Marketing 101: Top Ten Tips for an Effective Call-to-Action

Lead generation is your bread and butter for long-term growth and stability. Your store depends on a steady stream of new customers to refill the pipeline.

Whether your business model relies on thousands of smaller transactions — or a smaller number of large transactions — you should continually improve your lead generation marketing strategies. And an effective call-to-action (CTA) lies at the heart of it.

Why?

Because without clear, focused, actionable directions, your potential leads will be left to guess their next step. This result is inaction and a missed opportunity to secure a new lead.

Let’s examine ten CTA tips with a focus on lead generation and customer acquisition.

1. Shrink the obstacles to taking action

New leads are often hesitant to pay full price at a business they’ve never purchased from. If the journey to becoming a customer takes five steps, your lead generation CTA should take them from step one to step two.

So instead of ‘Buy Now,’ it might be ‘View Our Products.’

Here’s a chart showing more examples of bigger vs smaller steps in the sales process:

Shorter-step CTAs Longer-step CTAs
Take the quiz Join our newsletter
See your score Schedule a free consultation
Try a free sample Get my first week free

Notice that none of these are asking for a sale. But it’s less daunting to take a quiz or see a score than to join a newsletter or schedule a consultation. Trying a free sample with no obligation is easier than a first week free, because the second option implies you’re signing up for something.

The smaller the step, the less your leads will feel like they’re making a commitment. That means less resistance to your offer.

2. Use first-person language

‘Sign Me Up!’ is better than ‘Sign Up!’. It personalizes the CTA. It gives the person ownership of their decision and gets them more invested in the outcome. Simply adding pronouns like “me” and “my”, as opposed to “you” and “your”, helps turn a CTA from a message into a decision.

This CTA on Okdo’s site uses first-person language to encourage visitors to join their community
 This CTA on Okdo’s site uses first-person language to encourage visitors to join their community

Other examples of this approach:

  • Send my free book
  • I’m in!
  • I want to be in the club!
  • Reserve my spot in the webinar

3. Make your CTA as specific as possible

Be clear exactly what the person is getting when they take action. This is why ‘submit’ isn’t super effective.

What happens after you send in the form? Find a way to imply or directly state that in the CTA.

CTA on BAM Bamboo Clothing's site asking visitors to subscribe and get a catalog
BAM Bamboo Clothing is specific about what happens when someone subscribes: they get a seasonal catalog delivered to their door

‘Send Your Question’ implies that an answer will be forthcoming. ‘Snag My Fast-Action Guide’ tells someone what they’ll get when they ‘submit’ the form. By telling the lead what happens next, you help prepare them for when it happens. Then, they’ll be more likely to take the next step you offer as well.

4. Focus on benefits and outcomes

‘I want to save more money’ focuses on the outcome, whereas ‘Send my budget guide’ just tells someone what they’re getting. Both are good because they’re specific and use first-person language. But the first one states the desired outcome vs. the tool you’re offering.

The person is thinking, “I don’t want this guide because I have nothing better to do. I want it because I want to save money.”

Dr. Scholl’s focuses on the benefits of their products in every CTA
Dr. Scholl’s focuses on the benefits of their products in every CTA

Below the main CTA, some businesses will use the opposite approach to manipulate people into accepting. Instead of a simple “x,” there might be a line of text that says “No thanks, I don’t want to save money,” with a link to close the offer.

This is distasteful and could damage your company’s reputation. Moreover, if you use manipulation to close deals, those people are more likely to be unhappy, leave poor reviews, and be one-and-done customers.

5. Use numbers

Numbers are a particularly effective form of CTA. For example:

  • Respond within three days
  • Get 20% off your first order
  • Upgrade to one-day shipping

The number adds to the certainty of what’s happening for the customer.

6. Make the CTA impossible to miss

Visibility is really your top priority for your call to action button. And yes, you should probably use buttons instead of text links because they grab attention more easily. For offline CTAs in direct mail situations, text emphasis like color, bold, underline, centering, larger fonts are essential.

Daelman’s uses an orange button that stands out from the blue background
Daelman’s uses an orange button that stands out from the blue background

If your brand guidelines have a bold color that’s reserved for special occasions — this is the occasion. You want it to stand out without straying from the feel of the rest of your brand. If your page consists of a lot of text, using an image could draw in visitors’ eyes. Another option is to leave physical space around your CTA (white space) so it stands on its own.

And for longer sales pages, use more than one CTA. Sprinkle them throughout the text as appropriate. If you do this, use the same text each time so the person hears the repetition and gets a clear picture of what is expected of them. Don’t change the messaging every time, or it feels like there’s more than one offer.

7. Place CTAs where they fit in your copy

Timing is everything, as they say in comedy. The same is true with marketing. It’s not just how you phrase your CTA or what it looks like; it’s when you say it.

Putting it too early can dilute your message and make it obvious you just want their information. Putting it too late can cause you to lose some readers. Putting them every other paragraph will make the reader feel like you’re desperate.

Some good places to put CTAs are:

  • After you’ve asked a key question that the offer answers
  • At natural pauses
  • When you’ve just finished a main point that is meant to motivate the lead

Also, consider the location of the call to action on the page.

