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2018-01-22T06:07:25.618Z
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The ecommerce customer is a moving target. I mean that in more than one way:

  • Online behaviors and buying preferences evolve constantly.
  • Customers jump around relentlessly from apps, to messaging platforms, to social sites and websites.
  • They’re mobile.

How do you woo these “moving targets” into engaging with your ecommerce promotions, opting into your offers, and buying your products?

Your marketing and media needs to “move” them.

You experiment with a variety of ecommerce promotion ideas available to you now. We’ll run through a heap of them and hopefully offer a few you might want to try to build your audience and boost sales.

1. Offer Coupons and Discounts

Coupons have always been a staple in retail promotions so we need not question their power.

However, in the digital shopping realm, coupons play a role beyond simply providing a purchase incentive. They act as bait to hook new email subscribers. Of course, you’ll follow-up with subscribers, so consider expanding your portfolio of coupons to create specific subscriber segments that will receive relevant offers.
You can offer coupons explicitly for product purchases, but may also find coupons marry well with offers to receive newsletters and useful downloadable content.


Image Source

Your options for delivering coupons are many. GlassesUSA gets right to it by presenting a huge discount for first time buyers on their home page via a popup that “greys-out” the page until you respond.

2. Offer eBooks and Other Lead Magnets

Every marketing playbook begins with “know your target market.”

It’s preached day in and day out by the top marketing pros. Every well-paid exec learns this on their first day on the job.

And for good reason. Knowing your target market is critical to generating traffic or converting sales.

But what does it really mean?

Most playbooks will tell you to fill out the classic buyer persona or demographic template.

What does that tell you, though? Honestly.

BMW sells convertibles to old, white, bald, suburban dudes who make a comfortable six-figures a year.

Ok. Now what?

That doesn’t tell you why they buy. That doesn’t tell you how to reach them, where they hang out, who influences them, or how to upsell them at the right time.

To make matters worse, most companies sell to multiple customer personas. And each one buys for vastly different reasons.

So shoe-horning them into a single box of…

Age
Gender
Location

… isn’t going to bring in paying customers.

Many marketers want to jump the gun. They go straight into A/B testing multiple audiences, for example.

You need 1,000 conversions monthly, minimum, to get results with statistical significance. And if you’re testing variables against a single persona, that means you need multiples of 1,000 conversions for each one. Which is one of the many reasons why A/B tests often fall flat.

Sales reps, on the other hand, know your target market inside and out. Even the lowest SDR on the totem pole has your...

Yes. AdWords converts better than most other channels. Anywhere, ever.

But. That doesn’t mean it’s the only option. Or even the best option.

Two reasons why:

First, your cost per lead tends to be higher than other inbound channels. Chiefly because…

Second, AdWords doesn’t scale as well as other options. So you hit a point of diminishing returns. ‘Cause only 3.4% of search queries results in an AdWords click.

That ain’t a lot. ‘Specially on your ~5-10 niche keywords that actually convert.

The trick is to turn your attention from the bottom of the funnel back to the top.

Here’s why the top of your funnel is almost always more profitable than the bottom.

Closing and scaling BOFU deals isn’t sustainable

AdWords has intent. People search, click, and opt-in or buy.

It’s literally trained people to give you money.

It’s the ‘last touch’ so often that it becomes “easy to track ROI.” So like any self-fulfilling prophecy, the more attention it gets, the more “it works.” The more budget and labor and buy-in.

The problem is scale.

Especially when you’re paying $25 to $50+ per click. (Or more — I see you insurance and law.)

Conversions might be good on AdWords. But in many cases there’s (1) not enough to grow your business past six figures. Or (2) there’s not enough margin to reinvest in other areas.

Bottom-of-the-funnel advertising like this works well because you can throw down a few bucks and see a few more bucks come in not long afterward.

But here’s where more problems...

There’s no doubting the power of inbound marketing.

It’s safe to say that inbound has revolutionized the way marketing works in today’s world.

When it works, that is.

Because many times, it doesn’t. Or at least, it takes too long.

