Here’s How Fortnite ‘Hooked’ Millions

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by Patricio O’Gorman, technology consultant and professor at Universidad de Palermo. If you have kids, you’ve likely heard about Fortnite. The wildly popular online battle game has amassed over 125 million players and hos…

Nir’s Note: This guest post is by Patricio O’Gorman, technology consultant and professor at Universidad de Palermo. If you have kids, you’ve likely heard about Fortnite. The wildly popular online battle game has amassed over 125 million players and hosts more than 3 million concurrent players. The game “has brought in more revenue in a […]

The post Here’s How Fortnite ‘Hooked’ Millions appeared first on Nir and Far.

Content manager checklist: 10 things to do before you hit publish

Contributor Megan Krause lists 10 content and SEO-related points a content manager should check before publishing a piece of content

The post Content manager checklist: 10 things to do before you hit publish appeared first on Marketing Land.

Back in the days when print journalism ruled, major publishers had huge teams of fact-checkers and editors poring over every article before it went to press.

With the move to online publishing, those responsibilities have increasingly fallen on the shoulders of the content manager — a hybrid editor/strategist/project manager role with a bit of search engine optimization (SEO) thrown in.

I’m a content manager. It’s my responsibility to make sure every piece of content I create for my clients is stellar — for their goals, their leads and their customers.

But one man’s “stellar” is another man’s drivel. When we marketing types talk about “high-quality content,” we mean content that:

  • Engages, informs, entertains.
  • Is optimized for search.
  • Delivers what it promises.
  • Uses reputable, authoritative sources.
  • Has a great headline.
  • Is free from error, jargon and clichés.
  • Is easily scannable.
  • Inspires action.

Google rewards high-quality content, which is one of the greatest benefits of following these best practices.

Here are 10 ways (plus one bonus tip) to perfect your content before you press that “publish” button.

1. Optimize for keyword search

The goal of your content should always be to provide something of value to your readers so trust in your brand increases. This means when they’re ready to purchase, your brand will be top of mind.

To get content seen, it must be optimized for keywords people are searching for. Wolfgang Digital’s 2016 study of 87 million website sessions of e-commerce brands found 43 percent of traffic comes from organic Google search:

Use keyword research to discover popular terms and long-tail phrases that can inspire content. Make sure those terms are placed relevantly in header tags and throughout the content but don’t keyword-stuff. As long as the terms are used naturally and relevantly, you’ll be fine.

2. Break up content

While the debate on human attention span rages on, there’s no doubt the amount of content we have access to is larger than ever. According to the “2018 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends-North America” reports by Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 91 percent of B2B marketers and 86 percent of B2C marketers use content marketing.

That’s a ton of content, in addition to the more than 1 billion hours of YouTube videos watched daily, plus social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and other channels.

With so much content to choose from, breaking up content to make it more visually appealing helps capture and keep user attention, since online readers are apt to scan content. Use subheads, numbered or bulleted lists and short paragraphs to make your content scannable. These techniques fall in line with Google’s own Developer Documentation Style Guide.

3. Make sure the headline is searchable and clickable

Unlike intentionally vague titles of great novels that offer mystery and intrigue to readers, writing headlines for the web is an art requiring the perfect blend of searchability and click-worthiness.

You want to craft headlines that include a keyword or two you want to rank for, but it also needs to be compelling enough to grab clicks.

Since the general consensus is that headlines longer than 65 or 70 characters will get cut off by search engines, make sure your keyword appears early in the headline. Such limited space means you should favor straightforwardness over getting cutesy — though there’s still room to be creative in what you write.

4. Add a CTA

Adding a strong call to action (CTA) to every web page and blog post is essential.

What is a CTA?

  • It tells the consumer the best next step to take.
  • It guides the user in the right direction.
  • It is helpful and relevant to the user’s pain points.

Make sure the call to action you use on your blog post corresponds with the content and where the user is on the buyer journey. You wouldn’t want to add a “Buy Now” button to a top-of-funnel informational piece, but a free consultation offer or a white paper download might make sense.

5. Add internal and external links

Linking within content is essential to elevate the user experience. There are external links and internal links. When using either type, the link should be relevant and helpful so that they enhance your search engine optimization process and provide value to the consumer.

  • External links. These links point to other websites besides the domain the content is on. External links are beneficial because they build credibility when you’re linking to a (credible, authoritative) source. They can also be instrumental in creating partnerships with other publishers when they notice your content is linking to them. They can help to make your content more authoritative.
  • Internal links. These are links to content within the domain the content is on. Using internal links helps Google understand your website structure. They provide a better experience for the user, who can discover more information related to the content topic. They also can help nurture leads, since you’re providing additional relevant and helpful content.

Make sure your links open to new tabs. This way, your content is still open for the user, and they won’t have to go back and forth within a single window to consume content. You can also help to increase time on page and decrease bounce rate from your site, which can affect search rankings.

