What the Best Brands Do Differently to Win Customer Loyalty

In the past, imperfect or incomplete information led users to depend solely on their own experiences or those they heard through word of mouth from friends and family. When they found a satisfactory brand, they usually stuck to it. Brand loyalty was a form of risk avoidance.

Today we live in the age of information overload. Instead of having few sources of reference for reliability of various brands, we suffer from a surplus of opinions, reviews and ideas from too many sources than we can handle. All this information about brands, their past, their service goof ups or even glowing examples of their competition, has slowly eroded the loyalty that customers held dear in previous generations.

Yet, customer loyalty is not dead. Any Apple fan boy or PlayStation fanatic will testify to that. So, how do these iconic brands hang on to their customers for years, while others find it difficult to get a customer back for a second purchase? Here’s how.

1. It’s all in the Experience

A user experience that makes it easy for the customer to find what she’s looking for, an experience that encourages her to shop more, an experience that removes all friction from the purchase process – these are what a customer takes back home with her, more than the actual product purchased.

User experience does not have to do just with your website’s look and feel or your store’s design and layout. It has to do with every ‘moment of truth’ the customer experiences with your brand. This could be via a customer care call, your mobile app or even via a shipping experience. Work towards making it as seamless, quick and intuitive as possible to make your customers coming back for more.

2. Make Customers Feel Special

A good user experience referred to in the previous point, is one that ends up with a happy customer. However smooth your user interface maybe, no matter how great the product itself is, if the customer does not feel wanted or important, the chances of them coming back to your store are dismal.

You don’t have to do grand gestures to make customers feel special. Something as basic as giving a colorful cardboard hat to a child at a fast food outlet, makes both the child and the parent happy. A study by Barclay’s bank shows that “a smile and a friendly hello is the most common reason (59%) why consumers feel loyal towards small and independent retailers.

3. Service is not limited to the Customer Care Department

An organization that has the spirit of service goes out of its way to make sure a customer is taken care of in every way possible. Winning brands encourage a culture of service and problem solving. Every single member of the company is seen as a customer care representative – out to help out a customer the minute they need it. When something as important as customer service is left to be handled by just the customer service department, you’re making sure your service will never match up with the best in the business.

Why, even Craig Newmark – the founder of Craigslist – admitted he begins every morning by attending to customer service calls instead of plunging into emails or meetings.

4. Offer Exclusive Perks

It is hard to be indifferent to a brand that makes you feel exclusive. This does not mean that you should start discriminating between your customers. Rather, it means that the big spenders or more frequent buyers ought to get some perks for investing their time, faith and money in your brand.

The airline industry has perfected the art of making a customer feel exclusive with their ever popular loyalty programs. Thanks to air miles earned from specific airlines, customers prefer to be loyal to the one offering points, instead of shopping around for the lowest cost operator. This makes great sense in a struggling sector like aviation, when a customer is self-motivated to avoid other brands using such a simple and cheap solution. Some other examples of exclusive perks that brands offer are airline lounges at airports to loyalty card members, special discounted rates to loyalty club customers in the case of annual sales by high-street retailers and so on.

5. Wow your customers on a regular basis

Doing a great deed once in a while makes for a happy customer. But, in most organizations; this need to impress your audience to make them keep coming back is truly a flash in the pan than part of the organizational philosophy.

A pioneering brand like Virgin Atlantic takes the job of ‘wowing their customers’ on a regular basis very seriously. From a free chauffeur driven car to and from the airport, in-flight beauty therapists and manicurists for business class passengers, or the world’s first ‘Drive Thru Check-in’; Virgin’s customers definitely know brand loyalty extremely intimately. In founder Richard Branson’s own words, Virgin’s philosophy is to “catch people doing something right”.

5.	Wow your customers on a regular basis

6. Savings vs. Making a Connection

With the economy having barely turned a corner from the recent financial crisis, cutting costs wherever possible is fashionable. A common favorite for cutting costs is the customer care department. Automated call centers are cheap and help a healthy bottom line for one quarter. But what your brand really needs is to have healthy bottom lines in every single quarter to come. This does not come by pinching pennies on things that matter.

A real person on the other end of the phone line costs money – 35 cents vs. $7.5 dollars – but the relationship that you’ll build with that personal touch will payback your $7.5 manifold in the years the customer keeps coming back to buy from you.

7. Make them Feel Like You’re One of Them

While alienating customers is what no brand ever wants, they try very hard to make customers feel special, well treated etc. However, the best brands in the business don’t just proselytize their concern for the customer, they actually go ahead and make the customer feel like the brand is one of them, part of their lives.

Red Bull, the legendary energy drink maker, goes out of its way to make its customers feel like they are on their (customers’) side. They create brand ambassadors by being a buddy to their customers. Every year, Red Bull creates and sponsors wildly successful events in the various sporting fields like dirt bike racing or skateboarding putting its brand in the middle of all the youth. Its own sports and wellness magazine, Red Bulletin, gives users health advice, tips to take up exercise and so on. In the process Red Bull has ensured it has made itself a part of their customers’ daily lives.

Make them Feel Like You’re One of Them

8. Happy Employees make Happy Customers

We spoke earlier about customer service being everyone’s responsibility in a company. For an average employee to go out of their way and help customers, they need to be motivated enough in the first place. If your company fosters a culture of distrust, disrespect and lack of communication, your employees are not happy by any stretch of imagination. Expecting unhappy employees to keep your customers happy is a tall order, if not outright impossible.

On the other hand a happy motivated employee who loves his job and the organization, would exude positive vibes to everyone around them, including your customers.

9. Consistently Awesome

Your brand is only as good as your last customer interaction. Truly great brands go out of their way to ensure that every single interaction that a customer has with the brand is great.

This means consistent product and service delivery across every single channel you operate on. That’s a tall order, but then who ever claimed that winning a customer’s heart for life was going to be a walk in the park?

10. Express Your Shared Values

A recent Harvard Study found that customers don’t really care for engaging with their favorite brands. What they really do care about is the fact that their chosen brands share the same values as them. Hence it follows that an environmentally conscious user would prefer a Timberland while a health conscious user might go for Jamba Juice.

These shared values are engendered when brands stand up for what they believe in and share these beliefs with their customers through actions, not just words.

11. Say Sorry When You Screw Up. Really Mean It.

Much as we all would like it, no one is perfect including the biggest brands in the world. Mistakes can and do happen, and there’s only so much you can do about avoiding them.

