How UX can make or break your business – Digital Chai Pe Charcha

The seventh edition of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha was held in Workafella, one of the best business centres in Chennai on 8th October, 2016. The event saw over 25 participants who were a mix of entrepreneurs, digital marketers, and professionals. User Experience, an important element in any website or app these days, the entire session was insightful, engaging and very informative!

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What is UX or User Experience?

UX or User Experience is exactly what the name suggests – the overall experience one has when they land on your website or your app and the interaction with the company, its services, and its products throughout.  In short, the way a website or an app works plus the look and feel of it all together making your user want to come back to your site.

Benefits of good UX –

Research shows that the overall experience of a user right from landing on your site, navigating and scanning through your pages till moving out of your site to another, the emotions that the user feels throughout – satisfied or unhappy – plays a major role on how your brand performs online in comparison to your competitors.

It helps in converting a user into a potential customer and not just that – but converting them at a low cost.

What makes a good UX –

  • Security & Privacy of its users handled with attention
  • Feedback & reviews from real buyers that connects with new users
  • Company is reliable & trustworthy – Transparent information on the roots & founders of the business

Building a new website 

  • Research and Analyze

Do a quick study on who your competitors are and analyze their digital mediums. Understand what they do to provide their users with a great experience on their site. Work on your content, have collaborative discussions and put down the necessary inputs to go on your site.

  • Strategize

Have a good idea on the different elements you would like to add on to your site – be it a revised sitemap or navigation flowcharts by analyzing user personas and scenarios.

  • Product Design

Work on your website with a neat and clear wireframe that should include digital touch-points further building the virality loop.

  • Test and Iterate

After your new website is ready to launch, have a quick A/B testing and experiment with heat maps on your site. Analyze the results and rework on the design perspective if necessary.

Evaluate the UX of an existing website

  • Functionality of your site / app

The speed at which a new user navigates on your site, understands your business and moves through different pages says a lot about the flow of your site.

  • Navigation & Information architecture

The user needs to have a smooth experience while navigating through your site, moving from page to page and gathering all the information required.

  • Forms

If your site has a landing page with a form, make sure the form is simple with limited fields keeping in mind to not ask for information that is too personal to the user or fields that will require the user to go back and forth too many times.

  • Trust and Credibility

Your user’s information should remain confidential and should not be hampered with.

  • Aesthetics

How good is your site’s layout and balance? Is there a consistency in the font? Are the clickable items clear to the user and is the entire page pleasant and easy to navigate?

UX can be improvised with the help of some efficient tools. To improve the overall look and feel of your site, make use of customer surveys, user interviews and case studies. To track your customers’ behavior on your site, experiment with Zarget, Inspectlet, CrazyEgg, Optimizely, Google Analytics and MouseFlow. To understand prototyping, try Balsamiq, Axure, Invision and Pen & Paper.

When the site’s design and flow is focused on establishing a good user experience, the bond between the company and your customer grows building the brand as well as the overall experience of the user with the company.

Click here to understand more on how UX Can Make or Break Your Business

Those of you who missed the first six editions of the Digital Chai Pe Charcha can check them out below:

E-Commerce Product Photographers in Mumbai

E-Commerce Product Photographers & Studios in Mumbai

According to recent statistics, more than 800 million people from Asia are expected to buy products online, and the number of digital buyers in India is estimated to reach more than 112 million, so online sellers are increasing rapidly in numbers. One of the biggest challenges that the retailers face is, “how to convince their potential buyers through captivating product images?”

To satisfy their customers, the sellers must find a perfect way to showcase their products. That’s why e-commerce product photographers play a vital role in selling a product. Here is the list of top photographers who will help in capturing your e-commerce products to perfection.

Radiance Vision

Radiance Vision offers bountiful services to their clients. They have their e-commerce photography studio with experienced photographers and editors. They also provide photographer and videographer services for other stuff like events, TV commercials, corporate films, animation film, etc.

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Photuwala’S Studio

Faisal Miya Photuwale is a Mumbai-based fashion photographer, who has an experience of 5+ years in the field of photography. The studio has a team of 19 photographers, and they have done more than 350 photo shoots that include fashion catalogs, portfolios, product shoots, glamor, wedding photography, and wedding videos.

He likes experimenting new concepts in different genres and has won many accolades. He has worked with various well-known actors, models, and designers like Rohit Verma, Karan Malhotra, etc.

Contact him at +91 91676 19991.

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Artpixelphotography

When Amit Desai was a kid, he loved to paint, play music, create art & read literature. Once he grew up, he completed his Bachelors in Commerce (Honors) and Masters in Finance from Mumbai University. He is passionate about photography; thus, he made his passion his profession.

He is one of finest photographers when it comes to candid photo journalistic wedding photography. He says, “I love the thrill and the excitement of capturing ‘the moment’ in my frame.” His knowledge about colors, lights, and tones helps him to give better outputs that satisfy his clients.

Contact Amit Desai at +91 98201 51581.

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Digitalstudio

Pashminu Mansukhani is a Mumbai-based photographer, who specializes in industrial and corporate photography. Pashminu always had a great passion towards photography. Understanding his passion, he fine-tuned his talents to become a professional photographer. He has done photography in diverse genres like events, real estate projects, and industrial site projects, etc.

Pashminu has worked with more than 100 major clients like Sony India Pvt. Ltd, NELCO Ltd, Godrej & Boyce Ltd, Castrol India Ltd, Aditya Birla Group Ltd, Indiamart Intermesh Ltd, Hitachi Lifts India Ltd, Calyx Chemicals & Pharma Ltd, etc.

Contact Pashminu Mansukhani at +91 98205 78189.

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True shades photography

As the name suggests, photographers of True shades photography will observe and retain the lights and shades of subjects. Arshid Bhimji is the founder of True shades photography. He started his career as a compositor in the VFX industry. Gradually, he began his career in wedding photography. Right now, he is primarily doing wedding, fashion, and product photography.

True shades have a team of 16 specialists, and they have completed about 210 projects with 196 clients. Almost all of their customers are delighted with True shades photography.

Contact him at +91 96995 44211.

