Newsletters Build Bonds

Newsletters are a great way to bond with customers. They are a friendly, casual way to stay in touch.

There are a lot of different formats. But there is one thing they must do to be successful.

Newsletters must get the reader’s attention…

I’ll never forget the two teachers I had in a shared-time experimental English class. It was my junior year of high school.  

Monday through Wednesday we had English literature followed by two days of public speaking. 

The teachers couldn’t have been more different. 

The English teacher was a petite woman with a soft voice. Unfortunately, she also tended to speak and read in a monotone.  

I love books, I love literature. But she was so hard to focus on in that soft lullaby voice. The hour dragged. I could feel my eyelids wanting to droop.

The first time I met our Thursday-Friday teacher, I was terrified.

Mrs.Trueblood strode into the room like a warrior-queen. Her voice boomed rich and deep. Authoritative. Strong. 

As she made her way toward the teacher’s desk on the far side of the room, I noticed everyone was sitting up a little straighter. Mrs.Trueblood commanded every class.

Yup. She had my attention…and then she captivated my brain. That turned into one of the most enlightening and amazing classes I took in school.  

If I would see her now, I’d stand my tallest and shake her hand with all the professionalism I grew into…and thank her for what she gave me.  Skills and confidence that are still with me today. 

Every newsletter needs to open with a good subject line and lead that gets the reader’s attention. 

I’ve been writing newsletters for well over 25 years. They’ve kept customers up to date, inspired them and offered valuable information.

Were they all masterpieces? Of course not. But they’ve given me lots of practice to find what works.

Discover your stats specific to your industry niche.

Industry stats are something many businesses are unaware of. 

Sending out e-newsletters and then seeing how many people do, or don’t, open them can be a little nerve-wracking. I’ve seen many businesses start second-guessing themselves and abandon the project.  

Instead use Google and find the typical statistics for your business segment. 

You’ll find out all sorts of interesting data there. The typical number of opens, the typical number of clicks, (if you have links,) and even conversions.  It’s all available as part of the tracking of the mail-handling program. 

Different systems track different things if they are properly interconnected to your website. Talk with your webmaster about what will work best with your system.

Once I learned those statistics I discovered I was doing better than most businesses in my industry. Sometimes 10 times better. 

But what if you get an email that doesn’t get the response you expected? I’ve found most of the time it was timing.  It wasn’t the perfect time for that message. 

It could also be the wrong group or segment of your recipients.

Try these 4 techniques for a great newsletter

One question I often get is…how often should I send a newsletter?

Frequency

Your newsletter can be a monthly release of multiple articles that are featured weekly.

They start with  the first week’s article in brief with a link to the full article. They  also include links to three other articles at the bottom. Each week one article gets its turn at being featured in an email.

That works well for larger businesses who really want to build and share information. It also builds traction faster.

But if four monthly articles are not in your time schedule, or budget, then send at least monthly.

You need to stay in touch with clients and prospective clients at least monthly to stay on their mind.

I like to work from an idea list.  I also review what worked well in previous years for specific time slots. 

You have two choices for tracking data from your email system. Export it to a data file or stay with the same email contact manager system. This builds you a history you can easily review.

Keep your newsletters to one theme if possible. 

Even many popular magazines tend to use themes. You won’t find 4th of July picnics in the December issue. Get the right message at the right time.

Start with seasonal. Look for events or holidays you can tie into if that fits your specific products. 

But if you’re in the midst of a crisis? Pause and think about what is going to be the most important message you can share this month. 

Right now family bonding, mental health and self-care are all important.  

Tips for coping with stress, anxiety and getting a good night’s rest are high priorities.

Tips for dealing with unavailability. Many of us are accustomed to dropping by the store nearly daily to get this or that.  Not now.  

Most of us are planning and shopping in advance to minimize the number of trips we need to make. We’re making contingency plans for things that aren’t available.

We’re coping with back orders and items out of stock with no projected availability.  This adds to the stress levels. Anything to cope with stress or anxiety is getting checked out.

Consider length…

Are your customers  looking for a quick read?  Plan the length and complexity based on your target audience.  Are you sending a series of educational pieces? Those may run longer.

Are you sending a helpful, hopeful, hang in there message? Keep it short, positive and inspirational. 

Get your message clear and simple. 

I’m often asked how long is long enough?  

A short email might be 200-300 carefully chosen words.

A blog length article can be 800-1500 words.

But as my seventh-grade-teacher always said, as she primly lifted her calf length skirts toward her knees…

It needs to be long enough to cover the subject and short enough to be interesting.

