Thursday, October 8, 2015

Survey Reveals Shoppers' Favored Holiday Promos

For online and multi-channel merchants planning their holiday shopping blitz, here's some guidance about what promotions are most likely to drive purchase decisions. Marketing Profs recently reported on the promotional preferences revealed in a survey of 1,000 holiday shoppers and 100 major retailers by commerce marketing platform Bronto and market research firm Ipsos. When it comes to online-only shopping, free shipping is a key draw, with 84% of holiday shoppers saying free shipping influences online purchase decisions and over a third (38%) saying they will not shop an e-commerce site that does not offer free shipping. Overall, including in-store sales, customers rate percent-discount promotions as the top inducement to buy (71%), followed by clearance sales (65%), buy-one-get-one (58%), dollar-off sales (52%) and free gift with purchase (47%). The interesting thing about the survey results is that merchants polled don't have the same promotional preferences; while 72% say they plan to use the percentage discounts popular with shoppers, only 38% plan to embrace BOGO sales, for example. And despite the importance of free shipping to online shoppers, only 18% of online-only merchants say they plan to offer it on all purchases; e-tailers prefer (41%) limiting free shipping to certain order values or times. Some holiday promos also differ in appeal according to consumer age. Limited-time "Flash Sales" appeal most to millennial shoppers (54% say they are more likely to buy) but decline as a purchase inducement with age, down to just 15% of those over 65. For more detail. see

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Getting the Most Out of E-mail Fundraising

The season of intense fundraising activity is beginning, and we assume most nonprofits will be investing in e-mail. After all, e-mail has the highest ROI (21%-23%) of direct marketing media in the latest Direct Marketing Association stats. Plus, e-mail delivers a third of online fundraising revenue at a time when online giving is outpacing overall fundraising growth. For nonprofits who want to get the most from their investment in e-mail, we're passing along some handy guidelines to success, with examples, from a recent business2community article share of a Constant Contact blog post. "The Anatomy of a Successful Fundraising E-mail" highlights must-haves: First comes a subject line that entices opens by using both accuracy about the nature of the appeal and enough intrigue to make the recipient want to read more. Once the e-mail is opened, fundraisers must offer content that earns action/clicks by concisely and clearly explaining the program promoted, the impact of giving, and how to help, including a clear and visible call-to-action, such as a brightly colored button. We would add personalization to that content list, too. And last is an appealing design that brands professionally, uses easy-to-read text, and includes a powerful image to inspire action. For examples that illustrate each of these points, see the article at

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Online Crystal Ball Sees Video, Mobile & Price Hikes

While many digital marketers are focused on the upcoming holiday frenzy, at least one online marketing guru is already looking ahead to next year's challenges. A recent Forbes magazine post by Jayson DeMers, an online marketing consultant, suggests preparing for these seven top online marketing trends in 2016: 1) videos will increase their ad dominance now that Google, already involved via YouTube, is adding video ads to search results for 2016; 2) watch for an explosion of dedicated apps that boost reach beyond mobile-optimized web pages; 3) the crowning of mobile as a digital marketing power is assured now that mobile traffic overtook Google's desktop traffic and Google unveiled its mobile-favored search algorithm; 4) look for a new kind of online optimizing to take advantage of popular digital assistants like Siri; 5) the launch of more virtual reality devices next year portends the arrival of a new advertising medium; 6) emergence of more wearable smart devices, in the footsteps of Apple Watch, will help wearable technology gain traction as a marketing application; 7) and now the bad news--expect a continued rise in online ad prices. DeMers' crystal ball may not be on target for all 2016 trends. Online marketers probably have time to prepare for VR, digital assistants and wearable technology, but failing to plan for the impact of video, mobile and pricing is less wise. For the full post, go to

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Why Do B2B Marketers Fail to Test Landing Pages?

