Archive for the Marketing Category

Customer Retention on the Web

Posted in Business, Marketing on February 19, 2013 by wolfwomyn

Getting customers these days is hard enough, keeping them even harder.  I like the focus of this article.   Basically people are looking for things to be more personal.  Starbucks does it.  They’re made it company standard that their employees are to remember the names of their regular customers.  And I can tell you from personal experience it makes a huge difference.  Enjoy the article.

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Achieving customer satisfaction that keeps clients coming back to your site entails much more than selling a good product or service.  As such, here are tips for your customer retention efforts.

1. Only put your best people on the front line — Let’s face it, not everyone is well-suited to interact with clients and provide great customer service.  Unique personality traits are required, such as positive attitudes, great listening and problem solving skills — and only people who possess them should be in contact with your customers.  So, assign responsibility based on each employee’s core competencies.

2. Know what your customers want — Client feedback is one of the keys to successful business.  Knowing what customers think about your products and services and making improvements, perhaps based on their suggestions, should be part of your strategy.  Also, don’t underestimate the value of negative feedback.  Letting clients know and see that you are taking their thoughts into consideration shows you truly care and increases the chances they will stick around to see those improvements.  Thankfully, businesses can leverage social media to obtain feedback and can also track review sites like Yelp to gauge customer satisfaction.  A brand advocate should be appointed, from within the organization, to reply to reviews left on these pages.  By taking sincere interest you’ll find what works and what doesn’t.

3. Think relationships and sales will follow — When business is slow and the sales team feels pressure to improve numbers, it is easy to focus on new sales opportunities that arise and forget about developing real relationships with buyers.  Even when the interaction occurs remotely, customers can sense when a salesperson is impatient to close a sale and, even if they purchase now, they may think twice about returning.  Concentrating on what’s best for them, even if it means admitting one of your products doesn’t fulfill a need, can make a more lasting impressing.

4. Connect without overwhelming — An important aspect of keeping your customers is reminding them you are there when they need you.  Keep in touch periodically when you have relevant news for them, just don’t overdo it.  Product updates, deals, improvements and helpful tips for using your products in new ways are several types of applicable reasons.  If you don’t already have these materials consider developing a content marketing plan to support their development.

5. Track, track and track — Keeping records of your customers — purchase history, call notes, feedback — and tracking sales trends is vital to customer retention.  This information helps you understand customers better and helps you plan customer retention strategies.  Depending on your size and needs, consider either a contact management or customer relationship management (CRM) tool to track these relationships more effectively.  One or two extra sales can often return your technology investment, while giving sales managers and field reps a productivity advantage they need.

6. Be there 24/7 – It’s all about presence.  Whether through social media, email or your website, organize your business so you can answer customers’ and partners’ questions and keep processing rolling while out of the office and after business hours.  Your team should be able to access client information remotely to provide whatever a customer needs ASAP. The recent boom in mobile devices and cloudconnected services is helping businesses be available 24/7 for customers — your business should be no exception.

7. Audit customer experience — Lastly, put yourself in your clients’ position and make a list of all the ways their overall experience with your company can be improved.  Something as simple as noting that a specific customer likes their product to be delivered on Tuesdays can make a positive difference.  Cater to your clients in ways that will make their lives easier and their sales processes more successful.

~Brandon Bosley
~Website Magazine

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Why Targeting Matters

Posted in Marketing on February 21, 2012 by wolfwomyn

In a post at her eponymous blog, Elaine Fogel asks how frequently you receive email with content that has no relevance. “I’ll bet it’s a lot,” she says with certainty. “Let’s just look at the ones you receive from companies and organizations that have your permission to send communications. Count the emails they send that have nothing to do with you at all. Delete.”

Fogel gives a quick rundown of blatantly irrelevant messages she has received. Here are a few:

  • A nonprofit organization thanked her for attending a fundraiser she didn’t attend.
  • An airline sent offers for flights that didn’t depart from her city of residence.

Let’s face it: Even if you like a company, like its product or service, like the people who answer the phone—you’re going to unsubscribe from an email campaign if you keep getting wildly untargeted messages.

