Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Josh Wardini from 16best.net.
The term ‘Social Commerce’ is a fairly new addition to our daily vocabulary. Unlike the word ‘selfie’ this one doesn’t really have a clear definition in the dictionary yet. However, it is universally accepted fact that it represents another subset of eCommerce, one that involves social media platforms. We’ve already seen how all the different social media sites have slowly been integrating into online marketplace, with their main goal being to get the shoppers to purchase things online using their platforms.
You may be wondering how they do all this. Well, in case you haven’t noticed, there have been ads by Amazon and eBay popping up all over Facebook feeds. The eCommerce giant eBay has also been offering on Twitter eBay discount codes. You can also shop directly via Pinterest and Instagram too. These two different types of platforms - Social Media and eCommerce - are pairing up nowadays. We shouldn’t be really surprised to see on a daily basis more and more influences on our social media coming from eCommerce.
Let’s start with Facebook and their feature Marketplace. According to Facebook, this is a great place where you can buy and sell things in your community. Following this feature, they introduced Messenger Payments, so you can do your shopping smoothly. Lately, we’ve seen the option to buy tickets for various events directly via Facebook, and you can now buy eBay daily deals here as well.
We can also see changes with smaller social media platforms. Before Twitter rolled out their ‘Buy Now’ button, they were increasing profits by alerting users about the latest sales that were happening as they were scrolling down Twitter feeds. Then, Tumblr started allowing their users to shop on their platform via ‘Buy’ button, while Pinterest did something similar by introducing buyable pins. Meanwhile, Shopify and Instagram decided to collaborate and thus Instagram created their shoppable feeds. So, any time you see something you like, on any social media platform, you can just click a button and it’s practically yours!
As for Amazon, one of the biggest eCommerce platforms, they decided to take the route of designing their own social media platform. The idea is obviously derived from Instagram and their feed system, but with the ability to directly make a purchase. They’ve named it Spark.
All of the aforementioned points show us that as soon as social media and eCommerce platforms decided to collaborate on a larger scale, both shoppers and buyers ended up with certain perks. However, the idea behind all this is to promote companies with the goal for further growth, which this is apparently the best way to accomplish this objective at the moment.
One of the perks includes being communicative with your audience via your social media profiles. Your buyers have plenty of questions they are eager to post, and all you have to do is listen and give answers.
Another great perk that you can provide to your audience as a brand is to introduce reviews of your products. You should always aim for great communication and customer service in order to really give your reviews a boost. This way, when people leave reviews of your products, they’ll only have nice things to say, which is going to make your audience even bigger and increase your conversion rate.
Whether you are someone with a brand or just a simple seller, one of your top priorities should be earning plenty of positive reviews of your products. In order to increase your conversion rate, positive reviews can boost it by 133% for mobile shoppers. And if you’d really like to show that you care both about your brand and your buyers, leaving a response to reviews and comments that you receive is also going to improve your brand’s perception in the public, by a whopping 71%.
If you choose to use Facebook, it is also going to translate into a higher conversion rate. This platform is shortly followed by YouTube and Instagram. If you are unsure about how to exactly build a strategy for your social media accounts, try to get some inspiration by looking around and researching the most popular brands and their profiles.
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of both eCommerce and social media platforms. You just need the right strategy and mindset.
About the Author:
Josh Wardini, Editorial Contributor and Community Manager at 16best.net.
With a preliminary background in communication and expertise in community development, Josh works day-to-day to reshape the human resource management of digitally based companies. When his focus trails outside of community engagement, Josh enjoys the indulgences of writing amidst the nature conservations of Portland, Oregon.
In 2018, having a social media strategy to grow your brand is no longer an option. It is a must. With the plethora of social media channels and contents available today, finding the most effective route to differentiate your business and generate a strong presence may be a daunting task. Here are some ideas to help you get started!
