Ecommerce

Activate Your Silent Salesperson with Digital Retargeting

by Kelly Kubrick on October 31, 2016

Ever been tempted into a wine-tasting class because the offer of wine overrides your resistance? And then gleefully bought a case of the wine?  Me too. That’s what this post is about – offering your prospects content that is so irresistible, you’re able to entice them forward into your conversion funnel – willingly.

First published through the Canadian Home Builder’s Association (CHBA)

Now that we’re well past the era of questioning the value of including a website in the marketing toolkit, today’s business concern is ensuring the digital content produced contributes to the larger sales funnel.

Once a business has put its contact and product information online, the challenge becomes justification for continued investment in driving awareness and usage of the website. To date, low-hanging fruit included launching additional digital channels such as a blog, an email list and social media.

What happens when sources to stagnate?

Digitally, it used to be good enough to make sure you’d sorta-kinda made your website search engine friendly and populated your company’s social media account(s) profile pages with updates. But, if asked, your marketing team will likely admit that your website reach has stalled or that Facebook’s “people-reached” update performance indicator is declining. Now what?

As lead generation sources dry up, where will sales come from?

It’s no longer enough to merely hope that digital reach will continue to grow as it has in the past. What if you could efficiently reach new people likely to be interested in your business because they’re similar to customers you’ve had success with previously?

More importantly, what if you could reach that audience in a way that both personalizes your interactions, while automating them, so there’s efficiency of effort? The concept is called a ‘lookalike’ audience and is available through a combination of advertising networks – like Facebook – and your existing website.

Activating your silent salesperson

The consumer packaged goods industry talks about a product’s packaging as a brand’s “silent salesman”. When a consumer buys a product and places it on a household shelf, the packaging dutifully reminds buyers its presence.

There’s a similar concept in digital, called re-targeting, also referred to as re-marketing. Digital publishers provide their advertisers with a small piece of computer code, often called a “pixel” – similar to a cookie – that won’t affect your visitors’ experience or your website performance, that is unique to that advertiser. By publishing your pixel on your website, you activate your silent salesperson.

Put your digital content to work

Next – instead of merely launching a sales-oriented advertising campaign, you use that pixel to begin building a new prospect list through irresistible content. Using Facebook as an example, here’s a big picture visual of how re-targeting works:

Activate your silence salesperson - digital re-targeting cycle

With that cycle in mind, it’s time to get granular. An effort like this has a lot of moving parts, but done right, your marketing team gets access to a rich source of digital leads.

Ten Steps of Digital Re-targeting

Using Facebook as an example, here’s what your marketing team will need to do:

  1. Create a Facebook Ads account for your organization and generate your Facebook pixel from within it. Publish that pixel to all pages of your website.

2. Define a specific buyer persona, with unique interests, such as ‘eco-friendly living’, or ‘vintage motorcycles’ that your company wants to pursue. Research and quantify those interest groups on Facebook – called audiences – and then narrow that audience further by geographic – all of Canada? Or only one province / territory? and demographic ( age and gender) targeting.

3. Create a unique piece of irresistibly good content, written purely for that persona’s concerns, and publish it on your website. Provide enormous amounts of added-value information – imagine content that answers every question unique to that buyer persona, without the pressure of any kind of a sales pitch. Establish your subject authority while assuring the reader of your goodwill.

4. In parallel, create a digital advertisement that promotes the educational nature of your irresistible content, and run it on Facebook – but only show it to the unique interest groups identified in step 2.

5. As your advertisement is shown on Facebook, interested individuals will engage and click through to read your irresistible content, causing your Facebook pixel to activate.

6. You will have made your content even more irresistible by offering an additional piece of even higher-added value information – perhaps by providing a critical check list, a list of unique resources, a countdown calendar, or how-to instructions – unavailable anywhere else.

7. However, that additional content will only be accessible in exchange for the visitor’s forward movement into the sales funnel – for example, perhaps in exchange for an email address. Since most first-time visitors will shy away from giving you that information on the spot, because of the pixel, you let them go without worry.

8. After an appropriate interval, your marketing team runs a second advertisement on Facebook, only shown to (or ‘re-targeting’) to those who visited your irresistible content but didn’t convert to a lead. That second ad will offer a gentle reminder of the fabulous extra content they have missed out on, enticing them back to your content, this time with a higher likelihood to convert to access your higher value content.

9. As you identify the right audiences and use the right creative to entice them towards consideration, the automated – yet more personalized than a mass-media buy – process repeats until a lead converts. This allows you to engage with the lead on an ongoing basis through your existing qualification process.

10. As you identify the audiences most likely to convert, Facebook then is able to give you access to ‘lookalike’ audiences – other people with profiles and behaviour that match those you’ve successfully converted – that you can now offer your irresistible content to. And the cycle repeats…

To access a lookalike audience on Facebook, organizations will need to have a Facebook Ad Account, which provides tools to create your pixel, advertising campaigns, and Audiences, including lookalikes. In Facebook, lookalike audiences can be modelled from ‘source’ audiences including specific on Facebook, people who’ve liked your Facebook page or your own customer lists.

