Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

My dear friends and readers, I would like to wish you a fabulous holiday season and a very Merry Christmas! May all your wishes come true, and may you and your loved ones be blessed with love, happiness, well-being and all the best in the world!

I will spend this holiday season with my family at home. The Christmas tree is already decorated, and my son is very excited about Santa coming to town. I am about to start cooking the turkey and the other Christmas dishes, and we are looking forward to spending a peaceful holiday season at home -- enjoying some time off from work, watching Christmas movies, unwinding after so much hard work this year. I have also been busy sending out my Christmas wishes to friends, both online and on Christmas cards by mail.

I hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful holiday season.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Yours truly,
Victoria West

Sunday, December 23, 2018

[Guest Story] What Is Email List Cleaning and How Does It Work?

In today's story I would like to introduce you to Emma from, an email marketing platform that teaches you how to build solid and convincing email marketing campaigns, and which gives you all the tools you need to send out email campaigns that really connect with your subscribers.

If you are a business owner, one of the ways to promote your business is to send out email campaigns. I myself receive dozens of marketing emails from businesses from all areas -- my favorite fashion websites and online magazines that I am a subscriber to, my gym, beauty boxes, marketing emails from fashion designers, my Public Relations contacts, my son's school and the district school board, but also unsubscribed to newsletters and emails from various online stores which I usually delete right away.

Today's story on my blog will be a guest post by in which Emma teaches us about email list cleaning. I find myself at the receiving end of marketing emails as I receive all those emails on a daily basis; but the story that I am sharing with you today is an email marketing guide for those who own businesses and who use email as a strategy to promote their business, regardless the area of their activity.

So, without further ado, if you own a business and if you send out marketing emails to your customers in order to promote your business, then the following blog post will provide you with useful tips and advice and will help you improve your email marketing practices.

What Is Email List Cleaning and How Does It Work? 

Is it time to give your email list a good scrubbing?

If you’ve got a bunch of people receiving your emails but not engaging, then chances are it could be in need of a refresh.

In this article, you’ll find out why it’s so important to keep your list sparkling clean and exactly how to sanitize that list for best results.

Let's get to it!

How do you know if your list needs to be scrubbed? 

The first sign that your list is scrub-worthy will show up in your metrics, specifically open and click rates.

If you can see a decline in these over your last few email campaigns, then you might have a build-up of unsubscribers and disengaged individuals.

Now, check out your spam complaint and unsubscribe rate. Do you see an increase there? Bingo. You found it!

And, unfortunately, if your subscribers aren’t opening or clicking, then they also aren’t being converted into customers.

Even worse, if they’re tired of getting your emails and flagging you as spam, then they can be impacting your deliverability to the people on your list who do want to hear from you.

How does email list cleaning work to change your lagging metrics? Read on to discover the benefits of regular list cleaning.

Why clean your email list? 

When you don't take care of something the way you should, it usually becomes unhealthy. Your email list is no different.

A build-up of unengaged subscribers in your list means you’re wasting valuable time, marketing energy, and -- here’s the big one -- revenue marketing to people who just aren’t interested.

And, since email list churn (or subscribers who bounce, report you as spam, or never even open your emails) can eat through up to 30% of your list each year, it’s important to stay on top of things.

This means doing a once-over email list cleaning a few times each year. Like many tasks that involve housekeeping, this might seem like a pain, but it’s really worth the effort in the long-run.

Let’s look at what good email list cleaning can accomplish for your marketing strategy:

1. Better click and open rates 

Click and open rates are percentages calculated from the total number of emails sent. Here are some examples of target click and open rates by industry.

While this list gives you something to shoot for, you also want to keep a close eye on your metrics to see trends and fluctuations caused by changes in your strategy and other industry and marketing trends.

Removing the non-openers and non-clickers by cleaning your list increases the number of people who are participating versus the number you’re sending.

And even though these are the same people that were clicking and opening before, your clean list has just done one very important thing -- removed the people who are reporting you as spam.

