Technology buyers can use the Grid to help them quickly select the best providers for their businesses and to find peers with similar experiences.
Grid scoring methodology
G2 rates products and vendors based on reviews gathered from its user community, as well as data aggregated from online sources and social networks. G2 applies a unique algorithm to this data to calculate the Satisfaction and Market Presence sources in real time.
For more insight into the Satisfaction and Market Presence criteria, click here.
Last week, as part of our series on actions to take following a surge in sales, we teased you with a great way of retaining new customers — with product recommendations of course! And with a potential increase of 300% in revenue – did you know that according to Forrester 30% of Amazon’s total group revenue is directly attributed to them? – it’s no wonder you’ve clicked through to learn more about what product recommendations can do for you. But beyond the obvious upsides of upselling, with Engagement Cloud, product recommendations go that one step further.
If you thought product recommendations were just about repeat purchases, you’d be wrong! Just like a good sales person, product recommendations are great when it comes to achieving a higher customer lifetime value and increasing average order value. But, similarly to a good hire, they can also provide an exceptional customer experience, and even help improve things like your stock management or your understanding of customers.
Here are a few tips and tricks from dotdigital to get product recommendations working for you.
1: Delight your customers by displaying a product they need but didn’t know you had
An online store can be harder to navigate than a physical one, just because you don’t get to see everything at once. That means it’s highly likely your customers have no idea of the full breadth of your wonderful product offering. Make it easy for them.
Use ‘also bought’ and ‘best next’ product recommendations on your site to point your customer in the right direction. They’ve just bought a computer mouse from you, but they might not know you offer batteries. Or maybe they booked a hotel room – are they aware you have a spa with services on offer? You can use these product recommendations post-purchase as well of course, in emails that upsell a little later than the point of sale. Or perhaps even try a combination of the two.
For those customers that didn’t quite make a purchase, could it be they didn’t quite find what they were looking for? Use lookalike product recommendations to give the customer some more options, whether it’s handbags or holidays. You can increase open rates and click-throughs by making your abandoned cart copy sound exclusive with a touch of the personal shopper, with phrases such as ‘Selected just for you’. Use personalization fields to up the ante.
2: Show them what’s hot, and what they really want, with trending
The trending product recommendation combines ‘best sellers’ and ‘most viewed’ to give your customers a selection that will make them feel as if they are ahead of the curve. People love to keep up with the Jones’, and there are few industry exceptions. Whether it’s shoes, phones, speakers, cars, or mini-breaks, show your customers what they’re missing out on in your regular marketing sends.
3: Avoid disappointment when an item is out of stock, with lookalikes
Your customer may have had their eye on a product from you for some time but couldn’t quite commit to buy for a number of reasons. Then they go to view the item with the intent of buying this time and discover it’s out of stock. Quickly divert their attention with on-site lookalike product recommendations, reassuring them that just because that one product is sold out, it doesn’t mean there are no other alternatives for them on your site.
You could also capitalize again here on abandoned cart emails (as well as a bit of fear-of-loss); let the customer know that the item they viewed is now out of stock, but there are others that they’ll no doubt love.
4: Take them on a new journey, with existing customers leading the way
Both the ‘best next’ and ‘also bought’ product recommendations in Engagement Cloud are customer-led, in that they examine and use real customer data to recommend the products. In fact, ‘best next’ even uses AI to predict missing products in a typical matrix (or customer journey). For instance, if you were buying a new outfit and looking at the shoes, you could recommend that customers also bought a particular belt or that the next best product might be a blazer.
Use this as a selling point for your customers. Frame your product recommendations as your community of loyal customers leading the way for your new customers. Word and design your ‘best next’ and ‘also bought’ product recommendations as if customers were personally recommending items to one another. This not only gives your products an element of social proof, it will also make them feel as if they are part of something bigger when shopping with your brand.
With more than 1,000 members, eco is the largest internet industry association in Europe. The DDV is the largest national consortium of dialog marketers in Europe.
The CSA acts as a neutral interface between mailbox providers and senders of commercial emails.
The goal of the CSA is to increase the quality of commercial emails (e.g. newsletters, invoices, order confirmations, etc.). To achieve this goal, the CSA establishes legal and technical quality standards. The quality standards arise out of prevailing law and the technical requirements for mailbox providers. They are regularly updated to correspond to market requirements.
dotdigital’s philosophy does not only align with the CSA’s vision but is complying with the high standards the CSA sets for commercial mail.
For us, the standards are not a burden we enforce on our clients, but both legal and technical are crucial for our customers’ success. Without a clear opt-in and proper email authentication, mails will not arrive in the inbox and then no revenue is generated. And these are just a few examples of what the CSA certification checks a sender for.
The certification gives dotdigital’s clients a benefit when sending mail to the CSA’s receivers like Microsoft, Verizon Media (Yahoo! and Aol), 1&1 (gmx.de, web.de, mail.com), Cloudmark, Cisco Talos Security, Cyren, and many more.
The legal criteria are following German and European legislation and case law which gives us and our clients some legal certainty.
“I am happy to welcome dotdigital to the circle of CSA certified senders, a certification that ensures the commitment of an ESP to the high technical and legal standards we and our ISP and technology partners are setting.” says Janßen-Holldiek, Director of the CSA.
“Going for the CSA certification was an easy decision for us; as an opt-in platform with a strong industry presence we were already complying with most criteria and were happy to push for the missing ones.” Phil Draper, GM EMEA, dotdigital.
63% of American households engage in at least one crafting project annually, while more than one in four participate in 5+ per year.
The top three craft store chains in the country (Michaels, JOANN, Hobby Lobby) operate nearly 3,000 locations, just among themselves.
