Successful permission marketing using the example of push notifications

With permission marketing, the users addressed decide that they want to receive company messages. The channel plays an important role here, and push notifications are a new option here.

Smartphone chat notifications concept

Introduction

Messenger WhatsApp or services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have fundamentally changed communication: Smaller “communication snacks” are in demand, but with a higher frequency. Everyone is also struggling for attention on this virtual stage.

This also increases the demands on marketing communication: it should appeal, inspire, inspire, involve, and establish an emotional connection. Above all, it’sits about increasing customer loyalty. In my view, permission marketing is an excellent tool for this.

What is permission marketing?

In principle, permission marketing is an old hat, which marketing guru Seth Godin already shaped in 1999. He was already guaranteed that traditional forms of marketing, such as TV advertising, i.e., invasive or disruptive marketing, would lose effectiveness because consumers want more control over the information they consume.

Consumers want to decide for themselves from whom and via which channels they receive content. According to Godin, the company must “earn” accordingly to get in touch with the customer. And: there must be the possibility to be able to “unlatch” again at any time. In this way, consumers received valuable news for them, making them feel connected to the company. 

“Permission-based marketing is the privilege (not the right) to send expected, personal, and relevant advertising to people who want to receive it.” ” –  Seth Godin

Permission marketing recognizes the new power of consumers to ignore marketing. At the same time, it includes the idea that respectful treatment is the best way to attract attention. Because “real” permission differs fundamentally from the implicit or behavioral agreement, as is typical but illegal practice with cookie consent. 

This is not the only reason why permission marketing is back in fashion. The most significant advantage that permission marketing has over traditional forms of marketing is the higher engagement rate. After all, a permission marketing campaign is about maintaining a long-term relationship based on trust. It is not aimed at achieving immediate results, but rather at winning regular customers and strengthening brand loyalty.

Permission marketing is not aimed at achieving immediate results, but rather at winning regular customers and strengthening brand loyalty.

The newer permission marketing channels, therefore, combine the style of private exchange with professional marketing communication. This opens up the chance of a more intense bond between customers and prospects through more conventional and modern approaches. Every marketing professional knows that interested people can be more easily moved to specific actions. Because the engagement is high, the conversion rates in permission marketing are higher than in other forms of marketing.

Additional advantages:

  • Increase in success: With permission marketing, companies reach those who expressly request it. This automatically increases engagement and conversion rates.
  • Strong customer loyalty: With permission marketing, companies can advance their content distribution and bring users back to their website. 
  • Legal certainty: With consent, many data protection problems no longer play a role. 

Permission marketing through push notifications

Permission marketing is often equated with newsletter marketing. Email and SMS marketing is still thriving but complex to implement and not always the best choice. In my view, push notifications as a contemporary form of in-app messaging have great potential.

There are four types:

  • Web push: On a website, visitors can agree to receive messages. If this is the case, you will then receive news directly on your (lock) screen. Clicking on the word takes you to the target page.
  • App push: For many notifications from apps, a connection via API to back-end systems makes sense. For example, information about travel bookings and the like can be sent. Also, any actions in the apps or more extended inactivity can trigger such notifications.
  • Messenger push: WhatsApp uses 58 million Germans every day. Unfortunately, the messenger can hardly be used for advertising marketing communication. Therefore WhatsApp Notifications are only interesting for 1: 1 interaction and targeted messages such as reservation confirmations or appointment reminders. The same applies in principle to Facebook Messenger. 
  • Wallet Push: With Wallet Push, the website invites iOS visitors to add a “News Card.” After adding the card, recipients can receive messages. At the same time, the wallet card can be updated with offers, codes, and much more. It is also possible to add QR codes, loyalty functions, or geo-fencing. It is reasonable and sensible to use wallet push and web push simultaneously on one website.

Special case wallet push

Wallet push is of particular importance for another reason: after all, iOS users cannot be reached via web push, but this group makes up around 20 percent of the mobile market. Depending on the website, the proportion of users can be significantly higher, for example, 30 to 40 percent.

Wallet Push also proves to be a valuable marketing tool in stationary retail. After all, retailers are finding it increasingly challenging to bring physical bonus cards to men or women. If this is done digitally, there are new advantages. For example, it is possible to have the messages appear automatically on the lock screen at a specific time or a specified location, change their appearance and content, and send push notifications. The wallet provider can trigger the update of the card and the associated messages.

These notifications are an ideal tool to keep customers up to date and provide them with targeted offers. They can also be used to remind you of appointments or to send personal messages.

Examples of a push notification on a laptop and a smartphone

Push communication: advantages for consumers and marketers

In general, more than 10% of all consumers now agree to push notifications – and the trend is rising. This is not the only reason why technology offers many advantages for marketers:

  • One-click is enough: In contrast to newsletters, customers do not have to enter personal data such as email addresses. A simple confirmation is enough. For this reason, the opt-in rate is particularly high. 
  • Immediate communication: Push messages are transmitted immediately and directly on the screen. This reduces the risk of going under and not paying attention. This results in high opening rates of 90 percent. In comparison, emails only reach 25 percent.
  • Traffic boost: Relevant push messages have the potential to increase the traffic of websites significantly. 
  • Budget-friendly: In contrast to ads, SMS, or messenger services, there are no costs for sending or clicking.
  • High conversion rate: Push messages to achieve click and response rates, just like the best times for email newsletters.
  • GDPR-compliant: Since no personal data flows, marketers do not have to worry about the General Data Protection Regulation. 

Best practices for setting up web push campaigns

Web push notifications can be created and sent quickly. However, they require a well-thought-out plan for maximum success, i.e., the highest possible recipient base and consent rate. The design and continuity of the appropriate shipping frequency are just as important as the relevance and attractiveness of the individual notifications. 

Planning should begin by considering which exact goals are being pursued with push notifications and how to push marketing should be integrated into the overall communication and content strategy. This includes an audit of existing and planned content from all other marketing channels such as newsletters and blogs. Do you already have a content production and marketing action plan? Then this should serve as the basis for promoting the content and actions contained therein with push notifications even more.

