I have a co-worker named Chris who just recently joined our team a a few months ago. He's pretty cool and we get along very well but because of the nature of our jobs, we rarely see each other as we travel a lot. Well, last night we celebrated breaking through our company goal for the year and our director organized an expensed holiday party in the city for the team. Long story short, after a fun night and a few drinks with my other co-workers, we ended the night super late and some of us decided to book a hotel for the night. I said I was going to a specific hotel and Chris piggy backed and said he would stay in the same place. We decided to take an Uber together and went to a luxury hotel downtown. They were charging an arm and a leg for a room without reservation (which I didn't mind) but Chris suggested we just book a room for the two of us and split the cost. I thought it was a little weird initially because I barely know him and that would have meant that we would have to sleep on the same bed. I conceded any way to save some money and we ended staying and catching up the rest of the night. Great conversations and started to get to know him a little more. Then Chris starts tickling me (I am VERY ticklish) and chasing me around the room. After running around with fits of laughter, I jumped on the bed and covered myself under the covers, and Chris follows and joins me. We're both laughing and next thing you know, Chris kisses me on the lips! I was shocked and all he did was smile and stared at me. Shocked because he just got married to his wife a month after joining the company. I mean we celebrated and he showed me pictures of his honey moon in Panama! I started freaking out because after that kiss, I found myself increasingly attracted to him. He's tall and very handsome, but I never paid attention to to the guy until now. And he's extremely nonchalant about it, like it's normal. He told me not to make it weird. I drank some more and we made out and I went down on him. We woke up the next morning like nothing ever happened and traveled to different locations for work. Then I saw him in the office today with the others in the afternoon and he's like, regular Chris. He started flirting with me (jokingly) in front of our co-workers and everyone laughs like its normal. Am I over reacting? Now like great, I'm attracted to this guy but he's married, and I'm confused about him and now everything is weird and complicated in the work place. I didn't have the chance to like ask him questions and talk about what happened the previous night. He gives me a "I'm in an open marriage" kind of vibe because he doesn't try to like hide what happened. I don't know what to do about my feelings. I'm thinking about him all the time. I should get over him right? Gay Reddit, help.
Search engine optimization has come a long way from its beginnings in the 1990s. Over the years, we have seen our share of SEO techniques getting developed or falling by the wayside.
However, one SEO factor that has persisted after all these years is link-building. And it doesn’t look like it will be disappearing soon, despite declarations by SEO prophets of doom that link-building is dead or is at least close to dying.
This, of course, is just an annoying SEO myth that has been making the rounds for years now. Link-building will always be an essential part of any SEO marketing strategy. Backlinks, after all, are the best way for search engines to see a website as valuable and authoritative – and therefore worth recommending – to its users.
But, backlinks need to be of high quality to make an impression on Google et al. Search engines would be more likely to give you a boost up the SERPs if your links came from sites whose authority level and metrics are particularly impressive.
To put things in the proper perspective: one high-quality link from an authority site is infinitely better than a hundred backlinks from a hundred legitimate but poorly-performing sites. In short, it’s always quality over quantity, even when it comes to backlinks.
So how do you earn high-quality backlinks? Here are some tips:
1. Broken link prospecting
Scanning popular sites for broken links, telling their owners about them, and volunteering one of your relevant pages as a replacement has long been done to get high-quality backlinks. It may sound tedious (and it is), but broken link prospecting is a simple but highly-effective tactic that countless people continue to do.
If you’re going to take this tack when trying to earn high-quality links, then you should always remember to avoid doing any kind of hard sell when pushing for replacing a specific broken link. You might better your chances of getting a positive response if you just write an email that’s honest and straightforward. Some even go to the extent of recommending links from other websites to show they aren’t greedy for link juice, but just want to lend a helping hand.
As I mentioned earlier, broken link prospecting can be tedious. However, there are now tools called backlink explorers that should make your search for broken links easier. If you’re serious about getting quality links through broken links, you must have Ahrefs, Raven, Majestic, Cognitive SEO, Open Site, or other backlink explorers in your arsenal.
2. Guest posting
“Guest posting is dead” is yet another SEO myth that persists to this day. Contrary to what the naysayers say, there are still plenty of quality sites and blogs willing to give you space for your content.
Well-researched, superbly–written, and relevant articles make for good guest posts, which remain to be an effective way of getting linked to by authority blogs. However, avoid tooting your own horn too much in your guest posts because that is one surefire way to get rejected by webmasters and bloggers. While some of them may allow a little self-promotion for your site or business, always keep it down to a minimum.
Aside from sending well-written posts, you must also show the owners of the blog the right attitude by following the site’s guest post submission guidelines, if any.
In your email exchanges with the blogger you aim to do a guest post for, you must also avoid sounding desperate or demanding. Far too many bloggers have been turned off by prospective guest posters who keep on asking what they should do. Or worse – make statements that give the impression they’re giving the blogger an order to publish their article or something along those lines.
3. Local SEO
Optimizing for local search is a necessity particularly if the website is for a business that has either a brick-and-mortar store or one that provides services in a given area.
Aside from helping people find the best businesses at or near their location, local SEO can also help you get high-quality links. You can get lots of high-value links from local community websites, local news and content sites, and high domain authority sites, all of which can be targeted by local SEO strategies.
You might also want to get quality backlinks by becoming more active in your community, donating your time or money to local charitable causes, or sponsoring events in your neighborhood.
Don’t forget to read Local SEO in 2018 – Success Beyond the Snack Pack for some extra tips.
4. Article directory submissions
Some say that submitting articles to article directories is risky. It is risky if you’re submitting to link farms disguised as article directories, of which the Internet has many. However, if you’re doing it for high-quality directories like Buzzle, GrowthHackers, and Slashdot you’re on the right track as these have always been an excellent source of high-value backlinks.
You also need to avoid the many legitimate but low-quality article directories online if you want to earn high-quality links to your site.
Of course, it goes without saying that the articles you submit should be well-written, engaging, relevant to your niche, and wholly original.