There are an estimated 3,200 US storefronts devoted to quilting alone. Thousands more vend everything from the stuff of ancient arts (knitting, with a 1,000-year history) to the trendy and new (unicorn slime, which, yes, is really a thing).
Our local search marketing industry has devoted abundant time to advising major local business categories over the past couple of decades, but crafting is one substantial retail niche we may have overlooked. I’d like to rectify this today.
I feel personally inspired by craft store owners. Over the years, I’ve learned to sew, quilt, embroider, crochet, knit, and bead, and before I became a local search marketer, I was a working fine artist. I even drafted a sewing pattern once that was featured in a crafting magazine. Through my own exploration of arts and crafts, I’ve come to know so many independent business owners in this industry, and have marketed several of them. These are gutsy people who take risks, work extremely hard for their living, and often zestfully embrace any education they can access about marketing.
Today, I’m offering my six best marketing tips for craft retailers for a more successful and profitable 2020.
First, a quick definition of local search marketing
Your store is your location. Your market is made up of all of your customers’ locations. Anything you do to promote your location to the market you serve is considered local search marketing. Your market could be your neighborhood, your city, or a larger local region. Local search marketing can include both offline efforts, like hanging eye-catching signage or getting mentioned in local print news, and online efforts, like having a website, building listings on local business listing platforms, and managing customer reviews.
Whatever you do to increase local awareness about your location, interact online with customers, bring them through your front door, serve them in-store, and follow up with them afterwards in an ongoing relationship counts. You’re already doing some of this, and in the words of Martha Stewart, “It’s a good thing.” But with a little more attention and intention, these six tips can craft even greater success for your business:
1. Take a page from my Google scrapbook
To engage in local search marketing is to engage with Google. Since they first started mapping out communities and businesses in 2004, the search engine giant has come to dominate the online local scene. There are other important online platforms, but to be in front of the maximum number of potential customers and to compete for rankings in Google’s local search results, your crafting business needs to:
Read the Guidelines for representing your business on Google and follow them to the letter. This set of rules tells you what you can and can’t do in the Google My Business product. Listing your business incorrectly or violating the guidelines in any way can result in listing suspension and other negative outcomes.
Reckon with Google’s power. As our scrapbook says, Google owns your Google My Business listing, but you can take a lot of control over some of its contents. Even once you’ve verified your listing, it’s still open to suggested edits from the public, questions, reviews, user-uploaded photos and other activities. Main takeaway: your GMB listing is not a one-and-done project. It’s an interactive platform that you will be monitoring and managing from here on out.
2. Weave a strong web presence
Your Google My Business listing will likely be the biggest driver of traffic to your craft store, but you’ll want to cast your online net beyond this. Once you feel confident about the completeness and ongoing management of your GMB listing, there are 4 other strands of Internet activity for you to take firm hold of:
At bare minimum, your website should feature:
Your complete and accurate name, address, phone number, email, and fax number
Clear written driving directions to your place of business from all points of entry
A good text description of everything you sell and offer
An up-to-date list of all upcoming classes and events
Some high-quality photos of your storefront and merchandise
A more sophisticated website can also feature:
Articles and blog posts
Full inventory, including e-commerce shopping
Customer reviews and testimonials
Online classes, webinars and video tutorials
Customer-generated content, including photos, forums, etc.
The investment you make in your website should be based on how much you need to do to create a web presence that surpasses your local competitors. Depending on where your store is located, you may need only a modest site, or may need to go further to rank highly in Google’s search engine results and win the maximum number of customers.
Your other local listings
Beyond Google, your business listings on other online platforms like Yelp, Facebook, Bing, Apple Maps, Factual, Foursquare, and Infogroup can ensure that customers are encountering your business across a wide variety of sites and apps. Listings in these local business information indexes are sometimes referred to as “structured citations” and you have two main choices for building and maintaining them:
You can manually build a listing on each important platform and check back on it regularly to manage your reviews and other content on it, as well as to ensure that the basic contact info hasn’t been changed by the platform or the public in any way.
You can invest in local listings management software like Moz Local, which automates creation of these listings and gives you a simple dashboard that helps you respond to reviews, post new content, and be alerted to any emerging inaccuracies across key listing platforms, all in one place. This option can be a major time saver and deliver welcome peace of mind.
Structured citation management is critical to any local business for two key reasons. Firstly, it can be a source of valuable consumer discovery and new customers for your shop. Secondly, it ensures you aren’t losing customers to frustrating misinformation. One recent survey found that 22% of customers ended up at the wrong location of a business because online information about it was incorrect, and that 80% of them lost trust in the company when encountering such misinformation. Brick-and-mortar stores can’t afford to inconvenience or lose a single customer, and that’s why managing all your listings for accuracy is worth the investment of time/money.
Your unstructured citations
As we’ve just covered, a formal listing on a local business platform is called a “structured citation.” Unstructured citations, by contrast, are mentions of your business on any type of website: local online news, industry publications, a crafter’s blog, and lists of local attractions all count.
Anywhere your business can get mentioned on a relevant online publication can help customers discover you. And if trusted, authoritative websites link to yours when they mention your business, those links can directly improve your search engine rankings.
If you’re serving a market with little local competition, you may not need to invest a ton of time in seeking out unstructured citation opportunities. But if a nearby competitor is outranking you and you need to get ahead, earning high-quality mentions and links can be the best recipe for surpassing them. All of the following can be excellent sources of unstructured citations:
Sponsoring or participating in local events, organizations, teams, and causes
Hosting newsworthy happenings that get written up by local journalists
Holding contests and challenges that earn public mention
Joining local business organizations
Cross promoting with related local businesses
Getting featured/interviewed by online crafting magazines, fora, blogs, and videos
YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, crafting forums…choices abound! How much time and where you invest in social media should be determined by two things:
What your local competition is doing
Where your potential customers spend social time
If your shop is literally the only game in town, you may not need to win at social to win business, but if you have multiple competitors, strategic social media investments can set you apart as the most helpful, most popular local option.
