We’re thrilled to be included in The Makegood’s ‘People of Ad Tech’ series! In this segment, our CEO and founder Josh Payne explained the importance of ‘native’ as an essential component of the modern digital publisher’s monetization toolkit. Check out the full interview below:
It’s a tough job getting marketing efforts rolling, and even tougher trying to scale them. While it’s great to build your brand through snappy messaging and eye-catching creative (and you do NEED those things), it’s not always what grows your revenue and bottom line.
At StackCommerce, each new publisher and new brand we work with is a fresh marketing challenge. Ultimately, we’ve learned that rapidly testing and deploying new marketing channels – and then wrapping them up into a cohesive story – is what will propel each of our partners to the top.
Many people compare marketing to throwing darts at a dartboard. In that spirit, here are 6 tricks for hitting the bullseye – i.e. building out and scaling your marketing efforts from scratch.
1. Throw a LOT of darts.
It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket, so don’t focus your strategy on one channel or one media outlet. Even when you have years of marketing experience, you can never truly know exactly what marketing channels will take off for a new brand. The best rule of thumb is to throw a lot of darts – launch many different channels constantly, and even try testing some channels that are less familiar to you.
How to do it wrong: Pour cash into Facebook Ads for months trying to find the right formula (because that’s where you’re told the money is).
How to do it right: While you’re trying Facebook Ads, also try other social media advertising platforms like Pinterest and Twitter. Run search and banner ads on AdWords. Lock-down your email program for email addresses you’re collecting along the way.
2. Throw them fast, in different colors, both right and left-handed.
Experimenting with various channels helps you focus your attention, and that’s when the real testing begins. Once you’re confident that a channel generates solid returns, dig into the details: can you segment your audience by age, gender, device? What copy/creative works best within each of those segments? These days, segmentation technology is nearly unlimited, so find that dart that stays on target with each throw.
How to do it wrong: Focus all your efforts on creating one killer campaign on Pinterest with an A-list influencer.
How to do it right: Run many smaller campaigns with C-list influencers across multiple social networks, using several mediums (video, listicle, etc.) to determine what works best. Then get the A-lister on the line!
3. Give your darts lead-tips.
Another classic marketing saying is “there is no silver bullet”. You may find an exact combination of channels that really takes off, and that’s great! Always double down on efforts with proven success. Just remember, these are lead bullets, not silver. No strategy is flawless, so continue to diversify for strategy in preparation for when that lead-tipped dart misses the board.
How to do it wrong: Latch onto a successful email channel, and invest 100% of your budget. What happens when conversion rates plummet?
How to do it right: Build out your email program and find out what’s making it tick. Is fresh email content increasing click-through? Is your subscription offer something customers don’t see anywhere else? Find out what’s working, and replicate that success in other channels, too.
4. Throw your darts in handfuls.
Create holistic marketing campaigns where channels crossover or feed into one another. You’ll amplify your results and returns.
How to do it wrong: Focus on isolated strategies for each marketing channel, since they all operate independently, right?
How to do it right: Create a centralized landing page with a giveaway or special offer and feature products below. Don’t forget to offer rewards or bonus entries for sharing on social. Collect emails, create a triggered email series, and drive traffic using digital ads.
5. Make it native.
This is where we come in. Simply selling a product by listing features is great, but younger audiences are becoming numb to the typical advertisement and commerce email. Embed your products into interesting content on your site, or better yet, on an influential publisher or personality’s site or social account. By telling a brand story through your marketing, you’re going to make a lasting impression on your customers that increases brand recall and conversion rates.
How to do it wrong: Send emails about products. Post on social media about products. Run ads featuring products.
How to do it right: Get your products featured in native editorial posts and videos. Let othes rave about your products!
6. Make it rain.
How to do it wrong: Dump a bunch of cash into soulless ads on Facebook, insisting that it’s going to work eventually.
How to do it right: Diversify, rapidly test, and innovate. Tell a story across all your channels, and repeat.
The holiday season is approaching quickly, and having a strong digital commerce strategy is essential. At StackCommerce, we’ve helped hundreds of publisher-owned online shops flourish during the holiday season through our native commerce platform. From preparing unique and exciting inventory to organizing specialized gift shops, we’ve had our hands in it all. Check out our top 5 tips for generating more revenue all winter long, and spreading cheer while you’re at it.
For most online shops, the holiday season is the busiest time of year. On days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, site traffic can quadruple, coupons and promotions can go viral, and inventory can deplete within seconds. It’s critical to plan ahead in order to set your company up for success. Below are three steps to prioritize:
- Build out the promotional calendar as early as possible, even if that means starting to plan for the holidays in the spring or summer.
- Review all inventory pricing, needs, and caps before your sales go live. Once you drop a price or issue a site-wide sale, you can’t go back.
- Schedule promotions with proper cadence to ensure that you and your team are prepared to handle increased volume and heightened sales. Preparing for this influx will provide your customers with a positive experience.
Set Up a Gift Shop
One major shift occurs during the holiday season: consumers buy gifts for others, not themselves. Therefore, the tactics you use to convert consumers during the rest of the year may not be effective during the holiday season. Launching a gift shop, which functions differently than your normal store, allows customers to shop your existing inventory in a new way. Gift Shops also guide customers through a purchase decision that can be overwhelming. Here are some tips for launching a can’t-miss gift shop:
- Showcase your catalogue with buckets and themes that relate to gifting. Some examples that have worked for us include:
- Gifts Under $50
- Gifts for the Trendsetter
- Gifts for the Jetsetter
- Gifts for the Techie
- Don’t assume that customers think your products are giftable. Be sure to communicate the launch of your gift shop to existing customers and explain why the products within are great for gifting.
