Author Archives: John Foley

About John Foley

John Foley is the founder of Grow Socially ( which was founded in 2010 to help companies with their online marketing efforts, with a focus on social media. These services include discussing and creating marketing plans, strategies, tactics, and goals that align with each company’s needs. In addition to his role at Grow Socially, Mr. Foley serves a CEO for interlinkONE, an integrated multi-channel marketing web solutions company serving the print and fulfillment industries and marketing departments. As Chief Executive for the company, he is responsible for corporate vision, strategic alliances, and technical leadership. He is widely recognized for his visionary approach in designing internet marketing business applications that meet the changing needs of dynamic print and fulfillment service provider organizations. Mr. Foley holds a B.A. in Business Management and Computer Science from Lesley College. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the Mailing Fulfillment and Services Association (MFSA), National Association of Printing Leadership (NAPL), Printing Industries of America/Graphics Arts Technical Foundation (PIA/GATF), Printing Industries of New England (PINE), Boston Business Marketing Association (BMA), and was recently inducted into NAPL’s Soderstrom Society.

5 Tips to Increase Email Open Rates


As every marketer knows, mastering email marketing is an ongoing process that is necessary for the success of your organization. Between sending out promotional email blasts, content marketing, and writing personal emails to customers and prospects, it has been proven to be a great way to connect and communicate with your audience. However, it does have some downfalls, especially if your businesses’ email open rates are low. Below are some helpful tips to consider when trying to improve your email open rates.

  1. Pay attention to the sender. When creating an email campaign, make sure you pay attention to who it is coming from. Your audience will be more likely to open an email if it’s coming from a name they recognize at your organization. With this in mind, make sure you don’t always use the same sender. It’s important to keep a variety so your target audience doesn’t assume every email from your CEO is spam.
  2. Entice your audience with a strong subject line. The first thing your audience will see is the subject line of the email, so make sure you have an intriguing one. Similar to who the email is coming from, it’s important to change up the subject lines depending on the goal of the email and the audience. Sometimes, it’s better to be more direct with what you’re offering in the email, whereas other times, you may want to keep it vague to convince a large group to open it. Keep in mind to not make the subject line sound too much like a sales pitch, as that’s a sure way to get your email sent to spam boxes or see an increase in unsubscriptions.
  3. Personalize the subject line occasionally. By adding a touch of personality to your email campaigns, starting with the subject line, it will increase your audience’s interest and likeability. By personalizing it with their first name from time to time, it shows that you are taking an interest and care about who you are contacting. It also gives a sense of importance and grabs their attention.
  4. Test out times. Is your audience on the east coast or west coast? Will they be more interested in what you’re offering during a work day or weekend? These are things you need to consider when sending out your emails. It’s important to A/B test the times you send your email campaigns, as well as the subject and senders, to see what they respond best to. Some organizations find success sending emails early in the morning before a hectic business day starts, whereas others have reported great results on the weekend. Unfortunately, there is no secret formula for timing your email blasts, so testing and learning your audience are vital.
  5. Remain consistent. After testing, it’s time to come up with a schedule for your email campaigns and stick to it. No one wants to receive 3-5 emails per day from the same business. Once you set a schedule, your audience will learn to expect your emails and be ready for them, and with the number of emails being sent every day to consumers from businesses of all kinds, it’s important to remember not to be overwhelming.

Keep in mind these five tips as you work on your email campaigns and you’ll be on your way to better open rates. If you have any questions, have additional tips, or need additional suggestions, please feel free to comment below – I’d love to hear!

5 Tips for Creating Must-Scan QR Codes


Whether it’s for your business, or for a customer, QR codes are a great way to add value to the pieces you print. Why are QR codes so valuable to print? Because they provide a quick and convenient way to connect your customers and prospects with content, and to track their interaction with your marketing materials. Unfortunately, most of us don’t just scan QR codes out of curiosity, which is why it’s up to you to make your QR codes appealing and easy to scan. Follow these steps to make your QR codes irresistible:

Step 1

Have a plan – don’t just randomly use a QR code because everyone seems to be doing it. Know what your goal is – do you want to get traffic to a web page, get Facebook likes, share a promotional coupon, or get some information from your customers? Know your end destination before you create your QR code.

