influencer marketing

Influencer Strategy: 5 tips to create a successful marketing campaign

Influencer marketing has exploded.

No longer do brands reach out exclusively to celebrities for endorsements. Now, they look to influencers: bloggers, thought leaders, and social media stars who have built their following through their carefully curated content.

Influencers are masters of their personal brand. They know their audience, and connect with them by delivering value. People scroll their feeds to be entertained, educated or to feel connected.

Given the respect they command, it’s no wonder a single promoted post from an influencer can cause a product to sell out in a matter of minutes. The earning potential for businesses is huge, and that’s why 65% of brands plan to increase spending on influencer marketing this year.

But, as with all great things, there are of course downfalls and things to avoid. Influencer marketing fraud is becoming increasingly problematic, with brands unknowingly paying for the services of influencers with purchased followers.

Here are our top tips for crafting your lucrative influencer strategy:

1. Choose your influencers carefully

influencer bunting

The influencer you choose needs to be the right fit for your brand and audience. Marketers are no longer looking to the influencers with the most followers but, rather, the people with the audience most aligned with their brand.

Likewise, influencers are protective of their image and reputation – and are unlikely to work with a company they don’t feel fits with the ethos of their personal brand.

Micro-influencers – those with fewer than 50,000 followers – are more in demand than ever, and for good reason. They have a targeted group of followers, not to mention are more affordable. They often have a very dedicated, niche following, and typically have higher engagement levels than that of influencers with large audiences. In addition, they may put out fewer sponsored posts, meaning their audience has a different degree of trust to that of large-scale influencers who heavily use sponsored posts.

You might even want to incorporate your in-house experts or even customers into your influencer strategy – a great option for those with a low budget.

2. Do your research

With influencer marketing fraud on the rise, it’s important to do your due diligence. It’s not uncommon for a brand to pay an influencer huge sums of cash for a social post sent out to to thousands of fake followers. In fact, a recent study on influencers and marketing spend found that 12% of UK influencers bought fake Instagram followers in the first half of 2018.

Look beyond followers to engagement – look at the interactions on their posts. What kind of conversations are taking place? This will give you an insight into the authenticity of the audience.

There are tools that claim to be able to algorithmically detect fake followers. These tools can help you look out for things such as large overnight follower spikes that can ring alarm bells.

3. Be creative

creative influencer

We’ve all seen the myriad sponsored social media posts with an influencer showcasing a product in some way with an accompanying #ad hashtag. But there are so many others ways to create content collaboratively and stand out from the crowd. Influencers love having creative freedom. In fact, a survey by Crowdtap found that for most influencers, their favourite projects are the ones that give them creative freedom.

Work with your influencer to create something special. Consider videos, interviews, tutorials, live Q and A sessions or top tips articles. If you’re a food brand, it could be sharing a much-loved recipe, or if cosmetics is your thing, a tutorial on the latest makeup or skincare trend. What content would your audience enjoy? How about your influencer’s audience? Whatever you do, make sure the content is relevant, provides value, and doesn’t come across as spammy  or overly promotional.

4. Try and be as authentic as possible

You’re legally required to state when a piece of content is sponsored, so you need to work harder to overcome consumers’ cynicism when it comes to promotions. This is why it’s so important to choose an influencer who fits with your brand values and ethos, and why the content you create needs to avoid being too salesy. A post which effectively states ‘buy this’ just won’t cut it, and while you may get a few more sales, it risks harming your brand’s reputation. Be sure to identify a clear brand voice and guidelines for your content in your influencer strategy.

5. Set clear goals and measure

There are a host of reasons why you might want to use an influencer: raising brand awareness, loyalty, or raising sales of a specific product line. Regardless, you’ll need to set clear KPIs for what you want to achieve.

Influencers can provide value in ways that are not easily measured, such as raising brand awareness amongst a new audience. That being said, you do need to find ways to measure the impact of your campaigns.

Some ways to measure impact include:

Traffic – request that your influencer uses tracked links so you can measure the traffic driven to your site.

Conversions – Likewise, by using trackable links you should be able to detect conversions that came directly from an influencer campaign.

Social media stats – measure the impact on your social media followers and engagement.

