In this series, we’re going to explore marketing and advertising campaigns that changed America and put certain products and ideas into our homes and heads. Some will surprise you, some will make you go “OHHHH,” but one thing is guaranteed – you probably didn’t know that they all started with a marketing strategy. This month we explore how diamond engagement rings became a staple of marriage proposals.


You’ve been dating your partner for years. You’ve been through the ups and downs, thick and thin, and they’ve been your rock through all of life’s adventures. They take you out for a fancy dinner one night. You think nothing of it, it’s where you two had your first date and you still go back every now and again. After your meal, your partner starts to talk to you about how much they love you. Where are you going with this? You think to yourself as they speak. Wait… and before you know it they’re down on one knee, opening a box, and presenting you with…a necklace?

Not what you were expecting, huh? The idea of a marriage proposal is almost synonymous with a diamond engagement ring. Even for those of us who are less traditional (like yours truly), we can’t deny that this parallel has been ingrained into our brains. But how did we come to equate a shiny object with eternal love? Well, you may be surprised to learn (or maybe not since that’s the point behind this entire series) that this association came from an extremely clever marketing campaign.

Flying Cork Marketing Engagement Rings 2

Heigh-Ho, De Beers Diamonds

The plan (or should we say scheme) to make diamonds a major cultural staple began back in 1870 when enormous diamond mines were discovered near the Orange River in South Africa. Prior to this point, diamonds were considered rare but suddenly they were being scooped out by the ton. Now that there were plenty to go around, investors in the diamond industry needed to think fast before the market became oversaturated and diamonds became, essentially, worthless. They consolidated into a single entity called De Beers and (much like the eyewear industry- yes we’re looking at you guys, too) monopolized the diamond trade. Since diamonds were all being controlled by one unified company, they could control the prices and make sure they didn’t go down due to market competition.

N.W. Ayer

Controlling the market was only half of their plan. In order to make diamonds valuable, De Beers also had to control public demand. To achieve this, they began a partnership with N.W. Ayer, a leading advertising agency in the United States. Since diamond prices had collapsed in Europe during the Depression, the U.S. seemed to be the best place to begin their marketing plans. Together they came up with a new type of marketing strategy. Rather than focus on promoting a specific brand or name to the public, they decided the best strategy was to attempt to alter the perception of diamonds themselves. Their goal was to encourage consumers to see diamonds as an integral part of the courting process.

Flying Cork Marketing Engagement Rings 3

‘A Diamond Is Forever’

In the 1930s, Ayer began to put their plans into action. One facet of their plan was to utilize the relatively new medium of motion pictures and movie stars. Similarly to the business to influencer relationships we see a lot in modern-day marketing, Ayer began to give diamonds to movie stars. These celebrities would be photographed with the diamonds, and Ayer would feed newspapers and magazines stories about these celebrities and their diamonds- emphasizing them as symbols of indestructible love. They made sure diamonds ended up in the hands of well-recognized women, even including the Queen of England. They would stress the size of the diamond and had a series of advertisements which included paintings from well-known artists in order to relate diamonds as a unique work of art.

By 1947, the advertising agency had constructed an even more direct approach by arranging a series of lectures to high schools around the country. According to an article from The Atlantic, the agency is quoted as saying, “We are dealing with a problem in mass psychology. We seek to … strengthen the tradition of the diamond engagement ring — to make it a psychological necessity capable of competing successfully at the retail level with utility goods and services… All of these lectures revolve around the diamond engagement ring, and are reaching thousands of girls in their assemblies, classes and informal meetings in our leading educational institutions.”

Over the course of these marketing efforts, De Beers coined the slogan ‘A Diamond is Forever’ which works on multiple levels. On the surface, it goes along with their plan of wanting diamonds to be associated with eternal love. Even though diamonds can be shattered, discolored, clipped, or incinerated- this slogan makes the consumer feel like they have a magical eternal quality.

In addition, it works to further allow the prices to remain high. Because diamonds are actually quite common with no rare qualities, De Beers didn’t want people attempting to resell their rings. The illusion they’ve created quickly shatters when you realize how little diamonds are worth in resale value. By making them feel like they’re as eternal or ‘forever’ as the love we have for our spouses, they’ve assured that people won’t be trying to pawn off their engagement rings when they hit a string of financial hardship.

Flying Cork Marketing Engagement Rings 1

Across Seas and Time

Once they had us Americans buying their rings, it wasn’t very difficult to put these ideas into the culture of other countries as well. They simply used us as an example and marketed the diamond engagement ring as a symbol of ‘Modern Western Values’ and boom- everyone bought it (literally).