There’s a reason why the Internet lingo acronym “TL;DR” came about: Many people actually have an aversion to reading lengthy articles, even when they find the topic interesting and useful. Presenting all the salient points of your 5,000-word article in infographic form, however, would boost your chances of getting read by more people.
Infographics have become quite popular these days, as webmasters, bloggers, and people on social media tend to share these mostly engaging, quick and easy-to-digest snapshots of information. They’re are much more likely than other content forms to be shared and liked, and that means more chances for high-quality backlinks. You can also expect tons of backlinks to your site if and when your infographic goes viral.
6. Go social
Social media platforms offer a lot of backlinking opportunities for your site. While not a ranking factor for your website, social media profiles provide you a space to place your site’s URL, for starters. You can also make social media posts that promote not only your content, but your products or services as well.
To maximize your presence on social media, you have to show off by creating engaging videos, slideshows, and other types of visual content and share them on Facebook, Twitter, and the like. Just don’t forget to include in the description a link back to your site.
7. Flattering posts about influencers
Many people may not like the term “influencers,” but that’s exactly what many bloggers and social media personalities are today. One post or tweet from them about how a specific product made their day and their millions of followers will likely sample that product themselves.
Influencers, indeed, carry a lot of weight online these days, and if they get wind of a complimentary article you wrote about them, they will, in all likelihood, share the link to that post. Sure, you’re publishing an ego-bait post, but if it means getting high-quality backlinks, why not? It’s a win-win proposition anyway, with you getting that high-quality backlink, and the influencer getting exposed to a new audience – yours.
8. Keeping an eye on your competitors
It pays to know what the competition is doing, and what types of backlinks they’re getting. By spying on their link-building efforts, you’ll get to see if they’re getting backlinks from high-quality websites, which, in turn, should encourage you to go after these sites yourself to get similar links. Always think that if your competitors can do it, so can you.
One way of never missing a post from your competitors (and finding out about their new backlinks) is to subscribe to their email newsletters, although following them on social media would also work. Being updated on their newest backlinks gives you an idea what they did to get that link. For example, if one backlink was attained through guest blogging, then you must contact the same website that gave your competitor the space and offer to make a guest post too. While there’s no guarantee that you’ll replicate your competitor’s success this way, it’s certainly worth a try.
There are many tools you can use to identify and analyze the backlinks that all your competitors share. You can also use these tools to figure out their techniques and sources.
9. Do original research
All your life, you may have been sharing research published by other bloggers. How about doing your own by publishing case studies, conducting surveys, or even using your business data?
Publishing content made up of original research also positions your site as a source, especially if it’s the type that either confirms standards within your given industry or debunks them. You can be sure that no one else on the Internet has your data, and the uniqueness and freshness of your research are bound to attract bloggers, journalists, and publishers of authority sites. They would be more than willing to share it and give you that high-quality backlink.
10. Always write high-quality content
So you know every trick in the SEO book like the back of your hand. Then, you apply all of them to get your website the best possible results. But, if your content leaves so much to be desired, you cannot expect people to read it, much less share and give you a backlink.
People aren’t likely to link to your site if your written content is atrocious, irrelevant, and entirely useless for readers. If your website content is that bad, then the only way you’ll get backlinks is if other people share your site as a joke. So make sure your writing is up to par, and if it isn’t, then hire writers who can do a better job.
You can read more about the consequences of bad copywriting here: Copywriting Mistakes that Affect Your Reputation.
11. List posts
For some reason, people love articles in list format. Maybe it’s the fact that lists break down the information into bite-sized chunks, and that they are so much easier to read on desktops and mobile devices. In any case, you can catch more attention – and link love, hopefully – by creating posts that are published as lists.
To create list posts that people will potentially link to, you have to make sure that they’re interesting, clever, consistent in their tone and structure, and of course, numbered. People hate having to count the number of items on your list only to find out that you only featured nine instead of 10. If your list post is a long one, splitting it up into sections would be a great idea.
Everyone knows that getting high-quality links is not the easiest thing to do in the world of SEO, but it’s something you have to do to help your business succeed. Backlinks have been a most effective way of achieving success with Google and other search engines, and things will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future.
Author: Anthony Tisara is the Outreach Manager at My Biz Niche, the go-to Phoenix-based digital marketing agency specializing in effective SEO and stunning web design solutions built to capture your target audience and generate more leads. He enjoys traveling with his family and organizing weekly trivia events with his friends.
The holiday season is just around the corner. So it’s time to get your seasonal email marketing campaigns all wrapped up.
Why? Just take a look at this figure: in the US alone, desktop retail ecommerce spending during the 2016 holiday season was a staggering $63.1 billion.
We’re not talking pocket money here!
So we’ve whipped up this guide to help you get a piece of the pie with email marketing.
From list building tactics to designing holiday email campaigns – it’s all here.
Read on, or use the links below to jump to insights and inspiring examples for your favorite holiday.
Getting ready for your holiday campaigns
Running a successful holiday marketing campaign is a little like hosting family dinner. Getting ready before everyone arrives (or lands on your site) means you can enjoy the day (your campaign) without a hitch.
A checklist can help. So you stay on track and remember what needs to be done.
The four steps below will help you plan your campaigns better – and get ready for the rush.
Four steps to prepare your holiday marketing campaigns
1. Look at what worked
First, take a look at all the tactics and channels you used before. What worked well? What could you do differently – or repurpose?
Asking these questions can help you make better business decisions, and allocate resources the right way.
Here’s an example: A few years ago, everyone was talking about Snapchat as a top tool to reach your audience. But users have since abandoned the platform, and turned to other tactics like Instagram Stories.
So if you don’t reflect on your past efforts, you might end up investing in a tactic or channel that simply doesn’t do the job – or underinvesting in a tool that could get you the best results.
2. Check out your customers
Next up, look at your customer segments.
Who do you attract? Who often buys from you – and who spends the most? Who sticks around – and who leaves?
When you dig deep, you might spot potential segments – or learn more about the people you already serve.
A popular way to do this is with an RFM (Recency, Frequency, and Monetary Value) analysis, to focus on your most lucrative buyers.