However, the hallmark of a truly great brand is when they own up to their errors and put things right immediately. A brand that refuses to own up to the error in their ways risks losing customers’ trust and their wallet share. A good case in point is Lululemon and the 2013 incident with their see-through, easily damaged yoga pants. CEO Chip Wilson brushed off the whole issue by saying that his company’s yoga pants weren’t meant for overweight women. The public outcry that followed became even worse when Wilson’s ‘apology’ was so insincere and superficial, that it became the next PR disaster that the brand had to struggle with.

12. Listen to Your Customers

Customers like to be heard. Especially in the current social media age, their voices reach brands directly, instantly.

A good brand keeps its listening ears on and bows to the customer’s needs and opinions as it knows that customers make the brand.

Listen to Your Customers

When Gap launched its redesigned logo in 2010, they faced massive criticism of the new logo from all quarters, especially customers via social media. Customer savvy Gap, put its ego aside and heeded the voice of the user to revert back to its old logo within a week of launching the new one.

13. Show gratitude, Say ‘Thank You’

A brand that gives back to customers and to society at large says through its actions that ‘sales are not all we care about’. For any customer, it is crucial to know that he /she is looked upon as a real person who’s contributed to the company’s growth, instead of just another nameless, faceless statistic.

Anytime a customer appreciates your brand, reach out to them and thank them. Social media is a wonderful platform for exactly this. Create regular email campaigns that thank repeat customers for their business and encourage them to continue showing their love for your brand with their wallets.

Conclusion

Loyalty is the result of a history of positive experiences with a brand. You don’t need gigantic marketing budgets to foster customer loyalty. Just a resolve to treat every customer like they might be your last customer will help ensure that you’ll not see the back of your loyal customers anytime soon.

(Image Source: 1, 2, 3)

How customer reviews can help grow your online business

Part 1 : Embracing customer feedback

word of mouth marketingWord of mouth has always been one of the most successful ways of promoting a product or service. People trust the personal recommendations of friends and family above even the most innovative sales techniques or advertising . But where once word of mouth was primarily the domain of local businesses and limited to personal recommendations from friends and family, the internet has seen word of mouth marketing explode. In recent years we have seen a massive boom in customers sharing their opinions on products and services via specific review sites, digital media, social media networks, discussion forums,  blogs and online retail sites.

“The most influential element driving purchase decisions today is word of mouth.” Word of Mouth Marketing Association

The rise of word of mouth has also seen a change in the traditional purchase journey, having a direct impact on consumers decision-making process. Never before have consumers had so much product and service information at their fingertips. Nowadays, very rarely would I purchase a new item without first checking out online product reviews or would I book an unknown hotel without having a quick peek at a site like Trip Advisor. Online reviews and customer feedback are an integral  part of word of mouth marketing as a way for people to recommend products and share their opinion with others.

In part 1 we look at the benefits customer feedback can bring your business and how to encourage it. And in part 2 we will examine how best to manage negative customer feedback.

The benefits customer reviews can bring your business

As a key part of a customers decision-making process, we take a look at the many benefits positive customer feedback can bring your business.

  • Help drive sales: Since so many customers now look at reviews prior to making a purchase positive feedback can help drive your sales. For example, supposing a customer was deciding between purchasing a product from you or a similar product from one of your competitors (all other variables being equal), if your product had no customer reviews and your competitors had positive customer reviews, the likelihood is your competitor is more likely to make the sale.
  • Improve conversion rates:  Customer reviews are a great way to win over wavering purchasers. They can address and remove any  lingering doubt a prospective customer may have over making the final purchasing decision. For example suppose I was wavering over whether to buy a particular dress as I had concerns about how the garment would stand up to washing. A customer review stating that they had found the garment kept its shape well after washing is going to help remove any remaining doubt I have and mean a higher probability of an actual sale. 
  • Improve brand trust and credibility: Online businesses who embrace customer feedback are more likely to benefit from improved consumer trust in their product or service. It helps enforce brand credibility by conveying to customers you are confident in the quality of your products and service, you value your customers opinions and are a transparent and trustworthy business.
  • Additional sales tool. Positive customer reviews can work for you as an additional sales tool. You will find many customer reviews outline the different features and benefits of a particular product or service – helping you reinforce your sales message to prospective customers.
  • Build customer relationships. Providing the opportunity for customers to engage with you by being able to provide feedback on your products and services, shows your customers you that you value them – their opinion matters to you.
  • Research tool. Customer reviews are a great, qualitative method of getting some feedback from customers as to what products are working well and what could be improved. For example if a number of customers are highlighting a similar issue with a product then you know it is something you probably need to investigate. Remember we can all learn from a bit of  constructive criticism.
  • Helps SEO. Including customer reviews on your site is an additional way of adding fresh relevant content to your website helping with Search Engine Optimisation.

customer feedback7 ways to encourage your customers to give feedback

So how can you encourage feedback from your customers? Obviously the best way to ensure positive reviews is to offer a great product, exemplary service and all round excellent customer experience. However there are also a few ways that you can help things along and prompt customers to feedback.

  1. Have product reviews visible on your website (both positive and negative).  Customer reviews should be somewhere visible on your website. And make sure you have a balance of positive and negative reviews. Overwhelming positive reviews can look a bit contrived and less believable.
  2. Ask for it. Don’t be afraid to contact customers who have recently purchased a product to solicit feedback. Customers who have just received a product or service are usually more willing to take time out to write a review.  A simple email a week or so after customers have received your product expressing that you hope they are enjoying their new purchase and asking for some feedback work well and show customers you care.
  3. Make it simple to submit a review. Make it as easy as possible for a customer to submit a review. If the process is complicated and they have to swing through hoops – customers simply won’t do it. If you have a review page then make sure the link is clearly visible and use it in email correspondence.
  4. Respond to comments . Show customers that you appreciate them leaving a comment by replying to them. This applies to both positive and negative comments (we’ll  examine the best way to respond to negative comments in part 2 of this bog). If someone has taken time out of their day to offer feedback on a product or service, comment on Facebook or read and remark on a blog post, then try your best to respond. It shows you value what they have to say and increases the likelihood that they will engage with your business again.
  5. Offer an incentive.  You do need to walk a careful line here and not over incentivise . What you don’t want is people sending in product reviews just to receive an incentive as these reviews are more likely to appear insincere. However entry into a monthly free prize draw can work well. Or,  you could send an incentive after they have submitted a review as way of a thank you. This way you know the reviewer hasn’t been influenced by the incentive alone .  
  6. Interact on your social media sites. Try to create an environment where your customers see a face behind the business. Remember people like to deal with people. So interacting on social networks, writing blogs and so on can convey  a business that is interested in engaging with their customers which in turn makes customers more likely to respond.
  7. Exploit customer feedback to its full potential. When you think about it you’ll realise that you can actually receive customer feedback in a number of different ways – not just through customer reviews. You may have some feedback during a telephone conversation with a customer or in an email exchange. Some of these me of these off the cuff remarks can make excellent testimonials that you can use on your website (just make sure you ask them for permission).

