January 24, 2018 • Kristin Eastman, M.S.
This has been a hot topic of debate in the publishing industry since 2012/13 and remains so even today. Some experts support the idea of extending the publisher-consumer relationship in such a way, while others see it as a burdensome challenge—incorporating fulfillment into an already heavy workload.
Changing the way you do business is risky, but in this consumer-driven landscape, publishers can see big benefits from a direct sales approach.
In this two-part series we’ll talk about how ecommerce works to create product awareness, improve the customer journey, and generate better marketing data for improved results.
eCommerce alone can drive the book customer from awareness to purchase to advocacy, by:
What the customer wants is immediately available, creating the best experience possible. This can lead to loyalty and eventually
advocacy—a customer for life.
Better Customer Data
In addition to creating a positive experience, ecommerce also provides valuable insights that can inform a publisher’s marketing strategy.
Integrating Google Analytics with your eCommerce module is an excellent way to track customer behavior and see what is working and what isn’t.
So let's put it all together.
There are three major legs to every eCommerce module:
Focusing on product pages, or for our purpose, “book” pages, you can compile the data to help inform your marketing strategy.
A book page typically features the following information:
Once you have your Google Analytics in place you can start looking at metrics like:
You might be thinking, “Okay, thanks that is a great start but what can I do with that information?”
There is a lot of data to glean from the Google Analytics on each book page so we'll just look at a few high-level points and how they will help improve your book marketing.
When you’re running a book marketing campaign on behalf of an author, track everything. Whatever content you use to attract consumers to a book page, make sure it contains tracking links. This way, you know which tactics (emails, blogs, Twitter posts, etc.) are garnering the most success.
Even if you didn’t track your communications, an increase or decrease in your book page traffic can tell you how well, or not so well, your current marketing campaign is performing.
A bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a webpage after viewing it for a short period of time. A low bounce rate means you’ve created an awesome book page - users are enjoying the experience and are ready to purchase. If you are experiencing a high bounce rate, there are a couple of things to think about, like:
Create audience segments in Google Analytics like you would with an email marketing list. Now, you can see which segments frequent which book pages most and create more relevant consumer messaging based off this data.
Google Analytics will integrate with most ecommerce modules for a birds-eye view of book page performance, from visits to cart additions to purchases. The most important metric for any book page is the conversion rate. Conversions are the driving metric behind a consumer book purchase.
These three data pieces (page traffic, bounce rate, and conversion rate) all work together to tell a story. All that data working in harmony means you’re on your way to a happily ever after. Data out of sync can quickly make for a Shakespearean tragedy.
So what are some common reasons for a low conversion rate?
Here’s an example:
You’ve placed an advertisement in an industry newsletter, as well as on Facebook, and also sent it in an email. The data tells you which source drives the most traffic to your book page. But is that same source getting conversions?
While the email may generate more traffic, your Facebook ad warranted the best conversion rate. So the take away is – spend more focus cultivating that Facebook audience.
You can also reverse engineer data to support high conversion rates. For example, during promotions for a new release, you notice the book page for a backlisted title is getting a lot of traffic and conversions. Put a little more focus on this title. Take a look at the segments visiting that page and find other books they’d like. Then create a few minimal-resource marketing campaigns targeting those titles.
Putting it All Together
Book pages hold a ton of data points that can help you improve your book promotion—too much to cover in one blog article. Begin by focusing on the big areas like the page traffic, the bounce rate on the page and the conversion rate. Each of these pieces can be looked at in a silo, but you can ensure the best possible customer journey by using them together.
Alright, that was a lot of information. And we’ve only covered the product pages. Be on the lookout for our part 2 in this series—Cart and Checkout for Your eCommerce Store.