Ways to Increase Holiday Sales

Edan Gelt Communications

Start Early

According to Experian, 69 percent of sales teams stated they started planning holiday campaigns by August. You can drive traffic for your holiday programming by building an email list and incentivizing shoppers to sign up for deals and steals during the season.  Maybe even offer an incentive for signing up – the incentive could be a free gift or the promise that they will be the first to know the Holiday season, follow up with your new customers 30-35% of shoppers are repeat buyers so follow up with shoppers, even after the holidays.  If possible analyze what they like and offer them similar items.  The more positive experiences a shopper has, the more loyal they will become to your brand.

Be Mobile Friendly

Mobile devices drive 56% of all internet traffic. Mobile traffic also accounted for 31% of all online sales on Cyber Monday in 2016. Interestingly, 70% of the total conversions in 2015 were made on a desktop. Only 20% were made on mobile devices. This is likely due to slow, un-responsive mobile sites. According to Google, 29% of shoppers leave mobile sites immediately if the page does not satisfy their needs. Some websites saw a conversion increase of 2% after cutting down their load time by four seconds.

A few tips to being more mobile friendly.  1.  Make sure your images are formatted correctly. A large image will kill page load time. 2. Limit the number of checkout steps. Reduce the number of taps required to checkout by including logins through social media. Including an option to log in via Facebook will reduce content that is not related to the purchase at checkout. This simple change can eliminate an entire step of the checkout process. 23% of people abandon retailer sites because they were required to create an account. Allow first-time buyers the option to check out as a guest to move them to the payment information page faster.

Create Urgent Calls-To-Action

A good way to nudge shoppers towards the checkout is to create a sense of urgency. Urgent calls to action provoke the shopper to buy now instead of leaving to comparison shop. Create limited time offers, notices of scarcity, price increases etc.  An effective use of a countdown timer may psychologically encourage a shopper to buy now or miss out. This can also be done with perks – a notice of “Free Shipping” that ends on an upcoming date also requires the shopper to take action to take advantage of the offer.

Another call to action is by creating urgency through scarcity.  If a limited amount of products are available, it pushes the shopper to act now.  This can be done with “low stock” notice or “only 1 left”. A simple “checkout now” button on these pop-ups is beneficial for the shopper.

That’s a Wrap

Holiday is the most important time of the year for retailers. Make the most of it!  And most importantly, track data, you’ll need it next year!

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

With more than 20 years of diverse communications experience, including more than a decade at Harlem Irving, Edan Gelt has extensive capability in diverse communication  mediums across various industries, offering insight on communications strategy, research, public relations, advertising, special events, social media, branding and more.

Edan holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Elmhurst College and an MBA degree.

For more information visit www.edangelt.com,

 or https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

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5 Tips of Starting A Vacation Rental Association

A few years ago when the kids were young, we decided to invest in a summer home.  As big boaters, we wanted something close to a body of water but affordable enough to maintain year round.  Our first venture was a trailer, but due to the cleanliness of the lake it was on, cramped quarters, and only 5 Gallons of hot water, we quickly traded our trailer in for a home along a cleaner body of water

We ventured into Michigan and found a small quaint town.  We couldn’t afford lake side housing so opted for a little cottage a mile from the beach.  It was close enough to home but far away from reality.  As the kids grew, our ability to make it out to our summer home lessened so we decided to dive into the world of renting.  After interviewing several rental companies in the area, we opted to manage rentals ourselves to avoid the hefty 20 – 25% fee.

CONVERTING

If you are in the process of converting a vacation home into a vacation rental some changes need to be made.   Walk through your home and remove any valuable items you don’t want broken or removed from the property. Swap out family photos with artwork. Consider the linens – the quantity and even the color.  Whites may be easier to bleach but may stain easier.   Make sure you have back up towels and two sets of sheets for each bed for quick turnovers or when you don’t have time to have laundry done.

PURCHASING A VACATION RENTAL

If you are purchasing a new property, make sure the economics work. Research the area and figure standard rental rates and the length of the season.  In our case, our rental season is only 12-weeks long so we needed to make sure that renting made more sense than selling, we figured-in the cost of furnishing and updating as well as taxes and utilities.

