Tags: Email Marketing

Diversifying Email Personalities: The Weekly vs. The Digest

Diversifying Email Personalities: The Weekly vs. The Digest

Beyond • November 25, 2016

The gods of marketing say it takes about seven encounters for a lead to agree to convert into a customer. The same holds true for email campaign: it takes multiple exposures for a reader to get on board. Getting on board looks different in an email campaign. For the email marketing world, getting on board means knowing your brand exists and being invested in learning more about that brand – maybe even trusting that brand to make a future investment in later. This is key. You want people on board because you want them invested in what you have to say. It’s how you build your audience, your brand, spark word of mouth, and get people to buy-in to whatever you’re trying to sell. The next challenge is getting face time with your readers. You don’t want to be that over enthusiastic email marketer that sends too many email campaigns. [Confession: this is a VERY popular tactic in new media marketers that are selling digital services or consultations, and it’s quite frankly the fastest way to get unsubscribers. Let’s be honest, no one is that enthusiastic all the time and no one is that interested in your product. Add to it the dodgy email campaign practices these people use which including creating conversation subject lines so it looks like the campaign is from a friend rather than from a business or brand. It’s a hideous unoriginal practice. Please stop doing it.] So, the question is how can you be a normal person sending genuine content that is of interest to your followers without being spammy? Easy. You diversify your email campaigns. If you already send a daily campaign, then add in a weekly campaign as well. If you already send a daily campaign, then add in a weekly campaign as well. If you’ve already got a weekly campaign, then add in a monthly or even quarterly digest. The daily email campaign can be about what’s happening at that moment. It can be about daily deals or calls to action that are time sensitive. The weekly just needs to be a status update about what’s been going on and what’s coming up. The weekly should not be content heavy but have bullet points or digestible chunks of content that give an overview of where you’re at and what people can opt-in for. The digest is a little trickier, and how you approach it really isn’t that different from industry to industry. The digest should read like a data mine of everything your audience will want to know. Think of the digest as a curated magazine with great content, visual or data-driven, that you’re not going to want to throw away. If you’re going to save any of these three email varieties to your website as a tool to attract more readers, then the digest is it. Also keep in mind that not every reader gets to every single email, which means it’s totally acceptable to repeat information as long as the copy reads differently. If someone does read the same thing again because they’re hitting every email, then at least they’ve read the same information in a new way. Exposing your audience to repeat information isn’t a terrible idea; it ensures the point is driven home.


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3 Ways To Infuse Thanksgiving Spirit Into Your Brand: Client, Company, Social Good

3 Ways To Infuse Thanksgiving Spirit Into Your Brand: Client, Company, Social Good

Beyond • November 23, 2016

Thanksgiving is probably one of the toughest major holidays in the year to market around. Everyone knows what’s expected for other holidays. When it comes to content and design it’s a given what tone and styles we’re going to be relying on. It’s a lot more challenging when the holiday of the moment is centered around a bird and gratitude. After all, there’s not a lot of style appeal to turkeys, leaves and fall colors. It’s a bit bland. And when it comes content, it becomes a bit dull to say you’re thankful. What more can really be said - and people want more. In past years, fall style is what motivated Thanksgiving campaigns. Rather than relying on the expected campaigns that tap into holding hands around the table, some companies ditched the traditional approach and favored centering their campaigns around the fall season. It’s not too late to try something different this year. With Thanksgiving just a day away, now isn’t the time to plan something grand. The best plan is to keep it simple and choose a campaign strategy that best mirrors your company. Your campaign can focus either on your clients, your company, or social good. If you’re going to focus on your clients, you can either spotlight something you know your clients are doing for Thanksgiving and share the spotlight with them. This works best for companies that have a more intimate relationship with a smaller pool of clients and who understand what’s important to them and feel comfortable approaching them. If you feel uneasy about the approach, know that most people will be thrilled for a wider audience on an issue they care about. It’ll in fact if done with respect, it’ll help you build deeper bonds with your clients. And if you have multiple clients involved in special acts of generosity or even a Thanksgiving tradition they’d like to share, there’s no reason you can run a profile of a few people. The wonderful thing about approaching the client, company, and social good approach is that it’s very simple for the approach to overlap. A client involved in social good - especially when your brand is too - overlaps nicely in a theme that shows you and your clients have common values. And if your marketing strategy is about your company - without the social good element - then it’s easy to tap into the heart of your company when you’re all around another kind of table. That table is the meeting room. In most companies, there’s a special bond when you’re all clustered around the meeting room for Monday scrum or Friday meetings. In fact, in one company, Friday meetings are talking about what went right that week. That right there would make a great feature to share in your Thanksgiving campaign. Through either your clients, your social good efforts, or your brand culture, you can tap into the spirit of Thanksgiving without relying on the tired monotony that Thanksgiving has otherwise one. Break that monotony by reflecting what makes your brand exceptional and soulful.