Crafting an inbound campaign requires audience targeting, multiple forms of content based on funnel stages, and perfect integration between marketing and sales. Which rarely happens in most companies.

And on top of that, inbound marketing tends to pull in a very specific type of buyer.

Hint: It ain’t the CEO of a Fortune 500.

Inbound is great for driving certain kinds of leads. But again, many of those are unqualified and can take months to convert.

And you can’t risk spending months or years producing content only to see a trickle of unqualified, small deals roll in your door.

Here’s why inbound marketing fails and how you can guard against it.

Why Inbound Marketing Often Brings in the Wrong Clients

Inbound marketing is like a box of chocolates. You never know…

Cheesy movie quotes aside, this one rings true.

You really don’t know what you’re gonna get when you start a new campaign. Especially when it comes to B2B clients.

Think of it this way:

What clients and client types do you want?

Most likely large corporations. The big-time players. The accounts that will take your business to six-figures overnight.

Now… what clients do you usually get through your blog?

Small businesses. Local shops. Cookie-cutter clients.

Sure, your box of chocolates might have one or two big-time clients. But...

“Engagement.” It’s a term often dismissed as “fluffy” that lacks true value towards primary business goals.

But we live in a world where customers can engage with us in real time. And with this comes an expectation of delivering the best experience possible.

It’s not just about letting your customers feel heard. Engagement metrics, while often seen as “vanity metrics,” are important indicators of how well your marketing is performing.

In this article, I’ll share six engagement metrics you must measure throughout the funnel to ensure your marketing is working. I’ll also share actionable tactics on how to improve them and, as a result, your bottom line.

1. Content Reach

You put in the grind and work hours to create a superb piece of content. You know it will serve your audience, but…

Crickets.

While often considered a vanity metric, Reach is still a great indicator of your content’s performance. If you’re promoting visual media through social platforms or blog posts, Reach dictates how well it will perform.

A simple definition of Reach is: “the total number of people who see your content.” It’s a metric that indicates the unique users and readers who see the content you promote.

There are a few elements to consider when measuring Reach:

  1. Unique users: As explained above, this is the standard method of measuring the reach of your content. Typically, unique users are measured through a 30-day window (thanks to cookies.) Bear in mind that not all views are created equally: a visitor to a landing page for a lead...

KPIs are due EOD.

Profit and loss statements need to be generated.

Budget status updates have been requested.

Juggling multiple marketing campaigns is stressful. But more importantly, it’s also incredibly risky.

Soon enough, you’ve depleted your budget to the last few cents, and you have nothing to show for it.

Or worse, you didn’t spot the right trends in a successful tactic before spending too much on the underperforming ones.

And now you don’t have enough money to re-allocate to top-tier mediums.

Curiously enough, adopting the same methodical mindset of a financial currency trader can help you better manage results.

Here’s how.

Start With a Currency Arbitrage Mindset

Here’s the problem with digital marketing.

It changes every day. Old stuff gives way to new stuff.

And you never really know how a campaign will perform until you try it.

That saying (1) is unhelpful and (2) requires extra money to experiment with potentially budget-draining activities.

But it’s true.

You really don’t know which playbook, game plan, or actionable tip is going to work until you experiment. The stuff that worked last year almost certainly won’t work the same this year.

Not to mention that every business is structured differently. Each caters to diverse audiences. So copying your competitors or that awesome tactic you read about is also out.

What works for Company X might bankrupt Company Z.

If there were set-in-stone tactics that produced million-dollar businesses overnight, every dude on GrowthHackers.org would be rich.

PPC might be amazing for your friend’s business. But that doesn’t mean investing...

Editor’s Note: Jeff Seibert spoke at Stanford University to discuss what he learned by building and selling startups. This post is a summarization of the talk.

It finally happened. Your promising little startup finally found its niche, got noticed, and got acquired by a big-name technology company. So what’s next? One need only look at Jeff Seibert, former senior product director at Twitter, to learn valuable lessons about how to proceed when your startup is acquired by a larger brand.

