Considering an eCommerce loyalty program app? You're not alone.
As we mentioned in our related eCommerce inbound marketing guide, establishing and maintaining customer loyalty has become an essential strategy for online and offline retailers.
According to BigCommerce, it costs 5x less to convert existing customers than it does acquire new ones. Additionally, loyal customers spend up to 67% more than new customers.
Brands are better positioned than ever to capitalize on this opportunity for growth. However, they need technology to and thoughtful strategy to gain traction. This is where customer loyalty programs come into play.
Understanding Loyalty Program Apps
What is a Customer Loyalty App?
Customer loyalty apps enable online retailers to reward customers based on predetermined criteria. These programs are designed to encourage repeat purchases, increase customer satisfaction and lifetime purchase value.
What is Smile.io?
Although there is never a one-size-fits-all solution, we frequently recommend Smile.io (formerly Sweet Tooth) as a customer rewards tool. We have implemented this tool for many clients and believe in its power to help businesses grow.
Smile.io currently powers approximately 25,000 active merchants using their software to increase customer loyalty. As a company, they work to help brands increase retention while decreasing dependence on ads and promotion.
Differing from other solutions in the space, Smile.io focuses its platform around three unique systems:
Points - Motivate valuable customer actions, like joining a program
VIP - Engage your top customers by increasing rewards and status
Referrals - Turn engaged members into brand advocates
For this post, we sat down with the loyalty experts at Smile.io to get their insights about what makes a program successful. We hope you enjoy their commentary below!
Insights from Smile.io's Steve Deckert
How Would You Describe Smile.io?
Smile.io gives retailers the ability to run their own loyalty programs that reward customers for their purchases and behaviors. As a result, Smile.io stores keep customers engaged and see an increase in orders.
We focus on fostering customer-company relationships that generate great experiences. Smile.io works with all types of companies from local stores to billion dollar businesses.
How Was the Idea of Smile.io Born?
Prior to creating Smile.io, we (founders of Sweet Tooth) did custom eCommerce software development. We noticed that a lot of our clients were focusing on acquiring new customers, but weren’t able to retain their customers beyond a single purchase (this group usually checked out as a guest).
After talking to a few dozen retailers, we determined that there was a huge need for retention in the eCommerce space. So, we developed Smile.io and brought it to the eCommerce community. It was so successful that it is now our only focus.
Why Do You Feel Loyalty Programs Are So Important in eCommerce?
I think that loyalty programs - and customer retention programs in general - are an under-utilized strategy, especially in eCommerce. Online retailers tend to focus most, if not all, of their budgets on customer acquisition.
With a loyalty program, the customers you acquire will spend more per order, will purchase more frequently, and will be engaged with your brand over a greater time period.
They will have a higher “customer lifetime value.” This means that a loyalty program actually increases the ROI of customer acquisition spending.
Without a loyalty program, you have less sustainable revenue because you have to keep spending more to generate sales. A loyalty program increases profit and decreases the variance in revenue.
What is Your Typical Merchant Profile?
Our typical client is a medium-sized retailer who wants to increase revenue and improve customer experience. Some clients have “brick & mortar” retail operations, some are online-only.
They are usually frustrated with increasing costs to acquire a customer, especially on paid search. Our clients’ customers are usually capable of making repeat purchases over their lifetime but aren’t, or they are purchasing at a competitor’s store instead. Their customers are capable of referring their friends, but aren’t.
All of our clients want to have happy, loyal customers who love their brand and spend more - but who doesn’t want this?!
Who is the Right Fit for a Customer Loyalty Program?
Retailers Who Generate Consistent Orders
eCommerce loyalty programs work best when your customers already purchase at regular intervals. We liken this to the coffee shop loyalty punch card you might have in your wallet.
If you don't regularly visit the shop, the program doesn't offer much value. If you are not generating a steady stream of orders yet, you may want to bolster other marketing tactics to increase awareness and demand for your products.
Retailers With Price-Sensitive Customers
Price sensitive customers respond better to rewards than big spenders. However, that's not to say that brands with high average order values can't implement loyalty programs.
Ultimately, your brand should determine if customers will see value from the program you create. If your discounts or incentives motivate customers who otherwise wouldn't have purchased, we'd consider that a win.
Retailers With Several Competitors
Loyalty programs give your company the extra edge against your competitors. Specifically, they will help you stand out from your competition and give your customers a reason to remain loyal rather than shop with your competitors.
As the online marketplace becomes more crowded, brands should strive to differentiate themselves by offering added value. We often recommend loyalty programs because they offer clear incentives to remain engaged.
Do You Receive Any Common Push Back From Companies Starting a Rewards Campaign?
The number one objection that we receive from companies starting a rewards campaign is that they simply don’t have time to do this. It is a matter of prioritization.
Most retailers will agree that they want to have loyal customers that buy more often and bring their friends to buy. Most retailers will agree that a loyalty program can be successful.
The problem is that they focus on short-term revenue goals instead of thinking about how their brand is going to be successful over a longer period of time.
Have any questions? Looking to explore how a loyalty program could fit in with your store's marketing strategy?
Feel free to drop us a line through the form below! We are happy to walk you through additional examples, set up a demo and get you started on the path to increasing customer loyalty.
Shopping cart abandonment occurs when potential buyers add products to their carts but do not complete their transactions
Abandoned carts in eCommerce aren't a new problem. In fact, HubSpot reports that 73.9% of carts remain un-purchased. The question is: why aren't retailers doing more to capture this untapped potential?
Shopping cart abandonment is often influenced by competitive pricing, uncertainty about store credibility and general forgetfulness. To combat these issues, we're outlining clear strategies to help nurture potential buyers and encourage them to convert.
Shopping Cart Abandonment Tips
Implement An Optimized One-Page Checkout
Provide Security Assurances
Add Clear Incentives
Implement Email Workflows
Set Up Retargeting Campaigns
Experiment With Live Chat & Chat Bots
Remember to Test
1. Implement An Optimized One-Page Checkout
When it comes to checkout, brands need to reduce friction and roadblocks. Enter the optimized on-page checkout.
One-page checkout makes it easier for users to understand purchase progress and move through checkout stages. This approach also minimizes checkout friction by reducing page load time and removing opportunities for cart abandonment.