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How Often Should I Revise My Email Marketing Strategy?

How Often Should I Revise My Email Marketing Strategy?

Beyond • November 23, 2016

Many businesses check their marketing efforts monthly, quarterly, bi-annually or even annually. This is a normal practice, and you may even have meetings scheduled around these time frames, but there are many other scenarios that could push you to revise your email marketing strategies. Below, I will point out a few reasons as to why and when you may want to check up on email marketing. The Season Calls For It If you are a retail store or your business is affected by holidays or seasons, it is important to check your marketing efforts around these dates. I suggest making opening and closing dates for each season. These dates mark the start and finish of each marketing cycle. During a cycle, your marketing is executing on all cylinders. Rarely should you change things within these dates. The idea is to create a plan, execute it and then review the results to make improvements. If you try to make changes while your plan is being executed, it could be difficult to pinpoint what made your plan actually work. Be patient and try to create plans you can execute from start to finish. If you are new to email marketing, start with small campaigns of just 1 - 2 emails and then branch out to more as you get the hang of it. When planning out a season, I suggest planning at least 1 - 3 months before it starts (Depending on the size of your company and people involved) larger companies will need more time. I don’t suggest to plan too far ahead, though, since you want your strategies to be as relevant as possible. When reviewing your campaigns after the close of a season, it is extremely important you look for improvements to use when that season comes back around or improvements to make on your next season campaign. Important Changes Within Your Company Let’s say you just added a new product or service. This is a perfect time to revise your marketing efforts. You want to make sure this new product or service is getting its well-deserved spotlight. If you are in the middle of an existing cycle that is being executed, you can maybe just include a one-off email to announce your latest addition and later plan on how to incorporate this new product or service in your ongoing marketing strategy. Important Changes Outside Of Your Company Based on your industry, what has changed outside of your company? It is important to quickly adapt to these changes to always stay ahead of your competition. Some changes may not affect your marketing strategies directly, but if they do, you can get a huge advantage over your competitors. For example, if you are a web consultant and you know Google is making changes to their algorithms, you could prepare an introductory email to inform your subscribers of potential updates they may need on their website for best practices & performance. Making sure you always inform and stay ahead of the curve with industry standards will give your subscribers a piece of mind that they made the right decision on choosing you for their needed service. End Of Marketing Cycle If you don’t have seasons or holidays to follow, make your own! You can create short and long term marketing cycles to check up on. This is common for service providers, consultants or freelancers. Let’s say you just hosted a Webinar. You will be sending emails before and after that webinar, right? Well, before starting up your next webinar, be sure to check the stats and overall strategy to ensure you improve as much as you can. I once signed up to a few webinars hosted by the same company. At the end of each webinar, they had a sequence of emails scheduled to be sent to the attendees. To save time, I saw they used the same sequence, which is ok … but they could have fixed the typos and spelling errors if they had thoroughly checked the campaigns before and after each webinar. Instead, they just made one campaign and copied it for all of their webinar series. It is important to check for overall improvements in your message and calls to action but most important, make sure your copy and grammar are correct. We can all make mistakes, but if you make the same mistake multiple times in a row, you are showing a lack of attention towards your subscribers. When creating your email marketing strategy, no matter how long your marketing cycle is, you want to plan, execute, learn and update. It is important to set a strategy and be patience to review the results. If you have a longer campaign, try to divide it into sections by setting milestones and goals. This way, you won’t have to wait until the end of the entire cycle to update or make changes to your emails. I\'ve outlined a few main areas you can look into when revising your email marketing efforts: Onboarding process How do people sign up to start receiving your emails? Is the signup process clear and easy to find? If you have a long page, try to have signup options in several areas instead of just the top or bottom. Can the subscriber quickly understand what they are signing up for? Eg. Signup to our Monthly Blog Updates. Let your subscribers know what you will be sending them, “Blog Updates”. And how frequent, “Monthly”. Is the signup process easy to follow? No complicated steps, only the necessary steps. Are you asking for enough information? What is the information you NEED from your subscriber to better segment and organize your list(s)? Too much information? Asking for too much could scare potential subscribers away. Ask yourself, what information do you need to get them in the proper list or segment? Remember, you can also learn from your subscriber based on their behavior, later on, to further segment their preferences. Effectiveness of each email and step What is your open rate? This will relate closely to your subject lines. If you notice a low open rate, try changing some of your subject lines. For emails that have issues, try creating A/B tests to try multiple subject lines to include the best. What is your engagement or click rate? Make sure your email delivers the message it promised and ensure your calls to action are well visible. Avoid having too many different calls to action but feel free to have various buttons referencing the same call to action. What do the analytic stats look like on your page? Once someone clicks on the call to action from the email, are they sent to the correct page? Does this page align with the message in the email and can the subscriber easily understand and navigate to the next step? Integration with other marketing strategies How does email marketing fit in with your other marketing channels? Email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing channels out there but if you are using other channels in parallel, it is important to sync them all up to avoid sending the exact same message on all channels at once. It is common that you will have an overlap of people who subscribe to your emails and follow you on other channels as well. Choose highlights and perspectives by channel and imagine if you were to receive all of your messages … does it make sense? Or does it feel like redundant blasting? Do you have an easy flow? As briefly mentioned in the point above, make sure your other marketing channels work with each other. Sign yourself up to your own flow and put yourself in various scenarios. What if you were just an email subscriber? Do you get enough information? What if you are subscribed to everything? Is it too much? If you haven’t already properly segmented your lists, doing this exercise will also help you better organize in the future I hope this information helps you identify how often you should check your email marketing strategies. If you have any other suggestions, we would love to hear them in the comments below!


