Author: Neil Patel

How Topic Clusters Are Revolutionizing the Future of Marketing

To survive in today’s competitive digital landscape, businesses need to focus on their content strategies now more than ever.

You need to understand how your target audience consumes content and figure out what they’re looking for. It’s not effective to produce random content at a high rate if it’s not valuable.

Everything you publish across all your distribution channels needs to benefit your audience, or it won’t be successful.

In addition to producing high quality content, you also want to make sure it’s SEO-friendly.

The key factor of your content production needs to be relevancy: 78% of consumers say relevant content increases their intent to buy.

Your content must be relevant to your brand and relevant to your audience while still appealing to Google.

Blindly producing content without a strategy won’t help you. You need to keep up with the latest trends and see how other brands approach content marketing and SEO.

Today, and in the future, marketers must have a content strategy compatible with the way people discover new content. Creating content that doesn’t drive results is expensive and inefficient.

That’s why you need to get familiar with topic clusters.

Surprisingly, many business owners and marketers I’ve spoken to recently don’t know anything about this. That was my inspiration for writing this guide.

This is the perfect opportunity for you to gain a competitive advantage.

You can learn how to implement topic clusters today and use this tactic moving forward before your competitors have a chance to catch on.

As a result, you’ll be able to produce high quality engaging content. This will help you improve your SEO strategy, drive more traffic to your site, and increase conversion rates.

I’ll explain everything you need to know about topic clusters and how they are revolutionizing the marketing industry.

What are topic clusters?

Before we proceed, let’s start with the basics.

You may have heard that topic clusters are the future of content marketing and SEO strategies, but that doesn’t explain what they are.

Truthfully, this isn’t a very complex topic. If you guessed what a topic cluster is just based on its name, you probably wouldn’t be far off.

The idea here is you want to create a deeper penetration of certain subjects relevant to your brand, audience, and search engines.

Start with one basic topic, then branch off to similar ones. You’ll create content about all of them, with the main area of focus as the nucleus.

Here’s a visual representation of a topic cluster template:

Clusters can be broken down into two segments.

The image above refers to them as core topics and subtopics. However, they are also commonly referred to as pillar content and cluster content.

Your pillar topics will be broad. The clusters will be more descriptive.

For example, let’s say your company sells workout supplements. You can create a topic cluster using “workout routines” as the pillar.

Clusters related to this pillar would be:

  • home workout routines
  • workout routines to build muscle
  • workout routines to lose weight
  • outdoor workout routines
  • bodyweight workout routines
  • workout routines with weights

Each cluster takes a keyword and transforms it into a long-tail keyword.

When you publish such content on your website, you’ll be able to generate lots of internal links, ultimately improving your SEO ranking.

The pillar will link to each cluster, and each cluster will link back to the pillar with internal hyperlinks.

Here’s another example of a topic cluster using “GDPR Compliance” as the pillar:

As you can see, each cluster includes the pillar.

All of these subtopics are more specific segments of the broad subject. That’s how your audience will search for topics online. These topic clusters will increase your site visibility in search engine results.

Optimize your website architecture

The application of your topic clusters will be related to your site architecture.

You need to make sure this structure is optimized for SEO purposes. Whether you realize it or not, how you design your architecture can determine whether your site is SEO-friendly or not.

You need to think about the user experience.

Make it as easy as possible for website visitors to navigate your site and find what they’re looking for in as few steps as possible.

If your site is structured properly, you won’t have as many bounce rates, and your dwell time will be improved as well. As a result, your search ranking will increase.

Let me show you what I mean.

If you Google Quick Sprout, here is how it appears in the search results:

Check out the section I highlighted above. These are called sitelinks.

Sitelinks are subpages of a website that appear in Google SERPs. This will help a user navigate to a more relevant portion of a site, directly from the search engine.

These sitelinks create fewer steps in the conversion funnel. Users can click one of these hyperlinks instead of having to navigate to your homepage first.

Sitelinks are great for SEO purposes. However, you can’t contact Google and choose which site links get displayed unless you’re running paid campaigns with Google AdWords.

For organic search results, Google’s algorithm decides what to display. Your site structure will have a major impact on this.

You need to establish a logical hierarchy of pages and links on your site. Topic clusters will drastically improve these efforts.

Let’s look at an example. Here’s a basic outline of the HubSpot’s website:

From its homepage, you can navigate to its blog.

Once you reach the blog, you can navigate to three different topics:

  • marketing
  • sales
  • agency

All the blog posts fall into those three categories. It’s a typical architecture with a hierarchy that makes sense, but it can be improved with topic clusters.

Now, let’s take a look at what this looks like with topic clusters:

This format follows the same template you saw earlier.

Each cluster has a pillar and related cluster content.

Now, when people search for long-tail keywords related to these subjects, the site’s content will be more likely seen as sitelinks in the SERPs.

Some of you may already have content published for your topic cluster strategy, but it’s not organized properly in terms of your site architecture.

You need to make the proper adjustments so that the flow follows the format of the second HubSpot image above as opposed to the first one.

Choosing the right topics

Now that you understand the basics, it’s time for you to start building topic clusters.

But before you can start producing content, you need to choose the right pillars that will drive results.

Where do you start?

Everything should begin with your target audience. Look at your current and prospective customers, and ask yourself questions such as:

  • What are these people looking for?
  • What problems do they have?
  • How does your business help solve those problems?

If you don’t already know the answers to these questions, it’s very helpful to start outlining a customer persona to give you a better understanding of your target audience.

If you need further assistance with this part of the process, I have a complete guide on how to develop a customer persona that improves conversion rates.

Another way to come up with topics is to analyze your existing content.

What have you already published that has the most engagement? Your site visitors are clearly interested in it the most.

To determine your top-performing content, look at metrics such as traffic, page views, etc. and see what has been shared the most by your audience.

You can also look at which pages on your site have the highest search ranking. Topic clusters can help improve those rankings even more.

I recommend making a list of at least five main topics to start with. Those pillars will be enough for you to produce tons of content once you branch off into clusters for each one.

Conduct keyword research

Now that you have your pillars established, it’s time for you to come up with clusters.

The best way for you to approach this is by conducting keyword research.

Don’t just guess what long-tail keywords are related to your pillars. Find out exactly what people are searching for.

Many different tools and resources can help you with this task.

Here’s an example of how you can conduct basic keyword research with Wordtracker, which is free to use:

Let’s say your business is in the financial industry. You reviewed your website and saw that content relating to bad credit had the highest performance metrics.

You plan to use “bad credit” as a pillar.

Once you enter that term into this tool, filter the search for SEO purposes and look at the results.

Everything on this list would be viable to use for your topic clusters:

  • credit cards for bad credit
  • bad credit loans
  • personal loans for bad credit
  • installment loans for bad credit
  • unsecured credit cards for bad credit

Don’t be afraid to create longer titles for your clusters.

Just look at the average keyword length distribution based on a study of over 1.4 billion keywords:

Over 64% of searches contain at least four keywords.

Producing topic clusters related to these keywords will not only improve your SEO ranking but also help ensure your traffic comes from qualified leads.

Create content based on these themes

Your keyword research is complete. Your pillars and subtopics have been defined for the clusters.

Now it’s time to create the supporting content.

You have many different options to choose from. I recommend using a diverse approach to creating highly relevant content.

Create landing pages that would be available in the learning center or resources section of your site. Something like this could be used as a hub for pillar content. You’ll use that to link to supporting clusters.

Write blog posts. Produce videos. Build infographics.

All of these will help you create more relevant content geared toward the specific needs of your target audience.

If you can’t do this effectively, your audience won’t find your content useful.

This will defeat the whole purpose of your strategy. That’s why I’ve emphasized the importance of high quality content throughout this post.

Build your pillar pages

Once all your content has been produced, it’s time to publish everything.

Start by building your pillar pages. This will be the main spot where you’ll link to the supporting clusters.

Take a look at this example from Typeform:

This landing page follows everything I talked about so far in terms of linking, keywords, site structure, and relevant content.

Brand awareness is the pillar.

Each topic cluster on the right side of the screen links to a more specific subtopic of brand awareness.

The landing page is very simple, which is perfect.

In fact, websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

Don’t feel you need to design a complex pillar page. A simple approach will be very effective.

Distribute your content

As you now know, your topic clusters will help SEO.

However, that doesn’t mean you should be publishing content without doing anything else with it.

You need to focus on your distribution strategy. You can approach it in several different ways:

You should be taking advantage of all three different types of media.

This will help you distribute your content effectively across multiple channels.

Conclusion

Digital marketing is constantly evolving. Your business needs to keep up with these changes if you want to be successful.

Looking toward the future, it’s important for you to start improving your SEO strategy today.

One of the best ways to do this is with topic clusters.

First, you need to find the most popular topics relevant to what your audience is searching for. Then, you need to conduct keyword research to determine your cluster subtopics.

After you produce and publish your content, you need to make sure your site architecture is formatted for SEO purposes and sitelinks.

Once this process is complete, distribute all your content across as many different channels as possible.

Topic clusters aren’t re-inventing content marketing, but they are revolutionizing the way marketers create new content.

What types of topic clusters is your business using to improve your content strategy?

11 Metrics Every Marketing Manager Needs to Track

How successful are your marketing campaigns?

Believe it or not, this seemingly simple question puzzles many marketers and business owners I work with.

You’re running ads, and customers are buying what you’re selling, so your marketing efforts must be working, right? Not necessarily.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying this means your strategies have failed. In fact, some of your campaigns may be working great. But you can’t make any assumptions.

The only way to know for sure whether your campaigns are working is to measure the results.

By tracking certain metrics, you’ll also be able to save some money. You don’t want to dump money into campaigns that aren’t working.

Here’s the problem. Sometimes it’s difficult to directly tie one promotion to a sale.

That’s why you need to track several metrics and infer based on the results.

This statement holds true for all marketers, regardless of your industry or the size of your business. It doesn’t matter if you’re running expensive campaigns or using tactics to market your company on a budget. You need to track the results.

As I’m sure you know, there are dozens of business metrics you could be tracking. But not all of these will benefit your marketing strategy.

That was my inspiration for this guide. I narrowed down the top 11 metrics every marketing manager needs to track to be successful.

Use this guide as a reference to measure the success of your marketing campaigns moving forward. Based on the results, you’ll be able to tell what’s working and which strategies need improvement.

1. Average order value

The average order value, or AOV, is one of the first things you need to prioritize as a marketing manager.

This metric will help you figure out how to get your existing customers to spend more money each time they shop. It’s arguably the most important number to track when trying to understand consumer spending habits.

The average order value formula is quite simple:

Just divide your total revenue by the total number of transactions.

You don’t need to look at it every day or after each campaign. AOV is a metric that you need to keep an eye on over time.

If it rises at certain times, you could potentially connect it to campaigns run during that time.

But if it falls, you’re obviously doing something you want to avoid. These issues need to be addressed.

In my consulting work, I see many businesses using only their number of transactions to gauge success. Is it great to make 100 sales in a day? It depends.

I’d rather make 50 sales for $2,500 than 100 sales for $1,000. Or even better, 100 sales for $6,000.

Do you see the difference? That’s where average order value comes into play.

You want to try to get as much money as possible from your existing customers. To do this, you’ll want to encourage them to add more items to their carts or buy other products of higher values.

Both of these will increase your AOV.

2. Customer lifetime value

The concept behind customer lifetime value is simple.

This metric will tell you the amount of money a customer will spend before leaving your business. Here is the formula to calculate it:

Customers who stay with your business for a long time become more profitable.

As a marketer, you need to make sure the lifetime value of your customers is as high as possible.

The best way to do this is by focusing on customer retention as opposed to customer acquisition, which I’ll talk about in greater detail shortly.

Yes, you want new customers. But it’s easier to market to people already familiar with your brand, products, and services.

Research shows that your existing customers will spend 67% more than new customers. This will also increase your average order value, which I just talked about.

Keep in mind customer lifetime value when thinking about your acquisition strategies as well. All too often I see businesses make the mistake of shying away from certain strategies because they don’t seem profitable.

But that’s only because they’re using the AOV to make this decision. If the AOV is less than the acquisition cost, they won’t use that acquisition strategy.

However, they’re not accounting for how much that customer will spend over time. That’s why this metric is so important to track.

Plus, you can also learn how to use lifetime value to create a Facebook audience that actually converts.

3. Sales conversions

This connects to a point I made earlier.

How can you tell if the number of sales you have each day, week, or month is sufficient?

To a certain extent, the number of transactions isn’t that important. What’s much more telling when measuring the success of your marketing efforts is your sales conversion rates.

To calculate this, divide the number of sales by the number of visitors to your website.

Here’s a look at the average sales conversion rates for ecommerce shops.

Based on this information, 3.3% is adequate. But who wants to be average?

