The term, Seasonality, is often used by marketing professionals and typically describes a set of recurring sales increases as a result of the changing needs of customers.
As the calendar year unfolds, the way we live our lives changes in regular patterns, whether we like it or not. Understanding these changes and predicting when they are likely to occur empowers marketing professionals to make intelligent marketing decisions.
Strategy, sales promotions and more can be planned and implemented effectively using historical seasonal data.
Consider that a retail clothing store running a sales promotion and actively marketing their woolen jumper range in the height of summer is very unlikely to yield results.
While the example given above is quite clear, many seasonal predictions aren’t quite as straightforward. When the seasonal lines are blurred, marketers must rely on other methods to gain insight. Thankfully, there are a range of online tools that can help, some of which we’ve mentioned before.
Google Trends is an incredibly valuable tool when deciphering seasonality and making decisions. It’s clear cut interface showcases the peaks and troughs of search interest surrounding whatever keywords you choose.
Google Trends Seasonal Search trend for perfumes & aftershaves in Ireland.
Here we can see the almost constant search interest for perfumes and aftershaves throughout the year until November. As Christmas approaches, search interest soar and interestingly aftershave was more often sought online than perfume. Factoring this growth in consumer interest and tailoring marketing campaigns to capitalise on this growth in search interest will set you above the rest.
Deeper insight can be gained through Google’s Keyword Planner. The table below showcases the seasonal trends associated with both “perfumes” and “aftershave” keywords. In addition, Google also offers the seasonal trends of a range of closely related keywords giving a clearer picture.
Now that we’ve gained an insight into the high seasons for both perfume and aftershave, we can focus on getting the most in return for your efforts. While this information should be used for all marketing efforts, we’re just going to focus on your online marketing here.
First off, let’s look at what we know. We know that our customers will be searching frantically for perfumes and aftershaves over a 6-week period before Christmas. We know that searches for perfume and aftershaves will diminish and become practically non-existent in January, and we know that the search interest is on a steady incline prior to the six-week hot period.
Our main aim here has to be to maximize traffic and sales for the company’s perfume and aftershave range during the 6 weeks prior to Christmas. Planning and scheduling campaigns is key during this period. Create and schedule your email marketing campaigns well in advance, decide on whatever sales promotions you will have and update your Google Ad copy to amplify such promotions.
Remember profitability underpins effective Digital Marketing. We know that consumers are steadily buying during this period and less so when January arrives. Tailoring your budgets to spend more during the 6-week frantic period and less so through January into February, is a simple yet effective way to become profitable.
Finally, consider your customers in the research phase of the buying cycle. During this period your customers are comparing prices, seeking out the best value and anticipating making their purchase. Although not necessarily making purchases during this period, you should endeavour to be found as a contender. Doing so, will impact your overall pre-Christmas revenue from digital marketing.
“Spend more of your budget during the time your customers want to buy, and less when they don’t.”
So, there you have it, seasonality should play a vital role in your digital marketing efforts. Not only from a customer acquisition perspective, but tailoring your marketing budgets, messages and strategies to capitalize on surges in consumer search will impact your bottom-line revenue.
The online explosion over the past number of years has seen an incredible growth in the number of businesses actively engaging in online marketing.
The digital environment is now part of your customer’s daily lives and as a result must become a core component of your advertising strategy. In doing so, your digital strategy must be profitable for you as a company. It is no longer acceptable to advertise just for the sake of it and spend 100’s of euro on Google ads or social media campaigns without seeing a return.
Anecdotal feedback is no longer enough.
Saying your website is busy when you spend money on Facebook or after
you send a marketing email is not useful, nor should it be acceptable.
In my 3 years working at Dmac Media, I can count on one hand the number
of conversations I’ve had with companies who can clearly identify at
what point they are profitable when it comes to digital marketing. More
often than not, online advertising, whether it’s social media, pay per
click and even email marketing, has been undertaken by business out of
I’ve lost count of the number of times where businesses have been advertising online without clearly defined conversion metrics.
From setting up online goals to transaction capturing, conversion led optimisation is an underpinning element to successful digital marketing. For the most part, however, the fault of this does not rest with the business owner. In many cases, advances in tracking software that have not been implemented, resulting in reporting inaccuracies.
Let’s take Google Ads for instance. If you’re an eCommerce business and have not updated to Global Site Tag tracking in the past 6 months, there is a good chance your Google Ads Conversions are inaccurate. This could mean, a keyword or campaign that you might consider to be performing very well, could in fact be costing you money.
