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The final flourish that makes things magical: dessert courses and marketing recipes for your holiday season

You’ve filled up on so much goodness already, you really don’t know if you can cram any more in. You’ve packed away every type of nutrition you need — every food group, every treasured taste. You’re nourished, sated, and ready to sit back, relax and get down to the seriously pleasant business of digesting it all.

Only you don’t… not quite yet. Because you know that the next things coming out of the kitchen door are the most memorable of all. It’s the crowd-pleaser, the pièce de la resistance, the ultimate cherry on top.

It’s time for the dessert course.

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been sharing our Home for the Holidays recipe series, with marketing experts and influencers sharing the dishes that they look forward to most. It’s perhaps no surprise that most of the foodie favorites they put forward fall into the dessert category. These are the key ingredients that the holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without. Sweet festive treats form some of our earliest and most magical holiday memories. And you’ll find plenty of inspiration here to help you start making some new ones of your own.

As with the earlier courses in our crowd-sourced festive feast, we’re pairing these delicious deserts with some recipes of ActiveCampaign’s own. Like the desserts, they’re designed to wrap up one experience of your business in a way that leaves your customers craving more. They’re that all-important final element that helps make everything work.

Scroll down for our full selection of delicious holiday desserts – and catch up with all of the other courses with the full recipe selection on our Home for the Holidays site. And make sure you register for our Yule Log Fireside Chat with bestselling author and MarketingProfs Chief Content Officer, Ann Handley. It’s another feast of ideas for adding that final flourish to your customer experiences.

Dessert Number 1: Grammy’s Peanut Blossoms

From Jay Baer, Founder, Convince and Convert

“This is from my grandmother, Florence Meyer (Ranch). She was among the first women to attain a degree in molecular biology from the University of Nebraska and was also a great cook and a fantastic grandma. In fact, loooooong before Spotify and even iPods, she used to record herself reading storybooks to me on an old cassette recorder and send them to me. I was like 6 years old.

Being from Nebraska, my family has a lot of holiday recipes that are meat and potato-oriented. But this is my favorite, a cherished cookie concoction that isn’t necessarily holiday in its ingredients, but that’s when my Grammy would always make them.”

You will need (makes four dozen cookies):

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • A shallow dish of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 48 Hershey’s kisses, unwrapped
  1. Combine all the ingredients except the candy and white sugar.
  2. Mix well and shape dough into balls, using a teaspoon.
  3. Roll the balls in white sugar and place on ungreased cookie sheets before baking in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 11 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven and top each cookie immediately with a Hershey’s kiss.
  5. Press down firmly so the cookie cracks around the edges.

Serve with:
Gather Feedback After Purchase Automation Recipe
Top off the experience of buying from you with this automation for inviting customer feedback, amplifying positive experiences and identifying opportunities to improve.

Dessert Number 2: Cheesecake

From Cathy McPhillips, VP of Marketing, Content Marketing Institute

“Christmas Eves dating back to the 70s involved trips to my Aunt Jean and Uncle Mel’s. They had lots of land, and we loved playing there, especially in the snow on the rolling hills on their property. I vividly remember my sister and I being so cold and exhausted from playing in the snow, so we went into the master bedroom and fell asleep under everyone’s coats until our parents woke us for the 45-min trek home, over the river, and through the woods – literally. Aunt Jean’s go-to recipes on holidays were her stuffed cabbage and her cheesecake. She’d cut the cheesecake in 2” squares and put on a platter, and I’d walk by and grab a piece, and then continue to keep passing through the room to take another, not thinking anyone would notice. (They did!) Aunt Jean passed away a few years ago, but thankfully my mom and cousin have mastered this recipe! I don’t have a sweet tooth, but this cheesecake is the only dessert I truly can’t resist.”

You will need:

Crust:

  • 1.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup margarine
  • ¼ cup sugar

Filling:

  • (3) 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla

Topping:

  • 1 pint sour cream
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

For the crust:

  1. Melt the margarine
  2. Add the graham cracker crumbs and sugar
  3. Mix and pour into 9×13 cake pan
  4. Pat the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides

To make the filling:

  1. Put cream cheese in the mixer, add sugar, and mix well
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, then the vanilla and mix until smooth before adding to the graham cracker crust.
  3. Then bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes.
  4. When it’s done, mix the topping ingredients and pour them on top of the warm cheesecake, spreading evenly.
  5. Put the whole thing back in the oven for 5 minutes. Then remove and refrigerate.

Serve with:
Reminder to Repurchase Email Automation Recipe
If your business sells products that need regular restocking, wouldn’t it be helpful to automatically remind your customers when that time comes? This automation recipe gives your customers the reminder they need to reorder– keeping them stocked up and keeping your business flowing.

Dessert Number 3: Thumbprint Cookies

Laura Gassner Otting, Author, Speaker, Coach

“Imagine that you are a nice Jewish Girl from Miami going home for your very first Christmas at the childhood home of a nice Catholic Boy from Cincinnati. Greeting you is your future mother-in-law, and she’s carrying the most delicious cookies you’ve ever tasted: the thumbprint cookies. They are buttery, they are sugary, and filled with red and green frosting. A family tradition! They are, in a word, Christmas, as are the hours you’ll come to spend baking cookies together in the decades to come, talking and getting to know each other until, eventually, your children join in, too, and those memories become Christmas for you.”

P.S. I know that these cookies had already been passed down through the generations before they got to me. Here’s the note that I found with the recipe:

“These are my mom’s recipes, and any details are left to your imagination”
Barbara Otting – 12/69

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup finely chopped nuts
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar – firmly packed!
  • 1 egg (yolk and white separated)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  1. Mix together the butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla to form a batter, then stir in flour and salt.
  2. Chill your batter and then roll it into balls.
  3. Meanwhile beat the egg white slightly with a fork, dip the balls in the egg white and then roll them in the nuts.
  4. Place them on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for five minutes.
  5. Take them out, place a thumbprint in the center of each one, return to oven and bake for eight minutes more.
  6. Take them out and decorate the center with icing.

Serve with:
Feedback Survey from Power Users Automation Recipe
Any customer feedback is helpful, but those users who use your product every single day — or who use the more advanced features — may have insights that less frequent users don’t. These frequent fliers are your power users. Their feedback is key. And this automation recipe will capture it for you.

Dessert Number 4: Coconut Bon Bons

Lee Odden, CEO at TopRank Marketing

“The warm, magical atmosphere of the holidays has been a source of many happy memories for me since I was a kid. Family happily gathered together with kids playing and parents reminiscing, a real fire burning in the fireplace, Bing Crosby or Johnny Mathis singing Christmas songs in the background, tinkling lights, decorations and a cornucopia of delicious smells coming from the kitchen all spell home for me.

