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Archive for the ‘Ecommerce’ Category

Why Selfishness Is the Key to Successful Marketing

July 9th, 2015 No comments

Philosophers [must] become kings … or those now called kings [must] … genuinely and adequately philosophize.” —Plato

Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director and CEO, MECLABS Institute, remarked about Plato’s quote in The Marketer as Philosopher — “One might substitute the term ‘marketer’ for the term ‘king.’”

In order to best communicate as marketers, we need to sometimes slow down and ask “why” we are doing the “what.” This includes considering the reasons for the various elements of brand collateral, images, calls-to-action and testimonials we insert onto our pages.

I recently came across a test that highlighted for me some of these challenges that marketers often face when balancing the “why” and the “what.”

That’s why in this post I want to show how we can use the MECLABS Conversion Heuristic to really drill down on these specific elements while giving you a process in which you can apply a methodology to creating and optimizing all of your marketing collateral.

 

MECLABS Conversion Heuristic

 

This heuristic is just that — a heuristic. This means it is simply a mental shorthand used to convey an idea or approach. This is not a mathematical equation and you cannot solve it. However, it does work similarly to an equation in the idea that the coefficient preceding the letters indicates that value’s level of importance.

Therefore, motivation, with a coefficient of four, is more important in the conversion than anxiety, which only has a coefficient of two.

With that being said, let’s start by evaluating the customer’s motivation on a page and how each element can cater to that motivation.

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The Baskerville Experiment: Font and its Influence on Our Perception of Truth

June 25th, 2015 No comments

“Can we separate the form of the writing from its content?” – Errol Morris

“Is it ever possible to understand the meaning of a work of art as separate from the way in which we receive it?” – Lynne Conner

Source: The Pentagram Papers, 44th Edition

 

In the spring of 1980, Academy Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris (“The Thin Blue Line,” “The Fog of War”) first encountered philosopher Saul Kripke’s seminal book, Naming and Necessity. After reading the book, Morris became fascinated with the theory that words and our interpretation of them are singular manifestations of all of the individual characteristics (seen and unseen) that comprise them.

More specifically, Morris was consumed with the idea that typeface itself might have an innate power to influence our fundamental perception of truth.

“Yes, we read the word ‘horse,’” Morris wrote, ”but we also see the letters, the typefaces, the shape of the word on the page. Is this not part of the meaning? Do we more readily accept (as true) sentences written in one typeface rather than another?”

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How to Recover from Failed A/B Testing

June 8th, 2015 No comments

Back in 2003, a little blue fish taught us to, “just keep swimming.”

Much like Dory, Ryan Hutchings, Director of Marketing, VacationRoost, taught us that even when we aren’t gaining the results we want, just keep testing.

Ryan was one of the presenters at MarketingSherpa MarketingExperiments Web Optimization Summit 2014, where he discussed his marketing experience at VacationRoost — an ecommerce vacation rental wholesaler. During his session, Ryan shared how he and his marketing team were able to:

  • Increase the company’s total conversion 12%
  • Run more than 50 tests in a year

These results were achieved by employing simultaneous tests for large and small projects. The tests Ryan utilized ran on two separate testing methodologies and allowed VacationRoost’s small marketing team to make the most of its resources.

Because VacationRoost is an aggregation of several smaller companies, the company currently has many different websites and Web properties it has to maintain. “For a marketer, it’s ideal because I have this whole entire playground to essentially do whatever I want with,” Ryan said.

However, not every test leads to overwhelmingly positive results. So what do you do when your costly testing is met with failure?

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Live from IRCE 2015: How to authentically build communities from the co-founder of Reddit

June 4th, 2015 No comments

Building brand communities is an important element for every brand, but it’s especially important for ecommerce brands that live solely on the Internet. How can you build a positive community around what you’re selling? The answer is simple: be authentic.

At the MarketingSherpa Media Center at IRCE 2015, Daniel Burstein, Director of Editorial Content, MarketingSherpa (sister company of MarketingExperiments), sat down with Alexis Ohanian, Executive Chair and Co-Founder, Reddit, to discuss the importance of building authentic brand conversations, how to respond to negative comments, content marketing and how all of this translates into value for companies.