6. Evaluate anchor text

Anchor text is the clickable text part of the link you see on either an external or internal link. When the text is highlighted within the copy, the user gets a better idea of the content they’ll see when they click. Some types of anchor text include:

  • Exact match. This is a hyperlinked phrase which plainly states what the website is about.
  • Partial match. One or two keywords hyperlinked describe what the website is about.
  • Branded. This hyperlink is the name of the company.
  • Generic or nonbranded. Generally known as “click here” type anchors.

Anchor text that relates to the content the link is pointing to is best for search engine signals. Be mindful of using outbound anchor text that contains a keyword you want to rank for that depletes your link equity.

For example, if you run a pet store, don’t link out to another pet store site using the words “best pet store” in the anchor. A generic keyword would be more appropriate to use as anchor text in this case.

7. Link to credible sources

There is a lot of content out there, more than most people have time to read.  Developing entertaining and educational content increases the chances of it being clicked, read and shared.

If you need to link to sources to support your content, link to reputable, well-known sources within an industry and the primary source of the information.

When you’re citing another source, include the name of the source, as well as a link. Links break, and pages go offline, so citing the name of the primary source helps keep your article credible.

8. Add images and give credit

Adding images to content is another great way to break it up and make it more visually appealing to users. Images are also important for search engine optimization. Google image search is the second-most used search platform after Google.com, accounting for more than one-quarter of US searches. By optimizing the images you feature in content with descriptive headlines, descriptions and tags, you can increase your chances of being seen in more image searches.

In February 2018, Google removed the “View Image” button in image search results, which means users have to click over to the website the image is on to see it in full context. This is great news for publishers, as Search Engine Land reports there was an average of a 37 percent increase in clicks from image searches throughout 58 websites since the change.

9. Make content shareable

Social sharing buttons are a form of a CTA for users who are on social media. Seeing the recognizable icons for Facebook, Twitter and social networks sends a signal to users to share. As your content gets shared on social media, you reap benefits, including:

Depending on your content management platform, you may easily have the ability to turn on a social sharing button feature. For platforms like WordPress, there is an array of free social sharing plugins you can add to your layout, which makes social buttons automatically appear on each piece of content.

Other options for sharing on social include:

  • Create your own CTA graphics for social sharing.
  • Write out a call to action within a post to join a discussion about it on your Facebook page.
  • Insert “click to tweet” links in a post which enable users to share tidbits from it in just a few clicks

When you can continue the conversation about a piece of content on a social network, engagement for the piece organically increases.

10. Create a great meta description

A compelling meta description is important for every piece of content. With Google’s emphasis on quality and relevance for search results, follow meta description best practices like:

  • Use keywords, but don’t repeat them or overuse them.
  • Use long-tail phrases that give more context to the content.
  • Write enticing descriptions that encourage users to click.
  • Avoid using the same meta description for multiple web pages

It used to be a best practice to cap meta descriptions at 160 characters; then, in late 2017, Google bumped that up to 320 characters, and now it looks like we’re back down to the 160 range again. Make sure whatever you’re writing is relevant, helpful and valuable, just like the content itself.

Bonus tip: Proofread your copy

Well-written, error-free content says a lot about your brand and shows you care about quality.

Plus it makes content managers like me a little crazy when we see such obvious mistakes in content. Don’t drive us batty. Proofread your content!

The post Content manager checklist: 10 things to do before you hit publish appeared first on Marketing Land.

Analyzing User Test Data - The Devil is in the Detail

At Loop11 we like to practice dog fooding. Recently we ran two usability studies to gain comparative benchmarking data on an existing design and then comparing that to a new one. Since the new design was yet to be released, we created two InVision prot…

At Loop11 we like to practice dog fooding. Recently we ran two usability studies to gain comparative benchmarking data on an existing design and then comparing that to a new one. Since the new design was yet to be released, we created two InVision prototypes, one for each design. We then created 4 tasks and […]

Personalization and Amazon Prime Day

As a personalization vendor, we spend a lot of time studying how individualized and personalized experiences can help with many challenges faced by marketers and ecommerce organizations when it comes to driving conversions. So, jus…

As a personalization vendor, we spend a lot of time studying how individualized and personalized experiences can help with many challenges faced by marketers and ecommerce organizations when it comes to driving conversions. So, just days after the Amazon...

