Email-driven content marketing for SMBs

Learn which digital content types are most effective.

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You’ve probably heard plenty of talk about how email marketing is dying or even that it’s already dead. In fact, based on the insights gathered by SharpSpring and Ascend2, it seems the opposite is true. Marketing influencers at 145 businesses with 500 or fewer employees tell us email is alive and thriving.

Download this guide from Sharpspring to find out:

  • The top strategic priorities and the most common barriers to success
  • The most effective channels for marketing content
  • Which digital content types are most effective

Visit Digital Marketing Depot to download ” Email-driven Content Marketing for SMBs.

The post Email-driven content marketing for SMBs appeared first on Marketing Land.

A Texas Goes Apple Picking: Planning Seasonal Content

We’re getting our first breath of fall weather this week, and I am READY.  Following a recent trip to New England, I’ve already made a batch of hearty soup, eaten a pumpkin spice doughnut and am successfully wearing a sweater without getting too sweaty!  While I prepare for our cooler weather (read: 70 degrees), I’m… Read More

The post A Texas Goes Apple Picking: Planning Seasonal Content appeared first on Bound.

We’re getting our first breath of fall weather this week, and I am READY.  Following a recent trip to New England, I’ve already made a batch of hearty soup, eaten a pumpkin spice doughnut and am successfully wearing a sweater without getting too sweaty!  While I prepare for our cooler weather (read: 70 degrees), I’m also consuming all the fall content I can get and dreaming about my next seasonal adventure. 

The start of fall brings opportunities to align with visitor excitement for all that the season has to offer: the crisp air, seasonal flavors and a new reason to travel, especially when a visitor may not experience an idyllic fall at home. But for many travel sites, it can be a challenge to share seasonal content.  When so many parts of the country have enticing seasonal attractions, how do you stand out in the sea of fall colors? Inspired by a day of apple picking in Massachusetts, I wanted to share my favorite parts of apple picking combined with my favorite ways that travel sites show off their fall content.


Driving to the apple orchard: showing off your fall colors

I get it, small towns of Massachusetts – you are ridiculously beautiful with all your red brick homes and your gorgeous foliage.  The drive to the apple orchard may have been one of my favorite parts of the whole trip, letting me take in all the autumn colors I could imagine. 

Fall colors are a vital part of seasonal content where vivid imagery draws in visitors aching for a seasonal getaway.  We know that imagery can guide emotions that help your visitors see your fall colors for themselves. Better yet, let your visitors share their own fall photos through User Generated Content!  Personalizing your imagery based on your visitor’s interests or persona is a great way to further engage visitors. If you’re interested in learning more about persona based targeting, be sure to see how Mooreseville increased engagement through their personas!

Apple picking: enjoying a local’s recommendations

As we started our way through the apple orchard, we were grateful for the help of the family farm staff who navigated us through the many rows of apple trees, advising on which ones would be best for the apple crisp we planned on making that evening or which apples may be too tart (or, in his accent: “taht”) for our tastes.  As visitors, we relied heavily upon the staff’s recommendations and directions to make the most of our apple picking – and were grateful for the expert advice. 

Similarly, as the experts of your destination, your team is best suited to share how visitors can celebrate the season at your destination. Highlight what makes your fall activities unique and provide seasonal visitor guides or other planning resources to help your visitors plan their trip!  Personalizing visitor guides or seasonal activity ideas based on different visitors interests will help ensure that everyone can find something they enjoy. 

Apple cider doughnuts: showcasing your editorial content

At the orchard, I was introduced to the magic that is apple cider doughnuts, and my goodness, was my life changed.  In reading a local’s visitor guide, I was encouraged to try this traditional treat, and it did not disappoint. As a visitor, I love engaging with editorial content to help me make travel – and eating – decisions. 

Editorial content is a fantastic way to connect your audiences with new ideas to inspire their travel by combining imagery and recommendations.  Whether it’s highlighting your favorite cold weather food spots, family fun activities that can be enjoyed by all, or the best scenic drives or hiking trails, editorial content provides an opportunity to connect with visitors in a creative way. 

