Rachel Rofe’

Headline

 

Being featured in gift guides is a GREAT strategy to find potential buyers.

You basically get to reach people who are about to make a purchase and want suggestions for the best things they can spend their money on.

Not too shabby.

In case you’re not familiar with gift guides, they’re basically round up lists of gifts that are well suited either for certain types of people, like mothers, fathers, teachers, and significant others; people with specific interests, such as animal lovers and sports enthusiasts; or for particular holidays, like Father’s Day, Christmas, and birthdays.

And because there are so many types of gift guides, there are lots of potential opportunities for you and your product.

How to Find Relevant Gift Guides

This is very simple and is mostly a matter of conducting targeted Google searches.

Say, for example, you specialize in selling dog-related mug designs. You might plug something like the following into Google:

dog lover gift guides

dog lover gifts 2017

dog lover Christmas gift ideas

dog Mother’s Day gift ideas

dog owner gift ideas

pet owner gift guides

gift ideas for dog owners

gift guides for dog lovers

holiday gift ideas for pet lovers

gift guide for the pet lover

You can obviously swap out Christmas and Mother’s Day for whatever holiday is most appropriate. Plus, this list of search terms is by no means exhaustive for the dog niche. But hopefully you get the idea.

dog lover gift guides

Also, if you want to search specifically for blogs with gift guides, include “inurl:blog/” at the end of your queries. For example…

dog lover gift guides inurl:blog/

dog lover gifts 2017 inurl:blog/

dog lover Christmas gift ideas inurl:blog/

You might want to cross-check sites on alexa.com to see how much traffic they get. We decided that if a site was on the top of Google for our search, it was good enough for us.

When my assistant ran this search last week, she looked for “dog lover gift guide 2017 inurl:blog/” and got the following results:

How to Get in Touch

You’ll need to look for the email address of the gift guide’s author or editor (or the next most appropriate person). You can usually find this information in the top navigation or footer of the website. Alternatively, if the author’s name is listed on the guide, you may be able to click it to learn more. If an email address is nowhere to be found, though, you may have luck reaching out via social media.

Once you’ve compiled a list of contacts, make sure to reach out to each person individually. Mass emails are far less personal and way more likely to get deleted.

Here are two sample scripts that you can personalize by filling in the blanks and then send to gift guide creators in your niche.

Script 1: Initial Message

Hey [first name],

I came across your [gift guide name with link] and loved it! I especially enjoyed _____, as I’m a big fan of _____. Do you plan on updating the guide for any other upcoming holidays or creating any new lists? 

My name is [your first name] and I sell [your product(s)]. Here is a link to my store: _____.

I typically run promotions around holidays and I think my [product name] would make a great addition to your next gift guide: [insert product link].

If you’d like to check out any of my [product type, e.g. mugs, t-shirts] first hand, I’d be happy to send you one for free. Here’s what other satisfied customers have had to say: 

[insert product review(s)]

Let me know what you think! And thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon. 

Warm regards, 

[your name]

After sending an initial email, if you don’t hear back, you can follow up a few days later.

Script 2: Follow Up

Hey [first name], 

I recently got in touch about your [gift guide name with link] and the possibility of adding my [product name with link] to it. 

I’m sure you’re very busy, but I think this could be a win-win and I wanted to make sure you got my message. 

Let me know what you think when you get a chance!

Either way, I wish you all the best and look forward to seeing more great gift guides from you. 

Thanks so much.

Warm regards, 

[your name]

Based on the search results of her “dog lover gift guide 2017 inurl:blog/” query, my assistant made a list of a dozen of the most relevant bloggers and then sent them an initial message as well as a follow-up in several cases. She far, she’s received two positive responses!

Here is the exact message she used for one of those contacts:

Subject: I loved your Valentine’s Day gifts for dog lovers post!

Message: Hey Laura (and Bentley)!

I came across your Valentine’s Day Gifts For Dog Lovers post and loved it! I especially enjoyed the book of photos of underwater dogs — so cute! Do you plan to update this guide for any other upcoming holidays or to create a new list?