Magic Dozen Workshop

The Wizard of Ads are putting on a marketing workshop in Seattle this September 18th and there are still slots open. If you’re an owner-operator of a local or regional business that advertises — or that you think ought to advertise… And if you’re not a…

The Wizard of Ads are putting on a marketing workshop in Seattle this September 18th and there are still slots open. If you’re an owner-operator of a local or regional business that advertises — or that you think ought to advertise… And if you’re not already working with a Wizard of Ads partner… I can […]

The Prime Day Problem

By now everyone is well aware of the Amazon Prime Day problem that occurred yesterday. The enticing deeply discounted deals and mass omnichannel marketing efforts successfully drove an unprecedented number of buyers to the site and…

By now everyone is well aware of the Amazon Prime Day problem that occurred yesterday. The enticing deeply discounted deals and mass omnichannel marketing efforts successfully drove an unprecedented number of buyers to the site and crashed it, just...

11 eCommerce Marketing Automation Systems Compared

Adding a marketing automation system to your eCommerce marketing arsenal is typically a worthwhile high ROI effort and is a mandatory part of Inbound Marketing for eCommerce. But given the fast growing plethora of marketing automation systems available, which is best for your business? [2014 Marketing Technology Landscape Image by Scott Brinker at Chiefmartec.com] [2018 Marketing Technology

Adding a marketing automation system to your eCommerce marketing arsenal is typically a worthwhile high ROI effort and is a mandatory part of Inbound Marketing for eCommerce. But given the fast growing plethora of marketing automation systems available, which is best for your business?

Marketing Technology Landscape_Image by Scott Brinker

[2014 Marketing Technology Landscape Image by Scott Brinker at Chiefmartec.com]

Marketing Technology Landscape (2018) - Image by Scott Brinker

[2018 Marketing Technology Landscape Image by Scott Brinker at Chiefmartec.com]

To answer that question, there are three key areas of eCommerce marketing automation systems to evaluate: features, integrations and pricing.

1. Features

Marketo defines marketing automation as “technology that allows companies to streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows so they can increase operational efficiency and grow revenue faster.” Within this definition, the types of marketing tasks and complexities of workflows can vary broadly among various tools. When evaluating the features of marketing automation systems, we focus on three areas: publishing, emailing and reporting. Here are some of the features we evaluate as part of each area:

Publishing

  • Social media monitoring and management
  • Landing page creation and management
  • Website management and personalization

Emailing

  • Email list segmentation
  • Automated workflows (replenishment campaigns, cart abandonment campaigns, etc.)
  • Testing – ability to test

Reporting

  • Website tracking (ability to tie web activity with specific users)
  • Detailed Analytics
  • Omni-channel marketing reports

2. Integrations

If and how the eCommerce marketing automation system you are considering integrates with your eCommerce platform is critical. Be sure to understand any development tasks or limitations that may occur as a result of choosing a particular system. If you are considering migrating eCommerce or marketing automation platforms, be sure to consider the available integrations. We’ve found Magento, Shopify and Bigcommerce to have the most solid integrations with eCommerce marketing automation systems.

3. Pricing

As with anything in business, the price is a definite consideration when choosing a marketing automation system. Pricing can be based on a variety of factors, including “list size,” number of customers, the number of emails sent monthly, integration options and more. Prices for a solid eCommerce marketing automation system vary from a few hundred dollars to several thousands or more per month.

When considering the cost of your system, don’t forget to think about the additional ROI that is possible from the use of a marketing automation system, which should more than cover your costs. Also, if a system is more expensive due to more extensive features, how much more efficient will your work be (saving time and training) with more features in one place? Lastly, the training and support provided by the vendor is an important feature, and some higher priced systems can be more attractive in this area. After all, if you don’t know how to use your system or can’t fix important issues, it isn’t going to contribute nearly the ROI of a fully utilized eCommerce marketing automation system.

New Call-to-action

Comparing eCommerce Marketing Automation Systems

We’ve analyzed eleven of the top marketing automation systems for eCommerce and are happy to share our findings with you. (Click below to quickly jump to a specific system).

 

Klaviyo

Klaviyo logo

Klaviyo bills itself as email software vs. a full marketing automation solution, which makes sense when you examine the features available in the tool currently. They’ve definitely done email right in this awesome tool. A variety of deep integrations with not just eCommerce platforms, but also other marketing tools like Unbounce, SumoMe, JustUno and more, make up for some of the marketing automation features missing from the platform.

Key or Notable Features

Klaviyo was built to be an eCommerce automated email tool. As such, setting up automated campaigns like replenishment, cross-sell, win-back and cart abandonment is a breeze. You can easily build custom templates, and importing your lists is a snap with their wide variety of integration options. The “Ideas” supplied are sometimes useful to help continue building out automation campaigns in your account. Lastly, the tracking pixel/snippet lets you segment on content viewed by a user – not just products purchased.

Integrations

Klaviyo integrates with the most common and popular eCommerce platforms, as well as a few others. The custom integration option via JavaScript is a fantastic option for a custom eCommerce platform. The JS integration solution is similar to Google Analytics eCommerce tracking where you “fill in the blanks” with order details to send to Klaviyo.

