Marketing Strategy

Use the Power of Perfect Timing to Boost Online Sales

When it comes to sales, the ticking clock often holds the key to success, and in the fast-paced realm of online, eCommerce retail, timing can be everything. Knowing when and how to conduct sales can make all the difference in business performance. In this blog, we’ll discuss optimal timing tricks and strategies and provide you with tips that will empower your eCommerce business. Whether you’re a seasoned online retailer or just starting out in the digital marketplace, understanding the intricacies of when to offer discounts, promotions, and product launches is vital.

ECommerce Timing Tactics

1. Understand Customer Behavior

Understanding your target audience’s behavior isn’t just about collecting data; it’s about leveraging that information to optimize the timing of your e-commerce strategies. By knowing the demographics, psychographics, and past purchase history of your customers, you can strategically schedule promotions, email campaigns, and product releases to align with the times your audience is most active and receptive. This fine-tuning ensures your marketing efforts are not only data-driven but also well- timed, increasing your chances of capturing your audience’s attention and driving more conversions.

2. Leverage Seasonal & Holiday Sales

Holidays and seasons offer prime opportunities for e-commerce businesses to optimize sales. These include Christmas, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, back-to-school season, and even niche holidays like National Pet Day. The key is crafting seasonal campaigns that resonate.

To optimize timing, tailor your products and messaging to align with the current holiday or season. For example, during Christmas, emphasize your products as “perfect gifts” or market your services as “quick and easy, giving you more time with family”. During Valentine’s Day, portray your services as something clients will “fall in love” with, or market your products as ways to “show you care” – whether that’s for themself or a significant other. By tapping into the seasonal sentiment, you can create a stronger connection with your audience, boosting the impact of your e-commerce efforts. Remember, it’s not just about the dates; it’s about capturing the essence and feeling of the season to connect with customers and drive sales and engagement.

3. Run Flash Sales and Limited-Time Offers to Create FOMO

Flash sales capitalize on the psychology of urgency and FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). When customers fear missing out on a limited-time offer, they’re more inclined to make a purchase. By creating a sense of scarcity and time sensitivity in your sales strategy, you can stimulate immediate action from your customers, and less abandoned carts.

To optimize the timing of flash sales, you can employ several key tactics, such as countdown timers to visually convey the limited-time nature of the offer, clear and compelling CTAs (Calls to Action) that direct customers to act quickly, or highlighting the benefits of acting swiftly and engaging with your limited-time offer.

4.Optimize the Timing of Email and Social Media Marketing

Sending promotional emails at optimal times, typically mornings between Tuesday to Thursday, can greatly enhance open and engagement rates. However, don’t forget to adapt these timings to your audience’s behaviors and time zones for maximum impact.

For social media marketing, figuring out when your audience is most active is essential. Utilize analytics to pinpoint peak engagement times on different platforms, such as evenings for Instagram and Pinterest. With this knowledge, you can schedule your posts and content to align with these windows of heightened activity, ensuring your message reaches your audience when they’re most receptive.

5. A/B Test and Conduct Data Analysis

Running A/B tests allows you to compare the performance of different eCommerce timing strategies. Experiment with variations such as launching sales in the morning versus the evening, and closely analyze the results. This approach provides the insights needed to fine-tune your timing approach and optimize sales.

As testing alone isn’t always enough, it’s important to also utilize data analysis tools like Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics to delve deeper into user behavior and preferences. Metrics like click-through rates, conversion rates, and bounce rates offer valuable guidance for making informed timing decisions.

6. Keep Shipping and Logistics Considerations in Mind

When it comes to the optimization of your eCommerce timing, it’s not only important to focus on digital aspects, but physical ones as well. Timely delivery is a pivotal component of customer satisfaction in the e-commerce world. While digital marketing and well-timed promotions can pique interest and generate sales, the actual delivery of the product or services can enhance, hinder, or even ruin the overall customer experience.

To ensure you’re optimizing timing in both the digital and physical, consider offering expedited shipping options during promotions. This tactic can attract customers looking for quick deliveries, enhance customer satisfaction, and drive higher conversion rates during peak sales periods (such as flash sales or holiday promotions – when timing is of upmost importance).

7. Conduct Post-Sale Follow-Ups

It’s important to remember that the sale is just the beginning. Post-sale follow-up is paramount in eCommerce. Express swift gratitude and promptly ask for feedback. This approach forms the foundation of long-term customer loyalty, where a timely follow-up can turn a one-time buyer into a loyal, repeat customer.

For more helpful information, as well as customized marketing and eCommerce solutions, reach out the experts at Strata.

Key Tactics to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates

As mentioned in part one of this blog series, achieving high eCommerce conversion rates requires continuous measurement, testing, and optimizing of your eCommerce platform – and if you’re not constantly focusing on enhancing customer experiences and streamlining the purchasing process, you’re missing out on potential gains. In this blog, we’re sharing ten additional key practices to boost eCommerce conversation rates.

More Ways to Increase Your eCommerce Conversions

Reduce the number of steps at checkout

When it comes to eCommerce conversions, checkout is arguably the most important area to focus on and optimize. It’s at the bottom of the conversion funnel – so when optimized properly, all other parts of the flow are likely to improve, as well. “If you improve the conversion rate of your final purchase page by 5%, your overall sales will go up by 5%.” One way to improve checkout? Try out some A/B testing of the content, imagery, and layout. Another? Make sure the cart can be easily edited. There’s nothing worse than not being able to figure out how to reduce the quantity of a product from 2 to 1, or remove one of the products from your cart. Lastly, try setting up auto-fill areas – such as the city, state, and zip code fields. “Research shows the average cart abandonment rate across all industries is around 69.57%.” Don’t let it happen because of a difficult checkout process. Most often – the simpler and easier the checkout, the better.