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Pixelmania photography

Are you looking for a photographer who clicks creative and attention-grabbing product photos? If yes, Pixelmania photography should be your ultimate choice. They are doing photography services for more than 12 years. They provide high-quality product photography at affordable prices. They also provide other value added services like catalog design and printing, ad design, all web based designs, and website development.

Contact them at +91 99209 66691.

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Are you looking for photographers from other cities? Check the top e-Commerce product photographers in Bengaluru and Chennai.

How Digital drove success of Carat Lane – Digital Leadership Summit

Below is the gist of the talk given by Mithun Sacheti on “How Digital drove the success of Carat Lane” at the Digital Leadership Summit in Chennai in August 2016.

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Key Highlights from his talk include:

  • Discovery is going to be driven by digital, consumption will remain omnichannel depending on the product/service
  • Consumers often make the decision online, but still, like to see the product in high-value purchases
  • Omni-channel is the approach towards profitability and Carat Lane has seen that with their Delhi centre, which contributes to 38% revenue and is a profitable city for them.
  • Extremely data driven approach with 4000 data points being tracked every month
  • Even spends on TV are tracked diligently
  • Key metrics to track: Cost per lead, Cost per conversion and Cost per visitor/traffic
  • Early days for digital transformation with more to see in the coming years

Mithun started off by highlighting that Chennai as the choice for Carat Lane did not come from the fact that he was based here but based on research that Chennai has the fastest clearing airport in the country. He goes on to talk about how opening the first Jaipur Gems store was challenging. Their biggest learning over the initial years was getting a clear understanding of the top/key customers since they used to get only about three walk-ins a day when they started out. They soon realized that making customers discover the store and new products is key. So when they opened their next store in Coimbatore, they were able to combine their learnings to ensure that 500 key customers walked into the store just on day 1.

How did they get into e-commerce?

They realised that discovery of products is a problem because of the limited walk-ins in retail as well as the limited scope to discover products before walking into the store. E-Commerce fundamentally changes the discovery process.

Today consumers make a choice before entering the retail store – the decision is usually made online. This is why global e-commerce started with books so that the discovery & shopping can happen online. For other products discovery is still lead by digital, but consumption is happening across e-commerce, offline retail, kiosks, etc.

In 2011, Carat Lane opened its first retail store – but they got it wrong in many ways. Firstly, they did not put much jewellery over there, though in hindsight they understood that consumers come in to try out the product. In Mithun’s words “We assumed customers were as obsessed with technology, as we were”. This changed when they opened their future stores. Moreover, their Perfect Look app allows you try out jewellery real time, and this was a big hit amongst consumers.

Why do consumers have distrust amongst e-commerce companies?

Mithun highlights on e-commerce evolution in India and candidly pointed out that between 2000 to 2009 there were early adopters who did not focus on last mile delivery and consumer experience – players like Indiatimes, Rediff, infibeam. This mostly led to distrust from consumers because they went through such bad experiences from these brands. This, of course, changed when the new age e-commerce companies started, including Carat Lane in 2008.

Is ROI real in E-Commerce?

Mithun was candid in saying that “Understanding of ROI was missing when we started, but we understood it the right way.”

In 2012 when the company evaluated its results, it realized that cost of acquisition was so high; it would take three transactions to make the customer profitable but an Indian consumer shop for jewellery twice a year so there was something wrong in the approach.

Their retail stores were a game changer because the process of discovery started falling in place. Consumers now started coming to the store with the product photograph wanting to try the product. It became evident that conversions will happen where they have an omnichannel presence. Two years ago they opened six stores in Delhi and now 38% of their revenue comes from Delhi and is the only profitable city of operation at the moment.

Is it an analytics business or a jewellery business?

Carat Lane is an extremely metric driven business, as Mithun pointed out. They track 4000 data points every month, but the critical ones are

  1. Cost per lead
  2. Cost per conversion
  3. Cost per visitor/traffic

Mithun aptly put it “There is never too little data”. Data helps bring clarity, and while it took Carat Lane 6 years to figure it out, it finally made sense. In the early days, the cost of consumer acquisition was never in focus. You need to know how much you are willing to pay for each of the above actions, as the business profitability depends on that. Each company needs to create its own attribution model – based on customer type. Google Analytics is a good starting point.

Mithun spoke at length about the advanced analysis that is done on TV ad spends. They used tools to find out in which tv program & which ad break & which ad slot had the highest visitors and highest brand search of Carat Lane. As per Mithun, searches & traffic ultimately reflect in conversions & sales assuming you have a great product + great UX. Of course, it’s not a perfect model. You can have assumptions and capture the ROI, in case there are two ads at the same time

On Startups, Funding & more

Speaking on how they used the funding they got, Mithun admits “Money is like oxygen, the human body is like iron – money can corrupt you”. They have learnt it the hard way and now moving towards profitability with a data-driven approach.

Talking about his investor, Lee Fixel, he mentioned an interesting quote. Apparently, Lee said, “My Fund has ten lives. You as an entrepreneur has 2-3 lives. Carat Lane has one life. If you think omnichannel is the right approach, then let’s do it.”

On closing. Mithun said that Digital would own discovery and budgets will move digital – which was also reflected in the Social Beat Industry Report. We, of course, agree when he said that India would be driving the digital transformation and even today with the worst internet bandwidth ever we have achieved this much – it’s only up to our imagination what the future holds!

Facebook Marketing Trends: What to expect in 2017

Facebook Marketing has become an integral part of any digital marketing strategy and it has revolutionized the way we look at the online marketing industry. Over the last 12 years, Facebook has seen a 360-degree shift, transforming from a simple social networking site to the face of a multi-billion dollar company allowing brands to find new customers, increase their sales, create brand awareness and much more. When we ran an industry survey amongst CMOs and Brand Heads across India we found that close to 90% Brands in India are already leveraging Facebook. Advertisers are spending more money than ever before on Facebook as it has emerged as one of the biggest platforms to engage with their target audience. Keeping this in mind, new features are being regularly added to Facebook and marketers have to constantly make alterations to their strategies to ensure their content is still reaching its target audience. Below are a few points that have been gathered keeping in mind the recent changes which may give us clues as to what 2017 will hold for both consumers and businesses.

