Category Archives: Customer Profile

One Cannot Not Communicate- Is Silence Golden?

Maybe Mom Wasn’t Always Right

The first of Paul Watzlawick’s five axioms is simple- “One Cannot Not Communicate.” Wanterfall says,

Even when you think you are not sending any messages, that absence of messages is quite evident to any observer, and can itself constitute quite a significant message. Not only that, but we usually transmit quite a few non-verbal messages unconsciously, even when we think we are not sending any messages at all.

What do you, as a professional, communicate when you choose not to communicate?

Photo courtesy of Bonoz

Photo courtesy of Bonoz

Perhaps your mother used to say, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” When your new friend with long, braided hair entered your home, she bit her tongue.

Did her silence mean, “I wouldn’t let my son wear his hair that long, but since I have no association beyond his association with you, I’ll make you feel comfortable enough without offering approval?” Her tongue biting left wiggle room- both for your friend’s eventual haircut and her possible opinion change.

While the intent behind silence might be noble, its very form is deceiving – a mask for a mix of thoughts and emotions forming in the sender or else a sign of ignorance. Silence is golden because it buys the sender time and it offers the receiver little information- or so is the hope.

What are the Effects of Non-Responses in Digital Communications? 

One cannot not communicate with social media. Not following a customer or fan on Twitter or G+, for example, could be construed as a slight. You’re too busy, too important, to ignorant to use the tools to follow and interact. Not having your social media in order says a lot about the organization behind your organization. Your brand communicates that it does’t embrace or understand the mediums or struggles to find funds. The receiver never really knows why you’re silent- just that you are and the resulting message is up for interpretation.

Internet marketer, Jay Baer, suggests:

Further, 42% expect a response within 60 minutes. Is your company prepared to handle social media inquiries within the hour? A few are. Most are not, in my experience, which potentially creates a disillusionment gap between customers’ anticipated response time, and your actual ability to provide a response.

Having a workforce to handle your social media interactions could be just what you need to reduce the stress in your customer service department.

One cannot not communicate with blogs. You haven’t written a blog post in weeks. Maybe there isn’t a lot happening in your company or industry – yeah right. You’re too busy, too underfunded, too unorganized. You were in the hospital. Whatever the reason, a lack of action or words communicates a message. Is it the message you want your fans to receive?

Darren Rouse looks at blogging this way:

The more posts you publish over time, the more doorways you present readers with to enter your blog.

1 post a week means you’ve got 52 doorways at the end of the year – daily posts means 365 doorways at the end of the year. This means people are more likely to see your content in RSS readers, in search engines, on social media etc. Over time this adds up.

Contracting out some of your brand’s writing work to writers can keep opening doors verses closing them in silence.

One cannot not communicate with correspondences. Two candidates fly out to your company for second interviews. You extend an offer to one. The chosen candidate receives your full attention. The other doesn’t. The one who didn’t get the job sends an email to you. No reply. This happens once. Twice. Three times. Surely, not communicating is a soft let down, right?  According to Career Builder,

56 percent of employers admitted that they don’t respond to all candidates or acknowledge receipt of their applications; 33 percent said they don’t follow up with candidates they interviewed with to let them know they didn’t get the job.

What does a lack of response communicate? That from the top down, your company’s communication process isn’t clear or even rude when not in need of a person, service, or product. It communicates disorganization and incompetency in the HR department. Don’t think for a moment that the candidate won’t remember the lack of communication when they’re in a better position.  According to the HT Group:

If you’re guilty of this and other bad hiring habits, beware your actions could complicate your recruiting efforts and even damage your company’s overall reputation. Here’s how (according to the same study):

  • Job seekers who don’t hear back after applying for a job are less likely to continue buying products or services from that company.
  • Did a job seeker have a bad experience with you? Half will tell their friends about it.
  • An overwhelming 75 percent of job seekers use traditional networking such as word-of-mouth to gather more information about a company.
  • More than 60 percent will check out your company on social media to find out if what you’re telling them about your culture is true.
  • More than two-thirds of job seekers would accept a lower salary if the company had exceptionally positive reviews online.

