How to create friction-free sales experiences with live chat (even at peak sales times!)

You may be wondering what you can do to improve on your conversion rates from all those ‘just browsing’ visits you had. You might even be hitting your head against a wall because you know how much it costs to get these no-spenders to the site in the first place.

Make it easier for customers to get in touch

The truth is, there’s a really common mistake a lot of businesses make that lets customers slip out the funnel at the last minute! But don’t worry, we’re here to tell you what it is, and more importantly, how to avoid it.

Expert marketer that you are, we’re sure you’ve successfully navigated your customer down from the awareness stage, through consideration, and delivered them to your ecommerce store to make a decision. You might think: ‘well, what more can I do?’ It turns out, something really simple.

Your awareness- and consideration-stage content might well be wonderful. But can you guarantee it has answered every single question your prospect has? That it reassures every worry or complaint? 

Customers are unique. So are their needs and use cases for your product or service. What will make a difference between you and your competitor at the decision stage? Or convince them to part with their hard-earned cash at all? Clearly displaying product information with absolute transparency helps. But you can’t list every single item that’s important to every single buyer. So what can you do?

You see, the biggest mistake businesses make at this stage is not making it easy enough for customers to reach out and ask an unanswered question.

Live chat opens doors

It’s that simple.

We’re not just talking about an info@ email address or a contact form that may as well go to nowhere. Today’s customers expect answers quickly, just like they would in a brick-and-mortar store. It’s expensive to take phone calls, and low on the customer’s contact preference list anyway. What you and every business needs is a way to manage inbound messages that are real-time and frictionless for your customers.

You’ve spent so much money on acquisition, especially during competitive times such as the Christmas shopping period, but improving ROI could be as simple as installing live chat onto your site with a few simple clicks.

Instead of losing customers at the last hurdle, Engagement Cloud’s Chat feature helps you:

  • remove barriers to sale
  • gives your agents opportunity to upsell
  • provides the kind of customer experience that keeps buyers coming back.

Don’t take our word for it! Forrester says that 44% of customers consider a conversation with a representative in real time the most important feature of an online shop’s website; 55% of customers will abandon the transaction if they can’t find an answer to a question; and live chat can result in a 40% increase in conversion rate and 10% increase in cart value. Winner!

Of course, Chat is just one way you can make your ecommerce store a pleasant place to be. Honorable mentions include tailored, relevant on-site product recommendations, friendly website navigation, and avoiding obnoxious ads or pop-ups at all costs! But with its track record of improving conversion rates and increasing average order value, Engagement Cloud’s live chat feature could be the difference between smashing those year-end targets out of the park or not quite reaching your true potential. We hope it’s the former 🙂

Get in touch to learn more about Engagement Cloud chat, and how it can work for you.

The post How to create friction-free sales experiences with live chat (even at peak sales times!) appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 day ago from blog.dotdigital.com

How dotdigital is preparing for your Black Friday campaigns

We are also aware that this is a critical sales period for many of our customers.

You guys are busy too, and will depend on dotdigital to drive traffic and sales through your online stores. Any problems on the big day are bad for us and bad for you.

Last year we saw a 150% increase in email sends compared with a typical day; that’s a significant increase in usage! Here’s a little detail on the steps we take to prepare our platform.

Global infrastructure carrying your Black Friday campaigns all the way

We have three instances of dotdigital Engagement Cloud running from:

  • Australia
  • US
  • Europe

All three offer the same functionality, but are resourced differently to cater for varying customer numbers in each region. This means we’re running our Black Friday prep three times over.  

We are expecting increases of 50% compared to last year’s Black Friday messaging volumes, and have prepared our infrastructure ready for just that!

Each region consists of several databases which hold your data. These are surrounded by 75 different applications which combined make Engagement Cloud. Some of these applications are public facing and power your account portal, our API, the email tracking site, and more.

We focus on the public endpoints first as this is where increased traffic is received. Typically, each application is powered by its own set of servers. To increase capacity, we use our cloud provider to add additional servers or increase the compute power of the existing set. Doing so means we can safely receive the large spike in tracking data we’ll see on the day. Last year we collected data at over 500 events per second!

Next, we focus on the server clusters which power background services for sends and reporting. These applications typically fetch work from queues and aren’t in danger of becoming swamped with external requests to a point that they cannot function.

However, if we’re not careful, task latency can increase and your sends won’t complete in a timely manner. Again, additional compute capacity is added to stay on top of queued tasks – we’re expecting to send around 500k emails a minute at peak times! Plus, of course the more orders you make the more data we need to ingest. Last year we received nearly 250,000 of your orders on Black Friday, that’s roughly four times the volume of a regular day.

