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Why You Need Them + 6 Easy Steps to Create One

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Why You Need Them + 6 Easy Steps to Create One

Imagine you spend hours working on a cool graphic for a social media post. You finally get it just right and post it on social media. The next day, you log on and see that someone else has posted your image without your authorization and is purporting your work as their own.

Creating a watermark would help protect you against this common issue and help you with your brand recognition. In this article, you’ll learn about the type of watermarks that exist and how to create your own.

Typically, a watermark has its opacity set to 50% or less. If it’s too bold and opaque, it can distract viewers from noticing other details in the content. However, if it’s too transparent, it will easily be ignored.

The opacity will depend on the type of image you have and its purpose. For instance, photographers and videographers will go for a higher lower opacity because every detail of their image matters. They’re also more likely to place the watermark at the bottom of the corner of an image.

For a brand sharing content marketing tips, the watermark will likely be very opaque and placed prominently on the asset for easy recognition.

Types of Watermarks

There are two types of watermarks: visible and digital. They’re used for different purposes by different users.

A visible watermark is what most people think of when we use the term. It refers to a visible stamp, usually a logo, phrase, or pattern, that has been superimposed on an image. Content creators use this type most frequently to prevent theft and help their brand recognition.

A digital watermark, on the other hand, isn’t visible to the naked eye. Instead, the watermark is embedded into the data of the image. While this can also be used by content creators, it’s used more often by banking institutions and news organizations to authenticate media and identify its source.

Why are watermarks important?

Online, particularly on social media, content creators and brands don’t have many reliable resources to protect them against theft. Someone can easily take a screenshot or screenshot work from another user and post it as their own.

While most social media sites do offer reporting tools, there is still a lot of work to be done to protect users online against copyright infringement. One of the few social channels where repercussions are seemingly swift is YouTube, where the use of music and videos is closely moderated.

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watermark example

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As a result, a watermark can help you protect your work. It’s not foolproof but it does offer a layer of security.

Brand Recognition

On social media, content can take off at any time.

If you’re lucky enough to go viral, it’s likely that other pages will repost your content. You want to make sure your content has something identifiable to lead users back to your page.

Reaching a larger audience is also a great opportunity to get your brand out there and build your brand recognition.

Watermark Examples

Adobe

To prevent the illegal download of its creative assets, Adobe adds watermarks to every image a user previews. adobe watermark example

Notice that they use two types of watermarks: One located across the entire image in gray with the words “Adobe Stock” and another on the bottom left corner in black.

This allows users to easily preview the image without using it before purchase.

Buzz Media Agency

This media agency uses watermarks in an Instagram post to share their work without the risk of another user stealing it without proper attribution.

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buzz media agency watermark example

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You’ll notice that their watermark is their logo, which makes it easy for users to find them if the image is shared on the platform or anywhere else.

In addition, it’s noticeable without taking the attention away from the other elements in the image.

PR Girl Manifesto

This brand uses a more modern approach to watermarking, one that many companies leverage when posting engaging, shareable content on social media.

watermark example pr girl manifesto

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In this case, there are a few things that are different from your average watermark:

  • The opacity is at 100%, making it very visible. However, it’s balanced by small font size.
  • It’s not a logo or pattern, it’s the page’s Instagram handle instead.

When marketing content on social media, watermarking this way is always a good idea. It keeps your brand at the center and makes it easy for users to find your profile.

How to Create a Watermark

There are many ways to create a watermark. As such, the method you use will depend on the tools you have available and the type of asset you want to watermark.

The most popular tools to create a watermark are:

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Because Canva is the most accessible option, let’s cover how to make a watermark with this tool.

  1. Visit Canva.com and create an account.

  2. Select a template type or create a custom template.

    how to create a watermark on Canva step 2: Canva homepage

  3. Create your watermark and select your desired opacity.

    how to create a watermark on Canva step 3: watermark creation

  4. Once you’re done creating your watermark, click “Share” on the top right corner. Then, select “Download.”

    how to create a watermark on Canva step 4: Menu sidebar with download button

  5. Check “transparent background” and download your watermark.

    how to create a watermark on Canva step 5: Menu sidebar with "transparent background" selected
    Note: This feature is only available on Canva Pro. To complete this step for free, download the image then visit removebg.com to upload your image and remove the background for free.

