Will Black Friday sales be such a big deal this year?

Piranha Designs - Friday, November 06, 2020

We’re into November, and we’re sure you’ll know what that means – the return of the now-traditional Black Friday. Falling on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day in the United States – which means that this year, it’ll be 27th November – Black Friday has become one of the most hyped shopping days on the calendar. 

But as you’ll also know, 2020 isn’t just another year. It’s seen upheaval at a level few of us have ever known, with likely knock-on effects for how we shop in the run-up to Christmas, too. 

You might have reason to rethink your Black Friday strategy in 2020 

We all know that 2020 has been a rocky year for brick-and-mortar stores forced to temporarily close for periods of lockdown, and to impose enhanced hygiene and social distancing measures on their premises when permitted to open. So, it would seem that the now-familiar Black Friday scrums are already firmly off the menu this year. 

Combine this with the fact that the latest England-wide lockdown is set to run – at the time of typing – at least until early December, and it’s clear that large chunks of the UK’s retail premises will be off-bounds to pretty much any shoppers at all this Black Friday. 

But even if these lockdown restrictions were not being imposed, there would be good reason to expect a more subdued Black Friday this year. 

That’s because many in retail are also eager to alleviate the stress the pandemic has already exerted on supply chains and delivery services. This is leading to a greater emphasis on season-long deals, rather than necessarily making a big fuss out of a single day or weekend. 

If shoppers can be encouraged to commit to their Christmas purchases earlier than Black Friday, there can be greater certainty about ecommerce stores having adequate stock, and customers receiving their ordered items in good time. 

A season-wide approach is likely to serve your store best this Christmas 

Of course, we don’t expect Black Friday to ‘go away’ completely as a big shopping event, just because of COVID-19 – a cursory search of Google News should be enough to confirm that. 

Nonetheless, it seems that of all years, 2020 will be a year to focus on such broader strategies as launching your ecommerce outlet’s Christmas sales early, refreshing your discount offers on a week-by-week basis, promoting products of particular relevance to those staying at home, and clearly communicating likely delivery times at this time of possibly widespread delays. 

In short, this won’t be ‘just another’ Christmas shopping season – and while you probably realised that already, you’ll need your store’s approach to Black Friday to reflect it. Reach out to the Piranha Designs team today, and we’ll be pleased to further advise and assist you with your Yuletide and New Year digital marketing, website design and related services. 

How to get more of your casual visitors actually buying

Piranha Designs - Friday, October 23, 2020

While, here at Piranha Designs, we would certainly emphasise the importance of effective search engine optimisation (SEO) for attracting relevant traffic to your online store, the fact remains that it’s one thing to drive visitors, and another thing to get those visitors to become paying customers.

Don’t forget that a lot of your ecommerce store’s visitors won’t see your homepage first, but will instead land on a product page or even blog post via a Google search for a relevant term. They therefore won’t necessarily have any particular loyalty or affinity for your brand, or even recognise your brand... let alone know about your broader product range, promotions or brand values. 

So, how can you transform more of those only-vaguely-interested visitors into people reaching for their debit card when on one of your product pages? Here are some proven strategies.

Don’t depend on brand recognition alone

Sure, some visitors to your e-tail site, even from the moment you set up your store, may be people familiar with your brand’s brick-and-mortar shop – if you have one – or they may know the product brands you carry.

For a very significant proportion of those people you’re trying to convert into buyers, though, none of the above will be the case. So, you can’t rely solely on customers being drawn to a particular brand, whether it’s your own or the ones of the items you stock. 

A particular danger of a more brand-centric approach to the structuring and optimisation of your website, is that you might miss out on sales from those searching for specific product types or features, rather than brands.

Give the customer reasons to feel confident about you

While brands that are literally Apple or Coca-Cola might not need that many “proof points” to instil faith among prospective shoppers, we’re presuming your own store’s brand is nothing like as prominent. Imagine landing on a page of your site while not being familiar with your brand at all – would you buy from here?

The answer’s much likelier to be “yes” is you were to see immediately understandable signs of trustworthiness, such as an “about us” page to show the human face of your business, and a phone number to indicate your customers can easily contact you about anything.