Customer feedback in the form of reviews, questionnaires testimonials, ‘likes’ and ‘sharing’ can all have a positive impact on your business. So finding ways to encourage customers to converse with you makes sense. In part 2 of this blog we will be looking at how to manage negative feedback.

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this post, so please do leave a comment.

Thumbs up image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Survey Form image courtesy of tiramisustudio / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Things Missing In Your Site Design

Web design is such an organic field of work that every day, there’s some new insight being uncovered, some new dimension being revealed that will make visitors to your site stay on just a tad bit longer. From white space to parallax layouts to responsive design, there’s some new ‘it’ thing that’s always on the brink of sweeping web design world by storm.

However, while fads come and go; some design basics stay true irrespective of which year it is. These are the fundamentals that you simply cannot afford to mess up. Stuff like the Gutenberg Rule of eye movement.

Dimitry Fadeyev explains the Gutenberg Diagram below as he breaks down the process in which the human eye consumes content on a page.

The Gutenberg Diagram

The Gutenberg Diagram

Fadeyev elaborates, “The Gutenberg diagram splits up a page into four quadrants: the “Primary Optical Area” in top left, the “Strong Fallow Area” in top right, the “Weak Fallow Area” in the bottom left and a “Terminal Area” in bottom right. It suggests that the bottom left area of the page will get least attention as our eyes scan the page from top left to bottom right and that our glance would end up in the lower right portion of the page.”

Let’s do a quick roundup of little things that you might have overlooked in your web design – things that can cost you big in terms of website conversions.

   1. Showcase the Product

As elementary as this may sound, make your product the star of your website.

This becomes more crucial considering how humans are such visual creatures – 65% of us learn best through images and visual stimuli.

Product Showcase

Travel planning app Tripit does a great job of putting its mouth where the money is. With large images of the app on a desktop and mobile screen displayed upfront on its home page, it gives users a sneak peek into what to expect inside the app without even downloading it.

Showcase your product clearly with large, attractive images, preferably depicting users actually using it. If your website is an ecommerce site, make sure every product has multiple images available from various angles and that the images can be zoomed in if needed.

If your product is a software or an app, show off screenshots of the awesomeness that is your product, allowing visitors to make up their minds easily about it a la Tripit.

   2. Clear CTA

A typical landing page or website homepage has a number of things going on simultaneously. What is it that you want your visitor to do on your site? Is it to check out your product demo? Is it to sign up for your newsletter? Is it to buy products that you’re selling? Make sure your visitor knows exactly what is expected of her while on your site.

Use a single, clear and direct call to action telling your visitors to perform the key conversion oriented tasks that you want them to. Drop words like ‘Submit’ or ‘Know More’ from your CTA and replace them with action oriented copy. Create a sense of urgency to prompt immediate conversions, nudging along the procrastinators among your visitors into action right away.

CTA

Constant Contact’s utterly simple, yet superbly effective homepage has one loud and clear CTA.

Make sure your CTA button stands out from the rest of the page – make it bigger than other buttons, use a color that jumps out from the color scheme on your page – basically make sure it’s unmissable.

   3. Useful Microcopy

Microcopy is one of those little design touches that delight by virtue of being so unexpected. While whimsical microcopy does have its own place, it is more important to ensure that every single element on your page is geared towards one thing only – giving your users what they want as easily as possible, hence increasing the chances of converting them into actual customers.

Microcopy

Microcopy works beautifully in areas like form fields, error messages or even little ‘next step’ pointers across a website. It tells the user exactly what it expected of them without being intrusive or loud. Also, it adapts to various use case scenarios, serving up customized content, instead of having the same microcopy plastered across the site all the time.

   4. Visual Hierarchy

Visual hierarchy is the order in which we consume content and images. It is applied in web design by using images, text and their interplay to create a distinct and unmistakable message for the user.

With visual hierarchy, a good designer draws in the user’s attention to important pieces of content using images, arrows or even playing with the size of the text in and around the focal point of the page.

Pamela Wilson illustrates visual hierarchy very simply in her post “Design 101 | Successful Design: Who’s in Charge Here?” with two striking images.

No Visual Hierarchy  Visual Hierarchy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   No Visual Hierarchy                          Visual Hierarchy Employed

The image that uses clear visual hierarchy (the one on the right) focuses the reader’s attention to the most important part of the message – bit about ‘lowest prices’. Using that as the hook, the ad reels in the user’s interest and offers all important information in a clearly discernible manner.

   5. Speed

While loading up your website with the latest bells and whistles, you’ll sometimes end up with a site that is too bulky to open on slow internet connections (thank God, those are only a handful these days!) or open so slowly that users lose interest and leave the site even before the site is completely loaded. This need for speed is even more important in these days of the mobile web.

A huge factor in slow websites is the amount of graphics content that it carries. Use large images, sure. But instead of using print quality images on your website, optimize them for web use before using them.

Another issue that slows down websites is having no caching information on your images. On the topic of caching images to help them load faster, Mark Isham advices “To cache your images, update your webserver configuration to provide an Expires header to your image responses from the server. For images that do not change often, you should specify a “far future” Expires header, typically a date 6 months to a year out from the current date.”

Use a tool like Page Speed Grader that will check how fast your site is vis-à-vis worldwide averages. It’ll also help pinpoint reasons that may be slowing down your site.

Remember, speed is crucial for any website. Even a 1 second delay in page response leads to a 7% drop in conversion rates.

   6. Planned User Flows

Most websites look like a collection of pages designed in isolation, with no relation to one another, no real thought given to transitions from one section to another.

