How Insider’s marketing capabilities can increase earning potential
Starting a business from scratch is no easy feat. From tiny tasks like picking your letterhead to daunting ones like setting up your payroll and business accounts, becoming an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart.
Most companies don’t make a profit for the first few years and some 50% fizzle out before the first five (Source: Small Business Administration). That’s why society views business owners with reverence – it’s a badge of honor to overcome those formative years when the business is just an idea expanding into a tangible, profitable operation.
One of the reasons many entrepreneurs never progress beyond start-up status is simple: marketing. Thirty years ago, when the internet was in diapers, a solid business strategy involved minimal marketing effort. Print out some posters, hand out business cards, call all of your friends and ask for referrals. OK, maybe I’m thinking 50 or 60 years ago here. Still, the point stands.
Today, with billions of people congregated on social media sharing anything from a man skateboarding to Fleetwood Mac to their innermost thoughts, it’s hard to get a word in. That’s why it’s crucial to have a plan.
Business owners must revitalize their digital marketing plan to not only keep up with today’s world, but become the go-to industry leader who people turn to when they need specific services. Content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), geo-targeting… where do you start? Let’s make it easy for you: here are 11 ways to grow your business using Insider’s online marketing strategies:
Also known as “browser push notifications”, these are messages sent to a user’s device (be it a phone, laptop, or tablet) through a web browser. They’re tailored and timely notifications meant to engage website visitors so they keep coming back for more.
(For a full breakdown of this concept, be sure to check out our post called Everything You Should Know About Web Push Notification).
These little pop-ups pack quite a punch. Not only do they target website users who are clearly interested in your products or services, they instantly put you top of mind. Since users are forced to interact with web push notifications, this translates to a 100% delivery rate (compare that to typical email marketing delivery rates!).
One trick of the trade that all business owners should know is A/B testing. Basically, it means trying two different marketing techniques and seeing which one works. One attempt would be “A” and the other would be “B”.
To show you what I mean: imagine you’re sending an email to some prospective clients about your business. You’ve written the email, added photos, and linked to your website. The only thing left to do is write a captivating subject line that will be so interesting, the potential customers click into the email to learn more. What do you write that achieves this? That’s where A/B testing comes in.
To perform an A/B test with email, simply split the group of recipients in half and send them the email with two different subject lines: one half gets the short and sweet one and the other half gets a longer, more detailed version. After all is said and done, the results show which email subject line did best.
To ensure your website is optimized for each customer segment, A/B test banners, CTA button text, images, menu categories, and much more.
Let’s say you have a segment with an affinity for polka dot dresses. You can experiment with copy and images in your A/B tests and see what language, aesthetic, and products drive more conversions.
A/B testing is done across several marketing mediums, from email marketing to digital advertising. It’s a surefire way to learn what engages your audience, tweaking accordingly to get even better results next time, and watch your business grow.
It can also apply to SEO efforts. For improved local impact, working with experts in SEO for the Baltimore area to A/B test different landing pages is a sensible strategy.
For more insights on how to A/B test with confidence, read our comprehensive guide.
Once you figure out who your target audience is, then narrowing it down into defined categories is the process of market segmentation. Think of it like animal classifications. First you have the whole animal kingdom, then it groups characteristics together to create subsets like division, class, order, family, genus, and finally species.
Market segmentation is just like that, but with your audience. People are grouped together based on demographics, interests, needs, location, or any other feature that may impact their purchasing habits.
For example, pretend you’re a shoe retailer and wanted to market a pair of stilettos. First, you would probably split the audience by gender since women are typically heel wearers. However, an 18-year-old college freshman will likely wear those stilettos somewhere completely different than the 35-year-old professional, so then you segment the audience by age.
Then you realize customers in New York City check their phones (and thus see your advertisements) at a completely different time of day than your San Diego customers, so you narrow your scope even further until, finally, you have each targeted group as their own market segment, or species to keep with the animal comparison.
Market segmentation targets the right people for the right ad. It saves time, energy, and resources because whatever you create is tailored for them and has the best chance of sparking and holding interest.
Market segmentation hints at this, but personalized marketing is the present and future of the industry. Gone are the days of blanket advertisements that reach broad swathes of the population. Consumers have become more aware of marketing tactics as advancements in technology and digital capabilities soared. If salesy and impersonal marketing is placed in front of them, they’ll tune it out.
So how does a business benefit from personalized marketing? To turn a website visitor into a lead and finally a satisfied customer, the sales funnel must steer the person in the right direction. Deliver personalized experiences to each user with dynamic content. Change call-to-actions, images, or in-app banners based on what the potential customer views and clicks. Compel them to buy now because “supplies won’t last long” or “the sale is ending soon!” so they feel a sense of scarcity and serious FOMO.
All of these tactics mold a customized sales funnel for shoppers from beginning to end and increase the likelihood of lead generation and conversions — AKA new customers and greater profits!
If you’ve been out and about the last, say, 10 to 15 years, you’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative role mobile devices now play in everyday lives. When cell phones were just flip phones with limited data, there was no marketing to be had.
Today, they’re mini computers wedged in everyone’s back pocket ready for use at all hours. To reach the right people, mobile is the way to go. The data doesn’t lie: over half of paid search clicks were on mobile devices last year (Source: Quora Creative).
That’s why the next business strategy all companies should incorporate is mobile marketing. Mobile web browsing offers a whole host of new experiences with different content to engage users. From scratch-to-win coupons to AI-powered predictions, navigating potential customers through the sales journey has never been easier with mobile marketing.
Plus, the on-the-go technology is clearly here to stay, so it’s a prudent investment for all entrepreneurs and companies to pursue. (Here’s a definitive guide to all things mobile marketing if you’re interested.)
