The Death of Flash and Why it’s Important for Your Business

Flash dissapearing
We got this image from an e-learning website article about the changeover to HTML5. Click on the image to see the article.

We have been getting a few clients asking us about enabling Flash on their browser. Why do you need to do this just to see what you want to see? Flash is going away. It is dying a slow death, and as with many tech deaths, it is taking people by surprise.

What is Flash?

I had to get a simple breakdown from our tech guy and well, here is my attempt to put it into un-techy language: Flash is a kind of “computery” language that enables computers and browsers to play back videos, animations, interactive media, advertisements, etc.

Why is it going away?

  1. It’s not very secure
    More than a few Zero Days have occurred last year in which hackers could target your computer. According to Norton Antivirus, “The term ‘zero-day’ refers to a software vulnerability that the developer is newly aware of, and thus an official patch or update to fix the issue has not been released. Essentially, ‘zero-day’ refers to the fact that the developers have “zero days” to fix the problem that has just been exposed—and perhaps already exploited by hackers.”
    This has led many users and many browsers to disable Flash automatically.
  2. It’s obsolete
    Developers have moved on already to HTML5, JavaScript, etc.
  3. It’s being dumped
    All major browsers block Flash by default. Firefox began blocking Flash in 2015 followed soon by Safari, Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. Internet Explorer is the only Flash enabled browser right now. That will soon be gone too, as IE is planning to disable Flash by 2019.
  4. …But there will be stragglers
    Just like obsolete font types are still being used, nobody can stop developers from using Flash. But it won’t be supported by browsers anymore, just like old fonts are not supported by new operating systems. It’s ability to work will be patchy without support.

What this means for your business

  •  Your websites will need to be updated to avoid using Flash by the drop dead year of 2020, though support in browsers will end before then.
  • Your animations using Flash can only be used on a computer with a compatible operating system that has Flash installed.
  • If you have interactive learning sites or proofing tools, you will need to make sure they have an HTML version.

What we are doing about it

  • We have already updated our website to not include Flash.
  • We are still going to use ProofHQ as our client proofing tool because they are developing an HTML version of the website that goes live in the next couple weeks. Currently, they have a beta version available. If you want to test out this platform right now, click this text in the bottom left hand side of your proof. It looks different but proofs still show accurately, and that is the important part to us and our clients. Of course, because it is in beta right now, you must have Flash enabled to access the button (go figure, right?).
    You can preview HTML on our proofing tool
    While you are in ProofHQ looking at your next proof from us, try out this feature.

The Well-Targeted Newsletter Audience

Imagine:

Example #1

It’s Friday afternoon and you’ve just sat down in your favorite chair on the porch with your favorite beverage in one hand and a stack of mail in the other. You revel in the fall breeze at it gently pushes away the once stuffy, hot air. It’s nice to be outside again.

You examine your stack of mail:

Cable TV ad. Nope.

Another “pre-qualified loan offer”. Not falling for that again.

Car insurance quote offer, for the hundredth time. Maybe later.    

Bills. Absolutely later.

Here is a newsletter from the community organization that you donated $20 to last year. Well that is interesting. What’s going on in the community? What are they doing with your investment? You can’t believe what you are reading. ALL OF THAT is happening right now? How can you help? You get this strange, powerful drive to do something for your community and look for a person to contact. All the info is right there.

Example #2

Next door to you, the neighbor kid has just gotten home from school, fallen on the couch, and is looking through his Facebook feed. Endless streams of information. But he isn’t really reading it, he is scanning, turning his brain off for a bit and only stopping when certain interesting words or images catch his eye.

Angry cat. Hah, that cat is great.

Political upheaval. Later, when I have more energy.

An ad for a T-shirt with his last name on it. The shirt reads: “It’s a Smith thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Clever, but that’s been way overdone.

Headline: “A man plunges into a rushing river and what he does next will amaze you”. No, it won’t. It will be disappointing. The picture displayed here won’t even be in the article and it will only be amazing to a toddler. Oh wait, no pictures. Not even toddlers are impressed. The kid starts to write a post about how annoying headlines have become and then erases it. Nobody cares about that either.

His attention piques when he sees a post about the alarming rate of child trafficking in Placer County.

The next few minutes are filled with furrowed brow, narrowed eyes, and held  breath. The wheels of alarm are turning. What can he do to help? He cares about his community a great deal and must do his part in something great. Well it says right there how to help, who to contact, and some words of encouragement. Hey look, a button that says “Yes, I will help organize a Safe Walk Home meeting at my school.” Yes please.