In your social efforts, emphasize sharing, showing and telling — not just selling. If you keep this basic principle in mind, the DIY revolution is at your fingertips, waiting to be engaged. One thing I’ve learned about crafters is that they will travel. Quilting retreats, knitting tours, and major craft expos prove this.
If you or a staff member happen to create one of the most-viewed videos on YouTube for the three-needle bind off or crafting felt succulents, it could inspire travelers to put your shop on their bucket list. One of my favorite knitters in the world films the English/Swedish language Kammebornia podcast which is so idyllic, it would certainly inspire me to visit the island of Gotland if I were ever anywhere nearby. Think what you can do via social media to make your shop an aspirational destination for even non-local customers.
3. Abandon fear of ripping out mistakes (and negative reviews)
As the old adage goes, “Good knitters are good rippers.” When you drop a stitch in an important project, you have to know how to see it, patiently rip out stitches back to it, and correct the mistake as skillfully as you can. This exact same technique applies to managing the reviews customers leave you online. When your business “drops the ball” for a customer and disappoints them, you can often go back and correct the error.
Reviews = your business’ reputation. It’s as simple (and maybe scary) as that. Consider these statistics about the power of local business reviews:
87% of consumers read local business reviews (BrightLocal)
27% of people who look for local information are actually seeking reviews about a particular store. (Streetfight Mag)
30% of consumers say seeing business owners’ responses to reviews are key to them judging the company. (BrightLocal)
73.8 percent of customers are either likely or extremely likely to continue doing business with a brand that resolves their complaints. (GatherUp)
To be competitive, your craft store must earn reviews. Many business owners feel apprehensive about negative reviews, but the good news is:
You can “rip out” some negative reviews simply by responding well to them. The owner response function actually makes reviews conversational, and a customer you’ve made things right with can edit their initial review to a more positive one.
Most consumers expect a business to receive some negative reviews. Multiple surveys find that a perfect 5 star rating can look suspicious to shoppers.
If you continuously monitor reviews, either manually or via convenient software like Moz Local that alerts you to incoming reviews, there is little to fear, because customers are more forgiving than you might have thought.
By 2021, mobile devices alone will influence $1.4 trillion in local sales. (Forrester)
There may be no retailer left in America who hasn’t felt the Amazon effect, but as a craft shop owner, you have an amazing advantage so many other industries lack. Crafters want to touch textiles and fibers before buying, to hold fabrics up to their faces, to see true colors, and handle highly tactile merchandise like beads and wood. When it comes to fulfilling the five senses, online shopping is miles behind what you can provide face-to-face.
And it’s not just customers’ desire to interact with products that sets you apart — it’s their desire to interact with experts. As pattern designer Amy Barickman of Indygo Junction perfectly sums it up:
“To survive and thrive, brick-and-mortar stores must now provide experiences that cannot be replicated online.”
The expertise of your staff, the classes you hold, and tie-in services you offer, the sensory appeal of your storefront, the time you take to build relationships with customers all contribute to creating valued interactions which the Internet just can’t replace.
Play to your strengths. In every way that you market your business, emphasize hands-on experiences to draw people off their computers and into your store. In every ad you run, blog post you write, phone call you answer, listing you build, invite people to come in to engage all five senses at your place of business. Soft lighting and music, a tea kiosk, fragrant fresh flowers, some comfy chairs, and plenty of tactile merchandise are all within your reach, making shopping a pleasure which customers will want to enjoy again and again.
5. Learn to read your competitors’ patterns
Need to know: there are no #1 rankings on Google. Google customizes the search engine results they show to each person, based on where that person is physically located at the time they look something up on their phone or computer. You can walk or drive around your city, performing the identical search, and watch the rankings change in the:
If you’re doing business in an area with few competitors, you may only need to be aware of one or two other companies. But when competition is more dense and diverse, or you operate multiple locations, the need for competitive analysis can grow exponentially. And for each potential customer, the set of businesses you’re competing with changes, based on that customer’s location.
How can you visualize and strategize for this? You have two options:
If competition is quite low, you can manually find your true local competitors with this tutorial. It includes a free spreadsheet for helping you figure out which businesses are ranking for your most desired searches for the customers nearest you. This is a basic, doable approach for very small businesses.
If your environment is competitive or you are marketing a large, enterprise craft store brand, you can automate analysis with software. Local Market Analytics from Moz, for example, is designed to do all the work of finding true competitors for you. This groundbreaking product multi-samples searchers’ locations and helps you analyze your strongest and weakest markets. Currently, Local Market Analytics focuses on organic results, and it will soon include data on local pack results, too.
Once you’ve completed this first task, you have one more step ahead if you find that some of your competitors are outranking you. You’ll want to stack up your metrics against theirs to analyze why they are surpassing you. Good news: we’ve got another tutorial and free spreadsheet for this project! What emerges from the work is a pattern of strengths and weaknesses that signal why Google is ranking some businesses ahead of others.
Knowing who your competitors are and gathering metrics about why they may be outranking you is what empowers you to create a winning local search marketing strategy. Whether you find you need more reviews, a stronger website, or some other improvement, you’ll be working from data instead of making random guesses about how to grow your business.
6. Open your grab bag
Every craft store and craft fair has its grab bags, and who can resist them? I’d like to close out this article by spilling a trove of marketing goodies into your hands. Sort through them and see if there’s a fresh idea in here that could really work for your business to take it to the next level.
