Easy to Read = More Online Sales

It pretty much stands to reason that when a visitor lands on your website they will be more engaged with it if they can understand it!

By their very nature, website visitors are impatient people. If they have to work to understand your web pages (navigation or content), then they will go away to find an easier site than yours. Your competitors!

Many websites that I get to look at or look after contain some very technical language that is very difficult to understand for the seasoned professionals never-mind the average web surfer. Some webmasters also like long and complicated sentences.

Long and complicated sentences are not a sign of intelligence, it doesn't suggest to your readers that you know about the topic or more educated than them, it just shows that you really don't care about the readers.

Here are some very simple tips to help you.

  • Write short sentences on your pages
  • Use paragraphs
  • Use headings and sub headings to structure the content logically
  • Use bullet points
  • Avoid using complicated words. Don't say "Dulcet" when you mean sweet or sugary!
  • Use relevant  images on your pages

Follow these simple rules and your website visitors will flock to your pages and engage more with your brand/business.

Enhancing Campaign Longevity

I’m rather pleased with one of my latest promotion projects. Irwin Mitchell’s business employment team have launch a report off the back of a survey that they had commissioned based around recession-based employment tactics; the results are actually very interesting, and as the EBusiness Manager it was passed to me to see how we can get as many people as possible to download this document online.

My simple but effective plan was actually devised in just a few moments – the plan is to have two phases of online promotions:

Phase 1 utilises our social media footprint to bring visitors into the report landing page. We have our finger in a number of social media pies, but Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook were chosen as our number 1 options for this phase. We devised an Infographic (the first within the business) to help promote the full report, and also enables it to go viral (although we don’t really expect this thing to go global, we wanted an easy way for others to promote it).

With ReTweets and refreshing in statuses, I reckoned that this probably has a core lifespan of 2-3 weeks, so I needed a Phase 2 to help promote it a little longer.

Phase 2 gives us that longevity. A video from our Head of Employment will be shot and again posted on our website, YouTube and other social media sites. This refresh of our promotional approach will also see us repurpose the video content to provide audiocast.

I’m posting this soon after we launched the report and the campaign activity, but initial analytics are very good. Traffic to the Employment section is higher than usual and of course although this went out in a press release also, traffic from social sites has doubled (Twitter and Linked in performing the best with Facebook in clear third!)

We have tried two approaches for the actual report PDF, it’s a free report anyway, but we are trying the use of both a sign-up form (visitors leave us their name and email address to collect the report) and one where it’s readily available without providing us any details at all. I’ll post back our resulst when we have them.

Recession-based Employment Tactics

UK Law Firm Irwin Mitchell today revealed a telling report showing that there is a huge lack of confidence in the economy and that businesses are three times more likely to encourage voluntary redundancies during the next 12 months compared to two years ago.

Other key findings from this survey of 320 senior business decision-makers are:
  • One-third of businesses had made compulsory redundancies in the last year, with 75% of those also using a range of alternative cost-saving techniques.
  • Seven out of 10 firms said they are "less confident" or expect "no improvement" in the U.K. economy in 2012 and 18% said they are "quite likely" or "very likely" to make compulsory redundancies during the same period.
  • Out of those businesses stating they needed to reduce their employee cost base over the next 12 months, just over half (55%) said that they would introduce a voluntary redundancy program. This compares to just 16% of companies that did the same during the last two years.
In addition, firms are more likely to cut down the use of agency workers, freeze pay, grant unpaid absences, remove other benefits such as bonuses and reduce staff hours in the next 12 months compared to two years ago.

Outside of compulsory redundancies, the most popular method used to reduce the employee cost base during the last two years was freezing pay rises, so UK employees can expect their pay to be frozen during the next 12 months!

The full report can be found here.

Infographic: Guide to advertising on Twitter by Alchemy Social

Earlier this year Alchemy Social unveiled an infographic guide to advertising on Twitter.

The brilliant guide looks at how to target the public, what motivates people to become followers, and what enhanced pages should look like.

The key findings were that a massive 94% of people follow businesses for discounts and promotions, 87% simply for fun and entertainment, 79% for access to exclusive content and 69% to follow company news and updates.

The full story can be found here.

FIVE Winning Tweet Formulas That Work

If you're looking for tweets that work within the B2B environment then you have come to the right place; although these work just as well for B2C!

Writing a really great tweet is like writing a great headline for an email or mailshot; you need to get someone to read and take action in just 140 characters. What a lot of people seem to forget when they come to Twitter is that as humans we haven’t really changed over the years, and what worked in the past, continues to work on Twitter.

So where are some formulas that will work to get readers interest and get them to take action.

1. The Big Promise Approach

[Goal] will be achieved when you follow these [amazing steps]

This ‘Big promise’ way of writing headlines has been around for years, and the early copywriters knew that it worked.