Of course, we giggled or tried to keep straight faces. It was years before I realized how profoundly truthful those words are.

Don’t drag it on…that’s when you lose readers. 

Find the magic balance…

Many of the emails and newsletters we receive are 100% sales. If you’re like me, you can spot and delete those in seconds. 

The first pass of my emails is looking for stuff to delete. Sound familiar? Absolutely.  

We are being so inundated with emails…especially sales and sales pitches, that we’re experts at spotting the stuff we aren’t interested in. So we go down, tick them and in one fell swoop…their opportunity is in the trash.

Maybe those businesses haven’t noticed people have other needs than just a sale.

Here’s a quick question or two for you to consider.

What type of email do you like to receive from your suppliers?  

A sale? Or helpful information with maybe a short call-to-action or product special at the bottom?

Which makes you feel better? Which makes you feel more connected to them? 

Make your communications heavy on the information, inspiration and connection side. 

Keep the selling information to between 10-20% of the total. Message first. Sales second is a better way to bond.

Not sure how your newsletters rank?

As we make our way through the marketing complexities we face, here’s a special offer. For the first 2 people who contact me…before 5PM PDT on 4/16, I’ll do a quick complimentary review of an existing newsletter. 

www.jculpcreativecopy.com

Communications to Connect with CBD Clients

Content marketing keeps you connected with clients and prospects
Photo by Tim Bennett of Unsplash

Electronic communications are a great format to support your clients in any economic atmosphere…including a crisis.

I’ve been hearing lots of stories from friends who were being challenged by this nasty new virus.

I worked in the wellness industry for 30 years and many are unemployed and stressed for the first time in their lives. 

They are laid off and trying to access their unemployment benefits.  For many, this is uncharted territory…just like the rest of our lives. 

I’m trying to help as I can. The problem seems to be the states weren’t prepared for anything like this. Their websites and contact accesses are swamped.

“I’m about at my wit’s end. The state said they accepted my paperwork, but now it won’t let me submit a weekly claim.” Jen’s voice shook with frustration.

“I tried calling them,” she scowled. “At least ten times. The line is always busy.”

“Is there no online support?” I asked, having never used the system.

“None. It just comes to a filing page and flashes a red stop icon, with a message to call the office.

“What a joke.” Even with “social- distancing, I could see her shoulders sag.

“I’m so sorry,” I offered helplessly. “Don’t give up. Please keep trying.”

With a system like that, there is nothing I could do to solve her problem.

I’m sure it’s a problem being repeated thousands of times a day across the state…let alone the country.

But you can help. You have products to help them deal with stress, insomnia, and pain.

What can we learn from the state and national problems?

I think it just showcases how important it is to have alternative ways for people to reach you. Your website is their point of access…don’t make it hard for them.  

Right now they need EASY and SUPPORT.

I also think we are learning a painful lesson about unexpected disasters and how important it is to have contingency plans.

I’ve been using customer messages to stay in touch with clients for over 30 years.  

In today’s digital world e-newsletters or emails are quick and inexpensive. They also look better than what I could produce 20 years ago. 

Clients like hearing from us and it keeps them engaged. There are numerous ways we can communicate.

One big secret to remember with communications…

When you are planning a communication you need to frame it in the current environment. 

It needs to fit the context of Now. 

You’ve probably heard the jokes of people trying to sell ice to someone in northern Alaska. It didn’t fit their context.  It was something they had no use for.

Make sure every message you send out is the right message, to the right person/people at the right time.

4 strategies to maximize your communications for effectiveness

Here are some simple ways I’ve found improved my use of communications.  Use them, to get more positive responses.

First…

Have ONE overall theme/focus. You want a theme that is appropriate for the “now.” 

Whether you’re using an email, e-newsletter, or social media post – keep the topic to one idea. One theme.

In the middle of a hurricane in Florida is a lousy time to sell sails.  

The airlines trying to tell us “right now is the perfect time to fly,” comes across as, well…stupid.

In the middle of summer, buying a heavy winter coat isn’t on your mind. Sun protection, a trip to the beach…yes.  Winter clothes…not so much.

Use downtime to make a list of some themes that might work for you and topics that might attract your ideal target clients.

Think seasonal. Are you adding new products to your website that will help them through this crisis?

Now is the time to let your customers know.

Another option is sharing how people are helping out in your area. This is always welcome reading.  There is so much negative news between the virus and politics… go for positive things. 

Help them feel better, not worse.

Make your Communications Show you care

People are feeling uncertain right now. They are feeling isolated despite all the social media and virtuality available. 