One cannot not communicate. What are the unintended messages you send just by choosing inaction or silence with your digital marketing strategies or relationships? From creating blog posts and social media posts to staying up with emails and correspondences silence is not usually golden.  Rethink if you’re clearly, consistently, and honestly, as well as tactfully communicating.

 

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Filed under Audience, Blog Writing Tips, Capturing Audience, Content Job Boards, Customer Profile, Leadership, Marketing, Project Management, Reputation Management, Resumes, Social Media

Purchasing Furniture – Why Did She Buy From Your Store?

By My Web Writersphoto (1)

This typical female, Gen X, furniture customer Is ready to buy. Where will she make her purchase?

Today I’m pausing to journal about the major furniture purchases I recently made. I’m doing this for both of us. Though they’re in other industries, we’re always looking for ways to improve online marketing for our clients.

When I shop, I often revert to a personal pattern that pre-dates my use of the Internet.  Do you?  If not, you’re younger than thirty-five.  Though, I’ve changed through the years, I’m probably typical for a female, age 35 – 50.  Knowing that 65% of US shoppers will browse online and buy in stores over the holidays, how can we better serve this lucrative demographic?  What triggers dollars spent at your store?

Of course, I’m just one woman and each woman is an individual, but here’s a snapshot of how I arrived at furniture purchases from four different stores during the week prior to Thanksgiving 2013.

Top of the Furniture Sales Funnel

The buying process started a few weeks earlier.  A builder suggested that we look at Houz, a home ideas app, for backyard ideas.  The app offers ideas for all rooms of your home, too.  We never did build, but the trends I saw in the app stayed top-of-mind when it was time for furniture in the home we recently purchased.

I could have scoured Pinterest, too, but I didn’t.  I just didn’t have a lot of time to hunt and peck for pieces of online furniture and more ideas to confuse the choices.  Time is valuable and I tried not to waste it.

Middle of the Furniture Sales Funnel

Like many Americans, when it came time to shop for furniture, I drove to the nearest showrooms- Kittles, Ashley Furniture, Value City Furniture, Kittles Express, Office Max, Office Depot, and Houseworks.   Kinesthetic shoppers need to see, to feel, and to touch each piece to envision family and guests relaxing, conversing, working, and eating.

Would the quality be worth the price?  Would the exact colors match the floors, walls, countertops, and appliances?  What are today’s trends and which classics are still hip?  I didn’t shop online when I was absorbing information because I learned plenty in the stores.

In one store, a sales woman approached my husband and me and wouldn’t stop chattering. If we paused at a piece to discuss it, she’d wiggle into the middle of our conversations.  We’d politely stand there wondering when she would stop. After doing this for the third time, we quickly walked out because a hungry salesperson’s stalking, at this stage, wasted our time and was annoying.  We weren’t buying on that day.  We were just looking.

The office furniture seemed blah- mostly ugly, big ego desks or very cheap, modern designs with little space to spread or to store.  The sofas were perplexing.  Do we buy another puffy couch for the family room or a grandma-like sofa for the living room? Nothing appealed, at first.

Did we want to have a fun and casual red set or an espresso, leather upscale look? The new kitchen table needed to be round, but how big?  Should it match or contrast our floors? Should we go rustic or classic? Geez — so many choices.

Pages like the one below from Kittles did very little to help me to understand what I’d want in my living room, family room, kitchen, and office.

Kittles with no content

There is no category level content to entice or to educate.  With the exception of the main slide, the pictures don’t suggest use, features, or style. Kittles, if you’re reading this post, consider how strategic copy writing and editing can help both your conversion and SEO.  My own sales pitch aside (hey, I do understand the sales woman); there came a day when we could no longer function without furniture in our rooms.  It was time to buy.