Putting conversions and conversion metrics at the forefront of your digital optimisation strategy is key.
Rather than simply counting the number of enquiries your
website generates, look at the number of new customers you actually win as a
result of those enquiries. In a perfect world, every enquiry your website
generates would turn into a paying customer. However, it is far from a perfect
world we live in, and paying close attention to the number of new customers
your company on-boards will showcase the true value of your marketing efforts.
This is why we recommend utilising cost per acquisition metrics over
cost per conversions in this instance. While this can prove an easy to
analyse metric for an eCommerce business, it is more difficult when your
business relies on sales follow ups and onboarding strategies to
convert an enquiry into a customer.
We recommend that our clients go one step further in this regard. Utilising cost per acquisition metrics rather than cost per conversion can offer real insight into your digital campaigns.
What’s the difference? Well let’s examine them a bit more closely.
Conversions are anything you deem to be valuable for your business. This could include a range of behaviours from a view of your companies contact details onsite or to a newsletter sign up. Conversions tend to have a marketing objective. For instance, in the case of the Contact Page Views example above, the objective of the campaign could be to drive more telephone calls to your business.
By contrast, acquisition is actually acquiring a new customer and may take some time or considerable touchpoints. For instance, your sales team may have to deal with 10 enquiries to acquire just one customer. From an analysis point of view, this example suggests that 9 enquires were defunct and invaluable, however they cost your business money in gaining them.
Sample Brochure Website Month
Advertising Spend: €1000 Enquiries (Conversions): 50 Cost per Enquiry: €22 per enquiry Customers Won: 10 Average Order Value: €180 Cost Per Acquisition: €100 per customer won % Cost Per Acquisition: 55.55%
In this example the company are likely to be losing money on
each customer won when admin is added as a cost. This company should strive to
reduce their CPA% as soon as possible through a reduction of their advertising
outlay or improvement in their onboarding strategies.
Sample eCommerce Website
Advertising Spend: €1000 Transactions: 100 Cost/Conversion (Transactions): €10 Average Order Value: €130 Cost Per Acquisition: €10 % Cost Per Acquisition: 7.69%
In this example, we see that the company was able to
generate 100 orders for their €1000 advertising spend. With the average order
value being €130, this represents a CPA% of 7.69%. Even without knowing the
profit margins of this company, there is still a strong likelihood that this
customer is going to be profitable having achieved a 7.69% CPA figure. At this
point the company should look to scale up their approach but strive to maintain
their % CPA as they do so to grow their market share.
So you see, the tools to track profitable customer actions are available to all online businesses, who should endeavour to use these tools whenever possible. Doing so, provides deep insight into the channels and methods that are fueling your online success or failure and help hone your marketing tactics, and ultimately increase your bottom line profits.
Hootsuite is a “Social Media Management System”,
under the free version you can have 3 social media platforms and schedule up to
30 messages at any one time. It comes equipped with a dashboard for each
platform also, so you can see a stream of information at once. Managing your businesses multiple social media
platforms can be a full-time job and if you plan to regularly update them all, I
highly recommend using a tool like Hootsuite. Hootsuite will take a little time
to get used to but this quick how-to tutorial will give you the basic setup!
One you arrive on the website in the top right-hand corner
press ‘Sign up’, this will lead you to their pricing structure. If you plan to
use this for the 3 platforms only scroll past all these options to the free
version just below:
This will then prompt you to enter a name, business email
and password. Once this information has been accepted it will bring you to the
connection page, this is where you will add your three platforms.
For the purpose of demonstration, I will use Facebook as an
example, Click on Facebook. If you are
not currently signed in, it will ask you to sign in, and it will then ask
permission for Hootsuite to manage your business. If you happen to have more
than one business page you will need to edit the settings to only allow the one
you want to manage in Hootsuite. Do this for each of your chosen three
Once this is done you will be prompted to go forward and
enter your business details:
Hootsuite will then bring you through a quick tutorial,
How to schedule a post
On the top right-hand corner of your screen there is a post
button click this and you will be brought to a new post page. Your first option
will select which platform you will be posting to
Write your post including all text, links and hashtags
Add any media you want including photos or videos here
When do you want to post? Select a time and date and hit
As you are creating your post, you will see a preview of how
your post will look and the right-hand pane. It will also give you a warning,
if you go over the 280-character limit for Twitter.