A ‘live chat’ feature and the logos of any relevant industry accreditations or certifications could also really help to drum in the impression that your brand is thoroughly reputable and here to stay.

Make it easy for shoppers to choose

It’ll hopefully go without saying for you that the more barriers you can remove to someone buying from you, the likelier they will probably be to do so.

If, as we’ve covered above, a given would-be buyer doesn’t know your brand, the chances are that they might not know your specific products well, either... and that could make it difficult for them to select the item that would best suit them.

Wrong choices are bad news for both the buyer, who will likely be frustrated as a result, and the store, which will have to handle any associated returns.

So, it’s in your interests to do everything possible to make choosing easy, first time out. That might mean including size guides, product comparison charts, help icons, and all of the specification details the customer will need to make the most informed buying choice.

With our search engine marketing (SEM) services here at Piranha Designs encompassing such key elements as keyword research, page optimisation, guest blogging and more, we can leave your store well-placed to heighten the proportion of casual visitors you convert into buyers. Feel free to contact us via phone or email for further information.

5 steps to boost your appeal to festive shoppers in 2020

Piranha Designs - Thursday, October 08, 2020

It won’t exactly be news to any members of your ecommerce brand’s team – or any of its customers – that 2020 has been a year like no other, although sadly largely in the negative sense. But of course, that simply makes a bit of well-judged Christmas cheer more crucial than ever, which is something your online store can play a part in delivering.

Below are some of our favourite tips for how e-tailers can capitalise on the strange times of the 2020 festive season with their online marketing and sales strategies.

Have a dedicated Christmas section

Of course, we were always going to start with the “obvious” advice, which is as relevant as it is in part because so many merchants actually overlook it.

It’s not necessarily an arduous task to re-jig an existing special section of your online store – the Halloween page, for example – to house and promote Christmas-related items such as festive decorations and chocolate boxes.

You might just be switching out some products and suitably renaming the page, not to mention replacing any links to this page on the homepage and navigation bar.

Be empathetic to your customers

Ask anyone, and it seems that we’re practically all stressed and fed up about at least something at the minute. We wish the pandemic was over already, and we’re fretting about our health and financial situations, and/or those of our loved ones. Other ongoing global events, such as the US election and Brexit situation, will also be causing stress – whatever your customers’ political views may be.

So, if there’s one thing your store should be, it’s supportive to its customers at an angst-ridden and uncertain time. Be the brand that represents the metaphorical shoulder to cry on, by training your staff to handle customer concerns with sensitivity and heart, even when only selling online.

Underline home comforts and conveniences

Whether or not your ecommerce brand also has a high-street presence, a significant proportion of your customers will probably resent still having to spend so much time at home, so long after the COVID-19 crisis first hit Europe in the spring.

But this does present your store with an opportunity to show that an almost exclusively home-based life can be an experience, too. Consider, then, what items your store specialises in that may be particularly relevant for domestic use – think everything from books, blankets and loungewear to home smart speakers, gift hampers and bathroom products.

Tap into the trends of the COVID-19 era

We all know that the pandemic has upended our world and lives, so why wouldn’t it have a similarly dramatic impact on what kind of items people wish to buy during the Christmas season?

Given the economic chaos the coronavirus has visited upon us, it shouldn’t surprise you that high-end luxury goods have already been de-emphasised in many stores’ marketing campaigns this year. In their place, we’ve seen much attention drawn to gifts that are unique, but also immediate sources of joy and comfort in the home at this trying time.

Encourage customers to connect virtually

We aren’t just talking here about how those shopping with you may reach out to your team via email, ‘live chat’ or Facebook Messenger – although this aspect of your service is certainly crucial at a time when your customers won’t want to be left waiting for a response.

That’s because we’re also referring to the myriad ways in which families, friends and colleagues may keep communication lines open with each other as the winter wears on.

Perhaps you could highlight the fashion and makeup products of your brand that could help your shoppers to look and feel good on camera, or the food and wine items that might represent excellent choices for a ‘virtual’ family tea or snack?