When designing your checkout flow, make sure button sizes are mobile compatible. We recommend button sizes no smaller than 44 pixels by 44 pixels to accommodate finger tap on mobile devices. These interactions contribute to the overall checkout experience and are opportunities to make the process easier for your users.
Finally, consider adding a progress bar to your checkout if it involves phases to help users understand exactly where they are in the process. These visual queues reinforce forward motion in the purchase process and can also help user navigate forward or backward based on their individual needs.
With online scams on the rise, many consumers are still concerned with cyber security issues and identity theft. However, the simplest solution this problem is to proactively address their fears.
Try attaching badges or logos from companies like Norton, Google or the Better Business Bureau (to name a few). These visuals provide security assurances that increase your store’s credibility and strengthen consumer confidence.
Although badges are not a requirement, they are a simple way to help ease consumer worries and increase trust. When in doubt, try testing different messaging and assurances to see what performs best for your customers.
3. Add Clear Incentives
Incorporating clear incentives in your eCommerce strategy can offer numerous benefits for your business. Specifically, messaging and incentives can motivate users to complete their purchases.
Among many available options, we we recommend using promoting free shipping and discounts and promotions.
Shipping is a crucial aspect of your eCommerce business because it is the consumer’s first point of contact with your product. Therefore, it is inherently important to develop a successful shipping strategy.
Free shipping is attractive to customers, which makes the offer a potential competitive advantage. It plays an important role in the potential buyer’s decision making process when it’s time to choose where they will spend their money.
That said, we acknowledge that free shipping isn't feasible for every retailer. If you fall into that category, we recommend a few strategies to still incorporate the concept to reduce abandoned carts.
High shipping costs often deter customers from completing a purchase, but wrapping all costs into the price of each product entices customers to follow through.
Offer free shipping when customers spend over a certain dollar amount
Up-sell by giving consumers free shipping when they purchase two or more items
Set a specific time period for how long the offer is available (this option is most useful during slow periods)
If you haven't considered implementing free shipping, we highly recommend taking the time to evaluate if it's possible for your business.
Introduce Discounts and Promotions
Another effective tactic for eradicating abandoned carts is offering discounts and promotions throughout the checkout process. However, we caution you to consider your specific business needs when considering discounts.
eCommerce stores with larger margins can often offer discounts more frequently. However, stores with smaller margins should consider discount alternatives to maintain profitability.
In these instances, we often recommend offering an inexpensive complimentary branded product. This type of offer can help brands control their profitability. As a result, many brands can end up saving a higher profit margin than if they were to offer 10 or 15 percent off.
When discounts and promotions are successfully implemented, your business is more likely to encourage customers to convert. This will help drive customer loyalty and customer acquisition. Overall, we recommend building custom promotional offers based on your business, customers and goals.
4. Implement Email Workflows & Automation
Even if you optimize your checkout experience and provide promotional incentives, users can unfortunately still abandon their carts. However, email automation and abandoned cart workflows offer significant opportunity to recover this lost revenue.
Abandoned cart recovery workflows are often “set it and forget it” implementations. For example, brands typically set how long after the cart abandoner leaves before they receive an email and what offers (if any) they’ll receive (whether that’s in the first email or follow-up recapture emails).
Best of all, most robust tools include all of the items abandoned in these emails. This only requires users to click once to go back to their previous cart. Even more impressive, the big players in this arena will actually capture the keystrokes in specific fields on your online checkout form so that visitors who aren’t signed in with an account can be captured.
Abandoned cart workflows are truly a wellspring of opportunity for eCommerce marketers. If you're interested in learning more about abandoned cart email strategy, we recommend our related blog. In this piece, we discuss email messaging, testing, layout, promotions and more.
5. Set Up Retargeting Campaigns
There's a reason products you viewed follow you around on Facebook, Instagram and other social platforms. These types of advertisements are referred to as product retargeting.
Product retargeting campaigns use browser cookies to dynamically display products in your social feeds that you previously viewed. By implementing these campaigns, marketers can re-introduce users to their carts as a supplement to existing promotional strategies.
We often recommend this strategy for brands with active user bases on social platforms like Instagram and Facebook. The highly visual nature of the advertisements lends them to high click-through rates. As a result, many brands who run these campaigns experience significant return on investment.
The name of the game in cart abandonment is making things easy for your users. Specifically, marketers need to reduce friction and help customers get help and information when they need it.
Online chat has transformed the way that businesses address customer needs. For example, chat:
Is convenient for customers
Allows your staff to have multiple customer conversations at once
Let's you cross-sell and up-sell with product recommendations
Address your customers’ pain points immediately with a personalized approach.
However, not all online chat tools are created equal. At a high level, there are two types of chat to consider:
Live chat is the most straightforward method to communicate with your customers and prospects. This technology connects users with a live support professional who can answer their questions and point them in the right direction.
Although this option is the most personable, many businesses struggle to scale live chat as they grow. For example, actively maintaining 24-hour staff to answer questions presents logistical challenges for many businesses. As a result, live chat is not always the ideal solution.
However, live chat does have particularly helpful applications. Including live chat during the checkout process during normal business hours can help your brand reach customers when they are very close to converting. We recommend exploring this option to see if it impacts your overall conversion.
Differing from live chat, eCommerce chat bots allow businesses to remain connected 24-7 with reduced personnel overhead. This medium also helps businesses accelerate addressing user inquiries.
Using if/then logic, marketers can create chat flows that mimic real conversations. We especially love the idea of limiting customer inputs to designated buttons in chat bots. This concept accomplishes two things:
It limits the opportunities for error. Specifically, it removes the chance that a chat bot will not understand user input.
These flows help users self identify the needs that best apply. Using this information, brands can quickly navigate users to information that makes sense for them.
Although chat bots offer significant value on many pages of eCommerce websites, we typically do not recommend placing them in the checkout experience. Instead, implementing live chat on these pages can help brands immediately address specific payment questions without a technological barrier.
Ultimately, choosing the right chat option comes down to specific business needs. As a result, we encourage you to evaluate your users, desired functionality and overall business needs.
7. Remember to Test
Could your checkout page be improved simply from an adjustment to aesthetics? Could your customer service information or overall visual hierarchy be improved?
