28th of June

The Importance of Pairing Analytics with Engagement


When was the last time you took a look at your analytics dashboard? I mean a truly in-depth look?

Sure, all those high-performing landing pages and conversion numbers are great — but there’s something your analytics isn’t showing you —

Engagement.

“Well, that’s not true”, you insist. “I can see how many users clicked on this link or bought that product and ultimately converted into paying customers — isn’t that a form of engagement?”

The problem with analytics is the more we know, the more we realize we don’tknow — and “engagement” is one of those elusive quasi-metrics marketers keep chasing after, as if to hold it up as the ultimate measure of a site’s success.

We can tie it to different data-backed metrics, but they don’t really give us the full picture. They tell us that the customer clicked on this, or bought that, but they don’t tell us anything about the customer experience that we’re all so keen to improve upon.

Avinash Kaushik, Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google, explains it this way:

“The reason engagement has not caught on like wild fire (except in white papers and analyst reports and pundit posts) is that it is a “heart” metric we are trying to measure with “head” data, and engagement is such a[n] utterly unique feeling for each website that it will almost always have a unique definition for each and every website.”

Analytics are Meaningless, Unless…

Unless you tie them to something that matters. You can think of analytics like the “Check Engine” light on your car. It tells you that something is wrong, but it’s up to you to fix the problem. Analytics give you raw numbers for different touch-points and informs you, but they won’t adjust for you if, for example, you see a drop off in your conversion funnel. That’s all on you.

No pressure, right?

Of course, by the same token, you can’t have engagement without the data to back it up. Otherwise you’ll never know which channel delivers the best ROI or which landing page is converting the highest. Analytics and engagement are not standalone silos that are independent of each other. They need to be able to mesh together in a way that not only gives you workable data, but makes that data actionable.

How to Correctly Measure Engagement

So if analytics give you the raw numbers, how do you actually measure engagement? As every site has a different purpose and different end goal, there is no “one size fits all” blanket metric that engagement can substitute for.

You can’t tie it to click-throughs because they don’t tell you what happened after the click. And you can’t pin engagement on conversions either because you’ll be continually moving the goalposts as to what a conversion actually is as the customer progresses through your funnel.

As Kaushik advises, you need to boil down “engagement” into what it truly is — by asking why your website exists. At its core, your website has a unique purpose, and properly defining that purpose and then defining which metrics lend themselves to it are going to make your marketing life a whole lot easier (and more measurable!)

You can look at key analytics data to help you get a better, data-backed picture of your customer engagement, using things like customer retention, number of unique visits and how recent they are, as well as regular customer surveys and market research. But again, you’re trying to apply quantitative data to a very qualitative metric, so you’ll still be getting pieces of the puzzle rather than seeing the full picture.

Fortunately, you can have both your analytics and your engagement metrics working together to provide you with the kinds of findings you need to optimize your business growth even further.

Kissmetrics: The Best of Both Worlds

There are three key parts to Kissmetrics that helps marketing and product teams engage and grow their customer base.

    1. Analyze: This contains reporting tools like Funnel, Cohort, A/B testing, and the soon-to-be-released Activity Report. Use these tools to track and analyze user behavior.
    2. Populations: Keep track of your user base by viewing how many users are in a “Population“. Quickly and easily know if signups are increasing, if more users are engaged than 90 days ago, and much more. Check out this video to learn more:
  1. Campaigns: Where the rubber meets the road. After tracking behavior in Analyze and Populations, send behavior-based messages to users to nudge them towards conversion.

We call our platform Customer Engagement Automation, or CEA if you’re into acronyms.

With CEA you’ll be able to measure, track and act upon customer-based behaviors. See what a customer or user is doing with our reporting tools, and provide a “nudge” with behavior-based messaging.

There’s no need to export your data into a third party tool to analyze it — the platform handles all of that for you. You get the data you need in order to make confident marketing decisions, along with the measurable customer engagement tools that move your business forward — all in one streamlined, highly efficient package.

What’s more, you don’t even need any third party integrations to make Campaigns and our other suite of tools work for you. But Kissmetrics does play nice with others, by integrating with all your favorite tools including Woocommerce, Salesforce, Shopify, Optimizely, and more.

So stop digging through your analytics trying to find those elusive nuggets of “customer engagement” and start focusing on the metrics that matter. Because your data lives within the Kissmetrics platform, you’ll discover all kinds of powerful insights that analytics alone can’t provide. And when analytics and engagement are both working together like a finely oiled machine, there’s nothing stopping you from taking your business to the next level — full speed ahead.

Have you used Kissmetrics in your own business? We’d love to hear about your experience with the platform. Which engagement metrics have you found best reflect your business goals and objectives? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

27th of June

Inconvenience to Opportunity: How to Tackle the Customer Engagement Gap


We’re living in a new reality.

