6 email marketing ideas to stand out in a crowded inbox

6 email marketing ideas to stand out in a crowded inbox

These days, consumers are inundated with marketing emails. Every business you interact with wants your email address, and every one of them is doing their best to make sure that their email will be one of the lucky few that recipients actually open. With all the competition, it’s more and more difficult to make an impact.

However, email marketing is still an extremely powerful tool for ecommerce sellers.  But with the average person receiving 88 emails each day, you need to do something special if you want your clients’ emails to be opened and engaged with.

We’ve put together a collection of six great email marketing campaign ideas that can help take your marketing efforts to the next level. In addition to being effective strategies for increasing your client’s ROI, these campaigns represent great opportunities to upsell or expand your service offerings to your clients. Moving beyond standard newsletter marketing will ultimately help your clients get more value from their ecommerce stores, while demonstrating your value as a marketer and helping you build long-term client relationships.

1. “How to use your new purchase” emails

email marketing campaign: new purchaseA huge missed opportunity for many online retailers is the gap between customers placing an order and actually receiving what they’ve bought. The perfect time to build hype for the product is when someone is waiting for an anticipated purchase to arrive. A well-timed email here can make the customer feel good about their purchase decision, and increase the chances of them having a positive experience with the product when it arrives.

“The perfect time to build hype for the product is when someone is waiting for an anticipated purchase to arrive.”

At a marketing conference I attended last year, one of the speakers talked about purchasing a high-end espresso machine, and receiving an email from the company suggesting he clear a space on the kitchen counter for it ahead of time. He cleared the space, and got more excited about his new espresso machine every time he walked through his kitchen.

This exact approach won’t work for every company — the kind of email you’ll send here depends on the kind of product and the kind of company you’re representing. The key is to get the customer to take some kind of action or consume some specialized content that is designed to reinforce the good feelings they have about their purchase.

Subject: Congratulations on your purchase of a straight razor!

Hi Bob,

First, I’d like to thank you for purchasing a straight razor from Shaving.com. You’re becoming an elite member of a community devoted to the finer things in life. We can’t wait for you to shave with your razor for the first time, and we hope you’re as excited as we are!

Now, since many of our customers are purchasing their very first straight razor, we’ve put together a guide for the proper usage and care of your razor. You can watch the video on our website, but here are a few of the most important highlights:

  • Don’t store your razor in the bathroom. The humidity is bad for it, and will reduce its effective lifespan. Traditionally, sock drawers have been a common home for straight razors.
  • Be careful to only put the razor away dry. It’s a good practice to wipe the blade dry, then apply a small amount of oil to keep it in good condition.
  • Be very careful not to bang or tap the razor on the edge of your sink or on fixtures, or you’ll dull or nick the edge. The less frequently you need to sharpen your razor, the longer it will last.

With proper care, your new straight razor will last a lifetime. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me. Congratulations again!

Best,

Harry

Shaving.com

This technique can be especially effective with more expensive or complex purchases. A single email before the product arrives can help reduce customer frustration and eliminate customer service issues, by setting customers up to succeed when they finally get their hands on their purchases.

2. Abandoned cart emails

email marketing campaign: abandoned cartApps make it easy to identify and contact customers who have initiated a purchase but then abandoned their carts before finishing the transaction. As a marketer, abandoned cart emails can be an extremely effective way to reconnect with consumers and remind them of why they were interested in buying from your client in the first place.

Abandoned cart emails are an especially good opportunity to lean heavily on the brand voice. This kind of marketing messaging represents a kind of “Hail Mary” pass as your last chance to capture potential customers before they disappear. These emails should really capture the spirit of the brand because if you can get the recipient to feel a connection with the company you’re representing, they’ll be much more likely to come back and complete the purchase.

Subject: Did you forget something?

Hi Emily,

I couldn’t help but notice that you added an item to your shopping cart here at GameStore.com, but then left before completing the transaction. I feel like I rolled a critical failure on my customer service check!

I get it. You’re a busy person, and things come up! Or maybe you were wearing your Ring of Resistance to Great Deals on Gaming Accessories, and decided you didn’t want to buy what you had in your cart after all.

But either way, I wanted you to know that I’ve saved the item in your cart for you, just in case you were intending to come back. You can access it by clicking here.

See you around the gaming table!

Thanks,

Aubrey

GameStore.com

There are many effective ways to write abandoned cart emails, and the best option in any particular case will depend on what kind of brand you’re representing. Some brands will work well with funny or irreverent messaging, while it may be more appropriate for others to be more serious. Whatever messaging you decide on, though, remember that your goal is to make a strong impact on the recipients so you can bring them back.

3. VIP outreach emails

email marketing campaign: vipThere are few things that people enjoy more than being told that they’re special. If you reach out to your clients’ best customers, tell them that they’re the best customers, and offer them special deals as a reward — most will be flattered. And more importantly, they’ll be much more likely to pay attention than if you just sent them an email about a sale.

Personally, I fall for this one every time. If I get an email with a subject line saying something like “Thanks,” I’m way more likely to open it. Then, if I see I’m being rewarded for being a loyal customer with some kind of special discount, I’m almost definitely going to go out of my way to take advantage of that. Contrast that with the dozens of emails offering deals of the week that I get every day, that I never even open.

Subject: You’re the best!

Hi Calum,

I was just going through some records and discovered that over the past year, you’ve spent more in our store than 80% of our customers.

I want to personally thank you so much for sticking with us! Customers like you are the reason we’re in business. In order to show my appreciation for your loyalty over the last year, I’d like to offer you a 30% discount on any pet food item in our store. Just enter the coupon code VIP2017 at checkout!

Thanks again, and here’s to another year together!

Regards,

Floyd

CoolStore.com

This strategy requires that you track your clients’ analytics, but this is something you should be doing anyway. Letting customers know that you value their business can have a huge payoff — I’m definitely not the only person who’s a sucker for this approach.

4. Emails to reconnect with lapsed customers

email marketing campaign: reconnectThe flip side of VIP outreach is trying to reconnect with former loyal customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while. Reaching out to customers with a special offer that says, “Hey, we missed you,” is a great way to get their attention. It’s also a great way to remind former customers of why they once spent so much money with your client.

Just like the VIP outreach emails, you want to include some kind of very special offer when you’re trying to reconnect with lapsed customers. It’s likely that many of the people in this category have been receiving your regular marketing emails and are ignoring them. If you want these people to start making purchases again, you need to make it worth their time.

Subject: Haven’t seen you in a while

Hi Dawn,

It’s been a long time since you’ve made a purchase at Johnny’s Mixed Nut Emporium. I hope it wasn’t something we did. I want you to know how much we valued your business, and I’d like to extend a special offer to you. If you’d like to come back, we can offer you a box of our Premium Mix for 30% off.

This discount isn’t available to the general public. I’m only extending this offer to you because you were such a valuable customer for so long, and I want to make sure that you understand how much we miss you.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or any concerns about the service you’ve received in the past.

Thanks for being our customer,

Johnny

Remember, this person likely stopped buying from your client for a reason, even if it was just price-related. A gentle, conciliatory approach is often best when reaching out to people in this category.

5. Influencer outreach emails

email marketing campaign: influencerHere’s a tip that isn’t about reaching out to customers directly — instead, this strategy is about connecting with an influencer (someone with a large online audience) who hopefully will be willing to be an evangelist for your product.

It’s important to keep in mind that the internet is full of people talking about “the power of influencer marketing,” and anyone who has any kind of audience is regularly getting dozens of emails from marketers asking them to check out one product or another. If you’re hoping to piggyback on an influencer’s audience, you won’t find much success with a generic approach.

A popular genre of comedy on Twitter is journalists and other public figures posting screenshots of wildly inappropriate marketing emails. One of my faves was a Google employee posting an automated marketing message from an “SEO expert” that said something along the lines of, “I’ve identified several SEO problems with your website, google.com, that is keeping it from ranking as well as it could.”

You don’t want your clients to be mocked this way, so be careful about who you’re sending emails to and what you’re saying to them.

