IvyCat, Inc. Web Hosting, Design & Development 2018-04-19T19:13:58Z https://ivycat.com/feed/atom/ Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[3 Powerful Principles Behind Customer Retention]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6582 2018-04-11T20:55:48Z 2018-04-11T20:55:48Z Customer retention is the Holy Grail when it comes to e-commerce. What if you could count on your customers to … Continued

3 Powerful Principles Behind Customer Retention was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Customer retention is the Holy Grail when it comes to e-commerce. What if you could count on your customers to come back again and again when you release a new product? What if you could count on them to tell all of their friends and leave you rave reviews on social media? What if you could increase your profits by lowering your cost per sale?

It’s no secret that costs more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an old one. In a recent survey, conversion rate optimization service Invesp found:

  • Acquiring a new customer costs 5x more than retaining a current customer.
  • Selling to a customer you already have has a 60-70% success rate, compared to the 5-20% success rate of selling to a new customer.
  • A 5% increase in customer retention rates can lead to a whopping 25-95% increase in profits!

Retaining your best customers doesn’t have to be a mystery. By understanding a bit of human psychology, you can create a shopping experience that attracts and retains loyal fans.

Here are the three principles of customer retention.

Personalization

Everyone likes to feel special. But the online shopping experience can often feel incredibly impersonal. It’s the nature of the beast, of course — there’s no way to create an individual WordPress e-commerce site for everyone of your customers.

But you can use a number of tips and tricks to create the illusion of a personalized experience:

  • Segment your email list and use triggers like anniversaries and birthdays to send personalized news and offers.
  • Use a product suggestion WordPress plug-into offer personalized suggestions based on what your customer is browsing and has in their cart.
  • Design the user experience of your website to include clear pathways for shoppers with different interests.

Learn more: 5 Ways to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience

Socialization

Social psychology is huge when it comes to where we spend our money. As the great entertainer P.T. Barnum once said, “Nothing draws a crowd quite like a crowd.”

That’s certainly true in e-commerce. When your company creates crowds of dedicated fans, those fans are more likely to bring in crowds of their own — and members of those crowds are more likely to stick around.

How can you use this principle to retain customers? Continuously remind your current customers that they’re in good company:

  • Include testimonials and customer spotlights in your newsletters.
  • Create an active community — such as a Facebook group — where customers can connect with each other and with your brand.
  • If possible, host in-person events to thank and connect with local customers.
  • Invite participation with a social media contest or user generated content campaign.

Learn more: Lessons From 5 Amazing User Generated Content Campaigns

Appreciation

A little thank you goes a long way — whether it’s for doing the dishes or for being a loyal customer, it’s awfully nice to feel appreciated! Make it part of your business plan to show your customers how much you appreciate their patronage. After all, if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t have a business.

Saying “thank you” can take many forms:

  • Start a customer loyalty program that rewards customers with points for purchases and referrals.
  • Include a “thank you” coupon or a hand-written note in your shipments.
  • Send individual emails to thank customers for their purchase.
  • Reward customers with a surprise gift or discount on the anniversary of signing up to your site.

You can get even more mileage out of this idea if you follow the Pareto principle, which is that the top 20 percent of your customers likely generate about 80 percent of your business. If you use a CRM to track customer sales, single out the top 20 percent of your customers for something special: a special gift, a thank you phone call, an invitation to a local event, or something else creative.

Focusing on these already-loyal shoppers will not only help keep them around, it will help turn them into brand advocates that grow your business.

Learn more: How to Create a Customer Loyalty Program that Gets Results

Customer retention: playing the long game

Effective customer retention starts at the beginning of the customer lifecycle, by creating an amazing experience from the first moment they heard of you. When you keep the three principles of personalization, socialization, and appreciation in mind, you’ll be well on your way to retaining your best customers and growing your business.

Have you used any of these three principles in your own business? What did you learn? Leave us a note in the comments.

3 Powerful Principles Behind Customer Retention was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[How A Successful Giveaway Can Boost Your E-Commerce Business]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6575 2018-03-21T20:53:34Z 2018-03-21T20:53:34Z Holding a giveaway may seem like an easy way to promote your e-commerce shop —  after all, how hard can … Continued

How A Successful Giveaway Can Boost Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Holding a giveaway may seem like an easy way to promote your e-commerce shop —  after all, how hard can it be to give away some cool product or swag?

The answer is that it’s harder than it looks at first glance. The world of marketing is a noisy place, even if you trying to give something away for free! But no worries. We’ll walk you through the steps of running a fantastic giveaway to promote your e-commerce business.

When should you hold a giveaway?