It’s also important to provide multiple payment options. Make sure all the most common ones are covered. You wouldn’t want a potential customer getting to the last step of the checkout process with the means to pay your company, but not the ability.

Think through the customer journey – then go through it backwards

Always have user experience in mind when reviewing and testing your eCommerce site’s effectiveness, while making sure it portrays and exemplifies your unique brand. If an eCommerce site is too complicated and confusing, customers will leave and find your product elsewhere. Additionally, make sure this simple design and experience is optimized for mobile. While it depends on your product and customers, it’s usually best to design with a mobile-first perspective. 91% of online purchases are made via a mobile device.

Differentiate your eCommerce site and your product

As noted above, it’s important to show off your unique brand and offerings. Make sure your product or service’s different qualities are clearly exemplified on your eCommerce site – and ensure your site and offerings compete with those within your vertical. If you don’t differentiate yourself, customers will likely navigate over to a company that does.

Use high-quality images & video

High quality, clear imagery not only looks professional, but can help the potential purchaser envision the products they’re interested in, in real life. In fact, “75% of shoppers rely on product photography to make purchase decisions.” Low quality, poorly lit, or badly photographed images look bad and can cause distrust and disinterest for the potential customer. 65% of people are visual learners…so make sure they’re learning what you want them to.

Here are two more photography tips that increase conversions:

  • Product images work best with neutral-colored backgrounds (such as white, black, and beige), although this can differ depending on the nature of your product. Sometimes images need to show mood, style, lifestyle, and so on, so a background that tells the story but isn’t the focus is, at times, necessary. Use your best judgement with knowledge of your customer base and product.
  • To create focus on your product, make the subject of the image either much bigger or much smaller than the background.

Video is also a great converter, enabling the viewer to not just envision the product in real life, but see how it works, where it works, and who it works for. Additionally, if your video is intriguing and well-shot, it will keep customers on your eCommerce site for a longer span of time (which is never a bad thing).

Think through and develop consistent understanding of data passing back to your site

This data includes that from digital ads, social media, print ads, and so on. Reliable and consistent data passed back from all traffic sources to your eCommerce site is crucial to knowing where to focus your efforts. But keep in mind, digital ad programs often mark all conversions as incremental, when that’s not always the case. Think through where and why this traffic is coming to your site and what it leads to. Yes, this takes time and effort – but the effort pays off. Understanding these pass backs can lead to higher profitability and better outcomes.

Along those lines, it’s often better to direct traffic to landing pages rather than to product pages or your site’s home page. This makes for easier tracking, increasingly focused targeting and CTAs, and often, better conversions.

Minimize (and test) the number of recommendations per page

“Choice Paralysis” is when a person is overwhelmed with the number of choices they have in front of them, making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to make a decision. When this happens to a shopper, they’ll often become so overwhelmed that they’ll leave your site altogether. Limit this paralysis by offering fewer, more relevant options per page. To increase conversions, A/B test the number of items customers see at each section of your website. It’s often even effective to give the customer the option to make that decision themselves, by adding a products per page dropdown at the bottom of each page. Additionally, make it easy and accessible for customers to search and narrow down what they’re looking for with a search bar.

We hope both part one and two of this blog series help you increase your conversions – but if you have questions, we’re always here to assist you. And, if you’re ready to explore our services or chat further about eCommerce conversion strategies, don’t wait! Contact us today.

A Strata YouTube Original Series

When it comes to direct marketing, quality design is crucial. When you invest time and effort into clean, visually appealing, effective designs, your marketing campaigns can stand out from the competition. We spoke with Courtney Prate, Creative Designer, to get answers to several frequently asked direct marketing design questions. Read on to see what she had to say!

Q: How important is graphic design for direct marketing?

A: If you look at the world around you, marketing is everywhere – and a big key, if not THE key for that marketing is design. Without thinking through design, your direct marketing will very likely be a flop.

Q: What’s the best process/steps when designing direct marketing materials?

A: Although there are key aspects to keep in mind when designing digital and physical direct marketing materials, it’s not one-size-fits-all. Every designer has their own process and way of designing. The most important factors (I believe), are 1 – consistently keeping the end-user in mind, 2 – being open to other opinions and potential options (you never know what might work), and 3 – ensuring the call to action (what you want the customer to do) is top of mind and clear.

Q: What is the most important thing to focus on when designing direct marketing?

A: It’s always important to focus on the call to action, ensuring that it’s clear, obvious, and…actionable! After all, you could have amazing content and imagery, but if the customer doesn’t know what to do, is the piece really worth it?

Courtney goes more in-depth and answers a variety of other design-related questions in our latest YouTube channel release. View the whole video by clicking the image below. Here are the other questions she answers:

  • What’s the biggest mistake you see commonly made with direct marketing design?
  • Why is branding important to keep in mind when it comes to direct marketing design?
  • How do I decide on the channel, material, and sizing of my direct marketing?
  • What are the most attention-grabbing colors for direct marketing design?
  • How do I choose the right images for my direct marketing design, and where do I find them?
  • When is it worth it to A/B test designs?
  • How many revisions should a direct marketing piece go through?
  • What are the biggest design trends of 2023, and what do you see evolving in the next few years?

