If you own an e-commerce site and are experiencing a high abandoned shopping cart rate, don’t worry as it’s a regular part of the process. The Baymard Institute went through the sites of dozens of well-known companies and found the abandoned shopping cart rate to be 68.81% on average.
The process is not a rejection of your products; it is part of the purchasing cycle. It also means you can get these people to return and complete the sale. Retargeting is a fantastic way to keep your brand in the minds of these consumers and coerce them back to your website to finish what they started.
Why Did They Leave?
First and foremost, you need to know why the shopper left before completing the purchase. Abandonment is a form of objection by the consumer, and in most cases, pricing and timing are the main reasons for not completing a purchase.
You must expect pricing complaints; shoppers can quickly and easily compare the price of goods from dozens of stores thanks to comparison sites. It might be worth comparing your prices to those of your rivals; perhaps your products are much more expensive? If this is the case and you don’t want to reduce your prices, you’ll need to work hard to convince shoppers that you’re worth it.
You can also offer occasional discounts on regularly abandoned items. Alert customers to these changes via emails or retargeted ads that feature these products.
When it comes to timing objections, use ads to remind consumers of the product periodically.
You can’t allow those who abandon your shopping cart to flee to a rival company without a fight! You need to create different segments according to the actions of visitors. Do this for the following groups:
• Those who have visited the shopping cart page. This relates to visitors who added an item but abandoned the cart.
• Those who got as far as the checkout page before abandoning.
• Those who visited the order confirmation page. This refers to customers who have made a purchase.
• Those who visited your shopping cart page but not the other pages.
When you target shoppers who abandon the cart before the checkout stage, be sure to instill a sense of urgency. Myprotein.com does a masterful job of this by offering discounts and free shipping but only for a limited period. Their taglines include:
• Reveal your mystery discount – Save up to 30% on your order.
• 30% off EVERYTHING!
• Final Call – 40% off protein powders, BCAAs, weight gainers.
Shopping cart and checkout abandoners typically have different reasons for leaving. While those who leave at the cart stage are likely to be still in the research phase, checkout abandoners are primed and ready for purchase. Unfortunately, issues at the final hurdle kept them from becoming a paying customer.
It pays to remind these particular consumers about your return policies and explain that they can buy something without creating an account. Additionally, it is a good idea to offer free shipping on the purchase. It probably isn’t a good decision to create retargeting ads that give discounts.
In the vast majority of cases, these consumers had already decided to make a purchase, so price clearly isn’t an issue. Your time would be better spent figuring out the issues that caused them to leave just before they clicked ‘Purchase.’
Play the Long Game
It is normal for consumers to use your shopping cart as a ‘Wishlist.’ It is a handy way to save time for future reference and is especially commonplace when coming up to the holidays. These individuals are planning purchases but not in the short term.
As a result, you need to be patient and plan a much longer retargeting campaign. It is essential that you don’t bombard such shoppers with messages or else they will see you as a pest and never return to your website.
A better tactic is to engage with these consumers for a couple of days, leave them alone for a period then engage again. It is important to tailor these engagements with events that might lead to a purchase such as Christmas, Easter, a birthday or Valentine’s Day.
As annoying as shopping cart abandonment is, it’s just another part of the purchasing process. If you can launch an intelligent and specific retargeting strategy, it is possible to win back a reasonable proportion of abandoners. Look to overcome their purchasing objections by providing incentives and segment your audience into the right groups. In some cases, you’ll have to exercise patience, but in the end, your efforts will see a reward with scores of satisfied customers and increased revenue.
Email is the #1 communication tool for most working professionals which is why email marketing is such a successful technique. The problem with email is that mistakes are extremely easy to make and they can have serious repercussions. While minor mistakes hurt productivity, major mistakes can cost you valuable clients or even your job. This article is all about what not to do with email so when you’re about to make an email blunder, you’ll be able to pull back from the brink of disaster!
Sending To The Wrong People
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve heard about individuals or businesses who sent an email complaining about a client… to the client! The result was a lot of anger and lost revenue. In email marketing, another example is sending irrelevant content to people on your mailing list. For example, you may send an email with the subject line ‘Ladies Night’ to the men on your list. The simple solution is to double-check the ‘to’ field because it’s extremely rare to be able to retrieve a sent email.
