How many times has a customer placed an item in their online cart without ever clicking the purchase button?
They may be considering if the price is too high, conducting research with your competitors, or just can’t decide if the product meets their needs.
Either way, studies place the average cart abandonment rate for ecommerce companies at around 75 percent, meaning that you’re sacrificing substantial revenue without a meaningful solution in place.
That’s where cleverbridge comes in.
Your company’s main goal should be to sign new customers while keeping the ones you have. With cleverbridge’s new fully customizable cart abandonment email campaigns, we enable our clients to:
Widen Their Global Acquisition Funnel
The solution helps you reach new customers globally with simple opt-in messaging. Our campaign is 100 percent compliant with Global Data Privacy Regulations, allowing you to branch out beyond your country’s borders.
Recover Lost Revenue with Customized Campaigns
Our automated campaign reaches out to customers at specific moments in their buyer journey with customizable email templates and messaging aimed to close the purchase funnel.
Win New Customers
This proven campaign converts casual site browsers into new customers, ensuring prospects don’t drop out of the top of your sales funnel.
Automate Their Re-marketing
Our email marketing services team will act as a managed service to allow you to automate your re-marketing efforts. We manage everything, from setting up the campaign to reporting and optimization.
“This solution is flexible and multi-faceted,” says Ashley Kolpak, email marketing specialist, cleverbridge.
“Whether it’s helping to close the gap on quarterly goals or engage more directly with potential customers, cart abandonment email campaigns are a win/win for our clients,” she adds.
For more information on cart abandonment email campaigns, click here. To get in touch with our digital marketing services team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The cleverbridge platform can help manage, monetize and optimize your digital business as you continue to grow globally. We take responsibility for recurring billing, global payment processing, compliance, customer service, and more. Contact our sales team today.
The expansion of B2B ecommerce shows no sign of slowing down, with Forrester projecting growth to reach $1.8 trillion in the U.S. by 2023, and account for 17 percent of total U.S. B2B sales overall.
The opportunities for B2B ecommerce companies in 2019 and beyond are near endless, but the companies that truly capitalize on this trend are those that understand the changing needs of the B2B consumer – and those needs are changing fast.
We’ve compiled a series of mini ebooks that explore four key topics that you should consider as you think about the evolving needs of your prospects and customers.
Read on and let our sales team know if you have any questions.
7 Key Differences Between B2C and B2B Ecommerce Models
Whether you sell to consumers or to other businesses – or both – it’s important to structure your ecommerce experience around the preferences of your end user.
The way you approach your sales and marketing efforts should be tailor-made to the needs of your specific customers, from the awareness stage to the buying decision, and beyond.
This handy ebook walks you through seven key differences between B2B and B2C ecommerce models, and offers a richer understanding of each to help maximize customer conversions.
Bring Consumerization to the B2B Buying Experience
Innovations in email platforms, marketing and sales integration, database software and IT technology have powered a surge in large purchases among companies in recent years. And business decision makers expect the same convenience and efficiency they experience as consumers.
Providing a simple, self-service buying process for business buyers can tear down obstacles on the path to purchase.
Learn how to “consumerize” the B2B buying process in this new ebook.
Renewal Automation: Understand the Value of the ‘Long Tail’
There’s no better sign of a healthy and successful company than when your customers re-up their subscription when their contract ends. But with finite sales resources, there’s only so much you can do to give every one of your customers the personal touch.
By automating your customer renewals – especially the low-dollar contracts that equal big money when added up – it’s easier than ever for your customers to sign on the dotted line.
Learn what renewal automation can do for your business in this new ebook.
Leverage CPQ for a Shorter Sales Cycle, Increased Revenue
The B2B buying experience is inherently complicated, but there are many ways to demystify the process and move your prospects through the funnel more quickly.
One common frustration is manual price quoting, which takes up a lot of sales resources, and it’s easy to be error-prone. Using the Configure Price Quote (CPQ) sales tool, the B2B seller can provide a customized cost estimate based on a set of rules for each specific prospect.
Here, we’ll discuss how CPQ can help you deliver a quick and accurate quote to your prospects with zero hassle.
Learn how to “consumerize” the B2B buying process in this new ebook.
