A Connected Vision
Imagine the year is 2020… You awake in your home of the future. The light buzz from your smartwatch pleasantly rouses you from your slumber. You hear the steadily crescendoing notes of your favorite song play through wireless Bluetooth speakers. Morning sun filters into the room as the smartglass on your windows transitions from opaque to clear. As you step out of bed you notice your connected shower is already running, set to the perfect temperature. Meanwhile, your Wi-Fi-enabled coffee machine prepares to brew just in time for your arrival in the kitchen. This is the automated dream of the Internet of Things, and believe it or not, these patterns emulate how B2C companies should be marketing by 2020.
According to Adam Morris, CEO of Redstage, “The most profitable companies in 2020 will be those which seamlessly integrate content, product development and lifestyle marketing into the customer journey — and benefit from the data.” As an IoT enthusiast (already automating his household with Google Home), Morris believes “top brands will meet customer needs almost instantly, anywhere, and make customers view brand interactions as a constant benefit to their lifestyle.” In this world, your coffee would never be too hot, and your shower, never too cold. It combines elements of growth hacking strategies from the world’s most successful marketers to the best “freemium” channel managers. However, there’s one bump in the road to this bright, utopian brand vision… B2C companies are still playing catch-up with today’s technology.
Thinking Ahead: Winners & Losers
As Forbes reported in 2015, “only 10% of companies are using marketing automation.” However, in 2016 marketing automation exploded, rising to 49% of B2C companies on average. Still, we’re not seeing the utopian lifestyle we were promised. Why? Blame the learning curve. Because marketers are
still getting used to the software, the investment has not yet matched the results for many. While millennial companies are diving right in, established giants are taking time because this software is changing centuries-old business models, and mass firings of outmoded workers don’t resound well in the minds of shareholders… At least for now… Regardless, young or old, many companies are still not using automation to its full potential.
As a marketing professional, I recommend taking a look at this list here. These marketing platforms have near-endless integrations with programs most companies already use, and that’s the point: Automate and optimize your existing operations, then innovate, restructure and repeat. One notable member of this list, Magento, contains such immense customization capabilities for B2C and B2B marketers that there are now numerous sites solely dedicated to downloadable integrations for the software.
Preparing for 2020
Companies like Redstage, Zapier, IFTTT (If-This-Than-That) and even freelance developers constantly build new programs and apps to simplify massive processes for businesses. So if you know your company isn’t ready for the next wave, what’s your excuse? It’s time to hop on the innovation train or risk falling behind when 2020 Marketing comes around. And just in case you’re the one writing the budget proposal, start with the bottom line. As CMO.com reports, “77% of CMOs at top-performing companies indicate their most compelling reason for implementing marketing automation is to grow revenue.” The recipe works. What’s your excuse?
If you liked this article, check out our latest posts:
+ AR & AI: The eCommerce Arms Race
+ How to Create Viral Marketing for eCommerce
+ Email Marketing Tips for Retailers
Email Is King.
When it comes to eCommerce, email is the most vital and potentially profitable channel in your marketing arsenal. According to the Direct Marketing Association, “Segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue”. That number alone should get your blood pumping, but if your email campaign ROI is lacking, it’s time for some big changes.
1. Use Clear CTAs.
The subject line and opening text are the first part of the email anyone interacts with. The shorter the subject line, the more space the first bit of text in your email will occupy in their inbox (So make sure your opening line isn’t the default “Can’t Read This? View in browser” text… Use this real estate for something more valuable). This is your elevator pitch in ~72 characters. MAKE. IT. COUNT. Be sure to use a subject line that is catchy and engaging. Most customers won’t bother to open an email if the subject fails to pique their interest or at least stand out from the multitude of other marketing emails they receive.
Intend to resonate with the specific demographic you’re targeting, and avoid generic sales words. If it sounds too sales-y, you’re damned to the spam box. Too specific, i.e. “Hi John I saw you looked at our page…” and you’re creepy. Seek balance, and don’t be afraid to A/B test. Your subject line should always inspire someone to click, so aim for powerful call-to-action words like “Jumpstart,” “Command,” and “Unleash” (if applicable).
2. Segment Your Customers.
As I mentioned above, subject lines should be specific to the intended target. This could be 1 person or several thousand, as long as you can get a little specific and make your target feel like the email was tailor-made for them. No customer is created equal, but if your customer analytics are up-to-snuff, you should be using that data to segment your audience by demographic location, gender, age, product category, or at least their general interest area. Amazon isn’t sending emails to middle-aged men about hair dryers. Neither should you.
3. Make Yourself Known.
Your email sender ID can make or break your response rate. Use a welcoming, approachable email ID to send out emails to customers. If there’s a photo section, choose a happy-faced employee’s headshot rather than a cold-faced logo. It’s simply more personal. Lastly, and this should go without saying, you’ll get more feedback from customers if you use and email they can reply to… Instead of using an email such as email@example.com or from firstname.lastname@example.org, use a person’s name. Humans enjoy talking to humans. Be human.
