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Success and focus in martech

Bridgeline is a Business Reporter client.

The marketing technology sector is growing: here’s how to keep your focus on the key goals as a marketer

The marketing technology sector (martech) has exploded to encompass more than 10,000 applications in the past few years, with no sign of slowing down. Each app offers a point solution with a different angle to improve your website.

Unfortunately, “improving” is often defined differently by each solution provider. The apps are loosely organised in massive marketplaces – each of which has thousands of apps with clever names that offer no insights into what they do. After a few minutes of sifting through these marketplaces, we can quickly lose track of our goals and challenges.

Our goals as marketers boil down to one thing: growing revenue. If we lose sight of this simple truth, our companies will fail. The future of martech will be crowded with options, but online stores have an equation that can help organise thoughts and help sift through the sea of apps we find in any marketplace:

Revenue = Traffic x Conversion x AOV

Online revenue is the product of Traffic (how many people visited your site), Conversion (what percentage of visitors purchased), and AOV (average order value). Multiply these three variables to equal revenue, down to the penny.

Most apps primarily address one of the three dimensions of this equation, each with its own angle and nuanced value proposition. It is best practice for apps to specialise in one of the three dimensions instead of taking a more generalised approach to the revenue problem.

As marketers, this approach is key to tune the apps and improve performance. When apps sprawl across dimensions, measuring their contribution to revenue growth becomes difficult.

Each dimension impacts the others, and at times we can grow revenue by taking a step backwards in one dimension to improve another.

For example, consider an online store with a 5 per cent conversion rate in an industry that averages 3 per cent. A marketer may be tempted to tune conversion since the site is so strong in this aspect, but that is precisely the wrong thing to do.

Nine times out of ten, any change to conversion for such a site would cause its conversion rate to gravitate towards the industry average.

Instead, in this situation we focus on traffic. As traffic grows, conversion may decline, but at a slower rate than the traffic ramp-up, and revenue will grow regardless. Eventually, as traffic increases and conversion declines towards 3 per cent, we can return to conversion tuning. After all, the new traffic may have different conversion needs.

We cannot improve what we cannot measure. One of the first things any marketer should do before experimenting with apps is to create a dashboard that measures each revenue dimension. Next, find an A/B platform to manage your experiments. Then, the fun begins. There are hundreds of techniques to grow revenue, and often you need to try an app to see if it helps. Just be scientific and measure the results.

The two main avenues to grow traffic are search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimisation (SEO). SEM relies on pay-per-click and other sponsored ads to drive traffic. Though this is a quick fix, it can be costly and often drives poor traffic, reducing your conversion rate by more than the traffic increase. Also, SEM traffic turns off once the ad spend stops, and therefore is a weak long-term strategy.

Traffic

A more effective and sustainable practice is to focus on organic traffic with SEO. SEO requires time, expertise, and follow-through. A marketer cannot simply spend a week to “fix” their site’s SEO – it is a lengthy process that requires consistent tuning. This includes reacting to periodic algorithm changes at Google, ratings and reviews sites, and building brand equity on social media. It is best to recruit the help of an effective SEO tool that can measure your core web vitals and find invisible technical issues that impact your rankings. Some of these tools can even go beyond technical issues and excel in other essential areas of SEO, providing in-depth reports, keyword research, site crawls and a lead gen tool.

Conversion

There are several factors that help convert a site visitor into a customer. For e-commerce sites, it is critical for both B2B and B2C to invest in a seamless user experience. This could be as small as improving image load time and product placement on the home page. When you have several products on your site, conversion largely relies on the site’s product search bar. It’s important not to rely on the out-of-the-box site search that came with your commerce platform.

Using an AI-powered search such as Hawksearch can quickly double or triple your revenue. Hawksearch is a sophisticated site search tool powered by natural language processing. It understands the intent of your site’s visitors to deliver the right product at the right time for maximum conversion. With Hawksearch, the more people search and interact with your site, the smarter it gets, and adjusts its recommendations, autocomplete, and search order to boost your site’s revenue.

AOV

Average order value per customer can increase with recommendations, upsells, bundles and impulse items on checkout. The Hawksearch Recommendations product is a personalisation engine that monitors your site visitor’s activity to promote products they will most likely add to their shopping cart in prominent locations on your site’s pages. Hawksearch Recommendations even includes a merchandising system to allow you to prioritise recommendations for certain products that you want to promote, such as high-margin products or products with excess inventory.

Don’t let the sea of martech apps confuse you. Your goal is revenue. This goal can be accomplished by increasing traffic, conversion and AOV. Tools such as Hawksearch and Woorank are critical to your growth. Keep your focus and remember the revenue formula to improve your business and ensure success.

Dr. Ari Kahn, CEO, Bridgeline

To learn more about this strategy and download a custom report on your site’s growth opportunities, click here.

This article originally appeared on Business Reporter. Image credits: iStock id483774045