A man sitting at his laptop at a cafe while talking on his phone, working on an discussing social listening

The value of social media is forming, growing, and interacting with your business or nonprofit’s audience. It allows you to directly connect and communicate with those who are interested in your business. However, social media is not just useful for getting your message out. It also provides exceptional opportunities to learn from and understand your audience. We’ll explain what the role of this social listening is and how you can use it to better understand your target audience.

What are Social Listening and its Benefits?

Along with insightful metrics, the power of social media is the conversation. Social listening is using social media to get a sense of your audience’s thoughts about your business and its products or services. This is extremely beneficial for small businesses since it provides a fuller sense of what their wider digital community thinks or wants. That helps your business better understand its target audience and begin to make decisions about those desires or expectations. This listening and reacting also helps to foster a stronger and more dedicated community on social media as your audience realizes they are being heard.

Social Listening and Small Businesses

Social listening is an area of digital marketing where small businesses really shine. Larger businesses can be inundated with posts and comments that can be difficult, if not impossible, to sift through. Listening requires attention and focus, and that is a daunting task with a massive audience with myriad of voices. However, small businesses tend to have smaller, more focused audiences. That means it’s much easier for your social staff or digital marketing team to track and listen to most of your audience. Since at least 42% of users use social media to voice concerns about a product or service expecting a resolution, small businesses are better able to hear those customers. This focus is the same strength small businesses have on social media more generally. They can genuinely engage with their community.

How to Listen: Social Listening Strategies

To be fully comprehensive, social listening needs to employ multiple strategies to understand a target audience.

  • Listening to Direct Communications: Comments and private messages are direct communications with your business. Noting these means you are both paying attention to important comments or feedback. Responding to these communications also shows your audience that you’re actively listening.
  • Collecting Feedback: You can also foster direct communication with engaging posts. These might ask for input about what products or services they want to see offered, what their favourites are, or any other useful information.
  • Tracking Mentions, Keywords, and Tags: A lot of what you should listen to from your target audience isn’t said directly to you. For example, 96% of displeased customers don’t tell the company; they tell friends. The same goes for celebrating or recommending a product or service. Tracking keywords, mentions, and tags of your business, products, or services will provide a fuller sense of what your audience is saying. You or your marketing team can also track these for related brands or similar businesses to better understand your wider audience.
  • Attentive Listening: As you listen and respond to your audience. Be sure to listen attentively and consider the frequency of what they are saying. For example, if there is an issue with another company’s product or service, pay attention to what they say, and you may find a specific place where your business can address that issue and directly address it in your marketing. Similarly, if your audience repeatedly asks a similar question, it’s a good idea to provide a featured post that answers that question.
  • Understanding What is Beneficial: Not every comment, feedback, or impression will be informative. Not every social post or comment is thoughtful and attentive. Your marketing team will consider everything, but they will analyze and determine what is useful.

Start Listening, Start Understanding

Social listening is a key strategy for any business to understand its audience. Social media has given every user and business the unique opportunity for having a platform and communicating. A key part of communication is listening, not just speaking. By attentively and strategically listening on social media, you or your digital marketing team can begin to truly understand your audience and make effective and resonating decisions for your business. If you’re ready to start listening or want help mastering your strategy, contact the social media marketing team at Rosewood.

A rocket launching out of a laptop. A metaphor for speeding up website loading times.

One of the most common frustrations we experience today is watching a website slowly load in. Images pop in late, the page’s structure suddenly reorganizes itself and we’re back at the top, or we may never see the page at all. With the speed of modern data networks, usually a web page loads instantly. However, if a website hasn’t been properly optimized for speed and short loading times, it can suddenly become a snail. That’s not something you want for your business’ website. We discuss some of the best web design practices for ensuring faster load times for your website.

Why Website Speed Matters

Website load speed simply matters because it has a direct impact on your conversion rates. If your website is slower, you are less likely to get sales, orders, new clients, etc. This is the case for both B2C (business to customer) and B2B (business to business) businesses. Studies have shown that for B2B websites, a website that loads in 1 second has 3x the conversion of one that loads in 5 seconds and 5x one that loads in 10 seconds. The difference is similar for e-commerce B2C businesses, where a 1-second website has 2.5x the conversion rate of those loading in 5 seconds.