For decades, companies dictated their interaction with consumers. Brands chose how they would communicate and when to deliver messages.

However, the consumer climate has dramatically changed. Technology has enabled and empowered customers to control the types of conversations they have with companies.

The rising issue is that most companies haven’t adjusted to these new changes. They’re stuck doing things the old way. As a result, their outdated systems lead to unengaged consumers and declining sales.

That’s why it’s so important for teams to create a bridge that closes the customer engagement gap. It’s an opportunity, not an inconvenience, for your business.

Let’s examine how your company can discover hidden inefficiencies and develop solutions to connect with your audience.

Defining Your Customer Engagement Gap

It isn’t wise to use best practices to solve your customer engagement gap. Every eCommerce business operates differently.

On top of that, most companies approach this problem in the wrong manner. They identify whether they have an engagement gap from a limited mindset. Rachel Happe, co-founder and principal at The Community Roundtable, explains the concept:

“We know that customer engagement matters. Yet much of our thinking about engagement remains simplistic. Most current definitions of engagement are bimodal – someone is either engaged or they’re not. But this is a limited view that hampers our ability to manage engagement in meaningful ways.”

So, what should you do instead?

Sit down with your team and define customer engagement for your organization. Some businesses want to boost customer satisfaction, while others desire to increase the average revenue per customer.

Then, you want to analyze the data that affects your goal. For example, tracking your Net Promoter Score can gauge customer satisfaction.

It’s critical that your team reimagine their roles when creating solutions to this problem. The engagement gap doesn’t revolve around the company. Yet, it should focus on the customer, the market, and the brand promise.

IBM reimagine roles engagement
Image Source
Move past the old way of closing the customer engagement gap. Your business can achieve more with data and a new holistic approach.

Building Cross-Functional Teams

At some companies, the engagement gap is a singular issue tasked to one team. It’s usually the marketing or customer success department’s responsibility.

Without any push back, that one team maps out a plan with all the bells and whistles—objectives, strategies, tasks, and outcomes. It’s only after the execution of the plan that they realize the need for input from their sales, product, and customer support teams.

Working in silos is common for some eCommerce businesses. Managers miss how every team plays a role in customer engagement. Christy Pettey, contributor at Smarter with Gartner, offers her perspective:

“Although silos are a natural outcome of the way modern business is organized, the poor customer experience that they create can turn customers into ex-customers. Some customers become frustrated and abandon their customer journey altogether, taking their business elsewhere.”

The customer engagement gap can expand across the entire customer journey. It can be the convoluted copy on your website, the misguided messaging from a sales rep, or even long wait times for support tickets.

By building cross-functional teams, your organization can tackle the challenge from multiple vantage points. Every department brings its expertise, and it helps eliminate the misalignment of future goals.

Personalizing the Customer Experience

With new eCommerce businesses popping up every day, the competition to attract and retain customers is fierce. Personalization is driving companies to rethink the customer experience.

Lack of customer engagement can stem from a business’s inability or unwillingness to adapt to their target audience’s needs. It’s visible when brands offer one solution that’s supposed to fix various issues. But customers don’t see the benefit.

You’ll also notice brands only personalizing the experience at one part of the customer journey. They personalize to acquire the customer, but fail to take similar actions to retain.

acquisition retain customer engagement funnel

The best personalization techniques use data to uncover the likes and dislikes of your customers. With accurate information, you can transform a generic experience into a customized shopping adventure.

For instance, subscription-based men’s clothing service Bombfell leverages datafrom a customer’s style survey and budget to curate clothing packages. Retailer OfficeMax uses its email subscriber’s location to send targeted campaigns to customers in a specific zip code.

Personalization shouldn’t be a one-off task for your team. Rather, it’s a chance to show customers that you understand their desires.

Collaborating with Your Customers

It’s hard to solve a problem without the necessary stakeholders present. So, it makes sense to add customer collaboration to your strategy.

There are several ways to get feedback from customers. Implied and expressed are two forms of customer collaboration.

Implied collaboration involves customer behavior and how their interactions with your brand affect their shopping experiences. These actions may include the number of times they visit your website, when they open your emails, or their product choices.

From these behaviors, your team can assess what content resonates with customers or which products offer the most benefit to your audience. Implied collaboration doesn’t require the customer to tell you anything; you’re simply making educated conclusions from their actions.

On the other hand, expressed collaboration is directly asking for customers’ opinions. You may request for the customer to fill out a survey or have the customer reply to an email.