Send with confidence this Black Friday

As always, our service operations and development teams will be keeping a keen eye on platform metrics throughout the day. We’ll be ensuring things run smoothly whilst also looking for future bottlenecks and optimizations. Planning for an even larger Black Friday in 2020 starts this Friday!


Want some last minute tactics to ace Black Friday 2019? Download our cheatsheet here.

The post How dotdigital is preparing for your Black Friday campaigns appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 6 days ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Maximize your email delivery this holiday season

Email delivery is a tricky subject matter, and we never want to understand it more than during periods where we’re sending mass emails. This question from my line manager on a Friday afternoon started an interesting conversation for the delivery operations and deliverability teams. My first thought (well, not my first thought – that was the witty reply of “Saturday”, and much chortling ensued) was that they must be my least favorite American imports: Black Friday and its bumbling step-sibling, Cyber Monday.

I was pretty surprised to find out that it’s actually Singles Day on November 11th, a popular shopping day for our friends in the Asia-Pacific region. This year Alibaba set the record with sales surpassing $30.8 billion in just 24 hours.

We’re not yet on board with Singles Day here in Europe, but UK retailers and consumers have embraced the aforementioned Thanksgiving weekend as an opportunity for pre-Christmas sales and bargains. This means emails. Lots and lots and LOTS of emails.

During busy periods, recipients receive so many emails that marketers have to vie for their attention. This kind of inbox exhaustion is a known challenge. But another common sentiment we hear from customers during the festive period is, “why is it taking so long to deliver my emails?”

Delays can be frustrating, especially if you’re sending time-sensitive emails for short-lived sales. So, why do delays occur and what can you do to avoid them?

Queues aren’t just a British thing

In email delivery, queuing happens in two places: on the mailserver sending out the emails and on the mailserver receiving the emails.

When sending emails, the server has to wait for an IP address to have an available outbound connection opportunity, then connect to the recipient mailserver, and finally deliver the email to that recipient server. While waiting for available IPs, the mailserver will create queues of emails which are all going to the same domain (gmail.com, hotmail.com, etc.) so that it’s ready when a connection becomes available to push as many emails through that connection as it can.

On the receiving end, the servers have the unenviable task of taking those inbound emails and making sure they end up in the correct inboxes. During this process, the emails are checked by filtering tools and algorithms to ensure they’re wanted mail. Queues will be created of emails waiting to be checked for spam, to then be allocated to the correct inbox, etc. Mailbox providers prioritize person-to-person communications (that thanksgiving update you sent to your grandma) over bulk marketing communications.

Just think of it like traffic: you have cars queuing at the barriers to exit parking lot A and get onto the road to their destination. There are only a certain number of exits and the road outside is busy, so they have to wait their turn. When they get to parking lot B, they have to queue for a security check and then queue to park on the right level and in the right space.

Email delivery gridlock

In general, when sending out emails, the more IPs you have the faster emails can be transmitted to a receiving mailserver. However, there are some pretty hefty caveats that apply on a day-to-day basis, even outside of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday and festive periods.

For example, most mailbox providers will apply various fair-usage limits on the number of inbound connections, the number of messages that can be sent per connection, the total number of messages they’ll accept per minute/hour/day, etc. These limits are often lower for IPs/domains which have poorer reputations and higher for those with better reputations, but most will have a cap — even for the best senders.

What happens when email volume is high?

It’s possible, and has happened historically, that receiving mailservers can be overwhelmed by the volume of email being sent during busy periods. When experiencing a high load, they may be more restrictive on the number of connections they’ll accept — even from IPs with excellent reputations.

When mailbox providers are telling our mailservers that they’re under high load, we automatically reduce our send rates and the number of connections we’re making. This slows down sending and lengthens queues, but it means that we’re less likely to irritate a mailbox provider to the point where they throttle the sending IPs (i.e. impose their own, even more severe, rate limits) or block them outright. Our system can detect when things are back to normal and send rates will increase again.

Even after emails have been accepted by receivers, during busy periods they may have enormous queues waiting for their filtering and allocation tools to check emails for spam and actually get them to the inbox. This is where person-to-person prioritization comes in: you might be able to send a single test email from your work Office 365 account to your personal gmail account and it’s delivered in seconds, but marketing emails from your ESP could take much longer. This is because recipients are more likely to complain to their mailbox provider about delays in receiving an email from their niece than complain about a delay in receiving a marketing email.

