Paul Cheney

Ecommerce Investment Advice: How marketers can make their companies more valuable

March 3rd, 2015

We don’t often think of business investors as marketing experts.

However, great marketing is grounded in a great value proposition. If anyone is good at finding a value proposition, it’s a (smart) potential buyer of a business. Great investors have a way of cutting through all the hype and finding the true value (or lack thereof) in a company.

It stands to reason, then, that a great investor would be a stellar resource to tap for your marketing efforts.

Enter Abe Garver, Managing Director, BG Strategic Advisors. Abe attended IRCE last year and was able to talk to former MarketingSherpa reporter Allison Banko about how ecommerce marketers can develop an acquisition mindset and help grow their business, whether they plan to sell or not.

In this interview he covers:

  • How you value an ecommerce company
  • The four keys to making your ecommerce company more investor friendly (and as a result, customer friendly)
  • Why ecommerce companies aren’t really getting it right, and who really is

 

You might also like:

Vendor Selection: A 5-step process for choosing a marketing automation solution or agency

How a B2B Company Used Live Chat to Speed up the Sales Cycle

Marketing Research Chart: Clear communications and unconscious customer bias

Inbound Marketing: How Infochimps grew its database 94% in one year

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Categories: Ecommerce Eretail Tags: , , ,

Selena Blue

Email Summit 2015 According to Twitter: Your peers share their key takeaways from Day 1 on engaging, empowering and serving customers

February 25th, 2015

If you haven’t noticed, #SherpaEmail has taken over Twitter.

Well, maybe not in a break-the-Internet scale of Kim Kardashian, but your marketing peers have been tweeting their hearts out with all the good information they’ve learned at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015.

With Day 2 of Summit underway, we wanted to share some key nuggets your peers found valuable on Day 1. (I might have smuggled a few of my own in too.) Check out some key takeaways from each of yesterday’s insightful sessions.

 

Humanizing Your Email Program: How to transcend the digital revolution by using the essential ability to communicate person-to-person

Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute

Flint revealed four fundamental principles that guide effective communication and provided examples of how these principles can be used to transform your entire email program.

Read more…

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , , , ,

Courtney Eckerle

Three Takeaways on Customer-centric Marketing from Email Summit 2015 Media Center

February 24th, 2015

There are a lot of decisions that go into putting on Email Summit. Millions, probably, if you go deep enough.

But they all come around with one objective: you. The attendees and people who are reading about, and following, the event.

In every discussion and decision, we were asking ourselves how it would affect the experience. Your experience. So it made sense that when it came time to pick speakers and give out the Email Summit Awards, sponsored by BlueHornet, that customer-centric campaigns were the ones that rose above the rest.

Fellow Email Awards judge Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, and myself sat down on the steps of the (still under-construction) 2015 Email Summit Media Center to discuss some of our award winners and the customer-centric elements of campaigns featured at the Summit.

Media Center 2015

 

“The companies that focused on customers, that put their customers first, are the ones that ultimately have the sustainable competitive advantage,” Daniel said.

Our marketing compass points toward true customer-centricity, so it was important that marketers we featured held that same standard.

Daniel spoke about the B2B Award winner he has been working with over the past few months, Ferguson, and one of their main takeaways from their own event effort: Always look to enrich the customer experience.

Ferguson Enterprises generated more than $10 million and growing in online sales by enriching the customer experience within their 90 trade show events, which allowed Ferguson’s vendors to get in front of customers and promote their brands and products.

To accomplish that, Ferguson went from one email per event to a segmented series as well as optimized its onsite event registration for better retargeting.

Read the full case study here.

Read more…

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Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Daniel Burstein

Digital Marketing: Content marketing, social media and SEO predictions for 2015

February 20th, 2015

Every year at Email Summit, we ask marketers for their predictions.

Before MarketingSherpa reporter Courtney Eckerle interviews you about your marketing predictions in the Email Summit Media Center, I figured it was only fair to put a stake in the ground and make some predictions you could hold me to as well.

digitalmarketing2

 

Prediction #1: Convergence is the watchword for digital marketing this year

You’ve already seen (and will continue to see) convergence among marketing and business software platforms, and this trend will continue to grow as the line blurs between publishers, brands and marketing agencies.