Bottom of the Furniture Sales Funnel

Last Sunday, I decided the best place to find office furniture would probably be at an office supply store.  By then, I’d ruled out a modern, sleek look in the office. The sales person at Office Max offered the Black Friday price a week early and probably called me “Ma’am” fifty times.

Office Max pic

He put up with my indecisiveness over this desk verses that desk and he stopped talking after I cut him off on purchasing the extra protection plan.  The prices were exactly the same in the store as online.  This was a coordinated attack and I bought the furniture at the store with the same free delivery offered online.

Office Max product description

While the in-store experience offered set-up at a charge, notice that at the same purchase point online (the product page), the company’s set-up package is not suggested or offered.  If the customer has to hunt for it somewhere else on the website, forget it.  Adding drop down boxes for “I need set up” on each product page would immediately increase online revenues at Office Max.

The Final Hours of Purchasing Furniture

I spent nearly a day in Kittles yesterday trying to fine-tune what I wanted. Then, came the ping-pong price game.  Prices kept dropping, but we went back and forth so many times and it took so long, that by the afternoon, I left the store.

I opened my iPad and typed in searches for long-tailed keywords with model numbers to check pricing in other stores.  What was the price for a “Broyhill Travis sofa”?  Another business could have stolen my purchase in these moments when my sales person was going back to her manager for yet another price reduction request.

Broyhill Travis couch

After he said, “No, I can’t do it”, I would have bought online, especially if free shipping were offered. Instead, my search took me first to the Broyhill website.  Obviously, they didn’t want to get into the middle of price negotiations because they left out prices in their product descriptions.

Other stores did the same.  Instead of sharing prices, online store-after-store said, “request a quote”.  I didn’t have time to wait for a quote.

Request more info

With Thanksgiving in a few days, I wanted shopping done asap. Because I didn’t know if the purchase was sound, I dropped the sofa and chair from my list all together.

I took a trip back to Ashley Furniture and found a different sofa.  I popped into Value City Furniture and found a kitchen table and chairs that I liked better than the ones offered at Kittles and Ashley.  While there, the Value City online prices dropped, so a lower price was honored at the store.  Bed Bath and Beyond sold nifty bar stools for less and with free shipping. Then, I went back to Kittles and purchased the items I felt were fairly priced.  All of the stores said their prices were Black Friday prices and that if anything changed, they would honor the changes.  At a certain purchase point, most offered free shipping.

I’m waiting for the door bell to ring with my deliveries.  How fun!

What’s a key to increasing online conversions? Lower your online prices.  Develop better content (pictures, videos, and words) to display furniture in ways that highlight colors, finishes, and uses. Provide in-depth information.  Keep the various stages of the furniture sales funnel in mind and develop profiles of your buyers at each stage.

What have you noticed as important to increasing online sales, whether you’re in the furniture business or another industry?  How would the above process differ for a man or a younger or older person? How would the process differ for another woman in the same demographic? Take a moment to share!

~Jean


Other Posts:

Holiday Content Challenge- Let the Family Games Begin!

ZMOT- Where Consumers Are and Businesses Should Be

Adding Content to their Website Increased Our Client’s Keyword Reach

Twenty-five Effective, Call-to-Action Phrases in E-commerce Content

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Filed under Apps & Tools, Business Strategy, Customer Profile, Holiday Blog, Local, Mobile, Personas, Product Descriptions

Are You an Entitled Customer?

By My Web Writers

I Want My Lemonade.

Image courtesy of Revenue Journal.

Women come and go at ten in the morning from their social gatherings and sporting matches at this typical, upscale, American country club. On Tuesdays, ladies golf brunch day, the women play 18 holes, stop in the locker room for refreshments, and then later have lunch in the locker room’s dining space.

On most days, lemonade and trail mix are provided. Rumor has it that the men even have a bar, finger sandwiches, popcorn, and soup in their locker room.

