Getting the Most Out of Online Advertising

Advertising on the Site:

Sevenly does not use any third party advertisements on its website. Previously, the team of Sevenly used some ads in their Facebook page. Now that the business is in the growth stage, the company does not allow any kind of paid third party advertisements on any of its social media pages or website. It mostly uses the ads of its own products on the pages of the website.

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However, Sevenly promotes the charity organizations it selects each week to donate on its website. In my opinion, this is one sort of advertisement as well. For instance, this week Sevenly is donating the money it is raising for the charity purpose to an organization called “Autism speaks”. The viewer can see a banner on Sevenly’s website that is promoting the organization Autism Speaks. Although, Sevenly does not receive any payment for promoting such organizations, the ads on the website serves the purpose of advertising for them significantly.

Products:

Sevenly does not have various product lines yet. It mostly offers apparel and accessories for male and female. The main objective of Sevenly is to sell special designed products through its website. The products it sells include t-shirts and some other accessories, i.e. hoodie, T-shirt, wall print, backpack, bottle, etc. In an article titled ‘Sevenly: Wearable and Charitable’ Organic Connections Magazine mentioned, “The T-shirts and many of the different accessories Sevenly sells bear original hand-drawn designs by Sevenly artists, using inspirational and empowering messages.”

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Nonetheless, the artists design the T-shirts based on the particular week’s charity. The products Sevenly offers are made in the USA. The materials are also certified by WRAP (Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production).

Communications I receive from the Website:

I am probably one of those few people who click the “subscribe” button on the websites willingly. It has been almost one year that I subscribed to the email newsletters of Sevenly. Thus, the only communication that I receive from the Sevenly website is its e-newsletters.

Normally, I get Sevenly’s email newsletters twice a week. The newsletters mostly contain the information about its weekly campaign along with the products it is offering for that particular week. The team of Sevenly put a lot of effort while designing the newsletters. The email newsletters they send are very brief and image-heavy.

Affiliate Program:

Sevenly introduced its affiliate program in 2012. The team of Sevenly said that to drive traffic and generate initial revenue they have run various affiliate marketing program. The first action they used is CPA (Cost per action model). They used some external websites, i.e. Affiliate technology, Popshops, Abestweb, etc., to promote their brand.

Initially, the commission they gave to these affiliates for their assigned job is 15-20% of each sale. Nonetheless, they still uses CPA model to boost their revenue. The click-through affiliate program is being used by Sevenly as well. It pays 15% commission to the external website that has the link that leads to the website of Sevenly. The affiliate receives the amount if a user clicks on the link and enters to Sevenly’s website.

However, Sevenly uses individual affiliates as well. If a blogger is interested to promote Sevenly, he or she can apply for the individual affiliate program. In this program the selected affiliate gets the exclusive T-shirt and accessories for free. In return all they need to do is wear the T-shirts, tweet and write about Sevenly in their blog. There are many bloggers who work as affiliates of Sevenly. They are known as ‘Sevenly educators’ as well.

0000017-women-grab-bagSevenly and an Article about Affiliate Marketing:

To discuss the impact of affiliate marketing on Sevenly, I have chosen an article from the Forbes Magazine titled “4 Myths about Affiliate Marketing You Need to Know” by Steve Olenski. In this article the author mostly talked about four very important traditional myths about affiliate marketing. He revealed that affiliate marketing can open a new revenue avenue for a company without much of the difficulties associated with setting up new marketing programs. Nevertheless, it is very important to understand the true facts related to affiliate marketing to make the correct decisions for the future growth of any business.

The first fact the author talked about is the time requirements for affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing takes a considerable amount of time to show results. It does not bring results immediately after introducing the program. As discussed earlier Sevenly introduced its affiliate program back in 2012. The primary objective of Sevenly’s affiliate program was to drive traffic for its website. To turn that traffic into conversions the team of Sevenly put a lot of effort. First of all, they set up the most efficient partnerships for their business. Then they brought the right partners into their affiliate program. Furthermore, they tend to update the contents of the website regularly.

The second myth the author talked about is the market size and popularity. According to the article most people think that popular niche markets are appropriate for affiliate marketing, which might not be true in many cases. Non-popular niches can be appropriate too, if they are relevant to the business goals of the company. Therefore, the author suggested to follow the goals and mission statement of the company and find affiliates who understand the relevance of working in a new yet potential market. In my opinion, Sevenly explored some niche markets to implement affiliate marketing. It uses individual bloggers and educators to run affiliate programs that are profitable to drive traffic and spreading word of mouth. Nevertheless, the team of Sevenly is determined to explore niche markets to set up new marketing initiatives constantly.