It’s also possible to bring your consumers together in a Facebook group to casually address brand engagement. Here’s insight from Danyl Bosomworth, managing director of First 10 Digital:

“One of the most powerful ways to remain valuable is to enable the consumer to connect and share with other like-minded consumers, this allows the like-minded to flock together and simultaneously deliver ongoing insight for the brand hosting the platform.”

To truly turn the engagement gap into an opportunity, you must involve the customer. Find ways to incorporate their feedback into your plans.

Planning Ahead for Future Engagement

The engagement gap isn’t going anywhere. With ongoing advancements in technology and changes in consumer taste, your company must constantly strive for new ways to engage.

And as consumer preferences overlap, you may learn that one of the best strategies is to build external partnerships. Connecting with partners places your product in front of different audiences and strengthens your brand perception in the market.

Brand partnerships range from co-marketing opportunities to revenue-sharing models. The key is to find the right partnership that benefits all parties. Plus, you want the partnership to directly impact your customer engagement goals.

In 2015, CoverGirl teamed up with the Star Wars franchise to create a limited edition makeup line. Because Star Wars is often marketed to men, the partnership encouraged more women to watch the movie. CoverGirl also earned more brand visibility by associating itself with a notable film series.

star wars mascara

Prepare your team for future hurdles in customer engagement. Sometimes, the strategy will involve uniting with other companies.

Filling the Gap with Engagement

There’s been a shift in communication power—from the companies to the consumers. Your target audience can decide when, how, and even if they want to engage with your brand.

Start by defining the problem within your company and build cross-functional teams to develop a cohesive strategy. Personalize the shopping experience with collaboration from the consumer and continue to think about the future of customer interaction.

This is your opportunity. Tackle the customer engagement gap.

26th of June

Behavioral Marketing: A Closer Look at What Gets Consumers Clicking


In the past, marketing to consumers based on things like how many pages they visited on a site were rudimentary at best. They could tell you, in broad strokes, what a customer might be interested in — but they weren’t very specific. It was a lot like trying to guess what kind of picture a puzzle might make when you only have a couple of the pieces.

Behavioral marketing has changed all of that. But what should you know about it, and how do you get started? Let’s take a closer look.

What is Behavioral Marketing?

Rather than throwing a bunch of ads at consumers and hope some of the marketing message sticks, behavioral marketing takes all the available information — browsing and search history, IPs and cookies — and uses it to build a more definitive profile of the user, and then tailor marketing messages accordingly.

As the consumer visits more pages, browses more products or lingers on certain coupons, deals and offers will become more targeted and precise. The more information an ad network has, for example, the narrower they can define an ad’s segmentation to reach the right people at the right time.

Ingenious, right? But actually seeing behavioral marketing in practice can really stoke the fire in terms of generating new ideas. Rather than just give you examples, however, we’ve gone a step further to list out some of the best tools you can use to get started with behavioral marketing as well.

Examples of Behavioral Marketing

Behavioral marketing actually encompasses a wide range of marketing strategies — including retargeting (also known as remarketing), email marketing, product suggestions and much more. All of these are facets of behaviorally-based targeting and can be used as standalone strategies or coupled together for even greater effect on your target audience.

Retargeting

Retargeting and remarketing take into consideration the pages and products you’ve viewed, and then show them again even if you’re not on the original website. Both Google and Facebook offer retargeting options in their respective advertising platforms. You’ll need to think about which segment of your audience you want to retarget, and what kind of offer(s) you want to present to them.

How to Set Up Ad-Based Retargeting

To Set Up Retargeting in Google Adwords

  1. Sign into your Adwords account
  2. Click on Campaigns and click the +Campaign button
  3. Select “Display Network Only” (click here if you want to set up a remarketing campaign for the Search network)
  4. Leave “Marketing objectives” option selected and check “Buy on Your Website”
  5. Enter your campaign name, bidding strategy and budget
  6. Click Save and Continue
  7. Enter your ad group name and bid
  8. Under the option “Choose how to target your ads” click “interests and remarketing”
  9. In the “Select a category” drop down menu, choose “Remarketing Lists” and then click Set Up Remarketing
    At this point, Adwords will create a remarketing tag for you. You can send it to yourself or your developer along with instructions on how to add it to your website. If you have Google Analytics running, there’s a checkbox to “use the tracking code that’s already on your website” instead.
    Adwords starts you off by creating an “All Visitors” list, so you don’t have to have a remarketing list already made up. When you’re just starting out, this list includes anyone and everyone who has visited pages on your site with the remarketing tag.
  10. Next, enter your ad group name and bid. You’ll see the “All Visitors” list added to your ad group under the “Remarketing lists” tab
  11. Then simply click Save and Continue to start creating your ads, or Skip ad creation to do so later. It’s a good idea to create both text and image ads in various sizes so that you’ll have an ad ready to show no matter what other pages your ideal customer visits.

