This is the list of steps I will be taking and asking you to complete when setting up your first website. Feel free to download this information anytime and use it for building your online business.
Step1 – Define your brand
Have you ever thought of why you want to create a website? Or a business? What’s the reason behind having a product or a service to sell? If you haven’t, here is a PDF file that will help you find some clarity:
If you are my client, I’ll ask you to fill in the Branding Template. Don’t worry, I’ll help you along the way. When you are satisfied, share the final version with your team and refer to the template when making a business decision – It will help you keep your decisions in line with your business vision, mission, and identity.
Step 2 – Choose your hosting platform
Your website needs a platform where it will be stored and accessed worldwide. If you want to be on a completely free option, use WordPress. However, keep in mind:
WordPress will be included in your domain name – It will look something like yourdomain.wordpress.com
You won’t be able to add any e-commerce options, which means that customers won’t be able to purchase your products or services online
Plugin installation will be limited
However, you will be able to:
Showcase content – including products and services
Add contact details – email address, phone number, store address
Move to a business plan anytime for £20/month
On the other hand, if you are ready to open an eCommerce, I would recommend Squarespace has it presents better in-built functionalities for hosting online businesses. It costs between £15-21 depending on your billing option. Here is an example of a website I build:
Want a custom-made website, coded from scratch? I can do it as well – just contact me for an initial consultation. I code in Ruby on Rails and use Heroku as hosting platform. Here is an example of a website I coded.
Your business needs a name. If that name has already been purchased, you cannot use it online. And if someone else registers that name, you won’t be allowed to use it anymore. To secure your business name, purchase your chosen domain at GoDaddy and follow the instruction. Still not sure how to do it? Let me help you!
If you are working with me, this is where my experience really shines. Based on your branding guidelines (discussed in Step1), I’ll build a website that it’s faithful to your own business identity while keeping into consideration digital marketing best practices (including but not limited to SEO and UX). And therefore, giving you the best chances to be found online and convert visitors into paying customers.
Keywords tools. So popular. So easy to use. I’ve even been asked at job interviews how familiar I was with keywords tools.
And let’s be frank…who hasn’t relied on Google Keywords Tool when creating a PPC campaign? I have.
Today I don’t. Actually, I find keyword tools extremely misleading and at times downright wrong.
1. Intrinsic caveats
When searching for keywords, the available online tools give details about the popularity of the selected keywords, including the number of searches per month, CPA, total cost, and forecast conversions. However, things are not as straightforward as they seem:
Keywords impressions are skewed by PPC campaigns which potentially could increase the forecast campaign cost
Keywords monthly searches are shown as averages, therefore not taking into account seasonal trends and their impact on the total number of conversions
The number of forecast conversions is based on non-last-click attribution models, therefore not considering the influence of a PPC campaign to driving conversions
Conversion value doesn’t take into consideration customer lifetime value (LTV)
2. Extrinsic Caveat
Google Keywords Tool has become extremely more refined since its initial launch. Keywords can be saved into groups, campaigns are recommended, forecast predictions are evaluated based on the keyword match type and the historical data of the account (despite the limitations highlighted in Paragraph 1). However:
Google still doesn’t know your business, therefore cannot recommend the best keywords for your business (yet)
Google doesn’t speak your customer’s language, therefore it cannot recommend what your prospective customers will look for online
Google can show only the monthly average searches, not the frequencies of those keywords typed by your customer
3. From keywords to search intent
Rather than focusing on keywords describing what you are selling, you should focus on what your customer would look for online. Therefore, consider:
Keywords that customers might be using when looking for your product (or service) – customers might not be using the exact terminology (for instance, eye doctor vs ophthalmologist)
If your product solves a specific issue, people might be looking for solutions rather than an exact product (How to cure a migraine naturally?)
Suggested/recommended keywords might not be applicable to your business (sports massage vs Thai sports massage)
4. From keywords to purchase intent
When searching for keywords, any keyword tool won’t take into consideration how your product might indeed solve a person’s issue. What Google will do is to evaluate the match between a keyword, an ad copy, and a landing page. This will establish your QC and determine your CPC. If they don’t match? Your ad will be shown less often or your CPC will raise.
According to good PPC practice, all 3 should match. And this is true in most cases. However, consider the case in which you want to recommend a product which offers a unique solution, completely different from what your audience is accustomed to. In this case:
Consider what keywords potential customers would look for online (migraine medication)
In your ad copy entice your audience to consider an alternative solution (fed up with medications that don’t stop your migraine?)