One of those intoxicating smells of home came from the wide range of cookies my Mom would make and my favorites were always the Coconut Bon Bons.”

You will need:

Mix together:

  • 2 lbs powdered sugar
  • 14 oz flaked coconut
  • 2 cups chopped walnuts

Add:

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  1. Mix together the sugar, coconut and walnuts, then add the butter and condensed milk.
  2. After all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, roll into balls half the size of a golf ball.
  3. Separately, melt 12 oz chocolate chips with 1/2 sheet of paraffin wax, then use a toothpick to dip the balls into the melted chocolate and place on wax paper to cool.
  4. Enjoy! And then go run a half marathon to burn the calories 🙂

Serve with:
Reward Customers on Repeat Purchase Automation Recipe
Studies show that 40% of an e-commerce store’s revenue is generated by only 8% of its customers. In other words, repeat customers are a huge source of revenue. This recipe delivers rewards that let them know how much they mean to you – and keep them loyal.

Desert Number 5: Yule Log

From Kerry O’Shea Gorgone, Marketing Director at Marketing Profs and Co-Host of The Backpack Show with Chris Brogan

“My parents weren’t much for cooking, but we did occasionally host Christmas dinner at our house. Those dinners were my favorites because our neighbor, Mrs. Gilmore, would come over. She always brought a Yule Log, frosted sponge cake rolled up into a log shape and frosted with chocolate icing. Her Yule Logs always featured elaborate holiday scenes.

She’d place a tiny mirror pond on top of the log, surrounded by snow dusted trees, then finish it with tiny ice skaters. Everyone was different, and they were all tiny windows into a perfect country holiday. I’ve used different recipes over the years, but this one has mascarpone whipped cream, just like Mrs. Gilmore’s. No idea where she got the tiny, pond-shaped mirror, though. That’s a holiday mystery for the ages!”

You will need:

For the chocolate cake:

  • 3/4 cup (98g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup (38g) Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 large eggs, divided
  • 3/4 cup (155g) granulated sugar
  • 5 tbsp (72g) sour cream
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Mascarpone whipped cream filling:

  • 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 3/4 cups (86g) powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 oz (226g) mascarpone cheese, softened but still chilled*

For the whipped chocolate ganache:

  • 8 oz semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Sugared cranberries (optional)
  • Sugared rosemary (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a 17×12 inch jelly roll sheet pan with parchment paper.
  3. Make sure the parchment paper sticks up at least an inch above the sides of the pan on all sides (you’ll use it later to lift the cake out of the pan and roll it up)
  4. Whisk the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.
  5. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a separate, large bowl and whisk together until well combined.
  6. Then add the sour cream, melted butter, and vanilla extract to this mixture and whisk again until well combined.
  7. Whisk in the dry ingredients from your medium bowl, combine well and then set aside.
  8. Add the egg whites to a separate large mixer bowl and whip at high speed until stiff peaks form. Then gently fold about 1/3 of these whipped egg whites into the chocolate mixture to loosen up the batter.
  9. Add the remaining egg whites and gently fold together until well combined.
  10. Spread your cake batter evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the top of the cake springs back when touched and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  11. Remove the cake from the oven and immediately lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper and place it on the counter.
  12. While the cake is hot, use the parchment paper to slowly roll it up, starting at the smaller end. Set it aside to cool completely.
  13. When the cake has cooled and is ready to be filled, make the filling.
  14. Add the heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until soft peaks form.
  15. Add the mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and whip until stiff peaks form, which will happen fairly quickly.
  16. Now unroll the cake roll very carefully, looking out for areas where it may be sticking to release it. You can use an offset spatula or something similar and run it along the parchment paper as you unroll the cake to help release it as it unrolls.
  17. Spread the filling evenly onto the unrolled cake, then roll it back up without the parchment paper.
  18. Wrap it up in plastic wrap with the seam side down and refrigerate for at least an hour to firm up.
  19. When you’re ready to decorate the cake, make the chocolate ganache. Add the chocolate to a medium-sized bowl and set aside.
  20. Heat the cream in the microwave just until it begins to boil, then pour it over the chocolate.
  21. Allow the chocolate and cream to sit for a few minutes, then whisk until smooth.
  22. Let the ganache cool to about room temperature, then transfer to a large mixer bowl and whip on high speed until lightened in color and thick enough to spread.
  23. To decorate the cake, use a large serrated knife to gently cut off a piece of the log about 3 inches in length. Make the cut with a slight diagonal and use some of the chocolate ganache to attach the small log to the side of the larger log.
  24. Spread the remaining chocolate ganache all over the cake, then use a fork to create bark-like lines all over it.
  25. Decorate with sugared cranberries and rosemary, if desired, and refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

Serve with:
Last Engaged Date Re-Engagement Automation Recipe
Keep your email list clean, active and healthy with this recipe for learning how engaged your contacts are, re-engaging those still relevant to you – and scrubbing your database of those that aren’t.

Dessert Number 6: Pumpkin Bread with Brown Butter Frosting

From Sydney Lynch, Client Success Manager, L2

“I used to live down the street from the ActiveCampaign office and I brought Jay (Quiles, ActiveCampaign Agency Partner Manager) a loaf of this around the holidays a few years ago. He kept telling everyone about my baking without ever tasting anything else I’ve made.”

You will need:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, very soft
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 16 oz can of pure pumpkin

And for the browned butter frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray two medium loaf pans with non-stick spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, baking soda, and baking powder and set aside.
  3. Cream the sugar, butter and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer with wire whisk attached, on medium speed for about two minutes or until fluffy.
  4. Add the pumpkin and combine well, then add the dry ingredients in two or three batches and mix until just incorporated. Scrape the sides between each batch.
  5. Pour the batter into your pans. Bake side-by-side for about one hour or until the top is golden and an inserted knife comes out clean.

To make the frosting:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat, and let it cook till it’s a delicate brown color.
  2. Remove from heat, pour into a mixing bowl, and leave to cool.
  3. Using an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar with browned butter.
  4. Add the milk and vanilla, and then add more milk as needed to reach spreading consistency.

Serve with:
Donate2 Donation Level Acknowledgement Automation Recipe
Spread the cheer by thanking those making donations with messages tailored to the amount they give.

Dessert Number 7: Apple Pie by Grandma Ople

From Adam Horsman, Co-Founder, Sakari

“You simply can’t go wrong with a classic apple pie recipe – and this isn’t just any old run of the mill version. It’s officially the most popular apple pie recipe on the internet. As of this posting there are 11,351 reviews with more than 3900 photos, with the overwhelming majority of them being incredibly positive. It’s like the Kenny G* of Apple Pie recipes! (*Kenny G is the best-selling holiday artist of all time).”

