As a small business owner you dream about the day when you get great publicity that will take your brand to the next level. Maybe it’s a tweet from a famous celebrity, maybe it’s going on Shark Tank, maybe it’s running around in a giant mascot suit. Sometimes you know about these moments beforehand and can prepare for them, but sometimes they just come out of the blue, like what happened to us recently.
The background: Two weeks ago, Tim Ferriss, author of NYT Bestseller The 4 Hour Workweek mentioned The Square by Clean Bottle in his “5 Bullet Friday” email which he sends weekly to his 2 million newsletter subscribers. When we found out, here’s what our office looked like:
That’s us watching our website visitor list hit 20K visitors in just 2 hours! By 4pm, we had more than doubled that and over the course of that day and the following week we would go on to get hundreds of orders and nearly 100K viewers to our website!
We’ve been asked how we landed that kind of press, and the truth is it just fell in our lap, sort of... We’ve been long time followers of Tim Ferriss, so 3 years ago when we launched our Stainless Steel Square we decided to send him one. We blindly sent a sample to his office with a quick note just telling him we were fans and the quick story of Clean Bottle. We never heard back from him, no surprise there, he’s a busy guy, but we did notice a photo of him about 6 months later carrying our bottle, apparently he liked it. And given his shout-out in this email, apparently he’s still a fan! Lesson learned: never shy away from sending out a free sample to an influencer, you never know who might turn into a big fan.
Here are the top 5 things we learned from this surprise press hit:
Sure, we all had a busy day of work planned out for ourselves. In a small start-up like ours, time is your most valuable asset. But when we started noticing something special was happening, we realized our previously set plans were going out the window. We called a quick 5minute all-hands meeting and divvied up tasks. Our marketing guy was in charge of manning the website, our head of operations was fielding the incoming emails, our sales guy was handling our customer service phone, and we were all covering each other’s backs. When you get a big press hit, it’s important to prioritize. You may have a full inbox, but that can wait. The buzz you’re getting from the exposure won’t last forever, so seize the moment.
2) Make sure you have tracking pixels in place on your website.
What is a “tracking pixel”? A tracking pixel is a small snippet of code that you add to your website so that you can keep track of who has visited your website. You won’t know their name or any specifics, but it’s enough to be able to target them later with ads or posts on Facebook.
If you’ve been thinking about installing a tracking pixel, either for Facebook, Web Retargeting (we use Adroll), or Google Analytics, but haven’t done it yet. DO IT NOW! You definitely don’t want to get caught unaware and not be able to capitalize on the unexpected web traffic.
Having tracking pixels in place will let you re-market back to all those visitors who came to your site but didn’t order. Maybe their boss walked in while they were browsing the web, maybe they forgot their wallet at home, or maybe they got distracted by a cat video (high possibility here). There will be lots of people looking at your website with every intention of ordering but don’t, and you don’t want to lose them. Tacking Pixels give you a way of putting your goods or services back in front of them so you can catch them at a better time for purchasing. If we hadn’t had our pixels in place ahead of time we would have missed out on a TON of sales that we were able to make in the following days.
3) Make sure you are capturing emails!
Similar to #2, you’re going to get tons of traffic to your site of potential customers, but they won’t all buy at the exact moment. That means you need a way to get them to give you their email so that you can reach back out to them via email later. A pop-up window is the most common way to do this. We use a $3 OFF coupon for signing up to our newsletter. That may not sound like a lot but it equates to about a 25% discount when you purchase a bottle. Countless people will sign up to get this coupon but end up not ordering. That means you can now reach out to them at a later date when they really are ready to order. When you’re generating a buzz, make sure you can email people again afterwards.
4) Monitor your site.