What you can do about email delivery

Firstly, choose a responsible ESP that understands the challenges of busy periods and has the ability to scale up during times of high load. Our deliverability operations team has been hard at work all year, expanding the number of IPs in use and bolstering our sending infrastructure.

Secondly, put yourself in the shoes of the person receiving your emails. Just spend 10 minutes in your own personal inbox, being overwhelmed by the influx of marketing emails. Have some empathy for your recipients and use targeting and segmentation to send something really interesting to people who are likely to engage with your emails.

Finally, and most importantly, be sympathetic with mailbox providers. Their goal is to provide the best experience to their users and during busy festive periods they manage queues and prioritize accordingly. Don’t leave campaigns until the last minute; instead, think about spreading your sends out over a few hours or days. Every email you send to gmail or Hotmail or Yahoo uses up some amount of processing power and then some amount of storage space – and you don’t pay for that. Be patient and learn from experiences this holiday season to inform your future strategies.


Want more hands-on advice on email deliverability? Download our 101 guide here.

The post Maximize your email delivery this holiday season appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

5 tactics to convert holiday bargain hunters into year-round shoppers

Using data pulled from Engagement Cloud, we found three key
trends occurring across our wide range of customers during the Black Friday
weekend:

  1. Inactive customers are eagerly re-engaging with
    brands
  2. New customers are more like to become inactive
    after the sales are over
  3. Brand champions are hard to engage during the
    sales period

Armed with this knowledge, identifying the segments you need to target is easier. Using RFM persona movement tracker, you can keep a close eye on how successfully you’re converting holiday shoppers to repeat buyers.

Convert holiday shoppers

The return of the inactive customer

Inactive customers are a key segment you should be keeping a constant eye on. During the Black Friday weekend, you’re most likely to see a larger proportion of these shoppers moving from inactive to recent purchasers. As they’ve already interacted with you before, you don’t need to earn their trust, which makes it easier for them to convert.

But that isn’t enough. We want to keep them coming back, long after the sales are over. Adopting new tactics will help ensure these shoppers don’t relapse back into your inactive segment.

Advanced personalization

Beyond basic first name personalization, tap
into the data you already have. As existing customers, you’ll have a wide range
of information on them, from order insights to shipping address. You can use
this in your sales emails to deliver a delightfully personal experience.

Order insight or browsing behavior can be used to populate product recommendations blocks. Highlight products similar to those they’ve already bought, or items that complement a previous purchase.

Dynamic content can pull in specific messages based on data such as location. This can be used to push shoppers to their local stores or encourage in-store collection. By driving them to your brick-and-mortar store, you’ll increase the chances of shoppers making additional spontaneous purchases.

Modern customers demand special experiences from brands. Not receiving personalized communications is one of the key factors that drive shoppers to inactivity. Therefore, it’s important you put your data to work.

When inactive customers aren’t engaging
with your emails it’s time to try a new channel.

New channels

If you haven’t already acquired customers’
phone numbers, Black Friday is the perfect time to do this. With this extra
piece of information, you have a chance to opt inactive customers into
marketing channels such as SMS.

The powerful impact of SMS marketing is unmistakable. With 95% of messages being opened and read within 5 minutes, it’s the perfect channel for flash sales and limited-time offers. You can target customers with unique discount codes regularly throughout the year to keep them from lapsing back into inactivity.

For customers who need some incentive to shop, this is the perfect tactic, as it catches them whenever and wherever they are, without the need for them to sift through their emails to find you.

Get new customer ready

One of the key advantages of the Black Friday weekend is
that new customers are on the hunt for a deal. If you win their business, then
you have new names in your database.

Unfortunately, these new customers are twice as likely to
abandon you after they’ve bought your goods or services. In order to keep them
active, you need to ensure you’re nurturing them. Automation is key to keep
them engaged.

And, as an added bonus, it saves both time and money for you and your team.

The welcome program

Welcome programs are essential for every new customer. During the Black Friday sales period, you need to take extra effort to introduce your brand. Storytelling is essential here. People remember stories better than stats and evoking an emotional response will keep your brand at the forefront of shoppers’ minds.

Enroll new customers onto your welcome program as your competitors bring their sales to a close. Shoppers’ inboxes will be quietening down, so this is the time to get yourself heard. Demonstrating your brand’s personality and USPs will help keep new customers engaged, post-sale.

Loyalty programs

Now that your new customers are through the door, the hard work begins. You need to give new shoppers a reason to keep coming back. Beyond connecting with your brand, customers need an incentive to stay loyal.

As part of your welcome series, introduce your loyalty program and outline the benefits of joining. This is a great way of collecting more data on your new customers. Whether you’re collecting dates for exclusive birthday offers or favorite products or hobbies, customers are happy to hand over their personal data if they feel like they’re benefitting from the relationship.