Less Is More – Page Posts & Organic Reach

Following the decrease in the organic reach of Facebook page posts last year, Locowise conducted a small study to analyze how page posting frequency impacts reach, engagement and negative feedback.

Locowise study about facebook page frequency

The study reveals that pages that posted once a week or less on their official page reached an average of 15% of the audience who liked their page per post. Interestingly, pages that posted two to four times a week reached only 10% of the page audience and pages that posted once a day reached a lower average of 8.42% per post. This means that organic reach drops with an increase in the number of posts, and over posting content is a common mistake marketers tend to make on FB. This also means that the quality of content and FB posts needs to be extremely high and we are likely to see many brands evolving into fewer but highly engaging posts.

Another study by [email protected] reveals that for large pages with more than 5,00,000 Likes, the organic reach has seen a remarkable decline when compared to other smaller pages. It is believed that marketing managers can expect the organic reach to further approach zero in the future. The detailed analysis and data interpretations along with the recommendations are available to read here in the full white paper.

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The number of users on Facebook has doubled from 845 million to 1654 million over the last five years. There are more brands than ever who are joining the bandwagon of Facebook marketing and these brands are posting multiple posts every day. All of this creates more noise and unimaginable amounts of content that will simply be filtered out and never reach the news feed of a specific user. With so much information to be filtered, Facebook uses complex algorithms to pick and show content to users they are most relevant to them and those that they are most likely to engage with.So it can be assumed that increased brand post frequency is aiding in the drop of organic reach.

However, the only exception to this organic reach debate was seen in the news & media industry.  The organic reach of news publishers seems to remain steady, even with a higher posting frequency. Here’s the result of analysis of 3,318 profiles, by Sotrender.

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Videos – Future of Marketing For Brands

Videos are the next step in the social media evolution and will most likely dominate the online advertising and marketing industry. As per the stats by Facebook, users watch an average of 100 million hours of video every day and most of these are on their mobile devices. Daily views have increased from 1 billion to 8 billion in the last one year. These stats are proof that users have started consuming more of video content and it is essential that brands leverage this in their favor to engage with the potential customers. Video content is the best medium for storytelling and is a great opportunity for brands to connect with their audience.

Live videos were one of the major updates announced earlier this year by Facebook. This gave live videos prime placement in the Facebook app and also adds new ways to find, create, share, and react to them. This move efficiently makes live videos one of the central features of Facebook. Live videos offer a new way to interact on a platform that can feel so familiar that it risks feeling stale. Broadcasting live to your social circle gives you a certain thrill or even just watching a friend’s live broadcast, can bring in a fresh feeling of excitement and make you want to interact on the same old platform in a new way. On an average, Facebook says people are commenting 10 times more on live videos than they do on regular videos. This clearly means that brands must explore Live videos over recorded videos as this would help drive higher engagement levels with the audience. Facebook also rolled out an update where advertisers could add a video element for FB Carousel Ads.  The shift towards video as a tool for marketing is evident and is definitely here to stay.

We also have an interesting blog on how to create low cost videos to tell your brand story – in case you are creating videos for the first time.

Mobile Is King

The fact that a business needs to have a mobile-friendly website is much talked about and is not a new concept. Last year, Google announced that, for the first time mobile searches surpassed desktop searches.  This eventually led to a new situation where Google’s algorithm started to penalize sites that were not optimized for mobile devices.  For the last few years, marketing experts have been stressing on the fact that there is an obvious need for businesses to optimize the sites for the ever-increasing number of mobile users. Facebook Inc announced that it has over 142 million users in India, of which about 133 million access the social network via their mobile devices. This means that a staggering 90% of users are using facebook on their phones in India. It is essential that marketers who are trying to engage with and attract potential customers in order to redirect them to their website, ensure that their website is mobile optimized and are able to leverage every micro moment of Indian consumers.  In today’s Smartphone era, mobile-optimization is the norm and an essential item that can no longer be placed on the back burner to address later.

Ads are Inevitable

A few years ago, advertising on social media platforms was a very niche concept with not too many players in the market. In this new age of online marketing, many brands have become aware of the importance of ads across various social media channels, especially Facebook.  Today, with the various targeting and advertising options on Facebook, we can reach out to millions of potential customers in any part of the world. Facebook advertising is a strong tool that can be used by brands to meet their marketing objectives.

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Facebook ads allow you to choose from a wide range of possible adverts including but not restricted to Page Post Engagement, Clicks to a website, Conversions on Website, App Installs, Video Views, Lead Ads etc. Over the last few years, Facebook has evolved into a paid marketing platform more than an organic one so it is essential for marketers to leverage the power of the various adverts available. You can read our detailed guide on measuring ROI from social media.

Shop On Facebook

In an attempt to make it easier for brands to reach out to potential customers and drive sales on mobile devices Facebook has started rolling out the Shop section in phases. This section allows a brand to list out their products and let consumers browse through the catalog and purchase products that they like from within Facebook. The social network does not charge you to add a shop section to your Page nor does it take any percentage of the money you make through it. In the upcoming year, more businesses will start selling stuff directly from Facebook as this new section is set to change the way we look at e-commerce and social selling. Ofcourse it also has had Product Ads for E-commerce companies for a long time now – these can be also be leveraged parallely.

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We have left out Instagram Marketing from this conversation, as it warrants its own blog. We are also seeing some interesting developments around Instagram analytics and Instagram targeting going forward.

Do let us know what other features you expect FB to evolve in the coming months.

User Experience – Getting back to Basics & Filling The Gaps

The principle of User Experience has not changed in the past few decades; our approach to UX, on the other hand, is constantly evolving. User experience is the means, not the end to a problem; the process is never ending. The art of balancing user needs and brand message is an important element. We already have many trends rolling out in pace with the technology, and it all boils down to knowing what to use when.

Truly understanding your user

In the race to catch up with the latest trends and continuing to do what exists, we forget the most important aspect – users. It sounds like UX 101, but this is where many designs lose vision. We forget to find out what the users need and instead assume what they want. As a result, most websites look alike and most experiences feel the same.  One may argue that it is efficient and gets the job done. I agree, but what you haven’t tried out may get greater results. Grab the better one, always.