On one off Friday, someone didn’t put lemonade in the women’s locker room. What ensued was comical.  Apparently, the ladies golf brigade decided to play that Friday.  As they filtered into the locker room for quick stops between holes, they noticed that there was no lemonade.

One such lady in her sixties was distressed.  She frowned and muttered under her breath something about there being no lemonade. Then, she hurried out the door to her golf cart.

Another threesome came in and proclaimed, “My goodness, where’s the lemonade?” and they frantically started opening cabinets.  One of them remembered it was Friday and there was no one to set up the lemonade.  Should they complain?

In the 1980s, Wendy’s capitalized on customer entitlement with the “Where’s the Beef?” commercial. Times have changed, but the desire for more hasn’t:

Provide What’s Expected Everyday

It’s human nature to expect what has always been.  Altering the quality of what’s delivered is disconcerting to most people.

When businesses sell quality products or services, customers will soon move from appreciating the products or services to expecting the same quality, price, or delivery each and every time.  If the standard declines, customers might leave business relationships feeling frustrated enough to share their discontent with circles of thousands.

In the search industry, some SEO companies have even repositioned themselves to be content marketing or digital marketing firms with de-emphasis on search engine results, in order not to promise something that would be difficult to deliver.  The marketing and salesmanship remain, but their packaging of expected results changed.

The Definition of Entitled

There are, of course, benefits to not creating angry customers and many steps businesses can take to satisfy unhappy clients.

In the case of the golfers, the lemonade was always provided and they, thus, felt entitled to the lemonade because it was a perk they expected with club membership.  But, how should one act if an entitled thirst isn’t quenched?

What does it mean to be entitled?  According to the Free Dictionary, the adjective means “qualified for by right according to law” and the Collins English Dictionary defines entitled as, “having the right or permission to do something.”

The connotations we associate with the word vary. To some, entitlement flows from positive self-worth and an uncanny ability that puts one at the top.  Entitlement is a result of hard work, a drive for perfection, and knowing how to “park yourself.”

Interestingly, this Audi commercial distances itself from the negative connotations that are inter-mingled with “entitlement” or “expected.” It rebrands “luxury” to mean progressive and forward-thinking.

To some, “entitlement” is associated with an adult who acts like a child.  Advertisers exploit the negative connotations of self-absorbed entitlement, as seen in this commercial’s pitting of two women’s lifestyles against each other.

Customers Don’t Like Change or Costly Surprises

Should we feel entitled?  Ask that question at your next luncheon and you’ll hear a variety of perspectives.

With regular frequency, a payroll company raised the rates of its services.  One frustrated customer wrote to the company to receive a discount.  He received this letter from the payroll’s customer service representative:

Good morning,

I hope this email finds you well.  I apologize for the delay in responding but as you likely know I was out of the office last week.

I have reviewed your account and do remember our discussion from mid-April.  At that time I applied a X% discount to your account that was to be effective for one calendar year.  I have confirmed the X% discount was applied correctly and is applied to your current invoice(s).  I do however notice that there was an ‘across the board’ pricing increase in early April and that is why your billing after the discount is still above X payroll.  Your current billing is totaling X+ and this includes the discount.  Our normal billing for a monthly payroll processor is X++ .

After careful review of the situation, we are unfortunately unable to offer any additional discounts at this time.  You are currently saving over XYZ a year with the current discount compared to our normal pricing.

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Should one roll over when a company says, “we’re, sorry, we can’t meet your expectations?”  Many company policies, discounts, and procedures are man-made and arbitrary; thus, don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo.  The customer did not believe that the rep just happened to notice an “across the board price increase.”  The discount given was basically offset by the price increase.

Is the customer right to feel entitled to a better price?

Yes and Maybe.

Yes, great customer service bends over backward to please and to save customers.  If the customer doesn’t believe he’s receiving the appropriate value for what he’s paying, he should, of course, feel free to express that fact and leave, if necessary. A superior customer service rep would not let a relationship get to that point.