Step 2

Know your customers – what can you find out about the kind of data they access on their phones, or the QR codes they like to scan? Find out all you can so you can create a QR code campaign that fits well with your customers’ existing behavior.

Step 3

Make the code easy to scan – putting your QR code on a t shirt might look cool, but those wrinkles will get in the way! Make sure your QR code is in a location that is easy to scan – magazines, posters, mail, and packaging are popular places for QR codes. Your code should be the right size to scan easily with a mobile device, with enough white space around it.

Step 4

Give them a great destination – no matter how compelling your QR code campaign is, you’ll lose out on getting the results you want if your end destination is unappealing. QR codes will be scanned on a mobile device, so make sure your destination is mobile friendly and visually appealing.

Step 5

Call to action – a QR code needs a call to action. Make it easy for your customer to understand why they should scan your code with a simple enticing sentence. For example, “scan here for your 20% discount code” or “scan here to see why this new car is the best you’ll ever drive.”

QR codes are a straightforward and cost effective way of expanding your customers’ experience. Plan your QR codes carefully and use a strong call to action, then release them into the wild to do their work for you.

5 Tips to Manage Your Business’s Social Media


Running social media for an organization, no matter what size, certainly can be difficult and time consuming. From making sure your posts go out on time to creating content that’s intriguing to your audience, it’s a challenge to succeed at all aspects of a social media campaign. Maintaining social media that is organized and personable, yet also professional, can be a difficult task, but by having a strategy you will find it a lot easier to manage.

In order to help you begin developing a social media strategy for your business, I’ve created a list of my top tips for managing social media campaigns that will allow your business to reach its goals and actually see results!

Learn how you can achieve the social success by downloading, “5 Tips to Manage Your Business’s Social Media,” free for The Digital Nirvana readers!

Take a moment to read and share this resource at! Do you have any additional tips for social media management? I’d love to hear your feedback below!

4 Mobile Marketing Technologies for Printers


To the average person mobile advancements are convenient, but to a marketer or advertiser, mobile is clutch. Over the past few years mobile media has made a lasting impression on sales for organizations of all different shapes and sizes. My point in 30 seconds or less? Mobile is important. No matter what your business or target audience, you need a mobile strategy if you want to stay (or get) on top.

Perhaps the most fascinating thing about the mobile marketing boom is that advertisers and marketers in all industries are adopting mobile practices and technologies that integrate into their already established markets. For example, in the world of print (ads, mail, packaging, and labels), several types of mobile marketing have become increasingly popular and left a momentous effect.

Here are a few types of mobile marketing technologies that printers throughout the world have been adding as part of their services and offerings. Keep in mind that offering a customer a direct mail campaign is great, but offering a direct mail campaign that has mobile components is a sure way to increase the life and success of a campaign.

Popular Mobile Technologies


Short Message Service, better known as SMS, has given new life to brand labels everywhere. In this day and age, consumers are hungry for information. Now with their mobile devices in their pockets, the world is at their fingertips.

Adding a SMS call to action on, for instance, a beer label, creates a new way to engage customers with the product and their mobile phone.

QR Codes

QR codes are a type of barcode that, when scanned by a mobile device’s camera, can link to a URL, email, phone number, and so on. Putting one of these on a print ad is an awesome way to bring a prospect from a physical piece of advertisement to a corresponding mobile part of that campaign. Remember, engaging customers on various channels and through multiple media sources (including mobile devices) is the best way to achieve marketing success.

There are several advantages of QR Codes, including creative branding and consumer interaction.


Near Field Communications (NFC) is a set of standards that allow smart devices to communicate with each other when they are in close proximity. This has resulted in several trends and new ways to integrate mobile in marketing.


Augmented reality (AR) is basically the application of taking graphics from a media device and integrating them into real-world environments.

In conclusion, if you want to be successful and keep your marketing and services relevant, mobile matters. Mobile has completely integrated itself into our everyday lives, and is now the bridge we can call “opportunity” between customers and businesses.

Has your business had success with any other mobile marketing technologies? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!