To create these lookalike audiences, Facebook looks at the common qualities of the people in your source audience and then finds people who “look like” your source audience on Facebook for a country. Organizations can choose the size of the Lookalike Audience during the creation process.

This combination of using technology to target the interests of buyer personas you can uniquely help, without even knowing who they are – while using automation to re-target them later – can be a powerful tool to help drive your lead generation efforts.

Although tactically, this ‘silent salesperson aka pixel’ approach may feel very far from how you’ve sourced leads in the past, my hope is that you will consider adding re-targeting as an arrow to your marketing quiver. Any questions? Ask away in the Comments section below.

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Kelly KubrickActivate Your Silent Salesperson with Digital Retargeting

Introducing MyLiberty.Life: online shopping for quality incontinence products

by Kelly Kubrick on November 20, 2015

Early in my career, I joined The Voyager Company, a digital publishing house that produced CD-ROMs. Our sister company produced the famous Criterion Collection, on laser-disk. Together, we published the media that was a precursor to DVDs, now rapidly being replaced by stream media. As there were no obvious sales channels for our products, we pounded the doors of book stores and record stores in hopes they would carry our product.

We also sold our catalogues over the Internet. I remember one particular day when our technical team called us into a meeting to show us a ‘database’ they had built to house the content for what had been 300+ static HTML product pages. They showed us how we could update the pricing for the entire catalogue with a single command. It was like hearing the Alleluia chorus break over my head. This would revolutionize selling online!

Well – it didn’t quite, but it helped build the foundation for my continued work in ecommerce. In 1997, I joined a small team at Time Warner’s interactive division, Time Inc New Media, to develop alternative revenue streams for digital advertising sales for Time Inc’s magazine assets. What an amazing era; we launched countless businesses – Fortune Database, an online community to support participants in Dr Andrew Weil’s “8 Weeks to a Healthy America” eating program, an affiliate program to drive subscriber acquisition for PEOPLE Magazine, an online customer service for our core magazines and more.

Back then, ecommerce technology was expensive and not particularly elegant. Today, things have changed, and for the better. What has remained true is that if you have a product that can be showcased online for buyers unable to find those desired products easily, you might want to consider ecommerce. Which is why, I’m very pleased to announced the launch of a new ecommerce venture for myself and two partners.

What began as a debate over likely trends in the marketplace over a summer lunch has become a Canada-wide company selling – wait for it – incontinence products. All online, all home delivery, all discreet packaging. The numbers are compelling: 10% of the population admits to being affected by incontinence and if asked about the occasional “leak” the number jumps to 50%.

Daily, we’re uncovering stories describing the need: those stick handling conversations with aging parents, runners looking for eco-friendly washables, grandparents indulging new family members with a monthly diaper delivery service, or simply those who would prefer not to deal with the teenager working at the drug store.

We’ve embraced the need for information, a bit of humour, good sense and a simple shopping experience for Canadians looking for discreet solutions for parents, for spouses, for special needs kids. Men, women, young adults and kids – My Liberty has options for all.

The product mix is changing rapidly through research and science; including an Australian line of products indistinguishable from regular underwear. We’re selling everything from liners to pads for women to guards for men, briefs (also known as adult diapers), cleansing and skin care and state-of-the-art washables in swimwear and bedding solutions to help reduce bed wetting burdens for young and old. I shake my head at the things I’ve learned in the last few months…!

We also provide a straight-forward, informative email newsletter to answer product questions and insights for consumers and caregivers, all with a comfortable, non-clinical approach. If you have a moment to take a look at https://MyLiberty.Life, I’d love to hear what you think; my partners are as eager for feedback as I am, so bring it on.

I realize it’s a rather unexpected category, and not likely on your radar, but if you know of anyone who might be interested in learning more, please consider sharing the website or newsletter with them? I’d really appreciate it. Alternatively, if you know of organizations/facilities we should be talking to, just let me know.

Thanks so much –

P.S. Feel free to check My Liberty out on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook out as well.

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Kelly KubrickIntroducing MyLiberty.Life: online shopping for quality incontinence products

Magazine Customer Service Case Study

by Kelly Kubrick on January 7, 2007

TIME Magazine Customer Service

 

Time Inc, parent of TIME Magazine and its related publications, wanted to reduce the cost of processing customer service paper mail. Could the Internet help?

Kelly Kubrick (formerly Cook) analyzed phone and mail customer service transaction volumes to identify which transactions were in highest demand. Cook then used the analysis to plan and launch thirteen websites in less than six months.

The results? In year one, the largest Time Inc magazine customer service web sites generated $1.7 million in cost savings and $1.1 million in incremental subscription revenue.

Visit the sites:

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Kelly KubrickMagazine Customer Service Case Study

Magazine Subscriber Acquisition Program

by Kelly Kubrick on January 5, 2007

PEOPLE Weekly’s corporate parent, needed to find new magazine subscribers online. Kelly Cook developed and launched the Time Inc affiliate marketing network, leveraging third party web sites to generate new magazine subscribers. Cook selected a vendor to provide the infrastructure to automatically track and report on customer leads. Within months, over 50,000 third-party web sites had applied to sell on behalf of Time Inc magazines and generated $200,000 in revenue. Click the images below to see enlarged screen shots of the PEOPLE Weekly and Teen People programs.

