Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

Marketing During a Supply Chain Crisis: Best Practices

As supply chain issues create out-of-stock scenarios across industries, brands are missing the opportunity to better align their marketing, sales and supply chain leaders.
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Marketing Can Support Supply Chain Management 

As product shortages and long-lead times continue, both customers and employees are feeling the strain. Between the lack of dock space for cargo ships and a shortage of truck drivers, experts predict that we’ll continue to see shortages until 2023. So how is this affecting brand loyalty? And how can brands improve customer experience during this crisis? 

Supply Problems Affect Brand Loyalty

New research from McKinsey reveals that product availability is the single most important purchasing factor. Only 13 percent of respondents who faced out-of-stock products in the past three months say they waited for an item to come back in stock. A whopping 71 percent switched retailers or brands.

As consumers develop new shopping habits, it’s time for marketers to re-evaluate their approach:

  1. Marketers need to better familiarize themselves with their company’s distribution and supply chain.
  2. Internal teams need to work together to help alleviate this crisis.

Here are several key steps brands can take ensure brand loyalty remains strong.

Do Not Cut Ad Spend

It’s no surprise that the brands with ongoing advertising campaigns are the most successful. While some brands are cutting their spending, others are taking advantage of the opportunity to snag new customers, shift loyalty or promote other products and services. Be flexible but keep your eye on the long-term goal of building customer loyalty. Brands that continue to run campaigns can experience several benefits:

 

  • Continue to collect first-party data which will support data-drive marketing decisions.
  • Continue to test and optimize ad copy while keeping existing customers away from competitors.
  • Test new opportunities like loyalty programs or allow shoppers to pre-buy.

Ready to take action? Let’s have a conversation

Maintain Open Communication

You have numerous communication channels available. Use email, SMS or even advertising to tell customers when items are back in stock. If delays occur, use these channels to provide updates. Customers won’t be thrilled about delays, but they will appreciate a thoughtful update.

Internal communication is imperative as well. By working collaboratively, you’ll avoid overpromising and under-delivering which can be a detriment to brand loyalty.

Create Contingency Plans

A crisis scenario has the potential to interrupt business and significantly damage your reputation. But crisis planning is not just for your PR team. Work together to determine a Plan B for every scenario ranging from raw materials shortages to closures due to variant outbreaks. Effective communication during a crisis can be the difference between a positive outcome and irreparable damage.

Your Next Steps

Our supply chain issues won’t disappear overnight. Now is the ideal time to update your response strategy across business units. Use this opportunity to explore how to build stronger relationships and keep loyal customers happy.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your digital marketing. Have more questions about marketing during times of crisis? Reach out to us directly.

Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

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SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

SEO for eCommerce: Keyword Research and Why it Matters

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Keyword Research is the Foundation of Your SEO Efforts 

Businesses currently exist in an environment that is driven by two things: Visibility and internet traffic. These elements are necessary for generating leads and moving merchandise. 

Search engine optimization, otherwise known as SEO, will improve both elements. When the content on an eCommerce website is optimized, it is more likely to appear on the first page of search results for a set of search terms, which will improve visibility and traffic.

Keyword research is the X-Factor when it comes to the overall success of an eCommerce business. While keyword research requires extensive knowledge of search engines and industry tools, there are several basic concepts that every entrepreneur should understand to quickly evaluate their current situation and understand where there’s room for improvement.

Understanding User Intent

To understand keyword research, you need to understand that user intent drives Google searches. Some users will be looking for general information about a topic while others are looking for very specific information related to their keywords. 

Search engines are getting better at understanding user intent, but it’s also incumbent upon the business to test keywords and understand what delivers results. Transactional queries are important to eCommerce websites because a user might be looking for a specific item, color, brand or style. Over time, retailers can begin to understand the journey a customer takes to learn about their product and eventually make a purchase. 

Tools for eCommerce SEO Research

Of the dozens of SEO research tools that are available, there are two that stand out as being highly reputable and effective: Moz and Semrush.

These two tools are what most agencies use for eCommerce keyword research to ensure that products and services appear on the first page of searches. Here are a few ways they support keyword research:

  • Conduct audits: In-depth audits take time, but these tools automate the process to help quickly identify SEO issues.
  • Identify keyword opportunities: Find high-converting opportunities or keyword variations that can be beneficial.
  • Dissect competitor SEO strategies: Use this insight to formulate your own strategy.