By regularly tracking your sales conversion rate, you’ll be able to determine how much of your traffic is actually converting.

Having low conversions does not mean your marketing efforts are at fault. If people are navigating to your site at a high rate, something else could be preventing them from converting.

That’s when you need to analyze your web design. Websites with simple designs have higher conversion rates.

You’ll never get a 100% sales conversion rate. But you should always try to increase this number.

These people are already on your website. Sometimes they are just a click or two away from buying. It’s your job to make sure that happens.

4. Cart abandonment rates

Calculating cart abandonment rate is simple.

Divide the number of transactions by the number of carts created. You want this metric to be as low as possible.

As I just pointed out, when someone adds something to a shopping cart, they are only a step or two away from converting. You need to identify what stopped them from finalizing the purchase.

These are the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment during the checkout process:

Similar to sales conversions, your cart abandonment rate may not be a marketing issue.

There could be a problem with your site. But you don’t want to let your marketing efforts go to waste.

Change your promotions if you have to.

As you can see, high extra costs ranked first on the list of reasons for cart abandonment. Don’t charge your customers for shipping, and highlight that in your marketing campaigns.

You’re doing a great job of getting people to visit your site and add items to their carts. Now you just need them to convert.

5. Revenue by reference source

So, you’ve got lots of website traffic. But where is it coming from?

By tracking the revenue by referral source, you’ll be able to determine which channels are the most profitable for your business.

This is important for both B2C and B2B companies. Here’s a look at the top channels for leads and revenue on the B2B side:

You might be getting tons of traffic from one source, but if you’re not making money from those leads, you need to reevaluate your strategy.

On the flip side, maybe traffic from a certain source is not high, but the revenue from that channel is the highest.

You need to figure out how to get more traffic from your marketing channels yielding the highest revenue. At the same time, you must learn how to increase conversions and the AOV from your distribution channels resulting in the most traffic to your site.

6. Social media engagement

I’m sure social media is a huge part of your company’s marketing strategy, as it should be.

You’re posting content on all your social channels each day. That’s great. But how effective are those posts?

Again, the only way to find out is to measure the results.

These are the top metrics used to measure success on social media:

The information you get from tracking these metrics will be extremely beneficial to your marketing strategy.

You need to analyze the difference between your top performing content and the posts with lower engagement. Figure out why certain posts do better than others.

For example, you may find out your videos get more comments and shares than your photos.

Obviously, you’d want to run more video campaigns on social media once you know that.

7. Email open rates

Your email open rates should be easy to track. I doubt you’ll have to do any manual calculations for this metric.

Whichever software you’re using for email marketing should automatically do this for you.

That said, don’t just look at these numbers. Analyze them.

Are your open rates fluctuating? Do they stay consistent?

Find out what you need to do for your open rates to improve.

These are the top reasons why people open emails:

If your open rates are low, I recommend reading my guide on how to increase open rates with your subject lines.

You spend much time building your email list and segmenting your subscribers accordingly.

Then, you send various email campaigns to each group of subscribers. Don’t let those efforts go to waste.

Your message is useless if nobody reads it. That’s why you need to track your open rates for every campaign and compare those percentages over time.

8. CTA click-through rates

Customers can’t spend money unless they click on your CTA.

It’s necessary to track the click-through rates of all these buttons.

It doesn’t matter what landing page the button leads to or what channel it’s on, you have to track it. Your ads, emails, website, and social media campaigns will all have CTAs.

Compare these rates to each other. Which buttons have the highest CTR?

Based on these metrics, you can hypothesize which wording or types of offers people are more likely to click on.

Then, you can run A/B campaigns to check your theory: test CTAs’ wording, color, size, placement, etc. This strategy will give you the most optimal results for your CTA buttons.

9. Customer acquisition cost

Earlier, I briefly talked about customer acquisition when discussing customer lifetime value.

You need to know your acquisition cost, or you might run the risk of going broke. Here’s the simple formula for you to follow:

If your acquisition costs are too high, you’ll need to change your marketing strategy or potentially even raise your prices.

But a price increase could have its potential pitfalls as well.

Customer acquisition cost is crucial for all businesses, but it’s especially important for startup companies.

Those of you with a newer company know what it’s like to have to manage a tight budget. Simply put, if your acquisition costs get too high, you’ll run out of money before you have enough customers to give you a sustainable income.

That’s why investors always want to know your acquisition costs before they’ll consider giving you a dime.

Lower acquisition costs will result in a higher ROI for your marketing efforts and make it easier for your brand to grow exponentially over time.

10. Keywords that drive traffic

Marketing managers need to prioritize SEO.

You can’t just rely on traffic coming from your distribution channels and people navigating directly to your website. Your company needs to be visible and have a high ranking through organic search results as well.

That’s why you need to track metrics for keywords related to your brand. Then you’ll be able to use SEO tactics to drive ecommerce sales.

Find out which keywords are performing the best and which keywords are the most competitive. Once you start using these words and phrases, you’ll need to track the success of them as well.

This information will be useful for your on-page optimization efforts as well as your PPC campaigns.

You don’t want to pay for keywords that aren’t driving traffic and sales.

11. ROI of influencer campaigns

Influencer marketing is growing in popularity. If you haven’t tried this strategy yet, I highly recommend it.

But you need to approach this tactic like every other marketing campaign. If it’s not profitable, you need to abandon it.

Don’t just blindly throw money at influencers without knowing whether those efforts are working. Track the ROI of each campaign.

Take a look at how much businesses are spending on their influencer marketing programs:

Furthermore, 39% of marketers said they planned to increase their influencer marketing budget in 2018.

And 90% of these marketers say they use engagement metrics to determine the success of their influencer campaigns. I talked about the importance of tracking engagement earlier.

Basically, you need to find out whether the money spent on influencers is generating a return on your investment.

One of the best ways to do this is by giving each influencer a unique promo code. It will make it easier for you to track which influencers are driving the most sales.

You need to cut ties with influencers who aren’t profitable and continue working with the ones driving traffic and revenue to your site. But the only way to determine this is by tracking the ROI of each campaign.

Conclusion

Nobody said being a marketing manager would be easy. Anyone could just throw together a campaign and run it.

Successful businesses track metrics to ensure their marketing campaigns are profitable.

If you’re not doing this, you’re throwing away money.

If you haven’t been tracking metrics related to your marketing campaigns, it’s certainly not too late to start.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Start going through the list I’ve outlined above.

Some of these metrics will be specific to individual campaigns, while others should be tracked over time to help you identify patterns.

I’m confident your marketing efforts will improve and you’ll see higher profits once you start tracking these 11 metrics.

What metrics are you using to track the success of your marketing campaigns?

B2B Marketers’ AI Expectations 2018-19

Artificial intelligence has created a lot of buzz lately, and for good reasons.

Whether your company has adapted or not, this technology has already penetrated our world. Marketers are using AI to improve their businesses.

I know what some of you are thinking. Sure, some companies use AI, but you don’t need to yet, right? Wrong.

I see this mentality far too often when I’m working with business owners.

The reality is machine learning is reshaping marketing. Think about the marketing strategies you were using ten or even five years ago. I’m willing to bet they have changed over the years.

Well, those strategies will continue to change and evolve based on new technology. AI is the next big wave.

If you do some research on AI in marketing, you’ll see lots of information geared toward companies targeting mass consumer audiences. But what about the B2B industries?

AI is penetrating the B2B world as well. In fact, 80% of B2B marketing executives believe artificial intelligence will revolutionize the industry by 2020.

But this new technology comes with its fair share of challenges.

Even though the majority of these marketing executives know how much of an impact AI will have on their industries, only 26% of respondents say they are confident in their abilities to use AI for marketing.

That was my inspiration for this guide.

Artificial intelligence is a broad term with many different aspects. I’ve already shown you the marketing skills you need to survive in the age of AI.

Now, I’ll explain what B2B marketers are expecting from AI as we close out 2018 and enter 2019. You can find ways to leverage AI by applying the same strategies in your own business.

Anticipate prospective customers

Artificial intelligence makes it much easier for businesses to collect data.

As we continue through this guide, you’ll see multiple examples of how this information can be put to use.

With B2B marketing, it’s not always easy to find new customers. That’s because your target market is much more specific than that of most B2C companies.

Even if you’ve identified the types of businesses you want to target, you may not always be able to find them.

Plus, if you find a potential client, they may not be currently in the market for your products, services, or solutions. Maybe they already have existing relationships with another vendor they’re unwilling to break, or their budget could be too tight to afford what you’re offering.

I’m sure every phone call you make and every door you knock on doesn’t land you a customer overnight.

I am sure you can relate to this struggle as a B2B marketer. That’s where AI comes into play.

By using data to find patterns, AI software can help you create a predictive analysis model.

These predictions can help you anticipate prospective customers.

As a result, your marketing efforts will be much more efficient. Using these prediction models will increase your chances of getting a potential customer to convert because you’ll be aiming at qualified leads.

These are B2B consumers who have a need for what you’re offering and have the ability to pay for it as well.

If you want to take advantage of it, you should check out Zilliant. What separates Zilliant from other AI solutions is this software is specifically designed for B2B marketers.

Distinguish visitors from buyers

I’m sure you’re closely monitoring your website traffic. But you can’t assume that everyone who lands on your website is a customer or prospective customer.

AI will help you tell the difference between actual customers and people who are just visiting your site. You can target those people accordingly.

By anticipating prospective customers, which I previously discussed, you can tell whether a site visitor has buying potential or if they are navigating to your site for another reason.

AI software can monitor browsing behavior to tell you which category each unique visitor falls into.

If someone, who is not a B2B buyer, visits your site after finding you from an organic search, you don’t want to waste your marketing efforts targeting that person.

If you’re running banner ads on third-party sites by using cookies to target anyone who ever visited your site, those impressions are a waste of money if they’re seen by an irrelevant audience.

On the other hand, you can’t assume that those who didn’t convert on your website are not qualified leads.

Other factors could have prevented a visitor from converting. Take a look at the top pain points in the B2B ecommerce shopping process:

With artificial intelligence software monitoring browsing behaviors and patterns, you’ll be able to tell whether consumers with buying power are converting.

If you discover that only a low percentage of actual buyers are spending money, you could conclude certain changes need to be made on your website.

Clearly, the right people are finding your business and navigating to your site. Those are the people you want to target moving forward.

Increase ROI

I’m sure you’re all familiar with this old business expression:

“You’ve got to spend money to make money.”

Artificial intelligence software isn’t free. So yes, you’ll need to dig into your pockets if you want to leverage these strategies.

If you are looking to save some money, consider reviewing my top tactics for marketing your company on a budget.

How much will AI implementation cost you? It depends.

The price will vary based on factors such as the application, scope, and complexity. But some types of machine learning can cost upward of $100k to $300k.

You’ll be able to find solutions for less, but the bottom line is you’ll likely be paying a premium for this type of technology integration.

It should come as no surprise that 48% of business owners aren’t interested in marketing solutions driven by AI because of the high costs. This is the number one reason why marketers are hesitant to adapt.

But you need to look at the big picture here. Spending money now can help you save much more in the long run.

Here’s a look at the marketing applications with the highest profit potential from AI solutions:

Think about your current budget and expenses for these different categories and strategies.

How much are you spending on each one yearly?

If AI can help you reduce those costs by a significant percentage, the software will potentially pay for itself within just a few years or maybe even less.

After that, you’ll see a much higher ROI on these campaigns because the software you’re using will make it more efficient. I already gave some examples of this when I talked about targeting customers based on predictive analysis.

With the help of AI, IBM was able to reduce its average cost per click by 31%. In some instances, the cost reduction was as high as 71%.

Don’t be discouraged by the initial costs of AI implementation. Your B2B company will end up benefiting from a higher ROI in the long run.

Improve lead generation

Where are your leads coming from?

As I previously discussed, generating new leads isn’t always easy for B2B companies.

Some of your current lead generation strategies may not be working as well as you would like them to. You’re not alone.

Improving lead generation efforts is the number one goal for B2B marketers in the coming year:

If you fall into this category as well, you can expect AI solutions to improve your efforts.

As I said before, AI helps collect data and monitor habits.

The same way that Netflix recommends shows based on what you’ve already watched, AI can help recommend new leads. Or even better, it can help recommend your business to those leads.

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to create a customer profile for your B2B clientele. The more detailed you make this profile, the more accurate your leads will be.

For example, you’ll want to use the following parameters:

  • age of the company
  • industry
  • number of employees
  • location

The criteria for this B2B customer profile are essentially limitless. AI solutions will use these parameters to select potential leads out of a larger pool of candidates.

By pre-qualifying your leads, you will increase your chances of turning them into customers.

