Category Archives: Uncategorized

Inventory Management and the web

Well, it has been a busy old week, all spent working on the preparation for logging a collection of Regency, Victorian and Georgian Cast Iron patterns.

My current consultancy role sees me working for Britannia Architectural Metalwork,

Britannia-Architectural-Metalwork-Restoration-logowho are the proud owners of one of the largest collections of patterns. Covering; Balustrades, Railings, Finials, Newal Posts, etc.

The first task is to collate these into a company wide database, re-catalogue them all, and here’s the exciting bit, build a solution to monitor, update their movement and development.
Working with some colleagues at Invent Partners, I have decided to instigate a web-based solution, which will have future uses in terms of sales and marketing.

database process

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enThralled is back

enthralled-logo.jpg

Are you ready to be enThralled? 

 

After an hiatus, I am proud to back with a slightly different focus. enThralled Consultancy has decided to focus on small and medium sized businesses and their commercial successes. This focus is aligned perfectly with my and my partners expertise over the past 25 years: sales funnel and lead generation management, sales management, commercial tenders and the overarching marketing.

 

So, I will be posting a mixed array; some thought leadership, some stuff we just love and interest us. I hope you enjoy

 

enThralledc

 MRT

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Online means change for high street brands

While Arcadia continues its store opening programme around the world, the increase in sales online is prompting a downsizing and upgrade to its store!. 

Sir Philip Green, founder and chief executive of Arcadia Group, told delegates  at the World Retail Congress in Paris : “There are so many channels that people get bombarded. How many shops we need and what they look like is a challenge. People’s shopping habits are changing…we’re over-shopped.”

Stating that his 2,400 stores in the UK is too many. “We’ve an opportunity to downsize and we need to re-shape the model:.  We’ll take three out and put two back in – probably bigger. We want to have the best representation [of our brands] in towns. And there is no option but to invest in and upgrade our bricks and mortar.” This reinforces the opinion of me and many of my colleagues that Stores are the vital ingredient in a successful multichannel strategy.

Sir Phillip continued; citing the group’s overseas expansion as the ideal model for multi-channel representation. The company is online in 100 countries and this is being complemented by the opening of strategically placed flagship stores. He finished with the thought that the key to successful retailing despite the explosion in channels it remains creativity and uniqueness of product that is the most important element for success. Stores will need to adopt and change, they’ll need to cater for all the different type of shoppers: browsers, click and collectors, experience seekers, and retail junkies.

I would say product is king and it’ll remain the main reason why consumers will engage and ultimately shop with a brand. Though, it’s important to appreciate their journey and it’s multiple touch points. Ensuring consistency of experience, service and choice are delivered throughout.

That’s where technology will help with the key deliverable: e-commerce not only online but in stores, loyalty programmes and experience enabling technologies. That will all combine to give your customers the experience and service level they are needing and requiring.

 

 

Damn lies and statistics

A much wiser man that I, once said that statistic and lies go together perfectly. It’s true to a degree; all statistics can be twisted, turned to favour your slant on a story. However, statistics are also vital for us marketers in analysing trend and insights.

So, the Econsultancy yearly report on Internet Statistic is a really useful compendium.

http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/internet-statistics-compendium

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Ways to make your readers love your emails.

Love is? Receiving your email.

Are your emails killing your customer relationships?

It has never been more important to interact with our customers pro-actively. Social media and the whole digital universe has meant more and more ways for your customers to be lost to competitors or simply lose faith in your brand. One of the main culprits has been number of poor emails that have been used as the main-contact strategy by companies.

Over the years, while I have been working as a marketing / business consult. I have seen first-hand these mistake and the damage their are doing to your brand. So, I thought I better try and point some of these mistake and importantly, ways to make email communications stand out and create readership within your audiences.  So let’s start and work our way down the email from the top. I won’t discuss subject lines in this post has I have already written about what makes a good subject line and the tactics, you will need to employ. 

So let’s get started. 

  • Space – Isn’t the final frontier!

How many time am I hit from the very opening of the email with too much information / images / anything but what is needed, SPACE. A lot of you will understand the white-space rule in advertising and design. But this isn’t always carried forward into the email arena. Give your recipients a chance to understand your; message, offer and proposition. Make it clean and crisp.

It isn’t about the number of words per paragraph or ho many images. Less is More!   

  • Give them a phone number!

