Four Steps To Better Data-Driven Marketing

Data Disruption By Greg BonsibCheck out the newly published Mighty Guides eBook Data Disruption and my chapter on data-driven marketing.

Data has always played an important role in marketing. What has changed in recent years is the sheer volume of data now available from so many different sources.

If we were once challenged to see the forest through the trees, we’re now challenged to see the forest through the leaves.

“I look at data strategically, with the essential premise that the customer is the ultimate focus of interest.”

Here at Zenith, we primary sell our products through our network of retail partners. We do have a product website, but it is not a major source of our sales. In my role at Zenith Products Corp., I look at data strategically, with the essential premise that the customer is the ultimate focus of interest. With that in mind, I have a four-step approach to using data in customer marketing:

  1. Start small. For example, we often use Amazon Services (AMS) ads to test the effectiveness of promotional strategies. We will focus on a product or a phrase or an idea and watch how it performs. By doing so, we can create a test with a focused objective, and we can keep the cost of our tests very low. Amazon Webstore provides an excellent data environment in which to try something small at low cost and capture meaningful performance data around it.
  2. Test and learn. By keeping the test small and the cost low, we can try many different variations. For instance, I used AMS to test category ads, product ads, brand ads, ads based on search words, ads based on competitors, even ad placement that AMS recommended. The good thing about this method is that Amazon provides data that allow us to track ad performance directly to Amazon Webstore sales. In this way, we can identify ad strategies that perform well and those that are total duds. Failures are as important as successes. The best-performing ads returned $5 in sales for every $1 spent on marketing—a 500 percent return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend.

“In this way we can identify ad strategies that perform well and those that are total duds. Failures are as important as successes.”

  1. Build on success. Using the proof point of a 500 percent marketing ROI, I can then build that ad concept into a larger marketing strategy that involves product packaging, in-store promotions, and many other things. Then, I start looking at other kinds of performance data. For instance, if a store is running a promotion on a product, I pay close attention to the halo effect of that product on the sales of other products.
  2. Document your knowledge. It is incredibly important to document what you do. Documentation enables you to build a body of knowledge about what works and also to share that knowledge through your organization.

The power of this kind of data-driven marketing is that when you have data that prove your strategy, you can gain credibility and resources to do it again.

Key Lessons for Better Data-Driven Marketing

  1. When testing ideas, it is important to create a test that has a focused objective and to keep the cost of tests low.
  2. The power of data-driven marketing is that when you have data that prove your strategy, you can gain credibility and resources to do it again.

Good Selling!

Greg Bonsib is an author of the new Mighty Guides Ebook Data Disruption.

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3 Ways You Control To Rank Higher On Amazon

How to maximize your chances of shoppers finding your products on AmazonYou can’t grow your sales on Amazon (or any ecommerce site) if you can’t be found.

The giant in online retail, Amazon is a great source for generating profits, whether as a supplement to other channels or as your main sales channel. But with intense competition and multiple sellers, it takes some creativity to stand out and grow sales.

It turns out the secret to ranking higher in Amazon’s search function isn’t what you think it would be.

Luckily, you can definitely apply certain strategies on Amazon to rank better. Here are tips to help set you up on the right path to success.

How to maximize your chance of shoppers finding your products on Amazon

3 key elements that go inHow Amazon ranks your product in a searchThere are 3 key elements that go into how Amazon ranks your product in a search:

  1. Product title
  2. Product description and bullets
  3. Hidden key words

Amazon’s product title is the most important search factor. While you would expect the product title to be a key contributor to the search ranking algorithm, would you guess that it’s weighted at 60%?

This suggests that you carefully craft your product title. Amazon suggests incorporating the following attributes in product titles.

  • Brand and description
  • Product line
  • Material or key ingredient
  • Color
  • Size
  • Quantity

Another way to think about this is: Brand Name, Model Number, Detailed Product Description, Color. You have to write really detailed titles and include relevant keywords.

Surprisingly Bullet Points and Product Descriptions don’t carry a lot of weight with Amazon’s search function

Are Your Getting Found on AmazonThe bullet points appear underneath the title. Because of the proximity to the title, image, price and add to cart button, you might think it should be treated as an important field for keywords.

Product descriptions are hidden deep on the page but are the one place where you can really provide a lot of detail on the product. Because the descriptions can be so rich, you would think that Amazon would mine this section for keywords to improve search results.