Are there ambitions and possibilities for the design or redesign of your e-tail store’s website, or its SEO or PPC marketing, that you would like to discuss in greater detail with the Piranha Designs team? If so, you’re welcome to reach out to us in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh now.

Do your own ecommerce customers have the “fear of missing out”?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, October 06, 2020

It’s a very human thing to want what someone else possesses, and to be anxious about the possibility that not doing something – whether it is watching a particular TV show, being involved in a given event, or buying a certain product – is the wrong choice.

The phenomenon has even been summed up in an acronym – FOMO, or the “fear of missing out”. What you might not be so familiar with as the owner of an e-tail store, however, is how you can tap into the FOMO that resides in your own target customers to drive sales.

Even something as simple as an add-to-cart button or a call to action like “Buy now while stocks last”, can help you to play on potential buyers’ FOMO across the landing pages and product pages of your online store. But what else can you do to trigger such a key fear in your site visitors?

Accept pre-orders for upcoming products

If you’ve ever read a press release for a newly announced product like a hotly anticipated smartphone, handbag, videogame or music album and placed a pre-order for it on your favourite online shopping site, you’ll already know the power of this functionality for driving FOMO – and sales.

After all, when we’re among the first to have a particular product, it often makes us feel that bit more special – as if we’re members of an exclusive club.

And when you present your customers with the option to pre-order that product, you won’t just trigger their FOMO – you’ll give them a way of alleviating it, too.

Indicate the product is ‘limited’ or ‘out of production’

Brands have long described products as ‘limited edition’ to spur prospective buyers to commit to a purchase of the item straight away.

Of course, another way of seeing it is that all products are ‘limited’ in the sense that none of them can continue in production forever. So, when a certain item in your store does approach the end of the line, another opportunity exists to trigger FOMO by actually displaying the quantity remaining of that product on the product page, before it becomes permanently out of stock.

Display a countdown timer

When the opportunity to buy a certain product at a particular price is time-limited rather than stock-limited, there are few things quite as effective at instilling that ‘FOMO’ urgency as incorporating a real-time countdown timer on the same page where the customer will be browsing the items.

After all, such a timer would be a highly visual reminder of the approaching deadline, complete with movement to catch the shopper’s eye as they compare your sale items.

Embed social media posts on your site

There are ways to drum up hype about a particular product that don’t involve you having to fork out a hefty amount of cash for the services of celebrity endorsers or social influencers. In fact, if people are making a fuss about your product on social media right now, why not draw shoppers’ attention to this, by embedding the relevant content into your site’s own pages?

Just make sure you actually do use the embed tools that the leading social networks make available – there’s this handy guide from Twitter, for instance – so that you are linking directly to the posts in question, rather than stealing content and infringing someone’s copyright as a result.

As you can see, triggering the “fear of missing out” in your e-tail store’s visitors can be handy for getting them to hit that ‘buy’ button for items on your site that they may have otherwise had a merely casual interest in.

Reach out to our website design, SEO and PPC marketing professionals here at Piranha Designs today, and we’ll help you to make the most of the potential that your own ecommerce site offers.

Could a loyalty scheme help to cement your online store’s COVID-19 gains?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, August 04, 2020

Such is the immensely disruptive nature of a pandemic like the one we have faced over the last few months, that almost no one can claim COVID-19 has been a “good” thing for them overall.

One positive that ecommerce store owners certainly weren’t expecting at the start of the year, however, was a massive jump in the proportion of e-tail sales as part of overall retail sales, due to lockdown restrictions having forced many more people to make purchases from home.

Hopefully, your own online outlet will have effectively capitalised on the jump in overall demand for ecommerce sites’ services, with the consequence of rising sales.

But as the previous lockdown rules gradually loosen and more people are afforded the luxury of shopping at brick-and-mortar stores again, how can your e-tail store consolidate the gains it has made since March?

One short answer to that question is... by introducing a loyalty scheme.

Why are loyalty programs such a great idea anyway?

Sometimes referred to as ‘VIP’ or ‘rewards’ schemes, or even ‘loyalty programs’, loyalty schemes take many forms on ecommerce sites.