Subject: Want to see a better fidget spinner?

Hi Aiden,

I’m a big fan of your YouTube channel — your latest video about the new Taylor Swift single cracked me up!

I noticed you’ve been tweeting a lot for the last few days about fidget spinners. I thought you might be interested in the new Fidgetless Spinner that some friends of mine are working on. It’s a self-spinning fidget spinner that frees your hands up to flip bottles, dab, or do anything else. I’d be happy to send you one to check out!

Let me know if you’re interested, and thanks for all the great YouTube content.

Take care,

Felicia

The key to actually succeeding when reaching out to influencers is to write a custom email for each person you want to contact. Make it obvious you actually know who they are and what they do, and make sure you have a good rationale for why you’re sending them this email.

Have they expressed interest in companies like your client in the past? Do you know they already use a similar but inferior product? Be human, and don’t be their fifth form email today with a [first.name] personalization tag still visible in the copy.

6. Re-engagement campaigns

email marketing campaign: reengagementFor email marketing campaigns, average open rates range between about 15 percent and 25 percent. That means that, at best, 75 percent of your subscriber lists are ignoring any given email. Re-engagement campaigns are designed to connect with these subscribers who are on your lists but who rarely, or never, engage with what you send them.

If your clients have a large number of subscribers in their email lists, a re-engagement campaign offers a chance to tap into this potentially huge audience. Even managing to connect with 5 percent of your unengaged subscribers can represent a very significant increase in the return on your email campaigns.

Subject: Where have you been?

Hi Laura,

We’ve noticed that you haven’t been around much recently. We get it — sometimes we all feel like we need some distance.

But since you’ve been away, you probably haven’t seen all the cool new stuff we’ve been up to lately! If you have a few minutes, come check out the site and see what we’ve done with the place. And while you’re there, take a look through the store, because we’ve added a $10 credit to your account that you can spend however you like.

If you have any feedback about the changes to our website or our products, please feel free to drop me a line. I’m always happy to hear from long-time subscribers like you!

Best,

Filmore

If they’ve been ignoring your emails for a long time, it will take something special to get them to notice you now, and the subject line is especially important. This is a time when you need to be bold with your copy — and since these are people who aren’t interacting with your marketing attempts anyway, you have very little to lose.

Connect with customers

Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect with consumers, but you need to do something to stand out above all the marketing noise that most people receive. The best way to do this is by using the data you’ve collected about your clients’ customers to create offers that actually appeal to them.

The email ideas listed in this post can have a huge impact on the return you can get from your ecommerce store, a little creative thinking combined with a strong email list is sometimes all you need to make a really big difference.

Need some help implementing a comprehensive email marketing strategy and automate your sales? Talk to us today

Canva: Design made easy.

Canva: Design made easy.

If your brain freaks out at the thought of creating graphics in complicated programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator, then Canva may be your answer.
It enables you to create beautiful posters, invitations, infographics, cards, website graphics, facebook ads or cover photos & even multiple-page presentations.

Canva is an Australian-made graphic design service that takes the headaches out of designing. All you have to do is choose one of the available templates or start from a custom-sized blank canvas. You then use the Layouts and Background tabs to get a rough idea of what you want to design. These tabs are chock-full of options to choose from, whether you want a complete template or just a nice background to build on.

Canva revolves entirely around intuitive controls such as drag-and-drop – so adding, removing, and editing elements on your canvas is simple and straightforward.. and actually fun!

While many Canva elements are completely free to use, some images you’ll see on search results are Premium, and will cost you $1 per image once you download your design. You can, however, easily upload you own photos or graphics, so while Canva’s Premium options are certainly tempting, they’re not a must.

After signing up to the Canva Newsletter, you’ll also get access to some great tutorials to help you master certain techniques, and learn new skills. If you’d prefer not to sign up, you can just check out their blog which is regularly updated with tricks and tips to help you on your way. They are consistently updating to add more templates and functions. It’s really not as daunting as you think!

Check out some introductory videos here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEDLeLo3HNQZiJOTR2svg2A

The Canva Blog: https://blog.canva.com

And if you’re still a bit confused about how to get started, get in touch – we’re more than happy to help.

Instagram now integrated with Shopify

Instagram now integrated with Shopify

A super engaged user base and product-friendly feeds have made Instagram a highly anticipated sales channel for Shopify merchants.

Last year, Shopify began testing the ability for US merchants to tag products in their Instagram posts for the holiday shopping season. Today, shopping on Instagram is expanding internationally to businesses in the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Brazil.

Now, you can simplify the shopping experience on Instagram by allowing your audience to learn more about your products with a single tap, taking users directly to your Shopify store to make a purchase.

For more info see the Shopify blog post

if youd like assistance implementing this awesome new feature in your Shopify store call us on 1300 859 805 or contact us via our website!

Will get an example up and running shortly to show you guys how it looks / works.

Awesome news!

5 Content types to boost ecommerce

5 Content types to boost ecommerce

In our busy and bustling online world, you want fans, customers, and prospects to be able to find your company, and ultimately purchase your products. However, it can be tough to gain visibility in today’s noisy ecosystem.

Most ecommerce businesses bet on paid advertising, email marketing, and social media to boost traffic and sales. These channels are essential, but they’re not complete without the content that fuels them.

Publishing relevant content that provides value to your audience helps you connect with them, ultimately making your marketing efforts more effective. 

Here are 5 different ways you can use content to boost your ecommerce marketing strategy.

1. Turn to video

It’s no secret that people love watching videos. After all, videos provide a great deal of content in a short amount of time compared with text.

Today, video accounts for 74% of all online traffic, according to a report from Kleiner Perkins Partners. And, according to Recode, videos on Facebook are watched for roughly 100 million hours each day.

When it comes to marketing ecommerce businesses, there are certain types of videos that resonate. Here are three types to try:

  • Product videos – According to econsultancy, 96% of today’s consumers find videos helpful when making an online purchase. A product video gives you the opportunity to show your product in action, painting a helpful picture for your audience.
  • How-to videos – Searches with the keyword “how to” on YouTube are growing 70% year over year, according to Search Engine Land. It’s obvious why– internet users frequently search for videos to help them find the best products or complete tasks.
  • Emotional videos – When you’re able to reach someone’s emotional core, you have a better chance of compelling them to buy your products. That’s why videos with a deliberate goal to stir emotions perform so well.

2. Create custom images

Ecommerce businesses sell products, and promoting these products via images is especially important. Whether you are promoting products, launching a campaign, or looking for attention on social media, great images are your best bet.

The thing is, you have to create images that connect with your audience and serve your brand. That often means creating custom images, rather than relying on placeholder stock photos.

These custom images can be used all over the web– from your email marketing efforts to your blog posts, to your landing pages, to your social media sites.

3. Leverage user-generated content (UGC)

When it comes down to it, people trust other people more than they trust brands or advertisements– 71% of consumers feel that reviews by other customers make them more comfortable making a purchase decision, while 82% of consumers find user-generated reviews extremely valuable.

User-generated content (UGC), offers you the opportunity to leverage what your audience is already saying. Exploring UGC helps to increase engagement with your audience, gain an understanding of your customers, and help with your SEO efforts.

Let’s have a look into various types of user generated content you can harness for your ecommerce business.

  • Product ratings and reviews – Product ratings and reviews work as social proof. Reviews create a sense of trust which boosts customer’s confidence. Customer reviews with user-generated photos allow shoppers to connect on a personal level and imagine themselves using your product.
  • Questions and answers: A questions and answers on your product pages can add immense value. Having an option to ask questions enable visitors to ask for any missing info and your published answers will not only serve the visitor who asked for it but all your future visitors.
  • Social media posts: For an ecommerce business, social media is a very efficient channel for engagement. If you don’t have an active audience already on social media, your UGC campaign may not take off on its own.

Pro tip:If your audience isn’t creating content on their own, you can encourage them to share their thoughts about your products on social media. Some ecommerce retailers provide a coupon code or or blog feature in exchange for an honest review.

