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Loyalty Programs: What is the Return on Investment (ROI)?

Here's how to calculate the return on investment of your loyalty program. Calculate the expected ROI of your loyalty program, or your past ROI.

Francesca Nicasio

Content Strategy Manager

Every business owner understands it’s easier to retain an existing customer than to acquire a new one. That’s why many merchants use loyalty programs to incentivize customers to come back and spend more with them. When done right, loyalty rewards, discounts, special early access, etc. can help to drive incremental revenue and maximize your customer lifetime value (CLV).

All that being said, it’s important to remember that loyalty or reward programs are long-term undertakings. Yes, they’re super beneficial to your company, but to reap those advantages, you need to periodically evaluate your loyalty program performance. Some consider loyalty programs to be money pits — and they can be if you don’t keep track of your loyalty program ROI.

So, let’s back up a bit: return on investment (ROI) is a financial metric that evaluates how profitable an investment is. To calculate the ROI, you need to divide the net profit by the cost of the investment, and express it as a percentage. The greater the ROI, the more profitable the investment.

To get a handle on your loyalty program’s success, you need to measure its ROI. The results will help you decide if your loyalty strategy is working or not. If it’s working, you can continue what you’re doing and double-down on your initiatives. On the flip side, you can rejuvenate poorly performing loyalty programs by optimizing offers, running referral programs, or getting customer feedback.

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How do I calculate ROI for my loyalty program?

As with any business initiative, the success of a loyalty program can be measured by its ROI. The formula to calculate it is pretty straightforward.

Return on Investment = (Total Revenue - Total Cost of Running the Loyalty Program) / Total Cost

download free loyalty program roi calculator

Loyalty program ROI calculation: A real-life example

Here's an example from a merchant we have been working closely with. I'm not going to share their name, but I can share their anonymized results so you can see how we assess the impact of their loyalty program.

Real life example (1)

Challenges in measuring loyalty program ROI

The formula for calculating your loyalty program ROI is simple enough to understand. However, there are a few challenges that can make it more difficult to accurately measure your ROI.

Attributing revenue to the right sources

One of the biggest challenges lies in capturing key metrics and pulling the necessary data from various sources — such as your marketing, sales, finance, tech teams, etc. You need to make sure that you’re attributing your revenue gains to the right sources.

For example, your regular customers are your most valuable ones, with or without a rewards program. How can you be sure their value is attributed to your loyalty program?

It can also be tricky to figure out if a purchase was triggered by loyalty program benefits or if it’s just a customer’s normal buying behavior. You need to have the right tracking mechanisms in place to be able to accurately calculate a loyalty program’s ROI. 

Some of the ways to do this include using robust loyalty apps (like Marsello), discount codes, coupons, etc. to track customer behavior that can only be attributed to loyalty programs.

With Marsello, you can track the metrics like change in repeat purchase rate and increase in turnover from loyalty members, as we've done above. This will get you a much more accurate picture of your return.

It takes time to see results

Not only will you need considerable time to gather the data required to calculate the ROI, but it may also take time for your points programs to show results. Customers must first be aware of such programs, engage with them, and rack up enough points on their loyalty cards. It may take months (or more) for your loyalty program to start paying off, so you won’t know your true ROI right away. 

💡 Pro tip: Rather than committing to a 3 month trial across all your sites, commit to one site for at least 1 year (expanding to other sites if you see results earlier). Starting with fewer sites but allowing for a longer time period will give you a much better indication of the impact of the program for your business.

Metrics to consider when measuring the impact of your loyalty programs

Beyond the ROI calculation above, there are many ways you can measure the impact of loyalty programs. You can look at how they affect your revenue, customer base growth, and engagement, among other things.  

You could choose to measure success purely based on financial returns or through KPIs such as engagement rate, brand awareness, etc. Here are some of the data points you may need to track.

  • Transaction volume
  • Average order value
  • Total revenue
  • Cost of loyalty program memberships
  • Marketing cost
  • Purchase frequency of members and non-members

The key is to track these over time. Remember, it takes time to build loyalty, so running a successful rewards program is a marathon, not a sprint. 

And before you calculate the ROI of your loyalty program, make sure you’re clear about your business objectives. What are your specific goals? Do you want to increase revenue by a certain percentage? Reduce your marketing expenditure while boosting sales? Grow your repeat customer base?

This will be essential for setting targets for your loyalty program and understanding its impact on your bottom line.

download free loyalty program roi calculator

Direct ROI of loyalty programs

Direct loyalty program ROI can come in several forms, including:

Increased sales and revenue from repeat purchases

A loyalty program can significantly contribute to a business' goal of increasing revenue and profit. According to a 2023 report by Gitnux, the likelihood of selling to a new customer is less than 20%. Conversely, this probability rises to nearly 70% for an existing customer.

By enhancing customer satisfaction, fostering brand loyalty, attracting new customers, and gathering important customer data, your loyalty program can lead to tangible financial gains. You can also make informed decisions about product development and marketing strategies, further amplifying revenue.

Ultimately, loyalty programs serve as strategic tools for driving sales, revenue growth, and long-term profitability in any business endeavor.

Just ask Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty, which was looking for an email marketing solutions provider when it came across Marsello. Very quickly, the business realized the full potential of Marsello’s tools and decided to also set up loyalty programs. This resulted in Scotty’s Makeup & Beauty unlocking new audiences, increasing its customer engagement, and doubling its revenue.


Reduced marketing costs through targeted promotions

Acquiring new customers through marketing efforts and sales outreach can be resource-intensive, consuming both time and funds. Customer acquisition costs pile up especially when leads opt for competitors.

Since loyalty programs help drive sales from existing customers, they enable your brand to mitigate the expenses linked with customer acquisition.You spend less to drive sales, which leads to a higher bottom line.

Indirect ROI of loyalty programs

Now that we’ve covered the direct ways to measure ROI, here’s a look at the indirect metrics that you may want to track.

Improved customer retention

When customers feel valued and content, they are more inclined to remain loyal and make repeat purchases. Implementing a loyalty program can significantly contribute to this effect.

For instance, imagine being a long-term participant in a supermarket’s loyalty program, accumulating rewards for discounts or free items. Such incentives foster loyalty, encouraging folks to continue supporting your brand despite alternative options.

Enhanced brand loyalty and customer satisfaction

Loyalty programs enhance customer appreciation by rewarding purchases with discounts or complimentary items, fostering a sense of value. Tailoring rewards based on individual preferences demonstrates care and enhances the shopping experience.

This helps to elevate customer satisfaction levels. Satisfied customers are more likely to return, which just goes to show the role of customer loyalty programs in enhancing overall satisfaction and fostering repeat business.

Positive word-of-mouth and referrals

Referral marketing, aka word-of-mouth marketing is a highly effective and sought-after strategy for customer acquisition. Recommendations from friends and family, along with good reviews on social media carry more weight than brand messages.

This is one of the most significant gains from loyalty programs — devoted customers become brand advocates, sharing their positive experiences and benefits received from your business. Through their advocacy, your company can gain new customers organically, without incurring any additional costs.

Data collection and insights for better business decisions

Understanding customers is crucial for business success. Rewards programs offer valuable insights into loyal customers, including their personal details and preferences. This enables businesses to enhance customer experiences and satisfaction by tailoring their services to meet individual preferences.

Bonus points if your loyalty program works across multiple channels. Going omnichannel with your loyalty efforts means you can collect data from all customer touchpoints, while providing a seamless experience no matter where or how they’re shopping.

Fashion label ALPHA60 was looking to improve its customer-first marketing efforts by providing all its customers with the same great experience. ALPHA60 brought in in-store and online sales data into Klaviyo, allowing the brand to display points balances, segment customers, and send personalized emails, no matter how customers shop.

Alpha60 earn options

By using Marsello for loyalty and marketing, ALPHA60 was able to attain a repeat purchase rate of 70%, wildly surpassing what is considered to be a good repeat purchase rate in the industry (between 20% and 40%).

Tools to track your metrics

Loyalty program solutions like Marsello give you a whole host of tools required to track metrics related to loyalty programs. 

The platform's built in marketing analytics capabilities can shed light on which channels and strategies yield the best results. Plus, you can track your loyalty program performance overtime, so you can improve both in the short- and long-term. 

Final words

Loyalty programs can offer substantial returns on investment for your business. The right program can enhance customer satisfaction, drive repeat purchases, and boost retention rates. It also provides valuable data and insights for informed decision-making and optimized marketing strategies. 

That’s why it’s so important to invest in the right solution AND track your return on that investment. Measuring your loyalty program ROI helps you improve, so you can continue to delight customers and keep them coming back.

Need help doing just that? Check out our ROI Calculator to see how your loyalty programs are performing or talk to an expert to discuss opportunities for revenue growth.

Frame 6 (4)download free loyalty program roi calculator


Get advice from a loyalty expert and start driving repeat sales.

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Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

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    Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention – What should you focus on?

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    We know any good store is customer-centric, but how do you know which is most important: Customer Loyalty or Retention? And which should you focus on?

    Customer loyalty and retention often get used together or interchangeably without a clear definition of what the difference is. Or, more importantly, which you should be focused on to build a successful retail or eCommerce business. While both are important, one is more likely to build long-lasting financial success.

    To better understand these two topics, we’ll break down their definitions, the metrics for tracking them and show you which is going to increase your revenue over time. Whether you’re running a small, online shop or a multi-site retailer, understanding these topics will take your business to the next level.


    Quick links:

        1. What is customer loyalty
        2. What is customer retention
        3. Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention: What is the difference
        4. What are the customer retention metrics that matter
        5. Should retail and eCommerce businesses focus on customer loyalty or customer retention?
        6. How to turn shoppers into loyal customers
        7. Why is it important to track customer data to understand loyalty and retention

    What is customer loyalty

    Building strong relationships with your customers helps to establish a positive view of your business. This in turn helps to create loyal customers. Building these bridges with your customers requires a proactive approach to ensure that their needs are being met, their interactions are smooth, and that they feel valued.

    The major benefit of customer loyalty is that they’re more likely to stay with you, buy more from you as well as recommending your business to their friends and family. This means more than just spending more. Becoming a loyal brand advocate means that these customers are out there vouching for your business.


    What is customer retention

    Customer retention is the set of practices and procedures you put in place to help keep your customers engaged with your business. This leads to increased recurring revenue as they continue to spend. It is often tracked through churn, the number of customers that stop purchasing or never become repeat purchasers. 

    It also helps to keep customer acquisition costs down, as you build a group of customers providing reliable, regular revenue. Keeping customers is generally cheaper than acquiring new ones, so keeping your existing base happy and spending can reduce your overall business costs whilst increasing earnings.


    Customer Loyalty vs Customer Retention: What is the difference

    So how do you define customer retention vs customer loyalty? They are closely aligned, and there is often an overlap of actions that drive the two.

    Loyalty measures a customer’s predisposition to select a business entity as a preference and indicates a certain resistance to competitors. Retention is a measure of whether an existing customer continues to do business with you and the acts to make this happen.

    Loyal customers have a certain stickiness to your business which can make them easier to keep and more valuable rather than just focusing on keeping them through mechanisms that make brand switching hard. 


    And over-shoulder shot of someone looking at their marketing data and results

    What are the customer retention metrics that matter

    There are several customer retention metrics that you should be tracking to better understand your customer lifecycle. The first and most common is customer churn. You can calculate this on a scale that is relevant for your business, but the basic measurement is: 

    • Annual Churn Rate = (Number of Customers at Start of Year - Number of Customers at End of Year) / Number of Customers at Start of Year

    A certain amount of churn is natural, but if this reaches between 5-7% it can be an early warning sign that you are not retaining customers and something isn’t right.

    Repeat Purchase Ratio (RPR) is a great indicator of customer loyalty. To calculate:

    • Repeat Purchase Ratio = Number of Returning Customers / Number of Total Customers

    This shows the number of customers that are staying loyal and sticking with your business.

    Should retail and eCommerce businesses focus on customer loyalty or customer retention

    For all businesses, you should be focused on both customer retention and loyalty.

    If you’re a retail business, building customer loyalty often comes through individual interactions. But how do you know if you’re succeeding? Setting up loyalty program systems will allow you to track individual customers’ spending over time. This data will help you better understand their habits and if they are staying with you.

    If you’re an eCommerce business, tracking customer retention is usually quite straightforward. You can see your customers' most recent purchase, purchase history, and overall spend. You can easily benchmark this against your other customers to better understand individual behavior and what areas you need to improve. Understanding the loyalty of your customers can take a bit more work, but should not be forgotten. You might need to send surveys like Net Promoter Score to better understand what your customers think about your business.

    How to turn shoppers into loyal customers

    So how do you build a base of loyal customers? By tracking data like purchase frequency and average order value, you can better understand which of your customers are loyal to your business. To encourage loyalty, you can employ a variety of customer retention strategies. 

