8 ways to improve the SEO of your ecommerce website

Did you know that 93% of
all online experiences start from a search engine? Not to mention, 37.5%
of the traffic
to ecommerce websites comes from  search, as revealed by SEMrush. That’s a
sizeable chunk that cannot be ignored.

Let’s suppose a prospect is
searching for a product that you provide. How do you think he or she will  find your site? Via  a search engine. The only catch is that your
ecommerce site should be ranking high in the search results because 75% of
people will never scroll past the first results page.

All this brings us to SEO, the key to ranking your website higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) and boosting your revenue. So, without further ado, let’s walk you through 10 practical ways to improve your SEO:

1. Hunt down the right keywords

The right keywords
aren’t always low-hanging fruit, easily available and ready to be used in your
content. If anything, these take some digging around. Aim to find long-tail
keywords that can assist you in ranking high for niche-specific topics. A
long-tail keyword is a term that consists of three or more words.

These keywords
attract a narrowed down target audience. For example, if you have a store that
sells pet accessories, don’t target ‘pet accessories’ as the keyword. Instead, use
a long-tail keyword like ‘pet accessories under $100.’

Think along the lines of user queries. Try to be specific and type in conversational queries for finding out the right keywords. If you find keyword research difficult, consider working with an SEO Marketing Agency.

2. Create blog content

Blogging for your
ecommerce site is the recipe for SEO success. Research confirms that companies
that blog get 434% more indexed pages than those that don’t. Hence, you shouldn’t
just incorporate keywords in your web content and product descriptions only.
Instead, you should also write blog posts around the long-tail keywords that
you research.

While you’re at it, create engaging meta descriptions for each post that you write. Meta descriptions are small descriptions that show under a blog post’s title in the search engine. An attention-grabbing description will urge readers to click on your content and read it, driving leads your way.

3. Fix site errors

Site errors can
negatively impact your  SEO. For
instance, a 404 error code tells Google and other search engines that the page
doesn’t exist. Therefore, it doesn’t index it.

Use tools such as Screaming Frog to unearth website errors. This free tool scans your websites’ links, CSS, script, images, and more from an SEO lens. Following the examination, Screaming Fog delivers a summary of the errors, missing header tags, duplicate pages, etc. Once you get a hold of these errors, correct them quickly to boost site usability, which can help to improve your conversion rate.

4. Pay attention to site speed

In 2018, Google confirmed
that speed was an important ranking influencer. Besides impacting your ranking,
site speed also affects user experience. Slow speed will discourage a visitor
from spending time on your website, culminating in an increased bounce rate and
poor SEO results.

Research estimates that a second’s delay in page load could lead to a loss of $2.5 million in sales annually. Moreover, 53% of mobile users abandon a site when it takes longer than three seconds to load.

To this end, take steps to improve your site’s speed. Use tools like Web Page Test to find out your ecommerce site’s page load speed. Then, take steps to improve load speed, for example, by optimizing your images to reduce their size.

5. Reduce the architectural depth of your site

Your site’s architecture
reveals its structure – the way it branches out. For instance, the home page
goes to the product category, which then leads to a sub-category. This may dive
further into other pages.

However, in-depth
choices can confuse the reader and minimize site usability. Such a setting also
buries a smaller category section. The best way to design your site
architecture for enhancing eCommerce SEO is to construct a horizontal
architecture, which limits the vertical depth of pages.

Try to develop a shallow site architecture where pages are located in one or two subcategories. In this way, Google is able to crawl and index your site quickly and easily.

6. Encourage social traffic to your ecommerce site

Interactions on
social media can help drive branded search your way while increasing your
visibility. As you grow an engaged presence on social, you will develop an
active community of fans, which can drive good traffic your way.

In fact, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the three leading social platforms that contribute 90% of all social traffic to websites and blogs. With the increased traffic and engagement via social, you can boost your site’s authenticity, which takes your SEO game up by a notch.

7. Take care of on-page SEO

On-page SEO covers
optimizing your site’s pages for search engines optimization. One of the main
steps here is mentioned above: writing compelling meta-descriptions with the
keyword in them. Additionally, use click magnet words in your title tag as Backlinko
suggests
. For example, try ‘X% off’ or ‘lowest price’ for boosting
your click-through rates (CTR).

Similarly, add click-encouraging words in your product descriptions as well. Try words like ‘items on sales’, ‘free shipping,’ and other such words to maximize CTR. Lastly, for your blog content, create awesome content with 1000+ words and add your keyword 3-5 times throughout.

8. Pay attention to local SEO

86% of consumers
take to the internet to search for a local business. Consequently, you need to
pay attention to local SEO to show up in your prospect’s search. To this end,
set up a Google
My Business
account. 