Enhance the buyer’s journey

Even though the majority of what I’ve talked about so far involves getting new customers, that’s not the only way B2B companies are using AI.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can help your company enhance the customer experience during each stage of the customer lifecycle:

As you can see from the graphic above, there are ways to implement this software throughout the entire buying process, including the post-conversion phase.

AI can help you reach customers by improving your content strategy.

Ad targeting, predictive analysis, re-targeting, and lead scoring can turn an indecisive consumer or a customer, who has only made one purchase, into a repeat customer.

Artificial intelligence can also help you implement a dynamic pricing model. You can generate more profits by focusing on your pricing strategy.

By improving your personalization tactics, AI can turn a repeat customer into a loyal customer, but I’ll discuss that in greater detail shortly.

Chatbots will help enhance the customer buying process. They can easily get their questions answered when browsing online.

And marketing automation will keep loyal customers buying and spending more money while knowing when and how to target lapsed customers.

More accurate personalized campaigns

As I just said, AI can help improve personalization throughout each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Are you currently running personalized campaigns? You should be.

Studies show 68% of B2B marketers are personalizing their content:

Artificial intelligence will streamline this process and make it much easier for you to appeal to current and prospective customers. Here’s what I mean.

Let’s use your email marketing strategy as an example.

Right now, you’re probably segmenting your clients based on different factors such as location, industry, and size of the company. This is a great start and will definitely give you better results than non-personalized campaigns.

But you can take this process one step further with AI.

By monitoring the browsing behavior of the clients on your email list, you can send them enhanced personalized content that fits their needs.

Just segmenting your clients into lists based on factors such as geographic location won’t tell you who is browsing for products and services valued at $50,000 compared to $5,000. AI solutions can help you tell these customers apart so they can be targeted accordingly.

Artificial intelligence can personalize the web browsing as well as mobile app usage experience of your customers.

Generate high profits from top accounts

As I just finished explaining, you can use AI to help you identify the difference between customers based on how much they spend.

Every customer is important, but, obviously, you can’t treat a customer who spends $200k annually the same as a customer who spends $3,000.

This is crucial for your profit margins. Prioritizing your top accounts is one of the best ways to increase revenue without acquiring new customers.

In fact, 60% of B2B marketers say gaining better insights from client accounts is the top benefit of using AI for marketing.

To get higher profits from your top spending customers, AI can help you improve your account-based marketing funnel:

As you can see from this image, that funnel differs from a traditional lead generation funnel.

I already explained how AI can help you identify those high-value accounts. But this technology can assist you with the other stages of the funnel as well.

You’ll use personalization tactics, previously covered, to nurture and engage with those clients.

By enhancing the buyer’s journey with AI, you will make it easier for yourself to get those customers to continue converting and spending more money. As a result, you’ll establish long-term relationships with those top accounts.

Conclusion

It’s no secret marketers are leveraging artificial intelligence to improve their businesses. This statement holds true for B2B companies as well.

As a B2B marketer, you need to recognize this and adapt accordingly.

AI can help you identify prospective customers and distinguish between buyers and website visitors.

It will improve your lead generation strategy and increase the ROI of your marketing campaigns.

Artificial intelligence will improve the buyer’s journey throughout each stage of the customer lifecycle. Ultimately, this will give your B2B clients a more personalized shopping experience.

Eventually, you can leverage AI to increase the profits from your top customers.

If you are not using AI, it’s not too late to jump on board. Even if you’re already using this technology to some extent, you can use this guide to help you take your strategies to the next level.

What expectations does your B2B company have for artificial intelligence in the coming year?

How to Grow Your YouTube Channel with These 12 Tools

When people talk about social media, the first networks that come to mind are usually Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

While YouTube may not be your first thought, it needs to become a priority for you moving forward.

Whether you’re a business, Internet personality, or social influencer, your YouTube channel will help you increase sales with video content.

Behind only Google, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. More than one billion people visit the platform every month.

The amount of content on YouTube is astonishing.

Today, 100 hours of video get uploaded to YouTube every minute.

More content has been uploaded to this platform in 60 days than the three major US networks created in 60 years.

If you want to learn how to run a successful video blog, you need to be active on YouTube.

But your YouTube channel is only as good as the number of subscribers, traffic, and views you get on your videos. You could be producing the best video content in the world, but it’s useless if nobody watches it.

I love YouTube because it’s a great way to repurpose content.

After I upload content to my YouTube channel, I share it on my website, blog posts, and social media platforms.

If you’re struggling to grow your YouTube channel, it’s probably because you’re not using anything to help you create better content. While the YouTube platform in itself is useful, there are other tools you can use that will enhance your content and make it easier for you to manage your page.

That was my inspiration for this post. I’ll show you the top 12 tools you need to grow your YouTube channel. Let’s dive in.

1. TubeBuddy

I like this tool because it’s a free browser extension as opposed to software you need to download and launch separately each time you want to take advantage of its features.

TubeBuddy automatically integrates with YouTube and assists you with managing your channel.

It allows you to run tests that will improve the performance of your content.

You can test:

  • tags
  • titles
  • thumbnails
  • descriptions

The tool helps you figure out which ones work the best for the exposure and growth of your channel.

Another top benefit of TubeBuddy is the scheduling feature. You can determine when you want uploaded videos to get published in the future.

The scheduling tool works both ways. You can also set a specific time and date for a video to be removed from certain playlists on the channel without having to do it manually.

TubeBuddy tracks your rankings and compares your analytics to those of your competition on YouTube as well as in Google searches.

This extension lets you update videos in bulk. It’s a great option if you have hundreds of videos and want to update all the descriptions simultaneously.

If you’re planning to promote one of your videos in the description of all your other videos, consider this tool.

You can also improve your thumbnail creation process with TubeBuddy.

Plus, it has options for all different types of YouTube users:

  • creators
  • brands
  • agencies
  • networks

No matter which category you fall in, TubeBuddy will have you covered.

This extension makes it easier for you to reach your YouTube subscribers on other social media channels. It’s truly an all-in-one tool.

2. Social Blade

Social Blade is another top option for you to consider. I like it because it tracks different statistics on YouTube, Instagram, Twitch, and Twitter.

It’s useful for effectively improving your social media marketing strategy.

Track your own statistics, or look up your competitors. Here’s a look at some basic analytics from my YouTube channel on the Social Blade platform:

As you can see, it shows my subscribers, video views, and estimated earnings by date.

That just barely scratches the surface of what this tool offers.

You can compare up to three channels simultaneously. This will give you a great indication of how you stack up against competing channels.

Social Blade also has a feature that determines whether YouTube creators belong to management agencies or multi-channel networks.

Use this information to determine how other people are monetizing their accounts.

This tool offers tutorials for both beginners and long-time YouTube creators. You can also take advantage of their consulting services to help your channel grow.

3. YouTube Studio

YouTube Studio is the official YouTube app for creators.

It’s a must-have tool for managing your channel from mobile devices on the go, which is necessary for anyone who takes their channel seriously.

You shouldn’t need to find a computer every time you want to handle something on your page, especially if it’s time sensitive.

YouTube Studio allows you to monitor the performance of your channel with analytics in real time. You can respond to comments and filter them.

Receive push notifications directly to your mobile devices with alerts for important events.

You can control your monetization settings, thumbnails, scheduling, and other details directly from the app. This tool allows you to update your channel from anywhere.

4. Woobox

If you want to promote your YouTube content on other channels, which I highly recommend, Woobox is the ultimate tool for you.

As I said before, social media is a great place to repurpose your video content. It’s a strategy I use personally.

Woobox lets you set up all your YouTube videos on a Facebook tab.

Now your Facebook friends and fans can scroll through and view your YouTube content directly from Facebook. They can do this without being redirected to another page.

Choose a featured video to be the first thing your audience sees when they navigate to this tab.

Woobox is a great way for you to get more subscribers. Eventually, you’ll be able to convert your social media followers into customers.

People may not be navigating to your YouTube channel daily. But there’s a good chance they’re active on Facebook.

Now you can expose your content to a wider audience without having to rely on them visiting YouTube to watch your videos.

5. Bitly

Again, you want to promote your content on as many marketing channels as possible.

To do this effectively, you’ll need to post links to your YouTube channel and YouTube videos. But sometimes, these links can be long, messy, and unappealing.

That’s why I recommend using Bitly to shorten your links:

This will help you keep your descriptions neat and tidy.

Bitly is great because it’s not limited to just YouTube content. You can use this tool to shorten any link you’re promoting.

I also recommend using it if you have long links because you are tracking your leads with UTM parameters.

6. Pixlr

Thumbnails help get the attention of users on YouTube.

The right thumbnail can help you get more clicks and views on your content. Pixlr makes it easy for you to create high performing thumbnails.

This tool is also great for including images into any video content.

Pixlr allows you to add layers and effects to any image.

This software offers tons of photo editing options. It can help you with any of your visual content needs outside of YouTube as well.

Plus, they have a web app and mobile app. It’s easy to edit and upload content no matter what device you’re using.

7. Tubular Insights

Formally known as ReelSEO, Tubular Insights keeps you up to date with the latest trends, tips, and analysis for your video marketing strategy.

Experts offer advice and guides on this network to help marketers producing video content.

Tubular Insights tracks all video content from all devices and platforms from across the globe. Then, it breaks down these videos by trends.

Use this information to create timely and relevant to your audience videos.

Here, you’ll find great blog posts about all topics related to YouTube. There are even extremely easy to follow how-to guides.

You can search for top YouTube creators and learn from their success stories.

8. Keyword Tool

As the name implies, Keyword Tool gives you suggestions for YouTube keywords.

You can use these keywords in your titles, tags, and descriptions.

The great part about Keyword Tool is it offers long-tail keyword suggestions as well.

Just as you optimize your site for search engines, you need to optimize your YouTube channel for search.

In addition to YouTube, Keyword Tool can help you generate relevant keywords for Google, Amazon, Bing, and other search engines. You’ll benefit from a higher ranking and more traffic to all your channels.

Select the country you’re targeting to improve your reach.

As I said before, creating a great video isn’t enough. You need people to see your content, or it won’t be effective.

You want to make sure your videos can be found through organic searches. That’s why you should use Keyword Tool.

9. Camtasia

Camtasia is a screen recording tool and video editor.

Screen recordings are a great way to enhance your content.

Lots of times, you’ll be explaining how to do something on your computer.

But you don’t want to record your screen with a camera or smartphone. It’s not efficient and looks unprofessional. You’ll likely have a glare on the screen as well.

Plus, if you’re just explaining how to do something without showing people, it will be extremely difficult for them to follow your instructions.

Camtasia is my favorite tool for screen recordings.

After you record your screen, you can mark up the videos, make edits, and add effects. It’s ideal for anyone creating video tutorials because you can record the movement of your mouse and show keystrokes as well.

Add notes and other annotations such as highlights, arrows, and captions for people watching your videos without sound.

A voice narration feature allows you to record yourself speaking during or after you record the screen. Camtasia has other audio effects and even has an option to add music.

It’s great for showcasing presentations and slideshows via YouTube.

This tool also has a green screen function, animations, and interactivity features such as quizzes. Overall, it’s something you should have in your arsenal of your YouTube tools.

10. vidIQ

I like vidIQ because it’s another way to monitor and track your YouTube audience analytics.

Find out exactly who is watching your content. Then, you can create videos that appeal to that audience. Market to their needs accordingly.

With vidIQ, you can get detailed reports to improve your YouTube channel.

The platform also offers SEO tools.

In addition, you can identify influencers, manage comments, and run a competitive comparison against other channels.

Use the vidIQ free Google Chrome extension. The extension allows you to see the top keywords and tags used by other channels.

Monitor keyword scores, views, and other search term metrics all from one place.

You can also track your engagement metrics on both YouTube and Facebook with the vidIQ tool.

11. Creator Academy

Creator Academy is a resource offered by YouTube.

You can find courses and tutorials that explain everything you need to know about how to do things on YouTube.

While you can filter these by category and skill level, I highly recommend this if you are a beginner at managing a YouTube channel.

This is a chance for you to learn the basics, e.g., how to upload, edit, and shoot content for your channel. Learn the top tips and tricks to make your life easier.

Creator Academy also explains how to monetize your YouTube channel.

12. Hootsuite

Last, but certainly not least, is Hootsuite:

Some of you may be familiar with Hootsuite since it offers tons of tools to help manage your social media marketing strategy.

In fact, it also made the list of my favorite time-saving social media marketing tools.

It has a specific feature for managing your YouTube channel. Schedule video uploads from YouTube to your other social networks directly from the platform.

Hootsuite also makes it easy for you to work with your team on improving YouTube content.

Assign tasks to your employees. You won’t need to give your YouTube passwords or account information to anyone. You can have separate logins on the Hootsuite platform.

Like some of the other tools on my list, Hootsuite will track your engagement metrics.

