As a marketer, there are only so many conferences I can attend in a year — and this year all three happened to fall within two weeks of each other. By far the best one I attended was Klaviyo: BOS, a two-day summit focused on growth tactics and business strategy for online merchants and ecommerce brands.
By the end of Day 1 my notebook was swimming with underlines, stars, and arrows with multiple circles around ideas and topics I wanted to explore once I got back to my co-working space.
By the end of Day 2 I was so inspired that I felt ready to start my own digital store. I was just itching to put all the actionable advice into practice. As one attendee said of the conference (and I fully agree), “No fluff promised and no fluff delivered.”
Want to take advantage of my time spent in multiple conference rooms with subject matter experts? Part One of my Klaviyo:BOS recap covers key takeaways from the following sessions on how to drive – and then convert – traffic on your ecommerce website:
- Using Google To Grow Your Online Store
- SEO for Ecommerce
- You Got Them To Your Site – What Now?
There’s a lot of great stuff in here and I have a lot of typing to do, so let’s get started!
1. Using Google to Grow Your Online Store
Ryan Garrow, Director of Partnerships and Client Solutions at Logical Position
Amy Swartz, Partner Enablement Manager at Google
This presentation provided high-level and granular strategy to online merchants looking to drive high-converting traffic to their ecommerce stores via Google AdWords.
Ryan Garrow’s Tips
- A lot of online merchants aim for a high target ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) when they are running AdWords campaigns. Ryan says you should instead try to lower your ROAS to increase the volume of new business you are bringing in through paid search. As he puts it, “Look at AdWords as a customer acquisition channel, not as a profit center.”
- When should you increase your bids on high-performing keywords? Ryan’s rule of thumb: If they’re not already in position one, you should invest more in getting your placements higher on page one of Google’s search results.
- Looking for other ways to grow your business incrementally? Ryan advises increasing your mobile search spend, particularly if you haven’t explored Google’s Showcase Shopping ads yet. If you double down on mobile, just make sure you are using the right ad sizes so visibility isn’t a problem on smaller devices. He also recommends targeting general/high funnel keywords.
AdWords Campaign Tips:
- Frequency Cap: Make sure you set a cap on the amount of impressions you serve up per person so no one gets inundated by the same ad message over and over. This is an extremely easy mistake to make, and contributes quickly to audience ad fatigue.
- Competitor Targeting: If you’re running AdWords campaigns against keywords related to your competitors, you can use their trademarks and names in the Display URL. Ryan advises keeping competitor campaigns separate from the rest of your campaigns so your quality score isn’t penalized.
- Audience Targeting: If you have at least 1,000 customer email addresses, you can upload the list to AdWords and target against them. He says you should bid to reach your homepage visitors, specific product page visitors, and cart abandoners, and always label your ad groups so you can keep track of which segments are most effective.
- You can also segment your AdWords campaigns by best-sellers or profit margins, but a word of warning on the latter: You may wind up spending a lot of money advertising high-margin products because you’re seeing a lot of clicks in your analytics dashboard, but if the people who land on your site end up buying lower-priced products your ROAS is actually a lot lower than you think it is.
Amy Swartz’s Tips on AdWords Campaign Tracking and Attribution
The customer journey contains many touch points, and if you’re only looking at the last thing a person saw before they converted into a customer, you’re likely to invest your marketing money in the wrong places. Therefore, it’s important to look at all the steps that got someone from awareness (like a blog post found via organize search, or a paid search ad placed on Google) to consideration (like a case study in the resource center of your website, or a product landing page with shipping information and customer reviews).
She also emphasized the importance of tracking across desktop, mobile and tablet devices. 75% of adults start an activity on one device and finish on another, so if you’re not looking at every single driver of closed business, you’re not getting the full picture.
Many ecommerce companies invest heavily in acquiring new customers online, and they spend far less time nurturing the people they already have in their sales pipeline.
Amy says this is a huge missed opportunity: “Wouldn’t you rather hang on to a customer than find a new one? Aren’t they more valuable because they already trust you?”
One final takeaway: Amy says that beyond Measuring your marketing performance and Attributing revenue to the activities that drove it, you need to Act on your observations about customer behavior. Otherwise, the first and second steps don’t matter!
For more tips from Ryan and Amy, you can check out the full session deck here.
2. SEO For Ecommerce
Jon Lister, Strategist at Elite SEM
This presentation provided sound advice on how to gain a competitive edge in Google search by giving people what they want and need.
Jon Lister’s Tips:
- Many ecommerce companies (and let’s face it, businesses in general) are so obsessed with SEO that they forget customers are people. Jon’s biggest piece of advice is to avoid keyword stuffing just to please the robots, and focus on providing real value through helpful content. He says:
“Google doesn’t buy your stuff – humans do. You win when people win.”
