Hands-On With Facebook’s Haphazard Shopping Feed

Facebook Clueless Shopping Feed Random is the right way to describe Facebook’s attempted invasion of Amazon’s turf. With skimpy product selection, no reviews and limited browsing options, Facebook’s dedicated feed of products is not a great way to shop. At least not yet. But this is only Facebook’s first attempt. It brings with it a ton of knowledge about you and its position as where people spend… Read More

Product of the day: Alape – FB.ST600H

Basin for flush-mounted installation in 30mm counter tops, rectangular, 600 x 420mm, divided into two levels, mould 594 x 294mm, mould depth 160mm and tap ledge behind mould, 594 x 120mm, depth 40mm, glazed inside and outside, with tap hole and overflow, including overflow set.

LucidCam Hits Its $100K Campaign Goal, Team Partners With Sephora On VR Content

Screen Shot 2015-11-30 at 10.47.12 AM When we first met the team building the LucidCam, they aimed to raise $100,000 on Indiegogo. They found their 264 backers to get them there. Their goal is to bring the ability to shoot immersive virtual reality content with a camera that fits in your pocket. And at a reasonable price ($299). I caught up with Lucid’s CEO, Han Jin, to see what’s next. TC: You hit your goal. Any… Read More

Build Social Relationships With Influencer Marketing

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The main goal of online marketing, and any marketing for that matter, is to drive people to take action. Whether it’s buying a product, sharing content, attending an event or any other action, companies are always striving to get consumers to interact.

Jump to the Influencer Marketing Infographic.

You can do that through great copywriting, clever advertising and plenty of other proven strategies. But one of most effective ways to get an audience to take action is through influencer marketing.

What is Influencer Marketing?

An influencer is someone who has an active following and can move their followers to take action. This could be through their blog, social media, a YouTube account, email list or any other platform that gives them the ability to reach people.

Influencer marketing involves connecting with influencers to build a mutually beneficial relationship.

Some of the benefits companies get from influencers are:

Instead of having to sell your brand to consumers, influencers become the friend that introduces you to their inner circle.

The benefits influencers get depends on the relationship, but they could include:

All parties benefit from influencer marketing, which is what makes it so powerful.

Why Influencer Marketing?

Tomoson conducted a study to see the potential value of influencer marketing. Some of the key findings included:

As you can see, not only is influencer marketing effective, but it’s on the rise. The question is, how do you get started?

What Makes A Good Influencer?

The first step is identifying your influencers. Just because someone has a following doesn’t mean that it’s the right fit for your brand. Look beyond the number of followers on Twitter or likes on their Facebook page. You want to know who their followers are and match that against your target demographic. You’ll also have to consider the influencer themselves. Is he or she the type of person you want to be associated with your brand?

Here are some of the key traits of a good influencer:

It can be helpful to look for niche influencers. These are people within a subgroup of your industry. For instance, if your company sells toys designed to stimulate children’s minds, your first thought might be to find mommy bloggers that have influence. However, you could drill down even deeper to look for mommy bloggers who have children with learning disabilities. The more targeted your influencers are, the higher quality your leads will be.

Where to Find Influencers

Now that you know what to look for, the next question is where should you look? There are blogs, networking events and plenty of other ways to find influencers. But social media is your best bet.

Influencers gravitate to social media because it allows them to connect with their audience and is generally the “hub” they conduct most of their activities from. There are a few different ways you can find influencers on social media and ensure you have the best outreach as possible.

A great way to find influencers is through Buzzsumo. Within this, you can start a search for keywords relevant to your industry or company. The tool will then show you content that has been highly shared on social media containing the keywords you enter. Alternatively, you could do a search for a popular blog post from one of your competitors. For our demo purposes, we did a search for “children learning disabilities” and found this post that seems relevant.

Finding Influencers

Then, click on View Sharers. This will show you the people who have shared the post on Twitter.

Finding Influencers 2

There are a few different people on this list that could be influencers. Once you’ve narrowed your list, start going through each individual Twitter page. Some of the things you want to look for are:

Also look for the key influencer traits we discussed earlier.