Do you really need a compulsory registration, does your customer have to go through 5 pages before buying a product, and does that information about the company founders on the home page help in any way? Your average user probably does not. The definitive answers to these can be found with some user research, but it’s important to ask these questions. One such case in point was when we designed a simple, no-scroll landing page for a real-estate client. The users had only the most important information presented to them without the frills. The main CTA on the mobile version was a callback feature, which encouraged users to drop just their numbers, without giving out much personal information in an enquiry form.

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Rather than add a feature because the competitors do it or because it helps with ROI, we need to achieve the same without turning off the user. Find creative ways to add new dimensions to the user journey, a perspective for every type of user.

Satisfying the outliers

With technology advancing each day and the number of devices multiplying, we have a greater challenge to cater to every member of the community. Crafting experiences that are inclusive to all can be a challenge, and the key to achieve that is by understanding that there is no single approach to every problem.

There are plenty of avenues to bring in more users, increase conversions and make more money for the clients. The need of the hour for many businesses is to take it further and this is where UX fits in nicely. Instead of concentrating on what the majority of the customer base is thinking; we need to start looking at what the minority wants. In many mobile versions of our websites, we come across devices that are used by less than 15% of the users but we have ensured that they have a similar experience of browsing as the rest. Customizing to each device size is a little work, but it yields good results in the long run. Begin by understanding how the bottom 20% of the users behave and find ways to enhance the experience for them. Tap into all of your demographics and include the lesser-used browsers; the aim is to have a consistent user experience for all.

Personalization is important; users want to feel that businesses are directly talking to them. A good design gives them that without compromising on brand message and end-goal.

Decluttering without handholding

The last few years saw design minimalism in websites and apps – hamburger menus, single color & typeface, flat icons and hidden sections (the footer especially). This approach clearly works because the style is simple without distracting the user. It is a linear thought process, taking the users from Point A to Point B without making them think about anything else.

While minimalism will be around for a long time, it needs to be handled without being overdone. In the name of de-cluttering many websites and apps have dumbed down their journey so much that users feel powerless. No one likes to be told what to do and it is something that we should avoid. It is crucial to let the users decide how they want to fulfill their needs; the job of user experience is to ensure that the process is coherent and seamless. Gently push, don’t shove.

It can be as simple as having more options during the checkout process – can the customer continue as a guest user, can the customer login through any of social media accounts instead of a compulsory registration or Gmail signup? Test different options to see what works for your business and implement them in the longer run.

We are surrounded by best practices and latest trends that come out every week. They are good to implement but don’t get too caught up in them, always ask if it’s the right one for your user base. We need interfaces that are efficient & data-driven, not just what is in. Create memorable experiences that would bring a user back and make them remember you for a long time.

Mobile First Strategy to leverage micro moments of consumers

Micro Moments has become a buzzword in the digital marketing environment in recent times. Especially, after Google’s content marketing team, Think with Google, came up with this phrase, more and more digital marketers are trying to utilize the micro moments to benefit their brands.

To start with, more and more consumers are using smart phones for most of their browsing. According to two different Google consumer surveys, almost 68% of smart phone users say that they check their smart phone within 15 minutes of waking up every morning; also, 30% of these users admit that they actually get anxious, when they don’t have their smart phones with them. In most countries, searches happen more via mobiles than desktop computers. This means that digital marketers, who intend to make an impression with their clients, should adapt mobile first strategy religiously.

According to the often quoted KPCB Internet Trends Report, it is said that most people check their phones about 150 times a day and they spend 177 minutes on an average with their phones per day. This means that, on an average, a mobile session lasts for just 70 seconds. Apart from texting their partners, sharing their selfies or travel pictures, commenting on their friends’ photos, there is a specific point of time where people look at their smart phones to get influenced by brands. These small moments where the consumers look for information on their phones are the micro moments that every digital marketer should utilize.

Four types of micro moments

According to Think with Google, these micro moments can be classified into four, namely:

  1. I-want-to-know moments: More and more users are looking up for information online. On the go, many users search for different information ranging from routes to their destination to deals in ecommerce sites. The amount of such consumers have increased significantly in the past few years.
  2. I-want-to-go-moments: More than ¾ of users use their smart phone users use search engine via their phone to look for any local store or company. Even to look up for something as trivial as an electrician or florist, people use their smart phones. According to Google Trends report, in the year 2014-2015, there is 2x increase in “near me” based search interest.
  3. I-want-to-do moments: While doing a task, most users use their smart phones to look see instructions. Be it any DIY craft or a simple day-to-day recipe, people use their smart phones to check how to do what they want to do.
  4. I-want-to-buy moments: This is the most explicit micro moment. Before purchasing a product online or offline, more than 80% people actually look up their phones for consultation before buying. Also, mobile conversion rates for ecommerce sites have significantly increased in the recent times.

These are the four micro moments that are crucial for any business. With consumers’ online attention span being very low, i.e. as low as few seconds, to leverage these micro moments of consumers, brands must adapt mobile first strategy.

Four ways to leverage consumers’ micro moments:

To grasp your consumers’ micro moments, a brand must refine all its contents to be mobile responsive and follow these four approaches.

1. Being there for the users always

One of the interesting facts about most consumers is that they might not be rigid on what brand they want. If they are looking at their phone for information or merely browsing, they might be more interested to buy your products if the information you provide interest them. Especially, while looking for information, users pick the business that are there in their search results and that have the most attention-seeking content.

By being there always in their smart phone, via both paid and organic methods, you stand a more chance than your competitors to convert them into your customers. One may think that by merely being there in the social media, how can a brand make the smart phone users become its consumers. The true fact is that by being there when users need some information, your brand is helping customers in their decision journey.

Also, at this point, mobile first strategy plays a major role. Since most of the searches happen via mobile phones, your website, landing pages, ads, posts, and any content should be mobile responsive. Also, it must be interesting and crisp to be read within those micro moments.