About an hour into the frenzy we noticed that all of a sudden orders had stopped coming in. We had been getting an order every minute or two for the past few hours, and now we were going 8 to 9 minutes between orders. At first we thought the rush had passed, but then we had a customer call in saying they were having trouble checking out. It turned out there was a glitch in the website that wasn’t allowing customers to enter their email address and therefore couldn’t complete the checkout process. Every minute we were down we were not only losing money but also giving customers a bad first experience with our brand. We quickly got our eCommerce provider (Shopify) both on the phone and on Live Chat as a backup. It turned out it wasn’t just us, but was more of a systemic problem (perfect timing). We described our situation and our urgency and they moved us to the front of the queue and got us back up and running quickly. When you’ve got a lot of traffic to your site, make sure to keep an eye out for anything that doesn’t seem right.
5) Prepare to be dynamic.
On his email, Tim had linked readers directly to the product page for our Green Square, which was great. There’s nothing better for conversions than sending people directly to a product page. Unfortunately, it just so happened that we were nearly out of stock of that color. Within an hour, we were out! This meant that we had thousands of people landing on a page that read Out of Stock. We realized that we couldn’t change the link Tim had put in his email; however, what we could do was build in a re-direct to push people over to another page with products that we DID have! We quickly edited our website to automatically re-direct visitors to the page where they could buy our in-stock Blue Square. That little change saved us from potentially losing hundreds of sales. Always make sure you have someone on staff who knows their way around your website!
Thanks for reading, and hopefully some of the lessons we learned can help you when you get your next surprise press hit! And be sure to follow our blog (you can sign up here) to read our next article on how we’re capitalizing on this hit and what we’re doing to keep the momentum going!
The Clean Bottle Team
The Summer is drawing to a close which for many of you means you, or someone you know, will be heading back to school. This can be an exciting time, a sad time or even a little bit of a scary time; often a little of each. Many of us have made the mistakes of grabbing a campus checklist and feeling the need to get every. single. item. on the list, only to move in and realize you brought WAY too much stuff. Even worse, you find out you don't have something you actually need.
There are plenty of lists out there that have all of the obvious items needed (like right here), but there are some understated, yet vitally important, items you might want to check out. Here's my guide of items you definitely want to consider when going back to school.
Surge Protector & Extension Cords
Trust me, there will never be enough outlets for all your products that need electricity, and lets be honest no one wants to crawl under their bed to the outlet to switch plugs. Therefor a surge protector, or two (maybe even a third) are absolute must haves. I recommend at least two because when you think about it you'll need outlets for your phone charger, laptop charger, alarm clock, TV, and mini-fridge, maybe a video game consol, hair dryer and who knows what else. Plus you've got to factor in that you probably have roommates who will have a lot of the same things.
While the old standard surge protectors typically have 6 outlet slots you'll find they fill up fast plus certain plugs are inconveniently designed and block multiple outlet from being used; I'm talking about you Mac Book charger!
Surge protectors have come a long way in recent years and can be found with a variety of new features. Below is a durable option which even has USB ports and won't break the bank!HOLSEM Outlets Surge Protector Power Strip($19)
Backpacks & Bags
Now this should seem like a no brainer; everyone has gotten a backpack for school since you started 1st grade. Except for your parents or grandparents who, as I'm sure you've heard, walked 4 miles to and from school, up hill both ways, in the snow, carrying their books by hand. ;) They didn't have backpacks of course.
Us youngins, have been using backpacks since we could tie our shoes and I'm telling you one backpack may not be enough, or you may not have the right type of bag for your needs. Of course backpacks are typically used for carrying your school supplies to and from class or the library but you'll find bags are extremely useful for other things as well. While in school I had my school bag for carrying my laptop and books, then I had my sports bag which was used for all my track gear or I use it for going to the gym or intramural sports. It also came in handy when heading home for the weekend or going on a weekend adventure as its large carrying capacity could fit all the clothes I needed. Last but certainly not least were all my drawstring bags which proved valuable on Friday and Saturday nights. Best part about drawstring bags is that they are rather inexpensive so if you lose one at a house party you'll probably be more upset about what was in the bag than the bag itself.
