Don’t Wait! Why You Should Begin Marketing for the Holidays Now

Don’t Wait! Why You Should Begin Marketing for the Holidays Now

Don’t Wait! Why You Should Begin Marketing for the Holidays Now

Between September 25 and December 25 is a 90 day window. It’s when school is back in session, Fall has officially begun, and people are just starting to think about the holidays. Pumpkin starts showing up in treats and drinks, and the beginnings of holiday decorations are popping up on the shelves. This is the time to launch your holiday campaign.

If You Don’t Have a Campaign Ready to Launch

What are you waiting for? Move your other stuff to the back burner and spend the next week putting ideas together. This is the shopping season! This is Black Friday time! Be ready to not only have offers, but to ensure that people are going to take advantage of them (because it doesn’t matter how good your deals are if people don’t know about them!)

Four Steps to Crushing the Holidays

  1. Release New Products at the Beginning of Fall. It’s no coincidence that Apple holds its keynote in September. They hype up their new products, get reviews, do the ad blitz, release the products, and get enough buzz generated to carry them through the holidays. If you’re not a giant like Apple, you have to be really strategic about your release date. You don’t want it too soon so you don’t have the holiday momentum, and you don’t want it so close to the holidays that people have already bought their gifts. Take your leads from your market.
  2. Hype hype hype. Effectively building hype means talking about the product, building anticipation for the release date, and instilling FOMO in your following. Start out with teasers and leading up to a date of reveal. When you reveal what you’ve been working on, give a tour of the product (no details! But enough that they know they want it) and host a giveaway. As you work toward the official launch date (and you should set a launch date–see #1), it’s a great idea to get collaborators on board to reach a wider audience and to showcase the awesomeness of what you’re selling
  3. Collaborate & Influence. Maybe the best tool in your arsenal is jealousy. You want your instagram followers to go all Veruca Salt on your product–so give your golden egg to a few people with good followings. Have them talk about it. It can an influencer type relationships or a collaboration where you work with someone else or help promote their thing, too. Maybe a mix of both? The point is: you want people to see how cool it is to use the product (which is different from just seeing how the product is).
  4. Limit the Opportunity. So now you’ve got the word out and you’ve got buzz going and people waiting in line (sort of) to get your product. So what do you do to drive them to your site? Keep that sale window short. Have a 24-hour black friday sale. Have a Halloween sale. Have something that is time-limited so that people don’t put it off and lose interest. Or! Have a sale that goes a few months,. But be sure you emphasize the limited quantity.

All of this takes great strategy and execution, which is why we say to start planning now! Get in front of people multiple times so they want it. Then hype it, execute, and enjoy the holiday season.

Get Email Subscribers

Get Email Subscribers

Get Email Subscribers—Without Annoying Your Readers or Playing the Guilt Card

8 years ago, I came across a site offering surely the best freebie I’ve ever encountered. It was a PDF called A Brief Guide to World Domination, and all it cost was my email address. But, even better than that PDF—if you can believe it—was the email that came after it. Chris Guillebeau, the site’s author, laid it out very clearly right off the bat:

Here’s the deal: I’m going to send important information to you, and I have one, maybe two chances to get it right. If I disappoint you, you’ll click the "unsubscribe" link and I’ll be gone from your life forever.

Have you ever read a welcome letter like that?

It’s the only one I’ve ever gotten (and why I’m still a subscriber). These days I have a whole separate email account for subscriptions I’ve gotten just for the lead magnet. I read very few of them. They’re annoying to me as a subscriber, and they’re time-intensive and costly for the companies to produce. So, let’s talk newsletters, subscribers, and opt-ins.

Getting a bunch of subscribers is the easy part. You do a great lead magnet. You host a giveaway. The better the lure, the more people will sign up.

But then what? A good open rate is about 25%. Why aren’t more opening their email? DIdn’t they sign up for it?

Maybe. more likely they signed up for the “freebie”—which actually isn’t free at all because it cost them their email address. And because they hate the email but want the freebie, they entered the address of the account they never check, which means that no matter how good your content, they will never open it. They’re not even going to see it.

Stop Wasting Your Time on Getting Subscribers

Instead of thinking about getting them, think about what they get from it. Why should they be on your list? What are you giving them? Instead of focusing on the number of subscribers, focus on the quality of your content and letting your readers know that if they like your blog, there’s even more (better!) content by signing up. You want them to want to sign up.

Delete all of those annoying pop up windows that ask for your email address the second you enter the site. I haven’t even gotten to see your damn website! Why the hell am I going to give you my email address?? I don’t know why anyone even responds to those forms, but I can tell you: you’re the only one who loses. Exit-intent pop=ups, or one that comes up at the end of posts are the only acceptable forms.

Then, always give your subscribers value. You can make money off your list, but just like with your business, you cannot let this drive your decision-making. Customers first and the rest will follow.

My favorite newsletters are consistent, brief, and high-quality. They’re enjoyable and easy-to-read, and they benefit my life. They include: This American Life. ReplyAll. Tim Ferriss. Ramit Sethi.

The reason you’re reading this right now is because you know how valuable a good email list is. Why is an email list valuable? Because of the quality people.

Never ever forget that, and you’ll have readers for years.

Should My Social Media Posts Be long or Short?

Should My Social Media Posts Be long or Short?

Should My Social Media Posts Be long or Short?

Long or short, your posts need to be good. Different platforms lend themselves better to one or the other. We’ll take a look at how to do the best content on each platform.

