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4 Simple Rules for Writing Must-Open Email Subject Lines

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The blood, sweat and tears you pour into crafting that perfect email are pointless if an irrelevant or uninteresting email subject line doesn’t entice your reader to click open – here are 4 simple ways to craft must-open subject lines.

Do you ever get tired of the number of emails you receive?

Thanks to popular marketing clichés such as, ‘the money’s in the list’ our inboxes are constantly bombarded with emails from companies and services we’ve patronised in the past.

In fact, according to The Radicati Group the average consumer email count stands at just over 93 per day.

With inboxes fit to burst it’s no wonder the open rates for email marketing rarely break the 25% mark.

It seems many marketers are happy with open rates that hover in the high teens, often citing their focus on social media, SEO or referral traffic as a bigger boon to their business.

You can split hairs and make excuses all you like, but really, we all know the reason why many marketers suffer sub par email open rates.

They fail to motivate prospects to open their emails.

They take a laissez-faire approach to their email marketing ensuring their email doesn’t stand out or grab attention. When the average consumer sends and receives nearly 100 emails a day, it’s incredibly easy to be ignored.

So, what’s the solution?

Well, as with any content, the first hurdle you need to clear is grabbing the attention of your prospects.

With blog posts, sales letters and even social media this task falls to your headline. But with emails, headlines are secondary. A prospect will only read your headline if they decide to open your email. With email marketing, it’s your subject line that grabs attention and elicits an open.

Subject lines are the deciding factor. Without a compelling subject there’s only one place your prospects will be sending your emails. Straight to the trash bin.

With email being the number one channel for ROI there’s a lot riding on your ability to excite prospects with your subject lines. Let’s take a look at some proven subject line formulae you can employ before clicking ‘send’.

1. Be short and descriptive

Sometimes great open rates aren’t the result of witty or psychologically influenced writing. They come from getting straight to the point.

subject line study from Mailchimp discovered short, descriptive subject lines are among the most successful.

Short descriptive subject lines are best used when the recipient is expecting an email such as a confirmation or notification or you’re following up with a cart abandonment email. They aren’t, however, ideal for situations that require more persuasion.

2. Spark curiosity

If you’re looking to hook attention and get that open, playing on your audience’s curiosity is the way to go.

Human nature makes us naturally curious. It’s why we touch walls with wet paint signs and can’t stand to hear only half a story. When something is started, we need to finish it.

Play on the curiosity of your prospects by finding something that’s important to them and hinting at a solution inside.

Popular formulae for curiosity laden subject lines include:

  • The Secret of [BLANK]
  • What Everybody Needs to Know about [BLANK]

The two above examples work because they cause the prospect to question. “What is the secret?” “What does everyone need to know?” “Do I already know it?” The only way they’ll find out is by opening the email.

You can also play on curiosity by asking questions that hint at useful information inside. Here’s a great example from SMARTassistant.

I see this and immediately have three questions I need answered.

  • What are the four shopper types?
  • Are my clients ready for them?
  • Am I ready for them?

I’ll open it because it’s piqued my curiosity on a topic pertinent to my interests.

3. Provide solutions

Along with number/list subject lines, solution subjects are some of the most popular formulas.

Generally speaking, people want content that is useful to them. Highlighting how your email could help solve their problems is a sure fire way to capture and retain their attention.

Thankfully the formula for these headlines are rather simple.

  • How to [BLANK]
  • End Your [BLANK] Problems Once and For All
  • A quick Way to Solve [BLANK]
  • Here’s How/Why [Person/group of people/item] [Achieved something desirable]

Most of these subject lines were developed with content in mind, however, you can adapt them to incorporate the benefits of a product and highlight how those benefits will solve the problems of your audience.

4. Speak to customers’ aspirations

You know who buys executive stationery and briefcases? It’s rarely CEOs or top level management. More often than not it’s people who aspire to one day be in those positions and believe having ‘CEO level’ goods gives them a foot up on the ladder.

