Consumers are no longer brand loyal – and they’re even gaming the system to lock in lower prices

With the emergence of online shopping came the rise of choice. As those internet-savvy shoppers realized that they were no longer tied to one or two retailers for a specific product, they began to search and compare.

And now, it seems the best of us are willing to do extensive research to find the best deal online: 80% of UK consumers and 73% of US consumers said they won’t rest until the price is right. Retailers therefore need to be conscious of competitor pricing while also delivering on customer experience if they want to remain favorable in the market.

Cunning tactics to outsmart the abandoned cart

‘Shopping around’ has not only become a mainstream activity, but consumers are becoming wise to the tricks that can bag them the best deals from online brands.

An interesting trend that emerged from the survey was consumers from both regions will abandon shopping carts in the hope that brands will deliver a last-ditch discount to close the sale (15% US; 13% UK). What’s more, around a fifth (19% US; 17% UK) abandon their carts on different websites to compare deals.

Cart recovery programs are a proven way to pull back reluctant customers and in our 2017 Hitting the Mark report, we were surprised that 60% of retailers didn’t have these emails in place. However, marketers should be wary of leveraging discounts in abandoned cart emails, especially if they’re including them in every campaign; doing so will train people to abandon their carts each and every time.

One way to overcome this dilemma is to look deeper into who your target customers are – for example, you might want to encourage new prospective customers to make their first purchase and in this instance, a discount-led cart recovery email might be appropriate and fruitful.

Consumers love email for offers – but how can marketers make them love email for email?

A common tactic adopted by companies is to offer a discount in exchange for a website visitors’ email address. And it’s certainly working, with 39% of UK consumers and 41% of US consumers saying they’ll happily part with their email address to get money off or discount codes.

The area that many brands fail in is thinking beyond the first purchase and how to use email to turn one-time buyers into regular loyal customers. The key way to do this is by engaging contacts with interesting and relevant content and offers. In this free guide, we offer up tips on how to introduce a content-led approach to email marketing so brand messaging isn’t solely focused on discounting. The other way to minimize the ‘one-night stand’ of the ecommerce world is by introducing a smart loyalty program that offers points for more than just purchases; check out our partner LoyaltyLion.

It appears that US retailers are better at delivering the right content at the right times to the right people, with just over a third of US consumers (35%) saying they rarely receive emails relevant to their situation, compared to more than half in the UK (52%).

Are UK consumers more impatient than Americans?

From Black Friday to Cyber Monday, these popular shopping days have become global phenomena. But it seems US consumers are more likely to hold off from purchasing until dedicated sales days compared to UK shoppers (US 40%; UK 30%).

Are UK consumers impatient and impulsive when it comes to purchasing the products they want, or do they feel as though the offers are simply not worth waiting for? The former is confirmed in research conducted in July by YouGov for Fetch, revealing that UK consumers admit to being more impatient today than they were five years ago. 42% of people blamed technology for their impetuosity, which makes sense when you consider how smartphones have bred an on-demand, ‘what-you-want-when-you-want-it’ society.

Regardless of the quality of deals offered on Black Friday, there’s certainly a difference in the way US consumers shop compared to the guys in the UK.

To be successful in the world of ecommerce, marketers need to take a holistic approach and think about the entire customer journey. It’s easy to plug holes as and when problems occur, but the true solution is to understand how to capitalize on the customer lifecycle.

The online shopping research was conducted in June 2017 by YouGov on behalf of dotmailer and its communications agency, M&C Saatchi. The total sample comprises 2,061 UK respondents and 1,145 US respondents.

The post Consumers are no longer brand loyal – and they’re even gaming the system to lock in lower prices appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 17 hours ago from blog.dotmailer.com

How to Perform a Basic Local Business Competitive Audit

Posted by MiriamEllis

“Why are those folks outranking me in Google’s local pack?”

If you or a client is asking this question, the answer lies in competitive analysis. You’ve got to stack Business A up against Business B to identify the strengths and weaknesses of both competitors, and then make an educated guess as to which factors Google is weighting most in the results for a specific search term.

Today, I’d like to share a real-world example of a random competitive audit, including a chart that depicts which factors I’ve investigated and explanatory tips and tools for how I came up with the numbers and facts. Also included: a downloadable version of the spreadsheet that you can use for your own company or clients. Your goal with this audit is to identify exactly how one player is winning the game so that you can create a to-do list for any company trying to move up in the rankings. Alternatively, some competitive audits can be defensive, identifying a dominant player’s weaknesses so that they can be corrected to ensure continued high rankings.

It’s my hope that seeing this audit in action will help you better answer the question of why “this person is outranking that person,” and that you may share with our community some analytical tips of your own!

The scenario:

Search term: Chinese Restaurant San Rafael

Statistics about San Rafael: A large town of approximately 22 square miles in the San Francisco Bay Area with a population of 58,954 and 15+ Chinese restaurants.

Consistency of results: From 20 miles away to 2000+ miles away, Ping’s Chinese Cuisine outranks Yet Wah Restaurant in Google’s local pack for the search term. We don’t look closer than 20 miles, or proximity of the searcher creates too much diversity.

The challenge: Why is Ping’s Chinese Cuisine outranking Yet Wah Restaurant in Google’s Local Pack for the search term?

The comparison chart

*Where there’s a clear winner, it’s noted in bolded, italicized text.

Basic business information

NAP

Ping’s Chinese Cuisine

248 Northgate Dr.

San Rafael, CA 94903

(415) 492-8808

Yet Wah Restaurant

1238 4th St.

