Category Archives: Web tip

Web Tip – B2B personalization in action

Did you miss our recent webinar with Episerver, Getting B2B Personalization Right: A Buyer-First Blueprint? (We embedded the video below, so you don’t miss a thing.)

B2B-Personalization-Delights-CustomersWe’re just OBSESSED with personalization. We admit it – we’re head over heels for the stuff.

Whereoware has been in the personalization business for more than 10 years, long before it became a trendy buzzword. We’ve proven how personalization can help resolve brands two biggest challenges: making customers happy, so they’re forever brand loyal; making business operations more transparent, consistent, and effective.

Today, we recap why we’re pretty much addicted to making B2B business more personal and relevant.

About B2B Personalization

“Personalization” simply means collecting everything you know about your business (a customers’ actions on your website, a sales reps’ actions in the field, how your audience interacts with your email, etc.) and letting this data tell you what strategic changes to make or targeted promotions to create.

Every brand has preconceptions about their business and reasons they operate the way they do. Personalization cuts through the “what we think we know” preconceptions into the concrete story your data is telling you.

What does personalization look like?

B2B personalization might be hard to picture. Here are three examples:

You see customers start your five-step checkout process, but don’t complete it. Many keep stopping at step 4: complete their address. You update your checkout process to be three simple steps with a visual indicator showing customers where they are in the process (so customers know what to expect and are less likely to get frustrated ). You personalize the process by pre-populating address information, so the contact can breeze through this step. Your website data told you where customers were getting stuck, so you could fix it. Pre-populating the address makes the checkout process quicker and easier, so fewer customers drop off.

You work for a software company and see that Prospect A downloaded a white paper about your newest software. You email him a complimentary FAQ sheet about the software. When he visits your website a second time, the hero image offers him a free, no-pressure demo of the exact software he browsed (but everyone else sees a default software). Again, your website data told you which white paper the contact downloaded, so you could offer an additional relevant asset, enhance his experience, and guide him towards a demo.

Sound like a bunch of witchcraft to you? Our client Sullivans, a B2B wholesaler, knew based on their data that retailers were only shopping from one product line, not all three.
Instead of emailing their whole database with the same promotion, they grouped their retailers into three, product-based buckets (called personas) – Everyday Items, Artist Collections, or Seasonal Products. By segmenting their audience into personas, Sullivans now sends relevant, targeted emails showcasing the products recipients want, and their website is also personalized to display persona-based content and imagery to each visitor.

Sullivans_personalized_homepage

B2B personalization makes shopping easier

B2B personalization aims to make the interactions between businesses more seamless and efficient.

For example, our client Mud Pie’s B2B website caters to busy retailers stocking their stores. In addition to an entirely personalized website that displays imagery and content to suit each website visitor’s product interests (similar to Sullivans’ website. Read about their product-based personalization here), Mud Pie wanted their Retailer Portal to be more personal and relevant for each retailer.

Personalized Retailer Dashboard Mud Pie

Their new Retailer Portal gives retailers access to past orders, account information, resources, and customer service from one intuitive dashboard. Mud Pie leverages order and browse activity data and their site’s recommendation engine to suggest Frequently Purchased Products, Top Selling Products, and Recommended Products that suit each retailer’s needs. Quick Inventory Lookup lets retailers look up items by the SKU number, and they can even create and send customized product wish lists and presentations.

By giving busy retailers simple and effective tools tailored to their unique stores, they’re more likely to make Mud Pie their one-stop-shop to fulfill all their inventory needs.

B2B Personalization is better business

Personalization uses behavioral data to interpret how to enhance customers’ experience with your brand. Subsidizing a business’s big picture goals with granular data offers real-time insights cemented in reality (not preconceptions). It tells businesses how to better target customers with the right product or asset they’re seeking, suggests creative promotions more likely to boost conversions, and also helps businesses pinpoint operational waste and inefficiencies.

Want to talk about getting more personal with customers? We’re here if you need us – gabbing endlessly about why personalization is a better way to do business. (Also, don’t miss the webinar video below)

Getting B2B Personalization Right – A Retailer-First Blueprint

Web tip – April Fool’s Day Hits

We admit it – we’re a bunch of giant kids, but we totally geek out on April Fool’s Day. For generations, this underrated holiday encouraged outright lies between loved ones, mayonnaise and toothpaste replacements in cream filling, saran wrapped toilet seats, rubber-banded faucets, and endless other hoaxes and hijinks.

Today, we applaud big- and small-name brands who get into the holiday spirit, and try their hands pranking beloved customers. We’ve rounded up a few of our favorites.

