7 Ways Online Retailers Can Improve Their Customer Marketing

7 Ways Online Retailers Can Improve Their Customer Marketing

7 Ways Online Retailers Can Improve Their Customer Marketing

Awesome! Your online store is live… but now what?

What will help your eCommerce store navigate the waters in a constantly saturated marketplace?

With customers choosing brands like Amazon over other eCommerce stores (it grew from 900 million to 1 billion in June 2020) during the pandemic, the competition is growing pretty quickly.

Every online retailer faces the challenges of skyrocketing sales. And with people getting used to regular Facebook ads, it is important to find a strategy that actually helps your business grow.

Today, I’m going to share some insightful tips to help you grow your sales naturally. Most of them will work, provided that you are consistent.

What is customer marketing?

Don’t let the fancy phrase confuse you. Customer marketing simply refers to campaign and marketing strategies to retain an existing customer base by improving their overall experience.

You can use it for boosting growth, ROI, and retention rate.


It will also help you with advocacy and community participation.

Take advantage of the following methods to make your customer marketing sizzle.

1. Create a targeted blog

Yes, all of you have probably heard all about starting a blog.

But, there’s more to the picture!

When we talk about starting a blog, we’re generally talking about a fresh blog that publishes relevant posts so you can generate traffic and improve conversion.

However, targeted blogs focus on creating content that reaches out to the right audience.

To begin targeting, start by creating a blog. You don’t necessarily need to choose a new domain. You can also set up a blog on your online retail store (as a new category) or a sub-domain.

Next, create a list of your competitors and a list of the relevant keywords you have in mind.

Type in the relevant words on a keyword research tool like KWFinder. For instance, if you run a fashion store, you can type in fashion clothing and it will find low-competition, high search rate keywords for you.


Similarly, you can type in an entire domain into this keyword research tool and uncover some great keywords.

Creating a targeted blog will not only help you retain existing customers and improve user engagement but also grow your sales overall.

2. Use an automated platform for customer marketing

When it comes to improving customer marketing for online retailers, you cannot possibly miss out on AI-based marketing automation platforms.

This is because a big part of online retailer traffic comes from paid ads on Google and Facebook/Instagram. But, running cold campaigns increases the cost per click and reduces the ROI.

This is where ad automation platforms like ConvertedIn come into action. ConvertedIn, an AI machine automates everything from segmenting unique profiles to creating an audience and a lookalike audience for targeting and retargeting.

You can easily retain and grow your customer base and boost your ROI by using a customer marketing platform.

3. Create a referral marketing program

Should you want to hit two birds with one stone, create a referral marketing program.

A referral program retains existing customers and helps acquire new customers so you can easily grow your eCommerce store.

You can use an automated referral marketing software like ReferralCandy.

A referral program rewards the customer for every purchase made by its recommendation. There are a lot of examples for referral marketing where eCommerce stores reward customers with cash prizes, discounts, vouchers, and gifts.

It is quite similar to affiliate marketing, but is personalized towards keeping the customer experience intact. One great example of this is Healthy Paws, a pet insurance site.


Every time a referral is made, a donation will be made on your behalf.

4. Tinker the customer experience using email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most saturated marketing strategies for promoting products and services.

It is for this reason that you need to strategically optimize your email copy. Your email needs to connect with your customers and should show you care for the customer experience.

Here are a few tips to help you with that:

  • Personalize your emails – In addition to using your customer’s name in the email, customize your email based on your customer’s needs. For instance, if you have a multi-niche eCommerce store and a customer buys a kids clothing item, you can suggest similar items like apparel (cross-selling). But it won’t make sense if you recommend a digital item, even if it’s your monthly best seller.
  • Switch to omnichannel platforms – Another way to optimize your email campaigns is by collecting information using an omnichannel marketing automation platform. These platforms collect user info from email marketing, SMS marketing, Facebook messenger, etc. and help you create a custom email marketing strategy.
  • Be mobile responsive – By this I mean customize email content for multiple devices. If most of your customers are mobile users, reduce the content size, and create shorter email templates.

5. Thank your loyal customers

Should you want to master the art of customer loyalty management, you need to understand one very important thing:

“When existing customers are buying from your store, they are choosing your business over the competitors”

And it is thus important to pat them on the back every now and then.

One great way to thank your loyal customers and collect feedback is by using a loyalty marketing platform that works with most eCommerce platforms.

You can use platforms like CandyBar for both providing small rewards on frequent purchases and auto-collecting feedback for improving the customer experience.

6. Personalize your shipments

We all know how free shipping can improve conversion rates and offer a better user experience.

However, most brands don’t do much about the post-shipment experience. It is due to this reason that most dropshipping models fail.

A post-shipment experience is as important as a good quality product. You need to help customers to keep a better eye on their orders. These platforms usually charge a very small fee but help your customers to track and be notified of the order details.

Plus, you can also get better feedback on delivery parameters to analyze your customer satisfaction level.

7. Improve the customer experience using brand aesthetics

Brand aesthetics play an important role in brand awareness and customer marketing.

While most stores take care of design just after store setup, there’s a huge difference between a beautiful theme and a conversion-friendly theme.

When designing your store for brand aesthetics and selecting a theme, remember to optimize!

Start by thinking about your business niche and create your logo accordingly. For instance, a minimal logo won’t be the best fit for a trendy clothing store. Look for a few options using AI-based tools to find the best fit.

Next, make sure that your value proposition follows the Z pattern design principle according to which a reader checks out a site from left to right in the header, then goes to the lower left corner and scans again from left to right.

Use high-quality product images for better conversions. Also, don’t forget to optimize your store for SEO.

Final words on customer marketing

Above are some tips I picked up from my experience. As a business owner, you should always look for new ways to tailor customer marketing.

Here are some bonus tips:

  • Use A/B testing tools for your store
  • Boost the user experience by optimizing your site speed
  • Create a social community for regular visitors
  • Collect feedback using survey builders

Guest author: Pulkit Bhardwaj is a WordPress blogger and an eCommerce enthusiast. When he’s not busy sharing awesome ideas, he can be found helping online stores on boutiquesetup.net or writing blogging guides on starttheblog.com

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7 Data-Proven Insights for Top-Performing Instagram Content

7 Data-Proven Insights for Top-Performing Instagram Content

7 Data-Proven Insights for Top-Performing Instagram Content

Instagram marketing is more competitive than ever.

This colorful platform has witnessed more than 1 billion users to date and more than half a billion active users on a monthly basis, as shown by Statista.

Instagram stories are a hit among users. Did you know that around half a billion population post stories every day?

These facts and figures also prove that this unconventional social media site helps in giving its users a massive organic read, a feat that hardly any other platform can claim.

To say that Instagram can be a potent tool for businesses and aspiring marketers, would be an understatement.

If you are planning to up your game on this social media platform and ensure that your Instagram content stands out from the crowd, you need to plan a robust content strategy.

And have some tricks up your sleeve.

Luckily, recent data has shown some remarkable insights –  therein lies your secret of achieving maximum Instagram engagement.

Here’s what the stats say about optimizing your Instagram content.

1. Post more top-performing organic content

Any good marketer knows that ads alone cannot keep engagement up on a long-term basis.

That’s where great, competitive organic content steps in.

According to Instagram analytics studies, carousels can provide better engagement than a single picture or video clip.

Carousels can get you an average of 1.92% engagement rate in every post.


Videos also fair well because of the continuous flow of visuals and information.

The Instagram engagement of video clips is pegged at 1.45% for each post, while single pictures can give you an engagement rate of 1.74%.

On the other hand, when you weave a story through a series of images and clips in a single post, viewers get hooked to it.

These statistics show that the concept of the carousel gets more user engagement and hence you should resort more to creating them.

However, that doesn’t mean that 90% of your content strategy should consist of carousel posts.

Find a balance between these three types of posts that work best for your audience. And let carousels be the spice in your content strategy

Start creating attractive carousels to hook the people into your value proposition.

2. Get creative with carousels

Out of the millions of posts present on Instagram, carousels claim around 19.44% of them.

Stay ahead of the game by finding new, creative ways of using carousels.

You can top it up by posting stories of your carousels which might prompt viewers to check your original posts.


What’s more, Instagram allows you to upload 10 images or video clips in a single post where viewers can swipe to check the next offering.

This opens up a lot of opportunities for users to be at their creative best.

Here are some ways which can help you make your carousels get good Instagram engagement:

Use a combination of images and video clips

Carousels give a sense of sweet suspense. It keeps the audience captivated and they can’t wait to see what’s coming next.

An alluring combination of video clips and pictures is said to drive the engagement rate to 2.33% for each post. This is way more than the engagement rate of pictures (1.8%) or videos (1.86%) posted separately in the form of carousels.


You can use this type of content to make some recommendations about some of the best products and put a product demonstration tutorial in one of the slots.

You should try to weave a short story through your carousel where the pictures and clips convey emotions.

Create a story with 8-10 slides

People love storytelling, and carousels offer an ingenious way of showcasing a story.

Using more slides has proven to be quite effective at driving engagement.


This space allows for a lot of creativity. Just make sure all of your slides make sense.

Don’t use more slots if you do not have enough content

I cannot stress this enough.

Just because Instagram has allowed you to fill 10 slots does not mean that you have to go all out. The key is to retain the attention of the audience and make sure people are invested.