1. Introduce yourself by following and engaging opinion leaders.
Meeting the gatekeepers is the most direct way to enter an industry, and social media is the most convenient way to connect with industry leaders who may otherwise seem unreachable through traditional means. Every industry has its recognized influencers with passionate and loyal followings. By connecting with the leaders, you’ll have an easier time building credibility among their audiences. Just opened a coffee shop? Introduce yourself to popular local cafes. Follow their profiles, interact with their posts, attend their events. Soon enough, you’ll be one of the insiders with a share of their connections.
2. Generate a constant stream of quality contents.
Blog posts, visual posts, videos, links… There are many different forms of contents you can create to attract visitors. The most important thing is whatever you post is what your audiences want to see. Do some research on who your customers are, their trends, interests and concerns, and create contents that meet their needs so they keep coming back for more. Once you created your posts and edited them with care, create a posting schedule to get them out to your readers timely and effectively. Use services like Buffer or Hootsuite to help you manage your social posting timeline.
3. Be human.
Social media consist of two words. Make sure you act the first. The best thing about social media is that it closes the distance between you and your customers. Optimize the customer experience by responding promptly to comments and inquiries. Show them your sincerity and kindness. Share your passion and your sense of humor through your posts. Don’t forget to follow and engage with your follower’s posts too.
4. Post call to action.
A lot of following don’t mean much if you don’t inspire them to act. Incentivize your visitors to like or share your posts to engage and expand your network. Run a small promotion or giveaway to circulate your products. Give your visitors a friendly nudge to make the purchase they are thinking of making anyways. Better yet, create Q&A sessions and contests to generate buzz and awareness. These are great opportunities for your followers to learn more about you and your business.
5. Be yourself.
If possible, don’t outsource your social media marketing. Make your own posts and interact with your customers on your own. Nobody understands and represents your brand better than you. Even if you’re not social media savvy, you can add an original twist that differentiates your business from your competitors by simply being yourself. People will always be responsive to enthusiasm, sincerity and passion.
How do you attract followers on social media? Please share in the comments below!
Is your company struggling to balance its marketing budget between acquisition and retention? According to conversion rate optimization company Invesp, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer, than to keep an existing one. The 80/20 rule of marketing investment states that, in general, 20 percent of marketing messages should produce 80 percent of campaign results. If we further expand this rule by applying it to the customer pyramid, we can conclude that a typical business earns approximately 80 percent of its profits from the top 20 percent of its customer base. On the customer pyramid, this 20 percent would be the platinum customers. Just below are the gold customers, who also contribute to profits and might eventually migrate to the platinum group. The next tier, the silver group, may or may not include profit-generating customers. Customers in the silver group are cost conscious—they seek basic services at minimal costs. The bottom of the pyramid are the unprofitable customers. They demand time, resources and services, but are unwilling to pay for them. As such, it’s rather obvious that you need to focus your marketing resources on getting your customers to the platinum level, because those are your most high-spend, long-term loyal customers. An effective retention strategy emphasizes building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the gold and platinum customers to secure the longevity of the business.
Despite monumental evidence supporting the need for retention oriented strategies, only 18 percent of companies focus on retention, whereas 44 percent of companies have greater focus on acquisition.
This gap provides opportunities for businesses to reevaluate their marketing strategy, and to place more emphasize on customer retention. Being able to accurately calculate your customer lifetime value (CLV) is an important step to assessing your budget allocation needs.
First, some definitions:
Annual Customer Attrition Rate – Rate at which customers cease their relationship with the company each year.
Annual Customer Retention Rate – Rate at which customers continue their relationship with the company each year.
Note: Attrition rate and retention rate are complements of each other. If a company has a 30% attrition rate, it will have a 70% retention rate.
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – Prediction of the net profit attributed to the entire future relationship with a customer.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) – The cost of acquiring a new customer.
Cost of Attrition – Amount of revenue loss due to customer attrition.