San Rafael, CA 94901

(415) 460-9883

GMB landing page URL

http://pingsnorthgate.com/

http://www.yetwahchinese.com/

Local Pack rank

1

2

Organic rank

17

5

Organic rank among business-owned sites


*Remove directories and review platforms from the equation, as they typically shouldn’t be viewed as direct competitors

8

1

Business model eligible for GMB listing at this address?


*Check Google’s Guidelines if unsure: https://support.google.com/business/answer/3038177…

Yes

Yes

Oddities

Note that Ping’s has redirected pingschinesecuisine.com to pingsnorthgate.com. Ping’s also has a www and non-www version of pingsnorthgate.com.

A 2nd website for same business at same location with same phone number: http://yetwahsanrafael.com/. This website is ranking directly below the authoritative (GMB-linked) website for this business in organic SERP for the search in question.

Business listings

GMB review count

32

38

GMB review rating

4.1

3.8

Most recent GMB review


*Sort GMB reviews by “most recent” filter

1 week ago

1 month ago

Proper GMB categories?

Yes

Yes

Estimated age of GMB listing


*Estimated by date of oldest reviews and photos, but can only be seen as an estimate

At least 2 years old

At least 6 years old

Moz Local score (completeness + accuracy + lack of duplicates)


*Tool: https://moz.com/local/search

49%

75%

Moz Local duplicate findings


*Tool: https://moz.com/local/search

0

1 (Facebook)

Keywords in GMB name

chinese

restaurant

Keywords in GMB website landing page title tag

Nothing at all. Just “home page”

Yes

Spam in GMB title


*Look at GMB photos, Google Streetview, and the website to check for inconsistencies

No

Yes: “restaurant” not in website logo or street level signage

Hours and photos on GMB?

Yes

Yes

Proximity to city centroid


*Look up city by name in Google Maps and see where it places the name of the city on the map. That’s the city “centroid.” Get driving directions from the business to an address located in the centroid.

3.5 miles

410.1 feet

Proximity to nearest competitor


*Zoom in on Google map to surface as many adjacent competitors as possible. Can be a Possum factor in some cases.

1.1 mile

0.2 miles

Within Google Maps boundaries?


*Look up city by name in Google Maps and note the pink border via which Google designates that city’s boundaries

Yes

Yes

Website

Age of domain


*Tool: http://smallseotools.com/domain-age-checker/

March 2013

August 2011

Domain Authority


*Tool: https://moz.com/products/pro/seo-toolbar

16

8

GMB Landing Page Authority


*Tool: https://moz.com/products/pro/seo-toolbar

30

21

Links to domain

*Tool: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

53

2

DA/PA of most authoritative link earned


*Tool: https://moz.com/researchtools/ose/

72/32

38/16

Evaluation of website content

*This is a first-pass, visual gut check, just reading through the top-level pages of the website to see how they strike you in terms of quality.

Extremely thin, just adequate to identify restaurant. At least has menu on own site. Of the 2 sites, this one has the most total text, by virtue of a sentence on the homepage and menus in real text.

Extremely thin, almost zero text on homepage, menu link goes to another website.

Evaluation of website design

Outdated

Outdated, mostly images

Evaluation of website UX

Can be navigated, but few directives or CTAs

Can be navigated, but few directives or CTAs

Mobile-friendly


*Tool: https://search.google.com/test/mobile-friendly

Basic mobile design, but Google’s mobile-friendly test tool says both www and non-www cannot be reached because it’s unavailable or blocked by robots txt. They have disallowed scripts, photos, Flash, images, and plugins. This needs to be further investigated and resolved. Mobile site URL is http://pingsnorthgate.com/#2962. Both this URL and the other domains are failing Google’s test.

Basic mobile design passes Google’s mobile-friendly test

Evaluation of overall onsite SEO


*A first-pass visual look at the page code of top level pages, checking for titles, descriptions, header tags, schema, + the presence of problems like Flash.

Pretty much no optimization

Minimal, indeed, but a little bit of effort made. Some title tags, some schema, some header tags.

HTML NAP on website?

Yes

Yes

Website NAP matches GMB NAP?

No (Northgate One instead of Northgate Drive)

Yes

Total number of wins: Ping’s 7, Yet Wah 9.

Download your own version of my competitive audit spreadsheet by making a copy of the file.

Takeaways from the comparison chart

Yet Wah significantly outranks Ping’s in the organic results, but is being beaten by them in the Local Pack. Looking at the organic factors, we see evidence that, despite the fact that Ping’s has greater DA, greater PA of the GMB landing page, more links, and stronger links, they are not outranking Yet Wah organically. This is something of a surprise that leads us to look at their content and on-page SEO.

While Ping’s has slightly better text content on their website, they have almost done almost zero optimization work, their URLs have canonical issues, and their robots.txt isn’t properly configured. Yet Wah has almost no on-site content, but they have modestly optimized their title tags, implemented H tags and some schema, and their site passes Google’s mobile-friendly test.

So, our theory regarding Yet Wah’s superior organic ranking is that, in this particular case, Yet Wah’s moderate efforts with on-page SEO have managed to beat out Ping’s superior DA/PA/link metrics. Yet Wah’s website is also a couple of years older than Ping’s.

All that being said, Yet Wah’s organic win is failing to translate into a local win for them. How can we explain Ping’s local win? Ping’s has a slightly higher overall review rating, higher DA and GMB landing page PA, more total links, and higher authority links. They also have slightly more text content on their website, even if it’s not optimized.

