09
Jan
2017

17 WooCommerce Functionality That We Can Provide

Over the years, we have created a number of plugins that we sell and can potentially integrate into your Ecommerce Website for you. Through discussion with our clients, we are often asked what kind of functionalities we can create for them. The list below are a mix of our own plugins as well as generic plugins that are common features requested by clients.

Thus, here are 17 useful WooCommerce functionality for your consideration for the next project or enhancement:

There are many product printing services on the web whereby users upload images, add text, and create their own unique t-shirt, mug, or just about any other product that can be printed on.

With WooCommerce and the Fancy Product Designer – WooCommerce Plugin, you can do the same thing and build your own custom eCommerce storefront.

Some of the features for this plugin is listed below:

  • customers can create text layers or upload images—even images from social media accounts
  • customers can color individual layers or choose those set by the store owner
  • smart pricing based on layers, layer types, product types, etc.
  • sell just about any type of product

This WordPress WooCommerce plugin is a must have for anyone interested in offering discount pricing.

The WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing & Discounts plugin lets you determine pricing rules and cart discounts with ease.

WooCommerce Dynamic Pricing Discounts

Whether you’re selling shippable or digital products, you’ll find everything you need:

  • provide quantity discounts, special offers, percentage discounts and more
  • create an almost unlimited number of discount pricing types
  • conditional cart discounts
  • customer loyalty pricing

3. Table Rate Shipping

For wholesalers and retailers shipping products, you know how complicated shipping can be. Multiply the number of different products with the number of shipping destinations and you’ll quickly realize how useful it can be.

With the Table Rate Shipping plugin, however, you can set up a system that will help you charge less for shipping and sell more product.

A summary of its usefulness and benefits is stated below:

  • set up zones based on country, state, or postal codes
  • base rates on price, quantity, weight or dimensions
  • generate one or multiple shipping cost options
  • supports volumetric shipping

We created an Extra Product Options is a great solution for eCommerce stores that need to offer extra product options.

This plugin offers:

  • check-boxes, radio buttons, select boxes, textareas, input boxes, upload, date, range picker, and color picker
  • the ability to replace check-boxes, radio buttons, and select boxes with images
  • hide or show prices
  • form fields builder

You can check out one of the example here – http://dentalgear.com.au/

If you’re selling many products using WooCommerce, you’re going to need a good way for customers to search, sort, and find what they’re looking for. Usually, a better search experience provides you with a better sales conversion result.

The WooCommerce Product Filter is one of the best solutions for searching, sorting, and filtering products.

WooCommerce Product Filter

This WordPress WooCommerce plugin has the following use case:

  • filter using taxonomies, price, range, and in-stock filters
  • unlimited filters and easy integration
  • widget filters and filter layouts
  • impressive design options

My favorite feature has to be the filter analytics. Track your customer search behavior to improve your storefront or develop new products.

Here’s another nice option for those shipping products.

The WooCommerce Advanced Shipping plugin is very advanced, but also easy to use.

WooCommerce Advanced Shipping

Features include:

  • customize with cart, user, and product based conditions
  • volume based pricing and table shipping
  • create unlimited shipping methods
  • set up worldwide shipping zones

We rarely receive such requests but it really depends on your business. If it goes international, then this might be a good choice.

Occasionally, we receive request from clients to integrate a financing function into the ecommerce store to enable them to automate invoice and receipts to their customers. We created a plugin to enable the following features:

  • supports custom check-fields and multiple custom content blocks
  • offers regular and proforma invoices
  • complies with accounting standards
  • excellent design layout and style
  • automatic invoicing

However, having gotten the SalesForce Partnership license, we recommend integrating with online accounting services such as Xero, Zoho or Quickbooks.

In Akimi, we are a crazy, loyal, enthusiastic user of Mail Chimp! We love it and hence we recommend it to our clients. Naturally, we also built a plugin to integrate your mail chimp account to your ecommerce store.

mailchimp

 

If you want to do bulk editing (or export to a CSV file) of your WooCommerce products, you need to take a look at WooCommerce Advanced Bulk Edit. This is common for companies trying to move from their traditional way of doing things to online.

WooCommerce Advanced Bulk Edit

Some of the features include:

  • bulk edit, add, and remove attributes
  • create, duplicate, and delete products
  • many ways to filter products
  • supports 40+ fields

It is a one click process and reduces time for us.