It generates reports that help you determine what you need to improve and what you should keep doing.

Its mobile app allows you to take advantage of all these features from your smartphone and tablet. It’s another way to manage your YouTube channel on the go.

Conclusion

If you’re just uploading videos to YouTube without any reason or strategy, your channel won’t be a big hit.

But those of you ready to take your video marketing strategy to the next level and grow your YouTube channel will need to take advantage of tools to reach your goals.

The list above has tools for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a marketer, influencer, Internet personality, or an agency team member.

These tools will make your content better.

In addition to improving the videos you upload, tools on this list will help you manage the way your content gets distributed.

Share your videos on social media. Make sure the titles, tags, and descriptions are optimized for organic searches.

You don’t need to use all these tools tomorrow, but over time, I recommend incorporating them into your YouTube growth strategy.

What tools are you using to grow your YouTube channel?

How to Repurpose Your Content Across Multiple Marketing Platforms

Quality content takes time and effort to produce. I am sure you know this if you regularly publish content on all your distribution channels.

But many brands lose quality in pursuit of higher quantities of content.

While I agree that quantity is important as well, your quality can’t suffer as a result of this strategy. You need to learn how to avoid stale content.

I work with many businesses that run into this problem. They want to publish at least one piece of content a day on all their distribution channels.

Among their websites, blogs, and social media pages, it’s a lot of content. Before you know it, that’s upward of 30 posts per week across these platforms.

However, that doesn’t mean you need to come up with 30 unique pieces of content. This approach will take too long and ultimately hurt your quality.

That’s why you need to learn how to effectively repurpose your content across multiple marketing platforms.

First, you need to learn the top ways to come up with new content ideas.

Once you have an idea, you can turn it into multiple posts on each channel. In fact, sometimes you won’t even need to come up with a new idea. You can use old content to your advantage here as well.

Worker smarter, not harder.

As we continue through this guide, I’ll explain how you can repurpose your content across all your distribution channels and give you some ideas to try.

Identify your most popular content

Before you spend time producing new content, I recommend re-using older publications and posts.

After all, you already spent time working on these. Why let them go to waste?

But don’t just use any content. Start with your most popular pieces.

Identify your content with the highest engagement rates. Look for:

  • Facebook likes
  • retweets
  • posts with the most page views
  • email newsletters with the highest click-through rates

If you’re struggling to find what you need, try using Buzzsumo to see which content had the highest engagement on social media. Here’s what the content analyzer tool found when I put quicksprout.com into it:

It shows me which posts from the past year were the most popular. But you can filter the time based on your needs.

In addition to Buzzsumo, you can use Google Analytics to see which pages on your website are the most popular.

After you analyze your content with these tools, make a list of your top performing publications and posts.

This will be your starting point. You’ll use this list to repurpose content.

For example, if you had a high performing blog post, you can turn it into a YouTube video. You could use a Facebook post with the highest number of likes on your Instagram story.

The ideas are seemingly endless. As we continue, I’ll give you some more examples of how you can proceed.

Build custom infographics

Going through your old posts, you want to find ways to repurpose them for even more engagement.

Here’s what I mean.

If you take an email newsletter that had the highest number of opens, click-throughs, and conversions and turn it into a blog post, the idea is that the blog post will be high-performing as well.

Otherwise, what’s the point? You don’t want to publish content just for the sake of publishing.

Your content needs to be actionable and drive engagement.

That’s why infographics are ideal for this strategy. Infographics are the most shared types of content across social platforms:

People are visual learners.

The graph above is a perfect example of that. Sure, I can tell you infographics get shared the most. But when I show you, it really sinks in and makes it easier for you to process.

Scan through all your top performing posts you identified earlier. Look for facts, statistics, or anything else that could be turned into a visual representation of the concept.

If you have never built an infographic before, don’t be intimidated. It’s not that difficult.

Refer to my post on how to enhance your content by building infographics for a list of tools that will make this process easy for you.

Once you create these infographics, you’ll have many options.

The same infographic can be used in different ways. You can:

  • add it to the original blog post, which can be republished
  • share it on social media
  • add it to your email newsletter
  • place it on your website
  • use it in a video slideshow

The list goes on and on.

Leverage your social media platforms

Your social media profiles have lots of benefits. They expose your brand to a wider audience and help you engage with your followers and customers alike.

Posting content on social media also helps you drive traffic to your website.

Anything you create gives you an excuse to post on social media.

If you haven’t been doing this, you need to do so moving forward. All your videos, infographics, and pictures are a must.

Social media is the number one way for publishers to drive traffic to their blog posts:

If you look at my Facebook page and my Twitter profile, you’ll see I use this strategy for all my blog posts.

It’s easy. Plus, it gives you an excuse to post something every day.

I’m shocked whenever I see businesses not using this tactic. They publish three or four blogs per week but struggle to come up with social media posts.

When you implement this strategy, plan your posts accordingly.

For example, there’s no reason to share the same blog post on all your social platforms simultaneously.

Spread out those promotions throughout the week. This will maximize your exposure and increase the chances of driving more traffic to your site.

Create more evergreen content

You can’t repurpose old content forever. At some point, you’ll need to create new pieces.

But you can make repurposing easier by creating evergreen content.

Are you familiar with this concept? Allow me to explain.

Simply put, evergreen content stays relevant for longer periods of time than regular content. Ideally, the majority of your content will be evergreen.

But it’s not realistic or likely that this will be the case for everything you create.

For example, last year, I wrote a post on top marketing trends to look for in 2018. Once 2019 comes, this post will lose its freshness.

When you write your evergreen content, you want to be as broad as possible. This post was fresh for an entire year. That wouldn’t be the case if it was the top trends to look for in January 2018. Do you see the difference?

Extremely specific content will only be relevant for a short period of time. Therefore, it’s more difficult for you to repurpose it.

Here’s another example. If you write a post about the Apple’s latest iOS update, it’s fresh only until a new version of the software is released. That’s not evergreen.

Here are some tips to help you find an evergreen topic:

FAQ sheets are great for evergreen content.

Produce how-to guides or videos on topics that won’t be changing for years.

Clarify industry terms and concepts.

Again, I’m not saying you should be producing only evergreen content. That’s not realistic.

But if you publish an evergreen topic tomorrow, you could potentially repurpose it on another platform next year. That’s the idea.

Find the most interesting statistics you published

If you’re like me, you use statistics in your content all the time. Stats are a great way to back up any claims you’re making.

I recommend doing this because it proves your legitimacy and lets your audience know you’re not making things up.

But if you’re not repurposing content, those statistics get buried in your posts after they are published, never to be seen again.

Go back, and find the most interesting ones. In the future, keep a list of all statistics when you find them.

Then you can use them on other platforms.

Earlier, I talked about creating infographics. But that’s not the only way you can repurpose data.

Tweet a statistic. Use them in your Instagram captions. Include a stat in your email subject line. Post the most relevant ones on your website.

Get creative with this strategy.

Start a podcast

Podcasts are another great way to repurpose your content.

That’s because you have many different resources to work with there. All your blog posts and YouTube videos are viable options for a podcast.

You can summarize this content, nearly word for word, with your podcasts.

Since podcasts are growing in popularity, it’s a great way to reach an audience that doesn’t want to read blog posts or watch videos:

Consider bringing a guest on your podcast to make things more interesting.

Have some fun with it. I try to keep this in mind with all my podcasts.

Fine-tune your writing skills

If you’ve got lots of audio, video, and visual content, you need to learn how to turn that into written content.

Start blogging more often. Write every day if you can.

It’s like anything else. The more you do something, the better you’ll get at it.

I wasn’t born a great blogger. It’s a learned skill.

Are some people better writers than others? Absolutely.

If you can’t find the time to write or can’t figure out how to write quality content, find someone on your team who can handle these responsibilities.

Once you’re able to write better, you can write a blog post about one of your YouTube videos, for example.

Keep things simple. Make your content easy for people to read and understand.

These are just some examples of things you can turn into written content:

  • webinars
  • podcasts
  • speeches from industry events
  • interviews

Encourage user-generated content

Your content isn’t the only type you can repurpose.

If you can find creative ways to encourage user-generated content, it will be easy for you to use this to your advantage as well.

Then all you have to do is sort through that user content and find the best pieces to repurpose for your needs.

Here’s an example of how GoPro encourages UGC on its website:

As you can see, it offers an incentive for people to submit their own content.

GoPro is giving away a million dollars, split between anyone who submits content that the company uses in a promotional video.

This saves the team a ton of time.

Instead of going out to different locations all over the world to shoot videos on their latest camera model, they put their customers to work instead.

Plus, they’ll be able to get way more footage this way as opposed to trying to do this on their own.

Once the videos are submitted, GoPro can repurpose them in a bunch of different ways. They can be used for advertisements, social media posts, YouTube videos, website content, and they can even be embedded in emails.

Come up with a similar strategy, and encourage your customers to submit pictures and videos.

I recommend using social media as a distribution platform for your UGC campaigns.

You can also find UGC without asking for it.

Sift through your comments.

Look at the comments on your social media pages and blog posts to see which ones can be repurposed.

If you notice similar comments or questions, use them to create an FAQ page.

Find your strongest introductions

Sometimes, all you need to do is repurpose a portion of your previously published content.

If you want to repurpose a short form of written content, I recommend using your post introductions.

If you need help with this, learn how to write blog post introductions that make the rest of your post irresistible.

Once you identified these top introductions, it’s easy to repurpose them.

Use an introduction from a blog post in an email newsletter. Use the same text in a YouTube video description.

Preview your introductions on social media. Here’s an example of how Conversion XL uses this strategy:

This also connects to one of my previous topics about leveraging your social media platforms.

Rather than posting a link with a CTA such as “check out my latest blog post,” consider using this strategy instead.

The text associated with the link would be the opening lines of the blog post introduction.

Conclusion

You don’t need to create new content every time you want to publish something new.

There are ways for you to use your existing content to your advantage. Just repurpose the work you’ve already done across all your distribution channels.

Start by identifying your best content. You’ll want to use that to increase your engagement metrics.

Build infographics. Share statistics. Post everything on social media.

Moving forward, create as much evergreen content as possible. This will make it easier for you to repurpose your content in the future.

Turn blog posts into podcasts. Use videos and other audio files to create posts.

Encourage user-generated content so you can repurpose it.

As you implement these strategies, you’ll realize you’re currently sitting on enough content to last you for months to come, as long as you can repurpose it effectively.

Use this guide as a reference to steer you in the right direction.

What type of content is your business repurposing on your distribution channels?

How to Use the 2018 Holiday Season to Drive Sales

With the holiday season quickly approaching, your business needs to take steps to prepare for a potential surge in sales.

But you can’t assume people will buy from your brand during the holidays if you sit back and do nothing. The brands able to recognize the latest marketing trends will have success in the coming months.

Consumers are willing and able to spend money during the holidays. It’s a fact.

How you prepare and position yourself will determine how much of the market share your company will control.

Even though the ecommerce industry is a competitive space, there is plenty of money to go around.

In fact, experts predict ecommerce sales to increase by 17-22% during the 2018 holiday season. November 1st to January 31st is considered the holiday season.

I know what some of you are thinking. There are holidays throughout the entire year. What makes the ones during those dates so special?

Research shows consumers say they will spend nearly $800 during the winter holidays:

On average, they spend more money during the winter holidays than during all the other top-spending holidays combined.

It’s the season of giving, and it’s usually a happy time of year. People are feeling generous when buying gifts for their friends and family.

However, the holiday season can be stressful. The weather starts to get colder. Stores get busier. Consumers feel overwhelmed with the length of their to-do lists.

As a marketer, you need to make the buying process as easy as possible for the customer.

With your ecommerce platform, there is no reason for people to fight the crowds at their local shopping malls. They can buy holiday gifts from the comfort of their homes.

I’ll explain how you can use this situation to your advantage and benefit from a major boost in ecommerce sales during the 2018 holiday season.

Don’t wait to start your promotions

When is it appropriate to start running holiday ads?

Right now.

You need to learn how to build hype for the holiday season as an ecommerce brand.

This is your chance to let people know what to expect. Tell them what type of sales you’ll be running or whether you’re planning to release a new product around that time.

They may not necessarily buy something the first time they see your holiday ad, but be persistent. Continue running promotions on all your distribution channels.

When consumers are ready to buy, your business will be on their minds.

All too often I see ecommerce brands hesitant to start these promotions early. They think it’s a waste of money because people don’t start shopping until late November at the earliest.

But that’s not the case. Research shows that only 27% of consumers don’t purchase any gifts before Thanksgiving:

This means that more than 70% of people have done at least some holiday shopping before Thanksgiving.

It’s not unreasonable for a customer to buy gifts during the first week of November.

The earlier you can start your holiday promotions, the greater chance you’ll have of driving more ecommerce sales.