You will need:

  • Enough pastry for a 9-inch double crust pie
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup of water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • ½ cup packed brown sugar
  • 8 Granny Smith apples – peeled, cored, and sliced
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to form a paste.
  3. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  4. Place the bottom crust of the pastry in your pan.
  5. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust, and then gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust, going slowly so that it doesn’t runoff.
  6. Bake the pie for 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until the apples are soft.

Serve with:
Holiday Promo SMS Automation Recipe
Spread the holiday cheer by sending promos and discounts straight to the phones of people who subscribe to your festive newsletters. You’ll be spreading the spirit of the season faster than Santa!

Dessert Number 8: Pignoli Cookies

From Jay Acunzo, Founder, Marketing Showrunners. Speaker. Author.

“Every holiday season, my parents’ house basically becomes a Christmas cookie bakery. My sister, my dad, and I all give my mom a hard time about how the insane number of decorations makes it look like Christmas vomited all over the house, but really, we love it. We’re Italians. Of course we do! Christmas Eve with seven types of fish. Christmas Day with endless antipasto, plus a prime rib or ham, and for some reason, a serving of manicotti as an “appetizer.” (That’s pronounced “mon-ee-GAWT,” by the way. Chop the ending, harden the C, and manicotti becomes manigott.)

At the center of all of all of this food is one special treat: the impossibly addictive pignoli cookie. (That’s pronounced “pinYOlee,” by the way. The “gn” in Italian is like the “ñ” in Spanish. It makes a “nyah” sound.”)

Make them now. Thank me later. Enjoy — and happy holidays!”

You will need:

  • 1 lb almond paste
  • 1 lb pignoli
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 egg whites – large eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Mix the almond paste, sugar, and egg whites in a mixer until blended, then roll into balls the size of large marbles and roll to coat them in pignoli nuts.
  3. Shape your cookie balls into crescent shapes and place onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown, then cool for 10 minutes before removing and placing on racks to finish cooling.

Serve with:
Customer Win-Back Email Series Automation Recipe
Not every customer cancellation has to be a deal-breaker. This automation recipe sends a sequence of emails designed to invite them back and start them spending again.

Dessert Number 9: Thumbprint Cookies

From Carla Johnson, Marketing & Innovation Strategist

“My mom made these cookies once a year – for Christmas. I grew up on a farm, the youngest of five kids, and we saved money however we could. My mom bought the big bags of whole walnut nuts, and my sister and I had to sit at the kitchen table for hours pounding the nuts and digging out the meat. It was a pain in the patootie, but this was my favorite Christmas cookie, so it was always worth it. Also, when it says to press your thumb into the hot cookie dough that just came out of the oven…don’t. Use the end of a wooden spoon or something else along those lines. You’ll save yourself a holiday injury.”

You will need:

  • 1 cup soft shortening
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • finely chopped walnuts
  1. Mix together the shortening, brown sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla, then add the flour and salt.
  2. Roll the mix into 3 cm balls (1 inch), dip in the slightly beaten egg whites, then roll in finely chopped nuts.
  3. Heat your oven to 375 F (190 C) and bake for five minutes.
  4. Once you remove your cookies from the oven press your thumb (or if you don’t fancy burning yourself, the end of a wooden spoon) into each to make a deep indention into the middle.
  5. Return to the oven and bake another for another eight minutes, then remove and once cooled, fill them with a frosting mixture of powdered sugar, water, and coloring that matches the holidays.

Serve with:
Invite Trial User to Appointment When Needing Assistance Automation Recipe
Use site tracking to detect when a trial user keeps visiting your help pages, and offer an appointment with your team to help them along. If the contact declines the appointment, you can deliver help resources over email instead.

Dessert Number 10: Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

From Tim Washer, Virtually Funny

“This recipe has been passed down for generations beginning with my great, great grandmother who got it off of Pinterest. It’s always a big hit, except with people who don’t like pumpkin. So before baking it for friends, be sure to check their gourd preferences.”

You will need:

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (340g) pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) orange juice (or milk works too!)
  • 2/3 cup (120g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Lowering the oven rack prevents the top of your bread from browning too much too soon.
  2. Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and salt together until combined.
  4. Separately, whisk the eggs, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together in a medium bowl, until combined and then whisk in the pumpkin, oil, and orange juice.
  5. Now pour your wet ingredients from the medium bowl into your dry ingredients in the large bowl and gently mix together using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. There will be a few lumps. Do not over-mix.
  6. Gently fold in the chocolate chips, then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake for 60-65 minutes.
  7. Make sure to loosely cover the bread with aluminum foil halfway through to prevent the top from getting too brown.
  8. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with only a few small moist crumbs. This may be before or after 60-65 minutes, depending on your oven, so begin checking every five minutes at the 55-minute mark or so.
  9. Allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before removing and slicing.

Serve with:
Travel: Guest Re-engagement Email Series Automation Recipe
Re-engage with the travellers who haven’t booked a trip with you in the last year, gauge their level of interest and nurture them towards their next booking with you.

Dessert Number 11: Pistachio Baklava

From Briana Strauss, Partner Marketing Manager, Jotform

“This classic dessert of the Middle East and the Mediterranean has many variations depending on the country of origin. But what’s always consistent is the crisp pastry layered with nuts and covered in a deliciously sweet sugary syrup that’s sure to be the shining star of your holiday table.”

You will need:

  • 2 ¼ cups/300 grams shelled pistachio nuts
  • 4 sticks/2 cups/454 grams unsalted butter
  • 1 lb phyllo dough, defrosted overnight in the refrigerator
  • 3 cups/600 grams of sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, more to taste
  1. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until coarsely ground (or you can chop them by hand until very finely chopped). Don’t overprocess the nuts. You want to maintain some texture.
  2. Clarify the butter by melting it over low heat, then letting it cook until the foam rises to the top and the milk solids fall to the bottom of the pan. This could take up to 15 minutes – don’t rush it or the butter could burn.
  3. Skim the foam off by straining through a piece of cheesecloth over a bowl.
  4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and brush the inside of a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with a little of the clarified butter.
  5. Prepare the phyllo dough by trimming the stack of it with scissors to fit the bottom of your baking dish, if necessary. Keep the dough covered with a damp piece of kitchen towel.
  6. Place one piece of phyllo on the bottom of the baking pan and brush lightly with clarified butter.
  7. Layer more phyllo sheets on top, brushing each sheet with butter as you go, until half the phyllo is used.
  8. Spread pistachios on the phyllo in an even layer, then layer with remaining phyllo, brushing each sheet with butter as you go (you might need to rewarm the butter).
  9. Now cut your pastry layers into 36 pieces, using clean up-and-down strokes and rotating the pan if necessary. Make sure to cut all the way through to bottom of pan.
  10. Pour any remaining butter evenly over pan.
  11. Bake your baklava until the top is golden brown, and the lower phyllo layers beneath the pistachios are thoroughly baked through. To test this, use a knife to lift up a corner of one of the pastry rectangles from the center of the pan so you can peek at the bottom layers.
  12. Start checking after 40 minutes, but it could take an hour or even 1 hour 10 minutes. If the top starts to get too brown before the pastry is cooked through, lay a piece of foil over the top.
  13. Meanwhile, prepare sugar syrup. In a medium pot, combine sugar with 1 2/3 cups/400 milliliters water.
  14. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened and stir in the lemon juice.
  15. When the baklava is baked through, reheat the syrup until it comes to a simmer. Remove the pan from the oven and place in the sink or on a rimmed baking sheet to catch any drips of syrup.
  16. Slowly pour hot sugar syrup over the pastry; it will bubble up and some may overflow. When the syrup stops bubbling, move your pan to the wire rack to cool completely.
  17. Serve at room temperature.