Facebook Audience Insights is another great tool you could pair with RFM. Simply import your email database segment into Facebook to get a report on their lifestyle, job role and even the pages they follow.
3. Check out the competition
You can learn a lot from your competitors. Just like with your marketing campaigns, check out what campaigns did and didn’t work for them. See if you can spot the secret sauce to their success.
Sign up to their newsletter, browse their site, use tools like SEMrush to see their PPC spend, and use Facebook’s new Info and Ads feature to analyze their aids.
You don’t want to copy them. Simply take notes, then use the insights to see what you could do better in your next holiday campaign – focusing on your unique selling point.
4. Get an action plan
How do you know if your marketing campaign is a hit? By setting goals to measure it against.
Sure, you can easily see sales growth without doing any analysis. But you won’t know what results you could have got. And you probably won’t feel very motivated to improve them.
So when planning your next holiday marketing campaign, get clear on what you want to achieve. And set S.M.A.R.T. goals like the ones below – especially if you want to get your team on board.
- Raise revenue from category X by 30% in December.
- 10% increase in ecommerce transactions compared to previous campaign.
- 20% increase in average order value (AOL) of segment Y customers within two months.
With such specific goals, you’re ready to make an action plan.
Mark key dates for all the tactics you plan to use. You can print out the handy calendar here – then stick it to the wall to keep you on track.
Halloween (October 31st)
For marketers, the holiday season starts with Halloween. Popular with kids and adults, it’s a time for cooking, crafts, dress ups and decorating.
In the US and Canada, Halloween kicks off at the start of October. Malls, hotels, restaurants, and coffee chains get into the spirit with themed menus and decor. And little ghouls dress up and collect treats all month long.
So if you’re planning a Halloween campaign, be sure to start around the first week of October.
How do you actually do it? Check out our ideas below:
Halloween email campaign ideas
Build your list
It never hurts to speed up your email list growth – especially for a fun campaign like Halloween.
There are many ways you can get more signups for the holiday. Here are some ideas:
- Run a competition for the best Halloween costume, recipe, or DIY decorations. Ask your audience to enter via a landing page or web form and announce the winners on a certain date. It’s win-win: they get a prize, and you get a ton of new leads – plus plenty of user-generated content to use in your future marketing campaigns.
Be sure to share it on your site and social channels. The winners will likely want to promote the news to their friends – which means more publicity for a low cost.
- Organize a raffle and give away a voucher or tickets to a special event. To collect signups, build a landing page with a form, and terms and conditions. Focus on showcasing the value of the raffle, and drive traffic to your page via paid ads or organic posts.
- Create content that helps people enjoy Halloween. Offer something useful and fun, so they’re happy to give you their email address. Here are a few ideas:
- Halloween recipes
- Decorating how-tos
- Pumpkin carving patterns
- Games and activities
- DIY costume and make-up ideas
- Scary movie lists
- Halloween jokes and riddles
- Music playlists
Now you know how to build an email list for Halloween, let’s see how to make scarily good emails your audience will be dying to open.
There are a few essential email elements that play a role in your campaign success. Let’s look at each:
Assuming you already have a memorable ‘from name’ to send your emails, we can move on to the next thing subscribers see: the subject line.
You really can’t ignore it. After all, studies show around half of recipients decide whether to open an email based on the subject line alone.
What makes an eye-catching email subject? It should be interesting, fun, relevant, and show value. The subject line length, personalization, and use of emojis can also influence its success.
Here are some of our favorite Halloween subject lines:
- No tricks, just treats!
- Boo! Have we got a spooky deal for you!
- Ghouls and goblins and deals, oh my!
- Happy Halloween! We’ve got savings so big it’s scary!
- Open if you dare: We’ve got some scarily good deals coming your way
- Trick or treat? Open up to see what you got!
- Un-boo-lievable! Take X% off all Halloween!
- Oh my gourd! Have you seen these prices?
- SCARY GOOD. Up to X% off the site starts now!
- Don’t open! Zombies inside!
- Open at your own risk
Next, let’s look at the first sentence of your email. Even though it’s not as prominent next to your subject line, the preheader can have a big impact on your open rates.
So, how do you use it?
Typically, preheaders only have a link to the online version of the message. This is helpful since some providers may automatically block the link. But it’s rare these days. Plus, that small space next to your subject line is valuable real estate.
So instead, use the preheader to expand on the subject line – or illustrate a campaign benefit.
Email subject line: Don’t miss out on the party!
Preheader text: 15% off is ending soon. Don’t miss out on our bestselling styles.
Email subject line: Drop Everything. Sitewide Sale. Now.
Preheader text: It’s our birthday Sitewide Sale + Free Shipping & Returns to celebrate!
For more inspiration, check out these two examples from Williams Sonoma.
Header and content
Your header should continue the conversation, and follow up on the promise made in the subject line.
You only have a few seconds to grab your subscribers, before they click or move on.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Add a navigational bar that highlights the email theme: Halloween.
- Place a big banner above the fold section with your key message – like ‘15% off sitewide sale!’
Use a big hero image that extends below the fold, so readers are intrigued to scroll down.
When designing your header, consider how it fits with the rest of your email content.
If it mentions your offer, link it to your landing page with an obvious call to action.
If you want recipients to keep scrolling, make sure the copy, images, and call to action button stand out – perhaps with a contrasting background color.
Here’s a good example from Mark and Graham. Although the CTA button itself doesn’t stand out, the whole header is clickable and you can straight away tell the theme of this email.
Colors and images
Colors catch the eye – so you want to use a color scheme and images that complement the holiday.
For Halloween, include orange, black, gray, purple, or red. Just Google ‘Halloween inspired palettes’ for inspiration. Tools like Coolors also make it easy to generate your own palette in a few clicks.
Here’s an example of a Halloween-themed color scheme:
Try to also pick images that work well with your email design – and will be easy to create.
Will you do a Halloween-themed photoshoot of your products? Can you easily and quickly source decorations – and will pumpkins, ghosts, spider webs and zombies enhance your message – or confuse or turn off your audience? If in doubt, test it!
