Marketing

How To Add A Countdown Timer in Emails

To further excite your email subscribers, countdowns are an excellent visual tool. However, many email platforms do not have this function built-in. If you google “Email Countdown Timer,” there are many online tools to help you. My recommendation, however, is Sendtric! Here’s how simple it is to implement it.

How To Add a Countdown Timer using Sendtric

  1. Go to Sendtric
  2. You will see the following section. It is straightfoward.
  • Background: The colour of the background, it will be a rectangle.
  • Labels: It will be the words below the numbers. Days, Hours, Mins, Secs are the labels.
  • Digits: Will be the colour of the numbers.

Add your email. Then choose the correct time zone, date and time, and language. Agree to their terms and conditions. Click the GENERATE.

3. A preview and code will be generated to the right of the inputs. COPY THE CODE.

4. Go to your preferred Email platform. I’m using Hubspot. In the email, add the HTML module.

5. Add the code that you copied from Sendtric.

6. You may notice that the width is not what you wanted. To change the width, add the following to your code.
<img src="https://gen.sendtric.com/countdown/n4uzw9rba3" width="700" style="display: block;" />

You can see width=”700″ is after the URL. It is in pixels.

I hope that helps and happy creating!

The Top 5 PR Diasters of 2021

There have been a lot of PR blunders in 2021. Here are the top 5, in my opinion, and no particular order.

The Mass Firings at Better.com

On December 1st, three weeks before Christmas. Vishal Garg, the CEO of Better.com, got on a pre-recorded video call with 900 employees and terminated them immediately. Although the mass layoff was bound to get attention, what stirred people was what he said in the recording, which you can see below.

The PR blunder was how he made about it himself—stating that this was the “second time he had to do this and hopes to be stronger this time around.” He stated how he wished the company was thriving, but the reality was different. Better.com had gotten an infusion of USD 750 million, and the company itself was valued at around $7 billion. Not the mention the millions the CEO Vishal is worth himself.

This comes as a surprise to no one who has worked with the CEO. He has been noted as a particularly mean and nasty person. In a Feb 2020 email, he called his employees “a bunch of dumb dolphins.”

The video has since gone viral, and he has issued an apology on how he handled it, but it felt insincere. In the wake of it, five senior employees quit. The future for Better.com doesn’t look better.

The Chanel Advent Calendar

The fashion giant Chanel took a dip into the world of luxury advent calendars for Christmas this year. This year’s advent calendar celebrated the 100 years since the launch of their famous perfume, Chanel N°5. What Chanel didn’t count on was Tik Toker Influencer Elise Harmon. She was excited to open the Calendar, but her mounting disappointment was evident as the boxes were opened, which you can see here.

The Calendar comes in at USD 825, before taxes and shipping. The Calendar was filled with a few samples, but the most disappointing items were the stickers, the dust bag, and a few cheaply made trinkets. The commenters were angry and flabergasted at Elise’s videos, and we’re along for the ride. They lambasted Chanel’s TikTok and other social media. They figured out the Calendar itself was valued to be around $200.

The company itself closed their Tik Tok account and reportedly blocked Elise Harmon. They did issue a response “We are committed to sharing our creations with our followers on all social networks we are active on. Our pages are open to everyone, and our followers are free to express their feelings and opinions, whether they are enthusiastic or critical.”

The $4,400 Tip

Working in the service industry is often a thankless job. Many are often treated as less than human and are often paid less than they deserve. In North America, tips are often the only way many workers make up for being paid a low hourly wage. Some are even paid as little as $2.85.

Twp waitresses in Arkansas were tipped $4,400 this year for her service. It should have been a heartwarming moment, quickly becoming a gut-reaching nightmare. Her boss demanded he shares the tip, with the majority going to management. The waitress pointed out that they had never shared tips before, and it was not restaurant policy. She was fired after three years when she wouldn’t give her rightful tip.

The silver lining was supporters started a GoFunMe and have raised well over $15,000. The restaurant has been bombarded with 1-star reviews and has received extra scrutiny into its labour practice.

