I say this in terms of how your business functions, don’t worry i don’t expect you to be able to predict the next best thing. However by addressing how your business functions there is no reason why you could not do exactly this next year! Now this is not to say that make a few adjustments and you will magically succeed. What it does mean is that if you are prepared to invest the time and effort into some better CRM (customer relationship management) you will have all the tools which you should need. CRM takes a wide variety of forms but as you will probably guess from the rest of my posts the centre of any good CRM activity is good communication. Namely good communication, with your customers, with your clients, with your suppliers, good communication can only ever lead to success. These communications can take various forms from social media to emails and SMS the potential outlets are endless. So how do you make the most of these channels and communications? Put simply remember that communication is a 2 way activity, let consumers respond and most importantly LISTEN and LEARN. Sometimes the best insights can come from consumers themselves. We have seen various examples of this such as Kraft responding to the bring back Whispa and Whispa Gold Facebook campaigns which in turn has helped brush over any contentions there were about their take-over of Cadbury. Whatever you do in the year to come remember that the good channels of communication which you have set up over this festive period need to be maintained throughout the rest of the year....so make the most of them!
Red Evolution Opinions & Musings
The New Year Slump, we have all seen it, where consumer spending drops off dramatically and your store whether virtual or physical becomes a ghost town. So how do you counter the dreaded slump? The most common reaction on the High Street is to have a 'New Year' or 'January Sale' however although this reaction has been proven to work it is also very common and as a result fails to capture the imagination of shoppers. This is where owning an e-commerce store really comes into its own. This is for a number of reasons however the key difference is the ability to be flexible and utilise data to its utmost. As a result this also allows businesses to let their personality and brand values show in the way in which they choose to portray product informations and the type of promotions which they offer. So for example a small and perhaps quirky company or even a large multi-seller platform (such as Amazon or Ebay) may choose to offer 'santas secret swap service' where people who had been gifted items from the site and did not like the gift they received are able to swap the product for either another another product of a similar. These sort of 'after festive period' after sales service can help to encourage future bonds and better brand perception for the year to come. With this in mind the key thing to remember as an online business is to make the most the advantages which having an online business offer to build those future relationships which will bonus the business and its consumers in the long run.
Everyone likes to feel appreciated and there is no better time than to thank you customers than during the festive period! There are a wide range of ways to say 'Thank You' whether it is cheap and cheerful in a simple personalised email or in the form of a special promotional voucher which is only available to subscribers or is related to a consumers buying behaviour all these little touches can make the world of difference when it comes to maintaining customer loyalty in these hard economic times. However they key problem then becomes how to get your correspondence to be opened instead of instantly being confined to the junk box. This is a very common problem throughout any festive period as consumers are bombarded with promotional messages. So with this in mind some companies are now employing the anti festive promotion. Put simply this is a promotional communication minus the festive message, this could come in a variety forms of shapes and sizes to meet your consumers purchasing habits. These non festive specific promotional messages have seen higher opening rates than festive themed communications over the past few years, often being seen as a nice reprieve. With this in mind these communications can be used to encourage purchasing during the 'New Year Slump' of Jan and Feb while encouraging greater consumer engagement and therefore better data capturing.
Segmentation has always been the key to any successful marketing campaign however despite its proven track record many companies continue to fail to make the most out of the consumer data they already possess. Consumer data is very valuable in the marketing industry and the insights which it can offer about a companies client base can be second to non. Reviewing your consumer data year on year will not only help you to track consumer trends and market fluctuations but by doing this it will also allow you to market and communicate with potential buyers more effectively. No matter what industry you are in the market is continually evolving and your businesses ability to evolve and adapt to meet the industries requirements will determine your success. In order to be able to prepare for and predict these market and consumer fluctuations a businesses requires consumer specific data. However when it comes to data collection many companies are left floundering. One of the best times to collect this valuable data is during a festive period when there is a period of mass buying and so mass information exchange. One common usage of this sort of purchasing behaviour data can be seen on large sites like Amazon where we have all seen the 'people who bought this also bought.....' or on the likes of BBC iPlayer and their 'For You' programme suggestion filter. Theses consumer specific filters not only encourage the sharing or more information but also act as a call to action encouraging the user to interact with the site/service more. No matter what sort of service you offer this Christmas period remember that this is the ideal time of year to gather data and prepare for the year to some.