And that takes us to today, where purchasing a diamond for your betrothed was practically ingrained into our brains since birth. So if you’re ever wondering why you’re all but required to spend an average of $4,000 to ask your significant other to marry you- you have a marketing campaign to thank.

In this series, we’re going to explore marketing and advertising campaigns that changed America and put certain products and ideas into our homes and heads. Some will surprise you, some will make you go “OHHHH,” but one thing is guaranteed – you probably didn’t know that they all started with a marketing strategy. This month we explore how the Hollywood Sign went from advertisement to landmark.


America’s famous landmarks may not be as architecturally stunning as the Taj Mahal or full of rich and ancient history like Stonehenge, but we play the game with the cards we are given. And one of those cards is the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles, California. 

What started off as an expertly placed advertisement has grown into a spot on every tourist clad in socks with sandals, fanny packs, and visors’ must-see attractions list. 

Marketing That Changed Us: The Hollywood Sign Blog History

“What? The Hollywood sign started off as… a glorified billboard?” 

Yes, it did. And its journey from advertisement to one of the nation’s most recognizable landmarks was a long and kind of sad one. 

In 1923, the then “Hollywoodland” sign was erected after being built by the Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler. Chandler built the sign to bring attention to his new, upscale real estate development with the same name. 

The brightly lit sign was originally only supposed to last a year and a half in Hollywood, but the state of international affairs had other ideas. World War II sent Hollywood from producing extravagant pictures for the big screen to transporting supplies and housing returned soldiers. Alas, the Hollywoodland Real Estate Development had gone belly-up as a result of the Great Depression a few years prior. 

While the billboard, which had been unmaintained for a few years but was still standing after being abandoned by its original purpose, became city property in 1944, it had to wait a little longer to get the proper monument makeover. And for that, we can thank the silver screen.

Television v.s. The Big Screen: Hollywood’s Makeover

We don’t think much about televisions. Most of us weren’t alive when they first became a staple of the American home – unless you’re my grandma, who isn’t reading this because she doesn’t have a computer. But their effect on Hollywood changed the face of the star-studded valley forever. 

As televisions became more common, Hollywood had a transition to go through. Studio lots that had been abandoned by filmmakers were quickly snatched up by TV companies, and by the 1950s more television shows were being filmed than movies in Hollywood. In order to match this transitory stage, the Hollywoodland sign, as it was still known, needed a makeover. 

In 1949, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce removed the “-land” and fixed the H, which had crumpled either as a sign of the deterioration of an old billboard or as a grand metaphor for the state of Hollywood (you decide), and was presented to the world as the iconic sign that we know it as today. 

But, like the inevitable twist in an M. Night Shyamalan movie, that wasn’t the happy ending for the sign. Through the years, the weather gave some wear-and-tear to the newly anointed monument, and by the 1960s it was, once again, in a state of rust and decay. 

Is there no hope for the Hollywood sign? Was it destined to live a life of being restored only to be destroyed again and again and again? It sure started to feel that way. Especially after some “clever” pranksters altered the O’s in 1973 to spell out H-O-L-L-Y-W-E-E-D. 

Time to party like it’s 1978

In the late 70s, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce decided it was best to just rebuild the entire sign than it was to attempt to save the now rotting mass of letters. And like most things in Southern California, it was not going to be cheap. With a price tag of $250,000 (which, adjusted for inflation, comes out to about $1.05 million in today’s standards) the hunt was on for how to acquire the funds. 

Rock band Fleetwood Mac offered to hold a charity concert in 1977, but locals turned it down. So, Hugh Hefner, founder of Playboy Magazine, decided the next year to hold a gala fundraiser at the Playboy Mansion. Letters of the sign were auctioned off at $27,700 a letter, with stars like Alice Cooper purchasing the “O” and Andy Williams “W,”  the sign rebuild was funded. 

Where are they now? 

Marketing that changed us the hollywood sign history blog

So, what’s up with the sign nowadays? It got a few paint jobs here and there in the 90s, got itself on the list of iconic monuments around the world, and, in 2000, was outfitted with a state-of-the-art security system that’s running 24/7 and can even be viewed on the internet here

The Hollywood sign seemed to reflect Hollywood’s current state, matching its highs and lows. Which is why it’s revitalization is said to have been the marking of the current growth period Hollywood is experiencing today. 