How to see what I have scheduled
There are two ways to see what is scheduled, on the left-hand
black menu the second option is publisher, click in here to view your posts.
Once in publisher, this will give you two options.
The planner will give you a calendar schedule of your past
& future posts, while Content will give you a list version of this.
As you can see from the menu above the first menu item is
streams, this is your homepage where you can see your recent posts, timeline,
mentions, messages, scheduled posts. The stream you can have will vary from
social media platform to the next below is an example of the streams available
Below is an example of how your home page of streams can
So, there you have the basics of Hootsuite in this quick tutorial. If this is still a little foreign to you don’t worry! That’s what the digital marketing team at Dmac Media are for, contact us today if you need help to setup your social media management platform.
hashtag: n. A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on
social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify
messages on a specific topic. Oxford English Dictionary
In the world
of social media, the hashtag is likely the most popular means of categorising
content on social media. It makes your own content discoverable and
allows you to find relevant content from other people and businesses. The
hashtag also allows you to connect with and engage other social media users
based on a common theme or interest.
to use hashtags is fundamental to your success on social media.
Here are some #toptips to help you achieve success.
A hashtag used on a public account is discoverable by anyone who does a search for that hashtag. If you’re using hashtags for discovery, keep it short don’t string too many words together under a single hashtag as this is not how they are designed to work. Be specific, the more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience generally means better engagement.
Users can now follow hashtags, and in turn they can also unfollow them. Don’t use irrelevant hashtags although it’s not a known fact it’s a reasonable assumption that this will have a negative impact on your organic content. For example, using a well-known travel tag such as #wanderlust on your new product release will have a negative impact on your ranking.
Don’t #spam #with #hashtags. Avoid using too many within a single post. Don’t have more hashtags than words. Just because Instagram allows up to 30 on any single post this does not mean you have to add 30! Try to limit this to under ten for Instagram & LinkedIn and approx. 1-2 for Facebook and Twitter.
Format your hashtags. No spaces are allowed but #YouCanCapitaliseToImproveReadability, do not use punctuation marks or this will break the tagging.
Branding. Don’t go too long or too clever, in general, if you’re creating a branded hashtag you should try to keep it short and simple or else it will never be found or used by your target audience.
Post Ideas. For upcoming hashtag holidays and to look through daily trends the Hashtag Holiday Calendar Here Is a very handy tool to have to hand.
Cater hashtags to the social network you’re using, see Hootsuite’s Blog on this for more info about:
Do your research. To try to calculate the popularity of a hash tag you can use hashtagify.me. They will also suggest alternatives and accompanying hashtags. For current trending hashtags pop over to Twitter where there is a top trending of the day list.
Track your success. If you have an Instagram business account, you can now see the insights for each for your post as well as the number of views that came directly from the hashtag.
Keep an eye on your competitors. As within all elements of business it’s always smart to keep an eye on what the competitor is doing, and social media is no exception. Check out some of their hashtags for popularity and if they are relevant to your business too.
This is the recurring question asked time and time again to our digital marketing team. Your social media platform should represent your business both professionally and personally. Many businesses forget the “social” part of social media and constantly advertise products.
When promoting your business, focus on the
solution you provide, not the products you sell. It’s essential to add value to
your customers and build on your brand image. Never underestimate the fact that
your most important asset (and downfall) on social media, is visual
content. Be sure the images you upload
reflect the image you want to portray for your business. Video is highly
engaging and the recognised way forward.
A guide as to what to post
Are you owl 1, 2 or 3? Owl 1 eyes completely shut oblivious to the world of social media, Owl 2 Half an idea but not sure what or where to post? Or are you owl number 3? Eyes firmly on the prize?
⅓ of your
social content promotes your business, this includes product promotion &
⅓ of your
social content should share ideas, pictures and stories from like-minded and
similar businesses, this is content about your business but not product
⅓ of your
social content should be based on personal interactions within or indeed
outside of your business and build your personal brand.
Even with these
guidelines keep in mind that you should add to the ‘Social’ aspect of the post.
Instead of taking a screengrab of the shoe on your website, how about a staff member puts them on their
feet, goes outside and take a quick boomerang video of the product? This
approach is guaranteed to gain more interest than another picture of a still
motionless product and takes minimal time, effort and zero money.