It’s the reason why sportsmen and women are paid ludicrous amounts to promote sporting goods. “If I buy Cristiano Ronaldo’s boots I might score more goals”.

You can tap into your audience’s desire to be like the pros with your subject lines.

  • [Do something] Like [Notable Person]
  • Here’s how [Person] Does/Achieves [desirable result]

Don’t be afraid to play on your audience’s need for an improvement in their field. Highlight your product as the catalyst that can take them to the next level and they’ll be chomping at the bit to learn more.

Your post-writing checklist

Once you’ve got a few potential subject line drafts you’re going to need to edit for maximum effect.

I recommend using the following insanely useful advice from The American Writers and Artists association. This is their four U’s approach. According to the AWAI, all headlines and subject lines should be:

  • Unique
  • Ultra Specific
  • Useful
  • Urgent

Before you click publish or run any A/B tests be sure to run through your headlines with the four U’s in mind. If you fall short on any of the U’s, see if you can edit to incorporate it or perhaps re write the subject line to ensure it hits with maximum effect.

Formulae and templates are just the start

The templates laid out on this piece are just the start.

Your audience is unique and you can’t expect a generic headline that’s worked for a few others to bring you the maximum effect. You need to play around with various headlines and find what resonates best with your audience.

Run split and multivariate tests and be certain to continually measure not just the open rates, but also your overall ROI.

Want to find out how Yieldify can increase your conversions? Get in touch with one of our conversion specialists today.

Skyrocket Your Conversions with Countdown Timers This Christmas

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How to use countdown timers over the holiday season to incite action and improve your customer experience – leading to increased conversions on your eCommerce site.

The Christmas period presents a huge opportunity for eCommerce stores. Last year 40% of Christmas shopping was completed via the internet and, if Black Friday results are any indication, this year’s numbers should be even higher.

eCommerce is the perfect solution for Christmas shopping. Customers don’t need to navigate the high street crowds, they have a huge product selection just a button click away and purchases are delivered directly to your door.

Christmas almost equals Black Friday in its ability to send customers into a shopping-fuelled frenzy. The potential for stock shortages or late deliveries can cause a month long period of panic buying.

The holiday season’s innate sense of urgency forces customers to spend more money. The fear of missing out convinces customers to make purchases they may otherwise have waited to complete.

Whilst the holiday period comes with its own inbuilt element of urgency, it can’t hurt to bolster the need for immediate action with the tactical use of countdown timers.

Below are a few of the potential countdown timers you could use in your Xmas campaign to increase urgency and drive extra conversions.

The delivery countdown

Few people have their Christmas purchases planned in advance. Barclays reports that nearly a quarter of Brits struggle to find a suitable present with 10% waiting until Christmas day to buy their presents.

The struggle to find the right gift isn’t just related to not being able to find the right product. According to MetaPack’s Delivering Consumer Choice, 51% of people surveyed failed to complete an online order because of delivery options – this included not being able to guarantee a certain date.

A countdown timer highlighting the order deadline for Christmas day deliveries is a huge benefit to your customers. Knowing they’ll get their delivery “in time for the tree” could be the difference between a customer choosing to complete a purchase or taking their custom elsewhere.

The above is an example from They’ve soothed delivery worries with a site wide countdown banner. This banner lets customers know exactly how long they have left to order for Christmas shipping regardless of which page they’re on.

The remaining stock countdown

The run up to Christmas often sees stores run out of popular products.

Customers, despite being aware of this possibility, will put off purchasing now in the hope of finding a better deal elsewhere. They leave your site without purchasing because they think they have plenty of time to shop around.

You can reduce the number of people who abandon their search by adding a product stock count to your products.

Notifying potential customers that there are only a few products left catches attention and prevents them from leaving. It reinforces the fear of missing out and urges them to take immediate action.

There are a number of different ways to approach remaining stock countdowns. A basic stock counter will likely do the job.