The last two myths the author talked about is the effectiveness and efficiency of affiliate marketing. He mentioned that due to Google’s new algorithms for SEO, link building is becoming outdated that can discourage affiliate activity. However, if this is the case, there are many new ways to use SEO and increase the effectiveness of affiliate marketing. Sevenly should explore new ways to use SEO while building strategy for its affiliate marketing. Nevertheless, success in affiliate marketing comes from getting the product on as many sites as possible. According to a study done by Three Ladders Marketing, the most traffic for affiliates were driven by SEO, 79% and social media, 60%. Although, studies show that affiliate marketing isn’t easy, Sevenly should still focus on the niche markets, focus on a few key affiliates, and create a system that generates performance for both the company itself and the affiliate that can drive profit and conversions for its business.

Making the Best Use of Digital Marketing

In the summer of 2011, two people with noteworthy social media background, Aaron Chavez and Dale Partridge, decided to start a business where they can blend profit and purpose together, by putting people before profit. They came up with a life changing business idea titled Sevenly, which not only represents the number 7, but also the word “heavenly.” In an interview with Mashable, CEO Partridge said, they chose the number seven because Biblically, it represents completeness. Completeness, according to Dale Partridge, means “world without need.” Surprisingly, the name of the company itself explains its business model, which was inspired by social good companies like TOMS Shoes and Warby Parker. However, their aim was to create an original business plan. Hence, they chose the number 7 as the base of their ultimate simple business model.

With a slogan of “People Matter,” Sevenly donates $7.00 from each transaction to different causes of charities weekly. Every week, Sevenly announces the causes, it will be donating to, in its website. Sevenly believes their business model is co-profit, thus sustainable. To clarify this model, the team of Sevenly stated, $7.00 per transaction is almost 30% of their income and that is exceptionally high for a for-profit company. They also claimed that their donation rate is so high that the Internal Revenue Service could not place it in the for-profit tax category with the other retail companies. Therefore, their business model is defined as co-profit, where a fixed percentage of their company’s profit goes directly to the nonprofit causes.

As we know, Sevenly is an e-retailer, all the activities of this company are being operated online. It has built some fascinating online cause-marketing strategies that helped the company to grow within a very short span of time. This weekly cause activation platform was first launched on Facebook. In an article of Facebook titled, “How Sevenly Uses Facebook to Profit for Good”, the CEO of Sevenly mentioned that they used Facebook initially to build an audience and grow awareness. He also said that, for a time Facebook generated almost 97% of their site traffic. Now that they are in the growth stage of product life cycle, they use Facebook mainly to drive traffic to their site. Although these days they are introducing new online strategies frequently to expand their market, they are still using Facebook primarily to build awareness and engage with their customers.

However, to take advantage of the power of online and digital platforms fully, Sevenly has been using other online platforms as well, i.e. InstagramTwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedIn, and Google+. The team of Sevenly build and update the contents of these online platforms regularly, based on their weekly chosen causes. According to Stephanie Czupryk, Director of Marketing at Sevenly, “Telling both our cause and design story on platforms like these helps us continue to engage and inspire our audience throughout our weekly campaigns. When you run 52 different campaigns a year, it is important to maintain a fresh perspective in your storytelling of each charity and the designs we develop for them.” Thus, the team of Sevenly is using the feel good principle, the science of storytelling, as a weapon for their business.

In addition to using all the mentioned social networks, Sevenly also uses the most popular online platform YouTube. To increase the word of mouth, the team of Sevenly has been using the YouTube Stars as a consumer engagement strategy for the last three years. In an interview with I AM THE TREND, the CEO of Sevenly revealed, as soon as they learned that YouTube stars have a higher engagement rate than Facebook and Twitter, they made friends with these celebrities and signed them up to be their spoke person.

86d160650785a1069a911a6d5237e09e_largeHowever, Sevenly’s marketing team is always testing new channels that may be a good fit for its brand. As part of their channel exploration, they used the Television media to run a reality show regarding a campaign of Sevenly in 2013. They were also featured in prime time on German Television along with some other national presses. Thus, Sevenly keeps testing and re-testing multichannel to reach its audience.

As an e-retailer, Sevenly has successfully created a very structured way to capture data about their customers. In an interview with I AM THE TREND, CEO Partridge mentioned that, they have a very high repeat buyer percentage. They maintain a complete different database for the repeat buyers. Once a customer signs up for a Sevenly account and buys products from the website, the information automatically goes to their customer database. Customers who tend to purchase more than once are considered as repeat buyers. Sevenly is very strict about collecting and protecting the personal data of their customers. It uses the latest industry-standard SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption to protect personal data of the users. Sevenly also utilizes SEO and SEM to drive traffic to their website. If you search for “shop for charity” on Google search engine, Sevenly’s website appears on the first page. Thus, Sevenly is making the most effective use of digital marketing tools to achieve its goals.

