Friday, March 23, 2018
Thursday, March 22, 2018
There are many ways to reach online consumers.
You’ve got social media, content marketing, display advertising, search engine optimization, affiliate marketing, and more.
But in terms of return on investment, there’s one that’s hard to beat. Know what it is? Yep, it’s still the good ol’ email marketing.
According to the DMA, email generates an average of $38 in return for every $1 invested. Similarly, in our last year’s report email ranked as the top digital marketing channel in terms of effectiveness.
The trend seems to be clear – you have to pay to play. And if you want to acquire more customers, you have to keep increasing your advertising budget.
Luckily, this isn’t the case with emails. Once you’ve got your contacts’ permission, you can run email marketing campaigns without worrying about your organic reach and external algorithms. If you pay attention to engagement and deliverability, of course.
In this article, I’d like to show you why using email marketing is a must, especially if you’re running an ecommerce business. With the help of marketing professionals from The Baby Sleep Site andOnly in Your State, I’ll also show you how to use email in your marketing communication strategy.
Let’s get started, shall we?
How effective is email marketing?
I’ve already mentioned the 3,800% ROI. But that’s sometimes hard to relate to if you don’t know exactly how much you’re paying to acquire new customers.
Other metrics such as the average email open and click-through rates may be more meaningful. Especially if you’ve been running online marketing campaigns using social media or display advertising.
In our Email Marketing Benchmarks report, every quarter we analyze the average performance results of businesses across industries. As I’m writing this, the global average open and click-through rates are 24.29% and 3.97%, respectively.
In other words, every fourth person you send your email to, give or take, is going to open it.
Compare that to your organic reach on Facebook and you’ll know that this is a solid figure.
And that’s an average result, taking into account all the different types of emails.
If you look only at triggered emails, the results are even higher – they score an average open rate of 45.7% and a click-through rate of 10.75%. More than double the clicks you get with simple newsletters.
You’re not exactly selling in an email, so measuring conversion rates is more challenging with this channel. That’s why you should run a few campaigns exclusively to your email subscribers and then compare the results to your other channels.
As for the outcome, you can thank me later.
How to use email marketing for ecommerce?
One of the main advantages of email is that it works perfectly across the entire customer lifecycle.
No matter if you’re looking to:
- acquire new leads,
- convert your leads into paying customers,
- or retain your existing customers,
…email’s going to help you grow your ecommerce business.
Let’s take a look at exactly how email works for each of these funnel stages.
No business can exist without an effective customer acquisition strategy.
This is especially the case with ecommerce businesses. You’re not normally looking to serve only a handful of customers – even if they’re very profitable – but instead, you’re doing everything you can to get as many people into your online store as possible.
So how does email fit into the equation?
First of all, thanks to email signup forms and landing pages you can ask your store visitors to stay in touch. If they provide you with an email address, you can send them newsletters and keep informing them about your offer or special promotions.
This is especially important if your prospects aren’t ready to make a purchase when they first come in contact with your brand.
Here’s what Nicole Johnson, the owner of The Baby Sleep Site, says about this:
Email marketing is very important to our customer acquisition strategy. Our clients need time to get to know our philosophy and what our company is about, so email marketing allows us to build relationships.
Also, email can supplement your other customer acquisition campaigns, using different digital marketing channels.
Maura Hughes, Head of Ecommerce for Only in Your State, further explains this concept:
Email marketing is a core part of our customer acquisition. It’s the part of the consideration and awareness stage of our customer journey. We drive traffic to our pages through social media marketing and search and then from there, we implement webforms and welcome series to help convert prospects into buyers.
There are several reasons for which prospects would be interested in joining your email list. For example:
- To get a discount code (e.g. 10% off the first purchase)
- To get a free delivery
- To be among the first ones to get the latest offers
- To get exclusive offers
- To get updates when a specific product is on sale or back in stock
Match the value you’re offering (or the lead magnet you’re using) to prospective newsletter subscribers with their buyer persona. Don’t suggest joining a loyalty program to prospects who are looking to make a small one-off purchase.