However, the broad benefits of such schemes for both the business itself and its customers are well-defined. A VIP scheme could help your store to boost customer lifetime value (CLV or CLTV), which is a measure of the net profit that can be predicted for a given customer over the entire duration of your relationship with them.

Customers who properly engage with loyalty programs are also, of course, more engaged and loyal customers in general with the brands running these schemes. Your own loyalty club members are likelier to read the marketing emails you send them, and to ‘like’ and share your brand’s social media posts.

Then, there’s the not-insignificant matter of all of the data you can gather from the customers who participate in your VIP scheme. This could enable you to develop a better understanding of how your target audience behaves in general, and how you could better reach them with the right products, prices and marketing messages.

A truly great loyalty or VIP scheme goes well beyond the basics

So, what does a good loyalty scheme consist of? Well, first of all, it should offer something of value to the customer from the moment they join as a member or participant. That might be a discount straight away, or perhaps a gift, or extra loyalty points just for signing up.

Whatever you offer at this stage, make sure it’s exclusively obtainable by those joining your loyalty program, rather than just a duplication of an offer you might already present to those subscribing to your emails, for example.

From there, various other features or quirks may be added to your store’s loyalty scheme to help to make it really interesting, with the exact ones you choose dependent on your business’s sector, preferences and needs.

Some online stores, for instance, might throw in additional bonuses for customers who carry out certain actions like answering a survey or installing an app.

Maybe you might also present VIP shoppers with a voucher or extra loyalty points on their birthdays, or introduce a referral element, whereby the loyalty club member is rewarded if they refer someone to the site who goes on to make a purchase from your store.

Or what about rewarding points for other one-off activities like your customers posting images of your store’s products and how they use them with your social media hashtag? The promise of exclusive content can also be a powerful enticement for those who are unsure of whether to become a loyalty member of your site.

There are so many ways to get loyalty schemes ‘right’

The above is naturally not an exhaustive rundown of all of the possibilities for your store’s loyalty scheme; nonetheless, it should give you a sense of some of the intriguing ways you could experiment and mix things up when launching a rewards program.

A well-executed loyalty program can do so much to better market your ecommerce store’s offerings, heighten engagement and boost sales. However, it is also just one of the many aspects of your e-tail business that you will need to focus on getting right for the remainder of 2020 and beyond.


For an in-depth discussion about your online business’s aspirations and needs with regard to website design, SEO and PPC marketing, and so many more areas of specialism of ours, don’t hesitate to enquire to the Piranha Designs team in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh today. 

What can your e-tail business do now to prepare for Christmas 2020?

Piranha Designs - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

As crazy as it might seem in many ways to be even thinking about the end of the year, the fact remains that it tends to be just after Halloween onwards that customers turn their attentions to Christmas gift buying, running right up to Christmas Eve.

Retail phenomena like Black Friday and Cyber Monday have helped to turned the festive shopping season into something more than a frenzied couple of weeks’ buying immediately before Christmas.

However, it also seems unlikely that the COVID-19 pandemic will have become a mere bad memory by the time customers start their Christmas buying in 2020. So, how should the added complexity that the lingering virus brings affect your ecommerce firm’s festive preparations?

Navigating the persistent uncertainty around the pandemic

One of the problems with this subject, of course, is that no one truly knows what course the coronavirus outbreak will take in the UK and any other territories that your store might serve, even a month from now – never mind in another five or six months.

While monthly estimates have shown, for instance, that UK GDP fell by a frankly frightening 20.4% in April 2020, it is far from certain whether there will be a slow, fast or medium-paced economic recovery – or indeed, any immediate recovery.

This will also inevitably be influenced by such factors as the longer-term jobless figures and how much cash shoppers have in their pockets to spend as sources of support like the UK’s employee furlough scheme are gradually wound down.

Another statistic that you are likely to have noticed as an ecommerce store owner – at least in terms of the level of demand you have experienced from your own customers – is the sharp recent jump in Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales in Great Britain. While this was 18.9% as recently as February, the ratio had vaulted to 32.8% by May.

