Email Marketing Part 3: Analytic’s & Overview

Welcome back to final part of this Email Marketing topic where we will be going over what do look for after you’ve already sent out your customized newsletter.  Going over and looking to see your email lists reaction is crucial to consistently improving and having a successful newsletter.

First thing we are going to look at is your unique opens, these are the amount of opens your newsletter received. The reason this is important to look at is for future topics and seeing what exactly your list basis prefers to look at. At the beginning, don’t be afraid to try new topics, content, links, see what works best for you.

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The second item we are going to look at is the “clicked” rate, this is the amount of times your list interacts with that newsletter. Looking at this can help you see what layout works best, where to put that picture, where to put that text, or where to incorporate that link.

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The third thing we want to look at is our bounced rate. Unfortunately it will happen, but there is a difference between a hard and soft bounce. A hard bounce is a bounce that indicates a permanent reason an email cannot be delivered, either the mail doesn’t exist, or the email server blocked the email. A soft bounce however is an indication of a temporary delivery issue to an address, these emails will be attempted to be sent out 2-3 times over 90 days before getting put into the hard bounce category.

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The fourth thing we want to look at is our 24 hour performance. Pay close attention to this, figuring out and comparing results to previous newsletters will help your company narrow down the time that is most efficient for your company.

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Lastly, we look at the top links clicked section, this section is an indication of what your subscribers have clicked on the most. Paying attention to this will help you find what material your audience prefers to see and read about.

Email Marketing Part 2: Design & Content

Hey guys/gals welcome back to part 2 of the email marketing segment. So we have already built up our audience and created a few catchy themes to keep subscribers interested in your newsletter. Now it’s time to design and create a quality newsletter to send out to your customer base.

The first thing we want to concentrate on the newsletter is the subject name, in this few word header will be the deciding factor whether or not a subscriber opens the email or just tosses it out. Creating a good header that is not only interesting but intrigues the subscriber enough to want to read the whole newsletter. Doing this will become one of the biggest assets to your company.

The next thing we want to take a look at and make sure is just as important as a subject line is the first fold of the newsletter. This is where the most important content of the newsletter is going to go, having good quality content that displays what you are trying to accomplish with the newsletter. If you are trying to increase web traffic to your store, ensure some links directing them back to where you want them to go. If you want to acquire more sales within a short period of time, maybe offer a sale, or a coupon to the subscribers to encourage them to spend a little more money. Doing small things and concentrating on how well the newsletter is set up will determine the amount of positive feedback you will acquire.

The last thing we want to look at on designing the newsletter is the bottom portion, this is where your information goes that’s just not as important as the first fold but can still intrigue subscribers to read the entire newsletter. This is a good place to include recent news about the shop, or even upcoming events that can get your subscribers wanting to know more. This is also a good place to have interesting articles about related topics to your company. But it’s also a good place to leave your customers happy and have them waiting for that next newsletter.

Be sure to tune in next week for the final part of this Email Marketing Segment!

Call Us Today!

The team at OBN has made a concerted effort to contact each of our clients individually. Much like ourselves, we find our customers are busy running the day to day tasks. The reason for these courtesy calls is just that. Our first goal is to be sure you have all of your questions answered and possible assist you with any tasks that you have been meaning to get to. The second and possibly larger reason for us calling on you all is that we very much want to be sure that you are all aware of our marketing capabilities. From some simple Online Marketing Campaign to full on marketing management, the power of a well structured can drastically change the livelihood of your business.

If you have read any of my past Blogs you will know that OBN believes in the power of marketing. We can custom tailor your marketing solution to meet your budget. The process is really quite painless and the rewards that can be reaped are well worth the effort. While we will continue to reach out to all of you I urge you to get in touch with us too. There is no task to small to help you with and the knowledge that we have to share with you can literally be the difference in making or breaking your business.

As always call us at: 1-800-699-0820 ext 814 for sales/marketing and ext 2 for support.

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Creating An Effective Logo

Every company needs an effective logo to represent their branding and provide consumers an easily recognizable graphic representation of the company and it’s core values. Logo’s can become the public face of a business and in examples of extremely effective logo design, can even replace the brand name as the most ubiquitous aspect of a company (see the Nike “Swoosh” or McDonald’s “Golden Arches”). Creating and implementing an effective logo is an essential step in the evolution of any successful retailer.

What is the purpose of a logo?

Logos are an aspect of a company’s branding, they’re used as the graphical representation of a company’s values and goals. Logos are used to identify a particular entity in a sea of competitors, and help to inspire loyalty, trust and admiration among consumers. An effective logo design will help to convey not only what a company does, but what it stands for. Although logos are not generally created to be a salable commodity, it’s not unheard for a great logo to become just that (again, see the Nike “Swoosh”).

What elements make up a good logo?