Click the image below to view the full video!

If your direct marketing design could use some help, or you have additional questions, contact our experts today! Strata’s more than happy to help your company transform your marketing campaigns.

Key Tactics to Increase eCommerce Conversion Rates

eCommerce conversions don’t just happen overnight (not often, anyway), and set-it-and-forget-it tactics for your online store, no matter what product or service you’re selling, will only get you so far. Every visitor to your website who leaves without converting is one more missed opportunity that’s likely due to a lack of (or poor execution of) conversion tactics.

Measuring, testing, and optimizing your eCommerce platform – from website design and customer communication to the checkout process – takes dedication and willingness to experiment. Before you put in the effort, give this blog a quick read. We’re supplying you with several key practices to increase eCommerce conversation rates.

What Makes a Quality eCommerce Conversion Rate?

Before we get into what may be holding your company’s eCommerce conversion rates back and how to convert more customers, let’s talk about what an eCommerce conversion rate is, and what makes it seen as “successful”.

An eCommerce conversion can be a variety of things – a newsletter or rewards program sign-up, adding something to a wish list or shopping cart, making a purchase, or something else. The most sought-after and most commonly referred to eCommerce conversion is a sale, but many programs will record all of the above. Before measuring, make sure you can differentiate between these conversion types and get the information you’re looking for.

Conversion rate is calculated using the following equation:

Across the internet, there are various findings when it comes to the “most common”, average conversion rate – ranging from 1 – 5%. According to BigCommerce, “Even if you are doing everything right, you can still expect to win the sale around 2-3% of the time,” so ultimately, your goal should be a 2-3%+ baseline conversion rate. With that said, your company’s specific optimal conversion rate will vary based on several variables. These variables include, but are not limited to, the product or service, industry, product pricing, and target demographics.

Top Reasons Why Customers Don’t Convert

In an ideal world, a customer visits your site, finds the product(s) they need and/or like, and finally, makes a purchase – but this sequence is rarely the case. Here are some top reasons customers don’t convert:

  • Your site makes a bad impression
  • You don’t know your target audience and/or have not conducted enough research
  • Your site isn’t optimized and hasn’t been tested
  • Your images are bad and/or poor quality
  • Your copy isn’t persuasive
  • Your site’s pages are confusing or distracting
  • The CTAs aren’t clear
  • There’s a lack of trust
  • Your site has a confusing checkout
  • There are no retargeting efforts
  • Your site has outdated UI/UX design

…among others.

Key Tactics to Increase Your eCommerce Conversions

Although the barriers to conversion above are common, your company doesn’t have to fall short. Here are several ways to increase eCommerce conversions:

Encourage Loyalty

You’re likely aware that loyalty programs can generate a ton of value. In fact, research shows that “43% of customers spend more on the brands they feel loyal to.” Brands that have high customer loyalty spend more time and money on customer lifetime value (CLV) through creating a community of loyal followers. Offer long-term benefits to customers (such as evolving their customer tier with every purchase and increasing their rewards), and customers will convert more often. Additionally, celebrate customer milestones with rewards, and/or give loyal customers early access to products. The more repeat, loyal customers, the better your conversion rate.

Optimize the Speed of Your Site

A Walmart study found that “conversion rates drop sharply with load times greater than one second.” An additional study found that 53% of your customers will leave your site if a page takes more than two seconds to load. And another study found that “even a delay of a single second can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” There’s really nothing worse than losing customers to slow site speed. Don’t worry, as there are tools to test and negate this issue, such as Google PageSpeed. Additionally, if your site seems slow, check its hosting plan, because it may have speed limitations. Lastly, check image sizes, as they may be too large, causing your pages to load slowly.

Add Areas of Proof

Show potential buyers that what they’re buying is truly a good purchase – and that you have the content to prove it. Provide case studies, testimonials, pictures, and reviews. “User-generated content is a goldmine—85% of consumers find them more influential than brand images or videos and 43% say it’s a great way to discover new products.” Including an area on each product page with images and text from real customers, or – a step further – “verified buyers” (accompanied by verified badges) can help increase conversions astronomically. After all, people not only look over, but trust these resources, with “92% read(ing) online reviews and testimonials when considering a purchase.”

Offer Free Shipping

A free shipping offer (especially at checkout) can increase conversions by making potential buyers feel like they’re getting an exclusive deal. Additionally, it’s been found that “free shipping that helps customers save $6.99 is more valuable than a $10 price slash…” Try offering this special discount at checkout, or upon exit intent.

Recover Abandoned Carts

Speaking of exit intent…around 35% of abandoned carts could have been avoided by checkout optimization, changes in product content, or site improvements. It’s important to make sure if a customer does attempt to exit without converting, that you aim to recover their abandoned cart with a cart abandonment marketing strategy in place.

Use Pop-up Windows

As we mentioned earlier, offering a discount upon exit intent gives you a fighting chance to stop the customer from leaving. Do this in a pop-up window, and you’re more likely to get the customer’s attention and keep them on board. Use pop-up windows to supply coupon codes, or have the visitor enter their email and be sent a code (which can additionally help you grow your mailing list and increase future conversions, as well).