Curve by Getty Images. Verizon’s experiment with Sugarstring. And, of course, The Red Bulletin. More and more brands are learning the power of building this kind of one-to-one connection with their audiences, building an owned audienc, and not having to borrow interest from television or other content creators.

At the same time, publishers are creating content for brands with their own agency arms, as well (a bit of a blast from the past when newspapers used to help create ads to sell media space).

Tribune Publishing (which owns the Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and other dailies) bought a stake in Contend, a content agency that creates branded campaigns. Onion Labs, The Onion’s in-house ad agency, has made some seriously cool campaigns. Condé Nast, publisher of Vogue, Vanity Fair and GQ recently hired a director of branded content and launched a branded content shop which blurs the line between editorial and promotion.

Advertising and marketing agencies, more threatened than ever by brands and publishers, will try to get an ownership stake in the ideas they help create, like Anomaly did with EOS cosmetics or how 37signals went from being a website redesign shop to a software company selling Basecamp.

Data, will of course, be huge. This will be of benefit to content creators of all stripes listed above. Since they have the traffic and relationship with the audience, they have the ability to learn the audience’s preferences based on their behavior, and then engage in A/B testing with these audiences to build a strong understanding of the products, services and offers that these customers will most respond to.

But behind it all, let’s not overlook the people with the knowhow to make it happen, which can be a scarce resource — brilliant, brilliant marketers, writers, designers and data scientists.

Being able to navigate this land of data and convergence, networking and real relationships will be critical for the marketer to build cross-functional teams that understand all the elements it will take to be successful — content, technology, data and strategy. That’s one reason we pay so much attention to the audience experience and foster interactions and networking at Email Summit.

Read more…

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Categories: Marketing Tags: , , , , , , , ,

David Kirkpatrick

Email Marketing: List segmentation tips using social media and online behavior

February 17th, 2015

Unless you are executing batch-and-blast email campaigns (and I sincerely hope that you aren’t), your email strategy probably involves some level of personalization or at least getting relevant email content to the right person. In order to achieve either of those goals, the starting point is your email subscriber list and having that list segmented so you can pick and choose who in your database receives each email send.

Lists can be segmented many different ways, and obviously the more record fields you have on each person in your list, the easier it is to segment based on criteria such as geographical location, job title, industry and possibly even transaction history.

To provide a few ideas of how your peers are segmenting their lists for email campaigns, here are three examples taken from MarketingSherpa Newsletter case studies. Hopefully you will discover insights that are inspirational or maybe even something you can immediately apply to your own email efforts.

 

Tip #1. Utilize behavioral data for segmentation

This tip comes from an article titled, “Segmentation: How a small office supply ecommerce site boosted revenue 25% by sending more emails,” covering JAM Paper & Envelope, a New York City-based brick-and-mortar that added ecommerce in 2007. Andrew Jacobs, Director of Ecommerce, JAM Paper, said, “Essentially, we come up with one email a week, or every two weeks, or even a month if we didn’t have time, and we would send it out. We would just cross our fingers and hope for the best,” referring to the company’s initial batch-and-blast approach to email.

JAM Paper’s campaigns included a “lapsed purchase” send to anyone who hadn’t bought anything for 17 months, but the team decided segment beyond just a certain timeframe and began taking individual behavior into account for the campaign.

This meant looking at each customer’s buying behavior. Some bought monthly, or even weekly, while others bought only once a year. The team calculated the average time between orders for each customer and began sending the “lapsed purchase” email once each person passed their individual threshold. This tactic yielded a 45% conversion rate — the highest among all of JAM Paper’s email campaigns.

 

Tip #2. Mine social media for customer segmentation data

In the case study, “Email Marketing Segmentation: Clothing brand uses social behavioral data to drive a 141% increase in revenue,” Johnny Cupcakes, a mid-sized apparel retailer, linked its customer database to social media engagement of its individual customers, analyzing 19 million public social expressions.

These posts led to insights on data points such as:

  • Gender
  • Customer interests
  • Brand preferences
  • Media habits

Gender was seen as the key data point to uncover from the effort and was actually taken directly from social media profiles if that information was available. One of the insights into customer interests was that a lot of Johnny Cupcakes’ customers were sports fans.