Google, Yahoo, and other email providers keep track of spam complaints and if you’ve gotten too many, they’ll start sending your stuff straight to the spam folder -- even for the people who want to get your emails!

This is a major problem for email marketers, and deliverability has been declining due to this very problem.

Reducing spam complaints helps your emails make it to the inboxes that want them and improves your sender reputation with email providers.

2. Reduced bounce numbers 

Bounced emails are just as bad for your reputation -- and your email’s deliverability -- as spam complaints. A bounced email happens because a receiver’s inbox is full, there’s an error in their address, or sometimes it's just a technical error. Either way, you want to keep your percentage of these down to keep your deliverability up.

3. Cost reduction 

Depending on how you’re sending emails, there are hard costs associated with keeping unengaged subscribers on your list.

Most email services charge according to how many emails you’re sending or how many subscribers you have. If you’re sending a number of emails to people who don’t want them, you’re wasting marketing dollars.

Reducing your list to only those people who are engaged can help improve your overall marketing return-on-investment (ROI).

4. Increased revenue 

Having a clean list means your email marketing campaign materials are going out to people who are engaged. This allows you to more fully understand if your marketing strategy is working, and how to tweak it if it isn’t.

In turn, a more accurately targeted campaign will convert more subscribers into customers, increasing your revenue and your ROI.

Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of email list cleaning tactics.

How does email list cleaning work? 

Okay, you’ve determined your list is a bit dusty and you’re ready to shine it up. What do you need to do to get the best results?

1. Get rid of the no-action subscribers. 

If someone is on your list but never opens your emails, remove them from the list. They’re not getting your messages anyway, so why let them skew your metrics and potentially increase your emailing costs?

2. Keep an eye on syntax errors. 

Someone with fat thumbs typed in their email address as “@mgail” instead of “@gmail” and now you’ve got an inactive email. Or, you might have addresses with extra spaces and unsupported characters. Check for obvious syntax errors where you can. Some email cleaning services offer this option and will do it via software.

3. Determine low-activity subscribers. 

If you’re sending emails weekly and some of your subscribers are opening them once a month, you may still want to email that person -- just not as often. Email lists take time to build, and you don’t want to lose a subscriber who may still be interested. However, you want to be sure you don’t get spam complaints, either, so you’ll want to limit your contact. Once you determine your low-activity subscribers, you can move them to a separate list that gets targeted communications less often.

4. Target re-engagement 

Low-activity subscribers might still want to engage. Send them an email letting them know you want to reconnect and asking them to click a confirmation button if they’re interested.

While this Teespring example is focused on website engagement, it would be easy to parlay this into an email list reconnection email.

If you send a re-engagement email and your subscribers don’t respond, only email them with a critical product or event news in the future. If they do respond, remind them to whitelist your email address to keep your emails out of their spam folder, which may have been the reason they were disengaged in the first place.

5. Determine why subscribers left.

To keep your marketing on track, you’ll want to know why people are leaving your list. Did you:

  • Email too often? 
  • Not email enough? 
  • Not provide quality content? 
  • Not provide content targeted to them? 
  • Not provide value? 

Your list could have fallen prey to any of these shortcomings, or your subscribers may just be suffering from inbox overload and decided to shut everyone down. Either way, knowing why people are opting out is critical for the health of your list in the future. To ensure you know why people are leaving, make sure there’s an opt-out query attached to your “unsubscribe” feature on your emails.

This one is basic, but it gives you the general idea. Allowing subscribers to let you know their reasons for unsubscribing will only help you fine-tune your content and communications for better ROI.

Wrap up 

Now you know that keeping your email list sparkling is a great way to increase your ROI, get a better grip on your performance metrics, save money, and make sure your email marketing strategy is on target.

In addition, a properly-maintained list will cut down on spam complaints and bounces to keep your brand’s reputation as clean and shiny as your list.

Be diligent in maintaining your email list properly, conducting maintenance several times per year -- or whenever you notice those opens and clicks dropping off.