It has been found that carousels having two slots bring an engagement of about 1.9% each post. So only sticking to the two slides performs well enough.

Don’t use all the carousel slots for your posts if you don’t have enough content.

The trick of raising engagement when using all 10 slides only works when the post makes sense.

A before and after reveal story

A lot of brands have hit the jackpot with these types of carousels.

People love transformation stories. It fills them with excitement and motivation to see the drastic improvements.

Viewers get passionate about the fact of how you were able to turn things around for the better.

You can utilize two slots from the carousel for putting up ‘Before’ and ‘After’ pictures. This will give you a high engagement rate.

You can also put a series of 8-10 demonstration clips in your carousel to showcase the entire conversion process.

3. Keep captions short

No matter what type of Instagram post you want to publish, remember to keep the captions short, sweet, and to the point.

Data shows that posts whose captions are up to ten words drive a better engagement rate – between 2.35% and 3.13%.


4. Use videos to drive conversations

While carousels are eye-catching, videos have proven to inspire more people to comment on a brand post.


To be precise, video posts receive a median of 11 comments per post, higher than images or carousels.

That’s because, when used right, a video offers a much more personal experience to viewers.

5. Make use of Ads

Any Instagram profile needs a boost every now and then.

If organic content keeps your followers tuned into your brand, ads are the best way to get more followers and get noticed by a larger audience.

You can create ads within the app, by boosting your posts, with the help of ads manager or through Instagram partners that can help you with everything from buying ads to sourcing and delivering creative.

Instagram offers the opportunity to create:

  • stories ads
  • photo ads
  • video ads
  • carousel ads
  • collection ads
  • ads in explore

Here are some of the tips you can follow to make lucrative ads:

  • Post aesthetic photos that show your vision.
  • Keep your text to a minimum on the image. The Instagram algorithm does not boost a post if the text content exceeds 20% of the image in the picture.
  • Put up a short and crisp caption with your post. Short captions tend to perform better.
  • Include relevant and trending hashtags with your post so as to connect with the right audience. The number of hashtags must not exceed the limit of 30.

6. Create engaging Stories

Stories are a great way of grabbing the attention of Instagrammers.

It is a great platform to highlight some valuable information and inform your followers about what you have been up to lately.

Especially if you’re a small brand, you can get your message noticed faster and more effectively with stories

Some interesting statistics about Instagram stories are:

  • Brands are publishing Stories on average 7 days a month
  • Half of the brands are using videos in Stories
  • Publishing up to 6 stories a day leads to better results
  • Brands with a small audience reach more than 9% of their followers with Stories
  • Images underperform videos by having a higher tap-forwards rate of 5.65% on Stories
  • Pictures in Stories get more drop-offs compared with videos
  • The highest drop in Stories happens between 2 and 3 stories within a day
  • 6 people out of 10,000 Stories viewers reply to Stories

This offers some insights into how to optimize brand stories, how many stories to publish daily or why it’s important to leverage video stories.

You can put up a high-resolution picture with minimal content about your product as your story.

You can also introduce some calls-to-action buttons in the story, like ‘Swipe Up’ which will take the viewers to your Instagram page or your website.

7. Go Live

The best way to show that a brand cares about its customers is to engage regularly with them.

Did you know that 80% of people would rather watch live video from a brand than read a blog?

That’s because live streaming brings a face and name to your brand. It makes it human and relatable.

This has a huge impact on increasing the connection between your audience and your company.

And as far as reach and brand visibility is concerned, one impactful advantage is that when you go live, you will be featured right at the beginning of the Instagram story section.

Your followers will also receive a notification through which they will join your live feed.

You can go live from your company page to announce a product launch or talk about your product offerings, while also showcasing company values.

Show the emotional and human side of the company which will project you to be caring and responsible.

Final thoughts

If you see that your posts with multiple images are receiving fewer likes, try incorporating video clips to the carousel next time.

Go live to increase your followers and engagement.

Go all out, and bring out your creative instincts in this vibrant platform.

Guest author: Teodora Lozan is a content writer and SaaS Marketer for Socialinsider, a social media analytics tool with a strong focus on benchmarking. She writes about the ins and outs of social media, helping brands get the best results out of their marketing efforts. You can follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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How a Single Tweet Can Destroy or Build your Brand Reputation

How a Single Tweet Can Destroy or Build your Brand Reputation

How a Single Tweet Can Destroy or Build your Brand Reputation

Let’s face it, Twitter can be toxic (sometimes). A single tweet can be the beginning of growth or destruction for your brand and career.

Waking up to a flood of notifications and tweets all about you.

Something you tweeted some hours ago or a day before has become a trending topic.

Wow, you have become famous thanks to that single tweet.

But it isn’t easy to deal with because your career and brand image are on the line.

That single tweet has ruined your image and you are at the mercy of others.

Something you thought might only be visible to your two-digit followers has now gotten thousands of retweets and comments.

In the next few hours, you receive calls from family and friends.

A few days in, your boss calls to let you know you’re fired. Okay, let’s not go this far, although it has happened to a lot of people.

The term for it – public shaming.

Wait a minute, I am not telling you a fairy story here, this is something that has happened and will continue to happen. And who knows, you might be next!

Not a curse, a single tweet has ruined a lot of people’s careers and brands and has also helped a lot of people.

Going to Africa, Hope I Don’t Get AIDS. Just kidding, I’m White!


That single tweet changed Justine Sacco’s life, maybe not for the best.

But the tweet she sent just trying to make a joke or what you might see it as, racism, or whatever, made her a laughing stock.

And the most painful aspect, you don’t plan for such a thing.

She had just 174 followers when she posted the tweet.

But the people on Twitter decided to make the tweet catch fire.

The tweet got picked and retweeted by different influencers. Donald Trump also responded to the tweet and also supported the motion “Fire Justine”.

Just like you guessed, she was fired. And the critical aspect is that a tweet led to that.

A tweet tarnished her image and maybe her career.

Okay, Do you still remember Monica Foy?


“I can’t believe so many people care about a dead cop and NO ONE has thought to ask what he did to deserve it. He had creepy perv eyes…”

That was her single tweet that went viral also.

It was a tweet she made about a dead cop who was shot in the back of the head at a gas station.

While she might not have meant what she stated in the tweet, as she revealed on NYMAG, that it was all a joke.

Regardless of the motive or the meaning behind the tweet, her rise to fame wasn’t a pleasant one.

What about the recent one that happened to the CEO of CrossFit?

Recently this year, the CEO of CrossFit started to trend on twitter.

And the main cause was a single tweet he made about coronavirus and racism.

Not only did a lot of Twitter fans nail him on the platform, some even threatened Crossfit’s partners to quit their partnership with CrossFit.

And some also vowed to never order a service from CrossFit again.

I was also puzzled just as you are.

To cut the long story short, he resigned from his position.

Enough of that, what about businesses that have been won via a tweet? Or lives that have been changed for the better via a tweet?

Tesla’s $40 Million Marketing Platform


Wondering what that platform could be? Ads? No. The platform is none other than Elon Musk’s Twitter account.

Whenever there’s news or promotion for Tesla, Elon Musk has always tweeted about them.

And the best part is that the news and other media sources lift the tweet or promotion from his account and make it a headline for the different news outlets.

So, even without doing a press release for products and promotions, his Twitter account has always done a perfect job.

Even for those not active on Twitter, they will hear about his tweets via other media outlets. So, a single tweet from his handle is worth millions of dollars.

And not just his alone, a lot of small businesses are also winning businesses via their Twitter account.

Influencers like Gary Vaynerchuk and Lewis Howes have constantly used their Twitter account to promote their courses and programs.

Obviously, it’s working for them.

Wendy’s Free Nuggets



This is a tweet made by Carter Wilkerson in 2017 about getting Wendy’s free nuggets for a year.

He asked Wendy’s, how many retweets would it cost him to get a free chicken nuggets for a year, and they said; 18 Million.

Obviously, Carter didn’t reach the 18 Million retweets but he surpassed 3.6 million retweets, and it is one of the most retweeted tweets ever.

He got his free nuggets for a year. For Wendy’s, that was a massive advertisement for them.

Even those that don’t know Wendy’s before, got to hear about them thanks to the millions of retweets Carter brought for them.

It’s a win-win for both. Wendy’s got a massive promotion for their brand while Carter got free nuggets for a year.

Twitter as the New Press

Taking a deep look into how Twitter has negatively and positively contributed to businesses and lives, it’s safe to call Twitter the new press.

But twitter being the new press doesn’t have much to do with you, right?

It does.

If you recognize the power of Twitter to either destroy or grow lives and businesses, you’ll know how to wield its power.

As sad as it is, a lot of people have been publicly shamed just because of a tweet.

But we cannot neglect the number of people that have been lovely welcomed or businesses that have been won thanks to Twitter.

There are two sides to everything.

And that leads me to the final question.

Is it okay to call Twitter the new press?

What are your thoughts on this?

Guest author: Akinduyo Eniola is a content marketer for hire and internet researcher that writes about Saas, digital marketing, and entrepreneurship. He has been featured on CoSchedule, Teamgate, and few other Saas blogs.

