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Polite customers help you sell more

Computer Keys Showing Rude and PoliteEvery business has to deal with rude customers. And good business people keep their cool even in the face of dreadful rudeness and downright abusive behaviour. Stooping to the level of the rude customer doesn’t win you any business. Besides, do you really want rude customers in your store or at your meetings?

Generally we find it easier to deal with the extremely rude individual because we can attribute their poor behaviour to them. However, subtle rudeness is more difficult for us to cope with because it implies some kind of error on our part.

Online, it appears that there is a growth in extreme rudeness. People find it easier – thanks to relative anonymity – to be very rude. You can see it every day in negative reviews, for instance, or comments on blogs. In one study the amount of online rudeness doubled from one year to the next. It appears that the lack of feedback from individuals facing us reduces our impulse control mechanisms, making negative emotions come to the surface.

For businesses this can translate into negative comments and reviews. However, new research suggests that the tone of voice of those reviews can have a substantial impact. It turns out that even if those reviews are negative, if they include words of politeness they can actually end up being positive.

For example, imagine your product gets the negative review saying “This is just complete rubbish – too expensive and it doesn’t work”. That is clearly off-putting to future potential buyers. But what if that review says “I don’t want to be mean, but I think this is too expensive and doesn’t work. Frankly it is rubbish.” That says the same thing, but using much more polite language.

The researchers at the University of Chicago found that when reviews included terms of politeness, future customers were prepared to pay more for items, not less. In other words, politeness in your customers helps you increase your revenues.

So how can you encourage polite reviews? The answer is simple: be polite yourself. Politeness breeds politeness. That means when people comment on or review things you need to be polite – thank them and use words associated with being polite. This will lead others to be polite too; we find it very difficult to be rude when those around us are being polite, thanks to social pressure. It also starts to build a relationship – diminishing the perceived anonymity online, thereby lessening the impact of reduced impulse control.

The more you are polite on your website, the more people will be polite back and the higher the prices you can charge. Politeness and profits go hand in hand it seems.

Categories: Internet Psychology

Email Marketing Tops Online Selling Methods

Email marketing is consistently a leader when compared with other forms of generating sales online. Once again, a new study of 1,100 businesses – mostly in the UK – has found that email marketing is much better in terms of generating sales than other forms of digital marketing.

Graph showing impact of email marketing

The results of the study show that 68% of marketers thought that email marketing was good or excellent compared with only 32% of them thinking that social media marketing was like that. In other words, email marketing is thought t be twice as good as social media marketing.

Search marketing came a close second to email marketing and content marketing wasn’t far behind – but remember that organic search depends on content, so the two are inextricably linked. The worst performer in terms of generating sales – as always – was display advertising.

Apart from the fact that email marketing has won the popularity poll – again – these figures also confirm another obvious feature. The most popular forms of marketing are those  which are content heavy. Social media, mobile and display advertising tend to be short snippets of information to fulfil the requirements of those kind of media. But the elements at the top of the poll are those which tend to have long forms of content.

Not only is this a sign that many businesses need to concentrate more than they do on email marketing, it is also confirmation that long form content is the one that generates most sales. But then you only have to look at the Reader’s Digest from 30 years ago to know that. They discovered that a 21-page sales letter sold more subscriptions than a 7-page letter.

It is time to write more not less if you want to generate more sales online.

Categories: Email

Where is your website in the buying cycle?

Diagram showing the buying cycle

Visitors to your website fall into three broad categories – those who have never heard of your business before, those who know of you but don’t know everything that you sell and those who know exactly what they want to buy. So, the question is, which kind of person are you targeting with your website?

If your website is full of “buy now” kind of material, you are going to miss out on the people who have never heard of your business and don’t know what they want from you anyway. Yet, if you focus on building trust and credibility, you lose the people who want to “buy now” because they have to wade through several pages to get to what they really want.

These days, people give you seconds, indeed less than a second. If they cannot match the web page to their current desires and expectations they click away to find a site that can. People perceive this as quicker than wading through one website. Of course, perception and reality are often different things, but it means that with the way people now use the web, online businesses need to have multiple web experiences to match the variety of expectations.

So, for the people who have never heard of your business before you need a web page or site that builds trust and credibility, long before you even mention what you might have on sale. For the people who know about you, but aren’t aware of everything you sell, you need to raise awareness – which is where a good on-site search engine comes in, as well as email marketing. And for the person who knows exactly what they want, you need to land them on a direct, “buy now” page, otherwise they get annoyed with you and look elsewhere in the future.

When you build your web pages do you consider where your visitors are in terms of this buying cycle? Are you targeting people who know what they want, or people who have no idea that you have a solution to their needs? Whether people are at the start or end of the buying cycle will determine what kind of web experience they are expecting. If you offer a “one size fits all” website, you will miss all your targets.

Categories: Online Business