On my ETP Marketing site I have converted over my existing storefront to Prestashop, an open source e-commerce solution. I tend to like using Open Source Software since I can generally modify it to suite my needs plus there is usually no shortage of talented people contributing with theme, plug-ins, and extended functionality. That’s why I’ve been using WordPress for all these years and I see PrestaShop on the same path.
I have begun adding a few web forms to my store over the past week. I will try to add a form each week. I had considered creating the forms using Flex or FlashBuilder but given the fact that the audience I’m targeting for these forms are people who may not be actual developers. They could be people who may be building their first website or they’re only familiar with the basic HTML development IDE’s like Dreamweaver or NVU .
Whatever the case, I am creating these forms such that they don’t require a database and come with instructions allowing the user to easily customize and upload the code to their site. A typical example is this contact form I added today.
In keeping with my ongoing support of OSS, all software that I sell through ETP Marketing is licensed:
Open Source Initiative OSI – The Open Software License 3.0:Licensing
Open Software License (“OSL”) v. 3.0
This Open Software License (the “License”) applies to any original work of authorship (the “Original Work”) whose owner (the “Licensor”) has placed the following licensing notice adjacent to the copyright notice for the Original Work:
Licensed under the Open Software License version 3.0
If you’d like to purchase any of these forms, you can do so at ETP Marketing Store.
As offensive and intrusive as I find most Outbound Marketing, it is nowhere near as offensive as politicians that use Spit (SPam over Internet Telephony) Marketing. I really wonder if they even have a clue the negative effect of this type marketing has on their campaign.
Recently, I have two different politicians running campaigns this way. You get a pre-recorded call, usually around dinner time, instructing you to stay on the line to attend so and so’s Town Hall meeting. Here’s what that does for me… I stay on the line long enough to get their name and write it down so that I can be sure not to inadvertently vote for them. How’s that for results.
Interestingly, I seem to be getting more and more unsolicited emails from companies too. In many cases the practices are actually illegal. Many think it’s OK to put you on an email list if they somehow get a hold of your email address whether you opt in or not.
Generally, I opt out which actually takes time. Often, even after doing so I continue to get email from them. It’s pretty crazy and totally out of hand. Or how about the “Marketing type” that goes on Twitter and “tweets” 15 times in a row announcing Joe Blows new widget? Yikes! Worse yet, I find this often under “Interactive Marketing”.
That agency is another one to stay well away from. You’ll loose your hard earned money and the reputation of your company quite quickly.
Seriously, where do people come off thinking that there’s anything about that that’s OK. How dare they.
I use Twitter and find it useful for doing research, staying in touch with people, asking questions in webinars, and a variety of others things. I have Twitter results enabled in all of my Google searches because the results are really useful and generally quite different from what comes up in Google or any of the other search engines.
What I find not useful is having people “Tweet” 20-30 times in a row or several tweets per hours about things which have little meaning or use to anyone. I am particularly amazed and annoyed when the people doing this are actually marketing people professing to really understand social media as the new marketing. They really don’t get what using social media for marketing is all about in my view. Actually, I’m not sure the understand what marketing communication is all about.
The good aspects of the product can really be compromised by people that over use it. The end result is that I simply ignore all of their posts and if it really gets bad, I just unfollow them. I’m sure I’m not unique in this.
Being effective with communications, whether it’s purely social, inbound or traditional outbound, requires thought coupled with value. A few well thought messages that actually provide meaningful information and value to the reader is way more effective than a million meaningless communications.
The “tune out” factor is huge.
Well, if you’ve been following these posts you know my last one was about putting together a meaningful auto-response for the potential client when they fill out the form. I went on to describe the type of landing page that probably would make sense for the client.
At this point, there are a reasonable amount of people that would think: now that we have the clients in a database, it’s time to begin sending out email blasts with promotions, discount offers, and coupons every week or so.
In my view that’s a big mistake! That’s probably one of the biggest reasons people doing email blasts have large unsubscribe rates and really low conversion rates. Think about this: These people barely know you or your company yet. Give them a break.
This is the time when you think about process and lead nurturing. Believe it or not, these folks are not in love with you or your product…yet. They will be, but you need to develop this relationship by giving them something. Provide them with a free white paper or free tutorial or a free software item every week or two. Encourage feedback. You’ll be surprised at the increase in your email blast statistics, new sign-ups, and click through rates. This really works well and potential customers will begin to have some loyalty once they begin using your products or services.
So, have a little patience! Give your customers time to get to know you. Help them get to know you and use promotions when appropriate and less frequently. In the case of promotions, sometimes less can be more.
Check out ETP Marketing for more information on these services.
When you use Web Forms or even just a Website in general you ought to think about process particularly as it relates to your visitors and future potential customers. Marketing people call this lead nurturing, which amounts to walking a potential customer through a process where they get to know you, trust you, become familiar with your products and services, and ultimately become part of your customer community.
The first step using a Hosted Web Form is setting up your Auto-Responder. How many times have you filled out a form and even sometimes even a lengthy form and when you’re done you wind up getting redirected to a blank page with some simple “Thank You” message? I don’t know about you, but that leaves me cold.
Think about Customer Persona(s) as you are creating your first Auto-Response. Who are these folks? What are their interests? How can I Help Them? These are great questions and a great place to start. Generally, when someone fills out a form they are expressing interest in you and your company but probably don’t really know that much at this point.
Start by thanking them and then continue with a little more information about you and/or your company. Let them know what they can expect from you in the future. Perhaps you’re going to be sending them promotions or newsletter in the future. Let them know it so they’ll be looking for it rather than being surprised by it.
Provide them with useful links to your site, other sites, or even white papers. Give them a reason to be involved with you and your company.
To my original point, be sure to redirect them to a web page after they fill out the form that provides all of what the auto-response email does and more.