What you need to
remember when trying to figure out what to post is that…… People are nosey!! Even
a simple picture of a delivery in your stockroom will gain traction, you would
be surprised the majority people who have never worked in retail and really do think its Narnia out there! A hidden
world of all the best products that we are keeping all for ourselves. No, we
promise we aren’t hiding all the stock on you and yes, we promise if we had what
you’re looking for we would most definitely sell it to you! Make your customer
feel special by showing them sneak peaks into your business and as an added
bonus this will build the personal side of your business.
Ideas & where to find them
Another extremely common question is what
content do I post? I know how to, but I can never think of anything to post.
A very simple way around this is to get
organised, get yourself a content calendar! Start it off with adding all the
national holidays this can feed fodder for numerous posts during the year.
Next, add your colleague’s birthdays. Now you can just do a generic Happy
Birthday post but if you’re really organised, you’ll get regular cake’s out of
This ties nicely into my next point -take
your camera/phone out, no screen grabs or borrowing other people’s
images/content use your camera and get photos of the people behind the scenes.
I have seen time and time again that photos with actual people in them gain
higher level of traction then those without.
For an added level of timeliness, look through daily trends and hashtag holidays for 2019 days here: Hashtag Holiday Calendar. This can be so much fun to do & to make a personal twist on it, see our own post for #LoveYourPetDay here
And on the note of
#hashtags if you want to calculate the popularity of a hash tag you can use hashtagify.me
Bank of memes
This is a term I like to use for your stash
of funny content you find when browsing your social media channels, when you
see it, save it and bank it for when you need good content to post. Trying to
find/trying to think of content on the fly can be very hard and will make the
job of social media posting far harder than it should be! Posting funny,
relatable content that’s relevant to your business or brand can encourage fans
to tag their friends – this helps to spread brand awareness without feeling
overly promotional. Also, by a person interacting with your post they are more
likely to be shown your posts in the future.
When to post
Finally, the all-important decision to me
made at the end of all this when will I post it?
Well to be honest If I knew this, I
wouldn’t be writing this blog! The best logical way to keep track of your
previous posts and engagements and schedule content for the optimal time for
your audience specifically, but if time is short use your Facebook page
insights to see when your followers are online as shown below:
I love quotes and this is one of my favourites
as it’s really applicable to the team I work with and was exemplified at the
“None of us is as smart as all of us” (Blanchard, 2019)
Working at Dmac Media for the last 9 years as an Account Manager I’ve learned a lot about all the disciplines involved in and around Web Design, The actual design process, the User Experience, Post Launch Optimisation, SEO, Content Writing, Digital Marketing, Google Ads, Social Media Marketing etc.
Working with my customers to build their businesses online I have a fairly large range of skill and understanding of the online market place. By attending conferences and going to networking meetings I always find something new to add to my repertoire.
At the recent Amplify Conference I learned a lot of new things and got clarity on some things that aren’t part of my day to day dealings with clients…
Looking at the agenda I noted that there were 10 presentations from a range of speakers. Some were representing international/national companies like Google, LinkedIn and Three Ireland, as well as experts from around the country, including our own Dave McEvoy who spoke at length on “UX” (The User Experience)
I’ve chosen to highlight a few speakers that I
personally found either informative or inspirational.
Shane Murphy & Dan Sweeney – Co Founders of Digi-guys
Joanne Sweeney – Founder of Digital Training Institute
Gearoid Buckley – Senior Demand Generation Manager at LinkedIn
Shane Murphy & Dan Sweeney – Co Founders of Digi-guys
favourite presentation of the day came from Shane Murphy & Dan
Sweeney – Co Founders of Digi-guys, now re-branded as “PLAY Creative Agency” I must take my hat off to
the two lads from Cork who are making waves with Marketing Video’s for high
profile businesses across Ireland.
appeared on stage in video, rather than in person. The video introduction was
immediately engaging, I was hooked! They added humour, wit and wrapped it up in
their personalities. I immediately wanted to see more, then low and behold they
appeared in person on the stage with buckets of useful information.
know for example, that 72% of people would rather use video to learn
about a product or service? No? Nor did
I, although it’s one of my favourite ways of learning. I use video tutorials to educate my clients
all the time, including everything from, “How to add and set up another email
in my Gmail account” right through to “how to index my site with Google”
The boys went on to tell us about Video production, how to
get started, what equipment you might need etc. Their answer was music to my
ears, “Just get your phone out and start!”
They exclaimed, begin at the beginning and develop your skills as you go.
Well, it was a bit
more than that to be fair, but they did say, once you’d got your theme,
sketched out a few scenes, decided on the platform you want to launch the video
on, get out your phone and start shooting J
A good bit of advice was to shoot a long video and then use
parts of the video on different platforms.
