Tags: campaign

Inspirational Feeds for Your 2016 Email Campaigns

Inspirational Feeds for Your 2016 Email Campaigns

Beyond • December 30, 2015

The hardest thing is to put pen to paper. Even marketing managers, who aren’t necessarily creative types or content curators, have a hard time with what to actually draft up in an email marketing campaign. This becomes a special type of challenge when you’re on an aggressive schedule, sharing campaigns weekly or sometimes even more than that. To ease your pain, I’ve created a list of my favorite go-to destinations for inspirational content. Here’s the best of the best from a content curator. For the Cultural Beat   VICE – They cover news, culture and trend. What make Vice stand out though is the super cool millennial attitude that likes to have fun in everything they do. So even if they’re talking about war, they’re doing it with style and a tone that easily engages and gets to the point. If millennials are your target, this is your publication. Recent titles include: What It’s Like to Be a Teenager and Homeless This Is What It Looks Like When an Instagram Photographer Switches to Film Miyazaki-Inspired Short Follows an AI’s Coming of Age Searching for Refugee Housing in Berlin Quartz – A relative new-comer, Quarts is a great publication that is more cultural and less news focused. The audience is more sophisticated but still interested in great content that’s delivered in a snap. Recent titles include: Here’s an “extraordinarily rare” peek inside Apple’s secretive design lab A floating school in Lagos has helped bring solar power to one of the city’s oldest slums How to get more done – and in less time Parents are buying their kids all the wrong toys For the Heart and Soul   Brain-Pickings – The incredibly thoughtful and exquisitely curated brain child of writer/editor Maria Popova, Brain Pickings offers daily reads that reads easily, captures the imagination, and inspires the heart and mind. With posts ranging from art, literature, science, productivity, and history, there’s absolutely no way you won’t find something to pull from or get inspired by. Recent posts include: Kandinsky on the Spiritual Element in Art and the Three Responsibilities of Artists Susan Sontag on Storytelling, What it Means to be a Moral Human Being, and Her Advice to Writers An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: Alan Watts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence Leisure, the Basis of Culture: An Obscure German Philosopher’s Timely 1948 Manifesto for Reclaiming Our Human Dignity in a Culture of Workaholism Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets that Shape Our Lives The Science of Stress and How Emotions Affect Our Susceptibility to Burnout and Disease. On Being – Spiritual without being religious, On Being ponders the questions of the heart and soul without being preachy. It’s the modern day equivalent of Chicken Soup for the Soul – but catering to a more cultivated crowd. Recent titles include: When Words Become Flesh: Risking Vulnerability in a Violent World Reflections and Opening Questions for the New Year Inheriting the Kingdom of Motherhood and Homemaking The Capacity to Connect with Others A cultural beat and heart + soul are the two most overlooked aspects of content curation. They’re also the hardest to find since it requires a blend of content types that are curious, informative, and yet not too confrontational. Is there another type of content you’re looking to source? Ask me below!


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How to Churn an Email Campaign From Your Holiday Party

