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Improving E-Commerce Results

30 Sep

Would you be surprised to learn that only a small percentage of E-commerce sites gain any traction at all? Most dwell in obscurity.

Consider these observations from Cent Muruganandam, writing for Business2Community.com and check out the infographic shown below his quote:

“You might be astounded to know that there are between 12-24 million E-Commerce websites online. But what’s even more intriguing is the fact that only about 3% of them (650,000) ever make it past $1,000 in annual sales, according to Internet Retailer. What’s the point I am trying to establish here, you might wonder? Well, from where I see it, a whopping majority of E-Commerce outlets fail to make a significant amount of money. It’s not that there’s no money in the E-commerce industry. It means is that majority of online retailers are not doing things right, because if they had been successful in doing them right, the number of outlets making more than $1,000/year would have been way more than a mere 650,000.”

 


 

How to Get Digital Media Right

29 Sep

MillardBrown Digital has produced an excellent report and Webinar on how to best engage in digital marketing:

It’s no longer about traditional or digital. It’s all marketing. Digital marketing has emerged as a vital part of the marketing landscape, forcing marketers to grapple with scaling across a variety of engagements. And while there’s a surplus of data available to help inform decisions, selecting the right data, and combining, analyzing, and creating actions from that data is challenging. With input from over 300 senior executives across advertisers, agencies, and media companies, our 3rd annual Getting Digital Right study identified four key findings for getting digital right and creating extraordinary marketing in a connected world.”

Click here to access the full report. A free login is required.

Click here to view/hear the Webinar.

Here are two charts from MillardBrown Digital.  To view a larger version, click on each chart. The first chart identifies the steps necessary to undertake a great digital strategy.

 

The second chart highlights the ease/difficulty of measuring ROI (return on investment) with various media platforms.  [This shows why E-mail marketing is NOT dead. It ranks first in measuring ROI.]


 

Humanizing and Entertaining Ads

28 Sep

HubSpot recently identified 12 enjoyable video marketing campaigns: “What better medium to propel the new wave of humanized marketing than video? It’s one of the most effective media for marketers. Seventy-three percent of respondents in a 2015 Web Video Marketing Council study indicated that video had a positive impact on their marketing results.

Click here to see all of the campaigns cited by HubSpot (and to read why HubSpot selected these campaigns).
 
Below are videos from HubSpot’s 5 top-rated campaigns.
 

 

 

 

 

 

The Fascinating Evolution of Blogging

27 Sep

Blogging has come a long since its humble origins in the 1990s. Based on Tumblr data, we estimate that there are about 310 million blogs worldwide, with millions and millions of posts each day. So, how has the blogosphere evolved over the years?

Recently, HubSpot’s Amanda Zantal-Wiener helped us answer this question:

“We’ve found that there’s quite a history behind blogs. According to the documentation we uncovered — and will share with you below — they’ve been around since 1994. They looked a lot different back then, and had many different names and meanings.”