And to think, all of that for a sign that was originally used to advertise a housing development that went under over 50 years ago. Not bad for a glorified billboard.


Sheri Weinhold is an entrepreneur and has designed metal garden art for the past 10 years. The creativity and zeal she nurtured over the years have led her to the creation of Crazy Loops. The Crazy Loops product is her passion because they allow students, adults, athletes, musicians, everyone to show off their interests and hobbies – a vital part of self-expression. She currently resides in Pennsylvania.

We talked to Sheri Weinhold about the invention of Crazy Loops and her hopes for the future, check out the interview below: 

Sheri Weinhold inventor of Crazy Loops for Flying Cork

Sheri Weinhold

Q: Is this your first invention?

A: It is, actually.

Q: Did you ever imagine being the creator of a product like this?

A: Oh yeah. It’s always been a passion of mine. It’s definitely because of the creativity and entrepreneurship that I have sort of been involved in my whole life. I was heavily into flipping houses and then for the last 10 years, it’s been design work and creating hand-made garden art.

Q: Are Crazy Loops related, do you think, to making the garden art?

A: No, actually, they sort of came to be as a product of their own.

Q: So, how did you come up with the idea for Crazy Loops?

A: I was planning to attend a cancer walk in my area in support of a friend’s child and thought it would be fun to dress up. I wanted to decorate my sneakers, but I couldn’t find anything that wasn’t simply me tying a ribbon somewhere on me, so I cut one of those thick silicone bracelets into the shape of the cancer ribbon and then attached it to my sneakers with a safety pin. After the walk was over, I got so many compliments, and I thought about how neat and fun the rough version of this product was and decided to create Crazy Loops. They’re not just cancer ribbons, they’re sports, emojis, music notes, anything people find interesting. We have over 20 different designs, now.

Q: Did they turn out how you pictured them?

A: They still had the same basic idea that I had originally come up with, but I knew some aspects of my prototype would need to be changed. The safety pin has been replaced, and the attaching mechanism we use now has also changed over time. But Crazy Loops generally have the same type of look as they did when we first started development.

Q: What do Crazy Loops mean to you?

A: I have a lot of passion for Crazy Loops because I feel like they’re such a great way to showcase your interests to others. I feel like if you’re wearing something like one of our colored ribbons, people will see it and ask about it. So they will both raise awareness and express interests and causes that you care about. I love them, and I think they’re a really fun product that everyone can enjoy – not just kids, but adults, too.

Q: Who do you think could benefit from Crazy Loops?

A: I think that people of all ages could really benefit from Crazy Loops for a few reasons. Kids ages 5 to 12 can use them to express themselves and show off their interests that are just beginning to develop, teachers can use them for incentives to read more or as a prize for doing well, parents can use them to support their kids or maybe even their own interests, there’s something for everyone. They’re versatile and just a lot of fun.

Q: How do you think Crazy Loops, and their bookmarks, will encourage readers?

A: So, I absolutely love how combining the bookmarks and the Crazy Loops came together as a product. I actually presented one of the bookmarks to two different teachers and, while talking, one little boy in the class said he would love to start reading so that he could use that bookmark. He even asked the teacher if she had any, to which she had to tell him “not yet.” I think having something to express themselves with can really create more excitement around reading for young students. Everyone likes to express themselves, and kids I think will really take to the idea of having a Crazy Loop with a basketball or music note or emoji hanging out of whatever book they’re reading that day.

Q: How do Crazy Loops improve education through expression?

A: I think they can be encouraging, and it’s a great item for the teachers to have as incentives. Almost like a prize. They could say, “If you do your reading on time, you could choose a Crazy Loop to attach to your bookmark.” The fun thing about Crazy Loops is that a child could even take it off the bookmark and put in on the ring of their binder, or backpack, or shoes, wherever there is a loop to attach it to.

Q: What do you hope to see Crazy Loops achieve in the future?

A: I think we could do a lot with them in the future. I was thinking of possibly tying them into an anti-bullying campaign. The main goal is I really want to encourage kids to want to read, not just to read.


For more about Crazy Loops and Sheri Weinhold, click here.

In this series, we’re going to explore marketing and advertising campaigns that changed America and put products into our homes and heads. Some will surprise you, some will make you go “OHHHH,” but one thing is guaranteed – you probably didn’t know that they all started with a marketing strategy. This week is Edward Bernays and the All-American breakfast.


Close your eyes. Wait, actually, don’t close them. You can’t read this if your eyes are closed.

