Category Archives: Content Marketing

A Good Email Marketing on New Year’s Eve Helps You Win

Hi there! After a long winter break, I’m back. Although my digital marketing class is finished, I’ll keep blogging and sharing my thoughts about marketing in different aspects. This week let’s talk about how the email marketing on New Year’s Eve can help you win.

Time went back to December 31st, 2017. New York City was too cold at that day. I can still remember how freezing it was. I didn’t go anywhere. That night I stayed at my warm home with my cats meanwhile waiting for the New Year’s coming. When the clock passed to 12, I received the new year greeting messages from my families and my friends. Although we are in different county, technology changes the way we communicate. That’s great.

But that wasn’t my point. My point was, at that time, suddenly I received an email. Who sent me an email at night? With the curiosity, I opened the email. Oh, it was the new year greeting email from Shu Uemura USA.


You know what, this is the only email I received at that night before I went to bed. There’s no other brand sent me the same email until 3 o’clock. It was the greeting email from Dogeared. But I didn’t see it until I checked the phone when I got up in the morning.


Can you see the difference between these two emails? Yes, time.

A good time is really important to a brand’s email marketing. It can influence the audiences psychologically. At the moment I received Shu Uemura USA’s email, I felt surprised and warm. Think about that, who will send you message or something on 12 o’clock at New Year’s Eve? Your families, your best friends. People who cares about you most. Shu Uemura USA just made me feel like they care about me and I’m the most important person to them. This do improve my loyalty to them.

So, you can image my metal activity when I saw the second email. Come on, 3 o’clock? A little bit too late. But to be honest, not too bad. Because their contents were still what I would like to see on the first day of the new year.

Then I sorted all the emails I received on the first day of the New Year and found out that there can be three different types of contents:


1. New year wishes

Like what I mentioned above. Celebrating the new year with you or sending you the greetings on the first day of the year, this is really a good way for brands’ email marketing. Because it shows that you are treat your customers as your family, your friends, the one who you care about. Your customers can feel that they are valued and important to you. Also, the sending time can show your sincerity. You must remember that, details can make a difference.


2. Discounts offer

Besides the two greeting emails, the emails I received the most were discounts offer. Sometimes you may be happy with offers. Sometimes they can be annoying. Too many discounts offer fly to your inbox just like junk mail. Especially when you are surrounded by these kinds of email for a whole year, are you willing to see them at the beginning of the new year? At least I don’t. I just want a breath.

I found that there are some clever brands like Kiehl’s. They didn’t send you email on Jan 1st, instead of, they sent you before and after. That’s really interesting and smart. They know they can’t disturb you at the first day.


3. Others

Other emails I received at that day were just some regular newsletter or products recommendation based on what I bought before. Nothing surprise, and nothing too annoying. Just normal emails.


I know that the brands I followed are not the all. There must had other brands sent new year greetings on 12am. And there must had other kinds of contents I don’t know. But I just try to use the emails I received on the New Year’s Eve and the first day of the year as an example to show you that a good time and appropriate contents of brands’ email marketing do help them to win the heart of customers. At least Shu Uemura USA made me feel that I’m special.


So, what kind of emails did you receive at that day?



How Instagram stories ads work?

This week’s New York is so cold. I stayed at home boringly and looked Instagram to kill time. Oh, my friends hang out again, aren’t they cold? That meal looks so delicious… Suddenly I saw an ad when I was watching my friends’ stories on Instagram. The ad was a story too. It was the ad of Target. They told me that their new store is opening. I clicked the “details” button and then went to Target’s official website. Well, their online grocery store looks pretty good.

This advertisement caught my eyes. It’s interesting because the new store’s location nears me. And these days I’m searching for grocery stores on my devices. So, I searched more on the Internet about the details of this kind of advertising.

What are Instagram stories ads?

Obviously, this ad of Target is an Instagram stories ads. If you look through Instagram for business, you will find out that there are 4 different kinds of advertising on Instagram: photo ads, video ads, carousel ads and stories ads. You can share photos and videos through Instagram stories platforms to reach your target audience.

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You can also find their ad specs on the website. This 9:16 full screen vertical ad and can accept different types of video and photo files. The maximum file size is 4GB for video and 30MB for photo. And the length of the video is limited in 15 seconds. There also a note told us that auto-captioning is not currently available. All the details you can find on Instagram for business.

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Besides, Instagram stories ads are useful and practical. As you can see in the following screen shoot, you can set up objectives for your ads and add “calls to action” buttons on the bottom of your ads. So you can easily measure or track the audience data.