Sending Something worth Having to Your Inbox

My Story of Getting into the World of Sevenly:

Unlike most people, I do not mind receiving myriad of email newsletters from the companies or the organizations that I have subscribed to. This is perhaps because I like to know what’s happening in the world I feel I belong to. However, not all the companies send emails worth having all the time. Among those companies, who send emails worth reading, Sevenly is one of my favorite.

There is one mantra which has always inspired me. Mahatma Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Yes, I believe that if everyone tries to change what they think is necessary to make the world a better place, someday our dream world will come to fruition. Although, I am studying marketing and communication, my primary focus is not learning the marketing strategies only to increase revenue for a company. I believe marketers are the ones who can make positive contribution to the world, by just spreading awareness about a cause of change and uniting people to make that change together. Nonetheless, after observing the continuous evolution of profit-oriented capitalism, I started thinking probably I am just a big dreamer. I also thought that it is quite difficult to blend cause and profit together, until I came to know about Sevenly. The importance to have the email newsletters of Sevenly lays there. If you are one of them, who wants to see what positive changes are happening in the world and also would like to contribute to them, then you must subscribe to Sevenly for their email newsletters.

It has been more than one year that I subscribed for Sevenly’s email newsletters. I went to the website and put my email address in the “Subscribe for offers and update” section. The site immediately sent a confirmation email in my email address. I had to confirm my subscription and also to give them permission to send me email newsletters. After clicking the confirmation link, I received the first email titled, “Let’s change the world together.” This probably was a simple welcome email, but it gave me a sense of belonging to the world of Sevenly. In my opinion, that is the beauty and uniqueness of the newsletters of this company. I personally find their emails very inspiring and positive. The newsletters mostly contain fresh pictures that are relevant to its weekly causes and campaigns. The team of Sevenly mentioned in their blog titled, “6 Social Media Marketing Tips By Sevenly”, that they focus on building image-heavy contents when communicating with the customers via email. However, I normally receive email newsletters of Sevenly twice a week. The email newsletters inform the subscribers about the chosen weekly cause of Sevenly. The newsletters also contain the pictures of their weekly product collection for that particular campaign.

The first thing I do when I start my day is check emails, while drinking a cup of warm tea. Ever since I started living alone, I discovered getting emails with personal touches make us feel adequate. I also believe, it is very important to start your day with positive feelings. I really like how the email newsletters I receive from Sevenly put a smile on my face in the morning. For instance, today I received an email from Sevenly that stated, this week the organization will give the donation to the female burn-survivors to help restore the self-image of adolescent girls suffering from burn/trauma injuries. Sevenly is raising both capital and awareness for these survivors. Being a woman myself, I can totally understand how this cause might change so many lives.

The Email:

Screenshot (40)In my opinion Sevenly does a very good job at designing their email newsletters. The team of Sevenly put a lot of effort while designing the newsletter. Usually, the emails they send are very brief and image-heavy. Most of the newsletters do not include any details about the campaign.

However, the email newsletters they send do not emphasize on sharing further. I designed a newsletter for Sevenly concentrating on sharing specifically. The subject of the newsletter  will be “Let’s fight the down syndrome together.” I believe, the phrase “lets do together” has a unique power to entice people to share it with their friends.

The newsletter shown in this blog has a call-to-action button that says “share now”. Customers will be able to share the campaign upon opening the email by clicking on that button. Thus, the campaign will be able to use the power of word of mouth. As we know pass-on rate indicates the effectiveness of email marketing, this strategy will help us to measure the result easily.

The newsletter also have two other CTAs, one is “shop to support” and the other one is “Shop for cause.” The objective of these two CTAs is to convince the viewer to make at least one transaction to support the cause.

Nevertheless, in the header section I tried to focus on the phrase “limited edition charity collection” followed by some pictures of that particular collection. This will help to gain initial attention from the viewers about the weekly campaign and its theme.

The Plan to obtain a list of Contacts:

Before designing an email newsletter it is very important to make a plan to obtain a list of contacts, to send the email to. Sevenly already has a database of the people who want to hear from them. As mentioned earlier, Sevenly uses the opt-in method to receive permission from the users. If you shop at Sevenly.org, you will be automatically subscribed to its email newsletters. The site will ask for your permission if you want to receive exclusive news and updates about Sevenly. If you do not check that box, they will not send you email newsletters. In my opinion, this is a very good practice.

In the article Ask Before You Blast – The Importance of Permission by MailChimp (2014), it has been stated that Opt-in method helps to identify the customers, who want to be added to the subscribers list. Sevenly also uses double opt-in method, which is giving confirmation by clicking a link in the email, to make sure the user is willing to subscribe for their newsletters. Nevertheless, I would like to have an automated process built in the site, by which I am able to add the confirmed subscribers to a complete database that will include the full name, gender, state, mobile number, and address of them.

