These 4 Mistakes Could Be Damaging Your Business’ Brand
Social media and digital may seem easy, but there are plenty of pitfalls businesses fall into. Read this guide on how to avoid them
You have a flashy website, you send out regular emails and you are on all the social networks, but your business still isn’t growing and you are losing, rather than gaining, customers.
This article highlights four mistakes you are probably still making with your business that could be damaging your brand and losing you customers.
Sending emails no one will open
You send out four newsletters a month, each one taking a couple of hours to prepare only to find a mere 1% of your list is actually opening them and, what’s worse, no one is clicking on anything. These emails often get buried in mailboxes, either a subject line has not been compelling enough for the recipient to open the email or it has ended up in the spam folder.
According to Digital Donut, you have 15 seconds to make an impression with your subject line when emailing adults and this length of time decreases the younger the audience is. This means that email subject lines should be concise.
The table below shows the open and click rate for emails that have subject lines in different character bands.
As you can see the optimum band is between 28-39 characters, encouraging 12.2% to open and 4% to click. Emails with subject lines of 4-15 characters had the highest open rate, but the low click rate suggests that a subject line of that length cannot properly reflect the contents of the email.
Ensure that your subject line does not contain any words frequently associated with spam emails, this will help keep your email out of the junk. Some words to avoid are:
- Click below
- 100% free
- Click here
- Act now
You can view a long list of words in a handy infographic by Beeketing here. These words won’t guarantee your fate in the spam folder but keeping them out of the subject line may help you avoid it.
Ensure that the email template you are using is optimised for mobile or responsive, meaning it will adapt to the device it is viewed on. Programmes such as Mailchimp give you the option of seeing what your email will look like on a mobile device while it is being built meaning that you can see exactly what your recipients will see and can adapt it from there. This step is vital if you want to avoid your emails being deleted before they are even read.
Neglecting your phones
Although email and SMS in business is on the rise, phone calls still have the highest conversion rate of the communication channels. According to a Call Intelligence Index report, phone calls have a 30-50% conversion rate while clicks top out at just 1-2%, making them continually relevant for businesses. Despite this, many businesses struggle to give their customers a good experience via the phone, and this is mainly due to missing calls.
UK small businesses lost ₤90m in sales in 2014 by failing to pick up phone calls because customers will not call back again, this is why investing in some sort of call handling can help a business increase their conversions.
Some businesses may debate the importance of phone calls claiming that most of their leads come from their website. Convirza researched into this and found that ‘although online leads are more abundant, sometimes accounting for up to 95% of total lead volume, phone calls generated 25% of the overall revenue. That’s a quarter of overall revenue, coming from only 5% of total lead volume.’
A call handling service provided by a company such as Mediahawk, may allow you to recoup some of the business lost when a call is missed utilising the features the call handling offers, such as Mailboxes. These decrease the opportunities lost when missing a call. A mailbox service will email the caller’s message the moment the call finishes allowing you to call them back.
Discounting instead of adding value
SALE! This tactic may scream quick win for many businesses, guaranteeing a rise in purchases or bookings, however is it really the best tactic for building loyalty and retaining clients?
A sale involves decreasing prices which in turn devalues your product, “Being viewed as being cheaper will hurt the long-term brand value and reel in fickle customers who won’t return if they spot a better bargain in the future.” said Ian Horsham, divisional director for promotions and incentives at The Grass Roots Group.
Instead he suggests that “retailers should look to focus their time on improving their promotions and incentive programmes ahead of reductions.” Adding value rather than deducting a percentage or reducing prices. This could involve giving two sample sized products when they purchase a full sized product, or rewarding loyalty by giving a voucher to use on their next visit. These offers do not devalue products being bought, but give the consumers the feeling that they have been rewarded for shopping/booking with you, encouraging them to return.
An example of added value in action can be seen from The Lounge Bistro & Wine Bar in Biggleswade, Beds. They recently introduced ‘Deals Night’ which occurs every Thursday. Instead of discounting the evening (10%, 20% or 30% off for example) they add value to their customer’s meals. A recent deal saw The Lounge giving customers a free bottle of prosecco when they purchased two main meals.
Although the business is technically still giving something away for free they are not devaluing their food. Customers who have decided that they want to eat out will be paying for their meals anyway, but the added value of a bottle of prosecco may persuade them to choose The Lounge, even if they weren’t planning on drinking prosecco.
This is not to say that the odd discount or sale isn’t a good idea, but falling into the habit of discounting will only make people wait until the next offer to return, or dissuade new customers, as there is reduced trust for brands that continually de-value their products.
Overdoing the self-promotion on social media
Constant Contact recently published a report revealing that 81% of small businesses now use social media to market their businesses, but are they using it effectively and, more importantly, correctly?
Unsurprisingly the original aim of social media was to be social; a reason why businesses sometimes receive a cold reception when they use social media platforms for nothing more than, completely shameless self-promotion.
The various social platforms are unique and, when used correctly, can bring a host of potential customers your way, hopefully prepared to engage with you – the trick is to diversify content. A business account that repeats generic messages about what they offer will quickly find that their follower count begins to steadily drop.
For this reason it is important for brands that use social media to put out a range of different content, from original to curated, varying what people see on their timelines.
Here are a few content examples to get you started:
These are a great tool for businesses to present a lot of information in a fun and engaging format. These make fantastic content for B2B companies who will struggle more than B2C companies to post engaging visual posts. Infographics go well on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.
These can be considered a little cheesy but there is no denying that inspirational quotes attract a lot of engagement, possibly due to the universal appeal, quotes are often subjective to whoever is reading it. There are also quotes relevant to almost all industries as well as generic motivational quotes. Schedule those quotes weekly and use hashtags such as #motivationalmonday. Inspirational quotes do well on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Behind the scenes images
Feed people’s natural instinct to be nosey by giving them a sneak peek behind the scenes. These are particularly effective when a business is attending an event. Make sure you research the event’s hashtag before attending and make sure every post contains it. Behind the scenes images work well on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Videos are the new selfies! Syndacast predicts 74% of all internet traffic in 2017 will be video and video has been named as one of the top three social media marketing tactics by both B2B and B2C companies. Initially it may take some practice and investment but, as the above statistics show, video is engaging content that brands need to get behind. Videos are great on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine and YouTube.
An example of a small business using social media well is Twisted Burger Co. an independent burger restaurant company based in a few locations around Yorkshire. Their social content isn’t restricted to images of their burgers, they also tweet and post about local events, bloggers, businesses and festivals that their clientele would be interested in, earning them over 24,000 followers across their accounts and a lot of engagement.
Social media does take some time to build up and get right, it is a trial and error tactic, but once a working formula has been found social media can lead to conversions.
Gemma Harling is a digital marketing consultant at Receptional