But also, maybe.

Businesses size up their customers with scrutiny, too.  Is the customer worth the business’s time?  Is he high-maintenence? The above payroll company rep might think that his company is already competitively priced or that the customer’s business is easily replaced. While not very customer-friendly, the rep’s reasoning may be very profitable in the short-run.  Some customers cost more than they’re worth.

But the cost of not reaching out to please the customer can result in much more than the loss of one customer.

Entitled or Just Rude?

Having high expectations is fair, but life owes nothing.  Stomping one’s foot might win quick results, but lose long-term benefits.  Don’t underestimate the value of each positive relationship in life.

A business woman parked in a spot right in front of a small, downtown hot dog stand and then started walking across the street to eat at a competing restaurant.  The hot dog restaurant’s owner came out, waved to the business woman, and instructed her to move her car.  The business woman snapped back, “I can park where I want to park.”  She was right, but just to stick it to the hot dog stand’s owner, the business woman parks in that spot each and every time she goes downtown, even though she never buys a hot dog and there are spots closer to the restaurant she does patron.

Most would say this behavior is rude, but it happens.  Why?

Jamie Lee Curtis once called out Paris Hilton’s parents for not teaching their daughter basic rules of civility in society. She wrote in a Huff post:

What we need to do is look long and hard at our part in all this. Where did our children get the message that the rules don’t apply to them? And where did we, the Mothers, get the message that if we abdicate our responsibilities as Mothers, the Universe will do our job for us? And it does, but without any of the love and tenderness and compassion that we could have given, along with the lessons.

The Psychology of Entitlement

From a human psychology perspective, according to Dr. Alice Boyes, there are nine types of entitlement tendencies:

1. The rules apply to others, but not to you.

2. You feel inconvenienced when others need something from you, but then expect others to do favors for you.

3. The world revolves around your agenda.

4.  You disregard rules meant for others’ comfort.

5. You freeload.

6. You feel it’s okay to upset or to offend people.

7. You receive more from volunteers than you volunteer.

8.  When working in groups, you need to be the leader or the one to get the credit.

9.  Cancelling appointments or reservations without considering the affect on others is not a big deal to you.

Clearly there’s a line to understand and to respect.  That line may be different in one country, region, state, workplace, or family verses another, but there are some common parameters.

A Civil Challenge to Customers

If you’re a customer, who expects to be treated as number one, consider following these guidelines before shopping elsewhere:

  • Clearly Communicate the Issue:  Start talking, whether through email or over the phone.  The business can’t change its practices if it doesn’t understand your issue and how it affected you.
  • Remove Emotion:  This is usually much easier said than done.  Imagine that the person on the other line is going through a health or personal crisis.  Sometimes we’re much more forgiving of people when we see them as people instead of as objects meant to serve.
  • Talk to a Decision-Maker:  Before airing your frustrations to ten friends, find who can help you and talk with that manager.  Customer service reps always want you to think they’re the final authority.  Just keep using the phrase, “Who is your manager? I’d like to talk to that person.”
  • Don’t Wash Laundry Over Social Media: Unless there is no other means to solve the problem, don’t attempt to hurt a brand’s reputation.  Just move on.  If you’re earning a reputation as a professional complainer, your words won’t hold as much weight in the long run.
  • Know What You Want:  Clearly explain the price, procedure, or quality of what you want.  Say, “I expect or want to have X.”  In some cases, you’ll need to put your requirements in writing.
  • Bend or Walk:  Sometimes a business just can’t give you what you want.  Deal with it or be willing to dust off your feet and walk out the door, (but as a fair warning, the competition might be worse than what you had.)
  • Be the Customer You’d Like to Have:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  If you’re snippy to others all day long, that energy will find its way back to you.

It’s not wrong to want the lemonade and to ask for the lemonade, but have a little humility.  And, if the lemonade is provided as a bonus to make you feel important, then, when it’s not available, take a deep breath and pour yourself a glass of water.