Mentions – are people talking more about your brand? Use tools like Mention to see if conversations around your brand are increasing on the web.

That’s all for now folks…

So, we all know influencer marketing is a hugely hot marketing tactic right now, and you might want to dive in straight away. But do remember it’s so important to get that influencer strategy nailed before launching your first piece of content. Don’t forget to do your due diligence, plan effectively and strategise how you and your chosen influencer will work together.  Importantly, have fun!

We hope you enjoyed the tips in this article. Good luck on your influencer strategy endeavours and let us know how you get on!

How to create urgency messaging like Booking.com

We have all been influenced by urgency messaging at some point in our lives. Ever purchased that dress you somehow convinced yourself you needed as there was free next day delivery for one hour only? Booked a swanky hotel because it was 15% off the standard rate and only 1 room left? Yes, we thought so.

We are now in a world where we have access to almost anything we need, at the touch of a few buttons, with numerous websites selling similar products. As a result, we are spoilt for choice, and retailers are feeling the pinch.

Companies are always looking for ways to raise sales, and creating urgency is an effective method of converting your visitors into customers. In this blog we will show you how to  break through your visitors’ mental hurdles to purchase, such as overthinking and waiting too long. Urgency encourages consumers to act quickly, and can often result in increased order values and conversions.

Time limited offers

It is well known that putting time limitations on offers are more effective than allowing them to be open ended. Injecting urgency in your website by notifying your visitors how long is left on the offer encourages them to make the decision there and then. Countdown timers can be used on offers such as free next day delivery, or discounts off purchases. A recent survey found that 71 percent of respondents residing in suburban areas would prefer free home delivery service ahead of free click and collect. If you choose to promote free delivery, be specific to your customers about when the item will arrive. Research has shown that stating the exact time you can expect your item to be delivered is clearer than stating the delivery speed (in days, hours etc).

You can A/B split test different variations of the offers, such as text, position and colours to see which are the most effective at boosting your conversions.

Scarcity Warnings

Scarcity techniques, such as highlighting to customers which items are low in stock, ranked first in the most successful e-commerce marketing personalization techniques worldwide as of June 2017. Results show that using scarcity warnings provide an average uplift in revenue-per-visitor reaching 2.9 percent.

We have all experienced that dreaded feeling of FOMO (fear of missing out), and your customers feeling that they’re going to miss out on that last item in stock is no different. Showing limited stock levels not only activates the fear factor in your customers, but also lets them know that their chosen items might not be available for much longer if they don’t act soon.

Social call outs

Urgency can also be created by showing consumers call-outs highlighting how popular the product they’re viewing is, based on other shoppers behaviour.

This feature can be added to your product pages using simple pop up boxes showing how many times items have been viewed or purchases in the last 24 hours, or even how many people are also viewing the item right now.

Showing consumers how popular a product is, heightens its desirability and therefore increases the probability of the product being added to basket. It is worth noting though, this could backfire if your product has had very few purchases!

Social Recommendations

You can create urgency using social recommendations by showing visitors notifications of how well products have been selling that hour, day or week. An alternative would be to feature a list of products which are selling fast on your homepage. This shows to consumers not only that your website is popular, but also creates urgency for them to purchase one of the best sellers before they all get snapped up!

Using colours to promote urgency

Booking.com is king when it comes to using colours to promote urgency on their website. Our bodies are hard wired to change our behaviour when we see different colours. Red is often associated with anger, importance but also love. Orange, whilst having some of the same energising aspects as red, does so in a slightly safer degree. Orange is a good way to add excitement to your urgency messaging with less severity. Green is seen to be a softer colour, and naturally represented as a safe colour, especially when placed next to the stimulating colours of red and orange.

 

As always, we highly recommend that you split test your colour choices to find out which works best for your site…however, there is a reason that red is most commonly used!

And finally…

Adding some urgency to your website encourages shoppers to take the actions you want them to, and has been proven, when used correctly to increase your conversions. We would always recommend that you split test any changes you make to measure the impact.

Need some assistance in getting your real time urgency messaging set up? Let us help!

Bunting offer a free months trial for our customers, so you can see the results for yourself.

How to increase sales with personalization

The benefits of website personalization are huge, so here are a few of our top tips on how you can increase sales with personalization.

