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Ecommerce: How to preserve your brand globally [Video]

March 27th, 2015 No comments

Ecommerce offers a great opportunity because it allows marketers to sell globally much more easily than opening brick-and-mortar locations around the world. This video from the MarketingSherpa video archive features Rob Garf, Vice President of Industry Strategy and Insights, Demandware, covering this topic with some tips on global ecommerce and insights from the frontlines of selling online in new geographies.

 

Preserving brand value across multiple cultures

According to Rob, global ecommerce is growing, and the first challenge is preserving brand value while meeting the specific needs of the new marketplace.

“First off, you can’t not pay attention to [global ecommerce]. Retailers — historically, how they grew globally was to have to stand up an entire physical location, retool their entire supply chain, and it was really expensive,” he said.

“The digital world really allows you to grow across boundaries in a real, more efficient way. Be able to test different markets. Be able to reach new consumers and ultimately grow the business,” Rob added.

Rob explained that it comes down to culture and being entrenched in how the consumers behave and how they want to interact with the brand, and those factors are affected by geography. In order to accomplish this in marketing, merchandising and promotional practices need to be adjusted. In Rob’s words, “Have a local presence in order to be local.”

Watch the video to find out more of Rob’s advice on marketing ecommerce globally:

 

A couple of highlights from the video include:

  • Balancing the scale and efficiency afforded by ecommerce against giving the local resources and presence autonomy and relevance
  • Making sure the marketing is localized to those consumers

The video includes an example of a Demandware client that entered the Chinese market. Rob also provided an explanation on how that client handled selling into that global marketplace, while highlighting some of the challenges, including making sure the checkout process formatted the address correctly for local practices.

A final takeaway for global ecommerce? You can’t merely translate your webpage and suddenly have a global ecommerce presence. You must pay attention to the culture and practices of the country where you are now doing business, including fulfillment and customer care.

 

You can follow David Kirkpatrick, Reporter, MECLABS Institute on Twitter at @davidkonline.

 

You might also like

Sign up for MarketingSherpa’s Chart of the Week newsletter to learn marketing trends

Ecommerce Research Chart: Overall conversion rates [MarketingSherpa chart]

Ecommerce: 10 case studies to help you excel in content marketing, social media and website optimization [More from the blogs]

Global Ecommerce: The $1.2 trillion opportunity outside North America [More from the blogs]

Mobile Email: Tips on getting started

March 20th, 2015 1 comment

For email marketers, tackling mobile email is a relatively new challenge, but a challenge that needs to be addressed. According to research from Litmus, the email testing and analytics vendor, 49% of people access email via a smartphone — a figure that’s risen fivefold since 2011 and continues to trend upward.

To provide some insight for you, the MarketingSherpa Blog reader, I reached out to five email marketers who addressed the mobile email challenge with two basic questions on the topic.

Read on to find out what this expert panel had to say about mobile email:

 

MarketingSherpa Blog: What one tactic has the most impact on mobile email campaigns?

Justine Jordan, Marketing Director, Litmus

Ah, the million dollar question! As with most things with email, it’s hard to make a generalization since it can vary greatly based on your industry and audience. If I had to pick just one tactic, I’d go broad and say responsive design has the most impact on mobile email. MailChimp sends billions of emails every year, and they’ve seen a 15% increase in unique clicks for mobile users when responsive design is used. Even without huge gains in performance, sending responsive campaigns sends the message that you care about providing the best possible user experience for your subscribers.

 

 Brian Graves, UI Team Lead, DEG

Simplifying the experience. In addition to helping deal with the smaller amount of screen real estate available on mobile devices, statistics show that customers typically spend less than 15 seconds reading marketing emails, with iOS users spending the least amount at around 3 seconds or less. Look at repositioning your email layout to lead with your most important messaging. The most effective emails are typically concise and have a clear focus. This is not only a good tactic for mobile but is one way in which a mobile-first approach can help improve your campaigns across every platform.

 

Ted Goas, Designer and Developer, Canfield Scientific

Work as a unified team from day one. Having product managers, marketers, designers and developers working together from planning through to execution helps ensure a campaign’s quality doesn’t degrade as it gets ‘thrown over the wall’ in a waterfall process. Everyone knows what’s happening and why.

 

Dan Denney, Front-End Devevloper, Code School

Designing an email for scanability has the most impact. We want everyone to read every word, but people want to find what they’re interested in and move on. Make it easy for them.

