Saying Goodbye To Wheels of My Own

The day I turned 16, I went to the DMV, took my driving test and walked out with a new sense of freedom. Driving to school, meeting up with friends, escaping my parents, the world was my oyster. That was 1999.

20 years later and the world is vastly different. A car is not necessary in many urban environments. Most teenagers can Uber, Lyft, Lime, Bird, Jump etc. and get around. The idea that a car equals freedom is a foreign notion.

I’ve lived in four different cities since those days of late 90’s joyriding. In Philly, where I went to college, I ditched the car for easy on campus biking. When I moved to NYC after school I became a subway rider and a power user of Zipcar – car rides were saved for the occasional weekend getaways.

But when my wife and I moved to Atlanta, one of the most congested cities in the U.S., we assumed we needed 2 cars. And for the most part, we were right. I was running around delivering food, she was commuting in to work every day.

But over the past few years our lives have shifted. We now both rent space in the same office, but work for different companies, at the beautiful Industrious at Ponce City Market.

We live a few miles from the office, so I can walk (about 40 minutes), take a Lyft or best of all bike.

So when my lease came up a few weeks ago, I happily drove my car to the dealership and turned in my keys.

So far the change has been amazing. I’ve been riding my bike in most days, and the other day Will and I walked home together when he was in town.

It’s almost like the opposite of that feeling when I was 16 – saying goodbye to my car has welcomed in an entirely new sense of freedom. I’ve shed the financial and mental burden of owning a car. I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but for now it’s been a great ride.

My new ride to work – that’s my bike and in the distance you can see Ponce City Market.

New Feature: Import contact info via CSV upload

Importing a CSV file to upload a bunch of contact info at once.

One of our most-requested features is live: you can now upload a CSV file filled with contact information.

You can use this to add contacts to your messenger, auto-add a tag to a bunch of different contacts, add the names of all your contacts, even to remove certain tags from your contacts!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Navigate to the Import tab under your Dashboard.
  2. Choose a CSV file.
  3. Match columns from the CSV file to attributes in Bottle.
  4. Click “Import”.
  5. The import runs in the background, and once completed you can see each row that was imported into the system.

Full instructions are available here:

Bottle is the best way for meal prep businesses to sell to their customers week after week. Combining a simple text-based CRM with powerful subscription, e-commerce, and marketing tools, Bottle helps you grow your revenue, retain customers, and keep your cool.

Storytelling For Better Websites: Webinar Recap and Recording

“Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution — more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.”

– Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

We recently hosted a webinar with Lindy and Jason Weimer of East Taylor Creative. These two storytelling experts shared with us how businesses can use storytelling to connect with their customers. 

The main focus of the webinar was how to use storytelling to improve a marketing website; however, you can use this process for anything! We find it especially helpful for unifying your brand message and telling a consistent story across all of your digital channels. 

Are you ready to start your brand building journey? Read on to learn how to get started and don’t forget to download this handy guide for navigating the storytelling process. 

You can watch the full webinar here.

Step 1: The Discover Phase

When starting any creative project, you’ll first want to do some research and discovery. During the discover phase, you’ll talk to users and spend time reflecting on the story you want to convey. This process helps to open your perspective and lay the foundation for your project. 

Below we outline suggested steps for beginning the discovery phase of your project.

  • Embrace the beginner’s mind: 
    • Let go of preconceptions and start with a fresh slate. Start to bring new ideas to the table and approach the business as if it was day 1. 
  • Listen to customers. Research and ideate. 
    • Start asking your customers questions. Most businesses know they should be talking to customers, but in practice it’s hard to do. During this phase, approach customers or potential customers if you’re just starting out. Their insights might surprise you and help you frame your messaging. 
  • Define your purpose
    • Why does your business exist? Start to think about the things that get you up in the morning. Can you tell that story to your customers? 
  • Action steps during the discover phase:
    • Make a list of brands and websites you love. Hone in on what you love and how you could use those elements. 

Step 2: Think

The think phase pushes you to process the feedback from the discover phase. You’ll take the research you did and begin laying out the blueprint for your marketing website.

