Learn From Jon

Thursday, January 18, 2018

How To Create an Effective Editorial Calendar For Your Blog

An editorial calendar is where you keep track of what you plan to publish, how, where, and why over time. It enables you to think ahead, remember creative ideas, and plan your time wisely.

Most people have an editorial calendar of some kind, even if it is only their ideas for the next week in their head. However, not having an editorial calendar can result in missed deadlines, a lack of organization, and forgotten ideas. It can be damaging your blog and you don’t even realize it!

Thankfully, creating yours isn’t difficult and even if you start with only the bare bones, you will very likely find yourself adding more and more to it as you go along and inspiration strikes.

Step One: Set it up


There are multiple platforms available to you for setting up your editorial calendar. You can use something within the platform that you are working with such as WordPress plugins like Coschedule, Edit Flow or Editorial Calendar or external sources such as editorial management applications or Google Spreadsheets. If you want to, you could even use a table in Word! What matters most is that you use something that feels comfortable and works for you.

Once you’ve chosen your platform, you should make categories for the different kinds of things that you post. You may want to color coordinate them for easy visibility at a glance.

Step Two: Define Your Goals

It is very important that you decide what your calendar is for. Is it to help you post content consistently and on time? Do you want to make sure that you cover all of the areas you want to touch on for your blog? Do you want to set up a schedule for integrating a new form of media to your brand message? Whatever your goal is, clarify it and set your calendar up accordingly to successfully achieve it.

This may mean that color-coordinate your categories and make sure there is an even mix for each of them every month or you might add that every third Wednesday you publish a new video on Youtube. This is the skeleton of your calendar, the bare bones that helps you reach whatever your overall goal is.

Step Three: Find & Create Patterns

As you add content to your calendar you will want to take note of relevant holidays or dates important to you topic because these can often be easily adapted into posts. You may also see that something you wrote once could be easily adapted into a recurring feature on your blog.

This kind of consistency breeds a loyalty in your followers because it is human nature to find comfort in stability. Knowing that your blog not only has great original content but also things that they can look forward to is going to earn you many more followers and comments.

Things to research when creating an editorial calendar:


Use color-coding in your editorial calendar management platform to identify and label the patterns:

color coding

Step Four: Utilize Your Calendar

The calendar is going to do you no good if you make it, then close the page and forget about it entirely. Make sure that you’re using your calendar, pulling it up daily or even multiple times a day to see what you should be working on.

Also make sure that you’re regularly adding ideas to it, like those ones that hit you at 3am when you should be sleeping!

Step Five: Evaluate and Reevaluate

After using your calendar for awhile, go back and look at your progress. Are you meeting your goals? Have you defined new ones? Are there things that you would like to add to it? The editorial calendar is an excellent snapshot of your history, what you’ve accomplished, and what you hoped to accomplish but might not be working as well as planned.

It provides an excellent opportunity to emphasize things that are working well and reevaluate anything that isn’t. Editorial calendars are meant to be fluid, meaning that you can go in and edit and change anything you want to when you need to. If something doesn’t work well for you or simply isn’t accomplishing what you want it to accomplish, change it!


ToolsToolbox

Templates:

More tools and downloads: Content Marketer’s Resource Box: Free Ebooks and Cheatsheets

How will you use an editorial calendar to improve your own blog?

The post How To Create an Effective Editorial Calendar For Your Blog appeared first on Internet Marketing Ninjas Blog.



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The Essential Messaging Component Most Ecommerce Sites Miss and Why It’s Deterring Your Customers from Purchasing

In today’s Quick Win Clinic, Flint McGlaughlin looks at the home and product pages for Worthington Direct, an online furniture store for businesses and schools. It is obvious that everything on this site is designed to help visitors find the product they are looking for and to convince them that the product is right for them. But there are many online furniture stores. Why should visitors choose this company over others? This retailer fails to answer that crucial question.

The designers of this website made a mistake the McGlaughlin believes is the number one flaw most ecommerce stores make today. If you offer the right product, but you neglect to show that you are also the right company, then you have lost a sale.

Your copy on this page needs to help me draw a sense of certainty inside that not only is this the right product but you are the right company. 

— Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

Watch the video to get further insights into creating webpages that produce maximum results.

The post The Essential Messaging Component Most Ecommerce Sites Miss and Why It’s Deterring Your Customers from Purchasing appeared first on MarketingExperiments.



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Competitive research: 3 free steps to a better brand strategy

You can learn a lot from your competitors. Columnist Sam Welch discusses easy ways to gather data on the competition without using third-party tools or paid subscriptions.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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A Simple Guide for the Busy Marketer: Using data from online marketing and web analytics tools

How does Adobe define bounce rate? What’s the difference between exit and bounce rate? And how can these numbers be meaningfully used to better serve customers and ultimately improve results?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the numbers you see in your digital marketing analytics platform to help answer this question.

We’ll focus on terminology used by Adobe Analytics and Google Analytics since they are the two most popular analytics platforms. For example, 74% of the Internet Retailer Top 500 use Google Analytics, 41% use Adobe Analytics and only 16% use others (IBM Digital Analytics, WebTrends, etc.).

Also, since many organizations use multiple platforms (as you can see the above numbers), it’s helpful to understand when different platforms use different terminology to mean essentially the same thing.

