What’s The Most Valuable Digital Marketing Asset?

How You Use It Can Make Or Break Your Sales Effort

The most valuable asset in digital business development is your prospect’s email address. Using triggered emails can deliver a significant sales lift – up to 5 times the response rate of non-targeted email messages.


First things first – How best to gather email addresses?

  • Opt-in to receive newsletters and special offers
  • Require an email address as part of checkout during purchase process
  • Offer how to guides or eBooks that require registration to download

The first two suggestions are no-brainers. The last recommendation is tricky. The question you have to ask yourself is this – “Do I want to require site visitors to give up their name and email to download a fact sheet or eBook?” Remember – only very committed and interested prospects will give up their email address to gather information. They know you’ll be following up with them if they do.

If they’re not willing to share their email address due to privacy concerns, they won’t access the valuable information you provide. If you don’t require an email address, you remove the risk of a prospect being put-off by being asked to share their email. By taking this route, you’re putting a great deal of faith in your website and other online content. It has to be compelling enough to nudge the prospect to take the next step – making a purchase or contacting you by phone, email, social media post or tweet.

Next Step – What do you do with all those emails you’ve gathered? There are many options, but a tactic I’ve personally had great success with is retargeting shopping cart abandons.

Shopping cart abandonment typically occurs when shipping is added to the shopping cart total. Sending a triggered email to the shopper who abandoned the cart is a perfect opportunity to extend a free shipping offer. This is typically enough to reduce sticker shock and entice them to complete their purchase. Better to offer a discount right then and there than lose the sale.

The marketing platform company HubSpot has an excellent blog on the topic of triggered emails. The blog states you can’t control what the prospect does. It goes on to say, “What you can control, however, is how you react to your prospect’s behaviors. And this is where automation becomes powerful.”

Make the most of your email marketing initiatives by making sure your email design delivers on these elements:

  • Relevant
  • Personalized
  • Mobile-Optimized
  • Easy To Read
  • One Clear Call To Action

Spot-on email design coupled with a well thought out automation strategy will help you capitalize on this most valuable digital business development asset.

Contact us today for a free consultation on how best to develop and manage an effective email marketing strategy for your company.

Is Your Website Hurting Your Business?

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in, your website may be killing your business. Is your website dialed in to the purchase behavior of your target market? According to recent studies, the answer to this question is probably “no” – costing you lost sales and missing out on qualified sales leads.

Lack Of A Mobile Optimized Website Killing Your Business?

A comScore study done in Nov. 2014 found that 66% of the time people spend on eCommerce websites is on their smartphone. To put it another way – if shoppers are looking for what you’re selling, they’re spending 10 out of every 15 minutes looking for it on their phone. Maybe we shouldn’t call them websites any more, but call them “phonesites.”

If your website hasn’t been optimized for smartphone display, you are losing a significant amount of business to your competitors. We’re talking 30% or more. MarketWatch indicates that when a shopper doesn’t like what they see from a business on their phone, they don’t wait until they get home and look at your website on a computer. They go straight to your competition – immediately – on their phone. Plus, 30% will never, ever return to your business.

For those of your generating B2B leads with your website, the numbers are equally disconcerting.

When planning to purchase a specific product or service, when hearing about a new company, when beginning research, where do people start? The first point of contact is on their phones. If you don’t have a mobile optimized website, or it’s poorly designed, your business is certainly suffering.

Get in tune with your customer’s purchase behavior and reap the rewards!

Content Marketing, Engagement Marketing, and Authentic Insights

Seth Godin has been a marketing super hero of mine ever since I read his first book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable. He recently sat down with The Economist Intelligence Unit at the behest of Marketo. Seth has always been ahead of the curve with ideas on how best to connect with your target market. He’s been championing the concept of Engagement Marketing for years.

In the interview, Seth contends that today’s most effective marketers deliver on the promise they make to people about what they can expect when engaging their company for services or purchasing a product. These are the marketers “who are embedded in what the company makes and are pushing it towards what the consumer wants” as described by the interviewer.

According to Seth, the marketers role today is “coming up with an experience, an environment, a service, a product, that people can’t help talk about, and then consistently delivering on that.” Herein lies the challenge and opportunity to differentiate your company, service, or product from the competition.