PEOPLE Weekly Magazine Affiliate Program

PEOPLE Weekly Magazine Affiliate Program

Teen PEOPLE Magazine Affiliate Program

Teen PEOPLE Magazine Affiliate Program

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advertising sales team at PEOPLE Weekly wanted to increase their interaction with potential advertisers. Could they do this cost-effectively online? Yes. Cook assisted PEOPLE’s planning and launch of “PEOPLE Pops!” an online sweepstakes and media kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In honour of its 25th Anniversary, PEOPLE Weekly offered its readers the opportunity to purchase more than 200 autographed celebrity photos. Those funds were then donated to the celebrities’ choice of charity. Could the Internet be used to sell even more photos? Yes – via an online auction. Cook approached Ebay and together with PEOPLE’s marketers, launched several auctions promoted on Ebay and People.com, and through the PEOPLE Daily email newsletter.

Screen shot of the Jennifer Love Hewitt PEOPLE's 25th auction

Screen shot of the Jennifer Love Hewitt PEOPLE’s 25th auction

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Kelly KubrickMagazine Subscriber Acquisition Program

Increase Revenue: Develop Community and Offer Premium Content

by Kelly Kubrick on January 4, 2007

Developing Dr Weil’s Online Community

Dr Weil.com wondered if consumers might purchase access to an online community of people interested in healthy living. Indeed they were – Kelly Cook developed the plan for the ‘8-Weekers” membership – a web site to support participants in Dr Andrew Weil’s “8 Weeks to a Healthy America” eating program. Within 48 hours of launch, the 1500 available memberships sold out.

Two web sites were created to accompany Dr. Andrew Weil’s best-selling book “8 Weeks to Optimum Health”. The first, a ‘free’ site, offered projects, diet and exercise items, supplements and mental-spiritual reminders for Week 1. In successive weeks, new pages were added to the site allowing users to guide their own efforts to follow the 8 Week plan.

A second ‘paid’ site allowed a users to follow Dr Weil’s program limited membership, closed-community, but nation-wide group (including the Ask Dr Weil staff and Dr Andrew Weil himself) of people seeking a healthier life. Together, these “8 Weekers” offered ideas, solutions and encouragement for overcoming the challenges of the program.

Print Magazine Subscription Acquisition Program: Try Online Premium Content

Consumer marketers at both Entertainment Weekly and Money magazines wondered if the Internet could be used to offer additional benefits to existing print subscribers. Cook assisted them in the launch of Entertainment Weekly’s Special Edition and also Money.com Plus – both offering premium content websites free to current print subscribers but requiring payment from non-subscribers.

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Kelly KubrickIncrease Revenue: Develop Community and Offer Premium Content

Should Magazines Worry Online Will Cannibalize Print?

by Kelly Kubrick on January 4, 2007

Will people pay $500.00 for a content they can buy for $5.00 on the news stand?

After the annual release of the Fortune 500 magazine issue, Fortune Magazine noted that tens of thousands of digital versions of the issue had also been downloaded from Fortune.com. Did this mean that Internet users might be willing to purchase a digital version? Yes. Kelly Cook developed and launched The Fortune Datastore, offering digital versions of Fortune’s company lists:

 

 

 

By year three, the Datastore generated $1 million in incremental revenue for Fortune. Customers raved about the utility of the digital version, finding it an invaluable tool for market and sales prospecting analysis. Later, the model was replicated for Fortune’s sister magazine Asiaweek.

Will online magazine archives cannibalize my renewal rates?

Fortune Magazine was concerned that online magazine archives might cannibalize renewal rates of certain print subscriber demographics. Was an online solution available? Yes. Through a partnership with an online search technology firm, Kelly Cook developed and launched the Fortune Archives. These generated incremental revenue to the magazine through online advertising and online sales of articles to consumers:

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Kelly KubrickShould Magazines Worry Online Will Cannibalize Print?

Taking Print Catalogues Online: A Case Study

by Kelly Kubrick on January 4, 2007

Sports Illustrated’s “Insider Authentics” catalogue needed to sell the previous season’s merchandise before the new season began. Could a website help speed this process up? Yes. Kelly Cook worked with Sports Illustrated to launch TheUltimateLockerRoom.com:

 

 

 

 

 

Within three weeks, it achieved 100% ROI and set the stage for the roll out of three more Time Warner merchandise sites: Entertainment Weekly’s Studio Store:

 

 

 

 

and the Virtual Garden and The World Championship Wrestling (WCW) store.

See an example print advertisement developed jointly with Sports Illustrated and the ecommerce vendor:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Curious to know if it would sell online, The CNN/Sports Illustrated team identified spare photography and video footage from Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit edition. Together with CNNSI.com, Cook developed “Swimsuit Extra”, an e-commerce website offering exclusive access to the additional material. In year two, over 8,000 memberships were sold.

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Kelly KubrickTaking Print Catalogues Online: A Case Study