Be more! This year, Michaels has partnered with UPS at 1,100 locations in a convenience experiment. You run a craft store, but could it be more? Is there something lacking in your local market that your shop could double as? A meeting house, a lending library, an adult classroom, a tea shop, a Wi-Fi spot, a holiday boutique, a place for live music?
Tie in! Your quilt shop can support apparel sewers with a few extra solids, textiles, and some fun patterns. Your yarn shop can find a nook for needle arts. Your woodshop could offer wooden needles for knitting and crochet, wooden hoops for embroidery, wood buttons, stamps, and a variety of wood boxes for crafters. You may sell everything needed for beading jewelry, but do you have the necessary supplies to bead clothing? Crafters are hungry for local resources for every kind of project, especially in rural areas, suburbs, and other communities where there are few businesses.
Teach! There are so many arts and crafts that are incredibly challenging to learn without being shown, face-to-face. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a grandparent or parent to demo exactly how you do a long tail cast on or master the dovetail joint. If you want to sell merchandise, show how to use it. Look at JOANN, which just unveiled its new concept store in Columbus, Ohio, centered on a “Creators Studio”. One independent fabric shop near me devotes half its floorspace to classes for children — the next generation of customers!
Email! Don’t make the mistake of thinking email is old school. Statistics say that 47% of marketers point to email marketing as delivering the highest ROI and 69% of consumers prefer to receive local business communications via email. If you’re one of the 50% of small business owners who hasn’t yet taken the leap of creating an email newsletter, do it!
Survey! Don’t guess what to stock or how to do business. Directly ask your customers via email, social media, and in-store surveys what they really want. I’ve seen businesses abandon scented products because they found they were deterring migraine-prone shoppers. I’ve seen others implement special ordering services to source hard-to-access items in-store instead of letting consumer drift away to the online world. Giving the customer what they want is the absolute key to your store’s success.
Go green! Whether it’s powering your shop with solar, supporting upcycling crafts, or stocking organic and sustainable inventory, embrace and promote every green practice you can engage in. Numerous studies cite the younger generations as being particularly defined by responsible consumption. Demonstrate solidarity with their aspirations in the way you operate and market.
Doers, makers, creators, crafters, artisans, artists… your business exists to support their drive to embellish personal and public life. When you need to grow your business, you’ll be drawing from the same source of inspiration that all creative people do: the ability to imagine, to envision a plan, to color outside the lines, to gather the materials you need to make something great.
Local search marketing is a template for ensuring that your business is ready to serve every crafter at every stage of their journey, from the first spark of an idea, to discovery of local resources, to transaction, and beyond. I hope you’ll take the template I’ve sketched out for you today and make it your own for a truly rewarding 2020.
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!
Our key learnings from the Product Marketing Summit – and what you can learn, too
We caught up Juliette Aiken, Victoria Dovey, and Julia Neuhold, to find out more about:
the role of the product marketer
why it’s an up-and-coming function in businesses around the world
and what takeaways you can apply to your role, regardless of the marketing prefix your job title bears.
1. Firstly, tell us a bit about what product marketers do. Does it differ from regular marketing?
Product marketers work at the intersection between product and marketing, but also sales. We work closely with the product management team in creating successful products that sales teams enjoy selling and customers love using. dotdigital started as a pure-play ESP 20(!) years ago. With the launch of our campaign orchestration tool, we evolved into a marketing automation platform. When I joined the business, automation adoption was under 20%; just last week we found that more than 80% of our customer base now adopted automation! Since then, we’ve added a host of channels and smart functionality and have advanced further into the Customer Engagement space. MarTech is always evolving, as are the expectations of the marketer, and so as you can imagine, a lot of our time goes into making sure we get the product messaging and positioning right. We need to ensure people know what value they can get from our platform.
As for whether it differs from regular marketing, it depends. Ultimately, there is much overlap between the goals of marketers and product marketers, the process and how you get there is what tends to differ. Although saying that, many marketers already fulfill product marketing functions, they just don’t get called out as such. It’s a mixed bag really.
Externally, product marketers communicate a product offering to customers. Internally, they act as a translation and communication team for the product team to other departments. One key area that is, however, often overlooked is that both of these functions also work in reverse as we feed back to the wider product team from all the people inside and outside the business we speak to in our roles.
Stakeholder management is a big part of it, keeping them informed and having the facts and figures in your back pocket to justify roadmap items, proving value to both the business and customers. Because they operate in such a multi-disciplinarian manner, product marketers need to be skilled in strategy, creativity, and also people management. I think that’s one of the reasons why product marketing is growing so quickly, because it brings the business together whilst also allowing it to move to new places.
One thing I will say is that product marketing at dotdigital is never dull. We are part of the product team, but we sit in on meetings with sales and marketing, and work closely with a number of customer-facing teams. As a product marketer, you’re different things to different people, which requires quite a diverse skillset – the key one being communication. I particularly enjoy how we are asked to combine creativity and analytical skills to solve problems and keep everyone looking forward. The Product Marketing Alliance just released the State of Product Marketing Report 2019, which is worth checking out it you’re interested in product marketing goals, responsibilities, and so on.
2. So there’s definitely an overlap with marketing! Was this reflected in the attendance of the Product Marketing Summit last week?
There are loads of transferable skills between us, and we work a lot of the same space. We communicate directly with customers working with the marketing department on campaigns and the marketing website, and work together on content and event ideas.
The summit was attended mostly by product marketer execs and managers like us, but there were also some growth marketers and growth product managers who share very similar goals as us. Ultimately, we’re all working towards increasing platform and feature adoption.
