What Works in Plus Size Email Marketing (and what doesn’t…)

I haven’t worn pants in 5 years.

As you can imagine, a pants-less existence requires an almost unlimited supply of dresses and skirts. As a plus-sized person, I need to do a lot of shopping to get the right look and fit. Cute dresses don’t just fall out of the sky, you know.

While I don’t have a never-ending sartorial pasta bowl of plus size fashions, I do have an unlimited supply of emails from plus size clothing sites that I frequent.

Opening yet another email from one of my favorite plus size clothing sites this morning got me thinking: what actually works in plus size email marketing? What made me click on that email all nestled away in the Promotions folder in Gmail?

Let’s check out the contenders. Here are a few of my observations about several recent plus size email marketing campaigns from some of my favorite online retailers.

Lane Bryant – The Classic

Founded in 1904, Lane Bryant was a pioneer in the plus size clothing industry, offering clothes in larger sizes before most people knew there was even a market for that.

So how are they doing at email marketing?

Lane Bryant Plus Size Email Marketing

I’d say the answer is pretty darn well.

There has been a lot of controversy surrounding their #PLUSISEQUAL campaign. Most of this controversy has to do with the lack of inclusion of various body shapes and types in their quest for plus size visibility. I understand this frustration, and yet I have to say, this campaign is sharp.

The hashtag has a feeling of unity and empowerment behind it. The header image is beautiful. And who could turn down a stunning landing page like this.

I want my marketing slick and eye-catching, so I immediately wanted to click on that image and see what it was about.

Isn’t that the goal of any effective email marketing campaign?

ModCloth – The Quirky Cousin

I’ve loved ModCloth’s aesthetic for more than 5 years now, ever since I started living a pants-free lifestyle. So when they announced several years ago that they were introducing a new plus size category, I was all over that email list.

Interestingly, I have yet to purchase anything from their plus size section. That might be a combination of price point, stock, or more factors, but they haven’t quite yet converted me into a buyer.

I wonder why that is?

ModCloth Plus Size Email Marketing

Their emails have that quirky style that I love, but I never feel like their target customer. Clicking on that header image takes me to this landing page which is full of great looks…

…but none of them are in my size.

I searched my inbox for ModCloth and the words “plus” or “plus size.”. Zero results. Which means ModCloth has never sent an email with Plus Size in it, or I’m just out of the loop.

Am I not in the right email list? Have they not segmented out their plus size shoppers? I definitely have an account that they could use to track my data and shopping habits since I completed a survey about bringing plus size clothing to ModCloth back in the day.

So what gives?

I decided to log back into my account and see for myself. To my surprise, there are a lot of ways they’re gathering data from customers: measurements, favorited items, curated suggestions. I haven’t filled out any of that information, so I guess I’m just Ginny Generic to them. Even so, you’d think they’d include one or two plus size emails in their generic email marketing, just in case.

Now that I’ve filled in some information, I’ll keep a look out and see if I receive more relevant email marketing.

Unique Vintage – The Old School Beauty

This is one of my very favorite stores. I love a good ’60s look, and they sell a wide variety of clothing inspired by different eras. Their plus size section is pretty great, as well.

When it comes to plus size email marketing, they’re almost there.

Unique Vintage Plus Size Email Marketing

Great image. Clean, classic style. Easy to see call-to-action.

But what’s going on with that awkward copy?

“Every body stun—at every size.” What does that even mean!?

The answer might lie in the subject line for this particular email campaign.

“The Secret to a Perfect Body.”

That’s a pretty great clickbait subject line. If I didn’t know better, I might be incited to go all angry Tumblr user and tell them off!

“A perfect body? That doesn’t exist! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!”And so on, etc.

Thankfully, the moment you open the email, you’re greeted with a body-positive ending to that potentially inflammatory statement.

Still doesn’t explain the rest of that confusing copy, though.

Gwynnie Bee – The Upstart

I’ve been a Gwynnie Bee member in the past (in the days of milk and honey) and I LOVED it.

A $35 per month subscription gets you 1 plus size piece of clothing at a time, but you get an unlimited amount of swaps per month. Genius idea originally touted as the Netflix of plus size clothes, back when Netflix was still the Netflix of Netflix.