Call to action (CTA)
Most email campaigns are meant to compel your subscribers to do something – like click through to a landing page, or sign up for a giveaway.
That means all your email elements should work together towards that goal. Your email subject line, header, images and copy should all lead to a click.
The same is true for your call to action button.
Here’s how to make your CTAs click-worthy:
- Personalize it: use your recipient’s personal or company name in the copy.
- Use contrasting colors: so the button stands out.
- Style it right: consider the size and whitespace around your button, so it can be easily clicked – especially on mobile.
- Use GIFs: animated images tend to get more attention.
- Use creative copy: skip the standard ‘buy now’ or ‘download’ button and be creative – even if it makes your button a bit bigger.
Again, there’s no secret sauce. The same call to action button could generate tons of clicks in one campaign – and barely any in the next.
Why? Because all these elements have to unite – and every audience is different.
Still stuck? A/B test your button and see what wins. Add it to your email, and enjoy more clicks.
Meantime, here’s an email example from Etsy. Pay attention to their CTA as it’s pretty good. The copy’s descriptive and the button itself stands out. Keeping in mind the whole theme of this campaign, it works very well!
Movember (November 1-30)
Movember aims to change the face of men’s health. It takes a fun approach, as men grow moustaches for the month of November – and share selfies to raise awareness and funds for the cause.
Plan to get involved? While you should send your announcement email on November 1, you can give your audience an early heads up.
You could publish an article or create a dedicated landing page – and use a discreet banner below the fold of your emails to promote it.
Even if it’s not the main focus of your October campaigns, it will intrigue your most engaged subscribers – and speed up your campaign launch in early November.
Movember email campaign ideas
Build your list
There are three ways you can support Movember: grow, give, or move. That’s grow a mo, donate money, or get active every day in November.
You can also host an event – a “mo-ment”. It could be a golf tournament, band night, dinner party, or anything that helps raise funds and spread awareness.
So if your brand gets on board, here’s what you can do to spread the word – and grow your email list at the same time:
First, build a campaign landing page that outlines how you’ll help change the lives of many young men.
Will you give away 10% of your revenue in November – or the proceeds from Movember-related products? Will you organize some ‘move’ events or ‘mo-ments’ that bring people together?
Once you know, you can start promoting it:
Let subscribers know what’s happening – and ask them to join and share it with others.
Run a PPC campaign to drive traffic to your landing page.
Add Movember-themed items to customer orders.
Update your blog with mo photos and fundraising updates.
You could also create content around the cause – like photos, videos, or infographics with tips to grow or groom your mustache. Or send emails featuring famous mos – or fun facts and jokes about ‘staches.
You could also create cause-related games. For example:
Organize a movie night and place a mustache cut-out on your TV. Each time the mustache perfectly fits the person on the screen, someone has to donate to the cause.
Just make sure your messages are authentic – and don’t look like your brand is using the campaign for its own gain.
How can you design your Movember-themed emails to get the most conversions?
Pay attention to these elements:
Email subject line
Like any other campaign, your email subject line should catch subscribers’ attention. Here are some ideas for your No Shave November campaign:
- Tomorrow we mo
- Begin Movember clean
- Mo Bros and Mo Sistas unite!
- Are you a true gentleman?
- Your body was made for walking
- You can give and get at the same time! #Movember
- Get your ‘stache on!
- We’re rocking sweet staches this month
- No Shave November starts now. See what we’ve planned!
- This is not a drill. Stop shaving now!
Your preheader should support your subject line – and let recipients know what’s inside.
Use it to clarify the purpose of your message. And if you want to share your Movember photos, invite others to join the cause, or showcase your products – be direct and brief.
Here are some ideas:
Subject line: Get your ‘stache on!
Preheader: You with us?
Subject line: Tomorrow we mo
Preheader: Five reasons you should, too
Subject line: Why we’re rocking sweet ‘staches this month
Preheader: Could your mustache help men’s health?
Header and content
Movember isn’t about you or your brand. It’s about the cause and how your subscribers can support it. So keep your header short and enticing.
For the body copy, you could feature user-generated content or photos of your team in action – with a mustache or two!
Remember to add any campaign-specific content to your emails, making the message all about Movember. Other times, you can just add a banner that mentions it, feature a product so others can contribute to the cause, or simply place a mustache beside your logo.
Looking for inspiration? Head to your local Movember website and check out the examples below.
Call to action
Make your CTA visible and simple – like ‘grow’, ‘give’ or ‘move’.
Or make it more descriptive, so people know what happens when they click, like:
MOVE with us this Friday afternoon »
Let’s meet up in XYZ »
Come and show off your ‘stache at XYZ »
Thanksgiving (November 22nd)
Thanksgiving is the first major holiday of the season, celebrated in Canada, the United States, some Caribbean islands, and Liberia.
Traditionally it’s about gratitude, giving thanks, and spending quality time with family and friends. Could these values be the canvas for your campaigns?
Time your campaign to start around November 12 – so you have enough time to compel customers to check out your offer.
You could start even sooner, if you haven’t run any campaigns for Halloween or Movember. Simply start dropping hints and drive traffic to a campaign-specific landing page or product category.
Thanksgiving email campaign ideas
Build your list
Begin by asking: what is Thanksgiving all about?
For many, it’s about spending time and sharing a meal with loved ones. Others see it as a time to give thanks and help others.
So ask yourself:
- What do they need?
- What are their struggles?
- How can we help?
The first group will probably want traditional food recipes, decoration ideas, and memorable ways to celebrate the day.
The second group might prefer tips on how to show their gratitude – or information on how their favorite brands serve others, and value people over profits.
Have a think, then turn your ideas into an action plan.
You could create a lead magnet to compel prospects to sign up on your landing page – then promote it far and wide.
You know the drill: your subject line is like a movie trailer. It has to spark interest so your subscribers want to open your email.
There are two ways to do this:
- Clearly outline the campaign theme (Thanksgiving).
- Hint at the theme to arouse curiosity.
Don’t know which approach is best? Try some A/B testing.
Here are some Thanksgiving email subject line ideas you could test:
- Getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner?