Generally it’s accepted that there are 5 basic principles that every logo should encompass:

  1. Simple
  2. Memorable
  3. Timeless
  4. Versatile
  5. Appropriate

Simple: Often logos need to communicate both effectively and quickly. Logos need to be as easily recognized by someone speeding by a billboard at 70mph, as they would be by someone watching a 30 second commercial on tv. The key to speedy recognition is simplicity of design; the fewer elements, the easier it is for the viewer to distinguish what he or she is looking at.

Memorable: Of equal importance to the logo being recognized, is the logo’s ability to leave a lasting impression on the viewer. The goal of an effective logo is to create a relationship between a symbol and what it symbolizes, to accomplish this task it must be easily remembered. An effective logo will be easily remembered so that the consumer can easily recognize the symbol of a company and what that company stands for.

Timelessness: In order for a logo to remain memorable it also must remain unchanged. Logos need to be created in such away that allows them to remain relevant even with changes in design aesthetics and popular preferences. Updates are appropriate from time to time, but the general feel of a logo should be created in such a way as to allow for changes in taste without compromising the logos integrity.

Versatile: Logos need to be able to function across a variety of different media and applications. For instance an ideal logo would look good on a website header, plastered on a billboard, or stitched into a company t-shirt. An effective logo should look as good in black and white as it does in color. Ideally logos should be created in vector graphics format. Vector graphics scale to any size and can be enlarged or shrunk to fit any application without a loss of quality.

Appropriate: The effective logo needs to take into account the audience it is hoping to capture and be appropriately designed with the intended viewers in mind. This isn’t to say that every logo for a gun store needs to have a firearm in the design, however if you’re intended audience is the recreational hunter you may want to include camouflage or a deer, where as a company going after tactical sales may want to include carbon fiber or soldier silhouette in the design.

What does good logo design cost?

The cost of logo design can vary greatly depending on the needs of client. How many logo concepts need to be presented? How many rounds of revisions are included in the design quote? What type of finished files are required, .pdf, .eps, .png, .jpg? Large companies have spent millions of dollars on logo design and implementation. OBN offers logo design packages starting at $499 that include multiple design concepts, one round of revisions, and final image outputs in several formats including scalable vector graphics.

 

Return on Investment

Investing is one of the most important aspects companies have to deal with on a regular basis. Companies have to figure out when to spend while also looking at what to spend it on that. Now an investment doesn’t necessarily mean money, but can also be the time, or effort put towards a particular thing. However companies are main objective is to make money while turning a consistent profit. But have you ever wonder if the investment your company has made actually turns a profit? There’s a way to do it, it’s called Return on Investment (ROI); which is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or to compare the efficiency of a number of different investments.

indexIt is crucial for companies to check their Return on Investment wherever they designate any kind of investment. You want to make sure you are turning a profit on your investments ROI can be used to help narrow down where a company is or is not making a return on their investment.

Customer Service

Customer phone calls are important to any e-commerce or brick and mortar business. Want to learn some tips, tricks, and best practices to make your customer phone calls more effective? Let’s take a look at how to handle sales related phone calls in the first part of my two part series on customer service.

Part 1: Handling Sales Related Customer Calls

Seeing an Opportunity
This process is very similar to interacting with a customer in your brick and mortar retail store or even at a gun show. In the e-commerce world helping customers over the phone is not only necessary, but also a great opportunity to help and connect with customers. A person calling your phone line is probably looking to make a purchase, but before we begin, we need to lay down some ground rules for customer call.

Establish a Greeting

First greet each customer in a professional manner. A simple way to do this is to say, “Hello, (your business name), this is (your name), how can I help you?”
This will put the customer at ease, it ensures they have gotten to the right place and are talking with a real person. You now need to let the customer talk and tell you what they are looking for.

Asking the Right Questions

So let’s say for the sake of this post that, you own a gun store and a customer has called you. You greet politely them as usual and the customer then asks you, “What gauge shotgun do your recommend for skeet shooting?” This isn’t a waste of your day, it’s a buying signal.

Once they have said what they are looking for repeat it back to them and ask another probing question. This shows that you are listening and trying to help them. Try to ask questions that will give you insight into the customer’s needs. Avoid questions that make the customer unsure or intimidated. If you ask the right questions you should be able to get a very clear sense of your customer’s wants and needs.

Establishing a Budget

Next, you need a budget. Ask them, “How much are you looking to spend?”
Be prepared for two types of answers. You are either going to hear a number or they are going to ask you to make a recommendation.

• A number is easy. From there you would talk about products that are at or around their target range. Don’t be afraid to recommend something that isn’t exactly at their number. If they don’t need to spend as much or if they may need to spend a little more to accomplish their goal, tell them, and make your honest recommendation. They will be much happier with something costing 10-20% more or less than the number they mentioned if it is the right product for them.