Designing your website based on a user’s expected journey across your site is step one in web design. These expected user journeys or ‘user flows’ as Morgan Brown call them in his article about designing user flows that lead to conversions, help in visualizing where a user arrives from and what path she might take to eventually convert.

User Flows

Conversion in user flows is often measured at page level, but for a website to actually be profitable, conversions are needed at the overall site level. This means sales, subscriptions, viewership, and loyalties. To fulfill this overarching need, designers need to also see how user flows within each page merge into those of the next leading up to the final goal in one seamless action.

   7. Product Recommendations

Research shows that users actually look forward to product recommendations on ecommerce websites. A full 56% of online shoppers would return to a site that offers product recommendations.

Recommendations can be made to returning visitors based on their last viewed items like the ones on Amazon’s home page. You can also offer similar products to what the customer is currently viewing on the inside product pages.

Another option is recommending complementary products to buy along with the product being currently viewed.

   8. Upfront disclosure of costs

Imagine hunting through tons of online shopping sites for that one elusive spare part for a broken home appliance and finally finding it on Site ABC. Super, right? Now imagine your dismay at finding out at the checkout page, just before you pay that the shipping cost is actually higher than the cost of the item itself. Bit of a bummer, I’m sure.

Most shoppers feel the same way and will drop off mid-purchase on discovering hidden costs like shipping or convenience fees at the very last step. This is one of the biggest causes of the abandoned shopping carts epidemic that plagues most ecommerce sites.

   9. Trust Marks

When a user arrives on your site, it’s your job to put them at ease and help them find exactly what they are looking for. A lot of times, even when a customer finds what they’re looking for on a site, they hesitate from making a purchase from the site as they feel insecure about trusting it with their payment information.

This is a very real problem. A Trustmark Attitudes and Perceptions Study in 2013 by Harris Interactive found that 89% of consumers are hesitant to interact with a site they do not trust.

Another 73% from the same study felt that their personal and financial information were safer in the presence of a trust mark.

Use trust marks wherever possible on your website. Trust marks could range from logos like McAfee or VeriSign to your own shopper protection guarantees like the one eBay has on its site and on their email communication.

Trust Marks

It does not matter if you are not an ecommerce site and don’t sell anything on your site. Building trust goes beyond collecting people’s financial data. It extends to them considering your site as a bona fide authority for information that has been trusted by millions of other users like them.

For ecommerce sites, trust marks are almost as important as payment gateways. Place recognizable trust mark logos like McAfee or VeriSig on the payments page to build a user’s confidence in the security of your financial network. Also place them across your site at strategic locations to reinforce this message in a more subliminal manner.

10.  Social Login

One of the major headaches that the proliferation of websites has caused for users is the need to remember tons of username and password combinations. With the security loopholes that are being brought to light every other day, passwords keep getting more complicated and consequently tougher to remember.

What if there was a way around this predicament? Social logins give users and website owners a ready solution.

Social logins are plug and play tools that can be built into your site, which will enable users to log into your site using their social networking profiles. This eliminates the need to create a fresh username and password for your site and makes the user’s web experience completely seamless.

Social Login

The benefit to a website owner is two-fold. Social logins reduce the user’s hesitancy to use your site, while simultaneously giving you rich social profile data about each user via the social login app.

Conclusion

While artistic web design will make your site stand out from the clutter, it’s only websites rooted in web design fundamentals that will give you the returns that you’re hoping for. Invest your time and energies on improving these aspects of your website before you launch into hyper expensive marketing campaigns to promote it.

Lay a strong foundation and your skyscraper will stand tall for years to come.

Image Source: 1

Shopping cart security: How small online businesses can build customer confidence

data security Large scale data security breaches are becoming increasingly common. No matter how technically sophisticated we become it seems hackers are always hot on our tails.

Indeed just recently eBay suffered a massive cyber attack on its 145 million users. And of course it is only natural that as data breaches grow so to will consumer concerns over how their personal and payment information is stored and managed online.

It’s not just large corporations like eBay that experience security breaches, an increasing number of SME’s are also vulnerable.

“The total number of data breaches increased 62 percent during the last 12 months, amounting to more than 627 million sensitive records exposed…We all know that large corporations continue to be the targets of these attacks, but what we have seen in the last 12 months is that small and medium-sized businesses are experiencing the largest number of breaches.” Internet Security Threat Snapshot Summary — 2014: Data Breaches Grow Significantly

So in addition to implementing adequate security measures, what can you as  a small online business owner do to build consumer confidence and reassure customers about the  security of your online store?

30% of consumers are increasingly concerned about the loss of personal data

New research by Software Advice* into the impact data breaches have on consumer confidence found that nearly one-third of consumers are increasing concerned about their personal information being stolen. The study found that:

  • 30% of consumers are increasingly concerned about data loss
  • 35% of consumers would stop shopping at a company where their personal data had been stolen
  • 53% of consumers would be somewhat more or much more likely to shop at a store where they were confident their personal data was secure.

In summary, the Software Advice research highlights that consumers are increasingly concerned about data security, would avoid shopping in stores from which their personal data was stolen and would look to shop somewhere where they felt confident their personal data was secure.

How to build customer confidence online

In all likelihood the majority of us are probably unfamiliar and uninterested in the highly technical aspects of data security.  Although implementing solid security measures is an absolute essential, in isolation it is not enough. You also need to work on building brand trust so that your customers feel secure and confident imparting personal and payment information when they shop at your store. We look at some best practice tips for a safe and secure online presence that will help foster trust amongst your customers.

1. Secure, PCI compliant e-commerce

The first thing is to make sure is that the e-commerce software solution that you choose offers secure data storage and is PCI / DSS compliant ( this is the payment card industry’s security standard).  Your shopping cart solution should be protected by  a PCI approved scanning vendor such as McAfee , VeriSign or PayPal and it should protect you against credit and debit card fraud and other threats such as identity theft and spyware.  So it is really important you spend time doing your research to make sure the e-commerce software you choose helps protects you and your customers against data security breaches.

2. Implement appropriate data-protection legislation

When you are storing and managing a customer’s database make sure you are familiar with and keep to relevant data-protection legislation. In the UK this would be the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulation Act. Following best practice and appropriate  legislation will ensure  less risks to the data you are managing and build customer confidence.

