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How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business

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How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business

When you’re developing or launching a new product, service, or business, you’ll want to have a general sense of how receptive your target market will be to it.

Typically, this is done through extensive market research — and one key component of the research process is running a focus group.

In this article, we’ll define what a focus group is, give you an agenda to follow when conducting on, explain how to run a focus group step-by-step, and help you plan your questions with a focus group questionnaire.

What is a focus group?

A focus group is a small group of people, typically representative of your target market, with whom you share ideas and ask questions about your product, service, or business. The individuals who make up the focus group should be a mix of current customers and people who’ve never made a purchase but might in the future. The ideal outcome is a stronger understanding of how the subject of the focus group would be received by a wider audience, and what changes (if any) should be made before the formal roll-out.

Now you may be asking, is information gathered from focus groups really important? And is it a good strategy to gather information?

Focus Group Strategy

Focus groups can provide your business with priceless information if the participants are a reflection of your target audience.

The data you collect from them is important because it can help you build successful strategies by:

  • Collecting more accurate needs assessments from customers.
  • Pulling meaning behind facts and numbers obtained from more general surveys.

You can take this information and apply it to how you choose to market your product or service, adjust the features to better suit your customers’ pain points.

Now that we understand the importance of focus groups to your operation, you have to have a focus group agenda to follow before you bring in your own participants.

Focus Group Agenda

To get started with your focus group, you’ll need an agenda to stay on task during the meeting. Here are the main points to follow when making your own.

1. Welcome the focus group participants.

First, you’ll want to welcome the participants in the focus group and introduce yourself and other researchers who may be present. This step is important as it establishes rapport with the group and builds trust.

2. Have the participants introduce themselves.

This does a few things: it continues building rapport among the group members, and it confirms the pronunciation of everyone’s names — you don’t want to spend the next hour or more together saying everyone’s names incorrectly!

3. Establish some ground rules for the group.

Before asking questions, establish some ground rules for the group. Take this moment to clarify any concerns such as:

  • If a topic could become controversial, let that be known and set boundaries for how far a discussion can go.
  • If you’ll be asking for information that isn’t normally shared in a group setting, assure the cohort that the findings won’t have names or identifying data attached to the responses.
  • If your company is reimbursing expenses or providing payment to the focus group participants, let them know how and when they’ll receive their disbursements.

Once these are clarified — as well as any others they may ask during this portion of the session — you can begin asking the questions about your product, service, or business.

4. Ask questions methodically.

Now, here’s the fun part. Although you may have one broad topic to discuss during the focus group, you’ll likely have several subtopics that need to be addressed separately. Structure your questions in such a way that the flow of the conversation makes sense. This could be by theme, chronological order, or the current-future state of your business.

5. Wrap up final thoughts.

Once you’ve reached a stopping point during the conversation, wrap up any lingering questions and ideas within the group. Finally, thank everyone for their time and end the session.

If you need those steps organized in a handy agenda, we’ve got you covered. Download the PDF below and save it for your next focus group.

How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business

Now that you have an understanding of how to conduct the session, let’s dive into what it takes to run a successful focus group from the very beginning.

Follow Along With a Free Focus Group Questionnaire Template

1643810530 378 How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business

HubSpot’s Market Research Kit includes everything you need to run an effective round of market research, including a focus group questionnaire and a guide on how to run focus groups. Download the kit now to incorporate the steps in this post into your focus group strategy.

1. Choose your topic of discussion.

Going into a focus group, your discussion should be narrowed down to one or a few topics. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to thoroughly address every area you want to discuss in one short focus group session.

Because of this, it’s not uncommon for companies to run multiple rounds of focus groups around different topics. For example, if you’re launching a new product, you could center one focus group around the product’s marketing and brand positioning, and another one around the usability and functionality of the product itself.

2. Choose your questions or discussion prompts.

Once you determine the topic of discussion for your focus group, create a list of questions and discussion prompts that will help you gather the data you need.

Let’s return to the product launch example from above. If you’re running the product marketing focus groups, you could ask questions like:

  • What do you think of the packaging design?
  • How much money would you spend on a product like this?
  • What other companies do you think of when you see a product like this?

Meanwhile, for a focus group about the product itself, you’ll want to ask about the product’s functionality, ease of use, and perceived favorability.

