Nov 26
Reading Time: 4 minutes

These days, e-mail inboxes are continuously inundated with Marketing e-mails from companies of all industries. Due to the high number of e-mails consumers receive everyday, it is important that your company’s e-mail is sent with proper approval from the consumer to send said e-mail and that it is relevant to that consumer. Opt-in e-mail is a term commonly used when someone is given the option to receive e-mails from a company regarding an array of topics. Typically, there is a mailing list that is used to send out e-mails to consumers containing advertising, promotions, or company announcements. It is vital to obtain permission prior to sending any e-mail marketing to consumers; otherwise, you may become labeled as spam. If you are labeled as spam, then you will not be allowed to send anymore e-mails to the consumer that labeled you as “spam”. The key fact with opt-in email marketing is permission. The consumer must “opt-in” as the name suggests in order for this type of Marketing to work. Permission can be obtained through a variety of ways including getting them to register their e-mail when purchasing from you or offering a free item on your website if they sign-up to receive e-mails. Opt-in e-mail marketing can be a great strategy for your company as long as you do it the right way.

There is a thin line between e-mail marketing and spamming. Many people are unaware of where to draw this line and end up with a bad reputation when they inevitably spam consumers. Permission is important for a few reasons. For example, if you send an e-mail without permission, this could make the consumer very angry. They could then use social media to slander your company’s reputation. Some people strongly dislike receiving spam and may go to extremes to hurt your company. As mentioned before, once your e-mail is labeled as spam, your e-mail address and IP address can be blacklisted not only by the consumer’s e-mail, but by service providers. It is also important to note that there are many rules as to who you can contact, for how long after they interact with your company, and which messages they opted-in to receive. We will not go into too much detail regarding the rules of opt-in marketing, but it is important to note that there are specific rules that need to be followed in order to not become labeled as “spam”.

There is also a benefit to sending e-mails to customers who have “opted-in”. Typically if a customer has opted-in, they have interest in purchasing from your company in the future, if they have not already purchased from you before. Therefore, your chances of conversion are higher. For example, if you send out a Marketing campaign for Black Friday, the consumers who have showed interest and intentionally opted-in to your e-mails have a higher chance of purchasing from you on Black Friday, than the consumers who are being spammed or unintentionally signed up for your e-mail.

There are various ways to obtain permission from consumers to send them e-mail messages. Consider some of the following ways to gain permission from consumers. One way is through a sign-up form on your blog or website that consumers can fill out at their own leisure. It usually works best if there is something free being offered as well, such as a trial offer for your software or an informational webinar. If you attend a lot of trade shows or conferences, another option would be to have a sign-up form at the events and encourage people that visit your table to sign-up. A great time to get a customer to sign-up is after they complete a transaction. You can give your customers a chance to sign-up in order to receive more information about their products at checkout. Lastly, you could offer discounts to people that visit your site if they sign-up to receive e-mails from your company. Since this is a monetary offer, you will have a higher chance of obtaining e-mails.

After you determine how you will get people to sign-up, you need to determine what information you will ask them to provide. Typically, the less information you ask for, the more likely people will be to complete the sign-up. It is best to ask for basic information such as an e-mail address at first. As you become a trusted, go-to company for them, then you can ask for more information. You do not want to scare consumers off in the beginning by asking for too much information.

The last thing to cover is what should the e-mails you send consumers contain? This goes for the initial e-mail you send and the consequent e-mails that follow. Let’s start with the headline. This is the first thing the consumer will see, and as we mentioned before, their inboxes are inundated with e-mails. It needs to be concise and instantly catch their attention. It could be an individualized offer, or it could be an announcement of a sale, etc. Also, the wording of the the headline needs to make them want to open the e-mail. It should include a suggestion that they will receive a benefit if they open the e-mail. Lastly, there needs to be a call to action in the e-mail. For example, it could call them to go to your website afterward to shop using a coupon or share your company’s website on social media to receive a discount. All of these things need to be included and thought out when you are crafting a Marketing e-mail. The last thing you want customers to do is to unsubscribe, so the e-mails need to be interesting and beneficial for your customers. However, it is important to note that there needs to be an option for them to unsubscribe. If unsubscribing is difficult or impossible, your customers may become angry or feel trapped, which can lead to negative thoughts and opinions about a business and may potentially lead to negative reviews on social media. The goal is to have them so intrigued by your e-mails that they will not want to unsubscribe. You do not want to put all of the work into getting people to sign-up, then lose them right after they receive their first e-mail from your company.

