How to Write Newsletters People Want to Read

- by Alyson Shane

This post was guest written by Rose Regier.

If you’ve been around here for a while, you already know that “We’ll just post on Instagram” isn’t a marketing strategy. 

If you’re new to these parts and you beg to differ, let us bring you up to speed:

While social media probably should be a huge part of your marketing mix, it’s not everything. Social media is like playing to a crowd at a music festival where hula hoops, kettle corn, and hand-made jewelry are competing with you for your audience’s attention.

Email marketing, on the other hand, is like inviting someone from that crowd to your house to jam. 

Now you have them on your front porch, ready to hear the acoustic versions of your songs, and they’ll probably stay and chat after. And there’s the beauty of email - it’s consent-based, it’s personal, and it’s free! 

Signing Up for The Goods

Before we talk about the newsletter, let’s talk about the opt-in process. 

It’s a good idea to have a marketing strategy for promoting your newsletter. Use your social platforms to tell people why they should sign up, and make it easy for them to do so by linking to an opt-in page and featuring your sign-up box prominently on your website. 

Consider giving something away for free when people sign up - this could be a product discount or a free guide to get them interested in your offerings. 

This may not be right for everyone though, depending on your business. A lot of people sign up for emails just to get the freebie and then unsubscribe once they get it.

The Welcome Email

Once they’ve signed up, you have one golden opportunity to start the relationship off on the right foot - the welcome email. Welcome emails have 4x the open rate and 10x the clicks as any other type of email

Here’s where you deliver your freebie or a discount code if you’re doing that, and also where you set expectations by letting folks know how often they’ll hear from you and what type of content they can expect. Once you’ve told them what to expect, you’d better follow through. Consistency is an important part of building trust with your potential customers.

The Subject Line

What makes people want to open an email in their inbox? Take a look through your own inbox and make note of which promotional emails you’ve opened recently and consider why. 

Subject lines personalized to your customers’ interests are the most likely be opened. In fact, this matters more than discounts or time sensitive offers.

Every email you send deserves a unique subject line. “Weekly email” or “Newsletter #27” won’t cut it. Let folks know what’s in this specific email and why they should read it.

Subject lines should be short (less than 10 words), use emojis if appropriate, and contain a hook that gets people curious. Verbs are your friends! Consider using your customer’s name in the subject line to take your personalization up a notch.

Make sure what you’re promising in your subject line is delivered in the email.

Here are some subject lines we love:

  • Rock the colour of the year (Etsy)
  • Must-have tees from $15 (Everlane)
  • How to live at home 24/7 (Feather)
  • Where to drink beer right now (Eater Boston)
  • 3 rules for marketing during a crisis (Digital Marketer)

The Pre-Header

An email pre-header is the text that follows your subject line, and it’s another opportunity to create interest in opening your email. 

Your subject line and pre-header should work together to capture your customers’ curiosity. 

Different email providers have different limits on the number of characters, so keep it short and snappy - somewhere between 30 and 80 characters. You can use this space to ask a question, offer an incentive, include a call to action, or to summarize your email.

The Goods

Let’s get into the content of your newsletter. What you write depends on your business and what your customers find valuable. Remember to think about what’s in it for your customer when they open your newsletter. Be energetic in your copy, and use humour if appropriate.

Your newsletter could focus on industry news, products, company updates, testimonials, or blog posts. You can include a mix of all of these, but choose one type of content as your feature.

Start somewhere, and then measure. After a few months, the data will tell you what content is working and what you can ditch.

If you have more than one type of customer, segmenting your email list and sending more personalized content is a good idea.

The Best Time to Send

Recognizing the sender and having time to open an email are the two biggest factors that affect whether people will open your email or not. Given that they’ve subscribed, you can check off the first one. 

Figuring out the best day and time to send your email newsletter will require some testing, but some recommendations on a starting place are to send your email:

  • On weekdays - Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday tend to perform better than Mondays and Fridays
  • During the day - test a few different times of day to find out what works best for your audience

The Format

The average time spent looking at an email newsletter is 10 seconds, so make it easy to skim by using white space and separating copy into bite-sized chunks. Put the most important information at the top, and use descriptive headers to separate content sections.

Remember that more than half of your subscribers are likely opening your email on their mobile device, so keep this in mind when you’re designing your newsletter. Send test emails and open them on your desktop and phone to make sure the format works for both.

Length

Aim for an average of 20 lines of text, or around 200 words. Any longer than that and you’re probably wasting time on content that won’t get read.

Images

Including images makes your newsletter more visually appealing, but remember that images can also slow down load time which can hurt your open rates.

Start with high resolution images and scale them down to keep them crisp. Optimal image size will depend a bit on which program you use to draft your newsletter. In general, keep file sizes less than 1 mb. Image types can be PNG, GIF, or JPEG. Header images should be 600 pixels wide.

Be sure to include alt text with your image for accessibility.

If you need more help writing newsletters that your customers want to read, we’ve got you!


 

What's an Entity First SEO Strategy and How to Build One?

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“Entity search” “might just be one of the most important SEO tactics you’ve never heard of!

This (somewhat) obscure term has become something we’ve been focusing on here at Starling Social since Google updated its topics application program interface (API) back in June of this year.

This update to Google’s most comprehensive and powerful deep learning algorithms means that marketers and businesses need to be thinking more deeply about semantic search than ever before. 

If you’re new to terms like “semantic search” and “entity SEO” don’t worry! Today we’re going to dig into what these two terms mean, and how you can leverage them to help customers find your business.

What’s Semantic Search?

Semantic search describes a search engine’s efforts to generate the most accurate results on the search engine results page (SERP) by using algorithms to understand search intent, query context, and the relationship between the words being used.

Or to put it another way: semantic search is a search engine’s attempts to understand natural language the way a person would.

What is Entity Search?

Back in the day, a search was performed almost exclusively by typing words (keywords) into a search engine, but now 40 - 50% of all searches are conversational, meaning that they’re done through smartphones, Alexa, Google Home, etc.

This change is why search engines have put so much energy into understanding the context and intent behind a search query. As a result, search has evolved from keywords, to “entities”.

“Entities” are expressions that a search engine can understand without ambiguity, regardless of the language being used. This can include:

  • A person’s name
  • A numerical expression 
  • A place
  • An object
  • An event
  • A concept


Let’s look at an example: the search query “what’s the cheapest price for an AirBnB in Toronto?”

Here’s how a search engine would understand the query:

  • What: A concept (question qualifier)
  • Cheapest: A numerical expression (lowest cost)
  • Price: Numerical expression
  • AirBnB: Organization
  • Toronto: Location

By connecting these entities, search engines can understand both the search query, as well as the intent behind it.

Once these areas are understood, a search engine will try to find the most relevant information about the “entities” in the query by scanning content on the web and using AI to sort and present it to the user. This is called “entity/semantic search”.

The Difference Between Entity SEO and Traditional SEO

In traditional SEO, web pages are ranked on “scores” based on relevance, authority, and the number of backlinks from other websites.

Entity SEO focuses on showing the most useful information based on entities, facts associated with those entities and questions related to them.

What

The topic of the search query and what a user expects to find when they search for that topic. This sounds similar to traditional SEO and keywords, but semantic search takes a different approach.

Let’s think back to the example above: how many ways could someone ask the same question? Would it be asked differently in other languages? 

Making sure your content is as comprehensive as possible and offers credible information about the topic, and covering as many related topics as possible, is how you can optimize your content for entity SEO.