Daydreaming at home: the power of nostalgia

On my return to Austin, I was definitely craving apples (and doughnuts) more than I ever have before.  As I picked out a bag of honey crisp apples at the grocery store, I found myself wishing I was picking them off an orchard tree instead and continued to daydream (and google search!) to plan my next trip.  

Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and when paired with moving imagery and creative content, we can help visitors make informed and inspired travel decisions so they can celebrate the season with your destination.  Happy creating and enjoy the season!

Interested in talking more about about creating the best content for your visitors?  We’d love to talk with you!

The post A Texas Goes Apple Picking: Planning Seasonal Content appeared first on Bound.

Shutterstock launches Smart Brief, collaborative tool for creative briefs

The tool employs automated technology to accelerate the traditional creative collaboration process.

The post Shutterstock launches Smart Brief, collaborative tool for creative briefs appeared first on Marketing Land.

Visual content provider Shutterstock today announced the launch of ​Smart Brief – a new tool designed to simplify and improve the creative briefing process for marketers and creatives.

The new service is part of Shutterstock Custom, a premium content management solution that helps enterprise clients produce and scale branded content. Shutterstock Custom users will be able to access the Smart Brief tool, which employs automated technology to accelerate the traditional creative collaboration process.

Smart Brief in action.

According to the company, key highlights of the tool include:

Intelligence. Powered by machine learning, the tool guides users through the process with relevant prompts that capture accurate inputs while eliminating conflicting or unnecessary information

Improved collaboration. Users will have the ability to accept changes and recommendations from other team members, view or revert to previous versions, and clone existing briefs.

Flexibility. Users are able to make adjustments to controls, production value, and the service level per project as the scope of work evolves.

Why we should care

Creative collaboration is often a pain point for both marketers and creative professionals alike – and can be particularly challenging for agency teams managing high-volume client projects.

A tool like Smart Brief has the potential to streamline workflows, resulting in less time spent inputting briefs and obtaining approvals and more time dedicated to creating high-quality branded content.

“The traditional creative brief process is laborious, time-consuming, and leaves a lot open to interpretation… We set out to automate and simplify the experience,” said Sylvain Grande, SVP of product and UX at Shutterstock. “Smart Brief streamlines our clients’ workflow and in turn, allows them to receive content faster without compromising results or having to be on set.”

The post Shutterstock launches Smart Brief, collaborative tool for creative briefs appeared first on Marketing Land.

Are You Practicing Good Ethics With Your Website Content?

Our customer success managers are the pros on using Bound to its fullest extent.  Today’s tip highlights best practices for using modals and fly-ins. Today’s post was inspired by a frustration I experienced last week when searching for event rentals for my upcoming wedding.  On a seemingly harmless event rental homepage, I was greeted by… Read More

The post Are You Practicing Good Ethics With Your Website Content? appeared first on Bound.

Our customer success managers are the pros on using Bound to its fullest extent.  Today’s tip highlights best practices for using modals and fly-ins.

Today’s post was inspired by a frustration I experienced last week when searching for event rentals for my upcoming wedding.  On a seemingly harmless event rental homepage, I was greeted by a full screen pop up exclaiming a sale on chair rentals. I closed out of the window and navigated to the tent rental page…where I was instantly met with the same pop up.  As you might guess, I was greeted by this same pop up on every page I visited. I eventually crossed this event company off my list – my time and frustration were not worth dealing with this darn pop up!

We have all experienced this frustration and understandably, these experiences have heightened our awareness in ensuring our own modal and fly-in content is not intrusive.   When we follow best practices with our content, we empower our visitors to engage with our site in an experience that is informing and inspiring – and not at all intrusive. Inspired by this example of unethical content, our CSM team wanted to share our best practices for working with modal and fly-in content.

No surprises 

When creating copy for our content pieces, we’re always looking to strike a balance between creativity and practicality – our users should be intrigued enough to click, but not be surprised by where they are taken.  Ensuring that our content is clear on what we are asking is vital to ensuring our visitors are empowered with our content. Similarly, ensuring our visitors have the choice to not engage with our content is critical.  Few things make me more frustrated across the internet when I’m trying to close an online ad and find the X is fake! Our new Content Templates make it easier than ever to customize the close out X on your content and ensure it is always easily found.