This account will
log your business’s details into Google’s database and shows your store in
local search results. Next, try to get some local links to your site, also
known as backlinks. You can get backlinks from review sites and listings such
as Yellow Pages.

Any coverage from
local news outlets, magazines, PR releases, and other local websites and media
can also give you backlinks. These links boost your search engine ranking by signaling
to Google that you are authentic and known in your area.

Final thoughts

Improving your
ecommerce SEO demands work. However, it’s worth all the effort and time you
invest in it, and it will help you with your long term strategy goals To
quickly recap, focus on local and on-page SEO, rectify any errors on your site,
and use keywords in your content.

The post 8 ways to improve the SEO of your ecommerce website appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 1 hour ago from blog.dotdigital.com

7 ways to boost ecommerce emails with social proof

So, what if there were a way to increase email conversions and improve customer experience – all without changing anything about the product or the price? Social proof uses readily available content to boost ecommerce emails, without the need for discounts or elaborate creative.

Why you need social proof

Social proof is the phenomenon where we
imitate others in order to make the right decision. When you crave an outfit
you just saw on Instagram or choose a busy restaurant over the quieter one next
door, you’re experiencing the effects of social proof.

This isn’t just a psychological tactic to
influence shoppers. Research shows that consumers see social proof as a key part
of the buying process.

Here, we’ll explore two types of social proof you can use to improve the performance of bulk and triggered emails:

Peer social proof

When making a purchase, consumers look for
unbiased sources of information such as ratings,
reviews
, and photos of real people
using the product. This is also called user-generated content (UGC).

For shoppers, ratings and reviews are a
crucial part of the buying process. 61 percent of customers look for product
reviews when making a purchase, while more than half (56 percent) find star
ratings helpful, and 29 percent want content from other customers.

Brands and retailers can help customers make better, faster decisions by including user-generated social proof in emails.

Wisdom of the crowd

When faced with a lot of options, we prefer to
follow what other people like us are doing.

You can use popularity messaging (e.g. ‘50
people bought this today’) to highlight what fellow customers are viewing and
purchasing. This adds urgency, informs shoppers what’s trending, and makes
stock more desirable.

Popularity messaging doesn’t require users to generate content for you – you can let the data speak for itself!

Here are some easy ways to enhance ecommerce emails with social proof.

1. Triggered emails: build trust with star ratings

Shoppers often abandon their cart because they aren’t ready to make a final decision. Triggered cart and browse abandonment emails are an opportunity to reduce purchase anxiety by including star ratings from existing customers.

Above is a great example of how social proof
can add value to shopping recovery emails without hugely altering the creative.
Star ratings fit in naturally alongside other essential information like
product imagery and delivery cost. Including the number of ratings adds another
layer of trust.

In a small space, Glasses Direct provides customers with a wealth of information to feel confident about completing their order.

2. Triggered emails: reassure shoppers with product reviews

Customer reviews go one step further than star ratings, giving detailed information about a customer’s positive experience of your product. Shoppers can more easily come to a smart decision when they know how your products perform in real life.

This example from Emma Bridgewater shows how reviews can complement vital product information and nudge customers towards completing a purchase.

3. Triggered emails: increase urgency with product popularity

You can harness the effect of social proof in
triggered emails even without user generated content. Popularity messaging uses
readily available browse and purchase data to show what other customers are
doing in real time.

This reassures recipients that your products
are proving popular, and increases urgency by indicating that the item may sell
out.

Cottages.com uses viewing data in booking abandonment emails to ensure that customers don’t miss out on their desired property:

Bulk marketing emails are the perfect occasion
to keep customers informed about your top-rated items. This builds trust and
shows shoppers that you care about providing them with the best quality
products.

For added impact, suggestions can be filtered by the recipient’s favorite category, as in this great product recommendation email from Bed Bath & Beyond:

5. Bulk emails: drive engagement with customer reviews

Bulk marketing emails can have lower
conversion rates than triggered messages, as they are not a direct response to
customers’ actions on your website. This means you have to work harder to
persuade customers to click through.

Providing brief customer reviews in marketing emails can spark the interest of customers who weren’t actively shopping for your products. Here’s an example from Molton Brown:

6. Bulk emails: encourage urgency with trending products

Highlight trending items with popularity
messaging to build trust in your products.

This has a two-pronged effect of tapping into
consumers’ fear of missing out (“What if the product sells out?”) and desire to
follow a consensus (“Other people are buying it, so it must be good!”)

In this email, VioVet adds urgency with messaging showing how fellow customers are interacting with the products right now:

7. Bulk emails: Inspire shoppers with social media content

Social media feeds let shoppers see your
products in real-life situations, so they can make an informed decision.