  • Before a launch
  • Around the holidays (although you may get more engagement if you choose a less busy time)
  • To announce a product or partnership
  • To celebrate an anniversary

Or just any time to help build your audience. Ready to get started?

Step 1: Set goals for your giveaway

What do you ultimately hope to get out of this giveaway? Maybe your goal is increasing your number of newsletter subscribers, growing your social media following, getting more engagement on a particular platform, or getting people to sign up for your loyalty club.

Try to be more specific than just raising brand awareness, or creating buzz. Ask yourself: what metric will you use to measure whether or not your giveaway campaign was successful?

Knowing your goal will help you understand things like how to market your giveaway, what influencers to contact, and even what you should be giving way in the first place.

Speaking of…

Step 2: Choose a unique, targeted prize

As I said before, the Internet is a noisy place. To cut through the chatter, make sure your giveaway prize is something that makes people sit up and pay attention.

A gift certificate or a popular product are totally acceptable prizes. But if you want the maximum amount of engagement, come up with something that people can’t get any other way. This might be a limited edition item, a unique package, or a one-off experience.

One mistake people often make with giveaways is to offer a prize that targets too wide a demographic. A new iPad or a trip to Hawaii will appeal to just about everybody — but do you want just about everybody on your email list or following your social media account?

Do some brainstorming to come up with a prize that your target audience will go rabid for!

Step 3: Identify strategic partners

Regardless of your specific goal, you’ll generally have more success if you think beyond your current audience when promoting your giveaway.

Look at your partner businesses, vendors, and business associates. Can you come up with a good crossover promotion that would allow you to work together? Who else has an audience that you can tap into? What other social media influencers have audiences who appreciate knowing about the giveaway?

The more partners you can bring into promoting this giveaway, the more successful it will be.

Step 4: Spread the word

It’s not enough just to create a giveaway and hope people find out about it. Treat the period of your giveaway as you would a holiday or product launch marketing campaign.

Spread the word on your social media, email newsletter, and even in real life (if you have a retail location or can think of some other creative way to spread the word off-line). Schedule regular updates to highlight the countdown until the giveaways over and create even more buzz.

Along with organic word-of-mouth efforts, use targeted advertising on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram to draw in even more people. And don’t forget to submit your giveaway details to dedicated giveaway sites in your industry!

Step 5: Follow up after the giveaway

Your giveaway campaign isn’t over as soon as the giveaway closes. Budget time and effort for strong follow-up to get the most mileage out of your new followers or subscribers.

Be sure to highlight the winter in order to create social proof for your company. You might encourage them to send you a photo with whatever product they won, or profile them in your email newsletter or social media.

Don’t forget to follow up with everyone who didn’t win, too. If you captured their emails, use an autoresponder series to thank them for entering the contest and offer them a discount code or coupon as a consolation prize. When you take the time to do something special for them, you’ll stand out above the other companies holding giveaways.

Learn more: 3 Lessons for Success from Customer-Centric Brands

Have you grown your e-commerce business through giveaways? We’d love to hear what worked and what didn’t for you. Let us know in the comments!

How A Successful Giveaway Can Boost Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Creating a Reliable Strategy for Backing Up Your Site]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6567 2018-03-07T22:55:34Z 2018-03-07T22:55:34Z It’s time for some real talk: how often do you actually back up your website? No matter how important you … Continued

Creating a Reliable Strategy for Backing Up Your Site was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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It’s time for some real talk: how often do you actually back up your website? No matter how important you know it is, if you’re like most business owners, you’ve got dozens of competing priorities on your plate. And backing up your site, realistically, probably doesn’t break the top 10 most days.

Not to get all scare tactics on you, but in a recent study from virus protection company Barkly, 81 percent of the 300 organizations surveyed were originally confident they could completely restore their site in case of a ransomware attack. When Barkly followed up after an actual ransomware attack, only 42 percent were actually able to restore their data.

Of course, malware isn’t the only reason website data can get lost. Simple user error, updates to go awry, and accidentally deleted files can all spell disaster if you don’t have a proper backup.

Let’s come up with a reliable strategy for backing up your site.

First up, what does backing up your site mean?

At its core, your website is made up of a collection of files and databases that store your images, contents, and core files. When you back up your website, you create a snapshot of your files and databases that you can restore if something happens to the working copy.

This means that your ability to back up your site is only as good as your most recent backup copy. So if you haven’t backed up your site for weeks, or your most recent copy is corrupt, you could be losing critical amounts of data.

Where should you store backup copies of your website?

When you’re traveling, you shouldn’t keep your copy of your passport with your actual passport itself — creating backups of your website is no different.