• Recommending a price range is more difficult, but it’s nothing to be intimidated by. Simply think about it this way; recommend a specific product that you would want to purchase given two conditions:

• You are looking to get a high quality item that will last a long time

• You are looking to invest a decent amount of time and energy using the product you buy. If possible recommend something that you have had some personal experience with.

Benefits are Key to Any Sale

Once you have established a budget and recommended a product you need to start listing benefits and explain why you are making that recommendation. A benefit is the positive effect on your customer of a certain feature. For example a feature of a rifle may be a picatinny rail. The benefit to a picatinny rail is that they can easily attach any accessory that they may want often without using tools, so they won’t need to get a screwdriver out to add a tactical light on to their gun.

Keep talking about benefits and be sure to put the product where the customer can see it. An effective way to do this is to direct the customer to the product on your e-commerce website or to email them a link.

When you have both chosen a product and outlined some benefits it is now time to listen to the customer’s concerns and talk with them about their objections. Be sure to answer all of their questions as professionally as possible and find them the right information if you have to. It is important to re-establish that this is the right product for the customer when dealing with objections. Then keep talking about benefits.

What if The Customer Doesn’t Like What You Recommend?

If the customer doesn’t like what you have picked out for them don’t argue. The response to that is, “Ok, no problem let’s find you something else.”
Then move on. The important part here is to make a sale NOT make your point or try to change the customer’s mentality.

Closing the Sale

Once the customer is seeing the benefits and how they can work for them ask for the sale by inquiring, “Is this something I can ship out to you today?” or in the case of firearms, “what FFL will I be sending this gun to?” If the customer really likes the product it is worth trying an assumptive add-on close. In this case, a good way to do this would be to say, “how about some extra choke tubes to go with your new shotgun?”

Odds are these questions will lead your customer in the right direction without being forceful. Once you do make the sale reinforce that the customer has made a good decision and that they will be happy with their new product.

If you do have to end the call before the sale is made remember to follow up with the customer. Ask for permission to send him some information about the products he is looking for. You can easily email the customer links to products on your site with a personal note recommending certain items.

Want More?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has created a great video talking about in person customer interactions. A lot of it applies over the phone and it is worth spending time to watch. Taking these steps on the phone and in person will leave your customers happier and put more money in your pocket.

Written By: Kyle Jazwiecki – Account Manager

Email Marketing Part 1: Setting It Up

As a business owner consistently pushing your brand and products in front of your customers is a struggle. Adapting, creating, and promoting new products are imperative, and one simple way to do that is through email newsletters. Some people believe that email marketing is a thing of the past and not an effective way to grab a customer’s attention. I am here to say those are false beliefs and many companies are successfully using email marketing for numerous reasons. Email Marketing increases traffic towards your online store, increases brand awareness while promoting your products consistently.

The first thing a business must do is carefully build up a recipient list and carefully place them into categories so as the business owner can send out direct newsletters to increase the potential for that customer to buy products on your online store. images

After creating a list for the newsletter, the next step is to set up a newsletter. This isn’t the easiest thing to do, one must pay close attention to the design and effort you’ve put into it to achieve maximum results. It must draw the reader’s attention towards certain parts of the newsletter to keep them interested and want to read more. Maybe offer coupon codes or incentives to your audience to drive traffic to your store even if they don’t buy anything. If at all, a newsletter is a way to keep your business fresh inside the minds of your customers, saying “Hey! I’m still here with good deals”.

Now after you’ve built up your audience and took the time to carefully build your newsletter it’s time to send it out. But you may be asking, when is the best time to send this out? Does the time of day really matter? Yes it does! Do some further research to maximize the amount of open rate your newsletter. Try to send out an” A/B” testing email to narrow down times, dates, days, and even comparing different emails. Doing this will increase your chances for a higher return on investment and increase the amount of people looking forward to your next newsletter!

Be sure to tune in next week on part 2 of this marketing feature!

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – Outdoor Business Network

10 Reasons to have a Website!

By 2014 every business should have at least a website capable of informing customers what you have to offer, the time your store is open for business, and some contact information in case they needed to call. For retail stores, not having a fully functioning eCommerce website could be limiting the amount potential growth your company has. Think about it, in today’s world, when someone is looking for a retailer they go online and search for it. Unfortunately, the yellow pages are now considered to be practically stone aged but there is something you can do as a retailer to keep up with the times. Let us go through 10 reasons why your company needs to be on the web by 2014!

1. Promoting the Presence of your Brick-n-Mortar Store

Finding your store isn’t always the easiest thing to do, and can become quite frustrating. Having an online store you’re able to publish a virtual map on your website which can show directions and easy identifiable landmarks for customers to print out.

In case you’re business grows too large for your current store front, you may move to a large facility. Doing this you will be waiting on the phone company to come out and set up your connection, since a website is flexible you will be able to inform customers where you’re new shop.