- When you wake up from your food coma: have we got a deal for you!
- Who’s ready for seconds? The Thanksgiving Sale starts now!
- Staying in or going out on Thanksgiving?
- Extra 10% off for early birds only! Let’s celebrate the day!
- Who are you thankful for?
- Thankful for you: a special holiday message from the XYZ team
- What are YOU thankful for?
- Give thanks with 30% off everything
- Our way of saying thank you
- Thanks to you, we’ve done all this!
- Gobble gobble! Open up for a feast of savings!
- A sale so good, you’ll mute the game
- Get these awesome recipes for #Friendsgiving
Remember, this shouldn’t steal attention from your subject line. Instead, use it to complete it with a subtle mention of your offer.
Offering free shipping, 10% off, or another deal? Sneak it into the preheader.
Here are some ideas:
Subject line: Who are you thankful for?
Preheader: 3 ways to say thank you
Subject line: Thanks to you, we’ve done all this!
Preheader: No, seriously. It’s all thanks to you! <3
Subject line: What are YOU thankful for?
Preheader: Say thanks with these gorgeous gifts
Here’s one interesting preheader text – Your Thanksgiving dinner is about to get a major upgrade, used by Mouth in their Thanksgiving newsletter.
Header and content
Thanksgiving is all about gratitude, generosity, humility and family. So your email should capture those emotions.
Choose colors and images that are subtle, not flashy.
Use your copy to connect with subscribers and make them feel special. Let them know you need them to bring your plans to life.
And be sure to make your offer unique, relevant and helpful.
If you’ve already run several holiday marketing campaigns, how can you make this one special?
Sometimes it’s not even about making your emails pretty. If your content’s interesting or useful, it’s going to work for your audience. Like in this example from Art of Manliness, where their whole email is about teaching you how to carve a turkey. After reading this content, who wouldn’t want to upgrade and buy a hard copy of their guide?
Or you can just try and engage your contacts by inviting them to take part in a deal hunt. Just like Clearwater Marine Aquarium did in their newsletter below.
Alternatively, you can be helpful and offer creative ways to use that leftover ham to cook a delicious meal, like in this example from Show Me The Yummy.
Call to action
As with other holidays, your main CTA will trigger the sales. Getting attention and igniting curiosity is one thing, but you still need to compel contacts to click – and send them to your landing page or online store.
Make it clear what happens when they click. Is it to get more info on an item – or buy? Be creative, but keep it easy to understand.
To get you inspired, here’s an interesting example from Sevenly, which focuses on the fact that by buying you can help others. Although this is mainly communicated in their header, their CTAs are also worth looking at: “Claim this offer”, “Buy this hoodie”, “Buy this set”, “Buy this sweatshirt”.
Black Friday (November 23rd)
Black Friday marks the start of the holiday shopping season. Since it’s all about spending, subscribers are ready for deals. But because it’s the day after Thanksgiving, it can be hard to get noticed.
You can still run a successful Black Friday campaign. It’s just best to drop subtle hints in the lead-up, so your customers know to keep an eye out for your offer after Thanksgiving dinner.
It’s smart to start one week before Black Friday. In fact, because people are poised to shop, you could even start the night before.
Just be aware that if you don’t have a bricks-and-mortar store, you should catch customers before they hit the mall.
Some businesses run Black Friday promos over an entire week or weekend. Bear in mind this removes the urgency to buy now, so it might dilute your message and show a less impressive sales spike – although overall revenue will probably make up for it.
Black Friday email campaign ideas
Build your list
Black Friday is a fast frenzy. So it’s harder to beef up your email list on the day.
Aside from the usual tactics – like offering a discount code or free shipping on first orders – there’s little you can do.
What can you do? Make your email list seem like an exclusive club.
Use landing pages, pop-up forms, in-store tablets, display banners, and other tools to promote better deals only available to insiders.
Plan ahead. Will you offer exclusive content, free giveaways, free shipping and returns, or something else exclusive to subscribers?
Anything can happen on Black Friday – and shoppers love the anticipation of unbeatable deals and steals. So use your subject line to build suspense.
Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t tell anyone about this…
- You’ve been waiting for this
- You know it’s coming…
- Something special for you this season
- It’s the Friday you’ve been waiting for…
- It’s finally here!
- 3,2,1, GO! Your 24 hours start now…
- Black Friday looks different this year…
- Friday’s blackout deals are here…
- Our biggest-ever Black Friday sale is here
- Going fast! Get your Black Friday deals before it’s too late
Below are some other creative examples from one particular brand, MVMT.
Other subject lines they used:
- WARNING: These Black Friday deals are
- BE THE FIRST | Black Friday starts NOW
- F%@*! Only a few hours left!
- BLACK FRIDAYSALE EXTENDED
Want to convert more contacts to join your newsletter? Use the preheader to give them a nudge.
Consider these combos using the above subject lines:
Subject line: Don’t tell anyone about this…
Preheader: Let’s keep it a secret
Subject line: It’s finally here!
Preheader: Are you ready?
Subject line: looks different this year…
Preheader: Prepare to be shocked!
Header and content
On Black Friday, things move fast. Very fast. So your customers want to quickly see if your deal really is the best – or if they should shop elsewhere.
That’s why your header and content should be all about your products. No articles, no funny videos, just offers.
So keep your header clear and concise. It should only take a second or two to make sense of your offer.
Add a navigational bar, high-quality images, and short copy. Your goal: get people to your landing page ASAP.
The color palette should contrast black with your brand colors.
Here’s how Sevenly designed their email campaign to get their email subscribers to the landing quickly. Notice how they’ve created an additional sense of urgency by offering their deal only to the first 500 customers who redeem the code.
Call to action
Your CTA should be descriptive, convincing, and fun.
Place it in a very visible spot and convince contacts they need to buy now – or miss out!
A winning CTA depends on your audience. This example from Cards Against Humanity was hugely successful – even though it went against best practice. Notice also their short but very intriguing subject line.
Cyber Monday (November 26th)
Cyber Monday is considered the biggest online shopping day of the year, on the Monday after Thanksgiving.
