Web tip – Sullivans’ personalized B2B e-commerce website

Sullivans Personalized Website

WHO

Sullivans is a B2B wholesaler of floral products, seasonal décor, and home décor.

CHALLENGE

Sullivans was ready to redesign their website to be mobile-friendly and easier to update to reflect promotions and merchandising.

They had in-depth understanding of their retailer audience, and the products each cared about. They wanted their new website to deliver a personalized shopping experience, so retailers shopping specific product lines would always see content reflective of their inventory needs.

SOLUTION

In November 2015, Whereoware designed and built Sullivans a new responsive website. The personalized B2B e-commerce website places the right product in front of the right customer at the right time to make shopping easy and intuitive for retailers. The site is easy to update and delivers an exceptional user experience from every device.

Check out the case study (above) to see Sullivans’ new website in action!

SEO tip – 5 SEO Basics to Do Today

Organic search drives 51% of all visitors to business-to-business and business-to-consumer websites, a study by BrightEdge found. If your goal is to get your website in front of fresh eyes, you need to get comfortable with search engine optimization (SEO).

SEO is a combination of art and science, but for every marketer with 1,000 other things to do, SEO is a worthwhile priority. To help you get started, we’ve laid out a simple list of 5 things busy marketers can do today to improve SEO efforts.

SEO Recap

Quick recap for all you SEO newcomers – before you sign up for a service or buy a product, what do you do? You Google it, or use another search engine like Yahoo to look at product reviews, compare prices, or check out the firm’s reputation.

After inputting keywords into the search engine, you likely click the first, second, or third search result, oftentimes skipping over the paid results. In fact, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll click one of the results on the first page, instead of navigating to page two to see more options. The best, most reputable results are on page one, right?

THAT, right there, is why you need SEO. SEO is a collection of best practices to shape your web pages and copy into orderly and descriptive preferences set by popular search engines (namely, Google) to help boost your webpage to the top of search results.

You can perform SEO on web pages, blog posts, or any online content you want people to find. Follow our 5 SEO basics to get started.

SEO basics 1: Create Unique Page Titles

A webpage title is a brief page description that tells search engines what your page is all about.

For example, let’s say we Google “Omaha Steaks.” We used a name brand, as opposed to just searching “steak,” so it’s no surprise that Omaha Steaks is the first search result.

If I click the listing to land on their homepage, I can see the first part of their page title in the browser tab: “Buy Steaks, Gourmet Food…”. If I hover my mouse over the title, the rest of it shows up: “Buy Steaks, Gourmet Food Gifts, Wine, and Lobster Tails Online {Omaha Steaks}.”

SEO-basics-Page-Titles-Omaha-Steaks

Navigating back to the search results, you’ll see these same descriptive keywords in the page title, shown in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Continue reading SEO tip – 5 SEO Basics to Do Today

Email Tip – Browse Abandonment: Re-engage before the cart

We all love cart abandonment emails, but are you also taking advantage of browse abandonment campaigns?

We send abandoned cart emails to retarget customers who’ve placed items in their cart, but haven’t checked out. This reminder email is extremely effective, but is leaving items in the cart the only thing customers abandon on your site? Nope.

Abandonment happens before the cart

What about prospective customers who arrive on your site (either organically, or from an online ad or email) looked at a few products, and then left? This is known as browse abandonment.

Similar to cart abandonment, the idea is to send relevant messaging to the customer to remind them of the product they were looking at and incentivize them to return to purchase.

If you aren’t doing this you’re not alone. According to the Relevancy Group “only about 15% are following up with consumers who view a product page and then leave without buying”.

Our client Plow & Hearth successfully demonstrated how valuable a browse abandonment campaign can be for your bottom line + for customer engagement. See how they did it below.

(Though today’s example walks through an e-commerce browse abandonment campaign, a services company can run a similar campaign to entice a visitor who read specific content and left the site to return to download a complimentary white paper or dive deeper into other content.)

Surface level personalization isn’t enough

Though Plow & Hearth isn’t new to the concept of browse abandonment campaigns, they’re leveraging personalization for a more effective approach.

Previously, Plow & Hearth would score visitors based on the category of product pages they visited. Based on their highest categorical score, visitors received a triggered browse abandonment email focused on that category.

