eCommerce Influencer Series: Erika Jolly Brookes – Springbot
In this installment of our eCommerce Influencer Series, we are excited to have Springbot Chief Marketing Officer Erika Jolly Brookes join us.
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We are extremely happy Erika could take a few moments out of her schedule to talk about eCommerce digital marketing and how Springbot is enabling small merchants to take advantage of the latest technologies to maximize their digital marketing efforts.
Springbot was founded in Atlanta, Georgia and has a passion to develop advanced marketing technologies to help small business online retailers compete against the big guys like Amazon and Walmart.
Digital marketing doesn’t have to be an enigma for small business owners as Springbot has the technology platform to level the marketing playing field.
Erika joined Springbot about four years ago and since then has worked with many small businesses to optimize their digital marketing strategy to improve conversion rates and increase sales.
Q: Let’s get to know Erika a little better. For anyone who doesn’t know you yet, how did you get started in the eCommerce industry?
After one of my previous employers Vitrue was acquired by Oracle in 2012, we rebranded to Oracle Social Cloud and spent a considerable amount of time integrating our tech stack across the Oracle Customer Experience (CX) stack, including Oracle Commerce Cloud. During that period, I learned a great deal about the broader marketing automation and attribution needs for retailers. I became an advisor for Springbot in January 2015, deepening my understanding of the breadth of commerce carts and SMB customer needs. In September of that same year, I joined Springbot full time to lead marketing, product and partnerships, and the rest has been history.
Q: Digital marketing is always evolving. What do you think are the biggest challenges today for small online businesses to get the most out of their marketing strategies?
This may seem obvious, but the single-biggest challenge for SMB online retailers is competing for eyeballs, wallets and customer loyalty in an industry full of giant competitors with huge marketing organizations. The SMBs desperately need marketing tools that help them raise brand awareness and increase those all-important customer touchpoints and conversions. We’ve come a long way in enabling much of that via automation and democratization of data, which saves them time and resources while also allowing them to scale like the big players.
Q: What services does Springbot offer that help small online merchants compete with the ‘big retailers’?
While we’ve been offering a full suite of marketing solutions for years, most recently we’ve added the Springbot Exchange data cooperative. This platform gives smaller merchants the data and insights that were only previously accessible by larger retailers because of prohibitive costs and complexity. Since the initial launch in March 2018, we’ve introduced new features such as Onsite Abandonment, which allows retailers to deliver personalized email marketing messages and special offers to current and potential customers who visited their online store but did not make a purchase. That’s a hugely important step toward converting those customers who are aware of the store and browsed, but stopped short of buying something.
Q: Artificial Intelligence is a big buzzword now. What role does AI play today in digital marketing and what may we expect from AI in the future?
AI is yet another technology that’s traditionally been out of reach for smaller merchants. Put plainly, in order for it to impact the 99% of online retailers that fall into the SMB or SOHO buckets, it has to be accessible, integrated and affordable. Otherwise, it’s a non-factor. I do think we’ll eventually see more democratization of AI, but right now it’s too complex to implement or even integrate into an average online storeowner’s existing tech stack or workflows.
Q: Let’s talk about a couple of marketing channels many small business owners already use: email and social media. First, what is your thought on the state of email marketing? Some people think it is dead, but are they right?
I sure hope they aren’t. Kidding…I know they aren’t. Email marketing tools have been our bread and butter since Day 1 and still continue to be an effective pillar of our platform today. What the critics are right about is that it’s become a very noisy space. So the key becomes, how can a merchant make a customer take notice and feel special via email? The answer probably isn’t blasting them with a form email (or two) every day. It takes a blend of creativity, data-driven insights about what works and what doesn’t, and personalization.
Q: Looking at the five best known social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest), what are the primary strengths of each platform that marketers should consider when developing a social media strategy?
First and foremost, the strengths of each platform lend themselves well to delineating a unique strategy or business purpose for each. Instagram and Pinterest have strengths in visual content, so they’re perfectly oriented for brand and product discovery, although they’ve also been building in-app purchase capabilities and integrations at an impressive clip. Twitter canned many of its eCommerce features (R.I.P. buy button), but is useful for disseminating information and customer support. Facebook has power in the branding arena as well as its Facebook Shop platform for merchants of all sizes. Snapchat is still the creative Wild West to me and currently has a forte in paid advertising/content and extending the mileage of branded experiences, more than anything else.
Q: Springbot is located in Atlanta, Georgia. For a visitor looking for a great place to have dinner, what three places would you recommend they must try?
Atlanta has an excellent and diverse dining scene, so it’s difficult to just pick three places to highlight, but here’s my best shot. Bocca Lupo, located in Inman Park and close to the Atlanta Beltline, is an Italian-American restaurant that serves up creative cocktails, hand-cut pasta and an imaginative tasting menu. Heirloom BBQ is Korean-inspired southern BBQ fare with flavors to die for. And finally, Miller Union by James Beard award-winning chef Stephen Satterfield has a farm egg baked in celery cream with grilled bread that dares you to not lick the bowl. (I’ve lost that dare more than once.)
We want to thank Erika Jolly Brookes for sharing her knowledge about digital marketing and how Springbot can help small business online merchants democratize data and technology to increase marketing ROI.
Springbot integrates with the most popular shopping carts which include Magento, Magento 2, Shopify, BigCommerce and WooCommerce.
The company can tailor a digital marketing program to fit your unique needs and will walk you step-by-step through the process to create the best solution for your budget.
To learn more about Springbot, please visit their website at www.springbot.com or contact them by phone at (404) 487-0041.
Connect with Erika and Springbot on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
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Richard is co-founder of eSeller365. He has over 17 years of experience on eBay which includes tens of thousands of sales to buyers in over 100 countries and even has experience with eBay’s VeRO program enforcing intellectual property rights for a former employer. And for about two years Richard sold products on Amazon using Amazon FBA in the US.
To “relax” from the daily business grind, for a few weekends a year, he also works for IMSA as a professional race official.
This contribution is part of our Leadership Series, where industry professionals share valuable insights for small business owners selling online. The views expressed are the author’s alone.