A new customer experience, how AI is changing marketing

In the summer of 1956, 10 scientists and mathematicians gathered at New Hampshire’s Dartmouth College to brainstorm a new concept assistant professor John McCarthy called “artificial intelligence.” According to the original proposal for the research project, McCarthy — along with…

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Top Takeaways from LinkedIn’s New ‘Enlightened Tech Buyer’ Report

Key Takewaways from LinkedIn's Enlightened Tech Buyer Report

Key Takewaways from LinkedIn's Enlightened Tech Buyer Report

Technology is one of the fastest-growing B2B sectors, for reasons that are self-evident. As new solutions and innovations continue to enhance the way businesses operate across every industry, every key department has increasing tech needs and buying power these days.

The folks at LinkedIn* recently released a 2019 global report, The Enlightened Tech Buyer: Powering Customer Decisions from Acquisition to Renewal, and it merits attention from marketers of all stripes. As the “enlightened” descriptor implies, tech buyers (for reasons that are also self-evident) tend to be ahead of the curve when it comes to research, consumption, and purchase behaviors.

Today we’ll take a deeper look at LinkedIn’s new data around this trendsetting cohort, breaking down five key revelations within.

5 Telling Trends Revealed in LinkedIn’s Tech Buyer Report

Here are some of the most eye-opening tidbits we saw based on LinkedIn’s survey of “5,241 global professionals who participated in or influenced the purchase of various hardware or software solutions at their organization within the last three months.”

#1 – Tech Buying Committees are Expansive and Diverse

We all know that, in general, B2B buying committees are expanding faster than the Night King’s army of wights. This dynamic is especially pronounced in the tech space.

“Where previously 3/4 of enterprise employees were part of technology decision-making,” LinkedIn reports, “today the total universe of end-users and decision-makers who impact business technology investments encompasses 4/5 of employees (roughly 86%).”

Tech Buying Decision-Making

As tech products and services become increasingly integrated with every aspect of an organization, more voices are coming into play. End users, external influencers, and cross-functional stakeholders all tend to have a role. This reinforces the imperative of establishing strong brand awareness throughout a business, which is a central focus of account-based marketing.  

#2 – The Purchase Cycle is Shortening

The report notes that the process of reviewing, selecting, and implementing new tech solutions has accelerated over the past few years, with the average purchase cycle now checking in at about 25 months. This could be viewed as good news or bad news, depending on how you look at it.

On the one hand, that’s still a fairly long timespan, providing plenty of opportunity for marketing content to make an impact. Meanwhile, the increase in velocity could suggest buyers are becoming more deliberate and urgent in identifying solutions.

But on the other hand, this also means that we as marketers have a smaller window than before to engage and persuade. We now need to make each interaction count more than ever — especially if we’re pursuing a new account. LinkedIn’s study shows that shortlists are becoming more competitive than ever for vendors.

#3 – Vendor Websites Are a Prime Resource

Across every B2B tech category, vendor website/mobile app is the top research destination for buyers. In aggregate, this source is followed by blogs/forums/discussion boards, product review websites, and technology media/trade journals:

In short, buyers are seeking out trustworthy information — be it from a company’s own website or from unbiased third party resources. This accentuates the importance of building credibility with best-answer content, which can satisfy a decision maker’s questions during research while also positioning your brand as helpful and knowledgeable.

#4 – Buyers Want Partners, Not Sellers

Above all, tech buyers value the overall quality of a product or service above all when choosing a vendor. (Duh.) But the next two factors are interesting: both the ability to consistently meet a buyer’s needs, and the ability to answer questions to a buyer’s satisfaction, rank above affordability/pricing in importance:

Choosing a Vendor

This is why the customer experience is becoming such an overarching imperative. Effective marketing now goes beyond the scope of traditional functions. Brands need to be readily available, with the right content at the right time. Strategies must account for every touch point. Always-on approaches are becoming the norm. And this level of attentiveness should go beyond the actual purchase itself…  

#5 – Smooth Implementation is Essential

Per LinkedIn, “The #1 indicator of customer renewal success is successful adoption and product satisfaction.” No surprise there. But it’s another reminder of why the full customer experience needs to be addressed.