If you’re thinking “yes” to any of the above, you may want to consider eCommerce A/B testing. Although there are many options available, we are fans of Google Optimize for small adjustments. This tool helps brands implement quick adjustments to their websites – often without coding.
From promotional elements to page layouts, every component on your eCommerce story ultimately influences customer action and motivation. As such, it's important to periodically identify areas on your site with user friction and run tests to improve.
Reducing shopping cart abandonment can be an excellent way to garner more sales and acquire new customers.
If you’re not sure where to start and are looking for some tools that you can explore using for this purpose, consider each of the above as they apply to your own eCommerce website.
Want to learn more or need help? Feel free to drop a line below.
eCommerce email marketing remains one of the most effective tools in digital marketing — it’s fast, measurable and convenient. However if you’re familiar with email design, you likely know that every email client renders content differently. Although some email clients are up-to-date with the latest technology, many are still years behind conventional website design best practices.
As inboxes become more crowded and attention spans decrease, businesses face several marketing challenges. You want to increase your open and click-through rates, but how?
A well-designed email is crucial to driving conversions. For that reason, sticking to these best practices will ensure your emails render quickly and correctly across all platforms and devices.
Email Design Best Practices
Keep It at 600 Pixels
Simple is Always Better
Establish a Visual Hierarchy
Stick with System Fonts
Use Consistent Branding
Personalize Where Possible
Test and Improve
1. Keep It at 600 Pixels
The ideal email width is 600 pixels. This recommendation has stood the test of time because many browser-based email clients require additional interface space and don't allow for a full-screen viewing experience.
We strongly recommend creating vertical layouts instead of horizontal. Although horizontal designs can add visual interest, these layouts typically experience formatting issues when they respond to mobile device sizes.
Overall, remember that your emails will likely be opened in different clients and devices. If you design from a mobile-first perspective, you can proactively avoid formatting issues that may otherwise present themselves.
2. Simple is Always Better
With average adult’s attention span down to just 8 seconds, it’s important to make your emails easy to read and attention grabbing.
Including imagery or video is a great way to condense content and convey your message visually. It’s also important to give content room to breathe to improve readability. Things like bullet points, short paragraphs and white space combined will achieve this.
Overall, your emails should be easy to read and attention grabbing. The best way to accomplish this is to focus on one idea and call to action at a time.
3. Establish a Visual Hierarchy
Effective email design guides users to complete a desired action. As graphic designers, our job is to create a system that facilitates this experience.
To accomplish this goal, we recommend establishing a visual hierarchy to communicate what areas of your email are the most important. We often use the "squint test" as a way to quickly evaluate what parts of a design carry visual weight.
Although every email will vary, we've found a fairly repeatable model:
Call to Action
Additional Call to Action
Keep in mind that every email's purpose and audience will be different. We encourage you to experiment with a hierarchy that works for your specific needs.
However, remember that your users should be able to quickly scan your content and understand what elements are the most important. Ultimately, this will help them navigate to your call to action faster and help them convert.
4. Stick with System Fonts
Although we love the customization and flexibility that web fonts offer, they are not widely supported in email. As a result, using them in emails can result in unexpected fallbacks and disappointing appearance on less progressive email clients.
We recommend sticking with web-safe fonts like Arial, Helvetica, Tahoma, Times New Roman and Georgia. This will ensure that the look of your email remains consistent across all email clients and devices.
Although you likely won't be able to find something that's an exact match to your current branding, we encourage you to find a font that is similar. Once you choose an email font, remain consistent and add these styles to your brand guidelines to keep your team informed.
5. Use Consistent Branding
When designing your emails, keep your color palette, logo and design elements consistent with your website. This will help users understand exactly who the email is coming from as soon as they open it.
The banner space of your email is a great opportunity to get creative with typography, as it is embedded in the image. Consider using a branded font to draw the reader in and then used standard system fonts in the body of the email to provide the details.
6. Personalize Where Possible
In many ways, the email experience begins before users even open your message. As a result, it's incredibly important to consider subject lines, sending address and preview text.
Although subject lines and preview text is often overlooked, these elements can significantly influence your open rates and engagement. Try including a personalization token for your recipient’s name in the subject line to give your email a personalized touch.
7. Test & Improve
With eCommerce A/B testing, you can test various designs against each other to see what button, colors, or font sizes perform best. Collecting this data will allow you to target your audience in the most effective way possible moving forward.
The goal of email marketing is to engage and delight your customers with interesting content that is tailored specifically to them. The more data you are able to collect about your customers, the more you able to optimize the design for a better, more personalized experience. At its core, effective eCommerce email design best practices help marketers accomplish this.
Interested in learning more about email marketing and design? Contact Groove today! We’re happy to get you in touch with our digital marketing experts.
eCommerce A/B testing is a scientific method of evaluating a marketing variable compared to a control. This occurs when brands show a percentage of users either a control or variable version of a marketing asset. When properly executed, this exercise helps businesses evaluate a variable’s effectiveness related to the control.
eCommerce A/B testing mirrors the scientific method and helps businesses isolate individual elements that influence results. Once brands identify a winning set, they can apply their findings for remaining users and future marketing materials.
Overall, this eCommerce testing process creates an ongoing cycle of optimization and contributes to smarter marketing decisions.
eCommerce Testing Ideas
With advances in eCommerce and marketing technology, brands can a/b test almost any asset. However, we’ve seen that a few specific areas are particularly well suited for testing.
Calls to Action
Consider evaluating button color, size, font weight, capitalization, messaging and shape. Each factor can affect users differently, so be sure to take your time and evaluate ways to constantly improve.
Evaluate heading, button, form and image placement. Each of these elements contributes to the overall user experience and can either help or hurt the purchase process.
We frequently evaluate product detail and checkout pages as a part of a routine eCommerce AB testing process. These pages offer high conversion value for brands and should be a key focus for future success.
Testing the order and content of your product images can drastically influence consumer purchasing decisions. Consider evaluating lifestyle vs isolated product images on your product detail pages. Additionally, you can test if user-generated images perform better than branded imagery in various places throughout your store.