~Jean


Other Posts:
Reactions from an Alumna; What if NIU Wins the Orange Bowl
Overcoming the Beautiful Little Fool
What Would History Say About Google Authorship Profiles?
How Do You Find Good Content Writers and How Much Do They Cost?
Writer Tips for Google’s Penguin

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Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, Leadership, Project Management, Reputation Management

How Do I Write Content Based on Buyer Personas?

By My Web Writers

She was the portrait of a Language Stars mom.  As a teacher, she understood that the window of language development was wide open between the ages of one to five years old, so she enrolled her children in Language Star’s Spanish immersion classes.  She communicated the company’s mission with enthusiasm to other Moms.  She organized free classes for neighbor children in her home and coordinated an after school program at her children’s elementary school.  She was the ideal brand ambassador and thus, felt very honored when the company’s executives asked her to spend two hours with them.

They wanted to pick her brain to better understand what drove her involvement with the brand.  She gladly did it in exchange for $200 and a few discounted classes for her kids.  Was it worth Language Star’s time and effort to identify personas with the help of this customer and others like her? Absolutely.  The company grew from three sites in the Chicagoland area to over twenty-one in two states in just ten years.

What are Personas?

Good writers clarify their client’s audience, so that they can accordingly adjust language choice, accent, tone, logic, and voice.  Personas are basically audience segments.

Ardath Albee, author of Up Close and Persona, defines personas as, “a composite sketch, representative of a segment of your target market.”  The sketch is much more defined than a broad audience overview.  For example, Language Stars could have stopped short of realizing all income avenues by categorizing their target demographic as “moms.” Their product or service development and marketing would have been relegated to what their employees felt all moms would appreciate.  Those categorizations would be based on subjective verses empirical information.

Successful authors use personas to organize fictional characters and their relationships with others. Businesses use information from real people to create profiles of the customers they represent.

Image courtesy of the Mind Mapping Software blog

As a web writer you’re often at the mercy of the company’s SEO or marketing manager to provide vision for the content you write.  Your knowledge beyond periods and comas becomes evident when you ask for customer personas to help you to write blog posts, social media posts,  and web content. As a marketing manager, it ought to be standard practice within your organization to interview customers, to develop profiles based on observation and data, and to deliver detailed personas to the brand’s writers.

How Much Content Does Each Persona Need?

There is a formula floating around the web.  Jay Baer suggests:

“Essentially, your initial list of questions can be generated using this formula:

Number of Personas X Number of Buying Stages X Number of Questions in Each Stage = Number of Questions You Need to Answer

In our hypothetical example, we’d need 5 X 8 X 3 = 120 questions answered. Even if you have a FAQ today, I can almost guarantee it covers far less than 120 questions.”

Albee didn’t factor in buying stages when she made the following comment:

Let’s say you come up with 12 questions that you know your prospect or your persona has to answer in order for them to agree that the decision to buy is the best choice, to buy from you. So, let’s say you can answer each question two or three different ways. So, now you have the possibility, the possibility of 24 to 36 pieces of content.

You can do the math as to how much personas will cost you, but what of the value?

Success with Personas

Rachel Sprung highlighted seven companies that successfully understand their buyers’ personas.  Like Language Stars, the company that understands its customers and niches is going to have more success interacting with them.  From Jenny Craig to Orbitz companies are creating personas to better understand their customers and to connect through interests.  

Tips for Writing Content Based on Personas

1. Research the persona’s interests, hobbies, activities, and stances.

2.  Play with the voice of the article based on your persona’s gender, ethnicity, age, and experience.

3. Work on the opening lines, supporting arguments, and conclusions of your blog posts to make sure they are in line with the way your persona would view the world. For example, would the persona be persuaded more by data or by personal success stories?

4.  Align vocabulary with your persona’s education level.  Learn how to raise or to lower the reading level of your content through MS Word’s spelling and grammar tool in Tools and then Options menus.