(In case you missed our April Fool’s prank –  Check out Whereoware’s “redesigned homepage”– #comicsans4life! We redirected our homepage to our “redesign” and asked for feedback on our new look. Everyone who submitted feedback was entered into a raffle to win a gift card for themselves and $2,000 for the charity of their choice. The promotion ended at COB April 1.)

April Fool’s Day emails + landing pages we love

With their nonstop sales, free shipping, and Kohl’s Cash, Kohl’s is the destination for crazy deals you can brag about to your friends. Well, the endless deals came to an abrupt stop last April 1st. (We love the GIF. Click to see the full email).

Kohl's April Fool's Day

Between the breathy whispers and sweaty athletic bodies, this video looks like any other fitness-related Instagram ad. It’s only when Reebok reveals their newest fragrance, Swet, that we sense something’s not quite right here.

We love a good gym sess, but we’re not ready to rock the sweat smell all day long.

Sometimes, April Fool’s Day brings us fake products we kind of wish were real!

Although Target’s FannyBasket brings back night terrors of our grandma’s favorite neon accessory, we don’t hate the idea of searching Target’s shelves hands-free with a Frappucino and phablet close by. Target went all in on this April Fool’s Day product prank with a serious-sounding product video focused on utility and mobility, while still hammering home their commitment to innovating customers’ retail experience.


All we’re saying is we’re happy to rock a basket evenly across the hips, maybe even sidesaddle.

We love beer just about any day of the week, and April Fool’s Day is no exception.

Blue Moon had a #brewingbreakthrough last April Fool’s Day to give their beer’s beloved sidekick – an orange – a starring role. They tweeted, “We worked with renowned fruiticulturists to invent the world’s first beer infused oranges.”

Blue Moon's April Fool's Day Tweet

We know a few people willing to adding this particular orange to their healthy diets.

Pizza Hut teams with brewmasters to take advantage of beer being an indisputable crowd favorite with their very own pizza-flavored Pepperoni Pilsner! No one in the video cracks a smile or gives away the joke, causing us to a pause on whether its a hoax. (We might be willing to be guinea pigs!)

Next up, three of our favorite elements join forces: Groupon, Uber, and… cats! Grouber helps us redeem our favorite Groupon deals fast, with a fleet of feline drivers to get us there.

The Grouber landing page is chock full of puns and wordplay on their typical services – you can even add Feline Feedback to rate your Grouber driver. None of the CTA’s are functional except the initial “get the app,” which links to the Groupon app.


The Purrtinent Answers Within (P.A.W) section of the landing page answers all of our burning questions right meow, like, why cats were chosen over dogs (they chase the red lasers beaming from the front of the car, navigating the trip. Their laser diligence makes them more safe and skilled drivers.) Also, can we tip with catnip (only in Colorado and Washington).

Now, for an April Fool’s Day #tbt. Codeschool offers interactive programming courses and coding challenges to help advance our coding skills. They debuted an exciting new course on April 1, 2014: Try Flux, an introduction to the foundation for time travel. The email is simple with a large CTA to Play Now and the landing page keeps the gag going.

CodeSchool's April Fool's Day 2014
They’re not really sure time travel is possible, but if the risk is simply destroying all known existence in a swirling unrelenting inferno, why not give it a go?

Keep the April Fool’s Day gags coming

Our April Fool’s Day examples show brands can get extremely clever to fool their audience, while staying true to their mission statements.  The promotional quality is outstanding, while the promises are hard to believe. We can’t wait to see what this  year brings!

If you see a great April Fool’s Day email, social share, or website update, please send it our way, and we’ll gladly add it to our roundup!

Web Tip – 6 Tips for Writing for the Web

Alyson Hunter Whereoware's Internal Marketing ManagerToday, we hear firsthand from one of the voices behind-the-blog: Internal Marketing Manager Alyson Hunter. Alyson is responsible for our content marketing strategy and writes our blog, case studies, newsletters, website copy, and other content pieces. 

Writing for the web means short attention spans and heavy competition.

Typically, your audience is scanning articles and deciding within seconds whether it’s worth their time to keep reading. Meanwhile, a video of a cat wearing a shark costume, while riding a Roomba and chasing a duckling is competing for their attention.

Can you rival a cat riding a Roomba? I can’t!

Cat on Roomba
Whether you’re writing a blog post or updating website copy, writing for an online audience takes different finesse than writing for print. Ignore what your ninth grade English teacher told you (well, some of it), and try out my 6 tips for writing for the web.

Be human and focus on your customer

Lesson number one: be human, aka, write in everyday language. (This is where we depart from ninth grade English. Hate to say it, but Shakespeare would receive no love online.)