Jeff’s first company, Increo, was sold to Box in 2009. His second startup, Crashlytics, was sold to Twitter in 2013, and then, when he became the senior product director at Twitter, he got to see things from the other side of the table. What happens from the big brand’s perspective? How is the startup integrated as smoothly as possible? Jeff played a major role in several notable Twitter deals as well – Periscope being the largest of those. Here are just a few of the many lessons he learned.

Start by Building Tools to Help People

Increo was a company founded on the sharing of ideas and collaboration. The company’s first product Feedbackr, was build around the simple premise of uploading a document, and then getting feedback on those ideas and making changes to the file accordingly. Feedbackr was designed during Seibert’s senior year of college, and was launched in May – just a few weeks before graduation.

The product was featured on TechCrunch, where it enjoyed an initial spike...

“Wash. Condition. Rinse. Repeat.” Sound familiar? It’s a common morning routine. And we all know how things run when we settle into a comfortable routine: it feels like life is on autopilot.

Sometimes, that works. However, you might perform your routine so well that you forget to look for improvements. Perhaps your hair would look better without conditioner, but if you never stop to question your routine, you’ll keep going down the same path. You’ll be stagnant.

The same logic applies to your social media strategy. It’s easy to repeat the tactics that have worked well for you so far, generating a little bit of buzz and keeping you hooked into what’s happening on Twitter.

But are you just going through the motions without considering how you can use social media to improve conversion rates?

If you’ve been using the same social media strategies for ages and your impact has leveled off, it’s probably time to review your goals and make sure that your social media tactics are increasing conversion rates, building brand awareness, and bringing in new customers.

Here’s how.

1. Double Down on One (or Two) Channels That Work For You– And Share Videos

Let’s face it: Internet users are addicted to video, and that’s great for publishers and marketers.

On average, Facebook users devour 100 million hours of video every single day. About 82% of Twitter users watch video on that particular medium. Marketers are also seeing positive results with LinkedIn Video, which was introduced this past...

Facebook recently released Facebook Messenger app ads to the general public.

Aaaaaannnnnddddd digital advertising just got even more creepy than ever imagined.

Thanks, Zuck.

You can now directly message potential prospects via Facebook Messenger right in their inboxes. Kinda like LinkedIn’s Sponsored InMail. Meaning you can nag people 24/7 now.

But with all of these new features comes white noise. Using the right tactic is like finding a needle in a haystack on new platforms.

Just like with any new digital advertising platform, it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t.

What will help you acquire customers and what will get you reported for stalking.

Here’s how to find that proverbial needle in the haystack by using Facebook Messenger ads to acquire customers.

The Three Main Types of Facebook Messenger Ads

Currently, Facebook offers three main advertising formats or placements with their new Messenger ad services.

Each one is different. But you can use them all together to create one big, happy, harmonious user experience.

Here, we’ll look at each in-depth, analyzing the best practices for each to get the best bang for your buck.

First up: Messenger destination.

1. Messenger Destination Ads

Your first Facebook Messenger ad option is destination-based.

This works like any old display-style ad on Facebook.

It sits right in the news feed for someone to click on.

But instead of taking them directly to the Facebook page or a landing page on a website, it takes them into a conversation on Messenger:

It’s the grand old way of getting your website noticed online, but despite its long-in-the-tooth reputation, the effectiveness of email outreach is showing no signs of slowing down – despite what some experts might have us believe.

An old-fashioned email campaign can seem like the loneliest method of promotion available in the 21st Century. It’s not unusual to write thousands of outreach emails knowing full well that well over half of your messages will never even be read.

Neil Patel believes that a reasonable expectation from an outreach campaign is to get around five links for every 100 emails sent, amounting to a success rate of 5%. Meaning that 95% of the time you spend composing messages and hitting that ‘send’ button will be a fruitless endeavor.

So why do we bother? In a world where cold emailing is heavily frowned upon, and a third of all emails are opened based solely on whether the recipient likes the subject line or not, you could be forgiven for thinking that it might all be just a waste of time and resources.