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Things to Check Before Clicking “Send Campaign”

Things to Check Before Clicking “Send Campaign”

Beyond • November 21, 2016

Rushed. Hurried. Frenetic. Those three words describe the state of the modern marketing manager, who is overloaded with responsibilities and deadlines. It’s a common state resulting from executives who expect results and over-promise expectations, without realizing the amount of detail and planning that goes into marketing. What you’re then left with is a hyperactive marketing team that is prone to making mistakes. Some of those mistakes can be caught and corrected – while others not so much. I always say the worst mistake is the one people have seen. This is why before you click publish, you should always take the extra time to double check. However, double checking something like print copy or a blog post or artwork is one thing. In that scenario, you’re less likely to have made multiple errors. Where multiple errors or increased likelihood of mistakes are prone to happen is with the email campaign. There are so many parts to an email campaign that anyone hurried cannot possibly invest the due diligence to make sure everything is good to go. This is why having marketing cheat sheets help, including this list of what to check off before clicking “send.” Subject line. A common mistake people make is confusing the subject line with the email identifier that’s used for internal purposes. When sending out a test email, make sure you’re paying attention to what the subject line looks like to a reader. Header Teaser. Some email platforms have a teaser tagline at the top of the email that’s different from the subject line. This is really easy to miss because it’s literally the smallest detail next to the email footer. Links. Did you hyperlink anything and if so does it lead to the right page? Hyperlinks should also be set up to open up in a new tab so they’re not leading away from your email campaign. Images. First off, check out the size and resolution to make sure images aren’t conflicting with the layout or template framing. There’s really only one way to properly check this out and that’s with a test email. The Test Email. Ok, it’s been mentioned twice now so you should know to send a test email. But when sending a test email, make sure you check out what that looks like on both mobile and desktop. Sometimes an error only shows up on mobile layout. Other times, it’s just easier to catch things on mobile because of the way our eyes read content when it’s just down a few words per line. Analytics. Every email campaign has an option for how you want to track analytics. Make sure you’ve switched that on and set it to gather the data you need. Each platform is different but since this is a series of options you opt-in for, it often gets overlooked in favor of producing the actual campaign itself. But this is important, so don’t overlook it. The Call to Action. Each campaign needs to have a clear purpose. In other words, what do you want people to do with the information they’re presented? Make sure that call to action is crystal clear. More often than not, it doesn’t even exist.