The old browse abandonment campaign siloed customers into a single category, even though most customers view products across different categories. Below is an example of an email triggered when a customer’s Outdoor Living score “beat” their score in other categories (Indoor Living, Footwear & Apparel, etc.)

OLD SUBJECT LINE: Make your great outdoors even greater

plow-old-email

Dig Deeper to Engage Your Customers

While sending emails personalized based on product category is a good first step, Plow & Hearth improved the process by displaying the specific products customers browsed, but didn’t place in a cart, in the emails. Now when someone browses two or more products and has visited the site within a few days, a specific 2-product, 4-product, or 6-product email template is triggered.

These emails are more targeted than the previous browse abandonment campaign because they refer to the exact product the contact was looking at, not just the product category. Since launching this campaign, Plow & hearths’ conversation rate increased 182.9% this holiday season (October – December) over last year.

NEW SUBJECT LINE: Did you see something you like?

plow-new-email

Have we convinced you?

Whether you’re already executing a cart abandonment program or not, consider implementing a browse abandonment campaign. Plow & Hearth has seen lifts in both open + conversions, and you can too.

Nurture different types of abandoners with a personalized, automated email campaign that reminds them to return to your site and guides their conversion.

Email tip – Updated Email Optimization Checklist

We see new developments affecting our email marketing campaigns every year. This year brought us iPhone’s with larger screens, Yahoo! Mail supporting media queries + an overall renewed respect for email marketing (and so much more).

In fact, according to a survey by The Relevancy Group, US marketing executives believe email alone drives the same amount of revenue as their social media, website, and display ad efforts combined.

Getting email right has never been so important. In an effort to always give you the most up-to-date, reliable marketing advice, we updated our famous Email Optimization checklist Capture, Convince, Close to reflect new email best practices.

Our Email Optimization checklist walks through tried and true techniques for crafting and sending emails that capture inbox attention, convince your audience of your message, and close the sale, conversion, etc. Follow along with our checklist to feel confident every time you hit send.

Mud Pie Wins Episerver’s Best Ecommerce Website

Mud Pie Episerver WinnerWe’re very excited to announce our client Mud Pie won Best Ecommerce website in the 2015 Episerver North America Website Awards. Thank you to all who voted!

Congrats to the other winners: Landscape Structures by Space150 – Best B2B Website + The Metropolitan Opera by Adage Technologies – Best B2C Website

About Mud Pie’s Episerver website

Mud Pie is a B2B + B2C retailer of trendy and seasonal baby clothes, women’s apparel, gifts, home décor, and more. Whereoware redesigned and rebuilt their site in 2015 using WOWCommerce (built on Episerver).

The new site recognizes website visitors based on the products they’ve shown interest in (baby products vs. apparel or home decor) and then dynamically shows promotions and products in that category. This personalization delivers a better shopping experience by helping customers easily find the items they’re seeking and delivers better results: 120% increase in revenue and a 508% increase in mobile revenue.

Read all about Mud Pie’s personalized website + check out the video below.

Produced by Episerver for their Ascend Conference in November, featuring Mud Pie eCommerce Manager,  Andrea Ouargli + our very own Senior Online Marketing Manager, Faith Albers!

The Website Awards celebrate excellence of best-in-class websites built on the Episerver or Ektron platform and judges site content, structure and navigation, mobile optimization, use of Episerver, results, and overall experience.

Behind the glasses – Jenna

Each month, we’ll be interviewing one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For January, we get to know Jenna Flanigin, our Administrative Assistant, a little better.

Whereoware's Administrative Assistant JennaWHO:

What’s your name? Jenna Flanigin
Job title:  Office Manager

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: Chinese food!
Hidden talents: Making up new song lyrics on the fly, when I don’t know the actual lyrics.
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Jennifer Lawrence.
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why: Probably a guitar. I’d have plenty of time to teach myself how to play.
My earliest memory: My dad surprised me with a trip to the circus! For a week after, I was determined to be a Tightrope walker. It didn’t work out…

NERD QUIZ:

Facebook or Twitter: Facebook
iOS or Android: iOS
‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: Geek
Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

There is no normal routine at Whereoware – every day is something new! I also love planning the themed monthly events. I’ve only been here since August, but we’ve already had a rooftop Luau, our traditional Ugly Sweater contest, and even a Mardi Gras-themed holiday party!