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The cleverbridge platform can help manage, monetize and optimize your digital business as you continue to grow globally. We take responsibility for recurring billing, global payment processing, compliance, customer service, and more. Contact our sales team today.
As a savvy ecommerce specialist, you understand the power behind product descriptions on your website. They move customers through the sales funnel, explaining what you offer and the value proposition behind it. Depending on your website layout and style, product descriptions can take on different formats, but chances are all they carry the most common mistake: They simply describe a product’s features.
Why is it wrong to write product descriptions like that?
First, they don’t give any added value to customers. Prospects don’t want to know every spec of a product and read a description as if it was written by a manufacturer; they want to know what’s in it for them.
Second, they don’t address your customer personality and the tone of voice they’d like to hear from your brand.
And third, such descriptions look and sound the same. They don’t help your ecommerce website stand out from the crowd of competitors.
There’s also another catch:
Even if you write product descriptions with the best ecommerce copywriting practices in mind, you still need to craft a countless number of them. It leads to the problem we all know as content duplication, and that’s what Google algorithms hate so much.
To avoid Google penalties for duplications, don’t plagiarize and rewrite product descriptions from competitors. Don’t use the same expressions over and over again because you think they are “words that sell.” Don’t stuff descriptions with the most obvious keywords in the hope of high rankings. Avoid common grammar mistakes and remember to check every text for plagiarism before publishing.
Long story short, consider the tricks of writing original product descriptions that would please both customers and search engines.
Here they are:
1. Watch Your Language
When you write dozens of descriptions, there’s a temptation to use general terms for every description to complete it faster. All those “world-class,” “top-notch,” “innovative approaches” and “the best solution on the market” with “cutting-edge technology” tell nothing about your product.
Forget about them. Use facts, figures, and numbers wherever possible to increase your credibility.
Also, avoid an adjective overdose. It’s okay to use some to boost customer imagination, but too many adjectives confuse readers and slow them down.
What to do?
Use only one adjective before a noun.
Avoid the most obvious adjectives: chances are, your competitors will use them too. Choose emotional words that make readers feel something. Don’t describe the obvious. Why write what your product looks if you can show it in the picture?
2. Use Citations
First, they don’t count as duplications or plagiarism if you publish them with a proper reference. And second, they can serve as social proof for your consumers to buy from you.
Even if you have the best product in the world, people may not trust you. They need referral recommendations to decide if your product is worth their attention, and that’s where positive reviews or real feedback from real customers can help your product descriptions shine.
Add their feedback to descriptions, structure them as citations with a link to their profiles, and include their photos for credibility.
3. Tell Stories But Be Concise
Know that people often scan content online rather than read it thoroughly, so make sure your product descriptions are short, sweet, and easy to read. For that, combine paragraphs with bullet points and “need to know” aspects. It will give you room for creativity and original text writing, and enable you to convey valuable information to consumers.
To develop more ideas for product descriptions, use storytelling.
Our brain retains 70 percent of information through stories; they give us an emotional response and make us remember. Storytelling in descriptions would help you not only avoid duplications but also make your product stand out from the crowd of competitors.
4. Add Value
People don’t want to know about the description of the product as much as they want to know what’s in it for them. How can they benefit from it? What makes it different from others on the market?
Create value in product descriptions. Focus on your buyer persona, write with words they use, and think of your brand tone of voice: how would you speak to them if selling in a traditional store? Answer the five W’s in your text and show people what’s in your product beyond its specifications.
Writing “for everyone,” you risk duplicating tons of other ecommerce websites and making your descriptions vague. Sell emotions, not products. This will help you avoid plagiarism and differentiate your store in the marketplace.
5. Synonymize and Paraphrase
When you’re short on time and need to write 50-plus descriptions for products of the same category, it becomes challenging to stay creative and write an original text for each. The smart use of synonymization will save you.
Deploy ecommerce SEO practices, not merely replacing words with synonyms or changing the word order in original sentences to keep your content original and fresh.
The same goes for paraphrasing. Use rich vocabulary and expand or shorten phrases wherever appropriate. Think of LSI and long-tail keywords, and forget about marketing buzzwords and vague superlatives.