However, if you want to reinforce the need for immediate action we recommend following the lead of travel websites.

Here’s how reinforces the need for immediate action. countdown increases the fear of missing out by highlighting how quickly the remaining stock is selling out and how many other people are currently interested in that product.

Including the speed your products are selling increases the desire to act now. By coupling a display of current interest with the remaining stock number you create a highly motivating scarcity element.

The sale countdown

Black Friday may well be over but customers are still looking for the best deals.

They want to know where they are when they’re happening and what they can get.

As with any promotional event you need to build a little buzz for a successful launch. An online sale is no different. Include a timer on your site which signifies the start of the sale to ensure customers flock to your site the second discounted products are offered.

To really stir your customers into action, let them know exactly when the sale ends. You can do this with a secondary countdown timer that replaces the first or by reaching out to customers via email with full details of the sale.

Playstation reaches out to their customers with an email campaign in the run up to their December sale.

The email provides a link which forwards you to a page outlining the 12 deals and in which 48 hour period each deal is available. It’s a simple yet effective method as it notifies of both the start of the sale, what’s on offer and when each deal ends.

One potential pitfall with countdown timers

Countdown timers are a simple yet effective way for eCommerce stores to increase conversions, especially during a period already rife with panic buying habits.

However, there’s one golden rule to adding any scarcity or urgency element to your site. It has to be honest.

There’s a temptation to reduce the number of products or display fake deadlines to really drive panic conversions. This is a very risky approach. If customers suspect that you’ve lied to earn a little extra money you destroy their trust in your brand and reduce the likelihood of them returning to your site.

Whatever form of countdown or stock timer you implement, be sure that the time or stock limits are 100% honest and accurate.

A little urgency never hurt anyone

Urgency is a key factor in driving conversions and countdown timers are one of the best methods of increasing the perceived need to act. They’re effective even in the slower periods of the year as they pander to the customer’s fear of missing out.

Using countdown timers this festive period potentially offers a win-win solution for you and your customers. You gain increased conversions by harnessing your customers’ fear of missing out, but you also provide an improved customer experience by giving clarity on stock levels, sales events and delivery times.

4 Reasons Your Mobile Customers Aren’t Converting

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As mobile use continues to rise, we pinpoint the main sticking points and false beliefs preventing marketers from achieving m-commerce success.

The average smartphone owner checks their device 221 times per day, using it for everything from getting directions to purchasing goods.

The mobile market has changed faster than any other and in 2014 internet usage on mobile devices exceeded PC usage for the first time in history.

So why is it, with such a vast number of people using their mobile devices so many times every single day, that mobile conversion rates are so low?

The problem lies in how we optimise for mobile. Too many marketers view their mobile campaign as a simple add on to their overall optimisation efforts. It isn’t given the respect or time it deserves and as a result, fails to perform.

The first step to increasing your mobile conversion rates is to allocate enough time to properly optimise your mobile funnel. However, before you get stuck into your optimisation, let’s take a look at the main sticking points and false beliefs that prevent marketers from achieving M-Commerce success.

The common consensus that mobile is for browsing/research

There’s a prevailing view that mobile is used only to browse and research products. For a long time this belief held true. The small displays and lack of mobile friendly designs made the purchasing process too much of a chore. It was easier to complete the purchase of a product you’d discovered on mobile when later sat at a fixed point device.

This habit leads to marketers almost overlooking any optimisation of the mobile process, instead focusing on encouraging cross device conversions.

However, the larger displays of tablets and phablets and the introduction of mobile optimised sites have seen a dramatic shift in M-Commerce behaviour.

We’re seeing huge increases in the number of customers who are progressing past the browsing phase of their journey, often completing their purchase on a mobile device.

Japan, whose mobile habits have historically acted as a precursor to those across the globe, recently saw over 50% of eCommerce transactions via mobile. Japan isn’t alone in seeing these gains. South Korea has similar statistics with the UK not far behind.