3. Build trust signposts

There are other ways to help build trust amongst your customers. Research indicates that simply announcing all your great security credentials is not enough. You also need to implement  ‘trust signposts’ to help build customers confidence in the safety of your online store. Large and established brands like John Lewis have ingrained such a sense of brand trust over the years that customers are rarely concerned about parting with their money or personal information. However, small businesses and start-ups don’t have this luxury so you have to work harder to build trust.

Website. Ensure your website is professional looking, up-to-date and easy to navigate. Customers won’t feel comfortable parting with payment or personal details on a site that is confusing to navigate around, has errors or is full of out of date content.

Customer service. Good customer service can only reflect positively on your brand image. Customers will be reassured with helpful, flexible and polite customer service. Make sure that all your contact and company details are clearly visible and easy for a customer to find.

Trustmarks.  Trustmark security logos can help reassure customers that the website they are on has the appropriate security protection. So whoever your security vendor is make sure you display their trustmark somewhere visible.

Customer testimonials. Client and customer testimonials, independent reviews, membership to industry organisations and links to relevant associations can all add kudos and  help reassure customers that your site is trustworthy.

4. Communicate to your customers

It won’t do any harm to remind your customers about how they can protect themselves against online fraud, such as by regularly checking their credit and bank account statements and properly managing their passwords. It can help show that you take the security of their personal information seriously. For example remind them that good password practice includes:

  • Not using the same email password for every site they register on.
  • Mix up letters, cases, numbers and special characters when creating a password.

So in an era of increased data breaches and sophisticated cyber-attacks, don’t assume that as a small online business or start-up you won’t be effected. Don’t underestimate the importance of secure e-commerce and follow good practice to ensure you are keeping you and your customers’ personal and payment information as safe as possible.

 

*New research on how data breaches can hurt retailers courtesy of Software Advice:

Software Advice helps buyers choose the right software. As a trusted resource, our website offers detailed reviews, comparisons and research to assist organizations in finding products that best fit their current and future needs. We have a team of software experts who conduct free telephone consultations with each buyer to shortlist systems best suited to their company’s specific requirements. Having a real conversation with our buyers allows us to fully understand their needs so we can match them with the right software vendors—eliminating weeks from the research process. Our software experts have advised more than 160,000 software buyers to date across various and niche software markets. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Software Advice employs a team of 100, as well as an engineering team in Cordoba, Argentina.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We’d love to hear you thoughts and experiences on this topic, so please do leave a comment

 

Why Ignoring Customer Service is a Terrible Idea (With 5 Case Studies)

Why Ignoring Customer Service is a Terrible Idea

That interminable wait time while on the phone with customer service. The ‘pleasure’ of repeating your problem to four different people over the phone before at least one of them comes close to a solution. The experience of being snubbed by a salesperson in a retail store. Getting a completely wrong dish from the one you ordered in a fancy restaurant. Sound familiar?

Who among us has not had a maddening experience with customer service associates of our chosen service providers in the last 30 days? My bet is, ‘very few’. How about in the last one year? That number probably veers closer to ‘zero’ than anything else.

Technology has progressed in leaps and bounds with hundreds of new apps and software that help businesses handle every tiny aspect of customer care. From Sales & CRM behemoths like Salesforce to customer care focused ones like ZenDesk, there’s a range of specialized tools that claim to make customer care a breeze.

Studies have even shown that good customer service has been consistently rated as the most important factor that makes a customer choose one brand over another.

And yet we are inundated with instances of bad, sometimes appalling customer service experiences.

What Science has to Say About it

Some of this may be down to the fact that human brains are hard wired into remembering bad experiences far more than positive ones. A study by Professor Roy Baumeister from Florida State University attributes this stronger impact of negative events on our brains to an evolutionary response.

In the early years of human evolution, remembering negative experiences helped humans avoid or minimize threats to their lives, hence ensuring survival of the fittest. Remembering good experiences on the other hand was not quite so crucial to the survival and evolution of the human race.

This is not just scientific mumbo-jumbo. Market research supports this scientific finding and goes on to prove that 55% of customers who suffer bad customer service switch to a different brand, 48% of them convince friends and family to stop using the offending brand. The positive effect of a good service experience is slightly less pronounced.

DimensionalResearch.com, Zendesk

Consequences of Bad Customer Service

Treating customers badly, as you might expect, is not healthy for your business or its longevity. Some of the immediate effects of poor customer service include:

    • Customers stop buying from you
    • Disgruntled customers spread negative word of mouth among their friends and family
    • Social media backlash
    • Sets a precedent to employees that treating customers shoddily is ‘O.K.’
    • Cost of making it up to a dissatisfied customer is far higher than getting service right in the first place
    • Acquiring a new customer in place of the one you lost is often 4 to 7 times more expensive than keeping existing customers happy

I could go on, but you get the general drift, don’t you? Now let me bring out the real eye-poppers.

According to a study by New Voice Media in December 2013, US businesses have been losing over $41 billion every year, owing to bad customer service. And this figure does not include the cost of replacing the lost customers with new ones.

Brands that were Burnt by Bad Customer Service

Most brands invest in customer service to avoid just such scenarios, yet customers are treated to some spectacularly bad service from time to time. Here are a handful of the most infamous customer service debacles in recent years.

1. United Breaks Guitars

United Airlines

When musician Dave Carroll flew United Airlines with his guitar checked in with the rest of his baggage, little did he expect to find a broken guitar at the end of his flight. Carroll took up the matter with the airline staff at Chicago’s O’Hare airport but got no response. On filing an official claim with the airline, United rejected his claim saying he had crossed the 24 hour deadline for making claims about damaged baggage.

On reaching a dead end to his situation, Carroll resorted to what he did best. He wrote a song ‘United Breaks Guitars’ and posted it on YouTube. It became a viral sensation with about 14 million views till date.

While the song and its popularity embarrassed United Airlines publicly and the Managing Director of Customer Solutions himself called Carroll to apologize personally, the damage had already been done. United lost about $180 million in stock value within four days of the video being posted on YouTube.

2. Netflix Charges Double

Netflix

In 2011, Netflix decided to expand from its DVD rental only service, to offering its content streaming online and spin off its original DVD rental service under a new brand name – Qwikster. There was one small glitch. They decided to charge customers separately for the Qwikster DVD rental service and the online rental service – even existing customers. That meant a price hike of 60% for customers opting for both services.

