Behind the Glasses – Emilyann

Each month, we’ll interview one of our fab employees here at Whereoware. For November, we get to know Emilyann Key, our Digital Marketing Associate, a little better.

WHO:

What’s your name? Emilyann Key

Job title: Digital Marketing Associate

Background

Favorite food: Sweet potatoes! Everything Bubba Gump can do to shrimp, I can do (read: attempt) with sweet potatoes.

Hidden talents: I do some pretty solid impressions (usually of SNL characters) and fun accents. The New York Times once posited, “She sounds a lot like what’s-her-face.”

If there were a movie of my life, I’d be played by: Tina Fey, but I’d likely be asked to leave the set for asking her too many questions during filming (ironic considering she’s playing me).

My earliest memory: A Norman Rockwell-like still of my view from the ground, when I fell while roller-skating around the house in a Disney princess dress.

Nerd Quiz

Facebook or Twitter: Twitter

iOS or Android: iOS

‘Nerd’ or ‘Geek’: Option C: “Dork”

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars – I can hold my own if a Wookie call is needed.

What’s the best part about working at Whereoware?

There’s something insanely cool about working with people who are genuinely interesting, brilliant, and passionate. We can work crazy hard together, learn from each other, and laugh the whole time. This energy fuels our creativity and commitment to quality work.

The culture at Whereoware thrives on challenge. We’re all about seizing opportunity, taking initiative, and innovating, but unlike other companies I’ve seen, it isn’t overtly competitive. There’s an authentic investment in each employee’s professional development and helping individuals achieve their goals.  Whereoware is a great example of how investing in employee development not only enhances internal happiness, but service quality and customer satisfaction. Whereoware both walks the walk and talks the talk.

Web tip – 4 reasons e-commerce marketers need a PIM system

whereowares-pim-system-product-fastlane-increase-traffic-and-conversionsToday’s e-commerce marketers are rockstars. They’re the Swiss Army Knives of sales. The MacGyver’s of marketing. They’re juggling everything – websites, emails, digital catalogs, third-party marketplaces, paid ads, social media, and more, and making it all look effortless.

Under the hood, it’s everything but effortless. Not only are marketers executing campaigns, they’re also working behind the scenes, managing endless data feeds, APIs, automation tools, and CRM systems to power all their digital initiatives.

Clean and reliable data is the foundation of keeping all these balls in the air. Yet, untangling data on a day-to-day basis is one of the trickiest aspects of managing campaigns.

That’s where a Product Information Management (PIM) system helps. Today, we’ll cover PIM system basics and benefits, and four reasons why busy marketers should add a PIM system to their must-have list.

What is a PIM system?

A PIM system is a lifeline to pull you out of spreadsheet hell. You know what I’m talking about – you’ve got all of your product data in an Excel spreadsheet and product images on a USB drive or Dropbox. You’re checking databases for product inventory, hoping your recurring data feeds don’t fail, or importing product data manually.

There are so many moving parts, it’s enough to give the most competent marketer anxiety.

A PIM System replaces all of these moving parts. It places all your product data and assets in one, centralized system. (An example of Whereoware’s PIM system, Product FastLane, is pictured below.) When you’re managing hundreds or thousands of products, the ability to access, search, filter, and update data in one location and then share it across all your digital channels saves time and headaches.

whereowares-pim-system-product-fastlane

Reduce Data Management Costs

whereowares-pim-system-product-fastlane-reduce-data-management-costsToo often, data is stored in disparate locations and is outdated, or incomplete. When this happens, it takes many man hours to track and check the data – time that is better spent brainstorming or executing the next marketing campaign.

When you have multiple team members handling and relying on the same data, things become hairy fast.

A simple and effective PIM system let’s everyone on your team manage and update standardized data in one place. It streamlines collaboration and reduces organizational costs due to lost productivity.

Improve Data Quality and Reduce Risk Across Marketplaces

Similarly, by maintaining a “master” data standard in your PIM system, you know that everywhere you share your products – whether it’s your website, a digital catalog, or a third-party marketplace – product details are consistent and accurate.

When information changes, you update the system one time, instead of manually updating information on every channel, reducing redundancy and rework.

Many PIM systems, like Whereoware’s PIM system Product FastLane, alert you of incomplete data fields, missing links or images, or other data errors, so you fix them right away. This “second checker” will significantly reduce your anxiety, while ensuring your data is accurate on every channel.

product-fastlane-identifies-errors

Share Consistent Data Across Marketplaces

A brand’s e-commerce website isn’t the only place retailers or consumers purchase products anymore.

whereowares-pim-system-product-fastlane-share-products-with-marketplacesMany brands also sell on third-party marketplaces, like Amazon, Wayfair, Zulily, and more. These marketplaces expose a broader audience to a brand’s products, but each one typically requires a different product dataset, formatted a different way.