A 2017 report by EConsultancy states 62% of companies are undertaking some form of personalisation in their marketing activity, and 44% personalize through their websites.

Product recommendations are nothing new. The majority of ecommerce stores are using recommendations at various points on their site, and there is a good reason for that.  Just ask Amazon – almost a third of its revenue comes from product recommendations. When website personalization tools such as relevant product recommendations are used well, the result is increased sales, improved bounced rates and order values and of course, happier and more engaged customers.

Smart Segmentation

Making sure that your segmentation efforts are targeting the right groups is vital. Targeting demographics such as gender, location and age groups is good, however companies are now stepping up their segmentation game in order to increase their sales.

Behavioural based data is a huge window into your customers interactions with your site. Amazingly, only 48% of marketers are currently using this data to increase sales. An example of a prime segmentation group that is sometimes overlooked but would respond extremely well to targeting would be ‘buyers who have visited your site more than once but who have not yet purchased’.

Let’s get social

Don’t underestimate the power of social influence when it comes to shopping.

A powerful way to showcase your products and inject a dose of social proof is to show your own customers using and wearing your products. After all, recent research by ION reveals 71 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on a social media reference.

Inserting social proof into your product pages and recommendations showing customers how many views an item has had, or what is selling well, creates a sense of urgency and encourages your customers to purchase there and then.

Reward your VIPs

Personalization not only increases sales, but also offers so many opportunities for customer retention…which is great considering Gartner’s Group research states 80% of your future revenue will come from just 20% of your current customers!

Rewarding your customers for their loyalty, not only keeps them happy, but also encourages them to keep you at the top of their list of retailers. Plus, happy customers are more likely to recommend your business to their friends. More recommendations…more sales!

Consider offering rewards which are pertinent to your business. Free delivery is a highly effective offer, resulting in typically 30% higher conversion rates, because well, who doesn’t love a freebie? You can also consider early access to new sales, or offers off their next purchase.

There’s no place like home!

Each customer landing on Amazon’s home page will be taken on an entirely different experience to the next. Visitors are presented with a shop window tailored to their interest’s or based on their previous purchases, and importantly, the product recommendations are always relevant.

Make sure your homepage is also personalised for each visitor. Consider banners and products related to their favourite brands, and display trending products pertinent to their interests…nothing loses a customer’s attention, and their custom, like a list of products that are completely irrelevant.

Next steps…

Econsultancy reports 93% of companies are seeing uplift in conversion rates as a result of website personalization, so you really are missing a trick if you’re not already using website personalization to increase your sales.

All these tips can be implemented really easily with our personalization tool, Bunting.

Fancy a free trial? Get yours here! See for yourself how the tips in this article can increase your sales.

The Essential Personalization Techniques to Retain Your Best Customers

Marketing budgets often focus on acquisition – driving new traffic, and then getting new customers. But do you really know the future value of your current customers? Gartner statistics show that 80% of your future revenue will come from 20% of your existing customers.

Retention marketing, conversely, means focusing on making your current customers happy, so that they become not only repeat customers, but fans. It’s hardly surprising that 82% of businesses agree that retention strategies work out more cost effective in the long run.

So, how can you make your customers happy and engaged? It requires getting to know them and nurturing that relationship. You’ll need to know who they are, understand their likes, dislikes, and what makes them tick. Long gone are the days of generic marketing communications and blasting irrelevant messages – it’s time to personalize your marketing efforts.

Let’s run through some tips on how to retain your most valuable customers.

1. Segment your visitors

We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: you need to know your customers.

Analyze the plethora of data at your fingertips, and use it. This will allow you to segment customers according to characteristics which are relevant to your business. When considering retention, look at transactional and behavioral metrics such as their browsing history, average order value, and purchase history.

One example is to segment your visitors according to when they last converted. Customers can then be targeted in various ways based on how long ago they purchased. So, if a customer is approaching the end life of a previously purchased product, target that user for product replenishment – a helpful reminder of an item they might need to to re-buy. Or, try to re-engage a user who has been inactive for a while with personalized content related to products they like.

2. Find new ways to engage

The key to retention is keeping your customers engaged and interested in your brand and products.