Here’s some data on how well CTAs have converted at various locations. You have to take this kind of data cautiously, of course, because no conversion rates will be consistent across all industries. Nevertheless, it’s notable which places seem to perform better than others.

  • Sidebar: 0.5 – 1.5%
  • Generic, end-of-post: 0.5 – 1.5%
  • Pop-ups: 1 – 8%
  • Sliders and bars: 1 – 5%
  • Welcome gates: 10 – 25%
  • Feature Box: 3 – 9%
  • Navbar: varies

The one place that stands out the most is the ‘welcome gate.’ This is typically near the top of the page or takes over the entire page, and requires someone to respond before they can close it. If it’s the right offer that touches on a core need for your ideal customer, you can amass a treasure trove of leads.

You’ll need to be careful, though. These full-page takeovers can annoy users and actually earn you penalties from Google. And gated content can boost conversions, but also turn away casual visitors who might have otherwise become loyal fans over time.

8. Employ CTA urgency

‘Claim your spot’ is good. But ‘claim your spot before the webinar fills up’ is better. If you’re giving away physical copies of a book, limit the number and use it in the CTA. Deadlines of all sorts can move a person considering taking action to actually do so.

Urgency is one of the most powerful marketing techniques. It might just be the missing element of your entire sales effort. Don’t wait until it’s too late — learn how to implement urgency in your marketing.

9. Use ‘power words’

‘Subscribe’, ‘buy’, ‘get’, and ‘sign up’ have their place. These do well in certain situations. But they can be better. ‘Claim’, ‘reserve’, ‘snag’, ‘secure’, and ‘seize’ have more emotion behind them.

Don’t be afraid to sprinkle in a bit of “negative” language when appropriate. This can emphasize the fact that you’re offering a solution to a specific problem:  “Stop struggling,” “End bad hair days,” etc.

You can also use descriptive words like ‘easy’, ‘simple’, ‘fast’, ‘quick’, ‘proven’, ‘free’, and ‘guaranteed.’

Urgency can be enhanced with words like ‘only’, ‘miss out’, ‘lose’, and ‘give up’ (as in, don’t give up your chance to X).

Action is driven by emotion more than logic. Inject emotion into your CTA.

10. Make sure your CTAs are responsive

It’s important that your calls to action look great on all devices, from desktops to tablets and phones. Otherwise, you’re not reaching a large portion of your audience!

Take the time to check your design with a tool like LambdaTest, which previews your site on devices and browsers of all types. Make sure that nothing’s cut off, buttons are easy to click, forms are easy to use, and everything looks great for everyone.

Heggerty’s call to action stacks on mobile for an engaging, easy-to-use experience

Convert more leads with better calls to action

You’ve worked hard to create an awesome product or service and you’ve worked equally hard at driving traffic to your site. Encourage those visitors to take the steps you want by providing clear, motivating, and inspiring calls to action. Make sure each CTA is specific, can’t be missed, and creates urgency. Then, just like with everything in marketing, continue to experiment to see what works best for your audience.

If you’re looking for an edge in your business, spending some extra time perfecting calls to action might just be all you need.

Have you discovered something that works for your site? Share it with the community in the comments below!

How to Use Email Marketing to Increase Product Reviews in Five Steps

How many of us have noticed a new restaurant in our area, only to pull out our phone and immediately check the reviews? We do it so often that it’s become second nature.

No matter how you slice it, reviews seem to rule the world around us. They can either make or break a decision to eat at a restaurant, buy coffee at a cafe, or make a purchase from an eCommerce store.

If you run a business, product reviews instill trust in your brand and help improve your online presence. Email is one great way to collect them.

However, if you’re not sure how to use email as a tool to increase your product reviews, this is the guide for you. By the end, you’ll feel equipped with the knowledge to start collecting product reviews that will help you take your eCommerce store to the next level.

Why do product reviews matter?

Collecting product reviews and feedback from your customers can help in many ways. They:

  1. Give your company a good reputation: Building a solid reputation is crucial for the success of your business. People want to buy from an online store that appears trustworthy and reputable. A staggering 88% of consumers say that they trust online reviews as much as they would a recommendation from a friend!
  2. Build a rapport with existing customers: Asking returning customers for their thoughts on a product shows that you care and contributes towards building a rapport with them. Imagine how you would feel if your favorite brand asked for your feedback and then featured it on their website? You want your customers to feel important and that you care about their thoughts. Showing personal interest is an asset that can set you apart from your competition.
  3. Provide you with testimonials: While you can work hard to create your brand, testimonials can speak louder than anything you could say. You can even create an entire area on your website or social media account dedicated to product reviews and what people say about your shop. This way, new visitors will know exactly where to go to find out what people think. These pages may even motivate them to buy highly-reviewed products, therefore increasing your sales.
  4. Gain valuable feedback. Reviews also help you hone in on areas that you can improve across your business. Perhaps multiple people comment that your return policy is hard to find or your shirts run large. You can gather that information and apply it in ways that benefit both previous and future customers.

How to ask for reviews in email marketing

If you’re already sending newsletters or promotional emails to your subscribers, you can use the same software to ask customers for reviews en masse. Or, use tools like MailPoet, which can automatically ask individual customers for a review after a set period of time.

