Etsy and its unique features

One of my personal favorite websites happens to be Etsy. This is a website that allows users to buy and sell handmade items from one another. The great thing about this website is that its design flows smoothly whether it’s on a desktop, mobile browser, or mobile app.

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Etsy has two main features; the search bar and the category list. The search bar at the top of the page allows users to easily search for a specific item. The category list is accessible for users who want to browse the site. Users can shop by holiday (Christmas, Father’s Day, Valentines, etc.) and even by person (husband, mother, friend, etc.).  Towards the bottom of the homepage you see “Recently viewed” and “You might also like” items. They use your in site browsing history to list out items relevant to your previous searches as well as items that you may have clicked on but didn’t buy. As you scroll towards the bottom of the site there are blog posts and reviews for customers with a star rating system as well. The site layout itself is aesthetically pleasing and the unique features it offers makes users wanting to come back again and again.

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In the past year, I have used Etsy for many different occasions. I was able to purchase my daughters first birthday invitations off of their mobile sit while sitting at work one day, as well as this onesie. The mobile site allowed me to communicate directly with the seller to determine that she had all of the necessary information to personalize the invites. I also purchased a custom made stuffed elephant for my best friend who just had her baby girl. I have never had a bad experience with the mobile site navigation or offerings.

Interesting statistics
  • First, to put things into perspective – there are 54 million members as of 2015.
  • 65% of Etsy visits come from mobile rather than desktops.
  • 49% of Etsy’s gross merchandise sales (GMS) comes from mobile devices. Etsy began tracking mobile GMS back in 2013 when their mobile website traffic got increasingly popular.
  • 31.8 million app downloads.
  • The mobile website is available in 83 countries and offers 12 different currencies at checkout.

The amount of mobile visitors that Etsy has proves that its unique features are both appealing and easy to navigate. There is something for almost everyone on the site.

What are some things that you look for in a mobile website?

To remarket or not to remarket?

 

Remarketing can be either creepy and beneficial, depending on who you ask. How many times have you been “window shopping” online and closed out your browser with a cart full of goodies? For me it’s been too many times to count! Now how many times have you gotten an automated email reminding you of this, sometimes even with a promotional code or coupon? This is a type of #remarketing that is becoming more popular lately.

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When a company is interested in developing a remarketing campaign, it’s important for them to determine their key performance indicators (KPIs). Some that I find very informative are:

  • Positive return on investment – this is a must! Are you expecting the same RIO as your other campaigns? That’s a question that will need to be answered first and foremost.
  • Cost per conversion / lead conversions – look at the conversions and see if your campaign is bringing the ROI you’re striving for. The more conversions you have, the higher your sales will soar.
  • Click through rates – you’ll want to take into consideration the price of your remarketing campaign and then look at the amount of leads that actually turned into impressions.
  • Number of site visits – keeping track of the traffic on your website will help establish if the campaign was reached its goal of getting people back to the source.
  • Revenue per email – specifically if your remarketing happens to be in the form of emails, then this will be a beneficial KPI to be aware of. The remarketing report explains remarketing emails that contain offers provide 57% increase in revenue per email over those that don’t.

 

These are just a few of the important KPIs a that can help measure success of a remarketing campaign. Like any advertising campaign, remarketing is meant to be successful so it’s imperative that these performances are closely monitored. According to Liz Mallett, remarketing allows companies to convert the over 95% of consumers who leave their site on the first visit without filling out a single piece of information. Her blog post on Oracle also lists six key metrics of her own. There are countless KPIs to keep in mind when developing a remarketing campaign.

What are some ways that you would measure success of your next remarketing campaign?

 

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Building an Email Marketing Database

According to Digital Marketing Institute’s Co-founder Ian Dodson,

“Email marketing is a cost-effective and easily-accessible marketing technique that delivers real revenue results for business’ regardless of budget. It’s also a great way to keep customers clued into new deals and offers, a powerful way to keep prospects engaged and it’s super easy to track the results.”

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I believe that email marketing can be both effective and resourceful. It can get your point across to a wide audience with little effort and can potentially provide exclusive information that may not be found elsewhere. There are many ways to create a high-quality email marketing database, a few ways are to:

  • Create unique content – The more unique and informative content you provide consumers with, there’s a higher chance they may forward your emails to a friend or family member who may in turn subscribe. A button such as “Share now with a friend” would easily allow email recipients to forward the email.
  • Promote your brand on social media – Contests and giveaways are a great way to get consumers involved with your brand. They can sign up with their email address to win prizes and be entered into giveaways. This can easily build your list!
  • Call to action – Closing out emails, blog posts, and social media posts with a call to action can be beneficial in getting users to subscribe to your email list.
  • High quality subscribers – Some users may opt-out of your marketing emails due to them receiving too many in a short amount of time. Allow users to have different options in regards to subscribing. The options can be something as simple as one a week, once a month, only coupons and/or promotions, etc. This gives them a little more freedom to determine how and when they want to receive your content.
  • FREE stuff – Companies can entice users to sign up for their marketing emails by offering a free e-book or other free downloads when putting in an email address. This could be something that the company themselves own/offer, or it could be a partnership with another company. On the other hand, avoid the word “free” in the subject line, as that can come off as spam right away.