Testing individual or bundling pricing can help brands better understand how these elements directly influence conversion. If possible, we encourage brands to evaluate their pricing/conversion relationships and consider how they ultimately influences profitability. You may find that you can adjust pricing to increase conversion without influencing profitability.
Consider testing free shipping, discounts and added perks throughout your site. Comparing these elements directly can offer better insight into what resonates with your customers. You can then use this information to inform future marketing promotions.
Template design can drastically impact eCommerce email engagement. We recommend evaluating templates with identical subject lines and messaging to see what formats lend themselves best to different marketing promotions. Consider testing placement of your logo, banner imagery, CTAs and body messaging.
Subject Lines & Preview Text
This is one of the most straightforward email elements to testing. Evaluating different email subject lines can help you see what version gets a larger open or click rate. Analyze your results and then use the subject line that will get you the most interaction.
Test banner imagery, product highlights and other graphic elements within your email content to evaluate what motivates your users to convert. Although content will vary from email to email, marketers can use this information to identify trends and inform future marketing correspondence.
How to Run an A/B Test
Determine a Variable
When setting up your A/B test there are a few settings to determine. First, just like an experiment, you will need to determine your variable. The variable should be the only thing that is different between your two alternatives.
Set Distribution Percentages
After determining what you are testing, set your distribution percentages. We recommend sending Version A to about 15% of your audience and sending Version B to about 15% of your audience. After your results come back, the remaining 70% of your audience will receive the winning version.
Determine a Winning Metric & Duration
Next, you’ll need to set the winning metric. This is the standard you will use to determine your winner. In this email subject line test example, our winning metric is "opens by delivered." HubSpot allows you to choose from three winning metrics: opens by delivered, clicks by delivered, or clicks by opens.
You then need to set your test duration. We generally recommend longer test times to ensure your results are accurate.
Lastly, don’t forget to set your fallbacks. Just like in a regular experiment, things can go wrong. Your sample size may be too small to get accurate results or they may be inconclusive. As a result, it's best to set the version you want to send if you run into one of these problems.
Statistical Significance and Data Validity
Although we firmly believe in the benefits eCommerce a/b testing can offer, we caution you to ensure that sample testing sizes are large enough to produce statistically significant results. If your audience is not large enough, the testing will be invalid.
A/B testing is based on numbers and changes are only made if the data backs it up. When testing emails and eCommerce websites, you will typically need a large user base to create a representative sample size.
Overall, eCommerce A/B testing is a process that takes time, dedication and attention. If you need help developing a roadmap to navigate your A/B testing, we would be happy to help! Please reach out through the form below to get in touch.
More than 40% of cart abandonment emails are opened. Of these, about half are clicked on, and of those clicked on, half of the users who clicked made a purchase.
This ultimately translates to tremendous potential for businesses to capture lost revenue. Post purchase email automation is made of multiple moving parts, engaging subject lines are the first way to draw customers in. Here are some suggestions to make your subject lines intriguing and captivating.
Abandoned Cart Subject Line Ideas
Buy it now and get free shipping”
Your cart misses you! Get 15% off what you left behind.
Buy in the next 24 hours and get 15% off
Your[Product Name] is waiting...
Where’d you go?
Want to make a deal?
Gift included inside
Your cart is about to expire
Can we help with your order?
Did you forget something?
Did you forget this, [Name]?
You’re so close/li>
1. Free Shipping
“Buy it now and get free shipping”
If you don't currently offer free shipping, these additional costs can cause friction during the checkout process and result in abandoned carts. Advertising free shipping and incentives in email subject lines is an extremely effective tactic to encourage customers to revisit their carts.
However, we caution you to save this type of promotion for later emails your abandoned cart workflow. Including incentives in your first email can train customers to wait for discounts instead of making full-price purchases.
“Your cart misses you! Get 15% off what you left behind.”
Similar to free shipping, a discount can prove to be the nudge your customer needs to complete their purchase. Our recommendations to delay this approach until later in your email workflow still apply in this situation. We outline this recommendation and more in our related blog that discusses abandoned cart email strategy.
Discounts help sweeten the deal and provide an extra incentive that many users need to purchase. Including specific promotion details in your subject line can increase open and click-through rates. Ultimately, this translates to more revenue for your business.
“Buy in the next 24 hours and get 15% off”
This example combines an incentive with a time-bound sense of urgency. We encourage you to get specific with your timeline and promotion to give users details before they even open.
Being transparent about your deadlines can increase anxiety about missing out and increase email open rates as a result. Overall, creating urgency with a limited time offer is a proven tactic to encourage customers to complete their purchases.
“Your [Product Name] is waiting...”
Life is busy. Your customer may have gotten distracted and totally forgotten about the products they were interested in.
Including the product name in the subject line creates an immediate connection with your users and triggers memories of their previous shopping experience. As a result, they may be more likely to open your email to explore content you've sent them to help with their purchase decision.
5. Polite Reminder
Questions call out for responses. As a result, including a short and sweet question in your email subject line can encourage your users to explore more information.
If you haven't used an abandoned cart workflow before, this email subject line can be a fantastic place to start. It's simple, to the point and relevant to a wide variety of shopping experience.
6. Reasonable Question
“Where’d you go?”
Sometimes, a simple question can be enough to remind your customer they left something behind.
Keeping things conversational is often the best approach to cutting through a crowded inbox. In many cases, your customers are still interested in your products and only need a small reminder to continue their transaction.
As a seller, we encourage your to explore this and other related questions in your abandoned cart subject lines to increase open rates and conversions.
“Want to make a deal?”
Although your abandoned cart email workflows shouldn't encourage one-on-one negotiation, this email subject line offers an intriguing message for your customers.
By demonstrating a level of give and take, you allow your users to meet you in the middle to reconsider their purchases. If you take this approach, we recommend including a discount or incentive in the body of your email.
“Gift included inside”
Sometimes withholding the right information can be enough to peak your users' interest. In this example, announcing that a customer will receive a gift but not sharing what it is creates an internal question: "what is the gift?"
Instead of offering a discount or incentive upfront in the subject line, try being a bit coy. When properly implemented, this approach can increase open rates and email engagement.
“Your cart is about to expire”
All good things must come to an end. Customers who add items to their carts often expect that inventory will be held based on their interest. However, this isn't the case.