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How Should I Balance Branding & Sales During My Holiday Marketing Campaign

How Should I Balance Branding & Sales During My Holiday Marketing Campaign

Practical Marketer • November 18, 2016

We’re one week away from Black Friday and just after that is Cyber Monday. Then it’s another three-week sprint of holiday shopping. You should be in full email marketing sales mode, right? Yes … and no. Many businesses see their peak sales during the holiday season. Email marketing assists that. However, that’s only half of the strategy for success. You want your subscribers to feel that holiday cheer all year long. The best way to do that is by balancing your sales with some positive branding in your holiday email marketing campaigns. So back to the question for this post: how can you do it? No matter which holidays you celebrate, there is some consistency to the way in which people celebrate. Time with family and friends. Special meals. Perhaps an exchange of gifts. Traditions that fill us all with warm feelings. Translate that into an email marketing campaign focused on branding. There are a few ways to deliver holiday cheer via the inbox. The first is to simply wish your subscribers happy holidays. You can even elaborate upon that and share a favorite holiday memory or tradition. This can go a long way to humanize your brand and leave your subscribers happy with the establishments with which they chose to do business. Another way is to seamlessly blend the sales and branding in one campaign. The buy one, give one strategy adopted by TOMS and many other businesses come to mind. You can also agree to donate a percentage of your holiday sales to a charity which aligns with your brand ideologies. This at least brings some good will in along with your holiday sales. Regardless of the strategy you choose, it’s key is to remember balance. An easy way to do that is to always remember to put your customer first. Yes, you want to make sales. However, more importantly, your customers are trying to find the perfect gift for their loved ones. Do not lose sight of that.


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How Can I Integrate Social Media With My Emails?

How Can I Integrate Social Media With My Emails?

Practical Marketer • November 9, 2016

In this day and age when we talk about marketing—Digital and Physical—we know that content is a key component to drive results that help us reach our goals. In terms of tactics, we know that Email marketing has an ROI of $40 for each $1 invested and that social media is a powerful weapon when you need to get your content distributed. Another key for said success lays in having a Customer Experience orientation, meaning: creating an environment that allows your customers and the ones that aren’t yet, have the same experience each time they come in contact with your brand, no matter the channel. To achieve that, you need to combine different communication channels and media in an effective and creative way that maximizes your results. But, how do you start? 1. Define Where You’re Standing This is the year 2016 (no, really!), at this point of the game you should know that your email campaigns should contain at least links to your social profiles and that you should have an integration in place to let people sign up to your newsletter from your Facebook Fan Page,  if you’re not doing any of the two, ask yourself: where do you want to start? and what you need to get it rolling? A few ideas to get you started on the basics would be: Insert social media channel icons in your email Add a signup form to your Facebook fan page Define the social media goals that Email can help you achieve and vice versa Define which pieces of your content work better in any of these channels [caption id=\"attachment_2099\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] An example of social media buttons in an email campaign.[/caption] 2. Facebook ‘Like’ Button Embedded in Your Emails Invite your subscribers to click the Facebook ‘Like’ button for your content, without them having to leave your email campaign. This makes it easier for them to: share your content, refer you to potential new clients and even launch contests based on the total of Likes and Shares for the content you send them. [caption id=\"attachment_2102\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1200\"] The steps to include a \'Like\' Button in your email with Benchmark.[/caption] 3. Upload Your Lists to Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter A highly powerful method, to not only get in contact with your subscribers but to also understand them and get more from them, is uploading your lists to different social media channels. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and others, allow you to upload your email lists and the possibilities of what you can achieve are as endless as your creativity, some ideas you can try: Create targeted ad campaigns to people that are already interested in your brand Create groups or lists of people so you can send targeted messages and special offers Connect with your clients and understand their online behavior, that way you can keep improving their Customer Experience [caption id=\"attachment_2100\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Uploading a contact list to LinkedIn.[/caption] 4. Integrate Your Email With Your Social Media Channels Although there are integrations that automatically tweet or post your emails to your social channels when you send them, there are template integrations that pull your latest posts and data from your social profiles, making it easier for your followers to catch up on your social media activities right inside their inbox. [caption id=\"attachment_2101\" align=\"aligncenter\" width=\"1400\"] Benchmark Email\'s social media template integrations.[/caption] Wrapping up So there you have it, whether you are an experienced marketer or someone who is just getting started you should know that the possibilities are endless especially in the digital world, I would love to hear your ideas and how you have integrated social and email or other questions you might have.