What is a Good Website Loading Speed?

In the simplest terms, the faster a website loads, the better. However, a website will always take some time to load, even if a fraction of a second. It might be easier to determine when the average becomes frustrated and gives up. Studies’ have found that its best to remain within 2.5 seconds, and the longest ideal time for a webpage to load is 4 seconds. After that, the conversion rate drops to half of what it was at 1 second.  

Determining Your Website’s Loading Time

To optimize your website’s loading time, you need to determine its speed. For a proper test, you need to consider different network speeds, device types, and that each page will have a different speed. Thankfully, Google has developed a free tool for the job: PageSpeed. Just by entering your business’ URL, PageSpeed will run a full a diagnostic on your website’s loading times. The test can also be run for a mobile device or computer, helping you determine if a certain version of your website has a speed issue.

Putting Your Website in High Gear

Once you determine your website could be faster, you will need to start optimizing. Here are some of the essential practices for speeding up your website’s load times:

Reducing Image Sizes

One of the main factors that affect a website’s load time is file sizes. A user’s device needs to download these files from a website to display them in their browser. Text is overall fast for a device to load. However, images, if not optimized, can be large and slow down your website considerably. Best practice is to keep the largest dimension of a website at 1200px or below. If you’ve used raw or stock photos, these tend to be 3 or 4 times bigger and just as hefty. File format is also important. JPEGs and PNGs can be relatively small in file size, but a WEBP is overall a more optimized format for website loading times.

Embedding Videos Rather than Hosting

Pictures can be large files; videos can be huge. That’s why a best practice for website speed is to upload a video to another service like YouTube or Vimeo. These allow you to embed a video on your site, making it part of the page’s display while keeping it hosted on these other services. Devices will retrieve the video from these faster sites while also keeping your site’s load size and time down.

Preventing Long Pages

An essential practice for website speed optimization is limiting the size of web pages. For example, if someone browses a store’s inventory, the page should not try to load all 250 products at once. That will slow the page down. Instead, make sure your website uses pagination or progressive loading for larger sections of your site. These smaller sections will take less load time and have less impact on a browser.

Look at Apps, Widgets, Plugins, etc.

Apps, widgets, and plugins often provide essential functionality to a business’ website. However, by adding that additional functionality, they can also increase a website’s load time. Monitor how these apps affect your site’s performance and weigh the importance of their functionality against their speed impact. Also, keep these add-ons updated with regular website maintenance. This will keep the tools optimized while also preventing any security vulnerabilities that could develop in older versions.

Some of Our Favourite Optimization Tools for Website Speed

Along with Google’s PageSpeed, our web team has two favourite tools for optimizing a website’s load time:

  • WP Rocket: This WordPress tool manages the website’s cache, cleans up the database, removes unused CSS, and defers JavaScript to prioritize a page’s content.
  • Shortpixel: This convenient tool will convert and deliver images on a website into WEBP format.

Don’t Wait on Improving Your Website’s Load Times

Now you know some of the essential best practices for improving and optimizing a website’s load times. We recommend optimizing your site right away. That swift website speed will provide your users with an optimal experience on all their devices. In turn, that improves your business’ conversion rate. If you want help optimizing or maintaining your website’s speed, contact our web design team.

White board marker writing "AUDIENCE" for someone thinking about email audience segments

Email has managed to stay one of the strongest digital marketing strategies for small and large businesses. However, just like any digital marketing, it succeeds best when it fosters engagement from its audience. An essential strategy for building email engagement and improving KPIs (key performance indicators) is audience segmentation and creating tailored emails. We’ll explain what exactly email audience segments are and the best strategies for finding and reaching them.

What are Email Audience Segments?

Your email audience is another term for those who receive your emails. This can include your newsletter subscribers as well as those customers who receive notifications about their orders, favorite products, or cart updates. While all your audience shares the commonality of having interest in your business, they’re a diverse collection of individuals. Email audience segmentation splits that audience into segments or groups. It then targets those groups with emails that are more specifically tailored to who they are. 

