Whereoware embraces geeks + supports Code.org

Whereoware partied hard on Monday, July 13th – Embrace Your Geekness Day! This little-known holiday is all about showing off your geeky sides, and Whereoware has plenty of those! We’ve got your sneek peek below, but you can check out ALL our geeky pics and secrets (you don’t want to miss this! )

Whereoware celebrates Embrace Your Geekness Day

Whereoware rarely needs a reason to dress up in Star Trek gear + rock our geek glasses. We took the celebration a step farther by encouraging our friends, clients, Twitter followers, and Facebook folks to join in the fun + send us their own geek selfies.  For every geek selfie and social share received, we donated $15 to Code.org.

Code.org is a non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.

Whereoware was happy to celebrate and support future geeks on Embrace Your Geekness Day. Thank you to everyone who helped us make this day a success + raise money for a great cause. We’re already planning our costumes for next year!

 

 

Web tip – get in their head, map the customer journey

Before you map the customer journey, you’ll flesh out  audience personas, identify goals, talk to your customers, and collaborate with teams across your organization to gain a holistic understanding of your customers’ typical path to purchase. You’re ready to take pen to paper (or more likely, mouse to screen) to map out the customer journey, delighting customers at each step.

Map the customer journey

You’ll start by creating a journey for one of your personas. Remember, you’re treating customers as individually as possible, not developing a one-size-fits-all plan. Your journey will be highly repeatable, but tailored and tweaked for your different personas and their needs, motivations, and challenges.

Identify stages to lead the customer to the end goal

With your end goal in mind, develop the stages of customer interaction. Customers approach buying decisions similarly, most of the time. They are introduced to your brand or product category, research your products and competitors, purchase the product, experience it, and decide if they’ll purchase from you again. Each of these stages is an opportunity to educate, excite, sooth, and propel the customer to the next step in their journey.

You developed a detailed understanding of your customers’ typical buying stages from your persona research, but if you are unclear, walking through Discovery, Research, Conversion, and Post Sale is a safe bet. Design the journey as a flow chart, with Discovery on the left hand side and Post Sale on the right. As you get into the thick of things, the journey may tangent off and that’s okay. It doesn’t have to stay linear.

Continue reading Web tip – get in their head, map the customer journey

Web tip – are you wasting your website’s data?

Treat website visitors as individualsWebsites are more than digital storefronts; they are oftentimes the face and heart of a brand. (A face that customers judge in seconds.)

Websites must feel trustworthy, capture consumer insights, nurture customer relationships, and leave a fantastic impression. How can you leverage your website to better serve your customers?

Personalize customers’ online experience

Brands taking care to understand their customers’ behavior and digital journey across all channels can fine-tune their site to deliver on its promise. They can provide customers more relevant website content, target promotions and products toward individual needs, and take lead nurturing and prospecting to an unparalleled level.

By personalizing online experiences, we engage customers on a far more intimate level and dramatically increase the likelihood they’ll convert. Personalization hinges on identifying website visitors and capturing customer insights in an actionable database.

Identifying website visitors

People arrive on your site for various reasons and with different goals. You cannot deliver customers personalized content, products, or promotions  if you cannot differentiate their needs from everyone else’s.

Continue reading Web tip – are you wasting your website’s data?

Web tip – 5 ways to boost social media success

Grow your social media presenceYou aren’t alone in the struggle to grow and monetize your social presence. Social media connects your brand and customers, attracts new prospects, and lets you listen in on your audience’s thoughts and concerns, but social media feels like a moving target. It can be overwhelming to keep up with changing trends and best practices. To help, we updated a previous social media post on five tactics to monetize and boost your social media presence!

1. Think omni channel

Customers think about your brand as one entity. That’s why it makes no sense for marketers to engage customers differently on each channel. Brands don’t take this approach on purpose, of course. They just fail to effectively connect the dots across the many channels, timeframes, locations (in-store and online), and reasons customers experience their brand.

An omni channel marketing approach is the key to engaging customers across the board – your social networks, website, blog, paid ads, email marketing, and mobile apps work together to deliver a cohesive brand experience.

Omni channel is the future of business, but data drives your ability to identify consumers as a single identity. Unless marketers use data to understand their multi-touch point customers, they have no choice but to rely on tired siloed tactics. Luckily, there are a ton of tools at our disposal to help.

Continue reading Web tip – 5 ways to boost social media success

Mobile tip – tap into mobile push

Mobile Push exampleYou know how your iPhone beeps when your friend tags a #tbt pic of you on Facebook? You eagerly open your app to realize in horror that it’s your bad hair and braces in all its junior high glory? That Facebook alert is a mobile push notification.