Looking at previous browsing and buying behaviour, send your customers content and offers related to the products they love, and make sure they’re quick to know about new releases. Research has shown that for 78% of customers, offers and promotions are only effective when tied into how they have previously interacted with your brand. With this in mind, send targeted offers as a reward for purchasing from you, and add urgency techniques such as a countdown timers, to drive incremental purchases.

3. Get ready for their return

When your customers return to your site, a personalized experience should await them. This means engaging users with relevant content and personalized product recommendations as soon as they land on your site. Remind them of what they previously viewed on their last visit so they can easily start browsing again. Consider how the space on each page they visit is used, and split test to see what works. Here are some tips for your homepage.

4. Personalize emails

Email is not dead. In fact, it’s still a great channel to reach your customers, if it’s personalized. When it comes to re-engaging customers, segment customers by their last visit. A ‘we miss you’ email with a personalized message and recommendations is a great way to bring old customers back.

On your site, you should give visitors the option to have their abandoned carts saved and emailed to them – a great way to re-target customers later with a tailored abandoned cart email. Research repeatedly shows that personalized emails can seriously increase conversions over generic messages.

5. Reward your VIP customers

Your VIPs are your most valued customers, not only through their purchasing, but through their brand advocacy. However you choose to do this, the trick is to make these customers feel special, and behavioral targeting is one of the most effective means of doing this. 

Of course, targeted offers are effective, but consider other options, too. Remember your customers are bombarded with marketing messages and you’ll need to cut through the noise. So, be creative when thinking of other ways to reward customers. Previews of new product lines relevant to their preferences are a nice way to make shoppers feel valued. Other examples are invitations to events, free samples, free gifts or tutorials – whatever works best for your store and products. 

To sum up…

Retention marketing is sometimes overlooked. However, with the opportunities brought by personalization, it is easier than ever to effectively retain customers. Experiment – an effective personalization tool like Bunting will allow you to run multiple tests and see what works well. Get to know your buyers and then engage, target and reward . You might be surprised by the results.

Ecommerce Expo 2017 – an event not to be missed!

It’s that time of the year again. Team Bunting will once again be heading to the London Olympia for an action packed 2 days of all things eCommerce. The eCommerce Expo has become an annual fixture for us, and there are loads of reasons why we’d love you to join us.

This year, over 7000 eCommerce professionals from over 50 countries will visit the show on the 27th and 28th September. According the the expo website, they’ll be turning up because they’re:

 

  • looking for actionable insights from 150 masters of their craft;
  • hungry to be inspired by cutting-edge ecommerce technology from over 100 suppliers to optimise their user experience;
  • energised by intelligent conversations with peers who have streamlined their business and adapted to the changing needs of the ecommerce customer.

 

Sounds good to us.

There will be a number of inspiring talks throughout the two days. So, whether it’s the Conversion Optimisation Theatre, Payment & Fulfilment Theatre or the Customer Insights Theatre, you’ll be certain to find something to inspire and spark ideas. You can find a list of the speakers here.

Bunting will be presenting on day one about the thorny issue of product recommendations. The talk will cover the big mistakes that are still hitting big retailers – and how to fix them. Here’s what you’ll take away:

– Discover if your site is losing money

– Learn how to fix damaging conversion leaks

– Learn how to cross-sell and up-sell for maximum revenue increase

– Practical tips to implement straight away

Catch it in the Conversion Optimisation theatre at 12.30 on Wednesday 27th. 

Once again, personalization will be a big theme at this year’s show, which is a good reason to drop by to see Team Bunting at stand E112. Come visit us to get a no-nonsense consultation on how best to implement (or improve) personalisation and product recommendations across your channels to maximise customer engagement and conversions.

We hope to see you there. You can sign up for the show (it’s free!) here.

6 Tactics to Create Urgency and Win More Customers

Urgency. It’s one of the oldest tricks in the book – and it’s arguably never been more useful in eCommerce.

Shoppers are faced with more choice online than ever before. With multiple websites selling similar items, choice paralysis has never been a greater threat.

With this in mind, merchants need to employ conversion raising tactics to help their visitors turn into customers. In this article, we’ll look specifically at creating urgency.

