Author Archives: Porsha Thomas

Tis the Season: Get Proactive About Your Holiday Marketing

The kiddos are back in school and soon these sultry dog days will be all about  sweater-wearing. Now is the perfect time to get proactive about setting your shop up for success in preparation for the holiday season! We’ll tackle each item individually, but your ‘Holiday Preparedness Toolkit’ should consist of optimizing your website for easy shopping, implementing a holiday marketing strategy, and staying on top of your inventory. You ready? We’re doing this!

Optimize your website for easy desktop and mobile shopping

As desktop and mobile shopping increase over brick and mortar shopping year-over-year, the holiday-ready merchant should make sure their website is fully optimized for the influx of shoppers headed their way.

Integrate the use of digital wallets as payment options in your checkout (Venmo, Paypal, Apple Pay, etc) to make mobile shopping a cinch. Before sending customers to your shop your site with your digital marketing campaigns, ensure that all payment methods are working properly. 

As voice command search gains popularity, you’ll want to look beyond general keywords when it comes to your SEO and make sure that your product pages are optimized for long tail questions. Along the same vein, finetune your website’s search capabilities so that it’s easy for customers to search for products. Consider including commonly misspelled words in your search dictionary if it makes sense for your business. 

Begin using holiday-specific copy on your website by creating content geared towards holiday shopping. Blog posts touting themed gift guides and product collections pre-categorized as holiday gifts, stocking stuffers, gift ideas and the like will create an easy pathway to add holiday metadata on your site. 

Do you have a specific delivery schedule your business will operate on this holiday season? Create a landing page on your website letting customers know what to expect to make sure all things shipping is clearly articulated. 

If you plan to tie a cause like Giving Tuesday in to your holiday marketing or simply would like to add an option to donate to a cause in your checkout, consider integrating a plug-in like this one

Overall, clean house! Look for broken pages, missing images, random lorem ipsum text in places where website copy should be, etc. If you need some help in the website world, don’t hesitate to contact our team.

Map out your holiday digital marketing strategy

We talk a lot about best practices for digital marketing around here, so when it comes to holiday readiness, know that a solid marketing strategy is going to get you pretty far.

Kick off your holiday campaign planning by putting together a marketing calendar that will aid in planning and tracking content creation efforts. Incorporating a project management tool (we love Asana!) will help you loop in different departments and team members to ensure successful campaigns.

Approach your digital marketing from a holistic view and plan to stretch your efforts across your company’s social media, content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, etc.), and email marketing.  

And speaking of email marketing, let’s dive in for a sec – if you aren’t already using audience segments to tailor your marketing messaging, make an honest effort to do so when it comes to your holiday marketing. You can entice your most loyal customer base to shop your site by offering a ‘gift’ in the form of a discount, or you can target specific audiences for certain holidays. Think about it – is there an audience segment that would be more receptive to messaging about Small Business Saturday versus Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Use your social media accounts to tout your gift guides, themed gift ideas, and showcase how your products work (including features and benefits), and be sure to analyze post engagement to get an idea of what to promote across your email and social media marketing. If a particular product receives a good amount of engagement on social media, for example, you should send an email campaign promoting it as well. 

Keep in mind that when emojis are used in email subject lines, it drives open rates. If it makes sense for your brand, mix some good wordsmithing with a light-hearted emoji!

There’s nothing wrong with infusing a little FOMO (fear of missing out) in your marketing. Don’t be afraid to use phrases like “available online only,” “limited quantities,” “ends tonight,” etc. to create a sense of urgency. 

Last but not least on the marketing tip, if you sell items that are frequently bought together, consider creating ‘holiday bundles’ and promote them in your holiday marketing. 

Manage inventory accordingly

Begin beefing up your inventory ASAP and consider incorporating fulfillment and shipping rules to ensure that you don’t run out of stock. We recommend setting minimum in-stock number thresholds. Once this threshold is reached, remove the item from your website. This way, you’ll have a few items left in stock plus some time to re-up! 

If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar in addition to your e-commerce site, make sure that your POS is in sync for in-store and online purchases. This will help you avoid mistakes that could arise in regard to product inventory.