If you’re interested in learning more about using email for customer acquisition, we’ve recently published an extensive article on how to build an ecommerce email list, focusing on SEO, PPC, and effective landing page design.
With the first stage out of the way, let’s look at how email marketing can help improve your ecommerce conversions.
At the very least, you can run promotional campaigns or blowout sales on retail holidays like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
But that’s only going to work for people who are ready to buy.
As Nicole Johnson from The Baby Sleep Site already mentioned, not all prospects are ready to buy from you right away. That’s when you might want to run what marketers call lead nurturing campaigns.
In short, lead nurturing or email drip campaigns are used to turn prospects into buyers by sending a series of messages in specific time intervals.
One email at a time, their purpose is to strengthen the relationship between the prospect and the brand by offering additional value.
Nicole goes on to explain their approach in more detail:
We use email marketing to convert contacts to buyers by sending them a series of free content emails as well as emails describing how we can help and what is involved in our process.
Similarly, Only in Your State uses welcome email series to convert prospects into customers. And email automation is just one of the tactics they use to get on average 50.55% unique open rates. You can read more about this in our case study.
Note that you can start your lead nurturing process at any chosen moment, not just after signup.
Below you can see an example of a cart abandonment email that has a similar objective as your typical lead nurturing campaign.
This is a single message from a four-email series sent by American Giant, a US-based online retailer – all focusing on a different aspect that makes their offer special.
If you don’t complete the purchase and buy this particular hoodie, you’ll likely receive:
- one email saying that “your new favorite” hoodie is still available
- one email letting you know about their “lifetime warranty”, which lets return the product anytime, free of charge, as they’re “built to last a lifetime”
- one message explaining the story behind their “Classic Full Zip” and how it has been named the “Greatest Hoodie Ever” by Slate magazine
- one final email repeating the fact that you can still complete the purchase and return the product for free, anytime.
Most often, lead nurturing is used for:
- customer onboarding campaigns – to turn newly acquired prospects into paying customers
- top of mind campaigns – to become the first choice for those who aren’t ready to buy but are interested in the offer
- re-engagement or win-back campaigns – to win-back those leads who either showed intent or have previously bought something from you
In one of our recent webinars Getting started with ecommerce communication, we looked at how a company called Casper uses lead nurturing (example below) for their onboarding program. You can check out the recap and the recording if you want to learn more about what they do to convince their prospects to buy mattresses online.
If you’re interested in running lead nurturing campaigns – or any other campaigns aimed at converting your leads – it’s worth considering using marketing automation for this process.
Marketing automation makes it easy to send the right content, to the right people, and at the right time.
Why does this matter? Because your audience is more likely to act upon your offer when they get relevant content.
You can read more about this and see how easy it is to run lead nurturing campaigns using automation templates in our recent article – 5 Marketing Automation Workflows to Skyrocket Your Ecommerce Conversions.
Holly Sutton recently wrote a great article on why retention emails are as important as sales emails. And I couldn’t agree more.
To acquire a new customer, you often have to settle down for a minimal profit margin. By offering a free delivery or 10% discount, you’re often barely covering all the costs you had to incur up to that point.
You do that through repeat sales that lead to high customer-lifetime value (CLV) – and hope to get that money back in the long run.
Email campaigns are great for this. That’s because there are many ways you can use them to drive customer engagement and build brand loyalty.
In her article, Pam Neely shows five exceptionally effective retention emails. These include list opt-out, welcome, and re-engagement emails.
For The Baby Sleep Site, Nicole Johnson uses yet another tactic:
We use cart abandonment emails to learn more about how our readers are thinking at the time of purchase. We send an email automatically to ask them for feedback on the website and the reason they abandoned their cart.
Unquestionably, survey emails can work wonders.
