E-Commerce, The CMO Club

How to Build and Ramp Up Your E-Commerce

Fun.com has maintained the number one ranking for the search term “Halloween costumes” for several years – the most competitive term in their industry.

During the recent CMO Club Virtual Roundtable, How to build and ramp up your e-commerce, Mark Bietz, CMO, Fun.com shared strategies and tactics for each of the channels that has driven much of his organization’s success.

The SEO Channel

Bietz discussed the general characteristics of the SEO channel, including:

  • It requires cooperation from all areas of the business. Typically every department plays a role in ensuring a productive SEO engine within a company, he said.
  • It is still the most efficient acquisition channel within digital marketing, in terms of ROI. Bietz said if done well, it drives a lot of customer acquisition.
  • Its performance reflects success in broader business practices. “It’s a nice gauge in how you’re doing in those other areas such as customer experience and industry authority,” he said.
  • There is a large diversity in skillset within the same team, which means many people must work together on both the technical and creative side, he said.

At Fun.com, the SEO team is set up in four distinct areas, based on the four biggest factors driving rankings in SEO today: site speed, usability, authority, and satisfying content, Bietz said.

That team includes the technical SEO group, what he called an often overlooked but critical group. This team advocates for immersive programming, makes sure there’s clean code on website, addresses site speed, and ensures a high converting website – making sure the page is SEO friendly and it converts well.

The team also includes an inbound marketing lead, content marketing group, and public relations/organic social group.

For those just beginning their SEO journey, Bietz laid out a map to ramp up in SEO, in what he called the “crawl, walk, and run” phases.

In the “crawl” phase, some basic steps include:

  • Defining keyword targets
  • Optimizing copy and media level
  • Putting basic tracking in place, including rankings and the search console
  • Deploying basic article and press releases

In the “walk” phase:

  • Crawl diagnostics are tracked and optimized
  • You have customer-focused content
  • Basic site speed is optimized
  • Ad hoc link building exists

Advancing to the “run” phase includes:

  • Advanced link building exists
  • Abundant content creation is happening
  • Dedicated influencer outreach takes place
  • There is organization-wide SEO

Paid Media

Paid media drives a significant amount of business for Fun.com, Bietz said. He estimated 50 percent of the organization’s revenue comes through PPC and PLA.

The Paid Media channel is used for all levels of the sales funnel, he said, from the most broad – people engaging with the website – down to people about to purchase a product. At the same time, he said the cost per click is going up.

“It’s really important to make your site efficient in terms of conversion rate,” Bietz said. “As well as utilizing audiences so you can put your ad dollars to use with those.”

At Fun.com, the Paid Media team includes the paid search team, paid search lead, media buying, and analysts/CROs.

When beginning your Paid Media journey, Bietz again shared a series of steps to take.

In the beginning, or “crawl” phase, it should include:

  • Manual bidding
  • Base-level ad groups created from analytics, and a keyword planner
  • Single ad per ad group
  • A product feed with required attributes

Progressing to the “walk” phase should include:

  • Automated bidding with DDA
  • Multiple ads per group for testing
  • Basic audiences with little segmentation
  • Static remarketing

And finally, in the “run” phase:

  • Full use of RLSA and micro-audience
  • Product feed with all attributes
  • Beta testing ad products
  • API Integration

Segmentation

Another big business driver at Fun.com has been segmentation, Bietz said. They use customer audiences – for example, people who have landed on the Star Wars page or people who have ordered family costumes – as well as segments such as customers who use coupons and those who don’t, he said.

In the future, they’re working toward ensuring each segment and each funnel has its own creative, Bietz said. This will include the creation of landing pages and ads that are personalized to each of those segments.  They are also working on deploying and refining their personalization engine for product merchandising and content.

CRM

Being in a business where customers typically buy once a year makes CRM a challenging area for Fun.com, Bietz said. It can often feel like re-introducing the brand every year, he said.

Their CRM team includes the CRM Marketing leads, the content/merchandising team, the loyalty group, and analytics.

Bietz said the CRM journey begins in the “crawl” phase with:

  • Batch and blast email
  • Working in a silo
  • No A/B testing

In the “walk” phase:

  • Basic behavioral workflows are set up
  • There is basic segmentation
  • There is one or two channel integration
  • There is static creative

And finally, in the run phase:

  • There is 1:1 via personalization
  • Continuous creative and workflow testing takes place
  • Omni-channel integration occurs

Toward the end of the discussion, Bietz also discussed the effects and influence of Amazon. He said more than 60 percent of e-commerce transactions are happening in this marketplace, and the question becomes whether to compete or sell your product on that platform as well.

Fun.com took a hybrid approach and added a group several years ago that is focused on optimizing Amazon sales. There’s high competition and many competitors have come in who are challenging big retailers, Bietz said.

However, “there’s a lot of ways you can compete and win,” he said.

Check out more CMO Club Virtual Roundtable recaps and join us for upcoming Virtual Roundtables.