Edan Gelt Communications Strategist
Edan Gelt Communications Strategist

LISTING

We chose to list our property on both AIRBNB and VRBO.  It takes a bit of coordination to make sure the websites are updated continually so if you rent on one, you need to make sure you block off the dates on the other

You need to create a powerful listing that captivates online viewers so treat the listing as an advertising tool.  Take great pictures and write an honest and detailed description of the property.  Include your distance from key destinations and any added value your property offers.  Research pricing of similar properties and price accordingly, taking into consideration fluctuations for holidays and peak travel times.

RESOURCES

Put a team in place.  Interview cleaning people, get to know your neighbors and find a local handyman.  If your vacation property is far from your main residence, your team is your most valuable resource.  During the summer, our cleaning lady becomes the go-to gal.  She lets us know if there is damage and turns over the property for the next guest in as little as 3-hours.   Our neighbors have also helped when tenants had issues like a new battery in a smoke detector or figuring out cable.  They even  notified us of a burst pipe in the winter.

TAXES

Make sure you pay taxes on your rental income, state dependent.  If you are a vacation homeowner and only want to rent less than 2-weeks per year, you can do so tax-free but anything more is taxable.

It does get a bit chaotic at times managing a vacation rental with schedules, tenants and but for us it’s been fun.

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

Communications in Unfamiliar Territory

So an advertiser for years, my main focus has always been on the good old Windy City area.  Recently, I welcomed a client which hosts events nationwide; in areas I’ve never even visited.

Most of the events were repeats so there was a trail of what made up the primary demo – emails, zip codes, income and how attendees heard about the event; but what about new events in entirely new spaces?

Understanding what advertising mediums have worked in other areas for similar events, I approached the new area with the same strategy basics, however, finding the most value in each new outlet was challenging.  My first goal was direct mail and mass distribution magazines, so I searched all direct magazine/mail suppliers in the area.  After receiving media kits from several companies, I sifted through the advertising publications looking for similar organizations.  Then I picked up the phone and called them one by one to ask for opinions.  It was a very long day.

Owner after owner rated the publication I was calling about and told me how they rated the return. They also referred me to other sources and even introduced me to other companies in the area that might make good media partners for the event.

Edan Gelt Communications
Edan Gelt Communications

It was a tedious process, but outside of living in the area, this was the best approach to understand what publications reached my demographic.  I also learned a lot about the demographic.  For most organizations, a trade area really isn’t a circle but instead, an amoeba.

From my calls to the organizations, I learned more about exactly what zips to hit so I could create a valuable digital and mail campaign.  Instead of going in blind, I was educated and confident before writing recommending a media plan.

The event campaign was a success and the client was able to get more than 1 million impressions for a substantially lower CPM than budgeted. We created valuable long-term partnerships for the event and created a viable and sustainable campaign.

Even in the US, the culture in each area varies and what works in one state or even city, may not work in the other.  My advice, roll up your sleeves and start making calls – understand where you’re going and how to make a splash.

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

With more than 20 years of diverse advertising experience, including more than a decade at Harlem Irving, Edan Gelt has an extensive capability in diverse advertising mediums across various industries, offering insight on advertising strategy, research, public relations, advertising, special events, social media, direct advertising, branding and more.

Edan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in advertising from Elmhurst College and an Executive MBA degree.

For more information visit www.edangelt.com,

or https://www.linkedin.com/in/edan-joy-gelt/

Kennedy Update and CureSearch

It’s been 6 months since Kennedy has been officially “cured” from cancer, 3 years since her last round of chemo and 5 ½  years since she was diagnosed.  Those are big numbers.  With each day, we step further and further from what could have been to what is, and we are eternally grateful.

We still visit Loyola four times per year for clinic checks but as we move away from our experience with childhood cancer, we can’t forget there are kids less fortunate than Kennedy that are currently losing their battle or just couldn’t win and are no longer with us.

