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Prioritizing Marketing Resources To Increase Sales Online

By Shaun Tinney
5 minute read | Last Updated: April 15, 2016

Short timelines and tight budgets continue to present a challenge to marketing teams. For best results, brands need to focus on these five areas.

Increasing sales online continues to be a challenge for active lifestyle brands, especially as timelines shorten and budgets tighten. Brands that serve multiple categories and that have competing priorities typically suffer from both large product catalogs and a diffuse marketing strategy.

Despite the plethora of new technologies and tools available, marketing’s job has not become any easier. In fact, it’s become harder. Brands now have to manage these new tools and master them as they evolve.

Few have a clear path out of this mental muck.

Not surprisingly, the questions they ask themselves include: “Where do we allocate budgets to reach our annual sales goal? Should we focus on social media? Shipping or coupon-based promotions? Partners and affiliates? Paid search? Which products aside from the new releases will generate the most revenue? How will we increase the conversion rate on CPC traffic?” Few have a clear path out of this mental muck.

It is nearly impossible to hold in one’s mind the many needs of different marketing initiatives – the nuances for marketing thousands of products, the endless stream of upcoming product launches, the cost benefit analysis for traditional vs. digital advertising channels. The demands are endless. But marketing directors are expected to do just that, while also achieving ambitious revenue goals by year end. Every year. What to do and where to begin has not always been immediately apparent.

To help clients take the first step, The Good begins by working with brands to identify the smallest amount of effort required to make the biggest impact. We apply the 80/20 rule and Zipf’s Law to client site analytics. This simple (but not necessarily easy) step leads to clear actions the digital brand team can take immediately. It uncovers what’s working well so brands can do more of that, and less of the rest. Below are the frameworks for the five areas we focus on in this process. We offer them to you here in hope they will help you out of your own digital malaise.

It’s an easy win because it literally reveals what people are looking for.

1. Search

One of the first places we look to identify what customers are looking for is the on-site search function. It’s an easy win because it literally reveals what people are looking for. Sorting the list of search terms by frequency, we’ll then go to the site and enter a few to examine the results. Wherever there are no results or poor results, that’s an opportunity to create the content people want.

For older products that are no longer offered, the results page can be upgraded to tell customers about the new model and its benefits as compared to the customer’s original search. The results page can also provide helpful legacy information like product instructions, specs and warranty information.

2. Content

Content is the heart of the web. Everything about web design and development exists to dress up and serve helpful content that people are looking for. Google became the top search engine by focusing on serving that content, and the only way to show up at the top of Google’s search results is to know what your customers are looking for and provide that.

When looking at site performance, it’s helpful to keep the content curation in the context of what a customer is looking for. Analyzing site navigation behavior can quickly surface complicated site layouts and confusing category structures. From this analysis we can also find the top exit pages along the path to purchase to determine whether someone was researching or attempting to purchase. Most importantly, the analysis informs how to curate content to match a customer’s research or purchase intent. Where customers once voted with their feet, they now vote with their eyeballs and clicks.

In fact, tracking basic data on customer service calls is the backbone for providing customers what they need and when they need it.

3. Service

When it comes to sites that sell things well online, there are a few key service offerings that keep customers coming back. Shipping is a big one. Inventory is another. The active lifestyle consumer relies on a brand website to provide the complete product catalog online, including replacement parts, warranty service and reasonable delivery fees and time. These are the foundations of an online business and must be performed well to increase online sales.

In fact, tracking basic data on customer service calls is the backbone for providing customers what they need and when they need it. It’s in reviewing this feedback that brands are able to identify opportunities to serve the marketplace through better content and site revisions.

4. Products

Segmenting by volume and revenue enables leaders to identify top selling products and the campaigns associated with them. Brands will be surprised to find that they have a number of products that sold well and didn’t require much marketing. This exercise of matching top selling products with its corresponding marketing initiatives unearths customer insights and leads to new opportunities.

Just seeing products in that context makes the question of where to direct marketing resources much much clearer.

Ultimately, a brand’s commitment to continuously improving a customer’s experience will produce the rewarding relationship both brand and customers are looking for.

5. Consistency

Taking a step back and evaluating what is working well and what isn’t allows you to:

  1. Better prioritize your investments
  2. Understand what kind of return to expect from each marketing channel
  3. Understand which initiatives will help you reach your target for the year

Ultimately, a brand’s commitment to continuously improving a customer’s experience will produce the rewarding relationship both brand and customers are looking for.