Why

This describes the intent behind the search. What is the person looking to find out? 

Are they considering and comparing options? 

Are they looking for directions? 

To make a decision? 

To complete a transaction?

Using a combination of “what” and “why” will allow you to create content that’s SEO friendly and caters to your customers at every stage of their buying journey, so creating content around these topics and interconnecting them can help your page show up on a SERP more often.

How

Nowadays, how a search was performed is almost as important as what’s being searched for, so consider how your audience might want to consume the information they’re hoping to find.

Video, images, bulleted lists, hours of operation, FAQs and question and answer sections, and more are all excellent ways to create entity SEO-friendly content for your site.

The Four Outcomes Your Content Should Accomplish

The five outcomes you want to accomplish are:

1. Discoverability. Make sure your content is “discoverable” by search engines and by customers at different stages of their buyer’s journey.

2. Relevancy. Your content needs to meet your searcher’s needs and have as much info as possible.

3. User-friendly. Your content needs to be easy to read and understand.

4. Engaging. Engaging content encourages readers to take the desired goal (learn something, sign up, fill out a form, etc.)

Creating content that’s relevant, topical, and increases “discoverability” means keeping these elements in mind:

  • The content should be personalized. Readers should feel like it was written for them, specifically.

  • The content must tell a story. It needs to be engaging and capture readers’ attention.

  • The content should be scannable. It needs to include headers, sub-headers, and elements like bulleted lists to make skimming easier.

  • It must include images. These both break up the text, make things clearer, and offer more SEO optimization opportunities.

  • The content must be mobile-friendly. According to Statista, 55.79% of all web traffic in Q1 2022 came from mobile devices, so make sure your content is readable on smaller screens.

How to Align Your Content With Entity First SEO

Before we talk about how to align your content, let’s take a quick look at how search engine priorities, algorithms, needs, and results have changed over time:


Like we said before: the way people are searching is changing, and the shift to searches performed through “screenless” devices means that the AI powering search engines is trying to replicate how humans think and speak.

If you’re wondering how you can tailor your SEO strategy to match how search engines have evolved, here’s how:

Consider Your Website Schema

This is a bit wonky, so stay with us: schema markup (also known as structured data) is the language of search engines. It was introduced by Google in 2011 as a way of helping search engines display more relevant results to users. 

Web schemas are basically words or “shared vocabulary” that help refine searches and display more relevant results to the user.

Here’s an example: you and your friends want to go camping in Red Deer, Alberta… but when you try to perform a search, a bunch of results for red deer the animal come up. This is because Google didn't have context to understand that you wanted information on the city, not the animal.

So when you’re considering the content to write and the metadata to add to various pages on your site, make sure to consider the schema vocabulary to include, and the most relevant pages to include it on.

Consider the Market Opportunity for your Keywords

Use an in-depth keyword research tool (our fav is SEMRush) and do research into how different keywords in your industry are performing.

Then, map your content based on three factors:

1. Informational

2. Navigational

3. Transactional

Here’s an example of what that could look like:


Identify Topic Gaps

Once you’ve identified your high-priority keywords and the best pages to use them on, cross-reference those findings against topics and entities covered by other high-ranking websites.

Some things to cross-reference against your own site include:

Update Your Web Pages

Once you’ve identified what other high-ranking sites are doing, it’s time to compare against the pages on your own site and start identifying the areas where you can start adding in more content and schema-focused keywords.

Some areas you’ll want to focus on updating and optimizing include:

  • Meta Keywords Attribute. A series of keywords you deem relevant to the page in question.
  • Title Tag. This is the text you’ll see in the SERP and at the top of your browser. Search engines view this text as the “title” of your page.
  • Meta Description Attribute. A brief description of the page.
  • Meta Robots Attribute. An indication to search engine crawlers (robots or “bots”) as to what they should do with the page.

More info on these topics can be found in this handy article from WordStream

Protip: if your site is hosted on WordPress, the Yoast SEO tool is a great plugin that can help you optimize all these elements!

Optimize Your SEO for Entity Search: Recap

SEO is more about just the content on your page (though that’s important, too) — you need to consider the page layouts, how they link to one another, design elements, entity coverage, and schema.

To make this easier for yourself, think about the main pages on your site as “spokes” in a wheel, the other relevant pages that link back to it as the “spokes” in that wheel.

To recap, if you want to optimize your site for entity first SEO, take these steps:

  • Consider your website schema
  • Do research on your target keywords
  • Identify topics on other high-ranking sites
  • Identify content gaps between those sites and your own
  • Update your pages with content, headers, metadata, etc.

Staying up-to-date with the latest SEO trends is easy! Just subscribe to our weekly digital marketing newsletter for the latest articles, resources, and insights. 


 

Our Top 7 Favourite Content Marketing Tools

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We first read about the three-legged stool metaphor in Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive. In her metaphor, the three legs of the stool—money, power, and well-being—are the pillars of success, and eliminating any one of them causes your stool to topple over.

We think this metaphor works well for content marketing too. The three legs of your content marketing stool are strategy, creativity, and process.

If you have a lot of creativity and great processes but no strategy, you’re going to create some banging content on the regular, but it’ll fail to to drive the results you’re looking for.

If you have strategy and processes down but no creativity, you’ll be efficiently pumping out some very bland and derivative content that has an objective, but doesn’t keep people interested.

And finally, if you’re creative and strategic but you can’t get your s*** together, all those great ideas will just live in your head or on a post-it somewhere without getting to the people who you’re trying to reach.

Lucky for you, you don’t have to be naturally proficient in all three areas to be successful. There are tools and resources to help you, and if you use them consistently your content marketing stool will be topple-proof.

A Note on Order of Operations

Strategic planning comes before process and creativity. Without strategy, you’re shooting your arrows into the sky. Strategy ensures you know what you’re trying to achieve, who you’re trying to reach, and how you’re going to get where you want to go.

Unfortunately there’s no magic tool that will hand over a strategy, that’s work you just have to sit down and bang through. As you’ll see though, tools come in very handy when it comes to the measurement part of your strategy.

Google “Content Marketing Tools” (Actually, Don’t)

A quick Google search will tell you there are way too many tools out there to choose from, and if you’re like us, this type of research can quickly turn into a rabbit hole of procrastination. 

Let us save you some time so you can get back to business. Here’s a look at our favourite tools that we use daily at Starling Social, and which legs of the stool each supports.

1. Trello (Process)

Image via Trello

Trello is the foundation of our processes. This kanban-style project management tool is visual, it’s collaborative, and it keeps us on track.

Here are some ways Trello supports our processes: 

  • Collaborate internally and with clients
  • Assign tasks
  • Add due dates
  • Keep track of upcoming events
  • See what’s in progress, in review, or done
  • Link to templates, planning documents, spreadsheets

There are countless ways to use Trello, and a quick search will help you find templates to get you going with minimal effort. Click here to dive deeper and see exactly how we use Trello in our business.

2. Sendible (Strategy)

Image via Sendible

A key part of your digital marketing strategy is measurement. If you don’t take the time to measure results, you don’t know if what you’re doing is working. Measurement also tells you where to focus your efforts and allows you to refine your strategy as you go.

Going into each social platform to pull out data is mega time-consuming, so having a tool that collects all that data in one place is key. We use Sendible to collect and analyze data for our clients so we can create handwritten reports with recommendations every month.