It is a well known fact that the festive period is a very fraught time with folk rushing from A to B with very little time in between. With this in mind and considering the strength of mobile marketing there is now no longer any excuse for not being able to communicate effectively with your consumers no matter what they do.
As we get into the middle of December many e-commerce site owners are choosing to tail back on their communications and promotions due to the general impacts of postage and delivery dates etc. However just because a gift may not arrive for Christmas day does not mean to say that you can slack off when it comes to communicating with your consumers. In fact this time is a fantastic marketing opportunity which if utilised correctly can help give your businesses that essential boost and drive traffic and potential purchases towards your site in the typical 'dip' months of January and February. You can do this in a variety of methods but one of the most common is new year promotions of exclusive vouchers/voucher codes.
There are so many ways to get in the festive spirit this winter whether you tailor your promotions primarily around Christmas or opt for a 2 pronged approach focusing on both Christmas and new year its totally up to you as a business however one of the most successful ways to focus your communications and promotions is by becoming your very own advent calendar. This sort of promotion could be everything from a daily deal (I.e one special promotion each day until Christmas/new year) or through encouraging consumers to opt in for holiday themed communications and special 'exclusive' promotions the options are endless. These special limited time promotion are also a great way to promote yourselves via a social media network and can also be a fantastic way to get a buzz about your brand. For example when ASOS offered discounted GHD straighteners for 1 day only as part of a exclusive Christmas promotion many social networks were set ablaze by other savvy shoppers sharing news of the offer therefore not only helping to drive traffic and potential purchasers towards the site but also helping to improve brand perception and awareness in what is typically a very competitive time.
We are all fully aware that over the festive period our in boxes are bombarded with spam and offers many of which are not personalised even slightly. With this in mind it is no surprise that during this time there is a significant increase in unsubscriber rates and spam complaints. So when you are looking to communicate with your potential consumers this year you have to be careful to not only get lost in with the spam but to also engage your consumers to differentiate your site/brand and generally your products/services from these other spammy communications. There are various ways in which to do this however the key is personalisation, personalisation and some more personalisation. This easy activity is often only utilising the valuable data which you have already gained about a consumer due to their purchase history so there is really no excuse. By appealing to a consumer on a a number of levels from specially tailored offers to personalised messages you can not only make your consumers feel more appreciated but you are also more likely to encourage better click through rates in the same process. In Summary no matter how you choose to communicate with your consumers with festive period make sure that you are actually speaking and writing to THEM and not sending out a generic message.
The footer is a commonly unused marketing tool of any website or email and in fact is often ignored by many users. However with this said the information that is often featured in the footer can be extremely valuable and with some subtle design work can in fact become another essential call to action point for your site.
This point is particularly for those with e-commerce sites. There are very simple ways in which to help boost consumer spending and that is by getting into the holiday spirit! Whether it is New Year, Easter or in this case Christmas by focussing your marketing campaigns and communications around these events you can generate interest in your brand while encouraging spending. These changes can be as minor as a few tweaks to your sites design and email templates. It has been known for a long time that personalised emails make a significant difference to consumer experience and brand perception however personalisation is much more than just adding a persons name! There is a wide range of personal touches which can be made using information gleaned from a consumers previous shopping data such as featuring products in common price brackets of categories. These small changes plus a tweaked design can have a drastic impact in a consumers propensity to buy when it comes to holiday seasons.
Here at Red Evolution we like to give something back so as we enter into the festive period with increasing speed we are going to share some of our little tips as a 12 day of Christmas guide to a happy Christmas for your business and your customers. So strap yourself in, get your Christmas hat on and get into the festive spirit and spread the cheer this winter!
Just for a moment set aside all the spammy cheating ways you can make a website rank. Forget about black hat, forget about link farms, forget about hacking sites to seed links, posting stupid meaningless comments in forums and forget about buying a shed load of links. Just simply ignore all that stuff, just for a moment, just for me.
It's getting easier for businesses to have a website and there are even companies advertising on prime time TV offering sites for thirty bob. Just select your sector, choose your colour, upload your logo and that's it, you've got a website. It makes me smile every time I see it. Why? Read on!
Just a quick up date to say we're slogging away getting the marketing site built. This includes some pretty intensive keyword research and some work on developing a link building strategy. We've also had a chat with some angel investors who've suggested they just *might* be interested in getting involved, which would be nice.