Preparing Your Website For The Holiday Season

Preparing Your Website For The Holiday Season

It’s already the middle of November, and Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas are right around the corner. It’s time to prepare your blog or e-commerce shop for an influx of new website visitors. Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Include holiday-themed fonts into your web copy.
Your blog’s side widgets are the perfect place to include Christmas-related advertising copy. All you need to do is go into the customization area of your blog’s dashboard and simply add in a graphic to the size of your choice. DaFont.com has a holiday subsection that offers downloadable typefaces, such as, snowflakes and gingerbread men. Here are a couple of samples…..

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(LP Snowflake)

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(Vintage Christmas)

Make sure to include holiday-friendly calls-to-action, like this digital ad from Kohl’s.

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The CTAs on their Christmas Gift Idea page not only offers a well-categorized product list, but gift cards, rewards cards, order tracking, and returns.

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When creating similar content for your website, highlight special seasonal benefits, such as, free or express shipping and easy refunds or exchanges.

Sending out coupons to your newsletter subscribers is another great way to increase sales. Last year, 123Print.com sent this coupon to me advertising 40% off holiday cards, which is an idea that you can incorporate into your promotions as well. In the footer of your newsletter, make sure to include the expiration date and time for your offer, along with any other details.

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Pop-up lead captures is a great tool to gain new subscribers and offer them special discounts. You can purchase these for pretty affordable rates from sites like Pop-Up Domination, which reports increased conversion rates of up to 500% by some users.

Last but not least, you’ll need to start writing new product descriptions for all of your holiday inventory. InternetRetailer.com emphasizes the importance of not just listing the basic components of each product, but explaining why it will benefit the potential buyer in a way that complements their style and personality. Take a look at how blogger, Summer Davis, revised a product description for the Apple iPad Mini:

apple

Nice, right? With a human-to-human tone incorporated into your holiday copywriting, your potential buyers should connect with your brand message and add to their shopping cart.

Have you tried anything else that increased sales for your business for the holidays? Share in the comments!

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What Makes Up An Effective PR Pitch?

What Makes Up An Effective PR Pitch?

In a world where email has become the primary method of business communication, editors are sifting through hundreds of messages a day looking for their next story. If your PR pitch doesn’t appeal to them… into the email trash bin it goes. Or it’s simply bypassed and forgotten about. This is what happens to about 90% of pitches. Here’s how to not let that happen to yours….

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One thing you don’t want to do is waste your time emailing editors that are not in your brand’s niche. That should go without saying, but surprisingly, it happens. Don’t pitch to Mashable if you have a new organic food product… and don’t pitch to Cosmopolitan Magazine about some bowties and cufflinks. Take time to narrow down the best magazines and blogs according to your niche.

Finding the right editor to contact is also important. Emailing your PR pitch to the generic “info@companyname.com” may totally go ignored with a big business. (However, it may work with a publication with a small staff.) It’s best to find a blog author’s byline, document their name with the correct spelling, and then start out your email.

Sending a “To whom it may concern….” email is an absolute no-go.

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I always emphasize the importance of a good header that makes a person read it and click — not read it and keep scrolling. Again, editors receive a few hundred emails every single day, so your subject line has to say something more than “Hi Mary, take a look at my new product!”

The editor has to think, “What’s in it for me and this story deadline that I have to meet in a few hours?

If you’re pitching a new product, say for example, a free app for smartphones, your subject line might want to say, “New App Alert: Boomchat Available Now For Download On Apple & Android”.

Editors are always looking for anything new to release to the public so make sure that your first introduction to them is remarkable.

sweet
Simply introduce yourself and then get right to the point. Your PR pitch should not be a page-long essay. Less than 10 sentences should suffice. If the editor reaches back out to you and wants to learn more about the brand, then of course give more information. But the initial pitch should be short and sweet. Talk about what makes the product newsworthy. Why is it beneficial? How much does it cost? What size is it? Where can it be bought? What makes it different from similar brands?

Unless you’ve read an editor’s note to not include any media in your email, go ahead and attach a few high-resolution photos or link a video to add some visual content.

One more thing I should mention: if you don’t hear back from the editor after a few days, one or two follow-ups should be enough. And that’s it. Here’s what Julee Wilson from the Huffington Post recently told PR Couture

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10 Awesome WordPress Plugins For Bloggers To Use

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1. Editorial Calendar

Wordpress Plugin: Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendar is an excellent option for marketing automation. With this plugin, you’re able to write your posts in advance and schedule them for a certain time and day to be published. Editorial Calendar also allows you drag and drop your post dates, edit your content and titles, and manage posts from multiple authors.

Install it here.

Side note: Edit Flow is another option for your blog calendar. This one even allows you to monitor your monthly content marketing budget, which is a great plus.

2. Blogging Checklist

Wordpress Plugin: Blogging Checklist

Here’s a short checklist to look over before you hit that publish button. It serves as a reminder to go over the little nuts and bolts of each post in order to avoid noticing any mistakes later on.

Install it here.

3. Title Experiments

Wordpress Plugin: Title Experiments

In the same fashion that you should A/B split test your email and newsletter subject lines, Title Experiments allows you to do the same with your WordPress blog titles. Try a couple of variations and see which one gives you the most clickthrough rates.

Install it here.

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How To Start A Twitter Chat Series

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It’s been a while since I’ve hosted a Twitter chat series, but let me tell you… it’s one of the best parts of the job of a social media marketer. It’s so much fun.

The last client that I organized a Twitter chat series for is in the beauty/lifestyle industry. She’s actually a celebrity hairstylist in New York City that hired me to manage her PR and social media. She wanted to brand her name online and I suggested several strategies, including a Twitter conversation and Q&A every Wednesday evening. We were both pleased at the immediate successful response. Her results were retweeted hair care tips, interactive discussions, and hundreds of new followers.

For businesses from small, medium to large, Twitter remains at the top of the social media pyramid. Since it’s so popular and oversaturated, your business will have to find creative ways to stand out amongst the crowd, even if you or your marketing team is already sharing original content.

Try creating a designated hashtag for your company in order to start a Twitter chat. They usually go on once per week at the same day and time that is conducive to the target audience. Here are a few examples…

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