5. Make connections. Who would your persona look up to as a mentor or fellow brand enthusiast? Link to their content and connect with these individuals through social media.

6.  Ask one of these connections to read your article for feedback before publishing.

7.  Think about the pictures and infographics that will most likely move your persona to buy or move into the next stage of the buying cycle.

What are some of the techniques you’ve used to write articles based on appealing to certain personas?

~Jean

Other Posts:

Snow White and the Social Media Personas

Articles on Audience

Overcoming the Beautiful Little Fool

What Would History Say About Google Authorship Profiles?

Writer Tips for Google’s Penguin

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Filed under Blog Writing Tips, Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Customer Profile, Marketing, Personas, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Five Ways to Prepare Your E-Store for the Holidays

Shindigz.com is an example of an e-tailer that grooms its e-stores for the holidays.

by My Web Writers

Prepare your e-store for the holidays.   Delight and encourage shoppers, while providing unique opportunities to increase your potential customers. It goes without saying that if your site is a landing destination, your customers are going to shop more and spread the word about it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networking media.

There’s no time like the holidays to make subtle, effective improvements to your e-store, all in the name of getting ready for the upcoming festivities.

Put up some decorations

It doesn’t take much these days to change a heading or personalize a background. If you don’t want to use your own pictures, search for public domain and free licensing ones to create an atmosphere of holiday cheer on your site. Include a few holiday specific articles, highlighting your best products with previous customer testimonials.

Make your e-store very user friendly

Keep your site stress free for your customers, providing easy access to product, ordering and shipping information. Update return policies and include all information pertaining to receiving items as gifts too. While you’re doing this, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to make sure your return policy is consumer friendly, as well.

Other important user friendly features on your e-store include navigation. Make products on your site easy to find and access. Product descriptions should be thorough and readily available, upon landing on each product page.  Refresh your product and category descriptions for SEO.  Eliminate unnecessary clutter. Minimize eyestrain by softening colors, and reducing glaring bling.

Give gifts and goodies to your customers

Free shipping is huge, but so are coupons. Perks are fun to find and receive when shopping. Provide ample opportunities for customers to save money, and receive special promotions and offers with minimal effort. This might include running a 3-Day sale, and posting a special coupon on Facebook for consumers to print. It could also be a “Refer a Friend” opportunity, where linking to your site sends your customer an extraordinary deal for their kindness.

Eliminate shipping worries

Flexibility is vital when it comes to shipping, especially for those last minute shoppers. As an e-store owner, you can make sure you’re able to deliver customer product in a timely manner; you can also extend the shipping time required by the customer. Give those frazzled shoppers a little breathing room, and make it easy to receive items in record time, even if they’ve been ordered a little later than expected.

Serve your customers well

Treat your customers like royalty. Make them feel wanted and special, by providing multiple ways to contact you. Set up a live chat or forum for their immediate questions and concerns. Make “Contact Information” easy to find and easier to use. Respond graciously and as soon as possible when you are contacted by a customer.

Preparing your E-store for the holidays is an opportunity to make your site stand out among the crowd. Take advantage of this opportunity, so you can drive traffic and increase sales opportunity well into 2013!

~MJ

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Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, E-Tail Category Content, Email Campaigns, Marketing, Merchandising, Product Descriptions, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

Marketing to Generation Y Men

by My Web Writers

Capture His Gen Y Interest.

According to Luxury Society, “Gen Y’s annual spending power exceeds $200 billion and they also influence another $50 billion in purchases.  By 2017, Gen Y will eclipse Boomers in spending power.”

When creating a plan for marketing to Generation Y (1977- 1994), remember one important fact—we’re completely wired in to technology.  Whether checking Facebook on cell phones or playing video games, members of Generation Y are much more tech-savvy at a younger age than previous generations.  Generation Y was born with cell phones in hand, so it’s a natural progression that we essentially only communicate by way of cell phone.  The population of Generation Y is also very accustomed to instant gratification.  We are a generation that gets what we want when we want it.  If you keep these factors in mind when you put together a plan for marketing a product to Generation Y men, you’ll be off to a good start.