However, this isn’t the case. Email outreach is an extremely powerful tool when correctly utilized, but effective email etiquette is a minefield – and many people struggle to run engaging campaigns.

So it’s for this reason that I’ve decided to offer a list of the seven biggest trials and tribulations that face email marketers today.

1. Making Sure your Campaign isn’t too Spammy

It’s the first and perhaps the...

9-to-5 jobs are never truly 9-5.

There’s always something that comes up that needs to get done. ASAP. No questions asked.

Thank your boss for that one. Actually, don’t. That’s probably not a good idea.

But running a business is a whole new level of busy. Being a business owner in today’s world is damn near impossible.

Want to have a normal work-life balance? Good joke.

Need to take a vacation to refresh your brain? Sure. If you’re okay with a business-level apocalypse.

Family asking you to go apple picking this weekend? It isn’t happening.

As a small business owner, you’ve got to run every single department, constantly making sure everything’s running smoothly.

That means creating new content, generating big ideas, speaking with clients, landing sales, checking emails, and running marketing reports.

The list goes on.

You simply don’t have enough time in the day to complete all of these tasks.

You can’t scale your business to new heights if you ignore any of them though.

They need to get done. Your business and livelihood literally depend on it.

So what do you do?

You need to automate. Put boring, tedious, time-consuming tasks on autopilot to save yourself hours every week.

Marketing automation isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if you want to scale your business without dying from sleep deprivation.

Here are the reasons why you need marketing automation and three tips for small business owners to automate and scale.

How marketing automation can be your saving grace

Marketing automation is...

The e-commerce revolution was built on the back of digital advances and automation, but is the next generation of machine learning and AI friend or foe?

Machine learning is the method today’s systems use to learn about you and the fundamental things that make you who you are. It looks beyond generalizations and characterizations on your age or gender and realizes that you’re a huge fan of cartoon dogs and emojis, but only the ones that have the same hair as you.

In the e-commerce space, machine learning is being used to slowly learn what customers prefer and how they want to see information to get them to make a purchase. It tests and adapts, using new options and information to slowly refine the best way to reach your customers.

It’s an amazing tool with plenty of opportunities, but hiding within that potential are some risks if you’re not paying attention. Let’s look at what can help or hurt.

Intuitive Search and Display

One of the more exciting applications of machine learning is going to be the ability for you to search for the things you want and need. Right now, to find a product on an e-commerce store, you have to search for it using the words you prefer and the e-commerce store owner must hope they used the same words for the search results to match what you want and what they offer.

Machine learning cranks...

Have you ever noticed that it seems like every single company seems to send their email newsletter at the same time?

Usually they’re sent very late at night or extra early in the morning.

Which is, funny enough, when most of their audience is sleeping, so we wake up with an overstuffed inbox each morning.

I am guessing that you have also run into this somewhat minor annoyance.

But it literally is one of my biggest pet peeves.

If you are like me, the deleting of most of these newsletters has become part of your morning ritual.

It is pretty refreshing to send them all to your trash folder and get back to inbox zero.

I mean I love reading about data driven marketing tips but not at 7 in the morning.

We are constantly plugged into our email accounts with those supercomputers we call phones.

The days when you would check your email once in the morning and once at night is over.

But, alas, some companies still seem to be sticking to that email schedule.

This strategy is as outdated as that jewel colored iMac or Gateway computer sitting in your basement.

And all the effort you put into great content will be wasted if you pick the wrong time to send.

So I set out to find when the best time to send an email newsletter is, in the most scientific way ever, by signing up for 100 different newsletters and recording all of their send times.

1. Send it from 11-12PM, 1-2PM,...

That latest post took days to develop.

It’s instructive and inspiring and educational and entertaining.

Easily, one of your best yet.

But you come to check your traffic data only to find that you’re ranking 70th in the SERPs.

In other words, you ain’t gettin no traffic anytime soon. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

Unless some crazy person is actually clicking seven pages deep on Google. Which they aren’t.