If the global mobile market follows its historical pattern by mimicking Japanese developments, it won’t be long until mobile conversions across the globe exceed 50%. Now is the perfect time to look at your mobile site and get it ready for what seems set to be a huge increase in M-Commerce sales.

The mobile purchasing experience is dreadful

Thanks to a lack of mobile optimisation the purchasing experience on mobile devices is extremely poor.

As a society we’ve moved past the need for shopping simply for necessities. We don’t buy clothes based solely on their usefulness or practical application but rather for the way they make us look and feel.

We’ve turned the experience of shopping from a gathering of necessary items into an enjoyable, often social activity. And this is where poor mobile optimisation lets you down.

Mobile sites are confusing, difficult to navigate and make the whole process seem more hassle than it’s worth. Thanks to poor optimisation there’s little joy to be found in M-Commerce purchases.

The problems manifest around two primary related areas. Below we’ve listed these areas and how they affect the overall mobile experience.

Mobile displays are too small

Smartphone displays are incredibly small. Whilst phablet screens are managing to strike a balance between smartphones and tablet sizes their screen still causes design problems and makes navigation quite difficult.

With such little on screen real estate to play with it’s often difficult to display key persuasion elements such as reviews, background information or even comprehensive product images. Many marketers rely on responsive themes to properly arrange the design of their site. Whilst this will include everything that you can find on your desktop site, it’s a poor solution to the problem.

Responsive themes treat content like water, pouring everything from your desktop site into different display sizes with no thought about what would work better for conversions. Not cutting any content or using mobile specific elements can make mobile navigation and use incredibly confusing.

Take the below phone comparison page from Apple as an example.

If you relied on a responsive design the outcome on mobile would be pretty horrific. Whilst it works well on a desktop, customers would have to scroll numerous directions for an average understanding of the comparable stats.

However, Apple hasn’t relied on responsive design and has done a great job of optimizing the above page for mobile. Instead of repurposing all content, they’ve chosen to reduce their display to the two most popular options.

The same tactic needs to be applied to all design and copy elements. You can’t rely on responsive design to fix all the problems. You need to look at the various elements of your page, decide what’s important and choose how best to display them on the smaller screen size.

It’s less about the actual design of the site and more to do with user experience. Ask yourself if you’re optimising your site to look good on mobile, or if you’re taking the beneficial steps of making it easy to use. Only the latter leads to higher conversions.

Network speeds

Website speed has always been a big issue with conversion optimisation. Whilst mobile network speeds have come a long way, they’re still nowhere near the speed or reliability of a desktop connection.

Audience attention spans are short meaning prospects won’t wait around for your page to load. Various studies have been conducted into the area of page load times and the general consensus has the ‘tolerable wait time’ pinned at between two and three seconds.

This extremely low tolerance poses huge problems for the M-Commerce marketer, problems which are often addressed in one of two ways:

1. Leave responsive design to handle the transfer to mobile and hope for the best

2. Strip your page of all unnecessary visual elements to speed load time

Neither of which is a good fix. As already mentioned responsive design simply reorganises all on page elements which will actually increase your mobile load times.

Stripping your page of all unnecessary elements makes for an incredibly bland and boring experience. Without product images you’re taking further steps to suck the excitement and joy out of online shopping.

So what can you do?

As with design you need to carefully select the elements that are going to be displayed to mobile users. This should reduce the time to load whilst also avoiding major negative impact to your key persuasion elements.

However, there are also two smart tactics you can employ to help speed up the process.

1. Develop an eCommerce app and pre load information customers might ask for to reduce loading time

2. Use button and on screen animations to mask the longer loading times while key information is downloaded

Reducing load times is one of the more difficult aspects of optimisation as you’ve got to strike a balance that enables quick loading but doesn’t sacrifice the persuasion points. Remember that when you’re looking at the design it’s not just about aesthetic preference, you’re aiming to reduce load times and improve the user experience.

