3 Months To The Holidays: Website Marketing Initiatives to Kickoff Now

Jun 14, 2022 12:00 pm1:00 PM EDT

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Key Discussion Takeaways

When it comes to content, the digital marketing space is fluctuating at an exorbitant rate, so it’s time to start developing new marketing campaigns for quarter four. What strategies can your brand utilize to prepare for the upcoming holiday season?

One key action you can take to produce a compelling holiday campaign is to reclaim last year’s content and landing pages. While this may sound unproductive, it’s useful in determining what drives traffic to your website. By leveraging user-personalized segmentation, you can update and refine your content to generate precise traffic to each of your landing pages to maximize ROI. 

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Jordan Brannon, the Co-founder, President, and COO of Coalition Technologies, to talk about creating marketing strategies to prepare for the holidays. Jordan explains how brands can recover archived content and landing pages for their campaigns, how to acquire collaborations to promote content, and provides techniques for leveraging segmentation to increase ROI.  

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What strategies can brands implement to prepare for the holiday season?
  • How brands can recover archived content and pages for holiday marketing campaigns
  • Tips for transitioning to Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
  • How to create a holiday SEO strategy
  • Jordan Brannon’s advice for creating compelling content
  • How can brands market around limited inventory?
  • The benefits of collaborating with other brands and how to acquire these relationships
  • How headless commerce enhances marketing campaigns
  • Techniques for leveraging segmentation to increase ROI
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Event Partners

Coalition Technologies

Coalition Technologies is a leading SEO, PPC & web design agency in the United States that does a variety of work across leading eCom platforms including: Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce, Vtex, and others.

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Guest Speaker

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the Co-founder, President, and COO of Coalition Technologies, a top-ranked, full-service SEO and digital marketing firm. With 20 years of experience working in eCommerce, Jordan helps D2C and B2B brands succeed in the eCommerce and digital marketing space. Jordan and his team at Coalition have helped propel over 1,000 businesses forward across various industries. Jordan has a bachelor's degree in political science, human rights, environmental sciences, and computer science from the University of Washington.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Event Moderator

Jordan Brannon

Jordan Brannon

President at Coalition Technologies

Jordan Brannon is the Co-founder, President, and COO of Coalition Technologies, a top-ranked, full-service SEO and digital marketing firm. With 20 years of experience working in eCommerce, Jordan helps D2C and B2B brands succeed in the eCommerce and digital marketing space. Jordan and his team at Coalition have helped propel over 1,000 businesses forward across various industries. Jordan has a bachelor's degree in political science, human rights, environmental sciences, and computer science from the University of Washington.

Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect


BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.


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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:18  

Happy Tuesday everybody. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the co-founder Managing Director here at BWG Connect networking and knowledge sharing group thanks to everybody who for dialing in today who have friends, other people in the digital space, feel free to let them know we're gonna do close to an hour 300 virtual events like this all focused on digital education, we've launched the podcast, we do a lot of in person events, we actually have here in around Midtown, if you're in New York City area, next week, we're doing a full day in person event. And that's going to be a great time. So as always, there's no sales pitches, and there's no cost to join. So just ping us on the side, if you'd like an invite to that. You know, a couple housekeeping things as we get started, we want this to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time, you have you have any questions, drop into the chat, drop in the q&a section there, or you can always email me Aaron aaron@BWGconnect.com. The other thing is, we're starting to see three to four minutes after the hour, and just you know, we're gonna wrap up with three to four minutes to go as well, I'm gonna give you plenty of time to get on your next meeting without being late. And so usually, when we kick off on this topic, we do it a little bit later, because we miss it, it's too much to the holidays, but in this case, three months to the holidays, website marketing initiatives to kick off now, just think digital this year. You know, it has a different focus than it's had in the past. Whereas in the past, it's just been do as much as you can. And now there's a big focus on Hey, do as much as you can but give us the KPIs and the metrics and let us know what's working and what's not. So we can be smart with their money. And that just puts a whole new level of stress on marketers out there today. And so I'm just pumped about this conversation. You know, Jordan, from coalition technologies, great friend, partner, supporter of the network, and a ton of different brands in it. And so, I'm just super appreciative for you know, that not only a time, but the expertise you lead, Jordan, but if you don't mind, if you want to jump in just a brief intro on yourself and coalition, that'd be awesome. Everyone kind of jump into the conversation

Jordan Brannon  2:26  

down. Sure. So my name is Jordan, Brandon, President and COO at Tech Coalition. We are a full service digital agency really focused on transactional businesses, online transacting businesses, whether that's ecommerce subscriptions, or some other form of online purchasing. And it's the kind of core expertise for us. We've got about 300 team members today, covering every possible skill set that you could want in digital marketing. And we really love to be able to support the brands, we're working with them in a range of different ways, whether that's technical or design, and user experience, analytics and reporting. Certainly, SEO is probably one of the things that we're best known for. And also really excel in paid search, paid social email, etc. So most of our work is really kind of catered towards websites, rather than marketplaces, although we have a strong Amazon Walmart practice. But really, again, most of our emphasis tends to be more towards website experiences. And so if that's something you're interested in, certainly, hopefully, this is useful for you. And we'd love to chat afterwards.

