going to assume you are not one of those spamming
Plutonians, and you really do have your customers' best
interests at heart. You want to inform them, and you
want to know they want to be informed. Are we on the
same page? So here's how to
ďwalk like a GrokianĒ when it
comes to Opting Options.
form of opting-in, whether itís for a newsletter, future
mailings, membership, registration or simply a request for
information, involves an exchange of value. You get
something from your prospect that you want (usually
contact and profile information) and your prospect gets
something from you that they want. It's a very simple
equation. It's only when folks start feeling youíre
taking advantage of them that things take a turn for the
worse. So do your Permission Marketing with sensitivity,
sense and style.
make the opt-in procedure simple.
swear upon your favorite relative's sainted soul that you
won't share this information in any way without the
customer's permission. If thatís not your policy, then:
make it crystal clear, if you are in the practice of
passing along customer information, that this is what you
do, make clear the details of what, when and with whom,
and give the customer an out if she wants her information
to remain private. Then honor that as if your survival
depends on it (it does!).
ask for any more information than you absolutely need,
unless there is some real value to your customer in
allow the customer to agree to different mailings from
you, or not. If she agrees to receive a newsletter, that's
the only thing she is expecting from you. You might
have it in mind to send her lots of other stuff too, but
get her permission before you go flooding her with it.
Fail to do this and you are likely to find your customer
provide immediate visual confirmation that the
opt-in procedure (or opt-out procedure) was completed
follow up with a e-mail confirmation that includes:
information the customer provided
reminder of what the customer has subscribed to or
to unsubscribe if the confirmation was sent in error
opt for double opt-ins. A double opt-in means your
customer signs up for something on your site, then
receives some form of communication from you that requires
her essentially to sign up again: "Reply to this
e-mail to confirm your registration." Some people do
it, but it in this Martianís opinion it is completely unnecessary
and only confuses the situation. When was the last time
you placed the items you wanted to buy at the cash
register and heard the cashier ask, "Are you sure you
want to buy these things?" You don't have to make
folks jump through an extra hoop for a sale thatís
already closed! If the communication was sent in error,
your unsubscribe information will be sufficient.
if you are in the business of selling lists,
you do need a double opt-in. Without it, you
sacrifice quality and risk ticking off your customers.
You must be sure your customers agree to let you share
their information with others.
include unsubscribe information in every
communication you send.
this information does not have to be a direct
hyperlink, nor should you feel you need to make it too
easy to opt-out. It's a fine line you walk here - you
don't want folks opting-out on a whim, just because
they got up on the wrong side of the bed that morning.
By the same token, you must make it possible for them
to say "Thanks, but no thanks." One or two
extra steps to the opt-out procedure are acceptable.
test, double-test and triple-test your opt-in and opt-out
procedures to be certain they work properly. Folks get
grumpy when they opt-in to something and never get value
for having done it. And they get really grumpy when
they opt-out, but keep getting your mailings. Either way,
you are abusing your customers, and they aren't going to
take it kindly.
these things effectively and in good faith and you'll have
your customers feeling happy about having opted-in. And
satisfied customers are far more likely to opt-in to a
manage your Permission Marketing scrupulously, and you can
kiss not only your existing customers, but also your
potential customers goodbye.
soon to a website near you Ė
in fact, maybe YOURS!
guys and gals have been asking and asking, so OK:
I'm now making house calls. Thatís right, I'm
visiting your own websites and will be writing in
future issues about how you can apply the stuff we
talk about here.
want a free Grokanalysis of your site? Itís
simple. Just click
here, fill out the form, send it to us, and
if I think your site illustrates something that will
be of interest to a lot of our readers, youíre in!
heard me say this a lot: keep your customers happy -
downright delight them - and youíll develop loyal
more than just a (hopefully) smiling face on the other end
of your website, there's a dollar equation taking place.
You "bought" that prospect with your
advertising, marketing and maintenance dollars. That's
money out of your pocket. And truth is, first-time buyers
almost never spend enough to offset that cost.
a repeat buyer gives you much more than that warm, fuzzy
feeling of having made a sale and conducted a transaction
well. He or she keeps increasing your revenues. Yeah, you
want to get lots of the right people to your site, but you
really want to work on delighting them so they come
throw a few statistics at you.
than 5% of B2C website visitors make a purchase."
(Nielson/NetRatings) Intermarket Group says the
conversion rate is closer to 2.7%. Shop.org says itís
only 1.8%. Depends on who you read which day, but take
it from me - the numbers are appallingly low.
spend an average of $250 on marketing and advertising
to acquire one single customer." (Shop.org)
gross income from a typical customer is $24.50 in the
first quarter and $52.50 in every quarter that he or
she remains a customer." (McKinsey & Co.)
of all first-time buyers do not return to purchase
10% increase in repeat customers would translate into
a 9.5% increase in revenue." (estimate by
McKinsey & Co.)
what I mean? You spend $250 to rope them in, and they buy
$24.50 worth of stuff from you. Sixty-six percent of them
don't come back, so you never see that subsequent
quarterly $52.50 from them. Can you say "red
ink"? But look what you stand to gain if you get them
coming back again and again!
talked about the whole "beef stew" (love the
stuff!) of elements that go into satisfying your
customers. Everything is important - you can't overlook
the basics such as customer service, fulfillment,
policies, decent design, and so on. But once you have a
customer, you can set about managing a relationship with
the person that might include newsletters, mailings of
special offers, new product or update announcements. Don't
discount the value of snail mail in these efforts! One
human I know made an online purchase. Later she received a
paper newsletter in the regular mail and discovered an
item she wanted to buy. She'd also received several
e-mails, which she had deleted unread. (Typical!)
most effective of all is to focus your energy on helpful,
personalized site options that have people longing to come
back. Amazon.com does this one-to-one online salesmanship
brilliantly. Look at their searchable Wish List. Their
Shopping Cart has a "buy
later" option. They have an incredible 1-Click
feature (no wonder they want to maintain that patent!).
They offer "Customers who bought this book also
boughtÖ," listings for almost every item. Notice
how they can offer recommendations that improve over time,
as a customer adds more information to the query database
through each purchase. And get a load of the "Page
You Made" based not on your purchases, but on where
you've been clicking during that session! Even if you
don't buy more than you originally intended to right then,
you might click an item into your shopping cart and save
it, or add it to your Wish List. And you'll want to
expertly manages to create, in the world of e-commerce, a
perception of community, something you might want to be a
part of. They entice and reward their customers at the
same time with features like Listmania, online reviews,
Friends & Family. Best of all, this online sales pitch
Amazon has created is not intrusive. For lots of
folks, it helps, not hinders, the sales process - and
leads to even more sales.
can find a way to apply variations of Amazonís tools and
incentives to your own site, all the while giving your
prospects the shopping experience of a lifetime, you'll go
a long way to encouraging your customers to return. And
each time they do, you sell more without having to spend
more to acquire them. Even on Mars, that spells p-r-o-f-i-t!