Use A/B testing for BFCM success.

This guest blog post is by Praella.

For everyone in ecommerce, Q4 is the playoffs, and the BFCM weekend is the Super Bowl. Unless a brand is seasonal, most brands depend on a very strong Q4. The need for a strong Q4 typically also leads to a more significant media spend to capitalize on consumer demand. 

However, in the last five years, major retailers like Walmart have shifted away from having Black Friday and Cyber Monday alone but rather establishing a “Black November,” a month full of deals and promotions.  

End-to-end funnel testing

Brands often distribute execution across multiple internal teams or across multiple agencies. A lack of planning and communication among stakeholders usually leads to cavities in acquisition and retention funnels. These cavities happen whether it is internal teams, agencies, or freelancers, making it important to get everyone on the same page.

So, how can brands properly prepare to leverage A/B testing to maximize ad spend investment, conversions, and average order value? That’s what we’ll cover in this blog post. 

Identify brand personas

We often see that brands think they know their best customers, but can’t actually identify them. It tends to be based on gut feeling, experience, etc. Assumptions about who their best customers are tend to stem from brand persona exercises from years ago. Sometimes, brands lean on who they want their customers to be rather than who they actually are. So, what is the best way to truly find out who your customers are?

Identify your top customers

Segmenting your customers can be done in several ways. You can run segments based on the number of orders, customer lifetime value (LTV), subscription longevity, referrals completed, etc. 

How many customers should you bucket? That will depend on your business maturity, growth, and other factors. Given that we are going into the holidays, one big tip is to create a segment for November, BFCM, December, and post-holidays.

Transactional: What and how can you engage with holiday buyers to extend their LTV? What are the complimentary products? When will they need to replenish or replace the product they bought during the holidays?

Subscription: Are you pushing month-to-month subscriptions or pre-paid? Consider your average LTV and what you can offer before the churn cliff happens. Giving an extra product or two for free will always be more economical than reacquiring the same subscriber.

Gifting: This can be a tricky one. Depending on your setup for gifts, try to figure out how to gather data on the gift recipient. You want to ensure that your relationship with the gift recipient goes beyond the gift. Run segments on those buying the gifts as well—if they are active customers, thank them by giving them a gift, whether through a coupon code or a product. And, if they are not an active customer, throw something more aggressive their way and either make them active customers or win them back if they used to be one.

Brands make the mistake of considering conversions around just customer acquisition or reacquisition. Once you have someone’s attention, do not think of just “converting a sale” or a subscription, think about converting and creating an amazing, personalized experience and customer journey. When you convert a customer, that is not when the job ends—it is when it really begins.

Identify characteristics of your customers

There are a few ways you can go about this, which we’ll dive into below.

Attribute compiling: Many brands we work with collect customer data in exchange for rewards points, gift cards, etc. Each field a customer fills out can store the attributes as custom fields, tags, etc. This can also be powerful for email marketing and paid media audiences throughout the year. If you have yet to start to collect this data, it might be hard to implement it now, but it’s never too late to prep for 2024.

Surveys: Using forms from Klaviyo and other email marketing tools—such as third-party apps like Hulk Form Builder on Shopify, Survey Monkey, Google Forms, or any other similar platform—you can ask your top users to share information about themselves in exchange for a gift card, a free subscription box for a month or two, or other rewards.

Interviews: Interviews might be the best and most in-depth approach to getting to know your customers. It is much more personable and feels less invasive than filling out forms. You will be surprised to find how many customers truly love your brand and want to help it grow. These can be quick conversations, taking no more than 15 minutes. Make sure you flush out questions ahead of time and stick to the script.

Third-party data: This might be the ideal way to do it before the 2023 Q4 and BFCM. Data companies offer data enhancement services. By uploading the emails of your top customers, data platforms will, in return, be able to provide characteristics of your customers, like interests, household income, education levels, etc.

Create audiences for each persona

Based on the data you can gather into a database or a CSV, start to identify commonalities that your top customers share. The best and quickest way to do this is to use ChatGPT, and if you do, leverage either Code Interpreter or the Notable plugin. These plugins allow you to upload your dataset, and then you can ask ChatGPT to break down the data as needed.

Create content & assets for each persona

Try to stay away from using universal assets across different personas. This is about personalizing their experience and trying to create an experience they can relate to. If you are an outdoor company, you will speak differently to parents taking their kids camping for the first time vs. how you would communicate with an avid survivalist. 

Create landing pages for each product

Do not just send your traffic to your homepage or product pages. Create product-specific, hyper-targeted landing pages that highlight your products’ features and evoke emotion around how that product can better their life or the loved ones around them.

If you sell air purifiers, do not just create a general landing page for your product. Instead, narrow it down:

  • Air Purifiers for Children → This is better, but still too broad.
  • Air Purifiers for Infants → This is better. We narrowed down the age group which could be used, but we can push it further.
  • Quiet Air Purifiers for Infants → Now, we are getting somewhere. Having a title, content, features, emotions, and media that support this will be a lot more impactful to a parent of an infant than a general targeting of Air Purifiers for Children. This should be able to maximize your marketing efforts as you are connecting with the audience on a closer, more intimate level. Create as many of these as you can. Features and emotions may be the same, but the closeness of their pain point will make the difference. 

Feature to emotion ratio: For every feature you mention on your landing page, you should have at minimum two problem-solving, emotion-evoking statements.

Media: Whether an image, a video, or an illustration—make sure that it is reflective of the audience.

Offer: Make sure to have an offer for each audience. It does not always have to be percent or dollar off. Think about air purifiers. Instead of throwing $20 at the user, maybe throw a few filters that cost you $10 to make, but the value to the end user is $50. Test these types of offers to make sure that you are promoting what works best.

Limit the offers: Create urgency around your offers. Whether it is a countdown to how many are left or a countdown to when the offer ends. Do not give the opportunity to your audience to think about having time to look for a better deal or an alternative. 

Don’t be afraid of failed tests

Remember—most tests will “fail,” and they should. But the “failures” will allow you to scratch off what is not working with that audience and eventually create elements that work and that you can scale. On a landing page, you can run thousands of tests. Take your time with them, do not rush them, and do not be afraid to repeat failed tests.

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