Cinemagraphs

Have you heard about ‘cinemagraphs’? They are a ‘living image – a still photograph that contains an element of movement looped seamlessly to create a never ending moment.’

Brands like Coke, Chanel and Calvin Klein are in on the cinemagraph craze.

Intrigued, I decided I had to try my hand at creating one.  It was surprisingly easy. Once you know the process, creating these short GIFs or mpg4 videos is about your creativity.

First I had to find a video source. It’s best if your original source is steady with an element of constant movement. If you make your own video, you should use a tripod. I found a free video at Pexels that met my needs.

Then I fired up Photoshop and went to work.

Here is the result.

cinemegraph-water-from-jug-340px

This is the original video.

Posting on Social Media

I discovered that posting an animated GIF to Facebook and Instagram is not straightforward. If posting a GIF, then you need to upload to a webpage or some other platform like Tumblr, and then post the link. Or you need to save the file as an mpg4 and post it as a video.

Why use cinemagraphs in your online marketing

When done well, cinemagraphs can be hypnotic and eye-catching. Although they’ve been around since 2011, they are not commonly used, and therefore, rather unique. Considering that you have about 2 seconds to catch a viewer’s attention, they can differentiate your brand in a world of still images and videos.

Email Marketing: What You Need to Comply With Canada’s PIPEDA and CASL

You’re about to embark on an inbound marketing program. You have a shiny new website, with engaging content, optimized for conversions and leads, in the works and almost ready to launch. It’s an exciting time!

Hold on though. Does your website comply with Canada’s privacy act (PIPEDA) and anti-spam laws (CASL)? If not, then you could be viewed as a spammer and be subject to hefty fines in the thousands of dollars!

PIPEDA

PIPEDA “applies to the collection, use or disclosure of personal information in the course of a commercial activity.” What this means is that you need to inform your customers about how you will collect, use and disclose their personal information. If you don’t you could be fined very large sums.

You Need a Privacy Policy on Your Website

A PIPEDA self assessment guide advises the following:

  • If your organization has a Web site, post your privacy policy on it. Make sure the policy covers all collections, uses, and disclosures of personal information made via the Web site itself; and
  • Take appropriate measures to notify web site users of all your organization’s online information practices, notably the use of “cookies” or other non-visible tracking tools, and explain such practices

Where Do I Get a Privacy Policy?

First, check out the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s website. The Privacy Commissioner also offers a Privacy Tool Kit for businesses. There are many online privacy generators, however, it is best to seek legal counsel to ensure that your Privacy Policy meets the requirements of PIPEDA.

Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL)

Now that you have your Privacy Policy, you need to make sure that any information you collect through your inbound program, meets CASL standards.

Some background: Between July 1 2014 and July 1, 2017, organizations were allowed to send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) to anyone with whom they had an Existing Business Relationships (EBR) or Non-Business Relationship (Non-EBR) prior to July 1 2014. Companies were also allowed to message contacts that had “conspicuously published” their email address (i.e. showcase their email publicly on a blog).

After July 1, 2017, Implied Consent contacts may only be messaged for 2 years or 6 months, depending on the type of relationship you have with them. For example, you may email existing customers for 2 years from their purchase date, but you may only email someone that inquires about your service for 6 months from their date of inquiry

Contacts that provide Express Consent can be messaged indefinitely until they unsubscribe.

When you request email opt-in from a contact, the following is required:

  1. When requesting consent, the purpose for obtaining consent is clearly and simply stated, i.e. “subscribe to our newsletter to receive quarterly emails related to inbound marketing.”
  2. The sender or the person on whose behalf consent is requested is identified by their name, mailing address, and either a telephone number, email address or web address
  3. The recipient is informed that they can unsubscribe at any time
  4. Consent must be opt-in, not opt-out
  5. The evidence of express consent is retained. For example, file their IP address, date and time of opt-in.
  6. Consent cannot be bundled with consent for Terms and Conditions

How Marketing Automation Can Keep You Sane

Reviewing and updating your email marketing database can be a gruelling task, especially if you have a large number of contacts. Marketing automation is a practical solution for email marketing, subscriber list management, and to help companies build, manage and update contact lists. Plus, with a marketing automation application, you can easily allow contacts to unsubscribe at any time.

There are several solutions available. Some that I have used are:

Mail Chimp – you can start with a free plan which includes up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month

Constant Contact – offers a free trial for 60 days

Pardot (Owned by Salesforce) – on the higher end

Hubspot – on the higher end, they offer some free tools.