User-generated images appeal to customers’
emotions: shoppers can imagine how they will feel once they own your products.

Social media feeds can also encourage micro
conversions: While recipients might not be ready to make a purchase, they could
be persuaded to follow your social channels for more inspiration.

This email from LaRedoute makes shoppers feel part of a tribe by encouraging them to share their style:

Getting started with social proof

To get started, you’ll need to use a trusted ratings and reviews provider to collect customer feedback. Make sure that you have the right tools to incorporate ratings and review content, popularity data, and social media feeds into emails in real time.

For maximum impact, incorporate social proof
on your website to inspire shoppers at every stage of the journey. Consider
using a dedicated real-time marketing platform to provide a joined-up customer
experience without investing too much resource.

Download
The Retail Social Proof Barometer
to discover five types of social proof shoppers look for when making a purchase
decision.

The post 7 ways to boost ecommerce emails with social proof appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 3 weeks ago from blog.dotdigital.com

3 ways to drive customer engagement

Customer engagement is earned through trust and over time. It’s no easy feat for brands; our noisy digital age means that connecting with customers is rather challenging.

What’s more, customer engagement is intrinsically hard to measure. Sure, you can track email opens, clicks, and conversions. But what about word of mouth and brand awareness? The important stuff.

What is customer engagement?

Put simply, customer engagement is attracting and influencing customers in order to capture and retain their attention. Brands seek participation from consumers at length: a collection of individual moments that make up a customer’s experience or journey.

Customer engagement is a persuasion game and has more than one facet. To nurture prospects into customers effectively, you’ll need to tap into the following three layers of the consumer psyche:

  • Emotion

In the very first instance, you should look to engage your customers at an emotional level. They need to ‘feel’ something for your brand and trust your proposition.

  • Rationale

Secondly, you need to lock in commitment and ensure that what you’re offering makes logical sense to the customer.

  • Ethics

Lastly, and most importantly, you’ll have to communicate your brand virtues. Ethical marketing helps nurture promoters – people who will actively advance your brand’s influence.

Let’s look at the best tactics for smashing all three:

1. Trust-building

Inspire emotions to engage customers.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Maya Angelou, American poet

As human beings, our decisions are influenced by our emotions. We love authenticity and hate deceit, so brands need to come across as trustworthy. Only then will customers respond positively.

Design beautiful emails

Make an offer of trust at your debut; design carries a lot of weight in trust-building, so you want to be looking your best in your welcome program. Let your color palette intertwine with copy, and ensure those social links and calls to action are clear. Design email for mobile, too. Did you know that mcommerce sales reached 59% of ecommerce spending overall in 2017? Adopting a mobile-first strategy has never been more important.

You can download our customer engagement guide for some stellar examples of email creative.

Personalize your message

74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases engagement. A first-name greeting, albeit a simple tactic, can put a smile on your customer’s face and prompt them to act. Why not try embedding their name onto an image using liquid script?

Tell, don’t sell

An authentic brand narrative is important for creating brand relevance. Millennials in particular will respond better to emotive marketing than promotional ads. Enchanting subscribers with storytelling means activating memories, feelings, and desires. Relevancy is key: Use the customer data you hold to create meaningful campaigns. EasyJet’s anniversary story is a lovely example.

Put your social proof to use

Customer-first businesses earn social proof. The important thing is to let the customer do the talking. Ratings, reviews and testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC) are all great examples of social proof that can influence broader engagement. Shout about your endorsements and broadcast what other customers are buying. You’ll soon spark interest from similar consumers who are in the market for your product or service.

2. Commitment-building

Now that you’ve struck up an emotional connection with your customer, it’s time to appeal to reason. They’ve built up enough trust to hear you out.

And while impulse can sometimes mislead, logic isn’t as easily fooled. Rational engagement will consolidate emotive desires with reasoning: Do I actually need this Klimt print? Can I afford it? Where would I hang it? I’d need to buy a frame, too.

Convincing customers of your products or services requires some fine-tuning. You need to align your proposition as a solution to an existing want, need, or problem. After all, no one likes buyer’s remorse.

Position your product to meet a need or desire

53% of consumers rate quality over price when making a purchasing decision. Focusing on feature benefits will reassure consumers, while banging on about price can sometimes dissuade them from engaging further. Content needs to be relevant and sell the dream: Paint a picture of where your customer is going to be once they’ve purchased your product.

Use data to segment your audiences

While stories can be broad in their message, communications such as email need to be tailored to specific individuals. Base campaigns on personas or use preferences and behaviors to customize your content. Remember that, to satisfy the customer’s rationale, there should be a reason behind every message.