  • 1994-1997 — “Many original bloggers, despite not having yet earned that title, were the same people who first understood the value of the  Web in the 1980s. One of them was then Swarthmore College undergrad, Justin Hall, who created a site called links.net in January 1994. It was essentially a review of HTML examples he came across from various online links, but it was enough for the New York Times Magazine to dub him the “founding father of personal bloggers’.”
  • 1998-2001 — “The later part of the 1990s saw an uprising in resources created for bloggers. Open Diary launched in October 1998 and became one of the most pivotal blogging platforms. The name was a nod to its community approach to blogging; it was the first to have a membership model that allowed members of the community to comment on the work of others.”
  • 2002 — “Technorati, one of the first blog search engines (but today a company of “advertising technology specialists”), launched in February 2002. That month, blogger Heather B. Armstrong was fired for writing about her colleagues on her personal blog, Dooce.com. While it’s not clear if she was the first blogger to be terminated because of her personal Web site’s content, it sparked a conversation about privacy and freedom of expression for bloggers.”
  • 2003 — “TypePad and WordPress launched in 2003, offering new platform options to a growing number of bloggers. That year, live blogging was estimated to have started — the Guardian was one of the first outlets on record to make use of live blogging during the 2003 prime minister’s question time.”
  • 2004-2005 — “It wasn’t until the middle part of the decade that visual content really had the opportunity to take root. In February 2004, videographer Steve Garfield , who went on to be one of the Web’s first video bloggers, declared it to be the “year of the video blog.” YouTube launched only a year later in February 2005, shortly thereafter inviting the public to upload their own videos. It actually began as a short-lived dating site. YouTube turned its focus to general video uploads (which seemed to take effect by June 2005). Huffington Post launched that May.”
  • 2006-2007 — Microblogging was introduced (sharing stories, news, and other content in the smallest format possible). “The start of life in 140 characters (or less) began in March 2006, when Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey sent out the world’s first tweet. Microblogging continued to gain momentum in February 2007 with the launch of Tumblr — yet another blogging platform that encouraged users to be brief. Being able to comment on blogs was becoming less of a novelty, and more a point of contention.”
  • 2008-2011 — “During this period of four years, there weren’t many major events that propelled how or why people blogged. By 2010, 11% of bloggers reported earning their primary income from blogging.” Google  made some changes that would impact bloggers in 2011 with its rollout of the “Panda” algorithm change. A lot of that had to do with bloggers having a lack of inbound links — a link to your Web site that comes from another one.”
  • 2012In August, a co-founder of Pyra Labs — the creators of Blogger — Evan Williams, created Medium, one of the newest blogging platforms. Today, people can use it to write and publish original content, like most other blogging platforms. But Medium is continuing to blur the line between news reporting and blogging. On its Web site, the company describes itself as serving up ‘daily news reimagined, straight from the people who are making and living it.’ That year, LinkedIn introduced its Influencers program, which recruited notable business figures to guest blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform.”
  • 2013-present — “Recently, the creators of WordPress announced they would be rolling out the .blog domain. Until November 9, 2016, users have to apply for one of the highly-coveted domains. [and it won’t come cheap]. But here’s the cool thing about .blog — even though it was made by the creators of WordPress, you don’t have to use the WordPress platform in order to build a blog on that domain.”
  • Forecasting the Future — “How blogging continues to change will determine what our careers look like, and  all marketers, corporate or otherwise , are encouraged  to blog on behalf of their respective brands. It might seem like a lot of work, but if the evolution of blogging has indicated nothing else, it’s that the sphere will only continue to expand. And that’s something marketers should continue to pay attention to — not just the growth of blogging, but how many different interpretations [platforms] of it exist.”

 

Click the image to read a lot more by Zantal-Wiener.

 

Do Shoppers Really Believe Customer Reviews?

26 Sep

As marketers, we have become increasingly knowledgeable about the power of online customer reviewers. And we recognize that many shoppers place more weight on these reviews than on company-sponsored communications.

Let’s look at some research by Trustpilot, a customer review consultant to business.  According to eMarketer:

“In early 2016, Trustpilot surveyed 1,132 Internet users ages 18 and older. In all, 80.7% said reviews were somewhat or very important to their purchase decisions. Few users said reviews did not influence their decisions when deciding on a product to buy. Just 4.7% said reviews were somewhat or very unimportant.  When it comes to when users are most likely to read reviews, roughly half said it’s while they’re on a site, before adding the item to their cart. Nearly a quarter said they were more likely to read reviews earlier in the process: while on a company’s Web site, but prior to actively shopping. Another 18.5% read reviews primarily before visiting a company’s Web site at all.”