The Wrong Tone
It’s risky to use email to be humorous or sarcastic because it’s too easy to misunderstand. A University of Chicago study recorded sarcastic or funny messages and transcribed them into emails. Less than 60% of the email recipients in the study understood the tone of the message. Therefore, leave out the sarcasm when sending emails because the recipient probably won’t ‘get it’.
Only Sending ‘Needy’ Emails
Most people only send emails when they need or want something. Successful email marketers know that what they send has to provide value to the recipient so they typically have email campaigns where the content is designed to inform and only the final email in the sequence tries the ‘hard sell’. When you successfully use email to nurture relationships, people will look forward to hearing from you and this will only help to drive sales.
Not Asking For What You Need
The recipients of your emails are not mind-readers so it is essential to make clear requests. In marketing terms, this means telling your mailing list precisely what you want them to do in a concise yet clear call to action. The modern consumer is a busy individual and doesn’t have time for puzzles and games; get to the point or lose another sale.
The email blunders mentioned above happen in everyday life as well as in the world of marketing. Use these tips for better email communication whether you’re contacting a colleague or a customer.
In basic terms, the sales funnel describes the sales process from first content to purchase. It is used as a visual aid and resembles a leaky funnel where sales opportunities are dropped into. There will be occasions when these opportunities need to be taken away from the funnel because the customers are either uninterested or deemed to be outside your target audience. The stages of the funnel refer to the likelihood of a customer making a purchase and the sales opportunity increases the further down the funnel you go.
Developing your Sales Funnel
When a sales opportunity presents itself, your goal is to remove all road blocks preventing a possible sale. After removing this barrier, you move on to the next stage and closer to the final goal. These issues include customer uncertainty about your brand, the value of your product and whether or not it is within their budget. By developing sales metrics appropriate for your business, you will be able to manage the sales funnel.
Sales Funnel Stages
- Lead: This refers to someone that fits into your target audience but you have not yet been in contact with.
- Prospect: This is a potential customer that has expressed an interest in what you have to offer. This means you have had a conversation and the prospect has been given information on what to do next in the process.
- Qualified Prospect: This is the most testing part of the funnel as it involves you verifying that the prospect has a need for your product, has the budget and sees value in what you sell.
- Commitment: By now, the prospect is a committed customer and has made verbal agreement to make a purchase.
- Transaction: This is when the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered!
Going back to the qualified prospect part of the sales funnel, you need to use lead scoring in order to rank and prioritize your leads. For example, you may find that those who register for your webinar are more likely to pay for your services than those who sign up for email newsletters. In this case, you will pour more resources into the webinar than you would have done otherwise.
Basic personal information is necessary of course but you should also look to get details of the professional occupation, location, company size and budget. ‘Score’ each visitor’s interaction with your brand; the closer someone moves towards a purchase, the more points you assign to that customer.
With a well-drawn out sales funnel, you can quickly get rid of irrelevant leads that will end up costing you money in marketing and focus on those who are likely to become paying customers. This reduces costs, increases ROI and allows you to become more dedicated to prospects that will prop up your business.
It’s a mistake to believe that your email marketing efforts end once you have converted visitors into paying customers. In fact, you should believe it is only the beginning because once you have customers; it is much easier and less expensive to retain them than to bring in new custom. In fact, it can cost 7 times more to bring in new customers than to keep old ones yet companies habitually shift their focus away from customer retention.
What Is Customer Retention?
This process isn’t just about keeping customers; it involves actively trying to keep them happy by ensuring they have a great experience which coerces them into spreading the word about how great your products/services are. When you focus on existing customers then bringing in new consumers almost takes care of itself.
This is where triggered email marketing comes in; it is a way to identity what is troubling these customers (pain points) and make a difference. Behavioral marketing involves the personalization of marketing based on the data you collect relating to the activity of users. Here are a few ways to use this strategy and retain a high percentage of your existing customers.
- Advocacy Program: Send an email to new customers inviting them to join and offer reward points for signing up. Make sure the advocacy program has expiry dates to ensure the recipients of the email take quick action.
- Promo Code: This classic strategy still works! Offer a thank you gift or special coupon code once customers have made a purchase. The gifts on offer depend on your business and what you can afford. If you sell something with an annual plan for example; you could offer 20% off.