Relevancy improves the likelihood of engagement. The knock-on effects include: increased customer satisfaction, retention, and cross-/upselling. 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize and provide relevant recommendations. Plus, 83% are willing to share their data to make this possible! Do you have a preference center?

  • Segmenting based on explicit preferences, like product tastes, enables you to power dynamic content in email.
  • Tracking implicit data, such as online activity, allows you to recommend highly relevant products.

Leverage different channels

Armed with a mobile device, consumers can shop wherever and whenever they please. And while email is the undisputed king of ROI (£42 for every £1), other channels such as SMS and push notification warrant equal attention.

Consumers, who perceive SMS as a direct and service-based communication channel, are super-responsive on mobile. They engage with messages instinctively. It’s no surprise that SMS has an unbeatable open rate of 98% and a response rate of 45%.

Marketers have a real opportunity to capitalize on this near-perfect engagement score. Sending highly contextual and timely SMS messages, such as dispatch notes or appointment reminders, can instill consumer confidence in your brand.

Drive context with lifecycle automation

Lifecycle marketing is about taking your customers on a journey. Automation empowers brands to logically structure their campaigns and content around the customer. The premise is context; every message should be relevant to the customer at their point in the journey. Think: welcome series, birthday trigger campaigns, post-purchase content, and loyalty programs.

Fancy your hand at lifecycle automation? Download our worksheet here.

3. Promotion-building

Lead the charge on ethics! Happy customers aren’t always active promoters; brand promotion is at its strongest when they experience a sentimental connection with your brand.

Remember, customers love companies who show they care for something other than the bottom line. Putting ethics before profit not only builds trust, it inspires customers to become actively involved in your brand. And that means more sales.

66% of consumers are willing to spend more money with an ethical businesses. What’s more, 92% of millennials are more likely to buy products from companies that value their ethics.

Engage customers in ethical conversation:

  • Business transparency
  • Charity work
  • Fair trade practices
  • Gender equality
  • Good working conditions
  • Respect for the environment

Ask yourself, what does your business care about?

Make a commitment – and stick to it

Commit to something that both your brand and your customers care about. You might want to donate a percentage of your profits to charity, or plant a tree for every 10 products you sell. Showing that you’re making a difference can earn you more trust and cement your brand reputation.

Use holidays to inspire giving

Anniversaries are a great cause for celebration. They’re a time for reflection and inspiration, so brands need to get stuck in. Making a campaign all about compassion – rather than promotion – can go a long way in customer engagement. Perhaps organize some business-wide charity work on your company’s birthday, or use Black Friday sales as a reason to donate to an important cause. Maybe your customers will follow suit?

Download our customer engagement guide for some killer examples.

Make customers feel after they’ve purchased

Let customers know what their purchases go towards. A compelling aftersales moment can stay with customers forever. That feeling is something brands can’t buy. Go up in customers’ estimations by highlighting the contributions you’re making to a specific cause.

Make it about more than the transaction

Promoters will advocate brands that provide special customer experiences. You’ve got to make the transaction extraordinary so that it sticks out from the others.

Customers will, for instance, be delighted that their purchase is helping others in need. Having felt something meaningful, they’ll continue to purchase with the brand and recommend it to their peers.

So, whether it’s on your homepage or product pages, in email or on social, communicate your ethical activities. They’ll draw the eye, because your actions speak louder than your words.

Customers buy brands, not products

Remember that an authentic narrative will always inspire customer action. People will always pay attention to your business if you’ve got something worthwhile to say. Engagement is the result of a good brand story. It’s just a case of getting the balance of emotive and rational marketing right.

Your brand proposition needs to feel right, make sense, and convey compassion.

For more customer engagement tips and some great examples, download our full guide here.

The post 3 ways to drive customer engagement appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

3 ways to drive conversions with web behavior data

Session length, clicks, and product views are among the most actively tracked ecommerce metrics. And for good reason, too. Whilst numbers vary greatly, most e-tailers report that their average session duration is between 2 to 5 minutes. During that time, a customer will browse multiple product pages, mere clicks away from conversion.

The average conversion rate on a product
description page is over 8%, meaning it’s important that merchants track
online visitors
even before they abandon their cart.

Beyond simply tracking these metrics, merchants and marketers can inform their merchandising and marketing with these web behavior insights. Why not resurface popular products in your next email?

Implementation

The first step is to implement web tracking script on your site – this can be done manually via your CMS or Google Tag Manager. Both methods are referenced in our support implementation guide.

Once the script is live you’ll start collecting session data (from contacts who’ve clicked through from an email) in your WebInsights. One contact can have many web sessions, and each can have multiple page visits recorded. There are lots of data attributes available which you can view within an individual contact record – duration of page views (in minutes) is a good one. You can apply segmentation rules based on these attributes, too.   