Again, though, what is the long-term trend likely to be here, as more and more brick-and-mortar stores – even for ‘inessential’ sectors – reopen? A fast recovery, slow recovery or no recovery are different scenarios that could drastically impact your planning here, before you even consider how comfortable shoppers are likely to be with returning to physical stores.

There are still some actions, though, that you can take

As frustrating as the current uncertainty is, as an online merchant, you don’t have to simply throw your hands up and give up until more information is known about, for example, the likelihood of a much-talked-about ‘second wave’ of the virus.

Instead, take such concrete actions now as contacting your suppliers to ensure inventory will be available for Christmas, pinpointing any potential inventory issues and placing orders early if possible.

Also look at what your arrangements will be for delivering this inventory to customers, while contemplating what delivery disruptions could occur in the event of a ‘second wave’ and another lockdown, perhaps based on your store’s experiences the first time around.

Don’t be afraid, too, to ask your site’s customers about their festive shopping plans. What would they like to see your store doing or offering when the Christmas season arrives?

Finally, it’s a good idea to review your store’s online presence and what your needs for it are likely to be in the coming months. Could now be the time to get in touch with website design, mobile app or SEO marketing professionals like ours here at Piranha Designs, so that you can be sure of your store being as ‘COVID-19 ready’ as it can be from the autumn or winter onwards?

Now’s the time to make the moves to place your online store in the best possible position for success throughout what could be a tricky winter period – simply get in touch with our experts today to learn more. 

5 ways for your online store to ride the wave of coronavirus

Piranha Designs - Friday, April 03, 2020

No kind of ecommerce business, whatever its sector, can pretend that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a remotely good thing.

At the time of typing, the virus had already officially infected almost three quarters of a million people around the world, and killed tens of thousands. This is without even accounting for the dire economic and social consequences for those who may never contract the coronavirus.

Online stores, however, have also come into their own lately for many consumers who have found themselves under lockdown. Opportunities do therefore exist for many merchants to do their best during what may be a heightened demand for their services, while also assisting their customers at what is likely to be a trying time for great numbers of them.

Here are just some steps that your own ecommerce store could therefore take.

Re-jig your homepage and navigation

At this time of all times, it is likely that certain products in your store have become especially sought-after, while others might have been rendered almost irrelevant – at least for now.

It’s therefore a good moment to consider reorganising your store’s landing pages and browsing structures, to reflect what your customers are currently looking for. When doing so, you should make sure you especially strongly showcase products that can be quickly packed and delivered.

Keep a close eye on inventory

Customers’ needs for certain items may be particularly pressing right now, which heightens the importance of online stores closely managing their inventory.

It’s crucial to be honest with customers, and to minimise the frequency with which you are forced to cancel orders or deliver incomplete orders as a result of products being out of stock.

Make the most of ‘live chat’

We’ve previously blogged about what ‘live chat’ functionality can do for an ecommerce store. But this increasingly common feature has arguably come even more into its own during this pandemic.

Live chat, after all, makes it easier for e-tailers to handle simultaneous requests, as well as for customer service agents to take over with a particular enquiry where a colleague of theirs may have left off.

Nor can the availability of live chat be easily interrupted, unlike what the situation may be when your store needs to change its customer service email address, phone number or brick-and-mortar address.

Recommend alternative products

Is your store using the analytics that will enable you to monitor the products and pages that are especially popular? If so, this will help you to determine the parts of your site where it may be particularly important to recommend alternative options if the given item is out of stock.

Provide COVID-19-related FAQs

Frequently asked questions (FAQs) pages are routinely a godsend for both merchants and customers. But such a section can be even more useful now, for communicating to your shoppers how your business is dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.

Such FAQs on your own site may address such questions as what the coronavirus means for product availability and fulfilment times, for example. You might also incorporate auto-responses to the most common queries into live chat and Facebook Messenger, even including links where these would further help.

Would you appreciate assistance with carrying out any of the above or other steps for your ecommerce store in 2020? Remember that the Piranha Designs team is available at the other end of the phone in Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh. Alternatively, you could always email us to arrange a free no-obligation discussion of your website design or digital marketing needs.