Example #3

Miles away in the city, a young woman is finally on her last hour of the work day. She checks her email one last time and notices an e-newsletter from the community organization that she volunteered at last year during a park trail cleanup. She likes getting emails from this organization because they gather up all the most important things going on in the outdoor (about as outdoor as you can get in the city) community and give her a snippet of what each thing is about. She thinks that the articles are always on point and usually relevant to how she can participate further or what has been done as a result of volunteers like her.

She’s had a rough day. She clicks on the link to learn more about using plants to create a stress free environment in the workplace. There is a great place right over in that corner for a succulent plant!

Reading this newsletter gives her inspiration to go outdoors over the weekend, and also to buy a plant for her office.

And look, they are having a tree planting event next week in the park! She will make sure to join. The park is just a couple blocks from her office.

These are what well-targeted readers and tailored content look like. Not every avenue is perfect for the entirety of every audience. In fact, it’s best for an organization or company with a wide range of clients or potential clients to reach out in different ways, according to segments of their audience. Not sure where to start?


Start Your Information and Invitation Funnel by:

  1. Surveying existing interested parties and researching their demographics and motivations so that you can get more readers like them.
  2. Decide on how to tailor content to each segment of your audience.
  3. Plan a timeline and follow it repeatedly, provided it works. Otherwise make adjustments.
  4. Make your content. What do you want your audience to do and how will you make it clear that they are to do that thing?
        
    Now is the time to send your message. Not sure how to get it done? Or are you concerned about the professional quality or the possibility of hitting the spam folder/trash can? If you get lost anywhere in the process or you just need somebody to take over in the social media, email, design, or printed newsletter department, give us a call! (888) 282-8764. Or email us at quote_request@api-marketing.com

The Case for Newsletters

It’s cheaper to keep existing clients happy and engaged than it is to get new clients, which makes it so much sadder when companies neglect their client base and give exciting offers or much needed assistance only to potential clients.
With so many options today, a client needs to see value in your company in order to stick around. This value may be there already, but they need to see it! In fact, 90%* of people would switch to a new company that they feel has a better Corporate Social Responsibility ethic, or supports a cause that they like. With people that are willing to make a switch, the modern day business must frequently communicate what they are all about—without being annoying.

There are many ways to communicate: emails, newsletters, posters, flyers, brochures, mailers, videos, social media, community efforts, etc. They can range from passive, to in-your-face. The value of each depends on frequency, timing, content, and audience.  You won’t be able to praise the benefits of grass fed beef to vegans, and have them decide to eat it, no matter how good that beef is.

Quarterly and Monthly newsletters are a great way to give your clients and supporters assertive, yet not annoying bits of excellence. They can:

  1. Build loyalty by offering relevant, helpful information from your area of expertise.
  2. Let people know what you’ve been up to in the community and what your company personality is like.
  3. Give your company a voice.
  4. Give you an opportunity to get to know your clients, and segment your audience for different content, based on how they respond to your newsletter.
  5. Nurture existing leads in a cost effective manner and generate new leads and new sales by allowing people to discover what you have to offer. For example, every now and then a person comes to us after seeing an article about banners and tells us “I didn’t know you printed banners!”

We are offering 25% off printed newsletters through August 2017, so if you are curious to see what a newsletter can do for you, get a quote! Email quote_request@api-marketing.com or call 530-885-9674


*According to Cone communications/Ebquity’s 2015 Global CSR Study

 

Photo credit: Foter.com

Authenticity in Modern Marketing

A free range, grass fed blog postAuthenticity.  What does it mean to you?
Is it a pristine, original painting? A perfectly restored classic car? Perhaps organic fruits and vegetables? Artisan firewood? Using leeches as a way to heal wounds? Well, you get the picture. Humanity can get a little carried away with authenticity. But it sells. In fact, the Rule of Seven (“rule” stating that you must contact a person 7 times before they will consider your product or service), is becoming a laughable thing of the past. It’s no longer about how many times you contact somebody, it’s about HOW you contact them and if it is RELEVANT and COMPELLING to them.

We are obsessed with authenticity
In the digital age we are bombarded with demands for our attention,  In our over-processed lives nearly every outlet is untrustworthy. The things we do trust are original, simple, and down to earth. We are drawn to people and other creatures that persist, and that are unapologetic originals—because we want that too. This phenomena can be seen in nearly every issue on every side of the political aisle and is manifested in different ways.