We’ve covered the bigger themes mentioned in our Holiday Preparedness Toolkit, but scroll on for a few more “best practice” tidbits: 

  • • Offer a variety of shipping options. I.E. If you’ve got a brick-and-mortar, include in-store pick-up as a shipping option. 
  • • Use your digital marketing efforts to encourage the use of holiday gift certificates.
  • • Returns happen. Make the process easy and hassle-free.
  • • Experiment with tiered promotions such as, “free shipping on orders over $50!”
  • • Offer a gift with purchase to get other products in front of customers.

And a bit of parting advice before we send you off to get ready for the holiday season – think about what worked last year. Is there a particular piece of content that did really well? Consider sharing it in a new way this year.

Now, go ‘Holiday’!

Nicely Built Named a Top Shopify Development Company in Atlanta by Clutch

Ring the alarm! Our small but mighty digital agency has been named by Clutch as a top Shopify Development Company in all of Atlanta! In addition, Nicely Built ranks as one of the best in WordPress Design and E-Commerce Development.  🎉Clutch is a leading B2B platform helping businesses find businesses with the right qualities and experience to collaborate on creative projects. There are over 42,000 firms listed on the Clutch site worldwide, and we are thrilled to be ranked among the top agencies in Atlanta! 

Firms are ranked based on interviews solicited from real clients and by unbiased reviews submitted by Clutch analysts.  Analysts begin by performing market research on said firm and include phone interviews with verified firm clients. Clutch’s thorough review and rating process is why being named a top anything in Atlanta on the site is a huge deal! Thanks very much to our team of design and development wizards for making this possible!

Four Email Marketing Automations that Increase E-Commerce Customer Engagement 

We’ve been all around the world (OK via webinar, but still!) spreading the gospel of email automation and how it helps e-commerce business owners like yourself increase conversions and customer engagement. Wanna know our top four? Scroll on! 

Before we get into it, let’s take a moment to define email automation. Think of email automation as a tool to help you retain customers online. Automated emails are triggered by certain actions (I.E. someone enters an email address into a newsletter sign-up box), and should be timely, relevant, and if possible, personalized. 

Oh yeah, have we discussed the benefits of adding email to your digital marketing strategy in general? Let’s do it! Email marketing generates the highest ROI of any marketing channel, lowers dependence on the unpredictable flow of new customers, helps build brand awareness, streamline your customer base, and using platforms like Mailchimp and Klayvio, is relatively easy to begin. Cool? Let’s talk strategy. 

Abandoned Cart Series

So you go online window shopping – toss some items in your cart and ghost them – and receive an email an hour later reminding you that you “forgot” something. That’s an abandoned cart email automation! E-commerce business owners who employ an abandoned cart strategy can expect to recover around 63% of the money left on the table by customers who abandon their carts. 

Tips to rock your first abandoned cart series

  • • Studies show that customers generally convert after receiving the third reminder email, so aim to take your abandon cart email further than a single reminder email. 
  • • Find a sweet spot that works for your business based on your metrics, but make sure to pace the send frequency of the reminder emails (I.E. 24hrs, 48hrs, 72hrs). 
  • • Aim to make future adjustments to the series by analyzing the metrics associated with it. You may find that you only need two reminders emails instead of three, or would benefit from having more.

Welcome Series 

A welcome email can be triggered when a subscriber joins an email list. Welcome emails are great because on average, they receive an open rate of 45% (versus 18% for promotional emails). Because shoppers are actively opening and engaging with welcome messages, these types of campaigns provide an excellent opportunity for business owners to introduce themselves, their products, and what customers can expect from the business.

Tips to rock your first welcome series

  • • Give subscribers the low-down on your brand. Briefly tell your brand story, how you stand out, what you have in common with your customers and why they should be (and you are) excited about your new relationship.
  • • Give users an incentive to make a purchase from your site by offering a carrot (I.E. a discount code, downloadable PDF, etc.)
  • • Share other avenues subscribers can engage with your brand (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) 

Email Nurture Series

Nurture campaigns allow e-commerce business owners to focus on the 47% of customers who are ready to buy from them, just not at this moment. Nurture series gradually guide customers through the sales cycle by sharing content they deem as valuable. This type of series ensures that customers have a reason to remain subscribed to your email list because they receive more than just sales emails. 

