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Google temporarily disables issue validation in Search Console

Yet another feature has been disabled in Google Search Console, this comes months after Google disabled the request indexing tool.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Should Your Brand Use Controversial Advertising? 10 Examples to Help You Decide

In the beginning of 2019, people were tweeting pictures of razors submerged at the bottom of their toilet bowls. No, this wasn’t a wacky teen challenge to make dads late for work. It was a protest against Gillette’s latest advertisement, one that confronts toxic masculinity.

Brands that craft controversial advertisements like Gillette’s, however, expect this type of response, at least from some people. Taking any kind of stance on potentially sensitive social issues tends to lead to some form of disagreement.

But authentically advocating for the causes you truly believe in usually has more pros than cons.

“Even if publicizing your beliefs may ostracize some potential customers, it also builds deep loyalty for those who share your values — particularly values like celebrating equality and inclusion, which many people support, regardless of political affiliation,” Joe Lazauskas, the Head of Content Strategy at Contently, wrote in an article after the divisive 2016 presidential election. “The same goes for expressing concern and support for the diverse people who work for you. Loyalty isn’t just a marketing metric; it’s also critical for measuring the internal health of your company.”

Executed properly and from a place of genuine support, controversial ads can be an unexpected, emotional delight that can not only deepen your connection with your core audience, but can also help you reach new audiences. For instance, after Gillette released their ad challenging toxic masculinity, Adweek discovered the campaign actually resonated with women the most.

The Psychology Behind Controversial Advertising

People usually read and share opinionated content because it aligns with their own values. And by letting the world know about their beliefs, they can solidify an ideal image of themselves within their social circle and their own minds.

Opinionated content also has a knack for making people think and consider other points of view, which builds more loyal audiences because it can teach people something new and help shape their perspective on life.

But while controversial ads can generate more buzz than other types of ads, if executed poorly or in a merely performative manner, they can be detrimental to your brand. For instance, consider SNL’s hilarious skit of ad executives pitching commercial ideas to the snack brand Cheetos.

Although SNL isn’t specifically giving controversial advertising a ribbing, they’re poking fun at the way brands exploit sensitive social issues to peddle their products instead of what they should be doing when covering these types of topics — encouraging productive conversations.

Creating a controversial ad with a merely commercial motive is a one way ticket to receiving Kendall Jenner & Pepsi type of feedback (we’ll cover this later). In other words, it can spark harsh backlash and bad publicity instead of meaningful dialogue.

So how do you avoid this type of negative response if you want to create a controversial advertising campaign? Below, we’ll analyze three controversial advertising examples that work and two that don’t to help you support the causes you genuinely believe in and better connect with audiences.

Controversial Advertising Examples That Work

1. Anheuser-Busch | Born The Hard Way

Anheuser-Busch’s ad about their founder’s origin story makes people realize that something so fundamentally American, like Budweiser beer, can have immigrant roots.

Budweiser is commonly associated with themes of American patriotism, so taking a stance on immigration, which is a controversial issue in the United States, conflicted with some of the brand’s most loyal customers’ political beliefs. But taking this social stance also led to a meaningful dialogue about how immigrants have founded some of America’s most iconic brands.

By telling a gripping and emotional story about the founding of their company, Anheuser-Busch could take a stance on an important issue that’s essential to their brand and connect with the people who understand that the United States is country of immigrants, helping the ad garner more than 21.7 million views in only three days.

2. Nike | Dream Crazy

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” is an accurate life motto for Colin Kaepernick, a professional American football player. In the 2016 NFL season, he stoked controversy by kneeling during the National Anthem before the start of every game as a protest against racial inequality.

Unfortunately, all the controversy associated with him has basically barred him from the NFL — no team hasn’t signed him since his controversial 2016 season. Yet, admirably, he still advocates for the causes he supported during his protests.

Along with Kaepernick’s story, Nike’s “Dream Crazy” weaves in other narratives of athletes who followed ambitious dreams to eventual success. And Nike made it clear that they want to help Colin Kaepernick achieve his dream of a righteous world, no matter how crazy it seems right now.

“Dream Crazy”, while highly controversial, resonated with millions of people. Just days after they released the ad, Nike’s sales soared by 31%, despite videos of their gear engulfed in flames circulating throughout social media.

3. Heineken | Worlds Apart

In Heineken’s “Worlds Apart”, people were paired together and asked to build stools and a bar together. After they completed the activity and developed some rapport with each other, pre-recorded videos starting playing and revealed that their political views were actually the polar opposite of each others. They were then asked if they would discuss their differences over a beer. All of them said a resounding “yes”.