Example: Customers will flock if you use these great Power Words http://tinyurl.com/7p38zlc

2. The Endorsement Approach

How [@Username] and [@Username] are [Doing Great Things]

There is nothing better than endorsing your product or service by using previous clients. Using this approach it isn’t you that is promoting your product or service, but by proxy it’s your previous clients.

Example: How @npowerhq got their biggest response ever to an online campaign.

3. The Hi-5 Approach

We really enjoyed this article from [@username] on [topic]

Virtual high-fives like this not only gets you the attention of the account that you are mentioning but it also enables ReTweets because we all like personal recommendations and we all like to pass them on.

Example: We liked this #Marketing Intuition Contest: Which homepage generated a 331% lift in conversion. bit.ly/Le8VFm @MktgExperiments

4. The Question Approach

Did you know that nn% of [target audience] [something interesting/controversial]?

A lot of business Twitter users don’t use the questioning approach, but it is a great way to get readers interest and click on your link.

Example: Did you know that 62% of businesses in the UK think that they are funny! http://tinyurl.com/cq39wzq

5. The Except Approach

Another Twitter formula that works well is to take an excerpt directly from an article or website; after all, this has already been written to be punchy and get a positive response!

Example: HOW TO WRITE GREAT HEADLINES THAT GET ATTENTION! http://tinyurl.com/bl73srt

One of the great cost effective opportunities that social media provides is that content can be fairly easily repurposed for different media, and this approach is a perfect example, and in the example above then a great headline is a great headline, no matter where you use it.

If you need any help with your social media work; strategy or delivery then get in touch to see how I can help your business win.

Getting Your Business Online

All businesses can benefit from having a web site, they can enhance your business image, allow you to communicate with customers and prospects and even bring in new customers.

If you do not have a web site, then chances are you have considered it and for some reason dismissed the idea. Many of my clients believe that getting a small web site created that brings in new business will be expensive.

The truth is that it needn't be. A web site can be created and set up, with email accounts for upfront costs as little as £500
Now, if over the life of the web site, it only brings in say 10, 20 or 30 new customers, don't you think that it will pay for itself!

I can define your personalised plan for moving online, create and set up a simple web site that will be your virtual shop front, then help you to promote it.

Maybe you already have a web site, but it's not generating the sales leads that you expect it to, then I can help you to determine how the site and it's promotion can be managed.

I have worked with some of the biggest businesses in the UK in helping them to define their online presence and help them to make money, I can do the same for you.

Using Twitter for Business

Twitter is the latest web-centric communications service to explode onto the scene, and businesses have moved in rapidly.

Businesses seem to be cautious about using tools like Twitter, and rightly so; if used badly then (in an over commercial way), then customers and potential customer might be put off your brand.

But your company can most definitely benefit from using Twitter. The primary use for it in business should be to listen, because, as every top-performing salesman in the world knows, listening is more important than talking most of the time.

You want to hear from every customer, supplier, client, industry leader, journalist, colleague and competitor who has anything to say (good or bad) about your product, service or business. Twitter has much in common with old-style networking, like early morning meetings at diners and water-cooler chats, except it's been "virtualised" for 21st century knowledge sharing.

With that brief introduction, let's look at 10 great ways to use Twitter to your business's advantage.

#1. Listen more, talk less: If you just think of Twitter as another way to "post" your messages and advertisements on the internet, then you're sadly missing the whole point about Twitter, and your following will probably be nonexistent. Spend a lot more time listening to what others are "tweeting" (posting) about you and you will gather valuable information. When you do post a message, make it something people want to know, not something you want them to know.

#2. Find your niche: Twitter's uses are limited only by your imagination. Don't think of what you can get, but what you can offer and what you can learn. You may want to share knowledge, you may want to obtain it, or you may just want to assure customers, colleagues and others that you are available to them. You will benefit to the extent that you listen and stay engaged, which means referring back to #1 a lot. Twitter is a great forum for asking questions and getting replies back from the people that matter.

#3. Develop a personality: Because you might tend to use Twitter a lot to talk to your followers, they will start to understand your 'personality', that is how humorous (or not) you are; how direct or straightforward you are; your tone. Twitter is therefore a good way to project your business brand. A fresh and interesting personality attracts followers, and some successful firms even allow numerous voices to reach out from within the company's offices and departments, each with their unique 'personality' but adding more value to the larger voice..

#4. Eavesdrop: There are several good tools for monitoring what is being said, starting with Twitter's own search field. If you look to the right, you will also get a list of the current most-popular searches so you always know what's hot at the moment. The site monitter.com, as the name implies, was developed specifically for use with Twitter, to allow simultaneous multiple searches.

