TOOLBOX: E-commerce, CRM, e-mail, database

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E-COMMERCE

How can I increase conversions by the holidays?

"Personalizing sites makes them more relevant to visitors and thus, boosts conversion rates," explains Pete Olson, VP of product management at Amadesa. "First, optimize site promotions by customizing the right offer for each person. Cater to segments or use behavioral targeting to personalize each visitor's experience and cash in on the holiday rush.

"Next, incorporate product recommendations," Olson continues. "This increases customer satisfaction and average order value. Marketers can do this efficiently with automated merchandising across the entire site. Finally, test the site's calls to action on high-traffic pages to identify the most effective content elements. This can be done simply with A/B and multivariate tests."

CRM

How do you manage the customer's experience across products, channels and lifecycle?

"Customer experience management (CEM) requires designing an experience for each customer based upon insight about that customer, delivering a unique experience across products and channels, and measuring individual outcomes to improve future interactions," says Jeff Gilleland, global strategist for Customer Intelligence.

Companies must have a culture in which the customer is king. Second, they must have enterprise capabilities that leverage customer insight to better-manage customer interactions and continuously improve customer results. "CEM requires companies to continuously learn from individual customers and to demonstrate, to each customer, that they are listening and responding to their feedback," Gilleland says.

DATABASE

What are online data exchanges and how can they help improve my online targeting initiatives?

Online data exchanges aggregate shopping and research behavior from sites across the Internet and makes it available at scale for ad targeting, explains Rowena Toguchi, director of marketing at BlueKai. Unlike ad networks, data exchanges do not sell ads or impressions; they strictly sell data a la carte to fuel more efficient and targeted campaigns. The mechanics work much like remarketing, but the data come from sites other than the advertiser's own site, which makes it ideal for prospecting.

Data buyers go into a self-serve system to choose their data set, then share the data plan with their preferred ad networks or portals.  There is a lot of data on the Internet, but quality data in aggregation is what data exchanges are all about.

E-MAIL

My e-mail provider provides limited customization. How can I send highly personal e-mails?

A relationship management service is needed that integrates contact management, referral marketing, and e-mail, says Marc Freedman, CMO of WeMeUs. Such services can be used to publish product announcements, special offers, surveys, and your regular newsletter.

Many consultants and small business send highly targeted and personalized e-mail to small lists for relationship marketing. They also can be used on a more intimate basis to periodically reach out to customers and close contacts to see how their business is doing. Other uses of these programs include adding highly personal professional and business messages; soliciting feedback; cross-promoting other media; reconnecting with old contacts and sharing whitepapers or industry news.

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