These key automations will keep new customers engaged. As a result, you’ll have more opportunity to develop a relationship with them. Once you have a relationship established, converting throughout the year will be easier.

Loyalty: hard to earn, easy to lose

Loyalty can be hard to earn from modern shoppers. They have
hundreds of choices waiting for them with the click of a button or tap of a
screen. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

A strong brand story, teamed with a rewarding and engaging loyalty program, will keep customers coming back. But Black Friday can be a tricky time for these engaged shoppers. They’re already choosing you over your competitors time and again, so don’t bore them with endless sales emails. Using these intelligent tactics, you can keep your loyal shoppers engaged throughout the Black Friday sales period.

Personal journeys

As loyal customers, these subscribers are
shopping with you frequently, or on a regular basis. It’s therefore fair to
assume that these shoppers are not going to be as engaged with your Black
Friday comms as new or returning customers. To ensure you don’t cause these
shoppers to switch off, it’s essential you take them on a separate journey to
the rest of your database.

Make sure this segment is still enrolled in
your regular marketing messages to keep them connected to the brand. It also
reduces the risk of them finding something they’ve already purchased in your
sale. Your Black Friday sales tactics should instead focus on giving them
something ‘exclusive’.

This could take the form of early access to pre-sale content or an extra 10% off sale items. Whichever tactic you choose, it’s important these shoppers feel special and aren’t overwhelmed by sales marketing.

Giving back

‘Tis the season for giving after all, so
why not treat your loyal customers to something special. These treats are what’ll
tip your loyal customers into champions. As champions, they’ll spread the word
about your brand, by word of mouth, across social media and through reviews.

To do this, offer loyal customers something like free shipping for the year, or VIP prices on high ticket items if they make a purchase during Black Friday weekend. This will give them a greater incentive to keep returning to your brand, as well as contribute to your Black Friday revenue.  

Convert holiday shoppers

To say the holiday season is frantic is an understatement –
especially for anyone working in ecommerce. But there are many opportunities out
there to massively shift your customer database.

What’s essential is that you track the movement of your shoppers. Using Engagement Cloud’s RFM persona tracker, you can gain clear insight into the behavior of your customers. This will help you determine the perfect journeys for every segment which will keep them engaged for longer.


Keep reading

Supercharge your marketing communications with in-store customer data
The beginner's guide of email marketing automation

The post 5 tactics to convert holiday bargain hunters into year-round shoppers appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

How to Choose the Best SEO Packages?

In today’s world, digital media plays a huge role in the rise or fall of a business. You need to make sure that your website, social media page, and ranking is topmost so that you can turn your potential customers into real ones. That being said, I am sure that by now you know the … Continue reading “How to Choose the Best SEO Packages?”

The post How to Choose the Best SEO Packages? appeared first on OutreachMama.

Reblogged 1 week ago from www.outreachmama.com

15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales

Over the course of three weeks we’ve written a three-part blog series on the best Black Friday marketing hacks to smash your sales targets. The first blog outlined the first nine hacks, while the second blog revealed another 13. Now we’ve released the final 15 to get your final marketing preparations in gear.

You can get quick access to all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks here.

1. Skip the early morning madness

Like the early morning commute, battling crowds in the inbox can prove futile. Remember that Black Friday is, more so than on any other day, a numbers game. What’s the likelihood that this customer is going to open – let alone see – my email over my competitor’s? Our advice is to hold tight as the chaos ensues and wait for the right moment to pounce: your chances of getting noticed will increase from noon onward.

2. Find your hook

Maybe it’s a hidden discount or limited product range? Play on human curiosity so that subscribers can’t resist clicking through to discover your mystery offer. Think specific and unique. If your store stocks something artisan or handcrafted, drive the exclusivity factor. There’s no better incentive that prompts people to buy than something special.

3. Create a referral campaign

Referrals are one of the most trusted forms of advertising because people value the experiences of others. It stems from the theory of collective opinion: the psychological circumstance in which we reference the behaviors of others to guide our own decision-making (i.e. a purchase). Referred customers can be a great driver of brand loyalty and deliver even greater ROI than other customers. For your refer-a-friend program to go viral, make it irresistible and time-sensitive.

4. Make it fun – de-stress the experience

Who doesn’t like a party? Cue the music, snacks, and drinks for some festive fun! Physical stores that don’t embrace the festivities are lackluster places which won’t cut the mustard on Black Friday. Email your subscribers and make some noise on social media to get the word out.