Tips to rock your first nurture series

  • • Find a creative way to add value to your audience by educating subscribers about topics pertaining to your brand/industry/product, expanding on your brand story, etc.  
  • • Don’t focus on discounts or products. Nurture campaigns are all about content marketing! 
  • • Prioritize content that’s helpful to subscribers. What problems are your subscribers experiencing that you can solve with email content?

New Customer Series

Sending a series of emails to new customers is a crucial first step in creating lasting relationship with them. Good customer service goes a long way IRL and online, so it’s a good idea for business owners to make sure the good vibes can be felt in cyberspace too. 

Tips to rock your first new customer series 

  • • Send a “thanks for your purchase” email immediately after purchase.
  • • Follow up with a simple check-in a few days later to provide new customers with an easy way to contact you if they need anything or have questions.
  • • Send notifications when a product ships and shortly after it’s scheduled to arrive. Make sure to ask if the product arrived free of damage and provide a way to reach you just in case.
  • • Solicit customers to leave reviews if they are satisfied with the product.
  • • Feel free to offer customers a time-sensitive promotion to make another purchase.

Bonus! See below for general new customer email send times, but definitely make adjustments as you observe the metrics specific to your campaigns. 

  • • Thank You email : Immediately
  • • Check-in email: ~ 3 days later
  • • Product Arrival email: 2 days after product should have arrived
  • • Product Review: ~ 4-5 days later
  • • Time-sensitive Promotion email: ~ 5 days later
  • • Promotion Reminder: ~ 1 day after time sensitive promotion

Of course, email marketing automation doesn’t stop with these four types campaigns. Online business owners can employ more personalized campaigns by sending Happy Birthday or Anniversary automations, asking older customers to take specific actions to re-engage with the brand using a re-engagement campaign, and more!

We recommend implementing the above series to get a feel for how email marketing automation affects your business. Once you have a handle on your metrics and understanding what’s working, you can start working to add new automations specific to your business.

The Latest and the Greatest from Shopify Unite 2019

Remember that time Natasha went to Toronto to hang with the cool kids at Shopify Unite 2019? We’ve got updates! Check out the latest and the greatest platform upgrades erchants can expect from Shopify this year: 

For the merchant looking to streamline their checkout flow

New Shopify Point of Sale cart app extensions for the win.

A newly designed Shopify POS and cart app extensions are on the way! Drawing on merchant feedback, Shopify is redesigning the POS to better fit retail staff and provide quick access to a plethora of new apps, as well as creating a unified backoffice to sync customers, inventory and orders. This will be a godsend for merchants who sell subscriptions – no more using two payment processors! 

Merchants will also enjoy faster checkout, refunds/exchanges and global search. 

For the merchant who wants more control over their store design

A freshly designed workspace to edit your website.

To help merchants fully visualize the design of their website before it goes live, Shopify is placing more control over store layout and aesthetic in merchant’s hands. Check out how Shopify’s customization options are expanding: 

  • Merchants will be able to customize any page using sections like what is currently on the homepage.
  • Need to duplicate copy or images across multiple pages? Soon merchants will be able to create Master Pages of content that can be applied to more than one page. 
  • Store content will stay in place as changes are made to a store. Merchants will now update or change their website theme without needing to move content over manually.
  • Editing and previewing website updates will be a cinch in Shopify’s newly designed workspace. 

For the merchant embracing video in their digital marketing strategy 

New native video support for products. 

According to Think with Google, 60% of shoppers say online video has given them ideas or inspiration for their purchase. By adding native video and 3D model support to the product section, Shopify is giving merchants the opportunity to up the ante when it comes to marketing product features and benefits.

Videos will be accessible in the same place merchants currently manage images. P.S. Get ready for an abundance of new editor apps and custom integrations!

For the merchant who needs some extra spice in a website

Creating custom experiences just got easier. 

With Shopify’s new custom storefront tools, merchants will be able to create personalized experiences for customers using more interactive mediums. Think: better engagement with customers using voice shopping, live streams, smart mirrors and more.

For the merchant who’s all about loyalty, loyalty, loyalty 

Reward your customers easier.

