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February 24, 2015
People Don’t Read, They Scan

People Don’t Read, They Scan

By Jane Litchfield

You may have heard that digital readers don’t read; they scan. Some people even suggest that our brains have adapted to this new way of “reading”, meaning novelists should be alarmed. But what about digital marketers? Should we be?

Posted February 24, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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February 11, 2015
10 Reasons to Love Email This Valentine’s Day

10 Reasons to Love Email This Valentine’s Day

By Chris Winter

Digital marketing is in a state of constant change. The market is always growing and evolving. In just one year, the number of marketing technology vendors jumped from 900 to over 1800! According to a 2014 report from DNN Software, most marketers (63%) at...

Posted February 11, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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January 26, 2015
Top 10 Email Design Trends for 2015

Top 10 Email Design Trends for 2015

By Chris Winter

Email saw a resurgence in 2014 as more marketers doubled down on a channel that continually proves itself to be a leader in digital marketing. In fact, according to the Direct Marketing Association, email ranks number one in ROI, with a $39.40 return on...

Posted January 26, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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January 22, 2015
Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014 (Part 2)

Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014 (Part 2)

By Chris Winter

In 2014, the implementation of Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) on July 1st caused some anxiety and concern among digital marketers. As a result, CASL content proved particularly popular as marketers both here in Canada and abroad worked to...

Posted January 22, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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January 14, 2015
Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014

Top 10 Blog Posts from 2014

By Chris Winter

With 2014 behind us and 2015 well underway we always like to take a look back at the past 12 months to see which blog posts and themes resonated with our readers in 2014. As always we saw that many of our readers were interested in learning new ways to...

Posted January 14, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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January 5, 2015
6 Quick Tips for Retail Email Marketing

6 Quick Tips for Retail Email Marketing

By Aislinn Shoveller

As I’m sure you know, mobile has grown to now play a significant role in any email marketers strategy. Retail companies are shifting their entire email strategy so that they can reap the benefits of consumers on mobile devices. Is a complete 180...

Posted January 5, 2015 0 comments 0 recommendations
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December 17, 2014
CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, 6 Months Later

CASL, Canada’s Anti-Spam Law, 6 Months Later

By Matthew Vernhout

This blog post was originally published on Email Critic. (View original post here) Now that Canada’s anti-spam legislation (CASL) has been in effect for six months, I thought it might be a good time to check in on its impact. To do so, I turned to...

Posted December 17, 2014 0 comments 0 recommendations
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December 10, 2014
Instagram: The Balance Between Creativity and Commerce

Instagram: The Balance Between Creativity and Commerce

By Torben Nielsen

Instagram: The Balance Between Creativity and Commerce

This past week I attended my first official Instagram Marketing seminar. Hosted in the MaRS Discovery Building in Toronto, it was a great opportunity to take a more focused look at the social network which has only recently opened up its feed officially to advertisers. Here are some takeaways and thoughts on the future of the platform and where it fits in the digital landscape.

First of all, if you are not familiar with Instagram you need to wake up and smell the Hefe (that’s an Instagram filter joke if you didn’t know). The social network is arguably one of the most popular mobile applications in existence today. Since its launch in 2010 the application has gained roughly 200 million monthly active users; outpacing Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest with over 900% year over year growth from 2012-2013. In total, there’s been 20 Billion photos shared on the platform, with an average of 1.6 Billion photo “likes” each day! Interestingly, 65% of all the accounts that exist are outside of the United States.

From a marketing sense, some brands have adopted the platform with relative ease. However, the same story seems to ring true as it did with Facebook and Twitter: interesting and creative brands reign supreme. A look at the top 10 most followed brands is a clear indication of just what type of brands see success. Creativity is at Instagram’s core. One of the speakers at Instacamp described Instagram photography as a more accessible (and mostly legal) iteration of the street art of the late 70s and 80s. That being said, in order to engage the community, your content must be visually appealing, consistent, and tell your brand’s visual story at the same time – no pressure!

If you think that Instagram might be something you want to get started with or you’re trying to improve your presence on it, check out these three tips for building a better feed.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 1.      Work with Influencers

There are a lot of great photographers out there on Instagram that have built up massive followings from sheer talent and creativity in their work. As a result, publications and brands have taken notice and created deals to pay these users to promote their products. Tread cautiously though, as with any endorsement the collaboration needs to make sense for the artist to support it or there is a risk that they may alienate their following with overly promotional feeling content.

If you do find common ground with a photographer and feel their following is relevant to market to, it is in your best interest to allow creative control to rest with the photographer. This way, they can incorporate your product within their feed in a way that makes sense and appeals to their following. Here’s an example of @13thwitness (479,000 followers strong) working with Leica Camera for the re-launch of their brand in North America, a very fitting endorsement.

If you’re on the hunt for influencers but aren’t sure how to connect with the right people, an agency called Instabrand might be able to help link your brand with endorsees that match your vision and style.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 2.      Find your Niche

What do you do and why do you do it? If you search deep enough, you can find the visual story for your brand. Think about the human or environmental impact your brand can have and curate that into a visual feed.

Vancouver’s Herschel Supply, one of Strategy Online’s brands of the year has their Instagram niche sorted out. As a bag and luggage company, they’ve leveraged the immense popularity of travel and visual landscape photography on Instagram by incorporating their product (which happens to be synonymous with travel) into a creatively curated feed. As an added bonus, they have integrated their #WellTravelled hashtag which has allowed their customers to post their own photos and have the opportunity to be featured in the Herschel Feed – a mutually exclusive relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 3.      Paid Content Curation (NEW)

Building a following takes creativity, consistency, and most importantly, time. For many brands, time is not always something that is readily available and neither is the budget for an on-staff photographer. Fortunately, services like Totems, Olapic, and Flashstock help brands by providing curated photography services.

One of the main sponsors at Instacamp was Flashstock, a Toronto-based start-up that allows brands to upload a creative brief for their visual photography needs and have multiple photographers provide brand specific photos. In their own words, “FlashStock fills an important void between two market categories with large established revenue streams. Stock photography services offer a large base of photo content, but are missing robust catalogues of brand-specific and customized photos at a reasonable cost. This issue requires companies to engage high cost advertising agency services to produce and source this type of content.” With Paid Content curation, brands can get the stunning visuals they’re looking for to add to their feeds. If done properly and targeted to the right people, these visuals can help grow followers in a more organic way than paid endorsements.

 

    

 

Instagram is a highly engaging platform that has provided brands the opportunity to tell their visual story to a potential audience of 200 million and counting. With backing from Facebook, it will undoubtedly be launching some serious advertising products in 2015 that will hopefully help marketers reach their target audiences with more ease. However, marketers should be cognisant of valuing the creative core of Instagram and the artists who have made the platform such a success. Using these tips above should help steer you in the right direction as you build out your plan.

Get snapping!

Posted December 10, 2014 0 comments 0 recommendations
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December 8, 2014
Email Marketing: Writing for Scanners

Email Marketing: Writing for Scanners

By Jane Litchfield

You probably won’t read to the end of this Digital copywriting is humbling. Much as we would like to think people read every precious word, we know better. (With the exception of this post, of course.) Email readers are in a hurry, their inboxes are...

Posted December 8, 2014 0 comments 0 recommendations
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December 2, 2014
Black Friday's Gone Digital. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Black Friday's Gone Digital. Here’s What You Need To Know.

By Torben Nielsen

Another year, another Black Friday (and Cyber Monday) have come and gone. It seems like every year, the momentum leading up to the day following American Thanksgiving, where many retailers return to profitability (back in the black) has increased...

Posted December 2, 2014 0 comments 0 recommendations