Maura Hughes of Only In Your State says this about how they use emails for customer retention:
We use win-back campaigns to attract customers who have not purchased or are not engaging with the brand anymore, we have an automated cart abandonment campaign, and we offer loyalty campaigns offering discounts for new products to existing customers.
We also use a post-purchase follow-up campaign to strengthen customer loyalty, increase product reviews, and offer best-selling products.
As you can see, there are multiple ways to use emails to retain your ecommerce customers.
A thing to keep in mind: start thinking about customer retention as soon as possible. How you communicate at the beginning of your customer journey is just as important as how you do it at later stages, when they become inactive.
Win-back campaigns are a great way to drive retention. At the same time, a well-designed message containing shipping information could be the one that strikes the right chord with your audience.
That’s why I strongly suggest that you look out for inspiring email campaigns, like the ones we’ve gathered in this article – 20+ automated emails you should be sending today.
How will you grow your ecommerce business?
Now that you’ve seen how email can help your ecommerce business, it’s time you answer this one simple question:
What’s the first step you’re going to take?
If I had to choose a campaign I’d launch for my online store first, it’d definitely be one of the following – welcome email, post-purchase follow-up, or cart abandonment email.
But even if you don’t have a product to sell just yet, you can use email to introduce a new one.
So go on, connect your online store with GetResponse and launch your first email marketing campaign today.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
SEO is an ever-changing landscape. One of the biggest changes in the past 2-3 years has been the rise in importance of local SEO. All of a sudden, Google placed much more emphasis on delivering location-based results to people searching online. This created new opportunities for optimizing our websites to rank well in the “local” SEO space.
What this meant for a lot of us was optimizing for the map snack pack.
The map snack pack was a game changer. Those three little local search results that appear above the traditional 10 organic “blue links,” became a focus for many of us as they attract a huge amount of real estate and a high volume of clicks, especially on mobile devices.
Google’s constantly changing the playing field. After carrying out months of work to get clients ranking in those top three positions, Google can decide to change the algorithm to deliver more relevant results to the end user. The latest major update in the local SEO space was Possum (September 2016).
The Possum algorithm
The Possum algorithm was a shock to the system for many SEO experts. Suddenly, local search results became impacted more by searcher location than citations and on-page SEO. This meant that companies had to change their focus.
You may have done everything you can from a local SEO perspective including:
- keeping your Google My Business page up to date
- updating all citations, so they are consistent with your GMB page
- adding new citations
- ensuring your on-page SEO is location focused
- adding relevant Schema.org markup
- getting a consistent stream of reviews
- getting good reviews
These actions could all be negated if your business happens to be in the same street as another business in the same sector. The Possum algorithm meant that previously strong performing sites were suddenly filtered out to allow Google to show a wider range of businesses that were not necessarily all found in the same location.
This had huge implications for SEO professionals as things were no longer completely under our control. That’s why it’s now important to think outside of the box and look at other potential opportunities. Here are some of my top tips to maximize your local SEO potential.
Near Me searches
While recent research from Think With Google suggests that “near me” searches may be a thing of the past, data from Google Trends (below) suggests that there is still a growing opportunity for SEOs to take advantage of “near me” search queries.
If you are struggling to appear in the local map snack pack for your head keywords, try adding the “near me” modifier and optimizing your page around that. You need to perform your keyword research, so there is enough search volume to justify the work. Yet, the “near me” searches worldwide continue to grow, so there’s an opportunity to improve your local search performance by optimizing for relevant “near me” search queries.
Yep, that’s right, SEOs people. If you’re struggling to rank organically in the map snack pack, it might be time to turn to paid advertising to maintain a position at the top of the SERPs.
Recent research from Dr. Pete at Moz shows that 35% of competitive local keywords (in the US) have local pack ads. The study looked at 110 keywords in 11 categories across 100 major US cities, and the results showed that, in some sectors, over 90% of local snack pack results showed an ad.