This move unleashed a maelstrom of negative social media backlash against Netflix calling it uncaring, greedy, insensitive to customers, and more. Netflix was lampooned on national television on Saturday Night Live and ended up losing about 800,000 subscribers and lost 77% of its stock value in a matter of four months.

What happened to Qwikster? Well, it died an unheralded death within three weeks of its launch.

3. Dell Hell

Dell

Dell made its name and fortune on the innovative premise of selling computers direct to customers with specs as per the customers’ requirements. However, as Dell has grown in size, it seems to have lost its finger on the pulse of its customers.

Jeff Jarvis, a journalist and blogger with significant online clout, bought a Dell laptop in 2005 which turned out to be in his words; a lemon. He experienced multiple problems with the machine and tried to fix them by calling Dell’s customer service department. He paid for a technician to come to his home and fix the computer, but the guy who showed up did not bring the parts along with him that he needed to fix the machine. In spite of a fruitless service visit, Jarvis was charged for the ‘service’ even though the shortcoming was clearly on the company’s part.

When repeated attempts to solve his problem through Dell’s customer service team came to naught, an enraged Jarvis took to his blog and posted the first in a series of hate posts against Dell calling it his ‘Dell Hell’. The posts quickly went viral around the world and Dell’s reputation took a beating among computer buyers worldwide.

Besides massive negative PR, blogger and social media backlash, Dell also had to suffer the ignominy of Google’s search results showing negative content for search terms containing ‘Dell’ in them. Dell tried to minimize the damage by refunding the price of the laptop to Jarvis, but by then; the damage was already done.

You might think that a customer service disaster on such a mega scale would make Dell reconsider its ways. But this ‘Dell Hell Redux’ story of yet another customer going through a similar struggle in 2014, makes you wonder whether anything changed in the 9 years since the original ‘Dell Hell’.

4. Delta Airlines Breastfeeding Debacle

Delta Airlines

Breastfeeding advocacy has reached a fever pitch in recent years, with medical science backing up what was long believed to be a healthy practice for both mother and child. However, instead of considering it as an essential child care act, breast feeding is still viewed from a sexual lens; prompting many businesses to ask breastfeeding mothers to leave their premises or stop breastfeeding immediately.

Emily Gillette from Santa Fe, New Mexico; faced a rather unpleasant situation in 2012 while on a flight from Vermont while breastfeeding her baby daughter. Gillette was apparently kicked off a Delta connections flight (operated by Freedom Airlines and Mesa Air) at Burlington, Vermont for breastfeeding her baby in flight.

Gillette filed a lawsuit against Delta and its allied airlines for discrimination, mental trauma and inconvenience caused. The airlines came together and offered Gillette an out of court settlement amount, which she accepted. Freedom and Mesa Air separately paid the Vermont Human Rights Commission $20,000 in a separate settlement.

The incident sparked outrage across the United States, affecting the reputation of all 3 airlines involved and uniting pro-breastfeeding groups against the big bad corporate enemy. 19 airports across the country hosted ‘nurse-ins’ by mothers showing their solidarity for the cause. Both Mesa Air and Freedom Airlines apologized to Gillette and declared their open support to breast feeding mothers on board in all their flights.

5. Toyota Vehicle Recall

Toyota

Vehicle recalls have become a part and parcel of the automobile industry. With prompt corrective action and swift apologies from carmakers, customers have started seeing them much less negatively than they did during an earlier age.

However, problems arise when a company is perceived to be callous and uncaring in the face of automotive glitches that can be potentially life threatening.

Starting in 2009, a spate of accidents resulting in 34 deaths were reported involving Toyota vehicles. All evidence pointed to an unintended acceleration problem causing the fatal crashes. All this while, Toyota denied any issues with their cars and did precious little to help the scenario.

In the meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times begins a series of reports exposing the flaws in Toyota vehicles and their linkages to the accidents. Following a public uproar, Federal authorities step in and Toyota is taken to court in a class action lawsuit.

Besides paying millions of dollars to the Federal authorities for the slip ups in their product, Toyota ended up settling the class action lawsuit for a sum of $1.2 billion.

The recalls led to a $21 billion drop in Toyota’s market value. The cover ups, early inaction and silence from Toyota on the issue, cost the company the trust of existing car owners as well as the chances of acquiring new customers in the immediate future.

Conclusion

As we’ve seen, it takes all kinds to make up the wonderful, mad world of customer service. Being a completely customer facing function, customer service slip ups are out there for the world to see and react to. It is up to brands and their custodians to figure out how to make customer service work for them instead of boomeranging badly.

The New Voice Media study quoted earlier also showed that when brands do a good job with their customer service, 70% of satisfied customers tend to be loyal to the brand and 69% of them would recommend it to other people.

Even if people are pre-disposed to remembering the mistakes that you make more than the good things that you do, the payoffs are much higher in the long run by being in the good books of your customers. Try it once and see what happens. I have a sneaky feeling you won’t regret choosing to maximize customer delight instead of minimizing customer complaints. Here’s to happier customers all around!

(Image Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

7 motivational tips for small businesses and start-ups

motivation tips for small businessesWe  all have days when simply getting out of bed and facing what lies ahead feels like a mammoth effort. As a small business owner you may find that when business is booming it is far easier to leap up and get on with the day than it is when things aren’t so rosy. So, how do you motivate yourself to carry on when times are tough?

‘In the midst of Winter I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer’ Albert Camus

Being your own boss and starting your own business can be hugely rewarding however, the reality is that running your own business is often a long journey filled with ups and downs. The challenge is to stay focused and motivated when there is an economic downturn, when sales are slow, when your work life balance is proving a challenge and the stress of wearing to many hats and juggling too many balls becomes exhausting.

Small business owners have the added pressure of carrying most (if not all) of the responsibility on their shoulders alone so it’s completely understandable that there are days when you just don’t want to face the day. We look at some tried and tested motivational tips to help you when you need a little bit of inspiration to get you going again.

 

7 top tips for when you need a bit of  extra motivation

networking1. Be social.

The reality of being your own boss and running a small business is that you can end up spending hours alone. There are  few if no colleagues around for you to  share a bit of light-hearted banter or talk through any concerns. As humans we are naturally social  and so it can be really de-motivating not having anyone about to talk to.  It is essential that you put time aside to socialise with others. Have a think about ways you can get together with people in the same situation as youself. Feeling part of a community is important so  why not try signing up to small business discussion groups. There are plenty of online forums that will enable you to join in on discussions with like-minded individuals.