Also, remember to ask open-ended questions — “Do you like the product?” and “What do you think of the product?” may seem similar in nature, but the latter will produce more detailed results.

3. Prepare your focus group questionnaire.

After you’ve chosen your questions and discussion prompts, organize them on a focus group questionnaire. Be sure to leave enough space on the questionnaire for overall notes, a list of common responses, and one or two noteworthy responses that really stood out.

1643810530 212 How to Run a Focus Group for Your Business

Download this Template for Free

4. Appoint a notetaker.

Your focus group discussion should be facilitated by at least one person while another person on your team should be a designated notetaker.

Why? The facilitator’s job is to facilitate — to guide the discussion and foster new ideas from participants. This task can get easily derailed if the facilitator also needs to pause the discussion to write down big, bold ideas and reactions from participants.

To avoid this possibility of disruption, appoint a notetaker before going into the focus group who can focus solely on jotting down the general consensus from the group, unique and noteworthy individual responses, and the key takeaways for the business.

5. Recruit and schedule participants.

One of the most challenging parts of running a focus group is getting people to actually show up. After you select a time and a place, you’ll want to start spreading the word to participants.

Here are a few ways to find them:

Reach out to existing customers.

If you’re doing market research for an existing company, reach out to your customers through account managers or an email database. Since current customers will likely be the first to use what you’re launching, this will be the perfect opportunity to gauge early reactions for the official launch.

For incentives, you could offer free or discounted services or reward them on a customer advocacy program likeInfluitive.

Advertise on social media.

Looking for middle-aged males or senior citizens in the greater Ann Arbor area? No problem! Social media advertising offers advanced targeting options for you to reach your target market.

You should also think about which sites are most used by the people you want in your focus group. If you’re interested in surveying middle-aged working professionals, you’ll probably have better luck on LinkedIn than you would on TikTok.

Try location-based promotion.

If you’re hyper-targeting a location, supplement your recruiting efforts with advertisements that will only be seen by those in your area. A few examples include:

  • Location-based social media campaigns (Location targeting ads)
  • Public Transit-Based Ads (Trains, Busses, Taxis, etc.)
  • Ads in Local Publications and Newspapers
  • Billboard Ads

Be prepared to offer incentives.

People rarely do anything for free. In your advertisements and promotional assets, highlight the incentive you’re prepared to offer — which could be cash, a gift card, or a discount on whatever you’re selling.

If you’re strapped for cash, consider hosting a raffle or giveaway for participants. That way, if you host a focus group of eight people, you could offer a chance at a $100 gift card (rather than a guaranteed $25 per participant) to save you $100.

6. Get consent and start the discussion.

Before you start your focus group discussion, remind participants of the purpose of the group and hand out a consent form. The consent form should reiterate the purpose of the event, outline the participants’ rights, identify the compensation, list the facilitators’ contact information, and prompt participants to sign.

After everyone signs off, it’s time to run the focus group.

7. Have everyone introduce themselves.

To break the ice and get people talking, start the discussion off by introducing yourself and inviting the participants to do the same.

This is another chance for you to learn more about your target market. In addition to having participants say their names, consider asking them to share their industry or interests to get a more personal understanding of how your product, service, or business could play a role in their everyday lives.

8. Ask your questions.

Remember, this is not an interview! Before the focus group begins, you should prepare a list of five to 10 questions.

That being said, it can be easy to tie yourself to your list of questions or discussion points, but sticking too closely to this can hamper natural and effective conversations. If the group takes a slightly different turn than you were expecting, don’t be afraid to allow the conversation to veer off-course if it seems productive.

The point of a focus group is not just to confirm information you think is true, but also to uncover what you don’t know.

So long as it’s not too far off-topic, allow the conversation to happen naturally and use an agenda as a guide rather than a point-by-point checklist of topics to cover.

Additionally, you may not ask every question on your list, depending on the direction of the conversation. Make sure you ask the most important questions first, and follow up on certain discussion points to keep things flowing rather than hosting a pure question-and-answer forum.

9. Seek equal representation from the group.

Your session involves an entire group of people, so you have to make sure you hear from each and every one of them! That may seem obvious, but a focus group can quickly turn into an interview of one or two of the most talkative members.