Let me start over.

Look into the distance and think about what a typical American breakfast looks like to you. Not necessarily what you personally eat, but how you would describe breakfast in the U.S. to a foreigner who wants to learn more about our culture.

Whatever you picture, there’s a good chance that eggs and bacon are involved, right? But why?

Edward Bernays, the proclaimed “Father of Public Relations,” and a brilliant marketing campaign is why.

Nephew of the “Father of Psychology” (a lot of father’s in that family), Sigmund Freud, Bernays was an Austrian-American pioneer in Public Relations and propaganda. Many of his marketing campaigns changed entire chunks of American culture and the way we think of brands and branding – including breakfast.

Before the Industrial Era, Americans ate big “farmer-style” breakfasts, including bacon and eggs – two food items that were common on farms and could easily be accessed.

However, after the Industrial Era, during the Progressive Era, more people moved from farmlands to big cities and breakfast became lighter, healthier, and quicker to make. This prompted the rise of cereal thanks, in part, to religious leaders like John Harvey Kellogg.

And before you ask, yes that Kellogg.

Religious folks believed that eating bland, vegetarian diets may help prevent sinful thoughts and successfully tied in religion, the importance of healthy eating, and hard work.

On top of that, Americans feared indigestion and it was believed that eating a bigger, heavier breakfast would cause an unruly stomach and eventually lead to a slow work ethic.

It was a combination of these key events that lead to the downfall of the original heavy breakfast – people were working inside all day, they needed breakfast to be fast and easy to make, and healthier eating was correlated with being of religious morality and good workmanship.

Which basically means less bacon and more fruit.

Then came along Bernays – you remember him, right? Nephew of Sigmund Freud, father of PR? The point of this Marketing That Changed Us blog? Bernays was hired by Beech-Nut (famously known for being a baby food company, but in this case, they were selling and packing pork) to bring America back to its big-bacon-n-eggs-country breakfast roots.

But how did he do it?

Edward Bernays Father of PR Flying Cork Marketing

Edward Bernays, “Father of PR”

Bernays knew that the America public was becoming more health-conscious and which group of people does everyone trust as the authority on health? Doctors.

Bernays took to his agency’s internal doctor and asked him if it would actually benefit Americans to go back to their heavy breakfast routines. The doctor, suspected to have confirmed this due to his position within the company, said yes.

Bernays then got the doctor to write to around 5,000 of his peers to confirm that a heavier breakfast was actually better for you, produced a “study” from the other doctor’s confirmations, and had it published in major newspapers all throughout the country.

And just like that, the face of the traditional American breakfast was re-formed – all thanks to a sly PR rep who just so happened to be the nephew of the inventor of modern psychotherapy.

While marketing campaigns don’t always have to have major cultural effects on our society, there is something you should take away from this: With the right branding, even something that seems completely impossible at the time, can be made to work because people are fluid, easily swayed, and always looking for the next big thing.

Content marketing is the foundation to which everything else is built. Think of it this way: without content, SEOs would have nothing to analyze and optimize, emails wouldn’t be sent out and social media posts wouldn’t be published. I could go on forever but for the sake of your sanity and in respect of your time, I’ll stop. You get the picture – the list goes on and on.

Content marketing is all the marketing that’s left.

I think Seth Godin sums it up in that single sentence. Content marketing is the axis on which our efforts turn. Without it, we as marketers would be out of a job.

But while we’re grateful for content and how it allows us to make a living, there’s more to it than just words. The success lies in the creation and implementation of your content marketing strategy.

If you haven’t put a lot of thought into content marketing or are doing your due diligence just to have a presence and need a nudge in the write (see what I did there?) direction, this post outlines three ways that content marketing (when done correctly) can help your business.

But, before we dive in, let’s talk about what content marketing is. The long and the short is that content marketing is basically using content to meet your marketing goals. Content helps us articulate our overall brand message, connects us with our consumers, and provides our target audience with value that converts them into customers, and nurtures existing ones.

Content is king!

It’s a popular saying that you’ve more than likely heard more times than you can count and while everyone is putting a press on the importance of content marketing, you won’t fully be able to understand its power unless you break it down to the potential benefits that it can offer you and your brand.

That being said, let’s take a look.

Three Ways Content Marketing Can Help Your Business

Traffic & SEO

This is the kind of traffic you’ll love (not that bumper-to-bumper rush hour type of traffic). When you create and implement a sound content marketing strategy, your site traffic will reap the benefits. Think of it this way: great content is like a magnet. The more you write the more people you’ll attract to your site.