When we are in a tough time we look for connections. 

Your emails/newsletters can be those connections. 

In my work with clients we normally only send out newsletters once a month. 

Right now, we are sending and staying in touch more frequently but only with the right kind of message.

Use technology to make up for what we can’t do in person…engage with them.

Show you care by keeping them informed. Let them know what’s happening now and how to reach you…don’t make them hunt for it.

If you’ve created a how-to video on self-care or solving anxiety or sleep problems…put it where they are most apt to see it. Put it on your website and then cross-post it to social media. 

Inspire and help them dream with your communcations

Share all the upbeat positives and inspirations you can find. People are looking for inspiration right now and it would be hard to overdo this aspect.  

On you’re favorite social channels find out what they are doing to help others…recognize them and share that.  Inspire others to help.

A local dad was on the news last night.  His company builds recreational boats. He got a text from his daughter “Dad, do you have the ability to cut plastic.”

That got his attention.  He called her and found she was trying to get protective face coverings for friends that work in hospitals.

He immediately started networking with other businesses. In less than 24-hours, they are set to put out at least 30,000 devices in the next few weeks.

Doesn’t that story give you a warm feeling? Look around and .share good feeling positives…you’re helping others mental health.

If you’re involved in helping people some way…share what you’re doing. Get others involved. 

If you’re developing new products… get them thinking about them…gently…now. 

Bite-size communications for social.

This is one of my favorite things to do.  Once I have a blog or article for my newsletter, then I re-use the ideas.

I use snippets to create short posts and memes perfect for social media. How can you share your idea in the fewest, simplest number of words?  

Try to turn them into something so clear they are memorable, quotable.

Make them pretty. Use your favorite app to dress them up.  Do they look like something you’d like to clip and save? That’s the goal.

You can expose your thoughts and messages to different people. You can build followers…and potential customers.  

When I work with clients, creating content blogs and then bite-sizing those blogs into an email and social media posts are just two of the ways I make their workload a little lighter.

For ways to keep customers coming back and enhancing your ROI…go here.

Easy, Useful, & Friendly = Happier Customers

Photo by Blake Wisz on Unsplash

How easy, useful, & friendly is your website? Your article? Your social media post? Each one of these is a touchpoint with customers and prospects.  If you tweak for these three components you’ll grow faster and keep customers coming back.

I recently had a client who requested additional content for their website.  So I could see what was already there, I visited the site and their Facebook page.

It was beautiful, modern, and trendy with a delicate pastel script font. But those same attributes made it fail in some of the basics.

Those small delicate colored fonts the fonts lacked contrast and made them hard to read. Ditto for the script. It looks pretty…but it’s hard to read.

The images are beautiful but they don’t directly relate to the product the company offers.  It needs help to be simpler, useful and friendly in the customer experience.

Let’s look at what would help…

Easy experience

Every customer experience starts with knowing that customer.  What are they looking for? Information or a product? Have they used something like your CBD balm before or is this all new to them?

Are they male or female? Men are more transactional and want to get in, buy and leave. Women generally want more information to evaluate and feel good about their decision.

Do they like to do it themselves or prefer interacting with a live person?

Live is still the number one preference. That said, women are over-stressed, over-worked, multitaskers. They’ll happily take the buying journey on their own…as long as it’s easy.

The website needs to be logical and easy to get around. Home page choices that make options clear is essential.

Pastel fonts are trendy but hard to read. Intensifying the color of the font makes it easier to read. Avoid low contrast between the font and its background color. (Think white against pale blue.) They are the hardest to read.

Increasing the font size makes it easier to read. You don’t have to go giant. Ask a mature reader to take a look and ask their feedback on readability.

Break up blocks of text so the paragraphs aren’t too long. The longer the paragraph…the less likely the viewer will read it. 

Breaking up paragraphs also makes for more white space which enhances quick reading.

Most of us don’t read full sentences or paragraphs. We skim. Our brains fill in the blanks.

So write/edit your content to make it easy to skim. 

Contacting you needs to be easy.  Your contact information should be easy to locate and to use. And easy means they need to hear back from you in a timely manner.  Letting them know your normal response rate helps to manage their expectations. 

Useful enhances value

There are two types of visitors to your website.  New visitors and those that are returning. Make sure they can both find what they are looking for quickly. 

Most viewers would happily trade fancy graphics for those that are useful.  Useful has more value.  Weed out things that may be pretty but are just taking up space with low or zero value.

Using stock photos may give you gorgeous professional images…but they need to tie directly into your offering.  If they don’t, cut them or replace them.