Your web host: Many web hosting companies (like our partner, SiteGround) automatically backup websites to their server. If you don’t know whether or not these updates are happening automatically, get in touch with your hosting company and find out.

On a hard drive: Backups of your website on your host’s server won’t do you much good if that server goes down. That’s why it’s also good practice to back up your website to an external hard drive on a regular basis.

In the cloud: You may also decide to use a service like Dropbox to store copies of your website backup in the cloud. This is especially a good choice if you have a remote team.

How often should you back up your site?

The frequency at which you backup your website depends in part on how often you update it:

  • If your website is fairly static, it may make sense to only do backups on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • If your content changes daily, it would be smart to back your website up daily, too.
  • If you have an e-commerce site with steady transactions, it may even make sense to backup your website hourly.

How do you back up your website?

If you use WordPress, you can use one of the many plug-ins available to backup your site automatically, like BackupBuddy or VaultPress. You can also initiate manual backups within your website hosting service by going to your control panel.

Or, you could make backing up your website easy on yourself by using SiteGround.

Backing up your website is important, but can also be a pain. That’s why we were so excited to hear about SiteGround’s new backup features!

You may already know that IvyCat partners with SiteGround to provide our customers with reliable website hosting services. One of the reasons we chose them as our partner is because they are constantly on the cutting edge when it comes to keeping your information safe and secure. And from what we’ve read of their new hosting backup benefits, this new feature will be no different.

SiteGround Hosting Backup lets you:

  • View and manage backups easily with a simple 1-click Backup Tool
  • Create and restore website backups quickly and easily with one click
  • Avoid data loss due to website mistakes
  • Experiment with website updates that you can quickly undo

We’re excited to start using SiteGround Hosting Backup as part of the WordPress Support and Maintenance plans we already offer our customers. If you want to get started using their hosting backup service yourself, check out the SiteGround website, or get in touch with the team at IvyCat to learn more.

What’s your strategy for backing up your site? Let us know in the comments.

Creating a Reliable Strategy for Backing Up Your Site was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Why Use WordPress for E-Commerce? We’re Glad You Asked.]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6562 2018-02-22T23:46:07Z 2018-02-22T23:46:07Z You’ve found the right product, now the trick is to set up a fully-functioning e-commerce site so shoppers can start … Continued

Why Use WordPress for E-Commerce? We’re Glad You Asked. was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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You’ve found the right product, now the trick is to set up a fully-functioning e-commerce site so shoppers can start giving you cold hard cash in exchange for your goods. Of course, there are a ton of e-commerce platforms out there. What makes using WordPress for e-commerce sites a good choice?

First, a little bit of background. WordPress has been around since 2003, which makes it a venerable old-timer in internet years. It was first adopted by bloggers as their content management system (CMS), but thanks to its open source code and a community of developers adding new themes and plugins, it’s evolved to work for almost any site.

WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, powering sites like TED, Thought Catalog, USA Today, CNN, Fortune.com, Spotify, TechCrunch, and NBC. As an e-commerce platform, it’s the backbone of sites like Blue Star Coffee Roasters, Picky Bars, Vital, Edible Blossoms, and — of course — WooCommerce.

Are you WordPress-curious?

Here’s why you should consider WordPress for e-commerce.

Infinitely variable

Because WordPress is open source, its far-flung community of developers are constantly coming up with new plugins and themes. WordPress is made infinitely powerful with the hundreds (even thousands) of useful plugins that allow you to do whatever you want. Many of these are even free of charge.

Here are some of our favorites:

Low-cost to implement

WordPress is incredibly versatile, whether you’re a do-it-yourselfer or prefer to leave the website design to the experts. In fact, if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty you could get your e-commerce website started for less than $100 — the cost of a domain name and a good theme.

Of course, its popularity means there are also plenty of experts around to help you put a WordPress e-commerce site together.

Works with powerful e-commerce plugins

On its own, the free WordPress platform doesn’t have all the functionality you need to make a great e-commerce site. That’s where e-commerce plugins come in. These powerful plugins take all the best features of WordPress and dial it in to sell, sell, sell.

A great WordPress e-commerce plugin will let you manage all the aspects of your site — and products — from your WordPress dashboard. Whether you sell physical or digital products, you can publish products, manage inventory, and collect payments all on your WordPress site.

WooCommerce is the most popular WordPress e-commerce plugin around, used by about 30% of all WordPress stores. Because of its popularity, a number of fantastic extensions have sprung up to make it even more powerful — appointment making, loyalty programs, product customization, and more.

ExchangeWP is another great e-commerce plugin, allowing users to try it out for free, then expand it through a range of extensions. These extensions include things like product variants, membership site functionality, recurring payments, and email marketing tools.