    Improving customer service will help to enhance the customer experience you’re providing and help turn retention into loyalty. Experience is one of the easiest ways to differentiate your business from your competition. Using customer accounts and loyalty programs is another way to increase your repeat customer rate, especially if you can provide discounts or special offers as rewards.

    A computer screen showing purchase history for an online store.

    Why is it important to track customer data to understand loyalty and retention

    The best way to understand your customer retention and loyalty is through tracking customer data, including the customer journey. Customer retention technology will help you understand how long your customers are sticking with your business, at what points they drop off, and areas where you have an opportunity to build stronger relationships.

    Metrics that show you customer retention are a great starting point and it can be tempting to focus purely on this. But customer loyalty is going to bring you longer-term success and financial stability. So make sure you’re also looking at metrics like Net Promoter Score (NPS) or Customer Satisfaction Score (CSAT).

    Final words

    It can be tempting to zero in on customer retention alone, but these customers aren’t necessarily going to stay with you for the long term. They’re likely to switch brands for a better offer. Instead, putting your energy into building loyal customers will set your business up for long-term success.

    Using a product like Marsello’s all-in-one marketing platform can help you better understand your customers and the customer experience you’re providing. This will help build customer loyalty for your business, leading to better financial outcomes for you and improved interactions for your customers.

    How to Use a Marketing Calendar to Manage Your Campaigns

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    Learn how to use the Marketing Calendar feature to organize your marketing campaigns, schedule future campaigns, track your campaign success, and more.
    Marsello's Marketing Calendar with a campaign scheduled for the future.


    Email marketing is still the most effective means of marketing and communication that you can do. In fact, research suggests that almost 70% of businesses use email marketing as part of their campaign strategy, which means you could be behind the curve if you’re not making the most out of email marketing. And when coupled with other campaign strategies like SMS marketing, points promotions, and carefully curated customer segments, you’re no longer part of the curve, you’re ahead of it. In fact, you’re leading the charge!

    And managing your marketing efforts is an essential part of both understanding the success of your campaigns, and planning for outgoing campaigns. Whether it’s a holiday marketing campaign (BFCM is just around the corner and the perfect time for a points promotion) or just keeping track of when campaigns are sent so you can better look back at what has caused an uplift in sales … and it all comes down to timing.

    Introducing a Marsello feature that will feel like you’ve just hired a marketing assistant: the Marketing Calendar. The Marketing Calendar feature is a month-by-month timeline representation of when and how you’re connecting with customers through campaigns, as well as making it easy for you to manage and create emails, SMS, and points campaigns through the calendar.


    How to use the Marketing Calendar

    Under ‘Campaigns’, on the right-hand side of your screen, you can toggle your Campaigns view to view the Marketing Calendar. As you can see in your Marsello admin, the Marketing Calendar displays a month-by-month format (which can be adjusted to a weekly or daily view too) and shows which campaigns have been sent within the current calendar month, and which campaigns are scheduled for the rest of the month. This means that you’ll see any SMS, email, or points campaigns within this timeframe, and easily identify gaps in your marketing.

    One of our favorite features of the calendar is that it makes it really easy for you to create and schedule new email, SMS, or points campaigns by clicking on the date that you’d like to send the campaign. This will bring up the usual campaign creation window which means it’s so easy to use!

    And the ease of use doesn’t stop there! 

    Usually, a points campaign will last a few consecutive days, just as The B Code did when they created a points campaign to promote their online loyalty program. Deciding the span of your points campaign and creating it is simple! Just click-and-drag from your preferred points campaign start date to the end date and the ‘create a points campaign’ window will automatically appear.

    Just remember, promoting your points campaigns with email and SMS campaigns will dramatically increase the success of your points campaign while also promoting your loyalty program. A powerful marketing tool during the holiday season when it helps to stand out to your customers with more than just the occasional holiday discount.


    Marsello marketing calendar with halloween promotions scheduled.

    Using email templates to quickly create eye-catching campaigns

    Creating a campaign with the Marketing Calendar feature takes a few clicks; and with the holiday season fast approaching, there’s plenty of campaign ideas and themes to keep you busy. Because of this, we’ve gone ahead and added several BFCM email campaigns to your templates library. These templates are designed to enable you to quickly get started with an email campaign without the added stress of wondering what to include in your email content or planning designs.

    So, how do you add a template to your campaign? 

    Once you’ve clicked on your desired campaign date within your Marketing Calendar, the rest is easy!

    1. Select ‘Email campaign’ as the campaign type that you’d like to create.

    2. Then opt to ‘start from template’. 

    3. Select the template you feel best represents your brand and the ‘feel’ of your promotion. 

    And from here, it’s just some simple customization steps to ensure your desired template fits your brand and your campaign goals:

    1. Add your store logo

    2. Update header image links to your store

    3. Add a discount and any terms

    4. Customize your copy/text

    5. Drag in product recommendations or showcase specific products

    6. Add your social media links at the bottom

    Let’s dig a little deeper and get into why the Marketing Calendar is useful to you. 


    Why is a Marketing Calendar useful?

    Not only does a Marketing Calendar make it simple for you to plan, create and send new campaigns, it is also an important tool for tracking the success of your past marketing campaigns, how often you’re communicating with customers, and what your scheduled marketing strategy is for the coming month(s) (and as the holiday season is fast-approaching, hopefully, it’s starting to look more and more planned). Let’s break each of these points down a little.

    • Tracking your marketing success:
      What are the goals of your campaigns? To increase your revenue and sales (conversion rates), to promote your store (open rates), or to push your loyalty program (engagement)? Maybe you’ve released a new collection of products or you’re announcing a sale. By combining your marketing calendar (with clear send dates) you can easily compare the success of each campaign to your insights over the days that follow from when you sent the campaign and deduce if that campaign had a remarkable impact on your revenue or other goals.
    • Frequency of communication:
      If you’re emailing your customers every day and seeing low open rates, low engagement rates, and, as would be expected, low conversion rates, then perhaps you could switch up the frequency and consistency of your messaging and try contacting customers every other day, or weekly. The Marketing Calendar gives you a visual overview of what you’re currently doing, making it easy for you to adjust your strategies. Whether you could contact customers a little more often, a little less often, adjust your campaign designs or content, or could possibly look at including more personalization, the Marketing Calendar will make it easier for you to make these decisions and monitor their results.
    • Scheduling marketing for the coming weeks:
      As we’ve covered, the calendar makes it easy for you to add whatever type of campaign suits your current and ongoing marketing strategy. With the holiday season approaching, this is the perfect time to look at your scheduled marketing campaigns and decide if you need to be contacting customers earlier, creating promotions, boosting campaigns, or even dialing your marketing efforts back so your customers know that when they hear from you, it’s going to be undeniably good.


    Final Words

    Whether you’re just getting started, or you’re running a well-oiled marketing machine, the Marketing Calendar is an easy and effective way for you to track your campaign marketing efforts, create new campaigns, and plan for events such as the holiday season. 

    With just a few clicks you can create new email, SMS, or points campaigns and track their success with ease. The month-by-month visualization of your marketing (which is also adjustable to a daily or weekly view) will help you to see how often you’re sending different campaign types and make it easy for you to plan future campaigns. Get a head start on your holiday marketing and start creating campaigns from the new Marketing Calendar.


    Learn more about campaigns

    How Points Campaigns Can Help You Increase Customer Loyalty

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    Learn how to encourage your customers to shop by sending a points promotion campaign that offers extra points for purchases during a set timeframe.

    Points Campaigns are the perfect tool to have up your sleeve to help drive sales on those quieter days or celebrate a special event (like a holiday).

    With Points Campaigns, you will not only have the ability to run campaigns that offer extra-points-per-purchase (set over specific timeframes) – you’ll also easily be able to market these promotions to loyalty program members and track the success of your campaign with real-time reporting. Your customers will be compelled to not only shop at your store, but they will also be tempted to spend more, especially with extra bonuses like the ability to add minimum spend requirements. 

    Let’s take a closer look.

    How points campaigns work alongside promotional campaigns in Marsello

    The Points Campaigns feature will give you the ability to run Points Multiplier or ‘Fixed-points Amount’ campaigns during set timeframes. This new campaign type is found under the Campaigns dashboard in your Marsello admin.

    And the options are endless! 

    Double points promotions are a common go-to (as you’ll see in the following email examples), however they’re not the only option! Points Campaigns are a powerful tool for encouraging a positive change in shopping behavior. We’ve put together just a few examples:

      1. Why not encourage customers back to your brick-and-mortar store with in-store only points promotions (when you can re-open your store if you were forced to close as a result of COVID-19, or if you’re finding traffic slow). With the new Points Campaigns feature, advanced options will allow you to decide which of your sites a customer must shop at to earn bonus points.

      2. Do you find your store has a midweek quiet patch? Offer bonus points that delight your customers and incentivize them to shop on those quiet days e.g. offer shoppers an extra 50 points exclusively on Tuesdays. This is called a ‘Fixed Points Amount’ campaign.

      3. Do you celebrate your store’s birthday? Why not promote the event with a points promotion and campaign that encourages your customers to celebrate with you and receive bonus points for a limited time. Encourage your customers to spend more by setting a minimum spend amount per order.

      4. Are you just about to launch a loyalty program? Add even more excitement and incentive for your customers to join by offering bonus points for your loyalty program’s first month! Simply specify the start and end dates of your campaign.

    One powerful way to promote your points campaign is through Email and SMS. It’s important to note that these should be scheduled to coincide with the timing of your Points Campaign.

    Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program

    Merchants using points campaigns to drive customer engagement

    Let’s take a look at how some merchants are using points promotion campaigns to attract customers and encourage purchases. 

    Urban Outfitters Offers Double Points

    Urban Outfitters recently made the effort to delight and excite their loyalty program members! The multi-national, powerhouse brand offered double points for all online purchases of homewares for a limited time, helping them to capture customers at a time when many can’t access brick-and-mortar stores (no thanks to Covid-19) and online sales have seen a remarkable increase. 

    In an eye-catching GIF email, Urban Outfitters offer double points on homewares for all loyalty members who shop online.


    Urban Outfitters cleverly teamed their promotion with an email campaign that features stand-out design decisions like GIFs and high-quality images. By not specifying exactly when the offer ends, UO also cleverly creates a sense of urgency that the deal won’t last long and that customers should shop soon. Notice that they keep the images simple with minimal text and the focus being on the essential details and then product examples that encourage the customer to shop. Campaigns like this really stand out and help to see high conversion rates and quick returns on investment.

    It’s all about timing too! And we don’t just mean when the emails are sent and received. Urban Outfitters are cleverly offering this deal on homewares at a time when customers are spending a lot of time at home and likely to be intrigued by a refresh of their home decor.


    One Love Organics Shares All The Details

    One Love Organics like to keep things simple when it comes to design. Their branding and visuals are always fresh and inviting with stylish design choices and color palettes that pop when paired together. ONO’s recent points promotion campaign was no different.

    One Love Organics uses email marketing to promote a double points campaign that they’re offering for a limited time. They’ve included beautifully brand-complimentary images (green leaves) and text (bold pink).

    They not only encourage their loyal customers to shop with them by offering an undeniable double points promotion to their Love Club loyalty program members, but they also provide the exact time that the deal will end. They then go the extra mile by adding (in a complimentary banner above the core content) that customers who spend more than $49 will receive free shipping!! It’s incentives like these that customers just can’t turn down, and One Love Organics are nailing it!


    Final words

    Looking forward to promoting your loyalty program by sending your first Points Campaign? Learn all you need to know from our help center article on creating a points campaign and make sure to check out the pre-built ‘Double Points’ email campaign template.

    We’d love to see what campaign designs you come up with – if you have a Points Campaign that you’re proud of, feel free to let us know in the comments below. 

    To learn how to make the most out of your loyalty marketing, check out The Loyalty Marketing Guide: 8 Strategies for Gaining Customers for Life.


    Create points campaignGET MARSELLO

    Boost Your Campaigns and Help Your Retail Marketing Stand Out

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    Re-engage customers who haven’t opened your email campaigns by resending your email with a refreshed subject line. Introducing, Boost Email Campaigns!
    Marsello’s feature, Boost Email Campaigns, allows retailers to resend an email campaign 48 hours after it was originally sent. With a new subject line and a time delay, customers who didn’t open the first email are sure to open the second.


    On average, email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing technique, but with so many emails landing in customers’ inboxes, it can sometimes be tricky to get noticed. Why not give your campaigns a little boost by resending emails with a different subject line to everyone who didn’t open it the first time around?

    Our data shows that boosting a campaign can increase open rates by as much as 30%! With the new Boost Email Campaigns feature, you can easily resend One-off Email Campaigns with a new subject line to capture the attention of customers who may not have noticed your first email. Invite them to shop with your store by boosting your campaigns and take the hard work out of promoting your email campaigns. Let’s dig a little deeper into the feature itself.


