This is a crucial time of the year. Sure, it’s the homestretch for your holiday marketing. It’s also the time you need to make the key decision to eat healthy between Thanksgiving and the rest of the holidays, or just let loose and start anew in the New Year. Today I can help you with one of those things. The Internet Industry Opposes SOPA: Is It Too Late? SOPA sounds like a delicious restaurant. I wish it were, and not the Stop Online Piracy Act. See why The Internet Industry Opposes SOPA: Is It Too Late? How to Generate B2B Content It’s not as easy as turning a crank on the ol’ content machine (because they don’t exist). Check out these easy tips on How to Generate B2B Content. Facebook Dominates amongst India’s Social Media Users Did you know that Facebook Dominates amongst India’s Social Media Users? Benchmark Releases New Email Marketing Manual for Consultants If you were to consult with me, I\'d say you should check out our new email marketing manual for consultants. That’s right, Benchmark Releases New Email Marketing Manual for Consultants. How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data Oh no! Find out How Facebook’s Privacy Policies Freely Sold User Data. Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How you Can Get in on It I want to make a joke about dominating being in two separate headlines this week, but I also like my job. Make your own, then discover Why Video Is Dominating the Market and How you Can Get in on It. Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce ...but where are my tips on how to get more presents? Work on those, and Try These Great Email Marketing Holiday Tips for Your E-Commerce. How a Maverick Took on the Online Privacy Violators & Won Oh. So that’s what the Dallas Mavs are doing during the lockout. What? What do you mean not that type of Maverick? See How a Maverick Took on the Online Privacy Violators & Won. Self-Publishing to Get You Noticed and Build Your Brand This is also known as the Kardashian Method. Learn about Self-Publishing To Get You Noticed and Build Your Brand. 2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email See what has me cheery this holiday season (I know you’re all dying to know). Check out our 2011 Christmas & Holiday Email Templates from Benchmark Email.
The holiday season is a time of year most of us welcome with open arms. In our personal lives, we look forward to spending time and sharing special moments with our loved ones. As businesses, we embrace the wonderful marketing opportunities that accompany the season. However, trotting out a campaign just for the sake of it will not guarantee you the milk and cookies. If you want to go into the new year on a roll, you need to prepare and execute a strategy your audience will respond to. Lucky for you, we have put together a list of tips that will help you make the most of your holiday marketing efforts. Add Some Holiday Spice When it comes to looking the part for the season, brands tend to go all out with their designs. Not only is this something that is relatively easy to do, it is also an effective tactic that can add a nice personal touch to your brand message. Don’t hesitate to give your email campaigns and website a holiday makeover, and if the moment calls for it, incorporate a theme that matches the occasion. For example, if you are trying to sell a product or service, something along the lines of the “12 Days of Savings” could be an ideal theme to get people to pay attention. Adding a little holiday spice will give your message visual appeal and make you appear much more approachable to the consumer. Prepare for Shipping Cart Abandonment Not all consumers finish the purchase process they start on a website. It is very common for a visitor to place all the items they want in the merchant’s shopping cart, and then bail out for one reason or another before purchasing them. This act is known as shopping cart abandonment, and it happens even more during the holiday season when consumers are bustling to compare prices in their mission to get the best deal possible. A shopping cart abandonment strategy is needed to address this issue, and here is what a good one looks like: Follow up fast - The timeliness of your abandonment strategy is crucial. Ideally, you want to follow up in anywhere from 24 to 72 hours after the cart was abandoned. Anything longer than that and the sale typically becomes unsalvageable. Personalize it - This is your chance to change the visitor’s mind and convince them to complete the purchase process. Don’t blow it. Personalize your follow-up message by including their name, and referencing the item they left behind. Make it tasty - Personalizing your shopping cart abandonment emails may not be enough when approaching some people. Realizing this, you should consider incentivizing your strategy. Who knows? It could be a generous discount, exclusive offer or free shipping that re-engages the lost visitor and persuades them to follow through. Don’t Forget Those Subject Lines Many of us are in such a rush to put our holiday email campaigns out there that we wait until the very last minute before even considering our subject lines. Sadly, some are never able to get it right no matter when they start giving them attention. It pays to treat your subject lines like the important element they are, because your ability to succeed during the holiday rush will largely depend on your ability to stand out in an inbox that is much more crowded than usual. Your campaign could be gold on the inside, but without a compelling subject line that makes it attractive on the outside, it will never have a chance to work its magic. Have you put together your holiday marketing strategy? If not, you better get on it right away. Time is winding fast, and pretty soon there will be no opportunities left for the latecomers.