Gamified email pop ups are also popular and seen as one of the most effective ways to convert eCommerce site visitors, as they create nostalgia and excitement. “With gamification, the user drops (their) reluctance to buying or subscribing to another newsletter, and by playing on the ecommerce platform (they create) a special and unique relationship with the brand.” Some examples of gamification tools are guessing games, wheel spins, or brain teasers to receive a discount or free item.

Make Yourself Available

Don’t miss out on a potential purchaser just because you weren’t able to answer a simple question. Make it easy for current and potential customers to contact you or acquire needed information, whether that’s by phone, email, or a chat. We’d recommend almost always including a live chat option, as “42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email and 16% for social media or forums.”

Additionally, think about including an FAQ section or an area with support articles, how-to videos, and email or push notifications for new updates and offers. Communication is key. “Positive experience drives return visits and conversions – 74% buy based on experiences alone.”

Create Urgency

You’ve likely seen this one used more and more these days. Many companies are using persuasion triggers like time limits, scarcity of product, and product interest to increase excitement and urgency around specific products. Some examples of these persuasive phrases are:

  • Selling fast!
  • Only __ left!
  • Currently in __ shopping carts
  • __ shoppers are looking at this product
  • __% off for a limited time!
  • Best seller
  • “Influencer Name’s” Pick
  • Editor’s pick
  • Trending on “social platform”

Many people easily feel FOMO (fear of missing out), enjoy the feeling of obtaining something exclusive, and feel pressure to make quick decisions. Use these human instincts to your shop’s advantage!

Provide a Snippet

If your product is content or resource-based, showing a small portion can compel the visitor to want to read on and purchase. Provide a paragraph or two to pique interest. Or (even better) show a snippet quickly, and then blur it out as a teaser. Then, only offer the full snippet with the input of a name and/or email address, creating an even exchange of value. This way, even if the interested reader does not decide to purchase the full piece, you now have their information for future communication.

Always Be Testing and Improving

The key is to continually analyze, test, report, and work to understand the activity on your eCommerce site, whether from current, potential, or future customers. For the highest conversion rate possible, your company should never stop thinking about how you can improve experiences (whether that’s changing a button or image size, a call to action, page layout, or colors). No detail is too big or too small.

We have several more tactics heading your way, so look out for part two of this blog series within the next few weeks!

Strata’s skill and expertise in increasing conversions goes beyond eCommerce, with years of conversion experience through a variety of mediums. Interested in our services or want to chat more about eCommerce conversion tactics? Contact us today.

Best Practices & Strategies to Reduce Abandoned Carts and Boost Conversions

In the world of e-commerce, there’s one common challenge that every business faces – abandoned carts. As one of the most common roadblocks in the industry, it’s important to be aware of the most effective ways to combat it. While there are various approaches, such as the use of direct mail, in this blog we’ll focus on several digital solutions.

What are Abandoned Carts and What Causes Them?

Understanding cart abandonment and identifying why it’s happening is crucial for developing an effective strategy to combat the issue. Cart abandonment occurs when a potential customer initiates the checkout process for an online order, but abandons it before completing the purchase. Abandoned carts are notoriously ubiquitous and can (and do) happen to any company (even if you’re doing everything right!).  What many companies fail to consider – and fix – is the cause of customer diversion. While there are a variety of causes, potential customers’ reasons for cart abandonment can be grouped into four categories:

1. Logistics

This is the primary and most prevalent cause of cart abandonment. It encompasses factors like pricing, hidden fees, and additional expenses (such as shipping and taxes). Cost is often a critical consideration for customers when making a purchase. A high initial cost may deter them from the start and/or lead to second thoughts later, but it’s typically unexpected additional expenses at checkout that directly result in abandoned carts. According to a study by Baymard, logistics, on average, contribute to 47% of cart abandonment.

2. Trust

Building a strong foundation of trust with your customers is paramount. With no shortage of untrustworthy online vendors, customer suspicions tend to run high, and any questionable actions on the seller’s part will not go unnoticed.

3. UX/UI

Poor design and usability features can play a major role in cart abandonment. This can range from difficulties with store navigation to users simply disliking its appearance (which also ties into the trust and credibility of your platform). Inconveniences, such as requiring a customer to make an account, can account for 25% of lost carts.

4. Poor Intention

In some cases, not every abandoned cart can be recovered. Some people simply never had the intention to buy the product at all. Sometimes it boils down to retail therapy, window shopping, or a mistake.

What are Some Ways I Can (Re)Convert These Flighty Shoppers?

Effective Re-Marketing Techniques

One of the most critical tactics of converting abandoned carts is the implementation of effective re-marketing techniques. To successfully recover potential sales, it’s essential to craft a well-thought-out series of marketing initiatives that gently nudge customers towards completing their purchases. The initial outreach is key, as it serves as a friendly reminder of their abandoned cart. Ideally, this message should be personalized, addressing the customer by name and showcasing the items left behind. Furthermore, it’s essential to suggest why completing the purchase is a good idea, highlighting the benefits of the product(s), and noting any ongoing or personalized promotions.

In addition to personalized email reminders, consider employing other retargeting tactics, such as tailored push notifications or SMS messages through the customer’s preferred communication channel(s). To sweeten the deal and provide extra incentive, offer discounts, free shipping, or exclusive offers, further motivating customers to return and finalize their transactions.