Aaron Conant  3:41  

Awesome. Yeah. Love it. And so yeah, on any of those, just feel free to reach out, we can connect you with Jordan. Also, we can probably just set an awesome conversation with him on the podcast. So we can have, you know, Pat, drop a link to that podcast episode, as well. But if we kick off the conversation, you know, I want to tackle it, I think what's at the top of people's minds, if we look at, you know, the last couple years, first, we have COVID. And then we have COVID, recovery, this whiplash effect of, you know, trying to figure out what's going on now, this point in time, you know, economic forecasts, you know, this kind of like a downturn is what people are looking at right now. Right? That's really starting to hit strategies as a whole. Right? And that's right, as we're looking at, you know, getting into, you know, this holiday season, which now apparently starts in September. So I'd love to know, like, what you're seeing what you're hearing from brands, I mean, you deal with startup the fortune 500 would love to hear what are you hearing from them as a whole what should people be thinking about?

Jordan Brannon  4:45  

Yeah, I mean, a downturn is a probably a nice, nice way of putting it. It There is definitely some sentiment differences just depending on on the brand and, you know, I think financial backing, you know, We have done some, some polling and some conversations. And I think, you know, overall, you know, the smaller the business, the more negative the sentiment that seems to reflect some of the other research that we're seeing in the marketplace. You know, bigger brands maybe feel a little bit better insulated, depending on how they were coming into just 2022 In general, you know, they might feel a little better prepared for that. But certainly, I think there is just a lot of uncertainty with sort of a, maybe a bit of a negative view or negative mindset. Looking ahead towards quarter four, part of that is just the strange sort of oddness of everything, right. You know, the beautiful things about digital marketing is you can project pretty accurately compared to what's happening elsewhere. But you've got to COVID COVID recovery, sort of the the return to the new norm. And now we're sort of upsetting the applecart again. And so I think there definitely seems to be a lot more focused on getting out in front of quarter four, starting to plan for what those holiday strategies are, whether that's inventory, or merchandising, or, you know, marketing strategies, marketing budgets. And I think that sort of is pushing everybody into a bit more of a balancing act, especially on the marketing sides, you know, we work a lot of marketing managers or directors. And so a big point of conversation is, you know, what are the expectations to set? You know, what are those KPIs that we should be aiming for, you know, how should we be budgeting for October, November, December? You know, as that season has lengthened, you know, where do we put the money? And, you know, what are sort of the expectations we want to see, regardless of what happens, you know, from an economic trendline?

Aaron Conant  6:41  

Yeah, I mean, which is, preparedness, then, right? I mean, that's the key right?

Jordan Brannon  6:49  

Now, for sure. I mean, I just, I think, you know, we were just talking about them earlier, the call I, you know, I have three, seven and a 10 year old at home, we do sort of the fire safety training stuff with them, when there isn't a fire, you know, you hope you never need it, but you don't know what you're preparing for. And so it's always good to have that in advance. Internally, you know, at Coalition, we're starting to move on from our quarter three planning and strategies that are beginning to kick off quarter four planning and activities, just to ensure that we have clients well positioned to grow, regardless of what gets thrown at them.

Aaron Conant  7:23  

Yeah, I mean, that's, like, I think literally how we got to the topic today, you know, talking to 25-30 brands a week, like I said, at the beginning, like, usually, we'd have this conversation a month later from now. But this is a time where people, you know, they're trying to get everything into place, if they can, and get as early as a start as possible. I think SEO is a cool thing, right, that people might have a bigger focus on the you know, that seems to go up and down as to whether or not they should do it my own opinion that you always should be. But you know, we've done calls like this in the past, like anything different anything from the last that you'd want to the thing is still important and relevant that we should chat on? And then I guess, is there anything new would come out as well?

Jordan Brannon  8:08  

Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, if kind of looking back, you know, what's old is new, and maybe touching on the SEO side of things. I mean, I think probably the one thing I always bring up and always get a compliment on, either from a client or for someone who's in this call and took my word even took me on the tip that gets seems to sort of work for people and for good reason is that really kind of looking back. And sort of looking at opportunities to salvage orphans, or abandoned or pseudo archived content and pages, a lot of the people we're working with, you know, ecommerce managers, marketers, are constantly just sort of churning through updates refreshes new additions to their sites. And all of that just really results in sort of the old content sort of getting buried or abandoned. In, you know, old iterations of the site, old themes, you know, maybe it's orphaned content, it's essentially been cut off from the navigation that doesn't have really meaningful internal linking happening to it. There's not really a means of discovery for it, because the menus changed and design. You know, archived content is more content that just has just gotten old. Maybe it's still accessible. It's still around, but it's just as been, you know, updated in 12 months since the last holiday stretch. And so I'm going back in there and beginning to update refresh and sort of overhaul what's there already, is really an awesome strategy from just a quarter for preparedness. You know, usually a critical mistake I see is Black Friday, 2021, Black Friday 2022 You know, Christmas Sale 2020 2021 2022. We just see this sort of this cycling of the same thing and all of that SEO value, all of the links that have been shared all of last yours promotions and outreach, that all went to those pages suddenly don't have any value because you're publishing something entirely new. And so going back into your history and looking for opportunities to, to bring that back to life and resuscitate that, you know, it's really a, again, a low hanging fruit, very low cost, and usually a great thing to sort of build into your strategy. Now, you don't lose track of it, you know, two months from now, when those campaigns actually start launching towards those things.

Aaron Conant  10:30  

How do you so I just think about the number of people that have switched roles, starting a new companies jumping into a website, like how do you find that content? I think? Yeah, yeah. Is there an easy way? Like, I mean, it's people are taking notes today, what do they take away from this space? Like, maybe there's a goldmine out there, right?