How to Churn an Email Campaign From Your Holiday Party

Beyond • December 15, 2015

By now, most companies will already have planned out their yearly holiday party. In fact, companies typically spend more on their office Christmas party than they will on bonuses or birthdays or any other recreational event for their employees throughout the year. Considering that the holiday party is such an investment of time and money, it comes as pretty big surprise that most companies don’t maximize on this investment. The first mistake organizations make when hosting their annual holiday party is that they forget one very big part of their business: their clients. While some companies will invite their clients, others won’t. In the case of those who do invite clients, the reality is that not everyone can make it. If they do make it, they’re still really limited in their experience of the engagement. The point is, companies are missing the chance to highlight and reinforce their culture during this time of year. The annual office Christmas party is a chance to humanize your brand. Whether or not a client has attended your annual event, the fact is you should be reinforcing that brand my creating an end-of-year email marketing campaign out of your holiday party. This way, those who didn’t attend can partake in it remotely. Those who attended are reinforced. Your marketing manager might be wondering what exactly goes in the email campaign highlighting your holiday party. Ideally, you’re going to work with your designer beforehand and discuss a few options to see what can be feasibly done in the free time your designer has between other client-related projects. My absolute favorite pairing would be to create a really fun card-like template that captures the spirit of the season. Include photos of the event and the names and roles of the people in them. Capture photos of the venue too and definitely capture candid shots rather than just staged photos behind a backdrop. If possible, include a video of the person giving the toast. If you’re pairing a charity event or inviting a special guest, make sure that’s featured as well. The goal of the holiday email campaign is to create a sensation of warmth that invites the reader. The challenge – often seen when companies post-holiday party photos on social media – is to create a connection with your reader rather than looking like you’re in your own world. A way to break through that sort of barrier is to include quotes from the people in the photos as well. This can be gathered after the fact, but it could be about what the employee loved most that year. If you have a smaller number of clients or a specific client you’re targeting, those quotes can be specifically about that client. Most organizations will host the party in early December while prices are still reasonable at local venues. The mistake would be in thinking that the email campaign needs to go out the next week. Don’t do that. Formulate your campaign and send it out in an email campaign and on social about a week or so before Christmas, so that it’s more in keeping with the heightened festivities around that time. From there the email campaign to follow the week after Christmas can be reflective piece from the CEO on the year behind us and the year to come. There are a few ways to approach the email that follows next, but however you approach it, it should still follow the theme of humanizing your brand. This means don’t send of end of year promotional email. If you do plan on doing that – which many retail organizations do – make sure you’re sending out your two heart-led email campaigns first: your Christmas party and your end of year message.


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Getting it Right: Gifs and Memes in Email Campaigns

Getting it Right: Gifs and Memes in Email Campaigns

Beyond • November 13, 2015

Gifs are hugely popular, punctuated videos that are the video equivalent of memes. Memes are images with text that have a tongue-in-cheek view of getting the point across. If you’ve seen a picture of Willy Wonka with a socially charged message or a baby with the fist of victory, you’ve seen a meme. Understanding memes are important because it sets you up for understanding a gif. A meme can be described as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc. that is copies (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by internet users.” Your meme might not go viral but it’ll do two things for your email campaign: (1) make it funny and relatable, and (2) increased the chance of it getting shared as a link within the reader’s social network. Memes are visual communications for a millennial audience. They’re quick, quirky and usually purpose driven. They have the potential to take an image and charge it with your message. You can use either a meme that’s already been created, set up a Pinterest board with your favorite memes to reference as needed, or you can create your own through a meme-generator. However, to get a meme inserted in your email campaign can be a little tricky. There are endless obstacles and steps to ensure recipients are seeing your email marketing. There are also steps you can take to ensure they set up their servers to access those images. Ultimately, though, you’re going to want to rely on a email campaign platform to execute emails with images – and the same goes for videos including gifs. Gifs – short, partly animated graphics - are the video end of memes. They bring life into you’re email campaign to life in an engaging and impactful way. Email servers are oddly more responsive to gifs (note, gifs and not videos) across most major email servers. Even still, video placement in an email campaign can be tricky; this is where you definitely want to use a campaign tool that guides you on how to insert videos into email. How you use gifs is another issue. If you’re using gifs, you want to make sure you’re using it to further your email campaign rather than distract from it. For example, it’s a great way to showcase your product or initiate how a client can engage with your brand. Check out this link for retailers who got it right. Keep in mind that these examples in the link above all drive the product. Gifs are relatively useless and not so great when you’re using it to essentially distract from product and messaging, in which case it becomes more of a nuisance than a consideration to the reader. The other point to remember is that gifs and memes are tools to further your message – but they’re not calls to action. No matter how amazing your gif is, you’re still going to need clear calls to action – which means you still need a great copywriter and a designer who can bring that message to life.


