Advertising has plenty of tried and true mantras—”you have to spend money to make money,” or, “make them an offer they can’t refuse”—but there is an important truth that all these popular tips and tricks aren’t quite grasping: people are aching for story! So how can you incorporate story into everything you do as an advertiser? Native advertising and “advertorials” could be a great way to give your product or services a narrative feel, but that’s just a start. Ask: What’s the story behind what you’re selling? How can you break down the walls between marketer and consumer? How can you reveal your humanity as an advertiser? With a constant inundation of products and services, it is easy to scroll right past an ad; story-driven media always catches more eyes.
Take a hint from entrepreneur Joy Mangano, whose story you may recognize from the recent Academy Award-nominated movie “Joy.” She made a product that improved her everyday life as a busy mom, homeowner, and employee. She wanted to sell it to others because she knew it would eliminate some of their everyday struggles, as well. She sold her “miracle mop,” her most notorious invention, to QVC. The interesting piece of the story is that initially product sales were low, until QVC let her on the show to sell the mop herself. No one else could sell her product like she could. When she presented her story of how and why she made the mop, her invention practically sold itself!
If you really want people to buy your product, you have to bring them into a story. Stories give us a context in which to understand ourselves and the world around us. Advertising is a perfect opportunity to tell yours—make the most of it.
Kirsten Privett is our email operation ringmaster, who oversees all house Newsletter and Eblast production.
Posted in Advertising Tips
Sending out promotional emails can be a tricky task. Appealing to the audience and capturing as many clicks as possible requires careful thought and testing. Try some of these simple tips to improve your open and click-through rates and effectively promote your products and services.
- Subject line appeal. Your subject line is the reader’s first impression if you use email. Keep it short and simple, but interesting. Ask a question or leave it open-ended to encourage the reader to open the email. Try to keep your subject line under 50 characters.
- Have a clear all to action. What is the main action you want the audience to take? Download a free resource? Preorder a book? Purchase a Bible study? Make sure your desired action is clear, and provide an easy way for the reader to respond.
- Include a special offer. Get the reader excited by offering something new, exclusive, free, or at a discount.
- Use a clean design. Don’t clutter the e-blast with too much text or small images. Keep the design clean, simple, and attention-grabbing. Using one full image or a series of images is an easy way to offer an appealing, clean design and make the email user-friendly.
- Make links easy to click. Use buttons and images to encourage readers to click. Keep them near the top of the email and don’t bury your links in text or at the very bottom of your email. Include the links multiple times so the readers don’t have to search for them.
- Target to a specific audience. Send to an audience who will already have an interest in the type of product you’re offering for easy clicks.
Taking some of these basic steps can quickly improve your e-blasts, and continuing to test and adjust over time will offer valuable date for your future mailings.
Posted in Advertising Tips, Email Marketing
As an editor, I certainly believe that language is powerful. The right words, in the right order (with the right punctuation, of course) can truly inspire people to do all kinds of things.
One of the most powerful ways marketers can harness the power of words is through a clear, direct call to action. This is no easy feat. So when I came across this blog post from WordStream on “7 Ideas for Upgrading Your Call to Action,” I thought immediately of the marketers we work with at Christianity Today, and how these tips might help craft even more compelling calls to action.
Sometimes it’s as simple as changing one word. They suggest changing the word “your” to “my”—this conveys ownership on the part of the reader. In one experiment described in the post, a marketer at Unbounce found that making this simple change on one client’s account led to a 90 percent increase in click-through rate.
Other times, applying a mental framework helps shape the words of an effective call to action. A great one, they say, could be prefaced by the words “I want to…” This leads to strong action words that immediately connect with the target audience’s felt needs.
For more ideas, check out the full post here.
Laura Leonard is managing editor of IgniteYourFaith.com, ChristianCollegeGuide.net, and SeminaryGradSchool.com, as well as the special advertising sections in Christianity Today magazine.
Posted in Advertising Tips, Email Marketing, Online Advertising
When gauging the effectiveness of a campaign, most advertisers are concerned about the numbers. Results are crucial to demonstrating the effectiveness of an ad campaign. However, my more experienced marketers know the importance of a long-term campaign rather than a one-time, or one-month, campaign.
“It’s critical for marketers to understand how advertising affects brand value over time, as well as how it’s connected to brand loyalty,” said a recent Nielsen report. “Most advertising models show that loyalty is the largest driver of brand choice. The data from a recent study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) makes it clear that the higher the loyalty, the higher the future brand sales will be.”
Advertising that builds strong consumer connections typically drive sales long-term, but also drives brand loyalty and total brand value. By connecting with the Christianity Today ministry for your advertising, you are reaching highly-educated, faith-centered, influential decision-makers, from pastors and church leaders to lay people within the church. We help to create a niche audience that is responsive and engaged over the long-term. Because our audience is loyal to our publications, our stats are typically better than the industry standard. We represent a trusted voice in this world.
Explore the advertising possibilities Christianity Today has to offer and talk with your Account Executive today to help you craft a long-term advertising plan and start seeing the benefits of advertising with a Christ-centered ministry and connecting with like-minded Christians.
Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Print Advertising
Last week Google rolled out a new mobile-friendly search update; this long-awaited and much-hyped update has been designed to boost the search rankings of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Back in November 2014, Google rolled out the mobile-friendly tag on mobile search results, and this new update follows in a similar vein. In their latest announcement, Google described the new update as helping searchers “more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”
With only one week passed since the update launched, it’s hard to say how much of an impact the change has had on search rankings. Google has said that the update may take time to reach full effect, but there are a few details we already know:
- Google will now use the “mobile friendliness” of a page as one of the signals that are used in search ranking.
- The update only applies to searches performed on mobile devices.
- The update applies to individual pages, not entire websites. So, if the single page or article is mobile-friendly, it can still get the boost, even if the rest of your site is not.
So, what does this update mean for you?
First, don’t panic if you haven’t yet built a mobile site. There are still over 200 signals other than mobile friendliness that Google uses when ranking pages. Remember, this update only applies to mobile users and doesn’t impact desktop searches at all.
Next, check how your site looks to a mobile user. Google has tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test that can help. Make sure you weigh the potential costs vs. benefits of developing a mobile site. For some, it may only require a few adjustments to current settings or templates, but for others it might mean a completely new site design.
Regardless of how your site is designed, what your market segment is, or what your online strategy looks like, Google is sending a strong message with this update: they view mobile search as a different experience from desktops, and are going to give mobile-friendly sites an advantage.
As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock is our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.
Posted in Web Analytics
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