Mack Weldon email asking a customer for a review on the sweatpants they purchased
Photo © Really Good Emails

Here are a few tips for requesting reviews:

1. Customize your emails

Although you might use predesigned templates, this doesn’t mean that they need to be cookie-cutter responses. With all the spam people have in their inbox, you don’t want to get thrown in with unwanted messages.

Start by customizing the email with their name. While you want to maintain a sense of professionalism, you also want them to view you as a friend. A simple “Hi there {subscriber name}!” or “How’s it going {subscriber name}?” will give your emails the personal touch you need to stand out from the crowd.

Another way to customize your emails is by separating them by product and category:

Purchased this product emails

Let’s say you want to increase sales or reviews for a particular product. Using Mailpoet’s product-specific email feature with WooCommerce makes this a breeze. First, you can customize your emails based on the product purchased and set them to automatically trigger after a set period of time.

"purchased this product" settings with a dropdown for send time

You might send tutorials on using the item or suggest related products. Plus, you can ask them for a review.

Your review request might say something like:

Hey {subscriber name}! 

You purchased {product name} X days ago, and we wanted to check in and see how you like it! We appreciate your support and just can’t wait to know how it’s been working for you. Could you share a few thoughts? Your honest feedback will help us improve our products now and in the future! 

{Insert call to action button}

You can remind them of their purchase in a few short sentences and motivate them to give you some helpful feedback.

Purchased in this category emails

What if you’re looking to increase sales in a particular category? Send a “Purchased in this Category” email to reach a wide group of customers from this segment. Unlike the specific product emails, these target customers based on the category they purchased from initially.

dropdown for "purchased in this category" email showing options for scheduling

You can request a review (which will give you more credibility with new shoppers) and remind former customers of other products they might like to add to their collection — all at the same time!

Don’t be afraid to sound friendly and casual here. You want people to think of you as a friend encouraging them to return to a store they love. These category emails can be scheduled in advance to be sent out days or weeks after the initial purchase.

2. Give a clear call to action

Make it as easy as possible for your customers to leave reviews. The last thing you want is for them to feel that it’s another vague email that’s landed in their inbox. Instead, leave a clearcut call to action at the end of your message.

Target email asking for a product review of a memory foam bed pillow
Photo © Really Good Emails

This might take the form of a short message with a button saying, “Click here to tell us what you think” or “Fill out a brief survey.”

3. Timing is everything

When using email marketing to increase product reviews, timing is everything. We’ve all been here: you download a new game app on your phone only to be accosted with a review request five seconds later. You haven’t even tried the game!

It’s the same with product reviews. When sending emails, you want to wait long enough for the customer to get familiar with their purchase. This also means factoring in the time it takes for shipping.

Take the example of a digital download versus a hoodie. Someone who bought a digital download will likely access it right away, so sending a product review a week after the delivery date would be ideal.

On the other hand, a physical product like a hoodie needs to be washed and hung up in their closet. A person might not reach for it until a windy day. Consider sending a product review email after a few weeks. This gives them enough time to wear it once or twice, and they can give it a thorough review.

You can automate your emails to send at specific times with either of the MailPoet features. Emailing people in this manner helps you catch your customers at the right times.

4. Don’t annoy your customers

While you want to get these coveted reviews, you don’t want to come across as pushy. It’s okay if some people don’t respond to your request for a testimonial. If they’re a repeat customer, there will be plenty of future opportunities to ask them for a review.

Sending out requests for product reviews too often will have your customers unsubscribing faster than you can say “email.” Instead of spamming them, why not consider including an incentive in the subject line?

An incentive could look like a 15% off coupon for giving their thoughts or offering a buy one, get one deal on their next purchase.

Your subject line might say:

{subscriber name}, get 15% off your next purchase for sharing your thoughts! 

Or,

Hey {subscriber name}, how does BOGO on your next purchase sound? 

5. Thank them for their time

Finally, and most importantly, you want to thank your customers for the time they spend filling out a survey or sending in their thoughts. Even a not-so-stellar review can give you some much-needed insight into how you can improve your products.

Use MailPoet to send behavior-triggered emails after a customer has filled out a product review. If you promised a discount, send it through. Otherwise, a simple thank you email gets the job done.

We get it; asking for product reviews isn’t a perfect science, but the rewards make learning what works all worth it.

In summary, you’ll have a successful email marketing experience if you stick to the following:

  • Customize your emails (product and category emails)
  • Give a clear call to action
  • Time your emails right
  • Avoid harassing customers
  • Thank customers for their time

As long as you follow these tips, you can feel confident asking for product reviews by email. Remember, people want to feel valued. Showing your customers that you care will benefit you, your business, and your reputation for the years to come.

Learn more about mastering email marketing with MailPoet

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How to Create an Email Marketing Strategy for Your Online Store

Bells and whistles continue to ring across the internet, claiming to be the ‘secret’ to business growth, marketing, and more money. But email marketing retains the top spot in terms of ROI and remains the number one method for companies to communicate with their customers.

Thus, creating and implementing an email marketing strategy for your store should be a top priority if you want to increase revenue without spending tons of money.

If you’re not fully utilizing email marketing for your business, and you’re looking to increase your revenue, this article is for you.

Let’s look at some keys to creating and implementing the best possible email marketing strategy for your store.