Whether B2B or B2C – numerous notification occasions and hangers can be found for every industry. Here are some ideas to take advantage of the full range of options for push notifications:

  • Notices of new content such as blog articles, white papers, videos, etc.
  • Invitations to participate in events such as online seminars or store openings
  • Product and assortment news: For software and cloud services information about new releases, eCommerce notifications about new, re-available, currently trendy articles or top sellers.
  • Promotion of special offers and discounts

Some event occasions for which notifications are available are apparent because they are directly related to the sender’s core business: the upcoming Mother’s Day for flowers or the impending onset of winter for tire dealers. However, with a little imagination and ingenuity, many other occasions are conceivable as hangers for notifications: from the birthday to the time change to the lunar eclipse. It is important to note that the event and information must always match the product or offer and its users.

The keys to successful push notifications

Subscribers can expect useful, relevant notifications such as educational tips, exciting news, or attractive deals. At the same time, the recipients want to be addressed emotionally. Different announcements that arouse curiosity are easy to grasp, refreshing to read or helpful, and scored particularly well. Also, Humor often comes good.

Here are more tips. 

  • Timing: The opt-in invitation should not appear immediately upon entry, but only after a short period (a few seconds later). An additional call via exit-intent shortly before leaving the website can be a successful strategy to keep in touch with users. Last but not least, the opt-in can also be linked to order, registration, or the like. In general, it makes sense to play out the opt-in dialog on as many pages as possible and to only do so on individual pages, such as the career section of your website.
  • Time: When addressing private individuals, Saturday and Sunday noon have proven to be particularly successful periods for sending messages. In the business environment, however, Tuesday to Thursday, early in the morning or in the evening, are more promising. It is recommended to test different days and times to find the ideal times for push messages.
  • Dialogue type: By default, the opt-in invitation is placed on the actual website. So the user can only continue surfing when he interacts with the element. Other overlay options for opt-ins are message bars that appear above or below the website and therefore do not cover the actual site and sliders that enter from one side. Opt-in triggers can also be integrated into the pages themselves as an element.
  • Optical design: Ideally, dialogues should be adapted to the look & feel of the website or your corporate design.
  • Textual design: There are two basic strategies for texting, which also affect the graphic options: either a more factual text that is very much based on standards of browser dialogs, or a deliberately more creative approach that comes across as high advertising. In general, however, the following applies: short and concise sentences with a clear call-to-action are preferable. It is also essential to highlight the advantages for users.
  • Incentivizing opt-ins: It is common in e-commerce for newsletters: visitors to the shops are offered a discount voucher when they register for the newsletter. Such an additional incentive for opt-in is also possible for web push notifications. 
  • Freedom of choice: It is also helpful to let the user “subscribe” to decide on which topics or occasions he would like to receive information and not only to accept this based on the tracked behavior. This is particularly important when there is a very complex bouquet of offers. 
  • Personalization: With permission marketing, companies address people who are interested in their products or services. It can, therefore, be assumed that the news is highly relevant. Personalized content that fits the current position within the customer journey or the person’s interests and preferences is particularly attractive. Personalization is particularly capable of increasing the utility value by sending offers and tips to match the items you are currently viewing or buying.
  • Variety: experimentation is required both in the design of opt-in invitations and in the news. The range is also needed for events and content. It’sIt’s not just about bargains, it’also sits about entertainment, a look behind the scenes and much more. 

Conclusion

Push notification marketing is the channel that creates a direct path to users. Used correctly, this form of permission marketing promises rapid integration, high conversion rates, and increased customer loyalty. It is essential to understand that segmenting subscribers and customers into different areas is vital nowadays due to different interests.

Those who know their target group, understand them, and send proper notifications to combine valuable content for the target group with their marketing messages—a win-win situation for companies and customers alike.

SEO for Online Shops – The Monster FAQ!

You have an online shop, and you have questions about SEO? Then you are right here! Welcome to the Monster FAQ on SEO for Online Shops.

Basic questions

If you already know your way around, feel free to skip these questions. But I tried to shed some light on aspects that not everyone knows. Maybe there is something for advanced users too!

How does search engine optimization work for online shops?

Phew, there is usually a lot to do. But to put it roughly, you try to achieve several things:

  1. Your shop should be accessible and legible for Google. Google (or any other search engine) needs to recognize that it’s a shop and what products it sells.
  2. The shop should deliver the best result for the user on this topic, i.e. also give the user exactly what he was looking for.
  3. The shop should have a good reputation online. This works mostly through links from other useful websites. Google also evaluates other signals such as social media and the like.

What SEOs do now is to improve the online shop on these three points. Everyone does it differently. And everyone sets different priorities. While some swear by link building, other shops optimize technically such as page loading speed down to the last detail. Still, others focus on the content of the website and offer the user the best experience. Since it is an algorithm, there are several ways to get there. In the last few years, the first final points felt to have become more critical, the first point lost relative to the others. You should always keep an eye on all three to get the best results.

Is search engine optimization prohibited?

No. Neither Google nor the legislator has anything against search engine optimization – on the contrary! Google even wants you to make your website more readable – this will make your work more comfortable, and the search engine will find good results faster – which will help users and ultimately make them more satisfied with Google.

However, some techniques violate the so-called webmaster guidelines. For example, if you artificially procure links (for example, by bribing other webmasters with money instead of getting real recommendations to link to your website, you can book advantage for yourself in the short term. However, there is one at Google own team that takes care of exposing these techniques. If you get caught, you may be deliberately downgraded a few places or even flipped entirely out of the Google index so that you may be accurate accomplishes the opposite of what you want.

Apart from this, techniques such as the purchase of links and the setting of links in forums for advertising violate the Unfair Competition Act (UWG). Since you don’t want to show Google that you are buying links, bought links are rarely awarded. Unfortunately, many search engine optimizers – especially agencies – still buy links today. This works mainly because of the principle “Where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge”. If you do something big here – as is currently the case with Instagram influencers with unmarked advertising – then the link buying industry is in bad shape.

