Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Ecommerce Infographic: The Buying Power of Millenials

Is your company having trouble engaging the proper target market? Well, we all know teenagers are the loudest brand advocates and older generations have more purchasing power than most. But, don’t forget the Millennials. To highlight this evolving demographic and help ensure businesses can capitalize on their transitional understanding of the World Wide Web, our design team made this insightful infographic on Millennials and their online buying mentality.

Remember, men lie and women lie, but Ecommerce numbers do not. Use these stats wisely and your bottom line could be bulging in no time.

8 Ways To Earn More Facebook Likes

With 1.11 billion potential shoppers actively using Facebook, businesses have been racing for ways to build their presence on the popular social network and engage those users with their brand. However, with so many businesses vying for interest, most Facebook users only interact with the companies who make it easy or provide an incentive to do so. Yet, businesses who earn customers’ trust on Facebook essentially earn a qualified lead, so the benefit is huge.

To help companies earn clout on Facebook and generate the type of customer-focused and referral-based interactions necessary for repeat business in 2014, we have outlined 8 ways to earn more Likes on Facebook.

1) Post Quality Content: First and foremost, creating engaging content is the best way to generate brand buzz online. Seems so simple, right? Well, it’s not. To truly surround a business with buzz, companies must continually create engaging content that it’s demographics will latch on to, share, and hopefully encourage them to come back for more. Once users start seeing that level of quality content regularly, they’ll be enticed to keep coming back and eventually Like that business page – adding said business to their own timeline and subsequently seeing all their posts from then on.

Some easy ways to tap into the mindset of your target audience are by using Google Trends or Facebook Graph Search. Google Trends allows users to search broad terms and turn up popular trending topics from their industry, from within the search network. Facebook Graph Search allows business owners to search amongst info offered by people who have liked their page.

2) Stay Consistent: Not only should business owners be actively publishing engaging content, they should be posting on Facebook regularly. Don’t just post articles, then call it a successful social campaign. If business owners really want more Likes and action on their Facebook page, they must be regularly engage users.

They can do so by commenting on other business pages, their fans’ pages, or simply by sharing content that’s relevant to their business niche, which they feel will provide value to their followers. Posting consistently will reinforce the brand to users. If done well, the consistent posts will entice users to Like the business page and add said business to their Facebook Timeline – letting them see all their posts from then on.

3) Complete Your Business Profile: Facebook displays suggested business pages when a user searches for a specific business function (IE: ‘Heating & Cooling’). Businesses can give themselves the best opportunity to appear in those suggested results by completing their Facebook business page profile. Adding details such as Operating Hours, Tagline and Industry will enhance the chances of users seeing the page and giving it a Like.

4) Homepage Pop-Up: Adding a pop-up app, such as Like Box, to a Volusion or WordPress site will position the business Facebook page in a way that is very noticeable to site shoppers, encouraging them to see their mass of Facebook friends (reinforcing that others also Like the brand) and easily Like the page. To refrain from being annoying, allow around 10-20 seconds to pass before having the Like Box appear on page.

5) Incentivized Pop-Up: Very similar to the Like Box app. However, the difference is that this feature uses a third party called Shop Socially to administer the set-up and costs and can offer an incentive, enticing shoppers to Like a business’ Facebook page. To refrain from being annoying, allow around 10-20 seconds to pass before having the fly-out appear on page.

6) Facebook “Like” Ads: Although there are numerous types of ads Facebook offers, the “Like” ads are the most effective when trying to get more Likes. No surprise there. They work in two ways.

The first way is as second-hand referrals from Facebook (see above). They appear when people are using Facebook and show suggestions of pages they might like, based on friends’ interests.

The second way they appear is strictly as a recommended page you should Like or check out (see above), suggested from Facebook as a promoted ad, within a user’s news feed. For more specifics, please see set-up and pricing.

7) Post Engaging Images: In an era where Pinterest succeeds specifically on image sharing and Instagram has turned everyone into a professional photog, it’s clear people love pictures. Businesses can capitalize on this trend by posting pictures of products in-use, niche-specific topics or even quotes in design form on their business Facebook page.