So, our theory regarding Ping’s superior local rank is that, in this particular case, website authority/links appear to be winning the day for Ping’s. And the basic website text they have could possibly be contributing, despite lack of optimization.

In sum, basic on-page SEO appears to be contributing to Yet Wah’s organic win, while DA/PA/links appear to be contributing to Ping’s local win.

Things that bother me

I chose this competitive scenario at random, because when I took an initial look at the local and organic rankings, they bothered me a little. I would have expected Yet Wah to be first in the local pack if they were first in organic. I see local and organic rankings correlate strongly so much of the time, that this case seemed odd to me.

By the end of the audit, I’ve come up with a working theory, but I’m not 100% satisfied with it. It makes me ask questions like:

  • Is Ping’s better local rank stemming from some hidden factor no one knows about?
  • In this particular case, why is Google appearing to value Ping’s links more that Yet Wah’s on-page SEO in determining local rank? Would I see this same trend across the board if I analyzed 1,000 restaurants? The industry says links are huge in local SEO right now. I guess we’re seeing proof of that here.
  • Why isn’t Google weighting Yet Wah’s superior citation set more than they apparently are? Ping’s citations are in bad shape. I’ve seen citation health play a much greater apparent role in other audits, but something feels weird here.
  • Why isn’t Google “punishing” Yet Wah in the organic results for that second website with duplicate NAP on it? That seems like it should matter.
  • Why isn’t age factoring in more here? My inspection shows that Yet Wah’s domain and GMB listing are significantly older. This could be moving the organic needle for them, but it’s not moving the local one.
  • Could user behavior be making Ping’s the local winner? This is a huge open question at the end of my basic audit.* See below.

*I don’t have access to either restaurant’s Google Analytics, GMB Insights, or Google Search Console accounts, so perhaps that would turn up penalties, traffic patterns, or things like superior clicks-to-call, clicks-for-directions, or clicks-to-website that would make Ping’s local win easier to explain. If one of these restaurants were your client, you’d want to add chart rows for these things based on full access to the brand’s accounts and tools, and whatever data your tools can access about the competitor. For example, using a tool like SimilarWeb, I see that between May and June of this year, YetWah’s traffic rose from an average 150 monthly visits up to a peak of 500, while Ping’s saw a drop from 700 to 350 visits in that same period. Also, in a scenario in which one or both parties have a large or complex link profile, you might want additional rows for link metrics, taken from tools like Moz Pro, Ahrefs, or Majestic.

In this case, Ping’s has 7 total wins in my chart and Yet Wah has 9. The best I can do is look at which factors each business is winning at to try to identify a pattern of what Google is weighting most, both organically and locally. With both restaurants being so basic in their marketing, and with neither one absolutely running away with the game, what we have here is a close race. While I’d love to be able to declare a totally obvious winner, the best I could do as a consultant, in this case, would be to draw up a plan of defense or offense.

If my client were Ping’s:

Ping’s needs to defend its #1 local ranking if it doesn’t want to lose it. Its greatest weaknesses which must be resolved are:

  • The absence of on-page SEO
  • Thin content
  • Robots.txt issues

To remain strong, Ping’s should also work on:

  • Improving citation health
  • Directing the non-www version of their site to the www one
  • A professional site redesign could possibly improve conversions

Ping’s should accomplish these things to defend its current local rank and to try to move up organically.

If my client were Yet Wah:

Yet Wah needs to try to achieve victory over Ping’s in the local packs, as it has done in the organic results. To do that, Yet Wah should:

  • Earn links to the GMB landing page URL and the domain
  • Create strong text content on its high-level pages, including putting a complete dining menu in real text on the website
  • Deal with the second website featuring duplicate NAP

Yet Wah should also:

  • Complete work on its citation health
  • Work hard to get some new 5-star reviews by delighting customers with something special
  • Consider adding the word “Restaurant” to their signage, so that they can’t be reported for spamming the GMB name field.
  • Consider a professional redesign of the website to improve conversions

Yet Wah should accomplish these things in an effort to surpass Ping’s.

And, with either client being mine, I’d then be taking a second pass to further investigate anything problematic that came up in the initial audit, so that I could make further technical or creative suggestions.

Big geo-industry picture analysis

Given that no competitor for this particular search term has been able to beat out Ping’s or Yet Wah in the local pack, and given the minimal efforts these two brands have thus far made, there’s a tremendous chance for any Chinese restaurant in San Rafael to become the dominant player. Any competitor that dedicates itself to running on all cylinders (professional, optimized website with great content, a healthy link profile, a competitive number of high-star reviews, healthy citations, etc.) could definitely surpass all other contestants. This is not a tough market and there are no players who can’t be bested.

My sample case has been, as I’ve said, a close race. You may be facing an audit where there are deeply entrenched dominant players whose statistics far surpass those of a business you’re hoping to assist. But the basic process is the same:

  1. Look at the top-ranking business.
  2. Fill out the chart (adding any other fields you feel are important).
  3. Then discover the strengths of the dominant company, as well as its potential weaknesses.
  4. Contrast these findings with those you’ve charted for the company you’re helping and you’ll be able to form a plan for improvement.

And don’t forget the user proximity factor. Any company’s most adjacent customers will see pack results that vary either slightly or significantly from what a user sees from 20, 50, or 1,000 miles away. In my specific study, it happened to be the third result in the pack that went haywire once a user got 50 miles away, while the top two remained dominant and statically ranked for searchers as far away as the East Coast.

