Email Marketing, Pt. 2: Subject Line Research

4 December 2019

Welcome to Round 2! If you, like many, find yourself dipping your toes into the vast ocean of email marketing, but aren't quite sure how to begin, then never fear – you've come to the right place. In our last segment on Email Marketing, we gave some do's, some dont's, and some good practices when it comes to crafting the perfect Subject Line. Today, we'd like to expand on that by observing and comparing some of the best and worst out there. You may be surprised at what you see.

Surprisingly, intuitive ideas have shown to backfire, while a few quirky and outside-the-box ideas saw fantastic results. Examining leading research has led to some wonderful insights, which we'd like to share with you today. All of this information serves to build on and back up the ideas of Pt. 1, so if you're unfamiliar with our tips and tricks, we recommend giving it a quick going-over.

In the studies conducted, emails with some of the best and worst open rates were extracted from a data pool of 40 million emails. The top performers had an average 74% open rate, while their counterparts suffered an average 8% open rate. Ooph. That's quite a difference. Let's take a look.

In our last post, we mentioned that it might ultimately behoove you to try and set yourself apart visually as a way to stand out from the flood of emails pouring into any given inbox. A couple techniques suggested were using brackets and unique capitalization. Appropriately, research shows a recurring trend among the top performers: inserting [COMPANYNAME] in your Subject Line could boost your open rates.

Furthermore, the data shows certain trends among the low performers. Most of the Subject Lines in that camp ultimately read like an advertisement. Asking questions, flexing figures, and using “in-your-face” language all got these emails deleted. Of course you want to grab the attention of the reader, but sometimes less is more, and subtlety can speak volumes. With users on the constant defensive against junk mail, anything that is even remotely spammy is going straight to the trash bin.

[COMPANYNAME] Sales & Marketing Newsletter reads a lot better than, say: Shop Early & Save 10%!

Upcoming Events at [COMPANYNAME] got much better results than: Need More Advertising Value From Your Marketing Partner?

At the end of the day, the most important thing to keep in mind when crafting your Subject Line is that it must be congruent with your target's expectations. If you're emailing someone who's expecting a newsletter from you, hot discounts and promotions will hold little weight in the Subject Line, and you may want to opt for more of a “soft-sell” approach instead. On the other hand, users often sign up to receive alerts on new deals, so for those people on your email list, it may not hurt to talk discounts.

The Subject Line can be tricky, but the bottom line is that it ultimately needs to inform the reader of what is inside the email – what they'll be expecting, and why they should click through in the first place. If what you're typing sounds like advertisement headlines, you can bet you'll find yourself on the wrong side of the spectrum.

Over the years, we've aided numerous businesses across the nation to help create the perfect Internet Marketing Campaigns. To learn more about our process, or how we can help you get started on yours, we encourage you to Call or Contact Us today. In the meantime, stay tuned for more tips and tricks!

Importance of Logo Design

1 November 2019

Today, there are more businesses trying to sell their services and push their products than ever before. In such a grand sea of competition, it may difficult to think how one may set themselves apart and grab the attention of the consumers who could truly benefit. One surprisingly effective answer to this dilemma is the creation and distribution of a well-designed logo.

Here at Hazel Digital Media, we've had the pleasure of creating numerous logos for a wide range of businesses. We'd like to tell you a little bit about what the purpose of a logo is, how effective ones are created, and ultimately why you ought to have one.

What is the purpose of a logo?

Brand Identity: At the end of the day, the ultimate purpose of a logo is to identify -- to set you apart from competition. Your logo should be representative of your overall brand identity, so that when viewing your logo, what they are actually picturing in their mind are all of the values and benefits your business provides.

Product/Service Recall: Something as simple as a swoosh immediately makes us think of sports apparel, just as something as simple as a giant, golden "M" makes us think of hamburgers. When someone sees your logo, regardless of how simple or complex, it should imediately bring to mind the special aspects of your business operation that make you superior to your competition.

How does one create a good logo?