By keeping your list full of engaged subscribers who are interested in what you’re sending, you’ll build a strong list of passionate, loyal customers. You know, the kind that gives email marketing the amazing reputation for ROI that it so richly deserves.

About the Author
Lane Harbin
Lane Harbin is a senior content marketing manager at Emma. When she’s not geeking out over email marketing, she enjoys binge-listening to podcasts, catching up on the latest tech news, and constantly rearranging her living room.

Original article

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ultimele cumparaturi din acest an – Shopping Lately

Iata ca suntem din nou in luna decembrie -- luna sfarsitului de an, luna bilanturilor, luna cadourilor, luna sarbatorilor. Si luna cumparaturilor. 😊 In povestea de astazi vreau sa va spun despre cele mai recente cumparaturi pe care le-am facut in ultimele luni, si in acelasi timp ultimele pe acest an, caci nu voi mai scrie un alt articol despre cumparaturi pana la inceputul lui 2019. Pe de alta parte, daca ma uit in arhiva blogului, ultimul articol despre shopping pe care l-am scris aici pe blog a fost in iulie, asa ca astazi va voi spune despre cumparaturile pe care le-am facut in ultimele 5 luni, din iulie incoace (sau cel putin mare parte din ele, daca nu toate).

Voi incepe cu obiectele vestimentare.
Rochie Calvin Klein -- am luat-o de la The Bay acum cateva saptamani. M-am bucurat si de o reducere de 50% pentru aceasta rochie. 😊 O voi purta in acest sezon de sarbatori.
Geaca BCBG
Haina de toamna Winners
Fulare de blana artificiala
Manusi simple de iarna, 3 seturi a cate doua perechi, 6 perechi in total. Cumpar manusi din acestea in fiecare iarna, pentru mine si Alex. Aceste manusi avand o masura unica, ii vin si lui Alex fara probleme. Motivul pentru care iau atat de multe manusi din acestea in fiecare an (am luat si anul trecut) este ca Alex le pierde pe la scoala, si o singura pereche nu l-ar tine o iarna intreaga. De altfel am mai luat manusi in acest model de curand, inca cel putin doua perechi (una rosie si una albastra), dar n-am apucat sa le fac poze ca sa le includ in acest articol, Alex deja incepuse sa le poarte. Iar fundalul alb pentru aceasta poza este o paturica "throw" de canapea pe care de asemenea am cumparat-o de curand de la un magazin din Whitby, ca sa o folosesc pentru a face poze.
Ciorapi de Halloween, diferite modele. In acest an de Halloween am purtat doua din aceste perechi de ciorapi -- cei din dreapta (alb-negru, modele diferite pe ambele picioare, in romburi si in dungi verticale) i-am purtat la job pe 31 octombrie cand ne-am costumat de Halloween la birou, am purtat un costum inspirat de stilul Madonnei. Iar ciorapii din mijloc (galben-negru) i-am purtat la petrecerea de Halloween la care am fost invitati in seara de 31 octombrie. Pe cei din stanga (romburi in alb-negru) nu i-am purtat, inca sunt ambalati, eventual o sa-i port la urmatoarea petrecere de Halloween la care voi merge anul viitor.
Halat de baie terry robe. Vechiul meu halat de baie terry robe Joe Fresh s-a uzat si cautam unul nou care sa-mi placa, m-am uitat luni de zile prin magazine fara sa-mi placa nimic, si in sfarsit l-am gasit pe acesta la The Bay, era exact ce voiam. Halat terry robe de bumbac suta la suta, plush, imi place culoarea aceasta turcoaz foarte mult, imi place ca are gluga, si de asemenea imi place ca e scurt pana la genunchi si nu lung pana la glezne ca cel precedent pe care l-am avut inainte, deci e mai usor. Si pentru ca e mai degraba lenjerie intima si nu haina de purtat pe strada, il arat intr-un glimpse si nu in intregime.
Un alt halat de baie, alb de data aceasta, model asemanator cu cel turcoaz, mai putin gluga
Pantaloni de pijamale Walmart. Ceea ce mi-a placut la acesti pantaloni cand m-am hotarat sa mi-i iau este faptul ca sunt confectionati dintr-un material foarte moale si foarte confortabil pentru dormit. Si pentru ca sunt din categoria lenjerie intima si nu o haina outfit, ii arat intr-un glimpse si nu in intregime.
Doua camasi de noapte in forma de tricouri lungi de la Walmart cu mesaje dragute. Cand le-am vazut pe umeras cu mesajele astea atat de dragalase, m-au atras din prima si le-am luat pe acestea doua, aveau mai multe modele cu alte mesaje, mai multe culori. Si din nou, avand in vedere ca sunt lenjerie intima si nu haine outfit, le arat doar cu mesajele acestea dragalase si nu in intregime.
Bocanci de siguranta safety boots, certificati pentru site-uri de constructii. Jobul meu include inspectii pe teren, si atunci cand merg pe teren, in functie de ce fel de teren este, trebuie sa port bocanci de siguranta. Mi-au fost rambursati de companie. Pana acum i-am purtat o singura data, si de obicei ii tin in portbagajul masinii pentru situatii neplanificate. Nu sunt foarte glamorosi HA-HA, asa ca nu sunt printre pantofii mei preferati, ii port doar in interes de serviciu si numai daca am absoluta nevoie de ei. De obicei ii asortez cu vesta mea reflectorizanta LOL, pe care de asemenea o tin tot timpul in portbagajul masinii.
Doua genti tote, le-am luat de la Dollarama, una mare si una mica (desi vad acum in poze ca par de aceeasi marime, pozele nu sunt facute la aceeasi scara). Biroul meu de acasa se afla la nivelul mezanin al casei, unde lucrez, imi tin toate materialele birotice, biblioteca, stationery etc. Am luat aceste doua genti tote ca sa ma deplasez prin casa de colo-colo cu materialele mele de birotica, din living jos in birou si din birou sus inapoi in living. Pe cea mare (albastra) s-ar putea s-o folosesc si ca geanta de plaja la vara, cand merg cu Alex la piscina vara sau cand mergem in vacanta.

