To Grab Attention Present Things Differently

I really like this tactic being used on ionsolar.com. It all comes down to being unexpected. So many sites put the grand total of happy customers – this is expected. People will gloss over this. Why? Because shoppers’ brains are filtering out marketing speak.

This approach, on the other hand, makes the reader stop and think for a second because it interrupts the pattern we’ve gotten used to:

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Active Versus Passive Marketing

There are basically two types of marketing: passive and active. Passive marketing is bottom of the barrel marketing where one is simply keeping up with competitors or implementing ideas based on internal pressures. For example, if your CEO asks to increase email channel sales contribution from 5% to 6% and you respond by increasing email messaging frequency by 20% then you are a passive marketer. An active marketer is someone who would take that CEO directive and improve Average Order Value without increasing send frequency.

I was reading an article about the success of the Starbucks app and that story nicely illustrates this point. Let’s look at two scenarios:

Passive scenario: (Made up example) Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release touting the fact that 14 million customers use their Starbucks app every week. This is the so lame, Starbucks has over 100 million customers and if 14 million use the app once a week that means nothing. Basically, the app is leveraging existing demand. If the app created new demand, now that would be impressive.

Active scenario: Starbucks launches their app and sends a press release that talks about how their app uses personalization. Their personalization algorithm uses weather and time of day data to make offers. It could offer a discount for iced coffee when it’s unexpectedly hot outside. Or, if a customer aways gets just one type of coffee the app could make a special offer so the customer can be marketed a higher margin item. This is a great example of active marketing because Starbucks app has taken a situation where the customer might not be actively thinking about getting a Starbucks and nudged them in that direction.

Looked another way, active marketing is when you are able to take a customer who doesn’t want to take an action and gently convince them otherwise.

What type of marketer are you?

Email Signup Trick

Every site shows an email signup popup, and 98% of users click the close button. Why? Because the signup request doesn’t have the right context. The user has just landed on the site, they don’t even know what makes your business unique.

Tacklewarehouse.com also needs email sign-ups but they use a clever context tool to present their request. On each of their category pages they have this (red arrow in screenshot below):

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And when users click it they show this context-rich pop-up:

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And that’s how it’s done.

Amazon.com Vs. ______.com

5 years ago an online retailer that had their own site but also listed on Amazon would see like 10% of sales come through Amazon. Today that number is more like 60%. Naturally, some retailers have decided it’s not worth competing and taken their focus entirely to Amazon. They either close their site or significantly minimize their attention to it since it’s not driving as much revenue.

I’m not sure if that’s the right call.

Amazon has some disadvantages. The biggest being that Amazon product pages have to be formatted pretty much identically. Product description is basically a list of bullet points. That means you can’t weave a compelling story on your Amazon product page.

Here is what I think is happening. Your potential buyers either discover your site first or are on Amazon, discover your item, check out your branded site, and then buy on Amazon. But the point is that a big percentage of your first-time buyers on Amazon did indeed visit your site. Just because they ultimately purchased the product on Amazon after spending 12 minutes on your brand site doesn’t mean Amazon should get all the credit. Even if they love your site they might prefer to buy from Amazon if they have Amazon Prime (and nearly 50% of American households do).

How can we know for sure that your branded site is influencing Amazon conversions? Glad you asked. One idea is to focus your PPC on a specific city (for example Austin, Texas). Boost your ad spend in this one city for a time period (based on purchase cycle for your product). Then go to Amazon and see if there was a proportional uptick in Austin orders. If there was it proves your site plays an important role in driving Amazon sales.