How to Grab People with Catchier Subject Lines

Too often, B2B marketers agonize over the text and graphics of their email campaign, only to slap on a subject line almost as an afterthought. Since the content is often technical, their subject lines get technical too, which might not entice people to read. So how do you grab people with catchier subject lines?

• Brevity is important. Try hard to keep the subject line to 50 characters or less. Think about those poor mobile users.
• Pay attention to keywords that are trending with your target audience. It might be the name of regulation or a hot issue like “cyber hacking.”
• Give a benefit. Make the audience smarter, faster, better.
• Put the most important words up front—the meat of your subject line can easily drop off the end of your mobile phone inbox.
• Pique their curiosity. Put in a fact the reader might not know. Try a play on words since everyone loves wit. Tee up what they will learn. There is a reason you see lines that read like this: “5 Ways to Engage Your Board.”
• Use the word “New.” Sounds simple but it causes people to pause, as they are afraid they are missing something. But make sure the content is truly new.
• Make it actionable. What should they do after they read the content? Change a corporate policy, call their advisor, or sign up for a seminar, to name a few.
• Pose a question. A question engages the reader to stop and consider the subject.

Of course the challenge is always getting it done in 50 characters. Who knew Twitter’s 140 would seem like a tome.

Are You Ready for Google’s “Mobilegeddon?”

If you’ve been spending too much time at your desktop computer, chances are you may not be ready for Google’s April 21st “Mobilegeddon.” Huh?

Starting Tuesday, April 21, all mobile Google searches will favor sites that are “mobile-friendly.”  And that could change how your firm’s website shows up using the search giant’s much coveted SEO. Google explained it as: “[Users] will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.” Makes sense considering that 60% of search originates from mobile devices.

Make no mistake, this is a big change. Google has been warning folks for over two months now that this day would come. Last year, they dipped their toe in with the “mobile-friendly initiative” but now they are getting tough.

What Can You Do?

Want to know how your site scores? Google has a tool for that:

If you have been tasked with getting ready, Google has also put together a getting started page:

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Five Steps for Improving your LinkedIn Profile in Just Five Minutes

It has been on your to-do list forever, hasn’t it? Updating your LinkedIn profile can seem daunting. And for good reason. The site is constantly adding more features and capabilities at what feels like a dizzying rate. Don’t get me wrong, more is definitely better. But keeping up with the pack can be time consuming. Don’t fret. Here are five simple LinkedIn changes that will boost your profile in just five minutes.

Create a custom URL

This is the quickest, simplest change that has a huge positive effect on your LinkedIn profile. It is also one you want to jump on right away, especially if you have a common name. LinkedIn automatically generates a long and ugly URL for your profile, but also allows you to customize it. All you have to do is follow these simple steps. Most people use their first and last names. The result is something like Not only does a custom URL look more professional, but it also helps with sharing. Instead of sending a long URL with all kinds of numbers and letters to your contacts, you can send one that is concise, logical, and memorable. It is also much simpler to print on business cards or resumes.

Create a better headline

If your headline is just your title, I have one word for you: boring. I can find your title right below your headline, so repeating it is useless. Your headline is the perfect opportunity to brand yourself, so make it juicy. Remember your target audience, of course, and tailor your headline to what you think will resonate most with them. Here is a list of brilliant headlines that communicate much more than a job title. Some of my favorites are from a writer who says, “Cut me and I bleed content,” or the editor who states, “Wordsmith with proved ability to translate business objectives into communications strategies and tactics.”

Drop in some multimedia

Ever write a blog post? Have any visual samples of your work online? What about YouTube videos or links to webinars? Add them! Here are some simple step-by-step instructions. Multimedia makes your profile more dynamic and gives you some quick credibility. And don’t be shy. The samples don’t have to be of work you single handedly accomplished. Even if it is work you contributed to, feel free to throw it up there with a description of what you did.

Add something personal

Here is another easy one. Take a look at your summary (Note: If you don’t have a summary, add one). If it is all about work, take another look. Are you mountain biker? Trapeze artist? Scrapbooker? Try to slip in a sentence or two about what you enjoy outside of the office. Don’t overdo it; just a quick mention is enough. This humanizes you and makes you more likeable. Besides, you never know whom it may resonate with.

Join a group

Well, you should join a few groups, but lets start with just one. Groups are a great way to get more involved with LinkedIn and become an active participant rather than a passive observer. They are also a great way to meet and connect with prospective clients. Find and join groups by following these easy steps. Look for groups that apply to your industry or topics of interest. Ready to take it to the next level? Tune into group discussions and posts, and if you find a thread that you can contribute to, chime in. This is a great way to establish expertise and grow your network.

A Marketer’s Guide to Top 5 Web Trends in 2015

By Jeff Yerkey
Web & Interactive Director, Right Hat

Many companies will be celebrating 20 years on the Web this year. Saying websites have come a long way since those first static HTML black and blue text pages of 1995 is an understatement. Web design and technology has exploded in the past few years and 2015 promises to be no exception.

