Don’t You Like Me Anymore?

The Truth Behind Opt-In Campaigns

So you’ve kept your list (and nose) clean and your opt-in process is now compliant. You’ve even gone through the effort of contacting everyone who signed up before July 1st to ask if they would like to reconfirm opt-in. How nice is that? This is nearly 3 years before the deadline of June 30, 2017.

So you should get a gold star right? Maybe a medal for compliance above and beyond the call of duty?

Except that it’s been a couple of weeks now and you’re seeing only about 10 to 20 percent of your existing list confirm opt in.

Don’t they like you anymore?

Well, first, there are a number of factors that should be considered when determining the success of a mailing campaign to confirm opt in (a.k.a., a subscription retention campaign).

Frankly, in the lead-up to the compliance deadline of July 1st, a lot of people were inundated by similar requests. Your average subscriber likely received multiple requests per day or per hour if they’re analysts/brokers. You can’t really blame them if they start to ignore the emails after confirming subscriptions for 10 to 12 lists before their morning coffee.

Of course, when subscribers evaluate and prioritize their lists, they’re probably considering basic questions:

  1. How important is it that I hear from so-and-so?
  2. How often is so-and-so going to email me?
  3. Does so-and-so actually send me useful information?
  4. Can I get this information elsewhere?
  5. Is this relationship going anywhere?

All fair questions and the answers may help you evaluate your own level of engagement with your subscribers.

  1. How important is it that I email my subscribers?
  2. How often should I email my subscribers? (How often have I emailed them in the past?)
  3. Is the information I am sending relevant to my subscribers? (Are they even reading my emails?)
  4. Can I simplify the communication process or content (ie., direct them to our website instead of sending them a complete technical/financial summary within the body of an email)?
  5. Is this relationship going anywhere?

As sad as it may seem, losing subscribers is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you don’t see the possibility of the relationship furthering to the point of conversion. If anything, the implementation of Canada’s anti-spam legislation serves as a useful wake-up call, allowing us to re-evaluate our relationship with  subscribers as well as the effectiveness of our communication strategies.

Mythbusting – Get the facts on the CASL

Over the past couple of months, we’ve fielded a lot of questions about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and now the government has stepped up by providing further clarification about the new regulations.

You can check the “Get the Facts” section on the new landing page for the Fight Spam government site but we’d like to highlight the two that deserve the most attention:

Myth: I won’t be able to use email or my current email list to promote my products and services.

Fact: You can continue to use email if you have express or implied consent from recipients. During the 36-month transition period, you can continue to use your current email list if

  • you have previously provided your products or services to them and
  • they haven’t told you to stop.

Myth: I heard that I could be fined up to $10 million for sending an email and that there could be class actions.

Fact: There are no automatic penalties. The CRTC has a range of enforcement tools available, from warnings to penalties (up to $1 million for individuals and $10 million for businesses).

As always, it’s important to go to the source to get the latest information but we’re glad to help clarify any questions with our FAQ.

CASL Not So Scary

Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation Is Here! Can I Still Email My Current Subscribers?

The short answer is yes. The CASL legislation (effective July 1st) is not a wall of terror that is coming to topple you with possible fines. It’s actually a somewhat-belated response to the problem of spam and spam-related evils such as the proliferation of phishing and malware sites. While we can guarantee that most spammers/botnets will ignore the legislation, it does force individuals and businesses to  recognize the issue and draft up a best practice policy to remain compliant.

I don’t have express consent from every subscriber who signed up before July 1st. Will my email list implode if I try to email them after July 1st?

No. Nothing will happen. Your mailing list will not disintegrate, and you can still disseminate to current subscribers.

This is because the legislation allows for a 3-year phase-in period. Businesses that send out commercial emails have three years from the start date of July 1st to adjust their policies and practices. While the legislation does require express consent from new subscribers after July 1st, it assumes implicit consent from anyone who is currently subscribed. Of course, this implicit consent is withdrawn the minute someone un-subscribes or discontinues a business relationship with the sender(ie., if someone stops being a shareholder or using your service/product).

Within those three years, it is important to adjust your subscription policies and email content to reflect the changes in legislation.

As always, please visit the government website for more information and to read the regulation details:

List Hygiene: Or why You Should Love Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation

If you work in IR, then you know that list hygiene counts. After all, why bother sending your news release to a bunch of obsolete accounts, spam traps and people who don’t read, don’t care, or can’t remember signing up for your emails in the first place?