Amazon’s Warehouse Exposed

The monolith that is Amazon has been criticized rightfully for their mistreatment of their workers. From unreasonable expectations, workers peeing in bottles, and mass firings of the bottom performers. It’s a capitalist nightmare, but the nightmare got worse this year.

A hurricane hit an Amazon warehouse in Illinois. Sadly, six workers died. The immediate question was how could Amazon let this happen? There were weather warnings in Illinois that day, and they chose to ignore it. Instead, they sent workers in regardless of the danger, choosing productivity over workers’ safety.

Amazon responded to the tragedy by donating to the Edwardsville Community Foundation and providing relief supplies. However, it is not enough. An inquiry has been demanded into the incident.

Kellogg’s Boycott

Giant corporations which exemplify the worst of Capitalism seem to be the theme for this year. This year Kellog failed to give their union a fair deal. The tipping point was the deal would create a two-tier system that would pay new workers less (Truthout, 2021).

Kellog announced that it would hire scab workers to replace 1,400 workers who’ve been striking since October 2021. Once this news hits the internet, people from all walks o life chime in. From politicians to celebrities, everyone shames Kellog for their behaviour.

The subreddit Antiwork took an active approach and sent hundreds of applications to Kellog’s website, causing it to crash. Multiple petitions have sprouted up, and many have signed a petition to boycott their products. There is a clear, united message, treat your workers better.

  • Sources:
  • https://truthout.org/articles/calls-for-boycott-grow-after-kellogg-says-its-permanently-replacing-strikers/
  • https://people.com/human-interest/arkansas-server-says-receiving-tip-from-big-party-led-to-firing/
  • https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2021/12/15/amazon-warehouse-collapse-tornado/

Email A/B Variables

What is A/B Testing?

A/B testing is when you take two versions with only one change to two similar audiences to see a difference in performance.

Variables to Test

Don’t have ideas for what to test in your Emails? Here are some variables you can test to increase your open rate. I strongly suggest testing one at a time not to muddle the results.

  1. Time of Day: If your customers or audience is in geographic area. You can test whether specific times of day AM or PM will affect open rate.
  2. Day of week: Sometimes your audience will be more likely to open an email on a monday versus a friday.
  3. Subject lines: Try for variations on subject lines such as
    • Numbers
    • Tone
    • Specific Words
    • Emojis
    • Length
  4. Preview Text: You can change the preview text in many applications. Check if that makes a difference vs subject lines
  5. From name: Who you send it from may matter. Most are likely to delete emails from marketing @company.com rather than a real name.
  6. Personlization: Using their name has been shown to increase open rates. Sometimes it may not work for your audience, as it may be seen as pandering, it depends!

I hope you got some ideas, and of course, never stop creating and trying to improve!

Read my primer here if you want to learn more about A/B Testing.

What is Content Marketing?

Overview

Let’s break it down. Content is the assets customers will interact with. It can be blogs, videos, infographics, whitepapers, e-books, flyers, and more. The possibilities are endless. Content marketing is the planning, creating, and delivering that content to achieve your goals.

How to plan your Content Marketing Strategy

1. Established goals

This is the obvious first step for any strategy. The common goals of content marketing are generating leads, attracting visitors/potential customers, and engagement. These are starting goals, potential future goals if your content does well and becomes your business or side business such as YouTubers, influencers, selling your e-books etc. It can generate potential revenue.

2. Choose the audience.

Define your audience. You can choose a broad, but the better defined they are, the better your strategy. It will guide the type of content you create. For example, for a younger audience, it will inform the usage of slang terms, brighter colours, what topics they are interested in.

3. Who are you?

What are your company’s values, mission, personality? It should be at the core of the content you make and fit into your brand. It will also help you create content to better explain and show off your company!

4. Conduct Competitor analysis

You can look at the various content your top competitors are creating to see where you may be lacking, where you can create unique content, and take inspiration from.

5.Delivery

Distribution channels for your content are important. Here is a quick list:

  • Social Media: There are general demographics on various social media. Also, different platforms favor certain formats better. For example, Youtube favours longer videos. While Instagram and Tiktok favors shorter video. Instagram is generally a visual platform. While Twitter, text works better.
  • Magazines, Newspapers, Newsletter and Blogs: Although physical print is dying, online has been booming. You can create your own or be a sponsor in another magazine. They often have niche audiences you can tap into.
  • Websites: Your website will be most visited channel, here you can control everything from the look, feel, of it including the content.
  • Apps: They have been booming and many companies have launched their own. It is a highly complex channel, so please work with an experience company and see if it fits in your strategy and needs.