How to retain more of those festive-season customers once Christmas is over

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Of all of the seasons that could be declared a ‘time of plenty’ for e-tailers, the last few months of the calendar year are surely the most obvious candidate. It’s a time when customers are rushing to purchase goods from online stores that they may barely have any contact with at any other time of the year – so all will be well for your own ecommerce site, right?

Well, not necessarily. That’s because even if you do receive a great boost in your customer numbers over the festive period, if those shoppers then disappear for the rest of the year, you might be failing to capitalise on the opportunities the winter months present to keep hold of more of them.

Just look at the statistics

Various studies down the years have, after all, pointed to just modest improvements in customer retention potentially translating into significant increases in profit. One famous study from Bain & Company and Harvard Business School in 2000, for instance, found that upping customer retention by 5% could lead to profits going up by as much as 95%.

So, what steps could you take right now to bolster your own ecommerce store’s chances of keeping more of its festive-season customers coming back in January, February and beyond?

  • Actually measure your customer retention. Even if you do a great job of retaining a decent proportion of your festive-season shoppers long after their Christmas trees have been taken down, will you have any idea what things you did actually helped to bring about that increase? That’s why it’s well worth tracking your customer retention rate over time to identify trends – not just over the next few months, but for many more years to come.
  • Bring in a loyalty scheme. Even if you’re only just reading this in October, it’s not too late to introduce a loyalty programme that your Christmas shoppers will appreciate. Nor are these schemes just about giving your customers an added incentive to keep spending with you right through the year, as they can also serve as a useful means of capturing customer information and permission for marketing communications.
  • Send a personal note and offer. Presumably, if you’re reading this, you’re not a large and impersonal multinational – so why not make a virtue out of the fact that you’re a small business? Including a personal handwritten ‘thank you’ note in the package you send to each new customer will give another positive and heart-warming thing for the shopper to remember you by. That can be especially so if you throw in a discount voucher or the offer of free delivery for any future purchases they make from you.
  • Make the most of ecommerce subscriptions. Ecommerce subscriptions – otherwise known as ‘subscription boxes’ – can be great for boosting customer retention anyway, simply because they represent longer-term commitments from the customer than one-off purchases. But their suitability as Christmas gifts arguably further boosts their potential value and importance to your ecommerce store when you’re trying to capture more customers for the long run during the winter season.


It’s the little touches as much as the big ones that could particularly influence your store’s ability to keep hold of more of its customers for the months and years ahead. So, why not talk in more detail to the Piranha Designs team about what those touches could be?

Browse our range of website design and online marketing services today to get a sense of how we could transform your brand’s ecommerce effectiveness well into the 2020s, before calling or emailing us now at our Gibraltar, London or Edinburgh offices.

Easy tips to make your emails more effective

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We all use email so much that it can actually eat up all our free time. With our mobiles receiving emails and the Ipad too, you can’t seem to escape from them.

Over the years I have learnt many ways of improving my efficiency. I would like to share some useful tips with you, on how you can improve your emails.

Your email signature.


If you are constantly having to type the ending to all your emails, eg: Regards or Thanks – you can put that into your signature.

Make sure your signature is on all initial emails and that it includes all your relevant contact details. It can be really frustrating when you can’t find a persons phone number and you have loads of their emails.

Your Inbox


I have been to visit many clients who have shown me their Outlook with thousands of emails in the Inbox. That scares me. I have seen Outlook crash when there were simply too many emails in the Inbox. When Outlook crashes it can be very distressing!
It takes a few seconds to create folders and then you can organise your emails and keep your inbox clean. I try to leave only things I have pending in my inbox, when it builds up I find sometime to get things done and it all cleaned up again.

Writing emails


To me this is the area that is most important. Some people are extremely brief in their emails and in their SMS messages, others write whole books. I think a comfortable comprise is needed.
After you have said the usual pleasantries, get straight to the point, and make it extremely clear. Try and say everything you need so that the other person will definitely understand, rather than leave any guessing. Here is an example.