- Holiday Gifts: Holiday marketing is extremely popular so offer a gift inside the email to make sure your company stands out from the rest. Corporate giants such as Amazon and Starbucks send e-gift cards to customers so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for everyone else!
- Market Research Survey: As well as gaining important insights into your company through customer input, these emails can be great ways to retain customers. Simply ask customers for their opinions in a short survey (shorter emails of this nature tend to have better response rates) and offer them a spot in a draw for a big prize like a $500 voucher or vacation in the Caribbean. This gets customers excited about your brand and may even cause them to spread the news about your generosity.
The above is just a handful of retention email strategies you can use to keep a loyal fan base and ensure you are forced to spend less on new customer marketing campaigns.
For all the talk about ‘customer loyalty’ being an essential part of marketing, few companies ever launch successful loyalty programs. Most consumers see through transparent loyalty points/cards programs and believe it isn’t worth their while. So what are the real barriers to loyalty and more importantly, how do you overcome them? Read on to find out more below.
1 – The Feeling Of Being Overlooked
Existing customers quickly get fed up with companies offering great deals to ‘new’ customers only. This is an acquisition program that alienates existing customers and usually ends in disaster. Remember, it takes 10+ new and uncommitted customers to make up for losing a loyal customer. To overcome this, simply offer special rewards for loyal customers; perhaps offer freebies or discounts once they buy a certain amount of your merchandise.
2 – Biased Data
It is very hard to collect data that is representative of your customer base without showing bias to one segment. Fail to engage the core customer with your loyalty program by making it difficult to sign up or utilize your card etc. means you won’t get a complete picture of your customers. A multi-channel approach is critical and you also need to get end-to-end behavioral data while also ensuring customer preference is subject to relevance.
3 – Using Customer Profitability As A KPI
Relying on customer profitability to discover their value is likely to be an inaccurate mode of measurement. For instance, is a customer who makes one purchase of $1,000 in two years more or less valuable than one who makes 10 purchases worth $800 in the same period? While the first customer spent more, the second customer is probably more ‘loyal’ and likely to use you when he makes a big purchase. You need to get a better understanding of customer ‘behavior’ to drive profit.
4 – Leaving It Up To Marketing
Most companies believe its marketing department is responsible for driving loyalty. However, for real success, only businesses where the CEO and executives are involved will succeed at becoming a genuinely customer-orientated organization which ensures the customer is #1.
5 – Opting For Loyalty Programs & Not A Loyalty Approach
In simple terms, a program can be part of a loyalty approach but a true loyalty approach is not part of any ‘program’. Instead, this approach should be the way you do business as your organization is dedicated to pleasing customers in a variety of ways. Companies that rely on loyalty programs will be dismissed as opportunistic whereas businesses with a loyalty approach will be deemed as ‘genuine’ by customers and this will lead to long-term loyalty.
In order to be a success, it is essential for a business to ask ‘how are we loyal to our customers’? To enjoy customer loyalty, you must place the customer at the center of your marketing approach instead of just adding in programs as an afterthought.
You may be surprised to learn that only 37% of automakers’ profits come from the initial money paid for a vehicle by a consumer. The remaining profits are earned via the ‘aftermarket’ industry; this simply means car accessories not included with the vehicle. This market focuses on the maintenance and repair of vehicles to ensure customers are buying durable consumer goods.
Common aftermarket products include body parts, oils, gearboxes, motors and tires. It is an extremely competitive industry which makes it tough for newcomers to gain a foothold. Even established corporations have to stay ahead of the pack and below, we look at 4 of the marketing trends they use to keep the profits rolling in.
1 – Auto Parts eCommerce
There are an estimated 70 million auto part searches every single month and an increasing number of consumers are looking to buy online. Online searches increased by almost 40% between 2013 and 2014 for example.
In the United States alone the auto parts eCommerce market is worth an estimated $6 billion a year. By 2020, this is likely to increase to $20 billion in North America and Europe!
Although Western markets are continuing to drive growth, emerging markets such as Brazil and China will likely lead to an even bigger explosion in auto parts eCommerce sales within the next decade.
