Posts Tagged ‘digital marketing’

Website designer sorting wire-frame screen of mobile applications

Optimize Your Content for Mobile 

On June 29, 2007, the first iPhone was released, and the rest, as they say, is history. Flash forward over 15 years, and mobile devices have become one of the top ways in which we receive information and make buying decisions. This has naturally had huge implications for businesses. To keep up with this changing customer behavior, it is essential to optimize content for smart devices regardless of the channel you’re using. Here, we will look at how you can ensure your content is picture-perfect for audiences who are more connected, agile and mobile than ever before. 

Your digital front door 

An organization’s website is one of its most important digital assets – acting, in a sense, as its digital front door. Logically, this makes it a natural place to start your mobile optimization efforts. The good news is that, unless your website is a digital dinosaur, it likely is already functioning properly for mobile. For nearly 15 years, “responsive design” has been a standard practice for web developers, but it is still worth reviewing how your website’s content is rendered across a wide variety of devices. Some important things to keep in mind include:  

  • Review your website’s layout changes depending on the device on which it is being displayed.
  • When viewing your website on a mobile phone or tablet, make sure the main navigation switches from every main tab are visible in a simplified format, typically consisting of three lines stacked upon one another. 
  • Be sure pictures and videos are displayed correctly and are not cut off horizontally. 
  • Note whether forms are rendered appropriately and displayed in a simple and straightforward fashion. 
  • Determine whether website pages load quickly and efficiently. 

These are all standard website functions that modern buyers expect to see, so if you find issues with one or more of these elements, consult your web developer to make the necessary updates. 

Go channel-by-channel 

After you’re positive that your website is in tip-top shape, it’s time to move on to your other digital assets and take it channel-by-channel. Start with your email marketing software. Even in 2024, email remains one of the most popular marketing channels, making it a valuable place to begin. As with your website, most of today’s email marketing software implemented responsive design practices long ago. Still, it never hurts to verify that you are providing your audiences with the best possible user experience.

Keep the following in mind as you do: 

  • Double-check to see if you are building and sending emails with mobile-friendly templates. 
  • Be careful with the fonts you use and keep your email content short, snackable and to the point. 
  • Reduce the size of any imagery to ensure that your emails load quickly and cleanly. 
  • Conduct ample testing to confirm whether your emails are displaying correctly across devices and email applications. 
  • Keep your overall design simple by avoiding things like columns or code-heavy features. 

Once your website and email are ready to go, give some consideration to remaining channels like social media. As with email, most major social media sites have the infrastructure in place to ensure users’ content will be mobile optimized. Agencies would still be well-advised to take the following actions to reduce the possibility of something problematic turning up in their audiences’ feeds: 

  • Review your profile to ensure that each element will appear on your audiences’ screens in the best possible light. That includes using a logo and banner image whose details can still be seen even on a very small screen. 
  • Take particular care regarding your call to action (CTA) element. As the most important part of any given post, it is essential that your CTA is visible and legible. 
  • Be aware of where you are linking your social posts. While your social media profiles will typically render well across devices, you cannot extend that guarantee to other areas of the internet where you are trying to direct traffic.

Final thoughts 

The advent of the smartphone changed the marketing game forever, with increasing emphasis being placed on delivering a crisp, clear and powerful digital experience across any device. Thankfully, many marketing platforms are designed to facilitate responsive design and do not require additional technical skills to execute. That doesn’t mean you should just set and forget your marketing campaigns, though. It’s worth taking the time to double- and triple-check your materials to provide an ideal viewer experience. That’s the way you’ll win in today’s marketing environment.

Marketing trend concept

Top Marketing Strategies For 2024

With the rise of new technologies like AI, marketing in 2023 was a wild ride. Naturally, this sparks the question of what the New Year will bring. To help agents keep pace, we’ve compiled a list of top trends that agencies can leverage in 2024 for better customer experiences and enhanced business growth.

Short, mobile-friendly content reigns supreme

It should come as no surprise that mobile strategies will remain central to marketing efforts 2024. Customers have long been gravitating toward mobile devices as their primary method for accessing information. That trend is not slowing down, and agencies may want to consider whether their content is mobile friendly. At the same time, research shows that stakeholder attention-spans have grown shorter in our digital-first world. This means content must be instantly engaging and accessible from any device.

