50 Best Tips of 2013

Rounding up the year's best tips to help you optimize your business

Affiliate Marketing
1. Run commission detail reports on publishers and top performers. These reports can look at conversion revenues on a year-over-year as well as monthly basis. You may also want to consider the timing of promotions as well as using short-term offers (e.g., weekend sales) as a possible solution when revenue numbers are running low.
Karen McMahon, Affiliate Whisperer, “10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Affiliate Marketing Day,” Aug. 21, ROI Report

Branding
2. Be willing to piss people off. You can’t be everything to everybody. Our rule is you can make people mad, you just can’t make them sad. Oh, and don’t mix politics and marketing. Moosejaw learned that the hard way.
Eoin Comerford, Moosejaw Marketing, 4 Ways to Build a Brand That Customers Will Love,” March 15, ROI Report

Brick-and-Mortar Retail
3. Track conversion rate in-store. While same-store sales, sales per square foot, sales per employee, average ticket, units per transaction and other transaction-based metrics are obviously important, no transaction-based metric can tell you about the sale you didn’t make. Not only does conversion rate tell you the percentage of visitors that purchased, it also tells you the percentage of visitors that didn’t purchase – i.e., the lost sales opportunity.
Mark Ryski, HeadCount, “Conversion: The Last Great Retail Metric,” Feb. 8, ROI Report

B-to-B
4. Advanced e-commerce architecture must enable brands to manage issues that are specific to B-to-B buyers. For example, capable e-commerce platforms are able to address complex workflows, tiered pricing, purchase orders, regulatory support, governmental procurement requirements, tax exemptions and other requirements that aren’t applicable in the consumer marketplace.
Bob Barr, Acquity Group, “Why B-to-B E-Commerce is Lagging Behind B-to-C,” Jan. 24, ROI Report

Catalog Marketing
5. Make the first line of body copy work hard. Your reader will scan, in this order, the headline, subhead and first few words of body copy. Make sure those first few words of body copy are snappy. Don’t begin the first line with “the,” “this” or “these.” Borrrring. Also avoid “our” if you can. Don’t repeat the product name in the first line if it’s already in the headline. Doing so just wastes your interest-grabbing opportunity.
Susan J. McIntyre
, McIntyre Direct, “How Copy Can Increase Catalog Scannability,” Oct. 15, Catalog Doctor blog

Customer Acquisition
6. Don’t be afraid to attract customers who will buy only once. I’m a database marketer and have long stressed the importance of building your customer file with quality names, however, even with the best of efforts, about 50 percent of your customers buy from you once and never return. If you get an acceptable ROI on the first sale, you’re good. Since databases allow you to segment at the purchase level, test whether these customers are loyal or fair-weather friends. You can know whether these customers will be repeats to whom you can remarket or if they’re one-and-done.
George Hague, HAGUEdirect, “The Illogical Song: What Makes Sense vs. What Works,” April 8, B-to-B Insights blog

Customer Service
7. Never say good-bye. When customers have completed their purchase, don’t just let them leave. Remind them of your next special, sale or when new products are coming in. Accordingly, never say good-bye. There’s no need to say goodbye when you’ve made a good connection with the customer. For example, say “I’m so glad you found what you wanted today! We will see you soon!”
Melissa Eisenberg, POSE, “4 Tips to Increase Customer Retention,” March 18, ROI Report

8. Create “evergreen” how-to videos that answer frequently asked questions and help shoppers get more from your products, which can reduce customer service costs.
Ken Burke, MarketLive, “Building Compelling Content to Compete With Amazon,” May 13, ROI Report

E-Commerce
9. Don’t use sitewide SSL. Your checkout page uses SSL to encrypt customer information (that’s all those pages with “https” instead of “http” in the address). That’s a critical security feature. But you don’t need to encrypt every page of your site; you only have to encrypt pages that accept user data. SSL encryption requires three times to five times the “round trips” between the server and browser, so only use it where you need it.
Ian Lurie, Portent, “Increase Site Speed (and Revenue) in 10 Steps,” April 25, ROI Report

10. Put style sheets at the top of the page. If your site uses cascading style sheets, make sure your CSS loads first so that your pages can start rendering right away.
Joshua Bixby, Radware, “10 Ways to Improve Your Site Speed,” April 29, ROI Report

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