Mobile’s Impact on the Consumer Path to Purchase

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront

One in three ad dollars will go to digital advertising next year, meaning digital media spending will be almost equal to television spending. Digital strategies will help drive the U.S. advertising market to $172 billion in 2015, according to new research from Magna Global. Additional research shows that digital advertising will overtake television advertising by 2017, due in large part to the growing popularity of online video, with sites like YouTube and Netflix. This—in combination with mobile and social networking—will push digital to the forefront.

A digital strategy is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have for retailers and brands. If you don’t believe that, then you need to take a hard look at the following data points:

  • Mobile devices lead to in-store purchases. 52 percent of U.S. shoppers have used a mobile device to research products while browsing in a store.
  • Tablets are the cornerstone of online shopping. Tablets are expected to bring in $76 billion in online sales, two times that of mobile devices.
  • Digital content and mobile devices go hand in hand. According to eMarketer, U.S. adults will spend 23 percent of their time consuming media on a mobile device this year.
  • Mobile advertising is at its tipping point. Ad spend is expected to hit $31.45 billion this year. By 2018, it will top $94 billion.

How Do You Get There From Here?
Effective digital strategies take a cross-channel approach that integrates the various mobile channels, such as SMS, app, Web and social.

Value comes behind the scenes, as brands can learn useful information from mobile interactions. For example, customers reveal their operating system when they download an app or open their Web browser. Smart marketers collate such data points into one centralized customer profile—an ideal asset to maximize personalization for mobile.

Companies just getting started with cross-channel mobile marketing should focus on small wins. True cross-channel takes time and iteration, so commit to integrating what makes sense in the short, medium and long terms instead of trying to do everything simultaneously. Below you will find some key areas to consider when building out a mobile strategy:

1. Tablets, Smartphones and Watches, Oh My!
It will be vital for brands to take different form factors into account as they roll out their mobile campaigns. Mobile campaigns can quickly be compromised if brands don’t think about the impact on visuals and the call to action across various screen sizes.

2. The Mobile Marketing Tipping Point
Mobile marketing is evolving as more than just a tactic and is being embraced as a core part of the marketing strategy. With the goals being relatively the same as traditional marketing, marketers will be able to attract, engage and retain new and existing customers. Marketers will be able to target their audiences through highly relevant content based on location, interests and interactions throughout the mobile lifecycle.

3. Deliver a Seamless Experience From Discovery to Purchase
Brands have to make a conscious effort to remove the silos across organizations to be successful at mobile marketing. The goal of marketers should be to collaborate across initiatives by taking in to account different screen sizes, channels, design and messages to deliver ONE consistent experience to consumers.

4. Connecting the Dots Across all of the Consumer Lifecycle
As digital becomes a more integral part of the marketing strategy it will be vitally important to understand how mobile campaigns are performing across the entire customer lifecycle—including mobile ads and messaging, QR Codes, mobile website, branded apps and social media. With these insights, marketers will be able to optimize their campaigns to better understand the triggers that lead consumers down the path-to-purchase.

People everywhere are becoming more reliant on mobile devices and mobile websites to provide them with instant access to product information, deals and the opportunity to purchase in an easy, straightforward manner. Brands have to make it easy for their customers to navigate mobile sites and quickly decide to purchase, regardless of what device they are on.

A Turnaround Idea for Slow 4Q Sales

Only about 30 days or so are left in the holiday season for 2013. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner. And if you’re looking at your early Fourth Quarter results and can see you need a jolt of energy to turn things around, keep reading. Today we reflect on a shopping trend that began a year ago, and we you offer an idea you can implement

Only about 30 days or so are left in the holiday season for 2013. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are around the corner. And if you’re looking at your early Fourth Quarter results and can see you need a jolt of energy to turn things around, keep reading. Today we reflect on a shopping trend that began a year ago and we you offer an idea you can implement yet this season.

A year ago, early online holiday shopping broke sales records. While forecasts for this year appear to show modest overall growth over last year, there will be winners—most likely online direct marketers ready for the growing number of consumers who purchase via mobile devices. Even if you didn’t plan for mobile marketing, it’s not too late to move into action to help your organization take its place in the winner’s column.

The migration of online shopping will most likely continue its shift from desktops to mobile. Last year it was the Apple iPad making headlines. Consumers used iPads by a factor of nine-to-one over any other mobile device, doubling the year before. With Apple’s 52 percent market share, their users accounted for 88 percent of online shopping traffic, according to IBM’s Digital Analytics Benchmark Report.

Of course, that was then, and this is now. Recent data tells us 170 million iPads have been sold. A substantial number of people have them, and use them.