To that point, as I mentioned before, you can’t do SEO without content. But that doesn’t mean that you should string some sentences together and throw it onto a page on your website and hope a miracle happens. Instead, you need to create content that’s relevant to your brand and more importantly, your audience. Search engines are constantly crawling the internet to better serve their users with relevant queries. Good content is the thread that pulls your brand and search engines closer together.

Brand Awareness

If you have a brand, you want your customers to be aware of that…Hence, brand awareness. But it’s more than that. Content that educates, entertains, or informs will strike a chord with your target audience. Brand awareness is more than just seeing a checkmark and associating it with Nike. Brand awareness through content marketing is all about building your authority in your niche in a way that your customers understand who you are and what you represent. This can be done by producing content (onsite, social media, etc.) that’s fresh and unique and that’s also valuable and relevant to your target audience.

Increase Followers

If you build it, they will come.  No, this isn’t the Field of Dreams, per se. But when it comes to the world of marketing, it’s pretty close. Marketing, no matter how you look at it, is cyclical. What I mean by that is that the various cogs in the wheel all work together to move the needle. That being said, if your target audience finds your content valuable, they’ll share it to their circle of friends on social. This pulls in the connection between content marketing and social media (see, the cogs in the wheel). Content that stirs emotion is more likely to be shared and when that happens, you cast a wider net and in turn, can gain more followers on social media who are interested in your brand and what you have to offer.

Let it be known that these are only three of the benefits of content marketing, there are plenty more tangible and intangible advantages that you can gain from creating and implementing a sound strategy.

How has content marketing helped you reach your overall marketing objectives?

As a brand-new hockey season is drawing near, I wanted to take some time to enjoy the late-game heroics that sealed the deal for the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions, our hometown team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.

To do just that, I found a goosebump-inducing clip from Business Insider of Patric Hornqvist’s game-winning goal. Enjoy!

Pittsburgh Penguins, back-to-back Stanley Cup champions.

A reason to celebrate

In the sports world, when a team clinches a playoff spot, wins their division or takes home a championship, champagne is always part of the equation. After all, we’ve seen countless video clips of locker room celebrations with players wearing goggles, jumping for joy, and popping bottle after bottle of champagne to celebrate.

This just goes to show that every big win has a monumental moment. It’s in this moment of success that corks are flying and the entire team (fans included) feels as if they’ve had a hand in the big success.

Now, the idea of celebrating a win isn’t reserved only for sports.  In fact, in digital marketing, we celebrate successes both small and large every day with our clients.

The fact of the matter is that Pittsburgh as a whole is a treasure trove of inspiration and being that the Flying Cork office is located in the heart of the city, right across the street from Point State Park, we’ve been able to feed off of the constant supply of motivation and apply it to our own work.

As a proud member of the City of Champions, I wanted to take some time to focus on the evolution of our hometown and why not only our sports teams, but the people who live within the city limits, are a testament to the idea that “the secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

Pittsburgh is built on evolution and change.

From our early origin as the “Steel City” to being known as the “city of bridges” to now becoming a welcoming home to entrepreneurs and creative minds, Pittsburgh has become a place for forward-thinkers. Even Forbes Magazine took note of our growth when they listed Pittsburgh as an up and coming tech city in the U.S. (watch out Silicon Valley, we’re coming for you!).

Over the years, we’ve seen the introduction of the self-driving Uber onto our busy city streets, countless breakthroughs from Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, and a large presence by none other than Google. And this progress is something that we can all be proud of because we have, as a city, worked to break the mold in the tech world all the while putting culture in the forefront as well.

Just take Pittsburgh’s Cultural District for example. This 14-square block area of downtown is home to a myriad of theaters, art galleries and much more. It’s here that you can find an upcoming play at the Benedum Center or Heinz Hall to name a few, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the 50 dining establishments, or even take a bike ride through the city.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the evolution and change that’s emanating from this city because the ongoing story of perseverance, grit and the wherewithal to embrace change and run with it is what fuels us as a team at Flying Cork.

Pittsburgh and marketing. 

The connection between Pittsburgh and marketing is strong because we as marketers have to be nimble and willing to change in order to stay relevant, create and implement fresh ideas, and be one step ahead of the competition.