Serve with:
Holiday Discount Email Series Automation Recipe
Give your database a gift they’ll appreciate with holiday discount offers, delivered automatically over email.

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5 Lead Generation Strategies for a Successful Startup


lead generation strategies

If you don’t know how to get more leads, look no further! Lead generation is simple and doesn’t require much time.

Understanding how to generate leads is something that many businesses struggle with. However, they’re often small businesses that don’t know how to focus on digital advertising. Something as simple as a website will help you acquire leads, but you can use a variety of lead generation strategies.

We’ve put together a list of things you can do to start generating leads and improve your business. After implementing a few lead generation tips, your business will see an increase in conversions.

Here are 5 lead generation strategies for a successful startup!

1. Create Opt-In Opportunities

When it comes to lead generation tips, one of the best we can give you is to create various opt-in opportunities for customers. These opportunities can come in the form of things like newsletters, guides, webinars, etc. You can also use pay per call ads, which lets you attract people via phone calls.

Whenever a customer opts in to one of these opportunities, you can gain their contact information. From there, you can continue to send them information about your company. As you fill your sales funnel, you’ll need to nurture existing leads by producing content that will get them to invest in your business.

2. Make Effective Landing Pages

The landing page is one of the most important parts of any company’s website. Whenever a customer visits your website after searching for it or clicking an ad, they’ll need to see appealing things. You must make effective landing pages that are easy for the customer to view and understand what they’re looking at.

Create an effective landing page, include short and simple information about your product or service. You don’t want to include something like a video because it’s too much info for the customer to process.

Ensure that your landing page makes customers interested in your product by learning more about it. For example, if you sell video equipment, you could list a few images of a DIY studio setup. Customers that see it will get interested and click on those products, leading to sales.

3. Write Simple Ads

Like a landing page, you can’t generate startup leads if your advertisements are too complex for customers. They must be simple enough for a customer to understand what you’re offering as soon as they see it. Don’t pack an advertisement with a ton of information because customers will not look at it.

When creating an ad, think about the product or service that you want to advertise. How will you catch a customer’s interest? What’s the necessary information that they need to know about it to get interested? These are some of the things you must consider when making an ad.

Your advertisements also shouldn’t be filled with a ton of color. Try to make them neat, but not too boring. You’ll need to experiment with different kinds of ads until you get something that works for you. 

However, try to match your company’s tone. If you’re selling toys, you can get away with having colorful ads. However, a company that’s offering construction services wouldn’t want to include every color of the rainbow.

4. Provide Good Offers

When people are trying to figure out how to generate leads, one of the things they don’t consider is providing good offers. Whenever you want to attract customers, you’ll need to offer things like discounts and free trials to improve your conversion rate.

Free trials are often offered when a company wants to get people to sign up for a service. You’ll see things like streaming services and software companies have free trials that can last anywhere between a day to a month.

If your company focuses on selling products, you can offer a discount for first-time buyers. Not only will this get people interested in what you’re offering, but it’s also a way to earn money quickly.

When making a landing page, these discounts and free trials should be advertised there. Providing that it’s one of the first things people see when visiting your site, you’ll have a good chance of making a conversion.

5. Use Social Media

Social media marketing is something that many businesses are focusing on because over 3.5 billion people use it daily. This gives you a lot of room to grow your business without having to worry about how to attract your target audience.

Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are currently some of the most popular platforms. Each of them gives advertisers a variety of tools to reach their audience. You can choose who will see your ads by selecting the age, location, and gender of your target audience.

Out of all the ways to generate leads, this will be the most effective, no matter what type of business you have. All you need to do is figure out who your target audience is, then you can reach them through the social media platform of your choosing.

Start Using These Lead Generation Strategies

After reading this article, you now know how to get more leads for your business. We encourage you to start using these lead generation strategies as soon as possible if you’d like to find success. You’ll notice a major increase in traffic on your website, and you’ll make more sales.

If you don’t know where to start, ensure that you have an effective landing page. Changing that will help you make conversions when you start launching advertisements.

Check out our other articles to learn more about lead generation!

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Top 7 Tips For Saving Energy


saving energy
LED Bulb with lighting – saving technology in our hand

Did you know that the average electric bill in the United States is over $100 per month? It’s true – and a high electric bill isn’t only hard on your wallet. The energy waste that’s often the cause of that high bill is hard on the environment as well.

Now, saving energy doesn’t mean sitting in the dark in your living room or allowing your dirty laundry and dishes to pile up. It simply means using less energy to do your normal tasks.

Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it might sound. Listed below are 10 tips for reducing your energy costs, from small, inexpensive changes to larger home renovations.

So regardless of your budget, you should have a few energy saving ideas to use when you reach the end of this list. Let’s get started!

1. Inventory Your Behaviors

Before you spend a dime or make any changes to your home, it’s important to take an honest inventory of your behaviors in terms of energy usage. Do you leave lights on when you leave a room? Do you run the heat or air conditioning more than necessary?

One of the most effective methods of reducing energy bills is to run your heat and air conditioner less. This is because the cost to heat and cool your home typically makes up half of your total electric bill.

That said, don’t feel like you have to freeze in the winter or boil in the summer. Adjusting the temperature of your home a few degrees to decrease the load on your HVAC unit can make more of a change than you might think.

If you’re not sure what makes up the majority of the cost in your home, in particular, contact your electric company. Many offer a free service in which a representative will come to your home to inspect and determine which appliances are using the most electricity. They can also check your insulation and point out any potential air leakages.

2. Ditch the Incandescent Bulbs

Another simple, inexpensive change you can make that will make a world of difference is swapping your incandescent light bulbs for more energy-efficient options. Some excellent choices include halogen incandescent bulbs, light-emitting diode bulbs (LEDs), and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs).