Reminder there are places & content you own, earned (backlinks), and paid for. Explore them!

SEO will also be a part of your content strategy. Such as what topics to focus on, keywords to use, and drive traffic to it.

6. Promotion

You will need to promote your content. Various ways to promote are:

  • Email, like a regular newsletter
  • In-person
  • Social media Posts
  • Ads

7. KPIs

Before you should establish a baseline, and constantly check on the progress of your content. Typical KPIs are website visits, engagement, and etc.


Content is constant and needs to be generated to keep it fresh and new for your audience. If you don’t know what to create read my post on content various ideas for business.

6 Marketing Tactics/Ideas To Increase Job Applications

Finding talent is tough! Here’s are 5 ideas to help increase job applications.

1. Job Alerts

Many organizations offer forms where potential applicants can sign up to get an email alert when a job is posted. Some even have granular details for department, location, type etc. I’ve personally used them in my job search, and it helps spread the word quicker. Some organizations can set up these types of alerts, or you can do it manually via a monthly newsletter.

2. Social Media

It’s a great way to let a wider audience know about job openings! Post it in a story or post frequently. I’ve seen some of the higher traffic and shares come from these types of posts.


3. Video

A video speaks volumes and allows a truly rich experience. You can show branding, value, who your company is and established yourself in the applicants’ minds.

You can see an example at https://www.sap.com/canada/about/careers.html and https://www.apple.com/careers/ca/

4. Career Webpage

If an applicant lands on your company career page, they aren’t just looking for jobs. They want to learn more about your company in depth.

Check out these webpages: https://www.samsung.com/ca/about-us/careers/ & https://shakepay.com/careers

They give the benefits, what the company is about, their values, etc.


5. Niche Tradeshows/Expos/Fairs

Currently, right now, tradeshows are virtual. They are still a great way to find new talent and spread the word. The common ones are university fairs, career fairs, etc. However, you should think outside the box and go to industry or specific community shows. For example, Defcon is a widely known annual gathering for those in the IT industry. From hacking, programmers, social engineers, etc. There are often job booths set up there. Go where your target audience is!


6. Targeted sponsorship on Associations

Job boards are of course the tried and true ways to get applicants. Some associations have their job boards, email newsletters to spread about job opportunities or take sponsorships where you can place ads on their website. Professionals often keep themselves accredited and drive traffic to these associations. An example is RGD, check out theirs https://www.rgd.ca/find-a-designer/jobs/index

Hope that helps!

5 resources for non-designers

In today’s world, it’s easy to design beautiful and professional assets easily. There are many resources, both free and paid that are a godsend. Here are my top 5 recommendations for resources to use for non-designers.

Canva

Freemium

The number one resource in my opinion. They are a ton of ree options along premium ones. You do not need to download any design program likes Adobe. You can edit right in the platform, and it has a low learning curve. I highly recommend this resource to start with to learn and play around with.  You can do almost anything from graphics to videos. 

Pricing starts at: Free -> Pro (149.99 CAD) -> Enterprise (Custom pricing) for the year

Envato Elements

Paid Subscription

You will need a design program like adobe to use the templates, but by far they are one of my favorite paid resource. They have so many different types of assets you could use. From Music to even 3D! That blew my mind. The pricing is reasonable, their UI is amazing (Filtering!) and I love the quality.


Pricing starts at Team (129 CAD) -> Enterprise (Custom pricing) for the year 

 

Adobe Stock

Paid

You will need adobe programs to use this resource. This is pricest by far, but they do have unique assets that can be only found on Adobe Stock. They also split their resources in interesting ways. They also offer a couple of freebies if you have an adobe creative subscription. So take advantage!

Pricing starts at: 10 Assets (38.99 CAD) -> 40 Assets (104.99 CAD) -> 750 Assets (261.99 CAD) for the year. Or you can get credits from 5 – 150 ranging from 65.99 to 1600 CAD.