1. Establish a goal

Every strategy starts with goal-setting. What do you want to increase with your emails? Sales? Brand awareness? Thorough product education? Positive reviews? Maybe it’s several of these.

Get specific with your goals. How much do you want to increase sales? How many new reviews? This gives you a tangible benchmark to reach and helps you gauge progress — ”We’re halfway to our monthly goal!”

Setting specific goals dictates everything else in your strategy. It will help you determine who you send messages to, what those messages say, and the actions you ask readers to take.

2. Define your audience and types of email

Your audience is going to depend heavily on your goals. You don’t want to send every email to every subscriber — you want to find those who are going to be most receptive to your message.

If your goal is to increase reviews, focus on previous customers. You can then create two segments — those who purchased recently and those who haven’t bought anything in a while.

options for a Purchased This Product email in MailPoet
With MailPoet, you can easily send emails based on previously purchased products.

You can use a tool like MailPoet to remind recent customers about their purchase, feature a specific item they bought, and ask for a review. You can also set automated emails that send a request to future buyers a couple of weeks after they complete their transaction.

For those who haven’t been active in a while, you’ll need to provide a bit more context to remind them of your brand. This can also serve as an opportunity to re-engage them with your newest offers.

If you want to grow revenue, think about new versus existing customers. Give newbies more information about products, include testimonials, emphasize customer support channels, and highlight any generous return policies you may have. Emails to existing customers should focus on upsells, related products/services, new product launches, and refer-a-friend programs.

The more specific you can be, the better. Instead of emailing everyone about a product that you know isn’t super popular, you might email just those who already bought one. They’ve indicated that they like the item, so you could offer to sell them a few more at an amazing discount!

If this audience is too narrow, you can expand to others who’ve shopped in the same category. If the item is similar to something else they liked, they still might be more likely than your average subscriber to buy it.

People like emails that are relevant to them. Even more importantly, they really dislike a bombardment of emails that aren’t. You may decide that you want to touch each subscriber no more than five times per month. So by defining your audience and sending emails to specific groups, you can save those touches for the absolute most relevant emails and really boost your performance.

3. Think about the frequency of your emails

There isn’t really a set number of emails you should send in a given time period — it all depends on your business and your audience. For example, if you sell a membership program that includes recipes for the workweek, it may make sense to send an email every Monday with meal ideas. Or, if you target busy professionals, you might just send a roundup of tips and news once a month so as not to overwhelm their already-cluttered inbox.

But it’s also important to consider the time you can invest in writing effective emails. Can you be consistent and send a newsletter every week? Or would it be better to send it once a month? After all, you don’t want to overpromise and under-deliver or, worse, send out ineffective or poorly-written emails.

Here are some tips for determining the right frequency:

  • Consider starting with monthly emails to see how that works for your audience and schedule. This will help you get used to sending consistently, and you can always increase the frequency later.
  • It’s generally better to send fewer, well thought-out emails instead of more, quickly-written, sloppy ones.
  • Consider automating your emails and using templates to save time (more on this later).

You may need to play around a bit to find the sweet spot for your specific situation. Make sure to keep a close eye on your email analytics to determine effectiveness and consider reaching out to subscribers directly to find out what they prefer.

4. Establish a format/template

You don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time you send out an email — this can be time-consuming for you and confusing for your customers. Instead, create a few set formats and templates that you can reuse based on the type of email you’re sending.

There are two types of email formats: plain text and designed.

a text-based email from GameStop addressing the COVID-19 pandemic
This text-based email from GameStop addressing the COVID-19 pandemic looks just like an email from a friend, which makes it seem more personal. View the full email.

Plain text emails are quick to create and typically don’t look like a marketing email, which might help you get attention. However, they can be boring and are limited in terms of layout and options for showcasing products. And, without a visual reminder, some folks might not remember or recognize your brand.

A designed email from Minna with bright colors and patterns
This designed email from Minna grabs attention with bright colors and patterns. View the full email.

Designed emails offer more options for grabbing attention and engaging with customers. They promote your brand visually with a consistent look and feel, reassuring customers that they’re coming from you. Plus, they’re reusable and can include elements like buttons — which can lead to more clicks. However, they can also be time-consuming to create and require expertise to design and perfect things like mobile responsiveness.

But if you’re not a designer, don’t worry. MailPoet makes it easy to create visually appealing emails that are as simple (or as complex!) as you’d like. Use the drag-and-drop editor to put elements exactly where you want them without needing a line of code. And you can even save templates for future use!

5. Create content with value, not just a sales pitch

Creating compelling content helps you stand out from all the other emails sitting in subscribers’ inboxes.

If every email you send is just another sales pitch, it won’t be long before subscribers tune out your messages or mark you as spam. The trick is to deliver value while also showcasing your products or services.

If your goal is to boost sales, think about how your emails can strengthen the relationship with your customers and encourage them to come back. Include how-to guides, product tutorials, exclusive looks at new products, pictures from charity initiatives, or case studies.

An email from Barilla with recipes
Barilla shares recipes using their products in this email rather than focusing on promotions. View the full email.

Also consider fun and informative articles on topics of interest to your audience. If you sell camping and outdoor gear, for example, offer articles with tips on campgrounds and hikes. It doesn’t always have to be original content — link to good articles on reputable, non-competing websites or partner with influencers to create unique content that you can use.

