It’s a little early in the year to ask if you have analysed your 2018 marketing performance yet but here’s our thoughts on areas to look at and things to consider for 2019.
2018 In Retrograde
One of the quickest activities you can do to get a feel for your web traffic is to look at your analytics, simply compare traffic etc and select compare to previous year option. As a general overview, this will give you an initial picture of which months did better or worse than the previous year.
Look at which marketing channels performed well, did you see a massive drop in email revenue this year due to GDPR?
Obviously an in depth review will be much more useful and if you use Google Analytics. The annotations section is really handy to remind you what activities took part on particular days where you see spikes i.e. Jan sale email sent, Price reduced on X category, ad spend increased on X.
So whatever you find out by looking at your data, it will give you a good idea of what needs more attention, creativity, budget or even a complete rethink for 2019.
We’ve heard a lot in the media about how tough 2018 was for retailers, although there were winners and losers, The Guardian has a good write up if you’re interested – “UK Christmas Retail Winners Profits”.
Interesting to see that some retailers still won big without the usual big December discounts route. We know that our online consumers are looking for more from ecommerce sites and demanding the very best deals and offers, but this doesn’t always mean discounting. Think value for money, service and customer experience and you’re thinking in a different way.
So What Now For 2019?
We have another interesting political and financial year ahead of us all with Brexit or not on the horizon, lots of fear mongering, random walls being built (or not) across countries and less than healthy financial predictions at the end of 2018. This will no doubt leave consumers feeling the need to spend very carefully this year and so the online retailers need to think smarter and offer more value to allow for growth.
“Today’s consumers expect more. They want assistance at every step, therefore, as marketers, we need to be one step ahead of our customers — it’s time to start predicting their needs regardless of where they are in their journey.
As we head into 2019, people’s expectations will continue to rise. They’ll ask increasingly detailed questions and expect brands to provide answers that are tailored just for them. Ultimately, it will be the brands that are deemed truly helpful that will rise above the competition.”
Jason Spero, VP of global performance solutions at Google
Understanding what your existing and potential customers really want in terms of product, value and service has to be the key here and finding out those answers is a good first step.
Carry out some market research in your sector to find out what your customers really care about, it won’t always be price you’ll be surprised to hear. You can do this by running various incentivised surveys and polls or you can use a market research company who will do all of this for you. If you compile an interesting and punchy survey and allow customers to speak their minds (rather than the standard.. 0-10 rating on every question, you’ll understand their needs much better).
Actual Marketing Performance
Look at the shopping behaviour reports in analytics to find out what’s happening when people are on your site, what does your site bounce rate look like in your best categories or most popular product pages, is it over 50%? How about your add to basket and cart abandonment rate (average in the UK is between 60-80% so anything 75% and over is a concern). If your figures are worryingly high then now is the time to address it, if you aren’t sure, then speak to a professional (yes, just like us, plugety plug) and get some advice.
We always say this but think about your own experiences of shopping online, where do your frustrations lie? Does it all feel too cold and clunky? are you looking for more customer service? Will you only buy if there is an active discount code or cashback on offer? Think back to the last site you were on where you almost purchased, what stopped you? When did you last recommend a site to a friend because you had a fantastic shopping experience?
Win More Customers in 2019!
So you have your marketing performance picture and you know where things went well and where you fell down in 2018, excellent you can now start thinking about new goals. You have a new improved marketing plan for 2019 and a realistic budget to get there. So how are you going to win more customers in 2019? We believe that if you listen to your existing customers and show them that you have done so, they will respond positively. By using the knowledge that they give you about their needs to target new like minded customers, you’ll have much greater success. An example might help here.
Top customer comment = I shop with you all the time, I want to be rewarded for my loyalty
New customer acquisition campaign = Targeting lookalike audience focus on shopping rewards scheme (points or prizes)
Top customer comment = Love the product and price but unhappy with the volume and type of packaging…
New customer acquisition campaign = Targeting lookalike audience focus on environmentally friendly packaging
There are many ways of getting your new messages out there, PPC, social, email, affiliates but get it out there and let people know you care and that you want their business.
- Give your website a facelift! an early spring clean if you like, freshen up those creatives and add some zingy new ideas, keep your customers interested and curious and your marketing performance will benefit!
- Add some new products, ranges or product bundles, what’s that saying now? ‘If you always do what you always did…. ‘ people like change and innovation, they also like stability and safe to be available, so give them something new to ponder on whilst ensuring their favourites are available too.
- Come up with some new and exciting competitions and giveaways! If you have reasonable profit margins this won’t cost you as much as you think. Most importantly with this sort of thing, make sure you share an image of the actual winner on your site and on social! People are so skeptical these days but prove your competition was real (you know we’re thinking Facebook right?) and inspire them to be the next winner!
- Write some compelling content and ask for some customer stories, help your new potential customers identify with real people and the benefits they experienced. There can be an SEO element to this content but that is not it’s purpose.
- Undertake some new competitor research – especially if you haven’t done that for a long time, things change fast these days and you need to be in the know.
- Give your brand some personality – get out and about and meet your customers!
- Partner with an affinity brand! you sell socks, they sell shoes perhaps, a perfect promotion combo and with double the database, chose wisely now.
- Do something for charity – don’t be all take take, be proud of it and shout about it.
As always, we hope this post has been of interest to you. Good luck on your quest for more customers this year, and if we can help, just say the word.
Other articles you may be interested in:
Google has been changing things up again
We talked to one young person to find out what inspires and motivates to buy online.
A guide to using influencers to promote your brand
Making sure you do whatever you can to make your visitors have a positive experience with your brand
Understand what makes your customers tick/spend