These third-party data specs can be built into your PIM system, so all you do is map your data fields to their spec with a few clicks. Since it pulls from one data source, you always have consistent, accurate data across marketplaces.

Increase Traffic and Conversions

Your product descriptions and imagery must grab attention and compel action. A PIM system lays everything out for you, from your product details to important search engine optimization (SEO) fields, like meta descriptions, image titles, and more.

If your SEO data is complete, your site’s placement in SERPs improves, and more searchers find your products.

Free yourself of data headaches: get a PIM system

As more marketers develop data-driven marketing strategies, they need tools and processes to make sure the data they rely on is complete, accurate, and quickly accessible. They can’t spend all day creating, checking, and importing data files.

Clean data is one of the most important weapons in a marketer’s arsenal. Take control of your marketing data with a user-friendly Product Information Management (PIM) system.

Like what you hear? Check out Whereoware’s new PIM system – Product FastLane.

Released: Yamaha WaterCraft Group Unveils New Websites

Yamaha WaterCraft Group launched two newly redesigned websites: YamahaBoats.com and YamahaWaveRunners.com. Built by Whereoware, both sites feature a new look and feel, updated branding, enhanced user experience (UX), high resolution product imagery, and streaming video.

yamaha-watercraft-group-responsive-homepages

Since site launch, Yamaha WaveRunners saw an 84% increase in site traffic and a 157% increase in mobile traffic, and Yamaha Boats saw an 92% increase in site traffic and a 181% increase in mobile traffic. (See more screenshots of Yamaha WaveRunners and Yamaha Boats.)

The new websites are modern and clean, letting environmental and lifestyle imagery show off product details. The navigation is updated with a visual dropdown menu to help consumers compare different WaveRunners and Boats at-a-glance by model and length.

With a focus on the end consumer, Yamaha and Whereoware developed an interactive quiz on both homepages to help consumers decide on the best WaveRunner or Boat for their interests, budget, and lifestyle. They further this focus by personalizing messaging, images, and promotions throughout the website, based on user behavior.

For example, if a website visitor fits the “21-foot boat persona,” the homepage slider features a streaming video and environmental images of a 21-foot boat. As they scroll down the page, product images and text change to be more relevant to a consumer shopping for a 21-foot boat. This persona-based personalization continues throughout internal site pages.

Both sites are also personalized to display the visitor’s nearest Yamaha dealer location at the top of the page to make it easy for consumers to visit their local dealership and test drive a model.

Serving the right content to the right person (instead of showing the same static webpages to everyone all the time) helps prospective customers find the Yamaha products, videos, top technologies, and dealer locations they need to make an informed shopping decision.

In their words:

“Our products ignite a passion and a drive for amazing experiences in our customers, and we wanted our digital, mobile and web experience to exude that same energy,” said Bryan Seti, general manager of Yamaha’s Watercraft Group. “Working with Whereoware allowed us to tap into the latest technology and development platforms, along with a world class design and UX team, to bring our products to life in way that replicates the fun and excitement our customers have on the water.”

About Yamaha WaterCraft Group

Yamaha WaterCraft Group, a division of Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., is responsible for the sales, marketing and distribution of Yamaha WaveRunners and Boats in the United States. For more information, visit www.YamahaWaveRunners.com and www.YamahaBoats.com.

Search Tip – Using an Email Pop-over? Google Changes that Impact You.

The Skinny

In order to improve the mobile experience for users, Google will demote websites that use intrusive interstitials (and pop-overs) on mobile after January 10, 2017.

Wait, what is an interstitial?

Commonly known as pop-over, interstitials are an overlay page that the visitor must take an action in order to view the website content. Usually these overlay pages ask you to sign up for a newsletter, enter your email for exclusive content or discounts, or provide your age or login for secure web content.

Aren’t all these things intrusive?

While you may think popovers are annoying, Google isn’t on the same page. Some interstitials are needed for a safe and legal website experience. There are two scenarios that fit this description:

1) Notification about cookies + privacy policy usage (this is particularly relevant for European users).

2) Content with restricted access – age verification for alcohol or tobacco websites or login for sensitive information.

searchtip-interstitials

The third type of approved interstitial is for any reason (email signups included) but only the size of a banner notification/ad. This size is not intrusive and doesn’t add friction for the visitor to the website because it does not fully cover up the content.