To Set Up Retargeting in Facebook

  1. Login to your Facebook Ad manager and choose Audiences
  2. Click on Create Audience and choose Custom Audience. For this example, we’ll retarget people who have already visited your site.
  3. Under “How do you want to create this audience?” choose Website Traffic
  4. Choose your target audience from the dropdown menu. You can target a wide range of users, including
    Anyone who visits your site
    People who visit certain pages
    People who visit certain pages but not others
    People who haven’t visited after a set amount of time
    A custom combination of your own choosing
  5. Then, you’ll simply get your pixel code and you’re ready to start retargeting.
    As a side note, if you don’t yet have a Facebook pixel code, you’ll need one in order to accurately track visitors for Facebook retargeting. Here’s a step by step guide from Facebook on how to do this.

In order to get the most momentum out of your retargeted Adwords and Facebook ads, you’ll want to plan your campaign accordingly. Who do you want to target? Create an ad that appeals to that specific segment. For example, people who looked at a specific product and possibly added it to their cart, but didn’t make a purchase may benefit from a retargeted ad offering a discount or free shipping.

Here are a few examples to get you brainstorming:

Amazon
This Amazon retargeted ad on Facebook shares Valentine’s day deals to last-minute shoppers and throws in free one-day shipping to help seal the deal.

Best Buy
This retargeted Best Buy ad lets you know you have items in your cart and helps ease any reluctance by reminding you of their Price Match Guarantee, free in-store pickup and free shipping.

best buy retargeting ad
Expedia
This ad from Expedia targets last minute shoppers looking for a great travel deal.

expedia advertisement

Behavioral Email Marketing

Behaviorally-targeted email is another example of behavioral marketing. Instead of using the pages that users visited or the actions they took on those pages, behavioral targeting via email targets users based on their status or actions with the site (whether they’re subscribed, added an item to their cart, and so on).

Nordstrom
Nordstrom shows you the item(s) in your cart and lets you view your bag directly. This ad could still be improved, however, by linking to a method of contacting support or live chat should the user have any questions before checkout.

nordstrom behavioral email

Birchbox
Here’s an example retention email sent to users who unsubscribed from the Birchbox service – with a 20% off discount for rejoining.

birchbox behavioral email

If you’re looking for more examples, we have 29 examples of behaviorally-targeted emails.

How to Set Up Behavioral Email Targeting

You can use Kissmetrics Campaigns to set up behavioral email targeting in just a few simple steps. Watch the video below to learn more:

The types of emails you can send through a behaviorally-targeted campaign are virtually unlimited. The most common types include messages like:

  • Abandoned cart notifications
  • Come back/login and see what you’ve missed
  • Onboarding/Getting started emails
  • And much more

Here’s a helpful guide that gives you tons of examples of the different types of behaviorally based emails you can try.

Demographic Targeting

This is one of the most common types of behavioral targeting and looks at things like gender, age range, education level, geographic location, race and other traits to essentially “paint a picture” of a user based on their browsing habits.

You may not think that something as simple as the websites you visit can reveal anything about you on a physical level, but you’d be surprised. And, of course, advertisers are keen to these differences and often repackage and rebrand their products accordingly:

product design colors

Products geared toward women often contain pink and pastel tones, while those targeted to men have much simpler, conservative designs and colors
Even when you’re not online, demographically-targeted ad examples are all around you:

Toyota
An ad promoting the fuel efficiency of the Toyota Prius – targeted to those who are looking for ways to help the environment:

go green prius

Pepsi
A “skinny” can of diet Pepsi targeted to women who are trying to watch their figures

the new skinny can
Not surprisingly, you can target your behavioral marketing ads to specific demographics of users, right down to their professed interests. Facebook has turned this kind of targeted advertising into a fine art.

Suggested Selling

Suggested selling pairs additional (or larger/better) items based on things you’ve already bought. Common examples of suggested selling are up-sells and cross-sells. You can think of a cross-sell as ordering a burger and being asked “do you want fries with that?” Whereas an upsell to your burger would be the offer to “make it a meal with fries and a drink for $X”. Suggested selling is often used to great effect on sites like Amazon, where buying certain items will tell you not just what others bought, but what they bought together.

Amazon
An Amazon behaviorally-marketed suggested sell with the current item, as well as accessories that users often buy in addition to the original.

Godiva
You’ll often see suggested selling used on flower and gift websites, where upsells can include everything from chocolates to popcorn.

go deluxe suggested selling

This is an extension of behavioral marketing in that it doesn’t dissuade the customer from their current order, but rather advises them or suggests other relevant items based on their current purchase behavior.