Generative AI

The past year will always be remembered as the moment when AI went from being a novelty to a mainstream business tool. Title professionals looking for competitive advantage can consider incorporating these programs into their marketing efforts. While still an emerging technology, generative AI can be used to dramatically accelerate an agency’s marketing via:

  • Automated content generation
  • Graphic design
  • Competitor analysis
  • Drip email campaigns
  • AI-powered chat bots
  • SEO analysis and improvements

Corporate responsibility

Time and time again, research shows that customers care deeply about who they do business with. Corporate reputation is important for attracting and retaining partners. One way for a company to advance its reputation is to commit to corporate responsibility initiatives, and then promote those efforts through marketing.

Some areas to consider, include:

  • Environmental: Consumers increasingly want to interact with companies that are environmentally friendly. Businesses can respond in a number of ways, for instance by promoting green IT, which involves committing to responsible IT recycling.
  • Social: A business’s social impact is also important to potential customers.A company that puts equitable pay and volunteerism at the heart of its culture can engender goodwill with its audience andstrengthen its overall brand reputation.
  • Governance: Last but certainly not least is corporate governance, which refers to the practices and processes by which a company operates. Implementing ethical governance policies can often result in enhanced brand trust and longer-lasting relationships with stakeholders.  

Focus on video

As we move into 2024, more and more brands will come to see video as the cornerstone of their marketing efforts. While this can sound costly and intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. Check out our blog on shooting high-quality videos on a budget to get started.

Video can be utilized across your different channels and platforms. Whether it be on social media, email or in paid advertising, video can have a dramatic impact on your audience. Video is also increasingly being prioritized on Google’s SERP (search engine results page), which means it is also important for SEO.

Don’t forget the human touch

As you can see, digital tools will continue to define marketing in the New Year. However, technology does have its limitations. Impactful moments of human-to-human interaction are an important complement to digital marketing. For instance, practicing an elevator pitch allows you to clearly articulate your agency’s value proposition in face-to-face settings. This type of marketing often engages prospects in a much deeper and more meaningful way than other mediums.

Data privacy and governance

Customers’ concerns about how businesses use − or misuse − their personal data have been escalating for years.” Recent polling from 2023 confirms this, with over 81% of people indicating they are concerned about what information companies are collecting.[i] To maintain a positive relationship with your customers, now is a great time to review your data collection and governance policies. If necessary, rewrite your privacy policies for maximum clarity and ensure they are readily available on your website.

Let’s seize the New Year

The start of a new year is an excellent time to review and improve your marketing. While our list is by no means comprehensive, leveraging these trends can provide you with a great foundation for seizing 2024 and making it your best year yet.

Take the next step by catching up on Alliant National’s 2023 marketing blogs.  


[i] How Americans View Data Privacy: Tech Companies, AI, Regulation, Passwords and Policies | Pew Research Center

mail flying with people giving it a "thumbs-up"

Why “Affirmative Consent” Matters In Email Marketing

Developing and launching an email campaign requires several steps. One of the most important is “affirmative consent”: the process of gaining explicit permission from your audience before you send them messages. By not fulfilling the requirements of affirmative consent, you run the risk of annoying your email recipients at best to violating compliance requirements at worst. Let’s talk about how you can gain this consent from your audience.

Demystifying affirmative consent

What does affirmative consent need to look like in practice? Primarily, it needs to be unambiguous. Affirmative consent consists of your recipient taking a clear, direct action to indicate that they want to receive further contact from you. Examples include checking a box, filling out an online form or putting a name and an email down on a contact sheet.

Self-serve subscriptions

Another part of affirmative consent is making it clear to your audience what they are signing up for. To do this, create a self-serve subscription page that people can navigate to and opt into the different types of messaging that you offer. Specify, in detail, what the mailing is and how often they should expect to receive it. You will also want to add a link to your data privacy page and instructions on how to opt-out.

Opt-out pages

Speaking of opt-outs, it’s important to have a page where your audience can go if they no longer want to receive communications from your agency. Here are some best practices:

  • Clarity and brevity: Get to the point as quickly as possible by listing how people can end their subscription to your email marketing.
  • Tailored options: You can provide the option for your readers to modify the type of content they are subscribed to and how often they receive it.
  • Automate where possible: Use your email software to set up an automated confirmation email that is sent to those who successfully unsubscribe. You should also automate the opt-out logging process. Recording and maintaining a history of opt-outs is an important part of CAN-SPAM Act compliance.

For additional guidance on setting up trigger emails, check out these resources from major marketing providers like MailChimp and Constant Contact.

Why it all matters

The consequences of not gaining affirmative consent are significant. They can range from getting banned from the inboxes of potential leads to receiving CAN-SPAM fines to the tune of over $50,000 per email.

Even if you set aside the consequences, however, you still would not want to start blasting emails to folks who have not given you permission. Why? It just isn’t very effective. Email marketing success hinges on sending the right messages to the right people at the right time. Emailing people who don’t want to hear from you probably won’t pay off. In the end, all it will do is alienate a potential audience.