Klaviyo Integrates With:

  • Magento
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Bigcommerce
  • Volusion
  • Spree
  • Custom integrations are possible via JavaScript code snippet

In addition to integrating with several eCommerce platforms, Klaviyo also integrates with many other tools, which allow for good options when taking the “Frankenstein” approach to putting together a complete eCommerce marketing automation system made of many pieces.

Notable integrations include:

Pricing

Pricing for Klaviyo is based on the number of contacts you are storing in the system. Contacts are not only customers, but also subscribers and lists from other systems like MailChimp, Unbounce, JustUno and more. You can use Klaviyo for free up to 250 contacts and 500 email sends but as your number of contacts increases, so will your costs. Klaviyo does aim to be affordable at just $25/month for up to 500 contacts; $50/month for up to 1,000; $75/month for up to 1,500, and so forth.

Klaviyo Pricing Slider

Disappointments

Our sales call/demo of Klaviyo was disappointing and short. We’ve also heard from customers on custom platforms that the custom integration option isn’t as easy as it appears. Lastly, for the price of $1,000 per month for 80,000 contacts, it would be nice if Klaviyo had a few more non-email specific features to beef up the offering.

Windsor Circle

Windsor Circle Logo

Windsor Circle is a well-funded, fast-growing and talented startup (founded 2011) in the eCommerce marketing automation space. The company bills its solution as a “Customer Retention & Predictive Marketing Automation Platform.” A large number of integrations with eCommerce platforms, a detailed analytics and reporting tool, dedicated customer service and more make Windsor Circle a great choice (plus they’ll send you green pants if you ask).

Key or Notable Features

Windsor Circle is unique in how the solution is architected. For example, even though at least half of Windsor’s features involve email, no emails are actually sent from the tool itself. Instead, the system integrates with many popular email tools that you may already be using, such as MailChimp, iContact, Emma, Constant Contact, What Counts, etc.

Another unique feature Windsor Circle offers is the insightful analytics platform, which lets you examine and segment your eCommerce purchase data for magical insights. For example, you can figure out which products lead to the highest customer lifetime values. Or, you could figure out how long the average customer waits to make their second purchase from your store. Armed with this information, you can develop and execute tactics to improve ROI for your eCommerce store. Recently, Windsor added on-site behavioral tracking, including the ability to segment and target based on behaviors.

Integrations

Windsor is the leader when it comes to integrations. They claim to be able to integrate with ANY eCommerce platform. Any platform not already supported as “pre-built” is integrated through data feeds and comes with a one-time charge of $2,500. Pre-built platforms come with a five-day integration-to-activation timeframe guarantee.

Pre-built eCommerce Integrations Include:

  • 3dCart
  • AspDotNetStorefront
  • Bigcommerce
  • Channel Advisor
  • CommerceV3
  • CoreSense
  • DemandWare
  • Magento
  • OrderMotion
  • Neto
  • NetSuite
  • Shopify
  • Aptos/ShopVisible
  • Volusion
  • Yahoo Stores
  • Custom Integrations available via data feeds for $2,500

Out-of-the-box Email System Integrations:

  • Act-on
  • Bronto
  • Constant Contact
  • dotmailer
  • Emma
  • EmailDirect
  • Experian CCMP
  • iContact
  • MailChimp
  • Maropost
  • Lyris
  • Oracle Marketing Cloud
  • Salesforce Marketing Cloud formerly ExactTarget
  • VerticalResponse
  • WhatCounts (Publicaster and Professional).

Pricing

Pricing for Windsor Circle is based on the number of customers in your eCommerce platform going back three years (you can’t ask to just go back two years, but of course if you have less than three years of data in your system, it will use what is there). There is also a $1,000 on-boarding fee that covers the set-up and design of email templates in the platform of your choice.

Based on our sales conversations with Windsor Circle, you can expect pricing to look something like (note this pricing was accurate at the time of our initial publication on September 2016, but may no longer be accurate now that Klaviyo focuses only on larger enterprise clients):

pricing table for Widsor Circle

Additional service packages are also available for purchase if you or your agency lacks the time or needs to bring in extra expertise.

To get the most accurate pricing from Windsor Circle, you can always reach out to them via their pricing form.

Disappointments

Because Windsor doesn’t actually send any emails itself, there are now two systems to worry about instead of one, as is the case with almost every other marketing automation solution. This is somewhat convenient if you are already using a supported email platform, but otherwise could just be more parts to break.

 

Hubspot

HubSpot Logo

King of marketing automation for small/medium B2B companies, HubSpot is still interested in becoming a major eCommerce player. While not exactly common in eCommerce, HubSpot is climbing in market share and adoption – especially with brands focused on content marketing and Inbound Marketing for higher consideration eCommerce purchases. Out of the systems we discuss in this post, HubSpot is the most complete eCommerce marketing automation system with features that include publishing, emailing and reporting.