Taking the Next Step in Behavioral Marketing

Now that you have some powerful examples of behavioral marketing, as well as a wide range of tools and guides at your disposal, the next step is to try it out for yourself! Make a plan, then try out some campaign ideas to see how your customers respond. You may be surprised at the money you’re leaving on the table by not including behavioral marketing as part of your strategies!

And if you are using behavioral marketing tactics as part of your advertising and promotions – we’d like to hear about it! Share your thoughts and success stories with us in the comments below!

24th of June

How to Use the New Lifetime Value Feature in Google Analytics


You’re drowning in data.

You’ve got enough KPIs to track and report on already.

Why would you possibly need another one? What good would come of adding yet another hour to the end of you’re already long work day in order to dig it up?

The truth, in this case, is that you can’t afford not to.

Lifetime Value isn’t just another vanity metric. It’s THE metric. The one that stands head and shoulders above all others.

IF there was one and only one metric you were tracking, this should be it.

And now you can do it simply and easily inside Google Analytics. Here’s how.

What is Lifetime Value (And Why Does it Matter?)

Metrics often lead you astray.

Take Cost Per Click.

They range wildly from industry to industry. $2 bucks in one industry, but $50 bucks in another.

Crazy, right? Surely that $50 is just “too expensive.”

Not necessarily, obviously.

The first easy answer is your break-even point. If your Cost Per Acquisition is less than your initial average order value, you’re golden.

But sometimes, in some cases, you actually want to willingly lose money initially.

amazon revenue net income overtime

Image Source
Ever heard of Netflix? How about Amazon?

Amazon routinely enters a new market with razor thin (or even negative) profit margins so they can grab market share. Only to then turn the dial back once they’ve gained a market leadership position.

amazon revenue from retail and web services

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So what’s a reasonable Cost Per Click in that scenario? Now it depends.

This can even change from company to company within a vertical (and their appetite for risk).

Let’s talk insurance.

Two ways to make money:

  1. Upfront commission when you close a sale
  2. Ongoing residual payments over the life of each deal.

So you’ve got a new company. Entering a new market and trying to expand.

Would you willingly, purposefully sacrifice #1 in order to scale #2?

Of course you would.

Why? Because the lifetime value of a customer.

The full potential value of each new client you add will eclipse the initial commision. So as long as you can stomach the negative cash flow for a bit, you’d probably be willing to drive that Cost Per Click as high as humanely possible.

You go all in, when the stakes are right, and drive everyone else out.

All of this sounds perfect, except for one teeny, tiny detail.

Does your company track lifetime value? ‘Cause most don’t.

I’ve personally worked with dozens (hundreds?) of clients over the past few years and I can count on one hand the number who were actually tracking conversions properly. Let alone seeing anything past the first purchase.

One of the reasons is because tracking this info, with current systems, isn’t always easy. It might be easy if you’re using a Shopify and do all sales in a single channel or two. That way, everything happens inside one platform.

But usually your business is spread out. Each department has their own independent systems. So it’s tough to bring everything together.

Thankfully, Google Analytics has been hard at work recently.

Their new Lifetime Value report helps business owners acquire data to understand how valuable certain users/customers are to their business based on their lifetime performance.

And best of all, it pulls together lifetime values for people acquired through different channels and mediums, like social, email, and paid search. You’ll also be able to view data by engagement (pageviews, goals, events) and then trends (like 90 days after customer acquisition).

Using this will help you determine which sources are driving the most valuable traffic and which corresponding marketing investments are truly delivering an ROI.

Here’s how to run a lifetime value report inside Google Analytics.

How to Run a Lifetime Value Report

Start by signing into your Google Analytics account and then follow these simple steps:

    • Step 1: Click on

Reports

    •  Section

 

    • Step 2: Click on

Audience

    • Step 3: Click on

Lifetime Value

find lifetime value in google analytics

Note: The Lifetime Value feature should already be available inside your GA account (no need to change your code!).

Now let’s get started generating a report. Here’s how to setup your graph first:

setting up lifetime value in google analytics

Start by setting your acquisition date range (the option on the far right). Any customer acquired during this date range (May 2017 on this example) will be included in the LTV report.

Let’s say you ran a promotional campaign or online sale during the month of May, you can easily analyze the data for these customers and segment by date based on your campaigns.

For steps two and three, you can select the following list of metrics to compare:

lifetime value metrics comparison
Now let’s break this graph down a bit to help you understand what the heck is going on:

lifetime value google analytics

Essentially, this graph is showing site users acquired during the month of May, and how their lifetime value changes based on the page views and session duration metrics over a 90-day period on the site.

These are obviously engagement metrics, you can customize this even further to track the exact amount spent if you have eCommerce tracking enabled.