Another common request will be a simple pop up button to collect subscription, prompt some actions to download PDF, documents etc Hence, a subscription plugin is created. We have various uses for it and you can find some of the uses here:

  • collect email and user information for future marketing purposes
  • additional pop up to display latest sales, promotions etc
  • automatic integration with Mail Chimp
  • pop up to encourage download of certain information

CRM is such a common request that we would recommend the most poplar woocommerce CRM. However, if you need something more complex, Salesforce is the solution for you.

WooCommerce Customer Relationship Manager extends your eCommerce site to a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solution.

WooCommerce Customer Relationship Manager

Track all your customer interactions:

  • create new customers and place orders by taking orders over the phone
  • easily search and filter through your customers
  • send emails individually or bulk
  • assign customer status
  • log calls and emails

You can also extract the data into a .xls or PDF format.

We rarely receive this request but if you need a more complex search filter, the plugin below is for you.

Wordpress Meta Data Taxonomies Filter

Features also include:

  • create new meta fields with checkboxes, drop-downs, range-sliders, and more
  • includes widgets and shortcodes
  • AJAX searching support (able to create other search filters)

Selling your items online and you need your prices to be shown in difference currency? This plugin below solves your problem!

WooCommerce Currency Switcher

You’ll find just the right features:

  • rate conversion using Yahoo, Google Appspot Aggregators, or manually
  • display currency switcher via widget or shortcode
  • five UI currency switcher options
  • GeoLocation by IP

However, the biggest drawback is that this is not integrated with your payment gateway. Hence, the biggest problem is that the amount displayed is not the eventual exchange rate you are going to get due to different payment gateway charges. It is still something to ponder about before accepting payment in multiple currency.

We created this plugin so that we can provide zoom in photos, enlarged images etc as well as other permutation in terms of making the site more appealing.

saucony-hover

Build a better customer experience:

  • create image carousels and sliders
  • supports touch gestures
  • add product videos
  • zoom images

Again depends on requirements, we can customize to fit the needs.

Social Media is a huge thing in today’s world and many of our customers want to reward their customers for sharing their webpages, products, recent purchases etc.

Social Coupon for WordPress makes it easy for us to integrate into an existing WooCommerce website.

Social Coupon for WordPress

This plugin includes the following features:

  • supports Facebook Like, Facebook Share, Google+, Twitter tweets, Twitter follows, and LinkedIn shares
  • display sharer on any page or widget area with shortcodes
  • set custom URLs or current page

This is one of our most common plugins to integrate.

Customer loyalty system is important to ensure customers feel great buying your product. We generally use this WooCommerce plugin but we are open to customize to suit your needs.

SUMO Reward Points - WooCommerce Reward System

Reward customers for:

  • social media shares
  • product purchases
  • writing reviews
  • signing up
  • referrals

You can then offer points at a product, category, or global level. Points can have set expiration dates and also the limit to the number of points each customer can obtained.

Sometimes we lose sales at the final step because the user’s browser crash or the internet is slow etc that prevents them from checking out and they will have to repeat the process. With this plugin, you can eliminate such issues for your customers.

Send an email—and even follow-up emails—to recover abandoned carts.

WooCommerce Recover Abandoned Cart

“Recover Abandoned Cart monitors carts that are abandoned by Members and Guests to capture Abandoned Carts. It automatically sends mails using the mail templates at specified times to Recover the Abandoned Carts.”

Conclusion

With this extensive list, it helps our clients and prospect to understand what we can offer. Are you looking to build an ecommerce site or requires some of the features above? Talk to us and we can give you a non obligatory quotation. 

06
Jan
2017

3 Woo Commerce Extension to Improve Your Customer Loyalty

First of all, if you are reading this article and you are running an ecommerce store, congratulations to you. It is never easy to run an ecommerce store business.

There are actually a ton of ways you can make shoppers loyal to one brand over another. Pricing is one angle you can take. An amazing customer support policy is another. But loyalty doesn’t have to rely on cheap prices or friendly emails.

Sometimes , such loyalty initiatives can give you an edge over your competitors and increase your revenue. Let’s take a look at three plugins that you can start using today to boost the loyalty of your shoppers.