Jordan Brannon  10:45  

Yeah, hopefully, I mean, that the answer is, you know, hopefully, there's a, you know, a bit of a history internally that has been shared, you know, some old documentation, you know, a lot of us have project management software's and solutions, we're using the sort of tracks and these initiatives. So those can be good sources for that, you know, go back to pay what happened in October, November, December last year, whatever the pages used, you know, if that's not available to you, if it doesn't seem super well documented, and you're not sure, just the importance on Google Analytics is a really fantastic tool. You know, hopefully, analytics tracking has been consistent over time. But going back into your analytics reports, and starting to look at that specific timeframe, you know, that's September through December, September through January crawl, and just sort of say, like, hey, what pages generated the most visits the most revenue, the most engagement for me, and starting to sort of see what those pages are, you know, usually, you'll see like your homepage, it's pretty obvious when that's going to show up, sometimes it's your sale page. But for a lot of brands also seen that they had a Cyber Monday or cyber week page, a black friday page, a Thanksgiving sale page, and they have all of these different URLs that were created for specific holiday events, which are still relevant today and can be reused. And so you know, typically, I would just go into Google Analytics, look at some of the acquisition metrics that are there. If you want to get more granular dig in by channel digging by source, especially if you're planning on sort of going back to a well again this year. And you can start to say like, Hey, okay, here's these pages. And a lot of times, what you'll see is, if you expand that time view, past the holidays, as they dropped nothing, open those pages up, find out if that's a dead URL on your site, is it returning a 404 error? Or did you put in place a redirect on your platform? Or is it just a page that's super dated, maybe it's still says Black Friday up at the top, and there's one, you know, one product that's managed to survive for the next seven months. And so reusing those pages, updating them, you get to sort of capitalize on any of that prior marketing work you did. So if you built links, you had social connections or building in a promotions pushing to that, if you had affiliates, for that particular page was featured in a, you know, some sort of press or publication, all of that you can bring back to life bring back to relevance. And, you know, just simply by factoring those same pages back into your, into your, your campaign, if you don't want to, it was too specific, it was too, you know, it's like a, you have one item, you really sort of hit hard for that holiday, it's not gonna be around this year, consider doing an editorial redirect. So editorial redirect is different from a 301. The idea behind that is trying to sort of create content that pushes people to the new thing, rather than simply forcing people to the new thing where there can be a little bit of a jarring experience. And so I'm usually as you clean up those pages, you bring them back to life, you're gonna see Google restore some search traffic to that pretty quickly. There are other tools outside of Google Analytics that will use a range of them, and can share those those specifically if you have that question. But, but analytics seems to be the most commonly available and it's free.

Aaron Conant  14:04  

Like keyword free, I think, your pressure. I mean, at the end of the day, I mean, I think you'd mentioned this, you know, in the past, but also the beginning. This is those holiday those key landing pages, there's just so much value and opportunity that's lying in there. Yep. Right. Just make sure they're being used. Is that kind of the vein we're looking at here?

Jordan Brannon  14:28  

Yeah. Awesome. I did see a quick question coming, I can feel just on on Google Analytics for versus kind of what we have currently. So G for those of you who don't know, Google is going to be deprecating the current version of Google Analytics that most all of us are accustomed to have been using for years. Part of that deprecation is basically the the old analytics reporting and tracking stops working. And so as of July 1, Just 2023, which is the go live date for GA for, you know, essentially what you have now, if you're on Google Analytics today is going to be deprecated. And you won't see tracking anymore. So your data sort of will stop. And so Google is trying to push everybody into Google Analytics for. And the question is, you know, is there a specific suggestion to be ready for GA for and so I basically what they have highlighted here is what I would do, um, you can set up a GA for profile and tracking now. And you can run it in parallel to your existing Google Analytics tracking, so you can have sort of the existing reports and data you're familiar with. But you can also begin accruing new data through Google Analytics for I will note, the GA four user interface is a mess. I'm probably because I'm getting old. I like the old format and old reporting better. So you will want to spend some time getting familiar with GA four and its interface beyond just setting up that tracking, because it's going to be a different thing for you, if if you're really accustomed sort of the older iterations of Google Analytics, you know, again, felt a little more sense sensible to me.

Aaron Conant  16:11  

Awesome. And just a quick reminder, you have questions, drop them in the q&a, or drop into the chat, we'll we'll get them answered. Awesome. So just kind of kind of picking up in the conversation we kind of left off was just, you know, the, the idea that there's these holiday landing pages that are out there high value, make sure you're using them. Yeah.

Jordan Brannon  16:34  

Yeah, exactly. I mean, so one, just really kind of common thing to get in practice document as much as you can for all of your marketing teams, just to make sure that those holiday URLs, whatever holiday it is, you're maintaining them over time, especially especially if you want to see SEO become more important to you. You know, a lot of brands don't necessarily have an equal budget for seasonal campaigns for every holiday this year, you know, perhaps maybe there's less marketing dollars. And so having sort of that consistent family of pages that you can go back to for each holiday, is really, really helpful. If you're running on a small budget, and you want something that sort of works for all seasons, and all events, look at gifting related terms, if they're going to be relevant to your audience, those are really good pages to get live. Now, if you don't already have them. And you want to see some authority from a search standpoint coming in, you want that content to kind of oriented around gifting keywords out there today. So it's getting crawled, it's getting indexed, you want some time to promote that through link building, social media, whatever your other channels are, more time with those pages live also means you have more opportunities for an A B test. And you have the opportunity to really sort of gauge performance beforehand. With gifting pages, they are often underutilized. So just I would say like, Hey, take that note, make sure you are checking if you're really having a gifting plan, if it's relevant, you know, for the type of product you're selling, and, you know, good gifting sort of runs year round. It just had a batch of graduation parties this past weekend, I think I've got a few more we're supposed to be at this coming weekend. There's Father's Day coming up and gifting again, can work for Christmas, and it can work for Black Friday, but it can also work for events like these.