WP eCommerce is one of the oldest WordPress e-commerce plugins, and is still well-trusted by many an online retailer. It offers all the basic e-commerce functions you need, along with a number of payment, shipping, membership, and affiliate marketing options to customize your site.

Want to learn more about using WordPress for e-commerce?

At IvyCat, we’re the WordPress experts. We’re happy to talk you through your options when it comes to choosing an e-commerce plugin, or even to help you design a website from scratch.

Get in touch! We can’t wait to hear about your project.

Why Use WordPress for E-Commerce? We’re Glad You Asked. was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Using Product Explainer Videos to Promote Your E-Commerce Business]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6555 2018-02-07T18:02:43Z 2018-02-07T22:42:01Z A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I passed a Saturday morning learning about ductless heating, because we’re adults … Continued

Using Product Explainer Videos to Promote Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I passed a Saturday morning learning about ductless heating, because we’re adults and that’s apparently what we consider fun nowadays.

But after staring at ductless heating diagrams and scanning product catalogs for ages, we just kept asking “Yeah, but how does it work?”

Thankfully, Bruce Manclark from Fluid Market Strategies’ Northwest Ductless Heat Pump Team came to the rescue with this simple yet useful video.

It’s a fantastic example of a product explainer video that’s effective without requiring a huge production budget. We figured out how the heck ductless heating works, and went back to the company’s website to learn even more. If we decide to take the plunge, who do you think we’re gonna call?

Bruce.

Because he has a fabulous mustache, and is clearly not afraid of spiders.

Why product explainer videos help boost your e-commerce site

The personal touch

First up, it builds rapport between you and your customers. Done right, a product explainer video makes your customers feel as though they know you. That means when it comes time to buy, they’re more inclined to purchase from somebody whose face and personality they know.

This is especially effective for small businesses, though even large companies can use spokespeople to create a sense of intimacy — just think of Flo, the Progressive Girl.

SEO mojo

Product explainer videos also help you build SEO. Remember, YouTube is owned by Google, which makes it a valuable tool for getting discovered — whether you leave the videos on YouTube with a link to your website, or embed them on the site itself.

For even more SEO juice, include a transcript. (It’s fairly inexpensive to find a transcriptionist.) This not only helps you get more keywords on your site, it also makes the video accessible for your customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

They’re handy!

Putting aside marketing reason to do product explainer videos, they’re just darn useful. This is especially true if you sell a complicated product, or if you’re selling apparel or accessories that would benefit if your customers could see them in action.

Increased satisfaction

When you show your products in action, your customers will be more likely to be satisfied with their purchase. After all, they knew exactly what they were getting when they ordered from your site. This can lead to better conversion rates and fewer returns.

How can you make a product explainer video?

The reason most e-commerce brands balk at doing product explainer videos is the cost and effort of production. But the good news is that they don’t have to be complicated. With a minimal investment in equipment and time, you can create some great new content to help you stand above the competition.

Write — and practice — a script. Unless you’re really comfortable with improv or public speaking, take the time to write up a script before shooting. This will save you lots of time and frustration. Explainer videos should less than two minutes in length, which mean a written script of 200-300 words.

Gather the right equipment. These days, even smart phone can shoot high enough quality video for a simple product explainer video. Get a tripod to hold your phone, and remember to shoot video in landscape. For audio, get an inexpensive lapel mic to cut down on background noise.

Focus on the setting: You want your products — and your people — to look their best. Shoot in natural light or in a bright room, and pay attention to whatever’s in the background. Try shooting a few minutes of sample footage and watch it on your computer to make sure it looks fine.

Edit and mix audio: Use a simple video editing software like iMovie and Windows Movie Maker to edit the video. As for audio, you can find some great low-cost royalty free music and sound effects on Audio Jungle or freesound.org.

Brand your videos: Don’t forget to put some sort of branding on the videos, like a caption or title screen and end credit in order to remind people who you are if they discover it away from your e-commerce site. At the end of the video, tell people where they can find this product and how to get more information.

Spread them far and wide: We already talked about creating a YouTube channel and putting up the videos on your product pages and website. But you can also include them in your email newsletter or post them on social media to help people discover them.

Do you use product explainer videos on your e-commerce site? We’d love to know your best tips. Tell us in the comments!

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

Using Product Explainer Videos to Promote Your E-Commerce Business was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Warning: Avoiding Domain Name Scams!]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6549 2018-01-24T17:58:39Z 2018-01-24T23:00:32Z In the past few weeks, we’ve had two different clients email to ask if a snail-mail invoice they received for … Continued

Warning: Avoiding Domain Name Scams! was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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In the past few weeks, we’ve had two different clients email to ask if a snail-mail invoice they received for listing their domain with a company called Domain Listings is legit.

