Part I: Emails, Social Media, and PR
Marketing can be most effective if you use it to communicate your brand’s points of differentiation, showing potential customers why they’ll be much better off buying from you than from your competitors. Chances are, you’re already including your company’s core strengths in your messaging and creatives. But there may be one feature that you’re not including in your marketing efforts that could have a significant impact on your sales and customer loyalty: your payment options.
While serving a very functional purpose, payment options can also be a powerful product differentiator if what you offer goes beyond plain vanilla credit cards. A unique payment method, with the right promotion, can turn your product from being great to being a no-brainer to consumers. For example, many retailers who offer Affirm – a payment method that allows customers to pay for their purchases over time in fixed, monthly installments – and include it in their marketing have, on average, seen their conversion rates jump by 20-25% and AOVs by 80%. Additionally, they’ve seen impressive repeat purchase rates of about 36%.*
A payment method like Affirm, which gives customers budget flexibility and cash flow relief, can be that one unique selling point that sets you apart from your competition. As such, you’ll want to think about how you can promote it as part of your product or service throughout the customer journey. Below, we’ll demonstrate how various merchants partnering with Affirm have used payments as a key product differentiator in their marketing to build awareness among shoppers, engage with them, and ultimately earn customer loyalty. This is the first article in a three-part series, starting with how to effectively use email, social media, and PR to grow awareness and attract consumers.
How to Effectively Market Payments in Emails, Social Media, and PR
We’ll start at the top of the funnel and show how you can attract more customers to your e-commerce site or physical store by including payments in your marketing messages. There are various campaigns you probably use now to grow awareness, including paid search, SEO, display, affiliate marketing, etc. We’re going to focus on three channels in particular – email, social, and PR – where we have seen exceptional success among merchants by marketing payments.
Email is an incredibly effective tool to use to describe how your products and services can be paid for in a way that’s different from your competitors. You can use the extra character space to explain the benefits of your payment options. These can be directed to your existing consumers to drive them back to transact again, or with prospects to pique their interest and drive them to your store for the first time.
In the example below, Casper uses installment payments as the central message in one of its emails to highlight this payment option to consumers who may initially be deterred by the upfront cost of a mattress.
*0% APR financing available to eligible Casper consumers
Additionally, Goat – the high end sneaker retailer – showcases popular products in its emails alongside a message telling shoppers they can either pay for the item upfront or for “as low as $x per month” with its payment option. This is an incredibly powerful way to attract shoppers who are intrigued by a more affordable monthly expense that better fits into their budgets. By displaying the price as a monthly cost, the merchant addresses any hesitancy the customer may have about paying the entire purchase price up front.
Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and even Snapchat are very effective ways to spread the word about your unique payment options to a broad audience, or to retarget individuals who have been to your site recently. While space is more limited, social ads can be used creatively to provide just enough context about your payment methods to entice your consumers to learn more.
Take for instance this ad from The RealReal – the high end fashion and accessories reseller. It provides a vivid image of the product, alongside a short message about being able to pay for it over 3, 6, or 12 months. This is enough to draw the shopper in and prompt them to click to learn more.
We see the same treatment from men’s luxury shoe retailer Paul Evans, who combines rich photos of its products with a short message that they can be obtained now and paid for over time. This is enough to earn a click from their audience members.
Press can be a great way to get news out about new payment methods you are now offering to your shoppers. Merchants draft press releases to be able to control the language and provide relevant information about the benefits of using these payment methods to facilitate the purchase process. Press releases put out over the wire then have the potential to be picked up by relevant vertical press and/or influencers, who can make the news viral and expose it to the right consumers.
Yogabed, for example, published a press release over PR Web announcing it is offering installments to highlight to shoppers how its mattresses are comfortable, durable, and more affordable. In many cases, finding out about this payment option could persuade a customer to purchase from this merchant instead of a competitor.
Another example is CPA exam prep company Roger CPA Review, who touts in their press release the ability for their students to use installment payments so they don’t have to delay their prep classes if they don’t have immediate means to pay the full cost. Such a release helps drive interested student traffic to their site to learn more.
The merchants partnering with Affirm who promote their unique payment options higher up in the funnel have had greater success attracting interested shoppers to their sites and stores. Their products go from being “a great handbag” or “a stylish suit” to being a “great handbag that you can pay for over time” or “stylish suit that you can own for as low as $35 per month.” These are powerful product features that will help differentiate you from the rest, and draw people to learn more about your products and services.
So now these customers are on your site. Then what? Stay tuned for our next article in which we reveal how marketing payments throughout your site can help engage your customers and get them to checkout.
*Based on merchant data from January 2014 through January 2016