Now to be fair, that’s probably beyond most of us, but it resonated with
me as we write long blogs (like this one) then take snippets from them for use on Social Media platforms.
The benefit might not seem obvious to you, but think about
all the preparation work you do to shoot a 1 minute video. A fair bit I’d say. But, if you shoot a 6
minute video and then cut and edit it into 8 more usable pieces it’s much more
flexible, keeps the tone and the message the same but is deliverable on just
about every social media platform…
In short, their advice was:
Make sure your video has a Start, Middle and an
Grab Your Audience’s attention
Build in Call to Actions
Define what’s different about your business
Be honest, tell your story, showcase your Brand
Remember you are pitching towards your
customers, clients, fans
Add Value back to your clientele, offer
discounts, special offers etc.
They also talked about creating a hero to solve the problem that exists in your business model. For us at Dmac Media Ltd it might be something like this:
You are a retailer, footfall is decreasing year on year. As online sales grow and footfall decreases,
you need someone to help you begin trading online. They need to be talking English to you not
“Tech Speak”. The video would identify
the problem, introduce the problem solver (Dmac Media Ltd) showcase the
solution followed by a call to action “contact Dave O’Brien for a free
consultation on: 071 9300 637”
Joanne Sweeney – Founder of Digital Training Institute
Rolling right back to the beginning of the day, the first
speaker was Joanne Sweeney Founder of Digital Training Institute and her
presentation focused on “How to Create and Effective Digital Strategy”
Joanne gave us plenty of wisdom nuggets, such as:
The average word count for page 1 ranking websites is 1,890
words – So Content is still King!
Mobile first: Page speed loading is probably the Queen to the content King- your website has just 3 seconds to load before the average consumer’s patience is tried and they press the back button!
Irish people are checking their phones up to 57 times a day
with short bursts of activity – 74 Seconds – so linking that into videos – they
need to be short and snappy and generally speaking, a 5 minute video won’t be
watched the whole way through…
Influencer Marketeers are growing in Ireland. Bloggers and video bloggers are now
influencing the publics buying choices.
* Brands are dedicating more resources to influencer
marketing because it works. Today, 81% of consumers regularly purchase items having
seen them shared on social media first.
According to a study by Collective Bias, 60% of in-store shoppers are influenced by
social media and blog posts.
Plus, 70% of millennial consumers make purchasing decisions
based on recommendations from peers.
The day moved on and some of the presentations overlapped
with other speakers as you might expect, but the next speaker that caught my
attention was, Gearoid Buckley: Senior Demand Generation Manager at LinkedIn.
Gearoid Buckley – Senior Demand Generation Manager at LinkedIn
Gearoid began by talking about his role in LinkedIn. He is responsible for the online marketing
strategy for LinkedIn, and has been for the last five years. I think he knows
He’s been engaging with SME’s to demonstrate the values of
both Organic and Pay per Click advertising on LinkedIn. Now I must confess I’m
not a Digital Marketer, I’m an account manager, so I wasn’t well versed in the
benefits of B2B networking and marketing on LinkedIn. But I soon got my
Gearoid explained the similarities between Digital Marketing
Strategies using Google Adwords, Google Shopping and Social Media PPC
Firstly, he defined LinkedIn as a Social Media Platform. Surprised?
I was., It is primarily a professional platform or network and I had never
really thought of is as a “Social” platform, yet I write, read and share posts
on it much like I do on Facebook.
I guess LinkedIn is as much a Social Media platform as any
other, just without pictures of your baby, cats falling into toilets and all
those infernal videos of people having near misses or painful looking spills
So where is the Marketing opportunity on LinkedIn for SME’s?
First things first, make sure your company profile is whole
and complete. There are lots of blog
posts on how best to complete your company profile on LinkedIn – https://buffer.com/resources/linkedin-marketing-strategy
– But always do the obvious in making sure it’s up to date, don’t keep old
employee profiles active and make sure there are no typo’s! Post something
relevant to your industry/business weekly or monthly or whenever possible. Like
and follow other people, join groups, follow your peers and in short, get familiar and present in your larger
LinkedIn community – Remember if you’re not in you can’t win!
Back to the basics of Digital Marketing on LinkedIn. I
suppose the key difference between LinkedIn and other social media platforms is
that everyone on LinkedIn is in business in one way or another. From Owners, MD’s, Senior Managers, Marketing
Managers right through to employees and people seeking employment.