 

1. Smart Coupons

Smart Coupons is the Swiss Army knife of savings extensions for WooCommerce. It’s able to do a ton of things for your store, from generating hundreds of unique coupon codes to enabling advanced gift certificate functionality. But one of the features we really love is the ability to show available coupons at checkout.

If you’ve bought anything online before, you’ve probably gone hunting for discounts on coupon sites. This is normal for stores you’re new to, but when it comes to a store you visit regularly, you might get annoyed by it. By that point, you’d probably expect a reward, right?

Show the coupons available at checkout. No hunting necessary.
Show the coupons available at checkout.
With Smart Coupons, you can show your customers the coupons applicable to their current shopping cart automatically. They don’t need to go hunting, copying, and pasting for a deal — and you look awesome for giving them a treat. Who wouldn’t want to come back to a shop that lets you snag a coupon in a single click?

 

2. WooCommerce Points and Rewards

“If a shopper knows you’re willing to reward them,they’re more willing to be loyal to your store. Instant gratification is nice, but it isn’t long-lasting, and customers know that.”

Let us introduce WooCommerce Points and Rewards. This extension allows your shoppers to accumulate points on each of their orders, which can then be used to receive rewards you create for them.

Let your customers earn points as they go, and redeem those points for awesome gifts.
Let your customers earn points as they go, and redeem those points for awesome gifts.

You can define what customers earn points on, how many points they earn, and what they can do with them. So if you want 500 points to be redeemable for a $5 discount, go for it! Customers can keep track of how many points they’ve earned over time, and will be motivated to order more so they earn more.

Once you get up and running with this extension, you can boost loyalty (and delight) even more by running limited-time double or triple point specials on specific items, or even store-wide. How’s that for a conversion-booster?

3. Review for Discount

Tired of chasing clients for reviews? How about incentivising them? Review for Discount lets you give customers a reward for leaving reviews on your product site.

Want more reviews? Promise a reward. Customers will start to review more consistently -- a win for them, and a win for you.
Want more reviews? Promise a reward delivered via email in exchange. Customers will start to review more consistently — a win for them, and a win for you.

With this extension, you can automatically send coupon code to customers who review your products, thanking them for their contribution and offering them a discount of your choosing. The codes will be auto-generated by the extension, so there’s no manual tinkering required on your end.

Customers who get this discount post-review will feel encouraged to use it. And once they use it on their next order, they’ll be more likely to review those products for another discount. Before you know it, you’ve created hundreds of returning customers — and hundreds of beneficial product reviews.

Conclusion

So now that we have recommended the 3 basic woocommerce plugin? Do you have this already in your ecommerce store? We can to implement them if you need such service.

06
Jan
2017

Web Design Trends in 2017 from Our Point of View

Web design has always evolved throughout the years. We still remember the times where we have to try really hard to convince customers that mobile is important touch point for their viewers. In today’s world, if we do not make a webpage responsive, we will be out of business. 2016 has been a really good year for us and we hope the same for you. Here are 10 things that we see might change web design in 2017, perhaps, at the end of the year we can look back and see if our prediction is true.

Let’s take a look at the 10 website design trends we can expect to see in 2017:

Emphasis on the content

Credit: Vice

We’ve spent years adding things to our websites such as sidebars, headers, banner ads, sidebar ads, calls to action, comments, popups, social media buttons, signup boxes, etc. All of these things have ended up cluttering our websites and taking up more and more real estate, taking the attention away from the entire point of a web page: the content.

In 2017, websites are likely to start moving back to basics and placing more emphasis on content. Whether that means we remove all of the other distractions we’ve spent years adding, or just making them take up less real estate is yet to be determined. Getting back to the heart of a website — the content — will be prevalent moving forward.

The end of flat design

Credit: Dansk Design Center

I think we’ve reached the point in flat web design where everything is starting to look the same, and we’ve lost our personality and creativity in design. When you strip everything away, you’re left with what everyone else has: the basics that look just like each other.

From my standpoint, flat design has turned from a modern update of skeuomorphic design to a set of design aesthetics that everyone applies (think Google’s Material). Because of this, sites are starting to look the same, and not much differentiates sites from one another. Designers feel that the creativity is gone, and with the desire to create something great, I see flat design ending for the most part in favor of layouts and designs that are more imaginative and unique.