Select useful images that share your brand and its benefits to the viewer. That gives more value. 

The speed of loading and navigating is important.  People don’t have a lot of patience to wait for a slow-loading website.

The most useful factor in a website is its content.  If you have a beautiful site but weak content people may visit but won’t come back.  Quality content is the key that enhances the value of the site to the customer more than anything else. 

Today’s websites need to offer more value than a generic brochure.  We demand more in-depth information to help us make our buying decision. 

Inadequate content impedes the buying process.

Your website will never be one and done.  It needs to keep evolving to be active with the search engines and help customers find you.

Useful also builds trust…a requirement to buying.

A well put together website that offers great information, regular maintenance, and stellar reviews makes a huge difference in your success.

How about friendly?

More and more people are checking out businesses on their smartphones. It’s essential your website is optimized for all types of devices. 

Desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones all need to be reviewed to see what your visitor is seeing.  On each type of device you need to investigate the easy factors and see that they work well.

With multi-generational products, like CBD lotions and balms, I suggest clients have a millennial and a boomer independently explore their website. You want to know everyone that comes to visit can do it easily.

Do you have active links where they can connect with you on their favorite social media platforms?  Are those portals kept up to date with regular posting? 

Is your web focus transactional or engaging?  Are you selling products or solutions? 

The sale doesn’t start with a product.  It starts with a problem.  Content needs to focus on the consumer’s problem and position your product as a solution.

Stay with the customer during and after their purchase. Build the relationship and the connection to keep them engaged and coming back again and again.  

Capitalize on the convenience of their smartphone to have easy, friendly ways the customer can stay in touch…learn more, and build their loyalty with you. Use it as a way to keep the conversation with that customer going and growing. 

It’s a great way to convert them into a super-fan who will help your business grow.

How does your website score for easy, useful, & friendly?

If you aren’t at least a seven on a scale of one to ten, you may need to do some work.  Not sure the best ways to improve your score? Reach out and let’s do a quick evaluation. For details on how to get this evaluation plus my three top recommendations FREE, contact me before 5PM, PDT on 3/13/2020.

Women, Beauty, and CBD

Over the decades, women have tried a lot of “new” ingredients to make their skin look and feel better.  Hemp-derived products are just the latest in this group. In 2019 CBD was the most popular ingredient in the beauty sector.

It’s a huge market. In the US in 2018 skincare topped $5.6 billion in sales. Globally revenues were over $135 billion.  And that’s just skincare. 

The beauty sector globally topped $300 billion and is expected to keep growing. In 2018 skincare grew by 13%. Makeup, normally the queen of growth, only managed 1%.

The growth and focus have shifted for two key reasons.  Gen Z and millennials are very natural focused. Second, the number of people with very sensitive skin just keeps exploding. Hectic stressed lives throw our systems out of balance. The use or overuse of the wrong products makes it worse.

When anything is out of balance…skin, especially your face, is the first place it shows up.

As a working esthetician, I know sensitive skins are far more common than twenty years ago. I could probably come up with a shopping list of possible causes, but the bottom line is they need specialized skincare. 

In the last 15 years, the availability of simple formulations has exploded.  Many developed by those with a skin problem that they couldn’t find an answer for.  Social media helped them share their stories and solutions with consumers.

Hypersensitivity is a big problem

A few months ago, a friend developed shingles on her face. A nasty painful rash that made her feel awful about herself, on top of having to deal with the virus.

Shingles is a chemical burn from the inside out that leaves the skin in a hyper-sensitized state.  Cold compresses work. Most other things just fire up the irritated nerves. A soothing antiseptic gel calmed the rash, but when the scabs form, she needed something more protective.  

I finally located a simple formulation that had the antiseptic gel, a soothing hydrator, and CBD with no stimulating ingredients. It did the trick, protecting the skin while it tried to heal, even calming the angry nerve endings.  It was the only thing outside of water she could use for over two months.

As she moved into her third month, we tested a very calming botanical blend developed by a doctor known for his research into problem skins.

The botanical serum and calming protective cream were her silver bullet.  Her skin is healing.  She still supports those two products with some of the CBD infused cream as needed.  But she is moving forward.

Will CBD beauty care last or succumb to bad marketing practices

It’s no secret that there have been a number of companies making false promises both about their formulation and what it will do.

They’ve had a negative impact on consumer perceptions about hemp and CBD. People buy solutions and if those solutions let them down, they get fearful.

