Who doesn’t love the feeling of seeing a package on their doorstep? While the mailbox is reserved for bills and sales flyers, a box on the front porch usually means a present.
The popularity of subscription boxes has allowed for millions of customers to enjoy this consumerism bliss bi-weekly, monthly or even quarterly.
Subscription boxes are the ultimate way for consumers to enjoy products. The boxes are delivered on some sort of schedule, filled with products the customer is interested in and usually have some element of surprise.
There seems to be a subscription box for every category of shopper — food, pet supplies, “nerd gear” and even apocalypse prep. The diversity of the boxes available speaks to the widespread popularity among consumers. However, not every company has the interest or ability to expand into the subscription box space. This poses a question: What can we learn from the success of subscription boxes?
To answer that question, we’ve compiled five takeaways from boxes that marketers in any industry can utilize to promote their product.
Takeaway #1. Be surprising, but don’t get crazy
Customers who subscribe to boxes have a general idea of what types of products will be mailed to them. For example, a box member knows that every month he’ll get a t-shirt, an accessory of some type and a small gadget.
However, every month there is a surprise element — the products that will actually make up the box will be a surprise upon arrival. That means our example box member doesn’t know that this month the t-shirt will have a comics theme or that the accessory will be a pair of sunglasses.
“We see a lift, definitely, in conversion, whenever we have video on the page,” Val DuVernet, Senior Program Manager, Advance Auto Parts, told me during an interview in the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015.
Read on for three of the biggest lessons I learned from my interview with Val, and watch the below video to get your own ideas for using video to improve your brand’s conversion.
Three important points stuck out to me from this interview …
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 best way for anyone to stay on top of any news, events and information around almost any topic imaginable in the 21st century is Reddit. Hands down. Most digital marketers know this already so I won’t waste too much time proving the point here. If you don’t know this, it’s okay. Here’s a five minute synopsis to get you up to speed.
The real trouble with Reddit, even for marketers who are familiar with the platform, is its unfriendly UX and search feature.
It’s very difficult to find the subreddits you should be following.
To help give you a head start with finding marketing subreddits, here’s a list of 21 you should probably be subscribed to if you’re not already …
One of the most talked-about marketing trends at the moment may also be one of the most effective. According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing while costing 62% less.
At MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Stephen Bruner, Marketing Manager, Precor, to discuss the value of content marketing and segmentation as well as the benefits of implementing a strategy using both of these marketing methods.
Precor is the second largest fitness equipment manufacturer in the U.S. and third in the world. Its clients are primarily fitness clubs and consumers. The company focuses on helping each of these consumer segments find the best products for their needs.
Watch the video excerpt from the MarketingSherpa Media Center to learn more about the relationship between content marketing and segmentation:
After writing hundreds of MarketingSherpa Newsletter case studies and, in the process, interviewing, speaking with and getting to know many, many marketers, one attribute really stands out for influencing successful marketing — Sales and Marketing alignment.
It doesn’t guarantee success and lack of alignment doesn’t automatically mean failure. However, when Marketing and Sales are working together as a team instead of as adversaries within a company, the entire sales pipeline is much more effective.
For example, that person will be seen as a freshly generated lead, a prospect who has been handed off to Sales, a paying customer requiring service or an ongoing nurturing to ensure they remain a customer. This is much more preferable than being just a cog in a process that begins with Marketing, goes to Sales — where, at that point, the person drops off of Marketing’s radar altogether — and then, hopefully, is passed to customer service and is no longer a Sales concern.
The Kentucky Derby is a once a year event worth hundreds of millions of dollars. It has been held annually on the first Saturday of May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky since 1875.
It’s a race like no other, filled with traditions like the sweet taste of a mint julep dancing over the ice of a frozen silver cup, women in lavish hats ringed in a halo of soft glowing pearls and the victorious aroma of 554 red roses dripping across the backs of the winners.
Even with its long traditions, it takes a lot of effort and hard work to give the Kentucky Derby’s spectators exactly what they come to expect year after year as those expectations change through time.
To find out how the Kentucky Derby consistently makes this high level event continually more successful, Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa, sat down with Kate Ellis, Marketing Analyst, and Jeff Koleba, Vice President of Marketing and Programming, both of the Kentucky Derby, at the MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015 Media Center to discuss how the Kentucky Derby keeps its customers engaged all year long for an annual event.