If you’ve run Thanksgiving and Black Friday campaigns, it’s wise to give your audience a break before marketing at them again.
The day is all about online shopping – so you need to focus on driving traffic to your site. But because competition is fierce, you need to get creative and offer something unique.
What makes Cyber Monday unique? Shoppers from all over the world wait ‘til the day to bag a bargain – the savings are that good.
So you want to get everything in place before then. Here are some things to consider:
- Do you offer international shipping – and is it fast enough?
- Are your offer terms (like free refunds) clear – and available to international customers?
- Is your site localized? Do prices and tax automatically convert to the customer’s currency?
- Is it easy to place an order with an international address – such as different zip code formats?
- Is your site mobile-optimized?
Even if you don’t sell overseas, it’s worth keeping international buyers in mind if your analytics show they visit your site.
Cyber Monday email campaign ideas
Build your list
On top of the tips we covered for other holidays, you might like to consider wishlists to grow your Cyber Monday list.
Wishlists reduce the risk of customers going elsewhere for a product they’ve been waiting for. They simply sign up and get a notification when the product is back in stock or has dropped in price.
And that means wishlists could be your secret tactic for getting many more conversions.
It’s also an essential tool for ecommerce businesses that sell premium products or have limited stock.
Stand out with these subject line ideas that will make your Cyber Monday emails as exciting as a Game of Thrones season finale:
- Like Xmas but better. Cyber Monday is here!
- It’s now or never!
- Say hello to amazing savings!
- Cyber Monday on a Sunday…
- The clock is ticking on these Cyber Monday deals
- Oops, we’ve gone a bit overboard!
- Your Cyber Monday offer is here
- Cyber Monday? We’ve got you covered
- Hello? Is it savings you’re looking for?
- Cyber Monday 24-hour sale starts now!
- Your wishlist at Cyber Monday prices
As always, the preheader should complement and complete the subject line story.
Here are some examples to inspire you:
Subject line: It’s now or never!
Preheader: Only 8 hours left on these Cyber Monday deals
Subject line: Cyber Monday on a Sunday…
Preheader: Who are we to judge?
Subject line: Hello? Is it savings you’re looking for?
Preheader: This joke is awful, but our offers are awesome!
Here’s one example of an interesting newsletter with a catchy subject line and preheader from CAT:
Subject line: ENDS TOMORROW: Get 30% Off + 20% Off Outlet
Preheader: There’s still time (but not much)! Get an extra 20@ on already marked-down boots, shoes, and more!
Header and content
You have to pull out all your top tactics to outperform your Cyber Monday competitors.
- Personalizing emails based on customers’ past behavior
- Engaging content, like animated GIFs or interactive emails
- Beautiful, high-quality images, like user-generated content for social proof
- Amazing offers: will free shipping be enough to win over your contacts?
- Compelling copy that focuses on benefits, not just product features
To put it all together:
Dig into your CRM and pinpoint product categories customers bought from before.
Then use dynamic content to personalize your emails with offers on the top category.
You can also highlight best-selling or premium products from a complementary category.
Do the same on your site, showcasing suggested items beside the customer’s shopping cart – with a special deal or free shipping when added to their order.
Remember, each extra item added to the cart covers the costs of finding new customers. And once your customer checks out, they’ll be more willing to buy from you next time.
Whatever you do, bear in mind Cyber Monday moves fast. So make sure to A/B test the most critical campaign elements.
Call to action
Craft your calls to action carefully. Be creative and skip the standard “buy now” copy – while sticking to your unique brand voice.
Here are some examples:
- Show me what you’ve got
- Let’s save!
- Show me the deals!
- Start saving now
- Offers like this should be illegal
- One click to rule them all
- You’re one click away from amazing offers
Here’s an example of a slightly unoriginal but very clear call to action button from Cyber Monday newsletter sent by GQ.
Christmas (December 24-26)
Shopping season is coming to an end. But first, there’s Christmas. A time to switch off, spend time with loved ones and exchange gifts.
And because people tend to put a lot of time and thought into finding the perfect gift, you have all December to promote your products. Some retailers start as early as November – and there are even Christmas shops that run all year long!
Between Cyber Monday and Christmas, there are only a few smaller events like Super Saturday and Free Shipping Day. So most brands just focus on Christmas marketing.
Mark December 1 for your campaign launch, and let’s look at how to make it a success:
Christmas email campaign ideas
Build your list
Since your Christmas campaign can run for a while, there’s a good chance you’ll build a strong list.
Here are some ways to do it:
- Run a ‘12 Days of Christmas’ campaign. Send daily offers or gift inspirations to those who signed up via an exclusive landing page.Of course, you’ll need to promote the page across your social media channels, in your newsletter, or with paid ads. But your list will grow with a group of people interested in hearing from you.
- Create an advent calendar campaign. Follow the same steps as above, with 25 days to convince your customers to buy their gifts from you.
- Create a Christmas guide to decorations, interiors inspiration, or recipes. Then use it as a lead magnet on your landing pages and in pop up forms, to build an email list of people looking for something special.
- Build your campaign around a cause. Donate a portion of your revenue to a chosen charity (like you did for Movember) and promote it so customers can feel good – and do good – buying from you.
Speaking of guides, here’s an email promoting a gift guide created by Mahabis.
There’s something magical about Christmas. Carol singing, Wham’s Last Christmas rocking the radio, decorations, mulled wine, Starbuck’s Christmas blend, and quality time with family and friends. What’s not to love?
But as a marketer, you’ll probably focus on one thing in your campaign: gifts.
Of course, if you find yourself all Christmased out, why not do something different? Mix up your messages, say something less festive, or try out a new A/B test variant to see what works.
Here are some subject line ideas you could try:
- Share this wonderful news with your loved ones
- Feeling Christmassy?
- Ho ho ho! Holiday savings inside!
- Deals as red-hot as Rudolph’s nose!
- Michael Bublé or Mariah Carey?
- Here’s our gift to you
- Christmas is about sharing
- See our holiday style guide
- Looking for Christmas gift inspirations?