Urgency works by breaking through your visitors’ mental hurdles to purchase, such as overthinking, waiting too long, or even allowing distractions to get in the way. It causes customers to act, and act quickly – which often translates into a healthy rise in conversions and order values. But how can you actually put urgency techniques into practice?

Here are 6 ways you can do this.

1. Scarcity warnings

It’s no new technique, but scarcity warnings do work. Research has shown that something in short supply is perceived as being more appealing than the same item in an abundant supply.

Being told there is only a small number of items left of a product you’re viewing is also a sure-fire way to activate the fear factor (fear of missing out, in this case). But it’s also helpful, notifying shoppers that the product they’re interested in might not be available for much longer.

Amazon uses scarcity warnings well

Scarcity warnings can be delivered in different ways, such as a simple message in the product details. An even more noticeable way to bring this to your audience’s attention is a non-intrusive pop-up detailing the low stock levels.

Do be wary though. Scarcity warnings should only be used genuinely. Your visitors are likely to shop around before deciding to purchase, and they will know if your scarcity warnings aren’t the real deal – causing more harm than good.

2. Social call outs



Another way to bring in an element of urgency is to show call-outs pertaining to other shoppers’ behaviour. This can be done on product pages by telling your visitors how many people have viewed or bought an item in the last 24 hours (or other set amount of time).

The social factor can increase the desirability of the product, and the urgency factor comes through by showing the product’s popularity in real time. Popular products are, of course, the most likely to sell out.

Be careful, though. This can be counterproductive if a product has had very few purchases!

3. Time sensitive free delivery

It’s well known that a quicker or free delivery option is most effective when available for a limited time.

You can inject some urgency into your pages by notifying your visitors how long they have left to qualify for free delivery, and AB test different colours and text to see which are most effective. 

Do note that it’s important to be specific about when the item will arrive. Research has shown that stating the exact time you can expect your item to be delivered is clearer than stating the delivery speed (in days, hours etc).

4. Clock timers

Using count down timers is one of the best ways to bring a sense of urgency into your site.

Time sensitive sales, discounts or promotions are an obvious way to raise conversions. Think of free shipping if you purchase today, or 50% off for the next 6 hours. They obviously work best when the time frame is no longer than a day.

A countdown timer ticking away the remaining time can be a powerful visual reminder and a good way to spur your visitors to action.

5. Use Colours that Promote Urgency

Booking.com uses the colour red to help create urgency

We all know that colours have an impact on our behaviour. We’re hard wired to see green as a safe colour, and view red as the colour of danger, or love. Yellows and oranges can also evoke feelings of caution.

It’s highly recommended to split test the colours you use in your urgency messaging and find out which colour works best in your store. It’s no surprise that red is used most often.

6. Social recommendations

There are numerous ways to bring more social proof into your site with added urgency. One way is to show best sellers on your homepage with a notification of how well these products have been selling that day. Best sellers from ‘the last hour’ can also give the impression your store is really busy.

This brings a sense of urgency by showing that certain products are hot right now, and a message suggesting they are ‘selling fast’ can further create a sense of urgency.

Finally…

To sum up, injecting a bit of urgency into your pages will help spur your shoppers to take the actions you want them to. Do approach with caution, though, and make sure any urgency messaging is used sincerely. We’d also strongly advise split testing any changes you make to measure the impact. Good luck!

Looking to get some urgency features on your site?

Real time urgency messaging can easily be set up with Bunting, and provide great opportunities to help your visitors convert.

To find out more, contact us.

Getting Started With Personalization: 5 Tests to Try for a Quick Conversion Lift.

Getting started with personalization can be daunting, with seemingly endless tests to try for that all important conversion uplift.

Getting to grips with the machine learning technology required to implement personalization can also feel like an intimidating task.

But it shouldn’t.

Firstly, it’s important to establish your goals. What do you want to achieve with personalization? Is it an increase in conversion rate? Or improved average order value?

Once you have a tool that clearly reports real time data back to you, then you can make decisions on who you want to target, and with what content, to achieve those goals. Are you struggling to convert new visitors, for example, or increase orders from traffic coming from a certain region?

At this early stage, it’s always helpful to look at tried and tested experiments that have worked for others. Here are 5 quick win tests to give you some inspiration.

