Analytics tip – Cross Channel Attribution for Smarter Marketing

Cross Channel AttributionConsumers call the shots. With endless alternatives at their fingertips, they expect pleasant, personalized attention from brands, or they’ll take their business elsewhere.

Don’t shoot the messenger, but right now, one of your competitors is going to great lengths to understand customers’ raising expectations. They’re honing the customer journey, tracking and measuring each engagement on the path to purchase, and refining their approach to ensure every customer is completely satisfied. (If you’re a services company, you’re in the same boat). You need to raise your game to compete.

Integrating this in-depth understanding of every consumers’ competing needs, challenges, and channels is no easy feat. If you’re ready to develop a truly holistic understanding of your customers and their engagement with your brand, it’s time to add cross-channel attribution to your marketing plan pronto.

What is cross-channel attribution?

Cross-channel attribution looks at all of the engagement touch points between our customer and brand on their path to purchase. The goal is to quantify the impact of each engagement to figure out what is successfully motivating a conversion and what isn’t working, so we can tweak and modify our marketing strategy and direct resources to effective channels.

This exercise involves laying out all of your channels (search, social, email, display, affiliate, referral, and others) and using advanced analytics to understand their impact on the conversion path. For example, if you’re a vacuum distributor, one customer journey might look like:

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Web tip – How to Start Mapping A Customer Journey

Customer sentiment disconnectEngaged customers are at the heart of every successful business, but oftentimes, brands overestimate their customers’ engagement.

According to a 2015 eConsultancy survey, 81% of consumer brands say they have a holistic view of their customers, BUT only 37% of consumers believe their favorite retailer understands them. This disconnect wastes time, money, and opportunity, as brands try and fail to engage and convert customers.

What is a customer journey?

Brands must understand their customers to excite and retain them. Sounds easy, but no two customers are alike or respond to outreach the same way. Smart brands create a customer journey map, a visual representation of the many steps customers take when engaging with your brand.

Developing a customer journey map helps brands understand how customers consider and then decide to use their products or services by following them through the buying process. The journey map also identifies areas to improve their conversion path.Who are your customers

Getting started

There is no customer journey map standard (that would be too easy). Instead, we’ve outlined six steps to map out your customer journey. They include:

1. Developing user personas
2. Identifying your goal
3. Talking to your customers
4. Creating and engaging cross-functional teams
5. Designing the journey
6. Measure and adjusting

Today, we’ll cover the legwork (steps 1-4) you’ll complete before designing your customer journey.

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Behind the glasses- Nora

 

Each month, we’ll go behind the glasses with one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For June, we get to know Nora, our Online Marketing Manager, a little better.

WHO:Nora, Whereoware's Online Marketing Manager

What’s your name?
Nora Liberti
Job title:
Online Marketing Manager

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: Homemade chocolate chip cookies
Hidden talents: I can sing pretty well
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Emma Stone
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why: Can I bring a person? I’d bring my boyfriend, so it’s more like a tropical vacation and less like being marooned on a desert island by myself.

NERD QUIZ:

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

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

Whereoware is my first job out of college, and it’s been a great place to grow as a professional, with trainings and tons of hands-on experience. My exposure to clients and projects is unlike anything I could have imagined being only two years out of school. In addition to the opportunity, the people are what really motivate me to come to work every early morning!

Web tip – how Amazon’s free shipping policy impacts your business

Amazon Offers Free Shipping on Small and Inexpensive itemsYou’re in competition with Amazon if you sell online. Even if Amazon doesn’t carry your products or product category directly (unlikely), the superior user experience Amazon offers has dramatically altered consumers’ expectations of online shopping.

Thanks to Amazon, consumers expect products to be inexpensive or heavily discounted. They expect free immediate shipping (first a few days, then overnight, and now just a few hours). They want access to customer reviews, and product recommendations, and to comparison shop from similar brands, before purchasing.

These raised expectations make it difficult for businesses without Amazon’s budget (and businesses with Amazon’s budget) to keep up. Amazon’s recent announcement – free shipping on small and inexpensive items – further raises these high stakes.

Amazon announces free shipping on small items

Amazon launched free shipping for a range of products last week, for both Prime and non-Prime members. Coined the “small and light program,” consumers can select free delivery on thousands of items selling for under $10 and weighing less than 8 oz. (Previously free shipping was only offered for shopping carts exceeding $35 or for Amazon Prime members.) Consumers’ “small and light” items will arrive on their doorstep within four to eight days, but this program is only for select items, not all items meeting the “approximately the size of a potato” criteria.

This change is expected to extend Amazon as the go-to shopping site for smaller items, like toothpaste, that consumers were less likely to buy online. It isn’t completely rolled out, so time will tell the extent of items included.