Because of this phenomenon of distance, it’s vital for business owners to be educated about the fact that they are serving two user groups: one that is located in the neighborhood or city of the business, and another that could be anywhere in the country or the world. This doesn’t just matter for destinations like hotels or public amusements. In California (a big state), Internet users on a road trip from Palm Springs may be looking to end their 500-mile drive at a Chinese restaurant in San Rafael, so you can’t just think hyper-locally; you’ve got to see the bigger local picture. And you’ve got to do the analysis to find ways of winning as often as you can with both consumer groups.

You take it from here, auditor!

My local competitive audit chart is a basic one, looking at 30+ factors. What would you add? How would you improve it? Did I miss a GMB duplicate listing, or review spam? What’s working best for your agency in doing local audits these days? Do you use a chart, or just provide a high-level text summary of your internal findings? And, if you have any further theories as to how Ping’s is winning the local pack, I’d love for you to share them in the comments.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 day ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Reflecting on Sydney’s Online Retailer conference

Online Retailer Sydney took place on the 26th and 27th July at the International Convention Centre. The event is Australia’s most established event for technology-led retailers, featuring inspirational talks and panel discussions, along with exhibits from cutting-edge tech providers and integrators.

We were delighted to not only exhibit at the conference, but to have two speaking opportunities and a live poll with one of our partners. Rohan Lock, our Regional Director in APAC, took to the stage to talk about the value of email marketing.

Rohan delivering his talk in the Retail Technology Lab

Rohan’s presentation in the Retail Technology Lab highlighted the fact that email is proven to deliver return on investment of at least $20 for every $1 spent; yet, many retailers are failing to realise the opportunities of low-hanging fruit such as abandoned cart emails. In our 2017 Hitting the Mark report, just 40% of the 100-brand sample delivered a cart recovery email – so his wise words were to focus on getting the fundamentals in place before getting excited by new technologies like AI. Want to learn about the 10 email programs Rohan discussed in his presentation that have proven to increase e-commerce revenue? Check out our best practice guide here.

Murdo joined a discussion on Millennials

Our Head of Operations in APAC, Murdo Wallace, participated in a fascinating panel discussion called Reinvent Retail in the Age of the Millennials.

In essence, the session touched on the new age of consumers who crave authenticity and are sensitive to the multitude of marketing messages they’re exposed to from day to day. Those on the panel discussed the importance of personalisation and customisation in digital marketing communications, as well as the emergence of experiential retail for omnichannel brands.

Polling with our fellow Magento Premier Partner

It’s always good to see faces old and new at these kinds of these events – and that was especially true when it came to collaborating with the team from Temando. Together, we conducted a live poll to get attendees’ views on disruption in the local ecommerce industry. And here were some of the findings…

  • We asked delegates about the digital marketing tools that matter to them and email marketing was presented as a favourite, with 79.50% seeing it as an opportunity.
  • Surprisingly, only 60.25% see shipping and fulfilment as an opportunity. This is one of the many areas that Amazon excels at and local retailers should look to improve their shipping/fulfilment to compete against Amazon while the ecommerce giant is still getting ready to enter the region.
  • On an encouraging note, unlike the doom and gloom reported by the local media around the subject of Amazon, a majority of the respondents surveyed saw it as an opportunity and the sentiment is positive.

Following the poll, the Temando team shared with delegates the results from their latest – and very timely – report on the state of shipping in commerce. You can bag yourself a free copy here.

The APAC team looking rather glam

In my opinion, every good event ends with a stellar party and this year’s ORIAs gala dinner was a fantastic way to end the conference. The AfterPayty – sponsored by AfterPay – which followed the dinner, also did not disappoint!

The post Reflecting on Sydney’s Online Retailer conference appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 5 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

BINGO – Making multichannel work for you

I do not mind the occasional buzzword if it used as a shorthand for a bigger concept; that is just efficient. I am not a big fan however, when buzzwords make a simple concept sound hard and complicated so the writer or speaker can sell something, which is why I have struggled with the recent marketing ’trend‘ around multi/omnichannel.

First, let’s address omnichannel. Those who remember their Latin from school will know that ’omni‘ is a prefix meaning ’all‘ or ’every‘. It crops up in loads of English words like omniscient, meaning all-knowing or omnipotent, meaning all powerful. Omnichannel therefore means all channels and that is just not possible. No brand has the budget or resources to market across every channel. When was the last time you briefed your agency on your next sky writing campaign? Do not get me wrong, skywriting could be a very effective channel in certain situations but it is probably not the go-to channel for most brands.

Multichannel on the other hand is certainly more achievable as ’multi‘ is short for ’multiple‘. Everybody ought to be marketing across multiple channels. I am not sure however, that it is buzzword-worthy in the sense that multichannel is not anything new. Marketers have been using multichannel since the advent of the second channel.

You should be using whichever channels both connect you with your target audience AND meet your objectives. It is this second piece which marketers too often ignore. It is easy to chase after the shiny new channels supported by new technologies. You may even be able to make a legitimate argument that your consumers are there on that channel waiting to hear from you. This ignores whether that channel will help you meet your objectives and in order to do that, you need to take a step back and do a little analysis.

First, do you understand the channel? Before diving into a channel, get immersed in it yourself. See how consumers (i.e. you and your friends) interact with the channel and with each other on that channel. Can you seamlessly integrate marketing, or will it be too intrusive? Also, check out what the early adopting brands are doing on the channel. It is usually better to be a later adopter and learn from other’s mistakes than to become that epic fail case study trotted out at every conference.