2. Providing users the information they need

While you can make an amazing first impression with the first approach, to make the users your clients/customers, you need to do something more; in fact, you must do something more powerful. Bounce rate of many sites and uninstalling of many apps are on a rise; the main reason for this is that most of these brands fail to be useful to their customers in the four micro moments explained above.

If your consumer is on a search engine searching to buy a product related to your brand, he or she is more likely to pick your brand over a hundred others when your content is useful than the others. We have a detailed strategy on how to create 10X better content than your competitors. With mobile first strategy, you are in a good spot because it allows you create and showcase more pertinent content in these micro moments. This is why in our view a blog is important for every business. Using information like their past search history, location, time of search, and keywords, one can efficiently decide what to showcase to which user.

For example, if you are a brand that has multiple products, based on the target group, their preferences, you can use retargeting to showcase products/creatives that are useful to them. Rest assured, you would have definitely leveraged their micro moment.

3. Catching up with users’ speed

If your mobile site or app takes a long time to load, the users are more likely to leave your site/app for other that of other brands. All your efforts of providing useful content and being there goes waste, if the speed at which your information loads is slow. To optimize your mobile site and app speed to suit the speed of your customers, you must follow these steps:

  1. Keep it simple: Having too many forms, additional or redundant steps, etc. makes your customer bored. Have a one step sign up form, i.e. via Facebook or Google. Also, enable click-to-call options, instead of displaying phone numbers. Similarly, all addresses must be linked to GPS to open via maps directly. This way, the users will be able to do what they want to do without any hindrances.
  2. Foresee users’ expectations: From predictions to drop down menus, from enabling auto-fill option to getting past browsing history, try everything that will speed up the process. You can also display products/services on the app based on their past search history.
  3. Combine the best UI with simple design: As much as an attention-seeking UI is important, it will be of no use, if it takes too long to load. Therefore, the app/mobile site must not only be designed to be user-friendly but must also be designed in a way that it loads quickly.

Almost 40% of users wait not more than 3 seconds for a site to load before leaving the site, if you do not optimize your site better, all your other efforts becomes futile.

4. Measuring your strategy

You have done your best by being there, being useful, and being quick. With mobile first approach, these efforts will definitely reap results. The results can either be customers or leads to prospective customers. However, on the longer run, measuring and reviewing your micro moments strategy is what helps you to refine and evolve with the evolving trends.

How to build a strong email marketing database?

Email Marketing is one of the most actively used marketing channels. But every now then, we get queries that question the effectiveness of email marketing. Many feel its passé while others equate it to spamming. The truth is email marketing has never been more alive than it is today.

The dynamics of emailer marketing is changing fast but basics shall always remain the same – if you share something valuable with your audience, they are likely to engage with your content. Purchasing a database does not work anymore. Brands need to develop their own database of interested customers or potential customers who are more likely to engage with your email. Emails to your curated database is a personal, dependable and a direct way of reaching out to your audience.

‘Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them’

– Neil Patel (Co-founder, KISSmetrics)

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In this article, we have listed down useful ways in which you can develop your own email marketing database.

1. Newsletter Sign-Up

Make your email sign-up form visible on relevant pages on your website, more importantly the Blog page. Use either an embedded form or a Call-to-Action for people to click through to a dedicated sign-up page. Make sure that it’s in a prominent spot above the fold. The info about the possibility to sign up for the newsletter can be also placed in a pop-up window.

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 2. Make the email sign-up easy

If you have a sign-up form on your site, make sure it’s easy to fill.  Make it straightforward and resist the temptation to collect lots of demographic & lifestyle information at this stage. It will get in the way of collecting those email addresses. Always remember Short and Sweet is the King!

3. Create great content for your subscribers

Good email content deepens the connection with your audience – it could be a powerful subject line (which get your messages opened); your unique voice (which gets your messages read); or niche-specific content your subscribers would find useful and shares with others (which inspires referrals and word-of-mouth). What works is “value exchange” — your valuable information for your prospect’s valued time. Your subscribers need to know they can trust you and that you’re not a self-promoting spam-bot.

4. Multiple Call-To-Actions: Give readers a good reason to subscribe

We all need a little incentive to hand over our email address, but we don’t need too much if we feel an affinity with the brand. Try these…

– Offer a discount off their first purchase

– Explain what they’ll get: special offers, private sales, hints and tips, magazine articles…

– Show them what they’ll get (see our recent articles, news, reader offers etc)

 

offer forms sign-up

 

5. Placement of the sign-up form

You’ve built the perfect form. Now where to place it? Will more people see it on the ‘Contact’ page or ‘About us’ page? Should you keep the newsletter signup on your homepage? Or put it in the sidebar too? Decisions, decisions! Here are some top places to try placing an email signup form (or two or three) on your site:

  • Top menu bar
  • Header of your site
  • In your top performing page
  • Sidebar
  • At the end of a Blog or Tutorial
  • Footer of the content
  • Popup/popover
  • Your bio/About Me page

6. Improve your website speed & user experience

Like a lot of other issues when it comes to websites and e-commerce, speed matters because Google says that it matters. On 09 April 2010, Google’s Webmaster Central Blog announced that, “We’ve decided to take site speed into account in our search rankings.” In other words, faster web pages will rank higher on search engine results pages (SERP) than slower sites.

7. A Gated Homepage

A gated homepage is when a person has to enter their email address on the homepage in order to gain entry to a website’s content. One a person does so, a cookie is kept on their browser so that they don’t have to fill in their email address again to get access. But it is not always appropriate to Gate your homepage. You should have a lot of in-depth content which people are dying to read for them to give their email address. The right time is important too! To find the right moment, you want ‘yes’ answers to questions like:

  • Will the lead benefit from having a direct conversation about this?
  • Have you earned the right to contact this lead about your products?
  • Does A/B testing show a stronger conversion rate requesting lead info now?
  • Does the content on your site address product implementation?
  • Does the content answer a question we usually get while engaging prospects?
  • Does the content answer a question we get often from current customers?