Now, let’s dive into the math:
Annual Customer Attrition Rate = (Number of Customers that Leave Each Year) / (Total Number of Customers)
Annual Customer Retention Rate = (Total Number of Customers – Number of Customers that Leave Each Year) / (Total Number of Customers)
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) = 52 weeks x (Average customer weekly spend) x (Average customer lifespan)
If you want to customize the CLV calculation by incorporating seasonal traffic and coupons, you may expand on the average customer weekly spend value. In that case,
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) = 52 weeks(s x c x p) x (Average customer lifespan), where s is the average expenditure per visit, c is the average number of visits per week, and p is the average profit margin per customer.
Note: Depending on the nature of your business, you can use other increments such as 12 months or one year, instead of 52 weeks. Just remember to adjust average customer spend accordingly as well.
Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC) = (Total Marketing and Sales Budget Including Salaries) / (Number of Customers Acquired)
Cost of Attrition = (Single Customer Lifetime Value) x (Number of Annual Customers Lost)
Now, let’s play with some numbers:
Suppose that you began the year with 100 clients. By the end of the year, 10 clients had cancelled their subscriptions. In this case, your annual customer attrition rate is (10/100) = 10%. Your annual customer retention rate is (100-10)/100] = 90%. Notice that attrition rate and retention rate are complements.
Now let’s suppose that on average, each client spends $2 per week on services, and the general customer lifespan for your industry is 10 years. In this case, the total CLV of 100 clients would be [52($2 x 100) x 10] = $104,000. However, since you lost 10 clients this years, the cost of these 10 attrition would be $104,000/100 x 10 = $10,400. Here, we see that a single CLV is $1,040.
Here’s the fun part:
Let’s say your CAC is $20 per client. To replace the 10 clients lost, you would spend $20 x 10 = $200. That’s a great return on marketing investment, as $200 would bring you potentially $10,400. But what if you increased your retention rate by 1%? That’s just one additional client retained, decreasing attrition rate to 9%. You may only need to spend $5 to retain that client. Thus, a retention program that cost as low as $50 to retain those 10 clients may help you obtain the same $10,400 in a shorter amount of time!
The choice is clear. Who wouldn’t want to spend less money, time, and even personnel to achieve the same results? Furthermore, effective retention strategies often focus on building solid customer relationships to increase long-term business potentials. So, what’s your next step? Below are some of the most used platforms for retention efforts, data supplied by Invesp:
The prevailing wisdom is that the cost of acquiring a new customer is far above the cost of retaining an existing customer. As for how to optimize each platform listed above, please check out our other blog posts. Questions? Thoughts? Comments? We’d love to hear from you! Please shoot us a message or give a shout out below!
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Catherine Park from Backoffice Pro.
Digital marketing is always a hot topic in business, given the fact that the internet changes very quickly and new trends emerge every few months. Additionally, wide adoption of digital devices means digital marketing has never been better, and if done correctly, it can pay off multiple times. This is why everyone is online today and wants to promote products, services, or organizations on the web.
Accessing the data which allows accurate targeting is never that easy and the amount of information needed for creating a good digital marketing strategy has never been more available. With the right tools and approaches, everyone can create a strategy that will bring results according to the amount of money invested. To keep you updated, we made this blog post that explains what you need to be doing in 2018 to create an effective digital strategy in 2018 .
Big data rules
The use of big data and the overall data gathering is starting to grow at rapid speeds. Gathering, analyzing, and creating marketing strategies from valuable data are the new trends that has showed tremendous success. The amount of benefits practical data can give businesses is enormous.
Businesses can learn about customer behavior in the past, analyze the current market, and predict future outcomes. Based on these metrics, marketers can adjust the current service, learn where their strategy needs improving, and create new strategies that have a good chance of succeeding.
Although marketers don’t do this directly, they outsource data management services to be able to handle such a volume of information and make the most of it.
The number of mobile users is growing rapidly. There are a lot of people who solely browse the web via their phone. On the other hand, almost all of the computer users use their phones as well to get online. People are now more open to buying and browsing products or services online on their mobile phones.
This group of people also needs to be targeted. Given the fact that all ecommerce stores, payment tools and websites are optimized for mobile users, there is great potential for marketing with mobile users. All of your marketing efforts should be optimized to target mobile users as well.