Once you truly understand the channel, you can work out how you will support it. There are countless stories of brands who got into social media but because they did not have the mechanisms and resources to listen to those channels, which resulted in frustrating loyal customers.

Last but certainly not least, test the channel with a tightly defined pilot. Know exactly what you are testing as well as the measures of success and the measures of failure. If successful, by all means crack on and roll it out big time but if it is failing, test other approaches till it either works or you decide it is not the right channel for you. Even if you have decided to go with it, do not forget to go back and analyse its performance on a regular basis.

I was working with a client on the value of an email address and we discovered that while people who only received emails were worth about £1.80, people who both received email and liked the brand on Facebook were worth almost £2.70. That led us to look at the people who had only liked the Facebook page. They were worth 10p. What this clearly demonstrated is that no acquisition budget should be going towards Facebook but we should use it to extend the email with exclusive content and other offers.

Do not get hung up on the buzzwords. Remember that at the end of the day, you are a marketer and therefore the king of your own buzzwords (a blog for another time). In this case, omnichannel is both unachievable and not the most effective way to spend your marketing budget. Multichannel on the other hand is achievable but is not anything new. In fact, I am sure you have been a multichannel marketer since the day you started your marketing career. What is important is choosing the right channels – finding the balance between the channels where your customers are and the channels that are going to be the most effective for meeting your objectives.

The post BINGO – Making multichannel work for you appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 6 days ago from blog.dotmailer.com

5 Tips to Help Show ROI from Local SEO

Posted by JoyHawkins

Earlier this year, when I was first writing my advanced local SEO training, I reached out to some users who work for local SEO agencies and asked them what they’d like more training on. The biggest topic I got as a result was related to tracking and reporting value to small business owners.

My clients will often forward me reports from their prior SEO company, expressing that they have no idea what they were getting for their money. Some of the most common complaints I see with these reports are:

  • Too much use of marketing lingo (“Bounce Rate,” “CTR,” etc.)
  • Way too much data
  • No representation of what impact the work done had on the business itself (did it get them more customers?)

If a small business owner is giving you hundreds or thousands of dollars every month, how do you prove to them they’re getting value from it? There’s a lot to dig into with this topic — I included a full six pages on it in my training. Today I wanted to share some of the most successful tips that I use with my own clients.


1. Stop sending automated Google Analytics reports

If the goal is to show the customer what they’re getting from their investment, you probably won’t achieve it by simply sending them an Analytics report each month. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, but it only looks awesome to you because you’re a marketer. Over the past year, I’ve looked at many monthly reports that made my head spin — it’s just too much data. The average SMB isn’t going to be able to look at those reports and figure out how their bounce rate decreasing somehow means you’re doing a great job at SEO.

2. Make conversions the focus of your report

What does the business owner care about? Hint: it’s not how you increased the ranking for one of their 50 tracked keywords this month. No, what they care about is how much additional business you drove to their business. This should be the focus of the report you send them.

3. Use dynamic number insertion to track calls

If you’re not already doing this, you’re really killing your ability to show value. I don’t have a single SEO or SEM client that isn’t using call tracking. I use Call Tracking Metrics, but CallRail is another one that works well, too. This allows you to see the sources of incoming calls. Unlike slapping a call tracking number on your website, dynamic number insertion won’t mess up NAP consistency.

The bonus here is that you can set up these calls as goals in Google Analytics. Using the Landing Page report, you can see which pages on the site were responsible for getting that call. Instead of saying, “Hey customer, a few months ago I created this awesome page of content for you,” you can say “Hey customer, a few months ago, I added this page to your site and as a result, it’s got you 5 more calls.”
Conversion goal completion in Google Analytics

4. Estimate revenue

I remember sitting in a session a couple years ago when Dev Basu from Powered by Search told me about this tactic. I had a lightbulb moment, wondering why the heck I didn’t think to do this before.

The concept is simple: Ask the client what the average lifetime value of their customer is. Next, ask them what their average closing ratio is on Internet leads. Take those numbers and, based on the number of conversions, you can calculate their estimated revenue.

Formula: Lifetime Value of a Customer x Closing Ratio (%) x Number of Conversions = Estimated Revenue

Bonus tip: Take this a step further and show them that for every dollar they pay you, you make them $X. Obviously, if the lifetime value of the customer is high, these numbers look a lot better. For example, an attorney could look like this:Example monthly ROI for an attorneyWhereas an insurance agent would look like this:
Example monthly ROI for an insurance agent

5. Show before/after screenshots, not a ranking tracker.

I seriously love ranking trackers. I spend a ton of time every week looking at reports in Bright Local for my clients. However, I really believe ranking trackers are best used for marketers, not business owners. How many times have you had a client call you freaking out because they noticed a drop in ranking for one keyword? I chose to help stop this trend by not including ranking reports in my monthly reporting and have never regretted that decision.

Instead, if I want to highlight a significant ranking increase that happened as a result of SEO, I can do that by showing the business owner a visual — something they will actually understand. This is where I use Bright Local’s screenshots; I can see historically how a SERP used to look versus how it looks now.