Key or Notable Features

HubSpot is truly a one-stop shop when it comes to eCommerce marketing automation. Features include building and publishing landing pages and forms, publishing a blog, managing social media, running an automated email marketing campaign and even lead scoring (yes, there is a place for lead scoring in eCommerce).

Integrations

With HubSpot still breaking into the eCommerce marketing automation space, there are only three pre-built integrations with eCommerce platforms. Each integration was developed by a third-party and comes with a nominal fee of $50-$100 per month approximately. Integration options include:

Pricing

As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and with HubSpot you are getting a lot (and paying for it). Deals can usually be negotiated with their eager sales team. However, be prepared to commit to a 12-month contract. The basic package is fairly useless, so expect to pay at least $800 per month or more.

Hubspot Pricing

 

Disappointments

Our main disappointment with HubSpot is the lack of available eCommerce platform integrations. While the most popular platforms are covered, anything beyond those mentioned above are not available without custom programming. In addition, HubSpot’s pricing model is based on their legacy as a B2B tool. Many eCommerce sites tend to be higher in traffic with larger lists than your typical B2B company. Since price is based on list size (contacts), expect to pony up more and more as your list grows.

One way around this is to keep separate lists (leads vs customers) and only use Hubspot to nurture leads into customers. However, this limits your ability to provide a seamless experience and requires additional maintenance. At the very least, when using Hubspot you should be scrubbing your list at every few months.

Kevy

KEVY logo

Kevy is another newer, but fast growing player in the eCommerce marketing automation tool space. One of Founder/CEO Brooke Beach’s goals is to create less fragmentation for eCommerce store owners and managers when it comes to the apps they use to run their business. Another huge focus for Kevy is personalization (of everything).

 

Features

Kevy starts with all the “standard” features you’d expect out of a marketing automation built from scratch for eCommerce. This includes advanced segmentation capabilities, cart recovery campaign capabilities, email design editor, and reporting. Kevy’s email designer is one of the best in the industry (it even changes an image’s size, not just its dimensions). Reporting is enhanced with a deep Google Analytics integration. In addition, the single-use coupon capability is a nice bonus that helps Kevy take personalization even further. Lastly, the included pop-up capabilities are super strong and convenient with the ability to personalize and target pop-ups as well.

 

Pricing

Kevy pricing is based on contacts in your email list. You may send an unlimited amount of emails to the contacts in the system

Full KEVY Pricing Chart

 

Integrations

Because Kevy is a Javascript based tool, it can work/integrate with any eCommerce platform. That being said, it does have solid connectors for Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce and Volusion for even more convenient and speedy integrations.

Intergration logos from eCommerce platforms

 

Disappointments

There wasn’t too much to be disappointed in with Kevy! Their team is small but growing, which could impact new feature releases and potentially customer service.

Omnisend

Omnisend is an ecommerce marketing automation platform designed to help marketers improve their sales by using greater personalization and connecting with their customers on more touch points. Its aim is to help ecommerce marketers get the functionality they need to dramatically increase their sales without having to use many different apps.

Key or Notable Features

Omnisend has quite a lot of features – just what you’d expect for a marketing automation platform designed for ecommerce marketers. It has all the usual bells and whistles—such as a drag-and-drop newsletter builder, popups, and A/B testing. But possibly the best features are related to segmentation and automation. With these features, you can slice and dice your customers any way you like and send them automated emails based on a large number of triggers. Their reports are pretty comprehensive too, allowing you to see not just opens and clicks, but also sales generated by your campaigns or workflows. They’ve recently introduced SMS messages, and will soon roll out the ability to create Facebook Custom Audiences from your lists.

Integrations

Omnisend has integrations with all of the major ecommerce platforms, including any custom platforms through their API. It also integrates easily with ecommerce apps such as Privy, JustUno, Optimonk and more.

 

Omnisend eCommerce Integrations

Pricing

Omnisend’s pricing depends on how many subscribers you have in your list. You can use their pricing calculator to see just how much you’d be paying per month.

Omnisend Pricing Calculator

They also have a free plan that allows you to send 15,000 emails per month, with a limit of 2,000 emails per day.

Disappointments

Omnisend doesn’t have a lot to be disappointed about. We’re waiting to see what their new omnichannel features will bring to the table and how it can help ecommerce stores reach their sales goals.

Drip

Drip is an email automation tool that bills itself as an “E-CRM,” or Ecommerce CRM. Drip integrates out of the box with Shopify, WooCommerce, Stripe, and dozens of other payment processors, and has a visual email workflow builder that lets you build complex automations based on what products people have purchased.

Drip is definitely one of the more powerful email automation tools we’ve looked at. And the fact that they’re focused 100% on B2C ecommerce makes them an intriguing player in the market.

Key or Notable Features

Drip’s visual workflow tool lets you go beyond pre- and post-purchase sequences, and really build entire lifecycle marketing funnels – all mapped out visually.