For the past several years, we have fundraised for CureSearch (the organization that backs Kennedy’s chemo protocol) and volunteered on the pediatric floor of Loyola.  This year I was named publicity chair of the CureSearch Walk and hoping to achieve coverage of the event and cause while also raising the funds needed to help the organization do what they do best.  The article announcing the appointment ran in the local papers and, Kennedy personally received a note from a State Representative as a result!

Edan Gelt daughter Kennedy
Edan Gelt daughter Kennedy

I love CureSearch because the protocol the supported saved her from potential heart damage and delivered less-severe side effects.  Most people don’t understand that even though treatment is over and Kennedy is “cured”, the chemotherapy can still wreak havoc and cause long-term organ and cognitive damage into adulthood.  It’s hard to escape the effects of chemicals being pumped into one’s body during key developmental periods.

Kennedy has personally raised $85 for this year’s walk by making and selling slime with her friends.  In May, Kennedy and her friend Angela went door to door and sold slime for $.50 – $3 a jar.  We were astonished by her idea and accomplishment.  While many of her friends were selling slime for personal gain, Kennedy was raising funds for a cause that is embedded in her soul.  As a 10-year old, she has more empathy and understanding than most adults I know.

So with that end – this is where I ask you to walk with us on September 24 or just a donation to a wonderful cause. Our goal is $7,500 and we are almost there!  The link to our CureSearch fundraising website is: http://www.curesearchevents.org/site/TR/CureSearchSuperheroesUnite/CureSearchSuperheroesUnite?team_id=2752&pg=team&fr_id=1461

Thank you all who donated already, this cause means the world to our entire family!

With Love,

Edan Gelt & Gene Khalimsky

Originally posted:  https://mylittlekennedy.blogspot.com/2017/08/kennedy-update-and-curesearch.html

What is Retargeting and How Does It Work?

Have you ever looked for something online to later find the thing you were looking for following you everywhere on the web?  I remember the first time this happened to me, I thought it was a coincidence or maybe a “sign” that I really should purchase that skirt, those cool shoes or take my kids to that cool new play zone.

The ads weren’t a coincidence but instead, aimed at me based on my Internet activity.  The process is called Retargeting and it is one of the more effective digital advertising channels.

How Retartegeting Works

A small piece of code (also called a pixel) is inserted in a web page, landing page, or email.  The user does not see the code but the cookie-based, java-script technology secretly follows the user around the internet and serves up ads based on behavior.

The most unique aspect is that the code can be delivered based on the buyer’s behavior.  If a potential customer visits your site, loaded up a basket and didn’t check out, the item(s) can follow the customer around.  Or if the potential customer just looked at an item on your site, you can still serve up ads.  The code is customizable based on consumer behavior.

Retargeting Ads Edan Gelt
Retargeting Ads Edan Gelt

Retargeting is extremely effective because it serves up targeted ads to a group that has already shown interest in your product or service.  This makes retargeting ads more effective than other digital channels based solely on demographics.

Interested in creating a retargeting campaign?  Reach out on Linkedin.

By:  Edan Gelt, MBA, CMD

With more than 20 years of diverse communications experience across various industries, offering insight on communications strategy, research, public relations, advertising, special events, social media, branding and more.

Edan Gelt holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Elmhurst College and an Executive MBA degree.

Direct Mail Advertising

Contrary to its pricey reputation, direct mail is an effective and AFFORDABLE way to sell and advertise. Affordable was never a word attributed with direct mail but now it is one of the more cost effective mediums of messaging. When digital options first emerged, advertisers could reach consumers for pennies, which made direct mail seem like a fortune.

Times have changed and the cost of digital can range from a few cents to upwards of $20 for an impression. In addition, the digital environment is so saturated with pop ups, banner ads, sponsored feed and in-mail junk, consumers have become desensitized to the digital clutter appearing on their screens.

Enter the comeback of direct mail – or for some sales professionals (like me), it has never left.

Direct mail, when implemented correctly, can be the most impactful way of causing consumers to take action. At direct mail’s average bulk cost of $0.35 apiece, it is an affordable way to capture attention.

So how is a good campaign established?