At the end of the day, to show ROI you need to think like a business owner, not a marketer. If your goals match the goals of the business owner (which is usually to increase calls), make sure that’s what you’re conveying in your monthly reporting.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Reblogged 1 week ago from tracking.feedpress.it

Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment

A firm belief of the dotmailer team is that marketing automation allows marketers to focus more of their time on the strategic thinking and worry less about the manual tasks and execution. And software like dotmailer is needed to do this in various facets, from sorting and cleansing data, to designing marketing messages, scheduling them and so on. This is why we appreciate when our partners work on projects that apply the same belief. Enter Other Media, a digital agency we work with…

If you’re considering how to make the most of your email marketing, chances are you’ve been investigating personalisation and automation. As an agency defining and designing digital solutions for clients, the machine learning techniques that underpin this intelligent approach to marketing have caught our interest and we wanted to investigate their potential a little further.

We partner with dotmailer (an email marketing automation software) to help our clients, and Other Media as an agency, to get to grips with understanding our customers, but what about our competitors?

It is absolutely the right thing to focus on your customers and understanding their needs and behaviours from analysing their interactions with your brands. However, we can all benefit from taking a more outward looking approach – remembering to look at the market in which you operate.

It can be very useful to take the same way of thinking and processes that you apply to your customer marketing and apply them to your competitors. Getting hung up on what your competitors are doing isn’t healthy but keeping an eye on what they are doing, with minimal input and effort required, can be a very useful thing.

So, how did Other Media do it?

Ok, so we didn’t actually train a puppy, we trained an algorithm to sort documents, but that doesn’t sound as fun or useful. Useful, though, is hugely underplaying the importance of our latest experimentation.  

At Other Media, we thrive on delving into new trends and technologies by experimenting with what is available to help us, and our clients, to provide the best solutions for business needs. And this time the trend we focused on is Artificial intelligence (AI).

The last few weeks have seen us utilising machine learning, a particular branch of AI, to enhance our ambient data technologies. We wanted to see what AI could do for us in terms of analysing vast swathes of data in order to help us understand competing brands.

The ambient data technology, JustNow, collects real-time or near real-time data from multiple sources including Google Analytics, social media, news feeds and email newsletter campaigns. Our custom data displays help our clients to see the bigger picture of how their marketing activities, and those of their competitors, might be driving visitors, sales and value.

We used machine learning technology to distil insight from data and present it through this ambient, real-time display. We looked at the collection and display of competitor newsletters and asked ourselves this question:

Can we build a picture of what is going on in a competitive market by using artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to automate the reading and classification of news?

Well the spoiler is that, yes, we can.

To find out more about machine learning (what it is, what its applications and implications for businesses are), and see what our resulting data screen looked like and get a feel for how it could look for your organisation, download the experiment report here.

The post Machine Learning: A competitor email experiment appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

“Missing the Mark” – 10 ‘exemplary’ SPAM emails

When people talk about email, and instantly think of “spam”, it really bugs me. Email marketing is not spam; email marketing is an art form. It needs to be perfected. We want a Picasso or Rembrandt landing in the inbox, not the scribbles of an amateur.

However, there are some instances of email marketing malpractice that can all too easily result in brand messages being treated like spam content. Missing the mark with your subject lines, email creative and copy can see your reputation damaged and your deliverability rates plummet.

346.04 billion spam emails every day.

Consider the history of spam, and the impact it has on the email marketing industry; ReturnPath defines spam as unsolicited bulk email (UBE) or messages sent to many recipients without permission. They also state that “spam is in the eye of the beholder” and I wholeheartedly concur. How an email is defined really depends upon both the interpretation of the recipient and the intention of the sender. If your brand sends out mass batch-and-blast messages that contain little of value or relevance to a particular customer, then you could quickly be considered a ‘spammy’ sender.

There are so many things we – as email marketers – need to think about when sending out an email campaign. If you want to find out more about best practice tips to avoid the spam folder, check out our infographic.

In the interest of  exploring what not to do when trying to appeal to customers in the inbox (and for a little light-hearted entertainment), I’ve collected some prime examples of spam from my inbox –  which are, by definition, awful examples of email marketing. I’ve titled them with the email subject line:

  1. Tired of cleaning up cat pee?

This is my favourite. Am I tired of cleaning up cat pee? No. Do I even have a cat? No. This is a classic spam email; there is no template, the message is not relevant, I have not given consent to receive the email.

  1. Compression Panties Shape & Hide Excess Fat?

Huh?

  1. Home based woodworking business

Apparently, I can make 90,000 USD per annum by buying Jim’s “Wood Profit” guide. Only 8 slots left for that free bonus so I better click right away! Quintessentially spam. It’s also not great if there are on-going spelling errors in the content, such as in this email.

  1. Why eye surgery is unnecessary for eye floaters

I mean, why would I listen to a qualified professional such as my doctor? Of course I’m going to take the advice of an erroneous and unsolicited message that reminds me of conspiracy nutters on social media.

  1. No Guns, No Knives. What do you carry?

Apparently, a lot of people carry pepper spray to defend themselves (do they?). This email invites me to check out the “Stinger Tactical Pen” – supposedly I risk everything by not carrying it. Hmmm. Delete. Delete. Delete.

  1. How to get the blood flowing to your boner

According to a verified source (I’m undoubtedly convinced of its authenticity), a controversial pill saved this poor man’s marriage. His wife noticed he was “longer and thicker immediately” – excellent! The husband – evidently elated and overjoyed – carried on for hours that night. The next morning, he was “ready, willing and able” to go for round two and three. That’s super impressive I’d say – sign me up! Not.