Making an ad where people with such differing political views actually engage in meaningful dialogue and don’t just belittle each other is a risky move. A lot of people have a fiery passion for their political beliefs and won’t associate with people who don’t agree with them. But that’s ultimately why Worlds Apart was met with rave reviews and called “The Antidote to Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner Ad” — it focuses on putting our differences aside to work for a greater cause together, not Heineken’s product.

4. Burger King | Whopper Neutrality

Net neutrality regulation was repealed in the United States in 2018. Leading up to this decision, many Americans debated whether this would be a good or bad thing, but many more didn’t understand what the fuss was about.

Burger King aimed to explain and persuade with their “Whopper neutrality” analogy where customers pay a premium to get their food delivered fast.

Despite net neutrality being irrelevant to burgers, the campaign resulted in $67 million in earned media and 3.8% sales growth — while igniting conversations about the issue among everyday people and celebrities alike.

5. Poo~Pourri | Girls Don’t Poop

It’s not every day you see a post where the protagonist is sitting on the toilet. Culturally, going to the bathroom is an “inappropriate” or “crass” topic. Despite this, Poo~Pourri brings it front and center for their odor removal product.

Needless to say, this could’ve gone down poorly. However, the comical dialogue, impeccable production, and endearing relatability earned positive reactions from audiences. In fact, it was viewed 17 million times in just a month.

6. Lane Bryant | #ThisBody

In 2016, Lane Bryant launched their #ThisBody campaign, promoting their plus-sized clothing line in conjunction with radical body positivity. The ad features several plus-sized models declaring how they feel about their bodies and what they can do in an effort to change cultural perception and make a stand against body shaming. However, the ad was pulled by ABC and NBC for showing “too much skin.” Critics claimed the ad was no more risque than other underwear ads.

The networks proposed to re-air the ad once Lane Bryant made some minor edits, but the retailer refused, launching it on social media instead where it received viral levels of positive engagement.

Controversial Advertising Examples That Don’t Work

1. Pepsi | Live for Now

If you think long and hard about it, could a can of Pepsi really mend the complex rifts that divide the entire world right now? Nope. Not at all. Even worse, is Kendall Jenner really an integral part of any social justice movement, or was she just there because she’s a famous celebrity who can grab almost anyone’s attention? You probably know the answer to this question by now.

After receiving five times as many downvotes as upvotes on YouTube and a glut of bad publicity and negative reactions on social media, Pepsi removed the ad from their channel only a few hours after posting it.

If you want to avoid this type of response when creating controversial content, don’t emphasize your product more than the issue at hand. All advertisements are technically self-serving, but people can spot overly promotional fluff masquerading as social justice faster than they’ll click exit on a pop-up ad. So if you don’t truly feel convicted to support a specific social cause when creating controversial content, it’s best to not even put pen to paper.

2. Miracle Mattress | Twin Towers

Labor Day, Veterans Day, and even Memorial Day are prime holidays for furniture sales. However, San Antonia mattress company Miracle Mattress created a controversial video to promote a September 11th sale.

In the video meant to be an edgy parody, two stacks of twin mattresses are toppled over, and the Miracle Mattress employee says, “We will never forget.”

The ad was seen as insensitive rather than provocative, making light of the lives lost on September 11th. The company faced severe media backlash and closed its doors as a result.

3. Hyundai | Pipe Job

Speaking of, the whole goal of provocative narrative and imagery is to prompt an emotional response and, in effect, stand out.

Hyundai set out to do this when promoting their lowered emissions with an ad featuring an attempted suicide. The man featured in the ad was unable to take his own life due to the exhaust being made up primarily of harmless water vapor.

The ad was pulled after airing for only a day, criticized as being disturbing at best and, at worst, mocking toward suicide attempt survivors and suicide loss survivors.

4. Nationwide | Boy

It starts out as an adorable story about a boy who seems to lack self-confidence, but Nationwide’s “Boy” turns shockingly dark when it’s revealed that the main character can’t live a normal childhood because he’s actually dead.

Child accidents are a serious problem that should be addressed, but this ad was criticized for being too fear-mongering and manipulative — it literally uses the death of children to sell insurance.

So even if your ad highlights a prevalent problem, make sure it doesn’t exploit a potentially sensitive issue just to peddle more product. Otherwise, it might get crowned as the worst ad of the year.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in January 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Predictive Marketing: What it Is & How to Leverage It

After months of working on a marketing campaign, nothing’s worse than realizing you aren’t seeing the results you expected.