Check product descriptions via plagiarism checkers to see if you duplicate other websites by mistake, and revise them accordingly. Write an original text for every product card; treat your consumers like humans, not numbers.
Map your sales process to see what you can optimize on your ecommerce website to engage potential buyers. Consider split testing your product descriptions to understand what formats perform better. Don’t be afraid of A/B testing, but make sure to optimize for positive customer experience.
And sales won’t take long in coming.
Lesley Vos is a regular contributor to publications on business, marketing, and self-growth.
Are you struggling with potential customers dropping off the purchasing process?
Here are six tips to help turn your shopping cart visitors into real paying customers through a widespread email campaign: cart abandonment.
“Cart abandonment” is a common email campaign that aims to retarget cart-abandoners to get them back to the ordering process. This retargeting tactic represents one of the most powerful tools to tackle shopping cart abandonment. In this blog post, I’ll discuss reasons why customers abandon the cart and how to use cart abandonment campaigns to turn those users into paying customers.
Understanding the Cart Abandonment Phenomenon
Statistics from various agencies set the average percentage of cart abandonment between 50 and 80 percent, based on different verticals.
A study conducted by Baymard Institute pointed out that an average of 67.89 percent of shoppers abandon the checkout process. A report released by Smart Insights in late 2017 set the global cart abandonment rate at 75.52 percent. The bad news is that experts agree that these rates will increase in the future.
Here is a shared truth: cart abandonment isn’t always the counter-effect of bad shopping experiences. In the majority of cases, cart abandonment is simply a natural consequence of users’ interaction in the ecommerce world.
Someone searches, window-shops, tries to find something he maybe doesn’t really need, but just wants to know more about it.
Here’s another factor to keep in consideration: shopping is not only a matter of money, but it also undergoes a psychological process. Before finalizing a purchase, shoppers consciously and subconsciously ask themselves questions like, “Do I need this item?”; “What are the disadvantages of buying it?”; “Is there anything that could be a better fit for me?” These questions keep them from buying as they bring about uncertainty.
Nevertheless, ecommerce marketers can implement best practices to reduce churn rate.
5 Reasons Why Customers Might Abandon Your Cart
On a scale from the most to the least frequent reasons, the Baymard Institute listed them as follows:
1. Shipping or tax-related extra costs 2. The length, complexity or the additional requirements within the checkout process 3. Delivery-related issues 4. Payment-related concerns 5. An overall poor experience offered on the website
Here is something interesting: the conversion rate of the overall online shopping experience could increase by 35.26 percent by simply following best practices on checkout usability and understanding the user’s needs.
How to Use Cart Abandonment Campaigns to Win Those Customers Back
It’s estimated that almost half of the emails sent after a user abandons the cart are opened, with a 21 percent click-through rate. And 50 percent of the recipients who engage with the content convert their actions into purchase.
This reflects 10 percent of the overall number of individuals who got the email going back to the purchase process (especially, with a discount applied).
Cart abandonment email campaigns have an important impact. Here are six tips to consider while creating a cart abandonment email campaign:
1. Subject Line:
Customize it. As its main objective is to clearly communicate the purpose of the email, it needs to be concise. It can be used to convey a sense of urgency and encourage an immediate action: “We’re still holding your product – Act fast.”
Use it to increase personalization. For instance, adding the customer name and telling something more about the circumstance. It compels the recipient to open the email.
3. Product Image and Price:
This is the most important information to share within the email: “what” for “how much”? Images presenting the product triggers the mindset of which item the recipient wanted to purchase.
If you are not sure whether the user already has sufficient information about the product, add a short description. Offering a discount? Make sure to highlight it, as it’s a key value proposition.
4. Call to Action:
Design and position are fundamental. The CTA shouldn’t distract the reader from the product and the information, but at the same time be evident enough to induce purchase. Colors and text should be selected carefully and A/B tested in different versions to determine what converts best for the audience.
The simpler, the better. We need to remember that the focus is the item we are selling and avoid content overload. A few compelling sentences detached enough from the cart block is all our email actually needs. The design can also work as an “enhancer” for brand recognition and awareness.
6. Contact Information:
Facilitating the contact to a sales team increases the chances of purchase.