If the pictures are good enough, people will start to Like the photos themselves. If business owners can stay consistent in posting the pictures, people will start to like business Facebook pages posting them – so they can see those business pages regularly on their Facebook Timeline.

8) Run A Contest: This is one of the most fun ways to engage users to Like your business page. Plus, they won’t bat an eye before actually hitting the Like button. However, the only difficulty with this option is that there must be a legitimate prize given away.

To start a contest, business owners must first generate the rules of said giveaway, spelling out the stipulations, requirements and prizes.Then, they should just make one of the rules in the contest that anyone who participates must Like the company’s business page. If the prize is good enough and your audience is broad, Likes will start pouring in. Other contest options are available, as well.

The Importance Of Having A Well Designed Company Logo

Brand Labs does not only deal with ecommerce as a science — as our name implies, we also deal with your company’s brand as a science. We’ve had many customers since we began back in 2006 (500+). Aside from what we already knew about the importance of having a well designed logo, we’ve learned something else… having a good ecommerce logo design on your website can increase conversions! In the next few paragraphs we’re going to explain why having a good looking logo is so important and why it can persuade visitors to make a purchase.

Your company logo is your company’s face to the world. It’s one of the first things someone will see when they visit your website or look at your product packaging. A unique logo is one of the main ways people remember your company. It should link your website with your marketing materials. It should give those who see it a feeling for what your company does just by looking at it. It should give people a sense of trust to buy from your company.

If your company is a startup, after deciding on a name and a business plan, one of the next things you should consider is having a logo designed by a professional graphic designer. At Brand Labs we pride ourselves on our design abilities. It’s one of the reasons we got into building ecommerce sites in the first place. We took a look at so many online stores and saw that they looked terrible. We wondered how they were able to stay in business. We knew that if we weren’t comfortable ordering products from websites that used a poorly designed default store template with a logo that was created with a simple font typed in Microsoft Word, then thousands of other people would be nervous, too. We knew that we could help these companies do better, increase site visitors, and increase revenue.

Take a look at some of the logo comparisons below. These companies all came to Brand Labs because of our reputation as an agency that can take their online business to the next level with our expertise in design for ecommerce.

Shadetree Power Sports logo

Cool Tools logo

eUndies logo

MX Megastore logo

We’ve seen many studies about how visitors view websites. The majority of people always start from the top left corner and move across and down in a kind of F pattern. Typically, a logo is placed in the top left corner of a website because that is the first place people look. If someone is a first-time visitor to your site, you want to present them with a professional look to make them feel at ease with purchasing something from a company that has been and will be around for a while. If someone is a return visitor, you want them to feel comfortable that they are visiting the same site where they previously had a great online shopping experience. The placement of the logo in your site’s header is important to give people that anchor of confidence they need to make a purchase.

You don’t need to be a big company and spend a ton of money to have a great logo, but even big companies need to be careful when changing their overall branding strategy. Take Gap as an example. They went through a logo redesign process to try to “modernize” and re-energize their brand. What happened instead was, shall we say, not good and Gap reversed their decision and reinstated the old logo.

Gap logo

It’s easy to see why: the new logo lacked character, originality and thought. If you’re looking for someone to design a new logo for your company, make sure it is someone that has proven they do great work. However, it is also important to keep an open mind during the design process. While you know more about your company (and probably your target market as well) than the designer you hire, a good designer should know what kind of look and feel will work best for you without jumping on the latest trend. Your logo should be something that will stand the test of time and not need to be redesigned every few years because it’s trying to be “hip.”

Take a look at your current logo. Ask yourself what it says about your company. Does it look professional? Is it memorable? Is it appropriate for your type of business? If you are unsure about any of these, a redesign might be something to think about. Money spent now on a well conceived, impeccably designed logo will show a return for years and years to come.