Hope everyone had an enjoyable Thanksgiving. I had a great time back in Chicago with family and friends, and discovered I can no longer eat like a Midwesterner. Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, there’s just a few short weeks left of holiday hullabaloo. Make sure your marketing is up to snuff with this edition of the weekly wrap. The Short, Unhappy Life of Microsoft’s Courier Tablet You know how when one movie does really well, a dozen copycat movies are inevitable? The Short, Unhappy Life of Microsoft’s Courier Tablet sounds like it would follow The Curious Case of Benjamin Button in theaters. It would likely star Danny Devito. Would you see The Short, Unhappy Life of Microsoft’s Courier Tablet? WordPress Steps It Up for E-Commerce Business No, this isn’t the next sequel in the Step It Up franchise (for some reason my brain is on movies right now). Whenever someone tells me they need help designing a website, I just tell them to create a WordPress site. Why? Because WordPress Steps It Up for E-Commerce Business. Cyber Espionage, Corporate Spying Threat to 21st Century Business I really wish that opening this page also triggered the Mission Impossible theme song to start playing. You’ll have to play it in your head, as you read about Cyber Espionage, Corporate spying Threat to 21st Century Business. The Top 5 Ways to Create a Successful Online Startup This would have been quite useful when I graduated with a journalism at a time when most publications where shuttering their doors. For those recent grads that haven’t found a job or resorting to flipping burgers (not that there’s anything wrong with that), discover The Top 5 Ways to Create a Successful Online Startup. 10 Ways to Make Business Team Collaborations Painless I’m assuming most of you passed Kindergarten. Though it was a long time ago and some of you may have forgotten how to play nicely. Don’t get a time out. Learn the 10 Ways to Make Business Team Collaborations Painless. Using the Benchmark API & Autoresponders as an Onboarding System Thanks to Ez Texting for teaching our readers how to use Benchmark Email and turn it into an ever better tool. Learn about Using the Benchmark API & Autoresponders as an Onboarding System. Recognizing Toxic Chemicals in Computer Electronics I always thought they meant it was toxic for my brain to spend so much time on computer electronics...not that the products themselves were toxic. Find out the importance of Recognizing Toxic Chemicals in Computer Electronics. This Season, Remember Benchmark’s Free PTA & Kids Programs In this economy, it’s not always easy to be in the giving spirit. So This Season, Remember Benchmark’s Free PTA & Kids Programs. Estonian Hackers Perpetrates Massive Botnet Scam Perpetrates is as fun of a word to say for me as Francisco is to Buddy the Elf. I don’t know why. It just is. See for yourself, and read about Estonian Hackers Perpetrates Massive Botnet Scam. Landing Pages Explained: What, Why and How No matter how great your email marketing efforts are, they will be for naught if you don’t have the landing pages to match. Shireen tells all in Landing Pages Explained: What, Why and How.
For WordPress enthusiasts who long ago discovered a beautiful, easy to use platform, nothing became more frustrating than its ultimate limited functionality when it came to e-commerce. GetShopped changed that by offering one solution as an alternative to DIY e-commerce websites. WooCommerce WooCommerce – If you want a thoroughbred online shop, WooCommerce recommends you give them a shot. A common frustration with WordPress themes is that you only get to see a live preview, but rarely can really test drive it yourself. WooCommerce alleviates the worry by offering both: A 14 day live preview that you can try out to see if it’s something that works for you as well as a free download after a brief registration. So what do you get with WooCommerce? You get administrative control and reporting, shipping and tax is sorted out for you along with an easy mode to track customers and orders. You also get product and inventory control, marketing and promotion help, payment gateways (like PayPal and credit cards) and theme options (depending on which package you choose). Cost ranges between $70 for a Standard Package to $150 for a Developer Package and between $100-$200 for Enterprise Themes. If you’re a beginner running the shop on your own, your best bet is a Standard Package, which gets you what you need but doesn’t include layered Photoshop files or advanced functionality – options that you’d really only use if you knew how to manage this already or were to hire help on the side. For someone who wants the options, Enterprise is the right choice. You don’t get bonus themes but you do get Photoshop and advanced functionality. Having the option to tweak your site to suit your preferences, especially aesthetic ones, is really a critical factor that determines whether your shop is going to attract customers or not. A great design will always get the customers…assuming it’s paired with a great product. Cart66 Cart66 – A plugin rather than a complete theme like WooCommerce, Cart66 stands out by not only catering to e-commerce business owners but also to those interested in selling subscription and digital content/services. For those not interested in complicated design implementation, Cart66 is an attractive feature that lets users plug in e-commerce aspects anywhere; so rather than designing the site around the trade you have the trade mold to the content/products already on your site. But if you do want to change the appearance of your page, you’re still able to do so through CSS. The admin side of business is made pretty easy too. You can set your currency, choose “sell to” countries, sort out tax, manage sales reports and track inventory. The cost ranges between $89-$299. A free version is available but doesn’t allow for analytics or subscription sales and has limited payment modes, among other disadvantages. Shopp Shopp – Also a plugin, Shopp lets you get your e-commerce store started quickly without all the complicated programming that traditionally goes into a non-WordPress site. Although the plugin allows you to customize style sheets including your site’s theme, catalogs and receipts, there’s no mention of order tracking, price coding and inventory management – which is a major drawback to an otherwise adequate plugin. Cost ranges between $55 to just under $300. Shopp might be best for those with a little more programming and site navigation experience; it’s not designed for beginners. Experience is another necessity in using this plugin, otherwise you’re going to end up with an amateur site. Which One Should You Choose? An e-commerce project is not like any other web project. It involves a lot of time and commitment, market research, sales and a considerable investment in time. You can do it for less with WordPress, but it’s better to really do your homework and study each option. Think about all the pros and cons, your needs and how you want your store to grow in the years ahead. Once you have a thorough blueprint, you have a better idea for how to forget a path. Here, you’re better off taking your time and doing it right the first time, rather than jumping from platform to plugin, leaving you disheartened with the project and with a loss in profitability.