Now, let’s jump to the table below:

acquisition channel google analytics

Now we’re able to compare the number of acquired users (and the Pageviews per User) in this case by acquisition channel.

Click on the dropdown above the table to pull up different granular sorting options like Source, Medium, or Campaign.

acquisition channels in google analytics lifetime value

How is this helpful? Check it out:

google analytics channels attribution

Let me break it down:

  • Blue: Acquisition channel. This shows what channel the users were acquired through, i.e, direct, organic, social, referral.
  • Pink: Users. The amount of users in the specified acquisition date range (May 2017 in this example)
  • Purple: Your selected lifetime value metric. In this example, pageviews per user is the LTV. This column is where the data begins to get interesting.

Let’s zoom in on the last column in detail to see if there’s any insight we can already glean from these reports.

pageviews lifetime value

Now we start to notice patterns among the different channels. For example, Referral traffic has double the pageviews per user (LTV) than almost every other channel. While Organic pageviews per user (LTV) is beginning to fall behind.

Want to pull back the curtain even more? Like being able to see things what individual Referral sites are driving higher LTV’s?

Head back over to the “Acquisition Source” on your table. Now we can break down which individual websites are sending us the most valuable traffic (based on LTV). And the winner is…

lifetime value acquisition source example

Kissmetrics! What, what! 🙌

Here’s why this new insight important.

Data Lies. LTV Forces it to Tell the Truth

Data lies to you daily.

For example, pull up your Goals inside Google Analytics to conduct a similar analysis to the one we just did.

You can even view the Reverse Funnel Path to see which pages, posts, or campaigns delivered the most conversions. This report is helpful… to a point. If you understand its limitations.

For example:

❌ Problem #1. These could be subscribers or leads. Not solid purchases. So you’re basing hard decisions off of ‘top of funnel’ data.

One campaign or channel might send 100 subscribers while the other only sends 20. But none of this takes into account how many of those people are converting. Or even how much money each is spending.

❌ Problem #2. Oh, these are sales, you say? Ok.

Except for one thing: You can’t tell if they’re one-off or repeat. So you can’t tell if each customer is a $100 order or a $1,000 one.

Which is kinda important when you’re looking backwards to see how that content investment performed vs. the paid campaign.

❌ Problem #3. A/B tests lie, too.

Things start off great. That new button resulted in a big conversion rate leap.

The only problem is that these small, temporary fluctuates often regress back to the mean. Larry Kim likened it to “moving desk chairs around the Titanic.”

ab testing reverts to mean

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There might only be a literal surface level change, without ever fundamentally improving the organization as a whole.

When does this commonly happen? When you over-optimize.

❌ Problem #4. Over-optimization.

A/B tests that increase top line metrics often backfire.

For example, another study from Larry Kim showed that for every increase you made in a conversion rate, the lower your rate of Marketing Qualified Leads.

landing page vs mqls
Image Source
In other words, the more aggressive you at are collecting that initial opt-in or lead can often lower the overall quality of the leads that are getting in. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in the grand scheme of things when you think about it.

The point is that there are many, many ways data often lies to us. We think we’re seeing the whole picture, when in reality, it’s only a tiny slice of it.

Conclusion

Metrics aren’t always they appear. And data often lies.

What’s an “expensive” Cost Per Click for one business, isn’t for another. And sometimes that overall conversion rate we’re looking at to base our decisions around is fraught with peril in reality.

The one savior is Lifetime Value.

It gives us a broader, big picture context when viewing other bits of information. It helps us put things into proper context.

So we can not only make better decisions to drive additional revenue. But also realize when we’re about to make a few costly mistakes.

24th of June

11 Customer-Centric Ways to Grow Your Ecommerce Revenue


There are three general ways to grow revenue in any ecommerce business:

  1. Increase the total number of customers.
  2. Increase the average number of times each customer buys from you.
  3. Increase the average order value (AOV) from each customer.

As ecommerce marketers, knowing what to prioritize can be the difference between a standard year of growth and a phenomenal one. So, what should be your next move?

Take another look above at the overall ways to grow revenue and you may notice each has a common thread: the customer. It can be a game-changer if you start with what your buyers want (and perhaps more importantly don’t want) and let them be your guiding light for everything you do in your marketing.

In 2011, Jeff Bezos said“If you’re truly obsessed about your customers, it will cover a lot of your other mistakes.”