1. Increase first time visitor sales with exit intent messages

First time visitors are, unsurprisingly, the hardest to convert.

They have no loyalty to your brand. They have no past purchases to benchmark for quality. They’re hesitant to buy from you, and are likely to shop around. An exit can often signal the last time you’ll ever see them.

How can you make an impression on these visitors?

A great way to engage first timers and give a little nudge to stay, is to trigger an exit-prevention light box. This message will trigger when visitors attempt to leave the store with an incentive of your choice.

As an example, WallPops.com engaged their first time visitors with an incentive-to-stay pop-up. It increased orders by an impressive 12%.

How to do this

With a tool like Bunting, it’s really easy to set up this test. ‘Increase first time visitor’ is a pre-made template, that can be clicked and installed straight away. You can choose what kind of incentive to use to pique your visitors’ interests, such as free delivery, or a % off discount (NB: your store must have a coupon code to do this). Or even better, split test both, to see which incentive works most effectively.

Don’t want to give out discounts or free delivery?
Worry not. An alternative here could be an ‘email me my cart’ message, or ‘sign up for our newsletter before you go’. This gives you opportunities to re-market to these visitors with personalized emails based on their browsing history.

2. Raise average order value with triggered messaging

A common way to raise order values is to offer an incentive to raise the value of a customer’s cart. One that works well is to offer something when a customer exceeds a certain spend. This could be a free gift, or free delivery.

This can be targeted to specific users – for example, you might only want to target visitors who have purchased from you several times, to reward them for their loyalty.

In addition to displaying this offer on your homepage, you can also trigger a reminder message to your visitors when their cart reaches a certain amount. It will then ask them to increase their order value in order to get free shipping. Saltrock surfwear did this well. They triggered a message when the value of a visitor’s cart exceeded £20, letting them know that they would be entitled to free delivery if they increased their order to £30.

How to do this

With Bunting, you can easily set up this test by creating a pop-up light box. Once the content is created, you can set the trigger to target visitors that match a certain criteria.   You can select the condition type ‘value of cart’ under ‘shopping cart metrics’. Then, specify the order value you would like to target, such as $20. Finally we recommend you run a split test, and then you can measure precisely how well the experiment performed.

3. Product recommendations on product pages

Recommendations are an indispensable part of any e-commerce store, and rightly so – machine learning algorithmic recommendations undoubtedly raise your conversion rate and average order value.

Of course, they help customers find what they really want. But they also help your team by freeing up precious time spent manually creating recommendations. A good tool will let you set up recommendations that require zero coding, so they can easily be set up by anyone on your team.

How to do this

With Bunting, it’s a case of drag and drop (and thankfully, no coding).Simply paste the URL of any product page, and the tool will generate accurate recommendations on every product page. Of course other pages such as the homepage or cart page can also be selected. Choose carefully where on the page you’d like the recommendations to be. We recommend above the fold, and in the case of product pages, we suggest the closer to the main image the better. 

4. Raise visitor sales based on geolocation

Research frequently shows that many retailers are missing out on opportunities to attract and convert visitors from certain regions.

Your international visitors are less likely to trust your store than a local website, so it’s essential to earn their trust through your site’s offering. Have a look through your site – are any areas displaying messaging that is not relevant to your international visitors?

Looking at the Adventure Direct site, we can see the messaging is aimed at the UK market, and is presented to every visitor regardless of location. This may actually damage overseas orders. With Bunting you can dynamically change the website text to show different messaging to your overseas visitors.

How to do this

Any part of your website can be changed to display messaging and imagery that is relevant to that particular audience. With Bunting, you can change any part of the page for this segment. For example, it will let you edit website text and even include a merge tag, which will display the visitor’s country/region name, wherever they are.

Welcome pop up for overseas visitors Another great little feature to impress your overseas visitors is to trigger a welcome pop-up. This can assure your visitors of your custom, that you deliver to them, or can display your international contact details.

5. Cross sells on the cart page

The recommendation best known to raise order values is the mighty cross-sell. These are algorithmic recommendations for products that complement the product/s in the cart.

Cross-sells are based on real time order data, meaning they’re the products statistically most likely to be purchased in conjunction with the item/s in the cart. They help visitors find useful or desirable products and, in doing so, not only raise orders but help you build better relationships with your customers.