Here are three ways to start leveraging web behavior data with dotdigital Engagement Cloud:

Abandoned browse email

Truth is – everyone gets distracted online
(who’s multi-tasking right now?). If a customer has viewed a product but hasn’t
purchased, sending a relevant and targeted follow-up makes complete sense. So,
creating an abandoned browse campaign should be on your radar.

Obviously, it’s impractical to set up triggers for all products; select a popular high-value product, or a product with a big margin, as a first step when testing the abandoned browse waters.  

Ready for the next level? Why not set up an abandoned browse based on a set of more generic rules like total number of WebInsight collections or a ‘url contains’ rule. 

(!) Just remember to exclude anyone that has already purchased!

The program-entry segment might look something like:

The program flow might look something like:

Product recommendations

Product recs are a great tool to inspire longer and
repeat website visits. Shoppers
buy recommended products
– whether they’re bestsellers or tailored uniquely
to them. This unmissable sales tactic accounts for 31% of ecommerce site
revenue (Barilliance, 2018).   

If you are storing your products in our insight data collection (this product catalog will sync over as part of our commerce connectors: Magento, Shopify Plus, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, Shopware, and Salesforce Commerce Cloud), then once you begin tracking web behavior you can start using most viewed and trending product recommendation blocks in either BAU campaigns or in automated triggers.

The content block will dynamically update with the latest most-view products based on the logic you set. For example, ‘only show most viewed products over a certain price’ (and if you have stock levels, you could exclude any products that have a low inventory).

A simple rule might look like:

Continue your journey

Rather than target online visitors based on
specific pages, you could drive a more generic follow-up; one that prompts them
to continue their journey. Something like: ‘We hope you liked what you saw’ – a
triggered campaign sent to those who’ve viewed pages numerous times but haven’t
yet purchased or converted.

If you have an online store, get your subscribers to create an account using a dynamic content block that’s only visible to them (and not customers). This email campaign would have a light touch and is about getting your contacts to come back to your site to create an account and/or make a purchase.

One simple script.

Engagement Cloud is powerful, but we can’t collect web behavioral insight unless you tell us to with a simple piece of script. To find out more about implementing web tracking on your site, check out our Knowledge Base here.

Once the script is live, Engagement Cloud
will start collecting session data for you (contacts who have clicked through
from an email) and store it in a web insights collection.

There are many web behavior attributes available for use, this overview should help you learn more about them and web behavior in general.

Getting started

  1. Think big, start small, and
    scale quickly
  2. Focus on high value / bestsellers
    / biggest margin products
  3. Put data to use with customer
    segmentation
  4. Remember to apply frequency
    rules (gauge engagement based on a minimum number of visits in 7 or 14 days) and
    exclude recent purchasers

Want more information on WebInsights? Speak to your account manager today.

The post 3 ways to drive conversions with web behavior data appeared first on dotdigital blog.

Reblogged 2 months ago from blog.dotdigital.com

5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers

Once the stomping ground of only the biggest US brands, Black Friday has now become a universal sales period that for many – it is too costly to ignore.

There are brands out there who don’t embrace the annual price-cutting chaos – for example, Apple, Ikea, and the UK’s Walmart cousin, Asda. However, with 30% of annual retail sales occurring between Black Friday and Christmas (almost 40 percent for jewellery retailers), it’s easy to see why so many are still getting stuck in.

Discounting periods are proving costly for retailers the world over with UK-market leader, John Lewis, recently citing having to match twice as many discounting extravaganzas in 2018 as the key reason for a major fall in profits. The rising number of discount days retailers must acknowledge, combined with the lower lifetime value of a customer acquired during a discounting period, is a key reason why merchants must focus on securing longer-lasting loyalty from one-time shoppers acquired during the sales.

Let’s get started with five simple ways that you could be optimizing your email strategy in order to secure longer-term customer loyalty, both during BFCM and once the sales are over:

1. Segmenting your customer base from the get-go

When it comes to email, it’s tempting to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach and send the same messages out to everyone. It’s even more tempting to take this approach following BFCM, when you have a large collection of customers who have only purchased once, but you want to re-engage with as soon as possible.

You might not know everything about these customers just yet, but use the information that you do have to segment your customer base and send the most relevant emails.

Whether you segment by the type of products purchased or by the brand or collection purchased from, make sure that the first message that you send post-BFCM is highly targeted and relevant. Customers who believe that you understand their individual behaviors are more likely to return and engage again.


2. Sending emails triggered by personal events

80% of customers are more likely to shop at brands that offer personalised experiences. At the most basic level, you can achieve this by sending special messages, offers or discounts on a customer’s birthday. At a deeper level, you can send messages that are tailored around their shopping anniversaries.