“The data shows direct vendor engagement among buyers dropping off in later stages of purchase, meaning that there’s an opportunity to be more present and engaged with customers post-sale,” according to the report. “Marketers need to play an active role in the implementation and adoption process of new technology. A seamless customer experience also demands alignment with customer support in activities, training and key education resources.”

How can marketing continue to shape experiences in these later stages and after the sale? It’s a vital consideration for profitability, since we all know the relative cost of acquiring new customers compared to retaining existing ones.

Follow the Tech Buyers

None of the nuggets revealed in LinkedIn’s “Enlightened Tech Buyer” report are especially surprising, but they do reinforce some of the trends we see playing out at large:

  • Buying committees are becoming more distributed
  • Researchers seek out objective information and best-answer content
  • We need to help, not sell
  • Marketing is starting to impact more parts of the customer experience

To get the full scoop on today’s B2B tech buyer preferences, check out LinkedIn’s report.

*Disclosure: LinkedIn is a TopRank Marketing client.

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Debunking the top 5 stereotypes of programmatic traders

Programmatic traders play an integral role in advertising planning, strategy and execution but there are misconceptions about what they really do.

The post Debunking the top 5 stereotypes of programmatic traders appeared first on Marketing Land.

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How to Reduce Your eCommerce Bounce Rates by 30-40% Using Personalization

How to Reduce Your eCommerce Bounce Rates by 30-40% Using Personalization

This era is a unique one. There are many resources for making businesses successful, especially on the internet, including but not limited to social media, search engines, paid adverts, listing sites (here’s a massive list of business listing sites), and well, internet users.

But not every business thrives, especially on the internet. For eCommerce stores, one contributing factor is a high bounce rate.

What exactly counts as a bounce rate? A bounce rate is actually a combination of several factors, though every time someone visits your store but doesn’t make a purchase, it’s fair to say the person bounced. So bounce rate is the percentage of people who leave your website after visiting a particular page.

A high bounce rate can be disastrous. It affects your page’s ranking because Google automatically assumes the content on the page doesn’t make sense, after all, if people are leaving in droves when they visit the page. I’m sure you can already see how much this would hurt an eCommerce store.

Then again, a high bounce rate also means fewer people are making any purchase from your store. Needless to say, you’ll be out of business soon if your bounce rate is too high.

If it’s any consolation, according to this chart, a typical eCommerce store has a bounce rate of 45.68%.

Benchmark Bounce rate by industry for ecommerce bounce rates

Image Source: Conversion XL

What can you do to improve your bounce rate? Here are some useful personalization tips.

1. Segment your email list

Email segmentation is a valuable personalization tactic that cuts across all industries. That is, you can use email segmentation whether you’re in real estate, software, retail, entertainment, or any other industry for that matter.

Segmentation simply means grouping your email subscribers by their preferences, behavior, geography, demographics, or their interests. For example, here’s a pop-up from Live Chat Inc that’s a classic case of segmentation.

Optimize product pages for SEO for ecommerce bounce rates

You can be sure that visitors who are interested only in receiving podcast notifications will not receive emails about a new blog post three times a week and vice versa unless they opt for both.

Additionally, you can segment subscribers by their email activity. A tool like OmniSend, which is an email and marketing automation tool primarily for eCommerce sites, allows you to segment subscribers in truly ingenious ways. For example, you can segment subscribers by whether they have:

  • Been sent a campaign
  • Clicked a campaign link
  • Opened a campaign

From there you can choose and set time limits for these conditions.

Omnisend for ecommerce bounce rates

Image Source: OmniSend

When you send emails to subscribers based on their preferences, it reduces your bounce rate. Why is that?

Because you’re only sending them emails about things they truly care about and not random offers. Or you’re only sending emails that touch them at their point of need. They’re more likely to click on the link in the email, visit your site, and take action. Interestingly, in my experience, indifferent subscribers will still not visit your site, and it doesn’t matter since they’ll only increase your bounce rate.

2. Segment your visitors/shoppers

Segmenting folks on your email list is one thing, but segmenting your visitors shouldn’t be ignored either. Again, this has a broad spectrum, and you’re limited only by your imagination. I’ll give some examples.

If you run an international online store, you can segment visitors by location. Serving visitors content based on their location is called “geo-targeting.” For example, if you run a clothing business, it is impractical to show visitors from West Africa different types of winter coats, since they do not experience cooler weather.