Here’s why we like it:

  • It not only presents data, it gives insights that are actually meaningful rather than just showing generic charts that don’t paint a true picture of how things are going. For example
  • "Twitter was your most engaged platform last month, with a 22.4% increase"
  • It's affordable. We’ve looked at many analytics tools, and this one does more for less.
  • The Reports hub is clear and useful. Mentions are clearly broken down by source with the number of mentions and the corresponding percentage. You can see overall sentiment based on positive, neutral, and negative mentions. It’s a great interface for finding trends and measuring mentions against competitors.
  • You can access Google Analytics within Sendible, which is very convenient for tracking how effective your social campaigns are driving traffic to your website.

3. Feedly (Creativity)

Image via Feedly

Creativity doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Even the most creative types get inspiration from others. Seeing what people are talking about as it relates to your business can inspire you, and also keeps you relevant. Seeking out news and finding inspiration can take a lot of time, and that’s where Feedly comes in. 

You tell Feedly what’s important to you, and it uses AI to flag content that you might find useful. We use Feedly to track marketing trends, and to curate content for our weekly newsletter.

4. Buffer (Process)


Image via Buffer

Buffer is a scheduling app that works with all major social platforms. For maximum efficiency, we recommend scheduling posts up to a month ahead of time and reviewing weekly to make sure what’s in the queue is relevant based on current events.

The dashboard is super user-friendly and the calendar function allows you to see all your planned posts at a glance to make sure there are no gaps in your posting schedule. 

We find the draft posts function especially useful, because it allows other team members to jump in and review before content is officially added to the queue.

5. Google Drive (Process)

Image via FileInfo

Google Drive is our go-to for documents and spreadsheets. It’s cloud-based, so any number of people can collaborate on the same document at the same time. We use Google Docs for meeting notes, marketing plans, and for drafting blog posts and social content. Google Sheets allows us to create spreadsheets for customer personas and content calendars.

Why choose Google Drive over Microsoft OneDrive? It comes down to personal preference. They both offer real-time collaboration, offline access, and syncing across all your devices. The major difference is how you access them on a desktop computer: Google Drive is browser-based, and OneDrive is an app you download. Die-hard Microsoft Office users will likely find the familiarity of OneDrive preferable.

6. Canva (Creativity)

Image via Canva

Canva is a design-light tool for people who want to make eye-catching graphics but don’t have the time/desire/skills to start from scratch in a program like Adobe Illustrator.

Forget trying to find the right image size for different social platforms, because Canva has the optimal sizes pre-loaded in their templates. You can start with a blank canvas or use one of their thousands of templates to get started and then customize it.

We also use Canva to search for stock images, though this feature works best if you have a Pro account, which gives you access to 90 million stock photos. 

Hot tip: you can filter your image search by colour to find photos that work with your brand colours. 

7. LinkTree (Process)

Image via LinkTree

Do you see people including links in their Instagram captions? Don’t do it! They aren’t clickable. They’re not even copy-pasteable, unless you’re scrolling on a browser, which is not how most people use Instagram.

 Create a smooth user experience by directing people to your Instagram bio where you can use a linking tool like LinkTree to send people to the specific content they’re looking for.

You can customize the colours to match your brand, and unlike many other Instagram linking tools, this one is free! According to LinkTree, the optimal number of links is 3-7. Any more than that and you can overwhelm your customer.

Improve Your Content Marketing Today

There you have it folks. Happy stool-building! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to help you get your content marketing stool into tip-top shape.


 

The Top 5 Link in Bio Services for Social Media

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One of the biggest challenges to converting your social media followers into customers is directing them to your website. This is why you may have noticed people using the expression “link in bio” on platforms like Instagram.

Today we’re going to talk about what the phrase means, how you can use it to direct more traffic to your website, and some tools to help make that easier.

What Does “Link in Bio” Mean?

The phrase originated on Instagram back when the platform only allowed users to add urls in their (you guessed it) bios.

As a result, people started saying “link in bio” in their Instagram captions to let readers know where they could go to buy something, read a blog post, or contact them. 

Some companies also use the  #LinkInBio hashtag to reinforce the message - here’s an example:


Nowadays Instagram allows users to add links in a few places, like as a Stories sticker or through Instagram Shopping tags, but the “link in bio” feature is still one of the most powerful and popular ways to direct users to your site.

It’s not just for Instagram, either: “link in bio” is popular on TikTok, Twitter, and even YouTube as well.

What’s the Benefit of a Link In Bio Tool?

The reason a link in bio tool matters for your business is because it doesn't just direct people to your website — it also allows you to create a custom landing page within the app that directs people to multiple urls.

Here’s what a link in bio tool looks like on our Instagram profile:



This one link directs our audiences to a landing page with a bunch of different links to our latest blog posts, calls-to-action to book an audit, sign up for our newsletter, and get in touch:


As you can see, a link in bio tool doesn’t just send people to your website, it allows you to strategically showcase high-priority links to your target audience and make it easy for them to click.

That being said, not all link in bio tools are created equally! Some offer simple interfaces, while others create mini-sites within the social platform for users to browse. 

With literally dozens of options to choose from it can feel overwhelming to try and pick the right one for your needs, which is why we’ve done the leg work for you and collected this roundup of the best-in-class options:

The Top 5 Link In Bio Tools

1. LinkTree

As you may have noticed in the example above, our link in bio tool of choice is LinkTree.

LinkTree was the tool that made this kind of service popular in the first place, and turns a single link into a landing page with clickable buttons to showcase your most important content.

LinkTree also has a ton of great features, including one that allows you to “Prioritize” a link by adding an action to it, like a wobble or a swipe, to draw people’s attention to it:


LinkTree also allows businesses and creators to accept payments and donations, has great analytics, and is easy to edit, update, and integrate with tools like MailChimp and Facebook. Some other features include:

  • Unlimited links
  • Customizing colours, fonts, and button styles
  • Retargeting using the Facebook Pixel
  • Timing links to go live with scheduled posts (we love this feature!)

Cost: Free with limited features with Pro plans starting at $6 per month.

2. Linkin.Bio by Later

Later is one of the most popular Instagram scheduling tools on the market, so it’s no surprise that they’ve also gotten into the link in bio game.

Later’s Linkin.bio tool turns a single link into a mini-website for your business where you can showcase products and other content without the user ever leaving the app.

Here’s an example of how Later’s linkin.bio looks:


When users click on your bio link they’ll get taken to a recreation of your Instagram feed, but now when they click on a post they’ll be able to click the link you wanted to insert into that post.

Some other features include:

  • Adding links to your feed 
  • Adding up to five links per post
  • Scheduled links (like LinkTree does)
  • Analytics and link tracking
  • Up to two Instagram accounts 

Cost: Later’s Free Forever plan is (obviously) free, and paid versions start at $15 per month.

3. Sked Link

Sked Link is a tool from the company Sked Social, and allows you to link your followers to newsletter signups, blog posts, products, and lots more. 


This tool offers a few pricing plans with various features, from Basic, Pro, or Enterprise. Some of the features included in the Basic and Pro plans include:

  • Choosing from custom or existing themes
  • Integrating with Google Analytics and Facebook Pixels
  • Link analytics
  • Customizing your UTM parameters

Cost: Starts at $25 a month and goes up from there, but offers a free seven-day trial.

4. Shorby

Shorby creates mini landing pages and pulls content from any RSS feed that you connect it to. It’s a cool service because you can include content pages, prices, and even lists of services.