- Get your gifts on time with free shipping
- Guaranteed Christmas morning smiles inside
- Don’t risk it. Buy your own perfect gift!
- Buying gifts last minute? We’ve got you covered
- Perfect gift for everyone you love
- Out of ideas? Get a gift card!
- Buy your holiday presents now…
- 5 Christmas dinner conversation starters. You’ll thanks us later!
The preheader can either continue the story from your subject line, or add a sweetener like free giftwrap.
Subject line: Buy your gifts now…
Preheader: …and spend more time with your loved ones later
Subject line: Out of ideas? Get a gift card!
Preheader: Let them choose their perfect present
Subject line: Don’t risk it. Buy your own perfect gift!
Preheader: Forget Santa – treat yourself
Header and content
Your emails should evoke that Christmas magic: sitting by the fire, unwrapping gifts, or being with the ones you love.
Stick to a familiar color scheme: gold, red, yellow, and green. Use Coolors or search Christmas-themed color palettes in Google to get inspired.
Your product shots should also look festive. You could even stage a themed shoot to get customers in the holiday spirit.
Also, consider using animated GIFs. Like in this example from MVMT, which helps you feel like you’re already unwrapping the gift yourself.
Call to action
Should your CTA be short and sweet, or descriptive? There’s only one way to find out: test it.
Consider this copy:
- Order now to get it before Christmas
- Christmas deals – yasss!
- Claim your Christmas coupon now!
- Become Santa’s little helper
- Holiday inspirations right here
- Look what’s hiding under the tree
- FaLaLaLaLa, Christmas is here!
Alternatively, you could just invite your subscribers to “start gifting”, like United By Blue does in their email below.
What’s your holiday marketing campaign plan?
Now that you have all our holiday marketing campaign secrets, what will you do?
Let us know what holidays you’re targeting – and the tactics you plan to use.
Drag queen storytimes and other LGBT programs are meant to create safe spaces for the queer community. The librarians running them are getting death threats.
The LGBTQ rights activist will stay with HRC until a new president is named.
The climate that we live in is changing.
- Hurricanes are getting stronger
- Heatwaves have become more common, with worse still to come
- So-called “permafrost” is melting, with a number of significant consequences…
- … and many more besides. If one thing is clear, it’s that the world we live in is changing.
For most of us, facts and data related to the climate are subjects we focus on through a personal lens. We think about our future; the future of our families; and the future of the human race as a whole.
However, if you are an entrepreneur, there is another strain of thought that needs to be added to the mix: the potential impact of a changing climate on your business – and, more specifically, your business premises. Below, we have put together a list of ideas that can ensure your premises are as prepared as possible for climate changes in future…
Examine your options for storm water management
When we think of hurricanes and severe storms, most of us focus on the ferocious winds as the primary cause of problems.
While it is important to be cautious of the harm winds can cause – which we will discuss in more detail in the next point – in the vast majority of cases, it’s actually storm waters and the flooding they produce that inflicts the most damage.
Not only do the problems caused by flooding have the potential to be catastrophically ruinous for buildings, but flood waters can also cause serious health concerns, so this is a problem that requires substantial consideration.
Unfortunately, many people feel that their control is limited when it comes to flooding: if the rain is going to come, it’ll come. However, this isn’t the case, and with effective stormwater management techniques, you have strong protection against floods in your business premises.
So, what are the best stormwater management techniques? There’s no neat answer to this; every building is different, and there are few techniques that are universally suitable.
Instead, stormwater management is about hiring the right engineers to consult on the methods your premises in particular can benefit from.
By focusing on finding a custom-designed solution, with the help of experts, you’ll be able to enjoy excellent protections that can prevent your business from experiencing catastrophic flooding in future.
Windproof your premises’ exterior
While the damage from stormwater is arguably the biggest threat from severe storms and hurricanes, it is also essential to focus on the most obvious threat: high winds.
It is difficult to exaggerate just how damaging high winds can be to a building. While advancements in building techniques have ensured that the days of hurricane-strength winds knocking down buildings are long past, storm winds still pose a substantial threat to your business.
The most obvious of these threats is to the exterior of the premises. It is incredibly important to take the time to assess areas of weakness on your premises, hiring a professional to assist with this task if required. Common areas of weakness include roof tiles and windows; if these are found wanting for strength, then making improvements is your priority.
In addition, it’s also worth thinking about the potential impact of high winds on your premises’ exterior features.
For example, if you use an awning, or have signage in your parking lot, check that these are very securely attached.
If these kinds of items come loose during high winds, they become a genuine threat, makeshift projectiles that can cause a high amount of damage to both people and buildings in the surrounding area.
Finally, it may also be beneficial to investigate windbreak options that may be suitable for your premises. While windbreaks cannot protect you completely against high winds, this is definitely a scenario where every little helps. Trees, in particular the trees on this list, make for excellent windbreaks, so it is well worth considering this option if your premises are in an exposed area.
Install an efficient heating and cooling system
Thus far we have focused on short-term issues; immediate threats that present a danger to your premises in the moment. While these areas should always be the first focus due to the severity of the issues they can cause, it’s also critical to think about more generalized measures.
By far the most important general concern is temperature. Temperatures are becoming more extreme, and it’s expected this trend will continue in the future: summers will be hotter, and winters will be colder. As a result, many people who have always thought they live in a mild or moderate climate may find they need additional protection against the extremes.
The simplest, and most efficient, way of protecting your premises against extreme temperatures is to install an efficient heating and cooling system, usually an HVAC.
These systems can ensure that, regardless of the weather, your interior space will always be safe and comfortable to work in.
By installing a system that is capable of protecting against extreme heat and extreme cold, you benefit from a simplified, two-for-one approach that should be robust enough to withstand anything future climate changes create.
With the above baseline established, let’s now explore the extra options available for managing the extremes of the temperature scale individually…
Insulate your premises
Insulation is usually described in domestic terms; we all know the importance of good quality insulation to ensuring our homes are comfortable to live in during the winter months.