Another method you can use to find influencers is by looking at your current followers. By using Sprout Social’s Trends Report, you can find out which Twitter users are engaging with you the most. If they’re already advocates for your brand, then taking the step to acknowledge them and work together will be much easier. There’s a chance that influencers have been right under your nose the entire time, but you just didn’t notice.

Twitter Trends Report - See People and Brands

Last but not least, you can also do manual searches within different social networks. With this approach, look within groups instead of the entire social network. For instance, you might look at popular Facebook Groups or Google+ Communities. See who the top contributors are within these smaller niche groups to spot influencers.

Use a spreadsheet or CRM software to keep track of everyone you’ve found. For each person, you should record their:

After you’ve put your list together, the next step is to start the outreach step of influencer marketing.

Influencer Outreach

Reaching out to influencers is one of the most important steps of this process. One poorly worded email and you could completely miss out on a big opportunity.

First, you’ll want to define a specific reason for working with influencers. Here are some of the most common ways that brands work with influencers:

Once you know what type of relationship you want to build, you can start cultivating it. There are two main approaches you can use:

  1. The Direct Approach: Directly ask to work with influencers.
  2. The Slow and Steady Approach: Develop a relationship first, and progress into working together.

A lot of experts recommend option number two. However, the first option can be just as effective and provides quicker results.

The Direct Approach

The first strategy is contacting influencers and offering them the opportunity to be an affiliate, collaborate on content or work together on any other project you have in mind.

Create an email template to use to contact people. The template should describe a little bit about your company, why you’re emailing the potential influencer and how partnering with your brand will benefit them as well. End the email with a call to action so they know what to do next. If you’re offering them an opportunity to guest post for instance, you could finish the email by asking them to submit some potential topics they’d like to write about.

The template is going to function as a general guideline for your emails, and you should customize it for each person. Explain why you’re interested in working with the person and what you’re looking for them to bring to the table.

Advantages of the direct approach:

Disadvantages of the direct approach:

The  Slow and Steady Approach

The first technique is quicker, but your success rate will likely be lower. Remember, influencers are contacted all the time by people who want to market to their audience, so they’re selective about who they work with. That’s why the slow and steady approach may be better for certain brands.

Instead of directly emailing influencers with your ideas, start by engaging with them on social media or through their website first. Reply to some of their Tweets or leave comments on their latest blog posts. This way they’ll start to become more familiar with your company. It will also show influencers that you follow them and appreciate what they do.

After a couple of weeks of engaging, open up the doors to start working with them. This could be as simple as sending out an email expressing interest in working together or even offering to send them some free products to get exposure for your brand.

Wellll this is pretty ridiculous! This is the first bit of some new @gymshark gear launching Oct 30. These guys have treated me so well! Special thanks to @dancrane1 for always hooking it up. Very proud to be a part of GS and their ridiculous growth. #Gymshark

A photo posted by Chelsea Karabin – ChelseaLifts (@chelsealifts) on

Advantages of the slow and steady approach:

Disadvantages of the slow and steady approach:

You can try a combination of both techniques to see which gives you the best results. Focus on building long-term relationships instead of being transactional.

Start Connecting!

The best part about influencer marketing is it’s easy to get the ball rolling. To refresh, here’s a simple rundown of the process:

  1. Define what you want to accomplish through influencer marketing
  2. Decide how you want to work with influencers (guest blogging, review, content collaboration etc.)
  3. Identify influencers that fit your brand
  4. Reach out to influencers through the Direct or Slow and Steady approach

Tap into the strategy that’s being used by top brands and start getting more exposure for your company!

influencer marketing infographic

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This post Build Social Relationships With Influencer Marketing originally appeared on Sprout Social.

