Courtney Eckerle

Crawl, Walk, Run: How Ferguson began customer-centric email habits to generate over $21 million in online revenue

September 4th, 2015

I’ve interviewed around 500 marketers since I started as a reporter at MarketingSherpa. Looking back, most of those conversations are inevitably a bit of a blur, but it’s marketers like Mary Abrahamson, Email Marketing Specialist, Ferguson Enterprises, that truly stand out.

Mary was a first-time attendee at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014, and took back what she learned to her office and implemented a transformative, customer-centric campaign that led to her winning Best in Show at Email Summit 2015.

“I learned a lot at Email Summit last year, and coming back [to the office], I felt like we were in an okay place, but we had a lot of room to grow,” she said, explaining that the team began taking steps to refuel their database.

When the team began making changes to view the email program as a whole enterprise, they took what Mary referred to as the “crawl, walk, run approach,” which is where they started off small and went back to optimize later.

The first thing to know when it comes to email relevancy is: there is no email that fits your entire list.

Marketers get requests all the time from different teams and interests to send out an email, and it’s up to the email marketing team to be the stopgap for what goes out to customers.

“Not only does no email fit well to our entire database … maybe in the short term they would see an incremental sales lift, but in the long term that would not fare well with our customer database,” she said.

The journey the marketers at Ferguson took consisted of three steps, as detailed in the full video, but the most critical was learning about their customer. If they had not asked — and answered — some critical questions, the rest of the campaign would not have been possible.

This full campaign was applied to their national traveling trade show, Ferguson Rewards. It travels to more than 90 cities, and is a measurable campaign that could also see ripple effects throughout the whole database.

 

Learn about your customer and how to communicate with them

Like the best customer-centric campaigns, Mary and her team began by asking, “Who is our customer?”

In asking this, the team realized something very important — they were not their customers. Just because they, as marketers, were on social media or communicating in a certain way didn’t mean that their customers — consisting mostly of plumbers — would be as well.

“We nailed it down to three core things that marry our customers in our online and offline space,” Mary said, adding that marketers can “personalize and segment all day long, but what are those three things that you cannot live without in your digital space?”

Mary and her team broke customers down into 14 different segments, all varying greatly in the way they do business with Ferguson, as exampled in average order size, which could be from $11.88 to $4,082.82.

“We really had to change this year how we collected that customer provided data … and start to act on it with relevant communications,” Mary said.

By answering these questions, the Ferguson team was able to deliver rich, tailored content and offers, and alternately provide real-time data to partners and sales reps — creating 92 automated campaigns in 12 months. By understanding customers, Ferguson was able to drive 486 in ecommerce conversions.

“A lot of customers, they don’t really want to part ways with their information. Make them realize why you want their information. That you’re going to follow up with relevant emails,” she said.

 

You can follow Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, on Twitter at @CourtneyEckerle.

 

You might also like

MarketingSherpa Summit 2016 — At the Bellagio in Las Vegas, February 22-24

How Ferguson Enterprises Generated Over $10 Million in Online Revenue by Enriching Its Customer Experience [from MarketingSherpa]

Customer-centric Marketing: SAP drives $100 million in revenue influence with customer webcasts [from MarketingSherpa]

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Daniel Burstein

SMB Marketing: How an online store generated 659% three-year revenue growth

September 1st, 2015

On the MarketingSherpa blog, we report on every conceivable element of marketing success — from customer service to content marketing, email deliverability to responsive design.

One element of marketing success you shouldn’t overlook is passion.

Push-through-all-obstacles, make-the-impossible-possible, Teddy-Roosevelt-man-in-the-arena passion.

I met Marc Lobliner, Chief Marketing Officer, TigerFitness.com, at the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015. TigerFitness.com has been on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for three years in a row with 659% revenue growth over that period to $5.6 million in revenue (as of 2013).

You can watch the interview to hear Marc’s passion for yourself.

 

TigerFitness.com is not Marc’s first business. He helped create a new $100 million-plus category in the fitness industry — the Intraworkout category — with a product called Xtend.