The quick answer? Not at all. It’s a known scam.

Essentially, the company is offering to add you to their sketchy listing service — selling you something you don’t need. They’re hoping to trick people who aren’t paying attention into sending them cash by making their offer look like an invoice, rather than an advertisement.

However, those emails set off warning bells among the IvyCats. If two of our clients did think to ask us about it, how many didn’t?

Stay safe! 6 Simple Ways to Increase WordPress Security

Domain Name Listing Scams

These types scams have been around for a long time, and come in several variations.

(And they’re not unique to the internet age — you’ve probably gotten snail mail “invoices” for things like life insurance or mortgage payment reduction scams.)

Often, these notices will come from a generically named company like “Domain Service” or “Domain Listing,” and try to catch your attention with fear-mongering language like Final Notice! or implications that you could lose your ownership of your domain name if you don’t register with them.

These notices can come in the form of emails, too, as Doug Isenberg notes for the Giga Law blog.

Domain Name Registration Scams

Other types of domain name scams revolve on registering your domain name with a company other than the one you originally bought the domain through.

In “domain slamming” a scammy domain name registrar tries to trick you into switching the registration from your original company to them, by pretending that you’re renewing your subscription.

Another form of domain name registration scam is when you get an “offer” to register your domain in different forms, like ivycat.co or ivycat.io, etc. Or, in different countries — particularly in China as Dan Harris writes for the China Law Blog.

All of these scams are attempts to get your money by making you think you’ll lose your domain without using their service.

Learn more about Domain Name Systems: Migrating WordPress: DNS Crash Course

Dealing with Domain Name Scams

If they’re paper, shred ‘em. These companies can be safely ignored.

If they’re emails, delete without clicking on any links. Along with trying to get you to purchase unnecessary services, some of these emails may include phishing links or malware that could lead to disaster.

Your basic rule of thumb: The only company that should be contacting you about your domain name is your Domain Name System (DNS) provider (i.e., SiteGround or Bluehost). If you get a notice about registration or expiration from any other company, view it with suspicion.

Another way to tell is that many of these invoices come via snail mail. Your DNS provider will never send you a paper invoice — legit notices that a domain is expiring will always emailed to the customer, by their DNS provider, with a link to their account.

Learn more about protecting your WordPress site: Get Free Sucuri Protection with WordPress Maintenance Plans

Protecting Your Domain Name

Since 2004, ICANN, the domain name governing body, has made it possible to lock your domain to a specific registrar. This prevents any unauthorized transfers as a result of these scams.

Best practice is to keep your domain name in “locked” mode unless you’re actively going to transfer it. Most DNS providers will have your domain names locked by default, but you can easily check the status in your dashboard.

Questions? Get in touch with us any time.

If anything seems suspicious or you have any questions, always feel free to reach out. We’re happy to help!

Warning: Avoiding Domain Name Scams! was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[The Best WordPress Editorial Calendars — And How To Use Them]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6534 2018-01-24T17:45:21Z 2018-01-10T23:00:19Z If you’re serious about growing your e-commerce business through content marketing, you need a solid editorial calendar. If you work … Continued

The Best WordPress Editorial Calendars — And How To Use Them was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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If you’re serious about growing your e-commerce business through content marketing, you need a solid editorial calendar. If you work within WordPress, no need to sweat — these four great WordPress editorial calendar plugins are here to help.

What’s an editorial calendar? It’s the master plan that tracks your blog posts, social media campaigns, and other content to make sure it’s in line with your business’ goals. Got a sale coming up in March? Launching a new product? Tapping into a new market? Your editorial calendar makes sure you have a plan in place to support these goals with your marketing efforts.

WordPress is one of the best blogging sites for content marketing, and these four plugins make things even easier.

First, we’ll talk a little bit about what sets each plugin apart. Then, we’ll talk about the best practices for creating and using editorial calendar to keep your content on track.

Let’s get started.

WordPress Editorial Calendar

If you’re a visual person, WordPress Editorial Calendar is for you. The visual calendar display lets you see when you have posts scheduled — and it lets you drag-and-drop to change the publication date, and edit posts right from the calendar.

The plugin allows you to manage posts from multiple authors, but it’s no-frills design makes it the best option here for solo content creators.

CoSchedule

CoSchedule is an online app that links with your WordPress site to help you manage your editorial calendar and publicize your content through scheduled social media posts. The CoSchedule plugin lets you manage your scheduled posts directly from your WordPress dashboard.

I’ve used it before as part of a client’s team — and it’s really fantastic. Its steep price tag makes it less practical for solo content creators, though if you’re managing a lot of content through your business, it’s well worth taking a look.