Since then, Gwynnie Bee has been aggressively trying to win back my business. Whether that’s through custom coupon codes, curated clothing suggestions, or even emails that look like letters from their President asking me to resubscribe, I have to appreciate their hustle.

Gwynnie Bee Plus Size Email Marketing

This is an example of their awesome tailoring techniques. They know I was a former customer. They know I logged in recently, since this email arrived a day after I logged in. They’ve got this user data and automation workflow thing locked down.

Tempting, Gwynnie Bee. Very tempting.

Let me get this Digital Marketing job I’m after and I’ll get back with you.

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Personal Brand Keywords

How To Boost Your Personal Brand Keywords

So, I’ve had a little bit of success.

I’ll share that with you later in the post, but for now I want to impart a few pieces of common wisdom for ways to get your personal brand keywords up where you want them in the search results.

These tips have all been acquired through personal experience and lots of study and research on the topic. You can trust me!

Write Awesome Content

An important way to rank for your personal brand keywords is to make sure that there is excellent text content on your site featuring these keywords. Think about what your reader is interested in, and write to your audience. If you have great content with keywords that are in context, search engines will be able to find your content more easily to determine if it’s worthy of ranking.

Don’t go overboard, however. Stuffing keywords where they don’t belong can have a negative impact on your rankings.

Earn Authoritative Backlinks

According to lots of studies and analysis by sites with people who are way more experienced than I am, the most important keyword rankings are determined by the amount and quality of websites that link back to your site.

The importance of the backlink factor in determining keyword rankings is undisputed, but what does matter is who’s linking back and how they’re doing it.

  • Dofollow or nofollow – when someone links back to your site, if they’ve included the rel=”nofollow” tag in the link, it means Google will not follow the link from their site to your site. These links aren’t necessarily as important as links without this tag, but they can still be valuable if they send quality traffic to your site.
  • Alt text matters – The words that are used in the visible link from the site are important. If you have a relationship with the person who published the link, try to make sure that they’re linking what you want them to, whether that’s a personal brand keyword or your name.
  • Spam sucks – The word to remember here is “authoritative.” You don’t want a bunch of crappy spam sites to link to you because that can negatively impact your rankings.

There are a few ways to go about acquiring backlinks, but the best idea is to identify where you want your site to show up. What makes the most sense for your personal brand keywords? Local blogs or news sites? Business listings in your market? You can even find queries from writers looking for input on sites like Helpareporter.com.

Once you’ve identified your targets, find the right point of contact for the site (whether that’s a journalist, blogger, or webmaster), politely introduce yourself and make the ask. You might have to get creative with your pitch, but always be friendly, transparent, and above all, helpful. You want to provide them with an additional resource for their readers or users.

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The third most important factor that will boost your search engine rankings is what I call internet magic. It’s a cocktail of important website things including page load time, title text, alt-image tags, and a whole lot more. That is to say, there are so many factors and proprietary measurements in play depending on the search engine; any number of things could affect where your site falls in the SERPs. The best thing you can do is follow best practices provided by SEO industry leaders such as MOZ.com.

Profit!

Once you put the work in, and if you’ve chosen appropriate keywords and correctly estimated their difficulty, you should start seeing results. It may take a few weeks or even months, but you’ll get there.

Fortunately for me, it only took two days to start seeing movement.

Updated keyword rankings for Anna Daugherty

I’m happy that the “anna daugherty” keywords saw so much movement, but I’m honestly surprised by how quickly “inbound marketing kalamazoo,” “email marketing kalamazoo” rose in the ranks!

I can almost certainly attribute this rapid movement to a great backlink placement in this excellent article about unprofessional speech on Inc.com.

Keyword backlink to Anna Daugherty

Following the ideas I listed above, I contacted this journalist, gave him my helpful quote for his article and a backlink, and blammo. Authoritative link on a big publication with no cost and very little time involved.

I encourage you to reach out to sites that you think make sense for your business or personal brand. With thoughtfulness, time, and effort, you could see results.

And it never hurts to try.