Bounce Rate

What it is: Google Analytics defines bounce rate as “The percentage of single-page sessions in which there was no interaction with the page.” Adobe Analytics has a similar definition. It’s important to note that exit rate includes bounces, but it also includes instances when a visitor did interact with something (e.g., a previous page) and this was simply the last page they viewed on your site.

How to use it: This one strikes fear into the heart of many marketers. “People are just bouncing off my site? Simply bouncing? And it’s not a Tigger type of friendly bounce.”

However, many marketers should ease their anxiety and focus elsewhere. Bounce Rate is usually most helpful for a business that sells traffic, like a publisher that sells ads on its site. In that case, the goal of most pages (which tend to be content, like an article or blog post) is to get people to view more pages and thereby generate more ad revenue.

But if you’re selling a product or service, your focus shouldn’t be getting visitors to simply view another page. It should be to walk them through a thought sequence to help them make the best purchase decision. Essentially, a funnel.

A word of caution: “For funnel optimization, I tend to focus more on exit rates and clickthrough rates to other steps in the funnel,” said Rebecca Strally, Associate Director, Strategy Development, MECLABS Institute.

“It’s not that bounces aren’t salvageable, it’s that source/medium reporting has gotten spottier over the years so it’s difficult to assign a bounce to a specific off-site source and therefore we are hard-pressed to determine what motivation may be lacking on the page. I’ve seen better long-term results when we just focus on moving more people deeper into the funnel rather than worrying about how to reduce bounces specifically,” she said.

Exit Rate and Exits

What it is: The number of a particular webpage’s views that were last in the session. Google Analytics provides an exit rate and shows a percentage, Adobe Analytics shows exits and provides a total number. As mentioned above, exit rate includes bounces, but it also includes instances when a visitor did interact with something (e.g., a previous page) and this was simply the last page they viewed on your site.

Also, keep in mind how the denominators are different between exit rate and bounce rate. Since bounce rate essentially mentions a one-page session, the bounce rate is only measuring against entries to that page. Exit rate includes both people who entered the site on the webpage you’re looking at metrics for, but also anyone who viewed the webpage and entered from a different page.

How to use it: It can help you understand the biggest leaks in your funnel. This may be the place in the buyer’s journey that is most ripe for conversion optimization work to improve your overall results. Why are people leaving before purchasing or becoming a lead? And what information can you provide to encourage more of them to continue the journey through your funnel?

A word of caution: People will naturally leave at certain stages of your funnel more frequently than others, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that step of the funnel is underperforming. For example, if the first step of your purchase funnel asks people to select the color so they can see what their future couch will look like in that color, and the second step asks for a credit card and purchase, people are far more likely to exit on the credit card step even if you’re executing it quite well due to the nature of the ask.

Visits, Sessions and Unique Pageviews

What it is: The number of visits within the time of your report. Adobe Analytics refers to this as “visits,” and Google Analytics refers to this as “sessions” (for multiple pages in a single visit) and “unique pageviews” (for an individual page, even over multiple sessions).

How to use it: This can help you see how many times people are coming to your website. For many products and services, a customer may have to visit your website and get information about your company over time (while building trust) before making a purchase.

“In order to tell how many times people are coming to the site you need to do a calculation — visits per visitor will tell you this,” advised Taylor Bartlinksi, Senior Manager, Data Analytics, MECLABS Institute. “A visit per visitor value of 2 means that on average, users come to your site twice in the date range you have set. You can also compare visits per visitor on a page basis to see if users are returning to any particular page more often than others.”

But a word of caution: This is an engagement metric. While it can be an important step in the funnel to lead to an ultimate conversion, it likely isn’t your end goal. So you may want to focus less on getting an increased number of visits and focus more on getting visits from your ideal customer. More visits from your ideal customer are what will ultimately lead to more sales and conversion.

Page Views

What it is: The number of times a page is … wait for it … viewed. Unlike with unique pageviews or visits, this metric can include multiple views from the same person, even if they simply hit refresh. While Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics refer to this by the same name, they differ slightly on the grammar: Adobe calls it page views and Google calls it pageviews.

How to use it: It could give you a sense of how popular certain pages are on your website. If you engage in conversion optimization on the most popular pages, you can increase your chances of getting more leads and more sales.

But a word of caution: As mentioned above, people hit refresh on webpages. They go back to a page multiple times just because they’re distracted by something else. This measurement could be showing not just popularity, but simply distracted browsing and user habits.

Clickthrough Rates

What it is: Essentially, clicking on a link. This could be clicking on a homepage link to get deeper into a site, for example. Or clicking on a specific product on a product gridwall. But it can also be clicks from offsite to the website, like clicks from an online advertisement or an email. This is shown in terms of total number of clicks as well as clickthrough rate (CTR) percentage.

How to use it: This metric can help you track the effectiveness of not only parts of your website but also elements of your channel at driving prospects to the next step of the funnel.

When to de-emphasize it: If you’re paying for traffic (for example, a pay-per-click ad), your goal shouldn’t be to get the highest clickthrough rate on that particular advertisement. The goal should be to get the most clicks from customers who ultimately get through your funnel and make a purchase or take some other ultimate conversion action.

Unique Visitors and Users

What it is: The number of unduplicated visitors to your website within the time of your report. Adobe Analytics uses the term “unique visitors,” and Google Analytics uses the term “users.” One important caveat, different platforms calculate this metric in a different way (more on that below).