5 Mobile Marketing Tips


Whether you’re in a large business or a small retail store, mobile marketing should play an important role in your marketing plan. With nearly 64% of American adults owning a smartphone of some kind, businesses are bound to take their marketing mobile. According to an eMarketer study, only five years ago, 2.1% of all digital search ad dollars were spent on mobile devices. That number increased to 22.1% in 2013, and is continually increasing, with expectations to be at 59% within the next two years. Making sure your business is up to date with the latest marketing trends is important, especially with the amount of competition in the marketplace. Below are five tips to help improve your mobile marketing.

  1. Make sure your website is responsive. With the major increase in the use of smartphones over the last couples of years, making sure your website is accessible and responsive to the average user is necessary in the business world. With so many customers using smartphones to shop online, having a well-organized website results in more sales, increases your search engine optimization, and improves your company’s reputation.
  2. Don’t have irrelevant content. When customers visit your company’s website or social media page, they want to read information that’s engaging and relevant. When posting content, make sure that each time you have a purpose. Businesses need to make sure that they are creating and sharing content that is aligned with the customer’s needs. If you’re getting bored reading it, chances are, your customer will be too!
  3. Time your communication. When contacting anyone, especially a potential client, you need to make sure that you are sending information at an appropriate time. Notifying someone through a mobile device is great way to connect but it means nothing if they receive the message too late. Leave enough time in between when you actually send it and when you want the customer to make a move.
  4. Have a strong call-to-action. The purpose of having a mobile-friendly site is to make it easier and more accessible for the user. Having a designated spot on your site for someone to purchase a product, contact your company, or receive more information will make it more convenient. They need to be able to quickly press the CTA button, because the more time they spend looking for details, the less interested they become.
  5. Don’t forget about desktop! Though mobile marketing is continually growing, consumers are constantly switching between devices, making your desktop website just as important. Pay attention to all aspects when designing your site and content, as all laptops, mobile devices, and tablets play a key role in having a successful business.

The digital environment is continually growing, making marketing on any mobile device important in your company’s marketing plan. In order to reach your targeted audience, you have to adapt to their preferences, while delivering relevant content. By using these five tips to help guide you, your chances on becoming a more successful and well developed business will rise.

Do you have any other mobile marketing tips to share? I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below!

Integrated Marketing Software: A Must-Have for 2015


No matter what type of industry, the ultimate goal is creating an organizational structure that is as efficient as possible. That’s where integrated marketing software comes in. Every print, mail, and fulfillment organization needs effective marketing that powerfully portrays their products or services, and captures their data and information in a central repository. However, with the threatening circumstances that many of these companies face today, most of these businesses don’t have the time, money, or resources needed to make this happen.

With integrated marketing:

  • Cut costs
  • Save time
  • Improve organization
  • Build relationships
  • Use ONE centralized solution to manage ALL of your business needs

To ensure future success for your business’s marketing efforts and learn more about what an integrated solution can do for your organization, please download “The Benefits of Integrated Marketing Software,” by clicking here!

3 Metrics to Improve Your Cross Media Campaigns


When increasing the success of your organization’s marketing efforts, cross media marketing has proven to be a useful tool.

Everyone is looking to increase the ROI that they receive from the things they create and distribute – including emails, landing pages, mobile campaigns, mailers, flyers, and more. By integrating those pieces with other offers and medias, you certainly may increase the impact that the piece has on its target audience.

Well, once you’ve executed a campaign that has utilized a cross-media approach, you cannot simply stop. Rather, by spending time analyzing the results, you will be better equipped to develop and execute a campaign that will perform better than your previous ones.

Here are three metrics that may prove beneficial during the analysis process:

1. Response Timing

When did your target audience access or respond to your campaigns? Thanks to the increasing popularity of devices such as smartphones and tablets, people truly can respond to your marketing efforts at whatever time is convenient for them. They can type in their pURL at 6am while eating breakfast, and they scan their personalized QR code before falling asleep at night. They may even choose to read your eNewsletter on the weekend.

Marketers may reap benefits by researching and understanding when their customers and prospects are consuming information. Are we pushing out content when it’s convenient for us, or when it’s convenient for our customers?