Additionally, keeping shopping carts fresh over time can help shopping experiences remain relevant. Sending notifications that their carts will expire can add a sense of urgency and encourage your customers to make purchase decisions.
10. Customer Service
“Can we help with your order?"
Remember to lend a helping hand. In this example, your email subject line addresses a need for assistance. Offering a personalized feel can help you relate to your customers and make them feel that there needs are a priority.
Writing this abandoned cart subject line as a question also encourages an internal response from your users. The compulsive need to respond can help increase email open rates and engagement.
11. Common Reminder
“Did you forget something?”
This is probably the most common and straightforward subject line. Although it's simple, the direct message cuts through email inbox clutter.
We recommend trying this type of email subject line at the beginning of your abandoned cart workflow. It serves as an ideal conversation starter and clearly positions your follow-up outreach with a helpful tone.
“Did you forget this, [Name]?”
As we've mentioned before in our blog about , personalizing emails can have a significant impact on engagement.
Including a first name can add just enough context to your email subject line to encourage engagement. This tactic also helps demonstrated to your customer that they are more than just a number on their accounting sheet. As with any form of personalization, always include a fallback for your token to account for missing contact properties.
13. Gentle Nudge
“You’re so close”
This method tends to be a little more subtle than some of the other ideas discussed. It also can be an opportunity to stress the ease of the potential checkout.
We're also fans of this subject line because it's only three words. The brevity translates to a clear message that can resonate with users. It also communicates steps in a process, which can appeal to goal-oriented customers.
Although we've included many email subject line ideas above, it's always important to test. Use A/B testing to fine tune your email subject lines and find which version works best for you.
Still need help creating your abandoned cart email subject lines? Drop us a line through the form below and we'll be happy to help!
As an eCommerce inbound marketing agency, we counsel our clients about the value of P.E.S.O. (paid, earned, shared and owned) strategies. Organic search and online store SEO fall under the owned portion of this acronym and offer long-term benefits for both new and legacy stores.
Unlike paid marketing approaches, organic search benefits do not require an advertising budget. Additionally, the traffic benefits of appearing in search results can last months or years, if properly maintained.
To help you increase online search presence, we've outlined a few best practices below to get you started.
Online Store SEO Tips
Optimize Your Pages
Optimize for Mobile Users
Create Blog & Other Relevant Content
Earn Inbound Links
Page optimization and keyword research are arguably some of the strongest SEO tactics available. This approach ultimately starts by determining the keywords your customers search for the most.
Next, analyze your competition. If you're unsure where to begin, we wrote a related blog about eCommerce SEO tools that covers this topic in more detail. However in general, we recommend Keyword Keg, MOZ and Google Keyword Planner to help identify keywords that make sense for your business.
When incorporating keywords into your website, we recommend only optimizing one keyword per page. This approach ensures you tailor content appropriately and don't compete against yourself in search results.
Once you determine a target keyword for your page, incorporate it in the following areas:
2-3 Times Throughout Page Copy
Image File Name
Image Alt Text
We also recommend optimizing your product category, detail and other systems pages using the bullets above. However, we caution you to avoid keyword stuffing. This tactic can negatively affect your search rankings. If you're looking for more information, we recommend exploring more in our blog about eCommerce SEO strategy.
Internal linking helps Google understand your website’s hierarchy. These links demonstrate relationships between content and show what pages are more authoritative about specific subject than others.
Additionally, pages with multiple internal links can experience higher search rankings. This phenomenon is a benefit of a content marketing strategy called topic clustering.
Originally coined by HubSpot, this approach creates a cluster of content that relates to a larger anchor piece. This longer-form content piece sits at the center of the topic cluster absorbs the linking benefits of the other pages.
Although HubSpot topic clusters are a relatively new marketing concept, building internal links is a tried-and-true SEO best practice. Stores that include relevant internal links to related products, sizing guides and other content can improve user experience and help search engines understand how your site relates to specific inquiries.
Mobile & User Optimization
With mobile website traffic surpassing desktop for most eCommerce businesses, responsive website design has become a design must for any online store. However, the benefits of mobile optimization extend far beyond user experience.
Google rewards websites whose users spend time engaging with content. This "dwell time”factor influences search rankings because in Google's eyes, the longer someone stays on your site, the more they relate to your content.
When optimizing your site for mobile, look at factors like live chat, detailed product descriptions, and customer reviews to keep visitors engaged.
Brands should also consider page load time and site layout/design. Recognize that visitors are using smaller screens and optimize images and layouts to respond and load quickly. If you're interested in learning more, we recommend exploring our related blog about mobile eCommerce trends.
Fresh content and page updates signal to search engines that a website is current and relevant. As a result, brands should look for regular opportunities to keep their store up-to-date.
Many stores find blogging regularly can provide many SEO and user benefits. On the SEO side of things, blogging enables brands to target a swath of keywords that relate to their businesses. As a result, this tactic can expand search visibility and increase organic search traffic to your store.
Additionally, blogging offers previous customers or visitors more reasons to revisit your store. Helpful content establishes trust with website users, and as a result, can encourage repeat purchases. If you're looking to improve your blog writing skills, we've outlined eCommerce blogging tips in a related blog here.
Inbound links refer to external pages that reference and link to your website pages. These links carry SEO weight because they help Google determine the context and relevancy of your site.
Inbound links are still one of the strongest ways to bolster domain and page authority for your online store. To reap the full benefits of these links, brands should ensure these pages have high domain authority, are from reputable sources and include relevant anchor text.
Although collecting inbound links is one of the most difficult SEO tasks, we encourage brands to get creative and explore new opportunities to expand their content's reach. Consider tapping into influencers, partner networks and social media to build a linking matrix.
Finally, remember that SEO is a long-game strategy and linking building takes time. Be patient and stay motivated to continue moving your online store forward.
As search engines evolve, techniques to improve SEO will continue to change. Overall, focusing on usability should be your guiding light. Make sure visitors spend time on your site and have positive experiences. If you follow proven best practices and focus on your users first, the rest will follow.
Need help improving your online store’s SEO? Feel free to reach out through the form below. We'd love to connect!
User-generated content (UGC) refers to written or multimedia content related to your brand that's created by someone unofficially affiliated with your business.