The top 5 trends we expect in 2015 are below:

1. Web Everywhere

The rousing chant of “Internet everywhere” and (shoot me now) the “Internet of Things” is in full swing and it’s a safe bet to say that smartphones, particularly “phablet” tablet/phones, will be out in front. To that end, we expect to see virtually 100% of new websites being built as responsive design or in other words a site that will work regardless of size or type of device you view it on.

Perkins Coie's new Responsive website optimizes and resizes based upon device

Perkins Coie’s new Responsive website optimizes and resizes based upon device

And while your website may not need to display on a toaster just yet, if it’s not responsive, you’ll soon be thrown to the wayside by mobile visitors.

Things to keep in mind this year are:

The Buzz

2. Flat Design

Hang on to your hats! Although surprising to most savvy designers, the Redmond-based giant Microsoft was the innovator in flat design. They created a simple “tile-based” user interface on Windows “Metro” 8 and Windows Phone. This spurred Google and Apple to follow suit.

Flatland: Clockwise from top left: Microsoft Windows Phone 8; icon, iPhone IOS 8; Google Material Design concept illustration

Flatland: Clockwise from top left: Microsoft Windows Phone 8; icon, iPhone IOS 8; Google Material Design concept illustration

Flat design means that websites load faster, scale better and are easier to read on all devices. It provides a foundation upon which designers can render an exceptional experience to the visitor through rich CSS web fonts, scalable vector graphics (SVG) instead of blurrier JPEGs, and more clear-cut content via layout conventions such as Google’s card design.

The Buzz

3. Beautiful Experience

With the technical superiority of HTML5, Retina image support and CSS, 2015’s websites will look sharper, more vibrant and more expansive.

Webfonts will continue to provide companies with brand-specific fonts that scale perfectly and provide razor-sharp rendering.

Greater bandwidth and the rise of visual-based website coding options like SquareSpace will mean a more widespread use of large-scale videos and backgrounds in order to uniquely brand websites.

Expansive video and large scale Webfonts make Greenpeace's Into the Arctic microsite Dramatic and moving.

Expansive video and large scale web fonts make Greenpeace’s ‘Into the Arctic’ microsite dramatic and moving.

Retina-style photos, which are twice as sharp as traditional web images mean bigger jaw-dropping images that scale much better to tablets and smartphones.

Combine all this with richer, lusher colors (like Pantone’s Color of Year 2015, Marsala) and you have no reason to have a boring looking site.

The Buzz

4. Enhanced Storytelling

Whether it’s a splashy infographic conveying stats in a graphically compelling way, animated GIFs showing off an action over time or parallax structure helping tell a complex story by scrolling, there are a myriad of ways to tell your brand story. So don’t tell it with mere words!

Impressive HTML5 animations, parallax scrolling and layered stories make this site a winner.

Impressive HTML5 animations, parallax scrolling and layered stories make this site a winner.

Subtle animations can draw the eye to tidbits that help pull visitors into more comprehensive pages. Such effects work together when you think of your brand as best conveyed through graphical storytelling.

And lastly (for the geeks among us) are browser cookies, which can be used to set and track user history and preferences to make subsequent visits to your site more personal and meaningful.

The Buzz

5. Fresh Navigation Models

Divining the depth and breath of your website – and the user’s travels while visiting – has never been more exciting. Driving this excitement are new, splashier types of navigation. We all want the nav to get out-of-the-way when we’re focused on content. And on smartphones, every square pixel’s space counts. In a way, it reminds us of a movie narrator: ease me in to the experience, explain the sticky parts and then get the hell out of my way. The show must go on!

Changes to site navigation are happening at opposite ends of the spectrum and in 2015, we see them meeting in the middle.

On desktops, we want to always be able to find our way through the use of pinned navigation or navicons (the “hamburger” menu) that are always present, like Downton’s favorite head butler, Mr. Carson; but when clicked, spring to center stage with large and well-designed menus that contextually guide the visitor.

New York's Museum of Modern Art features special exhibition with hamburger-style menu, giving way to full frame navigation

New York’s Museum of Modern Art features special exhibition with hamburger-style menu, giving way to full frame navigation

When triggered, these mega-menus must be well designed and easy to parse. But don’t overlook that navigation can also incorporate a small feature or story that visitors weren’t even expecting.

Navigation mega-menus also provide a core branding area that can visually support your strategic goals while sending users to areas they might not think to visit. (Web surfing anyone?) Use it as an ancillary pitch space.

On smartphones a tap should reveal just enough choice so as not to overwhelm and confuse the person standing up on the train trying to find her page. This is the essence of “who, what, when and where” (save “why” for the destination) navicon hamburger menus.

The Buzz

Bravery in Branding: How to Put Teeth in Your Messaging Without Getting Bitten

If you missed Elonide’s presentation to the LMASE chapter on May 6th, not to worry. You can find the slides below, or on Slideshare.

Elonide discussed how most firms understand they are competing in a crowded marketplace, yet many continue to send watered-down messaging that blends in rather than stands out. Differentiation comes from having the guts to communicate your firm’s authentic value, and to communicate it in a different way. Style is as important as substance. That is how you get noticed. And more importantly, how you get remembered. But just being brave isn’t enough. There have been enough Twitter fiascos to prove that. You have to be smart, too. She shared strategies for choosing the right risks to take so you get remembered for the right reasons.