Entries from January 2014 ↓

How to Create Your Own Infographics

I’m always scouring the internet for information that will help me in my business. Hopefully, the little nuggets I find will help you too. Well, today’s search led me to an interesting post on Socialmouths.

Infographics are everywhere at the moment.

They are a great way to get across information in a succinct, colourful and fun way. But, if like me, you’re not a designer, the use of them within your own marketing usually comes with a hefty price tag.

Well that doesn’t have to be the case any more.

Now you too can create your own infographic.

Their post, How to Make an Infographic (Even When You’re Not a Designer) takes you through several free and paid software/service options.

Plus, they run through some general design principles to get you started, such as:

  • Data must drive your design
  • The importance of clarity
  • White space
  • Showing and not telling
  • Creativity

This is one of my shorter posts because I’m heading off to have a play.

Hope you find this useful.

Author: Sally Ormond

4 Triggers That Will Get Your Emails Opened

Email marketing can be a tricky exercise.

You must find the right words for your subject line to get your email opened then follow it up with a killer first paragraph to get them hooked and round it off with an offer they can’t refuse.

Mind you, before any of that can happen you’ve got to make sure you don’t trip any spam filters.

What a nightmare.

Before I go on about the 4 triggers I mentioned earlier, let’s take a look at the spam issue.

Spam filters look at a long list of criteria, such as spammy phrases like ‘Click here’, ‘Free’, ‘Buy now’, but also:

  • Using loads of exclamation marks
  • Colouring of fonts
  • Sloppy HTML
  • Creating an HTML email that’s just one big image with little or no text
  • Using the word ‘test’ in your subject line
  • Sending a test to multiple recipients within the same company
  • Designing an HTML email in Word and exporting the code to HTML

 Source: Mail Chimp – How to Avoid Spam Filters PDF)

Getting back to the phrases and words that can trigger spam filters, HubSpot has put together a lengthy list of words that are known for triggering spam filters. You can see the list here. However, I would just like to point out that I can’t guarantee the quality of this list as no information source has been given.

4 Triggers to Get Your Email Opened

Right, back to those triggers that I promised you.

Basically, your readers have 4 buttons that, when pushed, will result in an emotional response. Therefore if you email presses 1 (or more), it stands a good chance of being opened, read and acted upon.

Your email should focus on 1 or more of these areas:

1. Gain

You, like your customers, enjoy getting something for nothing, so there should be a link in your email that, when followed, gives your reader something of value.

It could be information, a report, discount voucher, or something along those lines.

Offering something for nothing creates an emotional response.

2. Logic

Not everyone’s buying decisions are made emotionally, so what about appealing to your reader’s logical buying side?

Offering statistics and expert opinions will help push your reader further along the buying path. This practical information will appeal to them and give them reassurance about what they are about to buy.

3. Fear

Tread carefully with this one. Fear can be used effectively when talking about, for example, protecting your family’s future. Life assurance is a prime example of this. Who doesn’t want to make sure their loved ones are looked after?

Again, this one works on an emotional level.

4. Limited

By making your offer time limited, or limiting the supply of your product, you’ll make it irresistible to your reader. They won’t want to miss out, so will be more inclined to make an impulse purchase.

But those 4 triggers alone may not be enough.

In conjunction with them, your email’s subject line must also be:

  • Actionable – using verbs to create a sense of urgency
  • Personalised – segment your list to make sure your offer goes out to the right people
  • Clear – don’t use an ambiguous subject line
  • Brief – keep it relatively short and packed with benefits
  • Consistent – make sure the promise in the subject line is backed up by the rest of your email

As you can see, there’s a lot to email marketing, but by keeping this information in mind, you should find it plain sailing.

Author: Sally Ormond

Branding: The Importance of Clarity

Every piece of marketing your company produces must be branded and clear.

Every piece of stationery your company uses must be branded and clear.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, just the other day my husband ordered some more central heating oil. As we have 2 dogs, he asked the company phone me the day before they delivered the oil so I could make sure the dogs were safely tucked away so the oil tank could be safely accessed.

This isn’t an usual request and one that all the oil companies we’ve dealt with have been happy to carry out.

Not this time.

After popping to the Post Office, I came back to find this on the doormat:

Customer service













Apart from the fact that no one bothered to phone to let me know the oil was coming, there are a few other issues.

Spot the deliberate error?

As I mentioned earlier, it was my husband who ordered the oil.

The image shows that, despite leaving me a note, the company name isn’t shown anywhere. In fact there’s no branding whatsoever.

The other issue is that the ‘Please call us on…….’ section has been left blank.


  1. I don’t know who the company are
  2. I have no phone number, so can’t call them to rearrange delivery

My only option is to text my husband to let him know so he can phone the company.

Customer service? Non-existent.

It doesn’t take a lot to help your customers.

The simple addition of a logo, company name and phone number would have made a huge difference here. Granted, the requested phone call prior to delivery would have been useful, but by shoving a generic and anonymous card through the door does nothing to enhance their reputation (whoever they are).

You see it’s the little things that make a big difference. Make sure all your correspondence with your customers reflects the quality of your company – your reputation is at stake.

Author: Sally Ormond

The Rise of Friendvertising

What is friendvertising?

Well, have you noticed how corporations have changed the way they sell to us?