Another sensitive topic to be considered before even sending an email is consent. In times of increased regulation aiming to protect sensitive personal data, the way we collect consent is crucial to avoid being reported.
Since data collection and management are core elements in email marketing, optimization tactics can be implemented to improve the chances of getting the consent according to law. Some of the most used way for data collection are:
• Light-box popping up in the shopping cart
• The positioning of the email address field on top of the personal details form
• The requirement for account creation
A proven cart abandonment rate of around 70 percent means that online shopping has wide margins for growth and conversion. The spectrum of action is broad as well: from improvements in the shopping cart or the website in the pre-abandonment phase, to an effective, personalized and calibrated email communication, up to a methodic analysis of the audience to understand what might cause a “psychological” abandonment.
As demonstrated above, the online shopping experience is as tricky and varied as the numerous reasons that bring virtual shoppers to the checkout process. Understanding the reason behind every non-converted transaction is key to deal with the phenomenon and precondition to finding the best strategy to reduce churn.
Keyword research is one of the most essential SEO strategies.
Note that keywords are what visitors use to get to your website, and Google ranks websites for the most relevant ones. It’s therefore vital to use them well for you to be able to drive the kind of traffic you want to your page.
That will only be possible if you do keyword research. While you cannot do it by yourself, there are tools that you could employ for no extra cost. Here are some of the best free keyword research tools.
1. Google Trends
Google is trusted. Therefore, it‘s only logical that this tool will get you what you want. Also, it’s always better to get information and keyword data from the most used search engine. Google Trends, as the name suggests, keeps track of how search trends keep changing. Note that users should not apply the same keywords all year round since search queries and phrases do not remain static. If you want to rank for relevant keywords, Google Trends is helpful tool.
2. Rank Tracker
Rank Tracker is another effective free keyword research tool with one of the most prominent keyword databases.
As searches become more specific, there’s an increasing need to use long-tail keywords. As much as the one-word keywords are still relevant, the long-tails lend themselves to more meaningful search results and can improve your site’s SEO. The tool will also help you with keyword analysis. That is, how much the keyword is being used, the keywords your competitors use and keyword difficulty.
3. Google Keyword Planner
This is another Google creation that you need for keyword research. Just like Rank Tracker, Google Keyword Planner also boasts one of the largest keyword databases. Among the many actionable insights include average monthly searches, keywords your competitors are ranking for, and a series of other metrics. You will also benefit from suggestions which will make keyword creation an easy task.
Being Google’s tool, you are already at an advantage. Google Keyword Planner is also user-friendly, and you will waste no time trying to navigate it.
4. Google Search Console
If you’re not looking to invest a lot in a paid tool, Google Search Console would be another good option. Recommended by countless SEO experts, this tool provides you with a list of keywords that are most searched during a given period. It will also provide you with keyword data on videos, images and content. The best part is that you can sync it with other tools like Google analytics, which enables you to identify richer insights
The interface is user-friendly, and if you’re new to it and you can always get training to help you navigate the features and functionality.
The role that keyword research plays in the success of SEO cannot be ignored. For this reason, you need to do everything possible to see to it that the keywords you use are relevant.
Dancun Kanguri anis the content writer at keyword.com.
When it comes to shopping online, your customers need to have as in-depth an understanding of your product as possible before they purchase.
You can invest in high-quality images and write a long narrative about your product’s advantages, but nothing tells the story quite like an engaging video. Every year, Wyzowl surveys both marketing professionals and online customers to gather data about video marketing efficiency. In 2019 it revealed surprising data and noted that 96 percent of people are watching an explainer video to learn more about the product or service before they actually purchase it.
Likewise, Wyzowl finds that 68 percent of customers prefer to watch videos to learn about new products and services compared to text- or image-based information.
Let’s dig deeper to find out how and why you should include video marketing in your ecommerce business plan.
Why is video marketing essential to your ecommerce business? Numbers don’t lie:
• Product videos on-site increase purchases by 144 percent (Neil Patel, 2017);
• Some 73 percent of consumers stated they have been influenced by a brand’s videos when making a purchase decision (Tubular Insights, 2014);
• Videos engage and keep users on site by 88 percent longer (Forbes, 2018);
• Video marketing is equal to profit. Some 84 percent of marketers agreed that video has helped them increase traffic to their own websites (Wyzowl, 2019).