6. Take a multichannel approach

Make email one of several marketing channels you use, driven by your overall strategy. People spend time on a variety of platforms, and your marketing mix should be a reflection of how — and where — your audience spends their time.

If you have a large social media following, create exclusive, email-only opportunities to encourage them to subscribe to your list. Now, you can reach them in more than one place! It goes the other way, too. In your emails, include an option for subscribers to follow you on social media or sign up to receive a physical catalog.

Use consistent messaging and graphics across all channels so your fans recognize your brand and trust they’ve made it to the right place. To be more efficient, you can reuse content from one platform on another. However, make sure that each at least occasionally has something unique and exclusive — that way people have a reason to follow you multiple places.

7. Measure and improve

It’s important to regularly step back and take stock of what’s working and what’s not. In the day-to-day scramble of running a business, it can be easy to push this task aside, but it’s critical to making your email campaigns more effective.

Most platforms offer data on how well your messages are engaging subscribers. Here are some pointers for using this information to improve your strategy:

  • Keep an eye on your stats and make incremental improvements. You might notice that emails get higher or lower engagement on certain days or times, for example. Or perhaps certain types of content generate more clicks than others.
  • If you’re getting a high number of unsubscribes, review your content, process, and strategy. It could be something simple! For example, if you tell people they’re signing up for a monthly email, but you send them updates every week, you could be driving them away.
  • Most importantly, remember why you’re sending email marketing campaigns. Are you reaching your goal(s)? Do you need to try a different approach? Check in regularly to ensure you’re not getting off track .
A simple, attention-grabbing email capture in the footer of a website
Heggerty includes a simple but attention-grabbing email capture in their footer.

8. Build your list

Emails are pointless without a quality list of subscribers. But how do you create that list? Here are some tips:

  • Make it easy to subscribe on your website. A prominent callout with a quick and easy sign-up form is essential. And add this where it can’t be missed — your homepage, sidebar, or a footer that’s on every page.
  • Experiment with the location of your forms. You might try adding them to popups, banners, or in the middle of blog content (just don’t be too intrusive!).
  • Add a signup button to your checkout page.
  • Emphasize the benefits of signing up. Will they find out about the latest sale items and deals? Be notified of in-store events? Get special promotions only for subscribers?
  • Introduce opt-in bonuses (e.g. join our list to get 10% off your first order).
  • Get consent every time. Don’t add someone to your list unless they’ve explicitly opted in.
  • Use your other marketing channels to encourage sign-ups.

9. Save time with automation

Email automation is like having an entire team of marketers that just wait for the best time to send out targeted messages to specific subscribers. And the right message with perfect timing equals stellar results.

But this particular team doesn’t take up space in your office, or more importantly, your payroll. And once you’ve done the work to create automations, they just work — days, nights, weekends, whenever you need.

So what kinds of emails can you send with automation?

10. Choose an email platform that’s right for your strategy

There are many email platforms out there, each with different features and benefits. Take the time to research the differences so you can determine the right one for your business, audience, and budget.

If you’re not an email developer, you probably want to find a tool with a drag-and-drop builder. If you’re short on time, choose one that focuses on email automation. The priorities are up to you!

If you’re only running automated campaigns, AutomateWoo is a great option. Or, if you want to send a combination of automated and regular email newsletters, MailPoet is a better fit.

The power of email

Email remains one of the most effective tools to engage potential customers, retain existing ones, and expand your reach. Regular, thoughtful communication is the key to success. The right strategy, paired with tools to help you work more efficiently, only makes things better.

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Showcase your products to shoppers across Google on any budget

From Google Search to YouTube, Google has long provided an indispensable suite of marketing tools for eCommerce businesses. That’s why we’re excited to announce the launch of Google Listings & Ads, an extension that makes it simple to showcase your products to shoppers across Google — on any budget.

Built in partnership with Google, this extension brings the magic of marketing an online store deeper into the WooCommerce experience. Store owners, large and small, can enjoy an experience designed to boost sales and reduce the complexity of connecting a WooCommerce product catalog to Google.

Take advantage of free product listings

Showcase products on the Google Search Shopping tab for free! A connection to Google Merchant Center takes care of uploading and syncing product data, automatically surfacing this information for free listings, Google Ads, and other Google services.

Boost sales without the guesswork 

Integration with Google’s Smart Shopping campaigns makes it easy for store owners to reach more shoppers and grow their sales with paid ads. You don’t need to be a marketing expert to get started. Google uses machine learning and your product feed to create and show a variety of ads across different networks, including Google Search, Shopping, YouTube, Gmail, and the Display Network.

Never leave your WooCommerce store 

Connect your account, monitor budgets, and launch campaigns from the comfort of your WooCommerce store. Need a report? Want to review campaign analytics? You can do that, too. 

Keen to give Google Listings & Ads a try? Get started with up to $150 in ad credit when you create a Google Ads account.

Adapt for the Future with Facebook Conversions API

The advertising industry is changing in ways that will affect all businesses who rely on an ad-supported internet to grow. Consumers want transparency and control over how their data is used and companies are working to better protect consumer privacy. Personalization and privacy are often presented as two concepts at odds with one another when it comes to digital advertising. But that isn’t the case — personalized ads and user privacy can coexist. 