As I’ve said before, there’s a lot of motivation to pull from this city and when it comes to business, the idea of embracing, not fearing change, is one that powers us to take risks and think outside-of-the-box.  Because without change, there’s no growth and as the popular saying goes, “change nothing and nothing changes.”

To end this blog, I think it’s safe to say that Pittsburgh is like a fine wine: it only gets better with age.

I’m going to channel my best Joan Rivers impression when I ask, “Can we talk?!” In this blog post, I want to talk about Twitter. Yes, Twitter – the social media site that’s seen as a dinosaur in comparison to its competitors.

Let me start by saying that I love Twitter for a number of reasons. To me, Twitter is like the hotline for the public’s opinion. It’s where we go for news, to express our thoughts, and to join in on conversations. (Shameless plug alert: Here’s my blog post on social listening via Twitter.)

If you’re still rolling your eyes so hard you could do a somersault, let me ask you a few questions.

What social media site do you turn to in order to voice your opinions about your favorite show? How about to post your thoughts on a political debate or to complain about poor service you received from a company? What if you actually want to say something positive about someone or something?

If I had to guess, you likely thought to yourself – Twitter. And to that I say, I told you so.

Attitude aside, all of this information leads me to the main focus of this blog post: the power of Twitter chats.

If you’re unfamiliar, let me give you the Cliff’s Notes version.

A Twitter chat is essentially a Q&A session that’s moderated by either a company or an influencer. The Twitter chat starts with a question from the moderator, and participants chime in with their thoughts and use the custom hashtag for that particular Twitter chat.

Sounds like a good time, right? Right!

Obviously, I’m a sucker for a good Twitter chat. My Google calendar has recurring reminders for various chats so I can join in on the conversation if I’m not otherwise occupied. A few of my favorites (in no particular order) are:

Why do I love Twitter chats? I thought you’d never ask. Here are my top three reasons.

You can connect with others in your industry.

As digital marketers, we’re constantly tasked with learning as much as we possibly can and then forgetting what we just learned in favor of the new and improved strategy that was released two minutes ago. The industry is constantly evolving and it’s our job to evolve with it. What better way to tap into the minds of our peers than with a Twitter chat? Each chat has its own theme, and from that theme comes a variety of different questions. The nice part about a Twitter chat is that you can respond to the question and then “listen” in to see what others in the industry are saying, too. This gives you the chance through social listening to engage with others.

You can showcase your expertise.

In the real world, we find it to be a bit intrusive, to put it lightly, when people insert themselves into conversations. We hit them with a middle-school girl caliber side-eye and wonder what makes them think they can just state their opinion? Well, when it comes to Twitter chats, the exact same thing happens. The only difference is that the negativity is removed and all that’s left is people who share the same affinity for a certain topic and offering their insight. During a Twitter chat, you have the chance to insert yourself into a conversation and show that you know what you’re talking about—what’s more, it’s welcomed! In essence, you’re flexing your marketing muscles by adding your expertise and your opinion into the mix. Plus, it feels good to have your tweets acknowledged by the moderator and your peers!

You can build your following.

As with most things pertaining to the social media world, the more consistent you are with your approach, the more likely you are to see positive results. In my case, I manage the Flying Cork Twitter profile, and through my engagement via Twitter chats, I’ve seen our tweet impressions, profile visits, mentions and number of followers steadily increase. In fact, August was the first month that I pushed full steam ahead in posting on our Twitter feed and participating in Twitter chats, and though it’s a small case study, as you can see from the screenshot below, the numbers don’t lie. The more you tweet and the more you engage with others, the better your chances are of increasing your reach and building your following.

Screenshot of Flying Cork's Twitter performance for August 2017.

Conversely, you can’t just respond with one-word answers or give a lackluster performance and expect positive results. Just like on all social channels, building a Twitter following takes time and effort, a commitment to providing value, and consistency and patience once your strategy is implemented. While I know that August’s numbers are impressive for our agency, I also know that those numbers won’t continue their upward trend if I don’t put in the work and use Twitter chats to Flying Cork’s advantage.

Now, that I’ve highlighted my top three benefits of joining in on Twitter chats, are you convinced of their power to help put your name out there, engage with your peers, and build your following?

Still need a little coaxing or maybe a little help? Say no more. Let’s chat.

But before you say goodbye, say “Hello” and see what’s new at Flying Cork on Twitter | Facebook | Instagram.

Millions of marketing dollars are spent every year on digital paid advertisements. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make those dollars work harder for you?

