Let’s Talk More About H&M’s Digital Strategy

This week we’re talking blogs. Seems like every fashion e-commerce site comes with a blog now. And if they don’t, then they should! Having a blog for your site provides a great way to showcase your products and well as attract your audience to your site with editorial features about things that fit their lifestyle.

Before the launch of H&M‘s US e-commerce site, their website was just an editorial destination for H&M shoppers, called H&M Life. The blog now comprises one page of the website. While it’s a great addition to the site, the format of the blog is odd. From a drop down menu at the top of the page users can choose different categories, which will take them to different sections of the same webpage. But it does not allow users to go back to older articles or see more than one post in the same category.

hm_lifeThe content of the blog includes posts about fashion trends, looks seen on the runways, upcoming lines, and outfit ideas with H&M clothing. While all of this information would be very interesting to H&M shoppers, allowing them to click around and go to pervious posts could be something that the brand can consider as an improvement on their blog.

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Why is H&M Leaving Free Money On The Table?

In less than two weeks I’ll be traveling to the California desert to attend the Coachella Valley Music Festival. As most people who have attended Coachella know, fashion is just as big a part of the festival as music. Everyone is dressed to impress, and god forbid you are seen wearing the same outfit as any of the 10,000+ attendees. 

As part of my preparation for Coachella, I’ve been doing a lot of online browsing for the perfect outfits. And as a result, I am being stalked by retargeted ads. Looking at all of the usual stores in the same affordable but fashionable category, one thing seemed very odd to me: All of the sites were feeding me retargeted ads except H&M. 

While H&M is one of the most prominent brick and mortar retailers in the affordable fashion category, they don’t have a very strong digital presence. In fact, they didn’t even have a US E-Commerce website until a year ago. 

Although H&M’s business isn’t suffering because of their lack of digital presence, I believe that adding digital ads will be a great way to increase sales and drive people to their newly launched US E-Commerce site. 

So What are some of H&M’s competitors doing?

Many fashion E-Commerce sites in H&M’s Category use retargeted ads.

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These ads are great because they are only served up to people who have searched for and viewed the products included in the ads. Which means that they are more inclined to click on the ads or return to purchase the products.

Many of them are also using Facebook ads and sponsored posts. 

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Having worked on campaigns where we used Facebook sponsored posts, I can personally vouch for their effectiveness. They are not only a great way to grow your presence on Facebook, they also insure that the new fans are people who are interested in your brand and what it has to offer. 

My question to H&M is why not use digital marketing to your advantage? While it may not be essential to your business’ survival, you are leaving free money on the table by being absent in the digital space while all of your competitors are growing their presence. 

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Lessons In E-Mail Marketing From My Inbox

Email marketing is an easy, cost efficient way to stay in touch with your customers, let them know about new products and services, or new offers. However, if done wrong, you risk the chance of annoying your customers and being viewed as a spammer. As someone who has held positions where my sole responsibility was crafting and sending pitch letters, I am always looking to see how others are utilizing email for marketing campaigns. About 70% of my inbox consists of marketing emails. Below some examples straight from my inbox that stand out for both good and bad reasons.

1. LivingSocial Deals

LivingSocail is one of the most annoying companies when it comes to emails. Although I’m only subscribed to one of their lists, I receive at least 4-5 emails per day. Each email highlights a different deal in the subject line, but featuring the same content in the body of the email.

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This is a surefire way to get users to unsubscribe from your mailing lists. One of the most important things when it comes to email marketing is not to overdo it. You don’t want to be taking over someone’s inbox with your emails. Five emails a day is excessive!

2. Nasty Gal

Nasty Gal is an e-commerce clothing boutique that has some great and some not so great aspects to their emails. When you first open the email it looks like empty space. Without pressing “Display Pictures” it’s difficult to tell what the email is about. While including images in your emails makes them look much better, when you don’t include any other information you are giving your readers one extra chance to move on without ever seeing your message.

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But if you actually make it past this and display the images, the email itself is done pretty well.

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At the top of the email links are included to the company’s Facebook page and one to share the email with your friends. These encourage users to engage with the email and spread it to new customers. They also incorporate social media into their email campaign by including links to all of their profiles at the bottom of the email.

Another negative aspect of Nasty Gal’s emails is that the entire email is one image that links to the same section of the website. What seem like categories at the top of the email linking to different sections of the website all actually go to the same place. This can be confusing for the customers who click on “shoes” but end up in the “new arrivals” section of the website.

3. Scout Mob

Scout Mob is a mobile app that features local deals and events. Since their business is based around mobile, it’s important for their emails to work well on a mobile platform.

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Since mobile screens are smaller, the email includes a teaser at the top to let readers know what the email is about without having to scroll. Each section of the email links to a different deal or event, which can either be opened in your phone’s browser or by launching the app with the “Save to App” button. At the bottom of the email there are links to the company’s social profiles as well as links to download the app.