As direct marketers, you have an opportunity to take advantage of the sheer number of iPads, and the trend toward using it for shopping, by optimizing your website for mobile applications (if you haven’t done that, make it a 2014 priority). In addition, when you use tools that work well on iPads and hold your prospective customer to the screen longer, your odds for success improve.

One of tool that works great on iPads, and has proven to lift sales, is online video.

Consider these stats:

  • Video is a driver of consumer confidence. Consumers are willing to watch videos 60 percent of the time they are found, and 52 percent of consumers report that they are less likely to return a product after viewing a video (Website Magazine).
  • 52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their online purchase decisions. When a video is information-intensive, 66 percent of consumers will watch the video two or more times. (Internet Retailer).
  • Shoppers who viewed video on product pages were 144 percent more likely to add to cart than other shoppers (Internet Retailer).
  • Shoppers who viewed video were 174 percent more likely to purchase than viewers who did not (Retail Touchpoints).
  • Looking for higher email click-through rates? Link to a video. About half of marketers who use video in email campaigns see increased clickthrough rates, time spent reading the email, and more sharing and forwarding. (eMarketer).

So what do you do today to test online video in the remaining days of this shopping season?

  1. Conduct a competitive analysis of what your competition is doing with online video. Look at competitor websites for video, search on YouTube and social media. Check the length, and examine their format.
  2. If you don’t have a video, record one (or more)! If you don’t have expertise inside your organization, there are multitudes of creative resources that can help you out. The fact is, an inexpensive camera, and someone with editing skills, can create a video for you in no time. While a bootstrap approach may not be ideal long-term, it’s a place to start.
  3. Load the video on YouTube (10 ways to optimize for search here and 12 overlooked ways to help your video rank higher here). Place it on your website or a landing page.
  4. Send an email to your customer list to promote it. Use the word “video” in your subject line—testing shows your open rate will increase. Since we’re talking mobile here, make sure your HTML emails are using responsive design. If they aren’t, readability on smartphones is challenging, so readership and clickthrough rates go down. Most email portals—e.g., ConstantContact, iContact, Mailchimp, and others—offer responsive design email templates.
  5. Include a link to your video on social media. After about 24 hours, check your social media metrics and you should see a spike in engagement with your followers.
  6. Mail a postcard. You have time. Make it graphically obvious on the postcard you have an important video (story/product demonstration/testimonial) and direct your customers to your landing page. Use an oversized “Play” symbol on a thumbnail that you create of your video. Use a QR code or a PURL to more closely track response.
  7. After bringing prospects to your landing page, you’ve got them started at the top of your sales funnel. Now it’s time for marketing automation software to takeover (more about this topic in a future blog) and convert the lead to a customer before the books close for 2013.

If you haven’t tried video, especially when it’s proven that customers love mobile devices like iPads, now is your time. It’s proven that consumers watch videos, confidence is lifted, and they’re more likely to add a product to a cart and purchase after watching a video. Now is the time to test your organization’s ability to be an agile direct marketer.

Online Video Selling Tips for Direct Marketers

Ready to test online video advertising? The opportunities are expanding exponentially with rapid growth and adoption of online video viewing by consumers. And you can test with a small budget. Today we show you how to produce strong online video advertising using a combination of five tips from those who advertise often, along with seven proven direct response broadcast techniques that have been honed

Ready to test online video advertising? The opportunities are expanding exponentially with rapid growth and adoption of online video viewing by consumers. And you can test with a small budget. Today we show you how to produce strong online video advertising using a combination of five tips from those who advertise often, along with seven proven direct response broadcast techniques that have been honed over the years.

So there is no confusion, we’re talking online video advertising, not content videos. Video advertising is often what you see at the beginning of a video, called pre-roll, usually 30 seconds or longer. Mid-roll ads appear in the midst of a video, and post-roll videos are placed at the end.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

The Internet gives everyone a voice. Small advertisers can get their message out at a fraction of the cost of broadcast television. Videos are as important to a company’s online presence as is your website.

Today’s video offers suggestions about your starter image, storytelling, animation, use of scripts, immediacy, your offer, exclusivity, urgency and making sure you don’t turn your online video into an infomercial in style.

Now more than ever, direct marketers can embrace online video advertising, and you can test it with a small budget. When you use your proven direct response marketing techniques honed over the years to tap the power of online video ads, you’ll have an edge over your competition.