- That said, there are many strategies for pleasing the planet’s biggest search engine, and most of them focus on meeting the criteria laid out in Google’s 2018 Search Quality Rating Program. If you don’t have time to read this 164-page document, Jon boils it down to three key elements: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness (EAT).
How To Build Expertise, Authority and Trustworthiness:
- Deliver a great customer experience regardless of whether it’s your online store or a brick and mortar interaction. Jon says, “Offline sales will impact your online performance” because people leave customer reviews that surface whenever someone searches for your brand. He also points out that customers don’t draw or see any lines between their interactions with your brand on their computers or out in the real world.
2. Focus on “dwell time” (how long site visitors spend with your content), rather than vanity metrics like pageviews. Creating quality content is extremely important because Google cares about how deep people navigate into your site, whether they hit the back button, and worst of all, whether they return to the search results page because they didn’t find the information they were looking for.
3. Make it extremely easy for an online shopper to find all the details they need about a product within the same page. Include shipping costs, user reviews, specs, and anything else they might require before making a purchase decision. You should constantly be making improvements to your product pages so you don’t lose out on business. Ryan says, “If you’re not optimizing, you’re allowing your competition to beat you.”
4. On a similar note, be very careful to keep seasonal sales updated and keep an eye on products going out of stock. Few things are more frustrating than a page featuring an attractive product that you can’t actually buy.
5. Pay attention to new changes in mobile marketing, particularly Google’s Mobile First Index. Reducing your page load speed and ensuring a good navigation experience for those on smartphones and tablets is crucial in 2018. Jon says to test your mobile loading times on 3G, not LTE; Google will evaluate your page speed on that. As an added bonus, optimizing slower speeds will put you in a great position to handle heavy site traffic during holiday sales.
For more tips from Jon, you can check out the full session deck here.
3. You Got Them To Your Site – What Now?
Jon MacDonald, President at The Good
Dan Weinsoft, Director of CRO at The Good
This session walked through Conversion Rate Optimization basics, and then common mistakes ecommerce companies make with their website design.
Dan Weinsoft’s Tips
If you’re going to invest time and energy into CRO, you need to focus on these four major data sources. They will provide you with crucial information about the user experience that you can use to make effective improvements to your marketing strategy:
- Analytics (quantitative data on pageviews, customer lifetime value, repeat behavior)
- Heatmaps (visual data on site navigation and element interaction)
- User Testing (collecting qualitative feedback)
- A/B Testing (tracking favorable or negative customer response to design changes)
CRO is all about small wins and continuous learning.
Jon says, “The key to being successful is to take an iterative approach that compounds over time, like interest in a bank account.”
Jon MacDonald’s Tips
Product Page Design Advice For Ecommerce Marketers
- Constantly update your product taxonomy so your most popular items are shown first. As a rule of thumb, your main nav should contain 5-7 items.
- CTAs should only focus on one key point so you don’t overwhelm the reader with too many action items.
- You should always break up long text with bullet points and numbered lists.
- Offer color swatches as a carousel and not as a dropdown so they don’t get buried (Nordstrom.com does this well).
- Avoid trust shields and “Return to Top” buttons – they don’t seem to make much of a difference and just add to site clutter.
- Make sure stock availability is front and center and provide a “NOTIFY ME” option via an email form if a product is sold out so customers can order it once it’s available.
Tips For Building Customer Trust
- Highlight star ratings and verified buyers.
- If you allow user reviews, you should include code that hides this section if the number of reviews is 0. Also, people consult user reviews for information about product fit before they click the purchase button, so keep those above the fold for easy access.
- Set customer expectations around shipping and delivery times ahead of the checkout page.
Product Page Elements To Test
- Product photos for lifestyle vs. lay-flat garments.
- Pricing language – percentage off vs. dollar amount discount. If you choose the dollar discount, use strikethrough pricing so the customer doesn’t have to do the math. A word of warning: If you offer a price match guarantee, you are encouraging shoppers to leave your site and buy from a competitor.
One last word of advice:
“Your FAQ page is where great content goes to die. Keep it on the product page.”
For more tips from Jon and Dan, you can check out the full session deck here.
As you can plainly see, there were a lot of great quotes, insights and strategies shared at Klaviyo’s conference — and the great news is this post was just the tip of the iceberg!
- Email A/B Testing: Beyond the Subject Line
- Designing Emails That Convert
- Rewarding Customer Loyalty
- Channel Differentiation and Ownership
- Content Marketing For Your Online Store