Analytics tip – 5 Excel Basics for Clean Data

This week, we welcome a guest post from our Senior Project Manager, Aaron Lemley. Aaron is our go-to guy for turning complex datasets into valuable, actionable marketing insights.

Thanks to analytics tools and online databases, we collect an unparalleled volume of data in every aspect of our business. Clean and accurate data is essential for data-driven decision making, but we frequently receive incorrect or inconsistent data.

All marketers should know the basics of cleansing and manipulating data in Excel, so it’s consistent and ready to be imported into your CRM, marketing automation tool, or database.

Today’s how-to guide, 5 Excel Basics for Clean Data, is a starting point to help you cleanse a simple dataset. We’ve used a very basic dataset (only five contacts) to make the steps easy to follow.

Get the how-to guide and you’ll have a clean slate to start analyzing and importing data.

Email Tip- bulletproof background images

Have you ever received an email for a great sale, but when you try to copy and paste the promotional code, you realize it’s part of an image and give up? This is exactly what happens to your customers when you send a promo code inside an image. You can eliminate this friction by using live text over the background image!

Design for an easier UX

The path of least resistance is best when designing and building emails. Is the sale or giveaway easily identifiable in the email? Is the Call to Action (CTA) clear and uncluttered? Can the promo code be copied and pasted from the email to be used during checkout? These are the questions you need to ask yourself—so your customers don’t have to.

Enter Bulletproof Background Images

You may have heard of bulletproof buttons. They get the name “bulletproof” because they’ll show up properly in most email clients, even when images are disabled.

In today’s use case, we’re using a bulletproof background image and adding live text on top of it, so regardless of images being disabled, your sale, promo code, and user experience won’t get lost. Customers can easily copy and paste the promo code, because it’s live text (not a graphic).

In this example, we’ll be showing you how to add the Campaign Monitor Bulletproof Background Image to your email. Follow along –

1) Design an image in Photoshop without text + publish it to a landing page.
background-image-no-text
2) Right click the image on the landing page + click Copy Image Location (this will be used in the background image code generator).
Copy-image-location
3) Go to www.backgrounds.cm to generate background image.

4) Paste the Copied Image Location into the Background Image Field (Note: Using the landing page URL instead of the image location will not work) + choose Single Table Cell and type in the dimensions of the image.
background-image-setup
5) Copy and Paste the generated code into the Source Code of your mailing template. The generator breaks up the code in two so that you can add the table with the live text in side of that code.
Text-Image-Code
6) The live text + background image should render on all platforms, but as with anything— test, test, test using Litmus.
Images-Disabled-Enabled

Put Your Customers First

According to Litmus, “43% of Gmail users read email without turning images on”. Would you want almost half of your Gmail users to miss your sale + CTA?

Always design with your customers in mind. Live text on top of background images delivers a better customer experience. It’s mobile-friendly and can be copied and pasted easily, and remains visible when images are disabled. (Want to jazz up your live text? Check out our post on Google Fonts.)

Save a spot at our free email optimization workshop

 

We’re holding a free email workshop on January 20th (info below). We’ll walk through email tips and tweaks to help you stand out from the inbox crowd, drive traffic to your website, and engage prospects.

Bring in your own email (or email it to Alyson Hunter) and our email experts will optimize it for you on the spot (in a constructive, pressure-free way).  We’ll also give you our handy email checklist, so you can always reference our email Do’s and Don’t’s before you hit send.

You’ll leave the workshop full (free breakfast!) and with a list of improvements to make right away to improve your emails.

Learn how to :
• capture attention in crowded inboxes
• write copy recipients read + compelling calls-to-action that get clicked
• design your emails for mobile readers

When: January 20th at 8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Where:
Whereoware’s new office
14399 Penrose Place, Suite 450, Chantilly, Virginia 20151
Phone: 703-996-4285

Marketing tip – why customers ignore you

Why are your customers ignoring you?Today’s reality check – your intentions are great, but your websites and emails are turning off customers. See, the problem is they’re all about you and forgive us for being harsh, but nobody cares.