    Boost Campaigns With Marsello

    The Boost Email Campaigns sub-feature is an addition to the popular Email Campaigns feature that is simple to use no matter whether you’re boosting an already existing campaign or starting from scratch. 

    To boost your campaigns, you have two options:


    Option One – Set-up from scratch:


    An email boost set-up with the secondary subject line of "Limited Restock: The Darcie Halter Dress"


    The first step is to create a new email campaign from the Campaigns Admin. Once you have created the subject line for your new campaign, you will then find the added option to boost your campaign. From here, the process is easy! Select ‘Boost Campaign’ and create a new subject line for your new, boosted campaign; then, save your settings. This second email will only send to those customers who did not open the original email and it will be scheduled to send automatically after 48 hours.


    Option Two – After the first campaign is sent: 


    Up to 46 hours after a One-off Email Campaign has been sent, you can choose to boost the campaign and re-send it to customer who did not open it within the first 48 hours.


    So, you’ve decided to boost a one-off email campaign after you’ve already sent it. Using the Campaigns Admin, you will be able to boost your campaign, although this option is only available for 46 hours after the campaign was first sent. To boost your campaign, simply find the recent campaign you would like to boost in your Campaigns Admin and you will see a ‘Boost Campaign’ button alongside it. Simply select this button, add a subject line for your second campaign, and save your boosted campaign. 


    There are some points to note at this stage: 

    • After 46 hours, the ‘Boost Campaign’ button will automatically be greyed out and will no longer be available for that campaign. 

    • As with setting up your boosted campaigns from scratch, your second campaign will automatically copy the content of the original campaign but use the new subject line. 

    • The 48-hour send delay applies to the original campaign’s send date and time – this means that if you scheduled your first campaign to send on Monday at 12 PM, then boosted that campaign 45 hours later, your boosted email would then send on Wednesday at 12 PM. 

    No matter which way you decide to do so, once you have saved your boosted campaign, your email content will then automatically be duplicated for the second email but the new campaign will instead use the second subject line. 

    This new subject line is essential! It’ll differentiate your new email from your original and is crucial to helping your campaign stand out to your customers. Don’t be afraid to get creative but remember there are a few golden rules with email subject lines! Let’s cover the basics, just to be sure:

    1. Keep it simple. No more than 10 words and 60 characters (remember, emoji’s use multiple character spaces so keep them to a minimum) is a pretty standard industry recommendation. 

    2. Avoid special characters and limit your punctuation. Adding too much punctuation can make your emails look like spam. Refer to tip one.

    3. Use emojis sparingly. We touched on this but it’s actually really important. Depending on the operating system your customers use, they could see your emojis differently and this could have a real effect on the success of your campaign. Emojis should support your message, but not replace words or feature too heavily. 

    4. Keep it relevant. Your subject line should indicate why you’re getting in contact and what the customer can expect from your email. 

    5. Be creative. Help your campaigns to stand out with subject lines that are too good to miss! ‘Exclusive Online Sale – Today Only’ is much more informative than, for example, ‘Sale Now On’ and really invites your recipients to open your email and make a purchase before they miss out.

    Let’s break down our previous example from the above images, taken from The Little Atelier.


    The same email set-up with the secondary subject line of "Limited Restock: The Darcie Halter Dress"


    In their first campaign, the fashion-focused retailer lets their customers know that they’ve re-stocked an item. While their loyal customers would be the most likely to open the email, other customers are likely to be excited that a popular item has been restocked. The subject line is informative if a little simple. In the future, the store could choose to add a little more detail or even promote re-stocked items with a deal like an exclusive loyalty program Points Campaign where customers earn extra points for purchases over a set timeframe.

    In the boosted campaign, The Little Atelier uses a subject line that creates a little more urgency. While the item has been restocked, supply is limited. This implies that customers should get in quick to avoid missing out. One option to add a little more power to this boosted campaign could have been to add a phrase like ‘Don’t miss out.’ 

    Note that in both subject lines, the emojis are used sparingly and support the content of both the email and the subject itself. 


    Final Words

    Boosted campaigns are shown to have remarkable results – as we’ve mentioned. With a 30% increase in open rates alone, it’s no wonder why so many retailers have asked us for this feature. Combine those results with the already astounding power of email marketing and you’re using proven, long-lasting, tried and true tools of the trade to engage your audiences, while also ensuring that no customer is left behind.

    Looking forward to using the Boost Campaign feature? Learn all you need to know from our help center article on how to boost your email campaigns.

    We can’t wait to see what results you see too and we’d love to hear about your success. Let us know how your boosted email campaigns do in the comments section below!


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    Using contact tracing to retain your customers

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    Use contact tracing at your physical store and collect customer data to market directly to those who have opted in – learn how in this blog!

    As retail and hospitality have adjusted to recent times, it’s become increasingly more important for customers and merchants to be able to account for who is visiting their physical business locations. This is why contact tracing has become integral to ensuring a safe space for customers to continue shopping in-store and for those stores to operate – being able to safely (contactless) and securely (protecting personal data) account for everyone’s locations so they can be alerted to any personal health risks is fast becoming commonplace on an international scale.

    But just because this data is private, doesn’t mean that’s the end of the road. Marsello's Contact Tracing Forms also allow your visitors to opt-in to receive your future marketing. This means you can automatically collect the data of those interested visitors and add them to your mailing list automatically.

    Let’s take a look at Marsello’s contact tracing feature and see how one store is already seeing success.


    How it works

    Setting up your form is easy! All you need to do is find it in your Marsello admin navigation menu under ‘Marketing’; you’ll see the option ‘COVID-19 Contact Tracing’ and your first form is all set-up and ready to go! Just check out this help article if you'd like to learn more.

    Once you’ve created your form, you’ll need to download your unique QR code flyer and print that for display within your store. This is the flyer that your customers will scan with the cameras on their smartphone, automatically loading the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Form you created. If you added the ability for your customers to opt-in to receiving marketing, you’ll find this at the bottom of your form. 

    COVID-19 contactless visitor check-in form with QR code

    12.6% of Madame Fancy Pants' contact tracing customers have accepted marketing!

    One merchant that has seen a 12.6% increase in customers who accept marketing from the Contact Tracing Forms is Madame Fancy Pants (MFP), a Wellington, New Zealand-based retailer who specializes in high-quality designer clothing. Since enabling the form, MFP has been able to not only track the customers who visit their physical store (allowing them to be compliant with current New Zealand retail practices) but also increase their marketing outreach and customer loyalty with a marketing opt-in at the bottom of their form. We can’t wait to see how they reach out to these customers in the future.


    Madame Fancy Pants' COVID-19 Contact Tracing form that also collects customer's details for marketing

    Final words

    We’ve covered the importance of contact tracing, how to set up your forms, and even seen a store that is reaping the rewards. Now it’s up to you to create your own COVID-19 Contact Tracing form and create the opportunity to offer your customers a safe shopping experience to keep them coming back.



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    Loyalty Program Designs to Increase Customer Loyalty

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    Learn how to showcase your brand with loyalty widget and tab designs that stand out on your online store while complimenting your branding.

    Promotional GIF of Marsello's loyalty widget.


    Loyalty programs are one of the best ways to improve retail customer experiences. And the design of your loyalty program matters! To ensure engagement and sign-ups, loyalty program designs need to be simple, eye-catching, and above all show your customers what’s in it for them. From understanding what makes a strong loyalty program, to widget designs that actually convert, this guide will help you design a loyalty program that your customers rave about. 


    What makes a strong loyalty program?


    The best loyalty programs are win-win; you and your customers should both benefit from the exchange. 

    Improving customer service and experience might actually be making you money. There are a lot of long-term benefits of growing lifetime loyalty and adding extra touchpoints to make sure your customers feel appreciated.

    When designing your loyalty program, there are a few key features that will give you a competitive edge:


        • Simplicity for customers - Don’t make them work for it. Using a loyalty program design software like Marsello helps you integrate on-brand widgets and automated marketing campaigns to make it easy for customers to redeem points 
        • Emotional connection with your brand - You need to create customer buy-in. One way is to give your loyalty program a unique name that builds a community around it. For example, Our Bralette Club uses a play on slang to playfully name their program the Peach Party
        • Multiple touchpoints with customers - This includes omnichannel marketing systems like email, SMS, and social media, as well as loyal programs that let customers sign up and redeem points both online and in-store
        • Touchpoints outside of transactions - Successful loyalty programs foster interactions with customers that aren’t just transactional. Create a community that is fun, desirable, and invites them in!


    Want to know more? Check out these examples of great loyalty programs.


    Benefits of rewarding your loyal customers 


    Building retail loyalty is a long-term, sometimes difficult process. So what are the actual benefits of investing in a great loyalty program design? Firstly, it of course builds customer loyalty. 75% of consumers say they favor companies that offer some kind of reward system. 

    Secondly, loyalty programs increase your revenue. Just one of many examples is size-inclusive lingerie brand Our Bralette Club (OBC). By cultivating positive customer experiences with freebies and discounts in their loyalty program, OBC increased their revenue by 278% through their program members alone.

    Next, a good loyalty program design improves customer retention. Loyalty programs give your business an opportunity to improve relationships with customers outside of transactions. Research shows that even a small increase of 5% in retention can boost profits by 25-95%.

    Lastly, it helps to create a community around your brand. With community comes customer buy-in, and with emotional buy-in comes referrals. Referral marketing is invaluable for any scaling business, and it starts with customer-centric strategies like loyalty programs. 


    KPIs to Measure Your Customer Loyalty 


    It’s not enough to pick a customer loyalty model and wait for it to grow. You need to measure your customer loyalty program over time! How? By measuring the right KPIs and investing in customer relationships long term. 

    1. Net Promoter Score 

    A Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a score of how likely a customer is to recommend your brand to a friend or family member. A person with a positive Net Promoter Score (i.,e. they would promote your business to their friends) has a lifetime value of up to 1400% more than someone who wouldn’t promote your business. 

    Measuring NPS as part of your loyalty program KPIs will give you a fairly good indication of whether customers are engaged and loyal to your brand. 


    2. Customer Loyalty Index

    A customer loyalty index is similar to an NPS score. It takes customer surveys, their purchase history, and their purchase intent for the future to measure their loyalty to your brand. 

    Tracking loyalty in this way is useful because it combines loyalty with other measurable factors such as retention and churn rate.


    3. Repurchase Ratio 

    A repurchase ratio compares the number of repeat customers to the number of one-off customers. Not only will you identify loyal, returning customers, you will also get an idea of which customers are maybe seasonal for marketing purposes. 

    In general, 65% of a company’s revenue comes from existing customers. That is why tracking customers who are repurchasing is so important. Not only does repurchasing show loyalty to your brand, it indicates an effective marketing strategy. Revenue up, cost of new acquisitions down! 

    Examples of great customer loyalty program designs


    With loyalty program software like Marsello, you have infinite design options. Whether you want to show off your brand, invite new customers into your community, or increase engagement and retention, Marsello has got you covered. 

    Check out some of our favorite examples of loyalty program widgets below!

    What are loyalty widgets and how can they show off your brand

    Widgets are used in place of loyalty explainer pages and are readily available on retailers’ eCommerce stores or through email updates that brick-and-mortar loyalty customers receive. With widgets being a core representation of your loyalty program, we know how important it is that they embody your store’s brand, and to help you customize widgets that really show off your store.

    Let’s take a look at each of the available design options within Marsello and how some of our favorite retailers have integrated them into their website and branding.


    Center panel

    Having your loyalty widget pop up in the center of your screen ensures that it's front-and-center when your customers curiously check out your store’s loyalty options. They can easily navigate through your rewards and how they can earn points, ensuring that they feel informed and that your rewards are easily attainable.

    Check out what Wellington-based retailer, Smack Bang, has done with their outstanding designs and generous loyalty program. With offers such as discounts on orders and free shipping, the team at Smack Bang are ensuring that their customers keep coming back to earn points and redeem rewards, while also offering a referral program that ensures they continue to acquire new customers who fit a similar customer profile to their current customers.



    Floating Panel

    This widget design slides in from the side of the viewer’s screen. With smaller image size options, rounded corners, and a ‘floating’ appearance, this eye-catching display will be sure to inform and entice customers. 

    We love what Good Dog has done with their widget design, opting for a cute dog-bone print as their primary image and including their store name. With a simple set of percentage discounts as their rewards, Good Dog makes it easy for their customers to earn rewards, and to decide which rewards they’d like to redeem.



    Slide Panel

    Similar to the floating panel, this crisp design was created with sharp lines, defined corners, and sitting flush against the side of the page of an online store. You’ll notice that the image option for this widget is also small, creating a compact widget that suits fresh, clean branding. NatureMills, a Californian natural and organic food retailer, is a wonderful example of this widget style with clean, on-brand imagery and colors, generous rewards, and simple design choices. 