Geometric shapes, lines, and patterns

Credit: Sequence

It seems as though the use of geometric shapes, lines, and patterns have really taken off in the late part of 2016, and I anticipate this continuing through 2017. There are various ways in which geometric shapes have made their way into websites. Be it the use of circles around images, photos that are geometric heavy, or the overall design of the site relies heavily on the use of lines and patterns.

There is nearly infinite amount of ways in which you an integrate geometric shapes, lines, and patterns into your website, and this could be one way in which designers take fat design to a new level (and even add some personality, as mentioned above). Overall, expect to see these types of design styles more throughout 2017.

Imaginative heading styles

Credit: Rehab Studio

We’re starting to move away from the basic heading style seen on websites (san serif, all caps, centered heading) and moving more toward imaginative or creative headings. Changing up the heading style is a welcomed way to be unique in your design.

Changing up the justification and layout of the heading, adding unique elements to the heading, or even going without a heading (at least above the fold) are all ways in which designers are starting to experiment with changing up the typical heading style on websites.

Duotone gradient imagery

Credit: Lois Jeans

In the pursuit of staying more on brand, more brands are using duotone imagery and graphics for their websites. Even TNW has got the duotone down right, and it isn’t even 2017 yet.

Not strictly duotones, but some designs are even experimenting with two or three colors and using the duotone effect. Think Instagram. While flat design helped us get rid of (most) gradients, using duotone imagery that combines a couple of colors together has proven to be a nice update to the old and tired gradients and solid color areas.

Increased use of animations and GIFs

Credit: Cool Club

Animations are starting to be used more heavily on websites as they are often a great way to show how something works, how to do something, or otherwise reveal meaningful content. GIFs have been used for this purpose, but now we are seeng GIFs becoming more sophisticated and animations using SVG and CSS to achieve some pretty unique design elements.

I anticipate in 2017 the use of animations will become more prevalent, as more content types are shared and animation helps communicate things easier and quicker than text and video can. Plus, when done right, can often be even more lightweight than several images or even a video.

Navigation diets

Credit: Nacache Design

As being a mobile society, I believe that because most of us access the web through our phones more than our computers, the overall trend to make things easier to navigate has taken over and reformed our navigation on websites.

Instead of overly complicated and long navigations, more and more sites are starting to simplify their navigation down to about four to five items. Keeping navigation to a minimum also helps visitors to focus on the intent at hand, instead of trying to find a way off the page.

Microinteractions

Credit: Buck Design

 

Microinteractions are the subtle, but powerful ways to interact with a website. They are often found in hovers, click animations, scrolling effects, etc. While we’ve always had these types of design elements, designers are spending more time on them, making them are informative and more refined.

Probably the most used integration is the hover/rollover, where a visitor can simply move their cursor over parts of the site to see these microinteractions and interact with the site in that way.

Increased use of hand-drawn elements

Credit: Anyways

 

Perhaps a different type of web design trend is the increased use of hand drawn elements. These elements include fonts, icons, graphics, buttons and other elements that bring a nice unique touch to websites.

Websites have never been a medium that most would associate with drawing out, but the introduction and the subsequent takeoff of these hand drawn elements have been a nice change from using standard design elements.

More emphasis on landing pages, less on a home page

As we refine content and opt to market and share it more, in 2017 we will likely see a rise in landing page designs instead of a home page design. While every website needs a home page, I think that as content marketing spreads, marketers will want to direct traffic to dedicated landing pages to better target their visitors and their needs.

It makes sense: The idea of content marketing is to increase awareness and conversions, and what better way to increase conversions than to have visitors land on a page strictly made for them. These pages will be as well designed and thought out as others on the site, but target the visitor much more.

Conclusion

2017 is sure to see some great websites, and these design trends will most definitely be seen on some of the best website designs yet to come.

From hand drawn elements to duotone images, imaginative headings to more focused content layouts, to microinteractions to animations, these design trends will dominate web design in 2017.

 

What do you think? Thinking of upgrading your site? Drop us a note to have a further discussion

05
Jan
2017

Want to Know More About SEO? – Offsite SEO

On -page SEO techniques involve building links from other parts of the web to your site. In the past, ecommerce site managers would scatter links to their site all over forums, directories, and comments sections, as well as buy links on other sites. These link building techniques are penalized by search engines these days, which means that you need to take a di erent approach.