Client emails me, or even worse sends me an SMS:

Hi Julian,
My website isn’t working.
Please fix.


There are a few assumptions here:
1. I know which website he is referring to
2. That I know who he is
3. That I have all his contact details

The more effective way to right this email would be:

Hi Julian,

My website www.domain.com is not working. This page shows an error – www.domain.com/about.htm
Can you please fix this?

John Smith
ABC Limited
Tel: 2000000
Email: john@domain.com
Web: www.domain.com

When you write the email try to think of the questions that may arise from the message you are sending and answer them. 

Another typical example is in arranging meetings:

Hi Julian,
Can you meet up next week?

--
Yes, sure when is best for you?
--
Wednesday or Thursday
--
Ok Wednesday morning?
--
What time?
--
11am
--
Sorry can’t. How about 12?
--
Ok 12 it is. At my office or yours?
--
Mine is better.
--
Ok. Wednesday at 12 at your office.
--
Ok see you then.

That’s 11 messages which could have been done in 3. Lets see:

Hi Julian,
Can you meet up next week, I am free on Wednesday and Thursday morning, except for 11-11.30 on Wednesday. It would be best in my office as I have something to show you.

--
Sure, let’s make it Wednesday at 12 at your office. Ok?
--
Great. See you then.

Summary:


• Be specific
• Be clear
• Try not to leave questions open ended
• Explain what you need to in order to avoid unnecessary questions

These are just a few tips that can help you make your emailing quicker, easier and more effective. Let me know any tips that you use to improve your email efficiency, by commenting below.

How following up on leads will frustrate your competitors.

Piranha Designs - Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just before Christmas I realised how effective a long term nurture email newsletter can be.

Last year I purchased some really good photo calendars from Apple, using Iphoto. Whilst doing so I looked around at a few websites to compare pricing, I registered for an offer on a site called Photobox.

This began the continuous and automatic process of sending me regular emails with offers and discounts every 2 weeks. Whilst sometimes they were annoying, often they prompted me to take action, but as I had already bought these calendars and they last a whole year I really didn't need to buy anything else.

So Christmas came round again, I had been receiving these emails for almost a year without making a single purchase. What did I do?
I ordered the new set of calendars from Photobox, they were in mind, they had given me offers, they were my friends...

I also recommended them to some close friends, before even seeing how good they were at their job.

There are many photo printing companies out there, and probably a lot of them are better/cheaper than Photobox, but Photobox had built a relationship with me, and their brand now occupied a space in my mind.

They bothered to keep in touch with me even though I had never spent a penny. Photobox have overcome the number one marketing problem facing small businesses – Follow up.

In surveys of many small business owners and entrepreneurs it was evident that following up with warm leads was the biggest frustration.

The natural thing a business owner does is focus on the immediate sales (hot leads), normally putting aside the nurturing process and therefore allowing leads to go somewhere else.

80% of people who are looking to buy something will do so within the next 2 years.

This means that if someone visits your website or calls your business it is very likely that they buy your product/service, only it may take a lot longer than you would like. It is a difficult and time consuming job to continuously contact these warm leads for 2 years, and very few people can afford to do this manually.

That is where email marketing comes in. Photobox and many other companies have learned the secret powers of email marketing. By setting up well planned, useful emails that get sent automatically to these warm leads continuously and indefinitely you turn a complicated process into an incredibly simple and powerful solution.

Now if these automated emails are customized and sent to specific people (eg. Those who have expressed an interest in a specific product) then the power of these emails is multiplied.

I bought a calendar from Photobox and now I receive offers for related products, that are actually quite enticing. Every time I see one of these emails I am reminded of the power of Email marketing, and how frustrated some of Photobox’s competitors must be. They won my business and my recommendation without me even knowing if they were any good!

Now a question for you - is your business keeping contact with people continuously until they absolutely don't want to know anymore?

Do you have automated systems in place to keep contact and send offers to people that you have never actually met?

Is your website working as hard as it should be?

If not, you may be one of the many website owners that lose out to the competitor who is constantly building a relationship and confidence with their warm leads. Remember the prospect is actually a customer in disguise.


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