Target Audience

Look at your CRM or your research. Establish whom your key customers are, what they look like (age, income, geography, etc.).

For consumer retention, use the list from prior targeted purchases. Specific lists may cost a little more in postage than bulk but it’s worth retaining previous purchasers.

For consumer acquisition, you can purchase a lists by specific attributes of each recipient or by carrier routes that have the qualifiers you are looking for. Usually, the more specific your list: the higher the postage rate. There are also shared mail programs like DAL cards offered by publications. DAL-like cards are cheaper (sometimes as low as $0.10 for print, prep and post) but you don’t get the freedom of choosing your target audience qualifiers.

Timing

Target your customers when they are buying. Look at your sales reports. When are your highest sales? This is the time your consumer is buying so this is the time you should be targeting them. Timing varies for different products and industries.

Message

Determine what it is your consumer values; then offer it. If you can afford to customize your message to each recipient, do it. If not, that’s okay too. Whatever you do, keep your message simple and make the headline appealing and relevant.

If you are a restaurant offering a free appetizer, make it pop. Don’t bury the offer in small writing amongst all the other entrees you are offering. Keep your offer clean, concise and engaging.

Edan Gelt DIRECT MAIL MARKETING

Design

Nothing is less appealing than receiving a mailer that has a ton of tiny images with small text telling the consumer everything about your business. I recently received a mailer with a message for deck cleaning, lawn care, painting, lighting and windows all on one 5×8 post card! That’s great if your company offers all of those amazing services but too much information and pictures can be overload and garbage material. Look at your sales – which service or services are the most popular? Feature the top one, maybe two.

Consistency

One mailer is not the answer to all of your advertising needs. Consistency is key and the rule of thumb is three times is a charm. It takes three impressions for a consumer to make a decision. You can reach out three times via direct mail or you can mix up your advertising mediums – maybe email, mail, engage them on social, or pay for the creepy ads that follow them around the net.

Direct Mail can be a profitableadvertising strategy if done correctly. The recipient has to look at your offer and register it before deciding to keep or toss your piece. That holds a lot of value in today’s cluttered digital environment.

By: Edan Gelt, CMD, MBA
Edan Gelt is an award winning, innovative, energetic, highly creative and consumer-centric advertising leader with successful results in increasing sales and traffic.

Her experience includes business-to-business and consumer advertising, media-buying, branding, public and community relations, strategy creation/implementation, budgeting, grand openings, trade shows, grass-roots advertising initiatives and special event planning.

Welcome to the Lock & Roll Organizer!

Edan Gelt

One of the greatest joys about my role as a Communications Consultant is that I get to work on several projects and see amazing ideas bloom from concept to rollout.

The latest project is Lock & Roll Organizer. The idea was born sometime before 2012 in Mark Tavolino’s garage. A builder by trade and an organization guru by nature, Mark built a unique organization system for gardening tools, golfing gear and his kid’s toys. The organizer is similar to a Lego system that locks together without tools and can be configured and customized based on consumer needs. A video about the project can be seen here https://vimeo.com/207562365.

I was invited to join Lock & Roll Organizer’s brainstorming team in 2012. At that stage, Mark had a wooden prototype and was raising funds, while determining how to position the product. The first thing I admired about Mark was his candor and his ability to recognize what he could and could not do. He was good at surrounding himself with experts in their field and stood firm in his belief in the product’s success, his ability to bring it to light and delivering a quality American-made product worldwide.

Marketing Consultant Edan Gelt

Fast forward to 2017 and Mark has produced several plastic prototypes, created advertising and packaging, raised funds and is having the product tooled. He is now in the process of negotiating with distributors and retailers. The Lock & Roll Organizer will hit the stores in August this year.

I attended the Hardware Show with Lock & Roll Organizer this past week and am excited to see Mark’s dream become a reality. Bed Bath & Beyond, The Container Store, Amazon and Ace all showed interest in the product and will be following up in the next few weeks.

Look for Lock & Roll Organizer in stores near you or visit their website to pre-order at www.lockandrollorganizer.com.

By: Edan Gelt
Communications Strategist

Originally published at www.edangelt.com.