 

Fabio Carniero, Lead Email Developer, MailChimp

Spongy development (sometimes called hybrid development), in my opinion, has the most impact. There are a fair number of pitfalls associated with mobile email, and the spongy development method — a combination of fluid and non-fluid email markup — can generally resolve most of them. The most pertinent example is the Gmail app on Android and iOS; the app doesn’t support media queries, which are generally necessary for responsive design. The spongy/hybrid technique serves as a work-around for providing ‘responsive’ email in clients that don’t support the technology specifically.

This development technique, with its inherent flexibility and robustness, also has the benefit of being stable in a very wide variety of email clients and platforms, from desktop to tablet to phones.

 

MSh Blog: What advice would you give a marketer just getting started adding a mobile element to their email strategy?

Justine:

Strategically speaking, I’d encourage marketers getting started with mobile email to get to know their audience — how many subscribers are opening on mobile? Do they open on iPhone or Android?  Getting insight into audience behavior and preferences can help you determine where to prioritize your efforts.

When it comes to tactics, start small. You don’t need to jump right into responsive email. Instead, focus on the things that are easier to impact without knowledge of HTML and CSS. Reduce word counts in your copy, making content easier to display on small screens. Adopt a ‘bigger is better’ mantra — larger buttons, more whitespace and larger fonts all go a long way to making email more readable on mobile.

 

Brian:

Know your audience and design for where they’re opening. Looking at analytics on where opens are occurring can help tell you the best place to invest your time and effort. If you’re heavier into B2B, for instance, the adage of 50% of your audience being on mobile most likely doesn’t hold true. If that’s the case, it might make more sense focusing on a simplified fluid layout, rather than going all in on responsive design. At DEG, we’ve taken this approach in several instances with great success.

If your audience is highly mobile, which is often the case in B2C, you have to stay aware of the huge differences in rendering capabilities between the major email clients on mobile platforms. For a soon-to-be rolled out redesign DEG is working on, we looked at client level details to determine where opens were happening and noted that a high percentage of our clients’ audience was opening in Gmail. Not wanting to neglect a decent part of their audience, we opted for a hybrid design approach, which allowed us to give those opening in the Gmail App a mobile optimized layout even though media queries aren’t supported by the client.

In another recent redesign DEG worked on, a key requirement of the project was keeping the overall file size of each campaign to a minimum. Doing so allowed us to better serve our clients’ audience[s], a large portion of which [are] in emerging markets, where bandwidth limitations become a key factor in design decisions.

In all of these cases, the most important factor was determining where the audience was opening and then making design decisions based on that information.

 

Ted:

Mobile email is still relatively new, so don’t be afraid to try new things and fail. Learn what’s appropriate for your own market and customers. Pay attention to your own numbers; ignore the rest. And never be afraid to hit that ‘Send Now’ button!

 

Dan:

If you have to choose between designing for small screens or large screens, choose small screens. Engagement is significantly better on mobile devices, so it should be the priority. A message that is well designed for small screens will also be clear on large ones, even if you don’t take advantage of the additional space.

 

Fabio:

Use the shift from fixed-width to mobile-friendly as a place to re-evaluate everything you do with your email. There’s a fair amount of work involved in making an email responsive as it is, so why not go all the way?

The move to mobile is a perfect time to take another look at how you do content. To experiment with what’s sent. Simplicity and clarity are important in any email and doubly so when mobile readership becomes a consideration, so look for ways to pare down and tighten the content you send. Strip away fluff until the content’s down to the bare essentials, then focus on quality. Keep in mind that email can afford a direct, intimate connection to readers, and that it’s part of the sender’s job to take that responsibility seriously and be respectful of the time commitment that readers put in.

The quality of content plays a huge role there. If it’s feasible, go even further and talk to the audience. Email is a medium for conversation, after all, and the process for refining the experience an email provides should be based not only on metrics, but also on feedback from readers.

Look for ways to surprise and delight those readers as well. The more-comprehensive HTML and CSS support found in mobile email clients allows for some bells and whistles like more complex styling and CSS3 animation, both of which can add a little bit of creative personality to an email.

Even playing with your established design conventions to send something completely different from the norm can be powerful, which MailChimp’s UX newsletter has done:

mailchimp

 

This sort of thing takes time and effort on the design and development side, but, thankfully, isn’t something that needs to be done with precise regularity. An occasional surprise can be just as powerful — sometimes more so — than regularly-scheduled wizardry.