5. Give back

Ethical marketing may be a competitive advantage in business, but that shouldn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. It’s about doing something decent. Think humanity over profit. Outdoor clothing retailer Patagonia hit the nail on the head back in 2016: The brand donated 100% of its Black Friday sales to grassroots organizations working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards. If that doesn’t scream ethical brand, then who knows what does.

Find out more ethical marketing techniques in our customer engagement white paper here.

6. Bundle products together

Maximize the amount customers are willing to spend on Black Friday. Group complementary products – items that go well together. Use ‘complete the set’ or ‘complete the look’ as a CTA. Do this on your website, over email, and on social. It’s a sure-fire way to upsell and increase AOV on Black Friday.

7. Reward your social media fans

Grab your share of today’s growing social media engagement. Social is a viral platform perfect for sharing consecutive special discounts and exclusive content during the Black Friday period. Oh, and don’t forget to hashtag. #BlackFriday

8. Offer specific exclusive discounts

Making your offer as specific and exclusive as possible will differentiate your brand from the pack. The frustrating thing about Black Friday for marketers is that brands are practicing the same tactics, which means it’s even harder to get heard. So maybe offer 35% off selected products or 25% off everything for email subscribers only.

9. Provide members-only discounts

Exclusivity goes a long way on Black Friday. Sure, you’ll be running campaigns across your entire database, but don’t forget to target different groups with different offers. If you’re part of an exclusive group, like a membership or subscription, you’d expect something special during the holidays. So, don’t disappoint. Amazon is a great example: this brand offers special money-off discounts to Prime Members.

10. Offer an incentive to spend more

Sounds crazy since you’re already offering bargains left, right, and center. But adding a small incentive to boost spend at the check-out can increase AOV across the board. Free shipping and next-day delivery (on orders over a certain amount) are great ways to tempt customers to add on some extra items at the checkout.

11. Make your offers time-sensitive to drive urgency

Everything in the run-up to Black Friday is for a limited time only, but there’s always a way to spice things up. Use an hourglass GIF to emphasize your promotion’s time limit in email. If you’re really data-savvy, you could even use advanced personalization to trigger an individual countdown that activates on email open.

12. Rescue abandoned carts

82% of carts were abandoned online on Black Friday 2018 in the U.S. (Barilliance). So, if you’re not already triggering cart recovery emails, then you’re leaving serious money on the table! Cost-effective and easy to implement, this program runs like clockwork to recoup lost revenue.

13. Extend the season

Extend beyond Black Friday to encompass Cyber Monday and further. Why not prolong your campaigns to acquire new customers throughout the whole week after Cyber Monday? You’ll be able to reach people faster and easier. And don’t forget the people that avoid Black Friday, who you can target once all the chaos has died down.

14. Stay open late

There are only 24 hours in a day. Milk it.

15. Go the extra mile

Do something that puts a smile on customers’ faces. For example, as Cyber Monday draws to a close, send your subscribers a voucher that they can claim then and there, but redeem whenever they want to. No urgency, and no strings attached.


You made it!

A huge ‘well done!’ if you actually read through all 37 tips across the three Black Friday marketing hacks blogs. You’re taking your holiday marketing seriously, and so you should be – there’s a hefty amount of revenue at stake. So why not adopt some new ideas that can make a real difference to your results? And remember, if you need help with campaign planning, program builds, or creative work, the dotdigital team is always on hand to lend a hand.

Don’t forget your free cheatsheet here for all 37 Black Friday marketing hacks.

The post 15 Black Friday marketing hacks to drive more sales appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Managing SMS marketing sends: Flicking the switch from fast to slow

Because of that, we pride ourselves at dotdigital on helping you get your campaigns out lightening fast.

So, perhaps it seems a tad strange that we’d introduce a feature that slows our SMS sends down…

But hear us out.

Managing replies from campaigns

Marketing isn’t always just about the speed of getting your campaigns out. What’s more important than getting your campaigns out quickly? Getting back to customers that have reached out to you, quickly. Why? We live in a scary world where 90% of customers expect an immediate response when they have a customer services question. And by immediate, I’m talking 10 minutes.

If you combine that stat with the fact that SMS open rates are 95% within five minutes of receiving, it gets even scarier. But just like any time-sensitive event, this is something you can cash in on. Sending out an SMS campaign that nearly all of your customers open in the first five minutes opens up a whole load of opportunities: questions, interactions, engagements. That’s what marketing is all about.