With Canada’s anti-spam legislation now in place, you need to think about keeping your list compliant and minty-fresh.

Generally speaking, Canada’s Anti-Spam legislation prohibits the sending of commercial email messages or data to someone who does not give their express (explicit) consent to receive the email.

The key phrase is “express consent” which is something that must be documented. Documentation can consist of a “confirm opt-in” date which is recorded either in an email or through the submission of a form action (such as when someone clicks on a “confirm” button in an email or on a web page).

At Blender Media Inc., we’re already implementing the use of a double opt-in process to confirm subscribers to your list. After signing up through an online form on your website, subscribers will receive an “opt-in” email with a button that they must click in order to confirm their express consent. Submitting the form will still add the subscriber to your list but they will NOT receive emails until their express consent is given.

For more information please visit the government website to read the latest regulation details:

Keep checking back for more information on the CASL and list hygiene tips!

Dragons’ Den – IR Style

The reality television show Dragons’ Den is an entertaining, CBC, series that gives aspiring entrepreneurs a chance to pitch their ideas to a panel of Venture Capitalists. On December 5th CIRI BC did an excellent job at recreating the entertaining reality series – IR style! The chosen dragons are all very experienced and well respected in the IR community. Meghan Brown – Director of Investor Relations at Endeavor Silver, Darren Seed – Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications at Westport Innovations, George Kesteven – Manager, Corporate and Investor Relations with Calgary based Sterling Resources Ltd. All three did an outstanding job at keeping the audience engaged with clever humor and insightful inquiry.

Thank you to CIRI BC’s event, our president, Arash, got to transform into a television star as he pitched Blender Media to the panel. He focused on our services, strengths and unique capabilities.

“We are the only agency that covers and manages all the different stages of a company’s website in house, under one roof.”

“We look at every project through the eyes of an investor.”

 “We’ve worked with all different size companies and we’ve learned to be effective with all of their different timelines and budgets.”

At the end of Arash’s three minute pitch, it was time for the Dragons to make their decision. Meghan instantaneously gave us her support – Darren and George were soon to follow! We are glad that all three Dragons (without hesitation) agreed that Blender has a lot to offer IR professional’s. Thank you for a wonderful night CIRI BC!





The Key to Creating Email Newsletters that People Actually Read

Well, first of all, thanks for reading our Blender Online Magazine! This is our tenth issue and throughout these months, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to email marketing. Email is fast and versatile when it comes to delivering information to targeted audience. It’s a cost effective method that allows your company you reach specific individuals and track how successful the email was at engaging your audience. So how do you ensure that your emails are open and people are reading the corporate materials that you send? Here’s a list of tips we came up with to help you ace your email communications.

  1. Focus and fine tune. Just like any other project, when it is unfocused and it doesn’t have a clear objective, it just becomes a mess. What is the purpose of the email subscription? What do you hope to achieve? In order for the email to succeed and generate results, you need to give it a purpose. For our online magazine, we aim to keep our clients in touch with the latest news and exclusive insights that would enhance their investor relations strategies. This helps us stay focused and keep content relevant to our clients.
  2. Keep your content balanced. Second step is coming up with a content strategy. Make sure the content is informative and educational to the receiver. As much as they love you and your company, if they are not learning anything from the email, it’s likely that they’ll just delete without even glancing at it. Let it be face sheets, news, upcoming conference calls or webcasts, make sure it’s all relevant to them. It’s easy to fall into the trap of self-promotional content but it also kills the open rates of your emails!
  3. Get a subscribe button and landing page! How else are investors and analysts going to sign up if you don’t have a form or landing page for them? Once you’ve figured out the content and got email campaigns running, you’d most likely want to expand your reach. Rather than relying on referrals, a landing page with sign up subscriptions would help a lot. Give them a teaser of what the newsletter is like, and entice them to subscribe!
  4. Subject lines matter. Chances are, newsletters always have valuable content but we never read them because the headlines are not engaging enough. Here are five things to avoid when it comes optimizing your email marketing, check out a blog post we wrote earlier: 5 Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid.
  5. Keep design simplistic. Make content concise, key points ‘scannable’, and design minimal. When things are precise, it’s easy to follow. The design layout of the newsletter will make the content an easier read, and receiver would be more inclined to open and read it again.
  6. Make the un-subscription process easy. You know how annoying it is when you’re trying to unsubscribe for something and it takes forever. Don’t make your current and prospective investors hate you for an email campaign you send out. Tying them down with email communications that they hate would just make them hate the company. It’s sad to see them go, but think of it as keeping your email list healthy!