Great things come to those who take superhero-like leaps. / Had…

Great things come to those who take superhero-like leaps. / Had too much fun spending an afternoon in search of Asian grandmas, sturdy lampposts, and creepy exits with the one and only @_j.wong. (at Toronto, Ontario)

Cyber Monday: The Top Retailers Ready to Help Customers on Twitter


Cyber Monday is officially upon us—arriving with ever greater importance. In fact, already this past weekend, an estimated 103 million Americans shopped online, edging out the 102 million people who stuck to the stores. Analysts predict that when all is said and done, social media alone will account for a staggering $15 billion worth of sales in 2015.

So, as people continue to clamor to find the best deals online, we at Sprout Social wanted to take a closer look at how retailers are responding. We started with a list from the National Retail Federation’s Top 100 Retailers (which, it’s important to note, includes several grocers, restaurants and fast food chains as well as clothing companies and big-box stores). We then plugged these retailers’ handles into our proprietary Twitter Comparison Report to get a score that reflects how often brands are pumping out promotional messages relative to how often they are actually responding to customers’ concerns.

While our most recent Sprout Social Index found that most retailers are ignoring customers on social 83% of the time, the 22 retailers highlighted below are prioritizing customer care on Twitter, earning themselves a Sprout Social Engagement Score of 98 or above.

We’ve also called out a few other facts about how America’s top retailers are approaching Twitter—from how many use a separate handle for customer service to how many aren’t even on this important platform at all.

Jump to the data of America’s most responsive retailers.

From Wal-Mart to Wendy’s, Social Standouts on Twitter

So what accounts for these retailers’ exceptional Engagement Scores? In reviewing their Twitter feeds, a few moments stood out.

Wal-Mart: Responding to the Outcry for Pie

After the enthusiastic endorsement from a fan on YouTube, singer Patti LaBelle’s signature sweet potato pies started flying off Wal-Mart shelves. The retail giant couldn’t keep pace with the demand leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday but was quick to issue a response to its Twitter followers, directly from Senior Buyer for Cakes and Pies Kinna Thomas, who promised that the popular product would soon be back in stores.

Nordstrom: Dazzling Audiences With Interactive Products & Promotions

If your product or service requires a bit of explanation, it can be difficult to encapsulate all that needs to be said in a short Tweet. Nordstrom, however, recently stepped up to the challenge. By integrating a Vine video into a DIY feature on Tevas, the retailer piqued its followers’ interest while sparking a lively conversation. At each stage in the lengthy Twitter thread that unfurled, @Nordstrom reps piped in with prompt feedback, providing more context about how the product works as well as where it can be found for purchase.

Target: Welcoming Customer Creativity

The world is abuzz over Adele’s latest album, which just broke the single-week sales record held by NSnyc. Target has played an integral role in driving a bulk of these sales—but it isn’t just promoting the album itself. Through some artful social media monitoring, the retailer recently discovered and then Retweeted an in-store photo of a welcome mat taken by one of its creative shoppers. This promotion of user-generated content invites other Target fans to interact with the brand in a more fun and meaningful way.

Wendy’s: Playing It Cool With a Brand-Adjacent Conversation

There are more “national days” than any level-headed social media manager can keep track of throughout the year. Of course, not every trending day requires a response from your brand, so it’s important to establish guidelines of what aligns with your core product offerings. Wendy’s provides a good example of how to coolly join the conversation without hashjacking a moment that’s totally out of step.

The Gift of Gab: Reaping the Rewards of Richer Engagement

If you want to earn a Twitter Engagement Score of 98 or above like the retailers on our list, it’s time to get talking—and gain a competitive advantage. Consider the following advice:

Most Responsive Retail Brands on Twitter Infographic

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This post Cyber Monday: The Top Retailers Ready to Help Customers on Twitter originally appeared on Sprout Social.

3 Customer Metrics That Will Improve Your Email Marketing

As an online retailer you may know a customer’s name and address, but what do you really know about them? According to an Oracle poll from earlier this year, 86% of respondents currently have access to foundational data, or basic information with simple segmentation and personalization.

This is a good starting point, but there are many other types of data that will give you a greater insight into your customers, which will help you market to them more efficiently and effectively. This post will take a look at the top three characteristics that will give you a well-rounded view of who your customers really are, and offer some tips for how to use this data in your email marketing.