How long does it take for my online shop to have good rankings?

To make it short: It depends a lot on the market environment, the desired keywords and your website. Generally speaking, SEO is a matter of months to years, not a matter of weeks. There are some techniques – such as optimizing titles and descriptions – that can affect very quickly (i.e. in a few days or weeks). But if you want to gain trust with Google with a brand new domain, you should plan for a long time. However, initial successes can be visible very soon – especially for niche keywords that do not have a high level of competition.

Why does SEO seem so crucial for my shop?

For most websites, SEO is one of the most cost-effective channels for high-quality visitors – despite the work that you have to do yourself or for which you have to pay an agency or a freelancer. You get targeted visitors with SEO who googled for “Buy blue hiking pants XL”. Anyone who offers such hiking pants (and has matching pants and a beautiful online shop) will have a good chance of buying them. Many high-quality visitors can only be obtained via Google Ads. Google Ads is excellent too, but usually costs more per order (compared to SEO). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book Google Ads – most shop owners run SEO and Google Ads at the same time.

But you don’t have to do SEO. Some shop operators rely 100% on Google Ads. Others go full offline marketing with flyers and Co. That also works, and SEO is just one channel out of many.

If you want to sell a product, also consider whether you don’t want to just do it on eBay, Etsy or Amazon? The fees there are high – but you save the costs of an online shop, marketing (mostly) and many other things. Likewise, SEO doesn’t make sense if you have a completely new product that no one knows about yet. In that case, nobody is looking for your product because nobody knows that it exists. Here, however, it makes sense to optimize for relevant terms and keywords in the environment of your product, for example, the “problem” that your product helps with, rather than the product itself. A company magazine and content marketing are ideal for this.

How much does SEO cost?

The question “What does a website cost?” Or “What does a car cost?” Is similarly simple. It all depends on what you want to achieve and where you start. Do you sell puzzles online?

The following models exist – the more SEO, the higher the costs, of course:

  1. You can completely implement SEO yourself.
  2. You can do most of the SEO yourself, with a programmer and SEO consultant at your side.
  3. You can give SEO completely to an agency and programmer.
  4. You can hire an in-house team for SEO, i.e. one or more permanent SEOs who do nothing but SEO.
  5. You can hire an in-house team for SEO and have it supported by an agency. This works with them and is available as a sparring partner for essential questions.

The whole thing is, of course, not static. Successful online shop operators often go all the way from 1-5 (over many years). 

How do I find a reputable SEO agency for my shop?

I find this question incredible because it is so often on agency websites. The answer is then as neutral as possible, whereby towards the end of the solution, it becomes clear that your agency is the only one that uses the Rankingbooster3000. But seriously: It is incredibly difficult to see from the outside how good an SEO agency is. Most of the time, you can only see from the outside how professional the sales department is. Even I often do not know how well or poorly other agencies work until I am brought up with one or the other. And also then you should be careful because opinions are often very subjective. Just because the work at one agency’s client was catastrophic does not have to apply to all of the agency’s other clients and vice versa.

I have been doing SEO for 12 years, and two methods can reliably help you find the right agency:

  1. Inform yourself beforehand in detail about the topic of SEO and know your way so far that you can assess the statements of your counterpart. The more knowledge you have, the less you can fall for dubious offers and the more you can identify which agency suits you best. Ask the agency of your choice if you have holes in your stomach – the more, the better! The principle also applies to craftspeople, car workshops, doctors and any other service provider.
  2. Ask acquaintances, friends and colleagues if they can recommend someone to you. Unfortunately, this is not the panacea, because sometimes spam techniques work well for your friends and they recommend you to someone who is not dangerous. Therefore tip 1 is much more effective. Another good advice is to take your friend/acquaintance into the conversation with the agency. So you learn what your acquaintance values. Incidentally, this also works great when buying a car with a friend of my car mechanic. 

How is SEO success measured? How important is visibility?

There are a lot of tools that give SEO points, show visibility and with which many SEOs work. The best known are SistrixSearchmetrics and Xovi . These three tools regularly monitor millions of keywords, assess their value and use them to calculate an index that then reads like a stock chart. This can be important for an initial assessment of a domain – or when comparing different areas in the same industry. However, the values ​​are an approximation and sometimes do not say much about the actual SEO traffic.

The visibility of various SEO tools shows the actual SEO traffic only to a limited extent

You can ultimately make the most reliable statement about SEO success if you use your web tracking tool (e.g. Google Analytics) to check how many visitors come to your shop via SEO – and how many of them buy. What you need are more acquiring customers about SEO – no SEO visibility. The Google Search Console is an indispensable tool for determining which terms visitors use to come to your website and where you appear on Google.

Can I do SEO for my online shop myself?

Of course! Why not? Especially when you are at the beginning of your business, you often have no money for an agency. The alternative is to read yourself in and then take action yourself. So if you have the time, there is nothing to be said against trying it yourself. By the way, this is how I came to SEO myself. My t-shirt shop did not have enough visitors and a forum member in a shop operator forum advised me “Try it with search engine optimization”.

Of course, it will be the case that you don’t use the levers that a professional would use from the start. This means that you make wrong adjustments or invest a lot of time in things that are not worth the time. So in my first days as SEO (in 2007) I wasted days on an XML sitemap. At some point, I realized that firstly there are sitemap generators and secondly that sitemaps are not so important. Only one thing: If you don’t have time for SEO and no money to pay someone else to do it, it looks terrible.

Questions about online shop technology

Which shop system is best for SEO?

I hear the question quite often. It is like this: you should choose your shop system according to what other functions you need. Basic SEO can do most just fine. SEO is often more about the template (i.e. the design) than the system itself. My advice is: get a system that is as widely used as possible. There are usually right SEO extensions for this, and you also ensure that updates continue to come. Also: good web agencies only work with sound shop systems. ShopwareShopifyMagentoGambioWooCommerce– these are widely used systems. You should do detailed research, only then choose a suitable method. At least shop systems work “off the shelf”, most require adjustments to your individual needs.