Aaron Conant  18:26  

I mean, from the gifting keyword standpoint, right? Like how competitive is that, you know, given search rankings today, I think a lot of people

Jordan Brannon  18:35  

that they can be quite intense and quite competitive, especially if you haven't put much energy into them before. But I would suggest focusing on keywords that are maybe more closely aligned with your existing SEO strategy or work before you start to sort of branch into the standalone ones. So if you're selling small appliances, if you're selling, you know, coffee machines, if you're you know selling, you know, clothing, apparel athleisure if you're selling, you know kids games and toys, you don't necessarily have to sort of jump into like the broad kind of gift categories like a gift for Christmas or a gift for this. You can start to dial it in more so keyword, like best toasters, for wedding gifts, maybe easier to target than sort of trying to pursue best wedding gifts, specifically, so play to those strengths that you already have, you know, where you've sort of been focusing your SEO efforts, you usually see that you have an upside opportunity sooner than later. And that can be really helpful. And if you're kind of looking at opening that up as a new new SEO strategy for this holiday season.

Aaron Conant  19:41  

Now awesome, love it. As far as content goes, right tips for effective content. When I think about like right now, I was working to get an article or something that piece of content ranking. That's the big question that's out there. Yeah,

Jordan Brannon  19:56  

length matters. Everybody, you know, is sort of from a visual standpoint tends to want to lean into short form content. But Google does find a lot of value in long form content, you'll often see longer pieces of content just rank on more search terms and short form content. And you'll also see them sort of rank better overall. Now, that doesn't mean we just want sort of long content for the sake of being long. So try and be thorough and as thorough as makes sense on a particular keyword or topic. So don't sort of run to the point where you've kind of, you know, passed all sensibility and trying to get to a particular length, do make sure that you are marking up your content with schema and structured data as appropriate. Um, Google is still very much not human. And so using schema markup to enhance the understanding and intent of your content for a system and a software in a computer is really helpful in terms of getting it to rank in more disparate search queries and search results. So in most of us are familiar that search results pages have changed. They're not just text anymore, text links anymore, we have pictures, we have video, we have news, we have products, we have informational snippets. And so all of those things, dependent in large part on schema. So marking up your content within schema and having that built into your template and your strategy is helpful. I would say also, just make sure using a range of original content wherever possible, in a short form videos, socially generated photos, maybe your own, it's sort of internally generated lifestyle shoots, reviews, you know, pricing, and all that sort of thing, you know, kind of creates a better content experience. And so don't just sort of go with the, you know, blog article, one picture, long form, you know, one headline, and then mixed in different things to see how that impacts, you'll find that that actually does really help with with ranking. And then maybe, with holiday success, I would say, you know, kind of kind of focusing on the holidays, again, maybe look at featuring what you have in stock and say so not necessarily as beneficial from an SEO standpoint. But if you want that landing page to help convert, really, I think making sure that you're clear on in stock and ship times as part of the content, your creation is going to be really helpful and getting people to buy.

Aaron Conant  22:19  

Yeah, love it. The next question that I get a lot, which I'd like to pick your brain on this around inventory, you know, in the Amazon side, and paid media that happens there, you know, basically, people just, you know, turn off paid media if they're getting low on inventory, but you can't necessarily communicate that, you know, Amazon, but at the direct to consumer side. Now. You know, what is, you know, the thoughts around inventory messaging, you know, marketing and around, did you see this, you know, taking shape regularly now? And should people be telling you like a limited stock limited inventory. Does that work? Does it not? We'd love to hear your thoughts. So how do you how do you manage that portion of it?

Jordan Brannon  23:01  

Yeah, that's a great, great question. So I think definitely, we want to see our clients talking about inventory, talking about availability, talking about ship times. Those were really effective last year, in terms of helping to drive conversions, we saw clients who were messaging that way, communicating what's in stock, when it's going to ship, it's going to be there by a specific date, really seeing better outcomes in terms of the conversion rates, and things of that nature, and stuff. And so we know that customers are responding to that. I think maybe last year, some customers were, you know, heard the news about inventory and supply chains, but didn't really feel it until they kind of got into the holiday stretch, and then started to see that kind of come to fruition. And that's continued, you know, I think through this year, and so, you know, make sure that you are really taking the time to verify that your site is set up for that type of messaging. Um, some eCommerce platforms, content management systems are going to allow for low stock notices. But those notices may need to be styled and they the language may need to be refined, you know, out of stock or low stock may not be what you're wanting to communicate, it may not help with sort of that urgency. Other platforms are less flexible and may not really be able to handle common situations like having all five of the inventory item locked up in someone's cart or items going over sold because 15 people added the item to the cart but hadn't checked out, entered into checkout inventory controls stopped only when that checkout was completed. So it's really good as a marketer to be aware of what your technology stack is going to support.

Aaron Conant  24:39  

You just a quick sideline on that. On websites as a whole anything, any wording that's, you know, in particular, like, more effective.