Another type of interstitial that is “safe” are ones that appear after the user takes an action (clicks Email Sign-up). This isn’t impacting the users experience from the search result page and does not fall into this new rule.

What does this mean for marketers?

Google recently announced that it has started mobile-first indexing (see more detail here). That means that instead of looking at the desktop version of your website’s content, Google is going to start using the mobile version of your site for indexing your website. That makes changing your pop-over to be mobile-friendly even more important.

Does your site currently use a full page pop-over on your mobile site? If the answer is yes, then make plans to get it changed so Google doesn’t start devaluing your site in search rankings. If the Google monster isn’t enough to make you change think about the overall consumer experience create friction on a small screen where your visitors are often more frustrated anyway. Make improving your mobile-experience a priority, regardless of what new thing Google is doing next.

Election Day Emails

All across the US, citizens are casting their ballot for the next president. There’s a lot of hype around election season and particularly today. Although Election Day is not a holiday (but we wish it were!) some brands are treating it as such, sending patriotic or election day themed emails. Some retailers are offering promotions while others are providing a more “civic duty” approach with polling resources.

Here are some of our favorite emails we’ve received today, check them out in our gallery below.

(If you haven’t already – get out and vote!)

Office Expansion Completed!

We’re so excited that our office expansion is complete! We’ve added approximately 2,000 square feet of space.

With all this space we’ve added:

  • 1 large conference room
  • 2 smaller meeting rooms
  • 1 call room
  • 2 offices
  • workspace bar (standing + seated)
  • 12 cubes

See some pics of the new space – plus check out that view of the beautiful autumn leaves!

Analytics Tip – Updates to Google Analytics’ UI You Need to Know About

The Skinny

Google will be rolling out updates to the Google Analytics (GA) User Interface (UI) in the next few weeks.

What’s Changing?

Mostly the updates are to layout and navigation, but there are 6 main updates happening in total. We’ll break down each one for you:

1) Navigation
As we all know the current main navigation is in a top horizontal bar (you know the one with Home, Reporting, Customization, and Admin). The new layout will move those main nav items to a collapsible left side bar.

current v new-ga-nav

2) Customization

Previously in each subsection in GA you would have the opportunity to customize, but there wasn’t a central location for all customizations. Now under the “Customization” header in the left side nav bar, you can easily pick what element you want: Dashboards, Custom Reports, Shortcuts, or Custom Alerts.

3) View Switching

A new Home picker allows you to easily choose which account/property/view you want. This can be done on any page in the tool.

4) Login Flow

Have you ever been in one view in GA then got distracted and needed to log back into GA to then need to navigate back to the view you were in? If you answered a begrudgingly “yes”, then rejoice because those days are over! You will now be brought to the last view you were in when you logged in the last time.

5) Default Date Range

The default date range is now set to 7 days for all standard GA users, but you can make changes to the default date range in “user settings”.

6) Removal of Two Pages

Sorry if you were a fan of either “Intelligence Events” or “In-Page Analytics” because those are being removed this GA refresh. Intelligence Events have been replaced with insights by Google Analytics Assistant and In-Page Analytics will only be accessible through a Chrome extension (sorry Firefox + IE users).

How Does This Impact Marketers?

A lot of the changes and updates that will be made to the GA UI are positive ones, because it’ll be a more logical user experience. Having a cleaner collapsible navigation bar with more intuitive sub-headers will lead to higher efficiencies within the tool. But with any refresh there’s always downsides too – the biggest one will be the learning curve. If you were an early adopter of GA, you’re used to the ever changing UI of Google Analytics. These changes are fairly minor in the big scheme and hopefully they will help you streamline your Google Analytics work flow.

Email tip – Email Deliverability 101

headshot-dancaro-smallWelcome Dan Caro, Whereoware’s  Senior Director of Marketing Operations. Dan specializes in behavior-based marketing automation strategy, e-commerce marketing, and conversion optimization. Send him a Tweet at @dcaro12Today, Dan’s going to simplify email deliverability for us.

In a nutshell, email deliverability is defined as “getting your email into recipients’ inboxes.”

Email Deliverability 101So what happens if you ignore “deliverability” altogether and just send emails?

Well, your email messages will likely land in junk mail or in a spam folder. It can get worse, depending on your email service provider (ESP).

If you have a poor email deliverability rating and send to Gmail, for example, it could take up to a day or more for your message to deliver.

We put a ton of effort into designing and coding compelling emails. What’s the point if no one ever sees them?

Today, we’ll walk through simple tips to improve email deliverability, so your emails land in recipients’ inbox in a timely manner.