3. Was there a common thread across the talks?
Many of the topics discussed on the day can be brought back to the same central theme: communication. What you say, how you say it, and even when you say something can have an effect on the impact and success of your message. As marketers we have to think whether something is a marketing message, or an operational one, and so on. Whilst defining these is important from a legal or industry guideline standpoint, customers don’t see it that way. They expect the same familiar, relevant experience whether you’re sending a BAU marketing email versus an update on their last order. So really, I think a lot of attendees came away with the message that all communications count as touchpoints and that they should strive for consistency between them – regardless of who ‘owns’ that channel.
The biggest recurring theme for me was the idea that we’re not just selling a product, we’re selling a solution to a problem, and to do that, you need empathy. If you just focus on the product, you’ll end up with an all-singing- all-dancing end result that appeals to no one, precisely because it’s trying to appeal to everyone. But if you focus just on the customer and ignore the product, you can end up in a space wildly different from your actual value proposition, making you again appeal to no one. Pain points should be front and center to value propositions; but rather than trying to please everyone, you need to get to the bottom of what it is they want to achieve, and find a solution that might be different from what they were expecting.
4. What communication trends are you interested in at the moment?
We’ve discussed how important it is to get to know your customer, and one of the best ways to get to know their pain points is to make it easy for them to get in touch. Frictionless two-way communication is a big part of this. it applies to our own customer comms as well as the end customers of our platform users. Enabling replies to messages, whether they are emails, SMS, or web chats is crucial in improving brand-customer relationships; and improving those relationships is often the last battleground between you and your competitors.
I agree, and another way to improve upon these relationships is by building trust. Just like our personal relationships, customers require honesty and transparency in what they are getting. For your product or service, it helps to be direct with customers by removing jargon and marketing filler words – just be frank in what they are getting for their money!
For your communications, the GDPR of course requires you to have clear opt-in and opt-out processes. This means many businesses have been forced to focus on what us good marketers have known for years – providing something valuable in your content that the campaign audience will want to read or know about! But it also helps to set expectations from the start by breaking down what it is they’ll be receiving from you, how often, and giving them granular control of this so it’s not an all-or-nothing captive situation. At dotdigital, one of the ways we advocate for transparency is through our public roadmap. It’s something quite unique to us in our market space and allows customers to always know what our product team is working on.
One of the points raised at the Product Marketing Summit was around the voice of the customer – and who looks after it. In most businesses, many teams wear the ‘voice of the customer’ hat, and rightly so. They all have a part to play in collating feedback, all from different standpoints which makes it all the more valuable. It is however important that one team is in charge of synthesizing all this feedback, to ensure it gets distilled in a way that is meaningful and actionable. So whilst not an established (internal) communication trend yet, I hope this is something that will be recognized and gain more traction in 2020, both at dotdigital and other businesses.
5. And finally, what are your top three takeaways from the Product Marketing Summit that everyone could learn from?
The idea that the competition isn’t always who you think it is. Krishna Panicker, VP of Product at Pipedrive, delivered a great talk on this and relayed that during his time at Skype, no one even saw WhatsApp coming for them. As far as Skype was concerned, it delivered a desktop based voice-calling app, and newcomer WhatsApp was a mobile messaging app that was playing in an entirely different space. We all know what happened next.
Another frequently cited example of a company thinking of its competition differently is that of Netflix, and how sleep is their biggest competitor. The key takeaway here is if you focus solely on the product, you get more product – the only differentiator between you and a competitor becomes a checkbox. Panicker revisits the principle of minimum differentiation and urges us all to look for the ‘invisible slice of the pie’.
It’s a timely message for us here at dotdigital as well, especially as we are in the middle of our annual Hackweek. During Hackweek the known macro-level pressures are put to one side, and the tech teams have a chance to focus on creative, innovative projects that will make a difference. The winning result is a highly original product, tool, or feature that enhances the marketer’s day job. Stay tuned for a blog in January to find out which idea won this year…
For me, it was mostly the idea of how much it benefits everyone to have product marketing in the room sooner. Because we are unique in working across so many different departments, we bring perspective that could sometimes go amiss. We know what’s coming with the product, and we know the history of decision-making that led to that advancement in the roadmap. Not only that, but we can take the knowledge and comments of other teams and feed that back into the product. This kind of knowledge sharing ultimately empowers everyone in the business.
Finally, I’d say that the role of sales enablement goes beyond what people typically perceive it to be. You’re essentially enabling any customer-facing team, to tell the right product stories in whatever context they find themselves in. And more importantly: this relationship goes two ways. At dotdigital, working closely with account managers and customer success allows us to regularly gather valuable customer feedback. In that same vein, it’s also our responsibility to enable the core marketing team to ensure there’s a coherent brand experience. This, combined with the fact that we wear so many hats, is why we encourage all staff members to come to us with anything they feel we can help with. And we would encourage you to do the same with your product marketing team!
Want to take your marketing automation to the next level?
In last week’s blog, Sam and Ian, our data gurus, gave us some time to talk about how to read your data in dotdigital Engagement Cloud after a busy sales period like Black Friday. We’re continuing the series with some practical tactics to employ to keep those new customers you acquired engaged. After all, remember, a new customer can very quickly decay to an inactive persona that never spends with you again. Or… they are primed to become your biggest brand champions. Try some of these targeted marketing practices to make sure your new customers are seeing the best of what you have to offer.
1. Introduce your brand
Remember, these are new customers. You most likely caught them in an impulse moment (or what they thought was an impulse moment after weeks of clever nudging from your clever marketing teams ). They might not be at all that familiar with what your brand is all about or what products you offer (but more on this in tactic two).
To build loyalty that lasts, be polite, just like grandma told you. Introduce yourselves, and put your best foot forward. Make sure this is not just another marketing email in their inboxes. Pack it with value for the new customer. If you’re planning to deliver educational content about your business, make sure it’s what they’re interested in and not just what you want them to know. Empathize with your customer by considering the materiel you like to receive when it comes to your favorite brands. If your brand resonates with your new customers, chances are, they’ll become repeat buyers and maybe even loyal fans.
