For our E-commerce clients the lead up to Christmas sale periods are one of the biggest opportunities of the year. From October onwards, the retail industry is headed towards some big sale events such as the Click Frenzys, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and pre-Christmas sales not to mention the Boxing Day sales. For Australian E-commerce stores, the competition is on a global scale. Australian’s are making the most of those global shopping trends. 

There is no doubt that the period before Christmas is important for the retail industry and the economy as a whole, which brings to mind the ‘Reindeer Games’ movie quote: 

“It says here the retail industry does 50% of its business between December 1st and December 25th. That’s half a year’s business in one month’s time. It seems to me, an intelligent country would legislate a second such gift-giving holiday. Create, say, a Christmas 2, late May, early June, to further stimulate growth.” – ‘Reindeer Games, 2000’

We have seen that there are 3 major things that contribute to a great Christmas sale period; An easy flow to purchase, the right products at the right price and most importantly getting the right advertising message to the right audience.

1. Plan Out Your Product Mix And Value Proposition

Product pricing strategy is such an important part for our Product and Brand Managers. Getting this balance right influences a lot of the campaign’s success. At the end of the day, if most of your audience feel that your product is unmissable (and you’re not devaluing the product long-term) there is a much better chance of increasing revenue and getting a good Return On Investment.

In combination with this, product planning stage is also the messaging and creative phase. If you understand your audiences you will have a better understanding to craft the messaging better, and appeal to the different persona’s in your ad targeting. Some solutions to people’s shopping and gifting needs may include creating gift sets, bundles and profiling product types to showcase some unmissable gift ideas for Christmas.

2. Plan Out The Shopping Journey & Landing Pages Accordingly

When we work with clients the first two aspects we can advise on is: building out the right online messaging and experience. The shopping journey must be delightful. The real magic happens when we marry the online store experience with a seamless media strategy. Some examples might include, promoting gift ideas within the Display or Social Media network that advertise the sale then on the next level to remarket with dynamic ads that connect to the E-com product feed.

To first direct to a landing page with gift Ideas for ‘your mum /dad” the user can then create their wishlist. If they’re not yet ready to buy, retarget them with dynamic ads of the products they’ve previously viewed with an enticing offer. Reaching the right people with the right message at the right times is key with media planning. When all things work in unison that makes for a delightful and valuable Christmas shopping experience. 

3. Right Message To The Right Shoppers At The Right Time

An example of some E-commerce strategies we have employed with our clients involves spreading the media across selected channels and layering the messaging along the touchpoints in the digital marketing funnel. We have noticed that online shopping behaviour is slightly different to other sale periods throughout the rest of the year, the messaging and motivation is different.

October is the time where the brand message and product ideas help to keep your product top of mind for your customers. Successful October sales provide a great experience for customers, who will remember and shop with you, above your competitors in the lead up to the Christmas sales. When promoting products and gift packs it’s important to have different product types and messaging mixes as different things will appeal to different persona’s in your audience.

The ad media can connect to your product feed and dynamically reach audiences that are more likely to convert. November is the time when things start really ramping up and we can increase the sale messaging and remarketing frequency to help shoppers remember those products saved in their wishlist waiting to be bought.  

In summary; keep in mind these three checkpoints in preparation for your Christmas sale period. 

  1. Understand your audience so that you can better craft the right product and messaging mix to appeal to the right customers. 
  2. Prepare your website for a smooth and valuable shopping experience, with landing pages, filters and the ability to login and make wishlists. 
  3. Plan out your Media and Advertising strategy early, to effectively stay top of mind and optimise towards sales. Implementing the learning early so the platforms can scale and perform when you need them to. 

Recap

Your customers are on multiple channels at different stages of their purchasing journey. Therefore, you should invest your ad spend on where the customers are. To read Cross Channel Marketing 101 click here

Marketing on different channels 

Understanding this journey will help you in developing marketing messages that are relevant to them at that stage of their journey.  

This in turn will encourage them to move further down the purchasing journey.  By understanding and measuring the roles each channel played in a conversion journey, allows you to focus investments on channels that played the biggest (not the last) role in conversion. 

The first step is to understand the actual steps taken by a customer journeys for those who converted.   

Case study

Here is a case study of Customers Journeys for an FMCG brand over one week.  This shows the paths and the paid touch points, customers have taken. The chart shows the number of sales, the average length of the conversion path and the average sales order value.

pathcount durationavg sales
1: Search – Page – Display/retarget – Page – Conversion x35513 min$132
2: Display – Page – Search – Page – Conversion x1768.4 hrs$188
3: Native – Page – Display – Search – Page – Conversion x823.7 days$204

Case 1 represents a consumer clicked on 2 search ads (ad words and shopping ads).  It is clear that the customers had something in mind and were looking for a product.  You would argue this opportunity is in mid-tier to lower sales funnel, and the search ad places the brand in front of the customer at the right time.