Jordan Brannon  24:51  

Yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, I think generally speaking, we've seen specific quantities left when inventory is low is helpful and getting items into the aren't increasing conversion rates. You know, depending on how much volume you're moving, you may want to adjust whether you're stating if you have 135 or 10 more items left for the sale customer can be discouraged if they see one left in stock. And so again, think about how much inventory you're turning over how quickly that can move. And so be thoughtful there. Again, maybe going back to that earlier tip, if your shopping cart doesn't actually deduct from inventory, until a purchase is made, and there's no sort of expiry expiration on a cart. For customers, you may be want to sort of think about featuring something as being low stock little earlier rather than a little later. I also would suggest and recommend making sure that your search and filtering functions support inventory availability, a lot of brands sort of lose out on a key piece of insight. And we see that when that feature is enabled, or there's the support for that sort of is this in stock, will it ship on time, we see that actually really driving a lot of engagement with certain products. And that can be really helpful in getting something to push through to a sale, maybe kind of a common scenario that we see is that countdown timer, I think most of us have seen like your cart is going to expire in five minutes, you don't check out you know if people tend to shop extensively on your site. So they spend a lot of time they're sort of using that shopping cart as a shopping cart in a retail spot, you go into like a you know, fashion retailer, add a bunch of to your cart, and then you get up to the checkout lane and or the you go to the try it on. And you dump a bunch of it. If that's sort of how people are using your shopping cart. In that case that countdown timer tends to be more effective. Outside of that they don't seem to have much of an impact on conversion rates.

Aaron Conant  26:49  

Great stuff. A question comes in over the chat here. And then we can keep growth rolling on some others. Again, people who have questions drop in the chat or q&a, it says is tagging locally available product in store with schema going to be prioritized in search results?

Jordan Brannon  27:06  

Yes, yeah. So So basically, the idea there that if there is an opportunity for Google to localize and can confirm that inventory is going to be something that is relevant to a particular shopper, either query or where they're navigating and how they're browsing on Google, then yes, having something that is tagged for in stock in inventory. And if that can be associated to a location that can be helpful. Yes. So they're through Google Shopping, feed. And through sort of that shopping experience, there's a little more control that you have, in terms of communicating that directly to Google, that's where we see most of that impact. General search. While we're sort of looking at the more general kind of text search queries, not through the Google shopping experience, we see some influence over in stock and local versus sort of just maybe a site that would be otherwise ranking. So it won't necessarily move you from number 50 in rankings up to number one, but can help nuanced, you may see that in sort of localized search queries in stock related search terms, you may see yourself jump from a number nine to a number six, number six to number three, so on and so forth.

Aaron Conant  28:13  

Awesome, awesome. So just kind of the focus is on this call is things that we can work on, they're a little bit further out that might be too late to start later. So other key, you know, related activity steps that brands should be keying in on right now. Yeah, because it might be too late later on.

Jordan Brannon  28:34  

Yeah, yeah, I think just from a general strategy, and something that potentially has uplift for really every channel, our relationships, and I don't mean, necessarily relationship with an influencer, per se, or, you know, some sort of press or publication, but really relationships with other brands and other eCommerce retailers, eCommerce, sales entities that are out there, and really sort of moving beyond sort of the dependency on kind of an affiliate kind of a paid engagement. They're a big driver of success for our clients. And I would love to take credit for more of them. But a lot of our clients where we see a lot of success, they are organically developed relationships, or they've made a habit of building up those relationships to find other brands that they can work with, for cross selling for CO promotion. Sometimes even now we're seeing more sort of doing dropshipping type offers where they're taking the order handling the money handling the customer account, and then passing that off to this, this other brand, this other ecommerce company and essentially having them handle the shipping and fulfillment. And there are a few things that these relationships can accomplish. I mean, I think one in a down economy relationships like these can be helpful in terms of targeting lower price points. Maybe they can be used to avoid sort of moving into like a discount Thinking sort of mindset on your core brand products. So if that's not what you want to do, and that's not sort of who you are, you know, being able to find a good relationship that's complimentary, but lower cost to the customer can be helpful. Inversely, you know, if you're selling something where your average ticket is typically $30, a good brand relationship can move that ticket up and help you associate with a brand that maybe has some aspirational characteristics for where you are today. I think also well paired and CO selling, you can build your your general average order value, people are more likely to buy one or two items, instead of just, you know, adding what they normally would to the cart, they may be more willing to increase their typical purchase. And I think probably the best benefit, again, from a marketing standpoint is there's just usually a really good net new audience that we can build into the funnel, when we introduce these and so I starting early, though, is important, because it just gives you the chance to identify those relationships, it does take time if you're kind of working to create them instead of organically having them come up. And you also get a chance to refine them a bit and plan for what Hey, what is a holiday focus campaign going to look like? And you can begin to refine that funnel in that effort together sooner that sooner than later.

Aaron Conant  31:13  

So what do you look for in a relationship? You know, like, that was the kind of the checklist items, I think for the vetting process as a whole, like, how do you even handle outreach? I think if people are like, aha, that's an awesome idea. How do I get started? And then once I get down to it, how do I do the checklist of this red flag I shouldn't, or hey, this is a perfect match.