Advertising in the local map snack pack is competitive. The study showed that every local pack with ads showed only one single ad as well as 2-3 organic results. That’s a lot of companies fighting for that one ad space, so this could get expensive, depending on what sector you’re in.
Could 2018 finally be the year that voice search takes off? Despite predictions every year that this will be “the year of voice search,” the take up is still relatively low, but it’s growing.
Here are some compelling stats from Branded3:
- “By 2019, the voice recognition market will be a $601 million industry”, according to a report from Technavio via Skyword.
- “About 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020.” via Mediapos.
- “50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020” according to ComScore.
- “Google voice search queries in 2016 were up 35x over 2008” according to Google trends via Search Engine Watch.
- “40% of adults now use voice search once per day” according to Location World.
- “25% of 16-24 year-olds use voice search on mobile” via Global Web Index.
- “Mobile voice-related searches are 3x more likely to be local-based than text” via Search Engine Watch.
- “Humans can speak 150 words per minute vs type 40 words per minute” via Katherine Watier.
- “43% cite that using voice search is quicker than using a website or an app” via Katherine Watier.
- “Today, speech recognition error rate is 8 percent.” via Bruce Clay.
Voice search accuracy is improving. As of May 2017, Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends Report suggested that Google’s speech recognition is now at a staggering 95%. That number also just happens to be the threshold for human accuracy. Sure, it’s still slightly more error-prone than typical human dialogue, but the gap is shrinking quickly.
Google has improved its speech recognition AI by 20 percent since 2013 and is continuing to make further breakthroughs. Once this tips 98%, you can expect there to be an absolute boom in the number of voice searches carried out.
With the uptake in the number of voice-first household appliances both available on the market and being used on a daily basis, 2018 could be the year to take advantage of voice search opportunities in the local SEO space.
Featured snippets are on the increase. A recent study from Stone Temple Consulting found that of the 1.4 million search queries they analyzed, more than 30% delivered a featured snippet.
Identifying opportunities in the featured snippet space has also got a lot easier. Tools like Stat and SEMRush both allow you to identify search queries that deliver a featured snippet in the results. This should be an integral part of your keyword research strategy, as the potential click-through rates from featured snippets, essentially ranking you in position 0, are huge.
The Possum algorithm update led to a lot of results being filtered out of the local snack pack results. Proximity to other similar businesses is one of the reasons you can find yourself filtered out. But there are potential opportunities here.
Reviews have always had an impact on your local search ranking. With the ability to filter results by review score, it’s now more important than ever to work on your review strategy. Focus on getting more, and deliver products/services that ensure you are getting positive reviews.
If you can outscore similar companies, the chances are, you’ll soon see them being the ones that are filtered out.
I encourage you to keep focusing on the local map snack pack results, but it’s also important to put some of your local eggs into other baskets, and not rely solely on the snack pack results for driving local traffic. Focusing on the elements mentioned above will only help to strengthen your local position for targeted keywords, creating a win/win situation and delivering strong local SEO results.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
Monday, March 19, 2018
Ecommerce is gradually winning over sales business. More than half of all Americans already prefer to shop online, and the trend is expected to grow further in the years to come. So now the question is not whether you should move your operations from traditional retail stores to the digital world, but how to do it right.
Although ecommerce is technically different from what we know as brick-and-mortar outlets, it’s still dealing with the same sort of customers. They also have certain purchasing habits and develop shopping routines online. Your job is to discover those habits and make them your business advantage.
Psychology and ecommerce
According to sales experts at Superior Papers, digital sellers need to know everything about an average buyer persona – age, gender, location, income level, academic background, and values they nurture. If you obtain all this information, you can choose the right tactic and increase your loyal consumer base.
There are all sorts of psychological triggers you can use to grab your customers’ attention and convince them to complete the purchase. The best thing about these triggers is that they are based on scientific research, which means that their effectiveness is proven and unquestionable.