The tortoise and the hare

In the story of the tortoise and the hare, we get a timeless lesson on the virtue of going slow and steady to win the race. That same idea holds true for email marketing.

While it can be tempting to send mass emails to any contacts you have, you simply shouldn’t do it. Instead, work toward gaining affirmative consent by building out the right infrastructure like subscription centers and opt-out pages. You’ll be glad you did once you start seeing improved results.

To learn more about email marketing compliance, check out our recent blog.

A magnet attracting stick figure people

Keep Your Marketing Leads Compliant

Gaining leads is thrilling. It means that something you’ve been doing has worked; and hey, that feels pretty good. But before you market to your leads, it’s best to step back and ensure you are compliant with all relevant regulations and guidelines.

What is a lead?

What exactly is a lead? Basically, a lead is any individual who may have an interest in your products or services. Leads can be broken down into subcategories:

  • Hot leads – A hot lead has significant awareness of your company and is likely ready to make a purchase.
  • Cold leads – A cold lead has shown little to no interest in your company.
  • Qualified leads – A qualified lead has not only expressed interest in your company but has characteristics that align with your buyer personas.

Businesses collect leads through their various marketing channels, and once you gain them, it can be tempting to immediately launch into aggressive marketing campaigns. However, it’s important to consider the rules and best practices governing lead communication.

Tread carefully with email

Marketers must adhere to regulations prior to pushing out commercial messages in a digital context, the most pertinent being the CAN-SPAM Act.

Enacted in 2003 at the dawn of Web 2.0, CAN-SPAM is most associated with email communications and includes several provisions:  

  • Don’t harvest – It is never wise to buy bulk lists or collect email addresses from websites for the purpose of mass emailing. It is true that there is no real “opt-in” feature to CAN-SPAM. Unfortunately, when you mass email a list, you run the risk of mailing someone who has already opted out of your communications,[i] which could result in a violation of over $50,000 for every single email.[ii] Other potential consequences include getting banned from your lead’s email inbox or even from your email marketing software itself.
  • Affirmative consent – Because of the problems inherent in sending out mass messages to large, unverified lists, many marketers pursue what is known as “affirmative consent.” Getting explicit consent from your contacts means they have articulated a desire to receive marketing messages from you.
  • Clearly identify yourself – All email communications from a commercial party should be clearly labeled as such. Emails must list your company’s physical address and the headline should mesh with its body content. Lastly, fields like the “From” field need to be accurate and align with the sender’s identity.
  • Allow them to opt out – You are required to give your email recipients a clear, digital-based way to stop receiving communications from you. Under the CAN-SPAM law, you need to also process opt-outs in 10 days or less.
  • Compliance must be comprehensive – All of the requirements we’ve just discussed also extend to any vendors or third-party providers.

What about social?

For years now, marketers have also wondered whether the CAN-SPAM law also applies to social media communications. While mostly designed to govern email messages, some federal court cases have interpreted the scope of the law to also include social media platforms.[iii] 

Even if direct solicitation on social media won’t necessarily result in CAN-SPAM trouble, it is wise to emulate the statute’s spirit:

  • Be transparent – Do not try to hide who you are on social or attempt to obfuscate the reasons for contacting someone.
  • Adhere to platform rules – Each social media network has its own community guidelines and site rules. Before engaging in any direct messaging, familiarize yourself with any relevant codes of conduct to avoid being banned.
  • Respect consumer privacy – Many social media platforms allow users some control over how their data is used, who can contact them on the site, and which parts of their profiles are publicly available. Be on the lookout for any signs that your messages won’t be received well and act accordingly. For example, if you are thinking about contacting someone who has set their profile to private, think again.

A better approach

Gaining prospects and leads is exciting, but before you send additional electronic messages, ensure you are compliant with regulations and adhering to platform codes of conduct. Failing to do so can land you in a world of hurt, which is why taking things slow and steady is often a better approach.

Instead of utilizing mass emails and social media advertisements, prioritize creating a content marketing strategy that delivers value and nudges leads toward actively consenting to receive further messages and campaigns. That way, you can develop more organic, impactful relationships with leads, close more deals and keep your nose clean all at the same time.

Take the next step! Read Alliant National’s other blogs on writing effective email campaigns and making your marketing more authentic.


[i] Candid answers to CAN-SPAM questions | Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov)

[ii] CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business | Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov)

[iii] The CAN-SPAM Act Applies to Social Media Messaging, Rules Federal Court in California (pillsburylaw.com)

Woman's profile while in deep learning with AI concept behind and around her.