Visitors land on your website or open your emails because they have a problem to solve. Maybe they‘re seeking a pick-me-up and your merchandise caught their eye or they have a work issue that your software can fix. Whether you’re an e-commerce or service company, customers and prospects seek you out because you offer something they value.

Gartner predicts that by 2016, 89% of companies will compete mostly on the basis of customer experience. Are you delivering a memorable customer experience when you trumpet the awards you’ve won or the cutting-edge tool you offer? Probably not.

At the beginning stages of nurturing prospect relationships and turning them into customers, the most prominent message should be how you can make your customers lives easier, happier, or more stress-free.

Go customer-first in 2016

If customer experience is the modern businesses’ competitive tipping point, and each customer is different, how do you flip the conversation to resonate with them all?

It’s true that you probably cannot understand and reach every single customer, but you can group your customers into categories (called personas) representing about 80% of your customer base. (Our persona worksheet makes this step easier.)

Personalized with shopping cart dataYou’ll then develop messaging around common customer actions. By reminding customers of actions they’ve taken, you get really close to speaking to each customer individually.

For example, Sole Society’s abandoned cart email includes a picture of the boot left in the customer’s cart, reminding them of their previous interest and enticing them to complete their purchase (right).

When you’re coming up with your personas, the most important thing is to note what kind of actionable behaviors they’ll take, so you can identify them.

For example, when your “busy mom” persona arrives on your website, how will you know this visitor is the busy mom? Perhaps it’s because she looks at products in your “baby six months and under” category, or reads the article “how supermoms get more done in less time” on your blog.

By anticipating these types of actions in your persona research, you’ll know how to identify each persona. From there, you’ll figure out the keywords, phrases, and tone that resonate with each audience.

You’ll soon realize the types of promotions and messages that motivate them or turns them off. You’ll find gaps in their activity, where you could offer them an incentive or a resource to make them more comfortable and engaged with your brand. You can identify opportunities to add value to their life.

Personalized using location dataHow to get customer-first

Personalizing interactions with your customers is easier than you think, and you likely have the customer data handy. Examples of data sources include customers’:

  • Purchase history
  • Webpages visited (products/pages viewed)
  • Registration at an event
  • Content downloads
  • Submitted webforms
  • Mobile app interactions
  • In-store actions
  • Abandoned carts
  • Browse abandonment
  • Location
  • Source of opt-in (an event, your website, etc.)

This list of data sources is far from comprehensive, but should get you thinking about ways to connect with customers. You can combine data sources for even greater personalization power.

Make sure you leverage data from all of your channels, not just your website or emails. Integrate your mobile app and automation tool, for example, to personalize mailings based on behaviors taken in the app. If your sales team meets with your customers, make sure their insights can be fed back into your database, so your follow up emails aren’t disjointed or repetitive.

We live in an omni channel world. When we effectively harness data from all of our channels, we can understand our customers better, be more relevant, and ultimately develop deeper relationships.

But what if I don’t have the data?

Capturing Data example - Mod ClothAt risk of sounding like a broken record, capturing customer data is vital to knowing who your customers are and what they care about, so you can provide relevant content to meet those needs.

Customers are more willing to part with their personal information if the perceived value outweighs the perceived cost. This balance is maintained by collecting information slowly instead of all at once, and offering value in return, like an entry in a contest, a white paper, a free consultation, etc.

Progressive forms are one of our favorite ways to slowly build a comprehensive profile of your customers, without turning them off and losing the chance to collect more information in the future. They work by initially requesting a few fields of information that is perceived as less sensitive on the first interaction with a customer, like email and first name, and then requesting more information at later interactions.

Opportunities to capture customer information:

  • Newsletter sign-up form
  • Opt-in form to receive a case study, flier, or other type of collateral piece
  • Sign-up form to receive exclusive deals or discounts
  • Surveys or contests
  • Engagement and capture on social networks
  • Offline – captured by employees in-store, at point of sale; or at networking events and conferences

Customer-first, not company-first

Flip your conversations with customers to be about them, not about you. Take an interest in your customers’ likes, dislikes, preferences, and behavior to create irresistible customer experiences.