In conclusion

You can’t afford to overlook your M-Commerce campaigns anymore. The number of users relying on mobile devices has already exceeded their desktop counterparts in certain world territories and it seems set to continue along that path.

Everything points to mobile devices becoming the go to method for online customers to browse, research and purchase their products. Giving your mobile campaign the time and respect it deserves isn’t just about increasing short-term conversions, it’s about future proofing your brand.

Do You Know Who Your Most Powerful Customers Are?

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Yieldify’s Head of Strategy Jacob Ajwani talks customer value and what brands can do to better measure and boost engagement and acquisition.

Call it: Customer-led, Customer-driven, or Customer-centric. Most businesses are preparing for a significant shift, setting aside one size fits all marketing to establish One To One dialogues with their customers.

Treating anyone who engages with your brand online as an individual will encourage a purchase. This is the point of personalization.

But what customers are most valuable to your brand? And how can you tap the buying power of different kinds of customer?

Customer Lifetime Value: fast becoming the most discussed metric

In lieu of constantly chasing new prospects, swathes of brands are focused on engaging existing customers with strategies that aim to inspire brand loyalty.

They are doing this in a variety of ways, from producing killer content to nurturing their branded communities on social media. This makes sense. After all, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.[1] Also the probability of selling to a returning customer is 60% – 70%, far better than the probability of securing new custom (5% – 20%).[2]

It’s also hard to argue with the fact that existing customers spend 31% more than new customers.[3]

Building a trusting relationship with your existing customers is a vital building block in the foundation of your brand. Use Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) to measure how much an individual is spending with your brand. CLV indicates how the marketing team’s efforts improve profitability of customer relationships long term.

Don’t forget first-time shoppers

Tailoring your messaging to first-time customers is another way to extract value. If you focus all your attention on keeping the people who already buy from you happy, you’re bound to neglect new prospects. If you ran a brick-and-mortar store, you wouldn’t ignore the vast majority of your customers – so don’t do it online. You can’t afford to only preach to the converted.

Segment your prospects and identify their traffic source. This lets you make smart choices on how to tailor your content to each individual user. Messaging should vary depending on where your visitor has come from, whatever their origin, but stay focused on giving your first-time users a reason to stay. Ways in which this can be achieved include directing them towards existing offers, offering free delivery or giving them 10% off their first order. Also split-test different messaging to optimise those interactions. Will, for example, serving 3 of your KSPs or 6 better encourage a purchase from those visitors first landing on your site?

Court casual buyers

New customer acquisition is as much about quick wins as it is about cultivating loyalty and long-term custom. The fact is 77% of consumers admit they have no relationship with a brand.[4]

But this presents an opportunity.

Engage prospects with bubblegum incentives such as limited timeframe discounts, free gift offers or engage them in competitions. If you can entice light buyers, you will grow your brand. Driving up your market penetration is just as healthy an objective as fostering loyalty. And pushing the former will influence the latter.

Simplify the user journey

Whichever form your on-site visitor takes, don’t risk basket abandonment with a cumbersome checkout process. Strip out arbitrary stages from your buyer process and you will lift on-site conversions.Provide, for example, a guest checkout option and you’ll reduce casual buyer drop off. It’s telling that 8 out of the top 10 US retailers already offer a guest checkout.[5] ASOS cut their abandonment rate in half just by removing any mention of registering to create an account.[6]

Customer-centric marketing is about having the ability to establish enriched and profitable relationships with your customers. But this doesn’t also mean you should assume all your potential shoppers can be converted into big brand advocates. There are endless variables at play within broad groupings of potential buyers. Start by distinguishing returning customers from new visitors. From there, you can deepen segmentation and targeting criteria to speak to users in a highly personal way.

By taking all potential customers seriously, you can deliver experiences relevant to each individual shopper, encouraging custom from everyone who comes into contact with your brand.






[6] ibid.

