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6 Tactics to Boost Ecommerce Sales [Without Discounting]

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6 Tactics to Boost Ecommerce Sales [Without Discounting]

Admittedly, when I opened my Etsy shop last year, I half-expected the sales to pour in naturally. In reality, opening an online store is half the battle — you also need a solid strategy for generating ecommerce sales.

The same is true for ecommerce veterans. If you’ve been in the game for a while, you’ve likely weathered periods of slumps or plateaus. When this happens, it’s essential to refresh your strategy with more effective ways to sell.

Here, we’ll cover six tactics to build awareness, entice buyers, and boost sales.

1. A/B Testing

ecommerce sales strategy A/B testing

Absolutely every aspect of your site could be tested for improvement — including images, headlines, product descriptions, and even the overall design.

Specifically, look out for these two areas:

  • Mobile optimization: Sales on mobile devices exceeded 360 billion in 2021, a 15% increase YOY. To entice mobile shoppers, having a website that’s responsive and quick to load is a must.
  • UX experience: Have you ever visited a website with too many popups? Or one with a messy checkout process? A great user experience is frictionless — one where the user can arrive at your website, browse around, and complete a purchase with ease.

Even if you think you’re already doing well with your current website collateral, there’s always room to A/B test your content.

Pro Tip

Before you start changing everything on your website to see what works, stop and create a battle plan. If you change everything at once, you won’t know what’s effective and what’s not. Plan two weeks for each change so you can gather enough data to make a decision.

Then, start with one component at a time. You could test something every two weeks and still find room for improvement years down the road.

2. Build an Email List

Did you know email generates $42 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 4,200% ROI?

Email can help you achieve a number of things — promote sales, keep in touch with customers, market your products, and ultimately generate more sales.

The problem? You need people to email.

An email list is a group of users who have given you permission to send them relevant content. To build that list, you need several ways for people to opt in. For example, you could create a website popup, or add an opt-in button at checkout.

Don’t be discouraged if you only have a few people on your list to start. It can take some time to build.

Pro Tip

Only 3% of marketing emails have an open rate above 50%. While this stat is jarring, it also shines a spotlight on subject lines — and how to craft compelling, clickable ones.

According to a 2022 HubSpot Blog survey, subject lines that pique readers’ curiosity receive the highest open rate, followed by promotional emails. By front-loading your subject line with a compelling hook — that can only be read if opened or clicked — your audience is likely to become intrigued and want more.

3. Trust Signals

ecommerce sales strategy Trust signals

Since your buyers can’t see, touch, or try on your product, you need to build trust another way. A popular — and relatively easy — way to do this is with customer reviews.

Think about it — have you ever made a purchase without looking at the reviews first? Or hesitated when a product had no reviews?

If you don’t have many reviews yet, no need to worry. As you work to get those numbers up, focus on other ways you can build trust — such as showing clear pictures of your products from different angles, providing 3D videos, and even product demos.

Pro Tip

Power up your trust signals with testimonials. Unlike reviews, these typically involve broader statements about your brand rather than a specific product.

We recommend reaching out to customers from your email list, since this is where your most loyal customers live. Then, display the testimonials in multiple spots — and on multiple pages — of your website to get the most mileage.

4. Heat Mapping

ecommerce sales strategy Heat Mapping

What if you could track the parts of your website where buyers hung out for a while? Would that help you provide better information for the next time they stop by?

With heat mapping, you can keep an eye on the pieces of your website that visitors really love. Tools like Hotjar pull together your website’s scrolling and clicking information to give you a full picture of what your buyers want to see and buy.

You can also track where your visitors come from and how long they hang around. In other words, if you use your social media for marketing, you can discover how many clicked on your offer and how long they stayed.

Pro Tip

The most effective way to leverage heat maps is to analyze the pages that influence your website’s conversion rate the most: your home page, landing pages, and high-conversion blog posts.

For instance, you could look at your home page and see if visitors hover on certain sections or click any CTAs. Use the info to optimize your site.

5. Exit CTAs

ecommerce sales strategy Exit CTA

Shopping cart abandonment is a frustrating reality for ecommerce owners. While not everyone who visits your site is ready to convert, it’s essential to engage them anyway.

Sometimes users just need a little nudge to return to their cart either through remarketing or a quick email reminder. For instance, check out this friendly reminder from Vera Bradley.

Vera Bradley email reminder

If customers still don’t budge, you can try an exit call-to-action (CTA) for last-minute lead generation. Some sites generate a popup the moment a customer enters the site. An exit CTA instead pops up just before customers bounce and offers something enticing such as exclusive offers.

Pro Tip

Cart abandonment software can help you create emails and track them. Some offer customizable options, while others are more focused on making sure the emails get sent.

Most offer a sliding scale price, so you only pay for what you use. Check out a complete list of software in this helpful article.

6. Social Media

Are you using social media to the best of your ability? What if you could keep an eye on what people are saying about your company and your products on all your social media outlets? With HubSpot’s social inbox, you can.

You’ll receive a notice any time you’re mentioned, which then gives you the opportunity to follow up, start conversations with followers, and potentially attract them to your website.

Use this feature to provide stellar customer service when buyers have a complaint, or simply answer questions when visitors ask.

Pro Tip

If you really want to have some fun, respond to even the most ridiculous of mentions with your own special brand of humor. Your customers will love you — and maybe check out your products.

If you’re unsure of your brand’s voice — or want to refine it —check out this guide.

Back To You

Sales are the lifeblood of any ecommerce business. As you can see, there are many ways to convert leads beyond discounting. Some of these tactics can deliver quick results, while others set you up for long-term success.

ecommerce planning template

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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