Logo design has become an art form in its own right. The simplicity of most of the effective logos we observe in our day-to-day lives can lead one to the conclusion that they are simple to create. However, much more effort goes into your average logo than you might initially guess. Here are some things to consider.

Concept: Meaning should be a large contributing factor when coming up with design ideas. What does your logo say about your company, and how does it ultimately draw the mind from the image back to your business?

Versatility: Your logo should be constructed so that it looks good at any size, whether on a business card or a billboard, and it should look good not just in color, but in black and white as well. There is a good chance your logo will appear in black and white often, so if you find yourself relying on color for effectiveness, you may want to go back to the drawing board.

Simplicity: Generally speaking, the simpler, the better. You want a simple image to create immediate recall of your brand identity, and the busier your logo, essentially the harder it will be for consumers to committ the image to their memory.

Why you need a good logo.

Altough a logo does not itself give a description of your products or an overview of your services, it acts as a signature for those things. It is a beacon, meant to stand out, and be easily recognizable in daily life amidst the myriad of other advertisements; it is a signpost in the memory of your potential customers, directing them to you when they find themselves in need. It doesn't matter how incredibly superior your products may be if no one's buying them. If you want to set yourself apart, and ultimately make a lasting impression, a well-designed logo is critical.

Unfortunately, the practice is not as simple as it may seem. In fact, it takes a lot of careful creativity, design experience, and an artistic eye. We encourage you to begin conjuring concepts to what your logo could look like -- you may find yourself having a lot of fun coming up with ideas.

Here at Hazel Digital Media, we have years of experience creativing effective logo designs for companies across the country of widely-varying industries. It's something we love to do, and have therfore committed ourselves to understanding the science and art of. We would love to work with you in coming up with ideas, creating a memorable logo / brand identity, and ultimately helping you to distribute it. Call or Contact Us today to learn more about our Logo Design process.

Email Marketing, Pt. 1: The Subject Line

23 September 2019

Welcome to the digital age! Never has there been a better time to get your message to the masses, or to place your product in the hands of target markets. Only one problem: greater amounts of information = greatly lowered attention spans. Don't worry, you've come to the right place, and this post is going to teach you how to pack a punch with your messages, and perfect the art of Email Marketing.

First thing's first: how do you get your message read? How do you make it stand apart from the hundreds of others that are inevitably pouring into inboxes? The almighty Subject Line is the one chance you get for a first impression, so choose your words carefully, and say it with style. Here are some tried and true practices for picking the perfect words.

Do -Go Local! People are more prone to respond to what's going on in the city they live in, so if you're in the same place, make a note of it.

-Ask Questions Questions are proven to perform better, so try building intrigue by piquing the interests and hobbies of your target.

-Use As Few Words As Possible Easy does it. Your subject line will stand out with a few well-placed words, rather than a full-on explanation -- save the meat for the actual message (remember that whole attention span thing from earlier?) For rule of thumb's sake, try to keep it between 20 - 40 characters, with 50 as your max.

Don't -Use Special Symbols. Using hearts or emoticons is certainly tempting, but it's kitschy, and strongly associated with spammers. Stick to what you see on your keyboard.

-Insert "Re:" or "Fwd:" Unfortunately, this can greatly invalidate your message. Make it seem like this email is completely unique, straight from you to them.

-Ask for help or assistance Ask not what your client can do for you. You're the one who's supposed to be providing a service, right? It's not inherently terrible, but it comes off as scammy, so try to avoid it.

-Use Numbers Although flexing figures can help to drive your point home, it's not ideal for first impressions, and you can wear your reader out this way. See if you can't use your words to capture attention instead.

-Use the Recipient's Name Although you definitely want your message to have a personal touch to it, there is such a thing as overdoing it, and including first or last names can come off as disingenuous. Studies show that subject lines without names as opposed to with names get opened more frequently.

So now you know your do's and don'ts when it comes to crafting the perfect subject. But just to help put you over the top, here's a few tips and techniques to make it really pop!

-Relevancy This cannot be overstated. With such a small window to reach your potential client, make sure your subject is useful and to the point.