Case 2 is a customer who started the journey with a display ad.  This may be a product ad on a news site or a shopping portal. This is followed by a search ad, triggered by a generic keyword. The conversion occurred 8 hours after the initial display.   We also know that the journey started in the morning, on a mobile network. It is likely that the display ad generated interest whilst the customer was browsing for similar/related content.

As a comparison Case 3 journey started with a native ad.  This journey involved some level of education, as it is a considered purchase. The brand has nurtured this opportunity from the very early stages, with repeated retargeting with display ads.  

It is clear that the most popular customer journey starts with a search, followed by retargeting.    The longest journeys are those who started with a native ad, which took on average 3.7 days to convert.  This is not surprising, as any education content will take some time for it to work through the market.

This longer sales journey produced the highest conversion value.  The average sale value of Case 3 (Native led) is $204, compared with Case 1 (Search led) is $132.   However, Case 1 is still the most popular path, having 4X the number conversion as Case 3.

Balancing the ad budget

The marketing objective of the brand is for conversion, and they believe there are plenty of room for branded and non-branded keyword search.    Therefore, directing more budget to Search will make more sense. However, a small percentage (say 10-20%) may still be spent on Native. This will potentially build the upper sales funnel and expose the brand to the group that convert at a higher value. 

Next step

Have you set your channel budget based on solid data? Have you balanced your ad spend across channels?  

Why do you need cross channel marketing? 

Most marketers think channel. This is in part because the platform suppliers are channel-based.  These are ad words in search, YouTube in video, LinkedIn or Facebook for social, and a wide array of suppliers for native ads. Our ad investments are allocated based on channel.  Our measurements such as CTR, engagement and reach, and even ROI are usually measured by channel.

Unfortunately, your typical customer does not think that way.  Instead, they have interest or needs that may develop into research, product search, education, comparison, validation, pricing and or purchasing decision.  

The channel they use is determined by convenience, lifestyle, timing, the type of content they consume etc.

The purchasing journey may be a short one, measured in minutes for impulsive buys, to weeks or months for considered purchases.  Each channel has a unique strength in specific stages of a customer journey.

Tabled below is a summary that describes what each channel is best suited for.

Customer JourneyBest ChannelsDuration
interest
native,videodays
considerationdisplay-awareness, nativedays-hrs
validationsocial, influencer blogsmins
researchblog, display-awarenesshrs-mins
product searchsearch engines, display-retargetingmins
comparisonsearch engines, display-retargetingmins
pricingyour site, reseller site, discount sitemins
purchase CTAdisplay-retargeting, emailmins-sec
signup CTAsocial, display-retargetingmins-sec

Channels explained

The value of Display channel is in the volume of traffic.  On a typical high traffic publisher (such as news, entertainment & shopping sites), finding and connecting with your target audience on any one of the display ad networks is very good.   This makes display network an idea platform for acquisition. It is also a platform for retargeting.   

Furthermore, the native channel is particularly useful for educational or advertorial content.  It can illustrate the reasons (such as lifestyle, features) or use case of your product (such as benefits).

Influencers’ comments or posts on social channels or on their blog, would provide validation and social proof of your product to your target audience.   

Video platforms offer a unique combination of entertainment and education, and they are ideal to generate early stage interest.

Next step

Is your current channel fulfilling your marketing objectives?   Can you find your customers on these channels?

Continue learning about cross channel marketing and read part two of this article: Cross Channel Marketing 201.

AMI National Award Winner!

For Data Driven Marketing Strategy

Data Driven Marketing Strategy With Benetas

“We partnered with Next Level Online Marketing to create a data led strategy. Our goal was to be in a position to achieve sustainable growth, and learn to succeed in this market.”

Interested to know why we are winning awards with Marketing Data and Insights leading our strategy? See the award winning case study below. This outlines a beautiful partnership with Benetas Aged Care and NLOM: Next Level Online Marketing – an Online Marketing Agency based in Melbourne.

The Problem


Home care for those in need

Home care is an aged care service delivered in your own home, providing customers with the right support to maintain their quality of life within their homes and communities.

Customers have direct access to government funding and the power to choose their provider and the services they require. However, they often wait over 18 months from application to receipt of a home care package. The process is confusing and poorly explained. Against this background, Benetas saw declining Home Care enquiries and client admissions, based on government constraints and increasing competitor activity.

Partnering together we established a marketing plan to create a data-led strategy. The goal was to generate high-quality leads and achieve sustainable growth.

New monthly objectives were created to increase:
● Web visits
● Website engagement
● Online conversion
● Phone and email enquiries
● Client admissions

The Solution


Strategy

We identified that our strategy should be to engage potential customers with educational content, testing, learning and optimising paid media, developing appropriate creative/ messages and utilising our data management platform to target the right people, with the right message at the right time.

