3d email illustration

Email Signatures: Your Untapped Marketing Opportunity

Don’t miss out on this unique marketing opportunity.

When thinking about how to market your agency, it can sometimes be helpful to take stock of your “digital real estate.” It’s simple. Every company has a certain amount of media that they “own.” Some well-known examples include social media feeds, websites and blogs. In any marketing campaign, maximizing your digital real estate is key, and that includes looking for marketing opportunities in unexpected places.

One opportunity that often goes overlooked is email, specifically your firm’s professional email signatures. More than 330 billion emails get sent every single day[i], and each one of these represents a chance to create a unique touchpoint with potential customers. Here is how you can start optimizing this part of your digital real estate and get your key messages in front of more people.

Make them complete and unified

The first and easiest way to optimize your staff email signatures is simply by including all relevant contact information. Typically, this includes:

  • Full name
  • Professional title
  • Email address
  • Work phone number
  • Company website
  • Company logo
  • Company social media feeds

Of course, it is not enough to merely include all relevant information; you also want to ensure that each staff member’s email signature is formatted uniformly. To achieve this, document each element of your agency’s email signature format and circulate it accordingly. Consider working with a graphic designer on a mockup that new employees can refer to as they onboard.

Fold this mockup into your firm’s style guide. Like any other piece of digital collateral, the signature needs to be aligned with and reflective of your overall brand.

The rationale for taking these steps is two-fold. You convey a stronger sense of professionalism. You also verify that interested prospects will have all information they need to connect with you and perhaps do business in the future.

Promote, promote, promote!

While completing your signature is a great first step, it is only one part of a larger process. Email signatures can be much more than basic contact information. They can also be a place to promote your events, products and special deals.

The best way to do this is by deploying a visual element like a logo, image or GIF. Typically, these visual elements appear in a long, rectangular format, often around 700×200 to be precise. Once again, working with a graphic designer can be helpful here, as they assist you in making sure your graphic is attention-grabbing, branded and sized correctly. 

Get those clicks

Perhaps the best part of optimizing your email signature is that you can embed hyperlinks to achieve key marketing objectives. For example, if growing your social media following is an important goal for your agency, include logos for each social media site where you have an account and link them back to your firm’s profiles.

Repeat this process for other objectives. Want to expand your newsletter distribution list? Place a link in your signature. Running a promotion? Include a banner image and hyperlink it to a special landing page on your website.

The data suggests that taking these simple steps can pay off handsomely – with some figures showing an increase in your email marketing CTR (click-through-rate) of up to 10%.[ii]

Don’t leave money on the table             

These days, every company must be on the hunt for untapped marketing opportunities. After all, finding innovative, appealing and unobtrusive ways to message your initiatives is essential to standing apart from the competition. Your firm’s email signature represents a golden opportunity to reinforce your brand’s professionalism and competency, and message your products and services. Doing anything less is leaving money on the table. 


[i] 75 Incredible Email Statistics [2023]: How Many Emails Are Sent Per Day? – Zippia

[ii] How to Run a Successful Email Signature Marketing Campaign [Step-by-Step Guide] – NEWOLDSTAMP

Groucho Marx diguise

Make Your Marketing More Authentic

It is safe to say that public trust in institutions these days is at an all-time low. According to recent reporting, only 7% of Americans have “a great deal” of trust and confidence in the news media,[i] with only about a third saying they trust the U.S. Congress.[ii]

When it comes to the business world, the perception amongst Americans is no better. Only 14% of citizens find big businesses to be trustworthy,[iii] while over 70% have little faith that brands will deliver on the promises they make. One conclusion that can be drawn from these statistics is that displaying authenticity in your marketing has never been more important. In this blog, we will talk a bit more about why authenticity matters, as well as how you can weave it into more of your marketing initiatives.