For example, celebrate with them each time they unlock a reward, qualify for a higher tier on your loyalty program, or reach a specific number of purchases with your store.

Whether you offer them simple discounts in return for their ongoing engagement, or offer them more exclusive perks such as free shipping or early access to sales or new product ranges, customers will appreciate the fact that they have received an email entirely unique to them and their actions or buying behaviors.


3. Re-engaging at-risk customers with incentives to return

Customers acquired during BCFM are proven to have a lower lifetime value than those acquired at other times of year. This means that they are less likely to return and make their next purchase, leaving them ‘at risk’.

In order to prevent at-risk customers from churning, ensure that you’re giving them reasons to come back and shop again. One approach is to credit customers with points within your emails.

Even if those customers do not immediately return to use those points, you have differentiated yourself by giving them something for doing nothing – something not many retailers will do. We recommend crediting enough points so that at-risk customers can instantly unlock a new reward.

You might also consider moving customers up to a higher tier in your loyalty program, allowing them to unlock more generous or exclusive rewards that are worth returning to use. There is no cost to this strategy, and also no doubt that your customers will be pleased they stopped to open that email!

4. Making the benefits implicit

Use emails you are already sending – such as post-purchase emails – to make sure that customers know what they are missing out on if they don’t return and repeat purchase. We don’t necessarily mean other sales or discounts they could be accessing, but instead, the rewards and benefits they could be unlocking with another purchase.

Use your post-purchase emails to show customers how many points they have or could have earned with their BFCM purchase, and remind them what that could translate to in terms of rewards and benefits.

You can also let them know how many points they would need to earn to unlock other, even more valuable rewards, incentivising them to come back to your store and shop again, sooner.


5. Reiterating your brand values

For many customers, purchasing decisions around BFCM are based solely on price, rather than shared values or beliefs. That’s why we encourage merchants to take the time to share their brand values once the shopping period is out of the way and customers are thinking more clearly.

Loyalty programs are all about community and relationships, and shared values are a key incentive for customers to join and engage more with your brand. Build messaging into your welcome and post-purchase emails, so that customers immediately see how your brand resonates with their own personal values. This is a key step to building longer-term relationships that will drive customer retention and increase lifetime value.

This year, all we want for Christmas is to see merchants making the most of every opportunity to turn Black Friday Cyber Monday into a resounding retention success story, rather than just a spike in acquisition. Have a chat with one of our team to find out more, or head to the LoyaltyLion Academy to learn more about improving the effectiveness of  loyalty emails.

 

About LoyaltyLion

LoyaltyLion is a data-driven loyalty and engagement software for fast-growth ecommerce merchants. Thousands of retailers worldwide use LoyaltyLion to add their own fully customizable loyalty programs and increase customer engagement, retention and spend.  Stores using LoyaltyLion typically generate at least $15 for every $1 they spend on the platform.

 

 

The post 5 ways you could be using email to secure longer-lasting loyalty from one-time BFCM customers appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 6 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

4 ways to achieve customer engagement on a mobile device

Marketers who want true customer engagement, take heed!

The opportunity to engage on mobile is now! Brands (like yours) need to adopt a mobile-centric strategy if they wish to extend their reach, acquire and retain customers, and increase their marketing ROI.

Why’s that? Ultimately, it’s because consumers’ shopping habits rely heavily on the smartphone and its capabilities. Today we’re inseparable from our mobiles.

The device equips customers with:

  • quick access to information
  • social proof
  • convenience of purchase
  • easy selection process and checkout
  • extensive product and service choice

Brands are under pressure to deliver a seamless ‘at-home’ experience now that the shopfront sits on the consumer’s coffee table. Since mobile is inherently personal to the individual, marketers need to be prioritizing personalization at every stage of the customer journey.

 

Here are 4 ways to deliver the best experience on mobile:

1. Implement a welcome program that’s fit for mobile

First impressions are what build the initial foundations of a long-lasting customer relationship. Brands aiming to nurture a loyal customer base should take an active interest in new subscribers. Winning them over on mobile can make all the difference.

  • Confirm subscription via SMS
  • Send a mobile optimized welcome email (promote your app if you have one)
  • Invite subscribers to fill in a fully responsive preference center
  • Segment contacts based on the information you capture

2. Deliver an on-the-go aftersales experience

The post-purchase journey is a honeymoon period (your customers are really into you, so it’s important to be really into them, too). This is where you can drive valuable mobile moments that build that all-important brand love.

Customers expect:

  • timely transactional notifications
  • informative delivery updates in real time
  • value-add aftersales content (‘how-tos’, reviews, promotions related to past behavior)

Whether these messages are delivered via email, SMS or push, they need to be contextual and relevant. Every mobile moment should mean something to the customer.

