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Building Blocks for Increasing Online Holiday Sales

Last week, we reported on tips for preparing your digital marketing efforts for the holiday season. This week, we promised a follow-up on selling.

Now that you have prepared your campaigns, it is almost time to sell your merchandise. Here are some tips to amplify your revenue based on successful sales: 

  • (1) Build Your List(s) With Promo Codes

Every brand marketer’s goal is to capture a consumer’s email address because it facilitates a 1:1 connection and is a cost-effective (it’s free!) way to communicate with them. Here are some ideas to help capture even more email addresses with your marketing campaigns:

  • – Sign-up forms from platforms like Mailchimp.
  • – Promo codes to incentivize customers to offer up their email addresses.
  • (2) Increase Site Traffic & Conversion By Creating a Sense of Urgency

We all know that being familiar with your customers is key. It ensures marketers are getting the right messages to the most relevant customers. Moreover, if the messaging is effective, interactions with merchandise increase. Here is how you can enhance these interactions:

  • – Use time sensitive countdowns to build urgency, i.e. “Only 12 hours remaining!”
  • – Send abandoned cart emails with low inventory notifications (try to be honest about this!).
  • – Utilize on-site inventory flags, i.e. “Only a few left!”
  • – Promote shipping cut-offs to create urgency for the holidays. Not only will merchandise have a better chance of arriving on time, but this will help your products get off the shelves sooner.
  • (3) Continue the Conversation & Further Grow Conversion

Continued engagement is all-important. Once you have captured a consumer’s email address and they have browsed your site and/or purchased, stay in touch! Here are couple ways you can do this:

  • – As noted above, send abandoned cart emails, but make them feel personal. 
  • – Did you know that you can drive 34x more orders by sending personal emails vs. bulk emails? (source: Mailchimp)
  • – Enlist the help of retargeting ads.
  • – Ensure you are not marketing sold out items.

While selling for the holiday season technically begins Thanksgiving weekend, it feels like it has already started. By the time December hits, there is so much to be learned not only for the next holiday season, but for Q1 2022. In December, we’ll be back with tips and tricks for learning from selling season.

Information sourced from Mailchimp eCommerce Masterclass Series.  

 

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Building Blocks for Planning a Successful Holiday Season

Retail Dive recently reported that November and December drove 30% more revenue for online retailers than non-holiday. This year, we are expecting an even higher jump online due to intense digital adoption. For these reasons, marketers everywhere are laser focused on the holiday season (especially digital) due to macro factors at play such as high demand coupled with global supply chain setbacks.

As marketers, we’re currently in ‘planning’ mode. Here are some tips to prepare your marketing efforts for this holiday season: 

  • (1) Maximize Average Order Value (AOV)

Encourage customers to purchase more than they originally planned by:

  • – Reminding them of free shipping / offering a threshold for free shipping; an effective way to get an additional $5-10 to AOV.
  • – Share personalized recommendations based on what is in their cart or what they browsed.
  • – Merchandise add-ons.
  • – Utilize pop-ups to enhance the check-out journey.
  • – Create and market gift bundles.
  • (2) Lean Into Unique Promotional Messaging
  • As online shopping continues to soar in popularity, competition will be higher than ever. Ensure that your offers are obvious not only in your marketing, but in your site experience as well. Entice customers with promotions such as:
  • – A value proposition: Do you value sustainability? Are your products ethically produced? Do you have socially responsible partnerships? Can you encourage shopping locally or small business Saturday? Customers are seeking reasons to purchase from your brand.
  • – One-click gifting: Offer filters in your navigation, demonstrate savings with a countdown, feature an easy check out experience.
  • – Point to time-saving extras such as gift-wrapping, quick delivery, BOPIS, and more.
  • (3) Get Ahead of the Rush with Site Traffic

It feels like holiday shopping has already started. Get ahead of the competition we discussed earlier and market right now – before the official start of the holiday season (Thanksgiving weekend) – using some of these tactics:

  • – Determine why customers would want to shop early; offer limited-edition collections, partnerships, limited stock messaging, brand / founder favorites, shipping incentives – anything that gives a sense of “must-have” or “buy early.”
  • – Highlight must-have items in channels that promote authenticity or feel personal such as influencer or email marketing.
  • – Use promotional emails for sales, but we recommend using sparingly.
  • (4) Build a Marketing Calendar to Facilitate Engagement

It is important to understand what you’re marketing and why. While this may seem like an internal exercise, it is reportedly one of the most impactful planning tips. A calendar will help reduce message fatigue, grow sales, enhance product variety, and strengthen customer experience. Here is what you can do:

  • – Analyze inventory to determine the largest and smallest buys.
  • – Identify products you’d like to market.
  • – Map out communications daily.
  • – Ensure there is enough product variety and that your marketing tactics mirror your merchandising efforts.
  • (5) Add a Site Merchandising Plan to Boost CTR

This will create a streamlined path to conversion. Your merchandising strategy should mirror your marketing strategy.

  • – For example, your home page should match your email marketing, which should then match your social strategy as well as the product itself. Consistency is key!