Other marketing automation applications you may want to investigate are Eloqua and Marketo.

With your Privacy Policy in place and your forms setup for opt-in, you are now ready to go live with your website. Congratulations!

Sources:

Office of the Privacy Commissioner Canada

CRTC – FAQ

CRTC: Compliance and Enforcement Bulletin, Canadian Government

*Disclaimer: This blog post is my interpretation of the legislations, and based off of my research and experience. I do not intend to provide legal counsel, and if you are uncertain of any rules related to the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation or Privacy Act, you should reach out to your lawyer.

Focus on SEO

focus-2

As mentioned in my ‘Be Found’ post, I review many websites,  to make recommendations about how they might be improved.

With regard to Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the same issues occur with almost every website I review. The on-page SEO is seriously lacking!

Why On-Page SEO is Important

First, you may ask, ‘What the heck is on-page SEO’? Very simply, it is a way to attract more visitors through natural (organic) search. Ultimately it means that you will not have to pay as much for online ads!

On-Page SEO consists of placing your most important keywords/phrases within the content elements of your web pages. These on-page elements include:

  • Unique Title tags without the company name (Max 70 characters)
  • Unique Meta Descriptions (Max 130 characters)
  • URLs
  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Body content
  • Image tags (alt tags)
  • Links

A Word About the Meta Description Tag

The Meta Description tag is not necessarily something that the search engines (SEs) use to understand the topic of your web page. It is, however, one of the elements, along with your website name and URL, that people see when they search. Think of it as a small advertisement and as an opportunity to entice people to click on your link.

On- Page SEO can be a time consuming, tedious task, but well worth it when you consider that:

  • Your pages will be more focused and therefore relevant to your visitors
  • If done well, your web pages will rank higher in organic search – hopefully within at least the top five results – saving you money when it comes to paid ads.

It’s Worth It

Organic Search StatsAfter making changes to the website I work on, and optimizing pages for on-page SEO, our traffic from organic sources increased by a whopping 52% vs. the previous year! Our overall unique visits have increased by 45%. So, yes, taking the time to focus on your SEO is most definitely an investment worth the time!

17 Must-Know Copywriting Techniques

Copywriting is not like writing a novel. It’s not like writing a News Release. And yet many websites I visit drone on with walls of text! They are not broken up with headings and subheads. The pages have no photos or other types of visual interest. They use the passive voice. This is a recipe for making your visitors eyes glaze over and then quickly bouncing off your website.
In the interest of saving us from boring websites, I am reblogging this post, which clearly outlines what you need to do to write effective copy.
Write on!

Fred Kaufer

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Facebook: Are you sharing your data with non-FB sites unintentionally?

Facebook Privacy: Check your “Instant Personalization” Setting

The new Facebook privacy setting called “Instant Personalization” is in effect. The new setting shares your data with non-FB sites and may automatically be set to “enabled”.

To check and to change, go to:

Account > Privacy setting > Apps & Websites > Instant Personalization > Edit settings and uncheck “Enable”.

Your friends should do this too, or else they may be sharing information about you as well!

What’s So New About Social Media?

In 1995, when the World Wide Web was in its infancy and most businesses didn’t see the value of having a website, let alone understand what a website was, I decided to apply what I knew about traditional marketing communications and design to the web.

I taught myself how to structure, design, write, optimize a site for search engines, and to promote a site once launched. At that time, there were no courses, diplomas or degrees in website design, nor did I have any real technical knowledge or skills.

I Was A Grrl
How did I get the skills and knowledge to accomplish this? By connecting to others through list serves, online forums and networking groups like Webgrrls. I asked questions of those with the knowledge and read through their websites. If I had something to contribute to these online conversations, I in turn volunteered what I knew.

Next, I decided to make a business from what I’d learned. So, once again, I joined various online networking forums, lists and groups, where my target market were likely to hang out. I participated in discussions, and offered advice and know-how where I could. In time, I made many connections, and even friends, some of whom I’m still in touch with today. They in turn referred business to me or became clients.

It’s Always Been About Connecting to People
My point? Social networking on the internet is not new. It’s been around almost since the Internet’s inception. The tools used, like Facebook, YouTube and blogs have changed, but the social networking aspect of the web has always been about building and nurturing relationships, learning from others and sharing your knowledge.

What do you think? Is Social Media new? Please share your own musings by commenting.