Small “quick-and-easy” solutions may help you get started quickly, but changing a shop system later is usually very expensive. Therefore, I would always rely on one from the start that is easily expandable.

When do I start with SEO in my shop?

You should get an SEO specialist on board as early as possible. The best time is when it comes to the basic design, and you have already considered the categories for your shop. A basic plan should already be outlined (as a sketch), but the SEO can change that again for usability reasons. He can also question the categories after performing a keyword analysis. Another possibility is that you create the shop and then have an SEO overlooked before going live. Here, however, there is a high risk that you will have to knock down a lot. I would do it after choosing the shop system, create a dummy without a design and also a sketch of the shop – and then wait what the SEO says about it.

What should my URLs look like?

One thing that is often screwed up at the beginning is the shop URLs. Google wants thematically arranged directories, so you have achieved that well. Of course, you should only introduce subcategories if they make thematic sense so that you can structure them well. Think of your categories a little like a guide in the department store – how would you design one? And what would you put in which aisle and then on which shelf?

What is a good headline structure for online shops?

First of all, headings are not as relevant as you might think. The reason? Many web designers misuse layout headings so Google can’t rely on them. Depending on the page type, the product name or the name of the corresponding category should be defined as an H1 heading in your shop. Further small lines such as the article description, unique features and the like can then be in H2 entries. Under no circumstances should design elements in the sidebar or the footer be marked as headings – here the template designer should work with CSS and not with lines. 

How do I get to number 1 for my keyword?

There are very few industries where a single keyword is essential. For most of the shops that I optimized, even the most critical keywords were often responsible for less than 5% of sales. Conversely, niche keywords were relevant for 95% of sales. It is also felt that the more search volume behind a keyword, the more difficult it will be with the ranking. If you want to start wisely with SEO, then book Google Ads and see which keyword groups you use to generate good sales – and later try to achieve granular success there.

How important is page load speed for SEO?

Google has repeatedly stressed that page load speed can be critical. It is also confirmed that a fast-loading online shop leads to more conversions. You should have a quick loading page. But it is certainly not the most important factor, just one of many. Only because you load the fastest in your industry, you will not be in the first place.

Shop content

Do I have to enter a product description for each product and a category description for each category?

As smart as Google is, it is unfortunately, still a text-based search engine. As a rule, it makes sense that you create unique product and category descriptions. Do not use the one that the manufacturer provides for free. And conversely, please do not make them available for free price search engines. But yes: you need individual texts for your shop.

Can I use automated/standard texts for these SEO texts?

Of course, you can buy cheap texts. However, it is not advisable. If you have a large number of products and cannot afford the texts for so many products, you may ask yourself from the other direction: Do you need so many products? Prefer to prioritize your range: What are your most important products? Start with these and create good product descriptions for them that inspire the user to buy and that are optimized for search engines.

Many people will advise you about additional content. Why? Well, if Google has a choice of 50 different online stores that sell the same thing and have similar prices, they’ll put those in the forefront who go the extra mile and advise, inform, or maintain the customer. Your customers will also be happy if you don’t just provide an item description, but a tutorial on how to use the product.

What one understands by good content, the opinions of experts differ widely.

  • Videos
  • Good descriptions that answer my customers’ questions.
  • Instructions for your products
  • Examples of use
  • Excellent and large photos – the more visual the product, the more important
  • FAQs on shipping, ordering, delivery costs and returns.
  • A shop magazine that provides news about the products or shows insights into your company.
  • Helpful tips on your products.
  • Reviews from other customers about the product

I recently ordered a hedge. A glossy loquat “Dicker Toni” to be precise.

I ordered them from Pflanzmich.de. Plantmich.de is not a customer of ours, by the way, just for information. If you look at the product page, you may notice why I ordered there. There is a lot of detailed information about the product that I urgently needed. The excellent content here was about the growth rate or the height, and much more. The product text is very informative. Probably someone wrote it who had detailed information about the product. There are also so-called “master questions” at the bottom “- this is an APP that answers all sorts of questions about plants and gardens free of charge. In the meantime, that’s 31992 responded to questions – that’s quite a lot.

As a customer, I ordered there because other shops, particularly in the garden area, often only had scant information about the individual plants. What I like as a professional: Pflanzmich.de thinks up from the user. There you think about what the user needs and wants about hedges. I want to know how fast the fence grows and how high it gets. Unfortunately, 90% of the hedgerow shops do not answer that. So much for my hedge example. Incidentally, it has already been delivered and looks great!

User experience (UX) and shop SEO

Do you already know Google’s GrowmyStore? There you can have your shop tested for user-friendliness. From Google – for free. It is not unusual that the tool exists, but how it works. Automatically. The device not only recognizes how well your product details are described (see picture below), but also whether your pickup offers in the store or a flexible order execution in terms of express delivery. According to the FAQs, this works by searching for specific keywords. I am not sure whether Google also incorporates such results into the ranking, but it would be possible – too resource-saving and straightforward. And the engineers at Google like that. 

Google automatically recognizes whether your product details can be found quickly and described adequately.

How important is UX for the SEO success of my online shop?

Very important. If your users despair during the ordering process, your categorization is not user-friendly, and your shop is otherwise difficult to use, you can no longer win a flowerpot today. Take this sentence to heart, unfortunately, I have seen some otherwise good shops slowly dying. From a Google perspective, a website gets a good ranking if it serves its purpose well. The use of an online shop is to inform you about products, to present them well and to make them easy to buy. This works out!

How do I improve the user experience in my shop?