Lastly, in any re-marketing piece, it’s essential to make it easy for customers to take action. Ensure that your cart recovery emails and ads have a prominently placed and easily findable call-to-action (CTA) button or link. A well-designed CTA button can make all the difference in whether a customer decides to return to your site and complete their purchase.

Schedule Optimization

A crucial aspect of converting abandoned carts is schedule optimization. It’s essential to remind customers about their abandoned items at the right times to maximize the chance of recovery without being overly intrusive. Sending reminders in well-planned cycles can be highly effective. As stated above, it’s best to start with a gentle, initial reminder shortly after the cart abandonment (typically within a few hours) to keep the purchase fresh in their minds. Follow this with subsequent reminders, strategically spaced out over the next few days, gradually increasing the sense of urgency.

With that said, it’s essential to strike a balance between being assertive and being respectful of your customers’ preferences. While urgency tactics can be powerful, avoid being too pushy, as this may lead customers to opt out altogether (and possibly even never return to your site again). Instead, use persuasive language that highlights the benefits of completing the purchase and the value of the products they’ve chosen.

Offering Incentives

As we touched on above, incentives and discounts can be powerful tools in the arsenal of cart abandonment recovery. By providing potential buyers with enticing offers, you can address their reservations and motivate them to return and complete the transaction.

To maximize the effectiveness of these incentives, it’s crucial to ensure that all payment options are well-represented during the checkout process. Customers should have a seamless and hassle-free experience when they decide to return and finalize their purchase. Eliminating any friction in the payment process is key to preventing further cart abandonment.

However, a word of caution is necessary: while incentives and discounts can be highly effective, it’s essential not to overdo them. Offering too many discounts or incentives too frequently can devalue your products and erode your profit margins. Therefore, strike a balance between using these offers strategically to win back customers and maintaining the integrity of your pricing structure.

Alternative Solutions

In addition to the conventional methods for recovering abandoned carts, exploring alternative solutions can be a game-changer in your cart conversion strategy. Maybe try retargeting through Google Ads, which allow you to display personalized ads to cart abandoners as they browse the web. This serves as a gentle yet persistent reminder, keeping your products in front of potential customers.

Exit intent pop-ups are another valuable tool. These pop-ups appear when a user is about to leave your website. They’re often used to offer a last-minute incentive or assistance, like a discount or free shipping, to encourage them to stay and complete their purchase.

Additionally, displaying customer reviews, ratings, and social proof can be a potent motivator for hesitant shoppers. When customers see positive feedback from others who’ve purchased the same products, they feel more confident and reassured in their decision to buy.

Lastly, a reliable customer service presence, whether through live chat, email, or a responsive support team, provides customers with a safety net. Knowing that assistance is readily available can alleviate concerns and prompt them to proceed with their purchase.

A/B Testing & Data Analysis

A/B testing and data analysis are indispensable tools in the quest to effectively convert abandoned carts. The significance of A/B testing lies in its ability to uncover the most compelling approaches to cart recovery. By experimenting with different subject lines in your cart recovery emails, you can identify the ones that resonate best with your audience, ultimately leading to higher open rates and conversions.

In addition to A/B testing, robust data analysis is essential for measuring the effectiveness of your cart recovery efforts. By reviewing metrics such as click-through rates, conversion rates, and revenue generated from recovered carts, you can gain valuable insights into what strategies are working best and where improvements are needed.

Ready to supercharge your e-commerce strategies and conquer cart abandonment? Consult with our experts at Strata and transform abandoned carts into thriving sales with tailored solutions!

How to Understand & Improve Your Print Mail Campaigns

We’ve said it before – direct mail is a powerful tool. Whether you’re trying to connect with Gen Z or Baby Boomers, almost anyone and everyone can be persuaded by its effectiveness, if well-executed. So, how do you determine if your direct mail campaign is working? Let’s discuss some measurements of direct mail success…

Response Rate

Direct mail response rate is, simply stated, the percentage of people who respond to physical mail pieces (which could be postcards, letters, flyers, dimensional mail, and so on). Responses could come from things like website visits through QR codes or URLs, business reply cards (BRCs), or even coupon code uses and coupon scans. Response rate can help determine which part(s) of your direct mail marketing campaign are working, and what areas need improvement.

To calculate the direct mail’s response rate, use the formula:

Response Rate = (Responses / Mail Pieces) x 100

Let’s look at an example of equating response rate. Let’s say you send out 1,000 pieces of mail advertising the grand opening of your new grocery store, and you receive 30 responses. You’d determine your response rate using the following formula:

(30 responses / 1000 pieces of mail) x 100 = 3%

Keep in mind, the average response rate of direct mail falls between 2.7% and 4.4%, so don’t be deterred by seemingly “low” numbers. To best ensure you’ll be able to calculate and understand response rates, make sure each direct mail piece has a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether that’s a special offer, coupon, or link to a landing page, it’s important to include identifiable URLs that you can easily track – like UTMs, PURLs, or specified QR codes. Or, make sure they can easily respond via a business reply card. This ensures that, even if the recipient doesn’t take full action, you’re aware of whether they made action at all, if you sparked their interest, and if you’ll possibly remain on their radar.

The call to action (CTA) is the driving force behind a successful landing page. It propels users to act, with phrasing such as “don’t miss out”, “learn more”, “click here”, and so on. Landing pages should be designed with a single, concise call to action. Too many calls to action can create confusion, so again – stick to just one powerful, action-oriented verb that leaves no room for ambiguity. What you want the user to do should be simple and clear.

