Top Tips for Getting Your Emails Opened: Infographic

Top Tips for Getting Your Emails Opened: Infographic

Email is a potent, enduring weapon for internal and external communications. In fact, did you know that email has been shown to be 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than social media? Need guidance? Check out this cheat sheet on how to get readers to open your emails.

Click here for full article from PR Daily.

Email Marketing Cheat SheetSource: PR Daily

Need help maximizing your efforts? April Neill Public Relations can help! Shoot us an email at for a free 30 minute no-obligation consultation to discuss your email marketing goals. We offer strategy and execution of email marketing campaigns, both working closely with your team or with our team!

Top Marketing Trends for 2017

Have you properly prepared for and planned your marketing strategy for the upcoming year? We’ve got you covered. Check out top marketing trends to watch for in 2017.


As the end of the year approaches, it is time to look back on the year in marketing and analyze the trends we should expect to see in the coming new year. This helps you, as a marketer or business owner, be prepared for and to properly plan out your marketing for 2017. Here are 10 of the marketing trends to watch for 2017.

Content marketing getting better
One of the trends that will carry over from 2016 is that marketers are getting better at content marketing. By better, we mean they are having more success with content marketing campaigns. A MarketingProfs report shows that 62% of B2B content marketers are “much more” or “somewhat more” successful with their content marketing than they were last year. The same goes for B2C marketers as well. For the same survey last year, the reported success rates were at just 30%. Of course, this is a good thing because content is so important. However, it does mean being prepared to allocate more budget to content marketing.

Mobile, mobile, mobile
We know, you’ve been hearing about mobile for quite a few years. It may sound like a broken record, but that’s only because it is so important. Mobile devices are the source of more traffic on the internet than desktops. The other thing to think about when planning your mobile marketing strategy is that you must consider your mobile target audience as if they were moving targets. You, as a marketer, have unique insight to so much of your customers’ lives and activities thanks to mobile data and permissioned data. You know that your target audience’s’ needs change throughout the day and thanks to all that mobile data, you can customize your marketing to target your audience where they are and accordingly for what they are doing.

Visual content
Visuals are so important to all of your marketing efforts, not just social media. Visuals can help with your branding, help you stand out, get recognized, and be remembered. If you haven’t embraced visuals yet, it’s never too late to start incorporating them into your plan for 2017. How can you get started? Hire a photographer to take photos of your company and your products. Make sure a good portion of the photos are timeless so that you can continue to use them for different advertising and promotional campaigns. If you don’t have a design team on hand, look into some design apps that take the work out of photo editing and make some creative and catchy photos.

Video content
Of course, video content could fall under the visual content category we just mentioned above, but it deserves its own bullet point. Static images are not enough. Video has become so important. Video literally reaches out and grabs your audience’s attention. It doesn’t give viewers a choice, it just begins. Try both funny and emotional videos to really connect.

Marketing to customers in-store
Chances are you’ve done it yourself. Have you been shopping lately when you do a price check with competitors while you are in a store? The only way to compete with this is to market to your customers while they are in your stores.

Native advertising
Expect to see an upswing in native advertising in 2017. The formats are getting better and more improved. If you shied away from native advertising, you might feel more comfortable with trying it if it is right for your brand. More major publishers are likely to start offering this method of advertising in 2017.

Chatbots and AI gaining in popularity
Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg announced that third parties would be able to access the Facebook Messenger platform. As a result chatbots have grown quickly in popularity. Using chatbots is a slippery slope, but can definitely help increase the speed of engagement and allows for real-time engagement.

Influencers increasingly important
Influencers have been becoming increasingly important tools for marketers to use. It is the best form of user-generated content. The public is quick to believe what others have to say about your product. When those “others” have a huge audience full of believers, your message reach grows exponentially and in a positive direction.

Organic traffic is on the decline
After spending the time and effort to develop the best content, it can often be lost and never seen when you post it across social channels expecting organic content to go viral. Now that Facebook and Instagram do not post content chronologically, most users will only see the most popular posts. How do you get those posts to be popular in the first place? It likely isn’t going to happen organically. As a result, plan for 2017 to start paying for your “viral” content.

Live and vicarious experiences will increase
If you haven’t noticed the popularity of streaming video content, then you haven’t been paying attention. In 2016, Facebook Live introduced a whole new novice audience to live-streaming video. Facebook made it so accessible to the public, that now consumers will be more open to see live-streaming advertising on different platforms. Live streaming is beginning a new trend in vicarious experiences and will cross over into other immersive experience types of content like 360 degree video and augmented reality.

