Acquiring new clients
Acquiring new clients is the key element causing the actual growth of a business. When optimizing a particular aspect, you need to pay attention to the following elements:
- Has the analytics been calibrated properly within the scope of the business you run? The basic configuration in Google Analytics shows the division into new and returning visitors of the website based only on the history of visits of a particular user (cookies). Knowing when the first, and when a recurrent transaction took place is more important to you. More detailed analyses of how a website is used are possible through adjusting the configuration of Universal Analytics or using tools like Woopra (www.woopra.com) or KISSMetrics (www.kissmetrics.com);
- Are proper channels used within the marketing campaign for reaching new clients? The information about which source of traffic generates new leads decides on what we should invest in in terms of marketing;
The differences in the cost of acquiring a new client for different marketing channels,
source: Custora.com (USA)
- Is my business calibrated properly to generate new leads? Properly selected stimuli promoting the first purchase or tweaking the items most frequently bought by first-timers can efficiently increase the number of new clients;
- Are the customer lifetime value and/or recommendations being utilized in my business? Your clients usually have the potential for making another purchase. In certain sectors, for instance in the sales of major appliances, the purchase is made rather rarely. It is then, that post-purchase recommendations become crucial. It’s good to actively utilize this knowledge;
- How does lead nurturing work? Every client walks a certain path on his way to conversion. In some cases the purchase decision is immediate (the client is close to his need), and sometimes making the decision takes time (lead nurturing). In your business, you should foresee and optimize the paths of lead nurturing that bring about the first purchase.
- Is my service/product of high quality also after it’s bought? ‘Make the first impression count’ applies to e-commerce as well, thus, by striving for excellent experience from the get-go you guarantee yourself success and recommendations of those clients who just got to know you;
Excellent post-purchase experience has been one of the elements of Zappos.com success.
- To what extent is your brand recognized? Taking care of brand awareness is a matter of well-tailored communication (marketing, PR), as well as delivering quality at every step of customer service. Running certain activities may require an investment. You can verify your brand awareness and the importance of your brand by checking the volume of direct hits your website receives, as well as hits from the keywords related to the name of your business (e.g. Reporting>Acquisition>Top channels>Direct and Reporting>Acquisition>Keywords in Google Analytics).
When it comes to customer retention, you’re dealing with the following issues:
- Does the analytics within the business you run allow for actual assessment of recurrent purchases and outflow of clients? Implementing the measurements related to recurrent behavior of users requires adjusting the analytics. The assessment can pertain to the customer lifetime value, the frequency of making purchases or the factor of client outflow;
- Are client life cycle scenarios being utilized? Every client has his life cycle, after a certain time they usually stop buying from you. Convincing a client to buy is 6-times cheaper than converting a new lead. You can speed up the recurrence of purchase using marketing automation, for example, by sending a discount code to a client who has recently made a big purchase with you;
An interview at a INTERSPORT retail store has provided specific information regarding clients’ buying habits.
- How do you conduct communication with a client? Is there continuity in your business communication/marketing/PR plan? The continuity of business communication is key if you want to develop buying habits among your clients;
- What experience does a client get when using the website and contacting with customer service? Clarity and intuitiveness of the website, as well as excellent customer service (for instance, contact initiated by the seller, providing information on the status of an order) have positive impact on the intention of making another purchase/contact with your business. Clients expect dialogue, receiving advice and post-purchase service. Great experience with a business is also the main source of recommendations;
In exchange for recommending its solution, a www.dropbox.com user receives extra space within the service
- How do you animate the client life cycle? Engaging your client is a lively reaction to his action (or lack thereof). The animation of the life cycle can take place through, for example, a loyalty program, social media or e-mail marketing. In certain types of businesses, however, a periodical contact from an account manager may prove to be irreplaceable.
In the ‘paid, owned, earned media’ methodology, the client life cycle animation is executed using owned media
(np. social media, e-mail marketing), source: www.chiefmartec.com.
While working on optimizing conversion, you need to pay attention to elements such as:
- Is the analytics configured properly and used for the purposes of optimizing conversion? Apart from selecting the right factor (sales conversion, lead conversion – for example, subscribing for newsletter, microconversion – visiting the basket) it’s worth it to verify conversion in respect to target segments/personas. For instance, in one online B2B store we’ve introduced the division of conversion, taking into account the segment of clients according to the frequency and scale of orders (large, medium, small company). The division allows us to verify how does the key segment of clients react to changes in the website. In Google Analytics such division is possible using non-standard variables;
- How is content optimized? Copywriting that we do for various parts of a website and marketing purposes affects conversion. Modifying the call to action or product descriptions at the Praktiker online store (www.praktiker.pl) has increased the sales 3-times;
- To what extent do you optimize the functionalities of your sales platform components? You can improve many aspects of your website by introducing small changes. Utilizing the short iteration model (frequent, evolutionary changes) you can quickly develop a number of solutions, which can then undergo test;
Short, 15-minute tests with users have helped optimize the key elements of the Dekoria online store.
- Does the optimization take into account changes in the offer/services, for example, changes to the price list, new payment methods? Creating promotions, special offers, product bundles, actually affects the growth of conversion – a client who sees the best offer in the market will be more willing to disregard difficulties in website usability;
- How is the value of the basket and/or the number of products in it optimized? In many lines of business, cross-selling activities (increasing the number of products in the basket) or up-selling (influencing the process of buying the more expensive products) can boost sales. Raising the value of the basket and conversion also depends on the type of promotion and the offer.
For each of the dimensions, the tools (marketing, analytics, usability) are selected according to needs and capabilities of a business, as well as the discretion of the team working on developing the particular business.
When will a framework be efficient?
A framework allows for focusing energy in appropriate places in a business. Important parts of every dimension are well-configured analytics, acting in short iterations and constant verification of work results.
Before implementing the system described above, it’s important to conduct an audit of all the standard e-commerce areas: analytics, marketing and usability. The analysis is supposed to expose the strengths of the thus far activities and indicate areas for improvement, if you want to actually develop your business.
For instance, when verifying analytics we check to what extent and for what purpose do you currently collect data, as well as what is its application along the line. Of importance are adjusting the analytics system and the utilization of offline data (the current Universal Analytics configuration allows for combining the data, also from offline). The most frequent shortcomings are a lot of noise in the data, the lack of conclusions needed for the decision making purposes and the lack of measurements that really affect the business – the number and source of new clients, customer retention and customer lifetime value. The skillset and the extent to which a team is able to interpret the data also holds a lot of weight.
The marketing and usability analysis is executed similarly. An audit should result in a list of optimizations, improvements and necessary changes to be made in every area. It’s also important to establish what exactly and with what effect has been done thus far in terms of generating new leads, retention and optimizing conversion. After improving all the aching parts you can start working on boosting sales and effectiveness.
Increasing sales efficiently is not dependent on the tools but on channeling your actions in the right direction. Apart from industry-specific conventions, every business requires the development of its own marketing, analytics and usability frameworks.
Every company creates its own system for boosting sales. Regardless of configuration and work methodology, developing e-commerce comes down to several actions:
- Introducing and improving smooth communication in a team/teams;
- Transferring knowledge on business and the actions that are taken;
- Using the knowledge on when and from what sources do you get new leads, so that you can build a database of future, returning customers;
- Treating purchase recurrency as a priority;
- Optimizing your sales platform;
- Selecting and/or testing appropriate tools (marketing, analytics, usability).
The key to success is the rule saying that new clients build the core of future sales. Further optimization leads to the situation in which clients, who have bought with us before, do it again.
Published February 18, 2015