If you run into this problem, be ready to jump in when someone has been quiet for too long by thanking the most active participants for their input and re-opening the floor to the other participants. Say something along the lines of “Isabella, what’s your input here?” or “Raheem, what do you think about what Isabella said?” for the rest to chime in.

10. End the meeting in a reasonable amount of time.

Exhaustion and the law of diminishing returns are real, so keep them in mind when planning the time frame for your focus group.

At the start of the session, in your advertisements, and/or on your consent form, you should specify how long the focus group will last. It’s your responsibility to moderate the discussion in a way that ensures the time frame is not exceeded.

Now, if the exercise lasts for an hour and five minutes and you promised an hour focus group, that’s acceptable. However, if you promised a 45-minute session and it goes well over an hour, your attendees could be resentful and less likely to offer valuable feedback.

When the discussion is over, thank your attendees for their time and deliver the promised incentive, if applicable. Additionally, remind them of your contact information if they decide they have more feedback or comments they’d like to provide.

11. Analyze and incorporate feedback.

Ideally, your focus group has provided you with plenty of responses, unique angles, and actionable ideas to help your business thrive. After all of your focus groups have taken place, have your team compile and analyze the commonalities of the ideas presented and what changes, if any, are applicable to the product, service, or business in question.

You have a step-by-step guide for conducting a focus group, let’s take a look at a real-world application of one.

Focus Group Example

This recent focus group study follows most of the guidelines we’ve recommended and derived useful information for real-world application.

Post-Election Focus Group

Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service conducted a focus group with first-time voters after the 2020 election. It could have been very easy for this focus group to get off track and into political affiliations; However, you’ll notice in this example that the researcher had a topic in mind — the first-time-voter experience — and didn’t deviate from that topic. She asked probing questions and sought out a variety of perspectives from the group.

Watch this focus group to get a better understanding of how to start these conversations and keep them going to get the insights you need.

The information can now be studied for political research thus helping guide future campaigns for first-time voters.

Run a Successful Focus Group

Taking this methodical approach to running a focus group can produce better and more insightful feedback from your participants. To keep your questions, thoughts, and responses organized, we developed a focus group template, which you can use to run a better focus group. Download it for free now to get the most out of your marketing research.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in September 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

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How to Buy Ads on Netflix: Specs & Tactics for Marketers

Streaming


By Emily Sullivan

Netflix, the streaming giant known for binge-watching and award-winning originals, sent shockwaves through the industry in 2022 by announcing an ad-supported tier. This move was likely fueled by a desire to reach new audiences, combat rising subscription costs, and potentially even fend off competition from other OTT platforms. These ads could lead to strong growth potential with advertisers eager to tap into Netflix’s massive user base. 

If you’re unfamiliar with how Netflix works, it’s important to know that Netflix is an OTT (Over-the-Top) platform, meaning it delivers streaming content directly over the internet, bypassing traditional cable or satellite providers. It’s one of the most popular OTT platforms globally, but in the ad supported video on demand (AVOD) space, Netflix is a relative newcomer. Understanding this new facet of Netflix is crucial for marketers looking to capitalize on this advertising opportunity.

Interested in learning more about Netflix and its advertising offerings? You came to the right place. In this post, we’ll cover the foundational elements of Netflix ads including ad types, specs, advertising best practices, and more. 

Why Did Netflix Start Offering Ads?

In November 2022, Netflix introduced an ad-supported tier. This move marked a significant shift, as Netflix was previously known for its commitment to an ad-free experience. The decision likely stemmed from a desire to tap into new revenue streams. With consumers increasingly cost-conscious, an ad-supported tier provided a way to attract budget-minded viewers while still offering a premium ad-free option, similar to established AVOD providers like Hulu and Peacock.

Initially, the launch was off to a slower start, with few people signing up for the ad supported tier and Netflix failing to meet guarantees, but things are quickly turning around and savvy advertisers are taking notice. Netflix boasts a massive user base, with roughly 270 million paid subscribers – a household name with immense reach. In fact, 40% of new Netflix sign-ups are choosing the ad-supported tier, translating to a total of 40 million users. Netflix’s ad platform presents a unique opportunity for marketers looking to reach a large and engaged audience.

