Knowing how to market to consumers has been my bread and butter since my early days at Apple. Through the brand promise and messaging, successful marketers instinctively operate from three pillars, which are to:
- Create trust between the customer and the company
- Convey why the customer needs your product
- Connect emotionally with the customer
How we transform the brand promise into winning integrated campaigns is what makes marketing so much fun. Now enter the world of e-commerce. Customer interaction is now tracked at every point of contact, which results in mountains of data. It can put you in the weeds in a heartbeat. How do you know which marketing tactics work?
This post is the first in a series of what e-commerce marketers need to know to stay on top of the ever-changing landscape. The first two topics are about relationship nurturing and content marketing.
The relationship you have with your customers is the number one priority for e-commerce. The better you understand what motivates them to purchase, the easier it becomes to know where else to invest in customer acquisition.
You need a strategy for reaching new customers and a plan for developing a relationship with your existing customers.
Prospecting: Make an Immediate Connection through Community
Prospecting for potential new customers has become targeted much like you see in B2B. What is slightly different is that your best option will be to connect with marketers who have successfully created community.
Look for marketers and content sites that cater to your specific demographic. For example, I market to moms with kids under age eight. They are eco-friendly, enjoy community and want to dress their kids in great-looking outfits without spending a fortune.
Consumers look to their peers for advice before making a purchase. There are a variety of online sites that cater to your demographic — and more importantly, a common psychographic — that gives you immediate credibility. Consumers are more likely to visit your site if they feel that connection of “Hey, you get me.” They have already self-selected and share a common interest. You just need to find the right message and invite them to check you out.
Customer Engagement: Keep Them Coming Back
If you are just getting started with email list managers, look at products like MailChimp and Constant Contact. It is worth spending time to create a template that has multiple click-through options so that you can trend what they are most interested in viewing.
For example, MailChimp has APIs for integrators (Salesforce, WuFoo, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that can help streamline campaigns. It will also allow you to set up different lists, create multiple templates and uses a simple scoring algorithm for each campaign and customer. (As you grow, you need to upgrade to a robust CRM system to fully nurture and score your email leads.)
Content Marketing vs. Traditional Media
Blogs and sponsored content are growing at spectacular rates, while readership in traditional media is declining. This is especially true for women and moms. The same is true for consumer electronics, sports and fashion. Why? Because they are viewed as trusted sources and have high influence on purchases. Consumers want to be part of communities that share common interests, and bloggers have a unique role here. Look at the stats:
- 81% of moms read 5+ blogs/week and 84% read authentic content about topics they care about.
- 91% of moms trust blogs as a source for product information prior to purchase.
- 83% of moms find blogger recommendations more authentic than traditional media.
Costs associated with blogger reviews and email campaigns do not cost less than digital advertising, but it allows you to roll up your sleeves and understand your ideal customer and what motivates them to purchase. While this requires a significant time commitment, the payoff is high. This approach also opens the door to social media marketing, merchandising and key metrics and analytics.
Stay tuned for more ideas on e-commerce tools and tactics in my next post.