Create a landing page that explains why your potential customer could benefit from considering an alternative approach (Almost 70% of migraines are due to tension in the neck – practice these simple exercises to put your migraine out of your head for good*)
*This is a made-up example, designed for explanatory purposes.
5. Keywords optimization
Another downfall of keywords tool is the little emphasis on keyword match and how to optimize campaign budget. A rule of thumb:
Ignore Broad match – unless your keyword is so niche, that only people truly interested in your product would use that word
Start with “Phrase match” – It gives you enough room to understand what people are looking for when typing that query
Don’t underestimate [Exact match] – It keeps the cost down while accepting spelling mistakes, plural, and additional keywords such as location, near me, and descriptive adjectives
Invest your time in creating a well rounded Negative Keywords List
6. Keywords location, device, audience
Finally, keywords tools don’t help you optimize your campaign based on location, device or type of audience. Relying only on keywords tools means painting just half of a picture.
Are all your chosen keywords valid in every store? Exclude locations where specific keywords do not apply
Is your audience active on mobile? If not, exclude mobile from your campaign (decrease bidding by 100%). Do you get traffic but not conversions on tablets? If so, use tablets to nurture your audience before converting. All conversions come from desktops? You can invest some extra budget
Do you serve only a restrict group of people? Exclude any audience segment that is not your audience based on age, income, behavior.
Focus less on keywords and more on:
Your customers’ problems and issues
Your product and how it can solve your customer’s needs
Your customers’ language and word choices
The gap between your audience knowledge and your product benefits
Only when you have truly comprehended your customers’ needs and how to communicate your solution to them, you’ll have an effective PPC campaign.
The vision statement is a declaration of your organization’s objectives. By stating the business long-term goal, the company is intended to guide the decision-making process.
For instance, Facebook vision is to bring people together. Through a platform that can be accessed from all over the world, Facebook gives anyone the opportunity to connect with people no matter where they are.
The mission statement summarizes an organization purpose; how a business delivers its vision through products and services.
For instance, Facebook provides a free platform where users can share their news and thoughts, catch-up with friends, follow their favorite brands, and join groups based on their passions & interests.
Write 3 words that best describe your core values and diversify your brand from your main competitors.
Be bold – Move Fast – Focus on Impact
Write 3 words on what your business should be focusing on to connect with your target customers.
Social – Inventive – Problem-solver
Identify areas on which you want to focus on to deliver business results. For instance, consider each business product/category or customer persona as your focus area.
In today’s world, everyone is online. From smartphones to laptops, we are constantly connected. We work, have fun, build relationships and learn new skills on our devices.
With the rise of machine learning and personal assistants, we have also become accustomed to type more complex queries among which the “near me” stands as one of the most popular. From restaurants to gyms, everyone is searching for a business on the go.
If you are a business owner looking for new ways to grow your business, targeting the local “near me” search is a powerful tool for driving more customers into your brick-and-mortar store.
But how does this translate into local search and local SEO?
Over the years, Google has made information more and more available to users; from personalized search results to various types of featured snippets. These rich answer boxes have reduced the need for consumers to click through to websites to get the information they need.
For local businesses, information is displayed in a knowledge panel called “local snap pack” which is controlled by Google My Business (GMB). When users are looking for a store, Google displays the top three best results in a framed box on top of the page. Due to its increased visibility, appearing in the local snap pack means more clients for the featured businesses.
Below are some local SEO tips that every business owner could apply today to drive more organic traffic and get displayed in the local snap pack (even without any prior marketing knowledge).
1. Take a N-A-P (Name, Address, Phone Number)
The first step any local business should do to impact its local SEO ranking is to claim and optimize its Google My Business (GMB) page. This tactic achieves a two-fold result: it gives Google a clear understanding of business and helps customers select a store at the expenses of its competitors.
Now, to increase local ranking, the information must accurate and consistent across all channels. This is why periodic checks should be made to ensure the information is up-to-date; it will increase Google’s confidence in the business and so the customers’.
So, if you haven’t claimed your GMB page, do it today! Don’t forget to include opening hours and driving directions included (as recommended by GMB Guidelines).
2. Let customers review your business
Let’s be honest here, who hasn’t checked online reviews before making a purchase or visiting a business? We all know that a positive review can often be the deciding factor.