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How Agencies Can Improve Marketing Proposal Processes

How Agencies Can Improve Marketing Proposal Processes

How Agencies Can Improve Marketing Proposal Processes

As anyone who works in digital marketing will tell you, the vast majority of the proposals that you write will be rejected without you ever hearing back.

This high failure to success rate can be very demoralizing, and you can end up feeling like you are flogging a dead horse by spending a large amount of your time putting together doomed proposal after doomed proposal.

Improving your proposal uptake success rate is difficult as you will almost never receive feedback for why your proposals are so consistently failing to get the gig.

First of all, let us take a brief look at why experts say that most marketing proposals end up falling on deaf ears.

The most common marketing proposal writing sins

Most unsuccessful marketing proposals are rejected out of hand for one or both of the following reasons, regardless of the viability of the ideas contained within them:

1. Failure to Captivate the Client’s Interest

It is highly likely that cramming your proposal full of too much information that is not essential to the proposal will fail to hook a client. Your proposal will be one of many that will have to be sifted and will be tossed aside if it does not make an immediate impact.

2. Less Focus on the Client’s Needs

Making their business the talking point of the presentation is a big mistake that marketers often make unknowingly. This happens when the presentation puts more emphasis on your experience, achievements, and credentials rather than making the client and their problems the centerpiece. An ideal proposal focuses on the client and utilizes your business creds to demonstrate the value you can bring to them.

3. Poor Presentation

It does not matter how good your idea is, if it is not presented in a logical and understandable way that focuses on the needs of the client first, your proposal will be discarded.

4. Ambiguous Pricing Structure

Another common theme among discarded proposals is the absence of a clear pricing structure. If a client is confused about how much what you are proposing is actually going to end up costing them, they are unlikely to bite.

Keys to marketing proposal success

Bid-winning proposal-writing is based principally on rectifying the problems outlined in the first section. What follows are a few principles that you should consider integrating into your marketing proposals to give you an edge over competitors:

1. Focus on the Client’s Specific Needs

A massive factor in bad proposal-writing is a tendency to spend too much time describing your own marketing company at the beginning of your pitch.

A better approach is to start by showing the client that you have done meticulous research into their business, how it works, and ways that their marketing strategy can be improved.

Leave no stone unturned here – this is your chance to impress the client, who will be instilled with confidence by your meticulousness.

2. Put a Spotlight on Their Pain Points

Nothing pushes people into action more than seeing all of their most pressing problems laid out before them. So make sure to understand the problems of your client and be ready to show them how these problems are hurting their business.

A smart and effective way to do this is by including screenshots of a non-functional landing page, 404 error pages, a slow-loading website, or anything else that may be relevant. Point out how these factors are negatively impacting the client’s business, their Google rankings, and their brand’s image and reputation.

Talk about the missed opportunities and the money they are leaving on the table. If this section is presented well, your prospects will be eager to know about the solution you are about to offer.

3. Lay Out Your Strategy

Only after you have identified the specific needs and pain points of the client should you then start to lay out how you are going to use your expertise to help them.

Depending on the client and their requirements you may propose different levels of participation, ranging from a limited advisory role at one end of the scale to a role that involves a consultant or team coming in to completely taking over your client’s marketing department.

Now is the time to win over the client by being crystal clear about the skills and knowledge you are bringing to the table and how you have helped other clients in similar situations in the past.

A good tip here is to add a case study to strengthen the case you’re trying to build. But make sure to do so only if your case study is relevant to the client or the scope of work you’ve outlined in your proposal.

Keep it short and to-the-point, and don’t forget to include data and KPIs that clearly show the value you’ve been able to generate (see image).


4. Sell Yourself Effectively

Remember how in the first point I mentioned the importance of shifting the focus from your business to the clients’? Well, now is the time to talk a bit about your company and why the clients should choose you.

Keep this section succinct, but make sure your professionalism and expertise shine through. The prospect may have no idea about who you are. So treat this as an opportunity to not only introduce your company but also present your mission statement, core values, and USPs in a way that will delight them.

5. Set Realistic Results Targets

While it can be tempting to promise immediate success to gain an edge over a rival bidder, be aware that your client is likely to see through any unrealistic targets without too much effort.

Setting down a realistic timetable for success with clear milestones along the way is far more likely to gain trust (see image).


Defining your metrics for measuring the effectiveness of the campaign is crucial at this juncture. If your bid is successful, too much optimism at the outset, which is not reflected in the subsequent success of the campaign, will possibly lead to a breakdown in the relationship with a disappointed client at a later date.

6. Frame Accurate Cost Estimations

Along with the hard costs of your project, it is important to take into account other associated costs that will eventually add up such as tools to be used, other sub-contractors or vendors to be involved, etc.

What about employee time and other expenses it will take to complete the project? These intangible costs can be easy to gloss over. Breakdown the costs of all applicable effort within the scope and then work out the return on investment (ROI) projections.

A project that adds more value than it costs is always a winner. So make sure your marketing proposal is able to clearly reflect the value to justify the cost.

Wrapping up

When laid out like this, proposal-writing is simple. Remember that marketing proposals don’t make the most interesting reads. But you can make it persuasive by delivering the key information, insights, and strategy in an effective manner.

Companies like Local Digital have been following this same formula for proposal success for a long time. Why not apply it to your own proposal-writing?

Avoid the pitfalls and adapt your proposal-writing strategy to incorporate the principles described above, and you will see a definite upturn in the number of successful bids you put in almost immediately.

Guest author: Wilbert Bail is an outreach manager and web designer at Local Digital. He has an adventurous mind but seldom travels as he would rather stay home and make client’s business websites more visible on the internet. He likes techie stuff and enjoys the weekend playing video games.

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The Secret eCommerce Growth Strategies of Popular Online Marketplaces

The Secret eCommerce Growth Strategies of Popular Online Marketplaces

The Secret eCommerce Growth Strategies of Popular Online Marketplaces Like Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay

Ever since the pandemic (COVID-19) has hit global health and the economy, many businesses are struggling to cope with current scenarios.

People are avoiding public places to avoid the spread of the virus, thus making the brick and mortar store irrelevant for some time.

Businesses have to focus their efforts on online channels and engaging their customers to order from them. To regain the foot count and profits during the pandemic, businesses are shifting from traditional brick and mortar stores to online eCommerce stores.


Retail eCommerce website traffic stats worldwide after Feb 2020.

When I mention the term “eCommerce,” a few big names come to mind, Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba. We know the success these online marketplaces have witnessed, but do we consider the struggles these companies went through to become the industry monsters that they are today?

The history of eCommerce giants Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay

Jeff Bezos started Amazon as a website that only sold books, and his vision was for the company’s explosive growth and eCommerce domination.

Amazon started in Bezos’ garage, and the server required so much power that a dryer or vacuum could not be operated without fusing the electricity.

Amazon held its meeting in Barnes and Noble during the early stages, and in the first month itself, Amazon sold in 50 states in 45 countries. Every step taken by Amazon was not only to grow the business but to set a benchmark in the eCommerce sector.

Lesser-known fact: When deciding the name for the business, Bezos favored the name: Relentless. If you still visit Relentless.com. It navigates to Amazon.com.

Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba, a strong competitor for Amazon in the Chinese market. His struggle in his early childhood to become a famous entrepreneur is a real rag to riches story. He grew up in poor communist China and failed his university exam twice. Jack Ma – born – Ma Yun applied to dozens of jobs where he was rejected. He also applied to KFC, where he was rejected as a suitable candidate.

When eBay launched, Bezos wanted to adopt the business model of auction websites. He tried to launch an auction website to compete with eBay, but the idea was a flop.

Businesses struggle to stand in the market, even Amazon or eBay in its early days struggled to become relevant. A business strategy that will ensure growth is necessary for every business to stay relevant in the ever-changing market.

Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba have not just evolved themselves but the whole eCommerce sector. Startups and SMBs take inspiration from these businesses before starting their online marketplace.

Here are some of the growth strategies that eCommerce behemoths used to become popular eCommerce brands.

Business models

When you think about starting an eCommerce business, you start by analyzing the market leader that is working on a similar business model. If you carefully check the business model of eCommerce giants, you will notice a huge difference.

Alibaba dominates the Chinese retail industry and works on the asset-light business model. The business does not store the inventory of businesses selling on the platform; it merely connects the buyers with the seller. The business revenue model depends on core commerce, digital media, entertainment, and innovative initiatives.

Amazon is growing through a competitive edge of fulfillment and delivery. Amazon, unlike Alibaba, owns some of the inventory of its merchandise and sells directly to customers. Amazon is currently twice as big as Alibaba, with a market capitalization of $800 billion. The core revenue source of Amazon is online, 3rd party seller service, subscription, and advertisement.


Image Source: FourWeekMBA.com

eBay originally started with a P2P business model and started to sell products based on the auction-style sale. As the business grew, it started its ‘buy now’ option, which allows sellers to sell products to customers directly.

Customer policies

eCommerce websites keep evolving according to the latest market trends. Any eCommerce website should formulate policies and functionalities to keep the customer experience seamless. One way to judge how eCommerce stores are improving the customer’s experience is by checking the website of eCommerce giants and the transformation that they have gone through.

Amazon was launched in the year 1995. The logo of the website was “A” with a winding river flowing through it. On the bottom of the logo, the Amazon bookstore was written. In the year 2008, Amazon redesigned itself completely. The site embraced a blue and orange color scheme, complementing the orange from the logo’s smile.