Three approaches are best made one by one, starting with the 1:

  1. There are specific basic rules that you should use in your online shop. Your logo is at the top left, the shopping cart and “Checkout” link are at the top right. You should check and apply these rules. You gain a lot with that. 
  2. You can put users in front of a monitor and watch how they operate your shop. You will learn a lot. This can be done quickly and inexpensively, for example with rapiduser tests.
  3. You can do AB testing. Here you present different versions of your website to different users. You can even do this for free with Google Optimize. 

The Sales Funnel: Really everything you need to know about it

“Know, like, and trust.”

This is how John Jantsch describes marketing.

So it’s always about your potential customers getting to know and like you first. Only then will they build trust.

That’s why inbound marketing is about your customers finding you.

It’s a good start, but it’s only the first step. But what happens afterward?

This is where the sales funnel comes into play. This is based on the right, old AIDA formula. So let’s start with that.

What is the AIDA formula?

In 1898, a marketer by the name of Elias St. Elmo Lewis came up with a tried and tested method of turning prospective customers into customers:

  • Attention (attention) – Win the attention of your potential customers for your solution.
  • Interest (interest) – Keep your potential customers interested so that they can deal more closely with your answer.
  • Desire (wish) – Awaken the wishes of your potential customers by communicating the benefits.
  • Action (action) – Make a clear call to work so that your potential customer will buy your solution.

It is the classic buying process that everyone goes through. Everything in marketing is based on this simple formula. For example, your homepage, your email campaigns, landing pages, and your sales funnel are inbound marketing process.

But what exactly is the latter?

What are a sales funnel?

As a rule, every company uses a sales funnel. Consciously or unconsciously. Complete or incomplete.

You can think of a sales funnel as a funnel. Put a lot of water in at the top, and a fine jet comes out at the bottom. Accordingly, you pack visitors in at the top, and perfect customers come out at the bottom.

But with a household funnel, the same amount of water comes out at the bottom. However, this is not the case with a sales funnel. So the metaphor of a holey sales funnel is much better.

So you lose visitors, leads, and customers along the way.

The sales funnel is often also called “conversion funnel”, “marketing funnel”, ” email funnel “, “content funnel” or simply “funnel”. In principle, everyone thinks the same thing, always has a slightly different perspective. Sometimes with subtle differences.

According to the inbound style, the sales funnel lacks an important part, namely, what comes after the deal.

Therefore, the new customer journey is much better as a starting point.

What role does the customer journey play in the sales funnel?

The customer journey is the journey that your potential customer goes through until he becomes a customer:

Let’s go through the individual phases briefly:

  • Awareness – Your potential customer recognizes their problem or need, has become aware of, and is interested in your solution.
  • Consideration – Your potential customer is considering buying your solution. He is thinking about how well she can solve the problem or satisfy the need.
  • Conversion – your potential customer buys your solution and uses it.
  • Retention – Your customer is satisfied or even enthusiastic about your answer. If possible, he will repurchase your answer.
  • Advocacy – Your customer is so excited that he tells his friends, family, and colleagues about your answer.

If you e.g., B. wants to buy a new car, don’t go straight to the first best dealer, do you? Most people first think about buying a new car. Go peddling a bit with the thought. They then search and research online. You get several offers and compare them. Finally, they do one or more test drives. If everything is correct, only then will they buy the new vehicle.

This process is anything but linear. That’s why it’s a trip. A wild trip. It can take a long time. In between, there can be short or long breaks. There are many points of contact with the company. Usually, there are about seven until it is bought.

If we now take the customer journey and compare the AIDA formula, it looks like this:

It’s two sides of the same coin. Nearly. Because, as already mentioned, an important part is missing, namely what comes after the sale.

Therefore there is a lot of criticism. The question that arises: Is this sales process still up to date today?

How important are the sales funnel today?

There are many posts ( herehere and here ) that describe that the sales funnel no longer so important. That it’s too linear. Today the customer journey has gotten a lot of wilder with lots of different touchpoints.

In response, McKinsey has created an exciting model that is circular:

They call it the “Customer Decision Journey”. But here, too, some voices say that the model is out of round. Because it’s not just about the decision, it’s about the relationship.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger has developed another exciting model that does not look at the funnel from the side, but from above and focuses on inbound marketing:

Of course, I agree with all of this. For me, the models often mean the same thing. Sometimes a little something is missing, but I would like to add it! 🙂

The thing is, everything is based on the right old AIDA formula. Because that’s the buying process that we all go through, that was the case 100 years ago and will remain so for the next 100 years.

However, as a company, we still have the responsibility to not stop after the sale and to keep delighting our customers.

What are the advantages of a sales funnel?

If you keep in mind the metaphor of a funnel, there are several advantages:

  • Clarity – it becomes clear to you that it is quite reasonable for not all of your prospects to become customers. You also have a solid overview of your sales process.
  • Measurability – You know the individual phases and can measure your success precisely. You know which screws you should turn to increase your sales.
  • Forecasts – You know your key figures and make better and easier predictions for future sales growth. This gives you a better basis for planning.

The focus on your sales funnel brings you more efficiency and a higher customer lifetime value. Simply put, you sell more.

How do you create a sales funnel?

A simple sales funnel can be divided into three levels and looks like this:

If you like, you can still pack “opportunities” (qualified lead) between leads and customers. Or split your points into MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) or SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads). There is no right or wrong here. It always depends on your company and your sales funnel.

  • Visitor – The visitor is attracted by high-quality content and lands on our website.
  • Lead – The visitor becomes a lead by downloading our free e-book or signing up for our free updates.
  • Signup – The point sees the calls-to-action on our website and receives emails to test Chimpify.
  • Customer – The user checks our platform, possibly gives us feedback, and buys our solution. Mission accomplished.

Since I am a big fan of keeping things as simple as possible, I recommend that you start with the three simple steps and add some if necessary.

What else should you be aware of in your sales funnel?

Another vital part that is somewhat invisible is the value ladder.

But because you are now looking at your offer in stages, you notice gaps to be able to accompany your customer even better.