    NatureMills' Slide Panel loyalty widget on a green background.


    Loyalty tabs to encourage customer interaction

    The loyalty tab is also customizable! This great little addition to your store is the initial view that customers have of your loyalty program. It encourages them to explore your loyalty options, shop with you time and time again, and know when they can next redeem a reward or earn points. The tab is like a sign saying, “Welcome, come on in’, to your potential and current loyalty customers.

    Let’s take a quick look at the new design types.


    The resting tab is a rectangular shape with rounded upper corners. You can add an icon and/or text to this tab style and design where it will sit on your online store, although its placement is restricted to the edges of the screen, this means that your customer will always be able to see the tab as it’s connected to the edge of your online store.

    Marsello’s ‘Resting’ loyalty tab.


    The circular tab is smaller than the other options, designed to be discreet yet eye-catching. It floats on your online store which means that you can place it almost anywhere on your online store and it will ‘float’ down the page as the customer scrolls. Although you can add an icon to this tab, you cannot add text.

    Marsello’s ‘Circle’ loyalty tab at the bottom of Loretta's homepage.


    The floating tab design is rectangular and features rounded corners; it’s also ‘floating’. With the ability to add both text and/or icons, this tab is a great way to attract customers to your rewards through a call-to-action such as ‘see our rewards’.

    Marsello’s ‘Floating’ loyalty tab at the bottom right of Good Dog's homepage

    Final words:

    If you haven’t yet had the opportunity, check out the loyalty widget and tab design options and start creating the widget of your dreams! 

    To learn how to make the most out of your loyalty marketing, check out The Loyalty Marketing Guide: 8 Strategies for Gaining Customers for Life.


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    How to Grow Customer Loyalty With Birthday Rewards

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    Learn the essentials about rewarding your customers on their birthdays and discover the benefits of a generous loyalty program.

    Did you know that you can use Marsello’s loyalty program feature to reward points to customers for making another journey around the sun? Follow the steps here to drastically improve your customer retention rate by helping shoppers feel special on their birthday.

    Improve your customer retention infographic


    Fun fact: a 5% increase in customer loyalty can increase your average profit per customer by 25-95%.


    Step 1: Collect Birthday Info

    Before you can celebrate a birthday, you need to know when it is! If your customers sign up for your loyalty program online, they’ll have the option to add their birthday when completing their profile; if they subscribe to your mailing list via a signup form, you’ll have to include the option when designing your form.


    Step 2: Set Up Your Loyalty Program

    In your app navigation, go to ‘Loyalty’ and click on ‘Loyalty Widget’. Take your time here to design a really eye-popping widget that matches your branding, and gets your customers excited to sign up. Include your logo, choose photos that showcase your products, and select a layout that will look great on your website. Make sure to also customize the ‘Tab’ section here, as this is the first thing site visitors will see of your new Loyalty Program! Learn how to create a loyalty program with Marsello.


    PRO TIP: Try a tabless program and include more details and design.




    Once you’re happy with the design, click ‘Save & Publish’ and check out how the live widget looks on your website.

    For more help setting up your program, check out this section of our Help Center and read our loyalty guide, The Loyalty Marketing Guide: 7 Strategies for Gaining Customers for Life.


    Step 3: Turn On Happy Birthday Rewards

    Now that you’ve designed your widget, it’s time to enable your loyalty settings and start rewarding customers. Back in the navigation, go to ‘Loyalty’ and click ‘Earning Points and Referrals’. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on the ‘Member birthday’ option, but read through each possible action and turn on whichever suits your business.


    PRO TIP: 'Making a purchase' and 'Referring friends' are two powerful options you should have turned on. 'Making a purchase' rewards customers for shopping with you; 'Referring friends' rewards them for bringing you more customers! Win-win.


    Next to the ‘Member birthday’ option, click the toggle to switch from ‘Off’ to ‘On’. Here, you’ll decide how many points to award for this action, and whether or not there’s a minimum enrolment period. Click ‘Save’ when you’re happy with your settings to set it live.

    If you ever want to see how many people have gotten points for their birthday, simply navigate back to this page and click on ‘See Activity’. This will take you to a list of customers who have received birthday points.


    Step 4: Loyalty Program Marketing

    Your loyalty program can be a really powerful sales and marketing tool. Loyalty programs are proven to improve customer retention rates, and even a small increase of 5% in retention can boost profits by a whopping 25-95%.

    Now that you’ve built your program, this is where email, content, and social media marketing come in. Here are some of the most effective ways to market your new loyalty program, and let current and future customers know they can expect a truly rewarding experience with your business:

    When you add a new option for collecting points, such as the Happy Birthday reward, don’t be afraid to make a big fuss, and to use your favorite tactics from this list to get the word out. Remember: customers love to know what you and your brand can do for them, and the more opportunities you can create to help them feel special, the better.


    Turn on Birthday RewardsGET MARSELLO

    Rewards and Promotions: Treat Your Customers on Their Birthday

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    How do you know it’s worthwhile to reward customers for milestones like their birthday? Read on to learn more about marketing with rewards and promotions.

    As it turns out, there are very good reasons for you to treat your customers on their birthday. A study by Vibes found that 77% of mobile consumers state that receiving surprise points, exclusive messages, and birthday/anniversary content "would have a major impact on their brand loyalty."

    Birthday campaigns also tend to perform better. Research by Experian revealed that compared with promotional emails, birthday messages:

        • have a 481% higher transaction rate
        • generate 342% more revenue
        • have a 179% higher unique click rate
        • See an 89% higher open rate.

    These numbers tell us that birthday email campaigns can be a huge treat – for both customers and brands. So, it’s worth investing the time and effort to make your birthday initiatives shine. Read on for ideas and tips on how to do just that.


    What are the benefits of birthday rewards for your business?

    The biggest benefit of birthday rewards programs is that they are a win-win strategy. They put the focus on the buyer experience which benefits your best customers while simultaneously increasing revenue and loyalty.  

    There are several key reasons why birthday rewards should be part of your overall loyalty program strategy:

        • Firstly, birthday rewards programs increase customer loyalty. 84% of customers opt to stay with a brand that surprises them and takes a customer-centric approach. Who doesn’t like being spoiled on their birthday! 
        • Secondly, loyalty programs (that include things like birthday surprises) are proven to improve customer retention rates. Even a small increase of 5% in retention can boost profits by a whopping 25-95%.
        • Lastly, you can gather personalized data on your best customers. This allows you to personalize customer experiences and again improve loyalty. 

    By adding birthday rewards to an existing loyalty program, you can personalize customer experiences, gather data on what campaigns are resonating with which customers, and re-target loyal customers who redeem rewards. 

    Read more: 7 Steps To Building A Profitable Loyalty & Rewards Program


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    How to prevent birthday rewards abuse

    You might be asking “what if people sign up to our birthday points program with a fake birthday?”. 

    We have three suggestions to help stop birthday rewards point abuse. 

        1. Apply a “cooling-off” period when people sign up to your loyalty program, i.e. don’t let people put in a birthday date that is within the first month (“What a coincidence, my birthday is TOMORROW!”). This will deter people who want “quick points” or instant freebies and then disappear. 
        2. If you are using a points system, make it less than the points they receive for making an actual purchase while still being valuable.
        3. For birthday programs where you give out a freebie, make it a surprise! Don’t explicitly say what free item they will receive before they sign up. That way people will be less likely to sign up for that one specific item and you can still treat your loyal members.

    Ultimately, there will always be people who want to take advantage of free points. The benefits you get from creating positive customer experiences for your loyalty club members will almost always outweigh the potential for rewards abuse. 


    Examples of Birthday Rewards Campaigns

    When you do it right, birthday rewards campaigns can improve customer retention, loyalty, and engagement. Whether it’s sending specialty coupons, giving out freebies, or something a little more creative, these examples hit the nail on the head. 


    Send a one-off special discount and build excitement

    This one can seem to be a low-hanging fruit of birthday rewards, however, special discounts are known to yield quick results and valuable data when implemented correctly. If you’re new to birthday campaigns, consider starting things off with a special discount that shoppers can use on the month of their birthday.

    It’s simple, straightforward, and easy to test. Just make sure to create unique promo codes for each celebrant, so you can track who’s redeeming your offers.

    Offer free products on special occasions

    Alternatively, you can opt to give shoppers a freebie on their special day. Some examples of brands that offer birthday freebies include Starbucks and Sephora. In fact, birthday freebies are growing increasingly common. Australian burger joint Hello Harry’s openly offers their customers a free birthday burger… with a small caveat that protects the business – the birthday burgers are free up to the value of $12.

    Hello Harrys free burger birthday offer website banner


    Freebies are a great option if you want to encourage your customers to try your products or if you have samples and surplus stock to give away.


    Offer creative rewards to encourage engagement

    Here’s the not-so-great reality of loyalty or rewards programs: while many consumers sign up for them, not everyone participates in all the programs they join. 

    A 2018 survey found that almost "two-thirds of respondents actively engage with less than half the loyalty programs to which they are members.” The survey found that only 18% actively engage with all their rewards programs.

    If your loyalty or rewards program is suffering from low engagement rates, consider incorporating birthday rewards to stir things up. When implemented correctly, this tactic can fuel engagement among your members and put your brand back on their radar.

    Anna Beck, a Shopify Plus-powered Jewelry store with multiple resellers and stores, has done a great job at subtly incorporating birthday rewards into their loyalty program to incentivize customers but not create so much buzz that they risk sign-ups for just that reason.

    Members of the program automatically get 20 points on their birthday, but with 100 points for creating a profile and 25 for completing their profile information, it’s easy to see how customers quickly earn enough points to reap the rewards.

    Since they started using Marsello, Anna Beck has experienced a 728.33% increase in revenue, directly attributable to their loyalty program. And even better, they’ve developed a really thorough understanding of their customer database and how to convert them into loyal customers. They had this to say about developing their loyalty program with Marsello:

    “​​Through the data, we’ve found that we have incredibly loyal customers. Once they make their second purchase, they are highly likely to be lifelong customers. Marsello allows us to easily reward those loyal customers for sticking around, it was a no-brainer. Anna Beck has only been an online retail brand for a handful of years, and a loyalty program was the natural next step.”

    Another great example comes from Smack Bang, a Wellington-based pet products specialist is one brand that's using a powerful loyalty program to its advantage. With a 100% engagement rate and 6x ROI, the addition of loyalty marketing to SmackBang's all-over marketing tech stack really helps them to capture customers' attention time and time again. 


    Loyalty members earn points for actions such as creating a profile, referring a friend, reviewing products, making purchases, and engaging on social media. And the benefits include % discounts off as well as first-looks at product releases. 

    The Smack Bang team makes sure to keep their loyalty program members up to date with emails regarding product releases, business updates, sales, events, and more! By keeping regular contact with their customers, they set the expectation that the more loyal a customer is, the better deals they’ll get. And we love that SB lives up to this expectation!

    Create a sense of mystery and surprise your customers 

    Want to keep shoppers on their toes or still trying to figure out which reward type is the best option? Consider offering a range of rewards and surprises that your customers can enjoy on their birthday month.

    That’s what the lingerie retailer ThirdLove is doing. Members of their ‘Hooked’ loyalty program get an annual free birthday gift, which remains a surprise until the customer's special day. According to the company's website:

    “We’re not ones to spoil a surprise! While we won’t tell exactly what they are, they’ll change regularly and might be a freebie, a discount, or a little something special just for you.”

    Surprise freebies are a wonderful way to keep your customers excited, but our tip? Don’t be tempted to fall into the trap of ‘pawning off’ your hard-to-sell stock on these customers. Make sure your birthday freebies are worth the hype and keep shoppers wanting more.


    Celebrate your business’s birthday and say thanks to your customers

    A nice twist to the concept of birthday rewards is to celebrate your brand’s birthday. This is a good way to mark an important milestone, and it gives you the opportunity to thank customers – both new and old.

    Bare Wholefoods, a Sydney-based cafe, did just that when they celebrated their 4th birthday. 


    To mark the occasion, Bare Wholefoods sent a pre-birthday email to their customers, which included a $10 discount code along with a sincere message of appreciation. The result? The small but mighty campaign saw a 6.59% conversion rate!

    By celebrating their own birthday, Rough & Bare was also able to show appreciation to the customers that keep them going – and this is such a powerful message in the wake of significant changes brought about by COVID-19.


    Tips for implementing birthday rewards

    We’ve talked about the different types of birthday rewards you can offer; now let’s discuss how you can take your campaigns to the next level. If you’re looking to start or further optimize your birthday rewards initiatives, follow these best practices to ensure that your efforts hit the mark:


    Integrate birthday perks with your loyalty or rewards program

    While it’s certainly possible to offer birthday rewards to non-loyalty program members, your campaigns will perform far better if they’re incorporated into your loyalty program.