Positive reviews have become such a powerful tool for attracting new customers (see data), that Google has been including reviews as a determining factor to the credibility of a business (see data and GMB Help Page).
But how can you convince people to review your business? Simply offer a small discount or gift in exchange for one. A small token of appreciation is nothing compared to the impact that a positive review can make to your business.
Someone left a negative one? Reply to the customer, offer to make it up for them. Once you have acted, you don’t need to do anything else. People will appreciate your commitment and discard the opinion of unreasonable people.
3. Showcase your local commitment
In addition to their online presence, many store owners connect locally with like-minded businesses, participate and sponsor local events. This proactive approach not only increases brand awareness in the community but also local ranking as upcoming events can be displayed on GMB pages.
Therefore, promoting local events is an effective way to show your dedication to your community and differentiate yourself from the competition. As Google strives to give users the most up to date information (Google trends, anyone?) showcasing an upcoming event could help your business being featured in the local pack.
4. Make GMB an extension of your website
GMB and your business website should work in sync as a single entity. One way to do this is to update both sites at the same time. This step is essential for keeping brand consistency and helping both Google and your customers to easily identify your business, no matter the site they are visiting (some ideas can be found here).
Therefore, if you are updating your website, I recommend updating your GMB page as well (or vice-versa). Such changes could include key business information such as opening hours or more branding-related updates such as photo galleries.
5. Be better than your competitors
Despite applying local SEO best practice, businesses might fail to rank high enough to be displayed in Google’s “local snap pack”.
If you find that your business doesn’t get displayed in the local pack when searching for business related queries, browse the websites that made the cut. Is their website easy to navigate? Does it load faster? Does it allow online booking? These are a few questions you might ask when analyzing a competitor’s website. For more ideas, check section 2 of this blog post.
6. Invest in link-building
A well-established business shows trust and authority. Online this means receiving inbound links from reputable, legitimate sites. Receiving links from high-quality websites is one of the most efficient ways to gain domain authority and rank higher on Google’s SERPs (high-quality is key here).
From a business point of view, building meaningful relationships is one of the most efficient ways to attract links. People will organically link back to your site when you provide value. However, there’s nothing wrong in asking another business for an inbound link. An easy way would be to write a high-quality blog post for another business’ site which contains hyperlinks pointing to your site.
If you implement these six local SEO tips, your business will definitely see a boost in local search ranking. And hopefully, a place in the “local snap pack”.
All eCommerce businesses face digital marketing challenges; from brand awareness to upselling to loyal customers.
However, some businesses have an even bigger challenge when promoting a product whose solution is completely unique.
For instance, the biotech company that I currently work for has developed a unique approach to simplify antibody conjugation and protein detection. Instead of the gold-standard “primary-secondary-label”, this proprietary technology allows researchers to directly conjugate their primary antibody and thus get rid of secondaries altogether.
To the researcher, this means saving time and money by removing additional experimental steps (and therefore all the associated costs).
But despite being an incredibly efficient method, this approach is still not well known in the scientific community.
So, how do you promote a product whose solution to a common issue is completely radical?
This is how…
1. Attract the right audience with content marketing
An easy way to get your unique product in front of the right audience is to generate free content that addresses issues your ideal customers are currently facing.
Identify the problem – What issues are my ideal customers facing?
Describe the current solution – Is the current and well-established solution flawed
Talk about your alternative solution – How is your unique product addressing the issue?
On the company’s website, users can download experimental guides on applications such as Lateral flow, Western blot, Immunohistochemistry, and Flow cytometry. The aim of these guides is to help researchers start their first experiment by introducing the scientific principle behind the application, the parameters to consider, and how to troubleshoot common issues. At the end of the guide, we explain how our unique antibody labeling kit could help them optimize their assay.
2. Target potential customers using PPC
Your ideal customers are still using the old solution because they are not aware of your product.
How could you solve this? Generate a paid campaign that targets keywords that your potential customers would be using.
One solution is to bid for keywords that people would be using when searching for the classic solution. The scope of your campaign is to show how your product could solve common issues associated with the standard solution.
As our approach to antibody detection avoids secondary antibodies, I would bid for secondary antibody related keywords. Then I would generate an ad copy whose scope is to show how our product would solve many issues associated with the use of secondary antibodies. My ad copy would read something like:
Now, the only objection that people might have is that switching to your solution might require additional knowledge, be time-consuming, or too expensive. People tend to stick to old ways simply because it’s easier.
