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Your Inbox Knows Your Birthday

How can you make your digital well wishes feel authentic?

People love to feel special. Keeping track of birthdays and milestones can be a special way to stay in touch with customers and clients.

Coupons, discounts, and freebies are great birthday perks. But as it becomes easier to send automated greetings—and more sites and shops opt to fill inboxes with digital hellos—it can start to feel impersonal.

Under the headline “Happy Birthday! Just Don’t Open Your Inbox” the New York Times reported on the growing “feeling of malaise surrounding one’s birthday in the digital age.” Experts and email receivers alike commented that too many messages can lead to a disconnect between business and audience.

“When we’re receiving birthday messages, that’s a personal thing. We feel like we’re seen and we mean something to that person,” Dr. Nicole Beurkens, a clinical psychologist at Horizons Developmental Resource Center in Caledonia, Mich., says in the article. “The tone of that really changes if we start to feel like the other person is just using that for themselves. That doesn’t feel good.”

So, what can we do as marketers to celebrate with our people without overstepping?

Keep it on the small scale

Small businesses have a chance to shine when it comes to personalized greetings. After all, you know your clients and customers. You see them in person and interact regularly.

By being small, you likely already have a closer relationship with your audience. When you send that happy birthday email, you can visualize the person on the receiving end. Your regulars will enjoy a little recognition from their favorite local stop.

Focus on being authentic and unforgettable

While there’s still room to wish clients and customers a happy birthday, it’s understandable marketers may be worried about overstuffing inboxes. Don’t forget your email best practices. Know your audience. Create a strong subject line.

But, if you are concerned your email will get lost in the shuffle, think of an alternative. Include an automatic birthday perk in a members program clients can claim by speaking up at the register. Invite customers to opt into a birthday rewards program. Switch from digital greetings to a more personalized print greeting.

Save the birthday greetings for one day a year

Instead of sending out messages for everyone, invite everyone to celebrate at once. Turn “happy birthday to you” into “happy birthday to us.” Invite clients to join you in marking your business anniversary.

During the month, week, or day of your anniversary, introduce specials, discounts, and more. Include members and regulars on an anniversary party, so they feel like part of the family. Let your customers and clients know that inviting them in on your special day is what growing another year older is all about.

Whatever you decide, do it with your own personal style. When you stay true to your brand, you stand out from the crowd.

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Let’s Get Visual

Three smartphones with a screen of data running behind them

Images can help you tell a story.

Strong visuals grab our attention. They make us laugh, cry, and feel every emotion in between.

But, if you have limited resources, upping your visual game may feel like turning straw into gold. Luckily, there are a host of tools available to help.

Create Images with Canva

Make memes, inspirational posts, social media ads, and more with Canva. From online ads to posters and wedding invites, Canva’s various options allow you to meet your print and digital needs.

Canva offers a variety of preset designs and social media platform templates. This means you can easily craft an original design or build something based on an existing look. New designs are added regularly, so there are always fresh looks for seasons and holidays. Looking for something in particular? Simply do a keyword search. There are both free and premium images, icons, and illustrations to add.

Canva is great if you don’t know where you want to start. However, you’ll want to watch that you don’t lose your own look in the process.

Think about uploading a color palette, using a certain filter, sticking with special fonts, and adding in your own photos. With a few tweaks, you can make your Canva creations still look distinctive and original.

Other online photo editing and design services to consider are PicMonkey and BeFunky.

Explore the Power of Infographics with Piktochart

Turn otherwise boring data into something shareable and understandable with Piktochart.

When you use data visualization, you turn numbers into a narrative. Piktochart is a infographic app that will help you create visuals for your data-based presentations and digital and print needs.

On Piktochart you can search layouts to find a look that will work for you. Adjust text and add or upload photos, logos, and images to tell your story. You can further customize your data by experimenting with various charts. Working with a team? You can share and collaborate within Piktochart.

Capture Attention with Skitch

Are you a visual thinker? Skitch from note-taking app Evernote is one of those tools that makes learning and tracking information easy.

This free screenshot editing app allows users to add shapes and text to an image. You can export or share online, or simply save Skitch projects to keep track of information for yourself.

What’s great about Skitch is that it can be so helpful for your offline life.

Gardeners, for example, might want to take a photo of their backyards and then annotate the pic to remember what is planted and where. Similarly, home designers could mark up a photo of a room with notes on furniture and pricing. And editors can share screenshots of articles with arrows pointing to the relevant paragraphs.

This is the kind of information that’s easy to relay if all parties are standing in the same room together, but can get lost in virtual translation.

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Yes, You Can Use Video on LinkedIn

Laptop with speech bubble saying "Let's connect"

Everybody’s on LinkedIn—even celebrities are on this social platform known for networking. And while this may not be the platform you go to for fun, it is the platform you should be on for professional connections.

According to numbers from LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Marketers Guide, there are more than 400 million professionals are on the platform. If you want to talk to leaders, savvy thinkers, ideators, marketers, communicators, head to LinkedIn. If you want to grow your business, and show off your skills to current and potential employees and clients, head to LinkedIn.

But don’t just be there—be part of the community.

This is how you can set yourself apart from the millions of users. This is how you can position yourself and your company as a thought leader and drive your business.

Increasingly, one way to do this is through native video on LinkedIn, which launched in 2017. You can start a video ad campaign, embed videos or upload and create on LinkedIn’s platform, which, it should be noted, are often more effective. You can share product launches, promote company news, drop insider offers and exclusive looks, and tell stories and introduce key figures.

Sure, you could similarly share these updates through static images or text. Video is one more avenue to connect. Additionally, data from LinkedIn suggests viewers spend more time with video and may be more likely to start conversations around video content.

LinkedIn is interested in pushing its community toward using more video too: In February, the company launched a live video feature in beta. The company continues to pilot live video streaming with a few broadcasters. The feature isn’t currently available to all members, but LinkedIn does offer an option to apply to become a live video broadcaster.

For everyone else, LinkedIn also offers support and encouragement to pursue the creation and uploading of original videos.

LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has a quick guide to using video on LinkedIn, and even goes as far as helping participants consider why video might be important to their strategy. (There’s also LinkedIn’s special Tech Marketer’s Guide to B2B Video.)

If your objectives include building brand awareness, encouraging clicks and new viewers or driving leads to your website, LinkedIn argues posting video on the social media platform is good for you.

As with any video strategy, it’s important to do what’s right for you and your audience. Come up with an idea and see it through, then look at the feedback and adjust. Adding in video doesn’t mean eliminating all other content and touch points. But it does offer a way to set yourself apart from others and create another opportunity for viewers to connect with you.

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