Point is, a versatile main backpack may be the best option; one that can adequately carry you school stuff with out damaging anything but also has a big enough capacity for clothes and athletic gear. On top of that I highly recommend a few drawstring bags as well!
We've got a few recommendations for some great options below!
Drawstring Bags ($6)
Let's be honest, sometimes you smell; your room will definitely smell too. You may not think it does and maybe you can't tell but I promise you everyone else can. With multiple people spending the majority of their time in a small confined box; your collective smelliness will accumulate, and no amount of "leaving the window open" will air out your room enough. Also I'm sure you don't want a girl or guy you are interested in to come by and be able to smell all the dirty cloths you threw in your closet, 5 seconds before they came. Do everyone a favor and pick up some of these. Small, easy to use, and they will make your room smell pretty good without being overpowering.Glade Solid Air Freshener, Clean Linen, 6-Ounce (Pack of 6) ($14)
Slippers or easy Slip-on Shoes
Slippers or slip on shoes are perfect footwear for quick activities or early morning meals. Need to hit the bathroom or visiting a friend on a different floor, slippers are an easier and more comfortable option. I even used mine to drag my aching body to the dining hall for brunch on those dreary Sundays before making my way to a study room to try and catch up on work.
I know some of you will try to brave it by walking barefoot to the bathroom or even to walk around the dorm hall. I'm telling you, unless your halls are carpeted, don't do it! Floors are gross and dirt sticks to feet and those feet go all over your bed. Don't drag bathroom grossness into your bed, just don't.
Check out these options: they look enough like shoes to prevent you from looking weird when you inevitably wear them to the dining hall.
Women's Molly Slipper ($22-50)
Clean Bottle Square
Reusable water bottles: cheaper than buying bottled water and remarkably convenient. It's no secret college kids aren't the best at cleaning bottles until things get dire. One bottle for the gym and your powder mixes, another for class, and probably a few for weekend nighttime activities, if you're into those sort of things. Let's be honest, not all of us are on top of cleaning out our bottles and after a while strange smells and mold start to form. You don't want to be staring down a moldy bottle, on a Friday night having to make the difficult decision of sucking it up and using it anyway, or running out to buy a different one.
The square bottle however makes cleaning easier so on the rare occasion you do clean it, you can reach the bottom and get in there good so there won't be any lingering smells or odd tastes. Also the fruit infuser module makes a phenomenal shaker for protein powders. Seriously, try it!
Additionally, the square shape will prevent you from chasing your bottle when you drop it as you sprint to the exam you almost slept through, nor will it send you on a scavenger hunt, if tipped over while under your desk in class.
Lastly, it just looks cool and you'll find it makes for a great conversation starter, so making new friends will become much easier for you
photo by Lee Peters, insta: @leepeters23
Next to oxygen, water is the second most important resource to our bodies. Every one learns that our bodies are made up of 60-80% water but millions of Americans still don’t drink enough water every day. Especially now with the summer in full swing, it is essential that we stay hydrated. Here are a few reasons why it is just so important to keep your hydration levels up.
1) Keeps Energy Levels Up :
Studies have shown that dehydration leads to both muscular fatigue as well as an overall feeling of lethargy. The more water you drink the more awake and alert you feel throughout the day.
2) Prevent Cramping:
As you move around and exercise your muscles lose water. When muscles are dehydrated their electrolyte balance is thrown off. This can lead to muscle weakness and cramping.
3) Maintain Healthy Organs:
Proper water is essential for kidney health. When you become dehydrated toxins accumulate in your kidneys and aren’t flushed out. Water also helps with the largest organ in your body, your skin. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to prevent your skin from drying out and to keep it strong and elastic.