Retailers have a bigger selection of marketplaces to choose from than ever before including Sears, Amazon and Newegg not to mention auction sites such as eBay Motors. Amazon is the largest online retailer of auto parts and has enjoyed annual sales growth of 20-30% in the last few years. The aforementioned rise in eCommerce as a whole is likely to see even more growth for Amazon and other giant retailers.
2 – Service Aggregation
The integration of B2B and B2C business models is one of the biggest tests for the auto parts aftermarket industry. Trying to integrate the two in a digital environment is a serious challenge.
To date, online sales have typically targeted DIY lovers or so-called ‘early adopters’; these individuals tend to perform minor maintenance on their cars and purchase a few accessories. Yet most drivers rely on garages and physical stores for their auto needs; the question is: How do you engage these individuals digitally?
Service aggregation is an emerging business trend with companies such as RepairPal and Openbay acting like a TripAdvisor for auto service. These sites connect drivers with garages based on the person’s needs; this includes location, cost and requirements.
We expect service aggregators to evolve to the point where they can remotely diagnose vehicles. Openbay is already making strides with its app that allows you to pay for parts and services online. As a result, these websites can become part aggregators and suppliers. Additionally, they can mediate between customers and services centers and create their own closed distribution channels.
Such changes have forced automotive aftermarket stalwarts such as Michelin to take action; the tire manufacturer purchased a 40% stake in online tire retailer Allopneus; a French retailer that managed to transform itself into a $150 million business within a few years. It is believed that 20% of tires will purchased online in France by 2020.
BMW and other major carmakers have created online stores on eBay, TMall and other online marketplaces. Eventually, you won’t need to contact your local car dealership to book your normal under warranty service; your car (yes the machine!) will contact the dealership before a service is due or if there is a parts failure.
3 – B2B Marketing
Online sellers have found success by targeting consumers with maintenance parts such as lube, filters etc. While this will certainly help them remain profitable, the key to major success lies in making sales to business customers such as fleets and garages. Chinese company AliBaba has already enjoyed success in its homeland and is branching out into North America. As a result, automotive aftermarket players need to shake up their existing B2B marketing efforts.
4 – Direct Selling
Suppliers and OEMs will embrace direct selling as the new normal. Bosch saw immediate success with its online store on TMall (the Chinese eCommerce site) by generating $9 million worth of sales in its very first year.
Other suppliers have followed suit on TMall and are looking to sell parts directly to businesses and end users. The aftermarket is currently less structured in emerging markets; this means larger companies have the opportunity to alter their distribution system.
Yet even Western consumers can expect to be impacted by direct selling; Goodyear is already selling direct to customers by setting up portals for end users to purchase parts directly from the company with dealer fulfillment.
The Internet has already had a huge impact on the Automotive Aftermarket industry and this sea change is set to continue. Part makers will look to sell directly to consumers, market differently to businesses, sell more online and improve the service received by their customers.
The most basic reason to use image personalization in your email campaigns is to make them more appealing to customers. We all receive a huge amount of spam and junk mail in our inboxes and a host of dull and unappealing emails as well. These don’t stand out and even though they may be from genuine companies, we dismiss them as spam too because they are so generic in nature. With image personalization, you not only add a bit of color to emails, you also cater to the individual tastes of each recipient.
It seems strange that the television device of sending messages based on exact times hasn’t really gathered steam when it comes to email marketing. We are of course referring to those adverts which state that there is a sale in 5 days time. The reason why it is not used in emails is because most marketers assume that the message will be opened and read soon after receipt and will then never be read again. However, one set of clever marketers thought otherwise and created an email that displayed a dynamic countdown, in this instance for Christmas. These marketers banked on the fact that the email would be opened repeatedly and recipients saw a different countdown time whenever they open the email.
What happened is that the marketers managed to create an email where the image changed every time the email was opened. If the subscriber opened the email once a day, they would see a new image and a different countdown time on every occasion. It was even possible to change the time displayed in the email depending on where the recipient was viewing it from. For example, if a consumer in Paris and one in New York opened their emails at the same time, they would see a different message. If this seems like a lot of work for a single email, it is worth noting that in our example above, the company enjoyed a sales increase of approximately 40% and each email was opened more than 5 times on average.