Vecteezy

Freemium

They have a ton of vectors and photos in their library that I don’t see anywhere else. They have a ton of free ones alongside their premium ones. 

Pricing starts at:  Unlimited downloads (109 ) for the year -> Monthly subscriptin at  (14) each month

FreePik

Freemium

They have a good amount of free assets of vectors, photos and psd. Very paired down but they have a vast library. You will need Adobe programs to use their resources. 

Pricing starts at: Free -> Monthly Premium (10.49 USD) -> Yearly Premium (83.99 USD)

See my other recommendations of applications and programs here.

5 Webinar Ideas

Webinars have seen an explosion over the past decade. Webinars have benefited the audience by providing useful information and topics for them. While for organizations webinars they drive traffic, leads, and established thought leadership. We are all familiar with the standard format. A featured speaker will talk at length about or topic, usually with a host or by themselves.

I absolutely love them, but from time to time you want to spice it up. Here are five webinar ideas to try.

Q&A

Can’t think of a topic? Solicit it from your future audience and followers. Let them tell you what they want to learn about. If you are an expert or know an expert, the best thing they love is answering questions about their industry or specialty. As a bonus is you can get future content too.

Trivia

Make it fun! You can do two in one. Trivia is huge. From bar trivia to Jeopardy. People love to flex their knowledge. Run a Trivia, where you have your audience compete for the correct answer. After each question go in a bit in-depth about that specific question. Kahoot is a great resource to run your Webinar-Trivia hybrid.

Google Autocomplete interview

Take a well known idea and put your own twist on it. I’m sure some of you have seen the Google Autocomplete interviews. You can do one for your industry or speciality. You can make into a standalone video or into a webinar where you interact with the audience and go in depth. Google already knows what people want, so give it them! See below for an example.

Reacting to Movies and TV Shows

If you are lucky to be in an industry where Hollywood has made movies or TV shows about you can do reaction or breakdown. It’s fascinating to see what Hollywood gets right and wrong about our favorites. Like before this can be standalone or made into a reaction and webinar hybrid. See the video below for a example.

Debate or Reaching a Middle Ground

Who doesn’t like to see a good debate. If there is a controversy you want to explore with your audience. You can have two experts duke it out on their side, and get input from the audience in form of questions or to deliver the final verdict on who was right/convincing. It will be hard to pull off, but it is certainly worth the try if you have the moxie.

5 Unique Marketing Tactics For Manufacturers

There are many tried and true tactics and tools that we all know, but it’s sometimes difficult to know all the marketing tactics that exist out there. Here are five unique marketing tactics that you may not have heard of before for manufacturers. Channel Incentive Programs

Channel Incentive Programs

70% of sales are indirect (McBain, 2019). A lot of manufacturers reply on channel sales, and channel incentive programs are an application to help manage, disburse incentives, train and educate and more. It does depend on the vendor. Why I advocate for implementing a channel incentive program, is because it’s a way to create a branded channel sales rep program. It gives that extra edge for a sales rep to sell your product over anyone else.

Major examples are

  • HP’s Blue Carpet – Link
  • HPE’s Engage & Grow – Link
  • Microsoft – Link
  • Etc

A vendor I recommend is ChannelAssist https://www.channelassist.com/. They created the award-winning HP Gem club program.

Host your own awards

Winning awards is difficult on your own, so why not create one yourself? Become an advocate for your industry’s best and celebrate them. Many companies created yearly awards that have become a staple. It helps create backlinks, generates good PR, and increases your perceived expertise.

An example is CSSBI’s Annual photography award, the RedDot Award, etc.

Get featured on Podcasts

We are in the golden age of Podcasts. Studies have shown people are listening to them more than ever! They listen on their drive, doing chores, shower etc. There is a podcast for everything. Look into getting featured on some. Even if you can’t find industry-specific ones, you can find adjacent podcasts such as sales, marketing, and more! It’s a fun way to market your product if the podcasts allow it, you generate good PR and backlinks. A win-win.

If you can’t get featured, look into being a sponsor, it’s definitely a booming marketing tactic. Blue apron anyone?