Image via 99signals

The pages you can create with Shorby are mobile-friendly and come packed with lots of features including:

  • Adding videos, backgrounds, animated avatars, and icons to your page
  • Adding text blocks, gifs, and rich links
  • Robust analytics
  • The ability to cross-link to other social profiles
  • Retargeting audiences through websites like Amazon and Clickbank

Cost: Pricing ranges from $9 to $99 a month, and offers a free five-day trial so you can check it out before committing to a plan.

5. Milkshake App


The Milkshake App lets you build mini sites within Instagram like Shorby does, but has some cool features that make it stand out, including:

  • Sharing your mini-site to your Instagram Stories
  • Customize and add themes to your cards (the pages on your mini-site) 
  • Analytics and follower insights
  • Giving users the option to email you directly (great for ecommerce!)
  • Inviting followers to call or message you directly

Cost: Free for iOS and Android users.

Start Converting More Followers Today

Using a link in bio tool is just one part of the puzzle when it comes to turning your social media followers into customers - you also need a content strategy, hashtag research, and lots more. 

If you’re looking for help building a marketing strategy, drop us a line and let’s chat about how we can help.

Tags: Social Media

 

The #1 Question Every Piece of Your Content Should Answer

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This guest post was written by Rose Regier.

So you’re sitting down to create some content for your digital marketing channels. You’re doing this a month ahead of time because you read this and you get why posting on the fly is a) not strategic and b) not the best use of your time. 

Your first thought might be, “What’s new in our business that we can talk about? What haven’t we talked about yet? Hmmmm, do we have any nice photos to share? Should we jump on a TikTok trend? Maybe show our support for an issue everyone is talking about?”

You draft some content and are about to put it into your queue - here’s where we’re going to stop you. 

Before you’re done, you need to make sure every piece of content you just drafted answers this one question:

“What’s in it for my customer?”

Running each piece of your content through your own internal “What’s in it for them” filter might be the single most important way to make sure your digital marketing is strategic.

Every person (whether they’re aware of it or not) is walking around the world trying to find what’s in it for them—as they scroll, as they shop, as they eat, and as they binge a show. They’re looking for a payoff.

We’re Wired for Connection

It might seem selfish, but actually it’s just human nature. We’re driven to connect what’s out there to our personal experience.

Brené Brown is a researcher who’s spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy. Here’s what she found:

“Connection is why we're here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it's what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” 

Understanding this fundamental drive will change the way you relate to your customer and also deepen your relationship with them.

This is also why getting to know your ideal customer is so important. You can’t relate to everyone, so you need to understand the specific people with whom you’re trying to connect, to know what they want from you. 

Part of the client onboarding process at Starling Social is creating your ideal customer personas. The exercise itself is often very clarifying for our clients, and from there we can use these personas as a reference when we’re crafting your content, so we can act as an extension of your brand.

All this talk about connection and meaning might sound a little deep for a digital marketing strategy, but this doesn’t mean your content has to be serious. You don’t have to strike at the heart of your customers’ desires and pain points every time. It could be that sometimes your customer is looking for a little escape, for beauty, for some entertainment, or for a laugh.

In addition to considering what your customer wants from you, how you connect also depends on your brand. If you’re not sure what your brand is, start with our post on brand questions by Chelsée Curé.

Finding Your Content Sweet Spot

Your brand + what’s in it for your customer = your content sweet spot

The more you hit that content sweet spot, the more likely it is that your customers will want to engage with your stuff.

Some companies focus inward too much and only consider their offerings when creating content. They forget that your blog and your social media channels are a conversation.

It’s kind of like going on a first date and the person you’re meeting with talks nonstop. It only takes a few minutes of this before you’re eyeing the door, and getting out of an in person conversation is a lot harder than a simple unfollow.

Asking what’s in it for your customer will ensure you don’t get tunnel vision so they keep coming back for more.

Have we convinced you? Ok great, now let’s put it into practice.

What’s In It for You: Examples

Have you seen the acronym TL;DR in our weekly newsletter? It stands for “Too long; didn’t read” and we use it to give you a quick summary of something we read so you don’t have to. 

What’s in it for you? You get all the juicy info without having to read a long (and possibly boring) article, but we always include a link in case you want to dive in.

What’s in it for you? Craving doughnuts? You can take a quick peek at Oh Doughnuts' IG to pick your flavour before you head to the shop. This post also lets you know that you can have doughnuts delivered to your house, which means you don’t have to get sweaty to get doughnuts.

This Expedia commercial with Ewen McGregor acknowledges—and pokes fun at— our obsession with accumulating stuff, and then ends with him walking onto a white sand beach. You hear the waves crashing and see a family with two kids running into the water.

What’s in it for you? Spending your money on experiences instead of stuff will make you happier, and Expedia will help you save more on those experiences. 

Its especially inspirational because most of us have spent the better part of two years stuck at home with online shopping or home renovations filling the void left by lack of travel. We’re ready to have experiences again.

This Facebook Ad for an article by The New York Times is geared toward parents of young children. The copy and image are a great example of a company understanding its customers and where they are at right now.

What’s in it for you? Validation. Knowing you’re not alone and you’re not abnormal for feeling burnt out is a relief, plus the article offers a way out.

What Do Your Customers Want?

What do each of these examples have in common? Yes, they all make it clear what’s in it for you, but what’s in it for you in each case is a feeling rather than a product—ease, happiness, validation. 

These examples hit on another fundamental truth when it comes to marketing: what your customers want isn’t just a product/service, they want the feeling that accompanies it.

Curious about how else we can help you be more strategic with your digital marketing? Get in touch! We’d be happy to answer your questions.


 

How to Scale Facebook Ads the Right Way

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Facebook Ads have been a “must” for almost every business over the last several years thanks to its robust and detailed targeting options that allow you to show your ads to your target audience.

But what do you do if you feel like you’ve hit a ceiling with your Facebook Ads return-on-investment (ROI)? What other tactics can you use to extend your reach and help your ads get shown to even more of your ideal customers?

Keep reading to find out:

How to Scale Facebook Ads the Right Way

There are two main ways you can scale your ads: through your budget, or through your audience targeting.

Let’s start with how to scale your budget

Option 1: Increase your budget

This probably comes as no surprise, but one of the easiest ways to get more out of your Facebook Ads is to increase how much you’re spending.

This sounds simple, but scaling your budget on Facebook isn’t the same as other platforms like Google or Bing Ads.

(Also: if you’re looking for a team with 20+ years’ experience running pay-per-click ads like Google and Bing, let’s chat.)

But back to Facebook: every time you change your Ads budget, the algorithm that decides who sees your ads changes, too. If you change your budget mid-campaign you run the risk of resetting the Learning Phase (Facebook’s way of saying “we’re figuring out what to do next”).

Generally speaking, the guidelines for scaling is to keep all budget changes within 20% or less of the original budget. Here’s a video that digs into the “why” in deeper detail, but for the sake of this post we’ve summarized it into a handy chart:


The above applies to both daily and lifetime budgets (we prefer lifetime budgets since you don’t run the risk of maxing out your daily limit and missing out on potential Impressions).

Option 2: Extend Your Targeting Into “Lookalike” Segments

If you’re looking for a way to scale your campaign beyond just the budget, consider expanding your targeting into audiences that are similar (but slightly different) than the audiences you’ve already targeted.

One way to do this is to target audiences who like similar products or services. 

For example, if you’re a small business selling personalized children’s stuffed animals, create a new target audience of people who Like the Business Pages of stores in your area that carry gifts, furniture, and items for babies and new families.