Return on Investment (ROI)

To calculate the direct mail’s return on investment, use the formula:

ROI = (Net Income / Expense) x 100

Let’s say, for example, you spend $5,000 on postcards. You find that the mailing brings in $15,000 in revenue. If you subtract the initial cost of $5,000 from the revenue of $15,000, you’ve made $10,000 in revenue. To calculate ROI in this instance, the equation would be:

($10,000 / $5,000) x 100 = 200%

So, you’d have an ROI of 200%!

And, if you’re looking to get some help calculating ROI, you can plug the above information into USPS’s ROI Calculator.

Conversion Rate

With the inclusion of CTAs in your direct mail pieces, you’ll be able to track conversion rate. Conversions are often purchases – but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, conversions are things like rewards program signups, app downloads, or referral requests. Either way, to determine your conversion rate, look at the number of people who responded to your mail in comparison to those who became customers (or signed up/downloaded the app/requested a referral).

To calculate the direct mail’s conversion rate, use the formula:

Conversion Rate = (Conversions / Responses) x 100

For example, let’s say 30 people responded to your postcard, and out of those 30, 6 people downloaded your company’s mobile app (the conversion in this case).

(6 downloads / 30 responses) x 100 = 20%

Your conversion rate comes to 20%. Plus, you now know which customers to continue to build relationships with and can (likely) turn them into returning customers.

Monetary Return

To determine the monetary return of each of your touchpoints, you’ll need the following information: sale price, number of mailings, response rate, and conversion rate. As noted above, response rate measures the number of recipients who responded to the direct mail piece, while conversion rate takes the percentage of people who converted.

Ways to Increase Campaign Effectiveness

Now that you can calculate your direct mail’s success, how do you increase it? We have a few recommendations to ensure you’re creating and sending ROI rich direct mail.

Tracking & Attribution

Understanding the health of your direct mail campaigns is easier with first-person information. As stated above, when designing your mail pieces, be sure to include QR codes, PURLs, a phone number, or another easy-to-follow CTA. Not only are you establishing trust between the recipient and your brand (by giving them the power to respond on their accord), you’ll also be able to track which recipients (and how many) are responding.

Design Compelling Pieces

It’s no secret that people love good design. It’s important to keep that in mind when crafting your direct mail. Keep your messaging short, sweet, and to the point, while creating a sense of urgency – don’t overflow the piece with too much content. If a piece would look and possibly perform better on a postcard than in a letter format, think through various shapes, sizes, and textures. Most importantly, use market research or previous data (if you have it) to understand and use what your customers best respond to.

Know Your Audience

Understanding the geographics, demographics, as well as psychographic behaviors of your target demographic is imperative to the details of your campaigns. The more information you have on your customers, the better you can reach and speak to them.

For example, let’s again say you’re conducting a grocery store grand-opening campaign. You’re aware your new neighbors are primarily millennials. So, you send postcards announcing the grand opening and include a redeemable coupon (that can be used online via QR code or in-store via postcard scan). Additionally, you include photography that best matches the demographic background of your target recipients. You’ve provided these highly tech-savvy millennials with two ways to access the deal, while still encouraging them, and those less inclined to visit online, to come into the store.

Looking Ahead…

Direct mail continues to provide valuable customer and marketing insights and can be a key player in your multi- and omnichannel campaigns. Even as the digital landscape continues to evolve, heavily due to privacy policies and laws, mail proves to be an effective outlier. And, it’s even more successful if it’s done well. If you’re looking to get started with direct mail, want to discuss the measurements above, or just want to talk more about marketing campaign options and tactics, connect with Strata’s experts today.

Elevate Your Landing Pages from Zero to Hero

Landing pages hold the key to turning casual website visitors into valuable leads and ultimately, loyal customers. These web pages and their forms are strategically simplified to capture essential information and hold immense power when it comes to boosting conversion rates. Despite their familiarity, the art of optimizing landing pages for maximum impact continues to present itself as a challenge for many, but as an opportunity for all. In this blog, we unpack the elements behind creating well-structured, impactful, and conversion-oriented landing pages that deliver results.

Elements for Conversion

1. Value-Centric Exchange

Landing pages are a simple, effective, and non-invasive way to initiate a data exchange. To further incentivize visitors to share their information, a compelling offer’s essential. Craft an incentive that resonates with your audience, whether it’s an exclusive case study, industry-specific tips, or free resources that address the visitor’s pain points.

2. Call to Action

The call to action (CTA) is the driving force behind a successful landing page. It propels users to act, with phrasing such as “don’t miss out”, “learn more”, “click here”, and so on. Landing pages should be designed with a single, concise call to action. Too many calls to action can create confusion, so again – stick to just one powerful, action-oriented verb that leaves no room for ambiguity. What you want the user to do should be simple and clear.

3. Simplistic Copy and Imagery

Keep your copy and imagery straightforward, in harmony with your CTA. Every word and image should serve a purpose. While the landing page can include thought-provoking and exciting design, it should not be over-loaded with complex graphics. Your main goal’s to be persuasive, straight forward, build trust, and deliver information. Additionally, imagery should lead the viewer’s eye to the call to action, whether that’s through actual arrows and movement or simply with a layout that guides the potential customer along.

