Possibly the most memorable viral marketing event in recent memory, the viral spread of this campaign made it an immense success. Whether it was the celebrity endorsements, the chance to show your support for a good cause, a dare from a friend, or simply being bored on a hot summer day, millions of participants drenched themselves, creating more than 2.4 million videos on Facebook alone. The result? One-hundred and fifteen million dollars in donations. What’s more, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person in the U.S. today who doesn’t know about A.L.S., the terminal illness that claims 100,000 lives per year. This is the pinnacle of viral marketing.
So what’s the recipe?
Step 1: Keep It Simple
Much of the Ice Bucket Challenge’s success resulted from the ability of anyone, anywhere, to take part. Unlike guerrilla marketing stunts that require prospects to be in a specific location or attending an exclusive event, most people have access to ice, water and some kind of bucket. Other memorable campaigns include the #nomakeupselfie campaign that generated $2 million for cancer research. The campaign worked because it resonated with a global population of women frustrated with beauty standards. Like the IBC, this went viral because millions of people were potential participants. If you can’t think of an activity almost anyone can do themselves, plan to host events in a variety of population centers that maximize exposure for your cause. New York, D.C., Miami, Chicago, L.A. Find a place with tons of foot-traffic and use it to your advantage. Today, Uber gives out ice cream on hot days in more than 252 cities around the world. Almost anyone can eat ice cream right? Now with the recent launch of Uber Eats, this campaign is more important for the brand than ever before.
Step 2: Inspire Spreadability
Without social media, none of the previously mentioned campaigns would be possible. You couldn’t stand on a curb in Manhattan and request a donation from someone after dropping a bucket of freezing water on them (you’d probably be unconscious). If you want your viral marketing to work, it needs to inspire shares. Redbull skydiver Felix Baumgartner fell 23 miles to earth from the edge of space, hitting a maximum velocity of 833mph and breaking the sound barrier with his torso. The key ingredient? Hosting the video live on YouTube, resulting in 8 million live views. Before the event, a content-fueled countdown of shareable articles, photos, and videos packed newsfeeds, building up the hype as much as possible.
After the jump, the spreadability of the content kept it in the minds of consumers everywhere, marking Redbull as the most badass brand on the planet. However, it was incredibly expensive. $65 million in fact. But it worked. Redbull saw U.S. sales skyrocket 7% almost immediately, roughly equivalent to $1.6 billion in sales. I’d say that’s solid ROI.
A year later, a low-budget video called “How Animals Eat Food” (below) received 88 million views at the cost of a camera and one man’s self respect. Of course, one is a video of a man accomplishing the impossible and the other features a man smashing his face into a kitchen table. Virality is not an exact science, but it’s borne out of a consumer’s desire to share what they’ve seen with their friends, family and co-workers. In addition to simplicity, spreadability is paramount.
Step 3: Leverage Influence
While influencers like social media stars and celebrities aren’t always paid during viral marketing events, their impact introduces the campaign to massive new audiences. Without them, many campaigns would simply lack that viral, global boost. An endless number of celebrities participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge, continuously expanding its reach to their fans. Imagine how many people only participated because they saw their idol taking part. In an age where we vicariously live through the lives of the rich and famous, consumers want to feel connected with them any way they can. However, influencers don’t always have to be celebrities.
Some companies have seen success giving free merch to popular students on college campuses, well known community figures, or a child who wants to be batman for a day. It doesn’t matter who your influencer is, so long as they help broaden your exposure through strategic means. In a controversial stunt, marketers of the dating app Tinder took a slightly different approach… They attended college parties at large universities, standing on tables at fraternities telling guys young women were waiting for them on the app. Then they ran over to sorority parties and told them the men were waiting.
How you create viral marketing for your ecommerce site depends on your understanding of consumer interests. If you get it right, your campaign could bring millions of new customers to your site. It might be as simple as a clever product video like “Will It Blend” or as disturbing as the Squatty-Potty commercial (above). Perhaps asking your fans to make videos of themselves using your product is a better route. Maybe it’s worth it to give free swag to a YouTube celebrity. Just make sure it’s simple, spreadable, and you get the right people to expand your reach if need be. Otherwise, you might as well stick to coupons.
As a group of seasoned ecommerce pros, the Redstage creative team constantly devises ways for clients to increase sales online. If you’re in need of a creative strategy for your site, give us a call: 1-888-335-2747
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?
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org or from email@example.com, 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+ e-commerce 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 >
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 e-commerce 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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