The Case for Short Posts

Most social media channels don’t allow for long posts. They’re made to share content that is visual (instagram), easily shared (Twitter), or FOMO-inducing (Snapchat). This works great as you can share a great visual, meme, quote, joke or thought that’s quickly viewed, engaged with and–hopefully–passed on. Keeping it brief (but engaging!) means it’s more likely to be seen or read, engaged with, and passed on.

Instagram. Instagram, like Twitter, is a platform designed for brevity. And yet, length can work to your advantage. Instagram stories allows 15-second clips with a shelf life of 24 hours and, in general, Instagram is a short-format platform. It’s mainly visual, so captions should be brief, as should talking on stories. Still, a mix of longer stories and shorter ones, like longer captions and shorter captions, is the a great way to tell stories. And telling compelling stories is a good way to increase followers and keep them engaged long-term.

YouTube Ads are my favorite thing to talk about. Many of the short ones are unoriginal and awful to sit through, but so many advertisers have gotten smart about it! I’ve sat through long ads just because they were so engaging that even once the 5 seconds had passed, I still wanted to know what would happen next. So, if you do produce video content—as you probably do if you’re managing a Facebook page— imagine you’re producing a YouTube ad and you only have 4 seconds to grab your viewer. How would you immediately engage your audience? How do you keep them watching?

The Case for Long Posts

Generally, your posts are not going to be very long. Shorter posts are great for daily sharing and conversation. Long posts are for more in-depth discussions. However, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter (Medium) all have ways to publish longform content and you should use these strategically.

Blogging is the most obvious place for long posts, but you don’t have to have a blog to share a more in-depth post.

Share:

-A lesson you’ve learned from your life that will resonate with people

-An anecdote that illustrates a new idea you want to share

-A how-to or informative guide that’s relevant to your business

The thing about a long post is it has to be super good. You can recover quickly from a lousy short post, but if people take the time to read your long post and get to the end and feel like they’ve wasted several minutes of your life? That’s bad for your brand.

Whatever you decided: make them worthwhile! Just like your business is adding value to your clients’ lives, so should your social media presence. Before everything you create, ask how your follower will benefit from it. If lengthening will make it more valuable, add more content. But if it’s better with fewer words (even if you really loved that story in the second paragraph), cut it. Ultimately your posts are a service to your followers. Make it A-1.

Can We Talk About StartUp?

Can We Talk About StartUp?

Can We Talk About StartUp?

Every so often I meet a person who doesn’t listen to podcasts.

This is crazy to me. It’s like you telling me that you still rent DVDs from Redbox. ??

If that’s you, I can just direct you here and then ask you to come back when you’ve decided to join this millennium. (And I’ll be so excited when you do. There are just too many good podcasts in this world!)

Now the rest of you: do you listen to StartUp?

I was an early listener, but then I stopped listening for a while and just happened to come back when they were doing the season on Dov Charney, the founder of American Apparel. I don’t normally find anything interesting about pervy men, but Dov. I get the controversy. He’s odd and smart, enchanting in the way Steve Jobs was: an obsessive perfectionist whose life revolved around–was inextricable from–his business. But, ultimately he was extricated from his business.

American Apparel is rightly controversial and, like anything controversial, makes for a fascinating story. Listen for the business side of it. They talk about its manufacturing, business model, marketing, growth and–of course–its downfall. And because Dov was so tied in with the business, it’s also his story, which is upsetting, disturbing, and hard to turn away from.

I hated their marketing, but I never tire of hearing how different business devise their marketing strategies. Hearing his was repulsive and interesting, if you can imagine that.

Or don’t imagine it. Just give it a listen here and let us know that you think in the comments!

But probably the best episode of the whole series is the very first one. That’s saying a lot because this show is so well-produced and covers all kinds of interesting companies, people, and stories.

It’s just that: we’ve all been that stumbling, inarticulate Alex Blumberg, just trying to craft our damn elevator pitch! It sets the tone for the entire show: authentic, funny, painful, nerve-wracking, exciting. For anyone who’s ever struck out on their own, this is a must-listen. Listen to StartUp season 1 here.

And if you aren’t someone who listens to podcasts, what do you do when you drive? Or clean? Or get ready for work or bed or lunch? What is that world even like?

If Something is Bad, Do You Go Back for Seconds? (Or Thirds?)

If Something is Bad, Do You Go Back for Seconds? (Or Thirds?)

My favorite candy bar is made of dark chocolate and infused with mint flavor. It’s got this texture that feels like you’re eating slightly crispy, crystalline chocolate that makes it feel kind of like eating a thin mint cookie. And, because I’m a hippie, I love that not only is it soy, gluten and emulsifier free (real chocolate doesn’t need emulsifiers), it’s also fair trade.

So of course it’s also stupid expensive.

I don’t buy candy or junk food (because I would eat it all. Every last thing.) except, on special occasions, this sweet, sweet indulgence. I enjoy every bite of that tasty, snobby chocolate.

And then, the thing you never want to happen to your snobby chocolate happened to mine.

I brought it home one day and opened it to find it covered in chalky awfulness. That’s right. Unlike every other time when I would rip into that thing as soon as it rang up on the register, I had waited.

Patiently.

All the way to my house.

And it was ruined.

But, it was a fluke, right? That’s not going to happen when I go back for next week’s groceries.

Oh yes it is. It happened the next week. And the week after. Three times my perfect chocolate bar was ruined (!).

I thought about going to social media or customer service, or even back to the grocery store. Why didn’t I?

Because it was too much damn energy. I just wanted my chocolate! I was mad that I couldn’t have it! Instead of resolving it, I just took my business and left.

Consistency Builds Trust

They got it wrong three times. I was willing to consider the first two flukes. A bad batch. An issue. Whatever.

But three times? That’s a company problem.

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