The way we described above is one way to do it, but another way to take the guesswork out of things and let Facebook’s algorithm do the heavy lifting by creating Lookalike Audiences.

Lookalike Audiences are exactly what they sound like: they’re groups of people who “look like” your target audiences. You can set them up easily just by following these steps.

Another way to lean into using Lookalike Audiences is to create “seed” audiences of people with similar attributes to people who meet this criteria:

  • People who have added products to their cart
  • Newsletter subscribers
  • People who filled out a lead gen from
  • High-value customers

Option 3: Go After the Competition

A rising tide floats all boats, but why leave customers on the table when you could make them aware of your products and services, too?

To do this, see if you can set the competitor up as a targeting option. 

This will likely only show up for larger brands, but you don’t have to be a big brand to attract customers from a larger competitor (in fact, when most people realize there’s a local option they choose to buy from that business, instead).

Option 4: Use Affinity Brand Audiences

Similar to competitor brands, “affinity brands” refer to brands that your customers also buy from. 

Let’s use the “stuffed animals” example from above, if we’re trying to target audiences of people who would be interested in baby gifts and products we can target audiences of people who have visited websites about parenting, baby food, diaper, and other related topics.

Option 5: Test With Broad Targeting

“Broad targeting” is when you create a Facebook Ads campaign focused on the conversion action you want more of… then you leave the rest up to the Facebook algorithm.

If that sounds dicey, we know! That’s why this option has a caveat: only test with this option if you already have high volumes of the desired conversion action.

Aka, in order for this option to work, you need at least 100 desired conversions happening per week. Otherwise Facebook’s algorithm won’t have enough data to make smart decisions on your behalf.

Start Scaling Your Facebook Ads Today 

These are some high-level strategies to scale your Facebook Ads results and generate an even better return-on-investment (ROI) on your ads, but there are all sorts of individual strategies that can be applied on a per-business basis.

If you’re ready to start getting more out of your Facebook Ads, drop us a line and let’s chat.


 

10 Creative Ways to Optimize Your CTAs

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This is a guest post from our social media intern, Emily Weidenbacher

A call-to-action (or CTA) is an essential part of your marketing copy that tells the reader exactly what action to take next, like a button that says "subscribe here!" or "sign up here". 

A CTA is a simple way of helping your customers interact with your webpage or social media feed.

If you're having trouble finding inspiration for successful and effective CTAs (and some similar ideas), look no further! We've got you covered.  

Here are the top 10 examples of creative calls-to-action.

1. Make it front and center

Wordstream used the entire top third of their website to grab their readers attention, and most importantly, they're telling their audience exactly what they need to do, why they should do it, and that it's free. 

Why it works

  • It's the first thing you see when you click on their page
  • It's clear and straightforward
  • Consumers can't click away unless they leave the page

2. Get it while it's hot!

Time Magazine has given their consumers a time limit on a great deal for a subscription for their platform!

Creating a sense of urgency is a great way of enticing those consumers who may easily click away without a second thought.

Why it works

  • The text creates FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) the consumer can't waste any time capitalizing on this deal
  • The persuasive language such as "flash" and "hurry" increases urgency and the fear of missing out on the opportunity

3. We all win!

Try thinking outside the box with a little sweepstakes like Charmed Aroma

The reader gets a chance to win one of your products or a prize of your choosing, and in return, you win some shiny new subscriptions! It's a win-win situation.

Why it works

  • The reader has nothing to lose by both signing up and entering to win the $500
  • The image both promotes their products and makes the ad flashier and more colourful

4. Drop the formalities

Depending on your brand, try incorporating some humour into your CTA.

Companies like Who Gives a Crap love have built their brand off of not taking themselves extremely seriously while still retaining a successful business model. It's okay to embrace the silly every once in a while!

Why it works

  • Humour makes the company more relatable
  • Everybody loves to laugh, especially when it's a potty joke

5. Take advantage of an urgent situation

Sometimes you need a solution to your problem ASAP.

Without even clicking on the website, GL Pest Control lists their phone number for an instant phone call. 

Since most people want to call an exterminator right away, listing your phone number can capitalize on those who need your services as soon as possible.

Why it works

  • It gives the reader the next step as part of the CTA
  • It's straightforward and presents a clear direction: Call

6. Pique people's interest

We all need to know the answer )) whether it's a Buzzfeed quiz or a random Facebook quiz, we all need to know which Simpsons character we are or which Disney prince or princess is our soulmate. 

 Keep your audience guessing and lead them to where they'll find all the information they're just itching to know.

Why it works

  • The ad is specialized for everyone that clicks on it )) everyone has a zodiac sign and a personal piece of e of eZodiac Cole!! to go with it
  • It keeps them guessing. Plus, they might have a little fun finding out more about themselves!

7. Less is (often) more

Simplicity will never go out of style. A simple “Book now!”, “Subscribe!”, or “Shop now!” is enough to catch someone’s eye.

Why it works

  • The words and the image are cohesive and don’t overpower each other
  • “Book now” is present and maintains the calming energy of the rest of the advertisement
  • The language surrounding the image – “Grab your passport and go.” –  is direct and promotes the same energy as the image

8.  Pull at those heartstrings

Use what you’re promoting! If you have little puppies or kittens that need a home, let the world see! Relevant images to your CTA will help you reach your target audience and tug at your consumers’ heartstrings.

Why it works

  • The photo clearly shows the two puppies in need of a home
  • It contains a short and straightforward background on their rescue which helps people feel closer to the puppies
  • There’s a direct link to the application to adopt them

9. CODE: CTA100 (aka, use discount codes!)

Offering discount codes is a popular way to attract people to your special offer. 

You’ve probably seen some of your favourite influencers or brands giving out their personal coupon codes for the products their advertising, which not only encourages people to take the action, but also helps them feel good about saving money.

Why it works

  • This specific coupon is offering 20 free meals with their coupon code and no risk factor to the customer
  • Codes like “FREE20” reiterate the special discount

10. Thank you for the music (aka, use music to help your CTA stand out)

Though pictures can speak 100 words, there’s no shame in adding a bit of music to spice things up. Here we can see how Luscious Orange catches their target audience’s ear with a catchy tune!

Why it works

  • This event also features live music, so they’ve added a clip that would be featured at the event to attract their target audience.
  • The music in the video has a catchy beat that encourages viewers to stick around and not swipe past the ad immediately.

Uplevel your CTAs today! 

Whatever you’re advertising, there is always a creative and outside-the-box way to get your CTA noticed. 

Looking for creative CTA copy to help your brand stand out? Drop us a line and let’s chat about your next digital marketing campaign.


 

Instagram Hashtags 101: How to Use Hashtags on Instagram

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Hashtags are one of the most effective ways of connecting your Instagram posts to your community, customers, and target audience.

In this post, we'll show you how to use hashtags to attract new followers, engage with your audience, and build brand awareness so you can grow your business.

What’s a hashtag?

A hashtag is a word, acronym, or a phrase used with the pound symbol (#) in front of it.

When you click on a hashtag you’ll be shown all the post on that platform that use the same hashtag — this is how you “connect” your posts to larger collections of content and discussions around a specific idea or theme.

Hashtags started on Twitter, but can now be found on most social media platforms including:

  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter (obviously)
  • TikTok

Why use Instagram hashtags?

While the platforms listed above use hashtags, Twitter and Instagram are the platforms where hashtags are the most important. Some of the benefits of using hashtags include:

  • Increasing engagement. Instagram posts that use hashtags see a 12.6% increase in engagement than those that don’t.