Businesses can direct that passion and drive for authenticity on a product or service by speaking the new language of the consumer.
Continue reading Authenticity in Modern Marketing

E-mail may be less active then ever before

According to Yesmail Interactive the 4th quarter of 2016 e-mail activity, response has been lower across several type of industries than ever before. For businesses that are using a multi-channel approach to their marketing this is nothing new. E-mail has been a good channel if you are looking at retaining and engaging with your current customer. If you are looking for new customers it is time to look elsewhere. Every business has many options to attract new customers, regardless if you are a “Business to Retail” or “Business to Business” you have choices. The most important is selecting channels that work for you, regardless of the price. If e-mail doesn’t work it doesn’t work, move on. Social media, direct mail, banners and other outside media, SEO or AdWords will help your business grow. Look for something new, learn the channels of advertising that will make a difference in your bottom line. If you want to talk about choices or budget just give me a call. Let’s have coffee and hopefully open your eyes a bit wider.

Strategic Use of Animated GIFs

Do you remember when people were just learning about the joys of animated GIFs and websites were littered with bouncing sheep, rainbow glitter, or even the more recent explosion and decline of Nyan Cat? If you don’t remember this, take a look at these fine specimens.

For a couple of years, designers and business owners have stayed away from animated GIFs for the same reason that they currently avoid fonts such as Comic Sans and Papyrus; GIFs were overdone. Too popular, too annoying, too much neon, too intrusive. But what about now?

Things have come a long way since mankind first decided to make an image that plays frame by frame actions in a never-ending loop. Now we have an opportunity to use them tastefully and for the right reasons. So, what are some reasons to use them?

Continue reading Strategic Use of Animated GIFs

Is your message above the fold?

In the newspaper business (that’s the thing that would land on your porch about 5am each morning back in the olden days), publishers and editors had a mantra: “all that matters is what’s above the fold”. The same thing should hold true for your e-blasts. If you can’t keep all the content on the screen or one “page down” don’t put it in your e-mail.

Everyone is slammed. They don’t have time, and if they did have time, they wouldn’t use it to read the hundreds of e-mail novels they get each day.
Focus on the frequency of your e-blast, use minimal content, grab their attention, keep their interest. Do all this in less than 100 words and with only a couple of graphics. Now sit back and watch your open rate score change.

Your content should include relevant and timely information that’s concise. Help your audience skim your content by grouping it with subtitles. Use call-outswhat do you have above the fold? Illustration of a stick figure below the fold, trying to get attention. to focus their attention where it matters most. Include links in your content that back up your point. Linking to content from your own web site will keep your audience engaged with your marketing platform and bolster your credibility at the same time.

E-blasts aren’t just an art, they can be a science. As a marketer, your job is not only to produce content, but also to use analytics to identify the ideal content and frequency. Test, make more adjustments, then test again. When you are all finished and you are sending the best e-blast possible.

If you need help, APi-marketing is here for you. Give us a call, or better yet, send us a short e-mail. Let’s work with your ideas. Your business is unique, make sure everyone knows that.

How to Use a Call List with Your Drip Marketing Campaign

Learn tried and true theories from a Drip Marketing Certified Consultant on how to use a Call List stage to follow up with your hottest leads. I just listened to a webinar by Stacy Roach from Power of 3 Consulting, “How to Use a Call List with Your Drip Marketing Campaign.” Stacy, a veteran ACT! Certified Consultant and longtime Swiftpage user and reseller, talked about several principles that struck me as to the power of a tightly integrated E-marketing solution like ACT! E-marketing. Continue reading How to Use a Call List with Your Drip Marketing Campaign

Focus on improving relevancy, timing, and impact of Your E-mail marketing

Priority InboxHow about that — strategic e-mail marketing works. The opposite — sending e-mail marketing with abandon — is always a bad idea. High frequency coupled with low relevance is a death knell — it depresses response, annoys subscribers, increases unsubscribes, and spikes complaints (counted with every click on the Report Spam button in Outlook, Cloudmark, or Internet service providers (ISPs) like Yahoo and Gmail, which power many small business e-mail). Too many complaints will prevent all your messages from reaching the inbox and earning a response. To take advantage of the importance of the inbox in this busy season, focus on improving relevancy, timing, and impact. Continue reading Focus on improving relevancy, timing, and impact of Your E-mail marketing

Are You Respecting Your E-mail List?

Too much email?I’m probably going to get some flack for this post, but I’m writing it anyway because I feel strongly about its importance. Most marketers will tell you that your e-mail list is golden. It is. It’s a big deal when someone gives you permission to contact them via e-mail, especially considering how overwhelmed we all are by e-mail these days. Continue reading Are You Respecting Your E-mail List?