But those companies are also getting the attention of the FDA. In 2019 the FDA sent letters to over twenty companies who were not following cosmetic and supplement guidelines about not making health claims.

More are sure to follow. But it’s not the sort of attention a business wants.

This sort of thing is probably to be expected in a niche where growth has exploded like wildfire.  There will always be those who put profits first.  But they won’t last.

On the upside, with all the media attention there are few people left in the USA who haven’t at least heard of CBD. They’ve heard the claims. Now they are trying to sort out fact from fiction. 

Smart, educated consumers aren’t ready to abandon CBD just because of a few bad marketing decisions. But they have gotten more suspicious and selective.

Quality, transparency, and products that work

Fortunately, we’ve had many in the industry who have focused on creating quality products. They led the way with testing, validation, and certification. They are transparent and proudly post their test results where customers can easily access them.

These actions build trust and these companies will be around for years to come.

They focus on products that perform as anticipated.  Who wants to buy something that doesn’t work?  If we buy a relief balm, we expect to get relief. If we buy a calming product, topical or oral, we expect something to calm down. 

The results speak loudly.

Quality, standards, and results have catapulted companies to national recognition as industry leaders. It has also netted them astronomical growth and sales.

CBD properties are key to growth

Many great ingredients that were superstars in their day. Think Aloe Vera. It may not be as popular as 20 years ago but it still enjoys broad use because of the properties aloe brings to the formulation. 

CBD has been associated with properties that benefit wellness for thousands of years. But we are just learning about the full spectrum of over 100 different cannabinoids.

And researchers and chemists are just scratching the surface to document what has been experienced.

It is the properties of any plant that make us want to use it. Many of these have been anecdotally attributed over time. Science validates this. Antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties have all been observed with CBD.

These properties formulated in skin-issue targeted formulas are key to growth and happy users.

A generic good-for-everyone facial skincare product will have today’s educated and sophisticated user shaking their head. They want to know the product is formulated to solve their personal needs.

One thing women don’t want? To smell like “weed.”  We don’t want to smell like a forest or dirt. Make it look nice, feel nice, smell nice and work.

Today’s women want natural

The term natural has been thrown around for years. It’s still doesn’t have a uniform definition. Many consumers think of plants as natural…non-chemical. But even water is a chemical by definition.

And while plants are considered natural, that doesn’t mean they are automatically safe.  Foxglove is natural, but you don’t want to mess with it in its botanical state. You’d also avoid poison oak, sumac or ivy.

What consumers are looking for is products free of toxins and contaminants like pesticides. This is even more important with botanicals like hemp that detoxify the soil, sucking up the toxins. Organic certified is a bonus as well as the assayed test results to show it is toxin-free.

Women are looking for a product that is safe for their particular beauty need and won’t cause skin reactions. 

CBD beauty products sit right at these crossroads of natural wellness and beauty. But they need to be targeted to needs.

If you’re creating a product for blemishes or problem skin, there are ingredients you will want to include and exclude. Ingredients that might be perfect for a dry maturing skin won’t work for an oily, problem skin. The reverse is also true. Skin issues need their own targeted solution for maximum results. 

Get customer-centric

From the get-go, a customer-centric experience that helps them progress through their buying journey is going to increase sales.

Women want it easy. They want your website to be user-friendly. She wants to find educational content to answer her questions so she feels confident if she has never tried CBD before. She wants to feel her transaction will be safe and secure.

In Oregon, where dispensaries are literally on every corner, some are finding investing time in consumer education is the key to differentiate themselves from the competition. 

Make your website their go-to resource for information they can trust. Provide a guide that walks them from understanding to choosing and buying.

If you have both a website and a retail outlet, help visitors with a smooth, integrated experience. Finding you, learning from you, buying and or visiting.

Inspire them. As they move through their buying journey, help them find what they need via suggestions based on what they’ve looked at.

Get social

Your buyers are active on social media.  It only makes sense to be where they are. You can’t do paid ads for CBD products, (at least not at this time,) but you can share.

User-generated content dominates your marketing abilities on social media channels.

Informational blurbs, video snippets, photos of products in action, success stories.  Cultivate and capitalize on your best customers. 

Micro-influencers are very powerful in the world of beauty.  They are your best customers and their value can’t be over-estimated.

Invite them to share and post. Get them telling and posting their stories. Engage them in conversations. Recognize and reward them.

Keep posts and content current

There are lots of websites out there where the last blog article was 6, 12  or even 24 months ago. Some Facebook pages have scattered to no posts.  You need regularity.

Lack of content makes you invisible. Search engines love new current information.  So do your visitors.