Many towns have local small business networking groups that get together on a regular basis to network and chat. Business mentors can work really well too – and it can be an excellent way to bounce ideas around with someone and get an objective and experienced opinion.  Realising that you are not alone and  that there are other people in a similar situation to you who will have experienced much of what you go through as a small business owner can make a real difference to how you manage your business ups and downs.

time management2. Improve your time management skills.

Unfortunately the nature of running a small business or start-up is that you are likely to be juggling all sorts of roles – from accountant to marketer and strategist to administrator. This means that trying to balance all these disparate tasks  can sometimes feel like an impossible mountain to climb. Good time management skills can help you learn how to prioritize your workload and  focus your time and effort in the right place. Feeling in control of things is a far more productive than feeling so swamped and out of control that you can’t see the wood for the trees.

exercise and motivation3. Take a break

Don’t feel bad about taking a break from your business. This could be anything from taking time out for a 20 minute coffee break  or a whole day out with your nearest and dearest. Having a break can help you see things in a different light and approach problems with fresh eyes. Exercise is also a great way to get you motivated and lift your spirits. Many studies show the link between regular exercise and improved motivation. So if you are having a bad day, get out and do some exercise and see if it puts a better spin on the day.

self help books4. Read some self-help books.

Ok there maybe a few cynical raised eyebrows here,  but self-help books aren’t all Bridget Jones-esque ‘Men are from Mars women are from Venus’ type fare. There are some really excellent books out there that stand the test of time and are used by prominent business folk  for inspiration. Indeed, ‘How to win friends and influence people was first published over 75 years ago and has sold over 150 million copies and Feel the Fear and Do it anyway has been riding high in the best seller chars for over 25 years.  Take a look at this article from Entrepeneur.com that lists some of the most popular motivational books for entrepreneurs.

positive thinking5. Think positively and celebrate successes

Of course it’s not always possible to look on the brighter side of life, but in order to succeed in a challenging environment  it pays to remain as positive as possible in your outlook. Seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty can give you the push you need to carry on when times are tough. It is important that you learn to accept mistakes and see them as part of the learning process rather than as pure failure. We often waste valuable time lamenting on our perceived failures rather than learning from them and swiftly moving on.

And when you do succeed or do something well then sit back and acknowledge that achievement – celebrating success is a great motivator.

facing fears6. Face any fears straight on.

There are always tasks we don’t want to do, phone calls we don’t want to make and problems we don’t want to deal with. However the more time that we put off dealing with lingering problems, the bigger they become and the more likely you will start feeling unmotivated.  I promise you 9 times out of 10 you will feel a whole lot better by simply taking a deep breath tackling  the problem straight on.

ecommerce boss7. Remind yourself of why you want to be your own boss.

When you’re having a bad day, week or month and business is tough, it is often easier to focus on all the things that make being your own boss challenging. Therefore, it is really important that you don’t lose sight of the reason you became your own boss. Remind yourself of all the benefits running your own business can bring. For example:

  • Not having a manager to answer to
  • Making your own decisions
  • Creative control
  • Sense of satisfaction and reward
  • Setting your own working hours
  • Tax benefits
  • Working directly with your customers

Try writing a list of all the things that you love about being your own boss and stick it up somewhere where you can look at it whenever you need to remind yourself of why you have chosen this path! I’ll leave you with an appropriate and inspiring quote from The Chimp Paradox:

“Don’t be disheartened if you have set-backs: instead learn from them and always celebrate any successes. Remember you always have a choice. The choice you make and how you choose to deal with life will determine your success and happiness. So what are you going to do today that will make you happier and more successful?” Dr Steve Peters, The Chimp Paradox

We’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences in this post, so do please leave a comment.

 Man in bed image courtesy of graur codrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Runner image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Coffee cup image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Books image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Positive thinking image courtesy of winnond / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Fear / Courage image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ecommerce man image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Why Email Marketing Could be the Next Best Thing since Sliced Bread

OK. So that was a bit of an exaggeration. But just a bit.

While email itself has been around for about 43 years, email marketing is about 36 years old. Did you know that the first ever email marketing campaign, for Digital Equipment Corp, generated over $13 million in revenue for the company? This was sent to just 400 email IDs.

Not much has changed since 1978. Despite many expert predictions that its end was near, email marketing continues to go on strong – unglamorous and unheralded – but extremely ROI efficient.

According to ExactTarget, a digital marketing and analytics company; as of 2014,

  • 95% of online consumers use email.
  • 91% of consumers reported checking their email at least once a day.
  • 70% say they always open emails from their favorite companies. Conversely, only 18% say they never open commercial emails.

Proof that the time-tested medium is not just alive and kicking, but actually looked forward to by 70% of potential customers.

So now that we have established that email marketing is important and you would probably be doing your business a disservice by ignoring it, let’s look at all the benefits it can bring you and then maybe you would be a tad less skeptical of the headline of this piece.

So what are the benefits of email marketing? Read on.

Easy to create and execute

Email maybe yesterday’s technology, but creating state of the art emails with all bells and whistles is easy as pie with today’s technology. Hundreds of tools exist that allow even the most untrained person to simply drag and drop design elements into beautiful templates and shoot off a well-crafted marketing message to millions of users.

Easy to create and execute

Sending out emails is again ridiculously simple now with services like MailChimp, Aweber, Mad Mimi and the likes dotting the crowded email automation software space. There is no dedicated infrastructure set up required by you as a business owner. All you need is an email account to send out the marketing mails, a creative that conveys your message effectively, a cleaned up database and a tool to actually deliver the messages.

Cheap

The fact that email marketing is so ridiculously cheap is probably the biggest reason why it has managed to hold its own against the new big boys of marketing like PPC, SEO and Social Media.

According to Experian, email marketing is 20 times more cost-effective than traditional media. For only a few pennies each, email can drive traffic to your storefront or Website more effectively than a TV or PPC campaign.

Moreover, email marketing requires you to reach out to existing customers or atleast potential customers who have willingly signed up to receive communication from you. The fact that it is  6 to 12 times less expensive to sell to an existing customer than to a new one, makes the cost to returns ratio of email marketing even stronger.

Targeted, no spillage

With most traditional media like television, print or radio, you can filter down to the most probable audience for your message, but there is no guarantee that a 45 year old man might not be watching a commercial for pop colored nail polishes that are all the rage in high school corridors.