Engaging educational content

The Benetas staff often answer customer queries about how to apply for funding and what to do in the process, rather than selling services. With the goal of helping customers before they call, we used customer insights to develop a series of articles and blogs hosted on the Benetas website. These articles would help individuals navigate the home care package process and support individuals when they reach key moments of action.


“Benetas Home Care empowers older people to live their preferred life at home and within their community and offers support and information for individuals navigating the ageing journey.”


Testing, learning and optimising

We implemented a multi-media digital advertising campaign using Facebook, Google, display, display remarketing and native advertising. Each media was assigned a goal for talking to our audiences (Awareness, Engagement or Conversion), and appropriate metrics to allow us to manage progress. We created multiple message and creative variations to be tested, analysed and optimised to reach goals specific to the media.

Reach relevant customers using insights

We used the data management platform (DMP) to define specific audience profiles (personas) based on the interests, age, demographics and unique online behaviours of people who visit our website.

We then tested the Benetas creative messages on these personas to learn how each persona engaged with the ads and which brings website traffic and sales.

From this, we created micro-segments – filtering out interests and behaviours that did not eventuate in either a click on an ad or a conversion on the website. From those segments, we created look-a-like audiences, filled with customers similar to those micro-segments who were more likely to click or convert to a warm lead. An integrated media strategy then ensured these native articles were placed where our microsegments would see them and then click through to our website.

Results


Digital metrics indicated that our customer’s information needs were being met through our online educational content and we had significantly more people clicking on our ads and converting into leads.

Overall, our strategy achieved outcomes above and beyond initial objectives; we helped to lift Benetas out of a downturn in client growth, and created a sustainable pipeline of new customers.

Monthly results grew against benchmarks:

  • Website visits up 686%
  • Website browsing time up 142%
  • Phone and email enquiries up 43%
  • Home care package client admissions up 55%

Website visits increased eightfold

Icon made by Freepik from www.flaticon.com

Visits to home care pages grew by 50% each month without an incremental increase in budget. Monthly web visits grew from 652 in December 2018, to over 11,000 in April 2019. The monthly average was 7485, 686% more than the original benchmark of 952.

Website engagement doubled

The digital campaign and use of the DMP data insights brought a highly engaged audience to the website, as seen by the longer browsing times. The monthly average increased from 2:17 min to 5:27 min (up 142%).

Online conversions growing

The number of online conversions (‘contact us’ form submissions and clicks to call) increased by 36%, from an average of 22 per month to 30 per month

Enquiries increased

After reaching a low of 97 enquiries in December 2018, enquiries received at our customer centre increased, from 221 average enquiries to 316 enquiries per month (up 43%)

The Benetas customer centre staff were much busier than usual responding to home care enquiries. Whilst some of these enquiries were from individuals ‘information gathering’ at the beginning of their home care journey, others were ready to sign up. The home care regional locations also began to book more appointments to meet customers in their homes to discuss Benetas services. We value engaging and advising people no matter what stage they are on their home care journey, as these people are more likely to choose Benetas when they do obtain funding.

Client admissions beginning to grow significantly

Our experience shows a significant lag from people enquiring to them becoming a client, therefore the number of people to join Benetas each month slowly improved, picking up in March and April. By the end of April, Benetas achieved client growth for the first time since May 2018. This will grow further in the coming months as people progress through the buying cycle.

Customers were engaged with educational content online

The average time spent on all home care web pages increased to over 5 minutes, from 2 minutes, indicating that the online news articles were meeting customer’s information needs. These articles were the top most viewed pages on the website between January-April 2019. Staff members who attended appointments with customers noted many of these people were printing out articles and referring to them for guidance.

The DMP found the right audiences to target

The DMP micro-segments and look-a-like audiences that were deemed stronger leads were served native, display and Google Ads. The rich insights provided by the DMP also allowed us to serve the best performing creative in real-time and at the right time in the customer buying cycle.

Displaying our ads to these highly targeted audiences enabled us to achieve a much higher click-through-rate on ads. For example, In February DMP audiences used for native resulted in a click-through-rate of 9.6%, compared to a click-through rate of only 0.7% from non-DMP audiences.

Channels were tested and optimised for improved performance

Native advertising was the strongest performer of all digital media trialled, bringing the most people to our website, and the most engaged audience. The percentage of people who saw one of the native ads and clicked through to the website was 16% (in March) – a stark contrast to the industry benchmark of 0.2%. The average website browsing time post click was 5:27 minutes (up from 50 seconds in the six months prior), indicating that the correct audience had been served the ad, clicked and had found the content valuable.

We continue to refine our messages and placements based on response data. Across all media, ad message and creative variations that weren’t performing as well as others were turned off, leaving more budget for ads that resonated.

We are Next Level Online Marketing – an Online Marketing Agency based in Melbourne.

Interested to learn more in developing a data-led strategy from your marketing data and insights for your business? Get in touch with us.