2. Expanding the Market

The internet has allowed companies to offer their products to people all over the world, virtually in any country as long as they have internet service. This is huge for companies, being able to expand their businesses reach. On a smaller scale level, this helps small businesses become more competitive, you may not get that customer 1000 miles away, but you have the potential to grab that customer that may think it’s just a little far to drive to your store front.

3. 24/7/365

This is great for businesses, never having to close down ever again, make employees work endless hours! Ha! No, having a fully functioning website will allow you to step away from the shop on holidays and special occasions knowing that customers can still buy your product online. Having a website means your company will be able to stay open every hour of every day.

4. Advertising Goes Further

The internet is vastly different from print and media advertising. Print and media advertising can become quite costly not to mention frustrating, while having an online store companies can advertise online to customers for less while achieving more! With the technology today you are able to track each ads performance on a day to day basis.

5. Growth Opportunity

Having a website is a great place to refer potential investors and customers to, showing them what your company is about, what is stands for while having proof of what it has achieved and the potential is has to achieve in the future!

6. Standardize the Sales

Having the ability to study your website and looking at what sales approached worked and which have not. Studying this and taking notes will allow you to create the sale proof pitch using it on every customer to increase the amount of sales.

7. Adding Value and Satisfaction to the Customer

Your company website can add an invisible value to help your customers and visitors remember you better by adding general knowledge, advice, and featuring some tips. All of these things can not only improve the chance of your customers returning to your website but also help them remember what they’ve seen and read.

8. Credibility

A website provides the opportunity to inform potential customers what your company is     and why they can trust you and your products. Many people use the internet to                   reference ratings and reviews on products prior to purchasing a product. This also             allows a free marketing tool, where no longer do you have to spread the positive word       but your customers do some of the marketing for you by showing off where and how         they got their newest product.

9. Two-way Communicative Marketing

When a customer needs quick feedback on a product, they can easily refer to a                 website to find what they are looking for. Having a website that provides the feedback of     prior customers can ensure the newer customers that they are receiving what they are     paying for. They can also give your company the feedback on your products and the           marketing approach you may have took on that page.

10. Cheap Research

Having a website provides your business with the opportunity to show features, and           new products. But can also provide some market research to determine just how well       your business sizes up to the next by adding visitor polls, online surveys, and using           your web statistics.

This isn’t the Stone Age, store to store business may not be enough anymore. Make sure your business doesn’t suffer from the lack of knowledge available at hand. Take advantage of everything the web has to offer. Analyze the data and monitor your progress, to ensure the survival of your business. Don’t get left behind!

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“Not having a functioning website only limits your company’s success” – Korey P.

Small Incentives to Increase Customer Sales

Generally speaking any main online business objective is to sell more products to new and returning customers alike. When potential customers shop online they are always looking for the best deal around, whether it be free shipping, a percentage discount, or even a simple graphic that entices them to click. It’s difficult for businesses to try to win every online price war; but what if your potential customers know that every day or every week you have a different item on special or on sale? In this short blog, we’re going to cover 3 small incentives your business can do right now to generate and increase sales.

  1. Specials – One of the most important tools that online business owners tend to forget is having some sort of special on one or more of their products. A special on a product could be something small but entices the potential buyer to follow through and purchase the product. A quality place to put a specials is anywhere on the home page that directs the potential customers’ eyes towards it.
  2. Shipping – Online buyers search multiple websites before they find the product they’ve been searching for at the amount they were looking to spend, but when they get to the end shipping costs could be the only difference between a customer buying a product from your and a competitor. Offering customers different shipping costs depending on the size of their shopping cart could entice customers to not only buy their product from you but also spend more money on your website to get the better shipping costs.
  3. Time and time again I’ve shopped online looking for good deals for the products I want to buy. After finding multiple options around the same price I often look to see what incentives or free items I may get with the purchase. For instance, if I’m deciding between two companies; If “Company A” offers me a free small item like a key-chain, where “Company B” doesn’t offer me anything, you better believe that “Company A” is going to get my business. Even if I know I’m not going to use the key-chain, the thought of receiving something for free always is more enticing. So in theory sometimes offering customers a small item that doesn’t cost much more than a few pennies could result in more business for your company.

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“lower prices don’t always mean higher sales” – Korey Pavlika

Green Supply: Newest Addition of Distributors!

Since 2006, Outdoor Business Network has worked effortlessly to bring their retailers industry leading distributors and we are proud to announce the addition of Green Supply. Green Supply offers wholesale hunting, outdoors and sporting goods products with over 35 thousand products ranging from over 260 manufacturers. The partnership will allow Green Supply products to be distributed through the e-Commerce platform provided by Outdoor Business Network. The OBN team is excited to work with Green Supply and help build the image of the Outdoor industry.

 

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