Edit Flow

Edit Flow is a helpful collaboration tool that’s great for working with a team on your editorial calendar.

Along with the calendar view, the plug-in allows you to assign tasks and set notifications so that nothing gets missed. It also provides the option for editorial comments so your team can have conversations about the content as it’s being worked on.

Oasis Workflow

Another editorial workflow creator, Oasis Workflow offers both a free and a pro version.

The drop-and-drag interface lets you create steps along the content publication process — it’s helpful for managing multiple posts or team members.

Due dates and email reminders help keep your team on track, while the visual workflow lets you see what steps are coming next.

Learn more: The 5 Rs of Breathing Life into Old Content Marketing

Creating an Editorial Calendar to Manage Your Content

Installing an editorial plugin to help you manage the content on your website is only half the battle. The other half is creating a system that keeps you on track.

Ask yourself these questions:

1. How often will you publish?

Ragan recently reported on blogging best practices from a pair of industry studies, and found that while frequency of publication was all over the board, the most important factor was consistency.

Choose a rhythm that is comfortable for you and your team. Once you’ve met your targets for a few months, consider increasing the frequency if you want to.

2. What topics will you focus on?

It’s tempting to simply create content about whatever interests you. But remember, the most viral blog posts in the world won’t matter unless they convert your readers into buyers!

Choose your main products or services, and use those as a jumping-off point for brainstorming content ideas.

3. What seasonal campaigns will need content?

As you build your editorial calendar, keep in mind seasonal themes — both in the wider world, and internally in your business.

You may want to create specific content themes around product launches, sales, peak shopping seasons, and more. By planning your content ahead, you won’t miss those important windows.

4. What audiences are you targeting?

Do you have multiple target audiences? Make sure your editorial calendar includes content aimed at the various customer bases you may have.

Or, alternately, you may want to identify a target market that you want to build up, and focus on creating content there, instead.

5. Who is responsible for creating the content?

An editorial calendar is just a list of possible topics unless there’s a sense of accountability involved. Make sure every member of your team knows what their deadlines are and what they’re responsible for.

If you’re a one-person shop, find a different way to create accountability with yourself. Connect with another business owner, or join an online group for content creators to find yourself an accountability buddy.

Learn more: Why Your E-Commerce Email List is a Goldmine

An editorial calendar can be a powerful tool to keep yourself on track with your content marketing goals and help you grow your e-commerce business. Do you use one in your own business? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

The Best WordPress Editorial Calendars — And How To Use Them was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[4 Holiday Ad Campaigns to Help You Unwind]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6276 2017-12-27T23:55:16Z 2017-12-27T23:55:16Z Holiday ad campaigns are traditionally full of splashy red-and-green sales graphics, packs of kittens singing Christmas carols, and glowy montages … Continued

4 Holiday Ad Campaigns to Help You Unwind was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Holiday ad campaigns are traditionally full of splashy red-and-green sales graphics, packs of kittens singing Christmas carols, and glowy montages of just how happy we could all be if only we got each other a gift from Company X. After all — there’s a ton of money up for grabs as consumers shop around for gifts, leading most companies step up their advertising games to an extreme level.

In a bid to stand up from the competition, the holiday advertising season also brings with it a plethora of contenders for the cutest, funniest, heartwarming-ist and viral-ist campaigns of them all. There are the classics, like Coca Cola’s polar bears. There are the instantly iconic newcomers, like Starbucks’ red cup campaign.

Don’t get me wrong — I love a good holiday campaign. But the frantic energy of the season can get a little overwhelming. Which is why my eye has been caught this year by four companies that are doing things a little differently.

Instead of diving into the chaos of consumerism, they’ve chosen to offer us all a bit of breather. A moment’s peace in the midst of list-making, shopping, and entertaining.

So sit back, relax, and unwind from all the chaos of the holidays with these great holiday campaigns.

You might also enjoy: 3 Lessons for Success from Customer-Centric Brands

KitKat: Christmas Break

Whoever posed this ad in the brainstorming meeting must have gotten some astonished looks. After all, 30 seconds of blankness is a bold move in an industry known for intense visual stimulation. Yet this concept fits so perfectly with KitKat’s motto: “Have a break, have a KitKat.”

Instead of a barrage of visual imagery, viewers see a soft white screen, while a soft-spoken man with a soothing British accent tells us to relax and enjoy a break.

Thank you, KitKat. I will.

REI: #OptOutside

This “anti-holiday” campaign is turning the traditional Black Friday sale on its head. For the second year in a row, outdoor retailer REI has chosen to close its doors on Black Friday. Instead, customers and employees are encouraged to spend the day outdoors with friends and family.