Image Source: Amazon Logo History

Alibaba makes policies and functionality based on the data they collect. Alibaba collects a lot of data from the customer’s purchase journey, making it easy for them to devise new strategies or adventures for customers.

Business acquisitions and new ventures

When a business, whether it is eCommerce or offline, gets through its early days and becomes stable, they want to expand. Expanding means spreading wings into new industries or sectors and acquiring other relevant businesses.

These eCommerce businesses moved forward in leaps and bounds as their vision was to revolutionize the eCommerce sector and create a benchmark for businesses to follow. New technologies adopted by these businesses always focused on making the process easier for consumers and sellers.

Amazon became a giant due to its ventures and acquisitions. An essential venture which has been the talk of the town for a long time is Amazon Prime. Prime membership allows customers not only to get delivery in a single day but opens up an array of movies and music on a subscription basis. Amazon also launched Alexa or echo dot, which is a virtual assistant device. The turning point for Amazon was when they acquired the Kiva system, and the most economically significant acquisition was when Amazon acquired Whole Foods.

Amazon spent $775 million for the Kiva system and has been one of Amazon’s three most significant acquisitions. Re-dubbed, as Amazon robotic, is involved in innovation in logistics and warehousing. The operation focuses on small robots that can carry 540 kgs per unit from one place to another. The robots’ working depends on sensors that avoid them from colliding with each other, and the barcode on the floor guides them to the destination.


Image Source: Startupflux.com

After receiving success in its industry, Alibaba’s revenue models were innovative initiatives, making it grow new ventures like Taobao Marketplace, Tmall, Rural Taobao, AliExpress, Lazada, and Alibaba Cloud. Each of these ventures contributed something significant to the business model and helped raise Alibaba to its current standing.

Due to the uniqueness in the business model of eBay, it acquired businesses of all sectors. It has moved from one sector to another, thus acquiring businesses in the process.

Also, these brands build partnerships with micro and macro influencers to generate awareness and drive traffic to their websites. Influencer marketing has really helped these brands to grow fast.

Seller-friendly policies

For an online multi-vendor eCommerce marketplace, customers are essential, but the sellers’ role is equally important. The whole ecommerce marketplace depends on the sellers and the inventory they maintain. For the admin to maintain a good rapport with the seller, they need to innovate policies and features that will make it easier for the seller.

Here are some the ways Amazon and Alibaba have curated seller friendly policies:

Amazon has a Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) option, which eases the sellers from shipping and delivering their products to the customers. The seller can store the products in Amazon inventory, and Amazon will take the responsibility to pack the item and deliver it to the end customer. A seller-friendly policy allows the seller to scale their business faster and sell products to more and more customers.

Alibaba also follows the seller-friendly marketplace model but focuses on it differently. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba doesn’t charge transaction or commission fees to sellers. There is a one-time membership (Basic & Premium) charge. This also makes it convenient for the seller and ensures loyal sellers on the platform.



Choosing technology is the most crucial factor to scale up to different markets quickly. The fundamental requirement for any online marketplace to operate is the software. For the user interface and user experience of the website, the software or solution must be well equipped with tools and functionalities.

If you plan to get it developed from scratch from a developer or company, you need to have an understanding of the development and some technical skills to comprehend the functionalities you may need when you want to grow to the global market. Instead of building it from scratch, choosing a turnkey solution like Yo!Kart is a great choice to start an online eCommerce marketplace.

Entrepreneurs have to think ahead when selecting the technology through which they will be launching their eCommerce marketplace. Does the solution that you are choosing for your platform have features that will support your growth strategies?


In this post, I aimed to inspire budding entrepreneurs by the success stories of leading eCommerce brands. Though most aspiring entrepreneurs in the eCommerce sector want to become the next Amazon or eBay, what they do not realize is the struggle and challenges these eCommerce brands had to face to become eCommerce monsters.

For an eCommerce business to become successful, it has to carefully curate the business model, policies, and revenue streams. Once the business has its initial kick-start to remain relevant in the future, it has to focus on acquisitions and new ventures.

Following the footsteps of these eCommerce brands might be helpful but bringing innovation according to the niche and target audience is the key to success.

Guest author: Ankush Mahajan works as a senior digital marketer at FATbit Technologies, one of India’s leading custom web design/development & ready-made e-commerce solutions company. His expertise lies in branding and formulating marketing strategies for business of a number of industries. Follow him on twitter: https://twitter.com/ankushmahajann

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6 Startup Ideas Of The Future Not Even COVID-19 Can Stop

6 Startup Ideas Of The Future Not Even COVID-19 Can Stop

6 Startup Ideas Of The Future Not Even COVID-19 Can Stop

By definition, a startup is a company in its initial phase. There’s no precise definition, though, but startups are often considered to be tech companies that deliver innovative technological solutions or solve current problems in a novel way.

Edison General Electric Company, founded in 1878, can be regarded as one of the earliest startups. That tells us that startup companies were always present. The idea blossomed with the emergence of the internet in the 90s and the dot.com bubble.

One of the best examples from that era is Amazon. Founded by Jeff Bezos in his garage in 1994, over the years, Amazon grew to become the biggest retail company in the world, with net sales of $72.4 billion in Q4 2018. Entrepreneurs like Bezos have paved the way and showed the world how powerful a startup could be. Many have followed his footsteps, but only a few succeeded in getting to his level.

Elon Musk, for example, founded X.com in 1999, which later became PayPal. Mark Zuckerberg created Facebook in 2004, claiming that he was simply solving a real-world problem that he noticed. The one thing that helped them was the World Wide Web.

Today, startups spring up like mushrooms. They are emerging globally, being connected to their potential consumers via the internet, and working their way toward growth. Startups have become a global phenomenon.

The basics of founding a startup

In the past decade, founding a startup became very straightforward. Sometimes all it takes is an idea that doesn’t necessarily change the world but only upgrades an existing system.

The idea doesn’t have to be new at all, but it needs to work well, and it needs to be in demand on the market.

Finding people to form a good team ready to tackle any challenge is equally important. The CEO doesn’t and shouldn’t know it all, but the people around them should. Together, they create a machine that has one goal – turn the startup into a business.

That way, the CEO can rely on the team to solve multiple problems at the same time and push the startup further. The essential people are lawyers, accountants, and financial advisors. It’s those people that help the most before the team is formed. Developers, marketers, and others create a business and marketing plan, explore the market, and create the most viable product. From that moment on, it’s the team that keeps the startup together through the funding phase and works hard to scale appropriately.

Founding a startup means that the CEO needs to be ready for anything at any moment. Still, hardly anyone had COVID-19 in mind.

How COVID-19 affected startups

The pandemic hit hard and didn’t spare already established companies, let alone startups. Still, many are doing whatever they can to survive, as survival is the number one priority. Young companies-to-be are facing multiple challenges:

  • Cash management until the vaccine is out.
  • Changing valuations based on the affected market.
  • Leaders facing intense emotions while remaining transparent.
  • Challenges with a shift to virtual meetings.
  • Potential pivoting of a business model.

When we look at the numbers, 41% of startups globally are in what’s called the “red zone,” meaning they have three months or less until their financial supply is spent.

Since the pandemic started, 74% of startups had to let full-time employees go, with North America being the top continent with this activity. 74% of startups saw their revenue decline moderately, but 16% saw the revenue drop by more than 80%.

38% of startups haven’t received assistance and don’t expect to, 16% are not assisted but hope to be, and the remaining 46% are receiving help.

Are any of the startups going to push through?

COVID-19 can’t kill these startups

There’s a winner in every game, and VCs keep their eyes wide open as they watch the fight between these startups and the invisible enemy. They are healthcare and tech-related, and they just got their five minutes to shine.

Doctor on Demand


Doctor on Demand presents itself as a next-gen video telemedicine company. Located in San Francisco, Doctor on Demand offers scheduled visits with US-licensed healthcare providers via mobile devices.

The company raised $74 million and promised to deliver top-notch customer experience, highest clinical standards, 24/7 customer support, and healthcare savings from day one.


DarwinAI is a Canadian startup focused on developing an AI tool that could discover the presence of COVID-19 from a patient’s chest X-ray.

The tool called COVID-Net, a convolutional neural network is specially trained to help identify COVID-19 in patients. It recently became open-sourced, so doctors can use it and fine-tune it to identify the virus faster. 


Based in New York, Let’sGetChecked is an at-home testing platform. It provides customers with standardized laboratory tests to help improve disease management and control their health.

It makes healthcare and diagnostics patient-led and empowers people to use the technology. Tests are covering general wellness, women’s and men’s health, as well as sexual health. Let’sGetChecked is available nationwide as well as in Canada and Europe.



Crowd 3D printing of PPE and ventilators is the main priority of AstroPrint. Most of its team is based in Malaga, Spain. The mission is to leverage the software and engineering team to help local healthcare organizations have 3D-printed medical supplies. The product will first be released in Spain then globally.


Mynvax is developing a vaccine to prevent COVID-19, which is expected to be created in 18 months. Mynvax has completed initial animal trials and developed several immunogens. It applied for funding of a bit less than $2 million. Its team is among two dozen teams in India working on vaccines against COVID-19.