Online Video Advertising for Direct Marketers

If you’re among the 182 million or so who watch an online video each month, then you’ve seen a pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll advertising video. These video ads are gaining traction in views and acceptance. This is a new opportunity for direct marketers to take this format and use it to generate response based on direct response

If you’re among the 182 million or so who watch an online video each month, then you’ve seen a pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll advertising video. These video ads are gaining traction in views and acceptance. This is a new opportunity for direct marketers to take this format and use it to generate response based on direct response broadcast experience.

While it may be tempting to think no one watches these videos, the studies from Nielsen and the Interactive Advertising Bureau suggest otherwise. On average, people who are streaming video watch ads for 20 seconds with an average completion of 87 percent. Pre-roll ads at the beginning of videos average around an 80 percent completion rate. Mid-roll ads, in the midst of a video, experience completion rates of 89 to 99 percent depending on the length, and post-roll placements have completion rates exceeding 70 percent.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

With the explosion of online video advertising acceptance and the number of views by web users, now may be an opportune time for direct marketers to adapt proven direct response broadcast methods and apply them to online video advertising.

Because of the popularity of online video ads, eMarketer estimates video ad spending will grow more than 41 percent this year, reaching 4.1 billion dollars. Direct marketers are strongly positioned to reap the benefit of online video advertising because of our understanding of how to generate response based on years of direct response broadcast advertising experience.

Today’s video gives you the statistics from studies and surveys of advertising executives, which reveals what the branding world is doing (and not doing) that could work to the advantage of direct marketers.

While the traditional advertising agency world is focusing on impressions and views, we look at conversions and sales. And that, my direct marketing colleagues, is what can separate the effectiveness of your online video ads from all others.

The Direct Mail Formula for Great Online Video Series

Planning an online video is a bit like planning and writing a direct mail letter: It helps to have a formula. You need a framework and, perhaps most importantly, a plan to build engagement that leads to closing a sale or prompting a contribution. Today we share three tips for creating a series of online videos in a framework that could resemble chapters in a book. Each chapter builds on another, building confidence and desire from the viewer. The final chapter is where direct mail copywriting principles

Planning an online video is a bit like planning and writing a direct mail letter. It helps to have a formula. You need a framework and perhaps most importantly, a plan to build engagement that leads to closing a sale or prompting a contribution. Today we share three tips for creating a series of online videos in a framework that could resemble chapters in a book. Each chapter builds on another, building confidence and desire from the viewer. The final chapter is where direct mail copywriting principles can be effectively used to close the sale or contribution.

A framework can serve to break your message into segments, each standing on its own.

Viewers can take a mental break between videos as they figuratively turn the page to be taken to something new in the book in a future video.

In today’s video, you’ll learn about three steps you can use to shape your story in video. We also include tips on how to close the sale using direct mail best practices. As you get into the close of your video, it’s all about momentum. Keep it going. Keep it tight. Finish strong.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

When you have a considerable amount of information to share, dividing it into a framework can make it easier for your customers or prospects to follow your intended path to purchase. It engages the audience, and, when done properly, leads viewers to the conclusion that they should buy now.

This is the same principle we used recently to increase sales by 20 percent for an organization.

You may be familiar with the AIDA formula (Attention—Interest—Desire—Action) used by direct mail copywriters to sell and move readers to action. It can apply over time in a series of videos, too. Get the viewer’s attention, create desire, and build trust and confidence. Motivate the viewer to take action as the story or message unfolds, the viewer is ultimately prompted to take action and buy, or in the case of fundraising, make a donation.

Another bonus of a series of videos is that when distributed through social media, you can ask your viewers to “like” or pass along their impressions of each video. That creates the opportunity for your message to spread virally over the timespan of the series.

With these steps to build chapters along with these closing techniques, all designed to lead to sale, your online video messages are better positioned to sell more.

Purpose + Frequency + Free = Marketing Turnaround

If email marketing and social media results are not meeting your expectations, it may be time to shift direction. Today we share part two of our experience that transformed an email and social media marketing campaign with online video. Sales increased 20 percent using a strategy centered around purpose, frequency and free content marketing—with online video at the center of the program—to rebuild email marketing and social media engagement. It’s easy to get into a rut of using

If email marketing and social media results are not meeting your expectations, it may be time to shift direction. Today we share part two of our experience that transformed an email and social media marketing campaign with online video. Sales increased 20 percent using a strategy centered around purpose, frequency and free content marketing—with online video at the center of the program—to rebuild email marketing and social media engagement. It’s easy to get into a rut of using the same direct marketing approach over and over and expecting results to improve. But if it’s time to change direction, this strategy has proven itself to produce results.

We’ve achieved success by telling a story, in increments over time, using online video as the central messaging delivery vehicle.