One of the cooler features that sets Drip apart is Shareable Workflows. Drip users can share and import pre-built automations in 1 click. So if you have a Shopify store, for example, you’re able to install a proven post-purchase email sequence, without having to build everything from scratch.

(Click here for an example.)

Another key Drip feature is purchase intent scoring. Similar to lead scoring in B2B, this feature lets you see a “score” that each subscriber has, based on their engagement with your marketing (e.g. opening an email = +1 point, visiting a product page = +3 points, not opening an email for a week = -1 point.)

This lets you segment subscribers by engagement – which is difficult or impossible to pull off with many other ESPs.

Integrations

Drip integrates out of the box with the following eCommerce platforms and payment processors:

  • Shopify
  • Shopify Plus
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • Stripe
  • Gumroad
  • Authorize.net
  • Paypal
  • DPD
  • ClickBank
  • 1ShoppingCart
  • 3dcart
  • Thrivecart
  • SamCart

In addition to eCommerce platforms, Drip integrates with dozens of popular marketing tools, including:

  • Facebook Lead Ads
  • Facebook Custom Audiences
  • Sumo
  • Privy
  • Leadpages
  • Instapage
  • Unbounce
  • Fomo

Pricing
Like most email platforms, Drip charges based on the number of subscribers you have.

With a forever-free plan (under 100 contacts) and a basic plan at $49/mo, Drip is very affordable relative to other marketing automation tools – especially given the features you get.

Here’s how Drip’s pricing breaks down.

Disappointments

If you’re coming from a basic email platform like MailChimp, Drip definitely will take some time to learn. There’s a lot of power in the visual workflow builder, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the possibilities if you’ve never mapped out pre- and post-purchase sequences before.

Another disappointment is that Drip doesn’t seem to offer live 1-on-1 demos if you have fewer than 10K subscribers. If you have a decent sized email list, though, Drip will give you a 1-on-1 demo, as well as free migration services to help you bring your list over from another provider.

ActiveCampaign

ActiveCampaign Logo

ActiveCampaign is a good option for small to mid-sized businesses but carries enough features that it can easily grow with you. The service provides CRM, email marketing, and marketing automation all in one place so there’s little need to try and “Frankenstein” a marketing stack that works for you.

Key or Notable Features

One of the most notable features of ActiveCampaign is the inclusion of a variety of pre-built “automation recipes” created just for eCommerce businesses to address a variety of user behaviors, including: cart abandonment, average order size or frequency, multiple visits to specific products, and much more.

ActiveCampaign Features

Integrations

ActiveCampaign supports API based integrations with Shopify and BigCommerce but for other platforms such as BigCartel, StoreEnvy or Magento – users would need to use Zapier or Revenue Conduit to pull eCommerce data.

Deep Integrations:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce

Zapier Supported Integrations:

  • WooCommerce
  • Gumroad
  • Shipstation
  • StoreEnvy
  • Shipwire
  • Lemonstand
  • BigCatel
  • Tapfilliate

Integrations via Revenue Conduit:

  • BigCommerce
  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce

Pricing

All of ActiveCampaign’s pricing is based on the number of contacts you have. There is a Lite tier that carries their lowest prices, but be aware that it doesn’t include the CRM or any of their deep data integrations for Shopify for BigCommerce. The Plus and Professional levels are relatively affordable up to 25,000 contacts, but beyond that, you’ll have to contact ActiveCampaign directly to determine pricing. There’s also an Enterprise pricing level that provides users with a dedicated account rep, in-depth onboarding, phone support, and free social data.

ActiveCampaign Pricing

Disappointments

The lack of direct integrations with more eCommerce platforms and services could be a dealbreaker for any eCommerce businesses that prefer not to go through (and pay an additional fee for) a third-party app like Zapier. Lastly, the two most common complaints from ActiveCampaign users seems to be regarding the lack of landing pages and the system’s overall learning curve.

 

Bronto

Oracle Bronto Logo

A top Email Marketing Provider to the Internet Retailer Top 1000, the Bronto marketing automation platform helps high-growth retailers produce content that is designed to generate engagement. The platform is essentially made up of a handful of services including: email, personalization, automation, and analytics. And with software giant, Oracle’s backing, you know that Bronto’s underlying technology is going to be powerful.

Key or Notable Features

Although Bronto offers a variety of helpful features for eCommerce marketers, one that stood out the most was the cart recovery solution which works seamlessly to deliver relevant, personalized messages that re-engage and ultimately convert. All it takes is the installation of a few lines of Javascript on your site and Bronto will register cart activity every 30 seconds and upon recognizing that a cart has been abandoned, will trigger a customized workflow with messages that can include dynamically inserted order and cart info.