Stage of the Buying Process During Which US Internet Users Are Most Likely to Read Reviews, Feb 2016 (% of respondents)
 
Retail Touchpoints wrote this about Trustpilot’s research:

“While the majority of consumers believe online reviews help them along their shopping journey (88%), only a fraction of these customers (18%) actually trust that all the information contained within the reviews is valid, according to Trustpilot. This significant gap reveals that it is critical for businesses to not only incorporate online reviews into the shopping experience, but to deploy them in a way that will build trust and transparency with the consumer. To close the gap between those seeking out trustworthy online reviews and those who believe the reviews are fully authentic, Trustpilot recommends that retailers gain a greater understanding of how shoppers read, write. and believe in online reviews. Half of consumers feel the overall rating of a review or a high-level, easy-to-understand aggregation of a company’s feedback to it are the most important factors when it comes to reading online reviews. Additionally, 20% cited how recently the reviews were posted as the most important factor, while another 20% said the number of reviews posted for a product is more relevant.”

“The report identified several best practices to help businesses create more trustworthy customer feedback strategies, including: ensuring online reviews are easy to find and showcasing them to customers during every step of the shopping experience; giving customers a forum for reviews and inviting them to leave their opinion; responding to negative feedback in real time; asking the customer to update their reviews once the situation is resolved; and analyzing sentiment to continually improve business and products.”

 

Here is further information and advice directly from Trustpilot: an infographic and a YouTube video.

 

 

 

GoSpaces, a Free Web Site Builder and E-Commerce Platform

23 Sep

Go Spaces (also known as Spaces) is a rather new Web site designer and host. It has a free design package that “Brings your business online. Get access to 15 free business tools. Branded Space. 3% per transaction + gateway  fees.” It also offers a premium package for $4 per month: “Take your business to the next level. Get access to 15 free business tools.Unbranded Space. 2.5% per transaction + gateway fees. Free custom domain name with annual subscription.”

According to ere’s what’s distinctive about GoSpaces:

“GoSpaces is expanding into 38 countries and 20 languages, making it accessible to more than one-third of the world’s population (2.7 billion people) in their native tongue. The platform will be tailored to each country’s needs regarding use of language and will include local payment gateways, full translations on the backend, and soon to come, auto-currency settings that will help international customers see how much products cost in their local currency.”

“Supported languages include Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, German, Korean, French, Turkish, Italian, Thai, Polish, Dutch, Czech, Swedish, Bulgarian, Danish, Finnish and Norwegian, its blog post says. GoSpaces touts the expansion as advantageous based on the fact that most E-commerce platforms are only available in English, even though English speakers make up just five percent of the world’s population.”

“Kasper Christensen, GoSpace’s co-founder, says the platform’s flexibility in language and payment options opens it up to audiences across the globe. He expressed his excitement in this quote. ‘Already we’ve seen creative uses that we never imagined, like tour guides advertising their services, restaurants posting their menus, and bands using it to sell concert tickets. “Now that we’re in 38 countries, I imagine we’ll see even more variety in the Spaces being created by our community.”

 

Click the image to view the firm’s blog.

 

Great Video Brand Examples on Instagram

21 Sep

Instagram now has 500 million active users, and it is rapid pulling away from Twitter (whose user base has been rather stagnant). Instagram’s popularity has not gone unnoticed by brand marketers who have been posting pictures and videos in great numbers.

Recently, HubSpot wrote about some of the best video examples of brands using Instagram. According to  Lindsay Kolowich:

Remember when Instagram first started allowing users to post videos back in 2013? The first Instagram videos had to be recorded on your phone and could only be up to 15 seconds long. Those were the days that people compared Instagram video to its Twitter-owned counterpart, Vine. Instagram’s come a long way since then, and it’s blown Vine out of the water. Like most of the other popular social networks, the folks at Instagram have made changes to its platform that make it easier for people to post and share videos.”

“In late March 2016, Instagram announced it would start rolling out the ability for Instagram users to upload 60-second videos. For iOS users, it added that users would soon be able to make videos out of multiple clips from their camera rolls. Thanks to these changes, marketers can use the Instagram app to relate with their fans and customers, to communicate their business’ personalities and brand stories, and to express artistic creativity.”

 
Here are a few of the 17 brands cited by HubSpot. Click on their names to access their Instagram pages. The posts with video have a video camera in the upper right corner:

 

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