    Roping birthday rewards into your loyalty program enables you to build data-rich customer profiles. Having your shoppers’ purchase histories, shopping activities, and birthdays in one place means that you have a clear view of who each customer is. That, in turn, can enable you to improve and personalize their shopping experiences even more.

    LEGO Certified Stores South Africa has done this to great success!

    Screen Shot 2022-02-16 at 11.07.43 AM

    By awarding customers points on their birthdays and for purchases, LEGO creates a feeling of scarcity but customers also quickly rack up the points with each purchase. This means that when customers earn a reward, it feels all the sweeter!

    Automate your campaigns

    Keeping track of everyone’s birthdays and setting up individual messages isn’t just tedious, it’s impossible as your business grows. Campaign automation is not only a remarkable time-saver – automation as a whole (along with personalization) has actually been pinpointed as the future of marketing

    Thankfully, Marsello has done the hard work for you and already has a number of pre-made automated flows that are easy to review and enable. One of these automated flows includes a Birthday Flow which automatically triggers an email sequence to engage customers on their birthday month. This pre-designed email series is populated with an offer of a small discount and is already tied to your customer database, so there’s no need to manually configure the campaign. 

    Just take a look at this example from Nigerian shoe retailer bCODE:


    Notice that they’ve given their customers a lovely surprise by automatically adding 5 points to their account to celebrate! We love that this campaign stands out, has a compelling subject line, and gives customers value right away.

    In fact, all of Marsello’s automated campaigns are designed to be easily enabled in just a few clicks. Learn more about Marsello’s marketing automation functionality or start a free trial and explore yourself.

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    Test your offers

    While we can certainly recommend birthday rewards and ideas, ultimately, the performance of your birthday promotions will depend on your specific store and customer base. That’s why it’s important that you test and analyze different birthday promotions to see what works best for your business.

    As mentioned above, coming up with unique promo codes makes it easier to monitor the performance of your offers, as well as the customers who are redeeming their rewards.

    In fact, the NZ arm of international sporting goods specialists Merrell are pros are testing all of their marketing. They had this to say when we spoke to them about their Marsello-powered marketing.

    “Marsello offers automations, loyalty, rewards, email campaign segmentation, SMS. All the tools that we knew we wanted to test in stages as our eCommerce and business grows. Step 1 was swapping from [our old provider] to using Marsello’s email marketing campaigns. Step 2, we’re using marketing automation. Step 3, it’s loyalty!”

    It was essential to the team to find an all-in-one tool that they could use to build their marketing functionality while also testing each and every change. And that didn’t stop when it came to building their loyalty program and testing their promotional offers!

    One way you can use birthday rewards to understand your customer engagement patterns is to test which different promo types (e.g., free shipping vs. 20% off vs. $5 off) your customer responds well too. Then, it’s easy to apply similar logic to any other promotions and offers that you create in the future!


    Integrate SMS marketing

    While email is still the most popular channel for sending birthday promos and rewards, SMS is rapidly gaining steam – and it won’t slow down anytime soon. Industry experts are predicting SMS marketing to grow by 52% by 2023.

    As such, if you’re thinking about using SMS marketing, customer birthdays present the perfect opportunity to touch base. Consumers will likely be checking their phones for birthday greetings, and having a timely text from your brand could serve as a pleasant surprise. 

    Just remember, SMS marketing comes with a few rules to keep in mind and not every merchant is eligible. To make sure you’re doing everything right, check out our help center on SMS compliance. 




    How do businesses track the effectiveness of birthday reward campaigns over time?

    To track the effectiveness of birthday reward campaigns over time, businesses often use customer relationship management (CRM) tools to analyze customer engagement, purchase frequency, and changes in spending patterns around their birthdays. If you're using Marsello, you can track the revenue generated from birthday automations over time, allowing you to optimize and see the impact of your changes.

    Can small businesses without a big budget implement impactful birthday rewards?

    For small businesses with limited budgets, impactful birthday rewards can be implemented by offering personalized discounts, exclusive products, or simple gestures like birthday messages that make customers feel valued without incurring high costs.

    How do businesses personalize birthday rewards for diverse customer segments?

    Personalizing birthday rewards for diverse customer segments involves gathering data on customer preferences and purchasing history to tailor rewards that resonate with different demographics, enhancing the customer's experience and loyalty. Remember: Don't get too granular with your segments — the smaller the segment, the more time and cost intensive personalization will be. For smaller businesses, we recommend one simple birthday reward, such as a voucher.


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    Final words

    Birthdays can be a real treat not just for your customers, but for your brand, as well. So, take the time to create campaigns that make your customers feel appreciated on their special day.

    Need help doing just that? Check out Marsello’s customer loyalty features and discover how you can engage each customer on their birthday and beyond.

    Make sure to check out our comprehensive loyalty guide to ensure your loyalty marketing is up to date in all areas.

    Read Guide


    Guide to Getting Your First Key Sales in 2022

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    In this blog, learn how to generate quality leads for your first key sales and turn new customers into life-long brand advocates.

    In retail, momentum is one of the best ways to generate your first key sales. 

    Getting momentum and customers early on not only puts money in the bank (so you can re-invest in your growth), but it gives you the motivation to keep going.

    So, how exactly can you drive your initial sales? We’ve put together 10 ideas to help you gain paying customers as you kick-off, as well as important sales KPIs and keys to building an effective sales process in your new retail biz. 


    Top sales KPIs to track your progress 

    Tracking sales KPIs is the only way to know if you are making progress in your retail business. The sooner you start tracking your progress, the sooner you will see trends in key metrics such as customer loyalty, churn rate, and how it costs to bring in a new customer. 

    Below are some of the best sales KPIs you should include in your analytics. 

    Customer Loyalty 

    Your loyal customers Repeat customers spend 33% more than other customers, so it is worth focusing your marketing efforts on them specifically.

    Loyalty can be measured through: 

        • Net Promoter Scores (NPS), i.e. how likely they are to recommend your brand to someone you know 
        • Customer Loyalty Index surveys 
        • Returning customer analytics
        • Loyalty programs and points redemption (customer loyalty platforms like Marsello track this for you!) 

    If you can build customer loyalty from the very first sale, they will help you build momentum as you grow. 


    Customer Lifetime Value 

    The Customer Lifetime Value KPI is how much your business can reasonably expect from a single customer. You can use this to identify your best customer segments and therefore where to focus your marketing budget. 

    Companies that prioritize customer experience have profits 60% higher on average than those that don’t. This emphasizes the need for ongoing customer relationships and long-term investment. Loyalty is not a once-off marketing tactic. 


    Customer Churn Rate 

    Another sales KPI is your Customer Churn Rate. A high churn rate indicates that although someone has signed up, they are not sticking around. It is measured by 

    For retail, KPIs that go alongside churn rates are

        • Customer loyalty and NPS scores 
        • Retention and returning customers (do customers make one purchase and never come back?) 
        • Loyalty program redemption (are customers engaged with your brand’s rewards?) 


    Customer Acquisition Price 

    Customer acquisition price measures how much it costs your business to bring in a new customer. The lower this number, the more efficient your marketing and sales process. 

    Ideally, you want your average purchase order per customer to be much higher than the cost of acquiring them. This is why you should focus on customer loyalty just as much as marketing. 


    Average Order Value 

    The Average Order Value is calculated by dividing the total revenue by the number of orders placed. Tracking average order value doesn’t just give you insight into customer behavior. It also correlates with a stronger profit margin.

    Using upsells, rewards points, and bonuses like free shipping thresholds are all ways that you can incentivize higher average order values when you start out. 


    Key elements for an effective sales process from the start 

    No matter what you’re selling, there are a few proven factors for success in sales. These steps integrate into any sales process, whether that is through website copy, market positioning, social media, or email marketing. 


    Identify customer needs clearly 

    Before you can make your first sale (or any sale), you need to know if your product serves your ideal customers. 

    This is done in the planning stage of your business. Ask questions about your product like:

        • Do you have a unique value proposition?
        • Have you done the market research? Is this something people ACTUALLY want or need?
        • Who are your competitors? What are their measures of success?
        • Why do people NEED or CRAVE your product? 
        • Have you done a test run to see if there is demand before investing everything in a product? 

    Putting in the effort to clearly identify your customers’ needs will set you up for success with your first few sales. 


    Build Rapport

    Prior to launching and getting sales, it is important to start building a rapport with potential customers. 68% of customers leave a brand because they feel like you are indifferent to them. Building rapport and community is crucial!

    One way you can create ongoing rapport with your potential customers is to build a loyalty program. Effective loyalty programs can help build hype and a sense of belonging for your customers which all contribute to more sales. 

    A good example of a loyalty program community is Our Bralette Club. They have a loyalty program that not only resulted in a 278% increase in revenue generated from program members alone but also creates a fun, inclusive community for their “Peach Party” members. 


    Present a solution

    When you boil it down, sales and business are just identifying problems and solving them for people. Whether that's showing customers how to build their spring wardrobe, selling the highest quality dog treats on the market, or helping people get into hiking by giving great boot recommendations. 

    Your marketing, visual assets, storefront, and website copy should all emphasize why your product solves their exact needs. 


    Close the deal 

    Once you have done your market research, started building rapport, and have a product people want, the most important step is to actually make the sale! 

    We have a few tips to help increase your chances of closing the deal:

        • Make your website as user-friendly as possible - According to a study by eMarketer, the only thing online shoppers like more than customer reward coupons is a quick and easy checkout process. 83% of shoppers marked this as their top priority for loyalty.
        • Set up abandoned cart emails- People get distracted, people change their mind mid-payment- increase your chances of making the sale by setting up automated email campaigns for abandoned carts.
        • Start collecting customer data - Set up a loyalty campaign that rewards loyal customers and gets them to sign in. This will help with retargeting and building relationships.
        • Create an omnichannel marketing campaign - omnichannel marketing campaigns allow you personalize and target specific groups to increase your chance of converting them to sales.
        • Sweeten the deal - How can you convert interested shoppers to paying customers? To make those first sales, consider sweetening the deal with rewards points for people who sign up and spend thresholds for things like free shipping.

    Create upselling opportunities 

    Businesses with higher Average Order Values have higher profit margins. That’s just simple math! Creating upselling opportunities is a great way to increase the amount a customer spends in a single transaction. 

    Examples of upselling opportunities you could try out are:

        • Free Shipping - Let customers know how close they are to a free shipping spend threshold 
        • Free Items - Give customers a free (exclusive!) gift if they spend a certain amount 
        • Loyalty Points - Set up a program that lets customers earn loyalty points and rewards for every dollar they spend which they can exchange for other products or exclusive experiences 
        • Similar Products - Give targeted recommendations for items usually brought together
        • Discount Bundles - Group together similar products and offer a limited time discount to buy multiple items.


    10 marketing ideas to help you get your first sales 


    Ready to make your first key sales and get that momentum going in your new retail business? Whether you’re selling online, in person, or both, these marketing ideas will get you started. 


    Start marketing before you launch your products

    Aim to build your audience even before you officially launch your business. You can do this by creating a website or social media account, and then posting high-value content that appeals to your target audience. You could also join relevant groups or forums and start connecting with their members.

    Doing so benefits you in a couple of ways. For starters, finding an audience prior to creating your product or business enables you to validate your ideas and determine if there’s a strong demand for your offerings.

    What’s more, building an audience early on paves the way for a stronger launch. If you already have an email list or existing social media followers, then you can unveil your products to an audience who already knows who you are, and are thus more likely to buy from you.

    Andrew Alexander, the owner of FindaBusinessIdea.com, put this strategy to work in his own business and has seen tremendous results.

    In 2011, I was making posts on niche forums, Facebook groups, and other niche websites [...] Three years later when I released a program of mine… I already had people who were familiar with my name and what I wrote about, so the content I put out there (before I even had a product) allowed me to get my first $1,200 in sales within the first few weeks of launching my business.


    2. Be clear about your Unique Value Proposition (UVP)

    One of the biggest challenges when it comes to getting your first sales is standing out in the marketplace. If your company is brand new, it can be difficult to win over shoppers, particularly if you’re selling something that people can buy elsewhere.

    An effective way to get around this is to identify your unique value proposition and then market to a specific niche that would benefit from your UVP. Doing so enables you to be more targeted with your messaging and positioning, which then allows you to cut through the noise, so you’re speaking directly to your niche.

    Jonathan Prichard, the CEO and Founder of MattressInsider.com says that finding his business' UPV and niche helped keep his business from sinking.

    “When I began my mattress company, I almost went bankrupt selling the same thing every other mattress company in America sold, which made it difficult to stick out. Luckily, I found the custom mattress size niche and was able to reposition the business before we went under,” he shared.