The demand for greater privacy is driving new government regulations and transforming technology platforms. Businesses must innovate their data practices to meet people’s expectations around relevancy and privacy, while maintaining effective marketing and measurement. Conversions API is a new tool from Facebook that supports advertisers’ efforts to provide consumers with data transparency and control while also helping them to continue offering personal experiences to customers. The good news for WooCommerce merchants is that it’s easier than ever to implement Conversions API. 

The ads ecosystem is rapidly evolving

In an effort to meet consumer expectations, governments are implementing new regulations and companies are evolving their policies to put control in the hands of people. In some cases, those policies have impacted long-standing advertising mechanisms. In 2018, the European Union (EU) implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), to give individuals control over their personal data. It also addressed the transfer of that data beyond the borders of the EU.

The use of third-party cookies is a great example of companies taking a proactive approach to consumer privacy. Third-party cookies are snippets of code that enable measurement of customer activity. Advertisers use this data to make relevant offers to consumers. Some web browsers already block third-party cookies and most other browsers will soon do the same. Advertisers’ retargeting and personalization strategies could be affected by this.

Personalized advertising in a privacy-first world

stats showing how people feel about personalization and privacy

People value highly personalized experiences. According to a 2018 study by Accenture Interactive1, 91 percent of consumers say they’re more likely to shop with brands who “recognize, remember, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.” But while people value personalized experiences, they also want more privacy. Almost 97 percent of respondents to a 2019 Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report2 survey were somewhat or very concerned about protecting their personal information. 

We know that data-driven marketing is effective and brings value to people by connecting them to products and experiences they love. Because of data, companies can reach people with the right message at the right time in their journey, from the moment they first discover a product or service to the time they make a purchase. 

But personalized advertising doesn’t need to be at odds with people’s privacy. If businesses take the right steps to adapt their digital strategy, they can offer personalization to customers while reliably sharing data with Facebook. 

That’s where Conversions API can make the difference. Conversions API is designed to help advertisers drive the outcomes they want using information and data they control, such as their customers’ interactions with their sites, products, and services.

How does Conversions API work?

Conversions API allows advertisers to share data directly from their server rather than through a browser. 

Facebook encourages advertisers to implement Conversions API in addition to Pixel for full-funnel visibility and to strengthen how their business shares data with Facebook. Advertisers can pass a wider array of data to inform their advertising than is currently captured by the Facebook Pixel, such as CRM data or lower-funnel events, and Conversions API is designed to be less susceptible to issues like browser crashes or connectivity problems. Industries with heightened security needs can also use Conversions API as a standalone tool to better control what data they share and when they share it.  

How do Conversions API and Pixel work together?

Pixel and Conversions API work in concert; it’s important that advertisers implement Conversions API in addition to Pixel. With the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin, the same data that flows through Conversions API and the Facebook Pixel is deduplicated based on a unique event ID, so there’s no concern about the same events being double counted. Additionally, with Conversions API, advertisers can use a wider array of data to inform their advertising than is currently captured by Pixel. This results in greater insight into the people who matter to your business.  

How can I implement Conversions API?

As a WooCommerce merchant, you can easily implement Conversions API and optimize and fortify your data for the future. It just takes a few clicks when you update to the latest Facebook for WooCommerce plugin. Setting up Conversions API will ensure you can measure customer actions in more ways, improve the accuracy of events sent for measurement and optimization, and control the data you share.

setting up the Facebook for WooCommerce extension
  1. Navigate to the Plugins menu, click Add New, and locate the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin. Install the plugin, then click Activate
  2. Go to MarketingFacebook and click Get Started
  3. Click Continue and confirm your settings. 
  4. Authorize your WooCommerce integration with Facebook by selecting Manage your business
  5. And you’re done! Congratulations, you’ve updated your Facebook for WooCommerce integration and now enjoy all the benefits of Conversions API. 

If businesses can’t evolve, people may face a digital world dominated once again by less personalized and potentially disruptive ads. Not only does this create a poor experience, it may increase costs for advertisers. Again, personalized advertising doesn’t need to be at odds with people’s privacy. Businesses can take steps to act with user privacy in mind and maintain performance of the digital advertising ecosystem by installing the latest version of the Facebook for WooCommerce plugin today. 

1. Accenture, Personalization Pulse Check, 2018

2. Tealium, 2019 Tealium Consumer Data Privacy Report, 2019

Fewer Abandoned Carts, More Sales: Nine Proven Strategies

If you’re an eCommerce merchant, chances are you’ve experienced an abandoned shopping cart or two. An abandoned cart is when a potential customer starts an online order but backs out before completing their purchase.

Various studies point to an average cart abandonment rate of 68.81% with the most recent study showing 74.52%. That’s a lot of ditched carts and missed sales, so how do you minimize this?

Leaks can exist in a variety of places in your online sales conversion funnel, but there are plenty of ways to be proactive and nip them in the bud before customers drop out.

Here are some steps you can take to reduce abandoned shopping carts:

Simplify your checkout process

You can save your customers a lot of time by not requiring too many details and only asking for what’s appropriate. Complicated checkout processes are a huge deterrent. Keep it simple and relevant. For instance, if you’re not working with a business, you shouldn’t need company details. Also, try not to ask for information that’s too personal.