Are you subjecting your subscribers to this type of treatment? According to Fogel, small businesses are especially likely to implement untargeted email campaigns. “Maybe they don’t have a marketer on staff to guide them,” she conjectures. “Maybe they don’t know what segmentation is.”

When you send email without considering the specific interests and needs of the subscriber, you miss out on a host of benefits like:

  • Grabbing a customer’s interest and building engagement.
  • Seeing your relevant content shared in social networks.
  • Gaining new customers and subscribers who see value in your content.

The Po!nt: Make yourself useful. Your untargeted email program might seem successful, but you’ll never know just how successful you can be until you segment.

Six Do’s and Don’ts of Email Design

Posted in Marketing on January 24, 2012 by wolfwomyn

Let’s face it. The digital space is loaded with messages from a multitude of sources; it’s chaotic at worst and untidy at best. Email inboxes are piled high with work to-dos, newsletters, notes from family, forwards from coworkers—and even the occasional letter from a foreign dignitary enticing the recipient to share bank account information in exchange for countless millions.

The result? Without a well-crafted, clear, and consistent design for your brand, your email is going nowhere in a hurry.

Many businesses use e-newsletters, blogs, and email marketing efforts to complement their Web presence, but these channels aren’t created equal. The design principles and procedures of a successful HTML email campaign are different from those of a standard website.

Instead of employing a one-size-fits-all strategy, consider the following six tips for your next email campaign.

1. Do maintain a balanced ratio of text to images in your emails
Spam filters often look at the text-to-image ratio of an email. So if an email contains excessive images—or, conversely, too much text—it could be flagged as spam, never to be seen by your intended audience.

Properly integrating text with images ensures that your messages can be easily read by recipients; equally as important, doing so ensures that your email stays out of the spam folder.

2. Do assume that embedded images won’t appear properly
If every image in your marketing email is replaced with a tiny red “X,” will you still get your point across?

Email marketers must assume that their messages will be displayed without the images showing. Images might not always translate seamlessly from a Web page to an email campaign, and many email clients don’t automatically display images without prompting the user to first take action (e.g., “click here to view images” or “right click, then download images”).

It’s imperative that your key messages—the information that you most want your readers to take away from the email—aren’t embedded within an image. Instead, use HTML body copy to deliver the most important information you want to convey to customers.

Also, if the images don’t appear, how will your email look? Make sure to use height, width, and alt attributes for every image tag. Doing so will ensure that images are replaced with an empty block the same size as the image, keeping formatting and layout intact.

3. Do provide a backup option for emails with image-rich backgrounds
Popular mail clients such as Gmail and Microsoft Outlook don’t provide support for background images. Provide a secondary option, such as a colored background, if an image serves as the backdrop of your email.

HTML allows both an image and a color to be coded in the same tag, which means that if a mail client supports background images, the images will be displayed; if it doesn’t, then the chosen color will appear as the email background instead.

4. Don’t kick HTML to the curb
Not every email client interprets HTML code the same way, and the vast majority of mail programs will not load your style the way you had intended. Some programs, like Thunderbird, have nearly flawless support for that kind of design. Others, such as Lotus Notes, have almost none. Keep in mind that email clients will remove JavaScript for security reasons, and cascading style sheets (CSS) must be used in-line and not in style blocks.

Because you don’t know which client your readers will use to open your message, rely more heavily on HTML coding.

5. Don’t avoid using a table of contents for emails with multiple sections
The more content an email includes, the more important organization becomes. If an email contains several sections, create a simple yet eye-catching table of contents to appear just beneath the company logo or header.

To make navigating easier for readers, consider linking items in the table of contents to the corresponding areas within the email so readers can effortlessly jump to the areas that are most important to them.

6. Don’t leave out a call to action
Every email should be constructed to present the most important and relevant information first.

Whether your objective is to entice your audience to click a link, tell them about a new service or product, or simply share news and updates, you don’t want your readers to have to sift through an abundance of information to find what interests them. Instead, place your call to action at the top of the message, where readers are most likely to see and internalize it.

Source: Marketing Profs
article by John Murphy