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How to Drive Traffic to Your Email Subscription Landing Page

How to Drive Traffic to Your Email Subscription Landing Page

Beyond • November 7, 2016

Now that you designed and drafted your email subscription landing page, the next step is figuring out how to drive traffic to that landing page. This is the easy part. We’ll start with the obvious place: your website. You want a candy bar (long rectangular graphic) placed on your website either at the top or middle of your website and perhaps even the bottom after a reader has finished reading content. This should be a beautiful graphic that gets attention and stays within your brand scheme. If you’re a small start-up or budget-strapped enterprise solution, you can take a lean approach and use an inexpensive smartphone app like OVER to create a stunning custom graphic with an image of your choice and customizable text. It’s really key to make sure the graphic is eye-catching and not an amateur attempt or something that looks like it’s spam or advertising. If you’ve got It’s really key to make sure the graphic is eye-catching and not an amateur attempt or something that looks like it’s spam or advertising. If you’ve got Call To Action graphics or vivid banners on your page in other places, then this is a graphic that should seamlessly blend with that styling. If you’re going to opt for placing that graphic in multiple places across the website, then here’s what I recommend. Keep on linked graphic leading to your landing page in a consistent place like at the bottom of the page after If you’re going to opt for placing that graphic in multiple places across the website, then here’s what I recommend. Keep on linked graphic leading to your landing page in a consistent place like at the bottom of the page after the content is read. However, and especially if you website is not content heavy, you want to have a couple of alternating options at the top of the page. I choose top, middle, or bottom of a page because that’s where the reader’s eyes fall. The eyes rarely fall to the side, which is why website design has also evolved. You don’t see websites with a lot of buttons or graphics on the side anymore unless they’re advertising. Rather than the blogger type platforms, you’re seeing clear and clean pages with direct calls to action. Less is more so keep it clean with strategic graphics drawing your audience in and leading them to where you need them to be. I also recommend I also recommend linking to the landing page on the website unless you’re running a click-bait campaign to see which strategy works best. The click-bait campaigns work best for retail, but if you’re more focused on audience and readership, then you want a visibly linked landing page that is every present much like a lighthouse; it is visible and calling attention. Other places to link to your custom designed landing page include your email signature. An email signature is prime real estate and often entirely forgotten by people. But make it interesting. If you can link to a graphic, use a graphic. However, not that not everyone is able to view the graphic, especially if they’re using outlook. And if you’re relying on just text, then do something more creating than “subscribe to newsletters.” Again, language like this is asking people to do something and no one wants to stop what they’re doing to essentially do you a favor. Instead, just like your landing page is designed to create FOMO, your hyperlinked text should also create some buzz that gets people clicking. Ask a question or make a statement – whatever you do, just make it interesting. Other places to link to your custom designed landing page include your email signature. An email signature is prime real estate and often entirely forgotten by people. But make it interesting. If you can link to a graphic, use a graphic. However, not that not everyone is able to view the graphic, especially if they’re using outlook. And if you’re relying on just text, then do something more creating than “subscribe to newsletters.” Again, language like this is asking people to do something and no one wants to stop what they’re doing to essentially do you a favor. Instead, just like your landing page is designed to create FOMO, your hyperlinked text should also create some buzz that gets people clicking. Ask a question or make a statement – whatever you do, just make it interesting. In addition to your website and email signature, have a link on all social media platforms. The idea is to maximize visibility so that you can get the highest number of people directed toward a landing page that not only sells your email campaigns but spotlights a competitive brand.