8. An exceptional Landing page

Your landing pages should focus on one main detail and that’s converting visitors into subscribers. Whether you’re asking for contact details in exchange for a discount, a free webinar or something else that the subscribers would like to have, you are bound to get more to sign up. The Design of the Landing Page has to be exceptional too. Your subscribers are only as great as the landing page that get them.

 

casa e book

 

9. Add Social Sharing Buttons

If you don’t have social sharing buttons there’s a likelihood that your content won’t get shared. Someone might want to share the content with a friend but by the time they open up a new window and sign in to their social network, they will get distracted and forget about it completely. Don’t take the risk. Add share buttons so that blog visitors will stay on your site longer. Support your present subscribers to share and forward your content by including an “Email to a Friend” button. That way, you’ll access a fresh network of new people who sign up for your emails. Do not forget to incorporate a “Subscribe” button as well in the footer.

social sharing

 

10. Correct usage of words – A/B Testing helps

“Subscribe” is up there with “Register” as an Internet no-no! Remove the words “subscription” and “subscribe”. The term implies a commitment and worse, money. Do away with any “Submit” or “Sign up”! Use first-person language instead – Try out phrases like “Sign me up” or “Send me updates.” Tell people exactly what they are getting by subscribing. Hint: It’s not a weekly email.

11. Lead Generation Ads on Facebook and Twitter

Online networking and social media marketing are useful tools to improve your online leads from which you can derive the email addresses of your potential subscribers. Build relationships with your target market via some of the popular social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

 

fb lead gen

 

12. Facebook Offers to the Rescue

You can host a Facebook contest or giveaway either on an application tab or on your Facebook timeline. However, if you’re hosting the promotion on your Facebook timeline, it’s next to impossible to collect emails. Hosting your promotion from a Facebook Offers App is the best approach since your target audience will have to fill in their email address to redeem the offer.

13. Create Engaging Social Content

A combination of audio and video marketing using rich media can greatly improve the number of subscribers you get. Studies have shown that people like and share content that is mostly Emotional or Funny. You can share the content on your social media pages and drive fans to your website.

Do not miss the opportunity to showcase your website / content links at the right place – for example, your video on YouTube can have your website link in the description. You can also create Cards to drive more traffic. The Subscription part then depends on the last mile conversion on your website.

14. Try and leverage the following Power Tools

 

 a. List Builder by SumoMe

List Builder by SumoMe is for those individuals who want to seriously build their email list at a fast pace. The List Builder uses an email popup form to invite new visitors to join your email list, thus helping you get more subscribers. List Builder contains many features that help make it to the top of our list of email building tools. It’s A/B testing, no branding policy, fantastic templates, display controls, conversion tracking and multiple-popups will easily help you take your email list to the next level.

influencer.in

 

b. Welcome Gate Plugin

Welcome Gate is another great tool for building a list but this one works a bit differently. Why? That’s because it directs every new visitor to a well-designed landing page without showing a popup. Visitors are only redirected to the Welcome Gate page when they go to your home page. So if someone comes straight to a blog post through social media or any other source link, it would not be shown. A cookie keeps a track of this so the visitor will only see the Welcome Gate page once in their lifetime. After quite a lot of testing we came realized this plugin is more effective and powerful than other similar plugins.

c. ManyContacts

ManyContacts is an easy to setup pop-up bar that sits on top of your website and helps to convert visitors into qualified subscribers. It was designed to help owners of all kinds of websites to increase their conversion rate through the collection and qualification of contacts. It also has a platform where you can easily export emails with details of each of your subscriber (email, device used, location, etc.), which you can add to your email archives.

d. OptinMonster

OptinMonster utilizes opt-in forms as a part of an endeavor to transform your visitors into subscribers. The plugin gives out of the box integration with a popular email marketing service which makes the setup exceptionally easy. The business page of the plugin brags a 1 minute setup time and we can definitely acknowledge that. But you will need to spend more on customization and creation of forms based on your site design and goals.

 

optinmonster

 

e. UnPop

A WordPress plugin that pops up in a place on your blog that grabs the attention of your readers without blocking their view of your content. Your visitors can open and close the pop-up whenever they want. It works well with any WordPress theme and is integrated with all of the popular email services: Mailchimp, Aweber, GetResponse, Office Autopilot and Infusionsoft.

f. Zopim Chat

There are probably thousands of visitors that come to your site every year and that never contact you. Increase the chances of gaining a new lead by using live chat to automatically reach out to your potential customers that visit your site. The best part about Zopim is that you don’t have to lounge around on the PC throughout the day. By utilizing a programmed trigger, Zopim can naturally send every guest a message following 10 seconds of being on the site saying something like “Hey – do you have any inquiries I can help with?” In the event that they react, they will also be asked for their name and email address which is a win-win situation.

 

gehna

 

g. WooBox

Numerous people have Facebook pages where they engage with fans by posting offers, running contests or uploading photographs. But this can be a pretty can be tedious task for an individual. That is the place an online networking promoting plugin like Woobox can offer assistance and help you take care of all this engagement seamlessly with its page tags. For marketers there is a twofold advantage here. Not just are you enhancing your online networking presence, but you are getting the email address of all those who redeem an offer or take part in a contest.

 

Digital Marketing Experts around the world have reiterated the effectiveness of emailer marketing. So you should not miss an opportunity to effectively connect with your audience. Get going!

Making the most of Facebook Carousel Ads

Not so long ago, Facebook took a plunge into uncharted territories by launching Carousel Ads. Though this ad type was initially meant to showcase multiple products in one ad, Facebook crafted a strategy for the Carousel Ads to tease e-commerce clients and make them buy more ads on the platform. But the Carousel Ads slowly moved across verticals, towards becoming one of the advanced Facebook Advertising techniques that is extremely engaging in promoting businesses.

According to a recent survey conducted by Kinetic Social, Carousel Ads can render up to 10 times more traffic to a business’ website, than static sponsored posts on Facebook. LOVOO found that they got a 72% higher click-through rate versus single image mobile app ads. Mirroring the effectiveness of interactive cover pictures on Facebook Pages, it appears quite clearly that these ads can be extremely effective, but how can you maximize their potential? Here are 3 simple ways to use carousel ads that can nail your targets with a bull’s-eye!