“Our goal isn’t just to offer the same products and tools the industry has come to expect — although we’ve made a lot of progress on that front over the last year. It’s to build something bigger and better than what exists today. We want to shape the future of advertising on Netflix and help marketers tap into the amazing fandom generated by our must-watch shows and movies.”

Amy ReinhardPresident, Advertising at Netflix

How to Start Advertising on Netflix

So, you’re interested in capitalizing on Netflix’s massive audience? Here’s a breakdown of the three main ways to buy ads on their platform:

1. Netflix Ads Manager

This platform, powered by Microsoft, allows you to directly purchase ad space on Netflix. However, be prepared to meet their minimum spending requirements, which can be substantial and offer little room for negotiation.

2. Partnering with an Agency

While the minimum spend might be high for direct buys, streaming agencies like Tinuiti can be a valuable asset. They can not only help you navigate the intricacies of Netflix advertising, but also:

  • Consolidate Streaming Data: The streaming landscape is fragmented, with viewers spread across multiple platforms. Agencies can collect data from these various platforms and turn it into a unified, actionable strategy for your advertising campaign.
  • Expertise and Negotiation: Agencies bring a wealth of experience to the table. They can leverage their knowledge of the advertising landscape and potentially negotiate more favorable terms on your behalf.

3. Ad Tech Partners

Companies like Microsoft offer ad tech solutions that provide technical capabilities to streamline your advertising efforts. These partners typically take a more hands-off approach compared to agencies, focusing on the technical aspects of ad delivery and optimization.

The best option depends on your budget, experience level, and campaign goals. If you’re a large brand with a significant budget and an in-house marketing team, going directly through Netflix Ads Manager might be a good fit. However, for most businesses, partnering with an agency or ad tech provider can offer valuable support and expertise.

Ad Types & Specs for Netflix Ads

Now that you understand the different avenues for buying ads on Netflix, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of ad formats and specifications:

Netflix Ad Types

Example of a Netflix Ad Featuring Smartfood and Love is Blind

Currently, Netflix offers two main ad types, pre-roll ads and mid-roll ads. Netflix notes that users can expect to see a few short ads per hour and that they aim to place ads during natural plot breaks for a more seamless experience.   

Let’s take a look at each option… 

  • Pre-roll Ads: These commercials play before a program or movie begins, similar to traditional linear TV advertising.
  • Mid-roll Ads: These ads appear in the middle of a program, typically inserted during natural breaks in the content.

During paused playback, ad breaks are displayed on the progress bar. As an ad break begins, the upper-right corner reveals the number of ads included in that break.

While Netflix advertising is fairly new, the platform has made a few important announcements to look out for in 2024. Netflix plans to introduce a new binge ad format for global advertisers, offering viewers an ad-free fourth episode after watching three consecutive episodes. Additionally, QR code integration in U.S. advertising will launch early in the year. Sponsorship opportunities, including Title, Moment, and Live Sponsorships, are also now available in the U.S. and will expand globally in 2024.

Netflix also offers live opportunities including WWE Raw (launching January 2025), which will air live on Netflix 52 weeks of the year, and the NFL Christmas games which Netflix just secured the rights to. These live events provide advertisers the opportunity to reach ad and ad-free members of Netflix in a live environment with traditional ad formats.

Last but not least, Netflix recently announced they are adding Pause Ads to their suite of custom ad units. This is currently in beta and is expected to be rolled out to the general marketplace in H2 2024.

Netflix Ad Specs

When it comes to advertising specs, it’s important to follow Netflix’s guidelines which include the following… 

  • Supported Lengths: Netflix accepts ads in 10, 15, 20, 30, and 60-second durations.
  • File Format: Ads must be submitted in MP4 or MOV format.
  • Aspect Ratio & Resolution: Maintain a 16:9 aspect ratio and a resolution of either 1920×1080 HD or 1280×720 HD.
  • QR Codes on the Horizon: Netflix is preparing to support QR code integration within commercials, allowing viewers to seamlessly access additional information or promotions.

Hot Tip: Stay tuned for updates, as Netflix is constantly evolving its ad platform.

Why Advertise on Netflix?

