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February 2008

AWeber as conversation tool

My last post mentioned the effect two small changes in the 'submit your details' had on the average numbers of subscribers to our newsletter (and happy to say: still on 1 new reader per day!).

We all know the standard 'webform' on so many websites and/or blogs to submit your name and email address to subscribe or to receive more information, perhaps you're using it yourself.

Be the first to know when new articles
and offers on wooden flooring are published

(from our Wood You Like's FAQ & News blog)

AWeber (affiliate) can do much, much more for you - as I found out recently.

Looking for a simpler way for our prospects to contact us in such a way we could start a proper conversation (and keep them informed about our products and services in one go) I first tried to 'send them' to a feature on our new webshop: Request more information. But the amount of information a prospect has to fill in straight away just to ask the simplest of questions I myself would find too much of an effort.

If you are familiar with the AWeber software (if not, I strongly recommend you subscribe to a "test drive" - see below for link) you have recognised the way the above 'webform' is created. In the List Settings - Webform tab you create your own text to explain what the sumbitter will receive, add name and email field, edit the text in the submit button and presto: html coding ready for you to add to your website or blog. Simple.

But if you click on the 'pencil' in the field you added to your webform it opens a whole new  world of options:


From choosing the type this specific field should be: radio-buttons, drop-down list, check box or even text area to making it a required field you can create your own survey form.

Why not have a first look on Wood You Like's "Ask our professional advice" page to see how it can work.

And it does work! Since implementing it on our website last weekend we already received five questions, which gives us the opportunity to answer the query very specific - tailor made in fact due to the information we received from the form, start a continues conversation with our new prospect and keep in monthly contact with them through our newsletter.

How much more fun can webmarketing become?
(Well, I know - but that's for a later post, am still working on the finishing touches on another even more elaborate webform)

AWeber Demo


Less Work - More Sales
Sound good? AWeber's unlimited follow up autoresponders increase sales, lower costs, build lasting customer relationships, and increase your profits!
Find out how with Unlimited Autoresponders.

When web marketing ideas pop-up (or over)

Edrivirsbookcover_2 Last week I mentioned The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy written by Ed Rivis and about to be available as hard-copy. Ed's book (and blog) is filled with effective web marketing ideas anyone who has some knowledge of IT and/or web marketing software can implement straight away.
Like I did with one of his tips (from his blog, even before I received the PDF-file of his book).

90% of our yearly turnover is generated from new clients, only 10% comes from existing clients (buying small extra items like maintenance products and very rarely - still - a whole new floor). That's the type of business, trade we are in: 'cos how many quality natural wooden floors do you need in a year - or in 5 years?

Now, marketing statistics tell us that is takes 7 times more effort to find a new customer/client than keeping an existing one. The same statistics also tell us that on average you'll have to send around 7 - 10 marketing messages to a prospect before he/she turns into a customer/client. Being in a what I've started to call a "New Customer Only" trade means it is of utmost importance to reach as many prospects as you can and to start a conversation with them as soon as possible.

Offering specific information is a way to do this, using an informative website. That's one message delivered. In order to be able to deliver a sequence of messages to a prospect you need their details: nowadays an email address is a good starter. Since last October our informative website has AWever webforms embedded on specific pages to do just that: we give you information in return of a small favour: you give us your name and email address so we can keep you informed with our monthly newsletter after we have emailed you the specific information you requested.

Until this month on average 1 prospect per week subscribed this way. Since this month this has increased to almost 1 a day! An increase of 700%
6 more prospects per week who have shown interest in our products and services and who we, by keeping the conversation alive with for them interesting and specific information, must try to convert into customers/clients. The odds of converting 1 out of 10 prospects is much easier when the number of prospects is growing.

And all it took to increase this number of prospects were two small changes in the "subscribe to our newsletter" webform.

The first change was our offer of free gift to all new subscribers - our E-booklet "The Advantages and Benefits of Natural Wooden Flooring" - normal price £ 3.97

Popover recipeThe second change was to add a pop-over webform (only once per visitor - but on four different and popular pages - three of them also showing the normal static subscribe option).
And as it turns out, the pop-over is responsible for the most new subscribers.
(I had to overcome my own aversion towards pop-overs, but as so often it proves that personal 'taste' is just that, 'personal')

Small changes, terrific results - now 'all' we have to do is keep them engaged in the conversation.

One idea down - many more to go.

I don't understand people! - sometimes

(My contribution to this month's MZM's group writing project - I think?)

Our - 5 year old - company Wood You Like Ltd prides itself on its high level of customer care. Everyone of our clients knows what they can expect from us from the start, we have webpages filled with (free) information to help them decide and select the best (for their circumstances, interior design wishes and their budget) products and or services we can supply.

And our customer care doesn't stop the moment we've delivered or installed their floor, we don't 'close-the-door' on them (like one 'fellow' installer once told me he did). Our clients appreciate our care, and are happy to tell us so too.

And to be honest, we don't get many complaints or negative remarks from our clients, but we are only human so of course it can happen. We're not afraid of that, of course not! We will always do our utmost best to remedy any issue our clients are not really happy with.