3. Engage customers at meaningful moments

Loyalty doesn’t come from one single purchase. Brands have got to invest in their customers – that means providing rich content and tailored product recommendations. It costs five times more to acquire a customer than to retain one, so nurturing tactics should be the cornerstone of your mobile marketing strategy.

Top tips:

  • Trigger a product review via email/SMS and offer an incentive to boost responses
  • Combine preference data with behavioral insight to power relevant communications
  • Send broadcast promotions/event-based notifications via SMS and push (flash sales, content drops, new arrivals, appointment/renewal/replenishment reminders)
  • Anniversaries are a great conversation starter – think birthdays, throwbacks, one-year-since-first-purchase etc.

4. Keep customers hooked wherever they are

Customers inevitably fall off the radar, and it’s a challenge for every business. Since acquisition is pricier than retention, marketers need to refine their re-engagement tactics and prevent customers from lapsing. But fear not: if you’re going to win them back, it’s going to be on mobile.

  • Agree on your lapse criteria (i.e. customer hasn’t opened an email in three months or purchased in six)
  • Build a winback program that incorporates SMS, push and email (using whichever channel subscribers are likelier to engage on)
  • Consider retargeting ads on Facebook and Google

 

Audience segmentation is the most important tactic for marketers to practice. The experience on mobile must be as personalized as possible; consumers won’t engage with messages that lack context or relevancy.

So, when planning out your mobile strategy, think about the reasoning behind every communication in the customer lifecycle. The devil is always in the data.

For deeper insights on how to engage customers on a mobile device, download our best practice guide here.

The post 4 ways to achieve customer engagement on a mobile device appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 9 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email

SMS marketing provides brands with the opportunity to craft an immediate personal relationship with customers, but many are yet to incorporate the channel. With consumers running the game when it comes to tech adoption, those that act fast will stake a claim in the mobile inbox – leaving others at the back of the queue.

Today’s empowered consumer challenges us to provide exceptional brand experiences. Each interaction needs to be packed with all the contextual relevancy and personalization we now receive in our digital lives. Moreover, consumers are fully aware that they leave data breadcrumbs everywhere they go. And they expect them to be used to make their experience better.

To keep up with on-the-go consumers, marketers (firstly) need to utilize powerful technology and leverage the right data. Secondly, they need to compose brilliant, meaningful messages that compel customers to act fast. Adding complementary channels to support your email marketing efforts means you can reach the right customer through their most relevant channel. At dotmailer, we think this omnichannel expansion starts with SMS.

Multiracial hipster friends couple having fun with smartphone in subway train – Urban relationship concept with young people watching mobile phone in city underground area – Bright desaturated filter

There’s no better way to reach every customer than by bringing together the two giants in communication: SMS and email marketing automation. More than 5 billion people will own a mobile by 2019. Plus, eMarketer expects total US retail mcommerce sales will grow a further 32.7% in 2018. And with email boasting a healthy £38 return for every £1 spent, the numbers paint a healthy picture for investment. Both mediums provide much more bang for their buck compared to, say, paid media, giving you back valuable resources to spend as you see fit.

Combining these two push channels nurtures that all-important 360° customer view. Plus, you can add relevance and granularity to your strategy when you tailor your engagements to the individual. Choosing a tech provider with SMS baked in means you can add the channel to your strategy with ease – and scale quickly.

We’ve put together 6 prime use-cases for the SMS/email partnership, along with some ideas for your multi-channel campaigns:

1. Shipping/updates

Using automation to deliver a dual-channel transactional strategy is the best way to keep customers up-to-date with their purchases and deliver exceptional customer service. If you’re using an ESP like dotmailer, you can trigger SMS messages – like dispatch alerts – using the SMS service. Automate your key transactional communications through your email provider to keep all your analytics in one place.

2. Customer feedback surveys

If you’re looking for a quick way to gauge the experience your customer has received, a quick SMS survey could be just the ticket. Get feedback on your transactional emails by asking customers to reply with a number between one and ten. Quick, easy and informative!

3. Reminders and alerts

Slotting SMS extensions into your automation programs enables you to deliver emails and SMS at appropriate points along an individual customer’s journey – but at mass scale. Appointment reminders and expiry prompts are just two examples of SMS notifications that you can automate.

4. Personalized offers/marketing campaigns

In a recent survey conducted by Narvar, US online shoppers from every age group from 12-65 admitted to preferring to receive text messages over push notifications from retailers regarding their orders. The story runs parallel in the UK, with 67% of  internet users aged 18-34 stating they like receiving relevant brand offers and promotions via SMS.