When Data Is Not Enough: Why You Need to Learn the Art of Data Visualization

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Data visualization is changing how brands can optimize their e-commerce channels in 2015. Every day, new streams of infographics populate the blogs we read, visualizing everything from spend trends to device usage to purchase geolocations.

But data visualization isn’t just a novel way to broadcast a data set. As Dr Johanna Kieniewicz, Head of Outreach and Engagement at the Institute of Physics points out, data visualization is a tool of discovery as well as communication.[1]

Business managers who use visual data discovery tools are 28% more likely to find timely information than peers who only use managed reporting and dashboards[2]

So what is the commercial application of data visualization? And why should your brand be using it to influence your online strategy?

Visualization helps tell the story of your data

Humans are visual creatures. We consume information more rapidly when demonstrated through diagrams than when expressed as text.

Big data visualizations are appealing and helpful when we have large data sets because they allow us to conceptualise by dimension; it is difficult to conceptualise data beyond three variables. Visualization helps us to intuitively build relationships between variables to get the full story from your data. 

Saurabh Johri, Data Scientist, Yieldify

Visualization gives you better ownership of your brand’s data and enables you to understand the dynamics of your customers

At this moment, humans are better equipped to see visual patterns than computers. Machine learning algorithms are growing ever more advanced but their accuracy depends on having access to a body of images and words to train from. We are still some way off a computer being able to compete with the human eye and brain.

It’s not just about answers: visualization helps you ask the right questions

It’s easy to think that visualization is supposed to give you all the answers. Most people anticipate a visual will immediately reveal the source of a problem or, for example, that there is an obvious pattern of abandonment for a particular item.

In reality, visualization should help you ask more questions and better questions. Effective visualization helps push you towards finding better hypotheses. It should be a key stage in a constant iterative cycle of testing and refining.

Data insights: a visualization (Gregor Aisch) [3]
Data insights: a visualization (Gregor Aisch)[3]

Following this back-and-forth process, you can work out if the data is making it difficult to tell a particular story or whether it is telling a different story altogether.

Good visuals do not always mean good data

Whereas it is clear that data visualization has real benefits, better data and better visuals do not go hand in hand. We tend to immediately attach credibility to data visualization because displaying findings in this way makes them look objectively true. But it is possible to skew what you are trying to present. This is because there are many details that are hidden in a visual. If you were trying to make a point about data by using text rather than an image as the medium, it would be much easier to point out what you disagree with.

Be attuned to how that data is presented so you can prevent yourself from being misled by a bad visual. Take, for example, color scheme: this can have a big impact on how the data presented is perceived. Often cosmetic choices can lend more credibility to the data than it deserves.

If for example, you highlighted an area on a map in red, it would scream out to you, when actually this would be a completely subjective choice made by the person who created that visual.


The color would trigger mechanisms that humans are primed to react to. You should always be aware of the quality of the data that has gone into a visual.

In industry, data is siloed

Data visualization is often seen as a way of making your results look more quantifiable. In fact, they are not quantifiable in the same way that a robust scientific study would be – where others have access to that data so they can repeat the experiment.

“In industry, people can’t replicate what you’ve done to test its validity. Also, often what is seen in a scientific study ends up being glossed over in a commercial context in order to create a captivating visual. This is because you want to show something more direct to tell a clear story.” Saurabh Johri, Data Scientist, Yieldify

Be mindful that data visualization always has an editorial side.

Visualization enables data democratization

Ultimately, your organization is stronger when everyone gets it. Displaying data internally using visualization can excite, inspire new approaches and communicate insights that had before now been closed off to the rest of your team.

By building data visualization into a constant cycle of learning, new actions to improve your strategy will frequently become visible. These actions would have remained hidden possibilities if you hadn’t taken advantage of this game-changing practice.

4 Audience Targeting Strategies Driven by Behavioral Segmentation

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Every brand has an ideal customer. Here’s how behavioral segmentation can help you develop smart audience targeting strategies to reach them.