4. Create blog posts for your audience

While video content is a trending topic, written content still plays a big role in ecommerce marketing strategies.

After all, the written word allows for nuance and elaboration. Plus, the ability to communicate detailed information at a pace determined by the readers makes written content a natural fit for instructional materials.

If you have a blog, ensure it is hosted on your website or ecommerce site for the best SEO benefit.

Wrap up

We’ve shared 4 different ways you can use content to boost your ecommerce marketing strategy. Remember, content works best when it’s highly relevant and targeted for your consumers so try different types and formats and see what works best for different channels. When you find what works, do more of it.

Shopify checkout on your own domain

Shopify checkout on your own domain

By the end of July, customers on your Shopify store will no longer be directed to checkout.shopify.com to complete their purchase. Instead, their entire shopping experience—from homepage to checkout—will take place on your domain. No more domain switching.

Seeing your branded domain at checkout, coupled with the free SSL certificate Shopify provides all merchants, will give your customers the confidence they need to tap that buy button again and again.

Checkout on your own domain is free for all merchants and will be activated automatically—no setup required. The checkout is one of the most important parts of your store, and now it belongs to you.

This is great news for our Shopify clients, read more about this new feature here

Thinking of starting up with the worlds leading online store platform? We recently achieved the much coveted certification of Shopify Expert, coupled with 10+ years of online retail experience we are well placed to assist. Talk to us today about your online store project.

 

 

Shopify to offer eBay sales channel

Shopify to offer eBay sales channel

Shopify has another sales channel, in addition to its existing avenues including Amazon, Facebook, BuzzFeed, Pinterest and more. The latest addition is eBay, which hosts a large audience of potential customers, giving Shopify store owners one more opportunity to get their wares in front of folks.

The new Shopify integration with eBay will include immediate syncing of inventory info, including product title and description, price, and specific item details. The orders made on eBay will also be imported directly to Shopify for fulfilment, as will messages from eBay buyers sent via that platform, meaning you can truly manage all of your eBay-based commerce from one central location alongside your other channels on the merchant side.

This new channel isn’t going live immediately: Shopify says it expects the eBay integration to go live this fall, with availability rolling out to U.S. merchants selling within the country at first. Still, it’s something to look forward to and prepare for among merchants, since it does represent a potential new audience of up to 169 million active shoppers, according to eBay’s numbers.

Shopify says that more than 60 percent of the merchants on its platform sell in at least two different channels, and as it continues to build on its centralized sales hub strategy that’s likely to grow. This is one of Shopify’s biggest strengths as a company – rather than focus on its own boutique storefronts exclusively, it’s turning its potential competitors into partners with a marketplace of marketplaces model ideal for an era where ecommerce is growing rapidly.

Article from Tech Crunch

 

 

Altitude Eco Village

Altitude Eco Village

Altitude Eco village is an exciting residential development in Northern NSW. As one of Australia’s most innovative, new sustainable living communities, an impressive website was required to present the concept and inform the public of this new development. It needed to produce sales leads via a number of channels and send them to the team.

Following a detailed research and development process, Nextwave delivered a visually stunning website that’s easy to use and easy for the client to update as the project proceeds.

The website presents all aspects of the development from 3D renders, floorplans, and interactive area maps through to grant information, local area info and more.

The website also utilises a number of lead generating techniques and has become a major sales tool in Altitude’s marketing arsenal. We continue to be involved in this exciting development providing ongoing digital marketing services.

View the website!

 

Even busy restaurants need a web presence

Even busy restaurants need a web presence

Even a busy restaurant needs a web presence! There are a number of ways the web can be leveraged to improve communication for a better customer experience as well as boosting sales and refining processes.

As a busy new restaurant The Mez Club wanted to capture their brand online. We designed and implemented a stunning website that not only presented the concept, menus, functions and more, but also refined and improved their back of house operations. We listened to the owners pain points and found the booking of functions, and deposit payments was taking far too much time and was overcomplicated.

So we integrated a custom solution for taking online payments for functions and bar tabs, as well as introducing online gift cards for ourcahse via the website. Early days but the work Nextwave delivered on this project is a great success, creating interest, presenting the brand ad saving hours per week in admin time.

Talk to us today about how we can help your restaurant or service based business harness the internet & digital technology..

 

Visit the website

 

Email Marketing Campaign Checklist

Have you experienced that moment of dread when you discover an error in your email marketing campaigns? Or do you hover over the send button for what seems like hours wondering what you may have forgotten?

This is what we like to call ‘Sendphobia’ and it’s something many marketers have experienced.

However, by having a rock solid email signoff process in place you can eliminate errors and rid yourself of ‘Sendphobia’ forever.

 

What is an email sign off process?

An email sign off process defines the stages an email campaign goes through to ensure it is error-free and approved by all relevant people in your organisation.

It is made up of two critical parts: A map of the approval process and a campaign checklist.

For instance, we have a flow chart which lays out the whole email process from briefing the email through to post-campaign reporting. We don’t look at it every time we send email out, but it is there and it is defined. It’s useful to show new people who become a part of your working group as it will help them understand their place in the process flow.

We also use a campaign sign off checklist which we apply to every campaign. This specifies the person responsible for signing off their part of the email and confirms that you’ve also completed some pre-send tasks.

 

Why do we need an email sign off process?

In short, to avoid situations like this….

“I sent an email wrong, then sent it wrong again. To 700K. That was a bad day”
“I sent the wrong email to about 3500 subscribers in my second week on the job… Doh”
“I remember once sending an email to myself 25,000 times.”

However, it isn’t just about avoiding mistakes either.

An email sign off process is also really useful for setting the team’s expectations – what do they have to sign off (Is the information about a product correct? Do they approve the design?) and when are they expected to deliver their sign off by?

Chances are you’ve got a specific date you want your campaign to be sent by and anyone delaying on their feedback can disrupt that. Making people aware of not just their responsibilities but everyone else’s too increases awareness of the process and keeps the momentum going.

 

Building your own email sign off process

Step 1: Work out who needs to give approval

The first step in building your own email sign off process is working out who needs to give approval.

This is going to be different for every organisation and can even differ between different types of email campaigns (new product announcements versus new blog post emails for instance), so you’ll definitely need to customise this to suit your organization’s unique attributes.

A few questions to answer though:

  • Who needs to sign off on design and client compatibility?
  • Who needs to sign off on correct product information?
  • Who needs to sign off on legal requirements?
  • Who needs to sign off on spelling, grammar & links?
  • Does senior management need to sign off before sending?

Once you’ve worked out who is responsible for approval across different areas, it’s time to focus on defining exactly what checks each person needs to do.

 

Step 2: Work out what needs to be checked

Once you’ve worked out who is involved in the approval process, it helps to define what each person is responsible for checking.

Not only does this help to reduce errors in your campaigns, but it will speed up the approval process by making sure people only comment on the areas they are supposed to.

I’ve had situations in previous roles where campaigns took days to get approval because everybody wants to have their opinion on the color of the heading or the positioning of the image. By defining what people are in charge of checking, you put boundaries in place that prevents fruitless arguments.

Again, this is going to differ for your organisation and even between campaign types, but here’s a few ideas for ‘checks’ to include in your checklist:

  • Is this email being sent to the correct list & segment?
  • Has the ‘From’ name been checked and from a recognisable name?
  • Has a working ‘Reply To’ address been set?
  • Does it look as expected across desktop clients (Outlook, Postbox, etc)
  • Does it look as expected on mobile devices?
  • Does it include a working Unsubscribe link?
  • Are all product descriptions accurate?
  • Are sizing options correct?
  • Is product/stock availability correct?
  • Is the email subject line free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Is the email preheader free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Have you setup appropriate fallbacks for any personalisation tags used?
  • Is the email copy free of spelling errors?
  • Is the email copy free of grammatical errors?
  • Is there a plain text version of this email?
  • Is the plan text version free from spelling, grammar or information errors?
  • Do all links lead to the correct place?
  • Do all buttons link to the correct place?
  • Are all images linked and leading to the correct place?
  • Do all images have explanatory Alt text for when images are blocked?