However, the site of Sevenly does not give the option to sign up via social media accounts, i.e. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. In the article 10 Reasons Social Logins Could Be a Game Changer Vertical Response (2014) explained that social login could be very effective for the companies to collect data of the enthusiastic visitors. Therefore, I would like to recommend Sevenly to enable social log in sign up, so that we can collect the contacts directly from their social accounts.

The Plan to Measure the Results:

To measure the performance of the email campaign, I have made a comprehensive plan. At first I would like to count the number of emails that are delivered. However, in the article titled “Email Deliverability: Inbox Deliverability Rate Numbers and Their Meaning” the author, Kevin Gao, said that email deliverability rate is the number of emails that we sent that were successfully delivered to recipients. It is not a reflection of whether the email went into the spam or junk folder of the recipient. As long as the email is delivered, it is counted as a positive delivery no matter what folder it is placed in by the email service provider. Thus, it is very important to measure the number of emails that have been bounced. When an email is rejected by a subscriber’s email server, it’s called bounce. In this case it will be appropriate to measure both hard and soft bounces since it will tell us if the email is rejected permanently or temporarily by the server. It is also very important to know how many emails were actually opened. Finally, the pass-on rate and the click-through rate will give us the opportunity to measure the effectiveness of the email newsletter. The pass-on rate tells us if the recipient finds the newsletter effective enough to share it with his friends and family by forwarding it. According to Ayaz Nanji, “Click-through rate (CTR) was defined as the percentage of delivered email messages that drew at least one click.” CTR is a very effective tool to measure the results of email newsletters as it reveals which content or promotion was most enticing to the customers. I would like to use Click-through rate primarily to measure the performance of this email campaign. Nonetheless, I have decided to use MailChimp to calculate the CTR rate for this particular email newsletter.

The Article:

Before planning the email newsletter for Sevenly, I tried to do a short internet research on the best practices of designing email newsletters. I came across an article of Entrepreneur magazine titled, “13 Ways to Get Your Emails Noticed and Opened” by Al Lautenslager. I found this article very helpful, as it explains what could be done to be successful in email marketing campaign. According to the author, the email message should be positive, and the subject line should be short and sweet. Although, the email messages of Sevenly are mostly positive but the subject line and the headers they use are a bit lengthy sometimes. Moreover, the article indicates that the timing for sending the emails could be crucial. It is very important to know what is the best time to send the email newsletters. Sevenly should check the email analytics or test different days and times to see how timing affects the open rates of the emails. The articles also talked about the words that should not be used in the subject line. The emails that contain some particular words and phrases, i.e. free, percent-off, please, help, etc., are considered as spam or pitchy. Sevenly should keep these words in mind while choosing the email subject lines. Nevertheless, according to Lautenslager (2014) requesting for donation or charity directly is also a bad practice for writing email newsletters. Therefore, Sevenly has to be very careful while writing the texts for the newsletters, as some of the emails from this company persuade the viewers to contribute in the charity. Shop for cause/charity is more appropriate for Sevenly to use in their newsletters.

Creating a World Without Need Using Digital Marketing

It was March 2013, one article from Forbes grabbed my attention.  The article was about how a two years old cause-oriented e-retailer, Sevenly, is growing its business, by only using social media and all other digital tools effectively. The article titled, How Sevenly CEO Dale Partridge Is Changing the World $7 at a Time, mainly focused on the aim of the CEO of Sevenly, Dale Partridge, which is to move a generation towards generosity.

I immediately did a short internet research to learn more about this company and discovered some of Sevenly’s striking marketing strategies. It is basically a lifestyle product line that simultaneously serves as the vehicle to solve world problems. Sevenly’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+, require continuous attention to accommodate their changing charities. With the motto “people matter”, Sevenly tends to contribute 7% per transaction to a cause, chosen weekly on their site, to combat world’s one problem at a time.

Ever since I came to know that Sevenly highly utilizes the digital platform to change thousands lives with the right combination of purpose and profit, 7422241026_197dd89c92_zI have become a huge fan of this company. For the next six weeks, I will be following and writing about the digital marketing strategies of Sevenly that have been intriguing me for the past year.

To give it an overview, I would like to mention that in March 2014, Mashable announced Sevenly as the winner of America’s Most Social Small Business. According to Mashable, “The competition was about how the companies utilize social media to get their brand message across, and it’s clear that a brand with as inspirational a mantra and purpose as Sevenly’s resonates well with the online community. Yes, Sevenly is trying to sell clothes; but ultimately, its larger aim is to change the world, and social media helps to makes this lofty goal possible”.

I believe that I will be able to learn the secret behind the success story of Sevenly throughout the next six weeks. My objective is to learn how Sevenly is testing and choosing the right channel in digital media, the secret to drive traffic to their website, different tactics that they use to encourage social interaction, and all other digital marketing strategies they apply to raise social awareness while simultaneously raising brand awareness for the Sevenly brand itself.