Unfortunately, many of us have been there. We’ve put all of our creative effort, time, and numerous resources into a campaign that sounded like a great idea, but had nowhere near the expected ROI or engagement. Then, on top of watching our project fail, we’ve had to deal with the awkward scenario of sharing bad performance data with our teams.

No matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to know exactly how well a campaign will do before you run it. However, there’s a strategy that gets pretty close.

It’s called predictive marketing.

While predictive marketing sounds like some futuristic technology you’d only see on a show like Westworld, using data to estimate an outcome isn’t new.

Predictive marketing is fueled by predictive analytics, which dates back to the 1930s. It enabled mathematicians and computers to calculate and analyze the possible successes, failures, and results of various scenarios — such as health or weather conditions.

Later, in the 1990s, when analytics tools became more available to brands, marketers at companies like eBay and Amazon began to combine marketing data with similar formulas or algorithms to predict and strategize around potential consumer behaviors, purchases, and marketing campaign performance.

In the early 2000s, with the presence of “Big Data” many more brands and online advertising platforms embraced predictive analytics and marketing technology.

Now, predictive marketing is all around us. Below are just a few common instances of it, along with explanations of how brands can leverage it.

Examples of Predictive Marketing

1. Predictive Product Suggestions

Have you ever considered buying a product, researched it, and then saw the same product — or a very similar one — in a promotion that showed up on a social media feed, in your email inbox, streaming platform, or another website’s banner? You’re not alone.

Ecommerce site algorithms regularly collect data about your product interests based on what you’ve viewed or purchased from them. Then, these algorithms use that data to predict which products you’re most likely to buy next. This data is then used in the ecommerce ad or promotion a prospect sees.

Need an example? Below is an EyeBuyDirect ad that appeared on my Facebook News Feed.

As an EyeBuyDirect customer, I’ve bought many pairs of glasses with similar styles, shapes, or patterns to the pairs seen in the ad above. To compare, here are two of my recent purchases:

Glasses purchased on EyeBuyDirectglasses suggested by EyeBuyDirect predictive marketing

If I needed new glasses, EyeBuyDirrect’s ad would be very appealing to me because it shows product offerings I’m very likely to view or buy.

Rather than presenting the same ad or product to every audience member, predictive marketing tools can help you to direct customers to products they might be most interested in.

If you’re planning to bring your business online and want to use predictive marketing to make more sales, several affordable ecommerce tools enable you to send predictive product suggestions to your audiences. You can learn more about them here.

2. Predictive Lead Scoring

Predictive marketing doesn’t just stop after you get a contact, customer, or lead.

Once you build up your list of contacts, you’ll want to continue marketing to them or potentially direct them to a sales rep. But, if you try to market your brand continuously to every single one of your new contacts, you might waste serious time if they aren’t serious about buying your product or signing up for more content.

To avoid giving too much time to unqualified leads, brands can use tools like HubSpot’s Predictive Lead Scoring feature to analyze contact data profiles and estimate which prospects are most likely to make a deal in the future.

predictive marketing tools on HubSpot

When you have a huge database of contacts with varying levels of interest in your product, brand, or service, predictive lead scoring data like that above can give you insight on which prospects to prioritize in your marketing or sales efforts first. In turn, this could give you a leg up on brands that waste crucial time and resources on deals that never happen.

3. Automated Social Media Suggestions

A handful of social media tools, including HubSpot Marketing Hub, use predictive analytics and audience data to estimate and suggest the best times to post your content on a given channel.

On top of simple content timing suggestions, some tools go even deeper with social media content predictions. For example, when social media managers upload two or more images to the social media scheduling tool, Cortex, the platform will use historical data to determine which photo’s colors will be most eye-catching to followers.

Cortex social post dashboard powered by AI

Image Source

On top of the social media tools that can suggest strategies based on predicted outcomes, social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest also offer some predictive tools within their ads platforms.

For example, in 2018, news outlets obtained documents from Facebook revealing that it secretly launched a “Predictive Loyalty” feature within its ads. The feature reportedly analyzes Facebook user behavior, interests, page likes, and other data points to circulate ads to people that had the highest likelihood of clicking them, rather than just directing ads to a brand’s audience targets.

Since Facebook’s predictive advertising news, Twitter’s also acknowledged that it uses predictive ad algorithms specifically for movies, TV, and entertainment-related promotions.

Aside from predictive ad targeting, social platforms like Facebook and Pinterest also use algorithms to make predictions related to multivariate or A/B testing. With these types of tests, a brand will often submit two or more variations of their ad. When the ad goes live, the social media platforms will immediately analyze which variation is clicked on the most and predict which will have the best conversion outcome. From there, social media ads will begin to display the winning variation.