1. Get Started: Identify How to Access Your DNS Settings

Think of Domain Name System (DNS) settings as the backend of your website’s domain name. This is where you change where your website points to and its mailing settings.

DNS settings matter because your domain needs authentication that it’s a safe sender, especially if you send out of an ESP. If you send emails from your own internal servers, you should be fine, but if you are sending from the ESP’s servers, you’ll need to authenticate them by updating your DNS settings.

2. Next, create a subdomain

First, start by creating a subdomain for email. This subdomain is your from address.

For example, Whereoware’s email address convention ends with @whereoware.com. Examples of Whereoware subdomains could be e.whereoware.com or email.whereoware.com. Just take a look in your inbox. You’ll notice lots of brands do this.

Create a subdomain

Creating a subdomain is a precaution, so you can change your organization’s DNS settings (on your main domain like @whereoware.com) without risking a nuclear meltdown. Just kidding, but if anything goes wrong when you’re updating your DNS settings, it can impact your ability to send and receive emails across your entire company.

3. I have a subdomain, what’s next?

Next, if you’re using an ESP, like Silverpop or Mailchimp, you’ll need them to provide you TXT records for DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF ). I know you are all “Wait, was that English?” Let us explain!

A DNS TXT record is text you add to your DNS settings. DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) is an authentication system for email to verify domain and sender integrity. Sender Policy Framework is an email validation system to avoid email spoofing and ensure the email is indeed coming from a verified domain.

Both DKIM and SPF are commonly accepted standards used by email receivers and ESPs to ensure the sender address is authentic and not a forgery. (Basically, when you send an email, these standards check that you are who you say you are.) You add these snippets of code to your DNS setting as TXT records. They look like this:

SPF:
e.whereoware.com. TXT “v=spf1 ip4:XXX.XX.XX.XX -all”

DKIM:

XXXXXXXX._domainkey.e.whereoware.com. IN TXT “k=rsa; p=XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX”

Below, you’ll see a behind the scenes graphic of our DNS settings, where you add the TXT/SPF record. (This is what you’ll see when you login to your domain’s (or subdomain’s) DNS records and where you make updates to your DNS TXT records.

Updating your DNS TXT records.

4. Where do I get these TXT records?

You’ll request the TXT records from your ESP.

5. I’ve added the TXT records. What now?

Your ESP needs to validate them by checking that you’re passing SPF and DKIM validation tests.

6. Tests passed. Now what? IP Warmup

You did it – now, you can send emails without worrying they’ll end up in the junk mail or spam folder.

Not so fast! If you are sending with a new ESP or server, you’ll need an Internet Protocol (IP) address warmup. An IP address is a numerical label assigned to your email sending server.

An IP warmup is a process of throttling your emails to send to a small amount of recipients and gradually to larger amounts, so you don’t alarm Internet Service Providers (ISPs). (Internet Service Providers provide services for companies and individuals to access and use the internet. Some popular ISPs include Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner.)

By “warming them up,” you establish a good sender reputation for your IP address. Start by sending at a low email volume – like 20 emails per hour – and build from there.

IP warmup is not an exact science, so it’s best to consult your ESP. They’ll know their email servers best and can instruct your best course of action. (If they don’t bring up IP warmup, you should ask about it.)

Is that it?

We’ve covered email deliverability basics, but there’s A LOT more to get into. Deliverability is half science, half art. If you’re sending millions or billions of emails, it can get complicated.

We hope these simple steps will get you started, so your emails arrive in the inbox. Reach out to us if you need help or have any questions!

SEO Tip – How SEO grew revenue 701%

Whereoware Search Manager Jay MarkwoodToday, we welcome a guest post from Whereoware’s Senior Search Manager Jay Markwood. Jay specializes in search engine optimization (SEO) and executes search, display and remarketing campaigns for paid search clients. 

Jay walked us through how he optimized client
Barcode-arena.com’s website for organic search, ultimately growing revenue 701%. See all the steps by downloading the case study, below.

barcode-case-study-graphic



WHO:

Barcode-arena.com is an online retailer of Motorola barcode scanners and peripherals.

CHALLENGE:

Launched in February 2014, Barcode-arena.com’s website experienced steady traffic and revenue growth through mid-2015.

Due to increased competition from other online barcode scanner websites, Barcode-arena.com’s traffic and revenue plateaued in July 2015.

SOLUTION:

Barcode-arena.com brought in Whereoware in early March 2016 to manage their pay-per-click (PPC) accounts and optimize their website for organic search traffic, conversions, and increased market share.

Get the case study to see how Whereoware identified missed opportunities and executed search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, growing revenue 701% and moving Barcode-arena.com to the first page of search engine results pages (SERPs).