All of that hard work, research, and effort got you almost nothing in return.

Meanwhile, your competitors are ranking in the top ten results, even though their content isn’t as long or thorough.

Why? Because of Google.

But really, the most likely answer is time and links.

Your post is new, so it’s going to take some time.

Knowing this, that doesn’t mean you can sit around and expect it to be on the first page without doing work.

Thinking that your new post will gain thousands of links on its own is foolish.

Outperforming your competitors on search engines isn’t an easy, one-off task. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

In fact, if you implement a few of these tactics, it’s likely that (in time) you will.

Why? Because your competitors are comfortable. They think the rankings won’t ever change.

You, on the other hand, are grinding to get ahead.

Here’s how you can outperform sites ranking above you on search engines.

The Top Two Ranking Factors, Straight From Google

When Google RankBrain was announced in 2015 on Bloomberg, it was made known that...

Marketers say that in order to anticipate what the customer wants, you have to know what they’re thinking. With voice apps becoming more and more commonplace — now the customer can actually tell you.

Perhaps the biggest evidence that shows a marked shift in how customers search is found within the biggest movers and shakers in both e-commerce and search — Amazon and Google.

Google search voice queries show explosive growth of voice search queries (Image Source)

Within 2016 alone, voice-based search went from zero to 10% of all search volume. Today, 20% of all searches have voice-based intent, and by 2020, ComScore estimates that half of all searches will be done by voice. But there are a few notable stumbling blocks.

The Issue with Accuracy

Back in 2013, Google’s spoken word accuracy was below 80%. A few years later, it has improved to above 90%. Chinese search engine Baidu’s voice recognition accuracy rate is above 95%. This sounds great on paper, but 99% accuracy is what everyone is striving for. The difference can be profound — as in the old joke of Jeff Bezos asking the Echo to buy olives at Whole Foods when instead, it understood that he wanted it to buy “all of Whole Foods”.

We’re not there yet, but we will be soon — and when that happens, you can expect voice-enabled search adoption to...

If you’ve been involved in marketing for a while, you’ve probably heard the phrase: “The money is in the list.”

With new technologies on the rise, email marketing can feel antiquated. In reality, email marketing is still incredibly effective – both in terms of long-term brand building as well as generating profits.

In a 2016 study, 86% of marketers stated that they were planning to increase their upcoming email marketing budgets.

For those willing to take the time to grow their lists and regularly craft high value, personalized messages for their audiences, the rewards can be exceptional.

According to DMA, email has an average ROI of $38 for every $1 spent.

For online services and ecommerce businesses alike, growing your email list as quickly as possible should be a priority.

Here are some of my favorite growth hacks that you can immediately deploy to increase your list of email subscribers.

1. Content Upgrades

Oftentimes, marketers will create useful lead magnets in the form of ebooks, webinars and checklists. All of these things are great, but it’s hard to create a lead magnet that resonates with everyone.

For instance, look at the huge umbrella of internet marketing. A visitor that would be interested in a free ebook about infographic design may not care for information about longtail keyword research, and vice versa.

In order to capture the maximum amount of leads, it’s important to think about context. Instead of offering a one-size-fits-all lead magnet, consider including a content upgrade at the...

These days, just about anyone can create and send out email campaigns to their list of prospects. But just because it’s nearly push-button simple to do, doesn’t mean it always gets the results you want.

And if your beautifully-designed, precisely-formatted and succinctly-written email went over like a lead balloon, it doesn’t mean the end of the world. It just means that you should take a step back and consider making some changes to your approach.

The thing is, you know your email marketing isn’t working as well as it could. The results you’re getting are tepid at best and engagement levels are plateauing, or worse, falling. You’re just not sure what to do to fix it.

The good news is, you’re about to learn. And even better, it’s easy to implement these changes and start seeing a measurable increase in all the email engagement metrics that matter — opens, clicks and conversions.

1. The Sign: Your Email List Isn’t Growing as Fast as it Once Did

Much like a doctor diagnoses your symptoms to determine the best course of action to make you better, you’ve got a sick email campaign (and I don’t mean that in a good way!) and you’ve got to find a remedy.

