You Lost Me There, Part 1
Last week, I gave a presentation to the Florida Direct Marketing Association titled “50 Tips to Drive ROI in the Second Half of 2009.” I’m going to share those tips with you over the course of the next few weeks.
Part of that presentation dealt with improving Web marketing. Right up front, I'm asking you to contribute to this article by posting your comments below. If I miss something, please add it, OK?
As a side note, I've spent a lot of time lately looking at multichannel and other marketers’ Web sites, and have seen tremendous opportunities for companies to capture not just orders, but prospects as well.
Many e-commerce Web sites are good at taking orders, but not so good at capturing prospects.
Thus the goal of this series, which I'm calling “You Lost Me There,” is to help you get more of the people who visit your Web site to raise their hands and request to continue the dialogue with you. You want these people in your database, as they've expressed some level of interest in your products.
That said, here are three tips to optimize online sales:
- Why is your phone number not prominently displayed on your homepage and ALL pages of your site? Make it big. Make it stand out. And put it on pages in multiple places! Your prospects and customers don't want to have to WORK to find you.
- If you say you don’t want the phone number to be easy to find because you don’t have the phone staff to handle the calls, think again. Even pure-play Internet companies need to coddle their prospects and customers in this day and age; otherwise they'll shop elsewhere. Contract with a call center, even if it’s just to take messages and pass them on. There are call centers that even allow you to pay as you go by buying blocks of time. Essentially, adding a call center doesn't have to be as costly as you think.
- For crying out loud, respond to customer e-mails. Same customer service issue, different methodology. If you want to drive people to interact with you via e-mail, make your e-mail contact info stand out. And respond in a reasonable amount of time. In the second week of my direct marketing class at Miami International University, I have my students conduct an experiment: Send an e-mail to a company and see how long it takes for it to respond. Guess what — fully one quarter of the e-mails don't get responded to. Here's a rule of thumb for you: Return every e-mail in less than four hours. Not only the same day — four hours.
Every call and e-mail is an opportunity. Start a dialogue, and get customers ordering.
Bottom line: Consumers don't have the time to spend on your site figuring out how to contact you with their simple questions. They don’t want to search your FAQs or dig around for contact info. They want answers immediately; otherwise, they don’t care how good your products are, because they won't order. Don’t lose business over this.
Check back next week for part two of this series, when I'll give you some more tips on how to increase ROI with your Web site. In the meantime, post your comments below.
Jim Gilbert is president of Gilbert Direct Marketing Inc., a full-service catalog, direct marketing and social media agency. His LinkedIn profile can be viewed at www.linkedin.com/in/jimwgilbert. You can e-mail him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gilbertdirect or read his blog at gilbertdirectmarketing.wordpress.com/.
Jim Gilbert has been creating direct marketing programs that drive superior ROI for almost 30 years. Fluent in consumer or B-to-B, creative, operations, and analytics, he marries the strategic and tactical sides of direct and social media marketing in a seamless fashion that gets results. He's CEO of a multidiscipline direct marketing agency, Gilbert Direct Marketing, Inc., which focuses on direct mail, catalogs, DRTV, telemarketing, print, alternative direct marketing media and social media marketing. Jim has been involved in start-ups, expansions and turnarounds, and is an expert in helping multichannel marketers get to the "next level." He's a former adjunct professor, teaching direct marketing at Miami International University, and is President of the Board of Directors of the Florida Direct Marketing Association. Jim loves to talk direct marketing, and has done many lectures on direct and social media marketing.