“When you’re first to market, the brand lives on,” Marc said.

Read more…

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Categories: Marketing, Marketing and Advertising Tags:

Susan Warren

Ecommerce: Why online retailers are experimenting with brick-and-mortar locations

August 28th, 2015

“There are so many ecommerce retailers who now believe that in order to differentiate themselves and establish better brand relationships with their shoppers, they [need to consider] opening brick-and-mortar stores,” Debbie Hauss, Editor-in-Chief, Retail TouchPoints, said.

According to Advertising Age, 80% of companies have increased digital marketing budgets for 2015. Whether it’s selling products on a website or through a mobile or desktop app, virtual marketing has become the norm.

However, some ecommerce retailers have recently invested in the opening of brick-and-mortar stores in order to stay ahead of the marketing curve and establish better relationships with their customers.

The growing popularity of this omni-channel trend was recently explored by Retail TouchPoints, a digital publication for retail executives, offering content focused on optimizing the customer experience across multiple channels.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Debbie Hauss on why expanding to brick-and-mortar stores is becoming common for online retailers.

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Categories: Ecommerce Eretail Tags: , , ,

Daniel Burstein

Dimensional Weight Pricing: How a “17 pound” feather can affect your ecommerce profit margins

August 25th, 2015

Ecommerce has long been considered to have a cost advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. After all, real estate, inventory and human resource costs are all lower.

However, these reduced costs come at an expense — Internet retailers rely on a third-party for fulfillment. Which means their margins and perhaps overall business model is at the mercy of other companies.

This dependency became all the more clear recently when UPS and FedEx announced a significant change to shipping policies by applying dimensional weight pricing (also known as DIM) to all ground shipments. This means that the size (length, weight and height) of even lightweight objects could cause increases in shipping costs for ecommerce vendors.

A concrete example of this is The Wall Street Journal estimating a 37% increase in price for a 32-pack of toilet paper and a 35% increase for a two-slice toaster.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, I spoke with Abe Garver, a contributor to Yahoo! Finance and an M&A (mergers and acquisitions) banker, to discuss how these shipping changes are affecting ecommerce companies. Abe used the example of a peacock feather — which may really only weight six ounces, but due to its large size is considered weighing 17 pounds when calculating the cost of shipping.

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Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , ,

Regina Love

Email Marketing 101: How to determine the right email content for your subscribers

August 21st, 2015

As a consumer, nothing makes my day like reading or shopping for anything related to arts and crafts (it’s my thing). However, one annoyance we all seem to run into is being sent an email to sell you on a product that you would never want nor need.

How can you avoid being that pain in a customer’s inbox?

The answer is in targeting your content. It is one of the most important, and sometimes underutilized, elements of email marketing.

At the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center, Courtney Eckerle, Managing Editor, MarketingSherpa, interviewed Jessica Best, Digital Marketer, emfluence, on ways marketers can focus on their customers in order to build the right content.

 

From this interview, below are four key takeaways on how marketers can provide customers with the best content for their needs.

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , , ,

Selena Blue

The Power of Visuals: How four companies effectively used visual content and three tools to get you started

August 18th, 2015

An image is a powerful tool in the digital world.

It can draw attention, communicate value, increase shareability and so much more. In fact, HubSpot pulled together the “17 Stats You Should Know About Visual Content Marketing in 2015” to display this. From what your peers are doing to how effective visual content is for social sharing, the stats of recent studies are certainly interesting.

Two stats stuck out to me while researching this topic.Visual storytelling in the digital world

First, tweets with images were clicked 18% more and retweeted 150% more than those without, according to Buffer.

Second, when looking at the most shared posts from Facebook pages, a photo post made up 87% of interactions.

Even better than stats, I came across four success stories that show how visual content can greatly impact your content and social media marketing efforts, from blog views to Facebook shares.

 

Case study examples

Content Marketing: Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

As a smaller insurance company, HCC Medical Insurance Service (HCCMIS) needed a way to stand out in its marketplace. While insurance can typically be thought of as a boring product, the HCCMIS team decided to make their blog content more exciting with interactive infographics.