Depending on how many lights you have in your home, this could take some time. However, it will be well worth the effort in the end, as these bulbs use anywhere from 25-80% less electricity.

When you’re purchasing your bulbs, you’ll notice that the energy-efficient options are slightly more expensive. But keep in mind that these bulbs last up to 25 times longer than incandescent bulbs and will be gentler on your energy bill. So in the long run, they’re much more cost-effective.

3. Use a Programmable Thermostat

If you’re away from your home often, or you find that remembering to adjust your thermostat is a hassle, a programmable thermostat could be for you. This can be a huge money-saver, as it doesn’t require you to upgrade your HVAC system.

Rather than having to be set manually, programmable thermostats allow you to create a schedule and will adjust itself accordingly.

Let’s say you leave for work at 8 am, arrive home at 6 pm, and go to sleep at 11 pm. You can set your thermostat to raise the temperature when you’re not home, lower it just before you arrive, and lower it a little more so it’s a comfortable sleeping temperature in your home when you’re ready for bed.

Other features of higher quality thermostats include notifications for filter replacements and problems with your HVAC unit. You can also purchase a smart programmable thermostat that you can control right from your cellphone.

4. Install Power Strips

Believe it or not, you probably have a vampire in your home at this very moment. Yes, some of our favorite electronic devices are energy vampires, which create phantom electricity loads. This means they’re always drawing power, even when you aren’t using them.

Seemingly harmless devices such as computer and phone chargers, televisions, cable boxes, gaming consoles, audio systems, and desktop computers might be adding hundreds to your yearly energy costs.

For example, say you just bought a brand new laptop from lenovo.com. For convenience’s sake, you decide that you’ll leave the charger plugged in behind your desk, regardless of whether or not you need it.

Well, that charger will add about six dollars to your yearly expenses, which doesn’t seem like much, right? But when you add up the various chargers and other electronics that never leave their outlet, you could be looking at a much higher amount.

Fear not, you don’t have to sacrifice convenience to save money. All you have to do is install power strips where you tend to plug in your electronics. That way, when you’re done using them, you can switch off the power strip rather than unplugging everything. This will stop the energy vampires in their tracks!

5. Pay Attention to Water Heating Expenses

Do you know how much of your electric bill can be attributed to water heating? Chances are, it’s a major contributor. If you’re unsure of how much heating the water in your is costing you, this energy cost calculator can give you a rough idea.

There are four methods of reducing your water heating costs. They include: using less hot water, insulating your water heater and pipes, turning down the temperature on your water heater, and purchasing a new one altogether. 

How do you use less hot water? Well, you could try taking shorter showers or using your dishwasher instead of hand washing dishes if you have an efficient dishwasher.

And surprisingly, cold water is better for your clothes than hot. Using cold water will preserve the colors of your clothes and help them to last longer. The only thing that should be washed in hot water is towels and sheets.

If you’re looking into purchasing a new water heater, there are two things you should look for. You need to choose the type that suits your needs and consider the type of fuel it requires.

Tankless water heaters, for example, are great for those with small families, as they’re highly energy efficient but incapable of handling more than one use of hot water at a time. 

6. Replace Your Windows

If your home has single-pane, old, or low-quality windows, you could be raising your monthly energy bills by 10-25%. To combat potential heat and air loss from your windows, consider replacing them with high-quality, double-paned windows.

Depending on the climate in which you live, you’ll need to look for certain qualities in your windows. For those who live in cooler climates, look for gas-filled windows with low-E coatings. These will reduce your heating costs significantly. You should also look into installing interior or exterior storm windows to further reduce cost.

For those living in warmer climates, those same low-E coatings can reduce heat gain by reflecting light, thereby reducing the load on your air conditioner. It’s also a good idea to invest in shutters, awnings, and window shades to reduce the amount of direct sunlight that comes into your home.

7. Install Energy Efficient Appliances

It’s no surprise that appliances often take up a significant portion of monthly energy use. It’s understandable if you don’t have the budget to replace all of your appliances at once. However, as your appliances run out of steam, they should be replaced with energy-efficient options.

Regardless of which appliance you’re shopping for, pay close attention to two factors: the purchase price and the annual operating cost. As with lightbulbs, energy-efficient appliances might cost more upfront but will pay for themselves in terms of lower energy usage and longer lifespan.

Look for the energy star label before you make your purchase. This is a federal guarantee that your chosen appliance will consume less energy than standard models, both in use and when on standby.

Your specific energy savings will depend on the appliance. Washing machines with the energy star certification consume 25% less energy while energy star refrigerators use 9% less energy than conventional options.

Lower Your Electric Bill by Saving Energy

Saving energy isn’t only good for the environment but can save you tons on your electric bill as well!

And as you can see, while there are more expensive options, you might find that all you need to do is make a few minor adjustments in your day-to-day habits. If you do go with one of the pricier options, know that it will raise the value of your property, more often than not making it a wise investment.

For more money-saving tips and tricks, be sure to take a look at our blog!

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5 Hacks to go from Zero to Hero in Digital Marketing


Digital Marketing

Are your current marketing tactics not working as well as you would like? You aren’t alone.

Reports indicate that 61% of marketers say that lead generation in marketing is one of their biggest challenges. Luckily, you can use a few digital marketing tactics to set your company apart from the rest. Follow the five digital advertising hacks to jumpstart your online success.

1. Personalize Your Ads

Social media has changed the way people act on the internet. Instead of internet users browsing random websites all the time, they spend their day scrolling through their social feeds. You can use this to your advantage.

Individuals hand over a lot of data to social media websites. You can use this information to personalize your social media marketing ads. A more personalized ad will resonate more with your audience and lead to a better conversion rate.

2. Monitor Your Competition

The world of digital advertising changes all the time. Even if something is working today, that doesn’t mean a new ad platform hasn’t been released that will work better for your company. The problem is that it can be tough to keep up with all the latest trends.

If you want to make sure you’re where your customers are, look at where your competitors are running ads. You can gain insight into the platforms they use and the type of ads they run that convert.

3. Collect Data

You don’t have to build your ad campaigns blind. Every visitor who comes to your website is a data point you can use. Make sure you install analytic software on your site so you can make more informed decisions.

The first place to start is basic website analytics. This software will tell you where people come from, how long they stay, and if they make it to your money pages.

4. Build Your Email List

You spend a lot of money to drive people to your website. A lot of that money is wasted if you drive visitors interested in your products but forget about your online store.

An email list solves this problem by giving you a way to reach out to your fans. Offer your visitors a way to sign up when they arrive from your ads. If they’re interested in your products, you can provide them with a deal by email that convinces them to buy.

5. Test Your Headlines

It isn’t always enough to get on the first page of Google with SEO marketing. While great content and strong links can get you on the first page, if you don’t convince people that your site is worth visiting, you’re going to miss out on visitors.