What makes this campaign work is that it resonates deeply with the core values REI stands for. Rather than using the day in a race-to-the-bottom attempts to grab a share of consumer spending, REI is choosing to take a gamble that this will foster goodwill with its customers.

If the fact that nearly 2 million people have already pledged to spend Black Friday outside instead of shopping is any indication of customer loyalty, REI’s gamble seems to be paying off.

And, as Percolate reports, it was the second highest-performing campaign around Black Friday.

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Lagavulin: Nick Offerman’s Yule Log

I guarantee this video will be playing in the background of at least one holiday party you attend this year. Riffing off the traditional Yule Log channel that has always graced my grandmother’s TV set during our Christmas Eve gathering, Lagavulin filmed a 45 minute video of actor Nick Offerman sitting in a leather chair next to a crackling fire, quietly sipping whisky.

It’s a pairing made in heaven. Offerman’s trademark manly outdoorsman persona and oft-professed love of whisky make him the perfect spokesperson — or, I guess, non-spokesperson — for the brand.

TGI Fridays: #JingleEffect

Folks, the truly future is upon us: TGI Fridays’ latest holiday campaign is out on Oculus Rift.

The company is treating virtual reality users to a 360-degree sled ride through Lapland this season, complete with festive holiday music. I’m not on the Oculus bandwagon yet, but just watching the video on YouTube is totally delightful.

Learn more: The Key to a Seamless Omnichannel Strategy? Focus on the Humans

Treat yourself to a break! What are your favorite holiday ad campaigns this year?

4 Holiday Ad Campaigns to Help You Unwind was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[The Best Product Page Plugins for WordPress Sites]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6512 2017-12-12T21:42:32Z 2017-12-13T23:00:36Z You know your products are rock solid — now it’s time to make sure your product pages are doing their … Continued

The Best Product Page Plugins for WordPress Sites was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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You know your products are rock solid — now it’s time to make sure your product pages are doing their job! Help your products shine above the rest with these great product page plugins designed specifically for WordPress e-commerce sites.

It can be tough to know exactly what will turn a browser on your e-commerce site into a buyer. Will it be the great photography? The witty product description? The glowing testimonials from happy users?

It could be any or all of these things, which is why in order to stay competitive you need to make sure every element of your product pages is dialed in. Fortunately, if you’ve built your e-commerce site on WordPress you’ll find a number of great plugins to help you make that possible. Here are some of our favorites.

Catalog Plugins

Make it easy for customers to shopper products with a slick catalog plugin like Ultimate Product Catalog by Etoile Web Design. This plugin comes with customizable layout templates and a variety of useful widgets (like recently viewed products), and lets you sort products by category and tags. Plus, it integrates with WooCommerce so you can sync your products easily.

It comes in a free and premium version, with a seven-day trial of the premium version to let you check it out.

Learn more: 5 Features You Need in a WordPress Landing Page Theme

Product Options Plugins

Whether you offer differently-sized T-shirts, monogrammed kitty collars, or a rainbow’s worth of pocket squares it’s likely your products come with options. Product Options for WooCommerce is a fantastic plugin for doing just that. It lets you add radio buttons or checkboxes, drop-down menus, or message fields so your customers can personalize your products.

It’s only $29 through Envato.

Learn more: 5 Ways to Create a Personalized Shopping Experience

Reviews Plugins

Nothing builds trust for online shoppers like honest reviews. Make it easy for your happy customers to leave reviews with a robust plugin like WP Review Pro. It offers a number of rating systems (including stars or percentages), lets customers leave comments, and even includes optional CSS animations if you want to really make your reviews stand out. Best of all, by generating rich snippets, reviews actually show up in Google search results.

Get it for $29 at MyThemeShop.

Learn more: Lessons From 5 Amazing User Generated Content Campaigns

FAQ Plugins

Save your customer service team some hassle and help your customers make a better decision by including a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your product pages. A plugin like HTML5 Responsive FAQ makes that simple! You can create different categories of FAQs to use on different product pages, and set it up with different accordion styles. And as the name says, the plugin is fully responsive.

Free!

Learn more: 5 Plugins to Improve Your WordPress SEO Game

Related Products Plugins

Boost your average order value by cross-selling over your different product pages. A good related products plugin helps keep visitors on your site longer, and makes it easier for them to browse your catalog. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) is one of the most popular related posts plugins, and has the benefit of allowing you to advertise your various products on other pages of your website, too.

Free!

Learn more: 4 Smart Ways to Increase the Average Order Value in Your Store

Product Page Plugins Work

Even the best products won’t sell themselves. Fortunately, good product page plugins make it easier than ever for you to create product landing pages that help convert shoppers into buyers.