Integrations

eCommerce Platforms:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • Salesforce Commerce Cloud
  • Mozu
  • Kibo
  • Netsuite
  • Amongst others

Partner Integrations:

  • BigCommerce
  • JustUno
  • SocialConnect
  • Privy
  • Swell
  • SignUpAnywhere
  • And others

Pricing

Unfortunately, Bronto doesn’t list pricing information on their site as it ultimately depends on which services are ordered as well as how often you send emails. You can reach out to Bronto in order to get in touch with a member of their sales team and get a quote.

Disappointments

Despite Bronto’s many capabilities, the interface can sometimes be a bit confusing and difficult to use, more effort on Bronto’s part to improve user experience wouldn’t go amiss. Even though Bronto has attempted to make everything simple with drag-and-drop functionality, it does result in limiting the level of customization that can be applied in emails and in workflows.

Additionally, users have said that Bronto can be a bit pricey and if you aren’t well-versed in and utilizing all of Bronto’s features, it can occasionally feel like you’re paying for a handful of things you don’t really need.

MailChimp

 

MailChimp Logo

A notable favorite amongst smaller to mid-size businesses, MailChimp is a popular email automation platform that offers a little more than your typical ESPs. Including landing pages, display advertising tools, and an easy to use WYSIWYG email builder that produces well-designed emails in less time.

Key or Notable Features

Good reporting is invaluable when it comes to gauging the ROI from your email marketing efforts and that’s one of the areas where MailChimp shines. On top of your typical email reporting elements like click maps and subscriber activity, MailChimp also uses their Analytics360 module to pull data from your web traffic tools so you can see which campaigns resulted in sales and gauge your ROI. You can also review your reporting to see trends in your industry overall so you can see how effective your efforts are compare to your competitors.

Integrations

Between MailChimp’s popularity amongst users and its robust API, MailChimp carries with it a large library of available integrations. Here are just a few eCommerce integrations available:

  • Shopify
  • BigCommerce
  • BigCartel
  • Magento
  • WooCommerce
  • Salesforce
  • XCart
  • OpenCart
  • Windsor Circle

If you’re using an existing tool, software, or app and you’re concerned that MailChimp might not play nice – be sure to check out the integration directory. You just might be surprised.

Pricing

MailChimp’s pricing depends on your list size and the features you’re looking for. The Forever Free option is fantastic if you’re just starting to build your list or testing out MailChimp for the first time but you can quickly find yourself somewhat limited. Once you move into the Growing Business and Pro tiers, you’ll be able to really leverage MailChimp’s best features and increase your ROI. Be sure to use the pricing calculator to get a clearer idea of what pricing will be like for your particular list.

MailChimp Pricing

Disappointments

There are a handful of things that can make MailChimp a little annoying to use at times. For example, segmentation is lacking and you can’t send a campaign to multiple email lists. It also doesn’t flag duplicate emails so it’s easy to wind up with a list that is bigger than it actually is (and potentially have to pay more as a result), so you have to make sure that you’re manually scrubbing your lists on a regular basis.

Lastly, even though MailChimp offers some nice templates, when it comes to customization, you can often find yourself fighting with the editor to get changes to stick or preview correctly.

Drift

Drift Logo

 

Although Drift sells itself as a conversational marketing tool primarily for B2B, it can be just as beneficial to eCommerce businesses looking for ways to engage customers just when they’re looking at your products. With well-timed pop-up chats, you can offer your customers opportunities to ask questions, prevent cart abandonment by providing coupon codes, and help customers make decisions about what to purchase.

Key or Notable Features

Conversational marketing is still so new that Drift’s primary function, in and of itself, feels pretty notable. Being able to “talk” to customers virtually, 24/7 is a potential game changer. Other key features that strike us as being particularly interesting are the conversation reports and the ability to see a live view of customers as they engage with your site’s chat bot. This allows you to get a clearer idea of the questions your customers are asking as they make purchasing decisions.

Integrations

  • Slack
  • Drip
  • Hubspot
  • Marketo
  • Shopify
  • Stripe (via Zapier)
  • ZenDesk (via Zapier)
  • Google Analytics
  • Knowledgebase
  • And many others

Pricing

If you sell products that include customizations, Drift can be an affordable way to help your customers through the purchase process.

There’s a free, basic version available but if you want to utilize any of the additional integrations, save replies, see a live view of visitors on your site, or reach out to 1,000 or more contacts; then you’ll want to consider going with the Standard or Pro offerings.

Drift Pricing

Disappointments

While the tool is very useful overall, it often feels as if some of the features available at higher subscription levels should really be standard elements of the tool, just in the interest of good UX. For example, custom branding is only available at the $500/month Pro level, which is why you’ll often notice that sites using Drift have a small notice at the bottom of their chat boxes that says “We’re ⚡ by Drift.”