Stay tuned for next week’s post on ‘selling’ mode (hint: it’s November & December!). We will share tips for increasing sales and how to handle the end of Q4 in terms of sales strategy.

Sources include Retail Dive and Mailchimp’s eCommerce Masterclass Series.  

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What You Need to Know About Apple’s iOS 15 Updates & Its Potential Effect on Your Email Marketing Efforts

Data privacy continues to be top-of-mind for marketers especially for some of the largest – and arguably most influential – players in the digital space. Recently, Apple announced its iOS 15 software update that will significantly impact marketers. More specifically, it will influence how we measure email success.

Be In the Know

With the iOS 15 update, it is likely that email open rates will be inflated. The level of inflation will be determined by number of Apple Mail users in a company’s email file or customer-base. In 2020, about 50% of emails opened were from Apple products using the Mail feature.  

What to Expect

  • Open rates will be inflated.
    • With iOS 15, Apple Mail automatically downloads images. This then triggers the tracking pixels embedded to send an “opened” response back to the ESP server.
    • Even if a user does not open an email, this new feature will trigger an “opened” response the moment that images are downloaded.
  • Date and time could be inaccurate.
    • With Apple Mail, the “opened” signal is sent the moment the images are downloaded. Therefore, marketers will have no way of knowing that when the images are downloaded, the prospect or customer was viewing the email.
  • Triggers or workflows based on an “opened email” will be disrupted.
    • It is common practice for marketers to resend campaigns to consumers who did not open the email the first time a campaign is launched. With iOS 15, marketers will not know who specifically opened the email and therefore, would risk resending the email to the wrong individuals.
  • Location-based email targeting relying on IP address will no longer be reliable.
    • This new feature masks Apple users’ IP addresses, so their online activity and location will not automatically link.
    • The functionality of the “countdown” clock widget may be impacted, but we do not know for certain yet.

What This Means For You

We understand that this update is creating new hurdles for marketers. We are with you! However, it is important to look at the bright side:

  • This update will not impact all email subscribers. Right now, Google, Outlook and other email users make up more than 60% of the global share and they have not announced any updates.
  • Clicks and click-through-rates (CTR) will not be affected by this update, which are often even more accurate metrics to determine engagement.
  • This is a time to get creative. We can tie site traffic to an email campaign, enlist the help of clickmaps, and analyze unsubscribe rates.
  • A/B testing is still an option! Taking subject line testing as an example, marketers will still be able to determine an outlier even though open rates will be inflated. As a secondary option, clicks can also determine this winner. If a Call-to-action (CTA) is featured, marketers can measure success through conversion data or site activity.

As marketers, we understand not only the importance of data & analytics, but why keeping data privacy at the forefront of your omnichannel strategy is necessary. In fact, a couple of months ago, we published articles encouraging your proactivity regarding data privacy and how to be data compliant in 2021. However, no one can prepare for the updates that the industry’s largest players have made, and will continue to make. We can only accept these challenges, and design new systems and processes in accordance with them. We are steadfast in bringing you the most innovative and cutting-edge solutions, and we will continue to do so, even with the iOS 15 update in place. 

Sources include Lift Engine, Hubspot, Apple, and AdWeek.

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The Truth About Your Campaign Metrics: Facebook Announces that Apple Data Is Skewing Conversions

As digital adoption continues to soar post-pandemic, it is evident just how interconnected we really are. This week, Facebook began to quantify the negative aspects of this interconnectivity.

On Wednesday, September 22nd, Facebook announced that it underreported ad performance due to Apple’s iPhone privacy update for its iOS operating system. Specifically, Facebook estimated that it is currently underreporting web conversions on Apple’s iOS by approximately 15% and that this could affect advertisers of various sizes in many ways.

Why This Happened

Recently, Apple made a pivotal update for its users; now iPhone and iPad users will need to opt in to being tracked when they launch an app for the first time. It is now evident how much this new parameter affected advertisers’ campaigns.

What This Means For You

Facebook Vice President of Product Marketing shared in a blog post: “We believe that real world conversions, like sales and app installs, are higher than what is being reported for many advertisers.” Therefore, the results that you are seeing are likely lower than how your campaign is actually performing. 

How We Can Help

Partnership is at our core. We understand that this is not an ideal situation, but because of our strong industry ties and media relationships, we will get through this together. In fact, our digital and data & analytics teams are already working on solutions and adjustments considering this news, which includes:

  1. Working with our Facebook reps to further understand the percentage of users/conversions being impacted across each of our individual clients, and then building models that factor in the potential data loss
  2. Leveraging our clients’ website analytics tools (Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.) to measure key engagement and conversion data points to supplement data coming directly from Facebook.
  3. Researching additional technology solutions to layer on top of Facebook and website analytics platforms to help fill any gaps in the data (however, we are in the early days of these new data privacy issues, and this is more of a longer-term play).

As marketers, we always aim to keep our tech stack fresh, current, and innovative. We are looking forward to solving the challenge Facebook and Apple have presented to us. We are especially looking forward to delivering to you the positive results we know your campaign is driving towards. Stay tuned!

Sources include CNBC, Facebook, and AdAge.