Current o -page SEO techniques focus on building relationships, not links. It’s better for you to reach out to your customer base through social media. If you create entertaining content and share it with your followers on Facebook and Twitter, the customers you are interacting with may share the content on their blogs or in other communities – this way links will be created naturally.

You can also create informative or entertaining content that would educate people about your products in an unimposing way and put it outside your website – on relevant blogs, fan pages or forums.

Each time someone visits your store from an external website you just gained a backlink! And you should definitely keep going and try to receive more of them. The reason why backlinks are so important in SEO is that search engines determine popularity of a website by a number of backlinks it has gained.

The reason why backlinks are so important in SEO is that search engines determine of a website by a number of backlinks it has gained.

It is crucial that you track a link building progress and see how it impacts ranking positions of your store’s website. It’s easy to do with Positionly! Just go to the “Backlinks” section on the “Website menu”. You will see a visual graph of your new and lost backlinks as well as the overall quality of all links that you gained from external websites. Below there is a detailed list of all your backlinks.

For those of you who would like to find out more about analyzing backlinks, we’ve prepared this plain guide.

19
Dec
2016

Co-Marketing: How to Reach New Customers With Strategic Partnerships

Building a business can be a lonely endeavour. But marketing one doesn’t have to be.

Co-marketing is about sharing audiences and resources between two complementary brands to execute a campaign that neither one could do as effectively alone.

These strategic partnerships can benefit big businesses and new startups alike, sharing what they have instead of building from scratch to get more exposure for each of their products or services.

The benefits of co-marketing include:

  • Being more cost-effective by pooling together resources like marketing budgets and talent.
  • Sharing audiences of similar people who are already qualified as potential customers.
  • Creating and fostering a positive long-term relationship between brands as they help each other out.
  • Delighting customers with free stuff, giveaways and co-branded products.

Co-marketing campaigns will take on different forms for B2B vs. B2C brands, for products vs. services, for new startups vs. established brands. However, with a little creativity, you can connect the dots between you and a partner brand to expand the impact of both of your marketing efforts.

But first, let’s talk about one of the core tenants of co-marketing: Reciprocity.

Always Ask: What’s In It For You Both?

A good co-marketing campaign benefits everyone involved: you, your partner and the customer.

Co-marketing is hard to pitch if the benefits are one-sided. Entering into the agreement has to make sense business-wise for both parties. Don’t only think about what’s in it for you.

Not only do the benefits have to go two-ways, but they should be proportionate—that is, one party shouldn’t reap a big reward while the other just gets the scraps.

Think about how bees and flowers help each other out.

co-marketing example

The bees get the nectar they need to thrive from the flower and the flower gets to take advantage of the bee’s mobility to spread its pollen. There’s a fair balance when it comes to the benefits that exist in this relationship.

Now apply that analogy to two complementary brands and you’ll see how these non-competitive relationships can be useful for everyone involved.

The exchange can be anything from:

  • Harnessing the reputation of another brand while giving them exposure to more potential customers.
  • Sharing the emails you capture from a campaign that you both contribute resources to execute.
  • Doing a guest appearance on each other’s blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, Snapchat accounts or email lists.
  • Showcasing your partner’s brand in front of your audience in exchange for getting some time in front of theirs.
  • Getting samples of your product into the hands of qualified customers in exchange for delighting another company’s customers with free stuff.

If the nature of the exchange is fair and the terms are explicit, co-marketing can be an effective way to tap into new audiences, and drive down the cost of marketing while improving its impact .

The hard part will be finding a like-minded partner you can work with.

How to Find and Create Strategic Partnerships

There are as many opportunities for co-marketing as you care to look for, but sourcing them all comes down to some old-fashioned networking and business development.

Ideally, you’ll be on the lookout for the following criteria in your partner:

  • They aren’t a competitor—or better yet, they complement you.
  • They have a sizeable audience (email list, social following, etc.)
  • They are a similar-sized company and aren’t “too big to work with you”.

You’ll have an easier time if you have an existing relationship with someone there who can help implement the co-marketing campaign.

But if that’s not the case, which is likely if you’re a new company, you can still make it happen.

There are 3 free tools I’d recommend for this purpose:

  • Clearbit Connect to help you find the email you need to reach out to the contacts you want.
  • Streak to help you track when your emails are opened, build and manage contact lists, and save templates that you can re-use on an ongoing basis.
  • SimilarWeb to help you evaluate a potential partner’s website as an opportunity by analyzing the amount of traffic, traffic sources and other signals that identify a good partnership.