4. New Look Skin Center

One company that does a great a job with allowing users to see the content of the email without having to display images is a small skin care clinic in Los Angeles, called New Look Skin Center.

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All of the information included in the email is visible even without displaying the images, the images just enhance the email. The email also includes a click to call phone number, allowing customers to make appointments right from the email. It also features links to the company’s social profiles and a link to their ad on YouTube which parses directly in the email if using GMail.

5. Global Citizen

Global Citizen is an organization that aims to end extreme poverty. Since their emails are generally about serious topics and usually ask for donations, they are a little less fun and little more text heavy.

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The display name is set to look like it’s coming from an actual person, and the email is personalized to address the recipient by name. There is also a one sentence teaser at the top letting the reader know what the campaign is about if they don’t want to read the whole email.

6. Seamless Web

Since I receive so many marketing email a day, there are many that I don’t open. I must have not opened many of the emails from Seamless Web, a food delivery app, because I received this email from them.

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The email asks whether or not you still want to subscribe to their emails since you haven’t been opening them. However the subject line, the copy, and everything about the email is worded in a way to encourage you stay a subscriber and want to open their emails more often. This is a great way to keep your list currant, weed out users who aren’t opening your emails, and remind some of them to start opening them again.

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Local Deals

Like I’ve said before, I am sucker for deals I can use then and there. I love nothing more than “check-in and save” coupons. In fact I won’t check in on Foursquare unless I’m going to get something out of it. This weekend while browsing the usual Scout Mob, Foursquare, and Groupon Now Deals to find a place to study and have some lunch (with a discount, obviously!), I came across an American Apparel promotion on Fourquare.

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The promotion offers a 50% discount on the 3rd item, if you buy 2 of the same style at full price. Since the store was only two blocks away from my apartment, I decided to walk over and take advantage of the discount. Although I did not end up purchasing the items needed to qualify for the discount, this type of local marketing was effective in getting me and many other s to the store.

A similar promotion was ran by H&M on via Facebook check-ins in 2010, when Facebook first rolled out the ability to check in. The promotion was supported with Facebook Ads, and generate wide spread buzz on the internet.

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These types of promotions are very effective in getting people into the store and therefore increasing sales. I believe more stores, specially smaller boutiques in NYC should utilize local digital marketing strategies like these to increase the amount of traffic to their store.

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Mobile Advertising: How to get me

In my opinion, the only effective mobile advertising is locally targeted ads. I am a sucker for all kinds of discounts for things I can purchase then and there.
One place to effectively advertise to me on my phone is on Seamless Web. 

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This is an app used to order food for delivery or pick up from local restaurants. When I am using Seamless I am hungry and focused on finding the best food from the closest restaurant with the shortest delivery time. This is the perfect time to show me your restaurant ads. Currently there are no ads on Seamless, aside from a few places offering discounts. However, ads featuring pictures of the food or information about specialty dishes would definitely get me to pay attention and consider ordering from that restaurant.

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What would you do without Google!

“What are you going to do if one day you can’t Google!” my parents always say when I tell them that I found the solution to any problem by Googling it. They are from a generation where you needed to have certain things committed to memory or you wouldn’t be able to do them. My generation however, be it for the best or the worst, doesn’t have this problem. We can find the answer to anything we want with a few taps of our fingers.

I use the Google search on my iPhone for everything! and I do mean EVERYTHING. From finding out the correct spelling of a word, to finding the nearest Duane Reade, to figuring out why my eyelid is swollen, and of course for winning arguments. I would be lost without Google on phone, I have no idea how I survived before it!

Google has never failed me before, until last weekend…
On Saturday while checking the weather during the blizzard, this bizarre little icon appeared on my phone:

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Being from LA the only icons I had ever seen before were sunny, cloudy, or raining. What the heck were these weird circles bouncing from the ground up?!
Naturally, the first thing I did was turn to Google for the answer… After looking at pages and pages of results I found nothing about weird bouncy balls in the iPhone weather app. Since even Google couldn’t give me an answer, I just came to terms with the idea of bouncy balls coming out of the ground on Monday.

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Things I Shared This Week

I work in social media marketing, which requires me to stay on top of all things social. Although I have profiles on most social sites out there, I usually don’t do much sharing. I just don’t care to tell you what I had for lunch (unless it’s something really good!).

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Most of my sharing is done on Instagram. Being from California, all things winter are very exciting to me. I shared a picture of the frozen fountain at Bryant Park, my alcoholic hot chocolate beverages, and lots of pictures of the snow storm. The only none winter related picture I posted was my third sighting of Miss Columbia, because I think he’s magical!

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d7c0d9ea-5b6e-47a9-4c14-743d460a4eedmzl.zxmagoxiI don’t tweet very frequently, but when I do I’m usually sharing links to videos or articles, or my pictures from Instagram. This week’s only tweet featured this adorable video:



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Another place I don’t usually post is Facebook, but with all of the lovely snow pictures this week, I decided to update my cover photo with a picture of my new tiny snow friend on my rooftop.

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