Recognize the most popular shopping days

As you can see, there is a surge in ecommerce sales between November and January. But some days are more popular than others during that time.

Over the past five years, Cyber Monday and Black Friday have consistently been the most popular days for holiday shoppers:

We’ve all seen those crazy Black Friday videos every year. Hundreds of customers running into stores, trampling on anything and anyone who gets in their way.

Six people fist-fighting over the last TV in the store. It’s madness.

Why does this happen? It’s because everyone loves to get a deal.

As an ecommerce brand, you need to run ads promoting ways customers can save money by shopping online. They don’t need to deal with that mayhem to get a bargain.

Here’s another strategy you can consider. There’s no need for you to wait till Cyber Monday to slash your prices.

Since so many people are shopping during those two days, your brand could get lost in the shuffle.

To stand out, create your own brand holiday that same week.

Send out email reminders, post on social media, and update your website. Then your customers will know they can get great deals on the Tuesday or Wednesday before or after Cyber Monday.

If you implement this strategy, you should still continue to run deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

The last thing you want to do is let your competitors steal your customers during the two most popular shopping days of the year.

Put emphasis on your return policy

Obviously, you don’t want to deal with returns. However, your return policy is important to your customers.

This is especially true during the holiday season. When people buy gifts, they don’t know whether the recipient will like what they get.

What if they already have one? What if the size is wrong?

That’s probably why holiday ecommerce return rates are so high.

Customers are more than three times as likely to return a holiday ecommerce purchase than a standard brick and mortar purchase.

Ecommerce return rates are 10% higher during the holidays than the rest of the year.

Furthermore, 80% of consumers expect free returns. However, only 25% of retailers have a free return policy.

This is your chance to differentiate yourself from the competition. Offer free returns.

We know that 83% of customers read return policies before buying something, so make sure this information is easy to find on your website.

Here’s something else you should keep in mind: 72% of consumers are willing to shop more frequently and spend more money with businesses offering easy returns.

If you make this process simple, you can boost revenue by optimizing the customer experience.

Consider extending the length of your return deadlines, especially during the holiday season. Here’s why.

Even if your company has a 30-day return policy with no questions asked, it still may not be good enough. What if someone buys a gift for Christmas in early November?

The return policy could be invalid before the recipient even opens their gift.

Take all of this into consideration when you’re creating your return policy. Advertise how easy it is for customers to return gifts without any hassle.

Don’t charge for shipping

In addition to offering free returns, you should offer free shipping as well.

I already discussed how much money people plan to spend during the holidays. They’ll do whatever they can to save money when they have the chance.

If they are torn between buying something from two different brands, they’ll ultimately decide to go with the company that will ship their items free.

Don’t underestimate the importance of this. Free shipping was cited by consumers as the most important option when buying online:

The reason why businesses don’t offer free shipping is because they don’t want the cost to come out of their pockets, which is understandable.

To offset the shipping cost, just raise the prices of your products.

Your customers won’t know the difference. They’re still paying for the advertised price and can benefit from free shipping.

Here’s an analogy.

Have you ever stayed at a hotel offering free breakfast?

Obviously, that breakfast isn’t free. Its cost was included in your nightly rate.

The same concept can be applied to free shipping.

Offer rewards for customer loyalty

The holiday season shouldn’t be a time for you to start focusing on customer acquisition.

Would you be happy with getting new customers? Absolutely.

But that doesn’t mean you should be marketing to a new audience. Instead, focus on generating sales from your existing customers.

These people already know who you are and what you stand for. They’re familiar with your products and don’t need any introduction.

You can increase sales by implementing a customer loyalty program. You can use this strategy all year.

Research indicates 82% of consumers are more likely to buy from brands offering loyalty programs.

If you have these programs in place, make sure you remind your loyal customers they can save money with their rewards during the holidays.

As I said before, people are spending a ton of money during this season, so they’ll gladly look for any way to save a few bucks whenever possible.

During the holidays, 86% of consumers will stay loyal to businesses that have rewards programs:

Furthermore, 90% of shoppers say they plan to take advantage of rewards programs during the holiday season.

And 50% of consumers plan to use those rewards to buy more gifts than they normally would.

But just because someone is a member of your rewards program doesn’t mean they won’t buy from another brand.

The average consumer participates in four different rewards programs.

To ensure your customers buy from you instead of your competitors, you need to offer better rewards and incentives.

Make it easy for customers to track shipping

Earlier I mentioned that people are stressed during the holidays.

They have much to do and have many things on their minds. To stay organized, people want the ability to track the progress of their orders.

You should send shipping notifications and tracking numbers to your customers.

This is a great chance for you to create an actionable drip campaign.

First, send an email to the customer confirming their order was completed. Then, send a second email notifying them the order has shipped. This is an appropriate time to include the tracking number.

Finally, send a third email when the product has been delivered.

Click-through rates to tracking pages increase during the holiday season:

This should tell you that consumers are genuinely interested in tracking their orders. It gives them a chance to make sure everything is going according to schedule.

Studies show 93% of consumers refer to their emails for these notifications, and 38% of people want to be contacted on multiple channels.

If applicable, consider sending text messages and push notifications.

Here is another reason why tracking packages is such an important feature for you to offer.

Statistics indicate that 33% of people have had packages stolen from their doorsteps. Nearly 26 million Americans had packages stolen from their doorsteps or front porches during the 2017 holiday season.

With ecommerce sales expected to rise during the 2018 holiday season, it’s safe to assume theft will rise as well.

These are alarming numbers, but it’s reality. By alerting your customers their orders have been delivered, you can help reduce the chances of theft of their purchases.

Prioritize mobile commerce

By now, I hope you’ve recognized the importance of mobile optimization.

Your website should be mobile friendly, and some of you may have even developed a successful mobile commerce app.

Don’t overlook mobile commerce during the holidays. It should remain an important part of your marketing strategy.

On Black Friday of 2017, 57% of ecommerce traffic came from mobile devices. People were using their smartphones even while shopping in stores.

Mobile commerce held a 37% revenue share last year during the holidays. This was up from 17.5% in 2016.

I expect this trend to continue rising in 2018 and the coming years as well.

Consumers will turn to their mobile devices to buy during the holidays.

As you can see from these numbers, ecommerce brands with mobile apps will have a competitive advantage here.

Make sure you utilize all the features at your disposal.

Send out push notifications to mobile app users to remind them of flash sales. You can also send notifications about order updates, which I discussed when talking about tracking orders.

Appeal to those last-minute shoppers

Earlier I told you that you should start advertising as soon as possible because people start shopping for the holidays sooner than you may think.

But some people just love waiting until the last minute.

Don’t stop running your holiday campaigns until the season is officially over. Make sure you find ways to appeal to last-minute shoppers.

The best way to do this is by offering fast shipping options:

As you can see, people who wait until the last minute to buy gifts are significantly more likely to buy from retailers offering fast delivery.

Last-minute shoppers are 39% more likely to abandon their shopping carts if the delivery options are too slow.

Overall, 67% of consumers abandoned ecommerce shopping carts in the last year because of slow delivery times. This is a 16% increase from last year.

And 92% of consumers said that receiving their delivery on time was the most important factor they considered when purchasing a gift.

Unfortunately, it may not be reasonable to combine your fast delivery feature with your free shipping incentive.

If a last-minute shopper needs something shipped overnight two days before Christmas, they’ll have to pay a premium for shipping. But by this point, they’re willing to pay as long as it arrives on time.

Conclusion

The holiday season is a great opportunity for you to take advantage of consumer spending habits.

Since they spend more money, you have a chance to make more money. But this won’t come automatically.

Start promoting your holiday sales as early as possible. Run your best deals on the most popular shopping days of the year.

Make it appealing for customers to buy from you instead of your competition.

Offer free shipping. Have a hassle-free return policy. Reward your most loyal customers.

Allow your customers to see their order status and track the shipping of their packages.

Don’t forget about mobile customers and last-minute shoppers.

Follow the advice I’ve outlined above, and use this guide as a reference to generate sales during the 2018 holiday season. Happy holidays!

How is your business planning on appealing to holiday shoppers this season?

How to Deliver Relevant Marketing Content by Segmenting Your Email Subscribers

Email marketing needs to be a top priority for your company’s content strategy.

80% of retail brands named email marketing as the top driving factor in customer retention. Plus, email has the highest ROI per $1 spent compared to other content strategies.

On average, for every $1 you spend on your email campaigns, you can expect to receive $40 in return.

That’s why it’s so important for you to get more email subscribers without annoying your website visitors.

But having a huge list of subscribers is useless if you don’t know how to manage your content. If you are sending the same campaigns to everyone on your list, I bet your results aren’t that favorable.

People on your email list shouldn’t be grouped into one category.

Why?

For starters, these people are very different. In addition to their demographic differences, your subscribers will have separate wants and needs.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to run an email campaign relevant to everyone on your subscriber list.

Irrelevant content is the second most common reason why people unsubscribe from email lists.

You worked hard to get them to sign up, but all of that will be thrown away as soon as they unsubscribe. You need to avoid that.

Email segmentation is a must if you want to deliver relevant marketing content to your subscribers.

If you’ve never segmented your email lists or your current segmentation methods need improvement, you’ve come to the right place. I’ll explain what you need to do to elevate your email marketing strategy with segmentation tactics.

Encourage your customers to create profiles

Often, businesses don’t segment their email lists because they simply don’t have enough information to do so.

How can you segment your subscribers if the only piece of information you have about them is their email address? Email addresses alone won’t be enough.

That’s why you should encourage your customers to create profiles on your website.

You’ll use these profiles to improve their shopping experience. Then they can store their payment information, billing addresses, manage their order histories, etc.

But these customer profiles will benefit your segmentation strategy as well.

You’ll get more information about each customer. And you can use that information to segment your lists accordingly.

That said, customer profiles shouldn’t be a requirement.

Some ecommerce shops force customers to create profiles just to buy something. I strongly advise against this strategy.

In a perfect world, yes, they’ll create profiles. But you don’t want to lose conversions because of this.

Instead, try to give them a reason to sign up. Here’s an example from the Lululemon website:

As you can see, they list the benefits of creating a customer profile.

No hard sell or any pressure to do so. People who create a profile will benefit from:

  • tracking orders and returns
  • stored payment information
  • favorite products
  • customized shopping experience

When the customer creates a profile, you’ll collect more information about them. We’ll talk more about what type of info you should be asking for as we continue through this guide.

Don’t ask for too much information right away

If people want to sign up to receive emails from your company, they shouldn’t have to submit a blood sample to do so.

Obviously, I’m exaggerating here. But you’d be surprised at the number of form fields some brands require when a customer signs up for email content.

I understand your reasoning behind this.

The more information you get from your customers, the easier it will be to segment them into different categories. However, if you ask for too much, it will turn people away from signing up in the first place.

Why should they trust you with personal information that’s, in their opinion, irrelevant to their shopping experience? They just won’t sign up.

Plus, you can still come up with effective segmented lists with just a few form fields.

Here’s a great example from the Champs Sports website:

In addition to asking for a website visitor’s email address, Champs also requires them to give their first name. While this won’t necessarily help them segment their subscribers, it will help them personalize their messages.

With the information on this list, Champs can segment new subscribers based on:

  • age
  • gender
  • location

That’s plenty. You can create multiple lists with just those three pieces of information.

For example, one group could be females between the ages of 18 and 25 living in New England.

The content they receive would be significantly different from a group of men between the ages of 35 and 50 living in southern California.

Limit the form fields on your opt-in page. There’s no reason for you to know their favorite color or mother’s maiden name.

The more information required to sign up, the fewer people will subscribe.

Let your subscribers customize their content

Another way to deliver relevant marketing content is by simply asking your subscribers what they want to receive.

If they can customize the type of emails you send, they won’t be surprised or annoyed when they get a message. Everything delivered to their inbox will be extremely relevant.

Set up these options through your customer profile settings, which we just talked about.

In addition to letting people customize their email content through their profiles, you can give them options on the types of content they want to receive when they initially sign up.

Here’s a great example of this strategy used by Lowe’s.

Lowe’s only asks for the customers’ email addresses and zip codes. They can use this to segment their audiences by location.

But look at how Lowe’s offers customizable email options.

By default, everything is checked. However, people can uncheck the types of content they find irrelevant.

For example, let’s say someone wants to receive only marketing promotions from this company.

Any time they got a message about home improvement tips or upcoming events, they would be annoyed. These newsletters are irrelevant to them.

They can opt out of those by simply unchecking the appropriate boxes when signing up in the first place.

Use the double opt-in strategy

When I work with other businesses, I see this problem all the time.

They have many subscribers on their email lists that don’t belong there. That’s because some people provided their email addresses without realizing what they were getting into.

