The chief marketing officer of web-only diamond e-retailer JamesAllen.com sits down with Internet Retailer at IRCE to discuss video marketing.

It’s not every day a consumer is shopping for an engagement ring, which is why targeted marketing is so important for diamond e-retailer JamesAllen.com.

For men, buying an engagement ring is the biggest chore of their life, Johanna Breman Tzur, chief marketing officer at R2Net, parent company of JamesAllen.com, told Internet Retailer at the 2017 Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition last week. Generally, men only care about engagement rings during the few months they are actually shopping for one, and a message at the wrong time will just pass them by, she said.

JamesAllen.com finds that videos presented at the right time are a successful strategy for men that leads to conversion, Tzur said. Since it typically takes three months from the time of awareness to purchase, JamesAllen.com has “soft conversion” benchmarks along the way such as not bouncing off the website, submitting an email address, designing a ring on the site and opening an account (which is different than joining the email list). All of these steps are crucial to eventually getting the consumer to purchase, Tzur said.

But first comes awareness of JamesAllen.com, which is why the bulk of the retailer’s marketing budgets goes to Google AdWords, Tzur said. Unlike a mass merchant that sells shampoo, in which the thinking is the more eyeballs the better, JamesAllen.com keeps its audience small to just men looking for rings. The retailer targets shoppers based on what they searched for on Google and then retargets them with a video on social media, such as Facebook, Buzzfeed and YouTube, she said.

“Nowadays, every (shopper) gets retargeted with a recommended product, but not everyone is inserting video into that journey,” she said.

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JamesAllen.com looks at Google search trends related to engagements, and strategizes how it can create a video that relates to shopping, Tzur said. For example, JamesAllen.com created a video related to the three top search questions: “How do I not get scammed?”; “How much should a ring cost?”; and “How do I find out her ring size without her knowing?”

For example, for the “How much should a ring cost?” video, JamesAllen.com hired an influencer in the wedding industry, Stacy Tasman, to narrate the video. Tasman is the founder of HowHeAsked.com, which aggregates engagement information, such as recent proposals, advice and ring retailers.

The retailer not only chose Tasman because she is credible in the engagement arena, but also because she is a woman, Tzur said. When shopping for a ring, men trust a woman more than a man to tell them what other women like, Tzur said. This is the same reason that JamesAllen.com’s website is pink, she said. The retailer knows that the majority of its customers who are making the purchase are men. Instead of catering toward that audience with a “mainly motif,” Tzur said JamesAllen.com finds that men want to feel like they are in a place that a woman would like when shopping for a ring. Having a girly website subtly tells a male shopper that he is in the right place, Tzur said.

JamesAllen.com, No. 140 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, decided to ramp up its video marketing toward the end of 2015 when it noticed more consumers sharing proposals via video on the “share your engagement moment” page on its site, Tzur said.

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The retailer is continuing to accelerate its video efforts, although it doesn’t have a quota of videos it has to produce each month or year. In fact, there are some months where JamesAllen.com doesn’t produce any videos, Tzur said. Instead, she thinks in terms of quality and what videos the retailer doesn’t have that could answer a shopper’s questions about engagements. The next video the retailer will produce will answer “why you should buy a ring online.”

The retailer doesn’t have a video production studio in house, but hires according to each campaign. “I like to think where the video is going to be, partnering with the distributor that knows best,” Tzur said.

On a recent project, for example, JamesAllen.com worked with video bloggers “Sierra and Alex” who have more than 600,000 followers subscribed to their blog on YouTube. The retailer has an employee who scours the internet looking for influencers who may get engaged soon. Since video bloggers share everything about their lives, JamesAllen.com can figure this out, Tzur said.

The retailer approached the couple and worked out an agreement about giving the couple a ring, or discounting one, if they used it for their engagement on their vlog. The agreement factors in how big the influencer’s following is and an estimate of how much traffic JamesAllen.com would receive from the videos. JamesAllen.com, however, has to give up a lot of control about how the video is filmed, and how prominent the brand is featured.

“How much presence to give a brand is a fine line,” Tzur said. “They don’t want their viewers to think they are selling out, and we want to feel recognized.”

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Overall the campaign was a success, as influencer Alex created a four part series including a video where he designed the ring on JamesAllen.com, and received it in the mail. These videos convert way better than straight sell videos, Tzur said, without reveling specifics.

For women, JamesAllen.com retargets them with video and with other tactics, Tzur said. A woman is more likely to be thinking about engagement rings for a longer period time than a man, and so JamesAllen.com markets to them with more “top of the funnel” marketing, such as images on Pinterest.

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