Jordan Brannon  31:35  

Yeah, I like to look for what we call like for like connections, meaning your brands have similar audience sizes and opportunities, it sort of feels like there's going to be an equitable exchange, that happens in a co branded promotion, you know, the internet's a big place. And so the chances of each of you, if you have access to 1000s, or 10s of 1000s, or maybe millions of customers, the chances of you having a huge amount of overlap is actually fairly small. And so looking for ones that are similarly sized is going to be helpful in just Turman saying, like, hey, there's, there's a good synergy to work here together, you know, we do one thing, it's not one brand is sort of really carrying everything else. Although sometimes you will find that bigger brands are really interested in these, and they have the budgets to push for kind of more what they would consider a micro campaign, but for you is a big campaign. So that's a good starting point, you can use certain tools that help you look at brands that your customers are also following and their social channels as a starting point. So you can plug in Instagram, or Facebook or Twitter profiles, and then find out who else is being followed. Some of those tools allow you to sort of look for patterns, or just export the data where you can sort and say, Well, hey, out of this 10,000 customers, these brands came up most often, and starts to give me a sense of like, hey, maybe these are ones that would be worth looking out or looking out for a we usually filter out competing brands and products, just simply to make sure that we're you know, again, not necessarily cross promoting someone we're kind of up against. You can save them for later, though, and maybe just use them as a way of kind of getting a better understanding of what your customers are really looking for, you know, what are the commonalities they have with you? And what are the differences, maybe there's something you could learn and trial in your marketing world. So once you've got that sort of good group of affinity brands, we start to look at their channel sizes, their engagement, is there a chance for us to sort of not only get access to a buying audience, but maybe help build a channel ourselves. So a lot of our clients are working on tick tock, you know, growth this year is sort of an a priority for them. And so they're looking at these sorts of relationships where someone is strong and tick tock and maybe weaker elsewhere. And that can be really helpful to sort of have that exchange can get younger, you can open up a new a new demographic for yourself that maybe you didn't have previously. Probably big important check thing checkbox to look at is you want to have some coherency, between brand tone and yours. You know, so you don't need to have the same branding. But you also want to think about like, Hey, does their branding and ours make sense together is or is there sort of clear conflict? You know, do they tend to be very edgy and in your face? And we're not? Are they very funny, and we're very serious about what we do. There's some things that can come up there, which, you know, maybe disconnect further, if you don't look for them. Once you've got that relationship, that kind of going back to the question that the outreach, you know, how do you get in touch? How do you talk to them? via social channels are really easy. You usually have a social profile, and they usually have a social profile, their marketing manager, their owner, their founder usually has something and so a good outreach pitch that is made for them that says, hey, this is what we're looking to do. You know, we're looking for these types of collaborations. Here's our audience shares Some information, usually you'll find that you actually get a pretty good success rate. Usually, these collaboration offers are still fairly unique. So most of us get the, you know, will you give us a guest post link emails every morning to start a day. But this is a little bit different than that. And so people will pay attention, if you're writing it through them, if it's coming from a personal account, that can be really helpful that way. So not everybody will respond. But you know, often, again, install a unique pitch, you will get actually a majority of them can and will respond. So,

Aaron Conant  35:31  

I mean, it said this the authenticity, right, they want to know that you're not spamming everybody on LinkedIn in hopes that something pans out. It's more targeted and specific outreach. You know, any other like mistakes that you might see brands make when trying to get into these these collaborations as a whole?

Jordan Brannon  35:48  

Yeah, I think probably the biggest mistake is just being too narrow minded on who is a good fit, you know, for this relationship. You know, don't just stick to apparel brands, if you're in apparel, and don't look for Home Goods only if you're in home goods, the more you stretch sort of the categories apart, sometimes you'll be forced to be a little bit more creative on the marketing and collaboration side of things. But the greater the likelihood that you're going to find some exciting new audience, we're just really interested in learning about your product or your brand, and your your news to them. And that's really a good place to be. You know, we've had kitchen clients collaborating with footwear, we've had artists who are collaborating with, you know, home decor brands, we've had musicians who are collaborating with, you know, CPG brands. And so there's just a lot of different ways to kind of work that angle. But you want to kind of look for sort of kind of having a story to tell as to why that exists. You know, around the holidays, doing something for a cause is low hanging fruit for most brands, especially if conscientiousness is a part of of your advertising and has been previously. And I think I would probably say, going back to sort of my route, I wouldn't say in the SEO side of things, these these sort of efforts can also be really good to pass SEO value, you're often exchanging some links as part of that. And that can be really helpful too.

Aaron Conant  37:09  

Yeah, I love it. It just reminds me, I was on my way out to etail West, and I sat next to a gentleman who was at a large subscription wine brand. And I said, Hey, what are you coming out here for? So that's yo is meeting people? It's like no brands? I was like, what what do you brands for it was exactly this, it was co marketing. And just getting your point about the authentic, the outreach? Is he at those events, he goes in, he is looking for some service provider, but mainly he's looking for brands to connect with. And so I did ask him a little bit like, Well, who do you look for? Is it just people that pair up nicely with wine? He's like, No, it's more about the demographic. So again, don't pair it, I just love it. Here's a guy who has literally that's his job is to do co marketing activities. And if people want a connection to him, just shoot me an email afterwards. They will, that's his whole job is to make those cobranding co marketing opportunities. And he's literally saying the same thing you are is it's more about looking at the shopper and what you have in common? And is there a crossover? And less about hey, are you in a specific category or not? Yeah,

Jordan Brannon  38:11  

yeah, I mean, we spend, you know, I, you know, just our clients are spending 10s of millions of dollars, you know, through through a range of channels each year to build their audiences and build their funnel, and somebody else outside of our network is doing the same. And so finding ways to connect into those, that shared cost, that Shared Acquisition investment, really is sensible, you know, if you've done you know, eight out of the 10 things necessary to build that relationship with a customer, get them interested in engaged and paying attention to your marketing, and they've done eight out of 10. And all you have to do is get that last little two steps, then it often is a higher ROI effort than a lot of what you can spend money on.