My name is Rachel and I sell dog-related mugs and t-shirts. Here is a link to my Amazon store:

[LINK]

I typically run promotions around holidays and I think my [PRODUCT] would make a great addition to your next gift guide:

[LINK]

If you’d like to check out one of my mugs or t-shirts first hand, I’d be happy to send you one for free.

Let me know what you think! And thanks so much for your time. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Warm regards,
Rachel

And here is a screenshot of the response she got four days later:

Not only is Laura going to share my mug in her new blog post, she is also going to feature it on her Instagram to her 31k followers!

Considering our total spend was an hour’s worth of work and the cost of two mugs on UseGearBubble, this was an EASY win.

I hope you found this useful! Please let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.

           

Donating a portion of your sales to charity benefits both your soul and your bottom line.

At a standalone act, giving to charity is great. It makes you feel great and can be quite addicting.

There are also some big business perks.

Why Giving Back Makes Sense Business-Wise

If you decide to tell your customers about the charities you’re donating to, it can help earn you more money. Here are some reasons why:

1. Customers Like Your Products More

In addition to having your customers think you’re a rock star business because you care about important causes, demonstrating social consciousness causes people to believe your products are higher quality.

This occurs thanks to the “benevolent halo effect,” where positive feelings towards a business turn into positive feelings towards a business’s offerings as well.

2. Boost Customer Loyalty

According to a study, “90% of consumers would switch brands to one associated with a social or environmental cause” and 80% said they would “buy a product from an unknown brand if it had strong social or environmental commitments.”

This is especially true when you donate to causes that resonate with your target audience. You’re essentially saying,  “Hey! We have something in common! We both care about the same thing. We think alike.”

People tend to trust people who think similarly to themselves.

3. Improve Your Business’ Reputation

Supporting charities is one of the most trustworthy and admirable things your business can do. And it can make a big difference in terms of how your business is perceived.

Giving back helps solidify your business’s identity as one that is caring, honest, and ethical; plus, it makes you stand out from the competition.

BONUS: Get Tax Deductions For Your Donations

If you live in the USA, when you donate to tax-exempt non-profits and other charitable organizations, you lower your taxes by reducing your amount of taxable income since the amount you donate is tax deductible.

This is the process to take advantage of tax deductions:

  • Claim deductions for charitable giving using SCHEDULE A (Form 1040).
  • Make sure to donate to qualified organizations.
  • Actually give cash or property (having promised to do so in the future doesn’t count).
  • Abide by specific record-keeping requirements (including saving canceled checks and acknowledgment letters and appraisals from the charities).
  • Keep your own written records of any donations you make (including the organization’s name along with the date and amount you donated).

How to Setup an Automated Donation Program

Companies like Amazon and eBay have had a lot of success with their donation programs, which also help reduce rates of cart abandonment. Personally, I love using smile.amazon.com while I’m shopping. They give back .5% of the money you spend to a charity of your choosing.

There are a variety of donation programs available online where you can do something similar. Some programs enable you to donate a portion of your pre-tax sales to charities of your choosing. Others let your customers tack on small donation amounts to their purchase costs. And there are some that allow customers to select the specific charities they’d like to support.

Here are some options:

Shopify – Checkout Donations

Shopify – Share the Love

Magento – Donations Ultimate

OpenCart – Donations Module

WooCommerce – Donation Plugin 

How to Donate When Using The Low Hanging System Model

If you’re selling on Amazon, Etsy, or eBay via the Low Hanging System model, you can obviously still donate a portion of your proceeds to charity.

eBay specifically has an eBay for Charity program where you can choose a % of your final listing fee to donate to a charity of your choice. The minimum contribution is 10%. If you want to donate another way, here are their guidelines.

Etsy doesn’t have an official program, but they have an article encouraging working with nonprofits and sharing ideas on how you can gain more exposure right here.

I haven’t found an official article for Amazon, but some forum threads suggest putting information in your “About The Shop” section would be a great place to tell people what you and your shop stand for.

It’s Really a No-Brainer

Donating to charitable causes is a stellar thing to do. We could all use a little more goodness in this world, and the fact that doing so also helps you to sell more products and earn more money makes it a total no-brainer.

I hope you found this list of donation apps and plugins useful. If you end up trying one, please leave a comment and let me know how what impact it has on your business.