Therefore, whatever the case, it’s your responsibility to explain the product, show the benefits and overcome doubts.
Also, don’t forget a well-constructed landing page that encourages the visitor to take action (from buying a product to filling in a form). An example:
3. Reach out by building a targeted email list
If you have already an email list, it’s time to use it. People in your mailing list might not be familiar with your product yet; for instance, they might have purchased different products and never checked other ranges. In this case:
Send them an informative email – Did you know about our free “Antibody Labeling” guide? It explains the principle of antibody labeling and how you can take advantage of the chemistry with our Lightning-Link® product range?
Explain how it can be used in their work – Did you know our product can solve antibody labeling issues by removing the need of using secondaries in your assay?
If people have never purchased our antibody labeling kit but visited pages associated to assays in which our product could be used, we send users monthly emails to remind them about our product and how their work could benefit from it.
I’ll be honest. I’m not a fan of display campaigns. In my experience, they amounted to virtually nothing in achieving any significant business goal.
However, since the launch of Google Ads, I decided to give GDN a second chance.
Here are some suggestions on how to generate your first Display Campaign while keeping track of your business objectives.
1. Define your campaign goal
When setting up your Display campaign, keep in mind the goal you want to achieve. More traffic? More leads? More sales? I strongly recommend selecting one of the Campaign Goals available in the new interface.
2. Define your campaign settings
Independently form your business objectives, you’ll be asked to select a Campaign Type. In this case, select the Display option.
Location – Add the countries in which your Campaign will be displayed
Languages – Include just those languages that your ad copy will target
Bid for conversions – Bid for your business goal rather than clicks
Manually set bids – Keep your budget under control
Budget – Enter an amount that you are comfortable spending each day
Ad rotation – Optimize or not optimize? Both are sound choices.
Ad group name – Suggestion: [Product Name] or [Product Category]
Audiences & Demographics – (See Paragraph “Audiences and Demographics”)
Ad schedule – Add a schedule to keep costs under control or if you are aware of when your potential clients are mostly active
Automatic targeting – Leave the default “Conservative Automation”
Ad group bid – The maximum amount you want to spend per keyword
Frequency capping – Add a maximum number of impressions per day to keep costs down
Content exclusions – Opt out of showing your ads on content that doesn’t fit your brand (mature, sensitive or unrelated)
Devices – Exclude any device you don’t want your ad to be shown on. Personally, I exclude mobile and tablet apps. I keep only mobile and tablet websites.
Click Create your ad
3. Create your Ad Copy
Now it’s time to be creative and generate an Ad that is both enticing to the customers and faithful to your brand. Images are the key aspect of display and can easily make or break your campaign. Here are some suggestions on how to choose your display image based on your business objective.
Sales: Select images that showcase your product in action. For instance, the image below showcases how simple it is to use an antibody labeling kit. Use the associated headlines and description to reinforce your message (in this example, saving time).
Leads: Use a lead magnet such as a promotional offer or a free PDF to encourage users to take actions. Don’t be afraid of adding text to your image – Canva is a great tool for generating visual content. Use the headline and the long headline to grab the user’s attention with a clear benefit (in this example, a free guide). Use the description to reinforce what the lead magnetic will provide (in this example, scientific knowledge).
Website traffic: to get the right people to visit your website, you can choose a variety of ads, from products to free resources. As I’m already driving traffic to products and free resources using other campaigns, I’m using this campaign to send users to landing pages that list all the website products or resources around a specific need.
Product and brand consideration: simply encourage people to explore your products and services. This is a middle-of-the-funnel type of campaign. People might be browsing and considering purchasing but they have not made their mind up yet. This is a good opportunity to showcase how your product stands out from the competition.
Brand awareness: to reach a broader audience and build awareness. This is a campaign aimed to let more users know about your brand and your products.
4. Define keywords, audiences, demographics, topics, and placements
Don’t let Google take control over your Campaign. You have the product experience, the brand knowledge, and the business acumen to decide who will see your ad, on which channels and at what time.
KEYWORDS – Add keywords that match your campaign product and intent.
AUDIENCES – Narrow the reach of your campaign to users having a specific identity. There are three types of audiences:
Affinity & Custom Audience: users are selected based on their interests and habits
In-market & Custom Intent: users are selected based on what they are researching or planning
How they have interacted with your business: to remarket website visitors
You can generate custom-made audiences by adding keywords that best describe what people are interested in or planning to buy.