What does this prove? That thinking outside the box can be extremely rewarding. While your email campaign does not have to be as innovative as the one we just outlined, you should be using dynamic images in order to get the best results from your email marketing. No one is interested in dull, bland emails that lack a bit of style. Image personalization is clever and breathes new life into each and every email you send.
Unfortunately, the assumption that auto companies still rely heavily on TV, radio and newspaper advertising is true! While these traditional methods of marketing still have their place, the truth is, they are very expensive and have a pretty low ROI. According to BBC Worldwide America, over 50% of viewers watch shows on DVR and an incredible 97% of them skip the advertising content!
Given the growth of online marketing, Smartphones and social media, sticking rigidly to old fashioned marketing is a recipe for disaster. Some dealerships are finally getting to grips with email marketing and now realize it is arguably the most effective mode of advertising for their businesses.
Collecting the email addresses of customers is a priority and can be achieved in a variety of ways:
- At Racing Events.
- At the Dealership.
- At Car Shows.
- At the Service Counter.
- Through Their Website’s Sign-Up Page.
- As a Pre-Requisite For Test Drives.
Once you have a customer’s email address, the next step is to learn how to use it correctly and this is what we examine below.
A huge percentage of your email marketing messages will remain unread if you persist with generic content sent to the wrong people. Email segmentation enables you to provide content your audience is actually interested in. The key is to find what interests different subscribers; then you can create tailor-made emails they will click on and read.
Here are some ways to segment:
- Customer Profile Characteristics: Age, gender and geography for B2C and size of company and industry sector for B2B.
- Current & Predicted Value: This is a way of finding your most valuable customers in order to gain their loyalty.
- Customer Lifecycle Groups: The online loyalty ladder involves customers passing through various phases; moving customers from the first to the second purchase is a big challenge. You need to identify consumers at different stages of the ladder before creating specific promotions to encourage further purchases.
- Current & Predicted Behavior: This involves capturing visitor interactions with different communications such as pages visited on site and email clicks.
There are some interesting statistics relating to how segmented emails perform against non-segmented messages. For example, segmented emails get 14% more opens, over 10% unique opens and over 59% more clicks.
There is no point sending carefully crafted emails if they never reach their intended destination. You need an email provider with an excellent track record of ensuring every phase of sending activity is in accordance with email marketing best practices. This means having anti-spam precautions integrated into every email. Simple ways to avoid ending up in the spam pile include:
- Asking Subscribers To Add You To Their Contact List: This is a quick and easy way to ensure your email makes it to their inbox.
- Be Consistent: Make sure your sending frequency is consistent; in other words, don’t send 1 email a month then suddenly start sending them every 4 days. For the record, 57% of auto-dealerships send out emails monthly while only 9% send out weekly email newsletters.
- Don’t Add Attachments Or Large Images: Adding attachments to email marketing messages tends to raise a red flag with Internet Service Providers.
Short Subject Lines
Most subject lines fall into one of the following categories:
- Price Discount.
- Special Offer.
- Exclusive Product/Service.
- Limited Time Offer.
- General Information.
Given the competition in the automotive aftermarket industry, special offers and discounts are typically the most commonly used subject lines. The ‘sweet spot’ for a subject line in terms of length is 8-10 words. Writing something compelling enough to elicit a response in the form of an Open is a tricky task; but that’s what you pay copywriters for!
Avoid the use of ‘spammy keywords’ and always ensure your subject line is representative of the email’s content. Use of misleading subject lines will quickly get you into trouble.
Finally, try to ‘personalize’ the subject line as the recipient is more likely to open when they see their name.
It’s best to keep your marketing emails short and to the point; anywhere from 200-400 words is reasonable but try and remain closer to 200 than 400 words. Use clear ‘non-salesy’ words when communicating with the reader and always ensure the message contains something of value to the reader.
This could mean the promise of a discount on their next purchase, an offer exclusive to your subscribers or even important information relating to the automotive aftermarket industry. Make sure you conclude the email with a clear Call-to-Action; research suggests that Orange and Red are the most eye-catching colors to use for your CTA button.
It appears as if the automotive aftermarket industry has been slower than other industries to embrace email marketing but it is finally catching on. Once you have gained the emails of prospects, the next step is to gain their trust. The best way to do this is through carefully crafted email newsletter content that increases customer loyalty and boosts your reputation.
