Owning It: 5 Ways to Capitalize on Your Owned Channels in E-Commerce
Are you making the most of your owned channels? To win in e-commerce, brands need to excel in omni-channel marketing, leveraging their paid, owned and earned media to maximize their digital marketing arsenal. As Netflix’s director of marketing for APAC said in a recent interview, “When great creative work fuses owned, earned and paid media, we can create unmissable moments in our markets that generate so much excitement and spur customers to act”.
Maybe the easiest place to start is with your owned channels. Why are they important and how to get the most out of them?
What Are Owned Channels and Why Should You Focus on Them?
Owned channels are marketing channels over which your brand has sole control. In other words, you have full control over what content goes on there, who it is aimed at, as well as when (and how frequently) it goes live.
Examples of owned channel include the website of your brand, your blog, app, social media channels, email, SMS, etc.
With total control over these channels, you can give your brand’s character and tone of voice in its pure, unadulterated form. That in turn will enable consistency across all your owned channels, establishing the brand as a presence in your customers’ lives and engendering customer loyalty.
Owned channels also give you great reach. Highly targeted social media posts and content that aim to rank for long-tail keywords can expand your brand’s reach quickly, gaining exposure from consumers who wouldn’t have seen it otherwise.
They give you longevity too, as content on blogs and social media can remain online in perpetuity. Of course you will want to update these regularly to avoid looking out of date!
Lastly, owned channels can be extremely cost-effective. Marketing through blogs, social media, emails and notifications is almost free to execute, as they pull in traffic organically. The only cost to you is the manpower needed to create the content, and small fees like web hosting.
So how to best capitalize on these channels to ensure the highest return on investment (ROI)?
1. Hyper-Personalize Your Website/App Content
Your website or app shouldn’t look the same for everyone, especially the homepage. Whether they are new customers or existing ones, everyone wants different stuff. Get to know them and present what they are looking for when they land on your site.
Sounds like mission impossible? By leveraging data and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) tools, it is easier than you expect. Combine your own data and third-party data to gain a complete picture of your customers using AI, which can analyze their actions on the wider web, as well as your own channels to identify their interests and needs. Maybe Mike is a culture vulture, in which case your online travel website can suggest museums and art galleries as places to go when he visits your website or opens your app.
A personalized approach will result in a higher rate of engagement, increasing stickiness, brand loyalty and ROI.
2. Create Lazer-Targeted Email Marketing
Old is gold. Email is still one of the most effective marketing channels. Email marketing is not only up to 40 times more effective than social media, but also drives conversions three times faster, according to a McKinsey & Company study.
By asking your email subscribers to choose their preferences while signing up, you will have that data to get a good start. However, to ensure more precise segmentation and highly personalized email content, you can also use machine learning (ML) to analyze their past purchases, interests and browsing behaviors, in order to generate data-driven insights, which enable you to tailor the email content for each customer.
Furthermore, by analyzing their previous interactions with your EDMs, ML can help you predict what kind of creative will appeal to their tastes and trigger desired actions.
3. Boost Re-engagement Through Push Notifications
Push notifications can drive up to 20 percent greater app engagement, and bring more profit from your app. However, generic push notifications don’t serve your brand. Customers see them for what they are – annoying marketing messages pumped out without any thought for the end user. Instead of helping to convert customers, they will actively turn customers off your brand.
So, make sure your push notification is relevant and timely. Use machine learning models to analyze users’ past behavior, purchase patterns and current interests within your app, as well as on external sites. Leverage the insights generated to create personalized product recommendations that have a better chance of converting your users.
You can also take advantage of different creatives like carousel or rich media to make the content more compelling and increase user engagement.
What is equally important is choosing optimal timings to send your notifications. By analyzing user behaviors and previous interactions with push, ML can choose the optimal time to hit the customer with a relevant notification that is more likely to entice them to take action.
4. Cultivate Your Blog Like a Garden
You wouldn’t leave a garden untended – it would quickly overgrow and appear neglected. Yet many companies take this approach to their blogs. Instead of having one for the sake of having one, your blog should be updated regularly, reflect your company’s values and tone of voice, and speak to your customers about subjects close to their heart. It is your brand presenting itself to the world, so make sure it communicates as effectively as possible.
For example, the blog of swimming brand Speedo doesn’t just cover its own apparel, it also covers tips for stroke technique, training workouts and post-swim meals to maximize your gains.
5. Crush It on Social Media
Social media lets you connect directly with your audience, and receive direct feedback on your brand, which you can use to improve your products and services. It also allows you to reach a large audience, and have the potential to share your content easily.
Used effectively, your social media channels should reflect your customers’ outlook back to them, with plenty of character for good measure. However, be cautious as well. Going viral can be amazing exposure, but only if it is for the right reasons.
Owned channels are an enormous asset to any brand. To increase your ROI, make sure your owned channels are delivering maximum value before you start spending on paid channels.
* Want to know more about how you can use artificial intelligence to drive customer engagement and increase ROI through owned channels such as website, push notification and EDM? Download our latest white paper “Stay Ahead of Evolving Asian Consumers: Secure Customer Engagement in E-Commerce With AI” for more in-depth insights.