We think of testing as a basic direct marketing tenet, yet a MarketingProfs survey published in September shows how remiss B2B marketers are when it comes to testing landing pages, an essential step in digital conversion success. Only 15% of respondents said they do extensive testing of landing pages (A/B, usability or multivariate), and 26% admitted to no testing of landing pages at all! The majority (59%) called their testing "limited." This lack of testing was despite the fact that respondents also said that A/B testing was the most effective method for optimizing landing page conversion rates. We perhaps understand low use of multivariate testing; it is rated as the most difficult tactic to execute by respondents. But what's the excuse for neglecting A/B testing? It was not only ranked most effective by 50% but also seen as one of the easiest methods to execute (only 14% rated it difficult)? A recent article in Marketing Land by columnist David Rodnitzky provides some common reasons online marketers give for skipping testing. Check to see if your marketing team is hiding behind one of these excuses: "We're at maximum efficiency," or "use it or lose it" budgeting pressures; "Our agency/marketing team can't be beat," or a bias in favor of existing assumptions/staff; and "We don't have time/budget," at least not enough to risk going outside what's already working. Rodnitzky shoots down each of these testing "fails," warning that "a complete lack of testing leads to decisions by HIPPO, 'the highest paid person’s opinion,'" When that person is influenced by bias and budget pressures, inefficient marketing results. "Don’t be a hippo, be a tester!" he urges. See his article:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Online Content Can Fall Through Generation Gaps

Online content marketing risks slipping through some surprise generation gaps, according to the latest study from Fractl and BuzzStream of digital content consumption by Millennial, Generation X and Baby Boom age cohorts. As reported recently by MarketingProfs, the study found that each generation's online consumption habits differ in terms of quantity consumed, timing, and device preferences. It turns out that online content viewing skews older, for example. Baby Boomers (those born 1946-1964) spend more time online than the younger generations; a quarter of Boomers say they spend 20 or more hours each week consuming online content, while the largest shares (22% each) of Gen Xers (born 1965-1976) and Millennials (born 1977-1995) spend only 5-10 hours per week with online content. Marketers may also want to think about online promotional timing: Boomers tend to consume online content during the work week, while more Millennials save online content viewing for weekends, and Gen Xers fall in between in terms of consumption timing. When it comes to devices, Boomers prefer to use a laptop (43%) or tablet (40%), while the younger Millennials tilt toward mobile devices as primary online viewing tools (25%). Indeed, of people using mobile devices as the primary way to view content, over half (52%) are Millennials. Marketers aiming for younger prospects better make mobile optimization of online content a priority. At least when it comes to content length, the generations agree: 300 words is ideal. For more details from the study, read the MarketingProfs article:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

'Choice' Is the New Magic Word for E-mail Opens

Putting the word "choice" or "choose" in an e-mail subject line can help a campaign generate 22% more revenue per e-mail and a 46% higher transaction rate on average, according to the latest analysis from Experian Marketing Services. As reported recently by a post for The Wall Street Journal's CMO Today blog, Experian data shows that a subject line such as "Choose your gift today" trumps even the personalization factor of putting the customer's first name in the subject line, which boosted open rates 20% on average. Why is appearing to offer a choice so important? The WSJ post quotes Spencer Kollas, Experian Marketing Services vice president of global deliverability services: "Marketers know that consumers are the ones in control of their relationship today. Consumers are responding to brands that explicitly given them that control." Today's e-mail campaigns definitely need to find some magic words for open rates in the increasingly crowded e-mail space. Experian data cited shows that while e-mail marketing campaigns rose 16% in the second quarter compared to a year earlier, unique open and click rates stagnated at 17% and 2% respectively. For the full post, go to

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Are You Maximizing E-mail's Lead Gen Potential?

With e-mail marketing generally rated as the most effective online tool for lead generation, a well-crafted e-mail strategy is a digital marketing priority. According to the latest business survey by Ascend2, 48% of respondents ranked e-mail as the most effective lead generator, outdistancing paid search or online advertising (23%), social media (26%) or search engine optimization (37%). So what can marketers do to optimize e-mail's great lead potential? Here are some ideas from a recent post for the HuffPost Business blog by business consultant Larry Alton. He cites the following five top tactics in the e-mail lead-gen arsenal: Collecting e-mail addresses via a high-value e-newsletter; triggered e-mails to automate lead nurturing and follow-up; segmentation by subscriber behavior to better tailor e-mail messaging for new signups, failed conversions or nonresponders; "gated" content to gather contact data in exchange for free but valued material; and sharability, including requests to forward, social sharing buttons and embedded pre-formatted tweets. For more details and examples, read