The result? The team saw a 1,000% lift in blog traffic, as well as significant lifts in social media followers and email revenue.

Interactive infographic blog post generates 3.9 million views for small insurance company

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Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , , , ,

Andrea Johnson

Stop Batching and Blasting: An interview from Email Summit 2015

August 14th, 2015

Don’t wait for the perfect time or tool to end batch and blast emails and, instead, send prospects and customers relevant information now. That’s the word from Diana Primeau, Director of Membership Services, CBS Interactive, parent company of CNET, the world’s largest tech media source for news, reviews and downloads.

Primeau took time during Email Summit 2015 to discuss with Erin Hogg, Reporter, MarketingSherpa, why sending relevant emails is more critical than ever. “Our users have become very sophisticated. They don’t want to get every email that everybody gets,” she explained. “They expect to see things that are relevant to them so you really need to figure out a way to get started.”

Primeau offered these tips:

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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , ,

Kylie Davidson

Email Marketing: How to utilize your consumer data without being creepy

August 11th, 2015

Have you ever been at a social event and a person, unknown to you, eagerly greets you by name? Recall the creepy feeling you got in that situation.

It leaves you thinking — who is this person and how do they know this personal information?

Thanks to the Internet, marketers have the ability to collect and use an absurd amount of personal consumer data. As marketers, we’ve used this data to guide consumers to ideal products and services without them even knowing. Well, let me revise that last statement — we used to do this without consumers knowing.

 

Avoid This: Personalization                                                                                             

As personalization has become a buzzword over the last few years, efforts to connect with consumers have gone haywire. Every day, I receive emails from companies who promote products similar to those I’ve pinned on Pinterest and address me by my name, or at least attempt to:

The Adverse Effects of Email Personalization

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Categories: Consumer Marketing Tags: , , , , ,

Daniel Burstein

Email Marketing: Why you should run a win-back campaign (and how CNET engaged 26% of inactives)

August 7th, 2015

Sometimes people fall out of love … with your newsletters and email marketing.

Or change jobs. Or email providers. There are a million reasons why they stop reading and engaging with your emails.

This is why email marketers need to run win-back campaigns. That is, reaching out to inactive subscribers and compelling or convincing them to re-engage with your email sends.

If they don’t re-engage, it’s time for a list cleansing — no longer sending emails to this group.

 

A smaller, but higher-quality, email list

The end result can be painful in some ways; it will likely result in a smaller email list (and the older the list is, the more shrinkage you will experience).

This is only painful because we all like big numbers. We like to tell our CMO, our clients and brag to our childhood friends at the high school reunion (hey, when they’re all doctors, you gotta brag about something) about how we run email marketing to a list of 1,000 … 10,000 … no … one million email subscribers.

One million email subscribers meme
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Categories: Email Marketing Tags: , ,

Ken Bowen

Amazon Prime Day: 12 quick takeaways from Amazon’s magnificent train wreck

August 4th, 2015

For those of us interested in marketing, Amazon’s first ever “Prime Day” celebration could not have been more fun to experience. Intended as a special shopping day for members of Amazon’s $99/year Prime service, Amazon had practically promised ecommerce Armageddon leading up to the 24-hour event, with “More deals than Black Friday!”

As the morning unraveled, however, Prime Day quickly devolved into spectacle as the buying public hammered Amazon for what they perceived as lackluster deals.

Despite customer complaints, Prime Day was by most metrics a staggering success for Amazon. According to online retail tracker ChannelAdvisor, Amazon’s sales were up 93% in the United States year-over-year, and 53% in Europe. 34.4 million items were sold across Prime-eligible countries, shattering Black Friday records, and hundreds of thousands of new users signed up for Amazon Prime throughout the event.

When planning our promotions or campaigns, here are 12 quick tips we can extract from both the failures and successes of the now-infamous Prime Day.

Happy Prime Day! More Deals Than Black Friday (Garage Sale Meme)

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Categories: Marketing Tags: , , , ,