Trec la urmatoarea categorie de shopping -- produse cosmetice si de frumusete.
Blush LA Colors, blush ELF, scrub pentru fata cu caise, servetele umede demachiante, servetele umede pentru maini si pentru uz general. Scrubul cu caise fiind mai mare, 170 g., il folosesc si pentru corp, pentru ca mi-ar lua o vesnicie sa-l consum daca l-as folosi doar penrtu fata. 😊
Bombe de dus Dr. Teals cu levantica si uleiuri esentiale, sapun aromaterapeutic Yardley London cu levantica, gel de dus Dove travel size pentru piele sensibila, creion dentar pentru inalbire, un set de 3 benzi cu carbon pentru nas si pentru curatarea porilor, saculet pentru ochelari.

Sa va spun cateva cuvinte despre unele din aceste produse. Bombe de dus Dr. Teals -- levantica are proprietati extraordinare de calmare a pielii, si de multe ori prefer produse de baie cu aroma de levantica, precum aceste bombe de dus Dr. Teals (dar si sapunul Yardley London). Stiti bombele de baie? Sigur ca stiti. Pui o bomba din aia in cada cand faci baie pentru efect efervescent. Imi place sa folosesc bombe de baie, problema este ca nu am timp sa le folosesc foarte des, pentru ca nu am timp sa fac baie in cada foarte des (adica sa stau jumatate de ora in apa fara sa ma gandesc la nimic altceva), de cele mai multe ori fac dus ca e mai rapid. Asa ca aceste bombe de dus sunt ideale pentru cei ca mine care nu au timp, pun o bomba de asta de dus in cada, dau drumul la dus, si baia se umple cu aroma calmanta de levantica. O cutie ca aceasta contine 5 bombe de dus.