You need to create compelling headlines if you want to improve search traffic. Once your pages begin receiving traffic, test your headlines to figure out the ones that lead to more traffic.

Start Improving Your Digital Marketing Success Today

Digital marketing is essential for any company wanting to complete today. People are consuming less traditional media, so you need to head to where your customers hang out. Start optimizing your digital campaigns today to start reaching them.

Are you interested in learning more marketing tips? Head back to our blog to find the strategies you need to know.

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Affiliate Marketing as a Side Hustle

I started Affiliate Marketing this year as a Side Hustle.

Initially, I didn't know what to do or which product to promote.

I came across Appsumo, where one can submit their product & if I referred a customer to any product, I get 5% commission for existing Appsumo Users & 100% commission for new Appsumo users.

This remains my primary source of income in Affiliate Marketing as of now. I think it's a great way to earn money as a side hustle.

Here are some stats for this year.

Image Link:- https://imgur.com/a/IiabVGO

  • Revenue:- $405
  • Sale Amount:- $1472
  • Conversion Rate:- 4.8%
  • Clicks:- 375
  • Actions:- 18

I know these numbers are small but big enough to stay motivated along the path.

Major Traffic Sources:-

  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • SideProject (Swipe File)
  • Indiehackers
  • Email List
  • Blog

I created a dedicated resource page on my blog.

That resource page has some of my best recommendations & of course, it includes an affiliate link. I think that contributed a lot. I still have a long way to go to earn big money with Affiliate Marketing.

Resource Page is one of the best strategies recommended by Pat Flynn. ( One of the Most Successful Affiliate Marketer on the Internet)

Whenever someone subscribed to my email list, they would be taken to the resource page, in turn bringing me more qualified traffic.

Twitter is the No.1 source of traffic, though. I am very much active on Twitter.

You can follow me there to know more about me & other stuff I am doing.

Any questions? Comment below & I will be happy to answer those.

submitted by /u/tejas3732
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Big Money! How to Create a Successful Monthly Savings Plan


monthly savings plan

Did you know that most Americans are behind when it comes to their monthly savings plan and retirement financing? Besides, a report by the Economic Policy Institute shows that as of 2016 (the most recent data), Americans in the 56-61 age bracket had a median balance of $21,000 in their retirement savings plan (401K), and that’s 30 years of their savings. 

Creating a monthly savings plan doesn’t need to be difficult and is a great way to organize your income. If you’re starting to plan for your future and retirement, continue reading for some excellent tips. 

Starting a Monthly Savings Plan

While a good savings plan can help you start on the road to a better financial future, it’s best to start saving practically. Look at where you are and decide where you want to be in 5 years and further down the road. Commitment is the key to any savings plan that is successful. Here is some practical advice:

Your Financial Status Today

Consider your expenses and current spending patterns. If you’re spending your entire paycheck before getting the next one, chances are high you won’t be able to put large amounts into savings at a time. If reducing spending isn’t possible, you may want to consider a side hustle to increase your income. 

Track Your Expenses

An excellent way to start saving is to track your expenses. There are monthly savings calculators available to help get you started, even this one from Bank of America. Reviewing a few months of your bank statements is another significant way that will help you get a better view of your spending to determine where you can reduce it. 

It is essential to reduce your spending and eliminate any debt you may have to clear the road of any deterrents so you can save as much as possible. Changing banks to reduce fees and make check stubs can also help your expenses.

Start a Budget to Save

Now that you can see your monthly expenditures in a snapshot view, it’s an excellent time to organize them into a simple budget. Your budget will compare your spending to what you’re earning. It will help you to stay on track and not overspend. Experts suggest factoring in expenses that don’t occur every month, such as oil changes and other vehicle maintenance. 

Setting a goal to save 10 to 15 percent of your income can help you be a financial success. 

Put Savings on Automatic

An excellent way to boost savings is to use automated deposits. According to a recent report, about 54% of mobile banking users say they use their banks’ app to deposit their checks. Besides, 52% feel it is an essential part of the app. 

The apps also let you set up automatic transfers into your savings that help keep you on track. Over time you’ll see your savings balance growing right on your smartphone. 

Start Your Monthly Savings Plan Today

Many say the key to a monthly savings plan is starting it. Review some of these suggestions to get started saving. Your future is in your hands. 

We hope this article helped clarify monthly savings plans and how to get organized. Check back for more excellent information here.

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20 Free Twitter Tools for Small Businesses

Twitter is the place for real-time news. It’s also a powerful platform for promoting and communicating your brand. And with the right tools, Twitter can help a small business reach a big audience.

Here is a list of Twitter tools for small businesses. There are tools to track and manage followers, discover and share content, monitor brand presence, run group chats, and more. All of these tools offer free plans. Many also have premium versions with expanded features.

Twitter Tools for Businesses

TweetDeck is a dashboard application for Twitter with customizable columns for real-time tracking, organizing, and engagement. Track the user’s Twitter timeline, mentions, direct messages, trends, hashtags, tweets, and more. Monitor multiple timelines in one easy interface. Schedule tweets. Filter searches based on criteria such as engagement, users, and content type. TweetDeck is available as a web app, macOS app, and a Chrome app. Price: Free.

TweetDeck home page.

TweetDeck

Buffer helps plan, collaborate, and publish content on social media to build an audience and grow a brand. Create drafts, get feedback, and coordinate and refine content as a team. Run a preset publishing schedule for each social account. Tailor your posts for each social network. Price: Free plan provides three social channels and 10 scheduled posts. Paid plans start at $15 per month.

Tweet4me lets you schedule tweets via direct message. Send a direct message with a prefix that says when you want to schedule the tweet. Tweet4me schedules the tweet, posts it, and notifies you via Boxcar. Price: Free.

ContentCal is a platform to plan and publish social media posts. Collaborate on upcoming posts, share ideas with the team, and use approval workflows for content. Reply to tweets, Twitter direct messages, Facebook comments, and Facebook Messenger. Select top-performing content, assess individual posts against relevant metrics, and report on monthly results. Price: Free Hobbyist plan allows up to four social profiles, one calendar, and 10 posts per month. Paid plans start at $17 per month.

Home page of ContentCal.

ContentCal

SocialMention is a social media search and analysis platform that aggregates user-generated content into a single stream. Track and measure what people are saying about you, your company, your product, or any topic in real-time. SocialMention monitors 100-plus social media properties directly, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Digg, and Google. Price: Free.

Twitonomy is a web and mobile app for Twitter analytics — to monitor, manage, track, optimize, and report your activities. Get in-depth statistics on any Twitter user, insights on your followers, mentions, analytics on hashtags, and more. Monitor your interactions with other Twitter users. Easily find out who you follow but don’t follow you back. Price: Free. Premium plan is $19 per month.