Here are some ways you can customize your checkout page by modifying or removing fields that aren’t necessary for your particular business and customer base. Fewer fields mean a faster and easier checkout process. It’s a win-win for everyone and a surefire way to minimize the odds of your customers disappearing.

Accept payments directly on your site

WooCommerce Payments can help you do this. Store owners love the seamless integration, the easy-to-use dashboard, and the flow of this particular extension. You can securely accept credit cards, view transactions and deposits, download information, and manage disputes, all in one place.

WooCommerce Payments dashboard

Plus, every transaction is handled on-site as opposed to redirecting customers to a third-party payment gateway. Not only does this build trust, but it eliminates confusion and speeds things up.

Let returning customers save their information

Give customers the option to save their information when they make their first purchase. Then when they come back, they don’t have to go through the time-consuming process of digging up cards and entering their details all over again. WooCommerce Payments lets users save financial details such as credit card information, billing addresses, and card expiration dates to their account. This enables a swift checkout and dramatically reduces the likelihood that they’ll back out of the sale early.

Enable social login

Allowing customers to check out as guests automatically leads to quicker transactions, but what happens when these people want to make another purchase?

social login options available at checkout

WooCommerce Social Login enables users to log onto your site using existing accounts on platforms like Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, and Google as opposed to creating a new one on your store. Furthermore, they don’t have to keep entering usernames and passwords because they’re always logged in, and it’s a simple, fast, and secure process. Ease, speed, and security are an online shopper’s best friend.

Follow up with customers

Maybe your customers forgot about their shopping cart, or maybe they got busy. Another possibility is that they just need a little nudge saying, “Hey, buy me!” This is where you come in by politely inviting them to return and finish the process. You can even automate your follow-ups with Abandoned Cart Recovery from WooCommerce.

The Abandoned Cart Recovery extension allows you to create multiple follow-up emails and send them at specific intervals. It also lets you include things like coupons and other incentives to encourage purchases. Your dashboard keeps lists of abandoned carts, recovered carts, and pending orders with customer information, so you can personalize your follow-ups and include relevant details.

Be upfront about shipping costs and consider free shipping

Shipping fees are the least popular of all costs associated with online retail according to UPS data. Be upfront and clear about what you charge, and consider offering free shipping. Online shoppers love free shipping, and 93% of them make bigger purchases when it’s available. In fact, 58% add more to their carts just so they’ll qualify for it.

You might also consider building shipping costs into your actual product prices. Your customers don’t need to know that you raised prices to offset the cost. You could charge, say, $40 for an item that costs $5 to ship, but your customer will probably be happier paying $45 for the same item and getting “free” shipping. This way, you’re not losing any money, but the shopper is still excited to not pay for shipping. Just make sure to stay mindful of your margins if you do this or you could end up losing money. Be strategic.

Make sure your site loads quickly

Your bottom line is significantly impacted by the speed at which your page loads, and slow sites are really bad news for eCommerce. Shopping cart conversion rates drop by 7% for each one second delay in page loading time. If a site takes more than three seconds to load, 40% of visitors will abandon it according to Kissmetrics. Remember, speed is king! We recommend compressing your files, resizing them, and making sure you’re saving them in the correct format before uploading them. JPEGS are usually your best bet.

Images will be your heaviest files, so make them smaller. At the same time, don’t make them so small that you sacrifice quality. You can also implement lazy loading, which delays the load of an image or graphic until the user actually scrolls over it. This is another great way to improve page performance. Finally, if you’d prefer to skip these steps, using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) makes it easy by handling the image optimization for you.

Create a sense of urgency

People have an innate fear of missing out, and things like scarcity and deal expirations are legitimate strategies that you can use persuasively in your marketing. Employ different tactics like time-based deadlines, countdown timers, one-day flash sales, limited availability messages, and social proof to create a sense of urgency.

using time-based urgency to encourage sales on a product page

Also, make sure you utilize this urgency messaging throughout your copy, particularly in your abandoned cart follow-up emails. Don’t use it excessively, though, or it will start to sound disingenuous.

Convey trust

One of the best ways to get ahead of abandoned shopping carts is to gain the trust of your customers straight out of the gate. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways. You should always have an SSL certificate, for example, and consider adding any additional industry certifications and awards to your site.

Being transparent and exercising responsible business practices will help make your customers feel more comfortable shopping with you. The result? They’ll stick around and refer their friends.

A winning opportunity

Abandoned shopping carts provide you with the perfect opportunity to build better relationships with your visitors, particularly those who aren’t yet customers. People who left their carts behind have already engaged with your business by familiarizing themselves with your products or services. Dig a little deeper to find out why they’re deserting their carts in the first place. You might be surprised at what you learn, and you’ll likely gain some new customers in the process as well.

Don’t leave abandoned shopping carts behind! You can recover 30% or more of your sales with Abandoned Cart Recovery from WooCommerce.

Customize your store with official extensions for WooCommerce in our marketplace
Creating Amazing Content for Your Service-Based Business

Attracting new customers and prospects to your business largely relies on having high-quality content. You can push out this content in a variety of ways, which we’ll talk about in a moment. But first, you must have content that’s:

  • Desirable
  • Actionable
  • Helpful
  • Irresistible
  • Timely

That’s what draws potential customers to service-based businesses. Why? Because more than anything, people are searching for help with solving problems in their lives.