  • Observe and reframe:
    • What did your customers tell you? Did their feedback unearth any challenges? 
    • You can now look at any pain points discovered and reframe them. 
    • For example, if a customer tells you they encounter numerous challenges while viewing your current marketing site, you can see that as an opportunity to make a change. 
  • Define customer expectations and requirements:
    • Here you’ll now start to think about the requirements for your site. 
    • For your website, that might mean the type of layout you want to have and the various features you’ll want to include. For example, you may want to have a strong call to action on your website or an easy way for customers to learn ‘how it works’. 
    • You’ll also want to make sure that the elements of your story are going to be represented on your marketing site:
      • Who are you
      • What’s your mission
      • Etc. 
  • Create the blueprint:
    • This is also the time you’ll start to think about the “how”. How will you build the site, what platform will you use etc. 
    • If you think about building a house, before you build anything an architect draws up the plans. The same is true for design. 
    • When you craft your site blueprint, you’ll want to make sure all the elements of your site are accounted for and you’ve got a good plan in place for executing. 
  • Pick a platform or designer
    • Thinking about building the platform yourself? We like Squarespace and Wix for DIY website builders. 
    • You may also want to hire a design firm to help with process. Not sure how to pick a design firm? Feel free to contact us at Bottle and we can point you in the right direction. 
  • Action items:
    • Decide if you are going to build the site yourself or use a designer. 
    • Create a site map – an inventory of the pages you want to build. 
      • Here is a good article on how to setup a site map.
    • Put together wireframes, i.e. your blueprints for the site design
      • We recommend keeping these paper and pen. The important thing is to create the blueprint for the site you want to build before you jump into actually building.

Step 3: Create

This is one of the more fun phases! Here you’ll start to breathe life into what you’re doing! 

  • Breathe life into your ideas. Create a connection to your brand through messaging, photography and videography.
    • Here you’ll start to think about the colors you want to use, the fonts that will represent your brand, etc. 
    • You may want to consider a logo refresh, new brand colors, updating your photography and even a new name. 
  • Copy and content:
    • Take some time to write out copy for the site. 
    • When writing copy, do your best to be relatable, as if you were talking to customers face to face.
    • Personable, authentic copy can set people over the edge and make them decide to purchase. 
  • Action steps:
    • Think about your brand – does anything need a refresh? New logo, colors, even your name are on the table. 
    • Start thinking about the visual elements you will use on your website: photography, videos, fonts, colors etc. 
    • Write the copy for your updated site. Do your best to stay relatable and write as if you were talking to your customer face to face. 

Step 4: Build

This is the phase where the rubber meets the road. You’ll take all your work from the first three phases and put together your marketing website. 

  • Take action: finalize your plans and start building
    • This is where you dig in and start building out your project 
  • Test and iterate
    • Once you’ve got a draft of your site built, you’ll want to move into the testing phase. It’s helpful to have several groups of customers that can give feedback during the initial stages of the build phase. 
  • Action steps:
    • Build your site
    • Get feedback from a subset of customers. 
    • Make adjustments based on the feedback. 

Step 5: Launch and Tend

  • Gut check
    • Before your ready to launch, it’s helpful to do a gut check. Spend a few days running through the site. 
    • Do all the links work? Are there any errors? Have you tested the site on different browsers and on mobile devices? 
    • Once you’ve done your gut check and another round of user testing, it’s time to launch (eek!). 
  • Nurture relationships
    • Once launched, it’s a great idea to connect with your customers. What do they think about the site? Is everything clear? 
    • Whether it’s through Bottle Chat, via email or good old texting on your personal phone; do your best to connect with your customers and nurture those relationships. 
  • Listen, evolve and begin again
    • The design process is ever evolving. Be sure to listen to your customers. Adjust as necessary and know that the story you are telling and the way it is represented will constantly evolve.

In Conclusion…

Get In Touch With Lindy!

A Great Marketing Email

The other day a marketing email hit my inbox that really caught my attention. It was from Kelly Starett, the founder of Mobility WOD, a website for athletes that helps them prevent injury and feel great.

I’ve been a fan of Kelly’s since he first started posting YouTube videos back in 2009 (back then it was “The Mobility Project”). He’s my go-to guy whenever I have any injuries while training. 

Anyways, last week he sent out an email that I loved. It had all the makings of solid content: an eye catching headline, an element of scarcity, a gift for the recipient, a risk free offer and relevant, interesting, and funny content.  Here are a few of the elements that I found appealing.