Maybe it’s the coveted and highly influential 18-24 demographic. Maybe it’s the tech Dad who’s got his eye on the latest tablet. Either way, targeting the right customer at the right time can be tricky for a lot of brands.

Whereas targeting used to be as simple as positioning a large billboard over a motorway or taking an advert out on one of the five channels on offer, the Great Optimization has made audience targeting a great deal more complicated.

Now, the ways brands can drive users to their products are far more sophisticated. Aside from how there are far more channels of influence, modern brands can no longer afford to just think in terms of demographics. They need to be able to treat their consumers as individuals – and that’s where behavioral segmentation comes in.

Proactive retailers have realized that tracking and using consumer’s onsite behavior is the key to creating a highly personalized and immersive eCommerce experience.

Read below to learn our 4 quick tips on audience targeting and behavioral segmentation in the age of information.

4 audience targeting strategies driven by behavioral segmentation

1. Target by basket value

1% of your customer base can spend as much as the bottom 50% combined.

Which customer is more valuable to your business: One with a single £10 lamp in their basket or the one who’s on the verge of buying a roomful of furniture? In-store, you’d certainly put a lot of effort into making sure the latter customer got what they wanted. Why not do this online?

How? Create a series of tiered incentives that can be offered to a user when they abandon a shopping basket or based on basket value. In the example below, beauty brand Kiehl’s offer free delivery based on basket value, and even tell users how much more they need to spend to qualify!

Audience targeting - Targeting by basket value

2. Target by geo-location

86% of campaigns in local languages outperform English-language campaigns for both click-throughs and conversions, according to MarketingProfs.

The Internet allows people to shop from anywhere, but this doesn’t mean you should ignore where that ‘anywhere’ might be. Say you are selling concert tickets. Offering users based in Manchester tickets for a gig in Cardiff is not going to be as effective as offering them tickets to a gig where they actually live.

How? Imagine a user is browsing your website in the vicinity of one of your branches. Why not invite them in for a chat with a mobile overlay when they go to leave your page? Or send them a discount code that they can only redeem at that particular branch – encouraging them to come in and have a browse. Menswear brand M.J. Bale highlight in-store services for those consumers who might need a little more encouragement:

Audience targeting - Targeting by geolocation

Behavioral segmentation creates personalization, which breeds brand loyalty. And this is one of the most powerful tools in a retailer’s arsenal.

3. Target unique and returning traffic differently

Some 98% of first-time visitors don’t make a purchase, according to

But these visitors are a paradox: They are the hardest to clinch but present the biggest opportunity for capturing lifetime value if you treat them right. Brands need to make an effort to secure that first purchase and get users on board.

With returning customers, on the other hand, you already know they’re willing to make a purchase. You just need to foster their loyalty with tailored promotions to make them feel special and valued.

How? Point them in the direction of products you know they might like. Personalize their journey through your site so they only see the most relevant on-site material. In short, target the right customers, reward them for their loyalty and they will stay happy – and frequent – patrons of your site.

4. Target by items viewed

56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that shows product recommendations, claims Invesp.

If you go into a business negotiation knowing what the other side needs, you stand a better chance of success. Similarly, if you know what products a user is interested in and why then you’re already ahead of the game.

How? If someone spends a lot of time looking at, say, headphones, then dynamically changing your in-page content and recommendations or delivering headphones-related offers in your email remarketing campaign are great ways to increase conversion rates.

In the example below, skyn ICELAND recommends a complementary product based on the item in cart:

Audience targeting - Targeting by items viewed

Learn more about your visitors with behavioral segmentation

Think back to the billboard. It worked at the time but today, the impersonal, blunderbuss approach to online marketing is becoming less and less effective. In an era of choice, understanding your consumers and building a personalized connection with them is crucial to ensure consistently high conversion rates.

Behavioral segmentation plays an essential role in building these relationships and the benefits of doing so are readily apparent.