Advertising on Netflix offers several unique advantages for advertisers including… 

  • Massive Reach – Netflix boasts a massive subscriber base worldwide (globally, there were around 270 million Netflix subscribers in Q1 2024), providing advertisers with access to a vast and diverse audience. These viewers are often highly engaged, spending significant time on the platform consuming content. In fact, Over 70% of Netflix’s ad-supported members watch for more than 10 hours a month – which is 15 percentage points higher than the nearest competitor according to Nielsen.
  • Targeting – Netflix collects extensive data on user preferences and behavior, enabling precise targeting of advertisements based on demographics, interests, viewing history, and more. This targeted approach increases the relevance and effectiveness of ads, maximizing ROI for advertisers (more on this below).
  • Global Reach and Localization – With a presence in numerous countries around the world, Netflix offers advertisers the opportunity to reach audiences on a global scale. Additionally, the platform’s localization capabilities enable tailored advertising campaigns to resonate with specific regional or cultural audiences.
  • Unskippable Ads – Unlike some streaming advertising platforms, Netflix ads are unskippable, guaranteeing your message reaches viewers.
  • Positive User Experience – Netflix prioritizes a positive user experience, so it’s unlikely viewers will see the same ad twice in a single episode. However, there’s a chance you might encounter the same ad later during your viewing session. It’s also important to note that children’s profiles maintain their ad-free experience.
  • Ad Delivery & Blocking – Since ads are delivered server-side, ad blockers are ineffective on Netflix. Additionally, playback automatically pauses if you minimize the window while an ad is playing, ensuring your message is seen.

Best Practices When Advertising on Netflix

When advertising on Netflix, it’s essential to understand the platform’s unique capabilities and audience targeting options to maximize the effectiveness of your campaigns. Check out a few best practices you need to consider… 

Explore Audience Targeting Capabilities

Netflix offers several audience targeting capabilities for advertisers on their ad-supported tier. These capabilities focus on three main areas: demographics, viewing habits, and content context. Here’s a breakdown:

Demographics:

  • Age: Advertisers can target users by age groups, like 18-34, 35+, etc.
  • Gender: Ads can be shown to specific genders (male or female).
  • Location: Targeting can be set by country or even state (in the U.S.).

Viewing Habits:

  • Genre: This lets advertisers target users based on the genres they watch, like comedy, drama, action, etc.

Content Context:

  • Top 10: Ads can be placed before or after shows and movies on Netflix’s daily Top 10 list, ensuring high visibility.

Advertisers also have the option to choose where they don’t want their ads to appear. For example, they can avoid showing ads on programs with mature themes or content that may not align with their brand values.

By using a combination of these targeting options, advertisers can reach a more precise audience interested in their product or service. This increases the ad’s relevance to viewers and potentially improves the ad campaign’s effectiveness.

It’s also important to note that Netflix now has the ability to target advertiser first party data. The platform currently has two approved DMPs: Liveramp or Adobe. Advertisers who work with either of these DMPs can upload first party data for targeting or suppression.

It’s important to note that Netflix’s ad targeting is still evolving. While it doesn’t offer some of the more advanced options found on other platforms, they are working on expanding their capabilities.

Test Your Ad Creative

Just like any other marketing campaign, testing your ad creative on Netflix is vital for optimizing performance. Here are some key reasons to test your ads:

  • Discover What Works: Testing allows you to compare different ad variations and identify which elements resonate most with your target audience. This could involve testing variations in messaging, visuals, calls to action, or even ad length.
  • Data-Driven Decisions: Testing provides valuable data and insights. You can track metrics like click-through rates, completion rates, and brand recall to see which ad versions generate the best results. Don’t rely on guesswork. Testing helps you move beyond assumptions and identify what truly connects with viewers.
  • Meet Audience Expectations: Netflix viewers anticipate premium content, including ads. Testing ad creative ensures that your commercials meet these expectations by delivering high-quality, engaging content that resonates with the audience.
  • Optimize Performance: Testing allows you to refine your ad creative to achieve optimal performance. By experimenting with different elements such as messaging, visuals, and calls to action, you can identify the most effective combinations that drive engagement and conversion.
  • Enhance Relevance: Testing helps ensure that your ad creative remains relevant to your target audience. By continuously testing and refining your approach, you can adapt to changing consumer preferences and market trends, ensuring that your ads stay impactful and resonant.
  • Maximize ROI: Effective testing enables you to make data-driven decisions that maximize ROI. By identifying and scaling the best-performing ad creative, you can allocate your advertising budget more efficiently and achieve greater results.