User-generated content, such as product reviews, social media integration, FAQ forums and discussion boards, directly connects your brand with customers. This authentic content is personalized, socially-integrated, insightful and transparent. Best of all, it builds trust with consumers and ultimately translates into business success and scalable growth.
In a crowded eCommerce market, establishing third-party credibility is key to creating consumer trust. Brands who utilize user generated content demonstrate authenticity and typically generate more positive responses from consumers.
Benefits of eCommerce user generated content include:
Showsing real-life practicality
Improving organic search results
Driving leads to your website
Developing a stronger social following
Providing free marketing content
Types of User-Generated Content
With consumer trust at an all-time low, third-party reviews offer significant potential for businesses looking to make an impact online. 82% of consumers consider user-generated product reviews extremely valuable and 70% of consumers look at ratings or reviews before making any purchasing decisions.
As a result, brands who incorporate reviews within product pages can bolster their credibility and encourage consumers to purchase. Amazon does a fantastic job including optimized product reviews in its content marketing strategy. Potential buyers can not only give products star ratings, but they can also interact with other buyers through Amazon’s customer Q&As.
This level of two-way communication helps brands personally relate to consumers and build trust. If you haven't added customer reviews to your website yet, we highly encourage you to explore this option.
Social Media Content & Influencer Marketing
Social media and influencer marketing is one of the most notable forms of user generated content. These mediums are so successful because they promote real-life applications of products and services. Furthermore, they extend the reach of content to new networks and help brands engage with new potential customers.
For example, let’s say you run a furniture store and you want to showcase different items to your customers. Integrating photos from your Instagram account on product pages can show potential buyers how the pieces of furniture can be used in real-life environments. These type of posts tell a story of positive customer experiences, which helps shoppers to better imagine themselves using your products. Additionally, brands can leverage hashtags and influencer connections to source other high-quality content onto their product pages and feeds.
Successful UGC campaigns use customer photos communicate a lifestyle and not just a product. Although Instagram is arguably the strongest platform for photography marketing, we recommend exploring other platforms based on your business.
Many brands have also found success running promotions or incentives to encourage social sharing. If you take this approach, be sure to incorporate hashtags and to ask your consumers to tag your business in their posts so you and others can find the content.
FAQ Forums & Discussion Boards
Although this form of UGC doesn't apply to every business, it can help specific brands improve customer confidence. In many cases, FAQ content takes form as a brand-created page. However, consumer-accessible FAQ forums and discussion boards offer a unique opportunity to directly connect with existing and potential customers.
Creating public FAQ forums and discussion boards allows customers to share real-life stories and suggestions. This can lead to increased confidence from potential buyers. Additionally, this approach helps marketers spend less time frequently updating FAQs pages because consumers take on the majority of the lift.
If you adopt FAQ forums as a form of eCommerce user generated content, we caution you to actively monitor these pages for comments and complaints. Brands should use this opportunity to personally connect, address issues and create positive experiences that encourage repeat conversions.
Although there are many user-generated content applications on the market, we've found that Yotpo is one of the most reputable and powerful options for eCommerce businesses. This platform “integrates with leading eCommerce platforms and apps to generate and maximize the power of user-generated content.”
Specifically, Yotpo helps display Q&A, ratings, reviews and photos at key conversion points across your website and social media accounts. Additionally, Yotpo’s AI-powered solutions leverage and collect ratings and reviews to turn consumer content into sales conversions. Finally, customizable widgets motivate shoppers to write on-site reviews. Overall, this tool has helped many of our clients centralize their eCommerce user generated content efforts and maximize return on investment.
There is no secret formula that will work for every business. However, properly implemented user generated content can grow your brand for the long-term, improve customer lifetime value, lower cost of acquisition and improve other traffic-driving activity. If you haven't explored this marketing tactic yet, we highly encourage you to continue your research journey and to learn more.
If you’re in need of more information, fill out the contact form below and we’ll happily answer any questions you may have.
Email marketing has stood the test of time because it helps brands engage with their customers. However, doing it wrong can hurt your business and damage relationships you've worked hard to maintain.
Email marketing mistakes can take two forms: process issues and email issues. In this post, we'll cover both and provide tips to ensure your email marketing stays out of the spam folder.
Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
Sending the Same Email to Your Entire List
Designing Only for Desktop
Being Overly Commercial
Doing Everything Manually
Not Building Your Database
Not Creating a Schedule/Plan
Ignoring Past Performance
Sending the Same Email to Your Entire List
Sending the same email to your entire list is like screaming from a mountain top – someone might hear you, but you're so far away it's hard to relate. As we've mentioned before, successful marketers segment their list based on common traits or interests.
For example, if you sell clothes, try sending your female customers women’s clothing instead of men’s clothing. Targeted emails result in higher click-through rates because they are more relevant.
Emails can be segmented based on two criteria:
Demographics include age, gender, language, employment status and more. Consider using this information to your advantage and sending your customer emails that apply to them.
You can also segment by region/location. This can be especially helpful if weather impacts your company and products. For example, customers in Florida will likely be less interested in heavy coats than users in New York.
Psychographics includes interests, behaviors and beliefs. Although these traits are often more difficult to isolate, looking through your customer purchase history can be a great place to start. This information will shed light on potential customer interests, activities they enjoy and more.
We'll keep this one short: please don't spam your lists.
Spamming is the quickest way to have users unsubscribe from your emails. Additionally, having too many users report your emails as spam can place your sending domain on a blacklist. Typically, 70% of spam complaints come from opt-in newsletters that recipients no longer want to receive.
To mitigate this issue, we recommend first looking at your subject lines. Avoid using all capital letters or excessive much punctuation, including exclamation points.
Additionally, evaluate if the volume of emails you send is too high. Bombarding your list with excessive emails can also cause your users to unsubscribe or report you as spam.
This leads to our final point in this section: don’t hide your unsubscribe links. Hiding this button and your company information, such as physical address, will make your customers suspicious. Keep these things in your footer where your customer will expect them to be.
Designing Only for Desktop
Although device open rates vary based on industry, HubSpot reports that 48% of emails are opened on mobile devices and 69% of users delete emails that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. Mobile optimization is especially important for consumer brands, which typically experience higher mobile open rates than other industries.