If you are a regular Response Wise reader then you’ll already know that the ROI earned from email marketing can be astronomical. According to a report by VentureBeat, email marketing could provide marketers with an ROI of $38 for every $1 spent! Clearly, this will not be the case for every single email marketer but it does provide an insight into the kind of success it is possible to achieve.
Email marketing is constantly evolving so you need to stay on your toes to keep up with these changes. What is working for you right now may not be effective 12 months down the line for example. However, it is possible to enjoy fantastic results by making a few simple additions to each email with the goal of optimizing them.
Segment To Provide Value
Your subscribers could be receiving dozens of marketing emails a day so creating a generically designed email with a less than compelling message spells doom for your campaign. Deliverability rates tend to suffer when subscribers believe the emails are irrelevant to their needs so you need to segment your list to ensure the right person receives the right message.
You can segment according to age, gender, location and interests among other things. No matter how well written your email is, if it isn’t about a topic that interests the recipient, it provides no value and is therefore of no use to them.
Include Several CTAs
Adding a single Call-To-Action at the end of an email won’t cut it. A cleverly designed marketing email will contain multiple CTAs that flow seamlessly within the content and don’t seem overly ‘salesy’. The fact is, the more links there are to click, the more likely it is that readers will click on one.
Your emails should contain content that is easily ‘sharable’ across different marketing channels with special attention paid to social media sites. All it takes is a handful of brand advocates to transform a company’s fortunes and when you give these loyalists the option of sharing your content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc., good things will happen.
When designing your emails, make sure there are clearly defined areas where subscribers can share the text via social media and email.
Ultimately, the success of your email marketing campaign will lie in your ability to effectively segment your target audience and create content that benefits them. Yet there are a couple of simple additions that can really boost your click-through rate and this will inevitably lead to more sales.
There seems to be little evidence that email marketing will lose its effectiveness; indeed, all evidence points to the contrary. An email statistics report by Californian based technology market firm The Radicati Group says that there were 4.11 billion email accounts worldwide (2.6 billion email users) in 2014 and this will increase to over 5.23 billion (over 2.9 billion users) by 2018.
At present, over 90% of Americans have at least one email address that is checked on a daily basis and over 70% of email users provide marketers with their primary address when signing up for marketing offers. Of course, the modern consumer expects high standards from email marketers so if you want to turn subscribers into customers, read the following tips on optimizing your emails.
Make Them Mobile Friendly
If your emails are not mobile responsive, you are missing out on a huge chunk of the market. Basically, this means ensuring your email is crisp, clear and easy to read no matter what device is used by the recipient.
By the end of 2014, approximately 53% of emails were opened on a mobile device, a figure certain to increase by the end of 2015. Depressingly for those yet to optimize emails for mobile devices, over 70% of mobile users will delete any unoptimized emails. Don’t make the mistake of shrinking the screen to fit; this only makes emails look bad on larger screens.
Get Your Timing Right
The global economy can make things tricky when attempting to send messages at the perfect times. The best way to do this is through the use of segmentation; you will ideally invest in automation software for this purpose. With detailed analytics, you can find out the time period where recipients are most likely to be checking their email.
You also need to pay attention to email frequency, sending too many emails puts you at danger of being marked out as spam; too few causes subscribers to forget you. Avoid daily emails unless they contain special offers; most marketers tend to send out a weekly email.
Subject Line & Preheader Text
The best subject lines tend to be less than 50 characters long yet they contain an interesting tidbit that compels the recipient to keep reading. Including a quick stat that benefits the reader is a great way to get their attention.
The next step is to customize your preheader text; this is the short summary that comes immediately after the subject line. Too many marketers ignore it and the result is generic text. You can change all that by using the preheader text to provide a teaser of your email content, provide an incentive to open, expand on the subject line and instil a sense of urgency. The 3 seconds it takes to read the preheader text could make or break your email marketing campaign so don’t forget it!
While we believe the above tips will remain relevant for quite some time, it is important to note that email marketing is growing and evolving. This means you must keep abreast of the changes to ensure you don’t use outdated tactics. I hope to continue bringing you up to date information to keep you at the front of the queue.
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