If you walked into a store to buy something and all the counters and products were covered with a thick layer of neglect-dust, would you stay? 

The same thing happens on your website.

New, updated content or posts catch the attention of both search engines and customers.

It’s really all about quality and regularity.  Quality product, quality information, quality support, and quality customer TLC. Regularity in content, social posting, and customer interaction.

Stuck? Not enough hands to juggle all the need-to-dos, let’s talk and simplify your life. judith@jculpcreativecopy.com.

Support Female Purchase-Driven Buyers

All buyers including Purchase-driven love to be appreciated
Photo by Flaunter.com on Unsplash

Marketing Tips for Purchase- Driven Buyers

Purchase-driven buyers know what they’re after, they’re ready to buy.  That doesn’t mean they can’t be influenced to add to their purchase.  If you follow these 4 tips, you’ll help them get what they are after, and very likely more. 

Before we talk about the tips, I have a quick question for you. 

Remember your last grocery shopping experience?

When was the last time you went to the grocery store for a loaf of bread or a quart of milk?  Did you head straight for the appropriate section grab your item and then beeline for the checkout?  Maybe once in a while.

More than likely, you grabbed a cart on your way in the door. Why, if you’re only after 1-2 items?  Patterns.  Our brains like to follow patterns.  It takes less thinking.  So whether you just want milk, or have a full shopping list, you grab that cart.

Last weekend, we just needed milk so I could finish dinner.  My husband kindly offered to run to the little quick market. An hour later, he returned with three full shopping bags and a satisfied smile on his face.

Grocery stores are experiential

We think of grocery stores as places where we make transactional purchases. Not so.  They have made them a maze of experiences.  They start with the moment you enter the store. The greeter gives you a cheery hello and tries to make you feel welcomed.

That cart you grabbed doesn’t speed up shopping, it slows you down.

So do the other shoppers.  What those shoppers have in their hand, or their cart, trigger thoughts of “oh, I need that.”

A free-taste demo stands in the deli staffed by a friendly employee handing out yummy looking tidbits so you can check out their special of the week. 

That little kiosk in the bakery with bits of pastry or cookies to try. No doubt you were slowed down on your way through the bakery area with the addictive aroma of sugar baking.

The weekend-only display of fresh shrimp…appetizers anyone?

My local grocer has added a mini-pub area where shoppers can pause and have a glass of their favorite brew.  And it’s popular.

If you make it past the pub, then there’s wine tasting…if you are of an appropriate age.

Don’t forget all those in-aisle displays that you’ll trip over if you aren’t careful. 

Over the loudspeakers comes the manager’s voice inviting you to come to the red table at the front of the housewares section. For the next two minutes, they will be giving away free gadgets to all adult shoppers. You need to hurry…only one minute remaining.  (Stay in the store long enough and you’ll hear this taped promotional audio repeated multiple times.)

How can you employ what grocery stores do?

Grocery stores may look like innocent transactional, no pressure places to buy food, but they are focused on creating shopping experiences. If you aren’t very disciplined and careful, you’ll, like my husband, go out with three bags of groceries instead of two items. 

We can use some grocery store techniques for our website shoppers.  Here are three.

Look for ways to connect with your visitor.

Think about what you want them to tell about their experience with you. Reverse engineer your customer experience so that it has a positive emotional outcome.  It’s all about how you make them feel.

An emotional connection, a positive feeling about their experience with you is core to creating customer loyalty.

Demonstrate your hospitality by guiding them through their shopping journey.  Help them find things. Chat support can answer questions and engage them in conversation to help them make the best buying decision. 

Make her experience easy and efficient. It’s not always about the price, time, ease of use and efficient ordering simplicity go a long way.

How you make them feel is far more important than if they buy something on the visit. 

If you make them feel good, they may be back. They are also far more apt to tell their friends who might be looking for what you have.

Inspire them to buy from you

Our purchase driven buyer thinks they want just a single item. But we can expose them to the big picture and, like Amazon does, show them what goes with that item.

We never want them to feel pushed.  We want to offer inspiration. Purchasing supporting items saves them time and likely shipping costs. It’s efficient and having the coordinated items can give a positive satisfaction feeling. Also, having all the components enhances the value of each one. 

Think of focusing on your shopping-lovers style of purchasing. The purchase driven buyer won’t be affronted if it’s well done, they will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

They may not have been looking for the “set” but whether they buy or not, they will remember how helpful you were.

Instill confidence

Look for ways to build confidence with your visitor.  You want them to leave feeling they’d like to come back.