Not so confident in the kind of content you could send? Currently lacking a brand story? Start by giving them a coupon campaign as a sweetener to stick around.
2. Product recommendations in emails and on site
They’ve bought one product from you already. What are the chances they won’t be interested in any other of the product range you have? It’s unlikely that there was only one product that resonated with them. It’s much more likely that your new customers just haven’t had a chance to look at your whole range yet. Make it easy for them. Bring a selection to them, by serving up product recommendations based on their own behavior or the behavior of shoppers just like them.
We don’t know about you, but here at the dotdigital offices, we all love it when we get beautiful, personalized emails delivered to our inbox, with a selection of goodies that are actually relevant to us. Especially when we get these emails on pay day!
With Engagement Cloud, you can upsell complementary products (setting the price threshold as similar to what your new customer spent the first time around) in an email. Or surface on-site product recommendations, showcasing low-cost products you’d typically use to upsell (like batteries, screen protectors, or purses (depending on your product types of course), peppered between full-price products of your beautiful range. Don’t worry, we’ll talk you through all the amazing things you can do with product recommendations in Engagement Cloud in part three of this series.
3. Social re-targeting with audience connectors
You won that new customer. But maybe so did your competitors, having caught them in a spending spree at this busy shopping time of year. So what do you do to stand out against the competition? Expose your brand.
An old rule of marketing that has stood the test of time and proved itself time and time again is the rule of seven. The rule of seven says that it takes about seven times of being exposed to something, from an idea to a brand logo, for us to retain it long term. Sure, your new customer is not going to forget about the purchase they made with you last week. But what about in a few months’ time? How do you ensure your customer remembers you in the future enough to come back to your store?
Social re-targeting will be key here. Leverage the automation and insights of Engagement Cloud out to channels like Facebook and Google Ads to make sure you’re remembered. With audience connectors, you can sync Engagement Cloud contacts to your Facebook and Google Ad audiences. Start by syncing an entire segment to a new audience or maintain an existing one by adding contacts when they meet your predefined criteria. Audience connectors in program builder make it easy to upkeep your ad audiences and ensure optimal re-targeting campaign ROI. Easy peasy.
4. Empower new customers with a voice
Last, but by no means least, listen to what your new customers have to say. Perform a bit of data capture with them for both of your benefits. Give them control of their marketing preferences for optimal transparency, trust, and relevance. Send them surveys to find out what they want to hear about or what they want to see more of in your store. (You’ll find the tools to do all this and more in Engagement Cloud pages and forms by the way ).
You could consider providing a little incentive here for this exchange of information. Not only will make your new customers feel special, it will also provide you with more data, and ultimately, more power.
If you’re involved in any kind of digital PR — or pitching content to writers to expand your brand awareness and build strong links — then you know how hard it can be to find a good home for your content.
I’m about to share the process you can use to identify the best, highest ROI publishers for building consistent, mutually beneficial guest posting relationships with.
This knowledge has been invaluable in understanding which publications have the best reach and authority to other known vertical/niche experts, allowing you to share your own authority within these readership communities.
Before we get started, there’s a caveat: If you aren’t willing to develop true thought leadership, this process won’t work for you. The prerequisite for success here is having a piece of content that is new, newsworthy, and most likely data-driven.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
Not all publications are equal
Guest posting can increase awareness of your brand, create link authority, and ultimately generate qualified leads. However, that only happens if you pick publishers that have:
The trust of your target audience.
Topical relevance and authority.
Sufficiently large penetration in readership amongst existing authorities in your niche/vertical.
A big trap many fall into is not properly prioritizing their guest posting strategy along these three important metrics.
To put this strategy into context, I’ll provide a detailed methodology for understanding the “thought leadership” space of two different verticals. I’ll also include actionable tips for developing a prioritized list of targets for winning guest spots or columns with your killer content.
It all starts with BuzzSumo
We use BuzzSumo data as the starting point for developing these interactive elements. For this piece, the focus will be on looking at data pulled from their Influencer and Shared Links APIs.
Let’s begin by looking at the data we’re after in the regular user interface. On the Influencers tab, we start by selecting a keyword most representative of the overall niche/industry/vertical we want to understand. We’ll start with “SEO.”
The list of influencers here should already be sorted, but feel free to narrow it down by applying filters. I recommend making sure your final list has 250-500 influencers as a minimum to be comprehensive.
Next, and most importantly, we want to get the links’ shared data for each of these influencers. This will be the data we use to build our network visualizations to truly understand the publishers in the space that are likely to be the highest ROI places for guest posting.
Below you can see the visual readout for one influencer.
Note the distribution of websites Gianluca Fiorelli (@gfiorelli1) most often links to on Twitter. These sites (and their percentages) will be the data we use for our visualization.
Pulling our data programmatically
Thankfully, BuzzSumo has an excellent and intuitive API, so it’s relatively easy to pull and aggregate all of the data we need. I’ve included a link to my script in Github for those who would like to do it themselves.
In general, it does the following:
Generates the first page of influencers for the given keyword, which is about 50. You can either update the script to iterate through pages or just update the page number it pulls from within the script and concatenate the output files after the fact.
For each influencer, it makes another API call and gets all of the aggregated Top Domains shared data for each influencer, which is the same as the data you see in the above pie chart visualization.
Aggregates all the data and exports to a CSV.
Learning from the data
Once we have our data in the format Gephi prefers for network visualizations (sample edge file), we are ready to start exploring. Let’s start with our data from the “SEO” search, for which I pulled the domain sharing data for the top 400 influencers.
A few notes:
The circles are called nodes. All black nodes are the influencer’s Twitter accounts. All other colored nodes are the websites.