Think of reading a book. The story is divided into chapters to help the reader know where one part of the story begins and ends, and each part leads to the next. Once all consumed, the entire story comes together with the sum being greater than the parts.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

In our last blog post, we introduced the concept of giving purpose to email, social media and other channels. We shared a marketing make-over that resulted in a sales increase of 20 percent. If you missed part one where we explain the importance of purpose, we encourage you to watch it now.

The three elements of the strategy we talk about in today’s video include:

  1. Creating purpose to your email and social media touch points
  2. Enabling frequency in reaching out to customers, donors and prospects
  3. Giving away content that’s free and builds confidence before making the purchase decision

Successful direct marketing should have purpose every time you reach out to connect with your installed base of customers or followers. Your email, social media and other channels can be transformed from a screaming “Buy me now! Here’s a discount! We can change your life!” campaign to “you’ll learn more about how the product is made” or “we’d like to earn your trust so get to know us better” or “take a behind-the-scenes look” or other transformational marketing messages.

Softer? Yes. And in our culture today, we’ve seen, firsthand, that it’s more effective.

A campaign that has purpose gives you permission for frequency.

A word about frequency: Like many of you, I’ve been in direct marketing for a long time. Whenever I’d hear that the secret sauce to making radio and television advertising a success was frequency, I’d roll my eyes.

You may look at the frequency pitch as just an excuse for radio and TV folks to sell more time and run up your cost. As direct marketers, we believe that if we mail an offer once, we’ll get most of the response in that first effort. Rarely does a second mailing produce more than the first mailing.

But we’ve learned the online space is different. When your message has purpose, with a story built through the use of video, it generates a reason for your touch points to become more frequent.

In the case history that we describe in today’s video blog, you’ll learn that we were fearful that frequency might result in email open and click-through declining. But the opposite happened. Once hooked, people looked forward to the next email or social media post to hear the continuation of the story. In fact, open and click-through rates increased substantially over what had been done in the past and those levels were maintained throughout the campaign.

Social media engagement soared because frequent posts meant friends shared the video with their friends. The Facebook metrics and reports that are available are a direct marketer’s dream. We were able to measure the viral effect of our video beyond our core group of fans.

With email and social media costs being relatively low, it means that with frequency your installed base of customers or followers spread your message on your behalf. And if you don’t have a large number of customers or followers, you can build that list faster with video.

The third key concept is a paradigm shift for those of us who are classically trained direct marketers. Over the years, we’ve always known that an offer of “free with purchase,” would increase response. Today we challenge you to shift “free with purchase,” to simply “free.” You may have heard it referred to as “content marketing.” Giving content away invites a prospective customer to build trust in you. Videos can tell the story of how your product is developed or you can interview real customers telling their real stories and testimonials.

In today’s video, we explain how giving away a 99 cent value item in exchange for a $56 average order increased sales by 20 percent.

With online tools and technology, you can create stories that are delivered on video. You’ll give purpose to email, social media and other vehicles. You will have permission from your installed base of customers and followers to contact them frequently. And when you give away something of value, you build trust and allow them to be more confident in their decision to purchase. When you combine purpose, frequency and free, it can transform and turnaround marketing approaches that are fatiguing or in a rut.

Also in today’s video, we share with you several ideas about topics you can use to create your own series of videos. If you’re struggling with ideas of how you’d use video using these three principles, tell us about your product or service in the comments below, or contact us directly. And for our loyal followers, we’ll freely share our ideas via email or a conference call of how a video series could make sense for you to engage your customers, donors or prospects.

In our next blog post, we’ll explain how to build your story, chapter-by-chapter so you can maximize the purpose/frequency/free content strategy.

The Direct Marketing, iPad and Video Holiday Shopping Link

Consumers are shopping this holiday season with their iPads more than those with Android devices. And now, online video is being credited with closing more sales and getting higher conversions from mobile shoppers. Today we link the reasons why consumers are choosing to shop on iPads, how video influences consumer behavior, and reasons why direct marketers

Consumers are shopping this holiday season with their iPads more than those with Android tablets. And now, online video is being credited with closing more sales and getting higher conversions from mobile shoppers. Today we link the reasons why consumers are choosing to shop on iPads, how video influences consumer behavior, and reasons why direct marketers need to hop on this bandwagon now.

So why do we think consumers are using iPads over Android tablets?

First, not all mobile is created visually equal and with the same ease of use. And second, not all media are created equal. We explain why in today’s video.

Next, we recommend three action items you can take now:

  1. Conduct a competitive analysis of what your competition is doing with online video. If they’re already there, it’s costing you business.
  2. You have an opportunity to be your category leader by repositioning your marketing strategy to include online video. (We also share with you the increase in email open rates you can get by putting the word “video” in your subject line).
  3. A/B test your current approach, or control, with video. Even better: test video formats, length, offers, and call-to-actions.