Content is an old king
It is old and underrated by some people, but nobody can say that content marketing is not an effective marketing strategy. Content is still sitting on its throne and, although many predicted that this type of marketing will die, it is still an effective marketing technique. It has changed over the years, but it still has the potential to bring great results. The quality of the content must meet certain standards. For example, blog posts need to have at least 1500 words to have an effect. Additionally, today, you need to deliver engaging content that is truly interesting to readers and contains valuable information.
Catherine Park is a content marketer presently working with Back Office Pro, a Business process outsourcing company. A writer by day and a reader by night, she loves working in the ever-changing world of digital marketing and is fascinated by the role content plays in today's marketing. You can find her on Twitter here.
Despite all the excitements surrounding social media, apps, and blogs, there’s still a solid place for good old SMS text messages in your marketing strategy. It’s 98% open rate, straightforward format, and high conversion rates are just some of the reasons why SMS Marketing should be a standard for businesses . On the other hand, SMS messaging done wrong could easily turn off potential customers. To ensure that your SMS campaign continues to bring positive growth to your business, keep the following guidelines in mind and revise your strategies accordingly.
Be short and simple
Most carriers limit the length of a text to 160 characters. This means you must be straightforward and concise. A good message gets right to the point and offers easy instructions on what to do. Don’t annoy your customers with extended and trivial messages. For example, “20% off Valentine’s day special. CLICK HERE. Expires 2/15.” would be an excellent message to communicate all essential information to the subscriber. It’s efficient, easy to follow, and discloses any important limitation.
Be mindful of appearance
A lot of decisions are based on first impressions. As such, the appearance of your text is important. Make sure it’s pleasant and easy to read. URLs with tracking extensions are not pretty. You can solve this by using URL shorteners like Google’s Goo.gl or Bit.ly. These will shorten your URL and clean your overall layout. Simplifying your links not only make them look better, but also save space for more substantial words.
Segment your customers
Your messages are only as good as the sales they generate. Therefore, make sure you’re effectively targeting your customers. Use data from your marketing automation software and CRM to segment prospects into the appropriate contact lists based on their past interactions, purchases, interests and preferences. Personalize the experience so what you’re sending is relevant and interesting to the receiver.
Timing is key
We know that SMS messages have high open rates, and 70% of opens happen in the first 60 minutes . Therefore, you want your customers to read your message at the most opportune time. For example, when someone makes an order, send him or her a SMS message about a complementary product to sustain interest. If you’re an eatery, send location based SMS messages around lunch or dinner time with special offers.
Additionally, take advantage of triggered messages to increase sales and consumer insights. These messages are triggered due to certain consumer activity (such as a purchase) or inactivity. For instance, if you haven’t seen a customer in a while, a trigger message can remind him of your products and services, or ask him about his experiences to discover the cause for his inactivity.
It’s a privilege to be able to send an SMS to a customer. But you will lose this privilege if you bother them with frequent and pointless messages. The success of your SMS campaign rides on your ability to balance between its content, timing, and frequency. Good messages should be personal, informative, and valuable to the consumer. You want your messages to be anticipated and missed.
We’d love to help you polish your SMS campaign! Please leave us a message or a comment.
Mobile marketing is a powerful tool to help businesses unlock opportunities. It allows businesses to engage and communicate with larger audiences in a way that is real-time and personal. If you’re new to the digital marketing world, you may be feeling some pressure from competitors to stay on top of the game. Fortunately, we have just what you need to get started. Below are 6 tips to help you hop on the mobile marketing wagon!
1. Use a simple template that works for all devices.
This is the bare minimum. Customers should be able to navigate through your contents and communicate their inquiries with ease. Incorporate the appropriate multi platform sizing so your contents are displayed as intended for the platform on which it’s being viewed. Don’t lose out on potential leads and conversion opportunities due to lack of functionality.
2. Utilize location based strategy such as geo-targeted ads.
There are more consumers on-the-go looking for local businesses. You want to capture them while they’re at the ready-to-purchase point.
