July 16th, 2014
As online shopping increases every year so do the expectations of online shoppers. More and more people want easier access to customer service and more options as to where they ship it and even how it is routed. ComScore and UPS released their third UPS Pulse of Online Shoppers study, and an article in Website Magazine brought our attention to three surprising revelations.
1. Desktop still trumps Mobile
Despite the fact that the popularity of mobile is increasing, desktops are still the way to go when shopping online. 41% of people prefer a company’s full site compared to their mobile site. This corresponds with people not being able to get a clear enough image of the product and the difficulty of viewing all the information while on mobile.
2. Return Policies are Important
Bottom line, shoppers want an easy and free way to return the item if they are unsatisfied with it. 82% of online shoppers are likely to complete a sale if they return it in store or ship it back for free. 51% of shoppers are unlikely to complete a sale if they are unable to return it in store and they have to pay for the shipping. While over half of respondents view a retailers return policy before making the purchase, UPS has reported that the amount of people who return has also increased. On the bright side, consumer’s willingness to buy has also increased.
3. “Free Shipping” Attracts
Free shipping has become a hot commodity for people when it comes to shopping online. Even though, technically, free shipping does not exist, consumers are actually willing to up their purchases to qualify for free shipping or wait the extra days for their purchase. Giving these offers will increase your chances of sales. To stay ahead of the game, it is now becoming a preference for consumers to know what day they will be receiving what they ordered and a time frame.
What can you do to increase your customer satisfaction? Are any of these things surprising to you?
July 14th, 2014
This morning, as I was going through our content calendar, deciding what to work on, I came across a post on MarketingProfs on content and actually building traction with it. What a great read. You see, we’re a fairly new company. Just over four years old, although we’ve spent years in the email and affiliate marketing space, I’m speaking as a brand overall. And for a newer company, who happens to be a private network, I know it can be difficult to grab the attention of whose attention we want to grab. So, we grow and learn along the way.
We know that creating content is important for the growth of our business. We could create the most important piece of content that answers vital questions our clients may have, but what happens and why is it that some things just aren’t read?
Marketing Profs highlights five scenarios on why your content may not be gaining traction from a hypothesis called “Warnock’s Dilemma” proposed by a man name Bryan Warnock.
1. There is nothing else to be said.
Typically, people can write great info, but if there really isn’t any controversy or anything to add, folks may not be apt to comment.
Consider announcements about new product features. These are typically short and dry posts about bug fixes or enhancements, with mention of the new version number and what it means for the product.
To generate engagement and strike up conversation, such posts should be more customer-centric. Use simple language to plainly state what was changed, why, and the implications: What are the problems that customers face that are corrected by the new version?
2. No one understood
Perhaps no one gets what you’re trying to say so they just move on. It’s important to be clear with your audience. Don’t use a bunch of industry jargon to try to look smart or experienced. Readers want something they can easily understand and get through.
Readers are looking for you to solve some sort of problem. Perhaps your post is just nonsense, or is so outdated, it really doesn’t matter what you have to say. Or, have you ever seen those terribly written posts by people who use no spaces or punctuation? If you’re have a Google alert for your industry, you know what we’re talking about. Focus on YOUR writing. Make sure you’re helping to solve an issue or educate, and make sure your content is clear.
4. No one read it
If no one is reading your posts, they suggest you consider the location of your readers. This is where Google Analytics will come in handy. Check your visitor traffics from Facebook and Twitter taking notes of engagement time, etc.
You need to track when and where your customers are able to listen to your content, and tailor your communications to their schedule.
5. No one cares
This is may be hard to hear but it needs to be said. Pay attention to platforms that have heated or passionate brand discussion, not just new initiatives – because simply stating how awesome your company is won’t trigger conversation. If you’d really like to know what’s going on with your customers, engage them where they are. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions.
Ultimately, we put time, effort, and thought into the content we put out there. Each brand hopes their customers and prospects take the time to see what they’ve done. If you’re not getting the action or reaction you’re looking for, consider your content and consider your options. Huge thank you to MarketingProfs for sharing the information on the “Warnock’s Dilemma.”