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Instagram also provides tools like Ads Manager and Power Editor to help you to see the insights on the performance of your stories ad, like reach, impressions and so on.

How much does an Instagram stories ad cost?

After having a basic understanding of Instagram stories ads, I’m wondering how much does it costs. But you can’t find the pricing information on the website. In order to know more details, I did a small test. I created an ad by using Ads Manager. My target audiences are people age 18-45 who in United States and have the interests in arts. After I set up my target, the system shows me that my audience size is fairly broad and the potential reach people is 29,000.

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Then I went to the Budget & Schedule section to define my budget. I found out that there are two different kinds of budget type. One is daily budget and the other one is lifetime budget. You can choose one and then decide the schedule of your ad. The system will tell you the minimum budget based on your target audience. And the estimated daily reach results varied based on the budget you defined.

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For example, the minimum budget in my case is $6.00 per day. If I choose this budget, the ad can only reach 120-470 people per day in a 30 days plan. But if I add the budget to $30.00, the results can be added to 780-2,400 people. There’s also a note to tell you that actual amount spent daily may vary. And if I choose lifetime budget $20,000.00, the results are 7,700-26,000.

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So, the price of Instagram stories ads is vary depending on different target audiences, budget, time schedule and how much reach do you want.

Is Instagram stories ad a good choice?

If you ask me this question, I would like to say yes. Instagram stories ad is really effective and useful for brands and business.

First, Instagram has a large number of active users every day. Just as the website mentioned, 300 million accounts are using Instagram Stories and one-third of the most viewed stories are from businesses. You can easily get more impressions by using Instagram Stories ads than using other platforms. It’s a big strength.

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Second, Instagram stories are a kind of visual storytelling. It’s more vivid and can better attract audiences’ attentions. And the ads will disappear after 24 hours. You don’t worry that it will be overwhelming. I really like watching stories and sharing stories in my spare time. If you can provide a creative and valuable content of your story, I believe that your ad will be successful.

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Last but not the least, the whole process of creating an Instagram stories ad is easy and quick. It’s only four steps. And you can use different tools to set up your ad. It’s convenient. What’s more, Instagram provides precise targeting options for you to help you reach people who matter most to you. It’s good for beginner or small business, also good for brands who need precise targets. Just like what I mentioned above, Target’s new store is really near my current location. Maybe they narrow down their target audience by using the tools.

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Instagram stories ad is a really good type of paid advertising. At least I like it. How about you?

Adidas’ social media crisis of 2017

Last week, we talked about email marketing and discussed what the future of email marketing will be. Email marketing can bring you success. But it can also ruin you if you are not serious and careful. Do you want to know more details? OK. This week let’s talk about an example of social media crisis which was caused by email marketing.

We all know that this Sunday (Nov 5th), the 2017 New York City Marathon will take place. Our example is also a story about marathon.

What happened?

On April 18, 2017, the second day of 2017 Boston Marathon, some finishers of Monday’s race received a congratulatory email from Adidas, the sponsor for the 121st annual race. The subject line of this email was “Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!” which immediately reminded people of the sad memories of 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.


This email arose heated discussion on social media. Many people expressed their frustration with the company’s word choice, with one Twitter user calling it “the absolute worst email subject line of all time.”

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People also showed their dissatisfactions towards the employee who wrote this email.

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Just like one twitter user said, Adidas messed up royally. This whole email incident turned to be a social media crisis.

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How did Adidas respond to it?

Adidas quickly issued an apology for their email subject line which was posted on their social media accounts at afternoon of that day.

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They said that they are incredibly sorry. And they describe the subject line they sent Tuesday as “insensitive”. They also showed their respectful attitudes towards Boston Marathon: “The Boston Marathon is one of the most inspirational sporting events in the world. Every year we’re reminded the hope and resiliency of the running community at this event.”

Have to say that this apology is immediate and heartfelt. We can see the time of the twitter was 12:54 pm on 18 April 2017. So, it was only about 3 to 4 hours after people received the email. This reaction is quick and immediate. Their recognized their mistake and apologized. I think this was a good reaction because it prevented the whole incident from becoming worse.

My opinion towards this social crisis

Although Adidas reacted quickly and solved this social media crisis in a short time, this incident could have been avoided if their email marketing team were careful and double checked the contents before they sent the emails. This kind of mistake was too simple and careless. The company ought not to have this kind of mistake.

Hope Adidas can learn a lesson from this incident.