-Identification Does your target truly know who's messaging them? It may be worth a few extra characters to mention some of the most recognizable aspects of your brand persona.

-Set Yourself Apart Visually Think about how your mind reacts when you first crack open that inbox. Your eyes take in an initial overview. Therefore, by using brackets or unique capitalization, you can really make your message stand out from the rest.

-Make It Topical - Make It Urgent By referencing a popular topic, you can immediately pique the readers' interest - this also goes back to the need for relevancy discussed in the first bullet point. Also, playing on the time sensitivity of the message can increase chances of opening.

-What Is The Ultimate End Goal? Ask yourself: what are you really trying to accomplish with this message? Know your goal, and then figure out the proper call-to-action necessary from the reader to get there, and think about incorporating this into your subject line. Don't be afraid to ask or tell your target to do something (just make sure you explain in the message why it's truly worth their while).

-Try... Try Again. Trial and error is the name of the game. If you don't find the results you're looking for, don't get disheartened. Just keep tweaking until you find what works.

Email Marketing, and especially crafting the almighty Subject Line, is both a science and an art form. It can take a lot of trial and error to know what works and what doesn't. We encourage you to have fun exploring this vast field of study, using this post as a guide. However, here at Hazel Digital Media, we have invested years of time and energy to this delicate study. Call or Contact Us today to learn more about it, or to let us start creating a strategy for your campaign.

Redundancy in Web Design

8 July 2019

We often place redundant content and links on the websites we design, especially on the home page and in the sidebar and footer. We think this is smart, so long as it suits the goals of the site. Redundancy can also very easily be a bad thing. Here are some examples, both good and bad. Home pages: we often place 'teaser' content from other sections of the site (about us, blog, etc.) on the home page. This acts as a lead-in for the various sections of your site, and offers visitors an overview of the content available on your site. These lead-ins are always accompanied by a button or link to their respective section of the website: 'read more about us', 'visit our blog', etc. We also tend to place key information and links in multiple places throughout the site, especially in the header, footer, and sidebar. Important information like your company phone number or physical address should be easy to find, no matter what part of the site your user is on. Furthermore, the 'call to action' buttons on your website should be prominent and easy to find on every page. For example, if your goal is to generate inquiries, it's beneficial for your visitors to see 'contact us' in multiple places. It's important not to go overboard; you might irritate or annoy your visitors. The goal is always to improve the functionality of the site and make it as user-friendly as possible. Another consideration is varying user behavior. We (almost) always have 'home' as the first link in the main navigation. We also make the logo a link to the home page. It isn't necessary to have two home page links side by side, but it doesn't hurt anything, and it accommodates a broader audience; some people are conditioned to click the logo, others will be looking at the main navigation. These examples explain why we prefer to err on the side of 'good' redundancy. Bad redundancy equates to poor organization of your site's content. Or, it could simply be anything that is confusing or unclear. For instance, it doesn't make sense to place a 'contact us' button on your contact page. Similarly, if a user is browsing your online store, they don't need to see a 'shop now' button. However, you probably want several 'buy now' and 'view cart' buttons placed strategically on those pages. All of this to say, when placing key information and links throughout your site, it is very important to consider the goals of the website, as well as how your visitors are going to interact with the site. With such a high saturation of websites and available information, it is more important than ever to make your website as clear and easy to use as possible.

Save an Image for Your Website Using Photoshop

9 April 2019

Open the image in Photoshop.

Click on the Image menu and select 'Image Size'.

Make sure the image is sized appropriately for your needs. The resolution should be set at 72 DPI. These settings will be in the Image Size Dialogue Box when you click Image Size from the Image menu.

Then, from the File menu, select 'Save for Web'.

In the 'Save for Web' dialogue box, you will want to set the quality to 50% (in most cases). The File Type should be set to your desired setting (JPEG or PNG are the most common). The Compression Quality should be set to Medium (in most cases). The Optimized box should be checked.

Click 'Save'.

The image is now ready to be uploaded to the server via the File Manager and added to your page.

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