Which one of these strikes you the most?
July 9th, 2014
Our team is super psyched and gearing up to hit the streets of NYC August 10-12 for Affiliate Summit East. Although we won’t have a booth set up this time around, we still have a couple team members who will be there. If you’d like to set up a meeting, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can’t wait to see old friends and meet new ones! See you in August!
July 8th, 2014
A new law come into effect on July 1, 2014 that will apply to all affiliate mailings from Canada. As mailers, it’s extremely important to be compliant with all the CAN-SPAM Act laws. Here are the changes:
“For section 6 of CASL (Canada Anti-Spam Legislation) to apply, a computer system located in Canada must be used to send or access the CEM (Commercial Email Message).”
“Under section 66, consent to send Commercial Electronic Messages (CEMs) is implied for a period of 36 months beginning July 1, 2014, where there is an existing business or non-business relationship that includes the communication of CEMs.”
Click here to see an overview from the Government of Canada.
July 1st, 2014
Marketing products is always number one when it comes to growing your business. The faster we can bring new products and campaigns to the public the better. Faster is the key term considering most of us want things done right away. However, things get in the way, like higher priority IT situations that cause you to have to revise and push back project timelines. We want to find ways around this and be able to stop pushing things back.
We had the privilege of listening in on a webinar, “You Can Have It All: Build Creative Brand Sites Faster.” The Product Marketing Manager of Acquia, Ryan Casey, who introduced us to a new platform that could allow us to improve our digital strategy, hosted the webinar. While being introduced to the Acquia Cloud Site Factory we learned some great things from Brian Yamada, Executive Director and Martin Coady, Managing Director from VML about how to get the most out of our websites and where to spend our time and money.
There is an eco system that is followed throughout the consumer’s process.
Awareness and Learning
Traditional Media such as TV, newspapers and direct mail, can be used to grab the attention of the consumer and let them learn a little about it to keep their interest.
Considering and Purchasing
Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, can serve as constant reminders and give the consumer a way of following through with what they were interested in.
Experiencing and Advocating
Digital such as websites, email and SEO, can let people provide feedback and refer others.
It is our job to feed into this eco system and find what works to bring the consumer through all the steps and to keep coming back. The biggest question we might ask ourselves is where to spend our most time and money, engagement or infrastructure?
Engagement is the smartest time to spend your time and money for your business right now. Inspiring your consumers is how you are going to get them to purchase and satisfying them will get your referrals. Try to find a way to exhaust most of your efforts on engagement without shorting your infrastructure.
Best Practices for You
- Driving adoption through training is important for all stakeholders- including both global and individual sites
- Communication the strategy for how to get the most out of this approach for all individual sites
- Work out a plan for the re-use of functionality and content
- A lot of good and creative solutions have been found on other client’s work, such as Acquia!
- Ensure that the template sites that are created have good, clear examples of solutions to common site functionality.
We learned a lot while listening and hopefully we brought some insight to you and what you need for your business.
June 27th, 2014
We’ve been talking so much about the importance of social media over the past couple of years, and how it has changed the way we communicate in both personal and professional terms. Chris Trayhorn from mThink just wrote about why we should be building a social distribution site today for our future customers who are currently teens.
Trayhorn points out that Niche recently released the results of a survey of over 7,000 high school students. The biggest single takeaway: Social is everything.
According to Trayhorn’s article, Derek Thompson makes a point that this means optimizing social distribution of content is what matters now. “Content is king, but distribution is kingdom.”
Something to think about:
Last year, Facebook’s outbound links to publishers grew from 62 million to 161 million. Facebook now sends 3.5 times the traffic to BuzzFeed than Google does. This is a sign of what is coming – and it means that whatever we are doing online, we need to be doing it in a way that is mobile-oriented and social-shareable.
What are you doing to prepare for social distribution?
June 25th, 2014
We’re sharing with you attribution models that Matt Swan, contributor for PerformanceIN, wrote about a few weeks back. They’re important to understand them as you navigate the waters of performance marketing. Here are five data-driven attribution models that we normally use.