Once you have worked out who is responsible for approvals and worked out all the checks each person needs to perform, then it’s time to build your Campaign Checklist.

 

Step 3: Build your campaign checklist

Now that you have defined who is responsible for approvals and what checks they need to perform, you can build it into a useable spreadsheet.

 

Step 4: Start using your checklist

Now that you’ve built a great email campaign checklist, it’s time to start using it to make sure your campaigns are free from errors.

While everybody’s email sending process is different and you can use it however you like, one of the best things to do is simply run through the checklist right before sending as this will ensure everything is ticked off before you hit the point of no return.

Here are a few tips for using your fancy new campaign checklist:

  • Use Google Docs – If your organisation allows, use the Google Docs version. It allows multiple people to be working on the one centralised document at the same time and keeps a record of all changes made, including who wrote what and at what time. That way, if something ever goes wrong you’ll know exactly who approved it and when.
  • Keep the document as an audit trail – Always keep the checklist in your company’s file system in case you or anybody else needs to refer back to it later.

 

In conclusion

Sendphobia can definitely be scary, but by building a campaign sign off process specific to your organisation and running through it each time you send an email marketing campaign, you can help prevent errors and actually make sending campaigns an exciting and enjoyable experience that drives business results.

So get your campaign checklist template in either Google Docs or Excel format and start using it within your organisation today.

Talk to us for assistance with email marketing


Facebook retargeting 101

Not every visitor to an ecommerce site converts, and not every customer comes back to buy more. But, don’t fret, with remarketing on Facebook there’s a way to get more sales for little cost.

Facebook remarketing is fantastic, and critical, for ecommerce businesses. With Facebook remarketing, you can show relevant messaging to those who are familiar with your site — be it website visitors, email list members, or combination of both. You’ll pay a low cost-per-acquisition — think five times lower — than other remarketing options. And the ad can stay up all the time. If I could only pick one medium to remarket with, it would be Facebook, hands down.

Better yet, on Facebook you can add targeted interest and demographic data. If you know your customers are likely fans of IKEA, for example, you can add that targeting on top of your site visitors, since it’s Facebook. Again, the power of Facebook amplifies the targeting abilities you have, especially with remarketing.

Setting Up Facebook Remarketing

We will assume that you have the Facebook pixel added to your site, which you can easily do with Google Tag Manager, and that you’re familiar with how to set up a custom audience on Facebook.

For a custom audience, choose to target people who visited your site up from as little as 1 day ago, to as many as 180 days.

Creating a custom audience for your website visitors is the first step.

Let’s leave the audience at 180 days and call it “All Site Visitors.”

Now that you’ve created your audience, go ahead and create your ads. Go to Ads.facebook.com and click on the green “Create Ad.” You’ll see a list of objectives. For this example, we’ll select “Increase conversions on your website.”

After creating your audience, create your ads and objectives.

Enter your site’s URL, and choose the conversion you want to track. For this example, let’s track the sale conversion. Click “Continue” and move to set up your targeting.

First, a primer of what to prepare for in terms of pixels. If you have a custom audience pixel, that is the only pixel you’ll need for your site. You can now push events like cart additions, email signups, and even purchases (with values) through the custom audience pixel. It’s a move by Facebook to help speed up pixel firing, reduce page clutter, and to learn more about the websites it is sending traffic to. We still use a conversion pixel but if you’re just getting set up, use a custom-audience-pixel-only installation.

After you hit continue, the ad set targeting options will appear. Add the website custom audience we made. Simply search for “All Web Site” and it should appear. Select it, and you’ll see the audience definition meter change to “Your audience is defined.”

We’re at a crossroads now. You can choose to leave the targeting as is, with just site visitors, the default age, and country. If you want to cast a broad net, this is fine. But a better option is to look at your Facebook page insights to adjust the demographics, as well as your internal data, to add some interests.

Now let’s set up pricing.

You can set the budget at whatever you’d like, but use at least $15 to $20 per day if you want some traction. When it comes to “Optimize For,” leave it on “Website Conversions” and let Facebook choose the bid. If you find your campaign is not delivering, set the bids manually. If that doesn’t work, you can always bid for clicks.

Don’t gloss over the ads. Get creative! Try carousel ads: they’re fantastic for multiple products. Or try a single image spread across.

Once everything looks good, click the green “Place Order” button at the bottom right, and that’s it. You’ve now created a Facebook remarking campaign. It will absolutely pay off.

But remember, you still need to add UTM tags. Head into Facebook’s power editor: Go all the way to the ads you just created, click edit, and scroll down to “Tracking.” Add your UTM code in the “URL tags” section like below, and you’ll be good to go.

While it should be done in moderation and with enough actionable data, you should always test ads, adjust the targeting, change the bids, and more. I’ll often run multiple retargeting campaigns with different ads and targeting settings that operate exclusively of each other, just to get results faster. Remember to stay active with your campaign and never “set it and forget it.”

Talk to us today if you need some assistance with Facebook retargeting.

6 ideas to market your online store

If you’re tired of reading articles and blog posts that seem more appropriate for enterprise class ecommerce websites backed by an unlimited marketing budget, this post is for you!

Lots of ecommerce businesses out there are smaller operators. Marketing can be hugely expensive, but in this post we look at six inexpensive ways to market a niche ecommerce store to potential customers.

Post on enthusiast forums

It depends on how big your niche happens to be, but most industries have a “go to” web forum, where enthusiasts discuss and pick apart their hobby. Such forums are a great place to spend time posting – especially if you can put a link back to your ecommerce website in your forum signature.

Of course do NOT just spam your store offerings, you will be quickly banned. However, with the right approach, you may find a wealth of feedback and interest.

Contribute meaningful insight in debates and discussions, and actually add value to the community – you will be surprised by the reciprocation.

By posting on enthusiast forums directly related to your niche, you can put your website right in front of people who are active buyers in your industry – which is right where you need to be!

Sell on multiple channels

Some people see multichannel selling on eBay and Etsy as a standalone business model. Others see it as a handy source of extra sales to complement their own website. Still others find that additional sales channels reduce overall risk for their business.

All of these are viable strategies!

There’s also a group of people who see it as a marketing exercise – selling at a small profit, break even or a loss, just to have the opportunity to market their website to active buyers in a particular niche or industry.

But how can you do that if Amazon, eBay, or Etsy technically “own” the customer?

Lots of sellers include post cards or flyers in their shipments, offering buyers a discount in return for visiting the seller’s website directly. This method has proven to be hugely effective for sellers across many different industries, and depending on the volume of sales you achieve through third party marketplaces, it can be a quick way to kick start sales on your own website.

It’s up to you to decide how much of a loss you make – or whether every sale must be profitable. In most cases, however, sales can be made if you want them hard enough, so there’s a balancing act to be perfected.

Advertise in trade publications

Lots of industries have trade publications and journals. Whether it’s a model railway magazine, or a remote control boat publication – there are lots of niche publications out there catering for very specific interests.

Because these publications don’t have circulation figures that run into the millions, they’re often fairly cheap to buy print media!

Identify publications that relate directly to your ecommerce store and see how much it’ll set you back to advertise in them. It varies on a niche by niche basis, but I’m willing to bet that you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the cost! Don’t forget that buying at a full rate card rate is not the done thing – always be willing to negotiate hard with advertising execs for the very best deal. Ask them to get back to you when they need to fill some spots close to print time. At the end of the day, any money saved can be spent elsewhere on the business – that money’s better off in your pocket than elsewhere.

Send samples to niche blogs

 Another great way to get people talking about your website and to make sales is to identify niche bloggers and send them samples.

It’s not a particularly fast exercise – getting bloggers to write reviews can take a lot of chasing.

It’s not cheap, either – when you consider the cost of the goods you’re sending out for free, and the shipping costs.

The way to view it is “if I send one sample to this person and it leads to ten sales, I’ve made money! If not, at least I tried.”

