Thursday, 28 November 2013

Major Retailer Christmas Delivery Deadlines

Still on the same subject, more or less, here’s the list, courtesy of The Telegraph, of the Christmas delivery deadlines for major retailers.  The differences are surprising, however some are obviously playing it more cautiously than others.  Pity the overburdened delivery services and order early.

Major Retailer Christmas Delivery Deadlines

If you do One Thing to your Website Today Make it This One

Happy Thanksgiving.  Tomorrow is ‘Black Friday’ which we seem to be adopting with gusto from the US.  And in just under four weeks it will be Christmas.  So much to do, so little time. 

This year is going to be a bumper online Christmas, with higher orders from mobiles and tablets and a total estimated sales value of £5bn, an increase of almost 20% over last year.  With so many delivery options now available from Collect+ to Next Day, delivery is going to be the battlefield for online orders.

It’s imperative therefore that you get your delivery options straight right from the start, and clear to your customers and passing visitors.

How many websites are you visiting you right now that offer you this kind of information?

The White Company Christmas Delivery Page

Having trawled through a few of my favourite sites I can tell you the answer…….very few.  Well my advice is to do something now.  Set up a well designed page with all your Christmas (and New Year) delivery details on it and link to it from your home page.  Don’t make people click through to ‘Delivery’ to find it.  Even if you want to just add a footer to your home page like this at this point at least do that.

 Christmas Deliveries at Lilia Nash

And by the first week in December (!) turn your link into a banner, obviously placed.  One of the most important things people are going to want to know before buying from you at Christmas is will you deliver to them on time.  It’ll be hard enough as it is.  Make it easier for your customers and let them know right now.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Brands vs Products–The War to Win Sales

Michael KorsWe are used to being bombarded by brand imagery – so much so that we ignore much of it.  Brand imagery, whether on billboard, tv or glossy magazine ad is there to reinforce the message that the brand wants us to assimilate but it so often fails because what we are really interested in is products, and it is products that get our hard earned cash. 

The proof is in the pudding, Apple was on a big slide down until it introduced products that people coveted and wanted to rush to the stores and buy.  Likewise fashion brands, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Chanel, are only as good as the products they offer.  No amount of brand marketing and expensive imagery will rival that ‘I must have that’ moment when something we actually want (need/love/lust after/covet) appears in front of us.

A great deal of money is spent on developing brands and brand marketing.  Drive potential customers to the stores to look at a specific brand’s products and if the products match our desires (and our wallets) we will buy.  We will not buy solely because of the brand, even though we may veer towards it because the noise that the brand has made has got inside our heads.

Having worked for many years in the fashion industry I know only too well how the importance of the brand – its image – its place in the brand pecking order can take precedence over the importance of offering covetable and – dare I say it – commercial products.  And when this happens the brand frequently fails.

Brands have to be in business for the bottom line.  It’s the only thing that matters in this commercial world.  And that means offering cleverly thought out products that set them apart from the rest, as well as being in keeping with brand identity.  Not an easy task, which is why so many fail. 

The rewards of combining clever brand management and marketing whilst at the same time recognising the importance of a regularly updating product range within the brand’s parameters, that entices and drives customers to buy, are huge.

Unfortunately, again referring to fashion brands, there are very few brands who have a strong enough equity not to need to go down the line into mass market at some level.  Louis Vuitton and Hermes to name but two.  Chanel!  Dior!  Do I hear you cry?  But there is always the lipstick……  Does this diminish the brand?  I don’t think so.  It creates awareness, it allows those who would not otherwise be able to buy into a brand to feel a part of it. 

Taking an upscale brand and creating an affordable diffusion product line, as long as it retains the handwriting of the brand overall, can only increase awareness and profits.   The winner of the war to win sales will cleverly combine both. 

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Content Marketing Strategy - 5 Tricks to Writing Email and Blog Headlines

Having been told over and over again that headlines matter most it’s amazing when you look at your in box and how quickly you delete most of what’s there.  You may not know this, but 8 out of 10 people will at least scan your headlines, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest.  So it really doesn’t matter what you have to say, if you haven’t grabbed your audience at the get-go you’re never going to get them to read your friendly/interesting/inspirational words.  You might as well give up.

So if your headlines are the most important part of your communication, how do you go about making sure that they stand out?  The obvious point that you can’t write blog posts and newsletters by rote, let alone let allow someone who doesn’t really understand the importance of that first line write them for you.  This appears to be disregarded by many. 

Here are 5 ways to stop your posts and emails (and anything else you write) being a waste of time – and improve your odds of being read, and converting readers to customers.

1.   Write your headline first.  Get up from your desk, make a cuppa, go for a walk, go and talk to people and swirl ideas around in your head for a while on the subject matter you’ve chosen.  Don’t use the first headline that comes into your head.  You need something that will make people sit up, tell them you’re not going to waste their time and hopefully pique their interest.  Once you’ve come up with a headline that works for you write it down fast.

2.   Do your keyword research.  Make sure that what you’re writing about is actually being searched for and try and craft your headline around that phrase.  This helps you in many ways, not just because of SEO value, but also because…..eureka!…..this is what people want to read about. 

3.  Use a number in your headline.  For some reason these nearly always work.  Are you reading this?  I’ll say no more.

4.  Make it obvious you have something useful to say – use the words ‘how’, ‘why’, and ‘5 tricks to’, on whatever subject you’re writing about.  Make people want to dive inside and see what you have to say.

5.  Keep it short – long headlines can lose the message.  Keep it short and informative at the same time.  One scan and they’ll click through.  Make them read it a few times to get the meaning and they’ll probably be gone.

Of course there are other ways to get attention.  The Huffington Post for example keeps right on top of what’s happening and frequently sensationalises through headlines.  They are brilliant at getting most of us to read their content.  This won’t work for some, however it’ll give you an idea of headlines that ‘shout’ and demand you look.  Which is what you want, after all………