The size of the nodes is based on Page Rank. This isn’t the Google Page Rank number, but instead the Page Rank within this graph alone. The larger the node, the more authoritative (and popular) that website is within the entire graph.
The colors of the nodes are based on a modularity algorithm in Gephi. Nodes with similar link graphs typically have the same color.
What can we learn from the SEO influencer graph?
Well, the graph is relatively evenly distributed and cohesive. This indicates that the websites and blogs that are shared most frequently are well known by the entire community.
Additionally, there are a few examples of clusters outside the primary cluster (the middle of the graph). For instance, we see a Local SEO cluster at the 10 p.m. position on the left hand side. We can also see a National Press cluster at the 6-7 p.m. position on the bottom and a French Language cluster at the 1-2 p.m. position at the top right.
Ultimately, Moz, Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Roundtable, Search Engine Land are great bets when developing and fostering guest posting relationships.
Note that part of the complication with this data has to do with publishing volume. The three largest nodes are also some of the most prolific, meaning there are more overall chances for articles to earn Tweets and other social media mentions from industry influencers. You could refining of the data further by normalizing each site by content publishing volume to find publishers who publish much less frequently and still enjoy disproportionate visibility within the industry.
Webmasters.Googleblog.com is a good example of this. They publish 3 to 4 times per month, and yet because of their influence in the industry, they’re still one of the largest and most central nodes. Of course, this makes sense given it is the only public voice of Google for our industry.
Another important thing to notice is the prominence of both YouTube and SlideShare. If you haven’t yet realized the importance and reach of these platforms, perhaps this is the proof you need. Video content and slide decks are highly shared in the SEO community by top influencers.
Differences between SEO and content marketing influencer graphs
What can we learn from the Content Marketing influencer graph?
For starters, it looks somewhat different overall from the SEO influencer graph; it’s much less cohesive and seems to have many more separate clusters. This could indicate that the content publishing sphere for content marketing is perhaps less mature, with more fragmentation and fewer central sources for consuming content marketing related content. It could also be that content marketing is descriptive of more than SEO and that different clusters are publishers that focus more on one type of content marketing vs. another (similar to what we saw with the local SEO cluster in the previous example).
Instead of 3 to 5 similarly sized market leaders, here we see one behemoth, Content Marketing Institute, a testament to both the authority of that brand and the massive amount of content they publish.
We can also see several specific clusters. For instance, the “SEO blogs” cluster in blue at the 8-9 p.m. position and the more general marketing blogs like Hubspot, MarketingProfs, and Social Media Examiner in green and mauve at the 4-5 p.m. position.
The general business top-tier press sites appear quite influential in this space as well, including Forbes, Entrepreneur, Adweek, Tech Crunch, Business Insider, Inc., which we didn’t see as much in the SEO example.
YouTube, again, is extremely important, even more so than in the SEO example.
Is it worth it?
If you’re already deep in an industry, the visualization results of this process are unlikely to shock you. As someone who’s been in the SEO/content marketing industry for 10 years, the graphs are roughly what I expected, but there certainly were some surprises.
This process will be most valuable to you when you are new to an industry or are working within a new vertical or niche. Using the python code I linked and BuzzSumo’s fantastic API and data offers the opportunity to gain a deep visual understanding of the favorite places of industry thought leaders. This knowledge acts as a basis for strategic planning toward identifying top publishers with your own guest content.
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!
On July 16th, 2020, we’ll be hosting the fourth dotdigital Summit at Tobacco Dock in London. The Summit’s year-on-year success has not only earned it renowned distinction, but a status as the landmark event in your marketing calendar.
Our opening keynote is a familiar face who wowed audiences at our inaugural Summit back in 2017. I mean, who has better flair for the stage than Rory Sutherland? His rousing insight will make this keynote an unmissable opportunity to learn something new. On Summit day he’ll back with full force to impart the ideas behind the brain of Britain’s most remarkable ad man.
Madison Utendahl talks brand storytelling
We’ve secured a great young mind for our morning keynote: Madison Utendahl. Proud New Yorker, Madison is passionate about brand storytelling and experiential marketing, having led the creative front at Tonight with John Oliver, 29Rooms, and Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC). As Head of Content and Social, she grew MOIC’s digital presence to reach an audience of over 1 billion people in under 20 months. Her talk will inspire you to tell stories that send energy waves through your audiences.
Five tracks to choose from
Our breakout sessions will be split into five tracks, each carefully designed to help you curate the best customer experience.
Customer experience carries a lot of weight in a consumer’s decision to purchase with you over a competitor. Creating an experience that runs smoothly for everyone, everywhere, can seem like an almighty task. Like any journey, the start is the most daunting. The destination is far away and the trip is uncertain. This track is about being proactive, anticipating customer needs, and averting disruptions.
What’s the future going to throw at you next? As a marketer, your job is guided by the rapid pace of technology which is empowering consumers and raising their expectations. Know exactly what’s coming next: We’ll dig deep into the science behind the marketing and help future-proof your customer engagement strategy.
Converting leads or acquiring customers is about demand generation. Want to know how to target programs to drive awareness and interest in your products and services? Sit back and learn from experts. Discover the makings of profit-driven customer engagement tactics. And always remember that results speak volumes: Use your insight to optimize your campaigns and finesse the customer experience.
Data is the driving force behind every business decision. So, successful marketing always hinges on insight. It doesn’t matter how bold your idea is. That’s why crafting the best customer experience starts with data. And juggling data throughout the customer journey doesn’t have to be hard work. We’ll boost your data confidence and help you make one-to-one conversations a showstopper.