Calm is known as a meditation, sleep, and mental health app, but it’s actually a startup. It’s available for both Android and iPhone with 36 million downloads so far.

Calm is based in San Francisco, California. Its mission is to make the world a happier and healthier place by developing digital and physical products that help users cope with anxiety, depression, insomnia, and stress. So far, the company has raised $115 million, and if COVID-19 continues, it will surely be there to help people cope with anxiety.


While coronavirus is conquering the world and slowly putting dreams of entrepreneurs to the test, we see a change in how startups will behave in the future.

It appears that most healthcare-oriented startups are in a slightly better position than others. 3D printing, vaccination, mental health, and AI are the change that humanity needs at the moment.

Venture capitalists are patiently waiting to see when the pandemic will release its grip. Until then, many startups will have to dedicate their resources and time to survival.

Guest author: Andriana is proud to call herself a content contributor at SaveMyCent.com where her passion for saving money comes in handy. Prior to joining the site, she worked as a contributor and manager in the tech and digital marketing niches. When she’s not working, Andriana likes to go for walks with her two pet Dachshunds and binge-watch documentaries, usually not at the same time.

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6 Ways to Incorporate User-Generated Content in Email Campaigns

6 Ways to Incorporate User-Generated Content in Email Campaigns

6 Ways to Incorporate User-Generated Content in Email Campaigns

User-generated content (UGC) has become a reliable method for brands to build relationships with their customers.

Sourced from consumers and followers, UGC adds an extra dimension to marketing efforts by diversifying the type of content that brands share on their accounts.

By curating UGC, marketers also decrease the amount of content they need to create in-house – while also showcasing their real customers online.

While UGC has been a go-to for developing social media campaigns, this content generating method can also improve email marketing conversions.

Brands can dedicate one section of their newsletters for user-generated content to ensure that subscribers know that they can submit their content.

One important note for marketers to consider when soliciting UGC – before publishing any content, they must ask permission to use it or, at the very least, credit it.

And this goes for any platform where you source content from or post on—social media, emails, or websites.

Once that is sorted, you can follow any of the six ways to incorporate user-generated content in email campaigns.

1. Email contests

Be The Star of Our Next Campaign Email Contest User-Generated Content

Image Source

Contests are the best way to source content from users – they give consumers an incentive to share their images and videos.

And people love competitions – they are a fun way to engage with friends and family, and with brands.

Companies don’t have to offer huge or expensive prizes to make their competitions attractive – a simple prize works just as well.

Marketers often run UGC contests on social media to collect content—social platforms have a wide organic reach to a variety of audiences.

Additionally, both Instagram and Facebook make it easy to create contests that could potentially become viral.

But newsletters are also useful for sharing web-based competitions—emails are an excellent tool for promoting a contest and building more awareness around it.

For a contest being conducted via social media hashtags, marketers should include a post in their newsletter about the platforms for engagement, hashtags, and rules of the competition.

Don’t make the competition too complicated to enter – a simple form online should suffice.

It is important to remember that contests tend to receive a lot of attention and a large number of entries – while that gives marketers more options, not all entries can be used in newsletters.

Choose the images or videos that fit the brand’s visual appeal so that all content aligns with the company’s online presence.

2. Personalization

Over the past year, personalization has gained more importance in marketing circles, particularly within email marketing.

Newsletters and email correspondence are expected to be individualized to improve brand-customer relationships.

User-generated content can be a handy tool for improving the personalization of email campaigns.

Brands will already have created ideal customer profiles – a representation of the target audiences that would be most favorable towards the company.

With these profiles in hand, marketers can sift through the content sourced from users to choose the ones most relevant to target segments.

It is best to look at available analytics before embarking on this strategy – using data to power your content decisions will make campaigns more effective.

Marketers can parse through social media posts to find which are most popular. A similar method can be used for email campaigns to find the subject lines and content that works best.

Guided by this data, marketers can look to include UGC content that has already been sourced from contests in newsletters to have the desired effect.

Alternately, data can propel ideas for new campaigns to source more user-generated content that will appeal to audiences.

Exhibiting UGC that is targeted for subscribers will improve email open rates because recipients will be responsive to the messaging contained within.

3. Thematic content

Welcome To The MVMT Thematic Content User-Generated Content

Image Source

We have mentioned how all the content received from a user-generated content campaign may not be brand-appropriate.

This requires a great deal of sifting on the part of marketers but the effort will be worth it if the content of the email feels relevant to subscribers.

Brands should not be posting content that is low-quality – such as poorly-taken images and videos, or reviews that require excessive editing – as it damages brand integrity.

But these pieces of content can easily be sorted through – to choose the ideal UGC that works for the brand, marketers will need to look at the high-quality content more closely.

A visual can look excellent but if it doesn’t add value to the brand’s image, then it can’t be used.

Curated UGC needs to align with the needs of email subscribers – while everyone loves looking at beautiful images, if it doesn’t share a coherent message, the image is worthless.

UGC also needs to match the brand’s tone and voice so that there is uniformity in the content shared – not only on social media but on websites and newsletters, as well.

Color palettes are particularly important in this regard – brand colors help with recognition which is why consistency in content color needs to be standardized.

To accurately curate user-generated content that can then be used across platforms, it would help if marketers shared some design and visual inspiration to their users.

Sharing past UGC campaigns with followers or posting similarly-themed images as a visual clue will increase the chances of getting quality entries that can add value to the brand.

Everlane User Testimonial User-Generated Content

Image Source

Visuals have been a cornerstone of user-generated content but they aren’t the only type of UGC marketers can source.

User testimonials and reviews – though largely text-based – can have just as much impact on brand followings as images.

Since emails can also be text-only and still reach the intended audience, why limit UGC campaigns exclusively to visuals?

Though images and videos are attractive and can garner more attention, a strong text review or testimonial from a customer can be just as powerful.

The world we are currently living in has changed – to make a bigger impact on users, it helps to showcase how existing customers feel about the brand or product.

People are looking for ways to improve their lives and feel more comfortable in the current circumstances – those feelings can be assuaged with customer testimonials.

And by pairing these reviews with images of the customers, you create more impact on the recipient – these aren’t just pretty words about your product but the feelings of a real person.

It’s important to focus on how the brand’s products are adding value to a person’s life – images can convey that but it can still feel removed.

Adding a caption of a review from a client will give that image context, essentially telling the recipient that they can improve their circumstances just as this customer already has.

Of course, user testimonials need not only be text-based.

An infographic of testimonials with accompanying customer profile photos would be a powerful newsletter to send as part of a brand awareness campaign.

Video testimonials or brand explainer videos can be a great way to showcase real customer relationships with the company.

Dedicating one section to reviews in newsletters would be a great way to showcase the brand’s relationship with customers – it will also boost open and click rates.

5. Retargeting customers

Customer acquisition is an important part of marketing, but the majority of regular sales are channeled through repeat customers.

This makes retargeting consumers a priority for marketers, not only on social media and landing pages but also via email marketing campaigns.

Email marketing consistently delivers high ROI which makes it the ideal tool for retargeting customers.

Data gleaned from site visitors to landing pages or product pages will help marketers understand which customers are buying from the brand consistently.

Newsletters can be designed with user-generated content featuring products that these select customers will find most appealing.

UGC images and videos of users applying the product to their real lives – alongside a testimonial – will encourage email recipients to buy again.

Marketers can also learn which customers are abandoning their carts before completing purchases so they can be sent an abandoned cart email encouraging them to fulfill the order. 

Giving the products – and the brand as a whole – a human face and personality will help to improve sales from email marketing.

6. Content communities

#AsSeenOnMe Content Communities User-Generated Content

Image Source

Jumping off from retargeting shoppers, another way that user-generated content can benefit brands and the bottom line is by building content communities.

It is no longer enough to sell products and services to customers. Brands don’t exist in a vacuum – they belong to a larger community of followers, fans, employees, and customers.

Building a community online will make sourcing UGC a more streamlined process—your subscribers will know the kind of content you are looking for and create it accordingly.

This makes creating UGC-powered newsletters easier while also welcoming sales prospects.

By sourcing community content, you share with your clients the products that are already in demand—this allows you to tap into the feeling of FOMO or fear of missing out.

With community content, marketers essentially tell customers that certain products are selling fast – they do this by showcasing customers using those products.

Instead of looking at what customers have yet to buy to get them to purchase items, you list out what is already being bought and tell people why they should buy it.

This can only be possible if brands have a community to tap into that will help them capitalize on the feeling of FOMO.


User-generated content is a great way to beef up email campaigns and to encourage more sales from customers.

By adding materials created by existing customers, brands help showcase their products in real settings while also building an atmosphere of trust that will translate into more clicks and sales.

The six ways of incorporating UGC in email marketing listed above will make brand newsletters more impactful, leading to higher revenues and long-lasting customer relationships.

Guest author: Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online infographic maker and design platform. Ronita enjoys writing about content marketing, email marketing, and design.

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When Does Your Audience’s Customer Experience Begin?

When Does Your Audience’s Customer Experience Begin?

When Does Your Audience’s Customer Experience Begin?

Do you consider each department within your business to be part of the customer experience?

In 2007, Harvard Business Review said, “Customer experience is the internal and subjective response customers have to any direct or indirect contact with a company. Direct contact generally occurs in the course of purchase, use, and service and is usually initiated by the customer. Indirect contact most often involves unplanned encounters with representations of a company’s products, services, or brands and takes the form of word-of-mouth recommendations or criticisms, advertising, news reports, reviews, and so forth.”

