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Archive for November, 2013

Fire in the sky.

Friday, November 29th, 2013
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Cloud formations are glorious, in shape and in array of color. ‘Truly each moment in time is different and each day is a surprise.
Shot on an iPhone by Natalie Bieser

Read Me.

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Last day: 25 % off your order. ‘Cozy up with Patagonia Fleece. Students Need Your Vote Today to Secure Spot in National Accounting Competition. Wishing you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving. It’s our customer appreciation sale ‘ 48 hours only! You’re Invited! Alumni Wine Tasting. Our Gift To You’40% Off. This is just a sampling of the subject lines of dozens of emails that stream through our inboxes on a daily basis. What is instantly deleted and what is opened? For marketers to successfully combat their messages being sent to the trash, they need to focus on what really matters in email campaigns. This is especially pertinent with the impending holiday season, as companies make gallant efforts to capture shoppers’ attention. Too often marketers lose sight of how vital it is to have a compelling subject line; without one no one will ever see what’s IN the email.

Chris Hexton with refers to email subject lines as ‘the gatekeepers of your email campaigns.’ The subject line is the first thing that recipients see in their inboxes, and has the most sway in whether or not an individual will open the message. Therefore, marketers need to spend almost twice as much time reviewing the subject line compared to the body of the email. The goal is for marketers to create a dynamic subject line that will prompt readers to not only open the message, but also potentially become take action.

Creating the perfect subject line involves three essential elements: 1. Make it personal 2. Keep it useful 3. Keep it short. ‘Personalization can include a name, a geographic location, or a reference to a prior product the recipient browsed. Useful messages are statements that highlight the valuable information in the email, no unnecessary words, exclamation points, or emoticons. Finally, to keep it short, it is best to have an email subject line at 50 characters or less.

Researchers have conducted countless surveys to collect data on what works for email subject lines. MediaPost did an extensive study scanning the subject lines of over 24 billion emails to analyze which key words worked and which need revamping, a great resource to use to incorporate in your own messaging. If you are still having difficulty drafting subject lines as you embark on your holiday email marketing campaigns, Constant Contact provides 15 subject line examples.

After Gmail reorganized its inbox to three separate sections: Primary, Social, and Promotions, marketers are having an especially difficult time to have their emails read, much less opened. This new set-up automatically classifies emails into particular categories, channeling content into specific streams.

As a marketer, play the recipient. What emails would you open? How do you navigate your inbox? Bring your experiences to your marketing strategy to create the most successful email campaign this holiday season.

Lights on.

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

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Simple light bulbs all strung together create a sense of place and cozyness.

Shot on an iPhone by Paul Bell.

The Damage of Screen Time

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

The advent of smart phones has been life changing. ‘A phone call can turn into a Skype session, photo-apps make the average person feel like Ansel Adams, and answers to all the questions of the world are at one’s fingertips. No longer does one need to be concerned about getting lost, missing emails, keeping kids entertained, or waiting alone at a doctor’s office, restaurant, or meeting. But in our time behind the screen, what are we missing?

The Internet has killed off several things since its creation. As wondrous as it may be, its effects have extensive consequences. The struggles of the postal service have been making headlines, but bookstores, record stores, and newspapers, and are just a few other businesses facing possible extinction. Beyond the economic challenges, the Internet, particularly its expansion to mobile devices, is prompting social side effects as well. The public space has suffered from hand-held computing. Just as states have banned texting while driving, cities are looking to ban texting while walking. Amtrak has implemented the ‘quiet car’ and parks and libraries are among a couple of establishments considering implementing ‘Walden Zones,’ promoting relaxation, distraction, cognitive health, and digital-free zones.

Kids are now so engrossed in iPads, DVD players, and other electronic entertainment, they rely, just as much as their parents, on screen time. From rides in the car, bedtime, and even eating in a restaurant, kids are plugged in. Doctors have stated that children should not be allowed more than two hours screen time a day. Excessive screen time is harmful to children’s health, causing long-term damage. This includes decreased muscle strength in areas, motor delays, and severe effects on musculoskeletal health. From a social aspect, many children and teens suffer from online addiction. Those that struggle in school, seek comfort in the virtual world. These children are frequently found to be non-committed to schoolwork, depressed, and socially disengaged.

Smart phones are taking over people’s lives and people don’t feel comfortable ‘socializing’ without them. Rather than being in the moment and perhaps having a conversation with a stranger, waiting in a line at Starbucks prompts the need to pull out a phone and skim through the Twitter feed. No one looks around, smiles, and takes in the surroundings ‘ just think who we are missing out on meeting. Even on the proximity of one’s home, the phone is the wake-up call and the late-night reading. When not on the phone, the television or computer is on; it is nearly impossible to escape the screen’s effects.

Anti-technology zoning doesn’t need to be a legislative act; it can and should be executed individually. Cutting back, even slightly, on screen time can have huge benefits for you and your family. This can encourage other activities that stimulate traditional exercise, creativity, or communication, and who knows your sense of self and curiosity may be renewed.

Faces and places.

Friday, November 15th, 2013


Surreal, yet fascinating. Could be in the wilds of Africa or the concrete jungle of Copenhagen….

Shot on an iPhone by Jon Keeling.