7 Ways to Increase Conversions: Lessons from Holistic Live Circle Published November 29, 2017 At this November’s Holistic Live Circle, an invite-only event run by Holistic Email Marketing, senior marketers explored ways to increase conversions on their eCommerce sites, using email. Brands from a cross section of industries were represented—including Chelsea FC, Joe’s Tea Company, Tails, Trusted Housesitters, Feel Unique, and Stena Line. In this post, we discuss seven key takeaways from the event. Read on for practical advice to feed into your email marketing strategy, boost conversions, and increase your bottom line. Komal Helyer, marketing director at Pure360, helped Kath Pay, founder of Holistic Email Marketing, to lead the discussion. Both imparted insight on some of the more challenging topics raised. 1) Personalise with a welcome series Like most smart marketers, everyone at Holistic Live Circle agreed that personalisation is key if you want to increase engagement and drive conversions. But how can you start personalising, if up until now you’ve been broadcasting one message to the masses? The answer is that personalisation doesn’t need to be complicated. If you don’t have the CRM capabilities to segment easily, sending an automated welcome series when people subscribe is a way to personalise. When someone receives a welcome email, it is personal to the action they’ve just completed by signing up. Using welcome emails helps to set the tone of your relationship with the subscriber, easing them along to their first purchase—hopefully one of many. What’s more, a welcome series can help you convey multiple messages to the subscriber in consumable bite sized emails—each with a clear call to action. 2) Gamify the way you collect preferences Our marketers were all too aware that continually asking consumers to part with personal details may put a strain on customer experience. But how do you strike a balance between asking for preferences to power a personalised experience, and not frustrating the customer with endless questions? A solution that attendees discussed was gamification. By gamifying the collection of data, you’re able to offer the customer a fun, engaging experience, and gather lots of valuable data. For example, if you are a beauty retailer, creating a visual quiz that explores skin type might help gather data that you can use to tailor your next skin care product campaign. But remember, in light of GDPR, it is important to be transparent about how the data will be used. You should only collect data that is relevant to the relationship with your subscriber. 3) Test to understand what works for your audience An idea that was brought to the table while our marketers discussed how to increase conversions was that—as strange as it sounds—there is no such thing as best practice. You can read more about Kath’s thoughts about this here. Simply following a tactic you’ve read about that works for another brand, doesn’t mean a greater number of your own audience will convert. Each audience behaves slightly differently and, as marketers, we shouldn’t make assumptions about what will or won’t work. Our marketers discussed an example where lifestyle images were tested against product images. Despite numerous best practice guides advising lifestyle images are the way forward, product images actually increased conversions. The way to keep pushing that conversion rate up is to continually test, learn, and refine your strategies. 4) Know your purpose to focus your efforts Our fourth takeaway from Holistic Live Circle is the importance of being purposeful about everything you do. Have clear objectives and align all of your tactics with those objectives, to increase conversions. For example, having an objective to simply “increase engagement” is a little too vague. Ask yourself: why do you need email engagement? What’s the ultimate objective? Make sure you’re driving people to convert in a way that supports this objective. Be specific about which element of your email you want to people to engage with. Clearly align your subject lines and body copy to drive people to engage with this element and click through to your website. Then, ensure your messaging onsite is aligned with your email messaging. The call-to-action you’re pushing people towards needs to makes sense as a next step from the content you’ve asked them to engage with in your email. Making sure each touchpoint in your customer’s journey is purposeful, and helps move them forward towards conversion, will help you deliver better results. 5) Be methodical with your subject lines A burning question that came up during discussions was: how can you create a process for writing effective subject lines? This sparked a lively debate as our marketers debated which subject lines worked best: specific vs. generic long vs. short descriptive vs. playing on curiosity using pipes vs. a sentence pre-header vs. no pre-header transactional call-to-action vs. none The experience our marketers shared indicated that different approaches worked for different audiences. This emphasises the importance of our third takeaway: test to understand what works for your audience. Kath Pay’s advice was that if you want your subject lines to be more effective, be methodical: create a process where you define your objectives first create a number of subject lines to help you achieve this purpose test them and see which works feed your learnings into your next attempts 6) Use data to enhance customer experience Our sixth takeaway comes back to personalisation, a recurring theme of our discussions. Whatever data you have, you should use to improve your customer’s experience. Customers don’t mind parting with their data, so long as you use it to benefit them. So, don’t just collect data for the sake of it, ask yourself: what’s in it for the customer? Sit down and look at what data your hold and consider how it could simplify or speed up tasks you are trying to get the customer to complete. Providing an outstanding customer experience is about making your customer’s life easier. Doing so will reduce friction in their path to conversion, and increase your bottom line. 7) Keep an eye on the future Our seventh and final takeaway from Holistic Live Circle, is that to future-proof your conversion rates, you need to keep your finger on the pulse. From optimising your site for voice search to make it accessible to intelligent personal assistants, to using WhatsApp as a marketing channel—there will always be new ways to reach and engage your audience. To stay relevant, and keep driving people through your marketing funnel, you need to constantly assess emerging technology. It may not always be right for your audience, but following the test and learn approach will help you decide this. Takeaway To summarise, here are each of our takeaways from Holistic Live Circle in one line: even simple personalisation increases conversions collecting data shouldn’t detract from customer experience there is no such thing as best practice: test and learn what works for your audience align every touchpoint with defined objectives to get better results create a method for writing subject lines that involves testing make the customer’s life easier to increase conversions consider what emerging technology can enhance your strategy Kath Pay has shared some further personalisation insights from the day over on the Holistic Email Marketing blog. Ensuring you have behavioural marketing and personalisation technology in place that makes it simple to implement these learnings is important. Find out how our eCommerce solution can help you increase conversions. If this event interests you and you’d like to be considered for future events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.