How to use it: This metric helps you determine how many actual people you’re reaching with your website. It can ultimately help you determine how many people take the desired action you want them to take, and help you optimize that number by running A/B and multivariate testing.

A simple word of caution: This metric may not be perfectly tracking how many people visit your website. This is probably the most difficult metric to measure of any listed in this article since customers use multiple devices and some use private browsing modes or otherwise hinder cookies so analytics tools could double- (or triple-) count some of your visitors. It’s also important to understand how unique visitors and users are counted if you’re testing on your website.

Because of this, Adobe and Google might count unique visitors and users differently. For example, if a visitor was logged in to their Gmail account and visited the same website using a desktop device and a mobile device, Google may be able to track those visits as being from the same visitor where Adobe wouldn’t. And there are likely scenarios where Adobe would be able to tell a visitor is the same on multiple devices where perhaps Google could not.

A more complex word of caution: If you really want to get into the weeds, let’s address this question — how do unique visitors differ between Google Analytics, Google Content Experiments, Adobe Analytics and Adobe Target?

Keep in mind, a unique visitor is only unique in reference to a certain timeframe. So, the way you pull data from your testing platform (like Adobe Target or Google Content Experiments) when running a test may show a different number than your analytics platform because it may be accounting for a different timeframe.

To explain this better, Rebecca Strally provided the following scenario:

  • I ran a test for the entire month of May (31 days)
  • Visitor A came to my site once in May
  • Visitor B came to my site three times on three different days in May
  • Visitor C came to my site two times in a single day in May

All of these platforms define unique visitors in the same way, so if we were to pull a monthly report from each platform, we would have three unique visitors.

Where the discrepancy comes in is when you begin pulling daily data.

If you are pulling daily data from either Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics to cross-reference to your results from Adobe Target or Google Content Experiments you will get different numbers. This is because Adobe Target and Google Content Experiments will not pull daily data; they will pull aggregate data for the entire test period.

Let’s look back at the scenario. If we pulled daily data from Adobe Analytics or Google Analytics, we would get five unique visitors (Visitor A = 1, Visitor B = 3, Visitor C = 1), but Adobe Target and Content Experiments would only be showing three unique visitors (Visitor A = 1, Visitor B = 1, Visitor C=1), because they are looking at the entire month of May.

For your tests, you should pull data aggregately so you don’t deflate the conversion rate with more unique visitors than really were in the test.

How This Data Can Be Used to Better Serve Customers and Improve Results

Keep in mind, there is one flaw with each metric we’ve discussed. It tells you about the past, not the future. That’s why the testing scenario in the previous section is so important.

You can, of course, use these numbers to better understand customers and start predicting their future actions and, more importantly, what changes you can make to affect those future actions.

You would create a hypothesis. And run an online test.

For example, if your goal for an SEO landing page is to click through to other pages with deeper info on the topic, and you run tests to improve the headlines for those topics and reduce bounce rate, those numbers and that test helped you better serve customers and improve results.

Or, if you have a five-step process to guide people through the process of choosing a nursing home, you run a test to reduce the friction necessary to move from step three to step four, and in so doing, reduce the exit rate; that is another example of using these metrics to better serve customers and improve results

From each online test, you learn more about your customers. You turn simple numbers in a spreadsheet into a Technicolor view of your customers to help serve them better, and in so doing, improve your business results.

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Getting Started with Defining Your Ideal Client

Getting Started with Defining Your Ideal Client written by John Jantsch read more at Duct Tape Marketing

If you loved this podcast and post check out our Ultimate Guide to Small Business Marketing Strategy

Marketing Podcast with John Jantsch About Defining Your Ideal Client

Let me ask you this, if you have clients, and had the chance, right now, to chuck them all, and be able to go out there and say, “I can work with anyone I want to work with,” would you still be working with who you’re working with today?

Experience tells me that you would say, maybe some, but probably not all. That comes from the feeling that anybody who buys what you do, or anybody who needs the products that you make or sell is an ideal client.

What you have to do in order to get your marketing strategy started, is you have to think about how you can narrowly define your ideal client.

  • What do they look like?
  • What are their problems?
  • How do they want to be served?
  • What do they think value is?

I’m going to talk a little more about each of those, but you have to get to the point where you are so sure about how to describe that ideal client, that you are also defining who your ideal client is not.

Let’s say I wanted to refer business to you, whatever your business is. I’ve got friends, neighbors, and colleagues that need what you do, and so I came to you and said, “Hey, I want to send some folks your way, I really love what you’re doing.”

How would I spot your ideal client? Think about that. That is one of the greatest places to start when you’re thinking about how to narrowly define your ideal client is if somebody came to you and said, “Okay, how would I spot that person?”

Could you define and describe all the characteristics of your ideal client in a way that I’m going to say, “Oh, okay, yeah, I know a couple people like that.”

That’s what you’re really after.

Finding your ideal client

It’s really important that you develop the habit of understanding who it is that you’re going after, identifying them, and building your entire business around attracting them.

You may get lucky and be able to define them quickly, but what I’ve experienced is that you start with a hypothesis, and over time, if you pay attention, you’ll learn who you like working with.

Your ideal client will find you, partly because of how your business evolves, because of how your messaging gets tighter, and because of the results you’re getting for people like them.