A Surprising Headline: ‘I Shut Down Mobility WOD’

I was surprised when I saw this headline since Mobility WOD is a very well-known, successful brand. At first, I thought, “well maybe he wants to just focus on other projects?”.

When I started reading the email, I realized that he isn’t “shutting down” Mobility WOD, but rather rebranding to a new name, The Ready State. A catchy headline with some shock value led me to open the email.

A Unique Opportunity: ‘Keep reading to see how you can get a free mobility ball and join an intimate, members-only video chat with me.’

The goal of the email was to get me to sign up fora membership to the new site. As part of this effort, Starett offered the first 200 signups a free mobility ball and access to a members only video chat.  

This created a sense of scarcity. Rather than thinking, “I’ll get to that later,” I decided to sign up for an account and try the new site. Unfortunately, I was too late to get the ball, bummer. 

The Big Offer: ‘So sign up for a 100% free, 14-day trial of Virtual Mobility Coach now’.

They’re using the free trial as a hook, and it works. I signed up for a trial – tbd on if I’ll becoming a paying customer. But the key was getting me to pay attention in the first place and I think this email did a great job.

Closing with Humor: Make sure you check out our EPIC behind-the-scenes launch video.

Kelly is an entertaining, funny guy. It’s a key ingredient to his success. He makes mobility fun. He closed out the email to this video that definitely captures his quirky style. 

Launching a Segment Integration (Beta): Sync all of your tracking and advertising data in one place


We (thanks to Segment) just made tracking ad conversion rates and efficacy much easier!

If you’ve heard of Segment, you know that they’re able to ingress all of your data (think all the Google Tag Manager and Facebook Pixel integrations you manually drop in) and aggregate them in one place.

After you’ve got data flowing into Segment, you can turn on and off different integrations.

The good news is that Bottle has been working on a Segment integration! This is a twofold integration.

First, there is the frontend integration (think replacements for Google and Facebook ad trackers) that will allow you to replace a bunch of integrations with one.

Second, Bottle is going a level deeper and sending actions that occur on the backend to Segment. Things like new orders, new filled cart, new purchase, new message, etc., are all synced to Segment.

This way, you’re able to send data about your customers to a host of different resources.

This feature is in private beta. If you’d like early access, let us know and we can help you get set up!

Bottle is the best way for meal prep businesses to sell to their customers week after week. Combining a simple text-based CRM with powerful subscription, e-commerce, and marketing tools, Bottle helps you grow your revenue, retain customers, and keep your cool.

Paul Graham on advertising

Hypothesis: Before the internet, you could build businesses on advertising in a way that you can’t now, because now the platforms evolve to eat your margins.


Facebook, Instagram, and Google are the gatekeepers of your audience today. On one hand, it’s amazing how you can target specific audiences and advertise to them.

However, your target audience is also being targeted by Casper and BlueApron and Away. Your audience is sifting through content being posted by dozens of different influencers, they’re subconsciously filtering out sponsored posts, they’re getting follow-up emails from Delta and Priceline, they’re getting Apple News alerts popping up on their phones, not to mention the miles and miles of Instagram and Twitter and Facebook feeds they’re scrolling through every hour.

The slice of attention you’re competing for is getting narrower and narrower. With more scarcity comes higher prices. This is why Instagram is evolving in a way that makes it more expensive to acquire and retain customers than ever before.

Building an audience and developing relationships directly with customers helps. We at Bottle want to help you nurture and grow relationships outside of the walled Facebook and Instagram gardens. Otherwise, they’ll keep eating away at your margins.

Bottle is the best way for meal prep businesses to sell to their customers week after week. Combining a simple text-based CRM with powerful subscription, e-commerce, and marketing tools, Bottle helps you grow your revenue, retain customers, and keep your cool.

Rule Tutorial: Charging a one-time delivery fee after signup

Let’s imagine that you give customers a cooler when they first sign up, so you want to charge them a one-time $10 fee after they pay for their first order. (Other scenarios might be you charge them one-time fee to join your service, or any other time you might want to charge customers an additional amount after they place their very first order).

We have a new tutorial in our help docs showing you how to create this rule: “IF a customer pays you for the first time, THEN charge them a one-time $10 delivery fee.”

Bottle is the best way for meal prep businesses to sell to their customers week after week. Combining a simple text-based CRM with powerful subscription, e-commerce, and marketing tools, Bottle helps you grow your revenue, retain customers, and keep your cool.