Of course not every sample you send out will lead to ten sales, but it’s a good way to rationalize what you’re doing. Even the biggest companies use a network of trusted bloggers to sample and review their latest products.

As the internet evolves and we move further away from traditional media like newspapers, blogs continue to increase in popularity – with more readers comes more influence, and that’s why you should consider sending sample products to blogger in your industry.

Send email newsletters

Sending regular email newsletters to prospects or existing customers can be a great way to remind people you exist – and that you’re there if they need to buy X, Y or Z.

Email marketing when done incorrectly is a big annoyance. It’s easy to tell if you’re becoming an annoyance, just look at the unsubscribe stats for your email lists. If you’re losing more subscribers than you’re gaining then you know you’re doing something wrong.

Some people will tell you that for every 10 emails you send, one should be marketing while the other nine should be building a rapport with the customer. I don’t agree with this, and I believe that all 10 emails can be marketing emails – but they must contain outstanding deals and special offers.

You can’t just try and flog old lines of stock that you know are unpopular. If you put popular products and brands on special offer then email everyone to let them know, you can expect to make some great sales.

Bring your visitors back!

I was in two minds about mentioning retargeting here, but I think it’s super important.
After driving visitors from blogs, forums, magazines and so on, you can drive those super targeted individuals back to your site using retargeting platforms such as AdRoll. Retargeting has different levels of effectiveness based on several factors.

You can also use Facebook Ads to hit people where they feel more comfortable, and are spending their casual time. Facebook makes it easy to re-engage visitors to your website with just a tiny bit of work!

If you’re using dynamic retargeting, for example, you’ll see a much better click-thru rate (and conversion rate) when compared to boring old static display ads.

The great thing about retargeting is that it won’t cost the earth. You can start out with just $100 or so in budget and see great results if you get your campaign launch right. Most retargeting platforms have coupon codes for new customers, too – so why not test retargeting and let the network pick up the tab for you?

You can market a niche ecommerce store without a massive budget – all it takes is a proactive, hands-on approach to marketing, and you can save a lot of money while making lots of sales.

If you need some help implmenting these ideas, talk to us today.

Geting started with Facebook ads

Geting started with Facebook ads

Facebook ads are the rage lately — and for good reason. If you can supply at least a few valuable targeting components of your prospective customers, Facebook can do the rest and start delivering on your objective.

But consider this word of caution: The results from Facebook might not come instantly. It may take several attempts at a customer model, interest targets, or even changing the design of your site. Keep trying. With perseverance, you can achieve great results with Facebook ads.

Getting Started with Facebook Ads

So, where do you start? When you create your campaign, you’ll see ten different types of campaigns to run. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s often said that providing too many choices can confuse someone from finding the simplest option.

In this post, I’ll help you cut through what you really need. The campaign you want will depend on your end goal. Most ecommerce merchants are presumably after one thing: more sales.

For more sales, choose “Increase conversions on your website.” Before you get started with this goal, however, you’ll need either a Facebook conversion pixel installed, or a Facebook custom audience pixel with a custom event for a conversion.

For this campaign type, I’ll assume you have Facebook conversion tracking installed.

When you select the “Increase conversions on your website” option, you’ll have to enter your website URL, and choose that objective. Remember, make sure this is the pixel of the event you want people to complete, because Facebook will try to complete that. For this example, I’m choosing Sale.

I’ll skip everything else and go straight to the bidding section. There are four options: Website Conversions, Clicks, Daily Unique Reach, and Impressions.

This is important. Always start with optimizing for your goal, in this case “Website Conversions.” Ads optimized for website conversions that drive results work for a reason. They give users a reason to come back to Facebook, since Facebook is showing them a product they want. Facebook will show these ads first.

Because of this value-proposition of sorts, you’ll always pay the lowest for your conversion. However, if you fail to honor that value-proposition, or if Facebook thinks you aren’t honoring it, the gravy train will end, and getting it started again can be next to impossible.

Start with a Smaller Audience

Starting off, you’ll want a small audience, around 100,000 users. This is good for multiple reasons. It lets you segment your users into test groups, helping you to see who performs better. You might not think that a 5-year age difference among males matters, but it could be a $100 difference in your cost per acquisition.

If you think you’ve exhausted your audience and you want to scale up, be careful. When Facebook starts looking for users likely to convert, the greater number of users increases the number of possible negative matches, which will hurt Facebook’s ability to find legitimate prospects. And time is important to Website Conversion campaigns. If the ads don’t start delivering conversions quickly, it’s a sign to Facebook that perhaps your ad isn’t worthy of that objective.

Finally, feedback is critical to the continued success of the campaign. If you get a large amount of negative feedback, such as people saying they don’t want to see your post, this can also hurt your delivery.

If you can’t initially get a Website Conversion campaign off the ground, don’t worry. It happens to all of us. Some industries or products just don’t work well for that objective. If you can’t make it work, consider optimizing for Clicks. Click campaigns will almost always show on Facebook; you just have watch your bids like an eagle.

Pricing Facebook Ads

When it comes to pricing, for all campaigns you have two choices: automatic (get the most website conversions at the best price) or manual.

Give automatic a try first. If you don’t see traffic, switch to manual. Facebook will always suggest a bid. I typically bid a little above what it says. For example, if it says $10.00, I’ll try $15.00.

And that’s it. There is mystery around the website conversion optimization, which makes it a trial-and-error process. While some of the above tactics may work for you, they might not work for someone else. I’ve had campaigns with large audiences work well, and others not. I’ve had high bids work well and low bids work well — on the same audience! The success of a campaign may appear to have no rhyme or reason when compared to others. But stick to it. In time, you’ll find a setup that works for you.

Are you currently bidding with the website conversions objective? Is it working for you? I’d love to hear your experiences with it.

How brick-and-mortar businesses can build a customer email list

How brick-and-mortar businesses can build a customer email list

As a brick-and-mortar business, do you find it difficult to collect your customers email addresses and build a list?

Just because your business is largely run offline, it doesn’t mean you can’t get a ton of value from building a customer email list.In this post, we’ll walk through why it’s important for brick-and-mortar businesses to collect customer email addresses and outline a 2-part formula that will help you build a massive email list that increases your revenue.

Why brick-and-mortar businesses need to build an email list

There are a number of reasons who brick-and-mortar business would benefit from building their email list:

Your customers use email

While it might seem like everyone is on Facebook and Twitter these days, there’s a good chance a higher percentage of your customers have email addresses over Facebook & Twitter accounts.

In fact, while Facebook claims to have over 1.35 billion users and Twitter has over 270 million users, research shows there are more than 4 billion email accounts worldwide, meaning email has a reach 3x greater than Facebook and 15x greater than Twitter.

This is particularly true if your customers are generally a little bit older.

Statistics show that while Facebook has a high adoption rate amongst 18-24 year olds (89% of internet users in this age bracket) it’s gets significantly lower in the older age brackets, with only 65% of internet users between 50 and 65 years old using Facebook (and less than 50% of internet users over the age of 50 using it).

Regardless of which way you cut the data, more of your customers are using email than they are using Facebook & Twitter combined so it’s a much better way to reach them.

It’s the most effective marketing medium on the planet

According to a recent study by VentureBeat email has the highest ROI of any marketing channel available, beating out social media, paid search, TV and radio among others.

This is particularly true when comparing it to social networks like Twitter. The average tweet has a click-through rate of around 0.5%, while the average email has an end click-through rate of around 3%.

This means you are 6x more likely to get a click back to your website from email than from Twitter.

In fact, influential marketing blogger Derek Halpern ran a test where he sent an offer (in his case, a blog post) to the same number of people via both email and Twitter. Here are the results:

  • 300 people clicked through to the blog post from Twitter
  • 4,200 people clicked through to the blog post from email

For business owners like you, this makes a huge difference to how many people you manage to get through the front door and purchasing your products and services.

You own and control your email list

Building a follower base on social media networks is kind of like renovating a rented house.