One of the key signs of a floundering email campaign is that the list just isn’t growing. People may subscribe, but they also leave just as quickly — if they even subscribe at all. The rate of growth for your list has slowed, plateaued,...

Conversions are in the toilet.

Traffic is still coming in. But your bottom line isn’t changing.

Sales are slower than ever. People simply aren’t buying right now.

It’s not the holiday season. It’s probably just the “off-season” for online sales.

No need to worry, right? It’s normal for this time of year…

But it’s not. Selling online isn’t only seasonal.

Conversions just aren’t happening for you. But there’s a reason.

Your conversion rate optimization tactics are outdated.

Or you simply don’t have any in place.

Those instant on-site popups aren’t compelling users to buy from you.

Social share buttons don’t lead to buying decisions.

As the online landscape changes and new technologies arise, user behavior changes.

And when user behavior shifts, marketers can’t stick to the same old tactics and fall behind.

If you don’t keep up to date with user behavior, your business and livelihood could be at risk.

Thankfully, there are a few data-backed conversion hacks you can implement that are sure to get you a better conversion rate.

So, what are you waiting for?

1. Include different checkout options

What if I told you that a few simple minutes of work (without paying anything for setup) could net you 44% more conversions?

Would you call me crazy? Maybe a used car salesman? Fair enough.

But let me explain.

Is your website optimized for mobile traffic? If not, is your name Fred Flintstone?

Image Source

In all seriousness, if you...

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past five years, Tinder is a hugely popular mobile dating app that matches potential partners based on user data and proximity.

Since the application was launched in 2012, it has experienced explosive growth.

Within two years, Tinder boasted 800 million swipes every single day. As of 2017, that daily figure is 1.6 billion.

So what makes Tinder so special, and what can we learn from Tinder’s growth that we can apply to other businesses?

You’ve probably heard the phrase “sex sells.” That’s certainly part of the picture, but there are many other facets of Tinder’s growth engine that are worth admiring.

Conceptual Design

If you look at all the major case studies for growth hacking in recent years, from Airbnb to PayPal, they all have one thing in common: an excellent product.

On a conceptual level, Tinder is ingenious.

All marketers know that consumer behavior is driven by emotions rather than logic. To be specific, people are motivated to act due to two reasons:

  1. The desire to move towards pleasure
  2. The desire to move away from pain

Tinder’s users are motivated by seeking out romantic encounters (pleasure) while simultaneously avoiding rejection (pain).

We’re not talking about mild emotions here. These are core human desires with an evolutionary basis.

It’s theorized that the fear of rejection stems from when humans lived in primitive hunter-gatherer societies. With limited amounts of potential mates in a small tribe, being rejected could entail the...

Woo-hoo!

Your team just clinched another new customer. That’s great news. But before you celebrate, think about the next step in the sales process.

Communication plays a critical role in fostering customer loyalty. To transform buyers into die-hard advocates, it’s important to improve your post-purchase emails.

“For a business to thrive, it must provide customers with long-term value that translates into repeat purchases and, thus, increases the customer’s lifetime value to the company. And that is where carefully crafted post-purchase emails come in,” says entrepreneur and marketer Danny Wong.

It’s time to lay the groundwork for more sales. Let’s learn five strategies to ace post-purchase emails.

1. Focus on Relevant Interests

When you’re not interested in something, the easiest thing to do is to ignore it. You mentally set whatever it is aside and move to tasks that hold more value.

In the world of email marketing, relevancy matters to your customer. If it doesn’t offer value or bring an inkling of benefit to the individual, there’s really no reason why they should care.

A relevant message after a purchase may include a receipt with the total amount, a status update about the delivery of the item, or contact information to connect with customer support. Customers desire transparency and want reassurance that they made the right purchasing decision.

“Keeping customers up to date with the status of their purchase, especially if there is a delay or another issue, is important. In fact, consumers decide not to do business again with a brand because...