Brand Labs goes through an extensive research and design process when we’re hired to design a logo. We begin by talking directly to you about your brand and where you want to take it. Even though we’ll work through many sketches and concepts internally, we’re only going to show you the concepts that we think work best for your company. It’s our job to create, through science, what we think will make your company unique in a sea of competition.

Google’s Enhanced AdWords Campaigns

You can almost feel it building up every time it comes around.

That almost electric tingle in your fingertips and rapidly growing itch in the back of your brain that lights the fuse on your hand’s afterburners and rockets it to your device. The race is never acknowledged, but it’s always on. The finish line can be anything. And your answer-loaded info-missile is being constructed as fast as your network will allow. For something that hits so frequently, it’s amazing how you still get excited when you can be the fastest one to an answer to whatever question is on your “dot-com generation” friends’ predictably impatient minds. For those gathered, this whole unspoken information retrieving Olympics often becomes a spectator’s sport. Others often just think it’s stupid until the pressure is on and they’re in heat of the moment.


The Hardest Working Marketer in Ecommerce

As of this very moment, AutoResponderMax has sent out more than 2.5 MILLION customized emails on behalf of its growing list of clients.  That’s 2.5 MILLION personalized connections between our retailers and their customers and no one had to lift a finger.

Now let’s do a little creative math* (*wild speculation) based on this post.  Extrapolating from that single anecdote we can say with absolute certainty* that those emails have generated at least $1,297,585.88*.  Heck… while we’re guessing, let’s say it it was a billion dollars*!  Because it totally could have been*.

Regardless, the fact is that AutoResponderMax is easily one of the easiest, most affordable, most effective marketing tools for your Volusion store – did you notice how there was no asterisk* on that statement?  That’s because it’s completely true!  Seriously.  ARMax is crazy good and the first month is free.  Go sign up.  Now.

AutoResponderMax Offers 2,281% ROI to Volusion Retailer

This is an actual, unretouched screen shot from our boss’s iPhone showing that as yesterday, The Red Hat Society’s online store had made $1,118 in April by using AutoResponderMax – that’s a 2,281% ROI.   If you haven’t already clicked over to AutoResponderMax to start your free trial, then allow us to give you all the details…

We own and operate The Red Hat Society Store.  That gives us a lot of first-person insight into the needs of the average Volusion retailer.  That insight led us to build AutoResponderMax – the email marketing tool for Volusion.  We built it to meet a lot of the communication needs we have with our own online store.  The screen shot here proves that we were pretty successful.

What you see here is a shot of the AutoResponderMax Dashboard app for iPhone.  (Which is totally free, by the way.)  It shows April’s usage data.  Stated simply, ARMax sent 2,154 event-triggered (and personalized) emails to Red Hat customers.  A remarkable 70% were opened and 41% of those resulted in click throughs.  Those are all really good numbers if your only goal is to build your relationship with your customers.  If, on the other hand, you’d also like to make money, the real number to look at is this month’s revenue – $1,118.  That’s over a thousand dollars of revenue that is directly related to emails sent by AutoResponderMax.  The Red Hat Society Store is on the Plus Plan (the most popular level) which means that thousand dollars cost us exactly $49 – bringing us back to that incredible 2,281% ROI – except that it isn’t incredible.  It’s credible – and provable.

We have trouble talking about AutoResponderMax sometimes because basically we always just want to say, “Try it, for crying out loud!  The first 30 days are free and it’s awesome and it totally pays for itself over and over and it’s so easy and what are you waiting for?  DO IT, DO IT, DO IT!“  Now, with this photographic proof that it works so dramatically well, we’re almost overwhelmed with the desire to reach out of the screen, grab your mouse and sign you up ourselves.  Of course, that would be rude, so we’ll just strongly suggest that if you’re a Volusion retailer and you don’t have AutoResponderMax, you’re almost certainly leaving money on the table and that’s just crazy.  Go sign up right now!