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Nov 21
Reading Time: 2 minutes

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As most of you have noticed, the holidays are quickly approaching. One of our recent blog posts talked about capitalizing on the increase in sales during this time of the year. There are tools in the BMT Micro Vendor’s system that can assist with this effort. This blog post will highlight our ‘Gift Certificate’ feature and why using gift certificates can help your business.

Making gift certificates available to your customers can be a good way to promote customer loyalty and introduce new people to your business. BMT Micro’s system allows you to set up gift certificates for your customers to use on any of your products. Gift certificates are very popular among consumers during the holiday season. Other benefits of using gift certificates is that it is a great advertising tool and the recipient of the gift may turn into a repeat customer. Statistics also show that more than half of your customers with gift certificates will end up spending more than the value of the card during their visit.

Now that you know the benefits of using gift certificates, we will discuss how to set them up in the BMT Micro system. When you are in the Vendors area, you can follow the step by step instructions listed below to set up gift certificates and send them to your customers:

  1. First, go to Manage Products in the left hand menu and click on the ‘Add New Product’ button.
  2. In the product set up page, give the gift certificate a relevant name like ‘$20.00 Gift Certificate’. Set the product price to the amount of the gift certificate, in our example it would be 20.00 USD.
  3. In the Secondary Info section, click the ‘Add Code Generator Information’ button under the Generate Codes/Gift Certificates/Subscription Credits heading and add “giftcertificate” (without the quotes) to the Generate Activation Codes/Gift Certificate/Subscription Credit field that appears.
  4. Click ‘Save’ to save the new product.
  5. Once you have added the Gift Certificate product, you must edit the customer’s email notification to include the generated code.
  6. To do this, go back to the Manage Products table and click the green ‘Customer’ button next to the Gift Certificate product you just created. This will open a window below the table so that you can edit the customer’s email template.
  7. You can edit the customer’s email anyway you prefer, but be sure to include the ##GIFTCERTIFICATES## token for insertion by our system. The token will list separate gift certificate codes based on the number of gift certificates purchased.
  8. The customer who purchases the gift certificate will receive the code in their email. They will need to send it or print it for the recipient.

In order for the recipient to redeem the gift certificate, they will need to enter the code they receive into the Discount Code field in their order form. The Gift Certificate code can be used over and over until the amount of the gift certificate has been depleted. Gift Certificate sales and redemption will show in your sales reports as a product. The gift certificate code will start with GC and the original order number. This information will be included in the Item Info field.

Now that you know how to setup Gift Certificates in the system, give it a try in time for the Holiday season. As always, feel free to contact BMT Micro with any questions, comments, or concerns.

Nov 14
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The American Marketing Association defines Marketing as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. Marketing has to do with how you communicate or reach consumers and how they react to the message they receive through different mediums. This can be different for every company. What works for company A, may not work for company B, even if they are in the same industry. A large influence on which direction your marketing should go in has to do with your target market. When developing any Marketing strategy, it is key to first identify your target market. Who are your customers and how do you appeal to them?

There is plenty of Marketing advice available on the web, but this information is only useful if you apply it and benchmark your success. Some of the advice you read may not work for your business or target market. It is important to test different strategies and keep track of what works and does not work. A lot of people want to look at Industry success or their competitors numbers to gauge their success. This may be good to know to keep track of your competitors, but it does not apply directly to your business. Marketing is individualized to each company.

Marketing research is beneficial as well. Marketing research is what links the consumer to the company through information and data. This information is then used to identify different opportunities and problems. The research not only collects the data, but aids you in your efforts to evaluate your marketing actions, monitor marketing performance, and improve your understanding of Marketing and how it applies to your business. This allows you to improve your Marketing strategies based on data that applies directly to your business. This can be done in-house through your company or you can outsource this research. Most companies outsource because it takes a lot of resources and man power to conduct research that will yield your Marketing data over time.