Since 2007, businesses have seen a shift in marketing trends, like content marketing, that would require an update to this definition.

What is customer experience in 2020?

Customer Experience is the sum of all contact points a person has with a brand, both disruptive and engaging. With marketing trends shifting towards content marketing, what was considered “Indirect” would now be called “Disruptive,” and “Direct” is now “Engaging.”

Content marketing offers brands the ability to turn marketing campaigns from being considered indirect, or disruptive, to engaging content that potential buyers seek and follow on platforms like Instagram and Youtube.

Understanding your audience’s customer experience

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Purchase
  4. The Follow-up
  5. Advocacy
  6. Emotional Value
The 3 Stages In The Buyers Journey Customer Experience


Very rarely does a person purchase your product immediately after learning about your brand on their own, with a few exceptions like trade shows, food truck festivals, shopping malls, and when on vacation.

Your brand discovery presentation, regardless of the medium, will determine if your audience forms a positive enough opinion of your brand to move into the Consideration Stage of the Buyer’s Journey.

Sarah’s Customer Journey

Sarah’s looking for a new face wash, and decides to search online for the “Top face washes for women.” Google’s top result is a blog article titled “Top 7 women’s face washes of 2020.” Sarah looks through that list and clicks on the brand at the top of the list. Their website takes too long to load, so she backs out and clicks on another brand from the list.

Unlike the top-rated brand, this website instantly loads, catching her attention and engaging her with relatable content. Sarah visits the products page and sees 5-star reviews for a face wash. After clicking on the product for the face wash, she decides to find the brand on Instagram to look at their content.

Sarah enjoyed the content they put out and decided to give them a follow, but shortly after, she was distracted by other content on social media and failed to complete the purchase.

The Website

A properly built website acts as the foundation for your digital marketing presence. Your potential audience should be able to quickly understand who you are, what you offer, and why your brand matters, and when I say quickly, I mean in 3-5 seconds. In Sarah’s case, a slow load time created too much friction between her and a brand.

1 Second Delay In Page Load Time Customer Experience

Image Source: Business2community


“93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchasing decisions.” (Podium)

Testimonials are more valuable than gold for businesses. If your brand works to create a unique experience for customers at each point of contact along the journey, you will receive the benefit of impactful testimonials. Sarah saw a high number of 5-star reviews and immediately trusted the quality of the face wash, and she isn’t the only one to do this. Think about the last time you searched for a product on Amazon, did you purchase after looking at reviews?

Social media

Providing content of value on social media will show that your brand is an authority in the industry, and you care about connecting with your audience. Sarah was able to find enough value in this brand’s content to want regular updates from them.

Review Testimonials In Social Media To Know Your Customers Experience
Answer these questions before continuing:
  • What first impression does your website leave? Can visitors get to the desired location in under three clicks?
  • What value are you giving customers to share with their friends?
  • What value does your brand currently provide on Social Media?


Your brand isn’t just facing the obstacle of positioning above the competition; you’re working to stay “top of mind” in a society inundated with devices and distractions. While a buyer may be interested in your product, understand that they need your product, and spend time thinking about the problem they are working to solve with your product, it is up to you to continue the customer experience by sending them valuable content consistently.

“In 2018, 74.58 percent of online shopping orders were abandoned, i.e., not converted into a purchase.” (Statista)

Sarah’s Customer Journey

A week later, Sarah was an avid follower of the videos this brand published to Youtube. With a combination of their Youtube and Instagram account, Sarah was building familiarity with the brand and learned to anticipate the content they released. She even began sharing the brand’s videos with her friends to get their opinions.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is an opportunity to shift your brand from creating unwanted, disruptive ads, to a brand that builds authority and awareness through educational and informational content.

Youtube Channel

Youtube is an inbound marketing platform that is known to create raving fans. Content built around the viewer, not your business, will guide your team to create content that relates to the viewer’s needs and drives sales.

Email Campaign

Automated email campaigns designed to drive conversions will provide the value and social proof needed to break down any objections. Below is an example of an automated email campaign designed to induce conversion for a service-based business.

Answer these questions before continuing:
  • Are you marketing based on your customer’s needs or your brand’s needs for sales.
  • Does your brand have automated processes in place to communicate with potential customers?
  • Do you have clear KPIs defined to measure your audience’s engagement on these platforms?


A combination of high media output, shrinking attention spans, and declining brand loyalty has created an economic environment placing priority on reducing friction between your buyers and the conversion process. Not only does the product and offer need to provide value, but the delivery should also make converting seamless.

Sarah’s Customer Journey

While scrolling through Instagram, Sarah’s shown a paid ad from the skincare brand she followed. The advertisement shared a limited time offer for the exact face wash she’d looked at on their website. She clicked on the ad, which directed her to the product page.

After adding the product to her cart, she received a pop-up offer to combine a moisturizer to the order at an additional discounted rate. Trusting in the brand’s authority, she added the item and completed her purchase.

Reducing Friction

With eCommerce, things like low brand trust, poor website design, and unsecured payment systems are three of numerous friction points that will stop a customer from completing a purchase. A/B testing is something eCommerce brands should run year-round to address bottlenecks and optimize their user’s shopping experience.

Quality Product/Service

You can have the lowest price, but if your product or service doesn’t meet expectations, people will avoid your brand. How will they know of the poor quality? Reviews, reviews, reviews. While this article is to share the viewpoint that the customer experience also exists outside of the product or service, lacking quality here will drive your business in the ground.

Value-Based Upselling

You can’t assume people know your brand as well as you do. Proactive marketing plans with cross-promotions or upsells are a great way to provide your buyers with a value that they were not aware of.

Answer these questions before continuing:
  • Does your company have a proactive plan for monthly sales or cross-promotional upselling?
  • Are you actively collecting data on your conversion rate, using Google Analytics on your website, or through Facebook Pixel to understand where drop-offs are occurring. In your marketing process?


Can you think of a time you spent hours on hold with customer service waiting to speak with an actual person? Did you think about leaving a raving review or complaint after this?

A customer’s value doesn’t end when they complete a purchase, and the quality of their experience during the follow-up can impact the opinion of your brand they share with others.

A proactive company can use the follow-up, days, and weeks after a purchase, to turn a happy customer into a raving fan. On the contrary, poor customer service and a lack of automated communication can drive a customer to do business with competitors.

Sarah’s Customer Journey

Sarah was raving about the face wash but noticed a break-out with the moisturizer. At this point, she was still happy with the brand but wanted to exchange that product. Sarah spent thirty minutes online looking for a customer support number. Frustration began to set in.

She decided to send them an email instead of continuing to waste time looking for the phone number. Saran sent a detailed email with her order number and waited. A week later, she received a vague response asking for more details. At this point, she’d given up on the exchange, and just wanted her money back to purchase from a competitor.

Customer Support

“Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor customer service experience, versus the 11 people they tell about a good experience.” (Helpscout)

Companies that provide poor customer service like home utilities can get away with lower quality customer service because you have little ability to leave for another provider. For any other company, you should take pride in the service and support you provide to your customers.

Loyalty Rewards

Loyalty rewards programs and monthly special offers are two ways to engage with your existing client base and raise their lifetime value.

“Did you know it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one?” (Invespcro)

Answer these questions before continuing:
  • Does your company have expectations and procedures in place for customer service requests?
  • Do you have automated email campaigns implemented to engage existing customers and raise lifetime value?


“72% of consumers say positive testimonials and reviews increase their trust in a business.” (BigCommerce)

As discussed in the Awareness Stage of the journey, testimonials and reviews are equivalent to gold for businesses. Having your customers share their reviews online and with their friends is when the customer experience becomes a marketing tool.

Sarah’s Customer Journey

Sarah went from a raving fan in the making to buying from a competitor all in one step of the Buyer Experience. The poor customer service took away all value provided in the other levels, and she made sure to leave a review sharing her experience.

Answer these questions before continuing:
  • Is your brand actively requesting reviews through automated follow-ups with discount offers?
  • Are you leveraging your testimonials by incorporating them on your website and within your social media content

Emotional Value

Your brand story, or brand purpose, can be the critical value that sets your business apart and catalyzes the Customer Experience from discovery to transaction, and ultimately raving fans.

I use the phrase “can be,” and saved this part for last because not all brands have a clear cause or purpose that they share, yet. The ones that already do include it in every step of the customer experience, adding a sentimental value that creates a personal connection between the buyer and the brand, raising brand trust and loyalty.

“86% of consumers believe that companies should take a stand for social issues and 64% of those who said it’s ‘extremely important’ for a company to take a stand on a social issue said they were ‘very likely’ to purchase a product based on that commitment.” (Engage for good)

Not every brand can be Toms Shoes, but every brand can find a cause that aligns with their core values and incorporate mutually beneficial Cause Marketing into their business model.

Answer these questions before continuing:
  • Does your company support a cause that aligns with your core values?
  • Are you actively sharing your cause initiative and incorporating it into your offer?

Wrapping up

A company using a proactive approach in creating a customer experience at every stage of their business can nurture potential customers into raving fans that draw in new business through word-of-mouth.