It also increases your customer lifetime value because a customer who has already bought something from you is more willing to buy something from you again.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re a coach. Accordingly, a simple value ladder would look like this: e-book (lead magnet)> book (frontend offer)> conference (middle offer)> seminar (backend offer). At first glance, this doesn’t seem particularly exciting, but it is powerful.

Mainly because of backend sales. So you can afford not to be profitable in the frontend or only to cover costs (e.g., if you publish your book for free or very cheaply) because you know that you can expect a long-term customer relationship later. Provided, of course, that you know your key figures.

If you are a software company, you usually automatically have a value ladder in it. Because here, the packages are limited by defined factors. With us, these are e.g., B. Email contacts. And when your customers grow, you grow with them.

With your funnel, think about which products that build on one another and could offer (preferably with costs, but also free of charge), so that you can accompany your customers perfectly and get the most out of your company.

What do a sales funnel looks like in inbound marketing?

After taking a simple sales funnel, let’s take a quick look at what it looks like in inbound marketing.

Since inbound marketing is very content-heavy, it is about which content you should deliver at which phase of the customer journey or sales funnel. Here you should make sure that you always use the entire content.

Which key figures should you consider in the sales funnel?

Fortunately, with a simple sales funnel, there are not many indicators that you should look at. In essence, it’s always about the number of conversions and the associated conversion rate.

Above all, you should always keep an eye on the conversion rate. It is the lever for more efficiency.

Here are a few benchmarks that you can use for a fixed rate:

  • CVR visitors to lead: 1-3%
  • CVR leads to customers: 0.5-5%

As always, with benchmarks, that’s one thing. They should only give you a rough direction. The main thing is that you focus on regularly increasing your key figures.

We track our funnel daily to keep our finger on the pulse. We also look at it together every week and think about where we can still optimize.

Conclusion

Inbound marketing is always about being found by your potential customers. But just being seen is not enough.

Therefore, you should focus on your sales funnel.

Your goal should be to set up your funnel as quickly as possible, track it regularly, and optimize it. In this way, you gently guide your prospects from one phase to the next and accompany them on their customer journey.

Even if some voices think that the sales funnel no longer relevant, it is nevertheless. It’s just the classic buying process that we humans go through. You can’t shake it.

You mustn’t forget your customer after the sale.

A sales funnel often ends up with sales. But that is also automatic (as the Atlassian story shows, for example ).

Mobile marketing with augmented reality? Tips, tricks and ideas!

When it comes to the latest trends in online marketing, augmented Reality should not be missing. Since the great success of Pokémon Go in summer 2016, many marketers have the technology on their watchlist. Still, often ideas and concrete use cases were missing to implement their AR projects. With seven use cases for mobile marketing with augmented Reality, I would like to provide you with initial inspiration that makes you want to use innovative technologies in marketing.

With GoogleAR, brands can present their products as a 3D model in the search results.

Augmented Reality? What is that?

In contrast to Virtual Reality, where users can fully immerse themselves in the virtual world with VR glasses, with augmented Reality the real world is preserved, and digital elements are added. We need suitable technical aids for this: Google Glass, Microsoft Hololens, and Magic Leap are the first AR glasses for this purpose. However, the models are still far from the mass market and are currently used in various industrial solutions. Due to their short reach, they are presently hardly relevant for marketing. So does that mean we have to wait a few more years for AR marketing?

No, we don’t have to. Fortunately, augmented Reality can also be experienced with a smartphone or tablet, so that AR marketing measures currently take place primarily in the field of mobile marketing. AR software extends the smartphone or tablet camera image with 3D-registered and, in the best case, real-time interactive elements, which results in exciting application possibilities. I want to use the following seven use cases to demonstrate how Augmented Reality can be used to achieve marketing goals:

Awaken the desire to travel with augmented Reality

To encourage long-distance travel, Lufthansa used the AR function of the Shazam app as part of a price campaign. The so-called walk-in ads open virtual portals with which travel destinations can be experienced virtually. To do this, users have to click on an advertisement within Shazam, and without an additional app download, they end up in the augmented reality experience. For this purpose, a virtual gate appears on the smartphone display, if you walk through it with your cell phone in your hand, you will find yourself on a virtual viewing platform in New York and can view it from a 360-degree perspective. Atmospheric sound effects support the visual experience.

Lufthansa is sure to attract the attention of users with this unusual advertising medium, as the AR-Ad stands out from the pool of known ad formats, especially since so far, only a few consumers have contacted AR advertising. The extent to which the AR application is suitable for converting users to book flights has remained unanswered.

Shop virtually with an AR app

Augmented Reality also has an increasing right to exist in e-commerce. AR can help, especially when it comes to products where photos and videos are not enough to adequately represent them. This is how OTTO makes it possible with the AR app yourhome To try out pieces of furniture digitally in your own home. Using the smartphone camera, the app calculates the room dimensions about the product, so that the two-dimensional camera image creates a true-to-scale, three-dimensional space for furnishing. Buyers can then place the desired objects in it to check proportions, try out different setting options, or assess whether the new floor lamp fits so well in the planned living room corner or not. Amazon also enables a comparable user experience with the Amazon AR View Home app and offers furniture, electronic products, household appliances, and toys as 3D objects that can be placed virtually in your own home:

Augmented Reality in Google search results

Since the announcement by Google manager Aparna Chennapragada at the I / O developer conference in May 2019, we have known that the search engine is using augmented Reality in the search results pages (SERPs). Various brands have already created the first use cases of the new AR function as part of mobile marketing. For example, if you search for the SUV model “XT6” from the Cadillac car brand on your smartphone, Google offers the option “view in 3D” and the car can be virtually parked in front of your garage entrance and can be viewed in three dimensions from all sides. This allows brands to emotionally bind potential buyers to the product at an early stage by integrating it directly into their own consumer lives.

To use Google’sGoogle’s AR feature, 3D models of your products must be uploaded, and you can find them by adding a code snippet. The algorithm of the company currently decides whether the 3D model then makes it into the search results or not.