5 Essential Tips to Corporate Blogging

Blogs have become an essential asset to a public company. The blogging platform allows public companies to inform their target audience such as investors and the community of their corporate activities. Blog posts also enhance website visitor’s experience by providing deeper content and a variation of engaging resources. Here are 5 tips that will introduce you to corporate blogging and how you can incorporate blogs into your digital strategy.

Give your Blog a Theme

Especially with public companies, theme and guideline are definite musts. With a focused theme, your team will have a clear goal and generating content will be easier. Guidelines will help decide what content is appropriate to disclose and whatnot. Just like any product, they’d need to meet the branding guidelines; your blog is no different.

Add Educational Value+

The quality of the content always triumphs quantity. Write content that helps your readers understand your company. People wouldn’t be bothered to read your blog posts if they’re not learning anything from it. One of the best ways to make your blog posts worthwhile to read and to share is to add educational value. If it’s useful, they will continue reading the posts, click around some more and stick around your website longer.

Voice your Company, Be Human

Yes, a corporate blog is still after all, “corporate”, but it isn’t a press release. Save the formal and official things elsewhere and humanize your brand on your corporate blog. Get different members on the team to write a few blog posts so your experts can offer exclusive insights. Or better yet, interview them so investors and the broader audience can get to know them through a Q&A. It’d be a great way for your audience to learn about your management team!

Make it “Shareable”

One of the main objectives is to reach out to your target audience with your educational content. Though it’s important not to forget that, in order to make it successful, you’ve got to have two-way communications. So, if the blogs can get social and have share buttons, your posts will be more reachable and discoverable.

Track Absolutely Everything

Whatever that you’re doing, if you can’t track it, it’s not successful. Tracking is a strategic move because it’ll tell you which blog post is doing well, which has the most clicks and which is keeping your audience on the website. You need to know all this to constantly improve and make your blogs relevant to them.

SEO Basics Explained in Just Minutes

What is SEO exactly? It stands for “search engine optimization” and it’s meant to improve your website’s performance in search engines… yes, but how? How does it work? And how does that relate back to you? What would your company get out of it? That’s what this post is all about, translating technical jargon into the essentials that you need to know about SEO.

SEO is the process of optimizing your website to make it easier for people to find your company through search engines like Google.

How does it work? We do little tweaks here and there in the web development side of things to help Google better understand the content that’s on your site. For instance,

Make sure you look your best in search results! Go ahead and search for yourself or your company on Google. What do you see? Hopefully, you’ll see yourself on the first page, or better yet on the top rankings! If that is the case, it’s absolute good news, but there is more to it. Take a look at the image on the left [taken from Google Webmaster Tools]:

Search engine results from Google Western Copper

Even if your company is on the first page and top ranking, check if the overall search result is optimized or not. Is the page title followed up with a concise yet informative phrase that best describes your company? What SEO specialists do is that, they add Meta descriptions as page summaries, which often gets used on search engines like Google. Take a look at what we did with Western Copper’s search engine marketing [image on the left above]. Instead of just saying Western Copper and Gold Corporation, the page title also tells you what the company is (in this case, “Copper and Gold Mining Company”). Underneath the description or page summary, Blender also optimized Western Copper’s exposure by adding links to the inner pages of their website.

Of course, there are a lot more to SEO than just looking good in the search results. SEO allows you to optimize your website to its fullest. So imagine all the little tweaks that we can do to improve your exposure online – from helping Google to understand images, site structure, content, URLs… and SEO for mobile as well! Every little detail counts and helps broaden your reach! Give us a call if you’d like to talk to our SEO specialist to know more!

Should You Invest in a Responsive Website or a Native Mobile App?

Responsive is really the buzzword of the day and companies are sensing the urgency to move into mobile if they haven’t already. So which do you need? Is it a responsive website or a native mobile app? Or is it both? Take a step back and think about what your company actually needs, and what your objectives are before moving into mobile.