The problem arises however when you don’t have a small army, ready and waiting, at the helm of your customer service team. Let’s face it, who does? But remember, you have 10 minutes. And not just 10 minutes to get back to one customer, but tens or hundreds or even thousands of customers. Oh no, your campaign wasn’t just average – it was super-successful. At the 20-minute mark, when you’re drowning in customer engagement, you might even start to chastise yourself for being such a great marketer.

It’s all about engagement, not just broadcast

Customers have so many touchpoints with brands these days. They can call, use chat, and email. And let’s not forget social media of course. As customers ourselves, we’ve all cheekily jumped on Twitter or web chat to ask a brand a question, knowing that the pressure is on for them to get back to us quickly. After 7 minutes of refreshing or checking each second to see if they’ve replied yet, you’re tired and frustrated. And I bet having customers who are feeling tired and frustrated is not the outcome you intended when you sent out your campaign?

This wealth of engagement is good, and it’s a good problem to have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t and shouldn’t take control. This is where slowing things down can have its benefits. Sometimes sending out your campaign at a staggered pace that allows you to properly answer your customers’ questions and engage with them quickly is the best thing.

Site traffic: too much of a good thing!

It isn’t just customer service teams that struggle under the weight of a campaign that hits too many people at once. With Black Friday just over a week away, retailers should take note. Last year, US retailer J.Crew’s website crashed on Black Friday due to unexpectantly high traffic, leading to an estimated $700k loss in sales… ouch. And they weren’t alone. Walmart and Lululemon were among other well-known brands that suffered the same fate.

Dare I say all these brands should have done something to try and stagger visitors to their site? Of course, staggering a campaign is harder to do on Black Friday. I get it. Let’s be honest, you’ll spend weeks in the lead up prepping customers to visit your site on that day rather than just sending out one isolated campaign on the morning of Black Friday. This is not your first rodeo. But it again proves the point that sometimes marketers need more control. Sometimes you want to slow things down to focus on quality for every customer, rather than actively encouraging every customer to engage with you at exactly the same time. 

The solution?

Clearly, it’s all about quality interactions with all your customers. And to help with that, why not try our new SMS throttling feature that lets you send out your campaigns slowly over a period of up to 24 hours? Picture this: a happy customer service team, a website that never crashes, a happy boss who hasn’t just lost $700k in revenue, and you, with a coffee in hand and maybe even enough time to sneak a cheeky peek at the Black Friday sales on your lunch break. Bliss!


Want more guidance on SMS marketing this holiday season? Download our awesome SMS white paper here. It’s jam-packed with all the SMS campaigns you should be sending in the run-up to Christmas.

The post Managing SMS marketing sends: Flicking the switch from fast to slow appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

Behavioral targeting for ecommerce: your step-by-step guide

Behavioral targeting drives offers that resonate with the individual, anticipate their needs, and save them time. And that means more click-throughs, more conversions, and a happy marketing team.

But with all the behavioral data available, how can you tune out the noise and target customers effectively?

We’ve put together this step-by-step guide to get you started.

1. What does behavioral targeting mean to you?

Customers’ actions (and inactions) online can be used to infer their preferences, lifecycle stage, and place in the buying journey. So you can provide the most appropriate type of content and personalization based on the individual’s interests.

How you use this information will depend on your products and customer personas.

You’ll need to think about:

  • what behaviors do you want to target? – Frequent browsing? Carting certain types of products?
  • who are the customers that exhibit this behavior? – What are their passions and motivations? Where are they in the building journey and customer lifecycle?
  • and what content is most valuable to them right now? – A coupon? A reminder? A product recommendation?

2. Work out what data you need

Once you have an idea of the behaviors you want to target, you can start collecting the data you need to make it happen.

This will include some of the following:

  • Pages the customer browsed
  • Products the customer carted
  • Products the customer purchased
  • Categories the customer browsed
  • Content the customer consumed
  • When and how often the customer visits

For these behavioral targeting insights to feed into your marketing efforts, you’ll need a system that collects and coordinates data from as many customer touchpoints as possible – including your ecommerce website, mobile apps, and ESP.

Behavioral targeting

3. Get to know your customers

The next step is to capture the visitor’s email address. This opens up a whole new channel for behavioral targeting communication.

When a new visitor comes to your online store, you can present a data capture in response to their actions. For instance, displaying a registration form only after the visitor has viewed two product pages, and personalizing the offer to match the categories they browsed.

Behavioral targeting

Target customers with the right content

Once you have the right data in place, you can segment customers according to their behavior, interests, and lifecycle stage.

These segments can be used to send targeted bulk emails, refine triggered email programs, personalize web content, and even target customers via social media.

