Interview with 2Checkout’s Marketing Communication Director Sean Edgar

photoRapidly growing industry of internet retail requires reliable support in the form of online payment processing platform. 2Checkout is a serious player on this market that has a vision for future of ecommerce and stellar marketing strategy to survive in this business. Read the interview to find out about challenges the company faces and promotional tools it uses.  

 1. Please introduce yourself in brief – what you do, what you are enthusiastic about?

SeanMy name’s Sean Edgar and I’m the Marketing Communications Director at 2Checkout. I help support 2Checkout’s merchants through educational and instructional content, as well as help curate all of the exciting e-commerce and payment editorial emerging on a global scale. It’s not an exaggeration to say that online payments, as an industry, is experiencing some massive disruption; local currencies and credit cards are going to look very, very different in two years than how they look now. 2Checkout is devoted to helping online businesses connect to new global markets through new pathways, especially for emerging markets.

2. You mentioned that “online payments, as an industry, is experiencing some massive disruption”. Can you dwell a little bit more on that? What are your predictions for the future of online payments?

We can’t dive too far into specific plans, but people are accepting different forms of payment and currencies than they were a few years ago. A good current example would be our relationship with Payoneer, which allows companies to receive payment through prepaid debit cards. It’s incredibly helpful for merchants in areas without established banking infrastructures. We’ll definitely have more announcements on similar innovations and offerings in the next few months.

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3. A couple of questions about 2Checkout. What is the history of the company? How did it start and what was the point of success, how it became possible?

2Checkout was founded in 1999 by a developer named Alan Homewood to provide an accessible and reliable way for online entrepreneurs to accept payments online. The software was incredibly intuitive for the time; all merchants had to do was plug in a few lines of code and pay two very transparent flat fees. Other options were far more expensive and complex.

Soon, 2Checkout was embraced on a global scale for providing such a user-friendly and powerful too. The product soon evolved to facilitate over 200 countries by automatically translating languages and converting currencies and payment methods.

4. Now when 2Checkout is a huge brand who do you consider your main competitors and how do you build your marketing strategy around it? (in a couple of words, I don’t want you to jeopardize your plans 🙂

Honestly, any online payment processor or platform that a global online merchant uses to accept and manage online payments is a competitor. PayPal is our biggest, competitor, though we actually allow our merchants to accept payments from them as well. Our merchants can use our real-time customer service, though, and aren’t relegated to submitting emails to PayPal if they have a question.

The only way to truly differentiate yourself is to constantly study and decipher the new and unarticulated needs of online merchants. As the majority of the sellers who use 2Checkout are stationed all over the globe, this challenge isn’t small, but it’s one that we thrive off executing.

5. Everybody now talks about the power of social and content, are these marketing channels really efficient for 2Checkout? 

IMG_4323Absolutely. We publish a blog and an educational resources library called The E-Commerce Academy that we’re constantly filling with new e-books and materials. The goal is to provide a channel that our merchants can rely on to stay informed and maximize sales through best practices. We’re immersed in e-commerce and payments; these portals are just a natural extension of that passion.

For 2Checkout, social media is an essential platform to connect with our merchants, especially the ones located globally, as it presents so few barriers. It’s an international sounding board to receive opinions as well as a way (or five) for us to post our content. We currently host accounts on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, Google+, and YouTube.

6. Measuring the ROI of these marketing channels can be a tricky task. How do you prove the connection of social and sales to your management or to yourself? What analytics tools do you use for that?

ROI should be a huge component of any content or social campaign. Establishing a measurable goal is the first step to any campaign: is your campaign designed to raise brand awareness, capture lead information, or drive traffic back to your website? Monitoring your calls to action is the best way to evaluate the success of your message: you can directly monitor how many people clicked through. Then through lead scoring, you can evaluate if the audience that clicked-through is your desired target audience. Ultimately, you measure if your sales originated at that call to action, no matter how long the nurturing took. SalesForce and Eloqua can be very helpful in charting this process.

7. What b2b social and content must-do’s and no-no’s have you learnt for your extensive experience in the field?

The most important factor of any content campaign is to know your audience and to know the most important pain points of your audience. Interviewing your users can help to create personas, or templates of your audience: these should guide every step of your content strategy. A digital goods manufacturer in India is not going to have the same questions as an omnichannel jewelry boutique in America. The more refined and explicit you can make your content and editorial mission, the better chance it has to resonate and provide value to its intended audience.

There are well-documented best practices for every social media platform, but having this foundation is absolutely crucial to excelling in content marketing.

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8. Do you think social and content can bring direct revenue?

Yes. Gated content can provide information for outbound nurturing campaigns and online advertisements can link to signup forms. Ultimately, a company should rank the leads that engage in its marketing materials, providing invaluable content that positions that company as a thought leader. That’s the goal. But most prospective buyers go through a series of steps before purchasing. In B2B, the buying cycle might be longer than in direct advertising, as the commitment is usually much larger and you’re creating awareness with social and content.

 9. What would be 2CO’s favorite social network in terms of marketing, leads and sales generation? And Why?

Facebook has certainly shown a lot of growth in its advertising capabilities. We hosted a Q&A with Perry Marshall who posited that the social media platform’s advertising capabilities could outgrow those of Google AdWords; price is definitely a factor. Facebook’s been refining its metrics and user design over the years. Whether this entails its latest call to actions or targeting, Facebook has definitely provided some noteworthy conversion rates for us. 1

 

10. What are those other necessary elements that could/should support social sales?

There are many elements, but having a devoted team to curate and engage with visitors on social media is absolutely essential. Social media should be a living, breathing continuation of your brand — an expanding conversation.

11. Could you share some success story of how effective social selling can be?

Any time a visitor views our Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn and follows our feed is a success story. Any time we lead an online merchant to 2Checkout and provide new value, that’s a success story to us. Every step, no matter how seemingly marginal, contributes to the conversion.

12. Who are the people in the world of b2b, inbound, content and social marketing that you look up to and admire?

This is a completely personal response, but I don’t think anyone can argue that DraftFCB forever altered the face of social media marketing with Oreo’sDaily Twist campaign. I think it was first step in companies employing social and editorial teams to constantly create off-the-cuff, relevant content in response to both contextual and real-time events. Just think of the viral “You can still dunk in the dark” Tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl. The Snack Hacks have also been interesting. More recently, I’ve been loving the CIA’s Twitter feed.

Thank you, Sean !

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Interview with 2Checkout’s Marketing Communication Director Sean Edgar

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