1. Customer Lifetime Value

One of the biggest predictors of retail success is Customer Lifetime Value (CLV), which is defined as the total dollars flowing from a customer over their entire relationship with a business. Many retailers know their average CLV, but to truly create personalized marketing campaigns, you need to know much more than this.

For example, you can determine CLV for various segments and personas based on purchase history, which will provide you with a wealth of information for creating targeted email messages. There will likely be an overlap between your customers with a high CLV and your best customers who are the small group that are most valuable to you over time based on frequent purchases with a high order values. Since these are your most loyal customers, you should not treat them the same as your one-time buyers or churning customers.

To calculate CLV, multiply the number of purchases a customer has made per year by their Average Order Value, and then add together that number for each year that they have been a customer. For instance, if a customer makes two purchases a year averaging $50 each for a period of three years, then their CLV would be $300.

Email Tip: You can set up email campaigns with exclusive rewards just for customers with a high CLV. There are many ways to reward these customers, such as special discounts, VIP experiences, and exclusive events. You should also be strategic in offering discounts to save higher markdowns and related promotions for only your high value customers, which can yield great results.

2. Average Order Value

Average Order Value (AOV) describes the typical dollar amounts spent per order by each customer. For many retailers, AOV goes up on each customer’s subsequent purchase. This may be because repeat customers trust your brand more, spend more as they get comfortable with you, and discover more of your inventory that they are interested in. To calculate AOV, divide the total amount the customer has spent by the number of orders they’ve made.

Through this metric you can segment customers by high, medium, and low spenders, and then create optimized email marketing campaigns that deliver different content and promotions to each group.

Email Tip: If you see a specific day or time when AOV is significantly higher, you should act on it immediately. If it is a specific segment of your customers spending more during this period, you can craft targeted, exclusive messaging to this group. If it's something else, like a type of product that sells better at that time, you can segment everyone who has bought the product in the past, and test an email to them with cross/upsell messaging. Hopefully, you can replicate the trend.

3. Customer Latency

Latency is the average number of days between each purchase a customer makes. Once you figure out the phases of a customer's lifecycle, then you can determine what types of messaging to offer at various points in their relationship with your brand, in order to reach customers when they are most likely to buy again.

For example, if you have a post-purchase email series, you can match the cadence to different points in the customer’s lifecycle, with corresponding messaging that will appeal to customers at 30, 60, 90, or 120 days post purchase.

Email Tip: If the average customer takes 120 days to make a second purchase, then hitting them with sales messaging immediately after their purchase probably doesn't make sense. What makes more sense is to use the "honeymoon" period immediately following the purchase to reinforce your brand, and then as customers enter a point where statistically they are more likely to make a purchase, start stepping up direct offers.

These are just a few of the data points you can use to gain insights about your customers. By knowing what, when, why and how often they’re buying, you not only get to know who your customers are, but can also predict their future purchase behavior. This information allows you create personalized, data-driven email campaigns that will be able to drive customer engagement, revenue and retention.

As you get to know your customers, you can create consistent experiences both online and off-line by downloading the Modern Marketing Essentials Guide to Cross Channel Marketing.

Author's Bio: Andrew Pearson is Vice-President of Marketing at Windsor Circle, a predictive lifecycle and retention marketing platform that helps retailers grow customer lifetime value and increase customer retention. Andrew is a serial entrepreneur with over 15 years experience in technology start-ups, management and digital and email marketing.  

Style Over Stigma

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For any individual with a serious health condition, the problem with wearable medical tech is feeling “marked” with a problem. The Embrace smartwatch aims to combat stigma with style. The minimalist design was created for epileptic patients and is used to alert both the person and others of oncoming attacks. The straightforward design keeps things uncomplicated – simply touch it to see the time and enjoy it on your wrist. When it needs to alert you, it will. You can access other health data via your smartphone.

Designers: Denis Olenik, Mladen Barbaric, Den Brooks, Olga Pechanko for Pearl Studios

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