It may be all good and enjoyable for a while but eventually the rules will change, and because you don’t own the house, there isn’t much you can do about it.

The perfect example of this is Facebook continuing to restrict the amount of followers a brand’s post can reach in an attempt to drive people to their paid advertising options.

Analysis from advertising agency Ogilvy showed organic reach was at 6% (a decline of 49% from peak levels in October), meaning that every time you post a status update on Facebook for a new product you have in stock or a new promotion or sale you’re running, less than 6% of your followers will see it.

Email on the contrary is an open platform that no one organization controls. When you send an email campaign, there is no master algorithm limiting how many people will actually receive your campaign.

Similarly, if you read the terms and conditions of most social networks, you don’t own any information about the followers you’ve amassed. If you decide to leave Facebook because LinkedIn is a better platform for your business, you can’t take those followers with you, you have to start again from scratch.

On the other hand, if you wanted to switch email providers (to Nextwave Mailer for instance), you can export your email list from the previous provider and import it to the new one. You own all the data and can take it with you wherever you go, meaning you’ll never have to start again from scratch.

How brick-and-mortar businesses can build their email lists

Now that you understand the importance of building your email list, it’s time to get to work building your list.

Fortunately for you, there is a 2-part formula for building your email list that is followed by many of the most successful list builders around. That formula is:

A valuable incentive + simple subscribe opportunities = large email list

While it is a little bit of a simplification, it’s also just logic. No matter how many subscribe opportunities you present to a person, it’s unlikely they’ll act without a valuable incentive. And no matter how good your incentive is, you’ll never get people to subscribe if you don’t make it super easy for them.

The real question is, what makes for an amazing incentive? And how can you make subscribing to your list really simple and easy?

Let’s dive in and answer both those questions:

Part 1: A valuable incentive

There are a huge number of ways in which you can provide an incentive for people to join your email list, and it really depends on the type of organization you are marketing and the tactics through which you choose to market it.

For instance, retail stores are likely to have different incentives they can offer than a financial services firm, so the key is to pick out what makes sense for your business to offer based on what would resonate with your audience.

Some incentives you could use include:

Discounts and offers

Offering discounts or various other value-added offers is one of the quickest and easiest ways to incentivise people to join your email list.

Here are a few ideas you could implement today:

  • Discount at purchase – Offering customers a small discount at the point of sale can be a great way to capture their email address and build your list. What person about to hand over their credit card wouldn’t want 5% off their purchase? By offering a discount on their purchase, you can capture their email address and continue marketing to them for years to come, driving repeat purchases that will far out weigh the small amount of money you lost by offering the discount.
  • Discount on next visit or service – Another great incentive you can offer to get people to subscribe to your email list is a discount on their next purchase from you. Not only is this a great offer that will get them to hand over their email address, but it helps drive repeat purchases by giving people a reason to come back to your store (particularly when combined with an email campaign about that great new product you have in stock).

Early access and exclusive promotions

If your have built up a reasonable level of brand awareness and affinity over the years, then offering early access and exclusives as an incentive to subscribe to your email list can be extremely cost-effective.

Here area few ideas you can implement today:

  • Early access to new products – People like to be the first to own something and be seen as ahead of the curve, so offering people early access to new products before their friends can be a great incentive to get them to subscribe.
  • Access to special discounts and promotions – It’s well known that access to special discounts and promotions is an effective way to build your list, so creating special discounts and promotions that are only available to email subscribers can be a great incentive to get people to join your list.

Giveaways & contests

As humans, we have an innately competitive urge and are motivated to win prizes.

You can leverage this to build your email list by running giveaways and contests where people give over their email address for the chance to win a prize.

The key to success with this tactic is making sure the prize is a valuable enough incentive for people to hand over their email addresses.  Consider some of these best practices:

  • Make the prize unique and exclusive – More often than not, a unique and exclusive prize will gain more attention than a big, cash prize. For instance, Queensland Tourism’s “Best Job in the World” campaign offered the winner a job as the ‘Caretaker’ of the Great Barrier Reef, which essentially involved touring the reef and its associated islands and blogging about it for a year. This unique, money-can’t-buy prize not only attracted over 34,000 entries but also secured an estimated $400 million worth of media coverage, being picked up by CNN, Time and NBC to name a few. So when deciding on your prize, consider the things you could offer beyond just cash and iPads. Cooking classes with your head chef or exclusive behind the scenes tours are all great examples of money can’t buy prizes that really appeal to people.

Part 2: Simple subscribe opportunities

Just like there are a number of incentives you can offer, there are many ways you can make subscribing to your list super simple.

Not every one of them is going to be relevant for you though, and certain techniques will be more suited certain incentives being offered. The key is understanding the incentives you are offering and then picking the subscribe technique that best matches it. Here are a few ideas:

Ask at point of sale

This method is particularly effective when combined with incentives like discounts and offers.

By getting your employees to ask every customer if they’d like to join your email list to get a discount or special offer at the point of sale, you’re hitting every possible customer with a very compelling and simple offer.

So much so that stationery company Paradise Pen Co. actually collect 80% of their customer emails in-store, while just 20% of people sign up online.

Paradise uses gift cards to incentivize the sign up in-store. Initially the company tried paper gift certificates, but when it switched to using plastic gift cards that could be redeemed online, gift card redemption rates jumped from 9.5% to 20%.

Paradise also tested different expiration dates on the gift cards, and found that giving customers 12 months made them more likely to redeem the cards, and thus make extra purchases that drive revenue for their business.

Place a subscribe form in-store

When someone says email subscribe form, we usually tend to think email input boxes on the web, but they can be physical too.

One the most simple ways to get started is to set up a basic signup form in-store. You can grab a clipboard, a pen, and print off some sheets of paper with a spot for the customer’s name and email address, and you’re ready to go.

If you’re doing this though, try to give people some structure for entering their address (like using a one box per letter form rather than offering just a free-form space for customers to fill in). A New York hotel chain found using boxes helped them get more legible email addresses from customers after they saw a high percentage of email addresses they couldn’t use because the handwriting was too ambiguous.

If you want to get more technical, and save yourself some of the hassle of manually adding email addresses to your mailing list from a handwritten form, you could use an app to automatically turn an iPad into a beautiful email subscribe form.

Collect business cards

Manually writing down your email address is a pain, and can be a barrier to entry that prevents you from collecting as many email addresses as you could.

Fortunately for you, many people have their email address on their business card and providing a method and incentive for them to drop their business card is a great way to collect emails.

This works particularly well with incentives that can be communicated without talking to a person, like a contest for instance.

As long as you clearly communicate (through signage and promotional material) what the prize is for entering, people will happily drop their business card in for a chance to win.

Then each month, choose a random card from the bowl to give the prize to, and enter the email address from each customer’s card onto your mailing list.

Use your receipts and packaging

Another clever way of drawing attention to your newsletter is to add instructions for joining the mailing list to the bottom of receipts or in the bags and packaging your customers leave the store with.

By slipping in a small flyer that outlines what the incentive is for joining the list and provides a clear path to joining, you can actually capture customer’s email addresses once they’ve left your store.

Email marketing tools like Nextwave Mailer provide customizable email subscribe pages you can direct people to, or you can use tools like Unbounce to create more customized landing pages and integrate them with your email list to ensure all new subscribers are automatically added.

In conclusion

Building your email list and sending regular, high-quality campaigns to those subscribers is a fantastic way for brick-and-mortar business owners to grow their revenue.

It’s far more effective than any other marketing channel available today, and with tools like Nextwave Mailer is also much more simple to execute.

So take some these list building tactics and put them in use in your business today, the earlier you start the bigger your list will be and the more sales and revenue you’ll be able to drive from it.

5 ways to bring ecommerce success in 2015

5 ways to bring ecommerce success in 2015

The first month of the new year has flown by. As an online retailer you will be looking at identifying areas of improvement this year.

Take a second to think about what you have accomplished in 2014 and what didn’t go quite to plan. Did you have a great strategy in place but weren’t able to execute it as planned? Maybe you’ve thought of better ways to manage your time? The most important thing to remember is to list your resolutions and make improvements for the New Year.