Aaron Conant  38:50  

Yeah, no, I love it. And the other opportunities, besides just selling their items, or CO marketing or anything like that, from the standpoint of a lot of times, he just drops a little card, and he has you as a brand drop a little business card that says thanks for your purchase, and he will spend paid media anyways, it was super fascinating. If we think about, you know, a topic that we've chatted on a bunch of times headless, right, we've, I don't know, we've probably done six or eight events on headless because it comes up all the time. How are you seeing headless the conversations right now? We've had a bunch of other players jump into the mix, you know, Shop Talk, there's like eight different headless platforms out there is that people should be thinking about it. How does that play into q4 Just you know, kind of open up the conversation that

Jordan Brannon  39:38  

yeah, I you know, I I tend to be a little bit more of a stick in the mud on some of these things. I think I love headless when it's used properly. I think there's a lot of overselling that's happening at some we've all sort of become familiar with some of the big tech out funded effort

Aaron Conant  39:55  

everything you ever wanted. geniusly with this brand new

Jordan Brannon  40:00  

headless platforms, right? Hey, this is gonna help your kids with their wisdom tooth removal. Let me tell you how. And so yeah, I mean, it's one of the things that I think does get a little oversold. But it is factoring more and more into campaigns. And I think we're trying to advise clients on how it can be useful. You know, just sort of off the top of your just on those collaborations and CO branded initiatives can be really helpful. So you have two brands, you guys don't really know each other, you're working together for the first time? Do you let them in, in your eCommerce store? Do they get you in on their eCommerce store? Or could you do something on the headless front where you guys both have access from a data customer data analytics, just the content publishing, you know, on a headless experience that's shared. And so you restrict access to the actual order intake. The customer can be more sensitive data if you want to restrict customer data, and that shared later but you want to have access to the content and analytics reasons. Headless can be a great way to do that. We're seeing a lot of hands a lot, a lot. But a smaller handful of clients are using headless launches for influencer collabs. So specifically, people who don't have eCommerce don't have a product. And they're using influencers, to sort of help promote, you know, obviously giving a share of revenue and sales to those influencers. Headless has been really effective, and really creating highly branded experiences for them. New branded product launches for companies that have traditionally been retailers. So one of the strategies we're seeing more from our clients have acted as retailers as launching their own branded products. And that's been helpful in sort of creating new margin opportunities above and beyond what they typically would have had available. So if you have, you know, retailer.com, and you're now featuring your own product, they're having a branded site experience for that brand through headless that connects back into your main e commerce experience can be really helpful. That seems to be really appealing because of inflation, all the sort of costs of everything are going up and up and up. So that that seems like a good way to create extra margin. And also sort of avoid a sense of conflict with your existing brands that you're carrying. Headless storefronts, for gifting experiences or specialized content and contests. You know, I get suckered into the Starbucks, the Summer Games and Winter Games, you know, you do a little board that you move through, those sorts of things are not usually well supported by a core ecommerce platform, or CMS. And so headless really allows for the flexibility and independence, you need to build out those more creative executions. And so if your your situation maybe is you're in a company where getting approval to build out this big custom experience on your core platform is isn't gonna work. It's too late already. For quarter four, you should have proposed it to December last year, then how this can be a part of a tech solution that is workable for you.

Aaron Conant  42:51  

But maybe like considering a more restrictive tech stack, or just more restrictions on the tech stack. Is there an opportunity there that that brands are missing out on in q4?

Jordan Brannon  43:02  

Yeah, yeah, that's a really good question. You know, I think, you know, probably to the point is spinning up tech, new tech can be quite time consuming and expensive. And a lot of brands are looking to avoid both of those things. And so I think, maybe maybe as a suggestion there is really thinking about segmentation. And thinking about segmenting as extensively as you can. Over segmentation can have diminishing returns if you get too deep in the weeds. But most brands are only segmenting and like email, maybe a little bit and retargeting and remarketing. But even in email, their segmentation is usually based more on engagement metrics than anything really to do with the audience and the demographics. And frankly, under segmentation is as expensive if not more, especially today, right? You know, it kind of mentioned is really, you've already spent eight out of $10, to try to get that customer in, and you've got $2 left, if I can put $2 towards something that's going to drive a good ROI, more segmentation is often going to be the next step. And segmentation doesn't have to be expensive, especially now, like I'm talking about the privacy restrictions, and you know, post cookie roll ball that, you know, having segmented landing page experiences content, customizing your marketing, follow ups to really engage in a specific segment and test if there's value there, I can really help increase your ROI for existing channels. And then once it's in place, one of the better things about it is that it is really easy to replicate and scale with you're not sort of stuck where it's like it's a practice, it's only good for the holidays. It's something that you can carry year round.

Aaron Conant  44:42  

So what are some of those areas that brands should be segmenting more, I think is when they're looking at it as a whole. He said, Hey, some people are way over indexed, but most people are under indexed, or should they be segmented more