AI Chat App Prompts to Transform Your Marketing Practices

The machines have risen; now let’s put them to work

In November of 2022, the buzz surrounding ChatGPT and its potential to revolutionize the workforce made headlines. While the predictions of a complete transformation have yet to fully materialize, it’s clear that AI programs like ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing AI and Google Bard are here to stay.

It’s easy to see why people are increasingly incorporating AI into work and life. With a few carefully worded prompts, you can create some truly amazing things using these programs. For agents seeking to leverage the potential of AI, one promising area lies in marketing. Let’s discuss some ways you can start harnessing AI’s potential today. As we’ll see, the secret to getting the most out of AI platforms lies in asking the right questions.

Begin at the beginning

One of the best ways to use AI in your marketing is to incorporate it right at the beginning – that is, during the initial planning before you launch a campaign. You can start by asking your preferred AI chat platform to act as a marketing expert that will generate your plan.

Building this prompt requires a bit more than flipping a switch or pressing a button. You need the following information on hand so you can include it in your prompt:

  1. Business overview – Describe your industry and your company’s position within it, including the products or services you offer.
  2. Goals and objectives – Next, describe your marketing goals, which could include anything from building brand awareness, to generating leads, to boosting sales.
  3. Target audience – Include your target audience or customer personas. Don’t limit this to only demographic information like age, gender and location. Add psychological details like interests, behaviors, habits, values and pain points.
  4. Unique selling proposition (USP) – Ask yourself what sets your business apart from competitors. This is your unique selling proposition. Your USP is an important anchor for your plan and should not be overlooked.
  5. Marketing channels – Ensure that your prompt includes the marketing channels you currently have available to you. Separate these by owned, earned and paid media. Some examples of each include social media platforms, email marketing, content marketing and SEO (owned); public relations coverage or press release placement (earned); and advertising (paid).
  6. Budget – All of your marketing initiatives should be tied to a budget.Include an estimate of the resources you have available to allocate to your marketing plan.
  7. Timeline – Remember, a marketing plan should not be on an indefinite timeline. Include all relevant time-sensitive dates.

Content development

The most obvious way an AI chatbot can improve or streamline your marketing is through content development. Whether you need social media posts, a blog or even a full white paper or multi-page guide, today’s leading programs can help. Here are a few things to keep in mind when prompting your chatbot to create a new content asset:

  1. Length – Be as specific as possible about length requirements for your collateral. When it comes to the ideal length of content assets, opinions vary. There’s no guarantee that the AI program you use will automatically create content to an appropriate length for your needs.
  • Tone and voice – Unless you specify what you’re looking for, chances are an AI program may not deliver your content in the right tone. Be sure to use plenty of adjectives. Provide examples of writing you’d like to emulate. You can also offer additional context. Describe what the content will be used for, and the language model will tailor accordingly.
  • Trust but verify – One thing to remember is thatAI models, while helpful, are still not an exact science.These programs can and will deliver faulty information. Always verify your outputs against outside sources, and double check any data or calculations.

SEO and Digital Advertising

AI programs can also help with the high-level strategy for search engine optimization (SEO) and digital advertising. Here are best practices for creating effective prompts in this area: 

  1. Clear, concise goals – Specify for the program exactly what you want to accomplish: improving organic search rankings, driving conversions or increasing awareness are all perfect examples.  
  • Relevant business information – As with your marketing plan, a bot like ChatGPT needs to understand some basic information about your business to create a relevant and impactful SEO plan. Be sure to include information related to your industry, target audience, products and services and competitors.
  • Provide some keyword parameters – The success of both your SEO and digital advertising efforts depends on the strength of your keywords. Chatbots can assist you in developing a knockout keyword list when given the right parameters, including:
    • Industry
    • Target audience
    • Specific products and services
    • Geographic regions
    • Languages

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are numerous ways to leverage AI in your marketing efforts. Whether you are seeking a fully fleshed out marketing plan or specific deliverables, AI chatbots are certainly worth a try.

However, caution is warranted when using AI chat programs like ChatGPT. They should not be considered “secure,” and prompts should never include nonpublic, private, confidential, or sensitive consumer, business, or other information. As mentioned earlier, AI chatbots can also produce inaccurate, misleading, or even offensive responses. It’s always advisable to carefully review and consider the output generated by these programs.

AI chat tools certainly aren’t perfect, but one advantage of these platforms is the ability for human users to provide feedback on the responses generated. Working with an AI chatbot then becomes something of a collaboration, and that’s when great ideas start to emerge. By using AI tools responsibly and in conjunction with human expertise, you can help ensure the best possible outcomes for your marketing efforts.

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