So, if you design the right campaign strategy you are in
effect, marketing to a captive audience.
You can customise and segment your campaign adverts and put them in
front of the exact person/persona you want to reach. Happy days!
LinkedIn offer some amazing insights into company
performance based on their LinkedIn profile and activity:
For example, did you know:
Two professionals join LinkedIn every second
There are 590 million (and growing every minute
by 120 people) users worldwide *Dec 2018
45 percent of LinkedIn users are in upper
46 percent of LinkedIn users are female
94 percent of B2B marketers on social media use
LinkedIn to publish content
Posts with images get twice as many comments
Video posts are 5 times more likely to get
50 percent of B2B web traffic originating from
social media comes from LinkedIn
80 percent of B2B leads generated on social
media come from LinkedIn
Gearoid went on to tell us how easy the Self-Service
Advertising platform is to set up, how easy it is to create and manage
Campaigns, Ad formats supported in Campaign Manager are Sponsored Content,
Sponsored InMail and Text Ads. You can also engage with a LinkedIn marketing
expert to produce carousel ads, target marketing campaigns and re-marketing
Overall, even for people who have been in the industry for a
long time, attending the Amplify Digital Marketing Conference is very
worthwhile, as it is a unique opportunity to learn from the experts, to chat with them and more importantly you’ll
be networking with potential partners and future business connection.
Write interesting and inspiring Subject Lines to get your email opened!
If you want to get your emails opened by an important client or a new prospect? Then there are two things you must never do and three things that will increase your chances of getting your email opened.
Two things you should never do:
Never ever use Subject lines like these below. Doing so will drive your email straight into the Spam or Junk folder!
Order/Order status/Orders shipped by
Double your income/Earn extra cash/Earn €X extra per week
Make money/Online biz/business opportunity
Instead of using these old and somewhat dubious subject lines, Make it Short, Make It Personal and Make it Relevant
If you don’t want your email to be deleted before it’s even opened avoid Subject lines like this:
Hi, I’m writing to you to discuss….. (That’s content not a subject line)
Are you busy? (No I’m sitting here waiting for you to write to me!)
“Make it personal, make it short, and make it relevant!”
The question you should always ask yourself when writing an email subject line is: “If you received this in your inbox would you be motivated to open it? Or would you delete it?” Do your Research, use your Imagination, make your email worth opening! Add value to the recipient.
“Would you be motivated to open an email you sent?”
When getting started, first figure out what the objective of your email is. Is it a genuine follow up to a meeting, is it a follow up to a product purchase or is it a Cold Call? Understanding the context of the email you are sending will help a lot with the subject line and what you’re saying in the body of the email.
Three things you should always try to do:
1. Keep it Short: Keep your Subject line to less than 10 words, 5 if at all possible.
2. Be Specific: “71% of customers are more likely to buy from you if you have a website”
3. Make it Intriguing: ”64% of Irish customers mistrust businesses with free email addresses!”
Imagine you are a busy manager, MD or business owner, how many emails do you receive each day? 20, 40, 60 or even more? How many of those are important to you, valuable to your business or are intriguing enough to make you read them?
Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient, would you be motivated by your subject line to open the email you sent?
“Put yourself in the shoes of the recipient”
If you are cold calling via email, expect a read/response rate of zero! Although you may occasionally get an irate response from someone who’s had one too many spammy emails.
Do your research and reach out to customers who would genuinely benefit from your product or service.
Stand for a moment in the shoes of your recipient, is my proposition of value to them? If you’ve done your research you will know this alreadyJ
One of the major fear factors for real world retailers, when they are stepping into ecommerce, is the challenge of managing stock. If most retailers are honest they will confess that their real-world stock management is patchy and are terrified at the thought of selling something they don’t have in stock.
This is one of the most common roadblocks we help retailers overcome and we have seen all sorts of solutions. Here are my top 5 from the lowest cost and complexity to the highest. They will give you some insight into the best way forward for you.
1. No stock management
Believe it or not a staggering number of retailers select this option. They rely on there products being easy to source from suppliers to cover them. If you have strong ties with suppliers, this can be a low-cost way to get started as your website does not need to carry out any stock checking, it is either available or not, black or white.