If you’re just starting you don’t have to have the answer to who your ideal client is.

You have to have an idea, and you have to try to prove that hypothesis, but mainly you have to pay attention, because I know a lot of people that have decided that they love working in certain industries, or in a certain niche, and they had no idea they would, it just found them.

They started working with a couple clients like that, and they discovered what they really enjoyed doing.

So what if you do have clients and still haven’t defined this idea of an ideal client? Take a look at the stratifying of your current client base.

What I mean by that, is rank each client by profitability.

When I do this with people, I often help them discover that there is work that they’re doing, or segment that they’re serving or a product or service that they are still engaged in that maybe they did when they started, but it’s not something they focus on anymore because it’s not really profitable.

What I find happens, is that a lot of businesses don’t realize that there are certain segments of their market or their community or certain demographics that they do most of their business in.

That’s step number one.

Focusing on the customer experience

Step number two is this idea of actually looking at those folks that refer you today.

What I found is your most profitable clients who also refer you, typically do so because they were the right fit, they had the right problem, they went after the right service, they really engaged and they allowed you to do the work that you knew you needed to do.

Consequently, they were profitable. They’re also referring you because they like you, they like doing business with you, and they like your people.

Typically if people have a great experience, they’re going to be more inclined to refer you.

What are the common characteristics of your most profitable clients who also refer you today?

What I want you to do is think about more narrowly defining who makes an ideal client for you based on that discovery, or based on the fact that you did some analysis on your current customers.

This doesn’t mean you’re never going to serve anybody else, but it does need to become the filter where you go out, and you start prospecting and where you change your messaging to attract that ideal client, client niche, or those industries that you specialize in.

Because there is a real practical reason for this, you’ve already decided, or determined that they make an ideal client based on profitability and referral, but there’s also an expectation, that once you start narrowly defining who makes an ideal client for you, you can then go to work on more narrowly defining what their problem is, and your promise to solve that problem.

Solving your ideal client’s problems

People aren’t looking for our products and services, they’re looking to get their problems solved. The person who can define the problem the best quite often is not only the one that gets the business but in many cases is paid a premium as well.

This is a very practical reason to narrowly define your ideal client.

The primary reason people don’t do it, is that they fear that they’re going to turn potential business away, and I get that in the beginning certainly, but over time, you’re going to discover that turning that business away is the most profitable thing that you can do.

Narrowly defining your ideal client

Defining your ideal client starts with things like:

  • Demographics
  • Businesses
  • If you’re working with individuals
  • Age

Those are the kinds of things that a lot of people go towards when it comes down to narrowly defining their audience. Those are important, but I want you to think about three specific categories.

In regards to your clients, you’re going to have must-have, nice-to-have, and ideal. Those are your three categories.

The Must-Have

In my case, my must-have is a client has to be a small business owner. You must have the budget to afford what you sell, or what, in my case, what I sell. You must have the decision-making ability.

From there you can get into breaking down the types of businesses, and other requirements that you put into the must-have category.

The Nice-To-Have

The next one is nice-to-have. Again, in my world, if a business owner has a marketing person internally, they may not be a strategic marketing person, but if they at least have somebody that is doing Facebook for them or doing the newsletter for them, that is a great nice-to-have, because I can actually add even more value by helping them manage that person. Once I get through the must-haves, then I start looking at nice-to-haves.

The Ideal-To-Have

Ideal starts to get into more of behavior. For example, the owner participates in their industry, they are active on their board, and they are very interested in having other outside professionals other than marketing.

If I’m starting to describe my ideal client, those are the things I want to break it up into. Those must-haves are deal breakers. If they don’t fit in the must-haves you don’t talk to them.

The nice-to-haves are the ones that you’re going to put in a little extra effort to try to build a relationship or to try to get in front of, and then if you’ve got some of the ideal-to-have, then that’s somebody you want to go and really prospect, and you want to focus a lot of time and attention on, and give them value over and above any of what you might see as your normal marketing, because that’s somebody that’s going to be an ideal client.

Once you have that ideal client, you could start to move all of your targeting to that. If you’re building Facebook audiences, you could move to that narrowly defined ideal client. All of your ads should be speaking to that ideal client.

It’s okay to have multiple ideal clients, but once you have those, they need to really be the basis for all of your language, all of your website copy, all of the ads, so that you are clearly articulating the problem that that ideal client has, and how you’re uniquely suited to solve that problem.

When you do that and when you make the basis that strategy of defining an ideal client the basis of all of your marketing, guess what?

You get to choose who you want to work with. That will make life a whole lot better.



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Get More Traffic, More Confidence, and More Work Done

Good to see you again! With the Monday Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, this was a short week on Copyblogger. On Tuesday, Kelton Reid kicked things off with a thoughtful look at impostor syndrome — with clues on how to approach it from different sources, including the famous Turing Test. And on Wednesday, I talked
Read More...

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Optimize your holiday marketing dollars – long after the Christmas lights dim

Retailers see lots of new customers during the holiday shopping season. Contributor Jordan Elkind explains how to keep the momentum going into the new year.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Doing the Two-Step: Opt-In Forms That Is [A Psychology Principle With Conversion Data]

I’ve no idea how to actually do the two-step. Apparently it looks a little something like this:

It’s way too complex for me. Fortunately, when it comes to marketing, the two-step opt-in form is much simpler.