The Power of Authenticity

Why does authenticity matter? Well, because it can make a real difference in dollars-and-cents. 86% of customers are on the record stating that brand authenticity is important when deciding where they are going to shop.[iv] In addition, Gen Z, one of the most powerful up-and-coming consumer groups, wants to purchase from companies that support social and environmental issues over those that do not.[v] What is abundantly clear is that companies must put authenticity front-and-center to compete in the marketplace today and tomorrow.  

How You Become More Authentic

Luckily, there are a variety of easy steps business leaders can take to start promoting brand authenticity:

  • First, clearly define your values. After all, being authentic means that you are what you say. But you can’t live up to what say you are until you define it. And no, that doesn’t mean simply just listing your products or services. Instead, develop a comprehensive brand story, including a “promise” for how your company will help customers live better lives.  
  • Next, communicate your story. You have likely already heard about content marketing: a strategy for using content to draw people to your website and convert them into leads. However, you can also use content marketing to highlight your brand story and promise. To do this, reduce how often you’re hard selling and produce more educational content. This can solidify your reputation as a helpful resource rather than merely a money-making entity.
  • Consider reviewing and revising your brand’s image – including fonts, colors, slogans, logos and imagery. So much of how human beings perceive others depends on non-verbal characteristics. Think about what’s right for your target clients. If you want to position your business as a socially conscious enterprise that Millennials and Gen. Z. will love, then those principles must also be reflected in your brand aesthetics.
  • Put the human at the center of your communication. It isn’t good for companies to drift into cold, impersonal communication – which certainly doesn’t scream authenticity. Always remind your customers of the real humans working hard behind the corporate veneer, figures who are passionate about helping them solve problems. There are variety of ways you can do this – from taking people behind the scenes of your business to running employee spotlight features on your blog.

Authenticity is the Way of the Future

In our digital-first economy, customers are growing increasingly savvy, and unsurprisingly, this has changed their expectations. It is no longer sufficient to have good products or service; customers are also prioritizing companies that are invested in improving their lives and communities. Just like any other market trend, companies that don’t adapt do so at their own peril.


[i] Americans’ Trust In Media Remains Near Record Low (gallup.com)

[ii] Trust in Federal Government Branches Continues to Falter (gallup.com)

[iii] How small businesses became the most trusted institution in the U.S.  – Marketplace

[iv] Authentic Marketing & Trust in Business | Lindenwood University

[v] Gen Z Is All About Authenticity | Clyde Group

Microblogs concept. Business man writing with black marker on visual screen

Microblogging: What It Is And Why It Matters

Get the word out on your company by posting a steady stream of short-form content.

One thing is for sure, businesses like yours will always need an effective way to get their messages out. One of the best ways to do so is through microblogging. Producing short, snappy updates on your company is a great way to build connections with your audiences and promote your business goals and initiatives. Here is what you need to know.

What is Microblogging?

As the name suggests, microblogging is a form of blogging defined by short posts that seek to maximize engagement. Twitter has largely been the leader in this space since the mid-2000s, but many other options have emerged since then. Microblogging is no longer solely about posting short text-based messages. Today, it also encompasses video and photography-based blogging.

Why Should You Care About Microblogging?

But why should you care about microblogging at all? The data shows a clear correlation between blogging and tangible business benefits. According to recent data, “Companies with blogs produce an average of 67 percent more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.”[i] What’s more, “Businesses that blog get 55 percent more website visitors than businesses that don’t.”[ii]

How to Get Started

While you can simply hop on Twitter to start microblogging, there are a variety of other options to explore. Let’s look at other tools agencies can use to tell their brand story:

  • Short-Form Videos: You have probably heard by now, but sites like TikTok have come to dominate the cultural sphere, taking up the space once occupied by Facebook. The attraction to these sites is obvious. TikTok lets you easily create compelling videos for your prospects and customers. Statistics show potential customers prefer videos over other forms of content.
  • Photo-Sharing Services: Similar to video, utilizing photos when sharing company updates leads to higher engagement levels. Therefore, leveraging a photo-centric site like Instagram for your microblog is a great way to expand its reach. And if you don’t want to limit yourself to just one, there are ample alternatives on the market just waiting for you to investigate.
  • Tried-and-true: Never discount some of the tried-and-true social media sites. For instance, LinkedIn is a great option for posting long-form, thought leadership content to grow your profile on the network and simultaneously increase your professional network.
  • Other Options: Of course, we could probably list microblogging options forever. Medium is yet another example of a low-cost site that offers a useful way to position your firm as an industry leader. And you can use it to post content featuring text, photos and videos.

