I have never liked New Years Resolutions, mostly because of the negative baggage attached to them. I was told as I grew up the only purpose of a New Years Resolution was to see how long it took to break it so from an early age I made goals. Sometimes I achieved my goal, sometimes I didn’t but since I could keep going towards my stated goal I hadn’t broken a promise, it just took longer than a year to accomplish it. The last couple of Years I had heard Dr. Larry Hass talking about what he does for the new year and it seemed very affirmational and useful so I have adopted it to my practice of goal reviewing each year. Mind you I set goals all the time but the first of the years seems as good a place as any for a goal review. Here are the 3 questions Dr. Hass writes down.
- What are my Achievements from last year?
- What Commitments Should I make for this Year?
- What are my Goals for this year?
Make sure to write down your answers because an unwritten goal is just a wish. Make sure to use the S.M.A.R.T. method when writing your goals to make sure they are good ones. That is to make sure your goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. Make sure to send me a note or give me a call if you need help with your business goals this year.
The numbers look grim if you are an online retailer. Around 30% of the products retailers ship out will come back as returns. The downside is that 65% of those returns were the retailers’ fault resulting in money they didn’t have to spend and decreasing the bottom line. A good return policy is crucial in the ultra-competitive online world so examine yours carefully. There are other things you can be doing to prevent returns and save yourself headaches and money. Let’s look at the statistics and what they mean to you.
23% of returns are because the wrong item was shipped out. This is an amateur league mistake that even the pros seem to be making. It’s simple, have a redundant system of double check to make sure the right item is shipped every time. A few more minutes to make sure the item is the right one or hours of headaches dealing with an irate customer and refunds or more shipping charges. The choice is clear, get it right every time.
22% of returns are because the product looks different. Not 100% fixable but mostly avoidable. Make sure your product is shot in multiple angles and in different light settings. A video will also help with hands or other objects to give a sense of scale.
20% of returns are due to damage. Sure you can have insurance on the product and send the customer a new one, but is that excellent customer service? Not all damage can be avoided but taking extra precautions and making sure the product arrives intact will pay for itself in happy customers. “The box was damaged but the item was fine” = WIN!
92% of customers will buy again if the returns are easy. So you messed up and sent the wrong thing, but the right one was shipped quick and the customer is happy. You will still likely get more business from them in the future. Customers understand mix-ups, your or theirs, and will forgive retailers who make it right without a ton of hassle.
There you have it, some stats to help guide your policies and give you something to think about.
You can have good customer service by teaching your team a few skills and a short overview on problem-solving, but then you will be giving business to your competitors. There are few competitive advantages as powerful as Customer Service and few that are harder to maintain. In the world where everyone thinks that competitive advantage means lowering your price, you can stand out by providing stellar customer service. I currently don’t know any physical location in my area that does this so I know the field is open. Here is an infographic to get you started on the path to excellent Customer Service. Let me know if you need any help getting going.
If you follow social media the big story is that Twitter increased the character count to 280, double what it used to be. So as marketers how do we use that? I have put together an infographic talking about how I intend to use the extra space without alienating my Twitter base by droning on. If it works correctly they probably won’t even notice my count went up, just that my content is clearer. Try not to fill up the 280 characters. We did fine with 140 for this long so keep it on the shorter end if you can.
Email marketing is the cornerstone of a good content marketing campaign. If it’s done right the ROI is one of the best in the industry. If done wrong it’s a colossal waste of time. Out of all the tips I am giving this week the two most important are to be consistent and to be useful. People should know when your email will be coming and they should know there will be at least one piece of new and useful content. That is how you build your list and how you prevent subscriber drop off. Here is an infographic with more tips for you.
The numbers are in and traditional online marketing is out. There still may be a place for it in your marketing repertoire but if you aren’t looking at mobile marketing you are already behind the curve. A study by Pew Research center found that 45% of young adults do most of their internet browsing on their smartphones and ComScore found that 70% of digital media time is on mobile devices. Of course, these numbers get bigger every quarter so the trend is crystal clear, get mobile or go home.
Mobile marketing isn’t just about making websites mobile friendly anymore. Of course a mobile friendly site is the baseline and shouldn’t be overlooked but mobile marketing is so much more.
Why use email when texting is more effective? Research has shown that 98% of SMS messages are opened and they have a response rate of 45%. Email marketing has an open rate of 28-33% with a response rate of 6%. Some more people look at your message and more people respond, it’s a win win for marketers.
Mobile First Design
Most marketers are still stuck on clicking ads to get responses but phones can do so much more. Swipe to save, tilt to see more, pinch to respond, take a picture to see out filter. These are just a few of the options. What about camera enabled features in real time? People can literally find savings in your location. When you think about the phones functions over the web functionality the possibilities that open up are vast.
In App Advertising
Apps are already becoming a bit cliché but there is still potential here. In a survey of app game players, it was found that 67% of them said that they believed they should be offered a reward in return for watching or engaging with a mobile ads and videos. They also feel more positive about companies that provide these awards and the click through rate for such ads improves by 300%.
Location Based Ads
Deliver a coupon as a customer walks by your store. Direct customers to your store when they approach a competitor that had closed. Deliver an online offer when a customer walks into a competing store! Location based advertising is picking up steam. It’s been around since 2002 but marketers are just starting to get the hang of it. Make sure you aren’t left behind and are losing customers to marketing techniques you didn’t even know about.
To be honest, online marketing isn’t going away anytime soon. All of the online marketing systems I discount as inferior have their place in a properly run marketing campaign but you need to be aware the landscape is changing. Make sure you keep up with the trends.
I have been getting a lot of questions lately about buying email lists so I will give you the same advice I give everyone. DON’T! There is never a good reason to buy an email list. Never. If you are convinced it is the way to go then the email list marketers are doing their job but take it from me you will regret it. The list has likely been used to the point of uselessness, it isn’t targeted the way you need and you won’t get any sales off of it. In one example I witnessed a “Targeted and Clean” list had an 85% bounce rate. Not only did they not get sales, they were banned from their email provider. I could get less of a bounce rate just guessing emails and sending them. I understand the need to have a large email list to send your information to but it is always better to build the list yourself. The bounce rate is lower, the engagement is higher and the likelihood of producing a sale is infinitely higher. Here are 10 ways to start building your email list. If you need more, lets chat.