Gen Y Men Appreciate Brevity

Generation Y men are masters of multi-tasking and many have short attention spans.  One Generation Y male said, “If you can’t tell me what you’re selling and why I need it in fifteen seconds, you’ve lost my attention.”  In his article, “We Aren’t Sissies”, Josip Petrusa acknowledges that most Gen Y men are guilty of break ups via text.  He comments,  One thing is for sure, it definitely saves you hours and hours of your time.”

Marketing needs to reach men fast and be easy to understand.  If you choose to market via Facebook or email, create a quick read.  Write a two-to-three sentence description and add a picture.  Make it easy to look at and understand, and even better, make it easy to forward to others.

Gen Y Peers Hold the Keys

Generation Y men will often ask friends’ opinions before purchasing big ticket items like computers or vehicles.  Because everyone has access to social networks, such as Facebook, through their cell phones, it’s easy to quickly ask for friends’ opinions of certain products and to have the feedback at your fingertips.  The majority of information any one person hears about a subject comes from friends.  If  friends like the product, the Gen Y male will be more likely to purchase the same product.

Overall, there are a few simple things to remember when marketing to Generation Y men:

1.  Gen Y men have technology at their fingertips.

2.  Gen Y men respond better when the advertisements are short and to-the-point.

3. Gen Y men rely on the recommendations of friends.

If you remember these factors, you’ll be able to put together an effective advertising campaign to market your product to the men of Generation Y.

~Holly

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Filed under Audience, Customer Profile, Facebook, Marketing, Mobile

Marketing to Gen Y Women

by Holly

Generation Y Women Focus on Facebook

As a part of Generation Y, I know firsthand how large a role Facebook and other social networking sites play on daily lives.  Anymore, Facebook and Twitter are both easily accessible from cell phones.  Furthermore, with the recent addition of Pinterest, social networking is at its height (so far) and still growing.  Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are the three most popular among the women of Generation Y, so many companies have taken to using these social networking sites as a large part of their marketing strategies.  Some business Facebook pages, such as Victoria’s Secret, offer fun contests that can only be found on Facebook.  Recently, the Victoria’s Secret Facebook page was also a place to find a bonus Spring Secret Reward, a card that could be worth $10, $50, or $100.  Other businesses, such as Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, offer Facebook fan-only coupons.  This coincides very well with Pinterest, as many more women are turning to do-it-yourself projects for their homes.  All the social networks are interlinked somehow, and more often than not, it’s through the women of Generation Y that tell their friends to join, that link their pins on Pinterest and their tweets from Twitter to Facebook.  Furthermore, many of those Generation Y women, when asked to take surveys, have reported that they not only have friends that they see daily (“real-life friends,” as Marketing Chart says), but they also have Twitter followers, blog authors, and online friends whose opinions Generation Y women rely on.

Smart Marketing Gets the Attention

Women look for deals like “buy one, get one” deals and freebies that come with “liking” businesses on Facebook.  Any coupon or reward program offered with likely catch the attention of twenty-something women.  Especially in today’s economy, where everyone is looking to save money, you’ll find twenty-somethings who have a talent for couponing and stockpiling everyday household supplies.  According to www.marketingcharts.com, Generation Y women respond best to non-intrusive marketing that can be found on social media sites, blogs, and the like.  Also, when women find a product that they like, they’re very likely (61%, according to Marketing Charts) to recommend that product to their friends, family, and coworkers.  With that knowledge, you can change the way you market your product and potentially gain new customers in those twenty-something women.  You never know, by simply gaining a few new customers, you very well might end up gaining hundreds of new customers!  There is no limit to what a social network populated and visited by Generation Y women can cause.

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Filed under Business Strategy, Customer Profile, Social Media, Women Writers