Author Archives: Dennis Consorte

Gearing Up for Back-to-School Buyers

By | July 13, 2010

Have Your Customers Done Their Homework?

Now that it’s the middle of summer, school is the last thing on kids’ minds. But online retailers are already gearing up for what could be a lucrative back-to-school shopping season.  Considering that parents spend around $250 per child for products ranging from backpacks to computer software, savvy online shoppers are looking for the best deals around.  A recent study on online consumer behavior from Compete.com revealed that today’s shoppers are becoming increasingly attuned to the variety of options available before they buy.  From review sites to price comparison engines, moms and dads buying back-to-school goods have more ways to save than ever.  Not surprisingly, the main shopping tool they turn to is an overwhelming favorite – search engines. Continue reading

Measure the Right Key Performance Indicators for Success in Ebusiness

By | June 3, 2010

When starting any Ebusiness venture, knowing how to test, track and evaluate your results is crucial.  By setting up Key Performance Indicators (KPI) otherwise known as Key Success Indicators (KSI), you can in turn create progress and overall company momentum toward a shared goal.

Before delving into the specific KPIs of Ebusiness, it’s important to understand the difference between Ebusiness and Ecommerce – two terms that are often used interchangeably but by definition have different meanings.

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Affiliate Marketing: Beyond Search

By | May 20, 2010
Key Benefits of Starting an Affiliate Program
If you still aren’t sure how an affiliate program could benefit your eBusiness, consider the following benefits that make it an integral part of any successful online marketing plan:
- You Pay Only for Performance – If your affiliates don’t make a sale, they don’t get paid – so you only pay a commission for results.  Compare this to pay per click (PPC) where you have variable costs based on the volume of clicks, whether they generate sales or not.
- Free Advertising for Your Business – When you join an affiliate network, your logo and brand name will be displayed on thousands of websites with no extra work on your part, making it essentially free advertising for you!
- You’re in the Presence of Larger Companies – When your product or logo is listed next to other well-known brand names, your business becomes associated with those brands “by extension.”  For example, if someone were to search for Tory Burch handbags on TheFind, they would see that our client, JildorShoes.com is grouped together with other well-known department stores such as Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. A similar search for “cookies” on Savings.com reveals the David’s Cookies logo in the context of Cheryl&Co., Mrs. Fields and other players in the gourmet food industry.
How Do I Manage An Affiliate Program?
Knowing which affiliate network you want to join is just the first step toward effectively running an affiliate program for your business.  You also have to integrate the right technology to suit your needs, know how to properly leverage relationships, negotiate for traffic and placement and how and when to approach the decision makers who hold the keys to your success.  If you’re just starting out in ecommerce, then you may opt to manage a program yourself. However, it can take years to build a network and learn the ropes of affiliate marketing, and managing another fulltime staff member to handle this side of your business may shift focus away your overall growth. One alternative to in-house program management is to bring on an Outsourced Program Manager (OPM) who can effectively run your program from A to Z, allowing you to effectively scale your e-business. In either case, affiliate marketing, when done strategically, is a necessity to any business looking to scale their online presence and acquire new customers.

You’ve been getting a steady stream of business for a while now, but you’re ready to take things to the next level.   You’ve been working hard to optimize your pages for the search engines, and you’ve just launched a new PPC campaign.  Your email newsletter is going out to thousands of satisfied subscribers.  What are you missing?

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Use Product Zoom to Increase Conversion

By | May 20, 2010

Product Zoom technology gives internet shoppers the virtual experience of wearing, touching and viewing products in fine detail. Zoom lacks the tactile and other sensory experiences of the real world, but it’s about as close as you can get. Online retailers including Anthropologie, Coach, GAP and Zappos all use product zoom successfully to sell their products. According to Internet Retailer, Divisional VP for Coach.com, Ron Offir notes that product zoom technology is, “a very powerful marketing channel for our brand and a driver of business to our stores.”

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Top Ten Ways to Optimize Your Google Adwords Campaigns for Higher Conversions

By | April 27, 2010

When working with Adwords, quality is key.  While Google and other Pay-Per-Click (PPC) search engines don’t go into grand detail on what factors make up their quality score analysis, any good pay per click marketer knows that the higher your quality score – the less you’ll pay for clicks.  To make things even more interesting, none of the PPC search engines will tell you how to go about raising your score.  There are, however, some proven methods and strategies that have shown to decrease your cost per click while raising your quality score.