  • Expand your reach. Hashtags make your posts, Reels, and Stories easier for people to find  (this is known as “discoverability”) which helps you content be seen by a larger audience.

  • Attract new followers. Hashtags help your posts get seen within niche groups, which means using them can result in more Instagram followers who have the potential to become customers.

  • Improving brand awareness. Hashtags play an important role in helping your brand express its “voice” and build trust and familiarity with your audience.

How to add hashtags on Instagram

Adding a hashtag is super simple! Here are a few tips to help make it even easier:

  • Don’t use punctuation. Hashtags are all one word — don’t use spaces or punctuation (eg: #ThisIsRight, vs. #This-Isnt-Right)

  • Use title case. Capitalizing the first letter of each word makes it easier for people to read your hashtag, and makes your hashtags more accessible since screen readers are much more likely to read the hashtag as intended vs. reading it as one, long and jumbled word.

  • Don’t repeat your hashtags. Using the same hashtag twice in the same post doesn’t help discoverability, so stick to using one hashtag one time per post.

  • Double-check before using a hashtag. Some hashtags might be associated with inappropriate content or content that isn’t right for your brand, so always take a look at how other people are using it.

Types of Instagram hashtags

There are several different kinds of hashtags that you can use on Instagram, including: 

  • Location hashtags. These hashtags connect you with your local community and help you get in front of potential customers nearby. Some examples include:



    • #ExploreMB
    • #TorontoLife
    • VancouverIsland
  • Popular hashtags. These hashtags tend to be super broad because lots of people use them. As a result, they’re not great for connecting with a specific niche, but can help your brand be seen by a broader audience. Some examples include:



    • #ThrowbackThursday
    • #PetsOfInstagram
  • Trending hashtags. These hashtags are usually related to a specific event or theme and are super-popular for a shorter amount of time. These could include:
    • #Superbowl2022
    • MarchMadness2022

  • Branded hashtags. These are exactly what they sound like! They’re hashtags that are specific to a brand or a marketing campaign. Some examples include:



    • #ShareACoke by Coca-Cola
    • #TweetFromTheSeat by Charmin

How many hashtags to use on Instagram?

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags in a post, and while most advice says to use around 10, research from Later shows that 20-30 hashtags for Feed posts are actually optimal. Here’s what they suggest:

  • 20 hashtags for optimal reach
  • 30 hashtags for optimal engagement

How to hide Instagram hashtags

Let’s face it: 20-30 hashtags is a lot. Below are some of our favourite ways to hide them so they don’t make your post look clunky:

  • Add them as a comment. This has been the tried-and-true method for years. Just write your post caption and then add a comment with the hashtags you want to include.
  • “Push” them down. Once you’ve written your caption, create new lines with just a period after each line to create “white space” that buffers your post caption from the hashtags.
  • Cover them. This is a great way to use multiple hashtags in an Instagram Story post. Add your hashtags, then make the hashtag tex the same colour as your background or cover them with a sticker.

How to use hashtags on Instagram

As we’ve seen, hashtags are a powerful tool to help you promote your Instagram content to your ideal customers and target audience. Here are some ways to inject some strategy into your hashtag use:

Treat hashtags like keywords

Keywords are how websites optimize for SEO, and on Instagram, hashtags take the place of keywords.

Here at Starling Social we use a “blended hashtag strategy” which is exactly what it sounds like: it’s a blend of lower and higher-volume hashtags that help our client’s posts be seen by the widest possible audience.

Here are some examples:

  • Broad, low intent: #nailsalon, #eyebrowthreading
  • Less broad, medium intent: #eyelashtechnichan #browbarwinnipeg 
  • Specific, high intent: #browswinnipeg, #lasheswinnipeg

Save a list of “default” hashtags

While you shouldn’t repeat the same hashtags in a single post, you can repeat hashtags that work in different posts.

Here at Starling Social, we create a hashtag strategy document that lists the best hashtags to use that are organized popularity, relevance, and categorized by topic. This helps us go always choose the most strategic hashtags, no matter what the post is about.

Create your own hashtag campaigns

Some of the most widely-known campaigns have been hashtag-based. A great example is the #IceBucketChallenge which raised awareness for ALS and raised $115 million.

The trick here is to get your followers to want to use your hashtag, which means it needs to be something related to your business or the campaign you’re currently running.

Create a branded hashtag

As we discussed earlier, branded hashtags are a great way to generate awareness and encourage user-generated content (UGC) which is when other people include your hashtag in their content.

For example, we helped the Manitoba Museum come up with the branded hashtag #MyMBMuseum which they’ve used in campaigns, giveaways, and encouraged visitors to use when checking out exhibits at the museum.

Not sure how to create your own branded hashtag? Here are some tips:

  • Make it unique. Be specific and include your brand name.
  • Make it easy to remember. Long hashtags are easy to forget and can be annoying to type out, so make it short and snappy.
  • Research it. Check the hashtag you’re considering to make sure it’s not already being used, or (even worse) being used for something insensitive or inappropriate. 

Use hashtags for giveaways

One of the easiest ways to track entries in a contest (which can get overwhelming if you have lots of entries) is to use a hashtag associated with the contest. Not only does this make it easier for you to track entries, but you can repurpose any UGC it generates for your own feed!

Use other branded hashtags

If you’re looking to support or cross-promote with another brand, or think their followers would be interested in your content, then don’t be afraid to use their branded hashtag.

Follow hashtags

Instagram allows you to “follow” hashtags on the platform, so make sure you’re following these groups:

  • Your branded hashtag. Staying on top of engagement related to your brand is critical, so make sure to follow your branded hashtag, if you have one.
  • Your competitor’s hashtags. This allows you to keep tabs on them on the DL.
  • Industry hashtags. This allows you to stay in-the-know about the latest trends and news in your niche.
  • Geo-location hashtags. Following hashtags for your geographic area allows you to see content from people (aka, potential customers) in your city or region.

To follow a hashtag, just click the “follow” button in your search results.

Start using hashtags on Instagram

Hashtags are one of the most powerful tools at your disposal to grow your presence on Instagram. Use them to increase your reach, grow your follower count, and generate buzz about your business.

Looking for professional help with your Instagram strategy? Drop us a line and we’ll develop a plan that’s custom-fit for your business. 


 

45+ Headline Examples to Drive Clicks to Your Website

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Let’s be honest: very few of us actually sit down and read every piece of content that comes across our screens every day. If we did, that’s all we’d do!

In fact, research shows that 81 percent of people only skim the content they read online, which makes writing strong, attention-grabbing headlines critical to getting people to click on your content.

That’s why today we’re doing a deep-dive on how to write scroll-stopping headlines across a variety of use cases — let’s get to it:

How to write a great headline?

A great headline should appeal to its intended audience and get them to click to find out more. How it does this will depend on the context in which the headline is being used.

For example, a blog post title should explain what the reader will get out of the article before they start reading.

Google Ads headlines need to make the offer clear and entice someone to click right away:


That being said, there are some basic headline writing strategies that apply no matter what the headline is being used for, which include:

Write with an “active voice”

Most of us tend to write with a “passive voice” which is when the subject is the focal point in the sentence, and “active voice” happens when the subject does the action that’s being described.