3. Include information about your location in all mobile marketing.
On-the-go mobile users usually search with a local intent. In other words, local and mobile are strong catalysts for each other. Consistency is the key here. Location information such as address, neighborhood, area code, maps, or anything else that communicates your location needs to be consistently displayed across ALL mobile marketing channels.
4. Incorporate focused campaigns.
With so many competitors out there, sometimes the customer needs a little push, such as with mobile coupons or limited time offers when a search result pulls up. This helps to motivate purchase when the customer is deciding where or whether to buy.
5. Don’t miss out on calls to actions.
Typically, mobile on-the-go consumers are action-oriented. You want to equip them with the necessary tools to follow through with their purchasing decisions on-the-spot. Implement action functions such as click-to-call, online reservations, request for more info, or purchase. Make sure these buttons are easily accessible.
6. Don’t forget to include Millennials and Gen X consumers.
With aging boomers, you want to target younger consumers to build long-term brand awareness and customer relationships. More importantly, mobile marketing will reach younger consumers much more often than older consumers. Keep this in mind even if your products and services are intended for older audiences. It’s only a matter of time.
This simple list of items will go a long way in enhancing the effectiveness of your mobile marketing strategy. Just remember to regularly monitor your marketing results and change your approach accordingly.
If you are ready to create your mobile marketing plan, please leave us a message and let ERC elevate your marketing game!
As we enter the fourth quarter, it’s time for convenience stores to think about their 2018 marketing plan. With near 155,000 convenience stores in the U.S., competition is certainly fierce. To make the matter worse, large retailers and grocery stores—Walmart, Starbucks and Hy-Vee, to name a few—are also trying to take a bite off the pie by expanding their grab n go, hot foods, delivery, and drive-thru services. Their goal? To capitalize on the convenience factor. It is no secret that the strength of C-Stores lies in its convenient location, extended hours of operation, large variety of merchandises and speedy services. However, as large retailers close the gap on those fronts—exemplified by the launch of the revolutionary Amazon Go—how can C-stores differentiate themselves and retain customer loyalty?
Below is a list of actionable items to help C-stores show the value of innovation and all that a C-store has to offer.
In this day and age, going mobile is no longer an option. It’s a must. Whether through SMS messaging or mobile apps, C-store competitors are delivering products and services to the customers with a touch of a button. C-stores need to make it easy for their customers to reach them and connect with them. More importantly, they want to be there with an offer while customers are browsing. Mobile marketing communicates the business's messages to its audiences in a way that is real time and personal, so the business can effectively capture customer attention and bring them through the door.
Focus on Foodservice
A weakness of the C-store is that it is largely restricted by its location’s population density and traffic flow. To combat that, its needs to break through the location barrier and make the store a destination, and its should to do it through food. Why? Because the average gross margin on merchandise is only 27%, while the average gross margin on foodservice is 43.7%. Yet, foodservice sales only encompass 15% of total in-store revenue. Check out this article on the profitability of food service. But don’t start loading up on the Twinkies. The key is to embrace a better balance between health and indulgence to help meet the evolving demand for nutritional products without alienating core consumers.
Amplify the Convenience Factor
This includes creative payment functions that maximize convenience. For example, apps such as Pilot Flying J and Speedpass+ allow drivers to choose a fuel lane based on wait time estimates, and make payments through the app or touchless solutions such as MasterCard. C-stores should also explore delivery service options through yelp or their local delivery services--which brings me to my final point:
Look Smaller to Grow Bigger
In other words, localize. Leverage the ability of smaller, independent shops to remain flexible and cater to the needs of the local customers, whether it’s later hours or special accommodations, products or deals. Build the store's community presence through participation in community events or involvement with notable nonprofits in its area. Take advantage of location based social platforms like Yelp to increase its word of mouth effect. Lastly, use social media to differentiate the store from its competitors. Add an original twist or personality to its profile. People will always be responsive to enthusiasm, sincerity and passion.
What are your thoughts on differentiating your business from competitors? Share in the comments below or send us a message to plan your next steps with ERC!