To get more subscribers, some websites have a default setting during the checkout process to join their email lists.

But the customer doesn’t realize they’re going to get bombarded with marketing emails just because they wanted to buy something.

While I don’t have a problem with this strategy overall, it needs to be implemented with a double opt-in to complete the signup process.

Your content won’t be relevant if it’s being delivered to people who subscribed by accident. Double opt-ins help ensure that subscribers actually want to receive marketing messages from your business.

The easiest way to implement a double opt-in verification message is with a welcome email:

Once a new subscriber confirms they want to be on your email list, you can segment them based on the factors I previously discussed and will continue to cover moving forward.

If a customer doesn’t complete the process, don’t send them emails unless it’s related to their order.

Segment based on engagement

Another way to segment your subscribers is based on how they responded to previous emails you sent.

You should be tracking actions such as:

  • opens
  • clicks
  • conversions

Then, segment your subscribers accordingly based on this behavior.

For example, someone who never opened an email could potentially get a similar promotion in the future. Whereas a subscriber who already opened that message shouldn’t receive it again. It’s irrelevant to that person.

This tactic will help you improve your open rates and other metrics due to your segmentation strategy.

Segmenting based on engagement is another way to take advantage of your customer profiles, which I discussed earlier.

When someone browses on your website while logged in to their customer profile, you can segment them based on their browsing behavior, purchase history, and the frequency with which they visit your site.

Someone who is on your site weekly shouldn’t get an email saying “we miss you.”

That type of message is only relevant to subscribers who have been inactive for several months.

Understand the needs of your B2B clients

Segmenting email subscribers is extremely important for B2B companies. It’s a great way to improve your overall B2B marketing strategy.

Those of you who operate a B2C and B2B company should have those two categories segmented, at the very least. But you should take that one step further on the B2B end.

Your B2B lists should be even more specific than your B2C lists.

The number one factor contributing to B2B marketing success in the previous year was creating higher quality and more efficient content:

Understand who will be receiving these emails.

You can segment these lists based on a job title. Company owners who have more buying power and final decision-making should not get the same messages that a warehouse manager would.

Segment your B2B lists based on industry, company size, and marketing budget.

Your clients that spend $50,000 a year on your products and services shouldn’t be getting the same marketing content as B2B clients that spend $5,000 annually.

Put your subscribers into customer groups

My last point leads to the next one: not all your customers are the same.

Put them into groups based on a number of factors related to their status as a customer as opposed to general factors such as their age and location.

For example, new customers shouldn’t be getting the same emails as people who subscribed over a year ago.

A great way to start communicating with your new subscribers is by creating a series of actionable drip campaigns.

If you put all your customers into one group, you won’t make as much money from them. Here’s what I mean.

Your customers who spend the least amount of money shouldn’t be getting emailed about your most expensive products. Instead, send them promotions that entice them to spend a little bit more or shop more frequently.

That’s why segmenting your subscribers based on spending is an effective strategy.

Targeted emails based on this type of segmentation yield an average of an additional $14 in sales per subscriber.

Some of you may have nearly 10,000 or more subscribers on your email lists.

So do the math. These additional profits will add up quickly.

Send birthday emails

As we’ve seen throughout this guide, age is a great way to segment your subscribers for a number of reasons.

But you can do even more with that information if you have it.

It may sound cheesy, but sending birthday promotions to your subscribers can go a long way. You can take advantage of their birthdays more than just once a year.

Take a look at how The Hook Up uses this strategy to send an email on its subscribers’ half birthdays:

This personalized content is extremely relevant to the recipient.

It’s unique to each subscriber. Discounted dinner for being a half year older? Sign me up.

You can even start birthday promotional messages early.

For example, let’s say your email lists are segmented by birthday months. Everyone who has a birthday in November can receive a message in October about getting ready for their birthday with a new pair of shoes or something along those lines.

Obviously, you’ll tailor the message accordingly based on your business, but you understand what I mean.

Start small

Right now, some of you might not be segmenting your subscribers at all. Don’t get overwhelmed and bite off more than you can chew when you start.

Research shows that half of businesses aren’t segmenting email lists. So you shouldn’t be too alarmed yet.

Don’t try to come up with dozens of different lists right away.

Start by trying to segment your existing subscribers. Send a poll to the people on your email list about their interests, and group them accordingly.

Change your current landing page to get more information from new subscribers.

You need to walk before you can run. Starting slow will help you make sure you get things right.

The last thing you want to do is put people on the wrong list. That strategy will backfire because your content will be more irrelevant to them than ever before.

Conclusion

Segmenting your subscribers is the key to email marketing success.

If you learn how to segment your customers accordingly, your marketing content will be more relevant. As a result, fewer people will unsubscribe from your list, and your email campaigns will be more profitable.

Encourage your customers to create a profile. Just don’t force them to give you too much personal information.

On sign-up, let your customers customize the type of content they want to receive.

Use a double opt-in landing strategy to make sure people actually want to be on your email marketing list.

Segment subscribers based on engagement, browsing history, and previous purchases.

Understand the difference between your B2C and B2B clients. Your B2B lists should be even more specific.

Group your customers based on spending habits.

If you’re new to email segmentation strategies, start small. Focus on the basics before you try more complex tactics.

Ultimately, this will help you deliver relevant marketing content to all your subscribers.

How is your brand segmenting subscribers on your email lists?

How to Increase the Average Order Value on Your Ecommerce Store

As an ecommerce shop, you always need to come up with new ways to increase your revenue.

But with that said, it’s a common misconception that you need to find new customers to generate more sales. That’s simply not the case.

In fact, there are plenty of ways to increase revenue without acquiring new customers.

Rather than trying to get more transactions on your ecommerce site, you should be focusing on tactics that increase the amount of each transaction.

Don’t get me wrong. Obviously, new customers and more transactions are great news for your business. But it’s not the only way to make more money.

What’s the average order value on your platform?

This is a metric that you should be tracking at all times. If you’re unfamiliar with average order value, abbreviated as AOV, it’s really easy to calculate.

Tactics that improve your AOV work for new customers and existing customers alike.

It’s all about how you display information on your website.

I know what some of you might be thinking. Your current average order value is adequate. Do you really need to make any changes?

Absolutely.

When it comes to what’s acceptable as an AOV, the sky’s the limit. Don’t settle for anything less. There is always room for improvement.

Use this guide as a reference for increasing your AOV. Once you apply these strategies, your ecommerce revenue will increase as a result.

Set a minimum for free delivery

Free delivery has a major impact on ecommerce conversions.

In fact, 60% of consumers will abandon their shopping carts during the checkout process if they’re presented with extra costs, like shipping.

So I’m definitely a big advocate of not placing those shipping costs on your customers.

But with that said, you don’t need to offer free shipping for every order. Here’s what I mean.

At the end of the day, someone has to pay for the shipping. It’s either going to be you or the customer.

So those shipping costs should be included in the base cost of your products.

That way, shipping is perceived as free to the customer, but you’ll still be able to cover those costs with their purchase.

If you want to increase the average order value, set a minimum purchase amount for free shipping eligibility.

REI uses this strategy on their website.

Take a look at this shopping cart.

The total cost of the of the cart is $22. But this total isn’t enough to be eligible for free shipping.

REI reminds their customers in two places on this page that they ship orders over $50 for free.

As a result, people will be more inclined to add additional items to their cart.

Why pay for shipping if they don’t have to?

Assuming the customer in this scenario takes the bait, REI was able to increase the purchase amount of this transaction by more than double the initial value.

Upsell on the checkout page

The most successful ecommerce shops find ways to upsell their customers right before they finalize the purchase process.

However, you need to be careful if you decide to implement this strategy. Here’s why.

Upsells shouldn’t take away from the initial purchase intent.

By the time your customers reach your checkout page, they already added items to their cart and want to convert. Don’t let your upsell be a distraction that eventually hinders them from completing the purchase process.

The buying process needs to be as fluid as possible with minimal friction. So don’t make the upsell be an extra step.

Let me show you a great example of an upsell from Jetties Bracelets that conveys what I’m talking about.

Based on what the customer added to their shopping cart, the website automatically generated an upsell of other items that are frequently purchased together.

If the customer wants to add these upsells to their cart, all they need to do is click one button.

This takes the value of this order from $9 to $27.

As you can see, a simple upsell on the checkout page can triple the order amount. Just make sure that it isn’t too distracting or forced upon the customer.

You still want them to convert, even if they don’t go for the upsell.

Offer package discounts

Bundle or package discounts provide an incentive for customers to spend more money.

The concept behind this tactic is simple.

You can generate more profits by focusing on your pricing strategy. Most pricing models make it more expensive to buy a singular item.

But if the customer is willing to buy higher quantities of that item, they’ll receive a discount depending on how much they’re willing to spend.

It’s the basic strategy behind “buying in bulk,” which is common for B2B companies.

However, you can apply the same method to your B2C ecommerce shop. Customers shouldn’t have to buy thousands of an item to get a quantity discount.

Look at how MeUndies accomplishes this.

They use this strategy all over their ecommerce site.

For starters, they advertise that customers can save up to 35% off items by purchasing packs.

Then, if you look at their navigation menu, “packs” is one of the five options for segmenting products.

They reinforce these discounts when a customer clicks on a pack to purchase.

For this pack of underwear, MeUndies offers a discount for buying three as opposed to just one.

However, if they buy a 6-pack, the cost per pair goes down even less. Customers will benefit from additional savings if they buy a 10-pack.

The price of one pair of underwear is $20. But if they buy a 10-pack, it’s $15 per pair.

This strategy encourages people to spend more money because it makes them feel like they’re getting a better value.

Customers can get a 25% discount by spending more money. As a result, you’ll benefit from getting a higher average order value.

Include a gift wrap option

Another way to increase the AOV of your ecommerce shop is by enhancing the value of your products.

What can you do to make your products more valuable?

One strategy that I like is the gift wrap option.

During the holidays, 82% of shoppers plan to buy gifts online. But holidays aren’t the only time of the year when people buy gifts.

People get gifts for birthdays, weddings, graduations, and retirements, as well as other milestones and accomplishments. So your gift wrapping feature should be available 365 days per year.

Look at how Target uses this strategy on their ecommerce store to increase their AOV.

On the checkout page, there is an option for shoppers to select if their order includes a gift.

If the buyer wants gifts wrapped, it’s going to cost them an additional $5.99 per item. So an order with three gifts adds roughly $18 to the shopping cart.

At this point, it’s all about convenience for the customer.

Without this option, the customer would have to get the gift sent to their house, then wrap it themselves before delivering it or re-shipping to the final recipient.

There is nothing convenient about that.

But the gift wrap option eliminates these steps and ultimately improves the customer experience. So they’ll be happy to spend more money.

Charge more for personalized items

Let’s continue talking about ways to enhance the value of whatever you’re selling.

If you can figure out how to apply this concept to your business, it can result in a major increase in revenue.

That’s because consumers say that they are willing to pay 20% more for personalized products.

You need to recognize this fact, and adjust your personalization strategy accordingly.

Check out how The Perfume Shop does this on their ecommerce site.

They give their customers a chance to get custom engravings on certain bottles.

However, this upgrade comes with at an additional cost. But as we saw, customers are willing and able to pay more for customization.

It would be unreasonable for them to expect a premium feature like this to be available at no additional cost.

Incentivize minimum spending thresholds

We talked about minimum spending thresholds earlier. Having a minimum order amount for free shipping eligibility is an example of this strategy.

But with that said, free shipping isn’t the only way to encourage higher spending with thresholds.

You can set up a discount based on spending amounts.

Here’s an example from the Rue21 ecommerce website.

Customers can take advantage of getting 30% off of their order, which is a significant amount.

However, there is a catch. In order to get the 30% discount, they must spend a minimum of $40.

This strategy works well because it also has a deadline.

As you can see, they have a running clock for when this promotion expires. So customers will feel as though they need to act fast to get this discount before it’s too late.

By combining these two strategies, Rue21 is able to increase their conversion rates while increasing their AOV at the same time.

Use BOGO

Have you heard of BOGO?

BOGO stands for “buy one, get one.” It’s up to you to decide how you want to fill in the sentence after that.

Buy one, get one free. Buy one, get one half off. You’ve got lots of options to choose from.

The reason why BOGO works so well is because psychologically, it encourages people to spend more money. After all, how could they pass on such a good deal? Here’s what I mean.

If you have a buy one, get one free sale, then that implies that if someone buys two items, they’ll get two free. If they buy three, they’ll get three free, and so on.

Maurices uses this strategy on their website.

It’s the first thing that you see when you navigate to their ecommerce homepage.

Don’t let BOGO limit your creativity here. You can run other promotions based on the same concept.

For example, buy two, get one free would encourage people to spend even more money.

Either way, this strategy can help you increase your average order value.