These are all important to remember for any company looking to market their brand. The 2015 State of Marketing Report shows that “one fifth of marketers say their business’ primary revenue source is directly linked to email operations.”

What are some things that would catch your attention and make you want to subscribe to an email list?

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The social media ecosystem

Twitter and Facebook are two social media platforms that have greatly impacted today’s business world. They have shaped the way that companies connect with and market to consumers. The current social ecosystem is actively growing and forever changing. There are multiple platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram that allows businesses and consumers to connect. With today’s technology, there are also multiple devices that users will connect on whether it’s their smartphone, tablet, or laptop.

Marketing departments within businesses need to realize that social media is a major player in getting themselves out there. Just having the social platform isn’t enough for a business, they must also have the audience willing to listen. In order to grab the attention of consumers, the businesses must give a more transparent look into their world and what their business has to offer potential consumers.

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Twitter

  • Allows users to engage with one another on a more personalized level. Although there is a 140-character limit when constructing a tweet, users are often still able to get their points across. Many Twitter users will reach out to a brand or company in regards to complaints, questions, concerns, and even positivity. Having this real time connection is beneficial to businesses. Mark Schaefer details that 42% of Twitter users learn about a new product or service from Twitter and 41% of those users provide opinions on said products or services. Businesses are then able to turn the opinions they receive into actions. There are so many amazing business benefits to using Twitter. When a business uses Twitter they are able to enhance their customer service, gather business intelligence, discover problems, break through communication barriers with tweets, and can build their brand. This social media platform is something that every business should strive to be active on.

Facebook

  • More of an open platform for businesses. Without having the 140-character limit that Twitter has, they have more freedom to get their word out. With 1.550 million monthly active Facebook users worldwide, Facebook is the most popular social media platform where online users engage with each others and brands. Advertising on Facebook can be done organically within the brands page or through paid advertisements on the platform and can get a company’s word out to a large population at once. By using a social media platform such as Facebook, businesses are able to fine tune their products and services using the feedback they receive from their followers. Facebook is not only great for advertising, but it’s also beneficial for businesses to connect with their consumers and provide exceptional customer service. Brian Honigman let’s us know that customers end up spending 20% and 40% more with a business when they have great customer service conversations. The social ecosystem will always grow and change, but Facebook is an important social platform for businesses to take advantage of in this day and age.

Social Behaviors 

There are five different types of social behaviors that businesses must take into consideration;

  • Creators
  • Critics
  • Collectors
  • Joiners
  • Spectators.

Due to consumers having those different types of social behaviors, it’s imperative for businesses to put their focus on multiple platforms. If a business was to be selective in its social media platforms then they have the chance to not reach their intended market, they need to be as versatile as possible. Overall, I think that Facebook and Twitter are two great platforms for businesses to run an advertisement campaign, these are also great platforms for word-of-mouth advertising to begin its course. When hearing the phrase word-of-mouth I typically think of social media as they go hand in hand. A social media marketing study proved that the word-of-mouth effect created by users increased the impact of messages, but at the same time transformed them.

Facebook and Twitter have largely impacted today’s business world in their own highly successful ways. Do you have a preference between the two social platforms to get your point across?

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Is Big Brother watching you?

There is a line between collecting personal information for research purposes and stalking, that’s a line that businesses need to beware of crossing. There are so many different types of information that businesses are collecting about consumers on a daily basis. It’s important to make sure that as a business, you are using the information in an ethical manner.

An analytic tool that I often use is a form of Customer Relationship Management (CRM). CRM is beneficial when a business is looking to collect data about consumers. The types of data that analytic tools are collecting can be anything ranging from A to Z.

  • Address (email or physical) – A business is able to outreach their shoppers with promotional material.
  • Birthday – Businesses often send happy birthday emails or a free gift using this information. This information also gives companies the age range of consumers purchasing their products.
  • Zip code – To help determine the location of where consumers are from.

I like the #CRM software that my company uses because the consumer knows exactly what information is being collected, they are the one providing us with that information willingly. They are filling out a form on a website with their personal information and nothing is collected that they aren’t aware of, other than which website they found ours through (Google, Bing, Facebook, or if they came through organically).

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Creepy or helpful?

There is no doubt a fine line, because one thing could seem acceptable to me as a consumer / user but for another they could feel it is completely inappropriate. For me, it turns into stalking when my location information is used without my permission. I also don’t approve of my browser history being looked in to. I have noticed that if I Google a term, more often than not I see an advertisement for that item showing up on Facebook or Instagram ads.