Sure, we can’t be awake and available at every hour throughout the day. But, if a big percentage of our prospects are looking for help and more information while we are not working, we may need to find a way to better serve them.

2. Conversions

Who viewed the landing page but did not submit the form with their information? Yes, sales reps want hot leads! They want people that responded to your campaign, that filled out the form, and that requested help ASAP. While that group of people should certainly be given the attention that they deserve, we may reap benefits by looking at another group of folks too.

Take the time to look at who visited your landing page, but did not submit their entry on the response form.

Those people have already displayed some kind of interest in your offer – either they typed in a URL, clicked a link, scanned a QR code, or took some other sort of action.

If you can find a way to target those people in a special fashion the next time, you may be able to push them further through the funnel.

3. Popular Content

Companies that execute cross-media campaigns with personalized URLs may fall into the path of simply personalizing the most basic of information – first name and perhaps company.

But, with technology today, it’s easier than ever to learn and understand what someone is interested in. By tracking what links people clicked on in your emails and landing pages, as well as what answers they provided on your response forms, you may be able to truly deliver one-to-one marketing materials that appeal directly to them.

These three metrics are all crucial to understanding and evaluating the success of your cross media marketing campaigns so you can improve upon them moving forward. Make sure that you have an integrated and complete marketing software that allows your organization to track campaigns easily from beginning to end. Do you have any other tips to help improve cross media campaigns? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Content Marketing Outline


There’s no question about it. To succeed in today’s digital world, your business needs to have a content strategy in place. A content strategy allows you to create, manage, and measure all of your content marketing efforts to make sure your organization is producing effective and relevant content consistently to your audiences. That’s why where here to help. This Content Marketing Outline will guide you to content marketing success, reviewing topics such as:

  • Goals
  • Target Audiences
  • Research
  • Creating a Content Calendar
  • Content Creation
  • Distribution and Promotion
  • SEO Strategy
  • Measurement

To ensure future success for your business’s content marketing efforts, please download your Content Marketing Outline by clicking here!

Tips for Creating a Content Calendar


Fresh, well-written, and relevant content is an integral part of a successful marketing plan of any modern business. Effectively managing content is also essential, however. Content management strategies include releasing the right content at the right time, using content designed to speak to a specific audience, and making certain that you’ve got a healthy supply of appropriate content waiting to be published. A good content calendar can do all that and more, but the first step is creating one that’s tailored to your individual business needs and the buying habits of your customers.

Identify Your Customer Base

Chances are that your customer base will be comprised of more than one demographic, but those differing demographics will contain significant overlapping properties. For instance, if you operate a print business, you’ll have customers of all ages, and although they’ll share a common interest in needing printed collateral, they may have different purchasing objectives. Identify the core groups and let them be the deciding factor in developing your main content themes.

Take Stock of Your Existing Content

Keeping in mind the tried-and-true rule that 80 percent of your content should be informational while the remaining 20 percent is promotional. Organize your content according to specific customer target groups. The needs of an organization in the education industry may be more visually based to grab attention, while a pharmaceutical business may need a printed brochure full of specific details. Organize your content according to which customer category represents your biggest sales and move down until your smallest target group is at the bottom.

Organize and Schedule Your Content by Creating a Simple Spreadsheet

Either Excel or Smartsheet are easy-to-use spreadsheet options that will allow you keep your content at your fingertips. Create a weekly or monthly calendar with the spreadsheet using the customer categories created above.

How does your organization keep track of all of its content marketing efforts? If you have any tips or suggestions, or need any additional help with content, please leave a comment below or contact me at!

Should Your Marketing Plan Be Updated?


There are goals in every organization. When you began your business, you created a plan. Have you met those goals?

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if you need to make changes, especially when your business has grown and everything is running smoothly.

Should you be considering a new plan this year?

To determine if it’s time to update your marketing plan, download, Should Your Marketing Plan Be Updated?, FREE for The Digital Nirvana readers.

Please take a moment to read and share this article at Do you have any tips on creating a new marketing plan? I’d love to hear in the comments below!