Monday, 29 July 2013

Holiday Ecommerce Content Marketing Tips

Think Mobile First Holiday 2013

Don't be fooled. Even if your mobile numbers aren't in double digits yet your e-commerce website is being influenced by mobile devices. Email is easy to curate on mobile devices.

If your e-commerce website is like most then email marketing is among your most profitable (if not THE most profitable) channel. Friends who run a $100M e-com site report they are processing 25% top line sales via mobile (pads are the majority of their mobile sales), so $25M is being spent on their website via mobile.

In one of my most recent "Scoops" I asked if we weren't all "app builders now". This post shared 40 video tutorials on how to build apps. Today's post is about how to think "Mobile First" for success during Holiday 2013 by creating "Like Me" tribes supported with great mobile content marketing.

Mobile Is Here

Holiday 2013 is time to think like an app builder. How can your e-commerce team develop engaging, fun, viral and MOBILE content? Here are a few tips to get your "mobile thinking cap" on.

How To Think Like An App Builder Holiday 2013

  • Create several small ideas not one HUGE one. 

  • Remember contests and games are engaging especially on mobile devices. 

  • Wrap your email marketing into BIG seasonal themes. 

  • Don't forget your Save The World Marketing

  • Visuals MUST Arrest and be consistent with the content. 

  • Visually boring is greatest sin. 

  • Use mobile marketing to form "Like Me" tribes. 

Create "Like Me" Tribes

Even if your marketing can't create mayors of Starbucks like Foursquare your holiday marketing can use mobile devices to develop "like me" tribes. Not sure what "tribes" exist in your marketing mix? Create a "persona survey" and ask. 

Polls and surveys are great ways to solidify tribes. Lets say 15% of your visitors say they think of themselves as TIGERS. Ask them to create User Generated Content about what being a tiger looks and feels like. Merchandise your website to match your "tribe classification" poll. Create a special "Tiger", "Elephant" or "Monkey" section with content and products.  This example used animals, but any "like me" classification helps your online marketing.

If your site is for foodies ask who likes French, Italian or Asian cooking the most. Once you've created a tribe begin to stitch your holiday story and the story of the tribe together. You will need to lead, but remember to ask for input along the way. CURATE more than you CREATE. Curate User Generated Content (UGC) to knit your community together, drive more social shares and get your Tigers, Elephants and Monkeys to help grow their tribe.

You holiday 2013 marketing goal is advocacy.

You know you've found the right balance between OFFERS, CURATED Content and CREATED Content when tribe members recruit for you. Here are stages of "Like Me" Mobile Marketing:

  • Stage 1: Form Like Me Tribes Around Some Classification (see poll example above). 

  • Stage 2: Strengthen tribal bonds and social shares, ask for User Generated Content (UGC). 

  • Stage 3: Create merchandising based on the tribes. 

  • Stage 4: Create intrinsic motivation competition. 

  • Stage 5: Rewards and Thanks. 

Lions, Tigers and Bears (oh my)
How To Create Like Me Tribes

Once you have people sharing what tribe they see themselves in create content to support their declaration (I like to WAIT until people begin to declare to create more defining content since to do so before hand may change a visitor's first reflexive vote but this is a personal preference other Internet marketers like to define each segment and then ask for visitors to declare). Think of this kind of supportive "tribe defining" content like "Chinese Zodiac" content. Chinese Zodiac content defines characteristics of people born in year of the Rat, Rooster or Dragon.

Chinese Zodiac content is positive but not overly solicitous (they usually toss in a slight negative to create legitimacy). "Tigers have courage and are athletic but can be lazy especially when its hot and they are well fed," is an example of the kind of "personality defining" content that helps people identify with "like me" Chinese Zodiac content:

Chinese Zodiac Year of the Rooster 

PersonalityOccupying the 10th position in the Chinese Zodiac, the Rooster symbolizes such character traits as confidence, pompousness and motivation. Those born under the Chinese Zodiac sign of the Rooster are loyal, trustworthy individuals who are blunt when it comes to offering their opinions. Their bluntness stems not from being mean but from being honest; a trait which Roosters expect from others.

Best book I've read about the creation of personas is Managing Content Marketing by Rose and Pulizzi.

UGC Is Critical

Reward the 1% of your visitors willing to speak for others, willing to risk, share and comment. If you share a definition such as the Year of the Rooster ask for feedback. Ask for your Roosters to expand and share other traits.

Reinforce your tribes at every opportunity. Create special "Rooster of the Month" content to reward and reinforce the tribe. Once the tribe is "owned" by your customers create competition to reinforce the tribe's sense of itself. Can Roosters raise more awareness than Tigers?