Localized eCommerce offerings can increase conversion rates by as much as seven-fold and geolocation can help reduce online fraud rates dramatically.

As individuals, consumers are all completely unique, each with a broad spectrum of taste and buying behaviors. For a brand to become a leader in any market, this level of personalization needs to be reflected in every online communication with customers.

The Advertiser’s Crash Course In Online Attribution

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Yieldify Partnerships VP Ollie Jones explores the current state of play in online attribution and forecasts the direction of the debate in 2015.

91% of marketers recognize the importance of attribution and 35% consider it critical to their plans.

But attribution is a persistent problem for online marketers. Which partner takes credit for the sale? How do you attribute value to a branding display banner that leads to a website visit, that leads to a product search on Google and an eventual purchase? Much is still based on a Last Click model and we still don’t really have a solid method of attributing money spent on branding or social.

Attribution models and tools are useful but they’re no magic wand.

Eric Eichmann, Chief Revenue Officer, Criteo

Yet being able to calculate ROI and accountability as accurately as possible is crucial not only in order to justify and optimise your online ad spend, but also to make sure your chosen partners feel properly motivated to drive value to their brand partners.

Last Click works but the system is flawed

In an ideal world, you would be able to monitor user behaviour based upon on-site dwell time, time elapsed since coming through an affiliate partner and the order in which a user interacted with each affiliate or channel (search / social / display) in order to find out who should be allocated credit for what.

In reality, the industry leans on a ‘last click wins’ model. Its central flaw is that a partner can drive the traffic to the site in the first place, only to be overridden by a voucher code at the last hurdle. The model doesn’t give fair credit to the entire user journey. Pay Per Click wins out in a big way following Last Click because people search for a brand on their way to conversion. They do this because it is convenient rather than because it has actually had an influence on their intent to buy.

There are winners and losers here, but the biggest losers in Last Click are the advertisers themselves. If those driving the highest value leads do not receive an excellent ROI from their clients, they will lose the motivation to continue driving value.

Advertisers need to be more aware that Last Click has not been defined as an industry standard – it doesn’t have to stay this way and all signs suggest that the scales are tipping towards a more intelligent system of attribution.

Multi-touch attribution is the future

Rather than spotlight the last form of media the customer was exposed to, multi-touch attribution recognizes the importance of every interaction and opportunity to interface within the consumer’s journey from awareness to actual purchase.

Multi-touch attribution is widely expected to mature in 2015. The ideal model – whereby the credit for revenue driven is distributed across touchpoints – promises to provide fair and valuable allocation of credit. The systems necessary to crunch user interaction data in real time are only coming to fruition now.

The big players are driving this change – Google and AOL’s acquisition of Adometry and Convertro last year signalled to the market that it is only a matter of time until Last Click is replaced by this more dynamic and reactive model.

Disjointed buyer journeys complicate attribution

It is well known that the online buyer journeys is fragmented between channels. Right now, nobody knows how to track cross-device purchases without personally asking the consumer. Cross-channel journeys further muddy the water. There will be over half a million click-and-collect purchases made in 2015. Likewise users frequently use the high street as a showroom for online transactions – and websites as a webrooms to inform brick-and-mortar purchases.

These scenarios all raise further questions as to how sales can be properly attributed when the purchase path crosses between offline and online. Attribution therefore requires a strong omnichannel strategy as a platform where user behaviour can be properly tracked across all channels and devices.

Trust the teams behind new tech

Whether products initially drive traffic, bring users back to a site or encourage users not to leave in the first place, it is worth remembering that all these solutions are being built from the ground up by dedicated teams who are working with the intention of improving brands’ online user journeys.

Partners only stand to profit if the client does…in principle. They should only profit if they claim the sales or cross a threshold of clicks; it is the analyst’s job to establish whether these sales are truthfully assigned. But transparency should go both ways. If marketing managers are prepared to share insights that might serve to assist their partners in optimising their offering, that conversation stands to benefit both parties.