Social Analytics
Social analytics will become increasingly important, just as important as other analytics you use in your marketing analyses. Social listening and collecting social data will help you through 2017. Be sure to follow this trend and look into tools that will help you process all of the valuable social analytics information that is out there, waiting to be mined.

Source: Biznology

2016 is coming to an end. Do you need help maximizing your marketing initiatives to boost sales? We can help!  At April Neill Public Relations, we have a team of experienced marketing professionals who can quickly turn around a variety of campaigns for you including:
  • Targeted Email Marketing campaigns to your best customers to boost sales during the holiday season and beyond.
  • Facebook Advertising campaigns to increase brand awareness & sales.
  • Influencer Marketing campaigns & Product Reviews to boost brand visibility in 2017.
  • Traditional & Digital PR Services including Press Releases, Effective Pitching, Content Marketing, Copywriting & more.
Don’t delay! Click here to book your complimentary consultation today and we’ll help you make the most of your remaining 2016 budget and/or help you plan your 2017 strategy. Remember to ask about our end-of-the-year specials!

Top Reasons Why your SEO Plan is Failing.

Executing a search engine optimization strategy isn’t enough to get you on the front page of Google’s search results.

Even with an SEO plan in place, there’s a strong possibility it isn’t working the way you hoped and expected.

There are a number of reasons your SEO strategy is failing to get you prime real estate on the first page. Without an understanding of what you’re doing wrong, your content will most likely get lost in the middle of the pack.

Click here for three of the most common—and crippling—mistakes to avoid.

Feel Good PR Tips for the Holiday Season

BoostPRHolidayImageThis holiday season, if you’re looking for new ways to boost your brand exposure, drive sales, and garner media attention while also fostering a sense of goodwill, try mixing up your marketing strategy with feel good PR initiatives.

Below are some quick tips for boosting your PR during the holidays.

Campaign for a Cause

Increasing numbers of brands are mixing social good into their marketing and PR programs. Not only is it smart; it can reap big rewards as well!

Studies show that consumers are more prone to make purchases and seek out services from businesses and brands that give back and do good for the world. As a matter of fact, in a recent survey, 87 percent of consumers said they would switch brands based on a connection with a good cause.

As with any marketing initiative, holiday PR requires a clear, compelling message. It’s also important to target the proper audience with a relatable, easy to follow offer and mission. Potential customers need to know specifically what or who their purchase will benefit. So host a toy drive or a coat drive to benefit a local charity and attach it to an offer for your business! Not only will you boost your sales, garner media attention (don’t forget to send a press release to your local media announcing your campaign and one after reporting on results) but you’ll also be perceived as a company that cares.

You can also support a charity during the holidays with a campaign that doesn’t attach a specific offer to it. One of our favorite promotions of all time is Macy’s ‘Believe” Campaign that invites kids to mail letters to santa to benefit the Make-A-Wish foundation. What makes it awesome? While there is no purchase necessary, it drives traffic to their stores and keeps them top-of-mind with their customers. They also always get a lot of press during the holidays as well, which is important for any business trying to stand out in a crowded marketplace. This year, the department store is making their campaign even more interactive, giving their customers an experience outside of the store with a mobile app that takes pictures of Macy’s holiday characters to further promote their campaign. How cool is that!

Share Holiday Tips

Another great way to give back is by providing helpful holiday tips that help your potential customers solve problems they are facing during the holiday season. Get creative! You can write a blog post, send a tips-related press release, pitch and/or contributed article to your local media outlets, post an article on your LinkedIn page, or post on hyper local news sites. You can even host a free workshop! Not only will you establish your industry expertise, but you’ll be providing a valuable service to the community while potentially driving traffic to your business, website, or blog.

Whether you host a holiday outreach effort or craft seasonal tips to share, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to build your brand awareness while also celebrating the season of giving.

Chances are, you’ll boost your sales while also generating positivity and goodwill in the world.

Cheers and Happy Holidays!

6 Tips to Turn Your Boring About Us Page Into a Lead Generation Machine

How effective is your About Us page? Does it convince your website visitors that you are the right company for them or does it bore them to death?

If you think yours needs improving take a look at this infographic from Referral Candy which gives you 6 tips on how to acquire customers using your About page.

6 Tips to Turn Your Boring About Us Page Into a Lead Generation Machine.

21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue (Infographic)

21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue (Infographic)


Courtesy of Copyblogger, this infographic demonstrates how to repurpose existing content in a different media format, get more bang from your archives, and reach new and different audiences in the process.