    Jonathan’s key advice is to showcase your UPV in compelling ways.

    “It’s a no-brainer that this is going to make you stand out from the crowd to draw people in for your initial sales. If you don’t stand out in the market you’re entering, you’re not going to get those sales that will keep you afloat, thriving and motivated.”


    3. Tap into your existing network

    Your current network could hold the key to unlocking more momentum in your business. If you haven’t done so yet, start reaching out to your friends, family, and existing supporters to see if they can help spread the word or send shoppers your way.

    This step doesn’t have to be complicated. As Kathleen Cutler of Bespoke Commerce notes, you can get going with just a pen and paper.

    Write down your most connected friends and family who've bought from you in the past. Email them directly to ask who they might know who'd be interested in your eCommerce shop. Follow up with the referral leads directly with highly targeted and personalized communication.


    4. Create an engaging storefront (both online and in-person)


    As a retail business, your storefront can either drive traffic and sales or send people packing. This is why it’s important to keep your window displays attractive and enticing. Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind:

        • Always have fresh merchandise and themes – See to it that your storefront keeps up with seasonal trends. Update your displays every week or two with new merchandise to give customers reasons to check out your store.
        • Keep elements at eye level – Decide on the products or elements that you want to draw attention to, and then position those key components at eye level. This ensures that people will immediately see the most important elements of your displays.
        • Avoid clutter – Overcrowded displays can cheapen the look and feel of your merchandise. Prevent that by keeping your display clean and uncluttered. The objective is to use your best products to attract customers, and encourage discovery while they’re inside your shop.

    Here's a great example of a display following the above best practices. Created by Smack Bang, the window display incorporates clear links to the brand colors and aesthetic (which match the online store) and showcases Smack Bang's outstanding pet products by cleverly displaying them at various levels. 

    They've even added links to their store and socials with window decals which is a clever way to encourage social media engagement – something they reward with their customer loyalty program.


    For eCommerce stores, your homepage is the online equivalent of a window display, and the same design principles apply. Be sure to showcase your seasonal products and new arrivals, and avoid cluttering up the page with unnecessary information.

    Anna Beck, a Shopify Plus-powered jewelry retailer, has mastered a well-branded, visually appealing online user experience. Their online store is always tastefully-designed with a beautiful homepage banner featuring their high-quality product photography.

    Anna Beck's online store with three ornate gold rings featured in a full-width product photo under the fold.

    With their logo at the top of the page, a simple set of navigation options, and clear but unobtrusive banners, Anna Beck's online store feels inviting and enjoyable to explore – something that's essential for 'E-tail' success.


    5. Collaborate with other companies


    Consider tapping into the audiences of other retailers and brands. Identify non-competing companies that share your target customers and see if you can team up with them. Collaboration between brands and retailers is becoming an increasingly popular strategy, particularly when it comes to eCommerce companies teaming up with physical retailers.

    Case in point: Australian women's ethical surf brand Salt Gypsy. Salt Gypsy started as an eCommerce store specializing in women's surfwear (swimwear that meets the needs of surfers). While Salt Gypsy has a bricks-and-mortar location, they've been able to grow their brand and make waves into new areas by branching out into technical surf equipment – namely, surfboards!

    Now, numerous stores in Australia and locations around the world have teamed up with Salt Gypsy to sell their merchandise – and their boards (designed specifically for female surfers) are flying off the racks! Sometimes, the Salt Gypsy team gets a chance to pop into one of these locations like they did at Byron Bay surf store, Surfection.


    And the Surfection team is quick to cross-promote Salt Gypsy too! It's exactly this kind of co-marketing that creates life-long customers from just one sale!


    6. Team up with influencers

    Research shows that 92% of consumers trust influencers more than traditional celebrity endorsements, which means that building relationships with the right individuals can pay off for your brand.

    If it makes sense for your business, start identifying social influencers who can amplify your messages. Use tools such as Peg, Reachbird, and Scrunch to find the right people and create outreach campaigns.

    You can engage influencers through a number of ways, including:

        • Free products
        • Content collaborations
        • Sponsored posts

    For best results, throw in a special offer or discount that influencers can promote to their followers. That’s what Lokus Nutrition did when they ran their influencer campaign.

    “We targeted Instagram users with audiences that matched our desired customer. We reached out to them directly and engaged an Influencer Marketing Agency to help,” explained Paul Miller, president at Lokus Nutrition. “We [then] offered a 10% discount code for our Instagram influencers to use in their posts.


    7. Tap into relevant groups and websites

    In addition to sending freebies or discounts to influencers, see if you can apply the same strategy when reaching out to websites and social media groups.

    According to Paul, they also reached out to Facebook groups whose members matched their target market and offered a discount for all group members.

    The Lokus Nutrition team also reached out to websites that were coming up with gift guides, and sent those sites free products to sample, review, and include in their guides.

    Consider doing something similar in your business. Identify groups, forums, or websites that are frequented by your target audience, and then explore partnership opportunities with them.


    8. Encourage referrals

    Create momentum and drive additional sales by encouraging your current customer base to refer your brand to their network. To streamline this process, use a referral program that makes it easy to track referrals and rewards.

    Carolina Lifestyle, a women's clothing retailer, implements this strategy quite well through their customer loyalty program. Carolina Lifestyle's referral program instantly rewards their customers with 100 loyalty points (the equivalent of $10 off in-store) for every friend who successfully makes a purchase.

    The program not only attracts new shoppers, but it lets the brand reward their existing customers, which builds goodwill and brand loyalty in the process.


    Marsello lets you automate the referral process with instant unique URLs for different social media platforms, email, and SMS, then reward customers for successfully referring their friends who complete a purchase. 


    9. Consider third-party online marketplaces


    It’s worth considering if marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay are good sales channels for your brand. These websites reach hundreds of millions of users daily, so with the right marketplace strategy, you can drive additional sales.

    Each website is different, but here are a few general pointers for how to succeed in online marketplaces:

      • Craft compelling listings – Make your product listings as compelling as possible by using attractive images and rich media that showcase your items from various angles. You should also craft unique and compelling copy to effectively communicate the features and benefits of your items.

      • Optimize your listings for search – You want your products to show up on relevant searches, so optimize your listings by incorporating targeted keywords in your titles and descriptions. Just remember not to overdo it! The key is to write for people, not bots.

      • Build up a strong seller reputation – Marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and eBay strongly favor sellers with high ratings and reviews. So, strive to build a stellar reputation by selling high-quality products at fair prices, and by providing excellent customer service.

    10. Win back lost sales

    Are shoppers leaving your website without completing their purchases? Don’t let those potential key sales slip away. Implement abandoned cart email campaigns to remind shoppers about the items left in their basket.

    Take a leaf out of OnceWas’ playbook. Whenever someone adds an item to their cart but leaves without completing the sale, OnceWas' Marsello-powered marketing triggers an automated email flow to give the customer the opportunity to finish their purchase and even throws in the added incentive of a 10% discount.


    Automated win-back flows are just one of the many ways you can implement automation into your marketing to help you get more and more sales and scale your business. Book a demo with one of our team to learn more about marketing automation and all the other features available with Marsello. 

    Book a demo

    Final words

    Gaining your first key sales may seem daunting, especially if you’re just starting out, but it’s completely doable! With a bit of resourcefulness and creativity, you can start winning over those initial customers and obtain the momentum you need to keep going.

    Need a hand tracking sales KPIs, automating your marketing campaigns, and building engaging loyalty programs to keep those sales rolling in? Marsello is the all-in-one retail platform to help you start, grow, and scale with ease. 


    SEO Series Part 3: Common Mistakes SEO Mistakes for Retailers to Know

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    Solve common SEO mistakes before ever even making them with Part 3 of our SEO mini-series.

    In this article, we’ll be talking about the common mistakes online retailers make when optimizing their websites for search. Many eCommerce retailers make errors during their quest to improve their SEO without realizing it. They end up sabotaging their own efforts in small ways; small errors can build up over time to become a major barrier to their top-of-page-one aspirations.

    How to improve your retail store SEO ranking

    Fortunately, fixing these isn’t as complex as you might think; a few quick adjustments will have you on the way to a higher ranking in no time.

    Read the points below and see if you’re making these mistakes on your website:


    Mistake 1: Not optimizing your product URLs

    URLs might seem like a minor consideration, but they are extremely relevant to eCommerce SEO; this is because they play a significant role in how Google indexes each page of your site.

    The URLs of your product pages should help search engines to work out how the different parts of your site relate to each other. This is especially important for your broader product categories (e.g. ‘dresses’). You want these categories to rank well because this is how your potential customers can access your catalog from the search engine results page (SERP).

    Even the biggest eCommerce sites still make persistent errors in this area. See below this link from the clothing giant H&M:


    H&M product page url


    Would you be able to tell what the item was by looking at this URL? No chance. It contains no keywords, so it’s only by clicking that you’d know the item is a V-neck dress. This is exactly the kind of link you want to avoid; it looks messy and chaotic, so no one is likely to click on it.

    A messy URL also makes your site more difficult to navigate. If your customers can’t retrace their steps back to other parts of your site by reading your URLs, there’s a good chance that Google will struggle as well.

    What to do instead: focus on website hierarchy

    Your links should be offering a solid road map of your site. An optimized link would follow this structure:


    The pet care retailer Bobbie Dogs has a great URL structure – their URLs have a logical flow from the broader elements of the website (e.g., homepage, category pages, etc.) to the more specific parts (e.g., the product in question).

    As such, both Google and shoppers alike will find it easier to understand what the page is all about. Check out their URL below and note the logical mapping of data within the URL; it’s easy to follow, understand and remember.

    Bobbie dogs url

    Mistake 2: Keyword stuffing your product titles and descriptions

    In SEO, keywords make the world go round, so it’s a smart idea to incorporate them into your web copy. And since product descriptions make up a sizeable chunk of your on-site content, it makes sense for you to optimize them with the right search terms.

    Product descriptions help Google determine the relevance of your pages in response to a search query, so it’s vital that they show up on the search engine’s radar.

    But trying to write for Google instead of your customer through keyword stuffing will make your copy look stilted and awkward. Plus, the practice can really hurt your rankings because the clunky sentences make it look like you aren’t trying to be informative.

    Here is a prime example from a listing on Etsy:


    Keyword stuffing in an Etsy store product listing


    This description is very wordy and dense, using the keyword ‘top’ multiple times. It also uses far more descriptors than necessary, making it more likely to confuse customers than inform them.

    What to do instead: Sprinkle in keywords and don’t overdo it

    Use your keywords moderately and only in places where it’s natural to do so. Try putting yourself in the position of your customer when you read your copy. Is it relevant, useful and compelling? If so, that’s what will make them want to stick around – and Google, in turn, will reward your website for it.

    Check out this example from Triangl, a highly successful Australian swimsuit brand. In the following product page, you’ll notice that Triangle lightly sprinkles relevant keywords (e.g., ‘bikini’) throughout the content without going overboard.

    Triangls product listings are concise, clear, and helps to sell their products

    Mistake 3: Not having an internal linking strategy for your product pages

    What often gets overlooked in discussions about algorithms is that site ranking really boils down to usability.

    Translation: your site architecture needs to be on-point, and this is judged in part by how easy your site is to navigate. The purpose of an eCommerce site is to have customers buy products, so you need to gear your link structure to this end. There’s no point in only having navigational links to your site’s ‘about us’ and ‘contact’ pages. This won’t take your customers anywhere near the shopping cart! If your customer is looking for something specific, the links they come across in their searching need to be relevant and useful.

    What to do instead: Improve your site’s usability with the right internal links

    Internal linking really boosts your site usability. If you link between ‘similar’ product pages, whether they be companion products or products with similar features, this massively improves the user experience of your site. Keeping your customers browsing between products for longer periods sends positive ranking signals to Google, which helps you in the SEO department.

    Take this example from women's fashion store, Osmose:


    Osmose's product recommendations listed below their product pages

    On this page, Osmose has included a plug-in that recommends similar products to customers as they browse This aids a customer’s shopping experience because they’re able to find relevant products much easier.


    Mistake 4: Not optimizing your site for mobile

    Having a site that isn’t mobile-optimized may not be killing your SEO rankings just yet, but in July 2019, Google will begin using a ‘mobile-first’ indexing system – this means that your site will get judged according to its mobile-friendliness. Google’s new system replaces a previous update in 2015, which used a mix of mobile and desktop signals to dictate search results.

    So even though it currently makes no difference if the majority of your traffic still comes from ‘desktop-based’ searching, Google has basically confirmed that mobile is king. Moral of the story? If your site isn’t mobile-optimized, your ranking could be taking a hit in a few months’ time.