Webinars

Similar to podcasts, this is a way to generate content and get backlinks. Find interesting people in your industry and interview them! Usually, you would focus on one topic and explore it. The difference between podcasts, is you have a live audience who can chime in and ask questions. This gives an opportunity to engage and learn. It’s also fun!

ROI or Assesement Tools

This one requires a lot of work, but it is well worth it. Especially, if your product its complex. We are all familiar with them as consumers, such as insurance quotes, calculators, personality quizzes, etc. The goal is to tell the prospect what they are missing out, or need. Which is of course revenue, and your product.

Examples are of amazing tools are:

Hope these ideas helped and never stop experimenting!

How to Create a Webinar Landing Page in HubSpot

To create a simple registraton webinar landing page, I suggest going to HubSpot’s Market Place. Where you can download themes, modules, and templates for the landing page without having to create one from scratch. They range from many different price points.

I perfer the Drive | Drag-And-Drop Website Theme – Lite Version by Drive Web Studio. You can use whichever you want, and download it to your asset downloads/library.

Once it finishes downloading you can access them by selecting the market place icon in the top left corner and then choose “Marketplace downloads”.

Click create a page from the list.

Of course, create a form and start inputting the visuals and details.

I also recommend downloading the Countdown Time Module. It gives a sense of urgency to your prospects.

Hope that helps and as always happy creating!

Types of Content Ideas for Business

Creating content is always a huge undertaking. Here’s are some ideas to help!

Blog Posts

  • Awards
  • Company news
  • Employee Spotlights
  • Explainers
  • History
  • Ideas
  • Top benefits of X
  • Top Lists (Podcasts, products, etc)
  • Types of X
  • Year in review
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Visualize Data

Videos

  • Ads
  • Employee Spotlight
  • Explainers
  • Facility
  • Interviews
  • Short Videos
  • Webinars Clips
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Visualize Data

Social Media

  • Answer FAQ
  • Bite-Size Video Clips/Gifs
  • Company accomplishments
  • Company culture
  • Company milestones
  • Contests
  • Correct a common misconception that relates to your industry
  • Cross-promote our social media platforms
  • Curated Content
  • Event/Tradeshow Promotion
  • How-to videos
  • Image Scrabble Guess what this image is
  • Industry News
  • Inspiration Quotes? (Motivational Monday) for contractors
  • Links to free resources
  • Live Video (Instagram)
  • Newsletter and product knowledge
  • On this day in History
  • Product/Company Videos
  • Promote your partners
  • Question Posts/Polls
  • Quick Tips and Plans
  • Recommended Podcasts
  • Reference pop culture / topical items
  • Share infographics
  • Share something funny
  • Share statistics
  • Thank customers for their support
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Visualize Data

Infographics

  • Generational impacts or vice versa
  • How-to tutorials
  • Pain points and solution
  • Types of X
  • X amount of benefits
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Visualize Data

Happy creating!

MSP Business School – Enabling Sales Success by Driving Action (Guest Feature)

I had a great time at MSP Business School. In episode 68, Paul Schroeder and I share excellent suggestions on incentivizing your sales team to increase revenue and how ChannelAssist Inc helps companies create these programs.

Listen at the Website or Listen Below!


Follow MSP Business School Podcast at:

A podcast geared to Technology Service Providers where we bring you strategies and tactics to grow your business and build a winning culture. I love their podcast and the dynamic between the hosts is great!

Follow the Hosts at their LinkedIn:

Additional Resources at:

Make Wistia’s Play Button Appear In A HubSpot Email

If you are running into the issue of the Wistia’s Play button not showing up in your HubSpot email using the Email widget underneath Content, here’s how to fix it.

  1. Build a custom coded template in Hubspot. Here’s the link or it should be in common module.
  2. Once you are done, it should be in the “more” of the content section.

3. Drag the “HTML-Email” module onto your email as usual.

4. Go to Wistia and click on the “Embed & Share” button.

5. Copy the code in the Email Merge Tag

6. Paste it into the Hubspot HTML Module, you can change the width and height to fit your email.

You’re done, and you should see the play button now in your email.

If you are still experiencing problems. Contact Wistia’s support team. They are amazing!