4. Customer Churn Prevention Tools

While many marketers focus primarily on gaining new customers, some might focus on creating content and offerings that continue to engage, retain, and even upsell current customers.

But, sometimes, it can be hard to tell when customers need new, engaging content or when they’re likely to churn. That’s why some major companies have implemented predictive analytics as well as marketing strategies to identify and re-engage customers that are about to churn.

Take Sprint for example. Back in 2014, when the cell-phone giant saw an all-time high customer churn rate, marketers and service reps began to use predictive analytics tools to determine which customers were most likely to cancel their service. Once they did this, they were able to target those customers with re-engagement communications, messaging, and special offers that would keep them signed up.

According to a case study, Sprint’s predictive strategy led to a 10% decrease in customer churn, and an 800% increase in upgrades within 90 days of implementation.

While your brand might not be able to implement complex, customer churn prediction tools, there are other ways you can use data to predict and prevent lost audiences.

For example, by tracking email engagement data and which contacts are less likely to open or click on emails, you can create a list segment of contacts that are at-risk of unsubscribing and send a re-engagement email like the one below:

C:\Users\Disha Bhatt\Pictures\Reengage\reengagement-email-retail.jpg

5. Predictive SEO Tactics

As a marketer, a major part of your job might involve creating blog posts, web pages, or other online content aimed to attract and convert audiences. Because search engines can provide major traffic wins and brand awareness to brands, you’ll likely want to produce valuable content that shows up on page one.

But, once you’ve landed your high search result page position and gained solid organic traffic, you can use predictive data to prevent the future loss of your ranking and all the traffic that comes with it.

This process, called predictive SEO, is when content strategists use traffic and search ranking analytics to determine if a web page is at risk of losing its traffic momentum from search engines.

For HubSpot, our predictive SEO process involves using our At-Risk Content Tool — which analyzes data from SEMRush, Ahrefs, and other software — to determine when we’re losing our ranking on search engine pages.

For example, if one of our posts shows up in the first spot on a Google search result page, then steadily goes down to spot three or four, our At-Risk Content Tool might flag the post as in danger of losing search traffic.

Here’s what our At-Risk Content spreadsheet looks like. When a blog post begins to see declines that could potentially continue, a formula in the spreadsheet notes the blog post as “At-Risk” in the Status column on the right:

HubSpot predictive SEO strategy

If you’re a marketer who focuses primarily on web content, creating a strategy like this can proactively help you monitor the performance of many web pages at once, learn when old content really needs an update, or identify old content strategies or formats that need to be re-worked — all before you lose major search traffic.

Want to replicate the predictive SEO strategy above? Here’s a detailed post with the full step-by-step process we used.

What to Know When Using Predictive Marketing

While predictive marketing can be a handy tool for justifying a new tactic or strategy, there are important things marketers should keep in mind if they want to leverage it.

  • It’s not perfect: Even if an algorithm or marketing formula seems to give accurate estimates 99% of the time, the fact that marketing strategies rely on human engagement to succeed can cause a prediction to be wrong. While you can use predictive marketing data to justify investments or proposed strategies, you should have a plan for what to do if unexpected results occur.
  • It can be pricey: While some predictive tools, such as HubSpot, can be affordable and easily accessible to smaller brands, other tools and predictive marketing projects that require analyzing large amounts of data can get costly. Be sure to start with scaleable affordable predictive tools or tactics first.
  • It requires data: While some tools, such as ad or SEO software have access to historical consumer data, creating your own predictive marketing strategy from scratch might require you to have your own data set. Collecting, cleaning, and organizing this data so a predictive tool or algorithm can leverage it can take quite a lot of time which should be built into your predictive strategy.

Want to learn more about how predictive analytics and data can fuel your marketing strategy? Click here for a handy blog post, or download the free resource below.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

How to get started in Google Analytics 4

Transitioning from Universal Google Analytics to Google Analytics 4 can seem daunting, but if you start to organize your data strategy now, the transition can be seamless and easy.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

Do Display URLs Matter in Paid Search?

Does the URL displayed in your ad make an impact on performance? In this article, we are going to show you that it can make a difference.


Reblogged 1 year ago from

SEO and cybersecurity: Incorporating cybersecurity into your SEO strategy

30-second summary:

  • Website security directly impacts the SEO performance of the website, as the non-compliance with the security requirements can cause low rankings or Google penalties.
  • Blacklisting, malicious bots interfering with the crawling process, and spam attacks are among the main consequences of low website security.
  • The “site not available” warning, the presence of strange JavaScript code, not working login credentials and frequent error messages can be the warning signs of a cyberattack on your website.
  • Making security checks a part of your SEO strategy would help you create a website that is resistant to cybersecurity attacks.