As Alexis describes it, Reddit is a “social news site,” as well as one of the largest social media platforms currently in existence. The company also has an impressive brand following. Currently, Reddit has over 170 million unique views, 7.5 billion page views and nearly 10,000 active communities within the site itself.

According to Alexis, a major component of Reddit’s success is creating authentic discussions with consumers.

“In a world where consumers have more and more knowledge every day and more and more choice every day, that is the only way you will win,” he said.

Alexis shared the following tips on the importance of creating authentic brand communities.

Watch the whole interview here:

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Ecommerce: 2 tips I learned from a garage sale

September 15th, 2014 No comments

My father passed away unexpectedly five months ago. As if that wasn’t enough of a tragedy, the situation left my mother and me in a position we never imagined being in — she could lose her home. Quickly, I set up a GoFundMe page to prevent this.

Despite adversities and setbacks, my mother has a positive outlook and is moving forward. She decided to host a garage sale to help cover some costs. The first sale she held earned enough income to cover some costs and inspire hope.

You may ask, “Why is this guy starting off his MarketingExperiments Blog post with a personal story? What can readers learn about marketing from a life event?”

In helping with my mother’s second garage sale, I gained two key insights that I’ve been able to use as a MECLABS research analyst.

 

Prominence and Eye-path: A match made at checkout

Most of us are aware that prominence is crucial to the discovery of any product on any page.

This cannot be truer than when it came to a convection oven we sold at the garage sale. It was a relatively high-priced, chunky item that had been used twice. We knew it would not be an easy sell.

So we prominently displayed the appliance on one of the very first tables in front of our enclosure – front and center in the sale and near our checkout. It was within our customers’ eye-path as they browsed and made small talk.

Our magic worked when a customer noticed the item when he began speaking to us. It was one of the first items sold.

This lesson can be directly applied to your website. Whether it’s a beefed-up kitchen appliance in a garage or a newly released product on your website, the product needs to be easily found for it to convert.

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Ecommerce: How parent brands can reduce user friction and anxiety

July 28th, 2014 No comments

The MECLABS Conversion Heuristic is what we use when optimizing our Research Partners’ websites – and now for me as a research analyst, it’s become second nature to optimize every website I encounter.

I say this because truthfully, it’s one thing to simply memorize and understand a formula. But when you’re able to conceptualize and apply it, you own it.

For instance, I was recently window shopping on one of my favorite sites, HauteLook, a members-only ecommerce website that offers limited-time sales of leading brands in fashion, home décor, skincare, and occasionally, luxurious vacations.

I’ve shopped there countless times before, but this time my HauteLook experience was different, thanks to seeing the site from the perspective of an analyst.

 

Lightboxes are not a warm welcome

hautelook-homepage

 

When you get to the HauteLook homepage, you are immediately greeted by a mandatory registration squeeze before you can arrive to the “members only” section, where the sale events are displayed.

Right away, this form causes new users anxiety and potential frustration.

(Editor’s Note: MarketingExperiments defines friction as a psychological resistance to a given element in the sales or sign-up process. Anxiety is a psychological concern stimulated by a given element in the sales or sign-up process.) 

Here’s one problem with front-end registration: The visitor is not able to see what the website offers that might match their motivation to visit the site.

In short, what is the squeeze costing you in sales?

By not allowing a visitor to see what your website offers prior to asking them to join might cause them to exit prematurely because they don’t want to go through the trouble of signing up.

This leads me to my main point:

hautelook-signup

 

Ultimately, one word got me through the gate of anxiety the first time I was here – Nordstrom.

 

Use parent brands for surrogate credibility

In my example, you’ll see copy that identifies HauteLook as a Nordstrom company, which immediately alleviated my concerns and was the first thing to convince me to move forward with the registration.

Using an established brand as a third-party credibility indicator is a great way to help reduce customer anxiety.

Kudos to HauteLook for using an established and well-known brand to relieve anxiety and help increase the sign-up rate while also aiding visitors in making more informed decisions.

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