It’s clear that the volume and demand of video content is increasing. YouTube is the second biggest search engine with more than 1.5 billion users per month and 1 billion hours watched per day.
When you’re convinced that video is a must in your marketing strategy, you might be asking what kind of video works best in the ecommerce space.
Create – Test – Analyze. This is the most effective trio that can help you identify answers to your questions. One video type can be great for one product but absolutely useless for another. Here are some video types that are proven to work for ecommerce:
Explainer videos – Tell your customers how to use your product by walking them through the whole process and answer all common questions. This type of video not only educates your audience but also builds trust. Before making the explainer video, come up with a bunch of questions your potential clients usually have and shoot a video that offers answers.
Feature explainer video – Describe the functionality and explain to the new and existing customers how the product works, its most common uses and value.
Testimonials – Share happy customers’ reviews. When prospects see inspirational stories of other customers who’ve gotten great results, this encourages them to want a similar experience.
Storytelling videos – The best commercial ads are those that are telling your story. Here, you keep your viewer engaged by showing the entire journey of using your product, from the implementation stage to the final result. Here you have an opportunity to evoke emotion.
Meet the team video – If you want to share with your customers your business values, mission and vision, introduce your team who speak for the business. After all, customers appreciate when they see the people behind the product they’re purchasing.
Behind the scenes – Show the “How it’s made” process. This offers a sense of inclusivity and shows how your business develops the product and thinks about the needs of their customers.
Round-ups – Show how your product compares with your competitors in a content round-up format. Create videos that are curated around one common theme. For example, “The Top 5 Best Dining Tables for Your House.” Promote your own product but give the market at large an object view.
Here, the magic trio comes back again: Create – Test – Analyze. Just like a display ad, you have to turn to A/B testing to figure out what works the best for your business. We hope these tips have inspired you to make your first steps toward creating effective videos for your ecommerce site.
Roman Daneghyan is the head of marketing for Renderforest, a service provider for simple, easy-to-use video maker tools.
The prevalence of ecommerce is continuously growing and there is no sign of it slowing down. Every offline retail store should be looking at the possibility of venturing out into the online market where they can sell their products and services. People with entrepreneurial ambition are looking at opportunities to start an ecommerce site. And why shouldn’t they? Ecommerce has quite a few major benefits, among which include:
1. Stay competitive: The online market has far larger shoppers. Having an online store helps you tap into the large online population.
2. Go global: The brick-and-mortar setups are restricted by location. Ecommerce gives you the opportunity to go global and boost your revenue stream.
3. Lower costs: Digital marketing for your ecommerce is comparatively cheaper than the amount you would otherwise spend on a full-fledged sales and marketing team.
4. Save on rent: An online store can cater to a larger consumer base without you investing in a larger physical space/office.
Although ecommerce is low-risk and low-cost, it still requires funds to get it off the ground, like salaries, development, web hosting, design, and accounting services.
Having said that, you’ll need to know what funding options you have to start your online business. Let’s explore some of the most popular funding options available for online businesses.
1. Line of Credit
An unsecured personal line of credit for business has an interest rate lower than that of a credit card.
You can borrow funds as a personal loan for your business, repay in monthly installments and use it again whenever the need arises without going through the hassles of reapplying.
The best part is that you’ll pay interest only on the amount you borrow and not on your whole approved credit limit.
2. Credit Card
A credit card gives you instant access to money. But, it has its own share of downsides. The interest rates are high. So, if your business is not making enough money, paying the minimum amount could be painful. That means you could stay in debt for a longer time.
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If you’re selling something you have created, you may be able to get financial help through crowdfunding, especially if your product is unique, creative and one-of-its-kind.
Successful crowdfunding campaigns often offer something back. It could be giving out a free product or selling it at a discounted price.
4. Traditional Business Loan
A traditional business loan is the first option people think of if they need help financing their business. However, unlike an unsecured line of credit, the business loan disappears once you pay it off. If in future you need finance, you need to reapply. So, if you need a one-time dose of cash, a business loan could work.