4. Personalize the email.
Personalize the email by using the customer’s name. This makes the customer feel valued and inherently makes the connection more personal. You can use *first_name* tags in the body of the email, as well as the subject line (with some email clients).
5. Content Is Everything!
Don’t underscore the importance of style when writing your customers or clients. All images and written content should be of the highest quality (especially because misspellings are usually seen as spam indicators). Less is more: To grab the attention of recipients, keep your copy simple and to-the-point.
Avoid ALL CAPS at ALL COSTS. Refrain from overuse of exclamation marks, images and gifs. Many studies have shown that more images lead to lower response rates. Not only are multiple images too heavy on the eyes of your customers, but your email could fall victim to loading time or formatting issues. These are common on certain devices, which can severely distort your message. If you’re showing off a product or something else that’s photo-heavy, put a “learn more” button that links to a page on your website for external content. It’s easier on them, prevents distortion of message, and if you’re tracking clicks, this can help qualify interested leads. It’s a win-win. Most importantly, the content of your email should be something your customers look forward to, so offer something valuable instead of asking them for something (if you can avoid it).
“Of the 100+ eCommerce companies that I’ve worked with over the past few years, the most successful are those that take the extra time to formulate and execute well-thought out e-mail marketing campaigns. Your e-mails are being seen by all of your clients and prospective clients; optimizing these touchpoints will help you increase sales while strengthening your brand.”
-Dave Gardner, Senior Account Executive & Team Lead at Redstage
One Final Note
According to the Direct Marketing Association, only a mere 7% of SMBs use emails as a branding tool. In fact, most Magento users aren’t customizing their transactional emails at all. Luckily, Redstage is launching a new product, offering unlimited customization of Magento Transactional Emails. Our team will work with you to create stunning email templates tailored for your specific needs. You’re already sending at least 4 emails to every new customer – let’s optimize every one of them to enhance your customer experience. Learn More >
Fashion Week Is Here. What’s Your Strategy?
Maybe you consider yourself a fashionista, though more likely, you’re simply one of a select group of marketers interested in selling to the fashion-frenzied masses. Whatever fuels your passion for your online fashion-lines, keeping customers coming back for that MUST-HAVE statement piece is all that matters.
Online fashion retailers are a dime a dozen, ranging from well respected luxury brands to young designers aspiring to one day join the likes of Marc Jacobs. There’s certainly no shortage of options for would-be trend-setters looking for that perfect outfit, especially since the explosion of re-seller fashion apps like Poshmark and Vinted. However, it’s important to note the massive distinctions between these sides of the spectrum, and reflect on your own identity as a fashion retailer. Unless you’ve got models on the runway in Paris, London or Milan, you’re going to need to step up your style game — starting with your web store.
What sets your store apart? What makes you stand out from the crowd? There’s a brief window in time between someone typing your brand name in a search engine and that same customer leaving your site. It’s up to you to have everything set up to ensure they don’t leave empty handed. More than that, if you do it right, this brief sequence of moments can turn into a positive and memorable experience for customers. One that’ll make you their go-to shop for future fashion conquests.
Magento’s Enterprise Edition is transforming eCommerce across the board, but is especially powerful for creating beautiful and accessible shopping experiences. The platform helps you take full advantage of the latest eCommerce strategies to keep your brand growing and give your site a look that turns heads. It grants retailers access to new opportunities to help you stay ahead of the competition, offering strategic digital experiences that enhances and transcend traditional marketing.
Magento’s responsive design is mobility driven, allowing customers to visit your store from any device, from any location. The platform also includes incredible personalization and segmentation features to boost sales growth, and keep customers coming back. On the data side, consumer demographics, location and shopping behavior can be monitored, allowing you to influence the customer journey. Control previews and timing or create an invitation-only sales area for preferred customers only.
Make A Lasting Impression
The team at Maryland My Maryland takes advantage of Magento’s Enterprise edition to offer clients a unique shopping experience. Page after beautiful page loads effortlessly as the subtle yet powerful lead-gen. tactics encourage users to click, sign-up or refer friends. Targeted buying options boost the order value of the store thanks to Magento’s “shop the look” and “complete the look” functionality, and a welcome note offers a kind discount for new visitors (without being intrusive). These features are especially important for increasing user retention, list building, email reminders, conversion data — the list goes on… But remember, what you display on your store has to be eye-catching and worth the visit. After all, you can’t sell glamour without being a little glamourous. This is where Magento’s got your back, yet again, helping the fashion pros stay on their A-game.
The content management side of the software allows you to create look books, add new content, insert images and videos, and even showcase products without requiring the expertise of an IT specialist. Magento’s eCommerce platform guarantees traffic to your online store through its effortless customer journeys and nearly unlimited integrations. Schedule an appointment with us (here) to find out how you can make your online store friendly, trendy and relevant, and leave an impression that stuns the competition.
These are a just some of the benefits of using Magento’s Enterprise Edition. Ask us what it can do for you!
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