  1. The closest thing to flying a REAL plane!

If you have ever dreamed of being a pilot, VirtualPilot3D will fulfil that dream. I actually have a fear of flying and have an irrational dislike for virtual games. I predict that 99.9% of recipients would rather be travelling somewhere exotic in first class than receiving this email they didn’t ask for.

  1. The definitive guide to removing nail fungus

Pass.

  1. Download 518 boat plans inside

I’m a twenty-something millennial living and working in London. Funnily enough, access to over 518 step-by-step boat plans videos and boat building guides, does not interest me. I can barely put IKEA furniture together.

  1. Mediate Like A Zen Monk…In Just 7 Minutes

I’ve done Yoga a couple of times and I absolutely love it. It’s a great way to unwind from the hectic bustle that is working life. Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but attempting to meditate [like a monk?] in 7 minutes not only sounds hypocritical, but stressful. I also highly doubt it will defeat any life problems I – or anyone else – may be facing. [Uproar amongst all the legitimate yoga teachers and/or monks].

I hope you’ve all laughed as much reading this blog as I have writing it. If you want to avoid the mistakes of these spammers and achieve 10/10 for your creative, content and data use, check out our 2017 Hitting the Mark benchmark report. 100 brands, +100 emails, and more insight than you can shake a stick at.

 

 

The post “Missing the Mark” – 10 ‘exemplary’ SPAM emails appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 week ago from blog.dotmailer.com

UK local SEO firm Movette shut down by regulators for deceptive sales practices

Firm falsely implied it was affiliated with Google and signed SMBs up to recurring annual contracts worth from $250 to more than $300.

The post UK local SEO firm Movette shut down by regulators for deceptive sales practices appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 1 week ago from feeds.searchengineland.com

Award season: top hints and tips to get a gong

It was a fantastic night, and aside from the delicious food, a few drinks and a very energetic dancefloor, it was amazing to see some of the fantastic work our customers and partners have been doing over the last 12 months.

The work showcased was of an unbelievably high standard, and for all those who submitted worthy work but didn’t quite make the podium, the aim for next year seems to be ‘how can we win?!’

I have been at dotmailer for 5 years, working as a Senior Account Manager, and my day-to-day role is to ensure my customers are getting the best out of dotmailer.

We are fortunate enough to have customers achieving outstanding results every day, yet writing a winning award entry can be really difficult; summing up all of that work, collaboration and effort in a concise story sometimes seems impossible.

However, fear not, because we have some super tips from our friends at the DMA who put on an awards entry workshop. Listen up!

Think about your audience

Similarly to viewing an email with the idea of ‘what’s in it for me?’, entries should be written with ‘would this story impress me?’ in mind. If your award entry isn’t impressive to you, it’s time to redraft before submitting to harsh, time-poor judges!

Clear before clever – judges will know if you’ve embellished

Although the award entry will need to be impressive, it’s also important to be clear and concise. Judges will know if the story is embellished so an easy-to-read entry will work in your favour.

Be confident and tell a good story

At the same time as being clear, like any good story, entries will need to be well written and confident. Put yourself in the judges’ shoes – after reading numerous entries all day, you’d appreciate a compelling, stand-out story.

Objectives –> Outcomes

As with any project, you’ll need a clear aim and proof that you have fulfilled this. As a sneaky trick, write the outcomes first and make sure your objectives match these.

Avoid Jargon

Any internal language used may be confusing to external judges – mirroring point 2, clear, concise and jargon-free.

Collaborative – talk to your Account Manager and any agencies early

With any award winning entry, one person cannot win alone. This is always a team effort! If you’re thinking of applying for a dotties award, get in touch with your Account Manager as soon as you can. If you’re looking to applying for other industry awards, such as the DMAs, it might be an idea to introduce all your agencies as soon as you can.

Don’t enter something before you’ve given it enough time for results

Some campaigns will be a short-term win, whereas some will take a while to mature. As much as it might be tempting to enter a campaign you’re excited about, you might find this is a winning entry the following year…

To many cooks will spoil it – make sure one person writes the finished entry

Awards are exciting and it’s only natural that everyone wants to be involved! However, let one person take final ownership of the award entry. A story written by numerous people will appear disjointed and inconsistent.

Vague results won’t make a winning entry

Show exactly how effective your campaign was. Get the exact ROI and any other stats that back up your story; vague results will make you appear less confident and less worthy.

Proof read!

And finally, after all your hard work, please make sure you proofread your entry! Get others to check it over; small typos and spelling mistakes can really devalue an otherwise great submission.

I hope you find all of these tips useful. If you’re a dotmailer customer and you’re interested in submitting an entry for 2018, get in touch with your Account Manager for more information.

If you’d like to find out more about the dotties, check out our microsite or see all the fun from the night.  

The post Award season: top hints and tips to get a gong appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Why merchants are moving to Shopify Plus

Any retail business – be it a budding startup or an international big-name – knows that a slick and optimized online store is essential to ecommerce success. Get lumbered with ill-fitting or outdated tech and, quite quickly, you’re leaking revenue like a cracked flowerpot. The companies who drive the best ROI and experience the most growth are those that secure smart, affordable and scalable commerce platform.

The ecommerce space has typically been dominated by a select few solutions – until recently, when out-of-the-box ecommerce solution Shopify began to attract retailers with its ease-of-use, power and flexibility. The platform as a whole is now used by more than 500,000 merchants globally, and has facilitated more than $34 billion worth of retail transactions. The company have since launched Shopify Plus, a super-scalable version of Shopify that provides customers with an additional layer of expertise and services.