5. Angel Investing
An angel investor provides seed money for starting a business. The investment could also provide ongoing support to help the company sail through times of financial crisis.
Angel investors are easy to find. They could be your family, friend, neighbor, parents, or anybody you know, who has the money to carry your company through initial financial setbacks. You can also find angel investors through online funding sites.
Most of the angel investors prefer to have partial ownership of the business. However, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide whether the investment is good enough to lose some equity of your business. Angel investing is a good choice for a small startup or ecommerce businesse.
6. Venture Capitalist
If your aim is to start big, you’ll need a larger amount of investment. VCs are the perfect people for you.
Venture capitals (VCs) are wealthy investors. They invest more than angel investors, but they are picky investors. They’ll only invest in startups that have the potential to show profits.
Since their investments are huge, they expect higher returns on their investments and larger claim to your business than angel investors.
But, they are business savvy people with the mind of an entrepreneur. They’ll offer their expertise and guide you to make a successful and profitable business venture.
The bottom line…
If you have an offline store and are trying to have an online store, or if you are hoping to make your start as an entrepreneur, ecommerce is a lucrative and rewarding way to become your own boss. If financing is holding you back, there are many funding options for every business owner to get the funding they need to succeed.
Shiv Nanda is a financial analyst who currently lives in Bangalore and works with MoneyTap. You can email him at email@example.com.
In the digital era, everything and anything is available online. Consumers research online before making even the smallest buying decisions, like a simple mobile cover. Customers are looking for the best option at a competitive price and high in quality. Being in the B2B ecommerce space is competitive as the larger companies have bigger budgets to crush smaller competitors. By using reliable and cutting-edge digital marketing strategies, however, you can compete with the larger brands.
Here are some of the most reliable and proven digital marketing techniques for the growth of your b2b ecommerce business.
A Cutting-edge Website
The first thing consumers do before buying a product is check the seller’s website. It’s pivotal that a company develop an interactive website that has the power to impress their customers. Include every necessary detail about your brand and product, as well as how you can differentiate yourself against your competitors. Some important must-haves for your ecommerce website, according to Brainrider.com, include measurement tools that support content engagement and funnel marketing leads into a database. This enables you to communicate more efficiently with your sales team and nurture qualified prospects.
Leverage LinkedIn for Prospecting
Paul Slack, the developer of “social media tactical wheels,” notes that B2B marketers are increasing their revenue from social media activities. LinkedIn is one of the best ways to reach the tough-to-get clients who would have otherwise not shown the same interest in you. With LinkedIn, you have the ability to connect with your ideal customer, build an organic relationship, and share valuable content.
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Understand Your Target ‘Type’
Knowing the budget, interests, age group, strong and weak points, as well as the buying habits of your customer will make the path to success much easier. You will be able to make more informed and precise decisions regarding their business and create an effective impression on the mind of your target.
It’s much easier to attract traffic to your website with search engine optimization, or SEO. Make sure you’re providing blogs and informational content on your website leveraging long-tail targeted keywords, which contain modifiers or other additional words to your primary keyword. In fact, 70 percent of all web searches are long-tail. This is how you laser-target your audience and drive free organic search traffic to your product and landing pages.
Per research, videos are shared 1200 percent more times than text and links together. A company’s core message is far more digestible through a video than by reading text alone. As a highly engaging content form, videos can have a much more direct impact both intellectually and emotionally on your customers.
Engage with Your Audience – Give Responses and Take Responses
One bad review can overpower many good reviews in terms of customer perception. Understanding the flaws that customers see in your product or service can meaningfully move the needle on your company’s perception in the market.
It’s always advisable to reply to a negative review and assure future improvements. One way to take a more proactive approach is to track company or brand mentions by setting up Google Alerts. This way whenever someone mentions any of the submitted keywords, you’ll receive a real-time notification and can respond appropriately.
Inbound marketing specialist Lorenzo Gutierrez builds scalable marketing funnels for brands. Connect with Lorenzo on LinkedIn.
The number of global social media users has hit nearly 3.5 billion in 2019, according to research firm Smart Insights, representing a 9 percent year-over-year growth.