Amazon’s free shipping pressures retailers

First, don’t panic. Amazon’s update won’t release the shipping floodgates. Free shipping is not a viable long term offering for most businesses. If the customer isn’t paying shipping, the company is, and it isn’t cheap. Shipping costs are highly variable and depend on the weight and volume of the items. For some smaller items, shipping costs might exceed the company’s profit from the sale.

Companies struggling to compete with Amazon must find a balance between offering free shipping and maintaining their profit margins. Amazon will continue to keep commerce on its toes, but we’ve got a few tactics to maintain this balance.

How to keep pace with free shipping

1.  Incentivize customers with free shipping promotions or discounted shipping as part of your normal promotions calendar. You can extend this offer on rare occasions, once a month, or on a specific day of the week, like Free Shipping Fridays. This approach gets you into the free shipping game without setting an expectation that you cannot reasonably fulfill.

2.  Give free shipping to your loyal customers. Growing your loyalty program is a surefire way to nurture repeat sales. Offering special promotions, like free shipping, will entice customers to join your program, giving you the opportunity to engage them on a more regular basis.

3.  Offer free shipping on inventory you want to clear. Stale inventory sitting on shelves is expensive. For companies with seasonal or trendy products, clearing inventory is especially necessary to make space for newer, on-trend products. Offer free shipping on excess inventory to incentivize shoppers to purchase and help you clear your shelves for new product. (For inventory close-out ideas, see how our marketing campaign moved excess inventory and minimized profit loss, producing an 808% ROI in the first month.)

4.  Instead of offering free shipping, you can offer to pay customers’ return shipping. With this approach, shoppers might purchase additional items by limiting their risk of returning product they don’t like. Monitor the number of returns carefully to ensure you’re staying within your margins.

Get creative to compete with Amazon

As Amazon innovates, consumers’ expectations will continue to rise. E-commerce companies feeling pressured to compete can adopt some of Amazon’s tactics on a smaller scale, without fully implementing a policy that they cannot afford to maintain. Nurturing current client relationships and delivering a personal touch that makes shoppers feel special and appreciated will give e-commerce companies the upper hand.

Email tip – email designs to get readers scrolling

“Emails must be short and sweet” is a tried and true email rule, but of course, email rules are meant to be broken. Condensed messaging and minimalist design usually beats out paragraphs of text and cluttered imagery, but when designed right, a longer email is still appealing.

Why are short emails the norm?

It’s a well-known fact that online attention spans are short at best. Consumers are also inundated by both business and commercial emails. (According to the Radicati Group, the number of emails sent/received per day will be around 206.6 billion emails by 2017.) When you combine the two, its no surprise most emails remain lost and unopened in the inbox.

Subscribers compensate for the unstoppable influx of emails by quickly scanning a few that grab their attention. Many scan in an “F” pattern, sliding their eyes down the left side of the screen and only briefly across the top and right side. They look for visual cues of interest, like images, arrows, or color blocked call outs.

Email designers, meanwhile, compensate for busy email scanners by crafting short and to-the-point emails with eye-catching imagery. Sometimes, we can’t fit our important content above the fold, and we need to entice subscribers to keep reading. Smart design decisions are key to getting busy subscribers to scroll down to see the hidden content beneath the fold.

Email design techniques that invite scrolling

1. S curve

Emails designed in an “S curve” alternate content and imagery on the left and right side of the email, in a (you guessed it!) “S” shape. The S curve can be made up of graphics, text and call outs, or a combination of both, but the technique of varying content on either side draws the reader down the page. The Crate & Barrel and Ruche email examples, below, show two different style spins on the S curve.

S curve email design examples

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Web tip – 4 Steps to Creating Actionable User Personas

When you’re developing a content piece, website, or email, your audience sometimes morphs into faceless figures, instead of the real, everyday people you’re trying to reach.

To engage real people, you need to tailor your messages and incentives to be relevant to their individual needs, address their concerns, demonstrate your value, and persuade them to convert (all at an appropriate time in their purchase cycle and without being too aggressive or annoying).

Luckily, developing user personas – mapping out fictional characters representing your core audience – helps you engage individuals with the right approach, timing, and messaging to move them down the conversion path. (Our Persona Worksheet makes mapping our personas easy! Get it below.)

User personas work

User personas help you personalize interactions with your customers + personalization simply works:

Online Personalization Statistics

How to build actionable user personas

Identify characteristics that offer insight about customers and factors driving their decision making. The goal is to group similar customer representations together, until you’re left with a manageable number of personas, representing about 80% of your audience (3-5, depending on your organization’s size).

When developing user personas, you must collect actionable information that tells you something about the person, so you can respond to their behavior with persuasive, impactful marketing.

Remember, you’re trying to understand intangibles like motivations, concerns, turn-offs, and position in the buyer lifecycle, as well as tangibles like location, age, and education level, to paint a clear and divisive picture of the different types of people making up your core audience. You must also plan how you’ll identify these personas in your various channels (website, email, mobile push, etc.) to deliver the right content.