Learn 11 specific ways to implement more customer-centric marketing that can lead to more revenue for your store. These are categorized in ways to grow:

  1. New Customers

  2. Product Feeds
  3. Dynamic Retargeting on Facebook
  4. Content Marketing
  5. Repeat Customers

  6. Psychographic Segmentation
  7. Automated Email
  8. Targeted Promo Emails
  9. Conversion Rate

  10. Customized Checkout
  11. Chatbot Conversion Optimization
  12. Non-Boring Product Descriptions
  13. Authentic Reviews
  14. Amazing Customer Service

New Customers

1. Product Feeds

Selling on Google Shopping is a great way to market your products in a customer-centric way. Product images, pricing, reviews and brand name are all displayed in Google so that shoppers no longer need to click through to see all of that critical information.

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It works a lot like traditional Google pay-per-click campaigns. It’s set up by connecting your store’s product feed to Google Merchant Center, which then feeds into your AdWords account. Once you successfully start displaying Product Listing Ads, it is easy to begin grouping your store’s products into ad groups in AdWords.

shoes results google shopping

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Note: Typically once you have 150 or more store reviews within the last 12 months, review star ratings will display in Google Shopping.

Saving your customers time is unlikely to go out of style any time soon. Nobody ever said, “I want a great deal, but I’d first like to blindly visit 10 different stores.” By marketing on Google Shopping, you provide your future customers with a better experience.

Additionally, it is easy to connect your store’s product catalog to Facebook’s Business Manager. Uploading your product feed to advertise in a customer-centric way on Facebook (displaying product images, descriptions, price and other information) works especially well for the next section.

2. Dynamic Retargeting on Facebook

Research from 2017 shows the global conversion rate from a visitor, to add to cart is just under 3%.

us and uk conversion rates

Not everyone who adds products to their cart will complete the purchase. So for the more than 97% of people who didn’t purchase, you’ll want to make it as easy as possible for them to return and buy.

Dynamic retargeting with Facebook works well for this because it combines an image of the exact product your visitor added to cart/viewed, with info-like descriptions, pricing of that particular product and the custom copy you add. Beautiful! Your shopper only sees exactly what they were interested in plus any sort of offer text.

Facebook shopping ads

Setup for Facebook dynamic retargeting is pretty easy. First, create a product catalog in FB by hooking up your product feed. Next you’ll need to add a few events found in the Ads Manager for your store to successfully pass the product information to Facebook that corresponds with each user, which may require some dev work depending on how savvy you are with your code. Once you’ve got the events firing properly, the last step is to set up your first dynamic retargeting campaign and ad. In no time, you’ll be remarketing in a customer-centric way to your visitors who have yet to convert.

3. Content Marketing

Now that we’ve covered a couple of buyer-focused ways to advertise, it is important to note the vast majority of shoppers looking for products on Google and other search engines will bypass paid listings altogether. According to the Similar Web Search Report, it’s not even close when you examine paid vs. organic (on desktop only). The non-paid search results get 18 times more traffic.

organic search 18 times more than paid

People trust Google and other search engines to rank the best natural results, so give search engines reasons why you deserve to outrank your competition. Several factors go into SEO for ecommerce, but content marketing is arguably the most customer-centric way to improve search engine rankings.

Helping the customer is the name of the game with content. All things being equal, whoever helps users in the most valuable way, ranks the highest.

For example, campers search the phrase “how to build a campfire,” or something similar, every month. A big reason why REI ranks #1 in Google for the term is because they answered the question in the most helpful and thorough way.

rei campfire article

This well-written article dominates the competition. It has over a thousand words describing every step of the campfire building process. It’s also supported by several great images and a video. REI has created an entire ‘Expert Advice’ section of the site dedicated to answering questions and solving problems pertaining to anything they sell.

Are there common problems and questions your potential buyers have? Listen to what your customer base says and use AnswerThePublic.com to find out other ideas to help. Search Google to find out what questions pertaining to your industry could be answered in a much better way than they currently are. To give your store a good shot at outranking the “partial helpers,” you want your content to be 10 or more times better than the best results for the topic.

Repeat Customers

4. Psychographic Segmentation

Demographic information of your buyers, like age or gender, can be useful in many cases. Knowing where they live and tracking their behavior is important as well. But these will only tell you part of what you need to know. Psychographics, however, include the goals, emotions, values, hobbies and habits that help drive purchase decisions, which helps us understand our customer’s why.

market segmentation factors

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Psychographic segmentation is crucial for marketing in a customer-centric way. If we better understand the “why” of a particular buyer segment, the likelihood of positively influencing a group’s reason to buy goes way up! Learn as much as you can in order to deliver more details and serve customers even better.

5. Automated Email

Automation is an excellent way to keep your team or business lean, but still provide a personalized experience for your customers based on their actions.