This problem is addressed to some extent with SEO and PPC. But even with them, there is always some amount of wasted advertising dollars with the wrong audience watching an ad meant for someone else.

Targeted, no spillage

Email marketing neatly solves this problem by only addressing specifically those people who displayed an interest in your product / service, hence making targeting as laser sharp as it gets.

Decide the timing

Anybody who has dabbled in any traditional marketing would recall the days when you would wait for hours for your ad to show up on TV. After all, you could buy a particular time band, not a precise moment in time on television. Even when your ad does finally show up, there is no guarantee that your intended audience actually saw it. The same holds true for all other forms of marketing as well – there’s only so much control you have on when your message will be broadcast and if your audience is in a receptive mood to it at all.

With email marketing, you get to decide exactly when the email will be delivered to your customers’ inboxes. Knowing your customers’ habits, it is entirely in your power to time your emails such that they are in a position to read and absorb what you want to convey to them.

Interactive, shareable

Emails, unlike PPC or SEO or TV, allow for a two way dialogue between a customer and a brand. You can reach out to your customer and find out their preferences, they can reply to you with things that they want or stuff that’s bothering them, you can tailor your communication to your customers based on their specific requests – the possibilities for engagement are endless.

Email forwards were probably the pre-cursor of the social media sharing craze that we are witnessing today. Interesting content, even commercial content, can and does get shared very frequently via emails.

Quick, immediate results

With almost all other mediums taking their own sweet time to being in the dough, the results of email marketing are often very immediate. It is possible to roll out a fresh campaign within a matter of a few hours – something that is impossible with any other marketing platform – and the responses generated from email campaigns are equally instant.  The overall results of bulk emailing are seen almost entirely within 48 hours of sending out the initial email.

No geographical restrictions

As long as you have an email database (accurate and updated regularly), it does not matter where your target audience is located. Your message will reach a customer located on another continent at the same time and at the same cost that it takes to reach any local customer.

No geographical restrictions

The reverse can be applied equally successfully to email marketing. You can specifically geo-target customers from a particular region using email marketing at no extra cost or effort – yet another benefit that is unique to email marketing.

Measureable

A marketing email is a number cruncher’s wet dream. Almost every tiny aspect about email marketing is measurable and relatable back to actions on your website.

Right from the mundane numbers like open rates and CTRs, marketers can now measure the number of times a single email was opened by the same customer, what time was it opened; open timings can be co-related with purchase timings on the brand’s website; customer preferences can be gauged with heat maps of clicks on a particular email; email creatives can be tested out for efficiency by measuring various engagement factors; and so on.

Understand customer needs, build customer profiles

All that data that can be mined from marketing emails can be put to very good use with the emergence of Big Data and sophisticated marketing analytics.

The way a customer interacts with a marketing email reveals a lot about his or her needs, buying habits and communication preferences. These bits of data can be combined together to form consolidated user profiles for every single customer. A 360 degree customer profile is like a gold mine in the hands of a company. It can be used to create products and services that would best suit one’s customers, and allows you to tailor the online and offline experiences a customer has with your brand based on deep customer knowledge instead of depending on good old luck.

Personalization is easier

As described above, the rich customer data that is gleaned from email marketing can be applied to creating custom made, personalized user experiences.
Why is personalization important, you may ask? I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

Leads who are nurtured with targeted content produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities.
~ DemandGen

Personalized emails improve click through rates by 14% and conversion rates by 10%.
~ Aberdeen

While on-site or in-store personalization are uphill tasks with huge automation, data mining and execution costs, personalization in emails comes at no extra cost. Right from personalized subject lines that include a customer’s name in them, to personalized content based on the customer’s purchase history and user profile, to even scheduling emails based on the time best suited to specific customers or customer segments, the options for customization and personalization are myriad.

Recover lost customers

Studies show that approximately 67.91% of all customers who begin to buy a product online, discard their shopping midway and move out of an average e-commerce site. Unfortunately, just about 29% of companies currently analyze and take action on shopping cart abandonment as per another study by Redeye.com and eConsultancy.

Don’t be one of those companies that allow hard-earned visitors to your website walk away without any attempt at recovering them. Email is a great way to reach out to these customers in a low cost, high efficiency way. Studies show that retailers earn $5 worth of revenue with every single cart abandonment email sent out.

High open rates with mobile

You don’t need me to rattle off large statistics to know that mobile is the next big thing. Hell, it’s probably the current big thing. With the growth in smartphone penetration, we have seen email open rates on mobile going steadily up.

From 42% in January 2013, emails opened on mobile devices grew by 21% and stood at a full 51% in December 2013.
~ Litmus Software

This is an encouraging trend for email marketing which was suffering from falling open rates in the last few years. The switch to mobile emails has meant higher reach and higher conversions for brands.

Allows triggered, real time messaging

We have all experienced that tinge of surprise when we see an email in our inbox that correlates the content of their messaging with a recent action that we made on that brand’s website.

These magical emails are “triggered emails” that are sent out in real time in response to a customer’s behavior on a website.

Allows triggered, real time messaging

Triggered emails can be sent out for various events e.g. a welcome email when a user signs up into your website for the first time, a reminder email for monthly purchased items, birthday or holiday greetings emails to prevent a dormant customer from lapsing and so on.

Open rates stand at about 50% for triggered emails, while CTRs for triggered emails are double at 10% as compared to business as usual emails. – Epsilon Email Trends and Benchmarks Study 2013.

A/B tests are easier

Every professional email marketer knows that no email can be sent out without testing it out first. Tests can be carried out instantly and with very little effort using current email marketing tools. Various aspects of email can be tested for open rates and conversions like the subject line, the time of send out, the creative, the right customer segments and much more.

The fact that testing is quick and free makes it easier to create more precise and relevant pieces of communication.

Super high ROI

Email holds the distinction of being probably the most cost effective tool in a marketer’s tool kit.

Email marketing delivers $67 or revenue for every $1.7 spent.
~ Direct Marketing Association, 2011

With its low costs and low barriers to entry, email marketing is easily executable by the smallest of companies. Its high reach and equally high ROI ensure that every penny spent on email marketing can be accounted for in full for every single campaign carried out.

That is more than what can be said for the new kids on the marketing block. What say Facebook, Twitter?

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