If you’re in marketing, you’ve already bypassed pumpkin spice lattes and are thinking about Christmas carols and decor. Holiday creep isn’t anything new, it’s here and it’s real, especially in the advertising world.
According to the National Retail Federation, retailers can stand to make up to 30% of their yearly sales just in the holiday shopping season. [i] With customers starting their seasonal research early, it pays to be ready and armed with a plan.
Here are some tips to get you going:
Tip #1 Retailers should have websites and resources ready by no later than October.
Why? Customers start researching holiday gifts as early as September.
Tip #2 Make sharing of information easy with in-store apps or email marketing.
Why? 44% of customers get ideas from family and friends.
Tip #3 Create a sales recommendation list.
Why? 54% of shoppers utilize recommendations from retailers.
Tip #4 Send limited time offers via email, SMS, or direct mail campaign.
Why? 48% of shoppers still make impulse purchases for themselves and others. [ii]
Happy holiday marketing!
[i] To Maximize Holiday Sales Start Planning Your Marketing Early, Entrepreneur Magazine Online, August 1st, 2017 https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248165
[ii] National Retail Federation Holiday Planning Playbook July 2017, https://nrf.com/system/tdf/Documents/retail%20library/NRF%202017%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook.pdf?file=1&title=2017%20Retail%20Holiday%20Planning%20Playbook
5 Reasons Your Business Needs an App
1. Keeping up with the times
Successful businesses are no strangers to the benefits of mobile apps. According to data collected by Biznessapps, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by the end of 2017. Apps provide an innovative mobile experience for customers that can be as unique as your business.
2. Solidify your brand
When a business creates an app, they are investing in their brand by improving recognition. Even when users aren’t directly interacting with your app, they see the icon on their mobile device. This serves as a visual reminder of your company which can lead to more sales. Competitors are aware of this and the trend of mobile apps is still on the rise.
An app is open 24/7 which means customers can access your goods and services at any time. By learning more about users and their preferences through app activity, you can also better target your audience. Increasing efficiency and catering to consumer needs will make your customers happier!
4. Provide value to your customers
Apps are often designed with incentives for loyal customers. Discount codes or reward points are only one example of how a business can retain their customer base through an app. Making it easy to connect with your brand will also provide value.
Apps are created to make a customer’s life easier, make the customer happy, entertained or are usually a tool. All of these things add value to the customers life. In return, through incentives and small surveys/questionnaires on an app businesses can receive feedback on their service as well as help them better understand and target their future audience.
5. Engage with your customers
Mobile apps receive a higher level of engagement than regular websites. This is a perfect platform to promote products or services, highlight special deals, offer discounts etc. Push notifications and social media channels through your app also provide additional ways to interact with customers.
Whether you love it or hate it, these tips will make writing content easier and more effective.
1. As much as you don't want to, create outlines.
Creating outlines can be daunting, but they’re worth the time spent. Focus on these few questions when brainstorming about your future blog article.
2. Set deadlines and stick to them.
It's easy to lose track of time when writing. In your next session, record how long it actually takes you to complete a post. This will allow you to budget time effectively in the future and work on becoming more efficient. After you have a schedule, shave off a few minutes on each task to challenge yourself.
3. Write about what you know.
Deeply familiarize yourself with a topic to establish credibility with your audience and to provide valuable content. Readers aren't going to waste time on a post if it seems vague, confusing, or inaccurate. Explore online forums to see what topics your direct audience is curious about to create content that is filling a void.
4. Use action words.
Motivate readers to action by making it easy for them to follow through on suggestions. Avoid salesy language and always be clear and concise. Adding visual content to demonstrate actions can also increase chances of users heeding your advice.
5. Include data and statistics.
It's all about the numbers. Adding stats can help build credibility by supporting your writing with clear-cut facts. They also make great headlines. Grab a user’s attention with some eye-popping stats to increase chances of your post being read.
Now, set the timer and begin writing effectively!
Qinghua Lao & ERC team