Make sure your website is easy to access and navigate. Does it have a friendly comfortable feeling? Is there transparency so she gets a feeling for the company and the people behind it?

Website security is a big supporter of confidence. Ditto with your guarantee.

Customer service can make or break confidence. Women expect great customer service…give it to them.  Make them feel they are getting great value.

With clear and informative product information, support the logical side of their buying decision.

This product is going to help/work for me. Quality brand name with a recognized reliable history.

Look for ways to share your knowledge.

Post those great reviews that show your business is reliable and trustworthy.  They need to feel they can count on you if something goes wrong with the purchase.

Let them know they are appreciated

Never stop saying thank you.  While women are raised to say please and thank you, it is something that is easily overlooked in the business world. 

Do a test drive on your website.  Does it feel like someone there “gets you”?  How do you feel there? Welcome? Ignored? Transactional?

Can you give them a reason to come back?  Maybe a follow-up email with a reminder that they left something in their cart? Maybe a one-time special offer?  Let them know you look forward to working with them again.

Do you have a loyalty program? Create one. It doesn’t have to be a discount or product.  It should be useful and helpful… like a guide or how-to.  Articles or white papers could also be helpful to them.

Thank yous go a long way

Look for little milestones you can celebrate with them. Consider emails or handwritten notes to let them know you remembered their birthday, anniversary or other special events.

Think about a reward program you are signed up with.  What do you like the most about it? The least?  Use existing reward programs to springboard your creativity to come up with your own.

When I work with clients we focus on building client relationships by focusing on these four concepts. Build emotional connections, offer inspiration, building confidence and always reminding them they are valued and appreciated.

Target CBD Marketing to Women?

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Women do the shopping

Did you know that women purchase 85% of all consumer products? They influence over 95% of all goods and services purchased in the USA. Despite the different cultures, it’s not much different around the globe.   

This may seem odd since there are about the same number of male and female shoppers. If you’re a guy and thinking… “no way”, let me ask you a question. How many fellows can you think of quickly who LOVE to shop? 

Ever noticed how upscale women’s stores have chairs and benches, usually occupied by bored male companions taking a snooze?  Keep the guy content and keep the gal shopping.

Most men are task-oriented. Get in, get it done, and get out.  The exception might be at the supermarket if they’re hungry.  At that point, the list may well go out the window and the snack aisle wins.

Many men will even “settle-for” a product that isn’t exactly what they want.  If it will do the job, they care less about price and forge ahead. Purchase made, out of the store, and heading home.

Women, on the other hand, use not just the task-oriented side of their brain, they also use the emotional side. Think of a multi-sensory approach. And they don’t like to settle-for. Many will spend hours hunting for just the right thing.

Women are the dominant buyers

There are also many women who help the guys in their life with shopping.  Once they know his tastes, their natural caregiver instincts kick in and they may buy it for him. Or they let him know what and where they found what he wants, to shorten his shopping experience.

Women also help their extended family.  When kids are young, women are the ones buying for them. They’ll collaborate and help siblings, girlfriends, and cousins. As parents get older, women again step into caregiver mode.

An aging parent may have challenges getting to the store or using a computer. Women to the rescue.

I will not soon forget the 90+ minutes I spent on the phone with my aging mother helping her pick out and then place an online order for a pair of orthopedic shoes…her first online purchase, ever. 

Because women also think with their emotions more, they are more susceptible to an emotional appeal…think SALE. She may visit a store on a mission and the surprise of a sale instantly makes what she finds more desirable. 

Online, she may find what she wants, but not buy it. An email offering a special on what she was looking at is a good trigger to get her back in the shopping mode.

Women are stressed

Women are the original multi-taskers.  It came with the position.  Throughout history, men were off on adventures, explorations, wars or work that took them far from home.  It was up to the woman to hold everything at home together and see it done. That required multitasking.

But multi-tasking generates external and internal stress. Your target buyer needs things to make her life easier. She is the one doing the nurturing, but she needs to be nurtured. Women need self-care. They seek to feel good about themselves. 

If your offering products that can help her with any aspect of this, believe me, she wants to know about them.

CBD products are an excellent example. Many people seek them for relaxation, stress reduction, calming, soothing, and relieving aches and pains.

Nurture her with information that helps her understand how the product might help.

Women Demand Good Customer Service

Women as caregivers expect amazing customer service.  If they have problems with your website, coupon codes that don’t work, or poor customer service, you’ll probably lose them. If not on this order…when they get ready to buy again.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the game or a big name brand. Failures like coupon codes that don’t work will cost you money…and customers.