Although anybody can use Moz and Semrush, it does take a significant amount of time to learn the full capability of these tools which is why SEO and keyword research is typically outsourced to an agency partner.

Pro Tip: Explore your competitors top-ranking pages to discover phrases you may have overlooked. 

The Importance of Keyword Mapping

Keyword mapping is an important step in the process. This is where you connect a specific keyword to a specific product or category page. This step brings structure to your strategy, and if your document is organized properly, it will help you track what keywords/pages are performing optimally.

We typically evaluate and select keywords based on monthly search volume and keyword difficulty, but you might identify niche keywords or longtail keywords that provide value. Research tools can provide valuable insight, but the best way to discover what works is to test and evaluate!

Your Product and Category Pages Matter

An eCommerce site is generally only as good as its best performing product pages. Identifying what products are performing well and further optimizing these pages can yield results. 

Optimizing pages that already rank while working on new phrases/products is a balancing act that takes time. The key here is to demonstrate to search engines that you have relevant products and you’re consistently updating your website.

As you continue to work your strategy, you’ll begin to rank for more search terms. And remember that pairing an organic SEO strategy with paid advertising is an effective way to begin generating traffic while you build trust and credibility with search engines.

Getting Started with Keyword Research

Effective SEO keyword research is a process. It takes time to determine which keywords will place your products and services on the first page of any given search engine. Doing the necessary research involves an understanding of your products, buyer intent and third-party SEO tools. This combination of expertise is why many eCommerce retailers opt to partner with an agency. Make sure this partner not only has a proven track record of SEO research, but can show demonstrable results.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about keyword research? Reach out to us directly.

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What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

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10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

10 Automated Emails Every eCommerce Company Needs

5-easy-ways-to-generate-website-traffic
Liz-headshot

Meet the Author

Liz Hersh is the founder of Hersh PR and Marketing, a digital marketing agency. Together with a team of marketing professionals she helps clients generate leads and increase revenue. 

Use Email Automation to Improve eCommerce Sales 

There is no denying that automated emails are one of the best methods to nurture leads and convert them into paying customers.  When you have an effective email campaign that provides significant value to those who follow your content, your organization can generate repeat conversions with minimal ongoing effort.

Your email list is the backbone of your eCommerce business, and making sure you are sending the right kinds of emails to those who have signed up for your list is incredibly important.

Why Automate Your Emails?

The savviest eCommerce companies understand that consistent communication with an email list generates web traffic and sales. By automating these emails, you’re freeing up time to spend on other areas of the business.

Automated emails are carefully planned emails sent to subscribers at a specific time or as a response to the actions of users on a website. Automation allows eCommerce companies to save time, boost sales, warm up leads, and create highly targeted offers.

Think of automated emails as a function of your business. Just as your business contains different departments that take care of each aspect of the business, the same can be said for automated emails.  Make them a regular part of your communications and marketing, and you will understand what a game-changer this can be for your business.

Transactional Emails

The purpose of transactional emails is to confirm that your customer has completed a purchase and that their order is on its way. Obviously, this matters because you need to let your customers know their order has been received and is being processed. We consider these to be standard transactional emails:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping notification
  • Delivery notification

As straightforward as this may seem, there are a few other things that you can do with transactional emails:

  • Provide an offer for their next purchase. It could be a fixed discount or free shipping.
  • Remind customers of products they might have been interested in purchasing.
  • Obtain feedback on your ordering process.

New Subscriber Welcome Email Series

The first major step in any prospect’s buying process is to subscribe to an email list. After they have subscribed to your email list, we recommend initiating a new subscriber email series.

This series matters because if a prospect is interested enough to subscribe to your email list, it turns them into a hot lead who is more likely to buy from you.

Emails in this series should be sent out immediately. Consider including content such as your most popular videos or blogs, more insight about your company and your mission, or an offer exclusively for new subscribers. The intent is to keep them engaged and encourage frequent visits to your website.

Pro Tip: You don’t have to activate all 10 of these automated emails at once. Start with what you can and expand as your company grows. 

New Customer Welcome Email Series

Once a customer has bought something from your organization, they need to be reassured that not only did they make the right decision, they also need to be assured that they are valued. The new customer welcome email series does this.

The emails in this series need to do two things. They need to cement that you provided a seamless buying experience and they need to encourage new customers to make a second purchase.

Start these emails off with a strong brand statement to establish credibility and trust. You can follow that up with information about social media channels and support resources if necessary. We also suggest including a request for product feedback, just make sure that email will arrive only after the order is delivered!