Saculetul pentru ochelari are rol de etui de ochelari si este confectionat din material textil. Il folosesc atunci cand merg in oras cu o poseta mai mica, si etuiul de ochelari e prea mare ca sa-mi incapa in poseta, asa ca acest saculet textil imi e foate la indemana in astfel de situatii, ca sa-mi protejeze ochelarii (fie cei de vedere, fie cei de soare) in poseta cand sunt la o petrecere sau la un eveniment monden.
Bombe de baie (un set de 4 bombe, doua cu aroma de vanilie si doua cu aroma de capsuni), gel de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbon, un set de 2 sapunuri Dove beauty bars cu unt de shea, bilute parfumate pentru incaltaminte, servetele umede pentru maini si pentru uz general.

Sa va spun cateva cuvinte despre unele din aceste produse. Gelul de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbon -- este repeat purchase, l-am luat de mai multe ori in trecut, a devenit un produs favorit de-al meu. Il folosesc in prezent si este grozav, imi place foarte mult, ma spal cu el pe fata dimineata si seara. Are un efect de curatare profunda, si de asemenea are un efect racoritor grozav. Pun produs in palma, il inspumez in palma pana cand produsul negru la culoare (pe baza de carbon) se transforma intr-o spuma alba, dupa care ma spal cu spuma alba pe fata, da o senzatie de racoare tenului.

Bilutele parfumate pentru incaltaminte -- un produs nou pentru mine, novelty. Le-am descoperit recent la o sedinta de shopping, mi-au atras atentia si le-am luat. Deocamdata am luat doar un set, sa vad cum sunt; le-am incercat si imi plac, o sa mai iau din acestea pe viitor.
Geluri de dus, diferite arome -- lamaie si capsuni, capsuni, nuca de cocos, dovlecel si scortisoara, dovlecel si caramel. Este prima oara cand cumpar geluri de dus din aceste game si aceste arome (valabil si pentru produsele din urmatoarele doua poze), sunt produse noi pentru mine. Anul acesta am incercat foarte multe produse noi pentru ingrijirea corpului si parului (geluri de dus, spume de baie, sampoane, balsamuri de par, masti de par etc.), din dorinta de a incerca arome si game noi, si din dorinta de a mai lua o pauza de la eternele Dove si Garnier si L'Oréal si Pantene si TREsemmé din comert (desi am mai luat si din acestea din massmarket) -- am fost incantata sa incerc produse noi pentru mine. Din aceste 5 geluri de dus, cel care imi place cel mai mult este primul din poza, cel cu aroma de lamaie si capsuni. De asemenea, ma incanta ambalajul sau in dungi alb cu roz, care imi aduce aminte de Victoria's Secret si de pungile de shopping Victoria's Secret, brandul meu preferat de lenjerie intima, cand merg a cumparaturi sa-mi iau lenjerie noua.
Alte geluri de dus -- trei geluri cu aroma de floare de cires, si doua geluri cu aroma de levantica
Produse pentru ingrijirea parului cu ulei de argan -- 5 sampoane si 5 balsamuri de par. Anul acesta (in vara) am mai cumparat balsamuri de par din acestea cu ulei de argan si mi-au placut, asa ca data urmatoare cand am mai avut ocazia sa-mi iau produse pentru ingrijirea parului, mi-am luat si sampoane din aceeasi colectie. Stiti deja ca produsele pentru par cu ulei de argan sunt preferatele mele.