Here’s an example:

Passive voice

  • Users get warned about misinformation on the platform by Facebook

Active voice 

  • Facebook warns users about misinformation

Use unusual words

The more unusual words you can use, the more your headline will stand out. Instead of using commonly-used words like “better”, “great”, and “faster”, choose synonyms that stand our a little bit more.

Here’s an example:

Generic

  • 5 Great Calls-to-Action for Your Website

Unusual

  • 5 Unbeatable Calls-to-Action for Your Website

Notice how the word “unbeatable” stands out more because we’re not used to seeing it in this context? Try applying this trick to your headlines!

Ask questions

Headlines written as questions make readers feel like we’re having a conversation with them, which is more engaging than even using an “active voice”.

Questions are also a great way to keep our headlines short and snappy while grabbing people’s attention. Take a look at these examples: 

Write headlines for your audience

One of the easiest ways to get people to click on your headline is to make sure they know it’s intended for them.

When writing your headlines, ask yourself: what do these people want? Why do they care about my product or content? Writing your headlines with these questions in mind helps you be more specific, which makes your copy more impactful.

Check out these examples:

  • 10 Instagram Trends Every Digital Marketer Should Know
  • Example App: The #1 Tool for HR Leaders
  • Here’s Why Event Creators Choose PromoApp 

Communicate value right away

No matter where your headline is being read, it’s important to make the benefits of clicking on it clear to your reader right away.

Whether it’s important information, a discount, or something that will help them save time, make sure to lay this out as clearly as possible in your headline.

Here’s a few examples:

Make emotional connections

People are more likely to click on a headline that triggers an emotional response. 

In fact, ads with purely emotional content perform twice as well (31% vs. 16%) compared to those with only rational content. Here are a few examples:

  • How to Take Command of Your Next Meeting
  • TGIF: 12 Ways to Treat Yourself After Working Hard All Week
  • How to Wow Your Clients With Your Next Marketing Report

How to write homepage headlines

The easiest way to write a headline for your home page is to write a few and choose the one you like best, then A/B test which versions perform best.

The most important thing to keep in mind when writing home page headlines is that it needs to march your brand voice. Think about it: your website probably isn’t the first time someone has interacted with your brand — they probably saw you on social media or found you through a Google search — so you want this to be a seamless brand experience.

Some ground rules include:

  • Stick to a similar tone
  • Use the same vocabulary (write for an 8th grade reading level)
  • Include familiar sentence structure

Website homepage headline examples 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are a few examples to get you going: 

  • Introducing _____
  • The New Approach to _____
  • _____, Staring at Just $_____
  • Refresh Your _____
  • A Fresh Approach to _____
  • Meet Your New _____
  • The #1 _____ for [your audience]
  • The Best _____ for [your geo-location]

How to write blog headlines 

A great blog post title catches a reader’s attention, tells them what they’ll get out of the article, and encourages them to click and learn more.

Luckily, you have lots of opportunity to convey that messaging: a 2020 study by SEMrush found that headlines between 10 and 13 words can double your traffic and increase social shares by 1.5x compared to headlines with seven words or less.

If this sounds like a lot of work, don’t worry: a study from Orbit Media found that most content marketers only draft two or three headlines per post.

Image via OrbitMedia

Blog headline examples

The trick to writing effective blog headlines is to start with the purpose of your post and your audience in mind. Ask: what is the clearest and more interesting way I can state what this post is about?

If you’re still stuck, try using some of these headline examples to get started:

  • _____ Tips From Experts on _____
  • Everything You Need to Know About _____
  • _____ Examples to _____
  • How to _____ When You _____
  • How to _____ in [Time Frame]
  • _____ Ways to Start Doing _____ Today
  • How to _____: Best practices
  • What is _____? (And How to [Solve/Fix/Do] It)
  • How _____ Can Help Your Business
  • _____ Ways to Improve _____

How to write Google Ads headlines

An effective ad headline needs to convey enough information that people will want to click on it, without giving everything away before they click.

Before we get too deep into Google Ads headlines, let’s talk quickly about something you should understand: response search ads.

What are responsive search ads?

Responsive search ads are a Google Ads format that can “blend” elements of pre-written headlines and descriptions to create ads that are “responsive” to a user’s search query.

With traditional ads, you create a single, static ad, but with responsive ads you can write up to 15 different headlines and up to four different descriptions which can be arranged in over 43,600 ways!

Google will automatically test different combinations of headlines and descriptions to figure out which work best together, so over time your responsive ads will show the more relevant message to users depending on what they’re searching for, their browsing history, and other defining characteristics. 

Responsive ads best practices

Now that we’ve covered what a responsive ad is, let’s discuss some of the basics:

  • You can write up to 15 different headlines, so we suggest at least 10

  • Headlines need to be shorter than 30 characters, but we suggest varying up headline lengths (at least a little bit) since Google can sometimes show as many as three headlines

  • Switch up your headlines so some include your target keywords, while others highlight benefits, features, and other elements that drive clicks

Google Ads headline examples 

Since we have multiple headlines to work with it’s important to be creative and have lots of variety. Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • _____ in [your geo-location]
  • Voted Best _____ of 2022
  • Find Your _____
  • Get Your Quote Today
  • The Best _____
  • _____% Off Your Purchase
  • [Your brand] vs. [your competitor]
  • Free Shipping
  • Try 30 Days Risk-Free
  • Save With _____

How to write Facebook Ad headlines 

Facebook ads should be short and to the point, with emphasis on the images or visual assets instead of the copy itself. 

According to research from Adspresso, the average length of a Facebook Ads headline is five words — meaning you need to get to the point as quickly as possible.

Facebook Ad character limits

One of the most important things to remember when writing your ads is that you don’t want your text to truncate (when it’s too long and gets cut off with a “...”) — this makes your messaging unclear and can reduce the number of people who click on the ad.

With this in mind, here are the latest limits to keep in mind for Facebook Ad text:

Facebook Feed ad character limits

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Facebook Stories Ad character limits

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters

Facebook Carousel Ad character limits

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Link description: 20 characters

Facebook Right column ad character limits

  • Headline: 40 characters

Facebook Instant Article Ad character limits

  • Headline: 40 characters
  • Primary text: 125 characters
  • Description (images): 30 characters

Facebook Marketplace Ad character limits

  • Text: 125 characters
  • Headline: 25 characters
  • Link description: 30 characters

Facebook Ad headline examples 

Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Order Now to Get _____
  • Save _____ on _____
  • Start Your Free Trial Now
  • Do _____ With Confidence
  • Accomplish _____ With _____
  • Gift the Gift of _____ This [holiday] 
  • Sign Up for _____ Today

How to write LinkedIn Ad headlines

Just like with Facebook, LinkedIn ads show the image or video first, with the copy being secondary. The most common types of LinkedIn Ads are single-text ads and promoted content posts where you can use up to 70 characters in your headline.


As we can see, the headline appears below the image and the ad text, which means the goal is to reinforce the message conveyed in the image and encourage people to click.

LinkedIn Ad character limits 

Just like Facebook, you don’t want your text to truncate and muddle your messaging so you’ll want to keep character counts in mind.