Screenshot of GoogleAR in the SERPs

Fire free for AR couponing

Burger King launched a creative attempt in augmented Reality last year in Brazil. Burger King equipped its app with an AR feature for the “Burn that Ad” AR campaign. If users aimed the front camera in their smartphone at the logo of the competition, it went up in flames. As a reward for a virtually flared McDonalds billboard, there was then a voucher code for a free Whopper burger the next time you went to the restaurant. The campaign aimed to publicize the new payment method by smartphone in Brazil.

Virtual try-on with augmented Reality

While Facebook and Instagram have already integrated augmented Reality into their platforms, YouTube is now also testing with “Virtual Try-on.” The cosmetic brand L’OrealL’Oreal is currently one of the guinea pigs of the new function and offers customers the opportunity to see a tutorial in the upper part of a split-screen, while they can virtually try out the lipsticks themselves in the lower half of the screen.

Since buying ModiFace, which specializes in AR and AI, L’OrealL’Oreal had increasingly been using virtual try-on in 2018. With augmented Reality, L’OrealL’Oreal customers can try out different makeup and hair colors on themselves, for example. In addition to successful product advice, the goal of AR deployment is to increase brand loyalty and awareness, by merely sharing the virtual try-on via social media. The app is not only available for users at home but also on tablets on-site in stores to lower the inhibition threshold for downloading the app.

AR filter in social media

AR filters are becoming increasingly popular in social media marketing. Snapchat was a pioneer here for a long time, but Facebook is closely following. AR filters can create funny and surprising effects in selfies and expand photos with products, film, or advertising characters. The key to your AR filters is called Spark AR, a software developed by Facebook that is easy to understand even for laypeople and beginners. Netflix provided an example of augmented reality marketing with AR filters at the start of the second season of Stranger Things :

The entertainment factor of AR filters is significant and leads to the fact that users actively interact with the advertising and, in the best case, disseminate the results. In combination with influencer marketing, AR filters can become a real awareness magnet. Influencers can use the filters created by the brands to draw attention to the product, service, or event in question.

Find the right size with augmented Reality

The DHL Packset app offers a practical AR application that helps customers find the right package size. Everyone has probably faced the question of whether the “S” size is sufficient or should be sent as an “M” package. Augmented Reality can now help by scanning the object that they want to communicate with their camera: The AR function shows the different package sizes so that it is easy to see whether it is too small. The object would protrude, for example. Once the correct package size has been found, the shipping label can be booked directly on the go, and the order can be completed in an e-branch of Deutsche Post.

Nike offers a similar AR application and measures the user’s feet to suggest the correct shoe size. Augmented Reality is particularly convincing in that it makes the buying experience even easier for the customer.

Conclusion: a good time for augmented reality marketing

Currently, more and more brands are starting to try out augmented reality marketing, because the timing is perfect: On the one hand, the creation of AR content is becoming more relaxed and more comfortable, so simple AR applications can already use common assets such as text, images, and videos generated, but they unfold their full effectiveness with 3D models. This makes the technology attractive not only for consumers but also for industrial goods marketing since suitable data is already available in many cases.

The decisive factor for marketing success, however, is above all the increasing distribution and improved usability: Where previously an app download was necessary, there are now more and more options for browser-based AR measures that can be integrated directly into social media, for example. Here, brands can currently particularly benefit from the novelty of the technology, since consumers have not yet had enough of the new format. Another advantage is the activating effect of Augmented Reality, which offers users the opportunity to deal intensively with the AR application instead of passive consumption. So technology provides a lot of creative potentials to reach users in new ways.

Dropshipping can never be worth it!

Dropshipping is not economical and even less ecological.

Oh, that was a tough nut, wasn’t it? But how do I get it?

Dropshipping – what is it?

Let’s start at the very beginning with the question of what dropshipping is, what’s really behind it and why most companies inevitably have to fail because of it.

Most retailers already know dropshipping as drop shipping. In the case of a drop shipment, the dealer accepts an end customer’s order, even though he does not have the goods in stock himself. He forwards this order to his wholesaler or manufacturer, who in turn delivers (sometimes anonymously) directly to the end customer.

A simple business model and sounds very profitable, because we as a dealer have no own storage costs, but outsource this cost point to the supplier. This business model takes advantage of marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and even real, -. In the markets mentioned, we as dealers immediately benefit from an enormous reach, excellent infrastructure and established customer service. In return, we pay a relatively low sales commission. Simple principle and most online retailers have been familiar with at least two of the marketplaces for more than ten years. But how is it that the whole thing should not be worth it?

How dropshipping works

To do this, we have to go a little further:

Let’s take a look at how a drop shipping business is structured in detail. First of all, there is an end customer who comes to us with a demand. We confirm that we can meet this demand at a price mentioned (ideally this is the MSRP), but (currently) we do not have the item in stock ourselves. After our end customer has ordered, we pass the order on to our wholesaler or manufacturer with the request to deliver directly to the customer. Our wholesaler is now checking whether he can provide the ordered quantities at the required conditions. If he cannot do this, he passes the order on to another location or rejects our request. If he can fulfil them, the only question left is who will bear the freight costs?

Oh, we haven’t considered that yet! Who takes care of the freight? We already have a first stumbling block here, why many companies have to fail because of the dropshipping business model. They do not take freight costs into account in their pricing.

Who delivers dropshipping?

After we have clarified this, another hurdle has been cleared. Our supplier prepares the order for delivery and hands it over to the shipping service provider. He delivers the request to the end customer; everyone is happy.

Nearly! Because now it comes as it had to come: the end customer doesn’t like or doesn’t like the goods, and he wants to send them back. We naturally reject that, don’t we?

Dropshipping – who is liable?

Wrong, the end customer has an unlimited right of withdrawal and that for two weeks from delivery. Also, he is entitled to at least 24 months warranty for purchased products. So the goods come back, have to be checked, and if everything goes well, they have to be resumed. But first the question again: Who pays the return shipping costs?