Si cu aceste geluri de dus si spume de baie, precum si produsele pentru ingrijirea parului, m-am asigurat pentru urmatoarele 5-6 luni LOL. 😊 Pana la vara viitoare nu mai trebuie sa cumpar produse din aceasta categorie, am stocul plin! 😊
Alte produse de frumusete -- gel de spalat pentru fata Bioré cu carbune si masca de par cu ulei de argan, din aceeasi gama ca sampoanele si balsamurile din poza de mai sus. Ambele aceste produse sunt foarte faine si imi plac mult. Dupa cum vedeti, gelul de spalat pentru fata reapare in acest articol care cuprinde 5 luni de shopping, caci l-am cumparat de mai multe ori in decursul ultimelor 5 luni, si asa am apucat sa fac poze cumparaturilor, pe masura ce am fost la shopping din iulie incoace.
Un spray aromaterapeutic pentru lenjerie de pat de la Winners cu levantica si violete, il folosesc atat pentru improspatarea lenjeriei de pat cat si a hainelor, de exemplu sacourile. Un set de luminite pe care l-am luat ca sa-l folosesc la poze. Si un trinket tray pe care il tin la mine in dormitor pe dulapul de langa pat, cu bijuterii cand le scot seara si alte mici lucruri pe care le folosesc peste zi.
Masca de par cu nuca de cocos, doua deodorante solide Lady Speed Stick, mini-deo solid Dove cu castravete, un set de 4 sapunuri Dove beauty bars cu ulei de argan din Maroc. Cele doua deodorante, Lady Speed Stick si Dove cu castravete, sunt produse de frumusete frecvente in baia mea. Sapunurile solide Dove de asemenea sunt printre preferatele mele, le am tot timpul in baie, imi place sa cumpar diferite arome, si de data aceasta am cumparat sapunuri Dove cu o aroma noua pentru mine, uleiul de argan marocan, sper sa-mi placa (sigur imi va placea -- apreciez foarte mult uleiul de argan in produsele cosmetice si de frumusete).

Si acum sa trec la ultima categorie de cumparaturi din povestea de shopping de azi -- birotica si stationery.
Doua carti. Prima se numeste Go Ahead and Like It, scrisa de Jacqueline Suskin. Este o carte inspirationala, despre lucrurile mici in viata care ne plac si care ne fac viata mai frumoasa. Nu este o carte groundbreaking, dar mi-a facut placere sa o citesc. M-a inspirat si pe mine sa reflectez asupra lucrurilor din viata mea care imi plac si care ma fac fericita.

Cea de-a doua carte este un roman de fictiune, literatura chic -- Miss Understanding de Stephanie Lessing. Acest roman al lui Stephanie Lessing face parte dintr-o dilogie, primul fiind She's Got Issues pe care l-am citit acum cativa ani, o lectura care mi-a facut placere atunci. Am descoperit-o pe scritoarea Stephanie Appel Lessing in 2010, cand m-am conectat cu ea pe Facebook. Inca nu mi-am facut timp sa citesc aceasta carte, dar sper sa ajung la ea sa o citesc in curand.
Diferite carnete si jurnale. Stiti deja de pasiunea mea pentru stationery. I am stationery addicted LOL. Preferatul meu din aceasta colectie este cel din piele (al 8-lea), pe care l-am gasit intr-un anticariat. I-am recunoscut stilul cand l-am vazut pe raft, este un jurnal de piele de la Indigo, inca mai avea pretul original de $36 pe coperta din spate, eu am dat pe el $3.99 la acel anticariat, a fost o adevarata gaselnita. 😊
Caiete in stil composition books de la Walmart, 11 in total. Le-am luat cand era sezonul back to school, chiar inainte sa inceapa noul an scolar in septembrie. M-au atras copertele lor frumoase, si am luat toate stilurile din aceasta colectie pe care le-am gasit pe raft, mai putin caietele cu unicorn pe coperta ca nu-mi plac unicoarnele. 😊 Cele turcoaz din randul de sus imi plac cel mai mult.
Diferite obiecte de birotica si stationery -- cutii de organizare pentru biroul meu de acasa, corectoare fluide, pixuri
Alte diverse obiecte de birotica -- binders, materiale pentru scris
Cutii de organizare pentru biroul meu de acasa, diferite stiluri si marimi
Multumesc ca ati citit articolul si sper ca v-a facut placere.

Sa aveti in continuare un weekend frumos!

Photo credit: Victoria West