What is a Two-Step Opt-In Form?

Well for starters it’s a two-time hyphenated term that’s really annoying to type. Functionally though, instead of including a form on your landing page, blog, or website, you use a link, button, or graphic to launch a popup that contains your form.

Why are Two-Step Opt-In Forms Good For Conversion?

There are two reasons why this approach is good for conversion rates, both of which have an element of behavioural psychology.

  • Foot in the Door (FITD): The FITD technique is an example of compliance psychology. By design, it’s good because the form is launched after a user-driven request. They clicked the link to subscribe with the intent to do exactly that, subscribe (or whatever the form’s conversion goal is). The click demonstrates the reaction to a modest request, creating a level of commitment that makes the visitor more likely to complete the form (the larger request) when it’s presented.
  • Perceived friction: Because there is no visible form, the idea of filling out a form is not really top of mind. This reduces the amount of effort required in your visitor’s mind.

What Does a Two-Step Opt-In Form Look Like?

Let’s try a demo. You can subscribe to follow along with Product Awareness Month here. Clicking that link uses the two-step concept to launch a popup containing the subscribe form.

Pretty simple, right?

You could also click on any of the images below to do the same thing.

I configured all of these with Unbounce Popups by targeting this blog post URL and using the “On Click” trigger option set to function when an element with the ID #pam-two-step-v1 is clicked.

This trigger option is awesome because you can apply it to any element on your pages. And as you’ve just seen, you can have as many different popups as you like, all attached to different page elements.


You Can Also Use a Sticky Bar for a Two-Step Opt-In Form

The functionality is exactly the same if you want to use a Sticky Bar. Click the image below to show a Sticky Bar with a form, at the top of the page.


How Do Two-Step Opt-In Forms Perform?

Great question! I’m glad you asked.

Throughout Product Awareness Month I’ve sprinkled a few two-step opt-in popup links like this one: Subscribe Now. I’m also using the exact same popup using the exit trigger, so visitors see it when they are leaving the page.

To compare the data, the exit popup obviously gets seen a lot more as it triggers once for everyone. Conversely, the “On Click” popup gets fewer views because it’s a subtle CTA that only appears in a few places.

You can see some initial conversion rates below from the Unbounce dashboard.

Not huge sample sizes just yet (I’ll report on this again at the end of the month), but the difference is staggering.

The “On Click” triggered popup conversion rate is 1169% better than the exit popup.


Convinced yet? I hope so. Now I’d like to challenge you to try your own experiments with popup triggers and the awesome two-step opt-in form.

Sign up for a 30-day trial and build some Popups today. You also get the Sticky Bar and Landing Page products included in your account.

Cheers
Oli

p.s. Come back tomorrow to see a video interview I did with the awesome Head of Marketing at Shopify Plus, Hana Abaza.



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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Voice search in retail: Evolving the customer experience

Contributor Steve Tutelman explains how voice search is bringing marketers closer to the customer.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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Marketing Day: A holiday e-commerce wrap up, Freckle CEO interview & YouTube’s new rules for advertisers

Here’s our recap of what happened in online marketing today, as reported on Marketing Land and other places across the web. From Marketing Land: The big holiday 2017 e-commerce wrap-up: Adobe, NRF, Salesforce, Amazon point to another record season Jan 17, 2018 by Amy Gesenhues Adobe reports...

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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The big holiday 2017 e-commerce wrap-up: Adobe, NRF, Salesforce, Amazon point to another record season

Adobe reports 2017 holiday e-commerce revenue climbed to $108.2 billion, beating forecasts by nearly $1 billion.

Please visit Marketing Land for the full article.


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32 Ways Your Ecommerce Company Can Boost Engagement and Sales

The ecommerce customer is a moving target. I mean that in more than one way:

  • Online behaviors and buying preferences evolve constantly.
  • Customers jump around relentlessly from apps, to messaging platforms, to social sites and websites.
  • They’re mobile.

How do you woo these “moving targets” into engaging with your ecommerce promotions, opting into your offers, and buying your products?
Your marketing and media needs to “move” them.
You experiment with a variety of ecommerce promotion ideas available to you now. We’ll run through a heap of them and hopefully offer a few you might want to try to build your audience and boost sales.

1. Offer coupons and discounts

Coupons have always been a staple in retail promotions so we need not question their power.
However, in the digital shopping realm, coupons play a role beyond simply providing a purchase incentive. They act as bait to hook new email subscribers. Of course, you’ll follow-up with subscribers, so consider expanding your portfolio of coupons to create specific subscriber segments that will receive relevant offers.
You can offer coupons explicitly for product purchases, but may also find coupons marry well with offers to receive newsletters and useful downloadable content.


Image Source

Your options for delivering coupons are many. GlassesUSA gets right to it by presenting a huge discount for first time buyers on their home page via a popup that “greys-out” the page until you respond.