But before you reach out to another company, make sure you have some ideas to pitch.

Without any marketing ideas, it’s unlikely you’ll get a reply, let alone a “Yes, let’s work together”. And like I said, you need to frame your pitch in a way where your partner benefits.

Here’s an email outreach template you can use to get started:

Hi [NAME],

I’m the [JOB TITLE] at [COMPANY & LINK TO YOUR SITE], a [QUICK ELEVATOR PITCH].

I wanted to reach out to you about a partnership with [PARTNER COMPANY], because [SHOW YOU DID YOUR RESEARCH].

Here’s what I propose: [CO-MARKETING IDEA].

Since [EMPHASIZE THE BENEFIT TO THEM], I thought you might be interested in working together on a campaign.

Let me know if this sounds good to you or if you have any other ideas for working together.

Thanks,

[YOUR NAME]


Craft the perfect elevator pitch with these free templates!

Perfect your pitch to sell your idea better and improve your business development efforts.

Once you’ve settled on a like-minded partner, it’s important to negotiate and establish:

  • What the campaign will look like and how each party will benefit.
  • Who will be responsible for what, so that everything that needs to be done actually gets done.
  • What the goals are for the campaign so you both know what to pursue.
  • The trackable links you’ll be using to attribute the results for any online co-marketing campaigns (I recommend Effin Amazing UTM Builder for creating these). You learn more about how to create these links here.

Still, all of this doesn’t matter if you don’t have an idea for a good campaign. So here are some co-marketing ideas, examples, and great partnerships to inspire you.

Launch a Co-Branded Product—Like Taco Bell & Doritos

Co-branding a new product or piece of content is one of the most direct partnerships you can create.

Unlike the other ideas below, this one involves creating a new product. The benefit here is that brand equity—the consumer’s perceptions and feelings about both brands—is combined and transferred to this new product.

Doritos and Taco Bell, one of the most successful co-branding partnerships in the history of fast food, is an example of a co-marketing match made in heaven.

Here you have two brands whose products appeal to similar audiences, whose “brand voices” share common qualities.

 

View image on Twitter

Together, they launched a Doritos-shell taco that became a wildly popular menu item at Taco Bell.

Another example of successful co-branding is the popular Sriracha hot sauce brand teaming up with POP! Gourmet to expand Sriracha’s reach through snack products such as Sriracha-flavoured popcorn.

“There are no dollars involved”—they exchange exposure to a new audience (provided by POP! Gourmet) for brand equity (provided by Sriracha).

sriracha popcorn co-branding
Source: POP! Gourmet

Collaborate on a Contest—Like Cineplex & The Weather Network

Contests are a proven way to capture emails, create social media engagement, attract new visitors who have never interacted with your brand, and even get your products into the hands of happy winners.

While many brands execute contests alone, you can double your reach by teaming up in creative ways.

For example, Cineplex (one of the biggest movie theatre operators in North America) teamed up with The Weather Network (a weather-based media company) for #WeatherOrNot, a publicity stunt and contest that involved a 20 foot tall bag of popcorn and a lightning rod in an area of Canada aptly named “Lightning Alley”.

Participants could vote if they thought lightning would strike the bag and pop the ‘corn. Cineplex offered free popcorn for winners, while The Weather Network got to turn the weather into a topic with mass appeal.

co-marketing contest
Source: Cineplex

This unlikely pairing of brands makes a lot of sense when you consider that both of these companies are both headquartered in Canada, are top players in their respective categories, and don’t compete in any way.

For more on executing your own contest, check out How to Grow Your Business With Viral Contests and Giveaways.

Ship Samples With Your Partner’s Orders—Like HDX Hydration & Clean Bottle

There’s no better way to get people to try your product than to give away free samples.

But unless you’re strategic about it, you can end up giving your samples to people who might never buy from you.

How do you ensure you’re distributing samples to only the most qualified consumers? You give it to folks who are already qualified customers for a like-minded brand.

That’s why HDX Hydration, a sports drink mix, teamed up with Clean Bottle, an easy-to-clean water bottle. By inserting samples of their HDX Hydration mix into orders of Clean Bottle that shipped, they were able to expose customers to their product in a way that enhanced the overall unboxing experience of Clean Bottle.