Every site needs to be secure and there are no “too small” or “too unnecessary” sites for malicious attacks. Online businesses are fully centered on high search rankings for online reputation and profits. For this purpose, they often implement the most effective SEO tactics, from link building to great content marketing, to land up on the front page of Google search. Nevertheless, apart from delivering the best content to the users, Google is also aimed at making the internet a safe environment, hence placing importance on websites’ cybersecurity practices.

In fact, hacks may not only be destructive for your reputation but also for your site’s organic search performance. Hence, cybersecurity and SEO go hand in hand towards building a firm’s online reputation. If the website doesn’t mean the latest security compliance it can be blacklisted by Google, suffer from spam attacks or activities of malicious bots. 

So we want to share effective advice on how to recognize the security vulnerabilities in time, how to integrate the security checks into your development strategy, why you should regularly scan your website, and how to protect your local networks. 

Four main steps to improve website security

Security or the absence of security may seriously affect your SEO. We all know that the HTTP certificate is no longer a reliable way to secure the site and the HTTPS has, for the most part, become the poster boy of the security standard. In 2014, Google started to prioritize the sites with HTTPS in the search results. 

Focusing on SEO and security will help your business to step on the steer of success. The struggle to improve the website’s ranking and keeping it cybersecurity is common for many companies so here what we suggest:

#1: Learn to recognize the earliest warning signs

Cyber attacks can cause malicious bots activity. Bots will always represent a part of your traffic but not all bots are harmless to the site’s security. Cybercriminals, however, launch bots to crawl sites in the search for vulnerable parts, data theft, or content crapping. Malicious bots use the same bandwidth as the “good” bots and normal visitors do. If your server is a subject of repetitive tasks by malicious bots, it may lead to the server to stop serving pages. 

Cybercriminals always rely on the website’s weak sides to hack it. Thus, it’s essential to stay ahead and pay attention to the following warning signs of cyberattacks that are supposed to make your inner radar shout. Cybercriminals can cause malicious bots activity. 

Google Alerts and notifications

In case you received a Google alert notification or see a “Site not available” warning in search results, we have bad news. This is a sign that your website has been hacked. To confirm this fact, go to the Google Search Console, the Security Issues section, and look for the hacked URLs that Google has detected.

Presence of strange JavaScript code

The presence of a weird Java code in the source code of your website is a reliable alert sign. Javascript codes are often used by hackers to steal precious personal data like credit card details or passwords from your site. If you see any trace of strange-looking code, get rid of it immediately. 

Your login credentials don’t work

Not hard to guess that something goes wrong when you enter the valid login info and get the “wrong password” notification. Your login credentials have been altered by cybercriminals. 

You get frequent random popups or error messages

More than half of malicious attacks on websites are performed by “black” SEO’s who are aimed at improving their own site’s ranking. They target the sites with prominent search rankings and insert links or use Javascript to redirect users to their own malicious websites. SEO spamming allows scammers to use high-ranking websites in order to promote low-quality content to low masses and, consequently, push their rankings. SEO spam has several negative impacts:

  1. The site will get blacklisted by the search engine.
  2. The site’s spam ranking may reduce the site’s ranking
  3. The business reputation will get dramatically spoiled as visitors will see lots of spamming content.

Very often hackers use cross-site scripting or insert their own code into the source code of your website to bypass its security system. So if you get any kind of these notifications, don’t ignore them. It’s time to run a serious scan in order to discover the malicious software.

#2: Make security check a part of your developing strategy

If you ever become the subject of a cyber attack, financial losses are not the only concerning consequence. The compromised website may face a range of penalties by Google and distort the search results. When potential customers will look for your website, they will most probably first meet a warning page that will dissuade them from visiting your site. Consequently, it is essential to make cybersecurity a part of your SEO strategy.

Trusting Google alerts is a good piece of advice there’s more than that to be done. Learn to predict the possible threats and control the cybersecurity level. In addition to involving your team of IT-specialists, hire one more cybersecurity professional. Only a qualified specialist will help you discover the site’s vulnerabilities and elaborate on the cyber protection strategy for your eCommerce business.

#3: Use effective scanning tools

One more way to get rid of malicious intervention is by using a file malware scanner. The system looks at the website code to check web pages for malware or strange PHP or HTML files on your server. The examples of scanners that can prevent your site from being penalized, blacklisted, and maintain your search engine rankings are Sucuri SiteCheck or Web Inspector. 