2. Offer eBooks and other lead magnets


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The average online conversion rate for ecommerce shoppers hovers between 2% and 3%. At least 97% bail on you. However, a failed attempt to capture a sale doesn’t mean you can’t capture email addresses.
In a Kissmetrics post that explains how SaaS marketing differs from other types of marketing, Neil Patel writes, “If you are a B2B SaaS marketer, think of yourself in different terms from mere ‘marketer.’ Think of yourself as an industry savant — the one who possesses and dispenses information.”
While blog content helps attract traffic, one of your content marketing goals should be to convert the traffic into subscribers. Offer eBooks and other lead magnets such as checklists, mini-courses, templates, tools, and more to motivate visitors to give you their email addresses.
Think value. Think relevance. What can you offer to help a prospective customer solve a problem? Think of your lead magnet offer as something so valuable it’s worth paying for—then deliver it free.

3. Offer a loyalty program

You not only want customers to buy your products; you want them to keep buying.
Ecommerce brands accomplish this by making their best customers feel valued. Do so by giving them valuable rewards through a customer loyalty program.
Create a loyalty program that offers customers an incentive to buy more often or spend more on their purchases. Loyalty programs can take any number of forms, but generally feature a system whereby points are accumulated that build increased buying power.
You might also consider loyalty programs that reward buyers for doing things beyond buying such as writing reviews, sharing your pages and posts, and submitting photos.


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The first feature on the Pure Hockey homepage is information about their “Pure Rewards” program that aims to deliver bonus buying power to loyal customers.

4. Host giveaways

People love free stuff. Create buzz about your brand with giveaways.
Promoting giveaways on your website and via social media puts your brand in front of new eyes and grows your email list.

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A simple giveaway by Ginger Heat Muscle Rub encourages participants to “Like” the brand on Facebook and enter to win free product samples.


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A holiday giveaway hosted by Mixed Hues offers prizes for 12 days and delivers a discount just for entering to make everyone a winner.

The examples of giveaways shown above were created with templates from ShortStack, a platform that makes it easy to create an immense variety of ecommerce promotions.

5. Conduct contests

Instagram and Facebook contests—or contests you promote on any social network or channel—are one of the best ways for ecommerce brands to generate awareness, build community, drive traffic and boost sales.
Best practices for conducting social media contests include:

  • Create a unique hashtag for the promotion.
  • Create an image or video to announce your contest.
  • Create example posts to inspire users.
  • Use a moderation tool.
  • Secure legal rights to re-use user-generated content.
  • Display the curated posts in a gallery on your website and social channels.
  • Adhere to the rules of the network and publish the policies of the contest.

6. Create a challenge

I stumbled into a fun tactic while researching this article and found it to be a powerful idea: create a challenge. Those that join it share a common cause. They’ll welcome your ideas, are likely to share your content, and may consider purchasing your products.

At the very least, they’ll experience a memorable, personalized experience with your brand.


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NaturallyCurly invited customers and fans to its “No sugar challenge.” Joining means opting in for email updates. What a great way to create a bond between a brand and its fans.

7. Cross-sell

A post on the SEMRush blog wisely recommends focusing on cross-selling your products to increase sales. They offer as an example, a customer that has purchased a mobile phone being offered a screen guard or case.
It shouldn’t be difficult for you to think of practical cross-selling opportunities to offer your buyers that will add value to their purchase and dollars to your cash register.

8. Up-sell

Upselling works too. In fact, Econsultancy says it works 20X better than cross-selling.
See, buyers often don’t know a superior product is available. Chances are some of the products you offer are closely related to premium versions. Set-up your store to upsell and keep in mind:

  • The suggested product must fit the original needs of the customer.
  • Price sensitivity is bound to be an issue, so be clear about the benefits of upgrading.

9. Showcase top sellers

Ask a food server what their favorite dish is and they’re likely to respond with, “Our most popular pasta dish is the…” or… “If you’re really hungry, everyone really loves the…” — or something like that.

The suggested item might be something they’re known for, can prepare most easily, or profit the most from. Many restaurants spare you from having to ask by highlighting their most popular menu items on the menu.
Ecommerce companies can do the same.
It’s human nature to go with the crowd. Also, buyers value direction. Show them your best sellers, or best sellers in specific categories. You’ll reduce overwhelm, and accelerate sales.


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Imagine knowing little or nothing about games, but you’re shopping for a gift. You’d welcome suggestions to buy the most popular games. Nutty Squirrel Games gets it and helps with this smart form of suggestive selling.

10. Create interactive assistants

Buyers value when online stores provide insights and advice to help make more informed decisions. Enter the vast array of interactive content tools such as assessments, configurators, chatbots and recommendation engines.
Tools such as these enable you to walk the customer through a series of questions and deliver recommendations based on the answers—like a helpful salesperson would do.
While your online tool helps prospects and customers determine their priorities and preferences, it also helps you gather useful data, which might drive sales in the moment, or later, when the data is used to personalize your subsequent communications.


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The “Flavour Generator” from Hello Fresh is a great example of a simple assessment tool. It’s designed to inspire cooking ideas, which clearly aligns with the brand’s recipe box products.


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Help yourself to the quiz offered on the Warby Parker homepage and after answering five quick questions the site suggests frames that fulfill your preferences and offers to send them to you to try-on.

11. Create video demonstrations

Images obviously help sell products, but are merely par for the course. You can boost sales of new, featured, or popular items by creating short promotional or review videos.

Test the idea with just a few items and measure the impact to help establish if the investment in creating video pays. If you discover videos generate sales you can expand the program with more videos and experiment with different approaches to video production and different types of videos.


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A number of products offered on WatchShop present shoppers with the option to watch short product videos.