 

If you have any insights about mobile email, or maybe challenges or pain points, share in the comments section below for your marketing peers. You might just get a pat on the back for insights or a solution to your challenge.

 

You might also like

Email Design: How to optimize for all environments in a mobile world [MarketingSherpa video archive]

Email Marketing: 4 steps to optimize a mobile experience for better conversion [More from the blogs]

Mobile Email Marketing: 50% more app downloads from device-targeted ads [MarketingSherpa case study]

Mobile Marketing: 31% of marketers don’t know their mobile email open rate [More from the blogs]

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

February 17th, 2015 No comments

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…

Lead Generation: How to build your own list

September 26th, 2014 6 comments

Last week’s MarketingSherpa B2B Newsletter case study — “Lead Generation: Content and email combine for high-quality list building” — covered an effort by cloud replication and disaster recovery startup company, CloudEndure. The overall basis of the campaign was a process created by CloudEndure’s Vice President of Marketing, Ramel Levin, before he joined the startup. This process Ramel called BYOL, or “build your own list.”

The case study features some of the steps involved in Ramel’s lead gen idea, but since he developed it for a company he worked for before joining CloudEndure, the exact steps he took in putting the process together were not part of the case study.

For today’s MarketingSherpa blog post, I wanted to provide more detail on how Ramel created his BYOL concept.

Ramel said he was in a business setting speaking with a startup company that did website translations when the BYOL idea came to him.

“I was asking them, ‘How do you generate leads for websites that need translations?’ He (one of the employees at the startup) started telling me about all the different ways he was doing it, and he talked about the traditional ways of doing email blasts, going to conferences and doing advertising for pay-per-lead and PPC,” Ramel said.

 

One method for building high-quality lists

After a bit of thought, Ramel decided that building a list of higher-quality leads would be more effective for this company, and here is the process he developed to do just that.

 

Step #1: Identify the first stage of target companies

Ramel stated, “So I told him, ‘How about doing the following? How about scanning the top one million websites, based on Alexa or Quantcast, or any other ranking service … and find out how many of those websites have only one language.”

He said, for example, scan the top sites in Germany, and make sure they only have pages in the local language. If the company is in the United States, its website only features pages in English.

Read more…

Email Marketing: Taking advantage of responsive design [Video]

September 16th, 2014 No comments

If your experience is anything like the typical email marketer in 2014, a growing portion (possibly a very large percentage) of your list is opening email on a mobile device — maybe a tablet or, more likely, one of the many smartphones out there.

To fully reach and engage that audience, you can either design and build custom emails for every single platform your audience is using …

Or, to make things a bit simpler on the design and execution end of things, take the responsive design plunge for all your email campaigns to ensure your sends have the best look, feel and, more importantly, clickability on any mobile (or non-mobile) platform your recipients use.

To address this issue, watch this excerpt from a panel discussion at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2014:

 

This excerpt features Pamela Jesseau, Senior Director of Marketing, MECLABS (parent company of MarketingSherpa); Amy Carpenter, Digital Marketing Team Leader, Whole Foods Market; and Ewa Badaruk, Global eCRM Marketing Manager, adidas Group.

Read more…

How a Single Source of Data Truth Can Improve Business Decisions

September 12th, 2014 1 comment

One of the great things about writing MarketingSherpa case studies is having the opportunity to interview your marketing peers who are doing, well, just cool stuff. Also, being able to highlight challenges that can help readers improve their marketing efforts is a big perk as well.

A frustrating part of the process is that during our interviews, we get a lot of incredible insights that end up on the cutting room floor in order to craft our case studies. Luckily for us, some days we can share those insights that didn’t survive the case study edit right here in the MarketingSherpa Blog.

Today is one of those times.

 

Setting the stage

A recent MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Newsletter article — Marketing Analytics: How a drip email campaign transformed National Instruments’ data management — detailed a marketing analytics challenge at National Instruments, a global B2B company with a customer base of 30,000 companies in 91 countries.

The data challenge was developed out of a drip email campaign, which centered around National Instruments’ signature product, after conversion dropped at each stage from the beta test, to the global rollout, and finally, to results calculated by a new analyst.

The drip email campaign tested several of National Instruments’ key markets, and after the beta test was completed, the program was rolled out globally.