Imagine if you could increase lead volume by 20-50% while keeping spend levels unchanged. With an effective landing page strategy, it’s certainly achievable—and may be easier that you’d think. Whether you’re dabbling in paid advertising efforts or you’re a long-time veteran, remember to pay special attention to your landing page content and design—it can make or break your campaign.

Ready to pump up your paid advertising efforts? Try out these easy tricks to increase landing page conversions.

Minimize any opportunities for a user to click away without converting.

That means taking out the top navigation or any links that could direct users away from the landing page. If you’re paying to send traffic to your landing pages, you really don’t want them to leave before you capture the lead. The ROI for that tactic is roughly equal to flushing your money down the toilet.

Put a form at the top right of the landing page, above the fold.

At Flying Cork, we’ve built a lot of landing pages. The ones with the best conversion rates almost exclusively have the form in this position. Why does this work so well? When a user sees the form first thing above the fold, they immediately understand that there is a value proposition: Is it worth it to trade their information for the offer? They don’t get stuck reading a page only to find out that they have to fill out a form in order to get what they really want.

Furthermore, a typical Internet user looks at a page like a book, reading from left to right. If there’s a form on the right side, then where does the headline, text and imagery go? In the empty space to the left, of course, becoming the first thing the user sees. With the right copy and feel-good imagery, you can prepare users for the information request.

Include a clear call to action on the form.

And by clear, I mean something that helps the user understand exactly what they’re getting in return for filling out your landing page form. Good button text includes language such as “Download,” “Get More Information,” or “Schedule Appointment.” Avoid vague text such as “Click Here” or “Go!”

Think about the mobile experience.

Mobile visitors usually have a different intent than someone on a desktop or tablet, and they tend to have a more urgent need for information. They want to act quickly rather than draw out the research process and wait for a reply after filling out a form. To help them get what they need as fast as possible, consider using a trackable click-to-call phone number.

Use clear headlines and scannable content.

No one is going to stick around to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of text on your landing page. Well, some might, but for the majority who won’t, make sure your headlines and design are conducive to scanning. Do your best to enable users to understand your offerings and unique benefits at a glance.

Up the trust factor.

You can make your landing page more trustworthy by including relevant partnerships, certifications or customer testimonials. Partnerships with or endorsements from recognizable associations can make users feel more comfortable with giving away their information. Including testimonials shows users that other people have used the product or service before them with good results. This should go without saying, but always make sure to include REAL testimonials—never fabricate them. You want people to trust you, after all!

Always have a thank you page.

Remember in tip #1, where we said to minimize any opportunity for users to click off the landing page? Well, if you have a thank you page, you can encourage users to click around your properties all you want. I wouldn’t suggest adding a top navigation here, because it will most likely lead to an inconsistent design experience. However, you can include links back to your website so users can learn more, or try directing them to your blog and social pages. Help them get engaged with your online properties—open up those gateways for them and make it easy for them to discover more. Of course, make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh content there to keep their attention!

Intrigued? Check out this blog post for more tips on thank you pages, or read how a former unbeliever saw the value of paid search.

As if we weren’t connected enough, the latest generation of wearables has given people the ability to check their emails right on their wrists. Wearable technology (i.e; smartwatches) gives us yet another way to stay connected 24/7, which means more opportunities for companies to communicate with their customers.

With this being said, don’t let your strategy go out of style. Rather, make sure it’s trending thanks to these quick tips!

Smartwatches are you guessed it…smart

Smartwatches have made reading emails as simple as checking the time. Yet, with a 38mm-sized screen, it’s going to take a different approach to be sure your consumer is really seeing the message.

In most cases, adding images to your emails is important; however, with smartwatches the opposite holds true. Instead of image-heavy content, plain text alternatives should be utilized to ensure your message is getting across to your intended audience. Additionally, many email clients will automatically block images by default which means even more importance on “Alt Text” for your images.

The small screen also means added importance for clear and concise calls to action. Don’t focus on graphics or links as much as you would in your standard campaigns. Use short, impactful sentences to catch the user’s attention, and quickly spur them to your single call to action.

Moreover, new spam and blocking options make it easy for a smartwatch user to apply filters and ultimately unsubscribe from your notifications. With no keyboard accessibility, be careful about what action you’re asking a user to complete. Don’t request large amounts of information or the completion of a submission form. Ensure your message is relevant, and most importantly, be sure your “unsubscribe” option is readily available to avoid a negative user experience.