I have had to personal experience where I was speaking to someone about a vacation destination as well as an item I was looking to purchase. Shortly thereafter, I was seeing advertisements online about flights to that particular location (Romania – not very common) and a link to purchase said item. Both of these conversations happened with co-workers face to face with my phone in my pocket or out on my desk.

What do others think?

According to James Hartwright,  it does come out as distasteful or disrespectful if companies:

  • Use data in a context that is unexpected,
  • induce sensitive facts from innocuous data,
  • re-contextualise data based on location or correlated data,
  • interject into private conversations, and
  • rub against the grain of social norms

 

In the end, everyone has their own personal preference on what they feel may be crossing that line. As a consumer, we are all entitled to that opinion. What do you consider “crossing the line”?

 

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Build a Blog You Can Be Proud Of

There are a lot of great opportunities for bloggers. Actively running a blog allows you to speak to and captivate an entire audience through your writing so you want to make the most of it. According to The Groundswell, “The prerequisite for starting a blog is to want to engage in dialogue with your customers.”

Best practices when it comes to blogging/tweeting-
  • Grab reader’s attention – Provide them with thought provoking words and information.
  • Be honest and factual with reader – Write about what you know, use facts, or other articles.
  • Ask questions and get your readers engaged in conversations – Questions will welcome comments and thus starting a meaningful conversation.
  • Check your blog/microblog often – Set time aside to respond to comments and interact with your readers. They came to your blog for a reason, now you’ll want to keep them coming back.
  • Keep things simple – Like the picture below, simple and sweet. Don’t confuse readers with long articles, round about meanings, and convoluted messages.
  • Spice things up – Use pictures and graphs to add meaning and depth, as well as an artistic flair to your post.
  • Use key words – By using hashtags and certain key words it will allow you blog to be found via search engines and gain more traffic.

 

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The #HigherEd industry definitely abides by a lot of these best practices. My university specifically really does take their social media seriously. They actively post on multiple blogs. On our Twitter page, they take advantage of the full 140-character tweet limit. They carefully choose hashtags that will drum up the most conversation as well as #SNHU so they can easily follow along with students who are engaging in conversations about the university.

Dissecting some popular hashtags –
  • #SNHU2017 – A showcase of tweets from our commencement ceremony that took place on May 13th-14th of this year.
  • #SNHUSuccessTips – Quotes and tips from different individuals and departments within the university to help other students succeed.
  • #StoriesofSNHU – Within this hashtag you will find an abundance of photographs and stories of current students and alumni who have had a life changing experience during their time at our university.
An expert look at social media

Chris Brogan is a Google+ guru, the best practices that he speaks to are mainly in regards to Google+ but can be utilized on any social media platform. In his book, Google+ for Business: How Google’s Social Network Changes Everything, he leaves readers with the quote below at the end of chapter nine.

“Above all else, value your audience’s attention. The more “junk” you throw at them, the less likely they will pay attention. Cherish their interaction. Comment back when they comment. (Not necessarily for every comment you get, but be the #1 commenter in your own stream.) The more you value your audience, the more value they can bring you. It’s as simple as that.”

I encourage you to take the opportunity and browse through some of @SNHU tweets. Are there any tweets or stories that you find inspirational? Post them below!

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Why Take Your Brand Social?

So many companies depend on social media to make their brands relevant, there can be both risks and challenges associated with this strategy. In the #HigherEducation industry though, it is very important to take your brand social. Without social media, many prospective students would never learn about a lot of universities who choose to advertise online.

When it comes to the university that I work for, our brick and mortar campus was established in 1932 and it has been very popular within the local community. Of course this was long before social media or even the internet. Although the school found ways to get their name out there before the internet, having that access now has helped tremendously. Now social media plays an important part in our day to day work here and I don’t think I would be successful in my job without it.

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If universities chose to not take their brand social this could mean less exposure to prospective students. As new generations begin looking at potential colleges, universities need to realize that social media plays a big part in the lives of younger generations.

Challenges & risks of not taking your brand social
  • The university would be unable to show the culture of their campus and local community
  • Students can’t connect with their peers to get questions or concerns answered on a student level
  • No promotion of upcoming events for current students
  • Students want to feel a part of the university, having that social connection with their school can help in a big way and aid in their success
  • The university loses some of its transparency for students to make an educated decision on whether to attend or not
  • Loss of potential advertisement and brand recognition
Challenges & risks of taking your brand social
  • Potential students may not take your brand seriously if you are too reliant on social media
  • Any negativity about your brand can be instantly accessed
  • Oversaturation of the brand to the public – pushy sales tactics – increasing a negative viewpoint of your university / brand

According to research done by Study Break Magazine in 2013, 90% of college students were on Facebook; where as 80% on Twitter and 73% of students were on Instagram. Four years later and you can only imagine how much these social media platforms have been the foundation for students.

 

Does your university have a large social media presence? Do you think it’s beneficial?

 

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