Although email design is more limited than website design, we encourage a few basics to ensure your message renders beautifully on any display:
Make the template stack-responsive to accommodate mobile devices
Condense image sizes to increase load time
Include proper alt text with any images (in case they don't render)
Overall, creating a mobile-optimized email will improve the user experience and leave your customers happier. We also recommend testing in different email clients. HubSpot includes email client and A/B testing with their marketing plans, which helps brands easily see how their message will display across a variety of conditions.
Being Overly Commercial
Only sending promotional content can have two negative effects on your email audience:
Your audience will tune you out or unsubscribe
They won't buy full-price items because they know there will always be an email campaign around the corner
We are strong believers in the value promotional emails provide. However, we recommend interspersing these emails with other helpful content to create a well-rounded approach. For example, sending user-generated content, guides, downloads or multimedia content can help keep things fresh. Every business is different, so we encourage you to evaluate content that your customers will find useful. Remember that above all else, you should provide value.
Doing Everything Manually
Doing everything manually is both tedious and impractical. However, we still come across businesses who aren't using email automation.
Software tools like HubSpot help manage contact lists, automate email distribution and collect leads in one place. You can also schedule email send times based on time zone to maximize impact.
Additionally, brands who automate their emails can also run A/B tests to determine email subject lines, messaging and imagery that best relates with their audiences.
HubSpot will analyze performance based on either open rates or click through rates and determine a “winning” version to send. You can set time limits on the test so that the emails are automatically sent when you want them to go out.
If you aren't automating your email outreach, we highly encourage you explore our related blog about eCommerce automation here.
Not Building Your Database
There is a direct correlation between the quality of your email list and the quality of your email performance. As a result, we encourage each of our clients to cleanse and grow their contact lists over time.
To increase the size of your list, consider implementing calls to action, pop-up elements and forms throughout your website and landing pages. We've seen brands attract new contacts with newsletter signup discounts, content downloads or contests.
We encourage you to get creative and try different tactics to see what resonates with your audience.
Not Creating a Schedule/Plan
Just like a gym membership, they key to email marketing success is consistency. When you establish a reliable cadence, your subscribers will get used to receiving your correspondence and become more open to engaging.
Although you won't need to schedule every email you send, we recommend creating a general distribution cadence for your email marketing. Once you have your team on board, try your best to stick with it and adjust as you go. Whether you create a daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly plan for your emails, establishing a plan upfront will help you convey clear messages that don’t repeat or contradict each other.
Ignoring Past Performance
They key to learning from your email marketing mistakes is to recognize them. We recommend regularly reviewing your email marketing performance to evaluate areas for improvement.
In addition to running A/B tests, you can evaluate different email performance over time. Consider what worked, what didn't and areas where you can adjust to maximize impact in the future. Ultimately, learning from your mistakes will help improve your email marketing campaigns so that they can be as successful as possible.
Whether you're just getting started with email marketing or are a seasoned pro, avoiding email marketing mistakes is the first step to supercharging your next campaign.
Have any questions or comments? Leave us a comment in the form below and we'll be in touch!
How do you make your business stand out on one of the most highly emailed weeks of the year? How do you introduce a new product upgrade to legacy customers, trial users and new prospects? Final Draft, the world's #1 screenwriting software, challenged our team to answer both of these with a goal of surpassing revenue from their 2016 launch of Final Draft 10.
Our team tackled this challenge head on and developed an integrated eCommerce inbound marketing campaign in Q3 of 2018. This campaign included:
A/B Email Testing
As a result of our creative and strategic efforts, Final Draft exceeded revenue goals for both its 2018 holiday week compared to 2016 and Q4 2018 as a whole. Overall, we generated:
108% increase in revenue
69% increase in eCommerce conversion rate
151% increase in transactions
30% average email open rate
3% average email click-through rate
Additionally, our team helped them better utilize HubSpot's robust functionality and streamline processes to save time. Final Draft used this increased efficiency to focus their attention on high-value activities, like connecting with their prospects on a personal level and tailoring messaging to better resonate with their needs.
Final Draft is the number one professional screenwriting software used by screenwriters around the world. Throughout our partnership, we’ve helped the company redesign its eCommerce website, optimize its marketing efforts and strategically align its target personas to improve business KPIs.
Final Draft launched the latest iteration of its product, Final Draft 11, in September 2018. Following that launch, our team was challenged to help them meet aggressive revenue goals over the holiday season. Specifically, they aimed to exceed launch revenue for their Q4 2016 launch of Final Draft 10.
As an online retailer, preparing for and mastering Black Friday and Cyber Monday presents unique opportunities and difficulties. Discount messaging, email and advertising content saturate almost every eCommerce vertical during the holiday season.
As a result, Final Draft commissioned our team help them stand out during this time period and to exceed previous campaign performance. Final Draft challenged our team to design a comprehensive inbound campaign to address these challenges and position them for success.
In addition to the obvious financial benefit associated with achieving this goal, Final Draft aimed to use campaign touch points to connect with new and existing customers in a thoughtful and helpful way. During this process, customers should be able to explore new features and updates associated with new purchases.
Finally, we were challenged to use extensive functionality within the HubSpot ecosystem to maximize Final Draft’s technology investment in the platform. As a robust inbound marketing and sales enablement tool, HubSpot offered significant untapped potential to help Final Draft solve recurring business challenges. We used this challenge as an opportunity to introduce creative and strategic uses for their HubSpot implementation.
Contact Management & Smart Lists
As an online retailer, Final Draft offers three primary versions of its products. These include:
New Final Draft 11 Purchases
Upgrades to Final Draft 11 from a Previous Version
Final Draft Educational
After analyzing Final Draft’s contact database and evaluating existing buyer personas, we realized that each of these product types directly aligns with a specific subset of their potential/current customers. As a result, we created smart lists that segmented contacts based on their next potential purchases. These included:
Contacts Who Hadn’t Purchased Yet
Customers for Final Draft 10 or Earlier
Contacts With a .EDU Email Address
In addition to cleansing and organizing Final Draft’s existing contact database, this exercise primed our campaign for future customization. Using this approach, we were later able to tailor messaging, imagery and send conditions based on user list membership.