Creating emails that reflect your audience’s different interests or concerns results in emails with much higher engagement rates. In fact, alongside personalization, audience segmentation is the most effective strategy for improving email performance. It doubles open and click rates, halves unsubscribe rates. Plus, email audiences with high segmentation can have up to 3x their ROI (return on investment).

Segmentation Strategies


One of the first ways you can begin segmenting your email audience is demographics. These include age, gender, location, and other basic details about that person. This can be extremely useful information because you may provide products or services that email to different demographics. For example, a clothing store may sell products for men and women. That business will likely want to send emails about women’s products to a feminine segment of their audience, and men’s products to a masculine segment. Similarly, if a business is hosting an event in a certain area, it is better to send an email only to those audience members who live nearby and could reasonably attend the event.


Psychographic information is like demographics since it focuses on individual people. However, rather than personal information that reflects what part of the population they are, psychographics focuses on their individual minds. These include their interests, lifestyle, and values. For example, some of your audience may prefer more luxurious or extravagant items while others are more frugal. That could represent their financial situation, but it can also just be indicative of their own tastes. As a result, the prior group may respond better to emails that highlight a product’s elegance and opulence. The latter group may engage better with emails that tell them about deals or value incentives. Alongside their demographics, psychographics plays a key role in how customers choose to purchase products or services, and thus what emails they open and click on. Therefore, they are a useful method to segment your audience for determining how and what you communicate to each. 


While demographics and psychographics focus on individuals, firmographics focus on the details of an entire company. These include information like a company’s size, type, structure, industry, location, and more. Firmographic details are especially useful for B2B (business to business) and SAAS (software as a service) businesses since their clients are companies rather than individuals. Just like demographics or psychographics, you can use firmographics to create emails tailored to groups of companies that would be more interested in specific subject matter.

Getting All Those -Graphics

Demographics, psychographics, and firmographics are all excellent for creating audience segments. However, you need this information to use them. Some of these can be gathered when individuals or clients create an account to purchase products or services from your business. Your email marketing service, such as Klaviyo, can also retrieve some of this information from cookies and third-parties like Google to help flesh out demographics and firmographics. However, other information such as psychographics can be more difficult to obtain. For these, a newsletter sign-up form or survey with some incentive (e.g. a small discount or contest entry) can help gather this critical information for effective audience segmentation.

Behavioral Information

The most useful information you can obtain about your audience is from how they interact with your business’ website, digital storefront, and emails. Behavioral information considers things like purchase history, product/service page visits, as well as email open rates, click-through rates, and even what they click. All of this helps create a more detailed customer profile, allowing you to highly segment your audience and create specifically tailored emails. 

Demographics and psychographics help you contextualize members of your audience, but behavioral data helps you truly understand their interest in your business. For example, that same woman who shops at the clothing store may only buy men’s clothes for her partner or family. As a result, she will instead engage more with emails about men’s clothing. Demographic information can tell you what kind of person someone is; it’s behavioral data that will tell you what kind of customer someone is.

Collecting Behavioral Data with Email Marketing Tools

While demographics can be sourced from elsewhere, behavioral data will be primarily your responsibility to collect. Thankfully again your email marketing service, like Klaviyo, will make that possible. These services will record detailed performance metrics about emails and each audience member. They’ll know exactly who opened emails and where they clicked. These email marketing services can also be connected to your website to help track their behavior there. This could include purchases, product following, and even page visits to get a full picture of every customer.

Creating Segments

Collecting data is just the first step. After you’ve assembled these details about your audience, you or an expert in email marketing will then need to analyze the data to create effective email segmentation. Some of those segments will be based on specific product or service groups. Others will be based on their purchase history or email engagement rates. Lapsing customers or email subscribers can be placed into a segment that tries to regain their attention and engagement. Those who are consistently engaged and/or are in a high spending tier might be put into a VIP segment with emails that provide special offers, keeping them loyal to and engaged with your business. This can even be attached to a loyalty program that helps identify and automatically rewards such VIPs.

Starting with the Basics

Now younhave the essentials for understanding email audience segments and why they’re so effective at building better engagement. It can seem like a lot of effort, but it more than pays off in boosting your emails’ KPIs and ROI. If you want to know more about email audience segments, how to create them, or the best strategies for tailoring emails to them, be sure to chat with our digital marketing team