Shopify has come bearing gifts in the form of new Shopify Point of Sale cart app extensions. With the new extentionsions, merchants will be able to edit and apply customer loyalty points and discounts directly from the customer cart. With ample loyalty and retention apps that integrate seamlessly with merchants’ POS checkout flow and online stores, there will be no need to interrupt checkout or click elsewhere to retrieve customer details (birthdays, reward milestones, etc).

For the merchant who’s ready to go global 

Get ready for seamless cross-border selling. 

For merchants who operate stores in a language other English, Shopify is adding eleven new languages (Dutch, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Malay, Hindi, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Korean, and Thai) to provide solutions for over 2 billion people around the world. In addition, merchants will be able sell in multiple currencies with Shopify Payments! Soon customers will be able to convert between the following currencies: GBP, AUD, CAD, EUR, HKD, JPY, NZD, SGD, and USD.

For the merchant who’s all about scaling operations 

Keep your customers fulfilled with the Shopify Fulfillment Network.

Shopify is making it much easier for merchants to fulfill orders (and customer’s hearts) with the soon-to-come Shopify Fulfillment Network. The network consists of a series of dispersed fulfillment centers that use machine learning to help merchants ship items more efficiently. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Smart inventory services: Order, inventory and customer data will sync and remain up-to-date across all warehouse locations. When it’s time to ship a product, the network will automatically select the closest fulfillment location that has optimal inventory. Time to restock? Merchants receive a notification letting them know. In addition, merchants can rest easy knowing Shopify guarantees 99.5% order accuracy.
  • Someone to call on when you need help: Merchants can expect a dedicated account manager to help guide them through the world of simplified shipping.
  • The Shopify Fulfillment Network is currently available in the US. Interested merchants can apply now for early access! 

So, what do you think? All pretty exciting announcements, right? If you want to learn more and be kept abreast of the updates as these babies roll out this year, make sure you’ve joined our newsletter list – we’ll be sharing there and on Instagram!

How Much Money Should I Invest for a New Website?

The first step in getting a new website is admitting that you need one. Congrats! 🎉 The next step in the process is figuring out what you need your website to do, and how much cash flow to set aside for your investment.

While the overall formula may differ from business to business, the one thing we like to advise our clients is that what you put in, is what you’ll get back out. Make sense, right? Another rule of thumb is to invest in a website early. If you’re a seller who opens a brick and mortar without a nod to your e-commerce solution, there’s a chance you could begin using a POS that doesn’t integrate with your e-commerce site when it comes time to build one. It’s a good idea to tackle the online and IRL store together to make sure the two systems are talking to each other when it comes to getting those dollars!

OK, enough with the preliminary stuff, let’s get into it!

When it comes to investing in your website, work towards putting 5% of what your business makes a year into your site. So for example, if your business is bringing in 100K a year, you would want to invest 5K of that in your website each year.

We hear what you’re saying, “really, each year?” The answer is yes. Set aside a yearly budget make sure you’re able to keep your tech up-to-date and on par with new capabilities. Think about it, you don’t want to own the pretty website that doesn’t work right because your plugins are broken! 

We hear your next question too – what if my business isn’t making money yet? Totally fine, you’ve still got options. There are plenty of DIY drag-and-drop website builders – Squarespace, WIX, Weebly, (and coming soon, Mailchimp!) – to help get you up and running. Your main goal here is to do whatever you can to get online. 80% of consumers are online shoppers which means they are researching products on the web before they buy them. You’ve gotta get in there – quickly!

If you’re going to go the DIY route, keep in mind that what you create doesn’t have to be/likely isn’t going to be your final website! As your business grows, you’ll find that you’ll need a website more specific to your business that can better respond to your customer’s needs. That’s when it’s time to start planning the custom website of your dreams! 

Last question – how do I determine my website ROI? The most common metric to evaluate ROI for an e-commerce website is an increase in sales . You can also rack the percentage of website visitors moved to leads, landing page conversion rates, percentage of leads moved to customers, or the number of new customers subscribed to your email list. Check out this article for more ideas on tracking your ROI.

If you’ve set a budget and would like to explore your options, let’s discuss! At Nicely Built, we offer solutions for business owners who are just starting out, those who are looking to migrate from one platform to another, and for those who are looking for custom, bespoke options.