Mobile push is often confused with SMS or text messaging. Unlike a text message sent from one cell phone to another; a mobile push notification is sent through a mobile application to its users.

As mobile dominates all aspects of our personal and business lives, brands’ adoption and consumers’ acceptance of mobile push notifications will only accelerate.

The Mobile Push Opportunity

Brands can email, call, mail, tweet, and reach customers a million ways. What’s so exciting about mobile push? We’re all obsessed with our mobile phones! Unlike desktops or snail mail, consumers take their phones with them everywhere and spend on average, 117 minutes a day on their phones (that’s more than the time we spend watching TV)! We aren’t just surfing the Internet, making calls, or texting either – 86% of our cellphone time is dedicated to mobile apps. This clearly gives mobile push an upper hand to reach consumers where they’re spending most of their time.

It’s crazy not to use mobile push to encourage users to use your company’s app. Research by Localytics, found that app launches were 88% higher on average among mobile app users worldwide who had enabled push messages. (Some app categories, like e-commerce apps, saw a 278% increase in launches!) It’s clear mobile push can successfully drive users to interact with your app, yet, only 20% of companies use mobile push notifications and even fewer (16%) integrate mobile push with their overall marketing activities.

Geo-location is a game changer

What sets mobile engagement apart from other channel tactics is its ability to target by location, using smartphones’ built-in GPS functionality. Forward-thinking brands take geo-targeting to the next level by combining it with beacons, devices that use Bluetooth to communicate with mobile apps.

Beacons enable marketers to trigger a brand message when a smartphone is in a very specific location, like when customers first arrive at a brick and mortar store or pause in designated aisles. This is a game changer for brick and mortar stores.

Imagine a customer’s delight when they receive a 10% off coupon for Tide Laundry Detergent via mobile push the moment they steer their cart into the laundry detergent aisle.Think about how much more comfortable a customer will feel purchasing a high end television, if they receive a push notification with its full specs and customer reviews at the same time they’re considering the model.

A push notification sent at an opportune time and delivering a relevant, personalized message is hugely influential. (In fact, according to a study by Business Insider Intelligence Report, “beacons are expected to directly influence over $4 billion worth of US retail sales this year at top retailers, and that number will climb tenfold in 2016.” Brands sending rich notifications help customers feel educated in their buying decision, limiting the anxiety most consumers feel about large or expensive purchases.

Mobile push is wasted in a silo

Customers expect a seamless experience everywhere they interact with your brand. They might open your email and get a discount, but forget to use it. When they’re close to your store, don’t you think they’d be happy to be reminded via mobile push to use that coupon? Data drives the extension of your brand experience across every channel without being repetitive.

Your mobile push strategy must be integrated into your overall marketing strategy. The behavioral data collected with each notification – opens, clicks, conversions – needs to be captured in your marketing database to be leveraged in your other efforts, like in email, PPC campaigns, or on your website, to consistently target your audience with relevant content. Without it, you’re blasting consumers with redundant promotions and risking them disassociating from your brand.

Whereoware incorporated mobile push into a campaign for our client to increase registration and participation at their events. Their goal was to engage database contacts, entice them to download the event app, register and attend the event, and then to use the post-event coupons. They leveraged their website, emails, and mobile push to guide customers through each of these steps. Whereoware integrated their database, so all of the customer data from the app downloads, email behavior, and website tracking was captured to further personalize promotional communications ongoing.

Mobile Push Event journey

Whereoware used IBM’s Mobile Customer Engagement (MCE, previously coined XTIFY) to send the mobile push reminders in our client example (above). MCE allows marketers to deliver rich mobile push notifications based on a variety of consumer segments and behaviors and triggered by mobile app or website activity.

IBM’s MCE is powerful in its ability to send behavioral data back to the marketing automation tool. This allows marketers to segment, target and engage users in real-time via every channel and measure and adjust their overall marketing strategy for greater success. Meanwhile, this integration ensures customers receive a consistent online experience.

Ready for mobile push?

Ready to add mobile push to your customers’ journey? Brands that get ahead of the competition and leverage this new technology before the market crowds will reap the benefits. Get in touch with us to talk through inventive ways mobile push can enhance and advance your digital strategy.

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:

Continue reading Analytics tip – Cross Channel Attribution for Smarter Marketing

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.

Continue reading Web tip – How to Start Mapping A Customer Journey

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

Continue reading Email tip – email designs to get readers scrolling