The team decided to test these insights by promoting a baseball-themed shirt to the sports fan segment of its list.

Men on the list were sent an email featuring a male model and a shirt cut for men:

Men's shirt

Read more…

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , ,

Daniel Beulah

How to Harness the Power of New Technology to Personalize to Your Audience

February 13th, 2015

We are in the midst of an informational and technological revolution. It is constantly changing the way we communicate. There is an unspoken drive deep down in the collective psyche of humanity that is pushing us to make communication faster and universal.

Being able to express complex ideas is vital to our species’ survival. It’s taken us from caves to high rises. From wall paintings and smoke signals to emails and international phone calls, the way we communicate is versatile and fluid. What’s the norm yesterday could easily be archaic tomorrow.

As marketers we have to communicate our companies’ ideas, products and values to potential customers in any medium they communicate in.

As we move toward more instant communication, the marketer has to evolve with consumers. Just like the shift from direct mail to email, the savvy marketer must know when to move to a new technological medium and how to market correctly in that medium.

 

Mobile email

For several years there have been predictions about the end of email.  While email has changed significantly in the last 20 years, we now send more emails than ever before.

According to emailisnotdead.com, there are currently 4.1 billion email accounts that send 122+ billion emails per hour — and 53% of those emails were opened on a mobile device. The future of communication is mobile email, and there is already a lot of it going on.

In order to get ahead of this curve, email service providers (ESPs) are developing algorithms that automatically sort your emails. Google unveiled their answer to the overcrowded inbox late in 2014. A consummate innovator and leader in the email space, Google has developed a system that automatically sweeps your emails into three easy to manage subfolders: Updates, Social and Promotions. They have allowed more design elements to be featured in the subject line space and have made it even easier to clear a whole inbox in seconds.

So what does that mean for marketers?

It means that as ESPs move into the future, they will use bundling to sort people’s emails. This will most likely lead to the average clickthrough rate decreasing. However, the quality of the leads will go up because emails, instead of being cookie-cutter sends, can be personalized for individuals based on data marketers accrue. In the future, designers will have to work with content writers to make sure their emails stick out visually, alongside personalization.

Effect of Gmail Tabs

Chart courtesy of: MailChimp

 

Marketing efforts will need to work in conjunction with all the other marketing options the company is using. We have to move away from thinking about individual campaigns and towards holistic, cohesive marketing tactics.

Read more…

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Categories: Marketing Tags: , , , , ,

Courtney Eckerle

4 Tips from Jonah Berger on Taking Content Marketing Viral

February 10th, 2015

We all see things go viral on the Web or certain products that suddenly take off. It begs the question: Why do some things get talked about more than others?

“And how by understanding that science can companies and organizations and individuals get their stuff to catch on?” said Jonah Berger, Associate Marketing Professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, during our phone interview.

ContagiousJonah, who will be a keynote speaker at Email Summit 2015, has studied how products are used and why behaviors catch on. His book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, was a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller on the topic.

Companies can get stuck in an “advertising” mindset, he said, and see that as the only way to communicate with consumers.

“While advertising is useful for some things, it’s not as effective as word-of-mouth for some other things. And so understanding how to both effectively use traditional advertising and word-of-mouth and blend those two approaches becomes really important,” he said.

Jonah provided four tips on how to best integrate the two and how to make your content go “viral.”

 

Tip #1. Keep the focus on customer

Marketers have a tendency to focus too much on the product or service, rather than the customer or user, Jonah pointed out.

It’s easy to speak in a language the customer can’t easily understand when you spend day after day up close to what you’re offering — “You know a lot about your product, your service, your idea,” he said.

Ask yourself a few questions to make sure that you’ve pictured the customer’s journey:

  • Why are they using this?
  • What’s in it for them?
  • How can we be more successful by finding our messages in customer language?

The value of content done well, he said, is that “it’s not about you … the best content doesn’t yell your brand; it whispers it.”

While recently working on a project with 3M, Jonah said he helped them create content that focused on how the product could be used.

“So focus is more on the user, or the thing that happens, or the way it improves the world or people’s lives, rather than the product itself,” he said.