And we have already reached the next stumbling block for the entrepreneur. Who takes this into account? After all, the customer orders because he likes the goods (it says: ‘Goods bought as seen’ and ‘Illustration can differ from the delivered item’ – everything is clear). Is that so? What about your ordering behaviour?

Correctly, in reality, the clothing sector alone returns around 65% of the items purchased – more from women, less from men. So we also have to factor this factor into our price calculation, and we shouldn’t forget that we probably paid for the original shipping out of our own pockets. Quite apart from the fact that we have paid for the ordered goods, but the customer gets his money back!

Is it dropshipping on the side – a success story for founders?

And it is becoming increasingly clear why the dropshipping business model does not pay off, even if the entire online world is currently tempting it as the panacea for e-commerce. It is easy to manage from the living room and even part-time. But in the real world, there is a lot more to it. If you are seriously dealing with the topic of dropshipping and maybe even in your online shop, you have to include some factors in your calculation.

Because seasoned shop owners know: Without marketing, there is no turnover. And without sales, certainly no profit!

So if you are considering the idea of ​​building and operating a successful company using the dropshipping business model, you have to come up with a good plan. And a good plan is based on a crisis-proof calculation. If you plan that well, you can also easily organize your e-commerce venture from the living room.

How do you start dropshipping?

But there is a long way to go.

How do you find dropshipping suppliers?

Let us examine from the beginning how we will achieve our goal: First of all (after we are clear about our range) we have to choose one or more suppliers.

What are our requirements for a suitable supplier?

Sure, it has to be reliable, but it also has to ship quickly, has a high never-out-of-stock stock, ideally provides a regular inventory file and provide all relevant product data and image links in one file. We also have to negotiate good terms with the supplier so that our margin is as high as possible. We’ll cover margins a little later, though.

After choosing the supplier, we have to think about suitable products and their distribution channels.

Dropshipping – what to sell?

What requirements do we place on our products?

Ideally, they are easy to explain or self-explanatory, we have a meaningful data structure and a detailed picture or video material. Furthermore, the price structure can be selected so that we can comply with the RRP and still get the highest possible profit from every sale. The return rate also plays a not insignificant role – if our supplier already has data on it, this can make a decisive contribution to the selection. Of course, articles with a relatively low return rate (always measured against comparable articles) are best suited, because each return costs us (depending on the calculation) valuable euros and thus decides on the success and failure of the business model.

Where to sell using dropshipping?

Now for the appropriate choice of the distribution channel. The distribution channel can vary from product to product.

What options do we have? And what are your advantages?

In e-commerce, we differentiate into two sales channels: our online shop and external marketplaces. One of the first considerations is which product is suitable for which sales channel. Because not every product fits every shop, some products are too special, too extravagant, too cheap or only not suitable for this target group. To reduce unnecessary costs, it is, therefore, necessary to ask the question where my end customers buy for each product. Does my product fit into the portfolio of the online shop? And where do other retailers or manufacturers sell similar products?

After we have clarified these fundamental questions for our products, we now know whether the selected products fit into our shop, on Amazon, on eBay or another e-commerce marketplace. The next step is data preparation according to the specifications of the chosen online shop. The more detailed the data can be delivered, the higher the likelihood from the beginning that our offers will be found quickly or easily by the end customer.

What do I have to consider with dropshipping?

How is the data structured?

Perhaps you already have detailed data in an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or PIM (Product Information Management) system. All you have to do is transfer it to the correct format. Otherwise, the suppliers can be asked for help. Usually, you will quickly receive a comprehensive file with all available product data or make it possible for download. Make sure that this file also contains media links.

If there is no ERP, but we are talking about product data maintenance, the question arises at the same time with which interface you want to connect. There is no question that one or maybe two online shops can easily be operated with Excel tables, but then it gets confusing. Or what do you do when an order has to be split between several suppliers? You can quickly lose track of things.

Hence my advice: Think about which software you want to work within a good time.

How do you manage your offers?

I work with Tradebyte, an interface that can connect to over 90 channels in more than 16 countries. Here you deliver your product data, network it with the connected chain, and from there it runs almost automatically. I have already integrated a PIM for each channel, I keep an overview of stocks, and I can control prices for each channel individually.

Oh, yes, the sales prices … Didn’t I talk about the correct calculation earlier? How was it the same?

What does dropshipping cost?

Let us first consider what we know. There is a purchase price that we negotiated with the supplier. We have to think about the freight costs, i.e. how high the freight costs to the end customer are for me. How high do we estimate the return rate and what expenses can be expected per item? Because we have to assign the return freight (measured by the quota) as a percentage to each article sold. Also, there are costs such as packaging material, processing of returns (also as a percentage) and possible customs duties or other VAT rates than are customary in Germany. In the Netherlands and Belgium, for example, it is 21%. However, these are easy to calculate if we expect net prices. Also, there are all sales commissions and the necessary fees. Caution is advised with staggering sales commissions,

In the illustration below, I once inserted such a calculation formula. It quickly gets confusing, doesn’t it? But do not worry, in this rare case, it is an astronomical price calculation for a graduated commission with four price scales. I also got into the habit of never selling below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, because I’d instead allow a little more leeway for a higher return rate or reserves for a new connection than one day find that the item is no longer profitable.

Closing word – When is dropshipping successfully implemented?

This brings me back to my initial

claim: dropshipping is not economical and even less ecological.

I stick to it! Unless I set up a realistic price calculation in advance, in which I also plan margins for myself. And I’d instead calculate a few cents more for innovative packaging – so make my contribution than offer the lowest price on hell. Because otherwise, my business model is exactly that: cheap! And I will never be successful and crisis-proof on the market. The current economic situation clearly shows how vulnerable most companies are when sales have been falling for a month.

Anyone who thinks “that alone is no guarantee of success”, I immediately agree with 100%. Because being successful is a constant process of monitoring, adjusting offers and observing the market. Only those who know what is going on in their economic field will build a permanently successful dropshipping company that is profitable in the long run.