CPA – Cost Per Action
Cost per action is the most popular. Publishers are paid for the action that takes place. There are different terms and they could look like this:
- Fixed CPA
- Percentage of basket or retail value
- Pay per click
- Pay per lead (someone fills out a form)
Single click is most commonly used by advertisers and traditionally and used with the last click. Some attribution models could also reward first click or the click that initiated the sale.
This attribution model rewards based on a desired outcome. So, it could be navigating a particular number of pages on an advertiser’s site or watching a video or completing a form. This allows advertisers to reward publishers based on the action they want to take place. It could also be based on time spent on the site.
In this model, there could be a number of touchpoints during the customer journey and each should be rewarded for their contribution. While it may seem like a good idea, this has drawbacks because with a click, it’s difficult to figure out how much influence it had over any one sale.
Another point made it that multi attribution was considered when it was thought that each sale had multiple affiliate touchpoints. Research has shown this is a myth 80-90% of sales having on one affiliate touchpoint.
Additionally, as customer journeys span multiple devices, it’s important a cross device piece in in place before we can truly attribute correctly.
Value attribution goes beyond just the click. This can include how much the customer spends, how often they return, and churn rates. It also takes into account the the involvement in a customer journey and allows publishers to be rewarded for quality of customers as well as for any influence they may have had earlier in the path to conversion.
For example, publishers that typically drive highly valuable customers and are involved in a number of sales that they do not necessarily convert, commission rates can be set to a level that also rewards them for their influence earlier in the path to conversion on the sales they are not rewarded on a last click basis.
While there are many ways to go about attribution, last click is still the simplest. However, if you’re an advertiser, you need to do what works best for your goals. Let us know if you have any questions.
June 20th, 2014
We all know how important e-mail marketing is to growing our businesses. If you create successful emails, you see consistent results. Email marketing makes it possible for us to build relationships with our consumers, which in turn, can bring trust between us. Here are some tips on what makes email marketing successful.
1. Know the Laws – CAN SPAM Act
Knowing what laws are set in place for emailing is key to staying out of trouble and remaining on good terms with your consumers. We went over this quite in a bit in our previous post covering the PMA Compliance Council. Following the laws includes making an unsubscribe option easily visible. To top that you should make it easy to subscribe AND unsubscribe. The less information needed to subscribe, the more people are apt to do it. The same should be for unsubscribing; no one likes a bad break up.
2. Customize While Making it Easy
Make your opening email short but intriguing. You never want to make your consumer work too hard without engaging them first. Try and use the first name of each person you’re emailing to personalize it, it will make them feel like the email was written just for them. These things will help your consumer go beyond the email and further into what you want to show them to make the sale.
As we have blogged about before mobile engagement is becoming a key part of advertising. Make sure that your email is mobile friendly. Mobile is the future of advertising so start now. Plus, how many of you check your emails daily on your phone? We know we do, and that’s when we decide whether to delete you or look further into it, so make it eye catching, grabbing their attention.
4. Provide Relevant Content with Humanity
Put your professional robotic voice away and make sure that your consumer feels like a real person wrote what they are reading. Write engaging content that is relevant to what you’re trying to accomplish but also is relatable.
5. Pay Attention to Statistics
Keep track of what happens after your emails are sent. See what worked the best and what didn’t work at all. Keeping a watch on all of this will let you know where to go next. Pay attention to how many emails were opened and how many weren’t and where your sales went from there. You can track which emails had success and which didn’t, this will also help you with your content in the future.
These quick tips are ones we practice and succeed with. Email is a huge part of our every day. What are you doing to make sure that your emails are effective? Let us know what is working and what isn’t for you. And make sure to contact us with any questions you might have, well be happy to answer!
June 18th, 2014
We all know the power of an effective landing page, especially given the fact that they are typically the most visited pages on a website. This is why it’s crucial to use language and symbols that boost conversion.
That being said, we’re totally digging a recent article in Website Magazine on landing page conversion. They discuss how landing pages are the best places to test value proposition because their visitor have “virgin eyeballs” and are eager to absorb messaging. When an organization gets it right, visitors will stay on the page and look for more. If it’s wrong, they bounce. And we’ve all seen it.