It’s no secret that ecommerce companies looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive market need to target these users by posting a consistent cadence of content promoting their products and services.
But how do companies utilize their accounts in a meaningful way, what type of content should they post, and how should they measure the effectiveness of their strategy?
Here are some tips you can use to ensure you’re not wasting your social media efforts and reaching prospects and customers efficiently.
Understand Your End Goals
With social media marketing, it’s easy to feel like you’re posting content into a black hole with little return on investment.
The truth is, your company’s customer base has specific needs and wants to be marketed to in a specific way. Assuming you know how to measure general success in terms of customer acquisition and retention, work your way backward from your end goals and identify how your efforts on your social media platforms can support them.
For example, if you’re a smaller, growing company trying to carve out a space with general awareness, look at the volume of traffic your social media platforms are bringing to your site and see if you can increase it.
On the other hand, if you’re a more established company with strong brand awareness, look to actual fans/followers and engagement metrics to identify how the public is relating to your social content.
If you’re a more niche market with a smaller customer landing strip, look at which platforms you’re using and the number of posts you’re creating and how that relates to actual conversions.
Ultimately, you want to avoid the generic social media “broadcast system” and be more thoughtful about what you want to achieve, and work from there.
Keep Your Social Voice Informal
More than ever, customers care about not just the value of the product they’re buying, but also the people behind that product. Social media represents a great way to create a more human persona behind simply what your company offers, and engage with your prospect and customer base on a human level.
Post photos of company culture, events and other less product-specific content to show your organization’s personality. This is particularly important in the B2B space where your business is less of a transaction and more of a partnership. Prospects can gauge a sense of the interactions that they’ll share with you over the long haul, particularly with your customer service and client success departments.
You can also ask questions and set up polls for your social media following to identify what they want, what their pain points are, what kind of improvements they’d prefer, and overall engage with them one-on-one.
Create a Value Proposition Specific to Your Social Media Base
If there’s nothing on your social media platforms that your followers can get from your website alone, then why would they follow you?
Incentivizing social media relationships with prospects and clients will help not only cultivate new fans and followers, but keep and further engage the ones you have already.
Offering discounts, promotions and other benefits exclusively to your social media following maintains a reason for them to continue following you. Secret discount codes, holiday deals, or special video content not otherwise offered are just a few ways to do this.
Connect with Industry Influencers
We’ve talked a lot about how important it is to not only sell to the market, but educate it with tips, trends and best practices. There’s no better way to cultivate customer trust by investing just as much in your customers’ success as you do your own.
Use your social media channels to identify and connect with meaningful thought leaders and influencers in your market, and build a relationship through content swapping, shared product reviews, or offering insight into one of their blogs or case studies. You can be sure that prospects who research the market will find these top influencers, and they’ll ultimately find you as well.
Credibility is the hallmark of long-term customer relationships, and your social media channels can be a key outreach strategy to develop just that.
Social Media as a Customer Service Tool
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Many unhappy customers may bypass the traditional customer service portal and instead take to Facebook or Twitter to complain. They know the general public will see these complaints and the company will be far more likely to act to prevent the bad press.
As an organization, take this opportunity to respond quickly and thoughtfully to these customer concerns. Offering a quick discount or other incentive will likely satisfy the customer and allow you to maintain their business.
Likewise, positive Facebook and LinkedIn reviews and positive tweets should be retweeted, shared and posted on your website. Customer testimonials are an effective credibility tool for your business and can encourage further customer acquisition.
Video Content is Far More Engaging Than Written Content Alone
As the onslaught of available content increases, our patience as consumers decreases. The more easily and more quickly companies can transmit their message the more likely consumers will engage with it. In short, you want video content and a lot of it.
According to Neil Patel, 80 percent of people prefer watching video rather than reading a blog post, and 82 percent would choose live video over any other type of social post.
Make sure to take full advantage of video product demos, a how-to instructional series, customer testimonials, and messages from the CEO or other leadership members. Easy-to-digest video content can educate the market around your business much more effectively than nearly every other type of content.
Use Paid Social Media Advertising
Prospects will likely find your social channels organically when they’re looking for them. But how about those who don’t even know they need your product and haven’t yet begun the research phase? Here’s where paid social media efforts can create a big win for your business.