What do you say. Can’t live without my Digital Marketing skills for your business? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com and let’s talk.

Personal SEO Keywords Rebrand

My SEO: Identifying Your Personal Brand Keywords

In a previous blog on personal branding I discussed how I was going to use this site as a way to brand myself in the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids area as an expert in inbound marketing.

One of the most important ways to get exposure for your personal brand is a great site that ranks well in organic search results for keywords that strongly fit your personal brand.

So how do you choose your personal brand keywords?

First, let’s check in and see how my keywords are doing.

SEO Keyword ranking for annadaugherty.net Hot diggity dog!

I’ve managed to secure a top three spot for one of my keywords, and gained more than 200 spots for one of my top three personal brand keywords.

All in just one day!

This is a testament to why it’s important to accurately choose your personal brand keywords in order to get the best results that align with your goals.

Here are a few key things to keep in my when choosing your own keywords for your site.

Your Name = Your Brand.

My name, in this case, is a very important part of my personal brand because I’m seeking employment as an email and inbound marketing specialist. I want my site, which focuses on these topics, to rank very highly for my name as it’s the first thing I want employers and recruiters to see when they search for me.

This principle still applies even if you’re not in the job market. If you’re a business owner, entrepreneur, or engage in public speaking or interviewing of any kind, you should maintain a personal website with your name.

Why is that? Well, imagine if a media outlet wants to run a big story on your business and they want to learn more about you. They search your name. What comes up?

If you don’t spend time and effort on your personal branding, who knows what could show up! You want to hope that you have a bio on your company site that will trump any other results. But why not have two horses in the game and work on your own personal brand, just in case?

What happens if your name is Steve Jobs? Well, chances are, you’re never going to earn a top ranking for the keyword “steve jobs” and maybe not even “steven jobs.” This is where longtail keywords come in. Couple your name with both practical descriptors and also ones that align with your job, career, or personal goals.

For instance, you could be “steve jobs plumbing services” or “steve jobs plumbing expert.” I don’t think anyone would search those keywords if they were looking for plumbing advice from the former head of Apple.

  • Choose your name and variation of your name, job title, and location as keywords to monitor and focus on for your personal brand. Remember to look for longtail keywords that align with your goals.

You Control Your Image.

If you just relied on your company to do all the work for you and give your name recognition, you’re making a risky bet. What if the company goes under? What if there’s a website redesign and employee bios are no longer part of the site?

What if (gasp) you’re fired or laid off?!

When you craft your own website and accompanying social media or other online profiles for SEO success, you’re ensuring that you’re the one in control of your own image.

  • Eyeing a particular job title or company? Choose those keywords for your personal brand. That way you can focus on great content that will land you in the SERPs for those keywords and show that you’re an authority in the career field of your dreams.

Become an Expert.

Whether you’re using your website as a way to land a great job, as a way for the public to get to know you, or just as an experiment to see how good you can get at this whole SEO business, be the best you can be. You don’t have to be the CEO or President of a company to have a great, educational website that provides good information in your area of expertise.

  • Choose longtail keywords that will make you an expert on topics in your field. Create informational posts, eBooks, infographics and more that show off your expertise for that keyword.

In a future post, I will be sharing how to use other websites, blogs, and media outlets to help give your personal brand even more authority. Stay tuned!

Do you need an Digital Marketing specialist in Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids to give your business a boost? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com to get started.

Anna Daugherty inbound marketing

Brand Me: Why I’m My Most Important Product

I bought this domain name on a whim.

It’s too bad that annadaugherty.com was already taken, but whoever is camping out that domain name I wish you lots of luck and success.

So how am I going to use this site? Easy. To sell my personal brand.

Branding Yourself is Difficult.

Throughout the course of my career in email marketing and inbound marketing, I’ve come to learn a few things. But the most important thing I’ve learned is to be my own personal product, and to become my own best advocate.

When you craft yourself into a product, you completely understand your strengths and weaknesses, and it becomes much easier to sell yourself.

As a marketer, your brand is your business. In the bleep-bloop world of the internet, your name is your potential employer or customer’s first interaction with your personal brand. If the search rankings for your name return some rather unfavorable results, who knows what crazy assumptions your customers can have regarding your product.