A reader finds your content because they’re searching for something they need or want. Whether they’re seeking entertainment, education, or to reward themselves with a new buy, ultimately they’re thinking about themselves, not about you.

Write content that answers your audiences’ burning questions or simplifies a complex subject. Don’t use a long or uncommon words when a simple word suffices.

Impart wisdom or witticism around a subject, and get there fast, before you bore your audience to tears. Capture their attention in the first paragraph and follow with clear objectives, a thoughtful layout of ideas, and interesting visuals.

Write about topics that stay relevant

Write timely content, but also pieces that never go out of style. You’ll learn to love “evergreen” content, because it consistently drives traffic to your site long after you hit “publish”.

For example, in 2011, we published “Google Analytics: Direct vs. Search Engine vs. Referral Traffic” on Whereoware’s blog. This post defines different types of traffic sources found in Google Analytics. If you’ve worked in Google Analytics before, you know it can be overwhelming to learn, and it doesn’t help that Google often changes their algorithm and terminology.

In this last week alone, 16% of our organic traffic landed on this blog post. It ranks as one of our most highly read blog posts year after year, and it was published way back in 2011.

Our Google Analytics post isn’t especially popular because we spent a lot of time or money promoting it. Instead, it drives tons of traffic because visitors search for an easy-to-follow explanation of search terms and definitions. They need answers, and we provide relevant content.

Buzzwords torpedo writing

Get rid of nonsense words! If your website is peppered with words like, “top of the line,” “best-in-class,” or “mission-critical,” your readers’ eyes are glazing over.

Remove industry buzzwords and instead find descriptive words or metrics demonstrating the true business solution or problem your service addresses. (Unless you’re solution truly is mission-critical. If so, have at it).

Get a cheerleading squad

You beat the competition. You’re faster, cheaper, and award-winning.

Like your drunken uncle who won’t stop talking about his glory days, boasting about accomplishments diminishes your credibility.

Instead, let your customers brag for you. Customer testimonials or customer reviews are very effective at influencing buyer behavior, because they’re deemed trustworthy and reliable.

For example, Sandals’ testimonial page promotes Sandals resorts as an excellent vacation destination, without Sandals saying so. Seeing real customers enjoyed their stay will make prospects feel comfortable booking a trip.

Sandals customer testimonialsSimilarly, adding a quality seal to your website, like the Norton Shopping Guarantee on our B2B + B2C e-commerce client Mud Pie’s website assures customers Mud Pie is a reputable company with a safe and secure checkout.

Norton Seal Mud Pie

Highlighting awards in a subtle way achieves the same goal. It proves you aren’t the only one who thinks your company outperforms the competition, a judging panel agreed!

Save your words for conveying important points and principles, and then let your cheerleading squad show how you rock.

Break up text with visuals

Online audiences are looking for a quick fix. Keep your content short whenever possible. Break up ideas into shorter paragraphs. Use bullets to call out key points. Bold important words and headlines.

Expect your audience to only scan your article (remember, cat riding Roomba). Visual cues make it easy for scanners to grasp your main points, whether they read your post in entirety or not.

Edit

Here’s where your English teacher had a point. No one wants to read content riddled with errors. If anything, error-leaden writing immediately destroys your credibility.

Spellcheck your content before posting (both text AND graphics). Check your verb tense is consistent and doesn’t switch back and forth. Delete sentences that don’t impart value or information. Replace buzzwords with meaningful descriptions.

A few extra edits I perform with every post:

1. Use Word’s Find and Replace function to highlight “the” and also “that.” These words are overused, frequently unnecessary, and slowdown a reader’s progression.

For example, if the sentence is, “I like writing that compels readers.” Can the sentence standalone if I remove “that”? Nope, “I like writing compels reader” is incorrect. The sentence “Use testimonials to prove that your products are valuable,” on the other hand, can be rewritten to “use testimonials to prove your products are valuable” without changing the sentence’s meaning.

2.  While you’re at it, use Find and Replace to highlight adverbs, like “quickly” or “efficiently,” and delete them if they aren’t necessary. Even better? Swap them out for better words. Change “quickly ran” to “fled” or “yelled loudly” to “shouted.”

3.  Whenever possible, ask someone else to read your piece. An objective proofreader will help you identify mistakes, clarify ambiguous statements, and delete superfluous content.

Takeaways

Your writing is only effective if your audience understands it. They’ll only take action, like following up with you or revisiting your website, if you grab their attention and get your point across. Remember, you’re competing with every writer, sensational news story, and puppy video on the web.

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!

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.