12. Highlight risk reducers

Your homepage likely features “risk reducers,” that is, notices that help overcome objections and give buyers greater peace of mind, such as:

  • Free shipping
  • Fast delivery
  • Money back guarantees
  • Free returns
  • Transaction security

However, many visitors will arrive directly on product pages and not see your homepage. Make certain your most important risk reduction messages are also displayed in at least one prominent place on product pages. Test the messaging, design and page layout to determine what works best.


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A product page on YourSuper reminds would-be buyers of its shopper-friendly policies on a sticky header bar and in another prominent element beside the call to action.

13. Present product plugs (testimonials, reviews, etc.)

I can’t decide whether to say it’s a good idea to include user reviews to boost sales or it’s a bad idea to exclude them. Both are true and it’s probably fair to say, thanks to Amazon, buyers expect to find them.
Standard ecommerce product review systems are useful, however, those that include photos and/or videos that embellish the customer stories are even more convincing.


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14. Provide wishlists

Ecommerce experts at Big Commerce claim that offering shoppers a wish list is an effective way to reduce shopping cart abandonment and fulfill sales from customers who showed intent but didn’t end up purchasing. They add that wishlists:

  • Give customers who aren’t ready to order an easy reminder system when they return
  • Enable merchants to measure product interest
  • Are helpful to shoppers that are buying gifts
  • Encourage users to sign up for an account

Would-be buyers will often forget about their wishlists, so send friendly reminder emails to inspire customers to complete their purchase.

15. Present trust badges

Customers often dropout of a purchase process when they have concerns about the security of their payment. Address this challenge by including one or more “trust badges” on your checkout page to convince customers the process is safe and secure.


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16. Present user-generated content

“Hype up engagement,” is a piece of ecommerce promotion advice from a Kissmetrics post. The post featured this insight from of Dan Wang of Shopify:
“User-generated photos are a great way to generate social proof. Prospective customers see that your products are regularly being purchased by people just like them, and feel more comfortable doing something that others are doing.”


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User-generated content (UGC) can be collected and used in a variety of ways. The GentleFawn store gathers photos via an Instagram hashtag and features them a gallery on their homepage.

17. Use satisfaction surveys

Savvy ecommerce brands cater to new and existing customers by gathering feedback with satisfaction surveys. A survey done well builds goodwill. The data you collect enables you to improve the user experience. Both equate to smart marketing.

Ask questions that will help you learn:

  • How customers found your website
  • How satisfied they were with the shopping experience
  • How your store compares to others they’ve visited
  • How can you serve their needs in the future


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Though satisfaction surveys are most commonly handled with email, Spartoo is an ecommerce company that takes a proactive approach by offering a survey on its homepage. A discount helps motivate shoppers to comply.

18. Present exit intent popups

Add an exit intent pop-up to your website to capture visitors on the verge of leaving. Give them a reason to join your email list by offering a free guide, discount, or some incentive that aligns with your brand.

19. Send cart abandonment email

Marketing automation platforms enable you to send customized emails to shoppers that have abandoned shopping carts.
If a customer logged in, you can send customized emails with images of the items they shopped for. Tactics you might try with abandonment email include:

  • Put personalized information to use.
  • Send emails promptly.
  • Try more than once.
  • Include social proof such as customer reviews, ratings, etc.
  • Offer viable options such as related items.
  • Send discounts before giving up.


Shortly after I left an item in my cart without completing the purchase, Michael’s sent me an email telling me I have great taste, which showed me the item again and suggested other products I might like.

20. Send automated emails

Prospects and customers are giving you their email addresses. Send them something in return: email. Email marketing allows you to send targeted—and well-timed messages—at various stages of the buying lifecycle.

In a great post detailing ecommerce email strategies, Nadav Dakner shares six potential automated email flows you might want to put in place in addition to the abandoned cart reminders we’ve already covered:

  • Welcome series
  • Purchase follow-up
  • Re-engagement prompts
  • Upsell offers
  • Notices about education content
  • Product and promotion updates

21. Support a charity

Ecommerce brands can take a cue from the shoe company Toms, where “Every purchase has a purpose.” Toms has built a reputation for improving lives and giving back. Their customers understand, appreciate and support the mission. Everyone wins.
Charity programs that come to my mind from ecommerce leaders include Pura Vida Bracelets and Warby Parker eyeglasses.


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22. Promote around special occasions

While Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries are obvious special occasions, you can promote special occasions year-round.
For instance, in February you can create sales, special offers, promotions, contests, giveaways and even downloadable content around Ground Hog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day and the Super Bowl (to name just a few).


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Here’s an example of simple voting poll an ecommerce company might do to attach their promotion to the Super Bowl hoopla.

23. Make customers your sales force

Influencer marketing takes many forms beyond celebrity endorsements and paying popular YouTubers to mention your products.

A clever strategy for ecommerce brands is to create a user-driven affiliate network of niche influencers. Your program might extend beyond simple financial incentives or product offers to include:

  • Additional promotional opportunities on your website and social media properties
  • Coaching
  • Access to experts
  • Social media advice and assistance
  • Loyalty program development


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1st Phorm does a stellar job of promoting its “Legionnaires” program. Copy beneath the image and video above reads, “We interact with our Legionnaires on a constant basis to make sure they are successful in not only promoting 1st Phorm and making money, but also growing their personal brands.”