In my opinion, PR department is the most responsible one to handle these sorts of crisis. They need to react immediately after the crisis happening. And they need to give the best and quickest solutions to keep the company’s reputation. But in this case, the mistake was made by marketing department. So, I think it’s more important to avoid this kind of crisis from the root rather than just give apology after things happening. It would be better if there’re no social media crisis at the beginning.

Do you agree with me?













Whole Foods Market: What a grocery store can give to their customers today

Before I came to New York, I didn’t cook or can you say that I didn’t have chance to learn cooking. In school, we have cafeteria where you can eat all kinds of food you want. At home, we have parents who can cook all kinds of food for you. So, there was no need for me to learn cooking. But after moved to New York, things are different. I live alone, nobody can cook for me. And it’s hard to find delicious Chinese food in school’s cafeteria. I have to learn cooking. So, the grocery store become the place where I must go every week.

Whole Foods Market was the first grocery store I heard after I came New York. They have many stores in New York City. There are two stores near the places where I live and study. It’s really convenience for me to buy the food materials after class and take it home for cooking. The shopping time in Whole Foods Market can be my most pleasant and relaxed time during the day.

The experience of shopping in their local stores are quite good. But today is the world of digital. People buy all the things online even food materials. So, the user experience with these grocery stores’ digital platforms become crucial to their business. With the good impression to Whole Foods Market’s local stores, let’s explore their digital world!


Open the official website of Whole Foods Market, the first I noticed is the theme color, green. They have green logo, green font with white background. When talk about green, what would come to your mind first? For me is healthy and fresh! This color really can represent what Whole Foods wants to express to their customers, that is they are America’s healthiest grocery store. With the white background, the website looks cozy and concise. Once you open it, you will say: “oh, yes, this is what Whole Foods should look like!”

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If you explore more you will find the website is well organized. The structure of the homepage is clear. On the top is the menu which can help customers to find what they need in most, such as couples, local sales and online store (which is the most important). Then in the middle is all kinds of high quality pictures seem like talking about different stories with Whole Foods. It really appeals me when I open this website. Now it’s October and we all know that Halloween is around the corner. You can see they have pictures of pumpkin and tell you about 100+ ways to use pumpkin. From this detail, we can know that the contents of this website are updated all the time.

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In the bottom of the website, you can find more information about Whole Foods Market. Like the introduction about the company or how to eat and cooking heathier. The information here are more educational and convincing. When I saw the Recipe Collections I was excited! It’s useful for people like me who is learning cooking right now. Whole Foods is customer centered. They provide all the things their customers needed. I think this really improve the customer loyalty.

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For example, they even have their own blog: Whole Story Blog! I love this idea that a grocery store opens a blog to tell stories about heathy food, recipes, suppliers and the trends of the industry. It feels like I’m more closed to this grocery and the industry. Whole Foods Market is telling people they are not only a grocery store, they also care about people’s health and the planet’s health. The contents of the blog are entertaining and interesting, also educational. You will find that you learn a lot from a grocery store after reading the blog.

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Another point I want to mention is the online store. You can search what you want to buy directly. If you have no idea what you want, you can also search by departments. I think this design is helpful. For shopping food materials online, the biggest concern of customers should be the delivery time. All the things are fresh and need to be delivered on time otherwise they can’t be used into a meal. Delivery is important to those online grocery store. Whole Foods give you the promise that your orders can be available within 2 hours. So customers can no longer worried about the fresh and time problems. It’s so nice!

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With all the same contents, the website is good to use on mobile phone and tablet. All the functions you experienced on desktop can be found on cellphone and tablet. And they provide an app for the customers to use. But the rating score is not good due to its new version canceled the recipe functions. Maybe they will figure out it later.

Overall, the user experience of Whole Foods Market is good! They give their customers high quality products with good customer services, also provide good contents about how to live with healthy life and healthy food. All the information they give online can satisfied the customers. Whole Food Market is a really good story teller. If use the archetype to describe Whole Foods, I guess maybe trust, alert and passion? Because you can really trust their products and they really have high standards about the details. At the same time, you can feel their passion about helping you to lead a healthier life. Maybe that’s why I love it so much!

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How Airbnb is using their digital story to engage with people

What kind of travel do you want?

Last year, Airbnb came up with a new campaign: “Don’t go there. Live there.” In this campaign, they gave people a new idea about travel. “Don’t go to Paris. Don’t tour Paris, and please don’t do Paris. Live in Paris.”