1). Showcase products in detail
Carousel Ads allow you to place up to 5 cards with images that can communicate messages effectively. If it’s a single product that you are highlighting, it would be prudent to describe its features in detail, keeping the CTR on an inclined angle. A ballet shoe manufacturer made effective use of showcasing a product, where each card of the ad focused on one distinct feature. They also used the headline copy to provide defined context to each image.
Showcase products in detail

2). Tour your product
It always sums up to be a perfect formula when you try to deliver a good idea of what customers can expect from your offering. This will improve the quality of enquiries/leads, thereby increasing the probability of sales through Facebook. An automobile giant promoted one of its newly launched Coupé by creating an expressive Carousel Ad campaign that displayed features that made the car stand out from its competitors. The cards highlighted the key specs and of model and attracted genuine customers to engage with the carousel ad.

Tour your product

3). Tell a story
Stories are an incredibly effective way for branding, talking to customers, and engaging with them. A popular western airline company created an effective carousal ad campaign to market their vacation packages to The Grand Canyon. They infused a panorama of the location to tell a story that triggered people to book their air tickets to visit the location.

Tell a story

The Monetary Game
Can Carousel Ads be used as a solution to drive clicks to the website? We conducted a small experiment to test the hypothesis on the Clicks to Website Ads, for a glass manufacturing giant. Here’s how the results panned out:

  • The Clicks to Website Ad had a CTR of 3.09% versus a 4.32% from the Carousel Ad for website clicks
  • The CPC for the Clicks to Website Ad was 5.06 INR versus 3.49 INR from the Carousel Ad for website clicks

Saint-Gobain

In our view, with a little bit of testing and optimization to avoid common mistakes, the effectiveness of the Carousel Ads in driving clicks to URL destinations, is very cost effective. Have you experimented with Carousel Ads as a way to drive clicks to your business? We love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments below this post.

Retail 2020: Trends In India

The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in association with the Retailers Association of India, recently published a report that highlights the trends in Indian retail. As the world’s leading advisor on retail strategy, BCG has evaluated India’s high-value opportunities in the retail market. Partnering with RAI, the unified voice of Indian Retailers, the report aims at formulating solutions to key challenges faced in the market. The following is a brief summary on the findings.

The Scenario
Retail in India has taken a remarkable transformation over the last two decades. Rising income levels, urbanization, and changing consumer behaviour has given an optimistic outlook to the retail sector, promising an undoubted growth in the future. The digital medium has influenced retail with a powerful strike, reshaping customer behaviour and expectations. To summarize, retail business are in a constant need to retrospect their strengths, reinvent their offerings across the purchase pathway, and rewrite their approach of retail economics.

Trends
Based on research and some stringent analysis of data, the report captured key trends across the following broad categories.

1). Certainty of Growth
A promising growth forecast is one of the primary findings made from the study. The Indian retail sector is projected to double from $600 Billion to $1 Trillion, by 2020. This rapid growth will be determined by factors such as Income Growth, Urbanization, Nuclearization, and Attitudinal Shifts. Modern trade is also expected to grow 3 times, with Rapid Consumer Evolution, Supply-side Evolution, and Positive Regulatory Environment, being the drivers that will materialize this growth. As a key implication from this finding, Indian retailers should sharply identify the emerging opportunities and customer segments and be clear about what to not go after. Retailers should also re-adjust propositions to remain relevant and also allow room for experimentation, though it might not always turn out to be successful.

Certainty of Growth

2). Reality of Digital
The E-commerce market in India is expected to quadruple to $70 Billion, over the next 5 years. With the rapid increase of smartphone users, competitive costs for connectivity, and expanded reach, internet users are expected to reach a mark of ~600 Million. Customers are attracted to superior value propositions like broader assortment, higher discounts and greater convenience. Indian retailers should conceptualize digital strategies with clarity and leverage on social media to create brand awareness. They are also expected to deploy a seamless and connected customer journey, as shoppers migrate across channels. It will also be a lot more seamless for e-retailers to sell across multiple offline & e-commerce market places.

In our view, digital will increasingly drive offline retail sales as well. It is already easy to track phone calls to the store or to track the number of people looking for store directions. Retailers will become more sophisticated (along with measurement tools from platforms like Google, Facebook, etc.) to attribute offline sales to a specific digital marketing effort.

Reality of Digital

3). Challenge of Capability
Omni-channel business is becoming increasing relevant. Customers expect a seamless experience and do not tend to distinguish between online and physical channels, while shopping. Traditional strengths are insufficient here. In addition to being omni-channel, a well conceptualized talent management strategy is critical. It has been noticed that retail businesses suffer from high attrition rates and limited capabilities in the middle and top management, as a result of inadequate specialized training and experience in the sector. Supply chain also needs an evolution, as the market is viral with long lead response times and infrastructure challenges. It’s high time that Indian retail businesses develop a comprehensive omni-channel offering and adopt a targeted approach to employee training, appraisal, and retention. It is also very vital for businesses to build a demand-driven supply chain that is equipped with a real time flow of information.

Challenge of Capability

4). Importance of Economics
Several economic challenges plague Indian modern trade. Please find them listed below.
On the demand side:
– The level of processing is not high enough, as the Indian consumer gets used to modern trade.
– Pricing and promotions are poorly executed , not leveraging on customer willingness and purchasing power.
On the supply side:
– Inflating costs of real estate and rentals.
– Increasing costs due to low bargaining power with suppliers due to limited scale.
– High cost incurring supply chain due to poor connectivity, excess and deficit inventory.
– As an immediate implicative measure, the throughput problem should be address first. The other cost and margin issue will fall subsequently.

Importance of Economics

5). Need for Transformation
Fundamental transformation is the need of the hour. Businesses should avail the growth opportunity and serve digitally empowered consumers. As mentioned earlier, they should also build capabilities in quality omni-channel experience, talent management, and supply chain optimizations. This requires working on four pillars simultaneously. They are as follows.
Fund the journey – Generate quick cash from existing operations by relooking at the core of the business.
Win the medium term – Identify the winning consumer proposition formula for the next 6-8 years.
Take measured bets – Invest in emerging but important trends.
Enable the transformation – Invest in people and technology to improve efficiency, productivity, and morale.