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Whereoware’s 2015 IBM Amplify Recap Infographic

We sent 14 Whereoware geeks to the 2015 IBM Amplify Conference in San Diego. It was a blast! The sessions were awesome and informative, and we had a great time seeing old friends and meeting new ones.

This year’s Amplify was especially exciting. We were honored to win the 2015 Silverpop Partner of the Year award, just a few months after winning the 2015 IBM Beacon Award for Outstanding Smarter Commerce Solution. These awards both recognize our extensive experience using Silverpop to get huge results for our clients and are a testament to our longstanding relationship with Silverpop (and now IBM).

Of course, we gave away a ton of geek chic glasses! Check out a few of our lucky winners in the Amplify Recap Infographic (below), and more fantastic geek chic pics  on our Twitter page.

Whereoware-2015-Amplify-Recap-Infographic

 

Analytics tip – Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console

Google’s search ranking algorithms sure keep us on our toes, but the complexity is just part of the fun! Why won’t Google just tell us what to do to improve our position? Google Search Console (formally Google Webmaster Tools, as of May 20) might be the closest we’ll get to Google whispering the secret to successful search in our ear.

What is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console offers insight into how Googlebots view your site, how it appears in search results, and how your audience interacts with those search results.

It’s a looking glass into your search efforts and helps you monitor, optimize, and maintain your website. (You’ll notice some overlap if you currently use Google Analytics. For example, you’ll see a breakdown of your most popular landing pages in both tools, but Google Search Console takes it a step further to show your placement in search results for specific keywords.)

The Search Console dashboard is a quick look into your site’s current status, and the left navigation offers a deep dive into search appearance, search traffic, Google Index, crawl status, and security issues.

Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard

Instead of listing all the functionality bundled into Google Search Console, we’ll focus on two main assets: is your website performing at an optimum level? Are your SEO efforts paying off?

Continue reading Analytics tip – Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console

Behind the glasses – James

 

Each month, we’ll go behind the glasses with one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For May, we get to know James, our Online Marketing Manager, a little better.

James Guitard Whereoware's Online Marketing ManagerWHO:

What’s your name?
James Guitard
Job title:
Online Marketing Manager

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: Eggplant Parmigiana
Hidden talents: I’m pretty good at the piano.
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Adrian Brody or Pharrell Williams
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why: Dolphin riding harness. Self-explanatory.
My earliest memory: Waking up in the hospital with my head full of stitches after a serious bed jumping session, while singing No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed.
In a zombie apocalypse, my weapon of choice would be: Flamethrower

NERD QUIZ:

Facebook or Twitter:Snapchat
iOS or Android: iOS
‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: Rockstar
Star Wars or Star Trek? Live long and prosper.

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

Whereoware has a really cool working atmosphere and company culture. I immediately felt that this was a good fit for my particular blend of creative & tech background. My coworkers are all ambitious, knowledgeable, and sophisticated experts in technology, design, marketing, and communications. I’m looking forward to growing into my new role and can count on the support of my team to realize my professional aspirations.

Behind the glasses – Alyson

Each month, we’ll go behind the glasses with one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For April, we get to know Alyson, our Internal Online Marketing Manager, a little better.

WHO:Alyson Hunter Whereoware Internal Online Marketing Manager

What’s your name?
Alyson Hunter
Job title:
Internal Online Marketing Manager

BACKGROUND:

Favorite food: It’s a toss-up between Thai food + sushi (addicted to spicy tuna)
If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Allison Hannigan from How I Met Your Mother.
One item you would bring with you to a desert island and why: Books – entertainment + fire source. I’m pale + high maintenance, so my chances of survival are low regardless.
In a zombie apocalypse, my weapon of choice would be: An underground bunker (stockpiled with food, water, wine, books, my husband + pets, and artillery, just in case.)

NERD QUIZ:

Facebook or Twitter:Facebook for keeping up with friends + family. Twitter for keeping up with industry trends and whichever current event/scandal has the Tweeters freaking out.
iOS or Android: Android
‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: Nerd
Star Wars or Star Trek? I haven’t seen either, actually.

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

As an Internal Marketer at Whereoware, I get to do what I love (write) all day on topics that I’m interested in. I make sure the talented people, quirky culture, + serious achievements that make up Whereoware are represented + shared. My coworkers are so smart + passionate about elevating status quo marketing tactics, and it’s inspiring to share their successes (and occasionally, awesome failures). Whereoware embraces logically and carefully pushing the limits, and it empowers all of our teams to do truly cool and inventive things for our clients. I am happy to be a part of it. I’m also behind the camera taking all of our social event pics, so if you’ve ever checked out our Facebook or Twitter pics, you probably have no idea I work here.