As we will explain more below, we also used these segmented lists as enrollment triggers for promotional workflows.
Email Marketing & Workflows
Cyber Week is a week-long digital event saturated in almost every eCommerce corner of the world. As a result, we had to design a promotional approach that resonated specifically with each of our target publics. Additionally, we wanted to save time by setting up a distribution schedule and automated conditions using workflows ahead of time.
With a large email database and a strong desire to make data-informed decisions, we worked with Final Draft to incorporate testing into this campaign. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, we aggressively A/B tested marketing correspondence.
For example, we tested email subject lines until each segment received a 30% open rate or higher. Next, we tested CTA placements within each email.
Because each segment related to different messages and formats, we were able to tailor future marketing outreach to better identify with their preferences.
Workflows & Automation
When Black Friday and Cyber Monday finally arrived, we activated specialized HubSpot workflows. To start, we separated contact lists into three distinct workflows at a high level:
Contacts who hadn’t purchased yet
Customers for Final Draft 10 or earlier
Contacts with an .EDU email address
As you may notice, these directly align with our buyer personas and the way we segmented our list. Using this criteria, we were able to create conditions where if a customer purchases the desired action, they are removed from the workflow.
Although short in length, these workflows pack a significant punch in terms of functionality and data accuracy. To start, each contact is enrolled if they are a member of an existing smart list.
Following an initial promotional email, we set a 4 day delay and evaluated additional engagement criteria to consider if a contact should continue through the process. We used email opens and link clicks as a metric to measure purchase intent.
As a result, contacts who meet this criteria will receive another email with alternate creative imagery and messaging to compel them to purchase. These emails also include banner imagery, a HubSpot CTA and descriptive text highlighting the benefits and features of Final Draft 11.
Contacts who met this criteria received another email with alternate creative imagery and messaging to compel them to purchase. Ultimately when contacts purchased a product, they were then removed from the workflow so they would not continue to receive correspondence.
HubSpot Ads Tool
Finally, we used the HubSpot Ads tool to run custom audiences and retargeting advertisements based on the smart lists we created. This strategy acted as a bookend to our overall email campaign strategy to capture and convert high-intent visitors.
The holiday campaign for Final Draft generated significant quantitative and qualitative benefits. Key metrics compared to their Final Draft 10 Cyber Week in 2016 include:
108% increase in revenue
69% increase in eCommerce conversion rate
151% increase in transactions
30% average email open rate
3% average email click-through rate
Best of all, we were able to help Final Draft exceed both their Q4 2018 and Final Draft product launch revenue goals. This positioned them exceptionally well as they concluded 2018 and looked forward to the first quarter of 2019.
In addition to quantitative results, we also helped their business accelerate and automate their marketing outreach to better relate to their potential customers.
In 2016 during the product launch of Final Draft 10, Final Draft did not use HubSpot or a marketing automation tool. Our work helped them fully utilize the tools at their disposal and streamlined their process. This allowed them to spend time where they could truly make an impact with their potential and existing customers.
Marketing copywriting has come a long way since the “big idea” days of the Mad Men era. Today's copy still requires strategy and creativity, but for an eCommerce site it ultimately boils down to two key factors: brand consistency and SEO.
Both disciplines are equally important, but each requires unique tactics and skills to successfully implement. In this post, you’ll learn action items to improve your website copy, attract new website visitors and increase conversions.
Product Detail Pages
eCommerce Copywriting: 5 Proven Product Page SEO Tips - YouTube
Before you begin writing product copy, you should clearly understand who you're writing for. To get started, define your ideal buyer personas and identify needs or pain points they are looking to solve.
Successful product descriptions directly answer questions and maintain a sense of personality. Remember that your voice and tone should align with your overall brand.
Consider how you might speak to a buyer in an in-person setting. Authenticity and personality on product detail pages can help retailers distinguish themselves from big-box online distributors.
In addition to adding personality, be sure to incorporate SEO best practices in your product detail pages. For example, we recommend including a target keyword on the following areas of your product detail page:
Be careful not to go overboard with keyword stuffing. Above all else, you should write your page for humans, not search engines. When you take this approach, you’ll align with Google’s SEO recommendations and increase the likelihood of ranking.
FAQ pages present one of the greatest SEO opportunities for online retailers because they directly relate to search queries. When properly implemented, FAQ pages and sections can help increase organic website traffic and improve overall user experience.
We recommend starting the writing process by listing out five-to-ten questions that frequently show up in customer support inquiries. You can also include obvious questions you know your customers will look for, such as shipping and returns information.
Once you’ve identified the questions you want to answer, it’s time to format them appropriately. Use the checklist below get started:
Write your question with a clear heading tag. This will typically be an H2 tag if you create a separate FAQ page. However, tagging the question with an H3 or H4 will work as well.
Write your answer in 1 - 2 sentences. If you need more room, we recommend having the intro of your answer serve as a summary with a more detailed explanation that follows. This can help search engines pull your summary rich snippets into search results.
To increase the likelihood of rich snippets surfacing in organic search results, we also recommend incorporating question format schema data within your page. Once you customize the code below, you can place it at the top of your body section.
Category pages create eCommerce copywriting challenges because they rarely include areas for copy. However, we’ve found that incorporating select related content can improve page personality and search rankings.
In the example below, West Elm does a good job of incorporating additional text at the bottom of its category pages without going overboard. This paragraph includes high-value keywords to help the page show in search results.
Although it may appear as a lesser priority, your About page offers a fantastic opportunity to highlight what makes your brand unique. People want to know why they should buy from you, and these pages provide a space for your brand to clearly say, “This is who we are.”
We recommend keeping these pages concise. However, brands should take the time to craft a well-constructed story that pulls users through their history and purpose for being in business. You can also include related content, like explainer or overview videos, to strengthen the user experience.
If you’re unsure where to start, try including a high-level overview of your company, your mission, vision, key differentiators and any awards, testimonials or press mentions.
Conclusion Overall, properly executed eCommerce copy helps to capture a buyer’s attention and guide them through the purchase process. We hope you've found the tips above helpful and would love to hear from you! If you have any questions or comments, please reach out through the form below and we'll be in touch.