DEMOGRAPHICS – Exclude users whose age, gender, or household income would not constitute the right target.
TOPICS – Include topics if possible. You can even make your selection more granular by adding subcategories (for instance, Science > Biology > Neuroscience).
PLACEMENTS – Include websites, YouTube videos, and channels where you’d like your ad to appear. By selecting the channels you’ll be in control of deciding not only who will be exposed to your ad, but also at which moment. Selecting videos explaining the Western blot assay for Western blot products I’ll target not only people who perform the assay but above all when they are in the right frame of mind.
This is an essential point as Google Ads displays your ads based on popularity rather than relevance (based on my experience).
5. Define Locations and Devices
Each campaign targets specific locations based on your business reach. However, Google Ads allows campaigns to have an extra level of granularity by increasing or decreasing their bidding.
In the examples I so far provided, I target both US and UK. However, I also increased the bidding budget by 20% in key business locations such as California, New York, Texas, and Maryland. An easy way to find out key business locations is to identify:
Where your converting traffic comes from
Where your best customers are geo-located
Where your business is planning to expand
Finally, I decreased the bidding budget by 20% on mobile devices. Why? Because it’s pretty common to click on ads on mobiles without any intention of doing so. An easy way to test the efficiency of your GDN-generated device traffic is to identify:
As marketers or salespeople, we are very much focused on identifying leads, that is potential buyers who showed some level of interest in purchasing our products or services.
But how can we make sure these leads have a business value? One method is to set up a scoring system to differentiate between the good, the bad and the ugly.
Assign points (0-up to X)
Lead scoring is a methodology used to rank prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization.
Here at Expedeon, as the marketing team, we assign to each lead a score that ranges between 0 and 80 points. According to this measuring system, at 80 points a user gets assigned to one of our sales representatives that follows up with an introductory phone call. It’s now the responsibility of the sales team to convert a marketing qualified lead (MQL) into a sale qualified lead (SQL).
The secret of a high ratio SQL/MQL lays in an effective scoring system that identifies the stage at which a website visitor becomes a potential customer. If the MQL value is too low, the user might not be at a buying stage yet, if too high it could damage the chances of closing a sale (aka…losing to a competitor).
The numeric value is meaningless, what counts is defining a threshold score above which, the user is at a buying stage.
The scoring system currently in place assigns:
50 points to a guide download
1 point to a page visit
3 points to an email click
1 point to an email open
5 points to a custom services page
80 points to a direct contact or a brochure download – (the users becomes automatically a marketing qualified lead)
My recommendation would be to start from a high number (such as 100) while readjusting the value of each action to better represent their economic value. Don’t be afraid to lower the scoring threshold to test if marketing qualified leads (MQLs) could be converted into sales qualified leads (SQLs) in a shorter time frame. Finally, keep track of your changes by requesting a constant feedback from the sales team regarding the leads’ quality.
Another key aspect to consider is online behavior. Do purchasers perform specific online activities before converting? For instance, downloading a guide, watching a video or requesting more information? If that was the case, any page that helps conversion should also be reflected in the page scoring system.
How do you do this?
Google Analytics assigns a higher score to pages that contribute to conversion. These pages could reflect a higher score in Pardot. For instance, if a page gets scored 1 point/visit, pages with a higher score could get an additional +2 or +3 points.
Depending on job title, business size, or even social media followers, a lead might have a higher or lower business value. For instance, a lead could have a higher ROI due to a tendency of customers with specific characteristics to make larger orders or become loyal customers.
By looking at the lead’s characteristics what distinguishes a recurrent buyer from an occasional visitor? Is geographical location, job position or age group?
Once you have found what defines your best customers, you can assign a higher grade to prospects who present such characteristics. Grades vary from A (great) to F (poor).
A combination of high scoring and grading should identify your priority leads.
But how can you find common features among your best purchasers?
An easy way to determine purchasers’ features is to generate a segment in Google Analytics to isolate all visitors that performed an online transaction.
How to create a segment:
On top of a page view, click Add Segment
Click on New Segment
Click on Conditions (Under Advanced)
Select Page from the first drop-down menu
Select Contains from the second drop-down menu
In the text-box select your check-out page (example, /checkout)
Name your new segment (example, Purchasers)
Now, Purchasers can be identified by geography, interests, age, and gender.