The tendency is to always think that you medium you send a communication piece is the same as your customer will respond, and it simple isn’t true. I have been in digital marketing for over 15 years, and on my initial interactions with a business, I still want to speak to a real person. People feel reassured and evidence shows us, that they are more likely to interact with your brand if you provide clear and distinct contact details on the top of your emails.

So, you have supplied that all important phone number in my opinion. The key then is to ensure that inbound leads are dealt with efficiently and effectively.  I always recommend setting up KPI’s and SLA’s for this type of actively. Ideally, you want to measure the following; where did the lead generate?, what did the prospect / customer want, what was the outcome? NB: I like to study the negative outcomes just as much as the positive outcomes. Where did you lose the enquiry, what was the honest feedback from the customer / prospect to the call, email, dealings with your business etc. 

  • Copy is king! 

It seems that everywhere we turn right now, everyone is talking about content and how this is the most important element to a successful marketing campaign. The problem for smaller businesses is generating good and addictive content. The better ways is to ensure your copy within the email is personable and relevant. The copy should also be warm and friendly. It should invite the recipient into your world, easily. Example. We all seen how Lastminute.com use email to sell their breaks and holidays, engaging images and great descriptions of the location, hotel. It makes you feel part of it, and drives interaction and longing.

Remember, write it from you! Bring your personality or your brand personality out in the email copy.

If you have a professional service to sell, then fun and livery copy isn’t probably the best tone, but it should still be warm, friendly and sound as if it came from a real person.

Tell a story on how your product or service will help solve your audiences problem / issue. Make it relevant too. If you known your customers then build in key information into that email. But not just add data field. It’s so inhuman…

It make your customer feel appreciated and wanted. That’s why we build up data on customers, not for some big-brother conspiracy but to use creatively and sincerely. As I said be creative and be human in how you write the copy. If you were selling hotel rooms to a customer who you knows visits a certain city regularly, then what not say say “it’s better than crashing on your mate’s sofa”.

Referrals and advocacy 

We should be all aware of the power and influence that your existing can have over prospects. Nothing is quite like a referral from a real person, who loves your brand. I always recommend building in a reference into your email copy. So, you should be writing your copy with the principles set out above. However, one of the most fundamental principles that isn’t always adhered to is; features and benefits, and how to use them correctly.

So, let’s quickly recap. Features don’t sell, Benefits do! And that is how you should be using recommendations, selling benefits. Build that referral into why your product / service will benefit your readers life.

  • Strong Call to Actions 

    This isn’t always about a well written call to action, in fact I would recommend a simply visual call to action button, like the example below.

     

     

     

    Hubspot, know how to maximise their emails to generate the most amount of click-throughs, respondents with clean, visual call to actions. Their practice simply feature and benefits, they tell me why I should engage with the email and what I can expect as a result.

    These few tips should act as the foundation for your email marketing, they will help with the structure, copy and content and that all important engagement. Good email marketing takes effort and understanding about your customers and why they use your products or services.

     

    enThralled Agency are a leading Lead Generation agency, specialising in helping small businesses grow their business through cost effective and pro-active solutions. www.enthralled.biz

     

     

     

Social Media and Social Lead Nurturing statistic that make great reading. 

HubSpot recently released these statistic that show that social media is a truly vital aspect of the marketing mix but that marketer’s are still struggling to come to terms with the medium.

1) Failure to respond via social channels can lead to up to a 15% increase in churn rate for existing customers. (Source: GartnerThis isn’t rocket science, it plain old customer service via the most interactive medium out there. It is so important, that when customers interact with you via social, you repsond quickly and effectively to their needs / wants. 

2) 37% of brands would like to use social media engagement to create customer-tailored marketing campaigns. (Source: Forrester

3) 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify social media engagement. (Source: Satmetrix) Difficulty here is how to measure and what is the benchmark for Social. Enthralled Consultancy would recommend seeing how social media engagement is effecting your sales pipeline from start to finish in a given time and then set SMART objectives in terms of increases throughout the sales pipeline. 