Followerwonk is a social analytics tool to track and analyze Twitter followers. Track your follower gains and losses, compare Twitter accounts, run global searches in Twitter bios, and analyze any account’s followers. Price: Basic is free. Paid plans start at $29 per month.

Home page of Followerwonk

Followerwonk

Daily 140 provides a daily email with the most recent follows and favorites of Twitter users. Learn from influencers, keep tabs on competitors, and explore via others’ social activities. Price: Free.

BuzzSumo lets you analyze what content performs best for any topic or competitor. Enter a keyword or domain to discover top content and the number of shares across Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Reddit. Price: Basic is free. Pro plans start at $79 per month.

Mentionmapp is a tool to see a “map” of your Twitter community. Each user is connected to the people and hashtags mentioned the most in recent tweets. On the map, click a node to explore its “neighborhood.” Price: Free.

Home page of Mentionmapp

Mentionmapp

Tweriod provides you with the best times to tweet. Analyze your tweets and your followers’ tweets (up to 1,000 followers) to start tweeting when it makes the most sense to reach others. Price: Free.

Trends24 lets you track the latest Twitter trending topics and hashtags — globally or in your country or city. In the timeline view, see trending topics for each of the last 24 hours. Cloud view lists the topics that are most talked about. Price: Free.

Warble Alerts is a free tool for once-a-day email alerts for Twitter. Track keywords, phrases, hashtags, mentions, and more. Price: Free.

Home page: Warble Alerts

Warble Alerts

Twubs is a registry to schedule a hashtag for an upcoming Twitter chat. Also, through Twubs chats show up instantly on the feed. Price: Free.

Mention is a platform to monitor content across the web to pinpoint conversations, uncover and analyze trends, and publish posts. Get alerts and reports. Filter and analyze posts from multiple sources. Plan and manage multiple social accounts. Price: Free plan allows three social accounts and up to 1,000 mentions. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

SocialRank lets you identify, organize, and manage your social media audience. Create a report to sort your followers based on their influence, follower count, or engagement metrics. Filter follower data by location, interests, and bio identifiers. Price: Basic Twitter account is free. Paid plans start at $99.99 per year.

Home page of SocialRank

SocialRank

Trendsmap shows you the latest Twitter trending hashtags and topics from anywhere in the world. Browse by locations or tops tweets. Paid plans let you analyze historical info (hours, days, weeks, months) to find trends, and provide alerts. Price: Free. Paid plans start at $25 per month.

Pablo is a tool by Buffer to create engaging images quickly for your social media posts. Type in your text and choose and images via Unsplash, or upload your own image and then style it and the text to create your post. Price: Free.

Commun.it is a community management tool for small businesses. Monitor your mentions and conversations — with high-value content first. Track negative and positive tweets. Find and share top curated content with your followers. Discover new followers for your business. Post at ideal times, and keep track of your progress. Price: Free for one social profile and a limit on daily analytics and weekly engagements. Paid plans start at $19.99 per month.

Periscope is Twitter’s app for broadcasting live video from your smartphone. Going live will instantly notify your followers, who then can join, comment, and send you hearts in real-time. When you broadcast live on Twitter, you’ll tweet a link so that Twitter followers can watch on the web or in the app. Price: Free.

Home page of Periscope

Periscope

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‘Shop local’ applies to ecommerce businesses, too

The pandemic has altered the behavior of consumers, moving from in-person shopping to online. We have experienced it here in the U.K. Online ordering has increased significantly. Once the initial fear of ecommerce has subsided, consumers see the benefits of convenience, delivery, price, and more. For many, it will become a permanent habit.

When the U.K. went into its second lockdown, online retailers increased their advertising in the hopes of picking up even more business. Interestingly, however, so did local, physical stores. Many started advertising on Facebook and local media, emphasizing their local roots and community involvement. Local delivery and click-and-collect are now popular.

All too often ecommerce companies forget the local angle. We focus on national and international sales and forget the shoppers just outside our doors.

Local ecommerce

So why not start a shop local campaign? Consider offering same-day delivery to nearby customers as well as a click-and-collect option. “Shop local” applies to ecommerce businesses, too, who employ close-by residents and otherwise participate in community commerce.

Becoming more involved with your local area can drive sales. For example, here in Norwich, which is roughly 100 miles northeast of London, local internet retailers have helped food banks by providing warehouse space, packing materials (for food parcels), and general logistical support. This has generated substantial goodwill and no doubt increased local orders to previously unknown businesses.

First-time buyers

Many local consumers have likely never purchased goods online. Consider how to help these prospects place their first order. A telephone order option could help. Many folks are hesitant to put their credit card details online. What can you say or do to help? You could be much more flexible with local shoppers. Examples include special discounts, easy re-order mechanisms such as a mail-back form, a telephone contact, or a personal email address.

When processing orders to first-time buyers, it is crucial to communicate all stages. Let them know you have their order as well as when it will ship, who is delivering it, and when it will likely arrive.  The more you can keep them informed, the happier these nervous customers will be.

Repeat buyers

The pandemic has ushered tens of thousands of consumers online. They are not hardened bargain seekers with no loyalty. They are first-time buyers who could become repeat customers if treated well by your company. And we all know that selling to repeat customers is far more profitable than acquiring new ones.

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How a new breed of pet care brands are finding success with a direct-to-consumer model

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated growth in online pet care, as owners shift spend to ecommerce channels.

Throughout 2020, we’ve also seen more people rush to adopt or buy new pets, meaning overall demand for pet care is now higher than before.

According to the RSPCA, Google searches for “kittens near me” increased six-fold in July (year on year). In April, it was also reported that pet retailer PetsAtHome was seeing “exceptional demand”.

Much like the opportunity for DTC brands within food or homeware, the pandemic has also given rise to new opportunities for pet brands. As well as a number of new companies emerging, we’ve also seen pet care retailers experiment or further invest in a direct-to-consumer model.

Demand grows amid wider ecommerce boom

Tails.com is one DTC pet care company that has capitalised on increased demand due to Covid. Tails.com, which Nestle Purina acquired a major stake of in 2019, took the opportunity to expand in the summer, launching in six new countries including Ireland, Sweden, and Belgium.

Tails.com puts its earlier-than-planned expansion down to the wider shift to ecommerce, as well as growing care and concern from owners about pet nutrition; the company enables customers to personalise meals based on the nutritional requirements of dogs.

Speaking to New Digital Age, the brand’s CEO and co-founder, James Davidson highlights one of the main benefits of the DTC channel: the ability to delve into and learn from customer data. “The biggest lesson for established brands to learn from DTC is [the] power of true, and continuous, real-time customer understanding,” Davidson says. “We try never to assume we know what the customer most needs or values. Instead we always test, develop new hypotheses and test and then test again to provide the right service and products to meet their needs.”