That being said — LinkedIn offers a lot more options for ad types (Message Ads, Video Ads, etc.) that don’t specifically have headlines, so the list below includes only LinkedIn ad types that have headline requirements: 

LinkedIn Single Image Ad character limits

  • Name of ad (optional): Up to 225 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters
  • Headline: Up to 70 characters to avoid shortening (but can use up to 200 characters)
  • Description: Up to 100 characters to avoid shortening (but can use up to 300 characters)

LinkedIn Carousel Ad character limits

  • Name of ad: Up to 255 characters
  • Introductory text: Up to 150 characters to avoid shortening on some devices (255 total character limit)
  • No more than two lines in each card’s headline text
  • Character limits: 45-character limit on ads leading to a destination URL; 30-character limit on ads with a Lead Gen Form CTA

LinkedIn Follower Ad character limits

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad headline: Choose a pre-set option or write up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters

LinkedIn Spotlight Ad character limits

  • Ad description: Up to 70 characters
  • Ad headline: Up to 50 characters
  • Company name: Up to 25 characters
  • CTA: Up to 18 characters

LinkedIn Lead Gen Ad character limits

  • Form name: Up to 256 characters
  • Headline: Up to 60 characters
  • Details: Up to 70 characters to avoid truncation (Up to 160 characters total)
  • Privacy policy text (optional): Up to 2,000 characters

LinkedIn Ad headline examples

Since our LinkedIn Ad headlines need to support the heavy lifting happening in the image and text sections of the ad, we want our headlines to be clear and to-the-point.

Try these out:

  • Start _____-ing Today
  • Introducing _____: Learn More
  • Try Our _____ Today
  • Request Your Demo Today
  • The _____ You Need to Get the _____ You Want
  • Grow Your Business With _____
  • The Only _____ You’ll Ever Need

Use these headline examples to get more clicks

Headlines can be hard to write — but they don’t have to be! By leaning on the examples we listed in this article you’re already on your way to creating headlines that are on-brand, packed with information, and are more likely to capture clicks from your target audience.

If you’re still struggling to write scroll-stopping headlines, we’d love to help! Drop us a line and let’s chat.

And hey, if you liked this article and to get a roundup of articles like it (from us and other forward-thinking companies) delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning, subscribe to our weekly digital marketing newsletter.


 

4 Social Media Design and Branding Tips From Our Designer

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Within a few seconds of landing on your profile, your visitors will decide whether or not they want to follow or subscribe. Most of that decision lies in your online visual identity and how it relates to your brand. Is your content visually appealing? Is it something your audience wants popping up in their feed?

Here are some tips for creating and curating a social media presence that is visually engaging, reflective of your brand and strengthens your visitors’ relationship to you and helps build your brand’s online community. 

  1. Choose the best channels for your audiences
  2. Curate your content to the platform
  3. Consistency and cohesion are key
    1. Create Templates
    2. Colour and Typography
  4. Follow Basic Design Principles
    1. Visual Hierarchy
    2. Contrast
    3. Balance

1. Choose the best channels for your audiences 

Sometimes it seems like every day there’s a new platform out there. It can be hard to keep up. It’s important to remember your branding goal and not get distracted. 

Each platform has its pros and cons. Thanks to analytics and metrics, we have a pretty good idea of who is using them. With that, we can provide a better idea of where to focus your energy. 

What platform best works as an extension of your brand? Where are your customers spending their time? 

Good branding needs authenticity and so sometimes it’s good to stay in your lane.

2. Curate your content to the platform

Once you’ve chosen your platforms, be sure your content fits the platform. Instagram reels and TikTok videos are meant to be watched on a phone and should be shot vertically. Alternatively, Facebook and Youtube Videos are meant to be filmed and watched in a more traditional horizontal layout.

Size is also important. Instagram images tend to be more square whereas images on Twitter tend to be more wide than tall. 

Lastly, consider the type of content that is being put out. Where you might create a long-form explainer video for Youtube, your instagram stories need to be short and to the point.

3. Consistency and Cohesion are Key

Social Media is competitive, your little post is up against a seemingly never-ending stream of content. It can be a challenge to stand out. Creating templates and guidelines for content helps create a consistent recognizable presence and there are some great options online to help. 

Your posts don’t all have to look identical, but a recognizable theme throughout is important. Think of your posts as siblings and not identical twins. 

Find a cohesive look is easier when using similar styles, colour palettes and typography.


Courtesy of Adobe Stock

Here are some things to consider:

  • Typography. If you already have an established brand guideline, try to stick to your existing chosen typography. If not, choose two or three fonts that work with your branding and use those throughout your visuals. Avoid using too many fonts in one visual. This lets your message be the focal point rather than the medium. Typically serif fonts are best for print and sans-serif for web, but that’s not a hard-fast rule. 
  • Colour. Colour sets the mood, creates an atmosphere. In fact, most snap judgements in marketing are based on colour alone, so choose wisely and find something that reflects your brand persona. 

Similar to typography, you want to choose two or three brand colours and use them throughout your visuals. If I say “Support the Blue and Gold” and you think of the Bombers, that’s thanks to consistent visuals. 

Remember, we are in the business of writing content, not ransom notes. 

4. Follow Basic Design Principles

By following three key design principles, you can ensure your content is clear and engaging. 

Visual Hierarchy

You may only have a few seconds to get your audience’s attention. Visual hierarchy is a way of laying things out by order of importance. Here are some ways to achieve good visual hierarchy:

Size

The eye naturally goes to the element that takes up the most space. Give top spot to what matters most. This can be through the use of different sized visuals or by writing more important information in a larger font size. 

Colour

Highlight important elements by giving them a different colour.

Use of Space

In design, often less is more. Give your images some breathing room, making them more impactful. Playing with negative space is also a great way to make an impression.

Alignment

Alignment directs the eye to a focal point. Scattered around a page, visual elements like icons and text can get lost. But with the help of alignment, we can establish a sense of direction and establish a clear focal point.

Contrast

Contrast makes designs ‘pop’ and without it, images can look rather flat or cluttered. You can establish contrast in a few ways. 

Size

By sizing elements differently, you can create contrast and highlight the most important elements.

Colour: 

A pop of colour helps draw the eye in and make your design that much more engaging.

Shape

Contrasting geometric and organic shapes can create visual interest. Using different font styles also helps make your message stand out.

Balance

Balance is essential to good design but is often an afterthought. We might feel that something looks “off” but it’s usually because of a lack of balance. Balance naturally occurs in the world around us and it’s a great foundation for compelling images and graphics.

There are four main types of balance, symmetry, asymmetry, radial and mosaic or crystallographic. 

Symmetry

Symmetry is achieved by giving equal weight to elements in an image. The weight can be spread horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  It gives the impression of being mirrored and perfectly balanced.

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay 

Asymmetry

Asymmetry occurs when elements in an image are different but equally weighted. Good asymmetrical balance can be a little bit more tricky to achieve but the result can be more striking, playful and engaging than its symmetrical counterpart.

Image by yeshimss from Pixabay

Radial

Radial balance often occurs in nature, think water ripples, tree rings or a snail shell. They draw the eye to the center of the image, to a main focal point. Radially-balanced images are often almost hypnotic and bring feeling of serenity, calm and peace.

Image by msandersmusic from Pixabay 

Mosaic or Crystallographic

In mosaic or crystallographic composition, equal weight is given to many different elements across the image. While the individual elements are not symmetrical, the image as a whole is balanced.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay 

Conclusion

This might be information overload, but we’re here to help.

By keeping these few tips in mind, you can ensure that your social media feed offer customers a consistent and reliable visual identity that is reflective of your brand and worth the follow. 

By meeting customers where they already spend a lot of time and offering them content that is engaging and appealing. This only stands to strengthen your online community and brand loyalty.  

Ready to start putting these tips into practice? Drop us a line and let’s chat!

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Tags: Branding

 

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