4. Efficient Opt-In Process

Seamless user experience is key. Optimize your form fields to strike a balance between collecting essential information and respecting the user’s time. A visitor to a landing page is already close to converting. Make sure it’s easy for the visitor to fill out desired fields (or risk that visitor abandoning the process). Remember, a shorter form often yields better results!

5. Design Optimization

Above-the-fold content (on both desktop and mobile) is your prime real estate. Ensure easy access to vital information. Additionally, ensure your landing page is mobile-compatible, as a significant chunk (over half of all traffic) comes from mobile devices. Lastly, eliminate any detouring links that might distract users from the main goal.

6. Continuous Improvement

The work doesn’t end once the landing page is live. Be sure to regularly evaluate its performance using tracked metrics. A/B testing’s your friend – find the sweet spot between different landing page formats and form fields that maximize conversions.

Landing pages, when strategically crafted, can transcend from mere entry points to formidable conversion tools. By understanding and implementing the key elements discussed above, you can create landing pages that not only capture leads but nurture them into loyal customers.

For more strategies, expert tips, and industry insights to enhance your lead generation efforts, reach out to our team, here. We’ll elevate your landing pages; you’ll watch conversions soar.

To Boost Customer Acquisition (& Retention)

Before we get into the seven retail marketing ideas we’ll share with you in this blog, let’s first look at some key aspects of retail marketing. Unlike several other industries, buying from the retail industry is not always driven by a need, but quite often by a want – or by a perceived need brought on by persuasive marketing. This notion can make retail marketing a bit more complicated than that of other industries, but with the right tools and knowledge, not necessarily more difficult. Marketing to a retail audience is all about creating engaged, loyal customers using effective, detail-oriented marketing campaigns that not only focus on acquisition, but long-term allegiance. It’s about finding your audience and targeting them with information based on their wants, interests, and pain points – causing them to realize or believe that they not only have interest in your product, but that they “need” it.

Customer Engagement

There are several ways to engage with and create an actively engaged audience. Generally, customer engagement is your brand’s communication with your customer base, made via strong marketing outreach through various channels. Quality engagement with current and potential customers can create brand awareness and understanding, as well as cultivate brand loyalty. In retail marketing, it’s imperative to create customer relationships – especially those that last. Retail marketing is made more successful when it’s well thought through, and retail campaigns work best when they can be easily spread and successfully flourish through word-of-mouth marketing (WOM marketing). WOM marketing is a must…after all, up to 90% of people trust recommendations from friends and family. Also important is efforts to not only keep customers coming in, but to keep customers coming. Make sure your campaigns are not only built to excite and attract new customers, but to appreciate and nurture existing customers. Experiential marketing, quality customer service, and loyalty discounts and offers are all key to marketing to and keeping current customers. In fact, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a good experience, and 80% of customers say that their reason for switching to another company is poor customer service. Additionally, research shows that 71% of online shoppers are influenced by discounts, and the stronger your relationship is with a customer, the more likely they are to buy into an offer (and keep coming back for more).

Planning a Retail Marketing Campaign

The following are some key things to keep in mind when planning an effective retail marketing campaign.

  • Duration: How long will you run your campaign?
  • Engagement: Will the customer interact with your brand without prompting?
  • Frequency and Volume: How often and how much interaction will occur over the customer’s lifecycle?
  • Context: Where exactly are these interactions taking place?

7 Retail Marketing Ideas

Now that we’ve scratched the surface and gone over some retail marketing basics, we’d like to share several retail marketing ideas we’ve compiled – and believe work well. Take a look:

1. Blending Digital and In-Person Marketing:
74% of shoppers expect the same level of service in-store and online. So, make sure whether something’s out of stock, a customer’s unable to find their size, or they aren’t sure where to find a product in-store, that they can quickly resolve the issue with a digital touchpoint. The resolution should be as simple as pulling out their phone, scanning a QR code, finding a digital store map, signing up for wait-list alerts, and/or ordering online. Additionally, when sending or providing marketing materials, make sure to lead the customer to a digital touchpoint via QR code or URL. It’s great to include a detachable, physical coupon – but also important to provide a digital option. This way, no matter who your audience or their level of tech knowledge, they’ll be able to easily access your offer.

2. Augmented Reality Marketing:
Augmented reality has been and continues to be on the rise, especially when it comes to retail marketing practices. It’s become much more important for customers to not just see a product but to imagine the product on them or in their space. If it aligns with your target audience(s) and budget, think through how you can incorporate some sort of augmented reality into your marketing – whether that’s with a virtual app, a geofilter, or an in-store screen. Need ideas? Take a look at some of these augmented reality marketing examples.

3. Loyalty Programs:
Not only are these types of programs beneficial to customers – they’re also very useful for retailers. Loyalty programs build long-term relationships with faithful customers that will come back time and time again – and not just for the benefits, but because they believe your company cares for their individual allegiance. And, getting new customers to sign up for a rewards program right away is extremely helpful, as you acquire a ton of customer information up front that can be used for future outreach. It’s important to always have several ways for customers to join your program. Include a link, QR code, and/or a form to sign up on your direct mail, on your website, in-store, on receipts…the list goes on. The best part? Customers very rarely get annoyed by loyalty program communications, even if it’s the third or fourth time you’ve offered. Why? Because it’s a benefit to them!