Customer-obsessed – a Mud Pie case study

Who

Mud Pie is a B2B + B2C retailer of trendy and seasonal baby clothes, women’s apparel, gifts, home décor, and more.

Challenge

Whereoware executes behavior-based, personalized emails for Mud Pie to increase engagement and drive sales on their website. Unfortunately, the personalization was one-way. Mud Pie’s website didn’t have the functionality to dynamically display promotions targeting Mud Pie’s different audience segments. (Everyone saw the same promotion.) Mud Pie wanted to personalize their customers online experience on both their website and in their emails.

Solution

In 2015, Whereoware delivered Mud Pie a powerful new B2C website using WOWCommerce, an accelerator package built on top of their e-commerce platform EPiServer.  The new site is powered to leverage behavioral data from their website, marketing database, and email marketing tool to deliver a personalized shopping experience to every visitor.

Results

Comparing year-over-year data since site launch (accounting for seasonality changes), the new B2C Mud Pie site has seen:

  • 56% increase in e-commerce conversion rate
  • 120% increase in revenue
  • 508% increase in mobile revenue

Get the whole story (above) to see how Mud Pie’s new B2C website is personalizing customers entire online brand experience.

Check out the video produced by Episerver featuring Mud Pie eCommerce Manager, Andrea Ouargli + our very own Senior Online Marketing Manager, Faith Albers!

Marketing tip – are you on the Holiday Marketing Naughty List?

Developing a creative, effective holiday marketing plan is imperative, but there are a lot of moving parts to account for in our omni channel retail environments.  Our Holiday Marketing Naughty or Nice list will help you check that you haven’t overlooked any important steps.

A naughty brand comes up with an ad hoc plan, but a nice brand looks back on their marketing initiatives last year, measures results, and tailors those successes to maximize conversions this season. A naughty brand focuses on one channel, where as a nice brand optimizes a variety of channels to deliver an exceptional shopping experience wherever their customers are.

Fill out our fast, seven-step checklist to make certain that you’re not on the naughty list. Then, check out our holiday toolkit for easy tips to up your marketing game for the holidays.

Web tip – 4 website tweaks to convert holiday shoppers

Gap GiftsIt’s an e-commerce company’s summer secret that while customers are busy buying swimsuits and dipping their toes in the sand, brands are scrambling to prepare for the busy holiday season.

You can’t blame them for having holiday cheer on the brain in August. Between Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday sales, the season for gifting arrives earlier each year and extends longer, which means even earlier B2B sales. In fact, according to The National Retail Foundation’s 2014 Holiday Consumer Spending Survey, your customers have already made their list, checked it twice, AND completed more than half of their shopping by December 10th.

It’s crucial that e-commerce companies have a solid marketing plan in place to excite and convert holiday shoppers as early as possible. An inviting website should be at the center of this plan to maximize both the early-bird and last-minute shoppers. To get ready, give your website a holiday facelift with our 4 tweaks to captivate visitors and increase seasonal spending.

Update hero imagery + banners

Your website’s hero image is often the first visual visitors see and leaves an overall impression of your website. To give your site an immediate refresh without overhauling the design, update your hero image to place holiday promotions and gift ideas front and center.

The Body Shop gets into the spirit with a holiday-themed hero image and festive offers above the fold. The Holiday Shoppe left sidebar calls out Gifts, Seasonal Scents, and E-Gift cards, making it easy for shoppers to fulfill all their gift-giving needs. The Perfect Gift Finder guides the unsure shopper, and discounts and promotions are impossible to miss. GIFTS is highlighted red in the top navigation and the banner (and hero image) adds urgency around Christmas Delivery. Compare their December 2014 website to April 2015’s, and you can see that the overall integrity of the website didn’t change, yet the look and feel is completely different.

The-Body-Shop-Holiday-Homepage-Update
Continue reading Web tip – 4 website tweaks to convert holiday shoppers

Web tip – Customer Journey Toolkit

Turn browsers into buyers + prospects into loyal customers with our Customer Journey Toolkit. Receive sample Journey Infographics, a Persona Worksheet, a Customer Questionnaire, + a Journey Map Worksheet – check out the toolkit details below.

In our Customer Journey Toolkit, you’ll find:

1)    Our Journey Infographics help you visualize a typical customer journey (broken out for B2B and B2C e-commerce companies and Service Companies).

2)   Our Persona Worksheet will help you understand your customers better + identify what motivates them or turns them off.

3)   Use our Customer Questionnaire to talk to customers about how you can increase their customer satisfaction.

4)   The Journey Worksheet will help you map out opportunities to reach out to your customers when they are most responsive and via the channels they respond to best.

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