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Help us support #wearitpink

Beyond • October 21, 2015

This Friday 23 October is a very special day as, here at Benchmark Email, we will be taking part in the #wearitpink campaign. This is a day that people from all walks of life come together to help fund the cutting-edge research that aims to ensure that no one dies from breast cancer by 2050. How do we want to help? Well, we believe actions speak far louder than words so, this Friday, you can help us make a difference as we’ll be donating a percentage of our income from paid-plan signups to Breast Cancer Now. If you were planning on upgrading from a free account to a premium one, this Friday is the perfect time to do so as you’ll also be contributing to a great cause. Have a look at our prices and know that we’ll be making a donation thanks to you.  Take note, Friday 23 October is the day. Price plans Now all you need to do is register! Click here to register and we’ll let you know how much you helped us raise by email. Thank you for your support!


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5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

5 Reasons Why Your Email Campaign is Hitting The “Junk” Folder

Practical Marketer • September 4, 2015

You can have something amazing to say in every weekly email update. You can have the greatest content team producing stunning email marketing content. You can have the best target list of email subscribers. Yet, there’s one major glitch you might not even be aware of: spam triggers. Recently, I spoke with a few companies that didn’t understand why their email campaigns to a list of opted-in subscribers had such marginally low click-open rates. As it turns out, each campaign was going into the spam folder. Here’s why that happens. Failed Subject Lines Your subject line is the first impression you give an email server of the type of content you’re sending out. However, if you’re subject line is too “animated” with the use excessive exclamation marks, then it’s going to trigger the spam. Same goes for subject lines that include symbols, the word “free” and/or the letter “X.” Each of those trigger junk mail filters for spam or inappropriate content. Frustrating Navigation No matter how great your email campaign is, someone people are just going to want to unsubscribe. However, if you don’t have a clear and easy way to guide them to an unsubscribe link – or if you don’t even include a link – frustrated readers will just mark you as spam. You’re better off having someone unsubscribe than having them mark your email as spam. Faulty Email Servers Certain email servers have more sensitive spam triggers than others, which means that they’re more inclined to toss your campaign into a slush pile. How an email server treats email content will depend on the server. There’s another more challenging face to this problem: you ultimately have zero control of other people’s email servers. Trapped by Large Visuals The trend in email campaigns is to have visually rich content that sprinkles in language selectively and has redirect links. To do this, you need to use a template. Some novice email marketers will design on large image and have that embedded as the email marketing content. This doesn’t work. The reason why is because spam filters are specifically looking out for this type of email content because it’s usually where suspect content is hidden. So if you’re sending visuals – great, you’re onto something there. But take the time to format a proper template to guide your design so you can escape the junk mail filters. Email Flood Another problem you could be facing is that you’re just sending out too many emails in one go, which also triggers a spam alert. This problem is particularly relevant if you’re not using an email marketing software that can help organize your campaign distributions. Despite the challenges faced in meeting your email marketing click-open goals, there are steps you can take the rescue your email campaign from the “junk” folder. Talk to your email campaign provider to see why they feel you’re having this problem. Depending on the campaign platform, it could either that you’re sending mass emails or that your dealing with a new domain. When you’re getting to the bottom of the problem, realize that you’re dealing with a bit of a Rubik cute and you’re going to need to play around with a few variables before you figure it out. However, getting to the bottom of the problem is crucial if you plan on creating effective campaigns that engage and convert your audience.


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How to Plan Your Campaign Newsletter