Let me help you out and narrow down the options. In this post, you’ll find 10 most productive psychological tricks to help you increase ecommerce sales.
- Make the first move.
As a proactive marketer, you should make the first move and inspire interest in your products. This means you have to offer them something in exchange for their attention. For instance, you can offer a free trial for the latest release of your project management software. It’s almost as if you were saying: “I’m so good that I’m even willing to give you something free of charge. The least you can do is to give it a try.”
- Encourage anticipation.
Remember how companies make a big PR deal announcing a new project or product? This is not bragging but a simple psychological trick. We call it anticipation, the feeling of excitement about something nice in the future.
If you convince people to anticipate the release of your product (did someone say Apple?), you make them think that it’s much more important and necessary than it really is. In other words, it makes buyers thrilled and super-excited because they feel like being part of something bigger, extraordinary, and unusual.
- Exploit their ego.
An average buyer wants to feel unique and appreciated. That’s why you should exploit a customer’s ego and label him as special. One way to do it is to send them customized offers. If someone visits your website for the first time, send them a one-time offer for a 25% discount. The point is to indulge them and show appreciation for them as a first-time buyer. Who could resist such an opportunity?
- Solve problems.
Most people buy something because they want to solve a specific problem. But sometimes the act of purchase itself involves a problem, and you need to be ready to solve it. A lot of people are not sure whether they would actually like the product once they see and feel it. For this reason, you should offer them a refund for unwanted items. The same goes for shipping costs – offering free delivery encourages 9 out of 10 people to buy.
- Highlight scarcity.
This trick is very old but in no way obsolete. The easiest way to make potential customers take some action is to emphasize scarcity. When you say “only 12 pieces left” or “discount while stocks last,” you tell people that your product is extremely wanted and popular. Additionally, you tell them to act quickly unless they want to be left without their own sample of valuable goods.
- Promote values.
A lot of buyers build a stronger emotional connection with the brand that promotes the same type of values. If you emphasize this feature of your business, you can attract more buyers. And that’s not all – this way, you also get the chance to expand the circle of loyal consumers in the long run, which is the foundation of any successful ecommerce business.
- Refer to other buyers.
People always look at the lists of the most popular brands. They just love to know what’s trendy at the moment and follow the same buying patterns as other consumers. Use this knowledge to sell them your own products.
For example, you can say “Check out why our camping hammock was the 2017 best-seller.” Most customers will immediately fall for this trick because it represents a social proof of brand quality. And if you add an appropriate brand ambassador to promote the item, they won’t have a choice but to buy it.
- Create an imaginary enemy.
Sometimes you have to sacrifice one target group to reach a more important audience. In this case, you create an imaginary enemy to strengthen relations with your primary consumers. This is the marketing strategy of Schweppes – they emphasize that this drink is for men, not boys. If you’re targeting mostly middle-aged men, don’t be afraid to make enemies with high school kids.
- Admit flaws to emphasize benefits.
Nobody’s perfect, and your customers know it. Sometimes it’s good to emphasize a little flaw, but only to contrast it with a much bigger benefit. This happens every time someone says “This item may be expensive, but its quality is worth every single dollar you spend on it.”
Last but not least:
- Keep it rational.
Some people just don’t fall for tricks. They have a more rational approach to shopping and prefer objective information. The best way to win them over is to provide them with reliable statistics and studies that prove the overall quality of your brand, service, or product. Just keep it simple and rational – in this case, avoiding psychological tricks is the most productive trick you can play.
I hope these tips will help you increase your loyal customer base. In the meantime, remember to stay aware, so you don’t fall for them too often yourself ;-).
If you want to read more on the art and science of influence, check out Top 10 Books on Persuasion Every Solopreneur Should Read.
If you’re interested in other topics related to making your ecommerce business successful, read on to learn how to grow a powerful ecommerce email list.
The post Increasing Ecommerce Sales: 10 Psychological Tricks appeared first on GetResponse Blog - Online Marketing Tips.