Monthly Archives

November 2018

How to Strategically Respond to Customers on Social Media

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When your customers want to reach you, where do they go? Chances are, they head to your social media accounts. While phone and email are still critical support channels, it’s no surprise that nearly 70 percent of consumers have used social media for customer service on at least one occasion: why would they spend 10 minutes listening to hold music when they can just send a quick tweet to get what they need and be on their merry way?

Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or any other channel, your customers want to reach you there, so it’s important to treat social media support requests as an integral part of your customer service program. Here are six practical ways you can listen thoughtfully, address concerns, and learn from customer feedback on social media.

Monitor your mentions

The first step to offering great social media support is actively listening for mentions of your brand. There are a range of social media monitoring tools (some of them free!) like Keyhole, Hootsuite, Buzzsumo, and Digimind that you can use to track discussion of your brand on social media. These tools can notify you whenever your brand name is mentioned, so you can catch chatter that’s related to you, even if you’re not tagged in it. Don’t forget to monitor phrases related to your products or promotions, plus any hidden mentions, such as misspellings of your brand name.

Meet your customers where they are

When your customers contact you on social media, it’s important that you give an initial response over that same channel. For example, if your customers ask a question on Facebook, they don’t want an email or phone call in response — they’re expecting you to reply directly on Facebook. Doing so helps you keep the flow of the conversation and maintain accountability for every message you receive.

If your customer’s question involves something personal, or if you think you can answer better over an email or phone call, let them know you want to transition to another medium, and assure them that you’ll take care of the issue there. Try sending something like this: “Thanks for your question. Can you direct message us your email so I can send you some resources that will help with this issue?”

Sending this type of response benefits you in two ways: your customer will know to check their email for your reply, and the rest of the social media world can see that you cared and responded.

Respond quickly with reusable responses

Social media moves fast, so customers expect a quick reply. A study by Twitter revealed that 71 percent of Twitter users expect a brand to respond within an hour. Keeping up with customer posts and tweets might feel overwhelming, but your social media monitoring tool gives you a head start. Another helpful strategy to respond faster is to write reusable messages for each social channel to answer frequently asked questions. Organize these responses so your whole team can easily search, copy and paste, and tweak them later.

Building out these commonly asked social responses helps make sure every customer service rep on your team uses messaging that’s consistent with your brand. As a bonus, an organized reusable message library can double as a great example and teaching tool for new or less experienced employees.

Reply to every post

It can be challenging to keep up with an endless flurry of comments and mentions, and it’s easy to let some fall off your radar. But when you brush off a question or comment you receive on social media, you’re ignoring your customer.

Ignoring customers online has its consequences. According to one digital engagement service, 88 percent of customers are less likely to purchase from a company that ignores customer questions on social media. So, take the time to acknowledge every comment with an authentic reply. Check out how customer service reps at Zapposreply to every comment and sign off with their initials to make it feel more human

Track your trends

Look for trends in your customers’ social requests and in your team’s performance, like response times, mention frequency, and commenting times. When you have insights into these broader trends around your social media support, you can make proactive changes to avoid complaints in the future and set goals for your team to aim for.

Use a social media listening system like Brandwatch and Buffer to get insights on trends around your brand, and try a social media customer service software like Frontto get analytics for performance metrics for your team. Try tracking metrics like these:

  • Individual response time
  • Team average response time
  • Busiest time of day
  • Busiest day of the week

Answer with empathy

Like all customer service, social media support requires empathy. Reading customers’ messages closely will help you understand their feelings and determine what tone to reply in. Generally, you’ll want to match your tone to the customer’s. For example, if they send you something quippy, you want to respond with a similar clever kindness. However, a frustrated-sounding tweet about a late delivery merits an equally serious reply. When your company is at fault, write a response that takes ownership of the issue.

To make sure social media comments are handled with empathy, provide your team with a guide for giving great support. Include instructions on how to write in your brand’s voice and tone, examples of what to say and what not to say, and best practices that are specific to each channel.

Providing a great customer experience across multiple channels like email, social media, and phone can feel daunting, but by bringing all your communications channels together and giving your team the tools they need to reply, you’ll be able to satisfy all your customers, wherever they are.

Interested in a free consultation? Click here and we’ll contact you ASAP

Is Your Holiday Email Marketing Strategy in Place?