How to Plan Your Campaign Newsletter

Beyond • July 24, 2015

Now that you know about why campaign-driven newsletters are a marketing win, it’s time to put pen to paper and plan how you’re going to execute your next newsletter campaign. In the last post, we talked a bit about drip campaigns but we didn’t get into how to actually plan out your drip email marketing campaign. A drip campaign was a series of sales emails that are spaced out in their delivery and their message, but which all serve a common goal. Newsletter Planning: Drip Campaigns You might have seen drip campaigns with organizations that are looking to fundraise or draw attention to an event. You’ll see the same focused message – with the goal of getting a donation or selling a ticket – sent several times in a few different. So, say one email campaign might be announcing an event. A second newsletter in that campaign might feature the host or a speaker with some background on who they are. The goal is still selling that ticket or getting a donation, so you’ll see a couple calls to action. The same calls to action will pop up again in a third newsletter around the same campaign. This time we’re talking about some VIP attendees, or the caterer and the venue. Before an event actually occurs, you might have 5 email campaigns going out about the event, trying to generate both buzz and attendance. Newsletter Planning: Curated Newsletters You may not always have an event going on to center your drip campaigns around. For those of you scrambling to come up with new creative ideas around newsletters, consider curated newsletters. Curated newsletters gives you an automated approach to newsletters. In the middle of all the other amazing things you do that you could be talking about in a newsletter, a curated newsletter lets you think about one less thing while still meeting your marketing goals – which might be to get out some sort of newsletter series or one newsletter a day. The curated newsletter is also about really showing your industry knowledge while also catering completely to the subscriber. These types of creative newsletters aggregate interesting or trending findings on the web. It’s popular or niche content that your subscriber may not have found or had time to find, but which you’re not presenting to them. That ability to cater to your audience needs makes your company or organization that much more worth it to your subscriber. A curated newsletter is a lot like Paper.li, for example. However, in my opinion, it’s better than Paper.li because you’re rewarding your subscribers directly where they are with great content. They don’t need to subscribe to anything else, click anywhere else; they’re getting what they opted in for right where they are…which will also help stimulate them to read the other amazing newsletters you’re going to send in-between your weekly or monthly curated email campaign. Newsletter Planning: Promotional Campaigns Along the same lines of curated email campaigns, promotional campaigns allow you to approach email marketing with a necessary level of automation. Promotional campaigns work best with product related industries, like retail, where businesses can really dig into the product. So rather than sending out another boring self-interested email campaign that pushes a product and rattles an exclusive coupon, the promotional campaign takes one product and tells it story. You can look into how the product is made, where it is sourced from, and really speak to the heart of the product your selling and the business you’ve established. It’s a great way to build a heart-led business, which your business-led mind knows does very well when it comes to sales.


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Why Campaign-Driven Newsletters Are a Win

Why Campaign-Driven Newsletters Are a Win

Beyond • July 23, 2015

The nature of digital is changing, and this has been evident first and foremost in advertising. In advertising, you notice that people are no longer just selling a product … they’re telling a story. That approach has trickled down into content, social media and even within the hashtag of a given campaign. The best approaches to marketing are those that integrate every effort under the campaign model. So, what is the campaign model? The campaign model isn’t about the one-off piece of content like most newsletters end up being. It’s about a long-term strategy to communicate a goal. Whether that goal is to drive sales or deepen engagement and customer loyalty, a email marketing strategy that takes the campaign approach will be far more effective than any other strategy that stands alone. Campaign-driven newsletters don’t need to be complicated. A standard email campaign will be a link in a chain. The various parts that make up that chain could include perhaps an initial email, a follow-up, additional information, and so on. Campaign-driven newsletters could also take the form of a drip campaign. A drip campaign is a series of emails received by the subscriber over time. It’s a perfect strategy for those businesses and organizations that are looking to communicate a lot of information with a client or member, but who don’t want to burden them with too much info at once. Keeping needs and capacity in mind, a drip campaign will over digestible pieces of broken up content over time – perhaps one a week to even one a day if needed. Typically, it might be a good idea to have these emails spaced about by a day or two so that a subscriber might receive one on a Tuesday and another on a Thursday. These types of segmented campaigns work best when they’re enveloped as part of a sales cycle, which means that each link in the chain will be customized to the stage of the relationship the subscriber is in. This is really where campaigns separate between the routine set of emails a business might push out, versus email marketing campaigns that are driven by a content marketing strategy. Information streams of that do (and should) vary based on where the client is also an email campaign strategy that should be carried over to social driven campaigns. Here, the idea is that you utilize social channels to drive people to email marketing content. This works best with long pieces of content rather than promotional items or quick stunted content. When you’ve got great lengthier content to share, you can pull a pivotal issue from your copy and pose that as a trigger question that evokes a strong response or opinion. When all else fails, you can always ask a question that gets people curious. In order to satisfy that curiosity, they would need to click on your resourceful link. This way, you’re successfully utilizing social media as bait that’s driving people to your standalone email campaign URL. It also sets the social share apart from the other instance when you’re directly sharing the campaign URL. As any social media marketer knows, you want to post key shares multiple times. Typically, you would stagger the same share across a span of weeks or months. However, depending on the rate at which you’re posting content on social, you can get creative about how you’re sharing. In this case, rather than just recycling a post, you can change the graphic and post copy. Now, you have a brand new post and are likely drawing in clickers that may not have been otherwise interested in the original self-serving social share. When it comes to email marketing campaigns, you can take either the drip campaign route or the social route. Either way, remember that people have signed up for a reason. Now your job is to nurture those connections with targeted marketing.