The data issues that came up when the team looked into the conversion metrics were:

  • The beta test converted at 8%
  • The global rollout was at 5%
  • The new analyst determined the conversion rate to be at 2%, which she determined after parsing the data set without any documentation as to how the 5% figure was calculated

Read the entire case study to find out how the team reacted to that marketing challenge to improve its entire data management process.

Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Tools and takeaways to implement today

August 29th, 2014 2 comments

Earlier this year, I was asked to moderate a case study panel at DFW Rocks Social Media Day. It was a fast and furious two days with multiple concurrent tracks and a lot of great information for attendees.

Since so much was happening at once, I wasn’t able to take in all the great content. So I reached out to Lissa Duty, Organizer of DFW Rocks Social Media 2014 and Vice President of Community Management at Advice Interactive Group, for her take on the event to give MarketingSherpa readers the opportunity to learn some of the top takeaways.

 

Insights from the organizerDFW-rocks

From the organizer’s perspective, Lissa said that this year’s event placed a higher importance on live content.

She explained, “This year, I really saw the value in having the live blog to share the conference sessions and highlight the speakers, even after the event, plus the live tweets, which did make for the #DFWRocks2014 hashtag streaming on Twitter at one point.”

What’s Lissa’s quick-hit advice on social media marketing?

“You must start with creating a social media plan,” Lissa said.

She then outlined three key points:

 

Key Point #1. Understand why you’re using social media

It’s not just to “get rich.” Understand why you feel social media is important to you, your customer and your brand.

 

Key Point #2. Research what your customer wants to know about your brand

Discover how you can share that message uniquely in each social space, and then create a plan to give them that message.

Read more…

Email Marketing: What is the best day to send an email?

August 12th, 2014 10 comments

For this MarketingSherpa Blog post, I thought I would examine some email research. This chart from the MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report focuses on the effectiveness of sending emails on different days of the week:

 

 

Looking at the results of this survey, you can see a wide range of effectiveness, along with a few clear patterns. Tuesday and Wednesday look pretty good, but Sunday looks to be the least effective.

What’s left off of this highly aggregated data is the fact there is no “best” day – or time of day – to send emails that works across the board for all email marketers.

The reality? Testing your email sends is paramount to effective email marketing. What might work for one industry, or business category, or maybe even your direct competitor might not – no, make that probably won’t – work for you.

Your email list is unique to your business (unless you’ve bought the entire list, and if so, shame on you). Only by testing your sends and tracking open rates, clickthroughs and other engagement metrics will you learn what works best for your list.

Read more…

Content Marketing: User-generated content tips from Jimmy Wales of Wikipedia

July 15th, 2014 3 comments

At the recently held Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition (IRCE) in Chicago, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, and Allison Banko, Reporter, both of MECLABS, interviewed event speakers and attendees in the MarketingSherpa Media Center.

In this 11-minute video, watch as Daniel spoke with Wikipedia CEO and Founder Jimmy Wales on how to encourage user-generated content – a powerful element within an overall content marketing strategy. Jimmy also discussed why Wikipedia is the only top 50 website in a Wall Street Journal study covering companies that do not engage in any visitor tracking.

 

Empower people to provide the content they want to provide

Jimmy explained that user-generated content is not free labor for marketers, and that he dislikes the term “crowdsourcing” for that reason.

Retailers think, “I want people to do this work – I want them to write reviews for me.”

He explained, “Instead, they should turn it around and say, ‘What do my customers want to accomplish? What is it they are trying to express, and how can I help them express that?’”

Jimmy continued to say this mindset might lead you in new and different ways. Maybe reviewing products is boring for your customers, but what they are really interested in is discussing your products or services in a more general way in which they can add their expertise to a community.

“That’s the first idea I would give – flip it on its head,” Jimmy said. “Don’t think about the work you would like people to do; think about what it is people want to do and how you can empower them to do that.”

  Read more…

Social Media Marketing: Adding Reddit to the mix

April 8th, 2014 No comments

Social media is almost certainly a part of your marketing mix by this point. Facebook and Twitter are the two overall leaders, and B2B marketers are probably at least looking into how to leverage LinkedIn. Then, there are a host of additional social media platforms such as StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Pinterest, Vine, Quora and many others.

One platform that probably isn’t on most marketers’ radars is Reddit. Marketing tactics on Reddit are not readily obvious, and the platform’s users are not there to be marketed to and don’t welcome any interaction that feels like marketing.

Should you consider Reddit in your social media strategy? If so, how should you approach the platform?