Jordan Brannon  44:55  

content? I mean, you know, it's super interesting to see like how how I mean, it's special low hanging fruit. But the only time that I see a lot of segmentation happening by channel is because you just post different content to your different channels. And that's sort of the extent of how a lot of brands are thinking about segmentation. We post short form videos to tick tock and reels like that is what we do. And maybe they make it across to Facebook. But that's a social thing. That's not necessarily I'm thinking about for my website and not think about how that influences my website experience. And frankly, adjusting your website content so that it reflects the the channel that is driving or the funnel that is driving that traffic is probably one of the easiest personalizations and merchandising upgrades a brand can make. It's really funny, I see, we have a client who is onboarding this week, who has paid for very expensive AI tools to help them auto segment. And frankly, it's not doing much in it costs a lot. And some of the very basic things that you can just see, by looking at what's getting traffic and where that traffic is coming from. You're kind of like, well, you know, thinking about this, you know, for a few minutes clear headed li we can kind of say, well, here's an upside opportunity to improve. And so I would say kind of try to think about how you can move beyond the the the landing page that has little snowflake in the background, the Black Friday sale with a black background, you know, as part of your, your content segmentation efforts. But think about you know how the Black Friday sale experience for customer who is coming in from Instagram, or Tiktok, or email or Facebook or social or other social channels or SEO, or collaboration, think about how you can tailor that experience to sort of match where they're coming from, and then refine what your follow ups are what are sort of the incremental activities you would want them to take on as part of where they originated from. Is that Is this an audience we expect to have lower budgets? So do we want to highlight lower price points or deeper percentages off? Is that how we want to lead? Or is this customer who is more enthusiastic and looking for more exclusives and things like that. And so they'll buy the premium, they just want to know they're getting a little bit of a price for Black Friday, maybe it's a special launch, to kind of playing to that language in that audience focus. Also just adjusting the basic content so that it's really reflective of what they were looking at when they came to your site. So again, I kind of have hammered on this one previously, but short form video, just under utilized in eCommerce experiences, especially. And so if you're driving traffic from Instagram, or from a tick tock campaign, to your site, and you're trying to get people to purchase and checkout, they're thinking about how do you use short form video or a social like experience to feature your products? And does that product mix really reflect the items that we're promoting in, in Tik Tok or in Instagram, you know, having versions of that landing page that are more dependent, maybe on user generated content and reviews, when that's the primary driver of your social marketing, perhaps, might make more sense. And so it can take it a step further from there. So just that initial content experience, kind of getting low on time, but just kind of as one thought there, pass that initial content experience, you know, have a specialized email or SMS subscription that is just again, segmented to that channel allows you to really clearly establish the value, you know, of that marketing, without necessarily needing to depend on the cookie or to depend on, you know, some of our previous tooling that maybe is going away with with iOS and so Clavijo and other email marketing platforms are gonna let you segment not only based on engagement, but also you can create very nuanced flows based on specific subscription points in your content. So that can be really helpful kind of tip as well, for quarter four.

Aaron Conant  48:44  

No, I love it, especially the emails, the you know, the the reasons to talk to a brand, right, our customer was what the brand should be looking for. And how do you do that? Because relationships, right? Are the grow through conversations that you're having through communication back and forth, and really looking at how you're talking to people and who you're talking to, and the method you're using to do it. And the reason you are just, it's so much harder than it was like I just think back like two and a half years ago, where you just dump money into Facebook and Amazon and you're just basically printing it. Now. It's a completely different world.

Jordan Brannon  49:24  

Yeah. And I think part of that there is, you know, there is sort of that, it seems like it could be difficult, but I you know, I do think like with this sort of personalization and segmenting like effort, most of us have five known quantity, large buckets to work off of, and it's if we just sort of key in on what their experience is when they leave that sort of initial engagement. You know, again, maybe it's social, social, sort of the big one for a lot of brands, we're seeing a lot of growth, you know, even coming in from search, you know, what does that experience when they get onto a landing page that's ranking well, how does that match to their term? Are we really doing a good job of creating opportunities for us to keep them engaged, personalized outcome, we usually know quite a bit about them. And so that refinement doesn't actually take a huge amount of work, we just have to stop for a second and think like, I can't just focus on the social marketing, I can't just focus on getting them to my site from from organic rankings, I've got to think about, you know, what the next step is for them there. How can I refine that a little further based on what they're coming in when I know about them, and usually, you're gonna get instant payoff in terms of some CRO boosts, some, you know, incremental things like in signing up for email, signing up for SMS, things like that. So, yeah, love it.

Aaron Conant  50:35  

Well, as you kind of get to the end here, I want to kick it over to you for like key takeaways. But before I do, just a quick thank you to everybody who was able to attend today, if you need help in any of these areas across the board, 100% worth having a follow up conversation with Jordan, the team there, they're great friends, supporters, have a ton of brands in the network just come highly recommended across the board. And as you can tell, they think about it on a whole different level than most people out there. And I think it's a lot of the reason people are seeing a lot of success with them. So we're setting some follow up time. If you have any questions whatsoever. I'd also love to have a conversation with you as well. Learn, Hey, what are the other topics we should be having, you know, invite you to any of our upcoming events in person ones. If you're in New York City, again, you know, a week from Thursday, we're gonna have an awesome event. The the link to the podcast episode with Jordan is in the chat as well check that out. And Jordan, key takeaways here as we wrap up. Yeah, I

Jordan Brannon  51:33  

mean, I'm kind of working backwards. Look at ways you can personalize a segment, get out in front of some of that old quality content and see if you can bring some of that back to life. And then I do think that relationship pieces, it's a surprisingly easy thing to access doesn't require a huge organizational buy in just to get some of that happening. And again, you kind of know your brands and know your brand well enough, you can kind of tailor what that looks like to suit your particular situation. And that can be again, a huge payoff and just in terms of again, new audience that you can market towards and again, BB out in front of for the holidays.

Aaron Conant  52:09  

Love it, love it. Well, again, thanks Jordan, so much for your time today. Thanks for being such a great friend partner support of the network. And with that, we're gonna wrap it up everybody, take care, stay safe, look forward to having you at a future event. Alright, thanks again, Jordan. We'll see everybody already. Bye bye.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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