Surprisingly, bullets points and product descriptions are not critical to ranking better in search. Together the bullet points and product descriptions only carry a 10% rank in the Amazon search algorithm.

The optional Amazon hidden keywords carry more weight than you would guess in ranking well in an Amazon search

3 key elements that go into how Amazon ranks your product in a searchIf for any reason you could not use a keyword in the other fields, by all means add it to the keyword field. Amazon will use it in determining rankings. In fact, these keywords will account for 30% of your ranking factors.

This is a great opportunity to add additional information that is relevant, but would somehow clutter the other fields

I use this field to add richness around a product’s use or category. For example, we have a nautical home décor line that we can make more relevant in search results by using hidden keywords like coastal, beach, cottage, seaside, lake, etc.

Selling success on Amazon starts with being found but it doesn’t end there. Nor are these the only components that go into Amazon’s search function. But they are the critical few factors that you can directly control in ranking higher in any Amazon search.

Good Selling!

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.

8 Tips to Improve Your Online Product Presentation

online-retailWhen you post a SKU on a retailer’s website, there is a minimum amount of content that is expected for EVERY item that is listed.

That bare minimum includes:

  • Primary image: Clearly shows exactly what the customer will get.
  • Short product description: Follows category specific standards and includes the key search terms.
  • Assets: Video, alternative images, and documents such as warranty, use & care, assembly, instruction manuals, etc. (usually as .pdf files).  It’s a great way for consumers to further educate themselves in the buying process and to revert back to after purchase as most consumers tend to lose the pack in information.
  • Cross merchandising: Many sites will allow you to “connect” collections & accessories
  • Detailed product description: Includes features & benefits, how it’s used – what customer wants to know to buy.

Put your shopper hat on.  Become a consumer.

8 tips for improving your online product presentationTry this exercise.  Ask others to do it as well.  Make sure they give you their candid feedback.

Here is the exercise. Put your shopper hat on. Become a consumer. Go in and look at your items.

Try Amazon, Build, Lowe’s, Walmart, Fastenal, Grainger, Menards, Ace, True Value, Target, etc. Pay particular attention to your biggest and most important retailers first.

Look at the alternate images, the videos, the pdf’s of instruction manuals, warranties, collections, accessories, specifications, description, read every review, look at shipping ability, etc, etc.

When you are online, be sure to click anywhere and everywhere to view all content. It might be fun after you do that to compare the shopping experience with a competitor or two of yours online, too.

Here is what you are likely to find:

  • Some of you have done a good job filming an appropriate video showing installation or use of the product.
  • Some of you have done a good job loading alternate images which show side view, top view, bottom view, in use shot.
  • Some of you have done a good job building out collections which feature a lot of other products that relate or share the brand name.
  • Some of you have done a good job building out accessory content showing items that should be bought together like nails with a pneumatic nailer.
  • Some of you have done a solid job with detailed descriptions and specifications.
  • Some of you have included pdf’s showing warranty, user manual, installation guide, product specs, etc.
  • Some items ship everywhere.  Some do not ship to GU, VI, PR.  Some add AK and HI to that list.
  • Some offer a white glove shipping option (no touch) delivered to the exact spot the customer wants it.

It is obvious these are a few things where some of you have done things really well.  And there’s places where you may not have met your customer’s expectations.  You need to be the judge of that for yourself.

Pay particular attention to online reviews

Star ReviewRead them all and think about how you can do better. Could you have had a better review if the instructions were clearer, if the product was enhanced, if a legible manual was included, etc, etc.

We all need to embrace the good and bad reviews. If it is a 1 or 2, how do we fix or improve something to be sure we do not get that low of a rating anymore. If it was a 3 or 4, in many cases the customer will tell you one more thing that you could have done to gain the 5 star rating.

With the greater acceptance of smart phone use, customers in stores are considering a purchase and are accessing the web to read reviews before buying. Make this important connection that it is not just about the dot.com sale, it affects the business done up and down the aisles every day.

Thanks for taking a moment to think like a typical retail shopper and let’s use this opportunity to get better.

Good Selling!

Content Strategy graphic credit: dtelepahty.com

Active Search Results (ASR) is an independent Internet Search Engine using a proprietary page ranking technology with Millions of popular Web sites indexed.