However, insulation isn’t just a domestic product; there is a multitude of options available that can also benefit businesses. You should begin examining this area by inspecting your initial insulation, again contacting a professional for help with this task. When you have assessed your existing insulation, you can look towards making improvements and adding extra reinforcements wherever possible.
Shield your windows from UV rays
The summer of 2018 was a brutal one, with a global heatwave that was as long lasting as it was ferocious. Unfortunately, this heatwave was far from an anomaly – it might be odd compared to previous years, but it is expected that heat waves will become an all-too-common feature in the near future.
One of the reasons the 2018 heatwave caused such distress was that many companies – not to mention the general infrastructure of society – was simply unprepared for it.
To avoid a repeat scenario, investigate options that will allow your premises’ windows to block UV rays. These methods, which range from adding plastic coating to existing windows through to installing entirely new panes – can help to allow your premises are able to withstand even the hottest of days, keeping the interior cool and pleasant to work in.
Interestingly, it could be argued that investing in UV blocking could actually save you money. Like most business owners, you likely spent much of the summer of 2018 turning your air conditioning up to maximum, or – at the very least – running desk fans for long periods of time.
While these methods are necessary, they’re also incredibly expensive, spiking your energy bills as a result. Due to this, UV blocking technology could be considered a one-time investment that pays off for years to come; as the interior of your premises remains relatively cool, you can keep electric cooling to a minimum.
If the science is right and heatwaves are set to become more commonplace, you should find that UV blocking pays for itself within a few short years.
Install backup generators
As touched on above, extreme weather-related heat tends to lead to a commensurate strain on the power grid. As temperatures rise, so does electricity usage, which in turn can lead to rolling blackouts.
These blackouts occur when electricity companies experience a severely restricted supply – in California, rolling blackouts begin when the state’s reserves have fallen beneath 1.5%, for example – and are designed to prevent a whole-system collapse.
However, while rolling blackouts are undeniably necessary, they are also potentially ruinous for businesses.
First and foremost, all the technology that you rely on to run your business will be rendered next-to-useless. Secondly, your climate control measures will falter, which could mean that you have to send employees home due to concerns over rising internal temperatures.
The good news is that there is a solution: install backup generators, so you can always be sure that your business will have access to a steady stream of electricity.
While there is no denying that the installation of generators in your premises is rather expensive, it is nevertheless justifiable – and all the more so if you live in a particularly hot region or a state with a history of struggling to maintain an adequate electrical supply.
While the changing climate is undoubtedly a cause for concern for business owners, it can be reassuring to know that there are ways and means of readying your premises for the challenges to come.
The measures as presented above are cost-effective solutions that should be seen as worthwhile investments for the future; ensuring that your business can continue operations, whatever the weather.
The post Adapting Your Business Premises To A Changing Climate appeared first on Everything Entrepreneur.
Emery and the Hokies went to the WNIT final last year. Now they are looking for more and are off to a hot start in 2018.
Taylor Emery and her teammates have the Virginia Tech women’s basketball team off to a hot start, winning all three of their games by double digits. While the Hokies haven’t cracked the NCAA women’s basketball Top-25 quite yet, they are garnering a couple of points in votes.
Emery is so far leading the team in scoring, and is third on the team in both assists and rebounds. In other words, she is already proving herself worth of her preseason All-ACC Team selection.
Last year Virginia Tech also started 3-0 and missed the NCAA tournament, going all the way to the WNIT Final. The common opponent from last year to this is USC Upstate, which they beat by 20 points more this year. So either somebody’s headed on their way up, or somebody’s headed on their way down.
They likely won’t play a Top-25 team until they start their ACC schedule the first weekend of January when they play Miami and Syracuse.
It’s that time of year when everyone and their dog unveils their Top 10 list. This time around it’s TIME magazine. The publication revealed their picks for the best in cinema the past year. The list includes a couple of […]
Your business will have lots of assets (hopefully), but the main one is the marketing department. Incredible advertising leads to higher brand awareness, a boost in traffic, and an increase in sales. Just look at the giants of the advertising industry and you’ll see how much of an impact a relatable ad has on the customer base.
Part of being a top-quality marketer is to understand the boundaries. Some people say “that will never work” while others counter with “it’s an excellent idea.” Drawing a line between myth and truth is tough as it is essential.
Here are four fairytales you can discount to help you align your marketing strategy.
ROI Isn’t Measurable For Inbound
You can’t control inbound marketing in the sense that you have no idea why it works. All you can tell is that it is effective according to the legends.
Of course, this is nonsense as almost every platform in the industry is equipped with analytic software. Social media accounts, for example, will inform you which ads are the most potent.
From an SEO standpoint, it’s not hard to use keyword checker along with ranking software. And, there are always web analytic programs which break information down into fine details.
Goals Are Settable
After all, you never know how a campaign is going to pan out in the long-term. You will envisage a specific path and the strategy will take a hard left and go the other way. Although there is some truth in this theory, the reality is simple: goal setters are more likely to find marketing success.
In fact, the percentage is close to 430% more, which is a hell of a lot. Targets are important to lock on to in the beginning because you can figure out how to get there during the process. Waiting to see what happens makes you reactive rather than proactive.
SMS Is Invasive
Don’t call or send a text message to customers because they don’t want to be disturbed. Send them an email instead and let them view it in their own time. Sounds like a good plan, right?
Well, the fact is SMS has a ten times better response rate than electronic mail. Whether it’s an email to SMS, a straight up iMessage or a WhatsApp notification, it cuts through BS with 10% more accuracy. Cold calling is what customers hate, but they respond to texts (literally). Why would they give you their number if they didn’t want notifications?
You Can’t Buy Love
Actually, you can. It isn’t a Pretty Woman type of thing so don’t get worried. It’s about using promotional gifts to your advantage.
Typically, the idea of giving away a pen with the brand name on isn’t appealing. Sure, it’s cheap and easily accessible but the ROI isn’t high.
85% of shoppers might disagree as that’s the number which remembers companies who hand out freebies. They have to be quality ones, like t-shirts and hats, but it isn’t as if they will break the bank.
The moral of the story is: never believe everything you read. Leave that to the audience.