So why are so many businesses making the switch to Shopify Plus?

Shopify Plus provides a great fit for the fledgling and established stores alike. For the former, the ability to opt for a SaaS platform means a less technical and more manageable way to run their online store – without the reliance on resources in the developer department. And for the latter who are more likely to be running with legacy tech, the opportunity to swap out outdated functionality, temperamental integrations and risks to data security is undoubtedly appealing.

We spoke to COO of Dormify and dotmailer customer, Nicole Gardner about her recent replatform to Shopify Plus. She described her company’s position before the switch:

“At Dormify, we had been on the same platform for about five years. During that time (as you can imagine) we went through a lot of redesigns, updates and upgrades. It got to the point where we were spending the bulk of our time and resources fixing bugs and addressing speed and performance issues. As you can imagine, this was really holding us back from focusing on conversion and optimization, creating a bottleneck in our ability to actualize our team’s brilliant ideas.

The biggest challenge for Dormify was aligning their replatforming timeline with their shopping season, which is typically during the summer months during the academic break. Nicole explains:

‘We were looking at a 10-12 month timeline for upgrading to the latest version of our existing ecommerce platform, but we were loath to wait for that length of time and go through another key growth season with the same issues. We needed a solution that could get our infrastructure in better shape within a few months time before this next season.

The move to Shopify Plus freed the brand from the inhibitions of tech worry, allowing them to focus on the real ROI-driver – strategy:

‘What it came down to was speed, performance and stability. As a seasonal business, we previously had to spend so much time and resource thinking about how many servers we needed, and how we’d scale up during those periods, without having to spend a ton of money,’ Nicole explains.

‘Shopify Plus’ biggest benefit for us was speed – the sites we were looking at were pretty fast, and Shopify handles all the hosting, scaling and performance, so you’re only dealing with one platform provider that is accountable for all of these areas. That in itself was one of the biggest attractions for us.

dotmailer’s Commerce Flow

One of the perceived pitfalls of replatforming is its effect on your inter-stack relations. Commerce Flow from dotmailer connects to over 50% of the world’s online stores, giving you the ability to get contact, product and order data automatically flowing into your account. Nicole explains:
‘Initially, we were worried that we’d face the challenge of integrating our new ecommerce platform with everything else in our stack, especially as we were moving away from a best-of-breed cloud we’d built up over time. However, we worked with all of our partners to see what would be feasible, and were pleasantly surprised at how many partners already had integrations or were eager to build them. dotmailer was particularly easily to check off our list because they have a Shopify connector.
With so many retailers opting to replatform to Shopify Plus, we thought we’d delve a little deeper into the benefits of the switch:

10 reasons why retailers are choosing Shopify Plus

1. Cost effectiveness – Smaller companies and startups will enjoy the value for investment that Shopify offers as a whole; the platform’s most basic functionality starts at just $29 per month. This includes enterprise-level hosting and environment updates and management. Shopify Plus’ added functionality and support is also competitively priced.

2. Scalability – The platform offers limitless scalability and extensive APIs, making it a good investment for fast-growing and larger companies who may have worries about hitting the ceiling elsewhere. Unlimited bandwidth provides reassurance over your site’s performance during peak traffic times.”

Shopify allows us to scale and be creative with promotions, without having to require a developer on our beck and call. We also never have to worry about our site being down during crazy traffic spikes. Our site is always up, which means we’re always ready to sell and make money, 24/7.” – Charity Gerke, Marketing Manager at US EliteGear

3. Easy customization – The platform’s intuitive drag-and-drop editor allows businesses to build on-brand, highly customized sites without coding knowhow. And for the well-versed in web programming, its scripting capabilities allows you to create custom functionality for your store with ease.

4. Mobile-friendly – the platform’s fully responsive website themes ensure that your ecommerce store is designed for mobile. Plus, it’s Responsive Checkout functionality is free to all users and deemed one of the best in the business.

5. Unlimited products and inventory – Pretty self-explanatory: whatever pricing plan you’re on, you’ll never reach a limit on how many products you can sell on your site.

6. Payments – Shopify Plus has its own payments tool available to all its customers as standard, dissolving the need for businesses to add the cost of third-party payment providers to their store bill.

7. Vetting – Shopify vet every app and plugin before it gets added to their marketplace to make sure it’s safe and optimized for use by its customers. Plus, with an extensive list of apps to aid everything from marketing to accounting, you’ll never be spoilt for choice. Anything you can’t find can be commissioned for build.

8. Security – Shopify Plus’ is Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Level 1 Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant, providing your customer data with the same level of security as a bank. Customers shopping on your store will also be able to see the green lock icon, instilling trust in your brand from the off.

9. Graduated pricing plans – Shopify’s pricing structure is transparent from the off, and shows a clear path of progression which you can pass on to your decision-makers with confidence. A graduated price plan means you’re only paying for the level of functionality you need.

10. Knowledgeable community – Whether you want to learn how to build something, commission a tailored piece of tech, or simply ask about abandoned carts, Shopify’s ecommerce forums and Experts Directory provides access to professional and technical support for every customer need.

If you’re already a Shopify or Shopify Plus customer, you can connect your ecommerce store to dotmailer using Commerce Flow. To find out more about replatforming to Shopify Plus, head to their website.
We have the pleasure of hosting Nicola at our inaugural  Shopify Plus meetup in New York; we hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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Reblogged 2 weeks ago from blog.dotmailer.com