Know your audience

The beauty of personalized content is that we can speak directly to those we want – and only those we want.  We recommend excluding visitors who have already engaged with a conversion point from seeing content driving to that same conversion point.  We often see success with Abandonment groups targeting repeat visitors who have seen certain content but have not yet converted, which also helps them see new content. If you ever have a question on how to correctly exclude visitors from a segment, your CSM will be happy to help!

Similarly, we recommend knowing your mobile audience and ensuring that your content is appropriate for their smaller screen experience.  A modal may be perfectly sized for a desktop visitor but may be mistaken for the actual homepage on a mobile device. As an alternative to using mobile sized images, we also recommend using a banner to promote content to mobile visitors.  If you haven’t already checked it out, our Content Templates can help you create a banner to seamlessly fit into your site’s styling. 

Know your limits

On my rental search, I had a small amount of dread in knowing that I would see the same pop up if I wanted to continue to explore the site.  We know that limits are imperative when working with content and keep our visitors curious and wanting to know more. By being selective in the frequency that we display a content item, we can prevent overexposure and keep the clicks coming. If we find that a content item isn’t receiving enough impressions, we can always consider displaying it on more pages, rather than only increasing the frequency it is seen by the same visitor. 

Limiting your content can also apply to limiting the amount of pieces that your visitors see of that content type.  We recommend ensuring that all types of overlay content (modals, fly-ins and banners) live within a single campaign to ensure that a visitor doesn’t see that same type of content throughout their site visit.  This can work well in creating a funnel type approach to keep content fresh for repeat visitors!

Know your strengths

You are the expert for your destination – you will always be able to share the experiences that make your destination unique and help visitors create meaningful memories.  Your visitors come to your site craving this information, and modals and fly-ins are a great way to share your knowledge and recommendations so they can make an informed travel decision.  By following best practices on working with modals and fly-ins you can ensure that you are serving ethical and relevant content to empower visitors. So go out there and create! And know that your Bound CSMs are always here to chat through any questions you may have on best practices.

Have questions about content best practices? Contact us to talk further!

The post Are You Practicing Good Ethics With Your Website Content? appeared first on Bound.

How Mooresville Kept Visitors on Site Using Persona Based Targeting

One of the most common struggles for a destination is how to appeal to visitors with wildly different interests. With persona-based ad campaigns you can separate these visitors and send them to different landing pages, but how do you continue to speak to their specific interests as they explore the general site? Using Bound, the… Read More

The post How Mooresville Kept Visitors on Site Using Persona Based Targeting appeared first on Bound.

One of the most common struggles for a destination is how to appeal to visitors with wildly different interests. With persona-based ad campaigns you can separate these visitors and send them to different landing pages, but how do you continue to speak to their specific interests as they explore the general site? Using Bound, the Visit Mooresville team created a homepage experience customized for each of their three target personas.

With the website address of racecityusa.com, you might guess that Mooresville, NC is best known for being a racing town. However, the area is also a popular destination for travelers with an outdoor interest, and is packed with gorgeous wedding and reunion venues as well. As the Visit Mooresville team planned their 2019 spring and summer ads, they decided to target three key personas. Each persona, (racing, outdoors, and wedding interest) was sent to a different destination page aligned to their interests.

The Visit Mooresville team wanted the homepage to also reflect each persona’s interest. They used Bound to change multiple elements of the homepage to show articles and user generated content relevant to each persona. 

Wedding Interest

 

Racing Interest

 

Outdoor Interest

 

They found that while the racing interest group was the largest audience, the outdoors group engaged best with the personalized content, with an 18% clickthrough rate on the outdoors articles.

In addition to improving clickthrough rates, the personalized sections helped keep visitors on the site. From March to mid-August the homepage averaged a 68% bounce and a 61% exit rate. For visitors seeing the persona-specific content, this dropped to a 31% bounce rate and a 29% exit rate. These visitors also had more than a 200% increase in overall pages per visit and time on site.

By updating a highly trafficked page to create more relevant content for their ad personas, the Visit Mooresville team has continued to increase their website engagement and the value of their ad spend.

 

Interested in creating a better website experience for your ad personas?  Contact Us:

The post How Mooresville Kept Visitors on Site Using Persona Based Targeting appeared first on Bound.