Facebook and Twitter – and to a larger extent LinkedIn – offer a paid advertising model in which you can allocate a certain portion of your marketing budget and target social users based upon industry, geo and job title, among other filters. Getting your advertising in the social media feeds of key prospects is an effective way to get them in the awareness stage of your sales funnel, and ultimately close their business.
For more on social media best practices, check out these posts:
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“Businesses that win the hearts, minds, and wallets of their customers all have one thing in common: They allow their customers to operate in their preferred channel, seamlessly migrate between channels, and realize a consistently great experience regardless of channel,” according to a Forrester report.
The truth is, with 68 percent of B2B buyers preferring self-directed research versus interaction with a sales rep, offering an omnichannel approach to marketing, promoting and demonstrating your product is vital to nurturing your prospects in a way that meets their preferences, regardless of their place in the sales funnel.
Whether your prospect is simply gathering information or has amassed enough intel to make a purchase decision – or anywhere in between – your ecommerce business should provide a complete omnichannel experience to deliver what your audience wants, and when they want it. According to Forrester, here are seven steps to implement omnichannel B2B ecommerce, according to use cases from successful ecommerce brands.
1. Venture Beyond the Web Storefront
“We nailed the vision for our ecommerce platform. It goes beyond powering the website to powering the entire customer experience,” says Mike Wodtke, VP of Ecommerce at furniture design company Blu Dot. When selling in both digital and physical channels, for Blue Dot the omnichannel experience includes B2B, B2B2C and D2C. They do this by maintaining fewer partnerships with manufacturers, which enables more control over the customer experience, and a deeper and more strategic approach for each one.
2. Include Sales/Customer Service in the Process
According to Justin Racine, ecommerce lead at Geriatric Medical, B2B ecommerce sites are more “apps than sites,” and buyers – especially those that are higher value – require assistance, even for self-service. Make sure to keep your sales and customer service teams at hand, as they are well positioned to satisfy that need for self-service customers.
3. Think About the Entire Buyers Journey
We so often think about the awareness and purchase phase, but within the omnichannel ecommerce world, prospects are likely to bounce around the funnel (in a non-linear way) before making that decision. Make sure your sales/marketing/customer success teams have touchpoints along the entire journey, and have a plan in place post-purchase to continue nurturing customers over the long-haul.
4. Capabilities Should Span Internal Teams as Well as Customers
Much has been said about consumerizing (or B2C-ifying) the B2B experience, removing as much friction and simplifying the process for the buyer as possible. For the true omnichannel experience, according to TOMS Shoes, “requirements gathering must span the full spectrum of users touching the system.” The company enabled its sales and marking teams to “elevate the brand and buying experiences using brand-centric, digitally merchandized layouts to facilitate buyer-seller interactions.”
5. Sales Incentives Should Still Reign
The terms “automation” and “customer self-service” often make sales teams cringe, feeling as if they’ll no longer be needed. But according to experts, there will always be a place for your sales reps, especially for high-value clients brining in a large volume of revenue. Your ecommerce leaders should make sure there is a fair compensation structure for digital orders of all sizes, in order to maintain a healthy relationship with your sales team. “There’s no faster way to kill your eCommerce investments than to take money away from the sales teams,” notes Marta Dalton, director of ecommerce at Coca-Cola. “Sellers can either sabotage or ensure your success, so make sure you have their full buy-in.”
6. Think in Terms of Continuous, Long-term Improvement
Pivoting your business into pure omnichannel ecommerce is a huge undertaking, and righting the ship takes time, resources and a complete new approach. Taking a “phased approach without a definitive endpoint,” according to Forrester, allows you to apply omnichannel to a smaller portion of your business – a specific geo or business line – and measure its success. From there, you can see what works and put in place a strategy that makes sense for your business overall.
7. Focus on Rep Enablement
When implementing a mass change to your business, you need to have internal buy-in and preparation. Forrester suggests a “commitment to enablement that starts from the inside and moves out to the customer,” such as webinars that provide ongoing training to your sales and service teams. Having confidence in your internal teams will translate into confidence from your customers.