How else can we create word-of-mouth? Because, as Andy Sernovitz so truly states in his book "Word Of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking": Marketing is NOT about what you say, it is about what you DO!

This week we received a (long) letter from one of our clients. We worked on a flooring, part renovation job for them last year. Four months ago!
Quiz1 Their letter starts with a sweet remark on how they appreciate the enjoyable relationship they have (had?) with us, which made it somehow hard for them to put pen to paper to state a list with items/issues they're not happy with. And could we please contact them to remedy the situation? OF COURSE! VERY HAPPY TO DO SO! YESTERDAY IF POSSIBLE!

Why on earth did they wait 4 months? It's not that we tell them they can't contact us after we've closed the door on the job, on the contrary! Every client, no matter if we only delivered the floor or delivered and installed it, receives a letter within 4 weeks of delivery/installation. The very first paragraph in this letter states:

"You recently purchased a natural wooden floor or service from us and we trust everything is to your liking and in good order. Please feel free to call us if you are in any doubt. Remember there is always a 4-seasons guarantee on our labour (if we installed the floor for you)."

We cannot make it any clearer than that! Our clients waited 4 months to inform us of their doubts. And what frustrates me most is the ultimate reason they finally did so: more and more friends, family, neighbours remarked on their floor. 4 months of 'festering' doubt if we are the proper company we make out to be, 4 months of generating 'bad publicity' without us even knowing about it, 4 months without us being able to correct the situation if we've made mistakes - we are only human, we do make mistakes (not many fortunately but still, we do!).

We will remedy this situation, no doubt about it and it doesn't matter if it is just a perception or indeed a case of having made mistakes, we will remedy this. Rather sooner than later!

That leaves me with one big 'festering' question:

How do you stop clients NOT complaining?

(update: see comment box)

Book (p)re-view: The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy - Ed Rivis

In my last post I talked about team work, essential for any business, even or especially if your business 'only' exist of 1 or 2 employees. Prior to my next post on this subject I want to point your attention to a brand new book, so brand new it isn't even available in any shop or on Amazon!

When you establish a outstanding team around you one of the best ongoing result will be 'the looking out for each other' practise: if one of the team members sees something he/she knows the other will benefit from (even if it's not related to the project your team is working on at the moment) it almost becomes a habit to point the other towards it. That's exactly what happened over a week ago.

Richard C emailed me about an UK based blog about webmarketing: Ed Rivis, Web Marketing Strategy for Small Business Success.

"I suddenly remembered that I meant to send you an email re Ed Rivis. His blog has become, probably only since the beginning of 2008, really good value (for people like you and me).  He seems to post a blog daily now (almost too much for me to take in) but they are extremely 'educational' in content and currently very relevant to you and I.  He is clearly feeding off Paul Gorman (a mutual friend / business marketing guru I know).  What is very skilled is his approach to offers etc - he is very strict on the 'time frame' for responses and it seems to be working for him.

His current 'special' is a .pdf download of his book - provided you've registered with him by 1st February."

Which, of course, I did. And even before registering to his blog (using the AWeber web form) I picked up a very useful web marketing tip (what, how, where and why I implemented that straight away is for a later post, this one is - again! - already turning into a longer one than originally planned).

Anyway, as promised by Ed Rivis last Friday at 4pm an email with password arrived in my inbox to go and download his gift to his subscribers: the PFD-version of his new book. The full version, no cutting 'cheap' corners.

Downloaded it, printed it (and for my readers looking for green credentials: on the back of already used paper - I recycle) and took it home with me, all 210 pages of it.

To be honest, I do think I know pretty much about Web Marketing already. I mean, last year we increased our turnover with 66% and 68% of our new clients found us through our websites!
But, everything can always be made better, that's the beauty of learning.

Friday evening I was already on page 129 and yesterday evening I'd finished it all. And now I have to find even more time because my head is (again) filled with ideas and new, better web marketing projects that will last me the rest of the year!

Our 'static' websites are already on my list to be revamped (again), but now with the extra knowledge gained from Ed's book this project will:

a) be moved forward on the priority list
b) even more focussed on - as New Customers Only based business (that's worth another post, no, make that another book) - capturing prospect details to start the conversation, utilising the surrounding software packages (like AWeber) we have even better.
c) while continuing and keeping in line with the already successful parts on there

IMHO Ed's book is written very well, straightforward and based on the great principle: don't just read it - implement it! And he makes that very simple with excellent Kissawardbutton1examples, links to software packages, websites and much more.
(Keeping It Simple means I've awarded him the K.I.S.S. award, but of course.)

You're too late to receive the PDF-version, that's been taken of the blog since last Saturday, but by all means subscribe to his excellent blog and start learning and earning.
The physical copy will be available around 18 February on Ed's blog with a 65% discount on the official price for his blog subscribers, so what's keeping you? Trust me on this one!

And if you've missed the 24 hours special offer, you can now buy The Ultimate Web Marketing Strategy direct from the author