Listen to the full interview with the founder below or jump to the segment on how HDX Hydration created this partnership.

“Borrow” Each Other’s Email List—Like Pocket & Hired

Perhaps the easiest type of co-marketing campaign to agree upon is a simple exchange of broadcasting platforms.

Most brands are investing time and effort into building audiences of their own—whether it’s through social media or an email list.

These audiences are assets that you and your partner can exchange to promote a message—whether it’s a one-time email or an entire campaign.

Take this email I got from Pocket, an app for saving articles to read later, that features their partner Hired, a job search site where companies apply to you.

With one email, Hired got to expose an already-established list of new potential users to their service and Pocket got to apply their product in a real-life use case with a curated reading list.

co-marketing

You Need to Give Before You Get

The world of business might be competitive by nature, but co-marketing opens new doors through cooperation.

While big brands team up on co-marketing campaigns all the time, it’s an especially appealing strategy for smaller companies without a lot of money to spend on marketing.

After all, why build an audience from scratch or scrounge up scarce resources when you can share what you and other like-minded brands already have?

Co-marketing only works if you’re willing to offer up something that makes it worth your partner’s time and effort. You need to give before you get, but what you end up getting together is something you likely wouldn’t have gotten alone.

This article first appeared on https://www.shopify.com/blog/195109129-co-marketing-strategic-partnerships?utm_source=exacttarget&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=digest&etid=12277186

25
Aug
2016

Do It Yourself PR for Startups

Every day, hundreds of press releases are sent to the media with the hope of stimulating free media coverage. However, most wind up being deleted for various reasons (irrelevant, uninteresting, full of errors, generic). Your odds can be greatly improved with some knowledge, planning, creativity, and a bit of luck. And yes, like most things you can learn to Do It Yourself.


Whether you are running a coworking space, a consulting firm, or a photography studio, some PR (a.k.a. free media coverage) can undoubtedly help generate buzz, attract new clients, improve your SEO and build influence.

Many small businesses don’t have the budget or expertise in this area and often forego PR altogether. The good news is that with a bit of know-how, you can, in fact, do it yourself. Let’s get started with the basics: what’s your news?

The News & The Angle

Be sure you have a good reason for contacting the media. For instance, a new product launch, a partnership announcement, a Kickstarter campaign, are all good reasons.

Next, you need to get creative with the angle- how to position the story so that it has the highest chance to get covered. Let’s say you are a new photographer in town trying to get some media coverage. What sounds more exciting to the media and readers “Parisian Photographer arrives to Hong Kong and establishes a new studio” or “French Photographer Takes One Photo in Hong Kong Everyday and the result is Incredible.”

When thinking about the angle for your press release approach it from the reader’s prospective. Here are some ideas to help you brainstorm a few possible angles:

  • Important: Why would your readers care about this story?
  • Impactful: How might your news impact your readers?
  • Innovative: Is there something in your story that’s innovative or hasn’t been done before?
  • Current: Can you relate your story back to current news, either locally or globally?
  • Trendy: Can you tie your story to a current trend?
  • Problem Solver: Does your business solve a problem?

Press Release Format

There are two types of press releases: one is a collection of facts and statements that the editor pieces together, and the second is pretty much a finished article. Many publications are short-staffed, so the story-type press release may be printed as is with very few changes.

Limit your press release to one page. It should be long enough to cover the six basic elements: who, what, when, where, why and how. Usually the answers to these six questions should be mentioned in order of their importance to the story.

To ensure readability, your press release should usually follow the standard format: typed, double-spaced with a letterhead. On the left-hand side, put “For immediate release.” Just below, write a brief, eye-catching headline in bold type, and a dateline that leads into the first sentence of the release.

Grammar & Buzzwords

It goes without saying that grammar and spelling should be foolproof (though that’s often not the case in many press releases). Keep the buzzwords to a minimum and words like “cutting-edge, outstanding, leading, innovative, gorgeous, etc.” are rarely part of the reporter’s story, so cut them out and instead stick to the facts and the storyline.

A Great Headline

You only have one shot at the subject line, so make it good. Use action verbs, clear language, and keep it simple and short. A perfect headline is engaging and gets the reader to continue.