How to do this

To start with, it’s worth trying cross sells out on your cart page. A good tool will allow you to drag and drop your recommendations into place. Importantly, we recommend for your first attempt at cross selling to target visitors who have converted at least once before. This is because sometimes cross-sells can take first time buyers out the flow of purchase and serve as a distraction.

 

Measure your results

We cannot stress enough – when getting started with personalization, test everything.

Many tools don’t allow for split testing, meaning you’re left without the important insights you need to build on and improve your personalization campaigns. So, run an A/B test with each experiment, and look at  the impact on conversion rate, but also revenue increase, abandoned cart rate and the number of page views.

We hope some of the tests in this article have given you some ideas for your own campaigns. Good luck!

Want to know more about personalization, and how to get started? Contact Bunting for a free review of your website, and to chat with an expert.

How to Win eCommerce Conversions With Personalized Content Marketing

Last Friday was National Chocolate Cake day (apparently).

I mention this for no other reason than it reminded me of a great piece of e-commerce content marketing by the much-loved chocolate brand, Cadbury.

Cadbury isn’t a brand usually associated with baking. But, a central feature of the Cadbury website is a rather tasty looking recipe section. It’s a chocolate lover’s paradise, showing how to make dreamy delights such as the decadent chocolate cake below.  It even allows you to create a ‘shopping list’ with a link to buy all the ingredients (which, of course, includes many Cadbury products).


This is just one example of a fun and clever way to foster a positive customer relationship, providing shareable ideas, and excellent material for email marketing campaigns.

But is content marketing necessary for e-commerce?

In a word – yes. Research from the Aberdeen group found the average conversion rate of sites with content marketing is five times higher than that of sites with none.

And the rewards extend further. According to research from Demand Metric, customers feel a closer connection with brands that create content. As for SEO, since Google updated its algorithm, content is now an essential part of ranking well on the search engines.

So what makes really good content?

Marketer Neil Patel sums this up nicely:

“Create content people want to share, whether that’s because it’s funny, powerful, interesting, or newsworthy”.

He then goes on to say:

Personalize the experience whenever and wherever you can.
Tell a story that people can relate to.
Teach your audience something.
Adapt your content to new and different platforms.”

There are so many ways to create content, and of course it depends entirely on your customers and what they want. It’s likely you’re already publishing content of some kind, but does it resonate with your customers? If you don’t know, ask them.

Here are some ways top e-commerce brands are using content on their sites.

Tutorials

There are few types of content as useful and engaging as product tutorials. Maybelline has a ‘make up trends’ section of their site, showing their visitors how to create on-trend makeup looks, with handy product recommendations at the bottom of the page to ‘create the look’.

Ideas for Products

Knowing your target market can give you ideas for how they might like to use your products in different and perhaps even quirky ways. A brand that does this well is furniture giant, Ikea.

They have an ‘ideas’ section of their site, filled with highly visual articles for home inspiration, but also helpful and handy ideas on a range of home-related subjects, such as storage tips.

Ikea states that it doesn’t believe in a ‘perfect home’ but rather a home ‘where everything looks the way you want it to, works the way you need it to, and just generally makes you feel good…’. The folk at Ikea understand the emotional impact one’s surroundings can have, and position their content as a way to inspire and create happier people who enjoy their homes. In doing so, they create and nurture a positive connection with their customers.


Video


Of course, video can be used in a multitude of ways. And for eCommerce, there’s no better place to start than product pages.

Research suggests that conversion rates can rise by as much as 80% when you get high quality video onto your product pages. It shows products in a vivid way from multiple angles, and captures the essence of your products in a way that photos simply can’t replicate. It’s certainly worth trying out.

Telling spellbinding stories

Everyone loves a story. Crafting your brand or your product’s story – and filling your site with content around that story – is a delightful way to engage your visitors in a far more emotional way than a typical e-commerce brand.

As for the results? You’ll see customers who buy more.

Research by Origin looked into how stories affected sales. One of their studies was a test of two product pages of identical products on a wine selling website: one product page with the winemaker’s story vs a page with wine tasting notes. Which page won? The page with the story saw an impressive 5% more sales. And not just that, but shoppers who saw the story were willing to pay 6% more.