These are all best-practice approaches that will take your direct marketing and online video marketing initiatives, to a new, higher level, especially on iPads and other mobile devices. And if you think it’s too late to do something this season, challenge yourself and your team to think again. Create a simple video. You don’t need much time to produce it. Then test it next week, with an email alert to your customers, so you can read the results and be ready for 2013. And please comment below with your experience this season with online video.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

Your Online Video as a Direct Marketing Asset

An online video is a marketing asset you can leverage time and time again. As we enter the fourth quarter, an important selling season for many direct marketers, we share today the product categories are that are using online videos as marketing assets. You’ll also learn the types of videos your customers want to watch, and where they want to

An online video is a marketing asset you can leverage time and time again. As we enter the fourth quarter, an important selling season for many direct marketers, we share today the product categories that are using online videos as marketing assets. You’ll also learn the types of videos your customers want to watch, and where they want to watch an online video.

As you’re about to see in today’s presentation, Internet users report that they have watched several categories of online video, ranging from automotive to electronics, even toys, food and wine, apparel, and much more.

Perhaps more revealing are the types of videos your customers would prefer to see you produce. Think creatively about applying these preferences in your video strategy, and you may just give some added oomph to the development of a video as your next marketing asset.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it)

Making Your Video Go Viral

Having your video go viral is every direct marketer’s dream. Imagine your video sales message, reaching your best prospects with them loving it and sharing it with their tribes. Then friends of friends share it, and within days you have hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions of views. You sell a boatload of products and you’re hearing ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching

Having your video go viral is every direct marketer’s dream. Imagine your video sales message, reaching your best prospects with them loving it and sharing it with their tribes. Then friends of friends share it, and within days you have hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions of views. You sell a boatload of products and you’re hearing ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching all the way to the bank. Well, here are five ideas about creating videos that will be watched and perhaps shared.

But first, let’s make this very clear (and you already know this even if the boss or client doesn’t get it):

You can’t MAKE your video go viral.

Only the audience will decide if your video is worthy enough to go viral. For the most part, it’s out of your control.

So clear your brain of this fantasy and come back to reality. You may have to clear the boss’s brain or your client’s brain, too. Your odds of getting struck by lightning may be higher than having your video watched by the masses.

But there are two things you can do to encourage more people to watch your video, and maybe, just maybe, it will be a success for you on a down to earth scale.

Part one, discussed in today’s video, revolves around how you stimulate emotion for your online video, along with introducing you to the amygdala (a-mig’-de-lah)—the lizard brain.

Part two, in our next blog, revolves around how you influence the opportunity for your video to go viral through shared, paid and earned media, to create a ripple effect for distribution of your online video.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)

Addendum to our last blog about video viewing on tablets:
The recently released “Adobe 2012 Mobile Consumer” report reveals a bit about the preferred activity of U.S. Tablet users by age. The percentages below reflect the percentage that cites “view videos” as the “most common tablet activity.”

Age 18-29 5.4%
Age 30-49 6.4%
Age 50-64 14.3%

It’s clear that an older age demographic—Baby Boomers, who grew up with television—use their tablets to watch online video at a much higher rate than people under the age of 50. And it’s clear, too, that as consumers discover the ease of video viewing on tablets, more and more will be there to watch your video, too.

10 Compelling Facts for Direct Marketers to Use Online Video

Online video is now a direct marketer’s dream media. A decade or so ago, we, as direct marketers, wondered how the Internet would turn out to be a viable medium for selling our products. Some direct marketers wondered if consumers would trust using their credit cards on a website. And some may have wondered if email (and other emerging media) could be used to sell products. How things change! Add video to the marketing options because

Online video is now a direct marketer’s dream media. A decade or so ago, we, as direct marketers, wondered how the Internet would turn out to be a viable media for selling our products. Some direct marketers wondered if consumers would trust using their credit card on a website. And some may have wondered if email (and other emerging media) could be used to sell products. How things change!

Add video to the marketing options because video can be efficiently and quickly delivered over the Internet. Continued bandwidth expansion and other technology enhancements now make watching videos a pleasant experience with the viewer in control with a click.

Now that the spigot to efficiently watch video online has been opened, the consumer rush to online video is giving direct marketers an unprecedented opportunity to create video sales messages and deliver them directly to customers and prospects.

Today’s video blog discusses 10 compelling facts about why video should be in every direct marketer’s budget.

(If the video isn’t just above this line, click here to view it.)