Give cash back

If you create a cash back system on your ecommerce site, it gives people an incentive to spend more money.

The more money they spend, the more cash back they’ll receive. Ultimately, they’ll benefit from these rewards as much as you will. So it’s a win-win scenario for everyone.

The Kohl’s cash system is a great example.

For every $25 that a customer spends, they’ll receive $5 in Kohl’s cash.

This promotion is valid on their ecommerce shop, as well as in their physical store locations. So for those of you who have brick and mortar shops in addition to your ecommerce platform, you may want to consider a similar structure.

Once customers spend money, they receive Kohl’s cash in the form of a coupon.

These coupons are automatically stored on their customer profiles.

Kohl’s doesn’t have any limit on this spending. So if a customer spends $1,000 on a transaction, they’ll get $200 in Kohl’s cash as a reward.

I know what some of you are thinking. If the cash back eventually gets redeemed, wouldn’t it lower your average order value for those future purchases?

Not necessarily. It’s unlikely that people will spend only the amount of their reward for those future purchases. Plus, you can set dates for when the cash back can be redeemed, which is what Kohl’s does. So there’s a chance not all of these rewards will even be used.

Recommend products to your customers

58% of consumers are more likely to buy from online retailers that recommend products based on their purchase history.

In addition to their previous purchases, you can also recommend products based on what your customers are browsing for.

For this strategy to be effective, it works best if you encourage people to create a customer profile. Then it’s easier for you to monitor their behavior.

It’s also effective for those of you who have a mobile app. In fact, personalized recommendations made my list of the top 10 features of a successful mobile commerce app.

When you recommend products to your customers, it speaks to them. We talked about this earlier when we discussed upselling.

But you don’t need to wait until the customer reaches their shopping cart to offer recommendations. Here’s an example from Sephora’s website.

In addition to recommending and showcasing their bestsellers, they also have a “recommended for you section” on their homepage.

The items displayed will vary depending on who is browsing.

For example, let’s say your ecommerce shop sells sports equipment.

One of your customers recently purchased a new set of golf clubs on your website. The next time they visit your site, you could recommend golf balls, tees, golf spikes, and other similar accessories.

These recommendations will ultimately help you increase your AOV.

Create a loyalty program based on spending tiers

Loyal customers spend more money.

82% of consumers are more likely to shop from businesses that offer loyalty programs.

Plus, repeat customers spend 67% more money than new customers. That’s why you need to learn how to increase sales by implementing a customer loyalty program.

However, there are so many different types of loyalty programs out there.

One of my favorite options is to create a program based on spending tiers. This is the best way to get your existing customers to spend more money each time they shop.

Here’s a look at the Nordy Club benefits, which is a loyalty program from Nordstrom.

As you can see, the benefits get better as customers reach each spending level within a calendar year. These loyalty programs reward your customers that spend the most money.

For the most part, people probably won’t spend $500 or $2,000 in one purchase.

However, they may be willing to spend an extra $50 or so on each transaction to get them one-step closer to the next rewards tier.

By encouraging them to spend more, your average order value will increase.

Conclusion

While new customers are always great for company growth, they are necessarily a requirement for increasing your revenue.

Instead of prioritizing customer acquisition, you should focus on strategies that encourage both your existing customers and prospective customers to spend more money on your ecommerce site.

The average order value is a metric that you should be tracking.

Regardless of your current AOV, I’m confident that you can improve that number.

Not sure where to start? Use this guide as a reference.

If you implement the strategies that I’ve outlined above, you’ll notice a significant boost in your ecommerce average order value.

How is your ecommerce shop taking steps to increase your AOV?

How to Create a Trustworthy and Transparent Pricing Page

Is your pricing page designed to drive conversions?

There are some common problems I see all the time when I’m analyzing these landing pages. It’s a tricky situation for businesses.

On the one hand, you want your pricing page to be informative, useful, and beneficial to your prospective customers. But at the same time, you want to make sure it’s designed to make people spend as much money as possible.

All too often, I see pricing pages that are either on one end of the spectrum or the other. You need to find that middle ground.

You’ve spent a lot of time learning how to generate more profits by focusing on your pricing strategy. Now you need to learn how to properly display those prices.

What types of pricing pages will encourage website visitors to convert?

Pages that are transparent and build trust will ultimately be your best bet. Here’s why.

If your pricing page is honest and doesn’t withhold any information from prospective customers, you can still implement tactics that encourage people to spend more money.

In fact, 73% of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services that promise complete transparency. Furthermore, 39% of consumers say they’re willing to switch brands to pursue transparency.

Both you and the customer will benefit from trustworthy and transparent pricing pages.

Those of you who need help increasing conversions on your ecommerce platforms will learn how to create profitable pricing pages by reading this guide. Here’s what you need to know.

Create a comparison table

The best way to show customers their options is by displaying a comparison table.

This makes it easy for them to make a decision without having to navigate to different pages or do too much scrolling. Ideally, your comparison table can be displayed on one screen.

Here’s an example of how Netflix uses this strategy on its pricing page:

As you can see, this is an extremely simple yet effective design.

Netflix offers three different subscriptions:

  • basic
  • standard
  • premium

The first line of the table shows the price. It’s obvious and transparent how much each option will cost. There are no surprises or secrets here.

After that, it lists seven features. The comparison table shows whether each price point has the listed feature.

This is the perfect size for a comparison table.

According to research on short-term memory, the brain can store only about seven items at a time. Most adults have the capacity to store five to nine pieces of information in their short-term memory bank.

If your comparison table has 30 lines, you’ll need to cut that down significantly.

It’s just too much for people to process, and you’ll struggle to get conversions.

Plus, if they have to keep scrolling to see information, it’ll be difficult for them to keep track of which option is the most appealing to them.

If you don’t know how to shorten your comparison table, here’s what I recommend. Only include line items that are different for each price point.

For example, if all your options come with a 30-day free trial, don’t add that to your table. Instead, find another spot on your pricing page to showcase that feature.

Showcase your value proposition

For your business to be successful, you need to create a highly effective value proposition.

Your value proposition will explain how your brand, products, or services will benefit your customers. Highlight what makes your company better than your competitors.

Here’s a look at how Constant Contact displays these benefits on its pricing page:

The platform offers a 60-day free trial.

Nothing says trust and transparency like the offer of two free months. This gives customers a chance to get to know the software without having to pay for anything. It shows that this company stands behind its product.

Constant Contact also gives its customers the option to cancel any time. It doesn’t make anyone commit to long-term contracts, and it doesn’t charge cancelation fees.

In addition to the 60-day trial period, Constant Contact will refund customers 100% of their payments if they cancel within 30 days of signing up.

The company guarantees satisfaction.

As you continue to scroll down this page, you’ll find the pricing options. But the website visitor is already primed to convert after reviewing the company’s value proposition.

If your value proposition isn’t on your pricing page, you need to put it there right away.

This will help you build trust with your customers and increase their chances of converting.

Highlight the top option

Tell your customers what to buy.

There are a few different ways to approach this.

If you look at the Netflix comparison table above, you’ll see the highlighted top choice. The premium service was red, while the other options were grey. The red color jumps out at the customer more than grey.

Plus, the premium subscription was the most expensive. Obviously, you want your customers to spend as much money as possible.

I know what some of you are thinking. Is this strategy trust-building?

Yes. Your most expensive option will likely still be the most beneficial to your customers.

Continuing with the Netflix example, spending the most money gives people the option for ultra HD and the ability to stream videos on four devices simultaneously. These features aren’t available with the other subscriptions.

Let’s take a look at another example. GoDaddy highlighted its top option by referring to it as the best value:

Obviously, everyone wants a bargain.

As you can see, the best value choice is also the most expensive. But again, this gives its customers the most bang for their buck.

But your top option doesn’t always have to be your most expensive.

A great way to get your customers to convert is by putting your top option next to a choice that’s significantly more expensive. This will make it look even more appealing.

You can also entice consumers to select a certain option by telling them it’s your best seller or most popular choice.

Implementing this strategy helps create social proof, which I’ll discuss in greater detail shortly.

Encourage people to spend more money

Your top option likely won’t be the cheapest.

But you can still encourage your customers to spend.

Here’s an example from the Litmus pricing page that illustrates my point:

As you can see, this comparison table shows customers what’s not included in each plan.

It conveys this message by listing those features in a light grey color with a line going through the text.

Litmus is being completely transparent here. Now its customers won’t expect those features in a particular plan since it was clearly shown that certain options aren’t included in the selection.

If people want certain features, they’ll be encouraged to spend more money.

Take a closer look at this pricing page. Litmus also highlighted its top option by calling it the best value selection.

By positioning it between the least expensive and most expensive option, the value choice seems more appealing.

Offer free trials based on cost

You already saw a couple of examples of free trials so far in this guide.

Netflix offers a free trial period to all new customers. Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial for new customers as well.

Including a free trial establishes trust with your customers. But how long should your free trial last?

I like the idea of increasing the free trial length based on the cost.

For example, let’s say you offer a service that costs $10 per month and another one that costs $100 per month. Setting both of these trials at 14 days would be ineffective.

For a customer to dish out $100 per month, they need to be absolutely certain that the cost is worth it to them. Give those people an extended trial.

Pandora uses this strategy on its pricing page:

By offering a free trial, Pandora doesn’t force customers to pay for its services without testing them out first.

Customers who sign up for the $4.99 monthly service get their first 30 days free.

If someone signs up for the service that’s double the price, their free listening period is double the length as well.

Consider using this strategy on your pricing page.

You may not be initially thrilled about offering your service free, but it will pay off in the long run.

In fact, research shows that the overall conversion rate for monthly and annual plans is roughly 60%.

That’s pretty good if you ask me. Don’t hesitate to offer extended trials.

Understand the paradox of choice

Less is more. That’s the paradox of choice.

The more options you give your customers, the less likely they will convert.

Look back at all the examples I showed you so far. All these pages have three options for customers to consider, with the exception of Litmus, which had four.

However, that fourth option from the Litmus pricing page was for enterprises that need custom pricing. Basically, it offered three choices to most people.

If you have five, six, or seven different plans for people to select, it’s hurting your conversion rates.

Researchers conducted a study on this concept.

When customers in a grocery store had the option to sample six flavors of a product, the conversion rate was 30%. However, when they had the choice to sample 24 flavors of the same product, only 3% converted.

Another study found that decreasing the availability of product choices resulted in a 10% increase in revenue.

Limiting choices also helps build trust and transparency. It shows people that everything your company has to offer can be found in just a few different options. They won’t have to sift through dozens of choices to find what they’re looking for.

Create social proof

When designing your pricing page, you need to learn how to effectively use social proof to increase conversions.

The concept behind social proof is simple. If other people are doing something, it must be right.

That’s what you want your prospective customers to think.

Take a look at how Pipedrive creates social proof at the bottom of its pricing page:

After people have a chance to review the pricing options for Pipedrive, they’ll see this screen as they continue scrolling.

More than 75,000 sales teams use this service. Pipedrive has customers all over the world.

The product must be good if more than 75,000 people are using it, right? That’s the idea behind social proof.

Furthermore, the company features customer testimonials on its pricing page.

It lists the name, company, and position and includes a photograph for each testimonial.

For a more in-depth analysis of this, review my guide on how to correctly manage customer testimonials to increase your brand credibility. This will help you build trust with your customers.

Here’s something else to consider. Take a look at the bottom right corner of this pricing page.

Do you see the little message box? This gives the company’s customers a chance to communicate via live chat. I’ll discuss this tactic in greater detail next.

Add a live chat feature

You need to communicate effectively with your customers.

As you just saw in the Pipedrive example, adding a live chat feature to your pricing page shows that your brand is available to assist prospective customers on demand.

This will help you build trust and show how transparent your pricing is.

If a customer has any questions or needs clarification, your live chat support team can offer solutions.

Let’s look at another example. Here’s the HubSpot pricing page:

It has a chatbot that automatically pops up.

The note encourages visitors of the page to write a message if they need help understanding any of the pricing options.

In addition to the live chat function, HubSpot also includes its phone number on the page.

This adds more credibility to the website and improves its customer service.

Having both live chat and phone support available will appeal to a wider range of customers based on their preferences for customer service communication.

Justify your pricing

Depending on your business, some of you may have high prices for your services.

If your most expensive option is only $5 per month, you may not need to justify that price. However, if you’re charging hundreds or thousands of dollars for your products or services, some justification may be necessary.

This is important for B2B companies.

Unlike the average consumer, businesses need to see a return on their investments. Spending money on your service is an investment for them.

What will they get in return? Show them.

Buffer added case studies to its pricing page to justify its pricing:

These case studies explain how other companies benefited from the product.

Business Insider reached 1 million Facebook fans. The Seattle Times increased its traffic by 150%.

