Images

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

Advertisements
Tagged , , ,

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

     

     

     

Getting your social media right…

lot of people are wondering and asking if Social Media and their traditional marketing channels can or should even work hand in hand or should they to be kept apart?

Well, what do we know? Certainly social business is a different way of doing business that is for sure. It doesn’t play by the same rules as say advertising and it has the potential to affect the entire organization, from stakeholder to customer. But that isn’t a reason to run to the hills. In fact it might the reason to raise to the challenge and develop a Social Marketing campaign.

Potentially all those stakeholders now have easy access to platforms that can amplify their voices. It’s important to empower stakeholders so their voices will contribute to the success of your business and make them / utilise them as Brand Advocates . However, if you fail to understand and act accordingl you can make serious mistakes.

  • Facts & Figures:51% of Facebook users and 64% of Twitter users are more likely to buy from the brands they follow. (Source: Social Media Examiner) Consequences of this magnitude ought to be enough motivation to be serious about avoiding the common pitfalls

    So how can you make sure that you are utilising social media properly and don’t make those huge mistakes.

1. Lack of a Strategy or Plan

Most of the time social is introduced into marketing as a tactic. Usually an executive will either ask a question “Why aren’t we on Twiiter  Or “We need to be on ?,“ when most likely the underlying motive is really “we need to be on this platform because our competition is or everyone else is”. This reminds me of the mid 90’s and the phase where a lot of small / medium sized businesses ploughed head first into website and e-commence without one moment of thought or planning. Ask yourself; WHY – WHOM – WHEN – WHERE. 

It’s getting bigger and more diverse with each day.

Not having a plan / strategy is going to cost you in a variety of ways: Tactical approach suggests that social is simply another channel to be exploited; it’s often viewed as free marketing and handed over to the office junior. In fact only recently one of my most respected marketing colleges said the same… or updates and posts are added as a can not most do. Instead of well-planned and coordinated messages, customers are assaulted with a barrage of disjointed messages that don’t dovetail into the sales pipeline and the businesses over-arching strategy.

So apply some old fashion logic and “think before you speak,” jumping on the bandwagon “because everyone’s doing it,” can get you into trouble if you’re not intentional about having a plan first. & Importantly Two ears, one mouth. 

What I mean is read and take note of the conversations taking place about your business both good and bad and react properly, timely and thoughtfully. 

2. Broadcasting – Too much talking not enough listening

The traditional advertising model, sending messages to create brand awareness, hasn’t worked in the social marketing arena.  You need to engage and interest your audience in this arena; Recent statics reveal the 3 most important reasons small businesses leverage social media are:

  • Connecting with customers
  • Visibility
  • Self-promotion

It’s important that businesses focus on connecting with customers, make them feel special and wanted by you. Because if you can connect with prospects / customers by offering helpful solutions / advice  / insights you will be able to WIN SHARE OF MIND and that leads to SHARE OF WALLET. 

3. No one’s home

No posts, no responses, no activity whatsoever. An obvious risk is consumers will dismiss your brand as irrelevant and seek a competitor; equally concerning, this kind of presence leaves a company vulnerable to negative comments or customer’s expecting answers and being frustrated.

Take why the social marketing strategy has to be thought out and implemented properly. Don’t leave it to the junior in the office to post on her way home! Make integral to your sales and marketing plan and see where each post / blog fits along the sales pipeline.

Almost 60% of people worldwide say they expect brands to respond to social media comments regarding service at least most of the time, according to a new report. (Source: Mashable)

All it all it might seem too much, too difficult but with a little understanding and patience, Social Media marketing can make a massive difference to your bottom Line. 

Tagged , ,

Emergence of Convergence

Emergency of convergence

Though it might sound like a 80’s pop band the emergence of convergence could be the big thing in business this year. In 2006 while I was working in the telecoms sector, everyone was talking about convergence between voice, data and the network that a business used.

Five years on and still the great gold rush awaits us. Yes there has been a merger with voice and data, most businesses now can’t survive without broadband but strangely the rise of social media may well be the catalyst for real change. It would seem that everyone is now a micro blogger, whether it’s sharing with your mates the meeting time at the pub on Friday or something more corporate. Everyone is blogging. And it might be the convergence with other media that change drives change.

Telcos and social networks now seem to be heading towards a battle for “share of voice”.Social networking sites are becoming primary communication sources for a whole new generation of consumers, competing with traditional telecommunications (Telcos) for “share of voice.”

Fuelling this is high speed broadband, maturing social networks and the comfort that consumers are taking up social communications. Though the real drivers have to be the  readily available and affordable Internet-enabled multimedia devices. In fact, I’m writing this on my iPad while watching football.  All of these factors are contributing massively to social media rapidly becoming a real alternative for traditional businesses to reach their customers, build brand loyalty and communicate with geographically dispersed employees, suppliers and partners.

The widespread social networking phenomenon reflects shifts in two long-term communication trends: first, a shift in communications patterns from point-to-point, two-way conversations, to many-to-many, collaborative communications; and, second, a transition of control of the communications environment from Telcos to open Internet platform providers.

One of the most exciting developments could be ‘real-time’ interaction from your followers onto a company’s website, message boards and even billboards. Coca Cola used RFID technology back in 2010 to track and send real-time information from participants to a dedicated Facebook page. This year’s Got to Dance show on Sky 1 used real time tweets and comments left on its social media pages. Companies are beginning to see real possibilities from open many-to-many communications and need the network infrastructure to be able to deliver this “share of voice”.