5 ways to make 2015 even more successful than 2014

Get mobile

In 2013 Google Chairman Eric Schmidt outlined that 2014 was going to be all about mobile. Guess what?! It still is! In 2015 mobile commerce has been predicted to surpass expectations provided shoppers with an omnichannel experience.

At the beginning of the year smartphones were used by consumers to research products before making a purchase. Now, retailers are capturing more of the market by making the most of technological advancements. Customers can now research, compare prices and make payment with ease on their smartphone – we look forward to what 2015 holds.

Get responsive

Whilst we are on the topic of mobile, now is a good time to talk about responsive design. Whilst it is a relatively new design concept, responsive design is an absolute must for 2015. Making your website look and function the same on any smartphone, tablet and desktop, responsive design can actually improve site traffic and increase sales.

Get integrated

Integration is the buzz word of 2015 in many different ways. Signalling advancements in leisure as well as technology, integrations of many different types have responded to a demand for a ‘sharing economy’ providing users with a range of software and devices that provide a complete experience.

Get in-store delivery

Growing in popularity over the last year, click-and-collect is offering customers immediate fulfilment – a valuable service that only Bricks and Mortar stores could previously provide. Many online retailers such as Amazon and Google Shopping Express have partnered with local stores, whilst those with both an online and retail store have combined their efforts to offer an almost unrivalled shopping experience.

Get personal

Remind customers who have abandoned their basket to purchase and upsell products via personalised recommendations

The year of personalisation, 2015 encourages ecommerce business owners to offer a more personalised web experience to their customers. From recommended products to personalised marketing emails and a tailored online experience, retailers who are set to offer something a little more personal can expect to see a great improvement in ROI.

Make the most of your ecommerce in 2015

At Nextwave we provide smart ecommerce solutions for online retailers. From bespoke integrations to internet marketing and paid search packages, we can help you to build a better ecommerce business in 2015. For more help and advice with your ecommerce call us today on 1300 859 805 or email info@nextwave.com.au

How to Lessen the Post-Holiday Sales Lull

How to Lessen the Post-Holiday Sales Lull

Now that the rush of online holiday shopping is coming to a halt, it’s time to consider how to lessen the blow of the January lull. It happens every year. While November and December are typically the biggest revenue-generating months, a vast decline in traffic and sales is common for January.

If you have not yet created a plan (or if it’s not a complete plan), consider some of these methods of trying to stay ahead of the game in the coming couple of months.

 

Plan for Returns and Exchanges

January is a good time to utilize online chat so you can not only provide quick answers, but also help guide customers to an alternate product versus a complete refund.

It’s also helpful to have an internal policy for handling customer requests, like offering free shipping if one opts to go with another item rather than a credit card refund. Or offering a bonus gift card to accompany a store credit.

 

Determine Sales and Clearance Items

Everyone expects to find holiday décor, wrapping paper, and other like items on sale starting now, and in January, but consider adding additional items (including gifts) to the mix. Not only will some be looking for deals on gifts for the following year, integrating neutral products can help increase average sale amounts, especially if you offer a threshold for free shipping.

Also consider offering sales on accessories for popular gift items. Think protective cases, refill packages and other popular add-ons.

 

Address Shoppers’ Needs Up Front

This is logical for certain product lines. For example, if you sell tablet computers, people may need accessories like cases and portable keyboards. Items that require supplies and accessories provide opportunity to cater to long-term customers. These items should also be advertised throughout the website in the coming weeks to take advantage of post-holiday needs.

 

Keep Distractions Away

You’ll also want to make sure your checkout process is streamlined to minimize cart abandonment, (things like; making sure only the available shipping methods are displayed, eliminate the use of CAPTCHA, simplifying credit card processes, and limiting distractions), because obviously you’ll be competing with many other online retailers also vying to create a steady flow of income during the month. Making the process easier & quicker will definitely help!

Sell gift cards? Make it easy for the recipients of the cards to check balances and redeem cards during checkout. (Now’s the perfect time to place a few test orders in this regard, incidentally.)

Regardless of what you sell, getting a jumpstart can help pave the way for the following months in the new year. While the January lull is certainly expected, some retailers have found ways to benefit. It’s an ideal time to try a few changes and see what works for your line of products.

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Tips for creating Mobile-Friendly Emails

Each time you send an email, you should be aware that a huge portion of your subscribers are going to open your message on their phones or tablets — not on their desktop computers or laptops.

It seems that every other week a new study cites an overwhelming number of people who read emails on their mobile devices — 51 percent according to Litmus, 66 percent according to Movable Ink.

The numbers vary, but the savvy content marketer knows that overlooking mobile-friendly emails is a big mistake.

A mobile responsive website design displays your content properly no matter how someone views your website, and you can ensure that the emails you send look great as well, whether or not you have a mobile-responsive email template.

Here are 10 essential tips for transforming your message into a mobile-friendly email. For more information on how Nextwave can help you with your email marketing, please don’t hesitate to get in touch or check out Nextwave commerce

1. Compose short subject lines

 

The amount of space mobile devices provide for displaying subject lines can make even the most succinct writer cry herself to sleep.

Even though some email clients will display your entire subject line text, many do not.

And since your subject line in an email is akin to your headline, you don’t want to cut it off and miss an opportunity to connect with your reader.

The solution is to either keep your subject line short — 40 characters or less is a good rule of thumb — or position the most important phrase of your subject line in the first 40 characters to maximize your chances of readers seeing it.

2. Use a single-column template

 

On a mobile-device screen, multiple columns typically appear condensed and confusing to navigate.

A single column makes your email cross-device compatible and straightforward even when it’s viewed with different email clients.

Single columns can also simplify your design and spotlight your important content.

3. Keep your email under 600 pixels wide

 

While most modern mobile devices can handle responsive designs, there are exceptions.

When your email width is 600 pixels or less, users won’t have problems viewing emails that were formatted for large computer screens.

Set a width attribute in your email template’s table tag to 600 pixels or use the CSS width property to make this adjustment.

4. Use a large font size

 

Since a 10-pixel font is difficult to read on a desktop computer screen, and small screens make small fonts even smaller, most people will delete your email before they’ll squint and strain their eyes in order to read your tiny text.

A font size of 13 or 14 pixels makes your email substantially more readable on a small screen.

But don’t be afraid to go even larger than that. Large fonts make your emails easier to read on both desktops and mobile devices.

5. Display small images

 

Smaller images reduce load times and bandwidth. Many mobile users still use 3G or slower, connections, so the speed at which images load is vital.

If you have technical chops, or know someone who can help you, use responsive-coding techniques to load smaller images on mobile devices and larger ones on other devices.

Another option is to shrink an image by 50 percent and compress it at a slightly higher compression rate than normal to both load your images faster and conserve your user’s bandwidth.

6. Provide a distinct call to action

 

A call to action should prompt your email recipient to do something. Generally, that “something” is tapping (or clicking) a button that further leads him down the path you want him to take.

Your call to action needs to be large enough for him to easily and effectively do this on a mobile-device screen.

Fingers are not nearly as exact as mouse pointers, and while mobile manufacturers have created devices that accurately respond to your actions, they’re not perfect.

If your readers have to tap more than once to continue interacting with your content, then there’s a chance they won’t bother.

Display a compelling call to action that is at least a 40 pixels square — and preferably larger than that — to keep the reader engaged with your email.

7. Don’t make your call to action an image

 

Some email clients only display images from verified sending addresses. So if you use an image for your call to action and your recipient’s email client doesn’t have images enabled for your sending address, she will not see it.

After all the work you put into crafting your emails, it’s a bummer to miss an opportunity to get your reader to take action.

But the trouble is that when recipients do view images, they often improve click-through rates.

If you decide to use an image for your call to action, make sure the image has a descriptive ALT tag that matches the text that appears in the image, such as “click here.”

That way, even if the image isn’t shown, the message in your ALT text will still appear.