In addition to justifying the prices for the company’s services, this strategy also creates social proof, which I previously discussed.

Build an interactive estimation tool

This isn’t applicable to all of you, but it’s a useful strategy for some brands.

Depending on your pricing model, the cost of your service may not be the same for everyone for each billing cycle.

Some businesses base their prices on usage and other metrics. However, this strategy can sometimes appear untrustworthy since the prices aren’t set in stone.

Adding an interactive estimation tool to your pricing page helps with transparency.

For example, MailChimp has prices that fluctuate based on the number of subscribers their customers have.

Its pricing tool gives people a chance to see how much they’ll get charged if they add subscribers to their mailing lists.

As you update the number of subscribers, the prices for the plan change accordingly.

Prioritize security

Security needs to be a top priority for your business.

Why?

Research shows that 69% of consumers say they are concerned about their privacy and security. And 68% of people do not trust brands to appropriately protect their personal information.

With so many people concerned about security, use your pricing page to showcase how you protect your customers’ information.

Check out how Highrise accomplishes this on its pricing page:

The pricing page features the words “safe and secure” all over it.

Highrise goes above and beyond to explain to prospective customers that it prioritizes security.

This strategy will help you establish trust with your customers and ultimately increase the chances of them converting.

Conclusion

If you want the conversion rates on your pricing page to increase, you need to make sure your page promotes trust and transparency.

Build a comparison table that lets customers view all their options on one screen.

Leverage your value proposition.

Tell your customers what to buy by highlighting your top option. Use this strategy and other tactics to encourage people to spend more money.

Offer a free trial. The more expensive the service, the longer the trial should be.

Limit choices on your pricing page. Fewer options will result in higher conversions.

Create social proof and justify your prices. Make sure your customers know their security is a top priority for you.

If you follow the tips I’ve outlined above, you’ll be able to increase conversions on your pricing page.

How does your company’s pricing page promote trust and transparency?

How to Drive Sales with These 11 Instagram Marketing Strategies

In today’s competitive landscape, your business needs to leverage as many distribution channels as possible to increase sales.

By now, I’m sure you understand the basic concepts of applying a social media marketing strategy.

You’ve created business profiles on the most popular networks. You’re sharing content on a regular basis. Your efforts have helped you get more followers.

But you’ve got to elevate your game and learn how to convert your social media followers into customers.

According to research, 74% of consumers use social media to guide their buying decisions. And 71% of people are more likely to buy something based on a social media recommendation.

Simply put, consumers are eager and willing to use social platforms to find new brands, conduct research, and aid the purchase process.

As a marketer, you need to recognize the latest social media trends and use them to your advantage.

Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform. This social network makes it very easy, friendly, and appealing for brands to reach their target audiences.

Take advantage of everything Instagram has to offer. I’ll show you the top 11 ways to drive sales on Instagram.

1. Run contests and giveaways

Promotional contests and giveaways are two of my favorite strategies for brands to engage with their audiences on social media.

If you can learn how to run a profitable giveaway, your efforts will result in more sales.

I know what some of you are thinking. How can you make money by just giving away your products?

Let’s review an example to show you what I mean. Here’s a look at how Lander used this strategy on a recent Instagram post:

The company is giving away a smart lantern, power bank, phone case, and lightning cable.

Doing this increases the exposure of its page. It gives people a reason to follow its profile and engage with the brand.

As you can see, this giveaway is a bit different from the ones you may have seen in the past. Lander partnered with other brands to sponsor this giveaway.

Again, this strategy will drive more users to its page. These other accounts will post information about the giveaway and direct users to follow Lander’s profile to win.

Here’s a look at the caption from one of the other accounts it partnered with:

There are plenty of other ways to get creative with this marketing tactic.

Instead of giving away items at random to your followers simply for liking a post and following your account, you could run a more structured contest that requires skill.

Contests that encourage user-generated content are the most effective.

To enter, ask your followers to upload a picture and tag your brand. This strategy will expose your company to anyone who follows the users who enter.

If someone sees that their friend is promoting a brand, they’ll be more inclined to follow your profile and potentially enter the contest as well.

Now that you’ve got these users interested in your products, you can use other strategies to get them to buy. Even if they didn’t win the contest, the product you were giving away is still on their minds.

2. Take advantage of the “swipe up” feature

The swipe up feature is a game-changer for businesses.

For years, you probably had some trouble getting users on Instagram to navigate to your website from a specific link. You would post content and then direct people to click a link in your bio.

But that strategy has lots of faults.

First, it’s an extra step for the user. They have to navigate to your profile page and then make another click.

People don’t want to go through that hassle.

Plus, what if you want to promote two different landing pages? Or maybe three? or four?

You will not have multiple links in your bio. That’s too confusing.

The swipe up feature eliminates this problem. Now you can use your Instagram story to drive traffic directly to specific landing pages.

Here are a couple of examples:

Once your business profile reaches 10k followers, you’ll have access to this feature.

Just promote a product or service on your story, and add the swipe up function with a link to a landing page about your promotion.

If you’re advertising a specific product, a logical landing page would be to the product description on your site. There, the user can look at additional photos and add the product to their shopping cart.

These lead magnets are a great way for you to drive more traffic to your website and ultimately increase conversions.

3. Use shoppable posts

If you have an ecommerce brand, you need to take advantage of shoppable posts.

This strategy allows you to sell products directly through the Instagram platform.

The reason why I love this feature so much is because it increases the chances of getting your current and prospective customers to buy something. Here’s why.

Right now, you’re relying on consumers navigating to your website to buy your products.

This can be from organic traffic, paid ads, or direct navigation.

The problem is that people probably won’t do this every day. But they’re active on Instagram daily.

In fact, 500 million people use Instagram on a daily basis. So there’s a great chance your target market falls into this category.

Here’s an example of a shoppable post from Patara Shoes:

It’s simple. This post is just a regular image that includes one of the brand’s products.

You also see a tag of the product by name, the price, and a link to purchase it. All someone has to do is click on the tag, and they’ll be directed to the website.

This is much easier than having to manually search for the product by opening a web browser. Shoppable posts increase conversions.

Check out the caption. It’s creating FOMO—the fear of missing out. I’ve discussed this strategy in the past.

Telling users they have only a few pairs of these shoes left nudges them to buy right now.

If you’ve never sold products on Instagram before and don’t know where to start, check out my complete guide on how to increase your ecommerce product sales with shoppable posts on Instagram.

4. Post the same product more than once

If you post a product once and then never promote it again, people may forget about it.

Think about the way users behave on Instagram. They quickly scroll through their feeds.

The first time they see your product, they may not have a reason to buy it. But if they see it more than once, it may start to pique their interest.

According to a study from Sprout Social, more than 60% of people need to see something on social media between two and four times before they buy it:

I’m not saying you should post the exact same image four different times on your Instagram page. That’s boring and might even cause people to unfollow you.

Get creative.

Start with a post of just the product. A few days later, you can share another image of the product on your Instagram story.

The following week, run a contest to promote the same product. Weeks later, you can share a video of the same item being used in a demonstration.

Posting the same product multiple times increases the chances of people buying it.

5. Partner with social influencers

Using social influencers to promote your brand, products, and services is an extremely efficient tactic.

In fact, 94% of marketers say their social influencer strategy was effective for their companies.

That’s because social influencer followers trust them.

We know that 82% of people are likely to follow recommendations made by micro influencers. And 94% of consumers believe these influencers are highly knowledgeable.

Basically, if you can get an influencer to promote your brand, you will get sales.

Instagram is the primary social platform for influencers across the globe.

This is a cost-effective marketing strategy.

Most influencers will charge only a few hundred dollars or so for a post. However, if you’d rather work with celebrity influencers, be prepared to spend significantly more.

But for the most part, that’s not necessary.

I recommend looking for influencers who have between 10k and 50k followers. These people have more authentic interactions with their followers and higher engagement rates.

Plus, the cost per post will be less.

If you’re struggling to find the right influencer to promote your brand, review the top 10 platforms for effectively managing social influencers.

6. Respond to comments and messages

I know it may seem like a time-consuming and tedious task, but you need to respond to your followers on Instagram.

By responding directly to comments on your post, you will add a human element and personal feel to your brand, which people really appreciate.

This strategy is especially important if people are asking questions or voicing complaints about your business. Respond to these comments as fast as possible to come up with a resolution.

It shows other users who see your responses on social media that your brand values customer service.

Consumers are willing to pay more for good service. You can expect to see an increase in sales by communicating with your customers effectively on social media.

7. Go live

The majority of the strategies I’ve discussed so far focus on Instagram posts. But that’s not the only way you can reach users and drive sales.

Like other social networks, Instagram has a live broadcast feature.

This is your chance to engage with your audience in real time.

Users can comment on your broadcast. Acknowledge those comments. Answer their questions. Show them you’re listening.

Social media users love watching live videos.

What’s a good reason to go live?

That decision is yours. But there are lots of different ways to get creative with these streams.

Give your followers a tour around your office. Introduce them to your employees. Show them how products get made at your manufacturing facility.

If your company is at an event, give your followers exclusive access to what happens behind the scenes.

This type of content will keep your audience engaged, get them excited about your brand, and ultimately increase the chances they’ll make a purchase.

8. Run targeted ads

How can you reach people on Instagram who don’t follow your account?

Some of the strategies, such as location tagging, running contests, and working with social influencers can accomplish this.

However, those strategies don’t always expose your brand to people within your target market. Running targeted advertisements will do this.

Instagram has been acquired by Facebook. You can set up your ads the same way on both networks.

You can use parameters such as age, gender, and location to select your ad audience. You can even take that one step further and target users based on their interests.

Here’s an example of a targeted Instagram ad from Tentree:

As you can see, this post looks like any other post on Instagram. The only difference is that it says “sponsored” where the location tag would normally be, and there is a CTA button at the bottom.

But when a user is scrolling through their feed, this post blends in with the rest of the content they’re consuming. It’s not invasive or annoying.

Yes, you’ll have to pay if you want to run Instagram ads. Those of you who don’t have the funds in your marketing budget for this right now would want to stick with the free strategies on this list.

However, if you can afford it, I recommend at least trying it out to see how it works for you. This can be a great way to drive sales by reaching a new audience.

9. Use your story to showcase products

Earlier I mentioned examples of posting content to your Instagram story.

But now you can use your Instagram story to sell your products the same way you did with shoppable posts.

As of June 12, 2018, Instagram brought the shopping feature to stories.

Here’s a look at an example from Madewell:

As you can see, the post is promoting a silk button-down cami.

Since the shopping feature on stories is new, the post features additional text as a way to tell the users the post is clickable.

If you tap on the button as instructed, you’ll be redirected to the brand’s website. From here, you’ll have an option to buy the product displayed in the story:

Use this strategy if you’re running an ecommerce shop.

As I said before, people need to see a product multiple times on social media before they decide to buy it. Add shoppable stories to the list of ways to showcase your products.

10. Connect your followers to your Facebook page

If your company has an Instagram profile, it probably also has a Facebook page.

Since Instagram was acquired by Facebook, these two platforms have lots of features that work together. I mentioned this earlier when I talked about running targeted ads.

Now you can sync your Instagram followers with your Facebook business page.

Once this process is complete, you can use messenger bots to nurture those users.

There are more than 300,000 active monthly bots on Facebook messenger. Clearly, other businesses are taking advantage of this strategy already.

Jump on board now before your competitors’ bots steal your customers.

11. Offer discounts to your followers

Everyone loves a good deal.

Share discounts with your followers on Instagram to encourage them to buy.

Instagram is a great platform for running flash sales. Since your story disappears after 24 hours, you can use that type of post to share a promo code.

This will make your followers feel as if they’re getting an offer other people don’t know about. That feeling of exclusivity will also encourage them to buy.

Look at how J. Crew offered a discount in this post:

Notice anything different about this post?

The reason why I used this as an example is because it also uses another strategy I discussed on this list. This is a targeted advertisement.

Don’t think your promo codes should be limited to just your profile posts and stories.

Combining that deal with a targeted ad can be extremely effective. That’s because your ads will have CTA buttons bringing users directly to your website.

If someone clicks on the “shop now” button in the J. Crew ad, they’ll be able to use the promo code right away. This is much easier than having to navigate to a new window.

Conclusion

You can’t rely on website traffic alone to sell products. Take advantage of other distribution channels as well.

Social media influences consumers’ purchasing decisions.

Since Instagram is growing at such a rapid rate, it makes sense to use this platform as a primary method of driving sales.

Plus, as you’ve seen from this list, Instagram has features that allow businesses to sell items directly through its platform.

If your Instagram marketing strategy needs improvement, refer to this guide.

Once you implement these strategies, it will be easier to generate sales from Instagram users.

How is your business using Instagram to drive sales?