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Stuck? Here are 7 Awesome Ideas for Your Next Email Marketing Campaign

Beyond • May 14, 2015

If you’re doing weekly or even monthly email or newsletter campaigns, it can be challenging to think of something new and different to say. The next time you’re stuck thinking of how to spin an email campaign, consider some of the ideas here. Awareness Dates There are so many awareness dates in each month that it’s impossible not to piggy back off one of those and craft content around that. If you’ve wondered, for example, why so many people last month were talking about mental health and autism, it’s because there was a mental health awareness week and autism months. These dates trigger conversation, so why not get on board with that and see how it can fit into your business. If you’re a university, talk about the trend of accommodating special needs into your curriculum. If you’re a retailer, maybe have a campaign where either during the month or on a certain weekend a set % of proceeds will go to a related charity. Video Try including a video in your email campaign rather than just another round of copy. Talk about your services, client testimonials, or just a “behind the scenes” look at your day to day life. Rethink the Holidays Rather than have the holidays be about the holidays or your products, try thinking outside the box. For February, embrace a different way of thinking about love for example. Are you offering a gift certificate for a loved one or partnering with other businesses to host a special Valentine’s Day contest? The idea is to get creative so people start talking about you and know that you’re sending more than just self-serving campaigns. Surveys Because people love giving their opinions and you need to know what your customers are thinking. Be sure to offer an incentive for taking the survey. Create a Series If you’re doing weekly newsletters, try having the last week of the month be about some ongoing series. If you’re a retailer, have it be about vignettes on the history of retail. But make it fun. Use a lot of pictures and go with stories you know your audience will love, like “What did Coco Chanel Have for Breakfast?” or “What was a woman’s go-to makeup in the 1910s? Discount Codes What makes your email campaign stand out? Why should your consumers always be checking your emails or even subscribe to them? The answer is simple if you use email to send exclusive discounts. Turn it Over Instead of talking about yourself, how about profiling your favorite customer or vendor? It doesn’t have to be someone who does business with you. If you’re a patriotic company, you can take the opportunity to profile a veteran each month. Some companies have begun opting for quarterly email newsletters in order to make it easier on the backend in gathering ideas and crafting content. Others might opt for this because they don’t want to inundate inboxes. However, it’s important to stay active with your audience and opt for weekly and even monthly newsletters rather than quarterly ones. If you’ve got something important or even interesting to say, you need to say it on a regular basis to stay at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Quarterly newsletters should be reserved for print publication.


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Benchmark Email Integration with Twitter and other Social Sites

Benchmark Email Integration with Twitter and other Social Sites

Beyond • September 30, 2009

If you now want to share your Email Campaign on twitter, you can now do so with our new feature. You can Select the \"Send to Twitter\" option in the \'Email Creation\' Step. If you check the auto-tweet option, we will automatically post a link to Twitter when the campaign is sent. In addition if you use the Send Immediately option, you can then immediately share the URL on Twitter. You can also share the campaign email URL on other social networking accounts Facebook, MySpace, Digg, Delicious and StumbleUpon.