2. Basic Stock management
As retailers put more and more stock online and the order volumes start to increase it can be harder to keep customers product moving. Alternatively, you might not have steady supply chain, and this means you need to operate a more flexible stock file. The low budget option for this is to use a stock file update within your website. Usually this consists of a CSV file upload option that lets you update product lines in bulk. You need to be sure the uploader can handle complex product variants if you are using options like size, colour or type on your website.
This can be a blunt but effective instrument for manging stock but needs manual intervention on a regular basis to work well.
3. Epos feed – one way
Almost any Epos in operation today can create and send reports to servers. With this option you can send an automatically generated stock file with stock volume and price for each product to the website. The website will generally run an update check one to two times a day looking for a fresh file and update the website from there.
It is very much a one-way street with product data only going from the EPOS to the website and no return website order data. Your Epos provider may charge for enabling this solution but as it is relatively low tech it should not be to excessive.
4. Epos feed – Two way
Now we are really getting into automated stock. This solution allows both the product feed from epos to web but also pulls down web order data from the website to the Epos. This will give you a very high percentage of accuracy on your stock and pricing data and has the added benefit of not needing day to day management. Two things to keep in mind;
a) this is still not live stock as the website will only update on a fixed time schedule.
b) unless your epos has all ready got web service functions in place, retrieving order data from the web may have large costs attached or may not be possible at all
5. Live-stock management (API)
This is usually the higher end of the available options but is worth a look if you have the budget. More and more modern epos systems offer an API environment. This lets your website developers used pre-set calls between website and epos to check stock volumes on the fly (when a user browsing your site for example) or mark stock as reserved at the point of order confirmation. It is truly live stock management. It requires a good Epos system and good stock management policies with staff involved but if you can afford it you have a much better satisfaction rating with customers and much lower refund rate.
To sum up there is more than one way to handle stock and if you are just getting started you can manage without for at least a while. If you are trying to decide on a good epos, make sure you ask the vendor about the web service options available and get a feel for what they cost.
As always if this has left you with more questions than answers get in touch and we are happy to help…
If your understanding of marketing attribution is cloudy, don’t worry you are far from alone. Many digital marketers & traditional marketers feel at sea when it comes to attribution models. In this article we throw you a life ring and help you find your feet when it comes to marketing attribution.
Attribution as a whole relates to the business of assigning credit to a marketing channel. Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all, let’s firstly clear up some of the digital marketing jargon your likely to come across during this piece. First off…
If I had a penny for every time I have been asked to explain what a conversion is, I certainly wouldn’t be sitting here writing an article on attribution. Essentially, a conversion is any customer action which you can define as being profitable for your business.
A conversion can be anything you deem valuable for your company, from an email sign up to an online transaction. Conversions generally take two forms – micro or macro. Micro conversions contribute to the buyer journey and helps buffer a potential customer through your sales funnel. Macro conversions, on the other hand are the ultimate action you want your customer to take, i.e. request a quote, call your business or complete an online transaction.
Secondly some metrics. Return on ad spend (or ROAS) and cost per acquisition (or CPA).
Return on ad spend boils down to the amount of money a company receives for every euro spent on an advertising source i.e. spend €100 advertising, receive €1000 in revenue.
Cost per acquisition or cost per conversion relates to the amount of money a company spends to generate a conversion action. i.e. Spend €10 and gain 1 email sign up or generate one call.
Now that we have cleared that up, let’s examine what exactly attribution is and how these elements play a role…
Attribution is the process of assigning the credit for these micro & macro conversions to a marketing channel or set of channels, offering greater channel insight for marketing professionals. Doing so, can help optimise budgets, spend and even refine marketing efforts to drive an increased return on ad spend and lower cost per acquisition.
Sounds great right?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what “attribution” is let’s examine it a little closer.
There are a range of different models when it comes to attribution. Each model assigns credit differently to various channels used by a customer leading up to a conversion. These models can be categorised intolast click or last interaction, first clickorfirst interaction, linear, time decay or position based. Don’t fret if you’ve never heard of these models, we are going to examine each one closer. For each of the following we are going to use the following customer journey as an example.
Monday – Clicks Facebook Ad
Tuesday – No Action
Wednesday – Clicks Google Search Ad
Thursday – No Action
Friday – Clicks Google Shopping Ad & Converts
• Last Click Attribution
Last click or last interaction attribution model assigns the credit for the conversion the very last touch point used by the customer. Applying the last click attribution model to the above example would assign all the credit to the Google Shopping Ad click and nothing elsewhere. Has its limitations, right?