Microblogging is a Key to Your Digital Strategy

Today’s business opportunities are on the internet. Including blogging in your digital strategy can grow traffic and raise brand awareness, not to mention drive leads and increase your overall profitability. 


[i] Content Marketing Infographic | Demand Metric

[ii] Study Shows Business Blogging Leads to 55% More Website Visitors (hubspot.com)

runner at the starting line of 2023

Get a Jump on Your Strategic Marketing Plan

With 2023 right around the corner, it’s time to get your marketing ducks in a row

The proverb, “Time waits for no one,” is highly applicable to the annual year-end sprint for businesses. Not only do companies need to close out the year on a high note, but they must also get a jump on next year’s strategic marketing plan. In this blog, we’ll examine how you can start putting a framework together to develop your plan and move your business forward.

A Quick Primer

Putting together a strategic marketing plan can seem overwhelming, but it is not that difficult. That’s because a strategic marketing plan can largely adhere to a simple format, which is:

  • Overview
  • Marketing Goals
  • Marketing Strategies
  • Marketing Tactics
  • Resources
  • Timelines
  • Evaluation Methods

Now, each element of your plan needs to build organically off one another. For instance, once you have your annual goals in place, the strategies you decide on need to naturally lead to achieving each goal. A similar process will occur for your marketing tactics: Think of them as a step-by-step process for bringing each strategy to fruition.

Also, remember the benefits of making your SMART. Last year, we wrote a blog on what that means, which you can read here. Let’s get a summary:

  • Specific: Don’t simply say something like: “I want to increase my customer-base.” Instead, consider the specific number and types of new customers you would like to obtain.
  • Measurable: Attach metrics to your goals. This involves benchmarking where your company currently is so you can assess whether your marketing has moved the needle.
  • Achievable: It’s important to “dream big,” but your final marketing plan should include goals you can reasonably hit.
  • Relevant:Spend time ensuring your goals are relevant to your organization’s priorities. Be honest with yourself. Will that exciting new marketing project or initiative really help you achieve your business goals? If not, perhaps it’s worth thinking about other ways to allocate your time and resources.  
  • Time-sensitive: Goals are great, but they also need a clear timetable. Without a timeframe, core aspects of your marketing plan will begin to break down.

Leverage Top Trends

For small businesses, there are plenty of new developments in the marketing world to consider implementing in your 2023 plan that can help you achieve better customer relationships and higher profitability. Here are just a few trends we’re seeing:

  • Video Content is King: According to research, more than 50 percent of viewers prefer to consume online content in a video format.[i]
  • Partnerships: Forming strategic partnerships can help you reach new markets and gain higher levels of engagement. Of course, remember to keep it compliant.
  • Interactive Content: As part of your content marketing efforts in 2023, you may want to experiment with interactive material in the form of polls, quizzes, calculators, assessments and more.
  • Conversational Marketing: Chat bots, artificial intelligence and machine learning can be lumped under the umbrella term of “conversational marketing.” They offer clear advantages over traditional methods by supporting two-way conversations. If you’d like to get a basic introduction to chat bots, check out our full blog on the subject.  
  • Corporate Social Responsibility: The way a business conducts itself socially is increasingly a top concern for customers. How big is this trend?

    • 87 percent of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for an issue they care about.
    • 92 percent of consumers say they have a more positive image of a company when it supports social or environmental issues.
    • 66 percent of consumers are willing to pay extra for products and services that come from companies committed to positive social and environmental impact.[ii]

These figures paint a clear portrait and present an obvious takeaway: Being community responsive and socially responsible pays off in real dollars and cents.