This example from the marketing automation campaign builder inside Infusionsoftshows how an Ecommerce business can treat customers differently each time they buy from the company.

marketing automation map

In this example, each sequence pushes the customer toward making another purchase. Inside the “new customer welcome, shipped” sequence (pictured below), a series of emails thanks the customer for “joining the family” and offers them a coupon code as gratitude:

drip campaign message thread

In addition to incentivizing repeat purchases, these emails can be created in plaintext, meaning it looks to the end customer like a customer service rep sat down and wrote them a personal email. This can have a huge impact on the user experience of your site, and turn people into raving fans of your brand.

6. Targeted Promo Emails

Email is an effective (and cheap!) way to market to your existing customer base. So how do you stand out in your buyer’s inbox amidst the swarm of the rest of the world’s offers?

Focus on customer experience. A big reason why Chewy.com does well with promotional emails is because they’re laser-focused. For example, cat owners only see offers for cat products.

chewy triggered email message
You won’t see any dog food offers unless you make a dog food purchase. Better yet, these cat product offers are based on prior purchase behavior. So the brands and types are all familiar.

Quickly blasting your email list with offers may generate an uptick in conversions. However, if your product set is diverse, it will likely be worthwhile to spend the extra time to deliver deals that line up with exactly what matches your customer’s interest.

Conversion Rate

7. Customized Checkout

Nobody ever said, “I just wish this checkout took a little longer.” Easy and as quick as possible, especially in the world of online shopping, will never go out of style.

Standard checkout layouts created by the top ecommerce platforms have improved over the years, but the conversion rates you can expect from them are…. well, standard. Below is an example of a default checkout page layout with BigCommerce:

checkout example flow

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Basic stuff. The good news is this page can be modified to be a lot more customer-focused with some dev work.

After studying videos of real-life customers using the default checkout, the Ecommerce Crew put together an eight-step checkout page customization checklist, which soon yielded the following customized layout:

single page checkout

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The results were immediate. Modifying the page to make the process smoother, less time consuming and more trustworthy for users translated into a 30% lift in conversion rate.

8. Chatbot Conversion Optimization

One huge way to increase your conversion rate is to add a chat function to your store’s website. This gives users a way to interact with you and ask questions about what they need. In turn, it gives you an opportunity to drive them exactly where you want them to go.

Don’t have the time or the staff to sit around manning your website’s chat feature? Automate it with a chatbot. Here’s an example:

chatbot setup

Based on common customer inquiries, you can build different conversation paths for people to self-select their way through. Each ends at the critical stage of collecting the lead without the use of standard forms.

This will not only dramatically increase the conversion rate of the visitors to your site, but it has the added benefit of answering frequently asked questions for your customers, meaning you can outsource at least some of your customer service, while being more helpful to visitors than your competitors who don’t have this capability.

9. Non-Boring Product Descriptions

Product copy, when done well, is proven to sell. But what if your competitors also provide users with robust product descriptions featuring a comprehensive list of features and benefits in an easy-to-read format?

So Worth Living changes the game to stand out by injecting personality into their product descriptions that they know their buyers will enjoy and appreciate:

good product copy

Being helpful doesn’t mean being boring. Get to know your buyers better than your competition. Find ways to entertain them in product descriptions, while informing them about all the features and benefits.

10. Authentic Reviews

Back in the early days of Amazon, when the ecommerce mammoth was a book store only, the company’s employees were writing the majority of the reviews. Jeff Bezos had instructed his team to leave 100% genuine reviews. Naturally, their honesty translated into negative ratings on some books.

good amazon review of book

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Publishers got ticked off with what Amazon was doing and one told Bezos his job was to “sell books, not trash them.” Bezos didn’t waver.

How did he know Amazon was doing the right thing? Authentic reviews can seem counter-intuitive when they are bad. But they’re truly in the best interest of the customer, and therefore the right move. Helping your visitors make the right buying decisions with reviews (good, bad and ugly) puts your customer’s interests first and foremost.

11. Amazing Customer Service

Customer service is perhaps the lowest of the low-hanging fruit. In today’s world, treating people like they’re real human beings, and showing them empathy, has the power to make you stand out from the crowd in a big way.

A strategy we use frequently is every time someone has a bad experience, we give them a $5 gift card. This does more than reduce people’s angst. It turns a negative experience into an overwhelmingly positive one. Sure, this may slightly reduce the margin you make on their next purchase. But if it brings someone back a second, third, or fourth time, it’s worth the $5 all day long. Here’s a real response from June 20th as an example:

coupon code turns happy customer

Treat your customers well, and they will reciprocate.

Conclusion

Successful ecommerce marketing takes into account several factors to grow significantly. Use the customer as your north star and test, test, test to find out what works best for you.

What customer-centric ways are you using to grow your store’s revenue in 2017? Comment below and let me know.