Need for Transformation

Leadership Perspectives
The latter part of the report is its most credible engine, bringing perspectives from over 20 CEOs of top retailers in India. Some of the most thought-sparking lines have been quoted below.

“In times when the economy is tight, we face the brunt of lower discretionary spend. But right now, we are feeling very positive about the future and our industry.” – Ajay Kaul, CEO, Jubilant

“There is some form of a lack of supplier assistance to modern trade: somewhere they will have to accept that this is the way forward.” – Randall Guttery, CEO, Reliance Retail

The future of retail will compose of 3Ds: Daulat (wealth sharing within the retail ecosystem), Depth (in channels and category execution) and Digital (significant part of the operating model).” – Shailesh Chaturvedi, CEO, Tommy Hilfiger

The full report can be found at http://www.bcgindia.com/documents/file181823.pdf.

11 ways to make email marketing work for you

Want to maintain a good relationship with your customers and clients? The best way to do that is by constantly keeping in touch and updating them.  Email is perhaps the easiest way to do this. Email marketing is the best resource for both start up and established companies, especially e-retail ventures. According to studies, the total number of worldwide email accounts is expected to increase from nearly 3.9 billion accounts to over 4.9 billion accounts by the end of 2017. In a 2015 study from BlueHornet, over 77% of consumers buy products and services from marketing/advertising emails at least once a month or more. So make sure you include email marketing as part of your marketing plan. Here are a few tips to make email marketing work for you. We also have a detailed checklist for emailer marketing.

1. Make it personal

Personalization increases response rates tremendously. Whatever be your vertical, your customers would rather want an email personalized to them than a bulk mail. Use names in email messages to grab attention. Make sure you spell the names right. You don’t want to send out an email with the wrong spelling. Tools like Mail Chimp make it easy to do this. You can read about their “Merge Tag” feature here.

2. Use interesting subject lines

People get a lot of emails every day and most of it goes unread. In order to get the attention of people, you need to write catchy subject lines.  Make sure the subject line is not too long either. As per Marketing Sherpa, subject lines with 9 to 10 words are the most ideal. Mailchimp also has some tips on Subject Lines.

Food Panda, an online food order website/app has mastered this concept well.  They promoted a ‘Buy one, Get one free pizza’ in a unique way.  The challenge for them was to make people open the same email with the same offer and same creative one day after another. So they used creative subject line such as:

  • Pizza, Oh! Pizza, I love you, Pizza
  • All you need is Love &…. PIZZA!
  • Invite your friends today – It’s Pizza Night again!
  • Did someone say free pizza?
  • Pollard’s throwing bats, we’re throwing offers!

 

pizza

3. Send a welcome email

If you have a prospective client or a new client, it is a good idea to send them a welcome mail. Introduce them to your brand and tell your story with the very first email you send them. If you start with sending new customers promotional emails, you won’t develop a lasting relationship with them. It is the first email they receive after subscribing so it is important to make an impression that counts. According to Yourstory.com stats, subscribers who receive a welcome email show, on average, 33% more long-term engagement with that brand.

If you are using wordpress, Gravity Forms can be an effective tool to send out automated emailers to new customers or new leads.

Here is an example of an ecommerce company, Nykaa that got the welcome email right. The brand not only gave all the information required but also personalized every email.

nykaa

4. Write exciting content

People do not want to read long boring copies on their emails. So open your email with compelling text or some great offer.  It is also a good idea to send them useful content from your blog that they might be interested in. Not all the time do your clients want to know about offers and products so make your copy easy to scan by using short sentences, simple language and bulleted lists.

5. Create a comprehensive data base

In order for your email marketing to be successful, you need to have a strong database. Build your own consumer database by gaining consumers’ permission through your website.  To build this, you can use tools such as SumoMe’s List Builder, which help in converting one-time visitors into lifelong readers and email subscribers.

6. Know your spam rules

The biggest problem about email marketing is the risk of spending all that time in creating the mail and it ending up in the spam folder. So before you start sending emails, read up on the SPAM rules. In India, there is no law as such but the closest thing that regulators have come is certain provisions in the IT Act. Under section 79 of the IT Act, Internet intermediaries must take care and diligence with regard to the services they provide, which read together with section 43A of the Act (compensation for failure to protect personal data from theft), can ‘indirectly bring into play a data privacy law’. To know more, read this article, which gives you more details on the dos and don’ts.

7. Have a strong Call to Action (CTA)

When it comes to email marketing no email is complete without a Call To Action. Always include a CTA button in your mailers. Customize the CTA to your audience and provide multiple links throughout the email to make it easy for users to take action. A CTA button will increase click-through rates by making it clear to the reader what the next step they should take is. So while designing, make the CTA button prominent and use enticing words on it to encourage your readers to click

8. Social links 

Adding your social media accounts in your emails is a great way to promote your social media platforms.  It will give you a chance to expand your community and connect better with your subscribers. Do not stop with just connecting with them; make sure you engage with them actively on social media.

9. Make the email responsive to all devices

Considering that many users will be opening the email on their mobile devices, you need to make sure that the email is responsive to all devices – similar to your websites. This is a common mistake we see in emailer campaigns where a promotional image is sent out – but these images are not responsive so the text becomes illegible.

10. Test

Different devices display emails differently. Send a test email to your friends and colleagues with different devices and test it out before you send it. Test reveals design mistakes and can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing.

11. Use email service providers

Email service providers are ideal for sending bulk emails. You can build email templates, personalize emails, send and track your campaigns on a larger scale. Here are two most popular service providers in the market that you can use:

Mail Chimp

MailChimp is the best tool for email marketing campaigns. They have a strong policy against spam and offers strong analytics package, full auto-responder functionality, and makes it easy to build, track, and segment campaigns of any type. Mailchimp accounts start at Free for up to 2000 subscribers.

SendGrid

SendGrid offers tools to make it effortless for developers and marketers to craft, segment, test, and successfully deliver emails.  It is a cloud based email infrastructure that eliminates the need to build and maintain a system in-house.