#5. Build your audience: The first thing to do is post a few tweets to get a handle on how it all works, of course. Then dedicate some study time to see what your competitors and companies in the same industry are doing (if anything). Make use of the "Find People" function on the top of the Twitter page to find people in your own company, your current clients and colleagues, old classmates and friends, etc. Use the "@" reply to connect directly with people, to make sure they see your tweet, and discuss matters of interest to them. When they respond with the @ reply, other folks following them may notice you and choose to follow you, too.

It's also interesting to see who else your followers are following, as that can give you fresh insight into the types of people to seek. Use the various search methods (see #4 above) to find subjects that relate to your industry, and pay attention to who's talking about these matters. Don't be a broadcaster, be a conversationalist, and if you do Twitter right, you will build a following daily.

#6. More information!: As Tweets are limited to 140 characters, having a big discussion is out of the question, but remember you can post links to new, events or others Tweets that might be of interest to your followers.

#7. Be human: Too many people, from firms both large and small, represent their firms poorly by appearing to be robots on a fixed schedule. They crank out PR verbiage and automated data and don't offer anything for followers to grab hold of. You have to "throw them a line" or you will sail right by everyone.

#8. Be polite and respectful: Whilst you can be pretty much nameless and faceless on Twitter, it helps if you are respectful on anyone that could read your Tweets! Imagine your having the conversation with a roomful of guests face to face. Avoid sensitive topics like politics and religion etc (unless these are directly related to your business dealings!). These subjects have no place in a business conversation, so please leave them out.

#9: Play nice: Don't get emotionally involved or rant about a person, place, product or business. Picture Twitter as one big community, be nice or face the consequences!

#10: Stay positive: Don't be pessimistic, and don't whine or complain about what's wrong with this or that industry or the world in general. People will follow people they like, who offer something of value, who are upbeat and who stay on an even keel. Of course, some situations require a serious, even solemn approach, but those are the exceptions and should be handled delicately. Anyone can gripe, moan and groan. A business leader, on the other hand, offers solutions.

Bottom line? Twitter is a tool, and a good one, for keeping conversations going with stakeholders, potential customers, colleagues and even competitors. It takes real-time management because it's a real-time tool, but when it's done right Twitter can be an important addition to your sales, marketing and business communications arsenal.

If you need help with your social media, then get in touch with me andrew@andrewscaife.com

Customer Retention

It is absolutely true that it costs more to find a new customer than it does to retain an existing one, anyone in business knows that, but the big questions is … how can you retain your customers?

I found the following statistics recently and they make for interesting reading:

  • 4 percent of customers leave a business because they have moved location.
  • 5 percent simply change their purchasing habits.
  • 9 percent decide that they like the competition better.
  • 14 percent leave because they become disenchanted with a company's overall service.
  • 68 percent stop doing business with a company because they feel unappreciated.
Customer retention is all about customer satisfaction, if you can satisfy your customers (or even delight them!), then you stand a great chance of retaining them, so how do you provide this customer satisfaction?

There is a simple formula that I always use, and I have found that it works incredibly well in all situations:

Customer Satisfaction = Good Reputation + Good Customer Relationship +Good Service

You build a great relationship with them (above and beyond simply being their supplier), then you never give them a reason to leave you (you surpass their service expectations).

Once you realise and accept this Customer Retention formula is everything starts to fall into place.

Lets look at these factors in a little more detail:


Public Relations
  • It’s predominately the responsibility of Public Relations to improve a businesses reputation in the market
  • Customers ask themselves ... do they feel happy buying from a business like yours
  • Is the corporate identity and key corporate messages sending the right signals to the market?



  • Ensuring a great relationship with customers is all about the communications
  • After a major purchase, customers often feel that they have made the wrong choice, that why reassurance messages need to presented often (these can be via face to face meetings, telephone calls, or electronic messages (email, ezines etc))
  • All the customers’ touchpoints inside the organisation need to be well managed to ensure that customers get a consistent message and level of service.
  • Use marketing budgets wisely, and treat your very best customers, never underestimate the power of hospitality

Service is a huge part of customer retention The key service elements are pre-sales, sales and post-sales:
  • The reputation and friendliness of the pre-sales team/process
  • Their ability to provide first-class advice and solve customers problems
  • Win/Win negotiations (ensure the customer gets something from the negotiations)
  • Delivery/Supply (on time)
  • Installation (clean, tidy and working first time)
  • Invoicing (correct)
  • Payment (effective systems)
  • Good after sales support
  • Plenty of reassurance
  • You listen to new development requests
It’s worth checking your business to see that you have the ability to influence these areas, as they are critical to customer retention.

It’s also worth investing in a Customer Satisfaction Survey. If any of these core retention standards start to slip, the chances are that the first time you know about it is when a customer leaves you.

You need an annual survey so that trends can be captured, and any weakness in a particular area investigated and corrected.