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Build Customer Loyalty

By | March 26, 2010
5 Strategies to Keep Your Best Clients Coming Back
The Pareto Principle (aka the 80-20 rule) states that 20% of your customers account for 80% of your business. If this old adage is true – you should be doing all you can to keep those 20% coming back again and again.
One tried and true methodology is the American Customer Satisfaction Index developed by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It links quality, expectations and perceived value to overall customer satisfaction and loyalty. See chart below:
ACSI Drivers of Customer Satisfaction
But finding out what really works can be a hit or miss process – especially for small to medium sized businesses that don’t have the brand recognition or fanatical customer loyalty that larger corporations can draw upon.   That’s why, no matter what the competition is doing, you should be following these five proven customer retention strategies to keep your best customers on board.
1. Connect with Your Clients Where They Are – People appreciate knowing that they’re being heard – but just priding yourself on great customer service isn’t enough.  Go to where people are talking about your company like Twitter and Facebook (surprise!  social media networks aren’t just for teenagers anymore.  Even “old fashioned” methods like sending a hand-written thank you card or a personal phone call can do wonders for your bottom line.
2. Don’t Just Concentrate on Your Business – It’s very common to survey your best customers and ask, “How are we doing? Is there something we could do better?” If you’re a B2B company, or even a B2C retailer with other companies comprising part of your customer base (e.g. your Corporate Gifting program), emphasizing your customer’s business (or the area of their life that your company serves) will yield much more valuable information in the long term.  For example, consider asking how business is going, what new ventures they’re getting involved in or new products they’re preparing to launch.  This not only shows that you have a keen interest in the customer’s business, but also unearths some (unspoken) issues that could be applied to the way you market yourself and your business image.
3. Keep Them Updated and Informed – Take some time to simply keep your customers informed – and by informed, that doesn’t mean a sales pitch touting a new product.  Just a simple note to let them know that you’re available to answer any questions they may have or any issues that come up goes long way toward cementing a place in their mind for great support that they’ll remember.
4. Inspire Future Orders – Some companies do this by way of coupons, but these can too easily be tossed aside and forgotten about.  Keep customers coming back by getting them directly involved in your interactive marketing ads.  Well-known brands such as Coca-Cola, Doritos and Skittles have done this successfully with video, viral marketing, contests, tell-a-friend promotions and much more.  The more everyday people get the word out about a brand (and do so creatively), the more memorable and interesting it becomes.
5. Douse Complaints as Soon as You’re Aware of Them – Most customers won’t complain, they’ll just go elsewhere.  Those that do make some noise about an issue or problem with the company need to be addressed as soon as possible.  With the interconnectivity of today’s communications – bad service spreads like wildfire.  Customer-centered companies cannot afford to simply sweep upset customers under the rug and hope the incident will be forgotten.   Take steps to remedy the issue as best you can and as quickly as you can.  Sometimes, the customers who complain the loudest can suddenly become fervent supporters and buyers.
Many other tried-and-true methods, such as sending gifts or preferred customer discounts have always worked to help spur sales and repeat business.  But perhaps the most important point that truly drives customer retention home is to simply focus on building a relationship instead of getting a sale.  By fostering an interest in your customers and getting to know their likes, dislikes, fears and goals, they will in turn eagerly support your business and your brand.

5 Strategies to Keep Your Best Clients Coming Back

The Pareto Principle (aka the 80-20 rule) states that 20% of your customers account for 80% of your business. If this old adage is true – you should be doing all you can to keep those 20% coming back again and again.

One tried and true methodology is the American Customer Satisfaction Index developed by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. It links quality, expectations and perceived value to overall customer satisfaction and loyalty. See chart below:

The ACSI Methodology

Source: ACSI Drivers of Customer Satisfaction

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New Year's Eve 2009: Reflections of a Blue Moon

By | December 31, 2009

Blue moons really do exist

It’s been a snowy morning here in NYC and in just a few hours, we will celebrate a new year filled with hope for a promising future. Time’s Square will be packed with tourists and locals alike, counting down the minutes in the slushy streets typically bumper to bumper with taxi cabs and impatient drivers. Illuminated by the light of a blue moon, we can take time out to reflect on the past as we plan for a successful 2010 personally, professionally and as a society.

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Dennis Consorte, CMO Presents at IRCE 2009

By | June 17, 2009

IRCE 2009 Exhibits

Key members of our team returned last night after attending Internet Retailer 2009 Conference & Exhibition (IRCE), hosted at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center. This was an outstanding event with 5,000 e-tailers in attendance. I had the pleasure of presenting some of our search engine strategies to a group of over 600 online retailers, along with co-panelists Duncan White and Marissa Colwell. Specifically I spoke about local web optimization and Google Product Search. Sharing some of these techniques falls in line with our policy of full transparency to our clients. Other topics included in the presentation entitled, 10 ways to Improve Your SEO Rankings were Search Engine Optimization 101 and other ways to supplement an already strong SEO campaign using some of the new features of Google, such as video optimization and optimizing blogs for inclusion in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
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Google Product Search: Untapped Traffic & Qualified Customers

By | April 16, 2009

Gain Access to Shoppers Who Are Ready to Buy

It used to be that doing a simple search on Google for a particular product would return relevant content sites only. You had to actually drill down and find the shopping results on your own. Until recently, Google only had a small shopping link at the top of the page that generated very few clicks; you may remember when they launched this as Froogle. Now, Google’s Product Search feature, also known as Google Shopping puts direct links to products right at the top of the search results. If you run an ecommerce site and you’re interested in putting your products at the top of the list, keep reading to learn how to send look-to-buy shoppers directly to the product page in question.
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