24. Send Instagrammers to your store

Instagram is for people who love images. It also appears to be for people who love to shop.

  • Instagram reported 60% of its users say they learn about products and services on the platform and 30% have purchased something they discovered.
  • A study by Shopify reported the average order value from Instagram marketing is $65.00 (second only to Polyvore).
  • Engagement on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook.

The key to Instagram marketing is engaging users and moving them to your website. How’s it done?

  • Run contests.
  • Show pictures of customers using your products (a.k.a. user-generated content).
  • Carefully select a compelling page on your website to feature in your Instagram bio. This is your one and only link opportunity on the network.


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Stitch Fix uses the link in their Instagram bio to direct traffic to a style gallery. A “Get Started” call to action atop the page introduces how the shopping service works and a gallery of photos and videos link to various products and promotions.

25. Send shoppers to your Instagram

Next up for your list of ecommerce promotion idea is the opposite of what you just read. That is, in addition to sending Instagrammers to your store, you might also send shoppers to your brand’s Instagram account.
Consider your Instagram account a destination for building your audience and earning sales from prospects that have never seen your Instagram feed or profile. They could discover the credible proof they’re looking for with a branded hashtag or on an Instagram account you’ve populated with authentic user-generated content.


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ModCloth features its #MarriedinModCloth hashtag on the homepage inviting visitors to Instagram where they find thousands of images created by customers.

26. Publish product landing pages

Ecommerce companies sometimes make the mistake of directing traffic from search, social and digital ads to their home page or shopping cart. Typically, neither is an ideal approach for increasing conversion.
Try directing first-time visitors to information-rich product landing pages. Create pages that step visitors through everything they need to make an informed purchase decision.
Showcase some combination of a benefit-focused headline, value proposition, social proof, risk reducers and relevant images and video.

27. Explore mobile advertising

“Mobile shopping clicks overtook desktop clicks sometime in the summer of 2015 and continue to rise,” claims ROIRevolution. The retail-focused agency makes the case retailers can no longer afford to adopt a laissez faire mentality regarding mobile advertising. In fact, many shopping sites now recognize the importance of a mobile-first strategy.
Mobile advertising combines geolocation and mobile-ready ads to connect shoppers to your store while they’re commuting, sitting in a waiting room, or even shopping.
Recommendations to effectively use mobile advertising for ecommerce include:

  • Optimize the website for mobile users with responsive design.
  • Leverage retargeting display ads.
  • Consider video.
  • Use the Facebook and Instagram ad platform.
  • Appeal to the “in-the-moment” needs of the mobile user with “snackable” content.
  • Utilize Google Analytics to better understand the behavior of your audience by channel.

28. Expand shipping options

Who wants to wait weeks for their product to arrive? Worse yet, who wants to wonder when it will show up? These are clearly rhetorical questions.
Satisfy more customers with predictability, specificity, transparency, details and most of all, choices. Consider:

  • On-demand delivery options
  • Delivery tracking
  • Detailed information regarding shipping expenses
  • Free and fast delivery incentives

29. Create auto-ship options

A good portion of ecommerce companies can borrow a page from various subscription businesses to create incentives that encourage auto-shipping, and automatic renewals.


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Chewy offers instant savings for customers setting up an autoship option for the first time and sweetens the deal with bonus savings on select brands.

30.Optimize for buyers that are shopping for ideas

SEO and paid search need to be weapons in the ecommerce brand’s marketing arsenal. However, your keyword selection needn’t be limited to targeting buyers shopping for specific products.
An increasing percentage of would-be buyers on mobile devices are looking for ideas. New research from the Think with Google site offers insights about selecting keywords to optimize for shoppers that are idea hunting.


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Highlights from Google’s data research indicate:
  • Searches for “ideas” on mobile are rising fast.
  • Mobile searches for “shopping lists” are spiking.
  • “Outfits for” is a hot partial search term.
  • Those shopping for a category frequently conduct searches containing the word “brand,” “top,” and “best.”

31. Offer live chat

Online sellers that don’t offer a live chat option lose business to competitors who do. Live chat is a way to assist customers and is becoming the most desired method of contact—especially for millennials.
Econsultancy reports live chat has the highest satisfaction levels for any customer service channel, with 73%, compared with 61% for email and 44% for phone.


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The post cited above features interesting data that reveals why live chat is preferred. Immediacy wins.

32. Bring ace media buyers to the table

In this, my last tip, I was going to get into ecommerce Instagram advertising, but then I thought about all the various types, including the emerging “shoppable ads.” It’s not easy to keep up with Instagram advertising.
The same goes for Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, Google and any other digital property that sells ads.
I concluded if I were to give you practical advice about this vitally important but terribly complex topic (without cranking out another 3,000 words), it would be this:

  • Learn the basics about the Google AdWords platform and your social media options, then…
  • Experiment, then…
  • Bring a pro to the table.

Advertising can be expensive, but that’s only the case when it doesn’t work. An ace media buyer will show you where to place your chips and perpetually improve your ROI from the digital advertising programs that drive ecommerce sales.


About the Author:
Barry Feldman operates Feldman Creative providing clients content marketing strategy, copywriting and creative direction. Barry’s authored three book including the best-selling personal branding guide, The Road to Recognition. Visit Feldman Creative and his blog, The Point.



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