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Online trends change rapidly. Right now, Instagram stories are the new, stylish way to promote an eCommerce store, but they might be a thing of the past soon. Due to the ever-changing nature of trends, businesses of all sizes are always struggling to stay current, but it’s important to stay on top of critical developments in the digital world.

Often overlooked, email marketing is still an extremely powerful to re-engage with potential or existing customers and entice them back to an online store. In fact, email marketing remains the most effective way to engage users and generate revenue.

Luckily, your hard work will yield great results. To demonstrate the effectiveness of email marketing, here are seven statistics to inspire your holiday marketing campaigns today!

-Welcome emails generate eight times more revenue than regular promotional emails.

-Seventy-two percent of millennials prefer email as a form of business communication.

-Ninety-one percent of people say they want to receive promotional emails. That’s great news for eCommerce businesses.

Fifty-one percent of Americans prefer to shop online. More than half of the population is more likely to make a purchase after receiving an email than visiting an actual store.

Eighty percent of Americans make an online purchase at least once a month.

-In 2017, 44 percent of the total sales in the country came from Amazon.

Consumers make purchasing decisions based on price (87 percent), the cost of shipping (80 percent) and discount offers (71 percent).

Now, it’s time to plan your email marketing campaigns for the upcoming holiday season. Here are some useful tips to create a series of effective automated email messages to maximize your revenue and grow your brand online.

According to industry experts, there are several tried-and-true methods to harness the power of automated email series that continue to deliver great results, starting with these.


Welcome emails

According to Omnisend, the average percentage of welcome email openings is 45 percent, which is much larger than the average open rate of 18 percent for promotional emails. This means that potential buyers are very interested in the initial offer, and you shouldn’t let that opportunity slip away. An excellent way to start is by sharing your gratitude by offering a special deal. Kate Spade has optimized the welcome email message by rewarding new subscribers with a 15 percent discount on their first purchase.


Abandoned cart emails

According to recent statistics, up to 80 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned. However, another source advises that a good portion of that lost revenue can be recovered if the company has a strategy to re-engage users who abandoned their carts.

Think about this: Consumers who put items in their carts are already interested in your products. Therefore, it will be much easier to get them to come back to your store. They just need a little push from a strategic email.

Nordstrom is a company that knows how to execute an effective abandoned cart message. With this campaign, they show consumers the exact items remaining in their cart, which makes the email highly relevant to users; therefore, they can be more successful with increasing conversion rates that drive revenue. Consumers who receive these emails can easily click on the image and complete their purchase, which creates a great user experience.

Nurture emails

When it comes to nurturing emails, audience segmentation is key. It will allow you to deliver tailored messages that can increase your chances of conversion. Start by grouping your subscribers according to common factors, such as similar actions, purchase history, and preferences.

Once that’s completed, consider writing copy that helps subscribers know more about your brand or products. Show them a specific item that meets their interests or tells them an engaging story. This can help inspire loyalty to your brand and motivate them to make a purchase. Consumers are often bombarded with stale sales pitches, but engaging content will make your emails stand out from the competition.

How to Use Automated Emails for the Holidays

Now that we have discussed the basis of automated emails, here are some great ways to maximize them for the upcoming holiday season. Seasonal email marketing campaigns can be divided into three broad groups: pre-holiday messaging, the busiest shopping days of the season (like Black Friday or Free Shipping Day) and after the holidays end. Let’s go through each one individually:

Pre-holidays emails

In a perfect world, pre-season campaigns should be planned months in advance. About three months before the scheduled launch day, the templates should be ready, and the audience has been carefully segmented. These emails should be sent, at the latest, a month before the start of the season. So, if you want to craft a successful Christmas email marketing campaign, the emails should be sent no later than right after Thanksgiving. Now, whether you send these emails on a daily or weekly basis depends on the products you sell or the services you are equipped to offer.

Holiday shopping emails

These emails should follow the same format as the pre-season campaigns. The groundwork has already prepared, and now it’s time to offer your best products and promotions to really maximize your Q4 revenue.

Post-season emails

These emails are key to clearing out inventory before the end of the season. They should be focused on the amount of money customers can save by purchasing your products at this time. Another approach is to extend holiday messaging through the end of the year as Madewell does with giving back initiatives that don’t end with Christmas.

One last critical factor that needs to be taken into account is mobile users. Everyone lives on their smartphones, and this means that subscribers are likely to open your emails through this type of device. Therefore, making sure your email campaigns are mobile-friendly is imperative to attract revenue through mobile sales.