In a review of women in all age groups, great customer service was a priority!

They are used to having to give answers and they expect them quickly. They’re under stress and that shortens patience.  They don’t want to wait days to hear back on a query. 

Make sure there is a strong guarantee behind your product.  She is trusting you to try your online product. Or, perhaps is trying to track down your product locally. She needs support and information at her fingertips.

If you sell your amazing products through distributors, be sure to include a page that helps the reader find where to buy it.  Like many other women, I’ve had the experience where there was no information online and a query did not respond. Sale lost.

Positive tone and quality information

In doing multi-generational research, I found it interesting that women across-the-board respond negatively to pushy sales.

The consumer today is more resistive to old-fashioned pushy sales pitches.

I know there are firms who use direct mail long-form letters who disagree with this. I’ve also heard of some super-negative sales approaches that were supposed to be doing well.  Both of these are contrary to the data gathered by marketing researchers.

The demographic research clearly shows negativity and pushy sales are things to avoid in today’s online market.

Women tend to be more open to alternative health so it’s little surprise they are looking for information on CBD. They are ready and willing to look outside the box for a better solution. Stress, anxiety, pain, relaxation…she’s in the market. 

Give her plenty of quality information. Women like to feel good about their purchase. While they may be attracted by an emotional trigger, like stress, pain, or a sale, they want validation. 

Share customer stories, testimonials, and reviews. She wants to know the good and not so good.

Provide lots of Q&A. Give her answers to questions she hasn’t thought of yet. Share your outside third-party validation and testing data.

Provide quality, transparency, and education that will validate and inform.  Don’t stop because she places an order.  Keep the information coming. Keep educating. Help her learn more. Become her resource.

Use a diverse marketing approach

Women of different generations, approach buying online a little differently.  There are still a large number of women who like to buy in a store, but with alternative health products that is less doable. 

The changes in FDA regulations on CBD have opened the internet as an alternative shopping arena. But you will need to know the variations in how different age demographics approach shopping and use a mix.

Boomers

Boomers may well be your largest buying group. They have the money, they are feeling the stress, aches, and pains. And they aren’t all looking for a sale.  Give them a fabulous convenient experience and great customer service. They respond to email marketing and a strong online presence.

Boomers don’t depend on social media for their marketing advice. Most go directly to the website. Want to keep them coming back?  They love straight forward reward programs.

Boomers are also a key influencer group. Nestled between the Silent Generation and Gen X, they help both those older and younger than themselves. They help their parents, they reach down and love to help the grandkids.

Many boomer women went back into the workplace when their kids were grown and are still there.  If you want the group with the disposable dollars, boomers are it.

Gen X

While a number are already over 50, their buying patterns are different from their parents.

Honesty, transparency, quality product information and a clear path to purchase are important to them.  Email is the best way to reach Gen X. They’re on social media but don’t rely on it.

They expect smart use of SEO on your website.

They tend to be conservative shoppers and tend to be more skeptical. They are looking for proof of performance. Back your product up. Again, quality customer service is paramount.

Millennials

Gen Y rarely looks at traditional advertising. Social media, word of mouth and user-generated content are their things.

Loyal authenticity is at the top of their list. They expect your customer service staff to use and be familiar with your product and act as an advocate for them.

Millennials are captivated by your cause. They are much more likely to support your cause with their purchases than a similar product with no cause.

Gen Z

This group can’t remember a time without the internet.  It is integral to them. Their shopping and comparison are all done online…even if they buy in a store.

While many are still under 18, they are a key group to be interested in products that could help with their skin issues.  Since some research points to the anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and sebum controlling properties of CBD, they may come seeking you out.

It will be important to be aware of all changes to legal status for online sales and shipping of products when dealing with minors.

What to keep in mind…

Each group likes to buy a little differently so a marketing mix and segmenting is important. A marketing system that caters to the different buying preferences will see greater sales. 

Segmentation based on specific interests or buying habits is a positive way to capitalize and increase sales.

Honesty, transparency, integrity and amazing customer service are important regardless of age. Likewise, a philanthropic business is well esteemed by all groups.

Avoid pushy sales as all ages are skeptical of them.

Make buying easy, clear and backed by a solid guarantee.

Since each group is driven by slightly different buying triggers, the more you can cater to this, the broader your customer base will be.

When I work with my clients we look for what can be included on their website that ticks a box for individual groups of buyers, both women and men. After they’ve made a purchase, we segment them by what they purchased and any identifiable triggers for best staying in touch and creating repeat sales.

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