Mobile Search Drives Conversions

One of the biggest advantages of having a responsive mobile website is mobile conversions. Google tells us that 81% of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, and 77% mobile searches actually occur at home or at work, where there is likely to have a desktop around for them to use. In other words, the likelihood of investors, analysts and journalists searching for you on their mobile is probably higher than you think. Research shows that 73% of mobile searches trigger additional action and conversions, such as continued research and purchases. Think of mobile search as a key part of the decision-making process and the mobile website is a potential catalyst that speeds up that process to your advantage.

Remember though, responsive is not just a website that responds to different screen sizes, it’s also a functional design that optimizes your website for mobile specifically. It’s a design that gives the website a fluid layout, with necessary spaces and buttons that are touch-friendly.

App as a Communications Platform

The investor relations app provides the company with another platform to optimize their corporate materials for mobile devices. Content could range from stock info, presentations, videos, fact sheets and audio-cast conference calls. Of course, the mobile app would optimize the publicly traded company’s reach as well; but perhaps, the primary focus of the app would be to provide a platform for the company to communicate quickly and effectively with their investors and shareholders. With features such as push notifications and ability to add events to the mobile calendar, companies can connect with its investors on a more intimate level.

At the end of the day, app or website, it really depends on your main objectives. One way to look at it is that, responsive mobile website drives mobile searches and encourages continued search from prospective investors. Native mobile app for investor relations would keep investors informed and shareholders on board with effective communications. Does your website have a responsive website or a mobile app? Let us know, we’d love to hear your thoughts!

5 Web Design Trends for Your IR Website

Design can really make or break your brand identity. The web design of your website is especially important, because it’s basically your company’s front door. When it comes to design, it has to look good, and it needs to be functional; but the biggest question is how? Make it cleaner and less cluttered? Kind of vague don’t you think? Our creative team came up with a list of 5 key trends in web design to give you a better picture of how we create clean and intuitive websites:

Parallax Scrolling is a technique that is often used in websites, where the background image scrolls at a slower pace than the foreground. Still unsure of what parallax scrolling is? Check out Faris Investment Corporation’s website that we designed and a list of 20 best websites with parallax scrolling of 2013 on Awwwards. The scrolling creates a visually appealing effect, and makes the audience wonder ‘what’s beyond the fold?’ Accompanied with a clean and static navigation bar on the top, users can also fast forward the scrolling to a section they desire to read. The parallax effect allows the company to convey a compelling equity story with effective visual cues and breaks.

Bold and solid colors make a difference. Colors are a huge part in web design, think of it as a form of non-verbal communication. What do the colors say about your brand right now? Are the colors doing its job in brand recognition? The number of acceptable hues for brands keeps increasing and a sea of different blues showed up in design. Blue is known to be the color for trust, dependable and strength. That’s why blue is often seen with banks and businesses that hope to inspire trust. Take a look at this useful infographic created by Kissmetrics to know more about how color psychology works. Leave us a comment or give us a call if you need help deciding what color scheme best fits your company.

 Large image backgrounds are usually used in online photography portfolios, but the trend is growing and reaching many web designers as well. Imagery should not just be limited to photography; publicly traded companies can also draw stories and capture investors’ interest with visuals too. With Endeavour Silver’s website, we decided to whitewash large images and rotate them in the background. Hence, visitors will be constantly reminded of Endeavour Silver’s strategic silver acquisition and exploration programs by the rotating images in the background. Yet the images work in a way that doesn’t steal the spotlight from Endeavour’s rich content. Want to steal a look? Click here and remember to check out Endeavour’s Silver Hub too!

Big headlines and mixed & matched fonts – really trendy in terms of web design right now. We experimented with big, bold headlines and got great results with Texas Rare Earth’s corporate website. When investors enter the site, they will immediately see mining company’s catch phrases, which really summarize what the corporation is all about. Say for instance, “Unlocking a National Treasure in west Texas” and “Strategically Poised Long-Life Heavy Rare Earth Developer” against visually appealing images of Texas and the multi-metallic rare earth.

Responsive – you didn’t think I’d miss responsive did you? Responsive has been a trend in 2012 already, and it’ll continue to be a trend for as long as we use our mobile and tablets. 81% of mobile searches are driven by speed and convenience, says Google. It’s really not a surprise to anyone right? Searching on a mobile device is quicker, and easier. Investors can research about you anywhere. That’s why responsive is in trend, websites need to smart enough to respond to a wide range of screen sizes to engage mobile investors.