Mix "Save The World" cause marketing into your persona based tribal marketing. Can Roosters raise more money to help cure cancer than Tigers? As with any game be sure to publish "rules", duration and rewards. Make your rewards more SOCIAL than material, but be sure to include some significant material rewards (read Atlantic BT's Gamification White Paper for more on how to gamify your Internet marketing).

National Public Radio is brilliant at weaving material rewards in their "Do the Right Thing" donor marketing. Many donors are included in drawings for trips. When NPR enlists their donors into a drawing for a cooking trip to France to support their Julia Childs programming they simultaneously reinforce the tribe, their brand and create User Generated Content (when the winner travels to France they are sure to tweet, post pictures to Facebook and remind their friends how they won the trip).

In our animal example create a competition to enlist the most members and then make a donation in the winning group's name to a related cause. Provide special "VIP areas" for the top 10% of your User Generated Content creators. Make sure to PUBLISH a leaderboard so everyone knows what they need to do to become an "Influential Elephant" or a "Top Tiger".

Make sure rewards and awards are plentiful and throw in a surprise or two.

Special Tiger day savings (after reaching a goal) or create a contest for your Monkeys. You can see that WHAT classifications you create isn't as important as HOW you curate and merchandise with them (with your customers' help). Your holiday stories should reinforce your tribes at every opportunity with merchandising, special content and by curating UGC from the tribe.

Rewards and awards should be plentiful and consistent.

We are NOT saying use the, "Everyone gets a trophy," system since some WORK and ACCOMPLISHMENT are needed to reinforce the tribe and make the game worth playing, but benefits should be broadly distributed. If Tigers do something great make sure Monkeys aren't excluded. Make sure Monkeys know about it and get their competitive spirit flowing.

If Tigers won the Tweet race find another game Monkeys can win (and then hope they do). Even if Monkeys don't win make sure to praise the hard work of individual Monkeys and tie your praise back to your definitions (and so reinforce the tribe).

Think Mobile Marketing First

Your marketing is "mobile" when it is engaging, inclusive and fun. Phones are game consoles. Your Internet marketing  job, if you manage an ecommerce website, is to figure out how to create a game that is responsive and fun on any device.

Your holiday 2013 merchandising must win mobile hearts and minds.

Think like a mobile app developer. If we create the animal poll will it be easy to take on an iPhone or iPad? Will our marketing look amazing on Android? Can we create Application Program Interfaces (APIs) into our Holiday game that will help the game get picked up by others?

Can we build a UGC platform that is easy to use on a phone or pad? If your game is HARD to play on a mobile device it is doomed and you are missing the point. Think Mobile First means your marketing ROCKS on mobile and builds as customer commitment grows.

"Commitment grows" means repeat mobile visits OR moving from mobile to laptops and desktops. When games, merchandising and tribes are stitched together as ONE your analytics should show great heuristic measures (time on site, pages viewed, link creation efficiency index or LEI) for mobile (as visitors play the game) AND laptops and desktops (as they purchase the supportive merchandising).

The trick is knowing how to engage one smartphones) and convert others (pads, laptops and desktops). 

You may want to TEST your ability to tease a purchase out of your game (as much as I don't like testing in 4Q the magic point between I'm here to play the game vs. I'm here to BUY something is too important and should be tested. Creating a "Top 10 Monkey Products" is sure to increase sales of those products. The cool thing is tribes are not EXCLUSIVE. Elephants will be curious about what Monkeys are buying and Vice Versa.

Remember to tie holiday merchandising to a bigger "Save The World" idea.

If you sell camping gear tie to saving the environment (in some creative way). If your e-commerce site sells bicycles you might support the "free bikes for kids" movement. When in doubt ASK your tribe what they think your website should support.

Never ask too broad a question of your tribes. Sound out key Elephants or Monkeys. Asking which 3 causes from a list of 7 or so they like best and why. Once you have a sense of the tribe's preferences CHECK IT with the tribe as a whole. Let's say Monkeys want to support field trips for kids to see animals, a Monkey Shelter and a Monkey Fund to help sick children. Now set your merchandising plan, create goals and matching donations and support your top Tigers, Monkeys or Elephants with praise, social recognition, suggestions and ideas.

I can see a great email with cross merchandising for each idea with a poll asking which of the three causes Monkeys should champion. Can you?

I'm In, You?

Here are helpful links so you know I'm not crazy, just in a hurry :).

Martin W. Smith, Director Marketing Atlantic BT

Martin Marty Smith on Facebook

Martin Marty Smith on Linkedin

Martin W. Smith on G+

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