Our passion is meaningful conversation. We’re fiercely committed to empowering you personally and professionally. We want to challenge the status quo and engage in cultural debate. Whether that’s breaking the mental health taboo or promoting a better work-life balance. Our aim is for you to be the best person you can be. Push the boundaries, embrace every opportunity, and aspire for something great.
Nowadays, when seconds make the difference, users have no practice for sites with poor load speeds or inadequate performance. So, if you have a website with high load time, then you are not only losing your current visitors and decreasing conversion rates but also run the risk of your website losing traffic from those customers … Continue reading “4 SEO Tips That Will Help to Speed up Your Website”
Congratulations! Your business has weathered one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. But whether it’s Black Friday, Christmas, January,scorching summer sales, or even Halloween bonanzas, we all know that the work doesn’t stop post-event. It’s not just distribution and accounts that will have their hands full now – at least it shouldn’t be. As a marketer or a CX professional, this is where you can really get your hands dirty with data.
We speak with Ian Pollard, one of our senior product managers, and Sam Crawley, a product data scientist, to uncover what you should pay attention to once the dust has settled on a busy shopping period, and how to make the most of it in Engagement Cloud.
What are the most common challenges you hear about from retail customers following a surge in sales? Did this inform the product design of Engagement Cloud?
Ian: If you’ve just run a big sale, you’ll have some newly acquired customers. Having spent big on acquisition and likely taken a margin hit with discounting, you don’t want to lose them. Getting that all-important second purchase is the difference between never hearing from them again and building loyalty. This was what led us to build out the ‘single purchase customer’ tile as one of the nine metrics Engagement Cloud users can keep a close eye on and drill down into.
Sam: There are nine tiles in total and things to learn from all of them, especially after a big sales event, as long as you keep context in mind! The ‘average items per order tile’, for example, might show that during the sale people were either picking up several discounted items or in fact buying lots at once. The latter might indicate a successful use of on-site product recommendations.
As Ian mentioned, the acquisition of new customers is a major part of these events, and many of them may not end up re-purchasing at all. It’s important to keep the average value of these newly acquired customers in mind, especially when comparing to the amount of money and effort that went in to acquiring them. Drilling down into the CLV tile, for instance, might give an idea of the ROI you’d expect compared with a standard period.
Now if you were head of marketing or customer experience, what would you do with this data? How would it help you achieve your goals of improving ROI, lifetime value, or overall customer experience?
Ian: Our segment builder lets you target customers by RFM persona. Drag in the RFM data block and target anyone in the ‘recent customers’ persona.
Marketing to these people is difficult at such an early stage of the relationship; all you really know is that they’re a new customer. They may have nothing else in common with each other. For this reason, I would follow up by using the most reliable data point you have — what they just bought.
To target effectively against that, I recommend using our ‘also bought’ product recommendation. This looks at the highest value item in the recent checkout and finds other shoppers who have also purchased it. Within that group of shoppers, Engagement Cloud will then find other products they have bought and recommend the most popular.
Sam: There is no magical method to improve ROI or lifetime value, but different marketing methods can be optimized and refined over time in order to see more success. This is where context becomes important.
We’ve given you the ability to filter the metrics and drill down reports on specific segments or RFM personas. What this means is actually really cool. You can trial different methods on different categories of customers. Then you can compare the effects on CLV and ‘average delay’ over time by selecting different date ranges.
Use these tools to find what works best for you and your customers.
Ian, what was the drive behind developing the recency, frequency, and monetary (RFM) personas (as well as the persona movement reports) in Engagement Cloud? What value do these data-driven metrics bring to a business?
Ian: RFM had been in our plans for a while and we knew it was a popular wish-list feature with customers. The ability to manually create RFM-like segments had always been possible in Engagement Cloud, so the decision to make a formal data model for it wasn’t something we rushed into.
I’m really pleased with our model: it took a lot of thought, but I think it’s the right balance of power and simplicity. The core model is built around six very-easy-to-understand personas grouped across a lifecycle timeline familiar to any retailer — inactive, lapsing, active. It’s incredibly valuable to anyone wanting to do behavior-based targeting or reporting.
The movement reporting came from insights we uncovered whilst building the RFM model. Some of our customers were really interested in how customers moved through personas over time. That stuck with us and we started modelling these movements and found interesting stories in the data. Finding a way to show this to our customers was a little more of a challenge. We have some big opinions on data visualization in the team, but I think we’re all happy with where we ended up. Even if we did need to define a whole new color palette to make it work!
Which personas should businesses keep an eye on? And how should they be treated after a large sales event?
Sam: New customers, for sure. After a large sales event you are likely to have a much larger chunk of new customers than normal, and this represents a great opportunity to increase your loyal customer base. You should focus on marketing to these people, with the aim of converting them into repeat customers. Make use of the persona movement report to keep track of them and figure out which tactics work best.
Any other advice on doing more with data for businesses using (or thinking of using…) Engagement Cloud?
Ian: We have a great feature called web behavior tracking (WBT). It tracks page views, and, when we can identify the contact, it matches those web sessions with them. If you combine WBT with RFM, you get the ability to identify emerging purchase intent.
Why does that matter?
Ian: Think about a win-back campaign for your inactive customers. You’ve already paid to acquire them and they’re now giving you every sign that they can realistically be won back. They’re worth spending money on, they’re your best leads.
I would create a multi-stage and multi-channel campaign. If they don’t buy or engage via email, then re-target via Facebook, Instagram, or Google (which can you do via our program builder). If they engage again on your website but still don’t buy, then it may be worth looking at a coupon campaign.
Any top tips Sam?
Sam: Try combining automation and programs with the persona movement report. The report isn’t just useful for tracking what happens to your new customers after a sale, but can be used to see what the overall engagement lifecycle of your customers looks like. Filtering based on segments might reveal insights into what can be improved in your automation and programs, or where you are excelling.