Below are some common ways to use behavioral segmentation. If you’re stretched for time, it’s a good idea to start with basic product-based segmentation and expand from there.

Experiment with product segmentation

Behavioral data can be used to build lists of customers who are interested in certain products, categories, or brands.

For instance, a tool store might have customers who are very loyal to a particular manufacturer. With behavioral segments, the retailer could send brand-specific newsletters and shopping recovery emails – so that customers get recommendations for products that are compatible with their existing gadgets.

Product recommendations

Segment by customer journey

It makes sense to show different types of content depending on customers’ lifecycle stage – whether they’re a new visitor, new customer, regular shopper, frequent visitor, or lapsed shopper.

For instance, you might use a coupon to convert frequent visitors who haven’t yet made a purchase. But this is a less appropriate strategy for frequent purchasers, where discounts could reduce the value of an order that would have taken place anyway.

Segment by engagement

Try varying your emailing cadence to match each shopper’s level of engagement.

Where customers are very engaged but didn’t yet make a purchase, you could send a browse abandonment series combined with more frequent bulk emails.

For occasional visitors, a steady flow of bulk emails might be more fitting.

Refine your real-time marketing

Segmentation can be used to fine-tune your triggered email strategy.

Imagine you’re already sending a browse abandonment program, but want to use a new program for customers looking for Christmas deals. Rules can be set so that regular customers receive the standard browse abandonment email, while customers who browsed lots of holiday deals receive the new festive program.

Behavioral targeting

Combine with personalized content

Segmentation allows you to send the right type of content to different audience groups. Dynamic content is the key to tailor that content to the individual.

For example, marketers can use segmentation to vary the frequency of bulk emails depending on engagement. Then include personalized product recommendations in those emails, based on each shopper’s browsing history.

When you combine segmentation with real-time personalization, content is both relevant and compelling.

Personalized content

Always test and monitor

Behavioral segmentation makes a lot of sense. But avoid making assumptions about your audience. Some shoppers might be receptive to all your marketing, so consider sending the ‘generic’ content to some subscribers to see how it performs.

It’s important to regularly monitor segments to see if they’re performing as you hoped. If a segment isn’t generating as much revenue as expected, it could be time to alter the composition of the group, or change up your marketing tactics for that audience.

5. Choosing the right technoloy

It’s tricky to implement behavioral targeting if your data sits in inaccessible silos.

Luckily, there are straightforward ways to connect up your data pools, even if you aren’t ready for a big data integration project.

Dedicated personalization platforms sit between your ecommerce system, ESP, and CRM to collect behavioral targeting data in real time. This data can be used to automatically segment customers and deliver personalized content across web and email.

If you’d like to find out more, join Gavin Laugenie, Head of Strategy & Insight at dotdigital, and Alistair Milne, Personalization Consultant at Fresh Relevance, as they show you how to take control of your customer data to drive revenue, improve customer experience, and strip it back to basics.

Register for the webinar here.

The post Behavioral targeting for ecommerce: your step-by-step guide appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

13 killer Black Friday marketing hacks

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be revealing a selection of our 37 brilliant Black Friday marketing hacks. If you missed the first nine tactics you can check out the blog here. Keep an eye on the blog in the coming days for smart Black Friday tactics you can start using now. Or, download the full cheatsheet here.

1. Trigger Black Friday messages based on email activity

Email activity is never more insightful than over the Black Friday period. Create triggers that are based on a set of behavioral rules, whereby subscribers are pooled into certain groups. For instance, if email openers don’t redeem their special offer within 24 hours, they get a triggered daily reminder until the sale ends. Likewise, for every email that goes unopened, unengaged subscribers get three different follow-up emails, each with a different variation of the subject line.

2. Send a sneak-peek email 10 days before Black Friday

A peek-reveal before the big deals kick off can spur excitement in the inbox. Building the hype is a tried and tested way of getting subscribers on side before your communications start ramping up. Your brand will be fresh in their minds as they eagerly anticipate your unmissable bargains.

3. Generate a buzz through a flash sale

The run-up to Black Friday is all about seasonal hype. Drum up excitement with a series of festive flash sales in advance of your Black Friday-weekend bargains. You won’t be the only one to adopt this tactic; so why not offer different promotions every hour on the hour? It’s a creative way to stand out from the sales-heavy crowd.

4. Create gift guides for giving

Black Friday is about both consumer self-indulgence and giving gifts. The true spirit of the holiday season is in the gift giving. That can mean that those visiting your website might not fall into your typical target audience, but are shopping for friends and family who do. So, like your standard wish list, create a gift list for these people. The list could filter items based on interest, tastes, product attributes, etc. It might also be handy to present feature collections: 10 gifts for everyone on your list or best gifts for women, men, and kids; dads, mums, daughters, and nephews, etc.