8. Avoid menu bars

 

As I mentioned above, since fingers are not precision instruments, tiny menu and navigation bars are frustrating to use.

I recommend avoiding them completely. It’s an email, not a website, so you don’t need a traditional menu or navigation bar.

With emails, stick to the basic building blocks of the web: links and images.

9. Don’t stack links

 

Stacked links cause the same problems as other tiny forms of navigation. Here’s an example of stacked links:

Google
Yahoo
Bing

If you imagine stacked links within a paragraph, you can see how easy it would be to accidentally click the wrong link.

Also, when two words are right on top of each other, you may mistakenly link the two words to the same destination rather than assigning a distinct link to each word.

Including multiple links in an email is fine, but be sure to look at a preview of the email and separate links with other text, images, or whitespace as needed.

The reader’s experience is your first priority

 

Think about your own experience when you encounter an email that doesn’t display properly on your mobile device.

Even if it’s from a source that interests you, you may not want to spend extra time deciphering the message.

And if you can’t see the action the sender wants you to take, you certainly won’t take it.

Instead of putting your reader in this undesirable scenario, you can easily create mobile-friendly emails that display properly on any device.

What special steps do you take to produce an optimal mobile-viewing experience for your email readers?

 

Using Nextwave Mailer, any email campaign you send will automatically be optimized for both desktop and mobile email clients – We can do all this for you – This means you know it will look just as great on an iPhone as it does in Outlook or Gmail. We even make it easy to see how your template will look on a mobile device as you build it.

New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015

New Social Media Commerce Tools Will Have Bigger Role in 2015

The primary attraction for businesses using social media has traditionally been the ability to organically grow their audience and raise brand awareness on the platforms. However, with Facebook’s blunt announcement that organic reach is on the decline, if brands want to be visible on user newsfeeds, they will now have to pay to be seen. Businesses are faced with the reality that dominant social media platforms have become oversaturated with content from businesses of all sizes, with brands generating content faster than users can consume them.

 

With the increase in sponsored posts and paid ads on Twitter, brands are now also competing with news companies for visibility. This is not particularly surprising coming from Twitter, a company that wants to redefine itself as an alternative news platform, with their combination of personal communication and real- time newsfeed a remarkably useful tool for those working in the media and entertainment industry.

 

In response, Facebook and Twitter have both announced the arrival of new commerce tools, designed to give businesses a ‘call to action’ option that will help to drive sales through social media. Twitter has also moved to give businesses more flexibility when paying for advertising, and according to Forbe.com’s Jayson DeMers:

 

“These objective-based campaigns, which are still currently in beta, will offer more flexibility including tweet engagements, website clicks or conversions, app installs, new followers and leads. These campaigns will be particularly appealing to small business owners who want to pay for results, not just for brand visibility.”

 

It is early days yet, and businesses are sure to be testing this option out this holiday season, however it also represents a shift in how businesses may now view the role of social media in their marketing/PR strategies.There is a new focus on social marketing, with marketers using social media to drive “sales over status updates and commerce over engagement.”

 

The average holiday consumer is now more likely to go to social media for information that will influence their purchasing decision, and Facebook and Twitter’s new ‘buy’ buttons would help facilitate smooth online transactions. If Facebook and Twitter’s new commerce capabilities prove to be useful for marketers, this may help to counteract the growing difficulty of organic reach experienced by businesses this year.

 

 

 

(Source: Daniel Green, socialmediatoday.com)

 

15 tips for a user friendly E-Commerce website

15 tips for a user friendly E-Commerce website

15tips

 

With everyone getting into online sales, a user-friendly e-commerce site is a crucial investment that will keep your web presence strong and profitable.

Check out these 15 tips to make your e-commerce site more appealing to visitors:

1. What Do Your Customers Want?

There are a few things your users want from you before they will give you their dollars or their trust. Some of these things are tangible, some are intangible. Some of these things are good for you, all of them are good for your customers, and all of them are important if you want to keep your customers coming back.

2. Branding

Your customers want your site to be clearly different from other sites. They want to see your logo and your brand’s colours in ways that are instantly recognizable. If your brand’s colours are similar to other brands, especially competitors, you will have to find ways to differentiate your site. Confused customers are less likely to feel like they have had a positive experience.

3. Hot Products

Shoppers want to know what’s hot. Tell them right up front. Don’t make them search for the items you know they are looking for.

4. Latest News About Your Brand

If your brand has been favorably mentioned in the news, many shoppers want to know about it. It reinforces their confidence in their choice of your products. Don’t count on them to see these news mentions on another site. Make sure they have easy access to news article on your site.

5. Deals and Free Stuff

It’s true — some customers are only interested in deals and free stuff. If they know they can count on your brand for deals and free stuff, it’s probably because you trained them that way. It takes very little real estate on your homepage to make sure these users are getting where they want to go with a single click.

6. Free Shipping

Just about everyone is doing it. It may be for a minimum purchase, or it may be a loyalty statement, but free shipping is almost like table-stakes in online retail these days. It’s definitely a huge factor in lifetime value of the customer relationship.

7. Easy Sign In/Sign Up

Test those forms with actual users before putting them on your e-commerce site. One thing you definitely don’t want to happen is for a new customer to abandon a purchase because your sign-up process is confusing.

8. Strong Authentication

Some customers may complain about strong authentication requirements, but all customers appreciate knowing you have their security and identity best interests in mind. Once you establish authentication requirements, keep them that way. Playing around with this factor will only alienate customers.

9. Search

Make it easy for customers to find what they are looking for with a robust search function. This is a little more involved than having a search field on your pages. Not only should products, articles, reviews, etc. be indexed, but everything should be tagged appropriately with relevant metadata and keywords.

10. Clear Payment Options

Don’t let your customer find out on the last page of the check-out process that their international or American Express card will not be accepted for payment. If you make these little details clear early in the process, customers will not be frustrated by an unpleasant surprise and you will not be frustrated by abandoned carts.

11. Social Media Links

For some reason, people love to share their purchases on social media. Take advantage of this, and put social media links on every product page. Even if they don’t make a purchase, if they see something they like, being able to share it can help motivate them to come back later and make that purchase.

12. Easy Contact Info

It should be extremely easy to find your contact information and customer service phone number, hours of operation, address and other contact information. If you bury this information, you are basically telling your customers you don’t want to be found. Your customers will receive this message loud and clear — and go somewhere else.

13. Store Locator

Even if you only have one physical location, include a map on your site that clearly shows your location. Include directions that are printable. This is even more important when you have multiple locations.

14. Chat

For many customers, opening a chat session while on a product page to ask a few questions is much easier than dialing a phone and waiting on hold. This is a great way to increase conversion rates, especially with younger demographics.

15. Trustmarks

Security is paramount. Your customers want to know that you’ve got their backs when it comes to securing and encrypting transaction information. Displaying the logos of the firms (McAfee, Verisign, GeoTrust, Paypal, etc.) that are handling this functionality is an easy way to demonstrate that you are being proactive in this regard. For most of your customers, these logos have become symbols of a trusted relationship. Leverage this power.

Conclusion

One final thought: an experienced designer can answer a lot of your questions up front. But don’t implement what you think are user-friendly features without testing them with your customers. They are the ones who know!

What did you think of these must-haves and tips? Did we leave anything off this list? Let us know!

Why people leave your website

Why people leave your website

Attracting visitors to your website is only the first step — once they get there, you want to make sure they hang around.

What’s more, you want them to click through to other pages on your website, whether that means reading a blog post, filling out a landing page form, or (hallelujah!) actually buying something.

Why does it matter that your visitors stay on your site? Because, as an inbound marketer, your main goal is to attract and convert website visitors into well-qualified leads for your sales team. If visitors come to your website but then leave, you’ll only be fulfilling part of your goal.

To learn more about the reasons why visitors leave a website, check out this infographic from KISSmetrics, put yourself in your ideal customers’ shoes, and think about the ways you can improve your website and increase the number of potential buyers who stick around.

 

What-Makes-Someone-Leave-Website