Don’t confuse customers with illegible links

An iOS device automatically deciphers certain information like phone numbers, locations, and dates. This information is then seen as a blue link, which, when clicked, can trigger events such as launching your map app or creating a calendar event.

When crafting your message, consider the placement of these event triggers. For example, listing a date too close to a location could cause a customer to accidentally click on the wrong link and open the wrong app. Not a huge error, but one that could create an unsatisfied subscriber. It’s important to test your message to ensure that links are legible and not placed together.

Place a larger emphasis on the “From Name”

When being read from a smartwatch, some of the more widely used email applications automatically format their inbox to place large emphasis on the “From Name”. The “From Name” is the largest and boldest part of the message, as well as the first text shown. Make sure a familiar name is being used that lets your customer know who you are right away so your message doesn’t get tossed in the trash.

Create new ways to measure your campaign’s success.

Since most emails on Smartwatches default to plain text, open tracking are not displayed and loaded. In addition, clicks cannot be tracked because there is no web browser. Creativity will be needed to figure out new ways to measure metrics. For example, one idea could be to start measuring the number of phone calls received from a campaign!

With the ability of many smartwatches to track footsteps and heartbeats, creative ways to engage your consumers is essential. For example, offer a discount if someone walks 1,000 steps in one day (Congratulations on a healthy day! Get 10% off a large salad!). Find new offers that show your customer not only that you’re on top of the latest technologies, but that you understand how to communicate with them. An added bonus for you: Create customer tracking links, and you’ll know who is opening what offer on what device, so you can constantly measure and tailor your strategy accordingly.

The Clock is ticking!

There’s no time better than the present to tailor your marketing efforts to wearable technology. Not sure where to start? Flying Cork’s team of email specialists can help you craft the right message for your audience- no matter where they’ll be reading it!

Decades ago, a man with a harmonica sang, “The times they are a-changin.” It’s true across the country, around the world, even in the marketing industry.

At the risk of sounding like a crone, I remember the days when companies didn’t say who their competitors were in their marketing, they’d just call them the “leading competitor” before stating how the advertiser’s products would get your floors cleaner and your whites whiter.

Today, increasingly more brands are using marketing not only to tout their victories over named competitors, but also as a platform to address the company’s stance on social issues. This is in the hope of forging a stronger connection with like-minded consumers and building brand advocates. Companies are staking a position on social media, to the equal clamor of supporters and dissenters. They’re creating campaigns focusing primarily on an issue, be it the environment or marriage equality, with the brand playing a secondary role.

But the question I ask is this: Is addressing social issues in marketing pioneering or pandering?

Who You Are

For decades brands have associated themselves with consumers’ lifestyles and aspirations, be it athletic, domestic, adventuresome, etc. But the key to successful execution of such a message in the marketing industry is how well it relates to the brand as a whole. If you’re manufacturing the fastest sports cars, suddenly showing a soccer mom loading up the roadster for a Saturday at the fields doesn’t really connect with your corporate identity.

The same applies when a company takes a side on a divisive social issue. If you’re known as an open, liberal company, but suddenly try to ally yourself with a conservative opinion because it’s popular, it will be painfully obvious that you’re just in it for the customer boost.

But the challenge goes even deeper than that. How does the issue connect to your brand as a whole? Tylenol, a company already in many families’ medicine cabinets, recently launched “How We Family,” indicating that they view “family” through a broad lens. I think the idea of keeping your family feeling good, regardless of whom you count under that family umbrella, works for Tylenol. But if you’re just trotting out interracial and same-sex couples to sell burgers or trucks, it may not ring true for the audience. Being inclusive for the sake of checking a box doesn’t really feel like you’re committed to the idea.

Who You Were

It’s important to note that, if your company is considering taking a public stand, you should first review your corporate history. Companies were not always as inclusive in their hiring practices and treatment of employees of different cultures as they are today. If you try to say that you’ve “always included all people” and the opposite is found, it may take a lot of quick-thinking to come out of the situation looking positive.

Who You Can Be

Regardless of personal opinions on an issue, taking a stand as an organization can be a challenge. Whichever side of the issue you’re on, if it’s divisive, you will offend some potential customers, and must be prepared for that.

If you have buy-in from all of the necessary internal parties and your organization is passionate about making this part of your brand identity, it can be done and it can be done well. But it will take a commitment to a quality content strategy to ensure that every message coming out on behalf of your company appropriately reflects the same tone.

If you’re ready to embark on this journey, but want someone in the marketing industry by your side in developing your content strategy, Flying Cork is here. Let’s talk!