In addition, open-source web analytics tools like AWStats can scan your log files for suspicious activity. This tool offers data on every bot that crawled your site, bandwidth consumed, last crawled date, and total hits, allowing you to detect malicious activity.

For example, a bot’s throughput does not exceed a few megabytes per month. If you face thousands of page hits from a single IP address within a short time period the available bandwidth will be limited.

Finally, use tools like Ahrefs and Majestic to check your backlink profile. They will not only improve your site’s SEO but also track down unnecessary backlinks from SEO spammers.

#4: Protect your security and privacy with VPN

No matter where you are in a remote area, at home, or office, local network security should be tightened under any circumstances. A large network is highly susceptible to human error, and the risks cannot be underestimated compared to a small network. All users need to ensure that they’re compliant with all standard security measures. Despite the time and place of their work, they must ensure that the traffic is controlled with the Web Application Firewall and the connections are encrypted with a stable VPN.  

There are three main ways in which a VPN significantly increases the security of your website. First, it encrypts all the sensitive data, so hackers can’t access it. Second, VPN intercepts any malicious software or phishing attempts stopping them from infiltrating your system. And third, VPNs are a must-have for companies having remote employees who might be accessing companies’ systems using public hotspots as doing that without a VPN can lead to security vulnerabilities. 

Today’s market does not experience any shortage of quality VPN suppliers. So do your research and choose the VPN that would meet all of your business needs. 


Internet security matters and it matters a lot. The security breach in your website’s operation may cause dramatic damage to the eCommerce web site’s reputation and income. Cybersecurity needs to become a part of your SEO strategy for all eCommerce companies that want to take the leading position on the market of online sales. Now when you know that safety is crucial within the web, it’s time for the SEO and IT team to unite the forces and make up a reliable strategy that will raise the website’s ranking and maintain the security of your site.

Connie Benton is a chief content writer, guest contributor, and enthusiastic blogger who helps B2B companies reach their audiences more effectively. You can find her on Twitter at @ConnieB34412379.

The post SEO and cybersecurity: Incorporating cybersecurity into your SEO strategy appeared first on Search Engine Watch.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

How to Get Better Open Rates with Email Preheaders

Less than three seconds.

That’s the average amount of time you have to capture a subscriber’s attention in his or her crowded inbox. Talk about a short window.

So what’s an easy way to make an impact and stand out? Include an email preheader in each message you send. 

What is an email preheader?

When viewing a message in your inbox, an email preheader — also known as the Johnson Box or preview text — is a snippet of text shown next to or underneath the subject line.

example of a subject line and pre header

How long is the ideal email preheader text length?

The email preheader length will vary by device and which Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Gmail or Yahoo! subscribers use. However they are typically between 50 to 100 characters or about 6 to 11 words. 

Below, you can see an email preheader example on a desktop inbox, and another on a mobile inbox. 

example of email preheader text

Why is an email preheader important?

When written well, an email preheader is a powerful tool to improve your open rate. 

Unfortunately, many email marketers don’t take advantage of the preheader. They spend lots of time crafting the perfect subject line, but barely think twice about this very important piece of text. So they leave it blank, or fill it out with some generic information.

In fact, here are a handful of common email preheaders examples I found in my inbox.

“Click here if you are having trouble viewing this message”

“You are part of an email list, you can unsubscribe here

“This message contains images, please enable images”

“View in a web browser”

preheader text showing the first line of email text being used

You may be wondering why these messages are pulled into the preheader field. ISPs will automatically populate this field with the first line of coded text in your email. If you don’t customize your preheader, you’re leaving it up to the ISP to determine your second most important line of text.

And looking at the examples above, do you think any of these messages make your subscribers super eager to open the message? No. So what kind of preheader will make your subscriber click open? And how do you set it up properly?

5 Email preheader best practices

Below are five ways to write an email preheader that will skyrocket your open rates. 

#1: Sum up the content inside

Add more context to your subject line with your preheader text. In it, give a short summary of what the reader can expect to find inside the message. This may further entice your subscriber to click on the message so they can read the full content.

Example: Google Home

Subject line: Lauren, welcome to your Google Home Mini

Email preheader: 3 ways to get the most out of your new Mini

#2: Make your subject line and preheader text compliment each other

Paul McCartney & John Lennon, Laverne & Shirley, Han Solo & Chewbacca, Bert & Ernie — what do these great duos have in common?

They complement each other. Alone they are good, together they are amazing.