If you’re marketing a retail establishment that has both a brick-and-mortar location and an online store, you can geo-target your audience to serve up coupons that can help incentivize foot traffic among people within a few miles of your physical store.

Here’s an example from the Duda web design platform, which makes it easy for web design agencies to use built-in options for surfacing different content and design elements to website visitors based on several factors.

Duda for ecommerce bounce rates

Another geo-based consideration is the importance of localized content, making it possible for your site’s language to change to one a visitor understands, where this is available. If you use greetings on your site, it’s a turn off to tell a visitor from India “Good Afternoon” just because it is 2 pm in Australia, your site’s location. Australia is generally five hours ahead, so it’s still morning in Indian time.

In the example below, also from Duda, visitors who visit a “Contact Us” page during working hours are one click away from calling and setting an appointment. Conversely, if they visit after business hours, they can fill in a form and set up an appointment for the next day or whatever day they’re free.

Contact Us from Duda for ecommerce bounce rates

Personalization also involves showing shoppers product recommendations based on what they’re about to purchase from your site. For example, someone buying a phone or laptop may likely need a case or cover for it, a USB cord, and some other accessories. Let them see it in their recommendations.

Apart from your own personalization ideas, you can visit as many eCommerce stores as possible to get inspiration.

3. Optimize product pages for SEO

Your eCommerce store’s product page is almost literally the most valuable page on your eCommerce site. Optimizing it for SEO is important especially if many of your visitors are coming from search engines. One of the best ways you can enhance your store’s SEO is by using rich snippets. Here’s what I mean:

Optimize product pages for SEO for ecommerce bounce rates

When people see the price, availability, rating, and number of reviews on a product they want to purchase, most can decide whether to visit the store or not. Visitors will be people who are likely interested in that product’s page after seeing such information. Automatically, this will improve your bounce rate.

A study has shown that adding videos to your product page increases average order value by as much as 50%, while customers are 65% to 85% more likely to purchase from you after watching a video. When you use videos and high-quality product images on your product pages, it’s more than likely you’ll convince a visitor to purchase your product. That’s good for your business, good for your bounce rate, and ultimately good for SEO.

4. Streamline the shopping experience

You’d think this is conventional wisdom, but you’ll be surprised how many eCommerce stores inadvertently make the shopping experience difficult for visitors or shoppers.

A study has shown that 11% of cart abandonment happens because shoppers see the checkout process as too complicated. Some industries experience cart abandonment as high as 83.6% according to this chart from the Sales Cycle.

Streamline the shopping exerience for ecommerce bounce rates

So what are some factors that can contribute to a lack of a streamlined experience for shoppers on your site? They include but are not limited to:

  • Unexpected shipping or import costs
  • Concerns about payment and site security
  • Long forms and confusing checkout
  • Creating a new user account before shopping i.e no ability to shop in guest mode

To curb this, remember that you can never be too straightforward or explicit on your eCommerce site. With the ever-dwindling attention spans of humans, if shoppers have to spend too long trying to make sense of anything about your checkout process, you’ll lose them. This is especially true if they’re doing comparison shopping, and they have several other tabs open of sites selling the same products.

Still, once customers show an intent to purchase, you can always use exit-intent pop-ups to get some of their attention if they’re leaving without purchasing. As an example, you can offer them a discount.

Offer a discount for ecommerce bounce rates

Or for those who have added items to their cart already and are about to leave without buying, you can offer to email them their cart. That serves two purposes: you can contact them in the future, and they’re less likely to abandon their cart too.

Cart content for ecommerce bounce rates

A study by Barilliance shows that the “email-me-my-cart” email converts significantly higher than other types of email including conventional cart abandonment emails.

When you make the entire shopping experience a smooth one for shoppers on your site, you’ll lower your bounce rate.

Wrap

Thankfully, a high bounce rate is not irreversible. If you follow these tips, you’ll not only lower your bounce rates but you’ll be smiling all the way to the bank. What are you waiting for?

Guest author: Vikas Agrawal is a start-up Investor & co-founder of the Infographic design agency Infobrandz that offers creative and premium visual content solutions to medium to large companies. Content created by Infobrandz are loved, shared & can be found all over the internet on high authority platforms like HuffingtonPost, Businessinsider, Forbes , Tech.co & EliteDaily. 

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