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How One Pair of Shoes Can Drive Digital Publishing Success

  |  August 1, 2014   |  Comments

When you view a pair of shoes on a retailer's website, but don't purchase them right away, the shoes follow you around the Internet, showing up on nearly every site you visit. Publishers can learn a lot from these shoe retailers' tactics.

If you do not appreciate the power a pair of shoes can offer, you might want to skip this column. For those of us self-acclaimed shoe aficionados, we understand that shoes make or break us. If you don't have exactly the right pair of shoes on, well, you might as well just stay in bed. Therefore, finding the right pair of shoes takes time, consideration, and lots of looking. The shoe retailers have learned ways to ensure their brand and products stay top of mind throughout our journey and publishers can learn a lot from the strategies and tactics they employ.

This column is actually not about shoes themselves (even though I could write an entire book about the power of shoes); it is about the way that retailers, especially of shoes, have been able to command the online marketing space. And how digital publishers can take a few lessons from these retailers to help increase sales.

It's happened to us all, with shoes, and many other consumer goods. We go online to search for an item. We click on a few images, or product descriptions. We may or may not choose to put something into a cart and/or buy it. We leave the site. And then BOOM, those shoes follow us everywhere. From Promoted Twitter feeds, to Facebook page posts, online banners, and even, in some cases, abandoned cart emails. We can't escape the shoes. It's fashion-stalking at its finest.

Early on, fashion retailers learned that customer relationship management (CRM) doesn't need to be limited to the website or the physical store. Instead, it can be brilliantly integrated into every aspect of our online life. As publishers, we can learn a lot from the fashion industry.

If your CRM program is limited to the website and/or physical location, you could be leaving up to 60 percent of your revenue on the table. To take advantage of your potential revenue, follow the "stalking shoe" and implement these three best practices.

  1. Expand your CRM program into the online/mobile retargeting world. If you are not using an online marketing company, like FIKSU or Outbrain, to add contextual targeting to your efforts, you are missing the boat. Bring these companies in ASAP for a conversation.
  2. Move strategically into social with your extended email message by creating custom campaigns on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels. Many people spend time relaxing by browsing their Facebook feed. A personal and targeted friendly reminder of the potential purchase could be exactly what is needed to close the deal. By using custom Facebook messages, targeted to people on your email list, you will boost results.
  3. Become friends with your brand managers. A radio, TV, or even print ad might look like mass media, but, for your digital publishing consumer, it could be the one thing that seals the deal for you. Brand messaging acts as a validation point for the consumer. They are considering making a purchase, and then see the brand on TV, or hear it on the radio and think "yes, this company is awesome, I made a smart choice." Aligning your direct marketing with brand efforts can often drive a nice spike in return.

These are just three ways that you can leverage proven best practices from the retailers who have pioneered the industry. For more hints and tips, just visit any shoe website and take note of what happens next.

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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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