Measure and Analyze Your Results

Netflix doesn’t offer 1:1 conversion measurement for ad buyers (yet) – but they do have brand awareness and lift studies they offer advertisers so keep this in mind when measuring and analyzing your results. 

The platform did recently announce that this summer, Netflix will expand its buying capabilities to include The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite who will join Microsoft as the main programmatic partners for advertisers.

Starting in the second half of 2024, Netflix just announced that the following third party measurement partners (partnering to measure and verify the impact of advertiser campaigns) will also be added: Affinity Solutions, iSpotTV, NCSolutions, Videoamp, DCM and TVision.

They also announced Netflix will launch an in-house advertising technology platform, by the end of 2025. This will give advertisers new ways to buy, new insights to leverage, and new ways to measure impact. 

Is Netflix Advertising Right For Your Brand?

Overall, Netflix advertising offers the unparalleled reach of a massive, highly-engaged audience. This can be a strategic choice for brands seeking broad awareness and brand association with premium content.

If you’re interested in exploring advertising opportunities on Netflix for your brand, consider reaching out to the Tinuiti team. Our expertise can provide guidance and assistance in navigating the complexities of advertising on the platform, maximizing your campaign’s effectiveness and ROI. 

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to showcase your brand on one of the world’s largest streaming platforms—connect with Tinuiti today to get started.

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

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Xngage and HawkSearch join forces with a powerful connector

The bar has been set by the industry leaders in UX and Merchandising, and our customers have stated their claim clearly – “to grow our market share, we must have an enterprise search experience that drives conversions.

Optimizely offers baseline search experiences within our commerce platform, which are designed to help companies get started with organizing and delivering SKUs to customers. These experiences utilize out-of-the-box algorithms and methods for sorting, categorizing, and customizing.

While Optimizely provides a foundation for search experiences, we knew there were users ready to take their search capabilities to the next level. This is where the Xngage and HawkSearch partnership promises to redefine how you approach search-driven experiences within Optimizely Configured Commerce. Our highly experienced partner Xngage has developed a seamless integration connector, a best-in-class accelerator for harnessing the power of HawkSearch.

The powerful partner in search

HawkSearch is known for its expertise in search-driven engagement, AI-powered product discovery, and no-code customizations. With a strong history of serving B2B customers with enterprise-level search solutions, it was a perfect choice to make HawkSearch directly available within Optimizely’s platform.

The expertise of Xngage made this connector a reality enabling Optimizely’s Configured Commerce customers to:

  • Easily plug directly into the HawkSearch service to share your products and their relevant data.
  • Utilize powerful unit of measure conversions, ensuring your customers can find exactly what they’re looking for.
  • Customize sorting and facets to deliver highly relevant results to customers.
  • Craft a personalized user experience with features like auto-complete and the new ‘instant engage’.

Customers can further explore HawkSearch’s capabilities in this on demand webinar and recap, which highlights the benefits and use cases of the Xngage connector for HawkSearch.

A powerful partner in digital growth

Xngage complements Optimizely perfectly, as they deliver robust solutions in the realm of digital content and commerce experiences. The development of the Xngage connector to HawkSearch is a part of their broader mission to empower manufacturers and distributors to serve their customers digitally. This alignment seamlessly fits with Optimizely, making our partnership with Xngage an ideal choice. 

Furthering their goal of digital growth, Xngage offers a range of holistic and complementary professional services, including:

  • User research & user experience design (UX)
  • Enterprise architecture & ERP integration
  • Product information management (PIM)
  • Ecommerce Implementations, and digital growth services.

To learn more about this highly experienced digital commerce partner visit Xngage.com.

The future of the partnership

This partnership is just the beginning. Xngage and HawkSearch are committed to working hand in hand to empower you with the tools and insights you need to elevate your ecommerce site. Stay tuned for future blogs, webinars, and resources that will help you make the most of this transformative alliance.

The future of ecommerce search has never looked more promising, and we’re excited to have you on this journey with us.

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

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In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

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If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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