Give Facts

It’s easy to fill up a page with a creative and colorful narrative, yet numbers and facts speak lauder then adjectives. If you’re making a claim, make sure you support it with hard facts. Offer details here that strengthen your narrative, like creative ways your company developed the project or announcement at hand. Or, when applicable, comment on future implications of your announcement.

Some Quotes

Once you’ve set the scene, it’s time to bring your details to life with a quote and give a human element to the press release.

Ideally, quotes will be from key stakeholders in your company (you and your partners), or alternatively those directly impacted by your announcement. Pick 1-2 critical spokespeople and focus the quotes around their unique perspective. The chosen quote should shape your narrative and emphasize the core of the announcement.

Don’t Forget the Photos

The release should ideally come with a link to print-ready and web-ready photos.

So now that your press release is ready, whom do you send it to?

Gathering Contacts

Many publications (like SCMP or China Daily) list journalists’ names and email addresses next to the published article. If they’re not shown, you can usually work out the email format by looking at advertising emails that are listed. Alternatively, some social networks like LinkedIn can be extremely useful to get through to the right reporter.

Steer clear of generic email addresses, (news@ or info@) as in many cases these are not checked regularly or at all. Make it your mission to get the name and email address of the person who will make the decision about whether to use your story or not. If in doubt, just call up and ask.

Many make the mistake of approaching a reporter right after he has written a story they wish to have been included in, assuming he is an easy target for the follow up piece. In fact, that reporter is the least likely person in the world to write such a follow-up story. Allow at least a few months in between, or if you still decided to contact him shortly after his piece has been published, make sure you have something very valuable to add.

It’s also a good idea to ask around and get introductions to journalists from people you already know. One of the most amazing cases of “asking around” was that of a friend’s friend who wanted to promote her matchmaking business through the media. She made a post on her Facebook page saying she’d appreciate an introduction to Hong Kong media for a chance to give her commentary or opinion on family life, couple psychology, and related topics. One of her Facebook friends was newly in charge of a new “blind date” TV program on TVB, so a few weeks after her Facebook post, she was a relationships expert in what turned out to be a very popular local TV show. As you can expect, her business boomed after this. So, just ask.

Follow up

It’s fine to offer the same story to different publications as long as you’re upfront about what you’re doing. If a journalist is interested in your story, he or she will generally get back to you within a couple of days. But in a busy newsroom, stories can get missed, so you might consider chasing up your pitch by phone.

Whether you run a product-centric startup or have a great service to offer, the truth is all businesses need PR. By now you are well equipped to write and distribute your own press releases. So roll up your sleeves and get going! Remember that in addition to helping you get media exposure, PR also helps you get valuable links to your website, which are crucial for SEO.


By Ashley Galina Dudarenok, the founder of Alarice International, a China market-entry consultancy, alarice.com.hk

Original Article seen on: http://jumpstartmag.com/news/dig-pr-for-startups/

25
Aug
2016

These are the 15 top-funded startups in Singapore (INFOGRAPHIC)

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Here’s the latest installment of our country-by-country top-funded startups series – Singapore.

As Singapore’s startup ecosystem grows, we have seen some new entries in this list in relation to the beginning of last year – most notably, GrabTaxi’s, that reached a total disclosed funding of US$680 million with an impressive haul of a US$350 million series E. Impressive funding rounds for 2015 have included a US$129 million series D for PropertyGuru, a US$82 million series C for M-Daq, and a US$56 million series A for Antuit.

It’s interesting, but perhaps not surprising, to see ecommerce companies dominate the list with five representatives. A healthy mix of other verticals like fintech, adtech, big data, social marketing, and enterprise solutions, highlight Singapore entrepreneurs’ and investors’ tendency to go largely with software-based companies.

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Illustrations and infographic by Tech in Asia’s Kathrinna Rakhmavika and Andre Gunawan. Data by Tinnike Lie from Tech in Asia’s research team.

Original article found on: https://www.techinasia.com/15-top-funded-startups-singapore-infographic

24
Aug
2016

Small Business SEO Checklist – 8 Layman Steps for Success (Infographic)

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a very cost-effective digital marketing channel that fits right within the budget of small and medium scale businesses who don’t own deep marketing pockets large corporations have.

If you want to implement a strategic search engine optimization campaign for your business, we present here the most important steps that can guide you through small business SEO success.

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Original Post found on: http://cjgdigitalmarketing.com/small-business-seo-checklist-8-layman-steps-for-success/