action

By Blaise Lucey

Did you know that more than half of Americans now own smartphones and 88% are using those smartphones to access email?

And, in the U.K., the figures are similar: almost 40% of adults are using smartphones and over half use their smartphones to access their email.

Of course, this means that small businesses and organizations using email marketing now have to consider this smartphone usage when creating their email communications.

If you want people to engage with your emails from their smartphones, it’s important to keep your messages short, focused, and visual.

Over the last few months at Constant Contact, we’ve been rolling out batches of beautiful-looking, modern email templates.  The best part is that they can be used for any industry and matched to any brand – and many of them also look great on mobile.

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Read Article at constant contact.com

The 9 Must-Have Components of Compelling Email Copy

by Corey Eridon

Email marketing has come a long way in just the past few years, but with all the fancy new functionality brands are utilizing, you know what’s kind of funny? A well-written plain text email can perform just as well, if not better, than a highly designed email with tons of bells and whistles. In fact, no matter how fancy your marketing emails look, if they’re devoid of well-written content, your subscribers will stop opening and start deleting your messages, and your list will quickly dwindle in value.

So how do you write a great marketing email? It all comes down to a few copywriting best practices that you should apply to both the subject line of your message, and the message body itself. Next time you draft a message for a lead nurturing campaign or just a one-time email send, ask yourself whether your copy meets all of these guidelines first.

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Read Article at hubspot.com

The Resume Is Dead, The Bio Is King

by Michael Margolis

If you’re a designer, entrepreneur, or creative – you probably haven’t been asked for your resume in a long time. Instead, people Google you – and quickly assess your talents based on your website, portfolio, and social media profiles. Do they resonate with what you’re sharing? Do they identify with your story? Are you even giving them a story to wrap their head around?

Read Article at 99u.com

How NOT to write a personal biography

by Jacob Cass

Most of us have written a description about ourselves before, whether it be on TwitterFacebookGoogle+LinkedIn or our CV. It’s not an easy task but it needs to be done, and it should always be evolving. Your bio should sell yourself and your story. It should show your credentials, your passion and expertise. It should be unique to you and you only. It should not be copied & handed out at whim.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Read Article at just creative.com

How to Write an Attention-Grabbing Professional Bio

by Alyssa Gregory

A professional bio is simply a story-based version of the information you would typically include in a résumé. The format is less formal, and it gives you an opportunity to highlight some interesting facts about yourself while injecting a little of your personality.

The main goals of a bio are to give the reader an accurate sense of who you are and what you do, to establish expertise and credibility, and to qualify your experience and background. All of these elements combine to develop trust in you and your brand.

Even if you maintain a current résumé, there are many situations when you will need a bio, including:

  • Posted on your website and blog
  • Included in your marketing materials
  • Provided with proposals to clients
  • Submitted for speaking, presenting or teaching applications
  • Included in any books, ebooks, reports or professional documents you develop

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Read Article at site point.com

TypeTalk: Know Your Figures

by Ilene Strizver

Today’s OpenType fonts provide designers with a broad range of options never before available in one font. One extremely useful, but often overlooked feature of some OpenType fonts is the availability of more than one style of numeral, which can provide practical and sophisticated options for setting dates and years, quantities, prices, measurements, and a lot more.

Read Article at creativepro.com

Let Your Personality Get You Noticed

by Julie Bateman

My email inbox is out of control. So is my mailbox. And there’s that pile of newspapers and magazines sitting over there…

Some days I can barely skim the subjects of my emails, or flip through my mail. It makes me wonder if my email and marketing messages are getting read, or lost in someone else’s stack.

Whether you’re sending out a marketing message, or simply corresponding with a client, your message has to get read. But how?

It’s your personality.

Most of the copy I read is full of jargon and lacks warmth. The images used are often cliché or over used. They don’t mean anything to me. It doesn’t pull me in or engage me, so I don’t read very far.

The messages that stand out to me have a different tone to them. That difference is personality. What moves me, makes me stop and listen, no matter what the subject, is a genuine voice.

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

How Google Search Works

Learn how Google discovers, crawls, and serves web pages

When you sit down at your computer and do a Google search, you're almost instantly presented with a list of results from all over the web. How does Google find web pages matching your query, and determine the order of search results?

In the simplest terms, you could think of searching the web as looking in a very large book with an impressive index telling you exactly where everything is located. When you perform a Google search, our programs check our index to determine the most relevant search results to be returned ("served") to you.

The three key processes in delivering search results to you are:

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Read Article at support.google.com

Best practices to help Google find, crawl, and index your site

Following these guidelines will help Google find, index, and rank your site. Even if you choose not to implement any of these suggestions, we strongly encourage you to pay very close attention to the "Quality Guidelines," which outline some of the illicit practices that may lead to a site being removed entirely from the Google index or otherwise impacted by an algorithmic or manual spam action.

Read Article at support.google.com

Quick tips for writing cleaner copy

By Laura Aiken

Whether you’re a writer, marketing professional or graphic designer, you’ll inevitably go through the process of merging words and design. 

One of the most common grievances between writers and designers is the struggle for clean copy. Making text changes at the design stage is time consuming for everyone and every change is an opportunity for new errors.

Working with error-free copy at the production stage is always the goal but it’s easy to underestimate how difficult that can be. Here are a few easy ideas to help create cleaner copy.

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

How to Keep your Content Current - and Why You Should

 by Julie Bateman

Content marketing is the new buzz word—but it’s not just a fad. Search engines have moved from being focused on keyword density alone to refreshed content—the more current content you have on your page, the higher your page will be ranked in Google.

What is content?

Content can include everything from the words on your home page to blog posts—the more often you update your website with fresh content, the better. The idea of content also includes social media, especially if it is linked with your website. Not only can you have a direct link from your website to your Facebook page (therefore capturing traffic and converting them into “likes”) but you can have a Twitter feed that appears right on your site.

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Read Article at BatemanDesignGroup.com

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