No, not appetizers. With the rise in mobile devices came the parallel boom of apps. Applications, or “apps” for short, are now one of the best communication methods for marketers hoping to go where their clientele are.
Why? With over two billion people currently using Messaging Apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, it’s a direct line to audiences for a seamless and satisfying customer experience. Businesses can send marketing messages ranging from app downloads to coupons to free gifts.
There are some restrictions on promotional messages, so be sure to check out our explanation of WhatsApp Business API and Promotional Messages here.
Meeting customers where they are is a major focal point of modern marketing. As I said before, the 21st-century shopper is skeptical of Mad Men-era tactics and ignores business pitches that don’t make sense for them.
Businesses and brands are constantly trying to figure out what their clients want, but there’s a pretty simple solution to this vexing problem. Ask them.
With gamified surveys and feedback forms, companies can better understand current and prospective customers no matter where they are in the sales process. Did they chat with customer support in an app? Ask them for feedback. Did they just read a blog post? Survey why they visited the page. Did they make a purchase? Thank them and question what could’ve been done better.
Capturing the customer’s voice at all stages of the buyer’s journey not only helps a burgeoning business learn what works and what doesn’t, but it lets the customer feel heard. While a happy customer should be more than enough all by itself, it also drastically increases the chances they come back for more. Hello, customer retention!
When you don’t know where to start, it’s best to streamline the process. Email marketing behavior, for instance, has a relatively rigid number of behaviors possible. Readers can open it, review it, and hopefully click through to the website or landing page. That’s pretty much it. Because of that, templates are a lifesaving tool for nascent businesses.
Create any journey for your email subscribers and save it for later. Think welcome emails for new users, cart abandonment emails when a website visitor leaves before buying, and cross-selling when someone makes a purchase and they’re a good candidate for another product.
You should also use templates to cover customer-facing documentation. This makes certain that they have all the info they need, and that you can also add your branding and contact info as required. For instance, using free receipt templates lets you enhance this post-purchase process, thus encouraging repeat business from customers.
These are all Insider-templated options that can be premade and ready to deploy on a moment’s notice. It takes the stress off of the business knowing they can turn to templates for minimal effort after they’re first created.
Coordinating all communications across channels is a major lift for any brand or company, whether they’re a Fortune 500 corporation or a small business getting off the ground. Consistent messaging is a fundamental, yet underappreciated, strategy that even the best marketers get tripped up on sometimes.
Cross-channel purchasing habits are a common aspect of sales these days. I’ll show you what I mean: a person decides to buy a boat. They search “boats for sale near me” on a search engine, find a couple credible ones and decide to check out the business Facebook pages, then visit websites, sign up for newsletters, and finally connect with customer service on Facebook Messenger to get their recommendations.
That is a typical experience for shoppers today, whether they’re buying a boat or hiring an accountant. It doesn’t matter. Yet, this complex web can create headaches for companies.
With so many digitized channels out there, it can be hard to keep up. Yet that’s exactly what the 21st-century shopper expects a business to do.
Designing an interconnected flow of this buyer’s journey simplifies this to create a natural transition from one step to the next. Customers will go with the flow, become a lead, convert to a customer, and build brand loyalty for the long haul. Products like Architect do just that. Without a pre-planned process in place, potential buyers will run into roadblocks and quit.
Remember when Snapchat was the only player in town offering quick glimpses into the lives of their users? Those were the days. Now, virtually every major social media platform incorporated its own version. Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn all have short-lived posting capabilities where the content eventually disappears. As attention spans shorten, stories continue to prevail.
Despite everyone and their mother having the ability to create stories, it’s a tough tool for marketers and businesses to master. Stories require a balancing act between light-hearted content and lead generation. They are visual experiences that must align with a company’s culture, design, and employer brand standards.
If done right, stories are worth it to any growing business. According to an Instagram Story Study, brands that posted at least five stories per day had more than a 70% retention rate (Source: Social Insider). Merging design, content, AI, and sales into one (as Instory does) is the right way to turn this marketing strategy into a business goldmine.
At the end of the day, what’s the point of all of this work? As a business owner, return on investment (ROI) is the name of the game. There’s a finite number of hours in the day and a start-up or new brand must prioritize. With customer data and segmentation at your fingertips, you can see the future. Not in a crystal ball, but with AI-backed predictive segmentation.
Based on what your website visitor viewed, how long they were on particular pages, what they added to their cart, and more, Insider can predict consumer behavior before they make it based on past experiences. This is a game-changer for multiple reasons.
First, cross-selling products or services just became easier. If web visitors regularly purchase two products or services together, it’s a no-brainer to suggest the second option when a customer is viewing the first.
Second, a customer’s experience on your website can be swayed. If a prospective customer left something in their cart, send them a web push notification an hour later to remind them. Use one of your templated emails to offer a coupon and tell them time’s running out. Personalize their call-to-actions so they feel like they’re getting a positive, tailored experience.
No matter the business goal, whether it’s brand awareness, new customer acquisition and retention, or increasing market share, digital marketing must have a seat at the table. Starting a business and scaling it to a profitable enterprise takes patience, resilience, and creativity.
Luckily for any business owner or brand strategist hoping to build an empire, many of the outlined marketing strategies above are cutting edge even for a full-time marketer’s standards. More than that, though, several of these business tactics can be automated processes where brands set it and forget it. What entrepreneur doesn’t want that?
If growing your business is your primary objective, implementing any or all of these digital marketing techniques will support and even bolster that goal, so the climb to the top is a little less strenuous.
For more strategies on how to grow your business, check out our eCommerce metrics use case explorer.
Nicolas is VP of Marketing EMEA at Insider. Passionate about new technologies and e-commerce, Nicolas has held various position at leading e-commerce and tech companies including Groupon, Microsoft and Bwin.