4) Lose Weight:
Often times the hunger pangs that you feel are because you are actually thirsty. What better way to quench this thirst than with a refreshing, zero calorie drink? Numerous studies have shown that drinking water before a meal is one of the best ways to eat less and lose weight
5) Boost Brain Power:
Our brains require more nutrients and energy than any other part of our body. Just a little bit of dehydration has been shown to lead to huge cognitive declines. Since our brains have no way of storing water we need to stay properly hydrated to make sure our brains are getting what they need.
Staying hydrated is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your general well-being. Experts recommend drinking 2.2-3 liters of water depending on gender, size and location in which you live. During the hot summer months our need for water increases, so fill up that Clean Bottle and keep yourself hydrated.
It is officially Summer, it's time for you to start out on those adventures you've been saving up for. With the added hours of sun and the added heat, staying hydrated is even more important. It's obvious our sports bottle is great for a day out on your bike but what about those other outdoor activities? If you've procrastinated on planning your Summer excursions, we've got your back and have put together a good mix of activities for you to enjoy, and it just so happens that your square bottle is the perfect hydration accessory for summer fun.
Born and raised in a beach town, sliding my feet into the warm sand to the sound of waves kissing the shore, is a favorite past time of mine. A day at the beach is a spectacular way to relax after a week of work as well as get you some much needed Vitamin D. Careful though, the sun can turn a great day into a painful week if you're not sure to apply sunscreen and keep hydrated. I find the fruit infusing chamber for the square to be a must have for my beach days as the refreshing taste of fruit adds some much needed flavor and vitamins to your water. For those of you in land locked states, while the beach bum in me argues it's not quite the same thing, lakes make great beaches.
Hiking is a perfect activity for people of all ages and abilities, plus its one of the most readily accessible activities. You can hike just about anywhere. Whether you want to challenge yourself with some steep mountain terrain or just enjoy a casual picturesque stroll through nature hiking has a little something for everyone. Bring your square as it has a easy to carry handle, can easily be stored in a bag, or latched on using a carabiner. Plus if you do drop it, it won't runaway from you.....all the way....down the mountain.... that you just spent 30 minutes climbing. (We've had some bad experiences). Check out these books for guides to great hikes across the United States!
If you've never ventured out on a sailboat, or any recreational boat, you are missing out. The possibilities are numerous when sailing, you can journey somewhere new, stop to fish or swim or even enjoy a picnic, or you can simply sail around and take in the sights. Again, I love the fruit infusing chamber as a way to add some flavor and vitamins to my water but the most useful feature of the Square bottle is the shape. You won't have to worry about your bottle rolling back and forth as the boat bobs along with the swell. Obviously, not everyone owns a boat or knows someone who does. Likewise, some of you may lack access to a large enough body of water. However, you can often charter a boat to go out on a day trip. Also a lot of harbors offer a Free Sailing Day where members of that harbor take interested parties out and will even teach you some of the techniques and let you Captain the vessel!
Kayaking and more so, paddle boarding have seemingly blown up over the last decade. These can be very serene activities that allow you to get some exercise without feeling like you've exerted too much energy. However, people often leave behind items like food an water due to lack of space and fear of losing it if tipped over. Like with sailing, the square shape will prevent the bottle from rolling around your kayak or off your paddle board. Furthermore, as you can see in the picture a lot of kayaks have cup holders and the bottle fits nicely! Lastly if you do tip your kayak over or karate kick your bottle off your paddle board, don't worry, you're guaranteed for life and we can replace it!
Obviously, yoga isn't as seasonal as the other activities on this list but being able to get outdoors to get your Vinyasa flow on is much more enjoyable than being in the studio. Plus if you live in warm enough areas, you can save plenty of money on your heating bill by practicing your Bikram or "Hot Yoga" classes in the sun! Now the square bottle is great for reasons already stated; won't roll away, and the fruit infuser are nice benefits that will help make your practice that much more enjoyable. However, there's an added benefit in that your square can serve as a yoga block if your in a pinch and forgot yours!
Let us know what Summer activities you'll be enjoying this year and feel free to share your photos! We love to see Clean Bottle's out on adventures!