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Why Is The Welcome Email An Important Time To Say Thanks?

Why Is The Welcome Email An Important Time To Say Thanks?

Practical Marketer • November 4, 2016

The very first email campaign should never be the very first impression you give a subscriber. After all, for it to be opt-in email marketing and not spam, they need to have signed up to receive your campaign either via a form or in person. However, it is the first time they’ll get to engage and interact with any of your emails. The most popular first campaign is a Welcome Email, a campaign that can be easily executed with automations. Subscribers are the lifeline to your email marketing efforts and it’s important to make them feel appreciated. So, say thank you. Here’s how: Say It Your welcome email is likely to be one of the most opened email campaigns you send. It’s when your company will be freshest in the minds of your new subscribers. The subject of this email can even be: Thank You For Subscribing. Say it early and often. Then say it once more. Mean It Building a list is a quality over quantity mission. You need subscribers who want to hear from you. When they opt-in, you need to use actions, more than words, to show them you appreciate it. This can be done with a coupon or special offer for new subscribers. Give them value for subscribing from the start. Keep Showing It Tell your subscribers what they should expect from future email campaigns in your welcome email. That way, they can feel valued from the start and will continue to look forward to receiving emails from you. It will pay off with each future open of your email campaigns. You will set yourself up for success moving forward, just being saying and showing how thankful you are from the start with your welcome email.


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How to Design and Draft Your Email Subscription Landing Page

How to Design and Draft Your Email Subscription Landing Page

Beyond • November 4, 2016

When companies say they want to throw out a newsletter, there’s typically a lot more that goes into it than one imagines. It’s a lot like when someone says they want to start a blog but have never done a blog before. In both instances, people are focused on the message; they’re not focused on the messaging and the delivery. They’re not thinking about the mechanics of the platform and what’s really needed to not just say something, but also be heard. Once you’re heard the next step is to make sure more people hear you. For those of us at the last step – how to make more people hear you – I’d like to introduce you to a novel concept that many of you haven’t thought of: the email subscription landing page. Landing pages are used to get someone to the last final climactic step before a conversion. This is where the bells and whistles come in to really get someone to hop on board. And this is why a landing page for your email campaigns matters because this is where you’re making the sale. Companies, especially enterprise level companies heavily reliant on the next level of growth, typically put out a link or a button for their audience to subscribe. But this isn’t making the same. In fact, this is stopping short. While it will certainly take some time to design a landing page for email sign ups, it’s necessary and in fact it’s a lean practice. Sometimes lean means doing more than doing less, especially when taking an extra step can guarantee you the results you need. So the next question is how should you design your landing page. Your landing page can be visibly linked within your site or hidden, accessible only through link click so you can track which method of leads and clickbait is working best. Either way, it should be designed with consistency in mind with your larger brand. It should have the same style, colors, image quality, etc. However – and this is big, however, – don’t design your page to look like you’re asking for something. Landing pages sometimes look like calls to subscriptions or donation. They look sad and desperate. This is not what you want. You do not want to make people think they need to give you anything, time, money, consideration, whatever it is, you don’t want people thinking of you as a charity case. Instead, design it to look like a magazine and create some major FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). This creates an attitude shift that says, “I NEED to be a part of this.” Next up is the content. You want to cover the who, what’s and where’s but you want to keep the text light and simple, with a heavier focus on images. If there’s too much for people to read, you’ve lost them. You want the images being the real voice of the page and tweet-length text (140 characters roughly) guide people to the subscription point. You want a clear subscribe or “JOIN” button that draws attention. Contrary to what a lot of people think, you want a higher emphasis on visuals than content, even though your campaigns might be more content driven. Think of your landing page as the person trying to get people through the door to an event or party. If they’re attracting attention, they’ve going to get people interested. If they’re giving lectures or requiring more focus than the five seconds it takes someone to pass by, then you’ve lost them. Digital media really isn’t that much different than the real life example.


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