Subject lines and preheaders are the same. To get the highest open rate and engagement for your email campaign, these two critical email marketing elements should play off each other. Use your preheader to build on an amazing subject line.

Example: Netflix

Subject line: Coming Monday, December 14th…Tiny Pretty Things

Email preheader: Get a first look today

#3: Request an action

Use the email preheader to make your readers take action. Tell them what you want them to do!

Do you want them to open the message? Do you want them to click on a link? Fill out your survey? Let them know what you want them to do and why you want them to do it.

Example: Ulta Beauty

Subject Line: Take a look at your ultimate rewards statement, Lauren!

Email preheader: Check out these beautiful offers, too. Open to see all the ways beauty loves you back!

#4: Use FOMO

The “fear of missing out” or FOMO is a powerful psychological trigger. If you want a subscriber to take advantage of a special offer or deal — such as free shipping or a discount code — tell them about it in the preheader. They’ll be tempted to open right away if they know the offer is exclusive or a limited-time.

And you want them to open right away! Chances are, if they don’t open when they see the message for the first time, they won’t come back the next day or next week to do it. 

Example: Michaels Craft Store

Subject line: Last Day: Summer Cyber Sale! An Online Bonus Coupon and Free Shipping, no minimum

Email preheader: Drop-What-You’re-Doing Doorbusters and Deals. Don’t miss out!

#5: Get creative

Your subscribers want to do business with people they know, like, and trust — as opposed to a faceless corporation. Humanize your preheader text to increase connection and engagement with your subscriber. Use the small block of text to show your company is likeable and relatable, and your subscribers will be more likely to open the message.

Example: PECO

Subject line: PECO can help you keep cool for less this summer

Email preheader: Rising temperatures make it harder to stay cool and comfortable inside. But don’t sweat it!

How to add a preheader to an email campaign

There are three ways text can be inserted into your email’s preheader.

#1: Automatically

This is where the ISP your email is being sent, takes the top text in your email. If you have an image as the first element in your email, then the ISP will take the alt text you give your image.

So if your email service provider doesn’t provide you a dedicated section for a preheader, then you need to make sure that the very first text you put in your email has the text you want to appear.

#2: Hidden preheader text HTML code

You understand the value of a preheader but you don’t want this copy to be the first thing your subscribers see when they open your email. If you’re comfortable with coding your email you can put the below code as the very first element in the HTML portion of your email.

hidden preheader html text code

#3: Add text in message preheader in AWeber

Adding an email preheader to your message in AWeber is super easy. All it takes is just the click of a single button.

Simply create a message using the drag & drop email builder.

aweber drag and drop email builder

From within the message editor directly under “message properties,” you can add the text you wish to display with your subject line when the message is sent. It’s that easy.

example of email preheader text using AWeber's platform

If you want to personalize your email preheader for your subscriber to include their name, email address, or any other of their subscriber information, you can do so as well! You can accomplish this using personalization snippets within the ‘message preheader’ text box directly.

example of how to personalize an email preheader

Ready to write fantastic email preheaders that grab a subscriber’s attention in less than three seconds? Then create your FREE AWeber account today. 

{ “@context”: “”, “@type”: “BreadcrumbList”, “itemListElement”: [{ “@type”: “ListItem”, “position”: 1, “name”: “”, “item”: “” },{ “@type”: “ListItem”, “position”: 2, “name”: “AWeber Blogs”, “item”: “” },{ “@type”: “ListItem”, “position”: 3, “name”: “How to Get Better Open Rates with Email Preheaders”, “item”: “” }] } { “@context”: “”, “@type”: “FAQPage”, “mainEntity”: [{ “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “What is an Email Preheader?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”: “When viewing a message in your inbox, an email preheader — also known as the Johnson Box or preview text — is a snippet of text shown next to or underneath the subject line.” } },{ “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “How Long is Email Preheader Text Length?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”: “The email preheader length will vary by device and which Internet Service Provider (ISP) like Gmail or Yahoo! they are opened on. However they are typically between 50 to 100 characters or about 6 to 11 words.” } },{ “@type”: “Question”, “name”: “Why is an email preheader important?”, “acceptedAnswer”: { “@type”: “Answer”, “text”: “When written well, an email preheader is a powerful tool to improve your open rate.” } }] }

The post How to Get Better Open Rates with Email Preheaders appeared first on AWeber.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

4 Steps to Plan Your Email Marketing for the New Year

Phew, what a year!

I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels 2020 was quite the whirlwind. I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly looking forward to a fresh start.

The global pandemic brought about unforeseen challenges for small businesses — and many felt the impact on their marketing. In fact, of the 79% of marketers who have a content marketing plan, 70% adjusted their plan due to the global pandemic.