To answer these questions, we reached out to two experts in marketing on Reddit: Brent Csutoras, Social Media Strategist, Kairay Media; and Greg Finn, Internet Marketer, Cypress North.

Here is the result of that discussion.

 

MarketingSherpa: It sounds like a key challenge to marketing on Reddit is the platform’s policies toward that activity. Briefly cover what marketers should know and understand about these policies.

Brent Csutoras: It is very important to first understand that Reddit is not a single community, but rather a platform to either join existing communities or to create your own communities. Each community is made by a Redditor who then can add moderators and who makes the rules for which everyone in the community must follow. It is super important before trying to submit any content to Reddit to understand the moderators and the rules for each Subreddit you intend to submit your content to.

For instance, some Subreddits will not allow certain domains to be submitted to their community, some like “TodayILearned” require content to be at least two months old, and some like “/worldnews” do not allow news about the U.S.

As to the challenge of marketing to an audience who is by nature against the concept of marketing, it definitely takes someone with a long-term goal and general interest in Reddit to balance the line between being a valuable member of the community, while at the same time, trying to submit your own content.

Greg Finn: The biggest question to ask when participating in Reddit is: Are you contributing? That’s essentially what you should be asking yourself before beginning any type of “marketing.” One of the lines in Reddit’s User Agreement is:

“Cluttering Reddit with junk or spam reduces the quality of the Reddit experience.”

Make sure that you are going into the site with the mindset of increasing the quality of content shared. Also, while not blatantly obvious in the user agreement, you should not be too promotional with your content. Reddit moderators will swiftly ban users that only submitting their own content or commenting with their own links. Treat it like a forum and build credibility in a specific Subreddit, add to the community, then start marketing.

 

MS: Beyond the key challenge addressed above, what are some of the unique marketing challenges (and potential advantages) faced when marketing on Reddit over other social media platforms and other digital marketing channels such as email and paid search?

BC: I mentioned earlier, how individuals really need to make sure they understand the rules of each Subreddit they are submitting to in order to have any real chance at long-term success.

Another challenge that people might now understand is that Reddit has a lot of anti-spam elements at play on the site. New users to a Subreddit, and in some cases, new domains, can find themselves being auto-filtered or even silent-filtered, where their submissions might show as submitted to them, but are actually hidden from all other users until it becomes approved by a moderator.

Lastly, it is really important to understand Reddit’s voting algorithm, which, to put it simply, values the combination of the first 10 votes the same as the following combination of the next 100 votes, and then 1000 votes, and so on. This means that what happens during the first 10 votes of your submission are super important. Choosing the right Subreddit, knowing what type of content the moderators support, and selecting the best title when submitting are key to making sure your first couple votes are positive.

GF: The biggest challenge is undoubtedly the volatility of the community. There are dozens of unwritten rules that exist and can kill your promotion on arrival if you don’t follow along. If using images, submit with Imgur. Videos? Use YouTube. Follow along with the community, learn the inner workings before giving it a try.

One of the biggest challenges is the sheer competitiveness of Reddit these days. You need quality content, a killer title and a dash of luck to strike it big.

 

MS: What are some actionable tactics or tips for marketers looking to add Reddit to their digital marketing mix?

BC: Start by identifying the Subreddits you really want to participate and submit to, followed by learning what works in the Subreddit, both from the community’s acceptance and support, and from what the moderators are going to approve and support. Make sure to fully understand the rules of the Subreddit prior to submitting any content.

Never submit something that doesn’t fit into a Subreddit. It will almost always get removed, which can result in you having filters applied to your submissions and possible having your account silent banned.

You simply do not win on Reddit with brute force.

Lastly, you have to be a Reddit user first and foremost, to really understand how to be an effective marketer within Reddit.

GF: Far and away, the most valuable tactic is to go niche. Every marketer is looking for the homerun, but you can easily hit .400 while driving the right mix of targeted traffic to your site. Reddit has individual sections called Subreddits that are niche communities around a specific topic. These Subreddits have the most potential as you can get your content in front of a (smaller) group of highly targeted users.

Local business? Look for a local Subreddit near you and scope the scene.

Got a book about parenting? Head to r/parenting.

Manufacture crockpots? Try /r/slowcooking.

There is a Subreddit for everything. Seriously, take a look. Jump into a community that fits your niche and start participating. The numbers won’t be overwhelming, but the quality will.

Read more…