Read more…

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Categories: Inbound Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Andrea Johnson

How a B2B Company Used Live Chat to Speed up the Sales Cycle

February 6th, 2015

Online chat is far more than a way to respond to customers. It’s an opportunity to optimize website content, pinpoint customer needs and even close sales, according to Brooke Beach, former Marketing Manager and current Marketing Director, Kevy.

Kevy enables businesses to connect and synchronize data to cloud apps. It’s a new industry, explains Brooke, so customers inundate the company with questions. Before live chat, Kevy responded to them via email. She admits the back and forth, full mailboxes and the time it took to clarify the issue via email dragged out the support and sales process.

So they took advantage of the immediate response of live chat and discovered it provided a much better solution by:

  • Optimizing their website. Brooke instantly found out which pages communicated effectively and which didn’t. Specifically, there were consistently two pages that people used chat to ask questions about. She revamped those pages based on the chat discussions, and the questions dropped by 75%.“I’m working with content all of the time, and I can have a false expectation of the level of understanding others may have,” says Brooke. “The immediate feedback enables us to cater the website content to better fit (customer) needs.”
  • Closing sales faster. “The beauty of chat is it gives a personal, human element to a flat website … you can get to know a person and what they’re looking for and immediately figure out the right solution for them,” she points out.In fact, almost immediately after Kevy installed live chat, a prospect used it to inquire about pricing structure. A sales professional was able to close the deal in a single conversation.

Watch the full interview and find out more about the value of online chat for B2B:

Read more…

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Categories: B2B Marketing Tags: , , ,

Daniel Burstein

Vendor Selection: A 5-step process for choosing a marketing automation solution or agency

February 3rd, 2015

How do you move 18 to 20 segments of customers through the learning process of a complex sale? Mitch Zlotnik, President, and Seth Pauley, Vice President, both of Audimute Acoustic Panels, used marketing automation to educate customers with content on a large buying decision.

To learn the process they used to find the right marketing automation solution and agency to help create this low-touch ecommerce operation, I interviewed Mitch and Seth.

“We’ve been rapidly growing for the last eight years. We’ve found a good partner selection helps you grow your business. A poor selection extracts resources from your business, creates problems that hinder growth,” Seth said.

 

Mitch and Seth discussed their “Five Q” Technology or Agency Selection Process:

  • Qualified (at 3:39 and 7:40 in the video interview)
  • Quantified (at 5:52)
  • Quick (at 5:05)
  • Quill (at 8:30)
  • Quality (at 8:39)

Read more…

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Categories: Business Technology Marketing Tags: , ,

Jessica Lorenz

Blogger Intervention: 3 reasons why no one is engaging with your content

January 30th, 2015

So, you have low blog engagement or a handful of loyal followers that you were expecting to blossom into a world-wide audience — but it’s just not happening.

I’m not an expert content writer or blog wiz. However, working at MarketingSherpa has given me insights that I would not have otherwise about what can make certain pieces of content successful while others flop.

Here are three common mistakes to keep in mind as you structure your individual blog posts and also determine your blogging strategy:

Blogger Intervention

 

1. It’s all about you

The biggest mistake that content creators can make is centering their blogs on themselves.

They open with a relevant, beautiful challenge that the audience is facing, and then they ruin a perfectly good opening by presenting their product as the flawless solution — or their service as an end-all-be-all to those interested in a DIY experience. Content consumers aren’t looking for a reason to buy from you. They are looking for a resource to solve problems.

Be real, be relevant and be genuine. Make sure that your blog humanizes you, and explain how your audience  can learn from, and apply, your mistakes to their own campaigns.

Lastly, edit — grammatically and for content. Even the world of food bloggers (which I frequent) knows that the audience really only cares about how much salt is too much salt and why cream of tartar really makes a difference in the cookie recipe rather than just adding more baking soda. The annoyingly long charming story about your grandmother’s old pickup truck isn’t a necessary preamble for what I’m really interested in below.

Remember, every sentence should justify the reason as to why your post is solving the problem that your audience faces. It’s about them.

Read more…

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Categories: Social Networking Evangelism Community Tags: , ,