Users having a more likely chance to purchase will then be marked with a higher score, while leads coming from a specific geographic and/or demographic with a low purchasing history will be marked with a lower score. The sales team will either not follow up or move them down the priority list.
To determine if the most profitable buyers come from a specific area, apply the Purchasers Segment in the Location View (Audience > Geography > Location). For instance, if most of the purchases come from the United States, by clicking on the US map it is possible to determine which states are the most profitable, and by clicking on the State itself, to visualize from which cities the orders came from.
In addition to scoring these leads higher in Pardot, it’s also good practice to incorporate additional digital strategies, including PPC and remarketing.
If the most profitable companies are located in a specific state or region:
Generate paid campaigns that are specifically targeting those locations
Generate an Audience in Google Analytics and use it for retargeting
How to create an Audience:
Go to Admin
In property open Audience Definition
Select New Audience
Select your new segment (example, Purchasers)
Select both Google Analytics and AdWords as display platforms
Name your new Audience (example, Purchasers Audience)
Now, you can target those users by showing them related-products:
Add the New Audience to a search campaign (use +Audience)
Generate a Remarketing Display Campaign to target that specific Audience
Re-targeting is a great strategy for cross-selling and up-selling.
Information regarding job roles is far trickier to establish in Google Analytics, especially for science-related interests. The best way of figuring out the job role of prospects is to include a (mandatory) job field when a user fills in a form to access free content.
Currently, we have set up Pardot Forms on Progressive. That means that if a user has already downloaded a guide, on their next download they’ll be asked for additional information, such as their job role.
The more complete a data profile is, the easier it will be to send highly tailored information. For instance, academics, a far more budget-conscious type of customer, will be targeted with offers and discounts, while large corporations will receive updates regarding manufacturing and custom services options.
Age & Gender groups
To determine if the most profitable buyers have an age or gender bias, apply the Purchasers Segment in the Demographics View (Audience > Demographics > Overview). If the most profitable customers come from a specific age group or have a gender bias, you can assign a higher score. For instance, by looking at Purchasers > Age, I found that most profitable users are between 35-45 years of age.
As we do not ask for any personal data such as age and gender, we only use this information to tailor our PPC strategy: we exclude students (below the age of 25) and retired individuals (above the age of 65), while we bid (20%) more on the age group that – based on our data – is most likely to purchase (25-35 years of age).
Based on all the above attributes, users will receive a final grade that is the mean of all their scores. For instance, if a user has an A for geographical location, B for job title, and C for age/gender, their final grade will be a B.
Lead source and offer
A very popular way to attract new leads is to promote offers and discounts. Did customers start purchasing after seeing one of your offers? Did they become first-time buyers after taking advantage of promotional codes? When a promotional campaign ends:
Report the percentage of new time buyers
Report the most successful marketing channels
Budget, Authority, Need, and Timeline (BANT)
As the marketing team, we do not rely on BANT to qualify leads whether a prospect is a good fit based on their budget, internal influence, need to purchase and timeline. However, large quote inquiries and bulk orders (B) are prioritized and so are urgent purchasing requests (NT). In all these instances, a same-day contact follows (depending on the time-zone).
Otherwise, it’s the sales team rep in charge of assessing the sale potential of MQLs on the basis of the BANT methodology. If however, an MQL fails to become an SQL, the lead comes back to the marketing team for additional nurturing, through the Engagement Studio.
5. Segment customers based on their purchasing activity – the RFM model
Finally, customers are scored based on the recency and frequency of their purchases. According to this model, if they bought recently, they would get higher points. The same if they bought many times, or if they spent bigger amounts. These three parameters combined, create the Recency – Frequency – Monetary RFM score. This is a comprehensive table from Pluter.
Once you have divided your customers into these groups, you can follow them up with tailored emails. If you don’t have enough manpower to follow up on each segment, focus on your best customers, those with the highest recency, frequency, and monetary score.
But how do you calculate RFM?
First identify Recency (days), Frequency (times), and Monetary Value (CLV) for each customer. Then assign a score from one to five to recency, frequency, and monetary values individually for each customer. For instance, the highest-value customers will have an RFM = 555, and the lowest-value customers an RFM=111.