    What to do instead: Implement responsive web design

    Rather than having your mobile customers struggle with a shrunken version of your desktop site, you should install a responsive layout. Responsive Web Design (RWD) is the approach recommended by Google because it doesn’t create separate URLs for desktop and mobile, which can get confused as duplicate content (a real SEO headache). RWD instead adjusts to the layout needed for each user, whether it be mobile, tablet, or desktop.

    Google’s free mobile-friendly test allows you to analyze each page of your website by entering the URL, providing feedback on any issues.

    And here’s the good news: some of the best eCommerce platforms, including Shopify and BigCommerce, now provide responsive themes. So, it’s worth checking if you need to update to the latest version, or else switch to a custom theme.

    Mistake 5: Publishing low-quality content

    It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘content for content’s sake’ to improve your ranking, particularly when it comes to your blog.

    Many SEO experts agree that having a blog is an important part of SEO strategy because they’re a great tool for adding more indexed pages to your site. Google’s ‘crawlers’ treat pages as individual search results that show up if they match a query. The more indexed pages you have, the more queries that your brand will get associated with. So, it’s tempting to churn out tons of short, hastily-written content each week, simply to get your indexed page count higher.

    But Google is well-aware that this strategy is used to ‘trick’ its algorithm, and the search engine penalizes websites with a high number of pages ‘thin’ content.

    What to do instead: Choose quality over quantity

    Switch to a strategy that prioritizes high-value content that engages, informs, and entertains your readers.

    In terms of the content itself, your focus needs to be less about the semantics of SEO. Being perfectly optimized for keywords isn’t what makes a blog interesting! So, what does? Content that is well-researched and contains insights that people can use or learn from.

    Check out the skincare specialist, Sigi Skin. Many of their posts are highly actionable and contain pointers that their customers can do on their own.


    Sigi Skin Blog

    Mistake 6: Not optimizing your images for SEO

    There are a number of key errors that eCommerce merchants make when it comes to images. They include:

    • Using larger-than-necessary images - It's a known fact that page speed is a ranking factor for Google. Using large images increase a page's load time, which in turn hurts your rankings.

    • Not having the right image titles and tags - Search engines crawl image file names and alt text to figure out what image is about, so by failing to optimize these components, you're missing out on giving Google valuable information about your images.

    • Using images to replace text - Some merchants use images that contain words, to avoid dealing with text formatting issues. While this may seem like a smart shortcut, it does nothing for SEO. Again, this practice prevents you from fully communicating with search engines, thereby hurting your rankings in the process.

    What to do instead: Always consider SEO when using images

    Optimize your image file names and alt-tags by using descriptive words. Let's say you're posting an image of a red party dress. Instead of naming it "IMG_0321111.jpg" use the file name "red-scoop-neck-dress.jpg".

    The same thing goes for your alt text. According to BigCommerce, in addition to serving as "an alternative when websites can't render the image for some reason," alt text "describes the image to search engines so they can understand them."

    The best thing you can do to optimize your alt text is to sprinkle in keywords that clearly communicate what the image is. Just make sure not to overdo it by keyword stuffing.

    As for your image sizes, BigCommerce recommends keeping your images under 70KB. Also opt for JPEG instead of PNG or GIF, because it “allows higher quality with a smaller file size.”

    Finally, avoid using images as a replacement for text. Remember, search engines determine your rankings primarily by crawling the text on your website, so make sure you have enough word-based content on there to give Google a clear idea of what each page is about.


    Creating a webpage as an image


    Final words

    SEO can feel like a real minefield for both new and experienced eCommerce merchants. Ultimately, though, the most important thing to keep in mind is that both you and Google have the same goal; to give your customer the best user experience possible. Focus on that and you’ll be on your way to better SEO rankings.

    Have you seen the rest of the SEO Series? Check out Part One and Two in the links below.


    Take me to part 1Take me to part 2

    SEO Series Part 2: Making Search Engine Optimization More Affordable

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    Part 2 of our SEO series gives you actionable tips on getting started with eCommerce SEO while taking the DIY route!

    Marsello's SEO blog series Part 2

    Welcome to the second instalment of Marsello’s eCommerce SEO series. In our previous article, we talked about the basics of Search Engine Optimization and the initial steps you should take to kick off your efforts.


    This week, we’ll be discussing the costs of Search Engine Optimization and the things you can do to get more bang for your buck.


    A 2018 study by Ahrefs found that the most popular hourly rate for SEO professionals ranges from $101-150 per hour. For those that charge monthly retainer fees, the range of $500-$1,000 per month was the most popular pricing tier.


    And while those figures aren’t surprising, they’re far from being chump change, especially if you’re a small business.


    So what does an SMB to do?


    While your exact steps will depend on how much SEO work you need, we’ve put together some expert-backed pointers on how you can save money on search engine optimization costs.

    Let’s have a look.


    Educate yourself

    If you have some time on your hands and don’t have the budget to pay someone $100+ an hour for SEO services, then going the do-it-yourself (aka DIY) route could be a good way to go. Just remember, though, that your results from your DIY efforts will only be as good as your SEO knowledge.


    That’s why if you’re not well-versed in Search Engine Optimization, the first thing you should do is educate yourself.


    “There are so many resources available online now to do your own SEO, even for online merchants,” says Ben Hanzel, chief editor at BestCompany.com


    He adds that eCommerce-centric SEO is different from the average website, which is why he recommends consuming SEO resources specifically for eCommerce merchants.


    Alex Ratynski of Make Bank Blogging echoes this advice. “In my years of experience as a professional SEO, I have worked with a number of brands and businesses big and small. For those smaller businesses in eCommerce, I think a lot can be done by just simply educating themselves beforehand. This will help whether they work with a consultant or not.”


    To start with, Alex suggests the comprehensive eCommerce SEO guides from Ahrefs, Backlinko, and Neil Patel. Guides such as these give a good grounding for the information eCommerce retailers need when getting started with SEO and it’s a great idea to get this base-understanding as early as possible.


    Hire a consultant who can offer advice

    If you have funds to spare, Hanzel recommends using it on a consultant. But rather than paying an SEO specialist to work on your site for 20+ hours a month for a year, you can choose to spend a fraction of the cost by consulting with an expert who can tell you what to do.


    “It may be worth getting an hour consultation, to know where to start,” he says. “Some SEO companies even offer this for free, as long as you're willing to sit through a sales pitch at the end of it.”


    Another option is to hire someone as an ’overseer’ rather than a full-fledged service provider. According to Ratynski, one thing you could do is bring in someone "for a few hours every few months to do full audits, give clear actionable improvements, reasons for those, and then give you the option to do it yourself.”


    With that said, if you decide to hire a consultant or advisor, make it a point to take action on their recommendations. “SEO does take time, so make sure you're putting in the effort and time to fully dedicate yourself to it, and you'll reap the benefits for years,” says Hanzel.


    To reiterate Hanzel’s point, SEO can take months even to seem to make a difference, and even then it’s not static. You will need to update your store, information, and content frequently to be sure that it’s relevant. The basic idea is that Google and other search engines see your site, process that information as valuable to the search requests of your potential customers, and prioritizes your site in the search results. The higher your store appears in that list; the more likely a customer is to click on it and convert to purchasing with you. SEO is a long game, but it’s undeniably important.


    Marketing professional uses diary and computer to make SEO plan.

    Go the DIY route

    Once you have the SEO info you need (either by reading up on Search Engine Optimization or consulting with an expert), it’s time to take action on what you’ve learned. The specifics will vary, depending on your site, but generally speaking, the success of your SEO efforts will hinge on how well you do the following:

    • Keyword research

    • Content creation

    • Link building

    Let’s look at each of these components in more detail.


    Keyword research

    As we mentioned in our previous post, keyword research is the cornerstone of any Search Engine Optimization strategy. Before getting to the ‘optimization’ part of SEO, you first need to identify the keywords that your customers are searching for.

    As we mentioned previously, the best keywords are the ones with a high search volume (because it means many people are searching for it) but with a competition level low enough for you to compete with.

    But there's another key component that makes a search term worth targeting, and that's intent. When doing your research, you need to discern whether or not a keyword is backed by a consumer's intent to buy.

    For example, a person searching for keywords like ‘where to buy a coffee mug’ or ‘travel porcelain mugs’ likely has a stronger buying intent than someone who's looking for information on just ‘coffee’ or  ‘how to clean a coffee mug.’

    When identifying keywords to use in your copy, ask yourself: "does this search term reflect an intent to buy?". If the answer is no, then it's not a good keyword to target.


    How to find keyword ideas

    There’s no shortage of SEO tools dedicated to keyword research. Some of the industry’s favorites include Ahrefs, SEMRush, and Mangools, though we should note that these come with a subscription fee.


    And since this guide is for merchants looking to save on SEO costs, we’ll be focusing on the free tools you can use to find keywords.


    Google Keyword Planner

    Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starting point for search term ideas. Simply enter keywords related to your product, and the tool will make numerous suggestions based on what others are searching for. Google will also display a search volume and competition level for each keyword.

    For instance, when you enter the word ‘mug’ into Google’s Keyword Planner, it’ll serve up nearly a thousand relevant ‘mug’ related keywords you can sift through.


    Google Ads keyword planner




    Online marketing guru Neil Patel created a nifty tool called ‘Ubersuggest’, which can be an excellent source for ideas. Much like Google Keyword Planner, Ubersuggest displays search volume estimates and competition info. Even better, Ubersuggest offers keyword difficulty insights that can estimate your chances of ranking in the top 20 search results.


    Ubersuggest keyword search volume




    Another easy way to surface the right keywords is to use Amazon. Just start typing your keyword into the search box and take note of what the autocomplete feature will display.

    What’s great about this method is that since Amazon is already a shopping site, most (if not all of the keywords) it suggests would be high-intent search terms.


    Amazon search suggestions




    Google (the search engine) also has a great autocomplete feature that you can mine for keyword ideas. Again, just type in a search term and see what the tool suggests.


    Google search suggestions


    Do note that that with the last two suggestions (i.e., Amazon and Google) you won’t get any data on search volume and competition. That’s why if you’re using these sites for keyword ideas, you’ll need to take note of the keywords you want to target and enter them into a tool (like Google Keyword Planner) that shows you how many people are searching for the term and what the competition looks like.  


    Content creation

    Once you've figured out the best keywords to target, start incorporating them in your copy. There are a number of key places to do this, including your title tags, meta descriptions, headers and subheads, and product and category descriptions.


    A great example of a website that does all of the above is Zazzle. Their website is one of the top search results for ‘funny mugs’ and for good reason. As you’ll see below, all the key areas of Zazzle’s category and product pages are optimized for search.


    Title tags – In addition to telling search engines what the title of a page is, the title tag is also text that shows up on search results, so it's also one of the first pieces of information that potential visitors see. In eCommerce, the best places on which to optimize your title tags are your category pages and product pages.


    Meta description – As we mentioned in our previous post, meta descriptions don’t directly affect your rankings. However, they still show up in search results, so they can influence a searcher’s decision to click through your site. For this reason, it’s important that your meta description still contains relevant keywords


    Zazzle meta description

    Headers and subheaders – Headers and subheaders can have a lot of SEO value, as Google factors them in when determining if a page is relevant to a particular search term. From user's perspective, headers can act as signposts that help visitors easily skim your content or jump to the section that's relevant to them. In the world of ecommerce, your headers usually come in the form of your product titles and subtitles, so make sure they're optimized for search.
    Creating webpage headers and subheaders


    Product or category descriptions – Your product and category descriptions essentially tell customers and search engines what your merchandise is all about. In addition to peppering in relevant keywords, you want to make sure your descriptions are unique. Google doesn’t like duplicate content, so using the product descriptions of your manufacturers – or worse – copying another website’s description, will lead to poor rankings.


    Creating SEO-optimized product titles


    Link building

    After you’ve optimized your content for SEO, the next step is to build links for your site. While no one knows for sure how Google's algorithm works, pretty much everyone agrees that links are a critical ranking factor.


    According to Search Engine Journal, “Backlinks remain an important Google ranking factor, but over the years, Google has learned to weed out the bad links from the good. More links will still result in a higher score, but only if they’re from a number of diverse and authoritative domains.”

    In short, the more high-quality links pointing to your site, the better your chances of ranking.

    So, how do you build those precious backlinks? Consider the following ideas:


    Get featured on relevant blogs

    Build relationships with bloggers in your niche and see if they can feature you on their site. An effective tactic here is to send them a free sample in exchange for an honest review. You could even assign a promo code or affiliate link that allows bloggers to earn a commission when someone buys your product through their site.


    For instance, when Tarashaun Hausner reviewed Daily Harvest on her blog Blender Babes, she included a special promo code that gives readers 3 free cups when they sign up. Her post also contains affiliate links, so she can earn revenue for each signup.