4) 51% of the top 20% of B2B marketers generating leads through social media use social sharing tools, compared to the industry average of 39%. (Source: Aberdeen

5) 84% of B2B marketers use social media in some form. (Source: Aberdeen

6) Marketers spend an average of 4-6 hours a week on social media. (Source: Social Media Examiner

7) Currently, marketers allocate 7.6% of their budgets to social media. CMOs expect that number to reach 18.8% in the next five years. (Source: CMO Survey

8) 60.2% of marketers are looking for analysis options, as well as other analytics options, in their social media management tools. (Source: SEOmoz

9) Regardless, marketers still continue to struggle with integrating social media into the company’s overall strategy. On a scale of 1-7, only 6.8% of respondents believe that social media is “very integrated” into their strategy (the highest rank for the question), while 16.7% believe that it’s not integrated at all (the lowest rank for the question). (Source: CMO Survey

What These Social Media Stats Say About the Future of Marketing

There are a few key takeaways from these social media stats. First, marketers are increasingly using social media. It’s no longer a matter of “you have to be on social.” It’s a matter of “we’re active on social.” and that you have a well thought out strategy that uses social to engage and enlighten your audiences. Without the planning and strategy, clearly, marketer’s are struggling to see both ROI and vision via Social.

Social Media Statistics: Driving greater integration

E-newsletter for small businesses that can help your growth

1.The From Label – a place for you to let your audience know who you are

The from label is your way of saying hello to your audience (“Hi Jane, this is X”). You want it to be the most recognizable part of your business. Strong from labels are typically your company name, your most famous product or your first and last name, depending on what your company does and how it is structured. After you pick a from label make sure to keep it consistent, changing your from label after you have built trust within your group would be the fastest way to be ignored or worse have people unsubscribe.

2. The Subject Line

The reason your audience opens your email Subject lines are the equivalent of a newsletter headline, they need to be eye catching and build interest. But when you are coming up with your subject line never forget the basics:

Stick to 40-50 characters
Don’t repeat your from label
Don’t use all caps and avoid overusing punctuation

3. The Content 

Why people keep coming back for more
The content you include in each of your newsletters is what can help you build a strong relationship with your audience. It is best to try and connect with each person, personalizing your messages with fields like first name, last name or company name are great ways to start. Another way to make that connection is by sharing your knowledge or fun fact each month, making each tidbit relevant is the best way to go. great ways to start. Another way to make that connection is by sharing your knowledge or fun fact each month, making each tidbit relevant is the best way to go.

Ways to Assist for Scanning

Limit to 3-5 topics/articles

Include links to additional information or redirect to your blog or website

Bold headlines and key words Whitespace is a good thing

Add in columns for newsletters with multiple messages

4. Newsletters are not a place to sell sell sell.

Newsletters are a way for you to keep the lines of communication open so that when a customer is ready to purchase they think of you first. Now that is does not mean you cannot include any promotions or offers in your newsletters, customers have said they are okay with sales messages if they believe the overall message of the newsletter has value. Value, however, isn’t length. Remember this is an email newsletter and you should keep your messages to a reasonable length and always assist with scanning.

5. Easy E-newsletter Content Topics.

A Message from the Expert- A short paragraph from you to your audience or an introduction that drives recipients to your blog for a feature length article.

Customer Testimonial- A simple quote from a happy customer about how you helped them, a measurable result achieved, or link to a video testimonial that you host on YouTube.

An Offer – Do you have a white paper, discount, or promotion currently running to announce?

Event Schedule- Link to the event page on your website or directly to an industry event you plan to attend.

Quick Fact- What’s the post popular selling product last month? What do your customers view as the greatest challenge for them next year

Enthralled Consultancy help small and medium sized businesses with their digital sales and marketing.

Six steps on how a small business can use Social Media to drive leads.

I recently came across a report that said since 2010, 67% of marketers plan to increase their use of social media channels including blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. These weren’t the usual suspects, who have been using social media to generate leads through ‘thought leadership’ and evidential marketing for some time. These were smaller businesses who have realised that Social Media isn’t going  away and used properly, it can become a the most vital tool in your business armoury.

The most worrying aspect though for small businesses is what should their Social Media strategy look like and how to  integrate social media into their marketing and business  plans. Without a well thought out plan the risk is that you’ll be  sucked into a social media time sink.

  •  Who are you?

This is the most important question you will ask yourself? Who are your audience, what do they want from you? Interaction, insight, reference, information or pure offers. Think about your offline brand and it’s core values. What do you stand for? How is the business perceived by your customers and importantly your prospects.

