Your sales emails have to soar above mediocre to work. Here are some ways to help yours get read:
- Insert a GIF with motion
- Insert an arresting photo
- Have a compelling subject line (but not too long, for mobile viewers).
Wrong: “Employment Update”
Right: “200 New Jobs Opening Soon”
- Deliver useful content—making sure that what you promise in the subject line is what you actually provide.
- Use a P.S. It’s often the first or only part of the email that will get read.
- Use graphics that invite and guide. These cues help the reader quickly see what’s interesting to them.
Email is a successful communication tool that can improve sales—if done well. Make yours better than your competition and see what happens.
Sometimes you have to challenge your most basic assumptions to find a truly creative solution. Take Greek artist Petros Vrellis, who departed from his usual technology tools and used a single thread to recreate this Renaissance painting.
What assumptions could you challenge this week to advance your creativity?
In some circles, great design is still considered a luxury. But more often than not, this idea is a fatal flaw for a brand.
Today’s consumer has sophisticated visual tastes created by the most creative communicators in the world. Their reference point for this is not just your competitors—it’s every message they get from any industry.
This is why great design is actually a brand differentiator. Great design provides instant visual cues about your brand that affiliate it with other brands familiar to the viewer—allowing them to decide in as little as a second if they want to further engage with you. The more oversaturated people are with information, the more they rely on these cues as short cuts for adjudicating a product or service. It’s simply an efficient way of navigating information.
Here are some common mistakes brands make when they don’t embrace this important truth:
- Spend heavily on a media buy, but use so-so stock images and design that send the viewer packing after one look.
- Spend millions on a new building and cheap out on photography. A top-drawer architectural photographer will bring a wow to your image that will pay off handsomely.
- Invest in new technology or services, then depict them on a visually inferior website.
It’s better to go with less in other areas than to settle for also-ran design.
Colors create a reaction in our brain, and yellow, more than any other, gets noticed. It’s the color to use if you want to get someone’s attention—particularly when paired with high contrast colors like black type.
But like all colors, it has its place. According to Print, you’re less likely to see it on apps and websites than book covers, taxis and caution signs. It signals anything from cheery to danger, so has to be used with care.
But on a shelf of books, your eye will surely move first to the yellow ones, which may be why yellow is having a resurgence in book covers.
Can you see yellow being used in your company?
Image Source: Print Magazine
Most leaders can see a vision for their company that will help it thrive. But the next step is the hard one—how to get these critical ideas adopted—and executed?
Here are some tips:
- Create a strategic communication plan that lists the key messages, how often and when they’ll be delivered, and who will be responsible for each. It doesn’t have to be complicated—just clear and executable.
- Deliver the vision of the destination before you go into the how. Paint a picture of how life will look after the idea has taken hold.
- Use language employees understand. Corporate-speak adds weight that drags down a message, so if you struggle with this, have an outsider review it and point out places where this is occurring.
- Make it personal. How will it impact them? What exactly should they do differently now? What is their role in success?
- Use the media they relate to. Is it a video on a mobile-friendly site? An e-letter? A forum? (And yes, you’ll need to use multiple ones.)
- Engage the senses. Today’s employee is saturated by visually rich messages—so an overworked text-heavy power point isn’t going to have the impact you need. Great visuals are now essential. And to kick it up a notch, use video to bring motion, music and sound and dramatically increase the impact of your message.
- Understand their world. Employees get too much information—but not enough inspiration. Connecting your ideas to their sense of purpose is the best way to inspire them.
- Keep it short. Employees like their information in short, snackable formats that they can ingest quickly.
- Repeat it. Yes, over and over and over. By the time you’re weary of saying it, it will just be gaining traction.
- Listen. Communication is a two-way street. Employees should have some way of submitting questions and ideas that get answered.
These tried-and-true strategies will absolutely help your ideas spread. What other tools are helping you get your ideas heard?
Email is sometimes a first impression—and sometimes the only communication we have with a person. Which means our company and our own reputation are completely in the hands of a few lines of type.
Here are seven email habits you’ll want to break—from Lisa Evan’s Fast Company article:
1. Over-copying people on emails
2. Vague subject lines
3. Subject lines that don’t match the message
4. Sending one-liner responses
5. Immediately replying to an email but without purpose
6. Overusing the high priority button
7. Not including a signature
Read the whole article here.
Thinking outside the box means challenging things you’ve taken for granted. In the case of Benjamin Shine, it meant using tulle (that fabric used for tutus) and an iron to create stunning art. Such an unexpected medium—and yet so beautiful.
