Product Update: Updates To Cutoff Times

Our team has been working very hard to update the way cutoff times, ordering intervals and order reminders work. In the coming weeks, we will be launching several updates that will improve the way plans function. You”ll now be able to offer weekly, bi-weekly and monthly plans, have greater flexibility when setting cutoffs, and find skipping weeks to be more seamless.

We’ll be hosting a webinar on Thursday, November 14th at 2pm ET to review these changes and all the different ways you can take advantage of the new features. Sign up here for the webinar and reserve your seat to see how these changes can help your business.

Improve SMS Deliverability with Custom Domains

At Bottle, we’re big believers that using text messaging to communicate with customers and power repurchasing leads to better customer experiences.

However, the world of messaging is ever evolving. As part of this evolution, the wireless carriers continue to change and update their algorithm to detect spam. When a message is marked as spam it is usually not delivered. Unfortunately, there is limited transparency into the carriers process for marking a message as spam.

We are consistently working to maximize deliverability and ensure every message on Bottle reaches your customer’s phone. One thing we’ve found to improve deliverability is using a custom domain for texted ordering links. We encourage merchants to set up a custom domain for texting links to customers.

So instead of order links being sent from sendbottles.com, you can choose a custom subdomain to use as the root of links texted to customers (typically these links are for ordering reminders).

One thing to note is that setting up a custom redirect link will not affect your website domain or Bottle marketing site domain. By adding a custom domain redirect, you’re creating a unique link that is tied to you message reminders sent on Bottle. We know domain names can be tricky, so we’re here to help if you need us!

You can read the full instructions for creating a custom domain here. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions to team@sendbottles.com.

Creating Holiday and Catering Menus on Bottle

As the holidays approach, many of our customers will consider adding special items to their menu or creating entirely new menus altogether to accommodate holiday catering. Given Bottle’s flexibility, there are several ways to create special menus during the holiday season. Here are a few tips as you think about creating a holiday menu. 

Create A Holiday Menu With A Specific Ordering Deadline

Let’s say you’re allowing customers to order meals for Thanksgiving and the last day to order is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. In scenarios like this one, we suggest creating a new plan with a specific cutoff date. This allows you to take orders consistently up until the order cutoff. 

Here are a few steps for setting up a holiday menu:

1. You are going to want to create a new subscription here. Before doing that, we would recommend creating a new category on your menu page and adding the special products to that category. Make sure all of these products are available. For example, you may want to create a category called “Thanksgiving Main Dishes” and add Turkey to that category.

2. Next, create that new subscription. Make sure to add that new category to this subscription in the “Customer Choices” section. Learn more about setting up subscriptions here.

3. Now, you’ll want to scroll to the bottom and enter your cutoff time. You will want to hard code this cutoff. So for example, if you want the cutoff to be the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, you will enter  “Tuesday, November 26th at 5pm”. You will also want to hard code the fulfillment day.

4. If you’d like to send customers a notification reminding them to order for the special menu, we suggest doing that via a scheduled message. 

5. Lastly, we would recommend setting up a separate delivery option that is only eligible for this specific plan.

Offer Holiday Items Each Week

Of course, you may want to add items to your weekly menu. If this is the case, you’ll want to create a new category, add the special menu items to the category, and then add that category to your current plans. 

You can read more about how to add categories to plans here

Taking Time Off For The Holidays?

After a year of hard work, you’re probably planning to take a week or two off as you prepare for the New Year rush. There are several options for pausing your plans while you are not preparing food. You can read about how to pause plans and take a break here

We love the holiday season at Bottle. It offers time to reflect, recharge and prepare for the busyness of the New Year! As always, don’t hesitate to email team@sendbottles.com or let us know on Instagram how you’re planning to spend your holidays.

How Earnest Uses SMS To Help Student Loan Borrowers

I think just about everyone can agree that student loans kind of stink. Every month when I pay my loan off I cringe. I’ve been sitting on my student loans for a few years now and with a lower interest rate environment it was time to refinance.

I just finished up the process, spending a decent amount of time pricing out my options. I was mostly concerned with two things, 1) the borrowing rate, which was the most important factor, and, 2) the quality, responsiveness and reputation of the lender. 

Not surprisingly, given the low interest rate environment, I found a lot of attractive refinancing opportunities. The market for student loan refinancing is pretty efficient as most lenders were within 15 basis points. 

So how can a lender differentiate in a low rate, efficient market? Well, one way is by being on top of their game and proving that they care about the borrower. The company I went with, Earnest, was by far the best in terms of being responsive and helpful.  I particularly thought their use of SMS was thoughtful and very helpful to getting me to choose them as my lender.

Moving your loans is a bit of a process. You need to submit a ton of documentation, go through an in depth application process and then spend time coordinating between lenders. As you can imagine, when digging up paperwork, finding tax statements, searching for arcane mailing addresses, lots of questions come up. 

What really separated Earnest was the support they provided. Immediately after submitting my application I received a text asking for some more information. 

From that point on, I was able to text with questions as they came up. Since the process is so arduous being able to text and quickly get a reply did a few things:

  1. Sped up the final application process. 
  2. Helped answer questions about their program. 
  3. Made me feel more comfortable knowing there was a reliable resource on the other end. 

I love the way Earnest is using SMS. They’re the only company that I saw in the student loan space that took advantage of sms and it made a big difference. 

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.

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.