Don’t Leave it to Chance

Your business is too important to leave something like how you promote it to chance. This makes your strategic marketing plan about as important as it gets. While strategic marketing can get complicated quickly, having even a strong framework in place, one marked by SMART goals and aligned with your overall business priorities, can go a long way. Pairing this with the field’s top and emerging trends can optimize your efforts further, positioning you to obtain strong customer connections and lasting profitability in the new year.

Want a deeper dive into creating a strategic marketing plan for 2023. Check out this helpful article.


[i] Content Trends: Global Preferences (hubspot.com)

[ii] How Corporate Social Responsibility Connects Us to Consumers (corporatewellnessmagazine.com)

Leads

Are your leads qualified? 

Remember, not all leads are the same.

Anyone who has ever dabbled in marketing knows how complicated it can get. From preparing campaigns to working on branding, sometimes it feels like you need a pair of extra arms to get everything done. Yet seen from another lens, marketing is also relatively simple, as these individual activities often revolve around a singular purpose: generating leads. But as you likely already know, not every lead is a good lead. Let’s look at how to ensure that yours are qualified. 

What are qualified leads?

A qualified lead is a lead that has been brought into your ecosystem and evaluated by your sales team as being worth pursuing. Qualifying leads is important for any business but especially for smaller firms with limited time and resources. By applying the right amount of scrutiny, you can decipher whether they truly intend to work with you and where they are in the buyer’s journey. Armed with this knowledge, nurturing your leads and turning them into customers becomes much easier. 

Map to buyer personas

One of the first things to do when reviewing leads is to determine whether they map onto your “buyer personas.” Back in 2020, we covered what goes into building effective buyer personas. Not only must you establish your target audience’s demographics, like gender, age, geographical location and language, but you need to also think about psychological factors like motivations, goals and frustrations. 

As you can probably guess, a good way to determine if your leads map onto your buyer personas is to include the right information fields on your website’s lead generation form. For instance, if your ideal buyer persona is between ages 35-50 and is a tech-centered real estate agent, you need to request that information from anyone who is filling out your form.

Remember the buyer’s journey

It is not enough to have a lead map onto a buyer persona; it also needs to be in the right stage of the “buyer’s journey.” The different psychological stages a lead moves through include: 

  • Identifying that they have a pain point or problem (awareness), 
  • Researching potential solutions (consideration), and 
  • In the case of a real estate agent, eventually deciding to work with an agent whose services best fit their unique needs (decision).

Using your customer relationship management (CRM) software can help determine where your leads are in this process. For instance, if you have your email marketing software integrated with your CRM, you can easily check and see which contacts are performing which actions in relation to your marketing emails. If a lead has received your emails before but has yet to open them or interact with an element like a hyperlink, then they are likely not ready to enter into a relationship with you.

See, what’s likely happening here with these theoretical leads is that they are interested enough in your business to not unsubscribe from your mailing list, but are not actively absorbing what you are trying to communicate. Therefore, they likely do not have an acute pain point that requires an immediate solution provided by your products or services. When leads are in that state, they may be unlikely to respond to a hard sales pitch and will require further nurturing.

Lead qualification models

Once you ensure that your leads map onto the basic parameters of your buyer personas and are in the right headspace to make a move, you may want to apply additional scrutiny. You can accomplish this by deploying a lead qualification model, such as: 

Each of these models have their own pros and cons, but each can also help someone working on the sales side of things to make an effective and informed decision on which leads merit pursuit. 

Your ticket to better leads 

Let’s face it; few things are more exciting in business or marketing than the prospect of working with a new customer. A new lead kicks off this process, which makes it tempting to spring into action and do everything in your power to convert the lead. 

However, it’s smart to qualify leads before you move forward, or you risk overextending yourself and doing a lot of work that will ultimately fall flat. A steady, strategic approach, where you leverage all available sources of information, is a better way forward. It allows you to better allocate finite resources and expand your client base as a result.

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