Due to the fact that audiences perceive things differently, it’s important to define the value proposition, which is the outcome of the cost versus benefits equation that gives prospects motivation to act. So, according to the article, as each person looks at the information we give them through their own perception ‘filters’, it can dramatically change the way a customer or prospect sees what you’re giving them. “Understanding how your customers perceive a value proposition is the most important element in online marketing.”
So, how do we define this value proposition?
A value proposition is the outcome of the cost versus benefits equation that gives prospects motivation to act.
There are many tangible and intangible elements that can influence a company’s perceived benefits, including product or service features, incentives and offers, awards, case studies, social proof, celebrity endorsements, copywriting tone and more.
Website magazine states that website owners really need to take a WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) approach – have a look at all the features and benefits, BUT not all at once, because if you give them everything, they absorb nothing.
So, how do you find out what will work best?
The best way to do this is through A/B/n testing. The example given from Website Magazine was four identical pages with four different headlines. The winning value proposition improved conversions a whopping 40% more than the others. Not only does it increase conversions, it also provided a valuable lesson on what works and what doesn’t, in addition to giving validation to the right copy. It really DOES make a difference.
Are you testing your landing pages? We hope this article was helpful. We’ve experienced firsthand, the effects of good testing and finding out customer motivation. Let us know how we can help you.
June 13th, 2014
One of the things us marketers are always working toward is making impressions that last. Our hopes are to always create campaigns that people talk about, click on, and that give incentive to complete a sales process. However, sometimes it can be tricky when we’re not quite clear on OUR message, even though we may think we are.
Well, this week, Marketing Profs, Kerry O’ Shea Gorgone, hosted the world’s ONLY “clarity therapist,” Steve Woodruff for a podcast to shed some light on making a message clear and memorable. As a clarity therapist, Steve’s job is to connect folks with their purpose, their message, and with other people to make real change (and amazing things) happen.
So, how can we make lasting impressions in an Internet, noise-cluttered world where everyone out there is an expert, guru, or some sort of marketing something? How can we find clarity as a brand or as a marketer?
In the podcast, Steve spoke on how believes there is a bit of a communication gap when brands are talking to marketing people; brands have expectations but yet, don’t really know what they are until those expectations aren’t met. And since there is a sort of “mental meta-data problem” where we all have this mental images and ideas attached to terms, it’s important to really ask some hard questions and communication is key. Clarity means really becoming clear with what your unique strengths are. YOU define who you are, don’t let the market define who you are.
Here are some elements of sweet branding clarity from Steve (which can be used by us as marketers, can be used by brands, and anyone trying to tell/sell a story in general):
Find a sweet spot using imagery
We have to identify our professional sweet spot -what vertical / horizontal are you in? For example, if you’re a financial trainer. “financial” would be a vertical, “training” would be a horizontal. What size businesses can you take on? What does your ideal client look like? Once you know these things, you can talk about it by coming up with a sweet summary – This summary really needs to be less than ten words. A major problem is that many of us have a laundry list of things we do versus focusing on the main idea. If we’re in an elevator, we may only have one floor to get our message across, not 30. Think about what you compare to. This moves to his second point.
Use an analogy
People remember analogies. So when you come up with your summary, use an analogy to bridge that understanding. Every company should have a perfect analogy so people intuitively understand what it is they do. For example, Millionaire Network is an exclusive affiliate network. We only work with top publishers. So, we could say we’re the Rolls Royce of affiliate networks. Some thoughts that pop in mind when thinking about Rolls Royce; exclusivity, luxury, high-class, not everyone can own one. What analogy can you think of when describing your brand or what you do?
Ditch the elevator pitch and use a memory dart
This is the combination of the summary and the analogy. In other words, you want to be able to pass your message down, yes, but you want to do it in such a way that the other person can ALSO pass it on – like a verbal business card. They can take what you told them, and they can tell other people. And it’s simple to do so because your message is so CLEAR.
Steve’s major belief: Ideas need to fit, words need to fit, and people need to fit. Sometimes we just need to figure out where that fit is. It was a great podcast, and we hope that helps you on your journey. Learn more about Steve here.