Offer-led messages are more likely to strike the right chord with customers if they’re carefully considered and well-timed. Consider this use case: An existing customer browses and ‘favorites’ a sale item on your website; she leaves the website without buying, so your automation program triggers an ‘abandoned browse’ email to the customer to remind her of product she’s flagged – you could also include the date that your sale ends. If the customer doesn’t return after a chosen period, delivering an SMS to reminder her that her favorite item will soon be full price might just do the trick. You could even offer the customer an exclusive SMS discount to bring them over the line.

5. New product updates

Got a new mobile app or an upgrade to your service? These brand landmarks are worth telling your customers about and an SMS could be the ideal way to spread the good news. If you’re communicating your new app, including a CTA link to a download page helps the recipient instantly get the goods.

6. Loyalty

VIP customers deserve VIP treatment. They already feel affinity for your brand and, in some cases, may be true advocates who are sharing the positive experiences with their peers.

Loyalty reward emails containing time-sensitive content are often best backed up with SMS reminders. Updates about new points earned or those that are due to expire are a good way to show that you know and respect your customer; Think too about optimizing the conversion period for valuable customers with SMS alerts about exclusive sales access.

dotmailer SMS

SMS is an effective marketing tool that enables you to cut through the noise when other channels can’t. 54% of US retailers plan to expand their unified commerce (omnichannel initiatives) over the next 18 months, the top answer for those surveyed. It’s never been more important to get ahead of the competition.

dotmailer’s integrated global SMS service works in 156 countries, helping you amplify your automation strategy with timely and contextually relevant communication. Check it out for yourself!

Want to see what you can do with SMS? Take a quick demo.

 

The post 6 ways to target ecommerce customers with SMS and email appeared first on The Marketing Automation Blog.

Reblogged 11 months ago from blog.dotmailer.com

3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns

Yet due to their automated nature, many marketers shy away from the idea of personalizing triggered email visual content beyond basic audience segmentation. However, adding personalized visual content to even the most specific triggered email campaigns can greatly impact their effectiveness. And, if done correctly, implementing this personalized content only requires legwork in the initial set up of the campaign.

User-generated content (UGC) can add that personal touch to triggered email campaigns — allowing email subscribers to see and interact with authentic photos and videos of your brand and its products. A study by Pixlee has shown that displaying user-generated content on marketing channels can increase online conversions 2-4x. The power of user-generated content can also be brought to different triggered email campaigns.

In this post, we’re going to explore three types of triggered emails that can be enhanced with user-generated content to increase click-through and conversions.

Abandoned cart emails

Marketers project almost visceral reactions when talking about shopping cart abandonment. They are aware that it’s a big problem yet at the same time a lucrative opportunity. Approximately $4 trillion worth of merchandise will be abandoned in online shopping carts this year and about 63% of that revenue is potentially recoverable.

Displaying product-specific customer photos and videos in abandoned cart emails can help to contextualize products for shoppers who are still in the early stages of the purchase funnel. It also adds a layer of social proof and peer validation to help shoppers, who may not be able to touch and feel a product as they would in a store, to make a purchase with confidence.

Browse recovery emails

While product page browsers may not have as high of intent to purchase as those who leave items in abandoned online carts, these browsers have still indicated some interest. Consider this: If you only send emails to subscribers who have abandoned items in cart, you’re ignoring 75% of shoppers who could be re-engaged to re-visit your website.

One way to display user-generated content in browse recovery emails is to highlight similar products to re-engage these browsers. It can help the browser to discover relevant products offered by your brand that he or she might be interested in.

Lifecycle emails

Finally, lifecycle email campaigns (such as Welcome emails, Order Confirmation emails, or Shipping Confirmation emails) can play important roles in your customer loyalty and retention.

While the primary message of these emails is transactional, displaying user-generated content to upsell and cross-sell can help to personalize these email campaigns. Furthermore, incorporating real customer photos and videos into lifecycle emails can also help you to highlight your greater brand story through email touchpoints.

Conclusion

Triggered emails are a powerful way to personalize brand messaging and to recover revenue. To improve your triggered email campaign engagement and increase click-through rate, consider your visual content. Does it contextualize your products in an authentic way? Does it help your subscriber to discover similar or complementary products? If the answer is no, consider using real customer photos and videos to enhance your email engagement and encourage website revisits.

The post 3 ways to add user-generated content to triggered email campaigns appeared first on The Email Marketing Blog.

Reblogged 1 year ago from blog.dotmailer.com

Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search

New to local search? Wondering where to start? Columnist Sherry Bonelli offers five tactics to help you kick off your local SEO campaign.

The post Local SEO in 2017: 5 simple ways to dominate local search appeared first on Search Engine Land.

Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.

Reblogged 2 years ago from feeds.searchengineland.com