So as we look forward to a new beginning, reflecting on the year behind us can give us a lot of insight. Spend some time before the end of the year to take a step back and reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what should change going into the New Year. 

In this blog, I’ll walk you through how to evaluate your email marketing results and make changes in the New Year. 

Don’t have an email marketing strategy in place? Pop on over to read how to create an effective email marketing strategy here before diving into this post. 

4 steps to plan your email marketing

Step #1: Evaluate your goals 

If you set goals going into 2020, now’s the time to evaluate whether you accomplished them.

Reflect back on the goals you set for yourself in 2020 and answer the following questions:

  • Did email marketing help you grow your business?
  • How much of an increase in sales did you see as a result of your email marketing?
  • Did you build relationships with your subscribers? How?
  • Did you grow your email list? 

Use the answers to these questions to guide your SMART goals in 2021. This is a critical first step to plan your email marketing for the year ahead.

SMART stands for:

  • Specific: Be exact when setting goals and expectations. 
  • Measurable: Make sure you set checkpoints to measure your progress. 
  • Achievable: You need to make sure your goal is ambitious, but attainable with your current budget, time, and skillset.
  • Realistic: Your goal should be challenging, but within reach. 
  • Time-bound: Give yourself a due date to complete your goal.

Want to grow your list? A solid SMART goal could be the following: I want to grow my email list to 300 subscribers within the next 3 months.

Step #2: Analyze your ideal subscriber

Chances are you have a specific target audience you want to buy your products or services. We call that your ‘ideal subscriber’ or ‘persona.’

But marketing personas can change over time. Even if you had a defined persona to guide your email marketing, it may be time to look at whether that persona is still the best reflection of your ideal audience. Without an idea of who you’re marketing to, you can’t plan your email marketing to the best of your ability.

To evaluate your persona, consider the problem you’re solving in your email content, products, or services. Are you addressing their pain points? Who has joined your email list recently? Did anything major change for them in the past year?

It’s important to have a solid understanding of the person you want to target in your marketing. It will guide all your content creation and email marketing planning. 

Step #3: Understand your audience’s current problems, wants, and needs

People’s needs naturally evolve over time. The problems they faced in the past may not be the same problems they face now. 

Think about that. How have your ideal subscribers changed in the past year? How can you help them solve their problems now?

To get the answers to these questions, you might need to do a little bit of detective work. Conduct interviews with your customers or subscribers and hear firsthand about the problems they’re facing, what kind of content they need to help solve their problems, and how your product or service solves these problems. 

You can also simply ask in your email marketing. Include a sentiment widget at the bottom of your email (like this one) and get specific feedback about what they liked — or didn’t like — in a message. 

email sentiment widget example

Your email analytics can also tell a powerful story and give you an idea of what content they need and want. Look at your open rates and click through rates — what type of content is the most desired? Create more of it.

Mapping out your content ideas in advance with an editorial calendar can help you figure out what you’re going to send and when. It can also help you plan new lead magnets and build out email campaigns around each.

Step #4: Determine your ideal email sending frequency

How often do you send your audience emails? Does that frequency seem to be working? If so, awesome! If not — or if you’re getting feedback that you’re sending too often or too little — it’s time to take a step back and do some research.

If you’re not sure what email sending frequency is reasonable for your business, take a look at what other marketers are doing in your industry. Do you think it’s working for them? What do you like or not like about the emails they’re sending?

Remember, quantity is not always the way to go. More emails does not mean better emails. Find a rhythm that works for you and your subscribers, and write it down on the calendar.

At AWeber, we’ve found that consistency is extremely valuable. For instance, we send our weekly blog digest newsletter, FWD: Thinking, every Thursday afternoon. Our subscribers know to expect a newsletter jam packed with awesome content to help them get better results with emails, and they appreciate the consistency.

If you don’t know what the best frequency is, test it! Email A/B testing, or split testing, is a marketers best friend. Test what days of the week yield better results, time of day, and even how often you send. With split testing, you can test anything in your email and make data-informed decisions to improve your marketing. 

Set yourself up for success in 2021

Kick off the New Year with this expert-built email marketing planning and tracking template from AWeber. Organize, track, and measure the results for all of your campaigns, broadcasts, and tests in one, easy-to-use place. Plus, we already put in formulas for you to be able to analyze your email results with ease. 

The post 4 Steps to Plan Your Email Marketing for the New Year appeared first on AWeber.

Reblogged 1 year ago from

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How to Effectively Outsource Product Marketing Content

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