You now have a better understanding of what the customer experience is, when it begins, and how your brand can add value at each stage of the buyer’s journey. Time to crush it!

Guest author: Colby Flood is the owner of Brighter Click, a digital marketing agency based out of Burlington, NC. Through his tested marketing methods and client-friendly tools, he works to make digital marketing transparent and effective for local business owners. 

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7 Things to Consider Before Scheduling Instagram Posts

7 Things to Consider Before Scheduling Instagram Posts

It’s been a while now since Instagram updated its API to allow for third party tools to be used to help schedule Instagram posts.

Depending on how you use social media for business, you may or may not have explored this option.

If you have, great! Share your experience in the comments below.

If you haven’t, the big question for today is… why not?

Every month, 1 billion people use Instagram. Companies that aren’t on social media, or those that rarely post, are missing out on a free or pay-as-you-go marketing opportunity.

And in this world, companies with a purpose and the ability to connect to consumers as people are the ones in business for the long haul.

Why Businesses Should Use Instagram In Scheduling Instagram Posts

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So what do you stand to gain by boosting your Instagram strategy? What does Instagram scheduling offer that manual posting is lacking? Is there room for advanced social media content automation?

Here are 7 things to ask yourself before you get down to business scheduling Instagram posts.

1. How much time are you wasting every day manually posting Instagram updates?

When you add up the time it takes to stop, think about a post, capture the image, make your image Insta-worthy, consider and craft the copy, and post to Instagram, you’re looking at a couple of decent chunks of time taken out of your day. Not to mention the time wasted getting back into your workflow once that’s been interrupted.

Advance scheduling of Instagram posts allows you to set aside a block of time at your convenience to do all this at once. No interrupting other work and no time spent refocusing, which means you’re actively increasing your productivity to get more done in a shorter amount of time. You can set it all up and then move on to the next thing, knowing posting for the day/week/month is taken care of. 

Bulk.ly Advance Scheduling Of Instagram Posts

2. What could you be doing with the time you get back in efficiency gains?

Do you have other social media sites that could use some attention? How about engaging with your audience? Or even exploring new business opportunities?

Consider what you “never” have time for and have always wanted to do. If this list is compelling enough, then the hours saved by scheduling Instagram posts in advance may be worth more than you originally considered.

3. Do your updates often contain copy or fact mistakes?

Rushing to manually post in real-time can lead to oversights when it comes to proper spelling or fact-checking. If you’re catching yourself making mistakes on a regular basis, it may be because of a lack of focus or the pressure to hurry and get a post out between meetings or before lunch.

When you take time to build out a calendar of posts and schedule content in advance, you can double-check copy for spelling and grammar mistakes and identify pieces of information you need to research further… before posting. All without the pressure of daily responsibilities calling on you every step of the way.

4. Do you forget to post some days? Then overdo it on others?

Inconsistency in posting not only confuses your audience, but also erodes their trust. When will they get new information? Can they expect to see images of that new product you’re offering on sale today?

If they get something different every time, are constantly waiting for an update, or feel like your posts are so frequent it’s overwhelming, they’re going to stop following and engaging.

There are countless social media marketing tools that allow you to build out a schedule that’s balanced and that delivers when you say you will. Scheduling posts allows you to do that, no matter what your day brings because it’s all taken care of in advance.

Buffer Social Media Marketing Took for Scheduling Instagram Posts

5. Do you have a strategy when it comes to hashtag use?

Some businesses have abandoned any hashtag strategy altogether in favor of flooding updates with them. This strategy seems to be the go-to for businesses with a lack of time and forethought. They’re essentially throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks.

When you plan what you’re going to post and schedule everything out in advance, you can more readily identify common themes and research the most popular hashtags related to your topic, product, industry, customer base, etc.

Posting with a handful of smart, well-researched hashtags can ensure your updates end up in the right feeds, in front of your target audience.

McGlow Scheduling For Instagram Posts

6. Would highlighting relevant events or holidays on social media benefit your business?

It seems like there’s some kind of holiday trending every day on social media. Days celebrating pancakes, dogs, boyfriends, movies… depending on your industry, leveraging these “holidays”, as well as national holidays, for use in a social media marketing campaign could be a smart way to reach current and potential customers.

But in the frenzy of other priorities, we tend to lose track of dates or miss out on proper lead time to execute on a formerly brainstormed campaign idea. Building out calendars in advance and scheduling posts helps with awareness of planning windows and makes it more likely that there will be ample execution time.

7. Have you considered automation?

If you’re looking to grow your business with Instagram and take advanced scheduling to the next level, automation may be right for you.

Automation only maximizes the litany of benefits mentioned above, in that you can let go of regularly coming up with new content to schedule and having to update your queued content lists as they run dry.

With automation, the posts keep posting – all you need to do is add one-off updates (breaking news, product promotions, etc.) into the mix as they arise.

Of course, you’ll need to first identify enough evergreen content to share so that your updates will remain relevant, and so you’ll have enough content to populate your queues so followers aren’t seeing the same posts all the time.

Tools like Bulk.ly can be synced directly to Buffer and often feature product blogs full of helpful articles to help you learn how to use automation to advance your business and social media goals.

Instagram Autimations for Scheduling Instagram Posts

Instant doesn’t translate well from personal to business

The “insta” nature of Instagram suggests that this platform is made for instant posting, instant engagement – capturing an instant and getting it out to your followers in real-time.

That makes sense for personal accounts and social media celebrities. But for businesses, such a strategy is less effective and wrought with risks, from missed opportunities to reputation-damaging mistakes.

Scheduling Instagram posts merges both worlds, with automation taking it to the next level.

One last thing to consider: Can you really afford NOT to schedule your Instagram updates?

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15 Persuasive Copywriting Techniques That’ll Boost Conversions

15 Persuasive Copywriting Techniques That’ll Boost Conversions

Have you ever seen an object glow in the dark?

If you have, you’ll notice that even amongst darkness, that glowing object still captures your focus with its beauty.

Similarly, in a world where everyone is clamoring for your prospects’ attention, you need your content to stand out. 

According to HubSpot, 49% of marketers report that increasing customer acquisition is their top priority.

Therefore, you need a competitive advantage. 

In this article, we’re going to explore 15 persuasive copywriting techniques that engage leads and convert them. 

So, let’s jump right in.

1. Write conversationally – one friend to another

Everyone wants to feel valued.

No one wants to feel like a faceless entity.

When you write conversationally, you’re talking to your prospect, making them feel valued. 

You use words like “I” and “you” to make your prospect feel like a friend.

But do keep in mind the magnetic power of the word “you” as you write your copy.

“As long as you use words like I, you, and me, you create the feel of a personal form of communication.” – Joseph Sugarman

Furthermore, use simple words and simple sentences to create a light atmosphere.

The objective?

To present copy that’s easy to read.

It’s not about “talking down” to your reader. It’s about clarity.

Without clarity, there’s no conversation. No persuasion.

Want to see an example of conversational copy?

Check out this snippet from Levi’s website:

Levi's Persuasive Copywriting White Denim Season Is Back

Image Source: Levi’s

Notice the following:

• They say “grab” instead of “get.”
• They say “your.”
• They say “head to” instead of “go to.”
• They say “how to style them” instead of “how to wear them.”

Doesn’t it feel like Levi’s is having a conversation with you?

2. Tell engaging stories

Want to transport your reader to your world?

Tell a story.

Research shows that engaging stories absorb those who listen to them.

When told strategically, a story can transport your prospect to, what Joseph Sugarman calls, a buying environment.

The objective?

To have your prospect imagine what it’s like to use your product or service.


Because when we touch an object or imagine doing so, we establish perceived ownership.

It’s the reason why Apple stores display their devices. And why car salesmen allow test-drives.

“In all my ads I try to make the prospects imagine they are holding or using my product.” – Joseph Sugarman

3. Highlight a unique value proposition

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is what you have to offer that few competitors can. It’s your edge, your distinguishable trait that others can’t replicate.

Here’s a definition of unique value proposition from Unbounce:

“Your UVP is a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how to solve your customer’s needs, and what distinguishes you from the competition.”

If your offer is too common, then it’s a carbon copy of the competition. But if your offer is unique, it stands out.

That’s why you must highlight your unique value proposition. Promote it so you can boost conversion.

Check out this example of a unique value proposition from Mantis Research:

Mantis Research's-Unique-Value-Proposition-Persuasive-Copywriting-Why We-Are-Different

Image Source: Mantis Research

Mantis Research’s unique value proposition is that they combine data and story for their content marketing research.

4. Speak in your prospect’s language

Have you ever read copy from a website or an advertisement and said to yourself, “Wow, it’s like they read my mind.”?

Well, it’s because the copywriter did read your mind. She used your words to communicate with you. She spoke your language.

And research shows how effective this can be.

So, how can you get the inside scoop on your prospect’s dialect?

Here are some ways:

5. Use the power of imagination

There’s a thin line between imagination and reality.

Hold on, let me rephrase that.

If there is a line, it’s blurred.

According to research, when you imagine something, your mind and body interpret it as reality.

Sounds crazy?

Well, we know this is true, firsthand.

Let me explain.

Have you ever watched a scary film and felt your heart pounding faster than a techno beat?

Although you were watching an imaginary world, your body was going through the same reactions as if you were one of the characters in the film.