We’re Going to Make You Cry, Then (While You’re Emotionally Vulnerable) We’re Going to Talk About Ecommerce In a Way That May Seem Crass In Context, But We Assure You That Our Motives Are Pure, So Just Go With It

While searching the Internet this morning for important new pictures of baby sloths, we stumbled on the video we’ve posted below.  Before you play it, we’d like to warn you about a few things.  First, it’s eleven minutes long.  Second, you’re going to want to watch all of it.  Finally, unless your heart is a tiny, ice-cold cinder, you’re going to cry.  We’re misting up just thinking about it, but that might be because we’re also listening to Sarah McLachlan, so we’re probably thinking about that frigging animal shelter commercial that always drops like a bomb into the middle of whatever lighthearted romp you’re watching on TV and brings your life to a screeching halt while you scrape together all of your change to donate just so you can make all the big-eyed homeless puppies stop crying in HD all up in your grill.

The video below is the opposite of that.  Enjoy.


Okay… now just pull yourself together now so we can talk about this like the totally composed businesspeople we are.  So, that was deeply charming on a lot of levels – the boundless and inspiring enthusiasm of youth, the near-universal love of The Arcade and the way that something so frivolous can bind us all at such a basic level, the unqualified support of a working class father for his son’s passion project, the pride of accomplishment – there’s a lot of real genuine heart-string-plucking going on here.

but did you notice how no one gave a crap about Caine’s Arcade until a savvy outsider stepped in and started a social media campaign in support of it?  Did you further notice that Caine’s Arcade also benefited from the Holy Grail of viral luck – an appearance on the front page of reddit?  The Internet basically prevented this from being an incredibly sad or possibly even heart-crushingly tragic story.  Let’s talk about how all of this could have played out after the jump…


The Puffycoat Project – Buying Process & Assisted Conversion Analysis

Six months ago Google released a major improvement to Google Analytics: Multi-Channel Funnels.  With this new feature, we now have deeper insight into conversion attribution and we can improve overall sales tracking.

Previous to this release, a fundamental problem with web tracking was that it only credited the last link clicked prior to the conversion.  Marketers using the last click methodology were not able to provide a complete view of the customer’s journey through the entire digital buying process.  With Multi-Channel Funnels we’re able to generate reports showing the full path to conversion over a 30 day period. Analyzing a customer’s path across multiple digital channels (organic searches, paid searches, referrals, social networks, email etc.) has given Brand Labs a much clearer understanding of how all channels can assist each other in driving a conversion.

Since their release the assisted conversion attribution reports have lived up to the hype with their ability to connect the conversion path dots in ways we previously could only guesstimate. This has resulted in the ability to make more informed business decisions and better allocate resources on behalf of our clients. The best way for me to illustrate the value of these reports without getting anymore technical is to turn the microscope on my own buying behaviors and processes. The info graphic below shows how I jumped from channel to channel on my quest to purchase a Marmot brand jacket. Hopefully the value and insight gained from attributing assists to each channel involved in the conversion is more clearly illustrated in this graphical format.


Three Down and Dirty Tips to Optimize Your Website for the Holidays

Christmas Ornament

Image by papartrutzi on flickr.

Once the leaves fall of the trees, it’s too late to completely redo your online store in time for the holidays, but you can make a little holiday magic with these three down and dirty tips.

1. Do you have clear calls to action? Be sure that emails and banners tell shoppers exactly what to do. While you’re at it, have fun with calls to action. Selling gift-wrapping? How about “Wrap it up?” Have free shipping? Go for “Send it free!” And of course, there is always the clear and concise (but boring), “Shop Now.”
2. Test your ideas: A/B tests are great ways to discover what’s working with your holiday strategy. Test subject lines, calls to action, buttons – anything, really. Once you have the result, optimize your holiday campaign.
3. Tell customers about shipping: Shipping is very important during the holidays. Make sure your customers know that gifts will arrive on time with shipping calculators or free shipping. And do you have free shipping? Tell them loud and clear. Be borderline obnoxious about this one. People don’t like paying for shipping when they have to send fruitcake to their “favorite” uncle.

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