Every single detail counts in order to get the best results from your email marketing campaigns. Just remember that most consumers need to be guided along the path to purchase, so make sure that your message is clear and conduct split-testing to identify the best performing call to action (CTA).

Once you apply these tips, you’ll be poised to capture vital revenue during the holiday shopping season.


Interested in a free consultation? Click here and we’ll contact you ASAP

Thanksgiving Marketing Campaigns Your Business Should Try

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Thanksgiving marketing shouldn’t just be about Black Friday. We’re certainly not saying that you can’t get in on the money making but we would encourage you to go further and consider giving thanks to your customers during the holiday.

Just as Patagonia donated 100 percent of its 2016 global Black Friday sales to nonprofits benefiting the planet or Walmart’s #WellWishes 2017 campaign that donated 1$ to the Children’s Miracle Network with every purchase made from the Kraft brand. Businesses both big and small have the opportunity to give back to customers. We’ve come up with a few samples to inspire you on how to start your own campaign in the spirit of giving thanks.

If You Feed Them, They Will Come

Everyone enjoys a good meal and the holidays usually bring family and friends together and Thanksgiving is no different. Last year, Wix gave thanks by hosting a free dinner for members of the San Francisco community. Have you considered hosting some sort of Thanksgiving event to say thanks to all your current clients and maybe some potential ones as well?

Show Your Gratitude

Say “thank you’ to clients on your active social media platforms, give them a shout out. Thanking them in a personalized manner can really go a long way. And ff you really want to go above zero, try writing individual thank you notes to your best clients and show them how thankful you are.

Be Generous

Your customers give you so much so find a way this holiday to give back, even something as little as a frozen turkey. Turn their advocacy for your brand into a contest by asking them to like and retweet a photo or to send in pictures of their family dinner. As long as the message fits in with your company’s brand, you’re golden.

Get Into The Holiday Spirit

Get festive by using Thanksgiving themed hashtags or using Thanksgiving inspired content. Show your customers how much you enjoy the holiday.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and be thankful already!

Interested in a free consultation? Click here and we’ll contact you ASAP

How Should Your Business Budget For Marketing?

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The need to establish a marketing budget is no secret to small business owners, but just how much to budget can still be mystifying.

First of all, it’s absolutely okay to admit that you don’t really have any idea where to begin on this. Most small businesses have no formal or consistent marketing line when it comes to their budget. And even if they do, they don’t have much basis behind that number. They’re probably not contemplating what’s a normal spend in their industry or just how much their competitors are allocating. Most people take the haphazard “shot in the dark” method when it comes to their marketing budgets.

In reality, no one really knows exactly what to spend on marketing. Each business is different, every industry is complex, and there’s several variables that are always fluctuating. There isn’t even common ground among experts: Should the budget be limited to just advertising? Are sales promotions included? What about PR? Furthermore, does it cover the cost of the sales team’s salaries and overhead?  What about the website? Social media?

One size does not fit all, despite popular belief. Budgets in general, not just marketing ones, are based on a large array of factors and deal with several different functions. The best any business owner can do is compare their spend to revenue, their competition, as well as any and every available data. So instead of worrying about what you’re NOT doing, just accept where you are and we can go from there. Now you can begin to effectively better your marketing budget, however it was initially established.

In order for your budget to be deemed efficient, you will need to decide which audience you want to target. You will want to begin with a broader market, something like age or income, then gradually narrow down. Aim for potential clients or customers based on more complex traits such as their shopping habits, their wants and needs, or their unique lifestyle. The more familiar you are with your targeted audience, the more efficiently you can adjust your approach.

After you’ve established the people your business wants to reach, the next logical step is to evaluate just how effective your message is. Is it appealing? Focused? Are you building trust while differentiating your brand? And just how goals evolve over time, your message will need to adapt too. Being deliberate with who you are as a company while tracking results will further assist in the process of determining your marketing budget.

There’s a lot to unpack here but the main idea we want to stress is that because there are so many factors to be considered, marketing budgets are personal and highly individualized. After several rounds of assessment, you can slowly begin to dial in on your audience and message while simultaneously determining whether to increase spend for greater returns or trim to improve margins. Eventually, something that started as a wild “shot in the dark” will begin to take shape and progressively become logical.

So instead of worrying about how much you should be spending, focus your energies on spending it more wisely.

Interested in a free consultation? Click here and we’ll contact you ASAP