Abandoned Cart Emails

Abandoned cart emails in your campaign have the potential to be some of your most profitable emails. These need to be taken seriously.

Potential customers abandon their carts for various reasons, and the goal of this email is to get them to complete the purchase. These emails should be sent about a half hour after the cart is abandoned. Focus on helping the customer more than selling to them. They may have abandoned their cart due to technical issues so consider including contact information for customer support.

Back in Stock Notifications

Items that are out of stock are inconvenient for everybody involved and it can be a legitimate reason why a customer doesn’t buy anything. This is where the back in stock notification comes in handy.  It will let customers know that what they wanted is back in stock, which will hopefully lead them to buy.

Most of the time, back in stock notifications can take the place of an abandoned cart email in that it makes more sense for your customer to receive this email instead of the abandoned cart email if anything in your catalog is out of stock.

Showing pictures of the product that was previously out of stock, linking the email to a regenerated session of their cart and making alternative suggestions if the item has been discontinued are the best ways to use back in stock notifications.

Product Education Emails or Evergreen Blog Articles

Content in the form of information that provides infinite value is known as “evergreen” content.

If executed properly, these can be very profitable emails in your campaigns. These messages can convert followers into buyers and they can convince buyers to purchase more. Product education emails can vastly improve a buying experience and give you loads of opportunities to cross sell.

Product education emails should be part of your new customer or new subscriber email series, as they can provide information that those on your email list will appreciate tremendously.

Cross Sell Emails

There are two steps you should take when somebody buys one of your products.

First, make sure that the customer’s buying experience is as perfect as it can get. Make sure there is product education content attached to the purchase if necessary, and make sure any questions about the product can be answered easily.

The second thing you should do is send a cross sell email. This is where you send an email that sells something that is related to what was just sold to the customer. Cross sell emails are important because they will help your customers find something else that is useful for them as well as help you generate more sales.

Pro Tip: Test different variables like subject lines, delivery times and workflow spacing to determine what generates the best response. 

VIP Emails

Your most valuable customers ought to be treated differently than customers who just come and go. When your VIP customers remain happy, they will keep buying from you and you won’t have to work as hard to generate conversions.

This is where the VIP email comes in. VIP emails target the top 5 to 20 percent of customers, giving them an incentive to continue making purchases.

Executing these kinds of emails means you need to know who your VIP customers are. When it comes to determining your VIP customers, consider how much your customers have purchased and how frequently they have ordered from you. You can even take this a step further by creating a formal rewards program with different levels based on how often someone makes a purchase.

Win Back Emails

When a customer has not purchased something from your website for a long time, you’re going to need to win them back.  These emails are important because once a website visitor has bought from you, the chances of them buying from you again are very high, and a well executed win-back email campaign can accomplish this.

Executing a solid win-back email campaign is done by determining when customers lose interest. One way you can do this is by tracking how much time has passed between purchases. The average time between orders will vary from one online retailer to the next. Determine what makes sense for your business and build an automation with an offer they can’t refuse.

Date-Based Emails

Everyone can relate to important dates and milestones, whether it is a birthday, anniversary, or another similar event. Your customers and subscribers will appreciate anybody who remembers their birthdays or the date of their first purchase.

Executing date-based emails is as easy as collecting a subscriber’s birthday or anniversary, then putting those emails into your campaign. You’ll then be able to offer anything you want to them within your date-based email.

Your Next Steps 

Having one email campaign for everyone who visits your website is simply not enough if you are serious about acquiring and keeping customers for your brand.

Ten different email campaigns may seem overwhelming, but given that most email campaign software allows you to easily build automations with different kinds of triggers and parameters, this is much easier than it looks.

Hopefully the tips above will help improve your eCommerce conversions. Have more questions about setting up successful email automation campaigns? Reach out to us directly.

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Marketing as a small business presents several challenges. Between budgetary constraints and a lack of clarity about the right ways to market a business, it’s no wonder that marketing is often a small businesses least favorite business function. But it’s probably the most important. It’s crucial to maintain an ongoing marketing and lead generation strategy to yield beneficial outcomes for your brand.

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read more

Subscribe to Get The Latest Insights.

What makes marketing so challenging?

Trying to keep-up with the tools, technology and the limited attention span of your target market are all challenging. Get our tips on how to grow leads and revenue, delivered directly to your inbox.

Join The List

Request a Consultation.

Are you ready to take action? Let's see how we can reach your
goals with a 20-minute introductory call.