Is there a way to incorporate storytelling into your site?


Making your content personal

As we mentioned earlier, content works best when it’s personal. So how can you put a personal touch on the content you create?

Recommend relevant content

Once your visitors show an interest in a particular theme, product or category, you can recommend related content so they can learn more, be entertained more, or whatever it is that your brand’s content does best. The more (good) content your customers consume, the more they’ll connect with your brand.

You can also recommend content based on previous purchases – a perfect guide to go with their new product, for example. Or, you can suggest content to visitors based on what they’re currently looking at (enjoyed this how-to guide? Here’s another you might like!)

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Whatever you choose, good quality content will help your eCommerce brand in various ways. Make it shareable, make it engaging, make it personal. Your customers will thank you.

 

The New Google Update for Pop-ups: Is Your Site Ready?

On the 10th January, the ever-evolving Google search algorithm will change.

The big change in a nutshell? Google will now punish sites that use intrusive pop-ups or ‘interstitials’ on their mobile websites by lowering their search ranking.

Do take note, that this is only affecting mobile sites. So, you won’t need to make any updates to your desktop site.

Also, the update isn’t something to be too worried about. Google launched an update last year that gave preference in its search results to “mobile friendly sites”. This update is a natural extension of this, and one that isn’t difficult to work with. 

The tricky part is determining what is meant, exactly, by an intrusive pop-up. Let’s summarise what you can and can’t do when it comes to pop-ups.

These pop-ups are not OK: 

–  A pop up that covers the main content of the page.

–  Pop ups that are difficult to dismiss (can you clearly see the cross?).

–  Using a pop-up that is similar to the style of the above-the-fold part of the page.


These pop-ups are OK

– Pop-ups and banners that, in Google’s words, use a “reasonable amount of screen space”, and that can be dismissed easily. If in doubt, the app install banners provided by Chrome and Safari are safe to use and meet the new guidelines.

– Pop-ups that notify visitors of some kind of legal requirement. For example, cookie regulations or age verification. These should be at the top of the screen and not obscure the entire page.

Here’s a handy image from Google that illustrates acceptable pop-ups:

google-pop-up-guidelines

What about Bunting’s pop-ups?

Using pop-ups is a key part of our tool, and we all know how engaging pop-ups can be when used to personalise the customer experience.

Our advice is this:

When creating pop-up content, to play it completely safe, you can disable pop-ups for mobile devices. To do this, when you’re in visitor targeting, select ‘device used is equal to computer’. This will prevent mobile devices seeing the pop-up.

targeting-tool-equal-to-computer

A great alternative to pop-ups is displaying Bunting’s message bars on mobile. These can present a personalised message to users at the top or bottom of screen. They’re definitely not intrusive, and easily dismissable – keeping your customers, and Google, happy!

All in all, the new update is nothing to lose sleep over. By following our tips above, your site should be fine. And for our users, make sure you log in to your Bunting account to make any required changes!

How to Up Order Values with ‘Stocking Filler’ Product Recommendations

With the Christmas shopping season in full flow, it’s worth considering some new ways to boost sales and order values. This Christmas, a new Bunting feature is available – ‘stocking filler’ recommendations that can be filtered by price, allowing you to promote smaller, lower priced items.

Stocking fillers are often bought impulsively in-store, and these on-site recommendations provide a similar opportunity; letting shoppers grab a few smaller items on their way through your store. Splashing these recommendations at various touch-points can be a great way to increase conversions and order values.

One way is to create a list of ‘trending’ or best-selling Christmas gifts under a certain price on your homepage. By serving up an added bit of social proof, you’ll increase your products’ desirability by showing what’s hot at the moment. You could alternatively display them on your cart page to up order values, along with personalised cross-sells.

stocking-filler-recommendations

How to do this with Bunting

To do this, go through the usual process of inserting your recommendations in your desired place. Right click and go to ‘settings’.

bunting-price-filters

Here, you’ll find options to choose the maximum (or minimum) price for your displayed products. Make your choice, set an A/B test, and watch the results come in!

screenshot-results-1

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Happy experimenting, and let us know how it goes!

Not a Bunting user? Found out more about our award-winning e-commerce personalisation technology here.

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