  6. Use your watermark on videos, images, and other content.

watermark added to a video

There you have it! Creating a watermark is a preventative measure that can help you both protect your creative assets and help you build brand recognition.

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8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

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8 major email marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

As email marketers, we know we need to personalize the messages we send to subscribers and customers. I can’t think of a single statistic, case study or survey claiming an email program of one-to-everyone campaigns outperforms personalization.

Instead, you’ll find statistics like these:

  • 72% of customers will engage only with personalized messages (Wunderkind Audiences, formerly SmarterHQ)
  • 70% of consumers say that how well a company understands their individual needs affects their loyalty (Salesforce)
  • 71% of customers are frustrated by impersonal shopping experiences (Segment)

But what marketers often don’t understand, especially if they’re new to personalization, is that personalization is not an end in itself. Your objective is not to personalize your email campaigns and lifecycle messages. 

Rather, your objective is to enhance your customer’s experience with your brand. Personalization is one method that can do that, but it’s more than just another tactic. 

It is both an art and a science. The science is having the data and automations to create personalized, one-to-one messages at scale. The art is knowing when and how to use it.

We run into trouble when we think of personalization as the goal instead of the means to achieve a goal. In my work consulting with marketers for both business and consumer brands, I find this misunderstanding leads to eight major marketing mistakes – any of which can prevent you from realizing the immense benefits of personalization.

Mistake #1. Operating without an overall personalization strategy

I see this all too often: marketers find themselves overwhelmed by all the choices they face: 

  • Which personalization technologies to use
  • What to do with all the data they have
  • How to use their data and technology effectively
  • Whether their personalization efforts are paying off

This stems from jumping headfirst into personalization without thinking about how to use it to meet customers’ needs or help them solve problems. 

To avoid being overwhelmed with the mechanics of personalization, follow this three-step process:

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  • Start small. If you aren’t using personalization now, don’t try to set up a full-fledged program right away. Instead, look for quick wins – small areas where you can use basic personalized data to begin creating one-to-one messages. That will get you into the swing of things quickly, without significant investment in time and money. Adding personal data to the body of an email is about as basic as you’ll get, but it can be a start.
  • Test each tactic. See whether that new tactic helps or hurts your work toward your goal. Does adding personal data to each message correlate with higher clicks to your landing page, more conversion or whatever success metric you have chosen?
  • Optimize and move on. Use your testing results to improve each tactic. Then, take what you learned to select and add another personalization tactic, such as adding a module of dynamic content to a broadcast (one to everyone) campaign. 

Mistake #2. Not using both overt and covert personalization

Up to now, you might have thought of in specific terms: personalized subject lines, data reflecting specific actions in the email copy, triggered messages that launch when a customer’s behavior matches your automation settings and other “overt” (or visible) personalization tactics.

“Covert” personalization also employs customer preference or behavior data but doesn’t draw attention to it. Instead of sending an abandoned-browse message that says “We noticed you were viewing this item on our website,” you could add a content module in your next campaign that features those browsed items as recommended purchases, without calling attention to their behavior. It’s a great tactic to use to avoid being seen as creepy.

Think back to my opening statement that personalization is both an art and a science. Here, the art of personalization is knowing when to use overt personalization – purchase and shipping confirmations come to mind – and when you want to take a more covert route. 

Mistake #3. Not maximizing lifecycle automations

Lifecycle automations such as onboarding/first-purchase programs, win-back and reactivation campaigns and other programs tied to the customer lifecycle are innately personalized. 

The copy will be highly personal and the timing spot-on because they are based on customer actions (opting in, purchases, downloads) or inactions (not opening emails, not buying for the first time or showing signs of lapsing after purchasing). 

Better yet, these emails launch automatically – you don’t have to create, schedule or send any of these emails because your marketing automation platform does that for you after you set it up. 

You squander these opportunities if you don’t do everything you can to understand your customer lifecycle and then create automated messaging that reaches out to your customers at these crucial points. This can cost you the customers you worked so hard to acquire, along with their revenue potential.

Mistake #4. Not testing effectively or for long-term gain

Testing helps you discover whether your personalization efforts are bearing fruit. But all too often, marketers test only individual elements of a specific campaign – subject lines, calls to action, images versus no images, personalization versus no personalization  – without looking at whether personalization enhances the customer experience in the long term.