4. Omnichannel Engagement:
It’s important to target retail customers with not only the right message, but at the right time, and in the right place. Depending on the variety of your audience, it’s possible you have some audience members that are more likely to communicate with your company through more “traditional” mediums, and others through more “modern” mediums. Think through the demographics, geographics, and even psychographics of your audience to understand where and when you should be connecting with them. Either way, multiple connection points with your current and potential customers will keep them engaged and make your brand more memorable.

5. Exclusive Experiences:
This kind of marketing can be a bit riskier than most, as whatever buzz your business creates (whether good or bad) will likely have an impact. However, marketing tactics such as exclusive drops, invite-only events, special release items, or “first-come-first-serve” items can be very effective and create a lot of conversation (again, we’re referring to WOM marketing) around your products or services. Just make sure you think through all the positives and negatives as well as possible outcomes and create the best plan of action so that all goes as smoothly as possible. To get the best possible showing at your event, release, or drop, be sure to promote it on both digital and physical marketing pieces – such as mailers, flyers, digital ads, and so on. Again, think through where your target audience is, and start there.

6. Campaigns, Challenges, and Contests with Similar Brands:
Another unique marketing tactic we’d suggest you try, if you have the right connection(s), is a crossover marketing campaign with another company with similar audience geographics, demographics, and psychographics, yet different offerings. For example, if you’re a budget gym, try partnering with a low-cost clothing (even better, gym clothing) retailer. Creating a campaign with this brand is beneficial in several ways, as you share a similar customer base, but on different verticals, helping both parties increase customer engagement and possibly gain new customers.

7. Take a Stand for a Social Cause:
What better way to meet new customers than because of a cause your company’s passionate about? Today’s consumers expect (and even appreciate and respect) when companies have opinions and will feel a much stronger connection and allegiance to your company if its opinions and beliefs align with theirs – whether those beliefs are centered around environmental protection, sustainability, food safety and distribution, equality, education, healthcare, etc. If your company shows active support for specific causes, new customers with aligned beliefs will follow. Of course, this tactic also comes with a bit of risk, but that risk is often simply a tradeoff. A lot of customers that don’t necessarily feel a long-term connection to your company, or fewer customers with aligned beliefs, are there for the long run. As we mentioned above, nurturing your customers is just as important in the retail industry as acquiring new ones. And, while the cost of acquiring new customers and nurturing existing ones can feel hefty, a strategic marketing partner can help you keep to your budget while creating and cultivating these important retail relationships. If you’re ready to increase the effectiveness of your retail marketing campaigns, click here, or contact our experts today.

A Strata YouTube Channel Original

In our last few blogs (and their corresponding YouTube videos) we’ve gone over the basics of new mover marketing, how to choose the right partner, and some steps to get started. Now, it’s time to take a deeper dive into how you can specifically utilize new mover marketing in the grocery industry and what channels and workflows work best.

A Quick Review of New Mover Marketing

To give you a brief refresher, new mover marketing is a specific, niche marketing tactic that’s designed to reach new residents in your area. It’s one of the most effective ways to bring in new customers that have just recently entered your specific target market. When it comes to new movers, they’re nobody’s customer, yet – so it’s an effective tactic to make a good first impression at the same time they’re looking for your product or service.

What do New Residents Really Want?

To answer the question, new residents are looking for “reliables”. These are goods and/or services that new movers can depend on daily, weekly, monthly, or even yearly. Since they’re new to the area, they’re usually unsure where to start. When it comes to grocery stores, sometimes there can be almost too many options for consumers to choose from. Because of this, you, as a grocery store, are in constant competition with other stores near you. That’s why it’s so important for your grocery store to be the first to reach out and make the consumer aware of your store – before competitors – and show them you’re close by. With immediate outreach, they’ll see you care, are convenient, and have quality goods.

The Best New Mover Channels for Grocers

We’ve deemed ourselves experts in new mover marketing all around – and we’re very practiced in some of the best channels and workflows for grocers (specifically) to reach new movers. One of the best channels you can take advantage of is direct mail. We know direct mail to be vital to the success of new mover campaigns, especially those of grocery stores. When mail is executed correctly, with personalization and attribution tactics, it can cut through all the digital noise and stand out in the mailbox. As we’ve mentioned in past blogs and videos, the average response rate for direct mail can be up to 50% more effective than those of email blasts, so it’s definitely worth your time and money!

Like we hinted at above, not all direct mail is created equal, so we suggest that those in the grocer industry send a “welcome handshake”. This is either a 6×9 or 6×10 postcard or bifold that allows your store to be introduced and represented in the best way possible. Again, the key to a good direct mail campaign is making sure it’s personable and actionable. With personalization and calls-to-action, you can welcome new movers to the neighborhood by first name and provide a personalized offer, which they can access by QR code or PURL. Another option? Provide a personalized coupon that they can redeem in-store, upon their first visit. If you want to go a step further in terms of personalization, include a map that shows the location of your store relative to their new residence. Generally, you want to make it as easy and enticing as possible for new movers to choose and visit your store.

What’s Next?

With this quick read, you now have a look into one of the top grocery industry channels to utilize for your next new mover campaign. But – it doesn’t stop there! We still have more suggestions when it comes to the best channels and workflows for grocery establishments like yours. Head over to our YouTube channel, where you’ll hear these suggestions from Connor, a member of Strata’s Strategic Sales Team. Or, if you’re ready to take these new mover marketing steps with Strata, contact us today.