Call Out Shipping Times
There’s nothing more embarrassing than showing up to a holiday celebration or party without a gift. So don’t put your customers in a position to fail! Be upfront with your shipping times and let the customers decide if your timeline makes sense for their purchase. Sometimes it’s okay if a gift ships after a holiday, sometimes it’s not.
Discounting is a great way to entice customers, but often it’s overused. Consider the reasons why your products are special and communicate this to your customers. Don’t overlook the appeal of your own products! Ask yourself these questions to uncover why your products are unique:
- Why do my products make for perfect gifts?
- What features stand out about my products aside from their price points?
- Are any products exclusive? What products can’t be found anywhere else on the web?
Review Past Holiday Seasons
We’ve all dealt with analysis paralysis, but a healthy amount of analysis can be incredibly effective. Take a good look at what happened last holiday season. What were your biggest sales? Which emails had the highest open rates? What deals sold out? Which promotions converted the most users? How can you replicate what worked and improve what didn’t?
One of the benefits of working with StackCommerce’s native commerce platform is that we deliver a full holiday marketing strategy to each publisher shop across our network! StackCommerce-powered shops will benefit from curated gift shops, full email marketing cycles and sales, and incredible logistics and customer service from Black Friday through the holiday season.
Inventory issues, shipping times, discounts, analysis – we consider it all and make sure our publisher partners’ branded storefronts are prepped for success. Whether you work with us or are implementing your own marketing strategy, we hope these tips will inspire success this holiday season!
At StackCommerce, we thrive on delivering unique products and amazing deals to our publisher audiences. We don’t just sell products, we introduce the right audience to the right product at the right time. This all starts with our sales team, and we searched high and low to find the perfect leader for this essential part our business.
We’re ecstatic to introduce Jaromy Pittario, our brand new VP of Sales. Jaromy joined us from Velocity App, the leading global payment app in the hospitality industry, and has previously provided incredible sales leadership at Gilt, AOL, and LivingSocial. Today, we’re picking his brain on everything from the evolution of flash sale sites to leadership tips to what the future has in store for StackCommerce’s publisher and vendor network.
Liz: You have amazing experience in your field, and specifically working with the flash sale model. In what ways have you seen this model evolve and change?
Jaromy: In the luxury space in particular, I’ve watched brands become more and more accustomed to the benefits of the revenue share model, and therefore open to working with flash sale sites. When I started at LivingSocial in Los Angeles, no one was familiar with it. But by the time I led the team at Gilt City, luxury brands and luxury shoppers alike were becoming more and more attracted to this model.
The experience transformed beyond the instant gratification of bringing a deal to a customer to a fully-branded journey that breeds engaged lifetime customers.
Liz: As a new member of the team in a leadership position, what are your key priorities?
Jaromy: My number one priority is to motivate and cultivate a cohesive team culture. As a sales team, our culture should be invitational so that our success is shared, not compared in a competitive fashion. Being approachable, relational, and goal-oriented also helps us become more available to cross-organization collaboration.
Liz: In what ways do you hope to influence the evolution of StackCommerce through sales and vendor relations?
Jaromy: I am working to grow and bolster StackCommerce’s lifestyle vertical, in part by bringing on national brand partnerships. Not only will these brands benefit from StackCommerce’s product distribution and marketing capabilities, but these noteworthy brands will work to elevate the customer experience across our publisher sites.
This symbiotic relationship is what makes StackCommerce a unique alternative to traditional affiliate advertising and publisher monetization solutions. I look forward to getting the StackCommerce name out to brands that I know would be a great fit.
Liz: You recently joined StackCommerce. What excited you about the opportunity?
Jaromy: During the interview process, I was fascinated by the rare blend of a startup environment and proven success and profitability at Stack. The interview process was so conversational that I felt I was able to really get to know the business and the people who make Stack a wonderful place to work.
Liz: What do you enjoy doing outside of Stack?
Jaromy: Cooking! I have an instagram account dedicated to teaching people how to make healthy meals in less than 30 minutes.
Liz: What’s your favorite saying?
Jaromy: Work hard, play hard.
One of the many benefits of working with StackCommerce is our ability to accommodate international markets. For vendors, this means getting your products in front of users located in hundreds of countries across the globe, creating valuable brand awareness. For publishers, this means we’re here to support commerce for your current or future international audience. We want to help you grow! With such a significant segment of our current audience outside the US, it’s crucial that we create the best possible shopping experience for users in any location.
Where do we start? A critical piece of the international experience lies within our checkout flow. Due to varying costs, product variations, and availability, shipping items internationally is complex by nature. In an effort to maximize conversion, we’ve updated our UI to collect the most important shipping detail first: country of origin. This accomplishes two important goals:
- Ensures shipping costs, which vary by country, are correctly applied to the order
- Ensures that the customer’s checkout flow is relevant to the shipping destination (i.e., collecting state, zip code, or phone number where necessary)
We’re excited to continue fine-tuning our commerce experience for all users. Be on the lookout for more new features in the near future!
Electronic payments, digital wallets, blockchains; Payment processing is a constantly evolving technology that makes mailing a check look like ancient history. With each new enhancement comes more opportunities to make payment systems more transparent and informative.
StackCommerce is committed to evolving our platform as well, and to surfacing as much relevant information to our partners as possible. By sourcing helpful bits of feedback we’ve learned that we can easily present answers to common payment questions, including but not limited to:
- When will my payment be posted?
- What is the amount of my payment?
- How will my payment be transferred?
Our latest integration helps answer these questions by leveraging our payment partner’s iframe to display dates, amounts, deposit methods, and status for current and previous payments. Adding visibility to payments helps make our platform more transparent, but most importantly, gives partners immediate access to pertinent info 24/7. To explore, just navigate to the Earnings section of your dashboard and select Payment Status.
We’d love to hear your comments below!
– Stack Product Team