5. Make sure your design is top-notch

Conversion starts with beautiful design. Black Friday is about the best product for the best price; but design captures the user’s attention and interest for your offering over a similar alternative. Enchanting bargain hunters with design is the best way to stop them in their tracks and divert them to your website. Black Friday is about getting as many eyes on your brand as possible.

6. Don’t annoy your champions during the Black Friday run

Don’t bore brand advocates with off-price products when you had them on side to begin with. Take them down a different path. Black Friday is a great opportunity to graduate promising customers into this lucrative persona group. For customers already there, don’t solely target them with seasonal sale messages, but keep up your leading content too.

7. Always extend the Black Friday campaign

Amplify your campaign across all channels and keep the messaging consistent. The timings of your Black Friday deals can be sensitive, so it’s important that all online and offline touchpoints are coordinated. You don’t want to upset customers by showing them a promotion on social that’s unavailable on your website or in store.

8. Include countdown clocks – they work!

This is a must-do. Nothing spurs more urgency than a countdown timer. The deals and offers are raining in, but you can do something to weather the storm. Show your customers exactly when your offer is going to end. Add your countdown clock on a banner; it should be super-obvious, so ensure it’s above the fold.

9. Don’t drift from your brand’s authentic voice

Don’t jump on the Black Friday bandwagon if it’s going to undermine your brand’s authentic voice. It could have serious consequences in the long run. Not every business is a discount brand, and, despite your amazing offers, you should never abuse your customers’ financial and mental wellbeing. Your reputation is on the line, so be cautious.

10. Put customers first

This rule applies all year round, but can be easy to forget around Black Friday. Basically, make it about the customer and not the offer. Sounds hard, right? Not at all. Simply laser-focus on the net benefit to the customer, then complement with the right products and discounts. For example: ‘Relax this December: Nail your holiday shopping NOW with 50% off all homeware.’

11. Include clever product recommendations

Layer personalized product recommendations onto your already compelling deals. Customers won’t be able to resist the relevancy factor. Use past browsing or buying behavior to populate the right recommendations – maybe a lookalike cross-sell based on similar product attributes. You could even surface items that similar customers went on to purchase next. Bosh!

Black Friday

12. Enrol new customers onto a welcome program

Black Friday is a pivotal period for customer acquisition. Brands tied up with their holiday campaigns can easily omit important communications that keep new customers engaged, i.e. the welcome program. Tone down your bargain bombardment and give new customers some respite; let them know who you are, what you’re about, and ask them for preferences so you can pepper your messages with relevant content.

13. Capture customer data during the Black Friday weekend

Gate your deals to unlock layers of customer data that can enrich your profiles, enabling you to hyper-personalize messages and nurture customers into different persona groups. Using data-capture tools, collect everything from email address and mobile number to communication preferences and message frequency. An exchange of data is a big deal to consumers, so make the offer worth their while and your consent criteria crystal clear.


And that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for the remaining 15 Black Friday marketing hacks, or grab a free copy of our cheatsheet to get your hands on all 37.

The post 13 killer Black Friday marketing hacks appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

dotdigital bags the 2019 Best Marketing Automation Partner Award at NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards

dotdigital APAC emerged as winners of the Best Marketing Automation category at the recent NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards, held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney.

The awards, organized by the National Online Retail Association (NORA), celebrated behind-the-scenes heroes of the online retail industry. The winners were chosen through a voting process whereby retailers across Australia and New Zealand voted for their favorite technology vendor under each category.

A heartfelt congratulations to all the winners! This award is a great achievement for the entire dotdigital APAC team and reflects the commitment and effort that each one puts into servicing our customers and building the dotdigital brand within the Australian market and beyond.

Rohan Lock, Regional Director of APAC, was interviewed during the event and here are his thoughts after accepting the award!

The awards hosted by Paul Greenberg, Founder of NORA Network, and change and leadership expert, Nigel Collin, were the Australian retail industry’s first sustainable awards evening. Every aspect of the event had a high standard of sustainability, from food prepared with sustainably farmed produce, the use of recycled/recyclable materials, and a goal of zero waste. Well done to NORA Network for a hosting a fantastic evening. We are looking forward to next year’s gala already!


Unlock your cross-channel marketing potential with Engagement Cloud. For a quick demo, click here.

The post dotdigital bags the 2019 Best Marketing Automation Partner Award at NORA Solution Partner Excellence Awards appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com