The graphic is based on 21 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue by Copyblogger guest writer Danny Iny. Copyblogger re-imagined the way to present these content-creation tips, while adding a meta-fabulous #22 (you’ll see why). Enjoy!

Courtesy of April Neill Public Relations, a boutique PR firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. April Neill PR offers FREE 30 minute phone and in-person consultations. For more information, visit, call 815.651.0656 or email

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Crafting and Delivering Education-Based Marketing Messages

Crafting and Delivering Education-Based Marketing Messages

strategyBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

In our last post, we talked about the value of Education-Based Marketing. You know it’s important, but how do you craft messages that reach and resonate with your best potential customers?

Have you ever wondered what the best content marketers do differently? How they create content that not only captures interest and engagement, but drives leads as well?

If you’d like to create content that’s powerful, relevant, informative and engaging to your target audience, you need to first match your marketing strategy and education-based messaging with buyer behavior.

There’s no content marketing success without strategy.

Imagine stepping into the minds of your future prospects and listening to their thoughts before they decide to begin shopping for a wedding photographer. What questions are they asking themselves? The secret to attracting qualified prospects early on in the sales cycle is to find out the answers to those questions and use them as the basis for your education-based marketing strategy.

For instance, if you were to offer your prospects the choice between two free special reports, one titled “Why Brand Z is the Best Wedding Photographer” and the other titled, “Seven Little-Known Secrets to Hiring the Best Wedding Photographer,” which do you think would get the most downloads?

Based on the latest statistics, the second report will out perform the first report by 10:1. Educational information that helps your prospects solve problems and make better buying decisions is the type of information that attracts prospects and drives leads and engagement.

How To Package Educational Marketing Messages to Generate Qualified Leads

Once you’ve developed your educational strategy and message, you need to package it and offer it for free in exchange for your prospect’s contact information. This is crucial. Effective education-based marketing isn’t just about getting your messages out and reaching your audience, but more importantly, it’s about getting a response back and building a list of interested prospects. You need to make this your goal.

Generate Qualified Leads & Build Your Email List By Giving Away Goodies

You can package your educational messages in formats your prospects will respond to such as FREE white papers, audiocassettes, videos, email courses, or even webinars. It’s a great way to attract customers to you!

Give Your Message an Exciting Title

An important aspect to making your educational message engaging is to give it an irresistible title. People love how-to articles, numbered lists, and getting information (secrets) that others don’t have.

Resist the urge to give a sales pitch.

The beauty behind Education-Based Marketing is that you give prospects what they want, information and advice, without the sales pitch — and you get what you want, their contact information which will help you kick your business revenue into high gear. By offering helpful advice, you establish yourself as an industry expert because prospects see you as a reliable source of information, making them more willing to receive your updates and offerings.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Gain Trust and Attract Business with Education-Based Marketing

Gain Trust and Attract Business with Education-Based Marketing

Marketing signThere is a common misconception amongst small businesses that your marketing’s most important function is to promote your products and services to prospects ready to buy. In fact, the most important function of your marketing strategy should be to establish that you’re an expert in your industry, that you have knowledge to share, and that you can be trusted.

It’s a given that consumers like to do business with people and brands they trust. That said, even if you have the lowest prices, if you’re not perceived to be trustworthy, it might be difficult to attract customers. This is the basis for Education-Based Marketing.

A powerful marketing strategy that establishes trust and credibility using strategic educational messaging, Education-Based Marketing is the direct opposite of traditional marketing, which leverages selling-based messaging.

People are tired of being bombarded with sales pitches. Alarm bells go off the moment you launch into your spiel. In comparison, consumers are more likely to listen when you offer value by sharing expert information and helpful tips and facts that not only help them live better but also help them make better buying decisions. And even if they are not ready to buy, you’re planting seeds and gaining consumer trust that will likely pay off when they are ready to purchase your product or service.

Stay tuned for our next post that will delve deeper into how to craft your educational message.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.

Facebook’s Latest Newsfeed Algorithm a Game-Changer for Brands

Facebook’s Latest Newsfeed Algorithm a Game-Changer for Brands

FacebookAlgorithmImageBy April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations

For brands and small businesses who have put in the sweat equity over the last few years to build their Facebook following and gain consumer confidence and loyalty through intelligent, thoughtful brand publishing, Facebook’s latest newsfeed algorithm is going to be a game-changer.

