User-generated content is a priority in 2015, since traditional marketing and advertising is no longer that effective. New standards of credibility and authenticity requires you to have a mechanism in place to generate more trust, peer-ratings, audience-buzz and so forth in the form of ratings, reviews, testimonials, photos, and video blogs about your products and services, not done by your marketing team, but by your consumers, prospective consumers and the general public.
This in what allows your brand to truly stand-out. The flashy website or pop-up video is typical. Campaigns that target UGC typically occur in Email marketing or social media, and offer some incentive, coupon or gamification element to participate. For eCommerce marketing, UGC is a great way to promote your products and seasonal specials.
UGC it is claimed, can even boost SEO and increase sales, according to Jeev Trikka, CEO of TopSEOs. The verdict is still out on that but this is a popular new technique that is trending. UGC is one of the best forms of conversation optimization. Anything that helps drive potential buyers into confident buyers, is something you will want to invest in.
Integrated social based loyalty (ISL) programs is another acronym that refers to gamification. ISL is critical for engagement optimization and retention via social play. Using badging, leaderboards and integrated user profiles, these loyalty programs focus on driving engagement and user-generated content (UGC) in addition to transactions. As blogging is to social media, ISL is to UGC. Without implementing an ISL strategy, you are in effect outdated against your competitors.
Gamification has proven so successful, elements of it are finding their way into a proliferation of channels, especially featuring prominently in mobile marketing, app usage generation and brand optimization. With status triggers and tapping into the very identity of consumers, you are giving significant incentives for repeating customers to count you among their favorite brands.
ISL can act as a reward-based system for UGC. For instance, specialized apps. Shopify has a large selection of apps that integrate with their ecommerce platform already configured to handle a host of different loyalty program. In the future, gamification elements will be integrated into everything. The idea is if done right, engagement-based loyalty drives a “virtuous cycle” of more reviews driving more sales driving more reviews.
Another trend in ecommerce, is to offer a native language experience for shoppers. They come from all over the world, so a vast majority of your consumers may be from foreign countries. Naturally, we all prefer to shop online in our native language. For some cultures, this is particularly important. It’s not only a form of courtesy, it’s a form of personalization. Targeting seasonal events in the international calendar is also important, to maximize sales from different countries. According to a recent OHT survey, conducted through Google Consumer Surveys, the vast majority of foreign respondents prefer to shop online in their native language. Top countries for preference of native language include: 1) Japanese 2) Italians 3) Germans 4) Quebec (French-speaking Canadians) 5) Dutch.
In eCommerce conducting A/B testing on your checkout process is one of the most important areas of Ecommerce optimization. Now that ecommerce site advertising and SEO is very much a pay affair, tracking the user experience in the funnel is key. Consumers are getting more used to eCommerce and cart-abandonment reduction optimization should be a priority for you.
A content marketing strategy requires you to create and publish content that makes our shoppers excited to buy your products and engage with your services. Good content marketing is reusable on many channels, including your blog, social and your industry community at large. It not only informs consumers but stimulates the evolution of information specific to your field. The premise is good marketers create useful or entertaining content that actually helps, informs, or entertains potential buyers, so much so that they become loyal customers & everyone wins.
This requires a Marketing team that is expert at writing, and have strategies in place for inbound marketing to occur on many channels. Increasingly, this requires Marketers to create info-graphics, produce videos and content that has higher engagement rates on mobile devices.
When an article, a video, or similar resonates with potential customers, it can drive a significant amount of site traffic, and, eventually a significant number of sales. If content from your company goes viral, your brand & image can be improved. In the field, we often hear how important content marketing is, because in the digital age, it’s one of your main PR, free advertising and high ROI methods.
In 2015, we are seeing a great evolution in the amount and quality of content produced, so the competition for conversation optimization in your field is likely fierce. Experience, trial & error and a constant evolution of your marketing team’s ability to create content is required to see what best works for your company and in your industry.
For ecommerce it’s important you have various triggered e-messages or SMS in place along with an automated email campaign. The idea here is to nurture customer relationships and improve retention & loyalty.
A typical transactional email occurs when someone signs up for a Newsletter. This should triggered a welcome series that encourages conversation optimization with strong CTAs that have proven the most effective for you and in your industry.
Typical AECs occur in relation to:
- Cart abandonment
- Purchases and in-store visits (follow-up after sales or after visits)
- Messages relating to ISL program activities
Your ecommerce system must have a certain level of artificial intelligence integrated into it, so your Marketing team can work on activities that absolutely require human creativity. You may want to invest in marketing automation platforms that facilities this, whether it’s smarter ESPs or a fully integrated automation system.
Social media diversification means optimizing social media channels. If you have product videos and images, Facebook allows for easy CTAs and conversion optimization. But have you seriously invested in Pinterest, Instagram and Youtube? If your products are visual, you may want to try them out.
Finding or creating niche industry-specific communities is key. Perhaps your industry is more on Google + or Twitter, you’ll have to experiment and find which social channels bring you the highest quality leads and most conversions. As competition gets more fierce on social channels, being an early adopter to a new channel is a good idea.
In this article we covered:
- UGC: User generated content
- ISL: Integrated social based loyalty programs via gamification
- NLE: Native language experience
- ABC: A/B testing on ecommerce checkout process
- CMS: Content marketing strategy
- AEC: Automated email Campaigns
- SMD: social media diversification
In 2015, these are some of the top strategies to foster your ecommerce business.