How you measure success is a key part of this equation. The metrics you choose must line up with your objectives. That’s one reason I’ve warned marketers for years against relying on the open rate to measure campaign success. A 50% open rate might be fantastic, but if you didn’t make your goal for sales, revenue, downloads or other conversions, you can’t consider your campaign a success.

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As the objective of personalizing is to enhance the customer journey, it makes sense then that customer lifetime value is a valid metric to measure success on.  To measure how effective your personalization use is, use customer lifetime value over a long time period – months, even years – and compare the results with those from a control group, which receives no personalization. Don’t ignore campaign-level results, but log them and view them over time.

(For more detailed information on testing mistakes and how to avoid them, see my MarTech column 7 Common Problems that Derail A/B/N Email Testing Success.)

Mistake #5. Over-segmenting your customer base

Segmentation is a valuable form of personalization, but it’s easy to go too far with it. If you send only highly segmented campaigns, you could be exclude – and end up losing because of failure to contact – many customers who don’t fit your segmentation criteria. That costs you customers, their potential revenue and the data they would have generated to help you better understand your customer base.

You can avoid this problem with a data-guided segmentation plan that you review and test frequently, a set of automated triggers to enhance the customer’s lifecycle and a well-thought-out program of default or catch-all campaigns for subscribers who don’t meet your other criteria. 

Mistake #6. Not including dynamic content in general email campaigns

We usually think of personalized email as messages in which all the content lines up with customer behavior or preference data, whether overt, as in an abandoned-cart message, or covert, where the content is subtly relevant.

That’s one highly sophisticated approach. It incorporates real-time messaging driven by artificial intelligence and complex integrations with your ecommerce or CRM platforms. But a simple dynamic content module can help you achieve a similar result. I call that “serendipity.”  

When you weave this dynamic content into your general message, it can be a pleasant surprise for your customers and make your relevant content stand out even more. 

Let’s say your company is a cruise line. Customer A opens your emails from time to time but hasn’t booked a cruise yet or browsed different tours on your website. Your next email campaign to this customer – and to everyone else on whom you have little or no data – promotes discounted trips to Hawaii, Fiji and the Mediterranean.

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Customer B hasn’t booked a cruise either, but your data tells you she has browsed your Iceland-Denmark-Greenland cruise recently. With a dynamic content module, her email could show her your Hawaii and Mediterranean cruise offers – and a great price on a trip to Iceland, Denmark and Greenland. Fancy that! 

An email like this conveys the impression that your brand offers exactly what your customers are looking for (covert personalization) without the overt approach of an abandoned-browse email.

Mistake #7. Not using a personal tone in your copy

You can personalize your email copy without a single data point, simply by writing as if you were speaking to your customer face to face. Use a warm, human tone of voice, which ideally should reflect your brand voice. Write copy that sounds like a one-to-one conversation instead of a sales pitch. 

This is where my concept of “helpful marketing” comes into play. How does your brand help your customers achieve their own goals, solve their problems or make them understand you know them as people, not just data points?  

Mistake #8. Not personalizing the entire journey

Once again, this is a scenario in which you take a short-sighted view of personalization – “How do I add personalization to this email campaign?” – instead of looking at the long-term gain: “How can I use personalization to enhance my customer’s experience?”

Personalization doesn’t stop when your customer clicks on your email. It should continue on to your landing page and even be reflected in the website content your customer views. Remember, it’s all about enhancing your customer’s experience.

What happens when your customers click on a personalized offer? Does your landing page greet your customers by name? Show the items they clicked? Present copy that reflects their interests, their loyalty program standing or any other data that’s unique to them?  

Personalization is worth the effort

Yes, personalization takes both art and science into account. You need to handle it carefully so your messages come off as helpful and relevant without veering into creepy territory through data overreaches. But this strategic effort pays off when you can use the power of personalized email to reach out, connect with and retain customers – achieving your goal of enhancing the customer experience.

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.


About The Author

Kath Pay is CEO at Holistic Email Marketing and the author of the award-winning Amazon #1 best-seller “Holistic Email Marketing: A practical philosophy to revolutionise your business and delight your customers.”

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