In a recent article titled, The Great Facebook Swindle And What To Do About It published on Social Media Explorer, Jason Falls explains how the rules have changed and it doesn’t bode well for brands. First of all, with the changes, even though your audience “Likes” your page, there is a strong likelihood that Facebook won’t let most of them see your posts organically in their news stream. They can still visit your page to see it, however, unless you pay to promote it, many of your followers won’t see it. As a matter of fact, with the changes, Facebook is ratcheting down organic exposure of brand page content to 1-2% at best. This is not good!

Here are the highlights on how brands can still win.

  1. Direct people to your Facebook URL It’s no longer enough for to tell our audience to “Like” us on Facebook. Now we have to ensure they know that we offer great content there but Facebook won’t let them see it unless they go to the Facebook page just like they would come to our website and they are going to have to type in our brand name or URL to see our content. For traditional communications, stop using the “Like us on Facebook” call to action and start using the “Visit us on Facebook at” one.
  2. “Share” is now the new “Like” When a user does find your content, intentionally or not, and uses the Facebook “Share” button, it places that content on their timeline as if posted by them. They are recommending that content to their friends and followers. This circumvents Facebook’s brand classification as it sees the post as being from the individual. It is content they are organically recommending. So every single call-to-action must be “Share with your friends.” By building a loyal group of advocates, readers, fans or customers who will go the extra mile to type in your URL or bookmark your Facebook page, plus who will Share rather than like, perhaps even writing a little lead in to tell their friends why they should go see this content, you can still organically reach a lot of people. The challenge is that your content has got to be dynamite and your audience has got to love you beyond their love of most other brands.
  3. Pay to play I know … this isn’t organic. But now you know that in order to achieve organic success you need a highly engaged audience willing to share. When you have content that will attract that kind of user or you can target to find that kind of user, take advantage of the fact you can offer up a little bit of money to get it in front of more of the kinds of people you want to collect. It’s a numbers game, in a way. For every 20 users, you’ll probably have one that really digs you enough to type in the ULR and/or “Share” your content. (Your traction here may vary from 1:20, but that’s a good starting point.) The more users you have the more advocates you’ll have to choose from.

So there you have it. It might also be a great time to spend more time promoting your brand on other social media platforms. Twitter is starting to look better and better! What do you think? Will you put in the extra effort and energy to reach your followers on Facebook or will you leverage other vehicles to get your message out?

April Neill, CEO/Founder April Neill Public Relations
April Neill, CEO of April Neill Public Relations

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.


Tips for Leveraging Content Marketing for Success


With today’s constantly evolving digital landscape, you need to be ever ready to adapt your marketing strategy in order to stay competitive within your industry. PR experts have always known this and one of the most widely used examples relates to content marketing.

What is content marketing?

Content marketing involves creating and sharing relevant and valuable content in order to attract and engage specific consumers. The idea is not to sell, per se, to your target audience but instead, provide valuable information that makes your prospective customers more informed and engaged with your brand. The strategy is that if you deliver consistent, ongoing valuable and/or entertaining information to consumers, they will ultimately choose to do business with you.

Here are the basics to implementing a successful content marketing strategy:

▪                Create Your Authentic Brand Voice – you want your audience to get a sense and a feel for who you are as a brand and what you do from the content you create and push.

▪                Identify Your Target Audiences – it’s next to impossible to speak effectively to an audience if you don’t know who they are and/or you can’t identify with them. Start researching and get to know the prospects you are interested in. Then begin pushing out relevant content that provides value and appeal to these clients.

▪                Identify What Makes You Uniquely and Wonderfully You – Ask Yourself What Differentiates You From Your Competitors? – There may very well be a lot of companies that offer the same services that you do; that said, this is your chance to tell everyone what makes your services or offerings special and how you are better than your competitors.

▪                Craft and Push Content across the Web that Speaks to Your Target Audience. – Posting valuable content on your website, on a blog, on hyperlocal sites and on social media channels can be a great way to connect with your target audience and ultimately, a great way to attract customers to your brand.

For best results, Synergize Your Efforts!

Remember that content marketing works best when it’s synergized with your other marketing initiatives, so don’t stop doing what you’re currently doing. Leverage content marketing as one of the many strategies it takes to convert a “friend” to a client or customer.

April Neill is a brand strategist, lifelong entrepreneur and founder/CEO at April Neill Public Relations, a boutique public relations firm serving small businesses and non-profits in Chicagoland. You can find April on Twitter and also connect with April Neill PR on Facebook.

April Neill Public Relations is passionate about helping small businesses position themselves as experts in their industry. We offer a complimentary 30-minute in-person or phone consultation. Email to make your appointment today or call 312.772.3832 for more information.