E-commerce Link: Bypass the Inbox
Marketing messages from a trusted source, such as family, friends or peers, generate higher acceptance and conversion rates than traditional advertising and other marketing campaigns. In 2005, Yankelovich reported 76 percent of consumers don’t believe companies tell the truth in their advertising. People trust others, with the greatest trust placed in people like themselves. This trust extends to product advice, with 92 percent of respondents to Edelman’s 2006 Trust Barometer study citing word-of-mouth as the best source for product ideas.
True viral marketing can be incredibly effective in reaching high numbers of new qualified customers and creating high ROI. But it has to be implemented properly. You have to carefully evaluate how you will use these new tools, and create a methodical, studied approach to your creative.
In a recent webinar sponsored by MarketLive, Jim Calhoun, CEO of PopularMedia, a viral marketing solutions provider, warned online marketers about potential pitfalls encountered in executing viral campaigns.
“It’s the things the marketer neglects to consider that ultimately guarantee a viral flame-out. They fail to test messaging, different versions of the creative, ways of framing the pitch, or calls to action. They don’t analyze how their audience reacts to the creative, explore rates and methods of pass-along, or test for the optimal viral user experience. Finally, they don’t provide tools—even simple instructions—making it easy to share their offer, game or video with friends.”
Live chat is now turning into a proactive communication tool for marketers. Like the ever-attentive sales person in a physical store, online marketer Overstock.com will initiate a live chat window if a customer has been idle on the Web site too long or visited too many pages without adding an item to his or her cart.
It’s time marketers started taking advantage of these customer engagements not just to build trust in the brand and to provide customer service but to cross-sell, notify customers about promotions and specials, and encourage registration for e-mails and for RSS feeds. However, take a low-key approach when employing this tactic at first to avoid alienating customers with an overly aggressive approach. Test this strategy only in product categories that have extremely low conversion rates or require expert advice. And, of course, a key to success here will be a well-trained customer service team.