Bluecore

Bluecore Logo

Bluecore is a retail marketing platform that allows eCommerce marketers create and distribute personalized, triggered emails. The platform is popular among a variety of retail brands such as Steve Madden, Starbucks, and Crocs. It’s site isn’t quite as informative as it could be so to really get a feel for it, we recommend reaching out to Bluecore for a free demo!

Key or Notable Features

Bluecore offers the typical email marketing tools that you would expect from a full email marketing platform, however, there’s definitely a strong vein of data-reliance that results in a few other features designed to really drive sales and increase revenue. For example, Bluecore allows users to setup predictive audiences based on pre-built, retail specific predictive models that utilize your data to create segments based on product affinity, likelihood to take actions, lifecycle stage and lifetime value.

Bluecore also allows users to build out personalized marketing campaigns with multiple, cross-channel touches – all within a single campaign workflow so you can guide your customers towards purchase across various channels.

Integrations

  • Google Adwords
  • Oracle Commerce Cloud
  • Optimizely
  • JustUno
  • Salesforce
  • Bronto

Pricing

Unfortunately, Bluecore’s pricing isn’t listed on their website, however you can contact them to get a quote.
We will note that some customers have mentioned that prices can run a little high.

Disappointments

We weren’t terribly impressed by the small list of integrations available with Bluecore and customers sometimes reported having issues with the email reporting feature (however, the dashboard is useful for providing accurate data at a glance). Others have also said that they weren’t as impressed by the limited amount of features available for such a pricey platform.

So Which System is Right For You?

Of course, every eCommerce business has different wants and needs when it comes to selecting an eCommerce marketing automation system. Of the eleven systems we reviewed, each has it’s own strengths and weaknesses and were built to help solve different problems for different businesses. When it comes to making your selection, think carefully about what features you’ll most likely use and what will do the most to increase your business’ overall efficiency and, ultimately, your revenue.

If you need help or have questions about selecting an eCommerce marketing automation system for your business, please feel free to leave a comment or get in touch via phone or email. We’d love to help.

New Call-to-action

How a Product Recommendations Engine Improves Customer Experience

Product recommendations engines are a great way to deliver customers with an improved user experience. Through machine learning, manual curation, and specific algorithms, a product recommendations engine can help bring customers th…

Product recommendations engines are a great way to deliver customers with an improved user experience. Through machine learning, manual curation, and specific algorithms, a product recommendations engine can help bring customers the relevant products they want or need. Take...

Make Testimonials More Persuasive

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that your viewers believe your testimonials are real and genuine. Any website that hosts its own testimonials has the opportunity to molest and curate its own testimonials and every viewer knows it. There are thre…

Don’t kid yourself into thinking that your viewers believe your testimonials are real and genuine. Any website that hosts its own testimonials has the opportunity to molest and curate its own testimonials and every viewer knows it. There are three rules to make testimonials more persuasive that you can start using today. If everybody knows...

The post Make Testimonials More Persuasive appeared first on Conversion Sciences.

B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Survey Results

Our most recent email series introduced a step-by-step approach to website personalization strategy. The strategy series outlined the five elements of a successful strategy: Solutions, Segmentation, Targeting, Tactics, and Optimization inspired by the Website Personalization Strategy eBook. In each email, we asked our B2B marketing subscribers one question about their digital marketing strategy. Let’s take […]

The post B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Survey Results appeared first on Bound.

Our most recent email series introduced a step-by-step approach to website personalization strategy. The strategy series outlined the five elements of a successful strategy: Solutions, Segmentation, Targeting, Tactics, and Optimization inspired by the Website Personalization Strategy eBook. In each email, we asked our B2B marketing subscribers one question about their digital marketing strategy. Let’s take a look at what you all had to say.

What is your #1 marketing challenge?

50% of marketers surveyed answered “Not enough qualified leads.” This echoes the most common goal that our customers seek to solve with personalization.

Are you segmenting your website audience for anonymous visitors?

Only half of respondents are segmenting for anonymous visitors—that means the other half are ignoring 95% of their audience.

How are you targeting with paid media?

A significant 86% of marketers surveyed said they are targeting their paid media based on buying role or persona attributes. It would be seamless for the majority of B2B marketers to mirror this persona-based experience on their website.

Where are your buyers abandoning their journey?

30% of respondents don’t know where buyers are abandoning their journey and 60% know they’re dropping out of the journey in the Consideration and Decision phases. There is an urgent need for responsive nurture throughout the buyer’s journey.

On average, how often do you review your digital campaigns?

Over half of the marketers surveyed review their digital campaigns weekly. All of your digital campaigns drive to your website. How often are you reviewing and optimizing your website strategy?

Get the definitive guide to a successful website personalization strategy in the Website Personalization Strategy eBook.

If you’d like to receive our email communications, join the newsletter!

The post B2B Digital Marketing Strategy Survey Results appeared first on Bound.