Why content matters for service-based businesses

In reality, you’re in the problem-solving business. When the solution to clients’ problems requires highly specialized skills or lots of time, you can charge them for it. That’s your business.

But when the solution can be provided through easily-produced content, that’s also your business. You give it away for free because that brings them into your circle, into your club. By continuing to send more helpful content, you’ll keep them with you. Then, when they face a bigger problem that costs money, they will choose you to solve it for them.

If you don’t create problem-solving content that serves your target audience, you’ll have to rely on other types of marketing like search ads, SEO, social media ads, and more. That’s the harder road. With problem-solving content by your side, all of that becomes easier.

Whether you’re a law firm, cleaning company, personal coach, financial professional, or a home repair service, when you solve problems for your customers with free, high-quality content, they’ll reward you. Great content can:

  • Help leads and customers find you.
  • Make them stick with you.
  • Motivate them to join your email or mailing list.
  • Lead them to pay for your help.
  • Give you something to market other than another 20% off sale.
  • Make you the only company they call when they need help.
  • Help you close the sale.

If a homeowner needs a new roof today, you’re already too late to send out new marketing to get their attention.

But if they already know your company’s name because you’ve sent them tips on how to clean moss off their roof, maintain gutters, know when shingles need replacing, and fix leaks, then you’ll be the first company they call.

Examples of quality content

How-to guides, blog posts, and videos

Nothing is more problem-solving than a how-to guide. “How to _____” is one of the most popular searches on Google. All you have to do is fill that blank with a problem that relates to your business and you can draw people to your site.

Then, give them videos and demonstrations. Give PDFs that require their email to access. Use blog articles with photos and diagrams as needed.

video gallery of motorcycle tours
Photo © https://motorcycletourspuertorico.com/videos/

Motorcycle Tours Puerto Rico has a gallery with videos of their tours. They’re not too long — typically a couple of minutes — but are fun and entertaining. Plus, they’re a great way to entice someone to purchase their own tour.

trade show printing guide blog post
Photo © https://www.printingbrooklyn.com/

Printing Brooklyn has a blog post titled “Trade Show Printing 101 Guide.” It’s packed with helpful information, including a checklist of trade show materials to prepare, but also relates directly to the services it offers.

Surveys

Surveys work well for nurturing your existing email list, and they’re very easy to create and send. A survey shows your customers that you care about their needs and value their input. Plus, it allows you to segment your audience so you can market to them more effectively down the road.

For example, suppose a financial advisor has an email list of 10,000 clients but knows very little about them. By sending out a survey, the advisor can find out how close they are to retirement, their income range, their ages, how many kids they have, and so much more.

The financial advisor can then create special content for near-retirees, and send that only to people between the ages of 55 and 65. However, be mindful about the information you collect, and consider privacy and follow the laws within your industry.

Quizzes

Quizzes are sort of like surveys, but work better for lead generation (finding new prospects). For example, a gardening company could create a quiz titled, “What kind of yard fits your personality?” You can have a lot of fun with quizzes like that, and people take them because they’re low pressure. All you have to do is require an email to see the results, and your list grows.

A cybersecurity firm could send a quiz asking, “How secure are your devices?”, and use it to find prospects who need better protection.

Niche-based, problem-solving content

There’s no limit to what you can create when you really start to brainstorm ideas.

blog post about putting together flower arrangements
Photo © https://poppyfloral.com/

Poppy Floral, a floral design studio in Boston, publishes articles with information about putting together arrangements.

Does it seem odd for a florist to tell its leads how to put together their own arrangements? It’s not. This positions the company as a helpful ally who knows the best way to arrange beautiful bouquets. Plus, most visitors to their site don’t want to do it themselves. That’s why they’re looking for a design studio! But the content sells their expertise and their helpfulness.

A tax accountant could create content about how to know which type of tax return is best for you. Again, this is solving a specific problem. It’s not what they charge for, but it’s one small item that potential customers need help with.

How to use your service-based content

Once you create your content, there are at least three ways to use it.

1. Send it out

If you have an existing email list, send it to subscribers with a link to the video, blog, or landing page for the free guide. If you have mailing addresses, create a postcard, flier, or letter, and mail out the free offer. This might be more effective if paired with a special sales offer, since direct mail is more expensive. Combine the free content with a paid service.

2. Put it front and center on your site

Don’t bury your content and make it difficult for site visitors to find. Instead, feature it right on your homepage! You could add a “recent posts” or “news” section above the footer, include a “how to” video with a description, or have an email capture that offers a free ebook download.

blog feed displayed on a home page
Photo © https://yourbenefitstore.com/

YourBenefitStore.com includes a visual blog feed that people can view when they first land on their site. It grabs attention with eye-catching images and includes easy-to-see buttons encouraging people to read more.

3. Use paid ads

You can pay for ads on social media, Google, individual websites, or even print publications. And instead of offering sales, sell your content. The point is to generate leads and help people who have the problems you solve to find you. It gets them in your circle.

Put all these tips into practice, apply them to your specific niche, and you’ll attract more high-quality leads and customers who will appreciate your help and choose your service-based business when they are ready to buy.

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