Email isn’t dead. It’s evolving.

August 9, 2015 / Web/Mobile
love email marketing

A new article in ADWEEK confirms what we already knew — the fears that social media would kill off email as a viable online communication tool were grossly overblown.

Far from being obsolete, email can be a powerful influencer — when done correctly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

1. Keep it personal and relevant.

Frame the conversation as if you’re talking to an individual, not a crowd.

“We think email has the capacity to facilitate truly one-to-one custom relations and dialogue,” said Cassie Lancelloti-Young, executive vice president of customer success at email service Sailthru. “I think the challenge we see with social media is that brands still use it as megaphone to their customers.”

2. Don’t just think “words.”

Add photos and video to enliven your message. Enriching the content adds interest and improves readership. Email doesn’t have to be creatively confining.

3. Offer something valuable in every email communication.

Give the recipient a fact, an insight, a free offer — something that can make a difference in their jobs or their lives: a pleasant surprise and a reward for opening and reading your message.

FYI, we’ve gotten new business from emails. You can, too.

Photo:  -Ant (Creative Commons)

The mobile frontier.

May 15, 2015 / Advertising, Web/Mobile
mobile ad

This week’s announcement that Verizon was acquiring AOL is yet more evidence of the increasing dominance — and strategic importance — of mobile communications to marketers. Tim Armstrong, AOL CEO, said it well: “The future of nearly all media, and consequently the future of nearly all advertising, is about our phones.”

But the growing dominance of smartphones has led Andrew Bosworth, head of Facebook’s advertising engineering division, to wonder if ads even make sense any more.

“After all, phones give us perfect information about everything wherever we are, so why would we ever fall for ads, he wondered? “I step off a train in New York City now, I do not want for an ability to find anything. I have information about everything. So if all information is indexable and searchable, then what purpose does an ad serve?”

In this world, Mr. Bosworth feels that advertising is valuable only if it provides direct meaning to customers — if, when you pull out your phone in L.A. and check Facebook, the phone knows that you’re looking for food and presents you with an ad for a restaurant that cuts through the clutter of all your potential choices, instead giving you a recommendation that is tailored specifically to what’s relevant to you at the moment.

The jury is out on the fate of advertising in the brave new world of mobile. But it’s also worth nothing that smartphones have led to more consumption of media that we ever thought possible (we spend just about half the time we’re not sleeping glued to some kind of screen).

But for now, the challenge to advertisers in the world of mobile are many:

How do we create compelling advertising that will be displayed on a tiny screen?

On an interface fragmented by apps, how do we figure out who users are — and how to serve them with the most compelling ads ads — as they switch from games to mobile web browsers to social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat?

Stay tuned as we try to figure this all out.

Photo:  Pabak Sarkar (Creative Commons)

Be responsive or else.

April 2, 2015 / Web/Mobile
google responsive website design

The mobile revolution is a foregone conclusion.

Mobile devices accounted for 55% of Internet usage in the U.S. in January 2014. (Now, more than a year later, it’s probably a lot higher.) And more than 80% of retail customers use their smartphones to shop.

Optimizing your website for mobile devices is no longer just a smart idea. It’s now essential.

Because starting on April 21, Google is updating its algorithm to increase rankings for mobile-friendly sites. Which means that websites with mobile compatibility and mobile app connectivity will receive higher rankings in search results than those sites without it.

According to the announcement on its Webmaster Central blog, Google said:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So even if you’re in love with the look and interface of your current site, if it’s not mobile friendly, it’s time for a redo.

Don’t despair. With a technique known as responsive design, your site can be made easily accessible on any type of device — and you’ll only have one set of content to manage. With responsive design, your website automatically detects the user’s device and screen size. Flexible images and content then size correctly to fit the screen for an optimal viewing experience.

To get a feel for how responsive design works, make your browser window narrower and narrower and watch how the content on our Partners & Harrison website shifts according to your window size.

google responsive website design
Why should you go with responsive design:

  • Accessibility! Your website is optimized for any type of device (phone, tablet, desktop or the next tech invention).
  • Ease of Use! There’s only one set of content to manage.
  • SEO! Your responsive website will rank much better than a separate, forked mobile site.

Is your website mobile-friendly?
Run your site through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply enter your URL into the tester. Google will quickly analyze and give you a report if it is mobile-friendly or not.

By the way, our web designers and developers are experts in responsive design. So contact us today. April 21st is only a few weeks away. And the search engines are waiting for your response.

SEO and copywriting.

June 16, 2014 / Sales/Marketing, Web/Mobile
seo website

We read an interesting blog last week that prompted some discussion in the agency.

It provides a rationale for hiring a copywriter (or outside writing resources) instead of trying to “do it yourself”.

In an age when Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become crucial for every marketer, the traditional copywriter’s role has become increasingly blurred — and some might say diminished.

While SEO is critical today, the desire to gain a high ranking on a Google search should never cause you to lose sight of the importance of good writing to your brand.

The rules of SEO (key words, repetition, copy length, etc.) are valuable tools, to be sure. But every communication about your brand should be written with engaging copy that captures the personality of your company and the tonality of your sales pitch. Listing product benefits and key words is not selling. Touching customers and prospects with an emotional appeal — using language that resonates with them personally — is.

At Partners & Harrison, words are important to us because we believe they’re vital to the success of our clients.

Image:  Nina Jean  (Creative Commons)