  • Go Spend time with your sales people. Understand your current conversion rates and why prospects don’t buy from you. This information is far more powerful than why they do! Use it to build your social strategy. EX: If you are perceived as being expensive, you need to position your social around thought leadership and the added value your products / services bring. Evidential testimonies would be perfect her
  • The majority of business owners want to jump straight to leads and bottom line business but it isn’t as easy as that. What’s important is to understand your social media goals and objectives and how they tie into your overall company goals.

 Keep it Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, and Timely = S.M.A.R.T. Don’t expect instant result and don’t set objectives that aren’t inline with your digital abilities. Ex: If you want 1000 Twitter followers in the first week, how reasonable is that? Can you spend the time needed to generate that number and are they worth it? If you are based like me on the beautiful Yorkshire Coast, it is nice having followers in American but I am never going to sell them my consultancy services. Yet York and Hull are realistic targets for me. 

  • Research, Research, and Research Develop a list of social media sites where you can potentially engage with people.  The list will most likely start off with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. Though each of these have their own uses and identities. Select blogs and forums too, check out each of the social media sites on your list and do additional research to determine relevancy by searching for your brand name, your competitors, and your target keywords. Start  making connections by following the conversation and join in, its the best way to get noticed, followed. .
  • Measure ResultsYou have goals and objectives, right?  That means you should be able to measure  your success. Increased followers / fans and importantly their interaction with your business. Remember to join up all the dots internally. If sales get a new enquiry or sale, make sure their are asking where they found you.  
  • Analyse, Adapt, and ImproveYour social media strategy doesn’t end with measurement; it goes beyond that.  You need to analyze your social media campaigns, adapt any new findings into your current processes, and improve your efforts.

 Consider the social media platforms like blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc., as tactics that tie into the social media strategy.  In other words, outline your digital  strategy and support that strategy with tactics. 

5 simple but effective tactics to keep your sales on target.

How to increase your sales and keep growth on track.

Get your sales on target.

 

EnThralled Agency are a specialist Lead Generation agency and I have personally  spent over twenty fives years selling and helping sales teams achieve their goals and objectives. In the current economic climate it’s never been so tough to stand out from your competitors and really drive sales achievement through.
However, there are still some fundamental techniques that you should be using.
The following 5 ideas are ways your sales team can not merely survive, but actually grow during 2012 and 2013.  So, let’s start with the most fundamental tactic and we should say, strategy.  Increasing your  sales  and marketing budget. When the economy is bad, most companies cut and shed their sales and marketing budgets. Yet, this is the exact time when you need to re-energise those elements and ensure they are aligned. Utilising the power of leverage. Focusing your efforts where they’ll are most useful. Correctly training your employees. Supplying excellent customer service and the following ideas.

So Let’s break these points. 


1. The first point I made is to actually increase your marketing budget. What seem strange to me is that most companies in a recession reduce or even stop their marketing spend. Yet, it is at this very moment you need to win hearts and minds of prospects. You need to seen, be bold and creative. You need your products and services to stand out.
I have worked for too many companies who make this very mistake of  considering their marketing an expense as an alternative to an investment and wind up destroying their business by cutting back in this region and losing market share.

2. The second thought is to use the energy of leverage by hiring a company to do your business prospecting. They are so many ways nowadays to prospect: Telemarketing, Email marketing, Social Media to name but a few. Where an outsourced company can help your business is through leverage their expertise in these fields.
No-one knows your business better than you and the same applies to leverage leads and prospect. This idea is linked to the first point. When times get tough, don’t always turn to ‘sharpening your pencil’ as the right answer. Usual it is more to do with getting more customers.

3. If you have followed the two earlier points, you will be in a position now to concentrate your sales efforts where they matter the most, closing sales, seeing more customers, giving excellent customer services etc

The sales pipeline is the most important / vital part of your sales and marketing function.

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4. Training is a vital part of any sales function, creating the right sales structure and then making sure your sales team have the right skills for their job, selling.
5. Great customer service is what makes first time buyers, repeat customers. There is nothing more wasteful than having spent time, money and energy acquiring customers, only to lose them.
Invest time in understanding what your customers want and importantly how they see your services. And remember, you have two types of customers: internal and external. Don’t just get the opinion from outside your business, look inside to and ask them how they see your services levels. GO the extra mile, make customer feel special, but remember customer services isn’t enough in 2012, you need customer experiences.

enThralled Agency specialise in helping small businesses with their lead generation programmes from telemarketing, email, PPC, through to integrated sales and marketing alignment.

http://www.enthralled.biz

Be proud to sell! It isn’t a dirty word.