As a copywriter, use words like “imagine” and “picture this” to invite your prospect to your imaginary world – a world where their life has improved after using your product or service.

And if done effectively, your product or service will become part of their reality.

6. Use power verbs to strengthen your copy

Verbs initiate action. They direct your readers, taking them on a journey with you as their guide.

But some verbs are more potent than others.

Instead of saying: Tom meticulously researched the financial statement.

You can say: Tom dissected the financial statement.

Instead of saying: I vehemently emphasized my point.

You can say: I hammered my point.

“The secret of persuasion lies in our skillful use of action words. The magic of advertising is in the verbs.” – RoyWilliams

Check out this copy from Oreo:

Snack Works Oreo Cookies Power Verbs for Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: Snack Works

Notice how Oreo uses power verbs like “twist,” “dunk,” “please,” and “delight.”

7. Use repetition

Ever hear a song on the radio you thought was awful? But then, you kept hearing it repeatedly, and suddenly, you found yourself liking it?

That’s the power of repetition.

Or have you seen a pizza commercial frequently? Then, next thing you know, you’re salivating, calling up your local pizza shop?

That’s the power of repetition.

Well, you can harness the power of repetition using your words.

Research shows that moderate repetition within a message can make it more persuasive.

Here’s an example of copy that uses repetition:

Haagen-Dazs New Soft Dipped Ice Cream Bars Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: Häagen-Dazs

Häagen-Dazs repeatedly uses the word “soft.”

“Soft” is a sensory word that connotes comfort. Perfect, right? Especially since Häagen-Dazs appeals to people who like comfort food. (By the way, I’m one of those people.)

Stay tuned for more details on sensory words.

8. Offer a money-back guarantee

Your offer sounds appealing, but your prospects don’t know if they can trust you. They’ve been burned before, and now they need armor.

The solution?

A money-back guarantee.

With a money-back guarantee, the seller assumes the risk. And the buyers feel comfortable knowing they have an exit strategy.

Also, keep in mind that many of your customers won’t even consider your offer without a money-back guarantee.

The money-back guarantee conveys that the seller is confident in their offer. In turn, this makes the buyer confident. 

“You must convey the idea that you are shouldering most of the risk. If you can transfer the risk from the buyer to yourself, that removes the barrier, it removes the fear and they’re free to do what they most want to do—buy your product.” – Ray Edwards

In his book How to Write Copy That Sells, Ray Edwards states that “in almost every case, the longer the guarantee the lower the refund rate.”

Here is an example of a money-back guarantee from AWAI:

AWAI Persuasive Copywriting Money Back Guarantee 100 Percent Satisfaction Guarantee

Image Source: AWAI

Notice how AWAI uses words like “No-Risk” and “satisfaction,” along with phrases like “promptly refunded” and “no questions asked.”

9. Insert sensory words

Sensory words trigger your prospect’s imagination. It helps them experience your words.

Brain imaging research shows that when we hear sensory words like “rough,” the part of our brain (the parietal operculum) that senses texture through touch is activated.

So, when you read copy that mentions a “rough morning,” you’ll feel it on a deeper level than if it had said “bad morning.”

But what if you want your copy to convey a wholesome feeling?

Let’s check out this snippet from Minute Maid’s website:

Minute Maid Pulp Free Orange Juice Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: Minute Maid

Notice how Minute Maid used the word “smooth” to convey a pulp-free drinking experience.

10. Plant seeds of curiosity

It’s not enough to attract your prospects, you must also keep them engaged.

To do so, you can use a technique introduced by Joseph Sugarman called seeds of curiosity.

“These seeds of curiosity cause you to subconsciously continue reading even though you might be at a point in the copy where the copy slows down.” – Joseph Sugarman

Some copywriters call this technique “bucket brigades.”

Here are some examples:

“And that’s not all.”

“Let me explain.”

“But there’s more.”

By planting seeds of curiosity, you help establish what Joseph Sugarman calls a slippery slide. When you create a slippery slide, you make it hard for your reader to pull away from your copy. Their curiosity has them spellbound.

Why is curiosity so potent?

George Loewenstein theorized that curiosity stems from information gaps. When we lack information, we develop a strong desire to fill our gap with knowledge.

So, when you plant seeds of curiosity, you open information gaps.

But as Joseph Sugarman states in The Adweek Copywriting Handbook, use the seeds of curiosity technique sparingly. If you use this technique too often within your copy, it won’t be as effective.

11. Showcase testimonials to establish social proof

As children, we were all told not to trust strangers. And as adults, we still have that mentality.

To gain your prospect’s trust, you must earn it.

No one wants to have their hard-earned money snatched from them.

Prospects like to double-check they’re making the right decision. That your offer is legit. So, they look for social proof to guide them.

And this is where testimonials come in.

Testimonials prove that someone has benefited from your offer; that others vouch for your product or service.

If a majority of people believe something, the minority fall in line. Solomon Asch’s experiment proved that.

Indeed, we value the opinions of our peers.

But what’s the most effective way to use testimonials?

In the book Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Noah J. Goldstein states that testimonials are more useful when they come from someone similar to your prospect.

Want to see an example of testimonials as social proof?

Check out this snippet from Basecamp’s homepage:

Basecamp's Testimonial to Establish Social Proof Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: Basecamp

Basecamp’s website displays testimonials that address the needs of their prospects.

12. Use scarcity to create urgency

The last technique we discussed was social proof, one of Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion from his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Let’s discuss another principle of persuasion: scarcity.

Research shows that scarcity works, whether you’re using it for time or supply.

Here are a few scarcity terms:

  • “In short supply”  
  • “For a limited time only”

Why is scarcity so effective?

Because it creates a sense of urgency. It motivates your prospect to purchase. Immediately.

Scarcity capitalizes on your prospect’s fear of missing out.

Check out this example of scarcity from Tom Ford:

Tom Ford Persuasive Copywriting Sale For A Limited Time

Image Source: Tom Ford

Tom Ford’s website uses the “limited time” scarcity tactic. But if you’re a Tom Ford shopper, you’re wondering how long the sale lasts.

13. Employ words that trigger emotions

Customers ignore stales words.

So, to avoid dull copy, use words that trigger emotions. In turn, you’ll galvanize your prospects, making them excited about your offer.

Why must you appeal to emotions? Research shows that it’s impossible to make decisions without them.

“We buy on emotion and justify with logic.” – Joseph Sugarman

Let’s explore the emotional pull of the word “thorn.”

When you hear that word, you may immediately think “sharp,” “prickly,” “pain.” Terms associated with discomfort.

Thus, the phrase “a thorn in my side” triggers emotions you’d want to avoid.

Now, let’s flip the script.

Let’s discuss “love.”

When you hear the word “love,” you experience warm feelings.

You may think of your spouse, your parents, your children, your best friends.

Or the first time you fell in love.

Either way, the word “love” is a strong emotional word.

Now, check out this copy from Apple’s website:

Apple iPhone Persuasive Copywriting That Triggers Emotion

Image Source: Apple

Apple connects an emotional word with its iPhone 11. Also, potent use of personification.

14. Use the contrast principle

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini mentions an experiment where students take turns sitting in front of three buckets of water: one cold, one at room temperature, one hot.

Each student received the same instructions:

Place one hand in cold water, and the other in hot water.

Then, place both hands in the room-temperature water.

Surprisingly, each hand had a different reaction to the room-temperature bucket. The hand that previously was in cold water felt hot, and the hand that was in hot water felt cold.

The moral of this story?

How you view something is affected by how you contrast it with something else.

This is known as the contrast principle.

Want to see how it’s used in copywriting?

Check out this example from Ted Nicholas:

Ted Nicholas Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: Ted Nicholas

Notice how Ted lists the regular price ($777.00) and the special price ($297).

The special price is $480 less than the regular price. So, the people who bought this product feel it’s worth more than they paid.

By listing the regular price, Ted placed his prospect’s hands in hot water, then cooled them with his special price.

Also, Ted offers a money-back guarantee.

So, he used two persuasive copywriting techniques discussed in this article.

15. Raise objections, then resolve them

A salesperson has a direct conversation with their prospect. If their prospect has questions, the salesperson can address them.

As copywriters, we must raise the concerns and questions that our prospects may have, then resolve them.

If we don’t, it’s the equivalent of dodging a prospect’s questions about your offer.

“If you sense that there might be an objection and you ignore it, it’s like ignoring that consumer. You won’t get away with it. The consumer is too sharp and will not buy.” – Joseph Sugarman

Check out this example from BMW’s website:

BMW Value Service Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: BMW

BMW understands that when most people think of BMW, they think expensive.

Check out where BMW takes you after you click the “Learn More” button:

BMW Value Service Learn More Button Persuasive Copywriting

Image Source: BMW

Notice how BMW says its pricing is “more competitive with local repair shops than ever.” And they mention “transparent, up-front pricing.” They even refer to their repair service as “value service.” All efforts designed to resolve objections prospects may have about the price.  

Your words must glow

You know why we’re so fascinated by fireflies?

Because they glow in the dark without the aid of electricity.

They capture your attention – while other insects blend with the background, trapped in obscurity.  

As a copywriter, your job is to transform words into fireflies.


Because you’re not aided by the power of talking to your customers.

You must sell with the written word.

So, are you ready to make your copy glow?

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