• First Click Attribution
First click attribution performs in exactly the same manner as last click attribution, however in this case all the credit would be assigned to the first click that brought the customer your website. In the example above, this would mean your Facebook campaign would be assigned all the credit for the conversion, and why shouldn’t it, after all this is how the customer first found your website. But if you weren’t using Google Search ads or Google Shopping would that customer have bought from you or a competitor?
• Linear Attribution
The linear attribution model could be described as a fairer attribution model. In this instance it assigns credit equally among all touch points that led to the conversion. In the example given above, this would mean that 33.33% of the credit would be assigned to each of the three campaigns that contributed to the overall sale.
• Time Decay Attribution
Utilising a time decay attribution model gives greater emphasis to the clicks closer to the conversion. Essentially this model reduces the value of the first click and assigns greater credit to each subsequent click with the final click being assigned the most credit. In the example above, 60% would be assigned to the Google Shopping Campaign, 30% to the Google Search Campaign & 10% to the Facebook Ads Campaign.
• Position Based Attribution
Position based attribution assigns credit to the first and last clicks primarily, and divides the remaining credit among touch points throughout the customer journey leading to conversion. Essentially this attributes the most credit to what brought the customer to your site initially, and what ultimately led to their conversion and minimises the value of any intermittent marketing channels. In the above example 40% of the credit would be assigned to the Facebook Ads Campaign & 40% assigned to the Google Shopping Campaign, while the Google Search Campaign would receive 20% of the credit.
Each attribution model has its own pros & cons and grasping the concept can prove quite tricky initially.
When it comes to choosing an attribution model that’s right for your business, understanding your customer journey is key. If you are retailing a high ticket item, customers tend to spend much longer in the research and evaluation phase and so may visit your website numerous times before converting. In this instance, each touch point had a role to play in convincing the customer, so a linear or time decay model is most appropriate.
On the other hand, if your customers journey to conversion is quite short, and their overall spend is low, it is likely they will move to research and evaluation phase quite readily suggesting a last click or position based attribution might be most appropriate.
While attribution is a rather complex, multifaceted topic, if you take away one thing from this article let it be this – no attribution model is perfect. Despite your best efforts, every model has is shortcomings and the pursuit of perfection can lead to unrestrained hair pulling and sleepless nights.
“The secret of mastering attribution is knowing when good is good enough.”
Thankfully, from an introductory perspective, Google Analytics can help you gain understanding in the role each of your marketing channels plays in your overall performance. It even has built in attribution models and a comparison tool so you can see just how each channel performs under each model. Getting to grips with these models and other analytics reports you could be using can and will help you optimise your online marketing and drive greater return
In the digital world there is way too much of industry terminology and acronyms that are confusing and perplexing to us normal folk. In a business that bandies about insider jargon from conversion rates to latent semantic indexing, it is comforting to find something which does exactly what it says on the tin.
A landing page is simply the page that you land on once you have clicked on a link (either in an ad or anywhere else). As the page where the link ‘lands’ you, a landing page offers a unique opportunity to engage potential customers to take immediate action.
In the jargon of the industry, a landing page leads you to a CTA or A call to action. A good landing page is designed to generate leads or enquiries for potential client interaction. A good landing page gets you an excellent conversion rate, which in any language means that your clicks are turned to actions and ultimately, into sales.
If your landing page is currently getting you a good ‘conversion rate’, there may be room for improvement. The following hints & tips could help you increase the number of enquries or sales your website generates or if you are new to this method of inviting potential new business then read on
Once potential customers have clicked through and arrived on your landing page, keep them interested with a simple message that gets your point across quickly. It is worth remembering that most people only scan the internet and read less than 30% of what you write. Bullet points, short paragraphs and numbered lists are the way to go… so…
Have a clear, persuasive Call to Action: The main object of your landing page should be clear and persuasive. Give a simple explanation of what you are offering and an enticing invitation to action ‘Sign up Now!’ or ‘Create my account’…etc.
Keep a consistent message: Mirror the wording of the ad or headline with the actual ‘landing page’ content. Research shows that potential clients get confused, and even irritated, if the landing page does not reflect the click invitation. It may negatively impact on your brand.
Ask for the minimum amount of information: Prospective clients prefer a succinct contact form and can get a little nervous if you ask for too much information. Keep it to names, contact details and let the follow up do the rest.
Swift Action on those leads: A potential customer who has communicated through the landing page option should receive an acknowledgement, a welcome email or follow up in good time to instil confidence and keep that ‘landing page’ working well for you.