Sure, you still get the TV commercials and magazine or newspaper adverts, but there’s a more subversive form of advertising that’s taking over.

Before I go on, let me ask you something. When was the last time you saw an image or video that you loved so much you shared it with your friends on social media?

Was it produced by a corporation?

If it was, you’ve been friendvertising without even knowing it.

Friendvertising is how you become an unwitting advocate for a brand. You see companies have finally gotten wise to the fact that you trust your friends far more than you trust them. If the company tells you their product is perfect for you, you’ll probably shrug it off, but if your friends tell you about a great product they’ve found, you’re more likely to go out and buy it.

I must admit that the first time I came across the term friendvertising was after reading this article in the Guardian.

One of the examples they cite is the most shared ad of 2013, Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches.

I’d not seen it before, but I have to say it made me tear up. It’s an incredibly emotional narrative that made me feel compelled to share it with others. Why? Because it looks at a subject that affects everyone (not just women); everyone can relate to it and everyone knows someone they’d want to share it with.

Clever or exploitative?

Are large corporations using you?


How do you feel about that?

Only you can answer that.

Social media and especially Facebook have opened up your ‘friendship channels’ to marketers. I guess you can call is the 21st century version of ‘word of mouth’; it’s just that the actual advert is far more subversive than the good old days.

What are your thoughts on friendvertising? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.

Author: Sally Ormond

The Future of Content Marketing – 33 Stats to Make You Take Notice

The question of whether you should be getting involved with content marketing is rather passé – if you’re not involved, you’re missing out.

Content marketing is an essential element for all businesses, which is why it’s important you understand how you must get involved and the type of content you need to be generating.

It’s never been more important to listen to your audience. Just pushing stuff at them won’t get you anywhere; they’re far too canny to fall for that. Today’s audiences demand more, a fact reflected in these incredible stats compiled by Michael Brenner (b2bmarketinginsider.com).

  1. 27,000,000 pieces of content are shared each day.  ~ AOL / Nielsen
  2. 60% of the buyer journey is complete before prospects reach out to vendors.  ~ The Corporate Executive Board (CEB)
  3. Emotional marketing messages are twice as effective as promotional ones. ~ CEB
  4. 60-70% of B2B marketing content goes unused. ~ Sirius Decisions
  5. 10% of website’s content drives 90% of the traffic. ~ InboundWriter
  6. 0.5% of a website’s content drives more than 50% of its traffic. ~ InboundWriter
  7. 78% of CMOs think content is the future of marketing. ~ Demand Metric
  8. The average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds.  ~ Statistic Brain
  9. The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.  ~ Statistic Brain
  10. The average office worker checks their email 30 times and hour. ~ Statistic Brain
  11. The number of web searches on the term “Content Marketing” is up 400% since January 2011.   ~ Google Trends
  12. 93% of B2B Marketers use content marketing. ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  13. Only 42% of content marketers believe they are effective with it. ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  14. 70% of marketers think branded content is more effective than advertising direct mail and PR. ~  Custom Content Council
  15. Only 44% of B2B Marketers have a documented content strategy. ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  16. 73% of B2B Marketers have someone in charge of content marketing.  ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  17. B2B Marketers spend 30% of the marketing budget on content marketing. ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  18. B2B Marketers use an average of 13 content marketing tactics. ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  19. B2B Marketers use an average of 6 social networks.  ~ CMI / MarketingProfs
  20. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads. ~ Demand Metric
  21. Conversion rates for brands using content marketing is 6 to 7x higher.  ~ Aberdeen
  22. Interesting content is a top reason that people follow brands on social media. ~ Content+
  23. 90% of the information that comes to the brain is visual.  ~  Zabisco
  24. Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. ~ Content+
  25. Posts with videos attract 3x more inbound links than plain text posts.   ~ SEOmoz
  26. 57% of digital marketers define Content Marketing as their #1 priority.  ~ Altimeter
  27. 87% of B2B buyers say content has an impact on vendor selection; more than a quarter (27%) say it has a “major impact.”   ~ Social Media Today
  28. The three biggest challenges to creating content are lack of time (30%), inability to create enough content (11%), and inability to create engaging content (11%). ~ Robert Rose
  29. Another study found the three biggest challenges for content marketing to be limited budgets (27%), limited staff (25%), and generating new content (21%).  ~ iMedia Connection
  30. Only 1 out of 5 readers get beyond your headline. ~ Heidi Cohen
  31. 36% of readers prefer headlines containing numbers (like this post). 21% of readers prefer headlines that literally talk to them by including the word “you.” And 17% prefer headlines that show them “how to” do something.   ~ Heidi Cohen
  32. 57% of B2B marketers use content curation as part of their content marketing strategies. But only 42% say they are able to measure positive results from content curation efforts.  ~ iMedia Connection
  33. The 3 biggest complaints B2B buyers have about vendor content are too many requirements for downloading; blatantly promotional, self-serving content; and non-substantive, uninformed content. ~ Social Media Today

They are some pretty impressive stats.

So what can you learn from them?

  • Content marketing is a ‘must’ not a ‘nice to have’
  • Concentrate on emotional triggers to get great results
  • Keep your content short
  • Make is interesting and socially shareable
  • Make your message visual
  • Video attracts more visitors than text

If you were in any doubt about whether or not to have a budget for content marketing, hopefully these stats have shown you the light.


Author: Sally Ormond