What ideas are locking you up and keeping you from discovering an entirely new way of looking at your work?
Source: Creative Market
This is akin to the question “how much will a house cost?” There are many variables—the location, size of the house, quality of construction, amenities. So the price range for videos, like houses, is big.
Different business needs call for different kinds of videos, and each of those have unique costs. Here are some things that will impact the cost of your video:
- What kind of video is it? Basic interviews with b-roll? Animation? Whiteboard? It’s much more time-consuming to create a whiteboard video, since it requires custom drawings, than an interview video. Animations add cost. Complex graphics add cost.
- How and where will it be shot? Flying a crew to the outback of Alaska will add cost—as will shoots that require more days.
- Does it require professional talent, like a narrator or custom music? Adding narration requires writing a script (not necessary for an interview video,) researching, auditioning and recording the voice talent. Adding custom music requires composition and production of the song to fit your piece exactly. Both of these add cost.
- How much creative effort is involved? The creativity that goes into a Super Bowl ad isn’t the same level of creativity required for a CEO’s video update.
- What level of post-production is required? The possibilities here are almost unlimited, but most of them add cost.
- What kind of talent and equipment is needed? A simple concept can be executed by a freelancer with a camera and basic editing skills. Add complexity, and you need more equipment (lights, cameras, software) and talent to pull it off.
- What other services are needed? Do you need help developing your brand story before you produce the video? Do you need help ensuring that your video gets seen? Do you need a company that understands the unique aspects of your industry? All of these require broader talent than video production, and can add cost.
So does your house have granite counters and a swimming pool? Or is it a tiny house in your grandma’s back acre? The range of costs is so big, it’s impossible to quote either a house or a video price without knowing the goals, what you want to achieve and your resources (time and money). But a good video vendor can not only help you decide how video can advance your business goals, but work within your budget to give you those answers—once the parameters are outlined.
Employee communication is gaining more attention and resourcing in companies because it plays an important role in both employee engagement and alignment. A central tool of this is using email to convey the strategies, successes and goals which help people do their jobs better.
Email is a highly targeted tool that can provide metrics that help you see what messages are getting viewed and by whom, and because of this, should be a central part of every company’s communication strategy.
But should your internal e-letters be judged by the same metrics as external e-letters? What kind of results should you be getting from your internal communication e-letters and campaigns?
In this helpful infographic by Newsweaver, you can see some national benchmark metrics for open and click rates specifically targeted to internal communications.
We’re seeing real success with our clients in using this as a tool to build culture, engagement and alignment. Where are you seeing this used well?
Want to recognize your employees for a big success? Then showcase them in some of your promotional work—it’s a sure win.
In this video, employees and physicians take center stage delivering the news that their hospital has been named among America’s Best 100 Hospitals™. It’s a good way to celebrate the achievement and recognize the people who made it possible.
Dreams can happen—even in hospitals. Take, for example, the St. Jude Dream Adventures, where people act as tour guides to adventures around the world—and have real-time interaction with these experiences. Film can open up a whole new world for your clients.
How might you think of new ways to reach your business goals with film?
Today we join Americans nationwide to honor those who have served in our armed forces and who have paid the ultimate price for liberty. In the words of a former president:
Memorial Day is a time to take stock of the present, reflect on the past, and renew our commitment to the future of America.
Today, as in the past, there are problems that must be solved and challenges that must be met. We can tackle them with our full strength and creativity only because we are free to work them out in our own way. We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.
I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.
This Memorial Day of 1983, we honor those brave Americans who died in the service of their country. I think an ancient scholar put it well when he wrote: ``Let us now praise famous men . . . All these were honored in their generation, and were the glory of their times. Their bodies are buried in peace; but their name liveth for evermore.’’ As a tribute to their sacrifice, let us renew our resolve to remain strong enough to deter aggression, wise enough to preserve and protect our freedom, and thoughtful enough to promote lasting peace throughout the world.
“We need to market…..”
You fill in the blank. If you’re a communication professional, you hear this several times a week or more. Of course, we want our internal staff to work with us to tell the organization’s story, but this alone won’t create strategic positioning. Often, the most important messages won’t arise out of departmental requests.
A message map like this can help see how your public views you—based on your media coverage and advertising. It allows you to log messaging and link it to your strategic messages, so over time you can see what’s not getting told—or what’s getting talked about too much. It’s also an excellent way to report these activities to your board.
Managing an organization’s reputation is a constant tension between servicing inside requests and stepping outside of those to implement strategies that build your reputation in the way that you desire.
How do your messages for last quarter measure up against your reputational goals?