I’m currently working with two clients who sell B2B products. Some of the products are one of a kind and unique to that company, but other products are sold by many companies. How best to differentiate these offerings from the competition? These clients and I are working hard to create online experiences that focus on information and education. Information and education drawn from their unique experiences and expertise gained over years of working with customers who use their products. They’re delivering valuable, unique insights learned only by being in the trenches – authentic insights – not your typical advertising slogans and sound bites.

authentic corvette
Engagement Marketing, Content Marketing, and Inbound Marketing all describe the process of delivering authentic insights to help build relationships with your customers. Insights that make the work they do more enjoyable, educate them, and improve their lives. Insights they can’t help but talk about.

Read the entire interview at the Marketo blog.

Calls To Action – How Many Is Too Many?

If you’ve taken any sales training courses you’ve surely heard that you must  “Ask For The Sale” to close the deal. In the world of ecommerce, asking for the sale takes the form of a call to action in an email or on a website page. The question is – Are you politely and effectively asking for the sale or bombarding your prospective customer to BUY NOW! BUY NOW! BUY NOW! with too many calls to action?

calls to actionThink back to the last time you had to choose from multiple options. Say, choosing an ice cream cone from 31 flavors, or unlimited variations on your pizza. How often did too many choices actually prevent you from making a decision? Maybe the pizza and ice cream examples aren’t the best illustration of decision angst. How about receiving an email from a retailer or navigating to a landing page and you’re confronted with a link to subscribe to a newsletter. Plus six buy now buttons below product photos. Plus links to website pages and their social media pages. So many choices that you click delete rather than wading through the cluttered page.

Having options is a good thing, but sometimes we appreciate being led to a decision when presented with just a few choices, or even just one. The most effective landing page and email designs laser focus on guiding us to decide “do I want it or not?” Just one thing. A simple yes or no. Do I want to signup for the newsletter or not? Take it or leave it. From the intelligent marketer’s perspective this is just fine because the next promotional offer is on the schedule. Another opportunity to connect with the customer will be on its way to their in-box tomorrow.

Mark Zuckerberg remarked that he wears the same t-shirt everyday to cut down on the amount of decisions he has to make everyday. Better to focus on business than be distracted by deciding what to wear. That may seem extreme to many of us, but sometimes less really is more.

Holiday Purchases From Smartphones Rise

The holiday shopping season of 2014 is behind us and the numbers are in. Mobile device enabled purchases – those on smartphones and tablets – were up significantly compared to 2013.

The 27% increase, reported by IBM, confirms that more shoppers are embracing the convenience of smartphone enabled shopping and perhaps avoiding crowded malls.

Mobile device enabled purchasesWhat does this mean for ecommerce companies, especially those competing with the Amazons, Targets and Wal-Marts of the world? If you haven’t made the move to provide a mobile-optimized shopping experience for your customers you’re likely alienating 30% or more of your customer base.

Total online sales increased 14% over last year and the pace of year over year increases is accelerating.

Social media sites impact on purchase behavior is increasing as well. For example, the average order value of shoppers who viewed a product through Facebook and then clicked to buy that product online was a whopping $110.

Over the Black Friday weekend Target saw record online sales as did Wal-Mart. While the entire holiday shopping season wasn’t as robust as many had predicted, the trend toward increased mobile device shopping research and buying is undeniable.

Is Online Display Advertising Broken?

A recent study calls into question the effectiveness of display advertising on the internet. Advertisers have used banner ads since the birth of online commerce as a way to build brand awareness and increase sales. Video ads have recently been added to the mix and are suspect as well. Does this form of advertising really have a positive impact or is it a waste of time and money?

display advertising

Display Advertising Bot

Reuters recently reported on a study done by digital security firm White Ops and the Association of National Advertisers. They discovered that 11% of online display ads are viewed by bots and not actual consumers. Bots are automated software applications that run automated tasks over the internet. In their study, an alarming 25% of online video ads were clicked on by bots, with one premium lifestyle site seeing that 98% of video ad views were clicked on by bots.

The bots drive traffic to fake websites and fake audiences that make use of third party traffic. Losses to advertisers could exceed $6 billion in 2015.

White Ops monitored advertising campaigns for brands including Ford, Verizon, and Anheuser-Busch.

What’s the take-away? Henry Ford and others have said that half of their advertising budget was wasted – but didn’t know which half. With the myriad analytics packages and attribution methods available to measure online advertising results, that sentiment is unfounded today. However, caution is advised when using display ad video advertising. Both are best limited to building brand awareness. They are not a tool to drive direct response unless part of a retargeting campaign.