Have you tried any of these plugins? We’d love to hear your experience. Leave us a comment below to tell us about your favorites.

Learn more: 10 Tips for Product Pages that Convert

The Best Product Page Plugins for WordPress Sites was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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Jessie Kwak http://www.jlkwak.com <![CDATA[Last-Minute Black Friday Prep for Your WordPress Site]]> https://ivycat.com/?p=6504 2017-11-15T20:02:22Z 2017-11-16T22:57:47Z The turkey’s in the fridge, the pumpkin pies have been ordered, and you’ve managed to track down those crispy onion … Continued

Last-Minute Black Friday Prep for Your WordPress Site was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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The turkey’s in the fridge, the pumpkin pies have been ordered, and you’ve managed to track down those crispy onion thingies for the green bean casserole. You’re ready for Thanksgiving. But have you done your Black Friday prep to ensure your e-commerce site ready for the day after?

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and — increasingly — “Couch Thursday” are getting bigger than ever. According to Internet Retailer, e-commerce spending in the 2017 holiday season is expected to have another double-digit increase over last year. You have one week left to make sure your e-commerce site is prepped for the uptick in traffic! Here’s a handy checklist to get you started.

Test Your WordPress Site

Is your website up to handle the surge in traffic? The last thing you want is for your site to go down during peak holiday shopping times. Stress test your site now in order to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.

Check out these tools:

  • Google PageSpeed Insights — Measures your site’s performance across a variety of devices.
  • Pingdom — Helps you analyze the load speed of your site and gives you tips for improving it.
  • WebPagetest — Run simple or advanced speed tests.

When you’re done, optimize your site’s speed in order to retain as much of that traffic as possible.

Streamline Your Checkout

Make it as easy as pie for customers to hit the buy button by streamlining your e-commerce checkout.

Ask yourself:

  • Do customers have a variety of options for payment (i.e. Paypal, credit card, etc.)?
  • Do you have guest checkout options enabled for speedy shoppers?
  • Are your “Buy” buttons obvious?
  • Is the next step clear?
  • Can you reduce the number of steps even more?

Learn more: Top 5 Ways to Increase E-commerce Conversions

Establish Trust

With high-profile data breaches and fraud transactions all over the news, consumers are understandably leery about handing over their personal information to a company they don’t know. Make sure your e-commerce site has all the markers of security:

  • Your photos and copy are professional (no spelling errors or issues with the design)
  • Enable your SSL certificate (HTTPS)
  • Provide safe payment options, like PayPal
  • Add social proof, such as social media badges, customer reviews, testimonials, and press coverage
  • Have a variety of real ways to contact you (phone number, address, contact form, email)

Learn more: 6 Simple Ways to Increase WordPress Security

Prepare Your Customer Service

Your website isn’t the only thing about to get overrun during the holidays! Make sure your customer service team is prepared for the increase in communications, too.

  • Beef up your FAQ page to answer any recurring questions and save your team’s bandwidth
  • Make sure your contact details are obvious
  • Consider adding a live chat option to help customers make decisions quickly
  • Monitor your social media to catch any questions there
  • Make sure your return policies are hassle-free and visible

(If you want to learn more about integrating live chat into your store, Shopify has a great blog post about it.)

Clarify Shipping Dates

The biggest question people have about online holiday shopping is: Will it get to me in time? Be especially clear about shipping specials, cutoff dates, and rates in order to increase conversions.

  • Advertise your free shipping or other shipping specials
  • Post your delivery dates prominently!
  • Work to get your shipping rates reasonable

Learn more: Do These 9 Things NOW to Prep Your E-Commerce Site for the Holidays

Capitalize on Browsing Customers

Along with good paying customers, you’ll have plenty of browsers over Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Most e-commerce sites see a big uptick in abandoned carts over that weekend. Of course, there’s still time to convert these lookers into buyers — if your site is optimized to take advantage of them!

  • Set up automated abandoned cart emails to bring them back to complete the purchase
  • Use Google Analytics to track site traffic and make improvements
  • Use retargeting ads to remind browsers about the products they were viewing

Learn more: Your 12-Step Plan for Holiday Email Marketing

Use Black Friday Prep to Launch a Fantastic 2018

Sure, there’s not much time left to capitalize on Black Friday — but improvements you make to your e-commerce site’s performance, security, and marketing automation will bring you great results far into the future.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales be as fulfilling as all that turkey you’ve got your eye on.

Last-Minute Black Friday Prep for Your WordPress Site was originally published by Jessie Kwak on IvyCat, Inc.

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