Author Archive

Nikki Smith

Nikki Smith

Alliant National's director of digital marketing + social media

Staff Photo Contest: A Celebration of Irish Proportions

Did you know St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in more places throughout the globe than any other national festival? Show us how you celebrate!

Submit a photo of yourself enjoying a St. Patrick’s Day celebration to marketing@alliantnational.com for a chance to win a prize.

Photos will be uploaded to a photo album on the Alliant National Facebook page as we receive them, and fans of the page will have a chance to vote for their favorite photo. You can invite your Facebook friends to vote for your favorite entry also.

Staff: Enter our holiday pet photo contest for your chance to win

Do you think your pet can capture the festive spirit and child-like wonderment of the holiday season as well as this pair of domestic shorthairs?

Submit a photo of your pet enjoying the holiday season to marketing@alliantnational.com for a chance to win a prize.

Photos will be uploaded to a photo album on the Alliant National Facebook page as we receive them, and fans of the page will have a chance to vote for their favorite photo. You can invite your Facebook friends to vote for your favorite entry also.

The contest runs now through December 31 and is open to Alliant National staff only. The sooner you submit your photo, the sooner you can start campaigning for votes for your submission.

Our favorite free digital real estate marketing tools: Piktochart

Everyone’s heard the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words, but unfortunately not everyone is blessed with the artistic ability to create an eye-catching graphic.

While you could hire a graphic designer to overcome any artistic shortcomings of your own, as a small business owner this may not be a financially feasible option for you.

We love infographics around here, and we wanted to start incorporating more of them into our blogging routine. But we were faced with the challenge of limited graphic design resources, which led us to investigate online tools for creating infographics.

That’s how we found Piktochart. It’s free to create a Piktochart account, and a free account grants you access to a number of templates, icons, shapes and basically anything you would need to create your own compelling infographics.

Once you choose a Piktochart template to start, it’s easy to drag and drop elements into your design. The interface is intuitive, and formatting works similar to a MS Word document – including an CTRL + Z function to undo your mistakes.

You can also upload your own images into the Piktochart platform to give your infographics a more personal touch.

Once you’ve finished your Piktochart infographic, don’t limit yourself by sharing it just once. Think of how you can share your new content on all your digital marketing platforms.

Social Media

For sites like Linkedin and Facebook, it’s probably best to limit your shares to just one each. But with Twitter, you might consider pulling several take-aways from your infographic and tweeting them out along with your image at various times throughout the day and week.

If you have followings on Instagram or Pinterest, where content works best when it’s square in design, you might look for ways to crop your infographic into a series of square posts for greater impact.

Email

You should be maintaining an email database of current and prospective clients, and if you’re not, check out our article on how to harness the power of your email database.

Blog

Use your infographic to illustrate multiple blog posts around your topic. Just be sure to space out your posts so you don’t saturate your blog’s home page with the same image.

Do you know about a super cool digital marketing resource and want to share? Let us know in the comments section!

We’re here to help our agents grow. To schedule a digital marketing consultation, please email us.

How to harness the power of your email database

Pretty much everybody communicates via email these days. Chances are your business has built up quite a repository of contacts over the years. But now that you’ve amassed a database of contacts, what do you plan to do with them?

If you’re not keeping in regular touch with past business contacts, you’re not taking advantage of a great digital marketing opportunity. Because despite all the advances in digital communication, email remains one best ways to communicate with today’s distracted consumer.

It makes sense when you think about it. We typically only let brands and individuals we know into our inbox, and we very quickly unsubscribe from content that doesn’t keep our interest.

The first step to harnessing the power of your email database is to make sure your database is organized. Are you contacts still accurate? Are your entries complete?

At minimum, you’d like to have a complete name to go along with each email address. Add an identifier such as zip codes to your database and produce campaigns that target specific cities or regions.

A platform such as MailChimp or iContact will help you sort contact database into marketing lists. They can help you add a customized greeting to each email you send, too, such as including the recipient’s first name. An email marketing platform can also help you track the behaviors of your recipients, such as how many people opened your message or how many clicked on a particular link.

Now that you have your organized database, you can prepare to send them your first email. Ideally, each email you send should offer added value to the recipient in some way. Otherwise, your content will quickly be deemed spam and you’ll be shut out of the inbox, possibly forever.

What are some ways to add value to your recipient’s inbox? Whether your audience is a consumer or another business, will determine the best approach. Ideas to consider:

  • Education
  • Important announcements
  • Networking opportunities
  • Special promotional offers

As you’re developing your email content, it’s also good to consider how you will measure the success of your email campaign. Are you trying to drive your recipient to take a specific action such as downloading a new white paper or registering for your upcoming event? Do you simply want to keep in touch and stay top of mind with your contact?

By knowing the answers to these questions ahead of time, you’ll be able to identify some key performance metrics to determine your success and tailor an email marketing campaign that resonates with your audience. The more emails you send, the more data points you’ll acquire, allowing you to fine tune your strategy over time.

Now that you’ve got your list of contacts, a draft of your first message and a couple metrics in mind that will help you measure your success, you’re ready to take your email marketing to the next level.

We’re here to help our agents grow. To schedule a digital marketing consultation, please email us.

The Independent Underwriter for the Independent Agent®