Even if the search rankings aren’t full of mugshots, it’s still a great idea to claim your rightful spot at the top of the SERPs.

That’s why I’ve started this blog. My goal is to bring awareness to the Anna Daugherty brand, and to show myself off as an awesome inbound marketing specialist who can deliver results.

So Where Do I Begin?

The short answer is that I start at the bottom.

I’ve chosen 9 keywords that I would like to target for my own personal brand. In this blog post on choosing personal brand keywords, I discuss how to choose keywords for yourself based on your personal strengths and goals.

So how does my site rank for these keywords?

Search Engine Results for annadaugherty.net Ouch.

As you can see, my site currently doesn’t rank in the top 10 for any of my chosen keywords. Fortunately for me, the keywords I’ve chosen have a lot of leeway.

Keyword Difficulty for annadaugherty.net

According to this keyword difficulty tool, there should be little difficulty ranking organically in the search results for these keywords because, except for one, they don’t appear to be highly competitive.

With a little time, effort, and perhaps a bit of charm, I’m sure that I will start to see my website climb in the SERPs for my chosen keywords.

What’s My Competition?

I’ve decided that my top three personal branding keywords are “anna daugherty,” “inbound marketing kalamazoo,” and “email marketing kalamazoo.” These keywords most accurately reflect my current brand, strengths, and location.

My goal is for any recruiter or potential employer who searches these terms to come across my blog and think, “Gee, this lady knows her business.”

So let’s see what’s already out there.

Keyword: “anna daugherty”
Keyword ranking for anna daugherty Oh hey, that’s me!

Not a bad start. LinkedIn is an excellent way to show off my skills and accomplishments.

I would like annadaugherty.net to rank #1 for the keyword “anna daugherty,” but I will also accept a top 3 ranking if it means my LinkedIn profile is also there.

Keyword: “inbound marketing kalamazoo”

Inbound Marketing Kalamazoo

Right away I see a lot of potential for making connections with the HUG Kalamazoo inbound marketing group. They host meet-ups where I can network with other locals in my field.

I also see a profile for one of the managers of the HUG Kalamazoo inbound marketing group, Dan Moyle. This is a great opportunity to reach out to him to see if he has any tips or ideas to share about the Kalamazoo inbound marketing scene. If he has a blog, we might also have valuable content to share with each other.

Because there are several repeated results, gaining organic ranking for this keyword should be a snap.

Keyword: “email marketing kalamazoo”

Email Marketing Kalamazoo Hmm. This might be more difficult.

The rankings for “email marketing kalamazoo” return several marketing agencies. These usually have more authority, whether that’s from awards they’ve won or backlinks from their clients.

I see this as an opportunity to network, as well. Who better to market my personal brand to than a Kalamazoo agency that needs talented email marketers?

So How Will I Get There?

I know that the way to earn my place in the top of the organic results for my keywords is to focus on three things: content, outreach, and advocacy.

Content will be the easy part. I’ve got a lot to say about myself and my career path.

Outreach will also be pretty easy. I know my audience, and I understand the principles of respectful blogger and media relations, as well as how to use social media to leverage exposure for my content.

Advocacy might be the most difficult part of this entire experiment. One of the best ways to earn rankings is to secure authoritative backlinks from sites that believe in your content and want to share it with their readers. And right now, my site isn’t looking so hot in the authority department.

Domain authority for annadaugherty.net Double ouch.

Convincing high-authority blogs that my content is worthwhile will be where both my content and outreach come in handy. Add a little bit of charm into the mix, and I’m hoping that others will buy into my personal brand and start linking to me.

Once that happens, I should start to see my domain authority score climb, which in turn will affect my organic search rankings, depending on which content is linked.

Stay Tuned.

This blog post is just the first of many that will explore my personal brand. Stick around and follow me as I attempt to climb Mount Search Engine to earn my place at the top of the SERPs.

Are you looking for a Kalamazoo or Grand Rapids area email marketing or inbound marketing specialist to take your business to the next level? Email me at ajdaughe@gmail.com