A common calculation is to assign 5 to people that purchased in the last 24 hours, 4 in the last 3 days, 3 within the current month, 2 for last six months and 1 for everyone else. However, scores should be established based on the business you operate (for instance, for small businesses a purchase of $2K might identify a Champion client). Plus, such ranges should be constantly revised, especially when the business grows.
Once each customer has their RFM calculated, they are assigned to their corresponding customer segment.
Email marketing is an effective way to engage both potential clients and recurrent buyers. Keeping track of how well your email marketing messages are doing, is the key to turn a marketing strategy into business results.
Most email marketing blogs talk about keeping track of 4 obvious rates: bounce, opt-out, open, and click-through.
The first two metrics – bounce and opt-out rates- are indicators of your email list’s health; when high (above 5%), your list is either out-of-date (the email addresses are invalid) or not targeted enough (the content is of no interest to the recipient). Conversely, high open and click-through rates result from well-targeted emails (respectively, 15-20% and 5-10%).
Now, far more significant is the conversion rate: the rate of prospects who reach your landing page and accept the offer, whether it’s to download a free whitepaper, register for a webinar or buy a product.
But that’s not all…
1. Don’t calculate rates – calculate total numbers
First, a rate does not always reflect a business success – the total number of users that converted is far more crucial to business success than the ratio between the number of converters versus the total number of users. For instance, 200 conversions are better than 20 even if the first number might represent a lower conversion rate.
Lesson 1: move away from rates, embrace total numbers
2. Don’t calculate revenue – calculate profit
Second, even the total number of conversions might not be the most valuable business metric. For instance, a campaign promoting an expensive product might result in a better gross revenue even when the number of conversions is lower. For example, 20 conversions that generate gross generating of 2K each (40K total), are better than 200 conversions that bring only 0.1K each (20K total).
However, calculating total profit would be even better. If your e-commerce platform is connected to Google Analytics, the campaign’s revenue is calculated automatically (product’s price * the total number of products ordered).
To calculate profit, you need to upload the cost of your email campaigns by applying this formula:
Hours of labor * Hourly cost + Monthly cost of the email’s provider/number of monthly emails
Lesson 2: calculate the cost of a campaign to report profit rather than relying on revenue alone
Third, in a multi-touch conversion path, users interact with a brand multiple times before converting; therefore, understanding how each touch-point help driving conversions is essential for campaign optimization.
In Google analytics select Conversions > Attribution to determine how many conversions the email campaign helped to generate. Also, don’t forget to test different attribution models to establish which one brings the highest ROI.
For instance, if an email campaign had the highest influence as Last Non-Direct Click, consider showing the email campaigns towards the end of a sale journey.
Lesson 3: Use Attribution Model to determine the Email Campaign Influence on Conversion
4. Content marketing – assign a value
In case you are sending people to a content page (download a PDF, sign up to a webinar), you need to assign a value to the content based on the sales you predict the content will generate. If you have no idea, assign a value of 1 (in your currency) as default. This value will be added to the Goal Conversion Value in GA.
To help you calculate the Goal Conversion Value, consider this formula:
% [conversions/total views] * Avg. order value
The Avg. order value is calculated using this formula:
[Total revenue – Content cost] / Number of orders
Total revenue is calculated using this formula:
[Total opportunity value – Content cost]
Lesson 4: Assign a Value to your micro-conversions
5. Long-term loyalty – annual ROI
After calculating the number of conversions that your piece of content helped generating, you should also calculate the campaign’s long-term influence. Create a segment of users whose source/medium is your selected email campaign and estimate the average lifetime of people that received your email(s).
Total number of active subscribers and the total profit they helped in generating
Total of email marketing profits/the average number of active subscribers = What an active subscriber will contribute in a year
The profit of an average active subscriber in a year X the average lifetime of an email address = email marketing lifetime value
6. Keep the best – Drop the rest
If there’s a definite bias towards a specific content, it would be worth investigating:
How did each email contribute to generating the expected conversion?
Why were people showing more interest in specific topics (for instance, seasonal offers rather than free content?)
Why have particular emails contribute more to the business profit than others?
Email marketing obvious metrics are a helpful first step to determine the overall health of your email list. But this is not enough as even a lower conversion rate might deliver a significant business result. Therefore, a marketing approach that focuses on identifying the business bottom line success is the right way to go. My recommendation is to calculate the overall profit, assign a value to your content marketing, and establish the short and long-term influence of your email marketing.