    Daily Harvest used influencer marketing for SEO


    Do press outreach

    Connecting with members of the press is another great way to obtain backlinks. Find journalists who are writing a story relevant to your industry and volunteer yourself as a source for their article.


    You can easily do this using a tool called HARO. Short for “Help a Reporter Out,” HARO is a service that lets journalists submit queries asking for expert input for their articles. When you subscribe to their service, HARO sends you daily queries from journalists, which you can then respond to. If the journalist likes your input, they’ll include it in their article and will often link back to your website.


    Here’s an example of what query looks like. The journalist sends in a description of an article that they’re writing along with a request for sources. Members subscribers receive the query in their inbox and can choose to respond if they’re a good fit for the article.


    Marketers can use Haro to submit and create research requests


    Create share-worthy content


    Another way to gain backlinks? Produce link-worthy content. Create a piece of content (e.g., guide, video, blog etc) that’s so engaging that people would naturally want to link to it.


    Dollar Shave Club is a master at this strategy. The company regularly creates useful and entertaining content for its website; in addition to helping DSC engage their followers and subscribers, all that content is also helping them gain backlinks.


    For example, DSC’s ‘Original Content’ homepage currently has 285 backlinks, many of which are from high-quality sites.


    Dollar Shave Club's backlinks


    DSC is also doing well with video. The company has produced several hilarious videos about their product, which earned them backlinks from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, Vox, Entrepreneur, and more.


    One of their top videos currently has more than 25 million views and over 53,000 backlinks.

    As you can see, effectively gaining backlinks doesn’t just happen. Getting others to link to your site requires active outreach and content creation, so it’s critical to incorporate these tasks into your SEO strategy.


    Take advantage of free or affordable tools

    Depending on the SEO tasks that you’re doing, you can save a lot of money by choosing your tools wisely. We’ve already mentioned several free tools above, but here are additional SEO solutions you can use to optimize your website:


    Yoast – Yoast is a plugin made for WordPress. The free version enables you to optimize your blog posts through tools like keyword optimization and Google preview. Yoast can also check your content for readability and make on-page recommendations on how to improve.


    Keywords Everywhere – This is a free browser plugin for Chrome and Firefox that displays search volume, CPC, and competition data for the keywords that you search on sites like Google, Amazon, YouTube, Answer the Public, and more.


    LinkMiner – Another Chrome extension, LinkMiner helps surface broken on any website. Broken links can be harmful for SEO, so this tool makes it easy to find those pesky links so you can fix them.


    Can I Rank? – Can I Rank is an AI-powered tool that analyzes your website and gives you insights on what you can do improve? It provides insights like which pages are ranking well (and why) and you'll get suggestions for content ideas, link opportunities, and more.


    SERP Preview Tool – Curious about how your website will appear in search results? Portent's SERP Preview Tool can help. Just enter your title tag, meta description, and URL and the tool will generate Google search result preview for you.


    The tools mentioned in this guide are just the tip of the iceberg, though. If you’re looking to dive deeper into various SEO tools, we recommend the following resources:

    If you must outsource, know which tasks to do yourself and which to leave to a pro

    If you have a full plate and don’t have the capacity to fully shoulder all things SEO, consider adopting a hybrid approach where you do some tasks yourself while outsourcing others.


    How do you determine the right balance? Start by making a list of the SEO tasks that need to be addressed (e.g., link building, creating content, creating a site map, etc.). From there, figure out your strengths and focus your efforts on the things that you’re good at.


    As Catherine Giese, SEO associate at Fundera puts it, “SEO encompasses a lot of time-consuming techniques such as keyword research, site structuring, and link building. That's why it's often at least one person's job, if not that of an entire team,” she says.


    Giese continues, “take stock of your strengths to determine how to prioritize. For example, if you're an engineer, you may be able to do site structure, but may not be comfortable with doing outreach for link building purposes.”


    Follow her advice when you’re mapping out your strategy. Before diving into various SEO tasks, iron out the specific jobs that need to get done, figure out what you can do yourself, and then outsource the rest.


    Visual business chart with an agent showing how to interpret marketing metrics.


    Be smart about working with agencies and freelancers

    If you decide to outsource your SEO, do your research and make sure you select a reputable agency or freelancer who can optimize your site using ethical and white hat tactics. One of the best ways to go is to ask for referrals from merchants you know that are ranking well on Google. Then once you have a handful of prospects, request for case studies and references so you can see the results they’ve achieved with other businesses.


    In terms of working arrangements, we recommend avoiding long-term contracts, as the last thing you want is to be tied down to an agency or freelancer who isn’t a good fit.


    As Matt Antonino, Head of Operations at the marketing agency Digital Eagles points out, “many agencies have 12-month contracts but if they don't perform you are stuck with a long-term relationship that costs and has little value.”


    Antonino adds that “long contracts don't create an incentive for the agency to continuously help improve your business... thee and six-month deals may make more sense.”


    Once you know who you want to work with, be smart about the tasks you assign to the agency or freelancer. You want to make sure you get the most value out of their efforts, so figure out the best use of their time and resources.


    “The trick to keeping costs down is to ask yourself if what you want that expert to do is their highest and best use,” says BJ Enoch, VP of Enterprise Accounts for SocialSEO. “If you're looking for someone to do alt image tags across 1,000 products or fix internal broken links, is that something you really need to pay an expert, or could you be doing it yourself?”


    Enoch adds that you can lower your costs even more by taking care of content yourself.


    “Content is one of the most labor intensive and expensive parts of an SEO strategy (and one of the most important). There are some content elements that should have some expert insight, but making sure you've got unique product descriptions and resolving duplicate content on your own can save a surprising amount of money with a consultant or expert.”


    SEO doesn't have to be expensive

    While search engine optimization requires an investment (in both time and money), you can lower your costs significantly by being smart about the tasks you take on and the SEO experts that you hire.


    With the right SEO education, some patience, and competent experts on your side, it’s totally possible to take your SEO game to the next level.

    Have you seen the rest of the SEO Series? Check out Part One and Part Three in the links below



    Take me to part 1Take me to part 3

    SEO Series Part 1: Getting Started With Search Engine Optimization

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    From ads and influencers to podcasts and Google AdWords, we've put together several effective SEO tactics to help you get the word out about your store.

    Marsello's SEO series part 1

    As far as eCommerce marketing is concerned, merchants have a variety of choices. From Instagram ads and influencer marketing to podcasts and Google AdWords, there’s no shortage of tactics you can try if you’re looking to get the word out about your store.


    Despite the rise of newer and sexier marketing strategies, search engine optimization – SEO for short – continues to be one of the most effective ways to get your site out there. As Search Engine Land points out, having great visibility in search engines drives awareness and traffic to your site, benefits your brand, and builds credibility and trust.


    When done right, SEO can also lead to lower customer acquisition costs over the long term. Once you’ve gotten your site to rank for profitable keywords, you’ll find that people will  find your store organically without you having to actively pay for them to do so (unlike with ads).


    SEO is clearly an important component of eCommerce marketing. That’s why we’re excited to unveil a new article series here on the Marsello blog. Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be publishing SEO-centric posts to help take your search engine presence to the next level.


    To kick things off, we’re covering the basic steps you need to take to optimize your eCommerce site for search.


    Let’s dive in.


    1. Always start with keyword research

    Keyword research is one of the cornerstones of SEO. You need to identify what terms your customers are typing into search engines like Google and what terms connect with your store, then, optimize your site accordingly by adding these keywords into your core content such as the ‘about’ sections and product descriptions.


    There are a number of tools that can help you do this. One that easily comes to mind is Google Keyword Planner, a free solution that lets you search for relevant keywords.


    Here’s how it works: start by entering keywords relevant to your product. So, if you’re selling tea and tea supplies, you can type in terms like ‘tea,’ ‘teaware,’ ‘tea accessories,’ etc.


    From there, Google will show you each keyword’s estimated search volume and level of competition. Google will also suggest other search terms related to the keywords you entered.


    Google Ad Words Keyword by Relevance tool

    Note that while Google’s Keyword Planner is a solid tool, you may want to check out premium SEO software such as SEMRush and Ahrefs. These solutions can offer more granular data around search volume and provide insights into the keywords you should be targeting.


    Now, the best keyword strategy will vary from one site to the next, but generally speaking, you’ll need to factor in the following things when deciding which keywords to target:


    Search volume – You want to have a decent number of people searching for the keywords you choose to make the effort of finding and inserting them worth it. If a certain keyword only gets 0-10 searches a month, then it’s best to move on to other keywords with high search rates and close connection to your products/store.


    Competition – The more websites competing for a keyword, the harder it is to rank, so targeting low competition search terms will maximize your chances of landing at the first page of Google.


    This is where it gets challenging because the keywords with the highest search volume are typically the most competitive. You will need to do a lot of digging to uncover low competition terms with a decent search volume. Start writing a list of the keywords you’ve found and compare their search rates to their competition. Soon you’ll start finding words that fit the bill.


    Relevance – This may sound obvious, but determining the relevance of some search terms can be tricky, particularly if a keyword is ambiguous.


    For example, if you sell competition-level dart boards, you may think that ‘target’ is a great keyword. Unfortunately, Google thinks ‘target’ searchers want are looking for Target the department store.

    You also want to go for keywords that are relevant to people’s intent to buy. Let’s say you’re selling paintings or posters. Keywords like ‘free posters’ or ‘DIY wall art’ are best avoided because people searching these terms aren’t likely to spend money on ready-made art.


    Bottom line? When doing keyword research, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Get into the mindset of someone who is ready to buy your products and identify the search terms that they’re entering into Google.


    2. Go beyond optimizing your content

    Once you find those relevant keywords, find ways to work them into your website.

    The most obvious way to do this is to spread them throughout your copy – i.e., on your homepage, about page, product descriptions, etc.


    But you shouldn’t stop there.


    Keywords should show up in a lot of other places, as well, including:


    Your meta titles – The meta title is an HTML code found at the header of a web page. Its purpose is to tell search engines what a page is all about. According to Moz, “title tags are the second most important on-page factor for SEO, after content.”


    What about your meta descriptions? Well, contrary to what some may think, meta descriptions don’t effect rankings directly. Still, it’s worth including your keywords in meta tags because Google will display them in bold on the search results page. This might lead to more clicks, which would help your rankings.


    Your URL – Ideally, you want the right keywords in your domain name. For example, Red Dress Boutique (RedDressBoutique.com), a fashion boutique for women, has keywords like ‘dress’ and ‘boutique’ in the domain name.


    That said, It’s not the end of the world if your domain name doesn’t contain top search terms. But at the very least, relevant keywords should be in your URLs.


    For instance, on its category page for men’s running shoes, Adidas has that exact key in its URL.


    Adidas' product catergories


    It’s also a good idea to focus on accessibility. Instead of using random characters in your URLs, customize them with keywords and make it clear what the page shows.


    3. Work on your product pages

    Product pages aren’t usually content heavy, but there are still a number of things you could do to set them up for SEO success.


    In addition to optimizing your URLs and title tags, you also want to incorporate the right keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and image tags.


    Internal links can also help. Take a look at how búl does their product pages for inspiration.

    búls product descriptions

    This page isn’t very copy-heavy, however it includes all the information that a customer could be looking for, with a hint of keyword inclusion (for example, 100% cotton; boxy mini dress, garment). With an internal link to a size chart, búl also makes sure to link their customers to another section of their site – a powerful SEO too. They follow each product listing with an 'other products you may like' section that encourages customers to keep exploring búl's website. 


    4. Prioritize site structure

    Google, and your customers, appreciate it when your site is easy to navigate and use, so keep your site structure simple (so long as it remains scalable).


    To accomplish this, make sure all your pages are just two or three clicks away from your homepage. HausLondon, an eCommerce site that sells home furniture and lighting, is a great example of this. Despite having thousands of pages, the vast majority are fewer than three clicks from their homepage.


    Haus's website featuring a simple and effective site structure

    5. Answer the need for speed

    Navigability helps but if your site is slow, you risk losing customers who aren’t willing to wait around.

    In general, about 40% of users will leave a site if it doesn’t load within just three seconds. That means you could lose nearly half of your potential customers simply because your site takes too long to finally appear when they click on it.


    Speed isn’t just about your customers, though. All the way back in 2010, Google’s Maile Ohye, reported that, “Site performance is now a factor in Google’s rankings.” She later went on to say that “Two seconds is the threshold for eCommerce website accessibility. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”


    Turning SEO into an ongoing priority

    Whether you already have an eCommerce store or its launch is just around the corner, it’s important to understand that optimizing your site for SEO isn’t just a one-time thing.


    Instead, analyzing your site for opportunities to improve its rankings should be an ongoing effort to ensure that you're continuously getting in front of the right audiences.


    Have you seen the rest of the SEO Series? Check out Part Two and Three in the links below.

    Take me to part 2Take me to part 3

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