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Holiday Email Marketing Strategies

Holiday Email Marketing Strategies

Beyond • September 8, 2009

The holiday season is a great time to step up your email marketing efforts and tighten the loyalty strings of all your subscribers. So make sure you don’t miss out on the perfect opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your subscribers - follow our great holiday email marketing tips and leave your competitors holding onto their empty stockings! Tip 1: The early bird gets the worm The prelude to the holiday season marks the start of festive excitement. With chilly weather comes the desire to make wish lists and buy presents. It is no coincidence that the start of holiday weather also marks the start of decorations, flyers and other prequels to the approaching holiday season. By promoting your goods for the upcoming holiday in advance, you get the chance to reach out to customers when they have the time, money and motivation to buy from you. This is the period where you can get the most out of shoppers, so be sure to cash in on this early bird opportunity. Tip 2: Avoid the urge to overmail In today’s age of extreme competition it is easy to see why you would want to send constant and frequent holiday emails. After all, you don’t want to chance getting left behind. However, it would be wise to remember that it is human tendency to shy away from anything that seems too eager and goes in for a hard sell. Frequent holiday emails will most likely be followed by a quick unsubscribe and an even quicker spam complaint. So if you want to keep your subscribers, make sure you don’t irritate them with too many emails. Tip 3: Cash in on vouchers, gift cards and certificates Offering vouchers and gift cards may seem like small sales but they add up to a good tenth of all holiday expenditure. Also, purchases of gift cards and certificates tend to be exchanged and returned much less frequently than actual products. Another good thing about such gifts is that they appeal to a whole segment of subscribers - your last minute shoppers! Vouchers are the perfect gift for those who have waited till the last second to buy something; with a gift certificate these shoppers are able to hand something to their loved ones even at the last moment. Tip 4: Contribute to a charity Tap into the holiday spirit and contribute towards a charity. You can inform your subscribers that a percentage of your sales will go towards this charitable organization and provide them with details regarding this donation in your emails. Donating towards a good cause has a two fold effect; it lets you contribute towards a worthy cause and also draws in consumers as it appeals to their holiday spirit. Tip 5: Analyze your previous results and plan accordingly Take a look at your strategies and results for the previous years. It would also be helpful to make a note of your competitors’ past strategies and how these worked for them. You can then plan out your strategy and goals for the upcoming festive season, based on the successes and failures of the past. Factors that you can focus on here would be the type and frequency of communication, the success of your template design and ways to ensure that your campaign is ready to be launched in time. Tip 6: Send surveys to discover preferences Surveys are a great way to discover consumer preferences and interests. Once you discover where their interests lie you will be able to target your subscribers with effective email messages that are sure to get you great results. You can even request your subscribers to provide you with customer reviews and feedback. Surveys and feedback provide you with answers to important questions such as what your subscribers are most keen to hear about, do they want to carry out their holiday shopping with you and how often do they expect you to send them holiday email marketing messages. This helps to draw a framework on which your marketing strategy can be built. Tip 7: Plan your email marketing strategy Planning your strategy would include profiling your subscribers and coming up with marketing messages that would appeal best to each segment group. Once you decide what to say, you should come up with a plan on when to say it and how frequently. Make time for messages of appreciation and decide the optimum time to introduce new gifts, upcoming sales and important countdowns. A good idea would be to get hold of a calendar and plot the dates on which you plan to send introductory and follow up emails. Tip 8: Test till you know what works best Testing your holiday email messages is an important way to realize what works best for you. By testing your emails you can fine tune your campaign and hit upon a winning formula for success. Testing allows you to tweak your messages so each delivery makes the maximum impact. It also gives you keen insight into how you can make an impression on your subscribers. It allows you to come up with the most impressive template design and discover the optimum time to start your campaign. Testing lets you reach out to your subscribers in unique yet extremely effective ways that appeal to them (one great way to reach them is through contests and free gifts). Testing also provides you with important statistics such as your bounce and conversion rate. This allows you to keep track of your progress and helps you adjust your deliveries to maximize your results. Tip 9: Continue with your campaign post holiday season The end of the holiday season doesn’t mean the end of your email marketing. On the contrary, this is the best time to tie up your holiday loose ends and draw customers back into your shop for post holiday shopping! This period is perfect for pushing voucher redemptions, cross selling goods and even marketing product upgrades. You can also use this time to make a note of the highs and lows of your overall performance and learn from your experience. The holiday season is a time of festivity, goodwill and joyous shopping! Everyone has something they would like to buy - it is YOUR job to sell it to them! Can you think of any more simple tips to boost holiday profits? Do let us know! In the meantime , check out our new holiday email templates


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