Category: email marketing

3 Things to Learn from Amazon Customer Service

Recently I placed an order with and have used a Visa gift card. Because I couldn’t find another way to use the gift card, I added the card on file as one of my credit cards. I made a purchase that was over the gift card limit and I couldn’t find a way to add a secondary card to my order. So, of course when the order was processes there was an issue. Contacting customer service was simple, but what really grabbed me is the way they crafted their email and how they’ve handled the issue.

Amazon customer servicce

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What every ecommerce store can learn from customer service

1. Acknowledge the problem – From the start Shiela, the representative expressed her apology and referenced the order# to make sure where discussing the same order.

2. Outline the steps and results – Shiela continues on the positive note outlining the steps that she performed and the results that she received. Reassuring me along the way that the order has been processed.

3. Set expectations to eliminate any room for concerns – She then sets the expectation about the delivery date with a personal note that makes me feel that I’m taken care of.

What I like the most about this email is that it’s personable and feels real, which makes for a happy and a return customer.

Thank you Shiela, great work!

Year-Round Holiday Promotions for Your Small Business

It’s always important to make sure you stay ahead of the game regarding your small business. This means taking advantage of every opportunity to boost your sales. Every holiday is a great occasion to promote your product or service. Mother’s Day is quickly coming up on May 8th, 2011. Unlike the big holiday season, these smaller holidays often leave people shopping at the last minute. They’re not thinking about Mother’s Day sales weeks ahead of time. That’s why it’s up to you to promote your Mother’s Day specials early and remind them not to forget Mom, or your website!

Timely promotions as part of your small business design is essential growing your clientele. Want an easy way to endorse your business? Consider the simple art of newsletter design to let those on your email list know what specials your company will have for Mother’s Day shoppers, or any holiday. They are not difficult to create and it’s really efficient at getting your information across to interested parties. What’s the difference between constructing a newsletter as opposed to just creating a newspaper ad or a social networking ad? It’s not that those are bad ideas either, but when you present a newsletter, you can share a lot more information than you can cram into a small, pricey ad space.

Electronic newsletters are great because if you make them yourself, it’s free! You can include everything you want your customers to know about: your promotional deals, your contact information, website link and even coupon codes. There’s no postage needed and no paper wasted. It’s a very smart way to promote small business success.

It cannot be stressed enough that when holidays or events roll around that can bring in revenue, you need to be well-prepared, ahead of time. This doesn’t mean a week before Mother’s Day; if your small business newsletter hits inboxes promoting free shipping, you would probably be too late. Try shooting for the 3-4 week mark. Finding that sweet spot that isn’t too early or late to contact customers can be discouraging, but the payoff is worth it.

Now, just because your newsletter or ad is out there for potential customers to see doesn’t mean you’re in the clear. You need to make sure your website is ready as well. Do this by making sure the promotional material or deals are listed on your homepage. Why else is this important? It not only reassures your newsletter readers that the promotion is valid, if they pass your website information on to other potential clients who didn’t get the newsletter, they’ll want to make sure they’re at the right place.

Every holiday is a reason to celebrate your small business and promote your products or services. Stay on top of upcoming promotions and let your clients know about your specials in a timely manner. If you’re interesting in learning more about newsletter writing, check out a helpful article on how to properly write newsletters for your business without having them sent to SPAM folders.

Keeping Your Emails Out of Spam Folders

Spam filters are great at keeping unwanted emails from filling up our inboxes. However, sometimes important emails are caught up in the filter, sending them to the spam folder to possibly never be seen by their recipient. You can’t always rely on your patrons to add your email to their “safe” list, but why should your updates and newsletters be unfairly cast to the junk folder? There are ways you can cleverly word your emails to make sure they’re making it through.

The best thing you can do to avoid spam filters is to steer clear of some of the major phrasing that these bots are looking for. These would be things like “click here” or “free offer.” These gimmicky phrases raise red flags. Also, watch your punctuation. You might be really excited about an offer you’re sending to your patrons, but if you use ALL CAPS WITH MULTIPLE EXCLAMATION POINTS…you might just wind up in the spam folder!!!!!!!! What about HTML in your emails? HTML is fine to include, but be sure to do it right. Don’t use too much Red or Green font colors either.

Messy coding often gets confused as spam. Don’t use programs like Microsoft Word to convert text to HTML. Often, large graphics or pictures with very little wording will not pass a spam filter, so make sure you’ve got plenty of text to accompany any visual media. Take a look at your junk inbox. You may notice a lot of online pharmaceutical emails boasting that you can buy online for cheap. Not only are these often scams that end up with identity theft and loss of funds, they’re usually pretty poorly written. Spam bots look for misspellings in the subject line as well as wording in the body of the email. These drug emails usually have a lot of prices listed. The over-mentioning of prices usually marks an email as spam.

Newsletters are a great part of your small business design, so don’t be detoured from creating them as part of your marketing system. Just be smart when you’re sending out newsletters or other promotional emails and you’ll be sure to pass the spam bot’s criteria. An honest email with proper spelling, html and subject lines will most likely make it through to your client’s inbox.

Can email marketing target a specific geographic location?

In one of my previous posts, I talked about how geotargeting – targeting specific geographic areas – can be a great marketing technique for small business owners. I’ve also talked about the importance of email marketing and building an email list from scratch, which isn’t nearly as intimidating as many people think. Many of you have been wondering if there’s a way to put these two marketing techniques together—can you target a specific location using email marketing?

This is a great question, and the answer is yes. You can – and in some cases should – use geotargeting for your email marketing campaigns. There are many email marketing situations where it’s helpful to target specific locations:

  • If your small business is only set up to serve local customers—for example, a dry cleaner or pet grooming business;
  • If you sell products that are only useful in certain climates, like winter gear;
  • If your product is only available in certain areas, or has varying release dates—for example, a clothing line that will be released locally several weeks before it’s available nationwide;
  • If you sell internationally and want to personalize emails with the appropriate language or pricing structure depending on the country.

These are just a few reasons you might want to target a specific geographic location with your email marketing—you can probably think of a number of other ways email geotargeting can work for you.

How to target a specific geographic location with email marketing

To be geographically specific in your email marketing, you will need to collect your visitors’ location when you collect their email address. There are a couple ways you can do this:

  • Include a field in your email sign-up form for location. Because having a large number of fields to fill out makes people less likely to sign up, it’s best to keep this short and simple. Asking for a zip code is one of the easiest ways to collect geographic location.
  • Target email subscribers based on their IP address. IP addresses can be traced back to a geographic location with a large amount of accuracy, providing you with the country, state, and even city of your subscriber. Email marketers like AWeber, the company I use, make it very easy to segment your email list by location using IP addresses.