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When I first saw this video, I felt being inspired. What an interesting comparison in this video, in this campaign! In most of the time, people go to somewhere just to show that they have been to somewhere. They take photos before the scenic spots no matter how crowded it is in their background. They eat specialized tourism food instead of eating local food. The photos can show that they have been to this place. Food doesn’t matter at all. To be honest, people in my parents’ generation still like traveling in this way. They like traveling with tourist groups with all the things well-planned before their departure. They like to see the view on the tour bus and take fast photos on tourist attractions then leave with satisfaction. This kind of travel can give them a sense of safety.

But for most of young people today, things are different. We don’t like being bound by the rules of tourist groups. We don’t like all the things are well-planned. We want surprise. We want to experience more. Just like the slogan of Airbnb’s campaign, yes, we don’t want to go there. We want to live there! Airbnb just said what we were thinking.

Airbnb also uses different digital tools like Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to convey their new ideas about travel. In my opinion, they really did a good job to engage people with their stories. So how is Airbnb using their digital story to engage with people? I think the reasons can be discussed from three different aspects.

1. High Quality of Contents

If you open the Instagram of Airbnb, you can see all the photos have high quality, good composition and beautiful colors. What’s more important, they don’t like normal photos of visitors. They were more like taken at home. You can see girl were thinking in the room. Kids were playing with their grandpa. Man were enjoying himself in playing with guitar. Friends were running together.

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Can you feel that? Just looking through these photos can make me feel excited! Airbnb let me know there are so many beautiful places in the world. And there are so many possibilities during travel. Can you image having yoga class on a mountaintop? Well, Airbnb told you that nothing is impossible. The likes of this photo shows that they really did a good job.

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The quality of contents is vital to brands’ digital stories. In 2009, Airbnb almost dead because of the low revenue. The founders did lots of researches, finally found out that the photos on their site sucked. After they improved the pictures, the weekly revenue doubled from $200 to $400 per week. So, from this story, we can see the importance of the quality of content. I think not just the photos, all the contents the brands post online should have a high quality. It can show your sincere.

If you want your audience engage with your story, show them the high quality of contents. Be sincere please.

2. Focus on People

Opening the official website of Airbnb, you can find that it’s not all about booking a room like other websites which have the same function. You can see they call it homes. “Home” is the word can give more belongingness and safety to people. Besides, there are lots of experiences hosted by different local people to help you live as a local. It’s cool, right?

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Airbnb uses all their tools(FB, Ins, Twitter, YouTube) to convey their key message about their brand, about their campaign. To help you live as a local, they even added restaurants reservation function. Just as the video mentioned, at home you know your favorite restaurants, to make you feel like at home, Airbnb add this new function for you to find local favorites wherever you travel to.

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Airbnb really cares about people. Can you feel that?

They created Airbnb community to let people communicate with each other. If you explore their YouTube channel, you can see the stories from the big Airbnb community. The stories are not only from influencers but also from some ordinary people. When I saw some of them, I felt related to the stories. And that can inspire me to explore more with Airbnb.

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Different from other brands which just provide a room for you when you travel, Airbnb choose to provide a home, a community, a kind of culture for you. In their stories, you can see people communicate with different people, with nature, with animals… Although stories are different, they have a same concentration that is people. They use stories to show that Airbnb cares about you. So when their customers or potential customers watch the stories, they can feel being relevant and related. That’s how Airbnb engage with people.

3. Leading the trend

As I mentioned above, the young generation today don’t like traveling in an old way. They want surprise. They want unique experiences. According to data from Airbnb, 52% of these younger-minded U.S. travelers find crowds at major tourist attractions to be more stressful than doing a tax return, while 47% don’t like to be labeled as tourists when they go to a new place. Airbnb just captures the ideas from the generation and comes up with the ideas of modern tourist industry that is “Don’t go there. Live there.”

So, Airbnb is leading the trend of modern tourist industry. They told us what we really want when traveling. One important thing for marketing is that create the demand before your customers even realize they want it. I think Airbnb is doing things like this. They use their stories to inspire new generation to find out new trends in traveling. They are the leaders of the new industry.

Airbnb not only change the tourist industry, they also change the vacation rental industry. They provide a safe and transparent platform for hosts. And most important, the user experiences are simple and good. The success of Airbnb shows how crucial to find the blue ocean industry and lead the trends.

However, Airbnb might face some problems even though they did a good job by using different digital tools. The trust is easily to build online but hard in real life. Although Airbnb wants to build a harmony community in both online and offline, if there are some people use this platform to cheat, to fraud or show discrimination, all the effort from Airbnb will waste. Once you lose your trust, you can’t get it back. Airbnb must take it seriously.

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But at least so far, they have done well. People are inspired by their stories and they trust Airbnb. Just like me. I’m already thinking about the destination for my next holiday. How about you?