Subscription box retailers enjoy high search traffic and low online advertising costs – but will new users stick?

Personalisation for pets

Indeed, greater consideration about the heath of pets is behind many new DTC pet care brands, as the model enables customers to tailor food and treats based on the specific needs of their animal (in comparison to broader, big brand offerings). Dandy, for example, is an online company that sells customised vitamins and supplements for dogs, honing in on the idea that the products are ‘treats with benefits’.

While DTC companies often find success in niche categories, others are aiming to become a one-stop shop for pets online, fuelled by the demand for ease and convenience. This is the aim for Jinx – a DTC pet wellness company founded by three former Caspar execs. As well as offering a wide range of pet products, Jinx is hoping to appeal to a younger generation of pet owners who are used to (or perhaps more open to) shopping for their pets online as well as ideally from one place. Speaking to Digiday, Jinx’s CEO, Terri Rockovich said such businesses appeal to Millennials and Gen Z, as they “speak to their priorities: ease, convenience, transparency, controlled costs, authenticity and a seamless shopping experience.”

Much like Casper’s offering, which is all about selling mattresses in a more convenient and accessible way, Jinx is likely hoping to revolutionise the traditional shopping journey for pet owners (which tends to be brick-and-mortar or supermarket-focused).

New innovations to foster customer relationships

How brands deliver the aforementioned priorities is also a hugely important factor, which is why many companies in the space are focused on building customer relationships. Like most digital brands, social content is a big part of strategy for Jinx, with the brand using relatable and humorous content to target users.

Easy and seamless ordering is also a priority, which is the aim behind Jinx’s most recent innovation, which it describes as a “full commerce and customer engagement experience.” Essentially, it is a text-to-buy platform, which enables customers to both order as well as reach out with customer service queries via text message.

This is not a new concept, even within the direct-to-consumer field. Beverage brand Dirty Lemon first used a text-to-buy feature back in 2017, though it was then the only way customers could order from the brand. Dirty Lemon has since secured investment from Coca Cola and a partnership with retail giant Walmart.

Jinx is is already mirroring Dirty Lemon’s success, having recently launched a partnership with Petco to enable it to be the first DTC dog food brand sold on the Petco website.

Established DTCs expanding into pet care (and niche companies breaking through)

With more people looking to their pets for comfort this year, we are also seeing greater interest in categories outside of standard pet food or treats. This is also due to what some call ‘the humanisation of pets’. DTC brands like Dandy (which sells supplements for dogs) is one example, but other companies that are not traditionally sellers of pet care are also expanding into the category.

Casper was one of the first to do so, launching its first dog bed back in 2016. More recently, Public Goods – which sells CPG goods online, including personal care and grocery items – added a pet care range to its categories. The company is clearly hoping that its pet line will help to continue the momentum it has seen since Covid.

Elsewhere, emerging DTCs are also recognising the demand for pets other than dogs. Cat Person, a DTC which is backed by Harry’s Labs, sells items solely for cats including food, beds, and toys. Unsurprisingly, given the name, Cat Person is aiming to target cat owners who might have felt under-served by big retailers as well as smaller DTCs which typically focus on dogs.

Will any of these pet care brands become as well known as Warby Parker or Dollar Shave Club? It remains to be seen, but for pet owners in a pandemic, factors such as added convenience (and what’s best for their beloved dog or cat) could indeed lure them away from traditional supermarket shelves.

The DTC pandemic boom: What can we learn?

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A day in the life of… Matt Ramerman, President of Sinch for Marketing

Matt Ramerman is the president of Sinch for Marketing. We recently caught up with Matt to find out how his daily working life has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Please describe your job: What do you do?

Sinch for Marketing is the mobile engagement and personalised mobile messaging platform and consultancy of Sinch, a global leader in cloud communications for mobile customer engagement.

As president of Sinch for Marketing, I support a global team that is working closely with leading enterprises to transform their brand experience in order to strengthen relationships with their customers as measured by churn reduction, increasing revenue and enhancing overall NPS. Our team utilises our proprietary mobile engagement platform and global network to deliver personalised video, rich media and mobile landing experiences on consumers’ mobile phones no matter where they are in the world. My job is to offer clear direction, resources and efficient operational processes for my global team to ensure the best service and tools are being provided to our clients.

How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?

Well, for starters, I am home talking to screens as opposed to being on an airplane and meeting customers and our teams face-to-face. And consequently, my commute to work has dramatically improved. We are meeting with clients and prospects everyday and while the discussions are productive and we continue to demonstrate value with our services, the personal connection has been impacted. Some days it is surreal to contemplate that “work” is now “talking to screens.” Due to all of this, I have not seen my dry-cleaner in nearly six months and my dress shoes now have a solid layer of dust – making me wonder when they might be used again.

Obviously informal, spontaneous “coffee machine” conversations have also changed – they are now more structured over Microsoft Teams. In some ways the content of those conversations have greater intent, considering the deliberate focus. On the other hand, the frequency of those conversations has decreased.

What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?

We are in the customer relationship business using mobile messaging. Right now, brands are focused on holding onto their customers and, as a result, seeking new channels to drive engagement. This is squarely in our expertise and we are seeing continued growth in messaging volumes as enterprise drives those connections and facilitates service delivery.

What advice would you give a marketer right now?

My advice for a marketer right now would be: work from the inside out; stay close with your customers, as building upon that relationship is top priority. Personalisation is essential to ensuring your customer relationships remain productive and healthy.

In fact, I just received an SMS from a major hardware chain, indicating a substantial flash sale on tools. While the offer headline was compelling, clicking the link did not personalise the offer by location or curate based on purchase behaviour – and this lack of relevance will not only deter conversion, but now makes me weary to click their future offers and may drive me to opt-out from future programs.

Which companies have impressed you during the pandemic?

I am most impressed with the smaller local businesses that have been able to adapt quickly to local restrictions or embraced digitalisation. There are so many great tools available to make digital connections, not to mention facilitate delivery or take-out. Those who have made the digital transition effortlessly will survive – and those who haven’t, won’t.

What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?

Microsoft Teams and Slack have served as essential tools to provide us with an easy and seamless virtual environment to supplant in-person communications. Both are excellent in bridging both desktop and mobile environments seamlessly. It has been fascinating to watch the rapid evolution of Teams over the last six months, responding to tremendous demand and customer feedback. The product has come a long way in a very short time, delivering valuable collaboration for virtual environments.

What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your company?

At Sinch, we are currently planning against multiple scenarios to ensure we are prepared for any and all realities the market may throw at us. This includes both short and long-term planning, and the pace and frequency of that has increased in order for us to better respond to global markets or near-term opportunities.