There is a lot of potential success and increase in profits when Marketing is executed properly. When first starting your Marketing strategies you should use resources that are readily available to you such as Marketing blogs and other Marketing tips and tricks. Once you internalize some of the advice given, it is important to slowly apply the Marketing tips to your individual business and track your success. Marketing is ever-changing as well and there are always new things to learn; therefore, it is important to continue educating yourself to keep up to date with Marketing knowledge. What are your favorite Marketing tips and tricks? Feel free to comment below, we would love to hear them!

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Nov 7
Reading Time: 4 minutes

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If you have visited any retail store recently, you have seen the over abundance of holiday decorations. The holidays are approaching us quickly and many companies are brainstorming about ways to capitalize on this time. Ecommerce sales exceeded $45 million dollars last holiday season, and an upward trend of consumers doing their holiday shopping online will most likely cause 2014 to beat the 2013 numbers. Consumers spending will increase exponentially over the next two months, and it is a good time for businesses to close out their year strong. We have covered some tips to help your business attract more buyers during this holiday season.

The first thing to do is for your company to stay true to its’ values. This is especially important for smaller companies because you may not be able to slash prices like big corporations during the holidays. However, this time allows you to strengthen your relationships with your customers. It would be nice to offer a 25% off site-wide special, but this may not be feasible for every situation. Instead, try to focus on packaged promotions that highlight your core products and give your promotion a theme, to set your company apart. Also, don’t forget about your loyal customers. Offer them a special promotion as a holiday “thank you”.

Another way to attract attention to your site is to offer a freebie along with purchase People love free things, so consider giving something away with certain purchases. This could be a way to incorporate your Holiday ‘thank you” gift.

If you want to plan a campaign to attract more customers to your site, you could use a remarketing strategy. This allows you to market to customers who have visited your website. If you are currently running a pay-per-click Adwords campaign, you can simply add code to a specific product page on your website and market to the customers that land on that page. Once you establish your list, you can market to these people by displaying a specific ad. For example, if you have an eCommerce website that sells virtual games, you could create a list from those visitors that research a specific game on your site and then create an ad that highlights the game. The display ad of the game they were just looking at will then follow them around the Internet. This will help increase the odds of them returning to purchase the game.

Social media is a great way to promote your site, specials, or other marketing campaigns over the holidays. Facebook is a great advertising platform that can be used to drive traffic during the holiday season. Facebook had many tools that allow you to target your current followers or reach out and target a whole new demographic. They have many different targeting options in their advertisements as well as remarketing abilities similar to Adwords. There are other popular sites such as Twitter and Instagram that can be used in collaboration with Facebook or each social media site can offer a different promotion. The opportunities with social media are endless. Be creative, get followers engaged, and don’t be afraid to try something different!

One thing that gets lost in the shuffle of the holidays when it comes to companies is customer service. This should be your time to focus on the service you are providing for the influx of customers you are serving. This is something that will set you apart and help with customer retention, especially for small businesses. The holiday season is stressful for many people, so a positive customer service experience can go very far with customers.

Another great thing to do when planning out your holiday season is to have a calendar or map that lays out the different promotions, e-mail campaigns, advertising, and other marketing offers. This will keep you on track through the holiday season. Put a plan together ahead of time so that you do not lose focus when you begin to get very busy over the holidays.

Infographics are always an effective marketing tool. Infographics are graphic, visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly. People love pictures, so if you can find a way to deliver your message through an infographic, it will be well received. People like to “share” graphics and this gives you the ability to introduce your company to a wider audience. You can create a holiday themed infographic that will build brand awareness as well as promote a specific product or holiday sale. You want to promote the infographic on your website, social media sites, and anywhere else your company typically advertises.

Increased holiday website traffic is great, but you also want to keep a watchful eye on cart abandonment. If your cart abandonment is high, consider using a special offer if the customer purchases right now, in an effort to convert more sales. You want to create a sense of urgency. This can be done on your site through discount schemes. Examples of a different discount schemes would be a special discount coupon for today only, a buy one get one free discount, or a special discount for buying bundled items.

The holiday season can be a great way to boost sales at the end of the year and now is the time to begin planning how you will gain the extra sales, if you haven’t already started. Follow these tips and tricks to help your business during this busy time of the year. BMT Micro is here to help as well! Our system can be used to setup many different discount schemes, and our experienced customer service staff is here to give your customers in need a great experience. We now offer Marketing services as well, so please feel free to contact us for more information.